A Good Saturday

I love me a full day. Granted, ‘full’ could be also construed as watching a Survivor marathon 8 hours straight, so please feel free to define it any way you’d like.

But today I felt productive: both in chores and quality time.

Everyday we officially wake up to this little lady staring at us. I say officially because it’s only the last couple of hours that she’s in bed with us. Yes, I’m still breastfeeding. And yes, I have moments where I want to chop off my breast Amazon woman-style just to be done with it, but most other times I enjoy holding this growing girl in my arms.

So when she wakes up at 5:30 for her early morning feeding, I stumble back into bed with her and we sleep for a couple more hours, if we’re lucky. She wakes up, yells at both of us mamamamamadadadadada, then Boo (minus the K), and I reach down for a couple books for her to read as we close our eyes a little while longer.

Some days we have energy, others we don’t.

This day we did, so Ryan fixed us his homemade sausage, cheese, and egg mcmuffins. Protein points for this pregnant lady.
I literally could eat those all day long, but controlled myself and managed to squeeze a day’s worth into a morning meal. I took over breakfast duty to let Ryan and Ruth watch Saturday morning cartoons, which consisted of (what else?) He-Man & She-Ra the movie.

Ruth just wanted to read. That’s all she wants to do now. She’ll pick a book from the shelf, hand it to you, then scoot backwards into your lap. No matter what I’m doing, I stop to read to her because if there’s one activity I want her to enjoy, it’s reading. No batteries, no electricity, no controllers needed. Just you, the printed page, and preferably something to eat. My mom remembers holing up eating buttered popcorn with a book in hand when she was younger. It will take me less than a nano second to continue that tradition. Because, really, the only qualification needed for a family tradition is buttered popcorn.

So while Ruthie read by the sunshine, I hung out laundry in the sunshine.

To be able to still hang out clothes in mid-November is wonderful.

I had vintage laundry cart that I’d wheel up and down the line. It looked like this:


But the cloth was coming apart and it was hard to transfer clothes easily from the dryer, across the living room, to the vintage hamper. So I’d have to use a regular platic hamper to make the transition. One thing I hate is having several different things that do the same job. So after searching online, I found this guy:


I want it if only to have an excuse to wear a jean on jean ensemble. Whomever has me as a secret santa, this is available for just $40 more than our max budget of ten bucks. Go ahead, splurge.

After I got a little sun on my face, I plopped chicken into the crockpot to cook for the day.

After it’s done, I use the bones and fat along with left over vegetables to make broth overnight. After straining it Sunday morning, I was able to get 10 cups out of the deal. Two birds, one stone. Lovely.

After a morning nap, the family drove to The Dollar Store because we were on a mission. I wanted to start a family tradition each Thanksgiving of volunteering, but Ruth is not old enough to scoop soup out without a baby spoon. And I can’t imagine the agony of being hungry only to have your food ladled 1 teaspoon at a time.

I thought we could do something else in the meantime. We chose to participate in Operation Christmas Child. You fill up a “shoebox” with toys, sanitary items, etc, attach a label with the age and sex of who you are buying for, and drop it off at various locations. The label also has a bar code that the company scans so you can track where your package is going.

Since there were three of us, we had three shoeboxes, one for each of our sexes and for the age range closest to us. 1 male: 10-14 years, 1 female: 10-14 years, and 1 female: 2-4 years.

Ruthie was a blur of excitement as we shopped for her girl.

I had absolutely no idea what to buy the boy. Ryan said, “Don’t worry, I got this.” And promptly came back with an armful of boy games. I nixed the snot rockets, but everything else was solid. Even though Ryan would be a perfect dad for girls, I still hope he gets a little boy someday. He would be so excited to build and destroy with a mini-him.

Ruthie, in the meantime, really only wants a green apple and she’s happy. Not quite into destruction… unless it involves spaghetti.

I’ll give you three seconds to spot my belly button. Go.

We arrived home after buying a ton of items only to have it total to much less than expected. Gotta love the dollar store. And gotta not love walking in and seeing that you never plugged in the crock pot. Ah, the trials of a homemaker.

It almost ruined my day. Almost.

But luckily we headed to the park and that always perks me up.

Ruthie thinks she’s a big girl playing on the slide by herself. Don’t you dare try to help her either. And Lord help us if another kid shows up, because then Little Miss Show Off comes out to play. A boy joined her in the playhouse and she at first stood there, repeating ‘Hi’ a thousand times. He didn’t notice. So as he hesitated at the slide entrance, she got a determined look on her face, basically pushed him out of the way, and slid down.  

Do you like how we never take her out of her pj’s?  I mean, if we’re all in pj’s then we’re just a really cute mitchy-matchy family, right?

Besides, after our park jaunt, we went home and immediately all took a nap. So basically we’re just super prepared.

When we woke up, dinner was made and kombucha was drunk. By Ryan, at least. It’s not advised to start drinking kombucha regularly if you’re pregnant. It’s really good for your digestive system, but it detoxes your body, so you don’t want the detox to think the foreign entity trying to grow in your uterus is not supposed to be there. If you’d already been drinking it regularly, I guess I’ve read it’s safe.

And since Ryan’s stomach was troubling him the past couple weeks, what better timing to force him to start!

I mean, look at this!! Doesn’t it look yummy???
Mmmmmmmm, pulling out the mother. Tasty!
You don’t eat the mother. Save it for your next batch. With each batch a new mother is grown. You can see in the first picture there are several mothers floating at the bottom. Pretty appetizing. 
But for how much they’re going for in health food stores, it’s nice to see I can get a good batch out of only 4 bags of tea, water, and sugar. Amazing.

So after Ryan choked it down (although he did say it tasted like apple juice), we played with Ruthie, hiding Cookie Monster in various places for her to find.
Thankfully she’s a serious child. And finding cookie monster and pulling off his head was serious business indeed.
The day felt long, like mid-summer-it’ll-never-go-dark day. And we needed that, big time.

Hunkering down before the holiday storm. And I couldn’t ask for a better pair to spend it with.

Holy Mother of.. What is she holding?

In case you haven’t noticed the signs, I’m pregnant.

What are those signs, you ask? Well, let me think.

  • My hermit-like phases where I’d rather lay on a bed of nails then talk to another breathing person.
  • My inability to walk past flour, eggs, and sugar without making cookie dough and then eating the whole bowl.
  • Listening to the beginning of ‘Oklahoma’ and then promptly bawling to my mother about the beauty of the chorus in the background.
  • Zombie-like void-of-emotion stares in the mirror as I realize my shot at singing in a chorus on stage for Oklahoma will probably not happen.
  • Widening of my eyes as I then realize that if I don’t dye my hair ever again, I’ll possibly be able to play the grandmother for Oklahoma.
  • Soaring happiness as I come to the final realization that the role of grandmother would be just fine.
  • Looking in the mirror and regretting that bowl of cookie dough.
  • Asking if I look fat.
  • Running away before you can answer because I really don’t feel like talking to anyone.

…and repeat. Basically I’ve acted pregnant since age 12. Sorry to every person with whom I’ve come in contact.

But this time is for real.

And so I went to have my first (and probably last) ultrasound to try and narrow down the due date. Ryan and Ruthie stayed at home, so it was just me and my little friend on our first date. I was laying there watching this little peanut wiggle around kicking and realized that I haven’t focused much on baby very much. In between Ruthie crying as soon as I stand up and then her falling onto coffee tables making everyone I see question if they need to call DHS…. yeah, not much time to sit and dwell. But as I laid in the dark room, it finally hit me that there was a little person in there already depending on me. It was twisting back and forth, holding its hand to its face, almost like he/she was trying to tell me something ….something profound and heartwarming, like,

Would ya eat a fricken vegetable already?!?

Fine, baby. You win. But only if I smother it in ranch. I can’t even look at colored foods without losing my appetite.

So I drove home, happy to have a non-3D photo of my friend because, let me be honest here, those make me feel faint. Even the weekly updates sent to me about how big my baby is can bring out the gag reflex. Until they’re literally in my birth canal, I am just fine with the shadowy, gritty, hard to decipher regular ultrasound photos.

And then I reached into the goodie-bag given to me from the clinic.

What the cuss is that.

A baby bird?

No, it’s a 12 week fake baby fetus.

After I put my head between my legs and caught my breath again, I picked it up.

And put it up against my belly. Surely it’s bigger than that? I guess I must also be carrying a set of cookie dough quintuplets.

What the heck am I going to do with a rubber fetus? I mean, it’s not even a pencil eraser.

So, I decided Ruth needed another baby to play with and placed it at the end of the coffee table.

No interest, no interest, no interest… and all of a sudden, BAM:
Grubby paws ready for her next victim.

Like any coveted item, it’s immediately place behind the back to protect from others.

And quickly thrown on the ground. Why does it stay scrunched up, she wonders? Maybe if I rock it a bit, it’ll loosen up…

No dice. And so in an obvious imitation of her mother when frustrated with babies, she does the only thing possible:
and passes it off to Ryan.

