Category Archives: In Sickness and Health


Ethan is teething. He appears to be working on the top four. All at the same time. For weeks now.

Will you hate me if I tell you that I’ve never really had to deal with teething before?

You know how you don’t really know how easy you have it until the moment that you realize things could be so much worse? It reminds me of when I was about 6 weeks pregnant with my first and I bragged to Mr. French about how good I felt.

Man, what was it like to be that naive?

This last week has been filled with sleepless nights, crying, thrashing around, and multiple temper tantrums.

Even Ethan has been struggling.

Seriously though, how did my other kids sail through this so easily?

I keep thinking, surely tomorrow will be better. You can see the teeth. They’re right there. They just have to break through.

Except today, after the worst night so far, when I was just walking around in circles trying to keep him calm, after he’d taken his 15 minute nap, I started thinking that maybe he’s not teething. Maybe I’ve just been excusing all this bad behavior, and this is actually his personality.

Too bad I’m an optimist.

(Picture not from today.)



Filed under I confess, In Sickness and Health, Why does no one get my jokes?

Lemons into lemonade and other randomness

The past two days I’ve had two kids throwing up, one kid with a cold, one kid super glad he’s not sick and a baby who decided nursing three times a night and an hour a session during the day would be fun. (Growth spurt, perhaps?)

Speaking of, Felicity said to me, “I very small. Ennis small(er) than me.” I said, “Yes, you’re right.”

But I thought, yeah, but just wait a year.

Will we ever get through one case of diapers before out-growing them? (I knew I shouldn’t have bought them by the case, I just didn’t listen to myself.)

Have I mentioned the fact that Ethan has been sleeping through the night since at least 3-4 weeks old? Oh, yeah, I haven’t. Because I’m superstitious, even though I try not to be. But now that there’s been a small breach, I’ll just tell you that I’ve never had a baby sleep as well as he does.

I was reading a recipe for fruit leather and they suggested putting it in the sun to dry. It hadn’t actually occurred to me that I could do that until I read that it should be dried at around 110 degrees or less. So, when things calm down around here, I’m going to try it. And if the weather turns 80 and balmy, well then my plan will have worked I’ll try not to be too disappointed.

When I first saw this picture going around pinterest, I thought they just glued the crayons onto the canvas and then put it outside for an hour or so.

I chuckled when I read that they used a heat gun. I guess that would work too.

And this is for my Mom and sister. Does it make you cringe a little?

I only let her do it if she gets everything out herself. See, some people think I’m laid-back, when actually, I’m l-a-z-y.

Plus, it’s washable.


Filed under Aren't my kids funny?, Boys will be boys, In Sickness and Health, These are the things I want to remember

I try so hard

I try not to be superstitious.

But pregnancy pulls me down very easily.

For example, after I told three different people that I was “down to one pill a day” (compared to every 4 hours), I had a bad day yesterday, the likes of which I hadn’t seen in weeks.

And, I only had one pill left.

I’d already texted my Doctor the day before, to call in a refill. (I’ve never had a relationship like that with a doctor either. He also used an iPad to process my bill. And his receptionist was sitting right there.) But no response.

Take the last pill and hope he comes through or what?

So I called, got a real person, and she got it done.

I took the pill.

‘Course he called it into the wrong pharmacy, but who’s being picky?

Today? It’s 6 o’clock and I’ve been fine* all day.

And I have a bottle full of pills at my disposal.

See what I mean?

*Editors note: “Fine, pregnant” is totally different than “fine, not pregnant”. Just to clarify.

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Filed under In Sickness and Health, Oversharing, She's having a baby

Tuesday Afternoon

On an unseasonably warm Tuesday afternoon, right between two national holidays, we were married in Topeka, KS.

If you’d told me then, that exactly eleven years later I’d be living in south Texas with four children, sixteen weeks pregnant with my fifth, I’d probably have told you, “Are you serious? I’d have thought we’d have 6 kids by then, but there’s no way we live in Texas. We don’t like to be hot. We don’t even like the sun.

For the record, I don’t want to know where I’ll be living eleven years from now.

I like surprises.

Eleven Years ago


Filed under Forgive me for being sentimental, In Sickness and Health, Moving is my hobby, Mr. French, She's having a baby

When being the parent doesn’t mean you always say the right thing.

Or, When are the real parents going to get here?

So the other night, C threw up. Unexpectantly. On the couch. With no movement towards the bathroom whatsoever.

