Little Little Brother

“So the other day my son, David — I mean….Davis….”

– actual words that came out of my mouth

Being a third child is a struggle.

Being little little brother is definitely a struggle.

We had a BABY vs. WILD themed birthday party last month to celebrate one full year of his surviving the suburban wild.

It wasn’t until the day after his birthday that we realized he never opened his birthday present. His one, single birthday present.

David sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Even at his own birthday.

It’s not that we don’t love him. No. We adore that child.

The problem is that he’s our favorite toy.


He basically spent his first year being the most sought-after play thing in our home.

And, you know, toys just let you play with them. Sometimes you even misplace them because they’re so quiet and unassuming.

The one major difference between a normal toy and a baby toy, however, is that normal toys can be fixed and repainted and superglued.

Babies, as it turns out, cannot.

Well, I guess they can be painted.

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But you get my point.

And when you are the object of your two-and-five-year-old brothers’ affection, things can get dicey.

Being little little brother means personal space is at a premium.


And by “premium”…


…I mean “not-at-all-ium”.


Being little little brother also means that you are held a lot.

….mostly against your will.


Some people refer to this as “harassment” or “unlawful imprisonment”.


I refer to it as “big love”.

Sometimes love hurts.


It’s just part of life. You learn to deal.


Right, little little brother?



Being little little brother also means you have one set of parents and one set of…uh…”helpers”.

Sometimes they’re helpful.

But not always.


They’re all about lending a hand.


Or “changing your diaper”.


(It mostly ends up with you naked as the day you were born which is not at all helpful. But they try.)

Sometimes they shove entire Matchbox cars in your mouth, with only the little shiny fender showing.

Other times the toddler unsuccessfully breastfeeds you.

They refuse to let little little brother go hungry.

Being little little brother means you don’t nap in your crib very often.

You end up squeezing naps in on the go.

In the car, for example.


Or walking into Chick-fil-A.


Or at the aquarium.


Or in the public pool surrounded by 800 of your closest friends.


You know, anywhere that’s nice and quiet and crib-like. Anywhere like that does just fine when you’re the little little brother.

It’s a hard job you have.

There are some upsides and some downsides.

Some wins and some broken clavicles.


Some “taking one for the team”.


But if we were to vote on the best part of it all, it’s that

Being little little brother means you have two big big brothers who love you wholeheartedly.

You have built-in best friends. #1 fans. Fierce protectors.


Brothers who love you because “he’s just so cute, mom. I think he’s my best buddy.”

Same, dude. SAME.


We sure do love you, little little brother.

Thanks for letting us poke and squeeze and sit and stand and costume and karate chop and squish and feed and bite you.

We do it all with the best of intentions.


Because They’re Worth Remembering

Direct quote from Beckett, the kid who cried actual tears recently because “mom PLEASE stop dancing in the car. it’s very unsafe to dance while operating a vehicle!”:

“Since I’m 5 now, can I just be one of the parents?”

He is – by far – the most responsible adult in our home.

He is always reminding me of the rules to ensure a safe and just home.

He is also always soaking up everything around him and asking ridiculously mature and insightful questions.

A few months ago he started asking if he could come to “big church” with us instead of kid’s Bible class. (Big church = adult worship + sermon. When the kids at our church hit a certain age, they all end up in “big church”, but he’s still young enough to qualify for kid’s worship.)

Our answer to that question will always be 100% yes.

Does his worship look a little wigglier than the person next to us? Yep. Does he sometimes ask embarrassing questions in loud whispers at quiet times? Uh huh. Does he have to pee at least once during every service? Of course.

But having him in “big church” with us? Watching him soak up the worship, the teaching, and the community? Easy yes.

So he’s been coming.

And periodically throughout the service we lean our heads together and discuss what’s going on. And why.

At the end of nearly every service, there is a baptism. Usually multiple. (99% of which are people we don’t know, one downside to a several-thousand-member church.)

We’ve talked about baptism and what it means, but we usually spend most of our time on things like “What does that communion cracker taste like? (Cardboard.) Can I just try it? (No.)” and “How come no one ever puts money in that bucket thing? (A little thing called ‘direct deposit’. Virtual money, amiright??).”

