Mom's Corner

Momming with Tattoos

I wish I could say that in this day and age that its almost part of the norm to see a mom with tattoos. That the bad stigma that comes along with them has worn off.

While I have intentionally put myself in that position, I am still surprised that people still associate them with being unsuccessful, being trashy, bad parenting, or having been to jail (okay, no one has really said this one to me but the stigma is out there).

I mean haven’t your parents taught you to not judge people by the color of their skin?! Mine just happens to be multiple colors and pain inflicted. *shrugs*

I get it. Some people don’t fancy the concept. That’s fine! But I have never met a tattooed person who looks at someone without tattoos and hear them say  Why don’t you have any tattoos? How boring” (however… my seven year old has asked my niece why she only has one tattoo).

I started getting tattoos as soon as I turned 18. They all started off not visible to the eye when fully clothed, and slowly, as I crept into my mid 20s started bringing them to light (daylight, that is). See, my parents cannot stand them on me and my sister. It’s fine on everyone else! But not their beautiful, perfect, children. I remember the first one I got on my arm I made my sister tell them– at this point, I was 25 and had an almost 4 year old, and had been in the military for 6+ years–yet I was still petrified of their reaction.

Moving forward, since that tattoo I have added two more to said arm and have also added another child to my life. I have 16 total (tattoos, not children), my bigger ones living in the dark. Most of the questions I get are mainly “did that hurt??“, “Why did you get that one?“, or “I bet you hate covering them at work“. That last one isn’t a question but it is one I get a lot, and no, I wear t shirts, flip flops, shorts or hoodies to work… they don’t care about my tattoos.

They. Don’t. Care.

My husband doesn’t care, my friends [might have an opinion] but they don’t care, and guess what? My kids don’t care, either. My parents… they definitely care but have lightened up immensely since my sister and I just keep getting them.

I’m a mom just like the other non-tattooed moms. I love my kids. I clean my house. I do laundry. I read bedtime stories, tickle backs, and watch their chests rise and fall just to make sure they’re still breathing.

I put the creamer in the cupboard and the coffee pot in the fridge on exhausted mornings, just like the rest of you!

I even put my kids before myself.

I have major “momming insecurities”. Especially when you decide to side-eye me with judgement, I may act like I don’t care… but I do. I feel it. I shouldn’t have to feel that way because of what you think a mom should look like.

I’m not your “stereo-typical” tattooed woman (if that’s even still a thing). I love country music, I two step in my cowboy boots, I go to church regularly so that means I don’t worship the devil, I have a clean [criminal not driving] record  (like very many other tattooed men and women), I have a professional career, and I am so, veryvery, sensitive.

I am happy with my tattoos. If you’re happy with not having any, I’m happy for you.

Lets start living in a world where where it doesn’t matter what people look like and start learning to get to know the person for who they are, instead.

 

cheers!
♥ 
ashley

 

#coffeemom

 

 

 

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Mom's Corner

Mom failing: Tooth Fairy, Santa, Easter Bunny- What NOT to do.

So you know Santa? How about the Easter Bunny?… Tooth Fairy?

I think my oldest does, too… Or she thinks she does. So I’m going to write this in the order of the ones she still believes in, to the one she now [unfortunately] knows the truth about, and what I did wrong.

[Not so] Pro Parenting Tip: Remember the lost tooth. (I know, silly right?)

The one I’m currently struggling with is the Tooth Fairy. She’s at that age where she’s looking more like a hockey player than my sweet girl. She lost her first tooth over a year ago when she was away from home so I didn’t have to deal with it then, but the first tooth she lost with me was when we were on vacation.

Mom, how is the Tooth Fairy going to come if she doesn’t know where I’m at?!

Good point, kid. We’ll save it away and tuck it under your pillow when we get back home. Long story short, the tooth never made it under the pillow and she ended up losing another one before that one was remembered and she was mad that she was jipped. Found the tooth in our luggage months later, put it under her pillow, she got a dollar.

I’m not so sure she really cares about that one because it’s money, but she hasn’t said she knows its me— yet.

[Not so] Pro Parenting Tip #2: When they get older, keep it simple…

Do NOT go overboard. I know its totally not the time of year, but Christmas only six months away. This year is halfway over! Here’s my next mistake.

