Lilly Belle Market

Almost two years ago TO THE DAY, Rhonda ordered her first order of Lilly Belle Market bows on Etsy.  They were purchased partly for Claudia, with some of them being given to Ashley at Sophie’s baby shower.  We have been in love since and the obsession is real.  We are so happy to announce that we will be representing Lilly Belle Market this fall, along with some other amazing ladies and their gals.

Glitter, felt, sequins, leather, and more – LBM seriously has what your little one needs for her wardrobe!

Be sure to follow the Instagram page for Lilly Belle Market and like them on Facebook.  You’re going to love the bows and headbands and the cute clothing items!

 

 

5 Things We Learned on our Journey to Pre-K

Happy Monday! Ashley here to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming. We’re postponing our Week In Review Posts until tomorrow since today is a pretty momentous day in my household. Today is Cooper’s first official day of Pre-K. If you follow our snapchat (RAtheMOMachine) or have watched our Wine Wednesday Live Videos on our Facebook page (Rage Against The Momachine), then you have a little preview of what the journey to Pre-K has looked like for Coop – but I thought he deserved a little post of me droning on about how the time as flown … and of course a little insight into the things we had to learn along the way.

As I said today is Cooper’s first day of PreK. He’s been going to daycare/school since mid June. Half days. Today starts the real deal though. He’ll be there until I get off work at five to come pick him up. He’ll be there for naps. He’ll be there everyday learning all the necessary intellectual and practical skills that he will need to enter kindergarten. And he’s definitely not happy about it. Me? I’m pretty emotional myself.

I know moms say this all. the. time. BUT I swear when I look at him and see the little boy that he’s becoming…I cannot believe how quickly it’s all gone by. He’s the little boy I always wanted. He frustrates and tests me on a daily basis. He also makes my heart melt with those piercing eyes and the unexpected ways he can be incredibly sweet and considerate. A day does not go by that he doesn’t say to me, “Hey Mommy…know what? I love you.” So no matter how hard I try to be tough – when I’ve had to leave him (for countless mornings now) screaming for me to come back as I walk out the door of his daycare – my heart breaks. Our journey has not really been pretty. We were not prepared…I did not prepare my son like I should have. Poor guy. We can just add this to the many notches of first child problems. So what did we learn? What did we have to learn?

Prior to starting daycare/school this past June – Cooper was always watched by family. He’s spoiled. But hell. So was I and I went to daycare. The bottom line is that I was not prepared for the amount of independence he’d have to have at daycare. He sure as hell wasn’t prepared. So, I thought I’d share for all you parents out there who may have older children entering school who were previously cared for by relatives on a one on one basis the things that we had to learn. Cooper was potty trained…I thought that was enough…not so. Not so at all.

