Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Sophie: "May I cheese?"

Me: "Cheese? Sure!"

*go to the kitchen*

Sophie: "Issa yeh-no cheese!"

Me: "OK."

Sophie: "Issa yeh-no stick cheese!"

Me: "Got it."

Sophie: "Issa yah-no stick cheese for Sophie!"


*deliver yellow stick cheese*

Sophie: "May I drink?"

Me: "Oy."

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hold Them Tight

Ben brought Milly home from Mother's Day Out this afternoon. It was raining so he carried her under the umbrella. She grinned when she saw me at the door and I smiled back. She threw off her backpack and began looking for a toy. Her daddy made her some chocolate milk and I gave her a cherry cookie from the batch we picked up at the Collin Street Bakery. I picked her up and we sat on the couch while she played with the iPad. Her little belly was full of milk and cookie, her thumb was in her mouth and her beloved taggie blanket was in her lap. She grinned and giggled as we read the Grover and Elmo book.

At 3:30, the bus honked outside to let us know that Sophie and Gideon were home. I stashed the iPad so they wouldn't fight over it. They ran in and tossed their backpacks to me. Sophie took off her shoes and socks like she does every day after school within 2 minutes of walking in the door. Gideon still had his hoodie on with the hood up. He likes the safe and cocooned feeling. I hugged them tight and passed out drinks. We watched Mickey Mouse Playhouse and laughed.

There are parents in Connecticut that will never hug their children again. They will never hear giggles and belly laughs. Christmas will forever have a new meaning for them.

Psalm 91:4 says "He will spread his wings over you and keep you secure..."

Matthew 23:37 says "...I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you wouldn’t let me."

God wants so badly to keep us safe under His wings. However, He knows that we were given the free will to leave the safety of those wings. I believe that God wants us to exercise that free will. He wants us to venture from the nest to learn and grow. We take with us the lessons He has taught us and do our best to live by them. When we are hurt, tired or under attack then we are always welcomed back under His wings.

This is what I believe.
This is what I will remember.
This is what I will tell my children.
This is what I will imitate for my children while here on Earth.
This is where I will run.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


During my usual non-pregnant time, I'm on a careful cocktail of antidepressants, anti-anxiety and other meds. I'm barely allowed to take half of my antidepressant while I'm playing host body. This makes it hard to cope with life in general.

I have a bad anxiety disorder that manifests itself with agoraphobia. This is hard to admit because it just seems...silly. Why am I afraid to go outside? I've never been the victim of a crime like mugging or carjacking. We don't have open war, soldiers in the street and bombs going off. I've never walked outside to a hail of spiders. The grocery store is pretty tame.

I don't like feeling this way. It feels like I wear an iron cape everywhere. My thoughts and responsibilities wrap around me and weigh me down. I feel worthless and unable to function. I become convinced that people would be better off without me, especially my family.

On Tuesday night, I broke. I cried for an hour after reluctantly agreeing to let Ben comfort me. My thoughts were screaming 'Burden! Don't be a burden to him!'. Then I relaxed and let my husband just be my husband. He's kind, loving and wants nothing more than to hold me. I am blessed to have a partner like that. After I talked and cried, I felt light. I felt loved. I felt safe.

I believe, without a doubt, that God loves me. I believe that He paired me with Ben so that I would have a tangible example of that love. I'm grateful for a husband that follows God's word and loves his wife the way God wants.

Friday, November 30, 2012

We Need More Glitter

Remember how insistent I was that we were having another boy? How I lorded it over Ben that I had known - not just guessed - with the others and I was right again? The boasting that I was their mother and I knew them before they were fully formed?

Apparently, I got myself mixed up with God.

Apparently, God likes gently toppling over those who get a little grandiose with their thoughts.

We poked, prodded and twirled that kid around to get a look at every angle. I finally believed her when she turned the baby upside down and spread eagle and said "Kelly, if it was there then it would be dangling."

Well...alright then. We're having another beautiful little girl! That makes 3 girls and one very spoiled Little Prince. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this. 3 girls?!? That's A LOT of drama. That's a lot of pink. MY SISTER IS ALREADY TALKING ABOUT MORE TUTUS.

Since I was so set on another boy, we're lacking in the baby girl name department. My only rule is that the name not start with "D" to avoid people calling her DeeDee. Ben has a much more extensive process.
  • No Welsh ("Come back with more vowels.")
  • No Shakespeare ("Ophelia died after going bat-crap crazy!")
  • No obviously sci/fi, fantasy or comic book related ("We are not naming her 'River' or 'Willow' so stop asking.")
  • Nothing too common ("We already have Sophie.")
  • Meaning is something good ("Mara means 'bitter'. Try again!")
  • Must sound like a regular girl ("'Agnes' sounds like an old lady and 'Eden' sounds like a stripper!")
  • Nothing that sounds too country-specific ("WOW, that's Irish/Jewish/German.")
We have our work cut out for us.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

That actually went well.

We left on Saturday morning with the intent of stopping in El Paso for the night. We had to stop every 2 hours so that Sophie and I could go potty. I will say this, that kid stayed dry the whole drive and never once complained about not-so-nice accommodations. The kids were satisfied to play with the iPad, iPhone and other random toys. It was pretty quiet. Gideon and Milly slept a little but Sophie never closed her eyes once.

At the hotel in El Paso, we only had one crib for Milly. We put Gideon and Sophie in the sofa bed for the night. Gideon already has a tough time sleeping and this night was worse than most. I finally hopped down and hauled him into bed next to me. There was not a lot of sleeping that first night. Of course, he made up for it the next day in the car. Mommy...not so much.

Finally on Sunday we arrived at Nana's house! There was much rejoicing, hugging, running and digging in the backyard. The great-grandparents got there on Monday and there was even more hugging and spoiling.

My SIL followed the kids around all week with her camera. She is my new hero.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bits and Pieces

I am just no good at this blogging everyday thing. Here's what's been going on lately.

