You’ve read this, right?

I’m totally feeling it.  We have three and a half days of school left.  (side note – I started writing this over the weekend and am just finishing now, so the numbers and weather aren’t right)  I thought it was four and a half until Gabe informed me of the actual calendar.  This happens all the time to me – he comes home and tells me how happy he is that tomorrow he doesn’t have school and I’m like, “What??!? You don’t have school tomorrow????” And he’ll tell me it’s an inservice or something like that, and the plans for my entire week – maybe even month! – are thrown into utter disarray.  How do I not know the school schedule?  How???

And yet, I don’t.  So.  Three and a half days to go.  And then it’s all summer, all the time, right?


Unbeknownst to Gabe, I’m repeating last year’s summer plan and calling it Mom’s Summer Institute of Learning.  It’s not so much that I worry about the summer slide.  It’s not that I don’t believe in unstructured free play.  It’s that we’re going to go completely crazy without structure and something to do.  Especially if it’s Gabe who has no structure and nothing to do…

It’s such a weird transition because I go from having a very rigid day that consists of morning routine, an hour of driving, a few hours play, lunch and naps, many hours of driving, supper, night routine to having these big, unscheduled spans of time, which makes me totally anxious.  Eight to five is a loooooonnnnggg time to fill when you’re used to only filling 9:00 to 12:00, you know?  So, summer learning it is.

Mostly, I intend to force us to read books an do art projects, which shouldn’t be too traumatic.  But I have…what, three and a half days to figure it out?

Better get crackin’…


Apparently the weather did not get the memo about the whole three and a half days until summer thing, because…



This.  Specifically, the column of “Feel.”  Wisconsin, I have a lot of “Feels” toward you, and THEY ARE NOT GOOD.


And a few pictures of life lately…










When Everything Changes (And Why I’m Blogging Less)

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Off they sailed into the wild gray sky, but if shrieks and sobs could have held any power, those balloons certainly would have returned after Isla’s dramatic performance.  Usually my amiable, happy-go-lucky child, I wasn’t quite sure what to do when, at her cousin’s birthday party, she totally lost her mind when the cluster of balloons with which she was playing got swept away in the wind.

Like, totally. Lost her everloving mind. Not an understatement.

She wailed – big, heaving, snotty, red-faced wails – for almost an hour.  And even after that hour had passed, her anguish existed only just under the surface, threatening to erupt at any moment.  I had no idea what to do.  The scene she made was spectacular! I just kept reassuring her that no one was upset with her that the balloons floated away and that we could get more balloons another day and everything was going to be okay.

Times a million.

That was two weeks ago, and it’s been chilly here since then, so it wasn’t until this week that I again braved the great outdoors with the kids.  I’d wanted to strap them into the stroller for a quick run, but since Tahd had the car and I’d forgotten to ask him to take out the stroller before he left, I figured we could just play in the yard.

I was wrong.

“Let’s go inside, Mommy!  I want to go inside!  I want to go inside and be lonely! (i.e. if you’re not going in, at least let me go in by myself!) Can we go inside now, Mommy? Let’s go be warm and cozy inside!  Let’s go in!” Over and over and over again, my girl inexplicably begged to get out of the sun and into the house.

Finally, I overheard her talking to herself about balloons, and the lightbulb clicked.

“Isla,” I asked as it dawned on me, “Are you afraid your something is going to blow away? Like the balloons did at Bentley’s party?”

Yes, oh yes!  She was.  In fact, she wasn’t just afraid something was going to blow away.  She was afraid everything was going to blow away.  She was afraid SHE was going to blow away.  How terrifying!

I hadn’t realized it at the time, but it made so much sense in retrospect.  The balloons’ great escape was so traumatizing not because she lost a fun toy but because she lost the certainty of the natural world.  All of gravity came into question.  The world was no longer a sure thing.  I can see how that’d be a kind of big deal!  Sobbing for an hour seems sensible under those parameters.  I’ve cried over much less!

Seems like there’s probably a lesson in there for grown-ups somewhere, but I’m too tired to dig it out.

So that’s what we’re working on this week – trying to teach a 3-year-old to think logically about gravity and helium. I’m sure you’ll have noticed the several apparent challenges in that sentence, not the least of which is trying to get a 3-year-old to think logically about anything…


I’ve been blogging her much less frequently over the past several months and am kind of bummed about that.  I started to write as a way to keep track of my family’s stories, and there are already things that have happened that I wish I’d have had time to write down!  The deal is that I have two other projects going on right now.  First is a site I’ve been working on for 7 months now, Loving Motherhood More, and if you haven’t stopped over, I’d love to see you there!

The second is some extended writing.  I’m not totally sure of the format it’s going to take; one part is more of a workbook and then there are two somewhat rambling, more story-ish parts, but I’m deeply (deeply!!!) hoping to have some of it finished in the next 8 weeks.  Initially, I’d hoped to complete it sooner, but I found I was spending all my time writing blog posts, which never got me further on my other projects.  So I decided I’d cut back my blogging to once or twice a week on each site until I’d wrapped up at least one.  Hence the extra quiet.

Just thought I’d let you know. :)


Being 5 is a big deal.

Five would be kindergarten.

Five would be loose teeth and the tooth fairy.

Five might be pierced ears and first sleepovers.

