Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A (slightly) more sane approach to the holidays

So I may have publicized my annual Christmas meltdown this year. Oh well. When you live with small children you learn that melt downs are going to happen. How you recover is what is important.

I recovered by moving my fire hazzard wreaths to the outside of the windows. I may have plugged them in using a string of lights as an extension cord.


The Hubster giggled at me. My Personal Assistant thinks they are "Brilliant!" The Baby laughed and clapped-he'll be the president one day. (Fun fact: I have never lived in a house with exterior lights at Christmas. This feels like a major accomplishment and I could not be more thrilled. And it only took me 30 minutes! I know, I know, it looks like I spent weeks planning and installing this light display, but no. Mere minutes.)

I broke a light bulb while hanging the lights. When I ran out to change it, My Personal Assistant fed Baby...the soles of his shoes. Those brown crumbs are what was left of a perfectly good pair of boots after I left the boys alone with their shoes for less than 3 minutes. Shame on me. (Baby is fine. You don't have to be too smart to be president right?)

Baby proof all you want-the first time you leave them alone with something dangerous-like the dreaded shoes-all bets are off.
I bought a $5 set of plastic Christmas tree decorations from IKEA (assembly required) and we decorated the tree in Camp Bedroom. Because there is a tree in Camp Bedroom with lights already on it, and Baby can't get to it.

There will be a post about how I painted the birches when I do the next update on Camp Bedroom.
I stumbled across an app called Waterlogue that converts your photos to water colors. It is mesmerizing and makes everything look more festive.

It is also making me miss painting.
Even the saddest of wreaths.

But maybe not bathroom mayhem. Whatever. The rest of this post will be in fake watercolor because it amuses me.

The Personal Assistant is still in charge of sending replies to Christmas cards, which may or may not be mailed by New Years. I also set him to work planting some paper whites for some easy/kid safe Christmas decor.
That kept him busy long enough for me to bake some egg free, sucrose free, starch free cookies (sounds yum right?) and make a batch of his favorite marshmallows.
(The cookies aren't half bad for my first time trying to make CSID safe/egg free cookies. It only gets better from here right? Besides, I keep telling myself that what he will remember is that I tried.)
The Personal Assistant would like more craft time, and one of the Moms in my CSID support group is stuck in the hospital with two little boys at home. We decided they could use a care package, so we spent the afternoon making Christmas busy bags and testing them. They were easy and lots of fun. I will share more about them later this week.
My dear aunt confessed that they are laughing less at her house these days. She is the point person for co-ordinating care for my Grandfather as he recovers from a fall (he's doing great) and for her daughters-one who is recovering from an AVM and one who has been diagnosed with a rare from of MD. It is a lot. She said she is hanging things on her walls that she loves-or that make her laugh out loud. I can't do much to help from here, but I do have funny pictures, so I spent an evening looking through old and new photos to send to her.

Looking a photos from this past year the Hubster and I were overwhelmed by how much The Personal Assistant loves "his" Baby. It is written all over his face in every single picture of the two of them. We are taking time to snuggle, and feel thankful, indulge in hobbies, and laugh at our imperfections. It may still be a bit crazy around here, but it is the funny sort of crazy that we can all live with.

Merry Christmas, and Peace, and imperfection, and giggles be with you.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas is over rated.

I am so over Christmas. O V E R I T. We decided to do "Christmas lite" this year and I can't even hack that.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Just keep moving forward: Boy's CAMP Bedroom

One of the most challenging things about being a Mom to two little ones is juggling their very different needs and schedules. Mostly the schedules. It feels like I am still unpacking and not a single room is 'done' and it is now officially months (plural) since we moved in. I am learning to be content with progress-no matter how minor. That said, today I made a tent!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Quick Fix: Conflict of interests, snow day

We had a conflict of interests this morning. Kiddo wanted to play in the first snow of the year (sans pants), Baby wanted to sleep in, Mommy wanted to take a shower (solo) and curl up with some tea on the couch.

