Hear The Love


I feel like she looks tonight.


It’s 12:52 on April 15 and I HAVE SUBMITTED OUR TAXES!

It’s not really worthy of screaming in that I’ve always submitted our taxes on time (as do most people in the United States), but it completely snuck up on me this year.  I started them in January but was missing a few forms, so I set it aside until, oh – say, THE LAST POSSIBLE MOMENT when I finally remembered I wasn’t done.  I’m super smooth like that.

The good news is we’re expecting a check.  The bad news is it’ll take the next six months to arrive since I waited so long.

Want to hear something fun?  I recorded this because I love you.  And I love them.  And I love bleeding ears.

This was the first 20 seconds of our afternoon commute.  Pleasant, no?  It’s louder in person.  It didn’t continue at this pitch and intensity the whole time.  They save that for exceptional days.  But for funsies, play it in a loop.  Over and over again.  Start at one minute.  Work your way up to five, ten, even twenty minutes!  I know you’ll like it! ;)

In fairness, they do this, too…


Just not today.

You know what else is funsies?  The fact that I got up in the middle of the night a few weeks ago to use the bathroom.  When I came back to bed, Tahd got up to use the bathroom.  When he came back, he asked me, “Did you know you left the faucet on?”

Um, no.  Sure didn’t.  Had he not gone to the bathroom himself, I would have left it on all night long.

Tell me…how does one forget to turn off a faucet?


Finally, watch this.  It’s pretty much the best thing I’ve seen all month! I want to be Ria. With the infectious smile and the commercial hair dryer in my kitchen and trippy feet that land her in the water.  That was my favorite moment!

Holding Loosely

Isla and Jude alternated screaming all the way to Gabe’s school this afternoon.

It was super fun.

{Not really}

My anxiety grew during the entire 25 minute trip there, and then I picked up Gabe and my anxiety grew even more all the way home.

Again, super fun.

I reached the last leg of our tortured journey and decided to try something other than pretending I wasn’t anxious.  Instead, I asked, “Self, why are you so overwhelmed?”

And my self answered.  I love it when that happens.  My self is not always forthcoming with her thoughts and feelings.

“I’m angry because I feel completely out of control,” she explained.

Ah!  An answer!  Yes!  That’s exactly how I feel!  Out of control!  And angry about it!

There’s no predictable schedule to when I can make phonecalls (due to all the screaming).  There’s no guaranteed time to take a shower (cue busy toddler).  I can’t count on waking up rested, even if I go to bed early (again, the screaming).  It’s the little things.  And the big things.  Anything getting done is getting done by accident, or haphazardly, at best.

At the next stoplight, I found myself furiously googling “what to do when you feel out of control,” not because I planned to do my heavy research in the car but because then I’d at least have an open tab to remind me of this pivotal reality I’d just uncovered.  Does that happen to anyone else?  You can’t even remember the most important, revelatory things because of all the other noise in your head?

Please say yes! Someone!  ;)


I told Tahd later that I think the secret will not be found in holding more tightly to the control I do have but in holding everything more loosely.

So, in this moment, I have quiet and writing and a podcast, and I enjoy that for the present.  Tomorrow at 10:00 AM, I’ll probably have chatter and poopy diapers, and I’ll enjoy them then because I’ll remember how much I longed to get the chance to have more babies.  at 3:30 PM, I’ll have screaming while we drive, but that will be okay because everyone needs a chance to cry, right?  Holding each moment loosely.  Enjoying each moment with gratitude…I think that will help.

I like the idea.

I’m not very skilled at it yet.

I’m better at obsessing over the past.  Or worrying about the future.

But I can practice.

And I will get better.

Here’s to holding the present loosely and with gratitude.

A Day In The Life

I thought it would be fun to record the details of a pretty ordinary day.  I try to remember what I did during an average day when Gabe was a baby, but life has changed so much that I can hardly even imagine how I filled my time!  These are some little snippets from an average day – this one being last Wednesday.

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7:00 – my alarm rings, a very unwelcome sound to my groggy ears.  My eyes hardly open because Jude had a rough night, waking at 10:30, again at 12:30 (just after I had gone to bed…boo!), and again at 1:15.  At that point, I held/bounced/rocked him to wait him out, and we went back to sleep around 2:30.  He woke up off and on after that, but he was in bed with me so  didn’t keep track.  Not exactly the most restful night!  Gabe helped me reenact this picture.  :)


We’ve instituted a new plan with Gabe and it’s helping our mornings go much more smoothly!  Because of this he was up and dressed by the time I got up, and he got his breakfast and packed things up before I’d even come downstairs for the morning.


