The problem I can’t fix


I wish I knew what to do with this kid. I wish I knew what was truly going through his mind when it comes time to go to the bathroom. Potty training him is the biggest parenting struggle we’ve had in the last eight years. Every single tiny step in the process has turned into a monumental challenge that takes months to years to overcome. Sitting on the potty chair when he turned three was terrifying. He stayed in diapers all through preschool, despite not technically being allowed to be there while not potty trained. A solid year after we started the potty chair we spent an entire summer desperately trying to get him to sit on the real toilet so he’d be ready for 4K. It didn’t work. After many, many tears from everybody, he finally sat on the toilet IF he was sitting on a portable potty seat. With the seat he’d only use one of our bathrooms, and one bathroom at each grandma’s house. For two years we couldn’t leave the house for more than a couple of hours in case he’d need to go to the bathroom. Every extended trip, I’d take the regular potty chair along and he’d use it in the car or parking lot. Finally after his fifth birthday he used the toilet in one of our bathrooms. And only that toilet. He made it through an entire year of 4K never using the bathroom. I lived in fear that he’d start having accidents. One of my friends kept insisting it was a very real possibility that he would not be allowed to go to kindergarten if anybody knew about his problem, so we had to keep the struggle under wraps. Maybe if we had tried harder to get him more professional help last year we wouldn’t still be fighting this today, when he’s three months shy of turning six.

This last April things finally seemed to be moving forward. We took a trip to Great America and he went to the bathroom twice while we were there – on a real toilet with very little hesitation. A week or so after that we went to an out of town birthday party and he used the bathroom there. Both times with Greg or I, but he finally seemed to be getting more comfortable. And then in May we moved into our house. And everything went downhill. He was scared of the bathrooms here, he started having daily accidents, to the point where he didn’t even seem to care anymore. By the end of summer he was okay with going in our downstairs bathroom, he was okay with toilets at three grandma’s houses. I was purposely taking day trips as often as possible, not reminding him to go to the bathroom before we left, in hopes that he’d eventually give in and use toilets in other places. It never happened. He became an expert at holding it. His record is 11 hours while we were at a wedding. By the end of the night he desperately needed to go and we spent over an hour going back and forth sitting with him in public bathrooms and he just wouldn’t go. That was the most miserable two hour car ride home in all of our lives.

By the end of summer we were all feeling pretty hopeless. I guess we just assumed after all this time once school started full time for him he’d realize going to the bathroom there was just part of the deal and he’d do it. We put him in therapy right before school started. We talked to his teacher, we talked to the school nurse. We came up with many plans of action. We toured the school bathrooms with him multiple times. We had Caden check on him several times a day the first week of school to try and convince him to use the bathroom. Greg has gone to school a couple of times during the day to try and get him to go. His teacher has given him the option to use a private bathroom. We’ve tried bribing him with basically anything he could possibly want. Nothing works. Nothing.

For the longest time our end goal was for him to successfully use bathrooms on our trip to San Francisco in October. We assumed if he could do that it would break him of this problem and he’d finally be a successfully potty trained child.  We spent way too much time worrying that we were going to get there, he was going to hold it too long, and we’d spend the week sitting in a hospital with him. But amazingly, he did awesome. He used five different bathrooms. He told us when he had to go, we brought him to the closest bathroom, and he went. We rejoiced, thinking that we were finally, FINALLY in the clear. Got back home and nope. Still no going at school. Or upstairs at our house. Or anywhere else.

I think the most frustrating aspect of everything is that none of us understand WHY this has been so difficult for him. He will never talk about it or explain why he doesn’t want to go in different places. I’ve spent a lot of time feeling compassionate toward him, probably not pushing as hard as I could have because he was clearly miserable or terrified. But I’ve also had times, especially in recent months, being absolutely infuriated that we are still dealing with this after THREE YEARS. Who potty trains for three years?! Caden was potty trained right after he turned three with zero issues, zero accidents. I know every child is different. I know many people in the world struggle with much more difficult challenges. But what drives me crazy is that this is so easy to change! He can do it. But he won’t. It’s this overwhelming massive problem in our family’s lives that I have no control over. I can keep taking him to therapy, I can try to bring him into the school building every day after school when he so clearly needs to go, I can bribe him, take things away, offer incentives, anything and everything I can think of. But ultimately it’s up to him. I feel completely helpless and so, so frustrated.

