In which I fish Wren out of a pool and other notable events from our vacation

Bright and early at the crack of 10:30 am (just like we planned) on Ruth’s birthday, we left to go see Scott’s many relatives and my aunt and cousins in Florida. Ruth was very excited to “have [her] birthday in Florida.” I had just bought some fall/winter church shoes for Ruth and Rose, and they insisted on wearing them in the car on the way to Lakeland, Florida. We knew that we would spend most of the day in the car, so Scott and I reluctantly agreed. The shoes, specifically, were these . And let me tell you, they are the worst. The girls had to stump around like Frankenstein’s monster to keep the shoes from flying off their feet. And that method wasn’t even always effective. We got some weird looks dragging two girls walking around like their knees didn’t bend into the Chick Fil A when we stopped for lunch.

And the heavens opened up and welcomed us into Lakeland. Apparently, it had been raining nonstop until we arrived. The weather while we were there, however, couldn’t have been more beautiful. Scott’s grandmother and aunt had a birthday cake for Ruth waiting when we got there, and her two little cousins had decorated the place with super hero decorations. They even had sweet gifts for her. She loved it. 

 That cake was delicious.

On Sunday, we headed to Tampa to go to mass with my aunt and uncle and cousins. Ruth and Rose had no fewer than five false bathroom breaks, and Wren was a holy terror as usual. My uncle ended up walking with Rhea in the back while my cousin chased around after Rose and Wren. Ruth very kindly allowed me to sit through the rest of the mass.

After mass, we headed back to my aunt’s house for some delicious Cuban food and birthday cake for Ruth and my cousin Grace, who also had a birthday that week. 

 Rhea is about as big as my cousin Ben.

On Monday, Scott’s dad flew into Tampa to visit and help Scott’s grandmother with whatever she needed. Scott and I immediately volunteered to go to Tampa to pick him up and hurried out the door, leaving all the girls with Scott’s selfless aunt and grandmother. It was like a fabulous vacation for us. We chatted all the way to Tampa without constant interruptions coming from the back seat (“Excuse me, mom! I see a cloud!”) and took a leisurely walk from the car to the airport to wait for Paw Paw’s plane to land. Once he arrived, I convinced the men to go get dinner at the Tampa International Plaza’s Bay Street as the traffic heading back to Lakeland was at a standstill. We drove past the gorgeous bay and ate a delicious meal at the Bay Street restaurant.  I was on cloud nine. Then, Scott’s aunt sent me a text delicately informing me that Rhea had refused her bottle and was being an all-round stinker, so we hurried back to relieve the beleaguered troops. I could not be more appreciative of Scott’s aunt and grandmother for holding down the fort so that we could escape for a little while. What a blessing.

Monday night I got the text from my dear friend Cody asking if we were ready to visit the Happiest Place on Earth, and the rest is history. BTdubs, I wore these shoes  walking all over Disney, and I could not be more pleased with them. It felt like I was walking on clouds, and not a mark was left on my feet. But they also breathe really well and worked perfectly on the surface of the sun during that hot day. 

 That it is, that it is. (As you can see, my snapchat addiction continues. The handle is sylcell, for those interested.)

Tuesday night, Scott’s aunt hosted us and Scott’s childhood friend and his family for dinner. They have a pool in their backyard, so we packed the usual two tons of swimming with toddlers paraphernalia. Wren hates the water and wants nothing to do with it. She even shrieks in  protest during her baths. So we strapped her puddle jumper on her and let her waddle around while her older sisters swam with Daddy. There was a ball that she liked to hold in her arms while she waddled. I’m sure, my dear readers, that you have already guessed what happened next.  As if in slow motion, I watched her drop her ball in the pool, lean over to reach it, and fall headfirst into the water.  I rushed over to the edge of the pool to drag her out. She was wearing her puddle jumper, so she was floating on her back, but I was still anxious to grab her ASAP. It is amazing how difficult it is to fish a toddler out of a pool. I felt like it was taking me forever to get her to shore as she floundered and thrashed. I can only imagine how stressful that would have been if she hadn’t had her puddle jumper on.  Needless to say, if her feelings on bodies of water weren’t that of deepest distrust before, that event certainly sealed the deal. She wanted nothing to do with even being near the pool after that. 

 Sweet sisters keeping warm.

