Dinner at the Table…and Other Things We’re Trying

Just a quick capture of the things going on in the world – well, our world. It is the ONLY world, isn’t it?

Ha, right.

I know better.


I stumbled on this site the other day called “Letters of Note“. You should check it out. I’ve been happily digging through it ever since.


Elle remains sick – but is on the mend. We kept her out of school this week because we can. She seems much, much better today than she has in over a week. We returned to the doctor (who I’ve still lost faith in, but who I felt a bit better about yesterday) and he refilled our prescription for the breathing machine thing and ordered a chest x-ray to be certain it was not pneumonia. It was NOT. So, we came home. Excellent news.

Jon and I are both sick in our own ways. I found a new doctor today who I actually enjoyed and it turns out I have a sinus infection. Jon has not gone to the doctor and hopefully will get better all on his very own. We. Shall. See.


We at dinner at the table tonight! At the kitchen table, we all sat down. Elle in her high chair, Jon and I on either side. It was like a real family meal and I loved it. I think Jon even liked it and Elle thinks she’s big time stuff sitting up like a big girl at the table. It felt natural, but it’s not something we’re very good at. For one, Jon is a terribly picky eater so it’s not like I can make meals for us to have together and two, I’m on the road a lot again, so it makes those times when we can sit down quite rare. New goal: sit down at the table together AT LEAST once each week. I’d love it to happen more often, but if I can get that feeling once a week, I’ll be happy.


Among other things I’m trying…putting a baby to bed while sick. A sneezing/hacking cough attack really throws everything off. And do you know that feeling where YOU NEED TO COUGH SO SO BAD but you try not to, so it just itches all inside of your body and it starts to feel like you won’t be able to breathe if you don’t just cough? Yeah, well, I tried that twice and decided I’d go for the breathing option and take the repercussions of the coughing fit when it came to Elle’s sleep status. So far so good…but I did wake her up twice when she would have otherwise been asleep. So, that’s an adventure.


After a shopping outing several days back and stepping on the scale at the doctor’s office today, I’m also trying to not eat so much. I actually asked the doctor today what I SHOULD weigh and got an answer that I was ok with. So, the quest to lose the weight truly begins. I also had my bloodwork done to check on my good ol’ pal the thyroid. Hopefully all is fine and I don’t have to go onto a medication every day, because I’m not very good at remembering to take it. But…if it helps in fighting this battle against eating and gaining weight, well, I’m all for it.


Tomorrow I’m back on the road for a few days, so I really savor the nights when I am home. They are more regular than they used to be for sure – but I wish I never had to leave overnight. It’s the price I pay, I guess.

Sick Baby

It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?

I hit the road this week for my first travel since returning to work and it wasn’t AS BAD as I thought it would be. I didn’t sleep well in the hotel bed, and I woke up at the times Elle typically wakes up. Ah, she has me so conditioned!

Anyway, we ran smack into baby cold season this week. If my friends’ facebook status updates are any way to tell, everyone else’s kids are sick, too, so I guess taking care of sick babies is the thing to be doing.

Jon took Elle to Dr. Haddad on Tuesday. At the time, he made one of his classic disgusted-with-Lindsay sounds from the back of his throat but he did admit that it had been the right thing to do. See, I called Dr. Haddad’s office from Indianapolis, described her cough to the nurse, and she said to definitely come in that day, and that they could see her at 2:15. So, I called Jon and asked him if he would please take her to the doctor. Begrudgingly, he did.And they gave us a breathing machine thing for breathing treatments because evidently whatever she’s got doesn’t respond to antibiotics.

But here’s the thing about that – Jon was the one to take her to the doctor, because I was still at Butler and he is still laid off and home during the day.


Like, ‘about how long should it take to notice a difference?’ ‘when should be be concerned and return to see you?’ ‘what are symptoms to look for if it’s getting worse instead of better?’ and I’m sure a gad-zillion other things that I’d love to ask if I could. I’ve reigned myself in from actually calling the office and asking the questions myself. Jon just took the doctor’s prescription and left.

Slowly and surely, he’ll remember something that the doctor said and tell that to me — but that is a slow drip and is so far spanning a week! Jon and I are so very different…in a complementary way, of course, but it’s a little bit nerve-wracking when it comes to the health of your child.

