Thursday, October 27, 2016

An Announcement

(No, I'm not pregnant.)

You guys.

Two weeks ago...

...this happened.

Brooklyn.  On the potty.  Do you know what this means?  For the first time EVER, we have ONE KID - a lone, SINGLE child - in diapers.

*happy dance + all the praise hands + thank you Jesus AMEN*

We had borrowed a potty chair from a friend when we originally did the potty training dance back in June, but never really used it at the time.  It's been sitting on the top shelf in storage in the garage ever since, just waiting to be returned.  But one afternoon, Brooklyn spied it, and asked, "That my potty?"  "Um...yeah!  That's your potty." "Oh.  Okay."

And that was that.

Until the following afternoon.  When she woke up from her nap.  And people, I have changed a LOT of diapers in the past 2.5+ years, but this one was in the Top 5 WORST.  For sure.  And I told her that, y'know, if she would just USE the potty, this wouldn't happen. We wouldn't have to clean it all up because everything would just go in the potty!  Wouldn't that be nice?  

"Oh, " she said, "Okay.  I go on the potty soon?"


Since her previous response anytime I brought up the potty and the actual use of it had been something like, "Yeah.  I use the potty!  But no yet.  No yet, mommy" I JUMPED on this train: "Yeah!  This afternoon!  Let's go get the potty!  We can go get it right now!"  And it WORKED.  "YEAH!  I go get my un-nerwear!"

*more happy dances + praise hands that Tyson works from home since there was no way I could get that potty down from the top shelf of the garage otherwise*

And she's done awesome.  Unlike last time, when we set aside an entire weekend devoted to the art of potty training, this time we had plans.  And it wasn't like we could just cancel or suddenly set aside a bunch of time to go the "all potty training all the time" route like before.  Not to mention that after the emotional exhaustion of ALL things potty and all the freaking TOGETHERNESS of our last experience, I think NOT focusing on the potty ALL the time was good for the lot of us.  And she did pretty well.  In fact, she's done a terrific job keeping her underwear dry and telling us when she needs to go.  Or just GOING on her own.  Girl has an independent streak.  I KNEW that she was going to have to decide to go on the potty on her own, I just was and still am a bit taken aback that it happened so suddenly. We have some things to work on, but they're just normal toddler potty training things.  And we're only two weeks in.  I mean, Caden was a rule-following potty training machine, so I can't use him as my standard.  She's even started pulling up her pants and underwear BY HERSELF, which is still something that Caden asks for help on.  (Or doesn't ask for help on. It's a 50/50 chance that I'll just see a bare toddler butt, the pants wound down around the ankles, playing somewhere in the house.  I take that as my cue that hey he went potty sometime fairly recently).

I have to say, I'm actually not completely convinced that it's a full step forward, since we went from carrying one set of diapers for the twins and one set of diapers for Nolan in the diaper bag, to carrying one change of pants/underwear for Caden, one set of diapers for Brooklyn, and one set of diapers for Nolan, to NOW carrying one change of pants/underwear for Caden, one change of pants/underwear for Brooklyn, AND one set of diapers for Nolan.  Is this actually an improvement?  My diaper bag and shoulder are not so sure.  

Still, one kid in diapers?  It's a potty training miracle!  Amen to that.

Let's go, slacker.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


We've been here for a year.

When everyone knew we were moving to Minnesota - back to Minnesota, for me - lots of people said, "You must be excited to move back home!" and I kind of shrugged and nodded and agreed, but didn't really know how I felt.  I mean, I hadn't really lived here for a decade - 10 years and a couple of months - so it didn't quite feel like moving back "home".  We were pretty well settled in Madison.  Family aside, it sure didn't feel like I was moving "back" home so much as I was moving away from it.

Plus, let us all please recall the whole "20-weeks pregnant + twin toddlers + moving states + buying a house + Tyson working out-of-state" utter ridiculousness that was our life last year.  Ahem.

(Boxes and babies in an empty playroom.)

(Exploring inside.)

(Exploring outside.)

(Our OWN SWINGSET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!!)

We've unpacked the boxes.  Hung pictures on the wall.  Purchased some furniture.  Filled the pantry.  Made meal after meal after meal in the kitchen.  Met the neighbors.  Made some friends.  Taken care of the yard, shoveled the snow, built the sandbox, claimed the neighborhood park as our own.

