Five Things That I’m Loving Right Now – May 2019

Hey, first things first: if you love following Lola and want to follow a bunch of other inspiring, talented writers and creators too, then head over and follow my blog with Bloglovin‘. You won’t regret it!

Okay, so…May has been SURVIVAL mode for me. I’ve felt like a chewed up piece of bubble gum on a busy bathroom floor for most of this month, so I’ve been clinging to the things I love, and besides and family and friends, I’ve had these five amaze-balls things I’m loving right now.

Rebel Creamery Mint Chip Ice Cream

Where Did I Get Mine? H-E-B Grocery Store ($4.98)
Why I Love It: Because Big Girls Wanna Eat Dessert Too

Let’s. Talk. About. How freakin’ delicious this low carb ice cream is. I’m a Texas girl, so Blue Bell is my jam most of the time. But when I was trying to make better decisions and add more low-carb snacks into my life, I found Rebel, and I’m wishing that this mint chip ice cream had existed my whole life. It does NOT taste like fake sugar, or have a weird texture like most “healthier” ice creams do. Even the little chocolate shavings are sweet, but also not *too* sweet. I’ve tried other flavors, and they’re all damn good. The mint chip is my FAV, though, and I highly recommend it.

Udemy: Online Courses

Where Did I Get Mine? udemy.com/courses (Paid and Free)
Why I Love It: Because I don’t have time for more college courses RN

I don’t know about you, but I’m the Queen of buying books and letting them sit there on my bookshelf, as if the information is going to magically float to my brain during the night. I recently purchased a $12 class on Udemy and I freakin’ love it. It’s a digital marketing class, so I figured I could use some insight for my ol’ faithful blog, and lo and behold, they have ALL KINDS of topics to choose from. They have lifestyle courses (which I’ve linked above) but they also have professional development courses, all on video so you can just follow along at your pace and learn visually if that’s your thing. For the price of a few coffees, you can sign up for a class that interests you, and feel like a super-smart kid while you’re at it. Cheers to growth!

Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories App

Where Did I Get Mine? Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories App ($39.99/year on up to three devices)
Why I Love It: Because Momma Needs Sleep

Confession: My daughter is going to be five in August and SHE JUST STARTED SLEEPING IN HER OWN BED. There, I said it. Homegirl got sick two years ago, and I let her sleep in our bed, and the rest was history. I *finally* had to do something to get her to stay in there. After redecorating her room, adding twinkly lights, night lights, a TV, her favorite cartoon plastered on the walls, and basically everything but paying her to stay in her room, I decided it was time to try Moshi Twilight after I heard about it on Mom Brain podcast. For $40/year, I’m here for it if it helps my kid sleep in her own bed. We turn on the story, tell her to close her eyes and imagine what’s playing out in the story, and POOF! She falls asleep. Something about these stories are different, and relaxing, and help your kiddo really *listen* and rest. Lord Jesus, thank you!

ILU Citrus Crush Lavish Hand Cream

Where Did I Get Mine? Feliz Modern Gifts, Party, & Home Decor Shop ($10)
Why I Love It: Because I Wanna Smell Like Barbie

This hand cream, tho. I recently went on a trip to Feliz Modern, and let’s start off with commenting on how that store IS MY HEART. This cute little gift shop has all kinds of fun little things that I fully intend on spending all my money on over the course of my lifetime, including the coffee cup scrawled with “Let your conchas be your guide,” with a pic of a pink concha OMG GIVE IT TO ME. But I focused my efforts on what I really needed this trip. I wanted a small lotion to keep in my purse, and I smelled this magical tube of floral/spicy goodness and I wanted to buy out the whole store. It’s not TOO overpowering, but also, if I’m in a pickle and need to freshen up in like, 5 seconds, I lather some of this on and I smell like Barbie. Enough said.

