31 October 2009


Do yourself a favor this fine halloween day...pause my playlist in the sidebar (scroll down aways) 
and play this little number. 

It is beautifully simple and simply beautiful.

29 October 2009

Halloween Paw-teeeee, take 1!

Betsy's classroom Halloween Party 2009

Have I ever told you how much I love
Betsy's school, her teachers, and
therapists?  I mean, I even love the
custodian.  Everyone is so nice,
and good at what they do!
We are so lucky to have such
a great 'special' program in our district.


27 October 2009

Contributing on 'Kidz'

see what it's all about here.

Well, it's official.  I am part of the 'Kidz Krew' over at kidzorg.blogspot.com.  Our first compiled post was posted today.  Check it out here.  And, don't forget to see all of the beautiful 'Krew' members on the sidebar.  Also, a big thanks to Chloe's momma, Tara, for getting us all together. 
What a gal! 

26 October 2009

on oopsies, accidents, mistakes, etc.

I hope I don't lose any of you over this.  It is strictly my own opinion (and, everyone else's who agrees with me).  I, also, don't dislike people who fall under this very topic.  So, please don't comment below or FB me telling me that's what I'm really saying.  Because it's not.  And, I'm thinking that if enough of you who disagree dig deep, you'll agree, too.  The facts and stats just add up, ya know?  I'm a big numbers girl. 

Okay, so, let me just say it... 


Before you go nutty on me, let me explain all of the reasons I feel this way.  The exceptions aside, I would be willing to defend my position to the death.  I would do it, too, so don't test me.  And, quite frankly, unless you are a mixed martial arts champion, my 6 foot tall, size 11 shoe, frame, would kick your tail, and you know this as well as I do.

To say that one of your children was an accident or an oopsie, or worse yet, a mistake, not only makes you sound stooooopid, but, well, it's just not the honest to goodness truth of the matter.  If people who did this would quit pretending and stop believing the lie themselves, they would accept this to be true.  I'm sure of it.  And, really, there are worse things than saying you knew better.   

Following are several, but not all, of the scenarios in which I can defend my position. Ready?  Mkay.

1.  'the Obvious':  If you are sexually active and not using birth control (bc) and turn up pregnant...not an accident.  Even if you didn't intend or plan on being with child, what did you expect when if you didn't use bc?  And, I'm hear to tell you that, although, the Rhythm Method has worked for some, it is not a very safe or reliable form of bc.  And, don't pretend you didn't know this.  Because you do.

2.  the 'we used the Withdrawal method':  Really?  WTH?  (Sorry, Mrs.Lewis)  Wasn't it in like 6th or 7th grade health class that you learn about PRE-ejaculation.  I apologize for the term, but we're all adults here.  Yes, ladies (and gents)  a few swimmers come out before the rest.  Let's call this a false start.  They may have been disqualified, but they 'won' the race in the end, if you now what I'm sayin'.  And, yes, even my dear, sweet, Mrs.Lewis knows this, but we tend to think what has worked in the past will work forever and always.  We get careless and lazy.  It's cool.  But, it's also like playing Russian roulette.  If you're not ready to deal with the consequences (and she was), DON'T play at it. Bottom line:  if this is your preferred form of bc (or, really, lack thereof) and you are announcing your impending bundle, say, "Well, our pregnancy is not really an oopsie, because I am an adult and know better. So, let's just say it was an unexpected surprise."  You will sound so much smarter, and cooler.

3.  the 'i was on antibiotics' excuse:  Okay, I, personally, know like 5 bagillion people who say this is how they got pregnant...on accident.  And, no doubt!  Anyone with a pulse and a who-ha knows that antibiotics interfere with the efficacy of bc pills.  I'm not sure who these womens' physicians are, but mine (my OB-GYN and my internal medicine physician) has TOLD me this.  Numerous times.  Every time I get an antibiotic.  Even now that my tubes are tied.  Even if you are on hormone based bc, you need an additional form of contraception while on antibiotics.  Seriously, you do.  A condom, a diaphragm, foam, a sponge, something for goodness sakes.  If you do not do this, chances are you will get preggo. 

