Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Learning the Hard Lessons

Today, I was laying Samantha down for her afternoon nap, when I heard an unholy screaming from the bathroom.  Quickly, I put her down and ran to see why my son was losing his mind.

He was sitting there over the toilet he had just flushed, crying as though he'd broken an arm or something.

"My car, Mommy.  My car," he sobbed.

Apparently, he had dropped the car in the toilet by accident, and flushed before he thought to get it out.

I held him as I explained that I couldn't get it back, even if I tried.  His beloved Hot Wheels was gone forever.  His tears soaked my shirt, but I just rocked his little half-naked body, trying to find words of comfort.  He has dealt with things being broken.  He has dealt with choosing to get rid of things.  He has even dealt with having something taken away from him.

Never before has something he so loved been torn away from him accidentally and suddenly.  Yes, it was only a toy car, but to him, it's a big deal.

As his hiccuping tears drew to a close, he murmured, "I'm sorry, Mommy.  I'm so, so sorry.  It's all my fault."

My heart broke again, and I grasped for words to explain that accidents happen, and they aren't anyone's fault.  They just happen and they suck, and sometimes, they can't be fixed.

His sad little silver-blue eyes stared into mine, tear-filled and red-rimmed, as I tried to explain a concept that I have trouble dealing with, even now.  Sometimes things are gone, suddenly, without rhyme or reason.  And you can't fix it.

We snuggled there for some time, wishing the world were different.

And then we dried our tears and went to play trains.  Because the world moves on.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Yesterday, my oldest baby turned four.


He's beautiful, and perfect, and sweet and kind, and getting SO BIG.

Yesterday morning, he crawled into bed with me, snuggled in, and asked, "Mommy, why are there balloons?"

The night before, while he slept, I had hung balloons from his doorway.  I replied, "Because it's your birthday, and special things happen on your birthday."

My little man sat there, thinking for a moment, and said, "Oh.  Fair. . . " :)

An hour later, however, when he'd had time to process it, he asked me to go upstairs and look at his "balloon tunnel" with him.  I stood next to him as he stared at it in awe.  "Mommy," he said, "you make me so very happy.  I love you." And he wrapped his little arms around my waist as I choked back tears.

The rest of the day was a blur of breakfast with Grammy and Papa, playtime at Monkey Bizness, nap, and of course, his birthday party.

I have never seen a happier boy than my son last night.  And never have I felt like a better mom than I did in that moment.

Happy birthday, Little Buddy.  You are awesome.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Updates on us

Life is good.

Busy, but good.

Miles is back in school, and about to have his fourth(!!!) birthday.  Sam is sitting up and rolling all over the place.  My days are filled with playdates and house-cleaning, my weekends with trips to the Festival.

Oh, and we've been a little busy working on buying this:

I kept waiting for something to go wrong, and so I held off talking about it.  But, yesterday, the last hurdle was cleared.  After a mountain of paperwork and weeks of being patient, this amazing gem will be ours at the end of October!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

The answer to "Where have you been?!?"

Miles is back in school, two days a week.

We are starting the process to (hopefully) buy a house at the end of the year.

My mother just had surgery - nothing major, but not exactly minor either.

Samantha is entering a stage of severe ADD - nothing holds her attention for more than a couple of minutes, but she wants to be entertained CONSTANTLY.

I just finished up selling a consignment sale, and am gearing up to have a garage sale in a couple of weeks.

The dishes are piling up.

So is the laundry.

My floor needs vacuumed.

Miles needs a dentist appointment.

The craft room needs to be cleaned and sorted.

The garage does as well.

Festival starts this weekend, and though I'm not involved, I definitely need to find time to visit.

I'm swamped.  Love you all.

Friday, August 23, 2013

4 months (and a few days)

4 month milestones

  • Solid food.  She has had baby oatmeal, applesauce, and mashed banana so far.  Her favorite is applesauce mixed with a little oatmeal for texture. 
  • She is trying really hard to sit up on her own, but can't quite balance, yet.
  • Incredibly talkative.  She coos when she's happy, grunts when she's angry, and makes gurgling noises when she is hungry.  My favorite, though, is her laugh. :)
  • LOVES her big brother, and adores cuddling him and holding his hand.
  • Tummy time has gotten easier/better.  She will now stay on her tummy for all of three full minutes before screaming! lol
  • She's awake for MUCH more of the day.  One day, she was only up for about an hour to an hour and a half at a time.  The next, she was awake for several hours between naps.  
Love this girl!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


It's 4:45 pm and I just ate for the first time today.  And it was a bowl of cereal snarfed in less than five minutes while hiding, crouched on the kitchen floor so I didn't have to share it.

It's been that sort of day.

Sam has a cold.  Miles is just getting over his.  Patrick and I are showing the signs of coming down with it.  Sam suddenly stopped sleeping through the night a couple of days ago, so we did, too.  Miles is feeling very needy and attention-hungry.  Sam only wants to cuddle, and won't nap unless I'm holding her.  Miles has decided that naps are for losers.  I have literally been "on" for eight hours straight.  Every bathroom break was taken at the last possible moment to the sound of screaming.  Every time I sat, I was immediately covered in children (and snot and drool).  Every time I stood, I carried a cranky baby with me and listened to Miles ask me, once more, to come play trains. I am typing this while Samantha whines next to me, because nothing I can do makes her stop.  I have given in and handed Miles my phone to browse YouTube, and he is squeezed in on my other side.  Even in this moment of writing, there is no quiet, no release.

I am exhausted, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Don't offer me platitudes.  Don't bother telling me this will all be over soon.  I know it will.  And days like this will not be missed.  I guarantee it.

We will all be okay.  We will get through this, and soon.  But for right now, it kinda sucks.

So, don't be surprised when I don't answer the phone.  I just don't have the energy or the time.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

10 by 31

Yesterday, I reviewed my 30 by 30 goals.  It wasn't an utter disaster, and I learned a lot.  That means, I'm ready to set myself some new challenges, and start down that road toward 31.  This time, though, I'm heading for smaller, shorter-term goals.  If I do this every year, I will have made (and hopefully met) 50 goals by 35, and 100 by 40.  This could be awesome. :)

  1. Read at least 10 books.
  2. Try out two new crafts.
  3. Learn how to effectively use my fancy schmancy camera in manual mode.
  4. Try 2 new foods.
  5. Practice my crochet regularly.
  6. Continue searching out new experiences for my children each month.
  7. Continue to de-clutter our home.  
  8. Create a mural or other art project to display in our new home.
  9. Try new activities - for me.  I have a tendency to shy away from new social situations, and thereby miss out on fun things.
  10. Start and maintain a garden.

Friday, August 9, 2013

30 by 30: The Final Results

Okay.  Tomorrow is my 30th birthday.  Where am I on that 30 by 30 list?  Let's see:
  1. Read thirty books off of the list of top 100 banned books.
    • Fahrenheit 451
    • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
    • Catcher in the Rye
    • In the Midnight Kitchen
    • Brave New World
    • Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone
    • Of Mice & Men
    • Their Eyes Were Watching God (in progress)
    • Bottom Line: I did read more overall, but less than 1/3 of my goal for banned books.
  2. Make thirty crafts I have not tried before.  Bonus points if each serves a practical purpose. 
    1. Stencil t-shirts.
    2. Flower barrettes/headbands
    3. Girl's skirt from t-shirt
    4. Tree for stuffed animals for Miles' room
    5. Polka dots for Miles' wall.
    6. Silhouette art for my wall.
    7. Nap sheet and bag for Miles to take to school
    8. Crocheted hats for Samantha
    9. Crocheted headbands for Samantha
    10. Pillowcase dresses for Samantha & my niece
    11. Storage boxes for Miles' toys
    12. Steampunk Jewelry

