Stephanie Pletka

Inspiring Moms To Live Their Greatest Life

8 Life Lessons Kids Learn from Travel

Warning:  If You Travel with Kids, They Will Be Changed Forever

Mark Twain once said: Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.

In the last 3 years, our family of 6 has traveled to 45 states, 10 countries and 9 National Parks via planes, trains, and automobiles, before moving to Scottsdale, AZ to explore the beauty of the West. (click to continue reading at http://scottsdale.citymomsblog.com/2017/04/07/8-life-lessons-travel-with-kids/


No One Told Me It Was the Last Time

When I was a kid, summers held the fondest memories! My little sister and I jumped off our old green boathouse into the lake, giggling as we ran toward the house eating peach ice cream; making our way to the trampoline, dodging the sprinkler system.

Barefoot and carefree.  Life was full of promise.

But then one day, it stopped.

If only I knew that was our last day hanging out like that. Perhaps our attention turned to other things, we grew up, we moved? I’m not sure.

But if I had known it would be our last, surely I would have embraced it more, held on a little tighter, enjoyed it a little harder.

Do you have a memory that brings a smile to your face, a friend, a moment, a person, a song?

When my oldest son was little, he loved for me to throw him in the air. I think that child lost weight, giggling!

I look back on those fond memories with laughter and sadness because I had no idea throw #399 would be the last toss, the last giggle.

A new phase came along, and he never asked for another air throw.

Time doesn’t stop for reflection. It has a quiet way of moving forward. Life doesn’t throw up a red flag to say: Warning, your pre-teen won’t think you’re fun or smart in 17 days.

Caution: those endless hugs your daughter loves to give – but annoys you – she’ll never offer again, starting next week. So make all the hugs count!

Did you realize when you picked up your child when he was 7, it would be the last time?

I know, I’m thinking, I had no idea. Now he’s in high school and time is slipping away. No one told me it was the LAST TIME.

I guess I could go pick him up, now. Of course, I might get a hernia, and he’ll think I’m crazy, but we’ll both remember when I picked him up, last!

Embrace all the moments. This could be family vacation #101 of #102 or the last good cry over life and boys as they leave for college. Life is short, now go pick up, hug someone!  For it could be the last time.

Here’s to Living the Best Version of You.

What was the last moment for you?

James 4:14
You do not know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life, but a mist, that appears for a little while, then vanishes?


Allowing the End of a Season to Create a New Beginning

When crying, fighting and resisting can’t stop the Inevitable

by Stephanie Pletka
I LOVE new beginnings. I love it when a new door opens, new friends join my circle, new adventures, new new new. It excites me. It brings oxygen, a freshness to a season.

But with new beginnings, it also means an end.

When a butterfly extends its beautiful wings, it’s no longer a crawling caterpillar. Eventually, a swimming tadpole becomes a frog perched on a lily pad and such is the circle of life.

You have to say goodbye to a new season, a great job lost to a move, a friendship that runs its course. It’s the end of something that helped make you the person you are today. A cycle, a process to becoming you.

I love new beginnings, but endings are tough. It’s a closure, a termination, a finale – that perhaps you didn’t foresee.

Who knew that was the last conversation, the last hug, the last laugh, the last goodbye.

I have a hard time with endings: whatever you enjoyed, whoever you laughed with, there’s something about laying the season to rest. A death of sorts.

My oldest son started high school. I dropped him off and said goodbye, but as I made the long walk to the car, it felt like someone had snatched my son, literally stole him from me.

His life, all the good times, our moments together, his first word, how he ran to me as a toddler, as if I were his only comfort – flew through my mind.

I made it to the car before I lost it. The ugly cry times 10.

We had the best summer, traveling cross country, hiking through 9 national parks, laughing, telling stories, sharing wisdom for future trials to come.

Those priceless moments you wish could be preserved in a bottle for years to come.

