Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Committee of Sleep

Did you ever have a dream that you just couldn't get out of your head?  And then long after you have forgotten the specifics of the dream, the message of the dream still follows you?  No, not those typical mom-mares where you lose the baby or the baby falls in a river/off a cliff/out of a moving vehicle and you just can't save them.  I hate those dreams - ick - and they're so hard to shake the next day.  Freaky.

But no, I'm talking about other dreams.  Dreams that direct your life.  Dreams that make you go "oooooooohhhhhhh... I get it now."

Artists, poets, and scientists throughout history have relied on the "committee of sleep" to help them find inspiration and solutions.  Angels frequently appear in the dreams of biblical individuals with all kinds of messages.  There definitely seems to be something more going on at night than just rest.

Muse, thy name is Sealy.

But seriously, I had a dream last night that seemed to answer a prayer that I've been praying over and over again for many months now. 

"God, what do you want me to do?  I'm here.  I'm willing.  But I have no idea what I'm supposed to do or where I'm supposed to go.  I'm lost.  Help me find your path."

That is a very big prayer for me.  Over the last several years, I haven't felt lost very often.  I felt pretty sure of where I was going - the only question was how to get there.  Since Ivy has been born however, I felt like I lost the path and I was just wandering around in the wilderness.  Since we moved I have felt like I was LITERALLY wandering around in the wilderness (which is a much nicer feeling by the way than the other one).  But the key word here is wandering.

Then yesterday I read a book and last night I had a dream and both of them just spoke to my soul and all of a sudden I could see the path again.

Today, I'm breathing easier.

I really needed that.

Have you ever had a dream like that or a moment like that?  Tell me about it.  Or blog about it and put a link in the comments. 


Monday, March 21, 2011

A light exists in spring...

A light exists in spring

Not present on the year

At any other period.

When March is scarcely here
--Emily Dickinson
Today is the first day of spring break for Mitch.  I was trying to decide if I should get them up early and keep them on their schedule, or at least close to it.  Or should I let us all sleep in - glorious sleep? 
I decided to sleep in since the baby was sleeping in.  When I finally got up and stood at the kitchen sink getting a drink and thinking that I needed to wake the beasts, I looked out the window and this is what I saw.
Turns out they discovered last night that the ground in the sandbox was no longer frozen, so they got themselves up early because they had "work to do".  I don't blame them, there are few things more enticing than a virgin sandbox. 
I just love spring, don't you?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Two Part Harmony: A Diaper Review

I was scoping out my blogger stats and noticed that the post that was consistently getting the most views over and over was my post on cloth diapers for newborns.  So obviously we have some readers hungry for cloth diaper info.  I don't blame you, it's a wild, woolly world of cloth diapering out there with oodles of options.  And I'm taking the hint - I'll feed the beast.  Here for your fluff loving pleasure is a delightful diaper review.

NOTE:  If you're not into diapers, skip this post, I won't feel bad.  Also, if you're a diaper connoisseur then you can skip the explanations in the middle and go right to the nitty gritty towards the bottom.

ANOTHER NOTE:  I picked up some of the new diapers to try at All Things Diapers, our local diaper store (also an online store and diaper service - they are multi-talented!).  They didn't commission the review from me, but they were generous enough to offer me 10% off since they love to hear how their products work "in the field".  Thanks guys!

So, today I'm reviewing a few different two-part diapers.  Some people call them All-In-Twos, some call them All-In-Ones with a detachable soaker, some call them hybrids.  These sort of diapers don't have an official name but I think All-In-Twos, or AI2 tends to be the most commonly used so that's what we'll go with. 

A little info generally about AI2s:  The AI2 has two parts - an outer waterproof shell and an inner absorbent soaker that is not permanently attached to the outer.  The traditional AI2 has its two parts connected by a snap (or several snaps).  Some newer systems do not have the outer shell and inner soaker connected at all.  The most well known one I am thinking of is the Flip diaper.  This is an outer shell (identical to traditional diaper covers) and a fleece topped insert that just lays inside.  While this probably isn't technically an AI2, I'm still going to put it under this category because it has all the same benefits and drawbacks of an AI2.  Functionally they are pretty much the same.

Benefits:  There are 5 major benefits to AI2s over other diaper types.

