Wednesday, December 14, 2011


You know you are in a different generation when your five year old says....

"I am going to invent a bread with bubble inside of it. I'm going to call it 'Luke's Bubble Gum Bread.' I am going to sell it at LukesBubbleGumBread .com ."

For the record, I buy a lot of household items online, but not bread...yet.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Home away...away from Home.

Our young family has so much to be thankful for this Advent. For years now our family has had a plan. The plan entailed doing what was necessary to establish ourselves near our family. I've written about this before, in regards to moving, job changing, and the importance of our children growing up near loved ones.

We had to trust a lot that the Lord would take care of us, that we were doing the right things, and that every time we changed directions that it only brought us closer to our goals. And now, in the past few weeks, it is amazing how quickly it is all coming together.

Our house sold yesterday. We put it on the market less than six weeks ago, and yesterday we signed a purchase agreement. Those who have tried to sell a house in the past five years know exactly what a miracle that is. We promptly sold our house, because another house is waiting for our family. A close family member had been considering changing living arrangements, and we agreed years ago that when the time was right, we would try to buy the property and raise our family there.

That time is now. 

So, if you're wondering what is going on with the lack of posts, there it is. We are in the middle of finalizing the sale of our house, collecting our things, arranging the purchase of another house, leaving our parents' house, moving ourselves and our three boys into our permanent home, and decking the halls with boughs of holly.

For a family that has been displaced so frequently, Advent holds particular significance for us. Soon we'll be entering into our own Nazareth.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


My new favorite Christmas album. Wow, does this guy have a nice voice. 

And the song currently stuck in my head during sleepless nights? I gush...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Variations on a Theme.

The past two weeks have been interesting. All the three boys contracted a nasty chest cold that left them with fevers and coughing. All through the night the boys were waking from their coughs and needing medicine to reduce their fevers.

And then there's the baby. He was struck with his first double ear infection and antibiotics. He was, after all, worthy of the antibiotics since he had been sick for over a week and wasn't getting better.

Combine the sickness with daylight savings and....



Between the coughs, fevers, and ear fluid causing infection, daylight savings caused an already sleep-deprived family to new levels of...well, depravity.

Last night was the kicker. The baby woke, as he does, and I fed him. Then, even though it was only 3am, I laid him back in his crib to hear a symphony of babbles, bubble blowing and growling. It went on, and on, and on. I did the only logical thing a mother in my situation could do, which was to nurse him to his heart's content until he fell asleep. The only problem is that nursing that much has a tendency to cause projectile spit-up and wet jammies and sheets.

You see the picture I'm painting, right?

Anyway, it was well after 5am before the baby was back sleeping. Half dreaming and half awake from the endless baby noises, I had the distinct thought that if a child were raised in the jungle as the famous Man Child was, he might, in fact, sound like the baby did last night. He does his fair amount of growling, after all.

My thoughts then wandered and I wondered, if a child were raised by a pack of wolves as opposed to a tiger, perhaps he might howl instead of growl. We hear about children who we suspect may have been raised by a pack of wolves, but I have yet to see any headlines. My baby growls, and my older two do have a tendency to behave like wild animals on occasion, but I'm afraid I have to bear (Ha! Pun!) the responsibility for that one.

Come on, boys, Pop Tarts for breakfast!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Rocky Road to Dublin

Am I the only one who really, really loved Sherlock Holmes?

I loved it. The musical score is on my iPod, my text message notification is The Rocky Road to Dublin (the song in the video), and I am genuinely looking forward to the sequel, which comes out on December 16th. 

I may, or may not, like the movie based solely upon the leading actor, Robert Downey, Jr. The jury's still out, but I might have been the only one that saw Iron Man 2 in the theater, and Robert Downey, Jr. seems to be the common denominator. 

Before you write me off for good, I swear my motives are purely innocent, Watson. This is just cool. 

Yeah, cool. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


It's big news right now that the Duggar family is expecting their 20th child. It seems that while their family is overjoyed with the news, everyone else feels they need to criticize them. One particular comment that seems to be recurring is calling Michelle Duggar "selfish," for being "not happy with what she has," "making her other kids raise the little kids," comments about her health, and being "excessive."

How can we call a woman selfish who sees every child as a precious gift from God? How can we call a woman selfish for joyfully enduring months of exhaustion, sickness, fatigue, and the physical tolls of pregnancy? How can a selfish woman cope with labor, delivery, recovery, and then months upon months of breastfeeding, sleepless nights and diaper changes?

Most importantly, how can we call a woman selfish when she does these things because she believes it is her purpose, when it fulfills her because she is upholding her belief that all life is sacred, and she has been abundantly blessed for recognizing it?

This husband and wife have given everything of themselves not only in giving their children life, but to provide and educate them through the example of Christian service; putting others before themselves as Christ did.

Say what you will about the Duggar family, but selfish? No way.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Month in.

I got a text from Mark last night telling me that he met his requirement for billable hours for the month. He completes his first four weeks at his new job tomorrow. He texted me because he was out of town and spending the night in a hotel. In four weeks, he has been on business out of state, stayed in two different hotels, been up all night working twice, and has put easily over 700 miles on his car.

Sounds intense, right?

One might think. Then, when added to additional stress of putting our house on the market, arranging to move to a new house,  as well as mishaps with our car, living without our belongings, and having three busy boys in general, you'd think we'd be on the brink of a breakdown.

We're not.

I cannot adequately explain how happy we've been this past month. Despite some stressful situations and (literally) sleepless nights, we are content. All it takes is for me to look back at our life a month ago today. There we were, in a house that wasn't ours, a town where even after a year we knew only a few people, and days and weeks gone by with nothing to do, nowhere to go, and general feeling of loneliness and isolation.

Here we are, a month in, and the month of "Thanks." I can tell that my children are happy. I know I am happy. Surrounded by family and friends, we are very thankful that our journey has brought us back right where we started.

Happy Friday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


***Attention** **Attention***

We have a LOOSE-TOOTH in our family! The FIRST loose tooth!

Bring on the Halloween candy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I laugh sometimes at how different my boys are from me. If I had to put myself into a category, I would definitely be the "creative" type. I have instant access to my creative side, and writing stories, poems, songs, music, etc., has always been second nature. As my oldest boy is growing up, I am finding that his brain works in ways that are a mystery to me.

Yesterday was Luke's first piano lesson. We decided to put our young five year old in piano at this particular time to see if it would push his budding brain to think in ways that he's not accustomed.

For example, yesterday the baby was crying in the crib. Luke heard him, checked on him, and went to tell me."Mom," he said, "Michael is crying. His face is pressed against the parallel lines in the crib."

Yup. The parallel lines. Luke is just...just...literal. He colors, puts together jigsaw puzzles, and builds with blocks and legos. For all the storybooks he's been read, for all the free time to play, he has little to no imagination. For him, all he knows how to "play" is building and solving.


So, to spark a little right-brained action, I thought piano would be the perfect challenge. I should have expected it out of him, but he seemed most impressed, looking at the keyboard more thoroughly, at the patterns the keys made on keyboard. Three black, two black, white, etc. And to think I thought piano would work the OTHER side of his brain, here my kid is looking for patterns. I should have known.

This is all confusing and new to me. My mind doesn't work this way, and I definitely get frustrated at times with the lack of "play" that my oldest should be able to do. But, we're trying, and maybe this will be a step in the right direction. Get it? Right Brain?

What type of learners do you have in your home?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Busy Bees.

