Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I am so in love.

I can't believe he's already a week old. I am completely over the moon in love with this little boy.

For more Wordless Wednesday head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Total Truth Tuesday: A Domestic Fairy Tale

I was looking around my house tonight and realized I'm living a life I had never dreamed I would. When you're a kid, you dream about fantastic adventures in far off lands. You dream about the fulfilling work you'll do changing the world. You dream about a glamorous and exciting life.

You do not dream of playrooms overflowing into your hall or of doing laundry and dishes and cleaning bathrooms at 1:30 am. You don't dream about dirty sippy cups and crayon scribbles on walls. You don't dream about the inevitable clutter of a busy life.

But, it wouldn't be so bad if you did. Because, I must say, despite it's decidedly unglamorous nature this is an incredibly fulfilling life. It is not the jet-set life of a writer I had envisioned for myself and some people who used to know me think I've settled for less or taken an easier path. But, this is anything but easy and I can't help but think when I look into my childrens' eyes that this is by no means settling for less. (Though, I'll admit, before I had my kids I would have felt that way about others in this position.)

I don't think I am noble or righteous for choosing motherhood. I don't think women who pursue a career are less admirable than those who pursue a family. I think this is the right choice for me. And I think women have the right (and the responsibility) to determine what a fairy tale is on their terms. I guess right now, for me, my fairy tale is chasing preschoolers around and stepping on discarded toys on my way to the kitchen. And I fully intend to cherish every minute of it.

Is your "fairy tale" different than you had pictured it? How has your idea of success and happiness changed since starting a family?

This post was originally published March 10, 2008.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Somewhere in the hall someone is screaming.

The good and bad thing about a hospital room on the maternity ward is that it feels a bit like a cocoon. You sit bundled up in bed with this precious new baby and you're pretty oblivious to the rest of the world.

It's blissful and a bit suffocating all at once.

Today the biggest thing we had going on was Traveler's hospital picture session. He, of course, slept through the whole thing. But, he managed to look adorable while doing it.

I bought the cheapest package I could get away with (which is still ridiculously overpriced) and settled back in to my adjustable bed to gaze adoringly into his milky brown eyes.

And then I heard it. Even though my door was closed and I was swept up in my cocoon of new baby bliss, I heard the unmistakable sound of terror and heartbreak.

It was enough to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. There was shrieking. And crying. And my heart sunk to the floor when I realized it was another mother here on the maternity ward.

I do not know her story. I do not know what happened. I do know that moments later I heard running and carts streaming through the hall. I heard rushed whispers from nurses about a STAT Team being called. And, I do know that the sound of a mother's heart broken in two is not a sound you forget.

I prayed for that woman for what seemed like an hour. I prayed for her baby. And, I held my own baby bundled tight in my arms and cherished each and every perfect moment with him.

But it reminded me that in every moment of blissful ignorance and in every second of my own selfish joy, somewhere in some hall someone is screaming. And that I should be thankful for every good and perfect moment I am blessed with.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I just can't help myself.

Okay, so I'm aware that pictures of this new baby boy may only be interesting to me at this point. But, oh how I am in love. And so, I just can't help myself.

Did I mention that the girls are in love with him, too? Today Kai & Ivy came to the hospital to see him again. Kai crept up to him, leaned down and kissed him gently on the head, and whispered, "There is my sweet boy."

I nearly overdosed on preciousness right then and there.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Someone I want you to meet...

World, meet Traveler Oakes Kekoa Loving.

Travs, meet the world.

Our little one made his way into the world at 12:48 PM today. He was 6 lbs. 11 oz. and 19.5" long.

So, now if you'll excuse me, I have some snuggling and cuddling to do with this little boy of mine. I'll be updating with more pics soon!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Total Truth Tuesday: In which I admit to being a coward.

There are lots of things I'm afraid of.

There is, for instance, flying. And spiders. And dangling my feet over the side of the bed when it is really dark in my bedroom and I'm the only one awake.

I'm really a big old 'fraidy cat. For real.

