Running Errands with Kids

IMG_6049Let’s be real.  The title of this post about says it all and leaves little to the imagination.  Running errands with kids is sheer chaos.  You can absolutely forget a leisurely stroll through the mall and what the hell is “window shopping” anymore?  Get your shit and get out!  My capabilities for decent grocery store trips and every other kind of errand you can run is on a downward spiral.  Running errands with one had its challenges but was doable.  Running errands with a mobile toddler while pregnant presented even more obstacles and absolutely wore me down.  Now I have a 30 pound two and a half year old, an almost 20 pound eight month old (along with a 10ish pounds of infant seat said baby still rides around in).  That is 60 pounds of awesome but 60 pounds of crazy as well.  Today my toddler insisted on being carried, the day with no stroller of course, and reverted to throwing herself on the pavement in a fit of rage if I asked her to walk while holding my hand.  So baby in baby seat in one arm and toddler in the other.  (Curse all the places that do not have handicap accessible door openers that I can access with my foot.)
  Today I was without a stroller which I knew leaving the house.  Currently our pickup is full of yard trimmings so stroller and the vehicle I had today weren’t compatible.  I said whatever and went about my way.  Even with the stroller it is still one more thing to unload.  It does make it easier BUT it is another step and another thing to maneuver.  Anyways, back to doing the things with the tiny people….
First stop: doctors office.  Always an enjoyable time.  The doctors office I usually (heavy emphasis on the usually….because kids) don’t have problems with especially once you leave the waiting room since there is no where for the mobile ones to go but there is plenty of things for them to get into.  We made it out unscathed.
Second stop: Jewelry store.  Trips like these always have me wondering is it worth it.  Its been months (like 8 maybe?) since I had my wedding ring cleaned and yesterday I was planting flowers so you get it.   Anyhow, is a less than 5 minute trip into the store to get the dirt out of my ring worth it. Today it was apparently.  It went fine but you can never lessen the amount of work loading and unloading kids.
Next stop: Lunch.  We swung by my mother in laws office for a quick lunch in the cafeteria.  Another set of hands made this much easier.  I’ve done lunch on the go by myself before and it went this well: an entire jug of kids size milk covering an entire booth.  A little goes a long way in the case of milk apparently.
Last stop: Eye clinic.  Many details surround my need to spend an hour at the eye clinic today but you don’t need them, I promise.  Thank you lovely lady who offered my daughter a piece of cheese from the break room.  Seriously, thank you.  I’m sure you’re reading that thinking “Honestly?  You let some random person feed your daughter food??” Um, ya.  I did.  Why?  My toddler was currently in meltdown mode because I stopped her from ripping every pair of glasses they have on display off of the shelves.  I told her if she stopped I would get her a treat.  Funny story, I had no treats.  Dumb.  Cheese was the answer though.  We left there and I had about 30 seconds of thinking I could get 20 more minutes of out them and could handle loading and unloading them one more time to go through the car wash.  I quickly forgot those insane thoughts and hit the road home. Both kids fell asleep on the 40 minute drive home which was purely enjoyable for me.
  Really todays trip I can’t complain about all that much because overall nothing really went wrong and there have most certainly been shopping trips I swear to never take again with children.  Normally I try to limit our stops to two because thats just whats doable for me.  I often feel like ‘that’ mom with ‘those’ kids in the store but the reality is I’m probably not.  I see so many other moms doing the same thing as me and don’t think anything about it.  Usually when I see a freak out happening I feel much worse for the parent than the child.
My only advice is this:  Drink the coffee then do the things.  The order is important.  🙂
High Five Moms and Dads!  You’re doing great.

Taking Time for YOU

You know those days that bring you to your knees and you just say “I quit. I’m done.” Well, being a parent you are probably going to have them often, sometimes even multiple days in a row. Its a hard pill to swallow yet you still love those tiny people at the end of the day regardless of how many hairs they have made you want to rip out of your head. I’m sorry if actual hair was lost in your case and it no longer is a metaphor.

