21 February 2017

Yellow Shirts

Abigail wants everything to be in yellow. It's totally her favorite color.

Every morning when we get ready for school, she requests a yellow shirt, yellow socks, sometimes yellow pants. And while I have no problem dressing her in yellow every day until she picks a new favorite color, I really don't want every single girl I have to don a uniform of yellow when she hits my stash 4T clothes.

So I decided to compromise at a few yellow tanks that we could layer under her sweaters. Within a few weeks, we found ourselves at a giant outlet mall with tons of kids' clothing stores. But guess what, guys? Yellow is so not in season for girls this spring.

Yep. The store clerks looked at me like, "Yeesh - why do I work here again?" Scanning the store in hopes that I just disappear by the time they turned around again. "What do you need it for?" They'd ask, like they are hoping to talk me out of it.

Outside of summer, it's incredibly hard to find tanks for toddlers period, let alone longer ones with which you can layer. You know what I mean? For example, if I wanted to add a pop of color to an outfit or make a shirt more modest, I could just head on over to Old Navy - okay, we can all take a moment to laugh at the thought of me quickly popping anywhere with my brood - find their tank top table, and pick up something at least close to what I want. Basic tanks for something like $8 each + 10% off with one of their ever-running coupons. (It's been a while since I've spruced up my wardrobe with anything other than a pair of Lularoe leggings, but that's about what I remember their prices being.)

Anyway, there is this website, Primary.com - I've never used it, but I saw an ad and bookmarked it. So they sell pretty much every basic style of baby and kids clothes in a whole host of solid colors. Their tanks are $10/each or $9 if you buy 3 or more. Now those aren't disgusting prices, but they also definitely aren't stock up prices either. That's a price I'd pay if I really need a certain color for a Halloween costume or a school color or something.

So I'm standing in Carters when suddenly I get an idea. "Well, do you have any plain white tanks?" Matt gives me a funny look. "I'm going to dye them," I say and sprint toward the register with two 2-packs at $6/each before Matt can foresee any reason my craft idea might not work out and give me an "Oooookay," that totally means it's costing me brownie points to press onward.

The next day I head to the craft section of Meijer in search of some Rit dye. The bad news? They are all out of yellow. The good news? They have orange on clearance for $.60! I decide in that moment that I am an alchemist and can turn orange into yellow. When I get home, I pretend I don't hear Matt as he confusedly studies the orange bottle of dye. The less he knows about my alchemy, the better.

The instructions on the bottle are for pounds of fabric and I have no idea how much four toddler tank tops weigh, so in that moment I also become a math genius and calculate what percentage of the bottle of dye I will need based on tank top weight x divided by who-gives-a-shit-just-roll-with-it. And I definitely don't tell Matt any of this because the man measures water for Kraft mac 'n cheese and I just know he'd faint if I told him the truth.

Y'all know what's coming.

Not yellow. So I Google: "Can I use bleach to lighten fabric?"
Okay, Matt, look away now.
Yes, siree! Do I look up a recipe? No I don't!
Tanks + cold water + some random amount of dumped bleach!

Who has time for that shit? Plus, I don't want to get bleach all over my measuring cups!

So after a bleach soak and a bleach wash, I have this:

We're going to go with yellow-y. I'm going to enthusiastically present Abigail with one tomorrow. "Look! Yellowy shirt! Yay, yellowy!" and see if she's buying.

If she's not, Girlfriend will find a yellow Primary tank in her Easter basket this year.

16 February 2017

The (Mommy) Flu

One of the hardest things about having kids all close in age at the same time is that they all simultaneously lack in compassion.

No one understands that Theodore is just a baby or that he isn't as strong; that a tired Eleanor needs to be left alone; that when Abigail gets home from school, she just needs a few minutes to herself; or that Mommy has the flu and can't handle screaming at the moment. No one understands that there are things only Mommy and Daddy can do, like putting people in time out or giving Theodore more food. Three center-of-the-universes in one house. No one ever cuts anyone any slack.

Sometimes I don't even want to buy something unless I can buy three of it because sharing is simply impossible. Whoever thought communism could possibly work is a damned fool. The most basic, primal instinct of humanity is to clutch a possession, any possession, to your chest and scream: "THIS. IS. NOT. YOURS. (Theodore)."


I am on day #4 of the flu - I just want to curl up in a ball and sleep under the down comforter for the entire day, but that is as impossible as getting Eleanor to let Theodore in that tent for more than 10 seconds. I am exhausted and our fridge is in desperate need of a trip to the grocery store, but AT LEAST I got the kids their flu shots this year. Because the only way to make this week worse is to add the flu to each one of my three kids.

10 February 2017


Roxy is exactly the kind of dog with whom I want my kids to grow up.

She's gentle, submissive, and tolerant.

She largely does what she's told immediately. Eleanor can put her in and take her out of her crate/kennel without any issue. She understands that the kids are more dominate than she is, and she completely respects that.

