Category Archives: Marriage

Who we used to be. Before we were ‘we.’

Every now and then we experience these wondrous moments where we are able to stop, let go, and recognize the people we once were, not so long ago—or maybe a long time ago—before we had so many responsibilities. Before children. Before stress and anxiety, technology, and the fast-pace of our lives threatened to consume us all.

This afternoon I enjoyed one such moment. Liam offered to walk the kids to the park down the road so I could finish the mammoth task of folding and putting away about ten load’s worth of laundry. Once I finished, we planned on me meeting everyone at the park so that we could all grab a quick bite for dinner. 

When I got to the park, I set about wrangling the two littlest so I could change diapers before getting back in the car. When I looked up after changing the baby to see where everyone had gone, I noticed Liam had found a basketball and was shooting hoops at the court across the playground. I could hear him trying to cajole the girls into being his rebounders. 

A slow but strong smile spread across my face. I laughed out loud not only at the cuteness of them all, but because I knew I was going to go over there and attempt to steal the ball from someone so I could get in on the action too.

After I got closer and put down the baby, I did just that, much to the chagrin of Nora, who was not impressed, but rather downright offended I would think to do such a thing to her. Sucka!

There’s nothing quite like the feel of a basketball rolling off your fingertips on its way to the hoop, especially when you can feel it’s going to go in before it actually does.

My first thought after I shot the ball was: Man. Remember when I used to be fun? To have fun? 

And just like that, Liam and I were transported back in time. Taking jump shots (and bricking them hard). Making lay ups. Passing and laughing like we were kids in high school. All while the kids yelled around us, “Give it to me! Pass it to me! Mommy! Daddy! Come on!”

Basketball is an experience Liam and I both share. Only, I didn’t know him in high school. Never got to see him play. So, in this brief moment, I was able to watch him as a fun-loving thirty-six-year-old, and imagine his “other life,” the one in which he existed before me. It was like a small glimpse into his past. And maybe even our future. One in which we coach the kids and try to impart any meaningful advice we can still remember from those days gone by.
Isn’t it just SO COOL when these kinds of moments stop us in our tracks? Make us think back about how we used to be? Make us imagine what others might have been like? And make us look ahead at all that we have to look forward to with our own children?

I sure think so.  

How many t-shirts should one man own? Really. Please tell me what’s reasonable.

My husband has seventy-two t-shirts. 72! (Yes, I counted). Granted, these include both long sleeve and short sleeve, as well as white undershirts. But still! He could wear a different t-shirt each day of the week for two-and-a-half months without having to do laundry. Ree-DIC-u-lous. Absolutely ridiculous. (Incidentally, when I point this kind of thing out to him, he always mentions how it’s kind of brilliant, given our tendency to fall behind with the laundry. What a wiseass.)

Now, I will be the first to admit that I love a good t-shirt. The super, super soft shirts. The ones you’ve had forever that are worn down just perfectly. The oversized ones that are great for sleeping in. The classic summer white tee. The tees that represent beloved sports teams or favorite vacation spots. I could go on, but I won’t. Because no one should own as many shirts as my hubs. As our four-year-old would say with a bunch of sass—seriously.

Here’s the thing. If we had a big house with a walk-in closet, or room in the bedroom for more than one DPP (dresser per person), I’d be OK with the outrageous number of shirts. But, as it is, we do not live in a mansion. We have a small house with two small closets and two small dressers which overflow way too easily.

Now, with the exception of the cloth diapers—Liam helps to wash these all the time, God love him—I do the laundry in the house. And, I fold and put away clothing too. Why is this significant?

Because when you try to stuff seventy-two clean t-shirts in drawers that are only meant to hold half that number, and you’re impatient like I am, you start to easily lose your shit when putting away the clean clothes. And then, you wind up doing wildly immature and nonsensical things when you, in fact, do lose your shit. Like throwing a stack of neatly folded tees into the deepest and darkest back corner of your husband’s closet, after you’ve asked him nicely, forty-six times, to please, for the love of all that’s holy, pare down the collection because it’s driving me INSANE. 

Every now and then he will start to look through the shirts in an attempt to get rid of a few, but he never does. The man doesn’t hang on to much, but he does love him some shirts.