I put on some makeup and combed my hair, changed diapers, picked up the kitchen, dressed Isla, and got her breakfast while Jude played and fussed in his bouncy seat and Gabe played Minecraft.


8:00ish – we head to the car for our morning commute just after I apply some Theives oil to everyone to protect against the day’s germs and Joy to myself.  Jude’s opinion of the car seat as a torture device persists, so he throws a fit.


I target a departure time between 8:12 and 8:17, and today we’re on time at 8:16.  Phew!  This gets Gabe to school on time with little stress.  We can leave later than 8:17, but it’s stressful.  Nothing like precise timing!  Breakfast for me is a “nutritious” handful of animal crackers I eat on the road.  I listen to Morning Edition, sing Barney songs to Isla, and pray aloud over Gabe and over our day.

Thankfully, Jude falls asleep somewhere along the way, so by the time we get home he’s cheerier and Isla’s ready to play.


9:00ish – home again!  Mornings are dependent on Jude’s mood, and today he’s reasonably happy.  Isla wants to watch Thomas, so I turn it on.  Mostly, though, she tools around and plays with different things while I read a few emails and blogs, start this post, change diapers, get her a snack, and feed Jude.  Since everyone’s happy, I sneak upstairs to fix my hair and make the beds.


Isla decides she wants to paint, but I’m not up for the tempra mess.  I remember Gabe has an old set of Crayola watercolors…much neater!  I get those out and she “paints” for a while and asks me to paint stars and circles for her while Jude starts getting upset.  I set her up with a bowl of animal crackers and take Jude upstairs to swaddle and put to bed for a nap.

I have to fight the urge to sit around and do nothing during this time on most days.  I can’t get into much because the little people require more of me, so I often feel defeated during this time.  Today was pretty reasonable, although the tv was on much more than I’d prefer.


I throw some Valor essential oil in the diffuser to keep some good energy flowing in the house. Valor is one of my favorites.  I like the smell, and I need to kick in the pants it gives me.

Lunch is “frantches” – peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Isla tells me, “No bed yet?”  Not yet, sis!  Soon, but not yet!  We watch Barney before heading upstairs.

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Isla and I rock and read.  Today, we read “The Hello Goodbye Window.”  It has the most fun pictures, a colorful explosion on every page.  She goes to bed about the same time Jude stirs, so no break for me.  He’s a cranky pants, though, not ready to be awake.  So I lay down with him and we both drift off.

As nice as daily naps feel, I’m starting to crave that kid-free time in the middle of the day – to “find” myself again, at least for a few minutes.  I try to remind myself that this season is short in the grand scheme of things, and I’m absolutely positive that when I’m older one of the things I”ll miss most about this stage is napping with my babies.  So I try not to let guilt get the better of me.

Naps end around 2:30 and we pack ourselves up to collect Gabe from school.  This used to be one of my favorite times of the day – quiet time in the car with Isla, time to read and sing and talk, but it’s a little harder now with a fussy baby.  Hopefully it gets a little less stressful as Jude gets older.


3:30 – I was pretty far back in the line today!


4:15 – We have a little spare time after school, and I mostly use this to pick up because the house was pretty chaotic.  The kids play while I pick up.

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This picture cracks me up!  I know it looks like his head is flopped back uncontrollably, but it really wasn’t.  He was absolutely intent on watching Gabe dance around and craned his neck to follow Gabe’s every move.  He loves to watch both Gabe and Isla!  And tv, but that’s a post for another day.

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Mom gets home around 5:30, and I take the kids over to her house because I have a meeting about Dad’s retirement party and have to pick up Tahd from the airport.  Getting out of the house is a little stressful and I skip dinner to get everything taken care of, but the quiet time in the car is nice and I figure I can pick up dinner later.

The meeting lasts a few hours, which gets me out in perfect time to pick up Tahd at the airport.  I sit in the cell lot for about 3 minutes before he calls to tell me he’s outside.


 8:30 – we stop to pick up Panera on our way home since I haven’t had dinner yet.  We don’t eat there because I didn’t have Mom and Dad put the kids to bed and I know it’ll be past their bedtime by the time we get home as it is.  But I wanted them to have a chance to see Tahd, so I told Mom to keep them up if it wasn’t too disastrous.  We get to their house and I feed Jude and visit with my parents while Tahd plays with the kids, and then we all walk home to our house to tuck everyone in.

