A blog a day…

keeps the guilt away.  So, I’m challenging myself to blog once a day for a week.

So for today, I thought I would tell you a little story about traveling.  Like, traveling from Nashville, TN to Boston, MA.  With 3 kids.  By myself.  (Because Adam left with the UHaul the day before).

I better go ahead and chronicle it, because my subconscious will likely soon blot the whole thing from my memory.  This will likely occur as we’re planning our next road trip.

Which by the way, will most definitely involve Adam.

This little story begins the night before we left for Boston (I can’t remember the date, see, my subconscious is already at work).  Alanna woke up at about 10:00pm saying that she needed to use the potty.  She commented that her tummy hurt… I didn’t really think much of it.  We woke up early the next day to leave.  After some sad goodbyes, we got on the road.

I had the car all mapped out.  Alanna sat in the back with the ipod touch and headphones (filled with movies and games).  I knew that I wouldn’t hear a peep out of her.  Nora sat behind the passenger seat with the portable DVD player attached to the headrest.  Cole sat next to her, since he was still rear facing at that point.  I knew that he would do well looking at his sister.

We got on the road, and ohmygoodnes, turns out that Tennessee is a long state.  Seriously, it felt like we were in Tennessee  for daaaays.  A few hours in, Alanna said that she needed to pee.  So, like any good mommy, I pulled off the side of the road and let her pee by the side of the car.  She complained that it hurt to pee.  I put 2 and 2 together and realized that she was coming down with a UTI (which of course, she’s never had before).  Having dealt with UTIs in the past, I realized at that point that she would need to pee frequently.  Like, every hour.  Which sounds like so much fun on a 19 hour drive.

(I really did feel bad for her.)

So, we’re driving along.  We stopped an hour or so later to get gas, nurse the baby, feed lunch to everyone, potty, etc. etc.  That took an hour.  It was at this point that Alanna decided that she should see what happened when she dropped the jack to her headphones in the little slot that holds the headrest.  It of course got stuck.  And it of course totally broke as I was pulling it out.

I know the trip would be Disastrous (with a capital D) if we didn’t have those headphones.  No problem.  I plugged in Walmart in the GPS.  This Walmart unfortunately took me 45 (yes, 45) minutes to get to.  In the wrong direction. Through crazy little tiny country roads.  Seriously, I thought surely someone was going to come out onto their porch with their shotgun…

We got the headphones.  I threatened bad things if we ever put the jack anywhere other than the ipod.

We drove and drove.  Stopped for potty breaks.  Drove 15 more miles.  Stopped for more potty breaks.

You get the idea…

Nighttime came and I decided to pull over to find a place for us to eat.  Now, at this point, Alanna was really hurting when it came time for potty breaks.  Fortunately she didn’t have a fever so I knew it would be in everyone’s best interest to keep going.  We stopped at a gas station for everyone to pee (a.g.a.i.n.).  I got the stroller out, put Cole in.  We were all in the bathroom stall.  In the gas station.

So gross.  SO GROSS.

Everyone was crying.  Except me.  Alanna wouldn’t pee because it hurt.  I really wanted her to pee so that it wouldn’t get worse.  She wouldn’t.  So then Nora peed.  And then I peed (TMI, I know, but an important detail for the next bit).

I stood up to flush, when my debit card slipped out of my back pocket into the toiletThe gas station toiletWITH THREE PEOPLE’S WORTH OF PEE.

I couldn’t just leave it there.

So, I got my baby wipe and hand sanitizer cocked and ready to go.  I.reached.in.the.gas.station.toilet.  With.all.of.our.pee.in.it.  I wiped the card off and my hands.  And profusely I might add.

And then I dropped the card on the floor.  The gas station floor.

I was so mad.  SO MAD.

We all recovered and got back into the car.   Some very kind people gave us some gift cards for our journey, including a McDonalds gift card.  I decided to use it, typed in McDonald’s into the GPS.  Now, by this time, it was very dark, and wherevertheheckIwas didn’t have ANY lights on the road.

I drove and drove.  Trying to obey my GPS in the dark at this particular exit.  I could N.O.T. find this McDonald’s.  In combination with the debit card toilet incident and the dark,  I was getting flustermicated.

