Our Rainbow Baby

When I became pregnant with our baby boy, I decided that I would not allow myself to be fearful about my pregnancy or the possibility of loss. I told myself that I was going to be joyful and not hold back my excitement out of fear of another miscarriage.

In spite of this, I still had moments of anxiety and many fears crept in.

I first heard the term “Rainbow Baby,” when I joined a Facebook group for Catholic women who are pregnant after experiencing loss. I joined the group thinking it would help me in my efforts to defeat fear. I figured that being part of a group where people were posting about being pregnant after having had miscarriages would be a positive experience.

Instead, this group only sparked and fueled a great deal of anxiety. So much so that I hid the group from my newsfeed and never clicked on the items that frequently popped up in my “Notifications.” There were so many women in the group posting about their own fears and past experiences of losing babies at all different stages of pregnancy, and I just couldn’t hear those things. I felt kind of guilty about it, but I just couldn’t.

Unfortunately, this group and my own experiences with loss had increased my knowledge and awareness of all the potential things that could go wrong during 40 long weeks of pregnancy.

Anxious thoughts came to my mind in spite of my efforts to avoid them.

I was fearful of losing my baby in the first trimester.

I was afraid we would see something terrible during the 20-week ultrasound.

I was worried that any brief period of time during which I didn’t feel him moving meant something had happened to my baby (fortunately this was rare for him).

I was fearful of stillbirth, cord accident, some sort of trauma during delivery, etc., etc.

I repeated to myself over and over and over again my favorite prayer, “Jesus, I trust in you.” Every time an anxious thought would come to mind, I would immediately pray this. And it always helped. Always.

And so did the idea of a “Rainbow Baby.” I just loved thinking of my son this way.

To me, a rainbow is a sign of God’s promise and of His immense, merciful love. It is a reminder to have faith and to know that He is with me in all things.

Almost two years ago, right after leaving the ultrasound appointment in which I had learned of my second miscarriage, a detour forced my route home past a Catholic church. I saw the sign and immediately pulled over to go inside and pray. I made it to a kneeler where I wasn’t able to do much more than look at the tabernacle and sob. I couldn’t get my words to form a coherent prayer, but my heart was reaching out and Jesus heard me in my brokenness and He answered. In that church, before Jesus in the tabernacle, I received an answer to my unformulated prayer. It was, “Don’t give up.” I heard these words spoken to my heart as clear as a bell.

That was in July of 2014, and I have never forgotten that moment. I reflected back on it during many of my fearful times during my pregnancy. It seemed to me like something of a promise.

I remembered this promise on the day I went for my second OB appointment. In spite of having seen the baby on ultrasound at my first appointment, those fears had crept in, and I was very nervous that something might have happened and there would be no heartbeat when I went to my second appointment (the month between appointments in the early weeks of pregnancy always seems so long!).

When I arrived at my appointment on that day, anxious and eager to hear my baby’s heartbeat again, I pulled into the parking lot at the hospital, and I saw this:


I instantly felt less afraid. I knew it was a reminder for me to have faith. I went into my appointment, and rather than just hearing his heartbeat, I got to see my little guy again on the hand-held ultrasound. Such relief.

Last Wednesday, our Rainbow Baby arrived, happy, healthy, and perfect.


The day after we brought him home from the hospital, this picture was taken from behind our house:


When she saw it, my five-year-old said, “Mom, that’s just like the rainbow God showed Noah!”

God’s promise.


Our little Rainbow Baby is here. He is a miracle. A precious gift from God.

I literally sit and stare at him for long stretches of time and marvel at his very existence. I realize that, on that day almost two years ago, when I was experiencing such deep grief and despair, God knew that this little boy was to be our baby that we would get to hold on earth. I didn’t know it, but He did.

Our son is a reminder for me that God can do anything. That His plan is always for good.

That fear is no match for faith.


Baby Boy is due to arrive in seven days. If he doesn’t, he is due to be evicted in eight days.

That means I have no more than eight days left to be pregnant.

Since I feel like I’m ninety months pregnant, rather than nine, and I’m so eager to meet my little boy, I’m naturally very excited to know that he will be born soon. But, I’m also feeling a little bit like I want to freeze time (only a little bit!!), because I know this is very likely the last time I will ever get to experience pregnancy.

