Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Days

The days slip by.

Happy days. Angry days. Pain days. Productive days. All part of the experience we call life. Right?

Sunday was a happy day.

(Aside: They are happy now that my husband no longer has to attend many hours of meetings all day, leaving me to bathe and dress three bodies, blow dry two heads of hair, prep three lesson plans, assemble lesson props and materials, keep the three dressed bodies relatively grime-free, and get the three bodies and the bag or two of props down to the church unassisted. Oh, it's so nice to have a husband with a non-leadership calling.)

After church and after naps my children were starting to get on each other's nerves. They were screaming at each other about the darn jingle bells. I've only got about 30 bells. Somehow that's not enough to share. So I shouted in a sing-song voice "Who wants WAFFLES!" That made Jenny stop screaming and she jumped up and down saying "I do! I do! I do! I want HELP you, Mommy. I do! I do!"

So we made breakfast for dinner. I turned on some Christmas music. And I twirled in the kitchen while I waited for each waffle to brown. James laughed and laughed each time I twirled. We sat down at the table and my children actually ate without incessant prodding. (Eating something covered in syrup usually goes down a lot easier than meatloaf does.)

That night my house fulfilled the measure of its creation by being the perfect holiday setting for a fun family dinner.

Yesterday was a pain day. I was up most of the night before in pain. My husband woke to the sound of me puking. That was a relief, because once he got up I was finally able to put on my favorite migraine movie. I watched nearly the full 5 hours of Pride and Prejudice before my children even got up. Well, I didn't actually watch it. The bludgeoning of my skull affects my vision so I can't actually stand to watch anything. But I listened to it to keep my mind off the pounding pounding pounding.

My children watched netflix streaming Blue's Clues, Dora the Explorer, Caillou, and Super Why videos all. day. long. It was great. I spent the time laying on my bed whimpering. That was not so great.

When my husband FINALLY got home (he came home early. 30 whole minutes early.) I began weeping in relief. Then the tears just wouldn't stop because I was so exhausted and in so much pain and so unbelievably sick of these damn migraines. Then Brent told me he had to go to scouts in 30 minutes. I cried harder. Then he told me he'd take both the kids with him. I cried in relief again.

(For the dear women in my life who are feeing bad and wondering why I didn't call you to come help, it's because Jenny was coughing and snotting the whole house up and I didn't want to expose Mom-who-cannot-afford-to-get-sick or any of the babies that you all have. Otherwise I would have. Next time I will. Assuming Jenny's not sick.)

Today has yet to be defined. I have a sneaking suspicion it's going to be an angry day. It's only 10:00 a.m. and already Jenny has dissolved in tears or tantrum half a dozen times. James was up for about 4 hours in the middle of the night last night, so he's cranky. I put him down for a nap, but I hear him banging his crib against the wall so I doubt he'll fall asleep any time soon. At least his crib-time separates the children and so their mutual screaming is on pause for an hour or so.

I have not lost my temper yet. But it's only 10:00 a.m. And I still am suffering from Headache Hangover.

The salvation of this day will come in the form of my sisters. Lunch with the girls at a place that isn't here is what I need. A change of scenery. New faces to look at. Grown ups to talk to. A room full of Polly Pockets for Jenny to get lost in. It will give me the emotional nourishment I need to carry on carry on carry on.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Friday, September 24, 2010

Things They Do

Jenny often wants to wear my diamond ring. When I refuse she gets a small hair elastic and wears it on her finger and calls it her wedding ring.

Jenny likes to pick out her own outfits

James likes to feel the skin at the edge of clothing. He often fingers my arm just underneath my cuff or the skin at my neckline as we cuddle during his lullaby. He also does it to himself whenever I lay him down for bed or a diaper change.

Delicious. I could just eat this kid.
Jenny grabs the camera whenever she sees it. She can operate it pretty well. She turns it on, looks through the viewfinder, and then tells me to move a little bit this way or a little bit that way and then orders me to "say cheese". She has taken many many many exceedingly unflattering pictures of me. And several of the floor and her legs and her toys.
Jenny's still life photography

James shrieks. Loudly. All the time. Jenny shrieks back. Then they scream at each other at precisely the same pitch and with the same timbre with a blend only siblings can create. At times I can't tell them apart.
"Look Mommy! We're in a bathtub!"

Jenny enjoys drinking straight lemon juice. She also likes to taste salt and pepper. She shakes it into her palm and then licks it. Over and over until I stop her. She also likes to eat butter. She dips her finger in it, just like I did as a child. She'd eat spoonfuls of it if I'd let her.
Jenny tried to apply mascara

James crawls down the stairs halfway, then pauses, then comes back up. Then back down. Then back up. Then he swings the baby gate back and forth. Shrieking in delight and pride all the while.
Playing together instead of screaming at each other. A rare and delightful thing.

Jenny cries out every night for me. Her scared little voice sobbing in the darkness for her mama. I go in. We snuggle. I tell her I love her. She goes back to sleep.
Bear Lake 2010

James giggles when I kiss him on the chest. He also likes it on the neck. Kissing him on the belly doesn't do much for him. He also likes it when I nibble his toes.

Still hanging on. No walking yet.
Jenny wraps towels and blankets around her body and then says "Look Mom, I a princess!"

Bear Lake 2010
James generally won't let me take pictures of him. He immediately makes a beeline for the camera and grabs it from me or screams if I don't give it to him.

Can you resist that smile? I didn't think so.
James likes to put his hands in my or Brent's shoes and then crawl around, pushing them along in front of him.
Super Rainbow Girl

Jenny likes to put on my stilettos and sling-backs and walk around, heels clacking loudly on the tile. Often she's wearing nothing else.
I remember doing this as a kid. Only the shoes of my choice were my mother's cream colored open toed pumps.

Neither of my children will let me shower or bathe alone. If they hear water running, they find me and scream until they are in the water with me.
The most fun they ever have together. 

Both of them like to mow the lawn with Daddy. At the same time.

A favorite Saturday morning activity
I love my kids.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another Prayer

Dear Heavy Fadder,

Fank you for Shelley to come over.
Fank you for Benjamin to play . . . wif me.
Fank you for to help Jenny not be whiny.
Bless us to sleep good.

In de name of Jesus Christ,


Are we seeing a theme already?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jenny Prays All By Herself

Dear Heavenly Fadder,

Fank you for Noelle to play wif me.
Fank you for us to sleep good tonight.
Please bless Mommy to be patient.
Please bless James to be not scream and whiny.
Please bless Jenny to sleep well.

In the name of Jesus Christ,


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Rite of Passage (for both mother and daughter)

It's official. I'm a total failure.