4.  the 'I skipped a few pills' excuse:  This one is easy.  Don't.  If you do, there is a small chance your egg will get fertilized.  The pill will work...if taken appropriately.  The bc pill is 99.8% effective.  Of the remaining .2%, about .193% of resulting pregnancies is from HUMAN ERROR.  You have a better chance of getting hit by lightening while riding a unicylce.  Based on how many people I know that were/are with child with this excuse, you would think that the pill was about 68% effective, and, then, why bother?  That being said, if you do miss one pill...newsflash, you bc still has the same effectiveness as if you actually took it when you were supposed to.  Shocking, I know.  Let me tell you a story.  Early on in our marriage, I would sometimes miss up to 3 in a row.  I know.  Dumb.  And, I still didn't get pregnant.  I would have accepted it openly if I had, as would Jake, and I certainly wouldn't have said it was an accident.  I might have said, "Hey everybody, I got pregnant out of shear stupidity."  or "Although, we are very happy about the news, my pregnancy is a direct result of my carelessness." 

5.  the 'his condom broke' line:  Really?  This is one of my favorites.  Oh, the chances...  Have you ever stretched out a condom as far as it would go?  I mean, honestly.  I'm not even going to humor this one.

6.  the ever popular, 'I thought I had to go off of the pill months ahead of time to get pregnant, it's only a month later, and I just wasn't expecting this...now what?':  Wow!  Again, let's go back to the doctor here.  My doctor has told me over and over it only takes one period off, and then...sh-zam!  You can get a baby bump.  If your doctor has not told you this, don't you think it is an important enough subject to ASK?!  I am living proof, 2 Xs over that this happens.  Consequently, it makes sense to tell people the boys were, indeed, planned.  No bc pill + friendly relations = a baby 9 months later.  It's really very simple math.  Here's a funny story...even after knowing of my own first 2 baby making experiences, my sister (God love her)  made this fateful mistake.  We can all laugh about it now, because she admits to what a capital I, idiot, she was.  Good times!

7.  (directly related to #1 and #2) the 'I just figured that if I hadn't gotten pregnant in this long...': Um, no.  Avoiding pregnancy is a month to month day to day situation.  And if you subcribe to this nonsensical excuse, a gamble.  Just because you got away with it on the first try, or the 6th, or 12th, or 38th, does not mean it will work in months 40, 57, or 174.  Got it?  Along these lines, you most certainly CAN get preggers at any time during your cycle.  Even if you would bet your right kidney you know not only the day, but the hour you ovulate.  Scouts honor.  Weirder things have happened, and NO ONE is exempt from this phenomenon.  I don't care how well you think you know your body.

8.  the 'How did I get pregnant?  I'm breastfeeding!'  Again, with the whole doctor thing.  My OB-GYN asks me after the baby is born while still IN THE HOSPITAL what form of bc I'll be using post-partum.  All four times I've always gotten the same one line, "Beth, don't forget...just because you're breastfeeding and may not be having a period, you CAN get pregnant."  I shouldn't hold the doctor souly responsible.  It's also in a ton of breastfeeding literature, including, but not limited to, the big folder of stuff you get while in the hospital.  My hospital lactation consultant also told me.  In my personal case, I already knew this, by educating myself, and from having a very resourceful mother.  Read stuff, ask questions, don't assume anything! 

I could go on and on, but I'm sure half of you are already so peeved at me you can't see straight anymore, so I'll leave it at my, personal, top 8. 

In addition, I would like to say that I have wanted to be pregnant 5 times in my life and got pregnant 5 times (pregnancy #4 resulted in a 10 week miscarriage).  ALL the other months and days that went by in 9+ years of marriage that I didn't want to get fertilized, I didn't.  It's really that simple.  If you REALLY do not want to be with child, AND (here's the important part) take the proper precautions, you will safely avoid a swollen abdomen. 

Otherwise, I firmly believe, that subconciously, or in some situations, consciously, you were wanting to get pregnant or didn't MIND getting prego.  And, that, in and of itself, really isn't bothersome to me.  But, for your own sake, just keep it real, and say so.   I would love to here someone say, "As surprised as I am, I really shouldn't be.  I didn't have a back-up while on antibiotics", or "Even though I've gone this long not getting pregnant while using the withdrawal method, I guess one of those suckers made it.  What was I thinking?" 

