What a Difference 9 Months Make!

We’ve reached the mobile baby attempts nose dives off the chair age. It took 3 of us to get the picture this time and thankfully he was in good spirits at the time so we didn’t have to try too many times. Safety awareness is clearly not a 9 month skill.

1 day!
1 day

1 month and 1 day!
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2 months and 1 day!
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3 months and 1 day!
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4 months and 1 day!
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5 months and 1 day!
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6 months and 1 day!
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7 months and 1 day!
Will 7 months

8 months and 1 day!
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9 months and 1 day!
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William: Month 9

Will-

Today you are 9 months old! Three-quarters of the way to a year! It’s just mind boggling how quickly this year has gone.

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Your grand accomplishment this month is independent mobility! Note that I did not say crawling because I don’t think we can really call this crawling. You get up on your hands and knees and then you inch worm wherever you want to go. You have gotten pretty efficient and can get all over the house that way, but it looks like you’re going to bang your face on the floor a thousand times and also it makes my stomach hurt watching you, but you are so pleased with yourself.

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You’ve also become quite an adventurous eater this month. You love scrambled eggs, puffs, and tiny pieces of fruit and veggies. You are picky about purees and only want big flavors like mango and blueberries and other such things. We seem to have a good idea of what is upsetting your stomach these days, so things have generally been better in terms of gastroenterology.

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You are quite a chatterbox with your babbling too. You have ma ma, da da, na na, and a few others, in addition to various clicks and coos. You also have a fake laugh that you use to get attention and it’s pretty adorable.

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After a lot of deliberation and a lot of sleepless nights, we decided to sleep train you this month. I cannot begin to tell you how hard it was for me to listen to you cry. I taught you, for almost 9 months, that if you cried I would respond and then I didn’t and ugh, it was awful. But you caught on quickly and you only cry for a few seconds at most at bedtime and a few minutes at naps. I am very hopeful that you’ll learn to love sleep and will go to it without crying soon, but mostly I’m just glad that both of us are getting a lot more good quality sleep.

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Your likes this month include: mom, dad, Eli, grandparents, Aunt Claire, Addie, puffs, eggs, your little Corduroy, trains (which are your brothers), “crawling”, pulling to stand, eating and being snuggled.

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Your dislikes this month include: carrots, being put in bed awake, being tired, having your brother’s toys taken away from you, when mom walks away, when dad won’t pick you up.

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After a few rough months, your bright personality has re-emerged. You are quick to smile, you adore your dad and you laugh and giggle for other people. You still prefer for your dad or me to hold you, but you’re getting better. I think I didn’t realize how tough the various illnesses and stomach issues had been until we got past them. You are so happy these days and it has been a delight to be around you.

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You are suddenly achieving all these milestones and I am so not ready. I’m not ready for you to stand and walk. I’m not ready for you to speak and have opinions. This is my very favorite baby age and I just want to stop time right now and enjoy you. I want to soak up every second. I want to see your sweet little two-tooth smile all day, every day. I know that you will be a fun toddler and a fun kid, but oh, I just adore you right now, just as you are. And it is just going so fast.

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Month 9 was one of the best yet and we are just so excited to see the person you are becoming. Happy 9 months, Will. We love you and can’t wait to see what next month brings.

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Love,
Mom

What a Difference 3 Years Make

While I have not continued to post the monthly pictures of Eli, we have continued to take them. In 3 years we forgot once and even that night, as you’ll see below, we remembered before the end of the night. It may seem silly and probably unnecessary, but it’s so fun to see how much Eli has grown and changed. We had no intentions to do this this long, but now that we’ve made it to 3, it seems crazy to stop. Poor kid is going to have to take monthly pictures from his dorm room in college.

Kidding.

Kind of.

Anyway, here is last year’s post, here is the year before, and without further ado, here is the past 12 months of lion pictures.

24 months and 1 day
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25 months and 1 day
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26 months and 1 day
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27 months and 1 day
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28 months and 1 day
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29 months and 1 day
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30 months and 1 day
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31 months and 1 day
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32 months and 1 day
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33 months and 1 day
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34 months and 1 day
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35 months and 1 day
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36 months and 1 day!
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I can’t believe how big my sweet boy is.

