Vote For Me!


Hello friends! I don’t typically solicit things like this on my page, but I am so close to winning a contest that I just have to!

Please follow this link and vote for the “Sunflower Garden” photo! I’ll win a $500 landscaping card for my beautiful home and I woudl LOOOVEEE THISSS!

These are my sunflowers from our garden this year. Dark, but so full of light. They were gifted to me by loved friends and family and I am so proud of them.

You knew what you were getting into…


Mamas, if I know you well enough, I probably made you cringe when you clicked on the title of this post. “You knew what you were getting into” is on my top 5 list of things to never say to a step mom, and I think it’s on most of ours.

My own story has weaved in so many different ways that I sometimes wake up and simply want to say, “What the fuck am I doing here?”
Don’t ever doubt my love for my husband or for my children, but what. the. fuck?
If I had one of those fantasy magic balls that I could have looked into before I walked down the dirt path to my husband, or thought twice about the symbolism of my choice to walk down a dirt path to him, standing in the dirt, alone on a cliff, I don’t know that I would be in the same shoes that I’m in today.
Would I have chosen a life that was filled with strife with my husbands ex girlfriends and wife, strife with his children, strife within my own home on who does what and when? Strife related to the way that I lead the children that I was called to help raise?

This life isn’t for the faint of heart.

Mamas, I am so grateful for you. I know that sometimes this blog turns into my journal and I simply vent to you, but you are the only ones who get it. You are the only ones who read these notes and don’t think I’m off my rocker. I am thankful for you and for the communities that I have gotten involved in throughout the years. I am actively longing for that connection in the physical preset- wishing a stepmom group would emerge in my tiny town and we can all just laugh and pour each other another large glass of wine while we talk about what wild situation our unique families have us in that week.

I’ve found it so theraputic to simply read other step momma’s stories, to hear of their day to day and just be reminded that I am not alone in this. Which can only mean that you, too, are not alone in this. We’re in it together.

In my distance from this blog, I have been really digging into some other stepmom communities and have taken up an administrative role in a Childless Step Mama group on facebook and was interviewed on a nationally recognized podcast for stepmoms last week. I’m not quite ready to tie my name to this blog yet, though. (Even though some of you know who i am in real life 🙂 )

I’d love for this blog to be a place where people can freely share with one another and engage a little deeper.

What are some ways that I can meet your needs? How can I help your momma heart?

[august after all]


mamas, i have gone to write updates so many times, i can’t even tell you.

i never know anymore.

do i update on the tough days and tell you we are still in the swings of blending? or do i tell you about the easy days, where i forget that these babes didn’t grow inside of me. i feel like i have loved them for so long that they truly are a part of me now.

12 is changing. there is a lot of aggression and a lot of overuse of the internet, which fuels the anger exuded from this kid. he is tough. he hardly speaks. his face is so soft and gentle looking still. he does what we ask, nearly every time, without complaint, yet there is so much angst behind him. i really can’t wait until he comes into his own and learns who he is.

my 16 is growing beautifully. floppy hair, funny clothes to meet the mood, finally developing a style and a voice. 16 has been loud on social media with all of the unrest in the united states this year and while part of me is so proud, the other part of me is very broken by it because 16 stands for and believes in nearly every social norm and religious view that we do not. 16 is not the child that we thought our rearing would produce. but we are learning to adapt to it. we still have lots of love and lots of room.  16 has always been tough for me. we are so similar and yet, so very very different. the other night, we got into a political debate as a family and my Prince interrupted it. he was done with it and wanted to watch a show.. 16 and i stayed up and talked on the porch for THREE HOURS or more. i cried a couple of times. we talked about his lack of religion and obvious disdain for ours and i got to tell him my prayer for him, as my son. he heard it, received it, and then told me he wasn’t totally/completely closed off to it forever. it was one of my best experiences as a stepmom thus far. i wish i had a little kodak instant photo from that night.

