Seven Minutes.

As Rita sat wondering which of her siblings would feed her another whole grape next, despite the repeated “she will choke!” warnings, I decided which mess to clean first. I smelled the first on step 3 of the stairs and heard the second splatter with an “uh oh (indicating accident) /chuckle (indicating he’s still entertained) in the same spot. “Poop. Always, the poop” I prioritized as I grabbed the baby. It was a clean up on aisle “I’m never potty training!” where the carpet was confused for toilet paper and the bed sheet a toilet, and her hands were included just for fun. “Throw my diaper in the garbage, mom, and then, wash my hands,” she parented me. “Josie, you were supposed to be napping,” I said to her but more so, myself. “No, nap, Momma. Just poop.”


I’ve decided in moments when there is literal sh** spread generously all over favorite area rugs that anything I desire to say to a child the age of “I still poop on the floor,” is better left unsaid. “Just put it in the lawndy” she told me as I half scrubbed, half begged Rita to play with a toy of which she was really quite bored on the other side of the room as far away from the bacteria spread as a Curious Georgita allows.  “Make Daddy do it,” Josie suggested.  It’s an interesting thing, really, that a child can still struggle with diapers, but can grasp a practical understanding of the female power of manipulation just fine. 


“Stay here for one minute,” I said to her in the bath filled with less than one inch of water, as I ran down to assess the smoothie mess. Which brings me to my next nonpoint of the refrigerator and three year olds. In they go, up they climb, things they spill, leftover birthday cake they eat. The mess was bad, but not the worst I’ve seen so I handed him a paper towel and went to retrieve his bathing sister.


It was probably a 45-60 second time period spent alone. But, for a two year old hippie child who lives by her feelings and fun is always best mantra, its 44 seconds too many to be left alone with a cup and water in a tub, and for this, I’m an idiot. “The ceiling is leaking!!” smoothie man warned as I stared at the empty tub, flooded floor, grinning child, and an inch of tub water looks 20 when its covering a surface its not supposed to.  


I strapped on the wrong Dora Pull-up, which made her cry because the butterfly ones are not cool and I should know that she only likes the yellow flowers, and Rita asked to do the steps alone by jumping out of my arms almost breaking her neck, and in a sea of paper towels I saw a singular drop of water on top off what it looks like when James tries to clean up yogurt smoothie unattended. 

“I fixed the ceiling, mom. Can we make Popcorn now?”


Happy Thursday, Go Pirates. 

Being 3: Ice Skating and Sharing the alphabet.

With 26 letters in the English alphabet to choose from, it was merely incidental that both of their names begin with the same letter.  If I had known I’d listen to a daylong battle over which of my children is the proper owner of the letter J, I may have gone a different naming route, or tried a wee bit harder at “siblings are friends” type parenting, or hid the alphabet until college. I couldn’t help but be slightly impressed by James’ ability to effectively convince his younger sister that he, in fact, does have exclusive rights to the 10th letter of the alphabet and the number 3, his age, by hour 5 of the battle. The heartstrings were pulled pretty good when she asked him if M could be hers, instead, and what are parents supposed to do about letter fighting? When he answered, “M is in my name, but we can share that letter. J is mine, though, understand?” I began to realize that I’m raising the letter monster. Also, I meant to type about his first hockey practice, but the letter J fight has taken 225 words of explanation and five hours of my life. For the record, I choose F.

For 3 years now, James, with a capital J, has believed his dad to be the real Sidney Crosby, and when I asked Josie what her dad does she replies, “plays hockey at work all day.” We’ve been slow to correct both of them, and James has been enthusiastic to follow in his fake professional athlete family’s footsteps. When a local high school agreed to coach tiny tots once a week, I thought, why not join my big sister and her hockey mom craziness for just one hour a week?

So, in an effort to break up the letter war, James, Mosie and I were off to the hockey store to size up the Alphabet King for his first big night of little kid free skate. 43 hockey pucks were purposefully knocked over. Two naptimes sufficiently earned. One crazy hard to fasten hockey helmet purchased.

Post naps, dad taught his son how to walk in his skates. “This is the way real hockey players do it,” James explained to his mom. “Also, could you hold my hand?”

I arrived 15 minutes early, expecting to be the first of the toddling skaters. I was last, and apparently it takes 45 minutes to dress a child in hockey gear just before they happily announce, “I have to pee!” Professional youth hockey mom, Maria, packed an extra set of everything, because she knows I know nothing and she is right. It took me three tries of skate tying before a nice 14 year old girl came over to rescue me from my lace struggle. James and I went over the rules one last time just before he scraped his new skates on the concrete, “have fun! Give a good effort! and only walk on the rubber padding!”

He then clumsily toddled onto the ice falling directly his belly. With car keys in hand, I was ready to receive a crying child, but up he went and smile he did. Instructed to make a snow angel on the ice, James proudly displayed his very best freestyle swim stroke. For the next 55 minutes, I watched a three -year old boy smile wide face plant after bum plant after accidental snow cone, after “Mom! Look! I’m skating like Daddy!” And even though I’m mostly crazy for starting the sport thing so early, witnessing such sloppy, happy, smiley skating was a real treat.