  1. We had to give up the sippy cup. Ok. Truth be told we haven’t completely gotten rid of it… BUT we did go hard core for several weeks until he mastered the regular cup. They use regular cups at school. Who knew? I should have…I just honestly didn’t think about it. To say he was devastated that he couldn’t use his sippy cup is an understatement. We survived though, and he’s pretty dang proud that he can drink out of a regular cup. 😉
  2. He had to learn how to completely undress and dress himself. People, we were NOWHERE near this skill. He could pull up his own underwear and pants…but I still did everything else for him. Why? I don’t know. I just didn’t think about it. I got him and Sophie dressed every single day. This was a major struggle and source of stress for Coop. He absolutely dreaded Wednesday water days at school which is so incredibly sad because that little boy loves being outside and he loves the water. But he had to undress himself and dress himself after the water festivities were finished. He didn’t know how to. No one told me when I registered him that he’d have to do this. I sent my baby in there with no clue. Most days he wouldn’t even get in the water because he said he wanted to stay perfect so he would be ready for pick up. Perfect as in his clothes wouldn’t be wet and wouldn’t need to be changed. Are you tearing up over there? Because I am. I can just picture him standing there watching everyone else playing..knowing that he wants to join in but won’t for fear of having to change his clothes. When water day officially ended….BOTH of us were so happy. The thing is he still dreads playing outside at school. I think it’s because he doesn’t quite trust that they won’t make him change clothes for some reason.
  3. This one is all me. I didn’t get pick up and drop off times in writing. This was such a source of annoyance and frustration for me. They let me drop him off at 7:30 for an entire month before the director called me to tell me that I was dropping him off too early. I was hot. I didn’t like the way she spoke to me and insinuated that I was knowingly bringing him early. I wasn’t. I was told that 7:30 was half day drop off. It wasn’t. 7:45 was. Maybe 15 minutes doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I have to be at work at eight. And when I registered him, one of the appeals was the 7:30 drop off time. I was also told the incorrect time for pick up. A later time. So. Lesson learned? Just get everything in writing.
  4. Nothing could prepare me for that first day of leaving him in the care of total strangers for the first time ever. He was totally fine that first week. He was excited and basically didn’t give me a second glance as he walked away to join the other kids. Me? Well that first day I got back to my car and couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe and it took every bit of self control to not turn around to retrieve him. I thought to myself..”Are you literally crazy? You don’t know those people. Not really.” I’d said I would wait to call and check in on him until 10. I made it to nine. He was fine. I lived. But I can still vividly feel that feeling when I think of that day.
  5. Absolutely NOTHING could prepare me for the horrific feeling of having to leave my screaming child in the care of people who are not family as I walked out the door. The first time it happened I stayed with him for 20 minutes. I couldn’t calm him down, and I had to get to work. So one of the teachers distracted him while I slipped out of the room. Then I broke down. While still in the daycare. In front of another teacher and parent. They called me about ten minutes after I left to let me know he was fine. It’s heart wrenching…but we make it through. I say make – because that hasn’t ended. He screamed every single morning last week.

Watching your babies grow up is a beautiful thing. It makes me so happy and is one of my most favorite parts of being  a parent. Being there first hand to watch their little minds grow. To witness the development of their personalities, character, and traits. I treasure this front row seat. I am so lucky to have my babies. I am so privileged to have a role in their lives. To be their mom. But god. Putting my four year old in daycare has been one of the hardest things we’ve done. I’d have asked a shit ton more questions. I’d have waited a couple weeks and prepared Cooper for some of the things he needed to know how to do. I’d have tried to prepare myself. But we can’t go back. All I can do is share my experience…and well. Hope that the crying at drop off stops soon.

 

Week In Review: Rhonda

Fuck, y’all….like fuuuuuuuck.  It has been a hell of a week.  You’ll see.

Monday was another day of my usual – working my ass of during the day and working while sipping adult beverages at night.  It was National Tequila Day, so I celebrated accordingly.

Tuesday, I finally met in person a friend of mine from a healthy eating group.  His granddaughter was in town and curious about LipSense and I met up with her and demoed some products.  He cooked us an amazing meal of unstuffed cabbage rolls and though I had a migraine, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there before I went home to lie down.

Wednesday, though.  For fuck’s sake.  I always liked Wednesdays.  Then this.  I woke with a start at about 7:10, which is earlier than I typically get up when the kids are home.  I was foggy and not sure of what was going on around me, but I could hear SOMETHING that just didn’t sound right.  It suddenly occurred to me that it was the sound of water…and I was alone in the apartment.  I looked around and saw water in the bathroom and at first, couldn’t tell WHERE or HOW.  I leapt up and ran and then screamed…and shrieked…cursed…and flipped the FUCK OUT.  Because everywhere, there was water.  Turns out a pipe had burst behind the cabinet.  I tried to cut off the sink water, but of course the break was on the other side of the wall.   I ran around throwing towels about with one hand and texting and calling Stuart with the other.  He came home as quickly as he could after calling the apartment complex emergency maintenance line.  Within an hour there was 2 inches of downstairs because water had begun to pour through the ceiling.  Half our bedroom carpet was sopping wet.  I had run downstairs when I realized I heard water there and screamed like something out of a movie when I saw that Elizabeth, my beautiful golden best friend (MacBook), was on the kitchen table, directly underneath the water pouring through the ceiling.  Stuart and I spend all day picking shit up off the floor, moving furniture out of the house for the workers to come handle shit, and moving furniture back.  We took the Macbook to Best Buy, who recommended we put it in rice.  Um, ok, cool.  Then we gave up on life and went on a spontaneous date to Buffalo Wild Wings.  What a fucking mess.

