Lesson 87: Time management is a thing of the past

Dear S & B,

I wrote a little note for J every month. I told him all that he was up to at the time–his likes, dislikes, how he’d grown. With you guys, I snap a picture. That’s it. I’m keeping up with your big milestones, but I couldn’t tell you all of your likes and dislikes at 4 months. I love all the things you do, and I’m home with you guys so I’m not missing a minute of it. But I’m not writing it down every time you fart. #sorrynotsorry

This is my attempt at catching you up on the first 6 months of your life. It’s been quite busy around here! One or both of you is typically demanding something of me–or if not you, your big brother. So I find myself always moving at a fast pace, even when I don’t have to, just because it’s now become habit. I walk fast, eat fast, speak fast(er). It’s always rush, rush, rush around here to get things done while you guys are both quiet. Because the moments when you’re both quiet or occupied at the same time are few and far between.

We brought you home to the cutest nursery…


…and never use it.

You guys spend a lot of time just laying around. Lazy is what you are.


But we make you get out of the house every now and then. When we’re feeling brave.


You’re both super cute and I love the hilarious baby poses you like to give.


Most of your time is spent on my boobs and sleeping. You’re kinda boring, if I’m being really honest.


We did have you Baptized this month, but it’s possible that I forgot to take pictures of you in your sweet gowns.


Can we pretend this is your actual Baptism? Because I have a great shot of this…


So to sum up month 1: You were born. You ate and slept a lot. You were Baptized. Your mommy and daddy celebrated daily for keeping 3 children alive.


And then you turned 1 month old…

#twins #1month 2 3

…and not much changed.

You took your first trip to the zoo and didn’t see a darn thing.


You also went on your first trip to the beach.

6 7

We brought all the things with us. All of them.


You went on your first hike. Your daddy and I look badass here, taking 1-month-old twins on a hike. Don’t be fooled–it hasn’t happened again.


Most of our time was spent sitting right here on this couch, just trying to survive and keep you guys alive. The days are long…


…but the years are incredibly short. Before I knew it, you were 2 months old.

#twins #2months 2 3

Not a lot changed, really. You still spend most of your time eating, sleeping, and pooping. But you were awake more often and starting to become real little humans.


I took you guys shopping by myself for the first time and I considered that to be a real victory!


It’s the little things, right S?


We discovered these awesome Fisher Price sit-me-up chairs and wished they would have been around when J was a baby.


The month flew by…


…and then you were 3 months!

#twins #3months23

Look at the change, guys!! You smile! Now that we’ve turned the corner, I can say that I’m not really fond of the newborn stage. I had forgotten that. I love a squishy newborn, but they’re so repetitive! I like it now that you guys are mixing it up a little.

You celebrated your first 4th of July, and looked adorable doing it.


You went to your first night club…

People Enjoying In Nightclub

My sweet, beautiful boys,


I blinked. And then you were 4 months old…

#twins #4months23

…and as cute as ever! Just look at those personalities!


You guys definitely still preferred the boob…


…but you did try food this month, right before you turned 5 months old.

S, you were an immediate fan!


B, you couldn’t care less about carrots.


My little boob snob.

4 months was so fun, and 5 months got here fast!

#twins #5months 2 3

S, you fight your naps like nobody’s business! You just want to see everything and clearly hate the thought of missing out on a single moment of life. Then you end up passing out wherever you are.


My little party animal.

B, you love your sleep. I can always count on you to give me a good nap. You only cry when you’re hungry or tired, so it’s pretty easy to know what you want! And when you decide it’s nap time, you’ll just go ahead and take it where you can get it.


You guys took your second trip to the beach this month. We’ve considered moving to Florida because you guys sleep so well there. Seriously, do all the moms in Florida have sleeping babies all the time?


S, you started sitting first. You still need a bit of assistance and will topple over if left to your own devices for too long, but you’re getting the hang of this!


B, like most things, you just don’t care. You’ll do it when you’re ready–and you’ll smile the whole time. I’ve never seen a happier baby!


See? In your own time.