Besides being annoyed that he’s eight years old and should know better, I was confused as to why he was also very upset and crying about it. Until I realized that he’s not the kid who usually throws up. In fact, he might not even remember throwing up in his life ever. So, in trying to comfort him, I said,

“It’s okay to throw up. Everyone does it. You’ll be fine. It’s perfectly normal.”

Still crying.

“Hey, remember when Felicity was in Mommy’s tummy?”

He nods his head.

“Well, I threw up like everyday. And I was fine!”


“Oh! But that doesn’t mean you’re going to have a baby. That’s just……I’m gonna…go get Daddy now.”

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Filed under In Sickness and Health, Mr. French, That's just gross, This is going to be really funny one day

A moment in time.

It has been four weeks since I gave birth!

That’s like a month! How is that even possible? (I know. I know. I’m going to be saying that at kindergarten graduation, high school, college and then at her wedding. But still. A month!)

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to say this but it’s almost too hard to put into words.

But I’ll try anyway.

Yesterday we had a cold morning. We’d left our windows open overnight and the inside temp when we got up was in the lower 60s. So I pulled out some long pajama bottoms to put on before I made breakfast and I slipped into my warmer slippers and I suddenly flashed back to a moment or moments when I wore that “outfit” for days on end. I remembered something that I didn’t even have to try to forget.

I suddenly had that same feeling of wretchedness, of nausea, of dizziness, of dread, of wanting food and wanting nothing to do with food at the same time, that I had from the end of December to April.

How is it that one can feel that bad for months, day after day, week after week, losing several pounds a week, feeling weak and dizzy and then in a moment, it fades to the back.

How is it that nine months feels like two years and one month feels like a day?

How is it so easy to forget?

I guess it’s as many people have said.

The world would not be peopled if it were not so.


Filed under In Sickness and Health, She's having a baby

And then Mr. French redeems himself.

(Intro here and firstborn story here.)

When I was pregnant with my second child, I woke up the day before my due date not feeling well. I was tired, crabby, and had no appetite. I didn’t take a shower and didn’t even bother getting dressed. Even though it was February in Chicago, our apartment was well insulated and always felt warm, no matter what we did with the heat. So I continued to wear the oversized t-shirt and gym shorts that I had slept in. I also didn’t bother dressing my 15 month old son. I just didn’t feel like it.

I don’t remember what I did, but I’m pretty sure I laid around on the couch, fed my toddler Cheerios and milk and probably watched TV. I don’t even know if I washed the dishes, which normally I never left for long in the sink. I remember calling Mr. French at work mid-morning to complain about how bad I felt.

“Maybe I’ll have the baby today since I don’t feel good.” I said.

“Do you think so?” Asked Mr. French, deciding then and there that he was not leaving his desk even to get a drink in case I were to call back later, in labor.

“Well, I don’t know. I just don’t feel good.”

“Yeah.” he said sympathetically. “Honey, I think you should put the plastic sheet on the bed just in case. You never know.”

I sighed loudly. “I don’t feel like it.”

“I know honey, but just in case.”

“I don’t want to.” I whined.

“Okay, but what happens if your water breaks or you go into labor and you go really fast like last time? It will just save time, not to mention the bed.”

I think I cried a few tears at this point. “It’s just too much to do.”

It was Mr. French’s turn to sigh loudly. “Honey, pleeeease. Just put the plastic sheet on the bed. You can do it.”

“Fine.” I said meanly and hung up the phone.

And then I put the stupid plastic sheet on the bed.

About one-thirty in the afternoon* I got C down for his nap. I couldn’t wait to go back to bed myself. My mood had not improved much, but with the prospect of going to sleep I was feeling slightly better. Mr. French called.

“I feel about the same. I just got C down for a nap so I’m going to go take one too. I kind of doubt I’ll have the baby today. I’m not even due until tomorrow.” I said.

“Well, okay. That sounds good.” he said hopefully. “Did you get the sheet on the bed?”

“Yyyesss.” I said with the eye roll of a teenager.

“Good, honey. I hope you sleep well.”

I fell asleep as soon as I lay down. When I woke up half an hour later, I felt as if I had slept for hours. And then I realized why I woke up. There was a whoosh of warm fluid between my legs. I sat up quickly and made my way to the bathroom. It definitely seemed like my water had just broke. I pulled off my wet shorts and tossed them into the bathtub. I grabbed the phone and sat back on the toilet.

