Thursday, March 31, 2011


The thought-aloud questioning of a four year that keep me scratching my head:

"Mom, is the Tooth Fairy pretend? Where does she live?"

"Who is St. Hosanna?"

"Can dead people talk?"

"What color is a Snozberry?"

"Why is red the first color of the rainbow?"

"Is there no such thing as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?"

"How can we catch a grouse?" (We have grouse all over our yard!)

Wow. My insanely pregnant brain is not equipped to deal with these queries.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Do you ever...

...just have one of those days?

Yesterday started out pretty rough. Getting out of bed physically hurt as my lower back spasmed as I made my way to the shower. I was unable to wash my hair because my hands were numb and hurting from the creeping carpal tunnel syndrome that has gotten worse with every pregnancy.

Once dressed and greeting the boys for the morning, I no sooner sat down with a cup of coffee when my birthday boy grabbed a stack of paper I had been working on and ran it to the bathroom, promptly throwing the lot into the toilet. No one had to remind him that he turned two that day...

After some discipline and some mumbled words under my breath, I caught sight of the little one's sagging pants and ran him back to the bathroom where a diarrhea explosion took place all over the floor. Little one in the tub, big boy still waiting for a morning drink, I tried as hard as I could to keep perspective that it was just 9am, that the day couldn't possibly go on like this much longer.

But, it did.

At 11:30 I had run out of ideas and patience, so I did what any reasonable person would do and put the boys in the car and went to McDonald's for lunch. After multiple trips down the Playplace slide, my hope was that the boys would be worn out enough to nap all afternoon. Piling the kids back in the van, my mindset kept me going, "I only have to make it until naptime....I only have to make it until naptime."

At home, a test of the wills took place as the newly-turned two-year-old decided that a nap wasn't necessary on his birthday. What took place then was a two hour battle that left me crying and Paul without a nap.

A few hours later Mark walked in the door to me crying, an over-tired two year old clung to my aching hip, and a four year old who had witnessed enough toddler and pregnancy drama for one day. Thank God for freezer food and its ease of preparing on nights like these, and as soon as the kids were fed, I went to my bedroom, shut the door and didn't come out until bedtime.

Once the kids were in bed, I went to bed, too.

This morning, before I even attempted to move out of bed, I whispered pleading prayers not only for a better day, but for the graces to cope with whatever came up. After all, kids are kids, but when you're nine months pregnant, the ability to deal with them in effective ways becomes greatly compromised.

Our sleeping arrangements have been in cahoots lately trying to acclimate Paul to sleeping in Luke's room, and Mark reluctantly gave in to Luke's request to sleep with him in his bed. I woke up to Mark saying that Luke was up all night puking. Whoa! As I cautiously ate saltines for breakfast, Luke climbed out of bed embarrassed. He had had an accident in his bed. Not wetting the bed, no, but had lost his bowel function along with his vomiting.

With both boys now in the tub and my day scoped out pretty well with washing soiled sheets and pajamas, I am reminded of the prayer I said not only two hours ago. I will cope better with this today. The kids need me now. Not the emotional and physical wreck they encountered yesterday, but the mother they deserve when they're sick and need special care and cleaning.

Here we go!

*UPDATE* The big boy keeps going through his underpants and the little guy just projectiled over my last fitting pair of maternity pants. Cotton pajama pants it is for me, and logically, I put on Bambi for the kids and called it a day.

(On a side note, my kids puke all the time, I'm used to it and not too concerned. But me, oh heavens. Please pray that *I* don't start puking. Puking and pregnancy are a REALLY unfortunate situation for me, and I really, really, really don't want to end up in the hospital. And, as tempted as I am to go into labor right now, I still really need at least one more week. Thank you!!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

#2 is Two.

Today is my sweet Paulie's 2nd birthday. Who could have thought a mother could love a little boy so much. Contrary to what many say, the past two years have felt like two years. Many months were challenging as we tried to find out what, if anything, was wrong with our infant who seemed too small and very miserable. My heart grew stronger, as did my arms, from constantly carrying around a baby with chronic tummy aches. Now, at two, this boy is absolutely my delight; full of hugs and kisses from morning 'till night. 
He loves dogs, "vrooming" cars across the floor, playing with his big brother, raisins and yogurt, getting his head rubbed, and cuddles from just about anyone who loves him. What he lacks with his pint-sized frame he makes up for with an iron will and temper to go with it. But as tough as his exterior can be, a stern look from us will cause his lip to quiver and send him running back to mommy and daddy to seek forgiveness.
Paulie calls Luke "Doody," which sounds more like cookie. He practically begs to go to bed at night, and when he wakes, only daddy and cuddles on the couch will do. I can't sit down during the day without him handing me a book and crawling on my lap.  
The first time I held my sweet boy, my eyes filled with tears and I cried and cried. Even after carrying him for nine months, even knowing his name for the five months prior, nothing could have prepared me for seeing his face and falling in love with him for the first time. If my first baby taught me how to be mother, the second baby taught me not only to embrace the job, but to cherish and love every moment. 
Happy Birthday, Paul!!! Our hearts ache with how much we are blessed by you. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Position.

