Thursday, September 27, 2007


***EDITED TO ADD: I'm finally posting my email address! l i f e i n a t i n y t o w n at g mail dot com. It's over there on the side bar too!

1) Is it fall? Really, is it? Because one day it's hot, and the next it's not, and I just don't know how to dress myself or the kids. If I wear a sweatshirt, I'm hot. If I take if off, I'm cold. I need to know if I should put our turtlenecks and sweater back into rotation. Can I put away the shorts and flip flops? Can I stop shaving my legs every day? (What? It's for WARMTH, not laziness, I assure you.)

2) I seem to have an affliction I like to call Constant and Severe Dehydration Due to Breastfeeding. Do I have any fellow sufferers? I remember with the twins as soon as I would sit down, get all comfy, and start nursing, my mouth would dry out and I'd be stuck in the chair with sandpaper tongue for the rest of the feeding. Unless David was home and could take mercy on me and bring me a drink. And with Marin, I remember in the beginning having the same thing happen. But now? I'm thirsty ALL THE TIME. I'm drinking lots of water. I'm looking forward to weaning for no other reason than NOT being thirsty.

(This reminds me of why I look forward to the end of pregnancy- because then I don't have to pee ALL THE TIME. When I was pregnant with the twins, I remember being at Home Depot and needing to go. The bathroom was so far away [seriously, they should provide shuttles in that place] that by the time I went to the bathroom and walked back to David, I needed to go again. So frustrating!)

3) Doesn't a donut sound good right now? Say, a Bavarian filled long john with chocolate frosting. Just saying.

4) Have I ever told you how I used to have a job teaching people how to pan for gold? It's true. When I was in high school, living in the Black Hills of SD, I had a job at a gold mine. It was an RETIRED gold mine, and one that never produced much gold, but STILL. I gave tours there and taught tourists how to pan for gold. So if you ever want to head West with your burro and bedroll, I'm you gal.

5) Today I plan to dive into cleaning out the kids dressers. They are so crammed with (out grown/out-of-season) clothes that the drawers won't shut all the way. This means I will be a Very Bad Mommy today, because I don't like Interruptions to my Projects. So, do I warn the kids ahead of time, or park them in front of the tv/computer and hope they don't notice?

6) These are 2 other things I NEED to do, and I'm telling you this as a way to hold myself accountable. 1) Mail Hayden's bday present. Her birthday was July 2. See? This need to get done! and 2) Finish my doula paper work.

There! *brushes of hands on thighs* Now I'm motivated. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Let's Compare the Green Children, Shall We?

Some people tell me they look exactly alike, others claim Marin has "her own look". What do you think?




Joan and Kate


Now that I've looked at the preview of this post, I've decided that these pictures need to be BIGGER. But I am lazy. So another day, I'll post some more.


Marin's birthday ended up being really good. I was a tiny bit sad, but since I had given myself the entire week before to prepare, I was also excited. She, of coarse, did not know anything was different. That is, until we gave her a strangely sticky and super sweet cupcake to try. She was like "This sticky stuff! How curious! And they are not even stopping me from running my fingers threw it. Hmmmm. It would be SO much more appealing if they were saying 'no, no!' I guess I don't want it after all."

We had a tiny party for her with just our family last night. This was more for my bouncing labrador twins than anything. We need to hang the birthday sign! And wrap presents! And sing! And make a cake! And frost the cake! Really, it was sweet of them, even though I wasn't planning on doing all of that yesterday.

Um? I have a ONE year old? Really? You guys, I can't believe it. She still seems so much like a baby to me. Her sisters seemed, oh, 26 when they turned 1. They had been walking for months and had already signed up for the Peace Corps. On the other hand, when Marin really is 26 she'll probably still be nursing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

She Was Also Found Sitting On Top Of Our Kiddie Picnic Table

This morning, shortly after my big girls left for preschool, I left the room for a brief minute... and then I heard a crash. It was the sound of our step stool tipping over on the ceramic tile floor.

Then nothing.

The Inhalation. It was a long inhalation.

(I have a friend who once, when trying to wipe her daughter's nose, caused her daughter to swing her head back -in protest- and crack it on the wooden chair handle. And she used the inhalation to finish digging out the boogers! When she felt bad about it later, I was like, Sister, anything is fair game when it comes to booger removal.)

Then screaming.

I ran into the kitchen and saw blood first, baby second. I scooped her up and in the same motion grabbed some paper towels. She stopped crying almost immediately. Her lip looked awful but not like she would need plastic surgery or anything. The little monkey must have been trying to stand on the step stool? It was completely turned over.