  • Gideon is addicted to cheese. He eats two or three cheese sticks a day. Last night, I introduced him to Rotel dip. It's now his new love language.
  • I've been pulling clothes and doing laundry all week. I think I finally have all of the kids' clothes ready to pack. Onto the adults stuff tonight.
  • I've been mainlining Law & Order lately. It ticks me off that Netflix only has the first 8 seasons of the original show. I've watched all of them and moved on to SVU.
  • Milly has a new lovey. It's a blanket with tags all around the sides. She tiptoes around the house with the lovey clutched to her cheek and her thumb in her mouth. CUTEST. THING. EVER.
  •  Sophie got her hair cut at the salon. We went as soon as they opened and I let her explore for 20 minutes before sitting down. She did a great job. Her new haircut suits her perfectly!

And now, the picture parade...

Monday, November 12, 2012


Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of the day I lost my first baby. It's also the first time I did not remember until the day after. I suppose I've healed more than I thought.

9 years ago, I was married to my first husband. We had tried for nearly 9 months to get pregnant with no results. Those two lines were the most amazing sight I'd ever seen. I called my family in tears and squealed with my girlfriends at work. It was a Friday. All weekend I floated on air.

On Tuesday morning, I woke up and spent the day in the ER. An ultrasound showed no baby.

I felt empty. I felt like a failure. I didn't want to speak, go to work, bathe or do anything other than sleep and watch TV. That lasted for years.

Now I have 3 children and another kicking my insides. While they are very healing, I know that it truly began after I turned back to prayer and started taking my therapy seriously. I'm grateful for every person that helped me through that dark time.

If this has happened to you, please know that it will get better. You are not alone.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Trip Readiness Check

On the 17th, we will load up three rowdy children into the minivan and begin the 2 day drive to Phoenix, AZ. We will spend a week with Ben's parents, grandparents, his sister and her husband.

That's a lot of family. I could not be more thrilled.

Of course, the drive has me wary. We have Sophie, who is not quite potty trained and doesn't enjoy sleeping in the car. Then there's Gideon, who likes sleeping in the car as long as he's comfortable. We're switching his booster seat back to his bigger and more sleep-inducing convertible car seat. Milly is a good car rider and sleeps pretty well.

Tonight we finished the laundry and pulled out the majority of the kids clothes to be packed. I keep double checking my list to make sure that we don't get out to El Paso the first night and realize that Gideon only has one pair of pants or Sophie doesn't have any socks. I'm a worrywart about packing and I almost always over pack. I'm trying to hit the right balance of enough-but-not-too-much. I'm trying to keep in mind that there will be a Target in Phoenix should we need anymore Minnie Mouse panties or shampoo. We even bought space bags to pack the clothes. They're supposed to mush out all of the air and pack almost flat. Anyone have any experience with these things?

We're also cleaning off and backing up my phone and the iPad tonight. I've got a good amount of apps to keep Sophie and Gideon busy in the car. Milly just likes to chew her new taggie blanket and giggle at whatever is outside her window. I'll throw in a couple of toys to give them some screen-free time in the car. They'll all take their blankets and pillows. I'll have my Kindle since Sophie will probably steal my phone.

Tomorrow begins the errand running of dry cleaners, alterations, car prep and snack food hoarding. Any suggestions are welcome. Prayers are reeeeeeally welcome.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Baby Update

I skipped the post for yesterday and I nearly skipped today. Last night, I was juggling a lot of body issues and a filthy fridge. Ben helped me clean out the fridge - praise GOD for him - and I finally relieved enough pain to fall asleep around 1 AM.

This pregnancy is kicking my tuckus. Let's run down the numbers.

18 weeks

According to the emails, the baby is the length of a bell pepper and weighs about 7 ounces. The little monster is big enough to put an ache in my back if I walk too much and I can feel teensy kicks.

OH GOLLY GEE...I think the worst is this freakin' rash. Sometimes having a parasite invade your body makes your body revolt in interesting ways. In this case, it's acting like I'm allergic. I'm itchy, bumpy, red and that makes me seriously irritable. Thank the Lord for aloe with lidocane. I also get some pretty wicked heartburn which makes me wonder about the old wives tale that says "heartburn" equals "baby will have hair". It was true for Gideon and Milly. Sophie was my only bald baby.

I would love to bathe in pasta and orange Gatorade.

I'll hit 20 weeks during Thanksgiving but we'll be in Arizona. I'll go on the 28th to see if the baby gets showy. I'm also going to start my progesterone shots next week. My excitement. LET ME SHOW IT TO YOU. Every week until the baby gets here, I'll get a shot in my hip. This should keep the baby cooking until full term.

I love my babies but my body hates pregnancy. It's going to be fun to see this little one.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kicky Little Thing

Best quote from the 17-week checkup today came from my doctor during an ultrasound.

"Well, I could tell you the sex but the baby's kicking so much I can't tell if it's a leg or a penis."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Resolutions for the Holidays

I recently got the chance to join Go Mighty. It's a site where people can make and share their Life List. I'm slowly writing my list and wondering how to achieve these goals. Today, Maggie Mason shared a story about 12 things she wants to do this holiday season. I took some inspiration and made my own list.

  1. Take a family picture at Thanksgiving. My husband’s whole family will be together for the first time in nearly a decade. I’ve added three little ones to this family. This needs a good picture.
  2. Make some amazing food with my MIL for Thanksgiving. I’ll either have to dial back the butter or convince her that one day of badness is worth it. It’s time for the good mashed potatoes.
  3. Make Christmas cards with the kids. They love doing projects and they are learning so many new skills in school. It’s time to put them to work making things for family and friends.
  4. Take Sophie shopping for gifts. I think she’s old enough now to understand the concept of giving gifts at Christmas. It will be fun to see what she chooses for her family.
  5. Decorate a tree with my little family. There is no right way to do this. I just want to see the kids hanging ornaments while Christmas music plays.
  6. Everyone gets pajamas and socks for Christmas Eve. Perfect for a night of Christmas movies and cookies.
  7. Take the kids to look at Christmas lights. I think the grandparents would enjoy going.
  8. Make stockings for all of my family’s women. This is such a fun present. It’s wonderful to tailor all of the little stuffers to your loved one.
  9. Bring holiday food to hospital employees working on Christmas Eve/Day. They’re giving up such a special time so that they can serve others. I want them to feel special.
  10. Buy Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for families in need.
  11. Fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, buy gifts for Angel Trees and donate to Child’s Play. Giving makes me feel glad.
  12. Make a New Years Dinner for me and Ben. I want to celebrate the start of a new year with my beloved.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ask Him

me: "I miss going to church. It's just so difficult to get out of the house with three kids; two of which are VERY particular about their schedules."