I've failed at a lot of things in my life. Not one to brag here, but I've got some pretty good failures on my curriculum vitae. I wouldn't call myself a champion or professional failure, but I've definitely walked the road of defeat.

Today I failed in the capacity as a mother. That's right. I'm a bad, bad, bad mom.

Today was my first-born child's first day of school. And not just the first day of the year. The first day of school in her whole life. In her entire 3.5 years of living she has never been to school until now. And can you believe it? I didn't take a picture of her in all her first-day glory before dropping her off.

No picture for the blog, for her scrapbook, for her memories. I failed her.

A successful mother would have planned ahead. A dedicated mother would have remembered last night that a certain little girl had smudged the lens of the camera with her grubby little fingertips and would have had the forethought to do a load of laundry so a clean microfiber cloth would have been handy to clean said lens.

A competent mother would have imbued such a sense of excitement in her daughter about her first day of school that the daughter would not have had an emotional breakdown right as it was time to get in the car, thus making the mother late.

A proper mother would have found some way to more effectively stem the tide of tears that ensued after explaining that it was against the rules to take any toys to preschool as she heartlessly removed them from the Hello Kitty backpack.

A decent mother would have made sure to capture the moment of departure appropriately, as is its due as a rite of passage, and immortalized it for all time on a pink and green paisley matted scrapbook page.

Alas, one more thing to add to my list of personal failings.

On the up side, I DID make the time and had the patience to paint my daughter's fingernails and toenails the colors of her choice while dressing her.
I DID remember the teacher's instructions to put the daughter's bathing suit under her clothes and pack a towel.
I DID remember to pay tuition on the first class of the month, thus qualifying for the $5 early-pay discount.
I DID remember to put the baby in the car before we left, rather than leaving him alone in his crib for the 20 minutes it would take me to return.
I even succeeded in sufficiently distracting my alternately writhing/screaming and wiggling/giggling daughter during the drive over with talk about farm animals so that her socks and shoes remained on her feet until arrival.


Maybe I can do this after all.

Does a picture after-the-fact still count? Even if it's blurry with finger smudges?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Good For Me

When Brent and I were dating, I told him that I was anti-social, and would infinitely prefer staying home with a book to going out to any social event, especially LDS ward parties.

He agreed with me wholeheartedly. He said that he too preferred to stay home and hated socializing and having to "be on" when he was tired after a long week working away from home. (Back then, he traveled for work something like 48 weeks out of the year. Yes. Insane. Glad he doesn't have that job any more.) He said he loved to read and hated to party.

Ah, that response was music to my ears. I thought that truly I had found my soulmate. Someone who would want to be home with me and wouldn't want to leave me to hang out with the guys.

You know what?

He lied.

He didn't mean to. He thought he was speaking the truth. When I said "any social event" and he said "me too" what he really meant was "singles ward events". And really, can you blame him? Anyone who has been a member of a LDS singles ward for more than a couple of years can understand that one. Ugh.

As it turns out my husband is quite the social butterfly. Not only does he like to attend all ward parties, block parties, charity events, holiday activities, and other engagements that we're invited to, but he actually prefers to host parties.

Usually about once a month Brent asks me if I'd like to have so-and-so and so-and-so to dinner. He's not really asking. He knows what my answer will be. He's just telling me. So I smile and put on my happy face and start thinking about all the cleaning that has to be done before we have 30 people over for dinner. Again. Didn't we just do that?

So I grumble to myself and get a migraine at the thought of entertaining that many people and having them in my house, my sanctuary, my safe and private space. I clean and hurt my back and gag on the smell of smoking and carcinogenic flesh that permeates my house.

And then the guests arrive.

And you know what?

I always have a good time. And I'm always glad that Brent made me do it.

I would NEVER invite people over (unless my children share a bloodline with you). It just doesn't occur to me.

And so I'm glad. I'm glad I have a husband that led me astray during our courtship. Because of his dinner parties, I meet and converse with people who are genuinely wonderful. Because of his friendliness, I have friends.

And who doesn't need more friends?

So thank you, Mr. Jensen, for once again nudging me out of my comfort zone. You knew I'd enjoy it. And I did.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Escargot Raw

Before yesterday I never really thought about how perfectly a snail can fit inside a one-year-old's mouth. It's the perfect size for sucking on but not choking on, as James demonstrated for me.


Yes he did.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Attitude Adjustment

I haven't been writing much. I suppose because most days I feel like I'm drowning and don't have anything to write that people would want to read.

My life is filled with minutiae and drudgery.

Clean the nasty bathrooms.
Try unsuccessfully to feed my children.
Pick my children's food off the floor.
Do the dishes.
Do the laundry.
Clean the crud off the counter.
Reorganize my kitchen cupboards after the last time my husband was in there.
Circumvent tantrums.
Endure tantrums I am unable to diffuse.
Hold one child while the other screams.
Hold the other child while the first one screams.
Hold them simultaneously while they both scream.
Plan dinner.
Fail to make dinner because I once again didn't make it to the grocery store because shopping with two tiny kids is impossible and frustrating.
Get a migraine.
Put my kids in front of Blue's Clues so I can have 30 minutes of peace.
Try not to scream.
Try not to yell.
Try not to cry.




What gives me hope is knowing that this is the hardest time in my life and that it won't last forever. When it is over and my children are grown I will miss it and long for these years back.

I recently came across a quote by the author Anna Quindlen, and I tell you, this is going to be my personal mission statement.

 The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

I need to write this quote up and put it on my mirror. Chant it to myself daily. 

Treasure the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

I desperately want to be a fun and nurturing mother. I want to enjoy my children. I want to look back on every day with satisfaction that I did my best. I know I'll never be perfect, but I want to simply love my life. 

And I do. I already do. 

I am immensely happy with my life. I'm just not happy with myself.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

For Father's Day I gave Brent a card with a picture of a topless model wearing wings.

Now you may think of a Victoria's Secret catalog, but no, he got something better.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I Love To See the Temple

Since our move we can see a large LDS temple quite well on our drive home. Every time it looms above us Jenny shouts "Look! A TEMPLE!"

She gets very excited and always wants to drive past it and tells me all about Angel Moroni atop the steeple.

Today I consented to drive past it, and as we pulled into the parking lot she said to me "Once I was a big mommy in a big dress and I got married in that big beautiful temple. Then I grew down to become a little girl."

I love my kid.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ingleside: Status Update

I named my new home Ingleside. Those of you who immediately understand why are of the race of Joseph. If you understood the phrase "race of Joseph" you are hereby invited to be my best friend forever.

For those of you not yet in the know, I shall give you an inside look at the world that is Anne Shirley Blythe.

