The Truth About Bodily Fluids…and Gases and Solids

A favorite book in our house.

A favorite book in our house.

Before we had kids, my husband mentioned to me that he thought he would be okay with changing diapers, but he didn’t think he would be able to handle vomit. Never having changed a diaper until our first was born, Jeff quickly became adept at all things Luvs-related (our brand of choice). I had changed diapers before, but apparently not many boy diapers. For the first few weeks of JJ’s life, he soaked through every outfit. One day it finally dawned on me that I had to make sure that ‘it’ was pointing down in the diaper. Suddenly we were soaking less onesies.

Pee is one thing but poop is another. I nursed both boys and breastfed babies have a certain kind of poop. It’s an orange-brown color and is fairly liquid in consistency. I apologize for the graphic details, but the point I am trying to make is that it tends to leak…a lot. Jett was like clockwork – approximately ten minutes after every feeding I would hear a rumble and shart explode from his tiny body. I can’t even count the number of times his poops defied gravity and shot all the way up his back. I vividly remember one middle-of-the-night feeding when such an explosion happened. I nursed him and lay back down in bed. I heard the telltale rumble and shart, waited to make sure he was done, and then changed him. He had blown through the diaper and his sleeper. Thankfully, I kept a change of clothes and a stack of diapers beside the bed. I did the full change and lay back down. I was almost asleep when I heard another rumble in the jungle. Again, I waited until I thought he was done and again he needed a full wardrobe change. He was still in his pack-n-play in our room at this point and I had run out of outfits, so I ran down to his room to grab another. All clean and snug, I tucked Jett back in and tried to get back to sleep. Ten minutes later cue the third blowout in a row. Is this real life!? He needed yet another full wardrobe change and since I didn’t think he would be doing this again I didn’t grab an extra outfit ten minutes ago when I ran to his room. After this change, Jett was fully awake and didn’t plan on going back to sleep for awhile. I just started laughing because the whole sequence of events was so ridiculous there was nothing else I could do.

Poop is one thing but vomit is another. I nursed JJ for about two months and then switched to formula. It was a difficult decision, but it felt like a burden had been lifted at the same time. Shortly after switching to formula, JJ started to throw up all the time. It felt like he would puke up everything he had eaten. We tried burping him more often, holding him upright while he ate, giving him smaller portions with more feedings, but nothing did the trick. This wasn’t just a little spit-up; this was projectile vomit after each feeding. He wasn’t fussy and it didn’t seem like he was in pain either. We called the doctor multiple times but they just weren’t concerned – he was meeting all of his growth benchmarks. Meanwhile, we were using full-blown bath towels as spit cloths and our clothes, carpet, and couch were beyond stained. Our couch of only six years was so ruined that it literally fell apart when we moved.

I felt so guilty because this all started around the time I stopped nursing. I assumed this was my entire fault and if I had only continued breastfeeding he wouldn’t be vomiting all the time. Then, around nine months of age, he just suddenly stopped. He started walking and eating more and more solid foods and the vomiting vanished. We were so relieved!

Our butterball.

Our butterball.

When Jett was born he started vomiting right away. Like, in the hospital warmer right away. The nurses told me that it was just some amniotic fluid from the birth that he was getting out of his system. Jeff and I suspected otherwise. I was determined to nurse Jett longer than JJ because I still felt like the formula caused the majority of the vomiting. Wrong. I nursed Jett for nine months and he vomited just as much as JJ the whole time. He also grew out of it right around the nine to ten month mark. Nobody really worried about Jett, though – he’s a brute and it was obvious he was getting plenty of nutrients.

Now the boys are older and while they have grown out of some things, they are just getting started with others. For example, I had a front row seat to a fart contest they had with each other a few nights ago. Never would I have thought that my 3-year-old and 18-month-old would compete with gas so soon. Sure, I suspected it at 5 and 7, but not at these ages! They were laughing hysterically at each other.

That still doesn’t top another episode where they randomly came up to me out of nowhere. JJ pulled his pants down and bare-butt tooted on my leg followed by Jett wiping a fresh booger on my sleeve. Am I raising Beavis and Butthead??? When you witness this and then have to text your husband a few nights later with a message that says, “Watch your step when you come home, your son pooped in the yard,” you tend to wonder where you’re going wrong. There is not much you can do to prepare yourself for cleaning human turds out of your grass, especially when the person who dropped them there can use the toilet.

