Ohhhhhhh…THAT! I knew I forgot something…

Judah: “praise”

Ebenezer: A memorial to the Lord

November 8th, 2010

6lbs, 15oz

As you can see by the following photos, he’s pretty darn ugly. And grumpy..












































Here I raise my ebenezer

Here by Thy great help I’ve come

And I hope, by Thy good pleasure

Safely to arrive at Home.

(Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Robert Robinson, 1735-1790)


Have I ever told you that I read magazines backwards? And the last page of a new book first?

You could say that I’m terrible at surprises. Or impatient. Or maybe just dumb.

In any case, we peeked into the womb yesterday, and discovered that I am carrying our fourth boy in a row. I suffered a momentary pang, simply because it has been 8 years since girly daintiness came to visit, all afresh and pink, and seriously, I had the perfect name picked out!

Short-lived and very silly, these preferences we decide we have. Baby was beautiful and wiggly, smiling and waving, and I’m so happy he’s come to be. Who could begrudge a baby his gender? You’d have to be crazy.

Unfortunately, the world is crazy. Today I read this post, and it shattered my heart.

The other day I read this post, and it was equally as shattering.

Don’t read these posts if you want to continue in apathetic contentment. Don’t read these posts if you don’t want to change. I understand. Change is hard, and painful. Growth blazes new pathways in the brain and tears tissue in order to rebuild it stronger, but we need to be stronger. 

If we are to fight the insanity of this world, we need to be stronger.

Life Makes Me Sick

Now that the big announcement is out of the way, I just want to say that one of the most hopeful symptoms I have had this time around was the fact that I have been feeling like Epic Crapola. The last four pregnancies were of the (hatefully named) “blighted ovum” type, with the baby inexplicably ceasing to develop past 6 weeks.  Since six weeks is right around the time that I usually start to feel bad, I knew the gig was up when I felt more or less normal.

Of course, I tried to rationalize with “well, I’m getting older, things are bound to change” and “maybe it’s because I eat healthier now” and “every pregnancy is different” but in my heart of hearts, I knew, even before the sonograms revealed the truth in glaring black and white.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that everything smelled horrible. Things that normally would not have bothered me at all  (soup. pancakes. scented soap. the closet. lotion. deodorant. the couch. the kitchen. the dining room. pretty much my whole house. my own upper lip.) turned me green. My children giggled one morning when I took the peelings from one of their clementines and shoved them up my nose during their spelling lesson. They thought I was just being silly.

And don’t even get me started on the things that usually smell bad to me anyway (the dog. my son’s room. diapers. heavily perfumed ladies. brocolli.). My only recourse was minty gum, and lots of it. Stepping through the doors of Wal Mart was like taking my life into my own hands, and not for all the usual reasons. The orgy of cacophanous smells that assault my nostrils every time I go in that cursed place is enough to make me resort to this:


or, at the very least, this:


A couple of weeks ago I gave up my beloved coffee because I’m pretty sure it was killing me softly with its song. At first, I thought chai tea would be my go-to hot beverage substitute. I liked it a lot. It tasted great.

Shortly thereafter, I bought a chai tea latte from Starbucks one morning and with one sip a loud and persistent bell began going off in my head: ALARM! ALARM! STEP AWAY FROM THE CHAI! IMMINENT REVERSAL OF DIGESTIVE GRAVITY LIKELY!!!

So that was disappointing.

I drank hot chocolate this morning, which was okay, but now my heart is beating like a tiny bird trapped in a net and I think I won’t be doing that anymore either.

I miss my darling evil little coffee friend. It’s the one thing that still smells good to me.

Y’all know I’m not complaining. I mean, yes, I’m complaining, but it doesn’t negate my abundant delight at the reason behind the world smelling like one humongous waste processing plant.

I best be off now. I have to make a shopping list. My family insists on still getting hungry at regular intervals, which means I must brave the wilds of the grocery megalopolis and its deli-burnt-fried-chicken-shoe-leather-bleach-floor-cleaner smell.

Pray for me.


I went to the doctor the other day. The OB. Is there any other kind?

I didn’t want to go to the doctor. He’s a nice Christian guy but I can never decipher whether he’s looking at me with pity, disapproval, or affection. I have tried many times to make him laugh and only succeeded a few times over the years. I think I’m a pretty funny person, but he makes me doubt myself. It would be nice if he’d just flat-out proclaim how he feels instead of keeping his professional opinion under wraps. I could handle that better.

If he disapproves, I could tell him to shut his pie-hole and thank me for the repeat business.

If he thinks I’m awesome, he could scream “W00t!” and go for a high five.

The mental image makes me giggle.

He doesn’t congratulate me this time. We’ve done this dance often enough to know that would be premature. Instead we chat and he nods and shuffles the papers on my chart and says “well, let’s just go down the hallway here and see what’s going on!”

In the sonogram room, I get the distinct impression that he’s not looking forward to this anymore than I am. We’ve been through this more than a few times, and the gentle delivery of bad news is wearing on him…of that much I’m almost certain. He doesn’t turn on the big projector that is turned my way, but keeps his eyes on the small screen for his eyes only. The seconds feel like hours.

