The Joys of Potty Training

Dear Friend,

I heard that you are thinking about starting the potty training process with your dear little angel.  The one who is so smart and seems to pick up on things so quickly.  The child who has a mind of their own and is so creative with it.

I want to help prepare you for the days, weeks, months, possibly years (I haven’t made it that far yet) that are ahead of you.  There are so many joyful things that come along with potty training that you just wouldn’t have expected.  I mean, you already know that in the beginning there will be a few accidents, but oh sweet friend… you don’t really even know.

5 Joys You Can Expect from Potty Training Your Smart/Stubborn/Creative/Willful Child

  1. After the initial accidents on the floor, that occur simply because going on the potty is a brand new concept, your child will CHOOSE to pee on the floor.  Even if they have been successfully using the potty for months without issue, even outside of the house.  They will discover that they do, in fact, have free will.  And they will use this free will to pee everywhere.  On the rugs that are now so disgusting you must now throw them away (you know, the ones you carefully saved for and picked out pre-kids when the thought that one day someone would pee on them never occured to you).  On the floor.  On the couch (that you will ultimately just want to burn because there is no saving that thing…. if you ever come to my house, don’t sit on the beige couch.)  IN THE BATHROOM NEXT TO THE TOILET, BUT ON THE BATHROOM RUGS!!!  Seriously, it’s not an accident at this point, it’s totally behavior.
  2. Your house will smell like PEE.  EVERYWHERE.  You will clean and throw away and disinfect and somehow there will still be a lingering pee scent that you just can’t get rid of.  It’s everywhere.  It’s in the walls.  It may be on the curtains… maybe I should get new curtains.
  3. You will live a significant amount of time without anything cloth in your house that is unable to go directly in the washing machine.  Reasons for this have been mentioned above.  Don’t buy that new rug until that kid is at least 18… maybe even until they are finished with college… your call.
  4. YOU will smell like PEE.  I’m not sure how this happens.  But I’m sure it’s true.  I pull clean clothes straight from the dryer and get to work and I CAN STILL SMELL PEEE.  Gross.  Double gross.  Seriously, probably the worst smell known to man.  And woman.  And dog… probably worse for dogs… or maybe better?  Oh gosh, I have no idea.
  5. Those people on the internet who potty train in 3 days and then they are done are either liars or magicians.  Or their kids are ridiculously not strong-willed and stubborn.  Do those kids exhist?  Can I put in an order for one of those please?
  6. Okay, so I forgot one.  Your child will use this new “potty training” thing you want them to do as leverage.  Bedtime will no longer be a simple routine of bath, teeth, song, story, bed.  Nope.  It’s potty, bath, potty, teeth, potty, song, potty, story, potty, bed, potty, bed, potty, bed, potty, potty, potty, a song about “I’M GOING POTTY!!” … and really only about one of these “potty” times is actually a real instance of doing something on the potty.  Your child knows this.  They will use potty as a reason to not go to bed.  And if you don’t go up and put them on that potty for a significant amount of time until they declare themselves finished, you will have to go back up two minutes later because. they. pooped.

So my suggestion is that instead of potty training we just introduce a new generation of adults who do not know how to use a toilet.  So much simpler.  Think of how much easier long car trips will be….



I don’t have all it takes, I don’t even have 1%

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Last night I was restlessly settling down to go to sleep.  So many things had happened during the day, nothing huge or life changing, but my head was aching from the weight of it all.  I told my husband that there were just so many things going on that I felt I was in a constant state of “flustered”.  It’s not a good feeling.

How do people do it?  How do women work full time, come home and have meaningful time with their babies, maintain their marriage, keep their home organized, shower, build their relationship with God, keep friendships, AND make 2-3 pots of coffee a day?!?  I’m at a complete loss.

So, while I was trying to make my brain turn off, something I had heard the day before kept coming back to me.  1% of your day is only 15 minutes.  What could you do for 15 minutes that could make your day better?

Well, considering the fact that since the move to our new house I found my bible under our bed, I thought that perhaps 15 minutes spent with God would really  make a difference each day (I know, ground breaking idea!)

BUT I DON’T HAVE 15 MINUTES!  From the moment I wake up I’m taking care of children, mine or other people’s.  I told God this, because that seemed the most reasonable thing to do.  “Lord, you’re gonna have to create the time for me, I will commit to spending that time with you, but you’re gonna have to create the time.”

