Snowflakes, cuddles, and Getting the heck back to work and school! 

Hi Again,
It’s me! Exhausted mom, you know, just like you. I must say, tonight I just let the kids sleep with the TV on and on the couch. I just needed a few mom minutes to myself. A mom minute is equivalent to enjoying a drink of your choice, doing a hobby you enjoy, or in my case, watching Law and Order SVU reruns. (Quietly without interruptions) for however long you’d like.

It has been a couple days since I have posted and I’ve been super busy! I’ve been interviewing many interesting moms! I can’t wait to feature them! Keep an eye out for them soon!! If you’re interested in being a featured mom, let me know and I’d be more than happy to interview you!

Snow. 12inches of pure, snow! I was so excited to get that much snow!! ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

The upside to all the days off we get from work are:

  • Sleep-ins
  • Unlimited eating because you’re so bored.
  • Numerous reruns
  • Cuddling time which in turn leads to, well…more sleep! (What else is there to think of..sicko’s) 😜
  • Sleigh riding
  • Walks in the snow

The family and I really enjoyed our time off..we hoped our electricity wouldn’t go out and thankfully, it didn’t.

The flip side to this is:

  • When the HELL do the kids go back to school?
  • When the heck can I go back to work?!
  • Why the hay is my liquor cabinet empty?!
  • Leave me alone, I’m done cuddling
  • Attitude
  • Non morning people

Needless to say, after five long, I mean five snowy beautiful days, we finally made it back to work.

……Now waiting for the next snow event.

Dear groundhog, please see your shadow! Amen!

We went grocery shopping at midnight before the storm came to make sure we were prepared.
We made homemade play dough and used home cookie cutters to cut out shapes.

 My daughter playing with the homemade play dough while its snowing outside.

 Sledding time!❄️💜

  Hubby and I playing in the snow!
 Rudolph enjoyed some snow time!

 Chelsea checked on her chickens to make sure they were still alive.


Advice from Newer Mom, Crystal, The Rivas Family

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Photo Credit: Tiffany Maxfield Photography 

Good Evening,

Moms, Minivans, & Messes had the extraordinary opportunity to interview Crystal and her beautiful three member family. I have known Crystal for about 10+ years and have been consistent in our friendship. We hope you enjoy the love and feedback about raising a child as much as we did.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Knowing what you know now about parenting, would you go back and change anything?

Crystal: The answer is absolutely not. Never in my wildest dreams. I look at this little person we are in the process of developing into our worlds future, and she is the most profound thing I have ever laid my eyes on. I am proud of her, beyond my words- and I can’t wait to see what her future holds, considering anything and everything is just at the reach of her finger tips.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What are some things you wish you knew BEFORE you had children?


