and there you have it…


December 2009

four christmases and a funeral

I’m torn. Do write about the title, which I’ve decided to use regardless of my decision, or the year. It seems I should write about the year in review, it is New Year’s Eve. Though it’s really just another day without a party. Kids seem to have killed that party thing dead. It seems to matter to everyone else though, so maybe?

But what about all the Christmas memories? Like Jena falling out the window right before Christmas dinner? Or our spaceship earthesque Christmas with my sister attending via Skype, even though it was two in the AM there? What about our trip home from the funeral that ended up taking two days, instead of 5 hours? Or Santa’s phone call? Or? Or?

I can’t help thinking about this year though. It’s been a doosy. In college I was used to my world being turned upside down every few months. I’d take stress tests and be under ‘unberable’ amounts of stress every time. I had always ‘just moved’ or ‘just changed jobs.’ Then there was the whole getting married thing, that brought a little stress. Then there was all his changing jobs and both of our changing school situations. Crazy was the norm.

But then Grant was born, we moved to Orlando and things actually settled. For about 2-3 years things were relatively calm. Sure Jena came, but she was planned. We both had steady (non-commission) paychecks! We’d lived in the same area, even the same house for two years! We were obviously getting bored.

So to spice it up a bit we decided to start the year with an unplanned pregnancy. SURPRISE!

Immediately following that, my sister decides to move HALF WAY ACROSS THE WORLD! Running away from the mayhem that my family now brings everywhere we go, no doubt.

The very same month my sister takes off Neil’s Uncle Steve dies, while we are there with the family in Gainesville. Meanwhile my sister has been quarantined in South Korea for Swine flu at the peak of the pandemic.

A few months to deal with the shock, grief, try to catch your breath and Jacob arrives! Early of course, this being the year of unexpected EVERYTHING.

Starting to feel that life is returning to normal and oh guess what? Jacob has a dairy intolerance too. What? Not just milk like Grant? ALL dairy this time? Oh that’s just swell! I always wanted to be a vegan! Just in time for the holidays. Good thing I have no use for casseroles or baked goods OF ANY KIND!!

The my Grandma dies, and off I go with Jacob across country. As if dealing with grief weren’t enough add scouring every airport and covered dish for food I can actually eat, FUN!

Three days home from the trip that took 10 times as long as it was supposed to and the Christmases begin. The first was great, though the absence of Uncle Steve was a gaping hole no one wanted to address. The second was great, though the kids were getting a bit worn. By the third they were delirious and screaming. Add the musical instruments the recieved for gifts and Neil and I were beelining it for the door. By the fourth we just let the kids open theres and ended it, finishing our gifts to each other after they were in bed.

Reading it all again exhausts me, doing it all exhausted me. In fact the one over-riding feeling of this whole year has been exhaustion. There has been good, there has been joy. Watching our big kids grow closer to each other and now their new brother has been an amazingly unexpected joy. Watching Jacob period has been blessing beyond measure. Above all I’ve learned, no matter what I plan, God directs. I tattooed it on my foot so I’d never forget.

It’s been a stressful and grief filled year, but I look at the pictures below and my heart is full. Many thanks to Jon Shuler for capturing my family so perfectly, every time I look at these I smile. This is what I’m remembering from this year.

our little family


my little joy
little man
little man
Jena bena
melt my heart

Notice the two sets of legs in the background. You didn’t really think we’d leave poor Jacob with those two did you?

belly button

Me: what are you doing Grant?

Grant: I gettin da yucky stuffs out of his button.

Me: there’s stuff in Jacob’s belly button?

Grant: yeah, it’s crackers. I gits it all out now.


Jena: poo poo. look daddy.

*bends over and pull her diaper out*

Neil: get your hands out of your pants!

Jena: I stinky daddy. smells.

*sniffs her nose like a bunny*

Neil: whew! you do stink!

*Jena and Grant burst into giggles* It’s like they staged it.

i’m running out of titles for poop posts, this will have to do

So we’re at my in-laws for the holidays. They’ve got a big house, which will be nice in the future when my kids are older and less prone to hurting each other when out of ear shot.

Yesterday, Neil and I were in one of the bedrooms checking something on the computer when we heard a blood curdling scream from the other part of the house. I run out to the kitchen and see Grant curled into the fetal position on the floor. The following conversation ensued.

Me: Grant! Are you ok? What happened? What hurts?


I frantically pick him up, trying to get him to run to the bathroom.

Me: can u walk? put your feet down?


So I carry him to the bathroom, pull his pants down, and sit him on the potty.

Me: did we make it? are you ok now?

Grant: Yes, I’m ok. NOW GO AWAY MOMMY!