You boys love being outside! It’s been so hot, but cooler temperatures are arriving, so we’re taking advantage.


You get to watch your big brother play baseball, and that’s always so fun! We’ll be watching you guys play before we know it.


We went to Chick-fil-A with some friends this month and it was a complete disaster. S, you pooped all over your daddy. Then while he was cleaning you up, B pooped everywhere. We didn’t have spare outfits in your bag, so what we had was 2 naked babies. B, you started screaming at the top of your lungs. I thought you must be hungry, so I tried to nurse you. We don’t use a cover anymore, you and I, because you decided you don’t like it. You rip that thing right off, or scream your pretty little head off the entire time you’re under there. I get it–it’s hot! And I’ve set my modesty aside to just go ahead and feed you when you’re hungry. It’s just a boob, right? Well the stunt you pulled that day son, uncool. You screamed and thrashed all over the place so that by the time we were done, I’m fairly certain that every person in CFA saw my left boob. All I could do was sit in the corner of the booth, trying to use a thrashing baby to cover my boob, and laugh until I almost pee’d myself.


S, this is you looking awfully proud of yourself after pooping everywhere.

The best part of this month has been that you’ve truly discovered each other! It’s so fun watching you hold hands and play with one another.


And now, here we are at 6 months. 6 months! How did that even happen?

1 2 3

We celebrated your 1/2 birthday with little petit fours. I would have never given J sugar before his first birthday. Never. But with you guys I’m just like, “here! Eat this!”

4 5

As usual, S is happy to oblige, while B wants nothing to do with it.

Happy Half Birthday, my tiny loves.

I love you BIG.


The Tiger’s Trunk

Over the summer I became good friends with my sweet neighbor. We had waved at each other from time to time, but didn’t really know each other. But she amazed me when my twins were born! She brought us dinner, showed me how to wrap the babies using a moby wrap, took my oldest child over to her house to play, babysat my babies (!!!), and had some quality girl time with me. It’s amazing how near strangers can become friends so quickly!

Recently, we decided to combine her Facebook business with my Etsy business. Over a bottle (okay, 2 bottles) of wine, we re-branded both businesses to make one, finalized the details, and combined our products. We each bring different talents to the table–and it’s more fun together!

We’ll be offering a themed shirt each month for a bulk price discount. Of course right now, we’re doing adorable pumpkins!

il_570xn-1053287878_ag4n il_570xn-1099855709_6c3j

Check out what else we’re doing! This is my personal favorite:


The models are darned cute too!


Lesson 86: Your birth plan may not go the way you intended

Dear S & B,

It’s taken me nearly 6 months to write your birth story. I know I should have documented it sooner. I want to be able to remember the day, and I want to be able to share it with you. But the day of your birth just isn’t ranked right up there with my best days. I loved you immediately with all of my heart, that’s true; but I loved you both well before that day.

The thing is, the day of your birth was hard. It was exhausting and frustrating and a little disappointing in that it wasn’t what I wanted for you guys. It was scary—it was absolutely the most frightening moment of my life up to this point. And it was joyous and exhilarating and full of thanksgiving. It’s been really hard to process all of the emotions. So while I know I should have written this months ago while it was fresh on my mind, I don’t think I could have because it’s taken me this long to process it this far.

Also? There are two of you, and I’m doing the best I can, dammit.

Your birth story doesn’t begin on the day of your birth, my little April Fools’ babies. It begins long before you were conceived. Your beginnings are a long story full of dark days, and I’ll tell you about them one day. I’m getting more and more ready to put your prequel in writing, but I’m not there yet. For now, just know how very wanted you were and still are.

When I found out your due date, April 22, I was elated that you’d be born in April—that’s 2 diamonds for my Mother’s Bracelet, you guys. Two. But I also knew that, given the fact that twins tend to arrive early, there was a good chance you’d be born on or near your older brother’s birthday. I was so worried about missing his 4th birthday. It was his last birthday as an Only, and I wanted it to be a good one. There would be no big party this year because I was afraid of planning it, inviting all of his friends, and then having to cancel it. Instead we celebrated his birthday 1 week early with our immediate family. It was easy, relaxed, and fun…just exactly what we all needed.


