this is us

This is us: March 2017

Since I’ve been too busy to post much for approximately the last year or, say, 15 months, I thought I’d do a cliff notes about what’s going on around here.  And then maybe I’ll go back and finally write Marlowe’s 1 year post (since she’s nearly 15 months) and Jenson’s 3 year post (since he’s 3.5).  It almost seems silly at this point, but I just need to do it.  Luckily I write key things down on the calendar, so I can just go back and get info from there because I’d never remember.  And I take a million pics.


  • We successfully took our first family vacation together and Marlowe rode in an airplane for the first time.  We visited my sister’s family in Las Vegas and had a wonderful time.  The plane ride wasn’t bad – especially considering that Marlowe is a wild card.  She screams at the drop of a hat, so I was pretty nervous about keeping her happy on the flight and hoping she’d sleep some.  She only had a couple of screaming bouts…just a couple of minutes at a time.  But it was a nerve-wracking flight, nevertheless, as I was always trying to anticipate what she may want next.  She slept for about 45 minutes each way, so I got a little break, and Lo sat with the kids part of the flight home so I could relax a little bit across the aisle.  A visit is never long enough, but we went to a huge indoor playground, enjoyed Max’s 3rd birthday party (and bounce house!), and went to a cool aquarium.
  • Everyone has been sick, all of the time (read about our Germ Factory here).  We don’t leave the house much.


Jenson (3 1/2)

  • Jenson watched Minions a few months ago and is obsessed with it. I find their “language” so annoying, but at least it has a good soundtrack.  He watches a movie about once a week and I’m always trying to convince him to pick a new one.  He watched Secret Life of Pets today…hoping that or something else sticks.  He’s also obsessed with this local band that plays kids’ music – The Shazzbots.  We’ve seen them a few times at events, and they produced a show that’s one Amazon – and he watches it all of the time.  He also loves to watch the videos they upload on YouTube…music videos, videos of them taste-testing Christmas cookies or Halloween candy.  It doesn’t matter what it is…he dances along if it’s music or hangs on their every word when it’s not.
  • When he’s upset/whining/mad/in trouble lately, he cries “I’m not feeling very good”.  Since he’s been sick so much this year, its kind of his catch phrase lately.  We just tell him that its because he’s not being nice and that makes him feel bad.
  • He has hit the 3’s.  He was a dream in his 2’s.  The 3’s…not so much.  There’s a lot of arguing, fighting naps/bed, and taking ALL OF THE THINGS that Marlowe is playing with.
  • He’s still loving school and gymnastics.  He talks about school a lot more than he used to, so I’m guessing he already got kicked out of fight club and it doesn’t matter anymore.  (Neither Jenson or his friend M would talk about school EVER for the first few months – they would literally fall silent when asked – so we always joked that it’s like fight club).  He got to go bowling with his class and had so much fun, and he loves showing me the crafts they make each week.
  • He’s big into pretend play…with stuffed animals, little figurines, whatever.  He has whole conversations between his animals…asking and answering questions, etc.  I love it.
  • When he wakes from his naps, he cracks me up.  He’s quiet and sleepy, and we go to the kitchen to get a snack (something “special” for keeping his pants dry), and he says the funniest things.  It’s things that you can tell he was thinking about while he was trying to fall asleep.  He just rambles about super random things and I love it.
  • Current preferred songs before nap/bed: Spongebob Squarepants theme (he’s never seen the show, but loves to dance to the song), Reading Rainbow theme song (admit it – you remember it too “Butterfly in the sky…I can go twice as high…”) and the Brady Bunch theme song.  He kept asking us for new songs, so we’d just sing a different theme song or commercial jingle, but he got stuck on these for the last few weeks.

Marlowe (14.5 months)

  • After being able to take steps for 2 months, she finally got the whole walking thing down about two weeks ago and tries walking more than she crawls now.  She still struggles with balance and changing surfaces, but she’s doing great.  She will not, however, take steps in the grass yet.
  • She’s getting much more wordy and can repeat most words back to us when we ask her to, like colors, names, etc.  She’ll even repeat “I love you”, but it sounds more like “I wow wow”.  She definitely tries to say sentences to us and expects us to know what she’s saying, but a lot of her words are still pretty garbled.  Other words that she says are really breathy, like “hiiii Boooof”.
  • She’s going through a major teething spurt right now…in addition to 2 bottom and 4 top (all front), she just got her top molars and her bottom molars are coming in…those molars are causing us misery at night…waking every 30-60 minutes some nights…wanting to nurse.  I would love to be done nursing anytime now.  Her, not so much.
  • About that sleep….she slept through the night 2 weeks ago.  Through the night!  I didn’t brag about it, because I knew better.  The next night she woke every hour.  (that was set of molars #1)  On a standard non-teething, non-fever night, she wakes about 2 times to nurse still.  I don’t know what to do about her.  She screams.  SCREAMS.
  • But she’s soooo sweet!  Gives me kisses all of the time…kisses any stuffed animal or figurine that she picks up (and often brings them to me to kiss).  And she loves babies…real babies, photos of babies, babies on diaper boxes, her reflection.  Loves them all and says “baba” for “baby”.
  • She doesn’t like to wear hats for real, but loves wearing silly hats.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get her to wear a sunhat this year, especially with her pale hair and skin!


  • I finally feel like I can manage making recipes/dinner again.  Marlowe is becoming more independent and will play a little bit after nap and she’s not velcroed to me at every waking moment.  For months we were just eating whatever we could throw together and was easy.  Now I’m actually thinking about dinner, buying ingredients, and making recipes regularly.  Sometimes it’s not ready in a timely manner, but we usually have a snack when Lo gets home anyway.
  • I’m trying to pay a little more attention to what I eat instead of sugar-binging constantly.  I’ve been at a weight/size that’s “fine”, so I had little motivation, but it’s still not good.  But I’m just gonna go ahead and point out that Easter week will be sugar bingy…Easter candy is my FAVORITE.
  • Aside from nursing bras, I haven’t bought a new bra in years.  Also, because of nursing, I no longer have the same boobs.  I’ve read a lot of good reviews about ThirdLove bras, so I decided to do the “try before you buy” option.  I filled out a questionairre about my bras/boobs (um, relaxed….) and it gave me a suggestion (classic t-shirt bra).  I only had to pay the $3 shipping and I can wear and wash the bra for 30 days.  If I decide to keep, they charge me for the bra.  If not, I just send back.  The bras are double what I’d prefer to pay – they are about $70.  But I got it and so far I think I’m going to love it (I’ve only tried it on so far).  I didn’t want to love it because it’s expensive…but it’s a bra that I’ll wear a ton – I think I’m worth it.  Some of my bras are close to 10 years old…that’s not good.  I wouldn’t think much about paying $70 for a pair of jeans I love (though I rarely pay more than $50), so why not a bra?  It’s so nice having my boobs be where they are supposed to be when I wear a real bra instead of a nursing bra. Here’s a referral link if you’re interested in trying one too – I believe you’ll get 15% off.
  • I love my babies…even on the hard days.  On the days where I don’t think I can handle one more tantrum…when I’m catching their throw up in a towel…when I’m wondering if things are going to ever get easier…when I miss traveling like we used to…even then, I still don’t want them to ever grow up, and I can’t believe how happy they make me.


  • Since October, Lo has lost a bunch of weight. He started doing intermittent fasting and better workouts, and it paid off!  I didn’t even think it’s a weight he could get to based on his frame, but he looks great!  It’s the lowest he’s been since high school, I believe.
  • Ever the model husband/father, he still gets the kids up on the weekends so I can get a little extra sleep…gives them baths…stays engaged with them when he’s around, etc.  I’ve even been able to meet up with friends occasionally and go shopping a little on the weekends.  Even though Jenson told me I’m his best friend today (out of nowhere), when Lo is home, I’m chopped liver.  If he asks a question, only daddy is supposed to answer.  If he wants help with something, it has to be daddy.  It’s adorable.  I don’t blame him…I’m sure he gets tired of me.


  • She’s become a major stalker when the kids have food.  She’s always been like that a little, but usually just stayed to the side waiting for cleanup duty.  Now she’ll sit right in front of them and even take food from them occasionally.  It makes us so mad! She mostly does it with Marlowe -because its effective.  Marlowe will shake her snack cup so it spills for Boof – thus Marlowe rarely gets to use a snack cup.
  • Jenson gets mad at Boof a lot lately.  If he drops food, she eats it (of course) and he gets so mad!  He gets mad if she’s sitting in a spot that he’s decided is his.  He gets mad if she’s standing in his way when he wants to dance.  We’re trying to make him understand that she’s a part of the family and he can’t be mean to her and yell at her, but he’s 3 and doesn’t really care.
  • She hurt her paw somehow and was limping every now and then.  One day she would barely put it down, so we took her to the vet…luckily it was just a sprain or something.


  • We have a fully functional garage!  It was built December, electric was put in in February (they were booked up), and the garage openers were installed a couple of weeks ago.  I have a really hard time remembering to shut the door when I pull out since it’s been 2 years since I’ve used a garage, but we can close the doors via our phones, so I just try to remember to check on there.  It’s so nice to have that storage space for mower, equipment, etc., though we need to get shelving and such still.
  • I think the next project is having our driveway repaved.  The cement trucks (for the garage) completely destroyed our driveway and it’s a mess at the top.  It’s just going to keep washing away if we don’t fix it this year.
  • We have to have some trees along the road cut down because they are dying, or in the way of the lines, or are invasive (Tree of Heaven).  We aren’t happy to lose the privacy from the road, but it’s not optional (per the electric company) and they pay for it.  But it still sucks.  We need to get more trees planted asap!
  • There are so many other projects that are still on our radar…redoing the one front porch (possibly converting it to a mudroom), tearing up carpeting (which probably requires refinishing hardwood underneath), refinishing part of the basement (prob not anytime soon), updating kitchen and bath, etc, etc.  But all of these are a bit $$, so one thing at a time.

All in all…other than our kids constantly getting sick (and I mean constantly) we’re managing.  The winter has been a little rough on me to be dealing with sick kids all of the time with no relief (other than if Lo takes over), but he comes home from work early sometimes if he thinks I could use some help when someone is sick.  We had a few nice days where we got to play outside, but we need more fresh air.  I know every winter will feel like this though.


Business is good at the Germ Factory

I’ve always known that kids are little germ factories, but we avoided all but 1-2 sicknesses a year.  Until this winter.  This winter, our kids became the bosses of a germ factory, and we are their lowly employees…getting paid every 2 weeks in colds, viruses, and stomach flus.  We literally can’t leave the house without one of them coming down with something anymore.  And since Jenson goes to preschool and gymnastics once a week, and we try to go to the library every week or two or three when they are actually healthy, we are pretty much screwed…and their factory is a full-time operation.

