Where did the week go?

Goodness, it’s Friday again! I had plans to get a whole bunch of posts prepped and ready over last weekend to publish this week while we were away enjoying our spring break, but with games and church and dyeing Easter eggs and packing, it all came to nothing. And next week we have family coming into town, so we shall see if I can get the projects posted I’ve been working on lately.


Baby girls has been crawling and getting into everything lately…I had to laugh this morning when she somehow got herself stuck on the corner of the coffee table! I shared it on Instagram (I’m janimouse over there if you want to follow along!) with the #meanmom then got caught up scrolling through all the other mean mom pics. Some are pretty hilarious if you need a laugh!

Enjoy your Easter weekend! We have an egg hunt with cousins tomorrow then church to celebrate our Savior’s resurrection. This is my favorite season.

it’s Friday!


How’s your week been? We’ve had our ups and downs, with a few sick days thrown in, but it’s the last school day before spring break and we.can’t.wait! We have some fun family things planned for next week that we are all looking forward to.

Our sick days gave us a little time off from our crazy five-days-a-week softball schedule we’re currently in, so we’ve had a bit more time at home enjoying the beautiful springtime, like the blackberry bush that is a riot if blossoms in the photo above. It’s completely taken over one of our raised beds in the garden, but the blackberry jam and pies I’m dreaming of will make up for that lost garden space. We’re really more of a fruit than vegetable family anyway.

I’m off to do a little last minute Easter shopping while the kids are at school and I can keep some secrets, then I’m looking forward to helping out with the second grade class Easter egg hunt! With a nursing baby at home this year, I haven’t been able to be in my girls’ classrooms like I would want to, and I’ve missed it. So this will be the perfect way to ease into our break.

I’ll be back next week with a few quick and easy projects, plus it seems I’m sewing new pillows for virtually every space in the house. Have a great weekend!

monday randomness

How was your weekend? My family enjoyed the beautiful weather we’ve been having here in the Central Valley and spent lots of time outside enjoying time together.  Baby girl has discovered her love for swings (and lets us know she is not happy when we take her out, and the big girls love taking turns pushing her in our baby swing in the backyard. It works out perfectly as they can take turns pushing her and pulling weeds–score for mom!

I also did a little baking this weekend after the hubster brought home these after a quick run to the store. I used them in this simple brownie recipe–and to be honest, I’m not really a browning person.

But this?

mondayWhich led to this?

monday2Best brownies ever. Mmmmmm. I think I need to go buy more Reese’s chips. But since I’ve finally decided to do something about the baby weight (from all five of my babies!), I’m going to have to be happy just looking at the photo. I won’t tell you how many calories are in each of those brownies. But if you’re not trying to lose baby weight, you should totally make them!

Up for this week, I’ve got some front yard landscape tweaking planned. With the massive drought going on this year in California, we want to do our part to help out with water conservation, so we are updating our planting beds to a drip irrigation system, a project we’ve been talking about for years. We already have a drip in our backyard beds and we love it. But before we make the changes we want this Saturday, I want to get my planting out front cleaned up and attempt to transplant a few shrubs that are poorly located. Fingers crossed all goes well!

I’ve also got a Pinterest-inspired project in the works and a new nursery project to finish up. Anything to keep myself from cleaning house!

What are you working on this week?

the honesty problem

“Does Natalie have a brother?”

I sat on the institutional molded plastic chair, and the two ways I could respond flashed through my brain.

I could tell the nurse performing a routine patient intake interview that yes, Natalie has a brother. He doesn’t have an age or suffer from allergies or asthma because we never met him. He died before he was born, but that doesn’t make him any less her brother or a member of our family.

Or I could give the easier, and in my mind, more cowardly way out, and just give a simple “No” response. The nurse was looking for possible allergens or links to allergies as she interviewed Natalie and me, and a stillborn baby brother was surely not relevant to her inquiry.

Before I responded I locked eyes with my sweet seven year old, and I struggled with what to say. She knew what was going through my brain, I could tell in her questioning, unsure gaze.

If this was a test, I failed, because I gave the cowardly answer and replied that no, Natalie doesn’t have any brothers. The nurse moved on to, “Does she have a sister?” and with my affirmative response followed up with, “What age?” And as I reeled off my other girls’ ages, she responded with “Wow, four girls?! Dad has his hands full, doesn’t he?”

This comes up a lot. All the time, in fact. Any time my husband or I are anywhere in public with all our children, people comment to us that we have four girls, or all girls. Especially now, when there’s a baby in an infant car seat attached to the stroller or shopping cart we are pushing, people want to know if with that baby we finally got our boy. And when they see that my sweet Ellie is another girl, they laugh or exclaim or comment slightly disparagingly, “Wow, all girls.”

Sometimes it’s easy for me. I come back with a quick, “Oh, we have a son, too, he’s just not with us right now.” But only if it’s possible for me to make a quick getaway or keep walking down the aisle at Target, where they’re not going to ask me how old he is or where he is. Because honestly, strangers in the store or at a park don’t really want to know those answers. They don’t want to know that my son died, because then they’ll feel terrible for bringing it up and immediately say, “I’m sorry,” to which I am programmed to respond, “It’s okay.” And it is, but it’s also not, and I don’t want to be the one comforting them. I wish I was strong enough to do just that, to talk about my son freely and openly to any and all who dare accost me and feel justified in commenting on my girls.

Girls, by the way, who are precious and wonderful and if I was blessed to have ONLY girls as a mom, I would be grateful and content and thrilled to be the best mom I can be to my priceless daughters. The number of times I was approached while pregnant with both Patrick and Eleanor by people wondering if it was a boy or girl in there. . . .well, that’s a blog post for another time, maybe. But really, people, all girls or all boys, all children are a blessing from God.

I’ve talked with my girls many times about this very issue of how to respond to intrusive questions. I told them that they don’t have to share Patrick with anyone if they don’t want to. That it is okay to just tell people about their sisters, because Patrick is special and precious and private. I don’t want them to feel stuck feeling awkward as another kid or adult tries to make sense of the information about their dead brother. We don’t seem to deal with death very well in our culture, and especially the death of an unborn child. I would never want some idiot to try to tell one of my girls that Patrick doesn’t could or that he’s not their real brother because he died before they could meet him. So I’ve counseled them to keep him sacred and safe with our family and friends–strangers aren’t important enough to know. Macie handles this in her own way–she is quick to exclaim, “Don’t forget about Patrick!” to me as I’m nodding along with some kindly grandma-type in the checkout line about having all girls. But the older girls understand a little better, so they just stay silent. I think, like me, they sometimes don’t want to risk bursting into tears while talking about him.

He looks like them, my son. He looks like my daughters. Actually, truth be told, Eleanor and he are very, very similar in looks. She’s been a joy, a precious gift after our sorrow, and has been welcomed into our family with such love and rejoicing. His place, though, is always open. It’s healed over in my heart and I feel great peace most days. But he’s still missing and we don’t ever forget that. The flippant grocery store or nurse interview conversations aside, he is never gone from my mind. So if you hear me telling someone that I have four daughters and don’t mention my Patrick, don’t ever think it’s because I don’t love him enough to mention him. It’s because I love him too much.

my son



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