Sep 21, 2015


We are all over the place with transitions right now.


The adjustment and transition of adding a toddler to two older kids isn't quite as smooth and calm as it was with a baby. It's not even because of the literal toddling around that she is doing. She is growing, and so is her personality, and so is her drive. She is a feisty little thing, who is daring and determined. And I love her little big personality. I love it with every fiber of my being, but by the end of the day, whew, I am left exhausted.

I do not remember fourteen months being so demanding and needy. And yet, as we move further and further into the season, I have vague recollections of stubborn toddlers throwing themselves on the floor, or crinkling up their noses, or pointing adamantly at what they want (and are not getting) and screaming. I have a renewed appreciation for nap time. (Not that I was ever taking it for granted.)


Also, I have recently taken it upon myself to (re)learn how to sew. For a very good reason, Adam has gained priority to the computer in the evenings, which limits its availability for writing (we have one computer and no, I can not do much writing during the day because of said fourteen-month-old). So since my creative soul was not getting what it needed from words, I turned to fabric and my mother's sewing machine.


We have spent a lot of time lately discussing and contemplating what we are doing, what we want to be doing, what makes us happy, what we want for our lives, what we want for our family, where we are and where we want to be. I have spent many hours logging in thoughts on what I want and what I need and what our family needs.

I can not say that I ever imagined living in my "starter home" with three kids at age thirty-three. But then, I don't think I ever really could imagine what my life would look like at thirty-three at all. There are so many things that I am in love with about our life. There is so much that brings me happiness and joy.

But I can't help feeling like there is a whole part of my psyche, a whole big part of my soul that is unexplored and unexamined. I feel like it's that whole "you only use 2% of your brain" type of thing, except that I can (and should) be able to be using more. I have never been good at deeply exploring what makes me happy. What I am interested in. What makes me feel the most alive. I have never been a fall-head-first-into-something-and-gain-as-much-knowledge-and-experience-as-I-can type person. I am much more of a do-several-things-average/mediocre rather than become-an-expert-at-one-thing.

My husband recently cautioned me against spreading myself too thin and while I don't necessarily think it's happening, I understand and appreciate the sentiment. I tend to find something and dabble, until something gets in the way and suddenly it's too hard and too much work.

There is a part of me that thinks I need to change this. I need to fix this. And then there's a part of me that wonders if it's okay for that to just be who I am. If it's okay for me to give up every time I feel like it because if I really loved it, if it was a true passion, that drive and fire would be ignited and I would think it worth the difficulty and work to continue.

And then I go back to just wondering if I'm lazy. In which case it is most definitely something I need to change.


And speaking of change, I do not like it. I have a hard time with it. I like things the way that I like them and I don't want things changing unless they change in a way that I want and I decide.


Also, I'm looking for a part-time job.

And I have nothing else to say about that.


All this to say, there is lot going on over here right now. It is good and exciting and scary and terrible (except not terrible), but the Being in Transitions right now is putting me all over the place. I am up and down and side to side and topsy turvy and mixed up and all around. And in it all I am trying to find what calms me, what quiets my non-stop internal conversations and gives me peace.

xoxo, christine

Sep 9, 2015

Pumpkin Flavored Back-to-School

It's back-to-school time which means that every social media newsfeed is full of first day of school photos, the heavy sticky air is replaced with a cool crispness, the bright green tree tops are transitioning to yellows and reds, and pumpkin-flavored everything can be found in every cafe.

Of course, our school started last week, when pretty much the only accurate part of that previous statement was the pumpkin-flavored everything. Somehow mother nature didn't get the autumn memo come September first and we reached temperatures in the nineties just in time for my kids to be in air-condition-free classrooms.

Today it actually does have a hint of autumn to the air, which makes me simultaneously happy (I love fall!) and depressed (I'm not ready for winter!).

This year I sent two kids off on the bus, and the only reason I didn't bawl was because of the huge smile Paige managed to have climbing onto the bus. Our first week was pretty jumbled and unexpected because of an unanticipated illness causing Hope to be sent home on her first day. (She gets to claim the "first child sent home sick from school" award from the school nurse.)

