For Your Monday

There's not much to this post, just a little something I thought might brighten your Monday:

That's my Lovey! She is somehow growing up into not such a tiny baby anymore. Filling out a six-month-size sleeper that Maggie didn't wear until she was nine months old? Lucy, what are you doing to your mama's heart??

And look at all those sweet chubs! I just want to eat her all up, and she smells like heaven. Truly, I am convinced she's the easiest happiest prettiest fattest sweetest babe there ever was. The eyes! The cheeks! The sleeping through the night! Bless you, dear Lucy, my magic baby.


This Is the Day

This is yesterday.

This is the day when Christian woke me up with a kiss and said, "Our kids are pretty pathetic today." Meaning, they're little fussballs with runny noses and mosquito bites. Meaning, keep the TV on so everyone doesn't go nuts on you at the same time.

This is when Max cried hard at breakfast because I took his blankie away from him. Because no blankies {or toys or objects fished out of the recycling bin} at the table, even if it makes me feel like a butthead. Max holds on strong when he wants to keep something, which just makes me feel meaner. I sang songs to help him feel better, but it didn't do much. You know what did? Yogurt. Yogurt makes so many things better.

This is the day that I thought would be a breeze because Max and Maggie didn't go down for a nap until 10:45. A later nap usually means a longer nap and a shorter, easier afternoon. But yesterday Maggie wasn't feeling well, and only slept for an hour and a half.

This is the day that I tried to color with Maggie again. We got out the markers just as I heard Lucy and Max crying upstairs. Since leaving Maggie alone with markers while I went to get them didn't sound like good parenting, I took the markers away. And that made Maggie sad.

Max woke up grumpy yesterday. When I brought him downstairs, he was crying. Maggie was crying. Lucy was fussing. And that's when I said, "This is the afternoon we leave the house!" Because who can stay sane with three whining babes at their legs? Who can be patient and calm and a good mama all the time?

So this is the day that I packed up my babes and drove away from the stuffy confines of our house. We picked up food. We went to the park. I had to take two trips from my car to the picnic table to get everyone and all the food in one place, but we did it.

It was dreamy in the park. Warm but breezy. Shady. Lucy stayed asleep in her carseat. There was a teenage couple a few tables down having what seemed like a very romantic conversation. Maggie took five minutes to eat each piece of chicken I gave her. Max kept spitting applesauce down his front, but so what? I took his shirt off so he wouldn't have to wear it dirty.

After lunch we played. I sat down on one end of a bench and said to the lady at the other end, "Is it okay if I sit here? It's the only bench in the shade." She let Max play with her son's football but then went to sit somewhere else without saying anything and I thought she was snotty. And then I thought that maybe I was being snotty.

Max toddled over to the sandbox and had so much fun by himself, moving toys around and sometimes putting sand in his mouth. Maggie went over to the sand but then stood at the edge and cried. I couldn't figure out what was wrong; when I went over, she kept making some kind of gesture like she wanted the sandbox to pick her up. She came and played by my bench after that. She pushed leaves through the holes and talked to herself.

I took Lucy out of her sleeper and let her be nakedbaby at the park. I pushed Max and Maggie on the swings because I knew Maggie would love it. This is the day that she did. When everyone was hot and sweaty and slightly sunburned we got back into the car and came home. Christian arrived half an hour later and we rejoiced. I watched Maggie follow him around like a duckling. "Dadee! Dadee! Dadee!"

This is the day that I tried for half an hour to print a picture off our computer, and this is the day that I became infuriated when for so long I couldn't. This is the day that I made Christian promise never to feed our children Cinnamon Toast Crunch for dinner again.

Yesterday I found out that one of my best friends growing up was in town and didn't call. She's one of those people I miss almost all the time. This is the day I was pretty sad for a while.

When Christian put Max and Maggie down for the night, Lucy was already asleep, so I drove away on an errand of my own. Remember this tweet? The answer is: doughnuts! I walked into the Dunkin' Donuts around the corner and told the man behind the counter I wanted six doughnuts. He said, "Right now if you buy six doughnuts, you get six for free." I said, "That's perfect."

This is the day I ate my feelings, five doughnuts deep. Hooray for playing at the park, one doughnut. Thank you Christian for scrubbing the kitchen clean, two doughnuts. How is Lucy ever going to learn to fall asleep on her own if I keep nursing her to sleep, three doughnuts. My babes are the sweetest and I just love them the most of everything, four doughnuts. Sometimes days are hard and people you care about don't care as much about you, five doughnuts.

This is the day I stayed up way too late and wrote a blog post that I wasn't sure I should publish because both my writing and my decision-making weren't at their best. I decided to publish it anyway. Because take that, yesterday.


The Piggy War

{ one strand of Maggie's hair in an adorable curlicue }

Lately, Maggie and I have been at odds. We disagree about her hair. I have decided that I think teeny pigtails are the cutest things ever. Maggie has decided that she hates pigtails.

