The One with the Random Train of Thoughts

So even though it's been gone more than 5 years, Captain America and I still quote Friends. A lot. Remember how all the episode names were "The One With..." Ok. Maybe it's sad. But it still brings me joy.

I put my hair in a messy bun today. I think it's the first time I've ever done that, because I think this is the longest my hair has been. Ever. My hair does not grow quickly. I think I started growing it out after Natalie was born. Not Zoey. Natalie. Natalie, who is 5 1/2.

Taking a shower without washing my hair feels weird. Along with growing ever so slowly, I have the kind of hair that really needs to be washed daily. Otherwise, ew. But on days when I'm getting a haircut I don't wash it. It just makes the shower strange. Colder, somehow.

Sometimes I watch Glee on Hulu. I'm not enough of a fan to tivo it, but eventually I catch most of the episodes. Every once and a while I fastforward through the musical numbers. Is that some kind of Glee sacrilege? It's just that I can only handle so much Journey and whathaveyou.

The other day Ella got upset because she doesn't get to go to the afterschool daycare program. You know. Because she has ME. In my heart I know it's because they go sledding and have snacks and make crafts and her friend goes. But I still gave her a small "You're lucky I'm home to be with you" speech which was totally lost on her. Much like the speech we gave the little ingrates last night about the kids without enough food who would be happy to eat their Spaghettios. And the one I gave Natalie about the kids without warm pajamas who wouldn't care that they don't match. Or the one I gave Zoey about the babies who don't have nice beds to sleep in, who wouldn't wake their mothers up in the middle of the night. Ok, not that last one.

We blew Santa out of the water the other day. I'm glad we did. Ella was mostly upset because she says she wants us to always tell her the truth. We talked about how Santa was a very good man, and very generous, and now it's a fun tradition. It was time. As Captain America described it, he'd gone from a jolly old man who gives gifts to the rich uncle who gets you whatever you want. "I'm not sure we can get you that for Christmas" was met with "Then I'll just ask Santa for it," with a bit of a pre-teen edge in the tone. On the one hand, I'll miss him. On the other, I'm glad to give up the game and help them understand why things like Toys for Tots are so important. I just feel like the focus was so much on the getting, and now maybe we can work on the giving.



It is certainly a year to give thanks. Not that they aren't all years to give thanks. But the thanks come very easily this year.

We headed back to see all the family for Thanksgiving. It was just like I imagine it was in days of yore. Loading up the extended minivan with many suitcases and a pack & play. Making sure the DVDs were stocked. Over the river. Through the woods.

We had a great trip, and little Zoey proved to be a very flexible traveler, much to our delight. While I hole up in my laundry room, please enjoy the story of Grandpa Ron, our own holiday Chilean miner miracle, over at my sister's blog.


What day is it?

Oh my goodness! Zoey only got up once last night, and for how it's been that was as good as sleeping through the night to me. I know it may not happen again for months, but now there's a little hope. And I know there are mommies out there who stay up all night listening to the screaming colicky baby, so I can't complain about Zoey's sleeping habits REALLY. She just likes to visit and snuggle in the night.

Perhaps it was the exhaustion of a doctor's appointment complete with shots? I know I felt exhausted after that. I made sure to point out to Zoey that there were two nurses in there doing the dirty work, and this was not Mommy that was stabbing her in the legs. She was not happy. I saw her first big tears. And she was left cranky for the rest of the day.

I was thrilled, though. After a rough start to weight gain, Zoey now weighed 10 lbs. 1 oz at her 2 month check up.

Which seems as good a transition as any into a little thankful list. As far as I'm concerned, this is the best Thanksgiving ever, and it's not even here yet. I am over the moon thankful for these overall life things:

  • A healthy baby and her chubby baby legs.
  • A sweet spirited 5 yr old.
  • A really caring 7 yr old.
  • My husband who still cracks me up 14 years later, and is a fantastic daddy.
  • My family, who still manages to be there for me even though they're 5 hours away.
  • A warm home and all its amenities.
  • Great friends that understand me.
  • My job, and understanding customers.
  • My church.
Today I'm thankful for:
  • A new tea to try.
  • Christmas music (shhhh - my girls will tell me it's too early - Captain America has been training them!).
  • A large capacity washer.
  • Working from home (in sweatshirts & slippers).
  • My new cranberry/clove/orange candle.
  • No snow on the ground.
  • Warm enough temps that I haven't pulled out more than a fleece yet.
  • Everything. I feel like I slept so much last night I want to dance and sing.


Desperate Mommy

So I watch Desperate Housewives. I'm not proud.

You'll have to forgive this re-telling, because I feel like I haven't slept in days and it's really hampering my ability to be coherent.

A couple of weeks ago one of the wives, Lynette, was having a tough time keeping up with all her children. She has a new baby. Her 11 yr old daughter, Penny, offered to watch the baby so she could shower or nap or something. The baby loved Penny. Penny was like a Baby Whisperer. She loved taking care of her little sister. Everyone was happy. Especially Lynette. So Lynette started going for a jog, or visiting a neighbor while Penny babysat. Hooray!

Then Lynette stopped by a neighbor's house for a minute and got wrapped up in something or another. She didn't make it back home before Penny had to get on the bus for school, and Penny had a big math test. So she ran in yelling that she'd give her a ride. Only neither Penny nor the baby were anywhere to be found. Penny had taken the baby on the bus and gone to school. Lynette goes to pick her up, getting the stink eye from every school office employee around. The principal tells her Penny's been falling asleep in class, because she's been getting up in the middle of the night to give the baby a bottle so her mom could sleep. Lynette had no idea.

So Lynette talks to Penny about it. Turns out Penny noticed that when she helped take care of the baby, it made for a very happy mommy. Lynette wasn't as cranky. She played games with the other kids. Penny liked that.

I don't have to tell you I totally teared up when I watched that. Even if it was Desperate Housewives. It struck a chord. Hit a nerve. Whatever. NEW MOMMY HORMONES!

Today when I picked Ella & Natalie up from school I told them I'd really need good listening today, because Zoey had been up much of the night and hadn't let me nap today. So they had one tired mama. Natalie (5) said, "Mama? We can watch Zoey while you rest! We'll take care of her! We can do that - can't we, Ella?" To which Ella (7 - so very 7) said, "Well...I want to play with my gak I made today." Yeah, I see how it is. I told Natalie that was awfully sweet of her, and thank you so much, but Zoey would be up soon to eat. "I can give her the bottle that's in the fridge!" Be still my heart, you lovely, lovely child.

Thank goodness I had learned my Desperate lesson via Lynette. I mean, Lynette scored a nanny out of the deal (which ended up being her senile mother-in-law, although that's beside the point). I'm guessing that's not where my story would be going. So I'll just be very thankful for a sweet and helpful child, and try to keep her that way.


Mommybrain and Third Child Syndrome

I have serious Mommybrain. There was the day I forgot to pick up the girls on a half day of school. There was the day where I went into school to write a lunch check and would have walked out without my checkbook, had a friend not been standing next to me and reminded me. Later that day I went to Walgreens with all 3 girls, and nearly walked out without my purchases until the cashier stopped me.

Other than that, I just can't focus. It's the culprit of my lack of blogging. When I have my few moments to write something, I'm blank. I've forgotten to do some of my jobs. If a customer asks for files over the phone, I can nearly guarantee I won't remember to send them.

Meanwhile, this poor third child. She has to be much more flexible than the other two were. I've found I'm able to tune out the fussing a lot of the time. So Captain America often has to wake me up to go feed her. Just now, I had Zoey under an activity gym staring at the toys she can't reach. She started fussing. Natalie said to me, "Mom? Can you give her the nuk? I'm busy right now." Oh. Right.

I blame the lack of sleep. For all of it. Zoey's a decent sleeper, it's just that her day/night is a little shifted. Day seems to start around noon, and end around midnight. We're working on that. Well, Captain America is working on it. I'm too tired.


All the baby-ness

Oh my word but it is a delight to have this child on the outside. I know they're not all that fun at first, but I do enjoy cuddling a squishy baby. I'm enjoying her immobility as well, since I know it will be short-lived.

I'm also loving the age gap. Ella & Natalie are somewhat self-sufficient, and they're great helpers. Don't get me wrong, I'm so happy Ella & Natalie are close in age to each other. But it's making babyhood much more fun than when I also had a diaper-wearing toddler running around. It's been so fun to watch them love on their little sister. I'm sure there will be days when the novelty wears off, but for now we're still all head over heels for her.

We're sort of settling into a bit of a routine, and Zoey has proven to be fairly flexible in that respect. The whole SuperMom thing is a little overwhelming, but I'm accepting that I can't get it all done right now. There's a baby, two school-agers who need to be transported, housekeeping, cooking, and plenty of work to do. I'm inclined to let the housekeeping & cooking go, since that's an easy place for Captain America to pick up slack (and there's always pizza or McDonald's). And let me tell you, he steps up his game. Every time Zoey's up at night, he gets up first to change her diaper. He also spearheads the clean up movement on Saturdays, after making sure I can sleep in.

So the routine is evolving. Zoey's gathering nicknames (not from me): Zo-Zo, Zoester, Lil Z. We're getting used to our new normal. And as it was with the other two, it's hard to imagine Zoey hasn't always been a part of our lives.


Obligatory labor story

I'm sure you've just been sitting there on pins & needles waiting for the labor story. The wait is over!

You may remember I've had a plethora of due dates. I'm exaggerating, but I like the word "plethora." They were Sept. 25, Oct. 7, and Oct. 2. The ultrasound techs liked Oct. 2 in the end, but my doctor and I had a Sept. 25 hunch. You know who doesn't care about due dates? Babies.

You may also remember I've been petrified of going into labor, and of random water breakage. I was so paranoid that I bought a waterproof liner for my side of the bed. I was convinced my water was going to break in the middle of the night while I was sleeping. But then I realized the chances of that were probably pretty slim. And I was right. Kind of. It broke at 6 a.m. while I was sleeping, on Sept. 14. At first I wasn't even convinced that it was really my water breaking, because I wasn't having contractions in any remotely frequent or regular manner. Then I thought if it wasn't the water, I wanted my money back on the pregnancy thing because all of the sudden I had the worst bladder control ever.

