Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

Mornings are my favorite -they’re the one time of day that my little littlest is interested in interacting with her weirdy Mama.

She lets out a coo.
I make a crazy face.
She smiles.
I talk.
She poops.
I laugh.
She smiles.
I make a crazy face.

It’s really the best way to start the day -poo included.

I also started my day with Jillian Michaels -first time since April.  Lacy worked out by my side.  I have SERIOUSLY weakened.  My daughter was my go-getter.  Half way through the work out when I was lagging, my daughter jumped up and down with Jillian.

“Mom,” she huffed, “This HURTS.”

Yes, Darling.  That’s because Jillian is mean.

Last night over a bowl of granola (I convinced my kids that eating cold cereal for dinner is something we only do on very SPECIAL and FUN days -like when Mom is too tired to actually cook something) my daughter confessed to me that she stared at her boyfriend yesterday.

“He went to get his clock, and I just stared and stared at him!”
“Why?” I asked.
“Mom… because I’m going to marry him,” she said. The “duh” was implied.
Then she struck up a conversation about bras and how she was just SURE she was, you know, growing.
“They have bras for kids at the store. I see’d them. And if I get one, I can be like my Mom!”

Oh, man.
I’m not ready for any of this. Can’t we just go watch “My Little Pony” and paint our nails like there’s no such thing as Real Life?

Maiden Voyage

My daughter and I are alike in some ways -I see her hunger for knowledge, to want to know how to DO ANYTHING… I was the same way, so when she comes to me asking to cook or clean or sew or what-have-you, I’m powerless to resist. The look in her eye -the want to DO -is something I’m all too familiar with.

But she has a quality that is completely foreign to me.
She is fearless.

Do you know how old I was when I learned how to ride a bike? I was eight. ALL of my friends could ride, but I couldn’t. Because I knew learning to ride a bike meant FALLING and I wasn’t about to buy into that crap.
So my Dad bought me some training wheels. We put them on my bike and I let it sit, sit, sit… I know that training wheels promised to HELP with the falling, but they didn’t look very sturdy to me. I mean, shouldn’t they have been wider? thicker? made out of cement and steel and iron?
I finally got the hang of it (with heavy encouragement from my older brother, Mike). And you could not WRENCH those training wheels away from me. They were amazing. You couldn’t lose with those babies!
But my Dad… he caught on.
“Isn’t it about time to take those off? How long have they been on?” He asked.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged.
He took them off and then made an executive decision. WE were going to his mechanic shop. Together. I would ride and he would walk behind me and hold me up, should I need it.

That is one good dad, right there -it’s also evidence that having a Dad that owns his own business is boss.

We went along pretty good. Dad was very careful to make sure I was taken care of. I wobbled like a two-wheeled baby deer, but he used his big, callused hands to grip the back of my seat, and it steadied me.
When I was eight, I wore big pink glasses. Unlike my training wheels, they WERE sturdy.
I didn’t always (or ever) wear “cool” clothes or say “cool” things… I wanted to. I TRIED, but I was miserably awkward. I wanted to be friends with the kids who always wore cool clothes and always said cool things.
But trying to play with them at recess was painful. I tried to hard to BE SOMETHING instead of just… being.

And as I made my way through our little town as a glasses-clad eight year old, my sturdy dad behind the bike I was riding…

THEY were there.
COOL kids. And not just any cool kids… the BOY kind. A HUGE group of them (probably like… THREE!!!) and I instantly blushed. They were on their bikes. They didn’t have Dads behind them. They weren’t wearing glasses. And, of course, their clothes were fatally awesome.
I ducked my head.
Maybe they wouldn’t see me… maybe they wouldn’t know it was me.

And that’s when I heard it.
They were cheering for me! They weren’t making fun or taunting or riding straight-way to their friend’s house to tell them that I was a scaredy-scaredy who didn’t know how to ride a bike.
“You got this, Alicia!”
“Way to go, Alicia!”
“You can DO it!”

I picked my head back up, my confidence surged… and in that moment.

I treasure that day, see, because it was the one time in my life I was 100%, completely and totally a Cool Kid.
It was pretty much downhill after that, haha.

