Tag Archives: Parenting

The First Trimester: There On The Couch She Lies

November 24, 2015


October 7

Everyone tells you to absolutely not take a pregnancy test before your missed period, but I like to waste 40-60 dollars just in case science is wrong. This time was no different. I took a test three days before my period, two days before, one day, and then on all the days after. Four days later, it was still negative and I was feeling some emotions. Namely:

1) Confused. Where is my period? Why does my period never cooperate?

2) Annoyed. Now I have take Clomid again. Clomid is dumb. I hate Clomid.

3) Fine. We’ve only been trying for two months and this is the first round of medicine. No big deal. Eva took six months and Waylon took a year. I can wait.

If you are new here, I take a drug called Clomid to have my babies because I have the ovaries of a grumpy old man. It’s fine. Women, many of them my friends and family, have had to endure much worse.

And so I gave up. I bought a box of tampons, called in another prescription, and focused on getting through the next month. I never really thought the drugs would work the first time anyways.

A day later I was packing a picnic dinner when I realized nothing sounded good enough to eat. No sandwiches, no snacks, and especially no desserts. This is very unlike my normal self who specializes in sandwiches, snacks, and desserts. It is exactly like my pregnant self, who only craves McDonald’s chicken sandwiches and hot meals.

Weird, I thought weirdly. Weird, weird, weird.

And so I did what you do when faced with potentially life-changing news, I put on a show for the kids and ate a stringed cheese. Then I ran to the upstairs bathroom, took a test, and went into my bedroom to change. When I came back into the bathroom to throw the test away, I looked down and the stick was faintly positive. I called my friend Heather immediately to analyze and she said, “You’re pregnant, dummy!”, just like she did after I tested positive for Eva and didn’t believe it.

Then I took another test just in case and lo and behold, I was with child.


Austin was surprised too, especially since I’d been stomping around the house discussing my “special time of the month” for days (his favorite topic!). After I told him, we hid from the kids and danced around the basement, giddy with the delusion that maybe this was going to be so much easier than the first two times.

We took a picture and blurry little video after the kids were in bed to commemorate the occasion. Happiest kind of night.

October 10

Is this real????

October 20

There is nothing in my body that doesn’t feel like swine flu. I cannot type any more sentences.

October 22

So sick and tired and tired and sick and have I mentioned I AM ILL. I forgot about this. Or rather, I remembered being sick but forgot how bleak it is to rest your head on the toilet bowl after losing the third meal of the day. It’s okay though, I’ve already cried about it fifteen times which is a nice, insane release. See you never.

October 23

Two kids constantly asking for cheese sticks is a nice distraction from the unrelenting nausea that follows me around the house like a bad ex-boyfriend. Don’t worry though, the kids have seen enough Daniel Tiger episodes today that it’s like they are being parented by an other, nicer mom. A mom who takes trips to the clock factory and makes vegetable spaghetti instead of a mom who takes trips to the bathroom and makes boxed macaroni and cheese for every meal. Bless their confused hearts.

October 25

October 26

Ate 17 pizza goldfish for lunch if anyone is keeping track of my nutrition.

October 27

I have been infected with a head cold. Patient zero doesn’t seem too sorry. Yesterday she hid my keys in a bag of potatoes. I can’t take NyQuil, something I mention to anyone within a mile radius. Honestly I’m so sick of hearing myself complain that I’m considering selling my phone for pizza money. Please pray for my husband who no can no longer find any clean dishes, clean clothes, or clean children after 18 hour shifts at the hospital.

October 30

Rose: Put on real clothes this morning to attend Waylon’s preschool Halloween party.
Thorn: Threw up in the bathroom while Eva ate marshmallows covered in glue.
(Could have been worse).

October 31

I don’t want to be dramatic, but if I don’t eat a salad covered in french fries covered in ranch dressing in the next 24 hours I will die.

November 1

Already at the point in the pregnancy where every road sign, every obituary, every inanimate object on the living room floor holds a name possibility. Looked into my make-up bag this morning and read Fat Lash Mascara. Not bad.

Austin hates every name I love, part of our really fun marriage dynamic. If this baby is named by June, it will be a miracle.

November 3

Things I Can’t Handle On Any Emotional Level: NPR human interest stories, diaper commercials, Pixar movies, heartfelt Adele songs.

Just thinking about the ending to Toy Story 3 is too much to bear.

November 4

Whenever I’m in a state of emotional duress, I find myself coping with mental checklists. An inner monologue of questions if you will. For example: Are you sad? Why are you sad? Are you mad? Why are you mad? Are you anxious? Make a list of all the reasons why. It’s as if my brain is going into safety mode. A carefully calculated assessment to find root causes and possible solutions.

It’s happening all the time now. Mostly when it’s quiet; in the bathroom or in the car. And every time I’m surprised. Like, oh–you’re here again? I guess I didn’t notice everything shutting down.

The root cause is always the same. The baby, a baby, my baby–taking over in every way. First goes the body, then the mind.

November 5

Finally watched Inside Out. Cried 50% of the time as Pixar intended.

November 9

10 weeks today. Pregnancy glow or 47 filters? You decide.