Why does he feel the need to hang on to every running race shirt he’s ever received? I don’t know. Or all the sports ones, many of the same teams. Or the ones from all the pubs and taverns in every town he’s every lived and likely visited. If he’s so attached to the words on the shirts, surely some of the plain color tees could go out to the curb? Or bring us a buck or two in the upcoming yard sale? I mean, come on!

I’ll give him credit. A time or two he has removed some shirts and relocated them to a bin in the basement. His plan was to keep them on some kind of rotation. That never happened. 

I probably should just start sneaking some into the trash now and then when he isn’t looking. See if he misses them. I’ll only take from the way bottom of the drawer. Grab the ones that haven’t seen the light of day in a year or two. Because even in our darkest laundry moments, when I’ve neglected the growing mounds for well over a week—maybe two—the man still had two drawers nearly full of shirts. 

I mean, is this normal? Is this just a guy thing? If so, somebody please let me know, and I’ll try to be more tolerant. Or, find alternative spaces in our home in which to store the damn things. Or, alternative uses.

Off the top of my head, I’m thinking replacements for hand towels in the bathroom. Pillowcases maybe. Dish rags. Blankets for the girls’ baby dolls.

Guests in the home mention we are nearly out of toilet paper? Here, use this shirt. It’s OK. He’s got a duplicate. Yes, I know. Isn’t that silly, hanging on to two of the same shirt? Please, use it. Your ass will just love it. 

Question of the day.

I’m not sure when it began—I think after college—but my best girlfriends and I have, for years, invariably sent e-mails and texts to one another with the subject: Question of the Day.

All of us girls have taken turns posing questions. Sometimes the questions have been mundane. Sometimes silly. Sometimes serious. Once a question has been asked, each girl is responsible for providing her own answer.

It had been some time since one of us had asked a question, so this morning, since I’d been wondering about something, I sent out the following text message:

Question of the Day: What method of birth control are you currently using?

The answers the girls sent back ran the gamut. Abstinence (with an LOL). Vasectomy. Condoms. Pill. IUD—which I always, always, confuse with IED, the explosive devices used in the Middle East. Obviously, two VERY different acronyms, which should not be confused, since one would blow up your uterus instead of merely keeping fertilized eggs from attaching there. Yikes! I guess I should remember—’U’ for uterus, ‘E’ for explosion.

Anyway, I’ve lately been terrified of the possibility that we could have a fourth child by accident so soon after the third…or even a fourth child at all, really. I know that sounds awful, given how blessed we are to have had three beautiful and healthy children. But, I just can’t fathom what having another child would do to our family, and specifically, my mental state. 

I am in awe of mothers I see at church or even in my extended family who have four, five, six—or even seven!—children, all close in age. How do they do it? And remain sane? I just don’t know. 

Although, I guess after one has a fifth child, the oldest is likely able to help out a bunch. And after the sixth or seventh, a mother would have near-adults at her side who could be baby-holders, house-cleaners, and meal-preppers. 

Wait a minute—maybe that’s what we need. Not less, but more! Surely the Duggars have stumbled upon something good here. When they aren’t busy exploiting their children, they’re probably eating bonbons on some beach in Mexico while Duggars ten through sixteen care for numbers one through nine. Brilliant!

Maybe we should adopt a few older children, or at least convince some neighborhood pre-teens to come by daily, to help out with chores around the house and holding the baby (the latter which I did for no less than ten hours today, due to the fact he wanted to be awake and upright to witness everything that was happening around him; five consecutive hours awake for a newborn must be like forty-eight to a grown-up, so I’m totally prepared for him to bug out tonight, but hoping he sleeps like a bear in winter).

Anyway, the birth control conversation is one we are going to have to continue over here at our place. I charted my cycle for six months using the Fertility Awareness Method prior to conceiving the little dude. But the idea of taking my basal body temperature every day until I’m no longer fertile is torturous! Ditto the pill and condoms. And, having a device inserted into my uterus which may or may not explode? Well, let’s just say I’m more comfortable with the idea of NOT having to entertain that scenario, however unlikely the possibility.

So that leaves abstinence or vasectomy. Guess I’ll leave it up to the hubs to make the choice for us.

You. Have. GOT. To. Be. Effing. Kidding. Me.

The past few days have quite possibly been the most trying of my entire life. I know that’s a pretty bold statement, considering I’ve had my heart broken a few times, lost beloved grandparents, survived taking an engineering physics class, run half of a marathon, biked over major mountains in Vietnam, and birthed three giant babies without pain medication (some of the more trying life events that come right to mind).

