"We are enlarged in the waiting."

It's so BEE-YOU-TEE-FULL here today, I almost forgot about my laptop.

Which is pretty much like a nursing mother forgetting her young or a pregnant woman forgetting the Peeps in her pantry -- both of which are mentioned in Proverbs, I believe.

(There's my Bible degree, coming in handy again.)

But last night, when the sun wasn't shining and the temperatures weren't beckoning with 75-degree warmth and the birds weren't singing and the grass wasn't greening before my very eyes, I posted a little something over at 5 Minutes for Parenting. It was inspired by these verses in Romans, which I can't stop pondering lately.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
- Romans 8:22-25
Spring and this baby are inextricably bound together in my psyche. And with spring coming so early to the Frozen Tundra this year, I can't help but feel a sense of wonder at what God is doing -- both around me and in me.

Here's to growing LARGE with joyful expectancy at the handiwork of God.

The Reason We're Having #4

Have I ever told you why we are having a fourth baby?

It's mostly because I felt bad for Teyla. She's four years younger than Connor, and six years younger than Natalie. I didn't want her to be the dangling modifier of our family sentence, the leftover child who didn't have a built-in friend.

I felt bad t
hat she wouldn't have a sibling close in age. I felt bad that she wouldn't be able to play games with the older kids or keep up with their antics or be invested in their day-to-day lives.

Turns out, I needn't have worried.

Maybe it's because she's Teyla, able to leap 20 developmental milestones in a single bound, but this two-year-old fully believes she's five. She not only keeps up with her older siblings, she often leads the pack.

She adores attention from Natalie, especially when Natalie reads to her.
And she and Connor are identical twins separated by four years. They run around like wild banshees and go on safaris and shoot the bad guys and jump off the couch and irritate the heck out of each other.

(Often, when Teyla falls down, she'll shriek out, "No! No-no Connor!" Even though Connor is at school. Because clearly, he was involved if she's upset or in pain.)

Watching my kids learn to be sibling-friends makes those hard moments of parenting so worth it.

Oh so worth it.

(And for the record, I'm OK with being wrong about Teyla "needing" a sibling close in age. Because adding one more child to the mix only grows the friendship potential exponentially.)

32 Weeks

Today, I am 32 weeks pregnant.

And while I won't know for sure until my doctor's appointment this afternoon, I'm fairly certain I weigh what I did just before I gave birth to my other kids.

That means I'm on track to set an all-time new high-weight record for me.

(Do you like my new camera? It's just a different version of the Canon Powershot I've had the last two years. But this one actually FOCUSES. And it has a ton of other cool upgrades. I thought about splurging and buying a D-SLR, but in the end, I decided I needed something smaller that I can easily carry in my purse and that I needed my camera to shoot video. A few D-SLRs can do that now, but they are uber-expensive.)

(Sorry for the sidebar. But I love having a camera that works. Happy happy.)

I might not look it to you, but I feel HUGE.

I'm not a person to obsess over weight, but the fact that I've added pounds so quickly this time concerns me. It certainly explains why I feel full-term exhausted and immobile. I wrote more about it at 5 Minutes for Parenting today.

Is it just the fact that I'm older? That this is my fourth baby? That my winter diet is much richer and treat-laden than normal? Am I gestating a 12-pound baby?

(Oh look! Feet!)

Can't say for sure. What's your experience? Did you tend to gain more weight with subsequent pregnancies? Or did it just depend?

The Day I Discovered my Spidey-Sense

Yesterday, I discovered my Spidey sense.

Connor and Teyla were playing happily in the living room. Suddenly there was a thud. Then a wail. 

The thud wasn't particularly interesting. But that wail. I just knew it was different than a normal "I'm so angry my brother pushed me" cry. Teyla was cradling her wrist and saying, "Owie! Owie! Owie!"

I administered the standard set of at-home remedies -- an ice pack, snuggles and lots of kisses. But I had a niggling feeling in the back of my brain that this injury wasn't normal. Teyla is a pretty tough little girl. She normally bounces back within seconds, if not minutes. So when a half-hour of "Team Umizoomi" did nothing to quell her whimpering, I called our pediatrician.

One of the triage nurses agreed I should bring her in. We were on the road within five minutes. Just moving Teyla to the car triggered a fresh wave of wails. Her wrist (her thumb? her arm?) was obviously hurting. I drove the 15 minutes to the doctor's office with one of my arms twisted behind me so I could hold her hand.