So we got out my daytime parenting partner: the activity tray.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Just keep moving forward: Boy's Room

We haven't dropped off the face of the earth-I swear! I'm stuck in renovation/unpacking hell, and Daisy is in the throes of fall semester academia. For a peek at what I've been working on...here's what happened today in Kiddo's room.

Friday, November 7, 2014

It gets better.

Remember that "It gets better" campaign? The one about how life after high school is so much better and you don't have to worry about bullies any more? It never rang true for me. Yes, life after high school is better, without a doubt. Yes, there is so much more to live for after high school fades away. And yes, it is much, much easier to be yourself after exiting the petty, pressure filled halls of high school.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A much needed slipcover (under $60)

So, I have been a little behind for, um...the last 9 months or so. Between kiddo's diagnosis, baby brother's arrival, selling our house, and now moving into a fixer, it's been a little busy. I realized just how negligent I've been about blogging this morning when I started hunting for photos to list this couch for sale on Craigslist.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Chocolate Cherry Pancakes

I like pancakes. I really really like pancakes. But I am allergic to eggs. This is well documented at this point. The personal assistant as CSID (I should maybe explain that one of these days) and cannot eat sugar (sucrose) or "too much" starch. But I still really like pancakes.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Bikini Body

Have you been enjoying swim suit season?  I was so excited to move from my typical attire of long pants and long sleeve shirts to...floor length skirts and baggy shirts. I'm the lady who would rather wilt and sweat than wear shorts. All of my "really short" skirts stop at the knee.  Let's say, I'm not an exhibitionist.

When I was in college I found many ways to show off my assets.  Let's be honest, I had no substantial assets except I was a size 2.  Despite what vanity sizing would like to have me believe, those days are LONG gone!  Growing an entire human inside of my body changed the topography!  While I used to be vaguely shaped like a 10 year old (Oh, but how great, right?!  Eesh.) now, in the wise words of our friend Shakira, my hips don't lie.  I take up much more space on a plane than I used to.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Potty Fairy

Kiddo wants to potty train in theory, but not so much in practice. It has been a struggle. His CSID has not helped. Because I respect my readers (somewhat) I will not elaborate. Let's just go with "It's been a rough year, " and leave it at that. But he's old enough that if I don't do something, he's gonna have issues. So when a member of the CSID support group suggested we needed a potty fairy, I was all over that like white on rice.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Quick Fix: Mess Containment

 We've sold our house! (And now the chaos will begin for real.) In honor of an exhausting solo weekend with the boys, negotiating a deal, while my husband was away with his pals, I give you a new use for cookie sheets: mess containment!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Bedtime conversations

Tonight was my night to read books.  My husband and I have a very ritualized bedtime routine.  Every other night he does my son's bath and I read books, the next night we switch.  This was my husband's idea.  It's a bit rigid, but I've come to appreciate the fairness of it.  Last night my little guy and I were learning about bats.

He was thrilled to learn that bats eat wasps, mosquitoes, and other insects.  And then it happened.

Me: "Other bats eat lizards, birds, and even fish!"  (This accompanies a rather ghastly illustration of a sharp clawed giant bat with its mouth open baring its fangs swooping down to wrench a gasping fish from the water.  Eesh...)

Him: (with a flop on the bed and a dramatic head toss)  "OH NO!  NOW THERE IS NO BEAUTY IN THE WORLD!!!!!"

Me: "Is there really NO beauty in the world?"

He turns to me wide eyed and says faintly, "There's only 5% left."

Me: "All animals are part of a food chain.  Every animal's body was made to eat something.  Did you know that even people eat fish?"

He boggles, "WHAT is made out of FISH?!?"

"Well, fish sticks....salmon...."

Him: (obviously ignoring the fish stick part) "Oh, I'm SO relieved I don't eat salmon."

