Floods, styrofoam, shaving cream oh my!


Last night I went to bed after reading the “Childfree Life,” Time Magazine’s recent article about the choice not to have children. I’m all for free choice within the natural order of things, but I couldn’t help but fall asleep saddened by the possibility of so many people refusing to have children because, as many say in the article, “they aren’t sure if they want to give it all,” and beyond the social “pressures” and “conventions” that equate motherhood with womanhood, maybe the case for kids isn’t so great after all? Facebook has already developed a baby picture blocking app to prevent viewing people like me from posting pictures of their babies drenched in spaghetti sauce, peeing in the grass, or playing dress up in hats. And if there were ever a day where I would dream about basking in the sunlight, kid-less, but definitely without the matching bathing suits worn by these models, it probably would be today.

The fiasco of the morning routine began before the 6 made it to the big hand of the clock with nursing and a fully dressed James saying, “um, Josie is doing something with these things that look like rice krispies and all of my clothes.”

As responsible adults we reluctantly dragged ourselves out of bed to be greeted by static and Styrofoam in each an every corner of the children’s room, and most certainly in crazy baby’s hair. Master mess maker Josephine, maybe plotting and ploying since 3am?, found an unopened light fixture to be saved for a time I decide to decorate, and dissected the entire contents of the wrapping material along with James’ closet, quietly and undetected by all for unknown, but clearly long period of time. Both of us called “not it,” and having already nursed, my excuse to be preoccupied with those younger and unable to latch to anyone else was of no avail. And the first many minutes of the morning were spent as a family playing “who has the most static electricity? Looks like it’s Daddy.”

Minutes later, as I scrambled eggs and spoon fed yogurt, coffee yet to touch my lips, we heard water running only to catch her on top of the sink “making a waterfall” on the mirror.

Moments after that, Rita, decided to play in the fireplace in the exact moment that Josie wanted to play with knives, and James couldn’t get his dinosaur to roar. I made up for the roaring just fine as I picked up fire hazard baby only to find a leaking diaper of the brown color. Into the laundry room I sought refuge and wipes only to find approximately two inches of water and a spewing, soapy, washing machine making sounds also similar to a dinosaur.

Step one of poorly handling it: I closed the door and ran upstairs screaming.

Step two: I changed the dripping feces diaper and put Rita in her crib, banking on the situation being better handled without a baby in arms.

Step three: I called three people and asked for help in between breaths of hysterical laughing and each said “turn the washer off and get some towels.” My sister, with sympathy said, “I’d come over to help but 5/6 boys just peed in my garage because they noticed the drain.”

It may have been easy advice, but the thought of unfolding all those towels freshly put away and washed was a difficult one, and turning the washer off meant going back in that room with the flood.

I offered Tweedle Josie and Tweedle James some bubbles and said please be good, and they were and they even patted me on the back and said, “im sorry that wondry thingy is breaking and puking.”

Towels may have been a great thought but my linen closet was approximately 400 too short. The smell was of barf and poop mixed together. The feeling of the water on my feet was of soggy grossness. The 7 calls to my husband went mostly unanswered because he told me not to wash the bedspread that James spilled green smoothie all over in our dying washing machine purchased in 1985, maybe 87, and flood insurance does not cover “idiocy.” (he totally was on his way home from work early to help me clean all of it and told me to go to Marshalls to replace the ruined area rugs and forget about it, so he’s still the best. Since there weren’t area rugs, I bought a sweet pair of open toed black booties with a gold buckle, which was clearly the most reasonable trade off.)

3 hours later I think I cleaned it, and water damage is minimal, and my washer might get me through a few more loads of laundry. Only one time did I find the three kids doing something horrible during the cleaning time and I’m pretty sure she won’t ever brush her teeth with shaving cream ever again.

So while all the kid-less people enjoy their sunbathing and handholding at the beach, I hope those sunglasses block the sand being thrown because even though they didn’t bring chaos, I did, and I’m really happy about it through floods, and fireplace cinders, Styrofoam and shaving cream, and I’d say poop, but… that part is the worst.

Weekend Update

Weekend Update

Training Camp

One thing about marrying a man who at one time dumped me to try on a cassock is that he knows a lot of priests, in a way that scores VIP passes to Steeler Training Camp. Sometimes following God’s will leads you to the sidelines of preseason professional football practice to be nearly knocked over by Emmanuel Sanders as your pulling your distracted three year old by the collar of his Troy Palamalu jersey because football players run extremely fast while chasing a football in the air down the field as your baby eats mud in pink pajamas and your toddler girl yells “run faster!” to men running at the same speed as cars. I’ve never actually seen a professional athlete so nervous upon almost crushing a mom and three children.  Thankfully, I got out of the way in time, which as Jim reminds me, was a really good thing, not for my own safety but because “the entire city of Pittsburgh would have hated (me) had Sanders injured himself trying to avoid injuring you and the kids.”

A special thanks to Father Paul for his friendship and his dedication as spiritual leader to his team and college.

The Case of Josie’s missing blanky

Potato was the word and 897,987 is the number of times she said it at varying volumes and syllable emphasis, each and every utterance heard as sensitively as possible by me, her mother, as her mouth pressed up perfectly against my ear somewhere around 6am Saturday morning. I thought maybe if I continued to lay there quietly she would somehow do the same, but, alas, a fascination with repeating the name of the starchy vegetable that caused the famine of her cultural heritage home it was, over and over again for reasons that will remain unknown to me forever. And since this is the same young child who breaks out of her crib to chew and spit out gum and uncooked spaghetti, I’m leaning towards ‘I’ll never know’.

