dirty diapers happen


I used to groan at the thought of changing my daughter’s dirty diaper.  To be fair, my oldest was exceptionally difficult to change – now that I have three kids I’m allowed to say that, right?  Any diaper change was terrible, but dirty ones were the worst, so when I saw that face or smelled something stinky, I automatically got into a bad mood.  I hated it, I didn’t want to do it, but I had to do it.

But … you know what?  Dirty diapers happen.  They are going to happen … regularly.  (Ha!)  At some point I realized, if I need to do this several times a day, I should figure out how to do it without getting into a bad mood.  Because if a dirty diaper ruins my day, I am going to have nothing but bad days.

During the worst days of diaper-changing, it helped me to sing a praise & worship song while changing the diaper.  (“All Your Promises.”  Always the same song so that I didn’t have to think of one.)  I sang it loudly to drown out my screaming daughter and keep myself from getting too irritated.  It helped … and eventually she got older and potty-trained, and my two younger ones have been easier to change.

But sometimes I still need to remind myself.  I’ll sit down with a hot cup of coffee, and then my baby girl will come crawling over with a big smile and a pungent aroma, and I just need to take a deep breath and remind myself … dirty diapers happen.


Frumpy Friday Summary

Door county welcomed us magnificently last week. Can you spot the moon? It appeared triple in size, so the photo doesn’t translate fully, but is still lovely, I feel. Honey lost his job the day before we took this planned vacation (his new company appears to be trimming after a merger). I am weighing supporting the family and serving the Lord (at least a little bit), by doing some work outside the home. Apparently, women for centuries and in cultures all over the world have contributed to economic needs. Whether this is God’s will for our specific family at this specific time is a major question. It would be so much easier if I had planted a bigger garden! Then, I would be canning veggies right now, and BOOM, economic contribution would be in the bag, er, jar. 😉

Little man explores his newly-lengthened pj’s. I found a relatively simple, DIY way to extend the life of footy pajamas by cutting them near the feet and inserting a new swatch of fabric. It’s something of a hack job, and when I accidentally put the first couple of seams on the outside instead of in, it became more so. : D Oh,well! The net effect is the same, and so much better than spending an abominable amount of time with a seam ripper.

The art on the wall is cut cardboard and paint. Wow! So simple, so effective. It did a lot for the medical waiting room that we were in a few days back. Again, the picture doesn’t do it justice.

We did plant a few rows of carrots. Not only did these two come up white, but check out the one on the right! The weave of the stems was intricate and lovely, just like our Lord’s quiet plan for us. I know he holds us in the inner palm of his hand, and so why, then, shall I worry about money?

God love you,


designing our days

Eight AM.  The day stretches out before me.  Meals to make, diapers to change, naps to manage, but – the rest is up to me.  Ten hours until my husband gets home for dinner; how will we fill them?  It’s up to me to decide.

It’s a blessing and a burden, you know?  The freedom is amazing.  We’re having gorgeous Indian-summer days right now, and I am completely free to take the girls out for a walk or over to the zoo, pretty much whenever I want.  But the freedom can also be overwhelming.  When I begin a gray, overcast day with too much laundry and housework to do and not enough sleep to make the dozens of decisions that will be required of me, I often find myself paralyzed.

Several months ago I opened up a book I had borrowed years before but never read.  A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul.  Order to my home and peace to my soul?  That’s a pretty big claim.  But the author’s purpose is to provide a method for answering that never-ending question of mine, what are we going to do today.  So I decided to give it a try.

The author, Holly Pierlot, recommends forming a “rule” for home and family life, just as religious orders form rules.  Think and pray about what God has called you to, in five areas: your personal needs, your prayer life, and your roles as wife, mother, and homemaker.  What needs to happen in each of those areas, for you to be living the life God has called you to right now?  Now take a good, hard look at your daily life and decide when you will do the things you need to do.

