Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why We Can NEVER Be On Time

My friend once told me that mothers are allotted an extra 15 minutes per child to arrive at any given event before she can be considered “late”. At the time, I had only one kid, and I thought she was absolutely ludicrous. I mean, sure, I was always a little late (approximately 15 minutes…) now that I had Andy, but I was planning on having more kids. And surely—SURELY—I would not be even later once they got here! I was determined to never be more than 15 minutes late anywhere, no matter how many kids I was hauling with me. 

Then, along came baby #2, and yeppers! we were about another 15 minutes late on a consistent basis. 

Now that baby #3 has arrived, I’m not sure even an extra 45 minutes is going to cut it. Just this week alone, morning plans have had to be shifted back hours into the afternoon due to all the craziness that is involved with having three kids. At this point, if we manage to go anywhere at all, I am impressed with us. If we were to be ON TIME somewhere, I think I’d pass out from the shock of it all.

There are an infinite number of ways we have managed to delay our departure times. It has been mind-blowing how easily we can tack on extra 20 (or30, or 500…) minutes when it seemed like we were ready to walk out of the door five minutes ago. I cannot tell you how many times I have thought, “Wow! We’re doing really great on time! We may even get there early!” But then, out of nowhere, some unexplainable time warp has happened and we have gone back to being late. 

As I sat thinking today about the many, many things that have caused us to be tardy lately, I decided to write some of them down so that I can have a record of the insanity. I am sure that there are many others, but these are the Top 20 that easily came to mind. Please note that each of the following scenarios have occurred singularly and also in any number of combinations. 

Here we go:

1.      Andy decided to stomp in a mud puddle on the way to the van. Not that the puddle was actually ON THE WAY to the van. It was actually in the neighbors’ yard. But it was outside just like the van was, and visible from the path to the van. So it had to be jumped in. And of course, Finnick followed him. 

2.      Oliver needed an additional diaper change right as we were walking out of the door, or Finnick did, or Andy suddenly realized he needed to poop, or all three happened back-to-back-to-back.

3.      Finnick saw a bottle sitting on the counter on our way to the door and decided he MUST have milk NOW. Which prompted Andy to realize that he needed a drink also AND a snack. Which made Finnick realize that he needed a snack in addition to his milk.  

4.      Mom knocked over a Route 44 soda while preparing Finnick’s bottle, and it went EVERYWHERE.

5.      Finnick’s shirt got soaked with milk when he drank his bottle. Andy spilled his drink in his lap. Both received new clothes.

6.      Finnick fell down the steps while walking to the door to leave and required cuddles from Mama and the application of the Boo Boo Bunny. 

7.      Andy got stung by a wasp and required cuddles from Mama and the application of the Thomas the Train ice pack.

8.      Mama’s keys got locked in the van by Dad. A scavenger hunt ensued to locate the valet key.

9.      Finnick played with Mama’s keys, or her cell phone, or her deodorant, so another scavenger hunt ensued to track down everything.

10.   Andy couldn’t find his shoes, and/or Finnick could only find one shoe. 

11.   Andy’s shoes were on the wrong feet, so he had to start over. While he performed the switcheroo, Finnick took his shoes back off. And lost one of them. 

12.   Finnick threw his pacifier, and it rolled to Who-Knows-Where. Then he cried that he did not have it. YET ANOTHER scavenger hunt ensued.

13.   Mama realized that the diaper bag needed to be restocked, or she had to re-pack it due to Finnick playing another round of “Throw Everything Out of the Diaper Bag”.

14.   Andy discovered a new bug bite and needed immediate application of anti-itch cream.

15.   Finnick was put in “Time Out” in his crib for creating havoc while Mama tried to ready the family to leave… and he fell asleep. Therefore, the entire trip was delayed while he finished up his nap.

16.   Finnick’s spur-of-the-moment nap lasted long enough for everyone to get hungry. The trip was delayed further for the family to eat lunch.  

17.   Andy stopped to pick multiple flowers, leaves, and rocks for Mama on the way to the van. Finnick also picked up rocks and tried to eat them. 

18.   We finally made it to the van, where we realized the car seats had not been re-installed after being taken out for a school trip. 

