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Friday, December 30, 2011

The Vomit Zamboni

Pretend you're at Sams.  It's morning and Christmas vacation to top it.   The kids are barely awake, you haven't showered, baby is still in pajamas.  The cart is full and the kids are chomping on bagels not yet paid for.  You're trying to decide between the mega or the super mega pack of salsa.  You hear the nightmarish, unmistakable gurgle before puke sound just in time to turn and see said pajama clad baby projectile vomiting.  You're covered, brand new boots included.  Floor is a mess.  Kids are screaming, now laughing, now screaming.  What in Heaven's name do you do?  Unsuspecting lady passes by and tells you she's been there, offers to watch children while you find someone to clean up vomit.  You, not thinking, leave children in care of stranger and run looking for help.  You suddenly remember children are with stranger, think to self, no one will steal vomiting baby and continue to look for help.  Nice man, noticing you're covered in vomit offers to help.  You get back to children just in time to see a Zamboni looking machine roll up and take care of the floor (wish same machine could take care of you).  Kind man finds you and hands you lots of paper towels.  What now?  Leave cart full of perishables and half eaten bagels or dare to make it through the check out?   We checked out.  It was rough.....for everyone involved...poor, poor young check out girl.  I think I've helped her make the decision to hold off on having kids any time soon.  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The stockings were hung....

8:10 pm, Santa must be on his way.  Two sweet girls busy crafting their letter to Santa.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Bath time after the vaseline incident.
It's been days since I posted last.  And what good days they've been.  I've felt peaceful and focused; able to enjoy the little bits of Christmas all around. I love Christmas but honestly by about the 20th my steam is running low.  Too much sugar?   Shopping list too long?  Lack of sleep?  Probably.  I have to admit at least 2 of the 3 hold true this year too.  But my steam is ample.  Christmas feels perfect this year.    What's different? Age, experience, my faith walk?  Probably.  I was also blessed to serve as a co-chair for the Kingdom House Christmas Shop, a volunteer gig which after accepting made me seriously wonder if I'd lost my mind.   I spent last week at the shop which provided new Christmas gifts for 600 very needy St. Louis families.  Even though I run the risk of sounding incredibly over the top, I'll say it anyway.  I'm not quite the same, and I hope never to be quite the same again.  Witnessing the goodness, and generosity that is abundant in our community was humbling.  Being a part of Christmas for families in need has put Christmas into perspective for me...forever I hope.  I helped a mom shop for her son, and watched as she excitedly picked out a pillow, a regular old bed pillow.  She was so happy because he doesn't have his own.   I saw a middle aged man from Kirkwood sit at the bus stop with a woman and her Christmas gifts packaged in trash bags, as the rain poured down, he didn't want her waiting alone.  I found out that jeans are better for little ones than leggings because they're warmer and can stand up to more dirt, and more washings.  I now know that when you live where these families live, a Target gift card is useless because you can't get there. No, I won't be the same.  And thank goodness for that.  My kitchen looks a bakery disaster, I just finished shopping for our fabulous teachers THIS morning (school is out today!) Lucy covered all of her hair and face in vaseline as I was distracted  brushing Emma's hair in a hurry, trying to get out the door on time, which meant we took the girls to school and ran our errands with Lucy looking like an oil slick, with every little piece of everything sticking to her.  It's Christmas and things couldn't be better!  How very, very blessed we are.

Monday, December 5, 2011

On the fifth day of December....

some of us were under the weather so ALL of us (except Kevin) stayed in our pajamas for the whole day.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

On the third day of December....

we were in full Christmas spirit!  Our day began with a trip to visit Jolly Ole' St. Nick.   Clearly we're missing someone.  As this picture was being snapped that someone was screaming and crawling up my shoulder in an attempt to get as far away from Santa as possible.   Next year?
After, the big girls and I walked to the Hi Pointe and saw Miracle on 34th Street...the old one in black and white.  We ate popcorn and drank Sprite at 10:30 in the morning, we could get used to that.
In the afternoon we attended the most fabulous piano recital.  Emma's first.  She played a duet with her teacher Miss Sarah and was a delight to watch.
We told Emma we could go out to dinner to celebrate her performance. She asked if instead we could order Jimmy John's and eat it on the living room floor while watching Santa Clause.  Does life get any better?  I think not.

