Why I’m Glad Being a Mom Was Hard Today

IMG_2131Recently I’ve read several articles written by mothers who, for one reason or another, feel suppressed by their current situation. For the most part the issue comes down to four things: feeling overwhelmed by housework, putting others’ needs before their own, not feeling acknowledged for all that they do, and lastly, not having enough time for themselves. I’m here to say, I get you. I get you 100%.

But I’m also here to explain why I’m glad that being a mom was especially difficult today.

My 15-month-old is in the middle of getting 6 teeth. At. The. Same. Time. The term “growing pains” has never rung more true for my little guy and I can only imagine how he’s feeling. As long as I keep the Tylenol coming he’s a pretty happy kid but he’s also discovering a tantrum phase which any mother can tell you, isn’t fun.

After a rough night, and yet a decent morning, Calvin wouldn’t go down for a nap this morning. He cried for 30 minutes and when I went in to soothe him he wouldn’t cuddle with me like he usually will. I let him stay up and I turned on a movie while we had some lunch. When I suggested a nap (an hour later) he melted down and I decided that one way or another – this kid had to sleep.  After wrestling with me for a bit he did eventually go to sleep and as I quietly walked out of his room I felt like I could finally breathe.

With some time to myself I took stock of what needed to be done. Piles of dishes on the counter, clothes needing to be washed, emails to be sent and a home to be tidied…but with all of that I decided to make the bed and take a shower. When the bed is made and I’m clean I feel like I handle things much better. As I waited for the water to warm up I thought about how stressful the last 12 hours had been and felt really glad to have a minute to take care of myself. But as the cold water splashed on my toes I realized that it wasn’t going to warm up (still have no idea why – it was 2 in the afternoon?!) and choked back tears. Nothing was going right and while I realized this was definitely a first world problem – they’re still hard to deal with when you’re in them.

I turned off the water and felt like my only option was to move on with my day when I was reminded of the freezing cold showers I would take in the MTC when my companion and I would go running and only make it back just in time to get ready for the day. I thought to myself how the water coming out of my shower today wasn’t that cold and that if I really wanted to be clean then I could deal with it. I tried to avoid getting completely wet as I took a shower and I thought about my mission and other hard times of my life. I also thought about being single and how care-free life is when it’s just you.

And that’s why I’m glad being a mom was hard today. We might have loads of laundry to do but we have clothes on our backs and loved ones to serve. We might have piles of dishes to get through (I hope that unlike us, you have a dishwasher) but we have food to eat and people to eat with. We have children to nourish and love. And when we only have 10 minutes alone to shower or sneak our favorite snack or get some work done it’s because we have little souls who look to us for love and guidance and a wonderful life.

If you’re not living the life you want then do something about it.

If you work from home like I do and things aren’t going your way, take an honest account of how you spend your time and look at what can be done. You might need to suck it up and realize you’re wasting time. But if you’re not, outsource what you can — have your groceries delivered, have your laundry picked up, or hire a nanny or a friend to watch your baby so you can work. If you’re not making enough to have those expenses then do what you can to get more clients — if that’s most important to you. And if you’re having issues with your husband (not spending enough time with you, or not helping out, or not picking up after himself or whatever) then TALK TO HIM.

We only get this one life! And at one time this is exactly what we wanted. So let’s all buck up and look for the blessings in the mess. Women are tough. Women are strong. Women can do really hard things and it’s ok to have difficult days. After feeling sorry for yourself that your shower water isn’t warming up – let’s realize that it’s really not that bad and get back to being *awesome*!

You got this momma!

Calvin’s 1st Birthday

I’m sure every mother feels the same way I did when Calvin’s 1st birthday came around. I couldn’t believe an entire YEAR had gone by! It feels like it was just last night that I was standing over my teeny little newborn in the hospital, desperately trying to change his diaper in my exhaustion, only to discover seconds later while I was drying to wet down those stupid dry wipes that he had started pooping again.

