Friday, July 25, 2008


Does anyone else feel like housework, with children underfoot, is a battle that is utterly unable to be won?

I do.

Today I was determined to vacuum the living room. You wouldn't think that this would be such a difficult task, but apparently it is. I think I picked up the floor three or four times today, in an effort to get it cleared and ready to vacuum. Somehow, by the time I got from one end to the other, the front end was a mess again, even when I was trying to involve the kids in the process! Something would come up that needed attention. Or the children who were happily playing outside had to be brought in because the painters arrived. Or it was lunch time. Or a child flipped out and needed discipline. You get the picture. The end result was a mommy in tears, placing both children none-too-gently on couches with books and a few toys, and informing them that they were NOT. TO. MOVE. before the vacuuming was finished. Which tactic actually worked, but made me feel like Tyrant Mom.

Today just hasn't gone very well. The kids have been cranky because, frankly, I haven't been paying as much attention to them as I usually do. I've been trying to do some basic housework that hasn't been done for far too long. Things like vacuuming. And wiping down the bathroom. And sweeping the floors. Things that I used to do on a regular basis without too much trouble. Things that ought to get done in order to maintain a basically sanitary living environment! So what IS it that is going wrong?

Objectively, life is very different now from the last time I really felt like I had housework and children balanced and under control. The last time I thought that was, well, right about a week before I got pregnant with Josiah. (This does seem to be a pattern with me, doesn't it? Get life under control and decide that it would be a great time to add pregnancy into the mix!) Now my children are older, and they need nearly constant "policing" so that they don't try to kill each other (how they can go from happily playing together to whacking each other on the head in .002 seconds is beyond me!) Jonathan is at that happy stage of needing me to tell him what to do (and then do it with him) all. day. long. And my poor pregnant body is, quite frankly, so tired that vacuuming the living room gives me contractions for the next twenty minutes and makes me want to lie down for the next twenty hours.

Come to think of it, maybe it makes sense that I'd be having trouble with housework and raising kids right now!

I just wish I could figure out an answer, a way to make it all come out right at the end of the day, every day. As it is, some days are pretty good (like yesterday, when we went to the water park and I thoroughly enjoyed myself and my kids) but those are also the days when the house gets ignored. More often than not I do just ignore the house, but it doesn't take much of that to make it an unhappy place to live (at least for me).

There just has to be a better way to do this, right?

Now would be a good time for all you lurking readers to come out of the woodwork and say something encouraging.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tongue tied (UPDATED)

Yesterday was Thomas' appointment with Dr. Jahng (an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist/surgeon) to determine if his speech delay is being caused by a short frenulum. The verdict from the doctor: yes.

I liked the doctor. When I called for an appointment they scheduled it for the next day. We arrived on time and were seen less than five minutes later. The doctor was kind, gentle, competent, and readily answered all my questions. Although the referral from Thomas' pediatrician stated that they had ruled out hearing issues, Dr. Jahng checked his ears anyway before even looking at his tongue. I appreciated the thoroughness.

So the diagnosis is speech impairment due to Ankyloglossia. Dr. Jahng treats this by doing surgery under light general anesthesia. This worries me a bit - general anesthesia in a 17 month old just sounds scary - but he says that it is safe. He does not treat this condition by "clipping" the frenulum in office, because he says that doing it that way risks worse problems due to improper healing (fusion of the two parts, etc.) Surgery allows him to take his time, do it right, and suture both sides to minimize risks of future problems. This makes sense to me.

Part of me wants to say "we love our pediatrician, who referred us to Dr. Jahng, who seems entirely competent, so let's go ahead and act on his recommendation." This is especially true since tongue-tie runs in the family (Gabe is tongue tied, spoke very late, and feels that it affects his speech even now) and Gabe feels that it would be best to free Thomas from that difficulty. I'm also leaning this way because it seems rather awful to just leave a bright child frustrated and unable to communicate well because of a condition that is very fixable.