I’ll be the first to admit that I get stressed out pretty easily. But I also pride myself on being able to juggle many balls in the air, so to speak, without dropping one. That being said, there has been ball juggling and dropping galore in recent days, and if just one more ball hits the floor, I’m afraid I’m going to need to check into one of those rehab houses used by Hollywood celebs for physical exhaustion, or whatever it is they claim to need help with.

OK. So let’s get into the recent events at our house. Things all began to go south this past Thursday. Liam and I noticed some swelling and redness that had begun to form around the little guy’s circumcision site, which only days before had looked great and seemed to have healed up nicely. I called the pediatrician’s office to describe the blister-like swelling, and they said they wanted to see Rowan, so I made an appointment for later in the day.

Then, while the kids and I were still at home, Frances, our middle child, started with a fever, general crankiness, and complete loss of appetite. And the oldest, Nora, had refused to take a nap. It was shaping up to be a good afternoon.

At the pediatrician’s office, I started to worry when the doctor asked if I minded her getting another doctor with whom to consult and check out the little guy’s bits. Of course, the doc was gone from the room for about ten minutes, which seemed like eternity to me since I had to entertain and distract an almost naked newborn who needed to be held, nursed, and walked around, an ill toddler who was grumpy and also wanted to be nursed and held, and a cranky, chatty, ants-in-her-pants preschooler who was bordering on defiant (this is what no-napping does to her).

While I paced the small office with the little guy, while simultaneously trying to verbally comfort the toddler and shoo away the preschooler, I prayed for patience, peace and quiet, and for the damned doctors to just get the hell in the room already.

When they finally arrived, the tag-teaming duo agreed that our boy will essentially need to have a fresh circumcision performed by a urologist when he turns a year old, since skin had begun to grow on his penis and reattach itself from where it had once been cut. What?!?! This will be done under general anesthesia, they explained. Again, What?!?!

When I asked what had happened, the docs explained that it was just the way Rowan’s body had healed. No fault of ours or the doctor who performed the circumcision. Hmmm.

You might imagine how this all made me feel once I tell you I never wanted a circumcision for our boy in the first place. Why mess with nature? I asked my husband. He won’t look different from other boys. Lots of parents aren’t circumcising their kids these days, I argued.

In the end, I let Liam decide and told him I would support his choice. Grrrr…I tried and succeeded to withhold any I told you so’s when I explained to him what the doctors had said. He offered, “I bet you’re wishing we hadn’t had him circumcised.”

Um, that would be a yes.

Moving on to Thursday night then. Once we got the kids to bed, we started getting ready for bed ourselves. As I was brushing my teeth, I began to feel nauseous. Perhaps it was just the three chocolate Easter egg candies I’d eaten, I thought.

Negative on the candies being the cause of the nausea. Three hours later, around midnight, I began a hardcore puking fest that lasted off and on six or more times until five in the morning. I’m grateful Liam was able to come lay in bed with us to keep an eye on the kids and on me as I alternatively puked and nursed, nursed and puked a feverish toddler and an unsuspecting newborn.

I was worthless Friday, so Liam stayed home from work. Again, grateful. Frances still ran a fever (which she will do, as she refuses all kinds of medicines). Gratefully, she nursed well, so I didn’t have to worry about her continuing to not eat or become dehydrated.

Nora then developed a crazy runny nose. It got so bad, she utterly destroyed two boxes of tissues, and grew a red, raw rash that extended from below her nose and up to her cheekbones on both sides of her face. We gave her some Benadryl, rubbed her face full of Vaseline, and sent her to bed.

I then went to bed hoping that the two bananas and two pieces of toast—all the solid food that I was able to force in my body that day—would be enough to sustain us, the breastfeeding trio, through the night. At least Frances’s fever had broken.

Around one in the morning, Frances got sick. She only puked twice, and it wasn’t nearly as violent or plentiful as my episodes had been. Grateful. And, we didn’t need to change the sheets. Again, grateful. See how I’m trying to find the positives, here?

Saturday morning everyone seemed well enough, but for me. Overnight, I had gotten a migraine headache that was just wicked. I thought my brain might be swelling and my body shutting down, having decided it was depleted, exhausted, and just plain done with life for good.