Ben: "I know. I miss it, too. We can always watch different sermons at home. Lake Pointe and both stream every Sunday."

"I would like that. It's just...I feel guilty doing that every Sunday. I feel like my brain is telling me that Online Church is for that once-and-a-while time where we have to miss because someone is sick. Which is ridiculous."

"That's not at all what it's for. It's for people like us that can't get to a physical church building but still want to participate. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we have to make an appearance somewhere each Sunday."

"I talk to God every day. Not just pray; TALK. I talk with my friends about our faith and struggles. I read my Bible. I seek God out daily. I try to teach the kids in their own special way about God and how much He loves them. I try my hardest to live the way God wants me to live. I never feel like I'm doing enough."

"What does God say about that?"


"Have you asked God if you're doing enough?"

" I usually just apologize for doing so little."

"It might be time to ask God and listen to what He says."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Shopping Trip

We needed some errands run today. I did the summer-to-winter clothes switch in the kids room and took inventory. Gideon was fine. Milly could use some shirts. Sophie had 2 shirts, 2 jeans and 2 pants to her name. The pants are nearing high-water territory and the jeans give her plumbers crack. Since she's so difficult to fit, I brought Sophie along with me. We also took a play kitchen that the kids only use so they can slam the fake fridge door.

I've realized that Sophie is out of toddler clothes and starting to need little girl clothes. My usual go-to place is Target and resale shops for kiddo clothes. Unfortunately, I've seen very little in the way of clothes I will allow my little girl to wear in Target. Off to Once Upon a Child we went. We turned in the kitchen at the front and began to browse. Sophie trotted up and down aisles pulling every blingy-sequiny pink and purple piece of clothing down.

"Yes, dear. I know you prefer the Liberace look."

Here's what we came home with:
  • pair of jeans (Sophie)
  • pair of purple pants (Sophie)
  • 4 long sleeved shirts (Sophie)
  • sweater dress (Sophie)
  • jacket (Sophie)
  • 3 dinosaurs (Gideon)
  • Texas Tech onesie (New Kid)
  • Rangers dress (Milly)
  • sparkly purple hair bow (Sophie)
 After the resale of the kitchen and a 20% coupon, I paid a little over $20. TWENTY DOLLARS. This is why it pays to shop resale.

After the victory lap, we ran to Target for a few things. Sophie and I go to Target often and at the end of the shopping trip we usually get an Icee for Sophie and a drink for me. Sophie laid back in the cart with her cherry Icee and grinned at me.

"I love a shop wit Mama."

So do I, baby.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Picky Eaters

It's hard to cook every night. I've tried making meal plans, prepping food and freezing it, shopping only for a week and trying to use it up before going back to the store, etc. It all comes down to making myself get up and go to the blasted kitchen. I have a few go-to recipes that Ben and I enjoy. We like chicken parm casserole, Greek chicken pitas, sour cream chicken enchiladas and shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches.

Then...there are the kids.

I was about to type that Sophie is my pickiest eater but I deleted it. Honestly, Gideon now takes that crown. He likes the following:
  • deli ham, plain
  • crunchy cheetos
  • pop tarts
  • jelly sandwiches
  • dry apple jacks
  • oranges and pineapple
Wow. I didn't know the list was that short until I started making it. Sophie's list is three times that length! Milly is more adventurous and just doesn't like to get bored.

They also all have different texture issues. Gideon used to like bananas but now he doesn't want to hold them. Sophie loses her mind at anything sticky. Milly doesn't like handling cold meat.

Tonight, I made a big pot of spaghetti. Plain stuff; browned hamburger from the freezer, leftover Prego and noodles. Nothing fancy.

Sophie ate a HUGE plateful and patted her distended belly.
Milly picked out some noodles and bit them in half.
Gideon stared at his plate.

Unless I start making fruit platters for dinner, they're never going to eat the same thing at the same time.

What are your family favorites? Any odd aversions?


When I heard about the challenge to blog every day in November, I thought it was a great idea. I do love to write here and there are even some people that find me amusing.

There are also people that like blood sausage, but there you go.

I sat at my computer last night and linked my blog to the Blogher site and began to compose something introductory and witty.

Then my kids became convinced that sleep would cause their flesh to fall from their bones.

So, after a rousing night of moving kids from bed to bed to bed and soothing and rocking and groaning and begging and waking every 45 minutes to blow my nose and go to the bathroom - thank you NEW KID for following peer pressure before you even have all of your internal organs - here I am.

More to come.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dear Baby,

It's taken me a while to realize that I'm not just sick. I have to remind myself that I'm not just gaining weight. We've had two sonograms and I'm finally understanding that you are real.

You are my child.

Sweetheart, you were a surprise but you are NOT unwanted. My head was set on having only three babies. My heart has shown that God wasn't done and that I truly wanted you.

I wish I had the right words. I feel like I can't explain myself. What I can tell you is this; I love you.

I love you, my Baby. You will always be the littlest of the family. You will always hold that special role of The Baby. I don't care if you're 35, you'll still be my Baby.

I don't know exactly who you are yet but nothing will ever change my love for you.

I am your Mama.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

School Days

Sophie and Gideon just brought home their first report cards a few weeks ago. It felt surreal to be on the other end of that piece of paper. Since my kiddos don't come home and tell me about school, it was also a glimpse into what's happened so far.

Both kids have made HUGE leaps with their vocabulary.  Sophie started the year using single words and repeating simple sentences occasionally. Now she uses simple sentences on her own. Gideon began almost completely non-verbal. The first month of school he used a little recorder with a big button to communicate. His teacher would record the answer ahead of time, ask a question and then let Gideon hit the button to "answer". Now he's repeating single words and using words of his own without the recorder. Actually, he's used the recorder the last few days. Ben and I have talked about trying to see where Gideon's autism ends and his introverted nature begins. Sometimes he just doesn't talk because he's too shy or there's too many people around. That's not autism; that's the Dyer male. (With the exception of my father-in-law who, I believe, got the talkative nature for 6 generations of Dyer males.)

