To The Most Underrated Person In My Child’s Life…

A letter to my second First Teacher (a starring role with little fanfare.)

Last Day Of School

Dear Mrs. P,

Avery is my first child, yet I didn’t cry on her first day of kindergarten. Now it’s her last, and I have all of the feels.

There are many things you did for my daughter (other than miraculously teach her math and reading) that are completely underrated. Where do I even begin…

  1. You kept her safe.
  2. You got her acclimated to a daily routine for the first time in her life.
  3. You built up her self-confidence.
  4. You were there to help her, not criticize her, when she made mistakes.

I met my kindergarten teacher when I was four years old. His name was Richard. He was gentle, patient, sympathetic, and played “This Land Is Your Land” on guitar while we sang, “from the Redwood forest…” which was fitting because it was Northern California and explains why we called our teachers by their first names. At the end of the year, the parents came to the classroom and he recognized each of us individually. When it was my turn he said, “Emily is conscientious, cheerful, and funny. She has very good jokes inside of her.” With time for only a few words, he chose those to define me. The fact that I remember it is the reason I know Avery will carry you with her for the rest of her life.

I didn’t yet know you when I wrote this post after dropping off Avery on her first day, but I’ve gotten to know you through a collection of little moments:

The time we were walking past you in the parking lot and you said, “See you tomorrow!” and Avery said, “I’ll miss you.”  Without missing a beat you said, “I’ll miss you more.”

The time I was working lunch duty and you pulled me aside to talk about something I wrote about parenting that resonated with you;  I was honored that you took the time to mention it.

While you were helping Avery transition from preschool days into her future professional academic life, you were helping me transition into the mom I need to be to support her:

  1. You kept my child safe for me without fail.
  2. You helped me get acclimated to a daily routine for the first time in my mom life. Did I get an email from the principal because I brought her to school after the bell so many times? Why, yes. I did. Did you ever mention it? No, you did not. You sent gentle reminders. You were patient and sympathetic.
  3. Throughout my learning curve of becoming a mother of a kindergartner you were always on my side. When I came to class to be the mystery reader, you told me I sounded like a pro. You built up my self-confidence.
  4. When I forgot to bring snacks on snack day and didn’t realize it until school was over, you didn’t even mention it. You just handled it. You were there to help me, not criticize me, when I made mistakes.

So even though I met you 27 years after Richard, throughout my missteps you still made me feel like a conscientious, cheerful, funny mom with good jokes. I will carry your graciousness with me, just as I have carried his.

Thank you for being my second First Teacher. Thank you for everything that you do.

Sincerely,

Avery’s mom, but still Emily

__

Addendum:

Me: “Avery, what’s your favorite thing about Mrs. P?”

Avery: “That she’s always nice to me and she tells me I’m her favorite.”

Me *skeptical*: “She said that?”

Avery: “Well I can just hear it in her brain.”

Me: “You’re definitely my child.”

Avery: “I know.”

 

KC Live: Modern Mommy Essentials (Pills, Boobs, Booze + More)

The greatest thing happened to me today. Right before we went live, I was asked to “say something” for the mic check and I got to utter the epic words, “The arsonist has oddly shaped feet…what is your name, Lanolin?” in a real life TV studio.

MM 1MM 2MM 4MM 5MM 6MM 8

Here’s my girl-talk with the amazing Michelle Davidson. Everytime I see her I love her more and today was no exception:

 

Here are the innovative modern mommy essentials from the segment and where to find them:

The Innovation award-nominated Mifold is 10x smaller than a regular booster seat but just as safe. It’s literally small enough to fit in your purse and therefore perfect for travel and ideal for times when you need to fit three booster seats across!

mi fold Booster Seat

Order the Mifold Booster Seat HERE

Nanobébé Breastmilk Bottle. Launching in the US now and also up for an Innovation Award, this is the first bottle specifically designed to protect breastmilk nutrients and allow the baby to start self-feeding at an earlier age. This bottle cools breastmilk 7x faster than standard bottles, preserving more nutrients. It also warms 2-3 times faster so you can quickly feed your crying baby without destroying any of the good stuff you worked so hard to pump!