Simfamily Reusable Menstrual Pads

Where Did I Get Mine? Amazon.com ($14.99)
Why I Love It: Because Plastic “down there” is weird

Alright, listen. I catch a lot of shit for these from my sisters, but I’ve NEVER liked tampons, and I sure-as-hell don’t like wearing plastic in my undies either. A few years ago, I purchased a few pairs of Thinx period undies, and I love them still, but these reusable/washable pads are seriously my favorite thing about getting my period. It takes a little while getting used to bleeding on fabric and being okay with it (flashback to middle school accident freakouts!) but once you do, you’ll thank yourself for getting something that can let your Who-Ha BREATHE for God’s sake.

Alright, friends. That’s it from Lola for the month of May. Onward to June, and other fabulous things.

Mom Car 101: What to Keep in your Car At All Times

Listen. We’ve all been there. I have used my shirt as a Kleenex before. I have caught vomit in my hand before. I have done some weird mom stuff, because when you’re in a pinch, you’ll do all kinds of crazy things, just to keep the day running as smoothly as possible.

Sometimes it’s helpful to have anxiety, so that you can think ALL DAY LONG about all the terrible situations that could occur, and how to help solve them. I give you: Mom Car 101. Here’s my short list of the things I keep in my car all the time.

Mosquito Spray – It’s not Texas Spring and Summer until the helicopter mosquitos are buzzing about. I keep a bottle of kid-friendly mosquito spray in my car, and I also keep the you’re-gonna-die-of-deet-poisoning stuff in there too, for Mom and Dad, because Texas mosquitos laugh at anything less.

Sunscreen – The only thing worse than whiney babies at an event or outing is whiney babies who are burned. Lather ’em up and get going.

First Aid Kit – Complete with all the good stuff, like alcohol wipes, Bactine spray, and fancy Band-Aids (duh).

Hand Sanitizer – the biggest bottle you can find at H-E-B. Just kidding, kind of. If Mom cars could be shown in a special germ-showing light, we’d all be horrified. Kill the germssssss if you can.

Clorox Wipes – Keep these handy for accidental coffee spills, which happen NO JOKE on a daily basis for me. When am I going to learn to just get a taller mug?

Baby Wipes – Because sticky donut fingers don’t belong on the windows, guys. Wipe it off!

2 Reusable Grocery Totes – Not just so you can look and act like the environmentally-conscious person you’re supposed to be, but also because if you’re like our family, your car is like a Ross store, with shoes and clothes strewn about. When you’re in a hurry and need to pack up your kid for unexpected events, like SCHOOL EVERY SINGLE MORNING, there’s your bag. Boom.

Small Purse – This one is just for you, Moms. Keep a small purse handy so that when you eventually get to go out and have a little bit of fun by yourself (LOLOL) you don’t have to lug around a giant diaper bag purse. Just put your Burt’s Bees, ID, and debit card in there and you’re free as a bird!

Car Smellies – Because I have accidentally left a McDonald’s chocolate milk jug in my car over the weekend TWICE, and there’s just no getting that smell out quickly. Survive the drive with car smellies.

4 Grocery Bags – Maybe this is only for the Mom’s who have PTSD with catching vomit in your hands, but it’s always helpful to have some throw-away bags handy. Vomit, dirty diaper, trash – you name it, it goes.

Ziploc Bags – Do you know how many times I have cursed myself for not putting a stash of these in my car sooner? Many a Pop-Tart has been squished into a carseat, all because I wasn’t prepared. Pack those zipper bags and thank yourself later.

Extra Blankies – Keep two lightweight blankies (we like Aden & Anais) in the car, in case you leave a big event hoping for a quiet ride hope while the kiddos crash in the back. The minute I give my kids a blankie (even the four year old), they’re OUT like a light. Victory.

One Complete Outfit/Kid – You’ve gotta be prepared for pizza sauce stains and peepee/poopoo accidents, so pack up an extra outfit PER KID so that you can quickly change them from one birthday party to the next, and no one at the next party can talk about you being a hot mess.

Diapers & Undies – Ok, so this is an obvious one, but again, YOU NEVER KNOW with the accidents, and in my experience, the more prepared you are for this situation, the better it goes when you’re calm, cool, and collected during the undie-change. Like, “Hey, Mom’s got this. I do too.”

