7QT: Like Father Like Son

28 February 2014

So this week I've managed to get up before the kiddos and do some writing in the predawn quiet every day. I have liked it. I have liked it a lot. I can't tell you how many mornings in the past two and a half years I have been woken up by wafting diaper bombs or someone jumping on my head. I even slept in this morning to see if I missed my 40ish minutes of quiet typing and coffee drinking, and I really did. So I'm feeling a Lenten resolution coming on, but we'll see...

For the days when I don't get up before the sun there's always the tuneful Mrs. von Trapp. She's governessing my son right this moment so I can hammer out some memorables from the team of Jacobs in the house:

From the Little Man:
- 1 - 
A few weeks ago Jakeboy brought me a "taco." 

Two small plastic cows and an acorn folded up in a breast pad.

- 2 -
During nap time the still awake toddler hears the baby squawk:

Jake: Baby sister! Baby sister, I coming for you when this is all done!!!

- 3 -
During a similar naptime:

Jake: "Katie!!! Katie, move your asst!!"

(Pretty sure that's all you, honey.)

And From the Big One
- 4 -
We were reading about Our Lady of Guadalupe while driving around our new neighborhood the other day, and we stopped directly behind a car with a decal of the icon stuck to the back window. 

Jacob: "Whoa. What are the chances?" pauses "Probably pretty good."

- 5 -
After I expressed some mild frustration about something he'd shared with his family in an e-mail.

Jacob: "Alright. How about I just ask you before I say anything to anyone ever."

Sweeter words were never...

- 6 -
Bemoaning how little he'd done compared to Thomas Jefferson at his age.

Jacob: "Think about my biography: At 28, he drove around installing closets, sometimes listening to presidential biographies."

- 7 -
Me: You're 29 dear.


And so am I. Cuz it's my birthday or something today. I'm happy houring with the huz sans kids and don't you know I'll be toasting all of you. 

How I Came to Love the Crunchy Simple Life (with a side of Mennonites)

27 February 2014

Once upon a time I shampooed my hair daily and wore anti-perspirant and had never heard the term lacto-fermentation, and I probably was less annoying then, but let's be real, I was also a lot less cool.

Then enter one son of a hippymama named Jacob Rhodes.

In Los Angeles when Jacob and I were still engaged, my English teacher roommate was arguing with her architect boyfriend one evening about whether potatoes grew above ground or underground. Figuring that I was earthy enough to solve the dilemma, they came and found Jacob and me in the living room and poised the question. I stuttered that I was pretty sure they grew underground even though I wasn't speaking from any kind of experience and looked over at my farmerish fiance for back up. Jacob grinned huge and answered:

"Well the ones we grew always grew underground."

You see, the crunchy ways are not new to Jacob. Jacob was eating kale for breakfast while all other American children were feeling healthy while they snapped, crackled, and popped. But beyond his hippymama, his father had grown up as an old order Mennonite. Horse and buggy Mennonites are nothing if not simple livers, and it was there that I caught the bug.

Jacob lived in the Mennonite community for his junior year of high school and had found some of his dearest friends among his 80ish cousins.

Jacob and brothers and Jack the dog

I'm pretty sure I've posted that photo on the blog before, but there are so few pics from this time in Jacob's life - because of the whole no electricity/no graven image thing - that I'm recycling it. But can you blame me? That's how they dressed the whole year, hats and all!? (He said they would drive the buggy into town and get looks and he just wanted to shout: You've got it all wrong! I'm just like YOU!) (I think it's awesome that my mother in law did this to her teenagers.) (Her teenagers!)

I digress...

Anyhow, when we got engaged it was high time that I met all his paternal relatives in Kentucky. So I went to Goodwill and bought myself some monotone ankle skirts and longsleeve shirts and hopped on a plane to meet my soon to be in-laws.

We walked into his aunt's house late in the evening and the kitchen was lit with one oil lamp and on the table was a huge bowl of popcorn dusted with brewer's yeast that his grandmother had made us. A couple of his cousins came in with their patchy young beards and stared at the ground. Jacob and his brother made Mennonite small talk, and I ate popcorn.

