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Monday, December 24, 2012

Mundane Moments

Christmas Eve with a sickie 4 year old and oblivious baby. Not exactly the picture-perfect holiday I had envisioned but I am still incredibly grateful for every moment of it because they're here with me.
I try to tell my children often (too often, I'm sure others think) that I am proud of them and they are so loved. "I love you more than the waking world" is one of Henry's favorites.
The world seems to be abuzz over the Connecticut school shooting and I'm no different with my horrified fixation over this tragedy. I thought back to what I was doing on Wednesday andThursday and then Friday morning that week and was desperately grateful that those were not the last moments of my children's lives.
I know we cannot wholly escape the mundane frustrations of everyday life, the stress of wrangling 2 small children out the door to their various destinations while getting to work on time without looking like a frazzled wreck. I realized that while I tell my children that I love and appreciate them, I also let little things, like unfinished housework or some volunteer activity I can't fit into my schedule bother me far too much.
I think of those parents whose last moments with their children were an everyday Friday morning, herding them out the door to school with cub scouts, brownies, dance lessons, karate, piano lessons planned for that afternoon.
I think of those parents who went to pick up their children, not knowing what they would find.
I think of those parents who would give everything they possess to hold and comfort their children one more time. Instead they buried their babies in the midst of the worldwide aftermath.
So I am grateful for every single moment and I will take a deep breath and still close my eyes for Henry to give me a "surprise" kiss on the cheek for the thousandth time while the sock basket overflows with mis-matches and the blankets are messily bunched on the beds. Thank you God for the Mundane Moments.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I was making up the weekly grocery list so Dada & Henry can go shopping while Kat's napping when I felt a twinge of wry humor and added "My sanity" and "a 6 pack of sleep" to the list, left it on the table and waited. Dada laughed out loud when he read it and Henry scampered over to see what he was missing.

Henry: What? What? What?
Dada: Mama's  stealing my lines, buddy.
Mama: Yep, I stole Dada's punchlines.

Without warning, Henry ran over to Dada and started punching him in his side.

Dada: What are you doing?
Henry: I'm putting the punchlines BACK!

Yep, he's gonna be a great wingman.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Henry said something snarky at Grammy's tonight and I corrected him.

Mama: Henry, that's being rude.
Henry: I'm not being rude, Mama! I'm being SMART!

Ah, that unique mix of stifling laughter and channeling frustration that is frequently parenthood.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lincoln Logs

Henry was all excited to show me his latest Lincoln-log creation when I got home from work tonight. It was actually quite impressive- intricately spread out all over his floor.

Henry: I made God so I can talk to him!!
Me: That's awesome, sweetheart.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"My, What Sharp Teeth You Have"

Henry, Kat & Dada were all playing on the living room floor when for some reason, Henry & Kat started peering into Dada's mouth together.
Just what was so interesting? He has all his teeth, minus the wisdom ones, plus a couple of fillings. That must have been it.

Henry: Dada! You have no SKIN on your teeth!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Childbirth, Dr. Quinn-style

I just watched "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" where she delivers her baby in the woods with her petrified husband by her side. Well-done overall and captures our society's stereotypical view of childbirth while getting some things exactly right.

I LOVE the scene where he's hovering over her in the middle of hard labor.
He asks, "What do I do?" and she answers "Nothing" between gritted teeth and shoves him away, "Don't touch me!" I remember that feeling of tight control, turning inward and thinking it could all be shattered by someone's touch.
In the next moment, the contraction passes (yeah, they're contractions, NOT "surges") and she wants him to hold her. He desperately seeks something useful to do and asks if he should build a fire and boil some water. Reminds me of a class discussion where my colonial history professor said if you ever notice that's what they always seem to tell men to do. "Boil water." It's a lengthy process perfect for keeping him occupied and away from the real work of labor & delivery.

My other favorite part, absolutely stereotypical, was when her husband looks at her panic-stricken, when told he was going to have to cut the cord. SERIOUSLY? She's delivering a baby in the middle of the woods with her FIRST AID KIT and you're all squeamish about cutting the umbilical cord? Way to man up.

My eyes prickled with tears so I would count that as an acceptable birth scene since I always cry when babies are born.

PJ Time

Time to get ready for bed. Brush teeth and change into pajamas. Depending on the weather, it's either fleece-footie PJs or a flannel 2-piece with optional socks.
Tonight was flannel and Henry had his mind made up about the socks.

Henry: Mama, I want to sleep with my toesies.
(OK, I knew what he meant but decided to have fun with it)
Mama: Where else would they sleep?
Henry: Um....on the couch!!!

The kid has an answer for everything.

Monday, November 12, 2012


So my husband and I had this conversation yesterday. As always, he's astounded by my innate survival instincts that fiercely protect my need for a good night's sleep.

Me: You look tired, honey.
Jim: I was up at 1:30 with the dog, not to mention Henry coming in at 3:00 and then Kathryn woke up at 6:20.
Me: What happened at 1:30?
Jim: A thunderstorm??!!
Me: Huh, I slept right through it. Must have been REALLY tired.

Except when the kids are sick. WHOLE different story. Sleep skillz are immediately replaced by hyper-Mama alert. I half listen to every sneeze & snuffle all night and I emerge in the morning looking like I spent the night curled up with the Nyquil bottle.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


As an added bonus to all this rainy-windy weather....

The worms have ventured forth. Or they were washed out. Either way, they are above-ground. I found this out when we walked into church this morning across a parking lot strewn with soggy, squiggly (occasionally squished) WORMS.
Ugh, I hated the thought of stepping on them and did a lot of side-stepping and tiptoeing which naturally drew Henry's attention. Once he found out what those pale stringy forms were, he was FASCINATED and rattled off a thousand questions which all included the word WHY.

On the way back to our car afterwards, he bent down, peering at one close to our car as I opened the doors and loaded our things.

Henry: Mama, I touched a worm!
(OK, knew that was coming. Did NOT see what came after, and I totally should have anticipated this.)
Mama: Great.
Henry: Can I lick my finger?
Mama: NO! Thank you for asking.
Henry: Too late!

Storm of the Century Update

* Water? Check!
*Bread and other assorted dry goods? Check!
*Batteries? Check!
*Candles & Matches? Check!
* Diapers? CHECK!! (that gets capitalized because running out of diapers with no Bumgenious backups anymore...ew)

*Enough yarn to last me through a power outage with 2 small children, a slightly neurotic dog and a husband going through football-withdrawal? CHECK!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, that's right. I made a special trip to AC Moore today after church. With Henry. Before lunch. In the drizzling rain. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Storm of the Century?

All anyone wants to talk about is this big storm headed our way. I keep swinging back and forth from "Everyone's overreacting and it's going to be fine" to "OMG, batten down the hatches, stock up on water and batteries." I'm leaning towards "batten down" now that my husband just said we'll be caught in 3 storm fronts. He's at the store now stocking up on said water and batteries.
The closest I've come to dealing with "natural disaster" with 2 small children was when the transformer blew a few days ago right when I got up and we had to get ready & out the door without power. I was so unprepared- we had a dead flashlight and a few dusty candles in glass jars but I couldn't find the matches to save my life and was reduced to using my cell phone screen as an impromtu torch.
I was young enough that when the Ice Storm hit in 1991, it was "fun" camping out downstairs, snuggling with my mom on the feather mattress while my Dad & Grandpa made the rounds with our generators so our neighbors got a few hours of power.

Now...not so much.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Having some trouble with separation anxiety at bedtime. And I mean both Henry & I are having trouble.
When he looks at me with those big, cute-kid eyes and asks, "Mama, will you rockee me?" I just think of when the day will come when he doesn't want a cuddle anymore. I feel like I have to store these moments while I can.
But at some point, he has to go to bed on his own. He'll turn 4 in a few days and we're still indulging him from his first-child-we'll-rock-you-to-sleep routine.
I guess I should stick to more of a bedtime routine but it's hard when each night is different. Some nights he's so wound that he doesn't settle down until almost 10:00 and other nights he's bleary-eyed at 8:00.
So I have the drill-sergeant approach ("Go to bed! No rocking!") and the indulgant "Sure I'll stay in here and rock you, even though I'm so tired I can't see straight either and I desperately want a few minutes alone before I have to go to bed myself."

We learned the hard way and whether it's the difference between their personalities or the different approach, but Kat goes to bed without any coddling.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Like father, like son

Henry's really getting into sports now, just like his Dada. Carbon-copy, actually.

Henry: When is the game going to be on with the Yankees and THE baseball team?
Me: Who's THE baseball team?
Henry: THE ORIOLES! The Yankees are MEAN BOYS!