Since just before Christmas, someone has been sick almost constantly.  A few days before Christmas, Jenson came down with a bad sounding barky cough and Marlowe was fevered off and on.  The Dr. only wanted to see Jenson for the cough and said it was probably croup, so he gave him a steroid for vocal swelling.  He just kept saying sadly “I’m still coughing!”. We ended up going to urgent care on Christmas Eve with both of them- which is an amazing day to go to urgent care, by the way.  Jenson was still was pretty sick, though his cough didn’t sound croupy anymore, and Marlowe had been running fevers for a week.  We were afraid they had ear infections.  They didn’t…just some sort of virus.

We visited my family over New Year’s and by the time we got back home on January 2, I started to feel bad too.  Marlowe had her 1 year well visit, and the Dr. found that she had an ear infection.  I told her how both kids have been sick since before Christmas and she suggested we bring Jenson in that day to have his ears looked at.  He had a double ear infection.

Three days later my sinuses were a mess and my ears hurt, so the day before Marlowe’s birthday party, I went to Walgreens health clinic to make sure I didn’t have an ear infection.  I didn’t…just some sort of virus.  She suggested a neti pot and though it hasn’t worked out for me in the past, I bought one to give it a shot.  I don’t know if it’s because of my nose surgery years ago (deviated septum) or if it’s from a procedure that didn’t work out (for enlarged turbinates), but nasal rinsing just doesn’t work for me.  I’m pretty sure I was close to drowning.  For the next day or two, it felt like I nearly drowned in the ocean…so much salt water in my head.

In mid-January, Jenson had a minor stomach bug that only lasted for a day, but 2 days after that, Marlowe started to get really snotty, so we had to cancel her 1 year photos.

The beginning of February brought colds and runny noses, and Jenson would complain and say “my nose is really worse!”.

The night before Valentine’s Day, Marlowe threw up all night and for the next two days.  She’d be trying to play or crawl somewhere and would just lay down on the floor. Notice the syringe in one hand and cell phone in the other…classic cry for help.  W


As soon as she was doing better, Jenson threw up in the middle of the night, and every 30 minutes after that.  As soon as I got out of bed when Lo said Jenson got sick, I knew I was next.  My stomach hurt so bad.  Lo got him cleaned up and downstairs to the couch, and I warned him that I was going to be sick soon and I needed him to stay up with Jenson.  Jenson threw up every 1/2 hour for a few hours, and I threw up a few times in the night and swore off chili forever (not really, but for at least a little while longer).  I was so sick and I felt so bad for Marlowe because if she felt that way for 3 days, it was miserable.  I was so achy and tired and nauseous. I could barely carry Marlowe, I was so weak.  Lo had to pretty much take over for her, and I just laid on the couch with Jenson and tried to catch his occasional vomit in a trashcan.  We both slept a lot through the day.  That night Lo got sick twice, but was fine by morning and able to work.  I was feeling mostly better, but Jenson was still sick in the morning.  We decided we shouldn’t visit my parents, but my mom really wanted us to come and she said they’ve all pretty much had that already.  I said as long as everyone was still feeling good in the morning, we’d come on Saturday morning instead.  The kids were perky and fine in the morning, so we went home and just hoped it was all behind us.  I warned my sisters that visiting us was at their own risk.  We really hoped to visit my grandma who was in a nursing facility for a therapy program after having pneumonia, but we didn’t want to risk giving her anything that could put her back in the hospital.  Thankfully we didn’t, because although we seemed fine and healthy, we took down everyone we saw that weekend at my mom’s house.

Luckily we stayed healthy for our trip to Vegas to visit my sister and her family, but that was short-lived.  Whether it was the giant indoor playground that we went to out there, or germy people on the airplane or airport, Jenson got some sort of little virus that caused him to have sinus congestion and random hives at the beginning of March.  He really wasn’t that sick, but his nose was really bugging him and he kept crying and saying “my nose is really worse!” when he laid down for nap or bed.  Poor kid all hivey after nap – he didn’t seem to notice or care, but they were everywhere.  Lo took him to the Dr. during walk-in hours because he’d been waking at night crying and was whiny.  The Dr. said he had a slight ear infection and gave him antibiotics since he’s had ear infections almost every month recently and this one was likely to get worse.

And here we are…two weeks later…and it’s stomach bug time again and our couch is again covered in waterproof blankets.  The kids seemed perfectly healthy, so we met friends at the library for story time on Saturday (where kids can’t just pretend to eat play food…they have to touch each piece to their mouth).  Our friends invited us to their house that evening, I was pretty excited to get to hang out with adults.  Our kids play so well together, so I knew we’d actually get to hang out and talk.  Jenson was fine after nap…playing his guitar and dancing, but when it was time to leave, he was whining and not cooperating.  He said he wanted to stay home – which was odd because M is his best friend and he loves going to their house (and just seeing her in general).  We thought he was just being a 3 year old.  We got to their house and he wouldn’t let us put him down and he wouldn’t look at or talk to anyone – even M.  He was burping a little, so I took him in the bathroom, but he said he wasn’t sick, but his mouth hurt.  He’d been complaining about his mouth for a couple of days and chewing on things, so we just assume he’s getting some molars.  After Lo finished eating, he took him so I could eat and within a few minutes he ran to the bathroom with him.  Jenson didn’t quite make it and got sick as they got to the bathroom.  Lo cleaned him up and I cleaned up the door, floor, and sink.  I scarfed down my plate of food and finished feeding Marlowe, and we got out of there before we spread it to anyone else.  He was sick again a couple of times that night as he dozed on the couch with us while we watched tv, but around 11 pm he said he wanted to go to his bed, and he was fine after that and the next day.

Four days later, Marlowe slept until 11:30 am (after a few normal wakeups at night of course), had a fever of 102, and threw up everywhere after breakfast.  She was fevered and miserable for 2 days (and getting teeth), and woke every 45 minutes wanting to nurse the first night.  When I picked Jenson up from school yesterday, the teachers said he wasn’t feeling good and didn’t want to play.  He perked up at home, but after nap he said he wasn’t feeling well enough for gymnastics.  So far nothing else has come of it, but I’m just waiting.

Also, Boof threw up a little twice this week too, so that’s just amazing.  Apparently she was feeling left out and wanted to join in the fun.

And so I realize after actually writing this all down, that someone has been sick every other week since Christmas.  It’s mid-March.  That’s exhausting.  Even when they are well, I hesitate to take them to the library or museum because I fear they’ll just get sick again.  But then they get sick anyway because we can’t totally avoid life and people.  I don’t want to make plans with anyone because I don’t want to spread it to them, so we end up at home all of the time.  Just us and them, trapped.  Here’s to hoping the germ factory shuts down when the weather warms up in the next month.


new mom

To a new mom: Things I did NOT know to expect

I made a new friend recently who is expecting a child, and she’s a little nervous about what to expect with the whole “bringing a baby into the world” thing.  I shouldn’t even say nervous – she’s just feeling the same way that every mom probably feels.  Having a baby (and caring for them for the next 18+ years) is the complete unknown.  It’s scary – in an exciting way.  There are just so many variables…from labor/delivery to breast feeding to getting the baby to sleep (oh, god…the sleeping) – and especially how it will change your life as a person.  Forever.

You can read all of the “what to expect” books, but gosh those are boring and wordy, and you’ll probably never encounter 1/2 of the stuff in there.  Being an avid reader, an aunt to 7 (at that time), and someone who felt quite comfortable around babies and kids, there were still some things that surprised me.  Maybe no one ever mentioned these things to me, or I just didn’t grasp the magnitude – consider yourself warned if you are about to be a new parent.

Before I cover what to expect, let me just say that with labor and delivery, there’s nothing to expect.  Or shall I say, throw your expectations out the window because there’s little you can control about the process.  You are not in charge – at least your mind isn’t – your body and the baby inside of you are in charge.  And the Dr. and nurses.  Let them be in charge.  They know what they are doing.  And hopefully you have amazing nurses because they are really the ones handling everything except for catching the baby and your stitches (yes, there will likely be stitches).  There are things you can do before and during labor and delivery to make the process more how you want, but at any moment things can change, so don’t have your heart set on following your 45 point birth plan that includes complete silence except for Mozart playing softly in the background (because that will make your baby smarter, right?), and a unicorns and rainbows in the room after delivery.  You should have an idea of what you hope for (whether you want/don’t want an epidural, who you want in the room, if you you want to breastfeed immediately after birth, who cuts the cord and when, etc) and discuss some of those with your Dr. ahead of time – as long as you understand that things may be completely different and impossible – especially in the event of an emergency c-section.  I’m not trying to scare anyone…I’m just being real.  And if you’ve already had one baby and are expecting again, don’t assume labor/delivery will be the same the 2nd time around.  It’s just less scary the 2nd time around.  You and your partner should think about a few things ahead of time regarding their involvement.  Some women are weird about their partners seeing the mess “down there” that is the miracle of life (its messssssy – especially afterwards), but my husband was really glad that he looked at the last minute to see our children be born, even though he wasn’t sure he would want to.  The Dr. asked him if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord, which he wasn’t expecting (by the way, that thing looks really weird).  He did – its a weird feeling – but again, he’s glad he did.

Also, I know you are worried about pooping on the table.  Don’t worry…in the moment, it’ll be the last thing on your mind.  Or at least it should be.  I didn’t (as far as I know), but several nurses are there and they can swap out the pads below you as needed, so your baby won’t be born into a pile of poo.

Your body, after birth

Cramps…oh the cramps:  As your uterus shrinks in the days following birth, you’ll have cramping.  It may range from mild pms cramping to cramping that makes you feel like you’ll vomit.  The cramping after Jenson wasn’t terrible (from what I remember), but cramping after Marlowe was horrible.  I don’t know if it gets worse in all subsequent deliveries, or if it was from special circumstances that I had with Marlowe which included the retrieval of some rogue tissue (I’ll spare you those details here, though I talked about it in Marlowe’s birth story).  Regardless, I wasn’t expecting them to be so bad and when I was showering the next morning at the hospital, I nearly passed out and vomited in the shower and was thisclose to pulling the emergency cord in the shower.  They subsided over the next few days, but they took my breath away at their strongest.

12 step bathroom process: Depending on your method of delivery, you may need a squirt bottle of water, tucks cooling pads, numbing spray, an underwear ice pad (yes, that’s a thing) and a maxi pad the size of a couch every time you go to the bathroom for the first few days.  Just go ahead and use the ugly mesh underwear they give you in the hospital.  Sure you can wear old black underwear that you don’t care about ruining – as long as they can fit all of the props I mentioned above.  The mesh undies are comfortable enough, and its nice to be able to chuck the whole bundle in the garbage.  Take a few pairs home to continue using, along with any of the pain relieving items you use in the hospital.  If you don’t get stitches, consider yourself lucky…you’ll probably just need maxis the size of your couch.

Do the shuffle: For a few weeks after giving birth, it may feel like your uterus could just fall out as you walk.  It won’t.  It’s not pain, but it’s a weird pressure, or at least an unsecured feeling.  I remember walking around the neighborhood with Jenson in the stroller and feeling like I should shuffle my feet to keep things up in there.  Hoping I wasn’t actually shuffling.