In any case, because of that she was not able to be on the bus with Paige for Paige's first day. Cue my mama heart almost exploding with terror and fear. But Paige handled it with more poise and maturity than I ever would have thought and asked (all my herself) the little girl at our bus stop if they could sit together. Thus, Paige's huge smile as the bus took her away, and my heart not completely splattered all over the pavement.

I can not believe that my two big girls are in school all day, and although I wish I could be one of those moms that claps her hands and does a back-to-school dance, I'm much more in the 'I miss my babies', holding-back-the-tears camp.

It does help me having Nora and home and we are s-l-o-w-l-y finding our own rythm to these week days. I'm not used to just having a little one at home so I feel like I should be able to get so much done (look at me cook and clean and clean and do stuff and and and), except that Nora's a little more needy than a five-year-old or a seven-year-old so my To Do list isn't getting crossed off quite as quickly as I was hoping.

For all of my complaining and whining and struggles though, I like it. I really do. I like that it has worked for our family for me to stay home. I like that I am available for sick-child-at-school-pick-up and middle of the day grocery runs and field trip volunteers. I like that I pack the lunches and see the big girls off on the bus each morning. I like that I was able to do Mommy and Me classes with each of my girls and have play dates and go to parks and wander aimlessly pushing a stroller around the mall in the middle of winter. I like that I can sit on the floor and play Little People with Nora as she climbs on my lap.

It will be good, this year, I know. I'm not quite plugging my fingers in my ears and running in the opposite direction of my kids growing up and school starting, but I'm not quite ready to fully embrace it yet either. This transition to back-to-school and homework and fall activities and changes in schedules is an adjustment, sometimes more so for me than for anyone else in my family. But it will be good. I know it will.

Now excuse me while I try to get myself in the spirit with some pumpkin muffins.

xoxo, christine

Aug 31, 2015

August 17

It's two week later. Two weeks and I didn't write a post for my baby boy. If it were any of my girls I would've made sure to sit down and write. If not the day of, at least within the next several days. If it had been for any of the girls it would've been a birthday post.

But I didn't. I haven't.

And now here it is, almost two weeks after the anniversary of saying hello and goodbye. Except we never got to say hello.

I don't like calling it his birthday. I can't explain it any better than to say it doesn't feel like it was his birthday, even though I suppose I technically birthed him that day.

That is the day they gave me drugs to induce pain. Drugs to help my body recognize that the baby inside me was no longer alive. Drugs to help get him out of my womb and into a tomb.

(Too cold? Too vivid?)

I don't like to call it his birthday because I know that if things had been different, if life had been different, if he had been different, it wouldn't have been his birthday. You might tell me You never know but I do. I know. His body came into our world two and half months early.

He wouldn't have been two and half months early. He would've come at the expected time. The end of October or beginning of November. I know you'll tell me I can't know, but I know. I just do.

August 17th would not have been his birthday.

If things were different.

But they weren't. He was never meant to make it nine months. He was never meant to say hello. He was never meant to live.

He came into our world already gone. And that is they day we remember.

I won't call it his birthday.

(Except to my girls, because for right now that's the easiest. But even when they say, "It's Baby Calvin's Birthday!" or "Baby Calvin's two!" it makes me flinch. Because it doesn't feel right. Not to me.)

The day came and went and we recognized it in the way we did last year, with flowers, a bridge, and quiet words. With love sent out into the universe.

He didn't get a birthday post this year. But of course, he never gets a birthday post. Still, there is guilt. There is always guilt.

I did not miss it because I was too busy. It was not because I couldn't find the time to write. It was not because the day passed unnoticed. It was not because Calvin, my son, is not important.

I did not write a post, I have not written in so long, because I don't want to feel my feelings. I don't want to think about or process or spend any time exploring the lurchy gurchy whatever-they-are feelings regarding the loss of my son.

Lately, when something starts to sneak into the corners of my mind I pinch it with my fingernails and throw it into a box as quickly as I can, eager to avoid any of the feeling. I hide that box in the back of the back of the back of the backest closet of my mind.

Basically, I do the extremely healthy thing of avoiding it at all costs. (I do actually realize this is not the healthy thing.)

It's not because I don't love him. It's not because I don't think he's important. It's just because, right now, I can't. Or I don't want to. Or I can't and don't want to. I don't know. Maybe it's all the same.

Either way, it doesn't change reality. He is still not here. And right now that's pretty much all I can say.

