In Honor of Nike: Just Doing It

The thing about having little kids is that they think pretty much everything I make is “awesome” or “beautiful” or “so cool.” I figure I need to cash in on their easy-to-impress ways while I can and not wait until I have the perfect materials to satisfy my snobby taste. Stella’s going to be 9 soon so I figure the clock is ticking.
After Stella was born I told myself I was going to make a wreath for each new season. I never did. I spent my time reading a Martha Stewart book about wreath making. Couple that with being a first-time mom and having a newborn/infant/toddler for a year and not a lot got done. I never had the right materials or the time to make something beautifully perfect. I did make homemade bread for a while, though.
Families with babies need good reminders to just DO certain things. The baby will cry and be unhappy anyway, so just GO to the park; just GO on your run or walk; just LEAVE the baby with a sitter; just keep making/writing/reading whatever you used to make/write/read. It will only happen in spurts, but just DO it! It’s hard, I know (trust me: I know) but it feels good to do the things you used to do. I love just sitting with my newborns and my big kids but I always feel a little better after I’ve made something–because I like to make things!
In that vein I’ve continued to try to keep making stuff–albeit imperfect–that I can either use or give away. A person can only keep so many quilts but I do love making quilts!                                     I made one of my favorite Halloween decorations before Stella was born–I love to get it out every year. This morning I just made this:

Halloween wreath

Some dollar bin Halloween garland and some cardboard. It took about ten minutes. My kids will LOVE that there’s a Halloween wreath on the front door. While I’d rather have made something fun with burlap, cornupopian vegetables and tasteful Halloween characters, I didn’t happen to have those things on hand. I kid you not, though, the little wreath I made this morning are the kinds of things that my kids remember for years! I love that about kids and I need to remember it more.


With Butter

A friend who loves to cook and consume food once commented on the absurdity of any diet that restricted access to butter. Jamie and I just finished the Whole 30 a week ago. We did not end it as prescribed–slowly reintroducing foods to see what gives us trouble–we went out with friends and had bread, alcohol and dessert!
However, the next morning my joints hurt. No lie. It sounds like something your super healthy friend would tell you about dairy and sweets, “They inflame your joints and prevent your aminos from recuperating in a healthy cycle.” Whatever, right? Well, it’s true. My body ached the day after I broke my fast.
There’s a price to pay for all those tasty fats and sugars. I don’t plan on never paying the price again, but I do plan on being a little more conservative with my bill.
All that’s to say I don’t miss cream in my coffee; I don’t miss a bowl of cereal; I don’t really miss boring cheese (not to be confused with tasty cheese). I will still partake of alcohol when life affords it and I will still celebrate life’s celebrations with some sweets–it’s a risk I will take. I will also be preparing as many vegetable laden meaty meats as possible. And, quite honestly, I will be having a piece of bread with Kerrygold butter on it every now and then. Not because bread is so great: dat butter tho!

Solomon’s Forgotten Proverbs

The heart of a grumpy child is lightened by the physical sight of their chastened sibling–so much so that they can skip outside to enjoy the formerly eschewed light of day.

Perish the thought of “the dumb question” until there is just such a question. (Apocryphal examples abound.)

Patience belongs to the child who can savor his sweet the longest, allowing it to linger long after his siblings have finished their treats and they can then experience envy of the sweet they only *just* finished.

If you give a child an inch they will ask you when they next get an inch.

Guilt is a selfish whore who goads the parent into doing more until they remember, “Oh, yes, this is why I don’t usually do more.”

Suffering Together

People are always talking about how great it is to spend time together as a couple. Go out to dinner, go on a hike, go out for coffee. That’s great for your average gauche couple, Jamie and I have discovered a more refined way to grow our marriage. We’ve decided to do the Whole 30 diet together. Why go out for dinner when you can prepare large amounts of meat and vegetables in the comfort of your own home while your kids eat noodles in front of you? (We like a challenge. See: six kids in eight years, law school with small children, cancer twice, moving twice and having a baby twice in less than eighteen months)

Not including the incredible withdrawal symptoms, I feel good. It’s hard to quantify at this point, but I’m going to trust that in twenty-six days I will be composing Shakesperian sonnets and running 26.0 miles in my sleep. (Can’t commit to a full marathon. Yet! Talk to me on day 30)

I’ll also confess that this little graphic has done a pretty good job of summarizing my experience thus far:


However, last night Jamie was way too with-it, lucid and peppy for me to be feeling much solidarity with him. His general well-being meant that he was able to grocery shop with half the children and I was able to collapse in bed at 6:30, but I’m feeling like he should be hurting more. Maybe our windows of sufferings wont be aligned? Maybe his suffering will follow mine so I can pick up the slack much the way I have to when he’s having a “man cold”.

School Day Population Cut in Half

Half the children started school. It’s a game-changer. But when you’ve still got three kids age three and under it just means that the three kids who can make sandwiches, hold babies and have a decent conversation are gone all day. My bubbly little kindergartener in the picture below–all ready for learning and stuff.

The beginning of the year was not without it’s sorrow and angst…for me. The kids were fine. They were good examples to their mother of having an upbeat attitude in the face of unwanted change. The gusto with which they went after their first days at a new school was refreshing. I could’ve had a bunch of sad sacks who refused to go somewhere new. Alas, this was not the case. They were positive and cheerful and positively cheerful.

Noni slept in bed next to me the night before school started. I woke up and cried by myself at 4:45 am just so that I couldn’t be outdone in the drama department.



The actual first day. When Gianna was not yet a student and had the best, most helpful attitude about her entire left-out status. Not a single complaint.


And Mr. Cheerful