 We left for St. Augustine to visit Scott’s maternal grandparents on Thursday. We wasted no time in heading to the beach on Friday.  



f you observe Ruth pretending to be a mermaid in the background. Ok, I have no idea what is going on with that last sentence, but the WordPress powers that be have decreed that I cannot fix it, so pretend that it gives my blog whimsy. 

 We enjoyed some fabulous seafood and Scott’s grandparents’ hospitality. Rhea, however, was totally thrown off her groove being away from home and was waking up every hour all night long.  So I can’t say I was totally disappointed to finally be heading home on Sunday and getting some sleep! 

 Not sure how she can possibly that smiley after a sleepless night. 

 Scott had to immediately leave on a business trip on Monday, and I have been single-momming it ever since. It is the worst.  Thank goodness for my mom and sisters. I don’t think we would have made it without them helping me with dinner/bath time/bed time (aka, the most hectic and work intensive part of my day which is coincidentally when I am most exhausted.) Counting the seconds until he is home again. 


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In which we take a preschooler, two toddlers, and an infant to Disney World

“Brave” was the adjective most utilized when we shared our pictures from the trip. “Crazy” was the adjective used by my husband when I asked him if he thought it would be feasible to take Ruth to Disney World for her fourth birthday. So, I let it lie. But right before our annual trip to Florida to visit Scott’s family near Orlando, I got in touch with our dear friend (who lived next door to us when we were in law school) who works at Disney and asked him whether he thought I was out of my mind to hope to take Ruth to Disney. “Not at all!”, he responded. “Head on over, and we’ll take care of you.”

So, we made it happen. Cody’s (our friend who works at Disney) wife happened to have the day off, and she met us at the gate to help us out with the girls. Scott’s aunt and two cousins (who are much younger than Scott) were also able to come with us and help. Scott’s cousins (two boisterous little boys) patiently went on every baby ride with us without complaint and were so kind and attentive toward the girls. All of our companions for the day were a blessing to us for sure.

The magic carpet ride was about as thrilling as it was going to get ride-wise for these two patient kids.

A few people have asked for tips on doing Disney with babies and toddlers. Welp, I have done it all of one time, and I think we had such a fabulous experience due mostly to luck, but I can share what worked for us this time.

  1. Bring help, and preferably someone who is familiar with the park. We were fortunate in that Scott’s aunt was very familiar with the park, living nearby, and Cody’s wife Rebecca was pretty much an expert on all things Disney World. It made things so much easier having a tour guide who knew the rides, the places to eat, and what wait times were good and bad. (She even knew when to protect the volatile toddlers from sudden water squirts on rides!) We had an adult for every child, which also helped with rides that only seated two or three at a time, or rides that I would have to sit out with the baby.   
  2. Have a plan for transporting the babies and young toddlers. I wore Rhea, which worked really well, even though it was beastly hot. I had a little paci stashed in my Ergo for when she got fussy, and she pretty much just napped the whole time. All of the rides we went on had no problem with me wearing her, with the exception of the carousel. I had to sit with her on my lap in the carriage. Go figure.  We also used a small, lightweight stroller for Wren. You can rent strollers there, but they were large, plastic, and unwieldy. Wren stayed in it without complaint until it got too close to nap time and she wanted to be held. Then we put Rosie in it.  

Stroller shown here. It holds up to 50 lbs and Rosie was pushing that limit.

3. Go in the off-season. The cognoscenti  inform me that November is the best month. The park is empty and the weather is lovely. The park was pretty empty when we went (on a Tuesday in late September) but it was HOT! The wait times for rides were only 10 minutes early in the morning and about 40 minutes in the afternoon. We didn’t use them, but I’ve heard fast passes are worth it for the rides and the characters you really want to see. 


Hot, y’all. And this was in late September! Can you imagine what it is like in the dead of the summer?!! Heat stroke city.

4. Keep your expectations low. You won’t get to do all of the things you want to do (it seems like the options at Disney are ENDLESS)  and the toddlers will start to melt down if you stay too long. We left the second Wren started fussing and managed to avoid any major meltdowns. Because Magic Kingdom is pretty far from parking, and we had to ride the train, then the monorail, and finally do a good bit of walking just to get back to our car.  I’ve heard the other parks are easier. 

5. Get your pins! Once you arrive on Main Street, you can ask a friendly representative for pins commemorating your children’s first visit to Disney. They helpfully write the date on the back. Ruth got another pin for her birthday too!