20 is nearly due with her second baby. she is clean from drugs since november. she lived with us for several months and it made our house toxic. in the height of the quarantine, we were at each other’s necks and she finally left and it saved my marriage. my Prince couldn’t handle how much she got under my skin and i couldn’t handle how he wouldn’t address the issues in the house with his daughter. she’d done some things against us, that caused her to break our trust, hadn’t apologized nor made it right, and  i couldnt see past it. loving like Jesus is hard.

our garden is BOOMING! and while i’m not much help in planting season, i LOVE a good harvest. this was from one night, excluding 24 chicken eggs. the following night brought in 2 more cucumbers, about 2-3 pounds of green beans, 20 more tomatoes, 21 more eggs. i cannot wait to can.

my dogs have been in a constant flea battle for a while now and it is SO FRUSTRATING. I have given them a million baths, wash their bedding every other day, give them 2 baths/week, have new flea collars on them AND give them their regular monthly treatment and they just keep coming. we’ve bombed every room and finally kicked them out of the carpeted areas (at least for the remainder of this flea bearing season). My one dog already has skin sensitivities,   so her fur is wrecked. The other looks no different and acts hardly any different. Just some extra scratches. Any flea remedies you’ve heard of? my vet has sucked real bad lately and i’ve had bad experiences trying to get the flea pill. TWO times my order has been cancelled and i haven’t been able to actually get it.

my photography business has been very busy the last month. i started offering outdoor boudoir and people seemed to love it! i was on a high and now i feel like i’m on a low, since it’s quiet again. i could do that forever. i would LOVE having people in my studio and working with them daily. oh! i have a studio now! my Prince and i purchased some land next door to our house in December and it came with a trailer, so it has been transformed into my photo studio! i have a prop room, an exercise room (that 16 uses a lot), a full boudoir room and two other areas. It is phenomenal. using my studio will help me pay off some of my hefty student debt, so i am excited for that!

i can’t stop thinking of what life will be like in 50 years when my husband could very well have passed on and i will be a widow with 4 stepkids who likely won’t take care of me. that’s a hard pill to swallow. i always hope that they would, but won’t know until the time comes. after all, i can’t get 12 to take care of his own laundry basket, let alone help me up the stairs if i need it.

that’s a wrap for today. keep doing great things, mamas!


[remembering may 19.]


May 19 has always been a fun day in my family, my older sister’s birthday. But I’ve seen this post going around facebook and do really think it should be noted:

Just so I NEVER forget…
May 19, 2020 update

Along with covid, it’s been raining for 2 days straight. Some say it may be as bad as the flood of 86’ but looking like it will be worse. The Edenville And Sanford Dams both have failed. Flash flood warning and evacuations have started.
And we wait….
– Wait to see if the Dow Dam will hold or fail.
– Wait to see if Dow chemical plant will flood and create a horrible disaster area.
– Wait to see how high the rivers will get
– Stay alert for your family and friends safety

– 8 weeks of “stay at home” order, put in place March 23, 2020
– Gas price a mile from home was $1.84
– Mandatory masks in public places
– Concerns of shortage of meat
– Car parades become popular form of quarantine birthday celebrations
– Class of 2020 graduates are NOT forgotten
– Essential service workers are heroes and their ‘hero pay’ was suspended this week
– Medical field workers are heroes
– Fines are established for breaking the rules, but not enforced by many counties
– small business owners chance opening to survive financially
Karl Manke from Owosso, a 77yr old barber becomes a national conversation (he opened his shop against the Governor’s orders and was given hefty fines, threatened with jail, supported by MANY locals)
– “Flatten the curve” is finally seen
– Government incentives to stay home still $600 weekly for those unemployed
– Nicer weather brings more outdoor activities
– Zoom chats are common ranging from children to elderly
– School cancelled – yes cancelled (students left March 13th and wouldn’t return)
– Plexiglass installed at check out counters
– Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers (6ft) from each other + direction of aisles
– Limited number of people inside stores, therefore, lineups outside the store doors.
– Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed still
– Entire sports seasons cancelled.
– Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events – cancelled.
– Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings – cancelled.
– No masses, churches are closed.
– No gatherings of 50 or more, then 20 or more, now no gatherings of 5 or more.
– Don’t socialize with anyone outside of your home.
– We are to distance from each other.
– Panic buying sets in and we have no toilet paper, no disinfecting supplies, no paper towels, no laundry soap, no hand sanitizer. STILL!
– No butter
– No macaroni and cheese or ramen noodles
– Shelves are slowly re-stocking, but not uncommon to see some items non-existent
– Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE. These items are unavailable to the public to purchase

This is the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic, declared March 11th, 2020.

