feminism might be dead. at least in our house today.

And then this morning Phil took Iris to get her ears pierced, told her to Dominate It, and that was that.

Oh well.


the ear piercing that wasn't.

Iris decided this week that she absolutely must have her ears pierced. We counted the sleeps until the weekend when she would finally be able to put permanent holes in her earlobes. She was soooo excited omg only two more sleeps gahhhhhhhhh!!!!

And then.

We got to the mall and there was a gaggle of teenage girls getting various holes punched in their collective cartilage. As she observed them, Iris started to lose confidence. The girls were so sweet, offering to let Iris watch them get pierced, but by the time the piercing gun was raised to the first girl's ear Iris was like, Thank You But NOPE. No Way, No Ma'am. (Can I Still Get Ice Cream Though?)

As we sat eating our chocolate hazelnut Pinkberry with mountains of chocolate toppings I began to swell with pride. You know the feeling, parents, when your kid does something that just makes you go, "YES. That is a little piece of what life is about. You have learned something of importance here."

I told Iris how proud I was of her for being brave enough to change her mind. I told her that it's not always easy to change our mind, but we are always, always allowed to do so. I told her that she is in charge of her body and that she is the only one who is allowed to make decisions about it. And then I told her she can decide to get her ears pierced another day, or not at all. I think she forgot that this entire endeavor was completely optional. She seemed very relieved to be off the hook... even though this was all her idea and I never encouraged or discouraged any of it.

We ended up going back to the store and I bought her a pair of magnetic earrings. I have no idea how long those will last but she loves them for now.

I love natural teaching moments! Especially ones that end with chocolate hazelnut Pinkberry.


words that actually came out my mouth this week

At Kroger: "You may never, ever leave a store while I'm paying. You all know better! Hey! Are you listening? Get your arm out of that gum ball machine NOW and put your shoes back on."

At home: "Repeat after me: Tampons aren't toys."

At the park: "Stop licking that baby! That's not your baby. He can lick his own baby sister but you may not. We don't lick other people's baby sisters."


dear diary, i know i haven't written in a long time...

My poor, poor neglected little blog! Occasionally Phil shakes his head and tsks at me, "You know you can still see Christmas stockings when you go to your blog, right? Front and center." I know, I know. But it's like when you haven't talked to an old friend in a long time. There's so much to catch up on; where do you begin?

My kids are amazing. Perhaps you've been reading some of the ridiculous stories on Facebook. We average at least one poop incident every two days. And the children, they are a-growing! I keep feeding them and they get bigger. Weird.

It is challenging to blog with all this Little Kidness going on. I commend those of you who manage to keep writing, and write well. In fact, in the time it has taken me to write the last two sentences, I have been interrupted four times. (A jelly spill! Ruby, you can't cross the street! Stop sniffing that! I'll get the Band Aids!) And by the time evening falls I have just enough energy to play a couple games of Scramble With Friends before I cash out for the night.

Aside from the daily crazy, I also had my First Real Breakdown since Phil's diagnosis. Back then I was put on a pretty tame, low-dose garden variety SSRI. It worked beautifully. I came off of it before I got pregnant with Ruby and did okay. After Phil's most recent hospitalization five months ago, I was having a very difficult time processing all the chaos and drama. I was pretty much not functional in my most basic role as a human being. My doctor and I decided it would be in my best interest and the best interest of my family for me to go back on the same medication I had been on. And I was looking forward to feeling a little better.

What happened instead was that I had an awful six hour allergic reaction, similar to a psychosis, which then propelled me into almost two months of crippling panic attacks. Like, Phil had to hold down the fort and take a sick day or two to help because I was locked in the bathroom.

Obviously I did not continue the drug.

I had some wonderful friends at church pray for me. I dropped coffee altogether (I KNOW!!) which was worse than terrible for about a week and a half. I mean, I can't even begin to tell you how addicted I was and how bad the agitation and headaches were. I started drinking green tea instead. I did some research and decided to try Inositol along with my daily multivitamin. And I'm working out. (For real! Stop laughing.) It seems to be working. All of it. Plus the sun is out, which makes a huge difference in my attitude and outlook.

So you can see that writing was not necessarily a huge priority when I could barely drive children to school or make a sandwich without going into a complete tailspin. But I'm going to try from now on, Dear Diary, I really am! Stay tuned for poop stories, house projects that drag on for months too long and probably eventually more Christmas stockings.

I have to go wipe up a spill but I'll be back soon.

Miss you all!


advent craftiness. you knew it was coming.

Holidays! Can you believe it's already December you guys?! Feels like only yesterday we were Skyping Phil in to Christmas morning from the hospital. Ah, the good ol' days.

And look, the stockings-because we lack a chimney- are already hung by the staircase with care.