In my flurry of flustermification, I decided to skip the gift card idea and go to Burger King since it was there.  I got our food.  Nursed the baby, blah blah blah.  I put my fries on top of the cooler (which was holding homemade baby food, that all thawed out and went bad anyway…. uggghhhhhh) and pulled out of the parking lot.  As I was doing so, the fries spilled in between the seat and the passenger door.

I was so mad.  SO MAD.

I couldn’t find the ramp to get back on the interstate.  It was so dark.  SO DARK.

By now, I wanted those fries.

So, I whipped into a parking lot to fish them out.  I got out of the car.  Slammed the driver’s door.  Walked around the car, opened the passenger’s door and all of my fries fell out onto the ground.  The ground.

I was so mad.  SO MAD.

I happened to look up to see what parking lot I was in.  The McDonald’s parking lot.


We finally got on the road and made it to Washington DC, where we stayed with some friends.

Day one took us… FOURTEEN hours.  FOURTEEN HOURS. OH MAH GAH.

When we got to my friends’ house, no lie, I took a diaper out of car for Cole.  And that’s it.  The plan was to get up early the next morning, change Cole’s diaper and get back in the car in order to get to Boston as quickly as possible.  No brushing the teeth.  No underwear changes. Nothing.


The next day went much better fortunately.  We stopped to pee like 18 times.  I won’t go into the details.  Only the inner circle gets those…

(moving on)

Day 2 took us 9 hours.  NINE HOURS.

By the time we got to Boston, we looked a hot mess.

I will say however, even though I had to put my bare hand in gas station toilet full of pee, had to hold children up on the side of the road countless times to potty, dropped my Burger King french fries in the McDonald’s parking lot, the kids did really well.  I didn’t hear a peep out of Alanna with those headphones and the ipod touch.  Cole didn’t cry- not even once (he was about 8 months old at the time).  He’s amazing.  And Nora very kindly only pulled out her best moves the last hour of the trip.

So.  There you go.

And I thought you might like this too.

Because toddlers eating corn on the cob is always a big hit.


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One Year and 3 days ago…

My family was doing this (from Scotland to Tennessee):


A few days later, we had Thanksgiving with these people:


Cole looked like this (so so hard to believe):

A few days after that, we went and got one of these (a tree, not a baby):

(Gotta love their, “smiles.”)

It’s hard to believe that since then, we’ve moved across the country. That’s 2 houses in one year (3 houses in one year and a week give or take). Cole has learned how to walk. Nora has learned to write her name. Alanna has started school. I’ve gotten to live literally next door to my 2 best friends on the planet. One in Nashville, the other here in Boston.

It’s really hard to believe that this time last year, we were trying to convince ourselves that we were here to stay this time… it took awhile to actually believe that we wouldn’t be returning back to Scotland in a few weeks.

It’s really really hard to believe that Cole was a newborn this time last year. Was there ever a time that that child was strapped in an infant seat?

All that to say, this past year feels like a time warp. On one hand, it can’t be possible that we’ve been back for that long. But on the other, we’ve done so much this past year.

So here I am this year.

Making Thanksgiving food with this best friend:

(You know what Gordon Ramsay says, “taste, taste, taste.” )


(And to think that I couldn’t have had a 6 pound can of green beans at my disposal a year and a few days ago…)


Making a turkey craft with these guys:


(By the way, I love this picture.  Aaralyn wiping her nose, uninterested Alanna, Nora holding a play knife, Elise wanting Mommy, and Cole- well, we can’t hear him or see him, so I’m sure he’s fine)


(Please note how Nora chose to write her name microscopically, Alanna chose to whip out her fancy, “L,” and baby Lilah got the smallest turkey)


Poor baby Lilah slept through it all.  Sometimes it is really not advantageous to be a baby…


So thankful I get to live next to this lady:


I love our life here in America.  I miss Scotland too.  I was reading to Alanna this week from a book we got at the library- tt perfectly sums up how I feel about both (that is, if I had the luxury of traveling in between the two):

“The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other.”

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On Your Birthday

We snuggled in bed before breakfast.  Your hair smelled like burt’s bees shampoo.

You ate 3 pancakes, some pear, and 2 handfuls of cheerios for breakfast.


You wore robot pajamas.