After Anne and Gilbert are married, they move to a tiny seaside cottage where Gilbert begins his first practice as a doctor. There they make several friends who are of the race of Joseph and have their first baby. All this occurs in the fifth novel in the series Anne's House of Dreams.

The next book Gilbert talks Anne into buying a house too big for them. It is a beautiful home, but Anne doesn't want something that big, nor does she want to leave their dream house. Gilbert reminds her that they plan on having many more children and that the cottage could not accommodate a large family. So they buy the large house not for their immediate needs, but in planning for the future. A future of children and work and play and laughter and love and tears and lessons learned. They name their home Ingleside.

Thus, in honor of my beloved Anne, I have named my home Ingleside. Here I will bear and raise my children. Here they will frolic in the backyard and play and imagine as only children can. Here I will work and garden and pray and love.

Now that I've lived at Ingleside for just over two weeks I feel like I can begin compiling my lists of loves and love-nots about the place.

Things I Love-Not About Ingleside:
1. My kitchen sink has a flat bottom. This means that the water and food particles don't flow toward the drain without assistance, resulting in a usually dirty sink. Hmm. New habit to follow: clean sink after every use.
2. It is not a two-story Victorian or Cape Cod style house, nor is it built in the Colonial style or is an Arts and Crafts bungalow as my heart truly yearns for. Alas, it is a rambler.
3. A few cosmetic things that I can change over time.

Things I Love About Ingleside:
1. It is red brick with black shutters and front door.
2. It has my bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry all on one level. (Ramblers are good for something.) Thus I can stay here until I die, even if I'm wheelchair bound.
3. The yard. Oh, the yard. Room to roam. Room to frolic. Room to plant. Room to build. Room to play.
4. The hangar. I love having a storage space that is seemingly limitless.
5. Main floor laundry. Can I say that again? MAIN FLOOR LAUNDRY! Ah, I feel like shouting it from the rooftops. Now I know I sort of already mentioned this one in number 2, and it seems like a rather boring thing to be thrilled about, but if you had knees that hurt like mine and had to carry heavy laundry baskets up and down 13-step flights of stairs, you would understand. Especially if you had done it while pregnant or tried to do it with a baby on your hip. This was one of the primary reasons I wanted to move and now I have my heart's desire.
6. The tree out front. It's huge. It's green. Sure, it rains debris down every time a wind comes through, but oh it is lovely.
7. The chickens and roosters in my back neighbor's yard. I love hearing the cockadoodledoo of the proud cocks throughout the day.
8. The plantation shutters in the front rooms of the house. They are pretty. They are practical. They are easy to open and close. They let in a ton of light or conversely block it well.
9. The view from my dining area onto the back yard. Have I mentioned how much I love my back yard?
10. The master bathroom remodel that is coming along. Oh, it will be beautiful. Anyone who wants to take a soak in my claw-foot tub at the Spa del Maren is welcome anytime.

I feel so blessed. So completely and utterly BLESSED to be able to call this house my home. I am a lucky woman who is incredibly grateful to have found her Ingleside.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Sunday Evening of Contentment

I write as I lay in bed, propped up on insufficient pillows. I lay in the very center of the bed in a vain attempt to even out the lump that has been created between the two valleys my and my husband's bodies have made in the mattress.

My bed is currently in my living room (as the master bedroom is a construction zone), and thus affords me a view of the street. I'm facing south and watching the day's light drift west while the shadows lengthen easterly. Through the slats of my plantation shutters I watch my neighbor sit in his green and white lawn chair in his driveway. Another neighbor walks by walking his dog and holding his wife's hand. I love to see elderly people hold hands. I love the way their body language tells me that after all the years and no doubt joys and trials, they still are sweethearts. It is a future I hope to attain and look forward to.

My husband is cleaning the kitchen (wonderful man) while my daughter noisily rolls her wagon around on the slate floor (adorable girl). My baby is sleeping contentedly in his room (sweetest boy).

Today we made it to church on time. We sang hymns and prayed. I wrestled with children. I tried to listen to the talks and lessons. I came home grumpy but still glad I went. Glad that I'm married to a man who also wants to go.

We visited a neighbor and took them cheesecake. Not mediocre store-bought cheesecake, but the real deal. With raspberry topping. A small gesture of gratitude for the generous help they recently gave us.

We played in the yard (oh, how I love my new yard) and enjoyed the sunshine. Ah, the sunshine. It has been missing for far too long this spring. I love the rain, as anyone who knows me really well can attest. But lately I've been craving the sunshine, and today took the time to enjoy it with my loved ones.

It has been a simple day. But such a sweet one.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More On Mother's Day: Going Nuts

The night before Mother's Day I had a visit with my sister during which I expressed the tumult I have been feeling lately regarding parenting two little kids.

I feel angry much of the time. I can go from feeling perfectly fine to angry at the slightest provocation from my children these days. I feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sometimes: out of control and volatile. Perhaps it's not as bad as I describe, but that's how it feels. I'm constantly battling to stay calm and not scream back at Jenny when she screams at me.

So it was in the frame of mind of defeat, frustration, and exhaustion that my husband came home late with a bunch of flowers in his hand. Fortunately my first response was one of pleasure and gratitude. It was nice to see my sweet man at the end of a long evening.

Unfortunately that response was almost immediately eclipsed by feeling an unwarranted amount of hopelessness because I didn't know where a vase was. (Keep in mind that 3/4 of my entire life is in boxes right now and consequently stress levels are high.) I almost started crying because I didn't know what to do with the flowers.

Brent, calm and reasonable, found the box I had clearly marked "FRAGILE: Glass Vases" and brought me a selection.

Then I started snipping the ends and arranging them. I almost started crying again because I was tired and it was late and I just wanted to go to bed and mope about what a bad mother I was rather than arrange my own flowers. I was feeling grumpy and muttering things like "because he couldn't possibly be bothered to spend the extra money on an arranged bouquet, could he?" and other irrational and mean things. I ended up just dumping them in the vase and not worrying about the shape of the arrangement.

Brent played it smart. I suppose the occasional tears that would leak out in the midst of talking about a neutral subject tipped him off. I went to bed. He rubbed my back. He told me I was a great mommy. Of course I didn't agree with him, but it was good to hear. I need that reinforcement sometimes. It helps me get through the crazies that occasionally possess me.

Oh, I just pray my children will forgive me someday and that I won't scar them for life.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Today I received my first ever Mother's Day gift made by a child of mine.

I remember making these as a kid. My primary teacher would give me a template that I would fill out. Something along the lines of "I love my mom because . . ." and then I'd write something and try to be sincere. Then I'd color the flowers printed on the page and my teacher would put it in a dollar store brass frame and I'd proudly give it to my mother after church.

