The Dump of the Diapers

Today, Day 2 of 7 in Jen’s 7×7 Challenge, I decided to join in Kendra’s mortifying fun little exercise in public revelation. I almost wasn’t going to join in the game, but Kelly was funny, and Jenna made me crush on her a little harder than I already was (even though she doesn’t drink coffee and doesn’t like Skittles, I think maybe we could be frendz) and then Kate tipped the balance because she just…well…I think we might have some things in our minds that tick the same way.

Without further ado…

the BIG purse dump

I actually don’t carry a purse. I have at times in my life, but I don’t really get attached to them and I often would rather just tuck essentials about my person and call it a day. It’s been a rough learning curve for this momma to figure out how, then, to not just pack for myself but for a hoard pack school handful of littles who depend upon me. Scary stuff.

With the boys, I recall that I had a smaller purse that I would throw into the diaper bag and be able to extricate on occasions I flew solo. I can’t even tell you why I no longer have that set up. I’ve been out in public sans any of my children five times since Ami was born, and every time I wished that I had a smaller purse.  Not enough to cancel my solo voyage.  Or, for that matter, actually DO anything about it. But strongly wished.

Right about the time we learned we were having a girl was right about the time I discovered Zulily. And this Kalencom bag was a hormonally-charged impulse buy.

I still like it. I appreciate how easy it is to clean. But, it slips of my shoulders at the most inopportune times and it screamsbloodymurdertoddlertantrumstyle diaper bag. If I had it all to do over, I’d find something a little more incognito. (Grace Patton is, now, my fashion bible.) Because, I will not lie, the last time I was offered the chance of a lifetime in the form of a quick trip to the grocery store all by myself, I didn’t look a gift horse in the mouth and I didn’t stop to even grab my wallet out of the bag. Took the whole dang thing.

Sometimes, in public, I pretend not to know me.

Here’s what’s inside:

Lemme break it down:

{starting with the large box and working clockwise}
1. The diaper bag came with a matchy matchy zippered thing. Inside that I put a wooden rosary, a wooden crucifix, and a teething necklace. The zippered bag comes out at Mass when Ami starts to get a wee bit squirmy. Also, breast pads. I can probably take those out, now.

2. Business cards (and, I realized from reading other posts: I want need a card carrier!), my wallet (my sister brought it back from Europe for my husband and I reallocated its use), receipts that I always plan to save…uh…until…uh…the accountant shreds them for me??

And a cap to a pair of binoculars I had when I was a kid and that now my kids have.

3. Ami’s sweatshirt, a plastic bag, and my infinity scarf/nursing cover (love).

4. Two pens, an appointment reminder card, AND two priority enrollment slips for the boys that let us know that they moved up a level in swimming. They are nearly finished with their first formal swimming lessons and we were all so excited to see that they had moved up! I was a swim instructor for years upon years, and I just might keep these little scraps of paper from my own progeny until I am old and gray.

And a reading light that has been broken for ages that we can’t seem to rid our selves of (I am pretty sure that this and binocular cap were things that Ami thought were essential add ins.

5. Four diapers (sized 4), and the Costco pack of wipes (best. wipes. ever). A little excessive for our normal trips, but it’s always always feast or famine around here. Also my changing pad that had a pitiful wipe case and which folds up with a zippered pocket and which I envisioned would make my life complete. It doesn’t.

6. Two lollipops that the clerk at the post office gave the boys for being so good. They’ve forgotten about them, and so have I. I guess they will come in handy some day. Sinusalia that my mom gave me when we left their house yesterday after a quick weekend visit. My ears were clogged. The hand sani that we snagged from the hospital when Ami was born, to be used only when I can’t quite convince myself that the good germs are stronger than the bad germs. And a lip stain and a lip gloss from Birchbox. That I hardly wear for various reasons and mostly because when I do I feel like a little kid playing grownup. Or the Joker. 

As for the official categories?

  • It’s my favorite thing in here: My husband and I were given the ByRon Palm Cross when we got married. All my kids have let so much baby saliva soak into it, that it will be a wonderful relic, someday, I pray.
  • Wow, I really have a lot of these: Wipes, I guess. But that’s not usually a wrong thing to have a lot of…
  • I’ve been looking for those: I was hoping to find some of Ami’s socks, but that sweatshirt was a good consolation prize. I just hope it still fits her…
  • Huh, that shouldn’t be in there: Broken reading light and binocular cap
  • What’s missing?: My keys have a hook and my phone wanders. My camera and gear has it’s own bag. Magnificat is supposed to be in here, otherwise I can never find it when I need it. And I usually carry around mini-facials for my Rodan + Fields business, but I was clean out from our trip to Oregon.