Our wonderful pediatrician's office got us in quickly. Teyla lay snuggled close, tear-free only when the ice pack that kept her wrist immobile wasn't disturbed. A couple of x-rays later, and we knew we weren't dealing with broken bones. But she was still in obvious distress. She wouldn't reach for anything with her injured right arm, and she wouldn't engage with her funny brother or the fish tank in the lobby that normally prompts giggles and declarations of "si-wee pish."

The sympathetic doctor said there wasn't much more they could do. She gave Teyla a hefty dose of ibuprofen and sent us home with instructions to bring her back that evening if she didn't start to show improvement. It's possible for wrist fractures to not show up on x-ray until they start to heal, she explained. But since it didn't show up on the x-ray then, modern medicine had reached its limits.

To no one's surprise, Teyla fell asleep on the way home. She napped most of the afternoon. But when she woke up, she didn't seem improved. She continued to cradle her wrist and say "Owie." She still wouldn't use her arm, preferring the awkwardness of her left hand to the pain in her right.

I started to make plans in my head for a second trip to the hospital that evening.

But then, gradually, she started to return to normal. She requested a cookie to eat. She showed some interest in her toys. She giggled at "Mami" the dog and started to boss the older kids around. "No Con-yer! My car!" 

Gingerly, she started to use her right arm. And within 60 seconds, she was full strength, back to normal, as if nothing had happened that morning.

I watched her carefully over the next hour, grateful for a sudden healing but cautious that she would do something to to re-injure her wrist. Nothing happened. She ran around like a banshee after dinner, screaming warrior cries and chasing Connor with a light saber. 

Today, there's nothing left of yesterday's drama but a bluish tinge on her wrist and thumb, and a Mom who's reassured that her Spidey-sense will overrule the Vulcan logic when necessary.

Maybe I won't be the Mom to ignore her kid's broken bones after all.

It all started with "The Going to Bed" Book...

It seemingly happens overnight.

You wake up one day, and your child has a few toys, a few books, a few blankets, a few stuffed animals.

The next day - THE VERY NEXT DAY - you wake up and your multiple children have mounds of toys and thousands of books and blankets enough to soothe an small country and stuffed animals multiplying in the dark corners of the closet.

Sometimes, this realization induces shock. When we were preparing to move from Our Big Lake House to Our Tiny Townhouse a few years back, I walked into the kids' playroom and gaped at the amount of toys we had accumulated in four years. (It also triggered a major purging project. But that's a story for another day.)

Sometimes, it prompts new rules. After our last move, I firmly told all extended family members, "No more stuffed animals. We have too many, and they are rarely played with. If you persist in giving me or one of my children a soft furry creature, I will donate it to Goodwill or eat it for dinner."

But sometimes, it reveals an addiction too delightful to battle. Such is the case with children's books and me.

When Natalie was a toddler, her board books fit on a small shelf on top of her dresser. We added to the collection when Connor was a baby, but even then, the books could fit into a basket that rested next to the rocking chair.

Then we started our weekly outings to the library, where I found myself falling in love with books like "The Pumpkin Fair" and "Slugs in Love" and "The Gardener." We didn't have a decent bookstore in Tiny Town, but Amazon and its lure of free shipping substituted nicely.

Then Natalie started school, and the Scholastic catalog became a monthly staple. I was almost helpless before the $1 deal of the month, the whimsical titles, the seasonal offerings.

These days, we have a rather large bookshelf devoted to children's books ranging from board books to chapter books, and it is packed with awesomeness. So asking me to choose one or two children's books to recommend is like asking the Pioneer Woman to choose her favorite recipe.

Since I'm linking this post to O My Book week at O My Family (run by my real-life friend Allison), I'm going to think about what books I'd most like to read her sweet son. And when thus confined, my selection is simple: I'd choose anything by the delightful Sandra Boynton.

I believe it was "The Going to Bed Book" which first captivated me. It follows the antics of an ark of animals as they go through their bedtime rituals. (My favorite? "When the moon is on the rise, they all go up to EXERCISE.") Her whimsical illustrations are simple enough to hold a toddler's attention without overwhelming them, and her lyrical verses are sweet and funny enough to entertain Moms and Dads forced to read the book every night for two years straight.

I was so hooked by "The Going to Bed Book," I bought two boxed sets of Boynton books for Natalie's second birthday.