  3. Choreograph a dance for my children's group.  All by myself.
    1. Finished!  It was performed at the 2012 Renaissance Festival.
    2. Bottom Line: Goal = Accomplished
  4. Take 30,000 pictures. 
    1. 7,000 as of August 2012
    2. Bottom Line: Honestly? I lost count after that.  I doubt I hit that goal, but I have used my camera a lot
  5. Cook or bake 30 dishes I have never made before.
    1. Homemade salsa
    2. Stuffed pork chops
    3. Weeknight chicken & noodles
    4. Chicken Noodle Soup
    5. Indian Chicken
    6. Bottom Line: Um, yeah... 30 new dishes was a little . . . optimistic.
  6. Watch 30 classic movies I've never seen.
    1. Movies?  Who has time for movies.  I think I've seen 5 or 6?
  7. Learn to knit or crochet.
    1. Hand-Knitting: Accomplished.  Not fond of it, but I can do it.
    2. Crocheting: Accomplished.  Multiple baby hats, headbands, and various accessories created.  Crocheted headband sold on Etsy.
    3. Loom-Knitting: In-progress.  Hated it.  Never even finished my first project.
    4. Bottom Line: I did it!  Goal = Accomplished!
  8. Take a dance lesson, or preferably, a dance class.
  9. Take Miles to a new museum/event/activity/experience at least once a month.
    1. August 2011 through March 2012: Don't remember what all we did, but I did keep up.
    2. April 2012 - WonderScope
    3. May 2012 - Floating Lanterns trip planned for Memorial Day weekend
    4. Lost track . . . but pretty sure we did it!
    5. Bottom Line: Goal = (Probably) Accomplished!
  10. Simplify my life by getting rid of things I do not need.
    1. Donated 4 boxes to Goodwill between Dec. 2011 and May 2012
    2. Gave away all maternity clothes after Sam was born.
    3. Still working on selling off/giving away crap, but  I have definitely done what I set out to do.
    4. Bottom Line: Goal = Accomplished
  11. Organize all of our household paperwork, and keep up on it.
    1. Bottom Line: Big.Fat.Fail.
  12. Start my own business.  Even if it's just selling a few craft items online from time to time.
    1. Etsy business established.  Hand-crocheted flowered headband sold, custom made, and delivered.  Positive feedback!
    2. Bottom Line: Accomplished!
  13. Finish illustrating the children's book I wrote in college.
    1. Bottom Line: Nope.  Still not done.
  14. Open a savings account for Miles.
    1. Bottom Line: Still need to do this.  And now, one for Samantha, too.
  15. Send birthday cards to everyone in my immediate circle of family/friends for at least one year.
    1. Bottom Line: Nope.  Not even one. :/
  16. Take Dominic through obedience classes.
  17. Decide if/when I'm going to go back for my Master's degree, and what I'm going to study.
    1. Decision is that I will decide later, when the kids are a little older.
  18. Audition for a musical.
    1. Nope.
  19. Quit my Festival job and become a full-time stay-at-home mom. Find a better balance between work and mommyhood, whether that means quitting my job or not.
    1. Quit the Festival.  Still working on Balance.
  20. Compile my music collection into one place.
    1. In-roads have been made.  Technology is fighting me. Boo.
    2. Bottom Line: Incomplete
  21. Get a digital copy of every important photograph I have, and store them in a safe place.
    1. Hahahahahahaha.  Totally forgot about this...
  22. Finish my digital family tree.
    1. Using, family tree is now accurate to at least three generations on every side. Not sure when I'll consider it "finished".
  23. Exercise every single day for at least 30 days.
    1. So far, twice a week has been my best record.
  24. Learn at least 30 new signs for use at Special Olympics.
    1. "How many tickets?" - Need refresher.
    2. "Which?" - Need refresher.
    3. "Where is your coach?" - Need to learn.
    4. "Which events are you competing in?" - Need to learn
    5. "What time?" - Need to learn.
    6. Responses to "What time?" - Need to learn.
    7. "Where is your interpreter?" - Need to learn
    8. "She's/He's not here." - Need to learn.
    9. "She's busy with her child(ren)." - Need to learn.
    10. "I don't know much sign language." - Need to learn.
    11. "Do you want:" - Need to learn
    12. "Stuffed animals?" - Need to learn.
    13. "Candy?" - Need refresher.
    14. "Ball?" - Need refresher
    15. "Puzzle?" - Need to learn
    16. "Necklace?" - Need to learn
    17. Bottom Line: Still have a lot of work to do.
  25. Learn to play at least ten new games.
    1. Um. No.  Didn't happen.
  26. Become more involved in the financial planning of our household.
    1. Downloaded an app to help track finances.  It was horrible, and reset to zero at the end of each month.  Trying to find a better one.
    2. Took over household expenses and budgeting.
    3. Bottom Line: Finally!  One I actually accomplished!!!
  27. Set up our wills, and arrange for custody of Miles (and now Samantha), should anything unfortunate happen.
    1. Nope. 
  28. Find a church where my family is comfortable, and become an active member.
    1. Nope.  Tried.  Failed.  Gave up... 
  29. Participate in a flash mob. - DONE!
  30. Contact at least ten of my teachers from elementary, middle, high school, and college, and tell them how they have influenced my life.
    1. Mrs. Alexander - Freshman & Senior College-Bound English
    2. Mrs. Heath - Kindergarten
    3. Mr. Simmons - Middle & High School Gifted
    4. Bottom Line: 3 out of 30.  That's 10%.  Fail. :/
So, where does that leave us? Well, I tried a lot of new things.  I pushed myself.  But in the end, my goals turned out to be a little ambitious.  To be fair, I didn't know we were going to add to our family when I wrote these.  Had I known, I might have cut myself a little slack.

Am I disappointed that I failed so many goals?  A little.  But the goal of this was to make me try things, and I definitely did that.  So, in the end, I consider this a success.  Maybe my 35 by 35 goals will end with better results.  Only time will tell. :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Thirty Years

One week from today, I will officially be 30 years old.



It sounds like I'm freaked out by it, and I guess I am, a little.  I didn't think 30 would get here so quickly.  30 seemed so far off, even a couple of years ago.  I'm mostly freaked by the fact that time has flown so quickly.

As for the actual number?  I'm actually kinda happy with it.

I am (almost) 30.  That means I'm officially an adult.  No one can discount my thoughts or opinions just because I'm a "kid" anymore.  30 is like this magic number that everyone actually recognizes as 'adulthood'.  It's nice, especially for someone like me.  My mother always said I was "born 30 years old" - others told me I have an "old soul".  Now, finally, I feel like I've grown into that, and like - finally - my same-age peers are on the same page.

No longer am I the "stick-in-the-mud" if I don't want to have a water-gun fight.  No longer am I "putting on airs" when I use big words.  No longer do people try to force me to try something I don't like or don't want to try.  I have finally reached an age where people accept what I am.

Overall, though, I just feel good about my age.  I've finally settled into my skin.  I'm comfortable with myself and who I am (for the most part).  Long gone are the years of trying to decide if I should try to fit in, the years of trying to decide exactly who I am.  I am me.  I have my faults, sure, but I've started to figure out what mine are, and what to do about them.  I can finally look myself in the mirror, see the dark circles under my eyes and the mussy hair and smile, because they belong to me.  I am a person who is loved, by my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my God - and finally, I have learned to love myself.

So, I say, "Welcome, Thirty.  I've been waiting for you."

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Little Things

A full night's sleep.

Waking up early to feed and cuddle a sleepy baby.

Lying in bed, listening to the quiet.

A cup of coffee, alone.

A soft rain on a grey morning.

Time to write, and contemplate.

Memories, and plans.


Thursday, July 25, 2013


The dreaded summer cold hit our house this week.  And it hit me hard.  I spent most of yesterday in a haze, functioning only through the miracle of Day-Quil.

Luckily, I have awesome kids.

Miles quietly played and watched tv.  If I had a coughing fit, he'd come pat me on the back and say, "It be okay, Mommy.  It be okay."

Samantha wanted nothing more than to cuddle most of the day, smiling up at me from time to time.