You sounded a little raspy because you were getting over a cold.

You sat at the table while me and your sisters made your birthday cupcakes.



Your sisters gave you great big kisses.

We laughed over the fact that every time we tell you say, “Mama, ” you say, “Dada,” even though you can say about 10 other words.

Memmie made you an owl t shirt (for your owl themed party).

We wrapped your presents.

I laughed that your first birthday pictures would have no little teeth in your grin.  Maybe you’ll get some teeth soon?

We hung the birthday banner and the stuffed owls memmie and me made.

I wanted to crawl into the fetal position as I said goodbye to your babyhood looked forward to the next stage of your little life.

(I really do look forward to the next stage).



You took a long nap while I made you owl cupcakes and and owl cake that was all for you.

Our Portugese landlords woke you up from your nap while they were making wine in the basement.

I got you out of your crib and snuggled with you in the red rocking chair in your room.

You fell asleep for a few moments with your face snuggled into my neck.

I thought about packing up the receiving blankets in the basket on the changing table to make room for your new trains.

I sent your dad out twice to get supplies for the cupcakes.  We needed more oreos the second time.

I got you dressed in the outfit that me and Memmie picked out just for you.


You wore your new yellow converse shoes.


You reached for the owls hanging in the doorway.



We took pictures of you outside.  You love to walk along the chain link fence- something you’ve never done before.

Memmie and I laughed at what you did when we put your birthday hat on.  You leaned your head way back to try and see it.



Aaralyn said, “Happy Birthday Cole!” from the upstairs window while we were taking pictures.

Daddy fed you pizza instead of letting you feed yourself so that you wouldn’t get food on  your birthday clothes.




We invited the Fishers and 3 girls from church over to sing happy birthday to you and eat cupcakes.


You cried when we put the birthday hat on you before we sang happy birthday. We ended up taking it off.


You clapped and said, “Yay!” when we sang happy birthday to you.

We took your shirts off when it was time for you to eat cake.


We gave you your owl cake and you didn’t know what to do with the chocolate frosting (at first).



You made the biggest mess you’ve ever made while you were eating your cake.


Your belly lapped over jeans.

I helped you open your presents.

Your sisters drooled over your new train set.

We said goodbye to your guests.

Daddy gave you a bath.

Aunt Janna and I tried to make sense of the trains.

I set up the tracks and dreamed of playing trains with you.

You came crawling in the room in your doggy waffle weave pajamas.  Your belly was huge from all of that cake.

You fell asleep in my arms while we were rocking in the red chair in your room.

I lowered you into your bed.  You were so tired that your arms dangled to the sides of you.

I shut the door, realizing that time moves on faster than I even realize.

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Hi, I’m a Pastor’s Wife

It was the fourth of July and we went to watch the fireworks with some new friends of ours, who happen to be attending our church. We were sitting on the pavement right next to the Charles River with all 3 kids.

I must note, that these friends of ours, are awesome. We had not spent a ton of time together at this point, but really, they are awesome.

I was trying to tell my new friend about how Cole sucks his finger.  Not his thumb or even his pinky, but his index finger.

And I said:

“He’s a finger su… finger…. su….  SINGER FU*********”


Hi I’m a pastor’s wife.

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The best thing ever

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It all began when…

I was sitting on the couch with my bare feet on the wood floor.  I felt a rumbling if you will.

Actually, it all began before this.

I told Adam, “I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see rain in my life.” It’s been hot here people.  Now chillax, I know it hasn’t been as hot here as it’s been where you live, you know where highs are at like 110 degrees.  But give us a break, we don’t have AC (well, we have one portable one that makes a bit more bearable).  So, no central AC, plus highs of 92 (we even had a day of highs at 100), means, rain is a good thing.

Not ever once ever even one little itty bitty time while we lived in Scotland did the words, “I’m so happy that it is raining,” ever leave my lips.

Back to where it at all began.

I felt a rumbling sensation under my feet.  I told Adam, ” Come and feel this.”  He walks over, rolling his eyes at me, saying in his mind (I could totally hear it though), “You are such a paranoid freak.”

He may feel this way because well, I may or may not have called the gas company swearing I could smell gas in our house.  I may or may not have done that twice…  (two houses people, two houses).

Me:  “Maybe you should go and check the basement.”

