Thursday, August 28, 2008

What I don't want to tell you about today

Jack and I were out running errands this afternoon and by the time we got home I was starving.  Starving with a capital S.  

Luckily I had just made a trip to Costco and had some delicious Parmesan Spinach Artichoke Dip, which had two vegetables in it's name, so that means it is good for you.  I paired it with flax chips from Trader Joes (also good for you... flax... Trader Joes...anything from TJ's is good for you) and salsa, which is ALL veggies, so you know, I'm pretty much the most healthy girl ever.  

Despite my wonderful grasp of nutrition, I apparently don't have any manners.  

As I took a bite of chip with cheesy dip, I was simultaneously making "goo goo" faces at Jack.  Somehow not all of the cheese made it to my mouth and I was left with a long rope of dip hanging from my lips.  

Did I delicately wipe it away with the napkin tucked in my lap.  Um, no.  Did I demurely remove it from my face with ladylike fingertips?  Hm, didn't think of that.  I let it hang there!  Then I did that weird lip-tongue gobble thing that four-year-olds do when they are eating pizza or slurping noodles!  

Yep, that's me.  Miss Classy!

I'll make sure Jack has the same impeccable manners that I do.

That is, if he isn't damaged from me DROPPING him today!  Yes, it's true, I dropped my baby. Horror of horrors!  

Okay, I'm being dramatic.  It wasn't really a drop since his body was all on the floor already.  It was more of an awkward arm to floor transition for his head that resulted in loud sobs.  It wasn't just an "ouch mom that hurt" cry.  It was like a broken heart, "how could you let that happen to me mom?!" cry.  

The worst part?  I laughed.  Just a little bit.  Really, it wasn't even out loud.  Just a small internal chuckle.  I'm NOT a horrible person!  I promise I felt remorse.  And I promise I did everything I could think of to make him feel better, but he was just so little and he was so confused and... I guess there are no excuses for laughing at your baby when he gets hurt.  BUT come on!  He doesn't even remember that it happened.  An hour later he was right back to his usual cheerful self.  

Think what you will about my reaction to my bobbled baby.  If you ask Jack, he'll still tell you that I'm the best mom he knows.

Thanks Jack. 

I love you too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Hero

The last few days have been a little exhausting.  You know the kind where your to do list extends way beyond your mortal powers to complete... yeah, a few of those days in a row and I was feeling pretty wiped out.

But then, I looked at my list and thought, "What is the worst that can happen if I don't get everything done?"  Well, the very worst is that people might think I'm a jerk because I didn't call them back, but I'm pretty bad at returning phone calls anyway and I think people still like me, so I've already crossed that bridge.  

All the impending doom I imagine as a result of my empty check boxes is just that, imagination. (The universe will not implode because I didn't clean out our pantry or sweep the kitchen floor, nor will my family go hungry because I did not organize my shopping list by aisle)  This is a lesson Andy is teaching me.  His words are "chill out."  Not always my favorite thing to hear, but when I think it and do it before he has to tell me, I feel pretty smug.  

You know what else eased the weariness of an uncompleted list?  It has to do with Andy again.  He was out tonight getting some work done on his tattoo (don't be jealous ladies,  my husband is such a good, bad boy!) and I asked him if he could pick up dinner.  When he was finished he called me to find out what I wanted.  Our usual "will you pick up dinner" conversation goes a little something like this:

ME: Can you pick up dinner?
ANDY: Sure honey.  What do you want?
ME: Oh, whatever.
ANDY:  Like what?
ME: *frustrated that he can't read my mind* I don't know honey.  I'm tired.  Just get something.
ANDY: *frustrated that he can't read my mind AND that I don't know what I want* makes a suggestion to which I say yeah, fine.  Or, alternate ending, I say in a huffy voice, "Nevermind, just get yourself something, I'm not that hungry."

But tonight, Andy called and shyly proposed that he pick up my guilty pleasure (which I am afraid to confess to all of blogdom... so I don't think that I will.  Just know that it is greasy and probably causes cancer and comes from a drive thru.)  which is EXACTLY what I wanted!  What a guy, how did he know?  That small proposal set us off giggling and flirting like when we were dating.  I loved every second of it!

