sharing a lifetime


It all started on a porch in Ohio. On a cool spring day, boy met girl. There was chatter, and there was laughter. Six months later, there was a wedding.

Sixty years ago today, my Grandma and Grandpa said, “I do.”

Sixty years. Sixty years of living and loving, of heartaches and joy, of angry spats and treasured moments. Sixty years of a life shared.

In 60 years, they raised three wonderful girls, moved at least 15 times, lived in two countries, loved one another from across oceans, struggled through several wars, planted roots in Texas, and lived whole-heartedly.

There is love in their home. There is kindness. There is generosity. There is overflowing of laughter. Compassion seeps throughout. They are the hardest working people I have ever known. And, they are cherished beyond belief by family and friends alike.

What a beautiful couple to celebrate on this monumental milestone. Sixty years.

Too few couples last 60 years, and, in this day, too few care to make it that far. But, marriage is a sacred bond. It’s not meant to be trivial or a fleeting moment. It is hard and messy. There are days full of dislike and exhaustion, but so many more filled with love. Marriage is lifelong and lasting. True love never fails.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails …” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Today, my grandparents celebrate 60 years of marriage.

Happy Anniversary! I can only pray that my marriage will last as long and be as beautiful as your own. You inspire me.

seeing double

E riding horse

When Everett received his helmet, we were given a list of strict instructions. One of which was that he needed to wear it 23 hours a day. The one-hour reprieve was reserved for bath time and cleaning the helmet. Basically, one hour to scrub the stench out.

On occasion, kids need a second helmet. The explanation from one of the technicians was parents tend to get “sloppy” about having their child wear it 23 hours a day, leaving extra time for their head to grow outside the perimeters of the helmet.

Insurance covered Everett’s helmet the first time – hallelujah! – and we didn’t want to take our chances a second time. So, we were a smidge obsessive compulsive about him wearing it.

Despite no sleep the first two and a half weeks in it, he still wore it. With the fussiness and discomfort, he wore it. When we spent a week at the beach, we made that hour off work as best we could, and he wore it. Even though that helmet made his head smell like a high school locker room, he wore it.

Most days, Everett doesn’t even have it off for the full hour. We were going all in, and we wanted it to work.

And, it has. His head looks phenomenal compared to what it was eight weeks ago. It definitely looks less alien and more Gerber baby. The initial plan was for him to wear it for four plus months. At his appointment on Monday, we were told he has three weeks.

Before you release the confetti and balloons in celebration, she didn’t mean his treatment was over in three weeks. He will have outgrown his helmet in three weeks. We found this out the same day I received Everett’s adorable watermelon costume for Halloween in the mail. We may have to rethink that one.

On a rare occasion, kids need a second helmet because their heads grow faster than expected, even when there is extreme diligence in wearing it. Not completely surprising since both my boys are in the lower percentiles for weight and height, but take the top percentiles for their head size. Big heads… Wonder who they get that from…

Insurance is not quite so kind this time around, as we basically maxed out our allowance in the helmet previously. Now, we are left with a decision to make, Round two or call it quits. And, we also have to question whether a second helmet will make a substantial difference in the treatable time he has left. I could really use a crystal ball right about now.

Little boy, I’m afraid you may have spent your entire college tuition this first year of life 😉

waiting for a mouthful


Despite teething symptoms at four months old, Austin received his first tooth a month before he turned one. Just when I thought my child would be joining the dentures club, a little white tooth appeared. Everett wants to be just like big brother.

At Everett’s four-month well check, his pediatrician confirmed that he was indeed teething. Now, almost five months later, there are still no teeth. Not a single one. But, the signs are all there.

