Embarrassing Story Time: Toothpaste or Something Else?

There’s nothing like a little embarrassment, especially from your past self.

I love rereading old blog posts and remembering stories that happened. Sometimes I even go to my old blogs just to see. It makes me laugh every time.

Recently, I’ve started a project with my grandpa (and all the family) and was reminded about one story. It happened clear back in 2015 when I went to watch my little cousin graduate from boot camp. I found it on one of my old blogs and figured I’d share it with you now.

It also makes me smile knowing this was written when Jensen was just a little speck in my belly. I didn’t know yet, but I was pregnant with him.

Look and see how much I’ve grown in six years… and you can laugh at me too.


Brush, Brush, Brush…

As many of you know or would guess, I’m a very clean person. I’m constantly brushing my teeth, washing my hands, or showering. My biggest pet peeve is my teeth being unclean or feel like there’s buildup on them. Every night, I brush my teeth, wash my face, and brush my hair. Every night it goes smoothly, until I went to Fort Leonard Wood, MO this past weekend.

The clouds are low in MO.

Since I wanted to get there a day early, I left with my Uncle Steve and Grandpa. I tried to pack everything I could think of that I would need for one night. Usually my mom will have all the other things I forgot, but she wouldn’t be there. The whole trip was going smoothly. I remembered all my car sickness medicine, my toothbrush, and deodorant. When we got back to the hotel room late, I realized I forget conditioner.

This simple sample-sized product can usually be found in the hotel shower. Yet, there was none. As my uncle and grandpa settled in and started to fall asleep, I snuck down to the lobby to ask nicely for conditioner. Turns out the whole hotel was conditioner free. At this point, I was stuck. I couldn’t ask anyone for keys to drive to the store. Plus, I didn’t even know where a store was. Of course I got on Pinterest and found out once could use lotion as a conditioner substitute. Well, it was worth a try.

Thankfully the lotion worked.
This probably was the biggest success of my nightly routine.

The after effects of lotion: puffy hair.

After my shower I felt like all the travel grime was washed away. I could sleep peacefully all clean in a nice comfortable bed. First things first though, I had to get that minty fresh taste in my mouth. As I’m rummaging through my weekend bag, I realize I forgot one other thing… my toothpaste.

Let’s just say there’s not Pinterest tips to help me here. In my last attempt effort, I saw my grandpa’s toiletry bag by the sink. He has to have toothpaste in there. It only takes a second to find the tube. I get my toothbrush out, squeeze the paste, and go to town on my teeth. But, the toothpaste tasted off, it was bland and seemed to be sticking to my teeth. I keep brushing as best as I could, but still it gets harder around my teeth. Then it tastes and feels as if there’s cement all throughout my mouth.

In a panic, I hurry and look at the ‘toothpaste.’ Instead of saying Colgate, I read Fixodent: All Day Hold.

I just had confused denture adhesive with toothpaste; aka the WORST decision ever. Not only was it the most disgusting taste, I seriously did not think it was going to come out. I kept brushing, but nothing helped.

Long story short, it took my 45 minutes to get all the adhesive out. Better yet, when I put my old clothes back into my bag… I found my toothpaste.

Moral of the Story…

Always put your toothpaste in a place you can easily find.

Hopefully you all enjoyed this post and got a little giggle out of it. Initially after I did this, I only told my mom and did not want anyone else to know. BUT I think you would all enjoy.


What a night to remember.

I think the second best part of finding this was the grainy phone pictures six years ago. Either way, this put a smile to my face.

Do you ever look back on past situations and just laugh? Or have you ever mistaken denture adhesive with toothpaste?

Oh… that last part is definitely just past Danielle.

It’s been a year…

It’s been a year.

One whole year of not feeling your skin on mine. No false promises that have slipped through my ears. A complete year void of you.

The seemingly impossible feat of filling that void seems a lot more possible now. Even when I saw the signs from you and felt that tiny second of longing, I remembered.

I remembered the mental and emotional abuse. The abandonment. Every terrible thing you brought.

But, I remembered something more important — me.

I remembered the long nights of healing. The comfort of family and friends. Everything wonderful I’d never get with you.

The seemingly impossible feat of filling that void was possible because of me. Even when I slipped, I remembered my growth, happiness, and her smile. Oh, I remembered.

One whole year of doing what was right for me. No false promises going through my head. A complete year full of my growth.

