From Four to Two: My thoughts on this week’s episode of The Bachelorette

Did you see The Bachelorette this week?! I did. (And since I’m on mom-time when it comes to watching TV shows, this post is practically early!)


Here are my thoughts on the Final Four:

+ Luke. Oh man, I can’t believe she ended up letting this (really, really attractive) man go before the fantasy suite! Although, if he wasn’t nervous about going home, why did he take her away from the rose ceremony to make sure he said those three magic words? Still, he seemed shocked when she let him go and I felt so bad for him! Did I feel bad for JoJo though? NO! Because I think she’s completely loony for letting him go and getting stuck with the final three that she chose.

+ Chase. I’ve always thought Chase was boring but kind of in a more normal way than Robby and Jordan. They seemed to have a nice date (although I didn’t really think JoJo was feeling it) but then I thought he might redeem himself in the fantasy suite EXCEPT she let him go before then but after he said “I love you” for evidently the first time in his life. I mean, wait, hold on, what?! I’m sure he was thinking that after all of this chaos that he had to go through for this show he was FINALLY going to get some alone time with JoJo (and by “alone time” I mean sex). However, we all know this wasn’t meant to be because of course JoJo waited until he actually SAID “I love you” to tell him that he had to leave the show. Worst timing for a breakup ever. And I’m sure Chase is even happier having all of this on TV, but I guess that’s what happens when you go on a reality dating show. I’m just confused as to why in the first rose ceremony JoJo let Luke go for not saying “I love you” but kept Chase. So confusing.

+ Robby. He seems like a smooth guy. Too smooth, if you ask me. He ended a four year relationship a few months prior to the show starting but now he’s in love already? I just don’t buy what he’s selling.

+ Jordan. I don’t think he’s going to be getting married to anyone any time soon. I’m not sure he’s necessarily searching for fame, but I also think that if he knew he was going to be the next bachelor he would have no problem with JoJo breaking up with him. Anyway, I thought the hiking and the caves was a pretty awesome date and they clearly have chemistry or whatever and he’s another smooth talker and basically has no clue what the future will hold for them because he’s never considered it because he doesn’t plan on actually staying with her. At least that’s what I got out of their convo.

Sidenote: Is it just me or does it seem like JoJo is really afraid of getting rejected and so only keeps the guys who seem to have fallen in love way too quickly? I blame Ben H. for this mess.

… Did this episode have an ending? If it did I didn’t see it because the DNC messed up my DVR-ing.

Prediction: I hope she doesn’t pick either of the final two and I really just want her to call Luke back and marry him. The end. I think she probably loved Ben H. more than either Robby or Jordan. If she does pick one of these last two, there is no way she ends up staying with them. I don’t even care who she picks, actually. I do not approve, JoJo!

Men Tell All:

I love Chad. I loved him especially when he summarized the final two men for JoJo and I also love that he’s kissing the ex-girlfriends of Robby and Grant and posting about it on Instagram. I can’t wait for Bachelor in Paradise.

I’m over this season but I’ll be tuned in to see how it all goes down…

What do you think of her final two guys?!

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Ten backpacks that can be used as diaper bags

When my friends start registering for products for new babies, there is one thing that I always suggest.

Register for (or buy) a backpack over ‘traditional’ diaper bag.

A diaper bag served me ‘well enough’ (because I didn’t know any better) for the first two years of Clara’s life, but when Isabelle came along I knew I would need something different.

When I saw my friend effortlessly carrying around a backpack filled with her kids’ belongings at the playground, I wondered why the heck I had a diaper bag over my shoulder. And to make it worse, when I needed both hands free at the park I just threw it on the ground under a tree and left it for a while.

And do you know how often I need my hands free with a toddler? All of the time. So a traditional diaper bag is just no longer practical.

My favorite backpacks that can be used as a diaper bag!

I immediately bought this Fjällräven Kanken backpack and could not be happier with my decision. It fits everything I need for both my not-so-newborn and toddler, it’s comfortable to wear, it isn’t too bulky, it’s lightweight & waterproof, and I can fit it easily on the handles of my stroller if I don’t want to carry it at all. Plus, I like how casual it looks and not overly feminine, so Tim can use it as well.

