Deck the Halls

There’s something about the holiday season that just makes me happy. It’s weird. It’s like I can smell the cheer and good will in the air or something.

Since the turkey has been properly respected, we dragged out our decorations yesterday and hunted down the perfect tree from the garden center at Lowe’s and trimmed it during Emma’s nap time. And then we spent approximately the next however many hours there are between when she woke up yesterday and when we’ll untrim it and remove it from the house after Christmas telling her not to touch it and redirecting her away from it.

Yes, I’m speaking of future events as if they’ve already happened. Because that’s what’s going to happen.

But our house is a little more cheery now despite the chaos and I love it. I understand why people leave their tree up all the time. Pretty trees and the tiny lights and the memories behind the ornaments just bring on the happy for me. (Also they’re probably lazy, so I’m at least less lazy than the people who never take down their trees.)

I tried to take some photos of Emma with a strand of lights last night before bed. I’m determined to master this kind of shot this year, so there will no doubt be more of these in the future.

I also took some photos of a few of our ornaments and then played around with the Hiller preset I downloaded from Clickin Moms when they gave away a preset trio.

Here are a few of my shots from yesterday.









The Kind Of Mom I Wish I Was

You know when your morning starts off on the wrong foot and you’re certain the entire day is shot because of it? That happened this morning.

Joshua and Emma woke up at 6 and it was immediately clear that they had alllllllllllll the energy. (How do kids do that? How do they wake up going 90 miles an hour?) Dan and I just sort of stared at each other wide-eyed like “OMG! Whose kids are these? How!? Why? Is it too early to drink?”

And then he left for work and I was left with the two wide-open children. And no coffee. And did I mention I was running on about 4.5 hours of sleep?

Basically my morning was a breeding ground for a terrible afternoon. Sometimes I can just feel those days coming. Emma and I went about our day, going to her 18 month check-up, putting her down for a nap, working, and then we went to get Joshua.

From the minute I picked him up from school I could tell he was tired. Overtired. I probably knew he was overtired even before I dropped him off this morning because of all of the bouncing off the walls he was doing.

He was due for a check-up with the orthopedist to take his cast off, so we made the drive to the office, in afternoon school traffic, running late. A recipe for my anxiety which is already not in a great place.

For days he’s been saying he doesn’t want them to take his cast off because he’s old enough to remember the pain he was in the night he broke his arm. He’s scared of it. I can’t blame him. I would be scared, too.

But they took his cast off anyway, and he doesn’t understand that his arm isn’t broken anymore. It’s sore from the fact that he hasn’t been able to use it for a month. His range of motion is wonky and everything just feels wrong for him. And, remember, he’s overtired.

We went to Target to get a “Hooray! No cast!” toy and a cake pop and came home. I started dinner, they were screaming at each other, and then he was crying. He had put weight on his arm getting onto the couch and it hurt.

I just knew that tonight required a different sort of me. All of the circumstances causing him to cry were mostly outside of any of our control and something about that brought me, I don’t know, peace? Clarity?


I hugged him and told him it was okay to cry if he was hurt or sad. It is always okay to cry. So he cried.

We kept meltdown after meltdown at bay (barely) from dinner until bath time and from bath time onward, it was pretty clear we were headed for a rough evening.

He cried because he couldn’t take his pants off. He cried because he didn’t want to get his arm wet. He cried because because because.

His poor eyes were red-rimmed from all the crying. (And the tired.)

This is the sort of thing, by the way, that often makes me want to glue a set earplugs in place permanently. The crying over every.single.thing. I’m okay with it until I’m suddenly just not okay with it anymore. There’s a slow boil that happens in my brain when it starts and it goes until my frutration just bubbles over. (I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that regard, right mamas?)

Knowing that Dan also has a limit, I tagged in for bedtime. At first Joshua cried harder and louder and I told him I was going to lay down next to him and hold him. He could cry if he needed to, but I was going to lay down and play with his hair.

He scooted over to give me some room and then scooted back over to me. Exactly like I knew he would.

He cried. He cried some more. He tried to get comfortable and hurt his arm by stretching it out too far and cried harder. I just kept holding him.