It’s been a year.

What Makes a Super Papa?

A few days ago, I shared an old letter to my Super Dad. I read a few parts of it to Mila and saw her smiling at the picture.

“He’s a Super Papa, don’t you think?”

“Yeah. He my Super Papa… but why?”

We’re head deep in the “why” stage here, so I wasn’t too surprised at this question. Instead of answering her, I turned that question back to her for the next few days. During that time, I’ve wrote down all the reasons Mila thinks her Papa is her Super Papa.

Swims in the pool with me.

Let’s me surf.

Walks.

Gives me ‘nacks.

Catching the moon.

Gets rocks.

Plays with me.

Go fishing.

Tells stories.

Makes me smile.

I give him a heart.

Everything that makes him super in her eyes is being present and there for her. After she would tell me her reason, she would tell me she loves her Papa and wants to go to their house.

As she wrote in his Father’s Day card, she sung, “I love my Papa Ridgway. My Papa Ridgway loves me. He makes me happy. This is me and this is him.

I don’t know the true definition of a Super Papa, but I think Mila has it right.

Those important to you aren’t important just for one reason. It’s the millions of little things that let you know they care about you. The moments that she identifies him as super might seem like simple pieces to some, but are everything to her.

It’s the difference of making a regular man a Super Papa.

Happy Father’s Day to all the father figures positively impacting the kids in their lives. You help make the world go round. Good father figures need recognized and celebrated, especially today!

Thank you to any father figure who is putting the work in. It takes a village to raise a gold generation.

A Letter to my Super Dad.

*This letter was originally written in 2013. I’ve been reflecting on fatherhood so much this week, that I remembered this letter and wanted to share it again. So my dad could be reminded of how much he meant to me then and still today.

It’s hard for me to think a ton of negative thoughts about fatherhood, because I have one of the best.*

Dear Dad;

When I close my eyes, I can easily imagine a few people. Most notably is my family. When I picture my mom, I see her smile and hear her laugh. It gives me a warm feelings. Logan’s picture in my head is him a football uniform. I sense a strong, but welcoming feeling. My dad is more complex. I picture a him smiling too, but much taller than he actually is. He is almost always busy with something, like in his work clothes or making me breakfast. It’s a very comforting and protective feeling. He is my Super Dad and not anything less.

Almost twenty-one years ago you and Mom began something magical. The two of you were in love and soon after your family grew. Even though I obviously do not remember being brought home or anything about my beginning years, I can only imagine how much your lives changed; it mostly brings a smile to my face. A little over a year afterwards, my baby brother was brought home and even though it was the end of our family, it was the start to my beautiful life.

This weekend, you went through a tragedy I would never wish on anyone. I hope I never have to lose Logan; he, just like you and Mom, mean the whole entire world to me. From Friday night to tonight, I have witnessed every single emotion I know develop and be acted upon through you. No one should ever have that much go through them at once. I am very sorry you lost your brother and I am even more sorry and sad about the pain you are going through.

I know I’m not the best daughter.

When I was much younger, I gave unlimited hugs and love. In my eyes you were my everything, along with Mom. Every spring when we got our bikes out, you retaught me how to ride again. You taught me so much, much more than you realize. Through your actions and words I picked up on good and bad, right and wrong, and I mimic your emotions.

As I grew up, I pulled away from hugs and wanted to distance myself so I could grow up. Just like you, I became stubborn and set in my ways. We always have to be right and there’s nothing wrong with that. Even though I did things you disagreed with, you would always stick up for me. I think that meant/means the most to me. You could’ve just said I was making dumb decisions to others, but you always stood up for me. Even if it was when someone made me cry or someone that doubted my decisions, you had my back. I’m sorry I tried to differentiate myself and rebel against you guys. It wasn’t anything you guys ever did, it was just me finding myself. When I graduated and went to college, I know it made you upset when I would text Mom first, but I did not do it purposely. I went to Italy and tried my best to talk to all of you. But when I moved back home, I feel as if it bought us all back closer than ever before. On the mornings where we eat breakfast and talk start my day off wonderfully.

Through all of this time, you worked to make Logan and my life better and comfortable. There are days where you will work well into the night, just to make sure we get what we want. You devote your time not only to your family, but it makes me so happy to see you spend time doing things you love. On Friday nights, you are so happy to be on the field. The people I graduated with to the football players now all respect you and appreciate you to no end. You have impacted their lives even in a small way. Sometimes I think you believe we take you for granted, but I assure you that is not true.

