Thursday, January 28, 2010
And now a year later? Pajama day again, and Oh, how sweet life is.
p.s. Shane took both of these pictures, and as you can see, his photography "skills" have not improved in the course of a year.
Unfortunately, all I had was my camera phone, and it was too cold for me to get out of my car, so it's not the best shot.
BUT it is color, and it's outside, which means that according to Beth's post last week, I get EXTRA CREDIT. You know those kids who do extra credit in school even though they already have 115%? Yeah, I was that kid.
Then I came home, and I thought about color some more, and I decided to share pictures of my most very favorite makeup pieces EVER. So favorite that if you wear makeup and don't own one, you need to buy one. Now. And don't even tell me they're too expensive, because sometimes you have to splurge, right? Right. And I should note that I've bought these over the course of five years, so it's not like I just bought all nine of these yesterday.
Oh, Shimmer bricks. You're so pretty. I love you as cheek highlight and eye shadow and sometimes even on my legs. And there's a new one that I don't own. Nectar. Someone tell my husband to buy it for me for Valentine's Day!
Doesn't that look so soft and shimmery? I want to use it as a pillow. A sparkly, beautiful pillow.
Yes, I own too much makeup, but there are worse addictions!
I didn't notice my reflection in this last photo until I uploaded it, but I like it. I've felt a little fragmented lately, trying to find a balance, so this seemed appropriate.
You Capture: Color
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Life is very tiring right now, in many ways, but I'm trying hard to find the silver lining in everything. In today being the halfway point of the week. Tomorrow being PAJAMA DAY. Next week being February, which means a vacation trip and Luke's birthday party and oh, A PAYCHECK, which means maybe I can buy some work clothes that fit instead of spending all day pulling up my pants.
And now I have to go get dressed for work and brave the cold, cold outside world. There's a silver lining in there... somewhere.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Like playing a 239 point word in Scrabble, when you're so sleep-deprived that you can hardly remember how to spell your own name.
Or in crying three times on your first day of work, but only twice in the car and once at home instead of in front of people.
In your baby starting to army crawl AT NIGHT, when you were there to see it.
Sure, my house is so messy that I would die if someone stopped by, and I can't even imagine how or when I'll get the energy to clean, and I know I've been a horrible friend because I'm just all about ME ME ME and how I wouldn't be surprised if I woke up tomorrow with NO FRIENDS because I am just that bad of a friend right now, and I can't even begin to really tell you about last week because it was so heavy for me both personally (with things that don't even relate to work but that relate to being so scared and so worried for someone and her very new, very small someone) and professionally, but I'm getting there. Slowly. Counting the little victories and ignoring the massive failures.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Today's guest post is by Shealynn. You might know her from the fabulous camera strap covers she makes (my camera strap is, sadly, coverless, but when the magical days of me getting a paycheck begin again, you know where I'm getting one!). This post means a lot to me. I've talked before about how very lucky I am to carry my pregnancies past 40 weeks, knowing that some women would give anything to see that due date come and go. Also, someone I love very much has a baby in the NICU right now, so it's a huge comfort to read and remember how little babies are such big fighters.
On October 17, 2006 it meant being scared out of my mind. Why? Let me tell you a story.
It was October 16th, 2006. I was 30 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child. It was also my dad's birthday. My husband, Angelina [our oldest daughter] and I went to my parent's house for dinner to celebrate. My stomach begins aching like I ate too much. It becomes a regular coming and going stomach ache. We realize this. Begin timing them. They're coming every 8-9 minutes. Weird.
I call my doctor after a little while... she says "Go to the hospital." Husband [Mike] and I say "see you later" to mom and dad. Give Angelina a kiss. Leave for hospital. I am sort of freaking out in my mind. Wondering what is going on, and fearing my body is betraying me.
Get to the hospital. Hooked up to monitors. Things are fine. Until the nurse checks me... "Shealynn. You are 6cm dilated. We can't stop your labor."
That's when the world stops. Only for a moment. Everything pauses. I remember my mind blanking for a few seconds [which seemed like forever]. Then thinking, "What did she just say?" "What?" "NO! I am only 30 weeks pregnant!!!"