On the fourth day of December....
we got our Christmas tree!  As always we went to Ted Drewes and chose a cute Balsam.  Our best yet.  
Pre Ted Drewes (and custard) we went to Starbucks and Lucy discovered peppermint hot chocolate...she's hooked. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

On the first day of December....

I had the blues, the peace and happiness I so love about Christmas sure didn't feel alive in our little home.
our Advent calendar...can you believe it actually caused a fight, a real pushing, shoving fight?!

On the Second day of December I remembered that when people are the hardest to love they need it the most.
Feeling awfully blessed tonight to be sharing my Christmas with these cuties.
We're off to watch The Muppets Christmas Carol and eat homemade nachos!  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

It was a fantastic Thanksgiving full of wonderful family and food.  Tonight I feel so blessed.

Hoping not to forget:


*My girls delight with their cousins and their cousins loving them right back.  These sweet girls are in high school and are one talented bunch. They spent hours writing songs on the ukulele with Emma and Eleanor right in the midst of it all.  

*My mom and Eleanor leave together on a shopping trip.  My mom and her mini-me.

*Two lovely cousins as a new wife and a (fairly) new mother.  What a lucky family we are to continually be blessed with more!


*As always completely welcomed by my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Ed.   As I helped my Aunt Kathy with a tablecloth she said "I'm not fancy, I've always wanted to be but I'm just not".  Fancy no, perfect hostess, yes.  Martha Stewart is so overrated.  No fancy table setting or new dish can ever match genuine love and hospitality.  I hope someday when my kids come home for the holidays I'll be busy making sure my house is full of love and laughter and not worry one single minute about fancy.

*My Great Aunt Shorty's great big hug.  She's my Grandma's sister and her hug is the closet thing to a hug from my grandma, it has the same tight hold hers had.  The hug is where the reminder ends though.   At 80 something she can still make just about anyone blush with her probing questions and salty language.   I think I'm blushing right now!

*Loved.  We had care packages x 3.  My mom, my dad and Kyra and my Aunt Kathy all made sure we never had any chance of being hungry on our travels.  Thanks to my dad and Kyra for making sure we had a half way stop too.


*Lucy bark at the cats!

*Emma tell me that one of her cousins told her that she hoped to marry someone without a family so she never had to miss a holiday with her own family and that Emma thought that was so smart.  I love these girls!

And as if we weren't already having the best weekend, Eleanor lost her first tooth last night.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

My baby

Lucy with her first and hopefully last shiner.
Lu is now walking, a whole month earlier than her sisters walked.   She's walking and tripping and getting herself into everything.  It is so much fun.  But boy do I enjoy nap time.  Every single part.  The bottle, the rocking, the holding (and of course the sleeping).  It's one time when I can still cuddle her up and listen to her breathe.   It's like my own little magic potion.  I read the following poem today on another mom's blog, such a good reminder.

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

taken from ....
 Ruth Hulbert Hamilton, Song for a Fifth Child 

However in full disclosure, after rocking and cuddling I tear out of Lucy's room like my pants are on fire to get a few things done around our house.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Miss Independent

She even gets her own snacks.  Sheesh!
At least she chose bread and not cookies!  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A rockin' run!

This morning I ran my first post Lucy Adelaide half-marathon.  It was hard and I am tired, sore and HUNGRY!  But, it was amazing!  This summer when I first started contemplating training I was struggling to run 5 miles.  I wondered how I'd more than double the distance.  This training was the best thing for me.    There were lots of days I pushed Lulu in the stroller right after I dropped the girls at school or frantically before I picked them up.  We ran in the rain, in the heat, and sometimes when neither one of us wanted.   All those days we fit in a run when it didn't seem possible, when I wore my running clothes all day "just in case", when we skipped something else even though it sounded more fun, culminated into the best feeling.  Today I am stronger mentally and physically than I was just a few months ago.  Setting a goal and seeing it through, it's worth it.
My little running buddy with our medal.  I tied my PR which makes me super happy since when I started training this summer I just hoped to finish.  Kevin however was AWESOME today and ran a 1:42!!!  A PR for him!  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The best seat

Watching my kids watch the World series was even better than watching the game. We rarely watch any sports but you would've never guessed it had you been in our living room last night.  The girls were so pumped, cheering and making signs.  They watched every moment of the 6 innings they were allowed to stay up for.