But since you guys still didn’t arrive, he ended up having multiple birthday celebrations! Since his birthday would fall during Spring Break, I brought cupcakes to his 3K class on the Friday before.


As the day of his actual birthday came closer and you guys stayed put, I began to plan a special day for him. It was about so much more than his birthday. It was about one last time for him to soak up all of my and your dad’s attention, and for us to spend time for the last time as a family of 3. And it was a little bit about the guilt I had, knowing how much his life was soon to change beyond his comprehension.

So on the day of his 4th birthday, we did all the things he loves. We started the day with breakfast at Waffle House


…went to Party City to buy a huge Thomas balloon…


…and then to Toys ‘R Us to buy all the things.


We took a break from The Day of J to go to a routine doctor’s appointment to check on you guys. We ended up there for quite some time because you, Mr. S. (at the time known as Baby A), decided you didn’t want to cooperate. I wondered at this point if you guys might arrive on J’s birthday. So we hung out at the hospital on the monitors, watching you guys. I have to say I was surprised when the doctor came in and sent us home! You wouldn’t be arriving on March 28 after all.


So we continued on our way, celebrating the Day of J. We went out to Chuy’s where he got to eat his favorite meal: chips. Finally, he blew out his candle and his 4th birthday was complete. We did it and I didn’t miss it!


I can’t help but wonder what he wished for.

I know, I know. So far, the story of your birth is mostly about your big brother. But what you need to know is that J has been your biggest fan from the beginning. When we told him he was going to be a big brother, I asked him if he wanted a brother or a sister and he said, “Both. One of each.” I told him he could only have one and he said to me, “No, there are two babies in your tummy. A boy and a girl.” This was before we knew we were having twins!


His attitude about you guys continued all the way up until your birth, and it continues even now: He is fascinated by you. He loves you so much and he calls you his babies. Your big brother will always be your protector and your cheerleader. Your story will be forever a part of his because you changed his world. You made it better.

J’s birthday was on a Monday. On Tuesday, I noticed briefly that you were being awfully quiet. On Wednesday, I started getting a nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right. I told myself that you were just running out of room, but still I felt unsettled. On Thursday, I called my doctor’s nurse and told her I was worried. I told her you guys were being awfully quiet, that I could still feel you move, but that I didn’t like how small and infrequent your movements were. My next appointment was in just a few days, but I needed to know you were okay. She gave me an appointment to ease my mind, but I suspected I wouldn’t be returning home until you guys were born. I called your dad to come home from work to go with me, and we brought our bags because I just knew it was time. J was also with us because he was out of school for Spring Break, so we had a crowd in the ultrasound room. Sure enough, the doctor looked at the ultrasound screen for just seconds before he sent us straight to labor and delivery–it was time for you guys to come out. Your amniotic fluid was low and had I waited a few days until my next appointment, you likely wouldn’t have survived.

I hugged J tight and cried when your dad left to take him home to stay with your Nana. I had no idea how emotional those last moments with him as the Only would be! They had already started my induction by the time your dad returned to the hospital around 6pm. We spent the time talking to J on FaceTime and trying to rest. My labor nurse was named Jessica and she was incredible. She never left my side; she diligently watched you guys on the monitor to make sure you were handling labor well. Your dad hoped you’d arrive before midnight, giving you a birthday of March 31….and thereby releasing him of the obligation to purchase 2 diamonds for my bracelet. I hoped you would be born after midnight, giving you a birthday of April 1. As you know, I won, and you arrived at exactly 37 weeks.

Around 4:00am, I noticed that Jessica was getting a littly uneasy. She focused harder on the monitors than she had been, checked a few times to make sure the monitors were hooked up correctly, and then she called the doctor. Baby A’s (that’s you, S, my sweet little trouble maker) heart rate had been dipping quite a bit–but this last time, it had dipped and not come back up. The doctor told me that we were going to the OR. By the time I got there, if I was 10 cm dilated, we’d try to deliver. If not, we’d have to have a c-section. Before I knew it, there were more people in my room than I could count. They took your dad out of the room and got him gowned up in case of surgery and they ran my gurney to the OR, which was crowded with even more people. I was a 10 by the time we arrived, and so thankful to avoid a c-section! Within 30 minutes, you were born Baby S. Because we had opted to be surprised by your genders, your daddy announced happily that you were a boy.