Why, you ask, do I write this status?

One day it will show up in my memory feed, and it will be a yearly reminder that life is precious and not to take the things we dearly love for granted.

We have so much!
Be thankful. Be grateful.
Be kind to each other – love one another – support everyone.

We are all one! ❤️

Last night, my sister had to evacuate her home, along with many of my friends. My coworker is stranded at his house because the bridges are out. He is safe. My mother in California has sent many worried texts about all three of her children. Jobsites were cancelled at work. Many subcontractors failed to call in, presumably due to the flooding last night. My husband took 2 calls on his way into work from his only TWO employees working right now, both unable to make it into work due to the flooding.

The governor opened up the U.P. and Traverse City this week, but now main roadways are destroyed or under water.

Please pray for Michigan. Please pray especially for Midland, Edenville, Sanford and Saginaw, Michigan.



Hi Mamas,

Some of you have been with me from the BEGINNING and I’m so thankful for you. Today’s post might shock you, if you’re a long time follower. I think I love Mondays. and this is big.

person holding a big leaf covering his face

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on

Mondays used to be this day of angst. The day the kids came over.. we openly called it ‘transition day’ in our house and would allow the kids to keep to themselves and do mostly what they want. No expectations other than eat dinner with us, get your homework done, go to bed on time. Emotions always ran high after they came from their mom’s house and had to ease into the way we manage our household. It was always a stressful day for me. It got to be stressful enough that I started PLANNING to cook a big meal on Mondays, so I’d be occupied enough to not have to deal with the emotions. Or to let my Prince have an easier opportunity to connect one on one with the kiddos- if that happened or not was not on me.

Someone always argued. Someone was always tired. Someone was always angry to be with us and not with her. And those things hurt me more than they should. So we deemed it the easiest day of the week and kept that expectation. Most Mondays, I hardly even saw my kids.. but it was good for everyone, I think.

girl in black sweatshirt sifting flour

Photo by Gustavo Fring on

I hated Mondays and the anxiety that would build as my new, now very different, week began. Planned dinners, extra trips here and there, more expectations, etc. As much as I loved having the kids over, I hated the day they came.

It’s changing.

The past several Mondays, I still try to be the cook and handle that role, but I welcome the kids around me instead of trying to hermit away from them. Lately, 16 has been coming in while I cook and just.. talks to me. He doesn’t help, which is fine, he just talks. And it’s great. Last night, he really shocked me. I got home from work early and decided to clean the chicken coop out, to give my husband some relief, and I was in the pen when they got home. 16 came out to me before he even took his back pack off. He vented about my Prince a little bit and some snide comments that were made (happy monday!) and he stayed with me for probably  5 whole minutes. I couldn’t believe it! Our coop is a little bit of a walk, so it was very intentional. It really made me feel seen. It really made me feel important.


I didn’t get a “Happy Mother’s Day” but I did get a visit from my 16 year old step son before he even came in the house.

Later on, when I was helping prep some eggs for dinner (it was breakfast, our favorite, and my Prince’s specialty), and some other snacks for the week, 12 came out of his room to visit. He was eagerly looking for food, but I’m calling it a visit. And that made me smile.

I hope your mothers day was full. I hope you felt love and appreciation from your family. And if you didn’t, I want you to know you are seen. You are not alone and you are so loved. I have spent many mothers’ days grieving and this year, I finally felt a little bit more whole than other years. My hope is that will be true for you, too.



Mama, You are Seen


I had the great pleasure of being featured at Fruitland Home again for Mother’s Day, Thanks so much for the opportunity, Joey!


Friends, mamas, take a peek below.

