August 24

I’m not even going to try to catch up. 

My New Year’s Resolution to “be a better blogger” is failing miserably. I should have resolved to lose weight – I’m actually doing that. 

After a random summer of Jon working out of town, having John Emerson “Jay” arrive in June, enjoying maternity leave over a summer that saw my parents buy a cabin at Clear Lake, I’ve got just two more weeks of maternity leave (ahh, the unpaid part finally begins). 

Today we just hung out around the house after a full day yesterday of running the Crim 5K and Elle running the Teddy Bear Trot. She ran THE WHOLE WAY! She was awesome. I did NOT run the entire 5K, but ran my fastest average pace since I started running just 3 weeks ago, so I feel pretty darn good about that. 

Elle is a wonderful big sister to “Jay Baaabbaaayyy” (what we call him) and hasn’t had too much in the way of adjustment issues. Some here and there, but nothing to write about per se. 

Jay is SUCH a good baby. I don’t know how we got two great babies in a row. I think Jay is even easier than Elle was, which is really saying something. So. Stinking. Cute. 



With two weeks to go and a 34th birthday to celebrate in between, I’m just focusing on getting our lives organized before I hit the ground running going back to work. And I’m also excited to be signing up for a great bootcamp three nights a week. I feel like at the very least I’m making my own health a priority. While I was running the 5K yesterday, I just liked the fact that it felt good that my daughter was WATCHING me, ACTIVELY participating in something. It made pushing to go just a bit faster, just a bit easier. 


Here is my brother Trevor, his girlfriend Ashley, me and Elle at the Crim yesterday! 

When we stopped to Jon’s parents yesterday, the first of what will be many identity swaps happened. You see, John Emerson – the baby Jay – was born this year. And my husband Jonathan – Jon/Jonny/Jonathan – is a J-O-N. And his Dad is JOHN Lee. So, yes, certainly room for confusion. It’s why our John E. has been Jay since day one. But somehow – and this has happened to my Jon for years – but Jay Baby got his first AARP solicitation letter. Seriously AARP, get it together. How do you even come up with this stuff?! 


Just look at these kiddos – and Jay sitting up in his Bumbo at just 9 weeks old. What a big guy! 


Letters to Elle: Two and a Third

Dear Elle,

You, my dear, sweet, funny, wonderful girl, are two and a third. Plus a little bit.

It’s amazing, after having been gone for two nights for work, to come home and see how you’ve changed, how your vocabulary has grown. You talk.

A lot.

I mean, a lot.

And most of the time, I understand everything you say. But then there are times you just devolve into a mumbling mess — those are the times when I feel like you are absolutely 800% my daughter.

I see me in you. In pictures, in behavior. And it’s incredible.

When I say “I love you” you say “I love you too”.

Or, sometimes, you’ll question “you love me?” or sometimes just state it. You’re getting better at your vocabulary though, so those are becoming fewer and farther between.

You LOVE Sherriff Callie’s Wild West, a show on Disney Junior. I stumbled upon a cowboy hat at a meeting I had at Cracker Barrel last week. Paired with your pink cowgirl boots from Aunt Jill and your lasso (mainly anything that you can fling – a pom pom, a Greektown Casino Players Club card with the springy attachment cord thing, a broken princess jeweled necklace from a dress up kit), you say that you are Sherriff Callie. Sometimes that you are Sherriff Elle.

You know your letters – most of the time. You learn so much at school. It’s truly incredible. You know A is for Apple, B is for…I’m not sure what the song is, C is for Cat, E is for Elbow, etc. You know the letters on sight. You can count consistently to 13, though not every single time. You can even go as high as 20 if you aren’t focusing on what you’re doing and just count. It’s repetition, I know, but it’s damn impressive to me.

The other night you tried to climb onto the back of the couch and your Dad said “No Elle” and you turned around, pointed at him, and said “No, Daddy, you don’t tell me!” to which I buried my head in the pillow in immense laughter, looked at your Dad’s face (priceless!) and composed myself before ultimately reinforcing that you shouldn’t climb on the back of the couch.

