So how is it being a mother of three?

I get this question often.

I'm a little over five weeks into this new gig, and I still don't know how to answer it.

Let me keep it real.


You've heard of pregnancy brain, right? Well a friend once told me that pregnancy brain never goes away even after you have kids. She was right. But what she failed to tell me is that with each kid, I would get dumber. Not dumber in the IQ sense but dumber in the "oh my gosh, I'm going to forget one of my kids at the grocery store" sense. And no, I haven't done that.


Here are a just a few examples of the effect my mushy brain has had on my still living and breathing family.

During my first week home with Miss Greta I left the house without the diaper bag. Twice. Two nights in a row. You'd think I would have learned the first time I left the house without the necessities of traveling with a child who poops through clothes, spits up constantly and requires an endless supply of baby wipes. Not to mention, this nursing mom doesn't go anywhere without her nursing cover. Unless I want to get my Mardi Gras on.

And just today I thought I was getting ahead of the game when I sprayed down the entire bathtub with bleach-infused 409 cleanser. I insisted that my husband bathe the kids this evening as our early summer has taken a toll under their fingernails and on the bottoms of their pigs. As I could hear my children splashing in the bathtub, it hit me. I never rinsed out the bathtub. It was still caked with bleach-infused 409. And now my precious little minis were swimming in it. Of course at the time of this realization I was nursing. So I took my baby-latched-to-boob and bolted up the stairs screaming, "Get the kids out of the bathtub!" The look my husband gave me said it all. I had lost my ever loving mind. I was showerless, spit-up stained, droopy eyed, and now running up the stairs topless while screaming. And you thought Kony 2012s Jason Russell went off the deep? He ain't got nothin' on this crazy lady.

But my husband is a gracious man. As he stared at me and all my lunacy, he knew his best bet was to scoop the kids out of the tub and not say another word.

Oh, and have you heard about the cake incident?

My dear cousin baked me a scrumptious chocolate cake for my 32nd birthday (love ya, Lis). She generously gave me the leftover cake contained perfectly in a plastic cake caddy. Finding no room to store it in my kitchen, I thoughtlessly threw it in the oven knowing I'd pull it out the next morning for breakfast (I'm 32. I can eat whatever I darn well please for breakfast, thankyouverymuch).

But I didn't. Breakfast turned into lunch and realizing my children might starve if I didn't feed them fast, I turned on the oven so that I could serve them an overwhelmed mother's dream meal: frozen pizza.

And then it happened.

You know when people ask you how you are doing after having a baby, and the cliche answer is something like, "If everybody is alive by the end of the day, then we succeeded," well those words have never rung so true as the day that I almost burned down the house because of my birthday cake.

But we are all alive and still in one piece. And no thanks to me.

Because being a mother of three ain't always pretty. In fact, it's usually very very messy. And it requires a heck of a lot more brain cells than I have left (no thanks to my early 20s).

Seriously and truly all thanks be to God. He is the only reason we are surviving. And as evidenced by these pictures, these precious little lives are worth every humbling lunatic moment I've endured and will endure.


What God Moments?

Here is what I wrote in my journal on Wednesday:

Harper is on day five of the flu. We've cleaned up vomit and laundered its victims more times than I can count. I've never seen her so sick. The week opened with days worth of plans and obligations but now my iCal sits empty. I can't let go of the worry that consumes me as I watch her suffer. Not to mention my own exhaustion. It's pushing me to the brink. My faith is flailing. I haven't left the house since I don't know when. I want to see the God moments in all of this but my head is foggy and my anxieties are high. All I see are demons.

It's now Friday, and while Fridays usually don't mean much considering each day spills into the next, I am thankful for Friday. My daughter is healthy, my family is healthy, and a gorgeous weekend is ahead of us.