Baptism isn’t that big of a discussion point yet, which is why it caught me off guard a few days ago when Beckett randomly started talking about it in the car on the way to the library.

“Hey, Mom….I’ve been doing some thinking…”

*bracing myself for yet another conversation about why we will not be buying a Komodo dragon*

“…and I would really like to take pictures at church when people get baptized.”

Wait. What?

I thought it was kind of a random thought (and shocking, as it wasn’t related to reptiles or the animal kingdom), so I asked why.

“Well because sometimes I forget things, you know? And I just don’t want to ever forget those people. They are choosing to follow Jesus and I’m really excited for them and I just don’t want to forget that. I need to start taking a picture — no…a video! — of each person. So I can remember.

Do you think that would be okay, Mom?”

To which I replied, “………………..” because I had driven off the road and was in the fetal position sobbing hysterically into my shirtsleeve.

(Just kidding. I waited to do that until I called my husband later to retell the whole story.)

I told Beckett of COURSE that was okay. No — much better than okay. It was the single most Jesus-like thought I’d ever heard.

We talked about his idea a few more times throughout the weekend (his initiation) leading up to this morning.

And then, this morning. Ohhh mercy. This. morning.

First off, Beckett brought his own digital camera to church.

And then he sat through the whole service saying, “Is it ‘baptist’ time yet? Are the baptisms coming soon??”

And when “baptist time” finally came, he ran down the aisle to do this:


(Honestly, you guys, I’m hyperventilating a little bit at this picture.)

Are you kidding me, sweet child of mine.

While the rest of the world loses their minds over our differences – our skin colors, our political views, our sexuality – I’m sticking with this guy. He sees none of that. All he sees is someone worth remembering and celebrating for making the single most important decision of their life.

As great as I think he is, his unadulterated, pure heart points to an infinitely greater person.

Thank you, Jesus, for showing us glimpses of heaven through our children.

And Happy Jesus Birthday, Amy. Team Brooks is celebrating with you!

But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

Bro-thday Bash

One year and one week ago, I was miserably, hugely pregnant with our 3rd. I didn’t care when he came out or how he came out, just that he came out.

So on the night of our firstborn’s 4th birthday, I didn’t even care when I started feeling signs of impending labor as I play skeeball at Chuck-e-Cheese.

And I certainly didn’t care when our baby finally made his grand entrance the next day, making him and his oldest brother 4 years and 1 day apart.

I still don’t care that their birthdays are back to back.

It’s fitting, actually, seeing as my husband and mine are 2 days apart…at the beginning of August.

With 4 out of our 5 family members’ birthdays this month, we’re all *very* birthdayed out by September. (Well, all but the toddler.)

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In our house, during this month, dual-celebration is necessary.

And last weekend we did just that.

We invited our friends and family over for the first annual Bro-thday Bash.


BRO-thday Bash (broh-th-dey baSH): noun
one party with two themes for two brothers with birthdays one day apart

Did you follow that?

Me either.

Construction theme for one kid, BABY vs. WILD [brothers] theme for the other.

9 families, 30 children.

It was mass chaos of the most festive kind.


For the big kids, the excavator and wrecking ball won the day.

(Shoutout to my brother who sells tractors and brought this bad boy home from work.)


For the babies, the teensy tiny canteens and kid corral were solid gold.

(As were the pictures on the mantle that displayed all the ways our favorite one year old “survived” the year. Between brotherly “love” [read: torture] and the little clavicle mishap, he is a true survivor of the suburban wild.)


Heaven knows I love a good party theme.

But even more than that, I love a good reason to celebrate.

When I look at my freshly-turned 5 year old’s face, I see 5 years worth of love and joy and memories and personality to celebrate. I see God’s goodness so clearly in this “big” boy, and I am overwhelmingly thankful He would give us such a precious gift.

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And my freshly-turned 1 year old? Oh, mercy. I never experience God’s faithfulness more than when I see these big brown eyes. This little soul came so far out of left field (according to our plans, anyway); yet just a short year later, we cannot imagine a home or a heart without him.

