4.16.2021

photos from the week, vol. 9

My teeny tiny newborn baby turned 1! I still can’t believe it. She is the sweetest thing in existence.


 Twirling. She’s been making a fairy garden in the backyard and it is adorable. 6 is fun. 



Some budding trees from my morning walk on Monday. 


Gracie begged me to knit her a rainbow washcloth. It’s the most basic thing ever, but she loves it. 


And that’s where the photos end, because this week took a TURN. To be honest, Monday was the only day that didn’t feel like the world was on fire. I had grand plans of spending the week doing yard work and organizing. Both girls had their well checks on Tuesday morning. An hour away. During nap time. So...already off to a great start. Clara had three shots and a finger prick on top of that. We got home from that saga, and I immediately started feeling off. Fast forward a few hours later to me puking my guts up just for Gracie to run in the bathroom and vomit all over the floor. I thought great, the doctor just declared her in great health just a few hours ago, and now we’re all doing to die.

Barfing while cleaning up your child’s barf is truly a new tier of motherhood that I never wanted to achieve, especially since I still believe I hit my puke quota during pregnancy. I puked enough for all of you, too. I should get a pass for life!

To top it off, James is on a PTO freeze and literally could not get off work even though half the house was projectile vomiting. Thankfully he still stepped away often and managed to work, take care of Clara, and clean up puke all at once. 

According to my Fitbit, I slept 58 minutes that night thanks to a raging fever and body aches, and during those 58 minutes I had a literal fever dream about covid vaccines?? Stressful. Thankfully Gracie woke up right as rain, and I am on the mend as well, albeit sloooowly. The resilience of kids never ceases to blow my mind.

I will also never be eating chicken again.

A million other things have gone wrong this week too, but whatever. We survived. We never have to relive this week again. Hallelujah. 

Sometimes that’s the only good thing you can say about a week—you survived. And the doctor gave both girls a clean bill health. Healthy, growing girls are something I will never not be incredibly thankful for. Just like I'm thankful this week is OVER.

ETA: I suddenly remembered that this is the week last year that Clara was diagnosed with jaundice, had daily lab visits, was put on a light blanket just to have it break late at night meaning James had to race to a doctor's office for a spare and getting there exactly one minute before they closed, etc. So maybe it's just something about this week. Next year I'll put myself in a padded room with a stack of books.

Have a good weekend! Don't eat chicken. Goodbye.

4.10.2021

pictures from the week, vol. 8

My post about the Corovid restrictions was the catalyst for some really good conversations, and I’m so thankful for that. I never publish anything I write from raw emotion, but this time I did for the simple reason that I know a lot of other people feel the same way and I wanted to give a voice to that collective angst and frustration. I was harsher than I normally would be. Apologies to my mother for the swear word, which I usually only say when I stub my toe at the end of a bad day, and to be fair this pandora-demic has felt like a really long, bad day. Bottom line is, it sucks for everyone and no one wants this. Hopefully! Some people make me wonder. 

Moving on!

This is one of those "magic of childhood" photos to me, but if you want the reality of what that day was like, read my last post. 

Let's just say that Easter Sunday set the tone for the whole week. 

But this was still an adorable moment.



She loves her stroller, but don't you dare put her *in* the stroller.


Tulips (and weeds) at sunrise.


I was in my hometown for a minute this morning and Gracie begged to stop here. We're always either coming or going and I never want to linger, but today we had the time so I pulled over. This is the Harding Memorial. President Harding is from my hometown. He and his wife are buried inside this marble monstrosity. His house is nearby, too. 


From my morning walk. I was listening to Kings Kaleidoscope, and the sunrise made it a whole moment. 


Gracie and I get so excited over spring flowers. These were in the library parking lot. I tried to slyly take a photo but somehow a library employee gave me the side eye both times.  I could write a whole book on how ridiculous this whole day was. In short, these flowers made me smile. I LOVE FLOWERS.