19.   Because we had rushed home the last ten trips out due to a screaming baby, or nursing schedule, or some other child-related emergency, we realized we never filled up the van and now had zero gas.

20.   By the time everyone was finally ready, and the van was ready to go, it was time to nurse Oliver again.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Top 10 Things You Might Want to Know Before Your C-Section

To prepare myself for my third scheduled Cesarean, I re-read all the books plus multiple blog posts claiming to tell all the secrets of the procedure. Every one of them mentioned the same things. By the time I was discharged, I had made up my mind to tell all the things the books and blogs managed to leave out. So here are all of the things that surprised me at least once, if not all three times--the things that no one else seems to have covered. 

.      1. You will sport an entire arm party of hospital bracelets.

Trendy "Arm Candy"
Not-so-trendy "Hospital Arm"
The bracelets closer to your elbow may get a little tight, causing your circulation to be cut off, your arm to turn purple, and amputation to become inevitable.

2.      If you’re not careful, “I Saw the Sign” could be the first sound your newborn hears outside the womb.

Apparently, mamas are supposed to bring a CD or ipod/MP3 player with music that they would like playing at the time of delivery. I missed that memo. So Finnick’s birth music, chosen by the doctor performing the surgery, was fated to be Ace of Base. Thankfully, I was not too far gone to request a musical change. I have no memory of what music we landed on, but no matter what it was, it HAD TO BE better than that.

Unless, of course, we landed on the same CD we put in for Oliver’s birth.

This time around, the nurse, upon discovery that I had once again failed to provide baby-birthing music, produced a CD labeled “The Best C-Section CD EVER!” that a past delivery-er had left behind. Here are some lyrics from one of the songs. Tell me if this sounds like good “Welcome to the world, tiny baby!” music to you:

I sold what I could and packed what I couldn't
Stopped to fill up on my way out of town
I've loved like I should but lived like I shouldn't
I had to lose everything to find out
Maybe forgiveness will find me somewhere down this road
I'm movin' on

Don’t get me wrong—I love me some Rascal Flatts. But listening to all the nurses sing along to a song about heartbreak didn’t exactly put me in a celebratory mood. There was also a song about dying and going to Heaven in addition to two more we’re-breaking-up-I-hate-your-guts goodies. 

3.      You will be moved so many times, you’ll lose track of your room number.

My Cesarean required four rooms. FOUR. I had one room where I was prepped for surgery, then a room where the surgery was performed, then the recovery room, then finally the postpartum room where I was to remain until discharge.

By the time I was wheeled into that postpartum room, I was so doped up on anesthesia and puking my guts up that no one bothered telling me what my room number was. That turned out to be a problem when I ended up exiting the nursery out of a different door than the one I went in.

In my defense, the nurse ushering me out said, “You can go out the back door. You’ll be right at your room!” I took that statement literally. I exited the nursery hallway and walked into the room directly in front of me.

It wasn’t my room.

The girl inside didn’t much appreciate my waltzing into her room unannounced. And since the nurse wasn’t at her station, I ended up hanging out for about 10 minutes waiting for someone to come along who could tell me where I lived.

It was the room next door.

4.      The grandma with the cane will be able to lap you on your way to the nursery. 

Approximately twelve hours after surgery, you hit a milestone—removal of the catheter. This is a huge deal because it means that you are no longer tethered to that hospital bed. You are free to roam! Since Oliver was confined to the nursery having his blood sugar monitored, being freed from my bed meant I could finally walk down to see him.  

That elation was slightly marred when I realized that I was shuffling along so slowly that others were making it down to the nursery windows, ogling their new little ones, then making it ALL THE WAY BACK before I could get out of my hallway.   

5.      You will be so proud of yourself for peeing.

Who knew that peeing could be so difficult or so painful? Seriously, the nurse should hand out tiaras and sashes and shower you with confetti after that first successful potty break. And she could, seeing as how she’s standing RIGHT THERE when you go to measure the amount of urine you can produce, as well as being part of the whole “Call, Don’t Fall” push.

Except in my case.

I did not want to urinate in front of an audience. I was even willing to risk the fall if it bought me my privacy. So I waited until the nurse was long gone for my first attempt. Unfortunately, the measuring-cup-urinal-thingy had been removed by one of my visitors. However, it looked rather self-explanatory, so I just plopped that sucker back on the toilet, put the seat down, and went to town.

