it's been one of those weeks.

dylan was sick tuesday, wednesday, and thursday from those blasted immunizations, and james pretty much stopped sleeping about that same time.

we broke our little mild child.

the baby that never cried and was easy to put to bed?  not anymore.

he's teething, and i know it won't be like this forever, but OH MY GOODNESS, this has been the hardest week on record since dylan was a baby.

(that child truly never slept--for eighteen long months.)

apparently, we broke her, too, because dylan's been a wreck, skipping naps and fighting sleep.

last night, both kids went down just before 8.  at 9:30, dylan was still calling out, and james didn't actually fall asleep until 10.

thank God jim's parents have been here, entertaining dylan and james and getting jim and me an elegant date night away, or i think i truly would have had a break down.

did i mention that camp is starting tomorrow (along with jim's three-weeks-no-breaks-orientation?)  or that we were hosting a massive memorial day cook-out today?

again, thank God jim's parents were here, and all-too-briefly-but-wonderfully, my sister bethany and her boyfriend jerrod.  they all provided sanity-saving grown-up/family time, played with the kids, and helped ready a house that was not at all company-worthy.

today, we actually seemed to turn a corner.  both kids took nice, long naps; the forecasted thunderstorms held off (for the most part); 99(!) people ate and talked and played here together; and both my kids were asleep by nine.

put that in the "win" column:)

after a season that has been rather isolating, it was wonderful having so many friends here, many of whom we're just beginning to know.  summer staff are beginning to arrive, and dylan is in her glory.  last year, she learned the names of probably 50 people on staff, and she talked about many throughout the year.  now that lots of staff are returning, dylan is thrilled.

here's to food, family, friends, and starting a fantastic summer of ministry.


the one where i feel like a tool for signing on the X

when it comes to medicine, i'm not a big interventionist.  we had a natural childbirth with james, opted out of the eye ointment and vitamin k shot, and decided against circumcision.  i like homeopathic medicine and natural remedies.  we don't get flu shots.

we do, however, vaccinate our kids.  measles and whooping cough are nothing to mess with.

while i truly hate the idea of a potent cocktail of live and dead viruses coursing through my kids' little bodies and developing immune systems, i'd feel so much worse if they got sick from a preventable illness, made other people sick, or died.

i don't even want to think about that.

the hepatitis vaccine seemed like a good one to delay.  although hospitals try their best to pressure parents to vaccinate newborns before they go home, hepatitis B is spread through sex and needles. vaccinating my new-to-the-world infant (or toddler for that matter) against hepatitis B did not seem worth the side effects or toll on their developing immune systems.  waiting until kindergarten seemed entirely reasonable.

and then, today, at dylan's 2 1/2 year check up, the nurse came in and said that she was giving dylan two shots:  the Hib vaccine and the hepatitis A vaccine.

"oh no," i said.  "we're delaying the hepatitis vaccine."

"she's already had the first dose."


the nurse waived dylan's immunization chart, containing my signature.


apparently, there is a separate hepatitis B vaccine, that to my knowledge, neither child has received, but evidently, i'm not all that informed about such things.

i'm the mom who signs at the X and asks questions (months) later.

not wanting dylan to need to repeat a vaccine in the future that she'd begun without completing, i consented to the second dose.  we talked with the nurse about our chickens to distract dylan, and when the needles plunged into her little legs, her big, beautiful eyes got even wider and welled with tears.

"mommmmmy!" she pleaded, as if to ask, "how could you let this happen?

later, when dylan woke up from her nap, sweaty and crying in a puddle of vomit, i felt truly awful and guilty. 

that's motherhood, some days.

we make mistakes.  we can't prevent all hurts.  but we pull our kids close, wipe their tears, and cuddle up snugly on the couch. 

and we run a big load of laundry.

in cheerier health news, we found something that works on dylan's eczema even better than bird oil:  visit my review blog to enter to win ancient minerals magnesium bath flakes.

image:  unicef sverige


the good, the bad, and the tasty

i tried to get into LOST back in season one, but i was never really feeling it. the thing is, i really wanted this guy

to be charlie salinger, from party of five,

and that was just never gonna happen.

then, i wanted this guy

to be assistant FBI director kendall, from alias, the j.j. abrams show that i truly loved.

i also gave the old college try to j.j. abrams' fringe, but again, this guy, while handsome,

is no pacey whitter.

sci fi and fantasy are not really my bag.  drama, teen romance, and ass-kicking heroines?  now we're talking.  party of five, dawson's creek, and alias:  i miss you.

my true fave, which combined all three, along with razor sharp banter, was veronica mars.

i never even bothered trying to get into that other j.j. abrams creation, heroes, even though my bestie, kristen bell played a role there.  in my heart, i knew better.

i've determined that it's really silly to try to get hooked on any tv show that i don't like right of the bat, even if other people love it.  a book, maybe, but it's not like cultivating a more nuanced television viewing diet is something i need to aspire to.  if anything, i need to watch less tv.

i feel the same way about beer.  i don't like it.  i wish i did, and sometimes i feel a little left out.  i understand it's an acquired taste, but aquiring it is just not on my to-do list.  i'm happy to spend my money and calories on something else.  like these.  mmmmm.

image:  winglessdog


i love...

