What Keeps Me Going

Fridays on this space are dedicated to sharing what keeps me going... A moment, a photo, an event or a memory that stands out against whatever might have gone wrong or felt dark in the last seven days.

Yesterday afternoon turned out to be a trying one, with Addie throwing the tantrum heard 'round the world. Seriously, if you heard banshee-esque echos of screaming and screeches that made you hold your babies tighter and reach for your rosary, never fear... it wasn't demons inching closer to your loved ones, just my child.

Curt had his own interesting time with her while I enjoyed a girls' night out, but that's a story for him to share, maybe on a guest post?

All of those difficult moments were forgotten this morning when Addie developed a fever of 101.6. Funny how the girl that sometimes makes me want to rip my hair out and beat my head against a wall is the very same person who pulls me back from the edge of insanity, just by laying on my chest and sleeping.

As much as I hate it when she's sick, I wouldn't trade those sweaty snuggles for anything in the world. It breaks my heart to see her uncomfortable and everything else gets put on hold in order to tend to her needs. But it only reminds me how precious these years are. Pretty soon, she'll be too big to fit on top of me this way and I'll have to lay next to her when she's feeling ill.

The laundry will not get done. We won't bake cookies like I planned. The sprinkler will remain on the back porch. But we will watch our fair share of Ratatouille and snuggle through naps, doses of medicine and temperature-taking. As strange as it may be, it is keeping me going today. The world stops spinning as Addie and I take to the bed and the couch. Until she is well again...

I would love it if you joined me in sharing what keeps you going! Leave a comment to let me know you're participating and each week, I will include a list of everyone who is playing along.

**Special thanks to Heather at Shivaya Naturals, my dear friend Jenn, my sisters Emily and Kate (who can be found here and here), my honorary Mother-in-Law Mary, my mom and my ever faithful dad for chiming in last week. Kisses and hugs...

In Search of Summer: May 27th

It is no secret that I love lavender. It is easily my favorite flower, scent, etc. We planted some last spring and it did OK for the first year. In the past few weeks however, my beloved lavender plant located right outside our bedroom window has exploded! I can't say how happy this makes me.

That gorgeous color...

The velvet blooms that call out, "Touch me! Smell me!"

I went out to collect some stems and Addie was so excited about the entire process. She took a sniff of one and held it up in the air giggling and shouting,

Then held out a flower to me with a, "Cheers!!!" My thoughts exactly.

Every time I walk past these beauties on my kitchen counter, it makes me smile.

There is still so much left outside and Curt asked me what I was going to do with it all... Good question, my love! I have endless visions of homemade oils and lotions. I saw a recipe for lavender shortbread cookies somewhere---where was it, again? Oh, this summer's gonna be good!

Have a click on the button to the right to visit The Yellow Door Paperie and see how others are searching for summer.

In Search of Summer

Today marks my 200th post on this blog! In celebration and anticipation of the heat that is to come, I am joining Mary over at The Yellow Door Paperie for her series:


Here in Kentucky we are only in the mid 80's so far, and this tiny oven in my belly is more than messing with my body temperature. The hubs and I have already had many conversations and mini-wars about where the thermostat should be set and whether we should keep our ceiling fan on at night:

Him: 73 degrees? Well, if you don't care about preserving the planet for our children....
Me: There wouldn't be any children to preserve the planet for if I wasn't pregnant, so deal with it.

Normally I am all about keeping our home at a more moderate temperature, but especially at night, I simply cannot do it. Just think of all the energy we saved when I was preggers with Addie and 7 months along in February... The house was a cool 60 - 65 in the evenings, which was heaven on my body and our budget. It all evens out in the end, I say.

Amidst all the sweat and the sun, I am determined not to let it break me and do my best to enjoy these last months home with my girl, just me and her. Monday, after a fantastic morning yoga class, I stopped to pick up a sprinkler for a little relief on hot afternoons. My, have they changed since I was a kid.

Addie was a little apprehensive at first, so I had to show her exactly how you're supposed to run through the water, arms flailing and squealing in delight. (It's times like these I'm both really sad and relieved that we do not employ a photo journalist to follow us through our days and document our life. Pictures of this portion of the event would surely have been priceless!)

Eventually, Little Miss. found the courage to give it a go and slowly made her way through the spraying water. Soaking wet, enjoying the sun and lots of giggles... Summer, here we come!

