what to say when a friend starts meds

I mentioned on IG in passing that I had started a new medication and should’ve known that such a nonchalant drop wouldn’t fly with you astute humans. I wasn’t sure if I was going to speak about this, but then I had some heartbreaking conversations with some of you behind the scenes that motivated me to at least say one thing about it. Of course let me ramble a bit before I get to that one thing. You’re used to it by now, right? ūüėČ

Thoughts on Medication - an Essay | Small Fry

Image via The Voorhes

It seems that women are very quick to adapt to even the most unideal situations. It’s how I got pregnant when Hayes was 8 months old and told Russ I couldn’t get up with him every two hours anymore because it made me so nauseous, and Russ would have to start. Guess how long Russ got up with him every two hours? One night. Then he sleep trained him and Hayes slept through the night the rest of his life since.

I went 8 months on 2 consecutive hours of sleep at a time and didn’t realize that maybe that wasn’t the best way for me. Or even Hayes. I just adapted.

The past couple years I didn’t really have expectations about how our home stuff would go. I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know a soul who had done such a thing. So we adapted, we pushed through and I knew that when we moved in I could rest, I could slow my workload, we could regroup, we could rebuild our finances, we could have family time again, we could have Russ for longer than an hour a night.

We moved in and guess what? None of that happened. (Once again for the people in the back: try not to buy a commercial space right after you build a home yourself with one income.) Pulling equity out of the house to invest in our next project was always the plan, but we didn’t plan for it to happen so quickly. We had to keep moving at an unsustainable pace only now I knew better and it immediately put me into a tailspin. I can’t do this anymore!! I don’t want to!!¬†So what went from livable anxiety, situational, something I could handle… to incessant, unending panic most hours a day… I knew I had to do something. I woke up with dread (not to be dramatic) even terror at the seemingly insurmountable odds against us. The light at the end of the tunnel kept escaping me.

It was at that moment that I realized I needed help! I’ve always been high functioning with anxiety and even depression at times. So from the outside and even the inside, medication didn’t seem necessary. But I knew how much I was suffering. My quality of life was suffering. To someone who lives for a good laugh, nothing was funny anymore. My baseline of existence was now just at the brink of a melt-down, of sobbing, of freaking out, of despair. ¬†Adrenaline coursing through my body all the time.¬†Always ready for fight or flight.

So after a few months of this I finally made the appointment. I went to my doctor and she asked me those questions: How often do you feel ______?

Never, rarely, sometimes, often, alot of the time, all of the time.

Tears burned my eyes as I met question after question with a head hanging, barely audible, sometimes choked out, “all the time.” “All the time.” “All the time.” How did I let it get so bad?

It was SO incredibly interesting to see my own reaction as well as the reactions of others to treating my anxiety with regimented medication. My reaction to this process was to feel ashamed or guilty. I felt like I was cheating the system. Taking the easy way out. This is where the religious rhetoric of my upbringing stopped serving me. “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” There must be a way to handle this on my own?

WHO KNEW BETTER THAN ME HOW MUCH I WAS SUFFERING? And still, I put up so much resistance.

Bless my sister’s wise soul for telling me exactly what I needed to hear to shift my perspective. She said “Medication is like scaffolding on a building. Sometimes you need structured support to fix what’s going on inside.”

Doesn’t have to be forever, Em.

So I went into the unknown, I fought my own resistance. And I felt better. I am better. Things are funny again and to-do lists are manageable instead of debilitating.

I wasn’t the only one with a weird reaction. I had odd run-ins with several people I didn’t expect it to come from, never mind the fact that I didn’t really want to tell anyone anyway. ME: I started a new medication for my anxiety! THEM:

Are you going to therapy? or¬†Have you tried deep breathing? or What’s your diet like? or You should go to yoga! or Mediation works wonders for me.¬†

Yes. To all those things. Tried them all, will continue to use them as a part of my healing and maintenance.

But the trouble is, the second I walk out of the yoga studio, post-therapy, mediation pillow, deep cleansing breathing, the circumstances in my life that induce anxiety (valid, real things) aren’t going away.

So, and now we’re getting to the takeaway, you patient souls, here’s what I think. When someone comes to us and says,

THEM: I’m thinking about getting on medication. Or: I finally got on medication.

VERY FIRST THING, US: I’m so proud of you. I can’t imagine what you must have been going through.

PAUSE PAUSE PAUSE, conversation, conversation.

And then, the cleansing breath thing.

I know we all want to help, but we’re not sure how. We seek to find our common ground, and in turn we negate others’ unique experience. Let’s all give the assumption that a war has been waging in the minds of those who suffer long before they ever opened their mouths to tell us about it. We are merely a blip in their journey, but our reaction can empower or diminish them.