I'm sharing a link today of a video I watched this weekend.

I'm not recommending that you watch this video. There is no way around it, it's horrible, repulsive, sickening, tragic...sad beyond words. I really don't know how I got through it, other than a determination to see a side of something that I am opposed to and to reaffirm my convictions on the matter.

I have a feeling that the discussing the abortion debate on this blog is preaching to the choir, barking up to the wrong tree, etc., which is why I'm not saying that anyone should watch this video. However, maybe somebody you know should watch it, or maybe you are not quite sure how barbaric a fetus getting dismembered is.

I'm just sharing today for anyone who needs to know the violent reality behind choice.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Baby Prep #3

After my whining and ranting last week, this week I'm determined to get a few more things off of my to-do list. The snow and ice, as much as I hate it, gives me no choice other than to get more accomplished around the house.

First, we made and froze banana muffin batter. We all really like banana muffins, and each of these bags should make about 18 regular sized muffins. We usually make 12 regular muffins and a pan for baby muffins.

Next, I made ten pounds of mashed potatoes and froze them into cute little quart-sized freezer bags. Are my mashed potatoes orange? Yes they are. My genius of a cook mother-in-law adds a sweet potato to her mashed potatoes. For ten pounds of potatoes, I added two sweet potatoes. We don't like sweet potatoes, but the mild taste of them in mashed potatoes is wonderful. Plus, it makes them more nutritious.

Finally, the boys and I made some homemade detergent. It can be a mess to make, but I've done it so many times now that it doesn't phase me. Today I made over 5 gallons of detergent, hoping it will last four or more months. I added some lavender essential oil to it just because I had it on hand.
 Here are the boys helping me to grate two bars of Fels Naptha. The Wal-Mart here carries it for $1. Our previous town did not carry it and so I had to buy it at a hardware store. Incidentally, the Wal-Mart doesn't carry Borax, so I still go the hardware store for that. If you can't find Washing Soda at Wal-Mart, try another grocery store, or else hardware stores always carry it.
Here's the detergent all ready to go. To make it easier to use, I scoop it from the bucket and through a funnel into an empty liquid laundry jug. My $0.02 on homemade laundry detergent is that it works pretty well. My husband has to wear a dress shirt and tie everyday, and the boys' clothes are always filthy, so I can be pretty fussy about the laundry. The first time you make it it can seem like a lot of extra effort, but it's really not bad. The only thing I miss is that the clothes don't come out smelling like anything. They are clean, but I actually like the smell of Tide and the faint fragrance of fresh clothes. If I can't hang the clothes on the line to dry to get the smell I love, then I improvise and throw in a dryer sheet.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Full Disclosure.

I've kept it no secret on this blog that I...ahem...pack it on during the course of my pregnancies. The first time around was ridiculous, the second time around was ridiculous, although a bit more reasonable, and now for the third I'm resigned to believing that a solid 45lb weight gain is really the bare minimum I need to gain in order to grow healthy babies.

I swear, I honestly don't go nuts and eat everything in sight, but at the same time, I'm hungry a lot, and can easily out-eat just about anyone in sight. For the most part I fill up on healthy foods. I eat organic, slow-cooking rolled oats for breakfast, I always eat fruits and vegetables with my lunch, and a refined carbohydrate rarely makes an appearance at our dinner table (the exception being take out pizza, Chinese, etc.).

I do, however, have one horribly unhealthy craving. It's something I never eat when I'm not pregnant, but when I am, it becomes an obsession. Yes, an obsession. I can't even think about this food without obsessing over it, and once it's in my head, I will stop at nothing to make sure I fulfill the craving.