At this point, I’m enormous, and my back hurts, and I can’t get more than two hours of uninterrupted sleep because hip pain wakes me, and going up the stairs feels like climbing Mt. Everest, and my feet and ankles and legs are ridiculously swollen.


But I’m still trying to savor these last days, and I’m trying hard to smile and laugh about these things instead of being grumpy about them or bursting into tears (because yeah, I’m that tired and emotional and pregnant!!). I mean, check out that picture of my feet! I do look kind of funny:


And on a more serious note, I remember very vividly the many months that I prayed for this very cross, this beautiful cross that I’m currently so blessed to carry. So every time I’m tempted to be upset about these discomforts, I try to think about those months and those prayers and realize what a true and amazing blessing these small aches and pains are. That’s not to say I don’t have moments of self-pity or complaining. I do! But I try (really hard) to remember to offer them up for my friends who are suffering the pain of miscarriage and/or infertility, or those who are struggling with even more difficult pregnancy symptoms and sickness. They are never far from my mind.

In these last few days I’m trying to prepare for labor too.

My bag is packed and double checked. I got a pedicure. I have written out babysitter instructions and done tons of crazy grocery shopping for all the things we might need while I’m at the hospital for a few days. I’m reviewing and revising my old labor playlist. My Kindle is charged.


And I’m also preparing for an experience that is different in many ways than my other labors, because this time I recognize the hand of God in the creation of this little life and the beautiful process that is labor and delivery. I’m creating a list of prayer intentions and thinking a lot about redemptive suffering.

Before my conversion, I never thought of suffering as anything but suffering. I always just thought it pretty much sucked, period. Though of course I’ve always recognized that the suffering that happens during the labor and delivery of a baby is different from other situations, in that you know the whole time that it is for an awesome purpose. But still, always before it was just something to get through to get to the real prize.

Now I understand that the suffering in itself can be beautiful and purposeful. Both in that it leads to the obvious and most amazing outcome of holding a sweet little miracle at the end, but also that the suffering itself can be a way of growing closer to Jesus, if I look at it that way and offer it to Him. I love knowing now that I can embrace and offer this suffering, uniting it with the Passion of Christ, for the good of others.

This is both still a little bit confusing and something that makes perfect sense to me.

So, as I’m trying to prepare for labor and meeting my son, I’m praying a lot (this often just takes the form of a frequently repeated “Jesus, I trust in you”), and I’m trying to picture what it will be like this time. I honestly don’t know. I suspect there will be plenty of prayer, and also that it will be much less elegant than what I have in my mind now. I imagine there will be plenty of cursing and yelling just like before, even if I like to think I’ll be peacefully thanking God for each contraction (insert laughter here). I don’t really know.

What I am sure of is that I will feel God’s presence as I bring His newest little miracle into the world.

It won’t be long now!

My Girls

You probably think from the title that this post is going to be about these little cuties:


But not this time.

Today, I want to write about my grown-up peeps. The ladies who have my back, make me laugh, and help me stay sane by just being available, whether in person, via text, phone, or even FB.

I’ve been really blessed lately to have the opportunity to spend some quality time with some of my “girls” recently. Here are some highlights:

In early February, I got to take a trip to Florida with two fabulous friends.


Our equally fabulous husbands watched the kids (all 12 of them!). We got on a plane and flew to Naples for two and a half days (DAYS!) of amazing relaxation, laughter, food, and conversation. For good measure I made sure we started the trip off right with a pregnancy-related trip to the ER. This could be a whole post in and of itself (if I ever get around to writing it), so I won’t go into details here, but:


We managed to have a pretty great time in spite of the awful ER (it was really bad) and the disruption to our plans. That’s Super Friend on the right. And though she and her family have appeared in other posts you haven’t been formally introduced yet to our other dear friend on the left, whom I’ll call “The Extrovert” for blog purposes (I’m the introvert, and Super Friend falls somewhere in between, so we make a great team and have lots of laughs about our personality differences). Yes, she was sitting on a portable hospital toilet. Good sports, these ladies. Look how great they were, after 5+ hours at the first ER, while waiting to get in at our second hospital of the day:


(And BTW, everything is fine with Baby Boy and me).