Now I know that doing this was probably not the most respectful or reverent way to address the Creator of the UNIVERSE.  But let me tell you what happened next…

I fell asleep.

When I woke up, it was from an alarm clock and not my children.  I got dressed for work, made coffee.  AND MY CHILDREN WERE STILL SLEEPING.  Well okay, God, I’m thinking this is the time you’ve created!

I’m not sure what lesson there is to be learned here, or really how to end this post.  But my goodness, my God is GOOD.

As he says in Hosea:“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” and,“In the very place where it was said to them,‘You are not my people,’there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ ” 

Romans 9: 25-26

If I Only Had a Brain

Image result for wizard of oz scarecrow clipart

“Remember before when I was kinda stupid?  Well, now I’m worser.”  –An excerpt from a real live conversation I had with a friend tonight.

Friends, let me tell you, adulting is hard.  And it requires a lot of brain cells.  And I appear to be lacking a whole lot of them.  I’m not sure if it’s residual ‘mom-brain’, lack of sleep, ridiculous stress, too much coffee (never!), or eating any and all the carbs I see (or smell… I went on a sniffing search today when I smelled chocolate in the hallway and decided I had to find out where it was coming from… but I digress).

Anyway, whatever the cause may be, there is clearly a decrease in brain activity happening over here.  I present you with the data:

  1. I said “worser”.  … Anyone who knows me knows that I get a bit snotty about well grammer and speaking proper.
  2. Yesterday I parked my car at work.  Or so I thought.  I went to get out and the door wouldn’t open.  AND THEN THE CAR STARTED MOVING BACKWARDS!!  I hadn’t actually parked my car.  I moved the gears, took out the key, and STARTED DRIFTING.  The car was in reverse.  I had to restart it and put it back in drive and repark (or park for the first time).  There was an audience.  It was a good moment.
  3. I stood in the lunch line with my students this week and for the life of me couldn’t remember what we were going to be learning about after lunch.  I had the lessons all done, copies made and ready to go.  But I couldn’t remember at all.  It took me 10 minutes.
  4. The English language has become very difficult for me to understand.  If you see me with a confunded (Harry Potter reference!) look on my face, and then watch me blabber on about something that has nothing to do with what you said, I probably had no idea what you said but didn’t realize it.
  5. It’s also become hard for me to speach (I’m leaving this typo, because apparently it’s become difficult to type as well).  A lot of my “intelligent” conversations that really matter have begun to come out in worser stupid.

I can’t be alone in this!  Anyone else adulting with less brain power than you started with?  I want to hear your stories too!

See Barb. See food. See Barb eat food.

Dear World,

I am here today to re-introduce you to a lifestyle/diet that you may have forgotten about.  There all all of these lifestyle changes and diets going around that make promises for you to lose weight and feel great.

Well, let me remind you of a diet that will not fail to keep its promises.  It will do exactly what you would expect.  And I’m sharing this with you based on personal experience.  I have recently re-adopted this lifestyle and the results have been exponential.  No meal prep at all and probably the least expensive lifestyle out there.  Here are the steps I follow for the classic “See-Food” diet.

  1. Begin a stressful season in life.
  2. Eat a brownie because someone brought them to you and it’d be rude not to eat one.
  3. Eat the whole batch.
  4. Make your own batch of brownies.
  5. Eat the whole batch.
  6. Become obsessed with eating.
  7. Be stressed, bored, busy, anxious, overwhelmed, tired, energized, whatever emotion there is basically.
  8. Feed that emotion.
  9. Eat all the food.
  10. See food?  EAT IT!

I can absolutely promise you that with this diet you will get 100% results!  Will they be desired results?  No.  Will they be attractive?  No.  Will your face break out and your stomach be bloated?  YES. Guaranteed.  Will you start craving sugar like it’s going out of style?  Absolutely.

So… no diet advertisement is complete without a before and after…. you’re welcome :).



Grace and R.B. Face

I feel a poem coming on

There must be something seriously wrong.

I don’t normally write in rhyme

I don’t normally have the time

So all you working mommas out there,

Come take a seat with Mrs. Fehr.