1.  The basic idea of the AI2 is that if you only have a wet diaper, no poo, you can change out the soaker and reuse the shell.  So that makes AI2s more cost effective than pocket diapers or AIOs because you don't have to have as many shells. 
2.  Unlike traditional pocket diapers, you don't have to dig in a pocket to pull out the insert.  The insert is right there on top where it can easily be rinsed and washed.  Your hands stay much cleaner.  You don't even need to detach it to wash it if it's a poopy one. 
3.  AI2s have a soaker that is free floating and not fully sewn together.  Traditional AIOs with the absorbent layer that is completely sewn into the diaper tend to be a little more difficult to get completely washed, rinsed, and dried.  A soaker that is not attached on three (or four) sides "floats" in the wash cycle and gets clean (and then dried) on all sides much better. 
4.  Some AIOs have gotten around the washing problem by only sewing down one side of the soaker.  This is a great solution for washing, but long term, this isn't great for the diaper.  I have seen many well-used AIOs that employ that style and the first place to give on them is always the stitching on the sewn in soaker.  Holes develop as the floating soaker is tugged on in the wash and dry cycles.  AI2s have a soaker that is either unattached or attached by a snap so holes don't develop as easily in those.
5.  Unlike a fitted paired with a cover, you don't have to put two separate pieces on the baby.  They go on together in one fluid (haha) motion.

Drawbacks:  AI2 diapers are great, but they do have one major drawback.  Because the inner soaker is just laying in the cover and isn't wrapped around and attached to the baby (like a fitted or a snappi'd prefold), if baby poos, poo is getting on the cover - for sure.  Maybe even out of the cover too.  So while you can change out inserts and keep the same cover when your baby pees, you will definitely need a new shell for each poo.  If your child is a once-a-day kind of kid, that might be fine.  If your child is a million-times-a-day kid (like it seems mine is), then you might find yourself wishing for the extra protection the elastic legs on a fitted diaper can provide.  With a stouter diaper to keep the poo in, you would be able to use those covers more often.

Another drawback, but more minor, is that you don't have the option to use the inner without the shell.  Some people never have a desire to do this, but many find that using a fitted or prefold minus the shell makes a useful tool for potty training.

The Diapers:

CuteyBaby Basics - I was astounded to hear that there were bonafide cloth diapers available at our local chain grocery store, but when I went to investigate, there they were.  Right next to the Pampers and bottles.  Kudos to you Cub Foods!  I haven't been a huge CuteyBaby fan in the past, but this was a slightly different iteration of the diaper and I just couldn't get over their mad marketing skills so I had to get one.

SoftBums Echo - This brand is a local favorite.

Flip - If you haven't heard of the Flip then you've probably been living under a rock (or a Huggies).  I definitely needed to include this popular option.

Bummis Super Whisper Wrap and Green Mountain Diapers - Since the Flip is basically just a rectangle of fabric and a cover I thought I'd also toss the diaper hack version into the mix.

GroVia -  This is another pretty popular AI2 option.

So, we'll go through each diaper individually so I don't lose you jumping back and forth.  I'll tell you my initial reaction and also give the diaper a "star" rating in each of 3 categories - functionality, fit, and price.

Note:  I am basing the price rating on a dozen diaper changes.  It is hard to fairly compare price on a single diaper because the different diapers offer different pricing options and you always get the best deal when you buy more than one.  Some of the diapers don't even offer a "single diaper change" purchasing option.  I'm also basing the price on the standard cotton or microfiber options.  Most brands can also be purchased in organic fabrics but that costs extra.  The exception is the Grovia which only comes in organic.

CuteyBaby Basics:  I didn't have super high hopes for this diaper based on my previous experience with their AIO, but since they were available in my local supermarket (score!) I decided to give them another try.  I was glad to see that the velcro was firmly sewed on to the diaper this time.  When I first put this on I was impressed by how stretchy and soft it was but was also kind of taken aback by how poofy and droopy it was.  It reminded me of a pillow strapped to her butt.

Functionality - (3 stars)*** - Unfortunately while there were great aspects to this diaper, I could only give it 3 stars for functionality.  It was a great daytime diaper but under more arduous circumstances (if I forgot to change right after nap) it got a little damp around the leg holes.  Also this was the only diaper to actually fall off during nakey baby playtime.  The hook and loop fastener they used wasn't very strong.  With clothes on over it and with regular changes, it worked fine though.  My thoughts?  The soft cotton outer that they have on it has wicking tendencies that you don't see with covers that have a polyester outer.  Minky diapers are prone to this too I've noticed.  One thing that kept it from getting 1 or 2 stars though, is its superior poop holding power.  The internal elastic makes a poo pocket that is hard to beat.  BM never got anywhere close to leaking out of this one.  The poo pocket did make it a little harder to rinse, but I'd rather put a little more effort into rinsing a poopy diaper than rinsing out poopy clothes or car seats or carpet.  While this is a poo grabber, you can't reuse the cover after a poo.  After a pee though, it dries out quickly and smell-free for reuse.

