Yearly Photo-op (Or Not)

Every year, I take the girls to a cheap department store portrait studio for pictures. Something to document how much they’ve changed each year. I figure I’ll continue this until they start school and get yearly photos done there. A week or so before Eleanor’s birthday, I scheduled her yearly pictures. As luck would have it, both the girls and I got horrendously sick starting the day before the pictures, so we had to cancel our appointment (nothing like pictures of a child with snot running down her face, amirite?)

We waited a couple weeks to reschedule, as I wanted to just go ahead and do pictures of both girls at the same time and Zoey seemed to have a continual mark of some kind on her face for the past couple months: road rash on her cheek, a bruise smack in the middle of her forehead, rug burn by her mouth…you get the picture. That kid has had an amazing array of bumps and bruises for a non-adventurous, non-risk-taker. Anyway, we rescheduled the pictures for today. Eleanor woke up, got me up, we had breakfast, we played with Duplos, I emptied the dishwasher….and Zoey was….still sleeping? Hmm. Suspicious. About an hour and a half before our picture time I finally went in search of sleeping beauty. Not in her bed. Not in the bathroom. Hmm. Even more suspicious. I finally found her in our bed, passed out cold. I gently woke her and found an overly sensitive, still obviously tired kiddo. After I finally got her upstairs and to the bathroom, I coaxed her out of her pull-up and onto the potty. As she sat there talking to me, mid-sentence the vomit finally came. Yes, suspicions confirmed.

Zoey has continued to vomit profusely all morning (despite a decidedly empty stomach) and the girls are now curled up on the couch watching Frozen for the eighty-millionth time. At least I get a chance to blog? Haven’t had many of those opportunities lately. So, in the spirit of things, here are some of last year’s studio pictures of the girls (the only year I have scanned in and ready to share). Enjoy!

Eleanor age 1 toes Eleanor age 1 smile Eleanor age 1 number Eleanor age 1 giraffe look down Eleanor age 1 giraffe hug

Eleanor age 1 Flowers smile

Zoey age 3 letter Z


Zoey age 3 I


Zoey age 3 AM


Zoey age 3 number


Zoey age 3 flowers

Eleanor’s 2nd Birthday: Ice Cream Party

I scream, you scream, we all scream for…pictures of an adorable two year old’s ice cream themed birthday party!!! Whoo-hoo!


Waiting for Grandma and Grandpa to arrive

Waiting for Grandma and Grandpa to arrive


Opening a card from Grandma and Grandpa

Opening a card from Grandma and Grandpa


This is the face you get if you give a 2 year a bubble gun that doesn't work for her birthday

This is the face you get if you give a 2 year a bubble gun that doesn’t work for her birthday


Too big for this swing, but don't try to tell her that.

Too big for this swing, but don’t try to tell her that.


Someone was getting a bit sleepy during her party

Someone was getting a bit sleepy during her party


Birthday snuggles

Birthday snuggles


Blow out your candle!

Blow out your candle!


Ice cream cone shaped cupcakes courtesy of Grandma. They were a huge hit!

Ice cream cone shaped cupcakes courtesy of Grandma. They were a huge hit!


I get to open this???

I get to open this???


Zoey was VERY interested in all of Eleanor's gifts.

Zoey was VERY interested in all of Eleanor’s gifts.


Pigeon books!! Yay!!

Pigeon books!! Yay!!


I LOVE this picture of Eleanor and my mom, even if it is a touch blurry. Such a sweet moment between them.

I LOVE this picture of Eleanor and my mom, even if it is a touch blurry. Such a sweet moment between them.


Story Time with Grandma

Story Time with Grandma


Big Sister enjoyed her 5 cupcakes she snuck at the party.

Big Sister enjoyed her 5 cupcakes she snuck at the party.





Someone Gave Me A Tip

Awhile back I wrote this post about the practice of “tipping” for various services. In it, I expressed my very strong disagreement with the expected practice of tipping. Today, I felt compelled to write a new post on the topic. What I want to clearly say is this: when I wrote the previous post I was completely ignorant and I am sorry.

