05-31-16 Tuesday Night Soapbox

A few weeks ago we took the kids to a carnival that had come to town. If you have been reading along, you might remember that Tim and C got on the ferris wheel and were forgotten about and left to ride undisturbed for three quarters of an hour. During that time, Baby E, Big E, and I fluctuated from wandering around, sitting on a nearby bench and watching a mini roller coaster make its never ending rounds, or staring straight up at the ferris wheel guessing which bucket Daddy was in.

I ran into someone that I knew and as we chatted for a moment, I held onto Baby E’s stroller while Big E was standing next to me. Or so I thought. I had looked down and he was there. I looked up to continue my conversation and just seconds later I looked down again and he was gone. Just like that he was no longer in my field of vision. My heart leapt in my chest as I spun around looking for him. I saw crowds and crowds of people, but no Big E. As panic mode was about to set in, the person I was speaking with pointed to him. He was about 20 feet away. He had wandered over near the bench we had previously taken up residence on and was watching the roller coaster go by. I hadn’t seen him immediately because people had walked between us at the just the right moment as to obscure him from my sight. The whole episode took less than 15 seconds, and while he was in no danger, he gave me quite the scare. I reminded him of the dangers of wandering off and the importance of staying with Mommy. He put me on edge and the rest of the evening I was hyper focused on his whereabouts.

Thankfully my story was brief and unremarkable. No one got hurt. Nothing bad happened. In fact, I had nearly forgotten about it until today. I was reading an article about the little boy that climbed and fell into a gorilla pit at the zoo, and the zookeepers killed the gorilla in order to rescue the boy. (I’m sure you heard about this so I won’t fill in all the details.) But what I do want to comment on are the remarks that I saw written in response to this article. Comment after comment spewed vitriol at the mother. How could a mother be so negligent? How could she be so distracted? Who would ever let their kid out of their sight even for a moment?

Um… Me.

In fact, I think I would hazard to say every mother I have ever met in my entire life. Show me a woman who has never lost sight of her children and I will show you a liar. Thankfully most of these situations end happily, but occasionally kids wander onto busy streets, or lean too far out windows, or fall into gorilla enclosures. Children can move quickly and quietly. And if you are dealing with other children or distractions, it can happen. Is it criminal neglect? Usually not. (I know, there are exceptions and there are people that truly are reckless with their children.) Is it a tragedy? YES. My heart breaks for this mama that watched her baby fall into a pit with a wild animal ten times his size, with the power in its hand to crush his body. How helpless she must have felt. Now obviously I don’t know this woman. Maybe she has a history of ignoring her child which led to this situation. Or maybe she is just like any other mom, a woman who for a split second turned her head but in this instance her worst nightmare came true. I venture to say she will relive the horror of that day forever.

As people finished crucifying the mother for her neglect, they then turned on the zoo for being so cruel as to kill the gorilla. I read comments from people saying things like “it’s not fair, the gorilla was innocent,” or “survival of the fittest,” or “This gorilla was 1 in 175,000 while the child was 1 in 7 billion. For me the choice would have been simple.”

Did you catch that?!? To many people that gorilla was more intrinsically valuable than that child. When asked to choose between the two, there were people that chose the gorilla over the kid and if even one person truly thinks like that, it is one person too many. When did we start condoning that type of thinking? How do people get to the point that justifies that reasoning?

Was what happened horrible? Yes. Were there alternatives? I don’t think there were. Life rarely resembles a Disney movie, especially when wild animals are involved. For the sake of the child, the zoo had to shoot the gorilla. Because the child HAS TO BE more important. If we lose that perspective and we devalue humanity in such a way, we can no longer get offended at injustice. For if people have no value, then in turn they have no rights and no claim to dignity. But in our hearts, in our very souls we know that cannot be true. We are valuable. We do matter. We are important.

So don’t worry, should you ever find yourself inside a gorilla enclosure, and I am the only one around with a gun… I promise you will walk out alive. Because YOU are far more valuable.

PS- To all you moms and dads out there, can you tell us one time you lost sight of your kid? 

05-30-16 Home

There are certain places that hold me. Places I have been to that linger with me as more than just sentiment or nostalgia. Maybe it’s the quiet. Maybe it’s the grass beneath my bare feet. More likely it is the people that I am with. But whatever the reason, those places captivate me.