Thursday I took care of some errands and treated myself to some coffee, then came home to work some more and cook dinner.

I decided that after the week I had, some pool time was certainly warranted.  I spent a lot of time over there, soaking up the rays and the hot ass weather.

Saturday, we went to look at some houses with our agent and we absolutely fell in DEEP love with one in particular.  It was such a nice time planning for the future with my guy.  We invited Stuart’s coworker over for grilling and we had such a great time sipping on drinks (SOME of us got drunk) and enjoying some good eats.

Sunday, we went to get the kids after two weeks of them away.  It made for a long day, as we made some stops on the way home.  It was lovely to have them back though!  It’s never dull around here.

 

 

Three Things I Said as a Non Parent….

Hey guys! Is it really only Tuesday?? I surely cannot believe that sad truth. 😉 Alright, so what are we talking about today? Well I was just thinking today about somethings that I used to always say as a non parent in reference to how I would parent…in the future. It’s pretty laughable the way I envisioned that things would go down. I had no clue. And poor Coop. He’s got that first child luck of getting to be right there with me as I learn to parent. He’s pretty amazing though…me? Well I try. Anyway, here’s three things I said I’d do as parent that didn’t really work out the way I planned..

  1. My Child will NEVER sleep in my bed.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I said this because I was afraid of the harm that may come to my child from co-sleeping. Not the case my friends. Don’t get me wrong…of course my children’s safety is always always my utmost concern. I’ve never been concerned with the safety issues that people rave on and on about concerning co-sleeping. I know myself. I know my sleeping habits. I know that as soon as I became a mother I became an incredibly light sleeper. I mean – I had no clue as a non parent that that last part would happen BUT anyway..my main concern with co-sleeping was that I did not want my children in my precious sleeping space. I knew they’d disrupt my comfort level. Is that selfish? Yeah. But that’s ok. I was prepared to be a hard ass and fucking savage and be able to make my children sleep on their own. In their own beds. Forever and always. ….. Wellllll, that didn’t happen. The truth is my first-born was (well is) a horrible sleeper. So I got sleep anyway that I could. We slept in the bed together. We slept in the recliner together. I’ve slept in his bed with him. You name it. We slept together in it. Listen. I am a sleep junkie…especially as a new mother. Ok. As a mother and person in general. So I get it how I can, and if that means my child is sleeping with me? That’s cool. Silly non parent me. I had no idea.

2.I’ll do crafts regularly with my children.

Just reading that statement literally makes me laugh out loud. I’ve tried. We’ve done crafts. It’s stressful AF. I read all kinds of mommy blogs before I became a parent. It seemed like they were doing crafts all the freaking time. And enjoying it. And no one wanted to just burn it all down afterwards. I know now that’s the luxury of being able to show one side of life on social media…and the internet in general. Anyway, I’m not giving up. I try to do creative hands on things with my kids. The truth is..they are littles right now. They have the attention span of a fly. So I do what we can…when I have the energy and fortitude to endure the process…but I am by no means crafting it up on the daily with my kids. It is what it is. Instead of wasting energy forcing them to sit at a table and make something with paper and glue – I take them outside. We go to parks and beaches and hike nature trails. They love it. I love it. And we are better for it. All of us.

3.We will always sit at the table and eat meals. Together. For the entirety of the time that it takes everyone to eat.

