Friday, November 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes [11.25.11]

1.  I'm writing this on Wednesday and scheduling it to post on Friday because I'm super organized and prepared like that.  Not really. But doing this makes me feel better about my chaotic life right now.

2.  Last night as I was laying in bed waiting for sleep to come I was thinking about how Katherine, William and Brian all have birthdays in sequential months (October, November, December) and how me and Lucy have birthdays in sequential months (March, April) and how maybe the next baby will have a February or May birthday and then we'll be even.  And as I was dreaming of the next baby I stopped myself.  Because this nice little rainbows and unicorns dream I was having came on the heels of a really tough day.  A day that consisted of a lot of screaming.  And some of those screams came from me.  Not one of us managed to get out of our pajamas for the entire day.  And perhaps that was the problem to begin with.  But whatever it was, it was a tough day.  What is it about the quiet of the night that erases all the bad of the day?  So much so that it had me thinking how nice it would be to add a fourth baby to this circus.

3.  What I realized in the mess that was yesterday was that we are family that functions best on routine.  And when our routine is disrupted by things like a Thanksgiving holiday week, we kind of don't know what to do with ourselves.  That coupled with my limited ability to get out of the house means we've got a full-fledged disaster on our hands.  Needless to say, I'm not really looking forward to December, save for the fact that Brian has a lot of vacation hours to burn before the new year.

4.  Some of you may have seen a call for help I put out on Facebook and Twitter last week regarding Katherine's nonstop crying between the hours of eight and ten every night.  I'm happy to report that no such crying has occurred since then.  I didn't really change anything.  Instead I think it's that well-known phenomenon of once you declare something a problem to a large number of people it ceases being a problem anymore.  It's similar to the phenomenon of bringing your child into the doctor with a raging fever only to find that the fever no longer exists at the doctor's office.  And also the phenomenon of that weird sound your car makes whenever you drive it except for when you drive it to your mechanic's shop.

5.  Last night Katherine slept from 10:30 to 4 AM, woke briefly to eat, then slept until 7 AM, woke briefly to eat again and then slept again until 10 AM.  SCORE!

6.  For the first time ever I didn't make a cake for William's birthday.  Instead I sent Brian to the store on Sunday to order a superhero cake that I would then pick up the next day; his birthday.  But when he got to the store he took it upon himself to decide that the cakes were too much of a ripoff.  So instead he bought four cupcakes that were decorated with a fall theme.  Nothing says happy birthday to a five-year-old boy like a cornucopia on a cupcake.  Truth be told William didn't really care and Brian insists this is a better and more funny story to tell in a few years when he's older.  I'm still a little sad that his fifth birthday pictures will forever show him blowing out his candles that were stuck into frosting made into a scarecrow, ears of corn and pumpkins.

7.  Happy Thanksgiving!  Belated at this point, I know.  But it's only Wednesday morning for me so I've still got tons of cooking, loads of laundry and plenty of packing in my future before we hit the road to Nana and Papa's.  Safe travels to all of you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When You Turned 5

When you turned five...

...your favorite things were superheros and Star Wars.

...your favorite movie was Short Circuit.

...your favorite books were Dad's old Calvin and Hobbes comics.

...your favorite playmate was the little girl across the alley.

...we called you the baby whisperer for always calming your littlest sister.

...your best friend was Lucy.  She was also simultaneously your worst enemy.

...your favorite food was spaghetti with meatballs. also loved edamame.  You called them "popper peas" because of the way they pop out of their pods. were constantly taking bites out of the fruit in the centerpiece fruit bowl because of your deep love for all things fruit. slept on the top bunk.

...your favorite place to go was school. were thisclose to reading. had already been riding a two-wheeler for quite some time.

...I finally let you cross the street all on your own.  Sometimes. still needed an afternoon nap every once in a while. had a fierce discipline for always remembering to say your prayers.

...your favorite toy was anything resembling a weapon. had a crazy amazing (photographic?) memory for remembering things like the garage code and Papa's iPad password after only watching it be entered once. could never sit still. liked to talk. A lot. wanted nothing to do with arts and crafts. loved playing the piano, guitar and singing into the microphone with Dad. were my biggest helper and most needy child all at the same time. were already planning for the next baby the day after Katherine came home.

...we couldn't believe you were such a big kid.

....we sometimes forgot that you were still a little kid.

...we couldn't believe it had been five years since we were rushing to the hospital, a month too early, just two days before Thanksgiving, to give birth to the most beautiful baby boy the world had ever seen.