She's smile and say thank you and give me a hug.

Then she'd get six more identical gifts.

Some weeks later I found my framed gift in a trash bag. And to be completely honest with you, I totally understood. Sure, I suppose there was a fraction of my childlike heart that wondered why my mom would trash my gift, but I distinctly remember not feeling bad, not even one iota. After all, it was more of an assignment rather than a voluntary offering. And over the years I'm sure she had received many many many such items, in varying degrees of tackiness. She just didn't want to be burdened with the junk. She had her children, and they were the most precious gift anyway.

Then there's my mother-in-law whom I am sure has kept every single mother's day card/letter/gift that her six children have given her through the years. She's the kind of woman that treasures every "memory" (as she calls them) no matter how small or trivial, and keeps them forever.

Two different responses, and yet I am sure that both my mother and my mother-in-law love their children fiercely. I know of no two women more devoted to their children and grandchildren than these two.

So today as I received my Ikea oven mitt upon which my daughter had scribbled with markers and her nursery leader had traced her hand and misspelled her name, I felt a strange role reversal.

To own the truth, I was delighted to receive the gift, even though the teacher gave it to me and not my daughter and in fact Jenny had no idea why she made it and was supposed to give it to me.

I have been needing a new oven mitt for a while now.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Big Girl Spoon

"Mommy I need a Big Girl Spoon."

I was a bit distracted, feverishly attempting to get as much of dinner prepped as possible before the baby woke up.

"Uh huh. Okay. You can get a spoon."

"You get it. I need it."

"I can't get it right now because I'm chopping chicken."

"Um, I can't reach it. I need a Big Girl Spoon to clean up the poop."

Finally she had my full attention.


"I need a spoon to get out the poop. The poop is in my sock and I can't get it out."

I looked at her. No smell. Pants on. And usually pants on also means diaper on. Usually.

I looked closer. She was wearing sweat pants that have elastic around the ankles. Sure enough, there was a little lump right there near her right sock that shouldn't have been there.

I opened her pants. No diaper. What? How did that happen?

Ah, the joys of potty training a child who is capable of dressing and undressing herself.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cursing the Cake

Yesterday was my tiny one's third birthday. Only she's not looking so tiny anymore.

The night before I baked her cake. In the morning I cut it into the requested Hello Kitty shape and frosted it. I had to do it in stages because a mother of two little ones doesn't often have an uninterrupted hour to do anything, much less take that long to frost a cake.

After years of mocking my sister and how she coordinates her birthday child's clothing to the colours of the themed cake, I now understand. I have fallen from my lofty ideals of simplicity and have spent too much time on a character cake, when I should have been packing and cleaning.

As I was frosting the cake and simultaneously cursing myself for the idea of it in the first place, I began to wonder who I was doing this for. Was I really doing this for Jenny so that she could have a fun birthday? Or was I doing it for myself in some twisted way? What was I getting out of it?

I was stressed.
I had way too much to do to waste an entire day on prepping for a 3-year-old's party that would last two hours.
The frosting was running down my arm and the little stars wouldn't maintain their shape because I don't know what I'm doing and my frosting was too thin and my baby was starting to cry and I had only just started.

Was I trying to impress the party attendees? No, they're just family members who have seen me at my worst.

Was I trying to prove something about what a fabulous party-planning and creative mother I am? Possibly, but since I know I'm not really any of those things, why would I try to prove something I don't hold to be true?

Because I want it to be?

Hmm. As I was pondering this, Jenny began enthusiastically chanting "Thank you, Mommy! Thank you for my Hello Kitty CAKE!"

She said it over and over with such sincerity and joy that I was glad for the task.

She loved it. She really did. She talked about it in anticipation for weeks and in enjoyment all day and for a few days more. She cried when it was all gone.

That's right. I did it for her. My intentions were pure.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Is it a motherly trait or just a female one to feel an inordinate amount of guilt? Perhaps it runs throughout the fairer sex, but is intensified by motherhood. All I know is I feel a lot of guilt a lot of the time and my husband feels relatively none.

A man does something that warrants an apology or does something insufficiently. He either feels no guilt because he recognizes that he did the best he could, or perhaps recognizes no wrong. Or he feels just enough pricking to either spur him to rectify the situation or just move on.

A woman worries. A woman obsesses. A woman cries. A woman frets. Guilt, guilt, guilt.

What I feel most guilt about is anywhere I am less than I think I ought to be. I am not patient enough with my three-year-old. I don't have enough energy, time, limbs, you name it, to simultaneously soothe my infant and keep dinner from burning, or even make dinner at all.

Something has always got to give. And I always feel guilty for not doing whatever it is that had to give.

Since becoming a mother of more than one child, lots of things give that I truly wish didn't have to.

The laundry can give. I can live with the guilt I feel about being an ineffective housekeeper.

Delicious and inventive dinners can give. Brent can feed himself. Macaroni and cheese will keep you alive.

But my children's needs?

I feel guilt about not savoring James's infancy like I did Jenny's. I feel guilt about not taking as many photos and video footage of him. I feel guilty about not reading him stories. I feel guilty whenever my pain or schedule or toddler prevents me from holding him whenever he shrieks for my attention.

He's at that stage where he wants Mama and no one else. He will be perfectly content and happy playing with something or someone. I walk by the room and he cries for me. He hears my voice and he cries for me. The instant he realizes that he is not with Mama is the same moment he recognizes that his life is incomplete and horrible and he needs me NOW!

Needless to say, he cries for me a lot. I can't always go to him. I do as soon as I can. And of course when I do I feel guilt about whatever it is I'm putting down to pick him up. Usually it's Jenny. Often it's something I ought to be cleaning or packing in order to meet our moving deadline.

I can't do it all.

Nobody can.

And so I am extremely grateful for the little things that make my multitasking easier. In particular, James's sleeping habits.

He is a gold-medalist in sleeping. The kid is a champion napper. At night time I can read him a story or nurse him for a few minutes, then lay him down awake, exit the room, and shut the door and he makes nary a peep. He just relaxes, lays his head to the side, and sleeps.

It is one of the great pleasures of my life to put that kid to sleep. It then frees me to be sufficient. In that moment I can simultaneously do the right thing for my baby (give him sleep) and also attend to whatever needs attending to the most.

Lately James has been teething. He doesn't want to fall asleep in bed. He wants to fall asleep in my arms. Once he has fallen asleep he doesn't want to sleep in his bed. He wants to sleep in my arms.

Last night after my third attempt to lay him down and his third refusal to accept sleep and his third time plugging up his nostrils with baby slime from his crying, I just held him. I didn't nurse him, or sing to him, or bounce him. He just nestled in my arms as I sat in my rocking chair. There he fell asleep. I held him for a long time.