  Only Rosie could be surly in front of her beloved Cinderella’s castle at Disney World.

6. Miscellaneous. Don’t bring selfie sticks. Apparently those were causing some major problems and are now banned. I don’t know why, but I find that hilarious. Selfie stick duels! Also, if you are an adult, do not dress as one of the characters. It is confusing for all of the children.  We saw a Cinderella imposter getting a citation for that very offense. 

The girls really did have a marvelous time (we even got a few smiles and giggles out of Rose!). Ruth will tell anyone that will listen about Disney. She even remembers every character that just happened to walk by us (“Chip and Dale and an Aristocat!”) It was the trip of a lifetime for us. We are incredibly beholden to our dear friends and family who helped make it happen.

And now for the photo dump: 

 Real men wear babies. 

 Wren is too cool for the rest of us. 

 Instead of the flattering “skinny arm” pose, I opted to let it dangle awkwardly. And this, my friends, is why we can’t have nice blogs. 

I’ll probably bore you with all of the minutia of the rest of our Florida trip in another blog post or five. You have been warned.

Have any of you taken your littles to Disney? What advice would you give? We are definitely going back. Even Scott has been bitten with the Disney bug after our enjoyable trip. 

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The Post of Ruth

Ah, Ruthie, Rutabega, Rue, Ruey, Baby Ruth, The Rue, Rue Baby. Rose calls her “Roofie” and our housekeeper from Guatemala calls her “Rudy.” An entire post can barely contain her, but I will sure as heck try.

She has always been precocious, but she was our first child, so we didn’t notice. She never ceases to amaze me with her memory and her observations on life. She turns 4 on Saturday (waaahhhhh!), and she keeps asking for a bouncy house like she had last year. Except this year she wants a “Frozen” bouncy house instead of an Ariel bouncy house like last year. I haven’t had the heart to tell her that this year we will be out of town visiting relatives, so a bouncy house most probably isn’t in her future. 

There is a pillow case we have with a stain on it that I haven’t been able to get out from when we had her face painted (at the same festival as above) and let her take a nap in her face paint. She always points to the stain and says it is from when she had her face paint on. This stain happened a year ago, and I had no idea she even realized what that stain was! Craziness.

Tonight, when I was tucking her into bed, she starts chatting with me. She loves talking about “Baby Rhea” and how she came out of my belly. She has even been known to tell complete strangers while grocery shopping with Scott that “Mommy is at home feeding baby Rhea milk out of her nipples.” And then she pulls up her shirt to demonstrate what nipples were, just in case the strangers were confused. My very reserved family did not find that story as humorous as I did. I’m sure they think I am some sort of crazy hippie mom who shamelessly nurses her babies in front of her other children. Wait, I guess I am that mom! Oh well. Ain’t nobody got time for nursing covers all day (and the babies hate having that on their heads) and it’s not like I can spend my hours sequestered in a room nursing the baby while the toddlers run amok unsupervised. If they must run amok, I would rather supervise it.

Wow, I got way off topic. Ruthie. Tucking her in. Ruth starts talking about going to the “big house like Aunt Rachel’s house” (Rachel lives in a large apartment complex) to go see baby Wren “through a big window where a woman was changing her diaper.” I realized that she was talking about going to the hospital to see Wren after she was born. It couldn’t have been Rhea, because she didn’t go see Rhea at the hospital. Wren was born almost two years ago! Ruth was two years old! This girl is blowing my mind with her memory like a steel trap. She even complained to my mom that I wouldn’t let her put her fingers in her Ariel cake for her birthday last year and hurt her feelings. Recording grievances against her mom already.


No idea how to style that poodle puff she has going on on top of her head. A ponytail up top just makes all the curls cascade out of the hair band in a perfect spherical wave that makes it look like she has a hair fountain on top of her head. And there just isn’t enough hair to do a full hair style just yet. I know, she is practically four! Apparently curls don’t grow as quickly as other hair types.

She is a very anxious child (she comes by it honestly, we suffer from anxiety on pretty much all sides of the family). When we went on a walk on a trail by the Chattahoochee River (gorgeous trail, by the way), she kept saying things like, “we’re getting farther and farther away from our car,” and “I think we’re lost!” When we walked to a little deck overlooking the river and Rosie started leaning over the rail, Ruth started sobbing and cried out, “Rosie is going to fall into the river! She’s my best sister!!” I always reassure her and comfort her. Any tips on helping a nervous child other than constant reassurance and comfort?

