Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday. Here's how ours went down:

- I went to Target last night under the guise of getting Robitussin and mango sorbet {I've been fighting off a nasty cold/possible sinus infection for the past week}, and came home with bags of Easter basket fillings. {No actual Easter baskets, though - those were all gone.}

- Max and Maggie had fun going through all their plastic eggs this morning, eating the yogurt-covered raisins and fruit snacks inside, and ignoring everything else in the buckets we used instead of baskets. Lucy enjoyed playing with the plastic egg halves and immediately pulling a flower headband off her noggin every time we tried to sneak it on.

- Christian took the twins to church while Lucy and I stayed home. We played fun games like "watch Mama fix her hair" and "go through the bathroom cabinets" and "discover the pregnancy test that first told Mama you existed." {Yes, I still have it.}

- After church, we all went over to Christian's parents house and had dinner with his family. It was a party. Two of his siblings and their families had traveled to be in town, which meant six of his eight siblings and their families were there. I was lucky enough to get the above shot of my in-laws with their six grandchildren.

It was such a wonderful day. And the weather was obligingly warm, which I very much appreciated. Here's hoping the wonderfulness transfers into this upcoming week!


Important Thoughts 29.0 + Our Life in Pictures

29.1: Lucy has recently started talking. A couple weeks ago, out of the blue, she started saying "uh-oh" - the softest, sweetest little "uh-oh" you ever did hear. A little while later she started holding things {remotes, green beans, etc.} up to her ear and saying "eh-wohw," which was surprising because I wouldn't have thought we answered the phone in front of her that much. Her newest official word is "ah dah!" which she says promptly whenever the TV is turned off, whenever we're done reading a book, whenever she's ready to get down after a meal, pretty much any time anything is over, she says "ah dah!" like a champ. And all this is mostly to say, when did she get so big? Where did my newbaby go? I thought that when she started walking, or when she turned one, that would be the moment that she wouldn't seem like my baby-baby anymore. Silly me, for thinking I had a couple more months. {Also, admittedly I am bragging on my Looska a little bit. She's a genius baby and I just wanted everyone to recognize.}

29.2: This morning, after putting Lucy down for a nap, Max and Maggie were so content playing by themselves that I decided to try and clean the kitchen. Usually their brains follow a protocol that states: If Mom is in the living room, then all is well and we are safe and we can be happy and go play wherever we like. BUT if Mom is somewhere else, and especially if she is in the kitchen, then we must all crowd around her and cling to her legs crying or the world will end. But today was different. They left me alone, and I got so much done. Eventually Max did wander in, and he helped me finish loading the dishwasher, and then while I washed a few dishes by hand I let him climb up on a chair so he could play with the running water. And that turned into Max and Maggie playing in the sink with measuring cups {because measuring cups are the coolest, so clanky and water-holdy and good for pouring}, soaking their clothes, and flooding the kitchen floor. It made for a pretty stellar morning.

29.3: I recently started listening to the Bossypants audiobook. It is amazing. If you're the one person in the world who hasn't read/listened to it yet, what are you waiting for? It's like listening to Tina Fey do stand-up, if stand-up comedy was also very moving and sometimes made you cry. Even though I want to listen to it all the time, mostly I save it for when I'm at the gym, which means that while I'm on the elliptical machine I occasionally grin like an idiot. And even though I said before that I love Tina Fey, I'm not sure if I really meant it then. BUT I DO NOW. Tina Fey is an incredible person and I absolutely adore her. {Still not as much as Amy Poehler, though. Christian was recently reading this article and said, slowly turning the computer screen toward me, "What if thiiiiiiis person were to replace Jimmy Fallon?" And a big smile popped onto my face that I couldn't get rid of. Amy Poehler just makes me happy, what can I say?}


Five Years Old

{ lovely image via }

My little blog is five years old today, you guys.

It's totally not a big deal. I didn't even realize that it was coming until yesterday. Last year, on my blog's fourth birthday, I was similarly oblivious and just posted this cookie recipe.