Elijah: Year 3

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Today you are three years old. You told me that when I picked you up today, like you finally realized that the three thing we’ve been telling you about referred to your age. “Mama, I am THREE! YEARS! OLD!” Yes you are, sweet boy. And I cannot even believe it.

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A year ago, I thought you were so big. You were putting two and sometimes three words together, communicating. You were running and learning to jump, starting to climb stairs and play at the park. And now, now that you are three, I realize that you were not big. You were so little. Just the in past few weeks, you have transformed. You were never very chubby, but your soft little legs have become long and lanky, covered in bruises and scrapes from falls and tumbles outside. Your face is less round and your features more distinct.

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You are a boy. There is no baby left. No creases in your wrists or chubbiness in your cheeks. Just this boy where my baby once was.

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Your speech is incredible. You basically say whatever you are thinking. Monologues, paragraphs, directions. You have thoughts that are far more complex than anything I imagined you would have at this age. You have recently learned to name the way you are feeling and your newest feeling is fatigue. You will be falling apart, exhausted and throwing a big fit about something (usually something really stupid) and you’ll stop, look at me and go, “mama, I’m TIRED.” It takes every ounce of my self control to not reply with “duh.”

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You are a spectacularly musical kid. You make up songs just like your father and your Nana, to describe anything you’re doing. The other day you sang a song about wanting to look at your brother’s poop. I really, really wish I was kidding (you looked at it and then gagged repeatedly). You hum Slippery Fish all day long and sing along with a few select songs at our weekly music class. Your music teacher (Ms. Lynn) is persistently impressed at your musical abilities and can’t wait for you to turn 4 because she desperately wants to give you cello lessons (she’s a professional cellist).

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You continue to be a very sensitive kid, but as you grow, you are starting to come out of your shell. You are no longer terrified of the hair dryer or public bathrooms, but you still really don’t like the vacuum, Dyson hand dryers (they are really loud, to your credit) and inflating and deflating the blow up air mattress.

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At 2 years and 3 months, you became a big brother. The transition was…not ideal. At first you didn’t want me to touch your brother and once you got over that, you just struggled to understand that I couldn’t always drop everything and be with you, which was a really difficult lesson for both of us. But now that Will is bigger and crawling, you are starting to like him. You make him laugh, you like to feed him puffs (until he gags on one and then you are ALL DONE) and you take baths together each night. While you are still undecided on Will, he absolutely adores you. He practically loses his tiny mind every time you talk to him or laugh with him. I sincerely hope that your friendship will continue to blossom as you both grow.

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This year, you reminded me once again, that you are on your own timeline. You decided much, much earlier than I would’ve liked, that it was time to potty train. By 2 years and 5 months, you were a pro. You’ve had a few regressions, but it was far easier to do than I imagined, which is so often the case. Two weeks ago you dropped your pre-bedtime milk like it was no thing. I wish you’d give up the pacifiers, but I don’t see that happening.

Your likes at age 3 include: Mama, Daddy, Bubby Will, Grandma T, Peepaw (x2), Aunt Claire, Addie, Uncle Scott, Meemaw, Papa T, Nana, Quinnie and Mia, the cats, ice cream, dinosaurs, Dinosaur Train, real trains, Daniel Tiger (you are specifically obsessed with the episodes about tasting vegetables and about “something scary”), Disneyland, pizza, ravioli, french toast, sausage, chocolate milk, your blankets, your school friends (Marissa and Jacques), the iPad.

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Your dislikes at age 3 include: Vegetables, taking naps, leaving your toys to pee, leaving your toys or activities period, when I don’t let you do it first (your words for doing it by yourself), washing your hands (sometimes).

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Two weeks ago we moved into a house. It was the first time that you’ve ever lived in a house and it was a great frustration to me that we couldn’t give you this sooner. And oh you have blossomed here already. You get home in the evening and immediately ask to go outside. In our tiny apartment you just wanted to watch TV, but with that huge yard, you just want to play, to be a kid and it is so great. It’s exactly what I’ve been longing for.