Please remember, criss-cross applesauce,

Oh, and that deadline from your boss.

The kids come first, paperwork is due,

Today was not the day to wear new shoe (s).

“Mommy I want to hold you”

That’s the only thing I want to do,

But the dishes are overflowing,

Your dad’s out mowing,

The baby is screeching

Your little arms are reaching.

It’s 12am

Finally some peace and quiet again.

Time to get that paperwork done

So maybe tomorrow you can have some fun.

This poem was supposed to be funny

Let’s definitely not talk about money.

Sometimes poems take a life of their own

just like those kids that one day will be grown.

It’s okay to not be perfect, it’s okay to let a few things slide

A pan a brownies doesn’t really show up on your thighs.

So go brew the coffee

Maybe eat a toffee,

And give yourself some grace

Otherwise you might end up with Resting B**** Face :0 !


I Don’t See You


Dear mom whose child is sitting in the middle of the cart return at Kroger, screaming because he can see the carts that have cars attached and you horrible villain want him to sit in the regular cart…. I don’t see you.

Dear mom who is hiding in her kitchen eating an entire batch of cookies that you hid in the freezer so you wouldn’t eat them…. I don’t see you.

Dear mom whose face is covered in “boo-boos” because you fell asleep last night next to the nursing baby without remembering to wash your face…. I kinda don’t want to see you.

Dear mom… those “boo-boos” might also be caused by eating all of those cookies…. just sayin.

Dear mom who went out in public wearing the same leggings and t-shirt you’ve worn for the past 3 days, and you’ve attempted to cover the “dirty laundry” smell with Victoria’s Secret Dream Angels Heavenly (that you may have gotten in high school 12+ years ago and you still haven’t used up the bottle yet… maybe it’s time to start smelling like a grown-up?)… I don’t see you… I might smell you though.

Dear mom who is frantically trying to find just a few minutes in between meetings to pump for your baby… and is now sitting on top of a toilet seat meant for a 5-year-old holding onto the pump hoping nothing spills on your work clothes… I promise I don’t see you (cause that would be creepy).

Dear mom who had to go out and buy mascara full of chemicals because you can’t be in work with it dripping down your face from crying sessions so you had to go out and buy the waterproof kind… When I look in the mirror, I see you.

I don’t see you all the time because I AM YOU, and sometimes I just don’t want to see myself.  BUT I want you to know that we are in this together!  You are not alone in all of the crazy you do every day just to survive.  I’m there too!


“You are my refuge and my shield.  I have put my hope in Your Word.” Psalm 119:114


Dear Mom, Love Toddler

Dear Mom,

GOOOOD MORRRNNNING!!  Oh, btw, I hate mornings now.  And it’s all your fault so I’m going to be spending the first 20 minutes of the day screaming at you.

Now feed me.  I’d like a banana this morning.  ALL DONE BANANA!  How dare you give me a banana?!  I clearly did not want that.  You must not love me.

I want milk please.  See how kind I was and said please?  Oh wait, this is the wrong cup, I wanted it in the blue cup!  The only way to express my displeasure in this is to throw the cup across the room, splurting milk everywhere as it goes.

You look tired this morning.  I’ll help you make your coffee!!  I’ll push the button!  I know your back hurts, but if you could please lift me to the counter so that I can press the button you already pressed to make the coffee start even though it’s already going.  Yay!!

I want to go potty. … oh wait, you thought when I said that I wanted to go in the actual potty.  Oh no, sweet mom.  I want to sit on the potty and play with the toilet paper and flush handle for 20 minutes, and then poop in my diaper.

So I know you said that because the baby is sleeping we should be quiet, but I had a better idea.  I woke up the baby!!  Now he’s crying hysterically because he wasn’t ready to be awake, BUT we can be as loud as we want!  Isn’t it great!  …. You might want to go take care of him, he seems mad.

Time to go out!!  I want to wear my batman shoes.  And ONLY my batman shoes.  You’ll have to find them or we can’t go anywhere.  BTW, I hid them.

I’m almost ready to get in the car, but I need to find all my buddies first.  Mickey, Second Mickey, Olaf, Sven, Big Bert, My Sock, Tonka Truck, Moose, Your Hair Brush.  What do you mean I can only bring one?!  Fine… I’ll bring Teddy Bear…. but I have to find him first.