Instead of willing him to go to bed and fall asleep so I could go and do nothing at all of any importance, I slowed down and snuggled him while he cried from being tired and sore because it’s what he needed. There was nowhere else I wanted to be.

I was the kind of mom I wish I always was.

Down By The River

The kids and I took a little Labor Day road trip to visit my family down by the Georgia coast. Saturday we had a big family cookout. (So much food.) It was good to get away for a few days and see aunts and uncles and cousins we don’t see very often. It felt good to be around family since I’ve felt so alone lately.

This post is going to be word-light, picture-heavy, but I’m still recovering from three nights of no-co-sleeping with Emma and driving 5 hours and being out of our element all weekend. (And plus, Orange is the New Black on Netflix.)

Yay pictures!

I channeled my inner the grumbles to snap and edit a couple of photos of the river with my phone. This is the view from my aunt’s porch.

Coastal Georgia Riverfront, Finding Walden

I feel like a weekend where I can sit on her porch and read books and drink coffee or wine is in order. It’s so quiet and peaceful back where she lives.

Georgia Coastal Riverfront, Finding Walden

Monday morning before we left, the river was still up, so we walked down to the dock to look. Joshua wanted to see if he could see any fish and Emma goes where Joshua goes whenever she can.

We made it 17 months without a busted lip and Emma busted hers twice while we were there. It was a good run.


Joshua has decided he likes making his “normal” face for pictures. Here’s his normal face. Or maybe it’s his disappointed face from not seeing any fish. That’s possible too.


We stuck our feet in the water for a minute. It was warmer than bath water which I wasn’t expecting. Joshua and Emma didn’t seem to mind at all.



Sticking her feet in the water wasn’t enough for Emma. So we stripped her down to her diaper and dunked her in. She loved it so much I’m surprised we got her out.


I know Joshua and Emma had a great time staying with my aunt since Emma kept crawling up into her lap to snuggle and Joshua asked her to put him to bed the last night we were there. I think she enjoyed the company, too.

While I’m glad to be home and back to our normal, it’s always good to get away for a bit, you know?

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend.

31 letters 31 Weeks

In an attempt to feel sort of normal and get life closer to the track again, I sat down at our hand-me-down dining room table last Monday morning with a cup of coffee and a good pen to write and mail out 4 more letters for the #31letters31weeks “campaign.”

31 Letters, 31 Weeks, Finding Walden

I almost hate calling this a campaign because it feels like I’m asking people to do something. I write my letters and post my photos and hope people will join in with me and start mailing real letters, but I can’t make anyone do that and it won’t crush my world if no one else does it.

I mean, it will? But it won’t. I don’t know how to explain it.

I wanted to start this because I wanted to write more letters. I didn’t expect that others would really want to do this, too.

I mean, I hoped they would. But I didn’t bank on it.

And then I checked the mail this weekend to find a return letter from one of the recipients of last week’s love and realized that this thing has potential. This thing is bearing fruit.

31 letters 31 weeks, Finding Walden

What my return letter in the mail tells me, and what many of you have said on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter, is that you ARE interested in doing this which quite frankly rocks my world. I love that so many of you want to join this letter-love-bombing thing I’m doing.

Except I don’t want it to just be a back and forth between you and me. I mean, if you want in on my list, email me ( I’m happy to add people.

But what I really want is for this to be bigger than just me. Like a parent who wants more for her children than what she had/was/is. Make sense?

The trouble is I don’t exactly know how to go about accomplishing this because of privacy and the internet and people being weird.

(Not you. Or you. Maybe you. Probably not you, though.)

I would like to be able to connect people with others who want to send and receive letters. To act as a penpal conduit, if you will. But I’m kind of scared of 1) the potential scope of that and 2) the risks involved with giving out addresses to people we don’t exactly know. I mean, we know, but we don’t.


Here’s what I’ve come up with for the rules of #31letters31weeks.

“They’re more like guidelines, really.”