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I can hardly think of 2 better reasons to throw a party.

We are so, infinitely proud of you, little bros.

30 Reasons to Celebrate our Favorite 30 Year Old

August 7, 1986: our favorite man in the world was born.

30 years ago today.

What a beautiful life he has lived up until this point. I mean….he’s created 3 additional humans, among many other accomplishments.

We are opposite in many ways. (Ok, every way. And then some.)

I love talking. He loves silence.

I love chaos. He loves order.

I love spending time with 82,305,342 of my closest friends. He loves spending time with our family of 5.

I love big parties. He loves when people forget it’s his birthday.

Unfortunately he’s out of luck this birthday because THIRTY. It deserves extra attention.


So here it is.


  1. He is fiercely loyal. Once a friend, always a friend of Taylor’s.
  2. He can imagine with the best of them. I have a reputation for being the creative one, but THAT guy is the one who plays pretend with our boys like you wouldn’t believe.
  3. He desperately wants to be a storm chaser. (Nope.)
  4. He is logical. Period. Life just needs to make sense and add up. (Why he married me, a human with a shorted-out pinball machine for a mind, I have no idea but NO TAKE BACKS, SUCKAAA.)
  5. He makes perfectly uniform pancakes. They can all stack in a neat, nice pile because they are all exactly 4″ in diameter.
  6. He sees the positive in everything.
  7. He is wickedly smart.
  8. He always gets an appetizer, gets too full to eat his food, and then comments on the size of our check at dinner. And I love it.
  9. He is funny. Really funny. Whereas I travel with my own megaphone-voiced comedy routine, he is in the corner making hilarious comments to the person sitting next to him.
  10. He always knows an odd amount of celebrity gossip. He’s your go-to for who is dating who and what Rihanna’s new song is.
  11. He shows grace more than anyone I’ve ever met.
  12. He suffers from uncontrollable giggles at inappropriate times.
  13. He is kind to the core.
  14. He eats vegetables like a child. That is, to say, not at all. His gag reflex never aged past 4.
  15. He has a hipster inside to his accountant outside. His inside is pure manicured beard and Warby Parker glasses; his outside clean shaven business professional.
  16. He cares deeply for others. Especially those in need.
  17. He loves brainy nerd games.
  18. He is quite eloquent. Taylor uses approximately 0.02% the amount of words I do in our home, so when he does speak, we listen. And it’s always a wise, well-spoken thought.
  19. He still drives the truck he was given for his 16th birthday because “it still works”. A business executive with a 48 year old, rusted truck. *swoon*
  20. He is calm. (This is a big deal in our home.)
  21. He condones eating late night fast food as a second dinner while we Netflix.
  22. He will do whatever it takes to make the people he loves happy.
  23. He can’t keep a secret to save his life.
  24. He is a marketer’s dream. He once bought $400 worth of meat and seafood from a door to door salesman because “it seemed like a great deal”. (We don’t eat seafood. Also, no.)
  25. He makes a terrible disciplinarian. He’s way too nice.
  26. He is made of 50% human body parts, 50% Mexican food.
  27. He works hard and with integrity. (Kind of a rarity these days.)
  28. He is active on LinkedIn – the most social he’ll get on the internet.
  29. He drinks a Sonic cherry slush at least 4 times a week.
  30. He loves his family fiercely…and loves God even more.

It’s a good thing the numbers get bigger the older you get because I have about 3,023 more reasons to add.

We love you to the moon, Taylor Brooks.

And thank you, Lord, for this man and the family and legacy he is creating.


P.S. when 4 of your 5 family members have birthdays in August, you get burned out on cake.

Sometimes a lemon popsicle with a candle zip-tied to it is just what you need, which leads us to a bonus reason why we love Taylor:

31. He is very easy to please.


Celebrating Differences (and Teaching Our Kids to Do the Same)

“Dear ______, Stop _______.”

– the formula for titling your next culturally relevant blog post

These “open letters” are all. over. Facebook. All the time.

Have you seen them?

Something like:

Dear White People, Stop Saying “All Lives Matter”.

Dear Black People, Stop Protesting on Highways.

