TBT: Baby Gwen

I never do this, but it’s been a rough day, particularly for the youngest member of the family that isn’t canine. Gwen appears to be having some feels, and some rather intense feels at that, because the last week’s behavior can be summed up in one word: THREE.

She’s approaching that boundary-pushing, limit-testing age that requires infinite patience and consistency. I need a reminder of simpler times to get me through the next epic tantrum-fest.


Did I mention that, in addition to two lovely dogs, I’ve also been left in charge of several plants? My mom has a bit of a green thumb.

Unfortunately for her plants, I don’t.

Plants and I have a history, that usually ends with death. In fact, the last time I bought a philodendron, I told the clerk I was bringing it home to die. (He told me I was morbid. I had to agree.)

But hey, I should be able to handle this. I have children, and they’re still alive. Ditto the dogs and cats. With all these breathing things around me, I’d go so far as to say “keeping living beings alive” is a bit of a specialty of mine. How hard can a few chlorophyll-loving, oxygen-producing leaf mongers be?

At the beginning of January, I set up a reminder to tend the plants, and have dutifully watered them every week.

One of her plants now looks like this:

Complete with reproachful dog glare

Dillon is playing the part of “the reproachful mom glare”

Hah-hah! Just kidding! It actually looks like this:

Anyone else need a trim?

For reference, when my parents left, it looked something like this:

Please, somebody, help us!

“For the love of God, somebody help us!”

In my defense, it’s not dead yet! And I think we can all agree that a single ivy is a small price to pay to avoid three months of this:

I actually live in Arendelle


questions, questions

It’s been a rough week. Talking about it is hard. Writing about it is harder. Everything I say is laid under a microscope of my own making, scrutinized, and ultimately rejected.

Am I overreacting? What would people think? Should I even say anything at all?

I wonder if it’s just a bad day, or a bad week, or a bad month. I worry it’s the beginning of a slide.

Is this temporary? Should I have my meds adjusted? Is everything still going to suck when I wake up tomorrow?

I wonder if I’ll spend the rest of my life questioning my mental health at every turn. I ask myself “why”, which turns into a vortex of self-doubt that usually ends at, “There must be something wrong with me.”

Not enough exercise? Genetics? Too much sugar? Hormones? Seasonal? Too negative? Too much stress? Brain chemistry? Not enough water?

I think I’ve been operating under the assumption that the medication is a temporary stopgap and eventually I won’t need it. At some point, I will go back to being “just me.”

But what if I can’t? How will I know? How do I adapt?

All the wondering turns to worrying which is exhausting, which just makes everything worse. So I go for a walk and I feel a little better. Black cherry frozen greek yogurt helps, too.

Then I wake up today, and I feel good. Capable. “Normal,” save for the feeling I’ve just had an unsatisfying whirlwind fling with a real jerk of a person, who happens to be…me.

Depression is such an annoying, unpredictable bitch.


flowin’ good

Ellie: So Mama, you were talking to Daddy, and Daddy was talking to me, but I was talking to Daddy, not you, but Daddy was talking about me to you—

Me: Hold up. I’m confused. Can you draw me a flow chart?

Ellie: Sure!

*a few minutes later*

Me: How’s that flow chart coming?

Ellie: It’s flowin’ good, Mama.

school pictures


I am tolerating you.

Last fall, Ellie brought her very first school pictures home:

As far as I’m concerned, it’s perfect. I have so many photos of the kids being their goofy selves, adding one posed photo to the mix is a nice change of pace. Just look at that face! Only five, and she’s already perfected her politely disinterested smile. Adorable.

What I didn’t realize is that our school does pictures twice per year–once in the fall, and again in the spring. I’m not sure why they do this…maybe it was easier than having a make-up picture day for all the kids who missed the first one. Whatever.

I didn’t pay much attention to the whens and wheres of the second picture day, which became painfully obvious when she brought this home:

Kindergarden, redux

The real me. Take it or leave it.


The pink shirt under the red and yellow dress (note the untied bow) with the olive green bracelet and necklace. What you can’t see from my crappy iPhone photo-of-a-photo is the royal purple pants. All on a pretty bright green spring background. The only thing we’re missing is the wild, tangled hair, and I’m sure that’s because the photographer was nice enough to comb it for her.

And the smile! So confident, bright, and vibrant. When I see this picture, all I can think is, “There’s my girl!”

Sure, the first one is cute in a “My mom made me wear this sweater and brush my hair” kinda way, but the second picture is the true Ellie, and the one I want to remember in ten years–my messy, lovely little lady who unapologetically rocks a style all her own.