The hospital trip didn’t stop us from having tons of other fun.

It did however prevent us from going to the beach in the afternoon, so after we had dinner we grabbed coffee and some macaroons (a first for me) and hit the beach at night.


The next day we made up for lost time with a yummy breakfast, a fun meander around downtown Naples, a long walk on the beach, a lovely Mass, and delicious dinner.


There’s just something about time away with great friends that really helps to recharge my soul. These ladies just get me. Even when it’s just for a few hours, it’s so, so important. But for two-and-a-half days!! I talked so much, and laughed so hard, and it. was. awesome.


And as if that wast enough, last weekend, I traveled with my kids to spend some time with some of my family “girls,” my Mom, my Auntie, and my cousin. We were all together for my cousin’s baby shower (some boys were around too, whom I should give some love to as they were wonderful to see as well: my Dad, my Unka, and another cousin).

We stayed up way too late talking. We swapped baby and pregnancy and other stories and “ooh-ed” and “aah-ed” over the cute stuff my cousin received for her baby girl.


^^ My aunt and cousin included my kids in the shower, and they were enthralled ^^

And after my cousin’s shower was over, the other guests were gone, and most everything from the shower was cleaned up, they sat me down and surprised me with tons of gifts of mostly baby boy clothing (which we are sorely lacking). It was my own little surprise mini-shower, and it was so sweet it almost made me cry.


I am humbled by how blessed I am to be surrounded by amazing women. My family, my friends, my tribe. There are more than the ladies mentioned here, some even whom I have never met in person, and I am so grateful for each and every one.

I hope I am modeling to my daughters how to be a part of a community. Our community consists of both wonderful men and women, of course, but there is something special about the bonds between women. Between mothers and sisters. I don’t have biological sisters, but I have my sister-friends, whom I think are just as great (we even share clothes, without the history of fighting over them). I hope that seeing these relationships that I have will help my (little) girls to build their own, and to nurture and cherish them.

A Little Secret…

Well, now it’s officially out there – my little secret that hasn’t really been much of a secret because I’ve only halfheartedly been keeping it one. Anyone who has seen me in person in the past two months is well aware of it, but I made it “Facebook official” this morning, so I’m happy and excited to finally write about it here as well.


^^ This was me at approximately 4 weeks pregnant, so clearly this “secret” hasn’t really been very secret.

Baby #4 is due to arrive sometime in late May or early June. My actual due date is May 31st, but none of my girls paid any attention to that and were always late, so I’m anticipating a June birthday for this little one.


^^ 13 weeks ^^

I feel really at a loss for how to adequately express the joy and gratitude I feel about this baby. Of course, I’ve been overjoyed each time I’ve been pregnant with one of my girls. Obviously. But this time it’s just sort of different.

This time it’s a little more intense, because it took so long to get here. After two and a half years of doctor’s appointments, and injections, and procedures, and many negative pregnancy tests, and two miscarriages… this feels a little miraculous.

Add to that the fact that I now have an understanding of and appreciation for the hand of God in creating this new life (which I didn’t have with my girls since I had all of them before my conversion), and it’s all just really amazing, and I don’t know how to explain the overwhelming emotions I have about all of it very well.

Here’s one way to illustrate it a bit:

We told the girls about their sibling about a month ago, after I had my first doctor’s appointment and ultrasound. The ultrasound tech happened to print out three pictures of the baby that all looked just about the same, so we gave each of the girls one of the printouts and asked them if they knew what it was. They made a few random guesses, and then one of them said, “Is that me in Momma’s tummy?” “Nooo,” I said. “That’s someone in my tummy, but not you.”

The dawning realization that was flickering across Miss’s face as she began to understand, and then the pure joy on all of their faces when we confirmed for them that they were holding pictures of their sibling was absolutely priceless.


They’re pretty excited.

They tell everyone we see, from their gym teachers, to the pastoral associate at our parish, to the grocery store checkout lady. They are constantly hugging and talking to my belly. Miss has checked out books from the library about how babies develop in utero. It’s all quite adorable, and I’m soaking it up.