He greeted me in my hockey mom glory after a solid skating effort. “uh mom, my head is wet,” the little Italian said to me. “that’s called sweat, my dear, and you’ve also got the smell down pretty well, too” I replied.

We returned home to refuel, because James is now an “aphlete.” And apparently, something magical occurred on the ice last night. As they inhaled more hummus than the nation of Greece, James turned to his sister and said, “its ok if your name starts with J. And if you want to play hockey, I will hold your hand.” I hugged them both and sighed relief as I put Rita to bed while they finished there snack. I returned to two children rolling around the kitchen floor in an effort to retrieve the last cheeto as the battle cries grew louder and more fervent. “J is mine!!!!! Get off my cheeto!!”

Happy Tuesday! May 26 letters be enough.


10 things to waste your time ;)

(This blogging hiatus brought to you mainly by the three years late discovery of Downton Abbey. And having caught up, I’m now (WTswearword!) mourning my two favorite characters and ready to blog about the trivial during my childfree moments once again.)

Here are some not blog worthy things…

1. I brought baby wipes to Mumford and Sons. Its just that sometimes I can’t escape my essence as a mother for even a moment, and when I saw the pack of baby wipes on my car floor, I put them in my purse out of habit. But, since they are the greatest invention of all time, they very much came to the rescue on several occasions none of which had to do with wiping an infant. Spilled beer? I’ve got it. Portapottys been used too many times? Allow me. French fry grease making you slimy? Here you go. Every time I pulled out a wipe, I reminded my husband of their use and my genius. If only baby wipes could help with “post- best- concert- of- my- adult- life- accidental- kids- don’t- know- what- a hangover- is- and- are- so- unsympathetic- about- it….

2. I went to Mumford and Sons!!!!!! Only once was my pearl wearing group called “White Trailer Trash,” by a stranger who, apparently, likes quiet concerts.


3. We put a birthday hat on Mary, again. It’s a Mary’s birthday tradition. My sister and I head to our church playground, stuff our faces with pizza and carrot cake, and watch as the nine children wreak havoc well, as they generally do. We sing happy birthday as the little ones attempt to catch the fish in the pond next to her statue. We swing at a Mexican piñata, in honor of Our lady of Guadalupe, as the crawling kids experience candy raining, making all future thunderstorms disappointing. I’m pretty much positive that the Mom of all Moms finds it both entertaining and endearing.


4. Maria and I ran a 5k together, and once again, she proved faster and more determined. Before I go all “Ashley Simpson living in Jessica’s shadow” on you, she only beat me by 15 seconds, which I choose to blame entirely on the two more inches her legs have on mine. I came up with a formula. Two inches = 5 seconds per mile. 5 seconds per mile X 3.1 miles = we finished at the exact same time. The feelings of inadequacy began as I crossed the finish in the fastest recorded three point one miles of my life, feeling good and proud and sweating and hyperventilating. She, however, was already there, not panting or sweating, and saying things like, “I wanted to finish faster. I’m so disappointed I never reached ‘throw up’ speed.” I consider “throw up speed” to mean “slow down!!!!” Running in the shadow.


5. On one particular 5:45 am wake up call, I calmly explained “it’s too early for a Saturday, please go back to bed.” He did! And then he began calmly playing with toys as Jim and I slept. Is it beginning to sound too perfect yet? Because he changed his sister’s #2 diaper all by himself, too.

6. I learned that riding carousal at a place called Rib Fest brings about similar symptoms to those of “throw up speed.” Rib Fest is one of my favorite weekends of the whole year. But, I do not recommend trying every rib in the fest times 2 or maybe 3, and then spinning repeatedly while staring at weird looking circus animals moving up and down while also trying to balance two dizzy children sliding off of said animals because they ate too many ribs, too.


7. I had this conversation recently: James: “Mom I’m going to buy you something really nice.” Me: “Oh yea?” James: “Yea, a lightsaber,” he said with the proudest and widest grin and glimmer in his eye. “But, if you hit me with it, I’m taking it back.”

8. We went to Mass on a Wednesday night. Jim forgot to mention that Josie was wearing underpants, and Josie, seemingly, forgot as well. The font wasn’t the only liquid puddle.

9. Fish food is now #2 on my “all time worst mess list.” Poop is holding strong at #1.

10. Saw this Ray Romano quote. “Having children is like living in a frat house – nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.” May your Pee Sigma Poop chapter be running smoothly.

Fire and In laws, it’s Momily Monday.

It’s round two of Momily Monday! Find this week’s Gospel here.


This weekend was spent with my in laws, and on Saturday night we built a bonfire in a Sunday Gospel coincidence, except for the whole daughter in law being against her mother in law part. There is something both beautiful and terrifying about a fire, especially when children out number adults 57/2 (somewhere around 4 million marshmallows were consumed, mostly by Josie.)

