off center

my life is bonkers right now.

you know how your washing machine makes that alarming, pre-booming noise when it is lopsidedly loaded? there's that small chance that it will correct itself and find a healthy center again, but more likely this is the warning sound that precedes it getting even more off center, building in volume, and then starting to slam back and forth as if trying to walk out of the laundry nook like an evil autobot come to seek vengeance for ALWAYS being set to "super" sized load and cold water.

yeah that's me. i am the washing machine. i am slightly off center and if action isnt taken, i am about to straight run amok. ("amok, amok, amok!" hocus pocus, SJP pre-SATC, anyone?)

i am going to blame it on the running. life was crazy before, but adding this little nugget into the mix has skewed everything much further.

i have to run at night. the heat is atrocious here in GA (and everywhere else i am thinking). like, before 8 pm is not an option for a sissy like me. so lets say i get out the door at 8 (it's usually later). my runs are getting longer by necessity and therefore my times as well. so 6 miles takes me over an hour. by the time i finish i am SOAKED with sweat, covered with pieces of the bugs that make up a flying ant contagion that pelts me in the eyes, nose, mouth, hair, neck, arms, and down my sports bra NONSTOP as i run. i walk inside, grab my water bottle and head back out to chug it down and do a cool down walk.

then i come inside, check out my final times and stats (really nike+? i mean lance armstrong and dork nowitzski make sense for post-run pep talks, but tracy morgan?!?! luckily i am a fan, cause that makes no sense). then i sync the run online to our half marathon group's challenge (most miles in a month, i am currently in first by a smidge).

i go get in the tub (finding at least 12 more bugs when i am getting undressed...luckily they die instantly upon contact with me so i am just dealing with corpses...hmmm, is that better?). after about 10 minutes of just laying there recovering i am ready to actually get clean (weird fact: i only take baths. the only time i take showers in my house is postpartum when tubs arent allowed or if it's a shower for two. whoops.)

by the time i am clean, dry, dressed, and all the beet-red has left my face, it is at least 10 pm. if i was smart, i didnt eat dinner before the run (even eating at 5:30 will hurt me when i run at 8; i need to run on a 4 or 5 hour empty stomach for best results). so it's 10 and i have to find something to eat. here are some of my recent post-run meals: raisin bran crunch, 1.5 PBJ's, orange jasmine rice, and chips and salsa. this is not prime fare.

i try to catch up on dishes or laundry a little bit at this point before bed. i used to go to sleep around 9:30 every night because i am a certified sleep-lush. now 11 pm is early for me.

this wouldnt be so bad if i didnt also have a husband, an etsy shop, a savior, and a blog that i would reeeeeally like to devote some attention to in my non-parenting/non-working hours. the last thing i am feeling before i pass out each night is usually guilt for not responding to someone's email/text/phonecall/blog comment or dread that there is something really important that i have let slide or completely forgotten, an etsy order, a birthday, a CHILD.

the good news is that winter is coming. yes that is good news (and the tagline of my favorite dragon-book family). when it stops being >85 degrees around the clock, i wont have to give up 100% of my evenings to running. can you even imagine running in the daylight without melting? i cant. i took up running on april 18th, so i got about 10 days of pretty weather before the GA heat and humidity draped me in their loving wet woolen blanky and declared, "ha ha! try to run now, bee-yatch!"

the idea of running right when i get home from work and the kids are still napping and having the whole night ahead of me is like trying to imagine heaven. cant do it, never been there. sounds AWESOME, but i have only ever lived in a much inferior place. the place of summer running. dramatic? yes, please.

hear me now: i will NEVER complain about running in the cold. never ever ever (note: remind me of this when i do).

but this is the worst. if i can do it now, i can do it during the other 3 seasons. and i think it might be worth it. numerically, i dont weigh much less than when i started. i dont think my fat/muscle makeup has shifted that much either. but i do feel so much better about myself. i have worn shorts more in the last 2 months than in the last 3 years combined. is there still jiggle? sho-nuff. but i can look people in the eye and know that i am doing something about it.

