7 quick takes

Linking with Conversion Diary, a blog so so so good and smart

1. I had every intention of making it to Vacation Bible School on Thursday. Halfway there, the debilitating stomach ache and migraine convinced me otherwise. As I began to make the left hand turn into my driveway, I hesitated. “The kids are inside,” I thought. I drove forward 40 more feet and parked in my sister’s/neighbors driveway. Away for the week, the neighbor boys would be unable to notice me curled into a ball in my car, listening to Pearl Jam almost on mute and writing notes of “To-Do’s” on the front cover of a Veggie Tales Coloring book.

2. 10-15 minutes into the Veggie Tales manifesto of grocery lists, my big sister finally responded to the “can I break into your house,” text. She asked no questions, just gave me the go ahead, maybe because she’s a genius. After raiding her pantry, I curled into her sons bed and drifted off to a ‘I’ve never taken a nap at 9am, nor have I ever slept on plastic sheets, but its the greatest time to nap and plastic sheets are only moderately annoying,’ best idea for a nap, ever.

3. On the evening of June 27, my family celebrated the 31st birthday of my older brother, Joey, who passed 4 years before my birthday, and 20 days before his second. Every year we celebrate, it makes me smile more. As a kid, we saved him a seat, we watched his favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz, as my parents strived and succeeded in keeping his memory alive. Last night, my children sang, my parents recalled memories, I felt a presence I’ve never met, strong and true, confident that vocations don’t end at death, and we all drank entirely too much milk shake. Happy Birthday, big brother.

4. If there are any theologians searching for some extra part time work, we could use a few around here. In the past few days, James has dished out, “Who made God,” “Why did God make bad guys,” “Does God love Bad guys too?” and “Can I bring my light saber to Church incase the bad guys that killed Jesus are there?” I believe this is called, the “beginning to deal with the existential but still mostly 3 years old” stage of spirituality.

5. And onto diaper news, Josie’s almost out. The problem, however, exists in her only occasional interest in the toilet. Carpets, apparently, seem like a much more reasonable location to her, because at two, all things desired are reasonable, and there is absolutely no better way to get a big brother to laugh more uncontrollably than the bowels at center stage.

6. When I volunteered to help teach Vacation Bible School at my parish, I expected a certain amount of requests and lessons learned from the Big Man. I, in no way, however, anticipating facing my biggest fear of them all in front of 50 small children. Given my surroundings, I, was, therefore, incapable of running away and screaming while flailing my limbs as the horrible, scariest animal in all of the kingdom stared into my soul with his unmovable eyes, which is the absolute worst characteristic an eye can possess. Eyes are meant to move! Heads are not mean to spin! And wings should make noise! Silent flight means there is no way of anticipating an attack! Next year, if the theme has anything to do with animal life, I’m definitely going to be busy for the finale. And while I do realize, fearing an owl is rather irrational, I’m also irrationally afraid of Mr. Bean and Robert Duval, so judge away. I also learned that the 4 year olds at my parish know wayyyy more about animal wildlife than I do.


And if you don’t think this is terrifying…ahhh!!!!

7. My kids have absolutely no idea how much Kale and how many Chia seeds they’ve been eating because if pineapple and blueberry are also ingredients in a smoothie, the taste is undetected, and, obviously, I’m a genius.

raining disappointment.

I noticed it mumbling quietly in the distance almost immediately. The sun shining bright, skies as blue as our bathing suits, children splashing violently in the baby pool as they swam back and forth swiping toys from those weaker and unsuspecting. Sure, I was whole heartedly enjoying time together with a great friend, and it would be hard to disappoint the little ones by going home early. Considering their refusal to ever leave a fun place regardless of hours spent, naps missed, or multiple and overly generous “5 more minutes” extensions, and relative lack of understanding of the concept of time, they were not my concern nor was I. It came again, still muffled, but a bit more coherent. I glanced at him and saw it. Multiple swear words swarmed the interior of his mind, nostrils flared, sighs frustratingly exhaled, feet discretely stomped the pavement surrounding the baby pool, his outdoor hockey game being dangled in front of him threatening to be viciously gobbled up by the thunder. “I think its just the heat?” I tried to comfort with words and smiles, but it was of no avail, only silent hoping and promise of boundless permission to reschedule appreciated. I offered both, but, if I’ve learned anything after 5 blissful years, its that even the tiniest teensiest threat of rain is the worse than the apocalypse on a hockey night.  

