Wednesday, January 4, 2017


V is at such a fun age right now. Full of wonder, curiosity... sass. One morning I was changing his diaper, and he had an erection, which happens regularly. He noticed it and said, "Mommy, my penis is standing up!" I told him he was right, and then he asked me why. Now, as a mom, I've spent many visits to the bathroom with the girls asking me about my period and how and why and as a woman, I was able to answer those questions adequately. But when V started asking how and why about his erections, I had to play the "Ask your dad" card. I mean, I understand it to a certain extent, but this is something DH is clearly better equipped to handle. So he scooted off to our bathroom where DH was getting undressed to shower, and said, "Daddy, my penis is standing up!" Then he looked at me and said, "Daddy's penis is standing down."

On Christmas Eve he came in with his mask on.
Me: Hi, Batman!
V: I'm V!
Me: Yes, you are.
V: You're Jennifer.
Me: That's right! Who's Daddy?
V: Babe.

Tonight when I was snuggling him at bedtime, he realized I was wearing a t-shirt instead of my work blouse. He asked me why, and I told him that I was wearing it for pajamas. "Mama, that's not 'jamas." I told him I didn't have any pajama tops, and he said maybe Santa would be bring me some. "But Mama, you have to be nice. You can't be naughty."

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Election Is Over

The one thing that made this miserable process worthwhile this year was that I learned a lot more about our system of government and how brilliant our forefathers were. For many years I've thought we should get rid of the electoral college because we have mass communication now which was one of the major factors in the need for creating it to begin with. But it was brought to my attention that we still need the electoral collage because if we just used the popular vote, the people in California, Texas, New York and Florida, who comprise the bulk of the US, would speak for all of us and wouldn't truly represent the entire republic.

The girls had a very narrow lens through which they viewed the election until I explained to them that it was very complicated and there was more to voting than just the candidate. Baby R said that in the end, she was kind of glad Hillary Clinton lost because she wants to be the first woman president. You go, baby girl.

On a personal level, the latest in our family history has been that Mom spent the weekend in the hospital. She had elevated liver enzymes and when the checked her in the E.R., she had gall stones, and by the time they moved her to the ICU, she was septic. They flooded her system with heavy doses of antibiotics, and she's made a dramatic recovery. She was speaking actual words today, some of which she strung into a complete, logical sentence, though it was out of context. But so much better than she's been in months.

Things were quite hectic this weekend since in addition to spending time at the hospital with Mom, we celebrated Baby R's 7th birthday. We saw the movie Trolls which was ok. Great music, so-so story. R is at such a fun age. She's lost so many teeth she looks like a jack-o-lantern. She often refuses to wear a coat because she has invisible fur, so says she doesn't need one. The other day when I picked her and S up from school, she put her arms in front of her like a zombie and repeatedly walked into a pole like a wind-up toy. She did an "About Me" project and one of the things she wants to be when she grows up is a boss. She wants to own a company that invents the fountain of youth, basically, and it will be several stories tall, and I will get to live on the top floor with her. Sadly, she takes after her clumsy mother and was the first of the kiddos to break a bone. She broke the tip of her ring finger doing a handstand in the living room.

And then there's Cinco. I asked him what cereal he wanted for breakfast the other day, and he said he wanted circles. I thought he meant Cheerios, but he meant Oatmeal Squares. Square, circles, a shape of some kind. Another misnomer he's been using lately is calling the Amazon tablet the Panzon. At dinner one night, he wanted macaroni. I told him he had to clean his plate first since he still had a lot of food. He put it all on the table and said, "I'm done, mama!" He's become intrigued by the mole on my inner elbow. He told me he wants one. He's going to buy it, and he wants the one he buys to be blue. He's going to buy it at the super store. But when we went to Super Target the other day he didn't want to be there - he wanted to go to the Batman Target. He also has started locking the back door of the car when DH gets home with him. DH told him to unlock it NOW the other day. He did and then DH told him it wasn't funny. To which Cinco replied in his 3YO voice with pinched thumb and finger, "It's a wittle funny." Such a stinker! But also such a sweetheart. He listed off all our family and friends the other night at bedtime and then said, "I wuv all my people." He turned 3 in September - where has the time gone!?! We have no more babies in our house. So having a new nephew who was born in July has been a fun blessing. (Cinco's bday was the day after we came back from Disneyland - need to do a whole post about that.)

S also had a birthday since my last post - yikes I'm slacking. She's 9. Nine, people. Half of her life in our house is over. (Insert deer in headlights emoji here.) She's amazing and frustrating, and I love her to pieces. She's taking piano lessons again this year, and has begun doing gymnastics which she really enjoys. For her birthday party we did an art theme and painted mini canvasses, decorated cupcakes and painted rocks for Lenexa Rocks. She wanted to have lunch with my mom since she couldn't come to our house for dinner with the rest of the family. We went to the facility and ate pasta. Mom has to have help eating now and didn't speak much, and I don't know whether or not she recognized us, but she seemed happy seeing S there. Thankful for our daughter's beautiful heart.