"Boynton's Greatest Hits, Volume 1" includes classics like "Moo, Baa, La, La, La" and "Blue Hat, Green Hat" and "A to Z" and "Doggies." (When Connor was two, he had memorized "Doggies" so well, he could read it to himself, complete with individual doggie sound effects. "Ruff! Grrr. Howl!")

"Boynton's Greatest Hits, Volume 2" includes the before-mentioned "Going to Bed Book," as well as "Horns to Toes" and "Opposites" and "But Not the Hippopotamus."

We also have many other Boynton hits like "Snuggle Puppy," which became something of a theme book for Connor and me, and "Pajama Time," which doubles as a jazzy bedtime dance tune, and "What's Wrong Little Pookie?" in which a concerned mother hippo tries to figure out what's bothering her Little Pookie. (Punchline? "Ummm. I forget.")

Bonus tip: Be sure to check out Boynton's CDs, which put some of her most beloved rhymes to song. We own "Philadelphia Chickens" - which Boynton describes as an "imaginary musical review" - and it's a classic.

Flashback (Um) Friday: All Grown Up

I love Flashback Fridays at Mylestones. Not only is Jo a fantastic writer, able to paint stories of her life into the brightest of word pictures, but she picks fun topics to get fellow writers sharing memories of their own. Yesterday's suggested theme was "All Grown Up," and while I loved Jo's story, I couldn't think of anything that related to me. Until this morning, when I was eating breakfast in my sunny kitchen. Then this memory came flooding back.Note to my parents: This is all a lie. A LIE! I can neither confirm nor deny its truthfulness.

I was going to be late to work. I could feel it in my bones. A quick glance at the clock confirmed it. I had exactly 15 minutes to get from my current location, the student broadcasting studio, back to the dorms, so I could change into my uniform, to the college’s van shuttle that would take me to the nearby strip mall to the restaurant where I waited tables. Normally, that was a process that would take at 45 minutes, minimum. And the crew I was working with in the broadcast studio wasn’t even done yet.

I squirmed. The production’s producer, an senior who just happened to work at the same restaurant, sensed my discomfort.

“Oh no, do you need to go?” she asked.

“Well, my shift starts in 15 minutes,” I said, “and I need to get back to the dorms so I can catch the shuttle….” My voice faltered. I hated being the bad guy.

Lynn was clearly caught between sympathy for me and the pressure of finishing her show.

“If I let you take my car, would that save you some time?”

An electric current flew down my spine. Take her car? Yes, it would save me time.

Problem is, I didn’t have my driver’s license.

It was a conundrum few would have suspected. I was 18 and a freshmen in college, but I had never bothered to test for my license. I just didn’t feel the need when my friends drove me everywhere. Plus, it wasn’t like I didn’t know how to drive. I had completed a driver’s education course just a few months earlier, to better my future insurance rates. And my friends would occasionally let me get behind the wheel of their cars so I could test my intellectual knowledge.

It was just that I was missing that tiny slip of paper that made it all legal.

But Lynn didn’t know that. And her nonchalant suggestion made it clear: She would never have suspected I wasn’t an adult.

So I agreed to take her up on her offer as casually as I could muster.

Fifteen minutes later, I drove the three miles to work with sweaty palms. I think I looked at the rear view mirror for flashing lights more than I looked at the cars in front of me.

But while my hands couldn't stop shaking, my face couldn’t stop grinning.

By the time I finished my shift that night, I was heady with the power of being a grown-up. I had freedom! I had control! I had a car!

Before I left the mall, I stopped by Claire’s to get my ears double-pierced.

Because now? I was a young adult. And anything was possible.

In Which I Reflect that it's Good to be a Heffalump

Nothing makes me happy like a productive day.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. God made me with a bent toward organization and efficiency. It's fun for me -- a sick fun, maybe -- to see how much I can accomplish in one 24-hour period. I remember a day when I cleaned my whole house, did all of the laundry, made a menu and a grocery list, shopped at the neighborhood Vons and baked some homemade bread -- all before 6:00 PM. (Do I need to clarify this was before I had kids?)

If I were brutally honest, I would admit productivity validates my sense of self-worth. It makes me feel competent and valuable.

It also enables me to make a god out of my To Do list -- maybe even make a god out of my own capabilities.

Donald Miller has a simple but wise profound today. He ruminates on the fact that God is known for frustrating human efficiency, and we are wise to thank Him for it. Even the act of sleep -- which can look like a waste of time to those of us focused on the urgent -- reminds us that God is in charge, not us. That we are the creation, not the Creator. That life is more about our be-ing than our do-ing.