And then we waited. The room was quiet as we waited on you to cry, but you didn’t. You made no noise and no movements. They rushed you to the back of the room at that point and all I could do was listen. The room was noisy with people, it seemed like everybody was talking and nobody would just shut up so I could hear you when you made your first cry. I asked for you, I wanted to know how you were, I was terrified that you were dead.

The doctors were telling me I had to focus, that I still had another baby to deliver, but I couldn’t. All I could do was listen to find your cry in all the noise. I’ll never forget how it felt to have to turn my attention away from you to focus on delivering your brother.

It seemed to take forever, but you, B, were born breech just 5 minutes later. Your dad took a look and said, “Well, it looks like we make boys!” As I set my eyes on my 3rd son, I froze, waiting for your cry and again, nothing. They kept telling me you were both okay, but I needed to hear you and touch you.

Finally, a doctor brought you out to me. I held you first, S, and I was so relieved to hear and see your sweet little breaths. You were fine, perfect, as if nothing had ever happened! When in fact your initial Apgar was a 1 and you had to have bag and mask ventilation for 4 minutes and then blow-by oxygen for 6 minutes.

Then I held you, B. Your initial Apgar was a 3, as you also made no respiratory effort in the beginning. You responded quickly, though, and were breathing on your own with less than 1 minute of bagging. However, you had increased retractions, so you had to be admitted to the NICU. So they took S off to my room to wait for me and they took B to the NICU. I was so sad that you guys were being separated so soon, but so relieved that you were both okay.

After I finally knew you guys were okay, I began to focus on what was going on in the delivery room. It was then that I noticed I had several doctors working on me. I asked if they were having a hard time delivering the placentas and they told me they were having a hard time controlling my bleeding. It was only then that I noticed the rushing about again as they gave me injections to slow down the bleeding and called in another doctor. A new kind of fear took over then as the fragility of life gripped me yet again. It’s not that I thought I was going to die, but I realized I now had 3 children who depended on me to be healthy. And the pain it would cause J if something did happen to me at that moment was unbearable for me to think about.

The exhaustion, fear, joy, and relief were all very heavy as they finally took me to recovery, where you waited for me, S. I held you skin-to-skin and nursed you. Then I inspected every little part of your perfect body, and kissed you all over.


This is you and me, S. You were born at 4:26am weighing 5 lb, 11 ounces and you were 19.5″ long.

Your dad went straight to the NICU to be with you, B. He was able to hold you skin-to-skin and he sent me precious pictures of you.



This is you, B. You were born at 4:31am and weighed 6 lbs, 3 ounces. You were 19.25″ long.

After a couple of hours, the doctors were finally satisfied that I was well on my way to a good recovery, so they sent me to my room. A nurse took S along to the room to wait for me, and my delivery nurse pushed me to the NICU to see B. I was able to nurse you then B, and you had the best immediate latch of all my babies! I was so worried that we’d have a hard time nursing because of your immediate separation, but you didn’t struggle one bit. I had been collecting colostrum in syringes for a couple of weeks, so I was able to provide you with food right away, even in my absence. I was really thankful to have that!


Hours after you guys were born, I was finally able to be unhooked from the IVs so I could take a shower and begin to feel human again. I was aching to see your big brother, so I called Nana to bring him to me. His very important job was to announce your genders to the rest of the family–they still didn’t know!

He met you first S, and then we took him to the NICU to meet you, B.