Okay, now I’m ready!  Wait… you mean we have to get in the car?!  Well, I’m only do that if you let me drive.  I WANNA DRIIVVEE.  Since you value my safety above my wants, I’m going to make putting me in the car seat a full cardio workout for you today.  You’ve been looking a little squishy lately anyway.  You’re welcome.

Oh hey, Daddy’s home!!  I’m going to go take a 3 hour nap now, at the same exact time as my brother, without any argument.

Love you lots!

Your Toddler.

Dear Mom

Day (and Night) In the Life… Of a Really Tired Mama

11pm:  Because let’s be real, at this point in life I’m not really sure where one day ends and another begins.  So let’s start with the hour after I fall asleep that baby wakes up and is hungry again… after eating just two hours ago.

12:30am:  Okay, tonight’s the night.  He’s going to sleep in his own “bed” all night.  I’m not going to fall asleep while feeding him and end up letting him sleep in the bed with me.  *Feed baby* *put baby down in rockn’play* *attempt to go back to sleep*

1:15am: Screw this, bring the kid into bed with me while feeding him.  Attempt to get comfortable.  Sort-of fall asleep.

3:30am: Totally not fair that husband doesn’t have necessary equipment to feed the baby.  Get baby back to eating (because he’s hungry AGAIN! … anyone still wondering why I have a 16lb 3 month old?).  Pull blanket off of husband just because I can.

5:30am: Maybe I should just make this time the official wake-up of the day.  Who am I kidding?  Feed baby, lightly fall back to sleep.

7am: Feed the baby… again… decide it really is time to start the day.  Baby decides to go back to sleep… sleeps for 2 hours (because of course he does).  I go down to make coffee and write about my life on the blog for the world to see.

7:10am: Toddler wakes up.  Of course.  Feed toddler, feed dog, finish making coffee

9:30am: Maybe we should go out for the day?  Oh goodness, the baby needs to eat again and the toddler just poured the dog’s water bowl all over his toy bin.  Oh, what’s that?  His milk from this morning wasn’t actually consumed but instead dumped on the rug?  Ants are starting to colonize…

10am: GET OUT OF THE HOUSE NOW!  Barnes and Nobel is open… off to coffee and trains (maybe invite a friend so we can count this as a ‘play date’)

12pm: Home for lunch.  Convince toddler that he doesn’t really want a mayonaise, italian dressing, lime juice, pb, and j sandwich.  Just pb and j.  And blueberries?  Okay fine, goldfish, but I’m putting the blueberries on the plate!  Watch episodes of WhatsUpMoms on youtube during lunch.  Toddler likes to say “hi guys!” with them.  Feed baby while toddler eats.  Maybe down another cup of coffee and eat remnants of Toddler’s lunch.

12:30pm:  NAPTIME!!  Try to get toddler to sleep in his toddler bed.  Give him water, pacifiers, sing a song, pray, get books, get stuffed animals (Olaf, Mickey, Other Mickey, Sven, Teddy Bear, Big Bert).  Go back and forth for an hour because he won’t stay in bed.

1:30pm: Give up on the toddler bed, this kid just HAS to sleep.  Move him to the crib.  He sleeps blissfully for the next 2.5 hours.

1:45pm:  Start getting the coffee jitters from too much coffee and not enough real food.  Eat a granola bar and … oh yeah, I’m supposed to drink water instead of coffee… drink a glass of water (or half of one at least).

2pm: Feed the baby, try to convince him that he would like a nap as well.  End up falling asleep next to the baby while feeding him.

3:30pm:  Toddler is awake! … and unhappy about that.  Walk into his room, yup he definitely pooped.  Clean him up, spray fabreeze.  Baby wants to be awake now, but toddler wants me to carry him downstairs… go get baby.  Carefully carry them both down the stairs and think about how dangerous this is and what would happen if I fell.  Snack time, play outside, more coffee… I mean water.

4pm:  Husband gets off work but isn’t home yet… start counting down the minutes.

4:15pm:  Husband gets home.  He asks what I have planned for dinner.  Oh crap, you mean you want dinner EVERY night of the week?  Pancakes it is! (with coffee…)

4:30-5:30pm: Family time… ie laundry and kitchen cleaning time while Husband watches the boys…. except that the baby will probably want to eat halfway through this.  TV time.

