Past Everybody Else’s Bedtime (Isolation: Weeks 3 and 4)

I don’t know what to tell you about the past two weeks – weeks Three and Four of our coronavirus isolation.

I was going to tell you about my Lenten sacrifice, the one where I gave up wasting time and indulging in escapism. How I gave up escapism just before the world turned upside down and the schools closed and grocery shelves emptied and suddenly all I wanted to do was escape.

How I felt like God had rounded up all my weaknesses and insecurities and thrust them in my face.

I could tell you about my quickly-trashed “homeschooling” schedule and the fifteen million computer programs my kids are supposed to use to do their schoolwork. How I’ve only very slowly progressed from a “This is never going to work” mindset to a “If we work really hard, maybe we can do the bare minimum” mindset.

And how I truly mean the “we” in that sentence, because for Kindergarteners, second-graders, and fourth-graders, remote learning requires great, big, heaping helpings of parental involvement. Which is hard to fit in when you’re cooking three meals a day and running the dishwasher twice a day and changing five diapers a day and trying to keep laundry moving so you don’t drown in it.

And how I don’t know how teleworking parents are managing it. Except I imagine that most of them have fewer than five kids, and maybe it’s easier to telework and oversee remote learning when you’re not doing it with five kids.

And how, when I stop to think about that, I experience a brief, wistful daydream of an easier, more peaceful, one- or two-child quarantine. For about five seconds, at which point I remember that I have never been more thankful for our large family than I am now, during this pandemic.

You should see these kids, rolling around the house and yard like a pack of laughing, half-drunk rugby players. They are enjoying each other so much. They are loving each other so much, growing in kindness and consideration for each other even as they howl about somebody knocking over somebody else’s Legos.

I feel like I’m getting a glimpse at how much they’ll enjoy each other as goofball teenagers (and hopefully adults?) and I am so very grateful for it.

I could tell you about the playset Brennan is building for the kids or the bunkbed he just finished or how he keeps having to detach and reattach the sink in the powder room because plumbing is horrible. (This weekend I literally heard him say, “Die, sink!” to the thing. That’s how bad this has gotten.)

I could tell you about our low-key but lovely commemorations of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, the latter of which happened to be my birthday. (Good Friday during a pandemic! Probably the least cheerful day for a birthday, but blessedly quiet and pleasant nonetheless.)

I could tell you about our unexpectedly sweet Easter, and how much more relaxing a holiday can be when you’re not allowed to go anywhere.

I could tell you how we seem to not be the sort who can pull off liturgically-themed crafts or foods or activities, but we do ask a lot of questions and talk a lot of things through, and I’m beginning to see the fruits of that in my kids’ religious devotions. And how amazingly hopeful that makes me feel.

I could tell you about the things that are not making me hopeful right now, all coronavirus related. The continued inadequacy of testing, the upswing in grocery workers falling ill with the virus, the dearth of solid plans for reopening the economy. (Plans, not dates. There seem to be plenty of dates, but few plans for making them workable.)

I could tell you about any number of these things.

I could write for hours and not be done telling you all I have to say. But these days, from the moment I wake until the moment everyone else falls asleep, my time seems to belong to someone other than me.

So here I sit, in the still, sweet, quiet of Past Everybody Else’s Bedtime, and I try to just say something.

Happy Easter, friends. He is risen! He has defeated death, and we have hope.

Lately {pretty, happy, funny, real} (Vol. 16)

Lately, we’ve been busy.

(That’s nothing new! Everyone seems to be busy these days! All the time!)

And it’s fine: I don’t even feel particularly stressed out right now. So this isn’t one of my cranky, complaining posts. This is simply me telling you a little of what I’ve been doing lately. (And yes, maybe it’s also me making some excuses for another couple weeks of not blogging.)