Just yesterday I sent a text to my husband telling him I wasn’t sure if I could do it anymore. “It” being a stay at home mom. This is a tough gig you guys. I know there are SO many mom’s that would love to stay home with their kids and may be reading this thinking “are you serious right now? You are complaining about getting the opportunity to stay at home and be with your kids all day long?” Actually, yes I am, because its hard! As a matter of fact I may envy you for getting to go to work all day and have adult conversations, unless you work with kids, then I don’t know how I feel about your job. Bless your heart though.

As a parent, regardless of if you work in the home or outside the home, you must (YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST) remember to take time for yourself. Advice I need to adhere to. It’s tricky… do I stay up past the kids bedtime and read a book, watch a movie, take a relaxing bath, or do I head to bed and get the sleep I so desperately need. Sleep typically wins but that doesn’t get me the time I need away from my children and doing something I enjoy. I am a much better mom when I have alone time or time with just my husband. I am also a better wife, a better daughter, and a better friend. When I am stuck at home all day, multiple days in a row for various reasons, the truth is I become a cranky resentful person. I give up. I just want something for myself and then nothing can calm the impatience I feel for wanting just 10 uninterrupted minutes to myself.

So moms, and dads, do what you have to do to be 100% because your kids deserve that and so does your spouse, and most importantly YOU deserve that. I could go on and on about all the reasons why its important for you to have alone time but I know there are a lot of posts floating around out there on this topic and I have a feeling you know what you personally enjoy and all the things you want to do during said time away from kids. I could also go on to share with you all the things I want to do but I won’t. Pick up that book you bought 3 years ago (seriously I just did that) and start reading! Go treat yourself to something warming like a new plant or a coffee treat from your favorite coffee shop. Just do something for you so you can love the heck out of your kids and everyone who loves you. It doesn’t have to be a week long trip, though maybe it should be, but just a few hours to yourself once or twice a week to bring you back to earth.

(Originally posted April 25th, 2017)


(Photo by Dalayna McKnight Photography – Our Home)

My List of Must Have Baby Products


This post is inspired by the numerous amount of people I know about to bring a tiny human into this world! I wanted to share my top items that have seen me through the good and bad days thus far. Everyone is going to have their own list of saving grace for baby products but here are mine!


(Photo by JaneCane Photography – Duluth, MN)

1. Muslin Blankets Hands down my favorite baby item is Muslin Blankets. Give me 5 (or more) of these and we can do great things. I love swaddling my babies in these at night because while cotton is breathable these are VERY breathable, hence my love for them. If its a colder night, as it commonly is in Minnesota, I will add another blanket to swaddle baby in which is usually in the form of a cotton blanket. These are also amazing for a nursing cover. I have tried actual nursing covers but they just didn’t work for me. Muslin blankets get the job done much better in my opinion. Remember, breathable, so you and baby are not going to be sweating while nursing. Most of the ones we own are from Swaddle Designs but there are some other really great brands and some of my softest ones are not from Swaddle Designs.

2. Zip Up Sleepers I kind of wonder why they even make the button up sleepers anymore. Seriously at 3 a.m. the last thing I want to be doing is spending actual minutes buttoning baby back into their pjs, fumbling around in the dark, while baby is usually crying to be fed or just in general protest. Save your sanity and buy as many zip up sleepers as possible.

3. BOB Stroller Our first stroller (yes, we have multiple, as in 3) when our first daughter (we have multiples of those too) was born is a BOB. I think the price drives a lot of people away from these or the fact that they are a jogging stroller. I don’t run by the way. These things are SO smooth, easily fold up, and honestly I just love ours. We also own a Britax Affinity Complete Stroller which I really enjoy using as well. Its a little more friendly for things like doctor appointments as its not as long and just kind of more compact. It does convert into a double stroller with the purchase of the second seat a few extra pieces. A lot more cost effective than going out and buying a whole new double stroller, which we did anyways because we like to make sense. Lastly, we have a double BOB which I am honestly slightly disappointed with. It still is super smooth and very well built but before buying one I read many reviews assuring me it wasn’t bulky or heavy and would still fit through doorways. While it does still fit through doorways this thing is massive! We attract a lot of attention with it. I still recommend BOB though as I said they have good quality strollers and they ride like a dream, or push like a dream, since I’m not the one sitting in them.