1 Pair of Pajamas/Kid – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We are old and boring and we hate fun. So, the minute we leave a late-night party or get-together, we change the kiddos into PJs so that they can go straight to bed when they get home. The less interrupting we have to do, the better.

All-Occasion Cards, Gift Bags, and Tissue Paper – There isn’t a birthday party we go to where the gift has been wrapped and card is written out before we get in the car. (Be prepared, have extra). This applies to “good to see you!” lunches with friends, or last minute holiday gatherings you attend. Be prepared to tell your host/friend “you’re the best!” They deserve it and you will feel AH-MAZING.

Notebook and Pen – Listen. I love digital lists as much as the next guy. But also, paper, always. I have literally kept a journal/notebook in my car since I was diagnosed with depression, because you never know when you need to write down some cray-cray feelings. Also, these are SUPER helpful for last minute grocery lists, or to do lists. Pro-Tip: If someone in a parking lot is driving too fast and almost runs over your kid, this notebook is also helpful for the “SLOW DOWN, BITCH” note you plan to leave on said car.

BONUS: Dog Treats – Why the hell is Lola carrying around dog treats in her car? Well, guys, it’s because I’m crazy. I have found/returned/helps stray on stray on stray dogs (when I don’t have the kiddos in the car), and these dog treats have been helpful in wrangling the friendly, wiggly, nervous doggos that just want to get back home. Treats = DOGGO’S BEST FREN. One time, I didn’t have treats with me, and I legit used a can of cake frosting to lure a little guy back to his mom’s house.

That’s all I have, y’all. What do YOU carry around in your Mom Car? Share with me! Happy (and safe) driving around in your Car of Preparedness. xo

How Many Points for Pinot Noir?

Happy Seven-Weeks-Since-Having-A-Baby Day!

It’s time for me to review (only some of) the desperate things I’ve done in the past few weeks to feel like a competent human being:

  1. Spent hundreds of dollars on some shadow ombre highlights, because you KNOW I’m not going in every 4-6 weeks to update my damned hair, but I needed some blonde to feel alive. See you in the fall, Brooke the Hair Girl, who I owe my life to.
  2. Ordered all the closet organization tools I could find, because THIS IS THE YEAR I’ll finally publish a home organization book on the side, right?
  3. Created a spreadsheet of things I need to remember to do on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis, including brushing my teeth. Wish I was joking.
  4. Went emergency clothes shopping with mom since I tried on my “normal” pants the Thursday before I went back to work and I felt like a can of just-opened biscuits.

Which brings me to my favorite self-improvement effort I’ve done so far: joining Weight Watchers. Yeah, girl, I did that! I ain’t mad about it.

After the biscuit can clothes debacle, I sat myself down in the rocking chair I’d been feeding my new baby in hours before, and gave myself five minutes to cry. Marc sweetly approached me and asked if he could do anything, and through big, dramatic tears, I declined, telling him about my five minute cry plan, and reiterating that if my girls were this size, I’d honestly think they were beautiful. So, it was 9:55AM and my five minutes was up. Time to get a move on. I joined a week later.

My main goal is to learn to be healthier, and losing weight will be a bonus. Listen, I’m fully aware that my zero-point Diet Coke is not “good” for me. But right now, it’s better than ALL THE THINGS I want to put in my mouth, so I’m taking baby steps until I can become a certified, organic, bean-sprout-eating fool. I’m already down 7.6 pounds, thankyouverymuch. I don’t even care if that was 7.6 pounds in tears from crying in the rocking chair. I’m not letting anyone rain on my parade, because I’m doing what I can to better myself, and this works for me, for now. Okay? Okay??? Wish me luck.

P.S. New Rule: if you search for the things that you really want, and it doesn’t show up, you get to go with the lowest point of all the listings. Pretty sure Weight Watchers would approve.

Love you all, and the desperate things you’re doing to make yourself a better one.

I’m a Working Mom and I Don’t Care Who Knows It!

Alright, fine, I guess I care a little. #feelingjudged

I’m on a teeter-totter of two feelings about being a corporate, 8:30-5:30 Mom: feeling bad for leaving my girls “behind,” but feeling bad that I DON’T FEEL THAT BAD ABOUT IT.