So I thought I was being this super proactive, awesome, mom by taking a picture of my living room on Christmas Eve and “photo shopping” Santa in there (it looked legit!), and doing that PNP (Portable North Pole) App where Santa talks to your child through a customized video for your kid (that app is awesome!), and by taking her to see Santa at the mall. Exceeeppppt she’s seven, and she’s picking up on small things like “That Santa’s beard isn’t real“, or “That Santa was fatter than the other Santa” and my favorite “Why are there so many different Santa’s and who was it that came into our house on Christmas eve!?

Yeah, explaining that Santa is only one person and that he has soooo many helpers around the world to help him do his job was a hard one to explain. He’s magical, he’s everywhere, he’s always watching. But even Santa needs help.

If you’re going to use anything and they’re a little older.. use the PNP app. You can make multiple videos ranging from Santa calling to make sure they’re behaving or to tell them they’re doing awesome, to having Santa tell them what they need to work on to remain on the nice list, to a video on Christmas Eve. When Santa told her she needed to work on her attitude the horror on her face was so real.. SO for now this belief is still alive and [barely] thriving.

Mom FAIL. I did too much!

[Not so] Pro Parenting Tip #3: The Easter Bunny might not seem like a BIG deal, but he is.

To be honest, I don’t even really remember exactly what she said but it was along the nature of “I know the Easter Bunny isn’t real“… But I do remember saying “You’re right… Mommies and Daddies help make Easter fun, we buy [the things], and we do [the stuff] to make things fun for our babies” (or something close to that).

Instant regret crept it’s way into my heart as her face sank. She sat on the couch and tried to silently cry. My brain started pinging…

But she just said she knew!“, “WHY did I say that??“, “Can I retract my statement??

How do I fix this?

She wanted to believe, she really did. She wasn’t asking for the truth she was seeking confirmation that he was real. So I held her, and being that in my household we believe in God, I told her what Easter is really about. (Of course before I calmly explained that to her, I frantically texted my dad asking what do I do?!). I was sad that I just bursted her bubble. I know they’ll all figure it out one day, and I really thought she had… for the Easter Bunny, anyway.

So if you have an inkling that your kid still believes or wants to believe, don’t do what I did.

I learned this from an old co-worker of mine and our new motto in the house is “If you believe, you will receive“.

I don’t care how old they are.

 

cheers!
ashley

 

#coffeemom

 

 

Mom's Corner

Mom’s cup of coffee- A relatable short story.

Its 6:07am (yes, exactly that) and my alarm goes off.

I snooze it.

Then again at 6:11, 6:16, and 6:21am.

I snooze each one.

This morning I was able to. Both baby sitters I have, including my backup, were unable to watch my youngest. Lucky me. No, really. Lucky me. It’s a rare occasion I get to be home and “bum it” with my kids (yet its hardly ever really bumming it).

7:15am. I hear my youngest chatting away in her crib, and thats my cue. I get up, start the coffee, and head to her room. Exactly as I expect, she’s peering between the bars of her crib and her changing table. I see the smile in her eyes as I enter the room and make my way to her. Her eager arms reaching out to me, I swoop her up.

I missed you last night“, I say kissing her cheek.

We wander to the kitchen with her weight on my hip and an arm around my neck. A waffle for breakfast- her favorite.

Mo nom-ah nom-ah!“, she squeals.

I pour a cup of coffee, add my creamer and we sashay to the living room. We sit on the floor at the foot of the chaise with my legs out in front and her on my lap. She leans back against my chest as she devours her waffle.

Mommy left her coffee¹.”

She doesn’t care. She’s snuggled up with mommy bobbing away to Paw Patrol. So I wait.

Finally she runs off and I get up to get my coffee. Its in the same spot, just lukewarm now. So I top it off with some from the pot.

Pitter patter, pitter patter. “Mo nom-ah nom-ah!“, she goes again. This time its for her Sippy (which is also Paw Patrol). So I put my coffee down² and reach for her cup and fill it up.

We walk back into the living room and she has me chase her into her princess tent, and we play.

Am I supposed to say no to this?!