My son caught pulling his pants up after peeing in his brother's toy bucket while our neighbor is behind him.  Keepin' it classy.

My son caught pulling his pants up after peeing in his brother’s toy bucket while our neighbor is behind him. Keepin’ it classy.

Speaking of doing your business outside, if I am home by myself and we are playing outside I usually don’t drag both kids into the house just for JJ to pee. One day he said he had to pee so I told him to find a tree or go behind the garage (I at least have the decency to make him find cover). Well, he didn’t listen and just dropped his pants right there beside his brother and started to go. Jett reached over and put his hand in the pee stream and then popped his urine-soaked thumb directly into his mouth. This all happened so fast I barely had time to process what was going on, let alone clean Jett up. So I just stood there and gagged.

The truth is parenthood is a gross mess; a wonderful, hilarious, gross mess. We can look back now and laugh at Jeff’s wish for no vomit – vomit is the least of our concerns. God obviously has a sense of humor. He has used the gross-out parts of parenting to show us that we are indeed capable of pushing ourselves through things that otherwise seemed too much to handle. It’s amazing how quickly you can toughen yourself up to certain things when you love someone. I have never learned more about myself and what I am capable of since becoming a parent. We can clean up all of these messes now and not even bat an eye (most of the time).

Now if we can just teach them to wipe their own butts and use their manners.

Your 20s: The Decade of Changes

changes

As I am about to enter the last year of my 20’s, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic. So much has changed this decade. While there are the big, obvious changes, there are also a lot of random changes. In no particular order, here are some observations…

1. Bridal/Baby Showers

When friends and family around your age start to have bridal showers and baby showers it can be exciting. The thought is always, “I could be next!” But after the first three or four, the jig is up and you’re totally over it. If you move heaven and earth to get a chunk of free time on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, the last thing you want to do is go sit and watch someone take their sweet time opening a bunch of gifts. You go anyway because friendships take work, but really the big draw here is just being able to sit and eat without your kids interrupting. Maybe you will get hot coffee too.

2. Weddings

Much like #1, these were fun at first and it was like a big reunion with all of your high school or college pals. Now, it’s expensive and you can think of things you would rather do while you have a night out. If you are fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to be in a wedding, then you most likely need to burn a vacation day on Friday along with the wads of cash to get your hair and nails done and pay for your dress and shoes. If you have to travel out-of-town to be a part of the wedding, you might as well take out a small loan to cover the cost of this ‘fun-filled weekend.’ Guess what, diapers and wipes aren’t cheap and some of us live on a tight budget around here. Other people’s weddings become more stressful than your own. Sure, you are happy for them and are flattered to be invited, but you know that they will soon feel the way that you do about all of this.

3. Budgets

At the beginning of your 20’s, the responsibilities were so few and far between that you could go and indulge yourself every now and then. Now, your biggest indulgence is allowing yourself to buy a sweater from Target from the clearance rack. You look through your closet and realize that everything was bought on sale and your cabinets are stocked with nothing other than Great Value brand. This is fine because you can stretch the heck out of a dollar and you now would rather heat your house than splurge on something totally unnecessary. Just keep walking right by that Coach Outlet. Plus, the peace of mind that comes from having a budget and savings (albeit meager) is better than running out of the mall with armloads of shopping bags.

4. Vacations

What vacations? If you are able to go on vacation, odds are you are either going with family or friends so that the costs won’t ruin you. Other than the cost, you now have one or more kids and vacations are suddenly the least relaxing week of your entire year. It’s still tons of fun, but you leave feeling more tired and burnt out than when you clocked out of work before your time off. Also, the amount of junk you have to bring with you on vacation never ceases to amaze you. If you go to the beach, you will spend your week lugging said junk back and forth and will actually go home from vacation several pounds lighter than when you left thanks to all the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to set up shop multiple times a day.

5. Sleep

You began the decade sleeping in until noon, getting up just in time to go to your college’s football tailgate, then taking a nap when you got back from the game before meeting up with all of your friends again. Now you are functioning on way less sleep than you thought was humanly possible while taking care of kids and working. Obviously, you expected the exhaustion when your kids were infants. What you didn’t expect was that you still wake up feeling like you have been hit by a Mack truck every morning even when your kids are sleeping through the night. What’s the deal?! You chug water all day long, cool it with the caffeine by mid-afternoon, and get a full eight hours consistently. It’s starting to hit you that there is a distinct possibility that you will never feel well rested again. While it bums you out, at least you know that your days are much more productive than they used to be.