She is extremely self sufficient. Every morning, she dresses herself, goes downstairs, puts a DVD in and helps herself to a banana (and any cookies or banana bread that mama carelessly left within view). She can get stuff out of the fridge too, but I like to wake up with her and make her a more substantial breakfast than just banana and milk. Her outfits usually look really cute too! She’ll sometimes even throw in some edgy shirt layering.

She and Rosie are thick as thieves when they aren’t bickering. And she has mastered the art of offering Wren something else if Wren has a toy she wants. When Rhea smiles at her, it absolutely makes her day. She brags about it for the rest of the day. She still takes a nap every day, and will put herself to bed with little or no resistance. She is a hot mess without it. 

She is such a beautiful, thoughtful child. She looks into your very soul with those huge eyes (are they gray? Are they hazel? Are they violet? I can never tell.) I adore our nightly chats. You never know what she is going to say next. 

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What we can learn about social etiquette from a baby 

Hi there! Baby Rhea here. My mom didn’t call me “Baby Lady” for nothing. I am a master at proper social etiquette. How else do you think I can wake my parents up several times a night (regrettable, but necessary to maintain my impressive corpulence) and still have them eating out of the palm of my hand the next day?

If you follow my simple rules of etiquette, I guarantee you will brighten the lives of all those around you.  I have perfected this art to such a degree that people seem to light up the second I enter the room! I can even have an off day and feel kind of grumpy, and people will still giggle at my grump face. Exasperating, but a burden I must bear. Anyhoo, I will outline my rules below.

  1. Wake up happy and smiling no matter how little sleep you got the night before.  I always make sure to wake up bright and early cooing and gurgling and kicking my little legs (but not too much, I have my chubby thighs to maintain). As soon as I see my mom’s tousled hair and bloodshot eyes appear hovering above me, I crack the biggest grin I am capable of. Once I do that, her (undeserved) disgruntled look vanishes immediately. She seems happy to greet me, even if I did demand to nurse every hour since 1 am (again, must keep up with my girlish figure.)
  2. Laugh uproariously at every joke someone tells you, even if it is more silly than funny. I humor my parents all the time. They do the most ridiculous things to try and make me laugh, and quite frankly won’t stop until I do. So I’ll indulge them with a giggle or two. How can I not? It makes them so proud of themselves. It’s kind of cute. My older sisters, on the other hand, are hilarious! Seriously, they keep me in stitches all day long.
  3. Every time someone addresses you, dazzle them with a bright smile. In fact, I smile whenever anyone just looks at me. You would be amazed at how eager someone is to carry on a lively conversation with you if you just greet them with an enormous grin. In fact, I have found that I don’t have to do much more than grin and make some encouraging noises here and there, and people will excitedly talk my ear off! It really makes me the most popular person at the party, every time. 
  4. Don’t be afraid to rely on your loved ones every now and then, but make sure to show them how much you appreciate them.  There is nothing quite like being a baby to make you realize just how helpless you really are. But everyone is helpless at some point in their lives, and it takes humility to allow someone to help you out. Let them perform a labor of love for you! It is good for their soul. But make sure to give them lots of smiles, giggles, and coos letting them know how grateful you are. 
  5. Help those around you to appreciate the simple pleasures in life. A ceiling fan! It just spins and spins endlessly and makes wind blow on your face! Mirrors! They show you exactly what you look like! And when you hit dangly things with your hands, they rattle and move around! Feet! They have wiggly toes on them and you can put them in your mouth! (Well, I can, at least.) Don’t let people get all jaded and take these everyday miracles for granted. We live in a world full of wonders, people! A world full of wonders.

Well, there you have it. A comprehensive guide to social interactions in five simple steps from a baby. I hope it has proved useful to you. Now go forth and brighten everyone’s day. You know, like when a baby enters the room. (Unless that room is an airplane, apparently. Then, by all means act like a despondent adult.)


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Labor Day Weekend with a side of Agony

Hello, dear readers! I hope both of you had a lovely Labor Day Weekend. We had an interesting one.

We spent most of the weekend with my parents, which was exceedingly enjoyable. I’m sure they were getting real tired of us, but hey, if you offer us a meal (or six), we are not going to turn it down. It was like that scene in “Winnie the Pooh,” where Rabbit half-heartedly invites Pooh to stay for lunch purely as a matter of form, and much to Rabbit’s dismay, Pooh accepts and eats Rabbit out of house and home. That’s what you get for being polite! 