My daughter is, without a doubt, a cool kid.
She’s cool because she’s confident. She got a bike for her birthday, and she rode it as much as she could around the house.  I took her out Saturday afternoon, and she TORE IT UP.  I had to keep slowing her down. Failure never crossed her mind.  She would succeed because she couldn’t fathom failure.
And I’m holding out for the day when some of her coolness rubs off on me:


I birthed both of my daughters in the same hospital… and the day after each of them was born, it snowed.  After putting their pictures side-by-side and seeing how similar they look, I’m mildly suspicious that I’ve given birth to some rare form of twins that are carried years apart and have a brother between them.

Alice Michelle is one month old today.  We went to a baptism at the church, and I was so excited to put my all-time favorite dress on her.  It’s so tiny and cute and only fits my baby girls ONCE before it’s TOO tiny.  This dress is worth all the labor and delivery in the world.

Isn’t it sweet?!
I snapped a few pictures, and then I decided to compare my two daughters again. I sifted through my old picture files and found that on Lacy’s ONE MONTH birthday-of-sorts, I had put her in the exact same dress. Today is Alice’s ONE MONTH birthday-of-sorts, and so I am able, through complete coincidence because I’m not on the ball enough to plan these kind of things, to compare my daughters once again, side-by-side, at the exact same age in the exact same outfit.

They still look similar, but I’m starting to see more differences.
They’d still pass for Rare Twins though.

Lacy’s birthday yesterday was a smashing success, so far as she’s concerned (and that’s all that matters). Per tradition, we always plan a family outing of some kind to celebrate her birthday. She gets to choose the outing. When she was 4, we went to see “Tangled” in theaters. When she was 5, we went ice skating. This year, she wants to go bowling. The bowling was going to happen instead of a party because
1) I just had a baby.
2) It’s RSV season.
3) We just had a baby and Christmas and can’t afford to buy more presents, go bowling AND throw a party.

On Sunday, my husband stayed home with Alice so I could attend part of Sacrament Meeting. While there, I overheard my daughter inviting people to her birthday party.
“But I thought you wanted to go bowling,” I said.
“I do! And have a party!” She gushed.
I tried explaining the situation to her. Every work I spoke broke her heart just a little bit more. Tears formed, her bottom lip shook…
And so I said, “All right. You can have a small party, and we will go bowling later.”
She wasn’t happy about it because she wanted BOTH on the same day, but it just wasn’t going to happen. It took a lot (A LOT) of talking and explaining, but everything was finally settled.
I hate disappointing my kid when it comes to their birthday. I don’t mind having to disappoint them over small things on any given Tuesday -but birthdays… birthdays are a big deal.
She also let me know it was important to her to have cupcakes to take to school. I know she had been able to enjoy treats brought by other birthday kids, and she wanted to share when it was her turn.
Cupcakes needed to be made (honestly, it was easier to make them than get everybody dressed and out to the door to BUY them).
Kids needed to be bathed.
Breakfast needed made.
Lunch needed made.
Baby needed fed, burped, changed, repeat, repeat, repeat…

And somewhere in all of THAT, I threw clothes on over my un-bathed body, threw my hair in an ugly top-knot (I can’t pull that look off), put on earrings, put on lipstick, put on sunglasses (to hide my lack of make-up)…
And we were off.

It. was. insane.
I came home from the school (please understand on top of everything simply getting everyone and everything IN and OUT of the car is pure mayhem), I crashed on the couch with my poor baby who, by this time, just really needed some attention.
But then again: so did my son.
And to top it all off: I needed my own attention.

I put a movie on and nursed. My son hovered and touched and hovered and touched.
“Here!” I said, making my voice chipper, “Take my phone, go lay on my bed and watch Netflix!”
An hour later, I found him thus:

His little sister fell asleep as well. It was 2 o’clock. I had three hours before the big party was starting!
But I couldn’t seem to get with it! I mean, I had THREE HOURS with NO AWAKE CHILDREN.
And getting up seemed impossible.
I folded some laundry.
I made the simple (and free-to-me) party favors.

My daughter came home at 4, and together we tried cleaning the house. My mom came over and saved the day! She held the baby while I threw things together, and even though there was no theme and no money spent on the party (except the small amount I forked over for a cake mix, sprinkles, and cupcake holders)… my daughter went to bed saying, “This was the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!”

As I went to bed, I remarked to my husband that I didn’t realize six years ago when I gave birth and went through pain and put forth so much sacrifice… that I would have to repeat the process on a smaller scale every year on the same day thereafter.
To which he replied, “Yeah, and then you had two more! What WERE you thinking?”
And I laughed.
Which was exactly what I needed.

