All About That Jingle….Bell

We have reached that point in the year that I have found especially uplifting….HOLIDAY SEASON!

It is personally my favorite for a variety of reasons but I’m going to share just 2 of my favorite holiday traditions with you.

1. Christmas Eve Pizza


This is a holiday tradition that has actually been in my family for about 25 years. It started on a cold Christmas before I was born when a snow storm hit and my grandfather had a hearty hankering for pizza. The following year, my grandparents started making their own pizza.

The tradition has lasted since then and is one of the things I am looking forward to sharing with William the most. This will be his first year getting his fingers in the pizza dough.


2.  Cookie Day


Another time honored tradition is the cookie day. According to my grandparents, it has been around since shortly after I was born, as I am the first grandchild in my family. It’s basically just getting together with all of the cousins and baking cookies.

We each get to pick our favorite and are in charge of making them completely from scratch.

Each year, we retell the year that my cousin decided to roll out the cookie dough with his booty. He was 3 or 4 at the time, but he is now 23 and proud to tell the tale.

A lot of sugar is consumed in one day and a lot of memories are made. I’ve recently had to take this tradition into my own home. But we still deliver specially wrapped boxes of treats to our neighbors and friends.


These are just two of my favorite things about the holidays, but the most important factor is family. I love that no matter what happens during the year, we get together and share some special memories.

Happy Holidays, ya’ll. Stay blessed.


Dirty Diapers and Depression

I’ve decided to take a break from the regular anecdotes and humor about being a mom. I think it’s time to get real about something…


It’s a loathsome beast and people still shy away from talking about it because it’s well… depressing.

The truth is, there is an reported estimate of 600,000 cases of Post-Partum Depression each year. That means 600,000 women are struggling to get out of bed each day and face the light, often including their fresh, newborn babies.

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That’s hard to imagine, huh? Parents are supposed to be over the moon about the birth of their precious little ones, right? Their life is complete and everything should be sunshine and rainbows from now on.


Pair feeling like a slug, with no sleep, recovering from child birth, and the added guilt of not wanting to be around your child, and you have one messed up mama.

It’s a rotating cycle of “faking it” until hopefully, you actually make it. That’s a lot of added stress when you already have no energy and one more mouth to feed.

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A lot of women are terrified to admit that they are not happy with their new life and refuse to seek help because they’re worried someone will think they don’t love their child. Or that they can’t handle being a parent.

Some just don’t know where to look for help and they need to understand that resources are available to them.

I’d suggest starting with your primary care physician and going from there. Some people just need an unbiased person to listen and tell them that it’s ok to feel the way they’re feeling.

There’s a website called “Silence Sucks” which connects patients with resources to help them live their best life again. (

I’ve never given birth to a child, but I’ve fought a life-long battle with depression and watched the women around me shudder under it’s force. But there is a light out there, and things can get better.

Don’t ever be ashamed to ask for help. You are not weak. You are simply strong enough to know when you can’t do it alone.

Don’t stay silent. Don’t look down on those who are doing what’s best for themselves.

I’m cheering for you, and letting you know it gets better on the other side.

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Working Mom Guilt

I’m going to share something very new to me today that I’ve had very limited experience with until now: working mom guilt.

In the three years of my baby boy’s life, I’ve never held a regular job. I’ve been blessed enough that my husband can manage on his own financially until I finish school. 

However, in October, I work as a character performer Thursday to Sunday night of every weekend. It’s exhausting and very time consuming. Especially when you add school and homework to that.

I love my job, basically getting to live out my childhood dreams and make people smile. But this year, another icky feeling creeped in that I’ve never had before. And it hit me with a vengeance. 


And I realized that this is how many working moms feel every single day. It’s made even worse by the mixed views society has placed on already exhausted mothers for either “selfishly focusing on themselves” or “not being independent enough”. 

The double standard is dizzying and difficult to take because can’t everyone else see how much we love our babies? We love them with our heart and soul, with every fiber of our being. But sometimes, we need to do things for ourselves. 