6. Aging

The age of 30 is barreling down the track at you pretty hard, but that doesn’t bother you as much as you thought. Instead, you are dreading the fact that your oldest kid is going to be heading off to kindergarten before you know it. This is how you track time now – by school years that are no longer your own. In just the blink of an eye you will be sitting at your kid’s baseball games and taking them to various after-school activities. Even though you’re not completely freaking out about how fast time is flying, you still buy some night creme and under-eye serum just to be safe.

7. Style

You realize that you are approaching that season of life when some of the women you knew growing up transitioned to Mom Jeans. Not gonna happen here! Or so you say. Remember, 10 years ago it was nothing but graphic tees and short shorts in your closet. You haven’t set foot in an American Eagle in at least two years and you could not care less. Who knows what sense of style a few more years will bring to your wardrobe?  At least the Gap Factory Outlet is treating you well in the meantime.

8. Hygiene

The problem here is that you think you are taking care of yourself, but if you lift your arms up in front of someone who did not vow in front of family and friends to love you no matter what, you are bound to get not just a gasp, but a scream. You look in the mirror only to find that your eyebrows have joined forces as one. You go to put on a pair of shorts and are confronted with the fact that you have managed to shave just half of your left leg during the past week.  You blame this on the fact that the majority of the time you are in the shower you hear phantom cries and noises even though you swear the kids were asleep two seconds earlier.  Relax, it was just thunder – not your kid falling down the stairs.

9. Transportation

There’s not much to say here other than the fact that a minivan keeps looking better and better (if you don’t have one already).

10. Perspective

While some people might see your life and feel sorry for you, you now feel like you have a distinct purpose in life and that is incredibly fulfilling. Others might see the cheap clothes, generic brands, budgets, and exhaustion as a curse; but you see it for the blessing that it truly is. Hard work is an understatement for what you do, but the payoff is so immense that you keep plugging along. When your kid busts through your bedroom door at 6am, runs to your side of the bed, and scares the crap out of you during a REM cycle, you don’t care (ok, you care a little bit). But as soon as you look at those clear, blue eyes on that freckled face, you are reminded of how strongly he resembles you and how deep your love is for this little one. Bring on the exhaustion and the aging as long as you get to spend your days surrounded by the crazies you call family.

Linked with these great blogs: My Freshly Brewed Life, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Coffee for Your Heart

The Doctor’s Office

Every time we take the boys to the doctor’s office for a check-up, I feel like we have to step up our game. I imagine that the doctor is going to give us some sort of award for being the best parents ever and having it together. When we leave, I want them to think that these parents know exactly what they’re doing.

The reality of the doctor’s office is much different. I leave work and walk over to meet Jeff and the boys at the appointment. My favorite part of this visit is the fact that my husband let Jett pick out one toy to bring with him to his check-up and Jett chose a toy syringe from his doctor’s kit. Hilarious foreshadowing.

jettdr

Jett, my youngest, usually needs to be wrestled to get his clothes off because heaven forbid we weigh the kid with a onesie on. Down to the diaper! So I lay him on the exam table and he squirms everywhere and rolls himself up in the crinkly paper while I continue to wrestle him. Any other time he would love to be naked, but not now. As soon as the doctor comes in he just starts to cry. It’s as if he already knows that shots are in his future.

Dr. B is super-nice, but Jett is convinced that his hands are made of razors and his eyes are daggers. If Dr. B glances in Jett’s direction, he cries. If he touches Jett to exam him, he wails. No shots have been administered yet. My kid isn’t even sick – it’s just a routine check-up. I should also mention that JJ, my three-year-old, is looking in the trash can, opening drawers, and generally just helping himself to various medical supplies in the room while this is going on. Jeff and I are trying to have a conversation with the doctor while preventing JJ from manhandling the exam room. (side note: When JJ goes for check-ups, it’s like that scene from ‘Elf’ when Buddy eats cotton balls and asks the doctor to explain what everything is.)