Don't even get me started on half-way intelligent adult women who have multilple 'oopsies'.  Wow!  Aren't all 'mistakes' supposed to be learned form?  I'm just sayin'.

And, above all else...the baby is not the oopsie or accident or mistake.  YOU are the one that slipped and made the mistake.  That beautiful baby is the result.  And, don't assume the people that you are sharing your news with are dumb.  Chances are they are not.  It is much easier to NOT get pregnant, than it is TO get pregnant. 

Most people that I know that have unexpected pregnancies, really, in the end, weren't that surprised.  They are/were, also, married adults (or have a good support system) who graciously accepted their babies knowing that it was their own actions or lack thereof that led to their pregnancies.  Everyone, in many situations, not just pregnancy, have slip ups.  We get careless, and make assumptions.  We think we are immune to certain conditions.  But, I hope that when it comes to bringing a human being into the world, we would all start thinking a bit differently.  Be more responsible.

I hate to sound like a high school sexual education instructor, but sex is a HUGE undertaking.  Sex and its consequences should not be taken lightly.  It is a gift, a privilege, a responsibility.  It should be respected and held in the utmost esteem.  It can be fun, and exciting, and good things can come of it, even if unexpected.  Adults should not have such a cavalier attitude about sex and its consequences.  We are too old to think, "Not me...".   

If you didn't know any of this, now, you do. 

Okay, let the nasty comments ensue.  Bring it.

23 October 2009

coming up short, and a tree grows in rosie's room?

We've been hard at work on Rosie's room.  Hoping against all hope that seperate spaces will mean peaceful nights.  The basement/boys' room is on hold for a bit (though almost complete), so we can work the Grebe magic up stairs.

I've revealed a few pics here and there, and on facebook, as to my plans for the room, as well as any progress made.  And, I'm happy to see it finally coming to fruition (that's my new favorite word lately).  I hope you like it, too.

Now, you may be asking why there is a digitized brown stick thing in the corner there.  Funny story.

After careful calculation and measuring, somehow we came up about 6 inches short on the whole wallpaper thing.  I, seriously, thought I was going to lose it.  And, I most certainly was NOT going to order another roll for 6 measly inches. 

Here's where it gets interesting.  They say necessity is the mother of invention, and I would say 'they' are right.  Absolutely. 

I racked my brain to come up with a solution that wouldn't look like we were intentionally and tackily (is that even a word?) trying to cover up something.  So....I thought of painting a tree sprawling up onto the ceiling and both adjoining walls.  But, painting it just didn't seem right.  Then, I thought I'd just send Jake out into the woods to cut down a largish type sapling and we could attach it to the wall.  Yeah, on second thought, probably not.  Then, my brain bulb flipped on.

We've had this fiberglass column in the garage FOREVER.  Never knowing what I wanted to do with it, I had finally found a purpose.  We are going to saw it in half, I will paint and sculpt, and carve away until it looks like a REAL tree, and THEN Jake will weild his power tool know how and drill holes intermittently and we will attach REAL branches that I have been collecting into the 'trunk'.  Sweet, right?

It get's better.  One of the branches will hold one end of the sheer white canopy we're putting over Ro's bed.  I will put fake birdies here and there and a nest, too.  It's going to be so whimsical.  Most importanly, Rosie is going to love it

I, normally, try to steer clear of themey rooms.  However, this room has unintentionally kind of acquired a bird-ish thing.  Ironically, I do not really enjoy real live birds.  Whodda thunk it? 

Because of the tree monstrosity with all of the birds and such, I am, now, putting the birdcage chandalier downstairs over the table and chairs I have yet to purchase.  Which is fine, because I needed a fixture for that spot anyway.  Win, win. 

Would love to hear you thoughts on the tree...
and, the photos really stink because it is really overcast here today, and the light was horrible. 

21 October 2009

Honesty, as requested, by a certain someone.

We all have a plan for ourselves.  For our life. 

When there is a kink in the plan, it stinks. 