The other thing I tend to be a bit nervous about? Major abdominal surgery. Particularly those of the C-section variety.

I don't relish the thought of having my body cut in two. It's just a little quirk I have.

But, tomorrow, I will face my fear again. Because I have to. And because it is a small price to pay for the blessing of this new life that we're about to bring into this world. But, I'm nervous, friends. And freaking out just a smidge.

So, if you could offer up a few prayers for courage and peace and, you know, un-'fraidy cat-ness tomorrow I'd sure appreciate it. 'Cause last night when Kai asked me over and over if this is the last time I'd ever be tucking her in to sleep I started to worry that she had an inside track on something I wasn't aware of. And I confidently assured her that everything was going to be fine and that it was easy for the doctor to make a door for the baby to come out.

After which I promptly went in my room and cried. And freaked out. But it occurred to me (mid freak-out) that since sharing stories about my embarrassing parenting failures with the world makes me feel better that maybe sharing this bit of panic would make me feel better, too. Maybe just saying it out loud and asking for some prayer would be enough to take some of the bite out of that fear.

It's what I do every time either of my girls have a nightmare. After I've comforted the tears and the panic, I tell them the same thing every time.

"Just tell me what it is and it will be okay."

Then they tell me what terrible thing was filling up their dream. And they realize that it is never as bad as it sounded or felt in their head. Because keeping fears a secret gives them unbelievable power.

So, I'm telling you. My friends, readers, passersby. This is what I'm scared of and this is what I'm feeling. I'm telling you so it will be okay.

And you know what? I think it's working already.

Packing my bags...

So, you know how you're supposed to have your bags all packed somewhere around the 35th week of pregnancy? Actually, when Kai was born I'm fairly certain I packed them as soon as I entered the 3rd trimester. My bag sat by the door waiting expectantly to be whisked to the hospital in the middle of the night at the slightest pang of labor.

It never did happen that way.

With this pregnancy I've waited until the very end to pack. In fact, I only got most of my stuff together this past weekend and tossed it in the back of the van. Since it is pretty clear at this point that my womb is like a vault and my babies are evicted against their will I just don't see the point. But, since I'm going in for my C-section Wednesday I guess I'd better have it done with pretty soon.

So, that said, I need some advice 'cause even though this is baby #3 I never know quite what to pack in these things. The baby's bag is packed. That one is a piece of cake. It's knowing what I'll need that always stumps me. Thus far I have:

Digital camera/video camera
Two horrible Pollyanna nightgowns
One gag-tastic floral robe
Knit booties with skid free bottoms
Face wash, lotion, deodorant, and shampoo
Boppy Pillow (thanks, Laura!)
Various Balms and soothing lotions for breastfeeding
Nursing bras
Extremely forgiving and stretchy outfit to go home in

...and that's it. I mean, of course I'd never go anywhere without my laptop and Blackberry (I'm hyperventilating at the very thought of it) but other than that I don't know what else to bring. Is that everything I need?

Have any of you actually taken Thank You notes and done them in the hospital? Do you have any hospital must-haves that you recommend? 'Cause as much as I love my husband (and, Thomas, I do love you) once I leave the house it's likely he'll never be able to find whatever I send him back to get for me.

So, ladies, help a blogger out. What am I forgetting? What should I bring that I would never think to take a long?

For more Tackle It Tuesday, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom and check out what other moms are taking on this week!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Who doesn't love a party?

Since I'm currently, oh, 75 weeks pregnant (okay, okay technically just 39 weeks pregnant) the only parties I'm up for are ones I can attend in stretchy pants. And, as it turns out, blog parties are just about the only parties where my choice to wear embarrassing grandma pants is completely acceptable.

Which is why I decided that partying it up with the wonderful ladies from 5 Minutes for Mom was a perfect way to spend my last week of pregnant "bliss."

So, here I am. Actually, it's me 39 weeks pregnant with my youngest daughter and the victim of my mom's terrible photo cropping skills - you're welcome. (Read the full story behind this embarrassing pic here. It comes complete with a poem to highlight the humiliation. Don't miss it!)