Ahh motherhood 🙂



Needless to say, things have really been great since that night and I absolutely love being a mother. Calvin is so much fun and unless he’s cutting a new tooth he’s really happy. I knew that going into his birthday with high expectations would be a recipe for disaster so I told myself that as long as I got ONE good picture that would be great.


And guess what? His birthday was great, we had so much fun, and I got a ton of cute pictures! I’m so glad I approached his birthday with minimal expectations because I was able to focus on what was happening and just watch Calvin enjoy his birthday.

I meant to make him a sugar-free, baby friendly cake and practice the week before his birthday but what with everything else going on that just didn’t happen. The night before his birthday we grabbed a few traditional decorations like a Happy Birthday sign and streamers while I got the essentials for the cake and I have to say, I’m pretty darn proud of how it turned out! My mom helped me engineer Calvin’s little cake and was a great sounding board for how much dye to use to get the ombre right – so glad she was there!





Calvin was really more interested in playing with the cake than eating it 🙂 We all had lunch and cake then went to Hoboken to enjoy an afternoon in the park. We took the chance to rent bikes and show the town off to my parents – which I would definitely recommend! Biking is a great way to see the neighborhoods and all of the waterfront without getting exhausted.

All in all, Calvin had a very successful first birthday and I think everyone else enjoyed themselves too!


That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Kitchen-Aid + Desk Makeover

If you’re anything like me you like a little change here and there, especially if it’s something fun to spruce up your home. Every once in a while I get the urge to switch things up and for whatever reason, there’s nothing like the pressure of company coming to light the fire of urgency! We had family come stay for a few weeks to celebrate Calvin’s 1st birthday and I wanted to have these two projects done before then – which I did!

I’ve had my Kitchen-Aid mixer for almost 4 years but I honestly haven’t used it that much. Until I found this recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies it really just looked impressive on my kitchen counter. Since the recipe calls for cold butter and several minutes of mixing I decided to break out the Kitchen-Aid and put it to good use. Ever since then I probably use it once a week!


A couple of months ago I noticed the new line of colors Kitchen-Aid came out with and just about died over the Ice Blue color but when you have a perfectly functioning mixer you can’t drop $430 on a new one just because it’s pretty.

Or so my head told me 🙂

Mr. Layland, being the helpful genius that he is, found this Apartment Therapy tutorial on painting a Kitchen-Aid and I was sold! It’s really quite easy, and so much cheaper than buying a new mixer, so if you’re interested I’d say go for it! I used Ocean Mist spray paint from Home Depot and LOVE how it turned out! You have to take the gloss coat off the original color – mine was red – which really wasn’t bad so don’t let that stop you. After that, it’s just a matter of taking off as many metal parts as you can and covering those you can’t before painting. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!

The second project was to freshen up my workspace. A little while ago we decided to get rid of our TV which freed up some space in our living room so I brought my desk out to give myself a little more space while I work. That’s when I realized my $20 Walmart desk I’d had for a few years didn’t add much to the look of the living room. I contemplated a few methods and (after a fight with Mr. Layland in Home Depot about fabric and epoxy) eventually landed on the idea of using faux marble contact paper.


I ordered a 6ft roll on Amazon and thanks to 2-day shipping I was able to get it done the night before company arrived! And I LOVE it! It’s a glossy plastic-like paper so it was stiffer than I was expecting but it makes it much more durable. The desk was black so switching things up for a white marble really brightened up the entire living room and gave my workspace a much needed makeover.


I ordered the computer back in the fall through the surplus warehouse at BYU-Idaho which sells the school’s computers after they’ve been used for three years. Starting price is $400 — which for a gently used iMac, is amazing! This one came from Spori 114 where I used to work on the school paper! So that was a sweet bit of nostalgia.


As you can see, it’s amazing I ever get anything done!

We swapped out the black HP keyboard it came with for a new Apple keyboard and I decided it was time to part ways with the chair I reupholstered back in Arizona. The white one I’m using now is one of our kitchen chairs that doesn’t fit around our table with Calvin’s high chair.

