And then, there were 3…

It’s been a year since I posted.

More than a year.

And I had the deepest, most amazing surprise this last year….


Caden Matthew.  Born April 28 at 28 weeks, 6 days gestation.
I had no idea that I could get pregnant. We had been told there was absolutely no possible way, ever, in a hundred million years that we would have more babies.  We were thrilled with our little family.  I cleaned out Olivia’s nursery, sold all the baby things…two weeks later I found out I was at least 8 weeks pregnant.


He’s been the best surprise ever.

And now I am the mom of three kids under the age of 5.
I think this makes me a superhero.

Dear Body: You are amazing

GRUVER MATERNITY 023 (ZF-2455-24560-1-006)

Dear Body:

You are amazing.

I don’t tell you that enough.

You were amazing when I was  21 and 110 pounds and wore a size 2.  We trekked through college together; bagel fests and all night study sessions, midnight Lord Of The Rings premiers and hiking through state parks.  Your flat tummy looked amazing in bikinis and your toned legs carried me through class to class, up hills and down valleys.  We were amazing, you and me.

You were amazing when I was 25 and 130 pounds.  You were packed with muscle, serving me well through firefighter 1 class.  You kept me awake as I studied to become a paramedic.  You were awesome the first time I ever did CPR; manually pumping blood throughout a body for a heart that could no longer do it on its own.  You kept me going through the hardest physical thing I ever did, training as a firefighter, wearing heavy turnout gear with an SCBA on my back, crawling blindfolded through a maze.  But we made it, you and me.  And we were awesome.

You were amazing when I was 27 and 140 pounds, walking down my parent’s staircase, white dress form fitted to you.  Your fingers trembled sliding a ring onto the hand of the man I loved, his eyes trained on my mine as we made solemn, scary, joyous promises to each other.  He didn’t care that you were a little bit bigger than you used to be, thanks to the steroids I had been taking to keep my lungs open.  I didn’t care, either.  I was lovely in that dress and he was handsome and we were madly, crazily in love with each other.

You were so amazing when I was 28 and when I was 30, and both times I weighed an amount that I could not have believed when I was 21 and tiny.  You grew two little lives inside, astounding, beautiful creatures that you nourished and protected.  You swelled to proportions I did not know existed as my babies flailed their arms and legs around in you.  You kept them warm and safe as they grew into babies until, finally, they were nestled in my arms.  Oh, you were so amazing, growing those beautiful babies.

You are amazing now, when I am 32 and will not tell the world what I weigh.  You are scarred, between c-section scars and gall bladder surgery and eye surgery.  You don’t leap out of bed with quite the same vigor you did when you were 21 and only needed two hours of sleep.  You are still beautiful, even now when your thighs touch and the varicose veins are starting to pop up and your arms might be just a bit flabby.  You became a firefighter and a paramedic, and every day, you do amazing things for people who need help.  You love a man who will love you when your brown hair becomes grey and your firm face dissolves into wrinkles.  You hold a four year old and a two year old, and kiss their boo boos and rock them to sleep before tucking them into bed.  

You are amazing. No matter what you look like.  You were amazing when you were thin, and you are amazing now that you are not.  You are strong and brave and kind and loving and you do amazing, amazing things, every day.


All About Hope


Around a year ago, my husband, out of the sweetness of his heart, bought me a ticket to a mother’s conference.
If you know me, you know that this is not entirely my thing.  I don’t socialize much, I don’t like large groups, and I am always miserable and awkward trying to make conversation with strangers.  So much so that I bought my best friend a ticket just so I could talk to her and avoid talking to other people.

Then the day before the conference, a very nice psychologist and occupational therapist and neuropsychiatrist sat me down and explained that my beautiful, funny, loving, smart little boy has been gifted with an extra dose of uniqueness(and a genius level IQ, in case you wondered).  And that little extra dose of uniqueness might make life a little difficult for him, combined with being oh-so-smart.

And with that, motherhood became a world filled with completely unfamiliar terrain, an alien place without a map, something very different from the pictures in my head of what it would be like.  This was not the life I was expecting.

With all this swirling around me, my husband told me I should still go, even though I would have preferred spending the weekend at home, by myself, reading the same book a thousand times.  But my best friend was going and my husband wanted me to, so I went–even though I had babysitter problems and car problems and everything seemed to go wrong, I still went.

It was called Raising Generations Today.  But I what I took away was hope.
Hope for tomorrow.
Hope for today.
It was exactly what I
needed, at exactly that moment in time, to discover that every other mother feels inadequate and overwhelmed, whether they have a unique little boy or not. Every mother, it seems, discovers at some point that this life is not quite what she had expected.  For the first time in days, I felt not quite so alone.  Sitting through the workshop on raising a child with special needs, and trying not to cry, I realized that my little boy is just that–my son.  It doesn’t matter what labels are thrown at him, I am the mom God chose to raise him.