The bleeding stopped soon. She is fine; sporting a bit of a fat lip, but fine.

And we don't even have pictures scheduled for tomorrow! Impossible!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


So I read yesterday's post and comments and a couple of things became clear to me:

1) If I ever reach the "straw down, hosing off kids" phase of parenting, I will also probably be severely mentally ill, considering my neurosis with having things Clean(ish).

2) ECFE is the best! It stands for Early Childhood Family Education, and every school district in this state has this program. They offer classes for parents and children ages birth to 5. The classes are held both during the day for the SAHP and in the evening for the working parents. During class, the parents brake away for part of the time for "parent discussions" while the kids stay with some of the other teachers and play. The fees are based on a sliding scale and are usually DIRT CHEAP. I've been going since Joan and Kate were babies, and now that they are in preschool, I take Marin. I puffy pink heart ECFE.


One week from today Marin will be a year old. I am spending the week in mourning, so that I will be ready to celebrate with her next Tuesday.


Also, according to the running program, I am scheduled to meet an untimely death later this week. I am starting week 5, and the third workout this week is 20 minutes of jogging with no breaks. I'll give you a moment to let that sink in. TWENTY FRICKIN' MINUTES. WITHOUT WALKING.

In truth, I have been learning to enjoy running. I mean, I hate it, but I also like it. And during my 5 minute runs (longest to date), I actually forget I'm running (read: almost dying) for parts of the run. I picture my heart and lungs and brain pink and happy like Black Sheeped suggested. But then, just when I think my pal Rob has forgotten me, he slows it back down to walking and the heaven open up and I hear angels singing. I am NOT dead. See? I'm walking now. Phew!

But 20 minutes sounds extreme. Not unlike dying.

So, just in case, I wanted to tell you all that this blogging thing has been fun. And you are all such better writers than I am. And, well, I'll see you on the flip side?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Down & Up and Today: Holding Steady; Also, Discussion

And... POOF. Just like that, the momentum I was building on Friday- the sense of digging out, getting somewhere- was g-o-n-e. All it took was Marin not sleeping on Friday night, and our Saturday routine was shot. David and I were both tired and crabby, our chores were looming ahead of us, and everything seemed overwhelming.

But then, we DID get things whipped into shape. And things were better again. And we got to see some great friends from out of town. Sunday was a happy day.

So today, I woke to a newly cleaned house. I got the girls dressed and fed and groomed and off to school smoothly. I made the beds. Things today have been chugging along nicely- and I feel like I CAN do this. Like I AM DOING IT.

So the question remains, why is the state of my house so indicative to the state of my mind?


Here's what we discussed in Marin's ECFE class this morning:

What did you think parenthood would be like before you had kids of your own?

WeeeeHellll..... All of us in the class have 2 or more kids, so we are all out of the "first time parenting" phase, so this was a great topic. Here's our list:

-Our kids would never have boogery noses or messy faces.
-their clothes would always match
- they would nap every day until kindergarten
-they would not be mouthy or bratty
-they would not be dirty
-they would eat vegetables
-they would never watch t.v.
-our houses would always be bright and sunny and clean
-discipline would be easy
(there were more, but this pretty much sums it up)

We would still be there, if there were not time limits on the class. Because OH! MY! did we all have lofty ideas of parenting. It made me realize the two most important lessons in parenting 1) life is messy, therefore kids are messy and 2) we are not in control of much, especially when it comes to our children.

Also, I've come to love the parts of our life that are imperfect. I love my girls' messy hair and the baby's smelly neck. I love how ridiculous the girls look sometimes when they dress themselves. I love it that we take them places dressed this way. I love that I lost so much of my rigidity, that I've earned my stripes as a REAL mom, that I have so much mommy experience under my belt. I even fed my baby french fries for lunch yesterday.

It (almost) helps me get up the momentum to clean the high chair- AGAIN.

Give me a few more years of parenting, and I'll be throwing straw down instead of vacuuming and hosing the kids off with the yard hose instead of bathing. And you know, feeding my newborn cotton candy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The NEW!!!! Rhythm and Hum of Things

Oh, my. All of your comments about cleaning made me feel so much better! Thank you. And I've commented on most of them. Perhaps I should have done a follow up post? Nah...

