Poop in the ball pit.

I can’t even try to be witty or funny or cool about this. My kid crapped in our ball pit. It was as awful as it sounds. But before I go into the gory details, let me back up a second – we have a ball pit. Not some little kid blow up thing with a dozen balls. Oh no, my husband went crazy a few years ago and purchased something like 500 plastic balls and put them in our travel crib (which is the phil n teds and quite a handy little thing, but that’s another post). Here it is:


The big brother (not the pooper!) enjoying a clean ball pit about a year ago!

So yeah, we have a ball pit full of quite a lot of plastic balls. And my kid pooped in it. It’s not as if I’m an idiot and let me not-quite-two-year-old run around without a diaper. No, he was wearing a diaper. And shorts. He just decided to save up his poop for three days and let it loose all at once while playing in the ball pit…at the exact moment I stepped out of the room. It filled the diaper…and his shorts, and oozed out the top and down his legs. Of course I knew the second I walked in – the smell. Oh dear god the smell…

I’ve blocked out a lot of what happened but I do believe I managed to scream “DON’T TOUCH THE BALL PIT!” to my big kids as I ran with a poop-dripping baby. Obviously, and thankfully, there are no pics from the next 15 minutes. I did end up doing an entire load of laundry just from this one incident, Burke got a shower, and I had to use a nail brush to get the poop out from under my nails. Yep, a nail brush.

But back to the ball pit. It was bad. Again, thankfully, no pics. It took me another 30 minutes to clean all the balls and it involved my large clawfoot soaking tub (my poor tub!), more bleach than I care to admit, many many rinses, and lots of yelling “don’t touch that!” and “out of the bathroom!”. Oh, and a kid knocking over a giant plant somehow and spilling dirt all over the floor in the midst of this. Because, apparently, cleaning poop up for 45 minutes isn’t enough, the universe wanted me to vacuum today too.

Oh well, the crap is all cleaned up now and we all seem to have survived. Such is the life of a mom. If you don’t like cleaning up poop, I suggest you do not have kids. They poop. A LOT. And at the most inconvenient times and in the most interesting places. And if you have a ball pit, learn from my mistake: if they haven’t pooped in three days, the ball pit is off limits!






It ain’t all roses…but there’s beauty in the weeds

Folks, it wasn’t a pretty morning. Actually, it wan’t a pretty 24 hours but it seems to have built up to an especially awful morning.  I will spare you all the gory details but some highlights include a raging migraine, the oldest reverting to toddlerhood (think whining and screeching at everything, punctuated by periods of uncontrollable sobbing), food being thrown, poop in places poop shouldn’t be, being asked the same question over and over and over, and the toddler teething and freaking the fuck out over every single thing.

Again, it wasn’t pretty. And here’s the thing. It often isn’t pretty. Or cute. Or Instagram worthy. Fuck you Instagram with your perfect lighting and perfectly placed props and filters that fix our imperfections and pictures we share of only the good moments, the moments when they are smiling and our house is clean and the kids appear to actually like one another. We never post the moments when they’re screaming. Or throwing food or biting their sister or hiding their brother’s favorite toy just to make him cry. We may post the baby streaking down the hall fresh out of the bath and everyone will comment “how cute!” and “save that one for the senior yearbook!”. But what we leave out is that it was a long day and that toddler took a crappy nap and mom has a headache and dad is working late and there is now water all over the floor and the older kids, who should know better, are also streaking and screaming and generally not doing what they’ve been asked, and about five seconds after that picture was snapped mom lost her fucking shit and yelled like a crazy woman and then one of them cried and said “please don’t yell at me” and now mom is full of guilt and beating herself up but also still, somehow, mad and feeling insane.

Here’s the thing. Every single one of us – moms and dads, doing it alone or doing it with help, those that stay home and those that go to work – all of us have these moments. None of us are perfect and neither are our kids and we all have bad days and you know what? That’s ok. Truly. Sometimes we all just need a good cry or a good yell or to punch a pillow. It happens. Sometimes we get hangry. Lord knows that if my oldest or I don’t get enough sleep, we are grumpy. GRUMPY. Sometimes the toddler has a tantrum because HE’S A TODDLER! Sometimes the three year old and the five year old have tantrums too and you know what? That’s normal too. Hell, sometimes I throw a tantrum and I’m about to be 36! We have bad days and we try our best but sometimes you just need to throw your hands up in the air, go to bed early, and try again the next day. And even though our bad day was followed by an even worse morning, something seemed to have clicked in all of us by mid-day and it’s not so bad now. Maybe we just needed to get it out of our systems.

But one thing I am learning, slowly (because I am stubborn like that) is that there really is beauty to be found even in the not-so-picture-perfect moments. When my youngest was screaming at the top of his lungs for who knows what reason, his sister very sweetly kissed the top of his head and said “it’s ok, brother”. It was such a genuine and sincere gesture. Of course I didn’t have my camera, but it’s a moment I wish I could have captured, red face and all. In fact, I wish someone could have captured the whole scene: the disshevled room with toys thrown in rage, the even more disheveled, unshowered, and frustrated momma, the little girl who looked weary from listening to screaming and crying all day, the big brother, who was also having a rough day, curled at my feet with his lovie. It wasn’t pretty, no, not at all. But it was real life and it was beautiful in it’s own way. It is us, stuck together and sticking together, even when it sucks.




We built a fort!!!