I'm not going to recite any stats for you {mine are kind of pathetic anyway}, or ask you to fill out a survey {I tried to make one, but I didn't know what to ask and I kept tying "survery" for some reason}, or do an awesome giveaway {although I've got one in the works for later this month - stay tuned}.

I will say that I'm grateful to have this place to write and work my thoughts out and record some of the things that happen in my life. It might seem silly, but this blog is important to me. Thank you, my sweet readers, for being a part of it. I'm grateful for you, too.

P.S. My blog has its own Facebook page now, if you'd like to like it. No pressure or anything. ;)


Our Day, In Three Parts

Part I: We took a bath.

I filled up the tub, took off everyone's clothes and diapers, and put everyone in the water. I had just cleaned everyone from top to bottom when Lucy took a dump right in the bathwater. Gross. And since all the kids were looking at it like "What IS that thing?" and "What will happen if I touch it?" I had to rush in pronto and scoop it out with my bare hand. More gross. I then had to confiscate all the washcloths {because at our house, everyone gets their own washcloth, and everyone likes to gnaw on washcloths during bath time}, drain the tub, rinse it out, and then fill it again.

Which is when Max took a dump. EVEN MORE GROSS. More scooping, more confiscating, more draining, more rinsing, but no more filling because EVERYONE OUT OF THE TUB. I wasn't in the mood to tempt fate.

Part II: We went outside.

Going outside was good for us. We played with bubbles {mostly by carrying the containers around in our hands and occasionally sticking the wands in our mouths}, we colored on everything within reach with chalk {and in Lucy's case, nibbled on the ends when I wasn't looking}, we smelled the grape hyacinths that are blooming in our yard. But I think maybe we stayed out too long, because after a while everything started to go wrong.

Max tripped and scraped his arm up so bad I wondered for a minute if I should take him to the doctor {it turns out he was fine even without a band-aid on. I know because I put a band-aid on him and two minutes later he handed it to me, all wadded up, and he hasn't had any issues}, Maggie had a weird run-in with a bee that I still don't entirely understand {I wasn't watching her when it happened, but it really scared her, and for the rest of the day she kept coming up to me and saying "Maggie? Bee? Huhchu?" and needing hugs}, Lucy got frustrated with me fishing everything out of her mouth, and Max even wandered into the road at one point.

Part III: That damn bee.

Maggie woke up again at 9:45, scream-crying for me and when I picked her up and asked her if she had a bad dream, she hiccuped and whispered "bee." I told her the bee was all gone, that she was safe with me, that she was a big brave girl. I gave her a cup of water and her toothbrush. I let Christian hold her. I took her downstairs and let her watch more Yo Gabba Gabba. I tricked myself into thinking that maybe she would fall asleep in our bed. No, no, no, no, and oh no. None of it worked. And she shuddered every time we mentioned the bee.

Finally Christian suggested trying our old 5-10-15 minute routine, and while he was out of the room, Maggie cried and coughed so hard that she threw up. We changed her sheets, we kissed her and put her back in bed. She cried for twenty more minutes, and fell asleep.

This day has been good. This day has been hard, but this day has been good.

P.S. I wrote this post last night, mostly while waiting for Maggie to fall asleep. I finished it when I thought she was asleep for good, but she was not at all. She slept for 40 minutes, woke back up, and then {so Christian tells me} cried on and off until 3:00 am. So yes, we're all exhausted over here this morning.


Falling For...

The weather here was just absolutely gorgeous over the weekend. {Was it for you? I hope so!} On Saturday I wore sandals and our kids played in the front yard until it was time for dinner. It felt so good, such a relief from the oppressive winter cold. The warm air melted some stress that I've been carrying around in my shoulders these past few months, I think. I'm happiest when I'm barefoot outside, and the idea of more warm weather on its way is lifting my spirits all the way up.

I fantasize about spring all winter long. Bunches of bright flowers, warm evenings, short sleeves - I want them all the time. {Possibly I should campaign for us to move to Mexico?} Here are a few items that have been making their way into my dreams of spring:

{ 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 }

What about you? What are you dreaming about this spring?

Belatedly linking up here.