This the child that runs around the house playing light saber with his penis after he’s gone to the bathroom, and all of a sudden he’s to modest to go when I’m in sight. Whatever, it was probably better I not laugh my head off in front of him anyway.


As my early years of motherhood have taught me there are days, and then THERE ARE DAYS.

I know I haven’t even updated you all on my trip or the fiasco of a return that I had a totally positive attitude about until today. I’m still tired recovering from what should have been less than 8 hours of travel turning into a 28 hour fiasco, coming home from a FUNERAL. I just find out not only has my grandpa just lost his wife of 60+ years he also has a punctured lung and three cracked ribs that were missed last WEEK when he was taken to the doctor’s after his fall. So I sit there at my desk, having just gotten in and guess what Jacob does? I’m sure you already know.

It’s everywhere. All over his adorable outfit, all over the sling, all over the blanket. The pants were salvageable, the shirt not so much. Let’s hope it comes out of the sling as I’d rather not have the constant reminder everyday for the next year…the changing pad, yuck. But don’t worry I still have mountains of laundry left to do in the next TWO days, I’ll just throw it in there!

Did I mention that I threw his burp cloths in the wash last night and forgot to get them out of the dryer this morning? I also forgot nursing pads…this shall be interesting. But at least I remembered more diapers! Have to hold on to the little things…

Meanwhile my head is still a fog and all I want to do is crawl in bed and finally cry over my Grandma and then go to sleep till it’s all better. But I’m at work and Christmas is 8 days away. There’s 4 Christmases to plan for and pack for and wash for and shop for and SOME THING’S GOTTA GIVE!

Dear Santa,

I’m sorry I don’t believe in you anymore, but if you can forgive that I’d really just like to sleep for a week. Maybe the elves can watch my children, and Mrs. Clause can do the laundry….just a suggestion though. I really don’t care how you make it happen as long as they’re all alive still when I wake up.

That’s all. Thank you.


so flippin tired

somethings never change

We arrived at my grandparent’s yesterday afternoon. Even though I’ve seen my family, and my Grandpa more frequently, it had been five years since I’d been here, at this house, and even more since I’ve stayed here. When Grandma started showing signs of Alzheimer’s in the mid 90s the kids got shipped to the next town to stay at At Jerry’s, it was just too much for Grandma to have everyone around at once.

But the house. My goodness. It’s exactly like I remember it. And from what I’m hearing it’s exactly like it was when my dad was a kid as well. Nothing’s changed, not the furniture or the color of the walls. Well some things have. The den we used to play in as kids now has a hospital bed where first Grandma and now Grandpa sleep, there’s a new framed picture of all 50 state quarters, and I’m sure some of the boxes of paper stored EVERYWHERE in the house are new, I never really paid much attention to the contents of those boxes as a kid.

It’s an enlightening experience seeing your roots all together in one place, hearing person after person say ‘I can’t throw that out, someone could use that’ though each generation says it with less seriousness and more humor. Everybody has their role when they’re together. My father, just like at home fixes things. Everything, when something breaks…go get Bob. My Aunt Peggy as oldest girl mothers all of us. Taking care of Grandpa on down. Everyone has their place and as much as they clash they still fit together.

We had a viewing today and the family is currently at the rosary. Jacob ventured out with us to the viewing and I’m home with him now, he’s already out for the night oblivious of the time change from Florida to Nebraska. Tomorrow is the funeral, full blow catholic mass, all the Aunt are saying my Grandmother would roll over is she knew, but it’s really about Grandpa now. That’s why I’m here.

flying in the winter with a baby

So my Grandma died this morning, but I don’t think that’s really what this post is going to be about. To be honest, I can’t really think about that yet. The funeral is in Nebraska and I’m going, with just Jacob, even though I’m still nursing Jena too.

I have to think about that. How am I going to do that? Once I get there I know it will all hit me in the face, but that’s what funerals and families are for. It will be ok then, not now, can’t think about it now…

I checked the weather for Lincoln, the night time temp is single digits. We don’t see that in Orlando, EVER. One day will be up to 29 though, 29! WooHoo, bring on the heat wave baby!

So the question is how do you do that with a baby? How do I dress so I can nurse this baby…easily…in an airport…or better yet, an airplane!

Did I mention I still haven’t lost that baby weight and have only one pair of pants? No that’s lying I have three, a pair of sweat pants, a pair of work pants, and a pair of jeans. Looks like all three will be making an appearance. But I do have a coat! No winter shirts really, but the coat is FABULOUS. Who really needs winter shirts anyway when you have a nice warm down coat? Shirts are overrated, am I right?