  • Make a list. Create a list of people to whom you want to send letters. Maybe your list will have less than 31 people on it. Maybe it will have more. Maybe it will include people you know in your real world. Maybe it will include people you know online. Just make a list.
  • Seek out addresses. Maybe you’ll DM them on Twitter. Maybe you’ll IM them on Facebook. Or gchat. (People other than me use that, right?) Explain what you’re doing. If they’re not comfortable giving you their address, it’s okay. Move down your list.
  • Send your letters with no expectation of return. When I put my letters in the mail last week, I didn’t expect to get one back. I just wanted to mail my letters to put some goodwill out there in the Universe.
  • Tell me you’re participating. Mostly just because I’m nosy and want to know who out there is hitching a letter-writing wagon to mine. 😉
  • Use the hashtag. #31letters31weeks. “But Miranda,” you say, “I’m not sending 31 letters! I’m sending 45! And I’m doing it all this week!” Okay, well, first you’re WAY more ambitious than me. Second, the hashtag unifies the campaign. That’s all.

I’m really excited that people want to do this because I think that at the very least it makes us practice our handwriting.

(I can neither confirm nor deny whether Dan and I may or may not have busted out pens and paper and compared our cursive penmanship. Recently.)

At the best #31letters31weeks lifts someone’s spirits when they need it and you may not even know it.

It’s also fun. And the world could certainly use some more of that.

So, share this post and let people know what you’re doing. Facebook it. Tweet it. Pin it. IG it. Whatever.

Let people know you’re joining in.

Make your list. Send your letters. And let’s really start something.

One More Week

Just over a year ago, I turned in my letter of resignation and embarked on this journey of SAHMomming two kids. And now here I am, with only one week left with both of them here.

If Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons, in just one more week, I’m going to be measuring mine in summers. My time to influence his life, to make the kind of impact I hope to make, feels limited.

Joshua starts preschool on Monday and despite any (all) of the rough moments we’ve had in the past year, I’m really sort of sad about it.

He’s my sidekick. My best boy.

But he’s also growing up. And this is a reminder that my time with him, all of it, is dwindling. It’s going by so quickly in that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it way that only life really can.

The past year at home has been a long one. There have been days where everything went to pieces from the minute we all woke up and I’ve counted down to bedtime while every minute that ticked by on the clock felt like an eternity. There have been a lot of days. The ones that seem like they’ll never end.

But this past year has also been so incredibly short, made up of full days that were over as quickly as they began. Those were the days filled with love and laughter and those days have been the shortest ones. Those have been the days to make this year fly past us.

It’s funny how that happens. How the good and bad moments are their own time warps, each doing different things to our days and our lives.

In the balance of good and bad days of this past year, the good days have far outweighed the bad. And somehow I feel like I haven’t done enough to convey that, probably because I’ve been too busy living those good days, you know? I’ve been caught in the moments of happiness and I find it kind of hard to write about those moments. Mostly because I want to savor them, tuck them away and keep them in my heart to be pulled out when I need them.

And they’ve seemed…ordinary. The kind of days that few want to hear about because they’re just more of the same. A wash, rinse, repeat of regularity and comfort.

But there’s magic in an ordinary day. Magic that, for Joshua and me, is evolving. Again.

Joshua and I are always finding our way. Always.

We navigate these sometimes (often) rough waters of parenting and childhood together. Always together.

Now we’ll just have to do more with less time.

He’ll go off to navigate the preschool waters, without me, and I’ll be here finding my way with Emma, watching the clock until it’s time to pick him up.

Things are always changing with us.

Acceptable Snacking

So, apparently I complain a lot and some people don’t think I like motherhood? Or staying home with my kids?

Yeah. That was news to me, too.

Parenting is a human experience,” as Jill so eloquently put it, and I was just being human.

The thing is I love this gig better than any 9 to 5 I’ve ever worked even though there is no PTO or sometimes even a potty break. The yoga pants all day thing is pretty sweet and since the only other way that’s acceptable is for me to become a fitness instructor (HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAAH!) I’ll take this thankyouverymuch.

One of the perks of this job of mine is conversations with Joshua. About everything including but not limited to: Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Star Wars (or, “Angry Birds Light Sabers”), Thomas, his Baby Emma, and why girls have vaginas and boys have penises.