A few other random notes to summarize life since my last post:
• My SIL moved back to KC from Cali - yay! Love having her and my niece and nephew close by.
• Summer Olympics. Yessss!
• S started 4th grade, and Baby R started 1st grade.
• We celebrated my FIL's 70th bday, though I missed it because I was sick for about 6 weeks.
• Pokemon Go was all the rage.
• The Dakota Access Pipeline protests
• Earthquakes in Oklahoma
• My company bought our local competitor, so we are now in 3 buildings here. We also bought a company in Maryland.
• Crazy clowns terrorized the country this fall.
• DH ran a full marathon. He finished tied for last with 2 other people. But he did it. So proud of him for not giving up!
• I rented Inglorious Bastards. Which is not the same as Inglourious Basterds.
• The girls learned how to play Monopoly. As banker, S kept saying, "And don't forget to pay the lady!" Perhaps we watch too much Storage Wars.
• Hurricane Matthew
• S got to go to iFly.
• The Chicago Cubs won the World Series. For real!
• October and November (so far) have been unseasonably warm. Which has been great except for the horrific oak mites! Which prompted me to write this parody of 'I Love Paris in the Springtime," a la Meg Ryan in French Kiss:
I hate pollen in the springtime.
I hate leaf mold in fall.
I hate mosquitoes in the summertime.
But I hate oak mites most of all.

• For Halloween, I was Joyce from Stranger Things. With the rest of the cast done by coworkers, we won for best group contest at the office. On the homefront, S was Batgirl, R was Wonder Woman and Cinco was Batman. But he was too hot to wear any of the outfit except the mask, part of the time. DH was our neighbor, ha ha.

Friday, July 8, 2016


As a mom, a good night's sleep is always fleeting. Even if the kids don't wake me up, dreamland can be elusive because I'm worried about their general health and safety.

But this week, between more videos of kids being snatched right in front of their parents, and civilians and police being shot, I couldn't fall asleep last night. Once I did, I kept waking up, imagining my children as the victims of each of these horrific events. Our country is spinning out of control. If we don't do something - and soon - a civil war will result. But what? How do we change something so subtly infused into our culture that it permeates every fabric of our lives without us even knowing it?

And then I pictured a line of women, alternating black and white, marching down the street together. Every one of the victims and assailants in these tragedies has a mother. And I imagine all of them are grieving today. This fight will not be won by legislation - the government has spent the last 150 or so years tackling the legal side, yet still we struggle. The only way for our actions to change is for our hearts to change.

As mothers, what if we reached out to each other, faced our racial preconceptions head on, and formed a bond? And then that bond grew to friendship and love? And we passed that love to our children who we introduced to each other and helped them to develop their own bonds? And that love grew?

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” – Robert Browning

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


I'm going to be baptized on Mother's Day. Part of the preparations include sharing my testimony. This will be the long version; I'll cut it down to a reasonable length for the ceremony.

As a small child, my family attended a Presbyterian church. Sometimes my sister and I went to Sunday school. I remember wearing dresses, learning the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments, playing on the playground, seeing Bible stories enacted on flannelgraphs (I'm dating myself here, so included a link for reference) and the smell of wax melting when they made multi-colored crayons from the leftover bits. (They were way ahead of the times, Pinterest.)

Sometimes we went to the main service with my parents. I remember the cushioned pews in the enormous sanctuary, beautiful stained glass windows, signing the attendance book, passing the collection plate and communion plates, singing hymns - my favorite part - and my dad dozing off. And at Easter, they'd bring in a live lamb.

My mom had been raised Methodist and my dad had been raised Baptist. He had had negative experiences in the church as a child, and only went to appease my mom who didn't want us growing up as heathens. My parents flipped houses, so we moved a lot when I was growing up - 13 houses for me. After we moved to a different suburb that was further away from that church, we went less and less often, until we became Chreasters. By the time I was in 5th grade, we didn't even go on Christmas and Easter anymore.

When I started 8th grade, I was blessed to form my circle of lifelong best friends. It included six girls whose faiths were Nazarene, Catholic, Mormon and non-denominational. I began attending church with all of them. It helped me to learn more about my faith, ask questions about religions and investigate what I really believed.

Two years later, at a retreat with two of those friends, I answered an alter call and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I love how my church I attend now explains it. I believe:
God is real.
I am wrong.
God is right.
Jesus is life.
Life is better
because I believe.

At the time, it didn't change anything in my life too dramatically. My parents gave me a Bible for Christmas which I read in its entirety a couple of times as is evidenced by the well-worn red leather cover. I continued praying and attending church with my friends.

