Welcome to my less than perfect life!

Embracing the imperfections that make my life practically perfect in every way.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Changing Seasons

It is officially Fall.  August and its sultry weather stayed with us well into September, and Indiana days are just giving way to the cool sunset evenings that call the entire family out of doors.  Tonight I marveled as I watched my daughters play together, both pretending to be super heroes who could fly (on our swings) and then chase criminals as they giggled their way through the yard.  The dog chased the cat through the too-tall grass and I looked at the Mister.

"I don't know if you've noticed," I said, "but our family is just about perfect right now."

"I have," he replied, smiling.

All of this comes on the heels of one of the deepest depressions I have ever experienced.  It is one that frightened me with its insidious nature.  Even now, I cannot look back and say when it began.  Was it three years ago, after our miscarriage?  I admit that I did all I could to avoid the feelings surrounding that time, choosing instead to stay busy.  Was it after we brought home our second daughter and realized the many, many hardships she, and therefore we, faced?  Was it a simple chemical imbalance, brought on by a fluctuation in my disease and completely out of my control?

Whatever it was, it cut deeply.  The depression had me asking myself questions that frightened me, and giving myself answers that frightened me even more.  Finally, knowing I could not go one step further without clinical intervention, I sought help from my physician.  We changed meds.  I made my world very, very small so that I could manage only the things I absolutely had to.  I waited.  I took a pill every day and I waited.  And, eventually, the pill started to work.  For many weeks I felt the darkness dogging at my heels and then, finally, I felt free.

I worry, as I ever have, that someday the depression will drive those I love from my side.  That it will one day become impossible to distinguish its voice from my own.  That I will have more episodes over the course of time and that, one day, the only happy times my family will have with me will be memories.

But this season, this change, gives me hope.  The ability to delight in our simple family life, in the beautiful weather, in the smiles that I am able to share.  This season, right now, is a good one.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Say What?

This two and a half year old munchkin of ours, she provides lots of laughs (along with some headaches).  Here are a few of her phrases these days:

1.  Any time the sky gets dim, she runs to us yelling, "Ih's fwainee!!"  In Munchkin speak, this means, "It's raining!!"  This is the first weather phenomenon that she has recognized, and it's fair to say that she is fully obsessed.  Days are getting shorter,  so when she goes to bed and the light is dim, "Ih's fwainee!!"  When she wakes up to more dim light, "Ih's fwainee!!"  Along with her obsession with the rain, she worries constantly about the cars getting wet.  Often, "Car wet!" are the first words she says to me when I see her in the morning.  No amount of persuasion can convince her that it is not, in fact, raining and that the car is dry.  When it actually IS raining, watch out.  These topics are on a constant state of repeat for hours on end.

2.  When she has a stinky diaper, I will often tell her: "Shoo-Whee!"  She has taken over this phrase with great gusto and anytime her diaper is either wet or stinky she will give a dramatic rendition of this complete with waving hand in front of her nose to deflect the "smell".

3.  She still has LOTS of incomprehensible speech.  Even so, this kid has conviction.  So she will give long stories in complete gibberish.  She will also repeat her gibberish over and over trying to make us those with the thick skulls understand what she is talking about.  She is so much like a teacher in a classroom of kids who do not understand their new Algebra.  Very patient, not getting loud, just repeating and repeating and repeating.

4.  She will spontaneously say, "I yuh you" (I love you).  Melts me every time.

5.  When she perceives that anyone is hurt or upset she will come to us and say, "Okay?"  She will pat us and kiss us and hug us to help us feel better.

I love this stage of development where her personality is really starting to shine.  She is strong and caring and loving and so much fun.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Munchkin Turns 2

Oh, my little girl, you are two!

You, my love, have got such a personality!!

I joke that someday you will have a very social job like cruise director!  Certainly, the life of the party, which you already are.  You have absolutely got joie de vivre, your smile can light up any room and you have a knack for drawing people in.

You are still working hard on your language skills, so communication can be a big area of frustration for you.  Smiling and screaming are two of your current extremes.  You do have lots of words though.  You love animals and can name several animals and their sounds.