nano bebe breastmilk bottle

Order the Nanobebe HERE

Vitasome’s Curcumin-C & Glutasome have energy-boosting turmeric which is a natural anti-inflammatory and promote healthy skin, diminishing the signs of aging (YES!) What’s so different about these supplements is the patented liposomal delivery system. Liposomes surround the nutrients until they penetrate your cells where they’ll have the most benefit so the nutrients are never mistaken for waste.

 

 

Order Vitasome HERE

The Nugeni Steva + is an all in one, easily interchangeable handheld vacuum (cordless and upright), steam mop and a mobile steam cleaner. You can even use it to steam clothes! The steam kills 99% of bacteria so you don’t need to use any harsh chemicals.

Nugeni Steva Accessories

Order the Nugeni Steva + HERE

 

Let’s Be Alone Together.

Overall, it’s been a good week. But I detected the fumes of Mommy burnout yesterday.  I’m tired.  I’m tired of riding the waves of feeling suffocated and having the craziest biggest love wash over me when I see my girls’ little teeth as they giggle at something I say. Avery has already lost so many of her baby teeth and each one feels like a kick in the gut. Like all those nights we spent together walking around the living room in the glow of the TV because she was teething and only wanted to be rocked have come full circle. I felt so desperate and alone just doing whatever I could to coax her to sleep.

The first week we brought her home from the hospital I laid awake in terror picturing this giant digital clock counting down the 18 years until she leaves us. I still find myself exasperated with each little sign of my kids growing up. All of a sudden their legs are so long. Their oh-so-kissable cheek meat is disappearing. I’m so grateful that I get to watch them grow, but I have this gnawing feeling that it’s all going too fast. Like I’m one of those Russian nesting dolls and the smallest one is constantly in the middle of a crazy desperate meltdown, but the dolls in between us are chill and keep the little panic-stricken one mostly medicated, er,  insulated so my outer self can function.

Sometimes little voices calling “Mom!” sound like nails on a chalkboard. Sometimes I get tired of carrying around all of the dandelions they pick for me. And I feel so guilty. I know that time is flying by and I will long to hear their tiny voices, have them fall asleep on top of me, and I’ll look at dandelions and wish someone cared enough about me to pick them for me. A friend recently sent me an article that said “we’re not meant to parent for this many hours a day,” and some days it feels so true. It’s so much pressure being the person they love and hate the most. The one they treat the best and the worst.

Years ago I attended a Junior League luncheon where Hoda Kotbe told a story about when she had just been diagnosed with cancer and didn’t want anyone to know, and someone said to her, “Don’t hog your journey. It’s not just for you.” It resonated. We all have different challenges in parenting and different degrees of tragedy we have to endure, but each of our journeys are valuable to one-another and should be shared, considered and appreciated.

Now it’s Friday night. I bathed my kids, picked up toys and dog poop in the playroom, sprayed some cleaner on the carpet, then sprayed some self tanner on my ghostly white skin. Here I sit in bed, typing around the sleeping child draped across me. The glow of Octonauts on TV and the computer screen are the only light in the room. Avery is off in her dreams and I am off in my thoughts, but we are alone together.

Avery and Mommy

Product Review: Not Your Mother’s (Not for me.)

Last time I was at Ulta, they were having a buy one get one half off sale on Not Your Mother’s hair care products. The packaging was cute and since I was out of my trusty Suave Dry shampoo I decided to try their line called Clean Freak. I’ve only had it for a few weeks and I’m only slightly sad to say it has already run out.

FullSizeRender_11.The “refreshing” smell they are going for is, in my opinion, not unlike the scent of SPF 50.