Today marks the start of week #3 at Mark's new job. I can't recall time moving this quickly in a very long while. The days have flown by, with the list of things to do growing exponentially each day. Mark is working hard, with him already have worked into the night, or over the night a few times, and this week marked with two separate depositions that will send him across the state and overnight at the beginning of the week, and six hours away to a separate state and the end of the week. This is different for us! And...what they say about corporate law (as opposed to government law...) is mostly true, we've found. Here we go!

Transitioning back to a familiar area has been the easy part. Of course, I have to get used to having the grocery store more than a half hour away, but I can cope with that. Now on our plate is another thing brewing. We have a house, you see, one that's being rented for the time being. But, along with transition comes change, and more excitement in the air. Sometimes our prayers are answered so definitively that it's difficult for me to imagine how people maneuver through life without prayer. Oh goodness, life isn't dull, is it?

And for today? My boys are building blocks. I'm in cahoots, but that's all right.

(For the record, I'm using the word "cahoots" totally incorrectly, but I like the way it sounds. Understand?)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The View From Here

We are now only a short few days away from saying goodbye to the Great White North. Permanently. Since we have three boys, packing and cleaning our house takes a massive amount of patience and planning. Because Legos, socks, toast crust, and hot wheels have a talent of finding their way into every nook and cranny, we have successfully "shut down" multiple rooms in our house and are down to bare bones living.

This means that the computer is on the coffee table, we have one couch, paper plates, and a box of cars for the boys to play with. We have to make it until Friday like this, and even though we're restless and bored, I'll take this any day over the stress of packing all the "putsy" stuff that finds its way unaccounted for after all the furniture has been packed. This time around, nearly packing and moving experts, our furniture and boxes are ready and waiting in the garage for a fast and easy load into the truck.

I'm ready to go, in every regard. My planner is already being filled with activities for me and the kids, and events that I don't want to miss this fall. We will be on the move, busy, involved, and relieved to be in a less rural territory with more options for young families. We will be especially grateful to be back in a familiar diocese. I could really go on and on about that, but I'll refrain for the sake of Charity.

I am so, so, excited. You don't even know ;-) .

Friday, September 30, 2011

Oh, Fay!

Just because if you have a two year, you should have fun with it.

Fun in our house?

"What About Bob" movie lines.

The first of many to come.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grammar Boys.

I had a very positive college experience. However, one professor was a struggle. The only thing I ever learned from her was the a doctorate degree couldn't guarantee intelligence, but it could guarantee tenure. I don't mean to sound cruel, but it was really that bad.

Once, after giving a presentation that I had carefully planned for, this professor singled me out to go on a diatribe about grammar. Apparently I had misspoken and had failed to use an adverb during my presentation. Although I can't remember the exact context, I imagine that I said something along the lines of, "After rigorous intervention in phonetical awareness, the student continued to perform poor on benchmark exams."

This omission dropped my score an entire letter grade. The professor pointed out that correct adverb use was being lost in schools and  speaking language. Who knew? Perhaps out of pride or resentment, after that presentation I went on an adverb extravaganza, using adverbs whenever I could, and then teaching my children, from their first words, correct adverb usage.

Maybe my professor taught me something after all? Hum...jury's still out.

"Mom, I hurt my leg bad."

"Dad, you did that awesome!"

"Mal, you sang pretty."

This morning my two year old had a tummy ache. He crawled on my lap and wrapped his arms around me. Then he pointed to his tummy and said, "It hurts so badly."

Maybe adverb use isn't becoming obsolete after all. ;-)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Before I go on.

I have this blogger rule where I intentionally try to keep blog posts about me and my family, and generally try to keep friends and extended family private.

But, in this case I have to break my rule a bit. I can't go on blogging about the Bumbo chair and fruit snacks without acknowledging that sometimes, even though I don't blog about it, life changes around me. There have been times in the past where I have watched a dear friend get married, but the next day I blog about keeping the house clean. Life moves regardless of what I blog about, and most things I choose to keep quiet. 

Last week an elderly family member died after over ninety eight years of life. Days later close friends lost an infant daughter moments after birth. Our family spent Friday and Saturday at two separate funerals, grieving two very different lives, but still powerful in their purpose. 

I struggled these past few days with what I could blog about, but there was no way I could go back to blogging without acknowledging a very significant event in the lives of our families and friends. It changes the life around us, even if it isn't written about here. And these people mean too much to us for me to go about my peanut butter and jelly blog posts without noticing the significance that death and life have.

People close to me are suffering a loss, and before I go on, I have to acknowledge it. And even when I return to blogging about the mundane, my heart is always with my friends and family.


Thursday, September 15, 2011


Yesterday and today the weather here has been cooler than expected. Summer's over, I've accepted that, but could Fall, (nearly everyone's favorite season) be over so soon? The last two mornings brought us frost, and today the boys needed jackets for leaving the house.

Inside I'm dressed in a long-sleeved sweater and tights. Tights! I mean, I can handle putting away the bare legs and flip flops. But tights so soon? Really? The boys are dressed in sweatpants, sweatshirts, and socks. We must wear socks. The little one is wearing socks and a long-sleeved onsie over his fleece sleep-and-play.

Fleece. Did you catch that?

Since Monday I've resisted turning the heat on. This house is heated by a propane tank, and propane is insanely expensive. Since we're leaving in a few short weeks, not having to replenish the propane would be most beneficial.


Our noses are cold, and our toes are cold despite socks and shoes. The little one has a runny nose. I just cannot let the little one be cold. I looked at the thermostat after avoiding it all week, thinking that it really wasn't that cold in the house. After all, it takes a while to get acclimated to the cold after the warmer summer months.

No, it really was that cold. In the heat of the day our indoor thermostat reads 62 degrees. Who knows how cold it's been getting overnight.

I relented. On goes the heat. If you remember, I posted mid-may of a snow storm up here, which means that we got only three measly months of decent weather in the past year

Looking on the bright side, because this time, no matter how awful the winter will be this year, there is a bright side. This winter we won't be spending the winter alone.

And have I mentioned that in addition to be closer to friends and family, that we will also be living a few hours SOUTH. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is This Thing On?

I'm walking around in a bit of a fog today. Today is the third day in a row where the day started at 4am. My little man is all mixed up! Maybe it's teeth, changing seasons, the little runny nose he has, or just a keen perception of the transition our family is going through. Whatever the reason, today can be best be described as foggy. I'm just not all there, if you've know what I mean ;-) .

On days like this, my biggest struggle is having patience with the older two, especially my toddler, because well, toddlers take patience. Lots of patience.

Today being a "blah" sort of day, I'm reminded of the words of wisdom that I seem to be hearing from everyone these days. Whether it's in books, blogs, or in this week's case, after church, I keep hearing about a) how blessed I am to have little children, and b) that this time goes fast and to enjoy it.

The crowd at Saturday evening Masses vary drastically from the typical Sunday morning congregation. Our family is familiar sight on Sunday, along with the many other families that attend church. But on Saturday night, families are a rare commodity. So while I hadn't expected it, we were held up after Mass by a show of single women and older couples commenting on our boys.

They loved to see our children at church, and thought our family was "lovely" and "beautiful." Is it bad to admit that I enjoyed the affirmation? It's usually me that's doing the admiring. I'm always around lovely families and beautiful children. I like to observe families to see how they tackle the never-ending challenges that parenthood brings. So, to be the lone family at church and to be encouraged was just what was needed after a long day.

One woman said to me over and over again, "Never forget how blessed you are." She shared that she was never able to have children, and how she dreamed of having boys, and here I was with three. "Never forget how blessed you are to have these children." She was elderly, and I thought she would cry she spoke so intensely.