Pierlot notes that it will probably take quite awhile to hammer out your ideal rule, and that’s definitely been my experience so far.  After reading the book I sat down to think, pray, and start drafting a schedule that would reflect my priorities.  And I successfully scheduled … about the first two hours of my day.  Ha!  One obstacle for me is that my children’s needs – especially the baby’s – change frequently, and my daily schedule has to reflect that.  At different times, the baby has been sleeping through the night, or getting up twice; nursing first thing in the morning, or not until she goes down for her morning nap; napping from 8 AM until 9, or from 9 until 11:00.  All of those changes impact my morning schedule drastically.

But even though I have yet to figure out a complete and final schedule for my family, the exercise has been helpful to me.   I’ve started to see more clearly how to figure out each day’s schedule.  Here are a few of the things I have picked up on:

  • I really, truly love routine.  I started doing my kids’ laundry ever Monday, in order to avoid my oldest daughter constantly asking “When are you going to do my laundry?” whenever her favorite dress wasn’t clean.  I also started making baked oatmeal every Monday.  Putting those two jobs together with all my daily tasks (remember, my daily life is a full-time job), I don’t have much time left for any other chores.  So every Monday, I know exactly what I need to do, and it is amazing.
    • (I also recently had an epiphany that I can vacuum the upstairs, and clean the upstairs bathroom, every two weeks while my husband goes shopping with the kids at Costco.  Soon I hope to sort out some of my other chores and assign them a day too.  I don’t know whether it will work to assign them arbitrarily, so that’s why I haven’t done it yet; I’m hoping I’ll have a few more epiphanies!)
  • Thinking about days (or parts of days) that haven’t gone well is a great way to figure out what to do (or not to do) in the future.  I had a number of really tough afternoons with the kids, where I tried to cook or do housework, and got interrupted an absurd number of times; finally I realized the kids need me more in the afternoons so I just need to schedule housework & cooking for the mornings.  I can’t always make that work, but it’s becoming more of the norm.  Some afternoons my kids are feeling pretty peaceful and playing with each other without my help, and I can get one or two small things done, but it helps if I’m not counting on it.
    • (I also realized that afternoons on Maggie’s preschool days were the worst.  So I’ve committed even more seriously to being free & available to the kids on those afternoons.  We usually go out to the zoo or a playground now, rather than coming home after preschool pickup.)
  • I also need to think about and respect my own needs.  It’s tempting to schedule a ton of work for naptime, but even when I don’t need a nap myself, I still tend to need rest during that time.  One thing that has worked well has been to finish a load of laundry during the morning so that during naptime I can put on a show (currently watching this one) and just sit down to fold laundry.
  • Deciding when to have prayer time, and what kind of prayer to include, has been the hardest part of the project.  It still works well to read my devotional while nursing the baby, but I need to add some more prayer to my day and I just don’t know what or when.  I also need to get back into the habit of having prayer time with the girls, but I haven’t found the best time for that either.

I hope to share more about this with y’all in the months to come.  In the meantime I would love to hear any tips or tricks that have worked for you in planning out your days!

Perfect Prayer


Yesterday, I hustled the kids outside for a walk before dinner time, all the while checking my watch and calculating how long it would take to heat leftovers, for how long we could therefore walk, and whether I could somehow successfully avoid parks, the cemetary, and hills. (I knew we didn’t have time to play at a park or the cemetery. I knew I lacked the fortitude for hills. Tell me you know what I mean! I’m not the only one, right? Right?)

Anywho, Surprisingly, one child was really having a hard time with this particular walk. There was lots of whining, and this is highly unusual, so we headed early for home, and I got busy raking pine needles. They have blanketed our entire yard in this lovely buttery-apricot color. Despite the unpleasant whining, I wasn’t going to waste the time we took getting ready to go out for one measly little turn about two hill-less blocks! Little man got out of the stroller and began exploring. My daughter stayed in.

