Thursday, October 14, 2010


I told you several months ago that I moved in with my in-laws.

I have a story I could tell, every day, about this adventure, but I am saving them all up to tell them in bulk some day.

Speaking of telling you stories,
it appears I have not
shared my dirty-mouth-due-to-Biggest Loser-story.
My apologies.
I shall remedy that now.
Let me start by telling you
that I just really don't like cursing.
I don't even like to say, "I swear"
when I mean "I'm totally serious."
Until this story took place,
I had only said one bad word
in my whole life.
It was in sixth-grade and I was late for the
bus for a band field trip
and I couldn't find my flute.
I said "the s word."
I don't even really like writing
"the s word."
But yes, I played the flute in middle school.
However nerdy and school-girl
you can imagine me at that age,
multiply it by about a million and a half,
and that would be me.
In purple stirrup pants.
But back to present day.
Imagine me a just a few weeks from birthing
my second son.
And tired.
And with a brain that was totally malfunctioning.
Andy and I were watching
Biggest Loser.
Well, I was sort of spacing out on the couch
while Biggest Loser was on
and Andy was taking care
of things around the house
and wandering back to see highlights
of the show.
At some dramatic twist to the weigh-in
Jillian Michaels swore.
Big time.
Like the worst one of the bad words.
They beeped it out, but her mouth
made her emotions extremely obvious.
Andy heard drama on the screen
and wandered back to get caught up.
As he was walked into the room he
asked, "What'd she say?"
And without the slightest hesitation,
that dirty word fell out of my mouth.
And Andy fell right to the floor.
It took me just a second to realize what I had just done,
but Andy caught it immediately.
I am not sure
if he has ever laughed that hard.
Needless to say, my face was very red
and my dirty-mouth count now is up to two.

Anyway, I now live out in the country.

With a cat that catches mice and snakes.

And a family of dear, complete with a daddy-buck with antlers, that we see in the morning eating apples that have fallen from our apple tree.

Before you picture a barn, let me show you my current residence:

Not too shabby eh?

The house is new, but even new houses in the country can't avoid the blight on an otherwise perfect season.


The destroyer of all my lovely feelings about autumn.

Not just any spiders, wolf spiders. Don't click that link if you can't handle spiders.


Now, I'm not life-or-death afraid of spiders. I'm just grossed out on a normal-person level. Except wolf spiders. I'm probably a little more then normal-person afraid of them.

Screams and everything.

Well, it appears that I will have to overcome that squeamishness if I am to raise two boys in the country.

Today Jack ran up to me with a very proud face and said, "Mama! What that?"

Usually he brings me a crumb or dust bunny to examine. A few times it has been a dead bug, but that has seemed manageable.

I was bracing myself for a fat fly or crusty crane-fly until he came up with a closed fist.

Dread set in.

He had something ALIVE.

He opened his hand, and his entire palm, his sweet, pudgy, baby-soft palm, was covered by a wolf spider.

I screamed.

He dropped it.

I then had the unfortunate task of catching the spider and killing it.

The only thing close enough to grab and still keep my eye on the spider was a piece of mail. Me with a tiny piece of paper against a killer-arachnid! I wildly tossed the envelope on the floor, hoping to have it land on the speedy, ugly guy and then squish him under it, but the spider was so big and fat that even when the envelope landed on it, it was no use, the spider just continued to crawl around - with a piece of mail on its back! What sort of monstrous bug does that?! Eventually I had to get a tiny big braver and press the paper down onto the spider with precision.


Precision is difficult to manage when you are imagining a fist-sized spider turning on you, leaping at your face and then devouring your first-born child.

But I finally prevailed.

I wish I could convey my terror and disgust. Even writing it now I feel like I have bugs all over me.

But as soon as the carcass was disposed of I thought, who can I tell?

There is only one person who can fully appreciate the horror of such a moment.

My sister.

I called her and left a trembling message, ending with several reenactments of my shrieks at discovering the black creature on my son (insert gag here).

Jack though that my squealing was hysterical. For the rest of the night he asked me, "Mama, what'd you say?"

When I would forget I would say, "What do you mean?"

He would smile wickedly and say, "About a spider!"

Then it was my job to squawk and watch him laugh at the memory.

He also kept wanting to examine the envelope for signs of guts and leftover spider bits.

Oh boys!

How many more years of boys being interested in bugs do I have left? I'm not sure I can handle it if this becomes a daily habit, which I am afraid of given Jack's delight at my loss of self-control today.