I come back to reality. Mike is incredible. Holding my hand. Telling me everything is going to be OK, as he always does. Because he's like that. He's great at comforting. I can no longer hold back tears. I am afraid. I am confused, and stunned, and wishing it wasn't happening. Wishing that Zoe would stay put for 10 more weeks. But she wasn't. She was coming early. Time to face it.
My doctor comes in. I LOVE her. She is very sweet, very comforting, and very nurturing. Like every great doctor should be. She must have seen the fear on my face. She holds my hand. Tells us that Zoe's survival rate is 99%. My fear temporarily subsides. Good. She has a 99% chance of survival. She is a girl, which ups her chances as well. We are told girls tend to fight harder. I am relieved... mostly.
I opt out of an epidural. I am not in much pain, so don't think it's necessary. Who was I kidding? 1 hour later. I was begging for it. It was too late. :( REAL no medicine child birth is hard to describe. The pain is so intense and I am writhing in pain. Can't focus. I beg for something. I get Demoral. It does not take the pain away. It makes me feel drunk. I feel like I have had several beers. That did not help my focus. A NICU team comes in. Prepares for Zoe's arrival. 10 weeks early.
Now, I am a guest here. I will not be grossing anyone out during my visit, promise. So, after a while, Zoe was born. Mike teared up. Saying over and over "She's crying! She's crying!" Then. I cried.
3 lbs 4oz
Born at 2:41 am 10/17/06
10 weeks premature
Zoe is transported to a hospital 20 minutes away. I feel empty. Just gone into labor, but my baby isn't there. Mike comforts me. He is amazing. I cry and sleep, cry and sleep.
Literally a few hours later at 9am, we are up and ready to leave the hospital, and see Zoe. She was so tiny! I remember seeing her and being so shocked at her tiny*ness! So little. But, she was doing great! Breathe. She was OK...
We surprised Angelina with her arrival home. Her sister was home to stay. Angelina was over the moon. We all cried. A happy ending to a scary time.
Friday, January 22, 2010
I just recently met Hyacynth at Cupcake10, and she is just as lovely as her name. She's also a babywearing ninja and can probably wrap a baby with a blindfold and both hands tied behind her back. And as a music lover who is often forced to listen to Sesame Street Live ad naseum, I get her!
* * *
"Taken out of context, you know, I must seem so strange.*"
That's how I feel as a guest blogger since we probably never have "met" before. Hopefully, this will be less awkward than meeting your blind date right before prom and then moments later having to pose for pictures. Anyway, I’m Hyacynth from Undercovermother.net. Nice to meet you. Now smile, and look at the camera while I make pleasantries during Erin’s first week back at school …
My house often vibrates with on-and-off-pitch singing as my two year old and I sing songs and nursery rhymes from the time we wake until our heads hit the pillow at night. Sometimes we sing them easily and effortlessly as we go about making lunch, playing and driving. And sometimes I actually tune in and listen to the words my oldest and I are harmonizing.
And when I actually take note of what I'm singing, I laugh to myself because a few short years ago I never would have imagined singing so passionately about London bridges, itsy bitsy spiders and ants that march through the rain.
As a music junkie, sometimes it still surprises me that I even sing these songs at all. I've always been the type of person who lives life in her own personal musical. I've always heard the perfect song in my head for each moment and quietly let it play in my mind as I lived out my daily life. So before I had kids, I swore up and down that my babes and I would listen to real music -- the kind that makes your heart swell up in your chest and nearly skyrocket out of your mouth in the form of lyrics and melody.
And I heeded my promise for quite some time. My two year old had a serious appetite for Jimmy Eat World when he was just a little baby. There's a song on the Futures album that made him completely dissolve into fits of baby giggles every time he heard it. But, we found, he had the same affinity for The Itsy Bitsy Spider and The Ants Go Marching. And because I loved to see my baby smile and giggle more than I loved music (my pre-mommy self would gasp in shock at this admission), I began singing songs about insects and muffin men and blind mice just to see his smiles.
