Kitchen Sink Windows


Forever I will remember the way the iridescent suds ran in rivulets over the thin skin on the backs of their hands. The way the water ran too hot to rinse each dish, steam floating up in wisps, but they never flinched because they had grown numb to the scorch. I will never forget the sound of glass banging against the metal sides of the sink as their hands disappeared and reappeared, blindly washing the day off of each dish. And the way they each ran a wrung out dishrag over the edges of the sink and the surrounding counter in time to hear the drain suck down the last bit of dirty water. But more than anything, I will never forget their watchful eyes as they peered out at us from the kitchen sink window.

My maternal grandmother, Cleobelle, stood in front of a kitchen sink window that looked down on a row of pine trees and the gravel driveway of their large white farmhouse. Across the blacktop was my grandpa’s carry-out – Gene’s Drive-Thru. All day long, my cousins and I ran around the house in circles, as steady as the stream of cars that pulled into the drive-thru and out with beer, candy, and cigarettes. From outside, we could see the hand-blown orange glass ball that hung from a long string to turn on the overhead light swaying slightly in front of her. Other trinkets adorned the window sill – crosses, handmade clay pots from grandchildren that held thimbles, needles, and lottery scratchers with “Gene’s Drive-Thru” printed on them. And over the sill, always, my grandma’s watchful eyes holding steadfast with each pass.

My father’s mother, who I called “Uncle Grandma,” had a kitchen sink window that overlooked her front yard. I remember seeing her standing there as we drove by with our parents, her white curls framed perfectly as she peered out, as if she knew we were coming. From inside her house, her kitchen sink window was nothing short of magical. Each visit, she set me up on the countertop so that I could see what she saw. A faded metal trivet hung on the cabinet next to me and I ran my fingers over the swirly metalwork as I watched her wash dishes. The left side of the sill was home to a rotating family of cacti, all of which I pricked myself on despite her warnings. There were also tiny patches of leprechauns and roses stuck to the bottom right corner of the window, and a small token of my grandfather’s membership to the Eagles. And almost always was the neighbor’s dalmatian – Dot – out front waiting for a treat from Uncle Grandma.

My own mother stood on the green linoleum of my childhood home and washed dishes in the sink, settled in matching green countertops, courtesy of the 1970’s. In front of our sink – her sink – were two crank out windows overlooking the golden backyard of my youth, ripe with clover and fireflies. It was here that she watched our games of tag between the two towering maples along the edge of the cornfield. It was from that window that she glanced out, the glowing orange end of cigarette dancing between her damp fingers, to make sure we were still jetting barefoot across the dewy grass with the neighbor kids until the crickets called us in. And while we merely glanced at that window once in awhile, she was always there with her eyes warmly cast upon us.

Kitchen sink windows became shrines to me – places of comfort. In those lit frames, I could always find someone. As I lived in windowless apartments, I dreamed of the day that I’d have my own kitchen sink window. When my husband and I bought a house, I rejoiced in the large window over the kitchen sink that overlooked our large, fenced in backyard that I hoped to fill with children. And now that I’m a parent myself, I am overcome with admiration for these women and how they watched us.

Because let me tell you – I am failing at the Kitchen Sink Window Approach to Parenting. I always thought I’d be the “let them bleed – let them eat dirt – let them learn from the hurt” type of parent. It’s how I grew up. We were never coddled the way today’s snowflakes are. And I truthfully believe that I am stronger because of it.

That is until I had children. When my first son, Rhett, was born, I maintained a level head and kept it together. I had the normal baby blues, but after eight weeks of leave, I put him in daycare part-time while I went back to my job. A week later, he came down with the flu at two months old and my husband and I spent a day in the ER while they put an IV in our tiny baby’s arm and pumped him full of fluids.

And that is when I became crazy. I’ve pinpointed it to that exact moment when they sent me home with him and I thought, “What if I am not equipped to keep this tiny person alive?” Over the next year and a half, Rhett attended daycare and about every two weeks, we were at the doctor’s office with some sort of sickness.