The next page was about vampire bats...nope, nope, nope.  I am a coward.  I skipped straight on to fruit bats.  Maybe tomorrow night my husband can teach him about bats that fasten themselves onto livestock, rip tiny holes in them, and suck their blood...I am not risking any more beauty in the world on my shift!


Monday, June 23, 2014


I'm not gonna brag or anything, but I'm pretty freakin' awesome at this Mom gig. I mean, I turned an old t-shirt into a superhero cape and mask in no time flat. Who does that? Supermom. That's who.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

In lieu of a real post, here's an actual conversation that just happened.

No kidding, this really happened:

"I'm hungry, I want to go down stairs."

"I am feeding brother right now, can I get you a snack?"

(The Hubster hands me a bowl of plain yogurt and runs away)

"No I don't want it. I want to go downstairs."

"Well that's not happening right now."

He yells. I yell back (he had me up with him from 1-3:30 last night, I am not in the best mood.) I go to put the yogurt away and get food he likes. He cries. I come back and silently put the food down. He is crying.

"I think I need to say I'm sorry, so I took a time out. I think I wasn't nice to you. Then I thought, 'maybe she is right, maybe it's not time to go downstairs' but it made me mad when I wanted to do something and you said no."

I am thinking, Stop it, you're three, but all I can say is, "Ok. It is ok."

There's no moral here. I am too tired. Just a simple, "holy crap did that just happen?"



Monday, June 9, 2014

Animal Cruelty.

This looks like a sweet picture of a boy and his dog. It is not. This is a picture of a boy who has run a dog around in circles until she's too tired to move. The poor creature is just relieved that all he wants at the moment is a pillow.

Kiddo is filled with LOVE. Big, big, love. Rough and tumble, flying leap to hug your head when you aren't expecting it kind of love. Climb on your back until it gives out just to be near you love. Big, BIG love. My body doesn't like it, but I get it. Softie, our dog, well, she deserves a medal.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The fundamental flaw in my parenting style.

Playing with butter

"You LET him do WHAT?"

The thing that people question the most about my parenting is The Mess. It is always about the mess. Not the experience, not the fun, not the learning, the mess. As if one should care about the mess. As if the mess is the most awful thing one could imagine.

If I had a quarter for every incredulous question, raised eyebrow, or disapproving look I would be a rich woman rocking a designer diaper bag.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Ultimate Evening Continues.

The Personal Assistant wanted to make his boat float, so for the first time ever, he took my hand and marched me up to the bath. Then he needed to use all of the colors of bath bombs-blue, red and yellow, so the water was a lovely shade of ick. To make bath time complete, I gave him a few big squirts of Crayola finger paint bath soap and dared him to "paint" his penis blue. So it was also the first time since the he could talk that I didn't have to negotiate to "clean his under carriage".

At 4am Himself woke up screaming, I ran to his room to find him in the chair, no pants. He calmly explained the problem: "I need help getting my shirt off so I can sleep in my streakers". He ended up "in his streakers" in our bed at 4:30, and was nearly asleep when Mr. Baby woke up with a full diaper and teething pain. Mr. Baby then proceeded to pee on me during the diaper change, and thus came back to bed to nurse in his streakers, much to Himself's exuberant delight.

Not wanting to have anything to do with his rather hirsute Daddy, Himself snuggled into my back because, as he explained: "Mommy is one of my favorite characters, not Daddy, just Mommy. Let me see your face. No. Turn your head my way. (Backwards) To my cheek. No! Don't put your head that way! (Not backwards) I need your face! Softie! BE QUIET MOMMY IS TRYING TO SLEEP! Now look of me Mommy, look of me." And so passed the wee hours and my last chance to sleep until bedtime tonight.

Laugh all you want. This ain't over kid.