World's biggest undies

Potty training is nearly upon us and in preparation, I picked up a few pairs of girls' training pants this morning. Last week I bought some pretty little girl panties that Addie will hopefully want to try and keep dry. I got those in a size 2T/3T and they seemed pretty spot on. When I was shopping today, I thought I'd stick with the size that works.

Oh my goodness, I couldn't have been more wrong. These training pants are the biggest panties I have seen in a LONG time. I pulled them out of the package and kept unfolding them until I ended up with this gigantic plastic beast that nearly filled my lap.

I know, from that photo it doesn't look so bad. But when sitting next to a pair that is the correct size...

Still not convinced? Alright, to put it in total perspective, here is a shot of Addie's sweet little girl panties, the humongous monster training pants and then a pair of my maternity underwear.

See? Those things could go all the way up to Addie's neck and probably close to my belly button. Really, what two or three year old could fit into them? Look out, Target--you're about to have a very confused Mommy in your Customer Service line.

Then again, maybe I'll just wear them to the pool myself. Previously mentioned problem: solved!

A little help, please

I was telling my grandma the other day that it's so weird how dead on the division of trimesters is for me. As soon as I hit week 14/15, a switch goes off and I suddenly don't feel the need to carry a puke bucket with me wherever I go. Now, at week 27/28, what was recently a cute bulging belly that made for a nice accessory has suddenly become more like a bowling ball and it is in my way.

This is precisely where my conundrum comes in...

Disclaimer: These words of caution are mainly for my dad and father-in-law, quite possibly the only men who frequent this space to see how life is going for us and our darling girl. I am about to discuss things that will likely contain more than you want to know about your daughter's body. Read on if you must, but consider yourselves warned.

OK. When I got to this stage of my pregnancy with Addie, it was in the dead of winter. Wearing a bathing suit was no where near on my radar. So, when my belly got really big and cumbersome to work around, I simply put my razor aside, and stopped that part of my hygiene routine until after Addie was born. Ladies, you know what I'm getting at, right?

With the temperature outside steadying in the 80 degree range and higher for the foreseeable future, and with a girl who loves the pool and being outside in general, I am presented with the question: How in the heck am I supposed to shave my bikini area? Am I supposed to not worry about it, let it go and shock/gross the hell out of anyone who gets close to me at the pool? Am I supposed to channel my inner Gumbi and find a way to stretch and bend myself into a position where I can get to the goods? Do I need to find a good waxing place in the greater Lexington area (please say no, as I cringe at the mere thought)? Do I risk injury and go for it, totally blind?

Some of you may be thinking to yourselves, Why is she writing about this in a public space, on her blog? To that I say, I sincerely believe that when we as women run into issues with our bodies, no matter how trivial they may seem, chances are we aren't alone. However, many of us feel too embarassed to bring up these questions with each other at the risk of sounding silly or for fear of being humiliated. Most of the time, when I do get up the courage to ask girlfriends about this kind of thing, I am met with wide eyes, a hand on my arm and an, "Oh my gosh, me too!!!"

All that being said, I am putting on my big girl panties (and trust me, right now they are big) and asking for help from the wealth of knowledge that is women and moms out there who may have wisdom to impart on this topic. Any ideas for how I can get through these next few months without either maiming myself or looking like I walked straight out of a 70's bra-burning convention? If you don't feel comfortable leaving a comment publicly, just send me a quick email ( and I will hold your name in confidence.

As of right now, I am just barely able to keep up the maintenance. But any day, this kiddo is going to be so big that she will likely no longer allow herself to be pushed aside in order to accommodate her Mommy's need to be presentable in a bathing suit in public. Help!

What Keeps Me Going

Fridays on this space are dedicated to sharing what keeps me going... A moment, a photo, an event or a memory that stands out against whatever might have gone wrong or felt dark in the last seven days.

I think I've mentioned quite a lot lately how I've been dealing with some crazy pregnancy mood swings. Throw in some sciatic pain and we have a good old fashioned mess on our hands! Thankfully, there has been a huge saving grace that takes care of almost all my worries - my garden bathtub.

You see, for the past five months or so my tub has been out of commission. It turned from a heavenly spot of respite into a storage well for paint supplies. My husband and father-in-law so graciously painted our bathroom just before Christmas and, well... it took a little while to complete the clean up process.

I think Curt noticed that I really, really needed my tub back and one afternoon he walked right in there without being asked and just took care of it. Love him. He cleaned the space and I helped him scrub it 'til it sparkled so I could soak away my aches and worries amidst a shiny spotless haven.  

