in june 2010, our lives got turned upside down in the best possible way: the birth of our awesome kiddo, john. in october 2013, brother charlie charged into our life to change the status quo again. and june 2016 brought us brother ben to round out our trio.

i'm proud to have "mom" at the top of the list of titles on my resume, but i'm also still a hard-working professional. how does a working mom juggle work and family? ride along with me and see if i can figure it out!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

to a one year old named ben


dear bean,

when your daddy and i found out we were going to have another baby, we were pretty scared. we didn't know how to be parents to three chaos monkeys and didn't know what our family would look like with a new babe.

it turns out we didn't have a thing to worry about, little one. from the moment you arrived you've been the happiest baby i've ever met. just like your brothers, you charm the people around you and endear yourself to everyone.

when we came home from the birth center that night, john and charlie fell in love and immediately wanted to hold you and love you. you fit perfectly into a bean-shaped gap we didn't even know our family had.

you've brought smiles and laughs to every member of your family every one of these past 365 days. even when you feel icky, like today on your birthday, your dear spirit shines through and you bring such light into the world.

your daddy and i  are really grateful that god knew we needed you. your oldest brother says he prayed for you even tho we said that charlie was the last baby - whatever the way, thank you for being our joyful little bean, the littlest chaos monkey, and just a fantastic little dude.

goodnight, sweet one-year-old ben. i love you.

love,
your lucky mommy

Saturday, June 17, 2017

to john on turning seven

goodnight selfie


dear john,

i just finished putting you to bed for the last time as a six year old. you thought it was great to give me the last ever "face shake" (our secret goodnight kisses) as a six year old boy. i thought it was pretty great, too.

you have grown SO MUCH this year. not just gotten taller - though you have, you're huge - but gotten better and awesomer and amazinger. you are in control of your body and your actions in a way that is so very impressive. you work so hard to do things well, and take such pride in making people happy.

you are generous, and compassionate, and you amaze me with your capacity to give to your little brothers to help them be happy.

you are silly and fun and have a wicked sense of humor - even if i'm sometimes too old to get some of your jokes.

you're a fierce hugger and a brave tooth-loser.

one thing that makes me so proud is that you want so badly for things to be fair and right. they aren't always, and that's hard for you, i know. it's hard for me, too. but never stop trying to make things right, baby. that is part of what makes you such a special little dude. and your mama and daddy (and your brothers, too) have your back no matter what.

sleep well, my crazy little giraffe. it is you that made me a mom, and i am forever privileged to call you mine.

i love you, peanut.
love,
your mommy

Thursday, March 2, 2017

a season of grace and good enough

my pumpkins in the pumpkin patch


i started writing this post in october. that's why there are pumpkins. that's why bean is small. that's why charlie looks like ... i don't know, a pound puppy or something with his shaggy hair in his eyes.

that i started this post five months ago and it remains largely unwritten - that there is also an unfinished post on a belated birth story for ben ... it is indicative of where our family is these days.

we are happy - look at those beautiful boys in a pumpkin patch!

we are grateful - we have so many blessings to count and recount and positively bathe in.

we are together - there are so many of us! ok, there are only five of us. but that is a lot when two are loud blustery beautiful big boys and one is a sweet busy baby boy. oh, yeah, and technically we're six, with the world's orneriest dog.

we are also certifiably insane. and by that i mean, everyone else is fine and i am crazy.

* * *

before we found out ben was going to exist, we had decided our family was complete. we were wrong, of course - now i cannot imagine our family without the littlest bean. but our plates were already full, our lives were already busy, and let's be honest - i was more than a little overwhelmed.

enter ben, who while the easiest and happiest baby ever is still a baby with baby needs and baby challenges. and who is also just one more person in our cadre of people who want things and need things.

enter the babysitter debacle, which left no physical or emotional marks on the kids, thank god, but surely scared and scarred my husband and i.

enter postpartum hormones and extended breastfeeding and a big job doing big things, and the end result is a wibbly-wobbly mama whose anxiety can sneak up on her and leave her feeling like it's all too much; like she's not enough; like it's not ok.