You are an INCREDIBLY terrible eater. I mean, really bad. We’re not good at family dinners, but you don’t really care to eat too much. You’re very much like your Dad that way. And I REFUSE to battle on food. I feel like we have this huge focus on finishing your plate, etc. and I just think that you know when you’re hungry and you eat when you’re hungry. And you’re not a person who eats just to eat. So, you eat a lot of fruit and yogurt and vegetables, cereal, some chicken fingers or nuggets, macaroni and cheese. But you like veggies and fruit. So I don’t worry too awfully much. I know we could do it differently, but this is the way we do it.

You are funny about your ‘brudder’. This afternoon you told me that you ‘hear him’ and sometimes you tell me that you need to tickle him, which requires lifting my shirt and tickling my belly. I’ve tried to get you to sit still and feel the kicks and punches he throws, but you’re not good at sitting still for that long unless it involves Octonauts or Sherriff Callie.

I mean, you still like Doc McStuffins (you give Dad and me check ups pretty often, including some pretty vicious ‘shots’) and Sofia the First. But, Octonauts are who you talk to when you pick up the phone and Sherriff Callie is your FAVE.

Speaking of the phone, evidently the few days I was out of town for work, you began picking up the phone in your play kitchen, walking around, calling Papa Scott, and telling him that your Dad is grumpy. Which both your Dad and I think is funny. And that I think is true. He is grumpy sometimes.

You always compliment me on my jewelry. You say “I wike you eawwings mumma” or “I wike ou neckace” and then you touch it. Today, I put the necklace I was wearing on you and you said it was your amulet (like Sofia’s).

You love spending time with your Grandma and Papa’s.

Last weekend you went skating on the ice at Great Grandma Rosemary’s for the first time with Amy while she was in town and Steven. You were very good and not scared at all.
We also welcomed your first-ever baby cousin — Max — too. He’s your second cousin, but you loved him. You held him and you kissed him and then you went on your way. Hopefully that’s what it’s like when your brudder comes.

YOu went through a tough phase where you refused to take baths because you were afraid your toys would go down the drain. So you took showers with me, which has led you to talk frequently about ‘you boobies’ (my boobies). We are past the fear of the bath, but you still like showers sometimes. So, it’s a nice change of pace either way.

Well, I know it’s been a long time since I wrote one of these, but seriously, I’m tired and it’s tough keeping up around the house when you destroy it all the time!! 🙂

I continue to be amazed how smart you are, how much you seem to care about other people and how shy you can be though you don’t ever strike me as a shy person. You’re this perfect blend of personality, really. You’re just incredibly you – and because I see me in you, it makes me want to be better too. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you, my girl. I just love you so much, you just have filled me up.



Disney Trip Ahead

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we’re headed to Disney!

I knew several weeks ago that we would be heading to Orlando for work and Jon and I discussed the possibility of making it a family trip and he and Elle flying down on the Wednesday when work meetings were done and spending the balance of the week there. But, he was working on a big project that was going to be going through a shutdown and the work and hours would be too good to pass up, so we agreed that the money/hours were worth skipping the Orlando opportunity.

But, then Jon got laid off earlier than anticipated from this particular job, so I thought I’d see if I could still extend in Orlando, etc.

I started looking at rates at Disney through their website. Holy, freaking, moly. I was not anticipating costs of $500 per night. I mean, I wasn’t expecting it to be cheap but to stay in Disney I guess I just never knew what it cost. So, I asked if it was still possible to extend at the hotel where we’re going for work, the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort. And it was. And the rate is so good I’m not sure I can even brag about it. Suffice to say that I would pay more than that if I’d booked in Frankenmuth for the weekend!

Anyway, now I’m reading all sorts of blogs about toddler-friendly Disney and Orlando. The good news is that kids under 3 get into the parks for free, so it will just be $100 tickets each for Jon and I (yes, that’s how much it actually costs…who knew?!).