And for those of you reading this who are saying with your head hung low “All the time.” or even most of the time, or maybe just often enough. Only you know what it’s truly like to be you. Listen to that inner voice and do not give up. You will find what works for you, and you do not have to suffer alone. I can’t say this with enough power of my soul, if you ever need anyone to talk to, and you don’t know who. I am here. Maybe not the ideal, but I’ll do in a pinch.



rendezvouz box

Get 20% off your first date with SMALLFRY!

Another awesome gift idea for you guys today! Even through our crazy year Russ and I never let date night slide and it was really the only thing holding us together at times! Even if it was just a sushi run after the kids went to bed, the TIME is the important thing. But if you’re like us and there’s definitely one person planning the dates, securing the sitter, making it happen it can start to feel like work instead of fun. Anyone in that boat?Rendezvous Box

This is where Rendezvous Box comes in! You take a quiz on their site so they know your ideal date night situation. They create the itinerary, handle ALL the details. Reservations, appointments, tickets, even down to parking. You just show up and be together! We got our itinerary in the mail a few hours before we left and it was so fun to be spontaneous and have those nervous butterflies. Where are we going? What are we doing? And since they take care of it, both parties get to enjoy without stress. Here’s our date! I’ll tag the itinerary below!

Chocolate tasting (Hi Steve!) at Hatch Family Chocolates.¬†With a Carmel Malone for the road. ūüėČ Dinner at Avenues Proper¬†– their beet salad and burger were our favorite!Then axe throwing at Social Axe. Russ said he wanted to join an axe club after that so you can guess how that went!

You can check it out here, don’t forget SMALLFRY for 20% off!


gift guide: jane.com

Sponsored by Jane.com

Jane.com is a flash deal site from right here in Utah! We’ve worked with them several times over the years and always been amazed at the deals they work out for their shoppers! I got this peg doll nativity from there (it’s gone now unfortunately!) but that’s part of the adventure! Keep your eyes peeled for new deals all the time!Jane.com Gift Ideas But here’s several ideas live NOW will get all those little and big presents check off the list at a screaming deal!

My fave make-up brush cleaner $3 // Thin bangles with all sorts of sayings for staking or a dainty single. $7 // A million options of on-trend earrings for $7! //¬†Genuine leather slippers for $25! //¬†Skinny ties for $12¬†// Your man or son’s favorite stadium in poster size!¬†// Invisible Ink pens, perfect stocking stuffer! Less than $1 each. // My fave: personalized pennant banners for $15! //¬†Slouchy beanies for kids! $12¬†// Henleys as tees or bodysuits $10 // Disc swing for $40 which is 30 less than anywhere I’ve seen! //

mine + ours: books #13


small fry book reviews


LISTEN: I loved Trevor Noah’s narration of his autobiography Born A Crime. I learned so much about Apartheid in South Africa and am absolutely shocked it continued virtually the same until 1994. Just boggles my mind!! The book was so funny, so sweet and touching, so eye opening, so well written, and so heartbreaking. Definitely worth a listen. 5 Stars

READ: A Visit From the Good Squad has been on my list for years because as a English Lit major I heard it’s a must. For people who study literature and get excited by something they’ve never seen done before. Tricky to follow, challenging for sure, a lot of messed up characters, but something cool to take on if you feel like you fall into that category of readers. Three stars.


STICK CAT series by Tom Watson + MY WEIRDEST SCHOOL series by Dan Gutman (Book 12 releases next month!) We reviewed these for a sponsored post and My Weirdest School is a joke a minute! I love that it would help an early reader be exposed to a more casual voice when storytelling or learning how to use their own voice in their writing! Stick Cat is more subtle jokes but still awesome! Both series are boasted as getting even the most reluctant reader on board, so if you have one of those, check these out!

4 Weeks to Read

I’ve been testing this reading system out for a few weeks and am finally ready to share. It’s pretty freaking good, I must say!