Just a few of my favorite moments:

*The girls distrust of the Ranger's pitcher, C.J. Wilson. They were not impressed with his haircut.   Alexi Ogando got their ok.

*Emma's emotion at Pujols being walked.  Her face was priceless, a look of total shock.  Followed by jumping on her chair and shouting "WHAT???  COME ONNNNNN!!!" And then Eleanor's "I knew I didn't like him "( the pitcher that is).

*Eleanor's constant reminder , "Emma, this is just one game, there will be more."

*Emma trying to help Ellie say Pujolis.  El pronounces it Pull-horse.  Emma would, as patiently as she could, say Pujols, slowly.  El would then say "yea, Pulllll-hoooorse".   Finally, totally exasperated Emma said, just call him Albert.

As I was putting the girls to bed Emma said "mom, people are saying the Rangers are a better team, but I don't think they have our heart.  I hope when they go to Texas they can look out and see just a little bit of red and remember we're all cheering".  My own little birdo.

Emma watching the Cardinals play in the 2004 play offs.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rain drops keep falling on my head...

I'd forgotten how futile talking to a 14 month old can be.  Like explaining that it's raining so we can't go to the backyard to play.  All that my explaining produced was lots of high pitched "neee, neeeeee, neeeeeeeee" and pointing to the backyard.  Realizing this was a losing battle we headed to the swing set, in the rain.  She didn't mind one bit, in fact the rain cracked her up.  Looks like a good rain jacket is in my future.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Baby love

        There are  only a few things that can pull her away from a book.  Sometimes the pull is quite literal!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

No wonder I'm so tired at the end of the day...

Now instead of just emptying the drawers she gets in them.   She has no fear and endless curiosity!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Yet another first

Eleanor rode her first big, yellow school bus today.   She loved it!  Mr. Tim, our awesome crossing guard drives the bus, which is a HUGE relief to me.   The purpose of the bus ride was a field trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden, in search of signs of fall.  What a great morning, perfect weather and a 1:2 and in several cases 1:1 adult/child ratio.  I loved every minute watching and exploring with my kindergartner.  In the same way we noted signs of the changing seasons I am reminded daily of the changes happening just as beautifully in my girl.
Eleanor has made the absolute sweetest best friend.  These two are quite a pair.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

61 degrees, clouds, fog and mist...

That's what the radio announcer just said.  Actually it's more like, clouds, fog and RAIN.   I've a hot cup of tea, a napping baby and a few stolen moments to ....?  Read, write, put away laundry, make a grocery list, bake something yummy.  They all seem perfect on a day with clouds, fog and rain.

Yesterday's fun.  Lucy giving her pink convertible a wash.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The family that said good bye