Eventually, she got interested enough to climb out and grab a stick, so as to imitate Mommy raking. The two of them made up some games involving sticks. No-ones’ eye was poked out. And eventually, we had to go back inside to start microwaving things for Weft-over Wednesday, as I like to dub our mid-week dinner. 😉

I’m getting to the point: when Daddy got home, somehow, instead of everyone else ending up banished from the madhouse of my kitchen so that I can scurry around, Daddy and little man ended up squarely in the middle, Joshy in his arms. Our two year old is normally less cuddly at this time of day. It’s all about running around, and trains. But yesterday, around the time I was turning from the sink towards the microwave for round 3 of dinner prep, I catch Joshy spontaneously saying to daddy, “I had a weally good time outside today.”

And it just really caught my attention and my heart. It came unbidden out of the sweet mouth of a goofy kid who we like to call “Mr. Pleasant”. He wanted to share with his daddy that he ‘had a weally good time outside today’. That’s all he said, and it might sound trivial or ordinary, but it looked and sounded just like prayer to me. A son, secure in his father’s arms, shared with his father something that mattered to him. His Daddy was there to and listen and to get an idea of the what makes up the being of this kid. And sharing that all with his Daddy is just exactly what mattered to this boy at the time. It was a moment when the two seemed as one.

Now, does this mean I had a similarly revealing talk with my heavenly father this morning in prayer? Not remotely! I somehow managed to distract myself, even with the loveliest of examples before me. Still, I want to record it for posterity. Eventually, that freedom and giving has gotta have some seapage effect on this busy mama. Right? Right!? Well, anyways, until I can learn to pray well through osmosis, I am thinking seriously about doing meditations on the life of Jesus, in order to get to know him better and get to a place where we can talk as close friends. The German side of me is really struggling with the logistics, considering that I will need to find a solid hour (after making coffee) during which the house is quiet and the soul is willing.

Are there any other moms out there who pray for an hour plus? How do you do it? Is it even possible? I need any and all ideas. Thank you!



The Danger of {over} Psychologizing, Part 1

wp_20160902_013So, the thing is, we are human. (Just call me Captain Obvious!) We are physical, emotional, psychological beings who have loves, tastes, capabilities, weaknesses, and commitments. We also have work and accomplishments (the work of our hands), bodies, a thought life, homes, relationships, and a million other things that make up our selves and our days. Oh, and then there’s God. We have a heavenly Father who sent his Son as a human, just like us (I mean, as us. As in, he’s really a human. A real one. Who gets earthy and gross and has a definable personality. But, I digress), to  do a big work and to get us loving and working with him through the power of the Holy Spirit. wp_20160826_009When someone asks me “how are you”, I blubber around, trying to find a way to express a cohesive answer. I rarely want to express how I am right now, or even how I’ve been over a long period. It’s like I think the answer requires computation: take an average, starting from when I last saw them, until now, of “how I’ve been“. Then, boil it down into either “fine”, “great!”, or “bad”. Huh? Hence, the blubbering.

It seems to me that it is most often asked in order to get at my psychological state.  And, don’t get me wrong, psychology matters. But you know, I’m pretty sure it’s not the only thing that matters. When I see a dear friend who hasn’t been with me all day (ie: most of you, and my husband), what they really want to know is the state of me, as a Spirit filled human, and this encompasses much more than my psychological state of “ok”,”well”, “bad”, “annoyed”, “bitter-over-the-past”, “frazzled”, “angry-that-naps were-sub-par”, etc. wp_20160909_007

When Honey comes home from work and everything and everyone is a big, huge, tired mess, and dinner isn’t ready, I can honestly answer the question “How are you?” with, “HORRIBLE!” In the moment (actually, I admit, for at least an hour), it’s my psychological reality. I feel horrible. But that’s not all of reality! I mean, come on! Let’s look at the whole picture. We haven’t seen each other all day. I could mention an interesting thought that I had in prayer that morning. I could share an adorable video that I took of the kids. Heck, this would be awesome: I could simply hug the guy. And here’s the other end of the spectrum: I could reach way back in memory and say that 3 hours ago, I cleaned the toilet and was tickled pink over the accomplishment. I could thank him for taking out the trash without being asked. I could ask him how they are solving that one problem at work. Sometimes, I say something like “I don’t know how I am, but are we free on Saturday morning to help the Smiths move?”