Jingle on out of the fast lane, slackers, 'cause I have got my act TOGETHER this year.

It's been a while since I've sung the praises of Pinterest. Me thinks it's about that time again.

As a child, I remember having an advent calendar at Christmas every year and in the interest of keeping traditions alive it was important to me that we start doing that with our kids as well. I checked Pinterest for some ideas of homemade advent calendars and, as I've come to expect from my fellow Pinners, there certainly was no shortage of creativity. I melded some of the collective brilliance together and voila! I give you my finished product:

I filled little bags with fun treats like chocolate coins and peppermints, items such as pencils and small notebooks to keep thankfulness journals, and harmonicas to practice making a joyful noise unto the Lord (while also driving me crazy, to be sure). I also filled about half of the bags with fun family activities such as 'Go look at Christmas lights', 'Bake Christmas cookies', 'Dance to Christmas music' or 'Make gifts for the neighbors'.

I used a paint pen on colored cardstock to mark the date, clipped them to some twine with clothespins and strung the whole deal waaaaaaaay up on the curtain rods in our dining room. To deter sneaky little peekers. My plan is to pull out a Bible verse each day to correspond with what's in the baggies as an attempt at keeping things holy up in here.

Our calendar only goes until the 22nd because of our holiday travels. And it starts today because I procrastinate like a mofo.

Anyone have some fun holiday projects they want to show me? I'd love to oooooh and ahhhh over them.


a shout out to the children's leukemia foundation

I woke up this morning and realized I have three children. Do you ever just do that? Like, how did I get here? It was the sight of Ocean's shoes in the hallway that did it to me. I thought to myself, "WHOA. You are a for real parent. Your kid wears those shoes." Shivers.

Despite moments of weirdness like that, our lives continue to feel more and more normal. The big kids are in school 3 days a week and Phil and I manage to keep ourselves busy in grown-up land. We're trying to be more disciplined and balanced for the sake of the kids, because neither Phil nor I are gifted in those areas. But we're making progress. And we've also managed to squeeze in some fun family time.

Last week we took the kids to the Children's Leukemia Foundation for an Art Day. They got to paint, draw and color while Phil and I hung out and chatted with the super amazing social workers who have been taking such great care of us over the last year. CLF not only represents children with blood cancers, but also children of adult patients with blood cancers. Every Christmas they put together a box of gifts for each of their families; we were overwhelmed last Christmas when a GINORMOUS box arrived on our doorstep filled with wonderful presents for our children. Given the state of things last year, I cannot tell you how much it meant to me knowing that my children were being thought of and cared for when my attention had to be with Phil. Even now, as I write this, my eyes are filled with tears and my heart is bursting with gratitude for the CLF.

As we begin to enter the season of mistletoe, holiday cheer and- let's face it- toy drives, I wanted to draw your attention to this particular organization's efforts. You can find out more about the Holiday Toys program here.


from now on i'm going to let him choose his punishment, because an ice cream trap is way better than what we were going for.

Ocean was having a terrible time when he got home from school today.

Iris had stayed home from school with a raging fever and Phil was working so by the time Ocean got here I was losing my mind between Iris's demanding screams for more juice and Ruby's physical abuse of Iris, for which she shows absolutely no remorse I might add. (It's a new thing. It's disconcerting. I don't know.) So I didn't have much time to connect with Ocean like I usually do in the afternoon. As a result, he was- as my dear southern mother would say- fit to be tied.

When Phil finished working he tried playing soccer upstairs with Ocean but I could hear Ocean copping an attitude. I went up to chat with him and ended up taking his soccer ball for refusal to cooperate, and then subsequently sent him to his room for sassing me. Different versions of this scenario kept replaying over the next hour. I had had enough and went downstairs to deal with the Sicko and the Sociopath. Finally, Phil came downstairs, opened up the freezer and took out the carton of chocolate ice cream. He put two scoops into a small bowl, set the bowl on the table and called Ocean. "I'm going to try a different approach," Phil said. I raised my eyebrows.

Ocean came downstairs and Phil told him to sit at the table. He sat, then noticed the ice cream. "What's this for?" he asked with a smirk, raising an eyebrow.

Phil said, "Do you think you deserve this, Ocean?"

I was pretty sure I knew where Phil was going with this. We have been talking about God's generosity. How he gives and gives, and we often don't recognize it. That it's not by our efforts that we are given so much, but just because we are loved and part of the family. This is something that I want to communicate to our kids. Generosity- recognizing it, appreciating it and replicating it. For about three-and-a-half seconds, I thought this just might work.

Ocean pondered the question for just a moment before he began to speak, tentatively...

"I heard a story once. It was about a mouse. And there was some cheese in front of him. But then he realized it was a trap. A mouse trap."

Guess we nailed that one.