That’s my girl.
As the day wore on, though, it became an unwelcome reminder of things that need to get under control. Like, dying plants.

Yeah, fetus, I’m gonna get on that.
Or dirty dishes.

Fetus, I know. Gawsh! Put the dishes into the dishwasher throughout the day and you won’t have a sink full by the end of the night.
Sweep the floor? Okay, now fricken leave me alone. You know I’m in my ‘I prefer to not talk to anyone’ phase, and that includes fake 12 week rubber fetus babies.

Ah, now where were we. Oh yeah, I’m pregnant.

And apparently losing it.


Mon Cherie Part Deux

This is getting out of hand, how late these are, but I’ve just got to have a record of all of this. Ruth is about nine to ten months in these photos.
‘Once in a while, she will sit on my stomach while I lay on the ground. But only if I have a gift for her. In this case, my shorts’ string.
Pre-top teeth. You can just see them bulging out. It changed the way she looks that’s for sure, but now I can’t imagine her with out them. Well, I guess I could look at this photo.

‘Relaxin in the laundry basket.

‘Packing up the Shack is a long process. It wore Ruth out.

But she still found time to eat. Her jama and I laughed so hard at the faces she’d make.

Who knew veggie delight was so sour?

Really sour.

Then she’d peek her eyes open, probably hoping this was all a dream. Nope, we’re still here. I’m still your mom little lady.

When she was first born, I was kinda disappointed that she had brown eyes. Because they weren’t me. But oh how they’ve taken over my soul. Those eyes make me grin from the inside out.

The moment before pulling herself up. I’d smile when those hands would peek above the chest.

Intently listening to her cousins.

Taking over her grandparent’s house.

Always on the go, that one. And wouldn’t change a thing.

Mon Cherie


The blog and I had taken a little hiatus. But now, with a new internet connection, we are friends again.

So prepare thyself, because this is only part one of my photo montage to little Ruth. I want to give an overview of the last few months and then get more detailed in our adventures. Let’s bust this out, shall we?

Ruth brings out her inner godzilla.

Just like her mama’s own delusion, she thinks she’s a delicate sweet damsel in distress. We all know the truth.

Oh crud, she heard me.

No sweetie, you really are that willowy leading lady. Not Godzilla.

Believe me.

Keep it together Ruth.

Okay, after that look, now I’m changing my mind. I’m drowning in your deep brown eyes. You really are the lovely soft heroine.

Ah, there’s the real Ruth.

You almost had me there, heh, but I love you either way.

Making me laugh won’t change my mind, babe.

But it was a valiant effort Godzil-, I mean, Ruth.

You are sweet, though, baby Ruthie. Remember when Grandma came down and you cradled her face?

Or when you and your rolls had a hillbilly bath outside?

Here are some other moments that squeezed my heart:

The giddy grin because you got to nap with your dad.

And the (pinkie promise!) non-posed, identical positions during another nap time. (Side note: Why aren’t I napping too??)

Or how about the face you get when working on something. This is serious business, tearing up paper. Along with flipping through books, pulling laundry out of the basket, and picking up that miniscule piece of whatever on the ground. You zero in, focus, and breath heavily.

You let your mouth fall open and look up to give yourself a break, but then get right back down to it. I love when you’re serious.

Your Mary Poppins stance.

Biting your upper lip.

Killing me with that face.

Aaaaand there she is.

The Godzilla we know and love. I’d almost forgotten you were there.

Up next, part deux.


Hey There.

I’m still unable to access my wordpress account at home. This has caused me to have to go to the local cafe, order a mocha latte, and sit in adult silence for a couple hours while uploading posts.

It really bums me out.


I love it.

So before we get into a side by side comparison of two city tours, I’ve gotta show you Ruth’s reaction to a new dvd set we bought for her. It has five discs, one of which is titled The Counting Numbers Song! I’m already kinda burnt out on it. Maybe watching Julie Andrews movies would be better, where she’d learn Do Re Mi instead of numbers. With an accent.

Yes, I’d love for her to have an accent. I’m going to work on that.

But for now we’ll stick with the counting number song that I’m not sure if Ruth likes or not.

Here’s the progress. I’ll speak for Ruth:

What did you just put in. What is that noise. What am I laying on.

My sports bra, Ruth. I’ll throw it in the other room. Listen to the song….

Hey, this is kinda cool! Let me get up to see it better.

Ehhh, what are those things singing. I can’t tell if they’re real or not.

Stop this right now! I can’t take it.

Wait, this is kinda funny.

Wait. Is it funny, really?

Counting One is Fun Fun Fun. Really.

More Moments to Remember

Today I found myself looking eye to (sideways) eye with my daughter and physically seeing these sweet moments slipping away. I say sideways eye because sometimes she won’t look you directly in the eye. Even when she knows that you’re looking at her. When that happens, I’ll turn my face to the side but keep my eyes on her and say “Look at Mama!” and when she sees that my face is turned will she look at me, only to discover that (surprise!) mama’s still looking at her.

While laying on my chest, she will reach up and place her small palm on (or in) my mouth, silencing whatever was being said… which was most likely, “Mama’s gonna kiss you!” because I literally cannot not kiss those cheeks every time I pick her up. I think I might be addicted.

Those are just some of the moments… I can’t capture them all with the camera. But I try. And here’s some that have been.

1. Deciding that toe jam will be her first solid food. Apparently it’s only when she is toe-knuckle deep that she stares me dead on.

2. The odd napping contortions. Sometimes, they take my breath away and check to make sure she’s breathing. After being reassured, I usually wonder if she’ll end up in a circus side show and daydream about her act and her character’s name.

3. Enduring the first ear infection together at exactly six months. She was mostly fired up and screaming. It was only while nursing that I saw how weak and tired she was. I never want to feel her weak nursing again. I cried several times.

4. Watching her watch Baby Einstein. The intensity. I hope she’ll put that to good use. Like, towards her circus sideshow act.

5. Noticing that her rolly polly thighs completely distract the eye from her mismatched socks.

6. Taking afternoon naps together and boy do we have the position down. My right leg is bent up pinning her high on my chest, her left arm is hanging down along the back of the couch (and occasionally, until she falls asleep, she will massage that side of my stomach), my right arm creates a crook for her lay her body and head, and, finally, my nose and mouth positioned right above her head to alternately breath in her Ruthie-smell and kiss her forehead. This is what I’ll miss the most.

7. Seeing her lips go plump and loose during her most rested state.

8. When not sleeping on my chest, holding her hand until she falls asleep. This one little act does more to calm her down than anything else at the moment.

9. And last, but not least, her already realizing that I’m the coolest person in the world.

…or not.

Today I felt very melancholy for some reason. Maybe it had to do with a sad episode of Little House on the Prairie series I’m currently watching, I’m not sure. But she can cheer me up anytime I’m needing it. I love her so.

Great Grandparents

Before I assault you with a bazillion photos, wanted to see if you’ve been over to my other blog: The Mobile-Homemaker? It’s a chronicle of our journey to becoming debt free, while learning new (and old) homemaking skills. Go check it out!


R is lucky to have 3 of his 4 grandparents still with us. And during our visit to Kansas, we made our rounds to see them.

It was wonderful.

First, we visited V. She is a crackerjack, and makes me literally laugh out loud. As soon as she was wheeled out, it was one hello to us and then all about Ruthie.

V was enthralled with Ruth’s eyebrows and asked her if mama was painting them on.

I love asking his grandparents about their past. For instance, the Dust Bowl. V had been living in Oklahoma when it hit. She was around 11 or 12 and remembers having to go to sleep with wet rags over her mouth and waking up to a line of dust on her face.

They moved to Arkansas Ozarks soon after because her mother had lived in the Missouri Ozarks and loved the area.

She also remembers roller skating down to the grocery store for her mother.

R would tell me stories about her superstitions growing up. Like, if they were walking together and came upon a pole, they could not let the pole split their path. If they did, she would make him come back around it and walk with her on the side. So, being ornery, he would purposefully run around it to make her come after him.

V will be 90 in June. When R asked her what will she do for her birthday, she said without a beat “Oh probably go out on the town.” So fun.

While we were chatting, some visitors brought valentines day notes for everyone. Ruth wanted to eat it.

Along with her eyebrows, V also loved Ruthie’s hands. She has such pretty hands. Turning to me to see if they take after mine, Let me look at your hands.  Hmmm.. Let me see your hands, R. Hmmm…

I guess neither of ours made the cut.

But hers did. Can’t wait to see her again.

After our visit, we headed straight to his other grandparents. They still live in their 1950s home, full of interesting things collected throughout the years. I’m sure she is sick of me asking for a tour every time we visit. I can’t help it. Some areas are like a time capsule.

Ruth was at first aloof.

But immediately warmed up.

Family portrait time!