Still, this surgery is pretty controversial, at least in the world of the internet. Look it up and you'll find LOTS of people against it, including doctors who think that you should "wait and see", as the child may outgrown the condition by age six. Age six? What about talking? I don't think I can cope with a preschooler who communicates via signing and "nanana AHHHHHH!" Then there are the doctors who say that it has absolutely nothing to do with speech impairment, and that two year olds who are tongue-tied and don't talk are just going at their own pace. I'm not sure I buy that idea, especially given Gabe's history.

Sigh. Surgery is scary, and I can definitely understand not wanting to subject your child to it if it isn't necessary. It's just that tricky question of "necessary".

The referral paperwork is in process right now. Gabe and I will probably discuss it some more, but at this point I'm guessing we'll go ahead and do it.

Updated to add these links because I found them the most helpful:

Bandolier: Evidenced based thinking on healthcare: Ankyloglossia

Tongue-Tie: from confusion to clarity


Toddlers and preschoolers don't miss a thing. Gabe and I realized this quite awhile ago, and have been actively working to be sure that we are modeling the types of things we want Jonathan and Thomas to do. Sometimes this works really well; when we hear sirens Jonathan always asks to pray for the people who are hurt, and nearly every evening he wants to pray for the homeless people (we keep gift cards on hand to give out when we encounter them). Sometimes it backfires on us; last night Gabe was singing to himself from Dr. Horrible's Sing-along-blog until he realized that Jonathan was singing at the top of his lungs: "the birds are singing, cause you're gonna die!" Um, yeah, not quite what we were going for, there.

An example that made me happy today occured while baking an apple pie with Jonathan. He loves to help cook and bake in the kitchen, and he's starting to become slightly less hindrance and more help. :) Today I started teaching him the difference between tablespoons and teaspoons, and variations thereof. He thought that was lots of fun. Anyway, what made me happy was that right after we put the pie into the oven:

he asked for a sink full of soapy water "to wash the dishes". And then he proceded to do just that!

It's a little thing, but it is just one more example of how how carefully he copies what we do. And this particular "little thing" makes me glad that I generally wash the dishes right away!

Good modeling is hard work, and sometimes I despair of ever succeeding. (I suspect Gabe does, too, which may be why he tends to pray for grace to cover over our failures as parents!) Still, it is good hard work, and it is fun when it works, even in the little things.


It is easy to get bogged down in all the drama of the current Lambeth conference. Just trying to keep up with StandFirm's coverage makes me tired and rather cranky (possibly having to do with the fact that it is utterly impossible to do - too much news!) Besides, it is sad to see the turmoil of my church broadcast wholesale across the global news media.

So as you read this, please remember that I do take these things seriously. But sometimes, you just have to have a good long laugh.

"Lambeth indaba" is an anagram of "damnable habit."

See? Don't you feel better now? :)

Hat tip: StandFirm, where else?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ooh, ooh, look!

I think this is my favorite item I've made so far. Isn't it purty? Click through to see more pictures and get the full effect. Makes me wish I was having a girl, just so that I could keep it!


I'm particularly enjoying sites like this one since I'm pregnant enough to really start thinking about this baby as a little person. Not that he wasn't before, of course, just that it is all becoming a lot more real since I spend much of my time shoving his little body parts down out of my ribcage. :)

Speaking of ultrasounds, last week we had a second ultrasound because I wanted to know for sure whether this child is Josiah or Katie. Last time the tech said "It's a girl! No - it's a boy! No - looks like a girl - no - boy - I think - yeah, I think that's a boy..." Which was reasonable, since that was back when I was only about 19 weeks along. But this time I was 30 weeks along, so I was expecting some settled confirmation. The results? "It's a boy! No - maybe that's a girl. It's hard to tell because the legs are crossed and the umbilical cord is in the way. But it sort of looks like a boy. Why don't you come back for another next week just to be sure?"

So Josiah, if you turn out to be Katie, I hope you don't mind being dressed in blue!