During my childhood it seemed as if we always sat at the table as a family and ate dinner together. My dad did cook two separate meals, one for my sister and one for the rest of us, but that’s another tangent of things I said I wouldn’t do as a parent…..anyway. Despite these two separate meals we still all sat down together and ate them. I am guilty of cooking two meals. One for me…and one for my kids. I am also guilty of letting them eat wherever they please. Cooper wants to eat in his room while he watches his Ipad? Sure bud. Go on ahead. Why? Because maybe I need the space. Maybe I know that he’s hardly eaten that day and he will mindlessly shove food in his mouth while he watches Transformers on the Ipad. Since they’ve gotten older … most nights I at least make them start out at the table. I refuse to let the food go to their room. I try to talk to Coop about his day. They typically last about five or ten minutes, but I keep trying. I’m not a delusional non parent any more though. I know that sitting down at the table every single night as a little family is not a reality that we will live in. I am not Betty Crocker. There are many nights that I’m scrambling to pull together a meal because I hate cooking with a passion. I try for most nights though. I sit at the table even if they aren’t there. Who knows? Maybe in two or three years it will just be something that is second nature to us…and they won’t even remember not sitting at the table for dinner every night. Maybe not. Either way..I think that we will survive.

And there you have it my friends…just a few things that my superior self-righteous non parent self used to say and think about my future parent self. 😉 Is there anything that you guys envisioned yourself doing or not doing as a parent that totally did not come to fruition??

 

Parents Need Sex Too

I hear it all the time from parents and I am willing to bet that either you or one of your friends has said it.

“We don’t have time to have sex. We have small kids.”

Get the fuck out of here with that. That is a bullshit excuse.

Yeah, I hear you.  You are sooo busy.  Guess what?  Everyone is busy, but you make time for things that are important to you.  I’m too busy to feed my kids, but I know they need to eat, so I do it anyway.

Your kids don’t go to bed until 9, which is also about the time your husband falls asleep watching ESPN?  Cool.  It’s time to have a conversation with him.  Have you tried that yet?

Maybe it’s the one hour of the day that you’re going to see your husband, because your schedules just don’t align.  Girl, hand those kids some tablets and lock yourselves in the closet if you have to.  It probably won’t take long.

A friend of mine, at the ripe old age of 24 and parent of one child, told me, “My wife and I have sex about once a month.  There just isn’t time and we are tired.”  No, no, no.  Just no.

Sex is so damn important in a long-term relationship and I am here to tell you this – your marriage will not survive without some nurturing.  I am a firm believer that a marriage or partnership should be prioritized over what the children want.  Note that I said WANT.  I am not advocating starving your kids or skipping diaper changes so you can bang your spouse or cuddle in your bedroom.  What I am saying is you have to be honest with yourselves and realize you just aren’t making the time for one another….and when that happens, things go downhill.

Look, I homeschool 4 kids and work from home.  My fiance works 14-hour days.  Guess who is having sex a lot?  That would be us.

How?

  1. We lock the damn door.
  2. We put our phones away when we get in bed.
  3. We don’t limit ourselves to bedtime.  A Saturday afternoon during an obnoxious YouTube video works great, especially when you’ve had mimosas all morning.
  4. We just GO for it.  Sometimes one of us is super sleepy and clearly not in the mood, but we strip off our clothes and go for a good kiss.
  5. We stay intimate in every way.  Once that is lost, it’s hard to get back..not impossible, but hard. So we tell each other our dreams and secrets and we hug a lot and hold hands in the store.  We laugh a lot and goodness, we drink so well together.  Drinks never hurt.
  6. I take care of myself.  For some women, this isn’t as important.  For me, I feel so much sexier and in the mood when I have on a gorgeous red lip and a satin robe or a dress.  If I am constantly in leggings and a ponytail when he comes home from work, I will never feel hot.

Tonight, put on something pretty, lock the damn door and go for it.

Week In Review – Rhonda

Welcome back to another week of posts! We are SO grateful that you just keep coming back.  If this is your first time here, welcome! Be sure to look back at some fun posts we have done.

Getting the week off to a good start, I got groceries, shipped a bunch of orders, and dropped books at the library.  Nothing starts a Monday off well for me like checking off boxes!

I was home for most of Tuesday, photographing and listing makeup to sell and just generally working my ass off.

I had so much to do on Wednesday, so I took some kids with me and we made a day of it, stopping at Starbucks, the post office, and Target.  I feel like involving kids in what it takes for me to run a business and a household is really important.

Thursday was spent running more errands and doing the usual Boss Babe shit like taking product pictures on the patio with my sidekick.