Bedtime goes surprisingly well given all the excitement, and then Tahd and I hang out on the couch and I catch up on a little bit of writing until my own bedtime.  Then, it’s lights out and a quick sleep before I get up to do it again!

Small Victories

I had several victories today, events which I thought were deserving of commemoration by writing a blog post…

a) It’s Tahd’s final day of being gone.  He’s been gone every week for the past eight or ten, I think.  Or possibly seven hundred, but there’s a chance that’s my fatigue speaking and said estimate is not entirely representative of reality.  All that to say I SURVIVED.  Phew.  There were a few moments where that was in question, but as long as the next 18 hours don’t unravel, all’s well that ends well!

b) I took a shower while my children were home and awake and no other adults were in the house.  Well, Jude was asleep but the other two were awake.  This is a feat I have been unable to accomplish before today.  Combine that with the previous victory, and you might deduce that this has meant relatively few showers for me during the last eight to ten weeks of Tahd’s travel. You would be correct.  Since he’s been gone, I’ve either showered while the kids were at my mom’s house or after they all went to bed (as long as I wasn’t working and wasn’t bone tired).  Hence, minimal opportunities.  While Tahd’s gone this week, my mom is busy, so today I got everyone situated and then snuck away.  AND NO ONE DIED!  As well, no one screamed or freaked out or threw a tantrum or answered the door to let in a stranger.  That actually happened once.  Again, phew!

c) I ate less than an entire bag of Dove Coconut Truffle Eggs.  This means there are probably still some left for you.  You’re welcome.

So far, the week is shaping up pretty well!  How about yours?

35 Favorites

You know how you make yourself a note to do something and then you lose the note and don’t find it until after you needed it?  Yeah, that was me.  Last year, I saw Elise Blaha Cripe’s birthday post in which she listed favorite things from her year according to her age.  I totally meant to do it this year…for my birthday…in January.

Happy birthday to me?

I started this post a while ago and then promptly forgot about it until last week, nearly two months since my birthday.  And then I thought, So what! And decided it wasn’t too late after all.  So here they are – 35 favorite things from the year when I was 35.


1.  Gabe’s Land of Nod tent – one of my favorite things we’ve ever gotten him.  Then we draped Christmas lights in it, and it’s pure magic.  I kind of want one for myself!


2.  Discovering kale chips – I know they’re a Pinterest sensation that people say is overrated, but I love them.  Other forms of kale, not so much.

3.  Fancy balsamic vinegars – I love vinegar, but I took my love of vinegar to a new level when I found a specialty vinegar and olive oil store where I could do vinegar shots.  So yum!  The peach balsamic was my favorite, and the chocolate balsamic was the most interesting.


4.  New camera body – I got the Canon 60D for my birthday last year, and I don’t know how I ever managed indoor/lower lit photos without it.


5. Finding a church – it was a hard decision to look for a new church, but it was awfully nice to actually find one.


6. Four more years for Obama – I know it was a hugely divisive political  event, but I was really happy.


7. Getting pregnant – what were the odds?  They had to be shockingly not good!  Getting that first {faint} positive pregnancy test was truly a favorite moment of the year!


8. Isla wearing goggles – she wore them sporadically all year.  Often it totally landlocked places – like the hospital waiting room.  What…you don’t need goggles in a hospital waiting room?  Also, my 8b) favorite thing – wrist rolls.

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9. The beach – always.


10. Gabe learning to swim – Gabe took two rounds of swimming lessons in 2012 and they were awful. Completely torturous experiences with bribes and crying and coercing and pleading and tons of anxiety for everyone.   Definitely no swimming.  We stayed in a hotel about 8 months later and out of the blue, he swam!  Underwater!  We have no idea what happened during the 8 months of no swimming, but clearly something happened because we got this!


11. Knitting Jude’s blanket – I loved knitting each of my baby’s blankets.  Jude’s was the trickiest so far, but I had a lot of fun on it.


12. The Influence Conference – attending a blogging conference was on my bucket list, and The Influence Conference in Indianapolis was amazing!  I learned so much and met such wonderful people!

13. Finding out I was going to be an aunt – my nephew should be born in less than two months!  I’M SO EXCITED!

Dallas 12

14. Visiting Texas – Tahd had a work trip to Dallas, so I brought Gabe and Isla and met up with him there.  I’d never been to Texas before, so it was nice to visit a new place.  Flying with a toddler was so much harder than flying with a baby, but in the end it was worth it and I’m glad I put in the effort to make the trip!


15. Going away with Tahd – it was so nice to get away for a little while, especially since we probably won’t do that again for at least a year!