Brent was putting Jenny to bed.
I let myself forget about the laundry, the vacuuming, the packing, the dusting, the clutter, the painting, the MESS MESS MESS that surrounds me and that I need to tame as quick as possible so we can sell our house.

I just let it all go and held my baby.

I gazed at him until the tiny sliver of light that comes in his window had faded to nothing. I listened to him breathe. I watched his eyelids flutter. I felt his tiny fingers pull at my neckline until he could feel my skin. I felt his warmth against my chest.

I held him and he held me and in that moment I felt complete. In that moment I was enough. I was all he needed and all he wanted. For him, right then, I was enough. Enough.

I need more moments like that.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010



Monday, March 22, 2010

My Baby Can Read (well, no, not really, but she can talk about the pictures)

I woke this morning to the sound of Jenny's voice coming through the monitor on my nightstand.

"No animals in my bed! No animals in my bed!"

I thought she must be processing the way I kick the cat off my bed every time I catch him on it, and was throwing the multitude of stuffed animals off her own.

I was wrong.

"Good night. Good night. Good night. Good night."

Is she playing mommy and tucking her animals in bed (a favourite pastime of hers)?

Wrong again.

"All animals go back to the ZOO." Jenny chanted.

Ah, she was reading to herself.

Good Night, Gorilla

One of the best picture books ever written and illustrated. If you have a tiny one, you should add this book to your bedtime story repertoire. And don't forget too watch the mouse and his banana.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why I Haven't Been Here On My Blog Entertaining All Of You

I've been in the middle of a project.

Is your house as messy as mine?

Getting ready to paint the walls after finishing the cabinets.

Last night's mess still on the stove and counter.

One of many Disaster Zones

Disaster Zone in more detail

Drawers waiting to go back where they belong. Adding to the mess, of course.

Door fronts still missing. Painting accoutrements on the counter.

But hey, I have this nice new tile in my kitchen and entryway. If you don't know what it looked like before, believe you me, this is a GINORMOUS improvement.

Happy boy in the midst of chaos.

Jealous sister wants to claim the bumbo as her own. Good thing she's still a skinny-minny.

Satan's spawn wanting to come in. Sorry kitty. No stepping in the paint trays. And what a nice reminder this photo is of how dirty my windows are. One more thing to do. Sigh.

Your Answers Are Confidential

Or so I am assured by our government. But, remembering how the Navy lost a laptop with access to a database that contained all my husband's information a few years ago, and how they contacted us to assure us they were working on recovering the information but to prepare us for the possibility that someone may have obtained that information to potentially pull some fraud and/or otherwise illegal shenanigans, I don't know how much I trust that.

But, as my U.S. Census Form envelope let me know in no uncertain terms, my response was required by law.

So I complied.

I don't mind, anyway.

Why would I want to keep confidential my name and my race and how many kids I have? Pretty much any schmo could figure that out.

I am a woman.

I am white.

I am married to the homeowner.

I have two kids.

I declare it to the world, that this is who I am.

Yes, I am a privileged middle-class white stay-at-home mom.

And you know what? I'm happy to be me.

But shouldn't I be offended that I had to check the box that said "white" because they didn't even give me the option to be "caucasian" or "european american"? Why is "white" a politically correct term but "black" or "indian" or "red-neck" isn't? It feels strange checking a tiny little box next to a word that defines my race, as though that defines me. I may be white, but I don't like being confined to small spaces that limit who I am.

You want to know who I am, Federal Government?

I am sarcastic.
I am loyal.
I am loving.
I am guilty.
I am afraid.
I am happy.
I am shy.
I am faithful.
I am sincere.
I am content.
I am weak.
I am patient.

I am also strong.
I am also impatient.
I am also discontent.
I am also bold.

It just depends on the day and the surrounding circumstances.

But it's hard to find a place to put that on a census form.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Funny Story

Jenny: Yahnt me tell you a funny stowey?

Shelley: Okay.

Jenny: They laughed and laughed. The. End.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Magic of Imagination

My dear sister Jessica recently wrote about imaginative play. Here is my favourite line of her post.

"A book taught my children about Vesuvius and Pompeii and now they can excavate my back yard, unearthing the magic of knowledge wedded to imagination."

Now if that doesn't whet your appetite for the whole thing, I don't know what will.

I enjoyed it so much, I just had to share it with the three of you who read my blog who don't already read hers.

Find it here.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A New Decade

It's my birthday today.

I'm officially thirty-something.

It was a great day.

My mom took me to lunch. We went to The Dodo and I had their famous turkey sandwich with delicious, savory, and unbeatable barbeque dipping sauce.

I haven't been out alone with my mom in AGES. I always have Tiny and Squeak along, so I have to be "Mommy" the whole time, and not just me. I miss grown up time. I miss my mom. Even when I see her frequently, it's just not the same as when we have one-on-one time. Our lunch today reminded me of not only how much I love my mother, but what a wonderful friend she is. How many women can say their mother is also their friend? I'm so grateful that I can.

Then she bought me a present.

Isn't it beautiful? I love it. I've been giddy about it all day.

Then this evening Brent took me out to dinner at Mazza. You would not believe how unbelievably delicious everything is there.

We took the kids with us and they were so good. James was happy and smiley the whole time. Jenny was pleasant and charming and didn't throw a single tantrum or whine even a little bit.

We finished our meal up with baklava, and then we walked next door to The King's English. Brent kept the kids entertained while he let me browse to my heart's content.

When we came home he gave me this:

It's called the Vixen necklace. I don't know that I'm much of a vixen, but I like thinking that I could be one if only I had the right necklace. Oh wait, I think I do!

The day was also filled with emails, messages, and calls from many friends and family.

Perhaps the nicest message I received (though all were sincere and very much appreciated) came from my brother-in-law. He said:

"Things I like about you:

your kids,
your laugh,
your style,
your cooking salmon,
your book recommendations,
your burps,
your singing,
your and Jenny's voicemails,
your being so great to my brother and family,
your husband,
your appreciation for pirates,
your blog posts,
your Christmas bread,
your opinion,
your southern drawl,
your prof. Trelawney,
your license plate frame,
your Jane Austen-ness
your breakfasts,
your political musings,
your Bubba Clause,
your preference for opaque fruit snacks,
your overall wonderfulness.


Isn't he the sweetest? I have to admit my Professor Trelawney costume is pretty good and my children and husband are fabulous. I am fairly opinionated, and yes my political musings might get me ostracized from the neighborhood if they were more widely known. (I've got you wondering now, haven't I?) However, my license plate frame was a gift from Roane, and while the idea behind it was mine, the execution was his. I'm not sure what Bubba Clause is (perhaps my African-American Santa Claus tree topper?). And while I do love opaque fruit snacks and all things Jane Austen, I don't really appreciate pirates. I merely tolerate them. I have to. It's either tolerance or kicking against the pricks. I choose acceptance and resignation over chronic pain in my toes.