I’m trying to savor all of it, even the exhaustion, lower back pain (already!), weird cravings (anything with eggs, especially sandwiches with eggs over easy and sausage/egg/cheese biscuits, McDonald’s french fries, and Indian food, all different from the cravings I had with the girls if you’re wondering), and other pregnancy symptoms.

Joyous. Amazing. Miraculous.

I think that sums it up.


P.S. Thank you all so much for the wonderful outpouring of love and support we have received with this new blessing. I appreciate every hug, smile, and kind word from each one of you.

Home At Last – The Move and a Few Kitchen Photos

So, it’s been over a month since my last post. Between packing up our old house, unpacking in the hew house, homeschooling through it all, and losing my ability to wake up at 5:30 every morning, blogging lost out in the juggling of my time. I’ve wanted to blog, but a few other things have had to come first for a while. However, most of the boxes are unpacked, and I’m finding a bit more time here and there now to squeeze in some writing, so I’m back.


And we’ve moved finally! Our moving day was October 10th, and the big day was kind of surreal. My husband comes from a large family (three sisters and two brothers), and he decided that, instead of hiring movers, he would call on his siblings to see who could help us. Many responded to the call, so we rented the biggest U-Haul available and got almost everything in the house packed, labeled, and ready for their arrival.

They descended on us like and army, and under the direction of my father-in-law, they moved like a well-oiled machine. The old house was cleaned out in what seemed like a matter of just a couple of hours. They ordered me to stand at the door of the new house and direct all items coming in so they would go to their correct place. It was quite an awesome spectacle to see, and I was humbled by their willingness to help. Not only did they spend an entire Saturday doing heavy lifting, they drove over five hours to get here on Friday night, and they left around dinner time on Saturday, because some of them had to be back in Iowa for other commitments on Sunday. That is some family dedication there.

So, we are in the new house. It’s amazing. It already feels like home, and I love it. I’ve had to get used to being a bit farther away from the places I usually go. We’re out in the country now, and though my drive to most of my typical destinations (the grocery store, church, Super Friend’s house) is only five minutes longer, it feels like we’re sooo much farther away, and so I plan trips “to town” instead of just going quickly to grab whatever I need whenever I need it.

Here are some photos to give you a quick preview of the new place and some of my favorite things in my new kitchen.


^^My big farm sink with a nice wide window sill above it for all my things.

I debated for a long time whether to get this big single-basin sink or to stick with a double basin. I was nervous that I would miss having two separate sides to my sink, but I don’t at all. This sink is huge, and I just love it! I also like having the disposal button right on the counter just behind the sink (it’s the small round button to the left of the soap dispenser). I didn’t plan for this and didn’t even know it was an option, but one of the electricians asked if it would be okay to do it this way and I said, “Um, okay.” It’s so handy, I’m glad he suggested it.


This picture includes several of my favorite things all together. The range. The pot rack. The book shelves with my beloved cookbooks. The panes of slightly wavy glass in the very top of the cabinets, so my special things can be displayed. The island with one of the pendant lights barely showing on the edge there. This is honestly my dream kitchen. I haven’t done any really major cooking yet, but I’m looking forward to many wonderful meals prepared and shared here.


We waited so long for this house, and I feel so incredibly thankful to live here. We started trying to buy land to build a home over four years ago. Prior to finding our current place, we had accepted offers on three different properties, that all fell through for various reasons (Divine intervention, obviously). Then the purchase of this land took many, many months because of driveway and road frontage issues. Finally, the actual building of our house hit a few significant delays and took almost 15 months to complete.

But it was all worth it. It’s just what we dreamed of, and we’re home at last.

A Thanksgiving Recap and Advent Intro

Thanksgiving was amazing. It really was. We invited our dear friends to join us for dinner. I spent all day cooking. The girls helped me. They made decorations, which we promptly forgot to move into the kitchen/table area.

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Good food. Great friends. Memories made.

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It is truly a blessing when friends are like family.


As I always do, I resisted focusing on Christmas until Thanksgiving was over. I think Thanksgiving is important, and I like to let it have its day.

But come Friday, I’m ready to move on. I love our tradition of decorating the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.