Once Jett receives his shots the game is over. We can’t do anything to calm him down. Then I notice that JJ has taken his shoes and socks off for who knows what reason. So now I must have another crinkle paper wrestling match with Jett to put his clothes back on while trying to calm him down. Then I need to put socks and shoes back on JJ but I can’t let go of Jett to do so because he has a death grip on my neck. Jeff and I switch kids and he attempts to calm Jett down while I take care of JJ.

I almost told the receptionist to bill me the co-pay rather than paying it there just so I could make a beeline for the nearest Dunkin Donuts (I have to find an incentive to make it through these things and coffee donuts do the trick). Suddenly Jett stops crying and I realize he has spotted the giant tub of lollipops on the counter. He digs in and grabs a massive handful. At this point, he can put them all in his mouth at once for all I care. He’s been screaming for what feels like several hours. It’s like a switch has been flipped and he no longer remembers why he was upset. Food is his love language.

We make our way to the car and everyone is happy. We start to drive away and another blood-curdling scream comes from Jett. JJ has reached over and grabbed several lollipops out of his hand. As it turns out, the screams for this infraction are way worse than they were for the shots.

My husband surprised me and had a Dunkin Donuts coffee waiting for me in the car (woohoo!). They drop me off at work and the boys go home as I wonder if the doctor will give us an award the next time.

When Mommy Needs a Win

family

I am overwhelmed.  I am certainly not alone in this regard.  Sometimes, we just need a win.

The setup my husband and I have to run our household is difficult for both of us.  I work full-time during the day and he works evenings and weekends.  We do this so that our children can stay at home and to ensure that we can pay the bills (this is how we came to this decision).  This means that many nights I am coming home from work and then handling the dinner and bedtime routines by myself.  It also means that my husband is handling the morning, lunch, and nap time routines alone.  It is tough, but we believe it is worth it.

Last evening, I felt so exhausted on my drive home from work.  All I wanted to do was change my clothes and lay on the couch.  I can’t even remember the last time I was able to do that.  When I got home, Jeff was about to leave for work.  The dishes were washed, the toys were picked up, and the laundry was started.  I failed to thank him.  All I could think about was sitting down.  As soon as I hit the couch, the boys woke up.  It’s not that we had a particularly bad evening or that they were any more energetic than usual – it just hit me that I was burnt out.

The funny thing is, when I reach these points I can always find something within the chaos to smile about if I allow myself – sometimes I am too stubborn to see what’s there beneath the surface.  My oldest threw a temper tantrum at dinner because he didn’t want to eat and we were having pizza.  Pizza, for goodness sake!!!  How dare I try to make him eat the most awesome food ever created – a food he normally loves.  I let him work it out and calm himself down and then decided to take the boys for a walk.  Both kids insisted on crawling out of the stroller.  I wanted to just keep walking because I wanted/needed some exercise.  But all those boys wanted was to pick some flowers out of a field for me.  So there we were along the side of the road with my boys picking a flower and bringing it back to me.  Grabbing a weed and giving it to Mommy.  It was their idea and they were so, so proud.  Thankfully, I had the wherewithal to make a big deal out of it.  Suddenly, I felt less tired and the evening was fun.

As with most parents, I am normally spent by the time my kids go to bed.  On this night, Jett was getting fussy so I took him to his room to read to him and rock with him.  He is really starting to love books and he gets so enthusiastic about it!  When it was time to put him in his crib, he laid down and grabbed my hand to put it up against his face.  He snuggled his cheek into the palm of my hand and said so lovingly, “Mommy and Jett.”  He kept saying it over and over again.  The amount of love I felt in that moment was unreal.  I started crying and I picked him up to give him extra hugs and kisses.  I’m crying now just thinking about it!

So on this day when I didn’t think I had it in me, I received two amazing memories.  I will always treasure the sight of my kids picking me flowers and the joy on their faces.  Then my littlest man –  who is just learning to talk – gave me something unforgettable just by saying a simple phrase, “Mommy and Jett.”  What he was telling me is that these things are special to him too.  It may seem like just another night when I get home from work, but it’s really so much more than that.  All of these seemingly insignificant evenings are adding up to become my legacy as a parent.  I can choose to make it great.  I can choose to see the positives and see that God has given me so much.  When I lose sight of all of that, that’s when I feel overwhelmed.  It should come as no surprise to me that when I focus on my faith, I feel much more at ease.