The older my first-born grew, the less I found myself listening to what I deemed passionate, quality tunes; I only sneaked in some music during showers because, honestly, I'd rather listen to Bingo than an irritated toddler screech demands for his music over the luscious melodies of Death Cab for Cutie. Slowly, I relinquished control of the radio. And when my second-born arrived this past September, I pretty much gave up ever trying to listen to anything that didn't chronicle the sounds that dogs and pigs make or the woes of five monkeys who've been jumping on the bed. My previously rockin' entire-life soundtrack became quite tame. And I succumbed to singing about all the bugs my boys so dearly loved even though I longed for a a bit of the Beatles or Caedmon's Call during the waking hours with the little guys instead of the hum-drum nursery rhymes we sang on repeat. My heart sank when I thought about how I wasn't passing on the love of some stellar music to my boys, and I found myself hoping that someday I would be able to turn them on to some of the amazing songs and bands that had so lovingly guided me through breakups, accomplishments, falling in love and even losing people I loved.
A few days ago, though, I stumbled across my oldest singing alone in his playroom while he played with toys. He was very passionately belting out the lyrics to The Itsy Bitsy Spider (while playing his "guitar," which is actually the TV remote control) when it hit me; I didn't fail at passing on my love for music. I'd actually succeeded. Maybe the boys don't love all of musicians and songs I think deserve a spot in their hearts, but, goodness, they do love songs. I saw the same emotion in my two year old's eyes as he sang about that poor little spider who gets washed off the spout by the rain but decides he's gonna give that spout one more go that I have seen in my own eyes when I'm accompanying Ani DiFranco and harmonizing about the little plastic castles being a surprise every time for the goldfish who have no memory. And now that I think about it, maybe, just maybe, those songs the boys love aren't too far off from the one nestled deep inside my heart.
*Ani DiFranco, Firedoor (See, I told you I think in music, like, all of the time. Even while I'm guest blogging.)
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The other day a friend and I were talking about how Moms must be hardwired to feel guilty. We always seem to find something – some reason to feel guilty and beat ourselves up, whether that reason is big or small. The small reasons differed for each of us, but the biggest reason was the same: WORK.
When I went back to work after my first son was born, I felt guilty about leaving him at daycare. My first day back wasn’t until Wednesday, so Monday and Tuesday were “test runs,” and the first day only for 4 hours. Instead of going home I went to Walmart and wandered the aisles like a zombie, counting the minutes until I could pick him up and flee back to safety. I also cried the entire time. Luckily I picked the only store in the city that was deserted on a Monday morning, because I was a complete and total wreck.
A couple months later I started a new job. This one paid enough that my husband could quit his job and stay home with our son. Woohoo! BUT…it required me to travel. So, instead of feeling good that I was providing a way for one of us to stay home, I felt guilty for traveling. It only got worse when I discovered that I loved the job. Then I got to feel guilty for being away from home and for not hating the job that kept me away.
Once my sons were old enough to realize I was leaving on trips, I’d feel guilty when they would cry. Obviously it meant I was a horrible mother for leaving. When my trips became so frequent that they DIDN’T cry, obviously it meant I was a horrible mother for letting them get used to my not being home. When I started working from home and traveling less, they started crying again when I would leave, which meant I was back to feeling guilty for leaving.
Good grief! I’m exhausted just writing about it. Why couldn’t I be happy that I had a good job that I liked, that provided for our family, that allowed my husband to be a kick-ass stay-at-home Dad? Why couldn’t I stop feeling guilty and focus on the positives?
I’m happy to say that after 5 years, I’m finally finding some peace in what I do and how I do it. I’m good at my job, and this setup (me at work, my husband at home) works for us. I’m dealing with it.
But the guilt isn’t limited to the big issues like work, is it? Oh no, it has to creep into everything. When it was our turn to bring snack to preschool, I felt guilty for having bought the cupcakes instead of making them. At Christmas I felt guilty because between work and home, something had to give, so I didn’t get Christmas cards out. Just this week I felt guilty over deleting something I had written because I didn’t like it enough to put it on my blog.