This morning I was instructed in acceptable snacks.

Emma was ready for her nap and being extra cuddly. Joshua wanted me to blow raspberries (zerberts?) on her belly, but she was wearing a onesie. I was being extra playful and tickling her to hear her sweet little baby squeal-laugh. So I blew raspberries on her chunky, nommable baby thighs.

She was delighted. Joshua kept saying “do it again! DO IT AGAIN!”

So I did.

Then, I morphed into the role of Baby Toe Eater Extraordinaire.

“Oh, you guys! I’m so hungry! I’m so hungry I could eat some baby toes!!”

::om nom nom nom:: as she giggled and he stared me down.

“Oh, you guys! I’m so hungry! I’m so hungry I could munch on some baby legs!!”

::om nom nom nom:: as Emma continued to giggle, more loudly. Then Joshua decided that taking bites out of his baby sister was crossing a serious line.

He grabbed my face in his hands and lifted it up from Emma’s legs and peered into my mouth and shouted

“NO, Mama! NO! We do NOT eat BABIES! We do NOT eat baby toes! We do NOT eat baby legs!”

Not content with my lack of appropriate upsetedness at his reprimand, he continued:

“You spit it out! You spit out Emma’s toes! YOU SPIT OUT MY BABY EMMA RIGHT NOW!”

His face was so earnest and serious and I could not stop giggling. I faked spitting out the baby toes and putting them back on his sister and all was right with his world. Pretending, FTW.

So, lessons learned for Friday:

  • It’s okay to be frustrated with motherhood and it’s okay to see others be frustrated and to be seen while you’re frustrated. You’re human.
  • Baby toes are not appropriate snacks.


Saying “Yes” To Myself

One of my 31 for 31 items is to say “yes” more often. Recently, I’ve decided to start saying “yes” to myself. To make myself a priority in my own life.

I hired a nanny. For one afternoon a week.

Just one afternoon, for two or three hours, to recharge my batteries and be alone. Except in public, so not alone.

Whatever. No one’s touching me.

Until recently, like maybe just in the past couple of months, Emma has screamed any time anyone so much as looked at her. The grocery store, the doctor’s office, Target. If they looked at her, she would scream like she was being abducted by aliens who planned to do tests on her cute little baby toes. And they are adorable so I can totally see why aliens would want them.

And then I noticed that she was screaming less and looking more.

And then I noticed that when we picked Joshua up from school, she wanted to get down and run away from me.

Seriously. I would go toward her and she would turn and go in the other direction.

It was like her little baby way of saying “Hey, Mom. You know? I think you’re awesome. But so is the world. I’ve got this. Now scoot.”

So I called up a former student who had offered up her services as a sitter and basically shouted “YOU’RE HIRED!” the minute Emma didn’t scream at her.

Well, okay. No. I sort of eased Emma into it.

I had the sitter come over for a full day with me there so Emma could get used to another person in the house. And so I could clean without Emma coming behind me and destroying my work. It was glorious.

And then Dan and I went on a date and had a real meal with no children nagging us for whatever it is they would nag for at dinner. That was also glorious.

The kids love her. I love her. This is awesome.


I’m quick to put myself on the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to whose needs get met in a given day. I don’t think or believe that moms are supposed to do that, but it’s something that I’ve sort of fallen into.

I think it goes back to when I was working and felt horrible missing so much time with Joshua. I never wanted to really go and do anything on my own because I felt like I was already missing so much. I put spending time with him above spending time with me. And when Emma came along, I put spending time with her above spending time with me, too.

But that was all at the cost of my own sanity. Or, maybe not sanity. But I was suffering from some burn-out.

I love my kids. I love me, too.

Self-care is important. I’ve advised it to many a PPD mom without actually putting it into practice for myself.

Not anymore.

I’m not cheating myself out of self-care by pretending that a glass of wine while I work in the evenings is me taking care of me because it’s not an acceptable substitute for the peace and solitude that comes with being surrounded by strangers in a Starbucks.