Happy 5th Birthday, William!

[Two days too late.  But that's what happens when you're the oldest of three.  You're always waiting.  Just ask me.]

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Potty Training Secrets

Warning: This post might make you hate me.  I know it would have made me feel that way two and a half years ago while I was potty training William.  So while you're reading this please remember two things.  One, no kid is ever the same when it comes to potty training.  And two, I had a hell of a time potty training William so I deserve this mom victory.

For months now I've been saying that Lucy is potty-trained but that we have yet to actually forgo diapers and put real underwear on her.  As of the last week I've proven myself correct.  She came down with a wicked case of diaper rash a couple weeks ago.  Nothing was helping.  So as a last effort I decided it was time to ditch the diapers.

Before I tell you how Lucy came to be potty-trained so quickly and so easily you need to know some things about me.  First, I hate parenting books.  Or, most parenting books, I should say.  I do like parenting books that include factual information, research and scientific findings.  It's the how-to parenting books that turn me off.  I don't like their one-size-fits-all approach and I don't think any of their "methods" are realistic in the long term.  If you have found this not to be the case, I'm really happy for you.  But it isn't for me.  Each of my kids is drastically different than the next and I've had to figure out what sort of parenting style is going to work best for them.

Which brings me to my next point.  I'm not a "method" parent.  So I don't use sticker charts (exception noted here) or reinforcement or rewards with any consistency.  Of course I've had my moments where a bribe does the trick because I just don't have time to deal with whatever it might be.  You might argue that not being consistent is confusing to children.  But I would argue that this is the real world.

So here's the deal with Lucy.  When she turned two she started going poop in the toilet all on her own.  She would say, in her sing-song voice, "I have to go pot-ty!" And we'd run her to the toilet where she'd do her biz-ness.  (By the way she never actually went potty, just the number two.)  Obviously she needed help getting undressed and things of that nature but by and large, this was an idea she had all on her own.  Now she goes poop on the toilet about 80% of the time.  The other 20% are when she's stayed in her bed too long after nap or in the morning.

Now common sense says I should have taken this as my cue to commence potty training and ran with it.  Except for one huge hurdle.  I was pregnant.  We live in a 90-year-old home that does not have a main floor bathroom.  Hauling my huge butt up the stairs every time she had to go (which, for a two-year-old, is all. the. time.) wasn't happening.  So I kind of ignored it.  She continued to go poop on the toilet but never potty.  I was her biggest potty training enemy.  You're thinking I should write my own parenting book aren't you?

So fast-forward to today where I am no longer pregnant and am now looking for a great cardio workout to get rid of the baby weight.  The stairs!

The first thing I had to teach Lucy was what potty was.  Up until this point she thought going poop was the same as going potty.  So I went to the bathroom first and showed her how to make the "tinkle noise."  I lead a glamorous life, I know.  Then we clapped and cheered for mommy.  Now it was Lucy's turn.  We played a game where we're really quiet and we're waiting and listening for Lucy to make the tinkle noise.  When she did it I put on my most shocked/surprise/happy/proud/glad face and clapped my hands.  She thought that was a hoot!

She stayed dry all day Sunday save for nap and bed.  On Monday morning she had three accidents and I was almost ready to throw in the towel.  On the third accident she was really wet and she was whining and begging me to take her clothes off.  She hated being wet.  So I knew we had reached milestone.  As she was standing in the tub while I pulled off her wet pants she looked at me and said, "I not do dat evah a-gin!"

I laughed but I should have known better.  She's been going on 16-years-old since the day she was born.  She wasn't making anything up. She was serious.  Today is Saturday and she's been dry since Monday morning.  Zero accidents.

Obviously I'm sure she'll still have an accident here and there but the big stuff is done.  She knows how to hold it.  She knows when she has to go.  And she knows when to tell me she has to go.