Thank you Roane, for the love you show to me.

Thank you all my dear friends and sisters for your friendship and love.

Thank you Brent, for the beautiful necklace, for our amazing children, and for being so loving toward me all the time. Thank you for working so hard to provide for our family and facilitating and supporting my desires to stay home with our children. Thank you for making me panzarotti and cheesecake. Thank you for remembering the little things, like how I prefer raspberries to strawberries, dark chocolate to milk, and how Cold Duck is my bubbly of choice. Thank you for watching chick flicks with me, for liking Sydney Bristow as much as I do, for not complaining when I ignore you for hours when I'm sucked into my latest novel, and for being the best kisser in the universe.

But mostly, thank you Mom and Dad for giving me life. Mine is so blessed, so happy, and so full of love. The two of you gave me a delightful childhood where I was nurtured, taught, loved, provided for, and given My Little Ponies. You also gave me numerous siblings who were perhaps my torture 25 years ago, but have since become my best friends in life. You prepared me for life as a grown-up, making the process of growing up less scary. You helped me become the wife and mother I am today.

I owe you everything.

The Great House Hunt Part III

Sometimes things just feel right.

After our second showing of two properties, we knew which one we wanted. It was clear. It had the edge ever so slightly in terms of amenities, plus is had the zing.

We made an offer the same day. Last year the property was listed for 125K higher than its current listing price. Of course, that offer was totally inflated, but still, 125K is a HUGE drop. We offered 15K below their current asking price, which they accepted.


So not only are we getting a great house, but we're getting it at a good price. The seller's accepted our purchase price, but they wanted to quadruple our earnest money. It seems they were jerked around quite a bit by the buyers they were previously under contract with. They were very pleased with our "clean offer", as their agent put it.

It just felt like it was meant to be. Within four days we went from despair, to seeing the house twice, to having a signed offer. After months and months the actual deal seemed to happen rather quickly.

It's not the 100% perfect dream house. But it's awfully close at maybe 90%. It's a rambler, not a two-story. It's in South Jordan, not Cottonwood Heights. (Although the more I learn about South Jordan the more excited I am to be living there.) It means a 25 minute commute for Brent rather than his current 8 minute commute. It was built in 1985 instead of 1905 or 2005 (at least it's not 1975. I've had enough of that decade's architectural design.)

However, it IS red brick with light mortar, black shutters, and black front door. It is on .99 acre which will give my children all the room they could want to frolic, plus have room for a big garden, chickens, beehives, fruit trees, a pool, a miniature golf course, and a putting green. Maybe even a shooting range.

It has a shed the size of an airplane hangar. We can't decide whether to turn it into a pool house, a music studio, a casino, a bowling alley, a spook alley, or a dance club. Or we could just buy a boat, some ATVs, snowmobiles, a trailer, and a few trucks to store. Since after we get our new mortgage we will be able to afford all these things, I'm thinking we somehow make a combo of a swimming pool beneath a sport court, like in "It's a Wonderful Life."

The house has main floor laundry. It has a huge kitchen. It has a walk in closet. It has a tiny formal dining room that we're going to convert into an office. It has a small formal living room that we're going to turn into a music room. It has a great family room off the kitchen. It has a big brick hearth and mantel that houses an old fashioned stove. It has a big blank wall where Brent can have some built-in bookshelves for his leather book collection.

It has a game room decorated in a grey, black, orange, and chrome Harley Davidson theme. It's awesome. I'm definitely keeping the chrome paneling.

But the best thing about the house is that it puts me in a position to bless others. It will be a place to gather with friends and family. We'll be able to have people over and have the space to socialize comfortably while the children run amok in the yard. I'll be able to have my children and grandchildren over, the house overflowing with love and affection. I can't wait to start making memories there.

We close at the end of March.

So. 4th of July barbeque at my house. Who's coming?

Oh, and did I mention that the shed has a moose weather vane?

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Great House Hunt Part II

Read Part I here

We have been looking for almost a year and have toured countless houses. Our realtor's file on us is about an inch and a half thick, stuffed with the property reports of all the houses we've seen. (He's been a very patient man.) We were being picky. But we knew what we wanted.

Then we found it. The house! Ah, it wasn't perfect, but it had the vibe. It had the zing. I could SEE my family living there. It had beautiful, dark, exposed beams in the living room. It had a cozy family room off the kitchen. It had a gorgeous yard, a nice deck, a nicely planned kitchen.

Well, we made an offer on that house.

The owner's agent pulled all sorts of manipulative shenanigans on us. He lied about having a second offer on the house to pressure us into making a fast and high one. He called our agent with stories of the owner's wife in tears about leaving, and just another 10K would make her feel so much better about things. Apparently she had talked to so-and-so and so-and-so and THEY were SURE that the house was worth more than we were offering. Seriously? Like I care what so-and-so said or that the owner's wife was crying?

Plus, they were always past deadline whenever responding to us and extremely unwilling to concede anything to us. In protest we became rigid in our negotiations. After having given them all but one item on their counteroffer, we made our best and final offer. Then their agent decided to just ignore us. No formal refusal. Not even the courtesy of a phone call. Just silence.

Needless to say, we didn't get the house. In fact, when it did finally sell it was for only 4K more than our offer. A measly four thousand!! In the grand scheme of house prices, that was nothing. We were disappointed. Ah well, onward and upward.

Months went by as well as many more houses. Onward and upward became onward and status quo, and sometimes distinctly downward. Keep in mind that we were seeing 3-5 houses nearly every Saturday. We were getting burned out, but nothing seemed right.

Then we found it. The house! It was a beautiful 2 story with a most delightful floor plan. And it had plantation shutters throughout the house. The basement was unfinished and the yard wasn't ideal, but the location was great and more importantly, I could SEE us there. So we made an offer.

The owners countered. They came down a measly 4K and threw in their grand piano. Well, a grand piano is nice and all, but come on, meet us in the middle here! Sure we low-balled them, but honestly this house had so many red flags in its history (such as having recently sold as a short-sale for 150K LESS than its current listing price) that we didn't want to offer the inflated asking price. So we countered back. We came up a hefty amount.

Then silence. Again. We were being blown off AGAIN. Can't you people have the decency to return a phone call? An email? Crikey, how about a text? Don't you people want my money? Our agent finally called their agent's principal broker (and have I mentioned that this agent has a reputation in the industry for being difficult to work with?) and Mr. Boss Man blew us off and said that he was certain the agent was being professional and would do everything possible for us and would definitely return our calls.