The recent national conversation on minimum wage has raised other discussions about tipped workers and how they make a living. I have never worked in a job where I received tips. When I wrote my original post, I honestly believed that tipped workers (waitresses, baristas, etc) received minimum wage and then also received their tips in addition to that pay. I was completely unaware that it is legal and standard practice in this country to pay tipped workers as little as $2.50 per hour with the rest of their “minimum wage” coming from tips. I find this to be atrocious.

To be clear, I still do not like the practice of tipping. Now more than ever, actually. I believe these workers should receive a base wage equal to minimum wage (or more) completely separate from any tips they may receive. Can you imagine trying to support a family (or even just pay the rent for a place for yourself) off of $2.50 and hour and the mercy of others? It’s beyond comprehension for me that we allow this in our country. Our country that is supposed to be the Land of Opportunity. It’s time we were all made aware of this. It’s time we all voiced just how despicable this practice truly is.

I’ll say it again: I was wrong and I am sorry.

Eleanor at 2 Years Old

Ellie-bug. My Little Foot.

Squishy face

Squishy face

You are changing so rapidly I can barely keep up. On Sunday you will be two years old and I can hardly make sense of it. Didn’t I just give birth to you? Surely not more than a year ago. No way it could have been two years already. The details, the emotions of that day are still so fresh in my mind.

Caught in the act of filling her shoes with sand.

Caught in the act of filling her shoes with sand.

Yet here you are. A precocious toddler with an alarming vocabulary of three-syllable words and the ability to count to twelve all on your own. Still no self-preservation instinct, however, lest you get feeling that you’re some genius or something. My favorite recent example of this was a week or so ago. You were sitting on the potty and told me, “Nothing coming out. Not working. Needs new batteries.” The cute little faces and gestures, the tone of voice that accompanied this are just indescribably adorable. Auntie Kelsie swears we need to video every word you ever say and market you because you are that darn cute.


You have this staccato-like way of speaking: each sentence is really a string of one- or two-word phrases, clearly punctuated. You also haven’t entirely lost the sense of urgency behind every word you say. IT! IS! ALL! SO IMPORTANT!!!!! to you. However, you do have a new found ability to use inflection. You have always had a knack for making yourself understood – even before you had words – but now there is never any mistake about exactly what you do (or don’t) want. You are also beginning to tell stories and even try to make jokes. For example, every day when Daddy walks in the door after work, you look up with a big grin and say, “Kelsie! Brand new! Kelsie!” You think you are hilarious.


You still sleep in a crib and show zero inclination to ever try climbing out of it (thank god for small miracles!) and “Diaper Gate” seems to finally be under control. The way you wake up from your naps exclaiming, “Feel! Better! Long nap!” and greet me with a huge smile gives me a midday pick-up every day. One of my favorite moments each day is when you and Zoey wake up in the morning. Now that we have placed her mattress in the same room as you, you are able to greet each other first thing in the morning. If Zoey has crawled in bed with me or gone upstairs to watch cartoons with Kelsie, you call out (in the most adorable sing-song voice) “Zoey! Zooooeeeeyy! Come back! Zooooeeeeyyy!” When Zoey is present, she climbs into the crib with you and I listen to the giggles and shrieks of laughter you two share to start your day.



You sing: “Let it goooooo!” Twinkle Little Star. Ring Around the Rosy. You dance and have quite the repertoire of moves. You copy everything Zoey says and does; you clearly think she hung the moon. I’m fairly certain you are going to be quite put out once this new baby comes and you suddenly find yourself the middle child rather than the baby. I love the way you bring your blanket (the ever-present, priceless, irreplaceable, must not ever lose “Day”) and crawl up in my lap asking to “Snuggle. Please. On couch.” You really have quite impeccable manners, by the way.

Bed-head McGrumpy Face

Bed-head McGrumpy Face

Eleanor, you grow ever more amazing every single day. Not a day goes by that you don’t make me laugh, test my patience and melt my heart. My absolute favorite thing you can do now that you are two? It’s the way you wrap your little arms around my neck as tight as you can, kiss me on the cheek and say, “Wuv you Mama.”

Eleanor's Birth

12 Weeks Pregnant

Well hi there!

