27 September 2016


I have been attempting to wean off my antidepressants lately, and it has been a rather terrible experience. The side effects of withdrawing are so terrible I almost don't want to go on medication the next time I am pregnant. Physically they are just awful. Mentally/emotionally, I am suddenly drowning again in overwhelming feelings of failure and worthlessness. It is a tough battle, this depression stuff. I hate it. I don't have anything else to say right now. Writing just this has taken a lot.

22 September 2016

Shopping and Lunching

Now that I'm down to my two "easy" kids, I run errands during the weekday again, and while I don't hear it quite as often, I do still hear "You have your hands full!" a lot. Maybe because Eleanor and Theodore are so close in age? Anyway, I used to respond with a polite smile, but lately I've been trying out the "shock jock" method.

"You have your hands full!"
-"And I have one in kindergarten!"
-"Normally I have three, this is a breeze!"

"You have quite a load there!" to my full cart at Sam's Club.
"And I'm not even done yet!"

I can't believe how much food we are suddenly going through. Part of it is Theodore. He eats like a boy. A hungry boy. His record is 2.5 blueberry muffins. He wants in on every meal we eat and is more than happy to take down a spoonful of Mommy's food instead of his baby mush.

Part of it is school. Abigail eats more because she is more active and has the peer pressure of all her classmates actually eating.

And part of it is that a lunch - and two snacks - that works well in a lunch box is more expensive than lunch at the dinner table. Over the summer, if we weren't in the mood for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I could whip up something special: donuts with smoothies made from the fruit about to go bad in the fridge. If Abigail didn't eat breakfast, I could just let her finish off her cereal for lunch. I could buy a big container of yogurt and scoop some out in little pink bowls for a snack. If we ran out of granola bars, I could just make popcorn or muffins or whatever and in 20 minutes, we'd have a hot-from-the-oven snack. Now I need individual containers of apple sauce, I can't run out of pre-packaged granola bars, I can't send leftover mac 'n cheese in a tupperware with a kindergartner.

I'll find cheaper ways of doing things as time goes on, I'm sure. This is, like, my third week ever of packing a kid's lunch. But it does have me wondering: can I prepackage my own food? Can I make a couple batches of granola bars (these ones are SO GOOD!) and wrap them up individually? Is there a way to make my own no-refrigeration-needed apple sauce pouches? Do I need to buy a thousand feet of cling wrap? Sandwich bags by the thousands? Disposable tupperware? Is there a way to do this without filling up a new landfill every year?

20 September 2016


Abigail, who is still on antibiotics for her latest cold-turned-sinus-infection has brought home another round of colds for all three kids to share. Combined with the cough, runny nose, and all-around grouchies, we have diarrhea. For all three. And Abigail got stung by a bee at school today. Her first bee sting. She actually told me about it, pointing behind her ear, "Bee." Said plainly, without pain. Lastly, Matt is working late tonight. Fun times. I'm actually doing really well despite the heaps of crapola. Morning Bible study is to thank, I think.

While most of the new house smell has worn off, sometimes I still can't believe all this space is mine, especially, for some reason, when I'm in the laundry room. I have so much space that I have a whole room dedicated to my laundry. It's been spruced up all nice by the previous homeowners, with a new laminate floor, fresh paint on the wall, lots of storage, a place to hang dry clothes, a laundry shoot, and even the unfinished ceiling has been painted black so as to make the space feel stylish.

It even has a cat door entrance because the previous homeowners had a cat too. I can put her liter pan and food and everything in the laundry room and keep the kids and dog out by closing the door. It's perfect.

Sometimes when I'm in my laundry room I think about what it will be like when we move out. I like to think it happens long after our kids are grown and we need to downsize. There will be so much stuff to go through! Years and years of wrapping paper and extra trash bags and lost socks. The closets will be packed with sheets and towels that we've had since we got married. Kitchen cabinets crammed with stacks of holiday bundt pans and glass Pyrex casserole dishes. I am watching my in-laws go through this process now, box after box emerging from the depths of the basement, bring long forgotten objects to daylight for the first time in years. Sometimes literally. I watch my friends who are done having kids sort through all the baby stuff: tossing, donating, selling, keeping for the memories.

While I, for the first time in my life, am letting things build up. Stockpile. Become a stash. A stash of extra pillow cases in a bin in the hall closet. A cupcake maker with a broken handle (that works just great!) from Matt's white elephant party at work finds a home in the pantry. The entire unfinished half of the basement. Oh goodness, I don't go in there when I'm feeling the OCD coming on. It's so full of extras, hand-me-downs, maybe-we'll-need-this-one-days because for once in my life, I actually have the space to hold on to it. We finally have space to wax. To build. To increase. To grow in space because our family is growing in size. It seems far-fetched now, but I can see it happening: we are filling up cupboards and cabinets and pantries and closets.