She had two friends (plus two girl-cousins!) over for her big bash. We ate pancakes:

We made “Harry Potter” wands (all with stuff I already had on hand):

We ate cupcakes and blew out candles:

We laughed A LOT:

We opened presents:

And then we watched “Brave”:

While all of this was going on, my husband and son went to Wal-Mart to get Lacy’s big present. She had asked us for a bike. After all of her guests left, she was told to close her eyes…

And this is -quite possibly -the best picture of the night… it just makes it all worth it:

She was in heaven.
“Look, Lace… there’s a bell!”

To really put the cherry on her birthday, her grandparents came over and gave her… a Leapster! Needless to say, my kids did not want to go to bed last night… not while there was a Leapster around!

The birthday was a success, even without a theme and banner and matching balloons.
And we all slept soundly.
Except when Trenton had a nightmare about “fings that were clawing me all over.”
“Here, sleep by us son…”
And then the nightly feedings.
And then Alice rang in her one month birthday-of-sorts by pooping up her back and through her sleeper at 5 am…
But other than all THAT… we slept soundly.

And naptime today will be gloriously welcomed.

The Fastest Six Years

Six years ago today -right NOW in fact, I was in hard labor. I was drugged up and pushing, pushing, pushing.
There’s nothing more discouraging ON EARTH than the sound of a team of nurses saying, “There’s her hair! We can see her head! Oh. No… she went back in.”
Three times they said that.

I wanted to die on the bed in front of them.
But I lived on to go through it two more times. The things we do for our sweet babies…
And then they go and grow up on us.
Watch. And see. And feel your OWN heart be ripped, just a little:

Birth, One year old, Two years old.
And then -the change between three and four just really burns my hide:

Three, Four and Five. My toddler went from being a tiny toddler to a full-blown KID.
And today. SIX:

She was a hilarious toddler, this is true. BUT I’ve enjoyed her kid years so very much. I love kids. I love kid years with kids.
But I can see the pictures above as well as you can and I know. I KNOW the Kid Years won’t last long.
Because my kid.
Will be.
A Teen.

She’s already half-way there!

Date Night

My daughter is turning SIX tomorrow.
I’m not used to the idea yet. I still remember her fourth birthday like it was last week, and I want that four year old to stay four forever. She was the sweetest little Sunbeam. I could live with Sunbeams eternally.
I couldn’t teach Kindergarten, but golly do I EVER love the age when they’re honest and potty-trained and intent on believing everything you say.
Lacy is starting to realize -slowly -that her Mom lies to her about things.

She once came out of her room and proclaimed, “I CLEANED IT ALL!”
“Okay,” I said and without looking up added, “Just clean out everything from behind the door and under the bed.”
“Ugh!” She threw up her hands, “How did you KNOW?!”
“I have eyes that can see through walls,” I shrugged.

She believed me. I had no idea until a few months later when she started asking me more about my magic eyes.
Oh, ooops. Sorry, kid. I lied to you.
Since then, she’s been my little skeptic.

Anyway, my husband and I needed to sneak away to get her Birthday gifts so I asked my Mom if she wouldn’t mind keeping my older two kids one evening.
As I dropped them off at Grandma’s, Lacy asked, “Mom, where are you guys going?”
“On a date,” I said.
“Oh…,” her tone became matter-of-fact, “So you’re going to Wal-Mart?”
Oh, sigh.
“Yeah,” I said.
Are we THAT predictable?!
We actually were going to Wal-Mart. But to make it an actual official date, we did have dinner at Sonic.

We took a fussy baby with us, and it still felt like a nice get-away.

Lacy is the best older sister.

Trenton is the best clown. Who wouldn’t be able to stay warm with a scarf, a hood on, and a Santa hat on over the hood?

Alice is the best at freaking me out because she fits into 3 month clothing. Stop! Cease! Desist! Growing is AGAINST HOUSE RULES!

The Only Thing Missing

The only thing missing from this picture of my son… is my son.  But everything else is ALL him:

I love my Superhero, boot-wearing, future artist son.

My Pre and Post-Natal Essentials

If you are ever planning on having kids, read this post.
If you are in the middle of having kids, read this post.
If pregnancy is something you’re doing or planning on doing, read this post.