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I cannot believe that I have already had you in my life for 3 years. You made me a mother and my life is forever changed, improved, because you’re in it. I cannot imagine who I would be without you, or really how I could be anything. I was talking to your Aunt Emily the other night, who keeps insisting that she doesn’t want kids. And if she doesn’t that’s fine, but I think the issue is that she hears about the diapers and puke and sleepless nights, but what she doesn’t know is how incredible it is to be a mother. What it is like to love someone so completely that you would give up absolutely everything in a heartbeat. It’s hard to talk about this kind of thing because there just aren’t words.

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My greatest wish for you is that you know how very much you are loved. We would walk to the ends of the earth for you and we are endlessly grateful that you are ours, that we are yours.

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Happy birthday my sweet boy. No matter what lies ahead, know that we love you and we can’t wait to see what the next year, month, day and moment bring.

Love,
Mom

On the Other Side of the Bandwagon

In the past, I have jumped on many a bandwagon. Some of them were bandwagons for things I felt strongly about. Some of them were things I got caught up in the moment on. I’ve raised money for various causes, I’ve told my friends of injustices and shared stories to encourage others to join the bandwagon. I have never been on the other side of it.

I’m still not fully on the other side, but I’m getting a small glimpse of what it’s like to be there.

My husband is involved in an ugly situation with a recent patient. He is not at all the major player in this situation and had virtually no contact with the family, but the shitstorm that’s brewing has definitely impacted his job. I will not and cannot divulge any details about the case, but you may have already seen some things as it has made some noise on Facebook. And since we’re here in this crazy position, I’m asking you to pause for a moment before jumping on any news story, no matter how sensational it may seem.

When I jumped on bandwagons in the past, I always felt like I had all the details. I always felt like I knew the truth, like I understood all the facts. And I am realizing something that I should’ve realized long ago. When someone tells a story, especially one in which there are 2 players, the truth is subjective.

In this particular case, the story that is being woven on Facebook is very different from what my husband experienced. I assume the truth lies somewhere in the middle, not because either of them are lying, but because perception and bias are powerful (it’s not as simple as reading an x-Ray in this case). Because each interprets things differently, because facts sometimes get blurred by emotions.

It’s easy for those emotions to get the best of the people on the bandwagon. It’s easy for followers to forget in a moment of passion or rage or frustration that there is another player. That the other player is a person too. That they have a family. That they have a history and a story of their own. That when you bad mouth someone publicly that it might do more than just raise “awareness” for your cause, it might ruin someone else’s life. It might destroy their livelihood. It might harm innocent people who need that person.

In the case of medicine, it’s particularly tricky because you will only ever get one side of the story. Patients are free to offer the details as they see them, but doctors are bound by confidentiality laws. Even if the stories about them are entirely untrue, they cannot, and will not, respond. Unfortunately that silence is often interpreted as accepting guilt or confirming the accusations when that’s not the case.

I do not mean to imply that all sensational stories are lies or that we shouldn’t support people who are going through tough times. But I think we’d all be better for taking a second before hitting the like or share button and considering those on the other side of the bandwagon.

Consider whether they may have had good intentions. Consider whether their side of the story might read a little differently. Consider whether what you’re doing, or encouraging others to do, might impact others who are blameless (which in this case does not refer to me, but to other patients). It’s easy to feel the pull of the bandwagon and get caught up in the heat of the moment, but remember that there are two sides and that stopping for a moment and letting cooler heads prevail won’t stop change if it truly needs to happen but it might save you a lot of backpedaling later.

Keeping Kids Safe from Household Hazards with Rosie Pope!

A few weeks ago, before my kids got sick (twice!) I was presented a unique opportunity. The lovely people at P&G Fabirc Care set up an interview opportunity with Rosie Pope as they were unveiling a new campaign. If you’re not familiar with Ms. Pope, she was previously on the show Pregnant in Heels and is known for her maternity line and household safety background. And the latter is why P&G called her up, and exactly why I wanted to pick her brain.

The original intent of this interview was to promote a new campaign for National Poison Prevention Week (which was March 15th-21st) called the Up, Up and Away storage technique. Even though that week is long past, I think that the advice extends beyond poison prevention into everyday life. Keeping the home safe from accidents is something we all need to do, all year round and hopefully Rosie’s suggestions can help us all do better and keep our kids safer.

