one thousand loads of laundry


In a time before animal cracker crumbs were a staple in our bed, before 7 a.m. was sleeping in, and a clean house lasted more than 15 minutes, I spent my spare time doing things other than laundry.

In fact, I actually enjoyed laundry. Laundry day was once a week, and on that day, one or two loads were accomplished. And, that was all that was needed. I would turn on the television and frivolously flip through channels as I lazily folded each piece of clothing.

Fast forward to reality where I am routinely six feet under piles of laundry, and folding clothes is a race against two ticking time bombs. Forget putting it away. Grab and go as necessary, which is why my home is often dotted with miniature shirts, socks and undies. Currently, I do three – sometimes four – loads a day. Let’s look at that for a minute.

Before children, we’ll say two loads of laundry a week. That’s roughly 8-9 loads a month and approximately 104 loads a year.

After children, we’ll play conservative and say three loads a day. That’s 21 for the week, and a grand total of 1,092 loads of laundry a year. Uh. Wow. And, I only have two children.

If this trend continues, we still have approximately 18 years before our youngest moves out. Multiply that number by 18. Nauseating.

Now, I’m hopeful it won’t always be like this. Right now, Everett is a spitter. Not a dainty dribbler, but a full impact soaker. When he spits, he leaves a wave of destruction on anything within a three-foot radius. You can hear the splat across the room. Ew. We clean out our arsenal of bibs and burp cloths every single day. I hear by one year, we should be done with the spit. Fingers crossed.

As for Austin, well, I wash a lot of Lightning McQueen and Thomas the Train undies – and, sheets. Yay for potty training…

I’m beginning to think the stereotypical “smelly kid” label might not be so bad after all.

Looking back, maybe I should have registered for stock in Tide or Dreft, as opposed to a million different socks, blankets and lotions that have all been used once.

Perhaps, it’s time to visit my nemesis, Pinterest, and see how many ways I can make my own laundry detergent. Brilliant. I’ll just squeeze that into my schedule between 1,092 loads of laundry.

potty fail


This afternoon, when I asked Austin if he would like to sit on the potty, I received a glare. Then, in total silence, he carries his potty into the office, sets it down, and closes the door – him on one side, the potty on the other. He shakes his head without making eye contact and scurries away.

So, obviously, it’s going really well. ::smacks head::

Things began amazing with Austin. There were few accidents. He wanted to sit on the potty, and he loved the rewards. We went all out with intense enthusiasm and praise, not to mention the M&Ms and prizes from the dollar store.

But, a few days in, and he’s decided he is so over the potty.

Apparently, he is still doing well at school the couple times a week that he attends. But, at home, he has decided to boycott the potty… again. I’m not sure what changed, other than my child’s incredible stubbornness in the first place. I’m not sure where he gets that trait…

Now, when I encourage him to sit on the potty, he throws a tantrum – an over the top, kicking and screaming, mommy is going to rip her hair out kind of fit. The thing is he hates diaper changes, too. I really think he would be content walking around in a diaper for the rest of his life. Try to get a girlfriend in those, Austin. We usually put him in regular underwear at home, and when he wets himself, it doesn’t even seem to bother him. He could care less if he is soaked.

Since he can’t be bothered by wet diapers, wet undies or even going commando, where does that leave us? In a pile of pee, I guess.

Time to re-strategize. Score Austin 1,347, Mommy and Daddy 0. But, the final score will be Mommy and Daddy WIN. You will be potty trained, son. Just you wait.

i’d rather eat my foot


Every morning and every evening, we select one jar of baby food, open it, and then promptly throw it in the trash. At least, that’s how it feels.

Everett detests solids. Over a three month period, we’ve tried four or five different brands, different consistencies, real food, and even puffs – you know, sugar air – but, always we are met with pursed lips, overly dramatic grimaces, gags and spitting. On the rare occasion, he will actually down a small jar of sweet potatoes or squash. It has to be orange. Odd. But, even those “favorites” are often met with the same distaste.

