of admitting my ignorance.

Remind me to tell you about the time my husband took us to an Ethiopian Restaurant. I KNOW. Who does that? Like they have all this extra food to go around and set up restaurants and all. Anyway, remind me to tell you about the part about the baskets coming out with the tray of food and how I didn't want to use those dirty dishrags in the baskets to wash my hands. Only. That was the folded up cold bread (think giant grey crepe). For eating the food with. As there were no utensils.

And how often I kept looking for dead flies in my soup. Because the only thing I knew about Ethiopia was that my mom always used to tell me children are starving there and I had to eat everything on my plate. And the commercials depicting these children always had flies crawling on their eyeballs and in their mouths. So naturally, it would be all over any of the food they got. When they would get some, right?

And then I had no idea what I was eating off the huge sampling platter, but I was a good sport and tried almost everything, using pieces of the dirty dishrag. Naturally.

And then Sylvia busted out that whole 'hey I have to crap in my diaper only my intestines aren't fully developed yet so it sounds like machine gun diarrhea explosions over a megaphone' while we pleasantly carried our conversation over it. As if it's ENTIRELY normal for sounds like that to come from a dinner table in public. Until neighboring dishrag eaters stopped eating in unison to stare in awe of the fabulous mouth watering sounds coming from our direction. Sounds we have apparently grow too comfortable with and barely noticed prior to gawking. Which then sent me into teary-eyed, red-faced laugh resist mode.

And THEN how awesome do I feel when the waitress asks if I want to take the rest of the food home once we pay the bill? HELLOOOOOO flies on the kids' eyes come to mind again and I feel so guilty for not taking home or eating those last 3 tablespoons of brown and green foods and all those folds of dishrag still in my basket! She waited and asked again as if I should have read her mind 'I know kids are starving, I got it.' I really hesitated and then thought- well maybe they have some special program where they take care of their own and send the leftovers back to Ethiopia. I decided to leave with that idea in my head. It feels less.....wasteful?

On my way out I scratched my head in confusion when I passed framed pictures of resort-like tropical beaches and beautiful buildings.

Apparently, I don't know so much about Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, back at the car, Mike has this hidden knowledge about anything and everything Ethiopian. Like he might as well have lived there. And eaten flies. I love this about him. All the while we were eating he was thinking about their former wars and history while I am trying repeat in my head 'it's not a rag, it's not a rag' while I choke down the bread and wonder who else in their right mind decided on Ethiopian tonight as I glanced around the other filled tables. Making jokes about how I want to grab my bread at both ends, twist it up like we're in a locker room and give him a kinky snap on the rear.

I love this about us. Often each of us is on a much different page.


i call it the volcano exploded

So. It turns out. I'm really good at making cake.

Oh! And frosting, too!


conspiracy theory

I have a bone to pick with The Wipes Industry. I'm pretty certain we are being had. Played for fools.
You see, I distinctly recall using them for the first time 5 years ago with my first child. I would open the lid, pull out a wipe, and receive one. Another would be waiting in the wings, happily, like a proper tissue poking its head out of the box just so. Waiting for the next use whenever I needed it.
Now? NOW wipes are all crazy connected. You pull one and get 25 of them interlocked and stuck together. My friends, this is no accident. I know exactly how this has come to be.

You see, I envision The People within The Wipes Company sitting in a conference room. Many with grown children no longer needing a wipe. There are profit and loss statements scattered about the room, charts on the wall indicating a fall in sales, pressure to find a way to make the numbers look better. Members of the Advertising and Marketing teams are present. They rack their brains to figure out how to make people have more babies. Or how they can steal market share in The Wipes Category. They complain about how low the prices are with independent label. They study proto types of new wipe containers to get an edge above the heavy competitors. They review market research data.
Then someone realizes there is no advertising campaign sexy enough to entice people have more babies. BUT! He realizes there is a way to manipulate the product to cause people to use more of it. This will cause the consumer to buy it more often. By simply making LOTS of wipes come out instead of just one. Genius.
Because when you have a 30 pound kid in your one hand by the feet and a load of smeared diariah clinging to his rear, there's no way you are going to set him down to use both hands to get one wipe at a time. You are going to take what comes out and deal with it. Which is essentially 34% of the package. Even with a 2 wipe job, you are managing the number of wipes that comes out waaaay more than you need to; working to shove some back in while you get sprayed in the face by a rogue stream.
It's actually a brilliant business plan. But completely SUCKS for the consumer. When I change my kid's diaper I'm not thrilled with the friggin magic trick of 625 scarves that come out of the hat. I want one wipe at a time. What happened to one wipe at a time?
Could be a far fetched conspiracy theory. But you better believe the next time you change a diaper, you'll be with me on this one.


