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Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Mama's On Maternity Leave" Guest Post: Featuring CAMILLE


My name is Camille and I am one of the sisters who blogs at I am so excited to be here today . . . not only because I love Aleisha, but because that darling baby girl of hers is also my NIECE!
That's right . . . Mama Leisha and I are sisters!

Sometimes we tease that Aleisha is the 7th sister that we don't talk about . . . ha ha! But we are really just in-laws (I married Aleisha's cute brother).
Anyway, enough with the family tree talk . . .

Now that Aleisha has had her third child, I wanted to talk about my third child.

Bear with me because I am not an eloquent writer like Leish. I usually only post recipes, so getting up close and personal like this isn't the norm for me!

Introducing Taylor Joy:

This little sweetie just turned 1 year old. 
She is probably the most easy-going baby you will ever meet.
And she fits her name perfectly- she has brought so much joy into my life and into our family.

It's amazing how much a little person can rock your entire world . . .
And as hard as having kids is, it's also the greatest blessing in my life.

To be completely honest, Taylor is actually my fourth child.
About 2 years before she was born, I lost a baby girl a couple of months into my pregnancy.

The story behind that pregnancy was miraculous- I shouldn't have ever have gotten pregnant. We didn't want to be pregnant. We were doing everything we could to prevent pregnancy.

And yet, by some crazy miracle, it happened.

And I don't care who you are- the second you see that positive pregnancy test, that baby is yours and you are a mother.

Losing that baby just a couple months into the pregnancy was devastating.
Coming home from the hospital without a sweet baby swaddled in a blanket was one of the most low  and empty days in my entire life- there is no other way to describe it. It was heartbreaking.

The weeks and months that followed were pretty crazy. I had some complications with the miscarriage and blood loss and then they discovered a blood clot in my leg, along with diseased veins that wouldn't have been able to support me through my pregnancy. After two surgeries and lots of doctor appointments, they told me that I was in the clear to try again for a baby (even though they didn't recommend it . . . but who listens to doctors anyway?! Ha ha!).

Fast forward a year and a couple months and sweet baby Tay was part of our family . . . and life has been so crazy and hectic ever since!

However, everyday that I see her sweet smile or squeeze those chubby thighs, I am reminded of how precious she really is and how precious motherhood is. Every sleepless night is worth it. Every poopy diaper is just fine. Every spilled cup of milk or bookshelf that she has emptied is really not a big deal. 

My parenting style has changed a lot from my first child to my third- I have learned to not sweat the small stuff, but rather enjoy this crazy journey of motherhood and appreciate those hectic times and even be so grateful for the chaos! I have learned not to not care if my baby's outfit doesn't have a matching bow or cute shoes. Heck- Taylor is lucky if she has clean clothes on! :)

When Aleisha asked me to guest post on her blog, she said to share something that I have learned from being a mom. I have learned so many things, but lately, I have really been reflecting on how the joy in motherhood comes from little moments. There will be chaos and craziness, tears of frustration and times when you want to throw in the towel . . . and yet through all those hard times, there will be these little moments of joy and happiness. 
It's those little moments that make it all worth it.

So bring on the booger noses and the sibling fights;
bring on the mom jeans and the stretch marks.

Those little moments are what keep me going.
And I wouldn't trade them for anything!

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Giving Away A Mermaid!

I remember the first time I saw The Little Mermaid.  I loved it!  Ariel's flaming red hair, Ursula's smokey pipes, Scully's witty, "goofball" was such a delight to see in the theater!

I also remember the first time I watched The Little Mermaid with my darling, Lilly Mae.  She loved it as much as I did!  (Especially the music.)  For weeks after it had been returned to the library, I would catch her in the utensil drawer looking for forks!  She wanted to comb her hair all by herself, like a big girl.  Hilariously, after seeing The Little Mermaid, her pink Barbie brush wasn't going to work anymore!

If you would like to win, "THE LITTLE MERMAID Diamond Edition 2-Disc Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack with Digital Copy," enter the giveaway below!  I would love for you to win a copy to share with your family and loved ones.  Contest ends October 1st.  GOOD LUCK!

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*I received a copy of the movie in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.*

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Orange; The Color Of Happy

I crept to the small, glass window in the door
and peeked into the preschool's "orange room."
I spotted him on the rainbow-colored carpet--
jumping like oil in a hot skillet,
laughing, dancing to silly music with the other children,
waving an orange scarf above his head.
He looked happy.

I walked into the room and his brown eyes met mine.
His sweet, little boy feet,
clad in orange sneakers, carried him across the noisy distance,
across the span of my anxieties,
and straight into my outstretched arms.
He threw his arms around me,
and with lips stained orange, he widely grinned, looked up and said,
"Mommy!   I ate cheese puffs!"

"He did great today," the special education teacher said;
a radiant smile adorning her face.
"He did great today," the speech therapist said;
an element of certainty and love in her countenance.
"Ah, he did great today," I whispered to myself;
suddenly realizing my tender, mama's heart,
inside a body weary and weighted with pregnancy,

felt light, felt light, felt light.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Photo Leaves and 25 Shmacks!

I have a funny story to share!

As I was sitting at the kitchen table--working on the very project I'm sharing on The Wood Connection's blog today--Ms. Lilly walked in.  She saw my wooden leaves and my vinyl lettering that said, "Give Thanks," and asked, "What does that say?"