Meet my family. Our family photos look a bit like the old "Which of these things is not like the other?" game from Sesame Street. In case you're a bit confused about where I am in the picture, I'm the one that doesn't tan. Not even remotely.

Here you can read what a typical day in my life is like. And, yes, I really am that ridiculous in real life. I blame the red hair.

And, just for the heck of it, here's the story of how I (unwittingly) hired strippers for my oldest daughter's 2nd birthday party.

If I haven't completely scared you away with all that, you can find me Twittering here.

So, there you have it. Me, in a nutshell. A really scary, humiliating, inappropriately honest nutshell.

Feel free to leave me a link in the comments so I can check out your blog and/or follow you on Twitter and get to know you, too!

And head over to 5 Minutes for Mom and check out all the cool mom content there! Enjoy the party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Room for one more...

In exactly one week we'll be adding another little Loving to this family. I can't wait to meet this little boy!

For more Wordless Wednesday head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Total Truth Tuesday: My Case for Polygamy

I called Thomas at work last Wednesday and told him if he wanted to try and convince me to give polygamy a chance that was the day to do it. It is also, not coincidentally, the day our cleaning lady came for the second time.

Have I mentioned that I am in love with her?

Before you start to worry that I've been watching WAY too much Big Love on HBO, let me say I can't truly imagine adding another person to a marriage.

But, adding another person to the house? One who cleans and can watch the kids while I run to the grocery during the day without worrying about loading anyone into over-sized carts and negotiating fights over who gets to sit beside the frozen pizzas? I can definitely imagine that.

When I was in college I remember reading Judy Syfers' classic feminist essay, "Why I Want a Wife" and thinking it was really "cool." Because I was 19. And I didn't really get it. But, I was a feminist so I'd heard there was gender role inequality and, well, I jumped on the bandwagon.

But, now, I read that essay and I realize it could have been written by any one us mommy bloggers. I can relate to that essay in a way I had never quite imagined. I, too, want a wife. Wives are such wonderful, wonderful things.

Since I'm pretty much a traditional kind of girl (at least in the sense of wanting a one man/one woman marriage for myself) I'll settle for having a housekeeper one day a week. It is probably as close as I'll get to the bliss of having a wife to take care of me.

Our housekeeper started two weeks ago and I already look forward to seeing her every week. In fact, everyone in our house does.

"Don't mess up the playroom," Kai warns her sister, "Miss Trina is coming next week!"

"When Trina is here next week, can you have her iron some more dress shirts?" Thomas requests.

And, I am more than willing to give up these chores to someone more qualified than I am to do it. You should see me iron a shirt.

You may think I'm a terrible wife if you wish. I don't care. Think I'm overindulgent, frivolous, or lazy? I can take it.

I guarantee you that society doesn't view my husband as overindulgent, frivolous or lazy for having someone at home caring for his progeny and his domain. It is just a given that he'd have that luxury.

Don't misunderstand the arrangement here, though. Having help one day a week doesn't mean I sit around the rest of the week eating bon-bons and watching Dr. Phil. I still have plenty of household responsibilities to keep me busy. It does, however, mean I have someone who is guaranteed to catch the things I've routinely overlooked. Like baseboards. And blinds. And changing the sheets as often as they should be changed.

The truth is, now that I've gotten a taste of having someone to help around the house, I'd gladly sacrifice meat from my diet to be able to afford having her come clean our house. I'd limit myself to buying one pair of shoes a year. (Okay...maybe 2?)

Because homeschooling a preschooler, a kindergartener, and taking care of a brand-new baby after a C-section while maintaining some kind of order in this house is beginning to look overwhelming to me. Even with better living through pharmaceuticals.

So, when she offered to watch the kids while I ran a quick errand last week it occurred to me that having someone there to help out is pretty irresistible. Though, as it turns out, Thomas isn't so much into the idea of marrying 60-something-year-old women so he wasn't all that tempted. Even if it would save us the money we pay her.

