Why I Go to Bed So Early: An Actual Sequence of Events

I’ve gone to bed early my entire life. In grade school I was always the first one to fall asleep at sleepovers, missing the ends of movies and late-night gossip. In high school, I inflicted my own bedtime (as in, I was the one who told my parents it was time for me to go to bed.) In college, it wasn’t unheard of to “go out” and be home, drunk in bed before 11pm. I was even lucky enough to find a partner who likes to go to bed early.

But now that I have a baby, “going to be early” looks and feels different than ever before. I’ve even lost my company at bedtime because it’s “too early to go to bed.” And when I was recently asked how I can stand to go to bed so early, I really thought about it…

In the form of an actual timeline.

Why I Go to Bed So Early: An Actual Sequence of Events

8:45pm: Announce that I am GOING TO BED.

8:45 – 9pm: Nighttime routine of a goddess – brush teeth, wash face, switch one nursing bra for another.

9:01 – 10pm – Actual REM sleep. It is a glorious 59 minutes or so before…

10pm: Cory comes up to bed, Penny romps around the room like a wild banshee and circles around on her bed 800 times before actually laying down and passing out. Obviously, I’m awoken and I’m not pleased, mainly because if I wake up, I have to go pee. Even if I don’t really have to go pee.

10 – 10:15pm – QUICK. Fall back to sleep before your brain wakes up. 

10:15pm – 12am: SLEEP. Until, of course, I’m awoken by phantom cries. This happens every now and then. I’ll be in a dead sleep when I’m suddenly jolted awake by what I SWEAR is Jack crying.

12 – 12:30am: Try to go back to sleep, but it takes a while because I’m so certain he’s going to start crying any minute.

2:41am: He’s crying for real this time. We’re all about cry it out, but only to a certain point.

3am: WHYYY?! He’s still awake, so I get up to nurse him (before you judge me for nursing him in the middle of the night, it’s not a normal thing, but he’s going through a growth spurt and is actually hungry.)

3am – 3:20am: Change Jack’s diaper and nurse him. When I can tell he’s almost done, I look down to and  see the most terrifying site: WIDE OPEN EYES. Fuck that, dude. I’m not playing this game. I put him down and walk out.

3:21am: Pee, duh. Get back in bed. Jack is crying, so I WAKE UP CORY and ask him to set an alarm on his watch for 25 minutes and turn off the monitor because listening to Jack cry at night sends me over the edge. Like, I can’t. Cory asks me if I’ve fed the baby. I chant to myself I love this man, I love this man, I love this man.*

3:21 – 3:46am: Cory turns off the monitor and falls back asleep. I know this because he is snoring. I spend this time trying to fall back asleep, but end up thinking about rational things like gun control, public schools, and the fact that Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton make the oddest couple.


3:46am: Cory’s watch starts vibrating. nudge him awake. He rolls over, turns on the monitor, and we hear only white noise. Cory falls back asleep. I know this because he’s doing that kind of mouth-breathing that only a sleeping person does. At this point, I’ve been awake an hour, so falling back to sleep is SUPER HARD. My mind has turned on, I’m starving, and I probably need to pee again.

3:46 – 4:30am: I continue to think about more rational things like hosting Thanksgiving, cleaning my house, and randomly wondering about my best friend from grade school. Is she doing well? Is she asleep right now? 

I end up with a combination of praying the rosary (a lifelong lifehack) and taking long, deep breaths. I eventually fall into a semi-sleep state.

5am: Jack wakes up for the day. I literally let out a whimper because I’m just so tired. I ask Cory to go get the baby so I can attempt to nurse him while lying down. This is a fail.

5:15am: Jack’s into this cool new routine of twisting and turning (while attached) and smacking and scratching me while he’s nursing, so it’s a super enjoyable experience.

5:16am: In his nursing fit, Jack grabs my semi-new ‘j’ necklace from Candy Couture and breaks the chain/my patience.

At this point, the day has begun. I need 5 minutes to check my ‘tude and calm down, so I roll over and mindlessly scroll through my social media channels. And before you know it, Cory gets out of bed, turns on the light, and I can’t help but smile at the ridiculously adorable baby sitting next to me.

5:25am: How lucky am I? 

* While Cory, like 99.9% of fathers, has the ability to sleep through the baby crying, he’s the best nighttime-baby-soother in the world AND he slept with him on the couch last night so I could sleep. LIFE SAVER.

The Lies that Parents Tell


This past Friday I hosted what I like to call Mom Club. Several of my girlfriends came over and we let our babies roll around on my living room floor while we enjoyed adult conversation.