When my second son, Sutton, was born, I quit my job because I couldn’t do it again. I began staying home with both of my children and it truly was a dream come true, until the postpartum anxiety and depression set in. As a person who never quite understood anxiety or depression, it hit me hard. I never knew how debilitating it could be. I fought through it, clutching my orange pill bottle of Xanax in my left hand, afraid to take it, afraid not to. I called friends, but never family, because it seemed to me that the women who raised me from the kitchen sink window would have told me that anxiety wasn’t an option.

I was devastated and embarrassed. I enjoyed being home with my children and I loved – and still love – that momming is my job. But I’ve never encountered a job that causes so much worry. And I’ve finally accepted that my anxiety is no longer considered postpartum, and that I am legitimately, medically anxious.

In addition to Rhett’s first sickness, I can also blame my anxiety on today’s parenting standards. As a stay-at home-mom, I’m mostly responsible for making sure I raise proper children. Between all the articles telling you what to limit and not limit, how much of this that or the other thing to feed or not feed, when to start solids, what kind of milk to use, etc. and the astronomical amount of mom-shaming out there on social media, I think it’s fair to say that parents don’t stand a chance. And therefore, neither do our kids.

Our babes are growing up in the time of helicopter parents and parents are parenting in a time of immense pressure and judgement. Mom and Dad Shaming is real. So how do we get back to being hands off? How do we keep the anxiety at bay?

How do we keep that kitchen sink window in our approach as parents to let our kids live and learn? How can we trust that, in this world of sickos and human trafficking, that our kids will be ok?

These are real questions. Please discuss.

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 2, 2018 in Uncategorized


Some New Rules


Radio silence. Ain’t it grand?

It’s VERY rare that I write a post that I don’t make public. About a month ago, I did. I’m not going to share it because it was from somewhere in the recesses that no one needs to know about, but I lose some of the guilt by telling you about it.

I’ve been in a funk – probably for a variety of reasons. Winter, postpartum hormones, stir-craziness, lack of sleep, lack of control, etc.

Today, it occurred to me that, minus the season and the raging of the hormones, I can fix it all by making some changes. So – a new set of rules to remind me how to live.

  1. Live moment for moment and appreciate the good you’ve been given. “The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that He, in His goodness, sends to us day after day.” – St. Gianna Molla
  2. Don’t let anxiety get the best of you. “Anxiety is the greatest evil that can befall a soul except sin. God commands you to pray, but He forbids you to worry.” St. Francis de Sales.
  3. Do not let advice from the internet or others govern how you raise your children.
  4. Be free like Jenny. Go out in the world. Do not be afraid to do things. You cannot live in fear.
  5. Listen to more music. Watch less TV.
  6. Read when you can. Read to reignite the fire to write.
  7. Have a kind heart like Cory. Be everyone’s friend. Forgive and forget all past offenses. Don’t hold onto them for the sake of mysteriousness or any other reason of vanity.
  8. Do what Grandpa Gene would do. Find something you love to do and do it. Enjoy the little things. Never say a mean word about anyone.
  9. Get at least 45 minutes of walking in a day (once the damn clocks spring forward) alone.
  10. Don’t be afraid to be alone and don’t feel guilty taking that time to be away from your kids. It’s good for them and it’s good for you.
  11. Eat better. Don’t snack off of the kids’ trays. Take care of yourself so you can love yourself again.
  12. Don’t make your body such a focus. It bore you two perfect, healthy babies and someday, maybe, it’ll be an instrument and vessel you can be proud of again.
  13. Let your kids make mistakes so that they can learn.
  14. Let your kids cry a little so that they become tough.
  15. Let your kids make messes and don’t let your desire to stop them get in the way.
  16. Quit worrying about the state of your house and quit apologizing for it. You have a toddler and a baby.
  17.  Don’t put yourself through undue stress (like driving any distance in the evening with Sutton, who screams like a banshee for 30 to 45 minutes).
  18. If you want to grow your hair out, deal with the ugly stage. Stay strong.
  19. Take care of yourself – mind, body, and soul. Just because you’re “mom” doesn’t mean you don’t need things, too.
  20. If you want a tattoo, get it. When you have the extra money and your brother’s wedding is past so that your mother doesn’t have a heart attack.
  21. Appreciate being needed and hearing “Mommy” in the middle of the night over the monitor.
  22. Pray they always come to you when they need something.
  23. Don’t concern yourself with what your friends’ kids are doing or not doing that yours are or aren’t.
  24. Don’t concern yourself with how people choose to live their lives. Just deal with your own, Mike’s, Rhett’s, and Sutton’s.
  25. Drink all the damn coffee you want.
  26. Drink only SOME of the wine that you want.
  27. Get rid of stuff you don’t need and find a way to give it to charity and not the garbage man.
  28. Show thankfulness to those who are kind to you.
  29. Understand that everyone has their burdens and responsibilities, even though it may not necessarily fit into your plans or what you want.
  30. Accept the unplanned. Not everything can be determined ahead of time.
  31. Show your kids the world. Don’t just talk about it.
  32. Take the guilt out of guilty pleasures. Listen to One Direction and anxiously await Harry Styles’ solo album while you admire every picture the young folks post on your Instagram feed.
  33. Trust in God’s provision.
  34. Pray harder. Pray more.