Look at this photo and tell me this has any of me in her. Sigh. As a friend of mine said, who’s daughter is also an exact copy of her husband, “I did carry you for 10 months. You could have had at least a little of me in you.”

We then went into the dining room for some cookies and convo. This used to be their breezeway, where R’s mom and her siblings would go roller skating.

An old highchair was pulled out and Ruth was strapped in.

Her great-grandad gave her a spoon to play with…

But Ruth only wanted to eat it. Of course. I guess that’s where I fit into her personality. Whatever.

After eating too many candies, the girls went downstairs because great-grandma had a toy whipped up for Miss Ruth.

Made out of an old box and some rope, just throw padding in the bottom and you have yourself an indoor sled! She took a tour of the basement…

And then made her way upstairs where R was also talking about the Dust Bowl with his grandad.

I guess after the major part of the Dust Bowl had ended, he and some friends went pheasant hunting.  They would climb hills of dust that rose over fences and smothered homesteads. The dust-hills were so thick you could walk on it and they would do so. Over those fences and through the windows of those homesteads, out the other side.

It makes you wonder if some of those rolling hills you see are due to the Bowl. And what’s buried under them?

I love these stories and visiting these grandparents of R. But it makes me miss my own. I wish Ruth could have met them.

She will one day. That gives me comfort.

Hanging with the In-Laws

We had a great weekend with my in/out-laws.  R took Friday off and we took our time driving that morning, stopping at Ropp’s Bakery (an amish/mennonite farm that sells the best donuts around), and taking a different route than normal. I drove most of the way because I’ve found that if R is trapped in the passenger seat he’s more likely to have a conversation with me. Otherwise, he drifts off into his own world while driving.

When we arrived, Ruth (as always) attacked her family.

She was happy to be out of the car seat and in her grandma’s arms. I was happy to be there too, because our visits normally revolve around one major thing: FOOD. There’s a plethora of snacks that I really shouldn’t eat, but do. This weekend I tried to hold off as best I could…

until they ordered BBQ for dinner.

Hello, ribs. Is this seat taken?

I literally could not stop myself from sucking every last bit of meat off that bone. It was bloody. I’m pretty sure I was a T-Rex in my past life. Probably the best BBQ I’ve had in a long time (not counting the homemade ribs my mom made that are de-LICIOUS).

And the carcass on my plate proved it.

Ruth was in shock and watched my every move.

Ah, drooling in the face of ribs.

She really IS my daughter. I knew it.

We also read bedtime stories.

and laid beside her as she struggled to fall asleep.

5 months must have brought out the full moon in her, because for a baby that went down pretty easily (despite a few rough moments here and there), she has begun to fight naps consistently. Arms locked in the upward dog position, screaming bloody murder.

The first few minutes are cute. And then frustrating. And then draining. Doesn’t she know we’ll be here when she wakes up, ready to play?

Mornings though, are the best. Despite going down with a grimace, she always without fail wakes up with a smile.

At breakfast, grandpa showed her how to let birds land on her finger.

When R was younger, after watching a bird land on Mary Poppins finger, he decided that he was going to catch a bird too. He stood outside with his finger in the above position for a very long time, waiting for a bird to hang out with him.

So serious. It’s both funny and sad at the same time. I hope Ruth has a little of that in her.

The weekend was spent relaxing, watching old movies (think pre-1960s) which R and I have become obsessed with, having passionate rants about this subject or that (like my FIL’s article for a newsletter that was butchered by the editor to the point that it made him sound like an idiot – or so the story goes.. we’ve yet to lay eyes on said story.), organizing the newly finished basement, looking at J’s cross-stitched artworks, ogling over primitive-style decor in magazines, napping for both adults & babies, and generally hanging out.

Our last day we went to church and R’s mom joined me in the cry room for most of the service. It’s located in the back with a big window looking into the auditorium so you feel like you’re still actually a part of the congregation, unlike the one at our local church where I feel quarantined in a small, windowless, florescent-lit, white-walled room. This one was a breath of fresh air.

And after the preacher made a joke about having to always listen to “the same lame stories at family get-togethers”, J and I started giggling really hard. So hard in fact that we glanced down at sleeping Ruth and she had her eyes wide open staring at us. We couldn’t stop laughing and she couldn’t stop giving us a confused stare.

But it’s those same worn-down stories that we’ll be telling when we’re grandparents too. And you’ll be happy we did, Ruthie, because they’ll give you comfort when we’re not here anymore.

Trust me.

How to Host 5 Families in a Shack

First off, everyone needs to wear deoderant. No ifs, ands, or buts, because this space is tight.

But it worked.

Secondly, just order pizza and be done with it. Don’t try to get fancy with hand-rolled sushi this time around. You’ll end up deciding to make and eat a wasabi bomb and hope that it explodes so you don’t have to finish rolling one more roll.

Deoderant, check. Pizza, check. Here’s the calm before the storm.

And here’s the storm. The fun storm, the funny storm, the comfortable-I-feel-like-we’ve-known-these-couples-for-a-long-time storm.

You remember this storm.. from our reunion a month ago?

Before leaving the reunion we suggested that we have a game night. So the Shack was offered up as the first meeting point and accepted.

They arrived on a rainy cold night and we ushered them in to park their car seats. 5 babies, under 5 months.

A couple that was unable to make it to the reunion came as well. Little did we know that all the stars were aligned for them to possibly not make it to game night: a baby that strongly dislikes being in her car seat, not knowing how to get to our place, and no internet connection to figure out how to get to our place.

As luck would have it, they walked out of a coffee shop and saw our midwife across the street who gave them directions.

Yay! Here they are. I wish I had their baby girl’s hair:

And here’s the rest of the crew. Cozying up in our single-wide. You see that baby at 10 o’clock.

He weighs over 20 lbs. Guess how old he is.

3 flipping months.

That’s the mama that had him in 90 minutes in her living room. From first contraction to out-comes-baby. Let’s all take a moment of silence.

Another tidbit for housing a bigger group than normal? Open up every nook and cranny for use. With having 5 babies in the place, it really didn’t feel chaotic. Some people went into the guest room to nurse, others laid their baby in our room to nap. It seemed to work out.

Sweet little S. He and Ruth napped together in her room. Gone are the days (already!) that we can lay little miss rolly-poly on the middle of the bed. What a difference a few months makes.

In between nursings and naps, we did manage to play a game.

Catchphrase – Girls vs Boys

Which I still think was uneven because none of us women can remember our last name, let alone guess Pad Thai in 5 seconds. At one point, one mama stopped talking in the middle of a conversation. Two minutes later I asked, What were we just talking about? 

I don’t know, she said. Literally, only 2 minutes had elapsed. It’s nice to be around others that understand.

So, even though we were at a disadvantage, and even though we lost….

…it was still a blast.

Look at little C in the green shirt.

He reminds me of a older man, shrunk down in size.

We’ve already agreed on the next location for game night. One of the mamas said she had asked our midwife if any other class kept in touch afterwards, and was disappointed to find out that yes, some other classes have. I’ll ask her again in 5 years, she said.

I hope we’ll still be playing games 5 years from now. Maybe by then I’ll be able to remember my name.

Play Date

Ruthie sure loves her play dates. While in KC, my friend J and her daughter O came up for a visit.

J was my gateway drug into the world of starting a family.

R and I waited 5 years after getting hitched before having a baby, because, well, I was content with our lives. Why rock the boat so soon? I felt like Braveheart yelling at R and myself to Hold…. HOLD….

Then, Wait, J is pregnant? And enjoying it? And embracing this life-changer?

Okay, let’s do it.

She has been a big help, too. For instance, I made her describe in excruciating detail her unmedicated hospital birth. Like, every detail. Several times.

The biggest thing I took away from her was positive self-talk during the hardest moments, “My body is made for this. My body is made for this.”

That helped me so much.

She also encouraged me and another friend into trying cloth diapers. We all love it. In fact, every person that I know who is cloth diapering loves it.

A few days prior, O turned the big ‘O’.


Her name isn’t One by the way. And she does have a face. Just not on the internet.

Ruth and I wrapped up a present for and watched as it was opened in painstaking detail.

Later we went for a walk around the neighborhood. It was a gorgeous winter day and we both huffed and puffed our way up some hills. I started huffing and puffing as soon as I got down the driveway.

We’ll be rejoining this duo and two other couples in April for a little beachside getaway. Can’t wait.

Wrapped Around Her Finger

That’s where she’s got us.

We will do anything to get a reaction out of her. It usually results in a quizzical and confused upward turn of her eyebrows, but occasionally, we do get that one big smile that makes up for feeling us feeling stupid the rest of the time.

Grandma, doing a dance.

Grandpa, blowing raspberries on her cheek.

She made us laugh so hard. Even before he touched her neck, she made a face.

I think she was pleading with Grandma here to intervene.

But Grandma was too busy laughing. So Ruthie gripped Grandpa’s shoulder and hung on until he was finished.