I guess since polygamy is out of the question, I'll stick to paying someone to help me be a better wife and mom. After all I am contributing to the economy that way, right??

What about you? What little luxury to you make room for in your budget that you refuse to do without?

A 'bit of Irish in the Kitchen

In honor of St. Patty's Day (my all-time favorite holiday) I'm making some simple, easy Irish-inspired dishes for dinner and thought I'd share the recipes!

The Soda Bread recipe is one I found here at Recipezaar.com. They've got tons of variations on the recipe but I use this one since it is simple and goes well with the Corned Beef & Cabbage dish below.


* 6 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 3 tablespoons cornstarch
* 2 teaspoons sugar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 1/2 cups buttermilk


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Add all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
3. Add all of buttermilk at once and stir until soft dough forms.
4. It might be a little lumpy, but don't worry about it at this point. Pour contents of bowl out onto the counter and knead for a minute or so until blended.
5. Divide dough into two portions and shape each portion into a round loaf, with lightly flattened tops.
6. Put loaves on large ungreased baking sheet, preferably the nonstick kind.
7. Sprinkle some additional flour on top of each loaf and with a sharp knife, cut a cross in two slashes across the top of each loaf.
8. Let the loaves sit for 10 minutes and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 2 loaves.


1 head of cabbage cut into chunks
olive oil
1 small box penne pasta
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 can corned beef, chopped (I think it could use 2 cans, but I've only ever made it with one)
fresh carrots, sliced

Heat oil in stock pot. Add cabbage and cook 2 minutes. Add broth and water. Add carrots and corned beef. Simmer 20 minutes. Add pasta. Cook until tender. Salt to taste.

There you have it! The "Irish" menu I'm tackling this week. Head over to 5 Minutes for Mom to see what other moms are tackling this week!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Kai-versations: You had me at **sniff**

What I love about kids is how unexpectedly sweet they can be sometimes. Kai sometimes blindsides me with something so precious and sincere that I just don't know what to say.

The other day, out of the blue, she came up and put her face on my cheek and inhaled loudly. Slightly unnerved, I asked her what she was doing.

"Smelling your cheek," she said very matter of fact.

"Why, Kai?"

"Because it smells so good."

Thinking I'd regret asking this question, I went ahead and asked the obvious.

"What does it smell like?"

"I don't know, like...Mommy."

"What does 'Mommy' smell like?"

Kai thought and thought and looked at me so seriously and said, "You know. Like...Love."

Be still my heart. I sure do love that girl.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

On shushing a rooster (and other exercises in futility)

Sometimes I have these moments. You know, moments where I find myself doing something and I am able to imagine how it looks to the outside and I realize that I really am even more ridiculous than I thought.

Yesterday I had one such moment.

It's the chickens, people. They bring out the crazy in me. I swear.

See, we (read: I) just had to get a few more chickens to add to our coop. I wanted 7 dozen eggs a week so we could sell them easily to friends & neighbors. It's fun. And addictive. And, inevitably, crazy inducing.

'Cause when we got the chickens we got two that would be good for setting (not laying). Basically, it means they're smart and they'll make good moms. Just in case we want to, you know, add one more thing to this household for me to keep alive.

But one of these "smart" hens got out the first day. And now she wanders all over our yard. And she taunts the other chickens. And the rooster.

Yesterday, he'd had enough. He decided to let her have it. LOUDLY.

And that is when I decided to try and quiet him. By that I mean, I started shushing him. And, of course, it didn't work. In fact, it made him mad. So he crowed and clucked more. I got down on his level and shushed him more. Then I begged him to be quiet. I mean I really and truly was pleading with him to quiet down. And I tried to give him treats and convince him he didn't really want to make noise that would disturb our neighbors.

It was there, on my knees in the middle of begging & shushing this noisy bird that I saw him. My neighbor. On his deck. Watching me in amusement as I worked so hard to convince this bird to be quiet. And as I failed miserably at accomplishing my goal.