Pray for Elena

She's working on delivering her fourth child...and has been since Friday. She's getting some breaks (it is start and stop labor) but this is an awfully wearying way to have a baby. So please pray that God will intervene and that she'll have this baby SOON and with a minimum of difficulty.

And then after you pray, go read her humorous (as always) takes on labor. :)

Friday, July 18, 2008


Tired of standard election sound bites? This is equal opportunity hilarity. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

8pm and all is well

And the kids are in bed! Gabe went out to dinner with a friend this evening, so it has been a longer day than usual. I'm tired, but pleased with the way the day went. Since my last post we have washed, cut up, and frozen two trays of peaches, eaten lunch, and washed all the dishes (a clean kitchen - yay!) Both boys helped with a whole-house pick-up, motivated by the promise of a movie. You know, they are getting REALLY good at helping - we got an awful lot accomplished in about ten minutes. The house looked lovely and it was too hot to play outside anyway, so I figured the movie was more than in order. Besides, I was tired. :) After the movie, popsicles! And then a sink bath for both boys (popsicles create an automatic need for a bath around here.) Naptime for the boys, while I swept the floors, read a book, and sewed for awhile. Then cooking pudding (with little boy assistance) for dinner - we had fruit and pudding for a dinner treat - yum! Outside playtime for the boys while I vacuumed their bedroom and did a bit more laundry, then we all picked up the toys and did their bedtime routine.

It is kind of fun to catalog a day's events periodically - it gives me some good perspective to realize how much good stuff we really do around here. So I didn't get my desk cleared or call the insurance company or do a few what? We had a good day, full of good play, good food, good work, and good learning together.

And since I'm primarily a mother, rather than a secretary, I'm pretty sure this is exactly what we ought to be doing.


We have made, eaten, and cleaned up after breakfast. Dressed everyone and changed a few diapers. Read stories on the couch, dug weeds in the garden, and picked strawberries. Cooked said strawberries into jam, and along the way made strawberry-yogurt popsicles ("but I want mine WARM, Mom!!") Drew chalk outlines and trekked lots of dirt into the kitchen - perhaps sweeping is next on the list?

Now we're all enjoying some well-earned rest time.

I have high hopes for the rest of the day. This morning went so well because I planned it. I had ideas written down (so I wouldn't forget them) of things we could do any time the boys started antagonizing each other. Fun things, but also things that needed to be done (those strawberries really had to be picked today!) Maybe after naptime we'll see if sweeping the floor can be made into a game, too. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mommy, what are we doing NEXT?

I hear those words all. the. time. Sometimes I have an answer, sometimes I don't. Sometimes (usually when it is the 7th time I've heard that question in an hour) I look at the sweet child asking and think "I could cheerfully send you to your room for the rest of the day". Well, I suppose "next you're going to sit on your bed for four hours until Daddy comes home" is one sort of answer!

Probably not a good one, though. So, dear readers, save my eldest son from such a fate. How do you respond (or how do you think I should respond!) when small children need a constant stream of entertainment?

Keep in mind that he can't read - he's only three - and he's a very active kid. Telling him to sit on the couch and look at books just doesn't work. Neither does reminding him that something fun is happening soon - soon just results in more whining. Ideas?

Things we're doing

A week ago I cleaned out my pantry and discovered that I had a few cans of pumpkin that needed to be used. So yesterday, Jonathan and I made a pie! Doesn't he look pleased with himself?

Thomas continues to be intent, focused, and somewhat introverted. While Jonathan fills my day with questions of "what are we doing next?", Thomas can frequently be found flopped on the floor with a book or the computer keyboard.

Playdough is always fun - especially making a new batch!

Apparently Jonathan has reached the "if you try to take my picture I'll make weird faces" stage. It takes serious ingenuity to capture a smile that doesn't look like this one. :)

Notice what hat he's wearing, Sarah? Both boys have decided that wearing baseball caps backwards is the thing to do. We're sure that this is the precursor to open rebellion when they're teenagers.