I got my win and so much more.

No Nap Nightmare

I like to decompress on my ride home from work before I begin what I refer to as ‘second shift.’ If I’m lucky, the boys will still be napping and I’ll have a few minutes to myself to change my clothes, sort the mail, and begin cooking dinner. If I can transition from work to home calmly, then the evening goes much more smoothly. Tonight is not that night.

As soon as I open the door, the boys come running at me. The first thing out of JJ’s mouth is, “Hi Mommy! We didn’t nap very well.” Initially, I have a proud moment because my three-year-old properly used ‘well’ instead of ‘good’ in his sentence. But the more prominent thought I have is, “What level of hell awaits me this evening???” I can’t think about it too long because Jeff is giving me a kiss as he heads out the door for work. As usual, we have nothing stronger than tap water in the house so I’m going to have to face this night stone-cold sober and alone.

I put my purse and shoes away as Jett hugs my leg and simultaneously wipes his runny nose down the length of my thigh. Nooooo!!! I didn’t want to wash these dress pants yet. Everyone knows you can wear pants 33 times before they need to be cleaned. Speaking of laundry, since I am in the laundry room I look at the hamper and realize I might as well start a load of clothes now.

Once that’s done, I finally make my way into the dining room only to be greeted by shouts of JJ screaming, “Ewww, Jett pooped!” In the living room I find Jett wearing just a diaper and that diaper is pulled halfway down his butt, which is how JJ discovered he had pooped. Jett makes me work to change him these days so he immediately takes off and runs around the dining room table laughing hysterically while I chase him. There is a turd threatening to fall out of his diaper the entire time. I finally catch him and clean him up as I hear the Legos being dumped in the playroom. Legos are the worst.

This lasted for 2 seconds before they tackled each other.

This lasted for 2 seconds before they tackled each other.

Thankfully, I had prepped dinner this morning and Jeff had peeled some potatoes for me before he left for work. I put the finishing touches on our meal and pop it in the oven. I really need to get out of my work clothes and into my ‘play clothes’ as JJ calls them. I run upstairs and change as quickly as I can. When I come downstairs, JJ is in the bathroom and is attempting to wipe himself. He has already used what appears to be an entire roll of toilet paper and it takes me several plunges to get everything to flush.

After I thoroughly wash my hands, I head to the playroom to have some quality time with the boys. We build a tower with the Legos, play with tractors on the farm, make cupcakes and pizza at the toy kitchen, and in between all of this I am giving timeouts and taking toys away for the brother-on-brother death match that’s been going on ever since I’ve walked through the door. Some nights they are best buds and other nights they can’t be in the same vicinity without chaos ensuing.

I check on dinner, which isn’t ready, and suddenly everyone realizes they are starving. The whining starts. “Mommy, I am sooo hungry! I need a snack! Is the chicken ready yet? When are we having dinner? I want to eat!!!!” Somehow I am able to distract them long enough for dinner to finish cooking. After all that anticipation, I expect them to eat. Not tonight. Well, I shouldn’t say that. Jett housed his food, but he always does. JJ, on the other hand, sat at the table and started asking for a snack as soon as I said “Amen” after the prayer.

“You are not getting a snack. You literally have a full plate of food in front of you.”

“I don’t want chicken! I want Teddy Grahams!!!!”

“You need to eat your dinner.”

“NOOOO!!!”

Next, he begins to pound his fork on his plate and the table. He’s given a timeout and goes to sit on the steps. He is wailing. Two minutes ago he kept asking for chicken, now he has chicken and it’s the end of the world. He is not allowed to get up from timeout until he has calmed down. Jett needs more food at this point so I get him some more and make sure it’s cool enough for him to eat. JJ has calmed down and is back at the table. He is still insisting that he have Teddy Grahams immediately. Not gonna happen. After calling the food “yucky” and “gross” (he hasn’t tried a bite of it), he gets up from the table and declares that he is not eating it.

I am not going to try to reason or argue with him. I simply state our rule when it comes to dinner – if you didn’t try it or eat enough, you won’t get a snack until you do. We don’t make our kids finish their plates, but they need to eat what we consider to be enough food to be of nutritional value. If they don’t, we wrap up their food and keep it in the fridge until they get hungry again. They must eat this food before they can have anything else. We are aiming to teach them not to waste and to be grateful for the meals that are prepared for them.