Alone Time {Kind Of}

I've been having a hard time figuring out my blogging schedule lately. Part of it is that I have zero minutes to myself during the day. Between three kids and two nap schedules, someone is always awake and eager to bang on the keys of my laptop. Even if I could figure out how to peel their fingers off me and get some work done, I don't know if I like the idea of staring at a computer screen instead of reading another pigeon book, or building another block tower, or even putting someone in time out again. Interacting with my kids at this age is precious {I'm not going to apologize for how mushy that sounds}, and I'm not going to miss one frustrating, peanut butter-covered minute of it.

Since I don't ever get time alone while Christian is at work {no, not even in the bathroom}, I try to trick myself into thinking that I get time alone. While Max and Maggie are asleep, Lucy and I have a few golden afternoon hours that we spend together. It's not the same kind of quiet as solitude, and it's probably not what I would pick if given the choice, but it gets me through the day. I watch old episodes of Parenthood while Lucy rolls around on the floor and amuses herself by picking up books, one after the other, and setting them back down. I fold laundry and Lucy un-folds laundry. I dance and she laughs at me. I eat popcorn and stinky cheese, she eats {carefully selected kernels of} popcorn and gnaws on apple slices.

And now, here are some more pictures of Lucy sitting in her highchair, because that's always the moment when I think of grabbing my camera:


Following Up

{ image via }

So we had Max's post-op appointment at the ENT last Tuesday, to make sure his new ear tubes were doing well and that his hearing had improved {you can read more about our journey to help Max hear better here and here}. And... well, and it was possibly the worst experience of my life. {And possibly I'm being a little bit over-dramatic.}

I think it all came down to a big huge mistake that I made, which was trying to take all three kids with me to the appointment. I should have just gone by myself and said, "Don't worry, doc, I would know if anything was wrong with his ears." But I didn't. I felt like probably Max should be there, and I was in a mood to prove that I could be super-mom and keep three kids happy during {what I was sure would be} a very short outing.

Here's how everything went down: we arrived at the ENT and it was raining. I had to take Maggie and Lucy out of the car and buckle them into the double stroller in the rain, then take out Max and have him hold my hand as we walked through the parking lot in the rain. {Usually when I take all three kids out of the house, I put the twins in the stroller and I wear Lucy, but since this was Max's appointment, I figured he would need to be out of the stroller more than once, and I didn't want to make Maggie jealous if she couldn't get out of the stroller too. I was trying to think three steps ahead, as always.}

We checked in, I had to fill out a ridiculous Patient Update form, and then we went to the playroom to wait. We waited a long time. A long long time. A time so long that Maggie was already getting irritated with other children who dared to touch "her" toys and "her" books, Lucy had decided that there was nothing interesting enough to keep her awake and she'd like her second nap now, please, and Max was just everywhere {but mostly touching Maggie and her toys and her books}.

Finally a nurse called us back to an exam room. I think she had fun watching me try to hold Max's hand and push the stroller through the hallway and then pick Max up because he was fussing and carry him in one arm and push the stroller with the other. She must have had fun, because she certainly didn't offer to help me. In the exam room, we waited for another long time. Long enough for my kids to finish eating the snacks that I had brought for them and for Max to fall off the exam chair and hit his head on the floor when I wasn't looking. Long enough for me to hear our doctor in the next room yakking it up with people who clearly didn't need his services anymore.

Seeing the doctor took about two minutes {he literally came in, shook my hand, looked in both of Max's ears, said, "Well, they're both open. Do you have any questions?" and left}, but it was only the first part of our appointment. The second part was to visit the audiologist and have another hearing test. So we walked with a different nurse down the hallway {this one did offer to help me, bless her} to a different waiting area; she stuck our folder in a plastic bin hanging on the wall and left.

While we waited, we played a fun game where Max sat in one of the waiting area chairs and played on my phone, and Lucy and Maggie {in the stroller} and I {pushing them} would say, "Okay, bye bye, Max!" and walk away from him, and then turn around and say, "Oh there you are!" and walk past him in the other direction saying, "Okay, bye bye, Max!"

