There’s no bow

Making peace with your story

She wore the type of smile put on with morning lipstick. Something in a perky shade of red, rubbed off of glossy teeth and reapplied after coffee and lunch. Her questions began and I knew we were headed for trouble because my safely vague answers weren't enough. If my conversations with strangers had a soundtrack, somewhere during the opening number would be screeching tires or the whoosh of backpedaling. The moment I disclose we have lost a child rarely goes smoothly but I have to say it. I've tried leaving this fact out, leaving her out, but I can't. I end those conversations scrubbing off guilt and hoping I never see that person again because how do you add something so important back Continue Reading

What they need most

Giving your children what they need most

When my preemies were in the NICU there were days we could barely touch them. Their daily condition dictated how much holding we could do, how often I could sneak a hand inside their incubators and whether they were up for a sponge bath or an increase in tube feedings. Parker was my tiniest, yet healthiest. His stats were most often good enough for skin-to-skin holds and every nurse in the place knew if he could handle a bath I would go Mama Bear on them if they did it for me. I learned to unattach his leads and unplug monitors one at a time as I washed his tiny body. When he was all bathed I'd keep him under the heat lamps for a few seconds longer, rubbing his pink limbs with baby Continue Reading

Traffic light bulb moment

hilarious moment at a traffic light

You know that phrase about not seeing the forest for the trees? I'm not sure I see the forest or the trees. I'll be walking along, with kids because when am I not with kids, and saying "Do you have your shoes? Is your shirt on backwards? Did I leave my keys in the car?" and then before you know it I'm knee deep in poison ivy or wondering how long it will take the imprint of bark to leave my forehead. I just miss details or main ideas or maybe I'm so convinced I know what's going on I never wonder what is actually happening. Parker and I were running errands and I had one of those awkward stops at a traffic light where there are people in neon vests collecting money for charity but Continue Reading

What no one told me

what no one tells you about your child growing up

You were born and I was a mother. I didn't fully understand that I had been a mom since the moment I saw two pink lines, that I was being handed 6 pounds 14 ounces of the most fierce kind of love. I didn't know breathing you in would soften the blow of 2 am feedings and 5 am mornings, that your gummy smile would cure a million hurts. And no one could explain the hum of bedtime stories and the clink of tiny snaps in the dryer, that giggles have their own color, their own shape. I didn't realize how many times I would re-stack a book shelf and cube cheese and cut off sandwich crusts, that I probably still do it in my sleep when you dream of a good book or midnight Continue Reading

A letter to a young mom

A letter to young moms

Dear Young Mom, I'm writing you because my oldest daughter will be 20 next week. This fact probably has you dropping me into the "as old as your parents" black hole but I'm you, just a decade or two away from where you are now. There is so much I have learned that I want to tell you and I hope it sounds like it's coming from the place it's intended, a place of understanding without a bit of judgement or an ounce of lecture. I'm sure you've had enough of that already. So here it goes... 1. You can do this. You can. It will not be easy and you will feel alone at a time when you should be surrounded by friends and parties and fun but you will make it. You might be trying to finish a paper Continue Reading

20 Lunch ideas for kids who don’t like sandwiches

20 lunch alternatives to sandwiches

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that I don’t have to pack daily school lunches. It’s so freeing not having to make sure we’re stocked with bread and drink boxes Monday through Friday. Even though I’m not packing lunches all week long, we still have a day or two each week where the kids need to take a lunch somewhere for something, so I’m not completely off the hook. Two of my three little homeschoolers will not eat sandwiches so I’m always trying to come up with bread-free ways of packing them a decent meal. We’ve got enough things in rotation now that I’m pretty happy with our long list of non-sandwich substitutions and my kids generally only waste whatever veggies I try Continue Reading

Laugh for the lines

I like growing older

I have a confession. I like getting older. Like, have been waiting for it, will never complain about a birthday, like it. I became a mom very young and I spent years envying moms who were older than me, moms who were “supposed to be” moms. I envied how they knew exactly what they needed at the grocery store, how a waitress would look to them to rattle off the orders of the children filling a noisy table, how they were regarded in public, called Mrs. or Ma’am more often than Sweetie or Honey. Many years later, although I can’t say I’m a fan of “Ma’am” I appreciate every bit of the respect that comes with age. I am happy to not be dating or apartment hunting or job surfing. Continue Reading

10 Books to read this summer

10 books to read this summer

I've been reading like crazy this year, thus my rare appearances on the blog. I set a crazy goal on Goodreads for 2015 and I hate losing even in a race against myself so I'm going to read 50 books even if my whole summer is spent under the glow of my Kindle. That actually sounds like a dream summer but one I will not have until my kids can entertain themselves. I'm not yet halfway to my goal even though I should be because it's June. I have read some amazing books so far though and you must read them before the summer is over. Wherever you're heading before September take one or all of these with you. Hugo & Rose I fell in love with this author after I read one of her Continue Reading

When the big becomes small

how time changes your perspective on things

I took Sawyer for his Last Ice Cream of the Fives and while his feet dangled under our chairs at just the right height to repeatedly scrape my shins he asked the deep questions of an almost six year-old. When did you know I was in your belly? What was it like when I was in there? Did you know it was me? I told him about my intense love for processed cheese and root beer and my obsession with the home doppler that wasn't around for his siblings before him. Somewhere mid-sweet story I froze at the realization that I was looking back on my last pregnancy fondly. Never in a million sleepless pregnancy nights did I imagine myself sitting with a brown-headed boy, eyelashes tickling his Continue Reading

Tablet giveaway!

Kids learning tablet giveaway

A few months ago I wrote a post about the realities of homeschooling and now that the school year is almost over I'd like to amend my list to add about 300 more things. The first one on my new list would read something like "if you give your kids the laptop to play educational games, within 30 seconds they will be watching YouTube videos of adults making Frozen characters out of Play-doh while talking in ridiculous voices." I would love to tell you my children quietly attend to their school work while I bounce from child to child, patiently awaiting their next instructions. In reality, if I don't have my act together someone will start using flashcards to spell bodily functions while I'm Continue Reading