10 Signs your Kid is Teething

1. You begin referring to Sophie the Giraffe as your best friend.

2. Everything must go in his mouth – including your face.

3. Random people go out of their way to inform you that your baby is “obviously” teething.

4. Bibs are no longer just for spit up or mealtime, forcing us to either double our supply or double our laundry.

5. Sneak-attacking your hand is no longer a game. It is a mission.

6. You fear that sucking on his own fingers might actually result in a real bodily injury.

7. He reminds you he is teething every hour throughout the night.

8. You find yourself jamming your own fingers in his mouth multiple times a day, praying you’ll feel a tooth.

9. When you pull an item out of the diaper bag, 50 teething rings tumble out.

10. You carry Infant Tylenol with you… in a holster… attached to your pajamas.

diapers for life


We’re stuck. Stuck in potty land with nothing to show for it. Austin has officially revolted against the potty at home and school. Last week, he even refused to set foot in the bathroom during school. Needless to say, we’ve taken a few steps – or, ridiculously large leaps – backward.

What we are dealing with is downright defiance, and, to be honest, I’m lost. I have no clue what to do.

We’ve tried several suggested methods. We’ve tried to force it, and we’ve tried to be relaxed about it. We made a potty chart with stickers and prizes. We still bribe with M&Ms and bite-sized candy bars. He has big boy undies and several potty options to sit on. He runs around butt naked daily. We cheer and praise and have only stopped short of throwing him a potty parade… which is not totally out of the question. Who has the number for a reputable Grand Marshall?

Our latest trial came off the recommendation of a couple friends: the Potty Watch. You set it to play a song every 30, 60 or 90 minutes. When it plays, Austin is supposed to sit on the potty. We set it for every 30 minutes to start. Even after bedtime, I could still hear the tune mocking me in my head.

He was fairly excited about his new watch, but he didn’t want to wear it. So, I did. You won’t find that trend in InStyle magazine. It didn’t take long or many public outings before he decided he no longer wanted to share. Thank goodness. He began wearing it everywhere, and, at first, wanted to sit on the potty when it played the song. Several successes later, he dumped the watch.

Suddenly, I found him trying to silence the watch every time it sounded. Or, as soon as it went off, he would quickly pee in his pants and let me know he no longer needed to sit on the potty. Fantastic. We still sat him on the potty after those stunts, but it usually resulted in flailing legs, tears and being sent to his room. And, then back to the potty and repeat.

I’m beginning to think Austin and Everett will be potty trained at the same time. Remember when I mentioned paying someone a million dollars to potty train this kid? Yeah. That’s starting to sound like a realistic plan. Donations can be accepted through PayPal to help fund Austin’s potty training 😉

Or, we’ll just plan to purchase diapers for life. I suppose there’s always Depends.

waiting on that rainy day


I love cold, rainy days when there’s nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to see.

We spend a bit of the day in bed, snuggled beneath the covers, cartoons in the background, toddler feet in our faces, a bubbly baby rolling between us, and laughter to fill the room.

These are the sweet moments that I lock away in my heart. For a time, there is no fighting, no crying and no whining. Just smiles and giggles and precious whispers between us. Just our family of four.

How fleeting these moments seem as we have mile-long to do lists, a rowdy three-year-old to chase and a finicky infant to please. It’s not easy to push that list to the back of my mind. More than ever, I feel our family runs on efficiency, making the best use of our time. Fewer time for snuggles and lounging and just being.

When I think about how we interpret what is best, we focus on laundry, cleaning, work, errands, bills, and so much more. Today was our first cold, rainy day of fall. We spent it not relaxing, but, instead, running a garage sale and cleaning house. As I recap the day, I feel regret. Wishing we had made time for those special moments I cherish. Wishing there had been less time spent on edge and frustration and more jokes and enjoyment.

It’s a hard line to walk between feeling productive and trying to snag those moments with our kids. But, we run, run, run all week. So, what if we take a breather from all that running, and move snuggles, playing with our children and laughing to the front of that list? Sure, the laundry would pile up more than ever. The house would truly be a disaster. There would be less running over work. And, I would have to find a way to condense the dozens of errands.

But, being together, loving together, laughing together seems to be the best use of our time. Period. Everything else should have to wait.

When that next cold, rainy day arrives, you’ll know where to find me.

twizzlers and jerky


Beef jerky, Twizzlers, Cheeto puffs, graham cracker sticks.