My week visiting the Mennonites was a week of faux pas. One fourteen year old cousin (in the dearest way) treated me like I was nine, and rightly so because I was fumbling all over the place. I talked too much. I slept too late. I went through the men's only entrances. I didn't know anything about anything, and I wanted to know everything, and while my curiosity was kind of flattering to them it was also just awkward. You can't even say things like "darn." I don't know how Jacob turns it off, honestly. He just transitions into Mennonite-speak. I'm the opposite. I'm like a carbonated beverage all shook up in those situations. I trip on my skirt and I say "Shoot." Then "Darn," I realize what I've said. "Geez" I did it again. And it goes on like that for a very embarrassing amount of time. And all the while Jacob is looking at me with raised eyebrows and shaking his head in utter disbelief.

I've digressed again.

Well, it was on this first visit that I encountered the simple life.

I made soap. I hunted fresh eggs. I milked a cow. I witnessed cloth diapering and hand crank washing machines and hang dried clothes and canning and cheesecloths and printing presses and looms. I watched a chicken go from clucking in the yard to boneless skinless tenders in a matter of minutes. Far from being put off, I was thoroughly and royally hooked. The self-sufficiency was so attractive to me.

The real clincher came when I churned butter. Some of the girl cousins and I were walking out to the field where the boys were doing some clearing and one of them had brought a gallon jar of cream. She shook the jar as we walked. I finally got up the gumption to ask her what she was doing and she told me she was churning butter. I asked if I could give it a go and she obliged. So off I walked shaking this gallon jar and watching it. It got thicker as I shook and I made sure to comment on how much it was beginning to look like butter, and the girls just nodded politely. And then it happened. I was shaking this big jar of dense whipped cream when all of a sudden it started sloshing. In a matter of a couple shakes my cream separated, and there I was staring at butter and buttermilk.

The butter sloshing in that jar became a symbol of how far removed I was from the basic ingredients of the life I lived. I was so educated. So so educated. But I didn't even know how to make butter. When I peeked around the blogosphere and found that this whole simple living thing was all kinds of trendy, well I hopped on that wave like white on rice and we're still cruising.

Jacob isn't nearly as gungho about all this business as I am - I'm the overzealous convert -  but he humors me through my various adventures in pickled carrots and probiotic sodas and will probably draw the line somewhere around a self-composting toilet.

I don't want to dump on modern convenience: I like my hot water and slow cooker and refrigerator, but I also just like living in a way that remembers both that food doesn't originate in the grocery store and that the process of making that food is beautiful and rewarding. So I will continue to botch loaf after loaf of bread; I will occasionally find myself stretching mediocre mozzarella; my kitchen will always smell vaguely like bone broth; and every year will bring with it the grandest of gardening aspirations only partially realized.

Five Favorites: Natural Beauty Regimen

26 February 2014

Linking up with Hallie today!

So heavens to Betsy I don't pretend to be any kind of beauty expert. at all. in any way. And I feel totally out of my league posting anything like this, but I did very much enjoy making collages (see rookie evidence below), and I have come into my own nice little crunchy way of scrubbing up and deodorizing, so I figure I might as well share it since I'm trying to rock seven posts this week and this mama needs content. 

I wouldn't say these are my favorites exactly. There are plenty of fun spa-ish things I do, but I want to be true to my "regimen," and these are my only regulars.

- 1 -
I haven't been using this exfoliating washcloth for long, but I love it. I like making exfoliating scrubs from oils and sugar/salt, but I don't always have the time to fuss with them and this is a quick natural way to ensure some good dead skin sloughing in a quick shower. Like most natural cloths, it's on the abrasive side...but that's why I like it, and it's allegedly not as abrasive as similar type cloths.

It's mold resistant, and its loose weave ensures that it dries out fast which is really important to me.

- 2 -

I'll use my skin brush when I want to exfoliate but I don't quite have time to shower...which is often. Dry skin brushing supposedly stimulates your lymphatic system and gets you good and detoxed...which is all well and good and whatever, but I like dry skin brushing because I like the way it feels and I like the way it makes my skin feel. Nothing like a good morning skin brush.