JJ agrees to this rule. He gets down from the table and goes to play. I finally start to eat my food and realize that it’s now lukewarm. Ugh. I don’t feel like getting up from the table to heat it up, so I just eat it as-is. Jett is finally full, but he has started to throw his food off of his high chair. He is covered in potatoes and green beans, so I scrub him down and send him on his way. I clean up the floor and table, rinse the dishes, and go back to the playroom.

It looks nice outside so we decide to go out to the yard. We play on the swing set, dig in the dirt, and throw some balls around. JJ has his bike out in the yard, even though he doesn’t know how to ride it yet. He keeps saying that he wants to ride it down our hill. And I keep telling him no. Jett runs off and gets into some of Jeff’s tools, so as I am chasing him, JJ jumps on his bike and goes down the hill. Inevitably, he hits a divot and wrecks the bike. I run to him and make sure that nothing is broken. He’s still crying but he is fine except for a bloody nose. As soon as he finds out he’s bleeding he stops crying – he’s excited!

So proud of himself.

So proud of himself.

He has only one request of me. “Mom, are you gonna tell Dad that I bleeded!?” Yes, yes I will tell Dad. Dad is going to hear allll about this evening.

Now that we have been sufficiently covered in dirt and blood, we head inside for a bath. Because Jeff is at work, I have to bathe them both at the same time. Rarely does this go well and tonight is no exception. We make it through with only one kid getting peed on and only one kid crying. The crying wasn’t because of the pee – they thought that was hysterical.

Both kids are clean and in their jammies. We all snuggle on the couch, take a deep breath, and watch Sheriff Callie. After that, it’s time for Jett to go to bed. He takes it easy on me, grabs his blanket, and snuggles in his crib.

JJ and I play for a little bit longer and then I take him to bed. He requires off-key singing, back scratching, and answers to a million questions before he settles down.

I finally get downstairs and start to wash the dishes. I finish them and hear JJ coming down the steps. He has to pee. He goes to the bathroom and I put him back in bed. I pick up all the toys and put them back. Normally I would make the boys help with this, but that usually takes an awful lot of teeth-pulling and I just wasn’t up for the challenge tonight. Once that’s done, I vacuum the carpet and get out the mop to scrub floors.

JJ comes back downstairs. “Mom, I want to help you!” That’s sweet of you, but what you really want is just an excuse to be out of bed. I take him back and let him know that there will be consequences if he gets out of bed again. I finish mopping the floors.

Just as I am about to sit down, it dawns on me that I never put the clothes in the dryer. Great. I started that load five hours ago. Sure enough, it stinks! I just decide to rerun the washing machine and pray that I don’t fall asleep before it needs to go in the dryer.

It’s time to settle in on the couch when Jeff walks in. He asks me how my night went.

My night can best be described by this image of our living room and play room - a messy mess.

My night can best be described by this image of our living room and play room – a messy mess.

At this point, I’m so tired I feel like I can’t even form sentences. I give him a run-down and am sure to include that JJ ‘bleeded.’ Jeff asks why I didn’t just relax when the boys went to bed. As I always do, I explain that I can’t relax when there is still work to be done. Not only that, but if I wake up and the house is clean, it makes me feel like I truly have a clean slate for the day and keeps me from losing it.

I make my way upstairs to check on the boys and realize that while it was one heck of a night, I made it through. No matter what, God never fails. He always gives me just enough strength to make it through each day. I may not have any strength left over, but I had what I needed for tonight. I kiss their sweet, sleeping faces and know that I have so much for which to be thankful. Then I collapse diagonally on my bed and pass out. Jeff has to push me to my side when he comes to bed a few minutes later.

Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully it will be filled with great naps.

My House Smells like Poop

I would say 3-out-of-5 nights a week, I come home from work, open the door and either think or ask, “Did someone just poop?” Rarely is the answer yes. It took me a while, but I finally realized that my house just smells like poop. All of the time.

One time the odor was so bad, that both my husband and I were in our laundry/mud room searching for a dirty diaper. We honestly thought that JJ had grabbed his brother’s diaper after we changed him and chucked it behind the washing machine. Neither one of us could remember if we put the diaper in the garbage can and we didn’t want to go digging through it to find out. We couldn’t find anything behind the washer, but we also couldn’t figure out why such a foul smell was coming from the room where we keep our soaps. Granted, we keep our sweaty shoes in that room, but this was an unmistakable poop smell.