We need to step outside and remember that our significance is not measured by the mounds of laundry piling up, or the amount of dirty diapers filling up the garbage can. 

And we shouldn’t feel guilty for that! It should be celebrated when we play both roles. It should be celebrated when we decide that one is enough. 

I’m proud of all the work I’ve accomplished, but I’m also ready to soak up every second with my son before I enter the job market for real. 

Mom guilt is terrible, but I’m reminded how important it is that we cherish each moment together. 


The Reality of Being a Step-Mom

I’ve decided that it’s time to get real about the life of a step-mom, as I see so many girls my age dipping their toe into this life. 

It is NOT easy. It is one of the most difficult things I’ve chosen to do in my life. 

It is hard being the second woman in your child’s life. Some of your family will never think of them as yours. Sometimes, you’ll get questions about having “one of your own”. Those questions will hurt because why would you need another, when this one is so small and and in need of love?

To some, you’ll be a glorified babysitter. You’ll get comments about having “time off” even though that time drags on until you can hold your child again. 

Your child’s biological mother will struggle with it too. Sometimes, they’ll resent your very existence. Sometimes, they’ll wish you would leave and never come back. Sometimes, they won’t recognize that you couldn’t leave even if you wanted to, because blood or not, that child has your whole heart in their hands.

No one wants to talk about the insecurity that comes with comparing yourself to someone else each and every day. They say, “Oh you’re different. It shouldn’t bother you,” but it really does. It hurts like knives going through your heart because you’ll always be second. 

And thoughts of the future will haunt you. The day will come when your precious baby will start calling you by your first name. When you go to weddings, and you remember his Mother-Son dance will not include you.

 But when you look into those big, round, blue eyes, you’ll forget about every shard of glass you walked on to get here because you’re standing at the edge of something amazing. A young life that knows only love and protection because of you. 

And every laugh and every hug and every kiss will be more special because your best days are happening right now. 

The blood, sweat and tears will melt away.

If you’re stepping into this life, do so with the knowledge that the journey will not be easy, but it will be worth every second. You’re not alone. Many other strong women are on this journey with you. 

I’m proud to be a step-mom to a very special three year old. And I’m proud of everything that I’ve been through to get here. 


Fall Adventures!….sorta

This momma has already spent a whole lot of October working. That means that my time with bubba has been at a depressing low. 

This weekend we packed a whole Halloween season into 3 days and I’m exhausted. 

 1. The Louisville Zoo’s Halloween Party

Look at that ninja turtle’s face of complete and utter exhaustion. Unfortunately, no amount of candy and mermaid snuggles was going to brighten my child’s day.

To be fair, he had no nap that day and had actually fallen asleep face down in pizza before coming to the zoo. 

He was also highly disappointed at the lack of animals on exhibit. 

My husband ended up trashing the visit and letting this tired turtle crawl into bed for a good night’s sleep for the next day’s fall festivities. 

2. Hubers Farm

Our next brilliant idea was to pile into the car for an hour drive to Hubers Farm in Indiana. 

It went surprisingly well. We picked pumpkins, the biggest one that his little arms could carry, and played at the massive park at the winery. 

We all had a wonderful time, riding tractors, finding our way through a bamboo maze, and jumping on a giant pumpkin.

The hard part came when we had to leave because once again momma had work. It was a bloody nightmare.

I’ve never felt like such a failure to my son for cutting such wonderful day so short.

3. Painting pumpkins

By Sunday, I had cried myself to sleep two nights in a row. I was exhausted and angry at myself for missing this precious time with my baby boy.

I let him sleep in. We ate tacos and then we went to paint pumpkins.

Now, as a rule, I’ve never let him mess with paint really. It’s just a disaster in the making. But he loved every second. 

We sat there outside for over an hour until our pumpkin looked like a grey blob because all of the colors ran together. 

But he was so proud, “Momma, look! I’m painting my pumpkin!” Was repeated more times than I can count. 

It reminded me of a very important lesson that I feel needs to be heard. 

Your child doesn’t care what you do, but they do care that you did something together. 