I saw Dada's mouth twitch into that proud, self-satisfied smile that means, "Yeah, that's my boy!"


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Subtlety is NOT his strong suite

So I decided to generously share my nightly chocolate fix with Henry....

 Me: Here, Henry. (subtly handing him a TINY piece of chocolate)

Henry: CANDY!!! DADA LOOKIT!!! MAMA GAVE ME CANDY!! SEE???? (opens mouth and sticks out tongue)

Dada: Are you freakin' kidding me??? So when the kid's up until 10:00 tonight....

Yep, I should have guessed that Henry would trumpet his excitement for all the world to know. Snitch.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


We've all seen those moisturizer ads that promise "baby-soft" skin.

I used to think, "What does that even mean?" It sounds nice. Babies "look" soft and smooth and pretty and I want soft, smooth, pretty skin so X product must be produce desirable results.

Then I HAD a baby and that phrase just simply is not enough to explain the incredible wonder of an infant.

"Baby-soft" is...
 goose down pillows
all packaged into a snuggly, cuddly warm bundle of flannel-wrapped wonder.

And the scent! I would scoff at mothers who would rhapsodize about the "new-baby" smell but now I know- it's AMAZING! It's like cozy flannel, lavender and a hot cup of tea on a chilly autumn day. It's like freshly mowed grass and lemonade on a sweltering summer day.

It starts with the top of a newborn's head and travels slowly down over time to nestle in that vulnerable spot on the back of their necks. I think it starts at the top because how many nights have we cradled our tiny newborns on our chests in the dead of night, with their little heads tucked under our chins, that scent wafting up and just instilling this calm and sense of peace to get us through yet another sleepless night?

Lately I've noticed that baby-scent is fading from my almost-4 year old. It's still there, but fainter and I know he's well past the baby and toddler stages now. It makes me a bit sad to realize that but then I cuddle Baby Kat and treasure those moments even more.

Except that moment tonight when we were playing on the floor and she plunked her bottom down heavily on my cheek and almost broke my glasses. That was not so precious.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mr. Fix-it

Henry is sitting down with his Paper Jamz guitar across his lap.

Henry: Mama, can you hand me the toolbox, please?
Mama (rather suspicious): Why??
Henry: So I can put not-dead batteries in here and go "NA NA Na-na-na-na." PRETTY PLEASE??!!!

Ugh, he's figured out how to fix things....
Must come up with another way to deactivate the noisy toys!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's time

I'm thinking it's time.....
No, not for another baby. Although I would like more kids. And since I'm off on a tangent anyway, I'm going to run with it.

I've realized there is never a "perfect time" for having a baby. You'll never have "enough" money or be in the "right" job, house, city, time of life, etc.

Deciding to have a child is almost like taking a leap of faith, rolling the dice, crossing your fingers and praying all at once. Even if you think it's the right time, circumstances change change in an instant and nothing is constant, except God. 

Some people wish for a boy, some desperately want a girl, and some wish fervently for years for either. I was lucky in that we didn't have to try and try. Actually it was rather shocking at how suddenly we became expectant parents. Both times. Fertile Myrtle indeed.

I assumed that our first would be a girl and she took the generic baby-name "Osbert" for a few months. Firstborn girls ran in my mother's side of the family and I just thought I'd follow suit. My grandmother was the oldest, so was my mother and so was I.
We toyed with the idea of not finding out and I happily started stocking up on frilly dresses until my skeptical husband suggested that we should have an ultrasound "just to be sure." I think he wanted to put an end to my potentially useless spending sprees. I had a dream that our little "Osbert" was a boy. Then we saw that little appendage on the ultrasound and he was "Henry James" ever since.

So back to "it's time..."
Jim & I talked with Henry tonight and he's all for moving Kathryn into his room this weekend so he's "not alone in his room anymore."
I told him no takesies-backsies because once she's there we're not switching back & forth. I'm not too worried about it, though. He's so good with her, such an amazing older brother. I couldn't ask for a sweeter kid. We are so blessed. So a new chapter in our lives. We'll have our bedroom all to ourselves again for the first time in over a year and Henry will have a roommate.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Don't worry, be happy

Henry's off to mow lawns with Dada. He motions for me to bend down so I'm eye-level with him. Then he wraps his little arms around my neck and gives me a wet kiss as only a 3 yr old can.

"Please don't worry, Mama! We'll be right across da street. OK?"

He knows me too well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Henry's watching my morning ablutions. I'm putting moisturizer on my calves & feet when he pipes up.

Henry: Mama! DON'T walk on da floor wit' da lotion on your feet! You'll slip an' fall!

Mama: You're right, honey. You have to be careful because lotion will make your feet slide. Where'd you learn that?

Henry: Lightning McQueen told me.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Time for Sleep

Henry's taking his sweet time going to sleep tonight. We're going on almost 2 hours since we started his bedtime routine. I just peeked in on him and he smiled sweetly up at me.

Henry: I'm waiting for my falling-asleep time to come.

Tickets Please

Henry's up bright & early playing with Lincoln logs in his bedroom.

Henry: Come on, Mama! Come see the COOL thing I build-ed!
Mama: OK, sweetheart. I'll be right there.
Henry: But you need a TICKET to see it!
Mama: Where'd you hear that?
Henry:  I don't know. That's the way I roll.

Not sure if it's pretentious for the 3 yr old to want to charge admission to view his creations. I admire his business skills.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Henry was all snuggled in next to me this morning. I traced the curve of his cheek and just marveled (again) at how incrediblely wonderful he is.
*My morning motherhood moment*

Mama (whispering): "You are so beautiful, Henry."

Henry crinkled his brow and opened his perfect little rosebud mouth...

"Stop! I'm trying to sleep without you TALKING!"

Friday, August 10, 2012

Just the Right Size

Henry was showing Kathryn his bright-red snap bracelet. Her eyes get HUGE and she reaches a chubby little hand out for it.

Henry: No, Kaffryn! You can't wear 'dis! You're not big enough! I'M big enough, see? It fits me because I have a bigger BRAIN!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Me: Time to wake up, Henry.
Henry stretches, yawns & sits up in bed, blinking.

Me: You're so beautiful, Henry.
Henry: That's the way God made people.

From the mouths of babes.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Raising a responsible, independent boy (and learning NEVER turn your back!!)

Let me just start by saying we both learned something here.

I'm trying to teach Henry responsibility for one's actions which more often than not includes picking up/ cleaning up after himself if (when) he makes a mess. I don't remember exactly when it hit me (probably happened while I was scrubbing the sticky spot that designates Henry's area of the dinner table) but I realized that he's going to have to start doing small chores or I'll have a 30 yr old "baby" who's incapable of being self-sufficient. No thank you.

So Henry's starting to understand that everyone has things they would rather not do and yet they have to be done, because otherwise, who else would do them?
He's also starting to participate in the household chores now and I'm wildy fostering that interest. Who cares if it takes 3x as long and he's covered in whipped cream from our homemade trifle? 
Dada was getting annoyed at hearing, "Don't stick your fingers in the bowl, Henry" for the umpteenth time and I'm sure he would have preferred that Henry wait until he's a bit older to learn some of these skills. I say no time like the present. That being said.....

My lessons in responsibility and independence backfired the other day when Henry spit milk onto the floor and I handed him a sponge to clean it up. Feeling rather pleased with myself, I went into the living room and a couple minutes later I heard splashing sounds coming from the kitchen. He was dunking the sponge IN THE DOG'S WATER BOWL and had wiped down the ENTIRE kitchen floor. Ugh.

Part of me was rather impressed because I couldn't wipe down that floor in the mere seconds it took him. Now how to harness that energy??

Lesson learned: When teaching your 3 yr old a lesson, DON'T leave them to their own devices because you'll be disinfecting the entire room instead of swiping up a mouthful of milk.

Mama 1: Henry 1

Monday, July 30, 2012


Kathryn was playing in the living room, inevitably getting into exactly what I want her to stay away from. Grabbing remotes from tables. Crawling amongst the computer chair legs. Pulling my books off the shelf to chew on the bindings.

Mama: What are you doing now,Trouble?!
Henry: She's not trouble! She's KAFFRYN PUMPKIN PANTS!

Way to stick up for your sister, buddy. You're an awesome big brother. :o)


So Henry's had a rough time with his little pets on the farm. He got attached to one of the cute baby barn kittens outside. Yeah, this isn't going to end well. His "little baby kit-ten" passed away of unknown causes not too long ago.
Now I don't like the idea of glossing over the facts of life, but the kid's 3 years old. We told him the baby kitten went to go live next door at his Uncle's house. Henry was sad for a few weeks, looking around hopefully whenever we were at Grammy's but it seems to have passed. He's stopped asking where his "baby kit-ten" was, anyway.