This really is one of my favorite places in our house. With the painting my sister, Em did in high school (seriously, isn't it amazing???) hanging above me, just the right lighting and the scent of lavender vanilla all around, it is truly an oasis.

This has also become my choice spot for childbirth preparation. Birthing From Within is such a fantastic book that helped me prepare for bringing Addie into the world. Reading the material for the second time has an entirely different meaning for me, but I'm doing all of the exercises it recommends and feel like I'm on my way to being ready for baby #2.

Twice this week I was able to soak and read and enjoy my fake wine after Addie went to bed, and found that it made an incredible difference in how I felt and how well I slept.

However, in the spirit of full disclosure, I will share that there was a small incident one evening involving my hair and the candle at the back of the tub. When I was sort of leaning over the long side of the tub, reading away in a comfortable position, I forgot that the candle was right behind me. I stretched and tilted my head back in a moment of deep thought and then suddenly jerked forward as I remembered that there was an open flame right there.

What's that strange smell? Like burnt... feathers?
{Amy: Little Women}

I believe the only thing more disconcerting that finding someone else's hair floating in your bath water is when there is a significant amount of yours lacing the bubbles. Thankfully the bliss of the bubble bath only made me laugh at my oops, and once I realized that there was really no obvious damage done, I slipped right back into my state of calm. 

These glorious bath times, accompanied by a husband who keeps popping his head in to check and make sure I'm ok and see if I need anything (really, have I mentioned that I love him?), have definitely added fuel to the fire that keeps me going each week. But next time, I might rethink the position of my candle.  

I would love it if you joined me in sharing what keeps you going! Leave a comment to let me know you're participating and each week, I will include a list of everyone who is playing along.

**Special thanks to Whirliegig at Unearthing This Life, my cousin Lotta in Sweden, my dear friend Katie, my sisters Emily and Kate (who can be found here and here), my honorary Mother-in-Law Mary, and my ever faithful dad for sharing sweet words and stories from their weeks. Kisses and hugs...

Treasuring my funny girl

Oh the things that come out of a two-year-old's mouth! I remember thinking once when I was younger; how do people come up with new things, jokes and ideas? At some point, isn't there just nothing new left anymore? Well I obviously hadn't spent enough hours around young babes, experiencing the world for the first time. Even the things she says that I've heard before have a whole new ring to them and are hi-LAR-ious!

For instance:

When Addie is trying to get my attention and I don't respond right away, she starts calling me by my first name... "Mommy, Mommy, Mom, Mom... Sara, Sara, Sara!!!" I don't know why, but it cracks. me. up.

My girl loves the show Special Agent Oso on The Disney Channel. When she sings Jesus Loves Me, she says the last line... "Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me Oso." Awesome.

Whenever we are stuck in traffic, sitting at a red light or just not moving fast enough in general, my sweet daughter calls out from her car seat in the back, "Come on, people!!!"

We were reading Addie's latest book obsession, Everyone Poops, this afternoon before nap. When we got to the last page, she wanted to name all the animals she saw. For each one she said, "Cow!" and then laughed and laughed. There were no cows anywhere. We both found it really funny.

Of course there are times when she thinks she's being cute and she really isn't. Or her new found self-assertion becomes a real problem in trying to get her ready for bed or out the door. But more and more, as my belly grows bigger, I'm feeling like I need to savor these moments where it's just her.

I want to cherish the times when I can tickle her and tickle her, without another care in the world. When all that matters is that she keeps shouting, "Again, Mommy!" and beg with giggling that the games continue.

I want to savor the five minutes that turn into twenty that turn into her facing me with one finger in the air pleading that we read this book, "One more time."

In three short months we will no longer be a dynamic duo, facing the world of staying at home as a team of two. We will both have to expand our time, our arms and our hearts around another life that will enter this family and have needs of her own. Pretty soon, I might not be able to sit and watch her every time she comes up with funny dance moves or wants a full audience to listen to a song she made up. My attention will be divided and there are things I'm inevitably going to miss.

No longer being Mommy to an only child will certainly be a challenge and push me outside of a well-orchestrated comfort zone. The adjustment is going to be huge and profound and I am scared. But I also know there are immeasurable joys ahead that I couldn't possibly anticipate. I can't wait to see the miracles unfold as our family grows and how we all will shift to embrace our new baby girl. I can't wait to see Addie in her role as a big sister and see the magic the two of them will create.

