Hello everyone,

I just wanted to let my followers know that I will not be dropping my usual posts this week. I have chosen to take a step back from my craft to let POC voices shine through during this time.

Please also take this time to educate yourselves on these matters. Sign petitions, vote, protest if you can. Our voices need to amplify our black brothers and sister voices.

Next week I’ll be back on the same schedule.

Thank you for your understanding!

If you have questions about this movement, you can visit the following accounts on instagram for more information: @blackandembodies & @jessicawilson.msrd

#amplifymelanatedvoices #blacklivesmatter #muted

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

I love yall,

Kaley

Postpartum & Becoming a Mom

Having a baby at 20 was something I never thought would happen to me.

When that plus sign popped up in t-minus two seconds after peeing on a stick, it was my new reality. I quickly found out that I didn’t know as much about pregnancy as I thought I knew. I had watched my Mama have 5 babies, and I remember two of those times fairly well. I knew she was tired, I knew that one of those babies was constantly in her ribs, and it hurt for her drive. I did not know that the aftermath was something you’d never ever be able to prepare for.

My labor went super duper fast for having my first baby. I had contractions and back labor on and off all day, and by the time my fiancé and I made our way to the hospital at 10 pm, my contractions were between 4 and five minutes apart. It. Was. Unbearable. The second we got to the hospital I was given an epidural, and told I was 6 centimeters dilated. My water broke about 10 minutes after I was given the epidural, and I was left to let the drugs fully kick in. That hour of not feeling the bottom half of my body was the best hour I’d had since I found out I was pregnant. I was comfortable, and it was freaking amazing. After that hour I was checked again, this time I was 9 centimeters, so they got me ready to push. Two hours later, at 3:27 am, my baby girl was born.

I was stitched up, taken to the bathroom, and then they sent me on my way.

Yall.

No freaking “what to expect” book I read while pregnant told me I was going to have a freaking ice pack in my mesh undies, and that I was going to have to squirt warm water on my vag while I peed or else it was going to sting like a mother.

No one told me that you experience crampy contractions after you give birth because your uterus is trying to go back to its normal size.

No one told me that you can’t freaking poop because you’re terrified it will tear you open again.

No one told me that my body would be unrecognizable, and that it would take months to go back to pre baby, and even when it was back to pre baby, it still wouldn’t be the same.

No one talks about postpartum, and all the scary crap that happens to your body. Why is that? Shouldn’t that be the first thing we talk about? Shouldn’t we tell each other about the horrors of postpartum and the “fourth trimester” so that we are prepared??????????? Shouldn’t we share stories about stitches, and pooping for the first time? It is absolutely ridiculous, the culture that surrounds pregnancy and giving birth. Gotta look beautiful while pregnant, because you are lucky to be pregnant, but we can judge you if you’re too young or too old to be pregnant. Gotta put jeans on the second you get home from the hospital, because we have to show off how fast we “bounced back”. Gotta post beautiful milestone pictures with the perfect fonts, and cutest clothes on our baby because everyone needs to know how put together I am as a mother. Its freaking ridiculous. I am not put together. I hate wearing jeans. I did not post beautiful font milestone pictures. And you know what, if you did all those things, I am in awe, and need you to write a book about how you did it.

The point is, every mom is different. Every pregnancy is different, every postpartum is different. Our children are all different. Why do we hold such high standards for each other? Why does it feel like it’s a race to see who can do it better? Why do I feel stressed out every time I scroll through social media and see all the perfect put together moms? Why do we feel the need to conform to what society expects us to be? Its so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we have to be a certain way, buy a certain thing, or post just the right pictures to be seen as a good mom. What happened to just loving your kids, and that was enough?

I wish someone had taken me aside when I was pregnant and told me that not all the parts of motherhood are beautiful. We live in an age where society romanticizes motherhood, which in turn makes you feel like a bad Mom when you wake up one morning and just want to run away from it all. Motherhood is NOT beautiful 95% of the time. Motherhood is hard, and lonely. Motherhood is exhausting and mentally draining. Motherhood is giving 500% percent of yourself and getting nothing in return. Motherhood is staying up till 2 am just to be alone, and then waking up at 6 am to feed the baby. Motherhood is not all the things you see on social media, in fact its none of those things. Why don’t we talk about that?