This year we had a "Bobo" party (or Elmo to those who don't understand the translation).  You love Bobo, you love baby Einstein videos.  One of your favorite activities right now is to hold hand with Mom, Dad and The Nugget around the dinner table and sway back and forth to whatever music is playing.  You LOVE music and dancing and I have already seen your future as a crowd surfer at some concert.  You're wild about your big sister and want to do everything she does (much to her frustration, and yours, at times).  You two both play and feud at times.  Food is perhaps your toughest subject.  You have not voluntarily eaten a vegetable yet and only eat them in baby food purees.  Mom is still trying to learn to relax and let you live on the things you will eat.  I hope know you'll be off the baby food by college.

This year has taken you from crawling to walking.  You have recently graduated from your braces for clubbed feet (and nobody would ever know you'd even had them!).  You climb and jump.  You have traveled to Florida and New York and New Hampshire and just been a busy, busy bee.  A few pics:

I can't imagine my life without you!  I can't wait to see what next year brings.  I love you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Game Time

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to invite you to play a game!  People of all ages, gather round for a guessing game that I like to call:

Toddler or Cat

All you have to do is correctly guess the answer to each question by using the word either Toddler or Cat.  

Winners will receive the right to pat themselves on their own back.  No further prizes exist.

So now, if you're ready, let us begin!!!

1.  Likes to scream at the door anytime she or he is not allowed to follow the dog out.
Did you guess cat?  Give yourself one pat!  He will continue to cry until the dog comes in or he manages to escape, resulting in much cursing, crying and barefoot chasing around the yard.

2.  Likes to dig into the laundry and get a pair or pairs of underpants wrapped around her or his head.
Did you guess toddler?  One more pat!  This is an EVERY. DAY. OCCURRENCE.  

3.  Attempts to get all of the things off of all of the surfaces all of the time (think counters, tables, etc).
It's a tricky one!  It's both toddler AND cat!  Did you get it right?  Once more pat for you!

4.  Tries to climb into the washer and or dryer each time that I am doing laundry thereby significantly slowing down the laundry process.
Another trick question!!  Toddler AND cat would be the correct answer.  One more pat for you my friend!

5.  Has climbed into the bathtub during other people's baths multiple times.
Cat.  It's the cat.  The inexplicable cat.  Did you say cat?  One more pat!

6.  Attempts to get into the shower repeatedly during and after my showers.
Here's another toddler AND cat for the win.  Pat pat!

7.  Meows upon waking.
Did you see this coming?  Toddler!  Hope you earned a pat!

8. Climbs on top of the furniture despite repeated admonishments.
And…it's another toddler AND cat!  Pat yourself if you're starting to catch on that they are very nearly one and the same.

9.  Loves to chase the little red laser beam!!!
Both.  Both the toddler and the cat.  Because…well, because.  Did you get a pat?

10. Is one of the great joys of my life.
Toddler.  But the cat is a close second.

Monday, October 26, 2015

3AM Won't Last Forever

During the newborn phase of parenting, I found it important to remind myself that those middle of the night wakings would end.  I needed to keep up the mantra to myself that it won't last forever.  Newborns take a lot from a parent; all of that missed sleep is such a difficult thing.  Knowing that at some point I would get back to a normal sleep schedule was the only thing that got me through.

Now, though, every night at some point, The Munchkin will fuss herself awake.  At 21 months, she goes to bed like a dream and sleeps most of the night through.  But somewhere between 3 and 4, inevitably, she wakes and needs a cuddle.

I go to her and lift her from the crib, bring her to the rocking chair and we rock.  Usually only five minutes or so, sometimes longer if one of us needs.  Sometimes I have a bit of an internal battle with myself about this nighttime ritual.  I tell myself that I am only reinforcing the waking by picking her up and rocking her.  I tell myself I should let her cry it out.  I do the thing that I often advise others not to do: I "should" on myself.

But then I remember: it won't last.  No matter how I approach the situation, it won't last.  She will continue to grow and change whether I wish it away or embrace it.  It won't be long before, like her older sister, she tells me that I am making her too hot and asks me to leave her side so that she can get to sleep.

