Every Halloween, we take the kids trick or treating and then we come home, curl up next to the TV, eat caramel apples and watch “The Wizard of Oz.”
This year, my son didn’t have a trick or treating bucket. His sister had a pink glittery fancy one, and I felt bad sending him out with just a grocery sack.
“See how pretty sister’s is? Isn’t it lovely? Here… yours is what we use to throw trash in. Have a good time!”
So I whipped out our duct tape and made him a bag. It is SO white trash, but I do a mean white trash -and he loved it. That’s all that really counts.

“The Wizard of Oz” is so well-loved that it quit working for us, but the caramel apples were delicious all the same. My son -the little apple bandit -could hardly wait to eat his.
“Mom. Can I have a carnival apple?”
“Mom. Get my apple… pleeeeease?”
“Mom, can I have it?”
“Mom, are they ready?”
“Mom, do you need help getting up?”

Well you know what they say about squeaky wheels…

My husband got suddenly festive and decided to carve a pumpkin. He gutted two small pumpkins for me to make dinner in and then he gutted a HUGE one for himself. A few days later, he feasted on a giant batch of baked pumpkin seeds.

A few days after Halloween, we pulled our Christmas decor out and got to work. Now that I’ve baby’s clothes and gear washed and ready to go AND Christmas decorations up, she’s sure to come late. Right?

While we were pulling Christmas ornaments out, I decided to finally put pictures a few ornaments we bought years ago. They’re tiny little hanging frames, and they’ve been picture-less since we bought them.
I filled one with a picture of our first Christmas together. Why didn’t anyone tell me I was marrying a little KID? I can’t believe how young we look:

My great-grandmother used to make ornaments using the rings that go around mason jar lids. A few years ago, my aunt decided to set up a family tree in the local Festival of Trees. Each member of the family made their own ornament, customizing it to their own tastes. As we pulled them out the other night, my son was upset.
HE didn’t have one (he wasn’t born at the time we did the family tree).
So with a glue gun, google, and some design help from my son… a new ornament was made:

“Where’s your ornament?” My husband asked.
“Lost, I think,” I said.
“Well you need one,” he insisted. And of course if the boy was getting one, The Baby ought to have one too, right?
“Of course right,” ~Yenta

I wanted her ornament to look a little angelic -white and sparkled. It ended up taking over an hour to make! I couldn’t believe it. My ornament took maybe two minutes:

I updated the pictures in my husband’s and my daughter’s.
We are a happy family:

Our Nativity always looks like it’s floating in the fiber fill:

And our tree:

Apparently we have a new ornament tradition! It makes me laugh.
Last night we had a Family Home Evening lesson on traditions: what they are and why we have them. We made more ornaments together, and we cut up snowflakes out of paper to put on our big tree and the little tree in the kids room.
What little tree, you ask?
This one!

The only tree we could afford for the first 5 years of our marriage (bought with a gift card we received as a wedding gift). Again: no one told me I was marrying a kid.
But I’m glad I did. Here’s us sharing our first Thanksgiving together:

Just a couple of poor, skinny kids…

Eight years later, we’re sticking together.
I kind of like my kid.

And the kids he gives me:

Third Time’s a Charm

When I was in the hospital having the girl, my sister-in-law organized my baby stuff for me. I hadn’t done it before. It wasn’t that I didn’t have time… I was living with my parents, and I didn’t have an official nursery, so I guess I took that as my Get Out Of Nesting Free Card, or something.
I did take up crocheting again, so there’s that.

With my son, I didn’t have anything ready because he came so early. and so FAST.
With this one? I’m determined to be armed and ready. Again, I don’t really have a nursery (I’ve given up on the notion. I’ve talked myself into the idea that having a nursery is something for the purple-blooded American class… I’m a simpleton).
I’m not going to lie. It hasn’t been easy.
I’m pretty sure my husband wants to put away his wife.