Even though they can make you crazy, there’s something to be said for all the long walks, late night talks, laughs in the kitchen, reflection on the porch swing, stories told that only your inner circle, your peeps, your tribe, truly understand.

They are your people. Tears cried, hearts broken, laughs that turn into snorts.

Those moments you argue and make up, because blood is thicker than water; and no matter how far they drive you to madness, if an outside force interferes, you would jump on their back and fight for their cause, till the bloody, dirty end, with clear eyes and full hearts.

From those late night PB&J’s and talks till the wee hours of the morning about life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

Those seasons of pools, popsicles and jumping off the pier are gone.

It’s the subtle moments that seem so nonchalant, yet make the lasting impression.

We’re raising our kids to leave us, well at least leave the basement, to be productive citizens, to go into the world and be great people.

To throw color and kindness and truth and adventure on mankind, yet when the college applications, girlfriends, and boyfriends begin to widen our inner circle, we see them as the enemy;

the one taking away all those memories, those moments, our partner in crime. And yet, the entire time, we’re the ones raising them to go, to be, to inspire, to fly.

But with every new ending, life gives us a beginning.

That’s how it’s intended. That was the intention the entire time, yet we loose sight of the end, or should I say: The Beginning. It’s what makes the world go round, what increases our circles, what allows us to become the butterfly, to grow and thrive.

Instead of seeing our season as a beginning to an end, let’s view the end as a New Beginning, a new chapter, a place to increase our inner circle, increase our love and allow our hearts to grow bigger.

Here’s to endings, that become New Beginnings.

Isaiah 43:19

I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Share with us a tough ending that has become a new beginning.


10 Reasons We Don’t Rock at Motherhood


At 38, with 4 kids under 7 and a business to run, to say my life was in ‘Busy’ mode, was an understatement. I was throwing and slinging, washing and strolling, jumping railroad tracks and breaking laws, trying to make carpool on time.

Life was about HOW FAST I could check off the TO DO List; when suddenly my 3rd son – clinging to the stairwell, said his FIRST word:  ‘Hurry.’  It was more like Hoo-wey!  

Nooooo! I’m a mom blogger. This can’t be your first word. How am I suppose to share it with the world? ? You’re making me look bad, kid.

But the realization that I had influenced this child to say ‘HURRY’ rocked me to the core.

My life was running me when I should have been running IT. What happens when this Mom Gig is over?

And I’ve run them thru the gauntlet of pre-school to productive citizenship so fast, I didn’t savor the moments because we had a schedule to keep. Go-Go- Go! Stamp the ticket.

What happens when all the windows are smudge free, the stickiness is gone and I can Pee in Peace?

Wait . . .  Is that a thing!

10 Reasons We Don’t Rock at Motherhood

1. Stop Acting as if a Season of Life is Your Permanent Fate.

Seasons of Life, good or bad won’t last forever. The job, the sweet spot of life, the crabby teenager, the rash on baby Liam’s butt, are all fleeting. Hang tight for the wind to change.

2. Mom Guilt – STOP. IT. It’s a dead end road.  

There’s a 50/50 chance you’ll make the correct decision, yet somehow we guilt ourselves into thinking our choice is ALWAYS wrong. Give yourself Grace! Some slack, mama. You’re one person.

3. Stop cleaning your house: Clean houses are overrated.

I cleaned the house today and we still live here, that was dumb!

Yes, clean is a good thing, but the house will always be there, the kids won’t.  Don’t create a regret, by allowing the need for a clean house to trump time with loved ones. There’s a time and place for everything.

4. Stop Rehearsing for Perfection. 

Your life is a Live production. The show must go on in all its beauty, sadness, and complexities. Live in the moment.

5. Stop embracing the Oscar for ‘Worst Mom’ Moment. 

I should have done this, I should have done that. I’ve messed up their lives forever. They’re gonna need counseling. So what, we all did. Kids love unconditionally. ❤️ It’s their gift. They think you hung the moon. See yourself through their eyes ?

