So…

We’re having a baby! AHHHHHHH!!!!

For those of you that have never heard me speak, “AHHHHH!!!!” is a very high-pitched scream. I could have typed “SQUEEE!!!!” but for I feel annoyed when I see people type that on Facebook. Although, it is probably a more accurate representation of the sound I made.

Anyway, the baby is due in January. Which just happens to be right around a certain person’s birthday. And said person may be crossing her fingers and toes that her baby is born on her birthday because she thinks it would be totally awesome to share a birthday with her baby.

Bet you didn’t guess who I was talking about.

So the obvious question for anyone fixing to have another baby after already having three children of the same sex is, “Well, what is it?” But I decided the minute I found out I was pregnant this time to not find out the sex until delivery.

And then the next minute I realized that there is no way in hell I can wait 9 months to find out. There is too much preparing to be done- things like shopping for pink ruffley clothes, reading up on how to raise a strong feminist woman, and teaching The Pilot proper female wiping technique. A mother has instinct. And mine was telling me this was a girl.

Usually my doctor does the fetal anatomy scan at 20 weeks. So, when at my 10 week appointment they offered me the chance to take a genetic gender determination test (called the Harmony test) that only required a small sample of my blood and two weeks of waiting for the results I was thrilled.

I impatiently waited for almost exactly two weeks before the nurse called with the results. She said, “It’s a boy.” A boy. That means I’m going to have FOUR BOYS. Four. Boys. Cuatro chicos! Quatre garcons! Vier Jungen! Oh my!

Oh. My.

I can do this. Surely it can’t be that much different from three. Right?

I’m still wrapping my head around this concept. Meanwhile I cannot wait to snuggle this squishy smooshy baby.

One thing is for sure, The Pilot sure makes cute babies…even if he only knows how to make one kind.

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Posted in The Naked Truth | 2 Comments

Honey Lemon Butter Crunch Bars

Look! Something new! It’s no secret that I like to eat, ya’ll! Here’s a recipe for something I love. Hope you like it too…

honey lemon bars 1

Honey-y, lemon-y, butter-y and slight-ly crunch-y. Mmm.

When I was in college I scraped together my pennies to buy my ramen noodles and diet coke for supper. If you thought I was going to say beer you would be mistaken. That’s what boys were for. Anyway, sometimes I would get lucky. (Get your mind out of the gutter.) I was lucky because sometimes Winn Dixie would have a sale on lemon crunch cake! This means I could afford a delightful treat. And by delightful I mean full of ingredients I can’t pronounce.

But I can easily say everything that goes into these bars. Trust me I say “butter” plenty.

These are really similar in taste in texture to the Winn Dixie cake but with a stronger butter flavor.

Are ya sold yet?

Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

lemon bar ingredients 1

R E C I P E

  • Butter (duh!) 2 sticks
  • Sugar- 2 cups
  • Eggs- 4
  • Honey- 1/3 cup
  • Self Rising Flour- 2 cups
  • Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (for glaze)
  • Lemon Zest- 2 tablespoons
  • Confectioners Sugar- 1 cup (for glaze)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine your butter and sugar and mix with mixer. Then stick your finger in it and taste. Say yum.
  3. Add eggs, lemon juice, and honey. Mix until smooth. Careful of your papercuts when you’re juicing those lemons!
  4. Slowly add your self rising flour and blend until it’s well combined.
  5. Pour your batter into a lightly greased 9×13 inch pan. There should be enough butter in this that you don’t need to grease your pan but I always err on the side of lubrication.
  6. Lick the bowl if you’re not scared of raw eggs. I am so I skip this step.
  7. Bake in your 375 degree oven for 40 minutes. Start checking your cake after about 30 minutes. Do the toothpick test in the center if you are unsure.
  8. Let cool COMPLETELY. If you don’t the cake will soak up your glaze and won’t have that nice crunch to the top.
  9. After it’s COMPLETELY cool make your glaze: Stir together (with a fork) 1 cup of confectioners sugar and 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
  10. Pour glaze on top of your cake and even out with the back of a spoon.
  11. Now here’s where you have to make some decisions. You can either  A. Grab a fork and dig in. B. Cut into squares, package them up and deliver to your grateful neighbors. Or C. Take your sweet little 11 week old baby to the bed and nurse him to sleep while leaving your four and two-year olds alone with the cake you just slaved over.