...soft, chubby baby legs james' fuzzy blond hair stands straight up after a bath. 

...the yummy smell of burts' bees on his skin

...those baby blues

...that smile!

...when he blows raspberries or shrieks like a baby dinosaur

...the mennonite grocery store where i got this adorable hat for D.  jim thinks she looks like a little fundamentalist in it, but i say not combined with this sweet little tank dress;)

...finally getting back to the ymca.  one upside to living in a town full of elderly folks is that our Y is about the least intimidating place in the entire world to work out.  God knows how many gym hours i need to log before my arms are firm and my old jeans fit nicely, but i'm already a hot young thing at the Y;) ymca childcare.  the downside is that they don't change diapers, so i got paged about two minutes after i finished my warm up.  loading up the stroller, actually getting there, and checking in two kids eats up a lot of time, so after the diaper change, we just left to avoid the parking ticket.  our meter still had 20 minutes, so we went to the bakery and got two chocolate chip cookies (for ninety cents altogether!)  i probably didn't even burn enough calories on the elliptical to cover it, but whatever.  maybe next week dylan won't take a huge dump at childcare.  (who am i kidding? of course one of them will.  maybe we'll just skip the cookie;)

...quick dry nail polish.  how did i not know about this before?  i love having cute painted toes.  at least something about me is "done."

...the blockbuster kiosk that went in at the gas station down the road.  you can rent online, which is so easy, and with coupon codes from this blog, i don't think i've paid for a movie yet.

...junior and senior high kids.  this is the first year (since i was in highs school myself) that i'm not involved with a local youth ministry, and i miss it.  this week, i got a little fix when i sat on a panel for "doubt night."  it was good to back. leche league.  i am getting to know such great women, and i am so excited about starting the process of becoming a leader.

...our farmers' market, which opened this morning.  there is not a lot in season yet, but we got rhubarb, cheddar, and spiced blueberry/peach jam.

...the enrico biscotti company.  they are based in the pittsburgh's strip district, and they set up a booth at the market and sell delicious pastries.  they make me miss the city, and they make me smile, since that scott baio movie, a wedding for bella, was filmed there:)

not loving?  the near-constant rain that has been hanging around all month, that MOPS ended and there is one less thing to get us out of the house, and the fact that james stopped sleeping through the night.

but all in all, we're doing all right here, and we're enjoying our chickens:

happy weekend to you!


has anyone in this family ever SEEN a chicken?

jim finished building a coop last week, we got four chickens from generous friends at church yesterday, and today, fresh eggs!  dylan is beside herself with excitement.  sydney (our dog), is less of a fan; she wants to, in jim's words, "eat their face."

i never in a million years thought we would have chickens.  even though we've lived here five(!) years, i'm not a country girl.  if anything, i'm a recovering suburbanite with a heart for the city.  how did this happen?

well, regardless, i'm thankful for the space and grass to pasture hens and for fresh eggs from right in our backyard.

if the title of this post makes you nostalgic for arrested development, here's a little something for you:


it sounded like a good idea...

...taking the kids to the diamond for a photo shoot amid the blooming tulips.

umm, not really.  in fact, not all at.  i took about two dozen pictures, and they all looked like this:

or this:

and a little of this:

by far, the best one of the bunch was the one that did not feature my children: 

oh well.  you win some, you lose some.  lovely view, though, right?


when organic matters most: EWG's dirty dozen

maybe in a perfect world we'd all eat local, seasonal, organic food, but the reality is that price can be prohibitive. the environmental working group just released its updated "dirty dozen" list, a helpful tool that details which fruits and veggies are most contaminated by pesticides and which ones are okay to eat conventionally--helping shoppers know when it's most important to spring for organic.  (some of the worst offenders:  berries, stone fruits, apples, and spinach.)  you can click above to download their list, print it out, and keep it in your wallet for reference.

yes, organic produce can be expensive, but i'm learning that if you compare it to boxed granola bars and frozen pizza, it's a bargain.  many of us have wiggle room in our grocery budgets if we cut back on packaged, processed "food."

that photo is making me long for summer gardens and farmers' markets.  don't fresh, organic carrots look so much better than creepy, unnaturally whittled-down baby carrots?

it is gorgeous here in western pennsylvania.  i hope you are enjoying a lovely may day and celebrating properly:  dancing 'round a maypole or rallying for worker's rights--whichever tickles your fancy;)

(over at so much reviews, i have a coupon code for if you're in the market for something green and sturdy to tote your produce home from the market...)

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