It was 2 p.m. when I called Mr. French. He told me later that he had just sat down at his desk with his just reheated lunch when I called.

“My water just broke.”


“I was sleeping and my water just broke.”

“O.K. I’m leaving right now. I’ll call the doctor and you call the Millers** to come pick up C.”

The contractions were getting stronger with each one. At this point I’d only had a few, but I couldn’t talk through them.

I called Mrs. Miller, who was the first one on our list of who would take care of C when I went into labor. Thankfully, she was there. I told her what was happening and that C was still taking a nap.

“Do you think I should come out right now, or should I wait until after the kids have their piano lessons?” she asked.

Now, normally, I’m a fairly decisive person. I don’t usually have trouble making decisions and if I really don’t care about something I’ll let someone else decide. But when I’m in labor, I can not make decisions. I don’t know what I want, I don’t know what anyone should do and I certainly don’t know if I’m ready to push. “I don’t know.” I said.

She continued talking it over and I had to stop at one point because of a contraction.

“You know what, I’ll just come now. Okay?”

“Okay.” I said meekly.

“Oh, Nancy? I didn’t even get C dressed this morning. He’s still in his pajamas.” I said, embarrassed.

“Oh, that doesn’t matter! He’s just a baby. No one will even notice.” she assured me.

Mr. French’s workplace was about 20 minutes from our apartment and he got home in record time at about 2:20 p.m.. He immediately got busy pulling off the wet bedding, putting another sheet on, getting old towels out. I continued to labor in the bathroom on the now very uncomfortable toilet.

He walked past me and I said, probably in a whiny voice, “It’s just so hard. How am I going to do this for several hours?”

“Honey,” he said confidently, “I think you’re going to have this baby very, very soon.”

“But you don’t know!” I wailed.

I was finally lying in bed when nurse Sharon and her nurse-in-training arrived at 1:40 p.m.

“I remember you. You’re the same nurse I had last time.” I said.

“Oh yeah. I thought that was you. You guys were in a different apartment then.”

Mr. French ran to get C’s car seat out of our car to put in the Miller’s car and then came back to get C and his diaper bag.

The nurses got busy getting organized and Sharon donned gloves to check me as soon as my contraction stopped.

“You’re basically a ten. There’s just the tiniest little lip of the cervix left, but it should move out of the way soon.”

Again, the best news you can possibly hear when you’re in labor.

Mr. French walked in after he had just gotten C off with the Millers.

“Do you feel like pushing?” asked Sharon.

“I don’t knoooow.” As if on cue, my body convulsed with a push. “I guess so.” I said meekly.

“Okay, let’s try with the next contraction.”

The first push was pretty pathetic and I asked if she could once again tell me how I should be doing this. The next push was better and with about 4-5 pushes, at 3:04 p.m. the baby was out. Mr. French was sitting behind me on the bed and couldn’t see everything.

“What is it?” he asked. He wanted a girl and was pretty sure he would get one.

“Look for yourself.” said Sharon.

The baby was put on my stomach, and I couldn’t see that end very well, but Mr. French eased himself into position to see.

“It’s a boy!” he said disbelieving. “I never thought we’d have another boy!”

“He seems so small. He’s so much smaller than C was.”

Then the doctor arrived. He couldn’t believe he’d missed the birth altogether.

When Mr. French got off the bed, his pants were soaked, down to his boxers. The nameless little boy was quietly laying on my stomach. He was breathing well, but the nurse thought he needed to cry more to clear his lungs, so she kept poking his feet and rubbing his back. Still he wouldn’t cry much. It was about that time that I started having contractions (afterbirth pains) again, which is the very last thing you want to feel once you have the baby sitting on your belly.

Mr. F took the baby and tried to get him to cry, which, eventually he did. Once the afterbirth was out, I felt much better and when I took the baby back, he stopped crying immediately.

And he just starred at me.

He had very long fingernails and fuzzy red hair.

He came a day early, with an hour’s notice and he’s been making us wait ever since.

Birth weight: 8 lbs. 2 oz

He was born 2/21/02. Mr French had been hoping he would come on either 2/20/02 or 2/22/02.

*Times are more exact because I wrote them in the baby book.

**Name changed in case they didn’t want to be in this story.


Filed under In Sickness and Health, Mr. French, She's having a baby, That's just gross