It hit 80 twice this week which made me realize I'm not ready for actual summer. Never satisfied!


Daffodils from the yard, vintage teacups, and vintage books. These are a few of my favorite things. 


I pulled the car over to snap a photo of this rainbow after a thunderstorm. It has been a hard week, and this was a comfort. I was singing Say My Name by Destiny’s Child at the top of my lungs because I was childless in the car and that’s where Spotify took me. These things are not related but feel equally important. 



Not pictured: 

+ I think I lost my mind this week. I found the half and half ON TOP of the fridge. Not on the top shelf, but on top of the refrigerator itself. No one could've done this but me. I cannot figure out how it happened. I bought some more so I could have some in a mug of afternoon coffee, and when I put it in the fridge, I spotted the iced coffee I had been saving and remembered that I didn’t even need the half and half. I swear I remember stashing a birthday gift under my bed, but James found it in the laundry room. Mom brain is real right now. 

+ During my 5 minutes of alone time a week, I’ve been listening to the Under the Influence podcast. It’s about the influencer culture on Instagram, especially as it relates to motherhood. I’m only 2 or 3 episodes in but I’m engrossed. The first episode was kind of a bummer in the sense that the host has a low view of motherhood, even as a mom herself, and I just can’t relate to her in that regard, but other than that I’m dying to finish it. It’s made me hate Instagram even more.    I really, REALLY don’t like the influencer thing, but she brings up some good points on how these women creatively learned to make money. I just think maybe it went too far. I don’t know! I have a lot more to listen to. Maybe while I grocery shop today. 

+ It’s Clara’s first birthday!! I woke up at exactly 6:41 when she was born and mentally relived the whole moment. I am both devastated and relieved that she’s one. Shout out to the 12 month sleep regression for helping me not be overly sentimental. 

4.07.2021

topless at church: an easter story




Easter Sunday came and went. 

Religious aspects aside, Easter is like Christmas now--fun because you live vicariously through your kids. They love the egg hunts and easter baskets and look adorable in their outfits. Obviously that's not why we celebrate Easter, but you know.

Where am I going with this? I'm not sure.

Our Easter was a hot mess. Not in a way I'm necessarily disappointed about because it beats other Easters I've had (more on this later), but wow. It was the holiday version of Rachel Hollis. 

It was one of those mornings where I woke up and I just knew in my bones things were not going to go as planned. Attitudes abounded. The night before, when I had been putting Easter baskets together, I suddenly realized I forgot to get things for Clara's Easter basket. Just flat out FORGOT. In my defense, Easter came right after Gracie's birthday and right before Clara's, so Easter baskets were at the bottom of my priority list. I grabbed a Little Blue Truck board book from her birthday stash and put it in her Easter basket. Thankfully she didn't know any different and had more fun trying to eat the plastic easter eggs.

I'll spare you the details, but the morning was just a disaster within minutes of waking up. I put Clara down for her morning nap, yelled at everyone that I Quit, and I climbed back in bed at 8:45 am. 

I pulled it together enough to take pictures of the girls in their matching gingham dresses and then get us all out the door to church (early!!!). It was our first church service in our new church building that's currently being renovated. A lady who I have never seen before (which is weird because our church is tiny) stopped me and immediately asked me if we're visitors or members of the church, and when I said "Well we've been coming for about a year, but we're not official members," she told me there are Easter bags for the kids, but since we aren't members our kids had to get bags from a different table. "The bags have the same items inside, but this bag table is for members only." She was so rude and so abrupt and so weird that I snapped back in Dunkin Donuts mode and just went "SERIOUSLY?". James looked at me and told me to calm down with his eyes, and I walked away without grabbing anything and mumbling about how dumb it all is. 

A great attitude to have on Easter Sunday!

We sat down and then got right back up again to deal with a dirty diaper. 