Somewhere mid chicken and vegetables the once and for all came pouring through the sky and most likely threw our roof too. In the abbreviated silent but glaring words of my husband, F. 

He held each trembling child with every bolt and thunderous bang striking his heart much harder than the sky or ground. The line up, the early arrival home from work, the pre game carbs, the extra effort to mop the floor in gratitude and in hopes of an easier exit, the hopefully imagination of skates, sticks, pucks, and lay outs…gone, definitely for a night that will feel like an eternity for my always eager, whole hearted-amateur back yard- celebrity look a like- roller hockey star. 

Rain: ruining fun, naive sense of control, and roller hockey in particular, since always. 


Why does it smell like a fish hatchery?

“Why does it smell like a fish hatchery in here?”

Ever since the first morning we came into the kitchen to find Josie crawling on the kitchen table, we knew she was part baby ninja-magician. The cheerios provided to keep her busy and happy in her highchair while I ran up the steps to retrieve her older brother, dulled in comparison to the bacon and eggs waiting for the rest of the solid food eating family. So when she began hopping out of the crib and to the tippy top of the pantry long before her second birthday, I couldn’t help but say, “I guess I saw it coming,” but pretty please go back to sleep and stop eating entire bags of candy from the top shelf at 5am. Nonetheless, despite the warning signs of her Houdini-esque skills, yesterday’s events will forever top the list of the most repugnant.

It all started with an avocado. Rita ate an entire one the night before. Naturally, it was a pamper bomb of hiroshima proportions. I carried her messy chunky bum to the changing table and began. LIke every good ninja, Josie noticed my weakness and distance. James was occupied with the hose per usual, so she knew his laughter would be of no alarm. Chair pushed, counter climbed, cabinet opened, vitamins found, Omega 3 fish oils targeted. I tend not to worry about the vitamins all too much because they are child proof and she is two. And maybe I should contemplate discontinuing the astute brain pills because it seems like she’s a little smarter than I would like her to be already (this is a joke, i would never). Onto the story… she somehow finagled her little fingers and pop! hundreds of tiny strawberry flavored cod liver oil gel balls blanketed my floor like algae on our tank. I heard the giggle from the table. Its more of a “sound of something bad” than laughter, and I’m confident Simon and Garfunkel could write a good song about it if they spent 10 minutes with her. I slapped on a diaper and ran to find her ingesting so many of them!! I put Rita down (huge mistake!) and tried to clean them up as fast as possible. I asked James to help (also a mistake!) who began to laugh so hard i feared he would accidentally induce vomiting. I frantically raced to get them in the bottle, the garbage can, out of Rita’s hand, into the dustpan, out of her hands, out of Rita’s mouth!!! The cookie monster had nothing on her eating growl, and James’ full body laughing hysterical fit only fueled her rampage. Before I called poison control, I read the bottle and calmed down. No side effects, other than THE WORST SIDE EFFECT OF ALL (other than something that actually could have harmed her).

It began slowly. We went to the pool and I noticed something other than a chlorine stench. Hmm I thought, maybe its an imaginary sea air because we are swimming? In the car, it grew. Maybe its the trash outside? After her nap it was clear that the strawberry flavor to mask the taste does absolutely nothing to mask the horrendous smell that came oozing out of each and every sweat gland in her body. I tried a bath. No, she still reeked. We went outside. Worse than bait. As Jim entered the house, I saw him sniffle from afar. He walked in confused, looked at the stove to see if I was cooking the ocean, and then, turning to me, said “why does it smell like a fish hatchery?” I explained, and he was repulsed. And for the rest of the evening we did what any good parent would do: we took her to our siblings, and parents, and out for ice cream just so everyone else could smell her too.


**this picture was not taken during the event described, although it is an accurate display of her skill, determination, and general lack of interest in rules.

Do you have any smelly stories to share? Nothing like a good old stink bomb to start the weekend!

look how much I can type when the hose is on and rita is nursing.