S, because of your initial Apgar score, they made me let them know every time I nursed you so they could monitor your blood sugar. It kept dipping too low and they wanted to give you formula, but I was adamant that you weren’t going to have it. We ended up splitting the colostrum I had frozen while pregnant between you and B. I nursed you, fed you frozen colostrum, went to the NICU to nurse B, then fed him frozen colostrum. And when that ran out, I pumped for more. I was determined to give you both enough. The frustrating part was, I knew that if I could just have you both in the same place, I could nurse you enough to get your blood sugar up. But after very little sleep during 12 hours of overnight labor, a traumatic birth, and then losing a lot of blood, running between floors was exhausting me and I was really struggling to feed you both enough. When it got to the point where they were going to send you to the NICU soon if they couldn’t get your sugar up, I admitted defeat and allowed them to give you formula. I cried, not because I’m anti-formula, but because I felt like a failure. And then I cried because your sugar came right up and I wished I would have just allowed them to give it to you in the beginning.

B, that evening, they came close to bringing you to our room to join us. I was disappointed when they were unable to do so because of some air pockets they found in your lungs. The next day, they were satisfied that the pockets weren’t going to grow, so they started once again to release you from the NICU. It was at that time that your blood sugar dipped. After they called me to say they wouldn’t be releasing you because of your low sugar numbers, I was so disappointed. But then, a few minutes after I hung up the phone, I had an idea. It had worked for your brother to keep him out of the NICU, so why not do the same to get you released? I called back and told the nurse to give you formula. She did and your blood sugar immediately jumped up. They had you in my room with your family in less than 2 hours!


This is the first picture of you guys together after birth (S is on the left, B is on the right).


Your big brother was there when they brought you in, so I finally had all 3 of my boys with me!


And here is our first family photo! I couldn’t have been happier in that moment! How lucky we are to have 3 beautiful, healthy boys to love!

On the 3rd day, they released us and we brought you guys home.


B on the left, S on the right.


J was so thrilled to have all of his family home, and he was anxious to be a great big brother! You guys weren’t always so anxious to allow it, but he grew on you very quickly.


You may not be identical, but you both frequently strike the same pose and it makes us laugh a lot!

And now, as for the matter of your baby books, which I have tried so hard to keep up with. They’re quite a bit emptier than your brother’s book and I apologize for that. Sort of. Not really. You see, this time around, I know how fast it goes by and I’m torn between documenting it so that I can remember every moment and share it with you one day, and being fully present in and soaking up every moment.

Also? There are two of you and I’m doing the best I can, dammit.

I love you BIG,


Pumpkin Muffins

Happy 2nd day of Fall!

It’s officially my favorite season of the year. Living in the South, we don’t really have seasons other than Hot, Hotter, and Holy Shit It’s Hot. But during that time of the year when the rest of the country begins the marked progression between summer and winter, we like to pretend to do the same. So we dress our kids in their adorable monogrammed outfits and plop them down in the middle of a pumpkin patch for a posed photo. But those flushed cheeks you see aren’t from the chill Fall air. No, they’re flushed from the 95-degree sun scorching down on them. But y’all, they l0ok cute on the brink of heatstroke!

Every now and then we’ll be #blessed with the most gorgeous Fall day: the air is crisp, the leaves are golden, the breeze is soft, and the sun shines in such a way that the shadows make the whole day look as if it’s on the brink of evening. After surviving yet another long, hot summer–the kind that causes sweat in the most unbearable and unmentionable of places–this day is a literal breath of fresh air. And it’s those days that keep us creeping out to the pumpkin patch year after year, dragging our protesting tots dressed in their smocked longalls, sipping our beloved PSLs, smiles on our naive faces, hoping that today will be The Fall Day we know is has the potential to be.

And it is with the spirit of such hope that I share this delicious Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Muffin recipe. A fellow mom shared it with me today and I rushed right home to bake them. I was not disappointed!

This recipe has only 3 ingredients: 1 box of spice cake mix, 1 15-oz can of pumpkin, and 1 12-oz bag of chocolate chips.

I knew I had some pureed pumpkin in my deep freezer, so I decided to use that instead of buying a can of pumpkin.img_9260

All you have to do is mix the cake mix with the pumpkin, then stir in the chocolate chips.


(A little off topic, but that InstantPot you see in the background is my current Kitchen Love. It’s amazing and worth every penny I paid for it.)