Eat, drink, and be lazy: Everyone should know that your body won’t probably won’t go back to normal immediately after birth – unless you are one of the rare lucky bitches.  Be kind to yourself.  If you’re breastfeeding, you need extra water and extra food to produce milk for your baby.  Don’t try to work out too soon or lose the weight too soon.  Make sure your milk supply is established before you try to lose the extra weight, and even then you have to eat enough food or it could diminish.  Don’t feel bad if you continue to wear maternity pants for a few weeks (or even months if you need)…you don’t have to rush back to the harsh reality of real “non-stretchy” waistbands and be uncomfortable all day.  Your body made a baby – be kind to it for a bit.  Everyone knows you had a baby and won’t be judging you for not having a flat stomach within 2 months – or they’re dicks.

Your new receding hairline: The biggest surprise about my body after child birth was the hair loss.  Around 4 months after Jenson was born, a co-worker (dad of 3) asked if I started losing my hair yet.  I was like – what?  He warned me that his wife lost a bunch of hair a few months after she had her kids.  (sidenote: we were a pretty close-knit group of co-workers who talked about everything, so it wasn’t weird for him to ask me that).  Sure enough, by about 5/6 months postpartum, gobs of hair started to fall out when I washed my hair – and my hair was on every surface in the house (ask Lo).  Postpartum hair loss is normal.  From what I remember during my frantic google search, your hair feels thicker and more luxurious during pregnancy because you don’t shed as much hair due to certain hormones.  In the months after, those hormones recede and all that extra hair falls out (and maybe more).  I lost a lot around my hairline – especially at my temples.  It’s frustrating, but it grows back.  You just have to deal with the regrowth that stands straight up – and the people who like to point it out.  “Oh, I didn’t notice that the hair along my hairline has been standing straight up every time I look in a reflective surface for the last two weeks…thanks for mentioning it.”  I’m guessing postpartum hair loss is the real reason behind the oh-so-common mom haircut.  Don’t do anything drastic…it’ll grow back.

So about that baby….

Leaving the hospital: Its scary!  You had people waiting on you and helping you with the baby for the last 36 hours or more…and suddenly, you’re on your own as parents.  You’ll be fine.

Postpartum hormones:  Your body is a little jacked up after birth, and now your hormones are going to match it.  It’s totally normal to have some emotional swings.  I remember coming downstairs a day or two after we were home and there were tears streaming down my face.  But I wasn’t sad or scared or anything – but I couldn’t control the tears.  Lo looked so concerned and I was just laughing.  On a serious note – be aware of postpartum depression and talk to your Dr. if your struggling with emotions consistently.

Breastfeeding: It’s not always easy, it’s not always intuitive, it’s not always pain-free.  But it’s worth it if that’s what you want to do.  I won’t go into the issues you may encounter with breastfeeding (I talked about some of them here), but I HIGHLY encourage you to see a lactation consultant before you leave the hospital AND after you are back home if you are having any issues or are struggling in any way.  Some hospitals will send one to your house or have breastfeeding groups with a lactation consultant, or you can find one on your own.  Insurance should pay for one, but you may have to pick a covered provider.  Even if you have to pay for it out of pocket, it’s worth the money.  I feel like many women who want to breastfeed end up giving it up early because they didn’t seek out help.  Pediatricians aren’t likely to be very helpful with that part of it, so they may just encourage you to use formula if you are struggling.  If you want to breastfeed and are having issues, SEE A LACTATION CONSULTANT!  I’ve had a couple of friends who ended up being incapable of producing milk, but most women can produce at least some, if not all, of the milk that their baby needs.  You may need special equipment, you may need a special pumping/nursing schedule, you may need supplements or special food, but if you want to do it, you probably can if you ask for help soon enough.  And if you wanted to and can’t – don’t be ashamed.  Fed is best.

Poop:  We knew to expect to go through a lot of diapers, but we were still somehow shocked how frequently (and loudly!) that babies poop!  It wasn’t uncommon to change a dirty diaper and hear the baby poop again within 2 minutes.  Sometimes it’s just a little mustard in the diaper, sometimes it goes all the way up their back, sometimes it runs straight out of the leg of their pants as if they have no diaper on.  Just know that onesies with the envelope-like shoulders are designed so you can kind of roll it down their body instead of pulling it over their head.  And there’s no shame in just throwing away a completely destroyed onesie rather than washing it.  The first poopsplotion that I experienced was while Lo was at work.  It was all the way up Jenson’s back and around the front, and I was just looking at him thinking – how do I tackle this?!  That onesie went in the garbage.

Naps:  Newborns nap frequently, but not necessarily for long.  As a matter of fact, it could be months before you get long naps.  Since they need to eat frequently, by the time they are fed, burped, changed (and sometimes changed again) and you lay them down/get them to sleep, they often only sleep for 30 minutes before they are awake again.  Basically, you’re only going to get short breaks to get things done, and you’ll constantly be worried about the baby waking up early from naps.  So that whole “sleep when he sleeps” thing you hear people say…good luck with that.  Eventually they’ll switch to 3 regular naps a day (usually one is a little longer), and then to 2 naps (and hopefully one is around 2 hours), so it does get less frustrating and more predictable.  It helped once I got Jenson on an eat, play, sleep routine when he was 6 weeks old or something.  It wasn’t sleep-training as much as it was not letting him get too tired during the day and giving us a little predictability.  Google it if you’re interested – there are many methods – I don’t know that I used one in particular as much as just the general idea.

Nighttime sleep…oh, the dreaded nighttime:  I’ll start off saying that I have no authority on this because my 14 month old daughter has slept through the night approximately 1 time (last Friday), and Jenson wasn’t a great sleeper until toddlerhood either.  It’s your business what method of sleep training, or lack thereof, you are comfortable with.  Let me just warn you, that every person who lays eyes on your baby will ask you this: “Is he/she sleeping through the night?” And if your baby doesn’t, you’ll constantly feel judged when you admit that they don’t.  You’ll either get a ton of advice you don’t want (“have you tried this?” “I swear by this book”  “My son was sleeping through the night before he was even conceived”) or your hear something like “oh, that’s too bad” followed by a heavy dose of silent judgment.  Take comfort in the rare convo with another tired mom who will just respond “mine doesn’t either”.

Car seats:  Tightening the straps sucks.  It’s hard – especially when rear-facing…you’ll feel like you need to put your whole body weight behind it.  But do it right every time and your kid will be used to it and hopefully won’t fuss about it.  In short, chest clip at armpits, straps tight enough that you can’t pinch the fabric between your fingers, and no puffy coats worn underneath.  If you aren’t confident in the installation, get it inspected (call your fire dept to see if they can check it).

Facts of Life…

Fear: Taking care of this tiny helpless human being will increase your fears exponentially.  You worry if he’s warm enough, cool enough, eating enough.  Why is she crying?  Is he meeting milestones?  But the scariest of all is in the night…when you may constantly wonder if he or she is breathing.  SIDS is rare, but scary.  If you worry so much about it, use a breathing monitor of sorts…Angelcare monitor, Snuza (what we used) or whatever.  If it gives you peace of mind, just do it.  I know our moms survived without using breathing monitors and video monitors, but that doesn’t mean we have to.

“Are you ready for another”?:  You’ll hear that question about 1 month after you have your first.  And you’ll probably be horrified at the thought of that (even if you fully intend to have more kids).  We knew we wanted to have another child, but in those first few weeks when we were in the thick of it, we kept saying “why would anyone do this again?!”.  We also decided that single mothers should rule the world because if they can’t handle all of that by themselves, they can handle anything.

Changes in your relationships:  You hope it won’t happen, but it will.  Things will change with your partner because you essentially became two new people…Mom and Dad.  It’s not necessarily bad..but it’s not just the two of you against the world anymore.  Don’t forget about each other though…you need to foster your relationship too.  Friendships may change too – especially with friends who aren’t parents.  Make time for each other still.  It’s hard to get through the diaper years, but you need your friends too.  It’s nice to get out of the house and talk about something other than diapers and bottles.

Details, details:  Your memory and brain will be shot for awhile, so write everything down.  You’ll forget want you went into the next room for, you’ll forget if you ate breakfast.  You’ll forget the good, the bad and the ugly, so if you want to remember something, write it down.  No, you probably won’t remember to finish the baby book until a year or two or 5 years later, but write the details down somewhere so you can go back later.  Text them to yourself, write them on a calendar…whatever you have to do.

1000 kisses:  You won’t be able to stop kissing your baby.  I swear I kissed my babies hundreds of times a day when they were little.  I still kiss them constantly, but they can get away from me now, so it’s not as easy.  So kiss that baby constantly while you can hold them close to you, and keep trying even when they can get away from you!  I was kissing Marlowe’s cheeks today and saying “I can’t stop kissing this baby!!” and she was squirming and trying to get down…but she was smiling.  Jenson is getting stingy with kisses lately, but he doesn’t push me away too much, and sometimes he’ll just come up to me and kiss me…and it makes my whole world.

Days and weeks:  “The days are long, but the years are fast”  You’ll hear that…and its so true.  But man, the days can feel so long and you may wonder if you’ll make it until naptime or bedtime.  You will.  And soon, he’ll be walking.  And soon, he’ll be in preschool.  And while you’ll always be his mama, he’ll never need you more than in this moment.

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

-excerpt: Song for a Fifth Child by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton


Here are a few more posts I’ve written about prepping for and dealing with new parenthood.

What to expect: Bringing home baby

12 Days of Parenthood

Decoding baby clothing sizes and brands

Marlowe update: 11 months

Oh – hey there.  Yes…Marlowe has continued to get older…I’ve just failed to tell you about it.  While she’s 2 months older now, let me head back to 11 months for the sake of archives.  It’s safe to say that between Jenson turning 3 – yes, that happened too – and Thanksgiving, Christmas and Marlowe turning one – I was pretty busy late fall through early winter.  Planning birthday parties stresses me out…I worry too little about the tiniest details that no one even cares about, except me.  So back to November…

marlowe 11 months

Marlowe is wild and amazing.  She decides what she wants to do, and she does it.  If she wants to climb the coffee table, she does.  If we leave the gate off of the stairs, she’s up them (ahh!).  She pulls the all of the books off of the shelf, wrecks Jenson’s train tracks, and will do anything to get to the food that someone is eating.  But she’s sweet – she loves to be held and lights up when people talk to her.  Her favorite thing to do when I bring her down in the morning is to look for Jenson and Boof – and it makes her so happy.  Her next favorite part of the day is when Lo gets home – she immediately wants him to pick her up and talk to her.

marlowe 11 months family november thanksgiving

marlowe 11 months marlowe 11 months marlowe 11 months

Marlowe: October 29 – November 28

Age:  11 months old

Weight:   17 lbs., 10 oz. (40%) at her appointment on November 14

Length:   28.5 inches (90%)

marlowe 11 months

Clothing size:  She’s mostly in 12 month clothing, with a few random 9 month pieces still lingering.  She’s a size 2 in shoes, though she’s only had them on for pictures.  Baby shoes are cute, but not worth the trouble.  She’s in a 3 for diapers and we switch between cloth and disposable.