Well, guess what? I don’t bake. I’d like to, but I don’t. No one died because I didn’t get Christmas cards out this year. No one will die if I don’t get to them next year either. And the blog thing? Yeah, that’s just bizarre. There must not have been enough big things to feel guilty about this week. See what I mean about finding reasons for guilt?
As moms, we have strengths, and we have weaknesses. Let's file this under "Life's too short" and stop feeling guilty for both.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
My first teaching post was a nightmare. At 21, I was an incurable idealist who looked younger than the students and behaved with more maturity than half the staff. My first teaching job taught me that schools lie and that teachers don’t always, or even usually, care. It taught me that the more adamant you are that schools try, the more work you will have thrust upon you, until you burn out and become the colleague you hate or leave the field entirely. Despite all this, I loved teaching. Because of all this, I left the country.
I left the country because I needed to leave that school and, with regulations on state-to-state teacher transfers/certification becoming increasingly strict, it was easier to get a well paying teaching post in England that anywhere in the US. (Totally messed up, I know). I left the country because I wanted to travel and live and do things worth talking about, and I knew if I stayed where I was I would never be more than a mound of ungraded exams.
And leaving the country was fantastic.
In England, I taught in a school that cared and worked and strove for excellence—and it was not a wealthy or privileged school. I had colleagues and students I respected, and I learned more about myself and my teaching than I had in the whole of my collegiate study and early career combined. I met people and traveled and, eventually, was led to a master’s program at the University of Oxford.
There is much I could say about my early career in both the US and England, and about my master’s study, but, after all that, what I really want to discuss is where I am now.
Following the completion of my masters, I returned to the US. (Not so much willingly, but my visa had expired and I had no other option). (PS- I don’t hate the US, even though that is totally how that sentence just came across, I was just not ready to leave England.) The assumption was made by myself and my family that it would take 3-6 months for me to find a job, until then, I would move back home with my parents in my home town of Detroit. (Yes, I did say return to the country after living abroad and having a brilliant time to live with my PARENTS. I am THAT cool). Unfortunately, my triumphant return was accompanied by the complete collapse of the economy, and, over a year and a half later, no job. Well, I do have a job, so I’ll clarify—no job in my field.
I made the incorrect assumption that a degree from somewhere like Oxford, somewhere that offered me countless experiences and ideas and open doors, would appeal to American schools and educational organizations. In reality, it gets me blacklisted. Schools fear ambition. It labels me a boat-rocker and climber and everything else schools dislike. It makes me an ideal candidate for volunteer opportunities and low/non-paying philanthropic positions that I wish I could take, but, sadly, I have bills to pay, which is not acceptable when you are supposed to be ‘working for the kids.’
Somewhere between interesting and depressing is the fact that I am conducing this job search (or should I say social experiment?) in Detroit, America's fastest dying landmark. Though my career hunt is nationwide, it is impossible to discount or ignore the grandeur of the destruction in my back yard. And, in a lot of ways, watching Detroit fall is like watching American Education.
Detroit has issues on a variety of levels (See TIME’s year long expose on the city and its problems and excellent photos of decay here). Between the decline of the car companies, the embarrassing behavior our of elected officials, the deeply rooted racial issues still effecting social, economic and political decisions, and the recent attempted terrorist attack, it is hard to find someone who doesn’t have thoughts on the city, and I am no exception. Certainly the problems are many fold, and certainly there is almost no answer in site, but what I find most striking is the similarities between the field of education and my dying hometown.