Some lessons learned before 10 am on a Wednesday

– Rita’s new found screaming before 6am is capable of waking an entire household in reverse hierarchical order, which causes Mom to find all three kids in one crib playing “jump over the baby” while Dad continues to snore and sleep undisturbed. 

– 7:00 am pool workout is the greatest way of escaping said crib fiasco. Our marital commitment to encourage hobbies and exercise for the save mom’s sanity. 

– drinking too much coffee before a swim workout equates to a very close call with vomiting in chlorine. 

– Last summer, I blamed being 9 months pregnant on my inability to properly swim backstroke. Rita in utero hated laying on her back just as much as Rita out of utero hates laying on her back. Apparently, my poor backstroke speed and form have only me to blame. 

– Children that are not mine and over the age of three are capable of sitting by the edge of the pool and reading while their mom works out in the pool. Envy almost turned my shivering blue lips green.

– Even when feeling defeated because my backstroke stinks, my children are still impressed that I swam in the big pool “all by myself and without a diaper.” Thanks, kids.

– Showering after a workout is a trick only made possible by a mom magician or saintly children. Chanel N5? No, just chlorine and sweat, but thanks for asking. 

– The hose is my favorite invention since the baby wipe.

– Naptime is still 41/2 hours away. 


Happy mothering to you.

Mom Confessions

Mom Confessions

The little trick Josie pulls off to hop out of cribs is also the trick she attempts at church to hop over pews and run away. I turned around to find her straddling the back pew giggling, saying “horsy, horsy, I ride horsy.” She hopped right on over to the other side before I could put the baby down to stop her. Through the doors and into the back she went, worrying little as to if anyone would follow. I thought about letting her go until I saw the faces of those around me: eyes wide, jaws dropped. To the back of church I went to retrieve my hippie daughter.

We went to Red Lobster for Dinner. 6 adults, 9 children. My father requested, and since it was the continued celebration of the day dedicated to dad’s, we piled in, and ate out. The hostess was less than amused, and the waiter asked for two helpers. They stuck us in a back room as far away from the other patrons as the restaurant layout allowed. 4, 376, 346 crayons covered the table. 4, 376, 347 cheese biscuits were consumed within a 36 second time frame. James wanted them all and cried because 8 others said no. Josie told the waitress to bring her macaroni and ice cream as soon as we sat down. Rita grabbed a cheese biscuit and squeezed it to death out of excitement. Jay grabbed a hold of a live lobster. James asked if that’s the one that they would eat. I tried to explain that Red Lobster doesn’t really work that way, but, I realized I was being a giant fun sucker. My mom sang happy birthday to my brother who lives 3,000 miles across the country and videotaped it to a text message. The concept of a birthday celebration by proxy was confusing to most present, but, I do believe the free ice cream deal still counts. My apologies to whomever is in charge of sweeping. And I do believe James and Josie explain what its like to eat at a Red Lobster best with “I’m going to poop in the car!!” all the way home. Ceaser salad, no dressing was a good choice.

And speaking of healthy eating, as I write this, I’m drinking Brooklyn Brown Ale with a side of mini chocolate peanut butter cups and Frosted Flakes.

I thought maybe I heard something upstairs, but I decided I was crazy because they wouldn’t dare get out of bed again, not after the 100th time, when I was sure they were so super tired. When I went up to wake up James from nap, I began to hear the giggling whispers from two children who were supposed to be sleeping. I paused and took a deep breath. As I opened the door, I encounters a flood of Noah proportions, and I froze. Their eyes had a small amount of fear in their wideness, but, mostly, there was just too much pride gleaming for the 35 minutes they had successfully made a mess without me finding out. I breathed again. In and out. I turned off the water, and took away the bucket, Then, I left, for their safety, and my own. When JIm received the “almost as bad as poop in the basement” text, he knew, and understood why I sat staring with my knees tucked inside my sweatshirt, and head buried. I’m not sure how he handled it or what he did, but, I’m pretty sure they won’t ever do it again.

When I first heard about my father in law’s strategy of using a neck tie to tie the little ones in bed, I thought “that’s crazy, I could never do that.” In a moment of desperation, I tried it. He’s a smart man, and I’m entirely too judgemental.