Consider yourself (purse) dumped.

A, You’re Adorable

Happy Feast of St. Scholastica! And Happy Birthday, sweet Ami!

Day Six - Baptism with godmother
Day Six – Baptism with the prettiest godmother in all the land

Dear Amélie Maria Margarete,

One year ago you entered our lives with all the drama that a little sister with two older brothers likes to command. Your brothers seem to accept your demand of the throne without question.

Day One
Day One

You are a child of many nicknames. We have always loved your name. But we cannot help but turn it diminutive. Dad calls you “Schnecke”, and you have so much drool that this  “Little Snail” name suits you well. We tried to call you “Mel”, but “Ami” seems to suit you so much better.

Month One
Month One

I love that Logan calls you “Chico”…or “Cheek-o” as we came to realize it was. The story of why just makes me laugh. He also calls you “Tornado Head” because of the cowlicks on the back of your head. And I think that maybe it was the tornado warning from the night of your birth that swirled your hair.

You were born ready to climb. You rolled, crawled, climbed, stood, and walked earlier than I was ready for. I would tell you to slow down, but I don’t think it would do you any good.

Month Three
Month Three

You are building your ASL vocabulary, and you charm your world when you sign for what you need or tell us what you see. I will never get tired of having conversations with our hands.

You are never happier than when you are playing with your brothers. If only they would include you in all their big kid games. You have them both mostly wrapped around your finger…until you take their things. I would not say you favor one over the other. But you love them differently. For Liam is your hero…and Logan is your partner in crime. You have a blood-curdling scream when they don’t let you have your way. You may think you are stubborn, but your mother is more stubborn, so don’t plan on THAT habit lasting very long.

Month Nine
Month Nine

You love your dogs and relish your job of feeding them biscuits and also ordering them around, though they are three times your size. You sing the most precious of songs to your baby dolls and stuffed animals. You are a mimic-er. You are the knocker-down of block towers. You have the best form for squats – which doubles as your dance move. Which means that you have inherited your Papa’s and my style of dancing. So sorry.

Year One
Year One

You are my child of yets. I labored for so long with you and yet you were born so fast. I am still waiting for the day that you sleep through the night. And yet I have never felt so rested in my life. You are busy and yet you are calm. You are fierce and yet you are gentle. You work steadily, and yet you are eager.  You have blessed our whole family with your zest and your love. I love the baby you have been, the child you are, and the woman you will become.

All my love,

Laborious and Eager

This post was originally posted over at Flowers Round the Cross, where my co-blogger, Ute, and I really entered the blog world. I’ve been meaning to re-post it here for memory’s sake and it makes sense to post it just as my little girl gets ready to celebrate her first birthday! If birth stories aren’t your thing, please feel free to skiparoo.


It was a dark and stormy night.  Really and truly.  A dark and stormy Sunday night.
This story really begins in the wee smas of Saturday morning, 9 February 2013.  Jerked awake in the throes of a contraction around 2am, I spent the rest of the night breathing through rushes.  And worrying.  My mom had already arrived a few weeks earlier to help with all-things-baby.  My sister, however, was supposed to arrive that day.  And in my ideal perfect world, both my husband and my mom were going to be with me for labor and deliver, while my sister would be perfectly present and equipped to take care of the boys at any time of day or night.  The problem was not so much that she wasn’t there yet but, rather, that my husband was supposed to drive three hours TO the airport to pick her up.  And three hours FROM the airport to get her to her house.  My contractions were only regularish.  But they were intense.  Every twenty minutes or so they told me, “SIT DOWN! SHUT UP!”
When the rest of the house stirred, I made the executive decision that my husband should NOT drive so far (oh-and-have-I-mentioned that we only have one car, so this six hour absence not only had my husband far away but also me depending on the mercy of friends to babysit AND drive me to the hospital should “go time” happen).
We sorted out that problem…and then things started to get a little less frequent.  Still intense.  Just less frequent.  And I though, “oh dear…”
{My first photos of my baby — sent from a stranger’s phone!}


So I left for Mass. My class of Confirmation students were getting their dose of Holy Spirit that day, and I had been praying that I’d get to witness this Sacrament.  I had called ahead earlier to say that I might not make it over that day, so news of impending labor was already circulating.  There seems to be nothing like a bit of attention (even from people who love you) to make a uterus develop stage fright.