Or like on Groundhog’s day… R used Pilar the Gloworm as the makeshift groundhog and reenacted the event since Ruthie wasn’t able to attend.

Here she comes, ladies and gentlemen! Everybody’s favorite Gloworm – Pilar! She’s taking her time emerging from her bed…

[Ruth was not impressed at this point]

[Until she saw that Pilar was talking to her daddy.]

Everyone, shhhh.. Pilar is trying to tell me if she saw her shadow or not.

Pilar said, “I definitely see a shadow.”

And she made her exit with a whistled goodbye song.

It’s fun having a captive audience.

Family Game Weekend

I am so very lucky to be able to stay at home. It’s been a hard and easy adjustment at the same time. Hard in that I am now responsible for someone at all times, someone who has not yet got my sense of humor and, I’m assuming, is saving all of her laughs for one big explosive guffaw. And easy in that I have the time to make the adjustment. If today doesn’t go smoothly, tomorrow is right around the corner to try again.

But one aspect I’m especially enjoying is the flexibility. For instance, while R went on a business trip for 5 days, I visited my parents who live 4 hours away. Those times to connect are priceless for both me and Ruthie.

We started the week relaxing by the fire. I don’t really call that pose relaxing, but whatever floats your boat Ruth. One of us should at least have abs. And it sure ain’t gonna be me.


My sister came over later in the evening for a game of Scrabble. I used to hate that game, but now it’s one of our staples at mom and dad’s. Ruth did her obligatory “lunge and attack” welcome.


The next day aunts, uncles, and cousins came over to play Family Feud, eat pizza, and chit-chat. My favorite part of the day, actually, was us all cramming into the kitchen to talk. Ruthie met up with her third cousin, K. I’m so happy to have another little one around Ruth’s age.

Now I understand how my oldest sister felt, wanting her kids to grow up with cousins. Her youngest is about 4 years older than Ruth, which is no big deal when you’re out dancing in your mid-twenties… but right now the gap is extraordinary. At one point a few years ago, her husband tried to bribe us into having a kid so they would have others to play with.

The statute of limitations has apparently expired because he never paid up.

Look at those blue eyes! Just like her mama…

Snuggling with her oldest cousin, W. Poor W. He really needs some boy cousins. R wasn’t here to steal him away for a game of football unfortunately.


Before Family Feud began, we watched little K turn into a blur as she ran around the living room. Ruth studied her very intently. I was studying my mom’s white socks. She’s the President of Michael Jackson’s Over-55 Fan Club and takes the white socks/black shoes very seriously. It’s cute.


Then we plopped down into teams for Family Feud. Mom was the moderator. Well co-moderator. Her socks were also hosting.

See that empty seat? Yeah, there’s always an empty seat somewhere in my photos. Wanna know why? Because I’m always taking the photos. It kind of bites, actually.

So I asked my sister to take one of me.

And I used it as an excuse to see if there was anything up my nose.

There wasn’t.

Throughout the game, my mom made Ding Ding Ding and Buzz noises to indicate if our answer was correct. At one point, we were concerned that we’d have to call 911. She would say DingDingDinalupoding or Bivffff. And you could tell she was really trying to say the right thing. My future flashed before my eyes and I reassured her that they still had a spot in The Shack if need be.

D stepped in with the answer, thanks to his iPhone. If he hadn’t, we’d still be sitting there watching her try to get the right word out.


A family photo with Unc and K was simply not having it. Ruth avoided eye-contact so she wouldn’t feel embarrassed.


A couple other things happened over my trip which I’ll talk about later.

But first, check out the flea market where Ruth decided to have a blow out on our way home to Arkansas. Awe. Some. Ruth hadn’t gone boo snake (anyone else heard that phrase? My grandma would say it) for 5 days and when does she let loose? 90 minutes into our car ride. I even called it beforehand, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected.

After our walkthrough and clean up, we stopped for gas and, while there, saw someone who needed a Blessing Bag. Remember those that we made? I gave away two on this trip alone. It was great.

I sure did enjoy my time and am so thankful to have had it.


Don’t take it for granted.

Springtime Walk in Winter

It was mid-50s and sunny. And we were itching to get out. Well, I was, at least. Ruthie was content bouncing on my knee, flying in my arms above my head, and timing her spit-up to land as soon as I open my mouth.

So I bundled her into a carrier and hit the pavement gravel road.

She insisted on wearing her snazzy leopard outfit for the outing. Should I be concerned that she cared more about what to wear than me? So what if I wore that white zip-up for three days straight. Dingy, make-up stained fuzzy outerwear are in now, right?

We discussed many things while on our walk. One spot was of particular interest.

See that grouping of bushes behind Ruth’s cat ears?

They’re raspberry bushes. Wild ones. Most are along the road on the barbed wire, but there’s a semi-circle just steps within the fence. Come springtime, Ruth and I are going to make friends with whomever owns that land to ask if we can scavenger.

It’s like dumpster diving for fruit.

I showed her my imaginary petrified forest. If these trees could talk, Ruth, they’d  describe how it felt to have cows rub hairy bodies against their trunks or the tight grip of a hawk perched on their branches before diving down for food. They’d stiffen up as those bitter cold winters were remembered, and gently sway from side to side when talking about the blow of a breeze.

Maybe one day they’ll say we saw the cutest little girl walk down the street with her mom. And they pointed at us and smiled.

And then they would smile.

As we grow old and petrified in our own bodies, remember, Ruthie, that it feels good to be acknowledged.

On our way back home, I pointed out the shimmering reflection on a pond.

And watched as she furrowed her eyebrows against the sunlight.

We spotted some dogs running across the field.

And let the wind brush a dried reed on her head.

The mailman drove by and waved. We discussed the importance of writing letters and how wonderful it feels to receive one.

And then she looked up with inquiring eyes at the electrical pole.

We’ll let your father explain electricity, dear.

Now back to that blue sea of a sky…

Moments to Remember

Having a handy laundry helper.


Watching how concerned she gets when Pilar, the glo-worm, burns from the inside out. Side note:  For some reason I though it was a caterpillar, hence ‘Pilar’. Nevermind.


Basking in the afternoon sun.


Catching her just as she wakes up.


Staring (and kissing) the back of her soft little furry head. I had to roll her to the side to get a shot. She liked that a lot.


Bedtime stories – she absolutely loves be read to. Makes me happy.


Feet in my face. Constantly.


Pruny skin after a bubbly bath.

And, boy, there are so many more that I don’t capture. Love this girl.


Saturday night our little family went to a reunion. Our (home)birthing class reunion. If there’s one way to become close to someone, watch Peruvian women squat out their babies for 30 minutes.

I think I’ll start using that as an ice-breaker at parties. Hi, nice to meet you. Hey, take a look at this video… 

Friends will be lining up at the Shack, I’m sure of it.

Here are the kidlets, along with their papas and a few Chucky-looking dolls behind them. The two on the left were born within 24 hours of each other as well as the two on the right. Our class put J, the midwife, through the ringer.

Speaking of her, here she is!

She was the teacher of our class and we all walked away with so much knowledge. The class was held on four saturdays for about 3 hours long.

But besides the education, we walked away getting to know some seriously funny folks. Like, I would double over as far as a pregnant lady could double over, funny. That was during the class, though, when we’d snicker like a 12 year old if someone said vajayjay. Or like when we were asked why a women gets shaved while in the delivery room. And someone answered, “Tangles?”  Ah, yes, we were all back in 6th grade and loving it.

So I wondered how it would be after the fact. When we’re not joking about how the guys shouldn’t massage your wife during labor and expect it to lead to anything. Or hearing the men verbally high-five each other upon finding out that having sex can actually help induce labor naturally.

Those were all funny moments. But what about now? Oh my word, yes.

We all had different birthing experiences.

One lasted 35 hours while another only last 90 minutes. (Can we pause and try to imagine that? Yikes.)

One couple took a walk together under the moon and another ran around cleaning tubs and toilets (us).

I had my baby on my bed and another had hers squatting in the hallway. One gave birth in the water, and the other was on her hands and knees in the living room.

It was FAScinating. Yes, sometimes we were serious while listening to each other.

But for the most part, we looked like this:

I pretty much guffawed the whole night. Didn’t even talk to anyone. How are you, Carolyn? Bahahahaha! Ehhh, okay. Good to hear you’re well. How’s your baby? Tee hee hee hee.

I mean, good grief. Get a room with the jokes, Carrie.

In other news: Ruth was introduced to several friends. She, again, licked her chops as if she were going to devour them in apparently the only first impression she gives potential buddies.

We lasted as long as the little tykes would let us and then headed home. But not without first planning another get together at, guess where, THE SHACK for some games and more baby talk.

And yes, there will be laughter too. Yes, indeed.

Weekend Recap

We had a whirlwind weekend, with family visiting, reunions to attend, and alma maters losing. I was worn out come Sunday night. But it really doesn’t take much to wear me out anymore. Just getting the mail is cause for a 2 hour nap. And don’t get me started about using the letter opener. Whew!