5:30pm:  Fight with the toddler about dinner.  Pancakes were his favorite food last week, so of course they are the equivalent of brussel sprouts today.  Attempt an adult conversation during dinner.

6:30pm: Bath time for the boys!  This part is fun 😀

7pm: BED TIME FOR THE TODDDLER!!!!  Husband puts him down, so of course there is no argument about sleeping in his toddler bed.  Feed the baby, watch tv with husband.

8pm-10ish:  On and off feed the baby, hoping that eventually he will fall asleep.  Put lavender in the diffuser in hopes that he might sleep tonight.

10pmish: Baby falls asleep in his rock-n-play.  Tonight’s the night!  Go to sleep with hopes of not waking up until after 3am!….

11:30pm:  First feeding of the night.

I'm smiling because you think I'm going to sleepfor several hours.... and I'm going to wake up in 5 minutes!



Unintentional is not Excusable

I’m white.

I grew up in a white family… white  culture.

Most of my friends growing up and now are white.

My husband is white.

I went to and go to a predominately white church.

I am telling you all this so that you understand my perspective.  I am absolutely not racist, or so I thought.  I have come to realize, unfortunately, my gut instincts and reactions are.

This week I was driving around a neighborhood I’m not familiar with.  This isn’t all that out of the ordinary, as I’m still adjusting to a new city.  My husband was helping some friends move into their new house, and I had two screaming children in the back seat who wanted to go home… and so we drove around the neighborhood for 30 minutes.  While driving I thought about how impressive it was that these friends were moving into such a rough neighborhood.  A place I had been told was not a safe place to live with kids.  I did not see a white person during my drive.  But what I did see were families sitting on front porches and kids playing basketball at a community center.  Obviously SO DANGEROUS (please read that as sarcasm).

While circling the neighborhood I chatted with my friend to help pass the time.  We talked about everyday things, and then our conversation turned to the events of last week.  Many of our friends had posted on Facebook or other outlets to express their own thoughts, and she asked me if I felt the need to post something as well.  Here is (another instance) where my ignorance came into play.  I told her no, I didn’t think I had anything to say and didn’t want to post just for the sake of posting (which I think is still a good idea… if you don’t have anything to say, then don’t.)  I praised the posts of friends who are cops, in career ministry, and African American, feeling that their posts meant more because they are a part of the community the events have effected.  Clearly, as I am not in those groups, I am not really effected and therefore should stay quiet.  It’s not good to get involved with political matters anyway….

And then this week, God smacked me in the face.  This isn’t politics.  This is HUMANITY.  Everyone is responsible.  I’m not saying everyone needs to write a blog post or express their views on social media, but we are all responsible to help make a change.  God showed me how my gut instincts (rough neighborhood solely because of the skin color of those who live there?!) (it’s not my battle?!) create an “us” and “them” idea in my head that I didn’t really think existed.  It allowed me to view myself as better.  My gut instincts were racist, and even though I didn’t intend it… THAT’S NOT OKAY.  It’s inexcusable.  So my job now is to apologize for my stupidity, ask God to make a change in me, and get to work on helping to change our country.

So to apologize, I am sorry for ever believing that I was better than anyone else.  I am sorry for stereotyping.  I am sorry for excusing inaction with the thought that “this just isn’t my fight.”  I am sorry for ever thinking that the hashtag #alllivesmatter was an appropriate response to this horrible situation (this article from Relevant Magazine expresses so well why we need to stop using it.  Please go read it.)

As far as getting to work to help change, I have two little boys who will one day be white men.  I don’t want their gut reactions to be like mine were.  I want them to be able to celebrate differences and use their white, male privilege to advocate for the marginalized.  To not take advantage of, or ever for one moment believe they are entitled to feel superior to, anyone else.  I need to instill this in them.  I need to teach them and raise them in this way, and pray that God works in them to firmly plant this in their hearts.  (Another good article here about talking with our children)

And I need to get my own brain and heart in check.  I need to allow myself to be more understanding of the perspectives of others.  I need to begin to really love others, because that is all I am called by Christ to do: love others.