- 3 -
Homemade Deodorant
My first foray into a natural beauty product was deodorant. I started trying natural deodorants in high school, so I feel like I've tried every brand under the sun and I was never totally happy with them. I did find one that I really liked, but a couple years later the company stopped making it. So when I saw a recipe for homemade deodorant in Soul Gardening, I jumped on that train fast and have loved loved loved it.

This is the standard recipe running around the crunchosphere - I use a little more or a little less coconut oil depending on the time of year. You can read all kinds of variations on this recipe that honor different skin types at Crunch Betty or at Passionate Homemaking

- 4 -
Natural Hair Cleanser: Baking Soda Wash & Vinegar Rinse
If you've spent any time in the natural blogosphere you've almost certainly come across the anti-shampoo craze affectionately known as "No Poo." But I kind of hate the term "No Poo," so we'll go ahead and ban it on this here blog. 

This hair cleansing method involves using baking soda dissolved in water to clean your hair and then diluted vinegar to condition your hair. I'll use shampoo every couple of months, but this is my go to hair cleansing method and has been for going on three years. If you're an overshampooer when you start this regimen it may take awhile for your hair to adjust and stop producing so much oil.

I dissolve about a tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a different cup of water and then pour my concoctions into good ole fashioned... ahem...peri bottles. I squirt the baking soda water all over my head scrub. Rinse. Then I do the same with the vinegar. Some people I know don't use the vinegar on their scalps, but that's what works for me. You can't skip the vinegar altogether because it throws off your hair's pH balance. The vinegar neutralizes the baking soda; you'll remember from all the volcanos in fifth grade.

- 5 -
It was hard to choose a #5. I considered posting about my preferred dry shampoo (straight cornstarch), facewash (straight honey), toner (diluted apple cider vinegar), moisturizer (coconut oil), or my make-up remover (coconut oil again) but I don't use any of those regularly so they didn't seem very regimen-ish. The only other regular piece of my routine I could think of was just some sturdy castile soap because some jobs just need soap.

So there you go. All kinds of basic. All kinds of boring. Lots of sloughing and not very antibacterial. Did I really just type that? Why why why am I posting this? I'm inches away from ditching the whole thing because I'm imagining you reading this and you're looking a lot like my composition students did back in the 8am day when I was like "Misplaced modifiers are fun!"

Oh well. It's done. 7 in 7 friends. And MAYBE you will be inspired to throw some of your crunchy beauty regimens my way which I would love because I. am. a. sucker for this kind of stuff. So come on in. The tubwater's warm. Has your pantry invaded your bathroom too? Spill it.

Off to Hallie's for more favorites.

The Big Purse Dump: A Link Up

25 February 2014

Linking up with Kendra today for The Big Purse Dump. I shall preface this with...I don't carry a purse. Que surprise, the woman who has worn fingernail polish all of three times in the last two decades is purse-less. Don't worry. Someday I will grow up and learn how to accessorize. It's my goal for my thirties.

I realized a few years ago that I was a total goldfish when it came to purses. However big my purse was I grew to fit into it, so I stopped carrying a purse and went the clutch route. This is the one I've been carrying for the past...year?

(Full disclosure: it's a seed bag from the hardware store...I know I know... I'm my own cliche.) It typically gets thrown into diaper bags or left behind altogether since I mostly just pocket my phone because my case houses my ID and primary credit card.

And the honest dump.

Cash. Chapstick. Pen. Receipts. Spare car key.
Rhogam record. Coin purse. Rosary. Checks
Dr.'s appt reminder from September. USB drive. Cards. Key to?? Anthropologie gift card. Natural bodycare recipes.
Gift cards to Amy's Ice Cream in Austin. Sunglasses. Address book turned grocery prices record.

So let's see. What in this mess is actually worth talking about?

Well this chapstick for one. Vanilla Mint. It's the best chapstick ever but it's been discontinued, so I've been nursing it for...ahem...too long to admit.