I have chosen the 3 things to talk about, that I wish I had known BEFORE I had her- based on my personal struggles or “light bulb” (in my best Gru voice) moments over the last 3 years – (I know, I’m an expert at this point! hahahahaha!)
1. It takes a village:
As a first time mom, your first few months as a mother with that little squishy baby is in your arms, you have NO idea what you’re doing…. You feel like you’re the only one who can do it. You feel like, no one will be able to feed her right, bathe her correctly, put her down- without you there. They wont know when she is too warm, or too cold… Even if you may not have a clue yourself. Then the moment will come, that you don’t have a choice, but allow someone else to care for your baby- due to having to go back to work or school, or whatever the case may be.
In my case it was work and my MIL had our daughter. I resented the fact that I wasn’t the one caring for my little baby- I felt like was failing her somehow. I misplaced that resentment and it started to simmer toward my MIL. It took me some time, but slowly I started to understand, it truly does take a village to raise a well rounded, smart, capable human being. My MIL was the next best thing to me for those first 2 years. She did raise an amazing man after all~ I trusted her, I knew my little squish was in the best hands possible, if I could not be there.
And now, its her preschool teachers- They do an amazing job with her- They teach her so many things, that as a working mom and one who is not trained in early childhood development, would have never even fathomed to teach at this age. I see certain traits and characteristics of everyone that is helping to raise my child. And I love it. I choose those who are in our circle of people, kind of like fertilizer for the garden of her mind! And I couldn’t be more pleased!
Never forget that you will always be mama, you will always know best. But a child can never have or feel too loved. Choose wisely, but choose your village.
2. It’s ok to miss what was.
Your life changes drastically with baby. (Who would have imagined, RIGHT?!?!) However, Just because you’re mom now- doesn’t mean that you can’t miss life the way it was before being mom.
Before mom-hood, if you weren’t hungry, you didn’t have to eat. Didn’t want to get out of bed till you felt like it— ok! Did and went as you pleased, at no ones schedule but your own. Ohhhh those were the days. I remember before my daughter was born, people would constantly tell me “Get your sleep now” I wished they would have said “Do as you please, while you can”.
Here’s the thing- in the darkest moments of the next few years of finding your way as a mom- there will be on more than one occasion, where you say to yourself, “I just want to run away, and go back to what was.” And in your already fragile state of feeling like a failure to your child. This thought will crush you down even further, because -“what mother who loves their children would ever think these thoughts…” And there go the water works, all while your fantastic husband has wrangled the cattle and stopped the tantrums, and they are both looking at you wondering what has gone wrong!
This scenario will happen a handful of times. And guess what- It will be ok!!! You’re not a terrible mom. You’re not failing your child. You’re not an awful person. You’re human. Who hits their limits of screaming, and whining, and tantrum throwing, and feeling like a failure. We all hit our limits. You’re going to go to bed, exhausted, cried out, sad, angry, and Lord knows what else. But you will wake up in the morning and do it all over again. And, it will be a better day! (Especially when you find a little love note from the hubby and child saying how much they love you in your lunch box 🙂 )
Point of the story- You got up and did it again. Even if you have those moments of missing what was…. If you find yourself in this situation too many times in a row, its a sign to let someone babysit your child for a night, (remember that village conversation) and have 24 hours of “what used to be” refresh your mind and sleep-
Remember, you cant fill a glass with an empty pitcher~
3. You will lose yourself.
And ITS OK! You’re not the same individual as you once were. You may lose some of the interests you once had. In fact, you may even forget what those interests were. The first couple of years are a whirlwind. They go faster than you could have ever imagined. Even though everyone and anyone tells you “Enjoy it now, it goes by fast” You truly don’t know how fast, until one day, you look up and your baby is now tall enough to reach the top of the counter and grab her own snacks and tell you about it! That being said, if you have time to focus on your interests~ FANTASTIC! But, the majority of  new mama’s I know, do not.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Final Thoughts?

Fact of the matter is… You don’t realize it, until you’ve lost the previous you. Or at least that’s what happened to me. I didn’t realize I didn’t have a hobby, or an outlet, until I was asked recently… what it is I like to do…. other than being a mom and a wife, and what my job consists of…. I couldn’t answer the question…
But you know, that’s ok. I have admirations. And I am starting to find a few moments here and there to work them in. I think the important thing here is, to remember- not to let go of desires and wants- and to also not let the fact, that you have responsibilities that may not allow you the time right NOW, to work toward them- get you down. I promise, soon you will have the time…. sooner than you realize, and probably sooner than you will want.
I would like to thank Crystal for the opportunity to take time out of her busy schedule and away from her family to answer a few questions about her experience in “mothering”. I hope you, the reader, have enjoyed her responses as much as I have.
If you are interested in becoming our next featured mom and/or grandma please email me at:

Judy Hughes: A Nanny’s Voice

Since most little girls can remember, becoming a mom has been a big dream. Finding the right one to help you with the gift of life, help raise the new life to perfection, and worrying every single second about every decision you make, not knowing whether or not it was the right decision. Who will be there to witness the first spoken word? The first smile? The first real pair of undies? These are all moments that most moms and dads are there for them to witness.

What happens when a woman becomes a first time grandmother? Do we think about these times? Do we put their feelings into consideration? How do they feel when the women who have raised you and your spouse from day one find out that this very little life is growing and will be their first little golden, precious grandchild?

Your career as a grandparent begins even before your grandchild is born. From the moment when you get the good news, your actions and reactions matter.