As a young Mom with only a few friends who are also Mom’s, I wish that things were different. I wish that I didn’t have to mentally prepare myself to scroll through social media and see all the beautiful mamas. I wish that I didn’t micro analyze every single outfit I put on my daughter, subconsciously wondering if someone would have something to say about the choice of clothing I put on my baby. I wish I didn’t feel so alienated from older Moms who seem wiser and too good for me, the Mom who had her baby out of wedlock when she was 20.

Even though My journey to motherhood was not what I thought it would be, my daughter truly changed my whole entire life for the better. In some ways, I will always be postpartum. My body is forever changed from carrying and birthing my daughter, my eyes have dark bags under them, I’ve gained a few pounds. But right along with those physical changes, my heart has changed, as a person I have changed.

I want to say a big thank you to all the Moms in my life that I have looked up to throughout the years. Aunts, church leaders, teachers, friends’ parents, my Grandmas, my own Mama. Each and every one of you have impacted my life in such a special way, and I am so grateful to have all of you influence my life in such different ways.

Postpartum is different for everyone, and I want to make it something that is the first thing that is discussed when wanting to start a family. It is hard, and raw. Your life takes such a drastic turn in just a few days, and its hard to wrap your brain around such a huge change when your body has been through hell, and your hormones are still trying to get back to normal. Its important that we recognize that this point of our life is painful and intense, and that we are all fragile and new to navigating parenthood with our tiny humans. We all will make mistakes; we all have no idea what we’re doing. Let’s be gentle with one another Mamas, we all need it.

I love yall,

Kaley

For the Love of Brownies

I am a self-proclaimed brownie connoisseur.

Any time I attend an event that has a sweets table, I make a beeline to find my holy grail of desserts: the brownie. I love brownies. I am passionate about brownies. The flakey crust, gooey center, and chocolatey goodness make it a top tier dessert in my book. I don’t discriminate against brownies. I love them all. Cakey brownies, brownies with frosting, brownies with nuts, peanut butter brownies, brownies from the box, brownies with extras like caramel and pecans, ooey gooey brownies that taste almost under baked, I’ve never met a brownie I don’t like. My soft spot, however, will always be with homemade brownies.

I made it my mission about a year ago to find the perfect brownie recipe. I searched high and low, googling and pinteresting “The best brownie recipe ever” over, and over again. I made them all. Even the super extra recipes where you melt the chocolate over boiling water, I made them and tasted them. I found some really good ones along the way. I found a brownie recipe that called for oreos stuffed inside them, and that particular one remains verrrry high on my favorites list. I found that some recipes were either too cakey, or for some reason didn’t bake how they were supposed to in the allotted time. One recipe had way too much baking soda in it, and I dubbed that one a fail. Some were so close, but still missed something that I couldn’t quite figure out.

With all this time on my hands during the quarantine, I have taken my brownie hunt to the next level. I literally went on google, closed my eyes, and blindly clicked on a link to try.

The recipe I ended up on was amazing.

An absolute winner! Three days later, these brownies are still as wonderful as they tasted an hour after I pulled them out of the oven, soft, but still fudgy, not even the edges are a teeny bit hard. I found this recipe originally on “Two Peas and Their Pods” website and omitted a few ingredients due to personal preferences. I’m going to share the recipe that I made based on theirs with my personal tweaks I always do for a brownie recipe, and then link the original at the end.

The Absolute PERFECT Brownies

Ingredients

1 cup butter (2 sticks), melted and cooled

1 cup granulated white sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 ¼ chocolate chips, divided

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13” baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line with parchment paper with an overhang, and spray again. Set pan aside.
  2. Melt both sticks of butter in microwave, put aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together cooled melted butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth and combined.
  4. Sift in flour and cocoa, one at a time. Add in salt and stir until just combined. Add in half of the chocolate chips.
  5. Carefully pour into pan, and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until brownies are just set to touch. DO not over bake brownies, they will set as they cool.
  7. Store in an airtight container for up to four days and ENJOY!

Original Recipe can be found at: https://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/one-bowl-brownie-recipe/

Food is my love language, and sharing recipes with people I love is one of my favorite things to do. I hope you try this recipe, and then sit on your couch with a warm brownie, and watch your favorite show. It’s the little things, right?

Let me know if you DO make this recipe and tell me how it goes! Leave me a comment, or tag me in your posts on Instagram and twitter, it would mean the world.

I love yall,

Kaley

Hi yall!