You are the most important man in my life and will always be; even though you think that won’t be true sometime in the future. The way you raised me has and always will impact and effect me and the things I do. When people tell me I’m a good student, worker or person, it is a direct reflection on your parenting. You’re more than just a parent too. I can talk to you, joke around or I don’t have to say anything if I can’t. You are hard working, caring and even though we can argue, you can make me laugh or smile anytime. My relationship with you is unlike any other relationship I have. I can’t imagine not having you in my life.

For selfish reasons, this weekend’s events have made me think about what would happen if I lost you… Honestly, I don’t know what I would do. I would not only lose my father, but one of my best friends too.

I just want you to always know I love you and I thank you for everything that I accomplish; without you I would be nothing. I promise to hug you more and call you first more. (Not just when my car breaks down on the side of the road.) I hope I never see you as sad and upset as you were this weekend. It really hurts me to see you like that, although I know those emotions are normal. Like I’ve said many times these past few days: I am so sorry.

I love you Dad and I promise I will always be your little girl.

Motherhood freed me.

Last month, I saw a post by Avery’s Garden asking for submissions of creative grief. The prompt was, “What does motherhood look like to you?”

For me, motherhood has been complicated and full of ups and downs.

In the beginning, I was stripped away from physically mothering Jensen. I will never be able to fully explain that pain and how it will always linger. I’ve tried hundreds of time, but there are no words.

As the months and years have went past, my motherhood has evolved.

I have Mila and we remember Jensen each day. With the two of them, I parent and honor them so different. I’ve changed the way I look at my motherhood too.

Here’s how I see my motherhood this year…

Through the grief and nakedness
of losing the biggest part of me,
planted a seed.

Out of that pain and emptiness
came all the growth and beauty.
Motherhood freed me.

I’m definitely not an artist, but I enjoyed painting and creating. When I look at this piece, I think of how far I’ve come and how much love I give every day.

Motherhood isn’t a pretty thing. It’s hard and is never perfect. Somehow through it all, it’s freed me.

I couldn’t imagine a life without them. Everyday I’m glad they chose me to be their mom.

6 Life Lessons from a Three Year Old.

photo by simplicity of grace.

I always thought motherhood was teaching your children about the ins and outs of life.

We teach them to walk, talk, and be functional humans. Or that’s the goal. Through their trials, we help encourage them to become better people and learn from what life hands them.

My unconventional start to motherhood sort of took that away from me. I learned so much from Jensen and his death that I would have never imagined. With Mila, I thought it’d be me doing all the teaching, not the learning. In many ways, being her mom has surprised me.

As much as I’ve taught her and helped encourage her to become the sassy three year old that she’s become, she’s made me into a whole new person.

With Bereaved Mother’s Day and Mother’s Day coming up the next two weekends, I’ve been thinking a lot about my motherhood. Jensen has taught me so much about love and living fully. I’ve talked about it extensively through this outlet. This morning, as Mila hugged me not to go, all the lessons she’s taught me have flooded my head.

Here’s just a few.

It’s okay.

One thing Mila did not get from me is anxiety. She is the most steady person I know and it’s a beautiful combination with us two.

When she needs comforted, I’m there for her. I never thought kids could do the same thing. Yet, anytime I’m upset, she comes over and just says, ‘it’s okay.’ Then she’ll shush me and just give me a tight squeeze. This act of hers has taught me so much about patience and realizing the moment will go away.

Anytime I’m feeling stressed when she’s not around, I remember her sweet voice and that seems to help make a lot of things feel okay.

Laugh at the little things.

All I have to do is give our dog a certain look and Mila laughs wildly.

Mila’s taught me not to take life so seriously. After Jensen died, it was hard to laugh freely. With her, she just demands humor and lightness. She’ll do things just to make other people laugh. Or when she’s upset, I know if she laughs once, she’ll be much better.

The mix of seriousness and lightness has balanced out the last three years. She’ll always be the one who giggles at the the little things. I’m happy for that.

Just be you.

In a world where social media dominates, it’s hard to just be yourself. Influencers and the media try to sway us constantly, but Mila has taught me the opposite.