putting myself through this physical, emotional and time-management ringer has taken the shame out of not being totally happy with how i look. the flaws may still be there, but i dont feel like i need to stuff them into jeans and be miserable and embarrassed because i'm not doing anything about it. that's a big deal. the mental side of body-issues is where all the power lies, so the fact that this running has blasted away a good portion of my mental cellulite feels even better than if it had burned off the real stuff. it's even worth feeling like my life is a little out of control right now.

i think the real solution is that same one we use for our off-kilter washing machine: i just need jesse to come sit on me for a while so i can stabilize again.



this is the face of an infant UTI.

so yeah, her test was positive. there is a 40% false positive rate for UTI's since contamination is so easy with a bag-urine test, but the only way to be sure was to catheterize her, and no thank you, we'll just take the antibiotics and not stick tubes in her organs unless absolutely necessary. if it was a false positive then she would have just had a tummy virus causing the diarrhea and fever, but if that were the case judah, jesse or i would have probably had it at some point and, i can definitely vouch that that is not going on.

she is doing much better, symptom-wise. we are finally seeing real poop and not just the liquid formerly known as poop in her diaper. and her fever seems to be gone as we have spread her doses of ibuprofen/acetaminophen out farther and she doesn't immediately start boiling. she is just a bit sleepier than usual. so these side-effects of the UTI are subsiding as the pink meds kill the bacteria.

we'll go back to the doctor when she finishes her antibiotics and then we'll get the kidney x-rays and then possibly be referred to a urologist. when a UTI shows up with such a high fever in infants, they like to make sure it's just a freak bacteria thing and not an underlying internal issue.

just wanted to update everyone who was concerned for her and left such sweet comments, texts and fb messages asking about her.

urine-free posts coming soon!


the worst first

sweet layla must have heard me talking nonstop all week about how very much so i was looking forward to today. the plan was that she and judah would be spending 24 hours at my parents house so jesse and i could celebrate his birthday. what a treat! we have only done this once before when the dukes watched them so we could take a quick road trip overnight, but the prospect of staying in town, having a date night out and getting to sleep in--in our own beds--had me giddy all week.

well, i got home from work and the babysitter said she had just put layla down for her 4th nap of the day. ehhh...erm? she also said she had only eaten a half a bottle and a few bites of food all day and was just not interested. red flag.

so i went in to wake her up and try to get her to eat. holy smoldering ember, party people, she was a tiny torch. we used the temporal artery thermometer and it said she was 98.4. i checked my temp and it said i was 98.7. i let her wake up a bit and cool off thinking maybe she just felt hot from being under her blanket.

but she was so NOT herself. this baby wakes up SO happy and ready to rumble every single day. this time she was just listless and laying her head on my chest, which is SO sweet and snuggly but way out of the ordinary.

despite multiple 98 degree thermometer readings and jesse giving me, "you're overreacting" looks, my mommy spidy senses were going off like mad. i've always heard crazy storys of mom's intuition or gut feelings saving the day, so i was pushy. i demanded a rectal temp.


aaaaaand into the car we go. she was beyond pitiful in the waiting room at our doctor's office. whimpering a keening mewl nonstop. her eyes were fluttering, half open and she was clearly out of it and delirious.

2 hours and lots of ugly mommy crying face (i cannot over emphasize how pitiful she was just whimpering and flopping around in my arms) later and we were on our way home with not a lot of answers yet.

my sweet view of my little fever furnace snuggle puppy.

strep test-negative. she got her urine tested (via a handy adhesive bag that i thought would never work because she hadnt drank anything all day, but actually collected some peepee when she had her 7th diarrhea poop of the day all over my shirt and shorts) and they found blood in it. so they did a toe stick to test her blood (24 hour culture) to see if it is conclusively a urinary tract infection. (CRAP! did i forget to wipe front to back at some point? but, no, the doctor said that probably wouldn't have been the culprit).