But you’re not five.  Instead, you’re eternal, because you’re not here.  Not with us.  Which is okay and not okay at the same time.  I don’t spend every day wondering what you’d be like or how life would be different if you’d stayed.  But on anniversaries like this, I can’t help but let my mind meander over what I wish had been.

These are the things I wish I could tell you.

On Knowing

For the longest time, I haven’t know what I wanted our family size to be.  I knew I was super happy to hit the 2 kid mark, and very happy to hit 3.  Not that I was less happy to hit 3, but because of all the infertility and loss between #1 and #2, it was just different.  After Jude was born, I was absolutely, positively certain that if I ever wound up pregnant again I’d want to go jump off the nearest tall cliff, but as time went on and he grew (and, quite honestly, as he cried less, although he still cries a lot), my views softened.  Maybe, I fantasized. Maybe 4 is a good number…

A few months ago, I said I was pretty sure we were moving in the direction of being done.  And then a funny thing happened.  So says I.  My husband might view it as less funny and more terrifying…

I’d been having strangeness with my cycle each month, so I set up a few appointments to investigate.  (Aside: no, this story is not going to end with a surprise pregnancy announcement.)  At one of those, a fancy ultrasound, I asked the tech if she’d mind just swinging by my ovaries to count how many antral follicles I had.

For the uninitiated, antral follicles are basically eggs in your ovaries that are resting for a few months before possibly being used.  In what is a gross oversimplification, resting antral follicles are eventually recruited to be developed to potentially ovulate, and of the eggs that are ready to potentially be ovulated, one is chosen as the winner.

Sort of like the Biblical story of Esther, except on a cellular level.


The long and short of it is that the more antral follicles you have, the more eggs your ovaries are likely to contain, and, therefore, the more fertile you probably are.  Declining antral follicle counts have been an excellent predictor of many fertility-related issues, including things such as poor response to ovarian stimulation medications and decreased likelihood of pregnancy.

When I did ivf, I had 14 antral follicles.  This was considered borderline, and I wasn’t eligible for cost-sharing opportunities because my antrals were on the low side.  After I miscarried, my antrals had dropped to 8 or 9, and they told me if I wanted to do ivf again with my own eggs, I needed to move on it asap, because my window for using my own eggs would probably be closed within about 6 months.

Of course, in 6 months, I actually defied the odds and got pregnant on my own, and when I had an ultrasound after Isla was born, my antrals were counted to be in the mid-20s.  This is completely and totally crazy; antrals don’t typically go up.  It was also one reason I felt good about trying for baby #3.  Somehow, my body had rebounded a bit, and I hoped everything would run smoothly one more time.  Thankfully, it did.  We got pregnant with Jude within about 6 months.

Back to the funny thing.

The sonographer, the same one who’d found my 20+ antrals after Isla was born, obliged and did a quick antral count.  There were 7 on the right, and I started panicking a little.  Seven? That’s not a ton.  Maybe the left will be better.  She headed over in that direction to a whopping 2.  Two antral follicles.  That was it.

So, apparently, I have a grand total of 9, which is a remarkably poor predictor for future fertility potential.  Of course, I got pregnant with Isla with this many so it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility.  But it’s not as promising as it was after I had her and had so many.  It’s much less likely.

The funny thing?  How I reacted when I felt like the choice was being taken away from me due to apparent decreased fertility.  It was very much an anxious NOOOooo!  I wanted this to happen!  Honestly, it caught me off guard.  I mulled it over for several days, and realized that yes, in fact, I do want another baby.  Huh.  It’s nice to know what I really want.

However, even though it’s what I want, I still haven’t decided if it’s a risk worth taking.  Preeclampsia was no picnic, and with the increased risks to me and my health, I’m not sure it’s fair to the rest of my children to put myself in that position.  I have more thinking to do in light of those potential issues.  I spent a good deal of time talking to the doctor about them.

The good news is that if we were to decide to go for a #4 and successfully got pregnant, the doctor said I’d be eligible to attempt a vbac.  This is contrary to what I’d been told earlier, when a different doctor told me I wouldn’t even be eligible for a trial of labor.  I’m not opposed to either option, actually, but, again, I like having all my options open.  So that was a reassuring bit of information.

Project 365 Update

I started a Project 365 photography experiment at the beginning of this year.  Although I didn’t expect I’d be able to completely keep up with it, I’m in more of a lull right now than I’d anticipated.  So I thought a little update of a few of my favorite pictures thus far might reinspire me to continue.

Here are a few of my favorite images since my last update:


I know – I technically didn’t take this one.  But I arranged for it to be taken.  That counts, right? 😉


Covered bridge. I had no idea if this one was going to turn out. It’s hard to read the LCD screen in daylight.  But I was so happy once I saw it.  I want to bathe in that sort of light!


Isla had picked these flowers.  I was trying to take a picture of them, and the next thing I knew, this was happening.messyjude


Nutella FTW!


Spring is coming!


Gabe was reading Jude’s favorite book, Little Gorilla, to them.


Attempting a contemplative self-portrait


I love every single thing about this photo.  Except the tag.  Oh well!


Because a baby using an iphone is totally normal…


She looks like a teenager to me here!



Spring tulips


Can you tell which one of my children doesn’t like having pictures taken? 😉

And here’s my PSA for the day – pick up your camera! The pictures don’t have to be perfect or even lovely.  Some of my favorite images are technically a wreck.  You will not regret having them.  You may regret not having them.  Just start – or start again – where you are today.

(<ahem> note to self…)

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