It’s baffling to me honestly. That child will stick everything under the sun in his mouth and gnaw at it – a cooking utensil, our fingers, a shoe, our phones, Austin’s toys, or a personal favorite, the foot. But, the moment we slip in a bite of actual food, it is not up to his standards. You know, his high standards of feet and shoes.

It’s difficult not to compare our own children, but Austin was an eater. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, he loved his meals. You had to keep your fingers to yourself during mealtime less you lose one to that chomper. It took him a while to learn the concept of sharing one’s food.

And, thus, we are left with the question of whether Everett is just ridiculously picky, a late bloomer, or if he has an aversion, which apparently is common in kiddos with medical issues off the bat. Feeding evaluation should be scheduled for next week.

Maybe he just wants a cheeseburger.

i am yours, and you are mine


On this day three years ago, Austin entered our lives in the darkness of early morning. This is the day I became a mother. This is the day I appreciated my own mother more than I ever had in my life. This is the day I learned the true definition of unconditional love.

Before we had children, I never held babies. Really. Never. I can name a single occasion that I held a baby without coercion from a friend or family member. They were such fragile, foreign creatures, and, frankly, I didn’t know what to do with them. Even while six months pregnant with our first, I reluctantly held a friend’s newborn. Needless to say, I was hoping this natural mothering instinct would kick in fast.

Every night, the hubs and I would lie in bed, watching Austin have a party in my tummy. We would talk to him. We would sing to him. We would pray for him. But, it still didn’t feel real.

Then, at 34 weeks pregnant, I started having contractions. Real contractions. I was given a steroid shot to speed up his lung development, and, immediately placed on bed rest in hopes that he would cook a little longer. That’s about the point I realized my time was up. I’m about to be a mom.

Much to the doctor’s surprise, that little boy held out for another four weeks, and, at 38 weeks pregnant, our precious Austin entered this world with a little bit of oxygen and only minor complications. As I cradled him for the very first time, my fears of inadequacy and instincts drifted away. I memorized every inch of his face in a split second, and I stared in awe at this amazing gift from God.

I was a mother, a mom, a mommy. I am his mommy for now and always.

Often we debate whether a woman becomes a mother during pregnancy or at birth or even after. There is no correct answer. Everyone comes to it in their own time. For me, there is no question. While I understood the concept of becoming a mother while pregnant, my complete heart and soul were not there until I looked into Austin’s big, beautiful eyes for the first time. There is no doubt I loved my child before he was born, but I believe becoming a mother is more than a label.

The day I became a mom, I knew it. I felt it. It became a part of me. My heart was fuller than I knew possible. He was mine to love, to kiss, to teach, to guide, to share. I knew I would do anything for my child.

On this day three years ago, I never could have imagined what the next few years would hold. Most days are incredibly hard. But, even on the hardest of days, that sweet giggle or impromptu “I love you” from the mouth of your child renews our spirit and gives us strength. The strength to love them unconditionally.

What an incredible gift to be called mom.

You, my sweet Austin, fill my life with laughter and pure love. You teach me. You open my eyes to see. You bring joy and light to a world full of darkness. I am blessed to be your mother. I am yours, and you are mine. Always.

drowning in icing


Another year. Another birthday. Another party.

I get a little too excited about my kids’ birthday parties. But, by the end, that excitement turns into a stress mess and nothing ends quite how I envisioned.

Today, I find myself at Michael’s – the 12th store on my places to go for birthday supplies. I’ve gathered the basics, but Pinterest always makes me feel one step… or, 10 steps… behind. I should try for more.

I went in searching for race car-themed cupcake decor because I was having trouble finding exactly what I wanted. There are 50 million different shades and designs of pink and purple, but boy themes are in short supply. Thankfully, I located the perfect cupcake liners quickly, but, then, I saw the cakes. There was a car-shaped cake tin. How much would Austin LOVE this? It would be adorable. I could decorate the cars AND do cupcakes. Sugar overload, but who cares? I could just imagine how impressive this whole setup could be. I was going to rock this party.