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We’re singing Christmas carols and setting up nativities and trying to get a photo for the Christmas card.

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And we’re getting into our Advent focus. I’m really relieved by how much easier Advent is this year. Everything just feels less confusing and overwhelming. I mostly understand what to do with my Advent wreath/candles. I have a decent grasp of what the Jesse tree is all about. This year I don’t need to look up words like “Annunciation,” and “Immanuel,” and “Epiphany,” and I’m confident in my ability to tell the Christmas story to my kids. In fact, they can tell it themselves just as well, which makes me very happy.

Though we’re still doing lots of Christmas-y things, I’m trying hard to keep a good focus on the purpose of Advent too – prayerfully anticipating.

I have so much to be thankful for. And so much to look forward to.

Work, Eat, Play – Happy Thanksgiving

We just had one of the best Thanksgivings ever.


It started bright and early in our kitchen this morning. We started baking pies right after breakfast. The girls helped me sort the contents of some old change jars to get pennies for weights on the crusts.

Then they sorted much of the rest of the change into their piggy banks while I made the fillings. They thought this was pretty neat. Miss even said, “This is the most funnest thing ever!”

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Phase one completed:


I always want pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, and my husband’s favorite is pecan pie, so we did both. They’re not pretty. I can never seem to create an aesthetically pleasing crust, but they were delicious.

My husband also started his sausage making venture today, so for most of the rest of the morning the big girls helped him prepare the ingredients to mix with the meat. Before the weekend is over he will be making 90 pounds of pork sausage, including the following varieties: breakfast, sweet Italian, chorizo, garlic, andouille, and brats.

DSC_0525The girls are so excited about helping him with this.

He also has a ton of venison to grind into burger. Last night we had a date night while we trimmed it.


Wine for me. Beer for him. Raw meat and big knives.


It was romantic.


Okay. Anyway. I’m writing about today. Thanksgiving. We were all busy in the kitchen all morning, except for poor Sis. She become a little frustrated a couple of times about not being able to join the crowd in the kitchen.


But most of the time she played perfectly well by herself. She is so chill. I walked into the playroom to check on her and found her playing pretend in the castle with Prince Phillip and a baby doll.


And my favorite part of the food prep:


Breaking bread.


We made savory bread pudding instead of stuffing, so we were actually cutting it, but I like to say we were “breaking bread.”


There’s something very holiday-ish and family-ish and together-ish about that phrase.


^^ That’s a Thanksgiving photo I can’t wait to show my girls when they get older.


And the big item for the big meal? Well, we aren’t real fans of turkey. For Thanksgivings past I have made prime rib, cornish game hens, etc. I have never cooked a turkey. And last week my husband went and butchered an enormous pig for us to eat. So the only natural thing for us to have for our Thanksgiving feast is… Ham!!

Ham smoked in our Big Green Egg. For 21 hours.


This is the first time using the Big Green Egg and the first time smoking a 20+ pound ham. First time smoking anything, actually.

DSC_0550My hubby is giddy about his new trick. The ham turned out wonderfully.

DSC_0518 DSC_0525 DSC_0534After our meal, the best way to finish the evening was with a family dance party.

The girls loved the Peanut’s Theme Song for dancing. We played it over and over and over.




Today was a day of giving thanks.



We gathered in the kitchen and worked together. We ate together. We played together. In my mind that’s what families do.

DSC_0602Every day I think about how fortunate I am. Every day I thank God for my life and its joys.

Happy Thanksgiving.



The Freegas Band

For Part 2 of my Live! at Lake Thunderhead 2013 series I’d like to write a little bit about the band.


There is much about the band that shall remain a mystery, as I am not privy to its inner workings. Though I am sort of in the band in that I sing songs with them at the Labor Day Party, I’m not really in the band in that I’m a girl.

See, this band is not a functioning band except for one weekend of the year. They (we) don’t play together except for Labor Day weekend. This year we had two practice sessions (Friday and Saturday), only one of which included all of the band members. The rest of the time they’re just a bunch of brothers, cousins, and friends who like to send each other dirty, crap-talking emails and get together about once a year outside of Labor Day for “band practice.”