I am so freaking excited about this fort we built! I think I may love it more than the kids (who love it a whole lot!). If you keep scrolling, there are lots and lots of pictures. But first, how this came about….

So, as per usual in our home, I had an Idea. My husband gave me “The Look”. He said I didn’t have a plan (true), I said he had no sense of adventure (partially true). I continued talking about The Idea for weeks. I listed all the pros, he listed all the cons. I begged. I badgered. He finally gave in…and got just as excited as me.

The Idea? Make our very own playhouse/fort, somewhat “organic” (read, I don’t like to make actual plans, I like to wing it), use reclaimed wood, make it more “open ended”, some climbing things, let the kids help. Perfect, I argued for our kiddos and our lifestyle, but also key was that we have an odd space/size to work with, hence the needing to build our own. And frankly, I didn’t like the look of the store bought ones. And I wanted the kids to help and really do it ourselves. Big bonus, I knew it would drive my husband crazy.

Day 1: 

First of many, many, many trips to Lowe’s! Husband got a new tool (tamper)…confession: getting a new tool is often how I convince him to do my crazy projects. 🙂 Not pictured here are the six giant 4×4 fence posts. Those were a B to get from the truck to the yard.



And this is the Before…

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The Before

See the odd space? Otherwise, we have nice landscaping and old brick paths and trees in our not-big backyard, so this is really the only spot for a kids’ play area. We wanted to ideally hide the old gate box, which was useless, but we needed to not cover the french drain and also needed to keep a decently clear path to the water spout. And lets be honest, that little plastic playhouse has seen better days and wasn’t going to hold on much longer for my three crazies. What you can’t see here is that the ground is super uneven and lumpy (from a pipe replacement two years ago). So first part of the project was honestly the worst – leveling out that ground. Digging and moving dirt and tamping. Ugh!

So day 1 was mostly leveling out the ground, sinking in our posts, and getting the basic frame up. Of course, we had to change our original “design” (if you can call “winging it” a design). Ending up, we needed one more fence post. *sigh* Overall, felt like a lot of progress, we could already see the shape of our fort!


sinking posts


learning to level


He needed a little rest – Spicey style! bwhaha!


Day 1 – DONE!


Momma & Burke – adding moral support!

Day 2:

More hard work. Lots of new wood purchased, sixth fence post sunk, loft/ upper floor put down, including the space for the “trap door”, and Momma scavenged a lot of old, mismatched, character-filled wood, which, of course, I didn’t capture on film, but you’ll see it later, installed…


loft floor goes in


“Burkie up! Burkie up!”

Day 3 & 4: 

We start to see real progress! Probably the biggest pain was was cutting and laying that weed barrier stuff (which is why we hadn’t installed the bottom floor yet) and then laying a thick layer of mulch over it all. We were then able to put down the bottom flooring (and then trim off all the excess, up and down). We also put in all of the studs, both as support, especially on the top, and where we wanted our windows and doors. Then we screwed in a few 2×4’s to act as a ladder up the front, on the outside. We left off the bottom rung to discourage our youngest little wild one from climbing up top just yet (we shall see how long that lasts).

To humor me, despite it being late on a Sunday, my husband put up the first few reclaimed wood boards as our railing up top. This was so exciting for me, as all the new wood really had me upset, it was NOT looking how I had envisioned it. But seeing those four mismatched, crooked boards seriously made me giddy!


stud time!


my fav picture – helping dad


the first side goes up!

Day 5 & 6:

This is all the fun stuff, for me anyway. Laying out all the old boards, moving them around, playing with size and texture and color. And then measuring and cutting and installing. Also fun because we didn’t want it to be exact, so we made some a little crooked, the gaps are various sizes, etc. We can really see what it’s going to look like now. Oh, and the rope ladder arrived, so that got installed (took way longer than we anticipated, needed to move some of the knots and make some adjustments). When the kids are older and less likely to accidentally hang themselves, we will make it so you can pull the ladder up and actually put on a “trap door”. For now, it’s attached at the bottom for both safety, and easier climbing. Best part, we got the first bottom wall installed! Henry continued to truly be a big help for Dad…mostly handing him screws and holding things.


2nd and 3rd side railings go up


top done!


Mary & Burke oversee construction from inside! They are about to lose their view…


First full bottom wall (and you can see the rope ladder)

Day 6:

The end! We got all the rest of the walls up and, again, this was so fun for me to lay out the old wood, looking for cool knots for “spy holes” and such! Window looks great and my husband even had the cutest idea for a little “secret escape hatch” (which I think is the kids’ fav). Right now, we have two openings for doors – we are debating making doors or half doors or maybe hanging a curtain or who knows. The kids absolutely love it and we got to have some friends over to play (of course, I didn’t take pics) – it was a huge hit!

So here are a million pics of the finished product…


Things we learned…

A compromise between our two styles is probably best. Totally winging it would have resulted in even more trips to Lowe’s…and probably a very wobbly fort. But the organic outside is really what makes this place and having the kids help and not worrying about things being perfect made it way more fun. Check old wood for nails before falling in love…because pulling nails or trying to pound them out is a real pain in the tush. Ask neighbors for scrap wood…we got about half of this for free! (The rest came from a salvage yard, still pretty cheap). Self-drilling screws are amazing! Buy lots and lots of screws and have a backup drill battery charging…nothing worse than running out of screws or battery mid-way. And frankly, have fun. It’s a kids’ fort. It isn’t supposed to be perfect or last for generations. But we sure are enjoying it now!