As I said, nothing is one-size-fits-all when it comes to potty-training but here are some tips I can offer up after potty-training two kids.  I hope at least one tip is a light bulb moment for you.  Please share your mom victories with me when they happen!
  • Your child should be at least somewhat interested.  Don't listen to the experts tell you they need to have a dry diaper for long periods of time and blah blah blah.  Lucy's diapers were ALWAYS soaked because that's all she knew how to do.  But if you're finding it's a power struggle to get your kid to sit on the toilet, he/she probably isn't ready.
  • You need to be ready!  The saying if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy also applies here.  If mom isn't ready to potty train, then it won't work.  You'll get bored/frustrated/angry.  You need to be excited and you need to be ready to work.  You're going to have to run to the bathroom at the least opportune times and you're going to have to be happy about it.
  • For at least the first day set a potty timer and have your child go every so many minutes.  This isn't potty-trained but rather clock-trained or go-when-my-mom-says trained.  But at least it gives your child an initial taste of success.
  • Once you think your child understands the concept of going potty let them tell you when they have to go.  Turn off the TV and other things that could distract them from paying attention to their body.  Let them have accidents and let them feel what it's like to be wet and cold.  By the way, if your child doesn't seem to notice when he/she has an accident or has constant accidents without caring, this probably means that they aren't ready or even more so that they don't yet have the physical ability to hold it.
  • Even though I let Lucy tell me when she has to go, we still have routine times when she has to try to go.  Those times include: first thing in the morning, before nap, after nap and before bath/bed.  And also whenever we are about to leave the house.  I don't make her go, I just make her try.
  • Being able to leave the house is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome.  Someone gave me this tip a while back and I love it!  When you leave the house put a diaper or pull-up on your child over his/her underwear.  This way they will still feel if they've had an accident but you won't have a giant mess on your hands.  I remember this worked wonders with William because he would start to go and then quickly stop and tell me he needed to use the bathroom.
  • Nighttime potty training or naptime potty training will take longer.  Sometimes A LOT longer.  Be OK with this.  If your child insists on not wearing a diaper to bed try it and see what happens.  If you're washing the sheets every day then try to change things up.  Put underwear on over their diaper or instead of diapers try calling them sleep underwear.
  • And finally, here's my number one tip.  When you're child goes potty be happy and proud.  But when they have an accident be completely neutral.  Don't act mad or sad or disappointed.  Don't even say things like, "That's OK."  Act like you couldn't care in the least.  Don't say a word.  Just move on.  No reaction is the best reaction.  I did the complete opposite with William and trust, it benefits NO ONE.
Alright veteran parents, it's your turn.  What other tips would you offer up?

Friday, November 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes [11.18.11]

1.  You may be noticing a severe drought of baby pictures around these parts.  A severe case of baby acne is to blame.  When we went to church on Sunday a few of the regular parishioners we see every Sunday morning came up to congratulate us on Katherine's arrival.  Brian was holding her with a blanket strategically placed to cover her face.  Sorry, Katherine!  I'm sure it will clear up very soon.  In the meantime she's under wraps as I'm sure many teenagers wish they could have done during their Proactiv years.

2.  We got a Costco membership!  With the arrival of #3 Brian convinced me it was the right move.  I'm still unsure if it's saving us a ton of money but I do know buying in bulk is definitely saving us trips to the store.  What are your favorite things to buy at Costco or any wholesale club?

3.  Last night I only had Lucy and myself to cook dinner for as William was out with Brian.  I was feeling a little run down so I decided it would be a pancake dinner night.  Don't you love having pancakes as an option for dinner?  The kids think it's totally awesome and I always have the ingredients for pancakes on hand.  Last night I made cornmeal pancakes so I think that means I hit all the food groups.  Corn for the fruit or veggie, milk in the mix for dairy, an egg for the meat group and flour for the grain group.  Totally a complete meal, right?

4.  As I was making said pancakes I went to get the carton of cornmeal on the bottom shelf of my pantry/cupboard.  I scooped down and accidentally grabbed the carton by the top which instantly slipped off sending the carton of cornmeal to the floor.  It landed right side up!  I made sure to offer up a quick prayer of thanks that I wasn't going to be spending the next ten minutes cleaning up cornmeal all over the floor.  It's the little things that can really make or break your day, isn't it?

5. Continuing with the pancake theme, did you know that it wasn't until a few months ago that I realized that syrup brands like Aunt Jemima or Eggo aren't actually maple syrup at all?  They're actually high fructose corn syrup with maple flavoring added.  And I would consider myself pretty informed when it comes to food and ingredients.  But I guess we don't eat enough syrup around here for me to even think to check the ingredients.  When I realized what was in our current bottle I went out and bought the real stuff at Trader Joe's.  It's definitely not cheap but oh my can I tell the difference!  And I can justify the cost difference because with 100% pure maple syrup you don't have to use nearly as much.

6.  My potty training post is still coming.  I say this because I know a lot of you asked about it when I mentioned it in my last post.  Although I have to warn you, you might hate me when I write what I write.  It was just so easy.  And if it were me, reading what I'm going to write about Lucy while I was potty-training William, well, I might have wanted to punch my future self in the face.  William was very difficult to potty train.  But maybe it was that experience that made Lucy so much easier.  Anyway I'll explain how it all went down with her soon.