Milwaukee Wave Date Night


Last night we met my brother and sister-in-law in Milwaukee for a double date night. Timmy and Brittany moved back to Wisconsin this fall after a couple of years in California. We’re really excited to to get to spend more time with them, both in family gatherings and as “couple friends,” something we’re sorely lacking! All of our siblings were still in high school when Greg and I got married and moved to Minnesota. They were all in college when we became parents. We’ve had very little opportunity to really form adult friendships with our siblings outside of also being in mom and dad mode. It’s seriously awesome when we get a chance to just be US for a night and not worry about needy and emotionally demanding kids. It’s also really awesome that Timmy and Brittany are only a little over an hour away and getting together with them more than once or twice a year is actually our new reality!


We met for dinner at Milwaukee Brat House because it was near the stadium. The restaurant was packed and loud, but the food was good! We shared this gigantic pretzel. We were getting pressed for time by the time the rest of the food came out, so I forgot to take a picture. My chicken wrap and cheese curds were delicious, though!


This was mine and Greg’s first Wave game, so we didn’t know what to expect. We’re obviously not giant soccer fans, but we’re always up for a reason to go on a date night! And surprisingly, I actually really loved the game! It was fast paced and intense and honestly a lot of fun. I’d say the majority of the spectators were children, so the boys probably would have enjoyed it too. Next time!

Anyway, it was a great little date night. I wish we had more of them because it always does wonders for our relationship to get out of the house and interact as a couple instead of just a parental unit. We’re so fortunate to have grandparents around to watch the boys when we need a night out. Thanks, Timmy and Brittany for coming up with the idea and giving us an excuse to go out!

Making it Legit

Hi, everyone! I just wanted to write a quick post to let you know that I’ve been busy working behind the scenes this week to make my blog a little more legit and professional. Goodbye cutesy blogger, hello nice and clean wordpress. I ditched the tag and am now officially the proud owner of the domain! I’m having some problems getting a lot of the photos to transfer over and need to definitely do some clean up with tags and categories. But I’m antsy to keep on writing and figured I’d give a little update on the site before I continue. I’m so excited about this new (well, continued) adventure!

No, we’re not going to try for a girl. Please stop asking.


I wish I could tell you how many times people have seen me with my kids and asked me if we are trying for a girl. It seems like the questions from total strangers have started to taper off the older my current children get, but I still have inquiries from family and friends, most of whom I’ve already vehemently told we are done. I understand the natural curiosity people have. I certainly have it too, though I try not to actually ask in fear I’m being as rude as sometimes people seem to me. But the comments and pushes I still get despite my standard answer are what bother me the most. Yesterday at the dentist, totally out of the blue, the hygienist asked me if we were going to try to have a girl. I said my standard “Nope, we’re done.” She went on to tell me that Shepard is still practically a baby and she bets I’ll change my mind someday and there’s still plenty of time to try for that girl. It didn’t seem worth responding to at the time. It’s none of her business, sure, but it also just ticked me off that she, as well as many people, couldn’t just accept that yes, yes, we are DONE.

To be honest, Greg and I always assumed we’d have a daughter. We had our daughter’s name picked out before we were married and just took it for granted that obviously she’d be part of our lives someday. With my first ultrasound there were a lot of mixed emotions and a little disappointment. With my second ultrasound, knowing we were only going to have two kids, I had a harder time. I definitely went through a little mourning period knowing our daughter would never come to be. But by the time Shepard was named in my belly, he was the absolute best final addition to our lives and now I can’t imagine anything differently. Sure, I’ve had twinges of sadness over the years that I’ll never have a little girl to do girly things with, a daughter to take shopping with me, an adult daughter to be my friend. But for the most part, like 99% of me, I am totally good with only having boys.

Being a boy mom is pretty great. My kids are the best of friends and do everything together. EVERYTHING. I have a hard time believing their bond would still be that strong if one of them were a girl. They’re wild and loud and messy. They are so physically active and boisterous all the time. Nothing makes me happier than watching them play together or watching them do “man things” with Daddy every night and weekend. I do sometimes feel slightly left out, though I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that they’re boys. They just really love doing things (video games!) that I have almost no interest or knowledge in. But they still ask me to show them how to sew, they like baking things with me, they pick me flowers and bring me presents of things they’ve found outside. God definitely knew what He was doing giving us two boys and I don’t wish for a second that anything was different.