Fit - (3 stars)*** - Again, we have a mixed bag here.  On the plus side, the hip velcro is genius.  Drooping wings are always a big problem if you have a skinny waisted kid but with the hip velcro, the wings stay up where they belong.  Where they dropped the ball with skinny kids though is the tabs.  There is no crossover velcro so while I was able to make it work by tightening them all the way, I would have liked the extra room that some crossover elastic would provide.  The fit around the legs and waist was good, no gaps.  Another problem though was the trimness.  This is not a trim diaper.  "Pillow" is a word that comes quickly to mind.  Soft and squishy, but poofy and saggy.  A size down may have been helpful, but there are only two sizes and the smaller size was much too small.  So the sizing makes getting a good fit tricky.  Where they really excel is comfort.  This diaper really is very comfortable.  The cover is lined with soft fleece, the elastic is very stretchy and forgiving, a very comfy diaper. 

Price - (4 stars)**** - $100 to $150 for a dozen diaper changes

Softbums Echo:  At first look, this diaper looked intimidating.  I wasn't quite sure how that huge snake of a soaker was going to fit into that little cover.  One little fold under though and it fit like a glove.  It was one of the trimmest options of the bunch.  I also liked the crossover velcro and had to use it on my 9 month old because she's pretty trim herself.  My husband though, was too overwhelmed at the thought of what to do with that super long soaker so he ended up just taking it out and putting a Flip disposable insert in the cover instead.  He's kind of a cloth diaper chicken - he doesn't like to stray outside his comfort zone (velcro AIO or Flip style cover/insert arrangement)

Functionality - (4 stars)**** - No leaks, plenty of absorbency, and the one-size gadget worked perfectly to adjust the size.  The cover, despite the fleecy inner, seemed to dry out quickly with no residual smell so that it could be reused throughout the day.  The only reason it doesn't get five stars is because the flat soaker doesn't do anything to contain poop, so unless it is just a teeny tiny poo, you are going to have to change the cover with each BM.

Fit - (5 stars)***** - With the one-size elastic in the legs and the crossover velcro at the waist, it was no problem to get the perfect fit.  Also the extra trim cut between the legs made for a nice looking diaper and a very mobile baby.  Despite the trim cut, there was still plenty of butt cheek coverage.  The fleecy inner on the cover seemed like it would be very comfy where it touched baby's skin.

Price - (4 stars)**** - $100 to $150 for a dozen diaper changes

Flip:  The Flip looked easy enough and it was.  It is one of my husband's more preferred diapers because of how easy and straighforward it is.  Nothing fancy or confusing.  I wasn't too keen on the plasticy interior of the cover though which was in contact with the skin on baby's hips.  And while the concept was easy, because the insert wasn't snapped onto the cover, when my babe was feeling wiggly, sometimes the insert fell out of the cover while I was trying to wrestle it on her and I had to reposition it and start over (because by the time I repositioned it she had crawled away at top speed!).

Functionality - (4 stars)**** - Works like a dream, whether with the reusable or the disposable innards.  Never a leak.  Only wish the insert had some way of containing poo so I could reuse the cover after a poo.  The plasticy interior makes it easy to reuse this cover quickly.  If it's the only cover you have you can even wipe the cover dry and reuse it immediately - no waiting for fabric to dry.  Also this one is super simple to rinse off.  I found myself wishing for an insert that snapped in though because it was trickier to put on my wiggly baby with an insert that could be kicked or wriggled out of position.

Fit - (4 stars)**** - The one-size snaps work great for adjusting, the waist gets very small and very large, it really works great. Trim and not saggy at all, this diaper looks beautiful when worn.  The only thing I didn't like was the plastic that was touching my baby's hips, but when you give that up in comfort, you gain more functionality (you can wipe it out).

Price - (5 stars)**** - Under $100 for a dozen diaper changes

Bummis and Green Mountain Diapers:  This is an alternative to the Flip diaper.  Really you can do this with any prefold and cover, but the ones I had on hand were yellow-edged Green Mountain prefolds and a Bummis Super Whisper Wrap in a very cute new print.  I like the versatility that this option provides me versus the Flip.  With a prefold I can roll up the sides to make a poo barrier or I can just fold it into third so it is just like a Flip insert.  Depending on what covers you use, this can be a lot cheaper than other AI2 options.  Other than that though, my opinons on this one are almost identical to the Flip.