Poor baby, though, she’s just coughing and has those red, droopy eyes that babies get when they’re sick. She’s sleeping a lot – which is good. She’s started to be a bit more smiley happy baby like she normally is, but she still feels just rotten.

I hate the helpless feeling – I wish that I could just take her cold away.

And, evidently I have – heading to the store this morning to get sore throat medicine and a humidifier for our bedroom. Jon and I have both managed to conjure up sore throats in the last week.


Did I Really Just Accidentally Baby Talk a College Kid?

…and other things I do these days that boggle the mind.

I was on campus at Butler University this week, doing intercept surveys for work.

Day one, I’m waiting before lunch, talking to some students and asking them to take this survey.

There is a young man/college student extraordinaire standing in line for lunch. He is wearing – I kid you not – silver sparkle pants that, come to find out, his mother made for him.

How did I find this out?

Well, because I asked him:

“Ooooh, where did you get your preeee-ey-preeee-ey sparkow panssssss?”

I didn’t think anything of it until he looked at me and said:

“What?” as though I were handicapped in some way.

Oh crap, I realize. I just talked baby talk to a 20-something college student who, for whatever reason, is wearing homemade silver sparkle pants. In front of like 25 other people. Somehow I was embarrassed for myself and not for him and his preeeeypreeeysparkowpanssssss.

Elle likes it when I talk like that to her, smiles super big, babbles back at me.

Turns out when you talk that way to college students, they just think you’re an idiot.

And another reason gets added to the list why I no longer feel like I ‘just graduated’ from college.


I AM Losing My Mind

I had a conversation the other day with my friend Molly about our respective returns to work after our 12-week maternity leaves. I mentioned how I used to feel like I had my life together…that is, until I went back to work.

Never was this made more clear than Tuesday morning this week.

Monday was my first overnight away from Elle. I hated it, but it was fine, she was fine, Jon was fine. It all worked out. I woke up early Monday, drove to my account, spent the day and evening there and then headed to the hotel (with a quick stop at my favorite HomeGoods to pick up some guilt-toys for Elle).

I laid in that hotel bed and had a hard time falling asleep, but finally did (by putting Antiques Roadshow on my iPad and drifting off).

I woke up in the morning and got myself together. I looked in the mirror and realized I only had my right earring in.


I began frantically searching the hotel bed, ripped all the sheets off. I ran my hands over the floor. Nothing.

I took the earring in my right ear out and put it in my bag.

Totally bummed.

Those are the earrings Jon got for me for Christmas a few years ago, that I wear almost every day. I dwell on it as one of those things that gets added into your day. Resigned to the fact that those earrings are no longer a pair.

I begin the drive home in the afternoon, from Indianapolis.

I wish the miles were shorter. Literally, I found myself wishing that.

I was SO excited to see my girl – I haven’t felt that much excitement in…I couldn’t even think of a time I felt that much excitement, honestly. Well, that’s not true. I know I have – but I just can’t remember when.

Anyway – I digress.

I get home and my girl is battling her cold (boo hiss) and I’m SO SO SO glad to see her. I don’t put her down for hours — she’s sick, and I’m feeling guilty for having been gone, and I just missed her and she’s so little and warm and cuddly.

I walk into our bedroom and set something on my dresser and notice, ah, what?

My other earring.

Yup, I had made it through an entire day AT WORK with just one earring, pirate style. I managed to NOT look at myself in a mirror (this is becoming a problem of mine) somehow from the time I left early Monday morning until Tuesday morning. And NO ONE told me I had lost an earring, either.

Anyway, I had lost my mind. I HAVE lost my mind.

It was all fine and dandy until I had to go back to work.

And now, I can’t seem to get it together it feels. Spinning, spinning, spinning out of control. I KNOW I’ll find a balance and a way to manage it all – but I haven’t yet.

Before I ended this, I actually checked both ears to make sure I put two earrings in today.

I did.

Ok, maybe I’m already making progress…or not – I did have to check.


I Forgot To Show You Something: Elle’s Bedroom

Because today is my 200th post, and because I have been digging around and trying to become a bit better at this whole blogging thing, I have been re-reading my old posts from the beginning. (Not ALL of them).

It’s certainly a trip to see what I was thinking THEN and how it IS NOW. I guess that’s why I wanted to do this whole blog thing – for posterity’s sake and my own memories.