As for the fact that we “only” have two kids? Guys, that’s all we can handle. I have the utmost respect for people with three, four, five, or more kids. Every couple makes their own decisions and every family has their own dynamic. But Greg and I? Two is our limit. Caden is high maintenance. Shepard has a wicked stubborn streak. Every night we’re facing some giant battle with one of them and we often feel overwhelmed and out of control. I honestly don’t think we’d survive more than two kids. We love that we can take them one on one whenever they need a break from each other. Nobody is left out, nobody is forgotten or lumped together. They get the undivided attention of just Mom or Dad on a daily basis. I often grew up thinking that the standard family of four was so boring. Now I kind of love it. We were able to buy a house this year and my kids can have their own rooms. We can get away with only owning cars. We fit into all those family of four deals and specials offered everywhere. We can divide and conquer every time we go somewhere as a family. Two is awesome for us. Two is our perfect number.

I feel like this really isn’t anybody’s business, but I’ve started needing to just spit it out left and right the way people continue to question our family choices. Greg had a vasectomy last year and it was the best decision we ever made. He’s been ready for it for years and I finally came to terms with it. It took me a couple of months to get used to the decision and I still cried the day I dropped him off at the doctor. But the second it was done? I was so relieved. We both were. I love the fact that we are done. I love that the slight hesitation and constant what ifs? have been eliminated from my thought process. It’s no longer an option to have that girl and we are okay. Our family is complete and nothing could make me happier.



Outlet Needed, Desperately

My mind has been a total mess lately. I constantly feel filled to the brim with words and emotions that are desperate to get out. Instead they are trapped inside making me feel crazy and overwhelmed and oftentimes very alone. I’ve been mulling over the idea of getting back into blogging for about a month now. It seemed an easy decision to make, but I couldn’t get around the logistics. The Everyday Crumbs was a big part of my creative process in years past, but with such a big gap since my last post perhaps it made more sense to start anew? In the end, urgency won over the mild desire to start with a fresh page. I need to write. And it seems like such a waste to just let go of all my previous posts on here. It’s a lot of my history, a lot of my struggles and joys as a young mom. I want to hold on to that, and leave it up here in case anybody else can learn something from the battles I’ve fought. Or maybe just look at all the pictures of my adorable kids. ☚

A Reintroduction

With that being said, I feel like I should reintroduce myself. Who I am now versus who I was a few years ago. So, my name is Amy. ☚I turned 32 last month, a birthday that didn’t really phase me the way 30 and 31 did. I’m good with getting slightly older. I’m married to Greg. We celebrated our 10th anniversary this past May with a cross country trip to Charleston. We’ll be celebrating 17 years as a couple this January! We have two kids that keep us constantly, shall we say…challenged. Caden turned 8 in September and is in second grade. He’s a very active kid, a good big brother, a total homebody, and he loves video games and reading. It’s been a joy watching him grow in recent years, but we still have many, many struggles. More on that another day! Shepard is 5 and in kindergarten. He continues to light up our lives and give our rather serious little family a lot of much needed laughter. But he can also be the absolute most stubborn little person in the world. Shepard loves to do just about everything, especially when he can jump in and help with projects the people around him are working on. We also have two kitties, Jack and Rory, who have been part of our family for 11 years now.

This fall has begun a weird and hard to define chapter in my life. I’m still a “stay at home mom,” though both of my kids are in school full time. I have a business sewing primitive dolls, bears, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I’ve been doing this for over three years and have been anxiously waiting to start working on it full time once the boys were in school. The past few months have showed me that working at home full time is a lot more challenging than I ever expected! I’m easily distracted and can never stop thinking about everything else that needs to be done around the house. But I’m working on it! I love what I do and that I found this creative passion that allows me to continue to stay home for when my kids need me, but still bring in a little extra money.

My other hobbies and interests include reading, baking, walking, listening to podcasts, and setting up our house. We bought our first house in six years this past May and it’s been amazing living in a permanent location that I can decorate and rearrange to perfection. I love, love, LOVE to read. I read in all my spare time and whenever I allow myself a break from cleaning and sewing. Baking has always been a source of immense joy, though I try to keep it to a minimum because while everybody enjoys a good treat, their waistlines don’t and they’re not afraid to tell me that! And finally my newest obsessions – walking and podcasts, always simultaneously. Since moving into town I’ve been taking 2-5 mile walks almost every day and I absolutely love it. And podcasts have opened up this whole new world of information and entertainment that I seriously cannot get enough of. I listen to them all day long and it’s awesome. 