Tell me about the Up, Up and Away storage technique and why it’s so important.
This Poison Prevention Week I’ve teamed up with Tide and Gain to bring you tips on how to keep your home safe both in and out of the laundry room. The campaign is about acknowledging that these things [household cleaners] are dangerous and that we have to get them up, up and away and out of the reach of children, in order to prevent these avoidable accidents.

Avoiding accidents in the home is a huge priority for me, but I’m constantly finding new hazards as my kids grow. What are the biggest hazards you worry about and how do you manage them?
My biggest fear is my children ingesting something that’s dangerous, whether that’s household cleaning supplies, detergents, medicines or small objects. If it’s not food, then it’s not safe. So you need to treat everything with caution and keep everything out of reach of children. Because I have four children, there seems to be always something potentially risky around that I need to be careful about storing properly.

Is there a place for educating kids about poison hazards and if so, when would you start that education?
As soon as they’re born they can learn from your reactions to touching things. As they get older and learn to communicate with words, you can add more explanation. Show that’s its coming from a place of love and not because you are mad at them. They need to know that the consequences can be serious and painful.

What emergency procedures do you have in place in case of a household accident/poisoning
Call poison control and make sure they’re around the house. Also, each night once they go to bed I go through and make sure there are no little toys on the floor. Check smoke detectors every three months. You can also educate your kids to help you with safety. I tell my six year old to let me know if something is going on with my younger kids.

Are there any poison hazards you’ve completely removed from your home? Why?
Yes, we’ve removed pesticides. That type of poison I do not keep in the house any longer. If for some reason it is needed, then it is a one-time-use sort of situation. We will use it and get rid of it immediately.

We do lots of trips to our kids’ grandparent’s homes, and they are not terribly baby friendly. How do you manage these hazards when you’re visiting family/friends homes?
It’s not easy. I suggest parents bring the smaller things with them on trips, such as socket covers. The first thing I do when we get to a hotel room or rental home is do a sweep through and take the things away that can break or that could potentially cause injury. Hotel rooms are pretty quick. When you visit grandparents’ or other people’s homes, it’s important to have a conversation with them about little things that would help to keep the kids safe. Then you have to understand that it’s not your house and there is always the possibility that kids will get into places they shouldn’t. That is where education is key. You should have a conversation with your child and make sure they are diligent.

While Poison Prevention Week has passed, the lessons and warnings about poison prevention are important all year. Keeping cleaning supplies, especially ones like laundry and dish washing pods up, up and away in places that are not accessible to children is crucial. And as Rosie said, teaching children early to watch for hazards and being prepared at home and away can go a long way to keeping our kids safe and reducing the number of avoidable accidents and poisoning in the home.

(I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are mine and Rosie Pope’s. I don’t know if they paid her, but I definitely didn’t. P&G did send me a package with laundry pods in it, but Eli’s skin is insanely sensitive so I actually donated those to a local women’s shelter. Basically, nothing to worry about self-interest wise.)

What a Difference 8 Months Make!

I really can’t deal with the fact that we’re 2/3rds through a year already, nor how grown this baby is. We had an appointment with the GI today and while he is getting older, he’s not getting much bigger. He’s 16.3 pounds and 26 inches. He’s only 3 pounds more than he was at 2 months- good thing he ate so much at the start!

1 day!
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1 month and 1 day!
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2 months and 1 day!
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3 months and 1 day!
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4 months and 1 day!
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5 months and 1 day!
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6 months and 1 day!
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7 months and 1 day!
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8 months and 1 day!
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William: Month 8

Will-

Today you are 8! months! old! I just can’t believe it. That sounds so very old. So very dangerously close to 1 and there’s no way my tiny infant could be almost 1. No way. Nope.

(Of course I didn’t actually drive anywhere like this)
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Much to my surprise, you are still not crawling. You are really, really good at getting up on your hands and knees and rocking back and forth. Sometimes you even move both legs forward like you’re going to crawl and then you fall on your face because no matter how many times we show you and practice, you just do not get the arm part of this skill. Sometimes you inch worm forward a bit, but for the most part, you move backwards or spin in a circle. I’m not going to lie, this is kind of convenient because I can leave you unattended for a period of time without you chewing on computer cords (your favorite toy) or your brother’s shoes (your second favorite). I’ve said it before, but I have a feeling that your days of immobility are numbered.