I needed that reminder today, because lately, my productivity has dropped off the charts. My body is swollen with 31 weeks of baby. I cannot move fast. I cannot keep up with my children. My frame is not designed to carry this much weight. The simple act of walking up a flight of stairs takes my breath, and an hour at Target exhausts a full day's allotment of energy. I feel more Heffalump than human.

I. Am. Frustrated. And bored. I'm tired of sitting still.

So I needed the nudge to remember God's priorities. It's more about reading a book to my toddler than cleaning the bathrooms. I might not be able to take my kids to the park, but I can laugh at Connor's Lego stories and listen to Natalie's enthusiasm for the latest Puppy Place book.

I can fix my eyes on Jesus, the author of my faith. I can pray for my husband, for our future. I can treasure each day as a gift, savor each tiny jab in my ribs for the miracle that it is.

I can be still and know that God is God and I am not.

I am only Kelly. And for now, that is enough.

Craving O' The Green

It's fitting that my post at 5 Minutes for Parenting today is about pregnancy cravings.

Because today is also St. Patrick's Day, and OH MY WORD, I would kill for some corned beef and cabbage.


Kidding. I'm Irish, but I'm not a fan of traditional Irish fare. (That link o' love there goes back to one of the first posts I wrote for this here blog.)

Instead, tonight for dinner, we're going to have cheddar-potato shepherd's pie (potatoes and sheep - score two Irish points), spinach salad (green - score one Irish point) and soda bread (real Irish food - score bonus points and five pounds).

And guess what I'm going to wash the whole thing down with? (Hint: The answer is in today's Pregnancy Journal.)


We hadn't seen the sun in a week. Seven days of gray skies and heavy fog and an occasional shower or two. It's a prescription for blah.

And then. We walked out of church yesterday into bright sunlight. Blue skies. Birds singing.


Corey went for a run. I sat on the deck with Teyla and drenched myself in sunshine.

Neighbors emerged -- without winter coats -- pushing strollers, riding bikes, holding hands. Connor came inside and begged me to get down his bike, to get out his shorts, to find his sandals. (It was 64.)


I made Teyla a sandwich of natural peanut butter and homemade whole wheat bread.

"I feel almost virtuous, feeding her so well," I called down to Corey, who'd returned from his run.

"Yes, but you're sitting in the sunshine without any sunscreen on," he retorted.


(Pardon the months-old pedicure. My feet have been warmly clothed in socks until now.)

Natalie fished out her roller blades.

I lusted over the shiny sports cars driving by.

Connor was driving them.

I could smell dirt and hear the phoebes call. The gutters ran fast with water, the last of the snow piles melting like the Wicked Witch.

The sun started to reflect off the siding. The dog retreated to the shade.

I got out Teyla's favorite deck toy.

And look: Our first bug of 2010.

I made smoky beef tacos for dinner with perfectly ripe avocados and cumin rice and beans. We lingered in the extra hour of sunlight, the perfect ending to a day of fresh hope. The windows were thrown wide open, perfuming the house with the fragrance of all things made new.

No one appreciates spring like those who've lived through a long winter.

Spring is when life returns. Dead things bloom. Miracles happen.

We made it. We're almost there.

Just a few more weeks, little one.

And you and spring will be with us always.

Pregnancy Journal: Move Baby Move

If you've been hanging around this here blog for the better part of two years, you might remember that Teyla moved in utero. A LOT. I often wondered if she ever STOPPED moving. It felt like my abdomen was a blur of jabs and pokes and prods the last three months of the pregnancy.

And then she was born. And she started crawling at 6 months and climbing the stairs at 8. All that movement suddenly made perfect sense. (I imagine it's like watching a horror movie AFTER you know the killer is lurking inside the outhouse. With a chainsaw. Hindsight is 20-20.)

So I'm somewhat frightened to tell you -- the baby currently residing inside of me also moves. A LOT. (More on that in my Pregnancy Journal post at 5 Minutes for Parenting today.)

I try to comfort myself with the truth that my placenta is NOT next to my outer abdominal wall this time. That means any movements this baby makes are more distinct and possibly exaggerated compared with what I'm used to, since I don't have a built-in cushion to absorb the blows.

But really. This is Teyla's little brother we're talking about here.

I am so in for it.

The Beautiful Un-Beautiful

I wasn't planning to write a post this morning.