When I moved away to college, I ended up going to a Methodist church occasionally. It was ok, but I never felt like it was a place I belonged.

I came back to Kansas City when I graduated and began "church shopping" with two of my best friends. We ended up attending an Assemblies of God church for awhile. It was out of my comfort zone - speaking in tongues, a lot of "Amens!" and dramatics. But the sermons were incredible. One that stuck with me was about tithing. I'd been very cynical about tithing and hearing about churches who misused the money, and ministers who stole it, so I gave a little bit but more as a token, than anything else. But the pastor gave a sermon that got me to understand it differently (that's a long post for another day). I also made some new friends there through which I began attending a Bible study at a local coffee shop.

After a year or so, I decided to move on to a different church, but kept attending the Bible study. The new church I found was non-denominational. It was the first place I felt plugged in and really a part of. I became part of the 20-somethings small group, volunteered in the food pantry, nursery and with the cleaning crew, joined activities like caroling, etc. It was during this time that my relationship with God was at its strongest. I felt His presence in my daily life and found myself in constant prayer - in the shower, in the car, just going about my day. There was a time when I felt as if Jesus was sitting in the corner of my room hanging out with me.

When my husband and I got married, I moved into his house which was about 30 minutes away from my church home. I kept going for a few months, but it was difficult. Eventually I stopped going. I began attending the Presbyterian church I'd gone to as a child on occasion as it was nearby, but slowly the constant presence of the Lord faded.

A couple of years later, we moved to another suburb. We had a 2-year-old and one on the way. After our second daughter turned 1, I started looking for a church nearby. The first time we attended, I knew Cedar Ridge was our new church home. Their mission statement is Love God, Love People, Serve the World. And they DO it. They don't sit and talk about what Christians should do, they go out and do it. Our pastor is one of the founders of What If The Church.

The last six years have been tumultuous for my family. My husband and I found out I was pregnant on Christmas Eve one year, and the next week, we both found out we were going to be laid off. That pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and moved into a facility. My father sold their house and moved into an apartment and then had a heart attack and spent two weeks in the hospital. We had a third child; being a mother is greatest blessing I've ever experienced, but it's also full of stress and incredibly exhausting. My husband has been working on his master's degree off and on since our oldest was born. I've let myself be distracted by these worldly things and lost my heavenward focus. But every time something terrible happened, God was there anyway. And I felt a peace and a joy in the midst of whatever calamity we were facing.

And as I find to be true more often than not, every time I read the Scriptures, something speaks to me in a new way. Lately, verses about baptism have caught my attention. And I would think, I should really get baptized. But. But I have a lot on my plate. But I need to lose weight before I get dunked in front of the whole church. But DH might have to go out of town for work for 6 months. The list goes on.

A few months ago, one of my good friends at church was baptized, and it felt like God nudging me. She has a lot going on, too, you know. And then last week, it hit me what my real issue was: I was afraid to be baptized. Not because I was ashamed of acknowledging Jesus as my Lord and Savior, but because I didn't want Him to be ashamed of me. As soon as I get it together and stop sinning, I'll be worthy of baptism. I relate closely to Paul on a daily basis: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (Rom 7:15) I'm a hypocrite.

But I'm never going to have it all together. And God knows that. He wants us to be authentic; it's ok not to be ok. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28) 

So I'm done waiting for that day to come when I'm good enough. It's time to take the plunge.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


It all started the Sunday after my last post. Baby R started throwing up in the middle of the night. By lunch the next day, S was also sick. Thankfully that wrapped up by Tuesday evening. However, Wednesday morning, Baby R said her head was itchy. DH and I, having had zero experience with lice, initially dismissed it as a stalling tactic and wanting another stay home day. However, after looking more thoroughly, calling the school nurse, calling the pediatrician, posting on FB for advice and, of course, Googling, we confirmed she did, in fact, have lice.

DH ran to Walgreens to grab a box of RID. I sent S to school with the neighbor. Got Baby R shampooed and combed out in about 2 hours. Then, per school protocol, sent her to class. I took the rest of the day off so I could take everything in the house that could be washed to the laundromat and  do 10 loads of laundry at once, get my car cleaned, bag everything in the house that couldn't be washed and put it in quarantine in the spare bedroom, and vacuum the carpets and the couches and under all the furniture.

In the last four years, our experience has always been that whenever there was a case of lice at the school, a note was sent home to let everyone know they need to be on the lookout. FYI, this year, the CDC downgraded lice from a health risk, to an inconvenience. If you've ever had to deal with this pesky bug, you know that's an understatement. Our school district, as well as others nearby, no longer notify anyone - not even the teacher of the classroom in which the afflicted child attends.

I checked everyone else in the family every night and every morning. Each night, I spent an hour combing out R's head to get rid of the nits just like the instruction video showed. Each morning when Baby R woke up, I had her get undressed in her bed and go straight to the bathroom to put on clean clothes while I stripped her bed and washed the sheets. And yet, Saturday morning, as I was checking S before taking her to cheerleading, I found she was infected.