Welcome to my first Friday Four!!!

I wanted to share with yall some products that have changed my life! Every other Friday I’ll post four different products or sevices that I particularily loved over the past two weeks. These products will range from baby/toddler related, to make up products I love, services that make my life easier, household items, such as furniture or kitchen tools, our favorite snacks, or even things I know my husband loves. This is also just another chance for yall to get to know me, and hear from me more often! I’m so excited about this new addition to my blog, and I hope you all find it useful too!

Chill Sack Bean Bag Chair

I put this big ole bean bag on my Amazon wedding registry as a complete joke. My parents have a couple of huge bean bags, and thought it would be cool to own one. Fast forward to when one of my husbands friends ACTUALLY BOUGHT IT FOR US, and it arrived in a tiny little box at my house. We opened it and waited two days for it to “fluff up” to its normal size of about five feet wide. Yall, my daughter loves this thing. She piles all her toys on it and sits in it everyday to watch her shows. My husband lounges on it after work. My freaking dog sleeps on it. Its comfortable, and the cover is made of microfiber which allows for easy wiping of spills and messes. We love it! It is a bit on the pricier side at 160.56 USD with prime shipping, but if you have kids that climb on all of your furniture, this might be a great investment.

Chill Sack Bean Bag Chair: Giant 5′ Memory Foam Furniture Bean Bag – Big Sofa with Soft Micro Fiber Cover – Charcoal https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P21TAIK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_LS.WEb3N517YB

Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Nightime Balm

When my daughter was little she suffered from horrible, awful eczema. It was so bad it bled, and her pajamas were often soaked with blood in the morning. This stuff was our saving grace. After I put wet rags on her weepy spots to keep moisture in, I would layer this lotion on top. Within days there was a noticable difference. Thankfully, she has outgrown her eczema, but still gets dry patches every now and then. I just coat the areas with the balm and put her to bed. The next morning they are almost always smooth. This particular tub of balm is the most expensive, at almost $18 USD at target, but they do sell a travel size thats $4 USD, that also lasted a while for us. *Disclaimer here: This worked for my child and her eczema, every child is different.

https://www.target.com/p/aveeno-baby-eczema-therapy-nighttime-balm-with-natural-oatmeal-11oz/-/A-49159635

Speck CandyShell Fit iPhone XR Case

Yall, I am a sucker for a good phone case. Especially having a child that throws my glass backed phone around (freaking yikes), a good phone case is a must have. I’ve always loved Speck products. I love the design, and how they incorproate both soft silicone and hard plastic. I had several for my iPhone 6s, and I always had them for at least a year before a crack happened, and even then, I didn’t have to get a new on for at least a few more years. I just recently bought this adorable case for my XR in the “zeal teal” color and I absolutely love it. Its a newer design so its a bit more durable, but still sleek and slim. These cases are a bit expensive, on amazon this particular case retails for $25.34 USD, but they often have sales on select colors, and in my experience last f o r e v e r.

Speck Products CandyShell Fit iPhone XR Case, Zeal Teal/Zeal Teal https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GSWVSTQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_b9.WEb750SPS2

Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner

I discovered witch hazel when I was pregnant. I would put it on my broken out skin, and it would dramatically improved my inflammation and redness in just hours. After I gave birth, and being reccomended by a friend, I tried out Thayers facial toner witch hazel, and I was converted. This stuff is amazing yall. You just take a cotton ball, wet it with the witch hazel, rub it on your face before mousterizing, and just let it do its thing. It amazing! It comes in many scent, rose petal (my favorite), lavender, cucumber, cocunut water and even a no scent. The 12 fl oz bottle sells for 11$ USD at Ulta, but I’ve also seen it at target and walmart. They also sell smaller sizes, and specific “blemish clearing” formulas as well.

https://www.target.com/p/thayers-witch-hazel-alcohol-free-toner-rose-petal-12-fl-oz/-/A-51091143

Thanks for tuning in for my first Friday Four! Come back next Friday for another four products that I absolutely love!

I love yall!

-Kaley

Mental Health Month – My Depression Journey

**TRIGGER WARNING: This post talks about suicide and contains details about depression and mental health. Viewer discretion is advised.**

VIA https://lindsayglenne.com/2018/05/09/my-mental-health-story/

I’ve written and rewritten this post many, many times.