Spoon into a greased muffin pan and bake at 350 for 17 minutes.


I adore my silicone muffin tins, and I’m a big fan of all things Wilton for baking.

I ended up cooking mine an extra 10 minutes because I had 20 ounces of pureed pumpkin to use. The original recipe yields 12 muffins, but the extra pumpkin gave me an extra 6 muffins.


These things came out gorgeous! They’re moist, delicious, and they make my house smell as if it’s actually Fall outside, and not just on my calendar.

Lesson 85: Listen to your wife

My husband has a hard time remembering things. Or maybe he has a hard time listening. Perhaps it’s a combination of the two, I don’t know. I’ve been told it’s a fairly common husband trait but I’ve nothing to compare him to–he’s the only husband I’ve ever had. I hope he’s the only husband I will ever have, but there’s a chance that he may be wife-shopping after he reads this.

To backtrack a little, we have two recent additions to our family. On April 1, our twin boys joined our family. They’re precious and lovely–and they eat like little monsters. At almost 5-months-old, they’re still nursing every 2-3 hours each. I also pump some and keep a small supply in case I want to leave them with their daddy or a sitter. So that means, more times than not, I either have a baby or a pump attached to my boobs. If you add the hours to date, I’ve nursed them for about 16 days (hi friends! That’s why you rarely see me!). That doesn’t even include the time I’ve spent pumping. My milk, as any mom who’s ever nursed or tried to nurse knows, is precious to me.

Along with constant feedings comes a lack of sleep. I’m so tired all the time, and I’ve taken to drinking several cups of coffee a day. In an effort to cut back on my sugar intake, I’ve starting mixing regular coffee creamer with unsweetened almond milk. If you add a bit of vanilla, pumpkin, or coconut extract to it, it’s very good! I convinced my husband to try it and now he drinks it too. If you open our fridge, it’s always sitting on the top shelf. He never knows what flavor I’m going to surprise him with, but he always knows where it is: I keep it in a glass bottle on the top shelf of the fridge.

Have I mentioned what a wonderful daddy my sweet husband is? He’s not like those fathers you hear about who don’t want to play with their kids or take on any of the responsibilities. He’s very hands-on and involved. In addition, once a week when he comes home from work, he takes over with all three children while I leave the house for a few hours by myself. It’s usually just to go to the grocery store, but it’s time away from spit-up and crying and being touched. I need that time alone to recharge and he understands that. So it’s without complaint each week on my “night off” that he comes home from work and takes over. Because I pump some, there’s always a big bottle of milk in the refrigerator for him to make bottles for the boys. I don’t have to give him instructions; he knows where the milk is: on the bottom shelf of the fridge.

Without fail, this is how our refrigerator is organized. I’ve told my dear husband many, many times, “Dear husband, the coffee creamer is on the top shelf. The breastmilk is on the bottom shelf. I will always, always keep these bottles separate this way. Please. Do not feed coffee creamer to the babies.”

And on other occasions, “Dear husband, do you remember that the coffee creamer is on the top shelf? This bottle right here is the creamer. Please. Do not feed creamer to the babies.”

And other times, “Dear husband, this bottle on the bottom shelf is breastmilk. This is for the babies. The bottle on the top shelf is the coffee creamer. Please. Do not feed creamer to the babies.”

In fairness, I’ve never clarified to him that he should never pour breastmilk into his coffee. Regardless, I’ve been so clear about this. So very, very clear. For instance, I bet you, a person who does not live in our house, could tell me right now where I keep our coffee creamer. Right?

But my husband, he has a hard time remembering things. Or listening…probably both. Hands down, it’s what causes the most arguments in our marriage: he doesn’t listen to me, and I go nuts. I don’t know how to fix this problem, it’s something we’ve struggled with for years. But what I do know is, this morning, we were out of coffee creamer. And when I opened the refrigerator and realized this, I yelled from the kitchen to the other room where my husband was, “Aww man! We’re out of creamer!” To which he replied, “no we’re not. It’s on the bottom shelf…”

He trails off a bit as he walks into the kitchen and sees me holding the glass bottle in my hand. He says to me, “that is coffee creamer, right?” I looked at the bottle, I looked at him. In my mind I’m thinking, “That asshole wasted my breastmilk! Doesn’t he know how hard I work for this stuff? My God, why doesn’t he ever listen to me?!” As I pictured him dumping my precious milk into his stupid coffee, I could feel the anger rising. But in that instant, I chose to avoid an argument. After all, why cry over spilled milk? The damage was already done.