And one such place is Tim’s grandparents’ house. Tim spent his youth making trips to Ohio to visit his grandparents on their tree farm. His childhood is peppered with memories of his time there- learning from his grandfather, playing with his cousins, understanding his roots. I was introduced to this place long before we were married, having made several trips up there with a group of friends, to stay in the cabin and swim in the lake. But the years after traveling became more difficult, their farm became a milestone for me. Knowing how much my husband loved to be there, and how important it was to him, it became the one place in the world I wanted to see again. After several failed attempts, one day in 2011 we made it. And it was such a victory. We went out to the lake and I took a stone and I put it in my pocket… a reminder that God had answered my prayer.

From that day on, that farm became a safe place for me, and as the years have passed it has become for me what it has always been for my husband… a retreat, an escape, a place brimming with memory and peace.

And that’s what this weekend was about. It was about getting away, letting Tim spend time with his grandparents, and just be. No expectations. No plans. Just sit on the back porch for hours as the kids ran around the back yard. There were Gator rides on the trails and out to the cabin. There was time spent on the playground. We walked on the train tracks. We went to church and listened to Grandpa give a sermon. We listened to old stories and told a few of our own. The kids ran and ran and ran. They played house and superheroes. The played with cicadas and begged for Gator rides. Nearly every last detail about this weekend was perfect!





Our Happy Place





Put these kids to work!




Music time with Uncle Davey and Great Grandpa

It was hard to say goodbye today… C asked if we could just live in Ohio from now on. We promised to return for the big reunion later this summer.

We are home now. It was a long drive, and our lives resume in the morning. I’m stealing these last few moments of peace before heading to bed myself.



05-28-16 Vacation Success!


So traveling yesterday was probably  a bad idea! Even though we got on the road early, we hit horrible traffic and the trip (which usually only takes about 6.5-7 hours) took us 9.5 hours!! Oh, and it included a lovely panic attack at a Chik-Fil-A along the way. Thankfully it was a mild one (you know, as far as panic attacks go) and fortunately we were able to get back on the road and head towards our destination and not straight back home! We got in late, brought in all the luggage and headed to bed shortly thereafter.

We are here in Ohio visiting Tim’s grandparents on their massive tree farm. The kids look forward to their time here and we always want to make several trips a year up here  (but it doesn’t always happen.) With the long weekend it seemed like a perfect chance to get up here. Our neighbor cousins decided to make the trip with us (actually they came up this morning instead of last night.) We happened to time our trip to exactly coincide with the seventeen year cicada cycle, so we’ve spent the day dodging cicadas and cicada shells. In fact, I eventually had to put shoes on Baby E because he kept getting them stuck to the bottom of his feet!! It was disgusting. He also found some of the outer shells and put them on his fingers like little puppets. Oh my!

Other than the unwanted pests, it has been a truly lovely day! We walked on the train tracks, went down to the lake and played on the playground, taken rides on the Gator,  ‘cleaned’ the cabin and played outside at great grandma and great grandpa’s house.

I actually took a ton of pictures, but the internet is slow and the pictures aren’t uploading. 😦 So, I will have to upload them later.


05-26-15 The Anticipation Phase

It started earlier this week, but culminated this evening… The Anticipation Phase.

If you know me well, or have been haunting this blog for awhile, you know that I deal with some lovely anxiety issues, mostly related to traveling (and things being unfamiliar or out of routine.) (If that’s news to you, then the backstory is for another day)

For years I had a pretty consistent MO for traveling, which was not traveling. Or- attempting to travel, but ending up not actually going anywhere. Or Tim’s personal favorite- actually getting on the road and then turning around to bring me home. 😦

It wasn’t until after C was born that we actually started to make some successful trips and the victories started to outnumber the failures. And that was awesome!!

And so while I travel sooooo much better now, I still have to deal with some of the issues that make traveling unpleasant.

Enter the Anticipation Phase. This is one of the lingering problems that has been the hardest to get over. It’s the phase where my mind begins to try to sabotage any upcoming trip. It usually starts 5-7 days before a trip and grows in intensity as I get closer to leaving. If I’m not vigilant, my mind travels dangerous paths of “what ifs” that can derail my progress. The first thoughts are pretty innocuous, but it doesn’t take long for worst case scenarios to start playing out in real time in my head. When I was in the early stages of my PTSD, I didn’t know how to recognize it for what it was so it would overwhelm me and I’d give up. After years of reconditioning that thought process I can now take each of those thoughts captive and dispose of them as necessary, but it is still very exhausting. However, if I can manage to navigate the anticipation phase and actually start on my trip, then for the most part it is smooth sailing. Anticipation is always the worst part.