Hair: Her hair is getting so long on the sides and front.  I have to pull it back every day so it’s out of her eyes.  It’s very blond still, and superfine.  It’s still shorter in the back, so she’s rocking a stylish inverted bob.

marlowe 11 months marlowe 11 months

Eyes:  Blue. The color is so pretty…I really hope it stays, but Jenson’s turned from blue after 1 year, so I wouldn’t be surprised if hers still turned.

Teeth:  Just her 2 bottom teeth – they are really visible now, which is just adorable.

marlowe 11 months

Temperament:  She’s sweet and lovey, but has a temper when she wants to exert it.  She loves kisses and being tickled, but if she’s mad, you know it.  She’s soooo loud when she’s mad.  Usually she’s only crying if she’s hungry or wants something or needs a new diaper.  Otherwise she’s a busy-body crawling all over the place and playing with toys, or just trying to keep up with Jenson.  She does great in the car and if she has to be in the stroller for awhile; she’s pretty easy going overall.

marlowe 11 months marlowe 11 months and jenson marlowe 11 months and peep

Sleeping: She wakes up between 8-9 am and will play in her crib sometimes before she wants out.  She typically takes a morning and afternoon nap.  The morning nap ranges from 45-60 minutes beginning around 10:30, and the afternoon nap is from 45 minutes -2 hours starting around 1:30 or 2 pm.  She goes to bed around 7:30 most nights and wakes every 2-4 hours to nurse for 5 minutes.  If she wakes to nurse before 10:30/11 pm, Lo will go in to make sure she has a pacifier.  She’ll usually settle a bit longer.  We have tried to let her cry it out a few times (checking on her throughout), and she proved she can outlast us on that one, to the tune of straight screaming for over an hour.  She cries harder and more consistent than Jenson did when we started sleep training him.  Her cry is a scream…its loud and it wrecks you.  I don’t even use a monitor for her because I don’t need it. I can hear her anywhere in the house.  She doesn’t want held or bounced or anything to do with Loren when she wakes…she just wants to nurse for 5 minutes and then go back to bed.  So I pretty much just give in because waking for 5 minutes is better than her screaming for an hour.  The one thing we have going for us is that she puts herself to sleep otherwise.  We don’t have to rock her or hold her until she’s asleep…I just nurse her and lay her down  awake.  Jenson didn’t do as well with that, so we are at least happy with that aspect of Marlowe’s sleep.

She loves her binkys and prefers one in each hand and one in her mouth while she’s sleeping and right after she wakes up.

marlowe 11 months

Eating:  She loves to eat…don’t you dare eat around her without giving her some.  She eats pretty much everything we give her, though she’s never been a fan of cooked squash or sweet potatoes.  She eats mostly real food, though she eats probably about 1 pouch a day because its the easiest thing to give her when you can’t get the food to her fast enough.

marlowe 11 months marlowe 11 months

Movement: Her crawl is somewhat of a scuttle.  She sits on one knee and propels herself along with one leg – she looks a bit like a spider or crab.  We have mostly hardwood floors in our downstairs, so it’s faster for her to crawl like that.  When she tries to crawl fast on both knees on the wood floors she just peels out, so she adapted to this method.  She loves to dance and clap, and pull herself up to everything.

marlowe 11 months marlowe 11 months

–Pointing at things she wants or sees
–Playing in a leaf pile
–First Halloween
–First Thanksgiving
–Visits with Santa
–Several words regularly (mama, dada, boof, papap, papaw, Jenson, baby, thank you, hi)

marlowe 11 months halloween 2016

marlowe 11 months marlowe 11 months and mom

Favorite toys/activities:
–Playing at the library. Now that she can get around, she had a blast exploring the play area after Toddler Dance
–Crawling and wrecking things
–Swinging on the playset
–Eating….and she means NOW.  She especially enjoyed eating outside a few times when it was nice.
–Her pacifiers.  She loves them.
–Papap: She’s still really into my dad.  She’s constantly looking for him when we visit and it’s one of her favorite things to say
–Being tickled – she has such an amazing belly laugh, and she’ll make a tickle motion on her belly when she wants us to continue
–Her favorite toys are usually whatever Jenson is playing with, but she really likes things that make music.  I’d say her absolute favorite is a musical card that Jenson got for his birthday – Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  She opens it and starts rocking/dancing, and looks around to see if anyone is
–Aggressive kisses.  Not only are her kisses rather forceful and open mouth, she often does an almost angry “AAHHH” sound along with it when she’s kissing a stuffed animal.  She’s just mocking my “mwah” sound that I do when I tell her to kiss her baby or stuffed animals, but it’s still hilarious.

marlowe 11 months marlowe 11 months marlowe 11 months

marlowe 11 months and jenson

–Taking things from her that she was playing with or chewing on
–Waiting to eat once she’s in the chair
–Being held instead of crawling around
–Sleeping.  She just loves me more than sleep.

Sibling Rivalry:
She LOVES Jenson.  She watches him constantly and all he has to do is talk to her and she’s happy. She tries to play with him, much to his chagrin often. Jenson loves her and will play with her and talk to her, but he does (often) take her toys and he gets mad when she’s trying to get his snacks or get to something he’s playing with.  They are really starting to play so well together and he is generally gentle with her.

marlowe 11 months and jenson marlowe 11 months and jenson marlowe 11 months

Sounds and Words:
–Big belly laughs
–Loud, girly screeches.  So loud.  I guarantee my hearing has gotten worse this year just because of her screaming.
–Words: mama, dada, boof, papap, papaw, Jenson, baby
–expressive faces and scrunchy nose when she’s really happy
–mocking sounds, like Mwah (for kisses), but hers is AAHHHH!

Special events:

–Warm weather and picnics
–Visits to Lo’s family over Veteran’s Day weekend and to my family over Thanksgiving
–Met Santa twice.  The first time was after her bedtime and didn’t go so well, but she didn’t mind the second time at the Shriner’s Christmas Party.  Or maybe she just likes Mrs. Claus better.

marlowe 11 months santa jenson santa

marlowe 11 months

marlowe 11 months peep meem christmas shriners

marlowe 11 months and grandma thanksgiving

Looking forward to:
–Longer stretches of sleeping at night (will this always be on my list?)
–I would have said Marlowe’s first Christmas and birthday, but those are long passed by the time of publishing

Watch Marlowe grow:

marlowe 1 week marlowe 2 weeks marlowe 3 weeks marlowe 4 weeks marlowe 1 month

marlowe 5 weeks marlowe 6 weeks marlowe 7 weeks marlowe 8 weeks marlowe 2 months

marlowe 9 weeks marlowe 10 weeks marlowe 11 weeks marlowe 12 weeks marlowe 3 months
marlowe 13 weeks marlowe 14 weeks marlowe 15 weeks marlowe 16 weeks marlowe 4 months
marlowe 4 months  IMG_7299 IMG_7566 IMG_7671 marlowe 5 months
IMG_8157 22 weeks 23 weeks 24 weeks Marlowe 6 months
25 weeks marlowe 7 months marlowe 7 months marlowe 7 months marlowe 7 months
marlowe 7 months marlowe 8 months marlowe 8 months marlowe 8 months marlowe 8 months

marlowe 8 months marlowe 8 months marlowe 9 months marlowe 9 months

marlowe 9 months marlowe 9 months marlowe 9 months marlowe 10 months marlowe 10 months marlowe 9 months

marlowe 10 months marlowe 10 months marlowe 10 months marlowe 45 weeks Marlowe 10 months

marlowe 46 weeks marlowe 47 weeks





Meat and Cheese Bouquet

You may have noticed that sometimes I get behind on posting.  As an example, I started this post 2.5 years ago – shortly after our 4th wedding anniversary.  I suddenly decided that now would be the perfect time to finish it because Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I have an idea for you that’s so much better than chocolates or flowers.  Wait…maybe not chocolates, but it’s more creative and way less sugar and carbs.  Make your man or woman a meat and cheese bouquet.  That’s right, and meat and cheese edible arrangement.

meat and cheese bouquet

Let me take you back to 2014…or at least, what I wrote in 2014.

Our anniversary was on Sunday.  It was our 4th, but most of the week I said it was our 3rd because I’m not good at dates.  Before our first anniversary, we I decided that we should base our anniversary gifts off of the traditional “yearly” gifts.  The traditional gifts are kinda sucky for the 4th anniversary…appliances, fruit, linen….  I struggled with what to do for him and thought that an Edible Arrangement would be perfect, except he doesn’t eat fruit.  I thought about making him a meat and cheese edible arrangement and googled to see if there was such a thing.  Turns out, after some searching, I found that people have made them before.  But I looked for other things for him because it doesn’t really fall within the “fruit” category.  I decided to make him some artwork printed on linen once I found it could be done pretty simply.  I forgot to take a picture, but the project turned out pretty cool.  ANYWAY….surprisingly Lo sent an edible arrangement to me at work on Friday.  It was awesome because I do love fruit…especially chocolate-covered fruit.

edible arrangement

So once he sent that to me, I knew I had to also make him a meat and cheese one because it would be funny.  I ran to the store on my lunch hour to get the supplies.  I wandered through the deli and refrigerated meat section and just bought whatever I could use to make a bouquet.  I assembled the “flowers” when Lo and Jenson were napping on Saturday and “hid” them in a container in the fridge for Sunday.  I didn’t actually have to hide them, because Lo doesn’t really look in the fridge very thoroughly, so it was as simple as sticking the container in the back of the fridge on a lower shelf.  Lo’s mom had come up that weekend so we could go out to dinner for our anniversary and to help with Jenson the next day while we finished painting our laminate countertops with granite-looking paint (yep, that’s another post that hasn’t been completed yet).

meat and cheese bouquet

We were soooo young looking.  Wow…hard to believe that was just a little over 2 years ago.


On Sunday, when Lo took Jenson up to lay him down for his nap, I assembled the bouquet.  He loved it!  I mean, I never doubted that he would…it’s meat and cheese.  But seriously – how pumped would your love be to receive this?meat and cheese bouquet

What I used for the meat and cheese bouquet:

Base: A round loaf of garlic dinner rolls that I nabbed off of the day-old rack
Stems: I used the plastic skewers that were from the edible arrangement that he got me, but wooden skewers would work great.  Green onions slid right over the skewers, and I just tore little strips of the onions downward to make leaves and to leave room to add the “flower”.
Flowers: Small round roll of cheddar sliced with my crinkle cutter, pepperoni slices, string cheese, dried beef sticks, mini peppers, and babayel cheese (from which I peeled off the red wax coating in sections for variety).  I initially had other ingredients in the grocery card, but I’d left my credit card in my office and had to use the $20 in cash that I’d stashed in my car.  There are so many options…stuff from the olive bar, other dried meats, more veggies for color, rolled up sandwich pepperoni, salami.

meat and cheese bouquet

And since we’ve traveled back in time with this post, look at Jenson!  He was nearly 1 year old and oh my gosh – I miss that little baby face.  SO freaking cute.  I mean, he’s still so freaking cute, but those chubby cheeks!

jenson 11 months jenson 11 months

I don’t often see much resemblance between Jenson and Marlowe, though people have told me they look similar, but when I saw this picture of Jenson, I immediately could see it.

jenson 11 monthsmarlowe 12 months





Day in the Life: SAHM version of a bad day

We all have bad days, and bad days have a way of feeling like the worst day ever…until the next bad day.  Luckily, time softens memory about those days.