I chugged some much needed glasses of water and Gatorade, and then, a cup of coffee. Next, I forced myself to eat a lovely meal of spinach and eggs, peanut butter toast, and Ibuprofen (thank you, husband!). I showered, went back to bed, and woke up an hour later feeling like a million bucks, thanks be to God.

It was good timing too, since Liam’s brother and sister had just arrived from Connecticut and Massachusetts, respectively, to meet the baby for the first time.

Gratefully, Saturday and most of Sunday passed without incident. I seemed to be better, though my appetite still hadn’t returned. Frances was still striking on solid foods, but nursing well. Nora’s nose continued to run like a sprinkler, and she developed a loud, hacking cough.

We enjoyed a really great visit with Liam’s family. It was so nice, in fact, I burst into tears the moment after they left to head home. I’m sure my emotional state was made worse by lack of sleep and the stress of the past few days, but it’s hard living away from family and not getting to see them very often. Guess I should be grateful I enjoy my in-laws so much!

Moving right along. This brings us up to last night. Right before bed, Liam started looking pale and concerned.

“Are you feeling sick?” I asked.

“Maybe I’m just hungry,” he said hopefully.

I think deep down, we both knew what was in store. Sure enough, soon after midnight, Liam got sick. And then, Frances had a relapse. Again, we didn’t need to change sheets, only pajamas. I’m not sure I was feeling grateful at that point though, truth be told.

After we got cleaned up, Nora began a hacking fit in the other room, which led me to run the shower on full heat to create a steam room in the bathroom. I grabbed her from bed, even though she was half asleep, and sat with her on the toilet until her coughing subsided.

It was then that I wondered about the superpowers of mothers and all they are capable of doing despite not being totally well themselves, both emotionally and physically. Even when I think I can do absolutely no more, I somehow rise up and do what needs to be done to take care of my loved ones. It’s instinctual. And kind of amazing.

OK. Almost there.

This morning, Frances started with the cough and cold. Only, unlike her older sister, she is incapable of blowing her nose and generally taking care of herself. In fact, she is helpless and hopeless. She wanders around the house trailing Liam and me whining and exclaiming, “Runnies!” every time her nose begins to drip. Or, “Hold me! Hold me!” It is insane how much you can both love and be utterly repulsed by your children in the same instance. When I heard her whining ‘Runnies!’ for the hundredth time today I silently raged, “Will you please just shut the fuck up?!” while simultaneously gently dabbing at her nose and after offering her a genuine hug, full of empathy and all the comfort I could muster.

Liam didn’t head into the office again today, but he’s been working from home. I think the pukes are behind him, but he’s still pretty unwell. And pale.

I am happy to report that as of this writing, I feel ninety-five percent myself, not including the extra postpartum pounds my body is carrying, but you know what I mean.

Sadly, just in the past few hours, Nora has gotten the stomach bug too (insert exasperated emoji face, here).

Before the real deal, she must have run to the toilet fifteen times thinking she was going to be sick. For many of those fake-out times I was in the bathtub trying to relax. I found myself wondering as she cried wolf—I mean, pukes—if and when she finally did get sick, would it be callous and irresponsible of me to continue enjoying my bath through it all? I mean, she’s so mature and capable for her age. Surely she could see herself through the pukes while I continued to enjoy my soak?

In the end, about the fortieth time she came running dramatically—”Aaahhhh! Aaahhh!”—to the toilet, she did let loose all over the rug and her foot, in addition to the inside and outside of the toilet bowl. You’ll be happy to hear I did heft myself out of the bathtub to hold back her hair and gently rub her back, while offering words of comfort and encouragement (though it should be noted I did briefly consider staying put and coaching her from the warm water). Poor girl.

So. What’s left? I’m sure Nora has more in store for us tonight. One time of the vomits cannot be all there is for her. The baby, miraculously, has remained well—apart from the stress of needing a brand new circumcision in a year. I am hoping against all hope that he stays well. Given our luck, though, and the contagiousness of this stomach bug, I am sure we will deal with him soon enough.

At one point today Liam and I just looked at each other like we were ready to give it all up. Throw in the towel.

“Just don’t leave me,” he said, only half jokingly.

I laughed. As if I even had time to consider divorce! Although. Mexico had crossed my mind.

“If we can make it through the next few days, we can make it through anything,” I promised.

The question remains though: Can we make it? Or will one more unlucky event unhinge us both and require the local Children and Youth Agency to come and remove our children from our home? 

