The Chronicles of Mommyhood

Friday, March 30, 2007

Who's Who? The Bumbo Edition

Everyone should get at least one of five correct!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Famous Last Words...

Mr. Incredible: "I wonder what would happen if we just gave Dash the hose."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mommy, Why Is My Bed in the Bathtub?

When Will This Day End?
Carpet Installation and Eternity

After deciding to stay in our house for the medium-term, we decided to replace our carpeting. The previous owners had a Siberian Husky. In Texas. A bit far from his natural habitat. Let's just say there were no arguments that the carpet needed to go.

I had assumed they would do one floor at a time, but they unloaded all the furniture from both the upstairs and downstairs at the same time, then ripped up all the carpet, then laid the new carpet. As a result, there were no beds available all day for the boys to nap. Nor even a dark room for a makeshift bed. There was also little room to play, so we headed to the backyard. Then it started raining. So we were inside--two fussy boys, lots of noise and weird smells.I hate feeling like I can't wait wait for a day to be over. It is always a result of not being aware of and grateful for the many, many blessings and gifts and graces received.

Thomas A Kempis writes in The Imitation of Christ, "Grant me to know Your will, and reverently to consider all Your countless blessings, that henceforward I may yield You due and worthy thanks. I know and confess that I am wholly unable to render You proper thanks, even for the least of the many blessings that you grant me, for I am less than the least of Your gifts. When I consider Your boundless generosity, my spirit grows faint at its greatness."

Yet, there are days when I can't wait to put the boys to bed, take a shower and go to sleep myself.

I have neither the charity nor selflessness to eradicate this feeling, but whenever I glance at the clock to mentally calculate the hours or minutes until bedtime, I try to have an eternal perspective. Days may sometimes seem long, but a lifetime is so short for loving and serving one another. I know I must treasure each day, each hour, I have with my family...not just the easy or fun times.

The brevity of life is made more real for me as a dear friend just lost her baby, as we approach the anniversary of losing our baby, Kolbe Francis, and as we prepare for Holy Week.

Of course, it would be better for me not to have to remind myself to be grateful and patient and generous, but to actually be grateful and patient and generous. But, by the grace of God, I am given the opportunity to begin again each day seeking to know, love and serve Him and my family.


A parting testament to a tiny bit of sleep deprivation...the latest batch of thank you notes for sweet and thoughtful baby gifts appeared in our mailbox stamped "returned for postage". Yet the return address labels were firmly adhered. If you are expecting a thank you note, I apologize for the delay. Mr. Incredible thought this was very funny.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Revisiting a Roman Vignette

I was reminded of this vignette by a friend who was in town recently. I was also thinking of this incident as I was touching up our recent painting of the boys' room at home. So I thought I would post it here.

For those who don't know, I worked for half a year at the US Embassy to the Holy See in Rome. I periodically sent emails to give friends a glimpse of what life was like living and working in Italy. This one was titled:

Rome Vignette V: Trading Spaces this is not

I awoke early this Friday morning after not one, but
two wonderful Thanksgiving meals to come to work. With
my boss in Bulgaria (even as the Bulgarian president
made his way to Rome to speak with the Pope yesterday),
he had asked earlier this week if I had any plans for
this Friday (a day most Americans take off). As a
consequence of me being the only person in the room
when he asked, I was called upon to perform a task of
great magnitude.

My job—: watching paint dry.

On Wednesday I was introduced to three Italian
painters, of comically different heights and statures.
Their job is to paint the third floor of the Embassy,
consisting of two large rooms, but, as it is a secure
floor, an American with a security clearance must
always watch them, to be sure they don’t install
wiretaps or bugs or something. Their task on Wednesday
was to simply determine the color of paint and “prep”
the rooms. Unlike in America, where one
simply makes a trip to Home Depot, buys several cans of
paint in the desired color and begins, the painters
showed up with “paint base” and a box of at least 30
colors of dye. Then they began mixing them together at
random, bickering the whole time.

After the mixing, a one-foot square section of the wall
was painted, and the three painters stood with their
heads inches from the wall, quite literally watching
the paint dry.

I was watching them watch the paint dry.

The first attempt resulted in a Valentine’'s Day/Betsy kind of pink. Pretty, but I did not think my
boss would, upon his return from Bulgaria, be happy to
find himself seated inside a giant room of cotton
candy. The second attempt was much better, a neutral
shade of beige, which was again watched with great
interest, then reapplied to another section of the wall
by the window so it could be seen in another light. I
was desperately trying to contain my laughter at the
gravity and intensity with which three grown men with
their heads together were staring at paint as I
exchanged looks of incredulity with the other intern.
When this color passed the test, everyone was relieved.

Time elapsed making the color—: 3 hours. (An entire
episode of Trading Spaces is one hour.)

Then they began to move the furniture in my boss’'s
office and cover it with plastic, an agonizingly slow
process for me standing there simply observing. The
other intern came in for five minutes so I could get
some water, and I returned to find everything finished,
including the second room, in which they had covered my
desk, chair and computer with plastic--computer still
on, all my papers and work trapped. I have no idea what
could have prompted this seemingly impossible burst of
speed, but it appears in Italy a watched pot never
boils. Unfortunately, it is my job to watch.