And now, my list is forgotten (well, at least set aside momentarily), my tummy is full and tomorrow looks bright.  

Way to go Andy, you saved the day again!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

To Save My Life

I'm okay with admitting that there are lots of things I do well.  

If it came down to a life or death situation I could paint a pretty awesome jungle mural or whip up some delectable crab wontons.  I could style a bride's hair, give a french manicure or a healing head massage.  I could probably even make a life-like bouquet of tissue paper flowers.  (If you are trying to think of a situation where any of these skills could save a life, stop trying.  It could happen, just go with it.)

But if threatened with the end of my life, no matter how hard I tried, there just seems to be no way for me to produce eatable cookies.  

I just threw away a whole batch of rosemary shortbread dough.  Shortbread.  How hard is that?  I printed off a fail-proof recipe from the internet and set about mixing it all up.  I didn't start my project until late last night and the dough had to refrigerate for an hour.  I was pretty tired so I thought, "Emily you are so brilliant!  Jut make the dough tonight and bake them tomorrow.  An hour, 10 hours, what's the difference?"  Apparently there is a big difference because when I pealed back the lid of my storage container this morning, the whole thing was sour. 


And pathetic. 

I've thrown away more batches of failed cookie attempts than I care to admit.  Even Andy, who is quick to praise almost everything that comes from my kitchen, shakes his head at my baking.  Each time I watch the pathetic lumps of baked dough drop into the garbage can I think, "I've learned my lesson.  I won't even bother any more.  I'll just admit defeat."  But then the random cookie craving hits, or my need to produce something, and what do you know, I'm back in the kitchen studying the cookbook and promising to follow the recipe EXACTLY this time.  

That is my problem.  Baking allows for no creativity.  Too much of one thing or too little of another and it doesn't work out.  I prefer to just throw together ingredients that I think will combine nicely.  Just wing it.  That doesn't work in the cookie world though.  Too bad.  

So once again I have wasted perfectly good butter, sugar and flour and have nothing delicious to show for it.  Now you know my short coming.  Cookies.  Don't ask me to make them for you.  I can't do it.  I really admit defeat this time.  


Sunday, August 17, 2008


I'm overwhelmed.  In an good, amazed sort of way.  

Here's what my life looks like at this moment: 

Jack is snoozing and I just finished a thrown together lunch (nachos with cheddar and feta cheese - not very Emily like, but it is what I had in the fridge - and I like it) and ice water.  The Olympics are on in the background, Parenting magazine is open on my living room floor.  

My life is lovely.  My husband adores me and tells me so.  My baby is happy and healthy.  I have more than I need.

I live in a world that is assaulted by media that sells fear, guilt and discontent.  It is commonplace to hear those emotions seep into conversations.  Fear from Christians that they aren't living God's will.  Guilt from mothers that they aren't providing the most perfect environment for their precious babies to thrive.  Discontent from everyone that gas is too expensive, they can't afford brand name jeans and he said this or didn't do that. 

I think we get in the habit of being unhappy.  It seems unfathomable to live without those emotions.  Impossible.  Even scary.  If I'm not discontent, what will I be?  If I look at myself in the mirror and say, "I am just right" people will think I'm a snob.  If I don't stress constantly about whether or not I'm in God's will, will people think I'm not seeking God?

But it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  This week I feel like I am catching a better glimpse of who Jesus is and why he would humble himself to save me.  I am loved.  I am a deliberate creation.  When God says he has a plan for me - a plan to prosper me and not to harm me... I believe him! 

What a difference to live with hope, with a humble confidence (in Jesus, not myself), with joy, with wonder and delight in simple things and to face each decision with confidence that God is not testing me or disappointed with me.  I am his daughter.  He knows what he has created me for - for love, for joy, for peace, to add beauty to this world and to call out giftedness in those I meet.  

I am indeed overwhelmed to tears.  God is present.  He is active.  And is is FOR me, not against me.  I feel burdened for the hearts that are caught in the cycle of trying to please and trying to perform and trying to prove themselves.  I have been there.  I will be there again, I'm sure.  But today, I see Jesus.  I walk with him and I am astonished that he walks with me, and enjoys it. 