I was planning to be at the Minnesota Children's Museum with my college roommate. Our little girls were going to play and explore, we were going to chat and drink coffee. It sounds simple enough, but to us Minnesotans mired in the quicksand of cabin fever, just escaping the house is a huge thrill.

Looking forward to the day made it easier to get out of bed this morning. (Trivia: I am never happy to get out of bed.
Never. Mornings make me cranky.) I put on a cute maternity shirt. I made sure I had time to get all my morning work done before we left for school, since I knew we wouldn't be back until afternoon. And since the morning o' fun at the museum would undoubtedly be exhausting, I was also counting on a long nap for both Teyla and Mommy upon our return.

But as you've probably guessed by now -- because, hello, I'm typing, and I don't have the patience to type anything more than a Twitter update on my cell phone -- it didn't happen. My friend had to cancel due to sick kids. So after we dropped Connor and Natalie at school, Teyla and I turned around and drove home through the fog and the gray of a dismal March morning to a day full of nothing.


Just a few minutes earlier, Chris Tomlin's "Holy is the Lord God Almighty" had blared from the radio. Natalie and I sang along, but I had to snicker at the line, "The earth is full of His glory."

Because I see it on a spring day when the landscape is a thousands shades of green. I see it on the winter morning when God's breath paints every object with fairy dust. I see it on the summer mornings when the air is fresh and the lake sparkles. I see it in the fall when the trees blaze red and orange and the sky is so crisp it hurts.

But today? When the sky is leaden and the landscape is a smear of brown grass, muddy puddles, dirty snow and freshly revealed litter? When I face another day of solitude at home with nothing but Little People to distract me? When I know Corey's leaving tomorrow on yet another business trip, leaving me to solo parent again for rest of the week?

Yeah. The earth doesn't feel so full of His glory. It feels broken and boring and dull.

But you know what? Even as I hear those thoughts echo in my head, I know they are lies. It might be what I see with my eyes right now. But 2 Corinthians says I should "fix my eyes, not on things that are seen, but on what is unseen."

And you know what's unseen? That today, Tuesday, March 9, is a gift. Today, I woke up in a warm house that protected me from last night's mist. I woke up to a hot shower and clean clothes (that even cover my belly, bonus points). I woke up to three healthy kids and one growing babe-in-uetero. I fed my kids a healthy breakfast and drove them to school in a minivan that's comfortable and functional (and cool because I rock it). I might not be focusing my eyes on those hidden yet unspeakable luxuries, but the truth is -- they are there.

Also unseen? The intangibles, like the love of my family and God's grace made new every morning and Biblical hope for my future.

So instead of letting myself get sucked down the drain of grumbling and whining, I'm going to choose to fix my eyes on the gifts.

And you know what? I even have a few visible reminders of the beauty of the unseen.

Even the un-beautiful can be beautiful with God.

The title of my post was inspired by Stephanie's musings in The Journey of Me and Her: On Dancing and Beauty. This post is also part of the quest to see God in the everyday with Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky.

May Gray

They were the first pieces of furniture I ever purchased.

I was 20 years old, engaged, lost between daydreams of a May wedding and the practicalities of starting a new home with my man.

I got them for $50 bucks at a garage sale -- a couch and a loveseat, both covered in nubby gray fabric. They were classic '80s basement couches, with a double layer of cushions on the back and a foam so thick you could almost melt away in the folds.

But they didn't smell, and they weren't horribly stained, and other than the bed and desk my parents were graciously letting us take from my bedroom, we had no other furniture.

So I plunked down my $50 and somehow got them home.

A few months later, they sat tall and proud in our rented duplex, next to the upside-down cardboard boxes that served as end tables.

Gray never made me so happy.

I was inspired to write this post by the writing exercise posted at Adventures in Babywearing. Click here for the directions and more couch-themed essays.

To Ultrasound or Not to Ultrasound: That is the Question

I have this question ... I mean, I have a FRIEND who has this question. It involves ultrasounds and heaps of potential Mommy guilt.

She'd really appreciate it if you'd weigh in with your advice over at 5 Minutes for Parenting today. (And be sure to check out the comment thread. It's pretty hysterical already.) My friend thanks you for your support.

How Vulcans Treat a Busted Lip

Friday night, I was playing tea party with Teyla in the living room, while simultaneously listening to one of the final Song of Solomon sermons by Mark Driscoll and thanking God that Teyla doesn’t know the meaning of the word “sexuality” yet. It was a peaceful scene. Teyla is a complete (mischievous) delight these days, and I’m flooded with joy just watching her hand me plastic cookies.