If none of the above apply, skiddadle. You’ll regret ever having read anything you’re about to read. I promise.

Today I’m going to talk about some things that are going to make you go, “EW” and not in the cool Jimmy Fallon/Channing Tatum way.

I’ve had some hesitation concerning this post (you’ll see why in a bit), but I feel like I really need to share with you what I’ve found to work for me in hopes that it might help someone else.

First, I downloaded a contraction timing app on my phone. This was a lifesaver! Miss Alice was such a stinker when it came to contractions! I contracted for WEEKS before she was born, and my contraction timer was the best tool I had. When I felt one come on, all I had to do was hit the “start” button. When it stopped, I hit the “stop” button. The app did all the figuring for me -how long they lasted, how far apart they were… that meant I didn’t have to THINK in the middle of the night when I was woken up by contractions. I didn’t need a timer or clock or anything. I highly recommend this app to any pregnant woman with a smart phone! They also have breastfeeding apps where you can keep track of feedings (and which side you’re using, if you know what I mean). I downloaded a couple but I haven’t needed them as yet.

Second, beginning in my second trimester, I rubbed my belly down with massage oil after every shower. I’m not here to try and fool you into thinking I was fighting stretch marks.
By now it surprises me that most of the world still believes stretch marks can somehow be controlled or contended with.
If you go along with that line of thinking, allow me to enlighten you: if you’re going to get stretch marks, you’re going to get them. Period. And you’ll be delighted to find that they aren’t the end of the world -and in the end you won’t mind them much at all. I rubbed my belly down simply because it felt good. It helped my skin not to itch so much as it grew, grew, grew and I could not live without my massage oil.
The brand I used was infused with ginger and peppermint which really helped with my bouts of nausea.

I highly recommend a video streaming software of SOME kind. You’re going to have a lot of downtime at the end of pregnancy and the start of your baby’s life. I am very much a worrier, and I can’t calm down enough to be a good nursing mother… my milk won’t come in well, and it won’t come OUT well because I’m constantly fussing and stressing over “are they getting enough?” “am I making enough?” “are they pooping too much? not enough?”
You get the idea.
If I have a movie to focus on while my little one is suckling, I stop focusing and stressing on my child and I let myself get lost in a movie. It also keeps me from stressing about what isn’t getting done while I’m sitting on the couch all day. If I’m lost in a good plot, I don’t WANT to get up and it makes a relaxed environment for Baby to eat as much they’d like at their own little will.  I have never made enough milk for my babies.  This time?  I have more than enough.  More on that later…

Fourth, take advantage of live-in help and give the first week entirely to baby.
I talked it over with my husband, and we agreed that we’d let the first week of Alice’s life be completely Alice’s. We wouldn’t try to schedule her or try and fit her into our lives… we would listen to her cues and go with them.
I am not a scheduling mother. I will never be a scheduling mother.
I am all for ROUTINE, but scheduling goes against the grain of my personality. I’d be miserable. I realize some of you ARE GREAT schedulers. So feel free to disregard this post-natal essential.  Actually, feel free to disregard them all for crying out loud.  I’m not your Mom.


image via 1800wheelchair.com
On our way home from the hospital, my husband stopped at Wal-Mart. I sat in the car with our sleeping baby and he went in with a list I’d given him.
He then proceeded to call me five or ninety times with questions that would have made you crack up had you been listening in.
“Where do they keep the Depends?”
“They are by the pads…” I’d say.
“What are Tucks pads? Where are they?”
“They’re wet wipes for hemorrhoids… you’ll find them by the ointments. Make SURE you get medicated ointment -not just the pain relieving kind, but the HEALING kind.”
At check out, my husband was weighed down with an inflatable doughnut, hemorrhoid ointment, Tucks pads, Preparation-H pads, Depends, newborn diapers, pacifiers, baby wipes… and he was such a sport about it all.
I used every little BIT of everything he got me, but the best thing BY FAR was the Depends. They had their own absorbent layer, and they kept everything IN PLACE. They were the best. I’ll never attempt to have a baby without them. The hospital gives you mesh granny panties, but the Depends are really SO much better.