It was a long day, but my babies made it so much better.

And the good news is that we all appear to be on the mend today.  After a good night's sleep (thank you, Ny-Quil), I feel a ton better.  Still congested and achy, but I'll take it. :)

Friday, July 19, 2013


Three weeks ago, the world became suddenly crazy, hectic, and stressful.

A week ago, just as suddenly, it fully returned to normal.

Other than Patrick going to work and the kids and I doing our daily morning outing, we've been staying home, relaxing as a family, and just recovering.

We've eaten dinner at home, then played outdoors in the fading light.

We've taken walks to get ice cream.

We've cleaned, and rested, and cleaned some more.

Life with two small children is always a little on the crazy side, but it is our normal, and I am so thankful to return to it.

This quiet little life makes me so happy.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pass the Wine

The last two weeks have been . . . long.  Let's just go with long.

I can't even go into everything.  There's simply too much.

Baby showers. Surprised and unpleasantly shocked with the behavior of a family member.  Fourth of July.  A family emergency that took us out of town for most of a week.  Some sort of stomach bug or food poisoning or something that had Miles puking and pooping for two days.  Little sleep.  Lots of stress.

I'm hanging in there.  Stressed, and somewhat anxious, but considering the situation, I'm not sure that's unexpected.  Mostly, I'm just hunkering down and cuddling my husband and kiddos and trying to ride out the storm.

Hopefully, I will have time, patience, and wherewithal to post more in the near future.  Until then, hugs to all of you, and I hope your summer is much less exciting than mine. :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's Tough Being a Kid

I'm Miles.  I'm three.

That's my standard introduction.  I've taken over Mommy's blog today to tell all of you grown-up-types something you probably don't know: Being a kid is tough stuff.

Don't roll your eyes.  It's true.

First, there's the fact that there's all these rules about everything.  And they all change.  Constantly.  It's okay for me to run and play at McDonald's in between bites of chicken nuggets.  But somehow, it's not okay for me to go run and play in between bites of dinner at the table at home.  If I'm on Mommy's Bed, it's okay to roughhouse and wrestle.  Unless Baby Samantha is anywhere around.  Or if Mommy doesn't feel like it.  Then, it's Not Okay.  It makes Mommy happy when I poop in a pull-up, but she keeps insisting I poop in the potty, and says that will make her "really happy".  I don't understand the difference.  You're either happy or you're not.  Which one is it, Lady?

Then, there's this whole time thing.  Five minutes is an eternity.  Stuff that happened before nap?  Might as well have happened last week.  And some things - some really fun things - seem to have happened just a few seconds ago, but Mommy and Daddy say they happened a long time ago.  Like my Birthday.  That was awesome!  Mommy says it was in September (whatever that means), but I remember it.  We played at the park and GrandMary and GrandDad and Grammy and Grandpa and Great-Grandpa and Aunt Portia and lots of other people came.  We had cake and presents!  And they sang to me and I sang, too, and then I got to blow out the fire!  I want to do it again, but Mommy says we have to wait a long time for that.  I don't get it.  If it's fun, why can't we just do it now?

That's another thing - these grown-up types don't seem to understand that I want to play.  Right now.  I don't want to stop to eat, or sleep, or brush my teeth, or anything else.  I just want to keep playing.  It makes me happy.  Grown-ups don't play much, and they are always grumpy.  If they would just play, like I want to, they would be happy!

There's so much I don't understand, yet, but I understand a LOT more than they think I do.  They talk about me like I'm not there, like I can't hear or understand them.  I know it takes me some time to put my words together (and who has time for that? There are things to climb!), but I understand most things.  When Mommy tells Grammy-on-the-phone that I am being whiny, it makes me sad.  I don't understand 'whiny', but I know it's not good because of the way Mommy says it.  She sounds so tired and a little sad.  And I think it's my fault, but I don't know how to fix it.  I want to make Mommy happy.  I want to make everybody happy.  That's my job.  I also understand, though, that when Mommy wraps her arms around me and holds me tight that she loves me, and that I'm safe.

I see sometimes when Baby Samantha is crying and Mommy fixes it, and then I ask her to play, and she can't, and Mommy looks all happy-sad, like she can't decide how she feels.  I understand that.  I don't understand my feelings most of the time, either.  Sometimes, I feel sad and I don't know why.  Sometimes, I feel scared, but I don't want to tell anybody.  Sometimes, I feel silly and I don't understand why Mommy sighs and tells me to calm down.  Sometimes, though, I feel all sorts of mixed-up, happy-sad or silly-sleepy-scared, and I don't know what to do, so I cry.  Or I pretend to hurt myself so Mommy or Daddy will cuddle me.  Because when they cuddle me, I feel all happy and safe.

There are a million reasons that it's tough to be a kid.  But it's time to play now.  Bye!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Day Off

This morning, after a couple of hours of searching out garage sales as a family, we all returned home for a well-earned nap.

Mine lasted almost four hours.  Because my husband is awesome.

Even more awesome, he then gave me the rest of the day off.  He took the kids outside, then to McDonald's for dinner and playtime.  I stayed home, blissfully alone in the silence.

I watched television.

I made a skirt for Samantha (and started on a second one).

I played games on my computer.

I read.

At no point did anyone pull on me to ask for something.

Not once did I have to rush out of my seat to soothe a screaming baby.

I simply spent time alone with my thoughts, and was rested enough to enjoy it.

It was a welcome sigh of relief at the end of a crazy week.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Anxiety Update

I haven't posted much lately because I want to post something positive and happy and awesome.  But I promised I'd be honest with anyone reading this, so here goes.

My anxiety is kicking my butt.

I don't want to leave the house.  In fact, all I really want to do is sleep.  When Sam cries, I want to scream and/or hide in a corner.  Even if it only lasts a moment, and is for a legitimate reason.

Scratch that.  I just want to hide.  Even when she's not crying.  I want to take Miles and hide somewhere.  Somewhere safe that we can play without worrying that Sam is going to need something.  Somewhere we can cuddle and nap together without Sam waking us up.  Somewhere where he's not going to give me that heart-breaking look because we have to stop doing stuff together.

I love Sam, with all of my heart.  I adore the way she laughs in her sleep, and crosses her eyes when she can't focus, and grabs onto my fingers with her monkey toes.  I love every little thing about her.

But if I'm honest with myself, everything about her causes me to panic, too.  When she's sleeping, I check her a thousand times to make sure she's breathing.  When she's awake, I'm trying to make sure she's engaged and stimulated - but not overstimulated.  When she's eating, I worry she's going to eat too fast and burp it all back up.  Or she'll eat too slowly and fall asleep before she's finished, and not get enough to eat and not gain weight correctly and. . .  cue panic spiral.

Every moment with her is both wonderful and agonizing.  It's overwhelming on every level.

I've upped my meds.  I have a prescription for Xanax, for when the panic becomes too much.  I force myself out of the house, for Miles' sake, and sit in the sunlight, hoping it will somehow magically cure me.

But the anxiety is always there.  Sometimes it's mild, an undercurrent, an edge that reminds me that all of this could be gone in an instant.  Other times, it's overwhelming, and I can't deal with the thought of losing what I have, so I drown it all out by turning on the tv for Miles and losing myself in a computer game.

And then I worry that I'm losing out on all I have by doing so.

So, yeah.  That's where I am.  Overwhelmed, but pushing through.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Big Kid

This may not be news to anyone else, but I was suddenly and unexpectedly hit with the realization that Miles is not a baby anymore.

Yesterday, while Miles was napping, a little boy from down the street knocked on our door and asked if Miles could come out and play.  I nearly died of cute on the spot, but managed to tell the boy that Miles was asleep, but could come play later.

Today, the boy was back.  Before I knew it, he and Miles were upstairs, playing trains and laughing.