Dear Police Officers, Stop the Excessive Force.

Dear Everyone, Stop Assuming all Muslims are Terrorists.

Dear Republicans/Democrats/Liberals, Stop …..

Everyone wants to be treated equally (rightly so, obviously) yet we create all these rules and stipulations for how we relate to someone who is different than us. We have an army of writers and Facebloggers writing extensive bullet point lists of things each type of human can and can’t say, can and can’t do towards another type of human.

It leaves us in this awkward space where we either

can’t celebrate our differences because we can’t acknowledge our differences (“well I certainly don’t want to offend”),


think we are so different we can’t find a way to do anything together, let alone celebrate.

It’s exhausting.

It’s also overwhelming.

You can drown in the weight of trying to understand all the sadness and divisiveness, let alone trying to explain it to your kids.

Police killing unarmed citizens. Armed citizens killing police. Terrorists plowing down families with a bus. Terrorists shooting children at a McDonalds.

Not to mention politics. Oh my heavens.

Everyone is losing their ever-loving minds.

I mean…can we even move forward at this point or should we all just buy those Home Depot storm shelter bunker things and wait it out with our own kind until Jesus returns?

(I’d vote the latter but we tried the floor sample out at our last trip there and the metal bench is most uncomfortable.)

Loving Tangibly

Silence doesn’t really help. Feeling overwhelmed doesn’t really help. “Sending good thoughts” doesn’t really help. Writing blog posts about all the things someone else should quit doing doesn’t really help.

You know what would help? Doing. Learning about our differences and finding ways to celebrate others. Breaking our silence and loving tangibly.

And how about instead of pointing fingers here and there we start in our own homes?

It doesn’t have to be a series of life-changing events; simple intentionality can have a profound impact.

For instance, our home is ruled by a gaggle of volatile tiny humans, so our options for changing the world are somewhat limited.

But still.

We’re finding ways.

Here’s how:

  1. Praying through Ramadan

During the months of June/July, our family (along with our church and Mission Resource Network) prayed for different Muslim nations throughout the world.

Each day we watched a Prayercast video to learn about a specific country and to pray for the people of that nation.

It was a great way to expand our view of God’s kingdom. The boys loved seeing the colors and hearing the sounds of different people across the world, and it led to great discussions about how vast God’s love for ALL of His people is.

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Obviously Ramadan is over now, but the PrayerCast website has videos at the ready 24/7, a great activity to do solo or with kids or spouses or siblings or parents.

2. Thanking Law Enforcement

After the recent police shootings, we invited a few tiny friends over for a card-making play date.

We each made a stash of thank you cards to keep in our cars, ready to hand out when we see police officers in our area.

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A few days later, we spotted an officer in line at Chipotle. We gave him a card and thanked him for his service. He responded with polite appreciation. All in all, kind of anticlimactic.

Until we followed him to the parking lot a few minutes later.

There he sat, behind the wheel of his cruiser, staring at the cards.

As we were about to drive away, he rolled down his window and – with actual tears in his eyes – said, “I just want to thank you again for these. I can’t tell you how much this means.”

We went home and made 20 more.

3. Diversifying our Library

We have the whitest children known to man. But those boys will never – for one second – doubt our family’s love or our God’s love for people who look different than us.

One easy way to celebrate differences is through story.

Our current favorite picks of books about diversity are:

booksI Am Martin Luther King Jr by Brad Meltzer // We March by Shane W. Evans // The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler // Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

I could say more, but I’d be doing a disservice by not directing you to my friend Casey’s post on this subject instead: Books to Help You Discuss Race With Your Kids. It’s a fantastic list of age-appropriate books.

Loving others, you guys.

PULL YOURSELVES TOGETHER and let’s figure it out.

Whatever it looks like…however big or small, whether it’s white, black, brown, or blue…let’s find ways to love tangibly.

Survival of the Summertime

I see you, mom bloggers with 5 kids and enough time to not only create homemade sensory bins but to post a how-to that same afternoon. I see you.

And I’m wondering where the heck your kids are while you’re blogging, because they certainly aren’t in the room with you.