All of us have baby boys under the age of 10 months, and my friend, Brittany also has a 2-year-old daughter. At one point, Brittany offered her daughter a LARABAR, and when she asked what it was, Brittany so brilliantly responded without hesitation, “a chocolate bar.”

All of us giggled as her daughter accepted it as fact, no questions asked.

This, of course, got me thinking about Parent Lies. You know, the lies that parents tell their kids off the tops of their heads that kids believe to be true.

In my family, it was the tired tongue.

Whenever my cousins and I reached that point in the evening when we were being whiny assholes who were fighting sleep, our parents would line us up and say “show us your tongues.”

Without hesitation, we’d stick out our tongues and the parents would gasp dramatically, all agreeing amongst each other that we were exhausted. “Just look at those tongues!! It’s definitely time for bed!” they’d say.

And we believed them.

Guys, we were in grade school before we realized that adults couldn’t actually tell how tired we were by what our tongues looked like.

I’m not even mad.

I’m impressed.

I’d LOVE to know what lies your parents told you that you believed. (Or what lies you tell YOUR kids, because I’ll need ideas.) 


Check out Help! My Child Has Developed a New Favorite 4-Letter Word

by Rachel Will at Mode

14 Things That Literally Happened Today

I made eggs for breakfast.

I put the carton of eggs in the pantry.

I called my son Penny!, I mean, Cory!, damn it…Jack! (at least 5 times.)

I read articles about feeding solids to an 8 month old while my 8 month old chewed on the dog’s tail.

I read articles about babies ingesting dog hair.

Jack fell asleep in the car, so I parked in the garage and fell asleep in the car, too.

I closely examined myself in the mirror and immediately regretted that decision.

I yelled at my dog.

I contemplated exercising and cleaning up my diet.

I ate way too many chocolate covered raisins.

Someone asked me what I was doing for Jack’s first birthday and I kinda sorta (most definitely) cried.

I wished it was the weekend.

An hour after Jack went to bed, I scrolled through my phone and watched all my videos of him.

I forgot to ‘gram my #thunderthighthursday picture.


Q+A Part 2: Blog Stuff [Growing, Making Money, etc.]

 Any advice on finding paid writing work as a brand new blogger?

First and foremost, I always tell people that if you’re starting a blog because you think it’s a good way to make a side income, you’re looking at an uphill climb. I’ve been blogging for almost five years, and I’d say it’s just been within the past year and a half that I started making a steady “paycheck.” Prior to that, it was random $75 gigs here and there, or more frustratingly, I was writing for a free sample (keyword: free.)

While there is NOTHING wrong with writing for a free sample, it’s a lot of work for peanuts. Unfortunately, as a brand new blogger, I think working for peanuts is a given until you’re able to build an audience and a track record. Stick with it!


via my HIRE ME page

That said, I suggest applying to marketing networks like Clever Girls, Pollinate Media, and Mode Media. These are the main three I work with, but there are tons of other marketing networks out there! Most of them require an application process where you’ll be asked to provide things like monthly page views and numbers of followers on various social media channels.

Another option is always writing for other publications (i.e. Scary Mommy) who will pay you for original content. Don’t know where to start? Take a look at your favorite websites and magazines!

How did you grow your blog?

I get super weird about answering questions about “growing” my blog, because even though I’ve been at this for almost five years, I’m not a big, successful blogger by any stretch of the imagination, so I feel unqualified to offer advice. That said, it has grown over the years, and it’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication (because I’ve wanted to quit a million times.)

When I think about it, my blog has seen the most growth in the past 18 months because I finally hit my stride. I’ve found my voice, and I don’t attempt to emulate other bloggers like I used to. I forever wanted to blog like Julie or Courtney, but – newsflash! – I’m not either of them. Once I became okay with my style of blogging, people started to notice and stick around.

I also grew my blog by writing for other publications. For example, when this post was published on Scary Mommy, I gained several hundred followers on Instagram within 24 hours, and since then my blog traffic has reflected a significant increase as well.

Lastly, I’ve created genuine relationships with other bloggers, readers, and brands. As soon as I realized the value and power of a girl tribe, I went after it!

What blogs do you read every day?


1. Megan

2. Julie

3. Melissa 

4. Courtney 

5. Stephanie 

I read lots of blogs and websites, but these are the 5 that I check every morning while I eat breakfast :)

I’d love to know some of your favorite blogs! 