Then we sat down and got right back up again because Gracie needed to use the bathroom. The bathroom is a single stall and the only working bathroom due to the renovation. There was no one around when we went in, and due to a series of events, I did some scolding while we were inside. Given the morning we were having, I could have been slightly more gracious in the tone I was using. I opened the door to see a long line of women who heard every word, staring at me like:

via GIPHY

A really proud moment in my life.

After I picked up Clara from the nursery, I was chatting with our pastor as the sanctuary doors opened and a bunch of people walked toward us, eyes in my general direction. Clara took this opportunity to get her foot stuck in my shirt and somehow lift my shirt all the way up and tuck it into my bra.

I got out of there as fast as humanly possible and will never go back and therefore never have the opportunity to grab a bag from the member's table.

Once we got home, I was knocked down with a migraine. The afternoon was every bit as frustrating as the morning. I completely ruined part of our dinner. I thought "well, good thing I made dessert!" and then took a bite and realized I ruined that too. I don't know how I managed to ruin a simple recipe I've made many times, but that's just where the day took us.

Holidays are hard when you're not near family, especially in the Midwest where literally every person I know has their entire extended family in a 5 mile radius. It's a foreign concept to not have a packed house every holiday. I'm used to it at this point and it doesn't phase me much, especially after we were invited to a friend's family easter gathering three years ago. We were sitting there with everyone else, until one of the family members suddenly had everyone but us sit in a circle as she passed out candy and gifts. Literally everyone was in a circle as we sat on the outside and 3 year old Gracie cried because she didn't understand why she was being left out. It's funny to me now, but I was not laughing then. It was so awkward. And last year, I was 48 hours postpartum during a Covid lockdown with my milk coming in and my newborn starting to look scarily jaundiced. So, trying to have some "alone time" on the front porch with my migraine while I'm pelted by bubbles from my 6yo's bubble machine and the baby wakes up early from her nap is much, much better. Not a bad Easter, honestly.

The bottom line is: our Easter was a mess, people from church could probably give you a good description of my nursing bra, but at least I got cute pictures to fool everyone on Instagram. 

4.02.2021

just call me karen: a scathing commentary on the times of covid

I would like to dedicate this post to the person who responded to my survey and said I'm "super depressing" and need to learn to "find joy in the mundane." Homegirl, buckle up.

(also--finding joy in the mundane is actually something I'm REALLY good at, but I'm not the kind of person to write about getting emotional over folding baby clothes and how laundry makes me feel #blessed to be a mom and have these kids and their dirty clothes and whatnot. Not my speed; I'm not here to be motivational and inspirational. I think it often, though.)

When it comes to politics and These Times, I have tried to keep my mouth shut online. My friends and family have gotten earfuls, but I stay out of it online. Nothing good comes from arguing in the Facebook comments and 99.9% of the time, I won't do it. I stay off the bandwagons. I don't follow people who post this kind of stuff. I refuse to be controversial. For my sanity, I can't do it.

But you guys, Dunkin Donuts broke me today. I'm not going to be quiet anymore. I'm not inviting any arguments, either. Disagree with me all you want, but don't leave me a nasty comment; I will not be engaging. This is an airing of grievances and I'm not looking for a fight. My blog, my rules.

I've had a week. We all had a cold, I've had a lot of emotions with birthdays and the covid anniversary and my parents coming and then leaving again. I've had some anxiety over dumb things. Just A LOT of feelings going on. 

Every Friday, I take my daughters to Dunkin Donuts for Donut Friday. It's our thing. We look forward to it all week long. We've been doing this for probably 4 or 5 months now consistently. We sit at the same table every single time. There's never anyone else inside.

This morning we went in, and two of the three tables were closed. There are two low tops and one high top. The two low tops were closed and only the high top was open, which was weird. We sit at the same low top every week. We ordered our donuts and I asked the cashier if we could sit at one of the low tops. She said no. I told her we come every week and it has never been an issue. She gets the manager. The manager confirms that the two low tops are closed, but I'm welcome to sit at the high top. In other circumstances I wouldn't care, but I have a baby on my hip and explain that I can't sit there and feed her in a high chair. She shrugs. 