The culprit: Brown Sugar

During my first pregnancy, this craving caught me by surprise during the last trimester. I was alone one morning in our apartment and felt particularly compelled to bring a bag to brown sugar and a spoon to the couch while I watched television. For the next ten weeks until I delivered a day didn't go by where I could go without eating a spoonful. I managed a little better on the second pregnancy, but sure enough, around week 33 the craving hit me hard, and the only food that could bring me out of the depths of brown sugar addiction were egg-shaped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

For this pregnancy, my brown sugar addiction is out of control. I sneak spoonfuls and eat it plain when the kids aren't looking, and I'm constantly looking for ways to add it to my food. On top of strawberries? Sure! A few tablespoons on a cup of oatmeal? Why not! In a cup of tea? A great idea! In a bowl plain as a bedtime snack? Can't hurt!

The funny thing is that I don't even like sugary foods, so this is way out of character for me. Now, when I deliver my 9lb baby, you'll know exactly how I pulled that one off.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bedtime Stories

We just finished our first big "read-aloud" with our 4.5. It's not that we haven't been reading to the kids, but bedtime stories for our big boy have, for the last two and a half years, revolved around dinosaurs. He has has been absolutely, scientifically obsessed with them, and hardly any story (fictions) has kept him entertained. If it wasn't a dinosaur reference book, it wasn't read. I can humbly write that the two of us have learned a lot about dinosaurs and not a whole lot about anything else.

Someday, if I'm ever on Jeopardy, I can confidently select the "Paleontology" category and be assured that I would know nearly every answer.

I thought the day would never come, but I slowly convinced Luke one night that instead of reading about the nesting habits of the female Maisaura, that we could actually read a book, you know, like the kind that I like to read. I picked up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the library, and after starting the first chapter out loud while the kids played on the floor, not more than a minute passed and both of them were on my lap mesmerized.

What a dirty little trick I played on them, luring them with a book about candy. But it worked, and a week later the book was finished. I am pleased that we accomplished the double-whammy of a 1) a book without dinosaurs and 2) a book without pictures. I honestly didn't know what book was going to accomplish that, but I guess if a Chocolate River can't coax a kid out of the Jurassic, nothing can.

We're expecting 10 inches of snow's the end of March; technically Spring, I'm hugely pregnant, and getting to the point where I can't be seen in public anymore. Something's gotta give. So, on today's docket, a reward for the kids and a break for mom: the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. A little creepy, yes, bratty kids, yes, a little politically incorrect, yes (they openly call kids fat, etc.), but having had looked outside at WHITE for over the last six months, we could all escape to a world of pure imagination every once in awhile.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Just a month...or so.

This week it happened. We all knew it was coming; it comes at different times for different people. But on Tuesday I told Mark those fateful words, "I'm ready to not be pregnant anymore."

He was most understanding, and even cheered me on for getting to this point with just a month (or so...) left of this pregnancy, as opposed to some people who are mentally and physically spent with months and months to go.

I explained it to him simply: Two weeks ago I was fine, but two weeks later I'm bigger, and I feel it in every bone of my body. The boys have no more lap to sit on, simple tasks are becoming difficult ones, and sleep just isn't happening. I take the last walk down the stairs at night grimacing with every step, and then wake up in the morning contemplating for a second if I was in a bar fight the night before.

I have healthy pregnancies and healthy children, and I realize that I don't have a lot to complain about, but still, it doesn't mean that mothers during their last month of pregnancy don't go through their own emotional and physical battles.

A few years ago a dear family member gave me this book (more like a pamphlet, but still good). It's perfect for Lent, and even more perfect for Lent when you're pregnant. Keeping my small sufferings in check with a bigger picture (i.e., Christ's suffering on the Cross), has helped me immensely in realizing that my suffering will bring forth new life, and to join that to Christ's suffering who gave us life. Nothing like a mother's prayer book to keep perspective.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


We've been some of the fortunate few who have entered our  transient stage of life in the middle of a housing crisis. We've benefited by living in homes larger and newer than we've needed, while spending a lot less than we'd planned for.

Yes, lots to be thankful for. More bedrooms and bathrooms for our family to grow into.

But wait a minute on the bathroom part. Our last two homes have had three full bathrooms.

Never again. 

My dream home will have two bathrooms. That's it. No more. I'm done at two.

The first bathroom will be mine. All mine, only to be used by me, and those who are guests in our home. It will smell like roses, have soft cotton towels, violins playing, and will be most lovely in every way a lady's bathroom ought to be.

The second bathroom will have rubber walls...

...and a urinal.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mother's Day Out

In this book I'm reading, which has come highly recommended by nearly every Catholic mother I know, there is a part of it that I have wrestled with since reading. The intent of the book is to help mothers use their days effectively by scheduling necessary events coupled with prayer, leisure and nurturing of a mother and child's soul. 

