Unsolicited Parenting Advice

I expected to take a cute selfie with the kids. 

Here’s one piece of solid advice for all parents. 


Lower your expectations. 


Then, just when you think they’re low enough, lower them a tidbit more. 


Turn on Uncle Kracker and follow me, everything will be alright. 


1. Wake-up time “The kids will sleep-in, they had a tiring day yesterday.” 


Are you crazy? Kids have everlasting energy, they can go days without sleep. Get over it because sleeping late is gone, it’s never coming back. When it does you’ve already hit the age when getting up early is cool. 


Go to bed the night before knowing your kids will be up before the sun. Stop playing with your own emotions. You can sleep when you’re dead. 


2. Breakfast time “Mommy’s making pancakes and bacon for you! “


Just stop right there. Don’t you dare make them shit. A bowl of cereal will be sufficient and even that’s too much. That way when they throw it at each other or you -that’s a possibility- you’re not as heartbroken. Don’t waste your time on a cooked meal, save your energy for the real catastrophes that are sure to follow.


Breakfast is usually rushed. Just throw a banana at the kids as they run to the bus stop and they become someone else’s problem. 


3. Play time “We can make a craft, then the kids can play by themselves for a bit.”


No you can’t. Crafty people expect entirely too much out of life. Delete your Pinterest app. If you’re feeling crafty just spill glitter on the floor, slap paint on your yoga pants and glue your hand to a table because that’s the end game. You aren’t walking away with a cute homemade craft. You’re doing the Pinterest walk-of-shame when you post craft pictures on Facebook.


Kids don’t play by themselves. If they do, they’re up to no good and you need to investigate immediately.


4. Lunch time “Maybe I’ll take the kids to McDonalds for lunch, playtime and free wifi.”


You’re fucking crazy. Nothing in this world is free. That “free” wifi has a hefty price tag. One that can only be paid for in dignity. Climbing to the top of the play area and back down with a screaming child is not worth it. Don’t go inside McDonalds without a proper escape route and even then expect it to fail. It will fail.


Skip going out to lunch all together. It’s disastrous, no matter what restaurant you pick. If you give your kids peanut butter and jelly every day for lunch, when you give them Ramen Noodles, they’ll thank you for a hot meal. 


5. Nap time “I’m going to nap with the kids today.”


Great idea, if they napped. Everyone needs to stop trying to make naptime happen. Even if it does, you have approximately 30 minutes. Take this time to make an afternoon cup of  coffee and check your email. That’s about all you have time for. 


If by some sudden stroke of luck you get more time, don’t clean. It’s a waste of time and energy. Kids are filthy animals who can destroy a clean house in 4 seconds. 


6. Dinner time “Im going to make a homemade pot roast with all the fixings so we can have a nice family dinner.”


The only way that homemade pot roast is going to work is if you tossed it in the slow cooker before breakfast. As for the “fixings,”  plain elbow macaroni with a slice of American cheese on top will do.


Be prepared to attend this “nice family dinner” donning riot gear because shit is about to get real. At this point, just order a pizza and pray for the best. 


7. Bed time “The kids should go to bed without incident tonight, they had a tiring day.”


You had a tiring day. They have energy stored for weeks. See number 1 for an explanation, go to bed and stop having such high expectations. 


You’re welcome. 


Dear Jaelyn



Dear Jaelyn,

Mommy will never forget the tiny baby doctors delivered. Your skin had an olive tone and your head was full of dark hair. Your eyes were big and round while your lips were small and pouty. You were the cutest baby around and always the most content in the nursery.

When you were little, cuddling was a favorite past time. You would lay on Mommy’s chest for hours. Keeping you close to Mommy’s heart, a place you knew belonged to you. Your head nestled into the crevice of Mommy’s neck. It was devastating when that spot no longer soothed your cries.

The moments of soft baby cries and sweet whimpers faded away and were replaced by your charming smile and captivating laugh. It wasn’t until you climbed onto Mommy’s lap that our world was complete again. It was your new favorite spot, and Mommy’s too. It’s the place where you tried your first solid food, ran to when you were hurt, and the place that helped you fall asleep at night. Mommy’s lap was your comfort zone.