In conclusion, I want to say that I am currently quite frazzled, have almost cried 4 times today, and feeling very over committed. However, what I scheduled for this time is to de-clutter the basement, and, if possible, clean the bathroom. So, THAT is how I am doing. Right now. How I am doing is what I am doing.


Love, MMC


My Baby, My Gift


Author’s Note:  This is a blog post from three months ago describing my then 3 month old baby.  At the time I didn’t publish it because it didn’t seem important, but now it does.  Enjoy.  The photo above is of that very moment.

I had a crabby baby that night.  He was sick and wanted to be held.  He just didn’t want to be put down.  He cried every time I set him down.  Nothing was working, so I put him in a baby wrap, and snuggled him close to me.  I turned on music on my phone and stuck the phone in the little pocket in the baby wrap.  The songs were beautiful.  Even though my back ached, I held him, and “danced” with him.  It was so comforting, it put him to sleep.  As he lay against me, I just took a moment to enjoy the soft feel of his hair next to my cheek and the sweet smell of his skin.  You see, this baby is special to me.  He is an answer to prayers for us.  He arrived not on our time, but Gods.  He is a gift to me and when things get stressful, I thank God for my baby and ask Him to help give me the gifts I need to be his mom.

Costco garlicky kale (vegetable “of the week”)


Remember how I was going to cook one vegetable a week (as opposed to salad every day) and share the recipes here with you?  Well, that was nice for a couple months, and then my full-time job caring for three kids got in the way.  Ha!  But tonight we had some great kale with dinner and I thought I would share my “recipe” with you.

I already mentioned this kale dish in my first “veggie of the week” post, but in case anyone needed a bit more instruction I wanted to put in a few more details.  It’s hardly a recipe at all, really just a method, but it’s a good reliable one – as evidenced by the cutiepie enjoying the kale in the top photo there.  Anyway, here goes …


  • pre-chopped, pre-washed kale from Costco (or, fresh beautiful kale from your local farmer’s market; remove the ribs and slice leaves into bite-size pieces.)
  • jarred minced garlic (or, fresh garlic … peel and mince it.)
  • olive oil
  • water


Drizzle a nice puddle of olive oil in the bottom of a large stock pot, and heat the stove to medium-high.  When the oil is hot, throw in as much kale as you can fit into the pot, or as much as you think you will eat.  (I can usually get about a pound of pre-chopped kale in there.)  No need to stir yet; add about a quarter cup of water, and cover the pot.

Wait a few minutes and check to see how the kale is wilting.  Is it bright green yet?  Is it cooking down?  If it’s still completely filling the pot, it needs to wilt some more before you proceed.  Check to see if you have enough steam going to wilt the kale, and add another quarter cup of water if you need to.  Cover the pot again and wait a few more minutes.

When the kale is bright green and starting to cook down, use a pair of tongs to lift and stir the kale, to coat it evenly with the oil and help it cook evenly.  Continue to stir, cover, check as needed until the kale is as soft as you want it to be.

Add as much garlic as you think you might like.  Lower the heat to medium-low and stir the kale some more so the garlic gets all mixed in.  Continue to cook until the garlic is as cooked as you want it to be.  If you like your garlic fresh, strong, and sharp, you can remove the pot from the stove almost immediately – the garlic will cook a little in the hot kale.  If you like it more mellow and caramelized (I do), leave it on for a minute or two, stirring occasionally, but be sure not to burn it.  (Although I recently burned it a little bit and it was delicious.)

Season with salt and pepper, and you’re done!  But if you want to dress it up, squeeze a lemon over it and/or grate some Parmesan on top.

Hope you like it as much as my two-year-old does!