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You are also dangerously close to pulling to stand. You can easily go from kneeling to standing, but you need a little help to get to kneeling. Either way, you just think you are pretty grown up and I’m just not sure I think that’s okay.

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This month was not a particularly bright one in terms of health. You have now battled through your first sinus infection and pneumonia for what I hope is the first and last time. I cannot understate how pathetic you were with this particular bout of illness. Your eyes were red and sad and your voice was hoarse and the wheezing and oh it was so sad. To your credit, you handled it well, even the breathing treatments and while you’re recovering from another (OMG) virus/fever/something right now, you did have a brief period of like a week where you were healthy. Yay daycare.

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Your reflux has been somewhat better controlled this month and tomorrow we finally see the gastroenterologist who will hopefully find the best combination of meds to keep you comfortable and even maybe gain some weight. You are delightfully petite, but someday we’d love for you to pass 16 pounds.

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Sleep is…well, it’s not ideal. To say the very least. It’s funny because I was so worried about getting you out of the Rock n Play early since your brother struggled so mightily that way and somehow, you’re 8 months old and still sleeping in my bed at least 50% of the time. Being sick did NOT help this situation at all. We have tried some sleep training, but honestly, my heart cannot handle you crying out for me and we’re going to have to try something different. Hopefully once you have your own room it will be a bit easier on all of us.

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Speaking of which, we’re moving this coming month. I am indescribably excited for this move. I’m excited for you to have your own room, for us to have a backyard and for you to grow up in a house that we love. We won’t be in this house forever, but I expect to be there several years and I hope that it’s a place that we can all build some wonderful memories.

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Your likes this month include: mom, nursing, mom, dad, Eli, aunt Claire, mom, grandparents, blueberries, puffs, the cats, mom, my bed, the Ergo, pacifiers and did I mention mom? You are very, very attached.

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Your dislikes this month include: when you can see mom but can’t touch her, when mom puts you down, green beans, sleeping in your own bed, pneumonia, breathing treatments, Zantac.

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I won’t lie, it has been kind of a hard month for me. I don’t know how I made you so attached to me, and don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it’s tough for both of us. I have to put you down some of the time, both for things I have to do around the house and sometimes for my sanity. You cry big heaving sobs when I walk away and it’s awful. I would love nothing more than to sit on the couch and hold you all day, every day, but unfortunately, that can’t happen. It will get easier with time and I know that someday I’m going to wish that you would cry and reaching your sweet little arms out for me to hold you all day, but right now it’s a struggle. I feel guilty that you get so upset, but I also don’t want you to never learn some level of independence.

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Truthfully, even though I’m feeling a little touched out this month, I also find you to be one of the most delightful and adorable, babies. You coo and babble and your voice is seriously the best thing on this earth. One day you just started saying “da da da” out of nowhere and now you say it all day long. Occasionally you throw in a “na na na” but primarily you’re all about the das. You squeal and squeak and oh, I just love you so very much. I have about a thousand videos on my phone because I can’t get enough. I never want to miss a moment or forget a sound. You are just at such a fun age and I wish I could find more ways to soak it up.

There are times where I see you and your brother together and I just can’t believe it. I can’t believe that this is my life. I can’t believe that I get to be your mom and get to spend my life raising you and Eli. I have spent my whole life dreaming of being a mom and even in my wildest, best dreams, it was never this good. Nothing could prepare me for how amazing it is, nothing could ever prepare me for the way it feels to love people the way I love you, your brother and your father. You are my whole heart, you bring me so much happiness, I can’t even possibly begin to describe it.

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Will, you are a light in my life and I am so happy I get to watch you grow up, even if you’re doing it quite a bit faster than I’d like. I love you so very much and I cannot wait to see what next month brings.

Love,
Mom

In the Middle of our Street

My husband’s fellowship doesn’t end until the end of June, but because we moved out here a little early (thanks to the crazy ski mask guy on our patio last year), our lease for this apartment is up in mid-May. It caught us a bit by surprise, and suddenly last month we found ourselves looking at rental houses. We decided it was time to be out of apartments. We needed to not be sharing walls, to have more room and most of all, these boys needed a yard.