The enthusiasm of its fevering flames mesmerize and captivate while its fervor and power repel the gazers from recklessness or out of order behavior, reminding us that if there are any two things that ought to be respected it’s a burning fire and probably also the woman who raised your spouse.

The thought of Jesus using such a powerful force to fulfill his mission is thought provoking. On Valentine’s Day three years ago, my parents house caught on fire with all of us home, and if there is anything that I learned that day its that a route towards safety is something for which to be thankful and to cling. Additionally, Valentine’s Day is the worst.

Fire gets us moving in the right direction, quickly, and with intention. Or else, it absorbs and mercilessly destroys leaving little evidence of what originally existed. To me, this imagery is how I understand the tension between the Peace vs. Division to which Jesus refers in this week’s Gospel. Peace implies a sort of motionlessness, and maybe even complacency. Fire, however, gets the behind bouncing, causing division by necessity, for the reality is sort of simple: run towards safety of the truth, or get burned.

As a mother of three, with a household of five, division is something to which I relate. The transition from man to man defense (parenting two kids) to zone defense (three children), is one in which my husband and I sometimes end up punting, often with zero points on the board, and if there is anything that leaves my love for God and family sizzled and burnt out, its that. Yet it’s the struggles and division that often show us where our weaknesses are, and how much we need God to be #1 MVP, or else, we too will be left consumed by something other than the fiery love of our creator.

It’s also in the dividing times that we yearn for a clearer direction, which hopefully draws us closer to the Big Man. So this week, may the love of God fuel our family life and mesmerize our hearts, scorching out the bad, and igniting the ambivalence. And, when I burn dinner, I’ll consider it living the Gospel.

(and as far as Mass grades go, James and I braved the big church together while Josie and Rita took advantage of the cry room with their father due to poor attitudes and uncontrollable 10 month old yells. He gets an A for participation and thoughtful questions even if he was unaware of the high volume of his voice when asking, “But mom, why do you eat Jesus!? That is NOT nice.”)

May your hearts be full and your laundry piles low. And I’d love to hear your take on the Gospel in the comments! I find it difficult to make a real bible study…

Hump Day Confessions with a side of blood soaked soapy zucchini bread

One Morning, 5 confessions, Happy Hump

Confessions of a Teenage Looking Drama Mom through which you can forget about that homemade cork board on Pinterest and feel better about yourself at my expense.

Pardon the typos as my fingers are bloody and dawning band aids with teddy bear and hearts, which are quite literally my two least favorite objects on the face of the planet but picking out band aids is a childhood privilege.

1. The morning began with aspirations higher than the laundry pile so I began there. As I folded tiny shirts and tinier dresses, the oldest requested my assistance with toilet paper and his derriere. The girls playing wildly with items too clean for their hands seemed occupied well enough to walk 5 steps for approximately 30-35 seconds to help their big brother with his toddler problem. James explained that he “pooped a lot, just like a big horse,” an image that aided my coffee and cereal to digest with ease and comfort. As the toilet flushed the baby’s left foot disappeared into the dryer as Josie attempted to shut the door with a giggle and a wave. We practiced saying “no put Rita in the dryer,” approximately 5 billion times after that.

2. Step two of attempted productivity: clean the master bath. Events included Rita biting off the head of the duck soap, Josie dipping her head into the toilet, the entire contents of every single feminine product being dumped and thrown and stacked and as they asked, “but what are these for and why cant we eat them?” The good news is I salvaged most of the soap from the baby’s mouth.

3. As we continued to de-clutter in the family room, James confidently studded in my general direction holding a chewed up tomato found in between the couch cushions. “Do you think we should throw this away, Mom?” he asked. How long had it been there? Years for all I know.

4. After discarding of what I’m guessing Josie thought was a ball of red candy, I began to grate zucchini to make bread. While cooking with toddlers is usually full of organization and cleanliness, it becomes much worse when the mother begins to bleed a generous amount from two fingers on her right hand. The grater and me = a bad mix of clumsiness and blades.

It was there in the baking process that I should have seen green zucchini turned red and stopped. Alas, I taped up my fingers with bad images of fake romance (explained above) and braved the teaspoon holding toddlers hands on baking lesson. Moments later, tired of a dash of cinnamon here and a help mommy pour the flour there, a few too many ounces of dish soap was happily poured into the wet ingredients as she exclaimed, “blue!!!!” At least I didn’t accidentally burn it?

5. I believe I’ve already confessed about the language issues in this household, namely the phrase “damn it,” being used by James at appropriate times and with emphatic intonation. I have, in all sincerity, attempted to remediate my bad habit, but sometimes, swearing happens just like something else also best described with use of a bad word. Well, the bad habit has been successfully passed on to the younger one, who happened to exclaim not only “damn it!” but also attached “Josie!” to the phrase on three separate occasions this morning, which had to with the bloody fingers, the tomato, and the soap, revealing the most frequent use and word grouping used by those that love her most.


Happy Mothering!