I have sat at this desk for many hours, contemplating who THE mom is that should have a story written about her. I can’t pinpoint her. So, I open up my other social media channels in an effort to spark some inspiration or another distraction. What I find, is lots of moms: crafty moms, businessy moms, single moms, remarried moms, adoptive moms, stepmoms, the list goes on. I see moms in a position they’ve never been in before with their kids. Covid-19 has changed parenting for many American moms (and beyond).

COVID-19 has removed the ability to have an unwind night with your girlfriends at your favorite bar, once a month. It’s removed the ability to take your kids to a playground and let them burn off some energy. It’s removed the joy of taking your kids to a special dinner for their birthday or just as a treat. And, it’s removed the excitement of seeing your favorite characters on the big screen. And all of these things have got us a little stir crazy, these days. In some areas, people are not allowed to even go outside, so they are stuck inside with toddlers and ADHD positive kids who need more stimulation than our four walls can usually provide. It has caused extra stress for moms who heavily rely on external resources to keep the normal in their homes.
COVID Mom is Mom of the Year

The COVID mom is my mom of the year. My heart goes out to her every day.

I have the unique fortune of having children who go from one house to another and provide a little bit of a mental break for everyone when the change takes place. We miss our kids when they’re not around, of course, but the quiet is healing for us.

To the moms who are now managing kiddos with a husband who is “making up for lost time” outside, I see you.

To the moms who can’t come up with another recipe this month, I see you (and go grab some takeout!).

To the moms who are still working and come home to bottled up kids, who crave your attention and cannot give any space for relaxation, I see you (and am there!)

To the moms who are doing this on your own, I see you.

To the moms who have newborns who were birthed during this global pandemic, I see you.
You are Mom of the Year

You are not alone.

Motherhood is a wild ride. It’s full of highs and lows, stretching and bending, and a lot of giving without receiving. I pray for the day the yellow caution tape is removed from the swings at the public park. For the day we can drive without letters of authority in our vehicles. I pray for the day a mom can take a trip to the grocery store to get away and not have to wear a mask or induce extra stress.

I see you.

Keep on, mamas. You are beautiful, you are seen, you are not alone.

You’re the mother of the year! (after year, after year.)



Mother’s Day Gifts


I thought it would be great to, instead of talking about my own motherhood journey and mama issues, I’d offer you guys some great ideas to pamper your mom or a mom you love!

The classic ‘Mamasaurus’ Tee

Mama Needs a Mother F*cking Nap: A Sweary Coloring Book for Mom

Who doesn’t love signs?

Coloring Books!

Cozy, witty socks.


Plants are always a wonderful gift!

For the mama bear in your life

Ad who doesn’t love tacos?

Let me know if there’s something you are searching for, I’d love to help! Happy shopping & Happy Mother’s Day!

[shut down]


It feels like we’re living in a surreal time, we are.  While I don’t want to add fuel to the fire, I also very strongly feel like I should be documenting this for when I’m old and my youngest family members are curious about what times were like. And to not lose sight, depending on how this whole thing goes.

There’s been an outbreak, a worldwide Pandemic of a virus called COVID-19. It acts and looks much like the flu, but seems to be even easier to pick up on. Most people pose no threat of not being able to recover, but the threat is there. And people are panicking.

Our governor was the 3rd in the country to put a shutdown on all schools for 3 weeks. I’m thankful that our kids are with us for 2/3 of the weeks and that they are in good spirits. My prince and I realized late Friday night, our house was not stocked with food well enough for there to be people locked inside for 4 weeks (because SD comes and goes every other week and doesn’t have the ability to freely come and go). So after hearing that grocery store shelves were empty, hearing stories that there was no toilet paper, milk or eggs, I decided to brave the stores and try to properly stock our shelves for the next week or so- enough for the kids to be able to fend for themselves during the day. We keep stock of particular items and weren’t worried about meat, flour, rice, or other basic essentials. But they’d get bored of bread real soon. Anyway, I went to our local supermarket, which is 20 minutes from our house. We live deep in the country and don’t have any form of grocery stores in town. The next closest store is a Wal Mart and I’d much rather give my money to a local guy than to the big box, when I can. Their prices are a little higher, but this wasn’t going to be a huge trip. And I thought- if I have to face the stores, I’d rather do it in a smaller, less populated area and not encounter the giant lines and masses of people. I’m thankful for this option and choice!