We've added a member to the family.

And filled up that playroom (and not just with more children).

It feels like home now, y'know?  

Our house - "my boo (blue) house", as the twins call it - feels like our own now.  Not just another temporary place to move on from, like Tyson and I were so used to, but a place to stay and grow and live and breathe and continue to make our own.  We kind of like this place. 

We'll keep it for at least another year.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


There's a lot of stuff to be done.  For anyone, these days.  Jobs to work, houses to clean, grass to mow, places to go, meetings to attend.  The car needs to get checked, the mower broke down, somebody is sick, and there are appointments on top of appointments.  Plus we have all these tweets to write, comments to make, photos to post, emails to both reply to and send.  At least those are all at the touch of a fingertip.


Of course, this pressure, this stuff, is only amplified for moms.  There's more to do, and we feel like we have to worry if all that we are doing is enough.  Are your kids doing enough activities?  Are you feeding them well enough (whatever that means for you...are you eating organic, vegetarian, gluten-free, or just generally avoiding fast food enough?)?  Are the kids developing the way they're supposed to enough?  Are you breastfeeding enough?  Playing with them enough?  Letting them independent play enough?  It's too easy to think about all of these things.  Because now, also at the touch of our and videos (and the accompanying OPINIONS) of kids doing things that your kids aren't even THINKING of doing yet, whether it's rolling over or speaking Mandarin.  

Don't worry, mine are just concerned with finding crumbs enough to eat off the floor.


And there's just a lot to do generally, day-to-day and week-to-week.  Meal planning to meal prep, now they want a snack, the toys need to be picked up again, wipe down the high chair, clean out the potty chair, change another diaper, wash the seventh load of laundry.  Just keeping a household at its basic level of functioning requires quite a bit of finesse.

And coffee.  Finesse and coffee.


But then I hear my sweet grandma, mother to SIX, casually talk about waxing her floors ("because Friday's were my floor-waxing days, y'know"), or ironing everyone's sheets, and I look around my own house scattered with crumbs and toys and think BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...NOPE.  Do we really have more to do these days?  I don't know.  Ain't no floor-waxing going on around here.  Much less every week.  And true confession: I do not own an iron.  Never have.  Not in this house.  Nor do I want one.  Praise the Lord Tyson doesn't need to wear a dress shirt to work every day.  Or any day really.  Hell, I'm lucky in the summer if he even bothers to put a shirt ON.


And then I wonder...did everyone do this?  Was this like an expectation?  Sheets and underwear ironed, floors waxed, bread baked, and everything?  Like, all the time?  Heaven help us.  Would some 60s version of a housewife walk on in here and silently critique me for my lack of wax on the floors and countertops smeared from sticky fingertips?


Thank goodness we don't have those expectations for each other.  Not even for ourselves, now.  I'll stay here, with my crumbs and un-waxed floors, my smears and my wrinkled sheets that sat in the drier for two or three days.  I'll relish in the fact that, actually, I don't have all that much to do today.    After all, that 60s housewife?  She'd probably be pretty jealous of me.  I just ordered groceries through a few taps and a swipe of my fingertip.  #technology #allthepraisehands

Good thing I didn't iron those sheets.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Read, Watched, Listened

I love reading just about everything, watching comedy and documentary-type things, and have recently embraced the podcast.  I also enjoy hearing about what other people are reading, watching, and listening to.  Here's my two cents worth.

(I also ate way too many of these cookies.  Use good dark chocolate.  You will not want to share.   Yes, I ate at least those four in one sitting.  You've been warned.)


This is the first novel I've read from Elizabeth Gilbert (I loved both Eat, Pray, Love and Committed ), and I ADORED IT.  It's been awhile since I've really gotten into a novel but I couldn't wait to read it each day. It's also long - it took me the full 21 days on loan from the library (albeit with three small children around) to finish.  It took me a chapter or two to get over the fact that it was written by Elizabeth Gilbert, since it is very different in style from her memoirs (which, duh, that's to be expected).  The way it's written reminds me very much of a novel from the 1800's (which is when it is set), and to me that's a very good thing.  I loved the main character, I loved the relationships and dialogue between the characters, and I even learned a little about botany of all things.  