And even years before, when the conference organizers started thinking and praying and planning, God knew then that I was going to get news that would change my world the day before the conference started.  Last year He prompted my husband to buy me a ticket, even knowing it wasn’t quite my thing, and I believe He prompted me to buy my friend a ticket, both so I wouldn’t be alone when I needed a life-long friend the most, and because she really needed it, too.
And if God can orchestrate all of that, He most certainly can give me whatever it is I’m going to need to be Josh and Olivia’s mommy.

So the world has changed.  But for the first time in many, many years, I believe that I am not alone in this.  Somehow over that weekend, sitting through the worship and the speakers(and if you know me, you know I have not been in church in a very long time), I realized that God loves these babies more than I do, and it will be okay.  Different from what I expected, but if God believes that I am the best mommy in the whole world for Josh, then I believe it, too.

Letter To Santa Claus


Dear Santa Claus,

It’s been a while. Remember me?  Sara? American Girl doll Samantha circa 1991 that I never got?

 But I digress.

 I am now much, much older than I was in 1991.  In fact I am in my 30s, if you haven’t been keeping track.  I am Joshua’s Mommy–I am sure you are familiar with Joshua, as he moves between your naughty and nice list on a moment by moment basis. In fact, I am sure you have an Elf dedicated specifically to keeping track of which list Josh is currently on.  And I am also Olivia’s mommy, but she is only eighteen months old and a fixture on your nice list.

And I haven’t written you a letter in a very long time, but I have a list this year, if you would be so kind.

 #1)  I would like a bath.  Complete with bubbles, candles, and no children trying to strip their clothes off and climb in with me, all the while asking why we can’t eat hot dogs in the bathroom.

#2)  I would like to go five minutes without someone asking me why or throwing a two hour long temper tantrum when I say no, we cannot build a snow bank and jump off the porch roof into it.

#3) I would love eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Between working overnights as a paramedic and the fact that my daughter still does not sleep through the night, I am about to lose my sanity to sleep deprivation.  If you can’t accomplish this, could you at least make my children nap at the same time?

#4) Peace on Earth.  If this isn’t doable, I will accept Peace in the Playroom.

 #5) Could you make my wi-fi magically disappear whenever I start looking at all the pictures on facebook of all the neat and amazing crafts and games my friends are doing with their toddlers?  And remind me that their husbands don’t work three or four 24 hour shifts a week, and most of them did not work 72 hours last week like I did?

 #6) Speaking of magic, is there anyway to make chicken fries into a well rounded, highly nutritive meal, since that is all my 3-year-old will eat these days?

 And last but not least,

 #7) On days like today, when my children are literally climbing the walls(and the furniture, and the stairs, and me), and cutting their hair with stolen scissors, and trying to run around naked; days like this when my children are perpetual motion and noise filled with dirt, could you make me always remember how extraordinarily blessed I am?  That these two beautiful, healthy, energetic children are mine, and I am so very fortunate to have them?  Remind me that the peanut butter sticky hands pressed onto my face are my treasure, and whenever I start to take them for granted, remind me that these two tiny faces are not going to be mine forever.  Remind me to take today, with the chaos and the mess and the sleep-deprivation and all, and enjoy every moment with them.  These babies are mine today, but they are not promised to me forever.

Remind me, Santa Claus, to enjoy every moment of this Christmas season this year, with two children who believe wholeheartedly in you, who are so excited with the magic of this Christmas.  Remind me to stop and enjoy these moments, because even though these days of toddlerhood are so long, the years will be so short.

 Thank you.


 p.s.  Please remember to eat the cookies and milk we will be setting out Christmas Eve. My son will be brokenhearted if you don’t.




Why We Don’t Watch America’s Funniest Home Videos

I have a confession to make: I am not the most conservative when it comes to my children’s television habits.  In fact, my sixteen-month-old daughter is sitting here with me right now, watching Police Women of Dallas arrest some guy strung out on PCP.  Which then makes me have to explain drugs to my 3-year-old(“They are bad. See this guy? They make you do crazy things.  Then the cops show up, and they call the ambulance.  Mommy works on the ambulance, and if the cops call her because you are on drugs and doing crazy thing, you will be in big trouble, Mister.”).

So, yeah.  I don’t shield my toddlers from the harsher realities of life on television.

But I do have some rules.

No Disney Princesses, because they annoy me, all that weeping and cleaning and waiting for Prince Charming to show up and save them.  Get real, people. Prince Charming isn’t showing up to save you.  More likely, Prince Charming will show up, and then he drinks all your beer and eats all your food and never puts the plates in the dishwasher.

The other rule is no America’s Funniest Home Videos.

I know, I know.  Policewomen of Dallas, but no Bob Saget?  No grooms fainting at the alter? No Grandma falling off a horse?

Well, no.

The meth addict on Cops?  That’s not funny.  The two car accident with someone getting backboarded and collared and extricated from the tangled wreck on Chicago Fire? No one’s laughing there.