 On September 12th I held my first born.  It was brief, seconds actually before in a whirl of doctors and nurses my 8 pound 9 ounce, red headed baby girl was rushed to the NICU.
  I remember those first hours with both clarity and other worldliness.   It's as though I'm watching movie clips when I think back to that morning.  I hear the piercing absence of a cry when Emma was delivered.   I  see the change in Emma's skin from a beautiful rosy pink to a sad looking purplish blue.  Then the room without cries quickly turns to a noisy place, words that have no meaning flowing all around.  I see Kevin's anguished face darting between Emma and me.  I hear my voice telling him "Go, go be with her".
The next hours are the other worldly part.  I felt no fear, I did not cry, perhaps a mix of shock and drugs from the delivery.   With an odd detachment I watched my family, tension and sadness written all over as they milled between the NICU and my room.   It was a long day but the voice of my OB continued to ring in my ears "Focus Melissa, your baby is just fine".  She's direct and honest, I knew in my heart she was right.
By the time we were going to bed that night we'd been assured that our baby girl would in fact be just fine.  A rare event had occurred which although frightening would have no impact on her long term. After 24 hours in the NICU she would be released.   24 hours, that meant at 11:00am on September 13th, I could hold my baby, nurse her, never let go.
 I awoke the next morning with a mission, to get my baby!  At 10:45 Kevin and I began our trek down to the NICU.   At this point, the calm that had been my strength had worn thin, I was frustrated and needed to be with my baby.  I didn't want to hear second hand from well meaning family members about how cute she was, how strong she looked,  I wanted to see her for myself.  We arrived at the NICU and I was ready to bust in and collect my baby.  Suddenly, a nurse appeared telling us that the unit was closed for a bit and we'd have to come back in 20 minutes.  What?  Did these people not know how long I'd waited, they told me I could come now, this wasn't fair.  I started to cry, so angry, the full emotions of the past 24 hours flowing through my tired body. The nurse bent down, looked me in the eye and said, in a way that I believe only a nurse can " just as soon as possible you can see your baby.  Right now another family is saying good bye to their baby and they need a few moments of privacy".  The world stopped...saying good bye.  In the last 24 hours it had never occurred to me that anyone else was experiencing this pain, that what I had going on was peanuts, nada, nothing.  My baby was fine, we would be bringing her home.
 I wish I could say that in that moment I became nothing less than a selfless, gratitude giving example of our Lord.  Clearly, I didn't.  I'm struggling along daily to be more in the mold of our Savior.   What I did gain in that moment though helped to solidify my feelings that being a parent is a gift.  For 8 years September 13th has arrived and I've thought of the family that said good-bye.  I don't understand it, I never will.  All I know is what we have today is a blessing, and for that we must be thankful.

In the hospital, looking at photos on the camera of Emma.    Thank God for digital cameras!

Monday, September 12, 2011


It's first baby girl is officially 8 years old.  Oh, happy, happy day!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

We should be getting ready for church.....

A quiet Sunday morning among a busy holiday weekend.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oh noooo!

Lucy's been pretty resistant to napping since the girls have gone back to school.  We're struggling over here!  I will not give up, I know she needs one.  Just now,  as I rocked her before her nap, she sat up on my lap, smiled at me, pointed to her crib and shook her head no.  I contained my laughter placed her back on my shoulder, and continued to rock.  Again, she sat up, smiled, pointed at the crib and shook her head no.  This girl has spunk.

Monday, August 29, 2011

So happy together

Lucy is a bit lost without her sisters at home all day.  Especially this one.

She's just not quite herself until Ellie Eleanor (neither Lucy or I can get that one right) gets home from school.  All day, I don't dare get out of Lucy's sight, better yet, best to have slung around my side.  We've tried the park, our own backyard, playing on the floor, reading books but nothing is quite right until our Ellie gets home.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I love....

that I live with readers.  Readers of differing ability levels and interests but drop everything, can't wait another moment to get back to it readers all the same.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Honeycrisps were calling...

and we answered!  We spent a fantastic morning with Grandma and Grandpa picking apples at Eckert's. We have apples coming out of our ears and lots and lots and lots of ideas for how to use them all up!  I've already eaten 3 today....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A new year

The Baum girls are back in school!  

Dear Eleanor,
You are amazing.  Walking quietly along next to you on our way to school was one of the most delightful moments of my year.  As we waited on the kindergarten playground before school began I was so proud of you.   Rather than become overwhelmed by the cameras, the children running, playing, crying, clinging, true to your nature you sat and observed all that was happening around you, not missing a detail. When it was time to line up you hugged me tightly and with more poise then many adults posses you walked into line and became a kindergartner. 
I love you.