Naturally, the people who are giving me their time-treasured words of wisdom are no longer changing diapers, nursing babies, or buttering toast, but the sentiment is still the same. The days are long but the years are short. 

Having these little people so dependent upon me is exhausting in every facet. Their physical, emotional, spiritual and educational needs are on a never ending cycle that require my 100% compliance, because I am their mother. And while it is admittedly draining to to work so hard every day (and night!), I've come to appreciate the gift it is to always have a chubby cheeks to kiss, a toddler to laugh with, and a preschooler who just wants to show me what he's accomplished that day.

Are the days long now? Yes. 
Are the years short? I'm not sure.
But, will you be sad when they're over? Absolutely. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Five Months.

Happy 5-month Birthday, Little M!

Today we're celebrating by cracking open our first bottle of Infant Motrin.

Why, oh why do my boys like to cut teeth so early? A new chapter is beginning in my little one's life. I foretell that he will follow the same pattern that the first two did and cut two to four teeth at a time until he turns one.

Poor baby. If only the first pains in life could be delayed just a few more months.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Coffee's On!

Yesterday Mark accepted an offer for a new job. There it is! Those of us who know us (me) intimately know that this is the fulfillment of a deeply held desire for so many reasons. The primary one?


The field of law is competitive, and I've always been up for the ride. So, even last year when we reluctantly packed up our house and moved from a community we loved, we did so with the intention that the time away would open doors and provide greater opportunities for our family. We knew it would be tough, we knew it wouldn't be forever, but we still didn't know how long our trek in The Great White North would last. 

And, as eager as we were to return to our family and friends, we certainly wouldn't do it unless it was the right thing for our family, in the long and short term, which is why this news is so remarkable. See, we were preparing for at least another year here, maybe longer, with the prayer that we'd be back in time for our children to receive their religious education and First Communion in our diocese. 

I prayed. I prayed The kids prayed with me, and every quiet moment we had on the way to the library or Wal-Mart was spent in short, pleading prayers that we would know what opportunity to grab for, that we would be prudent in the decision to move our family, and that our wants were in line with the will of God. 

We also had a plan; a nice little plan with a bow wrapped around it, a plan that was us. But this particular opportunity was not a part of our plan. It's much different, yet, when we looked at how it literally fell into our lap out of nowhere, when everything Mark has done up to this point not only qualified him, but made him an ideal candidate for this opportunity, it made all of the moving around, the loneliness and uncertainty all of a sudden make perfect sense.

We've lived in many cities and states in the past few years. Anyone with a family knows how special it is for young children to have their close family around, and for our kids, this was particularly significant. All summer the kids would cry as we left home and had to head back to our house two hours away. During the week they'd cry for their cousins, their grandparents, and aunts and uncles.

Giving our boys back the wonder of a childhood filled with their loved-ones, wrapped in the security of extended family and friends in their daily lives, is what I am excited for most. My heart is full knowing that we'll now be able to provide that, above all else, for our boys. I'm humbled with joy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Update: Community Survey

I survived my interview with The Census Man. Thankfully, unlike the mailings that I received that threatened me with a $100 fine for each unanswered question, The Census Man happily accepted my refusal and agreed that I wouldn't want the rest of world knowing when we come and go from our house, etc.

Lots of stuff brewing this week. Excitement is in the air....

Friday, September 2, 2011

Community Survey.

A census worker just knocked on my door.

I'm not one of those census protesters. On the contrary, last summer when we received the 2010 Census in the mail, I sent it back the next day. But this one is different. It's the American Community Survey, distributed by the Census Bureau.

It's mandatory, and I've ignored the three surveys they've sent me, and just sent away the worker who knocked on my door.

It was naptime, naturally. There are much better things to be doing during naptime than inviting a stranger into my home to answer personal questions.

I'm not a secretive person, nor do I have fear of the government. I don't conscientiously object to things or try to make much of a racket about anything in general. STILL, this survey is really, REALLY invasive.

You see, I filled out the survey months ago, and it took over an hour. I answered every question as faithfully as I could, but then couldn't send it back. It was almost too....degrading? I mean, did the Census Bureau turn into the IRS, along with a health insurance company and resume wrangler rolled all in one? Seriously?

To give you an example of the bizarre and invasive questions, here are some things that I am (apparently) required by law to answer:
What time do you leave for work in the morning? When do you get home? What is your annual income? What did you pay for your house? What do you pay for electric, heating, fuel, phone, etc? Which family members suffer from any one of these medical conditions? Where have you worked, what is your title, and what is the address of the places you've been employed at in the last five years?

Then it goes on to ask more questions about if you (or any listed family members) have difficulty getting to the toilet, and other odd issues.

The strangest thing yet is that it isn't even addressed to me, it's addressed to "Resident," which makes it seem all the more scammy. Trouble is, it's not. When the census worker asked for my name and phone number I had enough sense to politely tell him I wasn't comfortable with that, and he was on his way.

He'll be back though. And I still won't want to give him all of the information he wants. Hum. Perhaps I'll just need to reiterate back to him the function of the Census Bureau as defined by the Constitution and allow our household to be enumerated.

Ho hum. Not sure if I'm up for a fight with Big Brother, but at the very least I can be a bit uncooperative.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sept. 1st.

The leaves are already turning and falling from the trees. *Sigh*

Was summer really this short?

Out come the boxes that will soon be filled with too-small summer clothes and emptied of the warmer hand-me-downs.

Goodness, gracious that's a lot of long-sleeved cotton!


For 7am, there is just way too much going on at this little coffee table. Colored pencils, legos, and a 100 piece turtle have taken over my day before my contacts are even in. I shall have to drink the entire pot today. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Wonder of it all.

We're turning a corner as we're nearing a full year since we moved away for Mark's job. It hasn't been easy, and at times we both, along with our kids, have experienced the loneliness and isolation that being in a new, rural area brings. It sounds cliche, but through being alone with our little family we've learned a lot about appreciation, what makes us happy, and what we really want. Indeed, of the several new locations to which we've moved, this one has been the most challenging.

And with the transition to a new geography, we had a baby along the way. Michael is a blessing beyond words. I wrote about our second son, Paul, that having him didn't teach me to be a mother as it did the first time around, but helped me to embrace and love the sacrifice and joy that our days bring.

Having a single word like "embrace" and "teach" encompassed the first two children, and if I had to pick a word for the third, it would be a toss-up between "wonderment" and "freeze." Freeze, because I want time to stand still, I want to hold my growing baby as a newborn. I don't want him to start solids so soon, I don't want him to crawl away from me or cut a tooth. It's just happening too quickly.

And wonderment. What can I say? I started this post sharing the challenge of our past year. Then today I watched as my little one reached to grab a toy hanging over his head. It's so hard! He grabbed it, pulled it down and quickly put it in his mouth. The big boys were so excited, "Look, Mom! Look what Michael did!" We were so happy, and yet, it was such a simple thing. Still we marveled at how this baby is growing day by day, and the smallest of milestones brings us all wonderment as this very loved child gives us a greater perspective on the joys that every day can bring.

Cliche or not, I can't recall rejoicing when my first two reached for a toy and held it in their hand. Lesson learned. If the obstacles we've faced in the last year taught us anything, it was to appreciate the Wonder of it all. It's been worth it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Catching up.

I think our summer is just about over.

We've been gone from the house for several days; enjoyed the big city, met up with old friends, had a little vacation from the big boys, and topped it all off with a wedding, followed by a lot of fun in the water.