When she runs out of the room I go back to my cup-same one- but this time I dump a little out since the red light is still on indicating the hot plate is still heating the almost-hour-old coffee, and once again I top it off.

Thud, tumble, tumble. “Ma maaaaaa“. I abandon my coffee³ and scurry to her room. There’s no crying so I’m not in full sprint, but more of a brisk walk (think a 4-5 level) on the treadmill. She looks up guiltily as she’s moved her dirty clothes hamper and managed to unplug her nightlight/white noise machine and pulled it down from the shelf by the cord. I roll up the plug and stow it away until it makes its way back out for bedtime.

But this hamper she’s moved… its been tipped over, displaying the cootie-clad clothing from the week splayed out on the floor. It’s begging me to bring it downstairs to be washed- so I do it. I also bring another load up from the dryer and I sit on the floor and I fold. I fold and I fold until I remember I have a [probably frozen] coffee waiting for me. The light is off on the pot. The remainder of the coffee is no longer warm enough to make mine any warmer. So I open the microwave as a last resort and I reheat my coffee. *cringe*

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About to heat my coffee up in my Harry Potter mug. Note there is NO RED LIGHT ON on the pot

While its heating up I decide to throw in a pizza (yep, its lunchtime now). I set the oven to 450° and the microwave signals that my coffee is ready⁴. So I crack the microwave door while I finish putting in my pizza.

15 minutes passes, out comes my lunch and shortly after we both share my pizza. Once its consumed I stand up, wash my plate, and place it in the dishwasher.

I turn around…and freeze. “Sh*t, my coffee“.

I take it out, walk to the sink, and dump it out.

I look at a bottle above my fridge. Is it too early for wine?! I grab a glass and the bottle to open it up…

Ma maaaaa!”

…..maybe tomorrow.

this story is based on true events • (in probably every single house that has a coffee-drinking mom). I really hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed reflecting back on my day!

cheers!

 

#coffeemom

Mom's Corner

Goodnight, little one

Goodnight, little one”, 

I whispered as I laid you down for bed. You look up at me and smile with sleepy eyes before rubbing them shut, and I melt. Just when I thought I was ready for you to lay down and be out so I can relax myself, my heart pings with a longing to scoop you up and wish you’d lay peacefully in my arms. But you won’t. Your bed is your cue for sleep, not my arms anymore.

I turn on your nightlight and creep out of your room, then I look around. The remnants of your playtime remain on our living room floor. Your high chair, your snacks, the aftermath of toys from Hurricane Baby- its the calm after the storm. Some nights I gather them up quickly and put them away, but other nights I take my time. I look at the elephant that sings and picture exactly how it makes you spin and dance, and the itty bitty red teddy bear thats the size of my palm, that you somehow manage to squeeze into a hug- and I smile. One day I’m going to long to have toys and kid-things to pick up and put away. So I grab the lotion I used after bath and snap the lid shut, knowing just an hour or so before we “argued” over whether it was edible or not, and I put it away.

There are nights when I stay up to do laundry and I sadly put aside the outfit I bought you from what I thought was last month that you’re already outgrowing way too quickly, just to put it away for safe keeping in hopes we might be able to use it for baby number three one day.

I remember being pregnant with you and wondering how on God’s Green Earth, I was gong to love you as much as I love your sister. If my heart was even capable of any more love. Then you were born and my cup runneth over– you proved me wrong.

Through your tantrums, the biting, the hitting, constantly managing to get into things you shouldn’t be in, and trying to teach you right from wrong, I miss you when you go to bed.

So, many nights before I go to bed to lay with daddy, I sneak back in your room and I sit down by your crib. If I am able, while you’re sleeping, I’ll place my finger in your hand and instinctively, you grab it.

Then off to bed I go.

“Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy.” —Tina Fey

 A poem by me, Ashley CincottaGoodnight little one“, I whisper
as I lay you down for bed.
Mommy will be in the other room
watching daddy sleep, instead.

That only lasts a little bit as she
she stays up a while to think-
About the toys I need to put away,
and the dishes in the sink.

So I put away the laundry
sadly laying smaller clothes aside,
wanting you small just a little longer
my heart, it breaks inside.

I sneak back in your room
and watch you sleep so peacefully.
It’s my secret form of comfort as
you’re growing right in front of me.