In retrospect, God was here this past week, His Presence all around us. He protected my sweet son, my precious husband, and even me from the ugly virus that I know satan wanted us to suffer. God healed my daughter and returned her spunk. He showered us with support from kind friends and my always selfless family. And most importantly, He humbled me. He brought me to a place where I could only depend on Him for each waking minute. My body was zombified. My mind drunk with sleep-deprivation. I was a basket-case but God had mercy on me.

As I reread what I wrote on Wednesday, I realize it was a bit dramatic. Harper only had the flu, after all. But you couldn't have told me that in the moment. And strangely, I'm thankful that it was so hard for me. It took me to a place that I needed to go, a place of desperate intimacy with the God who pulled me out of the pit. And He gave me an even greater appreciation for His gifts - my beautiful and healthy children.

Had I not taken this journey, I might have responded differently today when my daughter threw a royal fit - flailing her body to the ground, face slammed into the dirt, remnants of asphalt jammed into her forehead. Normally I might have wanted to give up. How do you console a little girl who is acting possessed? But giving up didn't even cross my mind. My daughter was healthy enough to act completely awful, and that same grace God showed me this week overcame me as I loved my daughter through her utter tantrum.

My precious daughter, sicker than sick.

Thank you, Jesus! She's back.

God moments are always there. But you must open your eyes to see.

James 1:2-4

Turns my darkness into light

2 Samuel 22:29
The Lord turns my darkness into light.

So I have to tell y'all, I have been BLOWN away by your responses to my last post. I had no clue - no clue at all - that I would receive that kind of love.



Wowy Zowy.

It's been such a tug-and-pull. As the comments came in on the blog and facebook (and even more in my inbox), I thought, "Wait, I just told the world that I suck as a mom, and no one hates me?"

Honestly, I think I expected children's services to knock on my door. It took a lot to hit publish on that post - a lot of second-guessing and doubting and fearing and wincing.

And before I could even think about taking it all back I received a huge outpouring of love that I was not prepared to receive.

I spent the day sort of dazed, thinking - God, you love me even though I can act like a monster? I don't even know some of these amazing people, and they're telling me that I am not alone. I do not deserve this. Not at all.

And what was even more precious is that just as the doubts came pouring back to me (these folks just feel bad for you, Ali, that's all . . . they can't really relate, they just want to make you feel better, Ali . . . they're all judging you, you idiot) God showed me even more love than I could handle.

Not only did He bless me through y'all, He blessed me with a really awesome "mom" day. On the heels of a crap-crap-crappy day and a big-fat-I-suck blog post, God showed me that each day is new and His mercies are everlasting. I couldn't even tell you what was different about that new day. Maybe the kids actually were better behaved. Or maybe God just packed me full of unlimited patience and peace. Whatever it was, it was God - working through me and YOU - your love, support, and encouragement sent me straight to cloud nine. How can I ever thank y'all?!

It was one simple day of refreshment, and it was EXACTLY what my soul needed.

And since then, it hasn't been all peaches and cream. Just this morning there have been too many time-outs to count and an embarrassing amount of swear words erupting from under my breath.

I am constantly surrendering to a power that is way bigger than I can even fathom. And because God is so darn good, He is quick to hug me to the point of tears just as fast as He gives me a swift and necessary kick in my rear when I need it.

I continue to be humbled by y'all. And my kids relentlessly show me that I have a lot of growing up to do.

Thank you for coming alongside me through this amazing yet often impossible journey of motherhood.

Now cut out this virtual silliness and get over here and give me a great big hug.


There is a dark side.

I initially started this blog because I don't scrapbook and yet I wanted to keep the memories we are creating as a family. My posts are usually positive & light-hearted. But there's an entirely different side of memories that I don't blog about. Frankly, I'm ashamed because they are dark and who wants to relive the darkness.

I am a mother. More specifically, Monday through Friday I spend 11 nonstop waking hours parenting two toddlers all on my own. And during the course of that 11-hour day, I screw up royally and often.

And though the screw-ups sometimes outweigh the parenting successes, I don't blog about them.