The hungriest my kids ever get is when I sit down at my computer and start typing. Or when I pick up the phone to actually talk to another reasonable human. It’s like instant starvation when my attention is diverted from their angel faces. Either that or all-out war with each other. They’re kind of the worst.

(Especially the toddler. Did you see the post about how often he yells the word “penis” in public? Because that’s still going strong.)

This summer has been an epic survival experiment.

3 boys, 4 and under. No schedule. Summertime energy. Speedy 10 month old. Mischievous toddler. Bored preschooler. Spotty Netflix connection. Water ban due to ruptured ear drum (cool story for another time).

It’s insanity of the best kind.

In fact, I documented one day this week. Maybe you can relate.

Daily Summer Schedule:

6:45AM – Toddler’s first breakfast. Sprinkles.


7:45AM – Toddler asks me to make “Sarah hair”. He means this:

sarah hair

(Another casualty of summer besides brain cells: hygiene.)

8:30AM – Toddler gets naked from the bottom down and hides in the closet.

9:00AM – Bathroom door left open; infant unrolls toilet paper.

toilet paper

9:30AM – Toddler takes bath in toilet.

toilet bath

10:00AM – Get everyone dressed for the day.

10:15AM – Toddler gets wet (?). And naked. Again.

naked toddler

1:00PM – Preschooler accidentally falls asleep (because “I’m not tired, it’s just that sometimes when I pretend I am tired I actually fall asleep”). Use SnapChat filters on sleeping child.

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2:45PM – Toddler tries to buckle himself in the car. Then asks for help. Then cries when he receives help because he wants to buckle himself with no help.

3:00PM – Grocery store run. Toddler is shirtless (?).


3:20PM – Impulse buy after toddler “tests out” the sticker portion of an unpurchased product.

impulse buy

4:00PM – Doctor the world’s most durable and well-loved plant with its third bandaid. Give thanks for the plant’s life after being potted and repotted and snapped in half at least 8 times since the end of school in May.


4:05PM – Plant succumbs to its injuries. Funeral for world’s most almost-durable and well-loved plant that miraculously stayed alive since May.

5:00PM – SnapChat husband about impending death if he does not return home quickly.

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6:45PM – Sibling bath. Install ear plugs (for ruptured ear drum). Lose earplugs. Find earplugs. Repeatedly state, “Ear plugs are not chewing gum.”


7:30PM – Bedtime. Sweet, heavenly silence.

7:33-8:12PM – Idle threats and/or bribery to make tiny humans lay in designated sleeping areas. Google plausibly of installing Benadryl misters along their ceiling.

9:15PM – Visit sleeping children. Experience a longing – despite all odds – to see their faces one more time.

Aaaaand repeat. Every day of summer.

Different variations of snack contraband, different injuries requiring bandaids (some plant, some human), but always ALWAYS with the naked toddler. And the toilet-paper obsessed baby. And the SnapChat filters. And the purchase of something we’ve ruined in the process of grocery shopping.

I feel like tiny humans need one of those warning labels stuck to them.

“Do not operate if you have any of the following conditions: heart disease, neck, back, or spine ailments, high blood pressure, or are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

Maybe I’ll write my congressman to make that happen.

In the meantime: godspeed, fellow summer parenters.

We’ve got this.

(I think. Probably. At the very least, we’ll know soon enough if we don’t.)

Wildly Toddlerpropriate

“Teach them appropriate names for body parts,” they said.

“They’ll be more empowered,” they said.

You know what they didn’t say?

That a two year old yelling about his penis in a crowded public area is incredibly awkward.

Even more awkward is when you’re trying on clothes in a dressing room with running commentary in the background.

1st Favorite Son: “You look beautiful, my lady.” (?!?)

3rd Favorite Son: “MOMMY I SEE YOUR PENIS.”


Have I mentioned that my two year old suffers from Megaphone Voice? (He comes by it honestly, but still.)

Couple things.

  1. I do not have a penis. Nor did he see any body part remotely resembling one.
  2. This was yelled in a Target changing room which – if you really think about it – is absolutely perfect considering its current status as the hub of all things transgender controversial. I can almost hear the phone call later that afternoon. “I heard it with my own ears, Wanda! A mommy with a penis. Canyouevenbelieveit.”