Nothing. No response.

Then our agent's principal broker called their agent's principal broker. Come on, people, talk to us. Don't you WANT to sell you house? Why on earth did you list it if you're not willing to enter into negotiations with interested parties? Well, finally the agent called ours. He gave a price that he thought we should offer but couldn't say whether or not the owners would find it acceptable. Hmm.

Back to the search.

Discouraged. Disheartened. Tired. Sick of it all. Time running out as the deadline for the tax credit looms ever closer. We went out with our realtor again. All the houses were lame, lame, LAME! We were depressed.

Not quite ready to give up hope, we scheduled another tour. The day before the tour the house we thought had the most potential cancelled our showing. The owners of the house had accepted an offer the night before. Grr.

Wanting to fill the time slot, I picked a house to see that I remembered finding online months ago. It had been under contract last fall, but the sale fell through. It had only been relisted for ONE day. Last summer when I saw the house online I crossed it off the list because of its location. It looked like a great house, but it was too far away. Of course, by this point in the hunt we were much more flexible on a little thing like location. Once we saw what was available in our area of choice and realized we didn't like anything there, we cast our net a little wider. Or a lot wider, depending on your point of view, I suppose.

With less than 24 hours notice, the owners decided to let us see their house. After the tour that day we had two properties we wanted to see again.

Faith renewed. Energy back up. We were FINALLY excited about a couple of properties again. In fact, we liked them both so much we had some serious deliberation to do. We weighed pros and cons. We made a matrix. I assigned a point system. We evaluated every tiny detail of the houses and our lifestyles. It came down to six on one side and half a dozen on the other.

The second showing would break the tie.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Great House Hunt Part I

It's no secret that I've never loved my house. It has some flow and functionality problems that just cannot be fixed with a remodel. I have thought and rethought and mentally configured and reconfigured my floorplan. I just can't solve my major complaints with it without creating others.

So when the housing market crashed and interest rates dropped, Brent and I started looking. We don't need to move, certainly not now anyway, with only two children. Our current house has all the square footage we would ever need. But I dreamt of a pantry (ooo, a pantry, she said with a sign) and a mudroom (oh, a MUDROOM, she wistfully thought). The call of upstairs laundry (UPSTAIRS LAUNDRY she swooned) was in my heart. We desired a backyard for our children to roam in that was bigger than a handkerchief.

We made a list of what features our dream house would include. You know, like when you were a young teen and your youth leader had you write a letter to yourself to describe your ideal husband. If you write your ideals down they will serve as a guidepost during your search for the perfect companion, and help you weed out anyone unworthy, however alluring.

That list has guided us during our hunt. There have been houses that were so full of charm and coziness that I was ready to sacrifice a lot of function just to call that charm my own. The list and Brent's ever present practicality vetoed that house.

The list has also included things that I do not want. There have been houses that Brent has liked but that were a little too hoity-toity and vacuous for me. The list of nots and I vetoed.

There have been houses that look great on paper. They have everything we need, nearly everything we want, close to perfection, but lacking that zing, that vibe, that feeling of home. Just like in my single days when I'd date a guy who had it all, but we just didn't click for whatever reason. I held out for the zing in a spouse, and after much patience and many unpleasant blind dates, I got it. I was confident I could find it in a house as well.

I thought that finding the house would be the hard part.

Turns out I was wrong.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Amen and Amen

"I could never love anyone as I do my sisters." ~ Jo March

I read this post on a favourite blog and had to share it.

Check out Blog Segullah.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Finding My Stride

It's been just over seven months since Squeak was born and I think I've finally hit my stride.

About a year ago, waddling around hugely pregnant, I was frustrated that I had to keep putting Jenny down. She ALWAYS wants to be held and sit in my lap. At the time there was no room for her in my lap and I wasn't strong enough to stand up holding both her and myself up. I began to worry that I wouldn't be able to take care of both my kids simultaneously. I had a hard enough time already, and the baby was still on the inside.

I quizzed the multiparae of my acquaintance. I got a lot of nonspecific answers that gave me no wisdom whatsoever. Answers like "Oh, you just sort of figure it out as you go along" or "You just do the best you can."

Yeah. That much is pretty obvious to the uninitiated. Give me some tips here, people. Give me the inside scoop into how you run your day and tend to the needs and wants of two tiny ones and yourself and your household. I wanted the logistical lowdown.

For some reason, it was hard to come by. At first I thought that these women were being selfish. Why wouldn't they share their experiences with me? Is this some sort of hazing ritual, where you're only allowed full membership into the mommy club after you struggle on your own until you "figure it out"?

Now I've come to realize that the reason they weren't more specific in answering my questions is because they've blocked it from their memories. It was so traumatic for both them and their children that the emotional scar tissue is too hard to see through. They just don't remember how hard it was because either they stopped having children and things are so much better now, or they have had more children and now their lives are even worse.

When lamenting to my favorite sister-in-law who is more sister than law, she gave me the key. She gave me the brutal truth, unadorned, ugly.

"Sometimes," she said, "you just let them cry."

This was a new thought. I believed that my entire mission in life was to prevent my child from any discomfort at all cost, and that included crying.

My mother is the best baby-tender in the world. She taught me how to be conscious of the tiniest discomforts and threats to my child. She drilled me until I knew to contort my arm so that the car seat was positioned just so the sunlight never hit my baby's eyes. She taught me to inspect the inside of clothing to make sure there were no restrictive elastic bands that might leave a red mark on baby's skin. She taught me to immediately respond to slight whimpers so baby never cried. She taught me to always have a toy (or kitchen implement) handy to give to baby to hold, lest baby becomes bored and fusses.

My mother molded me into an excellent mom.

For her tutelage I am truly grateful.

So the idea that "sometimes you just let them cry" was horrific to me. Because as we all know, a crying child is evidence of an incompetent and unloving mother. Right? Well, according to my beloved sister Jessica (homeschooling mother of three), sometimes I'd have no choice.

She was right.

The first few months of my son's life were rough on all of us. Well, on all of us but Brent. I was still recovering from a bad tear and cracked nipples and doing so while sleep deprived. I got better, but balancing the needs of my children didn't get much easier for a while.

I learned I could usually keep at least one of them happy. Occasionally and miraculously they would both be happy at the same time, but I knew that was just grace of God and had nothing whatsoever to do with my mothering.

But every once in a while (meaning a couple of times a day) I found that I couldn't get either one soothed and content. They would sometimes both be inconsolable. Their hysteria working synergistically to bring me to tears also. There we'd be, the three of us: the infant (who has every right to cry), the toddler (who can't help her developmental level of constant emotional overload) and the mother (who ought to be the grown-up but who can't control her emotions when her stress levels blow through the roof), all crying together in a huddle.