I didn't blog about the times I screamed so loudly at my kids that I'm certain my neighbors heard me.

Or the time I chucked the kids' beloved truck out the back door because I could no longer tolerate the fighting.

Or the time I cupped my son's face so tightly that I couldn't stop staring at his cheeks for fear I had left a mark.

Or the time I let my daughter throw her body on the floor, wailing because I wouldn't pick her up, because I was too flustered in my attempt to make dinner.

Or the times I pushed my kids away as they crawled into my lap to read a book because I was too engrossed in an email or worse yet, facebook.

Or the times I have physically walked out the front door because I was certain that if I heard one more child cry, I would surely lose it.

If it sucks for you to read my failures, trust me, it really sucks for me to type them. Sucks. Sucks. Sucks.

Just yesterday I pulled my kids into my lap and apologized profusely for losing my temper. Sweet Henry looked at me and said, "Temper? It's lost? Is it on your back? Where did it go, mommy?" I nearly cried at his innocence and yet I wanted so badly for him to understand that I was sorry.

He'll get it eventually. It certainly won't be the last apology he hears from me.

And fortunately for me, I have Jesus.

Seriously, truly, I don't know how to do this job without Jesus. Every minute of everyday I get to start fresh. Last night, after a rough day, I went for a jog (Thank you, Matt, for allowing me that time. You are such a gift to me.) As the sun went down, in 20 degrees along ice-covered sidewalks, I was overwhelmed with emotions knowing that my God will restore all the crap that I create as a mother. He adores my kids even more than I do (how is that even possible?) and when I screw up and act like a lunatic, the Lord fills my home with grace and mercy, blessing each of us amidst the mess of our lives.

I am so far from a perfect mother. And yet God knows that I am the best mother for Henry and Harper. And so when I fail and fail and fail, God forgives me and renews my soul so that I can turn around and show my children love even when I would rather crawl into a hole covered in shame.

Henry & Harper, there are not enough words to tell you how much you two mean to me, and there will never be enough I'm sorry's to make up for all the mistakes I made, am making, and will make.

And thank you Jesus. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you.

Worst moment of my life.

If you're a parent, then you've probably been there. The moment you realize that you lost your child.

It happened to me. In my home. Sort of.

Let me set the scene. We allow our son, who is 2 years old, to play on our screened-in back porch unsupervised. On this particular morning, I could hear him playing, and playing, and playing, and then silence. But it was one of those moments where the silence didn't hit me until it had been minutes of silence.

I'm sick to my stomach even thinking about it.

What made this moment so awfully nightmarish is when I realized that he was outside and we live only feet away from a busy road.

Sick. Sick. Sick.

I was nursing my daughter at the time. I flew out of the house, with her still attached. The minute I realized he was gone, I yanked her off and set her down. I set her down so fast that she fell over and hit her head. She was screaming. I was screaming. As I ran down the back steps into our backyard, I heard the cars rushing by. I kept screaming and screaming.

And then I saw him.

He was running my way, parallel to the street.

Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you. Thank you.

He was safe. He was alive. And apparently he had been having the time of his life.

He was covered, absolutely covered, in mud.

I didn't care. I scooped him up so fast, and finally, I breathed.

It was then that it hit me that my heart was racing and my baby girl was on the ground, still screaming.

But I couldn't let go of him. I just couldn't.

I had just endured the absolute worst moment of my life.

As it turns out, I had failed to lock the back door (he can open the door if it's not locked). You better believe that I'm obsessive-compulsive about locking that door now.

Hours after the incident I was still edgy. No longer shaking, but I could still feel the pit in my stomach.

The thought of losing my son had become a reality. If even for a minute, it was a reality that I never, ever want to experience again.


I spent yesterday in fear.

Fear because my daughter started throwing up, and I had no idea when it would stop.

Fear that because she was throwing up, I would be next. And then my husband. And then my son. Oh, please not my son.