Friday, May 23, 2014

The Best Day of My Life

When I was attending a conference at IUPUI the summer after my junior year of high school, some of the college students on campus lamented, "Oh man...enjoy your senior year!  It will be the BEST year of your life!"  And then later adults told me, "Enjoy college, they are the best years of your LIFE!!"  I, admittedly, got married just a handful of days after I graduated from undergrad, and still, people told me, "Enjoy your wedding day, it will be the best day of your entire life!"

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Ultimate Evening.

Back when Hubster and I were dating long distance, a client asked me to show her step son around town. Ok. Fine. He, knowing absolutely nothing about me or my relationship, spent the evening trying to convince me that the love of my life was cheating on me, and promised to show me 'The Ultimate Evening.' So of course I told the bartender to hold the alcohol on any and every drink I ordered, no matter what I said, and to charge him top shelf prices. Then I went home and called my future Hubster and we laughed and laughed. Fast forward twelve years (!?) later and we still laugh about 'The Ultimate Evening.'

Friday, May 9, 2014

Playing with our Kids... Or, How long can *YOU* play tag?

I am writing this post for my 5-year-old son, who is a believer in science and research.   You know, except when he's determined that he wants Pluto to be a planet, so it is.  It just is, so there.The other day I picked him up from school and we had some time before I needed to make dinner.

Me: "What would you like to do, babe?"

Him: "I want to play TAG!"

Me: "Playing with you is one of my favorite things...but I do not enjoy tag.  Children love to play tag - so the next time you are playing with children, you can do that.  But, what shall WE do?"

Monday, May 5, 2014

Because I am too tired

My Auntie mailed me a pile of smash books. I think they were supposed to be used to document the boy's lives. I am using them to maintain my tenuous hold on sanity. That's pretty much the same thing right? I'm too tired to write a blog entry, this counts right? Right?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Guest Post: Lessons in Potty Training

Kanika is originally from Los Angeles. but later moved to Detroit, Michigan where she and her husband of nearly six years started life together.  Today the couple lives in New Hampshire with their two year old son.  Kanika is a part time instructor and a Mentor-in-Residence at Colby-Sawyer College.


My husband and I have a two-year old son, and anyone who spends time with a toddler knows they are fun, loving and unpredictable. One moment they may seem completely fixated on their favorite television show or toy and within seconds, they are on the move to something else. They also are very observing and aware of their surroundings. Our son follows us around taking notice of everything we do, including using the bathroom. And now that he is much more talkative with an evolving vocabulary, he announces when “Daddy pee pee” or “Mommy pee pee!” Sometimes he’ll even let us know when he has a soiled diaper.  Of course, we took this is a signal for potty training readiness! After all, he’s two, can hold a conversation pretty well for his age and is obsessed with wearing super hero underwear or “Big boy draws,” as I call them.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Unexpected Grace

This Easter was our first Holiday post-diagnosis, and I was really nervous that it would put a focus on the fact that Kiddo is different. At the risk of repeating myself, it did occur to me that being the Easter Bunny, while allergic to eggs, to a kid who can't eat sugar or starch, was pretty hard! I probably should not have dyed the eggs (but I did, while breast feeding), and I really should not have made meringue cookies (but I did, between breastfeeding and bed time) and that didn't go too well.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1-2-3 Choose!

I hate tantrums. My son hates tantrums. And yet, here we are living in tantrum central. I know all three year olds have tantrums, but my kid is like Dr. Jekl and Mr. Hyde: normal days are really quite manageable, CSID reaction days (when he feels like he has the stomach flu) are hellish. But since we're going to be living with it for a long, long time, we have to find a way to maintain good behavior.

We've tried many, MANY different tantrum taming tricks (ignoring, 'asked and answered', redirection, and on and on) they have not worked for us. In desperate moments we've even tried spanking, and *News Flash* it does not work-and it teaches him to hit in anger, and it leaves me feels like the worst. Yikes.

But you know what my three year old absolutely LOVES?


Friday, April 11, 2014

Guest Post: Running for My Life!