By the time I got back home, I was feeling like Chicken Little.  Doubt crept in.  My instincts told me that this was real.  But Dr. Google told me that this could go on for days.  Even a week.

With the births of both of my boys, I ended up utilizing the services of anesthesiologists.  I gave birth to my first born at this very same duty station.  It was a traumatic experience that left a bitter taste in my mouth for the hospital in Alabama.  When I gave birth to my second son, in Oregon, care was more personal and less medicine-centric (read: less“there’s-a-pill-for-that” oriented). For both, though, there was a sense of something lacking, aside from my husband, who, yes, did miss the births of both boys. (Yes.  I realize that this is likely the missing piece from both stories.)  To fill this “lacking”, I did a lot of reading during this pregnancy.  When I say I did a lot of reading, what I really mean is that I read three books. Over and over and over again.
Over and over and over again.
My sister rented a car and drove herself from the airport.  I felt guilty that I hadn’t just let my husband go get her.  “THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!!!….Oh…wait…nooooo…false alarm…”  I was full of doubt, mistrusting my instincts.  On Saturday night, the contractions were just the same as they had been that morning.  I knew I wouldn’t be getting any sleep that night.  Everyone else went to bed.  I laid awake listening to my hypnobirthing CD and breathing through what I was now trying to think of as “rushes” instead of “contractions”.
On Sunday morning, I felt renewed and refreshed.  With a boost of confidence in my body.  And I felt amazed that, sleep addict that I am, I could feel so optimistic and rested after two nights of no sleep. Score one for hypnobirthing.
Contractions.  All day long. Fifteen to twenty minutes apart. No more.  No less.  By mid-afternoon, I wasn’t feeling my sweet girl move as well so I called the on-call doc to ask whether I might get her checked out on the monitor.  I’m sure I sounded like a first-time mum.  But having sit-down-shut-up contractions every twenty minutes for 40 hours will do wacky things to your brain.
So Sunday afternoon found my husband and I driving down the road to the hospital.  We were driving leisurely.  From where we lived it was 45 minutes to get to the hospital.  To get there we had to drive PAST the hospital that my oldest son was born in. The one I adamantly was not going to. In my mental birth plan, I was opposed to an induction and Flowers Hospital.  I was aiming for no epidural.  I knew I was going to have to have antibiotics for GBS, and after a lot of internal reconciliation, I was semi-ok with that.  Everything else was negotiable.
45 minutes.
{Our first minutes together in L&D — 2 hours AFTER getting borned.}
Every time I drove the drive to my OB appointments, I wondered just how I would cope with the length of the drive while I was having contractions.  I asked my doctor just how many of his patients from our post delivered on the side of the road.  “Just one,” he responded.
We got to the hospital. I got hooked up to the monitor, only to be told (sweet relief) that my sweet girl was a “text book baby” and doing just fine.  Then I “got checked”.
1 cm.
(Note:  In my mental birth plan, I had decided that, when in active labor, I did not want to know the result of “checks”.  Too depressing.  And, from previous experience, I dialate slowly.  Since I wasn’t thinking I was in active labor, I forgot to ask the nurse not to tell me.)
1 cm.
40 hours of irregular contractions.  2 nights of no sleep.  1 cm.
No different than when I had been checked a week and a half earlier.  Prior to the check, I was thinking I’d be a “3”.  Frankly, I would have been totally happy with a “3”.
{What I felt like doing after finding out how little I was dilated.}
If Sunday morning found me in good spirits, Sunday afternoon found me in the depths of despair.  “For your sake, we hope you are in pre-labor,” the nurse said to me.  We drove home.
45 minutes. It started to rain.  “Feels like a storm,” I thought, somewhere deep inside.
I laid down on the couch, listening to my hypnobirthing CD, and tried to reclaim my calm.  We ate dinner around 7pm.
A storm rolled in.  We had a tornado warning.  I HATE tornado warnings.  Huddled in the closet with my boys and my mom and my sister (three women from Oregon may or may not get fairly nervous about tornado warnings) we prayed the Rosary, and I worked through contractions in the worst possible position (cramped, legs falling asleep, with a heavy 3-year-old trying to sleep on my lap).  By 8:30pm we had the all-clear, though the thunder-and-lightening storm was intense!  Around 9pm or so I texted a friend to wallow in despair and to get a pep talk (thanks, Steph!).  At 9:29pm I emailed another friend to wallow a little more.  At 10pm, my mom and sister headed to bed while my husband and I started a movie. If sleep is for the birds, might as well watch a movie. Up to that point, I had been handling contractions on my own.  As we started watching the movie, I asked my husband to help with some counter pressure.
Then we realized we should time these things.  About 8 minutes apart.  I think it was my husband who said, “I think we should go.”
{“I think we should go.”}
Then I realized that I needed to use the bathroom. (Hindsight: clue?) I dropped to my knees, had a contraction, and then walked down the hall.  Then I had another contraction. Then I went to the bathroom. Then I had another contraction. Then I walked back down the hall. Then I had a contraction.  Our hallway wasn’t very long.
Somewhere in that progression of going back and forth down the hall we woke my mom up to tell her we had to go and my sister to tell her it was time to “keep sleeping but you are in charge”.  I wiggled into my shoes, a passing thought wondering if I could wear my comfy Vibrams (except mine are green) in the hospital during labor… “…they would be comfy, like being barefoot, but without touching gross hospital floor, but staying on, without falling off like flip flops…