If you chose answer C you made a serious mistake, my friend. Please see below…

lemon bar destroyed

Before I even found what they’d done to the cake they thanked me and told me it was “dee-licous.” At least they’re polite cake theives.

 

 

Posted in From the Ugly Kitchen, Garden and Home | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Cat People

There’s nothing quite like the relationship a boy has with his dog…

I mean cat.

Sort of.

The cat’s name is Coon Dog. Make sense, now?

Good.

Here’s the story of how these sweet kittens became a part of our family…

<Cue the Sarah Mclachlan music>

This story is like an SPCA commercial…

I was twenty weeks pregnant with our first child.  While I was standing in the check out line at Wal Mart my phone rang. It was The Pilot and he told me that I needed to pick up some kitten food while I was there. I reminded him that we didn’t have a kitten and he informed me that we do now.

I wasn’t all that excited about our new state of cat ownership.

But when I got home, there on our back porch were the three most pathetic animals I’d ever seen and they needed us. They were covered in fleas and blood from the flea bites and were probably too young to even be away from their mom.

The Pilot explained how he found them on the side of a country road near our home. Someone had obviously dumped them there just like the rest of the garbage all along that road.

They certainly were not garbage. Even though we weren’t sure how much longer they would live we took care of them a declared them the newest members of our little family.

I was the most worried about the light colored one. She was the smallest and most lethargic. I sat up for several hours that night holding her, petting her and talking to her. I wasn’t sure she would still be alive in the morning and I wanted her to know love before she left this life. I named her Vanilla Bean.

 

Pets, Vanilla Bean, kitten, closeup

To our surprise Miss Bean made it through the night and the next day we named the other two.

Coon Dog was just called “Coon” at first because his tail looked like a racoon’s tail. But it didn’t seem right that Vanilla Bean had two names and he only had one. I thought “Dog” fit well with “Coon” and he became Coon Dog.

Pets, Coon Dog, kitten

I named the little black kitten Cotton because I liked that name and The Pilot said I couldn’t name our son that- he really took the whole business of naming our first son seriously. Anyway, this little kitten needed two names just like his brother and sister.  And since we live in the country surround by Cotton fields, I thought Picker would be a good last name for him. And he became Cotton Picker.

Pets, Cotton Picker, closeup, Cats

They all three grew stonger by the day. And The Pilot and I spent a lot of time taking kittens out of the puppies’ mouths. (The puppies that we rescued from the middle of a highway the week before. We’re suckers.)

Pets, Cotton Picker, Cats, closeup

 

Pets, Coon Dog, Cat

Pets, Vanilla Bean, Cat

Sadly, Vanilla Bean only lived for about a year. But she seemed to enjoy everyday of her life as a farm cat. I still miss her everyday and I’m thankful to her for teaching me to love cats.

Pets, sunset, lawson, coon dog, cotton picker

Coon Dog and Cotton Picker grew to be more than eleven pounds and are earning their keep by catching mice and entertaining little boys.

Now every time I drive down the road where The Pilot found our cats I look to see if another scumbag has dropped off some more kittens that I need to take home and love.

 

Posted in Garden and Home | 4 Comments

No more matchie-matchie

It used to be so easy to dress Burtch and Lawson. I’d put them in their little smocked or appliqued matching outfits and they didn’t complain.

That photo was only a year and a half ago. How quickly things change.

I can still wrangle them into smocked and appliqued things but only if I let them add their own special touches… like wearing the adorable smocked shirts backward.

“Lawson, come here. Your shirt’s on backward. Let me help you fix it.”

“No, I want it backward!”

I say ok and we go about our day.

I kind of like the look. It says “I’m an individual and I do as I please.” To some it may say “Kris Kross will make you jump, jump!” Maybe the kid’s got a future in hip hop.

Lawson also wears that black Mickey Mouse hat every day. He started wearing it after I gave him a bad haircut six months ago and now even though his hair looks better it’s like his security blanket. We don’t leave the house without it. Lord help us on the day his head grows.

Burtch isn’t as particular about his clothes but he’ll occasionally add an accessory to make a statement.

Like this train conductor hat…

And then there’s this…

You have to admit, he has style.

 

 

 

 

 

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And now I can stop shaving my arm pits

Because that is what people do that use…

…CLOTH DIAPERS!