DH had stocked up on RID after the initial discovery, so I immediately treated S. She has a tender head and hair that's so long it's almost down to her rear end. Several friends recommended professional lice removal services after my initial inquiry, but I couldn't fathom the idea of paying $90/hour for someone else to do it, regardless of how daunting a task treating S was going to be. But after spending 3 hours combing out her hair, I simply couldn't get the nits out. I called Combers and they were able to get us in right away.

While there, I asked them to check me, and I, too, had it. Obviously, I was going to have to have them treat me as well. DH is amazing at many things, but this was a bit outside of his skill set. Thankfully, Combers just had a flat fee instead of an hourly rate.

Sunday morning when I was combing out R's hair, there were dozens more nits than there had been the previous few days! Clearly another one had hatched; R had scratched one spot so much she had a scab. I felt terrible; clearly I wasn't doing a good enough job myself. I bit the bullet and took her to Combers, too.

The woman there was very supportive and told me I'd done the best I could. I found out that part of the reason I was having so much trouble was that the comb that is provided in the OTC products is inferior and only gets about 50% of the nits out. I purchased one from the salon, and it was much more effective. I also found out that the RID is a pesticide. Not something I would have used on my kiddos had I known!

I continued checking the boys twice a day, combing out the girls nightly, and having DH comb mine. He was a trooper about doing it, and I bit my tongue through the painful pulling. Unfortunately, a few days later, I found nits on DH, so he treated his hair with RID, and I added him to the combout routine. I thought we'd made it without Cinco getting it, but unfortunately, he finally had it, too. I wasn't going to treat a toddler with the pesticides in RID, and I wasn't going to spend $120 on professionals either, so we just shaved his head. My poor baby!

We girls had a follow-up visit 9 days after our treatment, and we were all clean. Hallelujah! Finally, it seemed life would be back to normal.

And then the next morning, Cinco had a fever and we had to keep him home for 2 days.

I'm happy to say that we had our second follow up visit at Combers this week and it also came back clean, so I'm optimistic that the plagues have finally ended at our house.

(This was not a sponsored post, but I'm including a link to Combers website because I thought they did an amazing job and would recommend them to anyone unfortunate enough to have to deal with lice. They also have a lot of good information on the site regarding myths and facts about lice.)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Little Man

These are notes from the last six months that I never got around to posting. Sigh. Added a few new ones at the end as well.

Cinco is adorable in his uniqueness. S loved to hold my ears when she was nursing/snuggling before bed. Cinco likes to hold my hair, and unlike most babies, he doesn't yank on it. Usually. :)

If he's lying on the floor drinking a bottle and near a wall, he'll crawl his feet up the wall so his bum is up in the air. Silly boy.

He started putting his head down on the floor when he crawls like a bulldozer, though usually with his head turned so his ear is what is rubbing on the carpet. Our dog used to do that when he had an itchy ear. But buddy, you have hands, not paws. What are you doing?

He took his first steps when he was 11 months old.

He's not doing much signing, but he does say "mama," "dada," "baba," and "mi" for milk.

He waved bye-bye for the first time while DH was in Germany.

He had his 1-year checkup today and he's

Skip ahead to August

He's singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

He stomps his foot and says "No!" when he's angry.

He holds his legs so you can't take his pants off when he doesn't want his diaper changed - smart kid.

When I carry him downstairs, I say "boom" as we go down each step - "boom, boom, boom, boom."
So when he wants to go downstairs, he says "BoomBoom."

He started calling his blankie "KiKi" so the other day when he wanted to take his blanket downstairs, he said, "KiKi BoomBoom." I briefly wondered if we were in a brothel.

He loves to snuggle and he reaches his little arms as far as he can to get around to your biceps and squeezes as hard as he can to hug.

He tells me to "Sit!" when he wants to keep rocking before bed.

He says "foffee" for coffee, "hee haw" for horse, "bo-bots" for robots, "hoopsy" for oopsy, and now he calls blankies "gankies."

He pretends to be a kitty and meows.

He holds  a cracker with his thumb and his first two fingers.

When his hands are dirty, he makes fists and picks up his cup to drink.

He's slept in his big boy bed off and on a few times always climbing back in his crib in the middle of the night. He finally slept in it for a whole night this week!

He's become an expert at stalling at bedtime, just like his sisters.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year

So many things that were great from last year I never got around to posting about. I'm hoping to remedy that this year. But after talking to people who read our Christmas letter that summarized 2015, I realized how much we really went through, and cut myself a break for slacking on blogging. I definitely spent most of the year getting by with Dory's motto to "Just Keep Swimming" and focusing only on the task at hand. So here's to a mellower 2016!
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