Captain America ran off to work to wrap some things up. I took the girls to school. {I'm blaming both of those things on shock} As I dropped the girls off I told them someone else would probably pick them up from school, because I thought we'd have the baby that day. So Ella says, "Why do you think that?" And I said, "Because some of the things that happen before you have the baby are happening." And she said, "Oh, because we had the baby shower Saturday?" Um. Yes.

Then I headed to the clinic so my doctor could check me out. They hooked me up to a monitor and watched my ridiculously infrequent contractions, and the plentiful baby movement. Captain America met me there, and then we headed down to the hospital for All the Baby Having. Without contractions it was a little anti-climactic. Since we had two cars at the clinic, I drove one home. When we got to the hospital, I opted out of the wheelchair ride to labor & delivery. The rush wasn't really in it.

Sometime mid-morning they hooked me up to my old friend Pitocin. Only it didn't seem to pack the same punch it did with the other two. By 5 p.m. I started to wonder if she was going to be born by midnight. I was bored with being in labor. I told Captain America to go ahead and order dinner. My THIRD nurse came in. She assured me it wasn't that bad, because she was splitting a shift so really it was only two. She gave that pitocin a final crank, and BAM, we were in business. Shortly after that I called for Round 1 of nubane, because I am deathly afraid of epidurals. The next couple hours is sort of a blur.

It boils down to this: After a while the nubane wore off, and I called for Round 2. There was some discussion about how sometimes Round 2 doesn't work, and should they give me something else? Well, she likes nubane, let's give her more nubane. IT DIDN'T WORK. And it was time to push. Apparently Me + Labor - Nubane {and all drugs for that matter} = Screamer. I'd like to apologize to everyone in the room and in that wing. When it was over I remember thinking maybe I was louder in my head than in real life. Captain America assured me that was not the case. I also noticed my throat hurt from All the Screaming. The only moment I really remember was during the pushing when a nurse said, "Look down at your baby!" and I yelled "NO WAY!" Because I like the miracle of birth to be a pretty miracle. Where a shiny clean baby is placed in my arms and I can pretend she's always been shiny clean. Like on tv.

She was born at 7:44 p.m., weighing 6 lbs. 9 oz. 11 days early. Or more. Or less. Just a tiny peanut. She remained nameless until the next morning when we consulted the Big Sisters. They chose Zoey Elizabeth. She missed Captain America's birthday by 4 hours. Which is best summed up by a balloon some friends brought him at the hospital. It said, "It's my birthday, it's all about me," only it popped on the way in.

So Zoey's here now. And all the labor things I worried about are over and done. I'm enjoying the rewards of snuggling at all hours. And it doesn't hurt that my doctor, also a mother, says things like, "I can't believe you did that. No epidural. No drugs. Girl, you were amazing." It's another notch in my Mommy Martyr belt.


...drumroll please...

Zoey Elizabeth was born Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 7:44 p.m. She was 6 lbs. 9 oz, and 19 1/4" long. Just as she's been from the start, she did it on her own timing and schedule.

I'll be back soon with the obligatory labor story. Right now I'm enjoying putting my feet up while my family roams around the house fixing things and making dinner {shout out for my sister's world famous lasagna} and doing my laundry.

For now just know that we're all so in love with her, that Captain America actually went out and purchased this little outfit on his own accord.



I am a walking timebomb. At any moment I could just launch into labor. I could be browsing the aisles at Target and my water could break. At Target. Yuck.

This is why I've always liked being induced. I liked having a date set. I liked to think I wouldn't go into labor before that (and I got lucky). I like to know. I like sleeping the night before, and not being in labor in the middle of the night. I know inducing is really horrible for a lot of women, but mine went well. A little whiff of pitocin, and off I went. Roughly 8 hours with Ella and 5 hours with Natalie. No guarantees, I know, but you can see how that would be attractive.

I like the idea of being at the hospital for the whole thing. All of the contractions. All of the water breaking yuckiness. I like being at the hospital. With nurses and monitors and Nubane. Having to figure out if I'm really in labor or not freaks me out.

This baby is a whole new experience. New doctor, new hospital, new nurses. I've been given no promises of inducing. And all the not knowing makes me wake up at least 3 times a night having dreamed I was in labor. I'm completely paranoid. Did my stomach just twinge? Am I going to start contractions? I feel a little weird - is this it?

So at this point, I would like to just move into the hospital and wait. At the very least, I'd like to stop going places. Just hole up here at home and wait it out. It's completely unrealistic and unnecessary, but it would certainly make me feel better.


Christmas, Christmas time is here!

I feel like it's been kind of a long summer. Today was the first day of school for first graders on up; kindergarten starts tomorrow. A friend of mine very aptly described last night as the equivalent of Christmas Eve. "And tomorrow Santa will come in his big yellow bus and take them away..."

The school principal called last week and said the class sizes in second grade were getting a little too big (24-25), so they were adding one more section. The new section would be in a smaller room, so it would cap out at 15 kids. Would we be supportive of them moving Ella into that class? SURE! 15 kids? That's like private school. Count her in. So Monday night we went to open house to find out who her teacher would be, since they had to hire one quickly last week and didn't know who it would be yet when they called. We talked to the principal again, and Captain America told Ella that her new teacher would be Mr. B. "Mr.? A Boy Teacher? Are you serious...nevermind...I'm just going over there." In the end she's totally cool with it, she was just unfamiliar with the phenomenon of a Boy Teacher. Turns out Mr. B grew up in Wyoming, and as a Cody, WY and Yellowstone lover, that just sets my soul at ease.

We also checked out Natalie's kindergarten room and met her teacher. Natalie was excited to see that her two best friends from last year are in her class again. At first she wasn't too keen on the all day idea, but she's come around since the open house.

So today is the first day of school. The kindergarteners all have one hour meetings with the teachers scheduled throughout the day, but we got to drop Ella off. I went a little early because I knew it'd be tough to park. So I'm looking for a spot and Ella says, "Mom, can't you just drop me off? I know where I'm going." Yes, I know. But we need to bring in your three boxes of snacks. "I can carry them. Can't you just drop me off?" Ella. It's early. You're not even really supposed to be here yet. And I'd like to get a couple of pictures of you on the first day. "Oh. You should say 'first day of second grade' because 'first day' makes me think it's my first day of school ever. Like preschool." Yes. Well. Fine.

{shout out to the lovely people at Caribou who were at school handing out coffees to the moms and dads}

We dropped off the snacks and left Ella, who gave me the afterthought "bye, Mom!" over her shoulder as she caught up with friends. Then Natalie and I came home. Natalie: "I'm going to play with whatever I want! I'm going to the playroom! WITHOUT ELLA!"

Clearly, we are all terribly brokenhearted that the end of summer has come. At that point, I realized I didn't even shed a tear this morning when I dropped Ella off. I think because this is the first year it isn't really new. When I dropped her off at kindergarten, it was kindergarten. First grade was a new school in a new town. Now she's already got peeps. And I've got my eye on a little peace and quiet. You know, til the baby comes in a few weeks. Merry Christmas, indeed...


Captain America

I met Captain America on my second day of college. Classes hadn't even started yet. I got invited to someone's house for movies, and ended up sitting next to him. He told me if I got thirsty he had some Pepsi I could have. He and his roommates gave me a ride back to campus, and we all stayed up late talking. At some point I realized my keys were in my dorm room, and the dorm systems were now locked. I called my roommate and left a few messages, and when she got in she said she'd meet me to open the door. I remember overhearing a conversation between Captain America and his roommate over who would walk me home, and CA saying, "No. I'll do it." Well. So he walked me to my dorm door, and my poor sleepy roommate let me in. I hoped it wouldn't put a damper on our roomie relationship, since we'd known each other for all of a day.

The next day I called over to his apartment to see if they would show me around so I could figure out where my classes were. I completely mispronounced his name. But they still helped me find my classes. Captain America and I hung out quite a lot that week. By the end of it we were dating. A year later we were engaged. Ten months after that we got married, and that poor sleepy roommate was in the wedding (I don't think she was sleepy anymore).

Today we've been married for 12 years. Twelve. We were such babies when we got married. We've got two, almost three beautiful girls. We've made a couple of big moves (big for us). We've both had a few jobs. We've figured out everything about being grown-ups together. Fourteen years after meeting him, there's still no one who makes me laugh harder. And there's no one I'd rather figure out life with.

So Captain America, I love you, and I'm thankful for you. I'm thankful for everything these 12 years have brought us, and for every year God sees fit to give us. I think we should aim for 75. We can totally live to our late 90s, right?


It's the final countdown...

I'm sure you're all as sick of this pregnancy thing as I am, at this point. Good news! Only 4 weeks left (I hope).

Yesterday it would seem I forgot I was pregnant at all, and thought I could whip through Sam's Club really quickly. You know, grab one thing from every corner of the store. Just really quickly. Zoom, zoom. By the time I got to the checkout line (did I mention it was 5 p.m.?) to stand and wait for eternity, I was feeling it. The baby was going nuts with the kicking. I was getting some braxton-hicks. I had to just stand for a moment and hold on to my stomach. For a minute I thought, "Shoot, what if someone notices me and thinks I'm going into labor?" And then I thought, "Sweet! Maybe I'll be able to move ahead in line!" To no avail. I don't know if you're aware, but when we're waiting in line to check out anywhere, we are all completely oblivious of each other.

I get a little punchy in that last month (it's probably the whole 9 - but particularly in the last one). I hope it isn't just me. When I was pregnant with Natalie I was working with a couple college-age guys. We had three pregnancies at one time in our office. Our office of about 10 people. Those boys learned more than they wanted to learn. I admit, on more than one occasion I enjoyed stopping a conversation saying something like, "Hang on - contraction," and watching the clock. I knew I wasn't in labor. But it was good practice for timing contractions, right? And the panic on their faces was just precious...

