Thursday, June 30, 2011


*Photo taken by my awesome sister Rachel who is on an awesome trip to Europe right now. And I know I said awesome twice, but I think this pic deserves it.*

There's nothing quite like a trying time to make me think about my faith.

We've been under a lot of pressure here at Mabel's House. With great blessings (Miss Jane), apparently comes some trials. Without throwing off my pearls, lying on the floor and wallowing in the mud of self pity... I'll just limit it to broad terms that we all relate to from time to time. Health. Money. State of Mind.

Part of me wants to kick the dog (hypothetically of course because nothing could ever really make me kick Mabel, except if she bit me on the leg, and maybe not even then). Part of me wants to put hands on hips and say, "Excuse me, God? Can I have just a minute to enjoy my baby? To enjoy being a mother? Can I have it easy for just one second?"

Then I remember that this God I'm fussing at has blessed me beyond measure. More than I deserve. More than I will ever deserve. I'm thankful God is patient and slow on the lightning bolt toss. I know there's something to be learned in all of this, there always is. And no matter how scary, or how frustrating, or how gloomy the outlook... it's all just an allusion anyway.

During the Oprah season finale hoopla, something she said really stuck with me. She talked about a guest who had lost her son after a year of illness, and right before he died his last words were, "Oh mom, it was so easy."

I think all the hard things... all the scary monsters of life that sprout heads and grow like gigantic out of control sea monkeys... are just that. Allusions. And when we get to the end, I think that's the lesson. I think that's what God is teaching all of us: to draw a deep breath, to have faith, to take it easy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Project? What Project?

One thing motherhood is teaching me is... things take time. Where I used to buy a piece of furniture, get paint the next day, sand after dinner and then take the weekend to finish it up, now-a-days, not so much.

The biggest parent allusion I had going into this was that I could set a schedule for our little family. Hardy har har. Miss Jane came prepackaged with her own schedule, and that schedule is king.

Naps take precedence over paint selection. Evening talk fests (or as we like to call it: goo-time) supersede sanding. Tiny laundry needs to be done. Mabel's hurt feelings need to be soothed.

So my newest project goes unfinished, for now. We're all too busy with bouncy seats and eye contact and Jane's favorite thing in the whole wide world: Little Einstein Crib Soother.

Projects can wait. Jane can't.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My name is Jane...

... and I've learned to sleep by myself. *insert heavenly sounding chorus here*

Thank you ladies for your well wishes. Viral inner ear problems + honest to goodness food poisoning = total physical melt down.

Matt really takes up the slack. He took her to church on Sunday so I could get some rest. My sweet friends held her through the service (thanks Cat) and when she got home I kissed her head and she smelled like someone else's perfume. I started balling. Not because I minded my friends holding her, but because I was so sick I couldn't. There's nothing more helpless than feeling like you can't take care of your child. Nothing.

So thanks again for the thoughts and prayers. I can use every single one of them. Love you all.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

One step forward...

... three steps back in the sick mama area and prayers are much appreciated. *don't be jealous of my circa 1996 eyeware. can i get away with calling them vintage yet?*

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Colors

Is there anything that screams summer more than a bowl of ripe strawberries? Stare at this picture long enough and you'll be hearing the sound of sprinklers and cicadas at dusk. I love you summer. I love your colors.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Did my post yesterday read a little stressed?

I blame it on the steroids. Man. That stuff can *insert my best Arnold impersonation here* "pump you up."

But I'm back. I'm better. I still hate St. Vincent North. But I'm chilling.

I do not hate Matt's yummy homemade goat cheese pizza.

And I definitely find solace in the smooth cute smell of Jane's little sweet head.
Ahhh. If this doesn't calm you down, there's just no hope.

I'm back on my feet.
I'm calmer.
I'm thankful God took care of me.
Now please excuse me while I continue to inhale the scent I refer to as "a'la Jane's head."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Linda Blair Day

This post will perhaps read a tad melodramatic. And while I do admit I'm prone to the over descriptive side of life, please know, I'm serious as a heart attack when I tell you this story. Or perhaps a heart attack would have been a better scenario, since apparently chest pain is the only way to get someone to pay attention to you in an E.R.

So I'm going about my business over the weekend. Cleaning. Getting spit up on. Staring endlessly into Jane's face while insisting Matt continually agree with me while I coo, "Is she not fantastic? I mean, seriously, look at her?"