Like watching a friend sink deeper and deeper in to a dangerous addiction, the fear and anger pulling at your heart and lungs and brain until you can’t think or breath or act, I’m watching the field for which I’m passionate and the city I call home knead themselves into an incurable state. Both are chained by budgetary constraints; both are shackled by expectations and ideas and dictums passed down by those not directly involved in the day to day operation. Detroit has failed to develop an identity outside of race and cars. Pain from deeply rooted racial wounds prevents progress socially; the inability to break free from the mustangular mold of industry prevents progress economically. Education is caught in the bars of finances—do it better, cheaper and faster—an impossible combination. And, in both cases, the decisions made are all wrong. Education buys out experienced teachers and replaces them with inexperienced, staffing whole buildings young teachers and no one to guide them. Detroit refuses help on racial lines and continues to elect corrupt officials. Education resorts to teaching through worksheets to prove to governments that standards are being met on a daily basis and throws inspiration in the dumpster with old textbooks; Detroit legalizes and encourages gambling in a population where 30-50% are unemployed and 1/3 of the city’s residential addresses are vacant. Education points fingers at teachers; Detroit points fingers at everyone else.
I don’t know what my role is in this garden of destruction, or if there is still a place in society for someone who wants to save the world in spite of itself, or herself, as the case may be. For now, I keep sending out resumes. Mostly, I sit at my desk watch it all burn.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
When Erin first announced that she was looking for people to guest post at her blog, I enthusiastically said I would do it. I was so enthusiastic, in fact, that I was the annoying child who knows the right answer in class screaming "Me, me, me!" with their hand frantically waving in the air. I was eager for the task! I envisioned writing a sensational story about how awesome Erin is (which you all already know), how we became friends, or what she means to me.
When it came time to write my story, I stared at a blank word document for hours. How do you put these things in words? There so many reasons why I love Erin and why we are friends. What words would give justice? There is so much to tell. Perhaps, I, the girl who neglects her own blog was not the right person to be a guest blogger. I started narrowing my thoughts and remembered a defining moment that I knew Erin would be one of my best friends and a part of my life forever.
And so, I decided to tell you about my perspective on something we all do. Something I usually do not talk about. The test of true friendship. I believe we all put our friends through tests of whether or not they will be forever friends. Now, test is a harsh word, it makes it sound like I set up an obstacle course and ask potential best friends to take their best shot at it. Actually, my friendship test is simple, it is not something I think about before it happens. It is something that, in a true friendship, I believe wholeheartedly, will happen naturally.
My test of friendship is being allowed to become a part of one's everyday. Allow me clarify. If you are comfortable lying in pajamas in my bed giggling with me, just talking to me while I do dishes, or allowing me to help you bathe your child, I consider you the truest of friends. I consider you a forever friend. Because the friendship transcends having to have a planned outing like going to dinner or a movie to have a good time. It feels deeper because it allows one to be a part of who you really are. It is the sharing of real life, and what is more precious?
I remember the first moment I knew Erin would be one of my best friends. One of my forever friends. It happened after Erin and I had been friends for some time, and I suspected she would become a forever friend and I truly loved her already. Erin had been visiting me at my parent's house, many years ago. She slept in my sister's room because my sister was out of town. Each morning, Erin would come into my room and jump into the bed. We would stay there in our pajamas talking, giggling, and even looking at funny things on the internet. It was for me, a moment, that stood still. I recognized that this is what real, true, friendships are about.
Since then, we have shared so many moments of our everyday lives in the few visits we get to have with each other. Erin has given me the privilege of helping give her children baths. I have rocked baby Tommy to sleep. I have sat on her couch giggling, watching television, and folding laundry. We have stamped text books together. I have sat on the floor of her guest room while she taught me how to put on foundation. I have cooked scrambled eggs and cheese for Luke at my home. We have stared at a computer screen putting together her wedding album together. This list is seemingly without end...
Don't get me wrong, I love going out to dinner with Erin (at Lucrezia!), taking shopping trips in the city, getting pedicures, or being invited to birthday parties and baby showers. And I look forward to trips to the beach with our children and husbands someday. But I will ALWAYS love her for inviting me into her everyday.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Men like Shane. I've never spoken before about this, and I never intended to do so. Except that the other day, I caught myself responding rudely to him via email. I caught myself and immediately sent another email, apologizing and saying I wasn't thinking clearly. It was good to be able to look outside of myself, because for so many years I couldn't. Hours after I was raped, I showed up on Shane's doorstep. Hurt. Scared. In tears. He settled me on the couch with a blanket and a glass of water, and then I remember he went outside with a baseball and a bat and hit the ball over and over. Recently, he told me that he blames himself for not making me go to the hospital right away, but I don't blame him and wish he wouldn't, either.