Lately, I’ve been taking my own advice: I’ve hired babysitters so I can “re-set” parts of my house that have been causing me anxiety for some time. I’ve tackled projects that haven’t been touched since we moved into this house 2.5 years ago. I’ve (LET ME SHOUT THIS ONE TO THE HEAVENS) arranged for a mother’s helper to come once a week this summer, to give me regular, focused time in which to write! (God-willing, maybe I’ll actually turn myself into a decent-ish blogger this summer. Stranger things have happened!)

We’ve hosted the baby’s first birthday party. (Our sunshine of a boy is already one! How can that be possible?)

We’ve celebrated Easter with friends and family and (terribly impractical, ostentatiously old-fashioned) matching get-ups.

We’ve celebrated my birthday and spent an out-of-town weekend at my parents’ house. (a.k.a. The best grandparents three little boys could wish for.) We’ve also celebrated my niece’s birthday.

We’ve painted the kitchen and put it back to rights. (My husband did the former, I did the latter.)

The two older boys have started swim lessons. And the oldest has made his second (very tentative!) visit to his soon-to-be-new-school. (Kindergarten is a much scarier prospect than I ever imagined.)

I’m preparing to host a small blogging conference in a couple of weeks. It’s the Catholic Women Blogging Network Mid-Atlantic Conference. (What a mouthful!) Registration has already closed, but if you fit that bill and you want to join us, contact me ASAP. I can probably fit you in. 😉

That’s a lot for two weeks, right?

It’s produced a lot of photos, that’s for sure. And since I feel like it’s been forever-and-a-half since I last participated in {pretty, happy, funny, real}, I thought I’d share the photos with you under those headings. Here we go:


We enjoyed a beautiful Easter.


But this isn’t Easter. This is a week earlier, at our neighbor’s egg hunt. (That’s our garage in the background.)



Grandpa and his boys.





Cousins (aren’t cousins the best?) all lined up for the egg hunt.







Sleepy little chub.


I’ve never seen a baby so happy to celebrate his first birthday. Our boy crawled all over the place, crammed his cupcake into his mouth, and smiled, smiled, smiled.


I was so proud of myself for making the (buttercream) frosting the night before… until I realized I’d forgotten to soften it for the party. My mom said they were the ugliest cupcakes she’d ever frosted. I didn’t care, though — I thought it looked like grass. (Fitting for our wild animal theme.)





There’s no doubt who the “class clown” of our family is:







 Cleaning, organizing projects, and home improvement — oh my!






Post-birthday-cake energy burning.

Post-birthday-cake energy burning.



Be sure to hop over to Like Mother, Like Daughter for more {pretty, happy, funny, real}. Enjoy!

Our First Days With Him: 7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 27)

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!



Today, I feel every inch the mother of a newborn. Whooo-eee, am I tired. It’s a good thing I was blessed with some good sleepers (thank you, Lord!), because I am simply not equipped to handle a severe and consistent lack of sleep. After my solid three hours last night, I just about shed tears as I heaved myself out of bed this morning.

And I’ve been fighting them off the rest of the day.


So why in the world am I finally posting something to the blog today, rather than on any of the handful of lovelier, more happy and perky days I’ve had in the three weeks since the baby was born? Because today I’m tired enough that I just don’t care anymore.

You see, I’ve got a bit of an OCD/perfectionist problem. After posting the birth announcement, I reasonably and rightfully took a little break from thinking about anything but baby, boys, husband, and home. No blogging, not much reading of blogs, not much Facebooking or emailing. Fine. Makes sense.

Soon enough, though, I started to want to share some pictures and thoughts on the new baby and our new little family of five. (Six? I should say six now that my mother-in-law is living with us, shouldn’t I?) But I’d already built up a back-log of photos and ideas and I didn’t know which would be the perfect ones to post. So I didn’t post anything at all. It’s a very Julie thing to have done.

But today? I just don’t care anymore! I’m too tired to care! So I’ll just throw something up here, re-break the ice, and get back to blogging. It’s good to have your inhibitions broken down every now and then.