I sit there watching for a while
as my work is finally done.
Mommy loves you more than life, you know.
I whisper, “Goodnight, little one“.

Mom's Corner

One Size does NOT fit ALL

If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about. Mom Bods.

I need to find humor in it some days to make myself feel comfortable in it. Here’s a quick true story.

° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° °
A Day at the Pool

Me showing off my stretchmark-clad body: “Lets get in the water.”
Friend who feels overweight: “No.”
Me: “Why not?”
Friend: “I feel like a hippo”
Me: “Well I look like a Zebra. Let’s just go to the watering hole together!”

And we laughed about it, and still didn’t go in the water for another half hour. The end.
° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° °

So lets get down to what makes a mom-bod.

The stretch marks (in places you never knew you could get them!), the loose skin (mine will probably only go away with a tummy tuck- that I’ll pay for when I win the lottery), the cellulite, the arm flab, the all around weight gain, the transformation of your hoo-hah for the next few weeks post-partum, the c-section scars, the boobs (or lack-thereof). Unless you’re one of those freaks of nature, whose bodies just bounce right back to being normal without a trace of a baby being in there- in which case I’m going to say is not normal. (I have quite a few of these friends. I wish I could hate them).

I mean, my body shrank back down to size, but my stretch marks got stretch marks!  My calves got stretch marks. And boooooyyyy did my thighs get stretch marks. My oldest did some work on this mom bod.

Orrrrrr… maybe it was all the midnight Whoppers, and early morning root beers on the way to work. Or the fact that I took “eating for two” and ran with it! Either way!

It took me a long time to embrace the changes to my body. Even with working out and managing to get visible abs, the loose skin was still a problem. I lubed up my belly my whole pregnancy to try and prevent stretch marks, but didn’t know my thighs were my problem! After I had her, I swore off shorts for the rest of my life because of how purple they were. Yeah. That lasted all of 2 seconds since the house I lived in had no A/C. I tried to find creams to fade them faster, hoping they’d disappear. That didn’t work for me either. And these boobs? They were great when breastfeeding (aside from the pain of clogged ducts and the struggle for supply), but when I gave up on it… they gave up on me.

So I gave up, too. I mean.. I still wear bikinis, not to flaunt my stretch marks, but because I still feel beautiful. I just know that no matter what look like, mom-bod or not, that there are so many other people out there who just don’t give a crap about my body. Even girls with “perfect” bodies, hate something about the way they look. I know the way I beat myself up about my looks and my body, almost every single other woman out there is doing the same, too.

I may complain about this or that or mentally pray that my husband still thinks the same of me, but we met when my oldest was two. So you can imagine the horror I felt at the thought of being intimate for the first time. We’ve been together 5 and a half years, and I still hide my body from him. I know, if he didn’t care then, that he doesn’t care now, and that I shouldn’t either.

I wouldn’t trade my mom-bod for my pre-pregnancy bods because I have learned to love my appearance more than I had before (and I thought I was hot sh*t, before). I mean so in a more humble way. I respect my body and the capabilities it has to f30707931_1913901138642271_4298308806326091776_norm life within it. If I had my pre-pregnancy bod, I would not have my two beautiful children.

My version of what I expect my body to look like differs from what you expect your body to look like. All mom-bods are accepted forms of beautiful. We just have to learn to love our new bodies in a different light- and that may take a while. That is okay!

“One Size” does not fit all, when it comes to our bodies.

cheers!
ashley

P.S.- I still love all my freak of nature friends, even if you don’t have to deal with most of these issues.

#coffeemom

interior design · Mom's Corner

“I am going to make everything around me beautiful- & that will be my life”

So we bought a house 10 months ago…

If you were to walk into it right now, you’d probably think that we were in the process of moving out.

THAT is how much progress we’ve made as to getting this place looking a little more “home-y“. I am slowly but surely browsing Amazon, Etsy, Target (duh), and wherever my browser takes me to find good deals on decor without breaking the bank.

I will show you a glimpse of our work-in-progress (because you aren’t getting a full glance of my house until I know my mom is making an appearance because that’s the only time it’ll be semi-decent) and where to find them.