I’m hoping this blog will turn into the creative outlet I really need to clear my mind, get my head on a page, and move forward with my life in a positive direction. I want to continue to share pictures from my family life and celebrations throughout the year. I also want to write in greater depth the things I struggle with on a regular basis. I’d like to occasionally post about awesome recipes I find. And I’d love to share more about my sewing, the books I’ve been reading, and the best podcasts I’ve been listening to. I have a lot to say and not a lot of opportunity to say things out loud. Even if nobody reads this, at least it’s out of my head and that’s all that matters. Enjoy!

Spring Break 2015

This past week was spring break! We didn’t have any plans to travel, but I wanted to try and make each day a little bit exciting and memorable for the boys. Here’s a recounting of our week.



Monday was our “big” trip of the week – the Milwaukee Zoo. The boys have never been there and I haven’t been since I was a kid, so it was fun to see something new. The weather was pretty good and it wasn’t that crowded. Made for a very nice excursion.




She had a baby on her back, but kept moving so fast I wasn’t able to get any good pictures. It was cute, though!




There were a couple of peacocks blocking the doors to this building, but we squeezed past so I could get a better picture.




It was only about 47 degrees, but Caden kept insisting that he was so hot. So he wore his coat like this the entire time. The whole week pretty much.



I love the bears!


Shepard’s favorite are always the giraffes. It was funny because the sign said giraffes don’t like to be outside unless it’s at least 55 degrees. This whole little herd of giraffes kept walking in and out of the building testing the temperature.


All the big cats were sleeping.


Caden was most excited to see cheetahs, but they didn’t have any. We had to settle for jaguars.






Caden had to get new shoes this week because his old ones completely broke.


They were each allowed to pick one snack before we left.


Overall it was a pretty fun three hours at the zoo. Shepard has definitely been into testing my limits of patience lately and had quite a few meltdowns, which is just the norm for him these days, apparently. I planned on going to a nice lunch afterward, but we went to Kopp’s Frozen Custard instead, which is more of a unique fast food type place. Shepard rolled around the floor whining for no apparent reason while Caden and I had sandwiches and malts.


Tuesday was our errand day. We managed four grocery stores in the morning. Talk about testing my patience!! Actually, attitude wise the boys were really good. No complaints at all. They were just all over the place. Exhausting. In the afternoon Caden had his friend Rett come over to play. It was our first playdate without the friend’s parent along. It was funny to watch the boys fight over him for hours. They never sat still, just jumping from one toy or activity to another the entire time.



Wednesday was supposed to be the warmest day of the week so we planned a picnic at a big park in Watertown. It ended up being pretty chilly (except to Caden, I guess), but still a nice day.


Shepard has been anti-photo lately. This is what he does when he wants me to leave him alone. Or be quiet.


We stopped at the only gas station on the way to pick up some bread, but they were sold out for the rest of the week! Fortunately some guy took pity on us and gave them one piece of bread to share. They definitely made it last!




On Thursday I wanted to take them to the theater to see Home since it’s something we very rarely do. But Caden acted like I was trying to punish him when I suggested it, so we skipped that plan. Instead we went to the big Animart in Madison to look at the animals and pick out some birthday presents for Jack and Rory.


In the afternoon my mom and brother stopped by to give Jack and Rory early birthday presents.







Friday was a lazy day for the boys so I could work on cleaning and cooking. I was pretty lenient with video game rules this week since it was their vacation.


I did have to make a post office run so we stopped at the park too. I wanted to get some fun pictures of the three of us, but Shepard wasn’t exactly cooperating. Story of our lives lately! He thought it was hilarious to try and cut me out of the picture with his head.



Better at cooperating.


My pizza helper. It’s Friday!


And we finished the night by giving Jack and Rory their new dishes and birthday dinner. They are 10 years old now!!

Well, that’s it for our spring break week! We still have lots today and tomorrow with Easter. More on that to come. 🙂


My New Sewing Room!