The author in book has a regularly kept day off. Every other Saturday is her "Mother's Day Out," where she leaves the house for the entire day. She doesn't run errands, take children with her, or have an agenda other than to recharge, regroup and take much-needed time for herself away from the demands of children and family life. She makes it clear that she doesn't go for coffee and come home, she goes the entire day, returning the earliest at 3pm, but most often after the dinner hour. 

My first thought when I read this was, sadly, that I wouldn't even know what to do with myself if I had a day alone. Do I even know how to window shop, get my hair done, go out to lunch, go to Confession, or have private prayer time without the constant interruption of responsibility

The author is very blunt in the difficulty this "day off" caused in her marriage at first. Her husband didn't like being left alone with five children all day, had things to do, and didn't want her to leave. Even so, they stuck it out, and year after year the tradition of "Mother's Day Out" held, knowing that for them it was necessary for this busy and overworked mother. 

A few weeks ago my attitude was less than positive, and I was just tired. I kept finding that while home all day with the kids I was trying in little ways to get away from them. I tried to fold laundry with the bedroom door shut. I tried putting on movies for them, or taking an extra long time on the computer. I was just burned out. I had been over six weeks since I had been anywhere without them or had a break. 

Then, on an especially grumpy Saturday Mark politely suggested, "Why don't you just go somewhere?" Where to go? I was -10 below and I didn't know a soul. Desperate for the time away, I hopped in the car and went to the movie theater...alone. I didn't know whether to feel happy or sorry for myself, but there I sat with my popcorn, alone at the big screen on Saturday night. It was humbling, but I needed it. 

A "Mother's Day Out" could mean a lot of different things for different mothers. We have different needs and demands. Some need more time off, some less, but I think the objective is that they need it in some form or another. Just my admission that I wouldn't even know how to spend time away is proof that it's needed. We forget in this season of life that we are more than diapers, wipes, dinner, and preschool. It's difficult to remember, but we are

A very wise clergy member once shared with me that one of the biggest priorities for ministry in our new church was to help pastor mothers. He explained how much spiritual, emotional and intellectual nourishment was necessary for them while raising children. "It is a priority to cultivate the entire person," he shared, "When a woman is done raising children, we have to make sure that there is something left of her." It is so easy to forget that our identity is more than our role to our family, and as devoted to them as we are, there are still parts of our hearts that are need growth.

It's a tall order, and something I could go on and on about. Something to reflect on for sure, especially during this Lenten season when we are called to both sacrifice for others (which can be done in the home easily for mothers), but also to deepen our relationship with God and spend added time in prayer, which might require time away, especially for those with little ones.

There's no easy way around it--mothers at home, mothers away. It's all challenging in this season. However, as I prepare myself and our family for another child, I see more and more the necessity of keeping a Mother's Heart in the right place, which, for me, might be as simple as a cup of coffee and the book above.  

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I am very close to buying a Moby Wrap. Other than a Baby Bjorn, I've never had any other "Baby Wearing" device.

My logic for the Moby is that I've borrowed slings, and I don't like the way they feel, and the baby hasn't liked them much, either. The baby does a little better in the Bjorn, but it ends up being killer on my back. I thought, what if I could get a snug hold for baby, plus something that would feel supportive on my back. Plus, it would be easy to wash, carry around in a diaper bag, and is more reasonable priced that other wraps.

Thoughts? Objections? Suggestions? 

Help me, please!


Only one thing could keep two crazy boys glued to the window on a solemn Ash Wednesday.

Why a gas truck in our driveway, of course!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Facebook Detox: Part 2

Nothing new to report on the Facebook front, except that I have had no temptation to return. In fact, there have been...ahem.... at least two people I know of for sure who have followed suit and deactivated shortly after my announcement.

I may not be on Facebook, but I have started and finished three new books since I quit, made popovers and a pound cake for the first time, knit a scarf, had multiple catch-up phone calls with friends, actually made plans to visit friends, read my boys more stories, added more structure to our day, reduced strain on my eyes, and have done all the pelvic rocking and tailer sitting necessary for a successful Bradley birth. Phew! Who knew I had that much time on my hands!

In other news, I also recently gave up my cell phone, and last week for the first time in my we have given up completely cable and satellite television. What am I going to do with myself?

Have I mentioned I starting sewing my own denim-homeschooling mom jumper?
Just kidding.

You can't nurse a baby in a jumper anyway.