(You’re welcome, people who haven’t yet boycotted Target. We successfully pushed those still on the fence right on over the edge which means more sizes of the 25% off summer sandals to choose from.)

And last week with said two year old?! I still break out in hives at the memory of his little sausage fingers pointing at a (fully-clothed) elderly gentleman in a nursing home and informing everyone within a 10 foot radius that he “yiked” his man parts*.

(*medically correct male anatomy name I can’t bring myself to type again)

So, {….slow clap…..}.

Thanks for the suggestion, medical community. Not only will my son be incredibly “well adjusted” and “comfortable in his own skin”, he’ll “empower” everyone else to feel incredibly uncomfortable.

Two year olds are such terrors.

Hilarious, wonderful, foul-mouthed little terrors.

When our first son was two, he dropped the F bomb every time he saw a “fire truck”. I thought he might’ve set the bar too high for future Brooks toddlers.

I was mistaken.

Because now that our second son is two, we’ve discovered that he cannot for the life of him (and the sheer delight of us) pronounce the word “popcorn”.

HIM: “me hab some pocketporn.”

ME: “popcorn. pop. corn.”

HIM: “pocketporn. pocket. porn.”



He’s, like, so good at being two (a professional toddler, if you will), his discretion leaves quite a bit to be desired, and we simply couldn’t adore this pork chop any more.



On the Road to {Vacation} Recovery

I see your summer vacation photos. Your trips to Maui and Cabo San Lucas. Your moonlit walks on the beach and leisurely bike rides through sleepy, romantic towns.

I see these and I raise you the scenery along my 98 degree run the other night:


Yes, a steaming pile of poop that spells “hi”.

It’s kind of the perfect picture of our summer so far.

Not really.

But really, we are still recovering from our vacation from hell.

Last I left it, we were about to board our flight to come home.

Home sweet home.

Home, the place I was afraid we wouldn’t get to when Taylor lit up like a Christmas tree at airport security and had to have his palms swabbed. The palms, you know, that were covered in what appeared to be leprosy.

Please don’t detain us.

(They didn’t.)

Home, where I unpacked a suitcase full of standing water after discovering that the airline had left it sitting on the tarmac in the middle of a Floridian monsoon.


Home, the site of the broken 8 month old that had to be picked up by his butt and left armpit only, making it appear to onlookers as though you’ve never held a baby in your life.

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Home. Still better than our beach vacation.

Fast forward 4 weeks….

Taylor is still not 100% back to normal. Turns out Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is a horribly disgusting virus that sticks around for – oh – 12 years or so. If you’re unfamiliar with this virus, basically your appendages rot off blister by blister and you grow all new ones.

Some people experience the virus in their hands, feet, or mouth. Taylor opted for extra measures of all 3. (Not recommended.)

In a random late night discussion recently, I asked what he thought was the most humiliating form the human body can take.

Personally, I think it is a toss up between retching and shimmying up palm trees. (I saw a 40 year old man with misplaced confidence attempt it once. It was…indescribable.)

Taylor’s answer was immediate: Hand, Foot, and Mouth.

He may be right.

As for the issue of the collarbone, I continue to be amazed at how bodies heal themselves.

This was taken on a Wednesday….


…and he was crawling by Saturday.

I know. Makes you cringe, right?

Our biggest risk at this point is another child re-breaking the bone during the first 6-8 weeks, something I thought would be easily avoidable until the very first time I let him crawl around near his brothers and found the giant toddler SITTING ON HIM 14 SECONDS LATER.

It’s really a wonder he’s even made it this far in life.

Our vacation (or lack thereof) has continued to make us laugh.

I was talking to a friend the other day who said, “I thought you were just doing ‘that Sarah thing’ when you were posting about it. I didn’t know it was actually bad.”

First off, I think I’m offended.

Secondly, it really was that bad. Possibly worse.

Thirdly – and most importantly – it was just a vacation. It’s a luxury to even have the means to experience a bad vacation.

If there’s anything our family is good at, it’s laughing. (And kung-fuing inanimate objects, but that’s neither here nor there.)