Next time, I will have to try very hard to not make a scene.

Actually, I don't know if that is even possible.

I'll have to try something else.

Can you give a kid a time-out for bringing you gross things?

GAHHHHH!!!! Every time I think about it I shudder.


This kid is going to give me a run for my money!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Good Day

Friends, I am really excited today.

I have a new hat to wear.

In addition to mother, wife, woman, sister, daughter, friend and an enormous selection of service-personnel descriptions, I am a FREE-LANCE WRITER!

It is true.

If you are paid to do something, that means you are legit, right?

Can I just tell you about writing?

Or more specifically, me writing?

I had no idea I LIKED to write until my last job. I worked for an incredible pastor who encouraged me in my writing and gave me every opportunity possible to word-smith and compose.

When I left that job for motherhood, writing was what I missed the very most, hence this tiny bit of cyberspace that I have claimed as my own.

Since leaving that position, some of my past co-workers have continued to ask me about my writing and what I might do with it some day.

Truthfully, while flattering, that is SO intimidating. I mean, I'm just a mom. Just a lady who likes to tell stories and likes to imagine that a handful of people are interested in the ridiculous aspects of my life.

I know some wonderful writers. I know that I am not in their league.

I still love to put thoughts to paper.

But now, things are happening. Small to start. I'm not working on a novel or the next great compilations of essays, but I am being invited to work as a professional writer and actually have multiple projects on the docket.

I still have no clue what writing will look like as part of my life in the future, I just know that it will be there... and I know that I like what it is now.

Seriously, free-lance anything sounds nifty, but a free-lance writer sounds AWESOME!


In addition to securing a new job title, I also made my first batch of successful chocolate chip cookies.

Go me!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


*Um, I still have only been getting about two hours of sleep at a time (that makes about 7 months of sleep deprivation). I have a feeling that when I read back over this post it will be a little confusing and rambling, but it makes me feel like myself to write things, so I'm just trying to capture things when I can.

I also had a toddler bouncing on my lap the entire time.

So if you make it through the whole thing, kudos to you! Good luck!


Most days, I really, really love bedtime.

Some days I love it because it means I will be putting both of my li'l pumpkins away for the evening and freeing my hands for some activity of my choosing...

or the dishes...

but still,
doing dishes with two free hands
is infinitely easier
then doing them
with no free hands...

But those days are surprisingly rare.

What I really love about bedtime is that it is the part of our day that Jack and I both are most familiar with.

It has been the same, give or take a few details, from his birth.

It is a chance to end on a good note.

Some of the hardest days have ended with the sweetest cuddles and nighttime songs.

I also love bedtime
because it reminds me
of one of the most
memorable parts of my childhood.
I remember my dad
tucking me in until
I was in high school.

The stories that he read to me
hold special places in my heart
and I can't wait until
Jack and Joey are
old enough to enjoy them too.

As Jack has been getting older, he's been getting sneakier. He knows how to make me do things that weren't part of my original plan and he gets his way far more often then I would have thought he would.

His new ploy has been to prolong bedtime by asking me to "nuggle" him. If he is feeling very ambitious he will ask to "nuggle on the couch" which I almost always refuse because it will inevitably lead to him asking to watch a show, or eat a chocolate chip or play hide and seek.

And we all know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie...

When the couch request fails he asks me to lay down next to him. I usually oblige while we tell our stories or sing our songs. Recently he has decided that mama's bed is more interesting then his own and will often ask to have his stories there.

Last night, after sitting quietly on the deck and watching the stars and listening to airplanes and cars and frogs, I knew it was time for him to be in his own bed, by himself, with his eyes closed. So when he asked me to snuggle in mama's bed, I lovingly told him that it was time for bed. Then I closed the door and moved on with the evening.

Jack usually is in bed around 8:00. Somewhere around 10:00 I wandered into my bedroom only to discover that my cheeky little monkey had silently crept out of his bed and tucked himself into mine!

With our light still on, he was passed out on my pillow with a book tucked under his arm.

It was one of the sweetest, most charming things I have ever seen.

And for some reason it made my heart ache.

Mothering is so complicated. Complicated seems a much more accurate word then "hard."

There are the tedious parts: the dressing and undressing, feeding, figuring out naps...

There are the disgusting parts: diapers, spit-up, sick babies...

There are the sweet and silly parts: wild dance parties, tickle attacks, funny faces...

There are the rewarding parts: seeing your child learn new skills, words and emotions and hearing them say please and thank you, even when you aren't there to remind them...

But then, there are all those parts in-between.