If I gather up even the smallest collection of her fine strawberry blondies, Maggie shakes her head and shoos me away with her hand and says, "dondondondondondon't." I try anyway. I turn on TV so she's distracted. I sit her in a Bumbo so she can't get away. I give her the comb so she has something to play with. None of it works. But when it does work, she still pulls her pigtails out as soon as she can.

The thing is, I want to be the kind of mother who lets her kids be themselves. Be free. Have fun. I want to say: Play in the mud! Splash all the puddles! Color with markers! Pick out your own clothes!

But I'm not good at being that kind of mother when it comes to hair. And faces. I want a clean face and cute hair. My fingers start itching when Max's hair gets a little long, mostly because I start to see all the uneven spots from his last haircut. Haircuts from Mom are free, but they are also terrible. At least in our house.

With Maggie, I either want her hair in pigtails every day, or I want to cut it in the back so she doesn't have a baby mullet. Is that so wrong? Sometimes I think a better mother would just let her child be, but then other times I think I think that just because that's what my mother would have done.

Oh, dilemmas!


I Am...

...laughing at Max climbing in and out of kitchen cabinets. It's one of his many hobbies {along with collecting sticks, chewing on cords, and smashing food with just one finger} that I don't understand.

...obsessed with painting our living room white. I'm ready for walls that are clean and bright and fresh. So much that I almost can't stand it. So much that I sometimes contemplate staying up all night long to do it by myself.

...inviting everyone to come over to my house when they're having a hard time. I will listen to you talk while you smell Lucy's head. Seriously, it will help you feel better.

...giving my children markers to color with. So if you wondered about my sanity, yeah, it's all gone.

...eating Nutella on mini croissants for breakfast. It's like heaven in my mouth. {I also usually have a fruit/spinach/oat/almond milk smoothie on the side, so that tips the scale back toward nutritious, right?}

...listening to Lucy cough in her sleep. She's been a little sicky baby, with a runny nose during the day and coughs at night. Poor girl! Is there anything sadder than an unhealthy babe?

...still watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. I'm on season five. The story lines are becoming more and more ludicrous, but I can't look away. How did this happen?

...missing my friend Madeline. Because how often do you have someone interested in talking about all of the exact same things you are just sitting on your couch? Almost never, that's how often.

...craving Asian-inspired foods. Orange chicken and sushi, please! But only if I get to eat them with chopsticks.

...going about my life as usual and then suddenly thinking, "I've dreamed this before." Have you ever had that feeling? It drives me crazy, trying to remember if I actually have.

...impatiently waiting for another one of these tees to arrive at my door. I bought one weeks ago and wear it almost constantly {like five-times-a-week constantly}, so when I saw they were on sale {for $12.99!} I seized the opportunity. Now I'm listening for the rumbling sounds of a UPS truck bringing happiness my way.

Idea for this post from my wish-she-were-my pallie, Natalie.


Beach Advice

{ image via }

If there's one thing I've repeated again and again to family members who have asked "how are you doing?" {and maybe to some who haven't asked... these days when other adults are around, I tend to do most of the talking}, it's "I'm ready for things to go back to normal again." By which I mean, I'm ready for the stage of my life where I can't do anything except survive to be OVER. I've been in that stage for about 18 months, ever since I went on bed rest when I was pregnant with Max and Maggie, and it's lasted much much too long.

One way I've combating the cabin fever that I feel almost constantly is to encourage family outings -- it's too hot for the park {and even our older two don't get it yet}, but we go on walks in our neighborhood, and we've tried the library and Marbles Kids Museum. I've also been insisting on a family beach trip in September. I'm at the point where I don't really care if it's a disaster, I just miss the ocean and some semblance of freedom in my life so we are going end of story. If I sound selfish and a little whiny, I think it's my turn.

As much as I'm resigned to the idea that our beach trip might be a disaster, I plan on doing quite a bit of work to make sure it actually doesn't turn out that way. I'm only looking into vacation rentals that are right smack on the beach, because I don't see Christian and I carrying three babies and all our stuff across a busy road every day. No thank you. And I'd love any advice you have to share. I've heard the thing about baby powder to get rid of sand, but how much do I need? I have a trial size container; should I buy an industrial size? And do I shake it directly on the skin, or should I pour it in my hand first?

I'd also love advice about what baby gear has been excellent at the beach {and in the pool}, and which you wished you'd passed on, along with any recommendations on places to stay in Atlantic Beach or thereabouts. I've already done quite a bit of research about what might be the most fun aspect of preparing for this trip, which is buying a new swimsuit for Maggie. {More advice needed: should I get her a tankini for easy diaper changes?} I love all of these, and, awesome bonus! because summer is almost over they're all on super-sale:

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9

Thanks in advance for all your help!



Yesterday I went to visit my sister Alice for the first time since Lucy was born. I thought, "it's been two months and the time has come!" and then my brain couldn't help itself and followed with "...the walrus said." Because, you know, Alice. But seriously, I lovelovelove visiting Alice. Whenever I'm feeling like I want to get out of my house, like I have to get out of my house or my brain will explode, I run to Alice's. And we had the bestest time with her and her kids yesterday.