You can try and try to make these perfect memories like the ones on Pinterest, but it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. 

What matters is the few moments where you sit in the driveway and paint the world’s ugliest pumpkin. 

What matters is that you made the effort to be there with them when you haven’t slept in week, or money is tight, or things just aren’t going your way. 

Be there. Be present. The rest will work itself out. 


My Life as a “Mombie”

My three year old is in a stage I’ve grown to call the “Terrifying Threes” which is somehow much worse than the “Terrible Twos”. It comes from a multitude of new and angsty behaviors, but the most traumatizing has been his refusal to sleep. At all.

It’s like living with the Tasmanian Devil after he’s had a case of Red Bull. IT. NEVER. STOPS.

He’s learned this new thing where around 12:30 at night, he crawls out of bed and opens my door without making a sound.

Then, he pets my head and whispers, “Mommy, wake up.”

I can assure you, each night he wakes me up from the deepest point in my sleep cycle and I bolt out of my bed like I’ve been electrocuted.

I walk him back to his bed and tuck him in. We then proceed to spend the next 45 minutes reading every book on his book shelf and singing the PJ Masks theme song at least 20 times.

All the while my husband takes the opportunity to get more comfortable in bed.

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Eventually, I decide that this child will not be sleeping at all tonight. I give him a toy, a new bottle of milk and pray that he’ll let me get a couple hours of sleep before I have to get up.

This has been our daily ritual for at least a week and I cannot tell you what a full night’s sleep looks like.

He still manages to wake up before my alarm goes off and crawls into my bed. I cry a little inwardly, then he cuddles up to me and I remember why I do it at all.

My little bear is growing up and someday he won’t snuggle at all.

So, tonight, bring it on. I don’t wanna miss a single second. giphy


Saying Goodbye to Internships

This will be final week of interning for the University of Louisville Alumni Magazine and I’m finding it very hard to say goodbye.


I met some wonderful people and made friendships that I hope will last a lifetime.

We endured some stuff together. We survived Mondays where nothing got done because well, Mondays suck.

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I learned that there is always time for coffee and it’s definitely okay to be overwhelmed. I learned that work doesn’t have to be dry if you really enjoy what you do.

I’ve learned a lot about the world while working there. I listened in on political discussions and learned a couple of things about how businesses work. I didn’t like everything that I heard, but I also learned that I don’t have to.

I learned about the important differences in writing. I learned that not everything has to be written so factual and bland, but it can still be news. It can still be relevant and true.

The most important things that I’ve learned are about myself though. I learned what I want in a job, and what I really don’t want.

I know now that I can’t handle being my own boss; I’m just too relaxed for that. But I also know that I like creative environments, where ideas can be discussed freely. I like to be in charge of my own projects and not rely too much on others.

I know what kind of job I’m looking for, where before, I had only a faint idea.

And that leads me into some important advice for people preparing for an internship….


There are some things that you just have to jump into, throwing caution to the wind. This is one of those things. Allow yourself to be submersed in something outside of your comfort zone.

You may discover something about yourself that you hadn’t known before. This is a chance to test the waters. Maybe you’ll have to dip your toe in 50 different ponds until you find your perfect fit, but take that time.

So, goodbye to my first internship and the job that taught me a whole lot about me. Thanks for the memories.

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Married, Mom and 19

In the United States, as of 2015, the average age of first marriages is 28 years old. That makes sense right? Out of college, financially stable, ready to “settle down,” so to speak.

However, that isn’t the case for everyone and it certainly wasn’t the case for me.

Cue: William C. Hill


Me and then-fiancee Branden, with my step-son, William. (2014)

During my freshman year, we were blessed with William.

Raising a baby while in college was never a part of “the plan” but it has been one of the most rewarding parts of my life.

It certainly wasn’t easy. There were so many nights dragging myself to school after waking up every two hours to a fussy infant. But William was a light in what was sometimes a very dark place. He was a constant reminder that I could never give up, as long as I had him smiling back at me.

So, I continued. I pushed through school and kept working hard.