i thought, oh good, a UTI is no big deal. but the dr. said if it is she'll have to do oral antibiotics, get x-rays of her kidneys, and see a urologist. um, whoa. please not. and then she also got 2 shots worth of antibiotic just to lead the charge against whatever infection might be causing such high fever.

i felt like Evilla McDastardly doing all of this stuff to her in her beyond-fragile state--toe sticks, urine bags up in her junk, shots, exams!. layla has never had so much as a cold in her life, so this one hit me pretty hard since it was so sudden and unexpected and because it just knocked the bubble little spirit out of my girl.

the good news is that treating the symptoms of this "probably a stomach virus but possibly a UTI" is working really well. we are giving her immodium and pedialyte with the good bacteria powder in it to make her poops go back to normal and then we are alternating tylenol and advil every few hours to keep her fever under control.

after her first dose of advil once we discovered the fever, she was her happy little clam self again and you would never have known anything was wrong. can we take a moment and just be so thankful that we live in a time and place where we can just go spend a few bucks to 100% relieve our kids' suffering from awful fevers? so so so thankful for that.

now we are just praying there's no yucky bacteria in her little pee system hiding under there causing all of this.

playing with brother this morning. eating terrence the train's butt is not part of her medicinal regimen, but it's helping

bummed about missing our awesome date night, but SO thankful that we caught this on a thursday night when the dr. was open until 8pm and not had it crop up at my parents house while they were watching her and all the doctors besides the emergency room were closed. thankful for her robust health up to and beyond this point and for the intuition that god gave moms.

thankful the most for my little girly-faced baby and for jesus' grace which is all up in this. it's in the moon and the stars and all the way down into layla's tiny ureters...even if it's not alone in there and there are bacteria or worse things present too. these times remind us to hold our kids with an open hand and that their real father--their great physician--knows the hairs on their heads and the number of their days.


things he got from me

people are pretty split on who judah looks like. i have heard someone declare him my clone while the next person says he's tiny jesse. i guess he's a good mix, or just his own brand.

but there are a few pieces of this little man's personality and looks that i KNOW came from my end of the gene pool.

eye color. never had a clue ours were this similar until i saw this photo. the suspicious stank face he's sporting above comes from me as well

an enjoyment of this sort of thing with that man. though in very different ways.

mouth control/manners in public

a healthy aversion to pants.


photo bombed

UPDATE: wow! yall are awesome. so glad i am not the only one losing my mind. i am so totally stealing lots of your amazing strategies for organization going forward.

i had to share what a reader sent me, the timing is too perfect. snapfish is doing their 1 cent prints sale this week. check it out! now i am way motivated to organize, cull, upload and order!

Get 200 4" x 6" prints for just $2 or 100 4" x 6" prints for just $1. Just use coupon JULY200PRNTS for 200 prints or JULY100PRNTS for 100 prints. Order today – these hot offers end at 6:00 p.m. PST on July 26.*

i am drowning in a sea of digital pictures. i have been so messy about storing, organizing and deleting unneeded pics that my little world has finally toppled and i am crushed. we have 2 cameras, 3 memory cards, 2 laptops (one work and one home) and 1 external hard drive. we have 5 versions saved of some pictures and just the one version on the card of other photos. it's making me so insane

i want to get to a point where everything is on the external hard drive and my memory cards are kept clean and our computers have very little on them too. i used to want to keep 3 sets: the card, the laptop and the external, for you know, just in case, but i cant live like that anymore because i never keep up with that system, and really? 3 copies of each? isnt that a bit drastic? i have had computers crash and i have had external hard drives crash, but never both at the same time. this digital era of having a million versions of a photo everywhere on demand has made life HARDER for me rather than easier.

hopefully a cloud storage system will emerge that is good enough to use (i am not impressed with amazon's for photo storage: no thumbnail preview, cant download more than one file at a time) that can be an offsite back up for the external. but until then:

-i WILL delete the pictures that are not treasures. even if it is of my babies. this does not make me a bad mom. i will not hold on to a picture of judah's blurry left foot "just in case" it gets amputated and i want to remember it again one day. (yes i think these thoughts...cue psycho theme music)

-i will NOT worry about the pictures all being deleted. if i loved them that much, they are on the blog or printed out already. for thousands of years, moms just had their memories of their babies to look back on. who decided that i needed 6 zillion memories in digital format? and maybe all these pictures are making our brain-cameras lazy about really living in and soaking up the moments because, oh well, i got it on film.