* * *

i have the help of a fantastic mental health professional, and i am improving every day. i have bouts of high anxiety, particularly around the children's health. a mere sniffle or gag, and mama's heart is racing, blood pounding, tummy-ache inducing adrenaline coursing through her. but i know what to do, and i do it, and we are all ok.

and the other thing that is getting me through is this: this is a season. some days i see glimpses of a time ahead, where these brilliant monsters are a little more self sufficient and a little more able to help themselves and us, and i know that we will get through.

some days i see a glimpse of the young men these boys will become, and i know i will lament the loss of their little bodies clinging all over me, their little hands grasping me, their little eyes turned to me to solve all the problems of the world.

and for now, i remind myself of this: this is a season. it is a season of grace and good enough. some days, the boys are going to eat king cake for breakfast. some days, i am going to yell.

some days, my sweet sensitive john will pat my shoulder and tell his tearful mommy, "it's a-okay, mommy, everyone makes mistakes."

some days, my beautiful mercurial charlie will cease scowling when he sees me in his classroom, and run to me for "one last huggy, mommy, i love you!"

some days, my happy little ben will crawl-scoot himself across the kitchen to reach up at me and purr in his little cooing voice, and i know he is saying he loves me just how i am too.

some days, my supportive and understanding husband won't blink an eye at the prospect of buying last-minute plane tickets because his crazy wife can't stomach the idea of a two-day drive with the kiddos in tow. and he also won't think i'm a crazy wife. because he loves me how i am too.

* * *
i have given myself permission to surrender the idea of "family dinner." oh, we will do it when we can. but that is a pressure that i don't need right now. we're not the waltons, try as i might. beaver cleaver does not reside at the heid house, for sure.

but this is a season.

it is a season of grace -- where i will forgive myself for the things i think i should do but can't.

it is a season of good enough -- where happy, fed, clothed, loving family is what matters, not how "well" i've achieved those goals.

this is a season of grace and good enough.

and some days, it's my favorite season of all.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

party of five

boys in collared shirts.

i've missed this blog.

and this blog has missed me, too - it's missed a lot of change in our family, a lot of distance covered and a lot of growth, and oh yeah the addition of a third son.

it's missed outings and discoveries and pictures and trials and tribulations.

but mostly, it's missed pieces of the development of three really cool kids. and the evolution of their mommy as she tries to adapt to having three really cool kids and a really cool job and oh by the way a really cool husband and a pain in the ass but also cool dog.

and i, have missed writing.

so i shall try again.

john (+charlie + ben)'s mom works. and writes. and loves.

and welcomes you back to our adventure.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 is already schooling me

the cause of - and solution to - most of my life's frustrations.

i did not ring in the new year as i had hoped. in fact, i did not ring in the new year at all.

the new year arrived somewhere in between rounds of charlie in his bedroom door screaming "me want to go downstairs!" and me, patiently as i could muster, placing him gently back in his bed and telling him i loved him, goodnight.

i finally collapsed in my bed around 2:30 a.m. after he finally, FINALLY, fell into a mommy-milk induced sleep and let me place him in his bed to stay. my last thought was a whispered prayer that please may these children sleep.

at 7:11 a.m., the tiniest feet in the house padded next to my bedside and asked to sleep with me, which translated to throwing elle belle at daddy and eating my chapstick. so much for sleep.

and i was mad. i didn't yell at charlie, but i did grump at both he and john to go upstairs and play. and when my husband got up to tend to them a while, i silently seethed in my bed, unable to go to sleep as they loudly ate breakfast and played in my living room. and when my husband came back to bed, i not-so-silently seethed to him. and then i cried, because i don't know how to do this. i'm just so tired.