As I type this, Miles is playing in our driveway with two of the neighborhood kids.  They've created some sort of game that involves foam swords and shields, and a soccer ball.  I really don't understand the rules - frankly, I'm not sure there are any - but they are having a blast.  Children are randomly wandering in and out of my front door seeking out extra equipment as the game becomes more complex.

Truth be told, I love that our house is the destination for the neighborhood kids.  It's what I always hoped for.  I'm just having a hard time with the fact that Miles is old enough for this already.  Somehow, overnight, my baby has become a big kid.

I love it.  And I hate it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Growing up, I spent a lot of time learning about appropriate topics of conversation.  I learned that the following things are inappropriate to talk about:

  • Bodily functions
  • Illnesses
  • Scars, scabs, and other 'owies'
  • Money
Now that I'm a mom, I get to talk about all of these things fairly regularly.Within the past few days, I have openly discussed:
  • The size, shape, and frequency of an infant's bowel movements
  • The consistency of a preschooler's recent vomit
  • My depression and anxiety
  • The healing process of a head wound
  • Money
Yeah.  Apparently, no topic is off limits anymore. . .

Monday, May 20, 2013

One Month

Dear Samantha,

As of today, you have been in our lives for one month.  In many ways, the month has flown by, but mostly, I find myself wondering how it's only been a month.  You fit so perfectly into our little family, as though you've always been here.  As though there was a space waiting for you, and we just didn't realize it.  Already, it's hard to remember a time when you weren't here.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't quite mastered this whole "mom to two" thing, yet.  Getting out the door in the mornings takes all the energy and patience I can muster.  I expected that getting two kids ready would take longer - maybe even twice as long.  The reality is that it takes almost four times longer when I'm by myself.  I'm not sure how, but there's always that 'one more thing' that needs to be done.  I watch the minutes fly, wondering why Miles is naked again and why I can't find your pacifier.  I mean, really, didn't you just have it?!?

None of that is really your fault, though.  You are the most calm, chill baby in the world.  Most of the time, you are completely content to go with the flow.  You can sleep on my lap, in your swing, in your bassinet, or on a blanket on the grass.  On the rare occasion that you are awake, you mostly just stare at the world around you, wide-eyed and silent.  When you're hungry, you make little grunting noises.  If you actually start to cry, I know something is wrong.  In the entire month of your life, you've only cried a handful of times.

What I'm saying is, can you just keep this up?  Because it's kinda awesome.

I could go on and on, describing your soft, dark hair and your bright blue eyes.  Or your heart-breakingly happy smile.  Or your little monkey toes that wrap around my finger, as though you want to hold onto me with everything you have.  But, I could never, ever describe the perfection that is you.

I love you, Little Lady.  With all my heart.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sibling Love

The entire time I was pregnant, it seemed like I was worried about something.  Okay, truth be told, I was worried about LOTS of somethings, but one thing worried me more than all the other stuff combined:  How would this baby affect Miles?  Would I lose some of that special bond I had with my little buddy?  Would he feel rejected or forgotten?  Would he like the baby, or would he wish she would just go away?  His entire life, he had been our entire world.  Everything revolved around his needs.  I knew that a baby would change all of that, and I worried about how he would feel.

I needn't have worried.

This is a daily and nightly ritual.  Every day - multiple times a day - Miles asks, "I hold my baby?"  And he sits and cuddles her, kisses her forehead, and pats her tummy.  If she fusses, he holds her tighter and reassures her, "Is okay, Baby. Is okay."

And even when he's not holding her, he keeps an eye on her.  Every morning, he comes into our room and his first question is, "Where's Baby Samanta?"*  Throughout the day, if she starts fussing, Miles is right there, offering her a pacifier and shouting, "Mommy! Baby is crying!"  He holds her hand while we watch TV, and will stop to rub her hair while he's playing.

In short, he adores her.  And the feeling is completely mutual.

When Samantha hears Miles' voice, her head immediately turns to find him, her eyes searching him out.  Once she finds him, she watches him, wide-eyed and calm.  When she's fussy, Miles can often calm her before I even get to her.  If he's sitting nearby, she reaches for him, and when he grabs her hand, her entire body relaxes, content in the knowledge of Big Brother's love.

I love these two.

*I absolutely love how he says her name. <3

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

One of those days. . .

The past 29 hours or so have been a little . . . interesting.

Yesterday, we met up with Bethany and J to go to the children's farm.  I would post pictures, except we weren't there long enough to get any.  Apparently, every school in the greater KC area decided to take a field trip there yesterday.  The sidewalks were so crowded, we literally could not get the wagon through.  We made a valiant attempt, but ultimately, it was way too stressful for all of us.  Bethany and I made the executive decision to take the kids to McDonald's instead.

Except, apparently, there are no McDonald's with play places in the area.

We ended up driving to two different ones, both of which said they had play areas on the website.  Neither did.  But, the boys were hungry and Samantha had been screaming since I put her in the car.  We ate outside in the shade, and Miles and J made the best of it.  They chased each other around the patio, laughing and giggling.  And for a moment, I was able to breathe and enjoy the moment.

And then Miles took my wallet out of my purse, scattering my coupons to the four winds.  Sigh.

Nap was late and hard-won.  The evening was long.  Bedtime was late.  Then, at 5:00 am, Miles crawled into our bed, and promptly puked all over me.

He's better, now, napping peacefully, and hasn't vomited in several hours (fingers crossed).

Here's hoping for a few boring days to balance things out.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I have a thing about fish.  Namely, that they make terrible pets.  Fish are great in streams and ponds and rivers, or even on my plate (in very specific circumstances), but in a tank?  I don't get it.  To me, fish are decorations you have to feed.  Pretty decorations, maybe, but nothing more than that.  You can't pet them or cuddle them.  You can't teach them tricks.  Hell, they don't even have those goofy little balls to run around in.  They just .  . . swim.  In circles.  Repeatedly.


I bring this up because Patrick and I were talking the other night, and we determined that the newborn stage of a baby's life?  It's a lot like having fish.  They're cute.  They're way more cuddly than a fish, but mostly, they're just cute.  They eat (a lot), sleep (but never long enough), and poop.  If you're very lucky, that's it.  If you're not, they also cry a lot.  Newborns are a really really cute decoration that require a ton of work.  Like salt-water fish, maybe.  But cuddlier.

Now, I have the best fish-baby ever, and I love her with all my heart.  I'm just looking forward to the interactive stage.  When she'll be more like a puppy. :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

At least he's creative?

Have you all seen this video?  Remember it from your childhood perhaps?  It's Cookie Monster trying to come up with words that start with the letter C, but all he can think of is Cookie.  And that's good enough for him.

Miles loves this song, and sings it constantly.  Only now, he's made up his own version.  It's called "P is for Poopy".  And he thinks it's hilarious.  Sigh.  The joys of little boys. . . :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Still there, but less. . .

I've spent a lot of time recently talking about my anxiety.  Comparing the insurmountable mountains of panic I had after Miles' birth to the relatively small bumps of uncertainty I have now.  I will probably always have anxieties - they are a part of who I am, for better or worse.  I will always ponder the what-ifs, and my heart will always race as worst-case-scenarios parade through my brain.  Meds mute the parade, somewhat, but it's still there, and probably always will be.

But that isn't because things are bad.  In fact, I think a lot of my anxiety stems from the fact that life is so good.  My children are healthy and beautiful.  My husband is completely amazing. I am happy and healthy and life is good.  For others, maybe that would be time to relax.  For me, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Maybe my anxiety will get worse again, like it was two years ago.

Maybe one of the kids will get sick.

Maybe the car will break down.

Maybe . . .

A thousand scenarios begin to play out in my head.  None of them are the happy peacefulness of this moment.  I take a deep breath and focus on now.

