Peace on Earth (and in Your Home) – Navigating the Tension through the Holidays

This post originally appeared on the Knoxville Moms Blog on November 23, 2016.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

There is nothing that brings my heart more joy than being with family. My husband and I are extremely blessed to have four wonderful children together, and the majority of our immediate family live locally or just a short drive away. While we get to enjoy family time fairly regularly, I always look forward to Thanksgiving, when we travel to visit my extended family. The holidays are that special time for many people to meet up with loved ones they rarely see and reminisce, bond, and make memories together.

Then 2016.

Guys, let’s be real. This year has been tough on everyone. The last few years have brought to light many social and political issues facing our nation, and all that building tension climaxed this year with possibly the most divisive election cycle in American history. While some people like to keep their circles small and unified in beliefs, I count myself lucky to belong to a large, diverse family holding many different opinions and convictions. The one thing that unites us — and probably how you can tell we’re related — is our passion and stubbornness when it comes to what we believe. 

While I’m pretty sure my family’s Thanksgiving celebration will not include any punches being thrown (fingers crossed, y’all!), you might not have the same confidence for your own holiday gathering. If you are one of the many people worried about facing family with whom you disagree politically this holiday season, remember these pointers to make sure your get-togethers go smoothly, and maybe one day you can even look back on this year and laugh. Or you can just survive until January; I mean whatever you gotta do, bruh.

  1. Go with a plan. And the plan is, let’s just not.

To continue reading, view the full post on the Knoxville Moms Blog. Happy holidays, and remember that family is worth not fighting for. 😉

The Un-Fit Mom: When Your Prenatal Fitness Plans Don’t Pan Out

Hey guys! I’m posting today on the Knoxville Moms Blog about a journey I have been on for the last 9 months… Really, for the last 7 1/2 years. It hasn’t always been pretty, definitely not easy, but it’s my body, so you know I’m gonna love it. Click the link at the bottom to read the full post!


A few years ago, my friend from high school posted a video on Facebook of her teaching Zumba at 9 months pregnant. It was the most incredible (and admittedly bizarre) thing to watch, and I was incredibly impressed not only with her commitment to staying fit and active, but dang she’s got moves! I remember at the time thinking, “I wish I could do that,” and I remember reflecting on it when I found out I was pregnant, thinking, “I am going to do that!”

But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

The Un-Fit Mom

Many moons ago, I was a young, first-time expectant mom with absolutely zero clue what I was doing. My vast experience in prenatal health consisted mostly of “say no to drugs” and popular TV/movie jokes about pregnant moms eating whatever they wanted. The “What to Expect” diet was so far from what I was used to eating that I blew it off and went with my gut (pun always intended): bring on the Oreos and Toaster Streudels!

Sixty-five naive pounds later, I gave birth to an extremely healthy 9 lb. 15 oz. baby girl and kept eating whatever I wanted while nursing because that’s supposed to make you skinny, right?? I was shocked and devastated that I hung on to every one of those pounds, less the actual weight of the baby. Add in 2 more kids over the next 3 years, and I was one overweight, unhappy mama.

After my 3rd child was born, I decided to stop hating my body for what it didn’t look like and start loving it for what it could do. I ate nutritious foods and swore off sweets and sodas. I hit the gym hard 5-6 days a week. Over the next 2 years, I lost nearly 75 lbs. and looked and felt better than when I was 16.

I kept up the workouts and kept off the weight through post-partum depression, a challenging year of personal/family issues, and two miscarriages. When I finally got pregnant again, I was determined to not repeat the mistakes of my past. I would eat right, drink tons of water, and work out every day. I would be… FIT MOM.

…Then reality hit.


Click here to read the full post on the Knoxville Moms Blog! Let me hear your thoughts in the comments!