…so are your sons.

…so are your sons.

There is a good deal of talk these days about sexual misconduct in the world. Politicians are leaving their posts, Hollywood executives are being sued and leaving, and the US Women’s gymnastics team got justice.

Perhaps I need new friends and family on social media, or maybe my feed isn’t any different than yours, but some of the snippets I see are, “Why now?” “This is a witch hunt.” “Its been x number of years, if it really happened…” I’ve also seen, “If she didn’t take that role…” “Well, she shouldn’t have been at that party…” “What was she wearing?” “Was she drinking?”

I have some questions in response.

Why, when women come forward en masse to accuse a man of misconduct are they met with questions? When thousands of boys come forward to accuse the Catholic Church of misconduct or Penn State’s football program of the same, they are not met with questions. They are offered therapy. There isn’t immediate discussion of statute of limitations.

Why, when a woman comes forward, is she met with character questions, clothing and drink choice inquiries? Did her skirt say “yes” while she was busy saying “no?” Where do you buy clothing that has the ability to speak on your behalf? Since when did the 3 beers she had have the ability to come back up later in the night and prevent her from saying “no” loud enough for someone to put their hands on her? Why do we create drinks in bars called “angel shots” for women to have to order to get home safely? Why do we have to have nail polish that changes colors to indicate something has been put into her drink?

Why does her timing matter? There is psychology behind rape and sexual abuse that seems to be taken into consideration when the accuser is male but ignored when a woman comes forward. People ask, “why now?” Would YOU want to come forward after seeing what the media and the public does to a woman who is brave enough to come forward? People ask, “why so many, aren’t they jumping on the bandwagon?” Well first, that is a disgusting bandwagon to be on. I would not put myself on there if something hadn’t happened to me.

What we should understand is, there is no more vulnerable thing to say to another human being than “me to.” (Hence the name of the movement.) When you’re struggling as a mom, when you’ve dropped the ball at work, or when you are facing an uphill climb in any facet of your life, when someone looks you in the eyes and says, “That is also my story,” it makes you not feel so alone, so other. AND, in the case of rape or sexual misconduct, if it prevents a criminal from being a priest, football coach, producer, executive, Justice of the Supreme Court, or POTUS, then by all means, let the accuser speak.

What people seem to forget is that there are investigations that occur when a claim like that is made. So, if the man is innocent, he will be shown as such. If he is guilty, do you really want him representing/leading? As for the timing of some of these women, I know I would be given a shot of courage if I turned on the news and saw that the person who raped or touched me was about to be given a large amount of power. It may cause me to push aside my fear of being torn apart and labeled a whore or a puppet or whatever term we’re using now to vilify the women who step forward and speak out anyway.

Girls are taught very young never got to the bathroom by themselves, don’t walk alone at night, carry pepper spray, and on and on and on. My parents certainly said those things to me. I don’t recall my brother getting the same talk. He wasn’t told how to protect himself when he’s by himself or given a million things he shouldn’t do for fear of being abused. I see the double standard. He was just as at risk for being snatched and molested as I was as a child. As we got older, though, my parents didn’t have the same fear for him as for me.

Women are told what to wear so as not to attract “unwanted” attention. School and even corporate dress codes make sure shirts and shorts and dresses don’t expose too much so that they aren’t a “distraction.” Those dress codes never specify who is being distracted or why what they are wearing should be controlled to prevent someone else from losing control.

Just like everything else in the world that I see and read, I think about how I’m going to have to explain it to my boys. Just the other day someone posted something that said, “Every mother of boys should be terrified that at any time, any girl can fabricate any story without proof and ruin their lives.” I’ll tell you why I’m not terrified. There is no way to fabricate a story of rape or misconduct if you do not put yourself into a situation for one to be fabricated. Ty and I will teach our sons that you do not put yourself into a situation where there is any doubt about what sort of man you are.