4. Boppy Pillow This was one of those things I put on my baby registry because everyone seems to have them, I had no idea if I would actually use it or not. I use it every day. They serve a variety of purposes that I don’t really need to get into. Just wanted to say this is a must have item in my opinion!

5. Noise Machine I don’t know why it took so long for us to start using one of these or why I haven’t been using one my entire life. I don’t even remember why we decided to try it out because we never really had sleep issues with our first daughter but we must have needed it for some reason. They are great especially when traveling to drown out excess noise. Get one if you don’t already have one just to add that extra touch of relaxation at bedtime or maybe you are at the end of your rope getting baby to go to sleep or stay asleep. Whatever it is, I just recommend getting one.

6. Skip Hop Duo Signature Diaper Bag I have tried several diaper bags but this by far has been my favorite. At first I wasn’t sure it was going to fit much but it fits everything I need for my toddler and baby. We do take our bigger bag for day or overnight trips however but for running errands this is perfect and not a lot to lug around. I’ve been using it for about 8-9 months now and it has held up wonderfully. The material retracts spills and dirt really well. Skip Hop is a really great company for making durable yet affordable products. Their bags come in lots of super cute designs and different style options, definitely recommend this brand for anyone in the market for a first or replacement diaper bag!

7. Zutano Booties These are great and WILL actually stay on your babies feet. I get so tired of socks falling off but these puppies stay. Added bonus: they are adorable on baby, come in a variety of colors for either gender, and if you live in the midwest they will keep those little piggies warm.

8. Baby Carrier I really wanted to make baby wearing work for me, especially when our second daughter was born. Unfortunately, I just haven’t found a love for it or a carrier that really works for me. I have tried the Moby and Boba wraps, a chicco carrier (worst one), a Tula structured carried, and also a Boba sling. The Boba sling is by far my favorite, my most used, and least expensive one. I cannot do the wraps. They just don’t jive with me and I end up still holding and supporting baby, however, a lot of people absolutely rave about them which only makes me only more frustrated why I can’t figure the stupid things out. I really like our structured Tula carrier for longer periods of time but it is bulky and not the easiest thing to put on in a parking lot before going into a store. Baby carriers are something that is totally a personal preference and you kind of just have to test the waters with them. Someone really needs to start a baby carrier rental company to allow moms and dads to try before they buy. Anyways, there is my two cents on baby carriers for you. Good luck in that department!

9. Car Seat Cover When you have your babies in the Fall months you need to have a good car seat cover to get you through the winter. The brand of car seat cover we used for both of our girls was Tivoli Couture. It was seriously like a winter coat for the car seat. Very easy to put on and take off, but really never needs to be taken off until the weather warms up of course. You definitely want something that is going to stay in place for when you are taking baby in and out of the car, especially if baby is asleep. Now that the weather has warmed up I am using some flimsy one that just hooks onto the car seat handle and sort of drapes down. It essentially serves no purpose if there is any sort of wind. So I don’t recommend something of that nature.

10. Yeti Cup You’re probably thinking, “ok what? She’s actually lost it now…that isn’t a baby item.” No, it isn’t but what it is is awesome. Who spends that much on a coffee cup??? Ummm…. a mom (or dad) who doesn’t get to sit down and drink their coffee in the morning. These things keep my coffee hot for HOURS. Coffee is life.

Shopping Tip!
This is may be common knowledge for many of my fellow mommies especially those who are avid Target shoppers, if so you can probably just skip over this section. Make a Target baby registry even if you aren’t having a shower (maybe its not your first baby). I believe its 60 days before your due date they will send you, at least one, but I think its multiple 15% off coupons for the remaining items on your registry. This coupled with any physical coupons, you have, Target cartwheel app for more savings, and last a Target Red Card will have you saving lots of moolah for your new or current little ones! The Target Red Card can be in the form of a debit card, which I highly recommend and DUH I have one.