So I'm kind of looking forward to my hospital tour later today. Maybe someone will think I'm in labor. Plus I'm hoping that knowing a little more what I can expect when I get there will CALM ME DOWN. I have never gone into labor on my own, and it petrifies me. PETRIFIES. I'm all about pulling out our datebooks and finding a good day for baby havin'. Thursdays or Fridays are nice. A little whiff of some pitocin, and off I go. Having my water break at Target? Not so high on that. Going into labor at 2 a.m. and rounding up childcare? No thank you. And then getting sent home with false labor? Not so much. Walking around my house deciding if I'm in labor? I'd rather not.

Here's to hoping I can sway the doctor to my way of thinking. I know - good luck to me.



A couple of weeks ago I felt a little nesting freak out. Much to Captain America's dismay, the mood has passed. Poor guy. I remember with Ella & Natalie he was so excited for me to nest. So hopeful that I would throw out all my clutter in the middle of the night while the carpets dried from shampooing. No such luck.

And now, it's August. It's too hot to clean things. It's too hot to do much of anything but put my feet up and read a book with a bowl of ice cream. Yesterday, however, the humidity really broke. For the first time since May, we spent 24 hours without air conditioning. IT WAS LOVELY. I think I said so every 15 minutes or so. "This is so nice." "This is just so nice."

I think I have my own brand of nesting: avoidance. Now that I can still breathe when I step outside, I'd like to take a road trip. Something tells me it wouldn't really be that fun. Not in real life. Probably I'd swell up like a giant balloon after an hour in the car. I'd have to stop every 30 minutes to pee. I'd be even more uncomfortable not sleeping in a different bed. I'd be irritated that we all had to go to bed at 8:30 sharing some hotel room with the girls. Where they wouldn't sleep either. They'd get tired & cranky and beg to swim in the pool. I'd have to don a too-small maternity swimsuit, and look like a potato sausage bursting out of the casing.

But the ideal version in my head seems delightful. Some sort of late-summer adventure, the last with there just being 4 of us. MEMORIES. Something on the North Shore of Lake Superior, where we'd sit with ice cream in one hand and toss rocks into the lake with the other. After feeding half our donuts to the seagulls that morning, ignoring the locals silently cursing us for feeding those stinking, shrieking birds (I can say that - I've been one of the locals). Eating wild raspberries while we hike the trails to various waterfalls. Sitting on uncomfortable rocks watching the lake, and feeling your entire body just slow down.

With only about 5 weeks to go til my due date, I'm guessing my ideal version couldn't make it into reality. I mean, sometimes I need a nap because taking a shower has worn me out. But the whole avoidance thing sounds so nice. Right now I'd much rather load up the van with some luggage than with boxes for Goodwill.

Maybe I'll just have another bowl of ice cream, for now.


O Pioneer

I've been reading pioneer girl fiction again. This time it was a Lauraine Snelling book. I often enjoy her because they take place in North Dakota, on land and in weather with which I am familiar. So it's easy for me to imagine. I'm so pregnant. Easy is good.

I always start the pioneer girl fiction a tinge envious. Life was so simple. You had clear cut jobs to do, and the motivation was survival. It was easy to rely on God and give Him the proper thanks for success, because you could just as easily lose it all in a fire, storm or drought as the neighbor down the river did. It was probably easier to live your life in focus; without tv, internet and ipods vying for your attention. When the fanciest mode of transportation had to be fed & watered.

And then, inevitably, someone in the book will give birth. And I will end every sentence I read with "Thank you, Jesus, for modern medicine. And air conditioning." I've been trying to temper my "wah, wah, I'm ginormously pregnant in sauna-like humidity" by thinking of my pioneer sisters. Giving birth in the soddy. While Husband milked the cows, because cows must be milked. When you were lucky if a neighbor wife could come help you, but if it was threshing season, you might just be lucky to have an 11-yr-old around to catch the baby while everyone else worked all hours just to get the wheat up before it rained.

No air conditioning. No drugs. No doctor (unless you were very lucky). No hospital monitors keeping track of you and the baby. No nurse bringing you peanut butter toast at 3 a.m. and taking the baby so you could sleep. NO AIR CONDITIONING. Just your 12-yr-old niece and some willow bark tea.

My pioneer sisters got married when the house was finished, not when the $10K dress could be altered and the DJ was available. But the barn came first. If they were ginormously pregnant through the summer, they still probably wore a long skirt and long-sleeves. Not only for fashion (and the modesty it demanded), but because there was work to be done in the fields and gardens, for which your skin should be covered. Livestock to be fed. Bread to make from scratch. Preserves to be put up and meat to be cured for a very, very long and harsh winter. Dinner to make for the threshing crew. Clothes to sew for the baby.

So I lay on my bed with an assortment of pillows, under my ceiling fan with the air conditioning blasting. It's the middle of the day, but I feel just a little tired and like it might be nice to put my feet up. And I read a chapter or two about the pioneer woman. Slaving away from dusk til dawn for the good of her family. While I sip some iced tea or lemonade with ice cubes that appear magically in my freezer. And keep tabs on the design jobs coming into email on my Blackberry. And I'll think about where we can maybe go out to eat, because it's too hot to cook and I just don't feel like it.

Somehow, I'll still feel a little hint of envy for her life. While I roll over and adjust my pillows to get more comfortable, and better feel the air conditioning.


Pending Pending

Some friends of ours recently had a baby and while they had the first name picked out, they weren't quite settled on the middle. So for a little while on Facebook she was "Autumn Pending." At the rate we're going, we may just have Pending Pending.

It's not that we aren't looking. We just aren't finding. I have read, front to back, the baby girl names in THREE baby name books. THREE. I'm having a bit of trouble. Anything I see with any excitement Captain America meets with a "meh." And vice versa. And really, there's nothing either of us likes enough to put it into negotiations.

It's such a challenge, because we were so sure about Ella & Natalie. I'd wanted a Natalie my whole life, but around month 6 with Ella it just wasn't right. So we opted for Ella as our girl name. We found out Natalie was a girl at 20 weeks, and from that moment she was Natalie. This child is a mystery. She's had three due dates. She has no name. Not that she needs it right now, what with not being born and everything. But eventually, she will be born.

My children come from long lines of people who don't use their given names (too many to list, really). For some reason, I then feel completely pressured to come up with a name that will be used in all stages of life.

So, let me amuse you with my freakishly precise baby naming criteria (all about personal taste, I take no issue with other people going against these):

  1. No names in the Top 15 popular baby names (heck, or the Top 20-50 if I could help it).
  2. Preferably nothing that can also be used for a boy.
  3. I generally am attracted to older names. But not really old. More like Ava than Hepzibah.
  4. Nothing longer than 7 letters (slightly scarred over watching poor Natalie learn to write her name).
  5. Nothing with a bizarre meaning that I'd hate to saddle the kid with for life.
  6. Nothing that sounds like one of the existing names in our house (no Isabella, since we have an Ella, not Madeline since we'd have Maddy & Nattie, etc).
  7. I'd love to avoid something she will have to spell for people her entire life.
  8. It should kind of "go" with Ella & Natalie.
  9. Nothing that easily lends itself to a mean nickname.
  10. Preferably nothing that the teacher looks at and wonders "How on earth do I pronounce that?"
  11. Nothing sports related (been there, done that, thank you, Captain America).
  12. Must keep in mind what her initials will spell (preferably nothing).
  13. Nothing that first brings to mind some sort of famous person. Like Hillary.
  14. Something that works on a small child as easily as it does a 40-yr-old doctor or CEO, or a grandma. Not that my child needs to be a doctor, CEO, or a grandma, but I want her to have options and be taken seriously. If she wants to be taken seriously.
  15. No names that put a lot of expectations on her, like Patience. I mean, I'd love for her to be patient, but it would stink to hear all the time "With a name like Patience, you'd think you could wait a little longer for dinner," or something.
Honestly, I don't even think this is everything, but it's what I remember right now. Which, given my morning out in the humidity is impressive. And you can see how I've put myself in a bit of a pickle with all that choosiness. Something is going to have to give, and I'm ok with that. I'm just hoping a name comes along that I love enough to say it's worth breaking some criteria.


Not that I've ever been a morning person...

I'm well into trimester #3 now (OH MY GOODNESS, IT'S AUGUST, AND BABY COULD EASILY COME NEXT MONTH). It seems mornings are my biggest challenge. I have a lot of trouble dragging myself out of bed. Not like I've ever been a morning fan. Ask my parents. And then ask them why Dad thought it was a good idea to wake me up by saying, "Sarah, it's time to spring out of bed like a newborn gazelle." Especially when I didn't think high school was anything worth springing out of bed for in the first place. Certainly not like a newborn gazelle.


Seems this trimester is sleepier than the rest. I spend the entire morning yawning. Sometimes I give up and lay down for 20 minutes or so. I got my biggest taste of it on our Big Trip. Part of the Big Water Festival is a 5 & 10K race. Don't jump to conclusions - I'd never run it myself. But my aunt & uncle usually come up from North Carolina to run in it and then threaten the nieces with uber sweaty hugs. Family people that we are, we usually go down to watch the runners come in. And hope to avoid the sweaty hugs. Maybe while we eat some mini-donuts. This year I was standing about, when I started to get a little dizzy. Then I started to get really dizzy. Then I sat down and couldn't really lift my head up off the picnic table. While trying to remember where the garbage cans were for when I lost my breakfast. If I could walk to them, which I didn't think I could do. Never losing sight of the fact that all the people around me had just run 10K, and here I was "I need to lay down..." and feeling silly.

Small town to the rescue, yet again. My sister called her husband at home, and he came down to the park to pick us up. While we waited, she grabbed a high school friend, who is now a doctor, to accompany us to the other side of the park until he got there. After a few glasses of water and a little lie down, I felt fine again.

Needless to say, the mornings are not my friend.


More lessons from the Big Trip

Don't get me wrong, we've loved where we're living. It has treated us very well. And I'm almost used to having Wisconsin plates on the vehicles. Almost.