We decided that if we were going to raise this baby together anyway, we might as well all have the same last name!

Thus, 10 days after his first birthday, I, too, became a Hill.

Our wedding day in 2015.

Marriage itself isn’t easy. There’s a meshing of personalities and a whole new realm of responsibility. There’s financial obligations, and finding a place to live, dealing with cars and work and school.

It’s a lot, but there’s also some peace in having a partner to walk hand-in-hand with you into the fire.


Our 2 year anniversary date in 2017.

We celebrated 2 years together this fall and it’s been one heck of a wild ride. We celebrated with dinner and ice cream before rushing back to real life.

There’s this constant balancing act that comes with being a full time student, a full time home-maker, a full time care taker, and a still maturing human being.

Some people thought it was crazy, but it’s a very special kind of crazy. The kind of crazy that requires dedication and passion, a desire to stay strong in the face of challenges.

People say that I’m too young, or too immature, but I think I’m a better person because of my little family. I’m stronger, more focused, and more determined than I have ever been.

Motherhood and marriage are not for everyone. And definitely not for everyone while in college, but I think that it’s going to be a beautiful day when I walk across the stage at commencement in December and my beautiful step-son is waiting to meet me.

Every sleepless night, every tear I’ve cried, every moment of doubt will be worth it.

That’s my motivation. That’s what keeps me going.

Cheers, ya’ll.


Local Artist Making A Splash in Cosplay

Amanda Haas is an out of this world costumer and performer that is slowly becoming a household name in the world of cosplay.

Haas got her start at the University of Louisville where she began as a fine arts major. She started dabbling in sewing and fashion and fell in love with the idea of bringing her art to life.

She spent some time working for the Louisville Ballet as a costume designer and seamstress for the shows that passed through Louisville. She fell in love with creating things with her own two hands.

She soon discovered that there was more than just ready-to-wear fashion after attending Derby City Comic Con in 2011. Her eyes were opened to an entirely new world, a world in which she could create and be anything she wanted to.

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With yards of fabric under her arm and a needle in her hand, she decided to begin crafting her own costumes.

She quickly learned that she had a knack for re-creating film accurate pieces as the compliments and admiration rolled in.

She’s even started competing, bringing home awards and accolades from the tycoons of the cosplay world. Most recently, she received 1st Place in the Professional category and Best in Show at GenCon, two major awards in cosplay competitions.

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When Haas isn’t competing or prepping for competition, she’s an average girl that loves enjoying the local food Louisville has to offer.

She also works part time as a Social Media Manager at Haas Cabinets and a wig maker for Custom Wig Company.

The sky truly is the limit for this homegrown artist.

For more information about this artist, check out



Party Planning on a Budget

While planning a birthday party for my now three year old son, I came to the realization that planning parties is very expensive.

So,  I have come up with my three top suggestions for saving money and having a great birthday party.  (Though I have also used similar wallet-friendly methods for planning my wedding.)

1.  Use your resources.

Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help. My aunt owns a small business using her Cricut to make shirts and home decor. I enlisted her help, and for the bargain price of materials (a whopping $4), my son had a very cute shirt.


Pride is never an excuse for spending in excess. Ask for help; the worst thing that can happen is they say no.

2. Do it yourself.

Most of the time, kids don’t care too much what things look like. So, don’t waste the money!

For example, the average batch of 18 cupcakes with plastic toppers costs about $16.99. For two boxes of cake mix at $.99 each, some ingredients for icing out of the pantry, and $5 worth of paper, I had 48 colorful cupcakes that tasted great. FB_IMG_1504448637251

(And as a disclaimer, I am far from a professional baker. That icing was a total mess.)

3. Mix and Match.

Contrary to popular belief, branding really isn’t everything. While it may not be much, branded decorations cost on average a $1-2 more.

My advice is to take some materials that have your theme on them and mix them with plain materials in a color that complements your theme.

My main point is to work smarter, not harder. Your dollar can stretch further if you don’t overthink it.

The money I saved went toward a bouncy house for my son, which was the highlight of the party.


His laughter was well worth every penny spent.