-i will stop lying to myself about printing these all out one day. it's just not going to happen. maybe .05% of all the pics i am taking and holding onto like grim electronic death are actually good enough that i would put them in a frame in my house. so why am i letting them stress me out in their digital form? not worth it!

anybody got any great tips on digital photo organization or is everyone out there just living with this digital version of a huge junk closet of shame that you slam the door on and pretend doesnt exist except for when you go to get something out and see the carnage within and want to disintegrate with shame and stress and overwhelmedness?

4th of july. yes, and you better believe there are like 6 other versions of this picture on my camera and computer that i cant bring myself to delete. make it stop!

give it up, people. what rules do you use as far as taking/storing/keeping/deleting your photos to keep you from just chucking it all and just going back to funsavers? because i am thisclose to doing that.


with our beach baby

maybe my favorite pics ever of us with layla. she's just as lovable in tropical climes. the child is a snuggly rocket ship of love straight to the moon. 47 flights daily.

waiting for our food at the raw bar. she LOOOOOOOVED crab.

waiting for our food (sensing a vacation theme?) at the marina. rocking her american eagle romper



oh my gosh, i might be ashamed of myself for that post title, but also am secretly delighted by it. drink ye not the haterade, beloveds. just immerse yourself in the delicious lameass pun and let it transport you.

vacation. we had a bliz-zast. there were challenges, but these were way outnumbered by the tremendous amounts of laughter and memories made.

a sampling...


we all gave it a hearty, sunkissed, salt-stained 2 thumbs up. thusly, now we are giving things 4 heads down. as in, on our pillows.

i love getting away and being in the alternate reality of vacation land, where you dont have to wear makeup, eat vegetables (seriously, i may have scurvy) or remember what day it is, but i am also secretly delighted to be back.

home field advantage is a HUGE thing with a 2 year old and 8 month old and i am pumped to be shoving them back into the cozy confines of a ROUTINE! lil' mofos been running/crawling wild all week with a shared bedroom, wacky bedtimes, bonkers diets and some questionable behaviors that we may have let slide in the name of , "oh it's vacation."

a laid back beach bum mama, i am not. but i can pretend for a good 6.5 days. as long as you keep shoving fried oysters in my mouth and letting me read my dragon books.

glad to be back.


Updated: blogcation

UPDATE: 2 hours in. 50 miles, 4 stops. Not our best work.

She is wide awake, spurning the bottle, mauling my left arm with all four if her limbs AND her mouth. Beyond adorable.

He took a 30 minute nap after a lunch of fries and chocolate chip cookie. Woke up because I took too long running in to old navy for a bigger size flip flop for him. He is in RARE meltdown form. We have looked to the bullpen much sooner than expected; our ace has been called in: the iDad. Currently watching George episodes. Judge not.

3 pm coffee break. He says it's the best $1.50 he's ever spent. Hes looking ultra foxy in his new shades.

We don't own a van. I'm crammed in steerage with the peasants and bags. What I wouldn't do for a captains chair right now...

we are headed out on our summer vacation in a few minutes. i am not sure if we are going to have internet in our condo, so hold off on the APB's until next monday if you dont hear from me until then.

i have changed 5 poopie diapers in the last 3 hours, so hopefully that's a met-quota for the whole day. we have a 6 hour drive ahead of us and then its pure family fun for the next 7 days. relaxing might be a bit of a reach, but i am hoping to read one book, play 3 games of beach volleyball, acquire 50 new freckles, run at least 15 miles, eat a cubic meter of fresh seafood and have a big, sunny blast with my husband, kids and friends.