8 is great

I admit it, I actually love this show. It's one of the things I miss about not having cable. I used to watch the show after putting the kids to bed when I lived in California. I would watch it while folding laundry before going to bed alone while Mike was away for work. And I would enjoy watching the couple work through the episode and realize they were imperfect just like every other couple. And that's what I enjoyed about it. It was real. They were real. I shut the television off at night, missing Mike and even appreciating our own imperfections as a couple and the challange to work through those times when they would arise.
You know, kids changes a lot of things in a marraige. 8 kids that fast added into a marriage must change it so far beyond what the rest of us could imagine. In fabulous and challanging ways.
I haven't seen the show in a long time, so I don't know the current story or any details about what's going on that has caused her to file for divorce. But have you ever had a disagreement with your spouse in front of someone else? Or brought someone else in on the two sides of the story when you're at odds? It gets handled a little differntly, doesn't it? When there is an audience, we tend to beat our chest a little more and have a stronger desire to 'win' because now we have to save face. And that desire sometimes grows greater than the actual circumstance and greater good of the situation at hand. I can't imagine what bringing in a national audience and media reports does. It must amplify and confuse those feelings like 1,000 times more.
The fact is, every marriage has components that wouldn't make sense to an outsider. Every couple has individuals in it with quirks the other person learns to live with because they know and love this other person infinitely. And over time we come to understand and appreciate each other even with our weaknesses. And we are human, so we all at times don't handle situations perfectly well or treat the other like the king or queen we ought to treat them as. And we are human so we love and forgive and move on. Only...... if there is an audience telling us we should care more about those quirks, we would start to see them differently. We would start to feel like a fool or like we ought to battle every imperfection as if it were a mountain when in reality, we would normally accept it as a mole hill. Or a non-issue altogether.
I think these are the reasons reailty couples struggle so much and crumble. Because they are trying to please each other AND the general public. Few marraiges could handle that kind of pressure.
photo from cnn.



these two bonding well so far.

this one is pure sweetness.

window shopping at naartjie

Thanks for the outfit for Sylvia from Naartjie, Mariah. Now I am in love since going into the store to check it out more. I love every single skirt. Very unique prints/styles for kid clothing. And I love how everything feels soft like pajamas.



My head is spinning at a loss for words at the moment, which always seems like a good time for me to write. And sort my thoughts out like a messy deck of cards strewn across the floor. Shuffle them all up nicely as the fingers hit the keyboard.

I remember taking my son with me to get my drum set in a faraway suburban town in New York where they have vineyards. It was less than an hour from Montauk, so it was close to the water and had a very beachy scent to the air. I found the ad on Craig's List and knew very little about the woman selling the drums. As I arrived I learned bits and pieces of her story that centered all around this drum set. She was moving out of the home and it was her son's drum set she was eager to get rid of. Her son, now an engineer. A grown man on his own. He used to play the drums in the finished basement with his friends and took very good care of it. I instantly loved that she was a mother that supported and encouraged her son to play such a loud collection of instruments. And provided a space for him and his friends to routinely rock out in the basement. I loved her smile when she spoke of him and I wondered if she missed having him around to take care of and watch over. As she assisted me in dismantling the drum kit and sticking it piece by piece, much like a game of tetris, into my tiny CRV, I kept my own little son tucked close to my side. He was less than 2 at the time. I wondered if he would one day play my new drums and have a band of his own as well. But I knew for certain if he did, I would find a space for him and encourage it.

I wondered about this mother's story as I drove away, wanted to know more about them. And how we were at such different places in life with motherhood. Me just starting out and her selling the drums he left behind years ago all dusty in her basement. Mother and son relationships especially intrigued me then as I had never been a son nor a mother before. I'm not sure how the script should read. But we're all writing our own as go, aren't we.

The past couple weeks the script is out of sorts. It has scribbles on it, lines I wish I could have said better or not at all, moments I wish I could redo, and some I wish I could enjoy over and over with this little son of mine. Who is now the oldest of three children in our family. He's getting harder now, more challenging and smarter. And I think and wonder often of his future, all the ways we can help him prepare for life and all that he needs to know. These days I consider more important things than what kind of instrument he will play. All along the way just really wanting to do it all so perfectly. And really kicking myself in the head when I don't.