This is my grocery list. No, we are not adopting a college student. This is all for my 8-month-old.

Before you run off and call Child Protective Services, he doesn’t actually ingest half of it. These are all tools for occupational therapy. And, to be fair, the OT is the one who made the grocery list. The hubs and toddler wish she would make our weekly lists, too.

We started Everett’s feeding evaluation on Tuesday fairly normal. I offered him baby food – sweet potatoes. One of his “faves.” He refused with dramatic gestures, as though I had just served him a sweaty sock. She makes a note and pulls out a bag of Cheeto puffs. Maybe she’s hungry? Nope. Two Cheeto puffs land on Everett’s tray. That’s a little different, but, really, Cheeto puffs are pretty close to Gerber puffs. No biggie.

Then, she breaks out the Twizzlers and beef jerky, and into his hand goes the Twizzler. He begins to gnaw on it whole-heartedly. At this point, I’m not sure if I should rip it from his hands as if she had just given my child a pair of scissors, or, contemplate on why I never thought to give my baby candy. That’ll get him eating. She explains it’s for texture, and he won’t actually ingest it. Oh, right.

We left with a new regime for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A five-step process. One part is to let our little guy get wild, crazy and messy in his puree. I’m not going to lie. This gives me a touch of anxiety. I’m cool with mess. You have to be with kids. Laundry hiding the floor. Okay. Food crumbs in every hidden crevice of the home. Sure. A car that now resembles your kid’s trashed closet no matter how many times you clean it. Yep.

What gives me anxiety is how he suddenly feels compelled to touch his helmet once his fingers are oozing with baby food. That helmet, that is not supposed to get wet or dirty and costs nearly $4,000 out of pocket. THAT gives me anxiety. And, we do take it off occasionally, but, we only have an hour window for the entire day. That makes for some super sonic eating and an expedited bath time.

We’ve had a few days to practice the process, and it’s a bit of a beating. The most successful of the steps is the beef jerky and Twizzlers. It’s basically the same concept as eating his feet or shoes, but much more sanitary.

Overcoming a sensory food aversion is nothing I imagined. It feels a little bizarro world. It will be a slow day in, day out filled with menus my toddler hasn’t even tasted. And, by the way, try explaining to big brother why his little brother can have a Twizzler for breakfast, but he can’t. ::smacks head::

Apparently, my idea of giving the kid a cheeseburger wasn’t too far fetched. Would you like fries with that?

more than a little picky


Everett has a sensory food aversion. It’s not real severe, but it’s there. And, it will be a long, slow process to overcome with the occupational therapist. I can’t help but feel my Everett is being picked on. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

On the drive home, I started mentally tallying all the obstacles he has faced in his short little life:

Two abdominal surgeries, NG tubes, loads of medications, open heart surgery, reflux, physical therapy for torticollis, plagiocephaly, the helmet, most likely another helmet, and now a sensory food aversion.

Then, I ended my pity party because, really, there are far more things to be grateful for than not.

I am thankful he is home in my arms. I am thankful it’s not his heart that brings us to the hospital this time. I am thankful he is healthy. I am thankful for his smiles and that he is happy. I am thankful that he can hear the “I love you’s” and sweet lullabies we sing. I am thankful he can see the wonders of this life and how his older brother delights him. I am thankful he has the voice to laugh and cry and say “Ma Ma” – and, eventually “Da Da” 😉 I am thankful he can roll and scoot to explore the world around him. I am thankful he can feel my kisses and snuggles. And, I am thankful he can take food through his mouth even if he’d rather not.

I am thankful he is ours.

While today I am thankful, that doesn’t mean I won’t feel frustrated or upset tomorrow or the next day or the day after. I’m only human. Each day we have a choice. We can feel sorry for ourselves, or we can focus on our blessings. And, some days we just want to feel sorry. Some days we need that pity party. But, for me, that day is not today.

On a day that I didn’t get the answer I wanted, and I would much rather pout, I give thanks instead. I am thankful.