Well, a few more months have passed and I'm happy to report that both of my children are usually pretty content most of the time. We still have our moments of grief and pain, but we're basically all happy.

So before I block it all out and am unable to pass on my experience and wisdom to the next questioning mother, here's how I do it.

1. Allow the toddler to watch Disney movies and PBS kids more than is good for her.
2. Take deep cleansing breaths while child A or B is screaming and you can't get to them right away. It doesn't help much, but at least it will prevent you from screaming "shut up!" at your children.
3. When the baby is content, tell him (in the toddler's presence) that he has to wait because right now it is the toddler's turn to be held. This makes the toddler very happy to be the chosen one. Then when the baby starts to cry, you can tell the toddler that she already had her turn, and now it's the baby's turn. It won't make her like it any better, but at least it feels fair.
4. Don't worry about bathing or dressing your children. It's a hassle, inevitably one or both will end up crying, and in an hour's time they'll both look grubby again anyway.
5. Forget about the housework. Your home will not be tidy again for about 20 years. Focus on the bare minimum to keep things running relatively smoothly: dishes, meal planning, laundry. That's it.
6. Release the guilt you feel when they cry/scream/throw tantrums. You'll intervene/soothe/rock/hold/kiss-it-better as soon as you can (like as soon as you wash the raw chicken juice off your hands). A few moments of screaming is better than getting sick with salmonella.
7. Focus on the awake child when the other is napping. Don't be lured into doing housework or wasting time on the internet in the few moments of peace you may find.
8. Frozen chicken nuggets (for the toddler).
9. Chocolate (for you).
10. When the husband comes home, greet him with a kiss, let him change his clothes, then hand him both the children while you hide out in the bathroom for an hour. There you can take your first shower of the day, read a magazine or novel in the tub, cry and scream into a towel, or catch up on your sleep.

Good luck, and may the force be with you.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Things I'm Wondering

Why are people inconsiderate, inflexible, and unprofessional? Don't they want my money?

When battling my bossy almost-three-year-old, why do I sometimes have difficulty remembering that I am the grownup and act accordingly?

When I know it's good for me, why don't I do it?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Today I Am Grateful


  1. antibiotics
  2. naptime
  3. leftovers
  4. pillow-top mattresses
  5. hot water
  6. soap
  7. Baby Signing Time
  8. mini miracles/immediate answers to prayers
  9. my home
  10. my husband's income
What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Say Uncle!

So I have bronchitis due to a bacterial infection.

It's been one of the worst weeks of my life.

When my best friend died was worse.

The first week postpartum after each of my kids was born (and I had cracked/bleeding nipples and a torn perineum) perhaps ties.

A week ago it was just a sore throat, funky voice, and lots of coughing. But the fun had only begun.

Then I got a fever. I was racked with chills. I could not get warm. Shivering uncontrollably in a hot bath. Then came the sweats. I could feel the heat emanating off my face and neck. Sometimes I would have the chills and the sweats at the same time. How is that even possible?

Then came the body aches.

The coughing intensified, which led to a headache. This headache would increase in intensity every time I coughed so that it felt like I had an ice pick jammed through my skull. That's been fun.

Next appeared a migrating rash on my legs. Incessant itching. Now we're just adding insult to injury. Speaking of insult to injury, the bottom of my tongue is bloody and sore from banging on my uneven bottom teeth every time I cough, and I think I have a cavity. I've got a toothache. I know it's not related, but I don't think I should have to suffer anything additional.

Then the hacking began. Not just coughing, but gagging on large amounts of mucus. I'm constantly spitting it out, but I can never get enough up to feel comfortable.

The mucus just won't come up to my satisfaction, no matter how many fluids I drink and how much I cough. As a result, whenever I lie down the mucus shifts around in my throat, blocking off my trachea, so I jerk awake choking.

So I didn't sleep the last two nights. At all. (A silver lining: now I can better have empathy for my suffering mother who lives with really bad apnea.)

I'm a freaking zombie.

Oh, so dramatic, Maren. Come on. People get sick all the time. Buck up.

Normally, I would think so too. But now I'm a mother of a toddler and an infant. Today when I went to the doctor and he asked if I was getting plenty of rest, I just laughed. No Doc, I'm not.

All day I have to care for two very small kids who have lots of needs. This results in no resting, which results in my sickness getting worse. Luckily my family hasn't gotten sick (yet). My daughter is undressed, unwashed, totally disheveled and gross. My baby is wearing the same thing he has worn for many days. The house is a complete and utter disaster zone. It makes me want to vomit, it's so bad.

I wish I had a wife. She could take care me when I get sick and "go to work" for me too. If Brent was this sick, he wouldn't go to work. Plus he'd have me home all day to entertain kids and bring him food. I get sick, and I just have to wait the hours out until he can come home and give me a reprieve.

I have needed backup so badly this week. I'm not usually one to cry uncle, but


The funny thing is I have lots of friends and family around to support me that could normally give me help. I haven't asked for any because I don't want to run the risk of spreading this to anyone else. I feel like I can't ask anyone to put their health at risk just to let me rest a little.

After this long and miserable week, today is Saturday. Finally. I took myself to the doctor and he asked me if my husband was home for the weekend. When I answered affirmatively he said "Good. It is my prescription that you do nothing but rest and breastfeed. Make your husband do everything else."

Thankfully I have the kind of husband that will.

So I have 48 hours to rest and heal. Praise to God above.

Now that I'm resting and finally feeling some peace for the first time in many days, I'm craving the company of my family. All my brothers and sisters (except one) and their kids and spouses are having dinner at my parents' house. We do this every Saturday.

Saturday Night Dinners at the Homestead are one of the best things in my life. It makes me so happy to be there, surrounded by all the people in the world that I love best. I look forward to it every week.

I need the balm of sisterhood to soothe my cracked and raw soul tonight. I need the delicious dinner that couldn't be improved upon because nobody and I mean NO BODY - not even your mother - can cook like my mother (except for maybe Ina Garten). I need that hug from my Pa that tells me I'm still his girlie, even though I'm a mama now.

But I can't go. I'm in exile. Don't want to expose my dear ones unnecessarily. So I am sad.

Now I know how Emma (the one who isn't here) must feel on Saturday nights.

We miss you, Emma.

Speaking of crying uncle, for your viewing pleasure and because I could really use a laugh, I give you one of the best scenes of of one of the best movies ever made. When Tim Tebow cries and squeals as Scut Farkus pulls back his arm, just imagine me whimpering there. :)