Putting Out Fires

I’d forgotten what it was like to live like this — running nonstop, spending my entire day putting out fires.

Inching out from under the sleeping baby to nominally prepare myself for the day. Making the Kindergartener’s lunch. Preparing bottles for two, sippy cups for two. Waking and dressing three (except one never needs to be woken — he’s always squawking in his crib before I’m ready to get him). Feeding everyone. Cleaning up each in turn. Dealing with the inevitable spit-up and leaky diapers as they (sometimes literally) come at me. Brushing teeth and hair. Hugging and kissing my loves as they walk out the door.

Washing dishes, changing diapers, breaking up fights, nursing the baby, making bottles, preparing meals, wiping counters, attempting laundry, emptying the trash, stealing the spilled-over recycling back from the toddler. Over and over again.

Anticipating a break because everyone has finally been fed and the littlest ones are finally napping, only to have them both wake up on you. Rejoicing at getting all three boys to bed, only to have the baby wail for hours. Soaking in the quiet after everyone else in the house has fallen asleep, only to find it impossible to keep my eyes open.

The Kindergartener keeps asking to do his math games on my computer, but I’ve hardly turned it on in weeks, let alone taken the time to figure out the login his teacher sent home from school.

I’m not sure I’m feeding or bathing or holding the baby enough. This morning I left her in spit-up-soaked clothing for hours because she fell asleep before I had time to change her.

One child has been manufacturing drama to get my attention, another has been going overboard in telling me how much he loves me. The third just wants to be held. (Also, he’s about to turn two and expertly playing the part already.)

I’m edgy — worn thin and anxious about how little capacity I’ve had to tap out my thoughts (presidential campaign! drama at my alma mater! life with a new baby!) on the keyboard. Hence this quick attempt at a blog post via smartphone.

I’m tired, but the wired sort of tired where you hardly sit down for fear you won’t be able to get back up again. Brennan is more tired than I am — migraine tired, asleep-on-your-feet tired.

Yet it is good, living like this.

I’d forgotten how delightfully smushy a newborn feels in your arms. I’d forgotten how they smile in their sleep and splay their hands out in front of them. I’d forgotten how a baby’s big siblings will fall over each other to be close to her.


I’d forgotten how much easier, despite all the work and all the rushing, it is to acclimate to having a new baby in your home when you’ve done it a few times already.

I’d forgotten how nice it is to hand off your baby to a room full of eager family members and then how much sweeter it is to get her back from them when the party’s over.

I’d forgotten how generous people can be.

I’d forgotten about all the looks of love and longing you see aimed in your direction when you carry a new baby around with you.

Yes. It is good, living like this.

(Even when you need to remind yourself of the fact as you run from one fire to the next.)

It is good.


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:

P1180909 P1180918 P1180920 P1180921 P1180922

(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!

P1180699 P1180704

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!

Monday Morning Miscellany (Vol. 4)

— 1 —

Remember when I wrote about my Friends Who Blog a couple of weeks ago? Well, my friend Mary, this lovely lady:


Sorry it’s fuzzy. Cell phone pic.

She has finally launched her blog. It’s called Quite Contrary. (Get it? Isn’t that cute?) Mary is a former journalist and communications professional, so it pretty much goes without saying that she’s a talented writer. She’s also super smart and observant and savvy, so she’s an excellent person to talk to on the Topics of Great Importance I mentioned here. And Mary is also a wonderful mother to her two lovely little girls. (Whom I won’t deny having my eye on for my little guys someday.) Wink, wink.

I hope you’ll go pay her a visit!

— 2 —

Any of you who are Conversion Diary readers likely already know about the gem of blog Jen shared last week: Mama Knows, Honeychild. If you aren’t, or if you somehow missed her recommendation, oh my gosh, you have to check it out. It’s the funniest thing I’ve come across in a long time. I’m not a “laugh out loud” kind of person, but I totally was LOL’ing while I read Heather’s posts. The blog is a hilarious take on motherhood, family life, trying to live the Catholic faith and instill it in your children, etc. Oh, and it’s illustrated with the blogger’s own stick figure drawings, which are as if not more funny than the writing itself. Case in point:


The fruits of an over-active imagination, an impending beach vacation, and Shark Week on TV.

— 3 —

Speaking of gems, last week I stumbled onto another, very different kind of blog gem. Nella at Is There McDonald’s in Heaven? commented on my Motherhood On The Kitchen Floor post, so I checked out her blog. I read one post, then another, then came back for another, and before I knew it, I’d read just about her entire blog. (She started it in April.)

Earlier this year, Nella figured out that she had cancer around the same time she discovered she was pregnant with her sixth child. She was formally diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when she was 19 weeks pregnant. So, understandably, she writes about the challenges of having cancer. And the challenges of having cancer while pregnant. With five older children to care for. Now that her baby has been born, she’s writing about the challenges of having a premie in the NICU. (And, family with lots of NICU experience, it looks like Nella could use some words of comfort on that count. Comment on her blog if you have any wisdom to share with her.)