It’s not self-explanatory.

It fell into the toilet mid-stream.

I did not earn my tiara, sash, and confetti.

6.      Your lingerie will take a severe hit.

Bye-bye, fishnet hose and corsets. Hello, fishnet granny panties and binders.

7.      You will succumb to junior-high-boy conversations about gas.

I was amazed how many times I was asked, “Have you passed gas out of your bottom?” No kidding—the nurse was very specific—“OUT OF YOUR BOTTOM.” My favorite was when I had to answer with a roomful of visitors. Even more amazing was how proud I was of myself when I could finally answer, “Yes!”

Again, there should be prizes. Maybe buttons that say, “I Tooted Today!”

8.      Shower time may remind you of a scene out of a prison movie.

When you can’t move from the waist down, then even the little things become incredibly difficult. Like drying your legs. Or putting on underwear. Sadly, I was forced to choose between accepting the help of the (multiple) nurses and giving up my last, meager shreds of dignity OR remaining damp and naked…and giving up my last, meager shreds of dignity.

I chose the first option, taking the term “potty party” to a whole new level. 

9.      You might discover that your shoulder blades can have gas.

On day #2 of my hospital stay, I started to feel a tension knot in my shoulder—or so I thought. The nurse tried to warn me that it was more likely to be referred pain from my surgery, but I blew her off. After all, I have been dealing with knotted-up muscles in my back/shoulders/neck all my life.

That was a mistake.

If you take every ache and pain of pregnancy plus those of the actual C-Sections and combine them into one big, super pain, you might just begin to understand the agony I felt in my shoulder. At some point, I ended up in the fetal position (which hurt my incision site) crying (which caused pain spasms in my shoulder) and begging for more pain medicine (which I was told would have zero effect), all the while wishing my shoulder could toot. 

10.   You will have access to an unlimited supply of Jello.

Probably the only positive other than the actual BABY is the Jello Rainbow available upon request at any hour, day or night. My Jello-eating schedule looked something like this: Jello, breakfast, Jello, lunch, Jello, dinner, Jello, Jello, Jello. The nurses brought it to me in 3’s—one cup of green, one cup of red, and one cup of orange. I probably should have felt more shame at the amount I consumed, but I couldn’t manage it. I was in fruit-flavored Heaven. In fact, I almost opted to stay in the hospital one more night just for the Jello.

Luckily, I had stocked up on boxes of Jello at home; I went through four in the first two days after my release.

Monday, July 7, 2014


Children change things. That’s a given and, really, only something Captain Obvious would point out. But there are situations where the change is more dramatic than others. 

In the area of modesty, I feel that my life has probably changed more dramatically than the average Jane’s.

Prior to children, I was an exceptionally modest person: I dressed modestly; I did not participate in inappropriate or crude conversation; I avoided potentially embarrassing situations...

That was then. Now is the exact opposite of Then

You’ve heard the expression, “Chivalry is dead”? Well, in my world, Modesty is dead. It has been brutally hunted down and killed by the combined forces of pregnancy, child-rearing, and the alarming levels of testosterone within my home.

Obviously, I have been aware that modesty was on a slippery slope for quite some time now. But I did not realize how little (none whatsoever) remained until a few days ago when Andy barged on me in the restroom, looked me up and down, then ran back out, laughing, to tell everyone, “Mama’s naked!”

Here are just a few more examples that prove the complete and utter deadness of my modesty.


While in college, I went on a mission trip to Panama City Beach, and forgot my swimsuit. When I went to purchase one, there were only two-pieces in the store. And by two-piece, I do not mean bikini; I mean boy shorts and tankini top. Even though I had a perfectly fine physique in college, I forced a friend to follow me into the water so that I could throw her the towel I was wearing when I was deep enough to dive in. I was humiliated to think that my naked mid-drift might be seen.

When I got engaged, I opted out of both a lingerie shower and a bachelorette party. I was I way too embarrassed to open gifts of skimpy undergarments in front of an audience, especially since I had no intention of wearing them anyway. The few, random gifts of lingerie that were given to me in private stayed boxed up for a long, long time.  