I just can’t find the right things to say, the right way to word my experiences. Do I dive headfirst into the circumstances behind my diagnoses and share it with the whole world? Or do concentrate only on the aftermath of being diagnosed and my journey since then? There are so many ways I could present my experience, so many things I could say, but none of them have felt right. I’ve never shared anything too revealing in a public setting, even on social media I’m very vague, and rarely post anything at all. It has taken me a long time to even begin to understand my diagnoses, and how I can protect and help myself. My journey is ongoing and I’ll probably be dealing with these things for the rest of my life. As mental health month comes to an end, I felt like it was important to at least share a part of my story, and how its shaped me to become the person I am today.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 16. I attempted to commit suicide and was sent to an adolescent psych ward. After I was released, I was prescribed Prozac, and begun seeing a therapist.

I never knew that the way I felt was any different than the way everyone else felt. Quite honestly I thought it was apart of puberty, and that eventually I wouldn’t feel so sad all the time. I often felt alone, and that no one understood me. I was a perfectionist, and constantly felt like I was a disappointment to my family. I didn’t feel like I had anyone to talk to, and often bottled my feelings up. I used attention from my friends, and my then boyfriend to fill myself up and pretend I was okay. I was good at faking it, I was an expert at smiling and laughing when I felt nothing inside. I was so far into a deep hole, that one day, after a series of events made me feel like I had failed, I swallowed some pills and hoped to die.

I don’t remember much of the hospital, or my stay in the psych ward. I don’t remember much of the years after. Its all a blur with some defining moments sprinkled here and there.

The earliest defining moment I remember was not long after I had gotten released. I was in the car with my Mom, I don’t know where we were going. I remember feeling like nothing would ever be normal again. The radio was humming in the background while I was deep in thought, when a lyric caught my attention. “I’m only human, and I bleed when I fall down. I’m only human, and I crash and I break down” The song continued and the lyrics resonated with me, and haunted me, all at the same time. I immediately looked up the song and artist the second I had a chance. “Only Human” by Christina Perri, became my anthem. From that moment, music became a vital part of my mental health. I was in constant search of music that somehow made sense of the jumbled mess in my head, and I slowly compiled songs that made me feel something when I couldn’t feel anything at all. When I had nights of insomnia, I would listen to these songs over and over, as loud as I could, and sometimes I think they saved me. They served as a beautiful distraction that I desperately needed.

During the years after my diagnoses, I learned over and over just how important it was to have the right people in your life. People you could call at 3 am, people who could listen when you needed them to, without offering unwanted advice. People who weren’t afraid of the darkness I had and understood that this wasn’t a situation you could just put a band aid over and call it good. These people, and their wonderful families became pillars of strength for me. I could draw from them when I needed it, lean on them for support, and stand on my own knowing that they were also holding me up if I ever fell again. Finding those people that are the right fit for what you need during a crisis, whether it be mental health or just life in general, plays such an important role in how you learn and grow into a functioning adult. These friends should be the people that offer insight and new perspective, and the really good ones know when to give you tough love and when to let you hurt a little. I am forever grateful for those people that filled the holes in me when I so desperately needed it, they will always hold special places in my heart.

Depression is a hole. A deep, dark hole that feels hopeless and terrifying. The hole is often disguised as a single thought that spirals out of control, until it’s too late and you’re already falling. An important part of my journey was recognizing these thoughts, and also recognizing that sometimes there wasn’t a thought at all. Often times I would find myself in a vicious cycle of thinking myself into a funk. You can get comfortable with feeling sad, and that comfort was what kept me from trying to progress to feeling better again. These thoughts catch you off guard, and when allowed, can put you right back in that hole. The other part of being aware of your thoughts, is also remembering that sometimes, probably most of the time, nothing causes depression at all. Sometimes the best days still ended up with me in a hole. Depression is not as simple as taking a pill for the pain, its balancing the chemicals in your brain, and helping it keep creating those same hormones to keep you balanced.

I cannot end this post without including my family in my story. I am so lucky and fortunate to have a family that loves me. A family that supported me through these events and tried their best to understand and help me. I have several memories of my parents doing everything within their power to help me through the darkness and give me access to every resource they could find. I am extremely lucky that my family did not shun me, or laugh my problems off. I know that a lot of people in this world struggling with mental health issue are not so fortunate and my heart goes out to you during this time. It does not stay dark forever. It feels like it, but there is light eventually.