Baby Prep #1

Here is the first of a series of posts I intend to do about freezing meals for after our baby arrives. My first, Chicken Wild Rice Soup, is a family favorite. Even though our baby is due in the spring, a lot of freezer meals will end up being more wintry food, just because they freeze better. But, for me, Chicken Wild Rice beats corn dogs and fries any day of the year, so I'm all for it. I'll post pictures now, then the complete recipe at the bottom. 

First you gotta melt some butter. This is a double recipe, so it's 12 TBS. Yes, 1200 calories, but don't think about that just yet, remember, it's a double recipe. 

Is there a better smell than celery and onions sauteed n butter? I attest there is not!

Then you have to get your roux on. Make sure to stir it so it doesn't get lumpy. Have some carrots or almonds? Add them!

The important part. We tend to think a rotisserie tastes the absolute best in this soup, and it's often the cheapest way to add good chicken. 

Don't forget the wild rice. 

The finished product. 

After a full dinner, here are the leftovers. For our family, this means two dinners, plus two lunches in containers for Mark. 

A Word about Wild Rice. It's a Minnesota product, and while it's expensive here, I imagine it's much more elsewhere. The nice thing about soup is that it's tough to screw up, so even if you have a small amount of wild rice, just use what you have. 

Wild Rice Prep: This is how I like to prepare it.
-Rinse wild rice, soak in double the amount of liquid overnight, i.e., 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water. 
-Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour. Leave it alone! Don't open or stir. 
-The amount of rice wild when cooked will double, i.e. 1 cup of uncooked wild rice yields 2 cups of cooked rice.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup: The basis for this recipe is from my mother in law (Thank you!) I've tweaked a few things to add more of what we like and have taken out ingredients that we don't keep in cupboard. No one seems to mind. I'm posting the double recipe for the sake of freezer storage. This makes A LOT of soup!

12 TBS butter                    3 TBS chopped/slivered almonds (optional)
1 onion, minced                  2-3 C half and half (or more if you like your soup less thick)
1 C flour                             Salt and pepper to taste ( we like a lot of pepper)
6 C chicken broth               2 C cooked and cubed/shredded chicken. We use a rotisserie.
2 C cooked wild rice          3 celery stalks finely chopped 
3 finely grated carrots

1. Melt butter in LARGE stock pot, add onion and celery, saute until tender (~10 min)
2. Blend in flour, gradually stir in broth (theoretically you could use MORE broth and LESS cream if you're into the whole lower calorie sort of thing). 
3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring to boil for 1 minute. 
4. Stir in rice, carrots, almonds, salt and pepper, simmer 5 minutes
5. Blend in half and half

Amount: 12+ cups. 
This is a SUPER filling soup. I make it with bread sometimes, but other times, we just eat it with a side of cut-up fruit. 

Monday, March 7, 2011


Bigger diaper bag or rolling luggage?

Bigger diaper bag or rolling luggage?

The scales tip one way...and then the other...

Back in the Nest.

Good Morning, and Happy Monday. Life begins as usual today, the first time in over a week. Being out of town for a week was both restful, but also a bit restless at times, out of our daily grind. However, I am truly thankful for the time away I was able to enjoy. I can say honestly now that I am energized more than I thought I would be at the stage of my pregnancy.

Before we left last week, I was feeling a lot of pressure from myself. There's so much to do, and I have the time to do, but I've really lacked the motivation to want to do it. When's that nesting instinct supposed to kick in? I decided that instead of fretting over everything that I would at least write down the tasks ahead of us for the next six weeks. I easily filled up one piece of paper...and then another, and then diligently taped them on the kitchen cupboard as a reminder.

When returned home yesterday I felt a surge of energy to get working on the list. The list includes smalls tasks like making soup and buying freezer bags, but then larger ones like switching entire bedrooms around. Phew. And, as I map out a plan to get started on the list, I'm beginning to realize all of things that I've forgotten.
A glimpse of my list.

 I selected my "Nesting" tasks for this week already. For this week: double batches of Chicken Wild Rice Soup, Mashed Potatoes (like the ones below), and bleaching cloth diapers. Added to our grocery list are a start to the many baby items that we will be collecting the next few weeks.

Here's to productive week!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring Break.

Just an FYI that I am on "Spring Break" this week, which really isn't a break at all, but it's certainly a break from our routine. We're away from our home this week, and it looks, in fact, that I will get a day or two break in the middle of week--all in time for my 27th birthday.

I'm sure I will make up for it next week with all the wonderful insights I will gain from restful hours of leisurely reading and knitting while watching the morning shows that have replaced with Curious George.

Enjoy the rest of your week, friends, I'll be back soon.