Questions + Answers: Mom Stuff [Video]


I’m loving all your questions from Instagram! I realized I’m going to have to split the answer posts into four categories, and when I started writing the “mom stuff” answers, the post was SUPER wordy, so I went with a video instead. It’s kind of long as well (you guys ask good questions) so if you look below the video, I’ve broken it down the questions by what time they appear in the video. I hope you enjoy!

0:40 – what is your number one tip for new moms?

4:09 – thoughts and tips on getting through labor/delivery and the days following

6:27 – how did you start feeding Jack solids?

7:57 – did you miss the poop smell of an exclusively breastfed baby?

8:40 – how many kids do you want?

9:20 – does the thought of having another child freak you out?

Friday Fun Facts

// The alternate ending to this post title was “…because I couldn’t get my shit together in time for a Totally Truthful Thursday.” 

// I literally texted my friend Brittany last week asking if she would take her baby to the pediatrician for a runny nose. She’s a two-time mom, and instead of telling me to stop being stupid and take a Xanax, she gave me some helpful alternate ideas to try first so the pediatrician’s office doesn’t flag me as a frequent flier.

// Whenever Jack fusses and cries because I do mean things like keep him out of harm’s way, I serenade him with The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Every single time.

// My friend Shannon hosted thee coolest event the other night. She called it a Thank You Party, and she hosted a happy hour with champagne and apps to thank an intimate group of women who inspire and uplift her. WHAT?! Why is this not a more common thing?! I fully intend on hosting my own Thank You Party in the near future. I loved it!

// I wasn’t intending to be weird and cryptic on IG when I posted about working on a new project. I just don’t have all the pieces in place yet, but I call tell you that I’m nervous and excited about it. I can also tell you that Aaron of RVA Photography took really pretty pictures that I can’t wait to use!

rva photography

// I hate driving at night. #grandmastatus

// My best, oldest, dearest friends, Whitney and Lindsay, will be here this weekend and I’m SO excited! There is something special about spending time with friends who you’ve known your entire life. 

whit and linds

// How to Get Away with Murder the the only TV show I’m watching at the moment and I normally Hulu each week’s episode on Friday mornings, soooo, I’m outta here! Have a great weekend, you guys!

A Guide to Touring Richmond [Through Mom Eyes]

This post is sponsored by: Pestmasters of Richmond

Even though I’ve lived in Richmond for almost four years, I still consider myself to be somewhat of a transplant who’s trying to figure out what’s what around here. And if we’re being honest, by the time I figured out what was fun to do in the area as married 20-somethings, we had a baby and my search for entertaining bars and restaurants morphed into entertaining parks and museums.

As a stay-at-home-mom, I’m constantly looking for fun things to do with Jack during the week to get us out of the house (because what stay-at-home-mom actually stays at home?) So for locals, here is a list of places I’ve enjoyed with Jack. If you’re a reader who’s not local to Richmond, hopefully this list will encourage you to come visit and go on a mom date with me.

// If I’m meeting up with a girl from my mom tribe, I do my best to arrange a little treat for us before we spend our morning doing all-things-kid. Next up on my to-try list is Sub Rosa. Apparently their bread is ahhhmazing, and since I’m a carb-hoarder, I must go there. They also use organic fruits and veggies in their food that’s actually grown here in good ole’ VA. So when I finally get to try one of their fruit tarts, I’m basically being healthy. Right?

// I love going on walks with Jack, but it can get kind of boring walking around the neighborhood alone. On the weekends when I want to switch things up a bit, Cory and I take the babe over to either Maymont or Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Maymont is a gorgeous 100-acre estate that’s amazing to walk around, and I can’t wait to take Jack to the light show at Lewis Ginter’s GardenFest of Lights this December. Cory and I have gone since we were in college!


// The Children’s Museum of Richmond is where I take my kid when I want to get a jump start on that learning thing. I took Jack there a few weeks ago with my friend, Austin, and her son. It was nice to let the babies crawl around, but I realized it’s better suited for older kids. They have super neat exhibits (I have a feeling the Apple Tree and Dino Zone will be in my future) that I’m excited for Jack to experience in a few years. There are several CMoR locations are town, and I thiiink the newest one is over at Short Pump (has anyone been?)

// The Richmond Zoo is a fantastic place to take your kids. My friend, Caitlin, and I took our boys there this summer. It sounds lame, but I appreciated how stroller-friendly the walkways are; Caitlin and I were able to stroll side-by-side while our boys looked at the animals, and we had a great time. If you’re daring, you can buy a cup of food to feed to the giraffes. It is absolutely filthy, but the kids totally dig it. I was peer-pressured into feeding them (I still can’t let it go, Caitlin) and I almost ran off with the entire station of hand sanitizer. But the kids, yeah, they love it.

richmond zoo

Fall has been beautiful and fun so far (hello, shorts I wore last Saturday), but there’s still plenty of time to spend outside with the kids! If you’re local to the Richmond area, I’d love to know some of your favorite Fall activities!