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16. Cake smash! I had the most fun taking these photos in honor of Isla’s 1-year birthday!


17. Gabe’s turns 100 – we celebrated Gabe’s 100 Month Birthday, and I hope we remember to do this with the other two, also.  It was fun to review the meaningful moments of his life with him!

18. Finding out we were having another boy – I wanted to do something fun and special to learn the gender of our 2013 baby, and I loved this entire experience – the beach, the making of the video, and the end result!


19. Girly clothes – I love dressing a little girl!  This outfit of Isla’s was my favorite of the year – an eclectic, frilly set of overalls I got at a yard sale.  The shoes cracked me up, too!  I should have bought another pair for this year because they were on clearance and hilariously cute!

20. Favorite article of clothing – it’s a little hard to see, but I’m in love with my black skirt in the above picture.  It’s a foldover waist jersey skirt from Gap Outlet, and I looooooove it.  It is perfection!


21. Favorite photo – there’s SO MUCH happening here!  I love this picture so much I had it printed and it’s hanging in my stairwell.  Craziness!


22. Christmas Day – Christmas is always one of my favorites, but this year’s Christmas Day was my most favorite Christmas Day.  For the first time since we got married, we spent Christmas Day at home with just our own little family.  I love being with my larger family and wouldn’t want to be alone every year, but it was so fun to get to exhale and just “be” in whatever way we wanted to be.  It was slow and special and I loved it.

23. Favorite lesson learned – I can do hard things.  Even though I feel fragile and like I could break at any minute, I haven’t broken yet.   I’m tough.  Going through pre-eclampsia and an emergency c-section drove this home to me.  I can do hard things, and I’m much stronger than I think.


24. Favorite book – by far, the best book I read last year was A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman.  This book would make it onto my favorite books I’ve ever read, actually.

25. Favorite song – Though You Slay Me by Shane and Shane


26. Favorite photo from Jude’s birth – I loved this moment.  It was after the urgency and fear of the pre-eclampsia but before the magnesium sulfate and the stress of the blood sugar and jaundice.  There was a short window in there of bliss, and this was it.

27. Favorite craft project – I can’t find a picture of my version, but I made one of these circle paintings and it turned out remarkably well!

28. Favorite tv show – The Voice.  The talent is impressive and it’s nice to watch a show that’s positive and not mired in drama and catfights.  Although I do <ahem> love me some Real Housewives, too.

29. Favorite way to declutter – Partway through the year, Easter Seals called us.  Usually, I don’t answer calls like these, but on this particular occasion, I did, and I’m thankful for this because they said they had a truck coming around and did I have anything I wanted to donate?  YES!  Yes, I did!  I’d been collecting stuff in the basement but hadn’t made it to Goodwill yet, and the idea that we could take it to the curb rather than load it into the car and haul it across town?  Fantastic!  Every time they’ve called since then, I tell them we’ll have a donation, even if I haven’t set things aside yet.  It’s a good motivator to fill a few boxes of the excess we’ve accumulated!

30. Favorite app – I love the standards like Facebook and Instagram, but aside from those, my favorite was PicTapGo.  It’s an iphone photo editing app, and it’s so easy to use.  I usually brighten up my photos and this app does it nicely.

31. Essential oils – I was introduced to these a little bit when I was 35 and am looking forward to learning more this year!


32. Favorite quote – this one from Lara Casey fires me up!


33. Sleeping through the night again – Isla didn’t sleep through the night until she was about 14 months old.  It was a delightful development!  Before she started doing it, one night Tahd told me to sleep on the couch and he’d do baby duty all night long.  My couch is super comfy, so this wasn’t an insult or anything – rather, a welcome opportunity!  I took this picture of them the next morning (after I had slept ALL NIGHT!) and thought it was so cute the way she was flopped over on him with his arm around her.

34. Soup.  It’s most often what was for dinner – chicken noodle, beef vegetable, veggie, cauliflower bisque, garbage (e.g. everything in the fridge), black bean, BLT, mexican meatball, tomato basil…

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35. Getting organized – I finally found a simple organizational plan that works for me – a blank notebook and colorful pens.  I started using this in October and it’s still going strong!  This is the longest I’ve ever stuck with one method.

36. Post I wrote – I loved writing this one about birth, and I still think about this one about church, not because it’s my strongest piece of writing but because writing it marked the beginning of a positive shift if my current faith struggles.

37. Post I read on the interwebs – there are SO MANY GOOD THINGS out there!!!  But I think my favorite would have to be this one from Momastery.  Or, because I’m indecisive, possibly this one from Steady Mom.

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