My hip candy for the weekend. Some day we are actually going to paint that horrid bathroom.

Scott was totally blissed out for the grand opening of college football season. He and my dad spent hours glued to the tube. Mom and I decided that we are going to pick three months a year to watch “The Bachelor in Paradise” for about eight consecutive hours every Saturday. We’ll see how that goes over with the menfolk. 

I kid. Scott was kind enough to take all of us to a local art festival on Labor Day because getting her face painted was all Ruth would talk about. Luckily, the art festival was located adjacent to the courthouse, so Scott was able to expertly maneuver us to prime parking since he has to go to that courthouse all the time.

She really wanted this “swan” on her face, and we hadn’t the heart to tell her it was an eagle. Also, the patriotic outfit that matches her patriotic face paint choice was all her decision. ‘Murica. Rose wanted the butterfly. Wren and Rhea were hot.

Go Wildcats! (My old high school). My alma mater has sent us bibs for the births of Ruth and Rhea, but not for Rose and Wren. Not sure what they’re trying to tell me there. Maybe the typical bib allotment is two. Anyway, I wish we had them for each child because we love them.

We wandered around trying to find some food because hunger meltdowns were imminent. There were no street vendors, though, and all of the restaurants were packed to capacity. So, we decided to pack it up and head over to the nearby prominent barbecue joint called Williamson Brothers.

Now it’s time to play where are Scott and Wren? I had assumed that they were behind me the whole time, but apparently not. 

The Bass family did themselves proud at the barbecue joint.  We all tucked it in with enthusiasm.



 The fork  in the lovely napkin wedding dress is in the process of walking down the aisle.  

So, onto the agony. Those of my dear readers who are not into reading about my maladies feel free to stop reading here. I won’t be offended, I promise. 

I  woke  up on Thursday morning with some soreness. I assumed it was a clogged duct and simply fed on that side as much as possible. But it only got worse and nursing Rhea was becoming unbearable. The overall soreness was gone, so I assumed Rhea had injured me while drawing out the clog. If only.

Long story short, it spread to both sides, and every feeding was agony. Like shards of glass, I feel like I’m burning alive agony.  I texted my friend who is also a Bradley Method birth coach and has had two unmedicated child births and told her this must be how bad the pain is during childbirth. She was a good sport about it and humored me.
Naturally the worst of this happens during the holiday weekend when all of the doctors’ offices are closed. It wasn’t bad enough for me to go the emergency room, but it might have been good to call the after hours line and have them page my OB. I would have felt guilty interrupting their holiday weekend for a non-emergency though, so I simply suffered all weekend. Don’t worry, I offered all of this up, so a legion of sinners must have been converted.  Ha! Nothing like offering something up to really put it into perspective. “This is worth at least two conversions, right God?” 

Dr. Google diagnosed my ailment as thrush.  Rhea’s mouth looks fine and she hasn’t had a diaper rash, but Dr. Google said it is sometimes asymptomatic in babies. So first thing this morning I called my OB to get a prescription for an anti-fungal. I was hoping for some pain medication too, but no dice. Looks like I’m going to have to live with this pain for a while longer. My pediatrician’s office has been less helpful. They told me that since Rhea didn’t have any symptoms, they couldn’t prescribe her anything. “Bullsh*t!,” I said. “If I have it, then she has it. And it is going to be pointless for me to be treating myself if she is just going to reinfect me every time I nurse.” The nurse sputtered and told me she would speak with the doctor  and get back with me. I’m not sure if she was sincere or just trying to blow me off. It has been three hours and I am about to have to do another excruciating feeding, so I am thinking about calling them back and giving them hell.  If I’m coming off as cranky, it is because I am so cranky. Sorry, nurses. Work with me here. 

In the meantime, I have been boiling all the pacis for 20 minutes, washing all my sheets and towels in vinegar and baking soda, and washing and drying all my undergarments in the sun.  I’m also having to let myself stay dry and air out as much as possible. The nurse at the OB’s office said once I start taking the medication, the pain is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. It’s a good thing I picked a real easy and low key malady to have. 

Have any of you dealt with thrush? What did you do to clear it up? Any and all advice would be appreciated. I have never had it before with any of my other babies, and it is really kicking my tail.

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