I am forever grateful for the doctors and therapists that I saw, and spent time with.

I am forever grateful for my husband, who puts up with my bad days, and still loves me when I am quite unlovable.

I am forever grateful for all of the resources that are out there meant to be a guide for those suffering with mental illness, as well as family resources for family members with a loved one suffering from mental illness.

I will always battle with my depression, it will always be a part of me and my life. I am grateful to know now that I am someone outside of my mental illness, and that depression does not define me.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS TALKING OF COMMITTING SUICIDE PLEASE CALL THE National Suicide Prevention Hotline at  1-800-273-8255

You are not alone.

I love yall.

-Kaley

It’s Tuesday…..right…? – Quarantine 2020

I miss being late to everything.

@HED

On March 8th 2020, my new husband and I were driving back home to South Carolina from Tampa Florida. We had just gotten off a cruise ship that we had called home for a week for our honeymoon. It. Was. Wonderful. We visited the Cayman Islands, Belize, Roatan, and Honduras. We ate in the fine dining room on the ship every single night and it was the best food I’d had in a long time. We went shopping, to comedy shows, we were alone for the first time since our daughter was born and it was just blissful. We arrived in SC around 6 in the evening, picked up our baby from Grandma and Grandpa, and went home.

Less than a month later, the governor of SC announced a lock down, closing all businesses deemed unnecessary due to the COVID-19 virus.

Restaurants, bars, salons, spas, retail stores, and a plethora of other businesses were closed for the foreseeable future. “Social distancing” became of regular part of our vocabulary. All you saw on social media were news reports about COVID-19, how many people were dying, stats on other nations around the world, toilet paper (???), and pleas from doctors and nurses around the world to STAY HOME.

Schools were closed, my siblings had two full weeks of no learning, staying at home with my Mom. My Dad laid off employees, no one was working, so no one was bringing their cars by his shops. My brother and Dad were the only ones at both locations to work on the few cars that showed up needing repairs. My husband and I both got a 1,200$ stimulus check deposited into our banking accounts. I haven’t been out of my house other than to visit family since I got back from my honeymoon. My husband runs all the errands, and does all the shopping now, since he is the one working and most likely to be exposed to anything anyways. My husband also deleted Facebook, confiding in me that seeing report after report of nothing but people dying had taken and emotional toll on him, and he just couldn’t look at it anymore. I hadn’t seen my best friend, my Maid of Honor for my wedding in two months. To be completely honest, I haven’t even started my car since my wedding day.

My whole world has changed. As a stay at home Mom of one, I don’t get out much anyways, but I looked forward to biweekly trips to the grocery store with my little family, I looked forward to weekly visits from my best friend. I enjoyed strolls around target, and occasional eating out for lunch. It’s finally getting warmer and I would love to be able to take my baby to the pool, or to the park. I was hoping we’d be able to go on a beach trip vacation this summer with my family. I’d been planning a vacation around Taylor Swift concert tickets I had gotten from my husband for Christmas. As someone who suffers from depression, the cancellation of all these things I had looked forward to, or that were simply just apart of my normal everyday life, are now non-existent, and that seems rather hopeless. In fact, it all seems hopeless. People are dying, governments are urging us to stay inside, wear masks, be vigilant; concerts, marathons, large gatherings, celebrations, weddings, festivals, and graduations are being cancelled or postponed. It feels as if we are all in a long dark tunnel with no end in sight. Sometimes I toss and turn at night, because it feels like I have nothing to look forward to the next day except the same old thing I’ve done for what seems like forever.

Its hard to understand what’s happening in the world when you’re in a bubble. It seems like that’s exactly what’s happening right now. We are all stuck in bubbles of quarantine and social distancing, that we have no actual reality of what’s happening in the world. What do our hospitals look like? What about the “hot spots” such as New York or California? What about the rest of the world? What does China look like right now? All we know is what we see on social media or the news, and with so many news outlets reporting so many different things, different opinions being slewed left and right, its hard to determine what’s actually factual out there. Its hard to feel safe when you don’t even know which voice to listen to. Its hard to see anything beyond the numbers, and differing opinions.