She really wants to eat, but she won't cross Theodore.
She's not without her issues - I can't get her to stop barking on command and I am struggling to get her leash trained (she came to us with no leash experience). You would never know she has elbow dysplasia and arthritis by the way she pulls on the leash when we walk.

And she is really clingy. Clingier than a toddler - she follows me around the house, her nose inches from my calf, all. day. long. She lays outside the bathroom door, or stands there in a row with Eleanor and Theodore, waiting for me to finish going "Mommy potty."

She also comes with medical issues up the wazoo - elbow dysplasia, arthritis, intense allergies. And she has a history of abuse and neglect - her ears are tiny, mangled, and no longer stand upright in proper German Shepherd fashion and she cowers around loud noises and raised arms. The people who surrendered her to the shelter said she was five-years-old, but she acts like a much older dog.

But Roxy's memory and desire to please are incredible. She's not the smartest dog, especially for a German Shepherd, which is supposed to be a highly intelligent breed, but when she figures out what you want her to do, she'll do it. Every time. Without fail.

And she has never once chewed up a toy or shoe.

She's a German Shepherd mix, but not even the vet can figure out with what she is mixed. We know it is larger than a Germmy because she has 15-20 pounds on the average German Shepherd. I wonder if it is something that hunts or likes water because Roxy has a very high prey drive and is drawn to bodies of water.

Shortly after we first adopted her, last spring, I took her for a walk in this wooded lot near our house. We followed several trails and when we were ready to turn around for home, thought I knew where we were, but I ended up completely lost. At a few junctions, she would pull me in one direction, but I insisted we go "the right way." Admitting defeat and starting to get a little worried, I led her back to one of those junctions and let her pull me in her direction. Whenever we had a choice about which way to go, I let her pick. Before I knew it, we were out of the wooded lot! But I had no idea where I was or how to get back to the trail head. Roxy was pulling in one particular direction, so I followed. She led me straight to our entrance before turning toward home.

Sometimes I regret adopting her because I definitely underestimated how much work a dog is, what with the regular walking, potty breaks, brushing, and meals. She adds a lot of work to my day, we can't be gone on an outing all day, and she's way more expensive than the cat. But when I stop to think about it, I'm really grateful for what she brings to the table: my security detail when we go for walks, a robber deterrent in the house (especially when Matt works late), a squirrel and rabbit chaser, a vacuum, and a companion who never yells at me or vomits on me or steals my lotion and spills it all over the couch.

And I love how much she loves the kids, making sure their first experience of doggydom is with a loving, obedient, friendly soul.

Left: Theodore was rolling the ball to Roxy. It would bounce off her and roll back to him and he thought it was hilarious.
Right: Dancing in the living room. Well, the girls were dancing and Roxy was hoping the excitement meant something fun was about to happen, so she was following them.

06 February 2017

Making Sense of it All

I have a hard time reconciling my depression with my religion.

When the pre-partum depression got really bad - right before I went on medication - I was furious with God. Really, really angry because I felt like with the pregnancy, He'd given me more than I could handle. Shortly after I started taking an SSRI, I felt like a totally different person. I felt like God was giving my strength to weather anything. On Thursday, I missed one and a half doses of the supplements I've been taking and I paid for it dearly on Friday. Panic attacks, anxiety, depression, anger. It took a few days of regular doses, but now I'm back to normal: peaceful, contented.

I feel like a puppet with a switch: No serotonin: hopelessness; serotonin: peace; no serotonin: hopelessness; serotonin: peace. "How do we want Jacqueline today?"

It bothers me, that my disordered mood can play such a large roll in my faith. I realize now, writing it all down, thinking about it in a serotonin-soaked brain, that it isn't my religion that's the problem, it's my feelings about my religion. How I feel toward God, what graces I accept from Him, how I feel about my salvation.

Here's an analogy for myself: I'm reading a book, right? When left untouched, it's like I'm trying to read at a rave: it's too loud to concentrate, there are too many people bumping into me and jostling the pages, the lights are too dim and chaotic to read the words. When I taking something, I get to read in a quiet, peaceful, well-lit library.

Thanks for letting me talk it out, guys.

02 February 2017

The Museum of Her Dreams

I gotta make this quick because Eleanor is dying for some entertainment and I've agreed to a movie while I clip coupons. Fun. Times.

A few weeks ago, Eleanor was bursting at the seams to get out of the house - green with envy over Abigail's daily bus ride to the mysterious, and surely amazing, school. "Mommy, lets go shopping at Meijer," she'd decide. "I gonna wear my Cinderbella dress in my carseat, okay?" I bought a pass to a hands-on children's museum about 20 minutes away. We have been there every week since.

The water table with all its way fun toys is slowly but surely helping Theodore overcome his death-fear of water.

We pack a lunch in a LUNCH BOX with the super special things Abigail gets to take to lunch, like YOGURT in a TUBE! It's like, "Well, she either won a new car or is eating Go-Gurt. She has the same reaction."

Everyday Eleanor tells me in a very serious voice, "Mommy, I has ta go to the museum." We're very quickly learning the days of the week over here, guys.