I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit it, but do you know what was majorly contributing to my perfectionist reluctance to post anything on the blog? (Anything less than perfect, that is.) This here post is my 100th.

One-hundred posts! It’s a piddly number, I’m sure, to anyone who has been blogging for a while. But it feels like a big milestone to me and I wanted to find a great way to mark it. And… um… I couldn’t. So, this:

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(They look thrilled, don’t they? Woo-hoo! One-hundred posts! Here’s to the next hundred excuses for Mommy to be chained to her laptop!)


Now for the baby photos. I’m sure that’s what you really care about anyway, right?







He’s sweet, isn’t he?


Of course he is! He’s wonderful. He spent his first couple of weeks as a deliciously sleepy baby, sliding straight from one feeding session (we’re having to supplement with formula again, just like with the other two – ugh) into sleep, then awake for a few peaceful minutes before beginning the cycle all over again. Pretty easy, really.

So easy that we were actually able to go out for a nice lunch on my birthday. Sleeping baby? Sleeping two-year-old? Check, check!

So easy that we were actually able to go out for a nice lunch on my birthday. Sleeping baby? Sleeping two-year-old? Check, check!

It’s getting a little harder now. He’s awake for longer periods of time and he wants to be held more. (Imagine that!) He’s also hitting that three-week growth spurt, so he’s hungrier. (HUNGRIER, I tell you!)

But he’s also starting to smile in his sleep. Which is one of God’s little gifts, I think, to get hormonal, sleep-deprived new mothers through these difficult first days and nights.



His big brothers have also been wonderful. They love their baby and have been trying hard to help take care of him. Sometimes they love him a little too much and he needs to be rescued, but that’s not such a bad problem to have.



By and large they’ve been cooperative, even giving me a stress-free first trip back to the grocery store and a couple of three-way naps.



They’ve also been saying some really funny things in the past few weeks:

My two-year-old, pointing at the baby, keeps saying: “I wike him widdle nose! I wike him widdle ears! I wike him widdle head!” Then, pointing at me, he says: “I wike your big nose! I wike your big ears! I wike your big head!”

He also comes out with, “Dat Baby Isaat! He my budder” over and over and over… All the time. To everyone. Including Brennan and me. (As if we didn’t know who the baby was.)


The three-year-old constantly says, “I sink Baby Isaac wikes me!” Or, “I sink he wuvs me.” Or, “I wuv da baby.” Or, “He’s so cuuute!” Or, “We have a funny baby!”

Also, one day when I ran into the kitchen, responding to the screams of the two-year-old, biggest brother assured me, “Don’t worry, Mommy! He’s not bweeding!”

After we got home from our Easter celebration at my grandparents’ house, the big guy sighed and smiled and said, “Dat was a gweat party.”


Of course, it was far less charming when, upon spotting a revealed bit of my midsection, he asked me, “Do you have a baby in your bewwy again?”


It’s going to be quite a while before I don’t look like I have a baby in my “bewwy” again.

That said, yesterday I glanced in the mirror while I was holding the baby and I thought, “Hm. You’re looking unusually photogenic at the moment. Take a picture, why don’t you?”

Sorry, I know: that sounds ridiculous. Arrogant, maybe. It’s just that I always feel so gross in all of my post-partum pictures that I figured if I could get one that I actually feel good about, I should go for it.

And, I figured may as well share the pic while I’m at it. (Please, though, ignore the detritus of random junk and dirty laundry on the periphery of the photo. Every single mirror in my house is currently sporting a similar view. If I waited until I had cleaned it up, I would have never taken the picture.)


I can’t go out on that one, though. How about… Happy Easter from the Walsh boys!

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Okay, that’s enough low-quality ice-breaking for today. Head on over to Jen’s for lots of Quick Takes that weren’t inspired by “I just don’t care anymore!” And have a great weekend!