If you ask a girl out and she says no, you don’t try harder, you move on. No is an answer. If you are at a party and the girl you brought is drunk, you make sure she gets home safely and you do not engage in anything sexual. If she wasn’t in a state to drive, she isn’t in a state to make a sexual decision. If, at any point in a sexual encounter, a girl says “no.” Then you’re done. No is an answer.

The one piece of learning I will pound into their heads is that they do not have rights to anyone’s body but their own. It doesn’t matter what she’s wearing, what she said, or what she did. Women are not property to be had, they are not “asking for it,” and their BAC has nothing to do with consent. They will be told to get permission every. single. time.

On the other side of that coin, those around them will be told they need consent to touch them. If they don’t want to hug someone or get a kiss, they don’t have to. They get consent over their bodies too. I know no better way to teach them consent than to give them the ability to practice.

Here’s the main thing I’d like for you to think about if you’re still reading this. Your reactions to news stories, gossip, rumors, etc. are speaking volumes to your daughters about whether you would support them if they were ever in a situation like some of these women have been. You may not think they hear you question what she was wearing, why she didn’t come forward sooner, etc., but she does. She is shaping her opinion of you and your support on your words. She is learning what value you place on her as a woman. The thing that makes me worry…so are your sons.

Never forget.

Never forget.

Every night is pretty well scripted in Casa de Cashatt. Dinner, bath, book, prayers, bedtime. Ryker knows what to expect, and it makes the evening go more smoothly for the most part.

At the end of our prayers for our family and friends, we generally ask Ryker who he wants to pray for. Sometimes we get people and sometimes we get “cupcakes.” (This is how i know he’s my child.)

Today after we did our normal nightly prayers and asked Ryker who he wanted to pray for we told him that today is a sad day. I honesty was hoping to get off easily, but instead I got my first taste of how hard it is explaining something complex and scary to a toddler. He innocently asked, “Why, Mama?” I remembered instantly where I was, who I was with, everything I felt- which is too big of an emotion for him. I thought quickly of the millions of ways I could answer him. I chose to try to tell him the truth as simply as I could. “Some people who think differently than us made some bad choices and caused a lot of people to go be with Jesus. We learned a lot that day and so we stop every year to remember them so that we don’t forget.” “Ok, Mama.”

That “Ok, Mama.” has been on my mind since. I don’t take its weight lightly. It means that he trusts what I’m telling him. He believes the words I say. Which also means he will believe any hate, bias, or personal opinion I give him. He is looking at me for how to react to new situations, new information, and new people. As he gets older it will help inform his reactions and his opinion. Hopefully, I can do a good job of exposing him to enough history and diversity that he is an ally to all he meets.

I also hope I can teach him that although today is sad, there is another side to the coin. In the days following 9/11, people were a bit kinder, a bit more considerate. Party lines that have people today so divided they can’t have family dinners were blurred. They helped a stranger, called their long lost friends and relatives, and prayed for the first time in a while. Ultimately, people realized what was really important and we should never forget that.

“It’s Just a Dog.”

“It’s Just a Dog.”


Last Monday, Ty took Jaz, our 7-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier, to the vet. She’d lost a ton of weight, was having some problems with incontinence, and we had noticed swollen lymph nodes. We knew in the back of our minds, I think, what was wrong with her, but we were hoping for just a “she has a bladder infection” diagnosis. He called me at work to tell me that the vet confirmed she had lymphoma and that because of her blood counts she had 2-8 weeks to live. There was no treatment that would give her a better quality of life, it would just buy her- read: me- time. By the time the conversation was over, we were both in tears. The vet had actually said she would understand if we wanted to put her down then, but neither of us were ready for that. We decided to monitor her at home, and take her when the time was right.

I’ve never had to decide the mortality of another creature before. All of my dogs as a child died of old age and went peacefully in their sleep. Weighing when the “right time” is is something that I have wrestled with for the last 2 weeks. I certainly didn’t want her to be in pain, but I also didn’t want to feel like I didn’t give her a chance. Every time I have every scolded her or ignored her has run through my head. I’ve cried a lot.