Last night was one of those in-between parts.

When I looked at him curled up in my bed I suddenly remembered that some day, he will face major disappointments and I might not know the words to make them better. Some day he will make significant mistakes, and he may not choose to tell me about them. Some day, his feelings will be hurt, he will struggle, he will be responsible for his own actions.

The part that is totally captivated by Jack's wonderful personality and is truly enjoying seeing him grow up was face-to-face with the part that recognizes that my job is to prepare him for his adult life.

That is a little bit scary to me.

So while I was bursting with the sweetness of finding my toddler asleep in my bed, I was also sobered by the significant responsibility that I bear as a mother.

I'm not sure what to do with those in-between times, but I have a feeling that I don't do much different at this point.

I keep enjoying bedtime and continue to feed and diaper and play. I watch him, and teach him all that I can about shapes and colors and good attitudes and socially acceptable behavior while playing with other children.

Every day I open my hands a little wider to give him space to learn what he is capable of and remind him that I see great things in him.

I remember that as much as I love him and want to protect him and offer him every good thing, even my best efforts will fall short somewhere.

Every day, as I lead two wonderful boys, I must let myself be led by a parent far more capable and wise and creative then I can ever hope to be.

There really is no other way.

So Lord, thank you for these lives entrusted to me, let me enjoy them, but not hold too tight to them.

There is a much longer conversation here, happening between me and God, but I'm not sure it will be terribly interesting to you.

But I hope, that if you have been enveloped in those in-between times, that I am right there with you. Luckily we serve a God who is never in-between. He is over and in and around and under... covering over all of our lack.

Peace to you in the in-betweens friends.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bacon-Wrapped Revival

It came to my attention this evening that several of my friends were totally baffled by my fluttery feelings toward J.J. While I won't make a further fool of myself by expounding on the finder qualities of Survivor's most recent castoff, I will just say, "Jimmy, I'll miss your smile."

It also came to my attention that one of the very same friends who mocked my crush-choice has on her list of former infatuations, Adam Sandler.


Adam Sandler?

However, despite our inability to agree on something as foolish as crush-worthy celebrities, we did all enjoy a smashing success of a party this evening.


Have you ever experienced a season when you find that you can't quite hold onto the person you desire, or believe yourself to be? The pressures around you to act/think/be different than you are seem too strong and you find that without realizing it you have given up way more ground then you ever intended?

In short, and to refer to a dreadful cliche, have you ever lost yourself?

Or, you feel like you know where your "you" is but it just doesn't seem to be welcome to those around you?

I know that sounds so dreary.

But that is sort of where I've been.

I spend a lot of time thinking about who I want to be and how to get there.

I invest a lot of energy into my decisions about parenting and wifedom and the many other tiny facets that make up Emily.

Truthfully, I think that is good. I would be neglecting beautiful traits that God built into me if I lived otherwise.

But what I've run into is this: I've hit a place in my life- a season of schedules, living situations, realities of life - that seem to fight hard against my nature. Try as I might to stand up to life, I feel deflated and bruised. And, in a completely unguarded moment, like who I am and the things I used to believe to be wonderful about me, are worthless to this world.

It is verging on miserable. I am trying so desperately to not become bitter or angry or lost. Some days I do better then others. When I look up, away from my obsession with myself, I can know that seasons are temporary and sooner or later the frustrations and difficulties of this season will give way to new beauty and a fresh season.

But boy is it hard work to keep reminding yourself of things that ARE true, but don't FEEL true.

Tonight I co-hosted a party with a dear friend.

We made fancy food, pretty drinks and we somehow found a lovely balance between feeling like grown-ups and including our messy, noisy, delightful children.

I ate bacon-wrapped dates and stuffed mushrooms and salmon ravioli. I made pumpkin creme brulee to celebrate the season that I love. And I chitted and chatted and smiled and laughed with some of the most beautiful women I know. Our families gathered together to form one big, noisy crowd enjoying food and life together.

And I found myself again.

I caught a glimpse of the woman that I know myself to be.

I discovered a moment of respite from the work of reminding myself of truth.

It was so refreshing. She's in there. She might not be all bright and shiny and able to take on the world RIGHT NOW, but she's not gone. That woman, ME, is still beautiful and still capable and still valuable.

I'm not sure how to capture that assurance for the remainder of the hard days, but for tonight, I will go to be satisfied and delighted, thanking Jesus for bacon and blue cheese and friends that share the best of themselves with me - and invite me to do the same.

Thank you dear friends.