I did manage to squeeze in a game of scrabble with the parents, though. The weather was beautiful, so we opened up the windows and sipped on coffee. It felt like springtime and after years of denying it, I’ve finally admitted to myself that I am a Spring lover. More energy, more spunk, more liveliness. Can’t get enough.

I think they rigged the letters so that I’d come out with S N O B. Maybe I should quit teasing them about seeing my life flash before my eyes when they forget this or can’t remember that. Naw, I’ve convinced myself it keeps them young. They probably didn’t slip in O B O E, though, because they knew I’d subject them to a rendition of one of my favorite movie lines in Amadeus: And then high above, an oboe…  or something like that, I can’t remember.  Go rent it, now.

But don’t watch it with me, I’m warning ya.

I’m the mob boss of movies-that-i’ve-already-seen watching. If you so much as glance at the popcorn bowl and not look at the screen, you best be ready for the array of verbal bullets shot at you. Are you watching? Why aren’t you watching? You’re not watching. You need to see this part for the next part! Fine, hurry and take a sip of your coke, but your eyes better be glued to the screen, so help me.

I’m not proud of it, but can literally not stop myself. My mom likes to remind me of the time when we all watched Inception over Christmas last year. No one understood what was going on, but were afraid to turn to look at me and ask any questions for fear of my wrath. Then, when the movie was over, they did turn around to say something to me and saw I had left the room at some point during the film to go to bed. So the whole movie was them spending inordinate amounts of energy sitting still, facing the screen, and not uttering a sound.


Let’s see… what else did we do. Oh, I know.

We stared at Ruthie’s Chubby McChubberson’s legs.

She knew I was putting her on display for this photo. Lucky for her a circus performer hasn’t travelled through asking for her to join, because I think I could make some big bucks off of those rolls.

Come right up and see the newest attraction ~ The Thigh-Baby! This baby is literally turning into a thigh, folks… Watch the rolls take over her body in front of your very eyes! 

Dolla Dolla Bills, yo.

Alrighty, what else. We did a two-stop extravaganza to watch KSU lose to UofA in the Cotton Bowl. Sigh. We do love our Wildcats. First, we popped into R’s brother’s place “Uncle Favorite”, as he calls himself, and listened to Ruth scream bloody murder for 45 minutes. She must have already seen this football game and was mad that I had gone to the bathroom in the middle of it. Just like her mama, I’m so proud.

We quickly bundled her up, stuck a pacifier in her mouth, and drove to my brother’s house. Remember the weather? Yeah, it was taken advantage of as we sat around a fire watching the game outside. I ran into the backyard and stopped short because, I don’t know if M noticed or not, but there was a homeless person that sat down to warm himself. That guy on the right, see him? I guess he wasn’t hungry, just needed a place to watch the game, so I went back inside.

But he followed me! I was about to run to the car for one of the Blessing Bags when I realized it was just my dad… in about every random piece of winter clothing he could find. I must get my style sense from him. Thanks, man.

All in all, a good solid weekend.

We did one more thing over the weekend that excited to talk about… a reunion of blossoming friendships. And blossoming babies. Too fun.

My Dear John Letter to Nyquil

Dear Nyquil,

You had me at my goodni–, because I never got to the end of that word before succumbing to the lovely coma you provided. You know that I don’t typically go for tall, dark shotglasses of liquid dreams. In most cases, I go down fighting just even to take tylenol for a headache. But you Nyquil, you wormed your foggy-head-inducing way into my heart.

But I…

…I met someone. He was introduced to me by Frugally Sustainable. Don’t blame her, she didn’t know I was seeing you. I was fully aware of what I was doing, but couldn’t stop it. You know that I’m breast feeding and understood that we would be apart for awhile. That was gracious of you, yes.

I just didn’t expect… this. I think it’s love.

If it’s not too painful, a few other people are reading this over your shoulder and kinda want to know how this other syrup and I met.

Try to avert your eyes, Nyquil.

Click here to read about our first date in a nutshell and the recipe. It was kinda awkward because I didn’t say much. In fact, I said nothing at all…. because we met over the internet, which is no big deal except he had no clue I was hunting him down in person.

Eventually, I did find him and laid out all the ingredients on the counter. Then smiled that the bottles bought for me last Christmas from my in-laws were finally getting used. And they’re almost exactly like Frugally Sustainable’s bottles. Who’s trying their darndest to imitate Frugally? This girl. It’s embarrassing.

Picture me with Ruth’s scary “I’m gonna stalk you” grin when she stared down her new friend. I have no idea where she gets that weird social ineptness. I mean, I only hounded my future college roommate and super good friend, K, for months before agreeing to be my roommate. So what if she swears that whenever she got new eyeglasses, I showed up the next day with similar ones. And it’s not that big of a deal that we both married guys of the same name, and those guys have fathers with the same name.

Pure coincidence.

It’s not like I researched his family line on ancestry.com before settling on a husband to make sure mine was in sync. I mean, everyone knows that his family came from Prussia on the 1886 transatlantic ship to America. Right?

Back to my current victim author. She has an entire section dedicated to making your own medicine. And since I’m new to this world of herbs, I thought we would get up close and personal with them as they are introduced.

Meet Licorice Root. Licorice Root, meet… well, meet whomever’s the current person I’ve bribed to read my blog.

From http://www.herbwisdom.com, here are just some of the benefits of Licorice Root:

  • has a similarly soothing and healing action, reducing irritation and inflammation and has an expectorant effect, useful in irritating coughs, asthma and chest infections
  • appears to enhance immunity by boosting levels of interferon, a key immune system chemical that fights off attacking viruses
  • has an aspirin-like action and is helpful in relieving fevers and soothing pain such as headaches. Its anti-allergenic effect is very useful for hay fever, allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis and bronchial asthma

Next up: Echinacea Root.


Guess who called up the local health food store and asked for Ech-ee-nuh-SAY-uh? You’re right. Me, again. No one knew what I was talking about so I naturally just kept repeating it the same way over and over again. Pretty sure they weren’t annoyed.

From http://www.herbwisdom.com, here are just some of the benefits of Echinacea Root:

  • stimulates the overall activity of the cells responsible for fighting all kinds of infection. Unlike antibiotics, which directly attack bacteria, echinacea makes our own immune cells more efficient at attacking bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells, including cancer cells
  • increases the number and activity of immune system cells including anti-tumor cells, promotes T-cell activation, stimulates new tissue growth for wound healing and reduces inflammation in arthritis and inflammatory skin conditions

…and Ginger Root:

  •  a remedy for travel sickness, nausea and indigestion and is used for wind, colic, irritable bowel, loss of appetite, chills, cold, flu, poor circulation, menstrual cramps, dyspepsia (bloating, heartburn, flatulence), indigestion and gastrointestinal problems such as gas and stomach cramps
  • a powerful anti-inflammatory herb and there has been much recent interest in its use for joint problems
  • arthritis, fevers, headaches, toothaches, coughs, bronchitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, to ease tendonitis, lower cholesterol and blood-pressure and aid in preventing internal blood clots

After steeping and then filtering out the herbs once, I decided to do it again for the last few bits and pieces.

Ruth played with her friends, while I poured in the syrup.

I interrupted the play date and asked her to model the finished product. She was suspicious.

And had a right to be. I used her because I felt guilty throwing an arm around my new man. Nyquil, I hate to admit this, but I already forgot you were reading. Now that I’ve remembered that you are, maybe I shouldn’t mention that this concoction helped my sore throat at night like you did but it also tasted much better.

I’m sorry it had to end this way. Keep reading my blog, please.


Ruthie got sick of me talking about my breakup and asked me to read her a book.  So we did, and I purposely read the cupcake page about 20 times. She understands at 4 months that that’s the perfect cure after a long relationship ends.

I do feel the need to mention that while nursing you still want to watch your intake. I did a tablespoon every 3-4 hours. There are also some herbs that you shouldn’t take at all while nursing. Just a heads up and do your research.


My mom asked me not to write this post. And so like any youngest child, I will immediately disobey her as soon as I get the opportunity.

I’ve just returned home this morning from a week in Kansas City, staying at my parents’ house and generally soaking up time with the little slobber machine. It was delightful. 

One morning we decided to make cookies of days gone by. These are the ones we kids all sat around the table decorating while hosting imaginary talk shows. For some reason, every time I tried being a cohost, the station had technical difficulties.

Sigh. To be the youngest.

Mom confessed that the icing recipe was really taken from this mini-mix it children’s cook book from who knows when! And the mats are straight up 1983, people. Pretty soon, I’ll be framing it on the wall and lugging them to Antiques Roadshow. See the rolling pin drawn on the mat? And see it in the first photo above?