There is approval in the Kingdom of God.  There is celebration.  Thank you Father!  Please help me to remember and live these things.  Strengthen me to live free of the burdens that come so easily.  And teach me to be a burden lifter.  Thank you for all you have done for me!


I'm feeling kind of pleased with myself this morning.  I guess it is easy to feel pleased with yourself when a stranger approaches you at the coffee shop while you are waiting for a friend and says, "You are beautiful!" and then settles down to have a conversation about her life, only to interrupt herself with further breathless comments about your beauty.  

Yes, that did happen.  To me.  I don't expect it to happen again, but it was a nice start to my morning.  

My friend Christy also told me my outfit selection "would make Stacy and Clinton proud."  Oh what a compliment!  Stacy and Clinton are my tv friends.  When I buy something new I think, "What would Stacy and Clinton say?"  I guess it is working! 

But I feel pleased with myself for another reason. Yesterday Andy and I took a great big step toward our goal of being 100% debt free.  We sold our cute car.

This is our cute car.  Or WAS.  A Ford Focus, SVT, ZX5.  Bright, shiny red.  Leather seats with seat warmers.  Bright headlights, moon roof, a fancy CD player.  Sigh.  It was a good car.

But Andy and I are really working to free up our income.  In February we started looking at our finances and made some decisions that ultimately have allowed me to stay home with Jack, which was what I REALLY wanted to do.  I always thought, oh, we are in good shape.  We just have a couple of car loans and some student loans, no biggy.  But those "necessary" debts added up to more that $22,000!  Woah!  When we discovered that we started making serious moves to get rid of that baggage.  Now, just seven months later we have payed off $14,000! Yes, I am proud of that!

So what do I drive now?  I drive a '93 Dodge Spirit, faded maroon.  A cracked windshield, busted headlight, deployed airbag and a good ol' tape deck.  This is the life!  But at least I'm gorgeous driving it, right?

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I like the phrase, "I confess..." If is kind of cleansing, like throwing away clothes that don't fit or cleaning out the fridge.  

I confess, I like looking in the mirror and saying to myself, "What a beautiful girl!"

I confess, after years of loudly proclaiming my dislike of coffee, I now need at least one cup a day.  I really don't know how that happened.  I think it started with the Pumpkin Spice latte...

I confess, I'm "one of those moms" who babbles nonsense words to her baby.

I confess, my son's name is Jack.  Yesterday I called him Jake.  

I confess, I spent all day yesterday angry about something ridiculous.  I cried.  I seethed. I held full conversations in my head that only fueled the fire.  And then, I gave up.  I decided not to have those conversations and not to be consumed by my feelings of self-justification, self-pity, hurt, frustration... all the yucky ones.  What started as a horrible day, ended with laughter and camaraderie. 

I confess, that was hard work.  It took a whole day of internal fighting and choosing to not be ruled by my emotions. But it was SO worth it. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dinners NOT Ready

In case you are ever looking for a time-saving approach to dinner and you are tempted to try "Dinners Ready," I advise against it.  

Andy calls it "Dinners Not Ready."  As in "What's for dinners not ready tonight?"

To give them some credit, the food is good and it is nice to not have to think about what to make, but I spend as much time, if not more preparing the food.  And most of the dishes don't include veggies.  And the cook times given in the instructions are all grossly underestimated, except in the case of rice where it is over estimated and you will end up with burned rice. And the servings are on the small side (Andy's words last night, with a pleading look I don't often see - "Is there any more food?"  So in addition to spending more time than I wanted on the first meal, I made a second meal for my hungry guy.). 

I guess now I don't have to wonder if it would be a good fit for our family.  It isn't. If you've been wondering the same thing, wonder no more.  It is not all it is cracked up to be.

Since I'm in a magnanimous, advice offering mood I will throw one more bonus review.  If you are ever tempted to substitute Tazo Vanilla Chai instead of the organic original because it is on sale for $2 cheaper - don't do it.  The vanilla is VERY disappointing.

There you go, consider yourself an informed consumer.  I will be sure to keep you up to date on my culinary discoveries.  Hopefully next time it will be something that brings wonder to my kitchen, instead of disappointment. 