see yall on the flippity flop!


shortcakes & tallcakes

had a minor scare last night. jesse was out all night meeting with potential supporters and at band practice and judah was with my folks, so we had a ladies night in. well, layla went dumpster diving while i was in the kitchen and naturally found the 3 nail polish remover-soaked cotton balls i used from when i fancy-ladyfied myself.. i found two of them scattered around her little trash nest and one...in her mouth. honkey baby be trippin'!

called poison control and they said it was fine, just a bad taste in the mouth probably. they added that she could have taken a swig straight from the bottle and been fine. really? that stuff makes a buxom adult such as me faint just from the fumes, but my 7 month old can shotgun it from the bottle with no side effects? thanks, science!

after slumming it in our garbage it was time for a bath and then some nakie shenanigans with my phone camera (where in the HELLFIRE is my nice camera?!?!)

aint no acetone stopping this lil tiger cub. coming back STRONG with the stank face

she is taller than the couch arm!! fun fact: this is actually what i look like from behind too.

albino monkey fuzzkins

my view while winding down with a little george before bed. could i love her more? methinks no.

and then things got wild. i have talked about foodgawker before but yesterday i went even deep into their spiral of temptation and found their "most favorited" section. aka the hall of fame for food p0rn. definitely NOT where i need to be trawling.

since it was avotaco(!) night, i made the salsa from there to go with it. BIG.WIN. i halved the recipe and we still have TONS to last us. it feels so good to celebrate my freedom from the bondage of having to eat out to get good salsa or being under the oppression of horrendous store-bought pace nonsense.

and then i made an error. and my "an error" i mean: "espresso chocolate chip shortbread cookies."

i made them. i made them so hard yall. it all happened so fast that i had no choice, really (those 3 hours i waited for the dough to chill? no, it was too late at that point).

justice. not done by the picture.

while i waited for the dough to harden i went running. 5.3 miles! and then i came home, baked these and dove in.

congrats, universe, my running habit is now a zero-sum game. 500-odd calories burned in an hour, at least that many back in in 8 minutes. worth it? possibly.

but i am nothing if not an enabler. as jesse walked in the door (literally) i forced these upon him.

eating fat-laden manna beats shutting the door every time.

authentic first reaction. bonus shot of our laundry nook. tres martha.

i won't tell you to try these because i want neither liability nor bills from your cardiologist, but you know, if you are losing TOO much weight or something, or need to gain weight for a movie role (renee? are you filming bridget jones 3 anytime soon?) then this is something you want to look into. they are mother fliz-nipping delicious.

gag reel. look at the belly and that BOOTAY!


for the record

4th of july weekend: 3 days "off" equals 9 day time slots. a slot is either breakfast, lunch or dinner time.

i define my days and time (and existence?) by my meals. what?

7 of 9 of these we had plans taking place outside of our house for all 4 of us.

as a consequence the following are true:

-we still havent tracked down whatever it is in our car that makes it smell like dead marsh-fauna whenever it sits in direct sunlight. we did find an old bottle of laylas that was now fuzzy and blue on the interior. we had high hopes that this was the culprit until hopping in after a pool party yesterday. the search continues. we laid the fuzzy blue bottle to rest without opening it or breathing through our noses during the haz-mat de-con chunking process.

-all of our beach towels and swimsuits are sitting damp in the garage right now. will the heat dry them before the humidity finishes the mildew process? toss up! certainly me washing them is a distant 3rd in this chronology of likelihood.

-i made the entire drive to work this morning with my gas needle well below E. i couldnt stop for gas or i would have been late(r?). we were out until 11 pm last night. i like it better when july 4th is a sunday and monday is bonus off-day. i was kind of pissy at america for making me celebrate its birthday so hard without the gentle padding of a recovery night. i do not mean that i was drinking. i mean that i was in a bra and mascara after 7 pm. that is enough for me to really need a recovery day.