*     *     *

this year, i have a new baby coming. this isn't going to simplify our lives.

i am setting this personal goal - not a resolution, and there's no absolute on whether i've reached it or not - for 2016: i want to practice being a more joyful mother.

yes, i am tired and resent my sleep being destroyed.

but i am also blessed to be woken by these charming, active, kind, intuitive, intelligent little boys each day.

how much better would their lives be - how much better would MY life be - if i greeted them each morning with a smile and a hug, and told them how glad i was to see them, even if i was exhausted and a little unhappy that i'd been woken after only a few hours?

so.

for 2016, i am going to try to wake up grateful each morning, and express my gratitude to these little men and their daddy (and the unknown little life that will join us mid year).

i won't promise sunshine and roses every morning.

i will probably fail as often as i succeed.

but i will try to wake up smiling and counting my blessings large and small.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

the saga of hurricane charlie

or, how to ring out the old year when
you're an ornery two year old

3:42 a.m.

wailing from upstairs wakes me from a dead sleep. it's the big bad kind of crying, where you just know someone needs you.

i head up the stairs in a groggy daze, softly calling "hey, charlie, mama's coming," as he howls for his mommy.

his voice sounds oddly close considering the closed door to his room. when i walk into his room, though, he's not there.

the door to the bathroom between john and charlie's rooms is open, as is the door to john's room beyond.

i walk through, and there i find charlie on his knees in desperation in his brother's room.

best i can tell, charlie woke up, and decided to get brother. but when he went to brother's room the bed was empty - because john was sleeping in the teepee across the room. devastated that he couldn't find brother, charlie just howled.

john slept as i collected charlie, closed the appropriate doors, and carried my sobbing little man into his bedroom. we nursed until i thought he was asleep. as i started to transfer him to his bed, though, he said, "me go downstairs with you." and a new round of howling began when i said no.

after trying the nursing and then transfer routine two more times, i thought we'd attempt to go downstairs and sleep in my bed. last weekend in baton rouge he successfully slept with us for the first time peacefully, so i thought there was a chance he'd doze off and we could sleep some more.

no dice.

as wiggly feet kicked daddy and busy hands swatted elle belle in my face, i decided we were going back upstairs.

the whole way up the stairs, he wailed, "please me go downstairs with you!" and the nursing and transferring routine failed again.

by now, i'm exhausted. i put him gently in his bed, told him i love him, and it's night night time. i exited the room as he screamed. before i hit the top of the stairs, i heard his door open and the howl: "me go downstairs with you!"

picked him up, put him in bed, tucked him in, told him i loved him, waited outside the door. ten seconds later, "me go downstairs with you!" as the door cracked open. we repeated this routine easily ten or 12 times.

finally, his behavior showed me just how exhausted he was. so we tried, one more time, the nurse and sleep process. and oh thank heavens, it worked. it worked! the kid was peacefully asleep. i crept back to bed, glancing at my clock ... at 5:42 a.m.

2:30 p.m.
daddy was home with us all day today, though i had a good bit of work to do. i also had a lunch date with a good friend, so daddy was home with the (napping) boys while i went out for a couple hours.

when i returned in the back door, i heard a voice from the direction of my bedroom. "me watch daniel tiger on daddy's ipad," said little charlie.

i didn't think much of it - in fact, i figured daddy was laying down on the bed next to him for a little rest, and had charlie watching some netflix to keep him occupied.

as i hung my purse, the little voice came again, "me watch daniel tiger on daddy's ipad?" and i realize charlie was asking, not telling. so i walked toward my bedroom, noticing first that there was no daddy on the bed, and second that charlie appeared to be lacking pants.

"where's your daddy?" i asked.

"me don't know, my daddy!" said charlie.

i walked closer to him, and as he stood up to hand me the ipad, i noticed he was not wearing a diaper either. i thought to myself, this is definitely not good.

glancing at the bed, i was pleasantly surprised to find no puddles. so i scooped charlie up to take him upstairs for a diaper, asking him again where his daddy was.

as we walked up the stairs, i noticed a faint poop-like smell.

"did you poopoo?" i asked charlie, assuming that maybe he'd gone in a diaper that he'd removed.

"right there!" he exclaimed gleefully, pointing to the second-to-the-top step.

sure enough. a pile of poop.

i glanced into the media room, and i found daddy. i brought the naked savage into the media room and said, "um, daddy? look what i found?"

it seems that while the boys napped, daddy had decided to use the well-deserved break to play some halo on his new xbox one. dutiful dad that he is, he had the sound turned low and was listening carefully for any action from the boys room.

what neither of us had anticipated was stealth charlie, who without saying a word or making a peep had climbed out of his bed, gone into the bathroom, removed his pants and his diaper, peed in the potty, headed downstairs, stopped to poop on the steps, and then sat on the bed to watch ipad.