We'd been dating for less than a year when it happened. That's a lot of baggage to add to a fairly new relationship, and it's safe to say that I put him through hell and back over the next several years. There are times now when he'll respond to me in a guarded way, and when I ask him why, he says that he forgets that I'm not that person anymore. And then I realize that he spent so long tiptoeing on eggshells, worrying that he'd step too hard and break the eggs. Break me. Because I smothered him. I clung to him like I was on a sinking ship. If he was five minutes late, I would panic. I would fall apart. And then when I was done falling apart, I'd yell at him. I'd tell him he was awful, that he should just break up with me. I would test his love because I didn't understand why he loved me. All of the hate I felt for myself, I poured on him. And he took it. He took it and took it and took it and only really lost his temper with me once and apologized almost immediately. When I try to thank him, I can't make the words come out my mouth. I can't get past thank you. I can acknowledge that it was hard on him, that I was a different person then, but I can't begin to tell him HOW MUCH it means to me.
I could give him a round of applause every day for the rest of our lives, and it still wouldn't be enough. He stood by me. He sat through a two hour deposition with a lawyer attacking him, the same lawyer who repeatedly made sure that Shane was served court summons papers AT WORK, in front of his students. He took the embarrassment and never once complained. He brought me flowers and Skittles and would come over after long days of work and tuck me into my bed and kiss my forehead. He understood why I was the way I was. He listened and loved and put a ring on my finger. He took those vows to stand by me for better or worse, when he'd already stood by me through the worst. He gave me two beautiful sons and gives more every day when he tells me that he just wants them to know to respect women. To all those men out there who have stood by someone who has been hurt, thank you. From the bottom of my sometimes fragile heart, thank you.
Friday, January 15, 2010
I wish I didn't have to make that list. I wish I didn't have to write out a feeding schedule for my baby that since day one, has been fed when he's hungry. Period. I wish I didn't face the task of using a cold, plastic machine to make milk for him, when I want nothing more than to feel the warmth of him, to wrestle his fingers out of my mouth over and over.
Truthfully, I don't know how I'm going to keep from falling apart on Tuesday. See, I can't even type this without big fat tears rolling down my face. My first day back after Luke was born was a day of meetings. I cried for two straight hours through our first meeting. This time, though, I will be facing a room full of 8th graders at 7:15, and if they see me cry, it'll be ugly.
I want to fall on the ground and scream, I CAN'T DO THIS. I have no choice. There's no escape plan, no "let's see how it goes" scenario. There's just this. Just me being so scared, wondering how I'm going to leave my babies again, wondering if maybe I'll never have another baby, just so I never have to go through this again. I know the boys will be okay. It's not them I'm worried about.
Also, I know this is a public forum, and perhaps I'm putting myself out there with this--and I hate that I even have to say it--but please don't leave comment sharing with me how you made it work on one paycheck. We've looked into that. It doesn't work for us. The state of Indiana pays teachers so little that we'd qualify for welfare if I quit my job. So, please. Just don't go there today. It doesn't help.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Because my winter looks like this...
Otherwise known as STUPID COLD. So cold that we make sure to give the birds extra food, so much that our backyard is always filled with birds...
I have to look extra hard to find color...
And make sure that babies are bundled up and hidden under coats when I go out to shovel...
But even I have to admit that sometimes? The snow is kind of fun.
You Capture: Winter
I just learned that today is Blog Delurking day... so if you read but never comment, COMMENT!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
And this guy? Is definitely not weak.
I want to tell you a lot of things about this weekend, things that don't just involve me making fun of myself. Things about how I met some beautiful, brave souls.
How we laughed so hard on the drive up there that it was probably dangerous. How we had walkie talkies since we caravaned, and it was pretty much the funnest thing ever.
How many women I've never met before loved on my baby in ways that made me smile.