So, the plan is that I’ll fly out on Monday, then Jon and Elle will fly down Wednesday morning and rent a car and drive to the hotel (did you know that the shuttle service from the airport to the hotel is $100 every time you take it. Orrrrr…we can rent a car at $50 per day and have a car at our disposal for the same cost. So yeah, Jon will be renting a car. I’m planning on packing all the warmer weather stuff with me to take down there, that way Jon will have less to cart around with him. That way he’ll bring a carry on and Elle’s car seat and should be good to go. I’m honestly very, very nervous about Jon flying with Elle on his own. Not so much him with her, because he’s awesome with her. But more about the logistics of all the things he’ll need to be able to manage all at once…making sure he remembers all the stuff (I’ve made lists to remember to remind him of…) and that he doesn’t lose track of her in the airport while trying to keep track of whatever else he might have…her freaking out on the plane…not even sure all the things I’m anxious about. I’m sure it’ll be fine, but I just want it to be a great vacation and want his trip down with just her to be seamless. Wish that her first time on an airplane wasn’t going to be without both parents, but…it is what it is. It’s a way for us – who rarely take trips – to actually take a trip. So, I’m going to look forward to it.

The challenge is that I’m out of town this weekend for work for the entire weekend and will likely end up having to work next Saturday so that I can be gone for vacation for the few days and not have to work that weekend…so, I have a very, very limited window of time within which to find summer clothes for Elle, for pregnant me, to make sure Jon’s stuff is ok. I’m sure it is…he’s going to be the easiest one in this whole thing.

So, anyway, we’re working on it. I think we’ll go to Magic Kingdom one day, hang out around the hotel one day, maybe drive to Legoland if we’re feeling up for it, or maybe we’ll go to Universal. I’ve read some interesting things about Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but the only thing with that is that the only super toddler-oriented thing that I know Elle would love is the Disney Junior stuff. Not sure. I’m going to get a better plan together in the coming days, but what a thing, to have something fun to look forward to!

A Little Bit of Elle: January 2014

Over the first few days of 2014, I’ve done a much better job of capturing a few photos of Elle.
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Here, she’s playing ‘phone’ with a decorative phone I got from my Aunt Jenny, who grabbed it up at a garage sale in Clear Lakes years ago.


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And from today, after school ,watching a little Disney Junior and playing hide and seek in the family room.
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Elle Gets Her Hairs Cut

Well, I promised to be a better blogger.

And to do more photos.

I’ve been taking photos more daily, to attempt to make good on my goal. However, when I downloaded pictures from my fancy camera today, I realized that I had a TON that I hadn’t captured on the blog and I really want to, if only because it is Elle’s only baby book.

So, here we were in November on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

We took her to my stylist, Shannon. And Shannon gifted Elle a Blow-Pop, which she obviously wasn’t entirely sure how to do at first…she also was not wild about sitting by herself, so she’s sitting on my lap instead.

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DSC_0528 Isn’t the finished product just too cute for words?

New Year’s Resolution 2014: Be a Better Blogger

No kidding.

I actually thought long and hard about this one. (No, really, I did).

I took great pleasure in cataloging my pregnancy with Elle and her first year, and then the last 12 months have just been an ‘eehhhh’ year in blogging. Just take a look at the number of posts per month for the last 12 months (if I don’t make a rash decision and change the look of my blog tonight, you can see this on the right side of your screen).

So, I’ve resolved to be a better blogger. More consistent. I’ll shoot for 10 posts per month, which SHOULD be conservative but is probably and simply realistic for me and my life.

I’m going to figure out how to incorporate pictures easier (if anyone reading this is a fellow blogger, what’s the easiest way to do this – I feel like downloading/uploading photos constantly can’t be the only way – there HAS to be some handy app for that right?).

And I’m going to try to find a theme I like. I looked at shuffling pages around, at potentially finding a new blog name. But, I think The Baby Brain works. For now. But in the long run? I have a DBA of “Candy Tree Productions” that goes back to a candy tree that my Grandpa shook for me. I guess you could call it a summertime Santa Claus story, but it’s one of the defining memories of my childhood. Maybe naming the blog “Under the Candy Tree” or something? What do you think? Suggestions?

Here’s the logo that I had worked up for the business:




What’d you think? I like it – but I’m not sure how I can use it and keep the blog name the same. I know there’s a gad-zillion ways to do it. I just haven’t settled on what way that will be. Yet.

In other news, Jon, Elle and I rang in the New Year by going to bed at 9 p.m. Sick and wrong and lovely all at once.