So I looked at him sweetly and said, “Yup. Sure is.” And then I kissed him goodbye and sent him off to work.


And Then There Were 5

Lesson 84: Mind your business

It’s been quiet over here for awhile, I know.

I haven’t known what to write.

I considered starting Lesson 84 about potty-training, but then I didn’t know what to write because my son wouldn’t use the damn potty, so I failed at potty-training (P.S. he got there in his own time, not much thanks to me). Once I hit that block, I was done. I was stuck at potty-training and couldn’t think of a thing to write about past that.

Well, I could. I had a lot on my mind actually, but it was a lot that I wasn’t ready to share. And I’m not completely comfortable sharing it now, but I have to start somewhere I guess.

Let’s talk about the question, When are you going to have another baby?

Can we please all agree to refrain from asking people about their family planning? I know the thought behind the question is good—I’ve asked it myself. But please know that, when you ask that question, you may be punching a woman (or a man) in the gut.

After over a year of trying, I was devastated when we couldn’t get pregnant with our second child–a child I always assumed we’d have with no problem. I never knew that kind of hurt existed, the mourning of a child who kept failing to exist every single month. So when well-meaning friends (or strangers! What the hell?) would ask me about the state of my uterus, it was hard not to scream or cry. Or both.

The simple fact is: family planning is none of your business unless it’s your family you’re planning. Maybe a couple doesn’t want kids, or maybe a couple can’t have kids; and just because a couple has a child does not mean that it’s easy to have another. Should a woman have to explain to you that she simply doesn’t feel a longing for children? Or that she’s been trying for years to get pregnant, and cannot? Or perhaps that one partner wants children and the other doesn’t? Should she have to tell you how many times she’s cried realizing she may never give her child a sibling? Or should she try to define to you the pain, joy, and jealousy she feels each time a friend of hers makes a pregnancy announcement? Should she explain to you that she just experienced yet another miscarriage?

This is a loaded question folks—just don’t ask it. It’s none of your damn business. And unfortunately, good manners dictate that we can’t scream that in your nosy face.

I won’t discuss our struggle any further because it’s not just about me or my husband. Happily, it’s now about our second baby too. Oh, and our third. We prayed so hard for another baby for so long, that God sent us two little blessings (which brings me to another point: When I tell you I’m having twins, an appropriate response is not, I’m glad it’s not me. You can think it all day long, but you don’t need to say it to me. I’m so incredibly blessed that it IS me. These babies are not our burdens.).

Now our struggle is a part of their story, and it feels very personal. But I just needed to say that it’s not always easy for everybody, it’s not always a happy story, and it doesn’t always have a happy ending.

I’m incredibly thankful that our story appears to be well on the track to happily ever after.

And Then There Were 5

Lesson 83: Christmas isn’t about Santa–or cupcakes–but it’s okay if your 2-year-old thinks it is

Have you ever had that moment as a parent when you pat your back and nod approvingly, perhaps a little arrogantly, at yourself as you think what a good job you just did?

This isn’t that moment.

As Christmas has approached this year, we’ve been having a blast with J because this is the first year that he’s really into it. He’s talking about Santa, exclaiming over the Christmas lights, talking about Santa, asking to listen to Christmas songs, talking about Santa…

Have I mentioned that he’s talking about Santa?

And that’s not a bad thing. I like Santa–he’s a good guy. And I love the magic that comes with Santa, so I’m nurturing his curiosity and encouraging his joy.

But on the way home from school today, when he brought up Santa for the 1,424,398th time this season, I thought, maybe I need to tell him that Christmas isn’t about Santa. So I turned off the radio, put on my serious Mommy voice, and said, “J, do you know why we celebrate Christmas?”