In a world filled to the brim with hate and pain and tears, I’ll find every opportunity I can to share a smile, even if it’s at the expense of my husband’s flesh-eating disease.

I hope you find a reason to share a good laugh today. It rights so many wrongs.

Dear Vacation, You’re the Worst.

[alternate title: Our Life, the Sitcom.]

Oh, hey there. Just bloggin away from the comfort of our cozy little beach condo in Florida. It’s the last full day of our first vacation without kids in 7 1/2 years.

You’d think I’d be on the beach instead of blogging, but I have a wicked heat rash and my husband is curled up in a feverish ball on the couch.

True story.

‘Tis only the beginning, my friends. Only. the. beginning.

Here’s how our week has gone:

Saturday: Say goodbye to our boys, whistle the Hunger Games tune and salute my mom who is holding down the fort at home, board a flight, arrive in Florida, take a long walk on the beach, drink some weird cucumbery vacation drink.

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Sunday: play a round of golf at the world’s most hilarious golf course. Almost take out a snapping turtle chillin on the fairway. Get woken up at 3am from the upstairs neighbors’ party and, uh, love for each other. (I forget how intimate apartment life is.)

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Monday: BEACH DAY! (aka life.) Fishermen on either side of us catch 5 sharks, ranging from 2-4 feet. Fisherman #2 ends up being an ichthyologist with a degree from Stanford University (which makes us feel better about his random knowledge/the way he fondled the shark’s underfins).

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Also the man in the condo upstairs, unaware of our proximity, keeps coming out on the balcony to fart.

Tuesday: Taylor has a fever and body aches; sleeps all afternoon (probably flu). Mom calls from an urgent care at home where she is waiting for our 8 month old to be x-rayed following a seemingly small fall. I FaceTime in my consent to treat. Diagnosis: broken clavicle.

Wednesday: Taylor has an increasingly sore throat; sleeps all afternoon (probably strep). Drive to nearby town for cell service, spend 3 hours waiting for pediatric ortho doctor to call back to schedule a consult. Finish a novel on the beach that is “sure to be the most fun you have all summer”. (is not the most fun I’ve had all summer.) Beach fishermen begin catching hammerhead sharks 30 feet away.

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Thursday: Taylor breaks out in a painful blistery rash; sleeps all afternoon (definitely Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease…you know, the child’s virus that only affects 1 in 1,923,842,434 adults). Meanwhile, I get a full body heat rash from…my sunscreen? laying out? both?

Friday: House burns down, lose deposit on the condo. Shark bites left foot off.

Just kidding. Friday hasn’t happened yet. I’m hoping it’ll be: fly home, hug boys, figure out how to hold and clothe and transport an infant with a broken collarbone, scratch through Cape San Blas, FL on every map in our home.

I’m beginning to dislike this place and I think the feeling is mutual, as evidenced by our last trip here when my dad hit a deer, Beckett got strep, and Taylor caught a stomach bug (I’m sensing a theme – the theme being that his Texan body shuts down when he ventures into other parts of the continental US).

So. Maybe next time, instead of coming here where we share a tube of anti-itch rash cream and sleep in separate bedrooms for half the trip, we’ll do something more fun. Like get matching appendectomies in a back alley in Mexico or something.

Until then, peace out, vacation. You were the actual worst.


The Evolution of Infants

At Mom Rush Hour at Chick-fil-A a few weeks ago, my toddlertastic son broke out of my grip and sprinted full speed into the crowded parking lot. I took off after him with his baby brother on my hip. (I would say the baby was “hanging on for dear life” but the truth is he is THE WORST holder-onner I’ve ever met. There’s no 50/50, Floppy McFlopperson let’s you do allll the work and then some.)


As I maneuvered between parked cars trying to grab the toddler, I failed to notice where the baby’s head was in relation to a vehicle’s side mirrors…which is how I ended up ramming his face directly into one. Hard. Like, head-snapped-back hard.

He cried. I apologized, never slowing my pace. No time to check for blood with a feral brother on the loose.

This is my sweet third baby.

A third is a far cry from a first in so, so many ways.

