First Time Mommy Must Haves.



Sometimes I think that we all need a vacation from a vacation.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE getting out of dodge and seeing the sights, but no one is ever truly happy on vacation. At least most of the time.

You don't believe me? Then take a trip to "the happiest place on earth" and glimpse at parents' facial expressions. Vacations are tense ya'll. 

So this weekend we went on a long weekend trip to Gatlinburg Tennessee. Now I love it there. My hubs does too. If it's cheesy and chintzy, we are in. That is totally our bag. We love visiting touristy places while doing things familiar from our childhoods. Hell, they still sell the exact same faux leather kids wallets and let me tell you, you can't just find a good fake leather kids wallet with the 1980's smokey mountain logo. Other places in the world just don't do that, but in Gatlinburg they do.

Oh and also I've never heard so many compliments as we got on our Bass Pro shop hats. Literally everyone thought my boys were some kind of avid fishermen, but in reality they were a guilt purchase since we go in the store and look at the fish for free all the time. 

Theo officially wins the "photogenic award" for this trip. Although little sister and brother weren't too far behind.

Oh and my new baby obsession? Bonnets. Little Bo Peep style. That girl was made to wear a bonnet. I'm just sayin".

At one point during our trip Minnie Sue and I ventured off alone, somehow ending up in a whirlwind of some Asian tour group. These little old ladies kept wanting their picture taken with "the little dolly". To them I think they really thought they were witnessing a Little House episode or something. Asian tour groups seem to be my crowd lately. 

Basically the whole weekend went by in a blur, and I feel like I need a week to recoup. I'm also super thankful for my own personal space as well as rooms not covered in knotty pine paneling, because well sanity. 

No thanks needed, but here's a little gem I found on the camera while preparing this all star photo dump for ya'll. 

I can't wait to use those words" remember that one time that Elliot fell asleep at the dinner table"? 

Parenting is the silliest. 


Feeling a little hippy dippy.

Sometimes all you want to do is dance around barefoot and wear flower crowns, while embracing the world with love and rainbows.

There's a little flower child in all of us.


Under Pressure, Bowie style.

Sometimes you have those friends who kick you out of your writing slump and use a writing challenge to get you back into the groove of things. My friend Brittany did just that when she instituted the first month of writing prompts. Seeing as how my posts have been dwindling lately, I chose the prompt "Do you ever feel pressure to be perfect and have it all together, when really you don't"?

I don't know Brittany, do you have the ability to read minds? 

Because you just read mine so hard. 

A big part of this blogging "business" is creating an online persona... a life that people want to read about. People don't want to see average or even normal. They want to see exceptionally dressed Pinterest mood boards coming to life. They don't want authentic, they want to see how you decorated your space with the same black and white Ikea Ikat pillow that everyone has (I have it too). They want to see a glimpse of perfection, not mom cuts in yoga pants. The internets is a harsh place folks, and a big part of me is afraid of that.

I know what you're thinking, "when you put yourself out there in cyberspace, you are allowing everyone to have an opinion in your life" and I totally agree, but when did it all become so serious? When did we all become so judgy? Why can we all just be real, instead of Modcloth posed mannequins dressed from head to toe in Free People?

I started this space before I really knew the business of blogging. I came here to vent my thoughts and laugh at myself. I invited you all to laugh with me, and you did. I share this blog because hopefully we can all commiserate as parents and people who have no idea what we are doing. I had no idea that there was such an "in crowd" and "cool mom blog club" that I had to kiss ass to join. I had no idea that these things existed and I think you can tell that in my earlier posts. I was naive and free.

I was just Free to be me.

 And then to make matters worse I see really successful bloggers (success that I can only dream of)  curating everything in their lives just so,  and I barely have time to brush my teeth or even dress my kids in actual clothes for the day. Getting caught up in that Instagram scroll can really make you feel like you're not ever good enough.

But then I take a break and a step back from all of the noise and Etsy trends and I go to the park with my kids, and meet people. People like you and me, people who just want to laugh at the fact that my underwear is pulled up higher than my shorts, over my tank top. People who pretend that they aren't staring at the Christmas print on them while they pretend to be interested in whatever I'm ditzily chatting about, instead of calling me out on it. Only when I look down in the car and realize why the quick lower glances were happening, and I burst into ridiculous laughter, and long to share those moments here.

Curate that,  Instagram. 

I've neglected this space, because I failed to acknowledge what I was really feeling. I was feeling hurt and inadequate. I was feeling the gross pressure of trying to be someone else...someone too cool to even wear granny panties with Christmas prints in the middle of July.

And that ain't me folks.

So follow my imperfect shenanigans and black and white Ikea pillow on Instagram.

Or don't.

No pressure.

One Pyramid short from being Egyptian.

Everyday I log into Facebook and am asked to join a new Facebook group of someone selling the most amazing thing.

And like clockwork, I fall for it. 

Every. Single. Time.

It's almost like I have this underlying attraction to the pyramid schemes. I literally will take whatever bait you are giving me. Got a pyramid you're trying to climb? Sure I'll join your team. I'm your number one demographic of sorts. 

Are you selling an opportunity of a lifetime hidden behind a mediocre product? 


Well sign me up. 

Seriously, I have signed up for almost every pyramid "opportunity" presented to me. Usually because I want the free product and discount, but secretly I too want to be a part of a "revolution". I mean, who doesn't want to get rich quick? The problem is to actually sell anything, you have to basically live it and be willing to interject it into your daily conversation. Which really isn't easy for me because  I'm usually  too busy focusing on my correct social cues to segway flawlessly into a sales pitch anyway. Plus, the whole haggle everyone you know bit gets pretty old. Especially when you have to offer them multiple miracle products in one lifetime. And I feel like a old tymey swindler who should be twisting his handle bar mustache while peddling my products from town to town. The whole idea just feels so dirty to me. 

But maybe I just fell for the wrong ones, you say. 

That very well could be. I started my pyramid journey with Mary Kay. Those stinkers got me twice actually. I mean, who wouldn't logically make the career choice to join a family? Especially when the entire investment cost the same amount as the face wash system you were going to buy anyway?  I'm no investment banker, but that alone is worth the constant call forwarding of your regional director. Hindsight, although I used to be a makeup artist, I really never used Mary Kay, nor do I hardly wash my face ever so I didn't even get my money's worth on that one. To boot, the cute carryall that it came in broke the second time I used it. I guess it was never meant to be. 

Next I attempted the climb to the top of the health and fitness pyramid. I pimped out Advocare and Herbalife, and almost body By Visalus,  that is until my son drank it and had a severe allergic reaction. I think that was God's way of telling me that I had no business pretending to be in good physical shape.  I'm really no fitness guru, and I hate working out, but those products tasted like milkshakes and made me skinny...that and the 500 calorie a day diet, but you know...results! Am I right? 

About Thirty one monogrammed bags later (see the pun) I decided that I was officially done with the scheme. But not until I checked out Stella and Dot, Oragami Owl and even LulaRoe Maxis (okay that one was super cute, I just didn't have the moolah to commit).

See a pattern here? 

Basically, I'm a product junkie with a love for the Pyramids. You can just call me Cleopatra. No really, call me that because I smell like a middle eastern Goddess covered in Frankincense. 

Unrelated: If you have any questions or would like to learn more about essential oils, shoot me an email at thejesselaine@gmail.com. Just kidding, I have no idea about anything except for DIY cleaning products...so if you email me I'll probably just throw around some buzzwords while secretly just being happy that all of my labels match. But I promise to let you use my 25% discount.

*hangs head in oily shame*

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