It occurred to me that as ridiculous as I looked this was a scenario that is quite common for me. I am guilty on so many occasions of drawing attention to myself and making a scene in an effort to avoid drawing negative attention. I'm guilty of trying to manipulate situations that are beyond my control and making myself look like a fool in the process. Because, in the end, there really isn't all that much out there I can control. Except (on good days) myself.

And, I wonder what this is teaching my kids? I tell them that they shouldn't worry about what other people think. I tell them to be happy being themselves. And then I go off shushing roosters.

What about you? Have you ever found yourself trying to take control something clearly outside of your control? How do you overcome these urges?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eclipse: 9 months and counting

Because, people, I know you're dying to see yet another picture of this belly. And I pinky promise in 2 weeks I won't subject you to belly pics again. Ever.

For more Wordless Wednesday head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Total Truth Tuesday: Yes, I AM nesting, thankyouverymuch.


Everyone tells you it's a sign of impending labor (whatever that means). What everyone fails to tell you is just how annoying it is to those around you.

Because, people, I am nesting something fierce right now. And my family is paying the price.

I guess for some women nesting involves getting the baby's room ready. For me, it involves obsessively stressing about every single task around the house that has been left unfinished for more than 5 minutes.

I don't know what it is like for most women, but for me it is almost a physical reaction to things left undone. My skin starts to crawl. It's similar to the feeling one gets from drinking the never-ending sweet tea refills at Cracker Barrel until more than 2 gallons of highly caffeinated and sugared tea is coursing through your veins. Not that I've ever done anything like that. That's purely hypothetical.

So, in the past, my nesting efforts have included scrubbing kitchen floors on my hands and knees (twice), buying half a dozen new laundry baskets and over 100 new hangers to organize every single piece of laundry sitting anywhere in our house, buying a carpet cleaning machine and obsessively steaming the carpet since the baby was going to be crawling all over it within 5 minutes of coming home from the hospital, right?

This time my nesting has been more passive aggressive. There are lots of things that need to be done. And, unfortunately for my husband, they are things I can't accomplish on my own. Which means I have to beg, nag, plead, and cajole him into taking the nesting burden upon himself.

He is not amused.

What about you? What is the weirdest (or most expensive) things you've tackled and blamed on nesting?

The Big Switch, Continued

I mentioned a while back that we were switching out Family Room and Dining Room. And, in the process, we decided to change our dining room decor up a bit. We didn't really have much of a decorating scheme in the Dining Room before. It was more of a combination of funky pieces we'd found at antique stores and junk shops. Have I mentioned my love of all things funky, cheesy, and junky? That may be it's own separate post...

Anyway, when we switched things out, we ended up working my love of religious art into the room and used it throughout the room. We're still in the process of collecting enough pieces to give the room the right flavor (if you've ever been to the Pope Room at Buca Di Beppo you've seen where we're going with this) and it might take a while to get it complete. But, in the meantime, check out my favorite part of the room.

My Dining Room mantle:

(when it was actually a Living Room mantle)
Not the best before picture, I'll admit. But, you get the idea.


I am pretty excited about the way it turned out. The candles are the $1 candles from Kroger and when lit they smell absolutely heavenly (no pun intended, I swear!).

So, there you have it. My Tuesday Tackle. Go see what other folks are tackling out there over at 5 Minutes for Mom!

Monday, March 9, 2009


Friday, March 6, 2009

Kai-versations: Not exactly the vocab lesson I was going for...

We play this game at our house. Usually it's one of those things we do when we're stuck in the car or we're waiting on food at a restaurant just to fill time with something somewhat "educational."

It's the rhyming game.

Pretty simple game. Nothing new. I say a word and the girls take turns rhyming words with the one I've chosen.

The other day in the car we were playing when I announced the new word we were gonna rhyme with: WORD.

I could think of lots of words to rhyme with it: Bird, Herd, Third. You get the idea.

But, Kai excitedly uttered the one word I never expected. Can you guess it?