I'm not sure if I've conveyed the fact that I'm a slacker...but I am.  I exercise, sometimes, a little.  Liesa (read previously here) puts me to shame, but she actually makes me curious.  Is it possible that my lazy self could enjoy something this crazy?  - Daisy


I’m a runner.  I wasn’t always a runner.  In fact, I wasn’t truly a runner until I was a mother.  I ran casually in college, simply to “not get fat”.  For a decade, I ran a few miles a few times a week, and hated nearly every minute of it.  It was hard, I was alone, and it always meant I needed a shower.  It didn’t even really keep me from gaining weight.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lunches of Fun

When we found out our oldest son had CSID I was panicked that all the hard work we had done to diversify his diet and make food fun would be in vain. Would mealtimes become a drudge? Would all the food be plain and tasteless? Would my son (who loves to eat) become a picky eater?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Guest Post: What Most People Don't Understand About Food Allergies

While Jen is dealing with her own egg allergies and trying to get her toddler's CSID under control, Jane reveals what it's like to live with an adult with serious food allergies.  While most of us can graze on whatever is on the free food table at work (really who doesn't say "Doughnuts..!  I shouldn't but....") And many of us can freely orient our social situations around drinking, snacking, and eating.  For some, meals are a gauntlet.

 Jane is a 30-something teacher who lives with her husband and naughty cat in Wisconsin.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Making a medical binder.

What is that one thing (not alive of course) that you would grab if your house was on fire? Mine used to be photo albums...now it is this:

Friday, March 28, 2014

Guest Post: Maternity Leave Personal Records

Liesa is a mother of two energetic boys as well as a new baby girl.  She is a high school math teacher in Columbus, Ohio where her husband is completing his Ph.D.


I’m a runner and so, life is measured a string of PR’s (personal records).  Since I wont be setting any super awesome race times while home on maternity leave with my beautiful daughter, I need to measure PR’s in a new way.  So here goes:

Monday, March 24, 2014

The please can I please have a shower puzzle

I need a shower. It is how I wake up. It is my five minutes of not touching anyone. It is warm and therapeutic on my aching back that is not used to carrying around these giant milky boobies. I am routinely covered in someone else's pee, or vomit. I sweat profusely at random times cause I have post partum hot flashes. I likely do not smell very nice. I NEED a shower.

The boys don't give a crap. Or actually they do...often, so when everyone is finally fed, and cleanish and happyish. I run to the shower. Only to be called back, naked, to deal with...something. So I made a puzzle. Something new and novel to occupy my 3year old so he would not ask for something for a minute or two, maybe.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Guest Post: I used to be the Perfect Parent

I was the perfect parent.  Seriously, I was stellar.  I knew exactly what to do in every single situation life could possibly throw at me.  And then I actually had a child.

Friday, March 14, 2014


While Jen is recovering from the birth of her second son (and learning to sleep again!) we'll be hosting some guest posts.  I've gathered insight from women that I know and love from around the country.  In the process I've realized how extremely fortunate I am to have so many women in my support network, so many points of view, ideas, and resources to draw from.  Collecting these posts was an experience that reminded me why we started this blog in the first place - sharing makes things better!  Our joys can be multiplied, our insight offered (sometimes boldly, and sometimes hesitantly because, you know, your way just might be better and no one is judging here....), and our more difficult moments offered up and made lighter.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Scenes from a C-Section

"Please, just make it happy" I hear myself say, "Not scary, not like last time." I didn't want to be deciding to have a second C-Section. My doctor was pro VBAC, much safer and healthier for everyone she said. But once again, I am not dialating and baby is not dropping, and he is measuring large. It doesn't look good. We decide a repeat section is the safest course given my history and the current circumstances. My doctor is clearly disappointed for me. I cry a little.

Friday, February 21, 2014


I’ve discovered that my son’s vocabulary grows out of teachable moments. And no, none of those teachable moments involved the vocabulary words: “volunteering”, “philanthropy”, or “selflessness”.