{Birthing shoes?}
I had my hypnobirthing CD on and my husband, mom, and I were in the car and driving by 10:25pm.  My mom called the hospital to let them know we were coming.  The nurse on the phone asked if I was feeling pressure.  I told my mom, “A little, but not ‘have a baby on the side of the road’ kind of pressure.”
The rain torrented.
The lightening flashed across the sky.
The thunder boomed.  Behind that fierce storm was a moon that was transitioning between waning and waxing.
We were on our way to the hospital, my husband driving 85mph.
Remember that 45 minute drive?
Days later, on our way home, I asked my husband to show me where it was that I said I needed to push. It was about halfway to the hospital. Not halfway to the hospital we were SUPPOSED to go to.  Halfway to the hospital I swore I WOULD NOT SET FOOT IN!
Ha. Ha.
Halfway to the hospital, I felt what I can only, in retrospect, describe as pressure.  Push pressure.  Somehow I verbalized that.  My mom got back on the phone with the nurse.  Who instructed me NOT to push.  Somewhere, deep in my mind, I laughed at those instructions.  Pushing, or not pushing, was not the issue.  This child was coming out, whether I pushed or not. All my practice of “mindful pooping” and NOT pushing was paying off.
{Having a baby in a car can cause gray hair…}
Water gushed.
At some point in time and place (because who can really tell when you are moving at high speeds while lying in the dark back seat of a car) I reached down and felt…
…head? cord? sac? paralyzed with fear, at that point, because I did not know.  Could not see.  Fear of the unknown and unseen made me cry out.  Not pain.  Unknown, uncontrollable, unseen.  The trifecta of things that cause me fear in life.
Someone…husband? mother?…said, “Seven minutes!  We are about seven minutes away! Don’t push!”
My pants, my favorite pair of stretchy black pants (the ones my husband hates), were still on.  My deranged logic said, “Keep the pants on. They will keep the baby in.”
“Don’t push!”
So I pushed with my feet.
Against the door.
Willing my pelvic muscles strength to hold back. 
Like I said, it wasn’t about pushing or not pushing.
As I pushed with my feet, my toes (still in my five-fingered-shoes) pushed the button and rolled the window down.
Rain and wind flew through the car.
Chaos and cool relief.
We slowed.  Flowers Hospital.  THAT hospital. (Somewhere on Hwy. 84 my birthplan lies in shreds.  I don’t need it back.)  We turned.  We curved and bumped (around the whole
hospital and over a sidewalk, I was later told – it was raining so hard that my
husband couldn’t find the ER entrance). We stopped.  As I lay in the back,
I felt and heard both my mom and husband get out of the car and run (presumably
toward the ER) shouting, “SHE’S HAVING THE BABY!!!

Somewhere, deep inside my head, I laughed and wondered why they were leaving me in the car? And, wasn’t the other hospital supposed to tell them we were coming?  And why were they leaving me in the car by myself? And where was everyone?!
Then the door flew open. A face – a blessed face – who cares who he was and why he was wearing Mardi Gras beads – he was attached to scrubs. Then another face.  And another, this one attached to a white coat.  They were confused faces; I – we – were the unexpected on this dark and stormy night.  Even ER workers need time to orient.
We had to pull the car around.  Someone drove the car to the correct spot.  My husband?  A nurse? I can’t remember.
I can tell you that fear was ebbing away.  In the absence of fear’s pain, I felt no physical pain.
“Scissors!” someone called, “we have to get her pants off.”
Somewhere deep inside – in that space of weird logic – I reacted: “You will NOT cut my favorite stretchy pants!”  Some way, some how, I wiggled out of those pants.  Someone held an umbrella over that wonderful ER doctor.
They saw head.  How much head I have no idea.  But I know that seconds later…minutes…hours…days…I think that moment is the closest that I will ever get to  understanding eternity this side of heaven…seconds later I heard a cry.  Mad cries.
Happy cries.  The sweetest cries I have ever heard.