And then I started feeling funny. I called Mom. I said, "Hey, I'm pretty wiped out. Could you come spend Sunday night and help me a little?" And like all good Moms, she promptly arrived three hours later.

That night she took Jane for us and I looked forward to my first night of constant sleep in three months. It did not end well. I woke up seven hours later on what I assumed was my new style of bed, a Tiltawhirl. I couldn't focus my eyes to read the clock. The word was spinning. I couldn't stand up. Heck, I couldn't even move my head.

I stayed in bed for hours. I didn't make it to work. Finally, I found myself dry heaving on the bathroom floor. Off to the ER I went.

Matt got me inside, where I promptly fell onto the floor and began to do my very best Exorcist impression. Over and over. For at least five minutes. The lobby was empty. No one came. Matt began to yell, "Is this an ER?" The twit behind the counter shrugged, nodded yes (or so Matt tells me because I was too busy heaving my guts out and spinning), and muttered, "Someone will be here in a minute"

And as I lay there, heaving, hair in my own vomit, the sound of Jeopardy playing in the background, I couldn't help but think, "Well. This is a hell of a way to leave this world." And while that seems a bit over the top, I really did think I was dying.

So finally a nurse came out. She was very unconcerned. In the end we found out the vertigo culprit: double inner ear infection, double middle ear infection, and several other infections I won't go into. I'm fairly sure my body pulled a full blown Linda Blaire style break down. I don't ever want to throw up again. I don't ever want to hear the Jeopardy theme song again. I don't ever, ever want another inner ear infection again.

But most importantly, I never, ever, ever want to have a reason to go to the Emergency Room at St. Vincent North.

Anyway. I'm alive. I'm on my feet. I didn't die.

P.S. Thanks a lot ER doctor who prescribed a boatload of medicine NOT necessarily safe for breastfeeding, even though you assured me they were. A pox on you little man. It's one thing to ignore me while I lay in my own vomit. It's another thing to endanger my little baby.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Every Little Thing...

Whenever I look at this picture, I think of this song.

I am so happy today.

Thank you God.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Can You Ever Really Have TOO Much of Your Favorite Color?

Since my little impulse-buy buffet has made it's way into our kitchen, I've been pondering paint colors. I had decided to be sensible and paint it white. After all, I told myself, there is far too much turquoise in the house already.

But then I looked at this picture (I've had it saved to my computer forever and can't remember where it came from, anyone know?). And then I asked myself, "Can you ever really have TOO much of your favorite color?"

Now I'm second guessing that whole sensible white paint idea. I do so love aqua. On another note, does anyone know if it's safe to paint with a baby in the house? I'm off to google it. Even though googling things scares the life out of me. I really ought to stop...

Thursday, June 16, 2011


The last time I went home to see my parents Mom began rifling through an old trunk. I was deeply immersed in reading a John Grisham paperback when I heard a familiar tune.

"Remember this thing?" Mom smiled and proceeded to hand this mobile to me.

Remember indeed. Feelings and images from my childhood rushed back in one big wave. This was my mobile. I remembered staring at it. Listening to it.

"Put it on Jane's bed," Mom suggested.

And that's just what I did.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Fine Art of Getting Ready For Church Without Being Barfed On

Becoming a mom is a big learning curve, in big and small ways. There's the whole "give the baby a bath without getting water in their ear or soap in their mouth" kerfuffle. And let's not even dive into the "how do I use this rubber squeeze thing to get boogers out of their nose without giving them a stroke" conundrum. But the one that I wasn't suspecting was the "you'll never go anywhere without barf on you again" dilemma.

My solution? Aprons. Lots of them.

Let's face it. Beforehand aprons were just something cute I wore once a year when I baked and burned blueberry muffins. But now they are a staple. The key? Keep them on until the last minute. Feeding the baby? Wear an apron. Changing a diaper? Wear an apron. Dressing the baby? Wear an apron.

And then life is good. There is less gnashing of teeth, but more importantly, there's no need to change clothes four times before leaving for church.

It makes mom happier.

Which in turn always makes baby happier.

But then again, new shoes don't hurt either.

Monday, June 13, 2011


So I did something crazy. What else is new.

I bought a buffet that I don't technically have room for yet. I don't have a way to get it home.

But did that stop me? Nope. Why? Because our kitchen is at the center of what I consider "Bottlesplosion 2011." Pump parts and bottles and formula are everywhere (we finally settled on a breast milk/formula combo diet for Miss Jane, it's a long story). It's a small kitchen. We need more storage.