Continue reading

My TV Debut: Behind the Scenes

I recently went on Kansas City Live to do a segment on National Children’s Dental Health Month and since it was my first time being on live tv, I thought I’d share some behind-the-scenes.

First of all, how to decide what to wear, right? Luckily I have a go-to sorority sister for that. Like, one time I sent her this “cool” outfit I wore to preschool pick-up, which turned out was not cool:

Continue reading

It’s personal.

This is the room where I write. All of my writing is personal, but this post is without a doubt the most personal thing I’ve ever shared.

Office

My writing space is filled with special things, including a print of a Keane painting my grandmother bought for my great-grandmother (Mema) when she went to New York in the 1960s. In her 99 years, Mema outlived all her brothers, sisters, husband, and both of her children. She once told me she thought God forgot about her. On March 19th, 2004, what would have been her 100th birthday, I wrote this poem for her:

Continue reading

March Madness, Sprots, and Badass Babes

Sprots: The proper term for athletic events, for people who hate athletic events.
I may be the only person in history who has never filled out a March Madness bracket and this year is no exception. But if you eh-like-ah-da sports, you should definitely check out the blog and podcasts over at SprotsTakes.com. Last month I was honored to be featured as one of their “Badass Babes” for Galentine’s Day. I love the laid back spirit of this group of female writers. Might even make me want to follow the sports…
Here is my Badass Babe Interview by Staff Writer Emily Kristen of Sprotstakes.com:
Emily Kuhlman may be the funniest woman I’ve ever met. Our paths crossed at a blogging conference a few years ago, and she’s been on my “Must Follow” list ever since.
 

She’s the brains behind Mrs. Kansas Mommy, a blog where she candidly and poignantly describes raising two little Badass Babes of her own. It’s an honest look at parenting and it often makes me literally laugh out loud.

Check her out on Instagram and Twitter 

 

Kristen: What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?

Kuhlman: Watching This Is Us and eating candy that I steal from my kids’ Halloween buckets while they’re at school.

Kristen: What qualifies someone as a “badass” and do you think of yourself as one?

Kuhlman: Yesterday my five year old daughter drew a picture depicting me as a pregnant unicorn. I’d say that means I’m pretty badass in her eyes, especially considering I’m not even pregnant. Or a unicorn. Additional Badassery:

  • Doing things that scare you because they might make your life bigger, like entering a pageant as a grown woman, or going after a job you’re not quite qualified for and working your ass off to be great at it, or birthing a child. In that order. I know because I’ve done all of those things, some twice.
  • Admitting when you f*cked up and moving forward to correct it. I don’t understand people who have a hard time apologizing. I view it as a way to reclaim your dignity and show that you’re the kind of person who deserves respect too.
  • Wearing orange because it’s your favorite color, even after your best friend tells you it looks bad on you.Jessica.

Emily Kuhlman 5

 

Kristen: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Kuhlman: A pregnant unicorn. Also a singer, actress, travel agent, and marine biologist (I was very into the movie Free Willy).

In a way, I became all of these things if you count the Sea-Monkey kit my kids got for Christmas as marine biology. Which I do.

Emily Kuhlman 6

Kristen: Who has inspired you most?

Kuhlman: My celebrity heroes are mostly First Ladies and Comedians: Jackie, Michelle, Louie, Tina, Amy. It may seem like an odd pairing of jobs but if you think about it, these have to be some of the most emotionally-brave people on the planet to do what they do.

In terms of inspiring my life choices and actions, my women friends are the people who bring out the most energy, humor and compassion in me.

Emily Kuhlman 4

Kristen: What are your goals for this year?

Kuhlman: Sadly I don’t have an answer for that, so I will create some now:

  1. Stop swiping my card when there’s a chip reader. It’s a waste of my time and yours.
  2. Beat level three on Mario Run.
  3. Make it to at least one athletic event of each of my nieces and nephews who play the sportsballs.
  4. Get published.
  5. Be a better person than I was last year. My husband and I will vote in December and then no matter the consensus, my parents will decide.
You can check out more Badass Babes here.