How’s that for a start?  Any other suggestions?

Cheers, y’all!

1 Comment

Posted by on February 28, 2017 in Daily Happenings


Sutton Whitfield and a Dream Come True

It’s been a year and 2 days since my last post. Where has time gone? 

This will be quick since I’m posting from my phone and swipe typing pisses me off. 

Rhett Calhoun is 21 months old and doing awesome. 

And on July 13, 2016, we welcomed or second son, Sutton Whitfield.

Two baby boys is a dream come true. 

But there was another dream. The whole reason I started this blog. I wanted to stay at home and raise babies. Well, here I am. At home, raising babies! 

I am so lucky.  Get ready for adventures! 

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 21, 2016 in Daily Happenings


Things That Make Me Nervous/Angry


  1. Selfies. Why? WHY?! And not only why, but why so many? I blame the Kardashians.
  2. The Fact That We’ve Made EVERYTHING Offensive. No one can take a joke anymore. No one can make a comment anymore without worrying about how someone else will take it. Not even in the realm of actual comedians. I’d hate to be a comedian right now. How the hell are you supposed to come up with an inoffensive joke? There aren’t any. People have lost their sense of humor. It scares the hell out of me.
  3. There Are No “Losers.” Yes there are. You do not get a trophy for trying. You get told, “Nice try,” or “Good job for trying.” Kids don’t know how to lose anymore and it’s disgusting. And young people don’t understand why they don’t get jobs or get turned away from opportunities because they’re so used to getting everything. NO.
  4. Screen Obsession. I know that it’s impossible to avoid technology and screens. And if you know me personally, you’ll know how much I am a slave to Google and how much I love the tubes and pipes (Internet) and shopping online. BUT, it breaks my heart to see young kids spending so much time on screens. I was running around eating dirt at your age. GET OUTSIDE. ***NOTE: I am attempting to get myself even further from screen usage. I admittedly use it far too much. I’m trying to stop. ***NOTE 2: Rhett will NOT have a cell phone until he’s doing after school activities that require him to call me or until he starts driving. And he does not need his own iPad/Tablet and he does not need his own computer. That’s just asking for trouble. 🙂
  5. Tattoo/Piercing Stigma. It is 2015. Tattoos and piercing should be widely accepted at this point. Fuddy duddies.
  6. Fear of Work. No one wants to just pick up the hammer and do the damn thing. I work in an office now, but I worked in a factory, too. And let’s be honest, even in my job now, I haul around boxes and bags of salt and all sorts of stuff. You’ll be okay. Your skin will heal. Your broken nail won’t matter in a week.
  7. People Who Go the Speed Limit (Or Under). Did you know that going 5 over is socially acceptable? But that going UNDER the speed limit incites such rage in me that my kid’s first full sentences will be, “Are you fucking kidding me, you stupid fucking idiot? GO!”
  8. Lack of FREE Nationwide Wi-Fi. Okay, we all use the tubes and pipes. Where’s my free Wi-Fi?