But first I have to explain to Matt why exactly he should go pick it up for me. *bats eyelashes*

And since we're on the subject of kitchens, lets all drool together. This is Kate Spade's kitchen. I have always loved black and white checked floors. And all the colors. It's so chic and pulled together. I'm fairly certain this new buffet of mine isn't going to help my kitchen look pulled together. It's probably going to look weird. But you know what's worse? A billion bottles filling already packed shelves. I choose weird over packed any day.

And Amy Butler's kitchen? Drool. This little photo montage makes me reconsider my no-yellow color stance. What a fabulous fridge.

Anyway, wish me luck. I need to find a truck to borrow and soft soap my beleaguered husband who asked me pitifully the other day, "Can we just take a break from curbside furniture shopping?"

Curbside yes.

Antique mall... no.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Jane has started communicating like crazy. I'm pretty sure she's trying to tell me that I'm wearing entirely too much eye makeup. Or that the house could use a good cleaning. Or that her gown is riding up and I'm not reacting quickly enough. Perhaps she's embracing her southern roots at a young age and saying, "I'm finer than a frog hair split four ways." Something along those lines. I love this sassy little girl. Goodness knows I wouldn't know what to do with a mellow child.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Red Rider BB Gun Syndrome

I've always sympathized with Ralphie from A Christmas Story. I know what it is to pine away after a dream. Except mine doesn't involve a Red Rider BB Gun. It involves this house. And I don't have a mother scolding, "You'll shoot your eye out." I have a little voice in my head (that sounds like Suze Orman) whispering, "Get serious sister."

But every time I walk by this house I hear it pleading, "Buy me, buy me..."

Granted, it's not for sale. And the owner probably thinks I'm crazy for standing in front of it longingly and taking a picture. But like Ralphie, my hope springs eternal. Red Rider BB Gun Syndrome is a powerful force.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sorry, I couldn't think of a better title)

My sister Rachel is in Europe this summer. She's sending us pictures that make my mouth gape open. Like this one of an old church converted into a bookstore (in the Netherlands). All I could do was jump up and down and yell, "Hogwarts!"

So basically my sisters are on two different continents. They're traveling the world and having great adventures. One day a few weeks ago I felt quite sorry for myself. I slumped in front of the tv watching Oprah's season finale, gazing at my acid refluxy baby who desperately needed a bath, and thought to myself, "I'll never travel again (*sniff*)."

But then Jane stopped crying and looked up at me with a gigantic gummy grin and I realized that I, too, am on a different continent.

Scratch that, I'm on a different planet.

And while I may not be biking through quaint Belgium villages, or roaming the streets of Hong Kong like my sisters... I am having the time of my life.

Maybe one day Matt and I can jet off to Europe. But if not, that's ok too. Motherhood is turning out to be an even greater adventure.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Chat With Sophie

Jane thinks Sophie is pretty cool. They have lots of conversations in what I can only assume is a special baby code language.

They're probably discussing my inability to change a poopy diaper in timely manner. Or the fact that I keep putting gloves on her because I'm too chicken to cut her fingernails.

Either way, there's some kind of anti-mother conspiracy going on.

I can sense it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


My husband is a fantastic cook with a habit of winging it. He never follows a recipe, and never writes anything down. I think he does it on purpose. He just flies by the seat of his pants, thus creating delicious dishes that no one else can ever replicate.

Take this dish. It was fantastic. Wonderful. Here's the conversation that ensued.

Me: Wow. This might be the best Italian dish you've ever made. What's in it?
Matt: Eh. You know. Mushrooms. Peppers. Stuff.
Me: What seasoning did you use?
Matt: Pesto and something else. Can't remember.
Me, huffing: But what if I wanted to make it?
Matt: Just ask me, I'll make it for you.

You have my apologies for showing a picture of gorgeous food with no recipe on how to make it. But I can't complain. Except when I step onto the scales.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Here Already

Today is the day. It's the end of maternity leave.

It hurts.

Eight hours away from her is much too long.

I foresee every lunch break spent at the daycare. And a lot of hovering.

And a word of advice. Please don't say this phrase to a woman going to back to work:

"Quit your job, you'll regret it if you don't."

Know that 99.9% of all working mothers are working because they have to. Not because they drive BMW's. Not because they want to maintain the mortgage on a mansion. But because if they don't the government will foreclose on their modest homes. So don't give advice like that. Be kind. Be encouraging. Wish us luck, because we need it.