I had the noteworthy opportunity to interview, Judy Hughes, a grandmother to a very unique little lady, her granddaughter.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: “Judy, what is the best part of being a grandmother? (Nanny)”

Judy: “One of the best parts of being a grandmother (Nanny) in my case, is that I get the honor and privilege of getting to spend time with my granddaughter, watch her grow, help shape the person she is and will become.Love her unconditionally! Play with her, pray with her, read to her, give her my undivided attention, be her buddy, greatest cheerleader,and be her comforter, show her how much she is loved, and her great capacity, to love. I get the opportunity to be involved, to be involved in most every aspect of her life. These memories , that is one of the greatest gifts of all. I could literally write a book on the “Best parts of being a Grandmother”.”

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: “Judy, what advice could you offer to first time grandmothers?”

Judy: “Take every opportunity to be involved in your grandchilds life. Always champion mom and dad. Encourage them, support them, guide them (when they ask for your help). Enjoy and celebrate every part of their life. Make lasting memories. Tomorrow is never promised.Teach them, love them, spoil them! Never miss an opportunity. Its important to note: Let the parents be parents.”

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: “You noted to “Let parents be parents” What advice can you recommend for moms of first time grandmothers?”

Judy: “Be thankful you have a wonderful mother. Be thankful your mom wants to be part of your childrens lives. Ask for her help! Include her, love her….you will never have another mother. Champion your mom and her advice and love. You and your parents are on the same page with a common goal. To love them to the moon and back!”

This concludes our interview of Nanny Judy!

With that said, here are ten easy plans on how to be the best grandma you can be:

  1. A good grandmother knows how to make her grandchildren feel special while teaching them a thing or two about the world. She also can provide a different role than the grandchild’s parents and doesn’t overstep her bounds. The trick to being a good grandmother lies in bonding with your grandchild while developing a fun-loving, dynamic relationship that involves lots of warmth, care, and love.
  2. Have a solid game plan. It can be a really helpful thing to know what to do with your grandchildren when they arrive. If you want to go on an outing, you might need to suggest certain clothing. It is also a good idea to check opening times, session times and transportation timetables to make sure that everything is sorted in advance. When you make your plan for the day, however, take some time for resting and decompressing into account, too. You don’t want your grandchild to get too tuckered out.
  3. Try to do something with your grandkids that their parents wouldn’t normally do with them. Take them to a new part of town they haven’t seen, or teach them something their parents don’t know how to do, whether it’s watercolor painting or jewelry making. This will make your time together all the more special and memorable.
  4. Unplan. That’s right — don’t make plans sometimes. Let your grandchildren see what you normally do around the house and learn by watching. Often they will be interested enough to pitch in and help you, all the while holding fascinating conversations with you. Treasure these times because they hold the essence of intergenerational bonding. They may be interested in watching you cook, helping out in the garden, walking your dog with you, or even in checking out your favorite TV show.
  5. Teach them about the world. Pass on your experience through your stories about what you have done and seen. Don’t be afraid to share the “strangeness” of the past. To their ears it may be strange now but in the future, they will come to see your past as being as special as theirs, and in some small way, they will understand both you and humanity all the better for your having shared how life was when you grew up. You’re the best record of what happened, so share it with them generously.
  6. Have your grandchildren teach you something. Your relationship with your grandchild doesn’t have to be one-sided. Times are changing fast, and one thing you can do to make your grandchild feel special is to ask him or her to educate you about what’s going on in the world, from the latest trends in music to Facebook or Twitter. If you’re tech savvy, then you can ask your grandchildren to tell you about fashion or what their friends talk about, these days. Show a genuine interest in their world and they will open up to you.
  7. Be there for the milestones. One thing you can do is to make sure that you’re there for the important moments in your grandchild’s life, from birthdays to elementary school graduations. Though you may not be able to always be there, especially if you live far away, you should make a point of being there for the important moments when you can. Your grandchildren will remember those big moments in their lives, and it’ll be important for them to remember your presence during those times.
  8. Accept your role in your grandchild’s life. To succeed as a grandparent, you should accept the fact that you are the grandparent, not the parent in the child’s life. Your role is to spend time with your grandchild, give advice and help to the parents when it’s needed, and to be there for the new addition to your family. The sooner you accept that you are not the grandchild’s mother, the sooner you can be on to enjoying your own unique relationship.
  9. Remember birthdays. On their birthday, buy them presents that are thoughtful but not overdone. Sometimes give them what they ask for; other times put a little surprise in the wrapping paper that they didn’t expect. The most important thing is that you’re there for them on their big day and that you let them know how much you love them. Write them a card letting them know how much they mean to you in addition to giving them a gift.
  10. Give your grandchild’s parents time to bond. Sometimes, the thing that your child’s parents will need the most is some time alone together. While being around during family activities, celebrations, or trips can give them a helping hand, you can also find some time to be alone with your grandchild or grandchildren so that their parents can have some time to go out to dinner together or just to relax without their usual responsibilities for a little while. This can help relieve stress and to keep the parents’ relationship strong.