My first glimpse of light, however, came from John Krasinski’s Some Good News (SGN). This saint of man created a YouTube news broadcast that reported on all the good things that were happening during this pandemic. Things like hilarious videos of kids and babies, FedEx men and women who were still doing their jobs, a little girl who beat cancer. He features recipes, he serenaded a couple who got married despite everything. He held “SGN Prom” for all students missing out on prom this year. He interviews celebrities, and he just puts a smile on my face. I began hunting for those tidbits of good news. My cousin and her sweetheart had a zoom wedding. My favorite podcast is still releasing new episodes. I have tried a million yummy recipes. People seem kinder, parents are home with their kids. We go outside with appreciation and new purpose. I video chat my Mom every single morning. Couples are eloping, we’re having virtual concerts, Disney is releasing movies early, people are serving each other. Did it really take a whole entire pandemic for us to remember how good people are? It took social distancing to find creative new ways to show we love each other. It took a virus to force us to take a step back, and breathe for minute.

I want to take some time to express my sincerest apologies for those who have lost loved ones during this time. I cannot imagine the grief and pain you are going through. I want to express my thanks and gratitude for the doctors and nurses who are putting their lives on the line as they treat our family and community members. Thank you to all of our essential workers, our grocery store workers, our trash men, our first responders. I want to thank our governments, although we all may not agree with their courses of actions, this has not been an easy time, and they are working hard to ensure our safety once things get back to normal. I want to thank those who are concentrating their efforts on finding a vaccine for this virus. I want to thank those who have put together meals, picked up groceries, or checked on those who are in need.

I want to thank my husband for being an essential worker during this time.

I want to remind everyone that there is good in this world. Amidst all the bad, there is definite good. This is a hard time. A time of mourning, and loss, a time of anxiety and unease. A time where we are not sure what will happen next, when things will resume as “normal life”. But we must also remember the prayers we have prayed for others, the time we have spent uninterrupted with family. The shows we have binged (Tiger King, anyone?), the Zoom calls we have made. Years from now we will look back on this time fondly. A time that despite all its darkness, brought us all closer together.

So, here’s to future Target trips! Here’s to couples sending save the dates for a new wedding date! Here’s to next years Taylor Swift concert, and next years beach trip. Here’s to the 2020 graduates, you’ll never forget this! Here’s to all of us, just trying to remember what day it is.

I love yall.

-Kaley

Ahmaud Arbery

“Have you ever been in a room full of black people?” -Papa Speed; Love Is Blind

I grew up in a predominantly black area. I went to a school where I was one of (maybe?) 15 white kids, all throughout Elementary and Middle School. When I was binge watching Netflix’s Love is Blind during this quarantine (10/10, a great watch, especially if you love trashy reality TV), Papa Speed asked Cameron, a white man wanting to marry his black daughter, “Have you ever been in a room full of black people?” I immediately thought, well yeah. During very important years of my development as a child; a white child; I was quite honestly, a minority.

Lets pause for a minute. This post is not in any way supposed to make you feel empathetic to my situation as a young, white woman. I know that I will NEVER be able to understand the struggles of the black community simply because I am not black. I will probably never be subjected to any racism ever in my life. I am only pointing out how my life’s circumstances led up to my opinions today of black people, and the love I have for them.

My closest friends were black, with the exception of one white girl who attended church with me. I rode the bus home with black people. The neighborhoods surrounding my street were mostly filled with black families. I embraced their music tastes, I wanted corn rows in my hair. For a long time, I even thought I was going to eventually marry a black man, just because that’s all I had been exposed to. I was young, and didn’t understand race issues, all I knew is that most of my friends were black and I didn’t have any problems with it. When I started high school, I was transferred to a different school than my zoned school, because of reasons I never understood. This high school was predominantly white. Not just white, wealthy white. These kids came from nice affluent neighborhoods, wearing name brand clothes and shoes. These kids had money. I felt out of place. I had only a handful of friends, none of whom were black. This school was maybe 30% black. Which meant most of the basketball team was black, as well as the football team. Typical stereotypes for black kids, even in a wealthier setting. It was different, but I adapted. In fact, I never had a second thought.

In fact, throughout the past few years, I didn’t have any thought towards these pointless killings of black children. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t give any of them a second thought. Of course, the initial “Why are people so cruel?”, but then went throughout my day. I was going through things, I was busy navigating work, mental health, parenthood, and marriage. It wasn’t until I saw the absolutely gut wrenching video of Ahmaud Arbery getting MURDERED in the STREETS, that I woke the freak up.