Naturally, being a female, I don’t get invited to these “Freegas Weekends,” which once upon a time were supposedly an opportunity during the year for the guys to get together and “practice” but are really just a thinly-veiled cover for a free-for-all guys weekend. They haven’t even bothered to take their musical instruments to these get togethers since 2009.

Please don’t read that to mean I’m bitter about not being invited. It would be weird if I was (invited I mean). I have zero interest in crashing the male bonding time my hubby gets with his best peeps, and I love that they get to do it. I only mention it to illustrate why I’m not really in the-band-that-most-of-the-time-isn’t-actually-a-band but is rather a bunch of middle aged men who like to get together and drink beer and play frisbee golf and um, do other manly stuff.

But I digress. Let me introduce you to the four originals.

The Horse:


My brother-in-law. He obviously plays multiple musical instruments as well as singing. He is a voice of reason among the other guys.

Zebulous Prime:


Bass player, vocalist, and sometimes drummer. Performer extraordinaire. He can harmonize like you wouldn’t believe.



The mastermind, he comes up with most of the songs the band will sing each year. He plays every instrument the band uses and has showmanship to spare.

Benois (aka my hubby)


He can play the guitar, though he hasn’t done so at The Party in several years. He has a beautiful voice and is just a total rock star. Plus, he’s hot.

The four of these guys parade around the front of the stage, dancing and singing and playing and putting on a show like you’ve never seen before. They are all talented musicians, but more than that they know how to perform.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, there were two additions to the band in 2004.

J Holla


An amazing drummer. He is usually in the back of course, but occasionally graces the front of the stage or even the dance floor.

And last but most certainly not least, The Boy Wonder:


He is by far the youngest of the group and was only about 16 when he started playing at the party. He is a crazy good guitar player. Crazy good.

And then there’s one other honorary “band member.” J-Dub:


He does not participate in the musical performance. To my knowledge he has no musical talent whatsoever. He is more like a band manager/chief dirty joke teller/director of pointless banter. He and his wife also cook the wings on Saturday night. And he gets invited to the Freegas Weekends.

Finally, there’s me.


I’m an occasional add-in vocalist. Some years (like this year) I sing a lot, some years not so much. This year I got to do some really fun songs, including Love Shack, We Got the Beat, and my personal favorite of all time, Poker Face.

And I can’t leave out that for the past two years we’ve had another member, The Prodigy:


He plays violin on two songs and trumpet on one. And he’s only 14.

It’s hard to explain in a few words this unusual group of guys who, mostly, are all related. They are wacky and funny and talented and I wish I could adequately describe what happens when they all get up on stage together to perform.




The music is sometimes awesome, sometimes awful, but it doesn’t really even matter because when the wheels start to come off they just crank up the crazy and it all works out. If the crowd isn’t in a dancing frenzy they’re laughing hysterically, like at this year’s performances of “Business Time” and “Lunch Lady Land.”


Most of the time the crowd is dancing and jumping and clapping and singing along.


The guys take themselves just seriously enough that the music is good, but no so seriously that they don’t enjoy themselves even when it’s not. When one of the band members messes up of forgets the lyrics they just make something up or bust out some wicked dance moves. They welcome family members and friends up to the stage to sing along, whether they know the words (or melody) to the songs or not.


DSC_0240It’s not about putting on a perfect show, it’s about family.

These guys work hard to play music for their people. The band plays one show per year, for the reunion of their kin.



It doesn’t get any better than that.


I am so thankful that I can be a part of this. Part of the party. Part of the band. But most of all, part of this funny, hard-working, sometimes-totally-crazy-but-always-loveable family.

Still Dirty, Still Weird, Still Fun

Linking up with Conversion Diary again.

1. Went to the Dirty Weird Zoo yesterday. It just wouldn’t be summer without a visit to the DWZ.

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When we visited last year my girls were timid about feeding the animals, and Lass just wouldn’t do it at all.


Not so this year.

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We ran out of bread, but they were determined to feed grass to the cows.

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Still dirty and weird. I just love that place.

2. What do you do if someone rings your doorbell at 9:30 at night, when your husband is working nights, and you know that the night before your garage door had accidentally been left open all night?