We knew the area we wanted, we even decided to enroll Eli in a jewish preschool starting in June in that neighborhood. It’s equidistant from my work and my husband’s (well, his job that starts in July) and it’s the same city where my sister lives. As an added bonus, it’s a wonderful family friendly city that has all kinds of fantastic community events that we have enjoyed tremendously the past few years.

And so we started looking. We even applied a few weeks ago, sort of on a whim, for a house that was just outside of the area we wanted because it fell into our laps. Though they said we were in their top 3 applicants, we didn’t get it. Initially, we were a little sad, but deep down I felt like if we didn’t get it then it wasn’t meant to be our house.

The search continued. And last Thursday I woke up to an email from my husband with an link for a new rental listing. I called that morning and set up a solo visit for the next day. And after that visit, I set up a second viewing with my husband on Saturday because I had a feeling.

When we got there Satuday Eli made a bee line for the backyard and yelled, “mama, come run on my grass!” and I knew.

We submitted an application Monday.

And, well, this is our house. In the middle of our street.

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We move in May 1st.

It’s maybe not a perfect house but it’s perfect for us. 3 good sized bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a HUGE backyard with grass and rocks and a gazebo and a lemon tree. It might not be our forever home but this is where some of Eli’s first long term memories will be created and my heart can barely contain the happiness and excitement I feel right now.

It’s our house. Finally.

Sleep is for the Weak (and the people without babies)

Once upon a time, I had an infant who slept. He would go to bed at night, get up once to eat, and go back to sleep in his own bed. He was so easy. I was so well rested.

And then he hit 4 months and had a little sleep regression. And then had a major increase in his reflux. And then he got an ear infection. And then another ear infection. And then a tooth. And then another tooth. And then more reflux. And then pneumonia.

And now my baby does not sleep.

Well, that’s not fair. He sleeps like a freaking champ in my bed or in my arms. He sleeps in his bed for about 4 hours max- from bedtime until his first wake up of the night. Very occasionally he’ll go back down in his own bed that time, but inevitably, we gets up again a few hours later. And my hands feel so tied as to how to fix this. I am not really pro-sleep training. I mean, I don’t judge anyone else for doing it, but I don’t have the guts to listen to the crying for more than a minute or two and it sends me into a guilt spiral. It’s just not something I ever planned on doing.

But I also didn’t plan on having a baby sleep in my bed.

And most frustratingly, even though I know I need to something, I can’t do anything yet because of our living situation. We have 2 bedrooms in this apartment. One is Eli’s, one is ours. I don’t want to put Will in Eli’s room because the last thing I need when the adults aren’t sleeping is for the toddler to not sleep too. So Will sleeps in our room. About 12 inches from my boobs, the object of his desire. Add to that the shared walls with others and yea, I just can’t sleep train. And so every night he ends up in my bed because that’s the only thing that stops the crying and allows me to sleep.

I’m so tired. Just so, so tired. I can’t remember the last time I got to spend a whole night in my bed without a baby beside me.

We will be moving in May and Will will have his own room, but until then, it’s just this miserable holding pattern where we’re reinforcing a habit we don’t like so that we can get enough sleep to be functional at work. My husband gets up at 3am for work, so he really cannot spare any sleep at this point.

During the day I’m pretty good at realizing that this is a phase and it will pass and someday I won’t remember how hard this is. But at night I tend to get into that, woe is me the world is ending we’ll never sleep what do I do? mindset. I start trying to solve all our sleep issues at 1am when I’m awake and annoyed and none of those ideas usually pan out in the light of day.

I don’t need or expect Will to sleep through the night. I signed up for nighttime wake ups when I decided to have kids, but I do expect my 7 month old to be able to sleep longer than 3 hours at a time and for wake ups to last less than an hour. This seems reasonable to me, but I suppose babies are not known for being very reasonable.

I will happily take any and all suggestions or reminders that this will pass. I remember a lot from Eli’s infancy, but damn if I didn’t forget how hard this part of babyhood was.

Welcome!
I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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