Looking Back, Vol. 1

One year ago we found out about you.

Someone in a breastfeeding facebook group posted about pregnancy tests, so I decided to take one, too – even though it was early. It was positive.

A year ago on Thanksgiving we found out we wouldn’t be having an early August baby. I think we had a month or two before Thanksgiving that told us not June or July either. We were now looking at due dates that were into my Mom’s school year starting! How would we manage! Nobody said anything at Thanksgiving, the time when we announced at least one of our other pregnancies.  I plugged in numbers into due date calculators over and over again, imagining what having a baby around then would be like.

One year ago you had already been alive for 2 weeks, and soon you would have a heartbeat and share my bloodstream.

Last Christmas was too early to tell anyone and nobody asked us! It was a miracle. I’m not a good liar. But by this point people have figured out our 2 year “plan” (in quotes because only God is in charge) and must be wondering.

The big 3 boys all used the same infant carseat but it was about to expire. This past January I found a carseat, base, stroller, and stander ride-on for the stroller on clearance for less than our original carseat alone cost! While we were checking out I spilled to the cashier, and Leland overheard me, thus ruining any cute reveal to the big 3 boys. We urge him to keep quiet, but a few days later we need a place to store our new supplies so we tell my parents by bringing them to their house.

A year and a half ago I started taking extra folate in hopes of preventing lip and tongue tie in hypothetical future babies. I began to learn about MTHFR gene defect and the problem with folic acid. Even now I have not been tested so I don’t know if I have it but based on many things I’m going on the assumption that I do. You still had a lip and tongue tie anyway.

A year ago your little spine was formed and did not close all the way. You were already you and already loved and already had spina bifida.

And soon our crazy year of 2018 would start, and you would be born well before your Grandma’s school year.


Oh, sleep, you elusive creature . . .

Three reasons I don’t get enough sleep:

  • Leland
  • Elliot
  • Fulton

Three bad dreams I’ve had about singing in church tomorrow:

  • Forgot my music and Mom (who is the music director) was very mad
  • People clapped at the penultimate climax not the ending  (people don’t even usually clap for songs in our church)
  • Had to play on a not-full-size keyboard, standing up, with a much too low music stand I couldn’t see, and I messed up a lot

Four reasons I’ve had trouble falling asleep:

  • Too much sweet tea from Chick-fil-a
  • Rehashing traumatic moments from Downton Abbey
  • A little gurgle in my belly had me convinced I had the stomach bug (we’ve avoided it this year so far!)
  • I couldn’t remember our third pick girl’s name, which is hilarious because we’ll probably have 7 more boys before we even have a girl to use our first pick. I still can’t remember the third pick.

Sunday Best Vol. 2

Had to pop in a quick post to link up here!

Mom bought this shirt in 2 sizes from Target and graciously gifted me the one that didn’t fit her!

Raided her closet for matching cardigans and here we are in all our cute matchiness, with a cute photobomber (I seem to remember him popping in to photos in another post . . . )

Anyway, here we are!

Hoping to get into blogging some more but we’ll see what happens . . .

Turns out I am an abstainer after all.

Way back when before all these kids, I was a music therapist at a psych hospital, and I ran other groups as well.  I used to share all kinds of ideas and articles, including one from Gretchen Rubin on abstaining vs. moderating which she describes here and further discusses here.

I would talk about it perhaps in terms of addiction, or maybe just in a positive thinking type group, but I generally thought I might have been a moderator – but what it boiled down to was I didn’t want to fully give anything up.  That is no way to live! Surely I can moderate my diet/internet use/what have you.  I need my desserts, darn it!

But I can’t, and in the second article, perhaps she is arguing that maybe only very few especially temperate people can truly be moderators.  My Grandad, for instance – who just passed away this year – I think would be one. And then there is me.  I recently read about someone’s experience with compulsive overeating and it sounding a little too familiar.  If you’ve watched the new show This Is Us I can relate to Kate quite a bit.  And you might look at me and say well you aren’t nearly as big as her, but it wouldn’t take too many steps for me to get there. (I’ve since stopped watching after episode 2 – I have enough stress in my life, I don’t need anxiety from a tv show!)

So how did I come to this new self-knowledge?  Brian and I are rewarding ourselves with $5 a week for maintaining certain rules and mine is no sweets, except for a snack at church if available during coffee hour, or a special occasion like a birthday or outing.  And it’s easier.  It’s easier to have a rule.  I am, at heart, a rule-follower. The rule becomes freeing.  I can even scroll through pinterest, note how delicious everything looks, and move on.  I am no longer tempted to put things in the grocery cart because they are simply not allowed, and then I don’t have to try to not eat half a container of cookies that are in the house.  Our allowance of sorts is helping the budget as well, by cutting down on extraneous spending.

I’m tempted to use a further example, the thing, ahem, you usually think of when it comes to abstaining.  I’ll just leave that there for you to ponder.

So which are you?  Any true moderators out there?  Any rebellious rule-breakers who balk at abstaining?  Anyone else like me who is finding (or has found) freedom in boundaries?