James confused having a tick with being murdered. It took 4 adults other than me to hold him down to get it out. I was in charge of the bum area. By the end of the removal, I was sore and sweating. Either its one strong bum, or one weak mom. Jury is still out.

And this is what most of my afternoons look like.


Grace at Camp Patton pointed me towards, “At least my belly hides my cankles” by Paige Kellerman, a fellow confessing mom who also loves Jane Austen,  and it really made me laugh.


May your naptimes be long and your tantrums short.



The Post-Poop convo.

And the post-poop convo went something like this:

“Josie, its not okay to poop on the floor.”


“Because poop is dirty and we have to put it in a toilet or in a diaper so that we don’t get dirty.”


“Because that’s what poop is.”



One minute later

“Josie what do you have in your mouth?”

“OH, its just some gum.”

“Josie, let me see.”

“Josie, that’s not gum thats a screw.”

“OH, sorry. I want gum.”

the two minute workout is still a work out

Today, I choose to take pride in my 1 minute and 37 second work out because working out is something of which a mom should be proud, even if its duration is less than two minutes.

In the 45 seconds I’ve been sitting responding to messages and emails, Josie has gotten out of bed 3 times because she’s a hippie and found a ball that is more fun to bounce in the kitchen than in her room or bed, (so maybe “checking email” should be added to the “proud” list too?). The most recent “would you like to be tied in?” scared her, so I think she should stay and allow me to ignore the 34 million cheerios on the floor and type instead. During that initial, uninterrupted, 45 seconds, I came across three different Facebook messages regarding my half marathon race bib that I tried to sell a month ago. At the time, I found it odd that no one wanted it, as I should have, because, in fact, three different people tried to buy it from me, three people, to whom I never responded because their messages went in the weird “other category” that I accidentally clicked and never actually read. My apologies to the runners I left hanging, but, to quote hip young people, “sorry, Im not sorry.” Sure, I ran untrained and with an injury, and slower than I would have liked, and much slower than my initial post-baby #3 crazy crazy crazy time goal. Nonetheless, I actually enjoyed every single mile, and even though Jim forgot to pick me up on time and sort of made me walk an extra two miles to find his car full of children hungry and in their pajamas, it was a wonderful, sunny morning full of purposeful sweat, time to pray, and strangers cheering for me. I thought back to those miles and thought of the fun and the cheers. Then, I looked back at today, and thought of the poop and the disappointment and realized: working out is hard to do and all moms should be really proud anytime they figure out how the heck to get it done. This morning, as 1 minute and 36 seconds flashed before me on the treadmill, I wanted to cry, because I knew it was all the time I had before someone was really going to lose it or be lost or fed a quarter, and I woke up with really high aspirations to work out well today. How frustrating it can be to have the will, the interest, to find the fun, to set aside the time, only to have it thwarted by a two year old shoving toys down toilets, feeding the baby money, smashing blueberries, and the all time grossest, pooping on the floor. My first effort to hit the pool before the monkeys awoke from their slumber was thwarted at 1am when accidentally woke me for much too long looking for his phone charger, and the early morning swim was traded for sleep. My second effort was well thought out and organized and I was convinced it would work. Step one: I set up a super interesting activity for James. Step Two: Nurse Rita for a nap with Josie by my side. Somewhere mid-milking Josie walked to her room, and since I could hear her, I thought it was fine. Not fine. Within roughly 48 seconds, she took off her diaper and pooped all over a curious george sticker book and her carpet. I try not to judge those who can’t seem to control their bowels and are still having trouble putting together sentences, but…. Maybe she was trying to get to the toilet? Or maybe she’s taken by the hipsters and toilets seem to limit her freedom. Whatever her reason there was poop all over my favorite cream carpet and the sound of Maria’s ever wise, “are you sure you want cream in the kids rooms?” obstructed my ears. Cream I picked, and poop it was. When I finished scrubbing, the baby was awake and no miles had been run. I tried a baby seat for Rita because maybe she would stay in it and bounce and not be scared of the treadmill pounding? She lasted for 47 seconds, and Josie went to her aid and fed her a quarter that she found who knows where. James walked in to see the commotion and took the quarter and hit his sister for almost choking his other sister and proceeded to jump on the bed, which was abruptly interrupted by falling off the bed, and no matter how many times we read that book, he misses the moral, and he continues to be the monkey to jump on the bed and fall off and bump his head. And that was all she wrote for the workout and all I’ll write about it. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not, and since 1:37 is my new standard of pride, things are looking good an thats the way they should look, and we all are doing great.