Please, everyone, get well. Before the rats catch on that we have food scraps aplenty collecting on plates and other dishes on our counters and tables. Before the film crew from Hoarders shows up at our front door, mistaking our house full of cluttered shit for a house with real issues. Before I run out of clean underwear. Please, get well!

I’m hopeful we’ll get through it.

Pet peeves: Part two (a bathroom special).

I honestly don’t know how he does it, but my husband has this uncanny ability to sense when I’ve just cleaned the bathroom sink. Then, and only then, like a magnet drawn to a piece of iron, does he decide it’s a great time to trim and/or shave his beard. He couldn’t have a different sense? Like, deciding right before I’m planning on cleaning to execute this chore?

After getting his facial hair all over every last surface of the sink, Liam does manage to clean up after himself. Thank goodness for this! But, he usually leaves pools of water all over the edges around the basin. So while evidence of the hair goes away, it ends up looking like he splashed about in there and just tossed water all over the place. Which, let’s face it, is probably exactly how it all goes down.

This is the exact state in which I found the sink last night when I went to brush my teeth, an hour after having just cleaned it spotless post stomach bug of our oldest kiddo. “Seriously?!?” I asked out loud (he was standing just outside the door). He knew exactly what I was talking about. I bust his balls about this all the time.

“What? I cleaned up,” he admitted, with a knowing smirk.

When I mentioned the wet spots, he asked me, “What’s worse? Beard hair all over, or puddles of water?”

“Both! Equally so!” I admonished.

Then, he grabbed the clean hand towel I had just hung up and wiped up every last inch of water. I couldn’t tell him then that I’d prefer he use a paper towel and not add insult to injury by soaking up a perfectly dry hand towel, offending my better sense of order and cleanliness. I know, I have my issues. I thanked him kindly, and then tossed the wet towel in the laundry when he wasn’t looking, and replaced it with a new one.

While we are on the subject of wasting towels, let’s discuss the little girls’ use, or overuse, rather, of washcloths while taking a bath. I keep a small basket of washcloths within reach of the bathtub. This is perhaps my error. I should probably move the basket to where little arms cannot reach it. The girls know I have a firm rule about using one washcloth per girl per bath. I’ll let them each have one, to be fair, but more than that is not necessary. This way, after they finish bathing, I can drape one cloth over the faucet, and one on a hook up near the shampoo rack to sufficiently dry out and be used again on following evenings.

A couple of months ago, Nora shouted to me from the tub where she and Frances had been happily playing. “Mommy! Frances did something naughty!”

I ran in there thinking I would find floating poops or razor blades or something equally dreadful. Instead, I saw, splayed out on the edge of the tub, five or six used, soaking, sopping wet washcloths. Frances had raided the basket and grabbed up every last clean cloth to play with. “Frances,” I said sternly. “One washcloth. You don’t need this many.” The tone of my voice must have clearly communicated my extreme displeasure, for she burst into tears at my reprimanding. Why do I care, you may be wondering? Why make my daughter cry over something so insignificant?

I hate, hate, HATE, having to do unnecessary laundry. In general, if clothes don’t get too dirty, they go back into drawers for wearing another time. We use cloth diapers, and so already do three cycles of diaper laundry every other day of the week, in addition to the normal laundry load.

When a certain child decides to use five washcloths, they end up getting stacked, one on top of the other, on top of the bathroom faucet, where, due to their number alone, they surely will never have time to dry, thus creating the perfect environment for mold and other unsavory bacteria to form, grow, and multiply. So, into the laundry they go. Am I overreacting? Yes, of course. I am aware. They’re just washcloths. But they have the power to undo me. I wish it wasn’t so. Really.

Thankfully the girls have caught on for the most part. We seldom have more than two washcloths in use at a time these days. When the occasional accident happens, and a third cloth sneaks in, the girls are quick to apologize, making me feel like the real OCD jerk I am. I’m working on my reactions though. “That’s OK girls. Not a problem,” I’ll say in a fake, cheery voice. Even though inside I’m trying to control the rage and the urge to rid the house of washcloths once and for all. Grrrrr.

Hell hath no fury like a pregnant, nesting woman whose husband has just asked her: Is it really necessary to vacuum the house right now?

Here’s the thing. When the weekend rolls around I’ve got a general list in my head of things I’d like to get accomplished. The list is always lofty. Ideally, I’d like to get everything done. However, time and time again has proven this is next to impossible. So, I try to prioritize, do what I can, and be OK with the fact that a lot goes undone.

