Category Archives: babies

The one where I cry over a wet diaper


You’re going to laugh at me.

This morning, I woke up early.  (No, that’s not the funny part.  Don’t laugh yet!)  I normally sleep until Mercy wakes up, since it’s hard to get out of bed with a baby draped over my lap, you know?   But this morning I woke up worrying about something, so I snuck out of bed and made coffee.  The boys weren’t even awake yet!  My house was quiet like my favorite 11:00pm quiet, only the sun was shining.

I heard footsteps upstairs just as the coffee finished brewing, so I darted back in the bedroom to hide with my cup of coffee.

I settled back in bed with coffee and a book.  Mercy woke up and climbed back in my lap to nurse.  As she did, I caught a whiff of her rank, wet diaper from nursing all night, and I had a sudden pang of nostalgia and sadness.  I wondered if it would be the last time I noticed that smell, combined with a warm, snuggly baby in my bed.  I would miss it, I realized… a scent marking this cozy time of motherhood.

Now is when I thought you’d laugh.

I knew I’d be sad about all the other lasts.  The last time teaching a baby to wave bye-bye, to blow kisses, or how a cow says “Mooooo!”  The last time I get open-mouthed, slobbery baby kisses, or laugh at a baby just discovering her belly button.  The last time I cheer wildly…  irrationally excited about first steps… and watch siblings get just as ridiculously excited.  “MOM!!!  Come here quick — Mercy is STANDING UP!”  A tiny miracle that — watching life unfold.

Last shared peach, sticky juice trickling down baby’s chin and Mommy’s arm.

Last time watching a toddler’s face light up as the fireflies blink on and off, and watch them chase fireflies in erratic patterns around the dusky front yard.

Last time hearing a toddler giggle with delight as I place a new brother or sister in their arms.

How can I be done, having babies?

No, never quote me on this, because I have an incredible weakness for the tiny ones, and you just never know…

But I do know that my growing-up children need me, and it seems like the bigger they get the more they need.  I don’t know how to be a grown-up Mommy.  Emotions from an almost 10 year old girl are way more difficult to handle that the emotions spewing from a 3 month old that just wants to tuck in and nurse.

How in the world do I take care of big kids?!

I wish I could pause time right now.  I’m not looking for later on… when things get easier.  (My guess is that’s a myth!)  My life is perfect right now.  I have a baby, my favorite thing in the whole world, and my older kids are independent, helpful, and still think I hung the moon.  They still hold me hand, tell me I’m the best mommy EVER, and ask me to tuck them in bed at night.  Half of them still scramble to sit in my lap when I sit for a movie.

So yeah, this morning, with a warm, stinky baby draped across my lap, I had a moment.  I watched my sleeping girl… memorizing her.  Freezing this moment in time.  Her chubby fingers twitching in sleep, the ones that like to pat my face and poke my nose.  Damp curls, growing longer by the day.  Perfect, healthy skin on that beautiful face, her adorable lips and tongue still making unconscious sucking patterns.

Oh heavens, I’m going to miss this.





P.S.  I also sniffled a little as I tucked Zach’s outgrown fleece hoodie into a give-away bag.  I have no more boys to save clothes for!  It’s been a rough day for Mama.  *serious bawling going on over here…*

Letter to Mercy


Dear Mercy,

You were born on a stormy day 51 weeks ago.  After the sheer exhaustion and exhilaration of giving birth, I snuggled you in my arms, enjoying heaven’s fireworks outside the window.  The euphoria from birth hadn’t worn off yet, so thunderstorms and you will forever be linked in my head as a glorious, beautiful thing.

Tonight is another stormy night, so I’m thinking of you.

You turn 1 this week!  It’s too soon.  I have treasured every minute of your first year, not knowing if you will be a last baby or not.

You, with your silly faces and one-leg kicks, your kisses and nuzzles and wrestles with brothers… YOU get the VIP treatment for sure.  Nobody else slept so much in bed with me and Daddy.  Nobody else got fed ice cream so early, either!

I’m sorry for the one night you fell out of bed on your head, right by the diaper pail.  In that middle-of-the-night drowse, I remember being amused and horrified at the same time.

You have such a loud voice, for somebody so tiny!  I guess you have to, with 7 other people competing for air time.  You make us smile and laugh, on purpose.  I love the way you screech short bursts and blink your eyes, then dissolve in a fit of giggles.

I remember the day Kirstyn was sad, and you leaned over and kissed her until she stopped crying.