Of course he replied, “No.” He’s 2. He always replies no.

So I told him, “Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. We celebrate Christmas so we can celebrate Jesus’ birthday.”

He immediately exclaimed, “We eat cake?!”

“Sure baby, we can have a cake for Jesus’ birthday. That’s a good idea!”

So he’s sitting in the back seat all excited and clapping his hands. I let the moment settle and then I ask him, “So J, why do we celebrate Christmas?”

He says, “To eat cupcakes!”

Huh. That didn’t quite go how I had hoped.

I’m okay with his current understanding. He’s 2. Just trying to plant a seed over here…

However, we might consider talking about our Nativity set a little more.


(I don’t really know where to credit this picture…it’s not mine. But it made me giggle snort.)

One-Pot Chicken Florentine

I found this recipe on Nurturebaby and edited it a bit.

Remove all the meat from a rotisserie chicken (remember to save the bones and fat for chicken stock!) and set aside.

01 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

(Or, if you’d prefer, dice and saute 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.)

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and saute 6 oz. of Recipe Ready onions and mushrooms (or 3/4 cup chopped onion) and 1 chopped squash in a large pot until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).

02 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Add 10 ounces frozen spinach (thawed) to the pot and saute for about 2-3 more minutes.

03 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Now, I have a picky toddler who doesn’t particularly want to eat vegetables these days. If yours is less picky, you can skip this step. To hide the vegetables, I remove them from the pot to puree them, then add them back to the pot. You’ll probably want to let them cool before pureeing them, but I’ve found that I don’t have to do that with the CuisinartBaby.

04 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Add 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup whole milk, 1 tbsp minced garlic, and 1 tsp sea salt to the pot.

05 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Add 1 cup small whole wheat pasta to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until pasta is tender.

06 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Add 1/2 c parmesan cheese.

07 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Mix in the cooked chicken.

08 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

If you’re making this for a young baby, poor the mixture by batches into a blender and puree to desired consistency before freezing.

For a child who can manage the bites, simply pour the mixture into muffin tins, cover with foil, then freeze. Once they have frozen completely, remove from the muffin tins and store in gallon-sized freezer bags.

09 One-Pot Chicken Florentine 10 One-Pot Chicken Florentine

Yields 22 servings.

Chocolate-Vegetable Muffins

Steam 1 small chopped zucchini and 1 cup frozen broccoli florets until just tender.

Chocolate-Veggie Muffins (01)

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup agave nectar, and 1 tbsp milk.

Chocolate-Veggie Muffins (02)

Stir in 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup flax seed mill, 3 tbsp cocoa, and 1 tsp baking powder.

Chocolate-Veggie Muffins (03)

Once vegetables have finished steaming, purée them. Add the purée to the muffin mixture.
Chocolate-Veggie Muffins (04)
This is disgusting. It truly looks and smells disgusting. I hate broccoli so much, so I’m really hoping these muffins don’t taste like poo.

Finally, add 1/2 c dark chocolate chips to the mixture. Mix well.
Chocolate-Veggie Muffins (05)
Distribute among muffin tins, filling each compartment about 3/4 full.
Chocolate-Veggie Muffins (06)
Bake for 20 minutes at 350.

And the result? These are yummy!! I can’t even taste any of the offensive broccoli!

Chocolate-Veggie Muffins (07)

Yields 12 muffins.

Homemade Trail Mix

Trail mix is a great snack for back-to-school, and making your own can save you a lot of money! Here’s how I make mine:

Homemade Trail Mix (01)

Start with 3 cups of granola and 2 cups of Cheerios.

Homemade Trail Mix (02)

Add 1 cup dried cranberries  and 1 cup raisins (or 2 cups of either).

Homemade Trail Mix (03)

Mix in 2 cups of unsalted raw shelled sunflower seeds (or nut of your choice).
Homemade Trail Mix (04)
Add 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I accidentally bought sweetened, so J will have a treat this time) and 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Homemade Trail Mix (05)

Store in a gallon-sized storage bag.