That’s all. Bye!


Posted by on August 19, 2015 in Daily Happenings


The Longest Ride – the Longest Movie Of My Life (And I Left Early)


This is probably going to piss some people off.

The Longest Ride was the longest movie of my life. It was terrible. I mean ungodly boring to the point where I considered napping. Which is something I desperately need to do once in awhile because, let’s face it, my 5 month old is never going to sleep through the night.

This was the first date that Mike and I went on since Rhett was born. I was amped for this movie. SUPER amped. I mean I wanted so badly to see Scott Eastwood make love to that stupid skank in the barn. Thank you, stupid movie trailer, for focusing on that to get my ass (and thousands of other girls’ asses) into the theatre seats.

Let’s start at the beginning. I was super excited about some of the previews – especially Aloha. I hope that stands up to the excitement the trailer brought on. I’ll hold out hope for this one. And there was one about a girl with cancer that I want to see, but I know I’m not going to be able to sit through because, you know, tears. And of course Paper Towns because John Green does no wrong.

And then the movie started. Stupid virginal skank (she IS a skank – you’ll see why). I don’t remember her name. She is now Virgin Skank. Virgin Skank is super focused on her studies (art – gag me) and doesn’t even want to go to the rodeo with her Glee-Marly friend. (I love Glee-Marly.) And when they convince her to, all the sudden she’s hooting and hollering and flirty as HELL with Scott Eastwood’s character at the bar.

She tells him she’s moving to New York in two months during their first date. Then they pull an old dude from a car accident and they both go see him at the hospital. Good American kids. But Virgin Skank starts reading letters to the old guy about his love life. Letters that make no sense because they’re detailing exactly what happened with his lady friend. Now, I wrote Mike letters when we were dating, but I never just recounted our story to him. I talked to him about how I felt. So the letters were unrealistic. And so was the story. Oh, and old guy’s lover was into art (gag me), too.

Then Virgin Skank goes on a second date with Scott Eastwood. She falls into a mud puddle because she’s dumb, and then she has to shower at his place. Okay, fine. This was one of the only redeeming scenes because Scott Eastwood is adorable as he’s trying not to look at her getting naked with the door open. But this is problematic. Virgin Skank is getting naked WITH THE DOOR OPEN on her second date with this guy AFTER she tells him that nothing can come of them because she’s moving to New York for an art internship (GAG ME). Don’t worry. She also gives this up after knowing him for a full month.

And then they bang in the shower for like a full 3 hours (I’m guessing – you know – movie time). And that was hot. I was behind that. Mostly because of Scott:

LongestRide LongestRide2

Then Eastwood goes to an art gallery opening with Virgin Skank and he tells her potential boss that there’s more bullshit there than where he works (har har) and that was the end of the goodness. After that, I couldn’t pay attention. There was something about the old couple not being able to have kids. Scott Eastwood has a head injury and shouldn’t be rodeoing anymore, but he doesn’t stop because RODEO. And then I walked out. I truly just couldn’t handle it anymore. I spent the rest of the night apologizing to my husband for making him sit through as much of it as I did.

I’ll admit that I gave the movie 5 more minutes every time Scott Eastwood smiled. And I gave it a few more minutes here and there praying that it would pick up. But it sucked. Royally.

It honestly seemed like a different version of The Notebook (which I f*cking love – my son’s middle name is Calhoun, y’all). Unlikely lovers, old couple story interwoven. Hot sex. I mean, at least Nick Sparks finds movie makers who can film hot sex. But I am thoroughly disappointed.