4 Weeks To Read has a 98% rate, is $99 (they also do $25/month for 5 months!) — use SMALLFRY10 for 10% off –AND it’s guaranteed so after 30 days, if it didn’t work for you, you can get your money back! Here’s the run down:

4 Weeks to ReadLearning Dynamics is a school in Utah that is easily the top 3 schools for early education. They pride themselves in having preschoolers 100% ready for Kindergarten. Reading and ready to go! Since their schools aren’t in every state or worldwide they wanted to create a reading program for people who couldn’t attend their school, or like me, who chose a less expensive option for schooling. My friends who have taken their kids there swear by it and said it was worth every penny! I don’t doubt it after seeing their 4 year olds reading up a storm! I went a different path and have really had to work extra hard with my first grader. But, NOW I can have that same gold standard education for Raleigh with 4 Weeks to Read!4 Weeks to ReadThe owner told me about how this program came to be and I loved the story! They had a team of teachers, educators, experts look through every literacy program they could get their hands on. 13 years of research later they were unimpressed. So they wrote their own! He was telling me 3rd grade reading ability is a predictor of people who end up in jail! While they have a kindergarten through 2nd grade to catch up, by 3rd grade it’s not just playing catch up, but it’s typically falling further behind. Which is why, at least in Utah, their prevention programs are in 1st grade!4 Weeks to ReadI know for my 1st grader, it’s his confidence that sets the tone for us practicing reading. Struggling through a book really derails that. What I really like about the system is that it helps them master a grouping of letters at a time so they can master an entire book and have that confidence boost! Also their lessons are 15 minutes which is about all I can get out of him! So even though this system is for a much younger age demographic we’ve been reading them to his baby brother and of course he’s flying through them and feeling so confident! I love that I can help him strengthen his skills in such a quick way. Use my code for 10% off SMALLFRY10 and you can win one on my Instagram as well!!


vivofit jr. 2 by garmin

My kids have been asking me for a activity tracking watch for a couple of years now. After researching up I found that the vivofit jr. 2 by Garmin was the most affordable for the features we wanted. Happy to partner up with them today to share the details!Garmin Vivofit 3

First and foremost the watches are comfortable, my kids sleep in them without any irritation which is saying something as Hayes won’t even wear jeans. ūüėȬ†You can swim in it as well which I feel like the less reasons we need to take it off, the less likely to lose it!¬†Garmin Vivofit 3It tracks their activity, reminds them to get moving if they’re still for too long, tracks steps, and sleep patterns and both watches report it all onto one an app I can control. They can unlock games and adventures and incentives which has been fun for them and me! I’ll never forget when the watches first arrived they ran out the driveway and started running in circles. Gotta get those steps in!!This watch retails for $69 and comes in all these fun Disney and Star Wars patterns as well as well other solids and unbranded patterns! It’s funny how I use the watches for Hayes and Cal for different reasons. Cal is skinny as a rail and doesn’t need to burn calories but he does get super hyperactive if he doesn’t get some of that energy out! He’ll drive us all mad with his energy levels if we don’t wear him out outside, ha! We found a great job for him that he really loves and that is cooping the chickens at night and letting them out in the morning, and collecting eggs. Watching him catch the chickens tires me out, but is also hilairous!

¬†Hayes is just like his mom in the sense that he loves food and will eat himself sick! We talk about how our body balances the energy (calories) we get from food and it doesn’t know what to do with the extra energy we don’t use so it just gets stuck. I’m glad to have things like this to help him value an active lifestyle from an early age and the understanding of getting enough energy from the food we eat, but not overdoing it.This watch lasts a whole year without recharging which sold me completely. Such an easy addition to our lives, which was just what I needed! You can check it out here!

cocoon cam [giveaway!]

Sponsored by Cocoon Cam picked by BabyList as the best baby monitor in 2018!

You’ve heard by now that our kids’ rooms are all in the basement while our room is on the main floor. We did this because we intend to be in the house for many years, and it while it’s not ideal when they’re little, it seemed preferable for a much bigger section of time. Have you done this? Are we in for it? ¬†More worried about the big boys honestly. Does this kid look like he cares? Ha. (Never want to forget how he puts his legs up on the crib slats. They’re covered in footprints!)Cocoon Cam Giveaway We have an office on the main floor that could easily double as a nursery if it proves to be too much, but I am hoping that it won’t be too bad! To calm my own fears I think something like the Cocoon Cam in each room would be amazing! I am giving away one on Instagram today but check out all these features!Cocoon Cam Giveaway

  • Try it free for 100 nights no risk
  • Tracks breathing
  • Easy HD video pinch, zoom and night vision
  • Activity Log + Notifications
  • Intercom option
  • WiFi or Hardwired
  • Accommodates multiple cameras/rooms

I know so many of you (like me) just can’t sleep well when you have a brand new baby. Even the nights THEY sleep, I am always checking their breathing and stressing. I love that this monitor tracks breathing without wearables. It installs and tilts so you have a perfect birds eye view or has an adhesive option, too! Cocoon Cam Giveaway I love that it tracks the baby’s day so you can get a better idea of how they are actually sleeping, stirring, or details you’d like to track when you’re at work or if they’re with a sitter. I love that you can try it out for 100 days, because there’s truly hundreds in the market and finding the right one for you shouldn’t be such a risky investment! Cocoon Cam is confident enough in their product that they offer this with pride and for good reason!Cocoon Cam Giveaway

Head here to enter the giveaway! And here are some good posts if you are expecting!

