A Baby Shower

I’m going to be an auntie!!!  (Very important – aunt as in “haunt,” not as in “rant”)

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but you can expect to hear about it more because a) I’M SO EXCITED and b) it’s going to be SOON!  Do you know how long I’ve waited for this?  I really can’t wait!

My sister and I talked this weekend about end of pregnancy things that involved centimeters and percentages, and I realized I’m so jealous!  While I have absolutely zero desire to be pregnant right now, I think I will forever love the experience of a new baby being placed on my chest, and knowing that she’s almost there is so exciting to me!  I can’t wait for my kids to have a cousin, I can’t wait to be an aunt, and I can’t wait to learn his name and see his sweet face!

A few weeks ago we threw a baby shower in honor of this first baby. I’ve been on the receiving end of two beautiful showers, but this was the first time I really got to throw one, and it was so much fun!  Her inlaws asked me to share the pictures, so with her permission, here you go!



 We had a vintagey, mason jar theme with burlap and white and a little blue.


I’ve been looking for an excuse to use paper straws!



We went with an open house format rather than a traditional shower format, so we had activities people could do independent of each other since everyone wasn’t there at the same time.  This was a “baby wishes” station where the guests filled out this adorable card. The card matched the invitations, which I loved.  This etsy seller was amazing – very responsive and super fast!


This was another station where people wrote funny or sweet notes on diapers.


Finally, we had a onesie decorating station.   People made the cutest onesies!  I didn’t get a good picture of the end result, but they were really adorable!



Here’s the one Gabe decorated!


They let us all vote on their baby names.  They’re quite undecided!  I voted for Tucker, but I don’t think that’s a front runner.  I think they’re all cute – I’d love a nephew by any of these names!  I wonder, though, if they’ll be like we were with Gabe and bring him home unnamed.  It was such a difficult decision!


Jude made loads of new friends!  He was remarkably easygoing that day.  I think he’s going to be outgoing, because he turned on the charm around all the people!




When everything was over, my mom, sisters, and I went outside to take a few pictures.  These are, quite possibly, my favorite pictures of us.  We did end up getting a few serious ones, but these are the best!



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.

photo 3

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.

photo 2

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.

photo 2

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.

photo 1

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?

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