Not to mention that once we’re done with a diaper bag altogether, we’ll still be able to use this backpack!

Now, the downside to this backpack is that it is not made to be a diaper bag, so there aren’t all sorts of little compartments for certain baby things. This means that if I want to grab something quickly, sometimes I need to dig around in it or empty it to find what I’m looking for.

It’s a small hassle I’m willing to put up with because I love not hauling around my old diaper bag anymore! However, there are some great diaper bags on the market that either are backpacks or transition easily into a backpack.


10 Diaper Bag Backpacks! (Because a 'normal' diaper bag just isn't as practical.)

1// Storksak

2// Lily Jade

3// TWELVElittle

4// Skip Hop

5// Obersee

10 Diaper Bag Backpacks! (Because a 'normal' diaper bag just isn't as practical.)

6// Skip Hop

7// JJ Cole

8// Ju-Ju-Be

9// Fisher-Price

In retrospect, I wish I would have gone right to the backpack, because now I have a lovely Kate Spade diaper bag collecting dust. Oh well. C’est la vie.

** I feel like I should mention this is definitely not a sponsored post, I just truly love my backpack!

Do you have a diaper bag (or backpack!) that you love?!

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A bullet pointed post is all my brain can handle right now

It’s Friday and my brain has turned to mush. Tim has left for work before 7am most days this week which means I’ve had some looooong mom days! Thank goodness for caffeine and afternoon naps for both girls.

Here’s what else is on my mind:

What would I do without this water bottle?! It keeps my morning tea hot for HOURS so I can actually get around to drinking it during naptime. It’s pricey but WORTH IT.

– This week Clara learned to climb a new piece of playground equipment. I had never seen her climb it before and all of a sudden she just scurried right up it and THREE different moms came up to me to ask me how old she is, because their older kids (evidently) won’t even try it. Of course I was really proud of her and her fearlessness and coordination. She doesn’t get either of those traits from my side of the family, though. Thanks for providing some good genes, Tim!

Clara on the playground

– Speaking of physical accomplishments, I went to a spin/barre (combined) class this week and realized just how truly out of shape I am. I am on a mission to get to the gym or running trail more often, but it is hard guys. Sometimes all of the time I just want to sit around and eat ice cream.

– I watched parts of the RNC this week and I have lots of thoughts but I’ll just say that I’m tired of hearing how bad America is and how bad it could get. I guess I’m just overly optimistic because although I agree that changes need to be made to certain parts of our country, I do not live in fear each day. I feel so blessed to live in America, with all of our many freedoms, and I want to hear politicians be prideful of where we live and then talk about how it’s going to be even better. (What I’m most interested in is how my children are going to be kept safe and be provided with very-affordable birth control and make the same wages as men one day.)

4moms mamaRoo swing

Isabelle loves this swing. I always hear moms say that their little ones don’t like it but I say it is worth every single penny.

I do not care about the Nordstrom sale. At all. If I want steep discounts on clothes/shoes/accessories I buy them from a consignment store, secondhand. Or maybe I’m just jealous I didn’t get early access…

– I am not missing Chicago weather at all right now. Or ever. The PNW has the best weather in the country (year round), I am convinced. Right now it’s in the 60s outside! I mean, that’s not great if you want to spend the day at the pool, but it is perfect for playing at the park with kids or walking around the neighborhood or jogging or anything else you’d want to do outdoors. I’m already starting to get wimpy, though – the other day it was in the 70s and I found myself complaining about the heat!

We don’t have any plans this weekend but I’m going to go ahead and assume it will be filled with coffee, kid naps, friends, and lots of time spent outside. Tim has been working a ton this week so I’m super-excited for some quality time and also a break from my little minions.


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Another one of those days (with two under two)

(The title isn’t even true anymore. Now I have two kids two-and-under but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it and I’m trying to prove a point, darnit. Or maybe I’m just in denial. Whatever, I have two babies and they will continue to be babies until I’m ready to graduate them along.)