Samantha grunting and cooing softly in her sleep, her warm little body curled on my chest.  Miles cuddled next to me, his hair still damp from the bath.  Patrick nearby, preparing things for bedtime. The windows are open, and a cool breeze plays across my bare feet.  All is quiet, gentle, and calm.  Tomorrow may not be, but right now, all is right with the world.  And for right now, that's all that matters.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Samantha Paige

Born April 20, 2013 at 11:03pm. 8 lbs 2 oz, 21 inches long. Absolutely beautiful.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


So, I'm a little behind, but here are a few photos from Easter with our friends Nathan & Bailee.  All of these photos were taken by Kyle Harper, and are completely his property.  Thank you to him for allowing me to post them!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Patrick wins the award

For Best Husband & Father ever.

If you haven't been keeping up, I'm pretty much a whiny, pregnant mess.  I ache all day, and whine about it at every opportunity.  Simple tasks are exhausting, and . . . yeah.  You get the idea.

And Patrick - well, he has made the whole thing bearable.

Every morning, Patrick gets up and goes to the office and works his ass off to make sure we can pay the bills and eat and whatnot.  He comes home from a long, stressful day, and is often greeted by a cranky wife and a wired preschooler.  Most nights, he offers to make dinner, and (I hate to admit) I let him more often than not.

After dinner, he makes me a cup of cocoa, and then takes over child-entertaining almost exclusively until bedtime.  He does bath, because it's uncomfortable for me to sit in the bathroom.  He does bedtime because it's almost impossible for me to get up off the floor next to Miles' bed.  He does all of this without complaint, and indeed with more enthusiasm and fun than I can say.  Where he gets the energy, I'll never know.

After Miles is in bed, Patrick comes to make sure I'm comfortable for the night.  If I need a shower, Patrick will set up a stool in the tub for me, so I can enjoy the warm water a little longer.  While I'm showering, he fluffs the bed - which he has softened considerably by adding layers of comforters under the fitted sheets.  If it's cold, he'll take a hair dryer and warm the sheets to keep me from freezing.  Most nights, he rubs my back or my feet, trying to make me as comfortable as possible, so I can sleep.

Once I'm finally settled, he starts in on the chores, and the paperwork - doing laundry and paying bills until what must become the wee hours of the morning.  With all he does, I know he can't be getting more than a few hours of sleep a night.  Yet, he never complains.  He's rarely cranky.

Instead, he's ever-selfless.  Completely amazing.

(And probably completely embarrassed by this post. Love you, Honey!)

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I hate the weather.

I hate that it has such complete control over my mood right now.

I hate that for the first half of the week, it was sunny and bright and warm, and I felt fantastic and capable and awake.

I hate that now it's cold and dreary and overcast, and I feel exhausted and unmotivated and just plain tired.

I hate that I saw snowflakes this morning.

I hate that I have gone from sweating with the windows open to freezing with the heater on in a matter of two days.

And I especially hate that I'm losing my sense of humor about it.  No more cracks about Mother Nature needing some help for her mental disorder.  No more silliness about "only in the midwest".  Nope.  Now, I'm just grumpy and over it. [dramatic fake-swoon]

Monday, April 1, 2013


First off, sorry about the last post.  I tried to do it from my phone, and apparently, all of the photos are grainy and awful, and I can't seem to get it fixed.  I will try to include those photos in a later post in higher res.

Now, onto Easter.

I love Easter.  I love welcoming Spring, and celebrating the Resurrection, and hunting eggs, and . . . well, all of it.  I love it for its Christian meaning, and for its Pagan roots.  And I love that the two have blended into a day that can be enjoyed by all ages, for a variety of reasons.

Growing up, my favorite part of Easter was our egg hunt.  Mom would stay up into the ungodly hours of the night preparing for it, I'm sure, but in my mind, it was totally worth it.  Each year, she would hand us a single plastic egg with a clue inside.  That clue told us where to find the next egg, and so on, until we found our Easter baskets, filled to brimming with chocolate and goodies.  I loved the challenge of it, and the excitement of the treasure hunt.  It was a tradition I always knew I'd pass on to our kids, someday.  Especially when I found out that Patrick's family had an almost-identical tradition.

Since Miles was born, I've spent each Easter pining for the day that he'd be old enough to do the treasure hunt.  I bemoaned the fact that it would be years before I could pass on this tradition.

Then, Saturday night, I had an epiphany.  Miles can't read, yet, and written clues - even if read aloud - would probably be a bit too difficult.  But the kid is awesome at pictures.  Maybe if I took pictures of the hiding places. . .

So, I took a ton of pictures and printed them out . . .

Then, I cut them up and put them in the eggs.  Each egg had a pictures of the hiding place of the next egg.  I got a tad carried away and did 20 clues, ending with the Easter basket hiding in a cabinet.  Patrick was skeptical that Miles would have the attention span for all 20, but I thought I could probably push him through the last 3-4 clues, and it would all work out.

We both underestimated our little treasure-hunter.

From the moment he opened the first egg, Miles was a bundle of smiles and concentration.  Sometimes, he immediately went to the hiding spot and picked up the egg.  Other times, he had to think for a few moments, puzzling out what that picture was portraying.  In a matter of minutes, though, he had flown through all of the clues, and found his basket.

"Where the egg?" he asked.  The chocolate bunny, the stickers - he didn't care too much about.  He wanted more clues.

I was thrilled.  Miles was thrilled.  Patrick was beaming.  It was a perfect start to a wonderful Easter.  I can't wait for next year. :)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

Seasons of Pregnancy

When I was pregnant with Miles, I got a ton of sympathy.  Everyone commented on how hard it was to be pregnant in the summer.  How hot I must be.  How much swelling I must deal with.  As far as they were concerned, being pregnant in the summer had to be the worst luck.

Each time they told me this, I'd just smile and say, "I'd rather be pregnant in the summer.  It seems like winter would be a much worse time to be pregnant."  And they'd smile and nod, all the time believing that I was miserable, but trying to make the best of it.

I was miserable, but not because it was summer.  I was miserable because I was huge, and everything hurt, and I was tired of sharing my body with another human.  Summer actually made it more bearable.

This time around, I will get the joy of experiencing a spring baby.  No worries about the terrible flu going around, or counting the days until she'll be vaccinated against things like whooping cough that can be so prevalent, and devastating to newborns.  Instead, I will be able to take her outside and sit in the sunshine with her while Miles plays.  We will be able to take walks, and play at the park, and spend time in public without worrying every second about whether or not she'll catch something.

However, the flip side of that is that I've been pregnant all winter.  And I've found my instincts were right on - I much prefer pregnancy in the summer.  And of course, I have had the sheer joy of being pregnant during the first winter in ages where it has snowed constantly and spring seems like it will never come.

Everyday, I walk outside and tentatively test the sidewalk with a toe, while holding onto the door.  Is it slick?  Because I have a unique talent for falling even when it's dry, and my center of balance isn't thrown off by a massive belly.  If it is even the least bit icy, it takes me a full two minutes to get down the eight or ten steps outside my front door, as I cling to the handrail.  Miles, meanwhile, is impatient and invincible and hops down the steps two at a time, and then whines because I'm taking too long.  Then, I get to waddle down the drive, start the car, and buckle Miles into his car seat, all while juggling any number of necessary items.

And that's once I've gotten out the door.

Long gone are the days I could wear my warm, adorable wool pea coat   It just won't button anymore.  Now, the only thing that fits is a bulky faux-down coat that's five sizes too big, but barely zips in the middle.  I bought it on clearance because I refused to spend a ton of money on a coat that I'd wear for a few weeks, at most.  So, instead, I bundle into this monstrosity, and a scarf - because this coat doesn't have the collar my normal one does.  And it's not nearly as warm, though it does its job.

Then, there's the anxiety - always worse in the winter, anyway.  Only now, I've added pregnancy hormones to it, and it's outrageous.  Even now, on my Zoloft for almost three months, I have random panic attacks.  And my motivation to get out of my chair sets when the sun does.  I feel a bit like Superman, soaking in my energy and drive from the sun.  The difference is that when the sun is gone, so is everything else.  And my only superpower seems to be getting up the stairs in less than 15 minutes.