There are just certain things that only happen in a small town. Some of them are fabulous. While we were in town on the Big Trip, I made sure to get our mini-van in at the local dealer to check over. Because they know me there. And I know them. When I dropped it off for the oil change, etc, I said, "Oh, can you check the thing you just fixed on my mom's car? She thinks it's doing the same thing." She said sure. She knew exactly what I was talking about. I didn't need to say who I was, or who my mom was, or what kind of car she has, or what the problem had been. Not unlike the last time I was there, when the service person asked if I was going to wait there and I said I'd go to my sister's instead, and then they called me at her house when it was done. I didn't say who my sister was. They know.

After a few fixes, they determined I also needed a couple of tires. So the next morning I took the car out to the tire place in town. The owner came out, took a walk around it and said, "Yep. We'll put two new ones on the front and rotate the front to the back." Done. No tire shopping. I remember going out there with Captain America a few years ago, when the current owner's dad was still alive and running it. "Do we need to pick tires out?" {chuckle} "No. You won't get the most expensive, but not the cheapest either. Something middle of the road." Oh. Ok. It's the same story now. They'll just take care of it, and you'll be perfectly happy with what you get. That's why we go there.

I had all sorts of other lovely small town moments while we were there. Parents of Ella's school friends stopped to say hi to her when she wasn't even with me. A preschool friend of Natalie's stopped by my parents' house, because they knew we were staying there. I got to see friends from high school, three of us largely pregnant.

I'm glad we are where we are, but I'm also glad to be from where I'm from.


And then things got exciting.

The second night we were "back home" the girls and I went to a potluck with our previous church small group. If you're Minnesotan, you know there was hotdish.

It was great to see everyone again, and let the girls play with friends they hadn't seen in so long. We'd been with that group since before Ella was born, right up until our Big Move. And like I said, there was hotdish. Good times. I finally looked at the clock and knew I'd best leave in about 5 minutes. I had tired, tired girls on my hands. Not a minute later, the tornado sirens went off. Well, shoot. We were about 20 minutes from my parents' house at that point, and didn't really have an option but to head to the basement right where we were.

The kids were already downstairs playing video games, so the adults joined them in a very nonchalant fashion. Nothing to see here kids. Let's just all hang out in the basement for a while! And listen to the weatherman on the radio! While there's a torrential downpour outside! Everything's fine and normal!

No one seemed to notice for a while, and then Ella came up to me, dying of thirst and wanting to go upstairs and get her drink. "Not right now, honey." "BUT MOM. I AM SO. THIRSTY." I was tired. I am a weather chicken. So I think my response in a very hushed tone was, "You are not going anywhere, there are tornado sirens!" "WHAT? THERE'S A TORNADO???"

After checking the radar and having Captain America check the radar from home and calling my dad for the southern weather report, I decided to hit the road. We'd been waiting nearly an hour at this point, and the girls were falling asleep on their feet. So we hightailed it to the car in the downpour. So much rain. So hard to see. Not my favorite drive ever.

According to Captain America's radar research, if I could just make it to the halfway mark it would probably start letting up. So I forged ahead. While the cars in front of me pulled over. And the girls in the back seat said, "Is there going to be a tornado? Is there going to be one now? Mom, can you see ok? Why is that car stopping?" Then I got to the halfway point, and it wasn't any better. I think we'd missed our window of opportunity. But I kept going. Because the alternative was pulling over to the side of the road with two small, tired, worried children and waiting through more pounding rain in the car. And then still having to drive home.

Of course we made it, or I wouldn't be posting this. The girls didn't argue much about going to bed and neither did I. I could have done without the excitement, frankly. It's sort of exhausting to try and look calm and collected in front your children, so as to not pass your own irrational weather fears on to them.

My actual words in an impressively calm voice: "We're fine. It's just rain, and Mommy can drive just fine in that. We do not need to worry."

My actual thoughts: "It's raining so hard that I'm not sure I'll be able to see the tornado coming in time to get us all in the ditch and lay on top of my children in a weak attempt to save their lives! Now that we've left we'd be in between siren range! I wonder if it's safe to drive this fast or if I'm going to hydroplane us into the oncoming traffic?!"

Good, good times.


We lived to tell the tale.

It's taken me a few days to recover, but the girls and I made our epic trip and have lived to tell about it. I may spread the joy out over a few days worth of posts.

The actual drive itself wasn't bad. It took a while, with my pregnant bladder and the baby who likes to use it for a punching bag. We had to make 3 stops on the way there. But one was really just to find Natalie a pair of crocs which she suddenly insisted on having, since we were driving past an outlet. Anyone who knows me and my own shoe issues knows I am virtually powerless against a shoe request from my children. Besides, she didn't have a summer shoe that had a back strap. So I made it a potty stop as well. To which Ella said, "MOM. We just. stopped. so you could go potty." Yes, honey. I'm aware. Now hush up, and try again because as my Aunt Ruthie always says, "You never know when you'll see another one."

We were really zipping along then, until we got very close to our last exit. And Natalie said, "I think I might have to go potty." And I said, "Right now, or can you wait 10 minutes til our next stop?" "I can wait." No sooner had we passed Last Chance Exit, when we ran into road construction. The freeway was down to one lane. Yikes, hopefully this won't be a problem. And then I saw all the brake lights. And I started to drive 5 to 20 mph. For nearly 10 miles. Thankfully, Natalie was distracted by the movie Bambi, which the girls had never seen. I figured it was high time I introduced them to the cruelty of the world that is Bambi. We survived the 10 miles of crawling traffic to our exit (at the end we passed the guy walking the center line while something was being sprayed on the new tar, and I felt a little better that there was a good reason we all drove so slow). We stopped for our last potty/dinner break.

As we were waiting in the drive thru Ella said, "Mom, I didn't see the sad part in the movie." I had prepped them a bit before the movie that there was a really sad part, because the Bambi book they have at home doesn't actually have that part. So I said, "What do you mean you didn't see it?" "I don't know. There wasn't a really sad part." "Ella, Bambi's mom got shot and died." "Oh that, yeah, I know."

Well. Fine. Nevermind the fact that I got teary in the front seat, not even able to see the movie, because all I could think was, "She never got to see her baby grow up!" In Ella's defense though, Disney has totally desensitized her with all the missing & killing of mothers. I think Ella was 5 before I let them watch the first scene of Nemo. Turns out, it's not a problem for her.


I have not learned my lesson.

I am now almost 30 weeks pregnant. And tomorrow after swimming I will load up the van, and embark on a 5 hr drive with the girls. Just me. And the girls. FIVE HOURS. We're heading to my parents' for Ye Olde Towne Festival. It's not called that at all. It's Waterama. Complete with queens and princesses and admirals, oh my! And the Midwest's largest lighted pontoon parade. I can only imagine the size my feet will be by the time we get there.

I am ginormous. The other day Captain America said, "Yikes, how are you going to make it another 10 weeks? I LOVE YOU." When I mentioned this to my mother, along with my feeling that I'm bigger than some people who carry twins, she basically agreed. Yes. You are.

Furthermore, I'm attempting a 5 night stay. With Homebody Natalie. And no Daddy. Must pack the ibuprofen for her impending fever. And something for myself, for my usual Waterama Heatstroke.

Well, at least I'm not leaving on a Friday, when everyone in the Big City evacuates for The Cabin and traffic is stop and go adding at least one or two hours to the trip. I'll add enough time on my own with potty breaks. For Mommy. And maybe a trip through Sonic for a cherry limeade.


She's a sensitive girl.

It is well established that my Natalie is a sensitive girl. In addition to all of the other evidence, her mosquito bites blow up into giant welts. Right now she's got one on the inside of her calf that is more than two inches long. It looks better today.

But explain this to me: last night the poor creature was stung by a bee on her toe. Nothing. You'd be hard-pressed to even locate the sting site today. I saw the stinger spot last night, so I know it actually happened. A mosquito welt from days ago is still there, but a bee sting from last night? Nothing.

Meanwhile, Ella has two loose teeth. Finally. Which completely grosses me out. I didn't think it would. But it does. I'm putting Captain America in charge of them because I don't want to be in a 10 mile radius when a root snaps audibly. I feel woozy just imagining it.

I've also been trying to figure out why this baby moves so much more than the other two. It's madness. The rolling, the punching, the kicking. I can already feel elbows and things. It turns out I measure about 5 weeks bigger than she does. {avert your eyes, Jersey and other people who don't want these details: in other words, my uterus has grown at least 5 weeks ahead of schedule, but the baby is right on target. I figure if I continue at this pace, I could end up measuring 50 weeks at some point} Which means, as Captain America put it, she's got an Olympic size pool in there. No wonder she's so squirmy. She's got plenty of room. See what a wonderful mother I am? So accommodating to my child's needs? You're welcome, Baby.


The World Traveler and the Homebody

Last week the girls took off for a week of Camp Grandma. They left on Monday, and we picked them up Friday.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but Ella is a social butterfly/world traveler/nomad. She's happy to just keep going. Like the Energizer Bunny. Natalie is a homebody. She's happiest at home sleeping in her own bed and doing her own thing.

On a recent trip to our family hair stylist, I mentioned this and she said, "Yes, Captain America said Ella could be dropped off with the Amish for the summer and be perfectly happy." While I'm sure that's an overstatement (she panics when there's no DVR and live tv can't be paused), she really loves to go and be and do.

True to form, Ella had a fantastic time at Camp Grandma. She would have been happy to stay another week. Or two. Or the summer.

Also true to form, Natalie was beyond ready to go home. How do I know? She gets homesick. Actually sick. When she's done being on the move, she runs an inexplicable fever. It's like her little body starts to shut down. Must. Get. Home. By the time Captain America and I were heading out to a wedding reception, she was up to 101.6. Two days of on and off fever. Not her first time, I must say. On Sunday morning we loaded up to go home. She was fine. Great mood. No fever. Because she was going home.

I'm fascinated to see where New Baby fits into this, because right now I'm envisioning Ella and I on vacations while Captain America and Natalie enjoy the silence of home.


Sweet sounds of Motherhood

I've heard that sometimes people who lose a limb have phantom pains in said limb. So it is with my children being gone. They have taken a week off of Camp Mama (a term I have stolen from the lovely Gretchen at Second Blooming), and gone to Camp Grandma for the week. And yet, this morning as I slept in, I woke up to the sounds of my girls. Could have sworn I heard them. Nope.