And if you said “Eww, gross!” you would be exactly like me four years ago. And if you said “I’d like to cloth diaper but I googled it and there are too many choices and too many acronyms and I can’t understand what the heck these cloth diapering hippies are talking about,”  then you are just like I was three years ago. And if you said “OMG! I love my little fluffy-butted baby and I started to save money but I’m going broke trying new diapers,” then you are my mirror image. Except I would never say “OMG.” But it’s cool that you do. Really it is.

So that was my thinly veiled confession that I have a problem. I can’t stop buying cloth diapers.

It’s true that they are more economical- if you don’t continue buying them at the same rate you would buy disposables.

I became interested in them after I accidentally washed one of my oldest son’s disposable diapers in the washing machine when he was a baby. It burst and made a gigantic mess. When I started to clean the diaper innards from the machine it burned my hands. Not like a “I need to go to the ER” burn but more like a “what the hell is this and why can’t I make it stop” burn. You know, the kind of burn I imagine gonorrhea to be. Not that I’ve imagined what gonorrhea feels like.

I didn’t want a disposable diaper to burst while my baby was wearing it so I started researching cloth. What I found was a bunch of women speaking in acronyms that I couldn’t decipher. But what I did understand is that they were nutcases. We’re talking about a piece of clothing that has the sole purpose of catching pee and poop. PEE and POOP, people. And they were obsessed.

Now I am obsessed.

I have now become one of those mothers. I can’t stop reading about cloth diapers. The brands, laundry routines, detergents, sunning, prefolds, fitteds, AIOs, AI2s, aplix or snaps, sprayers, wool, microfiber, hemp, bamboo, cotton-bleached, unbleached, organic. I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT!

Take a breath, Ashley.

This is insanity, ya’ll. I even emailed several manufacturers to inquire about opening an online cloth diaper shop. The Pilot emphatically said that this was a bad idea. He said he was afraid I wouldn’t be able to control myself and I would either use them all or give them away so I could get other people hooked. You know, the old “the first hit is always free” sales tactic.

Alas, here I am on the internet writing about cloth diapers while trying my best not to read any of the hundreds of cloth diaper forums and buy/sell/trade pages. Instead of fueling my own addiction I’m recruiting others.

But do you see how much Hamlin likes them?

 

I just need to find a new environmentally friendly  area to focus my attention.

I think  I’ll go google “family cloth.” I wonder if I can convince The Pilot…

Posted in Garden and Home, Love This!, The Naked Truth | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Boys In A Box

This is a treadmill box turned tree fort. Well, most days it’s a tree fort. Sometimes it’s a pirate ship or a restaurant or a rocket on the moon.

The one problem with the treadmill box tree fort is that it’s not waterproof. And sadly for the boys it rained all day on Tuesday and their fort is disintegrating. When Burtch noticed this he said, “Aww, damn.” I need to have a serious talk with The Pilot about the words he uses around our kids.

Hold on. There are actually two problems with the treadmill box tree fort. It’s mere existence indicates the fact that I now own a treadmill and I’m obligated to use it. Aww, damn.

Maybe The Pilot wasn’t at fault for that one.

 

Posted in Garden and Home | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Nine Weeks, One Day

I have been the mother of three littles for nine weeks and one day.

During this time I have felt completely confident in my parenting skills and choices.  I have also felt absolutely inadequate and underqualified.

I’ve applauded myself for showing patience and empathy toward my children. I have also carried the burden of guilt for raising my voice.

In the midst of the chaos that comes along with a newborn, two-year old and four-year old, I’ve managed to feed them healthy foods, read lots of books and play outside. I’ve also fed them fast food more times than I can count and let them watch cartoons for hours on end.

I have been forgiving of myself for my sub par housekeeping while trying to remember that this season of life is so short and so precious. And I’ve successfully convinced myself there is nothing wrong with using a dog for kitchen floor cleanup instead of a mop. I’ve also felt like a complete failure as housewife.

Contradictions and ups and downs…so goes life…and post partum hormones.

But I have a feeling I’m not going to look back and remember the moments I put on flip-flops so my bare feet don’t have to walk on my dirty kitchen floor.

I’m going to remember moments like these…

 

Because I also have a feeling nine weeks and one day is going to turn into eighteen years before I know it.

Posted in The Naked Truth | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

While I was away…

Do you know what is totally annoying to me? When I read blogs and every other post is an explanation for why they haven’t blogged in a while.  (Don’t feel bad if you guessed something else you were probably right too.)