I tell you, she seems like quite a lady. Not only is she super open and honest about the whole thing, but she’s so funny. How in the world can anyone make cancer treatment seem funny? Like this:

It’s easy as humans to forget that we are animals.  Well let me tell you, regardless of the fact that you intellectually understand that this procedure will lead to life saving information, regardless of the fact that you give your consent, and regardless of the fact that the whole situation is dressed up with civilized medical behavior, when someone is coming at your outstretched neck with a sharp object…well, everything deep in side the most primordial core of your being starts screaming out “AWWW HELLZZ NO!!!”.  My primordial core is urban.  Anyhoo, you’d be amazed how perplexing it is to medical professionals that a normal person might find being stabbed in the neck, even with your consent, a tad disconcerting.  Seriously doctor, it’s not personal, I’m sure you’re very competent and compassionate, BUT YOU ARE STABBING ME IN THE NECK.  Now lest you think I was flopping around like a fish on the table screaming for my Mom, I was not.  I have birthed 5 children.  4 of them with no pharmaceutical assistance.  I am a bad ass.  But I did startle a bit when they started the procedure.  Sue me.  YOU WERE STABBING ME IN THE NECK.

There’s also this post on not being able to nurse her new baby because of her cancer treatment.  (Which, by the way, I think is a good post to read in tandem with my friend Krista’s How ‘Bout Them Apples? post the other day.)

I know I only have like five readers, but I sure hope each and every one of you will pop over to Nella’s blog. You’ll be richer for it. (If maybe a little sniffly. Yes, the blog is super funny at times. But it’s still heartbreaking. It’s still cancer.)

— 4 —

One more link. You know how, a little over a week ago, I found myself running ridiculous laps across the backyard because my 3-year-old destroyed my chance at having some quiet time to write? About abortion? I set the post aside for a while. But I revisited it last night and I think I can get it up a little later this week. ‘Till then, I thought this quote from Simcha Fisher was hilarious.

News flash.  The Church is against abortion.  Everyone knows this.  Everyone, everyone, everyone.  Find me some stoner kid living under the boardwalk and ask him what the Church teaches about abortion.  He’ll know.  Find me some juiced up Wall Street executive taking a four minute lunch before he dives back into the money pit, and ask him what the Church teaches about abortion.  He’ll know.  Find me some half demented grandpa shuffling down the hall in a nursing home and ask him what the Church teaches about abortion.  He’ll know.  And so will the nurse on call, and the secretary in the office, and the maintenance guy working on the drains, and the high school sophomore gloomily fulfilling his community service hours.  Ask the Planned Parenthood escort.  Ask the talking head who reads the news, or the nastiest combox troll.  The one thing that everybody knows is that the Church is against abortion.

What the world doesn’t know is why the Church is against abortion.  What the world doesn’t know is what the Church can offer instead of abortion.  The world doesn’t know why life is worth living. This is the message that every pope in recent memory has been preaching — that life is good!

“Some stoner kid living under the boardwalk”? I love her. I love her. I love her.

— 5 —

We got to visit with my brand new baby niece two times last week. On Thursday the boys and I drove up to my brother and sister-in-law’s house to visit for a few hours. On Sunday we gathered at my grandparents’ house for swimming and a little game of pass-the-new-baby-around. Here are some pics. Isn’t she sweet?








Meeting one of her great-grandmas…


… and meeting another great-grandma!


They were enjoying the cicada shells attached to their shirts. We named the bugs Crunchy and Crispy. Surprise, surprise, it wasn’t long before Crunchy got, er… crunched.


At the ripe old ages of 4 and 3, they’re turning into the daring big kids.



— 6 —

Here’s some extreme randomness for you: I have very wavy/curly/FRIZZY hair. Hair that’s full of body, but that has zero desire to cooperate with any of my ideas for it. So let me tell you, I have some hilarious bed head in the morning. So hilarious, that were I a little more confident in my appearance, I would post a collage of all the crazy things my hair does in the morning. This morning it was almost entirely made up of wiry, frizzy little curlicues close to my head. But I also had one big wing of wavy frizz heading up and away off the top of my head, at a diagonal. My husband must be pretty darned used to it at this point, because I honestly can’t see why he doesn’t startle or snort with laughter when he first sees me in the morning. That’s pretty much what I do when I look in the bathroom mirror.

— 7 —

Why don’t you start your week off right with a couple of toddler jokes? (My three-year-old’s FIRST! He entertained us with them a few days ago, laughing his little head off.)

Set-up: “How do trains have hands?”
Punchline: “Why dey have bats!”

Set-up: “How do trains don’t have wheels?”
Punchline: “A baby!”

Oh, and then he said this, which was also great:
“What’s dat again? Sowwy, I have wax in my ear.”

Cute little stinker…


He decided to eat his cookie under the table. I have no idea why.

Have  a great week!