Today was the day we were going to go to our storage unit, pull out all of our baby girl stuff AND our Christmas stuff and get it all set up and taken care of.
Can’t you see me with my can-do face on, dusting my pants and smiling at my perfectly set up house?

Once we got to the storage unit, we ended up completely cleaning it out and reorganizing it. And you might as well sweep it up while you’re at it, says my husband.
We came home a few hours later.
I died on the couch.
My husband ate.
My children sang “Gangnam Style” in their very best American.

Over the summer (or was it last summer?) our storage units were sort of ravaged with rain water. I managed to rescue some of my books (it WAS last summer, it’s all coming back to me now). I didn’t dig around enough to realize that of all the cardboard boxes to be on the very bottom of the storage unit…
My boxes full of baby girl clothes were buried, trampled, musty, and moldy.
But we pulled them out anyway. Since my boxing them up over 5 years ago, we’ve switched to storing things in plastic bins (we’re slow, okay?) so when I pack them away again they will be much safer.

Anyway: I pulled one item at a time out of the back of our truck and into our house.
I thought by the end of the day we’d have it all tackled and conquered. But my husband realized that he didn’t want a Christmas tree up until the ceiling had been painted.
So he painted.
Is painting.

Have you ever lived with a perfectionist? Well, if you’re not one… get one. He’s indispensable when it comes to stuff like that. Paint the ceiling? Psh. Who cares? Not me! But he does. And really: someone OUGHT to care.

While he toiled away at the ceiling, I washed and rinsed and folded and completely REMOVED MOLD from clothing. I’m feeling pretty accomplished about the whole thing. It was a long process involving intense bleach-soaking in the bathtub (a few teensy pink outfits were harmed in the making of my magic), hot water washing with bleach, and a second wash with delicate baby detergent that I WHIPPED UP all by my lonesome.
See my smoking gun?
I am. The Kitchen Mother Chemist: cheap.
My biggest bragging right? I completely SAVED the outfit I brought my eldest home from the hospital in. Fairly SWAM in it, she did.

Betcha can’t guess where her feet are in that newborn onesie. Also: the bruise on her head makes me relive labor and delivery all over again.
It’s all about preparing mentally, right?

Just before I turn in tonight, I want to share with you what I’ve done. It isn’t like my methods are revolutionary or THE BEST or really even worthy of showing off at all, but it’s all fun and new for me.
I’m esscited, okay?
Plus I need validation that something actually got done today. You’ll see why in a minute.

I put that together all by my bad self. Okay, my little brother helped… but he’s such a nice kid, he’d give me all the credit. I know he would.

I don’t actually HAVE any diapers or wipes yet, but I will so very soon. Can you believe just last week my TV was sitting where the blankets are? And my DVDs have been relocated to make room for pink, frilly, sweet smelling, tiny, cute and wonderful BABY clothes. Those preemie size outfits are just downright irresistible. No one with a heart can look at them and NOT melt.

The 3-12 month clothes are not folded. They are SHOVED in there. Ahem, neatly.

I love that I can close the doors and hide it all away. It makes the room feel so much cleaner. And the knobs are great bib holders. They were born for it, I think.

A close friend of mine made me a nursing cover! I’ve never had one before and I am THRILLED. Even if this baby doesn’t take to the (I want to say “tit” but I don’t think Mom would like that)… I’ll still use it. eet’s for fun.
And I know the next two pictures are ridiculously unremarkable. But hey. That’s me.
The girl who never had a nursery and uses words like (tit) in parenthesis.

The bathtub is bleached and ready to go (complete with a girly hooded towel, all folded up). And here’s the bouncer. We never got much use out of this bouncer chair.
My daughter hated it, and she used it maybe 3 times before figuring out that it was nothing more than a wobbly vehicle. She used it as a step stool -just like she used EVERYTHING at her level as a step stool.
Oh, my house was one filth-hole in those days.

I like to think that this one will absolutely BASK in the bouncer. She’ll coo and squirm and never soil it because I’m sure the baby that is sitting tight in my stomach literally KICKING her way into the world and never, ever letting me slouch (kick in the ribs, anyone?) will be downright docile.
My view tonight as I sat down to watch an episode of “Hart of Dixie.”