And that's when I snapped. After a year of nonsense restrictions and arbitrary rules, I snapped.

I told her this is absolutely stupid. There is NO ONE ELSE IN HERE. Covid can linger on any table despite the height. The high top was actually right next to the kitchen, and the low top I wanted to sit at was off by itself in a corner. Which one do you think is safer? I pulled a Karen, grabbed my kids, and said I'm taking my business elsewhere because this is officially too ridiculous for words. She finally relented and told me I could sit where I wanted. She gave me some bogus excuse about county restrictions (that has NOTHING to do with the height of the table), and I just smiled, thanked her, said I understood (I don't), and sat down. 

And then it occurred to me. This manager who was splitting hairs with me over a table had her mask pulled all the way down under her chin. DESPITE the huge sign on the door saying masks are mandatory.

I laughed so hard I cried.

Like, maniacal laughter.

If we're going to be psychotic about county mandates, let's start with THE MASK. And I didn't even say anything because 1. I was laughing too hard, and 2. I don't even freaking care if she's not wearing one. I truly don't. She's probably there all day dealing with a host of stupid problems and people and if she wants to breathe without feeling smothered, more power to her. But at least be consistent and let me sit at an accessible table with my children where we will bother no one because NO ONE ELSE IS THERE if you're not going to follow the statewide mask mandate. 

Beer me some common sense. Please.

For the record, I did not yell. My voice was firm but not raised. I was polite, but I did not mince words. I NEVER condone being rude to anyone, especially people in the service industry. It's brutal out there (ask me how I know--I have STORIES). 

I see this kind of thing constantly. We went out to eat last week, and there was a big round opening in the wall that separates restaurant sections. They put a square plastic screen in the round hole. Once again, I laughed until I cried at the utter absurdity of it all. Hate to break it to you, but Covid can still squeeze into that 6 inch gap y'all left. I had to return a shirt at the mall last summer. They only let a certain amount of people inside the store, and there was a line of people 6 feet apart. I stood on the appointed sticker 6 feet behind the person in front of me, until I was literally yelled at by an employee who said there can't be more than 5 people in line, despite the fact that we were masked and 6 feet apart. I had to go to the "holding line" of more people who were NOT 6 feet apart. Then I could move to the line where people followed the rules until I was allowed inside. And then I had to wipe my shoes on a mat before walking in, because apparently Covid congregates on the bottom of shoes now.

I AM DONE WITH THIS BULLSHIT.

I understand that restaurants and stores are doing the best they can to comply so they can stay open. I will never fault them for that. It's possible they thought it's as stupid as I do, but they probably don't have a choice. It's not them I'm laughing at. It's whoever is coming up with this idiotic stuff. It's all about the appearance of safety but NO ACTUAL SAFETY. 

If you are scared to death of Covid and just can't deal, then stay home. The entire world shouldn't have to do it for you. People shouldn't be out of the job because so many businesses have had to close. People are committing suicide because they can't handle the isolation. Over a virus that---I'm going to say it--isn't that deadly. I'm not trying to downplay how horrible it is for some people. But so are a whole host of other things. You're putting your life at risk just driving to the grocery store. There's flesh-eating bacteria, food poisoning, stomach bugs, West Nile Virus, and a million other things that can make you incredibly sick or kill you. Does that mean you stop driving? Stop eating anything you don't make from scratch? Stop going outside? Of course not.