One thing about Alice is that she makes things seem easy. When we're at home, Max and Maggie toddle up to our back doors, peer out, try to turn the knob, and then turn at look at me with the most pathetic looks on their faces. I know they're saying, "Please, Mama, let us play outside!" But it just seems too hard, or too hot, or too infested with mosquitoes to venture outdoors with just me and them. So we play inside instead.

When we were at Alice's house, Maggie was looking out the back door and I said, "Oh, she wants to go outside." And Alice jumped up and said, "Well, then let's go!"* And we went. And my kids had the time of their lives. Lucy lay on a blanket in the grass and kicked her legs whenever the wind blew. Max crawled all over, tried to eat rocks, successfully ate a flower, and chewed on a paintbrush {his favorite}. Maggie showed off her walking, took all the chalk out of its basket and then put it back in again, and rubbed water in her hair. Ah, every babies' perfect day!

I've talked before about how great a sister Alice is, how she always helps me feel better, how her house is my home-away-from-home. Do you have someone like that in your life? I hope everyone does. And I hope that someday I can be to Alice what she is to me.

*Alice didn't really say that. Oswald {from our favorite show Oswald} says that in the episode "Daisy Plays an Instrument." I don't remember exactly what Alice said, but probably it was more like, "Okay, we can go outside." Please forgive me for quoting Oswald to you; it's hard to get him out of my head sometimes.


What it Means

Being a mother of three means that I am always touching one of my children, from the moment I wake up when Christian brings Lucy to me in the morning, to the moment I lay my Lovey down to sleep at night. With Lucy, it's mostly nursing all.day.long. And there's so much Max-and-Maggie-touching in between: changing diapers, cuddling to read books, picking up to go somewhere faster, comforting with blankies in tow, fishing "ickies" out of mouths, games of chasing and tackling, and {my favorite} kissing. I'm used to it, and most of the time I love it. The only thing I can't stand is whiny and clingy touching, especially if it goes on for an extended period of time for no reason.

Being a mother of three means that more often than not, the TV is on at our house. Before Lucy was born, I knew TV would be part of my plan to keep the peace once she was home. I started showing Max and Maggie Oswald because it's the least obnoxious kids' show I've seen. We started with just an episode a day, and it took a little while before they started actually paying attention, but now they love it. {And if you're wondering, "Is she actually saying that she got her kids hooked on TV when they were just one year old on purpose?" then the answer is YES. I make no apologies for my parenting techniques.} They now watch a healthy mix of Oswald, Blue's Clues, and classic Disney movies. We can always work on weaning them off TV when they're older and our lives are less insane.

Being a mother of three means that my body is under a lot of strain. Besides the usual {carrying two 20-pound babies up the stairs at the same time, that kind of thing}, I'm now also caring for and breastfeeding a two-month-old. I realized how close I was to physically hitting my limit when I started getting migraines, some of which didn't go away for days. Ugh! I went to the doctor and she told me what I already knew, I needed to be drinking more water and getting more sleep. I've been trying; I know I need to take care of myself in order to take care of my family. I pop half a dozen vitamins every day to help: a prenatal vitamin and vitamin D as recommended by my OB/GYN, magnesium to keep migraines away, and two giant calcium supplements because I'm off dairy {it upsets Lucy's tummy}. There are still days, at least one a week, when the clock hits 2:30 pm and I don't know how I'm going to stay awake until Christian gets home.

Being a mother of three means that I'm thinking three steps ahead about things that most people don't even think about. Pick up both Max's and Maggie's blankies before you get them out of bed at the end of naptime; it's a lot harder to pick up a blankie with a kid in each arm. Lay out clean diapers, pajamas, and lotion {and have an episode of Oswald ready to go} before Christian comes downstairs with post-bath babies. Don't get two diapers out of the basket for diaper changes; get four -- you'll need them later anyway and it will be handy to have them in the middle of the floor, right next to the wipes. The key to thinking three steps ahead is going about your normal baby-caring business and then, blerg! everyone's crying and you realize you should have done things differently.

Being a mother of three means that free time never just happens, ever. I'm caring for children literally starting the exact moment I wake up, and then all morning. If Lucy ever happens to be asleep when Max and Maggie go down for their nap, I use that time to eat {I usually have both my breakfast and lunch during their naptime}, shower, sleep, or take care of house business. There's enough work to go around even after Christian gets home to keep us both busy until Max and Maggie's bedtime, and then I want to spend the precious two hours before we need to go to bed with Christian, not doing something alone. I have a hundreds of items competing for first place on my when-I-get-a-minute list, and several long-overdue errands I need to run. And you all know I haven't blogged in almost a month.

And all of that? It's all okay. I'm exhausted and sometimes I wear the same shirt five days in a row, Febreezing it before I put it on again in the morning, but I wouldn't trade this time with my little family for anything. We're doing this three-babes-under-seventeen-months thing, and amazingly, it's working for us. Sometimes I realize how happy I am, how much I love what I do and how worthwhile it is, and I'm overwhelmed. I know I'll miss this era when it's over.