It was a sad day when you stopped sitting there and replaced that time with half hearted hugs. You’re growing up too fast, slow down dude. No matter what your friends say, it will always be cool to hug your Mommy. You will never outgrow Mommy’s arms; they will always hug you and hold you tight. Your hugs are needed more than you know.

As time transpires Mommy hopes you continue to stay grounded. Be genuine to yourself, you are who matters the most. Continue doing things that make you happy. You already know the world is a harsh place but home can be your safe haven. Mommy and Daddy’s love for you is everlasting and will always provide you with an escape from the world.

Your struggles are prevalent, it makes watching you attempt situations  heartbreaking. Mommy wants to make the world easier for you but that’s not how life works. The world will not form to meet your needs, you have to learn to overcome the obstacles and meet your own needs. Against all odds, you conquer endeavors with stride. That’s what makes you Mommy’s hero.

As long as you never lose your “can do” attitude, the world is your oyster. Mommy knows you will accomplish many wonderful things in your life but none of which will come easy. You can handle everything thrown in your path, Mommy will always believe in you.

Sometimes having Jenna and Jace follow you around can be annoying. You should be flattered your siblings look up to you and admire your every move. You are the oldest, Mommy and Daddy’s first born, you get to experience life before them. Watching you makes them eager to live. Be patient with them, they need you just as much as you need them. Jenna and Jace will always be your best friends.

There’s going to come a time in your life when you spread your wings and fly.

Mommy’s secretly hoping for a failure to launch.

Mommy loves you!

Motorboating Urns




Thinking about life without Brandon every day is sad. No Brandon quirks, no gawking at my boobs, no pinky promises, no goodnight kisses, no random gropes, and no beard to stroke.

That’s devastating.

Our love is one of a kind. It’s deep, passionate, everlasting, forgiving, kind, sweet, honest, gentle, and pure.

It’s amazing. 

If Brandon was buried in a cemetery his grave would be a campsite. Don’t put it past our love.

Life would stop for me.

Days would not be the same without talking to Brandon. He doesn’t have to answer, he doesn’t have to voice an opinion, he doesn’t have to agree with me. He lends his ears when needed and that’s enough.

Listening has always been enough.

Brandon can be around for pillow talk, someone to turn to when the sky turns gray, or when a heart smiles. He can be there through it all -forever- if he’d agree to be cremated. 

He wanted to be buried. 

Brandon is allowing cremation if he gets flashed daily. He needs to gawk after death. 

I will motorboat his urn.

Bunker Punk Tour

Recently I had the honor of working along side 4 of the greatest bloggers while launching our new publishing site, Original Bunker Punks.

Since the site went live I feel like everyone who has been a part of this, in one way or another, has had their blogging stats boost.

We’re famous, Bunker Punks!

What else is there to do but go on tour?

What is your most prized possession? 


I cherish my wedding ring. It symbolizes Brandon’s everlasting love and devotion to me. His love has no boundaries or stipulations that accompany it. It’s true love.


A relationship like ours doesn’t come often and I am well aware of that. I feel like everything in my life came together the moment he placed that ring on my finger.

Let me show off my bling.


How do you unwind after a long day?


Immediately after the kids go to bed I sit in my big chair, prop my feet up on the ottoman,  and catch up on Life with the Bearded J’s or Original Bunker Punks business. 


Where all my Facebook interactions take place, my big chair.

Once I get caught up I try to put my phone down and spend some quality time with Brandon. We usually cuddle up on the couch, talk to each other and watch TV. It’s my favorite part of the whole day. 

Recently I started drinking wine. I’m literally 4 days into my new habit. I enjoy a bottle glass of wine after the kids go to bed. It’s very relaxing.

Pink Moscato, cheers!


What is one song that has followed you throughout your whole life?


I feel like most of my life was spent trying to find love. I bounced from one heartache to the next trying to find a place to fit in. It wasn’t until Brandon that I finally felt like I belonged somewhere, with him.