I get that some people may not understand the emotion that comes at a time like this because she’s “just a dog.” I’m also 100% sure that those people have never been loved by one.

We got Jaz when I moved in with Ty the summer before we got engaged. She chewed up a pair of slippers, several socks, and 6 iPhone chargers. She aggravated Layla. She ran in the road more times than I thought my heart could handle. She was so hard headed we thought she was deaf. She wasn’t, she just did her own thing. She ate so fast as a puppy we had to use a tennis ball to slow her down, but was smart enough that she just removed the tennis ball and kept going. We had to feed her on a cookie sheet. She was loud and stubborn and funny.

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Jaz was quick to love, kiss, and smother you with her full 91lbs. She would lick the tears off my face when I cried because of something sad on tv, because I was frustrated, or because I was heartbroken. She, in part, was the reason I realized we were losing our second baby and was the catalyst to me going to the emergency room which prevented my fallopian tube from rupturing. She made me laugh spending hours chasing her tail as a puppy or acting like a she was tough only to run and hide behind me when a plastic bag moved too fast in her direction in the yard. She has kept me warm during “no heat November” and reminded me to roll the windows down and enjoy the summer. She has protected me from every postal delivery person, pizza delivery person, and solicitor who has ever dared to ring the door bell. She has been sweet and gentle to my babies and been concerned when they’ve cried.

Today we did what I think was best for her. She brought joy and whimsy to my life, and I couldn’t let her suffer through the end of hers. So, we bought her a big breakfast, took her for one last car ride, gave her a million snuggles, and held her paw and told her what a good girl she’s always been as she crossed the rainbow bridge.

There is a story of a little boy that I read on littlethings.com who explains why dogs don’t live as long. Shane, the boy in the story said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right? Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long…” It is true, but I wish she could have stayed a while longer. I will miss you girl.


Mama, Party of 1

Mama, Party of 1

Let me start this by saying, I am in no way an expert on mothering, parenting, or postpartum depression or anxiety. I’m not an expert on anything. I’m still learning about myself, but felt like sharing some of my experience might make someone else breathe a sigh of relief and/or go get help.

I have read what feels like hundreds of mama blogs and articles that say that mothering, especially early motherhood, is lonely. Its true. I found that feeling alone allowed all of the not-so-great feelings and criticisms in my head the perfect environment to grow. Add to that the major nose dive my hormones took after birth and it was the perfect breeding ground for depression and anxiety.

First, in the early stages, you’re up at all hours of the night with someone who is screaming in your face. You don’t know what’s wrong and they can’t tell you. You can’t exactly text your friends to complain, ask for help, etc. because they have jobs and lives they have to live the next morning. If you do happen to locate a mama friend in the same stage as you, you don’t want to text them if they aren’t up because sleep is a precious commodity. Then, by the time it is socially acceptable to text them, you have either forgotten what you wanted to say or you want to continue with the “this is bliss” facade so you say nothing. Don’t get me wrong, my friends sent me 100s of text messages and I tried my hardest to answer them. Most of the time, though, the conversation ended when I read their message and forgot to respond because I was called to play in the floor, someone had just spit up all over themselves and me, or I had fallen asleep with a baby on my chest.

This leads us to the other bit of isolation that comes in early mamahood. You look and/or feel like a hot mess 98% of the time. It seems hypocritical to say “I’m alone, but leave me alone,” but you don’t WANT people around. You’re exhausted. You’ve just been through the most extreme thing you’ve likely experienced to this point. You are trying to learn a new HUMAN. You haven’t showered. Your organs are rearranging. You may be healing from major surgery. Your hormones make you cry over football games and commercials. It’s not a good look. Then you look around one afternoon and cry because you’re by yourself.