Until those moments arrive, I am holding tight to what is here and now... days with just me and my girl. Days of laughing, running, chasing, back rubbing, reading, singing, dancing and loving with all we have. They really do go by so fast.    

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a garden!

My quest to have a successful and bountiful garden has taken another big step toward coming to fruition. On Saturday, Curt and I scurried out into our backyard during a beautiful afternoon while our girl was napping to get our seedlings planted. On one hand, I would have loved it if Addie could have been a part of the process, but I was so very nervous about how fragile the tiny plants still were and was scared to do it myself, let alone have her jump in. Never fear--when we transplant some flowers into our front yard,  I can assure you, she'll be there!

It was such a relief to see my kitchen table go from looking like a very small nursery to having the space back as my own. 

Our little raised bed-in-progress at the back corner of our yard.

Another view, from the side, including our blueberry bushes
and small herb garden.

We covered that area with netting to keep the birds off. One of our bushes has already been stripped of baby berries, but the other still holds promise.

My gorgeous basil and oregano...
I'm already dreaming of caprese salads and pesto.

Here we are, all planted. Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, okra and lettuce so far... Peppers, heirloom tomatoes and arugula are still on the list.

I tell you, these little guys make me so happy!

We had a lot of rain mixed with medium sized storms and winds move in just hours after we finished, so I'm hoping they will come through it all OK. Either way, this has been a learning experience and I can't wait to see how this space develops... and tastes!

The best yoga accessory

On Sunday I had a nasty little reminder that with this belly, my body isn't always up for the full amount of vigor and movement that a two-year-old can provide. During Mass, Addie was in rare form and for some reason wanted to be held by me most of the time. I obliged her and by the end of the service was feeling not quite pain per se, but a strong discomfort. My body was sounding the alarm telling me to stop whatever it was I was doing, or else...

Throughout the day, the strong discomfort grew steadily worse and was also accompanied by an irritated sciatic nerve. After resting on the bed and couch for a while, I was getting annoyed with remaining stagnant. Finally I decided to try and put into practice some of the stretches I've learned in my prenatal yoga class.

While Addie was distracted by a CD organization project Daddy was conducting, I pulled out the mat, the bricks and the bolster. Somehow she knew that something interesting was happening in the other room and my solitude didn't last long...

Who needs a bolster when you have a baby?

Do giggles contribute to Zen? I say, yes!

In the end, the fun of having her join in lifted my spirits, but it did not do so much for my physical healing. Oh well. I'll take a good mood along with a few aches and pains any day rather than have it the other way around.

PMS while preggers

I don't know if it's the rain or the seemingly endless gloomy skies or the hormones or what. But really, these mood swings are killing me (and likely, my husband as well). I go from deleriously happy to weepy at the drop of a hat and I'm struggling to get control over the roller coaster.

Perhaps I am subconsciously fearing the third trimester, which begins this week (holycrapholycrapholycrap). Maybe it's realizing my physical limitations due to my ever growing belly. Whatever the case, I am trying to use up/soak up/live up all the sweet moments I can. Because these days, I never know when a storm cloud will settle right over my head and send me on a full force tear fest.

One such happy moment, was Saturday morning when we went out to our favorite place with my dear friend, Matt for some fun, food, and just hangin' in the sun. But first we had to make a detour to, in my humble opinion, the best bakery in town: Le Matin. I wish I could direct you to a website, but this French bakery is keeping it old school. You just have to go there.

They make the best fruit tarts I have ever tasted. Aside from the deliciousness that explodes in your mouth (in a sensual melty way) there's always the fun in making highly inappropriate tart jokes. Like all good tarts, I got one for now and one for later. You see where I could go with this? Oh yes, non-stop entertainment!

In all of my pregnant glory, I decided to forego my extra tart and gift it to my darling babe, who until that fine morning, had never enjoyed the wonder that is Le Matin. I dare say, she loved it. And for those fine moments, I was at the top of my coaster, arms raised ready to squeal in delight. I think she was too.

Poor Daddy, all he had left was the shell. Although I must say, that's a pretty amazing crust if you ask me... even if it is sloppy seconds from a used up tart. ;)

What Keeps Me Going

Fridays on this space are dedicated to sharing what keeps me going... A moment, a photo, an event or a memory that stands out against whatever might have gone wrong or felt dark in the last seven days.

This month, Addie has taken on a new venture: swimming lessons. Since our beloved story times are on haitus during May, this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to fill some time with an activity that would get us ready for summer. So far, she seems to like them. Each day we tell her we're going, she exclaims, "Yaaaay! Swimming class!" with her arms high in the air. But once we get there, she isn't always thrilled with all the activities.