“At first I didn’t want anyone to know how he left this world.”

Mood: Ripple by The Grateful Dead

I’ve blogged candidly about my struggles with Anxiety disorder. The goal is that whoever reads it comes away with  more compassion for Invisible Illness, which is why I’m sharing this post with you now.

Preface: I’m the baby of my siblings by many years, so I’ve been an Aunt since I was 9. I know other Aunts love their nieces and nephews, but somehow I just know I love mine more.  Like, don’t fight me on this. So when my oldest nephew Koltie-baby was home from college for Christmas a few years ago and said he wanted me to meet a girl named Brooke, I was cautiously optimistic.

Now it’s years later and I love our Brookie so much I think of her as one of our own.  To put it in perspective, the first time she stayed over at my house for a couple days I casually asked her what color she wants me to wear to her wedding.  I basically just want to squish her cheeks and tell her constantly that she is magical and I shall be her Crazy Aunt for all time.

Brooke at game

Brooke and Koltie

Brooke with fam

Brooke Beach

*I’m obviously the one in the Mom-Jean shorts.

About a year ago her parents were in town for a volleyball tournament so I went with my sister to “meet the parents.” I had my two children in tow and immediately pegged the happy, margarita-drinking couple from Texas as Brooke’s parents, David and Erin. David bought me a beer and we dove into conversation as I was internally surprised at how our shy “Brookie-Barbie” (as my children call her) had spawned from such an outgoing, charismatic dude. We spent a couple of hours drinking, eating, and talking. My kids ended up on Erin’s lap. David was the quintessential proud, genuine family man from Texas, complete with corny Dad jokes. There was never a lull in conversation and they both hugged me tight when it was time to leave. I love that my Koltie-baby picked a girl from such a fun, close-knit family filled with love and laughter.

__

A few months later the unthinkable happened. Continue reading

#MKMreal Hashtag Game Winner!

 

Thank you so much to our sponsor Anna Needham for this fun idea! Make sure you check out annaneedham.myrandf.com to get your glow on. Rodan + Fields is the ISH and Anna is a knowledgeable, trustworthy, sweet Momma from Texas! Fun fact, I know Anna through her husband Ben who I grew up with in Stillwater. One time sophomore year we had a snow day, so like any reasonable people a few of our friends tied a sled to the back of a jeep and took turns riding on the snowy back roads, where I witnessed Ben hit a dead cat at such speed that the sled actually caught air. Because Oklahoma. That story had nothing to do with this contest, but when you see your friend hit a dead cat on a child’s sled you never skip the opportunity to retell it.

Soooo…on to the winner!

Congratulations to @CiminoFamily on winning your $75 credit to Rodan + Fields. You cracked us up with your multiple entries but this one definitely takes the cake. Also OUCH!

cimino

Other awesome entries:

hashtag-game

 

I seriously love you people.

Hashtag Game + Giveaway!

Hello my babies. It’s an exciting week because I get to give you something for FREE. You know I love a hashtag game so it’s time for #MKMReal again and the prize is a $75 credit for Rodan + Fields graciously sponsored by Momtrepreneur Anna Needham!

rodan-fields-giveaway
It seems like Rodan + Fields has exploded over the past couple of years and while I’m generally more of a drug-store beauty person, I’ve been lucky to try some truly fantastic products including the foaming selfless tanner and exfoliating wash. Most recently I’ve been using the Lash Boost and Redefine eye cream and I’ve noticed that my natural lashes are actually getting darker which is crazy awesome and it never irritates my eyes.

Head over to Anna’s website HERE to look at all of the amazing before/after pictures and products to help you get your glow on.

So how you enter to win is very simple…post a picture (or as many as you want) using the hashtag #MKMReal. The point of it is to show a glimpse of your REAL life, not your social-media filtered life.

We will announce a winner at the end of the week!

(You can find me on IG and Twitter @MrsKansasMommy)