Henry loves the indoor cats too, especially my mother's good-natured tiger cat, Scooter. Henry will do his little high-pitched cat-call. "Scootie! Yoo-Hoo! Scootie!!" Scooter would occasionally fall for this and trit-trot out of hiding only to be enthusiastically seized around the middle and dragged off to be petted and adored.
He NEVER scratched Henry through all his clumsy 3-year old pettings. Grammy said Henry could have Scootie for his very own, just that Scootie had to stay at Grammy's house. It was like giving the kid an early Christmas.
About 5 days ago, Scooter got out and was MIA. My mother called tonight to tell me that they found him. He had been hit by a car and my brother was burying him.

I suppose I can't protect him from everything, but just the thought of telling him his Scootie died just breaks my heart.

Friday, July 27, 2012

No girls allowed!

Apparently Henry and Dada play the "I'm in front" game while walking into school. They cut across one another all the way down the hall. "I'm in front!" "NO! I"M IN FRONT!"

Henry has decided this a boys-only game and was telling me this morning that girls can't play because they can't yell "I'm in front!" loud like a boy.

I corrected him and told him it's not nice to say someone can't play with them because they're a girl. Girls can too yell every bit as loud as a boy. (Although I don't really want to encourage a yelling-game at school).

Henry:"But boys need their own space so they don't get in other people's business!"
(OK, that may be true....)
Mama: "You shouldn't say, 'You can't play with me because you're a girl.' That will make me sad. You should include everyone."
Henry: "But when you're a boy, you can play with me. OK?"

Yeah, about that.....


Kathryn occasionally needs a little something extra to tide her over after her morning bottle.
I've been scooping a handful of Cheerios into one of those little plastic bowl/cups and standing back while she gleefully flings tiny oat-rings all over the living room floor.

Why? Because what happens next is SO worth it.

She crawls around after the stray bits as fast as her chubby little legs can carry her with her face to the floor, hoovering up the Cheerios. Sometimes she'll lift her head to grin happily at me with slobber and cereal stuck to her cheeks and chin.

Well worth the extra vaccuming.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Henry's playing a game on the computer with Dada. Apparently there's a nice little menagerie.

Henry: Lookit Dada! It's a skunk! Yeah! Like Pepe le PUKE!

Not quite, buddy.

Grammy also introduced him to the classic counting game "I one a skunk, I two a skunk..." Henry breaks down into giggles when he gets to "I seven a skunk" and can barely get the "I EIGHT a skunk" out before he doubles over laughing. And it never gets old. I love it. It's the simple things.

"You EIGHT a skunk?! That's 'susting!!"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Creating my creations

I HAVE to make a prayer shawl. It's not a want, desire or whim.
I have to do this to channel my hopes and prayers for a successful recovery for my friend.
So I started focusing on her and the colors I see when I think of her.
She's a warm person, capable, efficient and composed. So I need a color scheme that's timeless, practical and comforting, not frivolous or trendy.
No pink-and-black. No bright primary colors. No pastels.

After combing through my stash and raiding my mother's supply, I still did not find what I was looking for. I must have gone through an entire department's worth of yarn and still couldn't find it.
During this whole process, it's like I see what I want to make but it's blurry, slowly coming into focus. Makes me frustrated and restless.

Mom and I splurge on a trip to a mega-craft store and I stalk the aisles, still searching. I started at the clearance aisle because you never can tell what treasures you'll find tucked away there. I found some divinely soft chenille-type yarn that would be lovely to envelope yourself in...but it was teal. I threw it in the cart anyway with some eggshell white for edging, but I wasn't satisfied. I kept thinking of that line from "The Wedding Planner" about bridesmaids' dresses. "She choose teal. Teal! The color of gangrene!" Yep, that was not going to work.

Then I thought of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series and how an apothecary-mystic described Claire as a healer with an aura "blue, like the Virgin's cloak. Blue, like my own."

Then I saw it. "I Love This Yarn: High Sierra Stripe" with tan, brown, slate blue, hunter green, olive and plum. Perfect. My warm colors with some healer-blue mixed in.
Some tan yarn to edge it and then I pictured weaving dark blue ribbon through the tan and tying bows on either end of the shawl. I felt like I could take a deep sigh at last and get started.

Of course the next step is to obsess about what stitch to use. I started with a double crochet using an I hook and it didn't look right and it was a halting process.
 I switched to single crochet with an N hook and it's been smooth-sailing since then.
This is Day 2 and I'm almost on the 3rd skein with 1 more to go after that.
The pictures don't really do it justice, but it really is going to be exactly right
when I'm done.

A few days later. Almost done!

Finished! My first one with a ribbon woven into the edging.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tearful Prayers

This is a bit different than my usual posts.
No Henry-humor or exasperated Mama-vent.

I got an email this week from a friend of mine from church asking for prayers. She was just diagnosed with breast cancer. She's my age, give or take a couple years, and her son is just a few months older than mine. She is also one of the few non-family members I would trust with my kids if I had an emergency and if you know me, that's saying something right there.

I know cancer strikes indiscriminately but this just floored me. Not just the fact that a woman I know was diagnosed with breast cancer. What hit me was HOW she was dealing with it. Her sheer strength of will and faith are an example to us all. I've looked up to her as an example of the kind of person/mother/Godly woman, that I aspire to be and this has only re-affirmed my regard for her.

We all have people in our lives that seem to stand apart in some way; they have had a profoundly positive impact on our lives as a role model/ mentor. I am fortunate enough to have a number of them in my life. She is one of them. I doubt she even knows how much she's influenced me and how her example has strengthened my own walk with Christ.

So I am praying for my friend (and often crying when I think about it).
Please God grant her and her family the strength to face whatever comes and of course I pray for her recovery. Please feel free to pray for this amazing person too.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Henry does just about everything to forestall going to bed.

Tonight it was determinedly sticking a foam sword down his pants before he could go into his bedroom because, "That's what the pirates did with their swords on Micky Mouse Clubhouse."
Yeah, pretty sure they didn't jam the sword through their underpants too.

Then it was...
"I CAN'T go into my bedroom! There's a WITCH in there!"
OK, no more Hansel n' Gretel either....


Henry, saying good night to me.

"Mama, I very miss you in my dreams."


Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Kathryn and Henry were tumbling around the living room this morning before we had to be out the door. I should note that Kathryn is getting at least 2 molars now (possibly 3, according to Grammy. I have yet to brave sticking my fingers in her mini-shark's mouth).
So they were laughing and playing when Kathryn flapped her arms and smacked Henry's leg with her chubby, little star-shaped hand.

Henry: Ew! Yuck, Mama! Kaffryn got slobber AND drool on me!
(I've never heard Henry say slobber before. I'm intrigued.)
Me: What's slobber, Henry?
Me: Yep.
Henry: It's 'susting!

Says the kid who picks his nose.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Purse contents

I turned my back for a second this morning....(notice how parent's stories seem to start like that?)

Kathryn had emptied every single receipt out of my purse. Didn't even realize so much stuff in there!
New thought- my purse is a clown car.

Apparently I didn't collect all the myriad little bits of paper because I found her doggedly chewing on a grocery receipt.

Get it? Doggedly chewing?? *My sweet little puppy.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sleep, what's that?

My eyes feel like sandpaper. Not sure if it's from allergies or our little Pumpkin Pants constantly getting up last night. Poor sweetie. Thank goodness it's not every night, for all our sake's.

I'm thinking it was either that molar coming in or a tummy ache from trying to introduce whole milk into her diet. So she got a dose of Tylenol and then after that didn't seem to work, Mylicon  Slapped her teething ring away (it "displeased" her) and finally settled down with a middle-of-the-night bottle which we haven't had to do in months. 

 Of course, now she's happily gumming Cherrios while I'm thinking there's not enough coffee in the world to get me through today. Don't get me wrong; I certainly don't want a cranky baby, but sometimes it just doesn't seem fair that our children look and act all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after keeping us up with "Mama!.....
    I had a nightmare
    I need to play
    I want a cuddle
    I'm hungry
    I'm thirsty
    Change my blow-out diaper while I angrily kick and smear my feces as far as I can

In Henry's case, it's also "Mama!....
    I need to go potty! Oops! Just kidding!
    I HAVE to tell you.... some ducks can talk an' some ducks can't (yes, this happened)
    I want to color
    I want a balloon
    I need a treat
    I very miss my friends

This is the part where my mother swoops in like a guardian angel and takes the kids for a few hours so we can take a break/nap but that's not going to happen today because she's out of town.

*Sigh* I want my Mama. :o)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

No limits in the world of preschooler potty training

Henry's quite proud of his potty training independance. At times though, he requires some attention and he's not shy about letting us know.

