A Work in Progress (Cheers to One Year)


Our baby girl is one.

All I can say is that we truly just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and somehow we've made it a whole year. More often than not it's felt like we are barely keeping our heads above water, and this particular birthday feels like a celebration of our entire family. WE MADE IT. Not to sound dramatic, but sometimes I wasn't sure.

Four kids is... a lot. I've said for eight years now that the first year after having R and going back to work was the hardest year of my life, but this past year might have passed it as the hardest. They are at least tied, I think.

I'm pretty sure I had (have?) postpartum depression. My hormones have been absolutely bananas this year, and then I started my period a few months ago and have been SO MUCH FUN. Like, just the most chill non-angry person ever for about a week every month. Be my friend.

This year we have also been going through some psychological testing with J for a behavioral issue we've suspected for several years now. That's all I will say about that--not because it's a secret, but because I don't want to share too much about him or his difficulties in an online space. But it's been incredibly challenging to have what feels essentially like a special needs child while trying our best to parent our other two "big kids" and keep a crawling baby from choking on Legos. And have full-time jobs and feed everyone and keep at least our kitchen semi-picked up and not stress too much about how expensive fruit is and and and...

We've struggled a lot this year with our marriage, partly because we don't always agree about how to handle the kids and partly because we are both crazy stubborn and polar opposites when it comes to how we communicate. A few months ago we realized that we really needed to actively try to get back on the same page, and so we decided to revisit something we'd done way back at the beginning of our marriage. 

The first year we got married, we read the book Love and Respect together. We read one chapter a week and spent an hour or so one evening each week discussing the chapter together. It took us 6 months to read it, and we found it so helpful. We are currently reading the book again, a chapter a week and discussion on Sunday evenings. It's been twelve years since we read it last, and I know because I'd written down the dates in the front of the book. It's a very practical, helpful book that I would definitely recommend. It does approach marriage from a traditional, Christian worldview, just FYI.

I'm so thankful for so many things, and I try not to take for granted that we have four healthy, wonderful children. But it's been so hard. Maybe it wouldn't be if Jordan and I were more chill, or our kids were more chill. Maybe if we had a house large enough where no one had to share rooms, or our backyard was big enough for J to be able to kick balls as high or as hard as he wanted and they would never go over the neighbor's fence. 

I've had a hard time this year not feeling like everyone else's life was easier than mine, and I've taken a lot of social media breaks because it was too much seeing pictures of other people's kids playing nicely together or smiling families on vacation or someone's "slow morning" enjoying a homemade foam thing they film themselves pouring into the shape of a flower before their kids wake up. I mean do I have the only children on the planet who don't nap, go full speed all day, take forever to go to sleep, and then wake up at 6am ready to do it all again???? Don't answer that.

We are still very much in the process of exploring a diagnosis for J and trying to better our marriage. We fish Legos and dried up old peas out of G's mouth multiple times a day. We can't figure out how to get F to go to bed and stay there. Yes, we've tried an "ok to wake clock." He cares about it zero percent. And I haven't mentioned R yet, but let's just say I didn't expect 8-year-olds to give me the kind of attitude I expect from a 13-year-old so that's a fun surprise.

Long story short, we are a work in progress. And this past year felt. like. work.

So happy one year, Jordan. We did it. I'm so proud of us.

And happy birthday to you, G. You're one! You're adorable and funny and kind of a superstar everywhere you go for your joyful attitude and sweet smile. You love love love to eat. You only use a paci for naps and bedtime. You go to sleep easily and sleep all night. We made it a whole year of breastfeeding! You crawl everywhere and get into everything. Your favorite room to go in is the hall bathroom. We think you are trying to say some words and will miss your adorable baby babble. You love baths, love your siblings and dad, and most of all love your mama.

I truly believe that you were the bright light we needed to get us through. Jesus picked you just for our family, and I've been thankful every day of the last 365.