She doesn’t understand advertisements and social media yet, but she’s the opposite force. When I look at her, I see so much uniqueness and individuality, I would never want her to be like anyone else. Just herself. I reflect on that often and encourage her to do follow her ways.

Then, I think about how I can apply that to myself and others around me. I want those that I love (and beyond) to just be them. For me, I just want to be me. There’s not code to follow or correct way to live. The most beautiful person we can be is just ourselves.

Every time I look at her, I’m reminded of that.

Live in the moment.

Mila has taught me to see the world completely differently.

The main way is to live in the moment. I can have 100 things planned out, but she pulls me into the present like no other. It’s funny because I could be doing work and she says, “watch me.” Sometimes I tell her to wait, but then I realize, I can never get this moment back with her. So, we pretend and play and just live.

Work will always be there and it gets done, just a little bit later.

We’re in this together.

I know moms, even myself, complain about never having any alone time. It’s exhausting, so of course Mila and I are in this together.

But, that’s not what I mean.

At three, I have such serious conversations about what she wants for our life too. We decide on where we want to go or what we want to eat. We’ve talked about different vacations or what plants to buy too.

It sounds silly since she’s three, but this is her life and childhood too. Together, we have to make it the very best it can be. When she’s happy, I am too.

We’re in this life and growing together.

Love.

The one thing children bring unconditionally is love.

Love, love, love.

I love Jensen and Mila more than anything. Mila has physically showed me how kids love outwardly. It isn’t in the moments everyone sees or knows about. Even though she’s in a “I like you” stage, she always nods her head when I say, “do you mean love?” back to her.

Love isn’t in her words though. It’s in the hugs where she tells me it’s going to be okay, her laughter that fills the room, and the fruit snacks and juice she brings to bed for us.

She’s taught me how love can glue back a broken heart and even leave space for more.

In these three years, sometimes I get confused about who’s taking care of who. As much as I help her grow, she helps me grow too. I love being her and Jensen’s mom.

What big life lessons have your children taught you?

The One Activity to Help Anyone Write Poetry.

It’s the last “Self Care Sunday” of April and National Poetry Month.

Honestly, the month has went fairly quick. I think with how busy we were, it helped with my grief and anxiety. Keeping myself busy with school, writing, and poetry has given me the space I needed. Now that I’ve made it to the end of April and my college classes (!), I can relax just a little bit.

To celebrate the occasions, I wanted to share one fun and interesting way that anyone can create poetry. Yes, ANYONE.

One of the hardest parts with writing poetry is finding inspiration.

How does someone narrow down all the things that inspire them? Then pick out the words to explain it? It’s actually a pretty daunting task if you really think about it.

Yet, there’s something most everyone can connect with… music!

No matter what type of music a person listens to, there are usually lyrics and meaning behind them. I think everyone connects to songs differently, even the same ones. Song lyrics are just long poems, so one way to create your own poetry easy it to pull from what you’re familiar with.

How to create your own poem with song lyrics.

This is simple. All you have to do is look at lyrics from your favorite songs and pull different lines form it. You could do one or two songs and just pick the lyrics that speak to you.

I’ll show you an example.

One song that I love is “More Than a Feeling” by Boston. It’s catchy and reminds me of song you can drive around with your windows down in the summer. When I looked into the lyrics, I found different lines to construe the song to make it have more of a connection to me.

Here’s the pretty version of the poem I came up with. If you pull up lyrics from “More Than a Feeling,” you can instantly tell where I pulled from.

Now my poem might not give off the vibe of driving around with the windows down like the song did. But, it’s not supposed to do that.

When I wrote this poem, I thought about my motherhood. Losing Jensen and how it felt like he slipped away from me. Then having Mila and wanting to hold on to her. It sort of reminds me of how grief creeps up on a person and takes them away for a little bit.

Okay, let’s do another one.

The second song I chose is “Thnks fr th Mmrs” by Fall Out Boy.

All I did was pull different lines from the song to make it into my own poem. It’s really as simple as that.

No matter what feeling you get from a song, you can put your own spin on it through a poem. It’s also a nice way to start writing poetry. There are people that don’t think they’re good at writing, but with this activity, you already have the words provided for you. All you have to do is put them in the order you want.

There’s not right or wrong ways to write poetry, but writing it can be a great way to express yourself.

I have a few more poems that I’m going to share in the next few days about motherhood, of course with Mother’s Day coming up. They’re vulnerable to share, but I love creating and getting feedback on them too. It’s such a great self care activity too!