I walked in and the first thing I noticed were the cleaning products, right up front. 3/$5. I grabbed a few, since they’re all natural based and I’m allergic to most cleaning products. Found some sugary cereal for the kids, since we only have Oat Bran at home and they won’t eat it, and then moved into produce. I expected it to be wiped. Now is the time to bulk up on Vitamin C and natural foods, right? But they were full. Tons of carrots. Tons of apples, tons of oranges, even. The only items missing were onions, which I got the last bag of,  potatoes, which we have canned at home, and bananas, which is normal for a Saturday in our town. I started to doubt the hype. That maybe it was just the big-cities that were running out. Then I turned the corner. No boxed ramen noodles, no mac & cheese, low stock on cereal, low on milk, low on many frozen items, Sales on bleach!, signs above every cleaning product limiting each customer to 2, no paper towel, and the store started filling up. I couldn’t find hand sanitizer, the one I keep in my car (even when there isn’t a pandemic) was running out. No biggie, I’ll find some. I grabbed our weekly veggies- green beans, asparagus, leafy lettuce, carrots, celery and some fruits- grapefruit, apples, oranges, and went on my way.


It started to feel eerie.

Yesterday, I was bound and determined to find my kids their precious Ramen Noodles, even though i know they’re terrible for them. And I wanted bananas, one kid doesn’t like apples, one doesn’t really like oranges, they both like bananas. So does my Prince. So I went to a smaller store that I thought might be hit a little less hard than the big supermarkets. Boy, was I wrong. I pulled in and taped to their windows were bright green signs saying “No Sanitizer, paper towels, toilet paper, clorox.” I left.
Next store, didn’t have the sign but the status was the same. So I finally marched into the grocery store. When I walked in, a woman about 65 years old stopped me and said, “It’s a madhouse in there.” almost as a warning. I grinned and moved along.

It seemed fine at first, but when I turned my first corner, I saw people running. Pushing full carts. I saw every aisle with more than 3 people in it (it’s lunch hour. it’s usually bare.) There were piles of stock sitting in the aisles that the employees couldn’t keep up with. I watched the employee filling the eggs drop an entire palette of eggs and I felt customers’ hearts sink. That’s a months’ worth of food. I turned and looked away, I couldn’t handle that. He didn’t even seem to care.

People starting seeming closer, with every aisle I went in. I ran up and grabbed bananas. I scavenged for sanitizer and never found a drop. And then I finally went down the ramen aisle. My kids only like one kind and they didn’t have any. not one packet. So i went for a random brand in a bowl that cost double what an entire BOX of ramen costs. But that would feed them lunch for the rest of the week. It’s worth it. And in the long run, it’s still only $4 or $5.

We’re on a tight budget this week, because my student loans come out. over $550 of payments come out in 3 days and there is not a great way to spread our money out to make those payments, so we always have one week/month that our budget is tight. This month, it happened to be when the Pandemic hit the USA.

I got in line, I double checked with the cashier that they were sold out of sanitizer. She laughed at me, her face turned red. Like she couldn’t handle telling one more person no. I checked out and sanitized my hands in my car. The only thing i wanted for the rest of the day was to shower. I could feel all of the germs.

Anxiety started hitting me a little bit. Too many people. Big crowds. A weird feeling of loss, since I couldn’t get the very few items I was after.

After dinner, my family watches a tv show together and I kept panicking about the shower. I didn’t take one right when i got home, like I planned– because the kids wanted to hang out with me, but that’s another blog post. I felt dirty. I felt like a carrier. I got worked up enough that i started to sweat. My head started getting hot. and as soon as the show ended, I took my temperature, i actually came in UNDER temp and promptly stopped worrying. My husband changed our water filter and I scalded my skin with boiling hot water. I don’t ever want to go to the store again.

I woke up to learn that more local government agencies are closing. More restrictions. Yesterday, they shut down bars, restaurants, gyms, libraries, and more. Today, city hall and some other small jurisdictions. A friend was without power- which frightened me.