There’s just not enough room for my organs and a baby. I’m tellin’ ya…
I have my to-do list taped to the inside of one of my kitchen cupboards, and I can’t even begin to tell you how relieving it is to cross at least one thing off that list every day.
And yes. I did write “name the baby” as something that definitely needs doing.

So here it is… the reason I need validation that something got done today… my house presently looks like this:

My perfectionist, people, is hard at work.
Staring at it makes me anxious and crabby, so I’m holed up in my room. I’ve got my calf on a heating pad (I was hit with the most painful charlie horses I’ve ever had in my 27 years last night, and my right calf is one big, fat knot tonight), my giant 9-foot pillow standing by, and a small bit of baby’s life organized.
I’m officially more organized than I’ve ever been before bringing a baby into the world.  *fist pump*
It’s a happy thing, really. And only slightly sad (poor previous kids. Mom loves you just as much, promise).

Grammy’s Harvest Party

While we were away visiting family, we were able to attend Grammy’s Harvest Party. For a few months, my mother in law has been planning a Harvest Party for her grandchildren.
Everything about it was adorable -from the candy bars wrapped up to look like mummies to the soda labeled with “poison” labels to the hay to the lights to the… everything! She even sent out invites in the mail, and my kids were beside themselves.

My sister-in-law made the most amazing witch finger cookies -everyone LOVED these babies:

While she made those cookies, she was sweet enough to share her kitchen with me while I made “Carnival Apples.” We make carnival apples every year just for our little family, but this year we wanted to share our tradition with everyone. I ended up not being able to find the kind of caramel I usually use (in the city! say wha?) and in the end I settled for something else. I had to make the apples in a hurry. They looked sloppy, but they tasted okay. That’s what REALLY counts when it comes to carnival apples.
PS: I have no idea why my kids decided to call THESE apples carnival apples instead of caramel apples. Maybe it’s the white chocolate covering? They’re definitely carnival worthy, though. Definitely. My kids can’t get enough of them. I was worried I wouldn’t have enough for everyone at the party, so I wouldn’t let the kids have one until the very end of the party.
But my son…
I found him sneaking into the kitchen, snagging an apple, and BOY HOWDY. There was no prying that thing from that boy’s grasp. He’s no dummy.
Aside from all of the delicious snacks and pizza and candy, Grammy had tons of games set up:

Apple bobbing -a harvest classic!

The kids all went bonkers for the games, and they all showed up in COSTUME!

I just love this:

And what kind of harvest party would it be without Charlie Brown?

Grammy even had a CAKE WALK put together, and it was so sweet watching the kids devour their little cupcakes:

The entire party was so well put together and so enjoyable! The kids AND the parents loved every minute of it.

Thank you so much, Grammy!!!
You are definitely well loved by all of your kiddos.
Even the vampire ones:

As Promised.

I don’t remember the last time I went so long without blogging. I really don’t. Do you want to know the worst of it? It drove me mad. I was out of town, and during that time I had some fun experiences, some crazy experiences, and a HECKUVALOTTA hormone issues.
And I had nowhere to write it all out.

On my way back into town, we stopped off at my baby doc appointment. For weeks, I’ve been concerned about how big the baby is. She feels much heavier than my others did, and she always measures at least a week ahead of schedule. According to my cycle, I should be due on Christmas Eve. I should be 32 weeks.
But according to my ultrasounds, I’m 34 weeks. I’m due on December 12th.
I could have SWORN the doctor only bumped my due date up to the 19th. But I was wrong.
And THAT’S why the baby feels so big. Because she is so big.
She’s right on track.
When I had my son at 36 weeks, I went in for my 6 week visit and my OB said something along the lines of, “Remember next time you get pregnant… you cook them fast.”