6. There’s Beauty in the Ordinary, quit trying to make ALL moments Extraordinary.

While the mountain top is pretty special, the valleys and plateaus offer rest, healing, a reset button.

We have to go through all the processes, feel all the feels. Every day can’t be Christmas.

7.  Don’t permanently reside in the Chaos of Life.

BE Still & Know – the answers hang out in the Stillness. In the quietness, in meditation, in prayer, in white noise. – Just BE

8. Stop Saying Yes, when you should have said NO.

It’s selfish to give a Yes when you didn’t mean it. You’ll regret it later, and not give your best. When you say No to others, you say YES to your Family. Choose wisely.

9. Stop Wearing the Hero Cape, Daily.

Give the cape a rest, for the love! You don’t need a cooking show to stand out. Besides, who are you standing out for? You’ve already won the hearts of your greatest fans, your people.

10. Stop Choosing Perfection over Progress.

Lord knows Perfection is only real on paper. It’s a myth and sabotages the goodness. Let. It. Go.

Now go enjoy all the Ooey Gooey goodness life has to offer, with your tribe.

For they understand all the

inside jokes,
carry your secrets,
hold your heart
and love you like no other!

Go . . . Create the slow down button and Hoo-wey – before it’s too late.

Here’s to living the Best Version of You!

What actions have you taken to rock motherhood?


Celebrating World’s Okayest Mom

Worlds Okayest Mom

World’s OKAYEST MOM

In college, my focus was less on education and more on socialization.I wholeheartedly scored an A in Fraternizing, Consorting and my dedication to commemorating an occasion. My grades were OK.

There are moments when we shine in life and others when we’re just OK. The vital signs on the Monitor are still moving, nothing special, but we’re alive.

Us Moms spend our days beating ourselves up, thinking we’re not Enough. If we don’t have a cooking show or Professional Christmas Cards distributed by Dec. 5th, we’re not enough.

It’s such an immeasurable term. What does Enough look like?

Webster’s defines it as: Adequate. And yet somehow,

we view it as IN-adequate.

Somewhere between social media and those craft sites, we think, wearing anything less than a Super Hero Cape MUST mean we’re letting the world down.

What was once considered Over Achievement has become the lowly standard. We provide ourselves little slack in the Less Than amazing moments. And believe me, there are many more Less Than moments.

When I was young, we weren’t rich, but no one told me. My parents started their own business; finances were tight, but we had love and determination.

We spent boo-coos of family time, playing badminton in the front yard, swimming at the lake, eating ice cream on the trampoline, laughing at each other’s stories, and enjoying Tuesday game night.

My parents, at some point, probably felt like they weren’t enough, but we didn’t see it that way.

Kids and spouses alike, have this amazing redemptive quality. They’re just happy you love them!

We tend to be our own worst enemy.

Look at your kids as they skip through the house. Does this send a message that you’re not enough? Or maybe the teen who half rolls their eyes at a comment you made, yet stays in close proximity to the living room, as to not miss out on the action.

Who do they run to for advice, boo boos, and heartbreak, with perfect precision, making a beeline straight for you? It’s because You’re ENOUGH!

You hold a solid position in those individual lives. No one can take this from you, but YOU. There’s no need for a Harvard resume to apply for this position. You’re here because God gave you this crazy family that no one else could handle like you could.

No one can fill the void, soften the blow, heal the heart, fill the wound or love their soul like you can. Because Say it: You’re ENOUGH!

We feel like a failure, they think you hung the moon.  You feel overweight, they think you’re beautiful.  You think you’re a terrible cook, they think you’re the best grill cheese, maker.

Apparently, they view us through Rose Colored Glasses. Maybe we should buy a pair.

Perception is Reality folks and Mama, you’re Enough.

At times, we’re a Mess, a Masterpiece, A Success, and a Failure, but most of all, we’re  Enough.

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is the Hand that Rules the World.

Here’s to Living the Best Version of You!

Share with us moments when you don’t think you’re enough.