If you happen to try this poetry writing activity, I’d love for you to share your poems in the comments or just thoughts on it in general.

Remember, YOU CAN DO IT!

Self Care: Keep Growing

I can’t explain how important self care is at least once a week.

By the end of the week, I usually can feel my body and mind aching for a little me time. Just a few moments of not being a mom or any of my roles. Five minutes of just being me.

I was able to write another poem and knew I needed to share it here.

Keep growing…

even when things pull you
apart,
it’s just the time to show heart.

you can do all hard
things,
no matter what life brings.

just keep growing.

Throughout life, there’s always times where it feels constant. You might feel like different responsibilities are ripping you apart. Before letting it tear you down, center yourself. Realize how powerful you are. All you have to do is keep growing and going.

After filling out my planner this week, my thoughts were running; which isn’t the goal for that activity. It was nice to be able to take a few minutes and just paint.

I love plants. They remind me we can grow through any conditions, but when we try to give them what they need, they thrive. Humans aren’t too different from plants in that aspect. I see my plants that are slow growing right now, even during spring. They remind me of myself and getting through these last two weeks of school.

Soon, I’ll be thriving. I need to just keep growing.

How have you practiced self care this week?

April is National Poetry Month…

…and a bunch more too.

April is not an easy month for me and this year feels extra difficult too. On top of my intense grief with Jensen’s birthday only four days away, I’m drowning in my last semester of school, work, and Mila’s birthday too. It’s a dangerous combination. Breakdown probably imploding soon.

Through it all, I’m trying to remain positive, even when it feels really hard.

This morning, I didn’t know if I was going to blog today. Instead, I took the morning easy and painted with Mila. Since it’s National Poetry Month, I thought it’d be fun to write a poem too.

My plan is to write a poem a day, whether I share it or not. It challenges me to think inward and be expressive. In a month where I don’t have a ton of time to self reflect or do a lot of self care, this will be my time.

For the first one, I thought it’d be poetic to write one about April.


April.
you hold so much of my heart,
i don’t know where to start.
you’ve brought me life and death,
promise you won’t take my breath.
your sun shines so hot,
my son comes through forget-me-nots.
you have flowers grow all around,
while my daughter runs all around.
you always tempt me to love you,
and one day that’ll be true.

It may not be the best poem around, but I think it perfectly describes this month for me.

Here’s what’s coming up for the rest of the month. Again, it’s going to be really busy here, but I’ll be around… promise.

  • April 4 – Easter & Family Pictures
  • April 5 – Jensen turns FIVE!
  • Mila’s Birthday Party
  • April 14 – Mila turns THREE!
  • April 22 – Earth Day
  • April 27 – Last day of this semester.

When it’s listed out like that, it doesn’t seem like so much. Yet, behind every single one of those is a lot of emotions and time. So, I’ll be just a bit busy.

Let me know if I should share my daily poems. Maybe I’ll paint too!

What Happened to Laundry Weekend?

It was supposed to be a laundry weekend.

Moms know what this means. We had a long weekend so all the clothes in the house were to be folded. Extra cleaning was to be done too. The chore list doesn’t just do itself. It was all supposed to be neat and tidy for the week ahead.

Even though it was supposed to happen, it didn’t.

All the clothes are still waiting to be folded. The floors are swept and the house is somewhat tidy, but not to the level it could have been.

Instead, I focused on the hardest job: being a mom.

Mila and I played outside most of time. We went to get dinner at a food truck and made new friends. When the weather was it’s nicest, we went on a hike. She made me wear silly headbands, pretending to be a pirate. I played along with all that she asked. At night, we cuddled and watched movies. I listened when she needed to be heard. She showed me her new superhero power. We did what we needed to as a family.

Even though there’s a to do list full of chores, it didn’t seem so important in the moment.

At this time next month four turns to five and two turns to three. Time is continuing on, even when I want to hit pause.

I’ll always think about the should be’s, the moments I missed, and the extra laundry too. The Jensen-size-hole in my heart is just aching a little more. It reminds me of the choices I make on weekends like these.

He reminds me of moments and why I soak them up with her. Things around the house will stay, but she’ll continue growing. I don’t want to miss any more.

So, if you ask how my laundry weekend went just know…

All the laundry that was supposed to be folded will always be there. These moments won’t.