Henry: Mama! I pooped a flower! Yeah! I'm like a girl! Girls poop flowers an' so do some boys!

Yep, that's right. In parenthood, no topic is off limits. At least he wasn't announcing this at the top of his voice in a busy restaurant restroom. I can't believe I'm grateful for that.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Call for Help

Henry was "quietly" playing in his bedroom this morning. You know this isn't going to last.
Henry: Dada! I need help!
Dada: You're coloring. What could you possibly need help with?
Henry: I gotta go potty.
Dada: OK, I'll be right there.
Dada goes with Henry into the bathroom. Then I hear....
Henry: I don't need help! I was just joking! I can do this my own darn self!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Henry's happily making a Playdough mess at the kitchen table while Kathryn is getting into everything within her reach in the living room this morning. Then I hear...

Henry: Mama! Protect me!
Mama: From what?
Henry: From the loud noises!
(OK, it's pretty quiet around here this morning, but whatever).
Mama: Mama will protect you.
Henry: Because I'm your son?
Mama: Yes, you're my son.
Henry: No! I'm Dada's son! I'm not your son!
Mama: Where do you think you came from?
Henry: I come from God!!

Creationism indeed.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sunshine & Daisies

Burial Bunting IV

*Completed 7/6/12
*for donation to a local OB unit

I used the same pattern as my previous buntings- crochet popcorn stitch, single crochet around the edges & wove a ribbon through the hood and bottom to gather closed with a ribbon tied at the side as well.
It's a relatively quick project to make. The hardest part is not dwelling on what I'm making. With each bunting, I am ever more thankful for my crazy-wonderful children. I pray for those parents who will have need of these burial buntings. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Super Powers

Henry & Kathryn were hanging out by the baby gate across the kitchen doorway when Henry draped a dishcloth across Kathryn's shoulders.

Henry: Lookit Mama! She's SUPER KAFFRYN!
Mama: What are her super powers?
Henry: I dunno...(pause).... I'm a superhero too!
Mama: What's your superpower, Henry?
Henry: Blue & pink.
Mama: Those are colors. What are your powers?

I'm interpreting this as "he's so smart- he knows pink & blue will make purple."
Yep, I'll stick with that.

Voice Lessons

Kathryn's becoming more and more vocal. She'll be talking before we know it.
In the meantime, we're just encouraging her to make sounds and simple words.
She has one favorite sound so far.
Kathryn: GAGA!
Henry: Did she just say Gaga?
Mama: Yep, she's trying to talk. Why don't you teach her something?
Henry: Say LADY GAGA!

Why am I not surprised?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Say cheese!

Henry's been rather elusive about picture-taking lately. Whenever I get the camera out, he stops whatever he was doing and makes a break for it.
Today he rummaged around in the drawer and pulled out the camera when I was sitting in the rocking chair, crocheting.

Henry: Mama! I wanna take your picture!
(The last time I let him try that, he pressed so many buttons and changed so many settings, it took forever putting it right).
Me: No, honey. Please put the camera back.
Henry: But Mama! You look so cute crocheting!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Burial Bunting Project II

My second burial bunting to be donated to a local OB unit.
Same popcorn stitch pattern with lilac ribbons

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Snake in the Grass

I took Henry to our family farm this weekend so Dada could have some "quiet-time" and so Papa could have some time with his grandson. Two birds with one stone. Excellent.

The truth is, I love to see Henry, decked out in his ripped & torn "barn jeans" and John Deere-green hat that says "Future Farmer," trudging down the lane between the farmhouses or striding across the hayfields.
He's just so determined to "help" on the farm and I love how he enthusiastically attacks every job, no matter how small. Sometimes he goes a bit overboard, like when he was tossing apples into his little Shetland pony's pen and he accidentally chucked one right at Pony's head. Oopsie.
Or feeding the barn cats and he wants to catch and pet every single one and the Mama in me screams, "Don't touch!" Nevermind that I swaddled whatever unfortunate cat I could catch in a crib-quilt and rocked "my baby" in the sweltering July heat when I was only slightly older than him.
How his face lights up with joy and wonder at seeing a brand-new baby calf wobbling around or discovering a new litter of kittens playing in the grass.
I see my whole family in him when he looks out over the tractor's steering wheel, safely seated on Uncle Nick's lap. I see 7 generations of "Henrys" before him working the same land that my Henry will own someday.

Then there's the "boy" factor- finding a dead snake in the grass, apparently not quite quick enough to out-slither the hay mower, and poking at it with a stick with Uncle Matt who shortly after that showed Henry how to survive in the wild by digging grubs out of rotted tree trunks, popping off their heads and swallowing them whole. It was like a freakin' scene out of "The Lion King." Ew. But they enjoyed themselves. I'm sure I'll be pulling frogs and toads out of Henry's pockets soon enough and I'll know exactly where he picked that up from.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Burial Bunting

I still need to add ribbons to tie it closed, but here it is, just finished.
My first one, and what an emotional project it was! My "Crocheting & Crying" post talks a bit more about this project.
Incredibly grateful and thankful for my two healthy, beautiful children and praying for the parents who will eventually receive this, whoever they are.

Now complete... purple ribbons for the hood, side and gathering the bottom.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Baby Bird

Henry was doing his "baby-bird" impression this morning while I was eating breakfast. When I gave in and gave him a bite of my Strawberry Frosted mini-wheats, he screwed up his face.

"Ugh! I don't like the HAIRY parts! I like da FROSTING!"

Life's not all frosting, buddy.

All Thumbs

Henry got his thumb stuck in his Slinky and started hollering for help.
"MAMA!! Some thumbs get stuck in Slinkies an' some don't! Yeah! Cuz dat's da way dey ROLL!"

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Disney overload

Too much Disney....While getting dressed this morning, I was on auto-pilot. "Arms up, Henry. Time to lift your shirt off."
Henry obligingly raises his arms and then starts laughing.
Henry: Mama! Lookit! I'm like CINDERLLA!

Yeah, sure- he kind of did look like that scene where she puts her arms up as she gets her ballgown.

I wonder....does that make me the fairy godmother?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Crocheting & Crying

I've been crocheting for 23 years now and frequently receive requests for blankets, scarves, shawls, or hats. My husband has patiently put up with my yarn addition for almost 10 years and I love to see my kids taking an interest.

Henry will enthusiastically push a crochet hook through one of my blankets, proud that he is "helping" Mama. Or he'll spend a minute unwinding a yarn ball before deciding it's WAY more fun to chuck it across the room, yarn gleefully trailing behind.
Kathryn doesn't get the same kind of free access to my works-in-progress because, while she's adorably cute with yarn draped over her chubby little legs and clutched in her equally chubby little fists, my yarn inevitably makes its way to her mouth and I hate the feel of wet acrylic. And I'm sure no one wants baby-drool pieces.

I love that this artistic outlet serves a practical purpose. Everything I make fulfills a function and hopefully brings a bit of beauty too. Every piece I make is unique. Even if I duplicate the pattern & yarn, no two pieces are EXACTLY the same size, shape, style. The repetitive nature of the whole crochet process gives me an outlet to the day's frustrations and allows my high-strung nature to unwind, like Henry's yarn ball.

I like to think that as I make a ruffle scarf for a friend or a baby blanket for charity, that my thoughts & musings are woven into the creation so that every piece becomes like a prayer shawl. I think of the person who will use my creation, whether I know them or if it's something that will be blindly given away like my masses of baby caps. I saw one of my favorite pieces, what my midwife dubbed a "watermelon" cap, a while ago on a stranger's newborn and felt quietly content and gratified.
Definitely not a steady source of income but it makes me happy. Then a friend of mine came to me with a new request. Something I had never heard of before and it left me feeling both proud to be asked and shattered for the necessity of it.
She's an OB nurse and she asked me to make bereavement wraps for the babies who pass away in the hospital. The stillborns, the ones lost soon after. I agreed immediately to take on the project.

Then as I started my first one in my favorite color (lilac), my thoughts strayed inevitably to who would use my creation and of course this train of thought didn't lead me to laughing infants peeking out from under my ruffled caps, or someone snuggled under one of my blankets, reading with a hot cup of tea close at hand. It sunk in that this soft little wrap would hold someone's precious lost baby.
Just when I thought I couldn't BE any more thankful for my crazy-wonderful children...