Thank you to Pestmasters for partnering with me and supporting such a fun post topic! And thank you, my friends, for supporting me as I continue to work with brands and make a few dolla dolla bills.

How I’ve Found and Made [Really Cool] Mom Friends

When I mentioned earlier in the week that my mom tribe is one of the few ways I maintain sanity as a SAHM, I got some feedback along the lines of “HOW are you forming your mom tribe?!” So, in an effort to be as honest and transparent as possible: this is what I’ve been doing these past few months.

mom friends

Me, Spain circa 2010, searching for friends

I put myself out there On the blog, on Facebook, and “in real life” I let anyone and everyone know that I’m on the market. If you read this blog, you know I’m shameless when it comes to stuff like that. I have zero chill factor. I lack the ability to play it cool or act like I have my shit together, and for once, that personality trait has paid off. The more vulnerable I make myself, the easier it is for me to connect with other moms. I’ve reached out to acquaintances, I’ve been set up on mom dates, and I’ve had old friends reach out to me (and all of those things have resulted in new, genuine friendships.)

I step outside my comfort zone I had a reader email me in September because she felt bad for how pathetic and lonely I was, and she invited me to a playdate at her house with her group of her mom friends. I didn’t know anyone, so naturally I made the safe decision and…drove to her home. Thankfully she wasn’t a psychopath killer (always an internet possibility) and she and her group of friends were so nice. One mom in the group lives near me and has since invited me to a few outings; unfortunately our schedules haven’t matched up, but I’m hopeful they will in the future!

I got on MeetUp.com Yep, I joined a MeetUp group; and from that MeetUp group, I arranged a coffee date with yet another group of strangers. As in, I was the organizer who knew no one. I was super nervous going into it, but I ended up having a great time. The women I met were hilarious, and within minutes of meeting we were talking about flatulence, poop, and sex – and none of it felt awkward. I know things like MeetUp can feel weird, but if you don’t know anyone in you’re area, I think it’s a great place to start.

I join classes and groups I’ve been taking Jack to music classes once a week and I’ve joined a women’s group at a local church, which I adore. I was invited to both by acquaintances who have turned into some of my favorite mom friends! Doing things like a class or group can help break the ice if you don’t know the other mom very well, but it also helps form a bond and common interest.

I got coached I’ve been working with life coach Gervase Kolmos of Shiny Happy Human, and she’s built what she calls a “mommy soul tribe.” It’s been awesome to have weekly calls with a small group of women where you’re uplifted and supported. Gervase creates this space where it’s so easy to be vulnerable and honest about the happy and human parts of motherhood, and I’ve had an amazing experience so far.

I use social media The blog has provided me the opportunity to connect with moms all over the country! Daily texts and pictures and emails from my ‘long distance tribe’ always brighten my day.

If anything, I’ve learned that making new friends as an adult (moms or not) takes so much work; it can be awkward and time-consuming, but when you find your tribe, it’s totally worth it.

Fueling for Yoga and a Healthy Lifestyle with LARABAR

This post is sponsored by LARABAR.


Since I quit my gym membership a few months ago, I had to start getting creative with my workouts. Although I wish I were a runner or a CrossFitter, I tend to gravitate toward lower-impact workouts. Years ago, I thought yoga wasn’t a “real” workout because it’s not overtly difficult. I mean, it’s just bending your body and focusing on your breath, right?

Ha. No.

And if I’m being honest (which is something I like to be), getting back into the swing of yoga after having a baby has been more humbling than I care to admit. It’s as if I’m starting at zero, which is not what I expected! (Then again, when have my expectations really been in line with reality during these past seven months?)

larabar yoga

Another thing I didn’t expect was turning into a ravenous beast once I got the OK from my OB to resume physical activity. Thankfully, my doctor explained the importance of staying on top of my calorie consumption and keeping a balanced diet if I was planning to work out and continue to nurse Jack. So, as a breastfeeding mom, I have a few tips for how to maintain your diet while keeping up with your yoga practice.