On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Arbery went jogging in his own neighborhood around 1 pm. Two white men, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael “Mistook Ahmaud as a suspect in a string of robberies that had taken place in the neighborhood” and then proceeded to chase, beat and kill an unarmed Ahmaud. The whole thing was caught on video and released to the public, the week of May 3. Both McMichaels were not arrested until MAY 8. MORE THAN TWO MONTHS AFTER THEY HAD A WHOLE VIDEO OF AHMAUD BEING MURDERED. Yall Two whole months! 74 days! How is this even possible? With a video as proof! I cannot even pretend to understand the politics and corruption that surrounds the Georgia police department, but as a human being, do we just refuse to accept how truly barbaric this is? Two human beings attacked and killed another human being just because of the color of his skin!? This country has dealt with a whole slew of issues, and race is the most deeply embedded one. It is honestly disappointing that a “free” country such as ourselves, still lacks the basic fundamentals of humanity. It is disgusting and appalling.

How do we fix this? How do we change this deeply ingrained way of thinking so that none of our brothers and sisters’ children ever get murdered in the streets again?

It starts with our own children. It starts with us being an example of inclusivity, and NOT TOLERATING RACISM. Not tolerating crude remarks made about another person’s skin color. It starts with love and appreciation of a culture so different from ours, a culture we can learn from and hold sacred. It starts in your own home, it starts with letting your child have whatever colored barbie he/she wants, because why does it even matter? It starts with standing up for ANOTHER HUMAN BEING when they are being degraded for something they were born having. It starts with you and I, and it starts now.

I want to again express, that in no way can I speak to the horrors that my sisters of color face every time they send their black children into this world. I cannot understand the fear and anxiety. I cannot begin to understand what it’s like to walk in this world as a black person. I can, however, be an ally. I can speak up when I see unfair treatment. I can teach my children love and respect no matter how different we are. I can write about it so the public can see.

We are all children of God, and we all deserve to be treated like so.

I love yall,

Kaley

God Bless my Mama – Mother’s Day 2020

My Mama, circa 1993

I never knew how hard it was to be a mom, until I became one.

Ask any new mom, and I guarantee you they will recite this phrase, verbatim to you. You just don’t know what it’s like until you become one. When I got pregnant, I remember telling anyone who would listen that I was going to write a whole entire freaking book about all the things people fail to tell you about being pregnant. I was 20, and I had HEMMOROIDS yall. I didn’t even know those existed! Then once I had my sweet angel baby, I told the exact same people that I was going to write a sequel about all the things no one tells you about being a mom. Like the importance of nursing pads, if you’re breast feeding, and the fact that they expect you to walk into the world of parenting with an ice pack in your underwear. Sheesh! I remember calling my Mama one day, apologizing profusely for the trouble I had caused her as a child, I finally understood! She just laughed at me, after all she had five more babies after me.

My Mom was a real actual angel when I was growing up. I was a terrible kid, as I teenager I know for a fact she cried herself to sleep multiple times because of the things I did. But she loved me, she dealt with my crap and loved me. I struggled with a myriad of things. I was stubborn, outspoken, and rebelled against any and everything. When I was in high school, I attempted to commit suicide, and my Mom was the one who drove me to the hospital, while I was screaming about dying the whole way there. She birthed me, gave me life, only to watch me try and take it away! She watched me get wheeled into a psych ward, and once I was released, she watched me bawl for hours after I had attempted to hang out with my friends for the sake of being normal. I was later diagnosed with clinical depression, and I was a mess. To this day, I can’t even imagine how hard it was for her to go home after her fifteen-year-old daughter got sent to a place she never imagined I’d go. I cry thinking about it. She showed me the epitome of unconditional love during a time that I’m sure was breaking her apart. I don’t ever remember seeing her cry, and maybe that’s my own naivety peeking through, but I always remember her being especially strong during this hellish period of time.

When I told my parents I was pregnant, I was scared. I was an LDS girl who openly admitted to her parents that I was living with my boyfriend only months earlier, and now I was telling them I was having a baby with said boyfriend. My Dad cried, but my mom just shrugged her shoulders, and said “Well, I figured that was going to happen.” Of course she knew, she was my Mother! Just like that, my Mom was my best friend. For the first time in my life I called my Mom every single day. Pregnancy is hard, but an unplanned pregnancy is exasperating. You feel as if you deserve it, while simultaneously hating every single change to your body. It was an active war in my head. But there my Mama was, answering my questions, laughing at my dismay upon finding out was a mucus plug was, and just being the friend I needed during that time. She saved my life just as much as my daughter did.