If you're a Christian, pull your big girl pants up and stop freaking out. You might get sick. I got sick! And I'm fine! Take wise precautions and go live your life. If you want to wear a mask for the rest of time and be buried in it one day, that's fine. Stay home and become a hermit and never see your family again. Take an oxygen tank everywhere with you, wear a hazmat suit, and bathe in bleach. You do you. If you believe that God is sovereign, trust Him. Nothing can harm a hair on your head without His permission. Is it really "loving your neighbor" to completely stop the world in case someone feels sick for a couple weeks? Is it loving your neighbor to put tens of thousands of people out of jobs and force them into isolation for so long that they decide it's no longer worth it to live? Is it worth it to do this to our CHILDREN?

We're all going to die one day. A lot of us tend to make an idol of our health and sacrifice anything and everything to it. We are sacrificing our sanity, our livelihoods, our children's educations, our relationships, our communities, so that we might not get what amounts to a cold for most people. Our days are already numbered. You're not going to die, only to have God say "Well, you've lived for 50 more years, but you pulled your mask down under your nose for 2 seconds in the grocery store and caught Covid. There was nothing I could do, sorry." No. I mean sure, maybe God has ordained that you will die of Covid, but that was written in the books before the world was ever formed. You're not going to change that. Do your best and trust God with it. Stop worshipping your health at the expense of everything else.

If you still think this isn't political after a year of this, you're delusional. I have worn my mask, I even labored in one in the hospital until I finally stood my ground! I've worn it everywhere it was required without complaint. I've stayed 6 feet away. I've stayed home. But I cannot deal with the lack of common sense. These things will never change until we start pointing out the logical fallacies and stop being swayed by "facts" that literally change every day. Vaccines protect you and you don't carry Covid! Wait but you still have to wear a mask! No you don't! Wear two! Wear five! Smother yourself to death with a pillow!!!

Go ahead and cancel me, report me to some official because I'm thinking for myself and not letting everyone else think for me, unfriend me, do what you need to.

But the Declaration of Independence assures me life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I'm going to live without fear, fight for my liberty, and pursue my happiness of eating donuts at a table.

3.31.2021

currently, march ed.



Feeling: tired and icky. We've got a cold going through the house.

Bookmarking: the Easter homeschool bundle from Home and Haven. They have seasonal bundles that come out each season and we love them (if you sign up for their emails, you'll get them 50% off and occasional free bundles like the Easter one--just a tip). We spent the morning doing the Easter activities since slogging through reading practice is no fun when you don't feel well.

Thinking: How insane it is that I've been a mother for 6 years now. Gracie's newborn days truly feel like yesterday. I've been a wreck lately! Her first birthday felt like a relief, 2nd was fun, 3rd was a nonevent since she was battling a stomach bug, 4 felt older than I was comfortable with but still fun, I was distracted by pregnancy and the lockdown during her 5th birthday which would have otherwise felt like a huge birthday, and 6 is just KILLING ME. And now I have to survive my baby's first birthday in just over a week. THIS IS CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT.

Noticing: the grass is getting greener and there are buds on the trees! The vivid green is always so shocking every year after months of grey and gloom.

Smelling: a lemon candle

Loving: that I got Gracie into a homeschool group next year, and it meets on a farm! We visited last week and I had to rip her away to go home.

Enjoying: the iced vanilla latte I just finished. It was the first thing I had after giving birth to Gracie, and I always have to commemorate her birthday with one. 

Wishing: we lived closer to family. 

Reading: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. I heard it was depressing after I had already picked it up from the library which is not what I want to be reading right now, but I'm already swept up in the story even though it reads like Grapes of Wrath fan fiction. I should probably find a therapist to help me process whatever traumatic ending it no doubt has in store for me. I have a STACK of books from my birthday I'm anxious to rip into.

Cooking: not much lately, but I'll probably make this lentil curry soup tonight.

Making: my mom and I visited a new yarn store the other day and got an embroidery kit and a weaving kit. As soon as I have the mental/creative energy, I'm doing to dive into both. I can't wait.

Praying: we'll feel better in time for Easter. Either way, this Easter will be a huge improvement over being 48 hours postpartum last year, though not much can compete with snuggling my Good Friday baby.