In full disclosure, Elle still gets a bottle (yikes, it hurts even writing that) at night, to go to bed. And she only wants a bottle. I was SO close at nine months old and at 18 months old to getting rid of the bottle from our life. However, more realistic heads prevailed and I figured my kid wouldn’t go to college drinking out of a bottle (at least not a baby bottle!) so I stopped letting it be something I tried to battle. Anyway, we were out of a) milk and b) bottles at 1:30 a.m. But guess who was awake? Our girl Elle. So, Jon went to the corner store for gas, I washed a bottle and we wished each other Happy New Year before rolling back over, getting kicked in the back by our toddler, and drifting off to sleep. Oh, the life!

I think that it’s likely that someday, in the relatively near future, we might learn to have fun again. But for now, we’re both working a lot, and tired, and going to bed at 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve is probably – actually – one of the better New Year’s Eve’s I’ve ever had. As my cousin Matt has always called it, New Year’s Eve is ‘amateur hour’.

ANYWAY – I really veered off path there but at least got a little info in on our NYE.

The goal for the year is to be a better blogger. Here’s to hoping! 🙂









“Well, What Are You?”

The other night, on the night that the cable and Internet were out (we didn’t lose power like so many other people over the Christmas holiday) Jon, Elle and I played running around the house and tickling and hide and seek.

It was impromptu and fun.

In the midst of the tickle game on the couch, I asked Elle, who had been saying “I goosy [goofy]” for a few days if she was goosy.


“Are you silly then?” I ask.


“Well, what are you?”

“I happy.”

And with that she was off, running over the couch, launching over the end of the arm rest and onto the floor.

Melt. My. Heart.

OMG, The Tantrums!

Elle is normally a great girl. She really is. She’s mainly happy and funny and fun to be around.

But today.

Oh today.

It started last night. I had euchre league (yes, there really is such a thing) so Jon was on nighttime routine duty. However, by using the word ‘routine’ I need you to think of it more like we typically try to get Elle in pajamas and into bed before us. That’s about all the routine we have at this stage of the game.

But, he was on duty.

I got home at 10 p.m. to Elle and Jon in our bed, her watching iPad and Jon watching the backs of his eyelids. Sherriff Callie’s Wild Wild West just doesn’t do it for Jon I guess.

I suggested that I put her to bed, since it was WAAAAY past her bedtime. Jon says ‘no, she’ll fall asleep’.

Against my better judgement, I gave in.

Get this – Elle has NEVER been a kid who will just fall asleep on your shoulder. She doesn’t get wiped out. She goes and goes and parties and parties until she begins to get slightly cranky (maybe) but most of the time, she is just fine to keep going. Until you take her out of the action (in this case, Disney Junior) and into her room and into bed.

So, I was fighting with Minted about our holiday card order and was tracking some other online purchases for the holidays. I was writing a blog post. And then, I was listening to our two year old talking back to her iPad.

It was 11 o’clock.

I sprang from my chair and took the next 20-30 minutes to get her to sleep. Ugh.

And I knew this morning would be bad. But it was worse even than I could have imagined.

There was kicking and screaming and hyper-ventilating crying. I got a new diaper on her before she opened her eyes, so that was easy. I got new pants on before she knew what was going on. I managed to strong arm my way into getting a new shirt on her (she still HATES changing clothes the way she has since the day she was born). And that was about it. No hair brushed, no teeth brushed. Because all she would say is ‘no no nononononononono’. Then there was trying to get shoes, a hat, mittens, a coat on her and out the door. I just willed it to be. It was not pretty. And we got to school on time. But then, she broke down when I tried to leave her at school.

So, it was a rough morning. Walking into my office, I thought ‘ok, choose your attitude now because this morning has no bearing on your co-workers’. Ugh. That’s a new conversation with myself.

My toddler ruined my morning, well before 8:30 a.m.

Ultimately, when I picked her up tonight at day care they said she’d had a great day (I was shocked!). That she had napped really well (unusual for her, but not surprising given the circumstances) and that she was the only girl with a bunch of boys today and had loved it and even taken one on the cheek (had to sign off on the form as a result).

My Dad has texted me on my way to pick Elle up that we could come there for dinner. Jon wasn’t home from work yet, I had no plans for dinner and taking the threat of cooking something out of my brain function was appreciated.