Anyway, I've realized that part of my problem lately is that we are in a state of change and transition around here, and I never do well during these times. That old saying about parenting that says as soon as you get used to your kids' routine, they change it? Well, I KNOW this to be true, but I have yet to LEARN it. Or something. Because every time it throws me.

But the twins are transitioning back into the Preschool Routine, the baby is Mobile and Into Things, and I'm still trying to go about our days like I did last month. Silly me. Now that I recognize that a New Routine is in order, the clarity of our Situation is blowing me away.

Plus, it has truly been Fall Weather here in Tiny Town (the high today is 53 degrees!), so it takes longer to do things. We need shoes AND socks to go outside. And coats. And I need to throw sweatshirts into the diaper bag. And find our warmer clothes. I was used to everyone slipping on some flip flops and hopping into the car. But there are more steps now, and now that I've realized this, I've allotted more time to get out the door.

I am so smart!

Also, the Clutter Factor has been messing with my mental health. But not anymore! This morning, I was a MACHINE. I cleaned out 3 baskets/bins of JUNK that have been accumulating stuff since Marin was born. Seriously, I threw several magazines into the recycling from last summer. Throwing/recycling that stuff lifted something off of me that I didn't realize was weighing me down. Now I'm on a roll. Watch out kids! Don't leave your stuff laying around or it will become GARBAGE.

Throwing stuff out feels sooo good!

I'm kind of high!

Also, I took some Excedrin this morning, so I'm probably ACTUALLY HIGH. Have you guys taken that stuff? It gives me a Buzzzzz like no other.

Buzz! From something over the counter! Happy!

So, to summarize: I realized that the kids are going through some changes, so I need to be flexible and develop the NEW BEAT to our days. AND I'm cleaning out the clutter. And things are looking up.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cleaning Standards

Ok, this may be a Boring Topic for some of you, but for me? Yeah, boring. BUT! Also, interesting. And hopefully helpful. And maybe it will pull me out of my Funk, knowing how the rest of you keep house. Because those of you that are better at it than me? Well, I'll get some ideas. And if you are more relaxed? Than maybe I'll chill a little.

So! Here's how we maintain some level of CLEAN around here.

1) Saturday mornings we spend about 2 hours cleaning. We vacuum, Swiffer the hard floors, clean the bathrooms, take out the recycling, empty the upstairs garbage cans, and (sometimes) dust. The kids help with what they can.

2) Every night, we make sure the dishes are done and the toys are picked up before we go to bed. Waking to a clean kitchen and picked up house helps my Mental Illness, I mean, State a ton.

3) I try to make the beds every day, but if I don't get to it before noon, then I skip it. This is a GREAT RULE, because it allows me to not feel bad when the beds aren't made.

4) I do laundry weekly, in one big push. It usually takes me about 2 days, but then I'm done until the next week. This works better for me than doing laundry every day... and I have less incidents of stuff getting moldy in the washer because I forgot about it. I wash our sheets as one of the last loads of laundry, and I wash the kids sheets.... less often....

5) Daily, I spend SO MUCH time making meals and snacks, and cleaning up after meals and snacks, and cleaning up the kids after meals and snacks, and cleaning the floors and high chair after meals and snacks, and on and on and on.

The thing that makes me despondent is that I spend so much time trying to keep ahead of the Health Department, and yet our house is still a DISASTER most of the time. One solution would be to turn our kitchen into a cement room with a drain in the center, and just hose everything down after eating. But other than that? No idea.

Also, this little "system" does not include any of the Extra Duties that we homeowners have. Gardening, or specifically, weeding, lawn care, clutter control (Office! Closets! Basement! Toy shelves!), organizing the kids outgrown/out-of-season clothes, bathing the children, sorting the mail, keeping the cars clean, cleaning out the garage, etc, etc, etc... We are behind on all of this, which makes me feel like I'm sinking.

The whole struggle stems from the fact that my brain emotes Happy! when things are chugging along nicely, and the house is in decent shape, and it emotes Out Of F*cking Control!!!! when things are messy. And the snowball effect of the "Out of Control" state is alarming and completely overwhelming.


So, how do YOU do it?

(A hired cleaning person is not in our current budget. Or it wouldn't be if David and I HAD a budget...)

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Well, his present was a little lame, and he spent the day being Mr. Mom* while I was at the hospital with a doula client... but he DID get a cake AND ice cream. And a Curious George birthday banner, taped up by a certain 4 year old. Oh, yeah, and party hats.