Sometimes they prepare me for their absence by being rotten and cranky. This time they were all sweetness. "I'm really going to miss you, Mama!" Plus hugs. So many hugs. A hug for me, a hug for the baby. Three times each. *sniff*

No doubt they are very busy this week, playing in the hose and eating pancakes with whipped cream and sprinkles for every meal, and getting conned by Grandma into some sort of actual hairstyle.

Yesterday the silence was a little unnerving for me. So. Very. Quiet. Today I'm getting more acclimated. Enjoying listening to some music while working, since I don't have to listen for fighting downstairs in the playroom. Not watching the clock. If I am hungry, I eat. There is no one to pick up anywhere. I got out of bed when I felt good and ready. I've done some laundry, but it's not accumulating like usual. Same with the dishwasher.

It's a lovely break for all of us. But come Friday, I'll be itching to see them. And I'm sure I will get to hear "NO FAIR" in the first 20 minutes. The sweet sounds of motherhood...


Non-milestone milestones

Everyone gets excited about the first words and first steps. First day of school. Those are exciting things. But there's all kinds of non-milestone milestones along the way too. Things you maybe wouldn't write home about, but it's exciting to you.

I remember when Ella could finally hold her own bottle. I mean, the pure joy I felt was amazing. An accomplishment for her, a little freedom for me. Technically I'm sure I was supposed to feel sad and still want to hold her 24/7. Instead I thought, "WHEE!! I can go to the bathroom again!"

And those little non-milestone milestones just keep coming. Like when Ella was able to figure out how to get to pbskids.org by herself. Or getting her own snack. And Natalie's never far behind her at this point.

And now I will admit the two non-milestone milestones that have thrilled my soul lately:

1. Ella can run the DVR. Just enough to play shows we've recorded. Translation: Saturday mornings we get to stay in bed, because Ella just puts on iCarly and they grab some cereal. Hooray! I'm sure I should not be so excited that my children watch enough TV to know how to run the DVR. But I don't care.

2. They're learning new songs. Our church kids did a musical for Mother's Day and it was precious and wonderful. They learned songs that have stuck in their hearts. Yesterday I heard Natalie singing one of them in the shower. Couldn't be cuter. I also felt a strange sense of pride when I first heard my girls singing a Dave Matthews Band song. I'm not sure why. But whenever it's on, they get so excited and ask to turn it up. Not that I blame them, click here. It makes me want to pack us up for some kind of road trip and roll down the windows so we can all sing it together at the top of our lungs.

It's the little things, isn't it?


Would you look at that?

It's summer. Huh. The children don't go to school anymore. Months ago I looked at the zillions of programs available and thought I'd book them solid for the summer. Then I realized I'd have to drive them to all those places and pick them up. Nevermind. Besides, I'd kind of like to hang out with them a little before it's not just us anymore. I know I'll realize the folly of that line of thinking in a few weeks, when I make my paper chain countdown to September 1.

The nice part about having two girls so close together is the built-in friend. They play together all the time. And like any two friends who play together all the time, a few times in a day they want to kill each other. Or just get the other one in trouble. Or never speak to the other one again.

Meanwhile, I am taking full advantage of our lazy summer schedule. Captain America leaves the house around 7 am. While the rest of us sleep. Then I lay in bed til my bladder can't possibly stand it another second. Because the moment I get up, that baby's moving. If I get up for any reason and try to go back to bed, I am assured at least 30 minutes of gymnastic activity. Who am I kidding? I still go back to bed just to lay there. After a while the girls crawl in with me. Usually just one. Whoever asks to play computer first runs off to do that, and the other one will start to whine "IT'S NOT FAIR" so I'll let her play games on my ipod in bed with me.

Honestly, I don't know what that baby is doing in there. Neither of the other two moved like this. It's constant. And often so powerful it makes me a little nauseous. I can already see my stomach move.

Ahhh...the blissful sounds of play have been interrupted by crying, with a side of "SORRY! SORRY! SORRY!" I wonder if I should look into that...


Lessons from baseball

Ok, this is going to seem odd coming from me. Just stick with me, here. Did you see the Detroit pitcher who pitched a perfect game, only not really? I try not to watch sports much, but with Captain America around it's often on. The other night I had to stop watching Parenthood on the DVR so we could watch Detroit Tigers' pitcher Armando Galaragga who was almost at a perfect game.

Perhaps if you don't care for sports and you're not married to someone like Captain America, you don't know what that means. A perfect game is when one pitcher makes it through a whole game without anyone getting on base. It's apparently incredibly rare (nevermind the fact that there have been two, almost three already this year - sometimes Major League Baseball goes years without one).

Anyway. Right as we turned to the game, they were showing replays. Long story short (you're welcome), an umpire blew a call so Galarraga didn't get his perfect game. The ump made the call he thought was right, but on the replays we can see that he made a mistake. If the ump had made the right call, he would have been in the history books, because it was the last out of the game. Now this is where it gets interesting to me.

Right when it happened, what do you think Galarraga did? Do you think he stormed the umpire? Called him an idiot (we all know it'd likely be much worse than that)? Nope. He looked at the ump. He smiled. He went back to the pitcher's mound. Pitched to one more batter, and ended the game. A few Detroit players got upset at the ump after the game, but nothing really happened. Until later.

In the interviews I saw, both Galarraga and the Detroit manager basically said, "We're all human. It's part of baseball. Everyone makes mistakes." The manager went on to say what a great ump the guy is, and that he regretted letting his emotions get the better of him on the field. Talk about grace. It gets better though. The umpire, Jim Joyce, goes back to his locker room. He asks to see the replay. He heads straight for the Tigers' locker room and apologizes to Galarraga for blowing that call. HELLO? World, are you watching? America? Is this thing on? This is how pretty much everything should be done. (Donald Miller has more to say about that here.) The next day Jim Joyce was the ump for another Tigers' game, and Galarraga brought him the lineup card in an extra show of "no hard feelings." Joyce was moved to tears.

I was mentioning to Captain America how badly I felt for the guy, that he didn't get his perfect game. He brought up a good point. Perfect games are rare, yet there have already been two this season. Did I know who threw the other two? Nope. But now I knew who both Galarraga and Joyce were. And people who don't even like baseball are talking about it. More people are talking about the perfect game that isn't, than are talking about the two that are. And yeah, I'm sure it doesn't hurt Galarraga's feelings that Chevrolet gave him a Corvette.

Like I said, personally I'm not a big sports fan. But sometimes there are some amazing lessons in sports. The grace and mercy shown by Galarraga, and the honesty and responsibility shown by Joyce are things we could all work on. Imagine what the world could be like if the Church as a whole operated that way - I think everyone would get the point of Jesus pretty easily.


Pink is not my favorite color.

Ella has pink eye. I think pink eye is one of the worst things you can get as a little kid. You aren't really sick, but you're contagious. And the maintenance is so high. Drops four times a day. FOUR. Everyone, wash your hands! No one touch your eyes! She missed one of her last days of school today. Instead, she stayed home. Full of energy. BUT UNABLE TO GO ANYWHERE.

Ella's been a real trooper. No arguing over the drops. And when she realized she would miss a birthday party she just said, "Mom, can you go and take his present for me?"

Tomorrow is Natalie's last day of school. I can't really tell you how sad that makes me. It not only brings me ever closer to the "I'm bored" and "Can we go to _______" of summer, but she's loved school so much this year. Both her teacher and the classroom para have been fantastic. I didn't realize Natalie had a shell, but her teacher has sure brought her out of it! I'm afraid in my fragile hormonal state, I will sob when I drop her off at school tomorrow. I will ugly cry over how much we will miss her teachers. We couldn't have been more blessed in the teacher department this year for both girls.

Also? It means my little Natalie is going to kindergarten! What on earth? How did that happen? I'd forbid it, but I'm going to need all the time I can get in the fall to take care of a baby. So, I guess, off she goes.


Peas in a pod.

Last week I had to call the cable company to get our internet set up in a different room. I was greeted with the standard automated messages. Starting with the "For English, stay on the line. Para continuar en espanol, primero empujen numero dos" or something. High school Spanish was a long time ago. And yet, I pressed two. For some reason I thought to myself, "Numero dos? Sì." And I wasn't completely surprised when Auto Chippie continued in Spanish, but I was somehow surprised I didn't understand her anymore.

Apparently Ella and I are peas in a pod right now. I stopped in to say hi to Natalie's class one day, and walked past a lost and found near the cafeteria. At which time I spotted one of Ella's gym shoes, that I had thankfully labeled so I could be sure. So I went to drop it in her locker. Only the other one was missing, too. So I checked the lost and found for the first grade section, and there it was. How on earth did she lose both of her gym shoes, but have them end up in completely separate and far away places? "Ella, how long have your gym shoes been missing?" "I don't know." "Why didn't you tell me you couldn't find them?" "I kept forgetting."

In other news, I think the baby reads my blog. Ever since I wrote about how much I love the baby movement, this kid won't sit still. I don't remember either of the girls moving this much. She's moving when I wake up, moving most of the day, and moving when I go to bed. While I'm still enjoying it for now, I am a little concerned this does not bode well for her sleeping after she's born.


The envelope please...

I had an ultrasound last week to check out Tiny Baby. Make sure it looked like a baby and all that. Captain America and I were still torn on whether or not we were finding out a gender, so we averted our eyes during that portion and had the tech write it down in an envelope. Procrastination at its finest. I have to say, that really took the pressure off. It was nice to just focus on seeing a healthy baby.

There are a lot of unpleasant things about being pregnant. But there is one thing I never get tired of feeling. Ever. Baby movement. Little kicks and rolls. I think I just like the reassurance that things are going well in there. I admit, every once and a while I just lay in bed or on the couch, and give my stomach a little jab to see if I get one back. Poor baby. Probably trying to sleep. So it was really fun during the ultrasound to feel kicks and see it on the screen at the same time.

Everything looked like it was supposed to, except the baby measured smaller than my original due date would account for. So it has now been moved. By two weeks. There's something about going from September to October that makes it feel like eternity. But if the bun's not done, it's not done. And I want the bun to be done.