For instance, when I swiftly put her head underwater for the first, and so far the only time, she screamed as though I was trying to drown her. When we had her practice laying on her back, she barely tilted her head back and immediately sat up shaking her head saying, "I don't like it."

Then there are the parts she loves, like jumping off the side of the pool into our arms and being swished and swirled around in the water. Last night all three of us were able to go together for the first time. I desperately wanted to capture these moments, as you only have your first swimming lessons once. I also love watching Addie and her dad do just about anything together. The magic between them is so incredibly sweet, it absolutely melts my heart.

Who else could take her from anxiously trying something new to trusting that she is safe and held and eventually having a blast? None other than Daddy.

I would love it if you joined me in sharing what keeps you going! Leave a comment to let me know you're participating and each week, I will include a list of everyone who is playing along.

**Special thanks to my dear friend Jenn, my sister Emily, my honorary Mother-in-Law Mary, and my ever faithful dad for sharing a slice of their week. Kisses and hugs...


Yesterday the devil came into my home and took over my child's body, I'm sure of it. We had an afternoon filled with tantrums, growling, screaming, crying and time-outs. I can't tell you how many times I heard the phrase, "No, Mommy!" or how often I found Addie doing something she knows she's not supposed to do, then have her look at me as if I was evil for discovering she had done it. It was awful.

In the middle of it all, my beloved Fred decided that no, in fact he would not give me one last warm rinse for Addie's cloth diapers. No way. I spent several hours taking dangerous items out of my child's hands, speaking to the Lowe's service department, keeping my girl from beating up the cat, looking up dates and numbers from when Fred was purchased, scrounging up a snack and trying to keep my head from popping off of my neck.

At one point, I plopped on the couch and noticed the classifieds from the weekend paper sitting off to the side. For a moment I thought maybe it would be a good idea if I went back to work full time. Then Addie pulled some sort of moisture detection device out of a house plant and my brief fantasy was over. I think I have my hands plenty full without throwing a 9 to 5'er in the mix, thank you very much Ms. Self-Doubt.

Somehow we made it through the day... A call from my sister in Dominica helped, although I think she won the prize for having it worse than me. Another big plus was a visit from our dear friend and neighbor, who valiantly came to collect the diapers to run them through a rinse in her own washing machine. I pulled Fred's contents out and showed her what was wrong... Then he got bashful and decided to work again. Good heavens, Fred! Really? Sigh... It's OK. I forgive you. Just don't pull that crap again!

All triteness aside, today is a new day. The diapers are clean, the appliance service is postponed and the fiercely scary evil seems to have left the building. Already the mood has shifted and I am finding myself in a much happier place... with the ablility to find humor in the silly things, the strength to take heart during the tough moments and the grace to love my girl even more. Thank God it's Thursday.

Pasta, pasta, pasta!!!

About a year ago I went with my sister and brother-in-law to their farmer's market in Indy. I was so jealous that they had their very own "pasta lady" and that each week they could get a substantial stash of soft, fresh yumminess for a reasonable price. When would I find a pasta lady? I pouted to myself... The answer is: Now!!! But instead of a pasta lady, I found some pasta dudes. Our Saturday morning visit to the Farmer's Market provided me with one of the best surprises of all time. Lexington now has its very own pasta shop, very fittingly called: Lexington Pasta.

I saw their stand and nearly peed my pants, I was so excited. Curt saw that crazy look in my eyes as I immediately went straight for the goodies. Now I can't say that I was looking, but I am willing to bet that he rolled his eyes and said quietly to himself, "Oh, crap." I waited in line, sucking back the drool that was quickly forming on my tongue and mentally made out with all the gorgeous varieties of fresh pasta that stood before me.

$2 for each 4 oz. single portion? I can live with that. Oh, yes. I bought up some Portobello and Tomato Basil varieties and practically skipped away with my little baggies.

Yesterday I decided it was time to try them out. I looked at those portions and decided that no way could only one bag be meant for one person so I should just go ahead and make two. Besides, I'm pregnant, right? I need all the fresh food I can get and so does my growing babe. Well I suppose these pasta dudes know what they're talking about because two portions looked a lot bigger once they were cooked up, on my plate and ready to eat. No matter--I was up for the challenge.

With some slatherings of buttuh (and by that, I mean Smart Balance) and a LOT of freshly grated parmesan cheese, I was ready to go. And go, I did. I felt so full and satisfied afterward... The taste, the texture... Perfection.