I would have to say “How to Love” by Lil Wayne pretty much sums up my life. There isn’t one word that doesn’t describe me. I don’t like the music video but whatever, there it is. It’s the lyrics I relate too.


If you could give one piece of advice to new bloggers in your field,  what would it be?


Don’t put much thought into what other writers in your field are doing or saying. Remember where you came from and how or why you started. Don’t lose yourself because every time you hit publish you are putting yourself out there for the world to see, and the world can see through phonies.


Now that you’re famous, we need a quote from you. 


“Never love one of your children more than another, love them all differently- the way they need to be loved.” -Jenny Miller

Bunker Punk for life!

Dear Jenna



Dear Jenna,

Mommy always wanted to have a daughter. “Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of.” Your kind heart, sassy attitude and generous soul are qualities people know you already posses. Those are the qualities you should work hard to maintain.

Mommy couldn’t wait to introduce you to tea parties, Barbies and makeup. You enjoying those thing’s makes life much sweeter. Every morning you come down for breakfast with freshly applied blue eyeshadow and bright red lipstick, Mommy’s heart smiles. When it comes to make up, less is more, but no rush, apply your makeup how your heart wants. Always do what makes you happy, even if others gawk.

Mommy looks forward to your first dance, your first date and your first heartache. The world isn’t ready for you to date, please feel sorry for your Daddy and don’t rush boys. You have your whole life to handle them. For now, Daddy and your Brothers are the only boys you need to worry about. They’re the ones who’ll never let you down, they will always be there for you.

Purple bows, frilly tutus, high heels and red lipstick have always found their way into Mommy’s heart. They found their way into yours too. Mommy was worried -while Daddy was hoping- you would be a tomboy. If you decide to be one later in life, Mommy will always support and love you as well as be your biggest fan. You could never disappoint Mommy or Daddy.

The thought of lace bras, tampons and thongs makes Mommy cringe. The time for those will eventually come, please don’t rush them. Cherish your childhood. When the time is right you know who to turn to, you know who will be there. Just like everything else, Mommy will teach you about becoming a woman.

Mommy looks forward to experiencing life alongside you, the good and the bad, we can conquer all. Mommy’s words may not seem wise now but one day you will understand, a Mother should be her Daughter’s best friend.

Growing up from a sweet little girl into a mature woman is going to be the hardest thing you ever do in your life. Society puts a lot of mental stipulations on girls, please don’t fall into societies vortex. You are a strong minded child, do not let that quality fade. The world needs you to grow into that role, the world needs more strong minded women.

Your body, your mind and your soul are always going to be yours. No one can take those things from you unless you allow it. Please don’t allow them to do that. Always be who you want to be, you owe it to yourself. Mommy promises you won’t regret it later in life.

If you don’t remember anything else from this letter, please remember this-

If you have sex too early in life, you can get a STD and die.

Mommy loves you!

Jaelyn’s Journey

The biggest Booga I have ever seen.

I’ve been wanting to share Jaelyn’s first medical experience with everyone for awhile. I wasn’t sure how to write it. I needed you guys to understand having my 3 month old child go through surgery was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I wasn’t sure I could produce the words to describe it.

On a recent road trip to Michigan,  I was able to sit in the back of a minivan and write.  I decided to tell Jaelyn’s journey. I remember the tears streaming down my face as my fingers clicked away on the laptop. I secretly cried while I wrote about the scariest moment of my life.

Jaelyn has had numerous health issues in his 7 years of life. All have puzzled my mind and broke my heart. They do not define who he is, but they do allow some insight into his life.

Click here to read my featured piece about Jaelyns first surgery,

Jaelyn’s Journey.

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award


I was caught off guard with this award. How could I inspire anyone? I don’t know how I did it, but A Shot of Common Sense was inspired enough to think of me. That alone makes my heart smile. Thank you so much. I wish I had some fabulous speech prepared but I really have nothing,  I am completely speechless, which never happens.


In accepting my award there are a couple of things I must do. First, I must complete my interview. These questions were super hard and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone so I went with the first thing that popped in my head and just wrote everything I thought.