But, I realized that there are things that I wanted and meant to share that I haven’t yet (I think).

One of those is Elle’s bedroom.

It is, by far, my MOST favorite room in the house.

Here is what it looked like on August 6, 2011:

By the following day, it looked like this:

We used Sherwin Williams “Brown Teepee” on the walls. Absolutely LOVE this color. I’ve seen it used in almost every room in a house with great success. It’s a wonderful color!

On August 11, we started adding in my FAVORITE, the Pottery Barn “Morrocan Red”.

By September 3, the finishing touches were the only things required. Here’s a look:

Wall decal from Trading Phrases, Rug from Ikea, Glider from JCPenney, Crib from JCPenny, artwork from allposters.com, Fan from Lowe's, Blinds from Budget Blinds

The quilt was hand made by Kathy to fit in with our Picasso theme.

So, what did I learn in all of this?

JCPenney’s has great deals on gliders and cribs.

Ikea was the place for the dresser, the lamps, the ladybug and the rug.

Trading Phrases had the Picasso dove decal and I found the artwork at allposters.com. The frames came from Ikea, too.

And I’m sure you may be curious to see what her room looks like after having used and lived in it for over three months. I swear I didn’t clean it up just for taking these photos this morning…as you can probably tell!

This was the find of the decor process - a Picasso five-piece set at Ikea. I love these and the Rooster and Summer Bouquet to the right.

Meant it when I said I didn't clean up - notice the middle-of-the-night bottle on the nightstand. Adding the nightstand and the lamp next to the glider were must-have additions.

I'm a huge fan of the light that comes into Elle's room even on the gloomiest of days. A bit bright (and frigid) this January morning.




Oops: On Naming A Child

Four months ago we were patiently waiting to become parents and one of the final preparations at that point for us was choosing the name that would be our baby’s.

I had liked Emerson. Jon had ALMOST gotten on board with that name. But, at the last minute it was completely off the list.

I had wanted Georgianna. Or Gray. Or a host of other names that I kept trying to convince Jon to like. Maggie.

We knew at that point that we wanted her middle name to be Leigh. Jon’s middle name is Lee, mine is Leigh, baby girl’s would be Leigh. So that was settled.

And then, Jon really liked Emma Leigh. I didn’t want Emma because I thought it was too overdone and because I knew an Emma and the name was just-right for her, and I didn’t want to risk the comparisons. So Emma was out the window.

I knew I wanted something that would look nice and professional on a diploma or business card one day, but one that would also work to be little-girly too.

When Molly’s baby was born, they hadn’t settled on his name yet. It wasn’t until the final days in the hospital when his name was ultimately chosen. I knew I didn’t want to wait to that point and told Jon that we were going to have a name selected by the time we got to the hospital, even if we chose on the way, because I just wanted the name to be settled.

One day, I said “What about Elle?” and remarked that she could be Elle Leigh or even just spelled Elle folks could call her Ellie; that it was chic and sophisticated on a business card or diploma, but it was also cutesy enough for a little girl in pigtails.

Jon liked it. So did I. It was settled.

So we went about the business of naming our daughter and completing the paperwork in the hospital.

The clerk who came to take the information the first time did the paperwork for us. She asked what the baby’s name was.

“Elle.” I replied, “E-L-L-E.”

“No apostrophe’s?” the clerk asked. I was confused but told her no, no apostrophe’s.

I gave the rest of her middle and last name information.

The clerk returned later that day so I could look over the paperwork and make sure everything was correct. She had messed up the way we were presenting the last name, didn’t have Jon listed on the birth certificate at all, and our daughter’s name at that point was: Lelle.

Elle, E-L-L-E.

The apostrophe question made a lot more sense at that point.

No, I tell her, Elle is her name, not Lelle.

Oh, she says, I thought the first ‘L’ was silent.



Ok, we get that figured out.

The doctor’s office continues to call her ElleLeigh as though it’s her name (in people’s defense, we thought we’d call her Ellie/Elleleigh all one word, but that’s just not the kind of girl we got. She’s just Elle). Whatever, they keep calling me Mrs. Mason which is annoying and bothersome because we’re not married, but it’s more of a pain to correct it. And that’s a story for a different blog.