God's Treasure Chest

I was reading "All Things Bright & Beautiful" by Herriot while putting Henry to bed tonight and got to the part about this being the best time in your life and you don't realize it. When your children are young and all the wonderful discoveries and pure joy that can be found amidst the sleep deprivation, revolving diaper changes and temper tantrums.
I just HAD to hug Henry then and I said, "Thank you God for my son" and absolutely, whole-heartedly meant it right then. Henry looked up at me from his nest of blankets, pillows and stuffed animals.
Henry: You said, 'Thank you God for your son?' Mama?
Me: Yes, honey. I did. I'm so happy to have you.
Henry: You didn't have a Henry an' you wanted one an' God opened his treasure chest an' der I was!
(He waves his little arms around and says, "Hi Mama! Here I am!")

I kind of like the idea that baby-bellies are God's treasure chest.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sounds & Memories

Inspired by the familiarly simple sound of putting my glasses on the wooden nightstand before getting into bed. Hopefully after I transfer these thoughts into my blog, my mind can settle down to sleep.

The thump,thump, pitter-patter sound of Henry's feet hitting the plastic sides of his enormous firetruck bed and scampering into our bedroom, seeking company in the wee hours of the night.

The softer, muffled thumps of Kathryn tossing & turning in a semi-awake state (this could occur at any hour of the night but usually at that exact moment when I DO NOT want to get up).

Kathryn's brief squawks announcing she is in fact awake and someone better do something about it. Squacks increase in volume and intensity until her bottom is in a clean, dry diaper and she's clutching a warm bottle.

Kathryn's blankies rustling and her snorty, little self-satisfied laugh when she hauls herself up to peer over her crib at me in the morning. Definitely prefer this wakeup call to the indignantly commanding squawks.

Our dog's collar jinging as she scratches an itch before settling down for the night.

Our car door shutting, signaling Dada's return home from work, or the longer drag of the van door opening as we load the kids & gear for the day.

The scrape of our door on the uneven floor of our entryway as Dada walks in.

The gurgle-drip of our tempermental coffee-pot- "Will there be grounds in my morning cup or won't there?"

The sucking pull of the fridge door being yanked open by an inquisitive Henry. "Mama! I want an orange juice box, PLEASE!!" as he helps himself. Then the slam and subsequent "pop" of the freezer door opening. Ugh, remember to close it.

Haven't heard these sounds in a while, but they're still every bit as familiar....

The cows impatiently mooing at their suppertime, building to a demanding crescendo, not unlike Kathryn's morning squawks.

The chickens crowing at all hours. Roosters DON'T only crow at daybreak!

The cats' light & quick steps as they chase each other, occasionally the ripping sound of fabric as one seeks to escape by climbing a piece of furniture.

An old tractor reluctantly starting up and then chugging along with intermittent roars with shifting gears.

The gigantic pig's greedy grunts as we walk across straw-padded floors to toss spoiled apples into her pen.

The back room door being slammed shut, glass rattling, after the boys come in from chores.

Then there are the sounds that are painfully absent.

 My Grandma hollering exasperatedly (and in vain), "Take off your shoes! I just mopped the floors!" as we come in for a snack, dusty & dirty from the barnyard.

My Grandpa saying all he wants for Christmas, his birthday, Grandparent's Day, whatever... is a hug because you can't buy those. So true.

My Nana's voice, answering her phone, and then her "Goodbye. Love you too, baby."

My Grandpa Jake saying, "OK, toots."

Jim's Grandfather stubbornly arguing, adamantly refusing to back down for even a second. Two peas in a pod, they were.

My best friend, Kat talking, just talking. She's been gone for almost 13 years now and I can barely remember the sound of her voice.

To intervene or not to intervene

Yes, I know, touchy subject...but what parenting topic isn't?

Playgrounds seem to be the testing ground where coping skills are developed. Kids interact in free play, utilize their imagination and creative thinking skills....and deal with differences in that direct, often brutally honest way.
We parents who watch our kids at play often feel that slight edge, like "Will my child shove another kid out of the way in their determination to be first down the slide?" "How should I best handle it?" "What if my kid is the one being bullied?"

I for one am NOT comfortable stepping in to police another child's behavior and often simply remove or redirect Henry from a potentially confrontational situation, saying something indirectly like, "We all need to play nicely" unless I see actual aggression or physical danger and then the situation definitely calls for an adult-intervention.
 And then I see those who have no problem whatsoever correcting another child's behavior, whatever it is, regardless of the parent's presence. Seriously? Give me a chance to respond before you jump in and give MY child a lesson in manners.

So when Henry was recently playing with some kids a few years older than him, I was the only adult nearby, off to the side, watching to make sure he didn't wander away or decide that it would be AWESOME to dive from the tallest surface. They were all gathered around and I heard Henry getting all excited and start his familiar 3 yr-old stuttering, "Um, um um..." Then I heard one kid laugh and repeat Henry's "Ums."

My Mama-hackles rose. Who the heck is this kid and how dare he make fun of my Henry?! I started towards the kids when I saw Henry laugh delightedly and continue playing, absolutely unfazed. OK, he's not hurt or upset and he's never been shy about coming to get one of us if someone's pushed him or said something mean.
Correcting that kid would draw attention to the fact that he mocked my son, even if Henry didn't aknowledge it. This kid's parent is NOWHERE around. So I decide to stand closer and pointedly watch them to determine if I do in fact need to intervene.
Nothing more is said and Henry's being included in the group play.

I decided my closer proximity was sufficient and I didn't say anything in this case. I'm sure one of you will think I should have. Maybe you're right. But I also realize that if I intervene in every single incident, no matter how minor, how will my child learn to deal with others when he's apart from me? I can't be there every second to protect my son from every single situation, no matter how small (and no matter how much I want to). If he had acted hurt or upset, there would have been no question that I step in- he is only 3. But at some point too, he has to figure things out for himself.
Where is that line, anyway??!! Where is that elusive spot between "Helicopter Parent" and "Man Up"?

Friday, June 15, 2012


I took Henry to see a hands-on reptile show in our local park tonight. It was awesome- lizards, turtles, and lots & lots of snakes! Henry LOVED it! Especially the stickers- thank you, Steve!! :o)
I tried to let him run around and just have fun with the other kids and the sidewalk chalk but when he was wobbling backwards on the bench with imminent danger of falling straight back onto the sidewalk...well, there are times to intervene. Kid thinks he's invicible. Then they were all petting the turtles who were scurrying around as fast as I've ever seen one move. When I heard the guy say be careful around their mouths, I was convinced that Henry would be the one flailing his arm around with a determined turtle fastened to his finger. That didn't happen, thankfully. Apparently he does take some cautions to heart and kept his little digits away from the busily chomping maws.

Then he was intent on coloring every single square of brick solid blue and ended up with solid blue palms with smears on his shirt, shorts, legs and face for effect. Yep, straight into the tub when we got home.

It was so amazing just watching him interact with the other kids and to see his face light up when he saw a friend.  I also loved watching him discover "hopscotch." He was just so adorable, enthusiastically hopping like a bunny rabbit over the squares, not really getting the whole gist of the game but knowing he was doing "something" right.

Henry's favorite part of the show? The first one shown was a tortoise and as the speaker was describing what they do, the tortoise sprayed all down the front of this poor kid's shirt & pants. Just soaked him. Of course, the kids all thought that was the most hilarious thing in the world. I give the kid credit; he didn't drop the tortoise and rapidly retreat to clean up, as I probably would have done. That is one dedicated volunteer.

When we got home, Henry told Dada all about his favorite part.
Henry:  An' then the man was holding the tornado an' the tornado PEED all over his shirt! It was 'susting! Yeah!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Precious

Getting Henry dressed this morning - he's extremely reluctant to wake up.
Me: Good morning, my precious baby boy.
Henry (scowling): I'm NOT your precious baby boy! I'm a big boy!
Me: OK, good morning, my precious big boy.
Henry (scowling deeper): I'm NOT precious! I'm JUST A BIG BOY!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Sitting with Henry in his quiet, semi-dark room and rocking him, feeling content and peaceful. Grateful to be able to hold my healthy little boy and thinking of how lucky I am. Just our typical bedtime routine and he's almost drifting off when he suddenly sits bolt upright in my lap.

Henry: MAMA!
Me (rather alarmed): What?!
Henry: Do girls like flowers?
(THIS is what was so direly important?)
Me: Yep, some do like flowers.
Henry: Do YOU like flowers?
Me: Sure
Henry: You like TOO MANY flowers?

Why he suddenly needed tips on wooing women, I don't know.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I've noticed that Henry has appeared to have honed his acquisition tactics. Quite successfully, I might add. Case in point....

Henry: I want some candy, please, Dada.
Dada: OK, buddy. Nice manners.
(Henry throws his arms around Dada's neck and presses his soft little cheek against Dada's scratchy, unshaven one.)
Henry: Thanks Dada! You're the best!!