It has been six weeks since I pushed out a little human being out of my girl parts, but GIRL, y’all know I was back to work this past Monday. MONDAY at 8:17 – EARLY! Do you know how many people asked me last week, with a sympathetic frown, “Awww, are you bummed about going back?” Do you know how hard it was to dig deep for a pouty face, and a “I knowwwww, totally!”

But really, I was ready to come back, friends. I didn’t even shed a tear. On the Sunday before my return (Mother’s Day, no less!), I serious-as-shit Googled, “Why don’t I feel bad about going back to work after having a baby?” Do you understand the desperation I was feeling to find another Mom who validated my anxiousness to get back to work, for me to go to freaking Google looking for her?

Most of the results were women posting to forums about not wanting to go back to work, using all the exclamation points left on earth, e.g. “Help!!!!! I don’t want to go back to work!!!!!!!!!” followed by a truly sad post that I didn’t even to click on, because I might absorb something from it. I read snippets of articles that suggested staying home with your kids, waiting silently for something to hit me like a ton of bricks. Nothing. Instead, I picked out my outfit for my first day back, fixed my hair, and wrote my boss an email about how excited I was. And I meant it.

If I still have you, and you haven’t decided that I’m a terrible person with a raisin of a heart, let me say this: I love my girls so much. I really, really do. But they say you have to take care of yourself before you’re good for anyone else, and it’s true. If I stayed home with my girls, I would be such an asshole, to them and everyone. (Side note: we’d also be poor, because on my maternity leave, I’m pretty sure my daily Amazon orders paid for at least a new car for Jeff Bezos). I need my job for me. I need to wear eyeliner, and uncomfortable pants. I need to yell at my computer screen, and write passive aggressive emails. I need hour-long lunches with my friends and I need marketing meetings. I need it ALL. And that’s okay with me (except for that 4% of the time that I’m feeling guilty about it and Googling for support). But really: it’s okay with me.

For the working moms who Googled for validation too, I’ll tell you what I’m hoping for: I’m hoping to teach my girlies that they can work hard for something they want, and that sometimes they’ll get it, and sometimes they won’t. I’m hoping they learn that it’s okay to like money, and to buy things for themselves and say, with sass, to their future spouse, “I HAVE A JOB!” <*Snap*snap*snap> like Mom does to Dad from time to time. I’m hoping they see me making sacrifices, or using resourceful shortcuts (Thank you, Shipt!) because I’m doing what I need to do for our family. I hope they see me as a strong, independent, smart woman who also crumbles every now and then, like we all do.

I shouldn’t have to say this disclaimer, but will anyway in case I’m misunderstood. TO ALL THE MOMS – the stay-at-home/work-from-home or work-from-an office kind: We’re frickin’ amazing, aren’t we? Whether we’re wearing heels, or half-naked, or both – we’re killing it out there, and doing what we need to for our families. I don’t think I’m better than you, or smarter than you. I know we both work hard as hell. Just know that all I’m really saying is that we should do what’s right for us, whatever that means to you, so we can be good for our little people, who are watching us. High five, girl. High five.

Love you all.

The Plural of “Girl” is “Girls”

If there were a clean list of all the available emotions that can happen in a human brain, and there were 8,429 of them, I’d say I’ve felt all 8,429 of them since April 3, 2017.

The first thing my sister texted me after giving birth to Ruby was, “So is it true? Do you really love both of your girls equally, or was mom lying all these years?” I laughed. And then I cried. Because my heart is joyful, and scared, and everything in between, all at the same time. Figure that one out, guys.

Marc and I decided we wanted to get pregnant last summer, and luckily, it happened quickly for us. We always knew we wanted at least two babies, so this was it. Here we go, making life happen! But I never could have prepared myself for all the feels I’m feeling, y’all.

I am immensely proud of my two human beings, just for being alive, which I think is a pretty good deal for them. So what’s the deal with the spread of emotions? I can stare into Ruby’s eyes she inherited from her dad, and I can fall deep, deep into her world; her tiny world of short, quick milk breaths, baby squeaks, warm body rolls and seedy mustard poo.