So there you have it! A little painting here, a little contact paper there and voila!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!



Father’s Day Favorites

Yesterday included celebrating Father’s Day, along with everyone else, and loving the chance to celebrate how much we love Mr. Layland! He is such a loving father to little Calvin and all the fun our little guy deserves. When I’m exhausted – he can take over with his Energizer Bunny personality and Calvin loves it. From Day #1 Mr. Layland has been a great Dad and since then he’s only gotten better!

IMG_1856 Becoming parents has been quite the adventure and I’ve loved having him by my side through everything. I wanted to get him something special but I’m the worst at buying gifts! I racked my brain for a few weeks and shopped around online until I finally came across what I thought would be the perfect Father’s Day gift – engraved collar stays.

They’re essentially the bobby pin equivalent for men. You own 5,000 but can only ever find 3. I figured getting nice metal ones would somehow make them easier to keep track of. We’ll see!

I mulled over a few clever phrases to have engraved but in the end I decided to stick with a classic monogram. Thank you to Jane.com for continuing my online shopping addiction and to NameJewelrySpot.com for coming up with this genius idea!

After going to church in the morning and getting in our post-church naps (because going to church for 3 hours with a 1-year old is exhausting) we whipped up a batch of Mr.Layland’s favorite cookies from Modern Honey. She’s come up with copycat cookie recipes for Levain Bakery – which are some of our all-time favorite cookies in NYC! This way when we can’t make it into the city for a sweet treat we can get pretty close right in our own kitchen.

If you’re more into chocolate, have no fear, she has an amazing Levain Bakery Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip recipe!

I’ve had my Kitchen-Aid mixer for almost 4 years but I honestly haven’t used it that much. When I came across this recipe I decided to use it since it calls for cold butter and have been hooked ever since! I love using my Kitchen-Aid!

A couple of months ago I noticed the new line of colors Kitchen-Aid came out with and just about died over the Ice Blue color but when you have a perfectly functioning mixer you can’t drop $430 on a new one just because it’s pretty.

Mr. Layland, being the helpful genius he is, found this Apartment Therapy tutorial on painting a Kitchen-Aid and I was sold! It’s really quite easy, and so much cheaper than buying a new mixer, so if you’re interested I’d say go for it! I used Ocean Mist spray paint from Home Depot and LOVE how it turned out!

We finished off the day by calling our fathers and playing with little Mr. C and by all accounts, had a really great day! Happy Father’s Day!

Beauty Hacks for New Moms

Becoming a mother has been the most amazing experience of my entire life. From the moment the doctor told me to open my eyes and take my son in the delivery room I fell head over heels in love with him.


Calvin is pretty much an angel child but something I didn’t anticipate was being completely okay with putting ALL of his needs before my own. He’s just so darn cute that it’s way more fun to watch him sleep than go take a shower, or a nap.

I remember when Calvin was 2 weeks old I got out of the shower and heard him crying in his swing – like really crying. That was the first time I had heard him cry like that, where they still make those little gasping sounds while they calm down. It broke my heart and in that moment I swore off showers for the rest of my life.

Not really, but I seriously considered it for a second.

Taking care of yourself can go out the window pretty quickly as a new mom. Every baby is different and every woman approaches motherhood differently so it goes without saying that some moms don’t need these hacks – they’ve got it together. Pretty sure those moms are also imaginary.

But if you’re not imaginary and you’re very much real, here are five beauty must-haves I’ve discovered make life a little easier.

Makeup Removing Wipes

As a brand new mom my days and nights blurred together for a while so my nightly routine went out the window. Several brands market makeup removing wipes but I prefer Neutrogena. These wipes make it easy to clean your face before you hit the hay for a few hours or when you realize the next morning that you look like you were partying all night when in fact you were just trying to keep your little human being alive.

You’re doing great, by the way. Keep it up.