Now we're home, but who knows for how long!

For today we're catching up, returning phone calls, sorting laundry, and staying in our jammies until we can get things back together again.

Back to blogging soon. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kids These Days.

This morning while checking my email and the news, I glanced at our old hometown newspaper. There was a guest column (editorial, really) written by my old band teacher about kids these days. I have to admit that I did roll my eyes a bit at the doom and gloom. After all, I thought, I know lots and lots of great parents and wonderful kids. And, if said kids aren't behaving perfectly, as children cannot be expected to do, the parents are quick to acknowledge it, correct it, and humbly apologize.

It got me thinking. My kids aren't perfect, but they are nice.  They aren't mean to each other, and especially not to anyone else. They just don't think of it.  But, I am finding that the more we venture out to parks and playgrounds and the less we pick our own playdates (which we have done almost exclusively) that we will, inevitably, run into mean kids.

My heart breaks when I hear that other parents' five year olds are called "fat" and "ugly" at school, and I am dumbfounded when parents at the playground don't seem to care when their own kids are pushing, shoving and teasing.

If you read the article linked, you might get the same impression as me, that maybe it's not the kids who have changed, but the parents.  When the author writes about misbehaving kids, it seems he is more inflamed with the parents' reaction to it than anything. That, while home-to-school used to be a collaboration, now one is pitted against the other.

This article made me a bit sad, honestly. Because after 35 years of teaching, the misbehavior of students has overshadowed the talents and character of other students. I can't guarantee that my children won't ever have a problem in school, but I can write definitively that the parents of the children I know are just as appalled and upset as the teachers. Except, it's their kids who are getting neglected in the classrooms, getting bullied on the bus, and being teased for simply being a kind person. 

Here's to fighting the good fight!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


"Front Feet, Back Feet, Red Feet Black Feet," 
(The Foot Book, by Dr Seuss)

This week I forked over a boatload on shoes.

Not for me, for the kids. For us, it's a bit like "Fat feet, thin feet, wide feet, flat feet," because for the first time I spent way more money than I'm used to buying shoes from Stride Rite.

Luke is flat-footed for the time being, and now he is starting to walk on his toes. Paul always cries when we put shoes on him, and takes his shoes off whenever he gets the chance. They both have wide (tall is more accurate) feet and seem to be really bothered by their shoes lately. I've always been able to squeeze their feet into at least one pair of shoes from Kohl's or Target, but now I'm trying a different approach to see if a high-quality pair of sneakers will make a difference.

My boys typically aren't picky about clothing or shoes, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that our new shoes are money well spent. If anyone has their own suggestions on stable, supportive, wide-width footwear, I'm all ears....and feet.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Michael is 4 months old! He is the sweetest, chubbiest, most delightful little baby ever. He sucks his thumb, loves his two older brothers, and loves to giggle and be tickled. Indeed, this little one is bound to get spoiled with how much his parents and brothers dote on him. 

And may I add that this one looks A LOT like his oldest brother, Luke, at the same age. Wow!
Luke @4 months

Oh my.

We were going to be thankful for having a quiet, restful weekend at home. We were going to relax, get some work done, and not pack a suitcase for the first weekend in a long time.

Did it happen?

Not quite.

But, we are still very, very thankful.


Because Luke's grandpa is a surgeon.

Thanks, Poppy!

Friday, August 12, 2011


Did any of you, after moving to your first place on your own, ever come to the realization that you "had arrived." You know, like realizing that after three days with the same dirty dishes in the sink that the someone who was going to have to wash them was you? That the piles of laundry growing up in weren't, in fact, folded by the Folding Fairy, but by someone who had a vested interest in the maintenance of the home?

I've had many such moments in the past six years, some of them were rough; others laughable. Then, after a while, they didn't even phase me. Growing up, when your mother diligently cleaned the dog vomit off of the carpet, or the dirty diaper that the baby managed to smear all over the crib, it's not that she was particularly fond of doing these tasks, but that she was so accustomed to doing such things that not much phased her by then.

Truly, I am convinced that in the "arrived" category, that after six years, I cannot be shocked. Yes, I cried the first time I had to nurse a baby while sick in the bathroom, but by the time I two kids and was sick while nursing in the bathroom, instead of crying, I was just thankful that the three year old was keeping himself busy by racing his cars on the bathroom floor.

I think back to college when I would get irritated that I was spending my money on things like deodorant and toothpaste instead of new shoes. Today I'd much rather spend money on those things than water softener pellets or toilet cleaner.

Growing up is tough stuff. And really, as much as a person might be prepared for it, the shocking realization that you have a lot to care of besides yourself inevitably makes a person either grow up, or stop trying.

So, on this Friday, here's to Moms! If you have letter magnets on your fridge and a Blue's Clues bath mat on your bathtub, I salute you! If you're digging peanut butter out of the cracks in the kitchen table and scraping dried oatmeal off the walls, I salute you! If you do laundry every stinkin' day of the week, I salute you!

If you have nursed a baby in the bathroom, at a truck stop, or in a bar, I salute you!

We have arrived.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Minnesota Bound.

My apologies for not being able to embed this video, but the site just won't let me!

Anyway, this is a short feature about the town I'm from (and maybe some of you are from, too :-) ). With the recent addition of paved trails and a new mountain biking destination, this small town is putting itself on the map.

It wasn't until I went to college out of state that I realized what a treasure it was to grow up in such a geographically beautiful area. I was almost shocked to realize that most people didn't drive by lakes everyday, swim and boat all summer, and have a cool lake breeze to ease even the hottest of summer days.

Now, a few hours away from our hometown, I appreciate even more the serenity of the area.


Hey all.

I'm wearing a belt today.

No kidding.

It's been over a year, so I'm kinda having a party in my head.

That is all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Things I Love: Organizational Tools

I want to share an organizational tool that I've implemented in the past few months that has helped our household out tremendously. Not being able to find what I needed out of a traditional daily planner, I sought out to create my own. With weekly calendar fill pages, loose-leafed paper, sheet covers and colored tabs, I've been able to use a durable, and functional planner. 
 My planner functions include: to do lists, grocery lists, long and short term goals, a collection of funny things the children have said that I need to write down somewhere before I forget, books I want to buy, things for the house I want to buy, meal planning, and on and on and on.
 I have tabs in here for different topics, i.e Household, Read-Alouds. If I'm looking through Pottery Barn Kids and see a great idea I'd like to implement for less money, I can tear it out, put it in a plastic sleeve, and keep it safely in my folder until the day comes for a project. If I'm reading a blog and someone is using books I'd like to check out for myself, I have a tab for that, too! I have multiple online tutorials for sewing, knitting, and preserving food that I've printed out and keep in my notebook for reference.
When it comes to picking out books at the library, while it may seem to be taking things a step too far, I find that have a rough "plan" for each week saves a lot of time. Sometimes the topics are narrow, such as Apples and Komodo Dragons, and other weeks they might be broad, like the seasons or farms. Having a topic to hone in on gives a little direction whilst surrounded by shelves of books. Book planning, and book requesting through the library is now a near-perfected system with my notebook. With weekly topics selected until Christmas, the boys and I are looking forward to learning more about Stealth Bombers and Tamarins, just to name a couple. 

Sometimes life when the kids are little can seem so chaotic. Having a simple but maintainable system for organizing can help keep the peace (at least in my head ;-)  ). 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Is This Thing On? (A Fictitious Epidemic??)

