Friday, July 3, 2015

Vintage transportation nursery

BeYoYo is 11 months today! So I figured it's time I show you his room. We went with a vintage transportation theme, mostly because I saw a metal pushcar at an auction when I was pregnant and felt like we *needed* it. Don't blame me, blame the hormones.

The crib was free, given to us by an old neighbor. I found the Pottery Barn train bumper pads at a consignment sale for next to nothing. The art is from etsy, and I made the mobile myself. 

The dresser was my grandparents' and the baby gown was my granddad's when he was a baby in 1925.

My mom was particularly proud of the mobile, considering how I'm always proving I can't sew. Also, she helped a lot.

Big brother made this train as his contribution before BeYoYo was born. Actually, my mom helped with that too. 

Airplane shelf is from HomeGoods, natch. 

And the blue dresser is an antique store find. We had the green rocker/recliner from The Boy's nursery. 

The dormer window is the perfect size for a changing table (from goodwill!) and the metal car that inspired it all. I don't actually let anyone play with it because it's metal and sharp and turns out, super impractical.
Car hooks were on clearance from Hobby Lobby, and hold one of the john johns his daddy hates but I put him in for church anyway. He's got the rest of his life to wear t-shirts. Carpe diem.

I just scored this awesome car rug made from fabric scraps for $5. Woot!

And my favorite thing of all is the quilt my mom made. The train is made from fabric from some of our grandparents' clothes. The whole thing was a surprise to me and made me do a long pregnant ugly cry. Sometimes when I rock BeYoYo I wrap us up in the quilt and get right sentimental. 

And what does BeYoYo think of his room? 

He's not particularly impressed. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

An Almost 4 Year Old

The Boy will be four tomorrow.


In human years.

He is inquisitive and energetic and exhausting. He is reflective and funny and smart. He is outgoing and determined and friendly and independent.

When he gets nervous he gets silly, and when he gets silly he uses made up words. He brings home leaves in his pockets and says they are special because his friend gave them to him. He is a great big brother and every night he thanks God for BeYoYo and no one else. He's obsessive about them wearing matching clothes and is disappointed when they can't.

He calls tank tops "tick tocks", and he knows the names of all the ninja turtles: Michaewangewo, Weonardo, Donatewwo, and Wafeal. He says he weawwy, weawwy woves us, and that he loves his brother the most. That's okay with me.

He makes increasingly more valid arguments about why he should or shouldn't do things. He pees outside. He appreciates a good meal. He's good at soccer, but sometimes he runs into the refrigerator at home. He eats at least two breakfasts every day.

His favorite movie is "Hoy Story." He still lets me rock him before bed while we read a book.  He asks big, big questions about the world and God and life, some that I don't know the answer to.

His favorite toys are Super Heroes and he loves to wear a cape. He plays dress up and makes up wild imaginary scenarios with many, many sound effects. He gets in trouble for playing too rough at school. He watches Curious George, The Wot Wots, and bizarre shows he's found on Netflix. He's mastered the ipad. He knows how to take a selfie. His favorite songs are Queen's Flash and We Will Rock You.

Tonight I continued our tradition of asking him some questions on his birthday, like I did last year. Here is what he said.

                                                                How old are you? 
"Free and a half, almost four"
What’s your favorite thing to do? 
"say 'SORRY' (in a monster voice) with Henry"
What do you want to be when you grow up? 
"I don't want to grow up"
What’s your favorite food? 
"butter noodles"
What’s something you’re good at? 
"riding my scooter"
What makes you laugh? 
"tickle my foot"
What’s something scary?
"I'm gonna die"
Who’s your best friend? 
"Henry. And Nate."
What do you like to do with your family? 
"pway with them"
Where do you like to go? 
"I wove to spend the night at the cabin."
What do you like to learn about? 
"how do people die"

This morning we were talking about his birthday and he said "I'm going to be four when I wake up tomorrow. Do you think I'll be too heavy for my wittle bed?"

He has challenged me in ways I could never have imagined, and expanded my heart in ways I didn't know possible. I'm so thankful for the energy and the joy and the life lessons he's brought in the last four years.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Black and white

I am heavy with worry on this one. I am sad for the families of the victims of the Charleston church shooting. I am sad for the black mamas across the nation who worry every time their sons leave home that they will not return. I am sad for those who are not sad about this, and I'm afraid that means we are becoming tolerant and complacent about racism. I'm afraid it's easy to deny that it exists because it is 2015 and it's been more than 50 years since MLK had a dream.

As my sons grow up, I will worry if there are pesticides in their foods, and if they do their homework and drive carefully. I won't worry about their safety if they wear hoodies into gas stations, or get stopped at traffic stops or if someone they don't know comes to their prayer meetings.  I worry that I don't remember often enough that this is a reality for many people. I'm ashamed I forget the luxury I was dealt when, through no choice of my own, I was born with ivory skin.