Things my children said to me in the last few days.

What happened to your face?

This dinner is disgusting.

Need help wiping your bum?

Oh, no its a big boo boo! (No, it’s just a pimple, but, thanks for noticing.)

You have too much hair, I better cut it off. (Please put the scissors down, immediately.)

Is your hair dirty again?

Don’t kill my sister!!

Just don’t kill me either, ok?

Do you want some beer, mom? (definitely.)

Are you gonna tie Josie to her bed?

What are those hook things? Those for Rita to nurse?

No nap, no nap, no nap, no nap, no nap, no nap, no nap!!!!

Do you need tucked into your bed?

It’s okay, mom, I will help you with the laundry. Does everything have poop on it again?

Did Jesus make this too? Oh that’s right, God did it.

My bum is broken again.

I want Daddy.

Parenting Advice

Parenting Advice

1) Don”t drive to an amusement park and turn around because its too crowded when your children are already aware that you are driving to an amusement park.

2) Try your best to not blame the police as to why the amusement park is no longer a viable option. Its confusing and too difficult to explain. Its also mean.

3) Never leave the pressure washer attachment on the hose when six-nine children are present at a playdate, or at any time at all.

4) Don’t stay 10 extra minutes at the bar when the babysitter says “Rita is awake and so is Josie” and its already past midnight.

5) Its best to not expose your two year old to the fountain outside of the restaurant before she eats her dinner, or after dinner, unless you plan on staying at said fountain for 3-6 hours with a hungry toddler.

6) Be sure to bring extra diapers, or even just one extra diaper, when its hot and humid and you are on a crowded incline ride and your 8 month old poops and it noticeably smells.

7) Never need a nap when your kids are protesting naps. Nobody sleeps and everybody cries.

8) When nap time seems to be going a bit too well, it might mean your toddler daughter is stuck underneath your other toddler’s bed.

9) If u plan on having a tree cut down in your yard, and if the process is visible to your 2 and 3 year old, maybe try and explain it ahead of time. Otherwise, get your trauma counseling skills out and ready because there will be a dead tree in your yard and two kids who think it is murdered and bleeding.

10) If there is a question as to whether or not your two year old is too tired to go out to dinner, she is, and you probably shouldn’t take her, unless you like tantrums and outbursts in a public place that has glass and knives on the table.

I did, I do, and I will!

I woke up that day in my own twin bed, refreshed and bright eyed. The only interruptions of the night’s sleep came from my excited checking the clock to see if it was time  yet. My excitement sent me for a long and fast run that led me to my childhood parish. I took some time to think in the pew where we sat weekly as a family. The only tears of the day fell joyfully, and I knew with great confidence, that this, truly, was the day God had made, for me and us.

I primped, and fussed, and posed, and prayed. And there is something very special that lace does to a girl, and I was wearing a ton of it.

The aisle, though long, felt short and went fast, as I excitedly hurried my dad along, stealing away his big moment. The aroma of hydrangeas, and lilies too. The amount of grace is sort of like trying to take a drink from a waterfall; delicious and pure, and too much to take in at once.

“Will you accept children lovingly from God?” “We will!” We thought we knew, but we had no idea, of how happy, and hard, and funny and gross, and that’s why promises are made at the beginning of things.

This morning I woke to giggles and jumps, and crying in the crib down the hall. My sleep, interrupted by nursing and nightmares of boyhood. There was no makeup artist, not even time for a shower. My steps were slow and crunchy since they think its okay to eat cereal anywhere they want. I smelled poop, and pee just like always, and burnt eggs too, because Jim’s romantic effort was left on the stove for just a bit too long. There is camp, and work, and laundry, and snot. Grocery shopping, cleaning, disobeying, and time out. 6 eyes that need us, and three mouths to feed. Its a great day to be married, and I’m really fired up that we did, we do, and we will.

Happy Anniversary, Jim. We are five years, five people, lots and lots of funny. You are definitely the only person with whom I’d ever want to have 10 kids.

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