Negative stars on this movie. NEGATIVE.

10 stars for Scott Eastwood if he’d like to come stand in my cubicle at work.

And in the end, at least we only paid matinee prices.


Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Daily Happenings


Tags: , ,

A Whole New Me


It’s been a damn long time since I could say this, but I don’t feel like the person I used to be. I truthfully feel like I know myself better than I have in years.

And you’re probably thinking, “Duh, you moron. You’re a mom now and a lot of shit has changed.” But I feel changes beyond being a mom now. Here are a few of the Ericas I’ve been in the past:

Poser Skater Erica:  I accredit this “Erica” to my high school boyfriend – Phill – and PacSun & Hot Topic. I wore Popple shirts, QuickSilver, Billabong. I knew nothing about how to skateboard or surf. I just wore the stuff.

Rocker Erica:  Poser Skater Erica quickly turned into Rocker Erica. Jean jacket with patches, tramp stamp that says “Rock Star,” and enough 80s hair metal to kill a small country. I had convictions – and they were all in the name of rock & roll.

jean3 jean2 jean1


Hippie Erica:  In college, I found…nothing really. I just quit caring about anything and wore long skirts and climbed trees. It was good.


Ohio Erica:  While attending grad school in North Carolina, I became very aware of my inner Ohioan. I felt connected to the state in a way I hadn’t before. It was MINE. That said, I was a bit lost regarding who I was then. Until I met Mike. Then I found some direction and knew I’d become someone’s forever.

Mom Erica:  Rhett Calhoun was born in 2014 and I became a whole new me. That little guy became my main focus and he still is. But in that, I feel like I’ve learned more about myself than I used to. I’ve become hyper aware of things I enjoy. So here’s where I’m at:

Stuff 2015 Erica enjoys:

  • Rhett Calhoun – he’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
  • IPAs – the more bitter, the better.
  • Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Praying – I’ve always known God is with me, but I talk to him a lot more now.
  • Birds – Cardinals, finches, blue jays, and all their songs.
  • Sushi – how I missed it when I was pregnant.
  • Music – you’ll probably recall my struggle to find music that stuck with me. And this and this. I’m in a good spot with music. Truly. Bring on the 2000’s pop punk / punk & current bluegrass, folk, and Americana. I’m in a good place.
  • Fancy Denim – this is nothing new, but it’s more profound than ever.
  • Hanging Out with Mike – every moment together is appreciated.
  • Organization – I’d lose my mind without my Google Keep.
  • Essential Oils – welcome back, Hippie Erica.
  • Nautical Things & Symbolism
  • One Direction. Shut up.
  • A Renewed Love of Grapefruit
  • Tracking Packages
  • Jimmy John’s Beach Club

We’ll see where I end up, but I’m liking where I’m going.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Daily Happenings


Baby Brain (The Other Blog)


Also, just wanted you all to know that there is another blog so that I don’t bombard you with baby things on this one. It’s called “Baby Brain!”


1 Comment

Posted by on February 12, 2015 in Daily Happenings


Overalls a Thing of the Past? I THINK NOT.


I’ve always loved overalls. ALWAYS. I remember wearing them through my awkward Jr. High days. And when I was in college, I found an incredible pair of Union Bay overalls that I’ve worn…and worn…and worn. I wear them to paint. I wear them to lounge. Hell, I wore them to the bar a few times. Here are a few examples.

overall6 overall5 overall4 overall3 overall2 Overall1 overall


So you can imagine how sad I was when I realized that I couldn’t find overalls anymore. I mean, good overalls. All I could find were these sorry excuses.


Who wants skinny legged overalls? It was either this or the super rugged ones that were actually meant for work.

Then I saw Gwen Stefani. In overalls. And Gwen Stefani is cool, so I thought, “I’ll just find her overalls!”


Problem #1 – they still look KIND of skinny leg. I’m a lil curvy and I want them to fit like my other ones. These COULD have been the answer, but before I thought about seriously buying them, I couldn’t find my size on any site.