How Tommy and OBaby are the cutest punks ever in their matching outfits.
How I came to love new friends, and somehow, came to love old friends even more.
But also, there's this whole other part about how I haven't really slept since July 16th because I own one of those babies who simply does not sleep. Perhaps you've met the type? He's so ridiculously cute and healthy and happy that I cannot begrudge him for not sleeping, yet since birth, he's only slept longer than four hours two or three times. I'm starting to get to the point where it's making it really hard, where I feel like I'm misfiring words and friends and life is all just one big jumble and what I would really, really like is to check into a hotel room and sleep for twelve hours, instead of returning to work and losing more sleep and oh my gosh, can you pump and nap at the same time? Because if the nurse will let me use one of her cots, I might try it. And so, I can't even put together the words to describe what this weekend was because it took me FOUR times to spell describe correctly.
But then I look at his face and think, Oh. Oh my goodness. I would work 80 hours a week and sleep zero hours a night just to have him here.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Because I love you all very much, I'm going to give you some important advice, titled: "Things to do at a blogging event to make sure you are never, ever invited to another blogging event. Ever.*"
1. Forget to pack jeans. Then spill coffee on your yoga pants, so not only are you wearing yoga pants, you're wearing STAINED yoga pants.
2. When you arrive, make sure your bladder is so full that instead of saying hi to people, you have to shove everyone out of the way to make it to the bathroom.
Once you've gone to the bathroom, stumble across a closet containing baseball bats. Proceed to tell people you've never met that you're going to need a Louisville Slugger tonight, "just in case" an axe murderer shows up.
3. Decide that this is going to be the weekend of NO UTENSILS. Solidify this by shoving whole cupcakes in your mouth.
4. When you meet someone you really admire for the amazing things she does, don't tell her that you really admire her and you're so excited to meet her. Don't even tell her that you think she has really gorgeous hair. Instead, spill wine all over her sweater.
5. When everyone is sharing profound, amazing, deep reasons why they blog, state that you blog because you like to hear yourself talk. It helps to have a friend back you up on this, lest anyone think you're joking.
*Before you think I'm being entirely tongue in cheek, I did, in fact, do everything on this list. I also had such an amazing time at Cupcake10 that I'm going to be a little--okay, a LOT--sad when I'm blacklisted from Cupcake11
Friday, January 8, 2010
In the blue? The one with the oh so cute flower in her hair, that makes you sigh and wish you could pull it off, but you know you couldn't? Is having a birthday today. And even though I will probably ask her if she's turning 80 today, and even though I will most definitely call her ridiculous for not liking donuts and ice cream, her birthday is a wonderful reminder of how it's a GIFT to be able to call her one of my best good friends. I hope she's blessed today, on her birthday, and all year long, because I know I'm blessed for knowing her.
Won't you go wish her the happiest of birthdays?
Thursday, January 7, 2010
I wasn't sure if the best of was supposed to be just photos used for You Capture or any photos, so I did a mixture!
My first ever You Capture remains my favorite: something you love, captured without a flash.
20 week belly. It seems so long ago.
My next favorite is from my first You Capture with a new camera, the theme was happiness. I took it at the Chicago Botanic gardens, on a beautiful, warm day. How I miss summer. And flowers.
And finally, a fall themed one. I've always adored this shot of Luke and going back through archives, I realize how much I want to print and frame this.
This one was not a You Capture, but a teeny tiny sweet Tommy bean taken with my phone when we were still in the hospital.
I want to share this picture of Beth, Arianne, and Tommy. It was our last dinner out before Arianne moved away. We were being silly and the people behind us were so bizarre and loud and I teased Arianne for ordering a wimpy dessert. Right now, I'm wishing she was still close enough that I could attempt to heal with food and love and laughter and yell at her not eating a big enough dessert. Please, if you have a second, give her your love and support. She needs it.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
A month ago, someone from Rome commented on my snowy rose picture, and I wanted to tell them that their comment made my day, except that it was Anonymous so I couldn't. Anonymous person in Rome, you made my day! Comment more, please?