Sure, it could be that his wish was granted on a whim by Dada who was leaving for work in a couple hours and could escape the sugar-crazed 3 year old. I would be doomed to watch him bounce maniacally around his bedroom while alternately pleading, threatening and ultimately leaving him to his own devices as he catapaults himself into Henry-hysterics because Mean Mama LEFT HIS ROOM. That happened to not be the case in this instance and Henry fell aslepp fairly quickly tonight, but still...he got his candy.

I've also taken note of his various responses to us. A refusal could have sent him into a full-blown, crocodile-tears tantrum but lately he's been pooching out his lower lip and gazing soulfully up at me with his big cute-kid eyes. If that doesn't work, he stomps in exasperation, throws up his arms and says, "Aw, man! You gotta be kidding me!" which makes me laugh and hand over whatever he's demanding. OK, maybe not whatever, but you get the picture. And yet through all that, (Grammy even bought him a real, live PONY), he's remarkably good-natured and relatively unspoiled. We'll see how long that lasts before I have to mend my ways and become "Mean Mama" more often.

One Moment

You ever have that one thing that you always seem to be doing? That one moment that seems to drag on while the ones in between speed up and you're back to doing that again?
 I'm ALWAYS driving to work.
Driving home from work.
Feeding the baby.
Changing a diaper.
Taking out the garbage.
Brushing my teeth with Henry.
Laying out their clothes for tomorrow.
Hitting the snooze button 3 x before I get up.
Grocery shopping.
Pumping gas.
Folding laundry.
Cleaning hair off the white bathroom floor.
How can you ALWAYS seem to be doing so many different things? I believe that's what they call "stuck in a rut." :o) It's not necessarily a bad thing and I'm not complaining- it just hit me that these single moments seem to blur together into one unending task, like a sci-fi time loop.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The ants go marching

Henry & I came across some ants swarming in the sidewalk cracks on our walk tonight.
Henry crouched down to look at them. Then he had to poke them with a flower.

Henry: Lookit Mama! They're having a PARTY!
Me: Yep, let's leave them alone so they can have their party.

(Meanwhile I'm thinking "please don't touch them! I don't know if they bite/sting or whatever self-defense mechanism ants have!" If I say that to him, it's guaranteed to propel his little fingers right into that angrily morphing dark mass). 

I'm also desperately trying not to be one of those hovering, anxious mothers who constantly admonishes her poor child to "Put that down! Don't touch that! You'll get FILTHY!"

I want him to find joy in little things and I love seeing him in awe of those simple little things, from ducks landing with a splash onto the canal, to crossing a liftbridge "WAY UP HIGH IN THE AIR!"

Then again, he finds joy in things like ant swarms and colonies of snails sliming their way across the path after a rainstorm.

 So, I restrain myself from bodily removing him from his newest discovery and....much to my surprise, Henry pushes himself up and is happily trudging away until he looks back, disappointed.

Henry: Mama! The ants aren't FOLLOWING ME!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Baby Kathryn!

Henry stumbled, sleepy-eyed out into the living room and climbed up in my lap this morning.
Me: Do you know what day it is today?
Henry (his face lights up): Kaffryn's PARTY DAY?
Me: Close, buddy. It's her birthday today! Do you want to say Happy birthday to your sister?
Henry (shakes his head and crawls up onto the couch): No, you do it, Mama. I'm going up here to relax.

Mean Girls

watching "Sleeping Beauty" with Henry.
Henry: "Lookit Mama! Here comes Malificent! She's my favorite MEAN GIRL!

My son, he loves everyone, not just the good guys. Malificent must be one of those "seriously misunderstood" characters. :o)


Henry's all curled up on the couch, snuggled under a fleece blanket.
Henry: Can I have a juice box, please, Mama?
Me: Sure, sweetheart. Do you want apple or orange?
Henry: We got ORANGE JUICE BOXES? Aw! You're kidding me!
Me: Yep, we were out for a while and now we have more. Which is it, buddy?
... Henry: Apple.

Of course.

Princess Leia

Kathryn spied Henry's foam pirate sword down within her reach and went for it. Predictably, Henry got it away from her.
Henry: I don't like her, anymore, Mama. She's not my sister anymore.
Me: Well, who is she then? (this should be good).
Still not sure if that was supposed to be a bad thing.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


This past year has simultaneously dragged on and passed in the blink of an eye. Yesterday was the anniversay of Kathryn's due date and I was just thinking how incredibly fragile I felt then. I can't believe she's going to be 1 on Tuesday.

When did the fragile feeing start? Car accident last December? Cyst on Kat's brain in January's ultrasound? Or was it when my school district notified me April 13, 20011 that I would be laid off at the end of that school year? I even remember the outfit I was wearing when I was called down to the principal's office that day to meet with the HR director. Bright red roses on a white background, empire cut to fit over my 33-week pregnant belly. I never wore that shirt again. I wanted nothing that would invoke the memory of sitting at the conference table while someone who made over $100,000 told me the district couldn't afford my $13,000 salary. I remember seeing that strategically placed Kleenex box and thinking no, I'm not going to break down and sob here and now. I'll save that for the car ride home. I felt coldly logical. Questions about how my maternity leave was affected and my health insurance coverage, and severance pay? Yeah, there was no severance pay. Couldn't afford that, either?
My librarian sat with me through that, at my request. She was there at my hiring interview; it seemed fitting that she see firsthand their reasonings behind letting me go.

I started having contractions that night and continued to contract every 2-3 minutes for hours at a time until Kathryn's delivery on June 5th. I even called my midwife, packed a bag and went to the hospital in mid-May, convinced it was "time" but it was unproductive labor and I never progressed past 2 cm. I'm still thankful for my friends and family, who came to offer their support and encouragement and even massages while I was waiting, waiting, and for my extrememely patient midwife who came in at dawn that day for a false alarm. She did see me through another natural childbirth, albeit a few weeks later.

The school district expected me to work up until my delivery date and I was there on June 1st, feeling everyone's eyes on me as they expected me to drop that baby right then and there in my school library. Then I was done. I've been back a couple of times, showed off the baby, brought Henry in for lunch with Mama's friends, but it truly broke my heart to lose that job. I was entirely content and satisfied to work as a library clerk in an elementary school, even at that poor pay rate. The people were incredible, especially my librarian, and the students definitely kept me on my toes. Never a dull moment.


This is the first time I've written about that in depth and was just in the mood to write after my nightly walk with Henry. Today also marks 8 years since my grandpa Henry passed away.

We made our circuit around the block and on a whim we wandered onto the cracked paved path of a local cemetary. The sun was setting and it was just cool enough for me to wear a sweater. My kind of weather.

The most recent gravestones I saw there were dated in the 1950s and most centered around the mid to late 1800s. Everything from glossy finished grave markers to the pale white, pitted stones reminiscent of Salem-era ghost stories.

As Henry & I meandered through the cemetary, I had a moment of utter clarity. Every one of those forgotten gravestones represented a loss, a burial, someone mourning a loved one. I pictured black-clad figures with heads bowed standing around each plot as I passed graves marked "Aged 28 years" "Aged 32 years" "Aged 34 years."

I'm turning 31 next month. Makes me even more thankful for my life, my family, my friends and I intend to cherish every moment left. Except for maybe the temper tantrums and blow-out diapers.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


While driving to church today, I forgot my intended destination and, on autopilot, headed towards Grammy's house rather than church. Henry noticed right away and I guess I shouldn't be surprised that he was that astute and conscious of directions. He is the grandson of truck drivers, after all.

Henry: "Mama! Dat's NOT da way to church! Dat's da way to GRAMMY'S HOUSE!"
That snapped me out of my reverie and right back to reality.
Me: "Yep, you're right, Henry."
Henry: "Silly goose!"

So on our circumvent route to church, I realized we would drive by the cemetary where my beloved grandparents are buried. And the question came- should I say anything to Henry about what we were driving by? What would he make of it? I decided to try it, anyway. I had explained to Henry before that he was named after my grandfather and that Grandpa Henry passed away before he was born.

Me: "Henry, we're going by the cemetary where Grandpa Henry is."
Henry: YOUR Grandpa Henry? Who die-ded?"
Me: "Yes, my Grandpa Henry died and we named you Henry after him."
And that was it.
Then we passed the cemetary and he saw the John Deere store next to it.
Henry: "Lookit! Tractors!"
Me: "Yep, my Grandpa Henry liked tractors a lot too." (He was a farmer.)
Henry: "Yeah! And when I was your Grandpa Henry, I liked tractors lots n' lots!"

So this just made me think of continuing our heritage, from passing down names to carrying on the farming tradition and that part of my grandfather lives on in my son.