So be ready, pasta dudes. You now have yourself a totally loyal and regular customer on your hands. Oh, and I noticed that they are preparing to come out with some flavored gnocchi and "designer raviolis" this year as well. Come to Mama!!!

New pets

Saturday evening, nature gifted us with a pair of new pets. We were calmly sitting inside enjoying our evening, when Curt's dad noticed that there were two ducks waddling through our backyard. At first we thought they would just pass on through, but they actually hung out for quite a while. Then, we noticed that the male had a pretty distinctive limp, poor guy. His ever faithful female companion was sticking with him and they were just so darn cute. So I grabbed the stale heel of one of my homemade loaves of bread and snuck out on the back porch to give these adorable ducks a tasty treat.

They ate what might be their fanciest meal ever, stuck around for a bit and then they flew off. What fun, we thought. Then we moved on and forgot about them.

Until Sunday night. Around the exact same time in the evening, Curt called to me, "Honey, the ducks are back!" I ran out to see that they had indeed graced our yard again and were waddling back to the exact spot where I fed them the night before. Good thing we had a stale hotdog bun just waiting to be served for dinner. Same drill.... they ate, chilled out with full bellies, then disappeared.

I vaguely remember hearing my father-in-law tell Addie on Saturday that if we fed them they might return... Hmmm... Should have paid more attention to my good old FIL. You guessed it, last night they were back again. Crap, I'm running out of old bread! I prematurely cut off the heel of another one of my homemade loaves and this time I took Addie along with me for what is quickly becoming a nightly feeding. She loved it and just as before, the ducks did too.

Perhaps they will show up for dinner this evening or maybe they will move on. Either way, I'd better come up with some dining alternatives for these little suckers. I mean, I know my bread is awesome, but it's a little high end for some cute ducks who are well on their way to becoming semi-permanent family pets. But, I really can't complain. What better pets could I ask for? They only need to be fed once a day, they eat and then leave so I don't have to worry about picking up poop, they have a sweet and grateful demeanor, and best of all, they make my girl so very happy. I wish I could say the same for our cat.

Update: Just did a little quick Google research and learned that it is horrible to feed ducks human food, especially bread! Oh NO!!! Until the male looks like he's getting over his limp, we will switch to thawed peas and cheerios. Once he's better, we'll have to stop and let them get back to their normal diet. Wow--glad I checked on that. Thank you, Google!

The day after

After a fantastic day of my husband, father-in-law and daughter doing all they could to make me feel relaxed and special, how is it that I am so exhausted this afternoon? Perhaps I am experiencing the dreaded first day back to work feeling after a much needed vacation. All the rest in the world and then it's back to the normal duties that were piling up sinister style while waiting for your return.

Thankfully, I am now well-equipped to deal with my lengthy to-do list... Yoga accessories, gift certificates and the promise of a prenatal massage adorn the edges of my massive plans for housework. And the view of these lovelies in the center of my kitchen doesn't make the work so bad either...

Thank you, sweet family, for all you did to make Mother's Day feel so incredible. I am so very blessed. Love, love, love you.

What Keeps Me Going

Fridays on this space are dedicated to sharing what keeps me going... A moment, a photo, an event or a memory that stands out against whatever might have gone wrong or felt dark in the last seven days.

This week we experienced such a shift in Miss. Addie's interests. Usually, we have to fight with her throughout the day every day to keep Finding Nemo from gracing our presence through the DVD player. Now, it has changed from, "Nemo, Mommy! Nemo!!!" to, "Grover book, Mommy!!!" Even though I could easily whip out a surprise video of me doing an interpretive reading of The Monster at the End of this Book completely from memory, I'll spare you.

After Addie's nap one afternoon, she didn't want to get out of her crib. Instead, she asked for her baby and The Grover Book. I complied and then ran for the camera. She did not disappoint.

These moments of reading The Grover Book over and over have most definitely been the highlight of my week. But to all of you who have said that you wish you could come over so you could hear her read it in person, I say drop what you're doing and drive here as fast as you possibly can!!! After about the 20th time, you'll swear you're going mad... but I promise you won't regret it.  

I would love it if you joined me in sharing what keeps you going! Leave a comment to let me know you're participating and each week, I will include a list of everyone who is playing along.

**Special thanks to my dear friend Lee, my sister Emily, my honorary Mother-in-Law Mary, and my ever faithful dad for their words last week. Kisses and hugs...