So, yeah.  Winter is a sucky time to be pregnant.  I'm ready for spring, and for an outside baby.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Miles Update

I feel like all I've done the past few days is complain about how tired I am.  And how much the weather sucks.  Which is all true.  I don't take back one iota of the complaining.  I am not one of those pregnant ladies who will swear that it's 'magical' while chasing my preschooler.  It's not.  It sucks, and I'm just counting on the fact that this little girl is going to be so freaking adorable and awesome that all of this will be worth it.

In the meantime, I have my Miles, who is becoming more and more amazing as the days go by.  He can now dress himself from totally nude to fully ready for a snowstorm with very little help.  He does require constant persuasion and reminders that yes, he does have to wear pants, but he's male, so I figure that's normal. ;)

He can - and does - play by himself for 30-45 minutes at a time, when he's in the mood.  When he's not, he begins asking for things every 2.5 seconds.  Usually things he knows he can't have, like more television or fruit snacks or candy.  Sometimes, he giggles at his own silliness.  Other times, he throws a tantrum because his mother is completely irrational for not letting him consume pounds of sugar while staring at the tube.  3-year-old logic at it's best.

His speech gets clearer and clearer, and it's obvious that the half-hour a week with a speech therapist is working wonders.  Some of her methods seem so obvious once she suggests them, but I never would have thought of them on my own.  Things like having him clap or tap out the syllables of a word as he says it to help him slow down and articulate.  It's so simple, but the effect it has had is impressive.  Plus, it's cute to watch him pat his belly as he says, ""

He's started singing.  Constantly.  Sometimes, he sings his favorite songs - Wheels on the Bus, I Need a Hero, and the theme song to the the animated Avengers and Iron Man shows he found on Netflix.  Other times, he sings a song of his own, describing everything he's doing, from the interesting to the mundane.  Occasionally, he will dance as he sings, but just as often, he sings quietly to himself as he plays.  Or loudly and suddenly after a long silence in the grocery store.

He plays pretend.  Usually, he is a dog - always Lady from Lady and the Tramp.  (I asked him once, "Not the Tramp?" and he said, "No. Lady.  Lady a good dog.")  Sometimes he's the voice of one of his toys - SpiderMan, an airplane, a train, or a t-rex.  He voices entire conversations between his toys, and sometimes, just with himself.  It's fascinating to watch, but a little unnerving to never know exactly who I'm talking to. :)

He is fascinated with superheroes, and dinosaurs - things that scare him a little.  He loves watching the Avengers, even though "I scare [of] Hulk-Smash".*  His favorite dinosaur is the tyrannosaurus rex, and he will proudly tell you that his teeth are "long like bananas!"  He'll curl up in my lap to watch, occasionally burying his face in me.  Those times, we turn off the television and talk about how Mommy and Daddy will keep him safe.  Five minutes later, he's usually begging for more.

He is incredibly sensitive and empathetic.  When he knows I'm having a rough day, he'll grab my hand and say, "Sit in Mommy's chair and cuddle?"  When he wakes up from nap, and I'm still in bed, trying to wake up, he'll happily sit next to me, holding my hand.  Today, he scratched and rubbed my back, asking if I was okay.  I told him I was fine, just tired, and he cuddled in, rubbing my back for the next 45 minutes while watching Netflix on my phone.

He's beginning to understand that there's a baby coming soon.  He proudly tells anyone who asks that "Baby Saman-tah in Mommy's tummy!"  He loves to look at the 3D sonogram pictures and alternately says, "Aw, she cute," or "Looks like space cadet."  (He's not wrong on either account - those pictures are a little freaky).  He plays with his baby doll, and is obsessed with changing its diaper, announcing every minute or so, "Ooh!  Baby stinky! Shooo-weee!"  Once the baby stops serially crapping its pants, he gives it a binky and shushes it to sleep.  Oh, and he prefers that the baby wear nothing but its diaper.  Clothes are overrated, I guess.

Sure, he throws tantrums, and argues, and often flat-out refuses to acknowledge us when we tell him to do something.  But overall, I am loving this age of independence and discovery that he is experiencing.  It is fun to watch him becoming a little boy, where once there was a helpless baby.  And he gives me confidence that we are doing something right as parents.

I love this kid. <3

*As far as Miles is concerned his name is Hulk-Smash.  Not just Hulk.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

6 weeks. . .

Until my scheduled c-section.  Not that I'm counting down or anything.*

Six weeks from today, we will be spending our final day as a family of three.  Six weeks from tomorrow, at this time, I will be snuggling my baby girl.  Six weeks, one day, and two hours from now, we will probably be introducing Miles to his new sister for the first time.

To say I'm excited is an understatement.  But not just because of those newborn snuggles.

The truth is, I am so done being pregnant.  I ache, all.the.time.  I can walk about 50 feet before I get short of breath.  I can't sleep at night because Sam thinks night-time is the perfect time for a dance party.  I have near-constant heartburn, no matter what I eat.  I'm constantly hungry, but can only eat a tiny bit before I'm so full, I feel like I'm going to puke.  Grocery shopping on Monday resulted in a 2.5 hour nap, and I was still exhausted afterward.  I can't take Miles anywhere that requires much effort on my part, because I can't guarantee that I'm capable.

This is so different from my first pregnancy, when I was at the Festival, walking around the entire 16-acre site, and working until 3 days before Miles was born.  Sure, I moved slowly, but I could move.  With this little lady, any time I move, she objects.  Violently.  Miles moved constantly, but it was mostly kicking.  Samantha moves only occasionally, but when she does, she literally shakes my entire body with her flipping, rolling, and stretching.  In fact, I think I scared a newly-pregnant friend recently, as she watched my stomach bounce and wiggle.  She was sitting 3 feet away, and my shirt was covering the belly, but it was still quite evident.  I probably should have been nicer and not told her that this was pretty typical for that time of the evening.  Or that it was fairly mild compared to some nights.  She managed a smile and a laugh, but for just a moment, I'm pretty sure I saw pure terror in her eyes.  Whoops.

But, I digress.

I'm trying to remember that this time is fleeting.  That all of this means I have a strong, healthy baby coming.  That I'm almost at the end.  I'm trying to remember that some moms never make it this far, and many have worries far beyond my petty whining.

Mostly, though, I just count down the hours until I'm done being pregnant.

*43 days.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dear Judgmental Mom,

[This is in response to this blog post, which has shown up in a variety of places recently. If you haven't read it, please go do so, or this won't make any sense.]

Dear Judgmental Mom at the Park,

I see you over there under the tree, staring at me, shaking your head and 'tsk'ing every time I pick up my phone. (Oh, and it's not an iPhone.  I wouldn't own an Apple product.  But that's a rant for another day.)  I can hear the not-so-subtle remarks you're making to your girlfriend over there as you judge me, without knowing what's going on.  So, I'll tell you.

That little girl who is spinning in her beautiful dress?  She's not mine.  I'm watching her for a friend who had a family emergency.  She is a little beauty queen, and I adore that sunshine in her hair.  But, she's spent the entire morning whining for her mom, and my patience has worn a tad thin.  Part of the reason I have my phone out is that I'm waiting for an update from her mama, to make sure everything is okay.  In the meantime, yes, I'm catching up on a variety of other things.

And just because I'm not looking directly at her doesn't mean I don't see her.  I do.  And she's fine, spinning in the sunshine on her own for a moment.

Oh, yes, that is my son shouting, "Mom, watch this!"  I know from three years with him that he's about to do something borderline dangerous that will make my heart leap into my throat.  I also know from experience that he will probably be just fine.  But my anxiety cannot handle watching him leap off of the equipment yet again.  What's that?  You didn't realize I have an anxiety disorder?  Lots of us do, and watching every dangerous thing our kids do only makes it worse.  So, yes, I seem to be ignoring him, but really, I'm trying very hard to sit on my hands and allow him to be the adventurous boy he is.