A couple of weeks ago, Greg and I decided that it was time to rearrange the apartment so I could have my own sewing room. I was starting to go a little bit crazy constantly stepping on the legos surrounding my desk and always needing to move things around every time I wanted to have a little workspace. Scissors and needles could never be left out, for obvious reasons, but it was really frustrating having to get out and clean up a huge pile of supplies every time I wanted to work for even half an hour. Greg has offered in the past to change places with me, giving up his very poorly utilized office space. I just wasn’t able to get past the fact that moving all of my things in here would mean moving all of his very ugly things (multiple computers, hundreds of cables and wires and any other weird techy things he needs) into the very public and open living room. My space in the living room was crowded, but at least it was pretty!

At any rate, I finally weighed my limited options and this was the way to go. We’ve lived in our apartment for three and a half years now and plan to live here for probably another year or two. I often feel like I have to apologize for that fact because living in an apartment with a family of four in a very small town is definitely not the norm. But it works for us. In many ways I think it works a lot better for us than living in a house. So I decided it was worth the time and effort to make the switch so I could have a space that was entirely my own as I continue to grow Heartstring Annie and just plain need an escape from all the mass chaos my kids are forever creating. I think I can be happy here for a long time. 🙂


So back to the room! This is my newest addition – a beautiful handmade table from my favorite store to buy random furniture, Twisted Sister. One of the things I was most excited about when I got this room was realizing I could actually fit in a cutting table! I hate cutting fabric on the floor or at the kitchen table, but just assumed having a cutting table in the apartment would never work out. But it did!! I saw this table a couple of months ago at Twisted Sister and fell in love with it. I’ve been back to visit it multiple times since then and finally decided after a profitable craft fair that I could just go ahead and buy it. It makes me happy! And my cats, who think they just got a brand new bed.

Not that pretty, but now I’m able to get all my embroidery supplies (top bin) and mohair out in the open where I can use them more often. There’s a closet next to the shelf that’s mostly filled with all my shipping supplies, rarely used craft equipment, and my giant box of polyfil.


The actual sewing area. FYI, I also got my sewing table and desk from Twisted Sister. I’d buy all their furniture if I had room for it! I plan on painting that big shelf with some chalk paint one of these days. I just haven’t had a chance yet.


My happy place!


Just another view of the beautiful wood on top of my table. I’m hoping to buy a shelf or two for this open wall space. Ideally I’d love a way to get my fabric in this room too, but I’m not sure it’s possible. It’s currently taking up a full dresser in the bathroom, four boxes in my closet, and a bunch of more rarely used fabrics are boxed up in my garage. I have a small white bookshelf in mind that I saw a few weeks ago at a store that is only open every few months. If my mom doesn’t beat me to it, I’m thinking of getting it for right next to the sewing desk to put my most used fabrics on. Maybe.


One more picture.


And finally, this guy. 🙂 For quite awhile now I’ve been greatly admiring a few people who create artist bears and other animals. I never understood how they made them so tiny until it finally clicked in my head that obviously they just sew everything by hand! So in between doll making I’ve been experimenting with some little animals myself. I made a tiny teddy for my mom’s birthday which was pretty cute. Then I found a place to import mohair to make them even cuter and sewed a tiny elephant for my friend Dianne’s birthday. And finally, over the weekend while I was doing a craft fair, I made this bunny for myself! I love him so much. I want to make him a friend, but it’s been a very busy week! Anyway, I’m not sure I’ll ever sell these, but they’re fun to make for myself and family and friends when I need a break from business stuff.

So that’s my new sewing room! And a bunch of ramblings. 🙂


St. Patrick’s Day 2015


Another St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone. This has always been one of my favorite holidays simply because I love any good reason to celebrate and being Irish is a great one. 🙂 It seems like the last few years the excitement of the day has gotten lost between chaotic schedules and crabby kids. I was looking back at my photos from last year and realized we never even took family photos – my favorite part of the whole day! I expect my kids were just as crabby last year as they were this year – I just powered past the crabbiness this time!

Anyway, our annual holiday breakfast has changed over the years, but we’ve kind of settled into a Lucky Charms routine because it’s so easy and it feels like a special treat since I don’t usually buy any kind of sugary cereal. Sometime in the night a leprechaun usually sneaks in and leaves a pile of golden coins and mustard (because it’s gold and my boys are obsessed with eating mustard). This year the leprechaun could only find giant bags of gold coins, so the boys each took some to school to share with their classes.