Sixth, I will never, ever give birth without Dr. Christopher’s Birth Prep Formula.

image via amazon.com

This is a formula that is taken in the last six weeks of pregnancy. YOU MUST BE CAREFUL with it! You must follow the dosage recommendations to the letter -really. You take one a day for the first week, two a day for the second week, and so on. you’ll need two bottles to get you to the full 40 weeks of your pregnancy. I have taken this with my last two pregnancies and BOTH of them have been fast labors (and all-natural, though not always by choice). My son was born in 2 1/2 hours of labor, and my Alice was born in 3 hours.
This formula helps to prep your body for labor and delivery. If you take too much it can be very bad! I learned that my body is so sensitive that I need to take much LESS than a recommended dosage, and I don’t start taking it until week 36. But that’s just me. Every body is different, but this formula is a MUST. It will aid in delivery AND recovery.

Seventh, and the last on our list is the one I’ve hesitated talking to you about.
Because it’s weird.
And you might divorce me after reading about it.

Aside from worrying about ev.err.ee.thing, I have anxiety that is made much worse by certain hormonal changes -such as pregnancy. Pregnancy also brought a lot of insomnia my way, and one night I found myself online researching pregnancy-related things. The night grew later and later and the subject matter at hand was getting progressively… weirder.
At one point, I took a step back and had a “whoa, girl” moment… I was actually reading about ingesting the placenta after birth.
“I’ve officially gone to the BAD PLACE,” I said to myself, closed my web-browser and went straightway to bed.
The next day, I asked my husband for a Priesthood Blessing. When my anxiety starts to take over and send me to my BAD PLACE, I’ve found that a Priesthood Blessing is the best thing for it.
In the blessing, I was blessed to be able to differentiate between BAD PLACE worries and legitimate concerns that were being relayed to me via the Holy Ghost. As the blessing was given, I was enveloped in a feeling of peace and calm. My mind was set at ease, and I went about my Pregnant Life.
But I couldn’t shake ONE thought.
The placenta.
“No,” I told my Heavenly Father (because I know SO much better. Ha.), “I can’t research THAT anymore. It’s gross.”
But the promptings still came, as gently as ever.
“Fine,” I eventually said… and went to the computer.

Have you ever researched the benefits of the placenta? I hadn’t. In fact, a few weeks before I had pre-registered at the hospital and when they asked me if I wanted to keep my placenta, I LAUGHED. And then I scoffed.
“Ew. No.”

As it turns out, many women are keeping their placentas and having them encapsulated… in pill form. The placenta is steamed, sliced very thin, dehydrated, ground up, and then put into clear capsules.
You can definitely do this yourself. There’s step-by-step instructions online.
But WHO wants to do it themselves, especially the day after giving birth? Anyway, who wants to use a dehydrator that a placenta has been on?
It’s a much better idea to HIRE someone to do this for you.

WHY would you do this? WHY?!?!
I know that’s what you’re all asking… because honestly: it’s disgusting and crazy. But when you read about the WHY -about the BENEFITS -it doesn’t seem so crazy.
If you’ve ever experienced post-partum depression to ANY DEGREE, you know that if you could do anything to prevent it -ANYTHING including taking your placenta in pill form -you would do it.
Aside from being a sure-fire guard against post-partum depression, it also helps balance your hormones, shrink your uterus back to size (thus helping post-partum bleeding), helps your energy return, and increases your milk supply.
As I studied up on it and read about it, I felt that all-familiar reaffirming feeling that THIS was for me.
“No,” I told Heavenly Father (because I know so much better), “It’s weird and it’s gross and besides! it’s too expensive. So even if I wanted to do it, I couldn’t.”
Based on my research, I’d found that to have the placenta encapsulated, it would cost between $200 and $300 dollars. OUT of the question! It simply wasn’t going to happen, and I was relieved.
Because placentas, as I’ve mentioned before, are grody.
Still the urgings from On High came… nudging me, nudging me, nudging…
So I hopped online again, googled around to see if anyone nearby performed this, ahem, service, and found that there were a few people in the Phoenix area that did.
I emailed one and was emailed back ten minutes later.
She charged $150… cheaper than what I’d anticipated, but still too much. I hadn’t budgeted for any of this placenta-ness and I was weeks away from giving birth. She told me that despite the miles between us, we could make it work.
I hit my knees again.
“Sorry,” I said, “It’s still too much. There’s simply no money. It’s not going to happen.”
You know, I never realized just how MUCH OF A FOOL I am until I write it all out for you all to read.
Moving on.
My husband came home a few days later with a bit of news. He was getting a Christmas bonus… and it was more than enough to cover the placental fee.
The days that followed were kind of awful. I had to have a bunch of awkward conversations. It was even awkward to ask my OWN HUSBAND if I could have $150 of the Christmas bonus for my placenta.
His reaction was just what I thought it would be. He was so grossed out at first. He made me promise to never take the pills with him in the room and kissing was out of the question for three hours after a dose.
He was mostly kidding. But I didn’t blame him AT ALL.
But after I had a chance to explain the whole “balancing hormones” thing -he was on board. Anything to make The Ol’ Lady less crazy!
This pregnancy, I had been more crazy than I’d ever been before. My emotions were off the charts, and I knew something had to be done. But what? I dreaded the post-partum phase.
I have never personally experienced post-partum depression, but this go ’round I was seriously concerned with how my body would get back to “normal” after such a crazy, crazy ride.
Having taken the crazy ride with me, my husband was sympathetic. In the end, just before, during, and AFTER the baby was born he was my biggest cheerleader and took the reigns in making sure the placenta was taken care of and paid for.