Yep, Turd. It came out of nowhere because that is not a word we ever use. Honest. I have lots of other words I shouldn't admit to using and do, but this one just has always grossed me out and never made it into my vocabulary. And I think she was just putting consonants in front of the vowel sound because she didn't seem to know what it meant. Until I started giggling.

I tried hard not to. Really, I did. But something about that moment just caught me off guard and I couldn't stop laughing.

And then she asked what it meant. All I could think to say was that it was a not very nice word for poopy. Which made it of immediate interest to her.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised later when she said:

"Mom, can we hurry and find a bathroom? I have to go so bad I might just turd in my pants."

Awesome. Seriously, can boys be any worse than this?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What do I do with Snakes, Snails, & Puppy Dog Tails?

As you may have noticed, I have have two girls. Two very girly girls. And I have two sisters. And no younger boy cousins or nephews or godsons. I come from a family packed to the gills with estrogen.

Which means, as D-Day approaches I'm getting more and more nervous about having a boy. Don't get me wrong. I'm really looking forward to this little boy. And I can't wait to start a new baby adventure.

But, boy stuff? That I'm completely unprepared for.

From the simplest of tasks (diaper changes) to the more complicated issues (potty training), I'm just completely at a loss. I've changed all of 2 boy diapers in my twenty-**cough**-something years. I babysat for one boy child. Once. And, I didn't even do that for more than a couple hours.

Can you tell I'm freaking out?

Okay, so here's where the internets bail me out. Tell me, friends, what are your best boy tips and tricks? What do I need to know? What will the baby books fail to tell me?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

I need to remember this image when they're screaming at each other and fighting like cats & dogs. It's proof they really do love each other!

For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Total Truth Tuesday -The Belly! Week 36

I was looking at myself in my bedroom mirror the other day and thought, "Hmmm...my belly isn't really all that big. In fact, it's not that big at all!"

A day later I caught a glimpse of myself in a store window and nearly fell over. Apparently, I have a magic mirror at home. Or there is something in the heating ducts causing me to hallucinate. 'Cause the belly? It be huge. HUGE.

Without further ado, I present: The Belly. (Cue scary music)

(BTW, notice how high this kid is sitting?? Is it too much to ask that he drop already? Sheesh!)

Monday, March 2, 2009

And we have a nursery...

I've blogged before about the fact that it was taken me WAY longer to finish this little one's nursery than either of my girls. Partially because things are crazy around here with a pre-schooler and a kindergartener and partially because the boy thing was really stumping me.

But, we finally picked a "theme" and are getting the nursery almost finished. It isn't quite complete and we've still got to add some artwork that Thomas is designing this week, but it has come a LONG way!

Keeping in mind it's still a work in progress, I wanted to share what "we" (read: Thomas) accomplished with painting. Check out the before and after pics:

Before - Kai and Ivy's bedroom

After - T's almost finished nursery!

So, that was my tackle this week. Go check out what other people are tackling for Tackle it Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom!

Things I learned the hard way last week

1. 50 feet of 50-year-old cast iron pipes that run completely horizontal in your basement are bound to break when a roto-rooter tries to clear them out.

2. 50 years of food and grime in said pipes does not make your cute yellow Prada make-up bag any cuter. Seriously.

3. Chicken Noodle Soup is not a great meal to give kids in their car seats when you're in a hurry.

4. Kidney stones can, in fact, put a pregnant woman into labor.

5. Doctors don't care that your nursery is ready and you have already washed the necessary onesies. They apparently have more "scientific" ways of determining whether or not to stop labor. (And, boo to that.)

It's snowing?!?

I can't even count the number of snow predictions we've had this winter that never turned into anything but disappointment. So, when the weather man called for snow on March 1st (after a 60 degree day just two days prior) I didn't even bother telling the girls.

And, guess what??

SNOW! In Georgia! In March!

And last, but certainly not least, Kai finally got her wish to make a snowman this year. Sure, he was only about 6" tall and she had to use sunflower seeds for eyes but she was beyond thrilled!