These Amy's Ice Cream coupons were a wedding gift from an Austin friend.

Every time in the last five years that we've been in Austin we've forgotten them, so they graduated to my purse because NEXT time we will be ready. Which might be Edel in July if you want to tag along.

And my favorite thing in here? Easy. This many years old green pouch and its contents.

It's a Florentine leather coin purse that an old boyfriend's brother bought me in Italy to replace one that was stolen from me. (Yes, Chelsea, your husband got it for me because he's swell. Now stop reading and start a blog.) The coin purse stores a crucifix that Jacob bought me in Budapest and a love letter he sent me while we were dating; it's falling apart, but we're not ;) awwwww.

And since you're all on the edges of your toilets wondering how our potty training is going, I'll let you decipher it for yourself.

I might have to rethink my rewards system...

Till tomorrow, friends!

Check out more 7in7 posts here.

7 Posts 7 Days: Why This is a Bad Idea

24 February 2014

Here we are at the beginning of the week that Jen has dubbed Brace Yourselves: We're Writing 7 Posts in 7 days but perhaps we should just call it: "The week we all try to do what Grace does every week."

I always want to blog more. And there are all kinds of reasons why I don't. Sometimes I can't get to it. Sometimes it seems like there's nothing to document. Sometimes the words just don't come. I'm sure there will never be a good week for me to blog more, but this week is far far far from a good week.

Right now in general:

Still a newish mother of two.
Jacob is working virtually all the time.
We are in the early stage of potty training our oldest little person.
We're batting at about a .200 when it comes to toddler naps.

This week in particular:

Lucy June is (finally) getting baptized on Sunday.
Jacob's brother and a friend from LA are visiting on Friday.
Jacob's mom and sister are coming into town for the weekend.
My parents, grandmother, and sister are all coming into town for the weekend.
We're having a party on Sunday afternoon.

So why? Why am I doing this to myself?? There are a few reasons:

1) When life is already crazy what's a little more craziness. Blogging won't really add much to the hectic meter this week because we're pretty much at max, so what's a little more, am I right? I'm a firm believer that you get more done when you have less time.

2) Sometimes I lock the door when I go to the bathroom. Even though blogging isn't perhaps as essential as bathroom time, I still really value it and I feel just fine about occasionally making myself less present to my family so I can accomplish it.

3) It's a gift to myself. Friday is my birthday (add that to my list up there, yo) and I want to give myself this gift. Whenever I make sure my kitchen is really clean or sweep my floors before bed, I do it because I know how much I'll appreciate myself for it come morning. I look at my dirty kitchen and I say: give yourself this gift. And I repeat that through the drudgery that is late night dishwashing. And it never fails. When I wake up to that clean kitchen or that swept floor, when first thing in the morning I can actually see the chair that used to be a mountain of laundry, I'm so grateful to my productive late night self that I could cry. And sometimes I do. This Friday I want to toast my Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday self, and say, "You're Awesome Sauce." Or I won't say that because I'm pretty sure that's just plain stupid, but I will drink a margarita just for her.

But how will I do it? Well my original plan was to wake up early (ACK!!? Wake up before the babies when they don't let you sleep at night??? I know. I know. Too hopeful?) Lucy June, fitful sleeper that she is, will often doze in till a hefty 9am and Jake isn't allowed to come out of his room till his Christmas Lights come on at a mildly generous 7am (God bless outlet timers.) I figured 6-7am was my money shot. So this morning I carefully rolled away from my infant at 6:05, brushed my teeth, and sat down to write. Four lines later, the whole family was awake. Lucy June was squealing her "Not 100% happy" noises from her solo post in the bed while Jacob was tending to the potty trainer who was reveling in his bathroom-only words and shouting "Pooty Booty" on repeat from his own little plastic throne.

Why why why did this happen you ask? I don't know...Motherhood is magical.