BUT, he had to make lunch and dinner- something I would have pouted about on my OWN birthday. And when I got home, he had vacuumed the entire main floor (again, on my birthday-HELL NO). AND he was awakened by our rowdy bunch of girlies, eager for him to read his card and open his present.

However, he doesn't possess any romantic notions about birthdays (or anything else, really), so while this wasn't his Ideal Day, I don't think he's feeling bummed or anything. He's so practical. So level. So solid. (I love this about him.) And because he was so kind and cheerful today (and also because, ahem, it's his, you know, birthday), I brought him home a loaf of extra gooey and chunky cinnamon bread, for his toasting pleasure.

So go ahead, wish him a Happy Birthday. We all know he lurks here, so he'll see it.

Happy Birthday, David. I love you!

*On a completely unrelated (to birthdays, anyway) note, we refuse to call it "babysitting" when David is home with the kids while I'm working. It's not Babysitting if the children involved are carrying around 50% of your genes; it's called parenting. Or life. And I'm a lucky lady to be married to someone who agrees with me on this.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


I can't pull out of it.

I'm grouchy and depressed and my worst-mommy-side is showing. I've screeched at my poor little girls waaaaaayyyyyy too much, and they don't deserve it, and I want to explain to them, but I don't know what to explain. So I'll say I'm sorry.

There are ants. We don't know why, or where they are coming from, or what exactly they are eating. But they've taken over a portion of my kitchen. They make me feel gross.

There is much to do, just to keep my head above water. By the time I make the beds, clear the table, put the baby down for a nap, shower, do the dishes, pick up all the tiny (chokable) toys the big kids have drug out, get everyone dressed, do everyone's hair, make a snack, clean up more dishes, kill a bizillion more ants....Well, after I do all that, there are more toys out, more dishes to do, lunch to make, more messes to clean, butts to wipe, diaper pails to empty. You see where I'm going right? How is it possible that ALL of my energy and efforts go into keeping everyone and everything CLEAN, and this place is still a dump???? I do have standards, and they've been lowered a few times during this parenthood gig. I'm afraid if I lower them anymore because... well, I'm just afraid to lower them anymore.

I have to work tonight for the first time in ages (b/c we were on vacation, then the holiday Monday, etc.), so maybe that's just what I need.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Comparisons, Etc.

Isn't it fun to see how the kids grow? Here's Kate and Joan on the first day of preschool last year:

Here they are this morning, and ENTIRE YEAR later:

They look so much older to me! They are taller, with more of the "big kid" legs. And they have more hair. And their faces look so much less babyish. But hey, the rug is still as ratty as last year, and the patio just as cluttered with acorns, so some things never change!

(Also, Marin was still a fetus last year at this time. A FETUS. Crazy.)

Onto other things:

1) We have ants. Not the tiny "sugar" ants. The big black ones. They are in our kitchen, though we have not determined a food source. We see no sign of them in the basement, which was our original theory. They seem to be coming in around a outlet cover. So! Anyone know anything about ants? I would like to think that since we have a brick house, they could not be doing any structural damage, but David- always one to burst by ignorant bubble of bliss- informs me that our house is WOOD under the brick.

I'm afraid to Google them, because we all know what kinds of frightful news Mr. Google will have for me. Also, to add to the horrid-ness of it all: We've been swatting them with the flyswatter or squishing them with tissues, along with David's more vigorous attempts to exterminate them with poison. But yesterday- and this is the gross part- David squished one with his finger and it was BRIGHT RED BLOOD inside. WTF??? None of the others we've killed have had RED BLOOD. This cannot be good news.

2) I need help with what to feed Marin. She's eleven months, breastfed, and will not eat anything but YoBaby yogurt off of a spoon. This means all baby food is out. Here's a list of what I rotate through her system:

Breakfast: Cheerios or Chex, soaked in milk and strained and put on her tray OR YoBaby fruit and cereal yogurt.

Lunch/Dinner: Varies between- whole-wheat toaster waffles, toast, cheesy bread (wheat bread with shredded cheese on top, toasted in toaster oven); peaches, apples, grapes, or pears (fresh, and skinned/chopped appropriately); cheese- shredded or American; frozen peas or steamed carrots (though she doesn't eat the carrots); sometimes rice or Mac-n-chz

Snacks: Various crackers- graham or fish or saltine, any of the above foods that she hasn't yet consumed that day

In her cup: Water

So! As you can see, she has a very limited menu. She won't eat any meat, and she's at a stage where she's refusing pretty much anything but what I've listed above. Do any of you have any brilliant baby/toddler foods that I can add in here? We eat mostly fresh fruits/veggies and try to keep the processed foods to a minimum, so those Gerber "toddler meals" are not appealing to me. (Though I've tried them, and she refused them too. *Sigh*)

Any help would be appreciated!