The child born with no pushes.
I asked – or they knew, intuited, heard the words that
didn’t get spoken from the place deep inside me – and they placed Amélie Maria Margarete on my chest.  The ER doctor was exactly the man who was supposed to catch my child. I have so much gratitude for his actions and his words: “That is the best place for her.”
There, in the back seat of our car, my little girl who was mad and hungry, latched on.  Rain poured down on the both of us: the most refreshing shower I’ve ever had.
My husband’s sweatshirt got laid over the both of us.  Keep her warm.
Towels?  Clamp?  Scissors? Gloves? All these things were lacking in the first few moments after her birth.  Then there were towels,  in abundance, to make up for their initial
lacking. Cord was cut, and I knew she would be wisked away to the nursery.  A dark parking lot on a dark and stormy night is no place for a newborn, they say.  My
husband went with her; they left, those two, my sweet, sweet girl and my hero husband, driver extraordinaire.
The security cameras tell that she was born at 10:45pm on Sunday, 10 February 2013.  Her birth certificate says 10:30pm because we had no clock in the car once the keys were out of the ignition.
{Baptism Day –  six days old}

My daughter’s name is Amélie.  Her name means “industrious, striving, work, rival, laborious, eager”.  Her name, decided before my husband and I were married, tells her story more succinctly than her verbose mother.  After 45 hours of industrious, laborious work (work which hadn’t been evident only 5 hours before), she was fiercely eager to enter the world.

My daughter was born in the backseat of the car on a dark and stormy night.  She was born on the feast of St. Scholastica, twin of St. Benedict.  St.  Scholastica is said to have prayed for a storm in order to be able to spend more time with her brother – and moments later a fierce storm broke out, a storm so intense that St. Benedict couldn’t
return to his monastery and the twins got a few more precious hours together.
My daughter’s birth amazes me.  I am amazed at how fearfully and wonderfully we are made. How amazingly made are mothers. How amazingly made are babies.  I am grateful for God’s work in my life and how he shows his love and providence for us in things both great and small.  I am grateful for the way we learn how to trust.  That when we let go and let God, miracles abound.  I am grateful for the small life that breathes on my chest right now and for the lives that bustle around me in this house we call home.  I am grateful for our small soul in heaven, surely interceding for us as we sped along that wet, stormy road…with no seat belt…  I am grateful for the Love that permeates our lives, making sense of all the chaos that surrounds us.


This is gonna be my year…

Sorry about the title. That’s really just to poke fun at a friend of mine who said he’d slap anybody who made such rash declarations.

I’m not really a New Year’s resolution person. I’m more of a periodic, “resolve to amend my life” person. (Yes, I’m Catholic. And I’m so grateful for Confession because it provides this opportunity as often as I need it.)  I find that I need “The Confession Experience” on every level of my life. Organization. Budgeting. Being a wife. Being a parent. Being a blogger. Exercise. Eating. Balance. Everything.

At THIS present moment in my life, my periodic take-stock-of-life moment is occurring as the calendar flips over. It’s a coincidence driven by living in a studio apartment (oh, did I mention???), and not having any place to put the generous gifts we received this year, and getting a chance to rest and relax at my parents’ house for a week (Mom and Dad, your home is better than a retreat! Thank you!). Oh, and turning 30 in four months probably has something to do with it, too.

No matter where one pinpoints the straw the broke the camel’s back,  I’m motivated to help bring in income for my little family. So that we can buy a home (a little-home-that-maybe-has-more-rooms-than-one) in the not-so-distant future. And so my husband can go back to school. And so I can go back to school. And because growing a family in a studio apartment can be rather difficult. Rather than get caught up in the enormity of our GOALS, I have decided to focus on the daily processes and steps that will be conducive to forward progress (see here, here, and here for articles that have inspired me in this direction).

just begin

In this spirit of helping to provide, I’m working on a couple of projects. One of which is becoming a Brand Ambassador for Rodan + Fields. This is a skin care company that sells these products that, oh! I am just coming to enjoy! And I won’t lie that I am both excited (because I love trying out things for my face…”goops and cremes” my mom always called them) and nervous because sales-y stuff is not my forte. I waited a little bit before I mentioned this all here because…well, because I needed some time to settle into things. This company gets me excited and enthused, though, and since we currently need to supplement our income, I feel truly BLESSED to be able to stay at home with my littles and still help my hard-working husband provide.