I love watching you think, when you think I’m not watching.  Today, a stranger was smiling and inviting you to crawl over to them, and you sat for a minute and then shook your head “no” to yourself.

I love every book time we’ve had together.  “The Real Mother Goose” is the first book I remember reading to you, just days old, all scrunched up in my lap.  “Are You My Mother?“, “Go, Dog. Go!” and “Goodnight, Sweet Butterflies” were favorites this year.

“Mommy, look at Mercy!” is a common cry around here.  Your brothers and sisters love to cheer you on and show you off!   Right now it’s the learning to stand up that has us all clapping for you and watching in awe as you add another talent to your growing-up list.

Last night, I tried to plop you on the grass next to me outside, to have a chat while I drank my coffee (which you have already sipped and enjoyed).  But you saw the kids run by and went crawling after them!  You love being part of the gang.

Cory and Kirstyn love to push you in the stroller down the dirt road, lulling you to sleep.  Kirstyn loves it when you fall asleep in her arms, rocking in the basement.  Sometimes you crawl around the basement until you’re so tired you put your head down on the carpet and fall asleep!  My favorite is nursing you to sleep.

Nursing you is heaven on earth!  I love that low, sweet nicker you give, when I ask, “Do you want to nurse?”  Like, “What a great idea, Mom!”  I LOVE that snuggle time with you.  I’ve never, never complained about you nursing all night long, draped across my lap (where you throw yourself backwards, and sleep spread-eagle after you’re done).  I’ve thanked Daddy — numerous times — for letting you hog our bed.  He doesn’t complain, even though I know he doesn’t love the kicks in his back and face, or the lack of personal time with Mommy.  You have a great Daddy.

You love waving, and clapping, and dancing, and pointing at birds.  You even wave if you happen to hear “bye” in a sentence!  Tonight you fell asleep nursing while I was watching The Good Wife.   You heard clapping, woke up and clapped a few times, and then latched back on and fell asleep.  It was hilarious!

You’re such a tiny thing!  For over a month, you didn’t gain any weight, and even lost a bit, hanging out at 16 1/2 lbs.  You wouldn’t roll over, and you wouldn’t sit up, unless you could do it your way, with your legs tucked under your (adorable) bum.

You started crawling at  6 months old, the day after you learned to belly slide in the bathtub.

That day you climbed the basement stairs and stood there shaking the gate that was closed at the top?  Yeah — your angels were working hard that day, and Mommy got quite the adrenaline rush!

You still have only 3 teeth!

You crow like a rooster.  I’m not kidding.  I guess that what happens when we keep chickens in the house during this formative time for you.

Your walker is my laundry rack, pushed around the mudroom.

You love the song “This Little Light of Mine.”

You are quite the chatterbox!  I’m amazed at all the different sounds you put together.  The other week, you and I were standing in line at a VBS ice cream social.  You were chatting away, and the lady in front of me turned around and asked, “Is she saying ‘giggle, giggle, giggle?'”  Yep.

I love how your very name, Mercy, from the moment I discovered your life, has been used by God to teach me about… well… mercy.  One year ago, on the 4th of July weekend you were due, Daddy and I were hopping mad at each other.  I didn’t want you to be born that weekend, since I knew I couldn’t go through labor while I was mad at Daddy!  I remember falling asleep one of those nights, with God whispering to my heart about you, the baby that spoke about Mercy just by her name, and how could I hold onto anger when she was about to be born?

This morning, a year later, anger was rumbling in the air again.  But I thought of you, and God’s mercy that is new every morning for me, so of course I could forgive.  God’s well of grace and mercy will never run dry.  He is always enough, Mercy girl.

I love you so much, sweet baby!  Happy 1st Birthday!

Mama’s gotta share pictures, you know?


“I see you… pretty girl… I love you so much”

Words I whisper to my baby when she wakes up, when she cries, when she smiles at me, as she’s learning about this great big world.  I hope these words I’m speaking into her ears reach her heart.  I hope she carries the truth of them always.  I hope she knows that my words are a reflection of God’s perfect love for her.

Isn’t this what we all crave?  For somebody to see us, truly, to our very soul, and call us beautiful?  To love us?  He does, you know.  Before we even knew Him, God called us beautiful.  He fashioned us carefully and tenderly while we were yet unborn, and stamped His image upon us.  Nothing else on earth can claim this beauty that is ours alone.