(Also, the black-hole that is her high chair is killing me. If I have to reach my hand down in her seat one more time and dig out soggy Cheerios or sloppy wet peaches, or dried out chucks of who-knows-what, I'm going to walk out of this house and never come back. Which reminds me, I wonder if I took my vitamin Z today...)

3) David and I are on Week 4 of the C25K program. It has taken us longer than 4 weeks to get there, with vacation and busy-ness and all. And to be honest, I was dreading Week 4. It's 16- SIXTEEN- whole minutes of running! Holy Shit! But I ponied up and did it last night... and it felt great. I mean, it sucked, but it also felt great. I'm beginning to think that's a theme with running? Anyway, I was already congratulating myself halfway through the workout, because I could just FEEL that I was going to finish it.

So here are some of my concerns about running:
-I am running based on TIME and not on DISTANCE. So I'm worried that at the end of the program, while everyone else *would* be running 3 miles during that allotted time, I'll only be doing, say, 3 blocks. Because I'm not fast, people.

-But this *might* be good, because I've also been worried about what will happen when I'm "done" with the program. Programs are good for me. They keep me accountable and give me a goal. So if I'm running the right amount of time, but not yet making it 3 miles, then that can be my next goal.

-But after I've polished off 3 miles, then what? Will I have the motivation to keep running, without a program to follow? If I fall off the running wagon all together, will I ever start the C25K over again, or will that be soooo "last summer"? Basically, where is all this running and pain and crap leading to?

I'm can see now that I should just take it one week at a time, because there's still plenty of chances to mess this whole thing up...

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Top

The Beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. One of my favorite places on earth. Check it:

Boulder Vista:

Grandma with her girls.

Custer State Park:

Marin's Free Ride

Hiking with Grandpa
Mount Rushmore:

My Girls
Check out the rare Sunday post below!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Seven Years

David and I celebrate 7 years of marriage today. That's 2556 days, give or take depending on leap years and stuff. (This is a calculation for David- he handles the Math Issues in our relationship.)

We started as a family of two, and in 7 short- and sometimes long- years, we have grown to a family of FIVE. We have experienced the joy, miracle, and magic of welcoming each new member, as well as the bumps, bruises, and trials of becoming parents. We Survived Twins, sometimes I think we Barely Survived, but we did! We have struggled and changed and grown and reevaluated to be the parents, the couple, the people we are today.

We are different people today. We are more mature; stronger, and wiser. We have gained so much life experience in 7 years.

We are also the same. There are more layers now, and also less hair (him) and more gray hair and stretch marks (me). But beneath it all, we are young, hopeful, optimistic, crazy in love, eager to start our life together.

We were lumps of clay then. Our features were emerging, but we were mostly lumps. We have been molded: by each other, our children, our family, our friends, by God and our church and our faith, by trial and error, by learning on the fly, by success, and also by failure. By jobs and no jobs and having money and times without having money, by business deals and business partners and conflict and resolution. By facing ourselves and each other and wanting to grow and change and Become.

Those lumps of clay now have parts that are clear- our faces, perhaps. Maybe our hands. There are other parts that are taking on more shape- our family, our relationship, maybe our feet- planted more firmly than they were 7 years ago. But there are many parts that are still being molded and sculpted and drawn and redrawn. Our artists are still at work, chiseling away, tirelessly working to make us our most perfect selves. Our hearts are visible, yet changing and growing at an awesome rate.

Thank you, David, for seven years. You have transformed my life, and I cannot imagine it any other way. (Though I can imagine new living room furniture. And a fenced yard. And...)

Thank you Joan, Kate, and Marin. Thank you for challenging us, for not letting us off easy, for holding us accountable. Thank you for teaching us, for giving us room to learn, for your patience and grace and love. It was worth all the sleep loss, the fat lips from your collective fleet of bowling ball heads, the worry and frustration and endless hours of Wee Sing. Yes, you are worth having nothing but "Sally's wearing a red shirt, a red shirt, a red shirt, Sally's wearing a red shirt all day long" in my head. All the time. For you, I will not crush the CD into smithereens. Baby girls, you Rock!

Here's to seven plus seven plus seven plus seven plus eighty more years together.
(David could tell you exactly how many years that is.)