An overview of all our best new baby posts through the years // Some of my personal favorites, and here too! 

new year new baby: nanit giveaway

New Year New Baby BannerMy baby is one and a half and I already feel like so many improvements have bene made to even the baby gear I bought for him not so long ago! I love being able to share the good news and if you need a monitoring system, Nanit has figured it out!! Also it’s 40% off until January 31st, so if you don’t like giveaways you can take advantage of one killer deal before it ends, too!Nanit Giveaway

First off, their insights are amazing!! So much of my brain space is taken up with my baby’s sleeping and eating schedule. This keeps track of all of that! When they wake up, how long it takes them to fall asleep. It tracks trends and patterns and of course you can save and send insights from 30 day archive, so it’s great to keep parents in the loop when they have childcare!Nanit Giveaway

They also send insights and tips to help your baby sleep better! Like reminders to put them down at the same time each night or to put them down awake. Letting you know if the room is too cold or hot. And so much more! It syncs to Alexa so you can ask your Amazon Echo for details from the Nanit as well without even opening the app! You can read up on all their amazing tips and how the y integrate into the app right here! With their guidance can you imagine how much easier healthy sleep habits will be?

First of all, it can easily be mounted right above their bed for the best view, or table side, too! Night vision, zoom, and the background audio plays even if your phone’s screen is off!

They have a gradually dimming nightlight so you can easily re-swaddle, find a binky or change a diaper without full blown lights.Nanit GiveawayIt monitors sound and motion, temperature and humidity so you can keep track of room conditions. Even better is the footage keeps streaming over Wi-Fi even if your internet connection goes down! Nanit Giveaway

Here’s what you can win!

1 Camera + Mount
1 Month of Nanit Insights
1 Multi-Stand

This is valued at $468! Amazing right? Just enter below and I’ll pick all our winners at the end of the week. Check back each day for something awesome to win!¬†¬†


a Rafflecopter giveaway


gift guide 2017: boys and girls

Back with gift guides today – and this time for boys and girls! I teamed up with Globber on a fun giveaway on Instagram so don’t miss that, too!

Gift Guide: Girls and Boys

  1. Playpa is essentially giant coloring pages that you can play on and interact with after you’re done coloring! Getting two indoor quiet activities out of one $20 gift is what I call a good idea. Especially during the long Winter break!
  2. My sister gifted this idea to my nieces and my boys flipped over it too. I watched them all sprawled over my floor making t-shirts together and it was so sweet. They even decided to all wear them to school the next day. You just need a few plain shirts and …
  3. Fabric Markers! These Yoobi ones could be the start of endless DIY crafts. Another Winter Break win.
  4. If I know kids, I know they flip over tiny things. This set from Yoobi is all miniaturized and darling. Watch them squeal, guaranteed.
  5. This is a new-to-me brand and a welcome guest. I went through several grocery store detangles and they all left this greasy film on my boys’ hair. Needing another bath to look clean. Oof. This stuff works great – I use it and am obsessed with how soft my hair feels, smells great, but doesn’t leave any of that residue. Stocking stuffer! Shiny Happy.
  6. Globber is sponsoring the giveaway on instagram today and they are a much less expensive balancing scooter option than the brands we’ve always used. Like half the price. But the kicker is they work the same. So be smarter than me and go with Globber off the bat this year! Or better yet, win two here!
  7. So many dollhouse options out there but I know when you have a certain aesthetic you like it can be hard to shop for. I think this one would fit a lot of yours out there! So pretty.
  8. A sweet little bonnet for Winter and beyond.
  9. Love this magnetized “paper doll” kit. Perfect for a quiet bag or flight.
  10. I’ve been on a big kick this year with promoting products I wish I had as a girl. Having a library of stories of women who dared to try something new, went against the grain, paved the way. I want those stories on my shelves! Women In Science book.
  11. Women in History blocks. See #10.
  12. Bravery Mag. See #10, too. This magazine is FILLED with activities, stories, darling design and Brave women. YES!