This video is 11 minutes long, but I really encourage anyone with children to watch it and think about the points being made. It is about the education system's model, and our rapidly changing world. As the mother of three sons, two of whom are extremely busy/fidgety, the education conversation and how to teach bright children without killing their inquisitiveness is something of a passion of mine, as well as many others.

I have so, so much I want to say about this topic, but I might save it for a different post.

Please, I'd love to know your thoughts on these ideas.

Thursday, August 4, 2011



"Mom, did you know that some paleontologists have wives?"

"Mom, can I have Michael for my very own?"

"Mom, my wife is going to be more beautiful than you, and more beautiful than Paul's wife, too." 

"Mom, I wish that all kids and adults could do whatever they wanted all the time." 
"What would you wish to do, Luke?"
"I would eat treats all day long. And I would never get fat."

Have a nice day, everyone.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Guilty Pleasures.

The kids were losing it. I have this love/hate relationship with the Science Center in our town. While I love the corn snakes, red-tailed turtles, tilapia tank, and bubble machine, there is a short threshold of excitement that the children can handle, and after spending so much time there, all at once they all need to use the bathroom, are hungry, want a drink, need to nurse, and are asking for something from the gift shop.

Time to go!

With two out of the three screaming, and me pushing the stroller carrying a diaper bag, along with the baby strapped into his Ergo, we dragged ourselves out the door. Having snagged a primo downtown parking spot, I started the process of getting each child situated in their seat and buckled, as well as dismantling the stroller.

A car pulled up next to mine with music blaring, just waiting to take my prized parking spot. Getting two carseats strapped, a booster buckled, and a stroller in the trunk on one's own is quite the task. I could hear the teenagers in the car grumbling about how long I was taking.

Once I backed out of the parking space the car behind me whipped in to take it. Glancing back as I moved the car out of reverse, I read the other car's rear window, plastered in Graduation 2011 car graffiti.

Bright red letters across the back read: "I am cooler then you." 

Good thing, I thought to myself. I wonder if he's cooler than his English teacher, too?

I think I got the last laugh. Hee Hee.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I may or may not have shared that our family does not have cable, and because of our location, unless we have the crystalest of clear days, we only get one or two that come in. The kids are still little and the days are still long, so Netflix instant streaming is something we're very thankful for.

This summer a mini-series caught our eye on Netflix. The Kennedys was apparently given horrible reviews, but then went on to receive many Emmy nominations. The Kennedys are way before my time, indeed, even before my parents' time, as much of the drama happened when their generation was still very young. Still. the allure exists today, and I have been captivated.

It's obvious that the production of this mini-series is a bit low-budget, and the acting isn't anything to marvel at. However, the history and drama is interesting, especially for those (like me) who didn't live through or quite understand the times.

If you can instant stream through Netflix, watch The Kennedys and let me know what you think! My $0.02 is that Bobby Kennedy is the most fascinating and complex of characters. After watching all six episodes, it was him that I wanted to learn more about more than any other. Oftentimes, after watching an episode, Mark and I would be waiting to Google all of the questions we had about the events portrayed (we're cool like that).

Monday, July 25, 2011


If we're not listening to music, I'm a big fan of Podcasts. I listen to them while I'm ironing or doing dishes and the kids are occupied enough for me actually pay attention to the topic. There are various podcasts that I listen to, mostly on the lines of family, parenting, and faith.

I like Dave Ramsey, too. Today my two year old was playing with two cars. One car was talking to the other car. The conversation got a little heated when one of the cars yelled at the other,

Friday, July 22, 2011

You're Killing Me, Smalls!

Alright, you guys, I have to 'fess up.

So, yes, we had a mini-disaster this week when I flooded the house. I'm still trying to suck up water from the carpet among other things.

What I forgot to mention, or more accurately, what I left out intentionally was that I also did something like really, really dumb.

Okay, so I soaked up a few dozen towels, right? Well, after ringing them out I threw them in the dryer. Not all of them, but a lot. I guess it was too heavy or something because after a minute I smelled burning rubber.


Yup, I snapped the belt on the dryer. Thus, the dryer is not working. Which means that in addition to a house flood, I also have pee-water saturated towels trying to dry in 90 degree humidity.

You couldn't make this stuff up.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yellow Car.

If you read the strawberry picking post from Sunday, you'll see my little Paul carrying around his Yellow Car.

Yellow Car was an "un-birthday" gift from Luke's 5th birthday. My parents thoughtfully gave Paul a present, and he loved it. Yellow Car hasn't left Paul's hand for the last month, and follows him in the car, to bed, in the bath, the grocery store and library, and even traveling on the weekends.

Yesterday was 90 degrees outside; too hot to do anything. I called Mark and we agreed to meet at a local beach after he was off from work.

In central/northern Minnesota the lakes are plentiful, and with the rare exception we don't go to beaches. Many family and friends live on the lakes surrounding us and we've always enjoyed the water with them. Here, in the Great White North we don't know many people, and so, to the beach we went.

I was a sight to behold as I unloaded a car of three kids, a stroller, cooler, towels, sand shovels, beach blanket and a thermos of juice. "Wow, this is hard," I thought as I tried to keep the sun out of the baby's eyes  as I slathered sunscreen on the big boys and clipped life jackets into place. Mark hadn't arrived yet, but the kids were anxious to get into the water. Each boy grabbed a bucket, shovel, and a few toys and headed to the sand.

Intent on watching the boys closely at a public beach, I took off my shoes and rummaged through my bag looking for baby's hat. No sooner had I put on baby's hat and stood up to closely supervise the sand activities did Paul start screaming.

A little boy of about four had snatched Yellow Car right from Paul's hands. I was only a few feet away, but it was already too late. The little boy threw Yellow Car as far as he could into the water. Then, he bent down and picked up another car and brought his hand back to throw when I raced and caught his hand just in time. The boy argued with me about playing with the toys, while I, as a "bully mom" (or as Sarah Palin would say, Mama Grizzly), had to explain to the boy that he wasn't allowed to throw our toys.

Rolling my shorts up with a baby in hand and screaming two year old on the beach, I braved the waters and searched for Yellow Car. Mark came a few minutes later and continued the search unsuccessfully.

We left the beach without Yellow Car. If it were any other toy it wouldn't have been a big deal. The beach toys were expendable, and we happily shared our shovels and buckets with the other children at the beach. But the loss of the Yellow Car broke my heart, because to Paul it was like a beloved blanket or stuffed animal, not just a car.

I realize that we shouldn't bring things to the beach that we can't afford losing or being damaged, but I had long since given up the battle of trying to pry Yellow Car out of Paul's hands. And for the boy, I can't really blame him. He had done numerous other irritating things during our trip to the beach, and we honestly couldn't figure out who his caretakers were. He didn't leave Mark's side when he was playing with our boys in the water, and he argued with me again as I collected our belongings to go, wanting to take them for himself. I prayed for this little one, knowing that while he might have wanted our things, his needs were much deeper.

Today we're hoping that Paul can soon attach himself to a new car, although making an emergency trip to Target isn't out of the question.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


We went out last night to get out of the house for a bit after a rainy day inside. As we scurried to get out the door, diapers were changed, clothes were changed, and I started a load of laundry.

Two and a half hours later we walked into the sound of running water and a total flood in our house.Water was everywhere--at least an inch thick, all through the entryway, kitchen, dining room, nursery, and laundry room. Gulp. The laundry room. Water was pouring through the top of the washing machine tub. It never stopped filling and had been filling for two and a half hours! 

Oh! I can't believe I left out the fun part! The washing machine was full of dirty cloth diapers! So, the entire downstairs of our house was flooded with poopy and pee water!