Also, check Amazon Warehouse deals for specific products you are looking for. We got our Double BOB Stroller this way and many other things. Most of the time its just a box that was opened or slightly damaged and the product is still completely fine.

Mommy Advice 🙂
I hear of a lot of people stockpiling diapers and wipes which is a financially smart move. My only hesitation with doing this is you have zero idea what things baby might have issues with. Secondly, if you have 15 boxes of size 1 diapers you might only get through 3 of them and then you’re going to find yourself in the headache of returning. Personally what I would do is buy a gift card in the place of a box of diapers and wipes when you are out shopping with the intent OR start a jar for funds of mentioned products. Same advice for bottles. Don’t go buy a lot of one brand as baby may not like them, this is something baby gets to choose. Totally just some take it or leave it advice as you prepare for baby! I still have no idea what I’m doing most days.

Again, these are just a few personal preferences I have for some products and by no means are any of these a necessity. I wanted to share with you the products I appreciate and help me get through the blur of my day to day with two tiny people. Stay sane friends and may your coffee be stronger than your toddler. 🙂

Direct Sales

So, I have done my fair share of direct sales. Most have been done in the form of social media marketing which I acknowledge can get a little annoying when you have received your 500th notification that week from someone trying to sell everyone something “they love or believe in.” I get it. Even with some background in the world of it all I still find myself saying “Seriously? This is like the 10th Lularoe party I have been invited to in the last 3 days…” Really thought it doesn’t bother me all that much, it’s just someone sharing something that are excited about and are trying to make it work.

I am into my 4th direct sales “position” as I just teamed up with a friend to sell Lipsense. You probably are wondering why or telling yourself “Great. Here she is to hound me again and guilt me into buying something I’m not really interested in or don’t want anything to do with.” First of all, NEVER feel as though you have to buy. Secondly, my goal (and I believe everyone else’s) is not to bother people or fill your newsfeed on Facebook with so much marketing that you roll your eyes so hard you see your brain. It’s just kind of the world we live in today. The internet has taken over which is evident as we watch big box stores close their doors. I personally find this sad and believe it or not prefer to shop in person. Anyways, I digress.  077fa775de4f3233da21e27ee995617a

What draws me into these position is usually my own interest or love of the product, so yes I do usually love the product I am promoting, which would only make sense. In the beginning I have always had aspirations to Go Big or Go Home but I have yet to see serious success from one of these companies. Direct sales is something you really have to commit to and is something you get out of what you put into it. You also sort of have an “I don’t give a shit attitude” but still be positive. Does that even makes sense? Your heart has to be in the right place and you have to want it for yourself but also for the people you are selling it to. I have heard many stories of people who paid themselves completely out of debt doing gigs like this and I have also heard the other side. I sort of fall in the middle. I have yet for one to put a bad taste in my mouth but I also haven’t made crazy money on it either. What I have walked away with is a sense of support, pretty awesome products, and a little bit better understanding of people.

After my 3rd one I sort of scolded myself and told myself “You will not do another one of these. People are getting annoyed and your family and friends can only support so many of your mini business ventures.” I guess time sort of erases those thoughts because here I am again. Thats ok though. I really do enjoy this product (as I have all the others) and can I be honest? We sort of signed up to get the consultants discount! If we are able to sell some though that would be really awesome too.

So…. Lipsense it is this time. You can currently find us on Facebook at Lush Lips by Hailee and Jessica. Feel free to send messages with questions!