I realized I hadn’t done a “Day in the Life” post for a long time…mostly because I’ve barely gotten around to posting much at all.  It wasn’t going to be a standard Tuesday because Lo was going to a hockey game after work with a good friend, so I was on my own from morning until night (yikes!).  I’m so glad he got to go because 1. he doesn’t get to see this friend often 2. he’s a big fan but hasn’t been to a CBJ game this year and they are doing really well 3. I get to see my friends at volleyball 1/week, he never goes anywhere after work in the evening because he rushes home to spend time with the kids and help me since I’ve been with them all day.  Yes, I’m lucky with that…and people remind me all of the time and I know that I am, but the kids are really the lucky ones.  Kids may not remember everything about their childhood, but they remember how involved their parents were and how much they were available to them day-to-day.

Little did I know it REALLY wouldn’t be a standard Tuesday at all.  Our days are usually pretty smooth…nope, not today.

before 7 am: Marlowe starts crying though it’s too early for her to be up for the day.  I go in to feed her quickly so I can lay back down, but she’s soaking wet.  I grab a diaper and new pjs from downstairs (note to self, keep some upstairs) and change her and quickly nurse her and lay her back down.  It’s about 715, so I still have a good 1/2 hour before Jenson’s alarm turns green and he’s ready to get up (this alarm has saved our mornings because it works for him and he no longer wakes at 6am).  Green means get up, red means go back to sleep).

7:40 am: I hear him stirring, but even after the light turns green at 7:45 he doesn’t stand up or call for me, so I doze until I hear him.

8:20 am: He’s awake, but just laying there so I go in to investigate.  He seems very lethargic and says “Mommy, I’m not feeling very good”.  This is not an unusual thing for him to say (he says it randomly when he doesn’t want to nap or eat or whatever), but I can tell he doesn’t.  I pick him up and bring him downstairs.  No fever, but he was not himself.  After he puts on underpants, I get him milk and dry cereal so he can watch a show.  Shocker, he picks Paw Patrol (thumbs down).

8:35 am: I’m in the bathroom brushing my teeth thinking about how I hoped he wasn’t getting the nasty stomach virus that was going around.  The kids JUST got over 3 weeks of a cold virus that was brutal.  I hear some coughing that doesn’t sound quite right and I ran into the room to see that he’s throwing up a little bit.  It wasn’t much, but I grabbed a blanket and a nearby pail that had some toys in it and start wiping him up with the blanket.  He gags a little more, but nothing much comes out, so I cleaned up, changed his clothes and laid a towel on the floor around him in case it strikes again.  He starts eating his cereal like nothing happened and I envision cleaning up Cheerio-filled vomit in an hour.


Meanwhile, I get my coffee and settle in for some blog work on my other blog until Marlowe wakes up, which ranges from 8 am – 9:30 am.  I had a giveaway that I needed to get posted that morning, so I emailed with the company to get the details.

9:39 am: Marlowe is awake so I go up to get her.  Often Jenson wants to help me get her, but he was engrossed in his show and I was just thankful he wasn’t vomiting.  She’s usually pretty happy when I get her up, but not today.  I bring her down and she looks for Jenson and then Boof and says “Hi Boof”, as usual.  After I change her clothes, I put her down to play for a few minutes while I finish the post.

marlowe crib

She’s a big fan of her binkies and prefers to have one in each hand and one in her mouth when she’s sleepy or just waking up.  Her hands were full and she really wanted that binky that she dropped, so she picked it up with her mouth.  Or she was doing yoga.

marlowe binky

She fusses at me to nurse and since she hasn’t quite jumped on the cow’s milk bandwagon, I nurse her before breakfast since she’ll end up spitting out most of her cup of milk.  Jenson turns off the tv when his show is over and they play for a minute on the couch.

10 am: We finally go to the kitchen for breakfast – later than normal.  Jenson says he wants a ghost banana.  I don’t know what that means, so I make a face on a banana with raisins.  He loves it, but only eats the raisins and 2 bites before he wants a “ghost” yogurt.  So I wrapped a paper towel around a yogurt stick and that seemed to satisfy him.  Marlowe ate some yogurt drops (just little dollops of plain yogurt that I freeze for her), some O’s, a couple of bites of banana, and part of a waffle.  Jenson agreed to a waffle after his yogurt, and ate most of one.  I’m running around the whole time getting food ready for them and picking up her dropped thrown milk cup, but manage to eat about a 1/2 cup of Greek Gods Chocolate Strawberry yogurt.  (side note: I bought it because I love the brand and it was marked down – I don’t usually eat very sweetened yogurt and didn’t have high hopes for it, but actually loved it.  It tastes like a cross between pudding and yogurt).

jenson ghost banan jenson marlowe breakfast greek gods chocolate strawberry yogurt

I try to get a pic of Marlowe’s top teeth coming in, but she’s private about them.

marlowe teeth

10:45 am: After I clean everyone up after breakfast, Jenson goes potty and brushes his teeth.  He wants to do a new puzzle that he got at his cousins’ birthday party, so Marlowe plays with a few toys while I help him with the puzzle (he needs very little help – he’s awesome at puzzles) and clean up in the kitchen.

jenson puzzle jenson puzzle

11:15 am: Even though she slept late, Marlowe is ready for her morning nap, so I change her diaper and Jenson starts on another new puzzle while I take her up to nurse her and lay her down.  When I come back down, Jenson wants to play Honeybee Tree and Sneaky Snacky Squirrel – these games have little chocking hazard pieces, so we only play when Marlowe is sleeping.  I’m able to finish the last details on that blog post while playing the games, and post on my Norwex Facebook page about a Norwex flash sale that’s about to start.  Honeybee Tree doesn’t really have a winner the way he plays (its just for the excitement of the bees falling), but he beats me at Sneaky Snacky Squirrel several times.  After the games, we do a few puzzles together.  He seems fine, so I stop worrying he’s going to puke everywhere.

jenson sneaky snacky squirrel

12:30 am: Jenson has to go potty so we run to the bathroom.  We are trying to get him a little more independent with this because he peed his pants recently while I was upstairs nursing Marlowe before her nap and couldn’t get to him in time.  Sometimes he wants our help, sometimes he says “I don’t need you” and refuses to let us be in the bathroom.  This time he didn’t need me, so I was in the next room while he went.  He starts crying and I know we have a problem.  He couldn’t get his underwear down and peed in them before he could ask for help.  He was upset and crying because he peed his pants and then couldn’t pee in the toilet.  I cleaned him up and calmed him, and stuck the pee stuff (including bath mat) with the vomit stuff for washing later.  We headed out to do more puzzles.

1 pm: The Norwex flash sale on limited edition Envirocloths starts and I try to log on to place the order for a few customers…and the website isn’t working.  Jenson is still doing puzzles so I hope onto the Norwex group facebook page to see that everyone is having problems with it because it’s overloaded.  It’s a really good sale that is expected to sell out, so everyone is in a rush to get the orders placed.

1:20 pm: Marlowe wakes so I get her and change her.  I try the Norwex site a few more times, get mad and give up for a bit.  Plus, its (past) time for lunch.  Lunch is a crazy as breakfast (I never get to sit to eat in between getting food for them, keeping Boof from being fed, and cleaning up).  Jenson eats crackers, cheese, blueberries, a little bit of leftover pizza, and an orange.  Marlowe eats pizza, broccoli, blueberries, cheese, and a little bit of shredded chicken.  I eat crockpot fajita stuff with chips and salsa, while also trying the Norwex site on my phone.  People in the group swear its working, but warn you have to be consistent and keep refreshing.

2 pm: After I wash the dishes, I jump on the computer while the kids wind down for’s going to be late today since Marlowe took her first nap late.  I’m making some progress  with the site and then suddenly our wifi isn’t working.  I try everything I can to make it work and am SOOOO frustrated, so I get back on my cell to try to do it mobile again, which is difficult because it involves lots of scrolling and switching screens (which require refreshing because the site is so overwhelmed)  I just want to close out this damn order, so I’m determined to get it done.  I text with Lo and after asking a few questions, he gives me the standard IT solution to reboot the computer, router, etc.  I’ve done this already, but I try again because things like that only work after an IT person tells you to do it and you swear you’ve already done it.  And then you look dumb.  But not this time.  He says it doesn’t make sense why just the wifi is broken.

2:40 pm: Marlowe is looking sleepy (I know she just woke from her nap, but who am I to question?), so I start getting them ready for nap and we go to Jenson’s room for books and songs.  We read Count to 10 with a Mouse, Poky Little Puppy First Christmas, and The Christmas Mice (I’m slowly putting away the Christmas books, but too many at once, and he notices).  After we sing songs (today it was Do-Re-Mi, Supercalafragalistic, and Bibbidy Bobbity Boo) he goes potty and I put him in his crib.  I go to our room and nurse Marlowe.  Once she finishes, she falls asleep and I put her in her crib in her room and head downstairs to deal with the wifi problem/Norwex nightmare.

3:15 pm: Marlowe starts screaming so I give her binkies again and go back.  She continues to cry scream, but she’s obviously tired so I have to leave her go.  It sucks because she doesn’t cry…she screams for several minutes until she falls asleep.  I text more with Lo and he tells me to get the network cable and I’m back in business.  I finally can get through with the Norwex site, place the order.

4 pm: Marlowe wakes up and I get her.  Her afternoon nap is typically shorter than her morning nap. I’d love to get that reversed so she naps the whole time Jenson does, but I don’t want to screw things up or end up switching her into 1 nap, so I just deal with it.  It gives her some 1:1 time with me too, so that’s nice.  We play on the floor for awhile.  She’s getting more brave about trying to walk. She did take 2 steps from the couch to the coffee table while Lo was sitting there on Sunday, so she’s close to ready, even though she’s not brave enough to stand by herself for more than 2 seconds.

4:45 pm: Jenson’s clock turns green and he’s ready to get up so I go up to get him.  Before I pick him up, he asks if he kept his underwear dry (which I know means that he didn’t).  I check and they are not dry and tell him that he didn’t, but its okay because he’s still learning.  He starts crying because he knows that means he won’t get “something special” after his nap.  We give him a small treat (usually a piece of leftover parade candy) if he keeps his underwear dry. I tell him that its okay and that he’ll have a treat with dinner.  I want to give in now, but I don’t because I think sometimes he pees after he wakes up, and thus can control it.  Once we get downstairs I change him and he calms.

5:10 pm: He usually watches a show after nap and picks Paw Patrol again.  I would have made him pick something else because he already watched it today, but it had been a rough enough day for both of us.  Marlowe and I keep playing and reading.

tv marlowe

5:40 pm: Jenson turns off the tv once his show is over.  The kids play for a bit while I pick up a little around the house and get things ready for dinner and stress eat 2 salted caramels from Costco (and narrowing avoid getting busted by Jenson). Boof is being all barky and stupid because Lo isn’t home yet.  She keeps barking and running towards the door, which bugs me, so I set the security alarm so I won’t have to think about her barking while I’m upstairs putting the kids to bed.  This area is safe enough, but we are pretty isolated and its really dark around our house, so sometimes when I’m home alone in the evening I just set the alarm for peace of mind.