Anyhow, this is all just mostly to throw a rock in this little pond, to tell you that I’ll soon be throwing up a button on the side so you can ever-more-easily contact me to find out more about how you can work towards glow-i-er skin. And to ask you to take a look at the products available and see what might be right for you.  If you know anyone who might be interested or who might be interested in joining my team, drop me a line, will you please? You will be seeing a few mentions here: a couple of pictures, and maybe some words, and some giveaways. This is my processing space, so don’t expect that to change!

And any encouragement you might toss my way…oh that would be…well…encouraging. Because, validation and affirmation? Need ’em!

“A few of my favorite things”

Linking with Hallie today! And, mostly, I’d like to just “ditto” all hers. I’ll try to be original. But I’d rather just ditto. For the record.

I love a pretty package. But I like simple, too. Whether I’ve internalized the Sound of Music, I’m not sure (but, while we are on that line of conversation, can I just say: I auditioned in shower the other day, and I’m not sure why they picked Carrie Underwood instead of me…). It IS true, though, that I am partial to brown paper packages. Tied up with string. alltogethernow These are a few of my favorite things!!!

My five faves this week are a few of my favorite pins that are inspiring my wrapping game this particular Christmas season.

This is my favorite of the favorites because it’s just so easy. Liam and Logan are helping me to draw out patterns on brown kraft paper with white and gold sharpies. I like the white exceedingly, and I plan to snag a silver sharpie the next time I’m out. We don’t look quite as…non-scribble-y, but I’m happy with the result.

ours haven’t turned out so lovely, but you get the idea {source}

Another simple one. Brown paper. String. And some greenery with a simple tag. I plan to incorporate this style this year as I get everything wrapped up.


I know you’ve seen this one on Pinterest. It’s crazy-smart-like-Martha-Stewart, which explains why it’s on her website. Have you pinned it 735 times, roughly, like I have? I always forget to do it, though. So, if you are like me: REMINDER! You ARE welcome.


Aren’t these just so fun? I know a couple of kids that would get a kick out of these packages.


Isn’t this just the cutest? The paper is not brown, so I hope you’ll forgive me. I don’t think I’m giving anything this year that lends itself to this, but I’m keeping my eyes peeled for that VW Van and plan to use this idea in the future. Also, baker’s twine! Mine’s in storage, and I’m trying to get by without buying more, but…*sigh*…I love it’s sweet simplicity.


And…that’s a wrap. (Come on! You knew I had to throw a groan-worthy pun into this fairly un-funny post!) Go hop on over and see all the other lovelies of the lovelies.

The Invisible Man

We started yesterday off by arguing about poo.

It started with a ripe aroma. I checked the usual suspect.

guilty 4ever

Discovered, instead, that the organic bouquet was emanating from the bathroom.  You know, the only place in my home that has an internal door. A door that doesn’t lock. But that’s a story for another day. Or have I told that we live in a studio apartment…stop me if you’ve heard this one…

The source? An unflushed toilet.

I won’t tell you WHO unflushed (didn’t flush?) the toilet.  But he’s five. *sigh* Oh, Five. You slay me. We know it was You because the rest of us were eating breakfast to the soundtrack of soft grunts.

Maia: Sweet Child*, please flush the toilet.
The Sweet Child: *checks the toilet*
The SC: *does NOT flush the toilet*
TSC: That’s not mine.
Maia: Well, you were the only one in there.
TSC: Nope. Not mine.  My poop doesn’t look like that.
Maia: We have all been sitting here. You were the only one in there.
TSC: Nope. My poop doesn’t look like that. It’s a different color.
Maia: I don’t care. It’s yours.
TSC: Is not.
Maia: Is too.
TSC: Is not.
Maia: *roaring* WHY AM I ARGUING WITH YOU ABOUT POOP?!?!?!?! FLUSH THE STINKING TOILET! (<–I know this is a family show.  The toilet really did stink…)
TSC: *flushing toilet while muttering*: …but it’s not mineit was probably an invisible man…

*name changed to preserve my sanity, say it til it’s so

And I’m not really sure what commentary to add to this. I stooped (squatted?) to arguing about poop.  With my five-year-old. During breakfast. He’s really good at inciting argument.  And I was low on sleep. Because…

…the stomach bug that took down my husband a week and a half ago…
…and then took down Liam and me a week ago…
…took down Logan late Sunday night…
…and Ami, the last standing tree, on Monday morning. The longer they stand, the harder they fall. Or something like that.