Apparently so.
I must have an accelerator button on the inside of my uterus, or something.
Anyway, knowing that my due date has been bumped up a week and knowing that I’ve never carried a baby past 37 weeks… I kind of went a little nuts.
I’ve spent the past few days in a whirlwind of emotions.
I’m really scared to have this baby. I’m stressed. I’m nervous.
I know I’ve done this before and I know the baby will come and everything will work out, but you can’t speak Normal to Crazy. And I’m CRAZY.

I should tell you that before I went out of town, I had a steady pace going. I cleaned out from under the bathroom sink -our medicines are now organized. I dedicated an entire day to the kids’ room -I told them if they would just clean it up really quick (get the basic stuff off the floor) we would take a break and drink chocolate milk and eat lunch and then we would REALLY tackle their room.
I said that at 10 am.
And FIVE HOURS LATER, their room hadn’t been cleaned. It would have taken them maybe MAYBE 20 minutes.
My husband came home early to find his sweaty, huffing, unbalanced wife heaving toys OUT of the kids’ room and onto the living room floor.
“EVERYTHING IN THIS ROOM HAS A PLACE!” I shouted, dolls and Matchbox cars flying over my head.
Stuffed animals, Barbies, plastic tools went sailing…
As if they even know what that means.
Tears, sobbings, groans…

That pile grew to even greater heights before we were through.
And finally.
At 5:30 P.M.
The pile was cleaned up. And lunch was served. I gave the kids some leftovers from the night before.
“Let’s hurry up and go to the store,” I grumbled to my husband, “I’ve got to get stuff for dinner and the sooner we leave the sooner we get back.”
My husband planted his hands on my shoulders.
“You are a grouch,” he said, “Go to the store by yourself. Take a break.”
I cried into his shirt for a good 10 minutes -I’m so grateful for him. Not just any man would be such a sport. In truth, I WANTED to go by myself. The last thing I wanted to do was haul my children around Wal-Mart. Two hours later, I was home. The kids were asleep. My husband and I stayed up late watching a comedy (heaven knows I needed that comedy).  It was called “Wild Target.”


I recommend this movie, BUT you should know that there’s 2 f-words and one sensual scene. Normally that would be enough for me to say, “Don’t watch it.”
But the weird humor in it was enough to make it really worthwhile. Which reminds me, don’t watch this if you have a normal sense of humor. But if you love British humor, this is definitely worth seeing.
It also could have been that my soul was humor-parched and anything remotely funny was just what I needed. Either way, it’s on Netflix Instant Streaming.

Moving on:
As I was crawling into bed after the movie was over, my daughter came running out of her room and into the bathroom.
Where she puked.
I went to her side and pulled her hair back, rubbed her back.
“I HATE THIS!” She shouted (can’t think where she picked shouting up…)
“I’m so sorry, sweetie,” I said, trying to comfort her however I could, “What made you sick?”
“THAT FOOD!” She continued shouting, referring to the leftovers I had fed the starved children.
“The food?” I asked.
And she puked some more.
“I TOLD YOU WE SHOULD HAVE HAD SANDWICHES!” She shot me THE most accusing look on the face of the planet.
A few hours later, she was up again, sick.
And then the boy was up. Sick. Twice.
It was food poisoning for sure.

I felt horrible. I still do. And my daughter still hasn’t forgiven me. I don’t think she ever will, actually.
The next day, I did something I never do. I told my husband what to do with his day.
“The baby will be here soon and we need to clear out the corner in our room where the computer desk is,” I said, “That’s what we’re going to do today. You don’t have to help me, but it’s getting done one way or another. And you might not like the way I do it.”

Let’s just say that pregnancy brings out the TOWANDA in me.


“We can do it,” he said. He detests Towanda.

But then he had a TV offered to him at a price he couldn’t refuse. And I couldn’t refuse because my husband has talked of wanting nothing but a new TV for years. We’ve also never had our own TV. We’ve always borrowed.
We’re The Borrowers.