1. Drink TONS of water
On average, I drink around 75
ounces of water each day. I actually keep a cup of water on my bathroom sink, because chugging at least 8 ounces is one of the first things I do each day. If I become dehydrated, I feel sluggish and am prone to headaches, but it also compromises my milk supply. Needless to say, I’m drinking (and peeing) all. day. long.

larabar water

2. Get enough sleep
This is laughable, I know, but stay with me. Even though my sleep these days is subpar, I do my best to go to bed early so I can attempt to get as much sleep as possible. When I’m tired, my sugar and carb cravings are through the
roof, and I end up making poor food decisions. Also, when I’m exhausted, I make excuses for not exercising, even though yoga is something that absolutely energizes me! It’s a vicious circle.

3. Snack well, and snack often
I’m not a “three squares”
kinda gal. I need to eat every few hours, and I need to be smart about what I’m eating, because as a S/WAHM, it’s a real challenge not to snack on crap all day long. I do my best to stock our pantry with healthy snacks, and my favorite snack of all time is LARABARs. I’ve been choosing LARABAR for years because the ingredient list is normally less than five items, and I can pronounce and find each item in my grocery store. I feel confident that when I’m eating a LARABAR I’m making a smart choice for both myself and Jack.

larabar snack

4. Never travel without food
I think the word “stay”
in stay-at-home mom is funny, because I’m rarely at home. Before Jack, I could run errands or go to several meetings around town without needing food, but those days are long gone. This goes along with tip No. 3, but I make a point to pack my bag with several snacks at the beginning of the week (and restock when necessary) so I’m never caught without something to eat!

That’s pretty much it! No secret pills or magic shakesjust drinking, eating, and sleeping enough help me stay on a healthy track (most of the time!).

At LARABAR®, we believe that the foundation of a sound mind, body, and spirit is derived from what you eatand what you eat is most delicious and satisfying when it’s in a whole, natural state.

6 Ways I Keep Myself from Going Insane as a SAHM

I was super hesitant to become a stay-at-home-mom because I had no idea how to be one. These past 7 months have been filled with so much joy and frustration and love and confusion than I ever expected, but I haven’t lost my mind, which was a major concern. If you’re in the same boat, or are gearing up to be a SAHM, here are 6 things that have kept me sane.

Finding social support

In the first few months, I often cried because the loneliness was palpable. During the week, I had no social interaction for approximately 12 hours every day; an extrovert’s worst nightmare. I found myself going to the grocery store just to I could talk to the cashier. (Seriously, Maude the cashier knows who I am and talks to me every time I’m there.) But over time, by my own effort and by kind souls reaching out to me, I’ve started to build an awesome mom tribe, and they make my life exponentially better.

Making a schedule

I used to scoff when stay-at-home-moms would say things like “Wednesday is laundry day.” I take back every snide scoff because schedules like that make my life manageable and productive. Admittedly, this is still something I wrestle with because, I mean, laundry doesn’t have to get done on Mondays, right? (But truly, if I wait until Tuesday to do all the laundry, my week feels off.) In Corporate America, I thrived off of a schedule, so I knew I’d have to do the same at home. While my Tuesday budget meetings are now replaced with Tuesday playground playdates, my schedule provides the necessary framework for my week.

Getting out of the house EVERY SINGLE DAY

Unless the baby is sick, I’m getting out of the house. Some days “getting out” means running errands, but more often than not, it means taking Jack to a music class or setting up a play date with girls from my mom tribe. I’m busting through walls like the Kool Aid Man if I’m in this house for a consecutive 24 hours.

Putting on makeup

I rarely wear pants without an elastic waistband, but most days I at least put on mascara and concealer. This has absolutely nothing to do with what the Maude cashier thinks of me, but everything to do with what I think about myself. If I feel like a slob, my day feel sloppy. My mood and outlook are drastically better on the days when I make time for those few extra minutes to get ready for the day.

Doing something outside of Momming 

I mean, I’m all for ring-ring-ringing Jack’s play telephone 7,000 times a day, but come on, I need a little somethin’ more than that. Thankfully, this blog, some freelancing, and my contributor role at Best Kept Self afford me the creative outlet I need. (PSA – No one asked me to say this, but BKS is looking for new contributing writers. You can apply here)

Not “working” on the weekends

Aside from grocery shopping on Sundays (Cory and I are weird and like to do that together) all of my “work” is done during the week so Cory and I can enjoy as much family time as possible on the weekends. Obviously, this is not a perfect system, but it is the norm.

Clearly I’m still in the newbie SAHM phase, and because my training manual got lost in the mail, I’m making it up as I go along.

I don’t care if you’re a SAHM, WAHM, WOTHM or whatever other MOM acronym there is, what are some things that help you stay sane?