So it’s been about…oh…seven weeks or so since I mentioned anything about this whole “being pregnant” thing. Oh yeah, that. So here’s how it has been going:

Exhaustion. Puking. Nausea. Nausea. Puking. Exhaustion. Lots more puking. Oh god eat everything. Puking. Exhaustion. Puking. Thank you god for Zofran! Exhaustion. Nausea. Nausea….you get the idea. Throw in taking care of two small children and occasionally going to work and you get the whole picture. The heat of summer only serves to make the morning  all day sickness worse, and I find myself literally counting the days until Fall arrives.

Honestly? I don’t even think about the baby most of the time. I think about the nausea ALL THE TIME (it is ever-present, even when taking ondansetron around the clock). I automatically avoid alcohol and fish with too much mercury. I do the things I’m supposed to and avoid the things I’m not supposed to do. I just don’t actually think about the reason for all these things much. I guess I’ve just been preoccupied with everything else in my life. Plus, that constant nausea just really saps your entire will to live and ability to care about anything that isn’t immediately life-threatening.

However, there have been a few fun, quintessential pregnancy moments. Telling our families, of course. Telling the girls was fun too. We made paper-doll chains of a pregnant woman with a big belly and of little boys and girls. Then we colored the boys and girls with all different colors of hair and eyes, different types of clothes. We sat the girls down and told them there was a baby growing inside mommy. Then we showed them the paper doll chains and talked about how mommy’s belly will get really big and how we don’t know what the baby will look like or if it will be a boy or a girl. Zoey was super-excited and immediately started hugging and kissing my belly and talking to the baby. “I love you so much, baby!” I just about cried.

The ultrasound to confirm due date was fun too. Nothing too exciting, since it still just looked like a nugget, but I do always find it reassuring to see that beautiful, strong heartbeat. And to confirm that there really is just ONE baby in there (I live in mortal fear of having twins).

My belly is also freakishly large already for someone still in the first trimester. Apparently that is what happens when you’re on your third child, have no ab muscles to speak of and a strong penchant for donuts. Oh well. At least I can feel justified in wearing the maternity pants already. Right? Right???



Originally posted on a diary of a mom:

Over the weekend, I received an invitation from a Midwestern arm of Goodwill Industries to speak at their annual dinner. While I was honored by the invitation, I was unable to accept it. Given the nature of the reasons that I had to decline, I felt compelled to share my response here.


I am so grateful for your kind words about the blog and very much appreciate your request to speak at the dinner. Sadly, I can’t accept the invitation.

In researching Goodwill, as I try to do before agreeing to speak or associate myself with any organization, but particularly one that purports to serve or advocate for the disabled, I came upon justification after justification for paying disabled workers as little as twenty-two cents an hour. A quick Google search yields the following:

An NBC News investigation recently revealed that Goodwill Industries, which is among the non-profit groups…

View original 2,253 more words

Diaper Genie

About a month ago, Eleanor started removing her diaper. The diaper that she only wears for naps and at night. It started with her taking it off first thing in the morning and then promptly peeing all over in her crib. We gently admonished her and assumed it was “a phase” that would soon pass.

Not long after, however, Eleanor decided to escalate the behavior. Previously, when we put her down at night in her crib, Eleanor would fall asleep pretty much immediately. Now, she started playing and singing when we left the room. When we would finally go to check on her, we’d find her passed out, completely naked, in a pee-soaked bed. We would then have to wake her up and one of us would wash and change Eleanor while the other stripped the bed and put on clean sheets.

In the morning, I would awake to hearing Eleanor say, “Poop!” I would then come out to find her standing in her crib, naked from the waist down, again in a bed soaked with pee. This time there would be the addition of a nice pile of poop in the crib as well. (Perhaps I should be grateful she didn’t decide to finger paint with it?)

Needless to say, this was getting highly frustrating. We tried being really calm about it, hoping she move on. When she instead escalated, we tried getting really mad. We told her over and over again the only mommy and daddy get to take off the diaper. We tried a strip of tape over the diaper tabs to stop her from getting it off (she simply slipped it off like underwear instead).