The Husband and I had a long talk about racism today. Though he doesn't like what happened in Charleston or across the country lately, he doesn't understand why it would make me cry, or why I feel a heaviness about it for my own children. I asked him "how do we raise children who not only don't hurt others because of the color of their skin, but also don't tolerate it, and work to stop it from happening?" His response was "maybe you model that." Yes, yes, yes.  But have we been modeling that? We don't hurt others, but do we work to stop it from happening? Maybe tolerance is not enough.

He asked me why this made me cry more than another killing would. Why, say, didn't I cry about the Boston marathon bombing? Valid question. I had to think before I responded "I'm sad about any time anyone is killed because of religion or race, but I think this feels different because this was committed by someone from our race, and I feel a responsibility to do better for our race." Maybe it's easier to face hatred coming from an Islamist extremist than someone who could be my child.

We talk about race at our house. The Boy knows that people have different color skin, and that the rule of our family is that we love people no matter how they look. But he doesn't know that some families don't have that rule. And if we think that modeling intolerance of injustice is the place to start, maybe that means my kids need to know that injustice exists.

So today I sat down with The Boy and told him that in Charleston, in the city that our friend lives, someone hurt some other people just because they had brown skin. I told him that I knew he knew that our family loves people no matter what color skin they have, but that some families don't have that rule. I told him it is not okay to hurt others or say unkind things to them because of the color of their skin, and that he and his brother should always work to protect others if someone is hurting them. I told him through tears that this made me very, very sad, and that the people that were hurt were good people. He asked if the one who hurt them would go to jail, and I told him yes, because what he did is not okay. We talked about the importance of not just not hurting others, but standing up for them and helping them.

I don't pretend that telling my child about racism is the key to stopping it. I don't pretend that blogging about my feelings helps any of the victim's families find peace. I wish I knew an answer. I wish I knew of something that I could do to change the pattern, to stop the hate. But I do think that talking about it, and claiming intolerance for it is the first small step I can take. And I hope to model for my children to love and protect our friends of all races, because tolerance isn't enough. May no one wonder where I stand.

And as much as I worry, I am grateful to know that so many of you out there stand with me in solidarity, wanting to do something, wanting to stop the hate and the violence. I pray we come up with something more than words. Until then, here are some words from Dr. King's I Have A Dream speech that resonate again today: 

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


The Boy just finished his first soccer season. The 4U league is hilarious. By the last game they finally had things mostly figured out, and actually scored goals and whatnot. The Boy did pretty well for his first season, immersing himself into the soccer culture (when BeYoYo tried to pull up on the furniture, The Boy said "he's taking a knee!").  Thankfully we were in a low-pressure, low-skill group of first timers. Parents cheered for both teams, and parent coaches looked less like Walter Matthau in Bad News Bears and more like Seth Rogen, before he thought he was cute. 

Here's a clip from their very first game. If you aren't sure which is The Boy, keep your eye on the ball. Yes, that's me yelling. I'm such a soccer mom. 


So, like I said, by the end they got it all together and he even scored goals without using his hands. Here are some rules from their playbook: 

1. The show must go on. Even if you are trampled, and even if it's us that tramples you. And even if the other team isn't all that close or interested in the ball. 

2. Position, position, position. This is important, and sometimes positioning can be more like a giant game of chess. 

3. Show some leg. 

4. In case of boredom, ride the flag. Other appropriate boredom busters include taking the flag off and delivering it to the coach, or chasing trash across the field mid-game. 

4. You really gotta get in there to guard your goal. 

5. Intimidate them with the frog pose. 

6. Make sure you can see your teammates at all times. Use binoculars when necessary. 

7. Two words: victory dance. 

7b. We really can't overemphasize the victory dance. These are in no way tied to actual athletic effort or outcome, by the way. 

8. Sneak a little brother on the field for extra support. 

9. Speaking of brothers, it's fine to run off the field mid-game to hug yours. Boosts morale. 

10. Assume the stance. 

11. Pouting gets you nowhere. You'll want to play when it's not your turn, and you won't want to play when it is. Life lessons are hard. 

12. In sports, stealing is allowed. But preferably not from your own team. 


13. In soccer you aren't supposed to use your hands. To remind you, put them up your nose instead.

14. Fake 'em out with the ole "I broke my back" pose. They won't realize you are really a threatening eagle until it's too late.