I am grateful for our children, well, except on a daily basis when we’re thrown into the Lion’s den.

We love our three children, they are our saving graces..until that moment we are thrown into the Lion’s Den.

I don’t know if our kids like to test us to see how far they can take us to see us go off the deep end, or maybe they think when we “go crazy” it’s funny to them, I don’t find it funny. They tell us they don’t like us to yell, but when you tell your son five billion(ok, a little exaggeration here) times to poop in the potty and he poops in his underwear, you automatically want to jump in the Lion’s pushing needed. 

The other day when I took out a toy(Why is an adult playing with a toy anyway?!)that no one had played with for three weeks and all of a sudden it was the BEST toy in the house and everyone had to play with, I was still wanting to jump into the Den, but I couldn’t find the den. The kids must have chased that damn Lion away…damn. 

Regardless of the Lion’s Den, which just so happens to really be my room, where I can lock my door, and bury myself under the pillows and covers, we are so grateful for our children. They each have separate personalities that make them into their own little human being. 

I’m pretty sure that while they’re sleeping they are contemplating their next moves. Damnit, I don’t even know how to play chess, but I’ll be the one to checkmate, kids, I’ll be the one to checkmate!!!

Would you Rather…True Confessions from an Honest Mom

Oh, Hi, it’s just me again! Moms are faced with decisions from day to day, sometimes even minutes to minutes and you need to act fast. Here are some of my “Would you Rather” confessions.

  1. Would you rather stay up all night arguing with a three year old about NOT sleeping in your bed OR just let him sleep in your bed?                             Well, if you chose arguing with your child, then you would be WRONG.  You see, sleep is important to working families and I would RATHER have sleep with two inches of space, hit in the face with a leg, or have your child swim around in the bed being apart of one of his dream adventures than to argue with him about how he will not be sleeping in our bed tonight.
  2. Would you rather have a TV in the kids room or have a TV in your room?      Well, that’s a no-brainer. I would rather have a TV in the kid’s room because I can get them to bed quicker, which then adds more time to my “me” time in the evenings, and I can enjoy what quiet the dog will allow me to have. Let’s be honest, that not having a TV in the kid’s room is pure BS. If watching Polar Express and Frozen gets them to sleep, then pass me another TV and I’ll be glad to let them watch both movies at the same time.
  3. Would you rather have happy kids and a messy house or be miserable with a clean house?                                                                                                                      Let’s be honest, the only reason my house is clean right now is because my mom cleaned up for us. I feel like I’m constantly yelling more at the kids when I’m attempting to clean with them-F it, they don’t want to help clean and I’d rather send them outside so they could run all of that energy out of their system so they can go to sleep, I mean, get a better night’s rest. 😉
  4. Would you rather eat instant Mac and Cheese and chicken nuggets for the rest of your life or have to feed your kid a five-course meal every day?           Um, Chicken nuggets….DUH! Because every night I come home and have to prepare a five course meal, that takes away time from homework time, precious quality time, and my favorite…bed time! ZZZzzz.
  5. Would you rather clean the entire kitchen by yourself or give your kids a bath by yourself?                                                                                                                 Let’s be honest, as parents, we reach a certain point, at a certain age where the oldest child can watch out for the younger children in the bathtub. So, I would rather clean the entire kitchen by myself WHILE the kids are bathing, not to mention, there is always the 99% chance your bathroom will become God’s next people killing flood.
  6. Would you rather have your kids say “fuck” in your house when they wanted or have your kids say “how the fuck are you?” to their grandparents or teachers just once?                                                                             I’m not going to lie, this is the first year for our family having a child in Kindergarten coming home with other kids saying more bad words than I ever could have imagined. Don’t even read this post thinking, “My child would never say that word at their age”….lies.
  7. Would you rather put your kids down on a public toilet you aren’t able to clean first or go wipe a public toilet for your kids using only one square of toilet paper?                                                                                                                          All I have to say is…..gross! Next question, please.
  8. Would you rather have your kids walk in on you and a partner in the middle of a sexual rendezvous or have your face be permanently the color your face would be if your kids walked in on you having a sexual rendezvous?                                                                                                                          Well, so much for putting the kids to bed early on hubby’s next day off, wait, that’s today!
  9. Would you rather drink your child’s backwash or eat their chewed food?       I’m a mom and if you didn’t catch that upon opening up my blog, then let me be honest and let you know that both of these things have probably happen in a matter of life or death or pure desperation.
  10. Would you rather babysit a kid who hates your kid, or go on a play date where you can’t stand the mom?                                                                                   Survey says, Play date. Simple, just let the other mom know you had a death in the family or the husband needs an oral cleansing. I’m pretty sure that mom will NEVER ask you for a play date again.