Because I’m a paranoid freak, my first instinct was to think that there was a fire.  The rumbling was coming from right above the washer and dryer.

Have I ever mentioned that I am petrified of house fires. Like, maybe a few times I’ve stayed awake in my bed thinking of how I’m going to gather my three children and break open a window with a kiddie chair while they all hold onto me for dear life.  Adam will of course be waiting on the other side of the window to catch them and whisk them away to safety.

I’ve only done that… you know… a few times.

Adam goes to the basement and I hear some commotion.  My heart starts thumping… okay, Hope, you know what to do, you have a plan to bust outta here in case of fire.

I run to the back of the house to see what’s up, and he yells, “THE BASEMENT IS FLOODING, THE BASEMENT IS FLOODING.”  I run down there, and there is water SPEWING from the pipes down there.  At that moment, there was about 5 inches of water in the basement.  The rumbling that I felt was water bursting forth from the exit drain of the washer.

At that moment, we kind of panicked, running around in little circles, saying breathlessly,

Who do I call”

“I don’tknow.”

“What… do I do”

“Our furniture down here is going to be ruined.”

“What do I do”

(When then proceed to lift furniture onto a very wobbly table… it’s furniture that we are trying to sell.)

“Ohmygosh…. is this TOILET WATER???”


“Who do I call”

Seriously, I hope I get to see a playback of that scene when I get to heaven.  I’m sure it would be hilarious.

The long and short of it is:  we had a flash flood on our street, the sewer (AND I MIGHT ADD THE SANITARY SEWER) backed up and the pipes in our basement backed up as well.  It happened to several people on our street.

The word on the street (haha) is that this has only happened like one other time.  That comes from a reliable source named Ray who has lived here all of his life.

Our poor landlords (kind of an older couple from Portugal) came and spent alllllll afternoon pumping the basement out after the rain stopped and the flooding receded.  We didn’t realize how long they had been down there, or I would have sent Adam to go and help (I’m sure he would have looooooved that).

Anyway, that was our day. I don’t think that anything got damaged, thank goodness.  The washer and dryer… we’re not so sure about them.  Which brings me to this:

Dear Hope,

You know how you were all excited about being caught up with the laundry yesterday?  Sorry.  Not anymore .  Hopefully you can get caught up on Monday if the washer and dryer still work.   Just step away from the stress… step away.



*Good water.  Not the crazy flood-your-basement-flash-flood water.

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Dear Hope

Dear Hope,

Well, you are 28 years old now.  Congratulations.

I figured that since everyone else gets letters, that you should get one too.  I mean, you’ve come a long way.

You love to be at home, being a mom.  You like other things too though, like photography, scrapbooking, sewing clothes for the kids, etc. Hm, 2 out of 3 of those things are related to the kids.  Maybe you should get out more.  Just sayin’.

You’re probably a little too OCD for your own good.  Okay, maybe a lot OCD.  But a little/lot OCD never hurt anyone.

You just moved again.  It was stressful for you, but it’s gonna be okay.  Say it with me, “It’s gonna be okay.”  Today is the first day that you’ve felt really settled since moving to Boston.  You know Hope, it’s a little sad that the reason you feel settled is that because it’s the first time in a month (which is how long you’ve been in Boston) that you’ve gotten caught up with the laundry.  Whew.  That laundry can really stress you out.

You love living in Boston so far, it’s lots of fun.  There’s so much to do and see.  And living in an urban environment is neat too.  Why, just yesterday, you could hear your neighbor cutting her fingernails (or maybe toenails, who knows) through your open bedroom window.

You’re 5 feet tall (roughly the 2nd percentile for your age) and *** pounds.  Yeah, let’s not talk about the pounds.  You wish that shopping for clothes was as easy as it is shopping for your children.  Like, you could just go to the mall and grab a dress with the size, “28 year old girl,” on the tag and it would look good.  On a good note though, you are 3 inches taller than what Massachusetts law requires for riding in a car seat.  Congratulations!

You’re working really hard to speed up your development in areas like patience, kindness, and self control.  Seems so funny that you thought that you had these milestones met at your 22nd birthday.  Don’t worry though, you are als0 working on your abilities with grace and mercy.

Happy birthday, Hope.



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