Do you assume a murderer has come for you (and politely rung your doorbell)? Turn off all the lights inside? Turn on all the lights outside? Turn on your alarm system?

Do you go to your garage door after realizing there’s no one at your front door (which you can see through) and yell, “Who is it??” “WHO IS IT?!”

Do you look around for a weapon and then grab your husband’s hunting knife and stalk around the house looking out all the windows?


Yeah, me neither.

But if I did do all that stuff I would have felt kind of silly when I called my husband to double check that the garage doors were all closed when he left, and realized that my mysterious doorbell-ringer was probably one of the neighborhood kids messing around.

If I hadn’t been terrified to open my door I would have gone out there and rung those kids’ necks! I mean, if all that had actually happened, of course.


3. Okay. Obviously, #2 is an account of exactly what I did last night when my doorbell rang shortly after my husband had left for work. Since there was no one at my front door (little jerk ran away!) and I couldn’t see through the door into the garage (note to self to have peephole in new house), I was convinced that someone was lurking in my garage, waiting for me to open the door so he could murder me. I kept the hunting knife on the chair next to me for the rest of the night, even though after talking to my husband and then hearing kids getting up to some foolishness outside, I knew that our garage doors were securely closed and that said kids were responsible for my panic. Or at least for setting it in motion. I guess I can’t blame them for my craziness.

I don’t know why I automatically go into extreme-plan-to-confront-crazed-killer mode whenever there is the slightest indication of shady business going on.

Like the other day when a guy came to deliver something for my husband. I had forgotten he was coming, and he wasn’t wearing an obvious uniform. So in my mind all I saw was a strange man at my door with no business there. I quickly assessed the situation, considered how quickly I could press the panic button on my alarm panel, looked for an easily reachable weapon (a heavy vase was the closest thing I saw), thought of a few different ways I could inflict pain with my hands/knees/feet, and then cautiously opened the door a tiny crack with my foot wedged behind it to hopefully impede an attempt at forced entry. Yes. I do know this is crazy.

Or the time my husband and I were in the drive through of Starbucks after church and a girl, who was probably around 20-ish and all of maybe 110 lbs, started walking along the side of our car. She was a little close for (my) comfort so I automatically scanned to be sure the car doors were locked, looked for the best way for my husband to drive the car out of the danger lane, and thought about how I would punch her in the nose and the put my knee into her face if she tried to carjack us.

I don’t mean to come up with this stuff. I’m not at all a violent person. It just happens automatically. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up just outside Detroit in the days when carjacking became a thing. Or because I read a few too many true-crime novels in my early 20s. Or because I worked in prisons for several years. Probably it’s all those things combined, plus a hyper-protective don’t-you-even-think-you’re-going-to-mess-with-my-kids Mama-Bear instinct. Plus a little bit of insanity for good measure.

It’s what I do.

4. We got the first draft of the plans for our new house yesterday. We have a few changes to make, but I’m very happy with the initial drawings.

5. I have some serious stroller envy.

Super Friend has all the good stuff. She brought this double jogger today for both of our stroller-size littles to ride in:

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I’ve never had a jogging stroller, because I have had a total of zero interest in jogging since running my last marathon in 2008. But I want it.

Super Friend is also loaning us her Super Stroller again. We used it for our trip to Disney World, and though I carried sis the whole time it is capable of carrying all three girls.


She’s letting us take it on our trip to the Iowa State Fair next week. I need to get one of these:


6. I don’t think there’s any worse feeling in the world than needing to take your child to the emergency room to assess a potentially serious health threat.


I got KFC for dinner last night, because we had to eat quickly between a doctor’s appointment and our Baptism class. As dinner was just getting started I noticed that Lass had bitten off the end of her chicken drumstick and swallowed it. The remaining end was pretty jagged looking so hubby called the ER and they told us to bring her in for X-rays. If they saw the chunk of or shards of bone in her stomach they would have to do a procedure to try to get it out.

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Well, I was freaking out the whole way to the hospital, knowing they were going to see this thing in her stomach, because I knew she had swallowed it and praying that it had not yet moved into her duodenum or beyond.