It was already past bedtime and the kids were all crying before we even got in the house. Mark took the kids while I developed a game plan. I grabbed our humble little Shop-Vac and got to work, filling it every 30 seconds. Over and over and over again I stayed in the same spot and the water kept coming,

Mark put a movie on for the kids and started carrying all the furniture outside. It's Minnesota, mind you, and at night if you open a door for even a second, there will be mosquitos, and here we were with the door wide open emptying out the house. There were bugs everywhere. 

We've been married for six years now, and because of the conservative use of our bath towels,  we don't have any of what I would call "icky old towels." When we had our homebirth I had to ask around, and my dear mother gave me a humongous stack of icky old towels. I had since packaged them up for safe keeping in the garage, but they came out again last night. With water pouring into the floor vents (is that dangerous?) we created a barricade with towels. Mark and I went back and forth between ringing out the towels and managing the shop-vac. Mark took a break to put the big boys to bed, I took a break to nurse and change the baby.

After a few hours we were finally done. Bug-bitten, dirty, sweaty, wet with wrinkling feet, the floor was as dry as it could have gotten. We threw the towels in a heap on the floor to deal with later and fell on the couch.

I thanked Mark for getting the kids taken care of, and checked on them for the night. They were sleeping soundly...with snowman fleeced July.

:-) .

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In the Field

We went strawberry picking today! 
 It was FUN. It was SO, SO HOT. Literally, it was like being in a steam shower. Literally. Yes, our glasses fogged when we went outside. 
 The boys were old pros at gathering the plentiful berries. In no time we had about 15 quarts.
 Michael slept for a good portion of our picking, although I had to take him out to nurse in the middle of the field. With a french braid and skirt; nursing a baby among the crops, I did feel a bit like Ma Ingalls.
 Luke brought his own special pail (an old Easter basket) to fill. He was quite proud and enjoyed eating them all the way home.
 Squatting extraordinaire! Paul is my right (or in this case, left) hand man. 
 They like to watch me work. 
Mark loves this kind of stuff ;-) ;-) . 
Paul ate more than he picked. The owners encouraged it. I thought it was cute. Notice "Yellow Car." It never leaves his hands. Ever.

Today we're thankful for red-stained fingers, a fun family first, midday thunderstorms, and air conditioning.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Today during naptime I laid our 3-month old on the bed while I set up the ironing board next to him. My thinking was that he would kick around and play while I ironed and made baby faces at him. I can usually get about ten minutes out of this maneuver before my babies want to be held, or more directly entertained. 

No sooner had I started my podcast and pressed the first shirt had little baby started sucking his thumb. 
 A few minutes later the little guy had sucked himself to sleep. 
 In my five years of babies, never has anything so absolutely magical occurred. Miraculous, Precious, Wonderful beyond description. My 3-month old put himself to sleep. 
I love this boy. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Things I Love.

I love coffee, tea, and red wine (who doesn't?). Unfortunately, these things stain your teeth. In my case, my teeth get particularly stained in quite an unsightly way. Despite frequent brushing and flossing, I always seem to have black spots all over my teeth from staining (apparently this is a hereditary condition, as my husband and others who drink even more coffee than I do don't have this problem as severely).

I've been known to coupon a time or two, and one thing that I can get for free or close to free is Colgate toothpaste. If Wal-Mart has it on sale for $1.00, I often have coupons for -$0.75 or -$1.00 off. We often have four or five tubes of Colgate on hand for this reason.

The problem is that while I'm cavity-free, Colgate does nothing for the staining.

Enter Crest 3D White Vivid
We received a free sample of this new Crest product in the mail a few weeks ago. I'm not one for gimmicks, but it actually did wonders for the stains on my teeth. It worked so well that we actually forgoed our Colgate and forked over the nearly $4 a tube for this stuff. It worked that well. Perhaps we'll strike a compromise: Crest after coffee, Colgate before bed. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Commercial Exploitation.

I might really lose some people on this one, so my apologies in advance. I'm big on big issues, and I have good points to back up my positions. For this one, I just have a feeling, without huge convictions, because it's not that big of a deal. Take it or leave it, it's just my $0.02.

I don't like commercialism. I never have. Being different from the crowd by not wearing or doing what everyone else was wearing or doing didn't phase me, and in a way, I insisted on it. Maybe it's because I'm more of a right-brained, creativity-valued person, or more accurately, that I refuse to be something that I'm not.

This position has affected our household in different ways. We don't have cable, and the one channel we do get only works when there's a clear sky. This means that that the children don't see commercials, and their television is very limited. The two year old still loves Thomas the Train, and the five year old is crazy about Lightning McQueen, but their genuine interests still shine through the off-the-wall marketing of these products.

The biggest impact commercial exploitation has in our home is in the form of clothing. With the exception of underpants and pajamas, I do not purchase clothing with visible brand names, logos, commercial characters (Thomas, Spiderman), superfluous printing, or (this is the big one) sporting franchise logos.

Why? I don't have a great reason, maybe not even a good reason except that they bug me. My boys like dinosaurs and pythons and Komodo dragons, not watching the NFL  My five year old likes to wear the color red and a yellow tie everywhere. My two year old likes fire trucks and monster trucks and anything to do with animals--especially dogs. This is who they are right now. In the future, if they love the Minnesota Twins, or get really into comic strips and want to wear superhero-marketed clothing, I'll happily let them. But for now, as little boys, I want them to look like little boys.

I don't want the crowd to dictate what they wear, what they should like, and what their interests should be. God made them unique with different treasures and talents, and I want those to be fostered, not an over-riding obsession with fitting in.

It turns out that I'm not the only one who thinks this way. There is an organization especially designed to give children a commercial-free childhood. The tag-line for the CCFC is "Reclaiming Childhood from Corporate Marketers." I like it.

Even our old pal Raffi is on board. Do you know that Raffi has never allowed any of his music to be marketed, even refusing a Baby Beluga animated video? Until his death, Dr. Seuss was the same way, strictly limiting any kind of commercial marketing of his products.

Thoughts? Objections? Suggestions? How do you feel about the marketing geared at your children? Does it bug you, or do you tend to brush it off?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Just because...

Just because she asked, I've added one more link to the "Factoids" section of this blog.

Because Grace Under Fire is a favorite post of a devout reader, and because it really does sum up the basis of this blog, that behind the mask of smiling kids and a happy family, we're not perfect. If it's not a fiery frying pan thrown out on the snow bank, it's the five year old putting things in his mouth that a two year old would know better ;-) .

Really, there are myriad stories of our ridiculousness. I only choose to post the ones that are the least embarrassing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


You know you're Catholic when the toddler mistakes your contact solution for Holy Water and walks around the house blessing himself and all the stuffed animals.

True story.

(Do you know how many "likes" this would have gotten if it were a facebook status? Ho hum).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I don't listen to Rush. Honestly. However, I think he makes a point that one should consider carefully.

Rush: If Anthony's Baby Was Killed In The Womb, Media Wouldn't Care

Blogger Update.

Since Change is cool these days, and life is dynamic, I've updated the "About Me" section of this blog, as well as added a "Factoid" section.

Not that the world doesn't know enough about us yet, but just in case...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Home away...away from Home.

Our simplistic life can become so complicated in a matter of minutes.

Another week, another weekend away from Home, and back Home again.

We're in a predicament here. Our "house" is far from what we consider our "home." We travel "home" frequently, and leave our "house" in shambles between our spurts back and forth. Home, for us, is where our families live. Parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, Aunts & Uncles, Great Aunts & Uncles, troves of cousins, second and third cousins, and friends are bound to surround to us to every visit "home."