Next, you’ve got the fact that society makes everything a competition-especially when it comes to women. Are you breast-feeding? Are you formula feeding? One will certainly kill your child or alienate them from their other caregivers. Working? Staying at home? You’re either depriving them of connection or giving up on yourself. “Is (insert trendy name) walking yet? That’s too bad, my so and so walked by then.” “When did (trendy name) learn to use the potty? OHHH my blah blah blah was potty trained by 3 months old.” Considering you can be burned at the metaphorical stake for snapping a picture of yourself wearing your baby “incorrectly,” it doesn’t exactly make you want to walk up to someone in the park. Unless, of course, your kids are both eating from the same pile of rocks, in which case- you are my people.

So, what do you do to keep yourself “connected” on your own time, but not keep your friends up? You unlock your phone and flip through social media. That feels safe. Your friends “live” in there. You comment on pictures, send memes, etc. You may be brave enough to ask mothering questions to the right group of people. The problem comes when you start seeing everyone able to leave and enjoy life. You’ve missed celebrations or work functions or a multitude of other events. You see the Pinterest perfect parties, well groomed children on the hips of well put together women, and you see people who aren’t at home alone all day. Well…that backfired.

Here is what I learned. You shouldn’t have it all together, nor should you have all of the answers. So, screw social media and society’s opinions of how you choose to mother your children. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, reach out, or let yourself or your home be seen at less than your/its best. Those who love you couldn’t care less about the dust bunnies under your media console. The only reason you’re noticing them is because you’ve been breast feeding for 45 minutes while binge watching “Scandal.” Those who love you do not care that you have spit up and/or poop on your shirt. They love you and want to see your name pop up on their phone with an invite to come have coffee, rock the baby, or bring wine. Ask a friend or two if its ok to text them at 2am. No, they may not answer immediately, but you will still feel connected to them. I found that my connection to others was what pulled me out of my dark moments and that sometimes I could feel alone in a room full of people simply because I didn’t speak how I was feeling so someone else could say, “me too.”

Friends of new mamas: If you get up to go to the bathroom or check on your own babies, or pets, or if you’re just coming in from a fun night out, check on your new mama friend. She is probably up or will be soon, and it is nice to know someone is still there in the wee hours. Stop by. Text or call her for her coffee order or ask what donut is her favorite and bring it to her. Don’t let her excuse her way out of it every time. If she’s told you no the last few times you’ve asked- don’t ask, just show up. Some of us are stubborn and need the push and you probably know when we’re being stubborn. Know that she might be struggling with connection, but also not have the ability to put her feelings into words. Give her grace when she doesn’t text you back at 9pm. She’s fallen asleep on the couch. Most likely like this:

“Julia, I’ve gotta go, we’ve got cows!”- Twister

“Julia, I’ve gotta go, we’ve got cows!”- Twister

Its been two months (and then some) since I’ve written anything here. It has been a tornado of epic proportions around here.

Ryker had an ER visit for a head wound and I had mastitis twice and strep once. Asher started gaining weight, but we were supplementing 2-4 ounces after each feeding, so we stopped breast feeding. I was “ok” with it. I cried a lot, but have made my peace since. We decided to put the house on the market. We’ve taken our first family road trip. I started back to work. I was “ok” with it. I have cried some. I imagine there will be some more tears. Ryker has started potty training. The last two months has been all. the. things.

Photos: Lindsey Simpkins Photography

Asher is sweet, easy-going, and has charmed us all. Ryker is the best big brother and gives hugs and kisses, shares his toys, and talks constantly about “his baby.” Watching their relationship grow and watching them interact is just as sweet as everyone said it would be. What no one explained in great detail is the shit show that is everything you try to do with a two-year-old and an infant. So for those who don’t know yet, I give you:

The steps to go to the store for 5 things.