I would do it all again a million times over, even knowing that I would never get to hear him cry, look deep into his eyes, kiss his nose, and tell him I love you.

But I do. Oh I do.

Aug 14, 2015

Rock-A-Bye Baby

It is late. Later than usual.

I push open the door and a triangle of light falls across her body. She is in her usual sleeping position, belly down, feet tucked under, butt up in the air.

As I tiptoe toward her she stirs, and I pause hoping not to disrupt her. She has not been sleeping through the night lately.

Her eyelids flutter and she pushes onto all fours. There is no sound, no cry, not even a little peep. Just the rustling of her body movement into standing position. She is still mostly asleep yet vertical in front of me.

I know all of the reasons I shouldn't, all the reasons I will probably regret doing it, but I pick her up anyway.

One leg tucked on either side of me, her head falls to my shoulder and I am acutely aware of how unbaby-like this position is. She is more of a toddler with each passing day.

Her body pressed against me, our breathing finds a rhythm, the rise and fall of each breath in perfect synchronization. And I am so glad I picked her up. No matter what difficulties it might lead to later.

We sway together for a few more minutes before I gently lay her back down. I expect that it will not be this easy, that there will be crying, back rubbing, maybe even nursing. I expect that it will be many minutes until I get to my own bed.

But when I lay her down she rolls onto her belly, clutching her pink bunny. Her eyes are still closed, her breathing is heavy. I touch her matted hair and kiss her head.

I close the door with my baby sleeping soundly on the other side.

Our quiet moment. The perfect ending to the day. The comfort of those few minutes with my baby tucks me into bed, promising sweet dreams for both of us.

xoxo, christine

Jul 22, 2015

It's Not Just Texting Anymore

Okay, here goes. I am going to be very real here. Because this is a very real issue.

Last night I read this post on Facebook from Momastery. (If you don't have the desire, or time, to read it I will summarize it as basically addressing the issue of being distracted by our phones while driving, how careless it is, how most everyone does it, how we're putting everyone in danger, and how she and her husband made a contract to put their phones in the glove compartment while driving to keep the temptation away. She says so much more than this though, I encourage you to read it.)

Her post led to a conversation with my husband. Although glued to his phone, he does not have nearly as many opportunities as I do to put himself and our kids at risk. Unlike me he is at work all day, and unlike me he takes public transportation during the day. However, HOWEVER, we both have done it. We both have been in the car, in the driver's seat, and checked our phones.

Here's the thing. We think that because we're not texting, because we aren't tapping away at the screens and squinting to find the right letters that we're safe. We're not texting and driving, oh no, not me. I would never be so reckless and careless and stupid to do that. But it doesn't matter. It's not just texting anymore. It's EVERYTHING.

Do you peek at your phone while driving? Do you? Because I know I do. And I know other people do to. I've looked over when passing other cars and seen them. My phone "dings" announcing a new text and I just peek at it to see who it's from. I'm stopped at a red light and I just peek at Instagram to see who posted since I last checked.

I'm not texting. I'm not. I'm just checking. It's just a quick glance. No biggie, right? Wrong.

Are we really so addicted to our phones that we can't go twenty minutes without looking at it? Are we so attached to our electronics that we can't just drive our cars? Why does being in the car automatically feel like the best time to make a phone call? Why does a red light seem like a perfect opportunity to check in on Facebook?

My husband and I have made an agreement. Our phones go away when we are in the driver's seat. I have three kids in the car with me ninety-nine percent of the time. I do not need another distraction. I have three perfect and beautiful and wonderful distractions who I would die for. Why in the world would I be willing to put them at risk by checking my stupid phone?

Not anymore. Not ever again.

This morning I saw this video circulating Facebook. I'm pretty sure it's the video Glennon mentions in her post. It is terrible and painful and raw. And the woman in it is not texting. She is not. She is peeking. She is peeking at her phone and the end result is the worst thing imaginable.

We think that if we're not texting it's okay. It's not that bad. It's not that distracted.

It is.

Please stop. Please make a contract, a pact, a vow to put and KEEP your phone away while in the driver's seat. It's not just texting anymore. It's "peeking" too. It's "checking" too.