Try, try again

Before Addie was born, I was determined to use cloth diapers with her. I bought a lot of the chinese tri-fold cloths and some covers and we were gifted with a sample kit of the fancier kind. We gave it a half-hearted try and gave up quickly thereafter. Between the bulkiness, the difficulty of getting a correct fit, me working outside the home and the consistent leaks, we just couldn't handle it.

Several months ago, I purchased six or seven all-in-one diapers to see if maybe I'd have better luck, since I am home full time and felt more able to take on the task. Leak after leak after leak... I gave up again.

Last week, a friend came over for a morning visit and we got to chatting about cloth diapering our babes. She has had a really good experience with cloth and I wondered why we were having such issues. Then she informed me of what may be the problem/solution: my detergent. Apparently, any baby detergents or "free and clears" leave a soap residue that prevents proper absorbtion. Really... That would have been nice to know, say... two years ago!

Over the weekend I "stripped" the diapers by washing them with Oxi Clean and then running them through multiple times in hot water cycles. We gave those pesky cloths a third try this week and so far we have had success! Only one small leak during nap time that didn't even make it to the sheets. Excellent!

Now I am hoping that we can up our stash with some of the newer one-size versions and have them on hand for our second baby girl. Yes, it will be a hit to the finances initially, but I'm super excited about the prospect of removing the disposable diapers stash from our budget each month. Over time, I'm sure it will make a world of difference... Not to mention keep one less baby's worth of Pampers from taking up residence in our landfills.

I would love to hear about your diapering experience. Have you used cloth diapers with your babes? Do you have a favorite brand? How many of each size did you end up buying? How often did you do laundry? Of course, I've gotten up to speed again with the cloth diapering websites, but as usual I am finding that other moms who've been there know best!


WIP Wednesday

For months now, I have seen this title on blogs that I frequent and wondered what in the heck WIP stood for. It couldn't possibly be the acronym I have used so often in my previous life. You see, back in the days when I worked for the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, we had something called the WIP Project: Women In Prison Project.

One of the main pieces of this project was to work with women who were identified as having been incarcerated due to killing a violent intimate partner. We visited with these women, we cried with them, we heard their stories. We submitted pardon packets to the former governor and some of them were released. Four were not.

I think the hardest part of leaving my full time position at KDVA was knowing that I would not be able to see those four women until they are released from prison. I have no idea when that will happen. Visiting the women's prisons in Kentucky was my least favorite part of my job. I hated the sick feeling I got when we pulled into the parking lots. I hated the sounds of the heavy metal barred doors closing and clinking behind us every time we entered a new space. I hated the way the guards looked at all of us, leaving us terrified that we might do or say something that could get the women we were trying to serve in trouble.

As much as I wanted to get the hell out of there as fast as I possbily could, every time, when our visit was over and we had to say our good-bye's and leave these women that we desperately wanted to see free, I had to fight back the tears and wish so much that I didn't have to walk away. But walk away, we did. We walked away from unbelievably courageous mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts and friends. We walked away from women who have known unspeakable horrors and miraculously lived to tell their stories. We walked away to go back to our offices and do all that we could to ensure that somehow they would one day see the light of justice shine on them. 

These thoughts continue to haunt me as I stay home with my girl, having left that work behind. I am haunted by their eyes, their hearts, their stories. I am haunted by the questions they asked me about my daughter, as if she were their own blood and the smiles that stories and pictures of her put on their faces. I am haunted by the fact that I left that work undone and that they still sit in prison cells, praying for help and for mercy.

After digging around, I discovered that the WIP Wednesday my fellow bloggers write about stands for Work in Progress. It is typically used as a time to highlight projects that are underway, illustrate the work that has been done and sometimes show off a finished product.

The cross in meaning of these acronyms has stayed with me and for some time now, I have been pondering ways in which I can use this similarity to bring attention to an issue I still hold so very dear. Recently I have had coversations with close friends and shared that I don't know if I could ever go back to the work I once did. Working to end violence against women is such an emotionally draining and passion sparking field that uses up a tremendous amount of energy. It is not just a job.

While I wonder if I could ever again give so much of my heart to an issue or a cause that is not raising and nurturing my family, there is the question of what to do with the part of my heart that has forever been given to those women... They are still there... Waiting. Although I chose to walk away from the work, I have yet to let go.