Functionality - (4 stars)**** - Like the Flip, wish the insert could snap in.  Also like the Flip, great functionality - no leaks.  I like that I can roll up the prefold if I want to make poo barriers.

Fit - (3 stars)*** - This particular combo - the Bummis and a prefold - is a bit poofy.  Bummis are known for being a more generous cut.  Not excessively so though.  Good fit around the waist, legs, butt.  I like that the Bummis cover had a polyester inner lining so it was softer on baby's hips where the insert didn't cover.  I think for a five star fit, you would need to go with a trimmer cover for this combo.

Price - (5 stars)***** - Under $100 for a dozen diaper changes

Grovia:  The Grovia is one I have been using for a long time because it was one of the one-size diapers I owned that actually fit my newborn right from the start.  Lately though, she is starting to grow out of it, so I guess it's not a true birth-to-potty option.  One thing that strikes me with this diaper is how gentle the velcro at the waistband is - not too scratchy or stiff.

Functionality - (5 stars)***** - No leaks with this one.  Plenty of absorbency.  The elastic on the edges of the insert give it the ability to keep some (but not all) poos off of the cover.  So at least that way you have a fighting chance of not changing the cover after each and every poo.  The insert snaps into the diaper at the front and the back so it stays firmly in place.  The one-size snaps are your typical front configuration and work just fine.

Fit - (4 stars)**** - A fabulous fit!  The infinite crossover velcro waist means this will be able to get snug on the tiniest of waists.  It is nice and trim throughout the legs too.  The inside of the cover is lined with a soft mesh so plastic doesn't touch skin.  The only downfall here is that the diaper is on the small side so while it will fit a newborn, it won't last as long as some other one-size options will.  The rise on it, fully unsnapped, is on the short side and is what is going to be outgrown first.

Price - (3 stars)*** - $150 to $200 for a dozen diaper changes

WHEW!  That's a lot of info, I hope I didn't overwhelm you (I probably did).

The final word:  All the options were great, and I think all were fairly priced.  None were outrageously expensive.  The cover and prefold was a great economical option.  Most of the options were very functional.  I was pretty disappointed by the CuteyBaby though for function.  It's hard to pick a favorite overall.  I think all of them, except the CuteyBaby, will be in my regular stash rotation from now on.  Good stuff.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The First Signs of Spring

The weatherman said that four of the next five days are going to be above 50 degrees.  Could it really be spring?  As I walked around the yard this morning, I heard a goose honking and I saw the telltale sign that spring is finally here. 

Nope, not a robin.

Not a crocus.


Monday, March 14, 2011

And Now, a Word from Hollywood

I love birthdays.  I love parties.  I love planning birthday parties.  Sooo much fun!

But I've been off my game lately.  Between the new baby and moving, this has not been a shining year for parties for me.  Mostly we've been just doing sleepovers and family stuff.  We celebrated Henry's party yesterday with a movie and Chuck E. Cheese's for the family.

As I sat in the darkened theater, watching hippie Martians hug, it occurred to me that Hollywood these days seems a bit heavy handed with their morals and messages.  Has it always been this way?  It seems to me that this is a more recent phenomenon.  Or at least maybe in past years they've been more subtle about it.

We were watching Mars Needs Moms.  It was a decent little flick.  Cute, made me cry, and pretty squeaky clean as far as language, violence, and sex goes.  A PG movie like you'd like to expect PG movies to be.

But whoooeeee was it propaganda!  Not bad propaganda necessarily since it was a message I didn't mind my kids hearing, but it definitely wasn't subtle.  It was the conservative's version of Artic Tale or Walle.

The general premise is that years ago Mars started tossing their males on the trash heap (literally) because they are "dumber than a box of rocks".  Males raise the male babies down in hippie-love trashland and females run the world and have the female babies raised by nannybots in a very strict, technologically advanced, and militarized society.

The moral?  Guys are good for something, love your mom, and the two parent family is best.

I can get wholeheartedly behind the first two, but cramming that third one down people's throats rubs me the wrong way.  I mean, we're a two parent family.  I like two parents families, I'm all for them.