I will try again tomorrow. I wasn't planning on trying again. At 6:15 when I was trying to nurse Lucy June back down and ready to forego predawn wake ups forever, Jacob came back in the bedroom and I told him I was sorry that I'd ruined our last hour of sleep and that I wasn't going to bother with early morning writing again. And then in the pale light of morning, my sleep deprived husband, who speaks love in ruthless ironies, proceeded to give me a hard time for giving up after one day... because he's a prince, and he loves it when I get chances to do stuff that I love. And if that isn't just the most inspiring thing. So he will be the reason that I get up early again tomorrow.

And for today we're going with Plan B.

Because the kids

both of them

can't help themselves. And I can't either.

(And, yes. I did have to look up how to calculate a batting average. I love you, big bro.)

7QT: Pictures, Jailbears, Edel, and Potty Training

21 February 2014

Aaah. The supreme loveliness of this moment can't be understated. Tea. Cookie dough. Husband home giggling with baby daughter. Toddler napping (finally). Blogging (finally). Happy love! Happy happy love!
- 1 -

Let's start with Valentine's day. You know that heart holiday that happened LAST Friday but I'm talking about today because my blog my rules and because we totally got dressed up and we therefore must document.

Jake (and me, let's be real) made Valentine's cards. He didn't seem to care about anything but the glue stick while we made them, but afterwards he was SO proud of them.

- 2 -
The other day two patrol cars came to evict the goats next door. We were sad to see them go, but Jake did score a teddy bear from one of the officers.

He calls it his "police bear," but it looks a lot more like an inmate bear to me. Jumpsuit. Name tag.

I'm not alone in this, am I? Ain't no way that bear was riding in the front seat.

- 3 -
Jake peeked his head in the bathroom while I was taking a shower the other day and started to ask me a million questions about something. I asked if he would close the door and give me some privacy. He ignored me. I asked again. He ignored me. I asked again. He said exasperated: "I WILL as soon as I'm done talkin to you."

Nothing if not the charmer.
- 4 -
But Lucy June is not so charmed. This is her permaface when Jake is close by.

Not unwarranted, child. Not unwarranted.

- 5 -
Quick Take 5 is for this little thing:


See you in Austin???

- 6 -
So. This happened yesterday.

I had very little in the realm of potty-training aspirations. I honestly wasn't planning on potty training Jake till he was three. Then I had a newborn and realized how long I'd been in denial about how gross gross gross it is to change toddler diapers. So then I figured potty training would be a great Lenten penance, especially since Lent brings with it the welcome figure of my husband home for more than half a day a week.  

But then his year younger cousin started potty training and on Wednesday Jake started to talk about it and maybe perhaps began to show some of those "signs" that he was "ready." So I cursed, and then I jumped in. 

Yesterday we doffed the diaper first thing in the morning, and I proceeded to have the single craziest day since I became a parent. Kid 1. Kid 2. Kid 1. Laundry. Food. Kid 1. Kid 2. More Laundry. Kid 2. Kid 1. Repeat. Repeat. All day. I was like a machine. We even weathered a diaperless trip to Target to score some Dora stickers. It was a super fast trip, but honestly I was more nervous in those eight minutes than I've been since my graduate comps, and I'm pretty sure I prayed harder than I have since my confirmation. 

The day was insane and the house was a tornado, but the potty training part went kind of awesome. (She says as she knocks vigorously on wood.) Only tiny accidents. Lots of Boots stickers and even one Dora sticker...if you catch my drift. 

At one point we were in the bathroom, my son had his unders around his ankles and, because he insists on doing it all himself, I smiled my best Mrs. Affirmation and watched as he picked up his little potty basin, waddled it over to the big toilet, and poured the expressed contents in slowly and carefully. Half of me was crying because my little man was growing up so fast and getting so independent, and the other half of me was...well...gagging.

Anyhoo...another hearty welcome pat on the back from Parenthood.

- 7 -
I'm thinking I'm maybe gonna probably try and sorta jump in on Jen's 7 posts in 7 days challenge next week. Because 

why the hell not.

So get ready for some serious Rhodesian Logging.

And since I haven't posted enough pictures of Lucy June on that old blanket and she's the neglected second child, here's another.

Now off to Jen's with you.

A Good Day

11 February 2014

We knew when Jacob started this job back in the summer that things would be crazy in January and February.