I actually considered putting snaps at the waistline of all Eleanor’s pajama tops and bottoms to hold them together so that she couldn’t get them off. In one last, desperate attempt before doing so, I broke into the storage box of all the cloth diaper supplies and retrieved a few of the snap closure diaper covers. We put one on over her disposable nighttime diaper and, voila! Not a single diaper removed since.

Let’s have three cheers for cloth diapering saving the day once again!

Announcing Your Pregnancy

There’s no single “right way” to announce a pregnancy. There are a few ways, however, that can be agreed upon as “wrong.”


When I first told my parents I was pregnant with Zoey, I went for the “bite the bullet” approach. It looked like this:

-Show up unannounced at parents’ house

-Inform them you need to “talk to them about something” and watch their blood pressure begin rising

-Blurt out “So…I’m pregnant” (the key here is to be unmarried and to have kind of forgotten to update your parents on your relationship status for the past year or three so they have assumed you are just casually dating.)

-Watch dad’s head nearly explode and mom’s eyes get so big Precious Moments dolls couldn’t compete


So that experience was…memorable. The second time around I decided we all needed a do-over and to have more fun with it. We invited my parents up for dinner. When they arrived, I told them they should go peek in the oven to see what we’ve got cooking. Inside they found a hamburger bun and a note reading “August 2012.” Dad put it together pretty quickly. Mom, however, took a bit longer. “Get it mom? There’s a bun? In the oven…?” When she did finally put the pieces together she was pretty darn ecstatic. Definitely a fun memory.

When we told Zach’s family about being pregnant with Eleanor we did it during a game of charades. Instead of acting out his given word or phrase, Zach acted out “My wife is pregnant.” It took a second for everyone to realize he wasn’t just playing the game, and when they did it was pretty awesome.


I had to rack my brain a bit for a fun way to tell my parents this time, but I came up with something I think is pretty good. As you all know, I’ve been working on my (still very rudimentary) photography skills this past year. So I took the kids and myself down to my parents’ house for the day and brought along the camera (Zach came to join us later). I told my parents that I needed them to help me practice some camera skills by acting as my models. I sat them both down, pretending to fiddle with some settings, and say “Say Cheese!” Then, “Say Bananas!” “Say Flowers!” “Say February!” (My mom look confused at this point, trying to figure out “why February?” That is their anniversary month and I think she was worried I would use these pictures in some way for that.) Finally, “Say….New Baby!!!” Then I held down the shutter button and snapped a bunch of pictures in a row as the words registered and it showed on their faces. I have to say, the picture of my mom’s face, with her eyes and mouth wide and happy, is positively priceless. Sadly, I promised her before taking the pictures that “these won’t go on Facebook or anything” so I can’t actually share the picture with you.  (But it is awesome, trust me!)


Reading Is Hazardous to Blogging

I’ve been pretty absent around these parts for the past month. I could claim it’s due to being busy with both work and kids. I could claim it’s the pregnancy nausea sucking the will to live out of me despite ’round-the-clock anti-nausea medication. In part, it is both of those things, but there’s really one big thing to blame.

I started reading again.

My entire life, I have loved to read. Endlessly. After Zoey was born, reading for pleasure quickly fell by the wayside. I was exhausted all the time, breastfeeding hourly all night and all day, working night shifts, and struggling through the haze of trying to heal after my c-section. Before I knew it, I was pregnant again and then once more back in the struggle of taking care of a newborn, this time with a bonus toddler.

It wasn’t until just the past two or three months that I finally got to a place where I can read for pleasure again. It is positively addicting, albeit frustrating when I can’t just read all day and all night to my heart’s content. I find myself lost in the characters – no matter who they are – as I enjoy being transported to a different world for a brief time.

So, needless to say, when I have a few spare minutes I am faced with the dilemma: to blog or to read? Lately, the overwhelming choice has been to read. My apologies, dear blog readers. I haven’t forsaken you. I certainly didn’t mean to leave you with a cliffhanger (Surprise! I’m pregnant! And then radio silence….) I will do my best to return to you soon and frequently. But, just this minute, the final few chapters of the Divergent trilogy are calling to me…