Friday was just more of working, along with cleaning the house and getting the kids ready to go to their dad’s for two weeks.  Stuart came home and grilled at 10 pm.  You can’t keep that man from grilling on the weekends.

Saturday started out with makeup and a mimosa, then off to take the kids to their dad.  We hit up Starbucks on the way home, then back to the DFW to relax and grill.

Sunday, while the rest of the country was getting all amped up about Game of Thrones, Stuart and I had a full day of adventure.  After brunch at home, we went to see a house we want to rent.  It was AMAZING.  Then we went to Stuart’s workplace so he could get his Sunday work done and submit our rental application.  After that, we came back to the apartment and went to the pool for an hour before grilling again.

It was such a lovely weekend, the perfect end to a good week!

What did you do this week?  Anything exciting happen?

Weekend Roundup: Our 5 Most Read Posts

We are kicking off this new series to give weekend or new readers a good place to start with what to read!

Today, we give you our top five posts.  These are the five posts that, from our start in February 2017, have gotten the most views.  Have you read them all?

5. 5 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Love – This post, by Rhonda, is a super personal and heartfelt post written for anyone out there who needs some lessons in love.

4. Three Years – An ode to Rhonda’s daughter and a look at how she changed everything.

3. The Story of My Tattoo: Ashley – Ashley got a tattoo on a drunken adventure, but the meaning behind it is a long-held lesson of love.

2. From Arrest to Engagement – How an arrest changed Rhonda’s life for the better.

1. Nipstick – A titillating look at a very personal lip color, by Rhonda and Ashley.

After you read through, share your favorites to social media!  Happy Weekend!

Week In Review: Rhonda

Another week behind us.  It was a really good one, y’all.  There were some very, very bad moments, but overall it was amazing.  Isn’t it weird though how short weeks actually feel extremely long?!

Stuart had to work on Monday, but was able to get out early enough to grill for us again.  We live for that shit.

Independence Day has always been my absolute favorite holiday.  There is nothing better than spending time outdoors with sunshine, family, grilled meats, and all things ‘Merica.  It was a lovely one!  Stuart even took a plain supermarket cake and put berries on it.  He’s the cutest!

Jonathan did my makeup live for Wine Wednesday over on our Facebook page (make sure you’re tuning in for those because we are just getting started).

 

Sadly, Jonathan left Thursday and I wanted to cry.  However, I rallied and got my ass to work.  I worked so much on Thursday and Friday, that it all blurred together.  Being your own boss is amazing, but there is NOTHING easy about it.

Saturday, we went to the pool.  It was a great time for all of us, but my favorite parts of the day are always when we come home and grill.

After working over mimosas, we spent Sunday doing our usual things – going to work with Stuart and grilling.

 


 

Week In Review: Rhonda

Goodness, the last few weeks have been a blur and there are days I completely lose, it seems.  I now have a date for when the kids are going to their dad’s again and I am determined to make the most of those two weeks.  But for now, let’s look back on the past week.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were full of BossBabe-ing and Momming, as most of my weekdays are.  We took a couple of trips to the grocery store and post office and I ran two Facebook parties for my lip biz.

I also unboxed my FabFitFun box as the first installment of a new series on our blog page – Wine Wednesdays LIVE.  Make sure you like our page so you don’t miss those.

Friday, I got up early and hit the ground running, because my oldest “son” was driving my way!  I took another load of packages to the post office AFTER a run to the grocery store.  Then I came home to clean the house and make dinner.  He got in about 4 o’clock.

We lived our weekend as we usually do, but with the addition of Jonathan.  The kids instantly fell in love with him and I think he kinda likes them too.  Ooooh, Quentin decided he wanted to start cutting his own food and he did great!

Obviously, we ended both Saturday and Sunday with grilling and patio time.  We also took some time on Saturday afternoon to go to Stuart’s work and to buy water guns for these triple digit days we’ve been having.

It has been an absolute joy to have Jonathan here and I know we will be sad to see him go!

What was the highlight of your week?