Tonight I just read an email about a nice women who visits me from church once a month. She is one of my visiting teachers. I loved her immediately for reasons I couldn't place right away. She has a quick wit about her, an easy but sure smile. She's raised several children and I believe many are around my age. I read tonight that her oldest son passed away last week. I don't know any details and I don't need to know any of them to imagine the grief she must be feeling.

As I rocked my freshly bathed baby girl to sleep tonight I watched her face and thought about how new she is. How much I still get to experience with her. How many memories we still get to build and firsts to explore with her! How easy her needs seem to meet right now and how it might also get more complicated to teach her the older she gets.

I also thought about this mother and how many memories she has with her son. I hoped her mind is able to flash through them like a slide show of all the special moments they had in his life and how important their relationship was to each of them. And finally, I thought about how the children we get are just on loan. They really aren't ours. They are The Lord's and He's going to want them back one day. We don't get to pick when that will be. And that has been a nice reminder for me to have right now.


The Update

Week One: Was bliss. Dad home 100%. We got to enjoy each of our children and blend Sylvia into the family smoothly. It was easily one of my very favorite weeks of my entire life. There was just something special about feeling together as a new family of 5 fo so many days in a row without anyone missing.

Week Two: With Dad back to work we knew help would be welcome. Meals brought in, grandparents stopping by to help, and friends bring by gifts and cookies almost every day. Busy. Doctor appointments. All kids got sick. Although Sylvia started sleeping 4-6 hours at a time at night, I was up checking for fevers often and stressing out to the max about the two littles the most. Friday was my very first day by myself and let's just say we're grateful for movies. I was official sick by Saturday. Week Three: I have to say being one man down in a one man operation is sort of a problem. 4 nights in a row I have been up through the night coughing my brains out. Finally today I got proper medicine and diagnosis to get better. Oh if only I could sleep for longer than a 2 hour stretch and cough-free. That will be a glorious night. Almost as glorious as the evening of the six week mark. Which is taking a really long time to arrive for some reason! Kids are on the mend and help once again will be needed this week while I get better. I am so grateful for family, friends, neighbors. Bonus- I found my waist again this week. It's barely starting to show itself, but I was happy to see it again none-the-less.

It's so interesting how easy a baby's needs are when you compare them to the ages that come after newborn. She's a piece of cake! Well, more like a little doll I get to dress in all sorts of outfits, try out accessories and brush her hair all pretty.


The Transition

So. Today's my first day on my own with three. And I have to offer- I am getting sleep. So the hardest part of having a newborn isn't even a factor somehow. It's a miracle. The miracle baby. I don't deserve what a gift both her and this sleeping gig are for me. World of difference.

While I was in the hospital I had time to think about how I want this transition to go. I made a list of the needs of each family member so I could look at it often and make sure I am remembering each person. The ways they are used to feeling special, the things they enjoy doing, and things that make them happy. Including myself and my needs to stay hydrated and snack often to keep up with all that is being sucked out of me around the clock (literally and figuratively). It's funny how easy it is to forget about your own basic needs so easily and how those needs keep you moving like fuel in a car.

I also decided I need to look at each day the way Hugh Grant does in the movie About a Boy. 30 minutes intervals. Most of those are peaceful chunks of time and needs are being met for one or more people. There will also be some 30 minute intervals where everyone needs me at once and there is crying and a ringing phone and an exhausted mommy that want to escape. But that hectic 30 minutes will end and the next 30 minutes is bound to be better. Or maybe the one after that. We can all deal with anything for 30 minutes- even screaming kids and burning dinner, right? With an unpredictable nursing schedule this is a good way for me to allow for demand feeding and not feel chaos by the lack of ability to predict the entire day. And also a realistic way for me to approach a window of time where my arms are free. It's not likely I can clean the whole kitchen at once because within 30 minutes something else is going to need to be addressed. So when I start into something I want to accomplish, I realize it's most likely going to be interrupted a lot more often than I am used to. For a while, anyway.

BUT! I still have goals! And they start small. This week all I care most about making sure we are all clean and fed. The dishes, laundry, crumbs on the floor, developmental kid activities- it can all wait for another week until I can integrate more into my daily life and juggle better. Only adding a little at a time at a pace that I can handle.
And so help me if we have ONE MORE MISSING FLIP FLOP in this house I am going to start stapling them to heads. Really, I'm doing great! Totally holding it all together here.