7.  There's snow in the forecast tomorrow!  Just seven months ago the s-word made me cringe.  Made me hate where I live.  Made me want to whine and cry.  But now we're excited!  It's how we Northerners roll.

Want more Quick Takes?  Check out it here!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Co-Sleeping Nonsense

Today I had a whole post ready about potty-training and about how after a couple of hours Lucy was done.  Easy peasy.  And that post will still come.  Hopefully.
But instead this story about the dangers of co-sleeping got me all hot and bothered and I had to comment.
I would be the first to admit that I'm not the best advocate for co-sleeping with your baby.  I don't love co-sleeping.  But then again, I also don't love co-sleeping with Brian every night.  I love Brian and we always sleep in the same bed.  I especially love his electric blanket-like qualities in the cold months. But I would be lying if I didn't say that every once in a while I enjoy the nights when I go to bed before him or he's out of town.  I like to spread out and use all the pillows.  It all comes from a selfish place.  This I know.

Within a few hours after her birth, Katherine was snuggled up next to me in my hospital bed.  In fact, she barely took residence in her hospital crib for our entire stay.  The first night we were home, I bypassed the crib without much thought and brought her into bed with us.  For the whole night.

People are surprised when I say that Katherine pretty much sleeps through the night.  Co-sleeping is the only answer to this.  She does nurse here and there throughout the night but she never fully wakes up.  And if she never fully wakes up that means I never have to fully wake up either.  This is why co-sleeping is beneficial for us.  I am always acutely aware of her presence and as soon as I hear those first few grunts I instantly begin nursing her.  She eats for a few minutes before she quickly falls back into her deep sleep.  All without any crying.

Once she's out of the newborn stage I will probably try to introduce crib-sleeping during the night (she already naps beautifully in her crib during the day) to see if she's ready to sleep at great lengths without eating.  But this is my personal approach.  I do know the benefits of co-sleeping past the newborn stage but, as I said, I don't love co-sleeping and it's usually by month four when I'm ready to have my space back.  However, I completely support women who can go longer.

So when I saw another campaign using fear mongering and scare tactics to sway parents out of doing something that comes natural to them, something that they know is best for their family, I get angry.

I'm tried of feeling bad for sleeping with my newborn.

I'm tired of feeling dirty for putting my baby to sleep on anything but her back.

I'm tired of feeling embarrassed to say that all my children have tasted milk, peanut butter and honey before the age of one.

I'm tired of feeling naive for not using gates in front of our stairs, locks on our cabinets or anchors on our walls.

I'm tired of feeling negligent for using a drop-side crib.

I'm just so tired of public service campaigns that aim to tell me they are better parents than me.

A well-known medical correspondent on The Today Show was quoted as saying that "co-sleeping leads to infant death."

Are you serious?

That's like saying driving a car leads to car accidents.

Of course bad stuff happens.  Stuff that can be parent's worst nightmare.  But I have news for you.  Bad stuff happens all the time no matter how many warnings we put out there.

My dad died 17 years ago while enjoying a sunny Fourth of July jet ski ride with his seven-year-old son on a beautiful Minnesota lake.

Do you know how many times I've ridden on a jet ski since his accident?

Too many times to count!

Because I know it was an isolated incident.  Something that happens to only a rare minority.  An exceeding majority enjoy a fun and safe ride on a jet ski.  Just like co-sleeping.

But more than that I ride on jet skis because I choose to live my life without fear and in a way that celebrates life.  In a way that is good for me.  Good for my baby and good for my family.

Only mothers that have ever co-slept next to their babies can describe the type of heightened sense of awareness that comes with their baby's presence.  I would categorize it as one of those super-natural maternal powers.  It's like I'm asleep but I'm still constantly aware that my tiny newborn daughter is right there next to me.

But besides that I'm also aware of REAL research that shows all the benefits of co-sleeping with your newborn.  Benefits that include regulated breathing, heart rate and body temperature.  Lower stress levels and a stronger mother-child bond.  REAL research shows statistics that are far more in favor of co-sleeping than against it.  REAL research does not include a few gut-wrenching anecdotal stories.

Co-sleeping might not be for everyone.  But for God's sake you shouldn't not co-sleep with your baby out of fear!