I stand in line, attempting to keep one child from breaking every single glass vase lining the walkway and the other from nose diving from the basket seat. Finally, we are next, and I lug the basket to the counter where I quickly remove the items. Then, I stop.

There I am, drowning in $30 worth of specialty icing and a couple car-shaped tins, along with other party “necessities” and various craft projects that most likely will never be accomplished. That’s about the time reality slapped me in the face. What am I thinking?

Why do I turn every birthday party into a circus and stress myself? This is a party. It’s supposed to be fun. We are not celebrating me or my crafts or how many Pinterest projects I can cram into a party.

We are celebrating my son – my sweet, loving little boy. Another year of life that the Lord has blessed us with. Another year of laughter, tears, hugs and kisses. We are celebrating Austin. And, to be honest, he doesn’t care about a single thing that I’m doing for his party except for the fact that there will be friends, there will be cars and there will be chocolate. And, that is enough.

That is enough. It’s hard to wrap my head around that thought. We try so hard to make sure our children have the best of everything. But, some things, like birthday parties, really don’t matter. So, maybe if I step back and take a lesson from my three-year-old, it could save me from a few gray hairs down the road. Instead of stressing over logistics and decorations, I’m going to try to let it go and just enjoy. Get ready. It’s time to party like a three-year-old.

i am raising a ninja


We moved Austin into a big boy bed almost a year ago in preparation for Everett’s arrival. It was a difficult transition, but he adapted. Since then, we had been using a baby gate to keep Austin from roaming at night.

About three weeks ago, we ditched the gate. And, I miss it.

Of course I worry about him tumbling down the stairs in the middle of the night. But, he has mastered the stairs, and, to some extent, I have let go of that concern. And, I worry about the mischief he could potentially accomplish in the dead of the night. But, honestly, what makes me miss that gate the most is my own fear factor.

Walking into a room after the children have gone to bed only to find a small person standing, silently staring at you is creepy. Beyond creepy. It has actually caused me to literally jump. He has become quite stealthy at sneaking out of bed. Sometimes it is to play, and other times, well, I can’t figure out why. Occasionally, he will watch us from the catwalk, unknowing that he is there until I glance up, fall to the ground out of sheer surprise and nearly have a heart attack.

I admit that I have seen far too many horror movies. Growing up, my best friend LOVED scary movies. Adored them. I hated them. But, guess what? We watched them – over and over and over again. I’m quite certain that any horror movie made before 1999, I have seen… against my will. Since then, I can count the number of those movies I’ve seen on one hand… okay, maybe two fingers. Those story lines are engrained in my brain. I can barely watch CSI without having nightmares.

In fact, several weeks ago, the hubs was out of town on business, and I was home with the kids. About 10:30 at night, I was lying in bed, when I heard a noise – a LOUD noise – followed shortly by several lighter noises. Obviously, someone was in my house. There could be no other option. So, what did I do? I called my neighbor… who came over with a bat. And, we proceeded to search my house, room by room, opening closets, looking under beds and behind the curtains for the bogie man. Surprise, surprise, nothing turned up. But, I was able to sleep much better after that. Too many scary movies…

So, obviously, I am a little jumpy. But, I mean seriously, who wouldn’t be that way if they came face to face with the spitting image of a ghost child, who appeared out of nowhere, wanting to know if you will play with them?

It’s hard for me to understand how such a little person who doesn’t understand the concept of “inside voice” and constantly crashes into everything during day light hours could sneak around so ninja-like in the darkness of night. While I appreciate him not waking his little brother by running around like a wild man, it would be nice to have a little head’s up.

In fact, maybe I’ll just attach jingle bells to all of his pajamas. Problem solved.

potty talk


We are officially in the throes of potty training, and, at this point, I wonder if the scent of urine will ever leave my home. Seeing as I have two boys… I’m guessing not.

We decided to wait until Saturday morning for the fun to begin – that way I wouldn’t drown in the puddles of tee tee myself. The night before, I was casually perusing – aka stalking – Facebook when an ad geared toward potty training popped on my newsfeed. The message of the ad was the longer you wait to potty train, the harder it will be. Well, great. It was torture three months ago. It was agony two months ago. At this point, I was seriously considering who I could pay a million dollars to potty train my kid. Of course, I had to figure out where on earth I could get that kind of money. But, hey, that seemed easier than trying to teach Austin where to do his business.