State of Wonder
Meh.  I know people get all googly-eyed over Ann Patchett's books, but I'm not one of them. This is the second or third book of hers that I've read and I just couldn't get very into it. There were enough twists and turns that I kept going, but I didn't particularly care for any of the characters (until the very, very end) and particularly didn't see the point of the main character's romantic relationship.  I also couldn't help but compare it to The Signature of All Things, since their plots were so similar (though this one is set today).  But otherwise each had a strong female main character, who is a researcher, they take a trip somewhere exotic, there is a lost man, a mysterious's probably not fair to compare, but by pure coincidence I read both Gilbert's and Patchett's book back-to-back and strongly preferred the former.

Love Warrior
If you're not familiar with Glennon Melton and her work over at Momastery, you need to be.  She is such a powerful writer and (in her words) "truth-teller".  This book was emotional and hard to read at times.  It's raw.  It's angry.  It's honest.  It tackles pornography and adultery and the church without apology.  And when it's good, it is so, SO good.  There is a redemption story here, but make no mistake, the redemption is not for any marriage or man, but for her own damn self.  


South Park
I know.  I know.  Tyson and I adore South Park.  It's stupid.  I used to think it was stupid. And, to be fair, when they started out 20 years ago, it was stupid.  All potty humor and curse words.  It's STILL full of potty humor and curse words, but it also has a message about our culture and society.  It's hilarious, on-point, and one of the best satirical portraits of the time and place we live today.  They write each episode the week it is released, so it is ON TOP of this crazy election year.  (Note: it would be pretty helpful to watch LAST season before starting this one.  Otherwise you'll be totally confused.)

Crash Course Literature
We've already been through Crash Course World History, and now we're working our way through Crash Course Literature.  It's like my high school English classes boiled down into 10-ish minute highly entertaining videos.  And I loved high school English class.  John Green (of The Fault in Our Stars fame) is so well-spoken and makes such great points about not only the works he discusses, but the purpose of literature in general.  It kind of makes me want to start writing thesis papers on all the books I read again...


Tagline: "looks at food through the lens of science and history".  SO INTERESTING.  I love listening to these episodes while cooking dinner.  The two women who co-host give a general overview about a food or related topic and also delve in deeper to the science and history behind that week's topic by interviewing historians, authors, and scientists.  I love books about food history, and this is food history in 45-minute podcast form.  Check out The Salt Wars, which I particularly enjoyed because I've also read the book.

One Bad Mother
I adore this podcast.  It's fantastic.  Biz and Theresa are SO relatable and hilarious (just wait until you hear Biz's laugh!) and help you realize that everything you're doing as a parent is just fine and normal.  Each week they tackle a topic together (everything from the existence of sand to parenting karma) and then interview a parent (usually an author, researcher, psychologist or some such person) on another issue.  They also share their parenting Genius and Fail moments each week, as well as a mom who calls in with a Meltdown.  The general takeaway is this: I AM NOT ALONE.  I love listening to their Genius and Fails and how REAL they keep this whole thing.  One of my absolute favorite episodes is Tired of Being President, so much so that I had Tyson listen to it as well and we've started to divide up our household presidential duties accordingly.  I'm so relieved to NOT be the president of prepping my morning coffee anymore.  As Biz and Theresa would say, I'm getting good at this.

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Six years.

At six years, the details of that day are getting a little bit fuzzy.  At one year, at two, at three...I could tell you exactly what I was doing at practically every minute of our wedding day.  What time I woke up to decorate for the reception, when I was getting my hair done, what time I arrived at the church, walked down the aisle, etc.

Some of that has faded now.  I remember that it was beautiful.  The weather was perfect.  The food was delicious, though I could barely relax enough to eat any.  I was in love with our flowers, the suits, the dresses, and, most of all, you.

Six years in, and we're settling into what our life is.  No more wandering the unknown of grad school (or, really, the unknown of post-grad school).  We're here.  Three kids, a mortgage, the minivan. 

We didn't know what we were getting ourselves into.

And yet, six years for us looks settled.  And despite a chaotic past year (a move!  a  new baby!  twin toddlers!  a job out-of-state!), it's starting to feel a lot quieter, calmer.  More settled.  We're ready for that.

Here's to the past six.  And six more.  Or sixty.  Even better.

(Years, that is.  Not kids.  Yikes.)