I had to call my mother-in-law and actually SAY the words, “Will you transport my placenta from Flagstaff to Mesa?”
Awkward. Yes.
But she is so wonderful and loving. After supporting me through labor and delivery (as my own awesome mother had), she drove home with my placenta on ice. A few hours later she called us to say, “Package delivered.”

I also had to call the hospital and feast on Humble Pie as I -the mocking, scoffing woman -said, “I’ll be needing my placenta after all.”

My placenta was delivered on a Thursday. It was processed on Friday and on my doorstep by Monday.

I’ve waited patiently to see how it works -to see if it made a significant difference. And ladies. LADIES.
I will never give birth without ensuring Placenta Encapsulation before-hand. Within a week of taking my placenta pills, I was completely back to normal, emotions-wise.
I am stunned.
I feel so much like my old self! I can think straight and clearly. I’m happy. I have energy -not like I had before, but golly. I just had a baby a few weeks ago, so I’ll take any amount of energy that comes my way!
I’m back into my jeans -albeit tightly. My bleeding and healing has gone MUCH smoother than it ever has.
So YES placenta pills sound nuts.
But NOT as nuts as placenta tacos, am I right? And I also have to say that it isn’t nuts at all: it’s a lifesaver.
I have some pills left over, and I can take them anytime I feel down, grouchy, or moody. If I freeze them, they will last indefinitely and help me through menopause. But I’m pretty sure I’m going to down them all before them.
I’m pretty sure I’ll down them all this YEAR during PMS season.

Here’s a quick sum-up for you from someone much smarter than I.
“Giving…placenta to a new mother following birth has become standard protocol among a growing number of midwives in the United States. By nourishing the blood and fluids, endocrine glands and organs, Placenta will …reduce or stop postpartum bleeding, speed up recovery, boost energy and relieve postpartum blues.” Homes, Peter. 1993. Jade Remedies, Snow Lotus Press, 352.

And HERE is the article I first read that I stepped away from and went to bed after reading.

And HERE is proof that I’m as cool as January Jones. We’re basically twinners. Apparently, lots of celebrities eat their own placentas in order to bounce back faster, but they don’t admit to it (cowards) (just kidding).

If you’re in the area and are interested, I can definitely give you the contact info for the woman I worked through. She also sent me some discount cards ($20 off!) and I’m just waiting to hand them out.

That ends my list. If you read through them all, I’m prodigious proud of you.
If you know of anyone who has struggled with post-partum depression, please pass this article on to them. I promise they would want to be aware of anything that might help them in the future.

Until next baby…

Tradition of Destruction

Every year on New Year’s Eve, my mom would let us crush our gingerbread house.
Well. I say “our” but really: it was her’s. I know that now because letting the kids smash something I’d worked so hard on wasn’t exactly easy. I really thought I made the house FOR them, but when it came right down to it: I was attached to it.
I made sure I got pictures of it. Lacy was my main decorator:

Here’s the sides:

My husband reached into the closet and brought out a hammer and mallet… and we let the kids go to it. They had a blast. My mother and father in law were here, and we were glad they were able to participate in our little family tradition.
It’s cool to smash things per tradition. Just ask any Jew.

Except that they’re smart enough to wrap their glass in a cloth before shattering it with their foot. Our gingerbread house went EVERYWHERE.