This weekend was especially busy. We decided to throw a small birthday party for Nora yesterday. We’d been back and forth about whether or not to invite several of her little friends and rent out some space to do something different. In the end, we kept things simple and just planned dinner and cupcake decorating with family. It was perfect. I’m glad we didn’t have to stress over the added planning and cost of something bigger. We can consider that next year, maybe, when the threat of a baby dropping at any time is no longer a concern.

Still, I was on my own with the girls all day Saturday as Liam had to work. We tackled trips to the local market as well as the grocery store for eats for the week. My only stressors at these two stops were toting around heavy bags and keeping watch for my almost two-year-old who thought it was all fun and games to try walking away from her mother amidst crowds of people every chance she got.

We also stopped at the beer and wine stores. Both times I left the girls out in the car while I ran inside, against my better judgment and anxiety issues. I just couldn’t deal with unbuckling and buckling them into car seats one more time.

When I came out of the wine shop, longer than I had planned to be away, since the knuckleheads running the joint couldn’t seem to get themselves to the check-out line in a timely fashion, I asked the girls if they’d done alright in my absence. Nora insisted they had. When I asked what they had talked about, she giggled quickly and told me simply: hotdogs. Of course. Why not?

When we made it home and got the groceries put away, I tackled the giant task of cleaning the kitchen, which had been left in shambles from dinner the night before. After that, I started the task of getting chili prepped for the slow cooker.

After that, I fixed lunch for the girls and bustled about straightening up the rest of the house. At naptime, the girls and I climbed into bed together. Every part of my body was insisting I stay under the covers, off my feet, and horizontal. However, there were things to be done, and a timeline by which they needed to be finished.

So, after the girls nodded off, again, against my better judgment, I heaved myself out of bed and waddled off to the kitchen to begin making cupcakes.

In between batches, I vacuumed the living room and dining room, figuring I could save the bedrooms, which had already been neglected for at least a week, if not longer, for the next day.

Things were finally looking to be in place for the party. All was good—that is, if one overlooked the fact that my legs had begun to swell heavily over my socks, my back ached so much I was starting to hunch over, and indeed limp about, and was Braxton-Hicks-contracting every fifteen minutes or so. It was nearly five o’clock and, apart from putting the girls down at nap time, I hadn’t sat down once since seven that morning. I found myself starting to offer up prayers I wouldn’t go into labor any time soon, since my body would likely be so exhausted it wouldn’t be capable of doing the hard and necessary work of labor.

In the end, the evening was great. We had a nice time with my family and Nora had a great little birthday celebration. I was able to overlook the fact that I nearly needed a crane to get me out of the bathtub after our guests left, and that I didn’t get my writing done, and even, that as of this morning, Sunday, I still was not walking correctly due to aching back pain. Thankfully, the stiffness eased up as the day wore on.

For the most part, we were all able to hunker down today and rest. Especially Nora, who, just after rising this morning, went straight to the toilet to puke. At first, we thought it was the mammoth chocolate, candy covered cupcake she had eaten last night. She’s had an isolated puking incident from eating too many sweets once before. However, after the third, fourth, fifth and maybe sixth trip to the bathroom, we were convinced she had gotten some kind of bug. Poor girl. She spent more time on the couch today than anybody. At least she was able to celebrate her party in good health. Fingers crossed, nobody else gets this thing. It’s been a hell of a winter for illness for this family.

In between resting on the couch and taking a much needed nap, I still tried to tackle items on the list in my head. Several loads of laundry got done and folded and put away. We cleaned our sheets and made our bed (always a family affair). The bathroom has been disinfected from pukey germs.

I didn’t get around to baking granola or scheduling a last-minute prenatal massage, but I’ll live. And then, just when I was ready to get the vacuum out one last time to run it across the bedroom floors, the husband looked to me and said, “Is it really necessary to do that now?”

I took a deep breath and gave him a look. I said simply, through gritted teeth, “Yes, it is.” Though I wanted to say, with fire breathing from the pit of my stomach, “If you’re not going to do it for me, without me having to ask, then back the fuck away and let me go about my damn business!”