But, that's life.  It's unpredictable. 

I know this, you know this.  Anyone who doesn't... is a turd.

Here's the deal, though, when a kink, a sizable kink, happens to you, it's hard to swallow.  It's tough to accept, even when the rational side of your brains says, "Simmer down, kinks are to be expected."

Kinks change you.  Even when you don't want them to.  Even when you fought your hardest to not let them weild their poisin. 

In the aftermath of Betsy's diagnosis/prognosis, I went through the normal sadness.  Then I dusted it off, and went into proactive mode.  In hindsight, I think I only got my stuff together for her and anything concerning her.  I really let everything else go down the crapper. 

After almost 5 years,  I thought I was okay.  I was in a place of acceptance and positivity.  And, in a lot of ways I still am.  If it was just Betsy and me, it would be a cakewalk.  The problem is that there is more to consider.  3 other kids. A husband. A family.  Somewhere along the line, I haven't considered them enough. 

Jake and I are bickering over the stupidest things, the kids are always yelling at each other, the boys are fighting more than usual.  The energy in our home is gray, and I'm really trying to keep it from fading into black.  I mean, I certainly wouldn't want to be around us right now, so, I can't expect other people to want to. 

I wake up every morning and tell myself that today is the day to turn it around.  To right the wrongs, to repair the damage.  But, 2-3 hours into the day, and it all goes amuck. 

I don't want you all to think it's all Nanny 9-1-1 around here or anything, but it's not far off.  I'm using my maternal radar and have spotted a small blip on the screen and want to take it out before it becomes a massive bleep.  I would really like to avoid Supernanny, at all costs. 

I love my family.  

Seeing that sentence, it just doesn't seem like enough.  I would sacrifice myself for my children and their happiness.  I am crazy about my husband, he is truly my soulmate.  So, what happened?  How did we become a group of people that just live together and, occasionally, feel like a family?  We may smile as we walk past each other, make friendly bantar, we still eat dinner together nightly, and sometimes, in brief moments find ourselves just being.  Together.  As it should be, and as it used to be all the time.  But, it's NOT like it used to be.  At least, not as often as it should be. 

I am to blame.  I firmly believe that the mother is the glue of the family.  "When momma ain't happy, ain't no one happy"  is the most truthful little tidbit around.  Remember that. 

I know that we will overcome.  We are strong like that.  Grebes Rule!  Everyone has rough patches.  I never thought I'd encounter one like this at 31, but then, there's that whole kink thing, ya know?

I have the utmost admiration for families who have been through worse and made it; trauma, terminal spousal or childhood illness, or, heaven help them, loss of a child or spouse.  I now know why divorce rate is so high among families who encounter major kinks.  In our own situation with having a child with special needs, the divorce rate is twice as high.  With it already being 41% for first marriages in the US (that is staggering), I refuse, REFUSE, to be included in  the 82% failure rate for couples like Jake and I.  NOT an option. 

Incidentally, this post was VERY difficult for me to write (through clydesdale sized tears), but therapeutic, and much needed.  I hope it dispells any and all thoughts by anyone who thinks that things are always peachy-keen around here, or that I PRETEND that they are perfect.  Either way you slice, things are not. 

Despite all of it, I am very pleased with all that God has graciously given me.  I am blessed over and over in ways too numerous to count.  And, my situational sadness aside, I am generally content.  Does that make sense?  I am happy with who my children are, and happy that, even in difficulty, I have Jake to lean on.  I am happy to have the parents and sister that I have, and grateful for the in-laws that I have, too. 

I just need a little work.  And, with all the support I can muster, from my family, from you, and mostly, from God, I will be reinstated to who I was before.  Before I let the kink change me.  I am amazed that even now, people look to me for advice and solice.  It is encouraging and helpful to have that.  To know that I am not a complete wash up.  That I still have sense AND sensibility. 

I have to always remember that God's plans transcends any we have for ourselves.

20 October 2009

Christmas: begun

Okay, so, is this weird?

For a Christmas present to both, my folks and Jake's, I want to get our families photographed. (And, yes, I realize they will find out when they read this, but it really couldn't be a secret, now could it?) 