This was my trial by acidic stomach contents.  We have had some vomit in all nearly-six years of my mothering, but, really, it’s been an unbelievably low amount. Ami, my 10-month-old (YESTERDAY!!!), has now puked more than the boys combined. Most of it landing on my clothes.

It was awful.  We lived. I’m telling the story.  Because they were my clothes. And it’s my blog.

I’ve never had a puking baby. A little spit up here and there. Nothing major.  I think Logan threw up on my bed once after he had a little too much fun on my office chair. But a baby projectile vomiting on the hour? Who must be held and comforted? Who must be kept hydrated? Who doesn’t understand what is happening and why her mother can’t fix it?

I didn’t have enough clothes! Clean OR dirty! Halfway through the day, in a moment between pukes, during one of Ami’s half a dozen baths…

at which point I had resorted to dressing little A in her brother’s shirts for easy hourly costume changes…

…I found myself wondering what I was going to change into as I peeled out of my last, vomity pair of pants and tee…

…in a moment of faux-spiration, I thought non-coherently, “like a wrap dress! someone should take, like, towels! and cut them up! and sew a dress! that you wrap around you”

Two days later (today, for those of you still caring about some semblance of a timeline), it occurs to me that…it’s called a bathrobe.

Mom Brain: claiming an exponential number of brain cells with every baby. No worries. I’m just gonna blame everything on the Invisible Man Who Leaves Poop In The Toilet.


I’m not exactly saying that I complain. But:

Just when you thought…

  • that 9 months was the longest thing that you have ever undertaken…
  • and then, after that, that perhaps you would be breastfeeding for all eternity…
  • and perhaps that you feel that you have been nothing but continuously pregnant or breastfeeding for the past ____ years…

To put things in perspective:

…kinda puts the whole continuously thing in a different light.

and this:

…makes me glad that labor is a one-way affair.


For the record, I am not making an announcement.  This morning I was answering questions about kangaroos for Li and Lo today with the help of my friend, Professor Youtube, and had to take some moments for gratitude at the way God made humans.

Hey there, Chico…

Coulda sworn that my kids were turning bilingual without effort on my part.

A few months ago, Lo started calling Ami, “Chico”.  A little puzzled, I thought maybe he’d been watching just a little more Netflix than I really maybe ought to let him get away with. The telltale sign of letting mein kinder watch too much o’ the telly competing for mom of the year is that they suddenly are a lot smarter than I remember teaching them to be. They have facts about wildlife and the universe that I don’t recall imparting.  They shout, “Vamanos!” as they run around the park. I’d love to take credit for my children’s smarts, but their only exposure to Español is Diego. And I’m not talking about a foreign language tutor. Maybe, though, the folks at the park take us for the multicultural people we really are not.

So there is little Lo, calling his sister “Chico”.  I’m thinking, then, that he just loves his sister and that this is his sweet — if genderly-incorrect, term of endearment.

I asked him over lunch a few weeks ago, why he calls her “Chico”. Hope springs eternal that I’m raising little einsteins, you know, maybe, otherwise I’m not sure why I asked.  Ask and you shall receive an answer, ye wise olde mom, it just won’t be the answer you thought. That dream gonna die hard.

“Well,” he says, in between chews, as crumbs of bread and peanut butter fall from his chin onto the counter, “she has big cheeks.”

"They call me 'Chico'."
“They call me ‘Cheek-o’.”

That she does, son. That she does.

Five Favorites: smallSpaces ed.



There are a lot of things that I don’t love about our status as “A Family of Five Living in a Studio Apartment”.  Have a mentioned that the bathroom doesn’t lock?  Privacy is at an all-time low because even the baby can push the door open.  HOWEVER, the pros outweigh the cons because I do love my family and because we are very used to spending loads of time together in small spaces. The top-all-time-thank-you-Jesus thing that I love about living here is just how easy it is to clean.  The place can be trashed with clutter really easily, true, but 15 minutes of everyone whirling around and picking up? Spotless. (If you know me, you know to take that with a grain of salt.  And if you don’t know me…then take it with a grain of salt.)