The next day I came home and Jeff had placed a fresh linen wall plug in the laundry room. Odor masked. Problem solved.

My mom will come over to the house and ask about the smell of my bathrooms. Mom, I assure you – the floor is scrubbed, the toilet is scrubbed, the rug has even been washed (JJ experiments a lot with his pee stream). It just always smells like poop. In case you are wondering whether or not we have a sewage issue, we do not. We have a potty trained toddler (most of the time) and a diapered toddler. So poop could literally be anywhere.

I am probably exaggerating the smell. I really do take care of my home – at least I try. But after changing what feels like 49857397 blowout diapers in the past few years, I always smell poop.

The worst is when I take great pains to look and feel presentable and then I get to work or church and swear that there is a skid mark somewhere on my shirt. This did happen once when I was at the grocery store, but I just kept on motoring because there were things we needed and it had already taken me about an hour of prep time to get to the store in the first place. I have also grocery shopped in the same store with vomit on my shirt and leaking breast milk. These things happened on different occasions. It’s a good thing we moved.

Candles are usually out of the question. Our boys love to climb and are naturally mini pyromaniacs, so it’s just an accident waiting to happen. I love the air freshener scents that come out in the fall, so last year I decided to treat myself to some from Bath & Body Works. I believe the scent I picked was Autumn Leaves and I commented to Jeff that in our house it was more like Autumn Fart. There was just enough of the pleasant scent mixed in with the poo. Sometimes you just gotta take the edge off.

fall candle

There are many things that I imagine I will dearly miss when my boys grow up. But I am fairly certain that these smells will not be one of them. The terrifying thing is that I just realized that once the poop smell is gone, the sweat and body odor phase will be right behind it.

Dear Lord, give me strength!

Here Goes Nothing

If you are reading this then you already know…I have started a blog. Up until about a year ago I had never considered the possibility. But then again, everything has changed and I guess I have changed with it.

In October of 2013, I took a job back in my hometown. This uprooted my family and caused us to live with my parents for almost eight months. Yes, my husband of more than six years and my two young sons who were nine months and 2 years old at the time, all living with my parents. They say during the first year of your child’s life you are not to make any major changes. I didn’t listen.

When we discovered we were pregnant with our youngest, my husband and I took a long, hard look at our finances and schedules. Our current babysitting arrangement wasn’t going to work with two babies and we really didn’t want to go the daycare route. Nothing against daycare, but we had toured some shady places and the only places we could afford were shady. Realizing that sending two kids to daycare full-time would be costly, we crunched the numbers and found that my husband wouldn’t be bringing much more home after paying for all of that childcare. Why work 40+ hours a week only to be away from your kids and have the majority of your paycheck go to someone else to care of said children??? Yeah, it didn’t make sense to us either.

At the time, I had a great job at a local hospital and carried our health insurance. After a ton of prayer and organization, we decided that my husband would stay home with the kids after my maternity leave and I would go back to work. Believe me when I say that this was a difficult decision. I have always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom. I know it’s not glamorous and I love the feeling of accomplishment I get from my job outside of the home, but at the end of the day I know there is no more important work this side of eternity than raising children to have their own relationship with God and be responsible, respectful members of society. I wanted and still want to be at home, but my husband has been doing an amazing job. Our sons adore him and he takes such great care of them.

As you can imagine, it was not easy to go back to work, but I knew the boys would be loved intensely by their dad. My job had me rotating shifts and on call. It would have been a lot to deal with even if I didn’t have kids, but since I had two little ones, I felt particularly stressed and run-down. I used to pump breast milk in the bathroom of my department at work, keep it in my on-the-go cooler in my office, run home during my break to nurse the baby and give my husband the pumped bottles, and then rush back to work for the rest of the day. It was taxing, to say the least. I was worried that I would never get to be on a set daylight shift, or that it wouldn’t be for a long time. My husband and I agreed that I should casually start looking for another position. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the work I was doing but there was no question that my family came first and I felt like I wasn’t able to put them first on a consistent basis.

During my job search, I really had no intention of looking outside of the area where we were living. We liked it there and had bought our house only three years earlier. Plus, with an infant and a toddler, the last thing we wanted to do was move.