A few weeks ago I realized that this was going to be a long weekend, so I got the brilliant idea to go out of town. And everything was going great until about Monday and that’s when anticipation kicked in and by tonight I am pretty jumpy. And while all of this is completely on schedule and not at all surprising, my poor children got the “traveling soon” version of Mommy, so I pretty much owe them a huge apology in the morning.

I haven’t packed a thing and I have decided to leave it until the morning. We aren’t leaving until mid day, so it will be good to have a large, active project to focus my pre-travel jitters on.

Meanwhile, the only photo of interest I took today was of this sandwich…


My children asked me for Ranch Dressing Sandwiches for dinner and “traveling soon” mommy mind-numblingly made these disgusting sandwiches to compliment their pasta dinner. I’m pretty sure my kids would be happy living off of them. #Savages

05-25-16 Bedtime

I am absolutely convinced that bedtime is the longest hour of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love the time with my kids, but once the bedtime routine starts my mind latches onto it like its an express train running on its track and there are no local stops. There’s a routine. It should be followed. And we should be done. So tonight when I got the boys to bed, I decided to install our new carseat for Baby E. I’m outside wrestling with all the straps and latches and I look up and Big E is staring down from his window with tears running down his face. I go inside, head up to his room where he informs me that he is scared of being alone. As a compromise I tell him he can watch me from the window if he gets scared but he is absolutely not allowed to call me back upstairs and he needs to crawl into bed soon. So I head back down and finish. Once inside again I hear him in his room playing. Again, I tell him he needs to go to bed. Finally Tim and C get home from church and Big E is still up and complaining and using every stalling tactic in his arsenal. At this point it has been two hours since he first laid down. Ugh! Thankfully the arrival of his sister calmed him enough to finally settle. They are going to be exhausted tomorrow!


Baby E sporting his new carseat. It’s huge. And he’s little. 


C wore purple today in honor of her friend Abby who had surgery yesterday! We love you, Abby! Get well soon. 🙂 


Major meltdown moment this evening when I informed C that she couldn’t sleep in her kitty face paint. We didn’t get it all off, so she might look a bit ashy tomorrow! 

05-24-16 Finally the Sun

After weeks and weeks and weeks of rain, the sun finally came out for an entire day. Not one drop of rain and it was amazing! When we got home this evening we let the kids play outside for awhile. I replanted my tomato plants (the first ones had promptly died after my mother in law had planted them. Too much rain, perhaps) We had breakfast for dinner and got ready for bed.



A few days ago I got a stainless steel mold to make bath bombs with, so tonight I got it out and gave it a try!


Apparently it takes about 24 hours to dry. I can’t wait to try it! Yay!

05-23-16 The Case of the Missing Lunchbox

This morning I got a phone call from C’s school saying that she didn’t have a lunch with her and they wanted to know if I was going to drop one by or if I wanted her to buy lunch. I sat there very confused for a moment because I had a distinct recollection of making her lunch and I thought I remembered putting the lunchbox in her bag. Since I was already at work, dropping a lunch off at school wasn’t possible so I asked them if she could buy lunch and I would pay them back (because obviously I hadn’t sent her with any money, either.)

Fast-forward to this evening. As I was making dinner, it occurred to me that I didn’t see her lunchbox on the counter, and I glanced around but didn’t see it on the table or by the stairs (the only places I could think I might have accidentally set it down on our way out this morning.) I quickly forgot about it, had dinner with the family and eventually got the kids to bed. When I finally came back downstairs, I grabbed C’s backpack to hang it up and noticed that it was uncharacteristically heavy. I opened it up and there, sitting in her backpack, was her lunch box… completely full with undisturbed lunch. So now, I am even more perplexed than before. Her lunch box had been in her bag all along. Every day it is in her bag, so what happened that today they didn’t think that it was?? Oh well, not a big deal, just so strange!


My creepy commute home this evening. Apparently I followed the storm home, so thankfully I didn’t actually have to drive in it!

The rest of the night was just random silliness! Big E would have joined us for the shenanigans, but he was otherwise indisposed.


Oh, and I totally look like my mom in this picture!

05-22-16 A Big Day For C

A friend of ours came over to cut my hair today and C said she wanted hers cut as well. Initially she said she wanted it chin length, but when we told her that she wouldn’t be able to put it in a pony tail, she decided to go a little longer than that. It was tough watching it all get chopped off, but fortunately it will grow back. Either way, I think she looks adorable!