So, it would play out like this...
On the day my side went, we would do some pictures with my sister, my parents, and me.  Some with my parents and all of their grandchildren, some of just the kids, some with Jake and my brother-in-law, Brent.  Some of just my folks. 
You get the idea.
Then on the day with Jake's side, it would be more of the same.

Are you all feeling this?

Is this a weird gift to give our parents?

Is it too much of a gift for myself, too?

Seriously, I cannot tell you the last time I had a family photo taken with my parents and sister. 

Hey, Mom, did we ever get one?  I mean besides the church directory in 1989?

I would, normally, be inclined to hire Miss Laura Siebert again, BUT the purse strings won't allow it just now.  I am hunting for an affordable, friendly, semi-professional photog, who will put up with the craziness that will most certainly ensue on these 2 days of photographable mayhem.  Seriously, they're going to have to be beyond capable with some major photo editing because we are all certifiably nutso.  And, I would love, love, love to wrap this project up before Thanksgiving, so that I can present the final images by Christmastime. 

I don't want anything stuffy, formal, or JC Penny-ish.  Just us.  ALL of us! 

I am, totally, digging the following images...

image via Lot116 Photography

All of these ideas leave me here...
I would really love to hire a friend of a friend who takes really nice photographs.  (That sentence reminds me of "Bueller, Bueller, Bueller...?".  Am I the only one?)  
Anywho, I'm still awaiting word from her, but I hope it works out.

Would love to hear what you think, and to hear if you have any other parent gift suggestions!

19 October 2009


I am not sure if I am typing right now, holding a barf bucket, spraying Lysol, or dreaming (it's been that kind of day), but I have managed to squeeze in some projects that have needed some attention.  You have read about one here already, and if you follow on Facebook, you have seen the other.  Redundancy is my middle name.  Frankly, I probably just shouldn't even post today. 

But, a day without me posting is a day without sunshine for you. 

Wow!  That was completely and utterly ri-gosh-darn-diculous and NOT true! 

Did I just type that? 

Okay, before I start telling you about my infected toenail, I'm just going to get on with it. 

I posted this on Facebook, and got started on my version today...

chandelier on left: anthropologie.com         
chandelier on right:  DIY project from Danny Seo, dailydanny.com

Don't the birds in the packages creep you out.  Well, they creep ME out.  Lying there all realistic looking, but motionless, and wrapped up in cellophane.  Yikes!

I have also started on my version of this, for Rosie's halloween costume.  It is coming along...

Very pleased with the results, thus far.  I've made skirts before, but with this tutorial, even an ape withOUT opposable thumbs could sew one.

Oh, and one more thing...
apparantly, even chicken wire has gone politically correct. 

Because NOW, it's poultry netting.  I mean, heaven forbid, the other fowl in the barn yard get offended by being left out.  It's not even 'wire' anymore.  What's all this netting business about?  That's hard core wire if I ever saw any.

 Anywho, I better get back to it around here. 

I think I have, officially, lost my mind. 

16 October 2009

pewter cups of milk.

I am currently reading the fifth book in the 'Outlander' series by Diana Gabaldon, 'The Fiery Cross'. I am not very far into it, maybe a couple of hundred pages out of over 1,000, but last night a passage struck me.

I am going to share it with all of you.

Now, is the time I give you all a warning that it's about breastfeeding. Although, it is quite graphically written, it is also beautifully done. I have never read an account of male/female relations while the woman is nursing so poignantly described.

Let me know if you share my sentiments...


"Tonight he had said them (wedding vows) in the blaze of firelight, before the face of God and the world, her people and his. His heart had been hers, and whatever else he had-but now there was no question of him and her, his and hers. The vows were given, his ring put on her finger, the bond both made and witnessed. They were one body.

One hand of their joint organism crushed a breast a little too hard, and one throat made a small sound of discomfort. She drew back from him a little, and he felt rather than saw her grimace. The air came cold between them and his own skin felt suddenly raw, exposed, as though he had been severed from her with a knife.

'I need-' she said, and touched her breast, not finishing. 'Just a minute, okay?'