The real problem with parents today isn't that they've gone soft on discipline.  Or that they're too digitally connected.  Or that there isn't enough time.  Or money.  Or that there's no respect.  Or manners.  The real problem is that every one else is trying to be the parent except the actual parent.  We've let doctors and authors and teachers and "experts" and now ad campaigns tell us what's best for our children.  We've forgotten to listen to the best expert of all.  Our own parental instincts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes [11.11.11]

1. I've decided to start participating in 7 Quick Takes which will take place (inconsistently) on Fridays.  It originally was created by the author of Conversion Diary and a few of the other bloggers I read also participate.  You might remember me writing a few of these in the past.  I've realized, of late, that I have a lot of things to say and a lot of questions to ask but not really enough time to devote a separate blog post to each and every one.  I used to think these kinds of posts were like cheating; like a writer who couldn't organize her thoughts.  But who am I kidding?  With three kids that's exactly who I am!  So I'm going to embrace it.  And besides, I've found that these are actually some of my favorite posts to read on other blogs.  Hopefully you'll find it likewise.

2.  Let's talk about swelling and post-pregnancy.  Here's the thing: my shoes fit again (yay!) but I still can't remove my wedding band.  At the end of August I put my wedding ring away and opted to only wear my wedding band for the remainder of my pregnancy.  Even though the two are the same size my wedding band has always been more loose around my finger -- perhaps because it's cheaper?  Anyway as my pregnancy neared its end my fingers swelled so bad I could no longer remove my band at the end of the day.  I thought this would clear up within the first week following Katherine's birth but here I am nearly three weeks later with the band still stuck on my finger. Should I be worried?  Has anyone else had this problem?

3. Our church, which is just a block from our house, has perpetual Eucharistic adoration and this past weekend Brian and I signed up to be weekly dedicated adorers.  We signed up for the midnight to 1 a.m. slot on Sunday nights; technically Monday mornings.  We figured we're usually up with one of our children at that hour anyway so we might as well make good use out of it.  Do you think it's OK to bring a newborn into the adoration chapel even if she's fussy or might need to nurse?  I mean I'm sure Jesus wouldn't mind, of course, but I want to respect the other adorers who might be there looking for some quiet time.  What do you think?

4. Talking about adoration reminds me of the time when a then three-year-old William asked me if God and prayers were magic.  To a three-year-old I'm sure the whole thing does seem like magic.  Of course, I know it's not.  But it really is all kind of magical, isn't it?

5.  Staying on topic of "The Funny Things William Says," the other day we were driving in the car and he told me I was his best, best, best, best, best ever.  I think there might have been 18 more bests included in the quote.  He didn't exactly explain what kind of "Best" list I had been ranked #1 in so I asked him what #2 was.  Noodles.  Just so we're clear, I'm number one and noodles are number two.  I'm sure God and country follow shortly thereafter.

6.  I'm having an email dilemma.  As I said a few months ago, I finally got with the times and upgraded to a smart phone.  (Which, by the way, ended up being a cheaper plan than my old phone. Who knew?!) So now that I have this smart phone at the tips of my fingers I rarely check my email account on the computer.  Instead I read my emails on my phone and respond immediately, if need be, or delete it.  In fact, I don't think I've opened Outlook since before Katherine was born.  I'm pretty certain my computer would blow up if I make it download the 1,000+ emails.  (No, I don't have that many friends.  Just a lot of subscriptions to Groupon and CrowdCut and LivingSocial and Totsy and Zulily.)  So here's my question: Do you think email is becoming obsolete? Are you more likely to bypass email to use text messaging or Facebook to get in touch with friends and family?  Besides calling immediate family members, I know those are the only methods we used to announce Katherine's birth.  Maybe I should just do away with the stress it takes to maintain my email folders.  But then again, there's always going to be that one person who insists on using VHS when everyone else has DVDs.

7.  It's finally on the chilly side here which means the radiators are fired up, the feather bed is on and the cinnamon candles are burning.  It's cozy times like these when I'm so glad I live in Minnesota and get to fully experience each individual season.  I know I'll be singing a different tune come February but for now I'm going to hunker down and soak it in.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Three Problems with Katherine

(I seemed to be having comment issues with the last post.  I'm hoping it's all cleared up now but email me at jenny at mamanash dot com if you're having problems.)

Problem #1: Katherine only likes to nurse on one side. And because I've only pumped three times and have never given her a bottle, thing are a bit, shall we say, lopsided. I'm hoping this is something she'll outgrow.