If you are interested in more information about these incredible women, or how to find women in your area that are in similar circumstances, please comment or email me and I will connect you with local resources. And make sure you come back to this space on Wednesdays in the future. My WIP updates won't be as pretty as others and they might not inspire you to pick up your knitting needles. But hopefully they will move you to dig a little deeper, say a quick prayer or find ways you can help.

Story time

When I first became a parent and had this tiny amazing bundle of beauty, people kept telling me all of the incredible things she would do...

 Just wait until she smiles for the first time, that's the best.
Oh, when you hear her laugh for the first time, it's the greatest.
When she calls you Mommy for the first time, it will melt your heart.

All very, very true. But there are a few things that these well-wishers also left out. One of which is now my absolute favorite thing ever: Addie "reading" her books. Now I know she isn't actually reading the words. I know she has this unbelievable capacity for memory right now (how I wish I could tap into that these days!), and she basically memorizes the pages. Sometimes she gets confused and says the same things over and over, or she makes up her own pieces to fill in the gaps. But let me say, watching her sit down with her book of the moment and light up as she tells the story she loves... It makes me laugh and tear up and swell with joy. Love it.

Currently she is obsessed with The Monster at the End of this Book. It was one of my favorites as a kid and I am thrilled to no end that she can't seem to get enough of it. Yesterday morning, I was somehow able to record her story time session. Really, it's ridiculous how happy I get watching her again and again... 

Frugality: another step toward balance

Before I jump into this month's goal, I want to give a little update on my steps for April. My plan was to set time aside for daily devotions and begin attending prenatal yoga classes once a week. While I eventually did put both of those goals into practice, I don't know if I would call last month a success.

First, I researched times for yoga and prepared to start classes. Alas, sometimes life gets in the way of the best laid plans. Aside from the sickness that confined us for about two weeks, my husband happened to have a very busy time at work. The first two attempts to make it to class didn't happen due to unforseen late nights at the office, thus me at home with the babe and no childcare. Oh well. Curt felt awful and I was disappointed--not a good combination.

Finally, two weeks ago, I did make it to my first class and fell in love. I think it will be so incredibly helpful in preparing me for natural labor. The more I go, the more I learn. Hopefully after a few more sessions, I'll feel confident enough to try some of the techniques at home more frequently.

Onto the next: devotions. It's so funny to me how much a personal relationship with God mirrors relationships we have with each other at times. If you haven't had meaningful conversation with a good friend in a while, those first few talks can be kind of awkward. Such has been my experience last month in my prayer life.

Making the shift from "going through the motions" to reconnecting with my faith and with God has not been the cake walk I imagined. I suppose it was naive of me to assume that just because I was making the time, a deep relationship would soon unfold. These things take time. While I do feel the proverbial open arms welcoming me home, I don't quite yet feel at home. The good news is, I know that's OK. I don't have to have spiritual revelations all the time. I can sit quietly in prayer and contemplation and know that while I might not feel it, important things are happening. I am present and so is He.

Considering the baby steps each of these goals have taken throughout April and the momentum I'm experiencing now that May is just beginning, I consider them both works in progress. In a way, I'm still keeping them on my list and will continue to share updates as they develop.

OK, now for May. Incidentally, when I was trying to figure out which yoga package I should purchase, I was faced with the ugly reality that my family was in desperate need of finding a new budgeting strategy. We used to use Microsoft Money, which recently became an unsupported program. Some of you might say, so what? I would tend to agree with you. However, my "computer guy" husband would strongly suggest otherwise. It matters. Apparently, a lot.

With a new baby on the way, me not bringing in any income and the past six months or so of non-budgeted living, we were headed for a spot of trouble. I immediately sprung into action and did a little research, spoke with trusted friends, set us up with new software and now we're good to go. Sort of. Now comes the hard part. Now comes the implementation of spending tracking and saving strategies.

I have every confidence in us that we can do it without tremendous sacrifice. It will take some getting used to and we will have to let go of some bad habits, but I think we're up for the challenge. May will be the first full month we are on this new plan and my hope is to keep an extra close eye on our progress, and work to do my part to save our family as much money as possible.

I will admit that it does feel sort of uncomfortable talking about this so publicly. However, I truly believe that change cannot happen if you close yourself off and remain unopen to outside ideas and insight. While we are not completely new to the concept of adhering to a strict budget, we are still finding our stride as far as making it with only one income. If you have any perils of wisdom or stories about what has worked for you, I am completely all ears!

Head on over to which name to see what Nicola and others are doing to find balance this month. Feel free to join in if you are so moved. I can't say how much I have loved being a part of this process!