Suddenly, the evening air was rent in two by screams.

I jumped up (at least in my mind; thanks to the falling-apart-disease, my body reacts at the speed of a tired 80-year-old right now) to hear Natalie fly into our mudroom from outside. She was sobbing at the top of her lungs, and from the sounds of it, either she was seriously injured or someone had hurt her feelings. (She’s a girl. She’s been known to overreact.)

I hobbled down the stairs. “What’s wrong, honey? I can’t understand you when you’re crying.”

“I was SLEDDING down the BIG HILL and I hit Gabi and SHE DIDN’T EVEN MOVE when I told her to get out of the way and I CUT MY LIP,” she screamed, hysterical.

Rounding the corner, I saw that she spoke truth. Her mouth was dripping blood and her lip was swollen to Angelina Jolie proportions.

I need to freeze the story here for an important public service announcement. I am not an over-reactor, not at this stage of my life. It’s true that I had a flair for the dramatic when I was a child. (I say that for the benefit of my parents, who witnessed most of my Academy Award winning performances.)

But two large life experiences have taught me to have a clear head under pressure:

First, I have been married to a Vulcan for 16 years. Vulcans never over-react, and they raise their eyebrows at people who do. Occasionally, they even give them the Spock nerve pinch to make them shut up. After five years of getting no reaction from my husband AT ALL when I made a scene, I started to learn a better way of behaving. (Also? That nerve pinch can give you a nasty headache.)

Second, I worked as a TV news producer for four years, which is a job known for its pressure cooker moments. There were many days when I had to sit in a darkened control booth and direct a cast of anchors, reporters, live trucks and photographers as we tried to report the directions of an out-of-control wildfire. (There was even one time I realized – in the booth – that the fire was about two miles from our home and moving fast to incinerate our neighborhood. That meant, as I was giving directions to everyone, I had to call Corey at work and ask him to please rush home and get our dogs out of their kennels before our house burned to the ground.)

TV news producers are infamous for losing their cool. I was determined to NOT be one of them. So I taught myself to take deep breaths, stay calm, speak kindly and ALWAYS think two steps ahead. (I also taught myself to ignore all bodily functions, but that’s not a practice I recommend.)

So. Back to the story. I helped Natalie out of her snow gear, all the while murmuring that she would be “just fine” and it probably wasn’t that bad and we would get ice on it right away to make it feel better.

“BUT IT HURTS SO BAAAAD!” she wailed.

I fought the urge to give her the Spock neck pinch and ushered her to the kitchen where I wrapped some ice cubs in a wet paper towel and applied pressure to the wound that used to be her lower lip.

After 10 minutes of ice and Mommy snuggles, she calmed down. The bleeding, which wasn’t that severe to begin with, had stopped. I was able to have her move the pink-tinged paper towel so I could assess the damage.

And my heart momentarily stopped beating.

Her lower lip had clearly exploded. Her inner lip was now a canyon of exposed flesh and angry purple and maroon bruises. The cut itself wasn’t a slice. It was more like eruption in the center of her lip.

I conceded, “Wow, Natalie, that looks really painful.”

“I konwb!” she whimpered back, her swollen lip already making it difficult to speak. “Ib really hurbs.”

I wasn’t ready to rush to the emergency room for stitches. But my confidence was shaken. I needed a clear answer.

So I called Corey. (In addition to being a Vulcan, he’s also king of sports-related injury, having broken most of the bones in his body and endured numerous rounds of stitches during his years of being a jock.) He agreed with my assessment that busted lips, no matter how horrific, aren’t that treatable. But he also agreed to come home within 30 minutes to view the carnage for himself.

Still unsure, I turned to Dr. Google, which directed me to domestic abuse web sites and blogs detailing drunken bar fights. (Translation: No help at all.)

As one final precaution, I called urgent care (while Tweeting about the incident). The nurse I talked to was sympathetic, but she agreed there was little point in taking our wounded eight-year-old to the E.R. “Our doctors never stitch a mouth wound unless it goes all the way through the tissue,” she assured me. “Just keep ice on it to help with swelling, take ibuprofen for the pain and she’ll be better in a few days.”

THANK YOU. That’s the clear answer I was looking for.

Corey arrived home shortly thereafter, which quietly ended the dramatic chapter of our Friday night.

And we all had smoothies for dinner.

The end.

Oh! And live long and prosper.