6 pm: Dinner is leftovers for all of us, so not much prep required.  Jenson eats some pizza (which he fights me about, but eventually eats it), cheese, crackers with peanut butter, peaches, and blueberries.  I know his diet sucks, but it’s a real struggle these days.  Marlowe eats chicken, broccoli, peaches, yogurt drops, and a few baby puffs.  I eat more fajita chicken stuff with chips and salsa (well-balanced diet here…), but all I’m thinking about is a glass of wine after the kids go to bed.  Dinner was non-dramatic, which seems amazing.

6:45 pm: I get everyone cleaned up and put Marlowe’s pjs her since she soaked her shirt at dinner with the milk she spits out.  They start playing for a bit while I wash the rest of the dishes and are playing so well together with the car that I don’t want to interrupt.

7:05 pm: Jenson asks if its 700 yet, which means he can use the ipad, but I tell him he has to help clean up, pick up, put away first.  He refuses, but once Marlowe starts helping me throw the ball pit balls in the play car, he gets in on the action and cleans up everything I ask him to.

7:20 pm: I give him the ipad and take Marlowe upstairs to nurse her and lay her down.  Luckily she goes to sleep on her own well enough (because she sure doesn’t stay asleep all night!).

7:35 pm: I sit with him for a bit while he finishes a game.  We head to the bathroom to get ready for bed, and then upstairs to read books and sing songs.

8:15 pm: After he’s finally in bed, I head to the basement with the vomit/pee laundry and get to the bottom of the steps….and the security alarm starts blaring.  It’s a super high-pitched loud alarm and I’m so confused what the noise even is.  I run upstairs and remember that I’d set the alarm, but I’m trying to figure out why it’s going off!  Was Lo home early, or was someone trying to get in a door?  As I’m fumbling at the alarm keypad (I swear it’s so loud that I can’t see, which doesn’t make sense).  We rarely have to turn it off like that, so it takes me a minute to figure out what to do after just randomly hitting buttons in a panic.  As I’m working on this, I remember that the system includes motion sensors in the basement, so I set it off when I went to do laundry.  Lo texts because he got an email about the alarm and I tell him it was me.  I’m still standing by the box waiting for them to contact me to confirm the cancellation, but they call instead.  Once I give them the info they need, I try to settle myself and hope that it didn’t wake Marlowe or terrify Jenson.  I text with Lo to confirm that I cancelled it because they’d been calling him too.  It was a crazy stressful few minutes that was entirely self-inflicted at the end of a not-awesome day.

8:35 pm: The alarm doesn’t seem to have bothered Jenson, but I hear him stand up in his crib (it’s squeaky) so I go up to check on him.  He has to poop so I bring him downstairs to go.  We have an upstairs bathroom, but it’s through Marlowe’s room (awkward set up, but her current bedroom isn’t actually a bedroom).  He takes FOREVER and I try to clean up some stuff nearby while he sits there, pleading with him to finish because I’m so ready for ME time.  35 MINUTES LATER, he’s back in his bed.

9:10 pm: I finally get to throw the pee/vomit laundry in the washing machine (I double-checked that the alarm was off before I went downstairs this time).  And then, this.

cupcake wine red velvet

And after a glass, a Jr. Frosty that was languishing in the freezer from Sunday.  And when I was rescuing that, I noticed a Bake Me Happy oatmeal creme pie in there that I was worried about getting freezer burn.  Obviously I didn’t eat enough during the day annnnd I was maybe stress-eating because I didn’t have time to stress eat when I was still stressed.

I plopped myself on the couch until Lo got home, chatted with him, changed the laundry, did some blog work, nursed Marlowe at midnight since she’d been screaming for awhile and Lo couldn’t settle her, wrapped things up downstairs and headed to bed.

To recap: unexpected early morning diaper change, bout of vomit, potty accident on bathroom mat, broken Norwex website, unrelated broken wifi, screaming baby, potty accident in crib, set off the security alarm, 35 minute potty break for Jenson while I stare longingly at the bottle of wine in the kitchen.  Somehow I managed to keep it together.  I wasn’t perfect…I snapped at Jenson out of frustration more than I would have liked…I had my attention on the computer more than I normally do during the day.  But I had some really sweet moments with the kids too.  We laughed a lot.  Marlowe gave me tons of kisses and was in a great mood other than the nap situation.  I played lots of games and did puzzles with Jenson.  Marlowe and Jenson danced in their own ways while I sung songs before naptime.  Jenson got lots of hugs and reassurance when he was upset from his accidents.  All of the dishes were clean and the house was relatively neat at the end of the day.  Nothing truly bad happened…no one got hurt, no one was “really” sick, everyone was safe…but so many little things.  While I can’t say I’d want many more days like this, I know I can handle it and I know I’m meant to be home with my babies.






Christmas Eve with the Crud

Christmas is here, and it’s so different this year because Jenson understands Christmas so much more as a 3 year old.  He “gets” Santa, is starting to understand certain traditions, and knows tons of Christmas songs.  He’s been excited for Christmas Day and has enjoyed all of the pre-Christmas events and prep.  We saw Santa at a few different events, saw Christmas lights, went to a Christmas parade, cut down and decorated the Christmas tree, Jenson had his preschool Christmas program, made a gingerbread house with friends, baked cookies at Nana’s and at home, and read lots of Christmas books.

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We have a ton of Christmas books (which I put away after the season), so I decided we’d wrap all of the Christmas books and put one under the tree each night for him to open and read.  I thought it would be a fun tradition and keep the books special, and he seemed to love it.  Some books he only cared to read once, while others we’ve read over and over.  His favorites have been Dream Snow, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Christmas Pop Up Peekaboo, Little Blue Truck Christmas, The Red Sled, and Nighty-Night Northpole (which is a really cool light-up book).  There are so many more I want to get for future years!  Are there any Christmas books you recommend?

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While Marlowe doesn’t “get” Christmas yet, of course, she enjoys the stuff that goes along with it.  Everyday when I bring her downstairs, she points to the Christmas tree and says “tree”.  She also points to the snowman that Jenson and I made for the door and mumbles something.  She can say “reindeer” and looks for our little Rudolph sings and dances – she LOVES that thing.  She’ll repeat “ho ho ho”, but it’s more like “ha ha ha”, and when we sing “then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say” she’ll fill in “ha ha ha” during “Rudolph”.  She’s been great about leaving the tree alone.  I’m sure she figured out pretty early on that the needles are sharp, so she doesn’t even try to get to the ornaments.  Her first Santa experience wasn’t was past her bedtime (we were driving through the light show in a park near my hometown) and she was tired!  The second time was much better…or maybe she just likes Mrs. Claus better.

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Unfortunately, this week has been dominated by the crud and both of the kids are slightly sick.  Marlowe has had a low fever since Monday – typically just 99-100, and with no other obvious symptoms, though today she is snotty.  Jenson started having a barky cough on Tuesday and waking at night as he does when he is sick.  I took him to the Dr. on Wednesday and he said it was probably croup and gave us a short rx for liquid prednisone.  His cough stopped sounding barky by the next day and just sounded congested, and he occasionally ran a fever, but he was definitely “off” for most of the week.  He kind of alternated being tired, being weepy, playing normally, acting out, etc.  The coughing woke him several times most nights and would really upset him – he’d cry “I’m still coughing” and “make it stop”.  We ended up taking them to Urgent Care on Christmas Eve morning because they both had fevers and Jenson was coughing non-stop.  Of course neither had fevers while we were there.  Their lungs, ears, and throats were clear, so we were just told it’s a standard 10 day virus and to keep them comfortable.

Christmas 2016

Their crud has put a damper on some of our holiday fun, but we still managed to enjoy the season.  We did a lot more tv and movie watching than normal this week because Jenson would start coughing and get worn out when he tried to play much.  I couldn’t let him help me with a lot of baking this week because he’s terrible about covering his mouth when he coughs.  So I saved a small batch of dough for him to make that we could keep separate from cookies we’ll share with others.  He enjoyed cutting out the cookies last night, but when we went to decorate his today, he only got through 3 before having a meltdown.  He kept licking the plastic knife that he was using to spread the frosting, and I yelled at him to stop (mostly because I didn’t want him to get cut), and he said “stop yelling at me” and started crying.  I felt bad, but I know he just couldn’t handle it because he really wasn’t feeling well tonight.  It was still a good reminder to me that he’s sensitive and that I need to correct him more calmly and be more patient with him.

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The stockings are hung laying on the stairs because they are too heavy, and presents are piled high under the tree that is constantly dropping needles because it had been dying for about 2 weeks now. We’ve just been begging it to hold on and not die before Christmas, but we are going to have to take it down ASAP after Christmas.  Luckily it still looks green and full (though a bit crooked), so as long as we don’t touch it, it only loses about 300 needles per hour.  We can hear them dropping on the gifts below while we sit here in the evenings and we weren’t even sure it would make it until Christmas.  Before Jenson went to bed, we sprinkled reindeer food in the yard and put out milk and cookies for Santa.  As I reflect on the week, things aren’t as perfect as I want…we didn’t do crafts or ornaments (yet), I was more stressed about getting things done, the house isn’t very clean, I didn’t take the perfect (or that many) pictures…I could go on and on, but it doesn’t matter.  We have a baby and a toddler who have been sick for a week, so I should cut myself some slack.  I’m just happy they aren’t too sick to enjoy the holiday.  To them, it’s still magical…and that makes it magical for us.

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Merry Christmas…make lots of memories with your families during this wonderful time of the year.



Christmas 2016

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies: 1 dough, 5 ways

I used to love making a bunch of different Christmas cookies…trying new recipes each year and making my favorites.  Then I had Jenson and that got more difficult, but I still managed quite a variety.  And then I had Marlowe, and two days before Christmas I’ve only made 2 recipes so far.  Baking with a toddler who wants to “help” and with a baby who is constantly pulling up to stand against my legs and wanting up is nearly impossible.  The first recipe barely counts because it consists of putting Hershey kisses or Rolos on a pretzels, putting them into the oven for 5 minutes and then pressing an M&M on top.  It takes longer to unwrap the candy than to make them.  I’m not downplaying how good these are though…because I’ve probably already eaten a cookie sheet amount of them already (note to self: make these last next year).  The other cookie that I’ve made is Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies that I’m going to tell you about today.