Welcome to my brain…

1. Why did you start your blog?


I started “Life With the Bearded J’s” as a place to tell my story. My life is full of crazy moments that I try to see the humor in. Facing really crappy situations with a smile and a joke is my way of coping. Writing about it and sharing it with you guys is an added bonus.


2. What book has touched you the most?


I have a huge confession,  I hardly ever read anymore. There was a time in my life I lived in books. I escaped reality through them. Lately,  reality has been better than any book. So I haven’t had to escape.


I remember my junior year in high school I took a literature class that required us to read “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It’s full of life lessons and I believe every teenager should be required to read it.


One of the biggest things I took away from that book was how important it is to stand up for what’s right, even if you’re standing alone. I live by that motto everyday.


3. If you could eat dinner with any famous person who is still alive, whom would you choose?

This is a hard question to answer. Famous people intimidate me, and I’m a Taco Bell drive thru kind of girl. I only enjoy sit down restaurants with Brandon. Generally we reserve sit down restaurants for special occasions. 


I guess I’d be down to take Norman Reedus to the Taco Bell drive thru with me, if I MUST. -I swear I was forced Brandon-


4. Where is the one place you have visited that gives you complete calmness?

The cabin we rented.


Brandon and I rent a cabin for our anniversary weekend. We slip away to Brown County State Park. We leave all sense of responsibility behind and reconnect with each other. It’s really nice to have each others undivided attention.


The whole cabin in the woods isn’t usually my cup of tea. Every time we go I visualize the beginning of a cheesy horror movie.  Bugs, dirt and wild animals generally freak me out but with Brandon by my side, its actually quite fun.



5. Are you a bucket list person? If so, name one thing on it?


I’m not really a bucket list person. When I want to do something, I do it. No need to wait till I’m on my death bed. 


6. What is the goal of your blog?


I honestly don’t have a goal. I guess one day it would be nice to generate income but if that never happens, I’m ok with it. Right now, I write for fun. I write because it eases my heart and relieves stress. That’s all I ever wanted to do, so I feel like I have already met the goal I set for it.


7. What is a well day spent to you?


A day spent vegging out on junk reality TV shows. No regrets. 


8. How do you start your day?


By checking my Facebook notifications. I lay in bed, clear out my notifications and wait for the kids to wake up. Once they’re up I go into full mommy mode for me. Get breakfast going, get Jaelyn to school and start my daily cleaning schedule. Yeah, I have a cleaning schedule.


9. What is your favorite holiday?


Fourth of July holds a special place in my heart. It was the night I told Brandon I loved him for the first time. I had no idea until recently but it’s also a favorite holiday for my parents because of similar reasons. Screw Valentines Day, fireworks is where the real romance lies.


10. Are you where you want to be professionally and if not, what will you do about it?


I’m a SAHM. I’m finally doing something that makes me happy and feel complete, every day. I’m my own boss, when the kids allow me to be. I work my own hours, as long as the kids say it’s ok. I do what I want, as long as it makes my kids happy. I’m exactly where I need to be, at home with my kids because that’s where they want me.


11. What is your favorite quote?


“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings It’s kind of self explanatory, right?

The other thing I must do is nominate 5 other bloggers for this award


I nominate The Daily Rantings of an Angrivated Mom because we are so much alike it’s a bit creepy. I adore her because she allows me to do all the talking.

The lady behind Inappropriate Bursts of Laughter is such a kind soul and even through trying times she’s able to come out on top. She is a true inspiration.  

The author behind  Platypus Reviews is a very close friend of mine. He’s so nifty with technology it blows my mind away. His grumpy remarks would allow him to easily fit in at family dinner.

Recently I found out I am not the only one who struggles with texting and walking. So Very Shay,  made me feel normal within the first 5 minutes of knowing her and that’s not easy to do. 

Mother of Serendipity holds a special place in my heart. I adore her, her blog and her Facebook page. She’s always been super sweet and that is inspiring when you’re up against the mean girls on a daily basis.