Monday, August 11, 2008

Something Big

I confess a dream that some day I will do something big.  It isn't pride, a notion that I am great and will do great things, it is more of a sense of calling, a dissatisfaction with mundane.  

But today is Monday and that means I do a lot of little things.  I play with Dane, I play with Jack.  I feed Dane, I feed Jack.  I play peek-a-boo and I get peed on.  We make a big mess and  I clean it up... Mondays are filled with ordinary.

In the midst of all these commonplace activities, I still feel that draw to BIG.  It seems like each of the ordinary undertakings of my life are preparing me for whatever that big thing might be.

I want to be a woman who influences, who inspires, who challenges and who calls out the amazing in other people.  

But I want the best of both worlds.  I want to cherish the little moments that are shaping me while I wait expectantly for the big events.  I want to relish the sweet smiles of my baby and the conversations with friends. Each of my every day tasks are giving me a chance to grow, to learn and to store up credibility.  

Lord, give me the strength and wisdom to do the ordinary tasks well and to dream your dreams.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Blog Envy

Have you read some of the amazing blogs out there?  I have.  They are beautiful.  They are witty.  They are poignant.  They are enough to make you want to quit!

I can't compete with them.

Who says I have to?

But I want to be the best.  That's normal, right?  I suppose a bit of drive is a good thing, but I get mired in the bad sportsmanship attitude: if I can't be the best, I won't do it.

So lame.

Reality check: I am not going to be the best.  That is okay.  This is just for me anyway.  A place to keep in the habit of writing, and to remember where I've been and where I'm going.  Nothing world changing, just fun.  

So take that Blog Envy!  You can't keep me down!  The blog must go on!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Weekend Flight of Fancy

I like doing not-so-grown-up things.  

I am relived to find that even after having a baby I don't have to be as grown up as I thought. It is true, I do have a little helpless being who depends on me for his every need and whose life will be influenced by almost every one of the decisions I make for the rest of my life - no pressure- but I can still be just a little whimsical, and for that I am so glad!

This weekend Andy and I indulged our childish sides.  It started with a late night date to satisfy an ice cream and adventure craving.  After a little bit of web surfing and a few bats of my eyelashes, we wound up at Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream.  Oh man!  When was the last time that you waited in a line half a block long for ice cream?  If you are in a little funk, I highly suggest visiting Molly Moon's.  It's sure to snap you out of it!  I recommend the Cardamom.

Spurred on by our flight of ice cream fancy, we kept up the spontaneous nature of the weekend and spent Sunday night dying our hair. I am now a red head.  A fabulous red!  The box said something boring, like "Bright Auburn," but I prefer to think of it as balsamic strawberry (thanks Molly!), or perhaps blood orange, or, to keep up the food theme, even pomegranate.  Whatever it is, it doesn't look a bit natural, but I love it!  It makes me feel famous.  

Andy went platinum.  He looks famous too.  And tough.  He looks like he belongs in the X Games, or at the beach, or at a high end club as the bouncer... we are quite the pair, I can assure you!

Now we are two feet into the week.  I wonder what new frivolities await!  

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Brave New World

Wow, I've actually entered the world of blogging.  

This morning I came to a conclusion.  I'm a girl.  Okay... that was not my conclusion... bear with me, I have to give some background...  Girls like to talk about their feelings right?  I have lots of feelings.  Sometimes they are emotions, sometimes they are reflections, sometimes just thoughts about how to make the world a better place... Pictures and words well up in my mind and if they don't get a chance to flow out, they become distorted and I get cranky.  

Nobody wants to be around a cranky girl. 

But talking about those feelings  is hard work.  I have to make sure they come out just right.  When you have a conversation, there is no deleting the wrong words.  You can't hit save and come back later to edit your sentences or clarify your meaning.  For some thoughts, writing is better.  

And sometimes there is the reality that even if I did want to share verbally, there just isn't anyone to express myself to. Friends are busy, my husband has to work (or has already patiently listened to me talk for days on end and I just love him too much to put him through it again today), strangers are skeptical, and despite Jack's sweet smile as I babble at him, I'm not sure he really gets it.  

So, here's a toast to a brave new world, at least for me, and a home for all of those feelings.