Claire had fed the child while Brianna went to make her overtures with the Reverend Caldwell. Bursting with porridge and stewed peaches, Jemmy could scarcely be roused to suckle briefly before relapsing into somnolence and being taken away by Lizzie, his wee round belly tight as a drum. That was as well for their privacy-drugged into such a gluttonous stupor, it was unlikely the bairn would wake before dawn. The price of it, though, was the unused milk.

No one living in the same house with a nursing mother was likely to be unaware of her breasts, let alone her husband. They had a life of their own, those breasts. They changed size from hour to hour, for the one thing, swelling from their normal soft globes into great round hard bubbles that gave him the eerie feeling that if he touched one it would burst.

Now and then, one did burst, or at least gave that impression. The ridge of soft flesh would rise like kneaded bread, slowly but surely pushing above the edge of Brianna's bodice. Then suddenly there would be a big, wet circle on the cloth, appearing magically, as though some invisible person had thrown a snowball at her. Or two snowballs-for what one breast did, its fellow rushed at once to follow suit.

Sometimes the Heavenly Twins were foiled, though; Jemmy drained one side, but inconsiderately fell asleep before performing the same service for the other. This left his mother gritting her teeth, gingerly taking the swollen orb in the palm of her hand, pressing the edge of a pewter cup just under the nipple to catch the spray and dribble as she eased the aching fullness, enough to sleep herself.

She was doing it now; modestly turned away from him, an arisaid gathered around her shoulders against the chill. He could hear the hiss of the milk, a tiny chime against the metal.

He was reluctant to drown the sound, which he found erotic, but nonetheless picked up the guitar, and put his thumb to the strings, his hand on the frets. He didn't strum or strike chords, but plucked single notes, small voices to echo his own, the thrum of one string singing through the chanted line.

A love song to be sure...(edit)

She never asked him not to, never turned away-and yet he could tell by the faint intake of her breath that, often, she was bracing herself not to flinch when he touched her breasts.

Was it only tenderness? he wondered. Did she not trust him to be gentle?"


Who knew an account of that sort could be so moving?

And, to all the nursing mommas...is it not, about, 110% accurate?


I cannot express to you how beautiful these books are. I'm not sure how Miss Gabaldon does it. They are truly moving. For historical fiction, they are so relevant, and so profound.

Hope I didn't offend anyone. I mean, I DID give fair warning!


15 October 2009


I'm feeling under the weather as of late. Looking at pretty homes always makes me feel a bit better. I hope you enjoy. Hopefully, by the time this pesky virus is gone, I will have something most interesting to post. Hopefully. Until then, enjoy.

above images via apartmenttherapy.com

above images john dummer fotografie


14 October 2009

Run, Fat Boy, Run.

This past weekend I went to Chicago with my sister, cousin, and aunt & uncle to watch my other cousin run in the Chicago Marathon. I've never been a spectator at a marathon (or, and this goes without saying, a participant). It was incredible. I don't think anything has ever made me feel so slovenly, gluttonous, lazy, and just plain fat in my whole life. Seriously. I can't read for 4 hours +, let alone run for that long.

I am amazed at what the human body is capable of. And, in some way, I think that it's our duty to our body to unleash it's potential. It has occurred to me that bodies that are challenged, pushed, and stimulated beyond what we think is their threshold, have minds attached that are equally fit and sharp. The interconnectedness of it all astounds me. These, certainly, aren't new ideas. Dualism has been around for thousands of years; Hinduism, Shankhya, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes. But, to see someone push their body with their mind, to actually have someone before your eyes who you know wants to collapse into the fetal position and cry, but keeps running from the fuel their mind is providing for them, well, it's really quite astonishing. I mean, let's face it, I don't think the 45,000 participants on Sunday could be wrong.

So, congratulations Mikey! You are a rock-star! Your time was awesome (3:40ish), your purple shirt was awesome, your running tights were awesome, YOU were/are awesome!

ps Next year, I think you should pace yourself with Mr.Cut-offs. He ran about a 3:10. Maybe it's the shorts, maybe it's the hair, I don't know, but I'm just sayin'.


13 October 2009


Well, it's official...
I have been blogging for one year.
I never thought it would last.
it has.
Thank you to all that read it.