But we didn't expect it to be this crazy.

There was so much work to be had that my brother moved to Houston for it and is living in our third bedroom, and another friend from Fredericksburg is currently bunking in our (albeit pretty homey) garage and occasionally his wife (my best friend from childhood) and their eighteen month old join the fray. Don't read that sentence again. It's too confusing. Just know it's been BUSY. The days are filled with snotty babies and giggles and tantrums, and the nights are full of big meals and laughter and beer and husbands cleaning the kitchen after oh-so-subtle reminders from their domesticity-weary wives.

It's wonderful and very very hard. My friend and I managed to have a few conversations over the toddler din, and when we talked, we talked about our plights as stay at home mothers tending to the endless needs of little people; we talked about how the days are generally frustrating, always exhausting, and sometimes pretty decent. We also compared our days and experiences to our husbands' who for the time being are working all day every day. There are days when Jacob arrives home late in the evening, I toss a baby in his arms and shuffle off to the kitchen (via a solo trip to the bathroom) so I can get food on the table before our toddler barrels into the over-tired freak outs.

He holds the baby with one arm and tries to close out jobs on his iPad with the other, and in frustration he says: "I know you didn't see it, but I worked really hard today."

I drag a toddler to his eighth time out of the evening and rush back to stir the onions on the stove, and in frustration I reply: "I know you didn't see it, but I worked really hard today."

And it's not fun to be that wife. I don't ever want to be that wife. But I have been before, and I certainly will be again.

As I talked about this with my dear friend, I remembered a day not too long ago - a day when the house was still in boxes and the weariness of moving still hung over every moment - when a mom-friend here in Houston texted and said she could get us into the zoo for free that morning if we wanted to come. I was lying on the bed nursing Lucy June, and I started my stock response of how we couldn't because of all that we needed to get done blah blah blah, and then I thought: Jacob would love it if we went to the zoo. Jacob would love it if he came home tonight, and I said, we didn't get a single box unpacked today, but we did see a VERY pregnant elephant. And we did it. We went to the zoo.

As I told this story to my friend, I realized something: nothing blesses my husband more than when the littles and I have a good day.

So, husband mine husband dear, I've determined to have more good days. Each morning when I think of all the things I want to get done, I will remind myself to have a good day.

And even when I haven't had a good day, I want to stop in my frantic blitz clean of the living room before you get home in the evening and remember at least one good thing about my day. That way, when you ask me how the day went and I automatically begin the montage of crazy: "Lucy June ruined three outfits before 10am and Jake threw blocks at me while I was nursing and even though I feel like I spent the whole day cleaning the kitchen, it's still a mess..." I can finish the list with that one good thing: "...BUT Jake did spend half the day in a helmet and leg warmers telling me he was pretty cool."

Me: Jake where did you put my keys?
Jake: Ummm...I put them somewhere.
And now I must go have a good day...and get my toddler out of the bathtub where he has been for the last hour so I could have a cup of coffee in peace.

It Begins with A Clunky Old Washing Machine

02 February 2014

Once upon a time two weeks ago, I bought a super cheap and clunky and old washing machine with load settings of Small, Large, Extra Large, and Super (because this is America) and after about a dozen YouTube videos and even more appliance repair forums, I diagnosed it as needing a new lid switch and a sagging apron repair.

Why don't we just buy new appliances like normal people? Ugh, I don't know. Actually I do. It all has to do with an adjective that starts with an S and ends with a TINGY and describes one 5'7'' homemaker with an oft forgotten blog. Jacob puts up with it because he finds it rather humorous.

So the other day, with the resolve only a mother can have when both her children are sleeping peacefully at the same time, I waltzed into the garage to service the beast with the new lid switch that had come in the mail the day before. I got as far as taking the front panel off before I realized that for all my good intentions, sleeping babes, and newfound washer knowhow, there was just no way a wrench, a measuring stick, and a saw - the only tools not on the job with the husband - were gonna make this job happen.