November 10

Headed to California. What do you call a pregnant lady, a four-year-old, and a toddler boarding a plane? Actually, let’s not finish that joke.

November 20th

As it turns out, taking two young kids on a solo trip across the country while pregnant is possible. It’s also really hard. I’ll be recovering until April. The good news is that while I’m still dry heaving on a regular basis. The nausea is not constant and for that I am grateful.

November 23rd

Saw the baby today in a due date ultrasound. They didn’t give me a picture and I pretended not to care. I thought that maybe the third time this would be less magical, but I have found the opposite is true. Even though it is hard and gross and exhausting, pregnancy is beautiful. It is holy ground.

I will never have a pregnant Angelina Jolie body, something I had to reconcile years ago, but I am strong. I have made two babies with a uterus once deemed a failure. I wake up grateful and fall asleep dreaming of the day we’re all here.



There is a time and place to lament pregnancy sickness and joke about the turmoils of motherhood, but I’d like to take a moment for thankfulness and a quick prayer for my fellow women waiting to be mothers. I stand with you in your journey to motherhood. You are strong. You are brave. You are not forgotten. 

First trimester with Eva

How Do You Fly With Kids?

October 27, 2015

Six months ago Waylon’s best friend Ginger moved across the country to California. Even though we were thrilled to stay in the land of cheesesteaks and cold winters and excited for our friends to move home to the West Coast, saying goodbye was hard. Our families had become close and they were an integral part of our friendship circle. Most of all, my dear friend Heather and I became mothers together, and you know what they say about women who do those early years side by side. Bound together for life.

Separation is hard, but life moves on. Heather and I talk every day, and the kids facetime occasionally so they can hold the phone up to the inside of their mouths. It’s been fine.

Until recently, when the kids started to really miss each other and were giving sad, Disney eyes at bedtime about never seeing their friend again. That’s when Heather’s mama, a true fairy godmother, swooped in and declared she would pay for Waylon’s ticket out there if I could come up with a ticket for me.

We leave in two weeks. Eva turns two in December, so we needed to fly out before she needs a ticket too.

Austin will be staying home because apparently his residency program gives zero flips about my mental health.

Here are my questions:

1) How do I do this?

2) No really, how am I possibly going to do this?

I know that moms and dads have been taking their kids on airplanes alone since the beginning of flight, but I am weak of heart and Eva is a runner.

A gentle plea for all your tips, tricks and suggestions.

So far I’ve got dollar store toys, snacks, and the iPad on the packing list. But that’s about it.

Every little idea helps.

Gracias, gracias, gracias.


On Writing Books And Sending Your One-Year-Old To School

October 1, 2015


I’m sending my one-year-old to school today. She’ll be joining the 2’s class, where she will be the baby of the classroom–unable to sit still or stay quiet or resist ripping off her diaper “for fun.” Bless you, preschool teachers. You have a special place in heaven next to the cheese bar.


This plan was unexpected. The teachers came to us, and at first I said no until I realized a whole morning off to write would be gold if gold was financially worthless but emotionally thrilling.

I started drafting a few more paragraphs explaining myself and our reasons for sending her, but deleted them all because honey, I’m the mom and she’s going to love it.


In the meantime, I’ll be here plugging away. This blog is no longer my first priority as I’m in the middle of writing two books, but it is still a great place to post life events, the occasional essay, or fun things from the Internet. Those Friday links used to really bog me down, but now those kinds of light posts are a happy place where I don’t have to think about where the next sentence will come from. Who would have thought curating silly tweets or finding noteworthy links to read would become a relaxing pastime. Instagram and Snapchat (for the most part) are fun too. Feel free to block me.

As always, thanks for reading.


How To Read Books And Neglect Your Family

September 28, 2015


Every week or so, someone asks me how I have time to read all those books while also being a wife and mother to two young children. It’s a valid question, considering most people have better things to do than speed read celebrity memoirs and young adult thrillers. My standard answer is usually pretty tongue-in-cheek. For example, “You should see my dishes!” or “I just don’t parent my children!”

It is not the whole story, but it’s not exactly a lie either. I absolutely neglect my dishes and ignore my kids for the sake of reading, but there’s more to it than that. But before I answer how I do it, let me tell you why.

Just like every other unathletic millennial girl, I’ve been reading under the covers until 2am since 1995 when Stacey McGill got diabetes in The Babysitter’s Club. For as long as I can remember, reading has been both an escape and joy. It’s also become a habit and discipline. Any writer knows that in order to write anything, you have to read everything. In an interview last year, the Portuguese Nobel prize winner Jose Saramago was asked about his daily writing routine. His answer was, “I write two pages. And then I read and read and read.”

So that’s why. Here’s how.

I just do it. Not every day, not every week, not when the kids are sick or I’m in the middle of projects–but most of the time I simply make the time to read. My house is rarely clean because I don’t consider being a housewife my job. Mothering, yes. Loving my children and helping them grow up, of course. But the laundry? The dishes? The piles of unopened mail and old magazines? That is not part of my job description. I help take care of those things because I live here, but I’m not putting it on my resume because most of the time everything is messy and I wait for Austin to be home so we can work on it together.