Now as I'm writing this, I feel like I'm sounding like your stereotypical American who lives in a bubble and is like, Wow, other countries have THE INTERNET? But that's not it at all. It's just that I live Indiana, which is very boring and not aesthetically pleasing to me at all, unlike Europe, which although I've only visited once, I found to be very interesting and aesthetically pleasing.
Because I have issues, I then personified each country and took it personally that I have no readers in Switzerland. Like, what did I ever do to YOU, Switzerland? I went to the top of Mount Pilatus! I even had a shirt with a dragon on it! (Incidentally, I'm sad that I no longer have this shirt becaue I was so tiny at 16 that I bought a child's size shirt and I bet Luke would love it.) Seriously, Switzerland, I bought many fine chocolates in your country! I even bought a marzipan pig that was so pretty that I didn't eat it. Switzerland, do you know how much I love marzipan!? The least you could do is check my blog a few times a month, Switzerland. Maybe Switzerland knows that we almost went to France on our honeymoon and is jealous? If that's the case, Switzerland is being a little picky since we ended up going to Central America, which is actually nowhere near Europe. Maybe Switzlerand isn't very good at geography, though.
Because this was all very traumatic to me, I told Shane that parts of Europe like me more than others. I also outlined the plans for my European Vacation, in which various blog readers let me sleep on their living room floor.
Instead of being concerned that I was planning on leaving the country for an indefinite amount of time to live with strangers, Shane said, "Really? Why would Europeans read YOUR blog?" in a very condescending way (note to self: buy Shane a one way ticket to Switzerland). I kicked him in the shins and told him that, actually, I have a lot of readers in France, to which he said, "Oh, it's probably because of my very French last name." So, let's recap: first, Shane insulted me. Then, he TOOK CREDIT for my readers from France. French readers! Speak up and tell Shane that it's ME you love, not him.
And then, can I come sleep on your couch for a week? Just kidding. All you have to do is tell my husband he's wrong, and we'll be BFFs. Oh, and if you could tell Switzerland about me? That'd be great.
Monday, January 4, 2010
- My goal for 2010 is to take at least one photo every single day. Nothing in particular, just a photo each day. To keep myself on track for that goal, I started a tumblr account. You can follow along if you want or not, but I wanted to keep it separate from this blog, so as to not be too overwhelming. I really, really want to do this, but as with most things, I'll probably forget about it by mid-March.
- My other goal is to write down every single book I read. Not even necessarily reviews of them, but I just want to keep a list of books I read. Maybe jot them down in a notebook? Or maybe jot them down in a notebook, then blog the list at the end of each month? That way I'd have more responsibility. What do you think? Do you like book recommendations? Or will you be all, Shut it, English teacher?
- Finally, I want to line up a few guest posters when I return to work. The reason for that is two-fold: One, I'm going to need some time to adjust to a new schedule before I can fit in blogging. Two, if I do blog right after returning to work, I can almost guarantee it'll be the most emo, pathetic, sad thing you've ever read. I want to avoid that. So, if you're interested in guest posting about something, anything, leave me a comment or send me an email, and we'll chat. Topic of your choice, bonus points if your topic is: "101 reasons why Erin is awesome."
- I'm thinking of doing a handmade for Valentine's Day gift guide because
my husband needs a shopping listI really like Valentine's Day and plan on giving fun little gifties to many people in my life. Know an etsy shop that'd fit the bill? Run an etsy shop that'd fit the bill? Email me your suggestions!
- I'm really excited for Cupcake10 this weekend!
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Did you know that I wasn't baptized until I was 21? My parents made the choice to not baptize any of their children, instead letting them grow up and make their own choices. And when I chose this, they supported me fully, buying me a Bible and taking me out to lunch afterward.
Shane and I struggled with how to approach this with our children. He was baptized as a baby. Ultimately, we made the choice to baptize them as babies, but to let them know that as they grow, the choice they make is theirs. Of course, we have our church, and we will take them to our church, but should Tommy choose to become Amish and Luke convert to Judaism, we'll hold their faiths close in our hearts and hands.