"Give thanks," I replied.

"What does that even mean?," she asked.

"It means you try to be thankful for the things in your life," I answered.

Lilly looked at me briefly and said, "Yea....I got nothin'."

Ha ha!  TOTAL.  MOM.  FAIL.  I know what I'll be doing this autumn/Thanksgiving season...teaching my seven-year-old about gratitude!  In the meantime, go get crafty and check out my tutorial at!  It's darling!

A big, "gratitude filled" THANK YOU to the Wood Connection for allowing me the opportunity to guest post!  They have generously donated a $25 gift certificate to be given to one lucky "Mama Leisha" reader.  (Who will "give thanks" upon winning!  Ha!)  To enter the giveaway:

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The drawing will close Saturday, September 21st.  The winner will be announced on Facebook and notified via email.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nesting, And NOT My Finest Moment

There is a fascinating phenomena that occurs during pregnancy that doctors refer to as nesting.  It is a primal instinct.  Even in the animal kingdom, all females are equipped with the same need to "prepare a nest for a new baby."  For human mamas-to-be, it is an uncontrollable urge to clean, cook, scrub, and organize their environments. 

Like psychos.  Like crazies off their rockers!  Like ticking, hormonal, pregnant time bombs, ready to explode into label makers and Clorox wipes at a moment's notice.  It.  Is.  Frightening.

Lovely Readers, I have been nesting.  Hard core.  I can't seem to stop myself from cleaning out closets.  I have cleaned out the hall closet, the linen closet, Cam's closet, the storage closet.  I have been buying Rubber Maid totes in bulk, in an effort to better store and organize the junk found in those closets.  I have made multiple trips to local thrift stores to drop off donated items, ie, random rubbish I have kept for years.  I've waddled up the street countless times--with Glad bags in tow--to pay a visit to my neighborhood dumpster.  And, I have laughed and laughed at all the "gems" I've found.

Like my thirteen-year-old postcard of Prince Charles' head.  (I believe the "gash" above his bushy brow is actually pizza sauce.)

And my "Miss Congeniality" trophy I won in 1998, when I competed in the Cache County Dairy Princess pageant.  (Yes, you read that right.  DairyPrincess.)

But the biggest award winners, the real humdingers, the "grand poobahs" of lost and forgotten treasures, have been...drum roll...the Christmas presents!

My brother, Jared, recently became the proud recipient of an Eddie Bauer ice scraper mitt...  THAT HAD BEEN PURCHASED, PACKAGED, AND LOVINGLY WRAPPED THREE YEARS AGO!  (I confess to being anxious about the down feathers in the mitt.  What if they had disintegrated over the years?  Grown mold?  Attracted bugs?)  We presented Jared with his very belated Christmas gift at Lil's seventh birthday party.  Last weekend.

My sweet in-laws were given their Christmas presents as well--holiday cheer that was intended for them LAST YEAR.  Slippers and a Home Depot gift card.  "Merry Christmas, Ma and Pa McD!"

I promise I am not a horrible person with abhorrent tendencies to hoard my loved ones' Christmas presents.  Just a space cadet who likes to stash things in closets and forget about them!  (Think Chevy Chase trapped in the attic, in the movie, "Christmas Vacation.")

Besides, maybe some good can come from nesting like a nut job.  Like a shared belly laugh with family!  Like Christmas in September!

Hmm.  I wonder what I'll find in Lilly's closet...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hiding Mamas

A couple of days ago, I put the following picture on Instagram:

With the caption, "This mama is tired and is hiding from her kids in her little blue bathroom!  Ha!  Is it bedtime yet?  Where do you hide?"

The comments I got to the question, "Where do you hide?," were so hilarious and fun that I had to share some of them with you.  (Side note:  I LOVE that when we start sharing--and sometimes commiserating--with one another, we find things in common.  We relate to one another.  We laugh and say, "I do that too," and it makes us feel a little better, a little lighter!)

Natalie:  I sneak chocolate chips in the pantry.
Ashley:  If I hide and they realize I'm out of the general area they start getting into trouble.
Staci:  I love Instagram.  I zone out and imagine I'm hanging out with everyone I see!  So, Mama Leisha, we are hanging out on your toilet!
Tausha:  So glad to know that I am not the only one who hides from my kids.  #thebestmomsaremomsthathide
Alliflwr:  In my car!  Went to CVS and spent a *little* extra time sitting in the parking lot while Daddy had kids!  Turn up the radio!  The kids always come knocking on the bathroom door.
Robyn:  The bathroom, the car, I sneak outside, I lock my bedroom door...
Katie:  Closet or bathroom!
Heidi:  Today I hid in the exact same spot as Natalie (*from comment above*), doing the exact same thing.
Michelle:  I used to hide in the bathroom too, and they would send notes under the door.

Mamas need a break sometimes!  They need five minutes of peace.  They need timeouts too!  And I am here to tell you that it is okay!  You do what you have to do to take care of YOU, in order to be the best mama you can be.  If that means taking a few minutes to hide in the pantry and eat chocolate chips, FANTASTIC!  I say, "Do it, sister!"

I recall a funny quote I read about this very thing.  Unfortunately, it was "said," or written by, "Anonymous."  It went like this, "I love to play hide and seek with my kid, but some days my goal is to find a hiding place where he can't find me until after high school."  (HA HA!)

So tell me...
Where do YOU like to hide?  Where will you hide today?!