We’ve lived here for three and a half years and I have never seen a rainbow appear in my bedroom until St. Patrick’s Day. I thought it was definitely worth taking a picture of. 🙂


Since it was a special day and they got dressed so easily I let them check their street passes before school. Then we dropped Caden off and Shepard and I proceeded to have a very busy day of errand running. We had a Taco Bell lunch with grandma, stopped to play with Uncle Tyler and all my mom’s dogs while she’s on vacation, and then I had my final visit with the sleep doctor. My three month CPAP experiment is already over and I decided to give it back. It was a very hard decision, but after all this time I honestly didn’t notice any difference whatsoever in how I felt during the day. All it turned out to be is this really stressful and annoying nuisance that woke me up over and over again through the night. Not worth it.


I guess I never took any pictures of dinner, but here are our desserts. We actually had our halfway traditional Irish dinner on Monday with baked chicken, glazed carrots, rainbow potatoes, and soda bread. On Tuesday we simply had shamrock shaped ravioli from Costco. Gotta love an easy dinner! Dessert was sugar cookies for the guys and pistachio cake for me.


It was a VERY crabby afternoon, but I managed to rally everyone for the annual – except for last year – family photo shoot.


I forgot to focus my first batch, but I’m including this picture anyway because it has everyone’s best smiles. 🙂


A week ago Shepard figured out how to cross his eyes and now it’s his favorite thing to do. I was a little annoyed to look at all the pictures I took afterward and see that he was crossing his eyes in almost all of them!




In other life updates, since I’m still terrible at writing at all regularly, the biggest news is that we recently rearranged our apartment so I could have my own sewing room. I was starting to go crazy always stepping on legos, constantly needing to spread out while I work, but not having the room to do it. Or at least not the room to do it and keep it out as long as I needed. Greg has offered to switch with me in the past, but I always dismissed the idea. This time I decided it was worth the effort. We’re still far from getting settled in, but I think it will eventually work out great. I’ve also been very busily preparing for a craft fair tomorrow and Saturday, so beyond getting all my stuff IN my new sewing room, nothing is organized or hung up or displayed prettily yet. Greg’s new area in the living room is still a total mess of hundreds of cords and cables and whatever other crazy tech things he’s collected over the years. It’s all quite stressful!!! Hopefully next week we can get it all settled in properly and then I’ll post some pictures!


Anyway, for fun, here’s a little walk down memory lane. St. Patrick’s Day in 2009.













And no 2014. I will forever regret it!! Anyway, hope everyone else had a great St. Patrick’s Day too!


Shepard’s 4th Birthday!


On Wednesday, my baby turned four! It’s hard to believe four entire years have passed since this little guy has come into our lives. Though I really can’t remember a time without him. He brings so much laughter and joy to our family with his silliness and never-ending energy.

His birthday itself didn’t turn out to be super exciting, but I think he was okay with that. I had an unexpected emergency medical procedure done last Saturday that pretty much rendered me useless this entire week. It was very frustrating to want to do so many things and not be able to accomplish practically anything. 🙁 At any rate, I did make a special chocolate peanut butter banana bread for his breakfast, which he thoroughly enjoyed. And then he was off to school with his special birthday treat of homemade mini donuts. He really wanted to bring pancakes, but I wasn’t sure how that would work. 🙂


I think Caden was more excited about Shepard’s birthday then he was. Caden was bouncing off the walls and being incredibly obnoxious, trying to get Shepard to open all his presents first thing in the morning. I “let him” (couldn’t stop him) open his presents from Caden which were a big tractor sticker book and a game for his 2DS called Olaf’s Quest. He then spent pretty much the entire afternoon playing while I was napping/resting and Greg was working. Then later in the afternoon I recruited his help to make brownies and pizza dough. He definitely still loves to help bake!


After getting Caden, Shepard was able to open the rest of his gifts. This was a super bouncy ball that Caden also picked out.


For awhile there I was having a hard time coming up with gift ideas for Shepard since I really didn’t want to just get a bunch of toys for the sake of buying something. So I asked Greg for help and he picked out this bat and a matching glove and ball. Shepard loved it, but was really disappointed we couldn’t go outside and play with it yet in the below zero weather.


I gave Shepard a cookbook and his own recipe box. I figured since it’s the only thing I really have in common with either of my kids I better nurture that interest before it disappears!