Now, I'm pushing my baby in the swing, and you are still talking crap about me.  She is giggling and cooing with every push.  Yes, I see her, and hear her, but my phone just beeped, and I think maybe it is my friend, letting me know what's going on.  No.  It's just spam, again.  That's why I look so grumpy.

I have talked to this baby all morning.  We have spoken about the clouds.  We have talked about our God, but how do you know we even believe in a Creator?  For all you know, we are atheists.  We're not, but it's considered bad form to comment on someone's religious beliefs, especially when you have no idea what they are.  And for the record, I love that baby laugh, but for now, I'm just relieved she's not screaming bloody murder again.  Thank God for small miracles.

My eyes are on the prize - I am teaching my children to be independent, self-sufficient humans.  They do not need nor want me to be right.there all the time.  They need to learn to entertain themselves for a few moments at a time, lest I spend the rest of their precious lives dictating what they do and how they do it.  My children are strong, capable little people, and it's partially because I "ignore" them from time to time.  Yes, I'm on my phone, but that doesn't mean I've stopped parenting.  I just choose to parent differently than you do.

I realize that playtime at the park will be over all too soon.  I realize that the spinning dress, and the "Watch me!" and the baby giggles are fleeting.  I also realize that at this moment, I am doing the best I can with what I have.  All of us are.

My children may one day come to a point where they do not talk to me while I'm on my phone, but it won't be because they think it's more important than they are.  It's because they will understand that even Mommy has a life outside of raising them.  They will know that the world continues to turn, even when I'm not fully present in every moment.  And maybe, just maybe, they will be okay.

My children know that I love them.  They see it in the bedtime stories, and the cuddles.  They taste it when I make them a special dinner, just because I know they love it.  They smell it in my perfume, just as I still notice the familar way my mama smells when I hug her.  They hear it when I say I love them, even when they misbehave.  They feel it in the too-long hugs, and the tickle games, and my insistence on good-bye kisses.  I know you cannot see all of this today at the park, but our days are made up of moments of love.

Perhaps you should practice that same love, and stop judging other moms.

I hope that, in the future, you can find self-assurance in your parenting skills without tearing apart others.  Because really?  Your children will see that, too.  And I know you don't want them thinking that's okay.

-Mommy on the Phone-

P.S. Next time, rather than talking to your friend about me, or writing a passive-aggressive blog post, why not come and talk to me.  You have no idea how much I would welcome some adult conversation.  We may even become friends, if you can look past the fact that I check my phone occasionally.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Photo Round-Up

We've been busy, and I've been tired, thus the lack of updates.  I have, however, been taking lots of pictures of our adventures.  Here are some of my favorites. :)

He's such an angel when he's sleeping. :)

Playing trains at WonderScope with his friend Scarlette.

Playing swords with Emmett.

Playing dinosaurs on his awesome set-up from Aunt B & Uncle S.

Burying dinosaurs in dry beans and rice.

Miles-in-a-Box.  I swear he did this to himself. :)

Miles' snow castle, built on the kitchen table, to avoid the cold. :)

Miles the Bandit.

"I eated my snowman." A few minutes later: "I burped! I burped my snowman."

Playing at Toddler Gym.

Playing cars. :)
Love this kid. :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I am a lucky girl.

I got to spend this afternoon chatting with one of my dearest friends.  We talked about life, crafts, the Renaissance Festival, and a little bit of everything else.  She sat on my couch with her crochet, and I sat in my chair, all miserable and pregnant, and we laughed.

Have you ever met someone who just brings light and joy with them wherever they go?  That's Pren.  She is a ball of energy and happiness, and when she's around, I can't help but smile.  Even when she's talking about how much she wants to punch someone in the face, she's talking in such an animated way, that I am entertained and happy to be in her presence.  Plus, she makes the best llama face ever.  Try not laughing at that.  I dare you.

I am blessed to have people like Pren in my life.  If you need a little sunshine, check out her ridiculously adorable blog, the Convivial Crafter.  You may even get to see the scarves she made for Miles and me sometime soon. :)

And Pren, if you're reading this, we definitely need to do this again soon.  Hugs!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

History makes me angry

Recently, I discovered a slew of historical documentaries on Netflix.  History Channel specials on topics ranging from Secret Societies to the life of Abraham Lincoln, from ancient wonders to WWII.  For the most part, I am loving this ability to feed my brain - positively necessary, considering that it was beginning to rot away from the sheer number of snow days combined with pregnancy forgetfulness.

However, again and again, I am incensed at the things humanity does to itself, repeatedly, throughout history.

Last night, I watched a special on the ancient city of Alexandria.  It was a city entirely dedicated to the pursuit and archival of knowledge.  The city's libraries strove to obtain a copy of every written document in existence - a major undertaking in the times of papyrus scrolls.  Lecture halls were built to share ancient knowledge, and to discuss revolutionary new ideas.  In an open-minded era that is rare throughout history, even women could rise to the elevated status of 'teacher'.  Hypatia, for instance, was a great thinker, teacher, and inventor, in a time when Europeans still considered women to be property for trading - little better than animals.  As I watched, and learned, of the wonderment of Alexandria, I couldn't help but feel a pull to be a part of that city.  A city that all too soon, was sacked and destroyed by 'Christians' who believed knowledge to be of the devil, and women like Hypatia to be witches.  The beautiful libraries were plundered, their priceless stores of knowledge burned.  Hypatia, a thinker years beyond her time, was viciously murdered in the streets, for the sin of knowing too much.

This isn't an isolated example, either.  It has happened repeatedly throughout history.  Our most brilliant minds are often persecuted, reviled, and murdered.  Many times, as in Alexandria, it is for religious reasons.  Every time, however, it is the same.  A mob of people who cannot understand rises up against those who would try.  Throughout history, the ignorant mistrust the knowledgeable, fearing them only because of their intellect.  It's infuriating, especially to one who values information and the pursuit of ideas, as I do.

And I realize the biggest reason I am so angered by it: we have not changed.  Even today, there are those who teach us to mistrust science.  To marginalize new ideas.  For every leap forward, there is a great backlash by the masses, unwilling to believe that this knowledge could benefit all of us.  Choosing, instead, to remain in the dark, merely because it is known.

I refuse to remain in the darkness.  I will continue to seek the light of understanding.  I am no great thinker like Hypatia, but perhaps I can help create a world where she would be safe.  A world that accepts genius, that strives to lift up great minds, and to protect them.  The solution is in education.  In teaching acceptance, tempered with skepticism.  And most of all, in considering new ideas, rather than simply dismissing them.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Miles is getting speech services! :)

I got a call from the private therapist this morning.  She said that based on his test scores - which were at the lowest edge of 'normal', insurance denied services as 'not medically necessary'.  Sigh.  However, she is willing to do his therapy for the same cost as our co-pay.  So, we decided to move forward with services.  I am beyond thrilled that he is finally going to get the help I know he needs.

Miles will have speech therapy once a week, and the therapist will meet with him while he's already at school.  I would have taken him anywhere he needed to go, but this little extra effort on her part makes it all so much more convenient for us.  Especially with a baby coming so soon to disrupt our routine.

I have a good feeling about this. :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Randomivity and Updates

My brain is all sorts of jumbled mess right now.

I spent last evening, and the one before, hanging out with Patrick and Miles, walking around malls, and generally just enjoying their company.  I am paying for it today.  I am sore, and tired, and have spent the entire day in my recliner.  This leads to an abundance of time to think, but none of the thoughts are organized.  Still, I have the urge to write, and the time, so the entire jumbled mess is about to tumble out onto your screen.  I'm sure it will be random. :)

Miles update: He seems to be feeling okay, but his cough is still there.  It no longer keeps him up at night, but when he's active, he suddenly sounds like he's carrying the Plague.  Perfect for all those times when we're playing in public, around other children.  I've gotten more judgmental looks from other moms over this (non-contagious, I promise!) cough than I ever have over the fact that my kid climbs anything and everything.  Including the stone walls at Granite City on Valentine's Day.  Yeah.  No one batted an eye at that one.  Except me, as I tried patiently to pretend that it wasn't happening.