We went to a different doctor the other day and I was giving her information to the clerk.

“First Name?” she asked.

Elle, I reply, with a long pause, E-L-L-E.

She looks in her records.

“Last Name?”

Mason, I re ply. Now I’m nervous they’ve lost our appointment.

“Oh, here it is, it’s not Lelle?”

No. It’s Elle. That’s spelled E-L-L-E.

I’ve now added the ‘that’s spelled’ into the explanation so there is a definitive line between Elle and its spelling.

The clerk corrects the spelling.

“Middle initial?” she asks.

Oh crap, I realize. This is going to be good.

“L,” I say. “Just the letter, though.”

The clerk gets it all into the system and we’re set.

Only I’ve had the realization that we really screwed up Elle’s name for her, for the rest of eternity.

She will CONSTANTLY have to add ‘that’s spelled’ into any conversation about her name.

But perhaps worst of all, my daughter is Elle L Mason, like she’s some long lost relative of L.L. Bean.

Love her name and it’s the name for her — but…oops.

Sorry Elle.



Something Good Day

I said I’d tell you something good today, and since you’ve been so patient, I am rewarding you.

You’re welcome.

Actually, I think I’ll tell you as much good stuff as I can think of…mainly so you can remind me of this someday (sooner rather than later, probably, when I’ll need it!).


Good Thing 1: Realizing that my baby girl laughs like the dickens (what the heck does that MEAN anyway?) when I do crunches and count them out loud. This was a discovery made tonight. I had her on her tummy on my knees while I did 100 crunches. That’s like two good things together — I did ex.er.cise (that’s how you have to say it, slowly, three full syllables…it’s not easy, it’s ex.er.cise) and Elle LAUGHED A LOT. Which made me laugh a lot. Which is like another ab workout in itself, so that was THREE good things, all wrapped up in one good thing.

Good Thing 2: I enjoyed my day at work, in a meeting, learning something. I did not miss my baby (gasp, I know) and I was thrilled to see her when I got her from school. It was like I was a professional woman with a grasp on what needed to be happening with work and I was a woman who could finally contribute in conversations about children. All around good.

Good Thing 3: I had a Werther’s Original in the meeting. And I don’t care WHO you are, Werther’s are pretty great.

Good Thing 4: Despite my antiquated computer set up and my general sense of helplessness with Andrea’s loss, I did manage to scan and edit over 75 pictures and put together a slideshow for them to have and use at the viewing and service. It’s kind of a crappy reason to do a good thing, but I’m glad that I can do something that makes me feel like I can help in my small way.

Good Thing 5: I FIT in my pre-baby work pants this a.m. The shirt was a new-buy one size bigger (ugh, really??) but at least I wasn’t uncomfortable. And I did those crunches, so I’m well on my way to…oh, who am I kidding. But, at least I felt like I looked alright at work today.

Good Thing 6: Elle is seemingly into a night-time routine that has her in bed by 9 p.m. each night, sleeping until sometime between 1:30 and 3, and waking up for a bottle and sleeping for another three-plus hours. Sa-weet.

Good Thing 7: Jon and I are heading out on the town Saturday night for a birthday party, have a baby sitter lined up (thanks Mom!) and are looking forward to enjoying a night out with friends sans our girly. I think it’ll be a really, really great thing for us to do.


So, there you have it. Seven something goods.



It’s funny, the way things look up against one another.

Thursday night Andrea, Molly and I and our babies enjoyed a laid back evening dinner at Andrea’s house. They had just closed on a cabin across the street from her Dad’s cabin. It was an exciting time.

Friday, her Dad had a brain aneurysm and was gone.


My Dad, who successfully conquered bladder cancer 20+ years ago, had to go in Wednesday for surgery to remove ‘they-didn’t-know-what’ from his bladder.

Now I’m a parent and shuddered at the thought of my own daughter not having her Dad.

And then it went and happened to one of my best friends.


We grew up on the same lake, where our grandparents both had cottages.

Her Dad had a cabin at the same lake, and that’s where Andrea and her family had just bought their cabin.

It used to be the place I went when everything else fell apart. Then IT fell a part and I found other places, friends, people to lean on. And Andrea could never fathom how it went from what it was to what it IS.

Unfortunately, now she gets to know.