15. We're all winners! When my dad asked The Boy if his team won, he said "yeah, but we're all still friends, wight, mom?" Wight, buddy. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Last Monday

Y'all. I haven't blogged lately because I have ALL THESE CHILDREN.  I really love writing, but they love being fed, and having clean bottoms and being on time for school, and sometimes those things interfere with each other. And yes, I do know that there are some people who even have more than just two children and they manage just fine. I am not them.

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children she didn't know what to do
And you'll notice that the mother is nowhere to be found in this picture because she is hiding in the closet eating all the easter candy and drinking gas station wine. 
The End. 

Enough about that. I don't judge your choice of modular shoe homes. 

Let's talk about last Monday. It was the day after Easter. When The Boy woke up he was already grieving because there was no more Easter bunny toast. On Easter morning the Easter bunny had left a trail of plastic eggs into the kitchen where he (or she) had cut some sandwich bread into the shape of a bunny for toast. But alas, he (or she) had only left two pieces and it was all gone, and the boy was in an Easter candy hangover funk and was so, so sad that he might never recover. So I offered that maybe I could cut some bread into a bunny shape for toast, and he reluctantly obliged. Turns out I cannot come CLOSE to the artistic skill of the Easter bunny, whose precision and dedication apparently match that of a festival chainsaw-log-statue-competition. 

You would think that precision would be difficult with the large awkward mitten hands, but whatever. 

Eventually he agreed to eat said ruined toast and eventually, much to everyone's surprise, he recovered. So we were off to school, where I promptly dropped him off without a snack for his class despite it being our turn to bring snack. Luckily, I was completely unaware of this blunder and it caused no additional morning stress. For me, at least. Sorry, teachers. 

When I picked him up he told me that no one was snack helper. His sweet teachers didn't even call him out on it. He said they had leftover snacks from the cabinet- cheese crackers and graham crackers and gold fish, and I guess whatever else they could muster up. Then I checked the snack calendar and my blissful ignorance was shattered when I saw The Boy's name listed. We had let down a room full of 3 year olds. Oh, the shame! And once I realized and said it out loud, The Boy found an opportunity to be crushed. Just minutes ago he was happy and chatty, but upon hearing the news, he realized he should be disappointed. "I didn't EVEN get to be snack helper!" he wailed, confidently defeated in his newfound injustice. "Oh buddy", I said "don't worry. This is going to happen a lot more times in your life." 

I know you're thinking that we should have called it a day and headed home. But, I'm not prone to learn from my mistakes and decided to take ALL MY (two) CHILDREN to the grocery store. We've done it before, and we've survived. What could possibly go wrong? 

BeYoYo is getting big enough to sit in the buggy, but they hadn't actually done that at the same time yet. I started getting him out of his car seat when my hand touched something wet. A friend on Facebook once said she could sum up the entirety of her mothering experience with the question "why is that wet?" In this case, it was poop. He'd pooped up his back and blown out his diaper and leaked into his car seat. Gag. The Boy was whining for his fruit snacks. BeYoYo was laughing as I was gagging getting everyone out. I handed The Boy the fruit snacks, as he was still recovering from the toast and the snack incidents. We walked inside and straight for the bathroom. I parked the impossible to steer BACB (Big Ass Car Buggy) outside the bathroom and carried BeYoYo in, with The Boy trailing alongside. I let The Boy eat his fruit snacks standing beside the changing table, because I needed a minute, okay? I peeled BeYoYo's clothes off him, wiped him down, changed his diaper, changed his clothes, and got him upright again, all while he was trying his best to flip to his stomach and/or sit up. This took approximately 75 minutes. 

Then the real dilemma presented itself. HOW, pray tell, are you supposed to WASH your HANDS in this situation? I see 4 options. 
1. Hand the baby to the toddler. This does not seem safe, for anyone involved. Poop-on-hands is definitely safer than 3 year old in charge of slightly smaller 8 month old.  
2. Hand the baby to a stranger. There wasn't one, even if I was comfortable with that. 
3. Buckle both kids in the BACB and leave them unattended outside the bathroom while you wash. (I promise you this buggy would not have fit inside the bathroom). 
4. Put the baby on the floor. Considering my high school friend said cleaning the bathroom in his after school job at Publix was worse than his tour in Afghanistan, that didn't seem viable. 

I went with option 5: Don't wash your hands. I procured a baby wipe and thorough gave my hands a bird bath, buckled everyone up in the BACB and went about our business. Later my friend Kati reminded me that I could've buckled BeYoYo in the changing table and left him there while I washed. This never occurred to me, so bird bath it was. Our whole shopping trip I kept getting a whiff of something gross and was continually paranoid that I had poop hands. 

Thankfully we survived the trip and made it home, where I whipped the car in the drive and made a bee line inside for the sink, scrubbing my hands like I was prepping for surgery before going back out to get the groceries and kids. Priorities.