It was a completely boring game, but it kept my kids happy for ten minutes until a lady came out of an office and said, "Oh, didn't they tell you? We only have one audiologist here today and she's backed up. There are at least two people ahead of you." It was then that I said, "I don't know how long we can wait" and planned to pack my kids up in the car and go home lalready. But I still really wanted someone to tell me that my son could for sure hear perfectly, so I let the lady talk me into waiting in the playroom. She said it would be twenty more minutes at the most, which seemed doable.

Well, it was not twenty more minutes. It was thirty-five. Thirty-five minutes of trying to keep my kids happy in a room full of toys they were bored with and other kids who kept taking their Munos and Foofas. But we stayed. We stayed until the audiologist came to collect us, and the poor lady seemed even more tired and frustrated and just done than I was, which made me feel a little bit better. Better enough that I talked myself into the possibility of Maggie and Lucy staying happy while I took Max into the testing room by myself.

Maggie and Lucy did not stay happy while I took Max into the testing room. I tried to ignore the sounds of my two screaming girls and keep Max's attention on the puzzle I had in my hands while the test was going on. After a few minutes, however, the audiologist came back in and admitted that she couldn't get a completely accurate result because your kids are too darn loud. {That's not exactly how she put it, but that's what she meant. She then referred to Lucy as a boy, which made me not like her anymore.}

So then we left. I didn't get the reassurance that I wanted: "Yes, definitely he can hear all the way better now." Instead I got a "probably he can mostly hear better," a tension headache, and a nine-month-old who fell asleep as soon as I turned the car on. I'm thinking of going back with just Max and asking for another hearing test; I'm the kind of person who second-guesses everything until I get an answer that's for sure for sure, and I'd like this whole big event in my kid's life to end happily.

If you're still reading this post, thank you. I hope you don't mind that I spent eleven paragraphs complaining about a single afternoon; it really wasn't the hardest thing that's ever happened to me {obviously}, but it was an incredibly frustrating hour and a half.


The Hands

This is a post about nursing my nine-month-old.

When I was pregnant with Lucy, I tried to set some kind of reasonable goal to help me get through the beginning part of nursing. I assumed that beginning stretch would be hard, since I never it made it through that part with my twins. I could never decide, though - should I tell myself to just make it through the first three months? The first six weeks? I always just knew in the back of my mind I wanted to make it at least a year; giving in before then wasn't an option I gave myself.

Breastfeeding was hard in the beginning, but easier than I had expected. It was less like learning and more like re-learning something I had done years ago and forgotten. Since I didn't nurse my twins, every milestone Lucy and I have hit, every aspect of breastfeeding with her is new for me. And I have to say, I love it. I might be ready to stop nursing her when she graduates from high school. {I'm kidding. Maybe I'm kidding.}

There are, of course, a few elements of breastfeeding that I do not love. I've gotten a few bites {very tentative, but still painful}, I've chafed against the restrictions placed on my freedom, I've leaked and I've been engorged and I've stained my clothes with lanolin.

BUT for us, for my sweet-smelling squishy baby and I, the good easily outweighs the bad. It's been more beautiful than I can describe.

In the early days, I loved holding her naked body against my skin and feeling her against me. I loved laying on my side and nursing her for long periods of time, both of us half-asleep. I loved the satisfaction of knowing that all of her chubby rolls came from me, that I built her body with mine.

Now I love to ask her, deliberately emphasizing the key word so she pays attention, "Lucy, do you want to nurse?" and having her bury her face in my chest, trying to eat me through my shirt. I love nursing her at night and holding her asleep on my shoulder for a few minutes, just savoring her soft weight. I love to make her laugh while she's nursing, so that she smiles at me with the corners of her mouth. I love the butterfly kisses.

A few weeks ago my mother-in-law said, while I was nursing Lucy and Lucy was tugging on a few stray strands of my hair, that the hands was one part of breastfeeding that she loved the most. The tiny fat baby hands that poked themselves into her mouth, sneaked under the fabric of her shirt, reached up to her face and laid themselves on her cheeks, and yes, tugged on her hair.

And I think, I think that it's my favorite as well. The hands. I'm going to miss them when this is over.