In addition to the report cards, I've gotten an update in a binder each day telling me what they learned, what centers they played and other tidbits. They both started the year playing alone or playing with the teacher's help. Now Sophie comes home with "played with friends" circled almost daily. She's even mentioned a few of her classmates names! Gideon has even had it circled a few times. I really hope they're making friends. I know how hard it is even without the autism. Every time I see that circle, my heart swells to think of my little man stepping out of his comfort zone to play with his classmates.

Sophie has been going to the regular Pre-K room for 20 minutes each day for 4 days a week. She participates in their Circle Time. After 2 weeks, I spoke to her teacher who said that Sophie was quiet and a little afraid of the Pre-K teacher. She stayed close to her aide and wouldn't look at the teacher or talk to her. This broke my heart because it sounded so familiar. I can remember being terrified of a teacher each year in school until high school. It was never my homeroom teacher but was always one I didn't see all of the time. I discussed this with Sophie's teacher who said that she would talk to the Pre-K teacher to see if there was anything they could do. After a week she said that Sophie would talk and smile at the teacher. Now she eagerly goes to her other classroom and will interact with the kids and the teacher. I'm so proud of her for conquering her fears.

In 8 weeks, I've seen massive changes. I can't wait to see what happens by the end of the year.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Big Brave Girl

Milly had her ear tubes put in last week. Sophie had this done a few years ago so we had some idea of what to expect. My mother graciously came out to our house at the butt crack of dawn to be here for the other monsters. Ben and I loved on Milly and loaded her into the car. She had no idea what was happening but she was the only kid with Mama and Dada and that's just pretty wonderful in her book.

We got to the hospital and Milly began to get a little anxious. She watched from her perch on Daddy's arms with her thumb in her mouth and a worried wrinkle between her eyes. When we got to her room, she came to me and refused to get out of my arms. We coaxed her down onto the crib long enough to get her little hospital gown on and then she clawed her way back onto my chest. We turned on the little TV in the room and watched a little Chuggington. Then, Mickey Mouse came on.

She finally crawled out of my lap and went to watch her beloved Mouse cavort.

Ben says that even the kiddo gowns leave nothing to the imagination.
Nurses came in and out to have us sign forms and take Milly's vitals. Then we finally saw her doctor who told us that they were almost ready. A nurse came with a warmed blanket and I gave Milly over to her. We heard her little cries all the way down the hallway. No matter how used to this I was, that still made my heart hurt.

Luckily, I didn't even finish my terrible hospital coffee before her doctor came back in to tell us that they were done! We shook his hand and waited for our Sunshine.

Here's the thing; when Sophie had this done, the nurses and doctor told us that she might be "a little agitated" when she was coming out of the anesthesia. When they brought Sophie back to us...well...that kid Hulked out. It looked like she was about to hunt down every single person involved in this travesty so that she could burn down their house and kick their pets. She cried, screamed and raged for about 20 minutes before I finally pinned her to the bed with a blanket. Once we got her still and got Sesame Street on then she finally began to calm down.

Needless to say, we were worried when we heard our little Sunshine's cries down the hallway again. They rolled her hospital crib into the room and I picked her up. Milly buried her head on my shoulder and sobbed. We gave her some diluted juice and she eagerly gulped down half of the cup before tossing it down. I sat in the rocking chair with Milly wrapped in a big blanket and cradled on my chest. We turned off all of the lights and I just rocked my precious little girl.

5 minutes and that kid stopped crying. Her little eyelashes fluttered as she fought sleep. I was so grateful that she accepted my comfort and lullabies.

I passed her to her Daddy after a bit and gave her the rest of her juice. By the time they were done taking her vitals and making sure she was going to be OK, she was acting like nothing had happened. She was standing on the crib laughing at Mickey again.

While walking to the car, we realized that she was whipping her head around in confusion at the bird sounds. She can hear! While driving home, we gave praise to God that our sweet brave girl did so well. She's still responding so well to sounds and she's starting to make new sounds herself.

Also? That whole "sorry-mom-I-can't-hear-you-so-I-can't-do-what-you-just-ordered" thing is no longer valid. Now she has to come when I call her. Theoretically.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Life List

Here are the next 5 in my Life List. What are you going to do with your life?

6. Do a 5K and run the whole time. 
7. Finish my bachelor’s degree. 
8. Copy Bible verses into a homemade art journal. 
9. Learn conversational Spanish. 
10. Take a pottery class.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mama Needs Some Wiggle Room

Mama Needs Some Wiggle Room

My Life List: 5 at a Time

A Life List is 100 things that you would like to do before you leave this Earth. I'm working on mine and will share it with you 5 items at a time.

1. Make matching dresses for me, Sophie and Milly. 
2. Begin and lead a support group for Christian women struggling with depression and anxiety. 
3. Paint “feeling” portraits based on my favorite songs. 
4. Make care packages for NICU parents.  
5. Learn  to play the bass.

What about you? Have you ever made a Life List?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Good Influence

I went to a church from 1st/2nd grade until I was a freshman. I grew up around some amazing people. Some of those people are now back in my life thanks to social media. (Fine. Facebook. I'M TOO OLD FOR THE TUMBLR.)

There was a girl a few years older than me with beautiful red hair and the voice of an angel. Seriously, everyone stopped in wonder when Mandy sang. I sang in the children's and youth choirs the whole time we attended this church. I watched Mandy sing countless solos and could not even feel envy because she was so amazing. Mandy unknowingly pushed me to continue singing and take lessons to hone my voice. In high school, I nabbed my own fair share of solos. Now we comment back and forth on our statuses about kid antics and other minutia. I wonder if she still sings.