I hope your enjoyed these questions, please feel free to leave your comments and answers below! I’d love to hear from you on your “Would you Rathers”.


My top three Mom Confessions:

Every mom has a list of “confessions” about being a mom, I’m writing about mine:

  1. I bribe my kids with an icepop when I need to make an important phone call.        It’s true! When you need to call the phone company to set up a payment arrangement, I’d prefer to not have to yell in the representatives ear about my kids throwing bread or whatever at each other.
  2. I put my kids to bed at 7:30pm, just to get some peace and quiet.                    My husband works nights and I’m basically a single working mother. I come home, do homework, dinner, baths, prayers, and bedtimes. It’s ok that I need a little bit of sanity every now and then to myself.
  3. I prepare amazing grilled cheese sandwiches on nights I feel completely worn out.    When I come home from work, I’d rather spend time talking about our day than worrying about a fancy feast..again, I’m doing this by myself, so with that said, a simple grilled cheese and applesauce is a perfect candlelit former feast.

I really enjoyed seeing other mom confessions! It really uplifts each mom to understand that we are all going through the same parenting issues.
What’s your mom confession? On Instagram use the hashtag #mmmconfession 

We’re happy to see you, 2016!


Welcome to 2016

happy New Year

The year of Family, Faith, and Finances for our family! We counted down with the TV last night, all of us together, and watched the ball drop. 5,4,3,2,1….Happy New Year! (Hugs and Kisses to each one of us) We hope you are welcoming the New Year in your own way, just as we are doing.

chattin kids new year(This picture of our kids were on our local news this morning: WSLS Channel 10 Roanoke, VA)


The husband and I sat down and discussed finances this morning and we are starting the new year out by using an amazing money saving budget app: Level Money. Level Money is pin protected, so no worries about someone hacking into your personal information. Level money allows you to set a plan that also makes a visual, for visual learners like myself. There are four categories that allow you to visually see where your money is going.

  1. Income: This allows you to see everything that is deposited into your account. (Oh, did I mention, it syncs with your bank account?!-Amazing)
  2. Bills: Every single bill that you’re responsible for that is paid.
  3. AutoSave: This is such an amazing part of the app- it allows you to instantly save money, which separates the amount of spendable money you can keep and what you want to save.
  4. Spendable: The spendable part of the app lets you see how much you can take out for personal purchases each paycheck.

It was such a nice conversation that we had about finances. It was way overdue. It’s going to be tough to stick with it, but it will take routine, consistency, and effort. (Pictures below)


The family and I were lazy this morning, but at least we were together and were enjoying each other’s company. I had the kids sit down together at the table for snacks and playtime-no tv, no electronics, it was nice. We limit the kid’s electronic use for strictly for positive reinforcement, generally once or twice a week for ten minutes. Young kids need to be outside enjoying life, not cooped up playing on a device inside. I try to keep the rule of thumb, if it’s at least 35 degrees than they should be playing outside. (They’re outside playing now while I write)

chattin kids


The husband and I also discussed getting back on track with the good Lord who has blessed up x 1,000. We have finally found a good program our kids enjoy, so that makes the battle so much easier. Chris and I will be working on each other, our relationship, our children, and physical & mental. This was the easiest and best track that we found that could help us walk in our faith.


From our family to yours, we hope you are welcomed into 2016 with warm, loving, and happiness arms!