But while I'm pro-two-parent-family, I'm not anti-single-parent either.  Everybody's gotta do what they gotta do.  Sometimes maybe the guy does need to be tossed on the trash heap, especially if he's tripping on psychedelic drugs.  And where does that leave mom?  Well she has no choice but to go to work in the Martian army and leave her offspring in the care of nannybots.

Just sayin'.

And while I was pondering the additional pro-graffiti message of Mars Needs Moms, it reminded me of Weeds.

No, the hippie monkey men of Mars weren't smoking MJ, but I've been watching episodes of Weeds for the first time lately and I was also surprised at how heavy handed that show is too.

I'm not talking about the pro-marijuana legalization message, because that's actually one thing that I don't really see in that show.  No hardcore "weed rocks" messages there.

But what Weeds seems to be doing is trying to gather together a more degenerate audience (you know, the type that would be attracted to a show called "Weeds") and help them along the road to educated and enlightened middle class.

For example, the multigenerational, black, drug-dealing family is very up on their modern parenting skills.  The new baby is worn in a sling and breastfed.  The new mama sends Conrad out for a breastpump and then sends him BACK when he brings home the wrong one.

Tell me guys, which do you think is worse, buying tampons or buying a breastpump?  I felt bad for the guy, but was impressed at the pro-breastfeeding message woven into the story.

It was after this particular episode that I started to notice that Weeds seemed to be full of these little "The More You Know" type moments.

Heylia warns against being too germ-phobic with the new baby.  We get mini history lessons on Noriega and several other topics throughout season 1 and 2.  The list goes on.  And I'm not even to season 3 yet (still waiting on that one - I requested it from the library - gotta love MNLink!)

Again with this one, I like the messages, but they stick out like a sore thumb!  We're smarter than that, Hollywood!  If you want us to take our pill you are going to have to hide it deeper in that spoonful of ice cream.

Have you noticed any particularly blatant propaganda-ing in your recreational media these days?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Barbie is my Role Model

I started out this whole mothering thing getting broken in by two boys.  While we certainly have had our trials, toys for them has been pretty easy.  Try to avoid too much senseless violence (no toy Glocks) and you're pretty much good to go.  They love blocks, cars, dress up, legos, all that stuff.  And I'm happy with their choice in toys too.  Very much focused on machines and building and adventuring.  Good stuff.

Now that my oldest daughter is starting to have definite toy preferences though, it is getting to be a trickier game.  The oversexualization and princessifying of girls is a real sticky wicket for me.  Vi is a total girl.  The kind of girl I never was and have rarely met in real life.  She's very affectionate, likes to clean, shop, loves to dress pretty and wraps people around her little finger with her big blue eyes any chance she gets.  A blonde bombshell who revels in pink and glitter.  She would make a perfect trophy wife some day.  Or a sexy zoologist.  Or professional wrestler.  Don't get me wrong, she's got brains and muscles too, but she seems to have a definite knack for girly things that has been with her since the day she was born.  And she definitely didn't get it from her football and hockey playing mama.  I am no girly girl for sure.

When we peruse the garage sale toy boxes she inevitably ends up begging for some sparkly monstrosity or stuffed animal.  Which is fine.  Sparkles are fun.  I like furry animals.

But as she gets older, her attention is turning more and more to fashion dolls.  She is a little fashionista for sure.  If you take her shopping and ask her what she wants to look at, you would expect a four year old to say "Toys!".  Oh no, not this one.  She wants to look at shoes or clothes every time.

It's kind of fascinating for me actually.  I was never that type and I guess I just imagined that while yes, my children would be their own individual souls, they would probably be kind of like me.  Hahahahahaha.  I just can't get over her some days.  It's very interesting watching a whole other kind of creature come into being.

But anyways, so I end up pretty torn about dolls.  I always kind of considered Barbie the Great White Satan personally.  But as I look at the choices that are out there for dolls and girls toys, I'm really rethinking my stance on Barbie.

I mean, yes, she has a ridiculous body shape.  There's no getting around that.  It's absurd.  But past that, she's a pretty rockin' chick.

I mean, there are worse dolls out there for sure.

Bratz are a hot item.  But how do they fare as role models?  They are teen girls who are obsessed with fashion.  Fair enough.  Nothing particularly wrong or out of the ordinary with that.  I'd prefer if they were obsessed with science experiments and community service, but hey, I can deal.  Their fashion, however, leaves something to be desired.  It's pretty stripperific.  Some of their signature items are midriff baring tops and skirts so short that they put their lady-flowers on display.  Both of these items are not only against our house rules, but they are also against the dress code of most of the schools in the area.  And these are supposed to be school girls.  Like Barbie, their bodies are pretty unrealistic, but they take it in a pretty freaky direction with giant heads and lips that have definitely undergone a series of collagen injections by the ripe old age of 16.