This makes our life richly blessed. It also makes it complicated.

We arrived back at our house at 2am this morning. Mark had to be at work early, and yet we couldn't peel ourselves (or the kids) away from the fun we were having. The house is always the same, meaning, it's always the way we left it--in a rush to get out. There are towels to be washed, sheets to be changed, dishes to put away, and maintenance unending. Add a heaping pile of dirty clothes from the weekend and the largest Samsonite you've ever seen left to be emptied, and I've got my work cut out for me. In only a few days we'll start the cycle all over again.

"Home" is complicated, too. A sweep through my diaper bag revealed that I still have the sunscreen I borrowed from my sister, and I seemed to have left my most lightweight nursing blanket behind. Nuts! The big boy is upset because we can't find his parade candy, and the toddler is overtired and bug-bitten from head-to-toe.

Even after careful planning, there are still things amiss. Travel is tough, there is no doubt. We return to our house with an empty fridge that needs to be filled strategically so that nothing goes to waste by the time we're off again. At home, we try to bring as much food along with us as we can so we don't clear out the cupboards of our generous loved ones.

It's all worth it, though. Despite the travel and mess, and the chaos that greets us at our house door, we still find a good excuse to pack it all up week after week. It's probably not even a tough decision, because along with the fellowship of friends and family, we get to enjoy this all day long.

We're starting the little one young. Here is his napping in his Britax next to the Deere. A nap by the water never hurts, right? 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Out...and About.

Just wanted to write a quick update to tell everyone that we're sticky, hot and humid, with our hair fizzing into curls!

After a short weekend back home and a quick week up here, we're gearing up for another long weekend for the 4th back home. Between washing laundry and taking care of the quick tasks here, it doesn't leave much time for this good old blog.

Not that there aren't a million things to blog about, I mean, we just had a big birthday party, our two year old is JUMPING all around the house, the baby is getting SO chubby and cute, and we have the 4th of July to look forward to. (Did I really just end a sentence in a preposition? Don't judge, I'm tired.)  For those of my readers who are not from MN, I will try to post some pictures of the gorgeous sites where we'll be spending our time.

Throw in a carefully-planned coffee date with my be-all-end-all best-buddy, and new baby introductions to our visiting family members, and our impending summer days are stuffed with fun.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Have I Mentioned...?

Have I mentioned that I am now the proud mother of a...FIVE YEAR OLD???!!

It happened. Luke turned five. I'm officially a mother of a "big kid."

I was just discussing motherhood-related issues with a few of my fellow and seasoned mothers. We've had issues in our house with, um...talking. Not talking back. Not potty-talk, just the non-stop, I've completely drowned out your voice, what in the world are you saying kind of talking.

This is a boy who clearly wasn't getting the hint that when I said, "Luke, I am not angry with you, but you really need to stop talking now," when he goes on to explain that he not only has something important to say, but that his Lego car with two wheels instead of four doesn't have the proper foundation to support the weight of the Lego Knight because the Lego Knight wasn't originally intended to be riding on a two-wheeled Lego cart, but rather a horse, but the horse cannot be found because The Demolisher (aka Little Brother) had been hiding it in the dinosaur fortress in the playroom.

That's not exactly how he talks, but those who know him know that I just about have it right.

And then today I was able to clean and mop three bathrooms, wash two loads of laundry, sweep, vacuum and mop the wood floors, and have a whole roast chicken served with garlic-herbed wine sauce for dinner.

I didn't know it at the time, but it was all because we got THIS for Luke's birthday.

Ahh....the silence

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is this thing on?

Confession: I can't fold a fitted sheet.

I want to be able to, and have looked up Youtube videos, read magazines with step-by-step instructions, and have even gone as far as laying my freshly washed sheet on my goldfish crumb-laden carpet to get the corners to line up correctly.

It's no use. Let's face it, I just end up rolling it up into a big, ugly ball every time, and there it sits taunting me as it spews out of the closet shelf.

Sorry Martha, I'm a domestic drop-out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Of all the years to move to the greatest state in the union (Minnesota), this year would NOT be the one. In addition to Dayton planning to tax the wazoo out of everyone (highest taxes in America, people), our precious summer months are being rained out. We had rain everyday last week, and we're gearing up for another week full of rain. It's actually cold today!

If we can conquer -20 below, we can certainly cope with a bit of rain. So, our outings have consisted of a lot of trips to the post office and library.

I love the library. Seriously, love it. Going to the library for me almost carries the excitement of buying a new pair of shoes, except without the guilt. What? I can get anything I want? And it's free? And there's no limit to how much I can bring home with the exception that I need to be able to physically remove it from the premises? Wow.

Our local library in the Great White North isn't what I'd dub "child friendly." The children's section is right next to the entrance doors, and a great divide of computers separates the children's books from all other materials. That means that I am left to caravan the kids with a list of call numbers in hand whenever there's a book I'm after. We always manage to get "shushed" by the information desk while my kids try their hardest to whisper (kids trying to whisper always sounds louder than their actual speaking voice, don't you think?). Yes, we must be quiet at the library, I remind my kiddos. After all, we wouldn't want to disturb the 90% of patrons who are actually truants using the library solely for Facebook 

On we trek through the board books, easy readers, DVD's, fiction, non-fiction and magazines until each of us has a backpack full of books. Add a Britax Chaperone carrying a hefty boychild to the mix (goodness, those things are heavy!), and we're quite the sight. We lug our bags onto the counter, hand over our "ticket" and then we're off, each of us tilting slightly to the side over the weight of our books.

When we get home it's like Christmas morning! Something for everyone...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Post-Baby Workout.

I've made it no secret that I've put on momentous amounts of weight during my three pregnancies. While I was resigned to it during this pregnancy and knew what to expect, I can't help but be a bit impatient waiting for it to come off. Exercise is not important to me only to lose weight and tone my body, but I actually thrive when I am active. My anxiety seems to melt away along with the calories, and I find my head clearer. Indeed, a good walk on a bad day can turn me around in a heartbeat.

Since we're not in our suburb anymore and I'm not able to walk on the asphalt trails for pedestrians, nor am I able to maintain the hour long P90X workouts that my husband does, I've been doing Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred, which, I think, packs a decent workout in 20-30 minutes. At this point, 30 minutes is about all I'm able to commit to during the day with three boys.

The thing I've found most humorous with the Jillian Michaels' workouts is how apparent it is that she has never delivered a baby.

How do I know this, you wonder?

Well, because the workout goes a little something like this:
Jumping Jacks,
Butt Kicks,
Jump Rope,
Plank Jumps,
Plank Kicks,
Jumping Jacks,
Double Jumps,
High Knee,
Low Knee,

Monday, June 13, 2011


Is it too much to ask that I nurse the baby without a major disaster occurring?


Friday, June 10, 2011


Monday marks a big day in our household. I'll be dropping Luke off at church every morning and then picking him up after lunch for Vacation Bible School. It goes all week.

A big deal? YES.

It's uncommon that I'm away from the children for any amount of time. If I am, it's usually for a grocery run, or a rare weekend lunch with friends. If we ever leave the kids they are almost exclusively left with a close relative. This time I'll be leaving Luke with strangers all morning--for five days in a row! Maybe it's more of a milestone for me than for him?