My featured image was a custom piece that I requested from a seller on Etsy called LoveBuiltShop. I told them what I was looking for, saw one of their designs and asked if they would do something custom for me. They were very responsive and even sent me a huge selection of templates configured in many different ways for me to choose from. This was the result. (Shipping was fast and was carefully packaged. Shipped well before quoted ship time too)

Now my collage wall… mostly Target and Shopko. The shelves are by Hearth and Hand by Magnolia and you can find them here. The wall art is Shopko and you can find them here. The picture frames were from Target. (You can google that yourself). Here

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My semi-thought out wall collage in the living room. (Notice how the floor is not visible)

My kitchen sign is one of my absolute favorite quotes. Its so simple yet so romantic. I bought this from another Etsy seller named hoosierfarmhouse1. I didn’t even care what the price was so this was more of an impulse buy. I had to have it. You can find it here.

Again, very fast shipping and excellent customer service! I highly recommend them.

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My beautiful wall art by hoosierfarmhouse1 on Etsy. I really need to change out that ugly track lighting.

Now making its second “appearance” on my blog is my 2-tiered galvanized metal tray that was inspired by JEM Home Design (IG: thelittlebeachcottage), but mine was purchased from Shopko. You can find it here. (The rest of that stuff you’ll have to search on Target or Shopko’s page).

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My 2-tiered galvanized tray with random, semi-thought out decor.

The rest of these photos are merely browsed and randomly picked out things as I strolled through Target or Shopko’s aisles (these are my only options around where I live which is why they get multiple shout outs). There’s always Walmart… but, Target > Walmart and unfortunately for them since they’re basically neighbors Target gets my bizz-nass.

Now, decor (and baking) isn’t my niche, either but I know a few good people who do it. That is where my inspiration comes from.

Oh and Chip and Joanna.

cheers!
ashley

#coffeemom

baking · cooking · Mom's Corner

‘Made with Love’, really means I licked the spoon and kept using it..

… but that’s okay because I didn’t make enough cookies to share my cooties with anyone but my household.

& If I’m being really honest, I tried to make them big enough to where there wasn’t enough to share at all.

Tonight I did something for myself. (If you read my last post about lost missing time, then you know its past 10:30pm and this is my me time). I baked my favorite cookies in the entire world. Chocolate chip!

(Yes, the photo credit for tonight’s photos in this post goes to yours, truly)

Baking is not my niche and I’m only alright at cooking. I probably have a handful of1-read-directions-on-box-2-throw-box-away-3-11821347 recipes that I’m actually good at that don’t consist of mac n’ cheese, spam and rice, and brinner. I’m not sure if you do this, too but this photo (to the right) may as well have been done by me. I am horrible at following directions step by step!

But! This one time I am very glad I did. Because these cookies came out as perfect as can be. I usually look in the oven around the suggested cook time and think “I may as well eat the cookie dough raw if this is when I’m supposed to take them out of the oven”. I then proceed to leave them in just 5 minutes longer. Which in the world of cookie baking is so dumb.

Don’t do it!

Not if you want baked-to-perfection soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies. Which is the way God intended them to be. (Or maybe, just how I’d hope he’d want them to be). Anyway, I wanted to share a bit of my evening with you guys. Enjoy these [almost] professional photos taken with my iPhone 8 Plus camera.

**Also! If you can see any of my kitchen decor in the background behind those mouth-watering cookies, (I know my “professional” photos make it hard to pick out, ha!) just know that I was inspired by my super friend, Jennifer’s Home Design photos. I know I mention how baking isn’t my niche up there ↑↑↑ but home design is definitely hers! Check out her Facebook page JEM Home Design or her Instagram: @littlebeachcottage you won’t be disappointed!**

Mom's Corner

“I’m [not] a bad mom.”

Is this something you think to yourself? I do. Daily.

I’m a bad mom.

Today I gave my toddler snacks for breakfast until it was time for breakfast, but luckily for me she was still hungry. Today, I let my oldest have some of my coffee. Last week I yelled at my oldest for forgetting her chores for the umpteenth time.

I’m a bad mom.

Many mornings I just want to lay in bed until the last possible second and then I rush my oldest off to the school bus. “Hurry, the bus is coming”. “Hurry and eat your food, you only have [xxxx amount of] minutes”.