I’ve skipped every annual female well-exam since the ONE that I scheduled prior to marriage. I have no desire to be examined. I’ve always assumed I’d die of the embarrassment long before any diagnosis could get me. 


I’ve traded in those 7 well-visits for approximately 45 OB visits, 3…um, internal ultrasounds, 3 C-sections preceded by repeated “checks”, 3 hospital stays that included catheters, assisted bathroom breaks, and assisted showers, and 3 nursing babies that are assessed by know-no-boundaries lactation consultants. 

Because of all the OB exams and deliveries, along with all the nursing, I am pretty sure there are very few people left that have not seen me at least partially nude.


For at least the first couple of years of marriage, I ran the water every single time I had to pee so that Ken could not hear me through the door. 

Up until the time that Andy arrived, I refused to do anything other than pee if Ken was anywhere in the house. That meant I had to drive home from teaching at 90 MPH each day to make sure there was enough time to take care of all needs prior to his return home. If I had an emergency situation and HAD TO GO while Ken was home, I would go ahead and take a shower, too, so that he wouldn’t get suspicious about why the water was running for so long.

In public restrooms, I would sing to cover the sound of my peeing. I would rather have my intestines explode than do anything other than pee in a public restroom. 


I haven’t used the bathroom or taken a shower alone in over three years.

Andy insists on checking out the contents of the toilet prior to flushing when he, or anyone else, uses it. He also likes to inform the other members of the house exactly what the toilet user is doing, and how it’s going, and how it smells.

Since he can’t really talk yet, Finnick gets in on the bathroom action by poking my belly button while I potty. 

In public restrooms, Andy often cheers me on while I pee. Loudly. Then he will ask me if I need to pooh-pooh, too.  

Since Andy doesn’t understand the concept of privacy, he also airs all my other private business to anyone. After my recent shaving tragedy, he informed my MIL over the phone, “We had to go to Wal-Mart to get some medicine for Mama because her tee tee has been sick.” Thanks, baby. Not quite accurate, not to mention that Grannie probably would have been content with a simple, “We went to Wal-Mart” rather than the lovely mental image you just gave her. 
(To read about the shaving tragedy, click here: Pregnancy Advice I Would Give Myself)


I refused to fold Ken’s underwear the first six months or so of our marriage. It just felt weird touching anything that had touched his naked behind. Plus, other people’s underwear gross me out. 

I enforce a strict No Gas Passage policy while in my company. Gas is to stay inside the restroom. Loud gas passage should really be covered by the sound of running water. Gas’s cousin, Burping, is only allowed with a closed mouth.
I hate the word “poop” and all of its variations. I taught my kids to use the word “potty”. I considered anything else too graphic and crude to be yelled out in the middle of Wal-Mart when my child announces to the world what he needs to do.


I wash boys’ underwear at least three times a week, plus change dirty diapers multiple times each day.

Andy loves to play around by saying things like, “I’m gonna toot on your eyeballs,” or dance around grabbing his cheeks and yelling, “Naked hiney!” when he’s getting ready for bed. Even Finnick, who only knows a total of about seven words, already knows the word "naked". He likes to pull up his shirt, smack his naked belly, and yell, "NAKED!"

Andy thinks it’s funny to come climb in my lap right before he toots.  Finnick is even worse; he toots directly in my face, and I swear he aims straight for my nostrils.


If anyone ever struck up a conversation, or made a joke, about bedroom behavior, or nakedness, or anything else potentially considered crude, crass, or otherwise inappropriate, I made a beeline out of the room. This occurred more often than one might think at the teachers’ lunch table or even ladies’ Bible study.


The majority of my conversations include fun topics like the many color variations of poop, the causes of vomit, naked hineys, where babies live, where babies come from, how the baby is going to come out of my body, and why I can’t pee standing up.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Let's Be Realistic, Pinterest!

I love Pinterest. Really, is there anyone out there who doesn’t? Pinterest is completely awesome, especially if you are one who has zero original ideas and no money, yet has something huge you want/need to accomplish. 