Parenting Milestones No One Talks About


I love going to baby showers. The anticipation and excitement of celebrating a new baby is really fun, and I love seeing all the cute clothes and fun toys people buy. 

Especially for new parents, there are a lot of unknowns. I specifically remember a conversation with my mom about what a baby wears to sleep. I had no idea if they slept in a onesie and pants, in just a sleeper... should their feet be covered? Should they wear fleece? Long sleeves? A sleep sack? Swaddle? I legitimately did not know what babies wore to go to sleep!

Thankfully, you learn as you go, and hopefully a new parent has family and friends available to call for helpful advice. Everyone talks about what to do with a baby, but once you get out of the newborn stage, there are several delightful parenting milestones no one tells you about.

Losing Teeth

Yes, we've all heard of teething--those months of babies crying because their teeth are trying to cut through their gums. But let's talk about preschoolers losing teeth. It's a really fun six-month period of time involving a lot of blood and crying.

One minute, your six-year-old is casually eating a McDonald's chicken nugget, and the next minute they're screaming with blood dripping down their face. You don't know if they accidentally stabbed themselves in the cheek with their claw fingernail you forgot yet again to trim or if they bit their lip.

Neither of those, in fact. Their tooth fell out, possibly swallowed because we can't find it. This is a true story.

We've had a loose tooth pulled out at a dentist visit, lost a tooth in the car, at school, and one time R came out holding a tooth and said she pulled it out herself. At one point it felt like we were always either dealing with a new hole, a bloody wiggly tooth, or a tooth that was just starting to be wiggly.

R was certainly less phased the longer this went on, but the first half of the tooth-losing stage was not only traumatic for her, it was traumatic for us! The teeth get so wiggly they are basically hanging on by a single thread, but somehow they are still very much attached. I'll tell you from experience, they are hard to pull out and they bleed a lot! They're also just freaky looking when it's turned halfway to the side.

J hasn't lost any teeth yet, but I'm honestly dreading it.


Everyone asks a new mom how their newborn is sleeping. 

Normalize asking people how their three-year-old is sleeping.
Mine is not, thanks for asking.

We recently moved F from a crib to a toddler bed to make room for G to move to the crib, and it is going about as well as this transition has gone the last two times, which is to say, amazingly not well.

If you have a child who just "stays in their bed when asked," I don't want to hear from you. F has finally decided to potty train, and he's a tricky trickster who realizes that if he comes out 85 times because "I need go pee," we can't very well tell him he can't go to the bathroom. Because MAYBE HE DOES. They've got a bladder the size of a fingernail, who am I to say no.

Except last night when I took him for the fourth time, he only stared at me while singing the ABCs.

He's basically an evil genius.

Growing Pains

Speaking of not getting sleep, once F finally does fall asleep, he is currently waking up 2-3 times a night crying that his legs and feet hurt. I fully believe him. I have a vivid memory of having growing pains as a child, and I know it hurt. So we get up and sit on the floor by his bed and rub his legs, which is the only thing that seems to help. Poor guy. AND poor us.

Everyone is all, "Aww, poor F." Yes, and let's not forget the parents! In a moment of dramatic desperation, I told Jordan, "People DIE due to lack of sleep." Why do people act like your newborn sleeping through the night is the end of the road? Let's be honest. If you have a child under the age of ten, you are most likely getting consistent sleep at night. (And if you are, I'm happy for you but also go away.)


I didn't realize how many things I didn't know until I had a preschooler. There's just so.many.questions. about everything all the time. And a lot of them are valid questions about how things are made and how they work. Apparently I'm just okay going through life as a dummy, because most of the questions end with me saying, "That's a good question. I guess I don't really know how that works." Sure, I could look it up or come back to it later, but I forget half the time. 

Also, have you ever realized how hard things are to explain? Even when I think, okay yes I DO know that, I still sputter around when trying to actually explain it. No wonder we all thought our parents were idiots. Obviously as an adult I realize my parents know actually everything, but I didn't fully appreciate this at the time.