So did we open the envelope? It took us a few more days of debate. Finally on Sunday we sat down with the girls, and let them open it. We found out by having Ella read it to us, which is way cooler than an ultrasound tech we don't know. Ultrasound Tech had clearly done this before though - the sticky note was folded into quarters and put in a sealed envelope.

So there you have it. That's what's been going on around here. Oh, I suppose you want to know what we're having...it's a girl. At least, she's 95% sure that it is.

Captain America is currently working on plans for his mancave, to be constructed in about 6 or 7 years. Apparently I should not get attached to having a basement.


Mommying. And Rainbows.

I don't know if you've noticed, but it's almost Mother's Day. I thought maybe for fun, I'd tell you how I got started in this biz, since it's even in my blog name.

Mother's Day is tough for a lot of people. People who had a rotten mother. Women who've lost a child. People whose mom has passed away, especially recently. Women who've had an abortion. Women who've given their baby up. Women who can't conceive.

In 2002, I think I was just starting fertility drugs around Mother's Day. I've been blessed to find myself in churches that recognize all the women on Mother's Day, for the role they play. But it was still hard to see all the proud mommies, and not be sure if I'd be one of them some day.

I was on my way to a Sara Groves concert that summer when I saw a rainbow. I knew it was for me. It was God's promise to me. I'd be a proud mommy someday. I got pregnant in July. I lost the baby the first week in August. That rainbow carried me.

I only waited a month til I started the treatments again. Soon I was pregnant with Ella. We decided not to find out if it was a boy or girl. We never really settled on a boy name, and I had a hunch it was because we didn't need it. I'd wanted a Natalie my whole life. For some reason, this wasn't her. Around 6 months, we decided she was an Ella. In June of 2003, she was born, perfect in every way (except for having broken her collarbone during delivery - sorry kid!).

The next year I was excited to learn I didn't need fertility treatments anymore - because, hey! Guess who was pregnant? 8 weeks pregnant, actually. This time we found out it was a girl, and she was Natalie from that day on. She was born in April, 22 months after her sister.

And now, Bun #3 is cooking away. After a few years of telling everyone we were done (sometimes people change their minds). My ultrasound is next week, and we still haven't decided if we'll find out boy or girl. We have zero direction on names (no matter how many times Captain America says "Baby Otis"). I feel like we're kind of winging it with this one, but I kind of like it too. I'm hoping I've mellowed a little. Maybe I won't have to split this one's Cheerios in half, for fear of choking. And with every little nudge, I fall a little more in love with the New One.

About a year ago, Ella got a Webkin. She was off with Grandma when they picked her password. Guess what word was in it? Rainbow. Which is especially funny, because rainbows have never been a big deal here. It's not like I gave them rainbow-themed nurseries (the girls had "place for you to sleep & keep your stuff" themes). I'm not sure I've ever mentioned that rainbow to anyone.

So there you have it. How I became Mommy. Who logues.


Motherhood...is hard...

It's almost Mother's Day. Duh. Seems to be the topic of conversation, and as if Hallmark would let us forget it. And Target for that matter.

So I've been thinking mommy thoughts. Because I'm a mom. And a pregnant one at that. The other day I saw Jennifer Lopez on Ellen's show. Ellen asked her about being a mom of 2 yr old twins, and what she thought was the most surprising part. Jennifer answered "the guilt." I have to say, I'm totally with her on that one. The rest of it you kind of expect or hear about, but the guilt sort of blindsided me.

After I had Ella I went back to work. Granted, I was working for my dad in a family-friendly office structure and my mom was taking care of Ella. So I had it pretty good. If Ella needed something, it was pretty easy to sneak out quickly to tend to it. I often had my lunch there so I could see her. Still, when I left her for her first day of Grandmacare, I cried. I was abandoning my child. My mom would see all the firsts, and I would miss them. My mom would introduce the firsts that I wasn't ready for her to have yet. *ahem* MOM. (my favorite? Ella was around 1. "Do you know any little girls who REALLY like Hot Tamales?" Um, I don't know any little girls that I want to EAT Hot Tamales. Thank you. MOM. {hey, Mom!})

After I finally got used to leaving every day, Natalie was born. For a few months I went back to work, but it just wasn't working out (a lot of other things had changed too). So we decided I'd stay home for a bit, and try working from home. Now I was home all the time. And sometimes I wanted to leave. Alone. And you know what? I FELT GUILTY.

I think it's just part of the territory. I'm sure moms always feel like you could do a better job with your kids. I must be doing alright, in any case. They've declared me the #1 Snuggler.


I'm me again! Mostly.

How sad that I've just been sitting around trying to figure out which of the many brain flickers to write about, meanwhile, perhaps you thought I really was on my last leg. Sorry about that. All of the Allergies were followed by All of the Headache. After three solid days of vacillating from irritating headache to migraine, it's finally gone. I'm me again! Well, sort of. I'm pregnant me. That's as me as I'm gonna get right now.

Speaking of which, hey, Maternity Clothes Makers of the World - what do you think pregnant women have against pockets? Have you ever seen a mommy-on-the-go that couldn't use a pocket? If I put my keys in my purse I'll never see them again. If I put my phone in my pocket, I can leave it on vibrate and not subject the world to my ringtone whims. I'm talking to you, Liz Lange! Where are my pockets? It's not like I'm worried about the extra bulk a pocket is going to add. Particularly in a velour sweatsuit. I'm not exactly dressing to impress here.

I have an ultrasound scheduled. But we haven't really come to a decision on finding out boy/girl. Captain America is in the Wait for the Surprise Camp. I can't make a solid decision to save my life. About anything, really. Part of me thinks it'd be really handy to know (we're starting from scratch, after all). Part of me loved that moment when we found out Ella was a girl in the delivery room. But then it was also nice to know Natalie was Natalie before she was born. I felt like I knew her already. I've thought about asking the tech to just write it down and put it in an envelope, in case I change my mind, but the chances that the envelope would make it all the way home still sealed are slim to none. There are still a couple of weeks to decide.

I got my first, "Hey, you're making a baby in there" the other day. I was torn between "I shouldn't be showing that much yet" and "thank goodness it's looking obvious and less like I just couldn't get enough Easter candy." Relief won. I'm 18 weeks along with my third child, and had quite a belly with the other two. This is to be expected.

In other updates, Natalie is still off the thumb. She has taken to putting her blanket in a box at night to avoid temptation. She actually even spent a few nights completely without one of her three rotating blankets. Ella's future vocation o' the week: artist, librarian, drum player. She and her good friend Parker are going to open an art gallery (she calls it an art museum). He will mostly run the place, while she is a librarian somewhere else. And she would also like to play the drums. Today she brought one of her elephant pictures to school, to see if Parker thought they should save it for the gallery.

I'm off to pick a new ringtone. And find a snack.


So long, farewell...

I'm quite certain it's the end. Thursday night I started to sniffle. I could feel the allergy attack coming. I had no idea how intense it would be. The girls were struck at the same time, and I guess the only good thing about that is I didn't have to do much child wrangling. The three of us felt the need to lay low.

So low, that yesterday Ella and I spent an entire day (and I do mean the ENTIRE day) watching questionably appropriate tv from the History Channel. Ella and I shared a small trash can & a giant box of Puffs. We filled the can.

Today? Today I think my face is going to explode, particularly the left side. I can't breathe through my nose. I've spent the whole day with the feeling before you sneeze. But I can't seem to sneeze much. So my eyes just start to water, but nothing really happens. My throat itches. My lips are chapped from all the mouth breathing. My nose is chapped from all the blowing. My ears even hurt a little. I think my left eye might just pop right out. Why yes, I did have allergy medication. No, it doesn't seem to be doing squat.

So in the event this is the end: goodbye. I've really appreciated our time together.


The bump.

Well. It has gone from "Holy cats, I'm having a baby!" right on into "Holy cats, there it is!" I had one pair of pants. Til yesterday. A few nights ago I managed to lift myself off the couch to an audible gasp by Captain America. Which he explained with an "it's just that you have so long to go." I think next time an "oh nothing, I just remembered something I forgot to do at work" might work better. You know. A lie. I'm consoling myself that at least I'm starting to look more like the sacred vessel I am, and less like I ate all the girls' Easter candy. Which I may or may not have done.

Back in December I read a blog by Kelly over at Lovewell, about how her baby bump was bigger at night. And I thought, "That's just weird. I never had that." Guess what? The bump is bigger at night. A lot. Maybe one day I'll take a picture of it too.

I love maternity clothes. Because it's not about trying to look skinny. But I have a rotten time buying pants, because I am short. So I have had no luck, save one pair of Old Navy maternity jeans I scored on clearance. Until I hit up a Goodwill about an hour away last night (an unexpected bonus of meeting some friends for dinner). I was a winner. And all were Target donations to Goodwill, so they were actually new. You can't imagine my excitement, because the other day a little girl from our small group Bible study asked me why I was wearing a dress. "I was warm, and I just wanted to," translation: "Well, honey, it was too hot for the only pair of pants that fit me." I celebrated the victory by buying Jelly Bellies in bulk. Which I am now hiding from my family.


In other glorious news, Natalie's breaking her thumb habit. We had a great talk about it the other day. We now have a secret "stop thumb sucking" handshake. She has also learned the verse "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." And listen to this, friends, she is not sleeping with her Gie. Gee. Ghee. Oh whatever, her BLANKET. She understands that the two things go together, and she suggested maybe she shouldn't sleep with it. {Insert Hallelujah Chorus here}

Also, Ella finished reading her Bible. Which she just decided one night was something she should do. She read a lot of it out loud to Natalie, and there are not many things cuter than that. This morning she told me, "Mom? I think maybe God is proud of me for reading my Bible. Now that I read the whole thing, I can read different stories whenever I want."

So if you have a suggestion of the next Bible for her, I'd love to hear it. Hers was the Zonderkidz Beginner's Bible.


I am 32 flavors and then some

Or I'm just 32. But it's a lot more fun to give it a theme song. I'm not sure if you prefer Ani Difranco or Alana Davis' cover. I like them both. It's making turning 32 seem a lot cooler.