Kids really will eat anything candy-ish… even if it has been sitting out for almost two whole months.

And this.
This is my personal favorite. It captures the magic of smashing gingerbread houses perfectly. I remember feeling the same way as a kid:


I’ve only ever met ONE person who has made and kept New Year’s Resolutions. He was one of my professors in college, and his resolutions were always a little… out there.
Spend three days straight on my roof.
Walk the state of Arizona from top to bottom.

But he DID them.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions because I find change is more of an internal thing that can’t be timed… just because a year has changed doesn’t mean I’m going to. I can TRY to FORCE it, but it never seems to work out and my timing has NEVER coincided with the changing of the year.

I once resolved -about 15 years ago -to make my bed every day. That lasted clear into March which I think, for a New Year’s Resolution, is a pretty good run.

This year I’ve decided to give the Resolution Thing a try again, but I’m doing something a little different.
I have an unfortunate tendency to create conversation fodder out of other people’s lives… it’s like I refuse to believe that there’s anything interesting to talk about except other people.
It isn’t like I’m constantly saying mean or back-stabbing things… but it’s depressing unto me that I can’t seem to find enough depth within my soul to talk about anything other than
Other People.
Or myself, which just makes me downright Narcissisy.

The first step to change, you may or may not know, is not a DESIRE. It’s simply recognizing you have a problem.
Already, I’m there. Step one to change? DONE!

I’ve decided that every time I say something negative about someone else to fuel conversation, I’m going to go online and read an entire wikipedia article.
THAT way, next time I’m in conversation, I’ll have something interesting to talk about. I can’t simply resolve to STOP talking about other people. I’ve got to replace my conversation fodder.

It’s January 5th, and I’m three articles behind.

At this point in time, I’ll be taking your suggestions: Things to Wikipedia. I tend to lean toward wikipedia-ing people, which isn’t WHOLLY bad and doesn’t go against my resolution.
Because talking about Goethe isn’t exactly the same as talking about the neighbors.
But I need to broaden my horizons, so I put it to you, Good Person.
What would you have me know?
In the meantime, here’s a few pictures that are dear to my heart:

(Uncle Steve with Lacy)

Change n’ Pain

I have a stack of the handiest changing pads.

I use them on a daily basis -I never, ever change my wee bairn without one. They magically transform any and every surface into a changing table. Yesterday, I put my baby on my bed on top of a changing pad. I took her diaper off. I wiped up the mess.

And then she peed.

Please understand when I say that “she peed” what I’m really saying is that a small Atlantic Ocean dribbled from her body and onto the poor, overwhelmed changing pad. I was frantically picking up one corner, then another, then another… but the little Ocean was unstoppable. My husband happened to be nearby, and he snatched up the baby. I snatched up the changing pad and the Ocean?
Onto the bed, my pants, the pillow on the floor…
And as I’m trying to grapple with the mess, my darling bare-bottomed Alice -who was being held in mid-air by her armpits -proceeded to poo.
I reached out with her dirty diaper and caught that mess before it had a chance to hit the floor.

Cleaning up poo through tears of laughter isn’t all bad, really.

My husband put the baby on our soft bathroom mat while we cleaned up the bulk of the Oceanic Spill. We took the sheets off the bed.
“Third time this week!” My husband said, “We are NOT changing the baby on the bed anymore!”
(We’ll see how long that lasts.)
We took the giant pillow case off the giant pillow (my 9-foot beauty).
I shred my pants.
And that’s when I heard it… a shriek of pain. My poor three-week old baby was crying out in PAIN. I ran to her side to find her small left fist curled around her beautiful black hair.
She was PULLING her own hair, and the harder she screamed, the tighter she pulled.
It was a sad little scene. I gently loosened her grip on her own hair, and her cries went from pained to pathetic. And I gotta say: there’s nothing cuter than a pathetic little baby cry -the sweet sound they make when they need to talk about how hard their life is.

And then she pulled her hair while I tried to bathe her.
Needless to say, she’s now sporting one of those awesome newborn outfits that has little hand pockets. She can’t pull her own hair this morning!
And yes -that is a picture of how her hair looks this morning. Best Baby Bed Head Ever.
PS: She slept for 11 hours last night, and only woke up twice to eat. And when I say “woke up” I mean she got a little restless and latched on long enough to get back to sleep.
I feel awesome today. I MIGHT shower.