Anyway, at some point during her spud speak but before she woke up Rita approximately 2 hours earlier than I would have liked, her baby blanket went missing. I expected tears and tantrums at its disappearance but there were none from her. Her detachment to anything but the very moment in which she lives pooping on the carpet or eating yogurt with her fingers is truly awe inspiring. For nearly 36 hours I searched the house high and low, in the most frantic and emotionally unstable way imaginable.

“She doesn’t really care,” Jim nonchalantly reminded revealing the genetic source of her happy playing in the midst of the lost treasure. “Keep looking!!” James joined me. As the first born, I believe James, understood my stress intuitively. What would I sleep with when she goes to college? How would we make a speech at her rehearsal dinner without showing her wedding attendants the transitional objects on which she clung?

“Do you think a reindeer ate it?” he asked, “or maybe a leprechaun?” And just when I was about to believe it was a Yedi, after praying the handy dandiest “Jesus, Jesus, Lost and Found, show me where to look around,” I spotted it tangled in the drape in a room there would never be a reason for her to enter. The relief was released with sighs and tears because I’m a crazy, crazy mom who couldn’t bear the thought of never again seeing the blanket in which she was wrapped upon coming home from the hospital. She was happy, I guess, but hippies, even as babies, tend to be unattached, I’m learning.

Rita gets an A

I went to Mass with just one baby by myself. With the exception of three very loud raptor yells at the end due to my taking the car keys from her baby death grip, she was perfect. She even sang along and clapped at the end of songs. Three old people said, “You have your hands full,” even when I had one free one.

And in the midst of a political atmosphere that tends to villianize wealth, I hope this week’s Gospel is read with some concentration and a good and healthy dose of the Holy Spirit. May the wealth of the person, whether financial or other wise, be used for good according to the free conscience of the individual, devoid of guilt, judgement, or jealousy. May we all remember that we can’t take it with us, and although Dave Matthews is great, eat drink and being merry is a terrible philosophy for life.


Memories of a family vacation



My first thought as I walked into my house after spending nearly two weeks in a clutter-free, perfectly decorated home was the adult name for the contents of diapers. So, today, instead of focusing on that or folding anymore clothes, calling the carpet cleaner to clean Josie’s morning deuce, or allowing the scale to judge my 4-6 daily desserts, I’m going to remember the night I sipped wine by the beach with Ahi Tuna. My made for mom dream dinner was only moderately interrupted by one throw of fancy mac and cheese, and the request from the waiter to “please ask your daughter to take the fish bait out of her mouth so she doesn’t choke.” As if Josie’s insistent to carry and chew on bait at every waking moment of the trip could even remotely interrupt my beach view focus.



Dear James,

You and “cation” fit together well, and your new skin color proves it. I’m sorry you are so confused by “(your) bum being so white!!!” You learned how to swim, only mildly choking on water a few times, and even though most of the time you put in your best effort to drown your sister, that one time you actually saved her by pulling her out of the water by her hair was really helpful even if her 45 minutes of post-drowning crying indicated ingratitude for your life saving efforts.

You caught fish and you mastered the belly flop. You think boats are awesome, and you insisted on wearing the exact same outfit every single time you rode it which makes me really look forward to school uniforms. You slept in a king size bed like the royalty you believe you are. You taught your sister’s how to have a farting contest, and even though you lost it, your laughter was most certainly the best.

At Mass, you saw a picture of the Pope and said, “Who is that man?” As I explained the role of the pope, you said, “Oh I know, it’s the God Police, that’s why he is called the Poe-poe.”


Dear Josie,

Your confidence in the water is phenomenal, until you forget that you cannot swim in the deep end, or in the shallow end once your head is beneath the water, and once you forget about your hair, you should probably thank your brother for saving your life.

You and airplane rides struggle. Sitting for any longer than 2 minutes is for losers, just like holding hands. Not even the stewardess could scare you, and airplane seatbelts bluff was most certainly called.

I’ve never seen a waiter more confused than when you pulled that fish bait out of your mouth that you had been storing for hours, most likely.

You think seaweed is for throwing, just like sand, and sometimes poop, too. Docks are most certainly for jumping. 

You woke up every day in between 515 and 615, and one day at 230. Lack of sleep did not make you tired, but only hungrier. 

You broke into the sacristy during church when your baby sister decided to empty 3 days contents into her diaper. You defended yourself with “just lookin, mama! Welax!”

You also stole an old woman’s cane. After she balanced herself using the wall, she found it amusing, unlike your mother who was mortified.


Dear Rita,

You next to your brother look like Ebony and Ivory.

We took you to Florida as a baby. You returned a toddler monster. There is a particular scream that has been acquired in your non-word lexicon. It’s piercing, but hilarious. And you know I think its funny, even when I discipline you, which makes you do it louder, and I’m really bad at discipline. Stairs are another issue, and apparently your skull is thick in both the figurative and literal sense. 

You got two teeth and only woke me up to tell me about them 457 times.

Sand is probably your new favorite food next to Jellybeans.

You, like your sister, believe in your ability to swim more than the ability calls for. 

James can make you fart on demand. I’ve never seen a baby do that before. 


Dear Jim,

Can we please move to Florida? Also, I’m sorry you got the flu.