You know, that coat is about the size of my suitcase…how am I supposed to bring the coat AND a suitcase AND a baby AND a diaper bag AND a pump bag AND a computer bag…ok Neil’s trying to talk me out of that last one. But SERIOUSLY 5 days without one? I’m not sure I’d survive…maybe if I had an iPhone…but I don’t. Maybe someone there will have one I can steal periodically for a fix…it may have to go…in favor of saving my boobs and keeping my baby clean and dry. Oh the sacrifices you make as a mother!

How do you dress up in the cold anyway? I mean people don’t wear dresses in 20 degree weather do they? What do I pack for the funeral? This is starting to hurt my head. And I haven’t even thought of all the laundry and shopping I need to do to get Neil set to be with the other two kids for 5 days without me…I want to go to bed.

so Grant’s watching Star Trek

Neil recently picked up Star Trek on Blu-ray and Grant has been enthralled ever since. He finally finished watching the whole thing this afternoon (which took multiple settings, he had to share the tv with football).

Grant: I want to see Star Date daddy.

Neil: It’s Star Trek.

Grant: I like Star Date. I want to see Star Date.

Neil gets the movie down

Neil: look at that cool cover Grant.

Grant: yah, that’s cool daddy!

Neil: It’s got Kirk on this side and Spock on this side.

Grant: I like Kurt and Spot daddy!

thanks for a great birthday!

Yesterday was my birthday. It was the first birthday I’ve ever had mixed feelings about. I’ve always eagerly anticipated my birthdays…ALWAYS. When I was little, I always wanted to be one of the ‘big kids.’ When I was a teenager, I wanted to be older like all my older friends who were already driving or graduating or whatever was important back then.

But this year was different. This year I hit the threshold of youth. In high school my best friend and I decided that 27 was as old as any of our friends could be, it was the threshold of youth. After 27 a person was just too old, they weren’t cool anymore, they just couldn’t relate, they were out of touch.

So as I approached the age 16 year old me would have shunned me for being, I was feeling…well…old. Now I know that most of you reading this are older than me and you’re currently having a heifer.

27?? OLD!?!? You’re a spring chicken! (just an FYI saying that phrase ages you by YEARS, take it from a person who was young not to long ago) OLD? YOU DON’T KNOW OLD!!

I can hear you screaming through the screen right now, don’t try to deny it. Just because I’m old doesn’t mean I’ve lost my hearing already, I’ve got at least a few more years before that goes. I’ve only lost my memory and half of my sanity so far…

All that to say, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to yesterday, but it turned out wonderful.

Jena decided to forgo her 5:00 feeding, YIPPIE! The big kids didn’t get up till 6:45, Jacob got up at 7, and when the alarm went off at 6:15 Neil shut it off and got up.

I think you’ve probably missed the significance of what I just said. Let me explain. Before marrying Neil I got out of bed when the alarm when off. Silly me, I thought that’s what the alarm was for. After marrying Neil I found out how wrong I was. The snooze button was the reason the alarm clock existed.

For the first semester of our marriage when Neil was registered for classes at an hour I hadn’t seen that side of since high school (an hour I would kill to be able to sleep till these days I might add) I would lay in bed trying to sleep till my 10:30 shift at the resturant, while he would hit the snooze for an hour, and then decide he wasn’t going to class. Needless to say my introduction to the snooze button was a bad one.

But yesterday there was no snooze and there was breakfast in bed! Turns out when you mix ham in eggs you hardly even miss the cheese! Which I have missed sorely since it turns out Jacob is indeed reacting to dairy in my diet.

My precious big boy sang me his own version of happy birthday…happy birthday to mommy, happy birthday to mommy…you get the idea.

There were flowers and a balloon waiting for me when we dropped the big kids off with Nana. We somehow managed to get to work at 7:59, and thanks to the wonders of facebook, I was greated before even getting to the door with a happy birthday from a coworker. Jacob was a dream baby all day, I actually missed him when I got to go out for Thai without him.

Did you catch that? I went to THAI WITHOUT JACOB. I love that baby like you wouldn’t believe, but man did it feel good. I can count on one hand the times I’ve been out for an hour without Jacob. I think including the dinner Neil planned for us last night, that would be 3. Which brings me to the dinner, which was fabulous. Neil is a master when it comes to special occassions and he lived up to his reputation. The restuarant was perfect, the company divine.

All and all turning 27 was not so bad at all. Plus the waiter thought I was only 23, and even though he could very well have been lying, I’ll take it!

Thanks to all my wonderful friends and family that went out of your way to wish me happy birthday, watch my kids, and take me to eat great dairy free food!

You all are the best!

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