Let's see if I can come up with 32 things about me. Because I am a shameless, "look at me! it's my birthday!" kind of person. It was actually hard when I stopped for a donut this morning and the woman behind the counter asked how I was to not say, "Great! It's my birthday!"

32 Flavors of Me!

  1. The #1 Billboard song on the day of my birth was "Night Fever" by the Bee Gees.
  2. My favorite cake is marble with chocolate frosting. But I'm hardly one to turn down dessert of any kind.
  3. I don't like ice cream with cake. It makes the cake soggy.
  4. My favorite donut is a custard bismarck with chocolate frosting.
  5. My favorite ice cream is Ben & Jerry's Half Baked.
  6. My ideal birthday would include zero day to day responsibility. Just some leisurely shopping and maybe a pedicure. Lots of eating. So today I may look for maternity clothes on ebay and see if I can't fix up my chipping toenail polish.
  7. I'd be happy to wear a birthday crown.
  8. I have crazy skinny fingers. My wedding ring is a 4 3/4. And it's a tiny bit loose. For now. Til I get more pregnant.
  9. I would like to learn to play guitar. But it hurts my tiny fingers.
  10. I don't drink coffee. It hurts my tummy. I am a delicate flower. But I love a good chai latte or other kinds of tea.
  11. I have a degree in Communications. Not Mass Comm. Communications. "Let's talk about talking..." Sometimes I wish I'd gone for graphic design since that's actually what I do now. It'd be helpful. But for fun I would have done History. I think I was a History major for a few weeks. After I was an English major for a year.
  12. I finished my 4 year degree in 3 years. Yay for summer school! Honestly, if you're going to live in Duluth, MN for the winter, you have earned the summer. It's beautiful.
  13. If I weren't watching my caffeine intake, I'd drink sweet tea by the gallon.
  14. One of my favorite birthday parties growing up was loading up a mini-van full of friends and going to my favorite places. Electric Fetus. Ragstock. Can you feel the pseudo-angst?
  15. One of my other favorites was when I turned 17. My parents bought a tea party at a local historic house on a silent auction, and that was my birthday party. I invited some friends. We dressed up and had tea & scones with devonshire cream. And little tea sandwiches! I love little tea sandwiches. One day I'm getting a hutch to put my teacup collection in, and I'm going to have tea parties with little sandwiches.
  16. Every year of my life I have expected a surprise party. Every year. For as long as I can remember. When I turned 21, Captain America and our friend Amy threw one for me. They did a stellar job. I had no clue. Amy called and invited us to her place for our weekly 90210 viewing. People had parked blocks away, and they'd hidden the shoe pile. I was so surprised that I must have gone into some kind of ugly shock. Where I looked unhappy about it. Which I wasn't. Not even in the least. It was a fantastic thing. But I must have looked it, because he has vowed never to throw one again.
  17. I think I crave the spotlight, but often when I actually get it it makes me uncomfortable and I'm not sure what to do or say.
  18. I think Spring is a time for road trips.
  19. If I were to do a "career switch," I'd like to be a personal shopper.
  20. Even though I knew Captain America had a ring, and I'd been expecting the Big Question for months in every slightly romantic moment, I had no clue when he actually started to propose. I remember when he started to talk I thought, "Aww. That's really sweet. I'm lucky." But I didn't realize where he was going with it. Apparently he has a knack for surprising me.
  21. I'm a hobby abandoner. It was all I could do this weekend to keep from buying a sewing machine. "I could make myself new curtains! And little sundresses for the girls!" I would never actually do it. I'd just buy all the stuff. And then it would sit in a box. And I'd have to buy new curtains anyway.
  22. I've been perusing maternity clothes on ebay. I'm looking for some sort of balance between the Britney clothes and the Michelle Duggar clothes. It doesn't seem to exist. At least, not on ebay. Or in a price range I'm willing to consider for clothes I'll wear for less than 5 months.
  23. Heights make me nauseous. My stomach will flip if I see another person near an edge.
  24. I'm a hyper-paranoid mother. When Ella was a baby and starting solids, I broke her Cheerios in half.
  25. My favorite pregnancy thing is feeling the baby move. I'm just starting to get little movements now.
  26. I got a few comments on my tattoos after my last post. I have 3. One on either side of my stomach, and one on the small of my back. A blue rose, a butterfly and some floral vine-age. My next one will be a large, big girl tattoo, the width of my lower back. Or an ichthys on my right foot. Remember how I said I have an addictive personality?
  27. When I was 17, a boy I dated said he had a friend that would do the tattoo for me. When I walked into the guy's house, there were a bunch of people playing cards & smoking around the kitchen table. Apparently I was to get tattooed on that table. Where he was squirting ink into soda bottle caps. VETO. Instead my mom took me to a real tattoo place, and debated theology with the artist whilst he had a needle to my abdomen.
  28. In high school, I had a love for vintage. Especially 50s dresses. And Jim Morrison, James Dean and Natalie Wood.
  29. I actually like maternity clothes when the time comes. No more sucking in the gut.
  30. I don't like getting manicures. I don't like having my cuticles cut and I don't like when the polish doesn't go all the way across the nail.
  31. I am apparently very particular. In my "old" age. Or I always have been, but I'm just noticing. That's probably more likely.
  32. I panicked about turning 30 starting when I turned 25. What a waste of 5 years. This year I get a theme song!
Whew - how bored are YOU? Well, I really appreciate you reading my enormous list, and don't blame you if you didn't. Sadly, I could have done more. I'll save it for next year.


Honest Scrap

I was lucky enough to get this award from the very lovely Gretchen over at Second Blooming. She's delightful. And honest. No wonder she had the Honest Scrap award bestowed upon her. I think one of the things I like most about her is that her LA actress lifestyle is so different from my decidedly Midwestern one. And yet, mommyhood is the same the world over, isn't it? Thanks, Gretchen! Go show her some love!

The award came with rules as follows:

  1. Thank the person giving you this award.
  2. Copy the award to your blog.
  3. Place a link to their blog.
  4. Name 7 tidbits people don’t know about you from reading your blog.
  5. Nominate other Bloggers.
  6. Place a link to those Bloggers.
  7. Leave a comment letting those Bloggers know about the award.
I have accomplished 1-3 (yay me!).

7 Tidbits (since many of you know me in real life, you probably know these, but let's play along, ok?):
  1. I have 3 tattoos. I don't regret them. I'd like more.
  2. For some reason I get more sucked into reading in the summer than winter. Which makes zero sense given my location. I should be holed up all winter reading. But when the weather gets nice, it makes me want to head to bed and read.
  3. My favorite ice cream topping is hot cocoa mix. Dry. Sprinkled on top.
  4. My go-to meals are pizza and cereal. I've never really had a time where I thought I'd had too much of one of them. Not sure what I should eat? Pizza or cereal is always a safe bet.
  5. My favorite places to visit are places where you can just feel the history. Especially along the Eastern coast, and places like Wyoming.
  6. I am easily addicted. Just ask my husband after I got going on Skee Ball at Chuck E. Cheese last week. "Just one more game..." Or, watch me eat chips & dip. I steer clear of casinos.
  7. I have never seen "It's a Wonderful Life." Go ahead. Chastize me now.

Ok, now I get to nominate 7 fabulous bloggers.
  1. My sister over at At Least We Know.
  2. Alece at Grit & Glory
  3. Soliloquy at She Just Had to Say it
  4. Bits & Pieces
  5. Jersey's Musings (hey, a guy! Way to represent!)
  6. Kelly at Love Well
  7. Libbyland
Whee! Thanks again, Gretchen!


What I'm doing instead of packing

Have you seen that show "Who Do You Think You Are?" on NBC? I am RIVETED. I love it. It's a sort of random assortment of celebrities, and each week one of them researches their family history. Whether I like the celebrity or not, the show itself is fascinating. I'm a geek. Whatever.

First the celebrity starts with their own family and gets a few names. Usually no farther back than a great-grandparent. Then they head off to whatever location they know for those names. They have the help of genealogists and historians. That's what I think makes the show so interesting. They incorporate historical reference (geek. I already said that.). It's one thing to look down a line of names, but it's so much more interesting when there's an expert who can explain what those things meant at the time. For example, Emmit Smith got a name of an ancestor, but the historian was able to tell him that her last name indicated that although she was a slave, she was the daughter of the slave trader.

One thing that's amazed me watching the show, is how few generations most people have been able to go back on their own. I come from a long line of genealogy nuts. So I've already got a lot of that information, and I'm really thankful for that. I already know that I could be a legit Daughter of the American Revolution twice over. I know I'm a descendant of Lucy Stone, the first woman in the United States to keep her surname after marriage and the woman credited with getting Susan B. Anthony involved in the women's movement. We have a diary of an ancestor from the civil war. I've got a binder of family tree information with people as far back as at least the 1600s (I can't verify because it's packed - good for me!).

The other thing that makes it fun to watch, is the celebrity gets to visit the places involved. Lisa Kudrow traveled to Belarus to see the place where her great-grandmother was killed by Nazis. I've always been kind of a history nerd, and you can see how much of an impact it has on them to visit the locations. It becomes less of a story and more real. There's something to walking the literal paths your ancestors walked.

It's definitely made me want to escape my real life of needing to work and pack, and dive into some sort of family history journey. I wonder if I'll still find it as interesting when I'm not supposed to be doing other things.


To everything, there is a season

Only right now, it feels like "In this season, is everything." I have muddled through the rougher parts of Trimester 1, and I'm no longer carrying plastic bags in my purse. A week from today we're closing on a house, and moving in the next day. My laptop died about a month ago, and I've been working on getting that fixed and getting my ultra-important bookkeeping file fixed. And you know what I've noticed about the nature of freelancing? I will not hear from 4 or 5 customers for a couple of months, and then they will all contact me in the same week. How does that even happen? In kid news, Natalie had another bladder infection and Ella is under allergy attack.

Also? I think I missed quite a few things that are going on. I'm sure there's more than that. Hence, I have been rather absent from Ye Olde Blog.