The fun part of questions, through, is when they ask logical but hilarious questions. Example: I was talking to J recently about smoking and how it turns your lungs black. He thinks for a minute and then says, "Does sugar turn your lungs white?" No, but what a great question! I love how their little minds work.

One of my favorite quotes from J was when we were doing some family questions from a little Q&A game I'd bought my mother-in-law for Christmas.

Someone asked, "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"
J immediately said: In the mirror.

There's a lot more fun stuff, like catching vomit in your hands, wiping poop off carpet, and just in general becoming a super parent with a sixth sense for impending doom. Parenting is wild!

But I guess now that I'm thinking about it, maybe it's best we don't share all of this with parents of newborns. Stick to the easy stuff like what a baby wears to bed and silicone teething rings.

It's all fun and games until someone's tooth starts falling out.

Back to Daycare


I feel like I would be completely remiss if I didn't write about going back to work and putting my last baby in daycare. I assume the only people reading the blog at this point are those who have been around for a while, and so you will probably remember The Year of Angst, also known as The Year of Me Writing Dramatic Blog Posts about Being a Working Mom.

I have always felt a little silly calling 2016 a traumatic year. Nothing that anyone would call horrible happened to me. I went back to work full time and my first baby went to daycare. That was it. People do it all the time. And yet, it was one of the most difficult years of my life--a year that impacted the way I view motherhood, the way I view work, and the overall way I think about the decisions we all make for our families.

R started daycare January 4, 2016, and in a completely full-circle moment, G started daycare January 4, 2023. The Lord has truly been gracious to me, and over the past 3 months I have seen an answer to the prayers I prayed 7 years ago. Prayers for peace, prayers that my kids would be okay at daycare, prayers that I would find a rhythm and routine.

Confession: I can't read the posts I wrote about working and breastfeeding and daycare all those years ago. I mean, I will at some point. I don't want to completely delete them. But I feel like I was so super dramatic about everything, and they're a little embarrassing, to be honest. When I think about 2016 I just remember crying constantly. Going back to work and leaving my baby was the hardest thing I'd ever done.

I wish I could go back and tell myself so many things--how amazing our daycare is. How much the kids have loved it, and how much they've learned. How much I still enjoy my work, and that one day I really will get to work from home like I keep wishing I could.

January 4, 2023, I dropped my last baby off at daycare. With a sweet teacher named Melissa, who used to be one of R's teachers when she was a little baby too. I got in the car to drive back home and cried. But it wasn't the angst-ridden, devastated cry of the me from 2016.

The same things have been hard with all of my babies. The new routine, coming home so tired because they couldn't nap well, getting sick constantly from exposure to others. I've filled out the same "Baby's First Day" paper four times, and cried four times. The last question "What else do you want them to know?" gets me every time. They gave me 3 lines, and I'm overwhelmed.

You're only a few months old. You just got here. And yet, it's just not enough space to write all I know about you, sweet baby.

I'm so incredibly thankful to be past that first daycare drop-off experience, which was so--yes, I'll say it--traumatic for me in so many ways. But I'm also thankful to have had that experience, because it really has changed so many things about the way I view motherhood and the way I hope to be an encouragement to others. 

I guess the point of all of this is, for anyone who read my angsty posts back in the day, or for anyone who may yet stumble upon them, it all turned out okay. And I also don't want to give myself any pats on the back, because although yes, I did something hard, it was God who guided me through and God who has answered my prayers for peace. 

Working full time is not going to be the choice for everyone, and daycare is not going to be the choice for everyone. That's okay. But you CAN make that choice and be a good mom.
A full-freaking-time mom (soap box for another dayyyyy dontgetmestarted). 

And your baby will still love you the most.
And yes, you're still raising them.
And no, you won't miss all the milestones.
And yes, it's hard.

And you will be okay.
I am.

I wish I could go back and tell her that she will be too.