I had one of those days last week. It was so bad that I couldn’t even write about it right after it happened.

Not bad like worst-day-of-my-life bad, but bad as in I-would-rather-not-repeat-it bad.

Just another day with two under two

Clara’s picture smile cracks me up. We’ll stick to candids in the future.

Let me set the scene.

I was quite smug, starting out. A friend and I had plans to meet at the neighborhood park and then another friend texted me to ask if I wanted to meet her there, as well. So all of a sudden we had 2 mom friends and 4 little kids to meet up with, which is a great day for me, Clara, and Isabelle! Anyway, I got out of the house before 10am, hence the smugness. I even almost posted a Snapchat (shameless plug: username lisabenroeck) of my ‘achievement’, but thank goodness I didn’t because it all went downhill from there and I should have known it was going to happen.

As I left the house I called Tim to ask if he had taken Clara to the potty recently. Of course, he hadn’t. Whoops. Well, we got to the playground and I asked Clara if she had to pee. Of course not, mom! (Is what she would have said if she wasn’t too busy running to the park to bother responding to me.) Well, I scooped Isabelle out of the stroller and ran after her so I could watch her scale a ladder. Halfway up said ladder, what does she do? She pees!

Well, I gave a little yelp, which attracted the attention of moms around me, who then proceeded to glare (well, that’s how I interpreted it) at us as Clara continued peeing. There’s no stopping that flow.

I calmly told Clara that we then had to go to the actual bathroom, but of course she was in no hurry whatsoever. By this time, Isabelle had decided to become hysterical for no apparent reason (typical of my fussy child), so I put her in a wrap while Clara chased a squirrel. I finally convinced Clara to abandon the squirrel chasing mission and walk towards the potty, but unfortunately the bathroom at this particular playground is about 100 yds away and it takes a toddler approximately 103 minutes to walk there, and much longer when that toddler has decided she is in no hurry at all. And those few minutes feel like an eternity with an attached baby screaming her head off.

Finally, we reached the disgusting public park bathroom. It was about 95 degrees in there, which is puzzling since it was only 65 degrees outside. I was wearing my favorite backpack (which acts as my diaper bag) on my back, a screaming Isabelle on my front, and I was dragging Clara by the hand as she counted to 10 over and over and over. “1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10!”

I finally lifted Clara on the potty where she sat. And sat. And sat. Doing nothing, of course, since her bladder had been emptied on the playground woodchips. But did Clara want to get off the potty? NO. No she did not. Instead she wanted to continue counting and telling me that the toilet paper was “hiding on the wall” (in the dispenser). Meanwhile, Isabelle was hot and at the point of not being able to breathe because she was crying so hard and so loud. The sound was echoing off the bathroom walls and I was losing my mind as I calmly asked Clara if she could possibly be done yet/already. I probably didn’t actually sound calm at this point though, I was probably actually yelling to be heard over Isabelle. Clara, however, was (per usual) totally unaffected by her sister’s hyperventilating.

FINALLY Clara decided she was done (doing nothing), and at that point I began to question how I was going to change her pants and underwear without having her be barefoot on the gross public bathroom floor. And how to avoid putting the backpack on the floor (since of course there wasn’t a hook in the stall).

In retrospect, I should have just gone right out of the bathroom and changed her outside in the grass. But no, instead, I squatted in the stall, took Clara’s clothes off (so she had to be barefoot, much to my dismay), rummaged around the backpack which was also on the floor, found new clothes, and quickly put her in them.

All the while, my short arms had to reach around Isabelle who was still being worn and not at all happy about it. (But seriously, thank goodness for babywearing in general because there was no way I could have managed this without my wrap!)

FINALLY we were done and although the bottom of my backpack was covered in some mystery white powdered substance and Isabelle was bright red and beyond upset and my eardrums were ringing, we were able to leave the bathroom. Clara practically skipped down the stairs. I swear, nothing gets to her.