Get two-year-old dressed. He doesn’t want the character Pull Up you have chosen. Manage a meltdown. Cue fussing baby. Explain to the toddler that you need to hurry so the baby doesn’t get sad. Toddler falls down leaving the bedroom in his socks and begins to scream as though someone has severed his leg. Comfort toddler. Toddler screaming insights baby screaming. Start the correct episode of Sesame Street after 3 failed choices to distract toddler. Pick baby up to calm him. Get puked on. Change baby. Stick your finger in poop. Dress baby, insert pacifier, place in Boppy within eyesight to begin getting dressed. Remember to wash hands (count this as a win.) Remove clothing, explain to toddler that everyone has boobies, insert pacifier. Put on pants. Explain to toddler that you don’t have a penis. Insert pacifier and shush. Put on bra. Insert pacifier and shush. Pull on shirt, pull up hair, and find flip flops. Pick up baby, insert pacifier, and shush. Brush your teeth and toddler’s teeth while bouncing infant. Place infant in one of the many “entertainer” seats. Cue screaming. Insert pacifier and shush. Race to find the “right” shoes for toddler and put them on. Baby has fallen asleep in entertainer. Gently pick him up, place him in carseat, and begin to strap him in. The “click” of the harness startles him awake. Cue crying. Grab purse, diaper bag, carrier, and drink for toddler. Open the door while bouncing the 50 lb carrier and say “Let’s go!” Use your most chipper voice. Try to remain chipper as the toddler declares, “I pooped!” Consider burning down your house. Open grocery app. Order 5 things, but add wine. Place order. Text husband for pickup. Remove baby from seat. Change toddler. Pick up baby, insert pacifier, and shush. Turn Sesame Street back on. Find your cold coffee. Try not to cry.

If that sounds terrifying, let me comfort you some. The next step is Ryker comes and kisses the baby, shares a toy, or says “It’s OK Asher,” when he’s crying because I’ve put him down to make lunch or go to the bathroom. Those moments make all of the crazy worth it. So, I may not get to physically go into a grocery store with my children for the next 3 years. Think of all the money I will save!

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I have bags under my eyes, I’m jittery from coffee, and I am thisclose to crying sometimes, but man I love these boys and watching them grow together and separately.

My goal is to try to write a couple of times a week to share our crazy, funny life with those of you who aren’t close enough to enjoy it in person. Hence the name “Chaos (them) and Curls (me)”

Asher Pierce

Asher Pierce

Happy Birthday Eve, baby boy!


It is the day before your birthday. Not even really a whole day, since we go to the hospital before the birds to have our scheduled c section. Yep- you’re on a schedule already, although, you’ve cared very little about playing by the rules pretty much since conception.

You have already given me a run for my money, sweet Asher. I have a feeling that the trend won’t stop once you’re here, but I hope you know that I would walk through hell 1,000 times over for you, so some swelling, diabetes, and weeks of contractions really are nothing. Not to mention the insane lack of sleep. (I’ll make up for that when you’re a teenager.)

You are coming into a crazy, loud, rambunctious house. You know that because you’ve already taken some blows while you’ve been in my belly. You have a big brother who talks about you all the time. You have a daddy who is funny, kind, and a big kid at heart. Together, they keep me laughing and make my days better. I can’t wait to see how you will fit in with them!

Your name will be Asher Pierce. Your daddy and I picked Asher because we liked it, but it is actually a biblical name that means “happy and blessed.” I hope you know how true that is. You have already made us so happy and are such a blessing. We chose Pierce because we like to use family names for middle names, and Pierce was your great great grandfather’s name. We hope that your MamaAnne would be happy to know her dad’s name will carry on.

We have been praying for you for what feels like forever and I’ve been feeling you move around and kick me. It feels like I already know you. I can’t wait to see if you look like your big brother. I can’t wait to learn your personality and watch you take your place in our family.

We have our first date tomorrow, sweet boy! The first of many! See you soon!