You try so hard to protect yourself, the people you love, your children, everyone you care for from the world, from spontaneous car accidents, from themselves. And then, you get a crappy phone call from someone whose job it is to tell you to come quickly, as you sat safe at home, protected. Or so you thought.


And I’m so sad for her. I get a lump in my throat thinking of it. And isn’t part of it that when it happens, for a glimmer of time, we’re grateful and thankful that it’s not us. Not this time, at least. Those of us who have lost – and lost big – know the impossibility that living, breathing, eating poses in the face of great loss and we’re thankful that, for this one moment, we can support the grief instead of owning it.

I wish I could un-ring this bell for Andrea, for her family. But I can only be her friend.


There will be life. There will be loss.

There will be sun. There will be clouds.

There will be rain. There will be wind.

There will be floods. There will be drought.

There will be friends. There will be foes.

There will be memory. There will be fantasy.

But at least there will have been…well…something, anything, to allow us to savor our time here together.


Tomorrow I’ll write something not so Debbie-Downer. I feel like my blogs have been that way lately.

Tomorrow I’ll write something fun and tell you something good, because that’s what we want to hear.




Dear Elle: You’re Three Months Old

Dear Elle –

Well, today is your three month birthday.

Again, I did NOT bake you a cake. You seem pretty ok with that.

It’s so hard to believe that you’re three months old already, but you’ve changed so much in those three little months. I have to say, I’m just more and more excited to watch the girl you’re going to become, because already discovering you and your personality has been just so darn cool.

You started ‘school’ (aka, day care) this week. And YOU LOVE IT! It’s amazing, because it seems that there is a huge difference in what you know and how you interact with people in just this last week. Whether that’s a developmental coincidence or due to ‘school’ I’m not sure. But I for one am chalking it up to ‘school’.

While I’m certainly biased, you are also the best dressed girl at school. You’ve got a closet full of clothes and I’m dressing you up in them — because why not?! And you and that face, and that freaking smile?! It’s just too much and you melt everyone’s heart.

You found your hands awhile ago, but you’ve just in the last few days started reaching for things and, when you get them, refusing to let go. As a matter of fact, I watched your Dad try to pry a ball (one of your favorite toys) from your hands yesterday and it took him a long time. I thought to myself “just pull it away from her” and then, this morning, taking your 3 Month photos, I realized as you clung to the backdrop that it wasn’t that simple anymore. You’re getting stronger, you’re growing up!!

You are still helpless against the gentle rocking vibration of the car and pass out cold every time we get into the car. I’ve been taking you with me on walks and/or jogs around the golf course in your stroller and it’s pretty sweet. You just fall asleep and take a nice 45 minute nap and I get a little fresh air and exercise. All around, a pretty good gig.

Your favorite toys are Sophie the Giraffe, this little stuffed mouse we found at Ikea and this ball from Target with holes in that cost $3.99.

You are a HUGE fan of the bath. You are kick-kick-kicking and splashing up a storm. You dislike getting out of the bath and getting dressed, however.

We have sort of fallen into a routine at our house which consists of:

Hanging out throughout the day and pretty much you eat every three hours (give or take), you pee your pants (a LOT) and you HATE having a wet diaper so that whole 8-10 diaper a day thing is more like 15 with you. Then, you take cat naps throughout the day with one 2-3 hour nap on either side of noon. You typically get about an hour or so nap around 5 and then we hang out until bath time begins at 8. Bath, Book, Bottle, Bed…and by 9, typically you’re asleep. You wake up around 2 or 3 in need of a fresh butt and a bottle, but then you’ll sleep til about 6 or 7. On the weekends, we’ve taken to letting you back in bed with us after you wake up in the middle of the night. I’m not sure if this is because we miss you, we’re lazy, or because we’ve generally had a few drinks and it’s easier than holding our own heads up!

It is so fun being your Mom. I know that you’re still a baby and everything, but I feel like in the last week or so you went from being a baby-baby to more of an infant-baby. I don’t know how to quite explain it, but maybe it’s just that your personality is shining through more and more. It’s so cool, discovering who you are and watching you discover your world. I’m so excited for all the cool things we’ll get to do together!

In the last month you enjoyed both Christmas and New Years and we managed to host TONS of friends at our house. It was a busy season. But I loved it and sharing it with you. I felt in a lot of ways like I sacrificed my time with you, but I am so glad that I have the memories built for myself and for others of these special days with you.