The price was so low and the TV so big… so he bought it. And we had to clear off the computer desk to set the TV on it because the TV wouldn’t fit in our entertainment Armoire.
We needed a new entertainment center and we needed to find a place for the old entertainment armoire.
And we still had to get rid of that BLASTED computer desk.

So we bought a new entertainment center. It’s one we’ve both wanted for over a year. We ended up dipping into our savings and using up some of our Christmas budget:

Merry Christmas to us.
And as sick as I am over spending so much money all at once, I am happy that we were able to get the entertainment center AND the TV for much cheaper than a brand new TV set alone. So that’s something.

With our center all set up, my husband worked tirelessly to get the house back in some form of working order. In the middle of it all, he was called out of town for work.
Which left me alone (adult wise) to pack for a four-day vacation to the big sunny valley. I packed us up and drove us down on my own. I left the house in shambles because Towanda had lost her oomph somewhere between her backache and her insatiable hunger.

Our vacation will need a post all on it’s own. And it will get one.
But first.

As we drove home from vacation together, we were excited to go into my doctor visit and hear the baby’s strong heartbeat. Little did we know, we’d be walking out of the office completely dazed.
And then we’d come home to a house in shambles. There was clean laundry piled on the couch, cardboard and Styrofoam overtook the living room, a giant bag of trash I’d forgotten to take out was waiting for us…

That’s when hormones and stress did a complete takeover. Luckily, my husband handed me his debit card and begged me to PLEASE order a pack n’ play online before I lost my mind.
We don’t have a place for the baby to sleep, and we’ve saved for a pack n’ play but we hadn’t ordered one yet.
So I did. I ordered it. I closed my lap top. I stood up.
“I’m going to bed,” I said to my husband, leaving him in a filthy house with two awake children.

I wanted to feel badly about it, but I couldn’t. I didn’t. I was so stressed that a removal of my company would be nothing BUT a blessing on his head.

I closed my eyes and drowned out the thoughts of the filth I would wake up to and how the next day was Halloween and how I NEEDED to make it homey and fun and warm for the children because THAT’S WHAT MOMS DO.
I woke up the next morning, and my house wasn’t as filthy as it was supposed to have been.
SOMEone cleaned it. And that someone confessed that they’d stayed up until 1 AM cleaning.

And what do you know? Between ordering a pack n’ play, getting some solid sleep (I hadn’t slept well on vacation), and waking up to a house cleaner than it should have been was JUST the right formula. I was a happy lady. Halloween went off without a hitch, warm and wonderful traditions stayed intact, and we all went to bed filled to the brim with what the kids like to call “Carnival apples.”
More on that later as well.

Last night, my husband and I stayed up late late late again. We moved things around. Situated this and that. Pulled out this and that. Our house looks dramatically different. And how fitting since our lives are about to be dramatically different.
It’s a wonder our marriage has survived this pregnancy and no foolin’. I think if my husband hadn’t been an equal partner in getting us into this pregnancy thing, he’d be long gone by now.

I’m not on my best behavior.
And I WANT to be. I TRY to be. But I CAN’T.
In the meantime, I missed an entire week of my pregnancy and realistically speaking my baby could be here in 13 days (which was how far along I was when I delivered my son).
Wouldn’t you be a mess of panic too?!?!
I’m not nearly as panicy today… mostly because the pack n’ play is in transit, the jalapenos have been canned, the computer desk is gone, and the armoire has been relocated to my bedroom where it now plays host to our linens AND the baby’s clothes.
Today I’m canning tomatoes.
Tonight, we’re decorating for Christmas and washing teeny, tiny, pink clothes and blankets.
And here’s a terrible picture of me in a dressing room at Ross. I was just a few days away from being 34 weeks and I didn’t even know it.
Also: I brought that shirt home with me along with a pair of non-maternity converse sweats that are so comfortable I haven’t really taken them off at all. They’re LONG. Do you know how hard it is to find long sweats?! And all I’m saying is that they were in the maternity section even though they AREN’T maternity. They were the only pair. And they’re a perfect fit.
We were Made For Each Other.