(Originally posted on April 9th, 2017)

Perfect is Impossible

  I’ve written this one a few times in my head and keep coming back to it.  The title sort of says it all but I’ll elaborate.  If it isn’t already obvious to you (as I hope it is to everyone) no one is a vision of perfection.  I certainly don’t fill those shoes.  Guess what? That’s alright.
  I have received comments from many people on what a good mom I am and how I just seem to have it together.  (Insert actual laughing until I am crying response.)  One person was even kind enough to send a personal message asking for advice, as she was about to become a new mom herself, and I seemed to know what I was doing.  I hesitantly typed out a response I thought was uplifting but wondered if I actually lived the words I was sharing with her.  While I so appreciate these messages and comments it also makes me reflect on the image I may be portraying on social media to make you think I have it all together because I don’t.  I lose my patience with my children and with my husband.  I clean up yet another mess someone has made and quietly resent them for it.  I get stressed about things like nap time.  I think to myself what it would be like to only be responsible for me and then scold myself for thinking such a thing because I wouldn’t give my children up for anything.  Motherhood is one hell of an eye opener to the world but one we often keep to ourself, especially the struggles of the day in and day out.  Imperfect-283x300
  I mentioned social media in the above paragraph which is sort of my direction with this particular post.  It is such a significant part of the world we live in today which is both a blessing and a curse, a double edged sword.  The last few years I have heavily relied on my social media presence to stay in contact with friends and even find social outlets online in order to find answers to my many questions about being a mom and caring for a tiny human.  I have really gotten sucked into the world of it all.  A few weeks ago my toddler actually asked me to put my phone away, she is 2.  That stung.  I deleted Facebook off my phone that day.  I still have it but it is much less accessible to go sit at my computer versus my phone that I can carry with me all over the house.  If you find yourself getting sucked in, my advice?  Delete it off your mobile device.  Easy peasy.
  What about social media is so intriguing and why do we think that those around us lead stress free completely mess proof lives?  While I don’t have a direct answer to that what is obvious is that no one is going to willfully air their dirty laundry.  Those who do choose to share the problems that might be present in their lives may be viewed as negative and/or whiny. I really think the way we go about most things is just a flaw in human nature.  We often fail to realize how we contradict ourselves.  I mostly share cute pictures of my kids, wish people happy birthday, share funny (sometimes sad) articles, and I’m not gonna lie… I creep on people. I’ve probably creeped on you and your profile.  Sorry!
  My point in all of this is don’t let someone else’s vision of perfection fool you or make you feel guilt in your own life.  My guess is 1. that is not their intention 2. they are just doing what we all do which is share the good and the happy, and 3.  they likely have just as many problems as you do and who knows, maybe they even look at your posts and wonder how they can be as happy as you! The amount of likes you get on a picture you post or status you make does not define you.  YOU define you, don’t let social media do it for you.  Be real and be honest and if someone doesn’t like its that’s fine.
Do you need a social media time out?  Take a minute and think about how  many times a day you send a tweet, check your facebook, post a picture to instagram, or how often you are sending snap chats.  If I added it all up I know I would cringe.  Put your phone down or close the computer.  I promise it will still be there in a few hours and you can catch up on it all after the kids go to bed or during nap time.  What will not remain the same is your kiddos, they are only little for so long so take the time to tickle those tiny toes a little longer, soak in the giggles, and just hug them as much as possible.
(Originally posted March 30th, 2017)