Brandon was a force of nature. He could sing. He could act. He could bring you to hysterical tears with a funny story. I don't think he has ever met a stranger. Even if you were 4 years younger, he still made you feel important. He taught me to put aside my comfort zone and step into the spotlight. I learned that I could stumble on my lines and still get laughs. I still have scars from when Brandon ran up behind another boy at the water park who was talking to a chaperone and pantsed him and HEY NOW I KNOW THAT BOYS DON'T WEAR ANYTHING UNDER THEIR SWIMSUITS. I love reading his travel stories and seeing the pictures of fun places he's been. It looks like many others have seen how dynamic and fun Brandon can be as your friend.

Ashley and Heather were both my age. I think they have been friends and both attended that church since the beginning of their lives. Both were (and still are) gorgeous, talented and brilliant. They were good friends who honestly cared about others. Now they are grown women each with a little girl. Those girls are also friends and remind me so much of the girls I grew up with. I'm grateful to still call them friends.

Oh dear. Where to begin? Shannon was my best friend. Only a year older, she went before me and I followed her like a little sister. I'm the oldest in my family and a big sibling was something I never got to experience. Shannon gave me that. She started high school and band first and told me how cool it was. We went to my first concert together. (Audio Adrenaline and DC Talk. 90's kids, REPRESENT.) I still remember her advice to all of the other girls going on "Date Night" at church camp. "You're going to be sitting next to this boy during dinner and service. CLEAN YOUR EARS." I'm thrilled to know that she'll get to pass down this essential knowledge to her little girl.  I love hearing about her homeschooling adventures with her boy and girl. I feel so blessed that she is back in my life.

Thank you. Thank you for what you taught me, what you shared with me and for friending me again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hot Diggety Dog

Sophie: "You wanna hot dog?"

Me: "You want a hot dog for dinner?"

Sophie: "A hog dog!"

Me: "OK, we'll get you a hot dog."


Sophie: "Hot dog?!"

Me: "Yes, Sophie. We're getting you a hot dog."


Sophie: "Hot dog?!"

Me: "Yes, Sophie. I just ordered your hot dog."


Sophie: " dog?"

Me: "Sophie, the hot dog is in the front seat. We're going home and you can eat your hot dog."


Sophie: "Hot dog?!?"

Me: "SOPHIE. Walk into the house and I will put the hot dog down in front of you and YOU CAN EAT THE HOT DOG."

*go inside. put hot dog on the table in front of child.*

Sophie: "...NOPE."

Not one bite was eaten by the girl.

If you will excuse me, I'm going to go replace my brain with a toothpick model of Mount Rushmore.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lord, give me peace...

...but hold off on giving me strength or I'll fling my kids off of a mountain.

Gideon has a bad case of the Whiny Butt. He's in my lap now, lamenting that which is life. There is nothing worse than an existential three year old.

Sophie keeps asking every 30 seconds about her burrito. IT'S IN THE OVEN. Nothing I say can convince her that I am making dinner right this very second. She thinks that I'm telling her that she can't have them so she keeps giving other suggestions. "Hot dog? Chicken? FRIES?!? FOOOOOOD!!" OH MY COW, INNAMINIT!

Milly has been in a pick-me-up-put-me-down mood all day. She wants in my lap and then squirms until I put her down. Then she collapses into a heap of tears to let me know how horrible I am for putting her dooooooown!!! However, she also keeps balancing her sister's shoe on her head and it's really funny.

The newest little monster has decided that I'm going to be sick whenever I eat carbs. But! That's all I'm craving. Apples and creamy pasta are the biggest wants right now. After nearly fainting from a migraine earlier, the doctor told me to quit eating so many carbs and protein load instead. So I'll be trading my beloved chicken sorrentino for cheese and beans or steak. No tortillas! No chips! NO CANDY RIGHT WHEN CANDY IS ON SALE FOR HALLOWEEN.

I'm feeling better after some protein bars and water. I have medicine for the headaches. I'll eat bean and cheese burritos tonight and then make an inventory of the kitchen. There's only an hour and a half until bedtime. Friday is Date Night with the kids in Parent's Night Out. There is hope. There is a silver lining.

There is a carb-free cheesecake recipe.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Pregnancy dreams have been psycho lately. I dream vividly about the weirdest things. It's exhausting. I wake up feeling like I just filmed an action movie.

Sophie has been getting out of bed and terrorizing the living room. She gets up quietly so I can't hear her. I'm too busy waltzing with Harrison Ford in my dreams to notice that my little girl has gone into the living room and emptied the tissue box. I just wake up to a path of destruction and an "innocent" monkey on the couch.

Gideon just got moved from the AM class to the PM class with his sister. Yesterday was a little rough as he almost fell asleep in class. His schedule will get adjusted and he'll be fine. Big Sister is a Little Mama, however. She answered for him every time in class and tried to help him do everything. Their teacher has already said that they'll have to separate them but that it's perfectly normal. She loves our two little mooks.

Ben will be in Austin for a week again during the last week of September. This leaves me alone with three monsters thirsty for blood and crayons. The first two days he'll be gone are Fair days so I can't even get rid of them for a few hours. PLEASE PRAY.

While cleaning this morning, I nearly filled the dishwasher with oatmeal instead of detergent. I have a serious case of The Dumb.

The youngest is at MDO, the oldest are dressed and watching Movers, the dishes are cleaning, the crockpot is full of pot roast and the clothes are washing. Praise God for modern appliances.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Riding the Bus

They're waiting on the bus. It's so much fun to walk them to the stop sign and wait to see their eyes light up when they see it!

Friday, August 31, 2012

My Love

To the man who makes me feel like the most beautiful woman on Earth.

To the man who laughs hysterically at my silly jokes.

To the man who tells even more silly jokes and makes me laugh hysterically.

To the man who gets up with the kids when I'm sick and makes their snack, takes the Boy to the bus, picks up my medicine and takes a work call while changing the Movers episode for a really picky Girl.

To the man who thinks that Date Nights are incredibly important and makes it a priority.

To the man who looked at me with wonder and happiness in his eyes when I showed him my teeny baby bump last night.

To the man who patiently explains geography answers, baseball rules and why Douglas Adams is the superior sci-fi writer.