When my first was 2 weeks old, I was sobbing uncontrollably trying to figure out how and when to go pee.

When my third was 2 weeks old, I was 3 hours and $200 deep in Nordstrom’s semiannual sale.

The evolution of parenting a baby is hilarious.

It starts off different from the beginning with response time to a crying newborn:

First child: .02 seconds

Second child: 3 minutes and/or after a Daniel Tiger episode has been turned on (whichever comes first)

Third child: sometime after the overflowing toilet has been fixed/hangry toddler has had a 3 course meal and before the return of Jesus…so roughly 17 minutes. Which, generally, is just long enough for said newborn to work it out on his own.

The differences only continue with feeding.

Like a baby’s first food.

First child: homemade, non-GMO spaghetti squash puree drizzled with breastmilk reduction

Second child: Gerber carrot puree in a jar

Third child: Fazoli’s meatball

Speaking of food, first babies are cleaner and wear bibs approximately 18x more than their third baby counterparts. They also have a better diaper changing situation.

First child: “The Pampers wetness indicator line is showing 3mm of blue. Time for a new diaper. He has sensitive skin, you know.”

Second child: “Have you changed him in a while? Me either. We should probably check.”

Third child: “Don’t you dare change that diaper. It’s not sagging yet which means there is at least 12% more capacity. Good stewardship, that’s what that’s called.”



Even their milestone development is different. With the first baby, your camera is at the ready at all times. By the third? The first “person” to see them hit a milestone is usually the wall of their pack ‘n play. There’s a lot of, “Hey, babe…did you know he could crawl? How long has he been doing that??” and “Oh, crap. I didn’t know he could reach that yet.”

The pediatrician is well aware of the discrepancies. At well-check visits:

First child: “He has scooted a total of 12.4 feet and has 4 consonant sounds. Would you like to see my list of foods he has tried, ranked in order of favorite to least favorite as identified through baby sign language?”

Second child: “I’m pretty sure he has said ‘mama’. I know he’s pulling up because he pulled my coffee off the table this morning.”

Third child: “Can he pass a toy from one hand to another?? What kind of a question is that? He’s alive, isn’t he?! WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM US. Also, he doesn’t have toys. He played with a clean diaper for 30 minutes before we came here.”

The last time we were at the doctor, another family was in the waiting room with us. The dad looked at me several times before finally getting up and moving seats to be closer to us. I looked at him questioningly and he replied, “Ma’am, you set your son’s car seat directly in the sun. I’m sitting here to block it from his eyes.”

Well excuuuuse me, sir. Maybe he just needed a little extra Vitamin D to go along with his singed retinas. He’ll be fine.

It’s funny, too, when my husband comes home from work and I give him a rundown of our day:

First child: “We watched 1 Baby Einstein, read Moo, Baa, La La La 4 times, tried spinach (bleh!), sang Itsy Bitsy Spider…”

Second child:*gives recap of first child’s day* Oh, and the baby thought a solo cup was hysterical.”

Third child:*gives a recap of first two children’s days* …aaaand now I’m trying really hard to think of something to tell you about the baby. What did I do when we only had one? Did I really tell you everything our 7 month old did?? What do 7 month olds even do that’s noteworthy besides be cute???” (actual conversation recently)

Sometimes I feel guilty about how different our third is from our first. But then I remember that I can now shower every day without the fear that he’ll die of exasperation in the 10 minutes I leave him alone and the guilt quickly dissipates.

Also, though? Third babies are kind of awesome. So much less stress involved. Way more time to just enjoy their baby-ness.

Our third is the snuggliest bundle of chill. He’s truly one of the most pleasant people I’ve ever encountered.


What I lack in written baby book memories, I make up for in kisses and adoration, little nugg. (And intervening when your older brothers inadvertently try to kill you off by shoving Hot Wheels cars and pennies in your mouth.)

Our love for you is fierce and borderline dangerous, but it couldn’t be bigger.



PS I loved writing this post because it doesn’t seem like that long ago when this sir was in my belly as I wrote The Evolution of Pregnancies. I’m glad he’s out of the womb for many reasons, but mostly because he done near broke my insides.