Fast forward a few months.

I had talked to a friend of mine from high school who worked in the HR department of my hometown hospital. I mentioned that I was searching for another position and my husband and I had talked about the possibility of moving (we really didn’t think it would happen). She brought to my attention a position that had just opened up and I applied. I didn’t hear anything for two months and then I got a call one afternoon asking me to come and interview. Just so we’re clear, I had applied to approximately 30+ jobs in our area and had not heard a single thing. I applied to one job back home and got an interview. It’s pretty easy to see where I’m going with this – I was offered the job and accepted it.

At this point, I think we were still riding high on the fact that I would be all daylight hours, no on-call, have my own office, and be back in my hometown. Then reality set in and we had to get a realtor, sell our house, find a new house, and stay sane. We would have to reconfigure our budget and our entire lives. I don’t want to say that we had ‘buyer’s remorse’ but there were definitely times (and there still are) where we looked at each other and wondered if we jumped the gun.

Within three weeks of accepting the job, I worked my last day and our house was on the market. One job ended on a Friday and my new one began on Monday. We moved in with my parents that weekend due to the fact that my hometown was an hour and fifteen minutes from our house. We couldn’t afford the gas for that kind of daily trip and we didn’t want to be apart, so it did make sense. Thankfully, our house sold within a few weeks and we closed in January. However, we were not having any luck finding a new home. While I loved my new job, I was feeling homesick. I never expected to feel this way. I knew there would be things that I would miss; I just didn’t think I would miss people and places so intensely!

Right around the time we sold our home, we found two homes that we loved. Our realtor did some research and one had extensive flood damage from a burst pipe and the other had never flooded but required flood insurance that would cost about $200 a month. Obviously, we kept looking.

By month five in my parent’s basement, my sister came to me and said that a parent of one of the students at her school was renovating a house that sounded promising. It was a three bedroom, two bathroom home with a garage. At this point, we would have lived in a van down by the river. I did a drive-by one day after work and saw that the house was bright yellow, and by bright yellow I mean this was the shade of the sun. Never one to judge a book by its cover (except I do that all the time), I got out of my car and peaked in the windows. The place appeared to be gutted so I couldn’t really get a sense of what it looked like. My sister gave me the sellers contact info and we began emailing back and forth. When a little more progress had been made, we arranged a time to go and see the place. Basically, we wanted to get a feel for the layout and see if it had potential. The first time we saw it, the house was still in the bare-bones stage. But, we felt that it had more to offer so I kept emailing even while we looked at other places.

yellow house

We kept looking at these homes that we felt were way over-priced and completely outdated. Our previous home had been flipped before we bought it so things were modern and nothing needed to be done to the inside. Now we were seeing homes that featured an awful lot of wood paneling and pastel colored bathrooms. It was a disaster. I couldn’t shake the feeling that we had given up so much and I felt really guilty. Even though my husband and I had made the decision to move together, it still felt like the weight of the decision was on my shoulders. After all, my job was the reason we moved.

A few more weeks had passed and we went back to look at what we affectionately came to call ‘the Big Bird house.’ This bright yellow beauty continued to make progress and we liked what we were seeing. We discussed some things with the sellers and felt like we were getting somewhere. A few more weeks passed and the house was finished. It was amazing! We negotiated for what seemed like years until we could agree on the terms, but our offer was finally accepted. The bank process was incredibly bumpy, but we closed the end of May after almost eight months living in my parents’ basement and moved just in time to enjoy summer in our new backyard.

The past year has been rough and caused me to grow in more ways than I probably currently realize. No matter what was going on, I kept finding myself repeat the same phrase over and over ‘give me strength, Lord, give me strength.’ I prayed constantly. Throughout all of this, there were great moments of hilarity that I hope to share. I learned so much about family and what it means to sacrifice. Even on our worst days I felt like God would give us a reason to smile and laugh. That’s what I hope that I can do with this blog – give people a chance throughout their week to smile and laugh.

To keep me from losing my mind during all of this, my boys provided me with some hysterical stories. Friends have encouraged me to take the plunge and start a blog to document the craziness. Now that we are settled into our new home, it felt like the right time. I feel anxious about this new endeavor, but mostly just excited! I hope you keep coming back to visit and I promise not to make each post so serious!