A note to my Squish

A note to my Squish

Hi Squish,

It has been two years since I wrote you your note telling you all of the things I prayed for you and all of the things we hoped and dreamed of in getting you here. It has been the joy of my life watching you grow these last two years!

I was right about a few things from that first note. You look exactly like your daddy. You have my eyes. You are impatient, I am impatient, and your poor daddy manages us both like a pro. You get hangry (me) and have to have a routine (your daddy.) You have your daddy’s sense of humor, quick wit, and hair.

Now, you’re about to become a big brother. This transition will be a big one for everyone but you, most likely. You are such a smart, sweet, easy-going boy. You care about everything and everyone. You are quick to snuggle when someone is upset and want to help everyone “stop cryin'” if they are sad.


I can’t wait to see you grow into the best big brother! I hope you learn some things along the way. I hope you learn how to fight, because it will teach you how to make up. I hope you learn that no matter what happens, you and your brother belong to one another, and I hope you learn to count on each other. I hope you learn that it is ok to not like someone all the time, but that love is not something that stops.

You may never know a time without your baby brother in your life. You likely won’t remember a single day of your first two years. I know I don’t remember much about life before your Uncle Heath came into the world. I want you to know that it has been so precious for us to get to have you all to ourselves these last two years. We will show you pictures and videos, and I am sure I will miss the times when you and I had Ryker and Mama time- just the two of us. I promise you’ll still get those Ryker and Mama dates.

You are the best gift we’ve ever been given and we hope that Asher is a gift we can give to you. A brother and a friend.

I love you, sweet boy!



We have a date.

We have a date.

Dear baby boy,

Today I am 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant. The midwives and doctors have decided that because of my gestational diabetes, if you don’t decide to make your own way, we will help you along on Monday, May 9th, 2016. Everyone thinks that having a “due date” is so exciting, but honestly, I’m a good bit nervous. I’m nervous for a few reasons, some obvious, and some not so obvious. I’m nervous because getting you here will not be without some pain. I’m nervous I might mess up, and I know I will! I hope I am a mama you are proud of, I’m sure going to try! Plus, you’ll learn having a plan is really not something that I’m good at in all cases, or at least not one that doesn’t change 3 times, so having a definite one- and one you get to control- is scary!

You’ll come to know that your daddy and I went through a lot to get to meet you. The loss of your siblings rocked us, made us rely on each other and God in ways we never knew we could, and made us question our faith and every decision we made. You can’t possibly know the number of people who have prayed for you to take your first breath since we announced that you were a little peanut with a heartbeat back in September!

I’ve been thinking in the last few weeks of things that I can’t wait for or am praying for for you. You started as a sweet little heartbeat, became a butterfly in my tummy, started to be a gentle nudge, and now you are a kicking, stretching, hiccuping little stranger. It is surreal to feel like I know you, but have never met you. I can’t wait to see exactly how much like your daddy you look. Every ultrasound we’ve had you have been laying like he was in his baby pictures. I can’t wait to count your fingers and toes, and kiss each one as I go. I have prayed for you every day since we learned you were growing inside me to be strong and healthy, and I will continue that prayer forever. I hope you have your daddy’s hair, sense of humor, and quick wit. I hope you have my eyes. I pray you become a man of God. I hope to “train you up in the way you should go.” I can’t wait to hear your cry, see your first smile, and hear your first giggle. I can’t wait to see your daddy with you. He is so excited to become a dad. At one point he asked if we could “Amazon Prime” you so we didn’t have to wait. You are such a blessed little boy.

Most of all I pray that you know how very wanted and loved you have been from the very beginning of your little life. We’ll have to learn from each other, and I’m sure if you’re like me, you’ll lose your patience, I’m sure I’ll lose mine, and poor Dad will just lose it. But, no matter what, I hope you know that I will always be there, I will always come running, and I will always love every little thing about you.

You are our greatest blessing and our something beautiful! See you soon, we have a date!

All my love,