This morning, two of the painters returned and began
painting Peter'’s office while I sat and glanced at
today'’s International Herald Tribune while watching the
paint being applied. As we all know from watching
Trading Spaces more than we will admit, the simplest,
most efficient way to put paint on a wall is with a

One person can easily finish an average sized room in
two hours.

But these two guys whipped out paint brushes— slightly
larger than the ones you used in second grade art
class— and started painting.

Four hours later, I began perusing the Italian papers.
I can’'t read Italian.

After six hours, Peter’'s office is a warm beige. This
was apparently enough to call it quits for today, so
they have not even started the bigger room that I share
with the other intern. I am delirious with shock and boredom at
watching two men paint an entire room with two
paintbrushes for six hours (coupled with paint fumes?).
A few days ago, I took a cheap shot at Italy's not having
embraced the Industrial Revolution. Now I think it
fully justified.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Visit from Momo and Papa

The family has been lamenting the fact that I haven't posted pictures recently. However, they are the reason why! After undertaking several major home improvement projects on their visit, I have been trying to finish painting and touching up before the new carpet is installed on Monday. If one needs proof that Momo is a taskmaster you can see that she even enlisted the littlest Incredible baby to paint the boys' room. Apparently the camera was stifling Dash's creative genius.
Also during their visit...not one, but two monkeys were to be found jumping on the bed
A traumatic first haircut was soon forgotten when we played with the trains and giant duck.

Momo and Papa posed for pictures with the boys.

Dash found a buddy to help him explore his great backyard.
Jack-Jack found the perfect place to nap.

Mr. and Mrs. Incredible were even able to squeeze in a St. Patrick's Day date! The boys were only too happy to comply with the attempt to take a family picture.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Birdseye View

Yes, that truck is aimed directly at Jack-Jack's head. And, no, it would not be the first time Jack-Jack has ended the day with tire skids on his head.

Other views from last week:
  • We purged our home of all peanut butter, nuts, and anything that is "processed in a plant that also processes peanuts." The two foods that Mommy will miss the most: Chick-fil-A and Butterfingers.
  • We are still receiving many generous baby gifts for Jack-Jack. Dash thinks the boxes of packing peanuts are for him.
  • When showing Mr. Incredible how to use the EpiPen I attempted to jab it into his thigh to demonstrate the amount of force needed to ensure the spring loaded syringe releases. I *may* have neglected to inform him that they give you a training syringe that does not contain a needle or epinephrine. Rather, it makes a clicking noise instead of giving an injection of adrenaline. He may still be recovering from the shock.
  • I made Dash a quick homemade dessert that we love: fresh tortillas (not bagged, but the kind you get still warm, cooked about 30 seconds prior) with butter and cinnamon sugar. But something didn't smell right. I buy many spices in bulk and put them in plain glass jars. I don't advise making a dessert tortilla with taco seasoning.
  • Maybe the mix-up was because I was missing my better half. He was on a boys' weekend celebrating a friend's 30th. After spending the night in a bachelor's house occupied by three guys he returned home Sunday with a bouquet of flowers to thank me firstly for marrying him and secondly for keeping a clean and orderly home.
  • Dash is attempting to imitate Jack-Jack in an effort to get Mommy's attention.
  • I found out that due to another event, our church nursery is available on one weekday during mass. Since there is no way I can contain our wild man Dash and our little bundle by myself, this will allow me to go to mass once a week!
  • And finally, Jack-Jack is all smiles these days. He had his first giggle this morning! I called Mr. Incredible immediately, but he would not repeat the beautiful sound for his Daddy. We are looking forward to many more giggles!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Always Trust A Mother's Intuition

It has been a long week. It started because I thought that Dash had a slight rash around his mouth when he had a little peanut butter and when he took a bite of an energy bar with peanuts in it. I told our pediatrician about it and asked it they could test him for a peanut allergy. So they ran the common food allergen panel, which is the reason Dash had blood drawn.
We found out the results last week: negative to peanuts, positive to wheat, eggs and milk. Surely there is a mix-up I told the pediatrician. Dash has milk 3 times a day and eats yougart, cheese and tons of whole wheat bread. When I make my own bread, I add vital wheat gluten. If he was allergic to these things I would have seen some reaction! So they sent me to an allergist to help make sense of the results and figure out what to do.

I have been anxious all week...alternating between denial and looking at recipes for making cookies out of millet and barley and without egg. The whole time my gut telling me that Dash allergic to peanuts...that is what started this whole process!

We had our appointment this morning. Dash had a skin test for the common food allergens. Jack-Jack's guardian angel must have sung him a lullaby, because he slept for the entire 30 minutes that the test took so I could hold Dash the whole time. The skin test was definitively positive for egg and peanut. Egg is a common childhood allergy that Dash will almost certainly outgrow. However, 85% of kids don't outgrow peanut allergies. And a peanut allergy is potentially life-threatening.

The allergist said it was possible to have a positive blood test for wheat when you are allergic to grasses. Given my severe allergies, he suspects this is the cause of the false positive for wheat. And he doesn't believe that Dash is allergic to milk, either.

He likely tested negative on his blood test for peanuts because he has not had enough in his system to develop a high concentration of antibody against it. It is a huge blessing to have found this out before he had a severe reaction. So we will be vigilant and armed with our EpiPen at all times, though I pray we never have to use it.