Fear that not only was my baby sick, but she was the kind of sick that required a change of clothes for her and me (or my husband) every time she became sick. And possibly a carpet or couch cleaning, depending on where her sick happened.

It was an awful place to be.

But it didn't have to be that way.

Sure, my baby was sick, and for a mom, there's really nothing worse than watching your baby suffer.

But instead of living in the moment, consoling my daughter and embracing her needs, I ulcered my way through the day, worrying about when she'd puke next or when my son would catch it or when, if ever, the plague would leave my house.

The worst part was that not until late afternoon, hours after her spell had come and gone, I realized that not once had I prayed.

I was so consumed with how her illness affected ME that I failed to remember God's command, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6)

Wow, I sure screwed up that one.

I spent my entire Sunday with a pit in my stomach because I was too darn consumed with ME, and oh-baby-girl-please-forgive-me, but I should have been PRAYING over her, and better yet, THANKING GOD for her.

But today is new. And thanks be to God, she is better. And as of now, no one else has caught the bug. Whatdya know, all that worrying and ulcering and festering was only to my own detriment.

A fresh start.
My baby girl, bright-eyed and beautiful this morning.

How about you? How does Philippians 4:6 apply to your life today?

Best mom moment ever.

Like many two-year-old boys, my son struggles to verbally communicate. In fact, most of his meltdowns stem from his inability to tell me what he needs or wants. Much of the time he uses pointing and grunting to communicate, and today he used his non-verbals to melt my heart.

I was putting him in his crib for his nap, and as I set him down, he leaned into me, offering me a kiss. I was so touched. I leaned down and gave him a giant smooch on his head, and then he leaned into me again, this time wrapping his arms around me, offering me a hug. I nearly died. Never has my son offered me a kiss and hug without prompting. I couldn't believe that he initiated it.

Could. Not. Believe. It.

And here's the kicker. As I walked away from my most precious son, tears in my eyes, I said, "Oh, Henry baby, I love you so much it hurts." And you know what he said in return?


Though he didn't understand what I meant by love-you-so-much-it-hurts, he does understand that hurt and ouch go hand-n-hand.

Henry Duran Hooper, thank you for providing me with the absolute best mom moment ever.

And Henry, one more thing, Ouch, baby, ouch.

*Thank you, Gabe Taviano, for capturing this amazing picture of my son.

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

One of those days

I'm having one of those days.

One of those days when I wonder why God even gave me a brain because all I ever do is nurse and surely the only part of my body that serves any purpose is the same part of my body that causes me disgust when I look in the mirror (gravity, you are mean, mean, mean).

One of those days when I wish the changing table came with those straps that they used to tie down my arms when I shimmied my big pregnant butt onto the operating table so that they could surgically remove the same baby that now kicks and squirms and twists when I change his diaper.

One of those days when I open my closet and see: tank top, sweatpants, tank top, sweatshirt, tank top, maternity top, maternity top, sweatpants, stretchy jeans - the reality of my life equates to one lame wardrobe. The bottom of my closet is lined with leather stilettos and six-inch peep-toe wedges, a sick reminder of a life that once was.

One of those days when my son wipes his forever snotty nose on the curtains, and I don't even flinch nor do I plan on doing anything about it.

One of those days when I contemplate opening the front door and letting the dog run for his life. I don't chase after him.

One of those days when my son has spent half the morning in time-out, and though he's been disobedient, my fuse is short. It's a bad combination.

One of those days when my daughter has spent more time crying and less time being consoled, because frankly, I'm not in the mood.

It's been one of those days.

But you know what? It's only one day. It might be one very ugly day, but it's only one day. Just one day of me bitchin' and groanin' and moanin'. Just one l-o-n-g day and I'll pout my miserable self to bed and pray for forgiveness. Because let's face it. I'm the one choosing to be a pisser about nursing and diaper changing and snotty noses and a yellow lab and frumpy clothes and a crying baby and a testy toddler. It's not their fault that I'm having one of those days.