I’m trying not to bug out. I’m thankful we live in the sticks. Thankful for our safety net. Thankful for our preparedness in some areas. Thankful for positive kids and a husband with his head on straight.

I’m curious how COVID-19 is impacting you and your surroundings. We have just over 50 cases in our state and it feels so extreme. But I am A HUGE believer in social distancing. We aren’t allowing anyone in our homes and we won’t be making any visits any time soon. It’s tough, but it’s worth it to keep our families healthy.

[stepmom trigger words]

  • Playing House
  • You’re not their real mom
  • You’re not a step mom, that’s an earned title
  • I know him better than you.
  • There’s no award for Best Step Mom
  • MY son/daughter
  • …between the PARENTS
  • Don’t do ____ with my child
  • I’ll let you
  • You owe me
  • New Wife
  • HIS family
  • They’re not your kids
  • girlfriend (when you’re a Wife.)

What are triggers for you and your fam? These are some of the more popular/common triggers and are things that we try to avoid in our home.

[under my skin update]


You might remember my post about a month ago called Under my Skin.

It was about finding the fastest way to my trigger point, to learning how to make something snap inside of me that I can’t even explain. A way to strike a chord so deep, I’m uncertain if there is a way back to safety.

Friends, i have to tell you. This was a dark time for me. A very dark time.

Someone close to me insulted me in a way that I’ve never been insulted before. And the worst part? I couldn’t get away and this person is in a position of authority over me that made it  almost impossible to see past. I couldn’t avoid them. I couldn’t not interact. I couldn’t just ignore it- when I tried, it built up even more.

I didn’t turn into my normal, angry self, when this happened. Instead, anxiety built. Stress built. Sadness built. Worry built. I started challenging myself on where I belong again. and I started listening to the things he said, until my husband started responding in SUPPORT of me and validating my feelings. This is NOT something he usually does- not that he isn’t supportive, but he doesn’t usually give into my feelings… at all. And that’s fine, he just isn’t that guy!

When my Prince started telling me that I was right in my discomfort, he encouraged me to be bold and to take these huge steps that I couldn’t imagine ever taking. He was offended, too. We aren’t easy to offend. But this was big.

My church, ironically enough, started talking about grudges and how to work through them and how having grudges isn’t Holy and can separate you from God. Man, I’d try to listen- but I couldn’t’ say that what I was feeling was a grudge, more than a hurt or a deep affliction. So I kept attending each week, taking dagger after dagger.

I, of course, prayed over it. I even brought it to my Sunday School class, where I hardly share. i told them that my heart was in a million pieces and i was just torn and needing some prayer. They prayed. The pain remained.

The series ended and the next day, i was in TURMOIL. I couldn’t hardly bare it. I got in the truck with a coworker and he asked me how i was doing, and I couldn’t hide it. I CRIED in front of him. And he prayed over me while we drove. I couldn’t believe it. I know that this man is a man of God and knew that grace would be on my side, but I couldn’t believe I was crying in his truck, talking about this situation.

That same day, the situation alleviated itself.
I was called in to the office to have a one-on-one conversation and a review. And I was TORN up. Everything that was said was positive, but I felt so………..ucky. I don’t have a better word. I felt like word vomit was about to come out or maybe worse, actual vomit. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t look up. I was trapped, feeling like I couldn’t accept these kind words when I’d been talked to so horribly just the week before.

I started to ease into the conversation and he stopped me. He apologized for the words spoken in the past. He backtracked every word he had said that had hurt me- some things that hadn’t even been the focus on my mind anymore. And he restored me.

My Prince was waiting in the car for me, I was 15 minutes over. And I almost cried tears of joy.

The relief that I felt was so strong!

I have studied the bible and read the words of being in captivity or being in turmoil in biblical terms and have thought that i’d experienced it with general sin in my life at times, but never this way. I never had experienced freedom like I had that day.

Joy was BURSTING through me and I talked to my husband about this hour long conversation for MANY hours. He couldn’t get a word in. I couldn’t help it.

My God saw me. He sees me. He knew my heart and knows my mind. he sees my needs and he fulfills them in ways I can’t explain.

My God is Good.