(Full disclosure: I love the smell of newborn poop. If you think that’s weird, that’s okay, but we’re not friends anymore. Love me or leave me.)

And then there’s Maggie, dammit. She is so smart and beautiful, and fascinating to us. She’s my little buddy, my firecracker, my pistol full of life and a future potty mouth like her mother, I’m sure.

Together, they make my heart sing. SING, I tell you. But I guess it’s a part of every mom’s parenthood plight, to worry too. I worry that it will never be possible to explain how much I love them, together or as individuals. I worry that one will always feel inferior to the other. I worry that they won’t be friends. I worry that this world will attempt to oppress them, for being who they are. I worry I’m going to mess up. I know I will mess up. I worry.

And if there is one thing I’ve figured out with this whole parenting thing, it’s this: the previous life you knew and had is over. Somehow, when you don’t think it’s possible for the love and worry in your heart to grow, it doubles. It all doubles, and the weight and love, along with the fear and difficulty of being responsible for a human, is all there: waiting for you, smiling at you, and laughing at you.

But for us, it’s true what they say: that your love multiplies, not divides, when you have another one. Our hearts FULLY belong to these girls.

(GIRLS. I have girls. More than one. Plural. Shit.)

Our lives as we knew them are over, and now they belong to these people. These little girls, who we hope to raise into decent human beings. I consider myself truly lucky to have been given the chance to give up the lives I had before, for all this beautiful, gooey, girly mess we’ve been given. I’m all theirs, forever and ever.

So for now: books and hair bows and baby breaths and naps. That’s what we know right now. It’s good to be home y’all. It’s good to be a Girl Mom.

Love You More, Girl Dad

Dear Marc,

We’ve been together for half our lives, but I still learn something new about you nearly every day. Sometimes it’s good, like when I learn that you can sense when I need you to do things like pick up around the house without me asking you to. Sometimes I learn less-awesome things about you, like that throwing your dirty clothes in the hamper instead of next to the hamper is apparently more difficult. (I still love you, though). But you know, we’re in the thick of raising a 2.5 year old little girl/crazypants, and getting ready for another, and I’ve been meaning to sit down and tell you what else I’ve really learned about you in the past few years that I honestly didn’t expect to.

You and I have had our ups and downs, haven’t we? We’ve ranged from “How are we gonna do this marriage anymore?” to “I’m glad we get to do this life together, exactly how it is.” I look at our lives now and thank God we made it through those bad times – Jesus – look what we’d be missing. Especially our kids. Which brings me to my real point, Bub.

I always knew you’d be a good dad, but I have to admit that when I found out we were having a girl the first time, I wasn’t sure how you’d navigate that one. You already have Crazy Me, and here comes this other Thing that could be crazy too. Being a sensitive teddy bear ain’t your thang, and I’m cool with that, but this little person is going to need you even more than I do, and she’s going to count on you to help build her up in this weird world. You don’t even have a pet name for me, because my name is, in fact, Alyssa. How were you going to handle this new person who will hope for bubbles and laughing, and thriving, and loving? (You know, Me 2.0?)

And then you knocked it out of the fucking ballpark, dude.

The minute we became parents together, it all changed, didn’t it? The last two and a half years have dragged on, and flown by, all at the same time, and it’s you who has been my slow-and-steady friend through the magic and the miserable. But even bigger than me and you is your love for our daughter, and that’s what makes me most proud to be your wife, your co-parent, and your friend. And if we had to nail down an exact moment when I knew you win this Girl Dad thing, it was when you bought Maggie FOR HER SECOND BIRTHDAY I Dissent, about Ruth Bader Ginsburg being a strong, smart little lady. Sigh. We’re yours, forever and ever.

Listen, you drive us crazy with your rules and things, (Why can’t we have 8 kittens???) but we appreciate you, and love you more than M&Ms, which is a lot. You’re really our hero.

Now go put your clothes in the hamper.

KLpbsmp

marc and mags