You and your Dad are buddies. It’s so funny to eavesdrop on your conversations (they’re pretty one-sided, but he’s alright carrying a conversation every once in awhile) because he’s so wrapped around your little fingers. I don’t think either of us would have it any other way.

You also have this hemangioma above your left eye. It was just a flat mark on your head when you where born that you didn’t even see…but pictures show that it was there then. But, it’s gotten bigger and bigger over the last three months and we’re going to a few specialist doctors to make sure that it’s not affecting your vision. It’s the mark that lets us know you’re you — but when it messes with your long-term vision, well…not ok. It doesn’t bother you at all, in any way, but I have to say that people asking about it and knowing that it’s right there, pushing your eye closed, it bothers me. And it’s my job – among others – to protect you and get you the absolute best care and best doctors. And I think we’re on our way to finding them to get past this silly hemangioma.

Regardless of that – or anything else – the last three months have been so incredible. I’ve met this new human – YOU – and have started to get to know you in all the best ways. I’ve changed hundreds of diapers, fed hundreds of bottles and changed your outfits lots and lots. I’ve watched your first smile and y our first laugh. I’ve watched you find favorite toys and even figure out how to play the piano…(ok, on the iPad, but still). You’ve met lots of friends and started school and you’ve just been so darn happy.

Even tonight, giving you a bath and while you and I talked (ok, I talked, you just cooed and babbled) my eyes just suddenly overflow. You fill me up, girly. You fill me up.

I love you, it’s that simple.

All my love,



Motivation in Cleaning out my Planner

I just began trying to get my office cleaned up and organized to make the working at home days more effective and less cluttered. So, I started with getting the office put back together.

Whew, that feels better.

Then, I started cleaning out my planner. It’s interesting, I found pictures that I put in the front after my Grandma died of the last cookies we made together, a picture of the sunrise on Clear Lake in the fall, and a photo of me, Jon, Rick & Jen at Halloween a few years ago. And some school pictures of my cousins Hudson and Lucy that are a few years old.

But, the coolest thing I found were the scraps of paper that I’ve collected with inspiring quotes or insightful messages I received.

Herewith, the introduction page of my planner, collected from shards of paper over the last seven years. In the order I pulled them out of my planner…

My Grandma told me this the summer she died. It sounded profound, so I jotted it on a sticky note and taped it into my planner. I like that it looks a little weathered. And the tape is still stuck.

If you don’t know Sister Ardeth and Sister Carol, learn more about them. Though I don’t keep it in my planner, this is another favorite from Sister Carol:
“Lastly, a few words about fear. I don’t fear going to prison. I don’t fear loss of freedom to move about. I don’t even fear death. The fear that fills me is not having lived hard enough, deep enough and sweet enough with whatever gifts God has given me.” The quote that I keep with me was in a letter that Ardeth and Carol sent to me after I’d written to them. I was lamenting the loss of my Grandma and how I leaned on her for advice, and how I didn’t know what she would think and I missed that. Their advice to take my time, to know myself…pretty good stuff.



Ah, a lost love. He wrote this in a letter to me and it struck me. I felt exactly the same way and I think so many of us feel this way about love that crosses our path, if it was ever good or true or real.

This makes me laugh at myself. This is probably a statement I live by…which means that I have impossibly high standards for the people who are in my world. Like I’m doing them a favor! HA! Don’t I seem self-important?

My Aunt Jill sent this to me some time between the time my grandparents died and the days she nearly died. This one, from my oh-beautiful-Aunt Jill, is how I feel about my family – because I’ve got one hell of an anchor.

I listened to the president of Saginaw Valley State University give his state of the University speech one year when I was working there. And I heard this and thought ‘wow, that was pretty cool’ so I looked up the speech a few days later and added this into my planner. I’ve always thought Dr. Gilbertson was a really neat guy — moreso after he invited me to one of his monthly dinner ‘mixers’ and I sat next to him and a woman who was sent to a Siberian concentration camp during World War II and escaped to Israel before eventually coming to America. Such a cool evening.

And this, just a reminder I’ve kept of how to try to be a leader.


Anyway — there’s a little insight into this mind of mine and the things that make it ponder the rest of the world and existence.