I’m a bad mom.

A few days ago I wouldn’t let my toddler play with the floor vent she picked up from its hole in the ground. Then proceeded to drop an f bomb within sounds’ reach of her innocent ears, as she slammed it on my toes in her fit of rage. [Not at her, just at the fact that it hurt like a mother].

I’m a bad mom.

Some nights when I’m exhausted from working 12 days in a row, when it comes to bedtime stories and back scratches, I skip pages, and fib about how long five minutes is. Then lay my youngest down half an hour early so I can save a little bit of what’s left of my sanity, hoping she puts herself to sleep sooner rather than later.

I’m a bad mom.

Because sometimes Nickelodeon is my babysitter… what makes me even worse is that sometime’s it Spongebob & Patrick.  

But the thing is… if I were really a bad mom– I wouldn’t care. I wouldn’t feel an overwhelming sense of guilt for making my kids sad for telling them “No”. And neither would you.

I’ve come to the point where I’ve realized, frozen chicken nuggets, french fries, cereal, or cheese slices for dinner aren’t going to kill my kids. That turning on the TV to keep them preoccupied so I can get things done around the house (or even just so I can sit by myself for even just a few minutes), won’t brainwash them for the rest of their lives. That disciplining them when necessary isn’t going to traumatize them, but mold them into [hopefully] respectful teenagers/adults one day. Even if that means I feel guilty or get too hard on myself for it because their momentary heartbreak, really breaks mine more.

I feel like I can always do better or I should have done this or that. So I asked my oldest the other day, after getting frustrated for asking her to take her things down to her room for the millionth time (that I ended up doing because she “forgot”), “Are you happy?” She said “Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?”. The guilt that was weighing on my shoulders lifted from hearing that simple answer. I need to learn to let go of the guilt, not hold onto it and move on. My kids are happy, they are fed, they are well taken care of, and most of all they are loved.

I need to stop telling myself I’m a bad mom. So do you.

I’m not a bad mom. I am a good mom. I can always better myself, but I’m not a bad mom. Neither are you.

 

cheers to us and this whole parenting thing!

Mom's Corner

A Letter to My Oldest Child ♥

S

weet girl,

The moment I found out I was pregnant with you, I was scared. Scared that God had trusted that in that point in time of my life I was ready for you.

Or maybe that I needed you…

That, I did. I needed you.

The second I saw you on that ultrasound screen, everything around me disappeared. (Literally, because happy tears formed in my eyes and fell down my face). I was in a world of my own and while I was scared up until that point- I no longer was. I looked forward to every pregnancy milestone with you. (Even though I was really hoping for a boy 😉 ).

When I knew you were ready to make your debut, and got to the hospital all I could worry about at that point in time was getting you out. The pain I endured during labor with you felt unbearable.

Until you were here.

Everything I read, or learned, or thought I would know about love, left my brain and was replaced with reality. The realization that no book I had read had the instruction manual to figure out what I’d need to know to mother you. The realization that no matter what kind of love I had experienced before you would prepare me for the second I laid my eyes on you. The love I felt for you surpassed them all.

You taught me how to love. You taught me how to be a mother. You taught me new levels of frustration as I’d sit up at night with you not knowing how to take away your tears. You are my first truest love.

Although you now have a sister who needs me just as much, and I watch you with a little jealousy pinging in your little heart. I want you to know, that no matter what, I will love you just as much as I ever have and I will love you just as much until the day I leave this earth, and then some more.

Nothing in this world can take away the love that I have for you. Nothing will ever replace our memories (mainly my memories since you were too little to remember the same things I do). Although, I ache for you to be little again, I love our time now. Watching you grow into a young lady, being a phenomenal big sister, makes my heart swell with pride. I look at you and, without fail, feel such an overwhelming love that I could burst into tears at any moment.

I look at you and I still see the baby, the toddler, the little girl you once were. I look at you and wish I had more time to love you as you were a baby. I look at you and kick myself for the things I wish I would have done differently.

I love you. With every fiber in my body.

You were my first, you will always be my first, you will always be my baby.

Love, Mommy ♥

#thecoffeemom