I Wear My Great-Grandma’s Clothes, I Look Incredible Vol. 5, plus a bonus!

Well lookie here – some pictures from last December for your enjoyment.  Great-Grandma’s clothes were not baby-bump friendly!

The skirt was my Great-Grandma’s, with a white cami, gray sweater, and that all felt a little too bland for me so a sparkly scarf.  And of course my good old black flats, and a cute then-three-year-old.


I need to work on looking natural, and maybe somewhere other than the church nursery to take pictures? Sundays get a little crazy in our household so we do what we can!

And a Bonus!  My Great-Great Aunt Winifred made pretty things, and sadly this sweater no longer fits, but here is a glimpse of the neckline:


I think I wore this sweater when I was in 4th grade so understandable that it isn’t the best fit now.

Maybe that the baby belly is gone (who am I kidding? The baby is out, but much of the belly remains . . . ) I will find some more old clothes to wear!


A mini-babymoon, a birthday, and a belly

As in very mini babymoon.  While pregnant with Elliot we spent 2 whole nights away from Leland!  Which I think may have actually been a bit much for him, but he was (self) weaned, sleeping through the night . . . used to me leaving to work one afternoon a week etc.

So yesterday we got to go out from 11:30am til about 6pm (with a stop back in for a bit to nurse/coddle Elliot when he woke up)

I wore make-up:


which you can probably barely tell – but there you have it.

Brian and I went out for Indian buffet lunch, then home as mentioned.  Then off to an antique store (can’t do that with the  boys!), coffee/book shop stop, consignment shopping, and finally dinner out before picking up the boys who had since decamped to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Basically we like to eat as much food as we can on babymoons (Elliot’s was to Vermont – Ben and Jerry’s, Cabot cheese, cider mill, Vermont Country Store). The kids were like – oh, hi.  And actually Leland was a little more clingy/needing cuddles after us being away than Elliot.

The other exciting thing that happened yesterday was we started Leland’s allowance – $4/paycheck since he turned 4.  He got 3 ones and 4 quarters – 2 quarters for church, 2 for the piggy bank/savings, and $3 spending.  Which he promptly spent $2.10 on matchbox cars that are already breaking.  Part of the learning process!

Also exciting is that we are making Elliot stay in his crib all night for about the last 5 nights.  It’s had its ups and downs but we are hopeful he might make it into Leland’s room before the baby comes . . .

Speaking of baby . . .


There he is in there!  33 weeks tomorrow, on the day I turn 32.  I wore make up today, too.

Linking up with Rosie for Sunday Best!

Raising Grateful Kids – Review

So little did I think that with my little blog that a handful of my facebook friends read I would be chosen to be part of the launch team for a new book by Kristen Welch (of wearethatfamily.com ) – Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World.  I even filled out the form at the very last day!  I’ve only been reading her blog for a couple months but I have come to appreciate her insights.

So the book – it’s a bit of an emotional read, but I think it’s an important one.  Kristen shares many stories from her parenting experiences, and those of others.  Also included are some polls she conducted and research studies from others.  There is also plenty of scripture to support her ideas!

I most appreciated the chapter on technology, as it convicted me about my own overuse of my phone.  Also because this era of technology is a new parenting world.  Even I can remember a time before computers (barely!) but my kids will have so much more technology than we ever did.


The other best chapter was the last one –  “Dear Parents” – where she gets real about the challenge of this undertaking.  One of the series on her blog has been “Parenting upstream in a go-with-the-flow world” which described it well.  She boils it all down to what all parenting goals boil down to:  What you want them to be like, you have to model.  But of course, there are a lot more practical details on how to do that in the book, including ideas for each age group at the end of each chapter.

I also loved her focus on service and perspective, drawn from her experience with travel and starting a non-profit.


I did have a bit of a hard time relating to some of the examples for a few reasons.  I think our current financial position has forced us to be more content.  I can remember thinking that I would never ever live in an apartment when I had kids – I would own a home for sure.  And now here we are, in a 2-bedroom rental, after living in a 1-bedroom until Leland was 18 months old, and I think that if we could live in a townhouse that would pretty much be my dream home.  God has been gracious in changing my heart on my sense of entitlement (at least in some areas) as we have learned what we can actually afford.


Much of the book is also more for future reference for me – my kids are only 1 and 3; their little desires are quite simple and so far they are happy with simple.  Sure they get itching for “something new”, especially around birthdays and Christmas when people are a bit too generous, but they also say “thank you” often (well, “ks” from Elliot) and even unprompted.

My only other area of differing opinion is that I definitely lean in more gentle parenting style than Kristen, but I was able to take the information and fit it into my ideas about parenting.  Some of it is just semantics, like in the chapter against a child-centered home. I can also see how attachment parenting might look too child-centered but could still be more family-centered (and even better – Christ-centered).  Because again, I only have littles, and let’s face it – they tend to be the focus and their needs tend to influence the rest of the family.  That’s why I am sitting here finally typing this review while they are sleeping!

Overall it was a good and important read and I’ve been blessed to be part of the group previewing the book.  Check it out!

Where to buy:


barnes and noble

also check lifeway and cbd