Luke is supremely excited, and I'm confident that leaving him in a classroom full of unfamiliar faces won't daunt him a bit. He's just that kind of kid, which is nice, but a little heartbreaking for me as I await my hugs and kisses goodbye only to see that he's made two new friends and has engaged them in an game all in the span of 45 seconds.

Yes, he's getting big. Our conversations are slowly shifting to the serious business of loose-teeth, pants with zippers and buttons, and learning how to wash hair in the shower.

How'd we get here? It's amazing to think, as I nurse and rock and coo my two-month old, that I did the very same things with my VERY soon to be five year old. The transition from burp cloths to Buzz Lightyear did go fast.

I had Luke only a few months after turning 22, and Mark and I were sharing with him last night how when he's a teenager that he'd have parents younger than many of his friends. Mark was trying to get Luke excited about this fact and told him how cool and hip his parents would be, you know, being in their forties and all.

Luke, looking confused  shared, "But Dad, parents can't be cool."

And then we wondered if it was him or us that had grown up too quickly.

Regardless, here and now is a wonderful place to be.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Set it at rest...

Do you ever read something that speaks right to you, that seems to be written right from your own heart? Every once in a while this happens to me, when the events of the day are providentially coordinated with what I happen to stumble upon in prayer or reading. For me, it's like nourishment for my soul.

Elizabeth Foss wrote last week about the struggle mothers have with the virtue of gentleness. The entire post is quite good, and I encourage you to read it, especially if you are lacking in this area (as I am...)

One of the quotes I found especially touching, and something I have taken to heart. Things in our house can go from wonderful to miserable in a matter of seconds. Boys will be playing sweetly, baby will be content, when all of sudden a brother takes a beloved toy and the other brother snaps while the baby decides to fuss at the same time. These scenarios happen dozens of times a day, and trying to stay on top of them in a peaceful and gentle manner takes constant effort. Sometimes I'm successful, sometimes I'm not. 

Maybe this one needs to go on my mirror... 
Put your soul every morning in a posture of humility, tranquility, and sweetness, and notice from time to time through the day if it has become entangled in affection for anything; and if it be not quiet, disengaged and tranquil, set it at rest.  -- St. Francis De Sales 

Boys and Food.

A few sayings overheard this weekend.

From a newly-turned two-year old, just learning to talk: "More cracker and hummus, please."

From Daddy to the newly-turned two-year old: "Okay Buddy, is the food in your mouth gone? Okay, now take another bite. We have to teach you how to eat so you don't have to spit out all of your food."

From Mom to the soon-to-be five year old: "Please don't kiss the baby when I'm trying to nurse."

The almost five: "Can I have more chicken, please?" Mom: "It's fish." Him: "Yeah, fish is my favorite chicken."

The five: "Is it time for a protein shake?" Two: "Protein shake?"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gratuitous Baby Shot

On Tuesday I put away my first box of baby clothes, all sized Newborn-3 months. Most of it Michael hadn't even worn. He just grew too fast! This little guy is my longest baby, and judging by the way he's filling out, he's on his way to being the biggest. He's seven weeks old now.

We started cloth diapering this week, too. The baby buns in our house just got a little bit softer, and a little bit cuter :-) . 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Things I Love.

I am quite torn on the controversy surrounding the secretion of food proteins into breastmilk and the concept of an elimination diet. There are two sides to every story, and I'm not convinced either way.

However, one thing that has been proven, and even encouraged to me from my physician is a trial of dairy elimination for a baby struggling with fussy and painful gas. The protein from cow's milk does pass through breastmilk and can affect certain nursing infants.

My otherwise peaceful baby is not peaceful when I've eaten dairy. The difference in temperament is so drastic that I can no longer deny this aspect of my diet. And after an almost two week elimination trial, I tested it yesterday and ate a half slice of pizza for a lunch, and mashed potatoes with milk and cheese with dinner.

It was a rough night and a rough morning.

Bummer. I really, really, REALLY like pizza...and cheese....and milk...and ice cream...lasagna...

I'm not going to go on a dairy witch hunt and eliminate things like Ritz crackers or butter (gasp!), but I have been trying to replace the obvious dairy in my diet.

For starters, Almond Milk.

I was SO scared to try this, but I have to admit that it's not nearly as freaky as I thought it would be. I mix it in my eggs, stir it with protein powder, and have used it as a general milk substitute. It's not bad! And, apparently this stuff could actually be good for you?!

Drink up!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Up to.

I've been gone. Have you noticed?

Mark had a business trip out of state while my trio of boys and I left and enjoyed our family in the Lakes Area. For the last ten days my boys have had the time of their lives spending days with their grandmas, grandpas, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Oh my, lots of cousins.

They played,
and played,
and played,
and played.

It was a wonderful, relaxing, and much-needed escape to the sanctuary of family in the most beautiful (in my opinion) part of Minnesota. As miles of cars traveled south back to the Twin Cities on over-crowded, small town streets, I think with pride, Ha! I get to live here.

While we were visiting our families, we thought it most appropriate to Baptize our newest bundle.

Welcome to the Christian family, Michael. You have put on Christ, in Him you have been Baptized!

(FYI, I'm wearing the preppy white cardigan, and Mark is next to me. Michael's Godparents are holding him.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Mouther.

I've called Poison Control a lot. Like...ten times? And seriously, I got so embarrassed about calling 911 to ask for Poison Control that the direct number not only made its way to the refrigerator, but on speed dial of my phone.

The funny part of this is that of the numerous times I've needed Poison Control, it's always the same child who has been the culprit, and wouldn't you know it, it's not the current difficult one.

Yes, Luke, our oldest, is what I'd like to call a "Mouther." A "Mouther" since birth, it wasn't uncommon that I would nurse him for two or three hours on end. I was always frantically picking objects off the floor knowing they'd end up in his mouth (or diaper), and there were many toys that while recommended for ages 3+, I knew that if the pieces fit in his mouth that they'd inevitably be in his mouth.

I imagine that most parents have called the Poison Center for common occurrences like their child eating the toothpaste (check!) or eating more than one vitamin (check!).

But, has your child eaten a dishwasher tablet (check!), or taken a bite out of your favorite Mr. Clean  Magic Eraser (check!)?

Has your four year old bitten through one of those fun glow-in-the-dark necklaces on the way home from a Halloween party and appear to be radioactive? (check!)

Our little woodchuck is soon to be five, and he still puts everything (EVERYTHING) in his mouth. It's not uncommon for us to remind him during the day to take his shoe out of his mouth, a block, to stop licking the doorknob, or to stop biting his toenails. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Maybe you have a child who has similar uncontrollable urges, say, to lick a dollar bill from the till at McDonlads. It's alright, I won't judge. I won't even make that grossed out germophobe face.


I will probably laugh though.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is This Thing On?

"Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2 NRSV

A faithful woman recently shared with me the necessity of transparency, to show ourselves to others in a true sense. Just as a window is transparent to let light in, so must we also be transparent to let The Light of Christ shine in us and through us to others. 

Who are we to others? To Christ? When light is shone on us, what does it reveal? 

"Is This Thing On," is a new label and category I'm adding. It's my microphone for transparency, a sometimes clean, other times smudged and scratched window into strengths and weaknesses as honestly, and as transparently as I can make them.

If blogs are good at anything, it's the ability to show the best of our lives. We never see the screaming kids, microwaved dinners, exhausted mother, or the dirty windows; perhaps appropriately so. All I want to do is level every so often as an encouragement to those who are tempted to think that they are the only ones who don't have it all together.

While we can't all be neighbors, I'd like to think that we all share a cup of coffee over the internet waves while our kids patiently wait for more apple juice :-) .