Like I said, I have a list in my head of things I’d like to get done, and vacuuming is generally a high priority item. I know Liam was coming from a good place, wanting me to rest and not take on yet another chore. He must think I am really a nut-job to be bustling about the house like I do,  when we both know how uncomfortable I am. But, this is our third time around. Doesn’t he know by now I am going to nest as I please, so he should either accept it, without comment, or step in and offer to do whatever I’m doing himself? Sheesh. Apparently not. Let’s hope this dragon doesn’t have to remind him about it anytime soon!

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Hanging out before the party. Trying not to get in Mommy’s way.

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Decorating the cupcakes with icing my sister and I tried to make purple, but which the kids just kept referring to as gray. Lovely.

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Our minimalist sprinkler. Unlike the bigger kids who piled on the toppings, Frances was fond of adding just a little bit of one candy.

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The happy birthday girl.

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Four!

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The dainty eater. It took her almost fifteen minutes to eat this thing. The other kids left her in the dust.

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She might look dainty, but she can wolf down some food.


 

Anxiety Episodes #9 through #13 (all in a day’s work): Making orphans of the kids, and a variety of unexpected, undesirable birthing scenarios.

#9: One of my first fears upon leaving the girls for an overnight last night was: What if something happens to Liam and to me? Like, we get in a car crash, or kidnapped by terrorists, or killed in a drive-by shooting. What then? We really need to make a will.

#10: What if my labor begins away from home, in Philadelphia? Would we just stay and stick it out there? (I made sure the hotel in which we had a reservation was close to a hospital. Also, I insisted we bring the hospital bag with us as well as the baby car seat, despite funny looks from both my father and my husband. Always, always be prepared.) Or, do we try to chance it and drive back, giving rise to Anxiety Episode #11, risking birthing a baby on the road, in the car, and/or following a police escort of some kind.

#12: Because Liam had to stay in Philadelphia for an event late tonight, I decided to take a train home to be with the girls at home early-ish on a school night. He stayed with the car. Of course, as soon as he dropped me off at the station, I started to wonder: What if my water breaks on the train and I deliver just seventeen minutes after that? (Why seventeen minutes? Seems someone I know must’ve recently had this experience. Not the whole train thing, but the water breaking and delivering soon after). That would be so mortifying. And I’d be without my partner. Such a mess.

#13: I got to my parents’ house safely, thanks to my dad, who was able to come and pick me up at the train station. No water broke and no babies had to be delivered by strangers in a confined train car. While I was at my parents’ house, I was able to put my feet up for a bit, enjoy some dinner, and tackle some lesson planning for the week ahead. After snuggling with the girls for a bit, I even got to enjoy a bath. When I finished the bath, I just couldn’t fathom squeezing back into my skinny maternity jeans, or my tall boots, the only clothing I had with me. Instead, I scavenged around the house for a comfy pair of black sweatpants. I’m not sure who they belong to, but they fit! In addition, I asked my mom if I could borrow a pair of flip flops. But, the only shoes she had available were fairly dressy, but still casual, black weaved, open-toed sandals with a slight wedge. I looked so ridiculous in those sandals paired with sweatpants paired with t-shirt and bulky sweater. Although, I was super comfortable. Of course, my sinking fear was that I’d be in the middle of the drive home and get stopped or arrested, or go into labor and have to appear in public in front of others feeling ashamed and embarrassed due to my state of dress.

Alas, both Liam and I are safely home at our house now with the girls. They are wild and wired and out of sorts due to the time change. We hope to make it to bed, all of us, before midnight.

I am not planning on leaving town again in the next few weeks, or wearing any ridiculous outfits, apart from what I choose to wear in the comfort and privacy of my own home, thus eliminating the possibility of the above anxiety episodes from occurring again. It was all worth it. We had a great, if brief, little trip to the big city. Below are just a few photos to highlight our day together.

We got to enjoy Mass this morning without any kind of distraction, or giving of snacks to little children, listening to crayons drop on the floor, or the crinkling of Ziploc bags and whispers and whines. It was pretty incredible, actually.

Enjoying breakfast with the birthday boy at one of our favorite spots—the inspiration for this trip, actually. I chose the hotel and last night’s dinner restaurant based on their proximity to this place. The best breakfast sandwiches EVER.

Our last stop of the afternoon: The Barnes Foundation. This is a museum Liam has wanted to visit for some time. It’s the first time we’ve done an audio tour in a place like this. We both scoffed at the idea at first, but the iPod/headphone set provided tons of relevant and engaging information we would have not gotten in viewing the paintings and art alone.