Problem #2: Katherine likes to laugh in the face of death and seems to have a general goal of surviving in spite of doing the exact opposite of everything the Back to Sleep campaign set out to promote. Which is OK because I'm not a big believer in the Back to Sleep campaign anyway. See here.

She sleeps best:
(a) on her side.
(b) on a pillow.
(c) with a blanket by or lightly covering the side of her face.
(d) in bed with me and Brian for at least half the night. (More on co-sleeping in a later post.)

Problem #3: The biggest problem we're facing with Katherine is that she seems to be channeling Mr. T.
Does anyone know where I might find a newborn-sized gold chain?
 Or a gremlin.
Lucky for her I bid on the cutest little handmade knit hat at an auction recently and won.
Ahh...that's better.
We're thankful she was born during the cooler months when wearing a hat 24/7 isn't suspect and we can cover up those locks until they figure out what they want to do.  She'll thank me when she's older.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


The question I get asked most now that Katherine has arrived is how life has changed now that we have three children.  Now that we are outnumbered.

The truth is that it isn't all that bad.  Of course I need to caveat that by saying that the only factor affecting the success of my days is the expectations I set for it.  And my expectations are pretty low.  My what a low bar you have!  All the better to hurdle you with, my dear!

When Lucy was born I had a tough transition going from one child to two.  Every mother has her own toughest transition in number of children and for me Lucy was it.  I found it difficult to split my time between children equally.  William is not a very independent child so he still needed me for a lot of the day-to-day stuff.  It also didn't help that Lucy was a horrible sleeper at night which meant I was running on fumes during the day.

But the biggest thing I had going against me when Lucy was born was that my expectations were much too high.  I thought I could carry on with life in the same way I did with one child.  I thought two kids would be a piece of cake.  After all, I was a nanny for many years and was able to successfully manage a lot more than two kids.  But being someone's babysitter and being someone's mom are two drastically different responsibilities.

So with that experience under my belt, I reset my expectations in preparation for Katherine's arrival.

Last Thursday Brian went back to work for the second half of the day.  It was nice outside so the older kids were playing in the backyard before lunch.  Their food was ready but I figured I would let them burn off some energy so I could get some good naps out of them.  Katherine started to fuss so I sat down to nurse her.  As she was chugging away I heard a blood-curdling shrill scream come out of Lucy.  I raced to the back door and stepped outside to see what was going on.  Instead of finding a severed limb, as one might have expected with a scream like that, I saw her brother tantalizing her with a rake.  It was then that I realized I had just step outside with half of my chest hanging out for all the neighbors to see while Katherine was still munching.

I walked back inside and laughed at myself.  "So this is how it's going to be," I told myself.  Life, full of hilarious and obscene moments just like this.  All the better to blog with!

I would offer two pieces of advice for moms of new babies in the transitional time period.  The first, as I said, is to reset your expectations.  Think about what you want to happen and then lower the bar at least a couple of notches.  For example, I'll tell myself, "Today I would like to get two loads of laundry done, clean the bathroom and cook dinner.  But if I only cook dinner, I will be satisfied."

The second bit of advice I would offer is to get up every day and try to "look like a person."  I use this phrase a lot and Brian always laughs at me.  Looking like a person means to put forth an appearance that resembles one before you had the baby.  For me that means hair that's combed and somehow "done" (a ponytail totally equals "done" by the way), a couple swipes of a bronzer and a dab of mascara.  On a really good day "looking like a person" means I'll turn on the television and baby swing for a half hour so I can take a shower.  Just this little bit of effort seems to make me feel more capable the whole day through.

If your house has less than three children you might walk into our home and think, "What the heck were Brian and Jenny thinking?!"

It's true.  It's pretty much always a three-ring circus around here.  There's always dishes in the sink and the sofa pillows are always askew.  Someone is always screaming or yelling or needing a new diaper.  I'd still like to think it's organized chaos, but chaos nonetheless.  We didn't sign up for this blindly.  We knew what we were getting into and we like it this way.  To us, a house full of chaos equals a house full of joy, full of life.  It's what we've always wanted since before we got married.  It's not a life all people are called to but it is one we feel called to.

People are also continuing to ask us if we are going to have more children.  And amid all the busy-ness, adding more children to the mix doesn't sound all that bad or impossible.  I look at Katherine and think, "Is this the last newborn I'll have?"  I really hope not.  But thankfully it's not a bridge we have to cross right now.

So when I get that question, I smile and respond with a wink, "Maybe.  But not tomorrow."  One day at a time.
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