So, on nights when my eyes are bleary from tiredness, I remind myself of how fleeting it all really is.  When my pillow begs me to leave the baby and stay, to get her fully sleep trained once and for all, I creep out of the warm bed anyway.  I find the energy for those few minutes together (how few I will get in this life).  I quietly enter her room and rub her back.  She sits up and reaches for me and we rock.  I nuzzle her head, smell her sweet hair and try to remember how fast it all goes. It's funny how in a year and half I have flipped that mantra on it's head.  Now I know, really know, that 3AM won't last forever.  And I'm going to savor every moment of it.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


One of our little family obsessions games is finding shoes on the side of the road.  Just kind of a road game that The Mister and I play as we drive along wherein we see a shoe and scream "SHOE!".  Maybe not so much a game as a thing we do.  I brought it to the marriage.  

I have noticed for years that people seem to lose an absurd amount of shoes either in or along side of the road.  It baffles me.  I mean, I can understand the occasional flip flop flying off of a foot propped out the car window, but often times I see shiny dress shoes, nice looking tennis shoes or boots.  How IN THE LOVE do you lose a tie on dress shoe while driving down the road?  I think I started yelling out "SHOE" just so I would know that I wasn't the only one seeing these things.  Once I saw a whole gaggle of shoes in the road, like 10 in a pile.  It's like they were there just for me.

I have long thought about what a great coffee table book this would make.  At least to me.  But maybe I'm the only one who notices this phenomenon.  Also, I often spot these shoes on the side of interstates and the photography would prove difficult and dangerous in the best of conditions.  I did make a point for a couple of weeks a while back to stop and photograph shoes that were in a safe and reasonable place.  It didn't take long to collect quite a few photos.

Maybe some kid threw this out the window?

Just ready for a new style?
Walked out of it?
Just not your sole mate?
Came unfastened?
The elusive pair of shoes.  I'm guessing the owner got
a new pair that he or she couldn't wait to get into.
Knocked off by the train?
I assure you, the above photos were all collected in and around where I live.  I saw more shoes than this during my photo period, but these were only ones that could be easily photographed.  None of these are staged in any way.

So is it just me?  Or, more accurately, now that I have dragged The Mister into this, us?  Do you ever notice how many shoes are left alongside the road?  Have you ever lost a shoe while in transit?  If so, share your story.  I'd love to know even part of what's going on out there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Munchkin - 18 Months

My spunky little girl, how is it that you are already 18 months old?  You have gotten so big!  You are taller than the kitchen table now.  As you have for months, you love to climb.  Everything.  Mommy, primarily, but also Daddy and Sissy and the kitchen tables and the fridge and the stove and pretty much anything you can get purchase on.  You are on the go and BUSY all of the time.  You have already learned to climb out of both your pack and play and your crib.  Lucky for Mom and Dad, you still wear your boots for clubbed feet at night, so I think that will buy us a little more time in the crib (at night, anyway).

You love your sister.  You climb on her a lot too, which incites a lot of screaming on her part.  But you two are finally getting to an age where you will play happily together sometimes and it pleases me so much to hear you both giggling away.

You love to explore and have no fear.  When we took you to the ocean this summer you went right for it and didn't miss a beat!

I won't mention what happened to that swim suit but suffice it to say we never saw it again after that day.  No, it is not safe to go to beach without a swim diaper.

You CANNOT STAND having your hair fixed.  You will rip out any bow or barrette or pig tail I put in and, on top of that, you will rub as much food in your hair as possible if I try and fix it.  So natural it is, often very messy and natural.  But I still try sometimes:)

Words are FINALLY coming for you.  This has been a frustration on both sides, you because you cannot communicate what you want and therefore wind up frustrated.  Mom and Dad because we can't deduce what you want and also wind up frustrated with the amount of screaming you do.  Your favorite words right now are: dog, cat, up, go, mom, dad and the sign language word for more (which you pretty much use any time you feel agreeable to a suggestion).

You are busy.  You are silly.  You love to dance and to hug and if I ask you to get the baby you will find a doll and hug it and pat its back and say, "aww".  You can be very sweet and you can also get VERY angry when you don't get your way.  You exhaust me and challenge me every day and I certainly feel every year of being an older mother when I am with you, but you also make me laugh and smile every day too.  I love you, little one.  Here's to many more happy, busy years together.