But when I stand in my laundry room, I can see the day when I will one day have to wane. When I will have to go through an entire house full of things I used to take care of my family. I am thankful that I can wax in my beautiful house. With my sick little Fox snuggled in his carrier.

19 September 2016


A few days ago, Abigail's school called me to let me know that she wasn't feeling well and requested that I pick her up immediately. So I loaded everyone into the car and we drove up to school and brought Abigail home. She's fine, it turns out. But I couldn't help but think about how disastrous it would have been if I'd had a job. I would have had to stop what I was doing at that very moment and take half a sick day. Or I would have had to frantically call around and beg someone else to drop what they were doing at that very moment and pick up my kid. I can't imagine how hard it would be to hold down a job with the unpredictability of sick kids both in school and in day care. I'm really thankfully that I am not a single mother, a divorced mother, or a working-out-of-the-house mother. I'm thankful I can be available to pick up my not-sick kid from kindergarten at a moment's notice.

12 September 2016

Buying a (few) Wardrobe(s)

It's (finally) that time of year when we put away the shorts and the tank tops and the little sundresses and unpack the unicorn sweaters and sparkly jeans.

Did you think I was joking? Probably not, you know how I roll.
Anyway, Abigail - at 5.5 - has finally grown too tall for her 3T jeans.

Home sick from school today. Nothing more nutritious than brownies for breakfast on a day like that.
Eleanor's 2T clothes are too tight or too short on her 2.5-year-old body.

Believe it or not, this was actually the least blurry of all the toddler pics I snapped this morning.
And 9.5-month-old Theodore only has about a month left in his 9-month-size clothing.

He hates the back carry, but as an insufferable grouch, he can either cry on the ground or fuss in the carrier.
After taking everyone's picture, the girls then insisted I take the dog's and cat's pictures.

Hopeful: "Is the camera food? Can I eat it?"
Oooh, crappy lighting. Let's turn on a light and try again.

Blam-o. Secret Agent Cat exposed.
Okay, so Abigail and Theodore need entirely new wardrobes and Eleanor needs about a half a new wardrobe, as Abigail, who is extremely hard on her clothing, hasn't left me much with which to work.

While I might not mind skipping gleefully to the nearest conglomerate of baby clothing stores and throwing everything I think is cute into my basket, Matt - and the part of me that would one day like to retire - will mind, so I'm trying to set parameters and limits and budgets. There exists a lot of different opinions as to how much clothing a baby, toddler, and kindergartner need, so last night, I set out to make my own list.

Such lists need to be heavily personalized, I realized, because every mom runs her house a little differently. How often does she do laundry? How warm does she keep her house? How dirty do her kids get their clothes? Last night I drew up this rough draft:

I reliably do laundry every week, so I only need enough to get me through one week. The house is fairly cool during the winter, but Abigail is active in school, where presumably, they keep it warm. The kids all get their shirts pretty dirty, but not usually their pants. Theodore and Eleanor will certainly have a day or two (or four for Theodore) where they never change out of their jammies. In the light of day (while Theodore naps and the girls play nicely together downstairs) I mixed all this together, then I went through Abigail's 3T clothing to sort out what's pass-on-able. Then I dove into the 12 month and 4T clothing I've already gotten as gifts, hand-me-downs from cousins, and the few irresistible things I've already purchased. 

I put checks next to the things I have enough of. The number in parenthesis indicates how much more I need to get to my ideal total. 
Abigail needs jeans because she's hard on clothes, but Eleanor needs leggings because she likes to move and climb and jeans are too restrictive. I live in Michigan, yet no one has enough sweaters, but I actually have way more shoes than I thought I did, although I better double check that Abigail's church/dress boots still fit.

And winter coats. Freakin' A, winter coats. Last year, Eleanor outgrew her winter coat halfway through the winter and it was practically impossible to find her another one. The stores I normally shop - Meijer, Target, Old Navy, Carter's, Children's Place - already had their spring lines out. Their websites only offered the slimmest of pickings. It was rough. This year I'm buying coats that are a touch big on the girls and I'm getting a 12 AND 18 month size for Theodore.

I'll hit up a used children's clothing store I like (Once Upon A Child), but plan to fill in gaps with new clothing on sale. (I can just never find good shoes, coats, or jammies used.)

The wardrobe lists are one step above bare bones. I want to have some room to buy cute items randomly throughout the winter, room for gifts, and room to buy Sofia the First and Frozen shirts and whomever else the girls randomly decide they love and need a shirt of.

All this has me wondering about my own pathetic excuse for a wardrobe.

What does an ideal winter wardrobe look like for a stay-at-home mom? I need pieces that are really durable, that can fit as my weight fluctuates, that are easy to nurse in but still be worn when I'm not nursing, and I'd love to have something a little more feminine and a little less something I stole from Matt's dresser this morning. Hmmmm.