They’re the same! I know, I’m amazed that they’re still around and weren’t eaten, plastic and all, simply because cookie dough got stuck to it. I’ll eat anything if cookie dough is on it. Hey there Henry, you gonna eat that spoon? Give it here, please… just can’t pass up silver plated metal used to scoop out cookie dough ice cream. And don’t wash it off your hands, either. I’ll clean them for ya.

It can get kinda embarrassing. Well, for R. Not for me. I don’t care.

Ruth woke up in the middle of rolling out the dough, so grandma rocked her as we cut the shapes.

I don’t know if you’re aware, but R and I don’t have a TV at the Shack. Instead, we keep the computer in the living room and watch episodes online. This was fine in town. But now we live amongst turkey farms and cow fields and the only internet provider available puts a cap on our download usage. Meaning, we could probably watch one hour’s worth of episodes per day. So we’re choosy and it ends up being Survivor (yes, we still watch it) and then something more substantial, like Bridezillas.

When I go to my parent’s house, however, it usually involves watching back-to-back episodes of House Hunters for 16 hours straight. I hope someone is taking care of Ruthie, cause I ain’t budgin’.

This day, however, I got my cooking shows kick.

…then Miss Giada came on. And her twins.

I looked at my mom who did the appropriate eye-roll that I was hoping she’d do. It’s part of our bit. There are specific things that we’ve talked about that I know, if I look at her during certain moments, she’ll make a face. Then we laugh.

Giada and her decolletage is one of them. Why we feel the need to discuss them is beyond me. But we can’t help it.

As I iced the now-baked cookies, I asked her if I reminded her of Giada.

She said no.

And rolled her eyes.

This is an A & B conversation, so C your way out, thankyouverymuch

R has had a busy few weeks at work. When he leaves, we are both still blissfully dreaming… and when he gets home, Ruth is either down for the night or only awake for a quick diaper change before zonking out again.

And he’s been bummed. So he’s settled for running into the back room as soon as he walks in and gazing at her over the side of the crib.

Last night, however, she awoke earlier than normal in the evening and I motioned to R to go back and grab her. She was a growly little monster yesterday, so I wanted to wear her out before her next chunk of sleeping time (read: during my next chunk sleeping time.)

So he walked in the bedroom… and never came back out. I heard talking going on, so decided to peek in.

And this is what I saw…


I had one moment where my heart about burst before remembering to run for the camera.

Two shots in, I was spotted and told in not so many words to leave the room. This was her daddy time and she was not about to let me spoil it.

I played it cool and left as requested. Besides, when she did go to sleep… she slept for 5 straight hours. (Can I getta What! What!) I was in heaven. She needs daddy time more often me thinks.

Sweet Cheeks McGee

Can you believe these sweet cheeks are 3 months old? We certainly can’t.

It has been the longest and shortest three months of my life. As the days start to have glimmers of a routine, and I have finally figured out how important sleep is for her, therefore equaling more naps, I can take a step back and see how fast it is slipping away.

There are two moments that I am now cherishing more than ever. They’re both tied to each other in a natural way, and one of them may surprise you. But they’re two times that I can count on me and her connecting one-on-one for a good amount of time to come.


And changing her diaper.

And yes, I’m savoring them both equally, because she so loves getting her diaper changed.

So in honor of her turning the big 0.3 0.25 (Thank you Kristy for pointing out my horrible math skills!), I sang to her Sweet Child of Mine by GNR, along with my very best snake-like dance moves.

She was not impressed.

When did I give birth to James Gandolfini

Well, at least in looks, that is. I’d say she’s more Don Corleone in personality.

Take when our friends stopped over on their way from South Carolina to Kansas. First off, let’s give them a virtual fist bump for driving straight through to our house. When Ruth was Is’s age, we took her to Kansas City and I remember asking to be dropped off at every intersection we came to. “Don’t worry. I can walk the rest of the way,” I assured them.

It was a rough ride.

So when they arrived, I allowed only minimal small talk before kicking them into the back bedroom for a nap. Ruth and I would take care of baby.

She was only slightly excited to make a new friend. Just like her mama, creating an awkward tension with her overeagerness of potential friendships.

I whispered to her to wipe that scary “I’m gonna gobble you up!” smile off her face and play it cool.

She didn’t listen.

Ruth wanted to sit on my knee and just stare at Is. I told her that was creepy, but she insisted.

She waited for Is’s aknowledgement. And waited…

And waited.


In fact, I’m pretty sure Is hurt herself in avoiding eye contact with Ruth. It was tough to watch, but Ruth needed to learn this lesson in how not to go about making friends. Hovering over a resting person, boring your eyes into the side of their head is probably not the best plan of attack.

And that’s when something changed in Ruthie, aka Don Corleone.

She leaned back during a forced photo op, her bulky cloth diaper making her reminiscent of an old mob boss at the coffee shop…. waiting to have “a talk.” Ruth said something to Is that none of us could hear, causing her to get very upset.

It didn’t faze Ruthie. She calmly continued with her Godfather/Sopranos ways…

and poor Is eventually succumbed to Ruth’s friendship. Probably against her will, we’ll never know the specifics of that conversation…. but we think it had something to do with offers that Is couldn’t refuse.

Who could blame Is, though, when faced with James’ identical twin. Would you refuse?

Special Features: Behind the photo shoot

These girls never saw it coming.

Dodging Thanksgiving

It was my family’s turn for Thanksgiving. R and I switch on and off for the big holidays. This year it is Thanksgiving with my side, Christmas with his and next year it will switch. We stole that idea from my sister, have jumped on their schedule, and have so far really liked it. No wondering about hurt feelings for missing a get together or trying to squeeze road trips to see everyone for everything. It has been a relaxing ride for sure. And it’s also nice that neither of our parents are so controlling that they throw a fit on our “off” years too. What a headache that would make. Thank you guys!

Speaking of thanks, was Thanksgiving not on the most spectacular gorgeous day of the year? We had the windows open during our meal and went outside for most of the afternoon. Perfect.

This is the one shot I took of us during the meal. The other opportunities came while I was shoving mashed potatoes in my mouth. Let’s not sugar coat this, it was a scary sight… as if I had morphed into T-Rex with a big mouth and short arms. And considering that my arms couldn’t reach from the table, around the corner, and into the kitchen to spoon out some more gravy, then yes, they were definitely too short.

After I rolled around for a few hours on the couch, clutching my now too taught stomach, we decided to go outside and enjoy the beautiful day…

…with a game of dodge ball. No one was spared.

Not even grandma. Her darling grandson wound his arm up….

and launched it at her.

We don’t discriminate, you have to give us that. I don’t care if you’ve just left after an extended trip to Shangri-La, you best get your agility on. (Did anyone get that reference? Lost Horizon is the first full book I’ve read since Ruthie joined me. It was an accomplishment.)

I felt like a kid again, playing dodgeball. In third grade, it was a daily staple, except we used soccer balls. So if you couldn’t dodge, you were in a world of hurt. The air was crisp and I lost track of time.

That is, until I heard a tap tap tapping on the window above. My mom was standing there holding Ruthie who had just gotten up from a nap.

Sigh. Okay, I can learn to have fun from this vantage point too.

PS. Things are slowly (and quickly) changing with little Ruthie. She is taking consistent naps throughout the day and I am feeling more and more like a normal human being… To the point that I am missing that chubby little face at my side all the time. I personally think she’s figured out this is how I can give her more kisses…because the first thing I do when she wakes up is smother her in them.

Happiness. 🙂

Swedish Coffee

While my in-laws stayed with us a couple weekends ago, R’s dad brought up “cowboy coffee”, which is basically coffee brewed over the campfire when you’re in a pinch. Unfortunately, there’s grounds in it. Cowboys don’t care, though.

By the way, I have no idea how we get onto any of these subjects. I had probably confessed that my dying wish is to go on a cattle drive a la Billy Crystal in City Slickers. Everything has become my dying wish lately. It sounds that much more romantic. At this moment, my dying wish is that Ruthie takes a nap to give me enough time to use conditioner in the shower. A few extra minutes to shave my legs would be the heaven part afterwards. I’m sure R’s dying wish is to quit talking about my dying wishes.

After we wrinkled our noses at the ground-filled cowboy coffee, he threw out “Swedish Coffee”. A similar campfire technique, minus the grounds, plus an egg. So we searched how to make it on youtube. Looked easy, so I asked the FIL to be my hand model and walk us through the steps.

First you pour a scoop of coffee into a bowl.

Then crack an egg and mix into grounds. Shell and all. We were surprised by that. Don’t forget to say hello to the cutest dog in the world, Shady.

After it’s all mixed up and looking like cake batter, dump it into boiling water.

As we waited a couple minutes for it to brew, I took the opportunity to admire FIL’s gorgeous gray/white goatee. If you don’t know, I’m slightly obsessed with white hair. Even to the point that I’m kinda hoping I go that color soon. My thought process is that if I keep my hair uncolored and gray, I’ll look the same age for a longer period of time.

R said, “You mean looking 55 until you’re 55.”