So, I'm not a big fan of Bratz.  In fact, they aren't allowed in our house.  Period.  Ick.

On the other end of the spectrum we have the Fulla doll.  Have you heard of this one?  The Fulla doll is supposed to be like Barbie for Muslims. She is the epitome of a good Muslim woman.  She always wears her hijab when she leaves the house and her life is focused around family.  She is very modest, so no issues there.  I like her style and I had no idea a headscarf could be so fashionable!  However, she seems a little too one-dimensional as a role model.  She loves fashion, her family, music, and sports, but has no aspirations outside of the home.  They don't have astronaut Fulla and president Fulla to say the least.  Though she does come with a kickin' pink prayer mat.  I like a doll who is not afraid to show her faith.  So I wouldn't mind a Fulla doll around here, but they don't sell them at Minnesota Walmarts (but maybe at Egyptian Walmarts?  Does Egypt have Walmarts?).  And like I said, a little too one-dimensional for my taste.

So let's bring it back to Barbie.  She's as American as apple pie (you decide if that's a good or a bad thing).  She is definitely a fashion queen, but then again that's what Vi likes about her.  But she's more than that.  I had no idea how much more until I looked it up.  Of course she's been in touch with her stereotypical feminine side as a ballerina, babysitter, model, and cheerleader (yuck).  But she's also been a surgeon, special education teacher, paratrooper, UNICEF summit diplomat, firefighter, paleontologist, NASCAR driver, rockstar, bus driver, news anchor, clothing designer, and Starfleet officer.  Barbie has ambition and chutzpah, but also cares for others.  And Barbie graduates every single year.

Not only that, but she managed not to get pregnant until Ken "put a ring on it" despite his irresistable advances.  That is a feat not just anyone can manage.  And while she did have a c-section, she had an old old old school (medieval school) all-natural c-section with no drugs (at least there was none in the pregnant Barbie package I saw).  Props to you Barbie, props to you.

So, as I've grown, Barbie has grown on me too.  She's got balls, she's artsy, she's got a brain, a family, lots of friends, and a rockin' bod.  Barbie, I'm sorry I was so bitchy at you for all those years.  I was just hating you because you were beautiful.  You have my respect and admiration now.  And I would be proud to have you in my house for my daughter to dress and my sons to rip your head off and march around the livingroom chanting "Sac-ri-fice! Sac-ri-fice!".  Yeah.  Sorry about that.  Boys will be boys.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ebb and Flow

Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I felt like I was swimming with the current of my life.  Usually I feel like a spawning salmon, struggling and struggling to make any headway upriver.  But yesterday was a decidedly good day.

Nothing earthshaking happened, nothing magical.  Mitch went to school, Dusty went to work, the rest of us went to the library and then just chilled.  But in a way it was a magical day.  Everything just clicked.  I felt like I was getting a peek into the secret garden that normal people live in.  It was all duckies and bunnies, sunshine and rainbows.

But seriously, it was great.  We got up, everyone ate breakfast without whining, and somehow the kids all ended up in coordinating outfits (not purposeful but very cute).  Mitch went to school and we hung out at my uncle's coffee shop and did kindergarten lessons with Henry while waiting for the library to open.  The kids were well behaved, the baked goods were delicious.  We got books and "Weeds: Season 2" from the library and then came home.  I made lunch and did laundry.  I watched Weeds and snuggled the babe in for a nap while the middles made an elaborate setup with the Geotrax up in the playroom.  When the baby was sound asleep we read a bunch of our new library books.  After that, we did some painting, got Mitchell, and did even more painting and train play.

After an uneventful dinner and the dinner dishes done, I took Mitchell to Cub Scouts.  While he was there I went back to the coffee shop to work on some blog posts I have in the hopper.  The evening ended with a few heartfelt tears remedied by some special father-son time for Mitch.  For me, another episode of Weeds for me, followed by snuggling.

See?  Nothing fabulous.  Normal stuff.  Which for us, is fabulous.

There was peace, there was balance, there was marital teamwork.  There was art, there was reading. Thank you God for this soul filling day.  It made me feel like we might actually have the capacity in us somewhere for a normal life.  Or at least as close to normal as I care to be.  And that is a great feeling.

How has your week been?  Any highs you'd like to share?  Lows?  I'm listening...
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