Grandpa Henry died on June 2, 2004 and when I was due to have Kathryn on June 1st last year, I had to wonder if she would be born on his death-day. I suppose it would have brought some happiness to that sad memory, but at the same time, I didn't want her birth to share that day. Then when I got closer to the end of my pregnancy, I didn't care what day she came as long as she GOT OUT. She was 4 days late and came on her own time on the 5th. It's hard to believe it's almost been a year.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hair Today..Gone Tomorrow

Henry: OK, I'm dressed now. I wanna watch a video wit' TWO fruit snacks and an apple-apple juice box!
After settling himself in the computer chair, he reaches up to run his hand through his recently-shorn hair and looks at me, panic-stricken.

Henry: Mama! Is my haircut STILL THERE?!

(Where else would it go??)

Holdin Out on You

Kathryn's in her jumper, angrily bouncing and squalling after finishing her Mum-Mum. Then I realized what she was saying.
"Mama! You're holding out on me! I KNOW there's another Mum-Mum in that wrapper!"

Yep, you're right. Mean Mama. Now she's happily smacking her lips, knawing on the other one.
Dada & Kathryn's new game- Puppet Theater Peekaboo.
He stands behind an open door and lifts her above it so all you can see are her head & shoulders. She laughs and loves it. 

 Dada: Yeah, until she laughs and 4 gallons of saliva drools down onto my head!

Way to take one for the team, honey.

"I'm cute and I know it"

It's 8pm and "Sleeping Beauty" has just ended. I'm congratulating myself on the great timing for Henry's bedtime. Then Henry looks imploringly up at me with his big hazel eyes.
Henry: I wanna watch "Cinderella" now, PLEASE Mama??
Me: You look so cute, you know.
Henry emphatically nods and says, "Yes, I do look cute."

He's SO working it!

Sleep...What's that?

Ugh, someday I will sleep through the night. Henry came in around 3am, crawled in next to me and spent the next 3 hours sharply jabbing me in the side with his little feet. King size bed and he can't stay on his own space? Then Kathryn was up just before 6, demanding a bottle and making "the smell."

Henry just stumbled into the living room.
"Mama! Where my Daddy? What time he coming home???!!"

Tub Time

The kids had their first bath together. They were so cute facing each other- Kathryn sitting in her high-backed bathseat with her little toes reaching out to Henry's feet. Then they both started kicking & splashing and soaked the bathroom (and me). Love it.

Henry was ADORABLE! He even gently washed her hair and was so good- didn't get ANY soap in her eyes. Such little blessings.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Small things

A couple of days ago, I randomly picked up a small ball of multi-colored scrap yarn left over from one of my many crochet projects and turned it over in my hand. It was the size of a baseball, not much good for anything and yet too big to justify just tossing in the trash.
I had saved similar scraps with vague intentions of donating them to the scrap stashes of my son's daycare and yet they never seemed to make it there. Just got shuffled around in my yarn basket for a few months and then scooped into a garbage bag in a short-lived fit of efficiency-driven de-cluttering.

This time was different though. I was going to do something that went against every clean, neat, organized-librarian fiber of my being. I handed Scrappie and my little purple scissors to my son who looked up at me questioningly.

Me: "Henry, how would you like to cut yarn?"
His eyes got HUGE.
Henry: "All up?!"
Me: "Yep, all up. Have fun."

So simple and best of all, FREE.

Yeah, I have fuzzy acrylic fibers ground into my rug now and a shoebox full of yarn bits destined for the circular file. Yeah, I'll have to vacuum at least twice to get them out. But that's not the point. For that brief span of time, I watched Henry happily amuse himself by snipping away.

Now, if I come across him tearing through an expensive good-fiber skein, I won't be quite as indulgent. Hmm...perhaps should clarify this a bit better.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Grammy called Henry her moonpie.
Henry: I not your MOONPIE! I'm Dada's PUMPKINHEAD!!

Then he told me he was my pet monster. Good, I needed one of those.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bedtime Prayers

I was rocking Henry to sleep tonight and just at peace, thankful for my beautiful, healthy children.

 Me (out loud): Thank you God for my son.
Henry: You say "Sank you God for your son?" Why?
Me: Because we're so lucky to have you. So many people want a Henry and we're lucky enough to have you.
Henry: You said to God, "Give me a Henry, please, please PLEASE?! An' he DID?! Because I'M Henry???

Yeah, we did.


I was reading a pop-up animal-counting book with Henry and Kathryn. When we got to "5" butterflies, I asked Henry if he knew what happened when he turned five.

I was thinking he would say something about school.

Instead his eyes got real big: "I'm going to turn into a BUTTERFLY??!!!"

Operation Waste of Time

We just assembled our Saturday morning project- one of those tiny Perle bead kits that you iron to fuse the design. Henry "helped" me by handing me the colors because I way overestimated his fine motor skills at putting them on the pegs.
Of course, couldn't find where Dada put the iron so I put it on the counter to wait until he got home.
I told Henry to leave it alone until Dada got home because it wasn't finished.

Henry (dumping the contents of his hands into the recliner): "Lookit Mama! I bring dis in here to show Dada when he get home!!"

That's right, he just dumped hundreds of tiny beads into Jim's chair. Love my child...Love my child.....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Also from our library walk tonight....

Henry: Am I younger than you, Dada?
Dada: Yep, buddy. You're younger than me.
Henry: We both young! You're BIG young and I'm WIDDLE young!

Age is just a number, I guess.

Do Not Disturb

Tonight we walked to the library before dinner- absolutely gorgeous weather. I pushed Kathryn in her stroller and Jim hauled Henry in the backpack. Jim galloped a couple of steps and disturbed Master Henry, ensconced up top with his fruit snacks and juice box.

Henry: Dada! Don't DO that! I'm holding my fruit snacks in my hand and I DON"T LIKE THAT!

I just had to laugh. They reminded me of an Indian elephant lumbering along carrying a maharaja in luxurious style.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


wrestled Henry away from cartoons to go for a walk in this beautiful weather. Should probably clarify. I walked. Henry rode in his wagon with 2 of his closest stuffed-animal friends.

Me: Henry, where do you want to walk? Around the block?
Henry: No! I want to walk to the NORTH POLE!

Yeah, not gonna happen, buddy.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Baby Kat has developed quite the little entourage, especially when we are leaving the house. I like to think of it in terms of mobilizing a miniature army because undoubtedly the preparation is similar.

So everyone in the family happened to be congregating around Kathryn when Jim was changing her for the umpteenth time (what a guy- marry a Marine, girls!). Henry was being his usual, insatiably curious self, wanting to know what everyone was doing and I was hanging back, enjoying the break from poopie-diaper duty.
Then Henry burst out with....

"Lookit Mama! Baby Kaffryn has LOTS of peoples for her!"

We dispersed shortly after that, with Jim taking up the baby, Henry sadly said, "Oh! Only ONE people to see Baby Kaffryn now!"

Yep, fame is fickle, buddy. Better learn it young.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Life's ambition

Asking a preschooler what they want to be when they grow up- always interesting.

Since Henry is constantly concerned about how others are doing, we pushed medical professional just to see what he would say.

Me: Henry, what do you want to do when you grow up? Do you want to be a doctor and help people who are sick or hurt?
Henry: No, I want to be Lady Gaga when I growed up.

Whatever makes you happy, I suppose.........

Hungry Henry

I was making risotto to go with the fish for dinner. Of course, Henry had to check out what I was doing.

Henry: Whatcha makin' Mama? Oh! You're makin' lots of dinner 'cause I lots of hungry???

No wonder he was nicknamed "Baby Hungry."

Saturday, March 3, 2012


We're trying to teach Henry to clean up after himself. 

 Dada: Henry, put your juicebox in the recycling bin, please.

(Henry takes it and scurries into the kitchen, coming back empty-handed).

Dada: Did you throw it in the recycling bin?
Henry: Yes!! (Pause) What's da recycling bin???


Henry is all about where fruit comes from. Guess it's better than where hamburgers and chicken fingers come from....
Henry: We get da apples from Wegmans an' put dem ina tree and den we grow apples!

My favorite today...
Henry: Mama! Do bananas grow in da mud??!!!

I just had this insane picture of him burying a bunch of bananas in our soggy garden.

Boys, Band-Aids and boo-boos....

Henry was so cute (as always). This weather makes my fingers crack and bleed and he noticed last night.
Henry: Oh no Mama! You need a BAND-AID! I go get you one.
Then he paused when he realized he can't reach them
Henry: I go ask Grandma and Grandpa in North Carolina for my blue stool so I can reach it. (Yeah, not going to happen)
Then this morning, he came over to me...
Henry: May I see your two boo-boos, please Mama?
Boys, Band-Aids and boo-boos....