Yep. But when I’m 55, it won’t be a shock to anyone at least.

Look at it, though. That color on a bob would be so classy. I love it.

I wish it were in my genes.

Hang on, people! After looking at other photos, I spotted my dad’s pretty white hair. Maybe I do have a chance!!

Poor R. Good thing he likes older women.

Now let’s all take a moment and count Ruthie’s chins. I see 4. Atta girl.

After a few minutes, we were ready to pour the brewed coffee. No strainer is necessary.

Why? Because the egg holds all of the grounds back! Look at that clear coffee, we were all amazed.

And there’s the residue.

Just a little diy. You know, in case you’re out camping and happen to also be carrying around one egg.


You’ve got that lovin’ feeling…

After I wrote my post on “The Balance” between enjoying life and helping those in it, our friend T immediately invited us over for a patio fire and discussion. While I didn’t get to hang out by the fire that much (Ruthie has taken quite a liking to this thing called milk), we did collectively agree that we need to move past talking and into doing. Do, do, do. Action speaks louder than words kind of thing.

As he wrote in an email: …it’s a big deal, you know, loving people and pointing them to God. I think it’s the reason for our existence.

That pretty much sums it up, now doesn’t it.

And so we decided to start meeting on a regular basis to make word on our decision, and I’ll be documenting each get together. My intent is not to boast about our doings in hopes that your estimation of me will rise (although, I think we can all agree that with my track record it wouldn’t take much to see an improvement. Oh look honey, she took out the trash. She’s a saint) but rather it’s for encouragement. If I told no one, I’d still be tickled pink… however we need to be each others’ cheerleader and inspiration. As my mom said, “You never know what ripples you may cause..” Would T have asked us over to have such a pointed conversation? Probably, in time. But maybe that post helped speed up the process.

Also, I’ll be sharing these to give you ideas. I think we could all use a little help that department. I certainly didn’t come up with Blessing Bags (to give to homeless people on the street. Keep them in your car and deliver as needed.) I happened to be reading one blog that linked to another blog that linked to another and there you have it, the internet. It’s a wonderful thing.

For our first get together, I invited everyone to The Shack (you know, to keep us humble) for chili, vino, and bag-making.

I set up all the items, buffet style. This would be the first time people actually got around our table in what would be, let me see… how old is ruth, over two months. Normally we find a spot that’s easy to collapse into, shove our face and then grab her so the other can eat.

I had offered to buy everyone’s items, but T wanted his son to be a part of the entire process. This is something I had not considered, and love. Our children need to know these things didn’t just come out of thin air. We are setting aside money (and time) for people…. because they are that important to us.

Ruth slept through the buying trip.

Here’s what we put into the gallon-sized bag:

  • Cough Drops
  • Socks
  • Tylenol
  • Band-Aids
  • Gum
  • Combs
  • Kleenex
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Handi-Wipes
  • Granola Bars
  • PB Crackers
  • Mouthwash
  • Chapstick

Along with a scripture:

(you can print this and many others off from here)

Ro had a great idea of including feminine hygiene products, like maxi-pads, in future bags. Again, that’s something I’ve never considered before. This group thing is already working out… throwing out suggestions to keep our minds thinking.

She and her boys came over to have a glass of wine and chit-chat before the dads came home… if you call chit-chatting me spending who knows how long in the bedroom trying to get Ruthie to sleep. How nice am I? Hi! C’mon in… hey, hang tight for a couple hours while I hole myself up in the bedroom, ‘kay? There’s some Comet under the sink for J to drink, just make yourself at home.

Because we quickly realized that The Shack is not baby-proof. Unless Comet really is on the menu, then I’m the most thoughtful host on the block. I found some locks and plug-in covers and her oldest ran around sticking them in for me. The covers, not his fingers.

He also kept an eye (or ear, to be more precise) out for Ruthie. Several times throughout the evening he would run up to me and say, “Miss Carrie! Ruth is crying.”  Oh, huh, kinda forgot she was back there with all the excitement.

The dads came home and we squealed as J walked his longest stretch yet to his papa.

Then another big and little friend came over. C’s wife is out of the country at the moment, otherwise she would have been there front and center with us. We ate a quick dinner and got to work. Side note: I cannot eat chili anymore while nursing Ruth. I think that’s self-explanatory.

And while it made me happy to see this unfold:

These are what really inspired me… seeing the future generation in on the action:

Little S-man, right in the thick of things. This guy is hilarious. The first thing he said to me when he walked in was, “Miss Carrie, we saw some animals that you may be interested in eating.” Well, don’t mind if I do, S. I love me some chickens!

And this blue-eyed boy… too young to partake in the bag-stuffing, but soaking it all in. Seeing and then imitating!

And this girl. Oh, B! After petting Ruth’s head and calling her Bee-bee, she hopped onto a chair and got straight to work… like she was born on an assembly line.

Even Ruthie jumped in. Sort of. She was more concerned with keeping her head up than putting a purple comb into a baggie, but we all have priorities, I guess.


By the end of the night, I was one happy mama. We ate and talked and laughed…which is what we normally would have done anyway, so why not throw a little ‘do good’ in the mix?

Drop me a line, I’d love to hear your stories.  And if you have any ideas for us to tackle, please send them my way!

WARNING: Graphic Content

Ruthie you really take us for fools, don’t you. But I’m on to you, little girl.

You slept in grandma’s arms all sweet and cuddly-like that night. Never a whimper, just a little smile here or there as you dreamt of your plan. You even had grandpa fooled into taking a nap. Though I bet he sensed the impending eruption of Mount Ruthsuvius and was only pretending.

Because before long, you “woke up”, if you were even sleeping in the first place. You knew what you were doing, because beneath those cries was maniacal laughter. “These fools will never know what hit them,” you thought.

To be honest, we should have seen the signs of this volcanic explosion. Maybe the fact that you hadn’t gone #2 in several days should have alerted us. But no, we stayed in our homes at the base of your mountain, blissfully sipping hot cocoa in front of the fire. Mount Ruthsuvius would not blow today of all days.

Then we had an earthquake, which caused some alarm. Not enough, though, because we continued chit-chatting as if we had all the time in the world. Following the earthquake were the aftershocks that only the person holding you felt. We laughed and congratulated you on expelling that gassiness. We had no idea.

You waited. Oh yes. You bided your time for, of course, the moment I started nursing you.

And as I sat talking with my mom about how laundry is caught up, how I just changed you, how I’m really glad we haven’t had a blowout for a while… out the mustard magma came.


So slowly that I didn’t notice that it got onto my hands.

But then I did notice, screamed and immediately yelled for the camera. Because that’s what you do in dangerous and scary situations, Ruth. Forget running for safety (that didn’t even help Pompeii), let me get a shot of that lava.

As we laid you on the changing table to wipe you down, that’s when I noticed the laughter and the “I got you, fools” look.

You were so smug about your joke. You laughed and smiled as your master plan unfolded in front of your very eyes.

It was funny, wasn’t it, hearing me scream and run around, then wiping you down from chest to toe. It was hilarious, right, when you heard your dad spraying that diaper down with our new diaper sprayer. You were tickled to death, huh, as you watched your grandparents stand there wide-eyed.

You got us good, daughter. But in the end we won.

Because there is nothing so fun as a baby taking a bath. Oh yes, you won the battle, Ruth, but we won the war.

Keeping it real, folks. Just keeping it so very real.

Ruthie Caused an Earthquake

My parents came down for a visit today. We were sitting around and I mentioned Ruthie’s scary first portrait experience.

Not scary for her.

Scary for us.

We had just clicked on the best (of the worst) in her portfolio and…


Earthquake! In Arkansas, folks. Pretty much an impossibility.

All I know is, if vacationing on the San Andreas fault, there’s no way in hell I’m looking at this thing.


Cloth Diapers

Even though we had registered for them, I was absolutely terrified of using cloth diapers. I thought it would be twice as much work. I mean, there’s a reason they call them disposables, right? You can just toss it away, and that’s the end of your relationship with that particular one.

I have to say, though, it is incredibly easy. I have partly to thank Juice, a girlfriend of mine who has been using cloths with her little one. She was my cheerleader.

But first I had to get into a cleaning rhythm, which was easy to do, because I am hooked up in the diaper department. The more we have, the less number of times we have to do the wash. If you are expecting, and think you might get into cloths, be sure to register for them. It will save you so much money, it’s unbelievable. R’s coworkers went above and beyond with their gift to us.

It’s a gift that just keeps on giving. I guess Ruth is too. At least, she’s the gift that keeps on giving to the gift that keeps on giving. Nevermind. She poops, people. A lot.

We are using a combination of Fuzzibunz One Size, Fuzzibunz Small (I misread an ebay description and thought I was buying One Size. I like them, though. And will be looking for the Mediums/Larges/XL in the future), and BumGenius One Size.