Tinted Moisturizer


Of all the time-saving products out there I think tinted moisturizer is genius. Pregnancy did a number on my skin so if I’m meeting up with someone or going to church I still use my separate lotion and foundation but for an every day natural look, this works! The 2-in-1 product is every mother’s best friend.


Dry Shampoo

I didn’t think to use dry shampoo until Calvin was almost 3 months old! Let me save you the hassle – do it. Buy it, use it and love the fact that if you don’t manage to shower that day your hair won’t look like a bird’s nest. Unless that’s what you’re going for.


Now that your face is clean, skin tone evened out, and your hair is on point it’s time to bust out those lashes! Your eye lashes might feel like the only asset you have left after having a baby. Recovering can be emotionally hard too, so feeling great about the way you look doesn’t always come easily. Mascara is a staple for me because I feel like as long as your hair isn’t insane, your lashes are defined and your baby is still alive — you’re doing pretty darn good for a new mom.

Essie Nail Polish

essieGorgeous nails are the icing on my beauty cake. I realized pretty soon after having Calvin that getting a predictable hour to myself wasn’t going to happen. So I’m crazy about Essie’s Gel Couture nail polish! In 30 minutes you can have fabulous nails that last for 2 weeks! So far I’ve stuck with a neutral color because it goes with whatever I end up wearing that day. If I actually get dressed.

Calvin is 4 months old now and I’m proud to say that most days I take a shower and seldom do I sit there and watch him sleep. He’s great at napping in his crib and I’m great at getting stuff done! Mostly.


Anyways, if you’re a soon-to-be mom or just became one, CONGRATS!!!!!! it’s the best thing in the world! Get ready to love someone more than you ever thought you could.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself and don’t worry – it gets easier!


So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Fall in the Northeast

I should be folding laundry right now but decided to write a quick update instead. I’ve been so busy with freelancing, taking care of the house, and soaking up every minute with Calvin while he’s awake – it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day! Despite all the insanity, I really love my life.

Fall in the Northeast is absolutely gorgeous. I’m loving the cooler weather and watching the leaves change has been so amazing! We practically live in the city on the weekends and I have to say I really prefer this time of year in NYC.


This past weekend we took the Staten Island ferry across the bay to Manhattan and counted that as visiting the Statue of Liberty. Neither of us have a strong desire to actually go to the island right now so floating right by it was perfect!

The Statue of Liberty really is just a statue on a pedestal. You think it’s going to be so much bigger – like the size of a skyscraper bigger – but it’s not. We were going to check out Governor’s Island but on our way there we realized it’s only open during the summer. I guess we’ll just have to add it to the list for next year!

Two weekends ago we switched things up a bit and instead of going into the city we actually drove out to Connecticut for the Hartford temple open house.


If you live out this way you should definitely go! It’s open to the public and tours are free. The New England theme makes it feel like it has always been there.

My friend Aubree (who trained me on my mission) lives in CT and invited us to stay with them for the weekend. We had the best time going through the temple, apple picking & just getting to hang out with their cute family. Calvin loved licking the apple I gave him…we might start trying solids soon!


Aubree has a photography business and takes amazing pictures. After she took a few pictures of Calvin it made me want to buy my own camera & set up camp in that orchard! Needless to say, it was a fun weekend for all of us!


We ended up liking Stayman and Empire apples the best so we bought a few pounds along with some fudge and apple cider doughnuts from the market. When we got home Mr. Layland made an apple pie and I used this recipe to make apple sauce. I think we might have a new fall tradition!

Calvin is 4 months old and so close to sitting up on his own, it’s really exciting. He learns new tricks all the time — his latest thing is growling. Yes, growling. It’s so hilarious! The pediatrician said he’s discovering that he can make different sounds. She also said he might start to make an eagle screeching sound soon. That should be fun.

I hit the jackpot last week when it comes to baby toys. Check it out.

All for free! My friend Shawna texted me one morning saying someone down the road had a bunch of baby stuff out in front of their house. I was just about to leave for the store so I took a detour and ended up taking all of this home! Everything was in almost perfect condition so after a gentle wash everything was good to go.