At the park we met up with our friends and I realized I was supposed to meet one of them at breakfast nearby and not the actual playground, but evidently I can’t properly read texts before noon. Whoops. And double-whoops because I hadn’t even eaten breakfast (except for a leftover cupcake… don’t judge me too harshly) so I was starving and embarrassed.

Well, the rest of the morning was spent with my friends watching their kids plus Clara as I tried bouncing Isabelle, feeding Isabelle, changing Isabelle…

At one point, I kid you not, I was breastfeeding Isabelle (half topless and holding her to my chest with one arm), while pushing our huge double stroller through the grass, trying to get to Clara. One playground mom saw this in action and told me I was a “Supermom!” and another commented that I should maybe get a sling to make it easier. I smiled at the one and ignored the other, which was probably rude, but even well-meaning comments make me want to lose my mind when I’m only half-dressed and clearly a bit flustered.

It was at that time when I realized I had lost all control of the situation and we needed to leave before I actually abandoned my children with my friends and ran home by myself to cry into a bowl of ice cream. That seemed like a viable option at the time.

Needless to say, we all survived the ordeal. Isabelle stopped crying and passed out on the way home, Clara ate lunch and took a nap, and I fell onto the couch and had that bowl of ice cream (even though I wanted wine).

And all of that happened in 2 hours. TWO OF THE LONGEST HOURS OF MY LIFE. Honestly, when I was in that bathroom stall with both girls with the smells and the noise and the heat, I really felt like I was getting a glimpse of what hell must be like. (Dramatic much, Lisa? YES.)

Just another day in paradise as a mother of two.

Posted in imperfection, motherhood | Tagged | 8 Comments

Weekend Happenings

It is Monday morning at 8am and Clara is still asleep, proving miracles do happen! However Isabelle is awake and grumpy. But still! This blog post is written courtesy of my sleepy toddler who has blessed me with some unexpected moments of free time and so is currently my favorite child.

Little Si hike

Things I did over the weekend:

+ Got a deep tissue massage to get some of the tightness out of my neck (because breastfeeding and babywearing is hard). The massage was excellent, and the best part was that the masseuse used her feet on my back/neck/shoulders for 20 minutes. I have no idea how she did it exactly (she wasn’t standing on me) but it definitely worked. Ah, so good.

+ Hiked the Little Si trail with a friend. There were some pretty great views from the top, which was a bonus! The only thing is, I may be the slowest hiker ever. EVER. Usually I blame it on the fact that I’m pregnant or carrying a small infant uphill, but in this case I had neither of those things going on and I still got passed by everyone. Including people who were wearing babies, had small dogs, were walking with children, were quite a bit older… etc. If I get in better shape will I be faster or am I destined to always be a slow hiker/walker?! Let’s be honest, it’s probably the latter.

+ Finished this book. Recommended. Not highly recommended because I seem to be disappointed in the endings of lots of books lately, but still recommended.

+ Went to church and dropped Clara off in a new children’s room. Now, this may not seem like a big deal to non-parents, or even other parents, but I was not looking forward to dropping Clara off in the ‘2 year old’ room instead of the ‘nursery’ where she has been spending a few hours every Sunday for the last 8 months. We were in a good pattern of dropping her off tear-free, so I wasn’t looking to shake things up. But, it turns out kids can’t stay little forever, and to the 2-year-old room we (reluctantly) went! However, she did great! Maybe it should worry (or offend?!) me a bit that she will just take a stranger’s hand and walk away without ever looking back, but in this case I’ll take it!

+Made this quiche. It’s quickly becoming a family favorite over here.

+Ate ice cream from Molly Moon’s because it was (evidently) National Ice Cream day and I totally believe in celebrating faux holidays when there is ice cream involved. I ate the vegan cherry chunk and it was unbelievable. The only disappointing part of the evening was that I put on all of my workout clothes with the full intention of working out and well… yep, ended up at the ice cream store instead. Wearing my yoga pants, sports bra, and tanktop.  Oh the shame.

Let’s do this thing, week!

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