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Survival Kit: Motherhood Edition

This morning, at 12:30 am, my almost-3-month-old decided the best birthday gift he could give me would be waking up to eat just as I had FINALLY turned my brain off and fallen asleep.  He continued to give this amazing gift every hour and a half throughout the night… ya know, just in case I forgot what my reason for living was (obvi it’s to take care of him every single hour of every single day 😉 ).

My toddler continued the theme this morning at 8:30 am by throwing the worlds biggest temper tantrum.  He asked for milk.  I pulled the cup down from the cabinet to give him milk.  He considered this a heinous crime against humanity.

Whether you are a mom who works in or out of your home, we all have this in common:  we struggle some days just to survive.  I don’t mean that we are in danger or death each and every day (although, sometimes with the lack of sleep it may seem that way 😉 ).  But we all have our moments, our breaking points, and maybe even those times when we can’t remember who we are outside of being a mom.  This list is for you mamas!  Let’s lift our cold mugs of stale coffee together and toast to survival!

  • Friends.  I’m not talking about the TV show here (although I’m pretty sure that could be considered an essential as well 😉 ).  We were never meant to live in isolation, but for some reason motherhood can become very isolating.  Find a group of women in your age range, at least some of them should be moms too, and check in with them regularly.  Have a play date, let your other parent  watch the kiddos and go grab coffee, join a bible study.  Whatever your group looks like, finding one is so important.  You need a chance to talk with other grown-ups and feel like an adult again.  To talk about your mom struggles and feel understood (because, let’s face it, dads are not always the best at understanding our mama struggles).
  • Caffeine.  Whether you drink coffee, eat espresso beans, down a 5 hour energy, add an IV of caffeine straight to your system, or add some fizz to your afternoon… this is an ESSENTIAL.  Being up all night with babies, or convincing toddlers to GO TO SLEEP is exhausting.  And then actually doing human-like activities during the day and expected to be a coherent and intelligent being… caffeine is the best way to “fake-it-till-ya-make-it”… and by make it I mean make it to bed finally.
  • Grace.  I’m sure you know by now, but you aren’t perfect.  There are days when you are going to yell, maybe say your favorite swear word more than once, and just overall won’t be the most pleasant person to share a room with.  We have ALL been there and will be there again.  Don’t beat yourself up when these days happen.  Learn from them and move on.  But also, remember that your kids are going to have these days too.  Give them some grace, just like you are given grace every day.  How will they ever understand the Father’s grace and love unless you show it to them first (in your own broken way of course.)
  • Alone Time.  Several times in my life I have been asked what my hobby is.  I never know what to say because “sleep” doesn’t really seem to be the answer they are looking for.  But being home this past year I have begun to understand the importance of having something just for me that I enjoy doing without anyone else.  A place to express myself and let all of the stressful things of the day fall away for a bit.  For me, this is blogging or reading (and on a VERY rare occasion, crafting… but it’s very rare and usually turns out that I’ve wasted money and materials on something that can never be displayed because people might go blind if they saw it.)  If you don’t have something already, find something that you enjoy that you can do to invest in yourself.  It might be painting, writing, crafting, decorating, baking, cooking, anything!  And you don’t have to be an expert at it, just do it!  (Although, if you choose baking or cooking it may be important, for the sake of those around you, if you are some-what skilled.)
  • Goldfish.  No matter what age your child is, these lovely fish-shaped crackers are wonderful little bites of salty heaven that create instant happiness as well as a built in edible toy to keep your child out of your hair for possibly 5 minutes (or more, depending on how quickly they consume these delicious bits of cheesy water-dwellers).  You may even get the chance to use the bathroom by yourself!  I do caution you though, bringing these to any body of water (lake, beach, etc..) will most likely end with your toddler wanting to release the fishies to their natural habitat… before catching them again and eating them soggy.

Being a mother is really awesome, really it truly is.  But when it comes down to the day-to-day and we are bombarded with the stresses of being a grown-up, occasionally it comes down to survival.  We can survive a bit better if we carve out some time to be ourselves and not have our identity completely founded in our children.  Maybe we can do even more than survive?

As a current stay at home mom who is making the transition back to working outside the home in just a month, I would LOVE to hear your advice and tips on how to survive the coming season.  Let me know in the comments, or share how I can help encourage you through whatever season you are walking through right now :).Some days survival is all about eating cookies for breakfast.