So Calvin basically had Christmas this week 🙂

I recently became a Level 2 Seller on Fiverr.com which was a personal triumph I’m really proud of. But it means I have been busier than normal. I typically have one or two projects at a time but at one point last week I had 12! Luckily, I can work while Calvin naps and get a good amount done.

The drive to church this week was especially relaxing and beautiful. I love that you can drive from the city and within an hour be passing fields with hay bails and cows. Moving to New Jersey has been one of the best adventures of my life.


Happy Fall everyone! Here’s to hoping your weather is just as gorgeous and that your baby sleeps for 9 hours straight like mine did last night. No idea how that happened so I’m just going with it.


So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!


5 Must-Haves For New Moms

Becoming a mom has been 90% amazing and 10% can’t even – mostly because this job is 24/7 and “tired” has taken on a whole new meaning. Luckily, I’ve had a pretty easy go of it with my little Mr. but I also invested in a few life savers every new mom should have.

1. Aiden + Anais Swaddle Blankets

If you live in Arizona you have to get these, it’s not really an option 🙂 These blankets are super soft and lightweight which makes them ideal for hot climates but even here in New Jersey I would still recommend them.


Obviously they’re swaddlers so that goes without saying but they also function as a stroller shade, nursing cover, and are key in building baby’s first fort. We have 8+ of these blankets and believe me – we use them. Pair one of these with white noise and if your baby loves being awake like mine they should finally take a solid nap!

2. Milkmaid Goods Nursing Cover

I ended up making my own but if they ever get my favorite fabric restocked you might see me wearing one of their nursing ponchos in my sleep. It’s that cute.

These are a must-have because you get full coverage so you can rest easy knowing you’re not going to flash anyone if baby kicks around while you’re breastfeeding in public. The jersey fabric makes them wrinkle-resistant and easy to pack in a diaper bag. You can put it over your carrier to block the sun (and strangers adoring hands) but still see your baby! If that hasn’t impressed you, just focus on the fact that they’re ridiculously cute.

3. Boon Grass Drying Set

I first saw this when I worked as a nanny in Arizona and promised myself that when I became a mother I would get one. In addition to the cuteness factor it’s really useful.

The grass sits in the white tray so you can easily separate the two for cleaning. The tree and flower hold bottle covers, nipples, bottle rings – all those little parts. I’ve also washed medicine syringes and stuck them over a blade of grass to dry. Moral of the story: drying bottle parts, etc. has never looked so good.

4. Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag

In the months leading up to Calvin’s birth I asked around, read reviews, researched & FINALLY settled on this diaper bag. They’re expensive though so it’s only thanks to my Grandma that I even have this bag and I’m so glad because I *love* it.

I could go on and one but I’ll just hit the highlights: The bag is structured so it will stand on it’s own. You want the diaper bag to work for you, not against you. The backpack straps are built into the bag so it easily converts from purse to pack. And check out all those pockets – what’s a diaper bag without compartments? Yes, Petunia Pickle Bottom bags are popular but it’s not just because they’re cute, they’re great bags and I would say they’re worth the price. Several moms told me their bags have lasted a few years without having issues or wearing out. So far, so good for us!

5. Diaper Genie

Not cute, fun or soft but insanely useful like everything else on this list. The lid has a slot for an odor-control pack and the entire contraption is designed to keep your nursery smelling well…not like diapers.


I don’t know why anyone would buy one without a foot pedal but in case you’re on the fence, GET THE ONE WITH THE FOOT PEDAL! Trust me. Being a mom is all about being as hands-free as possible, right? Especially if you have a particularly wiggly baby and need to keep a hand on them when you toss the diaper – you don’t have three hands. You need that pedal. The bag tears off with a little gizmo inside, you tie a knot at the new end and you’re set to change more diapers! Yay? With all those diapers – you need this.

That’s it! Those are my Top 5 Must-Haves as a new mom. I’m only 3 months in but each one of these has made life a breeze! Of course, having my adorable baby helps too 🙂