Ben, you are amazing and I am blessed to call you my friend, my husband, my partner, the father of my children and my geek.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Oh my gracious, I have a blog. I'll get back on track with a never-done-before bullet point post!

  • Sophie and Gideon have been going to the sensory gym for the last month. They are settling in and learning to follow directions. Sophie has learned how to flip backwards! Gideon jumps on the trampoline with no help! This is going so well and I'm excited to see what else they learn.
  • Sophie and Gideon have also been accepted into the PPCD classes at our local elementary school. Gideon will go to the morning half-class and Sophie will go in the afternoon. Both will ride the bus back and forth to the school. They start on Monday. We'll go to Open House on Wednesday night so they can meet the teacher and see their classroom. I get to buy school supplies on Thursday! I'm way too excited about school supplies, first day outfits and bus routines. OK...I'm half excited and half sobbing every 30 minutes. MY BABIES!!!
  • I've called an ABA therapist to see if our insurance will pay for behavioral therapy. She says that the kids would go for 2-4 hours a week at the least. WOW. Let's schedule that around school, Milly's MDO and the kids' new gym times on Wednesday. She's also looking into getting speech therapy approved, too. That's another 45 minutes a week. My weeks are starting to fill up.
  • Milly will go back to South Garland Baptist's MDO in September. She'll go on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9-2. I had originally looked for a 4-5 day program for her but I changed my mind. There's not much time before Milly is no longer the baby of the family. I want some time with just her before that change.
  • Milly will also start ECI on Wednesday. The ENT said that she's not hearing well and will need ear tubes. The ECI therapist will do speech therapy. Maybe she'll learn to say Mama again!
  • Ear tubes. Milly needs them. Gideon will go to the ENT after this last round of antibiotics for another ear infection. Sophie had her first ear infection after her tubes. There's a good possibility that 2 or all of the kids will need tubes. OY.
Then there's the new baby!

6 weeks, give or take. According to Baby Center this means that his/her heart is beating. That makes me all fuzzy.

Grumpy, weepy, happy, sleepy...your basic dwarf moodiness. Add in the migraines, caffeine withdrawal and "morning" sickness and I'm a treat to be around.

I'm experiencing dizziness and vertigo for the first time. It's bizarre! I'll be going about my normal business when spots will suddenly blur my vision and I'll sit down hard. The doctor has said that it's normal and to eat more protein rich foods. It also helps if I move slowly and take a few minutes to move around and get my blood flowing.

September 6th. I'll have my first ultrasound and she'll probably take some blood. My doctor does an ultrasound at every appointment. It's nice to see that little peanut every time I go in.

Go about your business. I'm sure I'll be back eventually to post pictures of Sophie and Gideon's first day at school.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Stuff I Like

Here's some stuff that's totally digging my chili right now.

Does it make me feel like I've set my head on fire? YES. Is my scalp finally not flaking from eczema/psoriasis/whatever's been on there for decades? EVEN YESSER.

Season 4 just began. Kate Mulgrew, AKA Captain Janeway, is my favorite character on the show. Brent Spiner, AKA Data, is guest starring. It's a glorious geeky delight.

This is the gym I joined. I love going because it's all women. Men, you're cool and all that but I like a gym where Ricky Martin and Backstreet Boys blare while I watch The View on my stationary bike. Also? YOGA ROCKS.

Crispy chicken fingers, crinkle fries, sweet tea and a sauce that I could bathe in. DUDE. I have got to learn how to make this sauce at home and possibly cut the calories down.

Sophie has been playing the original animal app for months. In the last month, she's started spelling words and asking for us to spell everything on Earth. We bought the deluxe version and she began playing today. (After a little agitation at the thought of trading her tried-and-true app for something new.) These work. Plain and simple. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Two Months Ago

Me and the Hubby: "I think we're just going to have 3 children."

1 Month Ago

Go through clothes, toys and everything baby-related. Purge all things under 18-months. Give clothes to Goodwill, second hand stores and the new Cobb baby. Cry over tiny onesies dripping with memories and old spit-up stains. Take a deep breath and shut the boxes.

2 Weeks Ago

Start enrolling the kids in school for the fall. Look into preschools for the baby. Begin to enjoy this next stage of life with school age kids. There is a light at the end of the tunnel with everyone wiping their own butts. It's getting closer.

Friday August 3rd, 12:30 AM

Violently wake husband.

Same Day, 12:00 PM

Doctor: "Congrats! You're due in early April!"


Monday, July 30, 2012

Deep Breath

I took Milly to her 18-month checkup last week. She's growing like a weed and is getting more adorable every day. We've had a rash of ear infections over the last few months and it's left a good bit of fluid in her ears. We've been seeing an ENT to see if she needs tubes and it's been established that she can't hear us very well. While speaking with the pediatrician and trying to wrestle Milly into giving up the tongue depressor she kept using to gag herself, we turned to her vocabulary.

I realized that Milly doesn't speak. She says "Dadadada" and she smiles. That's it.

The pediatrician asked me to call ECI. We need to get on this as soon as possible to find out the cause.

  • Is she imitating her siblings?
  • Is it because she can't hear us?
  • Do we have another spectrum kid?
So I took a deep breath. I prayed. I cried. Then I picked up the phone and called ECI and her ENT. We will get to the bottom of this.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Puberty 2: Electric Boogaloo

After you have babies, your body does weird things. I'm not talking about the bizarre fluids and puffiness that happens right after birth. I'm talking about when you have 3 kids under 5 running around destroying your thank-the-Lord-It's-second-hand furniture.

When I was in high school, I had long curly hair. BIG curly hair. I was called Roseanne Roseannadanna on more than one occasion.

After having kids, I realized that my days of thick and curly hair made worse by humidity were gone. Now I had limp, fine strands of straw that still flew straight out whenever Texas summers hit. At first I got excited! Maybe I could transform this into the straight luxurious locks that I had craved since middle school! dreams of Loreal-worthy hair were not coming true. In fact, I was losing my hair at an alarming rate. I have a new hair regiment now and I'm hoping that it's going to work better than wringing my hands and buying Drano.

Help me, Paul Mitchell. You're my only hope.