My worries that Jonathan might be colorblind have evaporated in the past month, as Jonathan suddenly figured out ALL his colors (even unusual ones). A current favorite activity is sorting puffballs by color.

Both boys really enjoy playing the piano and "singing". Thomas sits decorously, turns pages, plays gently with his fingers, and quietly sings "la la". Jonathan, on the other hand, turns singing into an extreme sport. His "la la"s leave him as out of breath as if he had just run a race. Right about now I can relate that that gasping for air aspect of singing!

Gabe is such a good Daddy. He comes home from work each day and cheerfully plays with the kids. This day Jonathan requested CandyLand. Thomas just thought it was fun to have Daddy lying on the floor - the better for jumping on!

We've been enjoying gardening this summer, as well. Jonathan often helps me water, and Thomas thinks that pulling heads off the flowers is "helping" as well. We're working on that! I have a huge patch of daisies that provides fresh cut flowers on a daily basis. Look how cute this one is!

I don't have a photo for this one, but Jonathan's interest in coloring has exploded. He is using washable markers now, which makes him feel very grown up. He's becoming more capable of coloring within specific sections of his pictures, and cares enough to make the attempt. He's also quite imaginative, and will add "extras" to his coloring sheets. Yesterday he colored a picture of a backhoe and added plenty of extra dirt inside the bucket. This morning he informed me that he needed a picture of a dump truck to color, because the backhoe needed a place to put all that dirt!

Sometimes it seems like I spend all my time trying to come up with specific things to do with Jonathan. Perhaps Thomas is getting short changed - poor second child! But then I remember that Jonathan is, well, older. When he was 17 months old I wasn't bending over backwards doing preschool with him, either. :) I think that for the most part, Thomas enjoys just being around us, doing whatever we're doing at his own level.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Really interesting article

Especially if you've ever wondered "how in the world can you be think and be pro-choice?" Jen (who also blogs at Et Tu) writes with extraordinary insight, having personally moved from being a pro-choice atheist to being a staunchly pro-life Catholic. Read it here in the National Catholic Weekly.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The downside to business cards

I hand out business cards to people and at venues which I think are likely to actually want slings and baby carriers. One of these venues was a MOPS boutique sale which I participated in. I'm glad I did, because I met some nice people and got some orders, which was incredibly encouraging to this budding entrepreneur...but I just ran headlong into the downside. Lots and lots of people have my phone number.

I just got a call from someone who claimed to be another vendor at the same MOPS sale. I don't remember her or the other girl she mentioned, but it is likely she's telling the truth. Maybe I did meet her there. Regardless, I don't understand why she thought I'd want a sales call from her about Melaleuca products.

I'm usually pretty good about saying "no thanks" and hanging up on sales callers, but this one seemed harder somehow because she gave the impression that we'd met and talked. So I felt bad just cutting her off. So I listened. And made noncommittal noises. And fumed.

From her explanation of this fabulous new business, I got a very, very bad feeling about it. It sounds awfully similar to a pyramid scheme. So much so that while I listened to her, I looked it up online. I am definitely not the only person who thinks it sounds fishy. While it may, perhaps, barely skate by on the legal side of things, it is certainly not something I'd ever want to be involved in. As far as I can see, MLM "businesses" are pretty much just pyramid schemes with a few products thrown in, just to keep their salespeople annoying.

Gosh, I hate being "sold" on things. No, I don't want your products. No, I definitely don't want to pay $29/year for the privilege of buying your products. And I really really really don't want to try to strong-arm everyone I know into buying into this scheme as well, so that I can make a profit off of their misfortune. Sheesh.

It is disturbing to me how many of the "businesses" that are billed as perfect for the stay-at-home mom seem to be built on this idea. A really good article on the topic can be found on Brain, Child's website, specifically here.