He also got an activity watch that is supposed to promote more physical activity. Though I’m not sure why he needs it when he spends every minute of the day bouncing back and forth between the couches and doing flips and somersaults everywhere he goes. Caden, being the technology OBSESSED kid that he is, had a hard time letting this toy get out of his sight.


Shepard requested pepperoni pizza for his birthday dinner. Of course he refused to take a nice picture with it. Apparently four is the age you stop wanting your picture taken because pretty much every slightly posed shot I tried to get he’d cover his face or run away.


After dinner they went back to the tub of kinetic sand. I was excited about this gift since Shepard points it out every time we go to Joann’s or Walmart and was sure it was something he’d actually like. He said it’s his favorite present, so I was happy!


And finally time for his birthday brownies! Shepard doesn’t particularly like cake, so I talked him into something different for his real birthday and his party this weekend. Makes my life a lot easier!!


One happy four year old! He’s been carrying this candle around for a week telling me how fun it is to look at. He was very excited to finally use it. 🙂


Side note – he’s wearing underwear! It took four years, but he’s finally on his way to being potty trained. He won’t willingly go on his own, but he does wear underwear most of the time and once he starts dancing around uncontrollably we physically set him on the potty chair and he’ll go right away. So hopefully that means he’ll start going on his own free will sooner rather than later and we can finally be done with diapers!

Anyway, it turned out to be a very simple, but I think good birthday for him. I had to go to the doctor yesterday, so we tried to make it kind of a continued birthday celebration and took him out to lunch, just the three of us. That kind of made up for what I wasn’t able to do on Wednesday. Now we’re just looking forward to his family party on Sunday! More photos on that to come. 🙂


15 Years and Other Ramblings


Last Saturday Greg and I celebrated our 15 year anniversary of being together. Do most people still celebrate the date they met and were sort of together forever after? Probably not, but January 17th was such a big date to us in the six years we were a couple before getting marriage that we didn’t want to let it go. In many ways this anniversary has always felt a little more special to me than our wedding anniversary because it marks such a major change in my life. Plus it’s always a lot more fun to celebrate in the middle of January when nothing else is going on rather than the end of May during Memorial weekend and the end days of school when we’re too busy to focus on our special date.

At any rate, we’ve officially been together for half of our lives. Crazy! I barely remember life before that. It’s always amazed me that the thing that most attracted me to Greg when we first met was how well he interacted with a child. We were working at a fundraiser together and while we were sitting there this little boy kept throwing a ball in our general direction. Every single time Greg would get up and throw it back to him, clearly enjoying himself. Who would have thought that hour in time would so clearly portray our future together. Greg is and has been an amazing dad from the second he became one. I feel so blessed that found each other that day and have been committed to each other ever since. I look forward to still celebrating this day fifty years from now. 🙂

So. On to my “other ramblings.” I am SO fed up with my cpap machine and sleep in general. I used to love that moment every night when I was ready to put my kindle down and know that I’d fall asleep immediately and wake up at 5:00 feeling fully recharged. According to my doctor, at least, that great sleep I always thought I had at night was a lie. With the mild sleep apnea I was having over 40 “episodes” an hour of partially waking up, resulting in my extreme fatigue during the day. Since being on my machine I’ve been averaging about 1.4 per hour which is obviously a significant improvement. Then why does it now feel so hard to sleep?? Why do I wake up feeling so groggy and exhausted? While I’m used to this feeling the majority of the day, I never had it in the mornings.

I’m technically on a three month trial with the machine and am supposed to be putting my absolute best effort into using it so I’ll know beyond a doubt if it helped or not. In the past three weeks I feel like I’ve really tried but I’ve only totally slept through the night once in that time. I’ve been restless, had a hard time falling asleep, had a hard time staying asleep, and most nights I wake up around 2 or 3 and take it off because it feels like too much effort to try and fall back to sleep with it on. The last two nights have suddenly felt like the first few nights where it’s suffocating me and I’m going to die if I don’t take the mask off. The whole thing is just so frustrating!! But…on the other hand…while not actually feeling any better, I HAVE been a lot more active and productive during the day. I’ve been doing so much more, having more willpower, and pushing myself harder than I have in a long time. Is that the result of a better sleep quality, despite how awful it’s felt? I wish I knew. Clearly I’ll continue using it because I want to know if after three months I really do feel better or not. But I hate it. I dread bedtime so much knowing that my exhaustion will continue to fight me through the night with no relief in sight.