The BumGenius ones are velcro which I didn’t think I’d like, but I do. It lets me adjust to her perfectly. See the Fuzzibunz in the photo above? And see the little gap by her thigh? This was taken before I really grasped how tightly to snap them. After two leakages, let’s all give thanks above that it was not a #2 leakage, I am now the snapper psycho. Once the velcro starts to lose its luster, it can be turned into snaps.

Look at her, though. She likes them. In fact, getting her diaper changed is perhaps the highlight of her day. No kidding. I’m slightly in awe, because I can go on a camping trip and not shower once, and be okay with it. She must have gotten her cleanliness from R. But then again, have you seen his goatee lately? Yikes.

We think that part of the reason she loves getting her bum wiped, is well.. because of the wipes. And the “wipe juice.” No really, that’s what’s it’s called. Baby wipe juice.


It smells heavenly and is organic. I’ve grown to hate that word. I love what it produces, but the actual word now just rubs me the wrong way. Every time I say it, I have to say it as though I’m an English aristocrat. Orgaaahhnic. (and be sure to put your nose in the air.)

I put a capful into a travel spray bottle and fill to brim with water. Ba Da Bing.

My sister had hooked me up with a gigantic tub full of clothes, blankets, burp cloths etc. There were quite a few receiving blankets in there, much more than I needed. So I cut them up in 8″x8″ squares. Ba Da Boom.

And my mom sewed two pieces together. No, I didn’t do it, she did. You remember the last time I took a crack at sewing. If you don’t recall that lovely creation, check it out here: The trapezoid baby blanket.

So, you either spray a couple times on the wipe, or spray directly on your child. Either way, I’ve found that I use less cloth wipes than disposable ones. Maybe because they’re thicker? I don’t know, but R and I both agreed that it hasn’t been a hard transition for either the wipes or diapers.

Now on to the dreaded cleaning part. Yes, I wash every day, but I don’t think I’d need to if I didn’t want to. That’s why the more diapers the merrier. It gives you breathing room.

You can either dry them on low, or air-dry them. The sun bleaches out any stains, so that’s the preferable way. Problem is, we don’t have a clothesline. All we have is an expandable one, which does not hold up well with this wind. I’ve had to rewash countless loads after finding it face-planted in the front lawn.

But then I discovered the perfect spot for it. Wait for it…. In our dining room! Now who wants to come over for dinner?  You know, and stare at diapers that 30 minutes prior was holding human excretions. Brownies anyone?

No, but this is perfect. This particular window gets great sunshine and of course it can be opened for the breeze on nice days. Plus, I’ve found my winter solution, which makes me ecstatic.

And yes, I’ll put it away if you come over to play spades. Promise.

Unless I lose. Then game on.

Don’t let me out of the house


I was in the cry room at church last Sunday, nursing Ruthie. Finally, I was let out of my quarantine and made my way out to R. As soon as I got to the aisle, I noticed something was amiss. So I looked down (Naturally. As about 1 out of every 3 embarrassing things that happen to me involve my chest in some way.) and holy schnikes, one side of my nursing bra was hanging out for all to see. Apparently, I forgot to pull my shirt back up. (For the record, I had to look up how to spell schnikes and, look, it’s got its own definition: A non-cursing expression of amazement and/or surprise. It’s pronounced schnaik-ees, not schnaiks.)

I sat down next to R and whispered, “Well, I gave the whole back row a show. That outta bring ’em back next Sunday.” He looked puzzled but I didn’t elaborate, because I was already in the middle of thanking God that at least my bra had been pulled up.

You’d think I’d learned my lesson, huh. Nope.

Ruth and I were listening to the KSU football game and I took a photo to remember that special moment. And it is indeed special now.

The nursing pad gave it a glamorous touch, I have to say. She’s appalled.

This is going in her baby book.


Ruthie was gracious enough to invite us on a picnic outing over the weekend. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. We packed up a lunch and then about 15 other bags full of random things that were never needed. It’s trial and error right now, trying to figure out the least we can get away with while towing a 5 week old.

I was intent to stay on that blanket for as long as possible. Could you blame me? Check out the color of that sky. Perfect.


I was in charge of getting lunch together while R played with Ruthie. Egg salad sandwiches, cheese and crackers, apples, celery with peanut butter… oh and a jumbo sized bag of Tootsie Roll pops. I fear I have an addiction.

At some point in my teenage years, I must have run into a dealer on the street who opened up his trench coat and revealed hanging tootsie roll pops. “The first one’s free, girlie.” And the rest is history. I’ve been waking up at odd hours of the night to eat them and then disposing of the evidence so R doesn’t know. Not like he’d care. In fact, the only person who is going to care is my dentist. I have my first appointment since having Ruth in a few weeks, and I think there’s about 300 cavities living in my teeth. Two of them found love and have since started a family.

So with a pop in my mouth, I started to spread the egg salad.

And then something flutter by me and landed nearby. Oh, just a leaf… Yay Fall, I thought.

And then I looked closer.

And then I looked at R.


Please, God, no.

The dreaded booger sucker and R was knuckle deep with it.

“Sorry, it’s just not working,” he said. “It won’t suck them all the way in. So I have to find some way to dispose of them.”

And by disposing of them, he means attaching them onto leaves and then throwing them into the beautiful gentle breeze.

So that it can drift its way right next to my lunch-making station.

I looked at the leaf again and dry heaved. They say that, as a mother, you don’t get grossed out by your kid’s excretions. Well, whoever they are, are wrong.

Fricken disgusting, Ruth. Use a kleenex.

That booger sucker must have also sucked out Ruth’s energy because she immediately zonked out.

So what did we do on a wonderful day outside? Watch a dvd of course. We’re crazy about Mad Men and had a few episodes left to watch. Ruth didn’t mind. Next time, we’ll fly a kite we swear.

You see? She really didn’t care. Look at her mouth. When it’s all pushed out like that, she is happily dreaming away.

Probably dreaming of better skin, from the looks of it. We’re in week 3 of baby acne and it took zero seconds before R brought up the classic pizza face commercial below.

We still love you, Ruth. You’re a beautiful before photo of a Clearasil model.

After our romp in the hay with Mad Men, R pulled out our financials to work on for next month. As soon as he said, “finan…” he heard snoring and looked around.


It was Ruth’s fault.

Apparently being hip is not a requirement.

I don’t know how I snaked by. Unless it means that only mamas with hips can join. In that case, I was a shoe-in. In fact, I’m sure there’s an email in my inbox right now requesting that I be the spokesperson for that group of mamas with hips. If that were true, though, I don’t think the current clipart is appropriate.

Either which way, I’ve joined this local group.

It’s confirmed, people, I’m hip. So you can stop sending me emails on how to up my cool factor. It’s already been achieved.  After I read the acceptance, I strutted around The Shack pointing and winking at everything.

Then I looked at Ruthie and she gave me her ‘I can see through you and you’re not as cool as you think’ look. Oh yeah, Ruth? Well, for your information I’m now a hip mama. Eat it. So she did. And after 15 minutes gave me the look again.

Whatever. I’ll show you.

But before I walk through this nerdy wardrobe into the Chronicles of Hipness, let’s take a look at my past life. My past awkward life.

Like how I forced R to participate in Thrill The World with me and another couple. It was a bid to try and have the most number of people dance the Thriller at the same time. People all over the world did it. See? I’m not alone. We showed up for the practice and were swarmed by 14 year olds.

If you want to watch the video, here it is. Don’t hate. We spent the day leading up to this at an Oktoberfest festival. It took me nano seconds into the first lager to forget the steps. My friend, J, and I are on the left side (I’m in the black dress and she is in front of me in pants and small jacket.) T & R are on the right, (T wearing a tuxedo shirt and R right behind him.) R’s favorite part is the high-five they did at the very end.

Or what about the time I slipped on stairs in college, landed on my back, and laid there as a high school tour walked by? That will never happen again. Because I’m hip now, ya’all. (maybe I should quit saying ya’all, then.)

If you’re interested in getting a glimpse into my disturbing psyche, in which I obsess over a graceful girl all through class and then try to emulate her, click on the photo. It will take you to the post.

And talk about disturbing. Me, in the woods, with a Jane Austen book. What would Jane think? And why would she be walking around with a copy of her own book? I don’t know, but she was cool… why couldn’t me reenacting mesmerizing looks not be? Well, that’s in the past now. I’ll only be throwing around hip looks from now on, which means I may or may not acknowledge you now that I’m several notches higher.

Click on the photo if you’re into the neuroses of a jane-aholic and would like to be hypnotized by my captivating stares. You’re getting very sleepy….

Upon being accepted into this group, I started looking around at the various meet-ups and found one that would fit Ruthie’s age. I remembered R’s word of advice: “don’t just throw all your cards out there at once, Carrie. Let people know you’re nice and then drop the weird jokes on them.”  So I RSVP’d for an event, and told myself to write something short and sweet. Don’t always try to go for the laugh, Carolyn. They’ll get to know you soon enough.

I’m screwed.