Pregnancy update: Yikes.  I'm in pain today, so it's probably not the best time to write this.  Um . . . Samantha is incredibly healthy and proves it by kicking and moving.  But only when I'm trying to sleep.  The rest of the time, I hardly feel her.  So, yeah.  Yay, pregnancy.  Less than 10 weeks to the c-section.

Me update: I'm doing okay.  Hitting a point where I have to be careful not to overdo it  Obviously, I haven't gotten that down, yet.  Thus the whining.  Good news is that otherwise, I'm feeling pretty good.  I'm tired.  But again, chalk that up to pregnancy.  The most exciting thing in my life right now is the fact that Aunt Ninell is taking Miles tomorrow, while B and I go to a consignment sale.  This is good.  I like the un-exciting life. :)

Patrick update: He's awesome.  He let me sleep in this morning, and even took Miles out of the house for much of the day, so I could rest.  He buys me chocolate, just because, and makes me hot cocoa almost every night.  I will never be able to put into words how amazing he is.  I couldn't have chosen a better husband.

Yeah.  I've run out of things to tell you all.  So, I guess that's it.  Perhaps the next post will be more coherent. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Valentine's Day sucks for a lot of people.  Facebook today is filled with an equal number of statuses declaring, "Happy V-Day to my Dearest Love of my Life!!!" and "I wish this day would burn in a fire."  And honestly, even though I have a happy relationship, I kinda understand the dislike.  Like weddings and baby showers, Valentine's Day is a bittersweet reminder to many that they still do not have something they desire - a special person to celebrate life with.

Perhaps, they once had romantic love, and it got away.  Pride, anger, or simply life got in the way.

Perhaps, they have never known romantic love, but continue to search for their match.

Perhaps, they are too frightened of rejection and pain, and have sworn off romantic love altogether.

Regardless, this day is going to be tough for them.  Telling these people to 'just deal' is simply unfair to them. They have every right and reason to dislike this day, and these words completely disregard those feelings.  Likewise, please don't tell them to "just ignore it".  The reminders are everywhere.  As I said, Facebook is rife with it.  You can't enter a grocery store without seeing hearts and roses everywhere.  Restaurants offer "2-for-1 sweetheart specials".  Ignoring Valentine's Day is just about as easy as ignoring a strong stench - you can try to shut it out, but it permeates the very air around you.

So, please, today of all days, don't judge, don't offer platitudes.  Simply offer love and kindness to all you meet.  You may never know how much they need it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Effing Ear Infections. . .

So, remember . . . what? Three weeks ago?  When Miles had a double ear infection.  And I took him to the doctor, and he took antibiotics, and all was well.

Until the meds were out of his system.  Then, his symptoms, which had never completely gone away, began to get worse again.  Still, it was just a cough and a runny nose, so I sent him to school as per normal.

At noon, I got my first "your kid is sick" call from a school. :(

His teacher said the cough and runny nose didn't worry her, but he wasn't "acting like himself".  I adore his teacher, and trust her instincts when it comes to my kid.  She is right more times than not.  So, before I even picked him up, I called the doctor, and grabbed up the first appointment they had.

When I picked him up, I had a moment of doubt.  He came running out of the classroom, all smiles and energy, and I thought, there's nothing wrong with this kid.  His behavior continued to be completely normal, but I kept the appointment.  I told you, I trust his teacher implicitly.  Besides, I thought, it won't hurt anything to check.

I'm glad I trusted her.  His left ear is still infected.  And there were no signs beyond the cough and runny nose that are so common this time of year - and usually are nothing.  His behavior was never suspect.  He had trouble sleeping off and on, but that's nothing out of the ordinary for him, either.  His energy levels never dropped.  He was a bit more clingy, in retrospect, but I honestly attributed that to the fact that there's a baby coming, and he's beginning to understand, in some ways, that things are going to change.

In any case, the doctor prescribed another round of antibiotics - something a little stronger this time - and I'm under strict orders to bring him back in two weeks, no matter what.  If his ears are better, awesome.  If not, though, we have to start discussing the very real possibility of tubes.  And that makes me all itchy with worry, thinking about my baby having surgery.  Not to mention the precautions we'll have to take to protect those tubes - ear plugs in the water, and whatnot.  A selfish part of my brain thinks, "Why now?  Could this not have waited a year, when we're not also expecting a baby in 10 weeks?!?"

Mostly, though, I'm just sad that my poor boy is still sickly. :(

Monday, February 4, 2013

Crafty Mama

When I was pregnant with Miles, I hit this stage around 25 weeks where all I wanted to do was nest.  I embroidered during rehearsals.  I bought tiny clothes, and diapers, and rearranged the house a zillion times, trying to predict the easiest arrangement for our upcoming addition.

This time around, it's a little different.  I still have the urge to nest, and prep for Baby, but I don't have the energy to rearrange, and I have so far restrained myself from buying out the baby girl section of every store in a ten mile radius.  Because realistically?  We don't need much.  Plus, it's a tad difficult to coo over itty bitty dresses when your 3-year-old is busy taking everything off of the shelf or whining that his "tummy is hungry".

Instead, I've been crafting up a storm.  But, only easy crafts.  Things that don't require me to run down to the basement are preferable.  And I just don't have the energy to do much sewing, or anything that takes more than an hour to complete.  And this time, I'm more worried about keeping my preschooler occupied while I pull my hair out trying to remember how to calm a newborn.

To that end, I've been putting together what I'm calling "Activity Boxes", though most of the activities, you'll recognize as "busy bag" activities.  I just happened to have a bunch of cute little boxes sitting around that were the perfect size for these.  Plus, I just like how nicely the boxes stack - a handful of plastic baggies in a tub would drive me batty.  Well, battier.

The first thing I did was to gather a ton of materials that Miles could play with independently.  Things that didn't require my attention at all.  Things like the following:

Crayons, markers, coloring book, various papers, stickers. . .
Sticker book, foam stickers (snowflakes & sports balls), and post-its.
All of those are in the bottom drawer of my desk, which he can access by himself, at any time.  They get a fair amount of play - when he remembers they exist. :)

After that, I scoured the internet for "Busy Bag" ideas, and found these at Unsolicited Advice.  I put them each in their own little box for Miles to pull out and play with whenever he likes.
Beginning letter sound matching, with capital  & lowercase letters.
Bug Number Matching.  I LOVE these!
Brown Bear Heads & Tails Matching from 1+1+1=1

Then, I ventured out on my own.  I searched for "letter coloring pages" and eventually found these lovely outlines.  I printed them on regular paper, and put them in a box with some Bingo markers.  Miles pulls them out occasionally and decorates the letters.  When they're all done, we'll laminate them with clear contact paper, and use them for other activities.

Next, I searched for "emotion cards", but everything I found wanted me to buy them.  So, I just searched Google images for photos of "sad", "happy", etc.  Then, I printed them off, put them on card stock, and laminated them.  Miles isn't terribly interested in these, yet, so I need to figure out how to make them into a game.  I'm still working on that one. . .

I was on a roll, so I made this book from an old report folder I had lying around from the college days.   

I had also found a set of foam tangrams, and several other foam shapes, so I traced them in various configurations.  Miles loves to match the shapes and name them. :)

Finally, I made this, which has been the absolute hit in our house.  I started with the templates from All Our Days, but eventually realized I'd need to make my own templates to keep him engaged.  An hour with paint, and I had made several more counting/matching cards, as well as several visual instructions for building things like a flower, a tree, a football goal post, etc.  Miles will play with this one for up to an hour at a time by himself, or longer if I play with him.

In the end, I spent less than an hour on each of these activities (except for the Duplo templates, which took a bit longer to create on my own).  Definitely worth the time investment for the amount of play they've already seen! :)