A month of photos


Pictures!  I might be a little snap happy with Mercy.  But that’s okay, right?  Baby obsession is healthy!  I think I took almost a picture a day, of her first month of life.  I’m curious to see the changes caught on camera…

Did you notice that handsome daddy holding the baby and flipping made-from-scratch raspberry/chocolate chip pancakes?  Yeah.  He’s mine.  And the photo wasn’t staged.  He’s just awesome like that!

Did you notice that the baby is being held in almost every picture?  Yeah.  We love her!  She’ll walk one day — I’m sure of it!





We bounce-bounce-rocked all the way to a month!


(from last night…)

We made it to the one month mark!  Not that I thought we wouldn’t, but that first month can be crazy.  Crazy sleep patterns, crazy messes, crazy no shower days, crazy mac and cheese again meals, crazy music to get the baby to sleep.

I know the music that plays on the radio station between 9:00 and 10:00PM, and between 10:00 and 11:00PM.  That’s usually when we’re doing the “bounce, bounce, rock” around the kitchen.  Tonight a song played called “Days of Grace.”  Totally appropriate.

Mercy didn’t fall asleep until 11:15PM. I held her All. Day. Long.  (Maybe a wee, tiny exaggeration?)  Yesterday was fabulous, her napping in bed and me getting lots of school done with my big kids.  Today she seemed to be asking, “Do you still love me?  Even if I won’t let you put me down?”  She didn’t cry or fuss, as long as I held her.  She looked up at me and crinkled her eyes, just like me, and practiced her smiles and coos.

Silly girl.

So we read books together.  And I did what school I could.  She must know now that 7+8=15, and Beowulf was a great, legendary Celtic warrior, and how to spell the word “the.”  We go back and forth between Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 3rd grade; so by the end of the year she should be ridiculously smart!  Oh, and we listen to Mozart and Bob Dylan on Pandora, and Toby Mac on iTunes.  She really is well-rounded in her education so far.

She learned how to pay a bill over the phone, because the internet was down, and maybe she learned not to procrastinate bill-paying.

We talked about the chickadees outside at the feeder.  Two birds come every day, so we named them Toby and Mac.  (Yes, my kids love that artist.)

Mercy LOVES her siblings!  Megan spends the most time with her, and is rewarded with huge smiles.  She loves to grin at Kirstyn too, and Cory.  She just loves to smile, really!  Cameron doesn’t hold her much, but when he held her this afternoon she craned her head around so she could look up at him.  I think she was telling him that she understood.  Everything about him.  Maybe she’ll be my other introverted child.

Mostly she winces when Zach kisses her!

She’s just like me.  I’m rubbing off on her, literally!  Sunday evening, our church had a beautiful creek baptism.  Glorious!  I cried as some of the dads baptised their kids.  Anyway, as we were walking away from the creek, I noticed Mercy’s face sparkling in the sunshine.  It was my make-up, rubbing off on her from all the kisses and snuggles.

Now I’m going all figurative on you, but isn’t that what happens?  The people we spend time with rub off on us.

My kids love the things I love, say the things I say, and do the things I do.  Mercy even has my sleep patterns, from spending so much time with me!  Yes, girl, 11:15PM to 10:00AM is ideal.  I admit.  All of my kids love to cuddle, and all of my kids are fairly laid back.  The doctor yesterday even said as much, about Mercy!  Some things I’m proud to claim, like their penchant for words, and books, and gentleness with animals, their love of the outdoors, and just life in general.  My kids know bird names, tree names, and flowers.  They even know some of the weeds that are yummy to snack on, or have medicinal benefits!  Cameron, especially, seems to enjoy pruning and weeding with me.

My oldest child hates Cheerios, bananas, eggs, and raisins.  Just like me.

Every single one of my kids LOVES coffee!  I think I’m proud of that one…  Coffee wards of depression and cancer, after all!

Sometimes my kids drop a phrase or tone that makes me cringe and think, “Oh!  I speak that way.”

And I realize that I need to spend more time with God, to pick up His ways and personality.

So, baby girl — and the rest of my children — let’s hang out with Him together!  Your mama is learning just as much as you, on this journey of motherhood.  Let’s soak up His face, and sparkle with His grace.

Handling hardships myself is crazy talk!


I read an article today, about how false it is to tell someone, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

It’s true, the false ring to that statement!

I won’t even try to list all the horrible tragedies that some people are facing.  But you probably know somebody who is, or you might be facing something yourself.

I was just going to talk about what I know — motherhood.