Soon enough I was back at the computer. Jacob's merciless schedule open on one tab. Washing machine repair video on another. Pinterest on another. And you, Blogger, making me feel guilty for all my postless days, on another.

And while no post happened that day, today is Groundhog Day which I guess makes it my blogoversary. Happy anniversary, little blog. In your honor, I will ramble a post away as usual, saying the same old things while taking furtive glances at the dishes in my sink and trying to ignore the twitching that always comes when my kitchen is dirty and the little voice whispering in my head on a merciless repeat: "The roaches are coming..."

We've been having ourselves some LONG days in our new little house. Jacob is working every day, and it's rare for him to be home before 7:30. We're looking at another month before things slow down. Sunday mornings are the brightest of the week because he doesn't start jobs until noon.

The house is coming together in little bursts. We finally got our bookshelves up. We mounted the TV. We hung some pictures. We still need some furniture for our bedroom - one being a chest of drawers so I have a place to put clothes, but we won't be making that happen probably until March, since I can hardly buy groceries by myself much less furniture. Right now all my clothes are in several heaps on the shelves in Jake's closet and I'm thinking about just tossing the whole lot. My wardrobe and I aren't on good terms. Nor will we be any time soon. I don't know how to shop for this postpartum body. I don't like shopping online because I won't know how things will fit, and I experience enough stress shopping alone that I don't dare adding two littles and a leaky bra area to the mix. I'm sorry. I don't know why I'm talking about this. Stopping stopping stopping.

The other night I was making dinner that involved a very hot pan on the stove, a very hot oven, and the willing if hazardous helper that is the two year old. I had stupidly decided to make bread earlier in the afternoon (I'm such a bad bread baker but I just can't quit you) because I thought it would be an enriching activity for Jake, when it ended up just being stressful, and my artisan loaf just flattened and flattened. Long story short, I overreached. And before I knew it, the house was a war zone, dinner wasn't ready, and the napless stuffy-nosed boy was throwing a fit on the floor.

So I whipped up a blueberry/spinach smoothie with some hemp and flax seeds (some standards die hard apparently) and set him up in the high chair with it and some canned salmon slathered with ketchup - all one handed because my generally sweet Lucy June was crying crying crying. Still trying to juggle the craziness, I was kicking swaddling blankets to a corner and shuffling soiled dishes into the dishwasher and tending to my stir fry. Then the toddler inhaled a seed or something and started hacking and hacking and couldn't stop and the baby was crying crying and dinner was burning and I was tripping over a jumbled mess of toy cars and screws and blocks.

My phone started buzzing on the counter. Jacob. He was on his way but was starving and thinking about just stopping and eating something. (And, man, if I could've scratched his eyeballs out through the phone...#notmybestself) I could hardly string a sentence together, but through my growling he deduced he should perhaps just hurry home. So I grabbed the hacking boy some water and then I picked up a rag to sop up a runny mess somewhere and a ROACH. ran up. my arm. Not kidding. Give me spiders. Give me scorpions. Give me stinging insects galore. But, no, I live in muggyville with the roaches. And on this particular night one of those roaches was running up my arm.

In that moment, I decided, I had arrived.

If you are currently in that moment, oh kindred young mother reader, let me extend: May the quiet low light of evening and glass of wine soon be yours. May your chocolate squares be copious and rich with the seasoning only sleeping babes can bring.


Anyhow. To round out a good ramble: my husband and my brother eventually fixed the washing machine to the tune of me saying "But the YouTube guy said..." while bouncing a three month old and distracting a two year old and feeling generally helpless...and grateful.

Grateful for the goodness of these days.

Grateful for days spent watching the sweetest wide-eyed baby in the world and gearing a toddler toward good things and making dinner for two hardworking men. And still somehow grateful for those other days when Lucy June won't stop fussing and Jake watches Dolphin Tale on repeat (en espanol...helps with the mommy guilt) and end with nuggets dipped alternately in honey mustard and ranch at Chick-fil-a.

It can be so hard parenting little people. So hard. Gosh it makes me crazy, but gosh it if ain't marvelous too. I can't believe the goodness. I can't believe the goodness all around me.
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