For example, say you have a desire to shove it in someone’s face that your kid’s birthday party was WAY better than their kid’s birthday party, and you have a budget of exactly $10. Simply check out Pinterest for loads of cheap, DIY ideas that magically transform random pieces of junk into on-theme treasures guaranteed to make all other moms officially crown you as Birthday Party Queen. Or maybe you need to impress your man with your mad cooking skills. Pinterest can surely hook you up with at least a hundred recipes that require only a microwave and 3 ingredients yet will have that man singing your culinary praises at the city gates. Can’t afford furniture? Pinterest can show you how to make your own out of old pallets. Need to get rid of bugs? Make your own deodorant? Plan a dream wedding? French-braid hair? Pinterest, baby. Every time.  

But my all-time, favorite topic on Pinterest is interior decorating.

I could literally spend hours pinning tips on how to paint walls, furnish rooms, create reading nooks and indoor playgrounds, hang pictures… I would need at least 10 houses to be able to replicate even half of the ideas that I’ve fallen in love with. 

One of the more popular home décor ideas are these hand-painted, distressed signs with sweet or witty blurbs about family life. Some are inspirational messages about the love that families have for each other, while others are fun little spins on old throw-back house rules. 

I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to these signs. I absolutely love them. I really do. The only problem is… they don’t quite ring true for my family. Sure, they sound great, and they espouse ideals that I aspire to live up to. But for now, they are just artistically-rendered lies. 

For example, here is a sign about the things a family does in their home:

Seriously, is this sign not completely precious? I love it! But it’s a little misleading, to say the least. This sign makes me imagine a family sitting around hand-in-hand, talking about each other’s good qualities and life goals, all the while employing perfect manners, and immediately asking for forgiveness if etiquette happens to be breeched. 

That is NOT my family. In fact, I can’t think of ANY family off the top of my head that even remotely resembles this list, at least on a consistent basis. It reminds me of a glamour shot—remember those? They look so pretty but NOTHING like the original subject. And since the third thing on this list is “We do Real”, I have a small issue with putting this sign in my house.

You want to see “Real”? This sign is REAL:

In Our Home
We do sword fights
We do naked
We do snot and poop and vomit
We do time-outs
We do nap evasion
We do lots of bandaids
We do nose-picking
We do silliness
We do temper tantrums
We do the “Why?” game
We do BIG messes


 This sign I could hang proudly. Well, maybe not proudly, but at least with a clear conscious.

I’ve taken the liberty of modifying a few of the other signs I found on Pinterest, for anyone who is interested in celebrating the unbridled, unmasked, honest-to-goodness TRUTH about family. 

For example, here is the House Rules sign I found on Pinterest:

Okay, so really, this one isn’t so bad. I agree with every rule on the list. However, it’s still just a little too… nice. And lofty. These are things that I hope to really iterate when the children get a little older, but for now, we’re still dealing with more tangible problems. Like, “Don’t lick the buggy at Wal-Mart.” and “Don’t wipe your nose on Mama’s clothes.” I think THIS sign suits us much better:


Then there's this little gem:

Again, so precious. And so full of crap around 2:00 p.m. when two children are competing to see who can last the longest not falling asleep for nap, or at 2:00 a.m. when Ken is shaking me awake because he’s sleepwalking about a bomb in our ceiling fan. 

This one has much more integrity, I think:

What I Love Most

About My Home

Is That The Door to My Bedroom

Locks From the Inside

And finally, the crème-de-la-crème, my absolute favorite piece of mush:

Honestly, I am not even sure what this means, other than there’s a whole lot of touchy-feely stuff flying around this house. Sounds more like a recipe for a Kumbaya camp fire sing-along than for a happy home. 

My recipe may not get us in touch with our feelings quite as well, but at least you can always tell we’re having fun. It is more akin to this:

Recipe for a Happy



   4 cups of dirt

   2 cups of germs

   3 cups of nonsense

   1 cup of wrestling

   5 spoons of Legos

   2 spoons of Superheroes

   4 quarts of tranquilizers

   1 barrel of bleach


   Take dirt and germs, mix them thoroughly with nonsense. Blend it with wrestling, Legos, and superheroes. Add tranquilizers and douse with bleach. Serve daily with large helpings of hugs, kisses, and baby wipes.

It really is a pity that these true-to-life signs don’t actually exist, at least as far as I know. If anyone happens across one, by all means, hook me up! My birthday is December 5th.