Mother first. Writer second. The rest is relationships and occasionally taking out the trash. Whenever I see friends and family who find joy in cooking or general housewifery (and househusbandry!), I think– Atta girl! Please invite me over for your casserole. I will never be that woman. I will always push aside housework and complicated recipes for reading or writing or lying on the floor while the kids try to scratch my eyes out.

Speaking of the kids, I will also always be the mom who says, “This is Mommy’s time!” or “I’m reading, please stop poking me with that fork” because 1) There are only so many minutes in a day I can play dinosaur tea party and 2) Monkey see, monkey do. And if my monkeys turn out to be readers who sometimes neglect their chores to finish the last few chapters, I will consider that a pretty big win.


The Best Parenting Advice I’ve Ever Recieved

August 26, 2015

Edited From The Archives

There are a lot of things you shouldn’t say to new moms. Things like “Have you lost that baby weight yet?” or “My cousin’s baby slept through the night at 3 weeks!” Unsolicited, passive aggressive advice is not welcome either. Things like, “I think sleeping with your baby is crazy, but that’s just me…” or “Doesn’t formula cause AIDS?”

Not cool. Not cool at all.

Of course there are times to give advice, times when moms need a little help or a gentle nudge in the right direction. Mostly it’s a matter of timing, only offering your two cents when your two cents is needed. If you are having trouble knowing when this time is, listen for the following words: “I need your advice.” It’s that simple.

Here are the top ten best pieces of parenting advice I’ve ever received, all given to me in a kind and gentle manner. All with perfect timing and the wisdom of moms who care.

Thank you, moms. You know who you are.


1) Your body was made for this.


You want me to push a who out of what now?

Things your body was made for: labor, delivery, c-sections, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, resiliency, anger, love, exhaustion.

Things your body wasn’t made for: Full body waxes, an entire container of Oreos, meth.


2) Never say never.


Things I said I’d never do: Co-sleep, sleep train, use formula, google cheap daycare near me! at 2am.

Save yourself the embarrassment.


3) Treat them like a human person.


Things we expect of our dogs: obedience, submission, quiet. Things we expect of our kids: the same, but be cheery about it too! Here’s the thing though, kids aren’t puppies. I know it’s confusing.

It’s hard to treat a child with respect who is ignoring all your demands and throwing your toothbrush in the toilet. Really, really hard. But what if you were shorter than your roommates, constantly tripping, unable to make coherent sentences, and not allowed in the bathroom? There’s a reason kids act like drunk maniacs. Patience teaches patience. Grace teaches grace.


4) There’s a difference between sharing and bragging.


The first time my first baby slept through the night, I was so excited, so proud, so FULL OF MYSELF that I immediately texted all my friends and family that lo and behold, my child hath slept through the night! He didn’t do again for another 8 months. Karma is a delight.

Comparison is the thief of joy. Every kid is different and unique. Sharing is caring, but sometimes it’s annoying too.


5) Just when you think a stage can’t get worse, your kid usually gets over it.michael scott

It will get better. There is no other piece of advice that is more true and more repeated in the world of parenting. Newborn screaming? It will get better. Postpartum pooing? It will get better! Baby teething? Toddler screaming? Four-year-olds terrorizing the houseplants? Dude, it will totally get better. The days are long but the years are short. They will be peeing in that potty before you know it (really).


6) Acknowledge feelings.dwight

You don’t have to pick up your baby every time he cries. You don’t have to give your toddler a cookie every time he asks for one. You can acknowledge how they feel, even if it evokes the craziest of crazy eyes from your tired, Grinchy soul. For example:

“You’re tired, you want to be picked up!”

“You’re so sad, you wanted to stick your hand in the blender!”

“You’re so frustrated, you cannot process one single emotion rationally!”


7) You are the mom.


You are in charge of your kid. Not your mom, not your neighbor, not your frenemy from church who has opinions on food allergies. You know what’s best for your child because you are the mom.

Self doubt is a part of being a parent, but it’s true what they say–mama knows best. Trust your gut. Do what works for you and forget the rest.


8) Children are not a problem to be solved.


Children are not a problem to be solved but a person to be enjoyed. The problem is that parents are problem solvers, so it’s hard when your perfect baby comes with a list of things that need to be fixed (sleeping, eating, bug ingestion). Realistic expectations only work in our favor. They (and you) will be fine.


9) Ask for help.please

We are not designed to be alone. Work, children, marriage, our aging parents and arm skin–all of those things require support. Other parents and people are our greatest asset, even if it’s just your cousin’s half sister who offered to babysit on Saturday mornings so you can grocery shop in peace.


10) Get away.

miss p

Get away from your kids. I know it’s hard. I know they might cry and wonder where you are and bump their head on your mother-in-law’s coffee table. The hilarious thing is that they will be totally fine. The first time’s the hardest, the second time is okay. But soon enough, with some gentle practice, leaving your baby and your kids becomes second nature to everyone. A weekend at grandma’s house is good for everyone, even if you never leave your bed.