-lay went to sleep at the party we were at last night. one of my high school friend's family hosts this awesome party every year and she also has a baby girl who is 8 days older than layla (they got in an AWESOME fist and yelling fight when they first met...video to follow). we were lamenting waking her up and getting her in the carseat (layla; not my friend) and back home when michelle said, "why doesnt she just spend the night here?" all of my instinctive mommy "no, that wont work because..." reasons were immediately silenced because, hello? she is 100% perfectly equipped to handle a 7.5 month old's every need....and then some. which means i gave her the go ahead to breastfeed layla if she wanted. mostly because that isnt weird or creepy at all to me but it so is to some people and i wanted a little revolution of my own. it's the founding father in me. suck it...layla.

-judah stayed up the entire time last night (he loved the "sparkle booms"). until 11:30 pm when he went down like a dream. he came wandering down the hall at some point in the middle of the night before jesse took his little disoriented self back to bed, and then we woke at 7 to find him playing quietly in the living room. this beats last week when he was watching cable access TV at 4:30 am. door lock bought and sitting on our counter. who taught this kid to open doors?

-we stuck 90% to our monthly meal plan for fru-ju (frugal july? i got nothing cleverer than that). i took a detailed inventory (with a clipboard!) of our freezers'--deep and shallow-- and our pantry cabinets (we dont have a real pantry) and planned a TON of meals using only what we already had and had forgotten about. i ran out of days in july LONG before i ran out of food. the 10% deduction came when a last minute opportunity presented itself for us to see some of my old volleyball coaches/teammates and we had to eat out in ATL. worth it. people are worth it.

-ran 11.8 miles between friday night and monday morning. nothing makes me feel worse and then better. jesse ran twice too and looked like a mighty kenyan compared to me and my speed.

-i painted my toenails for the first time in 2 years in a fit of crazy on sunday morning while watching tennis (nadal, baby, love your biceps, but that effort was not okay). after breathing the fumes i went even further and painted my fingernails for the first time since...my wedding? and that day they were very light pink. this time they are bright coral-y red. i feel like some fancy lady keeps reaching over and getting up in my business. wiping baby poop and picking dried food particles out of the carpet has never looked more feminine.

-tonight is AVOTACO NIGHT! you will never hear me talk about this or see me write this with anything less than the bubbly fervor of all caps and an exclamation point. somehow i literally forgot about these for a good 9 months. it was like finding $100 in a coat pocket when i remembered the existence of this recipe. that worries me slightly about what other awesome things my brain is keeping from me. do i have a 3rd kid, yall? a 3rd nipple?!?!

-someone owes me about 6 hours of sleep, 2 loads of laundry, and a clean house. where can i submit my reimbursement form for these items?


mas bops

since going live with these in my etsy shop (i made a new shop banner for myself after seeing my old one promoted on raechel's blog and having major shame!), i have gotten a handful of new orders for boppy covers. i am REALLY loving making these for folks and i fall in love with all of the new fabric combos that my customers select...so i have to show them off so they can live on forever.

so pretty! this customer is being induced today so i had to rush deliver it. there could be a tiny brand new baby on it right now! i think this is just a flipping lovely fabbie combo.

this customer special ordered this cover with some fabrics i didn't have on hand so she paid extra to get them. these are so cool and funky! retro boom boxes and cassettes. judah came up while i was making this and said "robot," which is what he calls all things mechanical and unknown. i went to correct him and tell him what a cassette actually was and then realized that there is virtually no reason for him to learn that word right now since he wont encounter a cassette tape until history class in school probably. so sad! why am i 87 years old?!? i pity him that he will never know the joy of getting a real mix tape or the frustration of waiting through a rewind!

probably my favorite ever (ignore the dots from my insert showing through). they got the personalization add-on, and man it looks great. i am going to have to start charging more for that addition because it's so much work, but it looks sharp, yo! i just love these two fabrics together...so much so that i ordered a bunch more to make more of these gems.

that's all for me. a tiny bit of handmade fabric sparkle for your friday. enjoy your holiday weekend!