A Parent’s Influence

The ways my dad made me the person I am today – Ashley

I’m pretty sure that most parents, don’t set out with every single little value that they want to instill in their children’s hearts and minds. I mean I know this is how I feel about my approach. I know we all have core beliefs and values that we want to share with our children and hope that they adopt them because we believe that they will make them better human beings. A lot of times those things happen by accident, or our parents try to bestow one set of beliefs on us and we reach for the exact opposite.

Father’s day was this past Sunday and I can say without a doubt that I am super lucky to have the dad that I have. I get all sentimental when I think of the ways the has knowingly and unknowingly shaped who I am. To say that I was a “daddy’s girl” growing up is an understatement. I pretty much worshiped my dad. In my memories of him he was the end all and be all. He knew everything. He did no wrong. His stature was even bigger.

As I got older – all of that changed for me. I could clearly see his faults. I realized that he did not in fact know everything. I also noticed that he is so tiny. Did any of those realizations make me love him less? Did any of that make me like him less? Nope. My dad is in no way perfect, but he’s the perfect dad for me. I will forever be grateful and mindful of the ways that he (maybe unintentionally?) shaped who I am, for the better.

  • My dad taught me that gender roles at home don’t have to be a thing. My mom never really cooked for us on a regular basis. She didn’t like to, and my dad does. So he cooked dinner every night. He made breakfast and lunch on the weekends. My dad would also always make my mom’s plate for her. I know that my dad didn’t do this because he sought to prove anything to anyone – he was just doing his part. It didn’t matter that he was the man or that he worked long 12+ hours a day (mostly outside). My mom didn’t like to cook – and he did. So he cooked for us. Plain and simple. I always said that I’d marry a man who would cook for me too, because I absolutely hate it. That hasn’t happened yet, but fingers crossed one day it will. 😉 Dad likes to say that my liberal tendencies started because I went to MUW…got news for you dad…you started it. You showed me that I don’t have to fulfill the roles that society deemed ‘fit for a woman’. You didn’t mean to. You even tried to teach me how to cook and attempted to get me to appreciate the value in knowing how to prepare a meal for my future loved ones. Your actions though. Your actions every single night in that kitchen showed me that I can do whatever I want to. You showed me that I can be the person I want to be – and that there would be someone out there who could support that and stand by me while I did.
  • Sometimes my dad can be harsh. There have been many times that I’ve seen him bring my mom to tears or illicit one of those “looks” because he said something completely inconsiderate. Sometimes my dad can be incredibly narrow minded. It’s his way or the highway. When he believes that he is right – well he won’t back down. These two characteristics are things that I’ve always intentionally (and sometimes subconsciously) tried to not embody. I think twice..a million times…before I speak. Especially to those that mean the most to me. And I never ever want to be narrow minded. I’m continually trying to understand and relate to and find common ground with people. I don’t change my mind easily. I just know the danger in not being able to open my eyes to what’s around me and know how to stand firm in what I believe within the midst of differences -even if those differences are among my family. 
  • Politics – standing up for what’s important to you by voting, being informed, and knowing who you want to shape the laws of the country that you live in. All of that was not something that I even worried that much about. The first time that I can remember even caring was when Barack Obama ran for president the first time. My dad said to me once that I’d really really care when I realized how much all of that actually affected my life. He was so right. I’m living in a time right now where I feel like so many of us are having to actively stand up and fight for what we want our political leaders to advocate for on our behalves. So yeah, you were right dad. We may not see eye to eye on what I we want. You definitely also taught me how much I hate FOX News…despite the fact that you continue to listen to it. 😉 But nevertheless – you always tried to let me know that I can’t just live my life and think that what’s going on in our government and elsewhere in this country does not affect me. I used to think you were being overly dramatic – now I know you weren’t. 
  • Being deliberate about showing interest in my children, the things they like to do, and the things I’d like for them to like doing with me. My dad has always been that way. He included me in his hobbies. I really really saw his deliberate attempt at a strong and connected relationship through his interaction with my little brother. I see him do it with my own son and daughter. My kids may not end up liking the same things I do. I just want them to remember that I always included them and that I always wanted to be a part of what they wanted to do as well.

So yeah. Thanks dad. You’re my number one guy from the beginning … Love you,