“Welllll….” he begins. “We actually have good news today!”

A smile. He turns the big screen on. There is an island of life within, a little strobe light of happiness dancing in the depths. A heartbeat.

Dates are perfect. Growth is perfect. And the heartbeat, of course, could be nothing less.

There are no guarantees in life, ever. My children are gifts, the ones who fill my house with chaos and the ones whose faces I have not yet seen. I have had 8 pregnancies evaporate into mist, go straight from hope to heartbreak. Yet this one, I feel strongly, is destined for terrestrial things.

I’ll be 42 this year. I’ve never felt so acutely that these baking years are coming to an end. I’m okay with that.

But I’m happy for one more chance to fire up the oven.


It’s Friday! And that’s reason enough to share with you these two videos of my Cowboy X. He’ll be two in just two months, and I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that.

Enjoy! And please do not notice the part where my baby almost pokes his eye clean out with an IKEA treat-cone-thingy leftover from Valentine’s Day, mkay? Thanks. Also, if you have a severe aversion to slobber/drool/things that cascade out of toddler’s mouths, you might wanna skip the first one. Although it is quite amusing.

Perfection is overrated anyway

The days following Christmas are, by definition, something of a bummer. Unless you are having a beautiful baby boy on one of those days, as I was, 6 years ago.




The labor itself was a bit of a bummer.




“a bit of a bummer” here means “nightmare from the bowels of hell“, but we won’t talk about that now.


I can even look cute with lettuce on my head!


Because coming home with my sweet angel baby was worth the trip to the netherworld to get him.


Picture 023


He’s got the biggest head imaginable, with the cutest face attached.




Over the past 6 years, he’s lived up to his angelic name…






Picture 104




Picture 227




Picture 812




Picture 702


Being six has not diminished his beauty in the least…he’s still one of the best looking kids I’ve ever seen. All-American. Sturdy. Athletic. Eager to learn. Ready to take on the world.




Six years old brings some changes, though, and never has that been more apparent than two days ago when he opened his gift from his grandparents and stated with great vehemence and indignation that it was “A BORING BOOK”.


Which pretty much puts him in the running for Rudest Child In The History of My House.


So. There’s some work to be done there. But surliness can’t diminish a mother’s love.  Happy 6th birthday, my:



Baby Morning Hair

There are some things that just make mornings better. Like coffee. And something delicious to eat. And hot showers. And coffee. But there is one thing that beats all else for bringing a smile on a dreary morning.



Baby Morning Hair.






With a face like this to wake up to, it’s almost certain to be a good day.



Then I see this



And suddenly I’m not so sure…



Whew! That was a close one! Good day potential: 93% and rising…


My almost-4-year-old loves anything electronic. The computer, the cellphone, my Flip camera, the DS, the Nintendo, you name it. If it beeps and boops, Toby’s all over it. He loves to be the subject of my camera and is always begging me to “picture” him, but lately he has learned that if he hits the right buttons on it, he himself is the master.


Consequently, the last time my camera disgorged its contents onto my hard drive, I found myself with a Toby-eyed perspective on life. It shows my home from a decidedly different angle, and the sorts of things he wanted to “picture” made me giggle a little. I hope they do the same for you.


**note: these pictures were taken at bedtime. My children do not, in fact, wear shapeless muumuus all day long. Those are their jammies. Just thought I should clarify**



The carpet.


My beloved rocker and beloved ratty footstool that I otherwise might never, ever have had documentation of. 


My jacket. On the floor. I have no idea how it got there.


A lone wipe. On the floor. I have no idea how it got there.


I have no idea who that woman is. But she looks like she is being extremely productive, and I admire her work ethic.

A closet doorknob. Have you ever seen a closet doorknob on a blog before? This may be a first…


Brother Josiah, reading. Laundry lurks in the background, ready to devour.


Emma’s knees.


Emma, herself.


Cowboy X. I don’t know what he’s saying, but it looks remarkably like “duuuuuuh”

Emma and Xavier, remarkably centered and in focus. The boy has an eye.


It would appear that Emma decided to take the reigns and “picture” Toby. Who, if I have not mentioned lately, has the cutest smile in the universe, even when blurry. Amen, infinity. hallelujah.

The end.

Technical Difficulties

Due to certain acts of God lately, today’s grand-finale giveaway will be slightly delayed. For anyone just now tuning in, be sure to enter the last three giveaway posts by leaving me a comment, and I’ll probably be picking winners on Saturday rather than Friday.


Be SURE to check back in later today, when the fabulously fantastic final giveaway will commence…I don’t want to reveal too much, but suffice to say it involves my delightfully talented SIL Becca.


Meanwhile, enjoy this little interview with my 3 year old, Toby, in which he looks every bit like trailer trash and talks about his home state.


Please excuse the shrieks of my 16 year old son in the background, playing a video game. As Pioneer Woman is fond of saying, I’m just keeping it real…