Please put your phone away. Please please please. For your family, for your kids, for your safety, for everyone else out on the road. Do not check your phone while driving. It can wait.


Jul 8, 2015

A Birthday Written in the Stars

My dearest Nora May,

Today you turn one. A whole year. 365 days of life. 365 days of you. 365 days since the first moment you came into the world, our world, bright eyed and probably crying (but I don't remember clearly if you actually cried right away or not because I was still reeling from such a fast and painful delivery. I however, was definitely crying.)

Every moment with you has been filled with joy, layered with happiness, wrapped in love. It is like you knew what we needed before you were even here. Although not without your tears or anger, you are a happy baby, your smile garnering comments from strangers wherever we go.

I hardly remember what our life looked like before you, you fit so snuggly into our family, a missing piece we didn't even know was missing until you were here. And then when we held you in our arms, when we brought you home, when we looked at you and snuggled you, it was like, Yes, of course. There you are.

How can it already be a year since you were that teeny seven pound newborn? I look at you and I still see that baby, but then I look again and I see an almost toddler who cruises her twenty-two pounds around the house like the boss, pulling herself onto every piece of furniture she can, going straight for any crumb, any cord, any thing that is sure to elicit a "no-no" from a family member.

This past year has had some difficulties, for sure, but even in my frustrations, even with the agony of sleepless nights, all is well, all is right. On this day last year, on the day you left the comfort and warmth of your home for the past nine months into the unknown and cold of our world, you brought with you so much joy, so much love, so much healing to my mama heart.

My worry of how your sisters would feel, how they would adjust, was unfounded, they opened their arms wide, their hearts already synchronized with yours. You are three sisters, a trio. You look for them when the are not there, you smile when they enter the room, you are ready to get in on their fun.

Nora, this year has gone too quickly, my heart aches at the thought of you no longer being a baby. And yet, I am so happy and thrilled to see you grow and flourish. I could never want to keep you a baby forever. Every day with you is like unwrapping a present. You have given me more perspective, more understanding, and even more love into my heart than I thought was possible.

Your life was written in the stars long before I was ever here. But I am so incredibly thankful, and so incredibly grateful, to be your mother. Happy Birthday, my sweet Nori. I love you SO much. Thank you for bringing your light into our lives. You make it brighter.

Love, hugs, and kisses,

Jul 5, 2015

A Very 'Mary' Un-Birthday, to You

I know that birthdays aren't your favorite, at least your own birthdays. I get that. I really do. Marking the passage of one more year, of the illusive Time, the never-ending march toward Next, it does not always feel like a reason to celebrate.

Once you hit a certain age a birthday just doesn't have the same thrill and excitement that it once did. The joy of opening a wrapped up doll when you're a new three-year-old, the anticipation of a turning sweet sixteen, somewhere between becoming an official adult and the years after, a birthday starts to lose it's magic.

But, even though I get it, I still want to tell you Happy Birthday.

I am happy that those 'few' years ago your mother welcomed you into the world with tears and sweat. Another healthy daughter. There were smiles on their faces as they cradled you, kissing your eyes, breathing in the smell of your head, caressing your cheeks. The overwhelming love and joy that your mother and father felt for you, the reason that they celebrated you every year, remembering that first July 5th when you took your first breath, cried your first cry.

I am thankful that, although surely not perfectly (because no one is a perfect parent), they parented you and loved you the best way they knew how. I am thankful for you because you raised a pretty amazing son, who also happens to be my husband. I think it's wonderful that you came into this world, because without you, there would be no him. Without him there would be no us. Without us there would be no family.

All those birthdays led to you having your son. All the birthdays after that led to your son being the kind of man I wanted to marry. All your birthdays after that led us to here, now.

But I am not only thankful for your birthday because I am thankful for the man you helped raise. I am thankful for your birthday too, because I am thankful to have you in my life. You. I am lucky enough to be a woman who can say quite honestly, I like my mother-in-law, I enjoy spending time with her, I respect and admire her, and I love her dearly.

You are an amazing and beautiful person.

And even though it might not always feel the greatest to celebrate turning a year older, I am thrilled to be celebrating such a woman, who raised a son, who welcomed another daughter, who gets to spend time with and love on her granddaughters.

You are why we are celebrating. You are who we want to celebrate.

Happy Birthday!

xoxo, christine