But I think some fun things have happened, too. Please enjoy (or just read) them in bullet form:
• I heard a heartbeat! It only lasted for 3 seconds, but it was there. Hooray!
• We're closing on our house next week! That means we're moving into our house. Hooray!
• The girls are moving on to the next level of swimming lessons. Which makes for a much more calm mommy in the pool area. Hooray!
• My ultra-important computer file has been recovered! Hooray!
• I had a yummy chocolate shake from the fancy McDonald's! This is a phenomenon I don't totally get. We have a regular McD's a couple miles from us. Fine. But then a couple miles farther is a fancy McD's. It's all marble-y and they carry several flavors of gelato. If I get a shake there, it comes in the frappuccino cup complete with whip and drizzled chocolate. Hooray! (Although the most important note here, is that neither McD's has the McRib. BOO.)
• It was in the 60s for almost a week! It was a truly delightful, springy week. Sunshine and warm weather. The neighborhood was crawling with people. We had to open our windows everyday because it was getting too hot in the house. Hooray! (I will not think about how it might snow tonight)
• I finally picked up our Wisconsin plates! Hooray! (Oddly, I noticed a tiny bottle of vodka that had been run over in the DMV parking lot. Is it a good idea to have a bump before taking your test?)

I should probably be absent from Ye Olde Blog next week as well, unless I manage to get an obscene amount of packing done this week. I'm also feeling challenged to take a week off of Facebook. But I doubt I'll feel that way come Monday. The bond is too strong...


A history of couches

I was checking out a post of Kelly's over at Love Well about her first couch, and realized after starting the world's longest comment that I may as well make it a blog post.

Our first couch
When we first got married, one of my husband's coworkers offered us a couch they had at their cabin. Free! We followed them up about an hour north to the cabin, and discovered the world's oldest couch. Literally a good 40 or 50 years old. We'd shown so much excitement over getting the couch. I don't think either of us wanted it once we saw it, but they'd gone so out of their way to help us out and we were grateful. So we loaded up the world's heaviest couch in their truck, and it nearly killed us to get it into our second floor apartment. It was the heaviest piece of furniture I'd ever seen, and scratchy. It wasn't particularly comfortable, but it was a couch. Beggars can't be choosers and all that. I covered it with some kind of makeshift slipcover, and it was ours for about a year. Then it was unceremoniously dumped on the curb when we moved out, nearly killing a few people again to get it out of the building.

The second couch
Our second couch came from a newspaper ad that I swiped at work before it ran. It was a rather beaten up couch/loveseat set, but it was really comfortable. It was covered in marker stains, but we didn't really care. When we brought it into our new apartment, we knocked out a light fixture. It was clear the couch wasn't going to make it through, so my dad hopped up on the end of the couch and just yanked that light right out of the ceiling.

When it was time to move that couch out to make room for a new hand-me-down living room set, we couldn't bear to try and get it through the door again. So my brother-in-law and his dad came over, and rigged up some kind of rope & pulley action. We took it out over the balcony. Of our third floor apartment. Probably giving a few of our elderly neighbors quite a scare.

Third couch
That's when we got a living room set from Captain America's godparents. They were moving to another state, so we drove a couple hours to the Twin Cities to liberate the furniture. We scored a couch, coffee table, two wing back chairs and lamps. They'd seen better days, but now we had a grown up living room SET! Matching furniture! And after many years of marriage and three couches, I think we'd spent a total of $75 on furniture. Win!

Now we have a real couch. A couple of years ago we went to Slumberland and paid real money for one. Soon we will move into our new house (hey! I should pack!), and we will have a living room AND family room. So we'll be on the lookout again. For a kind coworker. A family member or friend with extra. Newspaper ads. Craigslist. Who knows.


Excuses, excuses.

Oh, Bloggy Friends. I've been such a slacker. But I promise I have a good reason. I haven't been posting because the only thing I wanted to post about wasn't yet postable.

themommylogues is about to get mommier. I'm due September 25. Ages from now.

So we're just kind of seeing how many major life changes we can fit into a year. New town, new state, new job, new schools, new church, new house, new baby. I'm keeping the husband, though.

For the next 7 months, you can expect me to bore you to death with details of cravings, virtual narcolepsy, and my too-big-already stomach.

Speaking of cravings - holy cats! I just have to hear a food mentioned in passing and I want some. I was just listening to a Dave Matthews Band song with the line "you ain't never had my cornbread" and I was all "Hey, CORNBREAD!" Also, just like with the other two pregnancies, I'm dying for some baked potatoes. Preferably from Red Lobster (hello, salt-crusted-goodness, I'll take two please). I'd told myself I was going to be better about eating habits this time, but once you're making your way toward the other side of morning sickness it's just such a thrill to want food again. The cravings move faster than they can be satisfied. A few minutes ago I was all for a chocolate shake (and some cornbread) and now I'm thinking about a good turkey sandwich from my sister's Thanksgiving turkey. With mustard. Oooh! Shiny!

Anyway. That is all.


Visions of Sugar Plums

I tend to look at things a little idealistically, I think. And reality never quite matches up.

Case in point: Days off of school.

The girls have been out of school now for, oh, four hours or so. They don't go back again until next Wednesday.

Sugar Plums
What a precious time this will be. It will be so nice to have Ella home, since it seems like she's gone all the time. They'll play together and have special sister bonding time. Maybe we'll find some fun things to do. What a nice break this will be.

They have already destroyed the house. I have stepped into no less than four yelling matches. The kitchen floor is covered in construction paper, crayons, glue sticks and tape.

This I know for sure: we are going out for dinner.


The lost has been partially found.

Ella is a free spirit.

A couple of weeks ago she lost her library books from school. At school. They never even made it into her backpack. Two of them got returned by someone else, and I found the last one this morning when I stopped in to deliver the class party Valentine cookies. It was on the shelf by the lockers, but nowhere near her own locker.

I'd gone in to drop off said cookies, and try to track down her lunchbox. Ella recently decided she likes getting hot lunch, even though she eats PB&J almost every day instead of getting the intended lunch. But yesterday she didn't want to consider it so she had me pack her a lunch. Which she never ate and forgot somewhere at school. I did find it, down on the other end from the library book. I think it got pretty kicked around, but hey, her lunch from yesterday was still there.

Still missing: her warmest hat and her mittens. Lost on separate occasions.

In other news, I'm starting to keep an eye out for Stacy & Clinton. I know what I'm supposed to be doing. But lately in the morning it's all I can do to get the kids out the door. I hate to admit that today I went inside Ella's school AND to Target (where I scored some major deals) before I'd managed a shower. Worse yet, I didn't even brush my hair first. I did manage some jeans and my sporty mommy-on-the-go shoes, but who was looking at that with the rat's nest in the back of my head? I was hoping it was coming off as "touseled" but in reality I think it was more "Mommy needs a shower."

Is it Spring yet?


If I had a hammer

I made an important decision today. It came in a moment of clarity that I've been searching for for years.

The album I will never record would be a folk album.

Here's the bunny trail. I keep listening to that Matt Morris song "Bloodlines." That led me to his performance with Justin Timberlake for the Haiti benefit. They sang Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," in a version closer to Jeff Buckley's. So then I started listening to some Leonard Cohen. By now I was in iTunes, and it was offering suggestions. So I listened to some Pete Seeger. Some Peter, Paul & Mary. Some Arlo and Pete. A little James Taylor. And then I went back to Peter, Paul & Mary. That's when "Leaving on a Jet Plane" got stuck in my head and my heart. I'd forgotten how much I love that song.

I'm fairly certain only two cassettes worked in our cars while I was growing up. Arlo Guthrie & Pete Seeger's "Precious Friend" and Peter, Paul & Mary's "10 Years Together." That's it. I don't remember that we listened to anything else. Driving in the car? Put in one of those tapes. We sang along. In harmony of course.

Sara Groves said something at her concert in December that totally threw me. Something along the lines of, "I didn't realize that not every family starts singing the moment they get in the car." Huh. Sounds totally normal to me.

Captain America has asked me for years what I would sing if I was really a singer. I haven't been sure. Until today. Because I think my musical heart is folk. I'm not sure if I'm a pseudo-hippie or what. I think part of it is the conviction and passion most folk singers have.

I guess another thing I love about folk music is that it can inspire change in people. You can bring people to your cause or remind people why they believe in it. And I'm such a softy a good folk song can easily bring me to tears.

So on my never-to-be-recorded album I would have the following:
1. Where Have All the Flowers Gone
2. Kisses Sweeter than Wine
3. Leaving on a Jet Plane
4. How Can I Keep from Singing
5. Amazing Grace
6. Lemon Tree
7. Early Morning Rain
8. 500 Miles
9. 75 Septembers
10. Blood and Fire
11. Midnight Train to Georgia

I'm not really sure how those songs would work together, but I guess it doesn't really matter. What with not recording it and all.

What would your album be? Not what you like to listen to most, but what would you want to represent you?


Where have you been?

Or where have I been? In case you're still checking Ye Olde Blog on occasion. Some lowlights and highlights for you:

• Why are my children so sickly? Natalie had a cold, then Ella got some strange stomach bug, and now Natalie has a cold again. In less than two weeks. And I got sick somewhere in there. (Sub-lowlight: bunkbeds + sick kid on top bunk = not cool)
• Turns out we didn't move THAT far south. It's still very wintry and snowy.

• Sometimes my children are lovely to each other when they're sick. They find each other's favorite toys and things.
• There was melting today!
• My parents came to visit us. It was fun to show them around our new city, and we took advantage of them by making them look at houses with us.
• We bought a house. Closing at the end of March if all goes well.

So the other night Captain America was praying with the girls before bed, and they talked about how they didn't like being sick. "I wish we never had to be sick." So he told them that we'll never be sick when we're in heaven. The rest went something like this:
Ella: "Yes. Someone was sick in heaven."
CA: "No, I don't think so."
Ella: "Yes. It's in my Bible."
CA: "No, I don't think it is."
Ella: "Get my Bible. It's on the shelf."

So that's how it's been here. Plenty of excitement on the horizon, that's for sure. So what have you been up to?