We purchased a big and a small Expedit from Ikea.  Really good purchase for us.  I’m still sorting through our ohsohandsome (hashtag sarcasm) “legal sized storage boxes” which are handy-dandy cardboard receptacles in which to organize stuff.  But they ain’t pretty.  Since ALL our storage options have no choice but to be on display, I’m slowly trying to trade these

with something more lovely.  In the meantime, however, they fit in the Expedit well.  And our Expedit has proved to be a key piece in both defining and decorating our small space. Our “living room” is on one side, our “bedrooms” and “playroom” is on the other side.

a “three-fer” favorite: crucifix from my parents, live plant, 5×5 Expedit bookshelf
the ever-visible storage bins are NOT a favorite but are, however, a reality of our situation


Realistically we eat very few meals here in the apartment.  The majority of meals happen in my in-laws house.  I just love that! But we DO use our kitchen table for school.


The school zone currently holds one (1) jar with coffee beans holding writing utensils (it releases a waft of coffee aroma any time we take anything out), one (1) Venus fly trap, and one (1) giant, wooden acorn (discovered at TJMaxx).  Because we are nothing if not eclectic.

We also discovered by fluke that the Ikea step stool works really well at this particular table as a school chair.

pay no attention to the blurry child…I am not sure that boys are not actually Perpetual Motion Machines

I originally intended for the stool to be used in the bathroom as an aid to hand-washing and tooth-brushing.  It was much too tall, and my resourceful middle child relocated “his” bathroom stool (oh…pun so completely not intended) to the kitchen because he thought (rightly) that his chair was too low.  SO!  We went back to Ikea and bought another just like it for the other child to use for school, and now I don’t feel guilty about doing handwriting at the kitchen table. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who stays awake at nights worrying about providing proper posture opportunities for early writers…)


This small Expedit holds the boys’ clothes on the top and the baby’s toys on the bottom.  Not ideal.  Not particularly “clean lines”, but it works for now.


Please excuse a really terrible picture of the thing that is really and truly my favorite.  My kitchen sink window peeks out into the backyard.  And I just LOVE that backyard.  The kids love that backyard.  Little A would sit out there all day long on a day like today that is sunny and almost warm. (Oh, October 2013, I love you so much.  I will think of you fondly come February 2014.)

Now get thee to Jenny’s place. She has pictures of some awesome curtains. They are the same ones I have (but more awesomer because she got them cheaper and new-but-at-Goodwill), and they are my 6th favorite, if I’m allowed that.


Do I have your attention? Oh, good, I was hoping all caps would do that.

So here is my thought:

Remember when Auntie Leila wrote about (and talked about for those lucky D.C.ers!) forming community and bringing meals? (Julie did a write up here.) Well, I’ve had this on the brain since then. I discovered how food speaks a few years ago when we were in Korea and miscarried and then, again, a few months ago when little A was born. We were on the receiving end of some amazing generosity and delicious meals. It’s really powerful how feeding the hungry helps to form tight bonds in a community. The fact that acts of charity end up feeding the chef as much (if not more) than the eater is a beautiful testament to how God’s mandates are for freedom and happiness instead of restriction and suffering.

At any rate, I’ve got food and putting down roots/forming community on the brain since we moved. Between Julie mentioning meal she took , and the mom of an old friend mentioning how her daughter has an awesome community that pulled together to make meals in a time of need, and remembering the delicious meals WE received, and remembering the eeetsy-beetsy problem that I cook kinda weird….

…I hatched a plan. And, so, I have a question for you:

If I were to put up an on-going link-up (or maybe continually updated post with links?) for meals we take and meals we receive, would you play along?

See, I love to take meals, but I’m also kinda clueless most of the time in addition to cooking kinda weird AND am self-conscious about inflicting weird meals on others.

You know how want to Bring A Meal, and so you ask the recipient, “What do you like to eat?!” And they say, “oh whatever…” Or you log into the mealtrain (or similar service) account and they don’t even have any allergies or likes or dislikes listed? These things cause terror in my soul and crickets chirping where inspiration ought to be.

I loved when we got meals from people who thought out plastic utensils, breakfasts, snacks, other little details that made the meal even more valuable. These little details add such love! It’s awesome (to me) when you smarties share your wisdoms with me, of the slows population.

What I would love to have, in one place, are ideas for these deliverable meals. Now, if this was all I really wanted, I could just start a Pinterest board (and that’s not a half bad idea…think I’ll go do that…), but I want to take that meal idea the step further and see how YOUR communities are being fed.

SO…if I built it (the post), would you come? Would you take pictures and link to recipes? Would you share meals you take? Would you include the details? (I love how Kathryn shared her meal idea here.) Would you do a write up (when you are able) of meals you received and loved?

Would you? Could you?
In a post?
Eat them! Write them!
Just like toast!

I’ll leave you on that Green Eggs and Ham-inspired rambling. Talk to me, though. Would you be interested?