Last week was one of the craziest weeks of my life. Here's what went down:
1. I peeled and mashed 60 lbs of potatoes throughout the week
2. I locked this poor kid and 30 lbs of mashed potatoes in the car on accident...
3. Then this little guy got insanely sick and miserable, for no obvious reason. We went to urgent care. Then we went to the ER where he was run through a battery of tests, all to no avail. As they were giving him an IV Jo observed with her usual amount of empathy, "He's not being a very good sport." We were eventually sent home with out much of a solution.
4. I spent several nights with Bay on the basement couch watching cartoons and dump truck videos on the ipad.
5. I bought & hung my hands-down-favorite light fixture
6. I bought a new duvet for the bed which inherently necessitated that I repaint this dresser (because my house needs another "M")
7. This little man was feeling no better so we took him to the dr and then ended up in the ER again. Baylor had to have a barium enema under x ray to determine if there was a blockage or twist in his gut. Since I am pregnant I had to watch Luke hold him down for the procedure from the hallway window. To my surprise, he barely squirmed or fussed. When I was able to go back in they told us "it looks like he is maybe just constipated." I cried in the xray room because this was the best possible news we could hear. Let me tell you- it sucks to go to the ER, it sucks to get ER bills, and it sucks to see your child in pain. But in light of all the things it COULD have been, I'll take a little constipation any day.
8. This little girl got to go play with the Stephens crew while we took Baylor to the hospital
9. No less than every single Stephens pictured below rallied to make Jo feel like an absolute princess during our lengthy ER trip. Let me tell you that my worst nightmare is having someone call and say, "Can I drop my 4 year old off at your house for an unknown amount of time starting in 10 minutes?" the NIGHT before Thanksgiving!?!?! But they took her in with open arms. I was sitting in the back seat with Baylor when we dropped Jo off with Libby. I cried when I saw Jo (earnestly wearing her back pack full of toys) jump up & down as Libby opened the door to let her in. Much later (well past everyone's bed time) when I picked her back up, I walked in to find Jo & Linda snuggled in jammies and blankets on the couch watching sesame street. Jo barely glanced at me. I don't think she was ready to come home. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I know that "this is what family is about," but it is entirely different to have a desperate need so abundantly met when you need it most. I love you guys!
10. We hosted back to back thanksgivings on Thurs & Friday
11. Luke carved up 44 lbs of turkey over the two days, taking pointers from a master-carver
12. I hit up Home Depot at 5am on black friday (I was already up with Baylor so decided to make the best of it) and got something I SWORE I'd never get- a fake tree. Prelit, 3 pieces, easy to assemble and no marriage-threatenting fight as we set it up. Totally worth it.
13. I hung all of our Christmas decorations & lights (that is not really our house, FYI)
14. I administered my first enema, with smashing success-- and I am so happy to say (thank God!) that Baylor seems to be quite improved and no longer in pain.
I've been collecting frames from goodwill & trying to narrow down some pics to enlarge for the walls. For the last year we've had nothing on them, so this will be a grand improvement. Here's some of my favorites from the last few years:
Luke took this w/his phone- Jo running down our railroad stretch with dandelions this spring. It looks like she's a flying fairy & I love the look on her face.
This is Baylor @ our 20 hour camping trip this year. He has a snotty nose, and if I remember right this was about 10 minutes before a nasty bee flew up his sweatshirt & stung the poor kid on the back.
Oh man- this eager little face. She looks so little in it compared to these days.
I like how her smile is crooked here, mid laugh.
This is one of my all time favorites. Blurry, out of focus, no one has brushed their hair or teeth. It is the perfect snapshot of the season of life we're in. Baylor's face is the best.
Beauty- bright eyes, perfect skin and full of light.
I love to watch these three. Dad meets all their roughhousing needs. They wrestle on the bed while I'm cooking dinner and 9 times out of 10 I stop what I'm doing to go watch the laughter & cringe at how close they come to flying off the edge.
Berry picking this summer. I can never get them to look at the camera at the same time, but sometimes I can get them to touch at least.
This might be my all time favorite Baylor pic. Luke took it on his phone. I love that Baylor's been pulled onto the porch so Dad can supervise him while painting. I love the light on the porch floor & my running shoes sitting there. I love that Baylor is in a diaper only, his chubby little legs & feet are touching, and he's holding up a goldfish cracker for Luke to see.
A short glimpse into the preparations we're making for the fifth member of our family. Forever after there will be five of us, and it will be odd to recall a time before we were all here.
Baylor with his shaggy mop that has grown even more out of control. He's due for a buzz cut as soon as I muster up the energy to restrain him for the task. But I WILL miss those precious blonde curls.
There are several things I'd call symbolic/iconic/traditional to the Stephens family. Popcorn with butter & Johnny's (never lawry's) seasoning salt. Fried chicken. Ironing table clothes, peeling potatoes & dad laying out the silver for thanksgiving dinner. But hands down, the most important thing to my family is:
Mom is a salt fiend and has raised three like minded children. Typically for our birthdays we got chex mix instead of cake, as per our preference. Mom usually eyeballed the ingredients and as a result, no one really has a clear, reproduce-able, recipe. When I ask about proportions my mom vaguely suggests that I add more butter, more salt, or more worcestershire...or all three. So every batch is a little different. It doesn't matter- as long as my fingers and feet swell up and I feel like I'm salt-curing my innards, I know I've come close.
Yesterday I decided it had been too long since I last made chex mix, so I texted ashley.
Me: I don't have a plan for dinner but I think I will make chex mix. I'm trying for the perfect recipe proportions.
Ash: Ok. Kristi & I decided to make some.
(I love that- it was like she was implying there had been any other option)
Then we went back & forth on some ingredient amounts.
Then we both swelled up from too much salt.
This morning I texted her again.
Me: The kind of gross but inevitable pairing the morning after you make chex mix: coffee and chex mix.
Ash: Funny that you mention that... (pic below)
Nice. I'm sure the salt content of chex mix would be manageable if I didn't insist on eating it all within 12 hours of making it....
One of my favorite things about our house is the big front porch. A few weeks ago we had a giant Middlebrooks bbq and the children still present after last call were rewarded with ice cream cups. Here's to thousands of desserts and warm fall nights to come!
1. Last time Jo stayed with my parents, my Dad let her watch a show called "Killer Snakes."
2. Today my dad called to inform Jo that he has caught her a pet snake.
3. The snake is in a jar on my parent's kitchen counter.
4. My dad explained that he created a micro habitat that the snake would be familiar with, complete with sand, rocks, and foliage.
5. He has stocked the jar with worms, as food for the snake.
6. According to my dad, my mom is not bothered by the fact that there is a snake in her kitchen.
7. I asked Jo what she'd name the snake, and she answered: "Cupcakes."
8. I find all of this quite disturbing.
9. I am advocating for Cupcakes' release back into the wild.
10. If my dad or daughter object, I'll go peta on them and do it under a cloak of darkness, but then notify local and national media to claim the deed.