Despite what the producers of some shows seem to believe, there is nothing funny about Grandma getting thrown off a horse.  They might want you to laugh, but I show up after that.  I know that Grandma has broke her hip, and now she is looking at surgery and rehab.  Grandma is in pain, and there is nothing funny about that.
And I don’t want my children viewing that on television and listening to a laugh track and thinking, somehow, that other people’s pain is funny.  I do not ever want my children desensitized to someone else’s pain or tragedy.

Some shows give us things to talk about.  Drugs, perhaps, and no, I don’t think three is too young to bring up that subject.  I never once said I want to shield my children from harsh realities; in fact, I want to talk about them, here, in my living room.  And if I’m watching that kind of TV and my children are in the room, I don’t necessarily turn it off.  We talk about it, about how people choose to self destruct, how bad things happen to good people, like car accidents.  But we don’t laugh.  We don’t pretend that it’s funny or entertaining.  

And no, I don’t expose my children to explicit sexuality, because it will be years before they are emotionally or psychologically able to process that.  And I don’t expose them to brutality or graphic violence.  But I use television to talk about subjects we need to talk about.  I use it to expose them to women who are doing something untraditional and brave, like being police officers or paramedics(yep, we watch old Discovery Health reruns of Paramedics, too).  

But what I absolutely do not want is my children ever thinking that someone else’s pain is funny or amusing.  And so we don’t watch America’s Funniest Home Videos or any other show that plays pain for laughs.  If Grandma falls off a horse in a show that we watch, we see the helpers–the police, the firefighters, the paramedics–come and help her.  We talk about safety, and what medical treatments can help Grandma, and what we do if we find someone injured.

But we don’t laugh.

Because pain is not funny.


Dear Mom Complaining About Food Allergies

Dear Woman in front of me in line at the grocery store:

totally get what you’re saying.  Nut free classrooms–how ridiculous is that?  I’m sure that the severely allergic child in your daughter’s classroom isn’t really that allergic, right?  Not enough to warrant you having to spend so much time making sure your daughter doesn’t take nuts to school.

I’m sure that leaving walnuts out of your muffins and sending jelly sandwiches is a huge inconvenience to you.  I am sure the extra five minutes at the grocery store scanning ingredients on prepackaged foods is five minutes you just don’t have to spare.  I assure you, I can fully relate.

I hate it too when my very veins feel like they are itchy and on fire.  I am totally inconvenienced when my throat swells and feels like it is filling with mucus, suffocating me as I struggle to push air through it. That really sucks, probably as much as eating a jelly sandwich with no peanut butter does.  I never have the time for the 911 call, the ambulance ride, the hours in the emergency room, the next two days when I feel miserable from all the drugs they gave me to reverse the anaphylaxis–I mean, yeah, that is JUST like having to spend five minutes to make sure the granola bar you want to send for lunch tomorrow won’t kill your daughter’s classmate.

Yes, I said kill.  One hundred children last year died from anaphylaxis.

That’s one hundred sets of parents who will never again go school lunch shopping for their sons or daughters.  One hundred sets of parents who will never, ever again have to scan granola bar ingredients, or make jelly sandwiches, or any of the other myriad of things you’re complaining about doing.

So, yeah, I totally relate to how inconvenienced you are trying to keep that allergic child in your daughter’s classroom safe.

I mean, who has time for that?


An anaphylactic who really wishes people would take food allergies seriously

Tales From A Most Unfortunate Week

I am hiding from my children.

And eating a whole plate full of noodles with parmesan cheese and butter.  

So I am hiding from my children while I eat carbs.  It’s pretty much a win-win.

It’s been one of those weeks.  I had a corneal transplant in my left eye a few months ago, and the other day my son chose that eye to jab with his elbow.  Four hours and a trip to the emergency room later, I was told it was just going to hurt for a while but there was no permanent damage.

Relieved that the cornea was still intact, I left the ER and started my journey home in the minivan we bought a month ago.  That journey ended with the van in a guardrail and a $5500 repair estimate.

The next morning my husband left me and my sore, aching back for a 24 hour shift at work.  In the middle of this and two screaming toddlers, my dishwasher quit working.

Not only did it quit working, the disgusting drain water actually backfilled into my kitchen sinks where it sat, stagnant and smelling, while I had a complete breakdown on the phone to my husband. (I think I actually suggested that he quit his job right then and come home to fix our plumbing. Of course I was calm and mildmannered when I suggested it, not shrieking like a hysterical crazy woman.)

The eye is healing.
The van will get fixed.
The husband talked me through unplugging the sinks, then came home the next morning and drained the dishwasher so it works again.

And then I discovered that I have to be at the firehouse at 5 AM tomorrow, not 9 like I had previously thought. (Before becoming a firefighter-paramedic, I had no real idea that there even WAS a five in the morning)
My children are running around the living room in their diapers, having shed their pajamas, acting like they have been mainlinging hyper bean coffee for the last six hours.

Thus I am sitting here, in my kitchen, eating carbs.
And waiting for Thing 1 and Thing 2 to find me.