There is a picture of me waiting for the bus to go to a band trip from my freshman year. My hair is in a french braid and I'm in my flag corps warm-up suit. I'm with a friend and smiling. I also have SEVERE acne all over my face. I look at that photo and cringe. Then I look in the mirror and cringe more. Hello, acne! Haven't seen you in a while! I had to go on prescription medicine the last time it was this bad. I truly thought I was done with being embarrassed to go out because blackheads had invaded my nose like tiny irritable Visigoths in the night guarded by two whiteheads on either side. My first reaction to these facial impurities was to go and get the same thing I used in high school.
Clean and Clear and makes you sing Waterfalls by TLC.

Then I realized that I was fighting more than angry Visigoths. The high school face wash made my face look a little better but I was still getting...wrinkly. I began to look at night creams for my baggy eyelids. I never go out without some sort of sunscreen built into my makeup or moisturizer.

I know what retinol is, people.

Remember in 5th grade when they split us up into boys and girls and made us watch The Movie? You know, the one that was horribly out of date and told us how we were not going to die every month and that hair was going to start coming in various places? Did they mention "special feelings" in the boys video? I still can't find a guy to break the code of silence surrounding that mysterious video.

After babies, my body is changing again. Carrying three monsters has left my hips wider and I don't think there are any gym machines to actually change my bone structure. I carried Gideon sideways for quite some time and he's responsible for most of that damage along with the only damage to my hoohah that I sustained in three births.

(Someone pick Mom up off of the floor.)

I've joined a gym and I'm still trying to watch what I eat. The pounds are coming off but I just look different. There's a pooch in the front that I don't think will ever go away without plastic surgery. My back hurts enough that I'm considering a visit to a good chiropractor. I can't eat a box of Pop Tarts in one sitting and lose it the next day in a marching band session. I gain weight by driving by bakeries. My cycle is wonky again like I'm a newbie. I saw a girl wearing white capris and I sighed with jealousy because I just can't do that. Luckily the special feelings are back in force and now I have a husband instead of just my imagination.

(Go pick Mom up again.)

My hair, my face and my body are no longer my own. The 20's were good while they lasted. 33 is by no means old but it's looking forward that makes me want to take care of this vessel. I may never wear cutoffs and a tank top to Edgefest again but I can eat ice cream for breakfast now. Growing up isn't so bad.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Princess and the Pothole

Sophie likes to look around and comment on everything in the world while she rides in the car. We hear commentary like "Red light! Red light means stop!" and "Issa red octomagononon!"

I love it when she adds 19 extra syllables to her words. Cutest thing ever.

Whenever we go over a bump, no matter how small, Sophie asks the riders of the car "You OK? I'm OK!" Every single bump. Every single time. Sometimes we answer her and sometimes we just let her talk to herself.

Last week we got to go and visit my new niece and my beautiful sister-in-law. (Fine. And my brother.) It took about 45 minutes to get to the hospital. During about 15 minutes of that commute we went over some grooved pavement. This turned Sophie into the Micro Machines Man on crack.


There was no breath in between shrieks and answering her didn't stop the script. I turned on the Imagination Movers soundtrack but she just got louder.


When the ground finally smoothed into regular pavement again and we were able to turn down the Movers, I glanced back at Sophie. She had been sitting rigidly upright in her seat and was frantically looking around to make sure that WE WERE ALL OK, DEAR LORD WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY WORLD IT'S GONE ALL SHAKY. After it was all over, she just calmly sat back and began pointing out yellow trimangangles.

The twitch in my eye is almost gone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sophie Sings!

You learned how to sing the alphabet song. Mama is so proud of you, Sophie-Chan!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Laundry Fairy

Me: "Hon, could you put the delicates in the washer?"

Ben: "...delicates?"

Me: "Um...*pointing* that pile. Just put them in the washer on the delicate cycle."

Ben: "There's a delicate cycle?"

Me: " know, I'll just grab them."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"TOP Men"

Yesterday was my vague and grownup post about parents of special needs kids. Today is my vent.

Sophie and Gideon have never been to Vacation Bible School because most start at 5 years old. When the church where they are going to MDO put out their VBS info and it said that they start at three, I began to do my usual scouring the info to see if this would work. It was from Sunday to Thursday at nights for 2 1/2 hours. Not too long but long enough to let them have fun but not get overtired. It was at a familiar place but they would go to different rooms letting them know that change is still OK. Gideon would go into the three year old room and not really participate with the Big Kids until the last night when they have a big closing doodah in the sanctuary. He would still do the crafts, get a shirt and learn the lessons. The children's director knows my kids and knows their limits. I felt comfortable.

Sign them up!

Everything went well until last night when Ben dropped them off. When he got to Gideon's room he was informed that Gideon was being moved down to the room with the volunteers babies. According to this woman, Gideon's room was not equipped to handle a child in diapers. Ben came back upset that Gideon was being held back. I got in the car and drove up to the church to find out more about what was going on.

Side note: Did you know that the Mazda 5 can reach 95 MPH?

I prayed that God would keep my temper in check and stormed into the church to see what had happened. The children's director was found and I explained that Gideon had been moved. She was confused at my explanation and had no idea that he had been moved. She said it didn't make sense. Another woman was walking by and heard us talking. It turns out that she was the one who had made the change. She was the associate pastor in charge of the children's ministries. She said that Gideon had been "messing in his pants" and had been moved to a room where there were people who were "trained to handle that kind of thing".

As if you need an advanced degree to clean poop off of my kid's marblesack.

After I was able to put a stop to the condescension and get a word in edgewise, I explained that if I had been told earlier that kids must be potty trained before attending VBS, I would not have brought my kids. Even my 4 year old has accidents. I told them that I had no intention of making more work for their volunteers and said that I would take my son home and he would not come for the last night since he was not a part of VBS.

I was reassured by the children's director that Gideon was still doing the same thing as the three year old group but was just in a room where more diapers were changed. (If that woman said "people TRAINED to handle that" one more time, there was going to be a situation.) That class would also be involved in the big closing doodah tonight and he was still learning the lessons. She took my point seriously and said that future VBS info would make it clear that three years olds attending would need to be potty trained.