I'm curious to know if any of my readers have been (or currently are) involved in any of these kinds of businesses (specifically ones which include "down-line" associates), and what your experiences have been. Just please tell me that you don't collect other sellers' business cards for the purpose of irritating them with sales calls later. :)


Friday, July 04, 2008

I'm raising artists

Jonathan is sitting at the table, coloring with markers and cutting shapes from construction paper.

Thomas is at the piano, flipping through one of my exercise books, and playing and singing.

VBAC bans and legal action - finally!

I don't write on this too often because 1) I'm busy doing kids and daily life and 2) I'm busy writing about kids and daily life and 3) I don't want to spend too much time on controversial issues. However, this is something that is highly important to me, particularly since I've personally run into a similar issue and been unable to really achieve results on my own (sans lawyer). So I do think that this is a great step forward, and I applaud these lawyers for not only assisting the women who come to them, but actively searching out women who need their help standing up to the sometimes-insane obstetric medical community.

Disclaimer: I do not agree with everything these attorneys stand for - far from it! However, I have thought for years that it is odd that feminist groups have not taken up the banner for women's rights in birth, and I am glad to see a step in this direction.

Attorneys responding to VBAC bans in hospitals

You should read the entire post, but here is some of the meat of the text:

I’m a lawyer with the Northwest Women’s Law Center in Seattle. I’m investigating possible legal responses to bans on vaginal birth after cesarean at hospitals in the northwest states Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon. If you are currently pregnant and want to have a VBAC, but are facing a hospital policy that would require you to have a c-section regardless of whether you want it and regardless of whether it is actually medically necessary, and you are willing to consider working with a lawyer on this, we’d like to talk with you. Please respond to
vbacbanhelp at ican-online dot org.
Makes me wish I lived in one of those states! :) But at least I can help get the information out there. Please, if you care about this issue at all, spread the word!

Toddler development (and good friends!)

Yesterday was a terrible day. We had told Jonathan that we would be going to the park to see fireworks in the evening, and instead of being excited about it he spent the entire day whining and throwing fits because we weren't going NOW. I had planned a relaxed, stay-at-home day (we haven't had one of those in a long time) but by 10:24 I was desperate to get out and do SOMETHING that might keep Jonathan distracted. So when I talked to Ashley and she mentioned that they were on their way to the library for story hour and playtime, and it started in six minutes, I hung up rather abruptly, tossed a few things in the diaper bag, grabbed my keys and the kids and ran for the car. It is quite amazing how quickly you can get the kids out the door when you're desperate. :)

I'm not sure how much the excursion helped Jonathan - it certainly didn't curb the whining for long - but it sure helped me to have a sympathetic and intelligent adult to talk with! Thankfully, Ashley isn't the sort of friend who will just say "aw, that's tough" and leave it at that. Instead, she listened to what had been going on and then asked some insightful, constructive questions: things like "are you challenging him enough at home? Maybe he's bored."

I think she's right. Lately Jonathan has taken to wandering around the house saying "What are we doing next? Where are we going?" He does have some activities that he loves doing (digging in the dirt with his work machines, building with Duplos, etc.) but when I sat down and really thought about it I realized that Jonathan has been flying ahead developmentally, while I'm trying to keep him occupied with play ideas from six months ago.

He loves to be creative, and he loves to be challenged, and I need to work on meeting those very reasonable and good desires!

So this morning he helped me make pancakes for breakfast, and then we got out art supplies and he colored and cut and pasted stickers to his heart's content. The American flag he was working on isn't exactly red, white, and blue, but he sure had fun! For quiet time (which is going on now - hence the blogging!) I brought his Duplos into my room so he could build unmolested. (The biggest problem with Duplo play right now is that Thomas' idea of participating is breaking Jonathan's buildings.)

Granted, Gabe is here this morning and it is always easier to kid-wrangle with two parents. Still, this morning has gone so smoothly it is giving me a lot of hope for next week when I'm on my own. I think I just need to pay more attention to keeping him busy and motivated with activities on his level...and be more alert to what that level actually is.