"me sit on your pillow!" charlie reminded me excitedly.

a little cleanup and re-diapering and a load of laundry later, all was well. but jeez louise.

4:30 p.m.
i was in my office wrapping up my work.

big brother was still asleep, and daddy and charlie had been hanging out watching football.

daddy took a bathroom break.

in that break, stealth charlie struck again: he found a marker, colored the kitchen table, colored most of himself, colored the face of daddy's ipad, found a bag of sidewalk chalk, carried it upstairs, and colored on the carpet.

seriously, that fast, and that quiet.

hurricane charlie is a silent and dangerous storm. the terrible twos are awesome.

happy new year!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

light is beautiful

these boys in their "boats."

i'm not going to lie: there are days when i go to bed defeated and exhausted. there are days when i feel like there is no way i am possibly up to being the mom of these two boys, and also a wife and a professional and a friend and whatever else i am. those days are rough.

today, though - today is NOT one of those days.

these boys rocked my world today, and i couldn't be more grateful. daddy's at a football game tonight, so i've been "single parenting" (in big ol' fat quotes because i can't pretend to know even a piece of what that's really like).

this is not a coherently themed blog post. it's just a collection of stories of ways my children amazed me today.

#1: light is beautiful.
after charlie and i dropped john off at school this morning, we were cruising the additional mile or two up the road to charlie's school. we were talking about his friends, and the stuffed dog he was holding.

and suddenly, he says in a dumbfounded voice, "mommy! light is BEAUTIFUL!"

and i looked to the east, and there was a gorgeous bright sunrise. and a huge arch of a cloud sweeping across the expanse of the sky, reflecting gold.

charlie was spot on: the light was beautiful. 

and if my two year old hadn't pointed it out, i might've kept my traffic/stoplight/life blinders on and not ever glanced to my left.

thanks, charlie.

#2: good days, report cards, and more
john had a great day at school today - another day with just a star on his calendar, and no mention of rules broken or behavior reminders needed. in fact, when his teacher helped him into the car at pickup, she said, "another great day! i think this might just be the way things are now!"

i am sure they won't ALL be good days. but this is 10 (count 'em) in a row, and we're going to go ahead and celebrate that.

more to celebrate: it was report card day. and john's was way better than i expected. they don't do grades, of course, in kindergarten - just checks for skills used independently, and asterisks for "emerging skills." and he got almost all checks. and several of the asterisks will already start being better as his use of his hand improves, as they are writing and writing-related things.

but the report card wasn't the best part. the best part was the note from his teacher that brought me to tears. a note to john. that said that his smile makes her day, and that she's so proud of him for working hard to learn and to follow the school rules. that she is glad that they are together in kindergarten.

and i know she wrote a similar type of note for every child, because she's a great teacher and loves her kids. but damn. i might just frame that note.

#3: celebration time
after we picked charlie up from school, we decided to go to chick fil a for dinner and to play on their playplace. the boys had a blast. they played well with others, came out of the play area when they were overwhelmed (there were some big, loud, brash kids in there for a while that might've overwhelmed even me).

and charlie got brave, climbing the stairs to the slide with the big kids, exploring the car elevated in the air, and crawling happily through the tubes.

but then charlie tumbled in the tubes and banged his lip. he was bleeding. not a lot, but he was crying.

and a little girl they were playing with came to tell me charlie was crying. but before i could get into the door, john was up the stairs to help his brother. he found him, he held him and helped him stop crying, he wiped the little bit off blood of his face. and then he held him in his lap and they came down the slide together, john's arms wrapped protectively around his baby brother.

in that moment, they were both at their best. brave charlie, trying new things and dealing with the licks he took. hero john, compassionately looking out for his baby brother. both of them handling what was to them a challenging situation, with aplomb and love for each other.

these boys. i am so grateful for these boys.