No excuses here. I’ll just catch you up…

About seven weeks ago I did this…

 

So, right after I did that I was holding this…

And nine months before that I did this…

 

 

 

 

 

Kidding! I’m not going to post those pictures on the internet. Not that there are pictures. But I am shopping around for a deal on the video. Oh, I think I’ve shared too much.

You know you scrolled down looking for it.

Moving on…

I am now 100%, head-over-heals, in squishy baby love.

His name is Hamlin. He’s perfect and peaceful and I love the way his breastmilk poop smells.

From what I hear,  that part I mentioned about the poop makes me a weirdo. Well, that’s just one of the things that makes me a weirdo.

I am now a mother to three very small humans.

Hold me.

That’s a lot of people to be responsible for. Even though three is only one more that two it feels like ten more- especially when The Pilot is at work.

You already know I’m weird.  So on the off-chance that you didn’t already think I’m insane, you should keep reading.

When I was pregnant with Hamlin The Pilot and I decided that Hamlin would be our last child. But now he’s here and I’m reminded how blissful it is to be head-over-heals in squishy baby love. And well, I want to be in squishy baby love again. And maybe again and again and again.

Meanwhile The Pilot keeps asking me if I’ve found a vasectomy doctor in town. Again and again and again.

Please don’t call the men in white coats to come get me. I am a mother and my children need me.

All THREE of them.

Ahhhhhhhh!

 

 

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Merry Christmas to The Pilot

The Pilot said all he wants for Christmas is for the boys to get a haircut. And he doesn’t mean a trim. He means short. Like short-short.

I can sort of understand this. He’s a military fella and they believe in short hair.

But I’m a mama. And they are my babies. And they have beautiful hair.

     Ok, bad examples. Lord knows, we all have bad hair days. Let’s try again…

      As you can see in the top picture, Burtch’s hair really isn’t that long. I’ve trimmed it a few times and I consider his hair to be short(er).

     The Pilot disagrees.

     I will admit that Lawson’s hair is long. But I love it so much! It suits him. Ok, it suits me. Did I mention that I love it? Because I do.

     Yes, they have both been mistaken for girls. Yes, many times. And again- yes, it’s true that most times I don’t correct the mistake.

     In my defense, the people (usually old men) will comment in passing how pretty my girls are. What am I supposed to do chase him down, grab hold of his walker and say “What’s the matter with you old geezer? Are you blind? ” To which he would likely reply, “Why yes ma’am, I actually am legally blind.”

     Plus it just doesn’t bother me. The Pilot on the other hand feels that it’s his fatherly duty to holler ”Hey, they’re boys!” But the old men must always have their hearing aids turned down because they never even look back.

     So in the spirit of the season I decided I would give The Pilot a reprieve from defending the strength of his Y chromosomes. Afterall, it was his ONLY Christmas wish. And the man does work really hard to support us. He deserves it.

     Today I filled my purse with bribes (suckers and gummy bears) and I took my babies to get haircuts.

     Burtch went first. He climbed up in the chair like an old pro and was very cooperative while licking his hair covered sucker. Here’s his before shot…Goodbye curls. Sniff.

     Lawson, on the other hand, was on my team. He wasn’t so sure about this plan to rid him of his long and luscious blondish locks. I had to restrain hold him in my lap.

     Look how traumatized he was!

     Ok, he might have warmed up to the idea after a little while. Or maybe I was exaggerating. Whatever.

     While I was sitting there holding down Lawson, I got to thinking about important things like marriage and compromise. Then it hit me. There is a perfect compromise for parents who disagree on what length their little boy’s hair should be…

     Oh, I think you know where I’m going with this one…

     Business in the front! Party in the back!

     I think I’ve finally come up with a good explanation for why the mullett was invented-to prevent divorces! I solved a mystery that’s plagued mankind for decades. You’re welcome.

     After a few minutes of contemplation Lawson decided that the Joe Dirt look just wasn’t his thing and the hairdresser graciously chopped of the party in the rear.

     I now have two little boys that really look like little boys.

MERRY CHRISTMAS BRAD!

     The Pilot’s Christmas wish came true- his boys’ haircuts are now shorter than Justin Bieber’s. Isn’t that funny that The Pilot uses Justin Bieber as his hair-do benchmark?

     I think they look totally handsome. But I also know that their hair grows faster than kudzu in Alabama and old men will be calling them pretty again in no time.

     I hope.

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