The best thing about these cookies is that they only require 5 ingredients, plus the candy.  The 2nd best thing about these cookies is that you can make them several different ways from the same dough and have a variety that everyone is going to love.  They are flourless, gluten free, and dairy free (though not egg free and certainly not peanut free).  Using Hershey Kisses is the more “traditional” way, put I prefer putting the dough in mini-muffin pans and pressing in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups after baking.  Other options include Rolos, or you can just make them plain if you for some reason hate chocolate – many people use a fork to make a criss-cross pattern right after they are baked when making them plain.  You can even roll them in white or colored sugar before baking or substitute Nutella for part of the peanut butter (see those options here).  Since I was fresh out of Rolos from the pretzel treats mentioned above, I made them with Hershey Kisses (both milk chocolate and dark) and Reeses this year.

peanut butter cookies

I waited until Lo was home so Jenson could “help” me measure the ingredients for the dough while Lo looked after Marlowe.  You can mix them by hand or with a mixer, and they only require 1 bowl, a 1 cup measuring cup, and a teaspoon.  I doubled the recipe belowe and it made 1 cookie sheet of the Kiss variety (20 cookies), 1 mini muffin pan of the PB cup variety, and 1/2 of a mini muffin pan of the mixed variety (kisses and pb cups).

peanut butter cookies, baking with jenson peanut butter cookies

So to recap, here are 5 topping options: Kisses (any variety), PB cups, Rolos, plain, and Nutella swirled.  They can also be rolled in sugar before baking if you want.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies: 1 dough, 2 ways

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 20-24

These simple gluten-free cookies can be made several ways with the same dough, so they will suit different tastes and add variety to cookie trays.


  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar (I prefer 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 white sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ -1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • candy toppings, if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap Hershey Kisses now or during the baking time. Mix everything together using a mixer or by hand. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet; these will only spread slightly, or place in a mini muffin pan if using Reese's Cups (this method works for Kisses and Rolos too). I prefer to use reusable silicone baking mats or parchment on my cookie sheets, but the cookies shouldn’t stick to any pan. Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes, until they start look slightly dry and begin to show cracks. If you want them to be soft and chewy, pull them out when the cracks form. If you prefer crunchy, wait another minute or two until they are more golden brown. Remove from oven and lightly press a Hershey’s kiss or rolo into the center. The chocolate on the bottom will melt slightly and hold the candy to the cookie. Leave cookies on pan for at least 5 minutes to help them set up. If you use a mini-muffin pan, wait 10 minutes and gently slide a toothpick down beside the cookie to loosen, and it should pop out pretty easily. Carefully transfer to a wire rack until completely cool and wait until the chocolate on top is hardened again before stored in an air-tight container. Store in the fridge if saving for a week or so.


You can get away with only dirtying 1 measuring cup by measuring sugar first and then peanut butter using the same cup. If you are using 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 white sugar, put the brown sugar packed down in the bottom half of the measuring cup and add white sugar on top to fill it - it doesn't have to be exactly equal amounts, as these can be made with all brown sugar (softer cookies), all white sugar (for crunchier), or a mix.

If you measure the baking powder before the vanilla, you'll only need 1 teaspoon - just estimate filling the teaspoon 1/2 full for vanilla. Also note that these can technically be made without baking powder or vanilla as "3 ingredient cookies", but I prefer them with the addition.

Here are previous batches I’ve made before.  The top ones are rolled in white sugar before baking and topped with Rolos and Kisses after baking.  The bottom one I subbed some Nutella for some of the peanut butter, which created a marbled look and added a hint of Nutella taste.

peanut butter kiss cookies

nutella kiss cookies and kisses



Marlowe update: 10 months

I can’t believe that Marlowe is 10 months old – and how much she’s changed from even just a few months ago.  She’s so happy and content and loving.  She getting more verbal and LOVES to eat food.  She loves exploring (sometimes a little too much) and trying to do whatever Jenson is doing, but she was also so good when we were on the go a lot in October.  We had a busy month with Jenson’s birthday party, overnight guests a few weekends, apple picking, lots of Halloween events, and a fire station open house, and she was SO good at all of the events.  I can’t remember her even fussing at any of them.  She just takes it all in and naps when she needs.  Now nighttime…that’s a different story, but naps are getting better and I just deal with the night however I can manage.  She loves giving kisses, swinging, music, and has started getting interested in books (sometimes reading them, sometimes just pulling them off the shelf).  Her big milestones of the month are words, clapping, and teeth!  Some many pictures this month.  I swear she was just extra cute!

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Marlowe: September 29 – October 28

Age:  10 months old.  She’s been out as long as she was in!

39 weeks  9 months in, 9 months out

Weight:   17 lbs., 5 oz. (40%) at her 9 month appointment on October 6.  She was back a week later because she was running a fever and we wanted to rule out ear infections, but it was just a standard virus. She definitely tired and sick.

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Length:   28.5 inches (90%)

Clothing size:  She’s wearing 9 and 12 month clothing.  She’s tall, so things get too short on her legs first.  She’s a size 2 in shoes, though she’s only had them on for pictures.  Baby shoes are cute, but not worth the trouble.  She’s in a 3 for diapers and we switch between cloth and disposable.

Hair: Her hair is blond and is finally getting longer on the back of her head, and is getting long on the sides and top, so it’s kind of a inverted bob.  It lays down stick straight now (like mine) and is almost starting to get in her eyes, so I’ve been experimenting with ponytails.  The pigtails on the side are my favorite right now.  It’s not easy to get these tiny pigtails with tiny rubber band even though.

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Eyes:  Blue. The color is so pretty…I really hope it stays, but Jenson’s turned from blue after 1 year, so I wouldn’t be surprised if hers still turned.

Teeth:  She finally popped 2 bottom teeth on October 22.  We knew they were coming – she was chewing on things like crazy, but she honestly wasn’t much fussier.  She did wake 5 or 6 times the night before, but I didn’t think much of it until I saw the teeth, because she’d been waking 3-4 times normally.

Temperament:  She’s so sweet and lovey.  She loves giving and getting kisses.  She prefers to be down on the floor exploring.  She’s very nosy – always looking around to see what Jenson is doing, or where Boof is.  She gets distracted easily while nursing because she’s such a busy body now. She really happy now, unless she’s hungry or tired or has a dirty diaper, and then she’s a little whiny or screechy.  She has a quick temper, so if she’s ready for food and it’s not on her tray, she’s screaming about it.  And it’ll nearly pierce your eardrums.  She goes with the flow though, and if she’s in the stroller or seat for awhile while we are out, she’s fine. The knife picture cracks me up because it wasn’t posed at all – she was just playing with it one day.

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Sleeping: We talked to the her pediatrician about our “sleep” issues at her 9 month appointment and the Dr. told us we should move her to her own room now.  She said she’s such a nosy baby that she probably wants to check in with us when she wakes at night – so when she’s in our room, she’s too tempted.  She reassured us that as far as they (the doctors) are concerned, crying isn’t going to hurt her and that we can let her cry as much as we are comfortable with.  She wakes up between 8-9 am and will play in her crib sometimes before she wants out.  She takes a morning and afternoon nap, and they are getting really regular.  The morning nap ranges from 45-60 minutes beginning around 10:30, and the afternoon nap is from 45 minutes -2 hours starting around 2 pm.  She goes to bed around 7:30 most nights and wakes every 2-4 hours to nurse for 5 minutes.  Moving her to her crib in her room wasn’t a big deal – she goes to sleep pretty well on her own.  I just nurse her in our room, and lay her down with her binky and leave the room.  Sometimes she needs settled one more time before she goes to sleep but it’s still really easy, considering how bad the rest of sleep goes for us.  If she wakes to nurse before 11 pm, Lo will go in to make sure she has a pacifier.  She’ll usually settle a bit, but sometimes she gets more riled up when we go in to check on her.  She cries harder and more consistent than Jenson did when we started sleep training him.  Her cry is a scream…its loud and it wrecks you.  I don’t even use a monitor for her because I don’t need it. I can hear her anywhere in the house.  She doesn’t want held or bounced or anything to do with Loren…she just wants to nurse for 5 minutes and then go back to bed.

Eating:  She’s loves her some food. We give her bits of whatever we have if it’s appropriate for her.  She loves yogurt drops, cooked apple pieces, eggs, banana, and O’s.  She’ll eat pretty much any baby food that we give her, except one mango and avocado pouch I gave her – she made such a horrible face and absolutely refused to eat it.  With Jenson we didn’t do a lot of actual baby food, but we do usually give her some every day just because she screams if there’s not something for her to eat immediately.  She prefers to eat real food though.  As far as nursing goes, she gets so distracted while nursing during the day, but she’s obviously getting her fill at night.  She’ll go about 3 hours in between nursing sessions during the day.


Movement: Now that she crawls, she’s all over the place.  She’s fast and fearless, and will make a break for the bathroom if the door is open.  She pulls herself up to stand against everything now. If Jenson is eating snacks, she’s on him trying to get some.  She’s big into dancing now too – she somehow shakes her head and move her arms in opposite directions without (usually) falling over.  She loves to clap now too. Sometimes she claps when she’s crying, so she doesn’t quite have the appropriateness for it yet, but she still loves it.  She always claps into one hand rather than moving both hands – it’s like a polite golf clap.

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–2 bottom teeth on October 22. We went apple picking the next day and she was thrilled to be able to scrape a little bit of apple with her teeth.
–Pulling up to things on her feet
–Several words regularly (mama, dada, boof, papap, papaw, Jenson, baby)

marlowe apples marlowe img_5922

Favorite toys/activities:
–Crawling and exploring (wrecking things)
–Swinging on the playset
–Eating….and she means NOW.  She especially enjoyed eating outside a few times when it was nice.
–Watching Jenson and trying to get to him
–Chewing on her pacifiers and offering them to us
–Papap: she’s so into my dad when we get to see my parents.  She honestly lights up for all of her grandparents, but she’s especially intrigued by him right now.  I think it’s because he’s more of a dog person (ask Boof) than a baby person and she’s trying to convince him otherwise.  Or it’s because they are 3 hours apart from sharing a birthday.  (If I hadn’t gone in for my induction that morning, she probably would have been born on his birthday since I was technically already in labor when I arrived, but they helped it along a little).  She’s always trying to get his attention and saying “papap” when he’s around.  She loves it when he talks to her and perks up when we say Papap to her.
–Being tickled – she has such an amazing belly laugh!
–Her favorite toys are usually whatever Jenson is playing with, but she really likes things that make music.  I’d say her absolute favorite is a musical card that Jenson got for his birthday – Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  She dances and laughs when its playing.  She’s pretty happy with anything she can put in her mouth too.
–Aggressive kisses.  Not only are her kisses rather forceful and open mouth, she often does an almost angry “AAHHH” sound along with it when she’s kissing a stuffed animal.  She’s just mocking my “mwah” sound that I do when I tell her to kiss her baby or stuffed animals, but it’s still hilarious.

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–Taking things from her that she was playing with or chewing on
–Waiting to eat once she’s in the chair
–Being held instead of crawling around
–Sleeping.  She just doesn’t like doing it for more than 2 hours at a time.

Sibling Rivalry:
She LOVES Jenson.  She watches him constantly and all he has to do is talk to her and she’s happy. She tries to get to him and play with him. Jenson loves her and will play with her and talk to her, but he does (often) take her toys and he gets mad when she’s trying to get his snacks or get to something he’s playing with.  They are really starting to play so well together and he is generally gentle with her.