The adventure began Saturday morning. To ready ourselves for the third attempt, I read and reread about dozens of methods. There was the one-day method or the three-day method or the naked method and more, plus hundreds of tips on how to be successful. Homework was done. We were ready.

But, really, when we started the day, I kicked them all to the curb. Let’s wing it, I said.

We spent half the day in the backyard with our wild man running around bare naked, hopped up on juice, and encouraged him to “water” the grass and trees. I’m quite thankful the three little girls who live next door did not try to come play this day. Potty training is not for the faint of heart.

After a semi-successful morning of naked freedom, we moved inside and strategically placed two potty chairs around the kitchen and living room. At this point, it was time for lunch, so I put the potty chair in the seat and scooted him up to the table. We were not going to miss a chance. I never in my life thought I would be so excited to have someone pee at the kitchen table. Ah, parenthood.

That’s when he had his first indoor success for the day. It didn’t matter that my child was literally relieving himself where we eat, or that a little bit splattered the floor and my foot. My child had peed in the potty, and I proceeded to cheer with no less enthusiasm than if he was the youngest recipient ever of the Nobel Peace Prize. And, M&Ms. There were boat loads of M&Ms. Maybe he wouldn’t be going to college in diapers after all.

To be honest, since then, it hasn’t been too bad. There have been far more successes than accidents, but I know we still have a long road ahead of us. And, now, I understand. He just wasn’t ready three months ago or even two months ago. It’s amazing the difference a couple months can make.

I’m not sure my sanity would have survived pressing through potty training two months ago, and I’m thankful that Facebook ad did not present itself then. Because, you know what, waiting a little longer has made this seem like a piece of cake. Cheers to the late potty trainers!

maybe you should’ve counted a few more sheep

naptime blog

I have a love, hate relationship with nap time at our house. In fact, some days I just can’t muster the courage to even try to put my children down. As nap time approaches, I do a quick poll in my head – Is it worth it today? Or, can we try to survive until bedtime?

Now, let me explain. I LOVE naps. It is a beautiful thing when the stars align and both of my children go down easy and sleep like sweet cherubs. I adore those days. And, really, the drifting off to sleep is not what sends me into near panic attacks. It’s the wake up.

The wake up that makes me want to hide under my own covers. The wake up that immediately makes me regret nap time. The wake up that is the reason I practically toss the children at the hubs when 5 o’clock hits.

I loathe the wake up. Imagine a mother grizzly bear. You have just trapped her, and then decide to steal her cub away. But, you don’t stop there. You then proceed to sit just out of her reach and taunt her, while arbitrarily throwing acorns at her head. Now, bottle all of that anger and rage.

Austin’s fury at wake up time is the equivalent of that mother grizzly bear.


He cries and screams and just when you think he’s done, you glance in his direction, and it begins all over again. Usually, this goes on for about an hour. Bribery begins shortly after the first wail: a cup of water, a cup of animal crackers and cartoons expertly positioned for maximum efficiency. Sometimes it turns the grizzly bear into a mere rabid dog, and other times it only prolongs the outburst when we run out of the beloved animal crackers.

The real fun is when both boys wake up simulataneously. Everett is a dream napper in the mornings. But, there is something about afternoon naps that leaves both my boys a shoe in for leading roles in The Exorcist. Everett completely loses his mind. You know that bottle he doesn’t need for another hour or so? Yeah. He’s decided he’s going to die if he doesn’t have it five minutes ago. Oh, and that diaper, that he just wet .05 seconds ago. Yes, that should have been changed preemptively.

When I hear people gush over how much they love nap time, and how they themselves sneak in a nap too, I dislike them a little bit… okay… a lot. Because even when the children are sleeping, I sit there waiting. Waiting for the explosion that is our afternoon. But, it’s okay. Because at the end of the day, I know there will be chocolate.