Even my midwife uses this phrase.  She said it to me when I sat in her office for my first visit with baby #4.  I told her, “I didn’t mean to get pregnant this soon!  I don’t know how in the world I’m going to handle four kids!”

She said, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”

Ha!  I would have burst out laughing if I wasn’t the polite type.  God gave me that baby, my sweet Megan, in spite of myself.  He also gave me a mother-in-law that lives right next door, to help with my kids, and a husband that loves babies and doesn’t mind a disaster zone for a house.  He gave my husband a good job, so we can afford to have babies.  And he made the coffee bean.  And placed the idea of Starbucks in somebody’s brain.

There’s absolutely no way on earth I could do this alone.

Just last night, for example, I was crying at 10:30, rocking my baby #6 to sleep.  She doesn’t always sleep too well outside of my arms.  So I had a mess in my kitchen, a mess in my laundry room, dust and dirt everywhere, clothes piled high in my bedroom, stuff covering my kitchen table and counters, and a chicken in the crock pot that’s been simmering on low for days.

Maybe it’s the chicken that got me.  I’ve turned it off a couple of times now, let it cool, and then turned it back on because there’s no way I have time to pick the meat off the bones and make soup.  So it’s still just cooking.  It might still be cooking next week, or maybe I’ll just feed it to the cats.

I’d like to make bread, but I can’t even make it to the store to buy bread.  So we’re dipping shredded wheat in hummus.

I did finally get my bathroom cleaned, halfway, heading into week #4 of unclean, while Mercy was lying on my bed after a diaper change.  She seems to enjoy gazing around my room while I change her diaper, so I have about 5 minutes of free time until I have to pick her up again.  I scrubbed in the toilets, since the grime was starting to come alive, (and when you sit on the toilet you don’t really want to think about living organisms down underneath…) and I wiped down on the toilet, so I don’t have to scrub dried pee off of Zach’s hands every time he pulls himself up to the bathroom sink.

Then 5 minutes were up, and Mercy told me she wanted me to hold her again.

I wiped down the floors today.  Maybe I’ll do the sinks tomorrow.

I did take the trash out, since the maxi pads and piles of diapers were starting to stink up my whole room.

My Bible right now usually consists of flipping the daily calendar on my kitchen windowsill.  If I get up at a decent time in the morning, I can read my Bible and drink coffee all alone.  I’ve enjoyed that a few times.  But Mercy usually sleeps until 8:00 or even 10:00 some mornings, and after sleeping off and on all night, half-sitting, propped up on pillows, I’m usually gonna choose the extra sleep!

My kids watch TV in the basement until I wake up and feed them.

I’m freaking out about another year of homeschooling.  Add a newborn, and only God could pull off such a stunt!

I lean on Him, hard.

Last night, with tears burning my throat, and that sweet baby in my arms, I asked Him to help.  Just. Help.

I don’t have elaborate prayers these days!

My suspicion is, that the people who do manage to do it all themselves are full of pride.  And those people who are falling apart at the seams?  Maybe even contemplating the end?  Facing heartbreak?  Why in the world would you tell them that they can handle this… That God expects them to… That He gave all this tragedy to them.  What happens when they fall flat on their face?  Shame, and failure.

No.  If God did give it to them, He meant for them to bring that burden to Him.

And sometimes… sometimes it’s not God.  Our adversary, the devil, walks about this world as a roaring lion.  This fallen, sinful world.  This world that is not meant to be our home.  This world that is not perfect, and where people die.  And people hurt you.  And you have to watch children hurt and die.  And God never meant it to be so full of pain.

(I’m not still talking about just having a lot of kids.  I know why that happens!)

You might be lying if you tell somebody that God gave them the trial they’re facing.  Maybe a couple who desperately wants children is facing infertility.  Or a child is handicapped.  Or dead.  Or ill.

This world is ill, and God didn’t make it that way.

We did, and He offers hope.  He will take vengeance on the evil that we were never meant to handle.  He will justify the righteous and defend the innocent.

It doesn’t make the pain of this world go away, but it gives us hope.  I’m pretty sure life would be terrible without hope!

Hope is Jesus.  The answer is Jesus.

Next time you hear somebody say “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” please speak up and say, “Yes, He will, but He’ll also give you Jesus!”

(P.S.  My laughable “trials” of motherhood insanity are nothing compared to what some of you are facing!  I’m not trying to compare apples to oranges.  But the answer is always Jesus.)