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Sounds and Words:
–Big belly laughs
–Loud, girly screeches.  So loud.  I guarantee my hearing has gotten worse this year just because of her screaming.
–Words: mama, dada, boof, papap, papaw, Jenson, baby
–expressive faces and scrunchy nose when she’s really happy
–mocking sounds, like Mwah (for kisses), but hers is AAHHHH!

marlowe and boof img_4425
Special events:
–Jenson’s birthday party: She was SO good!  I was so busy and she did letting others hold her and not fussing for me.
–Fire Station Open House
–Fall farm activities
–Meeting Curious George at a local bookstore
–Apple Picking
–Halloween events and trick or treat. She was a pink flamingo, but went as an aerobics instructor to a party because her costume hadn’t arrived.

fall 2016 fall 2016 fall 2016 fall 2016 fall 2016 zoo curious george apples 2016 apples 2016 img_4990 halloween 2016 halloween 2016

Looking forward to:
–Longer stretches of sleeping at night.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
–The holiday season

Watch Marlowe grow:

marlowe 1 week marlowe 2 weeks marlowe 3 weeks marlowe 4 weeks marlowe 1 month

marlowe 5 weeks marlowe 6 weeks marlowe 7 weeks marlowe 8 weeks marlowe 2 months

marlowe 9 weeks marlowe 10 weeks marlowe 11 weeks marlowe 12 weeks marlowe 3 months
marlowe 13 weeks marlowe 14 weeks marlowe 15 weeks marlowe 16 weeks marlowe 4 months
marlowe 4 months  IMG_7299 IMG_7566 IMG_7671 marlowe 5 months
IMG_8157 22 weeks 23 weeks 24 weeks Marlowe 6 months
25 weeks marlowe 7 months marlowe 7 months marlowe 7 months marlowe 7 months
marlowe 7 months marlowe 8 months marlowe 8 months marlowe 8 months marlowe 8 months

marlowe 8 months marlowe 8 months marlowe 9 months marlowe 9 months marlowe 9 months

marlowe 9 months marlowe 9 months marlowe 9 months marlowe 10 months marlowe 10 months

marlowe 10 months marlowe 10 months marlowe 10 months Marlowe 10 months








Let them play: Avoid sport specialization in youth

In the last 15ish years, it’s become a thing for many parents to allow and/or encourage their children to specialize in a specific sport at an early age.  The sport choice may be because a parent excelled at the sport, coaches the sport, loves watching the sport, or because the child showed a lot of promise at that sport at an early age.  I have a problem with this, no matter which scenario applies.  I’m not a physician, a coach, or a sports psychologist, so I have no authority.  But I’ve been playing organized sports for about 30 years now, and I’ve noticed a thing or two.

Youth sport specialization isn’t a new phenomenon…it just seems like its more prevalent and preferred these days.  When I was growing up, plenty of kids took gymnastics or dance classes starting as a toddler.  It’s one of the first activities that kids can learn easily because it includes full body movement instead of fine motor skills of some other sports.  It also is more like play…who doesn’t like somersaults?  I have a vague memory of taking some informal gymnastics classes with several kids…perhaps even in someone’s basement (At Kliners? Family…am I making this up?).  We actually have Jenson in gymnastics right now and he loves it.  It’s only been a month, but his coordination and balance have improved greatly already.  Do I want him to be an elite gymnast?  Nope…not only is it unlikely due to his genetics (kids do “grow out” of gymnastics), but to be elite, it requires long, dedicated practices that are hard on developing bodies.  I have some friends who can attest to that personally.  But most importantly, he probably won’t want to.

Swimming is probably the earliest activity though – some start swimming classes soon after birth, and they progress through different levels as they grow and learn.  It’s an excellent choice because of the obvious safety benefits regarding water (the world has a lot of water) and it seems that the younger kids learn how to swim, the easier it is for them – before they become afraid or have a bad experience with water.  Soccer is another first sport for many, as kids can start as young as 3.  It’s very likely the next sport that Jenson will try if he wants.  T-ball is another common first.  These are both great because they require body coordination plus a ball, and teammates.  At this level, no parent should worry about how well their child is doing (so sit down, shut up, and smile when they look at you from the sidelines – even if they suck).  You should worry about whether they are having fun.  If they aren’t, encourage them to finish out the session (if it’s tolerable), take a break, and try something new.  When they are older, if they want to try it again, let them.  Bodies change, comfort levels change, maturity changes, and interest changes.


jenson tee ballLet them play many sports.  Let them change their minds on their preferred sports as they grow and develop.  I would love it if every kid had the opportunity to be exposed to at least 3 organized sports leagues or activities by the time they were in middle school.  Its not that easy for many due to time, money, and access to these, but there’s nothing from stopping you from playing sports regularly in your yard or at the playground.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t know “how” to play or don’t have the skills….I’m pretty sure your 4 year old won’t care if you aren’t good, but seeing you try and learning alongside of you could make a huge difference in their interest.  Jenson got a T-ball set for his birthday and loves playing in the front yard with his dad (or me).  Lo set up “bases” (a tree and some rocks), and per Jenson’s rules, when one of them hits the ball, they both run the bases…and then Jenson picks up the football, spikes it, and does a touchdown dance.

My experience

Neither of my parents played sports in school (or at least not regularly), but they had 6 athletic daughters who tried and often excelled at multiple sports (we all had strengths and weaknesses).  We didn’t play in expensive leagues growing up – we couldn’t afford that and there weren’t many options in our area, but we played sports and were active outside all. of. the. time.  Badmitten, kickball, basketball, riding bikes, races, volleyball, freezetag, cartoon tag, football, gymnastics, tennis, softball…you name it, we probably did it (except soccer…I don’t think we ever played soccer).  It helps if you have enough kids to sport a whole team and plenty of space to play like my family, but it’s not impossible – there’s probably a park within a 10 minutes drive.  As far as organized sports, we only did what was easily available to our family.  Most of us started with softball (around age 6 for me) with the community summer softball program, and that was pretty much our only organized sport until school sports in junior high.  We also ran races, but that was more of dad just saying “we’re doing the Johnny Appleseed Festival 5k tomorrow” and not so much of training for them.  I’m pretty sure I hated running races from my first race (probably around age 6), but I continued to try.  A few of my sisters excelled at them for years, and one of them even held the 2 mile high school track record for awhile.  Once we were in junior high, we played volleyball, basketball, and track for the school, and played softball in the summer league.  Our school was small, so if you played one sport, you were probably good enough to be on the team for all of them.  As we got older, most of us dropped at least one of the sports at one time or another.  My parents never forced us to play, but it was encouraged and supported (at least after the oldest joined a team without permission when she was in junior high).  But you could be damn sure we weren’t going to be allowed to goof off while playing or quit in the middle of a season by that age – whether we didn’t like the coach, didn’t get to play as much as our parents thought, or wanted to do something else instead.  And through 6 daughters and about 18 years of sports, my parents rarely missed a game, despite having multiple games in multiple schools for much of that time (middle school and high school) – they were as much committed to it as we were.

These days, by 7th grade its not uncommon for kids to already be specializing in a specific sport.  And by specialize, I mean travel teams, summer leagues, year-round specific training for that sport, and very little – if any, exposure to other sports.  If I would have been encouraged to choose one sport by middle school, my choice would have been basketball, and I wouldn’t have ended up playing volleyball and running track.  I was obsessed with basketball and played constantly…at home, recess, friend’s homes…wherever.   I played one on one, two on two, horse, and around the world against my sisters and dad one a nearly daily basis.  We’d shoot around for hours in our driveway, learning early on not to airball it because it rolled down the hill in the yard.  (Side note: if you want your kid to be good at ball handling, have them play in a gravel driveway, lol). I was good at basketball in junior high (and so were my sisters), so at the first day of practice for 7th grade basketball, the coach (who also coached a few sisters) said “Val will be point guard” – which is kind of crazy to just hand that to me, but that’s how small-town sports work sometimes.  (Don’t even get me started on focusing on a single position within a sport before kids develop – that’s a whole separate post).  I was one of the better ball handlers by far at that point (see: gravel driveway), but by high school, I was taller (though not tall) and not as quick as some others, didn’t have a great outside shot (poor form), but I could jump and was great at passing, drawing fouls, and defense, so playing small forward (wing, as we called it) or underneath made more sense.  I was still good and I started, and our team was very good, but I wasn’t the best and wouldn’t have been good enough to play in college at a scholarship level.

But also by early high school – which is when I grew and developed – I was in love with volleyball and truly excelling there.  So you see?  Had I been forced/allowed to commit to one sport by junior high, I wouldn’t have found the sport that I truly loved and excelled at.  I was very good at volleyball – our team went to State or Regionals almost every year – and I was named an All-Ohio, All-District, All-County, All-League player my senior year.  Unfortunately by the end of the season, I also had a partially torn rotator cuff (which actually started from a basketball injury the previous year), and that prevented me from playing basketball my senior year.  I was still offered a non-scholarship spot (due to the injury) on the volleyball team for YSU, under a coach I desperately wanted to play for.  However, my sports doctor refused to do surgery, or at least get it covered by insurance, and the physical therapy wasn’t very successful.  I wasn’t cleared to play for the university by my physical therapist before the season started, and gave up my spot on the team.  The coach said I could come back the following year if I healed, but I wasn’t fully healed for several years later until a different Dr. found the initial issue (scapula impingement) and corrected it.  I’m still bitter about that because it was actually the same sports med place, but just a different doctor.  But I kept playing volleyball in leagues through adulthood, and nearly 20 years after high school and 2 babies later, I still play at least once a week for much of the year.  My skills have changed – I’m not a power hitter anymore – but I’m good enough to play in top-level leagues still. I’m a smarter and versatile player, and I’m one of the better defensive players in the leagues (this is according to my teammates and other players…I’ve only recently started to admit that because I’m hard on myself).  Again, if I would have been encourage to stick to basketball only, maybe I would have been a little better at basketball, but I probably wouldn’t have been as good as I became at volleyball, and I probably wouldn’t still be playing to this day.

Obviously this is just my experience, and there are exceptions to this.  I know a family whose sons played hockey starting at a very young age.  They were fully dedicated and spent a lot of time and money – and if you know anything about hockey, you know that its expensive, it requires a ton of travel, and often kids living away from home while they play at the higher youth levels.  It paid off for these kids – one is successful in the NHL and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the younger one is in the future.  But for every family like this, there are thousands of families who try to have kids specialize so they can get college scholarships or play professionally some day – and instead their sports careers end after high school due to injury or burnout – or because they just never excelled as much as their parents expected.

So let them play – anything, everything within reach of your family – and if they hate it all, let them focus on something else….art, writing, tech stuff, hopefully they have some sort of passion.  Maybe they are just average at everything at this point – who cares…just love them.  Maybe they just haven’t found their niche yet.  There is so much more living for them to do after high school.  I have such fond memories of sports in school, and I’m glad that I played several rather than potentially being 10% better at one specific sport.  Your kids aren’t going to look back on their life and wish they would have been a little better at a specific sport in high school.  Hopefully they’ll look back and see that they’ve had a happy life thanks to parents who supported and encouraged them.

jenson football