What are you getting your girls this year?


boys gift guide

  1. Another awesome idea from my sister! She gifted the boys their Christmas when she came for Thanksgiving and I had forgotten about these cash boxes! I had one as a kid and LOVED it. My boys are equally obsessed and love having their own key and spot for treasures no one else can get to.
  2. Who has a lego obsessed boy or girl? This book is so fun to flip through!
  3. Morphonauts was a Kickstarter awhile back that we got to try out. It’s all magnetized and interchangeable so you can be as imaginative as you want! I also love that its quiet. You can’t her them snapping together which is a huge win for church.
  4. Always love to give a puzzle and this one is large but also seems a little easier with all the variety and branding.
  5. Give a gift of music with this Cedar Thumb Piano! Its going to have a resurgence I am predicting!
  6. Driven by Battat makes all the most realistic big trucks which have bene my boys’ dream at one point or another their whole lives. They also sell pocket size too!
  7. I think Petit Collage has made our gift guides since the beginning of time. Lorena is so talented at creating toys kids like with designs parents like too. This Pop-out Space set for example.
  8. Another Globber option. They have scooters for babies on up to adults. Hayes wanted a more grown up scooter – I guess most of his friends ride on this type of scooter so I am excited to surprise him with this one!
  9. I would be remiss to not include Plants vs Zombies on this list because my boys are obsessed. I don’t know how they discovered it (blame YouTube, surely) but if you are looking for your own kids Amazon has the best collection I’ve found. I like that I can buy the figures in K’Nex sets so it’s a little more substantial then handing over a figure by itself.
  10. It’s hard for me to buy video games because I hate them. It doesn’t change that those characters are what my boys are into so I love finding non video game options that they’ll still be excited about – even if its just Mario’s photo on the box. They play this Monopoly Gamer at their friends house every time they go over so its high time to grab one for here!
  11. Tabletop Cornhole! Inside fun is a huge theme this year, can you tell? #noyardproblems
  12. Star Wars is all anyone talks about when I go into my boys’ classes. This Darth Vader backpack is “sick!” as they say and 40% off today!Happy shopping!!



DIY Internet Safety with Amazon Fire

Sponsored by Amazon.

Last year I wrote about something super important to me – internet safety for kids. It’s still one of Small Fry’s most visited posts and I hope it continues to be as the whole topic keeps me up at night! ūüėČ The internet is such a wonderful tool, but as we all know it can get dark, fast. Today I wanted to revisit that post and also add another awesome resource I have been testing out! You all know Amazon makes their own tablet starting at $99 for kids called Fire HD 8 Kids Edition¬†tablet, right? Well what I didn’t know is about their Amazon¬†FreeTime Unlimited¬†service, which we’ve been using with their tablet as a part of today’s sponsorship. It is incredible!¬†The Fire¬†HD 8 Kids Edition¬†tablet¬†actually comes with a free year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited¬†service¬†and is 30% off right now, so it’s a perfect time if you’re in the market! (They also do $20/month payments right in time for Christmas!)Fire Kids Edition + FreetimePart of my volunteer work at my church a while back was to help interested families get all their computers and devices protected and one thing I felt like was loud and clear across all the families I worked with was that it felt daunting which is why no one had attempted it on their own. So anytime I see a product come around that makes it easy I am all about it!Fire Kids Edition + FreetimeOkay so here’s what you need to know and why I think it’s excellent!

I know there is a lot of talk about what is good for kids and screen time, and even eliminating it, but I feel really strongly that they need to learn to manage their time (with my help) and employ¬†healthy habits from the start, as it will always be a part of their lives. For better or for worse. Just wanted to get that out of the way!¬†Fire Kids Edition + FreetimeFirst off with the Fire¬†HD 8 Kids Edition¬†tablet,¬†I can create “Learn First” goals so they have to do educational things before they can start the other stuff. I can set a “Bedtime” where the it stays off no matter what until I choose (BEST!) and the settings can change on weekends and weekdays.Fire Kids Edition + FreetimeWe are strict one hour a day for screen time and so I can set timers to make sure we stick to that (let’s be honest, I forget all the time and they end up playing longer). Then, I love the Parent Dashboard so I can review exactly what was done during that hour. And that the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition¬†tablet notifies me of every game they download in my email. Most importantly, the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited service profiles are set up to filter out anything that isn’t age appropriate. You won’t even see games or videos or options that don’t fit your specifications. I truly don’t even have to worry about what they’re taking in. Fire + FreetimeAs a lifelong Apple user, I was shocked to admit I preferred this tablet¬†for my kids. Besides the fact that it is SO much less expensive. But ultimately it is the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited that swayed me. It is SO awesome.

It’s so important to find devices that have these features built right in, instead of something on your router, because as soon as you leave the house and access someone else’s Wifi, you no longer have those protections.

And I am glad we got in the swing of these good habits before school started and all I had to do was alter the time frames and and bedtimes a bit! If you pick one up, let me know how you like it!!