Today is my second Mother’s Day, and I will be spending it with my Mom this year. I’m looking forward to having everyone else cook a nice meal for us, while we sit and read books, which is the dream. I am so lucky to be a Mom. As hard and draining as it is, I truly would not trade it for anything in the world. It has changed my life in so many ways, I cannot even begin to describe to you how richly it has blessed my husband and I. It gives me a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to live. I cherish all the small tender moments as my daughter explores this giant world with fresh innocence. My heart has never loved harder than when her tiny arms wrap around my neck to hug me. Even on the days when I swear I’m going to lose my mind, those arms melt it all away.

Happy Mother’s Day yall. I hope you treat your mama to some extra special goodies today, because she deserves the world.

I love yall,

Kaley

The Beginning

I want every girl to know that her voice can change the world.

Malala Fund

I honestly have no idea what I’m doing.

I mean, who am I to think that people will want to read my thoughts, every time I decide to put them to paper? I’m a Mom, a newlywed, and honestly, I don’t know if I have the time to keep up with what I dream this will turn out to be. Yet here I am, trembling, as I sit in bed with a monster headache, a hot laptop on my lap. I am so excited. I am so excited to have an outlet where I am unafraid to bare my soul, to put my 100% honest thoughts for the public to read. I am so excited!

I love to write. Ever since I can remember, I loved to write. My favorite class was English in school, mostly because it was the only place I felt completely comfortable and confident in my abilities. I wrote fairytales, silly stories, journal entries, poems, songs; you name it, I wrote it. I was that weird kid that actually didn’t mind extensive projects that involved a lot of writing, or even essays. I lived for that stuff. In fact, I could crank out papers in just one night, with barely any editing, that were fairly close to the papers I ended up turning in. I loved it, yet somehow, I burned out. Somewhere in the midst of high school, battling depression, and having my daughter, I lost the love I had for writing. Things happened, and quite honestly life got really busy, really fast. Once I graduated high school, I worked 24/7. I dropped out of college, due to several reasons, and I worked, and worked, and worked. I met my husband, had my daughter, and then got married. I haven’t written just because I wanted to, since my sophomore year of high school. I haven’t physically picked up a pencil to write in three years. I credit “losing my spark” to simply becoming an adult. I had things to figure out, new stresses that were popping up left and right, along with trying to maintain my relationships with family and friends, as well as my mental health. Life is hard! “Adulting” is hard! Being a mom is hard! I was craving a space to connect with that little girl that I have somewhere inside of me that wanted a pencil and notebook paper to write any and everything that came to mind. I was needing to feel like someone other than a mother or wife, both titles I am grateful to have, but sometimes need a break from. Especially during a time where covid-19, and social distancing are a new reality, I needed break.  

Ever since the stay at home orders have been put in place, I have spent my nights tossing and turning. I have never been a person that likes to be limited, or someone that enjoys being told what to do. Simply being a Mom has its moments of restrictions, and its enough to make me feel caved in sometimes. Add that with never leaving the house, and you get endless sleepless nights. Normally I spend those nights worrying about being a good parent to my daughter, wondering how in the actual heck I will be able to handle her as a teenager. I find myself in a cycle of thinking deeper and deeper, never quite knowing how to turn my brain off. Last night was again, the same cycle. This time however, I began thinking of ways to get these thoughts out. I don’t even remember how blogging came to mind. I do know, that I immediately came up with excuses not to do it. What would I call it? No one would even care. How do I get started? How will I find the time????? But here I am. Typing a post, the f i r s t post, to my blog Kales. A blog that I hope will become a sounding board for not just me, but any other woman who needs to feel seen, needs to feel loved, needs to feel empowered. I am not educated by any means; I will make mistakes. After all, I’m only human. I want to hear your arguments, I want to have discussions, I want to make connections! I don’t want to limit myself to typical mommy blogger posts, I want to explore race, and mental health, family dynamics, social media, pregnancy, I want to talk about it all, as it relates to my personal life. Like I said earlier, I am so excited. I am so excited to start this journey with yall. A journey that will hopefully leave the little girl inside me, satisfied.

I love yall,

Kaley