We got to the hospital, got the X-rays, and found…



(She got that ostrich toy after her X-ray.)

Nothing was visible in her stomach or further along her digestive tract. I texted my babysitter and had her look around for the piece of bone, thinking that maybe she had just spit it out.


The mystery was solved when we got home. Hubby picked up another piece of chicken and chomped the end off. He proceeded to chew it right up like nothing. It was super soft and broke right up in his mouth. He had me try it with yet another drumstick. Yeah, I bit right through that bone. And then proceeded to gag and spit it right out. It was disgusting, and I have a thing about textures.

Apparently my middle child doesn’t. I’m so relieved she’s okay.

7. Today Super Friend and I are driving an hour to attend a Scholastic Warehouse Sale. With only one child (her littlest). Do I need to tell you that I’m way more excited about uninterrupted Mommy Friend time than about the book sale? No. I don’t. But the book sale should be good too.

Hoping you have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend. We’re heading to the Farm today after my Mommy date.

T is for Thankful

This week we started our home preschool.

I’ve decided to skip getting a formal preschool curriculum and just wing it for now. I’m picking a letter each week and using free stuff I am finding online, along with a few things I’m making up as I go along.

Instead of doing the letters in order, I’ve chosen to pick the letters based on what is going on in our house or in the world (i.e. Thanksgiving) and just squeeze as much from one little letter each week as I can.

So, we started out the week with T is for Turkey.

We colored turkeys. We talked about turkeys. We made turkeys, using this printable from The Craft Nest.

We did T is for Tree and made our own “Trees of Thanks.”

I found great free printables from Twisty Noodle. They have tons of printables for each letter, and so much more (holidays, months, food, colors, etc.). You can print not just the picture with the letter and word but also a picture that has an area at the bottom for practicing writing the letter and word. Lass got the pictures to color. Miss got the pages with the writing practice.

Of course I realize that just coloring pictures of things that start with T doesn’t constitute preschool, so we did plenty of other stuff. The girls practiced scissor skills. We read lots of T and Thanksgiving relevant books, like The Thankful Book and Thanks for Thanksgiving and The Giving Tree (one of my favorite books ever, it makes me so happy that my girls ask for this one over and over and over). We sang an alphabet song that I got from her school that is set to the “Jeopardy” tune. Because who doesn’t love having that little ditty stuck in her head? Of course we did our calendar stuff every day. We made tacos for dinner. We did a science experiment with apple cider vinegar, dish soap, and water in a glass. It’s supposed to be a way to catch fruit flies (they get stuck in the bubbles on top). It had nothing to do with the letter T, but we I can’t stand fruit flies (it didn’t work, by the way). We did some counting. And lots of playing.

They love to play Rapunzel in our Learning Tower (don’t worry, the scarf, “her magical hair,” is tucked in her pony tail and isn’t wrapped around her neck).

I made up my own little Letter of the Week game, using categories for which the girls had to think of T words. This was a lot of fun for Miss. She got several of these on her own and most of the rest with just a little hint from me. All week she has been randomly pointing out, “Mama, do you know what else starts with T?” and then telling me something like, “Tick tock!” or “Tickle!” Lass does it too, though she has yet to actually name a T word. She does make the right sound for T though!

My favorite Letter T related activity this week by far was our tea party, with real tea and cream and sugar and t-t-treats!

The girls got all dressed up for our party.


She really wanted to do the “pinkies out” hold on her little tea cup like her sister. She spilled half of her tea in her saucer, and I convinced her to use two hands.

This week I was happy to not have to wake the girls up on Tuesday and Wednesday, get them ready, and drive them 25 minutes to take Miss to school. I don’t think Miss missed it. When I initially explained to her that she wasn’t going to go to school anymore but would be doing some school at home with me and her sister, she was a little bit confused. I told her that I would be her teacher, and she got sort of upset, saying, “I don’t want you to be my teacher, I want you to be my Mommy!”

Now she understands. Mostly we just did what we always do, with a little extra. On Tuesday she even called me “Teacher” once. It was priceless.

Next week we’ll be baking, and I need to do some more math related activities.

I learned a lot this week. And I had a lot of fun. I think I’m gonna love this homeschooling thing.