 I just want to start of by saying I am not a Minnesota native but have most certainly come to appreciate the beauty of this state, specifically lake country where we live. I am a North Dakota native however so just a friendly neighbor who made a few moves and ended up as close to home as we could manage. Our Minnesota story began in Duluth, MN and is also where our second daughter was born.  Our first was born in Mayfield Heights, Ohio (very close to Cleveland) so we like to keep things busy to say the least as we have seen three different cities in three years….why not right?  Moving is fun!
   Duluth is such a beautiful place and we were sad to leave the city itself but so happy to be closer to our family.  If you ever have an opportunity for a weekend getaway (so long that you live within driving distance) I highly recommend Duluth and what it has to offer.  In Duluth itself there is tons of great eating.  Our favorites were Va Bene which sits along the shore of Lake Superior, Tavern on the Hill by UMD, Blackwoods, and also Northern Waters Smokehaus.  You won’t have the full Duluth experience if you don’t go to the breweries in town.  There is Bent Paddle, Fitger’s and Canal Park Brewing Company and afterwards head for a walk down the shore of Lake Superior to look at the lighthouses and lift bridge.  If your feeling adventurous definitely go up the North Shore to Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse, both will provide you with some seriously beautiful scenery and photo ops!  Often, when we were looking for something relaxing to do we would just head up the north shore for a drive. There is plenty to do if you are visiting Duluth, the old Glensheen Mansion is pretty interesting to walk through as well as it has a lot of old and rich history.  (Am I sounding like an advertisement yet?)
   Now we reside in Lake Park, MN a very tiny town! We are pretty excited to be back in lakes country again.  We left in the summer of 2014 to head to Ohio for my husbands job training.  We were then placed in Duluth until December 2016, so with that being said, lake time for us has been hit and miss, especially since two of the three summers I was pregnant.  I am not keen on traveling (in terms of riding in the car and spending hours in airports) as it is so you can almost forget it when there’s a baby on the way.  I digress…back on track now.  So, this summer we are planning on getting as much lake time in as possible between Justin’s parent’s lake which is about a 40 minute drive from our house and also my grandma’s cabin near Bemidji, MN which is about an hour and a half from us.  SO MUCH CLOSER!
   A few other ideas I’ve had for myself are capturing some of Minnesota’s beauty on camera.  I will claim no photography skills but really I might just share some pretty sunsets (or sunrises with our youngest) we catch.  I have an old camera with one of those giant lenses somewhere I need to break out of a moving box.  I really would like to be more attentive towards using my camera and not relying on my phone so much to capture memories.  iPhones are great and all, and actually take pretty decent pictures, but there is just something nostalgic about using a camera and getting home to download all the excitement you just captured.  If you have any references for how to be an o.k. amateur photographer, please, send them my way.
(Originally posted March 2nd, 2017)


I make no promises on the fluidity of this one because kids are complete craziness.  I mean that in the most loving way possible.  First of all they are amazing and have opened me up to a love I did not know even existed.  It’s such a fierce and real love.   I really don’t even know where to begin…
  So you bring this tiny person home from the hospital and then what? I couldn’t even tell you what, even the second time I was unsure of what my days were going to entail. Days go by and your thinking “Ok where is the sleep? Sleep hasn’t happened yet… there is supposed to be sleep right?” No sorry.  No sleep for you (mom).  Welcome to motherhood!  You go into this thing worn out.  It gets better though, at least this is what I hear.  (Please don’t be scared, you somehow just figure it out and coffee will see you through the tough days, and really I mean all the days.)
  Currently I have an almost 2.5 year old who is one of the most stubborn and demanding people I have met to date. The milk must be in the purple sippy cup (but don’t get comfortable with the purple cup, in the next few minutes maybe you need a pink cup) because putting it in the blue one is a travesty, plain and simple. We actually cry over spilled milk in this household so forget the saying, consider it gone.  What else?  Car rides… now those are fun!  Just a few days ago I changed our youngests diaper in the parking lot of the gas station on the floor of our car.  Why in the parking lot you ask?  It was way easier bending in the most awkward way to change a poopy diaper than it was to haul two kids into a gas station bathroom.  Also, let me add, we had only left the house 3 minutes prior.  Just making some memories right?
  My days are far from glamorous but thats ok, I’ve come to appreciate it.  I clean up the same mess 2-5 times a day, or more depending on what it is.  Laundry never ends.  PLEASE could everyone just stop wearing clothes already???  Joking…. but seriously. Dishes are the same story.  I could go on but I think you probably get it, especially those who already are moms.
  There really is just so much to be said for becoming a mom (dads too), which is why I wanted a blog.  It’s a way to get it all out there and maybe it will give someone the relief to know they aren’t alone in trenches of motherhood/parenthood.  I have so many good stories to share, and not just about my kids and how cute they are (because come on they are adorable) but what I have learned so far on this journey and how much farther I have yet to go.  I think ‘mom’ stories just may consume the entirety of this blog but that is so my life right now and I embrace it.  It’s hard but I’m doing it!  I really could go on and on for pages about different aspects of life that have changed after having children, stories both funny and sad, and just some general (take it or leave it) advice so like I said plenty of writing material.
(Originally posted March 2nd, 2017)