Today may be one of those days, but tomorrow doesn't have to be. God is so stinkin' gracious like that.

*I wrote this several days ago.

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct


I was so desperate that I didn't foresee the aftermath.

Of course he was happy, so I accomplished my goal.

Yet the mess and clean-up that followed sent me right back over the edge.

But when two babies are screaming and the dog just puked up a sock, momma will do anything to bring peace.

And let's face it, chocolate is peace.

Non-Maternal Instincts

I wrote this post yesterday afternoon.

Nonmaternal Instinct

I screamed this morning.

For no good reason other than I wanted to scream. I needed to scream.

Because as of 10:00 this morning, I was certifiably going crazy. Like off-my-rocker send-me-to-the-asylum crazy.

Have you ever felt that way? It's a terrible feeling. Actually, it helped me to empathize with people who really are insane. Like diagnosably insane. I think I just made that word up. Diagnosably. Use it anytime you like. You're welcome.

Anyway, this morning was rough. Ugh. Mom FAIL. Jesus Save Us All. R-O-U-G-H.

From 7am, when the kids woke me up, to 10am, when I screamed, the following mess ensued:
  • Two dirty diapers.
  • Two hungry kids (requiring me to quickly throw something together for Henry so that I could assume my position on the couch to nurse Harper).
  • Violently vomiting baby - crap spewing out of her nose, and all - requiring a bath on the spot and an emergency load of laundry (Baby throw-up is one of the most horrible smells. I can't tolerate it. Never have. The soiled items could not wait until later.)
  • Poopy toddler. Another diaper change.
  • And since Harper emptied her belly, she needed nursed again. Back to the couch.
  • CHALLENGING toddler. Henry insisted on getting into anything and everything - cable box, blinds, outlets, matchbox cars across t.v., dog food, I could go on-and-on.
  • So I literally was running around the house, disciplining Henry one handed while cradling Harper who was latched on. I can only imagine what that looked like.
  • Henry pooped again. Bath this time. Very necessary considering his poop was F-U-N-K-Y.
  • And as I plopped Henry in the tub, Harper wailed and wailed because she was not done eating nor did she appreciate me putting her down.
  • After a quick bath, I snatched Harper back up, latched her on, and found Henry banging on the pantry door (Translation: I want snack).
  • I gave him his favorite, marshmallows, because his sugar consumption was the least of my concerns at that point.
  • Rather than eating the marshmallows, Henry mushed them all up so that they were sticking between his fingers. Once again, time to unlatch Harper. This time so that I could clean up sticky fingers.
  • As I was returning to clean up the rest of the marshmallows (Henry had thrown them across the floor), Harper began wailing and Henry began whining because I was throwing the remaining marshmallows down the sink.
Yes, that is when I screamed. I had to. It was either scream or walk out of the house. Seriously, I was front-door bound.

But the screaming didn't help. Not that much, anyway. Rather it released something totally unexpected. Tears.

There I was, standing between a wailing baby and a whining toddler, with tears streaming down my face. Ugh.

Mom Fail.

But the tears provoked something that I should have done a long time ago. Prayer. I had not called out to God once during my three hours of hell.

So I prayed. Nothing pretty. Nothing eloquent. Just a desperate and tear-stained, "Oh Lord. Please help. Please. Give me sanity. Give me strength. Give me what I need to survive this day. And give me what I need to show my children love. Please."

It wasn't instant. I still had two unhappy children. But in time, things calmed down. And in time, I calmed down.

And for no other reason than that we have a merciful God, my day got better. It really did. Who knows if things really got better or if my attitude simply changed, probably a bit of both, but I was humbled as I realized that my three hours of mom hell were simply a part of my blessed life. Seriously.

Later, I sat with my son cuddled under one arm and my daughter nursing on my other side, gazing into each of their beautiful eyes, thanking God for giving me two beautiful babies who are totally worth it.

Can you hear me screaming now?

Because I am.

Blessed. I am so blessed.