Friday, February 14, 2014

When to be a Conversation Topper

In general I dislike, and discourage conversation topping.  You know what I mean.  You want just a little bit of sympathy, "My day has been so difficult..."  and the response follows, "You think THAT was hard?  Let me tell you about MY day."

Monday, February 10, 2014

Avocado Ranch Chicken Salad Wrap (CSID lunch)

We are on week 3 of the induction diet for CSID (Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deffiency). One more week and we can start Sucraid and will have more food options. But in the meantime, I am getting bored serving the same lunches over and over. Today I wanted eggless chicken salad (I am allergic) and came up with Avacado Ranch Chicken Salad Wrap. It was really tasty!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Just when you have them figured out...

Recently we’ve been getting compliments on my son’s vocabulary.  This is a new development in the past six months.  Before that, we got questions about why he hated strangers, why he would refuse to speak with people he knew, and why he wouldn’t hug Great-Grandma.  Poor dear Great-Grandma wanted to hold my mammoth boy on her lap like he was still a baby.  Adorable?  Absolutely.  But this was not to be tolerated by the boy.  But my family likes to touch and hug everyone, so by comparison he seemed positively cold.  This prompted many discussions that unfolded a bit like:

Monday, February 3, 2014

Quick fix: Easy carpet deodorizer plus toddler entertainment

I am stuck on the couch with round ligament pain, the wind chill is too low for outdoor play, and the Personal Assistant want to "make foot prints like a robot." Oh what is a Mommy to do? Deodorize the carpet!

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Toddler Vortex

Everyone is fussing about the polar vortex. They have no idea. The real trouble is what happens to kids and therefore stay at home parents, when everyone is stuck inside for days...it gets WEIRD.

I call it "The Toddler Vortex." It is much more frightening than a little bit of cold weather.

If I could, I would totally put on my long johns and happily go to some office somewhere, rather than stay home to weather the storm my toddler has been brewing.

Here's a sample of our morning, before I was able to so much as drink my tea.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Quick fix: Play Dough Revival

 Is your play dough lacking luster? Are the sensory spices you added just not sniffable any more? Here's your quick fix. And I mean really quick. These photos are from dinner prep time sometime in late December.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Baby it's cold outside: Quilt-As-You-Go Sweater Quilt

The response to my last post has been humbling and overwhelming. The personal notes and kind words left me speachless at times (I know you don't believe me, but it is true,) and I thank you. You all forced me to see that even though I don't like to hear praise and encouragement when I am angry at the universe, I need to accept that knowing that people are strangely, (and possibly irrationally) confident in my abilities is a life line I am in no position to reject.

I will probably write more about CSID in the future, but for now, it is back to DIYville for some happy happy denial time. I am going to show you how to make a truly easy sweater quilt.

Monday, January 13, 2014

I am Mom.

I want to let you all in on a little secret: I do not, DO NOT have my shit together.

Not even a little bit.

The Christmas tree is still up and quickly becoming a probable fire hazard. The mantles are still decked out in festive greens, and increasingly, spiderwebs. The bills are in a pile on the corner of the dining room table, unpaid, un-filed, untouched. My 6 week grocery plan has expired, I was supposed to go grocery shopping last weekend, and I have not one clue what I will be feeding my family tomorrow. Not one. There are no clean towels. (And I own many, many towels.) I am tired. I am exhausted. I need to shave my legs but I can't reach them over my ever larger, ever harder, baby bump.

I have no intentions of making a New Years Resolution, or improving myself, or organizing my house. I could not possibly care less about any of it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Garlic Potato Leek Soup (No Cream!)

I love all holiday type foods, but I am tired of making fussy dishes for the moment.  It is snowing.  I opened a bottle of wine, and I need to make something easy.  I love Smitten Kitchen's Baked Potato Soup and I just received the last delivery from my winter CSA, so I'm flush with garlic and potatoes.