Which is why when I came across these babies yesterday, I pounced.


They look wide leggy enough. They’re distressed. They’re fashionable (they’re Ralph Lauren, people). And some of the sites were already running low/out of my size. So…I did it. I couldn’t help myself! I’m waiting anxiously for them to get here. I hope that they’re everything I dreamed they would be, because the old Union Bays are falling apart. And they’re better overalls for it! 😉

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 12, 2015 in 1990's Nostalgia, Daily Happenings


Tags: , , , , ,

A Working Mom’s Guilt


Before I get started, I just wanted to let you know that Squidge is MUCH better and feeling like his old self again and hanging out with all his buds. 🙂


And now, the topic of the post – a working mom’s guilt. I have it, and it’s most certainly compounded by 1000 because I’m Catholic and my guilt level is high anyway. Here’s the situation.

I have a good job. I don’t mind working for a living – I’m by no means lazy. Plus, with my student loans (hello private undergrad and grad school immediately after!), my car loan, our mortgage, and now a little Squidge, there’s no way I can afford not to work. Mike and I are aggressively trying to pay stuff off and we’re making some serious headway.

But my working means Squidge goes to daycare. And I know there are tons of benefits to daycare:  a stronger immune system (eventually), socializing skills, interaction with different people, etc. My problem, and the source of my guilt, arises when I think about the fact that Squidge is spending 8-9 hours a day with people who aren’t Mike and me. Then, when I pick him up at 5:15pm, I only get him for about three hours before he goes to sleep for the night. I get 1/3 of what daycare gets.

Then my stupid mom brain starts asking questions. Will he know that it’s ME that’s the mom and not the nice ladies at daycare? Will he learn from ME? Will he get enough quality time in those stupid three hours I get to squeeze him and feed him and love him? I find myself waking up at 5am just to see him more, even though I could probably get away with getting a little more sleep.

I just remember the years that my mom stayed home to raise my brother Jason and me so fondly that I wish I could give that to Squidge. She played with us all day, taught us things before preschool, took us to play with our cousins at my grandparents’ house. And then I realize that I don’t know any babies around here. Squidge’s cousins are all over an hour away and go to daycare, as well. He really wouldn’t have any kid interaction, and that’s when I see daycare as a blessing.

My mom tells me that this is a good thing. She says that if he just had me, he’d ultimately get bored not having anyone his own age to play with. I understand this and I agree. I know he’s going to want little buddies. My cousins were my best friends, but I just don’t have access to family/kids like that around here. It’s just hard, ya know? SUPER hard.

Think my boss would pay off my student loans and my car loan and let me stay home until both my kids (NO I’M NOT PREGNANT) are in school full-time? I’ll sign up for 20 years of service after that. I promise. 🙂


Leave a comment

Posted by on January 22, 2015 in Raising My Youngins


Tags: , , ,

And Then They Smile…


Here’s another thing I’ve learned about having a baby. When things get really hard (you’re having to wake every hour and a half to force feed your baby medicine, and then to force feed him real food because you’re afraid he’ll get dehydrated, and dealing with scary side effects from the medicine and so on and so on), you sometimes wonder if you’re strong enough to handle it.

And I felt so guilty feeling that way until I talked to other moms. If you know me at all, you know I think of myself as kind of a hard ass. Even in childbirth, I refused to get too scared or to act too hurt. But I felt helpless and weak this whole past week. I broke down multiple times in Mike’s arms and said, “I don’t know if I can do this.”

And then I thought about all the people who have it worse than I do. I thought about the challenges that parents face that are so much bigger than mine. But at the same time, any time there’s something wrong, no matter how big or how small, it’s always 200 times worse when it’s your child. It puts a lot of stuff into perspective. Let’s just say that.

All the weakness melts away, however, when your baby finally climbs out of the flu cloud to give you one of these:

RhettSmile RhettSmile1


Leave a comment

Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Raising My Youngins


Tags: ,