This is what self-care looks like.

self care at Starbucks

In Vacant Or In Pensive Mood

We’re not really yard-y people around here. We like things low maintenance. I suspect that if it weren’t cost-prohibitive to have artificial grass installed we would’ve done it already so that there wouldn’t even be a need to mow the yard.

I have places where I could grow flowers if I could grow flowers. I can keep children alive and I basically shouldn’t push my luck, so even though I would like to have a prettier exterior, it’s just not something I’ve been able to bring myself to do.

But that doesn’t mean there are no flowers in my yard. In fact, one of the undisclosed pieces of information about this house when we bought it is that in January, there are tiny patches of Daffodils that shoot up all over the place throughout the yard at random. (And tulips!!)


These daffodils make me think of one of my favorite English professors from college, a woman whom I’m quite certain has no idea the impact she had on my life.

It was fall semester.  A course in Romantic Literature to the present day. She was quirky. I liked her instantly.

I was eager to listen to her tell stories of her life. Stories about spending time in a castle in Europe. About how her daddy had been a small town judge. Her drawl tinged with hints of Scarlett O’Hara.

But then she talked Wordsworth and Coleridge and for the first time in my life, I understood the beauty of poetry. No longer was it a product of form and function.

I was an eager participant in lectures. I poured my heart into my assignments. I fervently sought her praise because I respected her so greatly.

And then one day she passed back a paper and I saw it. A frowning face. With tears. Odd for a college paper, yes, but not unlike her.

My heart sank.

I felt the churning of indignation in my stomach as I sat through the remainder of class and pondered what I would say to her when I asked her what I’d done wrong.

After everyone left, she noticed I was still sitting in my desk. She asked if something was the matter and the words spilled out of my mouth.

I didn’t understand how she could rate something so poorly that I esteemed so highly. That I felt to be some of my best work.

If I couldn’t manage to understand her assignment and sufficiently produce the work she required, would I ever be enough? A leap for the current situation, but existential crises rarely make much in the way of sense.

She stared at me the whole time I word vomited and then said something like “That is not what I meant. That is not it at all.”

We looked at the paper again and she said that my words, my ideas, had moved her to tears. Had rendered her speechless.

It was the first time since high school that my words had been validated by someone else. That I had been made to feel as though my thoughts mattered.

That moment changed me.

From then we became friends, my professor and I. We met for coffee to discuss the Romantics, poring over Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey. Like our own two-person Dead Poets Society.

As I continued through college what was once a friendship turned into Christmas cards, hers always with funny cat pictures. And then one year we didn’t exchange cards and I moved away. But I haven’t forgotten the lessons she taught. The way she brought poetry to life. The way her words inspired me.

And any time I do start to forget, the daffodils bloom and I remember.


For Grace.

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay: 
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

–William Wordsworth, 1804

Sunday Funday

The flu infected us last week. So, almost two weeks ago now? Sunday night Joshua just seemed…puny. Lethargic, fevered, glassy eyed. And he didn’t fight to go to bed. Something was clearly wrong with him.

We spent the whole week cooped up in the house getting him well and trying to keep everyone else from getting sick, so when he was finally feeling better last weekend, we busted out.

I think I could’ve taken him just about anywhere that wasn’t our living room and it would’ve been as exciting as Disney. But he asked for the playground so that’s where we went.

While he ran around with Dan burning off the energy he’d built up while recuperating, Emma let me practice with the camera.

(She’s so kind. Really. And slower than him which makes taking some photos easier.)


<3. <3. <3. Kissed and hugs.


Blue gummy candies stain skin. Baby wipes only do so much.


She seems…not amused with the camera in her face.


Oh wait! Totally amused!


This boy’s eyes.


She’s a fan of her Daddy and the swings.

Brown Eyed Girl

Yesterday I asked Joshua what he wanted to do after his nap.

“I think we needa hang up Sister’s swing and push her.”

Well, okay then, kid. We can do that. So we did.

Thankfully, the weather cooperated and yesterday was another beautiful day. A little chilly when the wind blew, but warm when the sun where the sun was shining.

Emma wasn’t so sure of the swing at first, but she eventually got the hang of it. It helps that she had her brother to show her the ropes.

In her mind, Joshua hangs the moon.