                   Dear Emma,
You are such a fabulous big sister.  Watching you comfort and help your sister this morning reminded me of what a great kid you are.  Second grade!  Hard to believe and yet so perfect.  This year you have your dream teacher....I did too in second grade and I still remember her with much love.  I hope and pray the same will be true for you.
                                                                   I love you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011


I'm part of a book club that meets once a month to discuss one chapter of the book we're reading.  It's non-fiction and each chapter can stand alone.  Genius!  I can commit to that.   Last month the author, Barbara Brown Taylor, suggested what it would be to answer the question "where do you want to be in life" with "right here, since this is where I am".  Clearly not all of life can be lived in such a simple way, plans must be made, goals set, items crossed off the list.  But to be firmly grounded in what is today to embrace that beauty, I've come to believe that is where the joy in life lies.
8.9.11 came and our baby girl turned 1.  What a gift she is, truly Heaven sent.  Over the last year I've seen her sisters become caretakers, patient in ways I was unaware they were capable, loving and open, ready to help.  Confident with their place in our family, aware of our need for each one.  I've seen us all take a deep breath and "check out".   Life continued on around us but rarely did we feel the pull of it's unnecessary buzz.  A newborn baby can do that.  I'm not sad that our baby is one.  Oh, she's a fun one!  Talking, pointing, rolling merrily along.   My prayer is not to keep her little bitty, it's to keep us all "right here" embracing the now, focusing on the real life that is all around us.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer Scene 5: Wowzers!

It's the end of summer and we're lazy, lazy.  Judging by our t.v. habits over the last few days you'd think we were junkies.  The girls are obsessed with the Inspector Gadget cartoon, streaming nonstop from Netflix.  I guess I could worry, think they're watching too much.  I'm not.  I'm all for playing outside, reading, writing, using your imagination, being bored, getting unstuck and creating your summer away.  But truth be told I'm also all for relaxing and being lazy for a a few days!  While the girls are getting their fill of Gadget, Lucy and I are listening to The Hunger Games on Audible and perfecting her block destroying, and stair climbing.  Here's to a Go-Go Gadget summer!

Yikes!  I think they've just entered into a t.v. coma!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Travelogue: Chicago Summer 2011

We've been looking forward to our Chicago getaway since late May.  Top billing was given to the train ride to and from Chicago.  Oh the fun to be had, UNO, the snack car, watching the landscape blur by.   Perfect!   With giddy smiles, and tapping feet we showed up to the train station on Friday at 6:50am for our 7:05am departure.
Fast forward thirty seconds....
train's gone
left at 6:40
no such thing as 7:05 train
must wait until 3:00pm
Dad's MAD (at himself)
kids are crying
Mom has to act fast!
Fast forward thirty minutes....
tears are dried
negotiating is done
in the van
on the way
to Chicago
we'll be there soon!

The train didn't work out but the trip was a smashing success.

We ate a late lunch/early dinner at XOCO , which Kevin has been talking about for months.  I now understand why.   It is incredibly tasty.  Rarely do I think "I must know how to make this"  but I really must know how to make their ahogada sauce (never even heard of the stuff before).     Here we are slurping cold mexican chocolate mint drinks as we walked back to the hotel.  Love, love, love that memory!   And yes, Ellie is a little big to be riding around town in a stroller!   
On Saturday we took a double decker bus tour of the city.  It was very fun, except when we got off at Navy Pier.  We will never, not ever, do that again.

After the bus tour we shopped till we dropped on Michigan Avenue.  Here are two very sleepy girls riding the elevator to our room.  Once there we rented Yogi Bear, which made the girls laugh so hard I thought they'd pee their pants!  
Lucy was a fabulous travel companion.  If you look very hard you can see her crib in the background.  It's in the bathroom.  There were two bathrooms in the hotel room and we used one as Lulu's bedroom.  She fell asleep at 7 each night,  so we turned on some white noise in the bathroom and she slept like a log.  Plus the kids could laugh like crazy at silly movies and not wake the baby!  

Of course asleep by 7 means up really early...especially for vacation.  Kevin and Lucy enjoyed early morning runs on our trip!
On Sunday we went to the aquarium, which is really amazing.  Then we ate our weight in Garrett's popcorn.  And probably against our better judgement (but hey!  we had the van) went to Ikea on the way out of town.

It was a quick trip but one none of us will soon forget!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer Scene 4: Hot, hot, hot

        It's 8:00 am and we're soaking wet.  Happily it's with cool sprinkler water and not sweat.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

They say it's your birthday.....

Today my baby brother turns 30 years old!  In my mind it was just yesterday when he was cruising down the block on his big wheel after partying hard at Show Biz Pizza!  I love you!

Hmmm, maybe that was just yesterday!