I left with an apology and reassurance that Gideon was having fun and they loved having him there. I'm still going to leave the kids in the MDO program because I know that Gideon's teachers ADORE him. I felt like I was heard and was able to get them to see that the situation could have been handled better.

Now to go see how much one of those trained professionals go for so I can see how much I'm worth.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Just Say No

When you are the parent of a special needs child, no matter what the diagnosis or level of adaptation, you look at mainstream activities differently. You carefully check the rules for every Mother's Day Out and VBS to see if your child doesn't meet any of the criteria. You make a point to speak to the head of whatever program you like and let them know details about your child to see if they are able to handle what comes with your little darling. The best thing that you can hear is "Of course they can come!" What people don't realize is the second best phrase we can hear.

"I'm sorry. We can't accommodate your child's needs."

It sounds counter intuitive, but this is actually a good long as you tell us BEFORE we put down deposits, get our routine-loving children into going somewhere new and make time in our already packed schedules for another possible socialization-skills-building activity.

If you work with kids at a church or other location, please understand how important it is to us as parents to hear that you understand our childrens' extra needs. Just because a child is three does not mean that he talks or is potty trained. A four year old might become agitated if Mama does not leave quickly enough because school is for teachers and home is for Mamas in her mind. If we give you a label for our children and you don't fully understand what they need then ASK QUESTIONS. Tell us no. We've heard "no" before and we're OK with hearing it again.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Spaghetti Squash with Sauce

I've been on Weight Watchers since January. I've gone from a size 26 to a size 20. It blows my mind that this is actually working! This is the first time that I've lost a significant amount of weight in years.

Then...I got lazy. I started eating cheeseburgers and fries, pasta and garlic bread, carbs, carbs, carbs and more carbs. Not surprisingly, the scale started to go up again and those size 20 capris felt a little too tight. So, I joined a gym and started looking for some low-carb recipes to satisfy my cravings while letting me keep wearing my new clothes.

Italian food is my downfall. There is nothing better to me than a large plate of thin pasta swimming in creamy sherry-spiked marinara sauce with chicken draped in provolone served next to a basket full of garlic rolls dripping in oil and butter.

Evil, I tell you.

I kept running across recipes for spaghetti squash. It's a vegetable that, when roasted, can be shredded into spaghetti-like strands. I kept reading about the health benefits (Folic acid! Beta carotene! vitamin A!) and marveled at how an entire squash was only about 50 calories when cooked. After reading a few recipes, I came up with this.

The Stuff

Football sized spaghetti squash
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Half of a zucchini, cubed
3 oz of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 TBSP unsalted butter
1/2 jar of light Prego marinara sauce

The Process

First, you have to cut that sucker in half across the long side. It took some doing! That thing has some thick skin. Then, take a spoon and scrape out all of the seeds and gross stuff. Preheat the oven to 375 and put your halved spaghetti squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the EVOO and sprinkle your seasonings all over it. Then turn it cut side down and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the squash cut side up and bake for another 45 minutes.

The sauce comes together so quickly that I waited until the squash was cooked and let it cool. I put a large skillet over high heat and melted the butter. Add the sliced mushrooms and zucchini and saute until they are soft. I had to add a little extra EVOO to keep things moist. Then I added half a jar of the sauce. While everything simmered on low, I scraped out the squash into long spaghetti-like strings. It all got added to the sauce and sauteed / simmered everything together. A sprinkle of Parmesan and my dinner was done.

An entire skillet of delicious Italian food was about 168 calories. I practically gorged myself on dinner that was about 3 points total and high in all of the vitamins that I've been needing. Do yourself a favor and try this. Don't be afraid of something new!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


While walking out after dropping my kids off at MDO, I passed a group of kids lining up for chapel. I heard two boys whisper;

"She has big boobies!"

Without turning around I said;

"I heard that and so did Jesus!"

I hope their worship is adjusted accordingly.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


My Dear Little Prince,

Three years and 8ish months ago, I took a test telling me that we were going to have another baby. Over the next week, I became convinced that I was going to have a boy. Your father kept neutral and said that we had a 50/50 chance.

I was sure it was you.

Around 20 weeks we went for the ultrasound to see if we could find out if you were healthy and showy enough to let us know to reuse Sophie's pink blankets or follow traditional gender roles and buy something with baseballs. The tech swirled the wand on my belly and you greeted us with a pressed ham.

"We are either having a boy or a child with three legs." I announced.

You decided to follow in your sister's footsteps and come at 34 weeks. You added your own flair by not breaking my water, cutting the labor in half - thank you for that - and gasping like a fish out of water in my arms. I had enough time to register abject fear at your blue lips and kiss your head before you were whisked away by the NICU team at 4:38 PM. Around 9:00, your father and I made our way down to the NICU and found you strapped into this lovely little headset. I asked if I could hold you and a nurse gently told me that it probably wasn't a good idea at the time. They were having problems balancing your CPAP machine and the IV in your head and they didn't want you jiggled about. We stayed and stared at you for an hour before taking me back to my room. I was sharing my room with another woman who sat in her bed breastfeeding her chubby little boy. Your daddy couldn't stay with me since it was a shared room. When he left, I laid in my bed burning with fever and shaking with quiet tears as I listened to the baby sounds on the other side of the curtain. Your sister's NICU had been just down the hallway. In this hospital, you had to go down a hallway to the elevators, go down a floor, go through a lobby, another hallway, get onto another elevator and go up two floors before getting to the NICU.

People may call you a Mama's Boy. I prefer to think that I just worked my butt off for you and now I'm very grateful. You learned quickly and came home to us. You have been glued to my side ever since that day. You are my cuddliest child. You hold my hand whenever possible, even if we're just sitting on the couch.

As I write this, you are right by my side with your head on my shoulder. You went to Mothers Day Out today with cupcakes for the classroom. You don't cry when I drop you off. You simply trot inside and come back when I call you so that I can get a kiss. Your teachers are completely enamored with you. (Who wouldn't be?!) We have some hurdles to jump this year but Mama is going to be right here. I'll hold your hand the whole time.