Henry made a beeline for his Marine Corps stickers this morning and saw that one was missing.

Henry: Where my sticker go?
Me: I don't know Henry. What do you think happened?
Henry: Maybe one of my friends took it.
Me: Who?
Henry: ______ took it. Yeah, he put it on his shirt and ate it.

Huh. Never would have thought of that.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Henry the Builder

Tonight Henry piled the majority of the contents of his toybox on Dada's recliner. Needless to say, Dada was rather put out when he saw the mountain o' toys on "his" chair and asked that it be removed.

Henry: No Dada! I can't take them off! Dis is da treehouse dat the COWS live in!

Oh yeah? Where's the ladder for them to hoof it up there???? Riddle me that, Batman!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tears and Chocolate Kisses

I had just about had it today after another trying day working full-time with behavioral kids for less than $200/ week.
I'm not sure what exactly made it brutal. Maybe it was the second day coming back from having a week off and realizing that this is my routine. This is my life.
Maybe it was getting slammed with a $1000 car repair this afternoon. Whatever it was pushed me over the edge so much so that I cried the whole way to Grammy camp.

When I got there to pick up the kiddos, Henry flung himself into my arms and smooshed his sticky chocolate-smeared mouth against my cheek.
I so needed that kind of unadulterated child-love. I'm sure God has a plan for my life and that however difficult it may seem now, this too shall pass and it will serve its purpose.
But for now... what the hell????!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Henry: Don't break that glass, Daddy..... or Henry's Mama will be very disappointed in you!
Yeah, I think Dada knows that lady!

Got your back

So we got a bit turned around during our road trip looking for a Play Place @ McDonald's for Henry.....

Me: We're lost, Jim. We should ask these people for directions.
Jim: We're not lost. I know exactly where we are.
Me (thinking to myself): Yeah you know where you ARE, but not where you WANT to go.
Then Henry pipes up from his little Captain's Chair in the backseat.
Henry: No Mama! We're NOT lost! Dada knows WHERE WE ARE.
Me: Glad someone's got your back, Jim.
Henry: I got your back, Daddy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What the Hell Happened

I just want to know what the hell happened to my angelic, sweet little boy. His alter ego is recalcitrent, stubborn, contrary, sullen and willful. My 3 year old has become a teenage girl.

This is our first trip with both kids and I must say it has been trying. On the positve side, I can see what a seamlessly functioning machine Jim and I are together. We can communicate with a simple look, like 2 nights ago when Henry was HOT, whimpering and complaining his ear hurt. We looked at each other over his huddled, shivering little form and I KNEW we were headed to the ER. 3 hours later, it turned out to be a false alarm since the little scamp started feeling better and was running around the waiting room, watching "Wonder Pets" after being triaged and thrown back into the holding tank.
We decided to leave after 2 ambulances showed up and he's been fine except for his seasonal cough. Still not an experience I would recommend for out-of-staters. No soap in the restrooms and now that I think back on it, the triage nurse didn't wear gloves when she examined Henry. Ew.

It's been like constantly walking a fine line between Henry's enjoyment and total toddler takeover. Well, I guess I can't call him a toddler now since he's technically in the preschool class but I can't think of the equivalent matching "P"s.
I just want him to have fun while not becoming another part of his entourage. Factor in the ever-present judging eyes of strangers and it can be stressful since I know to an outsider it looks like we're letting our kid act like a complete BRAT who has his parents tethered on tight leashes. Our reality (or at least our intention of it) is more along the lines of picking battles and letting him learn natural consequences (up to a point).
"I don't want to eat breakfast." leaves me with two choices:
1. Sit him down with food and leave him to it. If he eats, fine. If he doesn't, that's his choice. We told him to eat now or wait until lunchtime so he knows the consequences.
2. Sit there until he eats breakfast which throws off the whole day for us and the grandparents, not to mention being guaranteed to cause a nuclear meltdown in the hotel dining room until he decides to comply.
So he refused a plate of his favorite- fruit salad- and then refused a strategically offered bagel in the car, picked at lunch and was a complete PILL all morning from being tired and hungry. He slept in the car, played on a playground and then was absolutely fine for dinner.

So maybe it was the change in routine. Maybe it was being tired and hungry but this song and dance is getting old. We stopped briefly at a winery and those 3 tastings choices were the highlight of my day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Age is just a number...or a fruit

Another Henry-in-the-car conversation.
Henry: I THREE years old, Mama!
Me: Yes, you are. How old is Mama?
Henry: FIFTY!
Me: NO!!!
Henry: Um....FIFTY-ONE!!
Me: (sigh) And how old is Grammy?
Henry: Cantaloupe FIFTY!

Too Many

Putting Henry to bed tonight and he insisted on carting a bunch of library books with him. He stacked them by his bed, then IN his bed and protested when I removed them so he could sleep without sharp corners poking him in the side.

Henry: Don't take dem away, Mama! I want them! I want TOO MANY BOOKS in bed with me!!

Never thought I would say there was such a thing as too many books....

Yours and Mine

Driving Henry and Kathryn to Grammy-camp this morning and telling Henry how proud I was of him and how happy he makes me.

Me: I love you so much, my Doodle.
Henry: NO! I'm not YOUR Doodle! I DADA'S DOODLE!

Boys against girls, already?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"The Smell"

Fair warning: relatively gross topic but I'm pretty sure other parents out there will symapthize with me. If you don't, ask your nanny/daycare provider. They'll know what I'm talking about.

What is going on with Kathryn's diapers lately??? She's been teething and that seems to be the go-to answer for anything out of the ordinary. But seriously, what the heck?

A couple months ago, shortly after she started solid food, we called the doctor about her constipation and vocally-expressed pain whenever she went. That turned out to be diet-related and we eased up on the applesauce and rice cereal. Oops, my bad. You'd think she was our first kid or something.
Then she was still having a hard time going, even with introducing moderate amounts of plum juice to supplement my breastmilk. Then my milk supply decreased, even with constant nursing/pumping so I suspect it was stress-related from my crazy job.
Kat needed more to drink so we started supplementing with formula.
Problem solved- no more screaming infant during defecation.

And now the present...the past few diapers have been DISGUSTING. How can such a petite-ladylike little beauty drop a load that made my garbageman-brother gag?

Just last night my husband said she was happily bouncing in her jumper when he noticed "the smell" and saw that she had not only pooped out her diaper but her clothing had somehow magically wicked it up her back all the way to her neck.
Gravity-defying feces? What next?
This morning she was again happily gurgling and kicking away in her crib when I came in to get her up. Again, "the smell" and I thought "Please just be gas." No such luck...
Thankfully that diaper was contained but it must have weighed more than she did.

So whatever is going on, I hope it regulates itself before our upcoming roadtrip otherwise it's going to be 9 hours of Henry hollering, "Mama! What's "that smell?" Kaffryn go poopie? AGAIN?! Oh! Dat's YUCKY!"


Henry & I went to the carwash yesterday and as they were drying the car, Henry decided to get all inquisitive and nosy. At the top of his lungs, of course.

Henry: MAMA! Who dat man wiping our car?
Me: He works here, Henry.
Henry: What his name?
Me: I don't know.
Henry: What his Mama & Dada's name? What his sister's name? What his doggie's name? Huh, Mama? Mama? MAMA!!! WHO IS THAT???

Ugh, good grief, kid. Mind your own business!


Cuddling Henry on my lap this morning and just basking in a perfect motherhood-moment.
Me (whispering): You are so beautiful, Henry.
Henry (eyes closed, whispers back): No I'm not. I'm magic.

You sure are.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Singing to Sleep

Henry's pounding away on his Bongo drum, singing a mix of "B-I-B-L-E, that's the book for me" and Jimmy Buffett's "Jolly Mon" at the top of his voice. 

 Sure, that will help the baby go down for her afternoon nap.


Jim's laptop has been out of commission for a couple of days and he and Henry have been going through WoW withdrawal. Henry wandered in this morning and the first thing he said after seeing Jim's dark computer screen??

Henry: Dada's computer broken for a LONG LONG time and we can't jump Doodle.

An' Dada try to fix it and he workin' on it for a LONG LONG time!

Relativity. No gametime feels like forever, appparently.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

WHO'S Driving?

Me: You drive me crazy, Henry!
Henry: I not driving, Mama! YOU driving! Silly goose!


Henry fell Christmas Eve and hit his eyebrow pretty good on the coffee table.
4 stitches later, Jim's taken to calling him "Rocky" and taught him to say, "Cut me, Mick."
Except that sometimes Henry said "Cut me, Mickey" instead, which is rather disturbing.