And then – after dinner – Elle did the SAME act as she’d done this morning. Only this time, there were witnesses. Grandma and Papa and they were trying very hard to get her to be her normal happy-go-lucky gal. And it was NOT happening for any of us. Finally I just told them to get out of my way and I was going to win.



In other news, by the time we got the nine houses to our house, she was still freaking out. She wanted her Dad, she wanted her Mumma, she wanted her Grandma and her Papa. I decided she wanted a new diaper, pj’s and bed. And that’s what she got. And that’s where she is now – two hours into what I HOPE will be a great night of sleep for us all.



Dear Elle: You’re Two

Dear Elle,

It’s your birthday, today. Your second birthday. At the same time I can’t believe you’re two already and I can’t believe it’s only been two years since you started our family.

We celebrated your birthday Saturday with family and a few close friends. Drew and Josi came over, the only two small humans at the party and that was perfect. After the chaos of last year’s first birthday extravaganza, I kept it low key and simple. Your Dad is working out of town all but one day a week, so keeping life as simple as possible is important right now. And you enjoyed your party. Mom and Dad got you an inside trampoline, you got lots of SUPER cute clothes, and lots of Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins toys. Absolutely a great day for you. The weather was beautiful and the day was filled with all things toddler tailgate. You and Drew and Josi played so well together. I’m so glad you guys have been buddies since day one.

Anyway, over the last year you have grown into a very opinionated little gal. You know what you want, when you want it. You are all things two. You know all your colors. You love your Papa and Gamma’s. You are just funny. You just crack me up.

You spent the majority of the summer attempting to push your pink Little Tikes car down the cart paths to the water jug on 12 tee. You love to throw rocks in the pond and watch the splash. You are obsessed with babies, very much so. The pictures on the wall at school, babies in real life. You just LOVE babies.

You love to dance and sing. Your little hips shake, your love dance parties on Mom and Dad’s bed, jumping up and down to whatever’s on the Top 40 channel.

You like to play hide and seek…only it’s really just you hiding in the closet in your bedroom.

I believe that you have imaginary friends, but I can’t prove it yet. Or maybe you just talk constantly. Whatever it is, you have a lot to say to anyone who will listen.

This year you wore a pretty dress and watched Mom and Dad get married, in April. Then you were a flower girl in Aunt Jen and Uncle Rick’s wedding in September.

We spent some time upnorth at Clear Lake with Drew and Josi, which was a ton of fun. We had a cousin’s party in August and you were an awful lot of fun then too.

You have learned to say “Go Blue” (it sounds like Go Bwoo) any time there is football on the TV. It doesn’t matter if it’s Michigan or not, it’s always Go Bwoo. And hockey is the same idea – Go Wed Wings is the yell if any hockey comes on the TV.

You love ‘poopah ipad’ which translates as Purple iPad. My iPad is in a pink case and yours is in a purple case. You know that the poopah iPad is yours. It’s sad, but often the first thing you ask for in the morning is poopah iPad.

You also love Sofia the First, Henry Hugglemonster, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, OSO Special Agent, Rollie Pollie Olie and Cat in the Hat, Martha Speaks, Sesame Street and more.

You know lots of birds from spending time with Gamma Karen. You say Chicadee, Cardinal, Bluebird, Hummingbird, Robin. You love birds.

Coloring is also a big deal thing for you. You aren’t that great at keeping the artwork only on paper, but you try. And who can deny you crayons?!

You still spend one day a week with Gamma Wendy and one day a week with Gamma Karen. And three days a week at school. It’s a perfect setup.

Anyway, you’re just great.

It makes me sentimental when I see you stretch in the morning and the bend in your back, the way your belly is stretched out, it reminds me of you as a newborn.

Your little belly laugh is the best sound in the world. And that twinkle in your eye – I just love you.

So, girlie girl, you’re two today. I can’t believe it and I’m so very proud of you.

Mumma sure loves you.



In Need of a Word Vomit

I’ve missed my blog.

But it’s the one thing that I’ve allowed to fall by the wayside because I simply have over-extended myself.

I firmly believe (because I don’t have a religion) that the reasons you get married BEFORE you have kids is so that A) it is the absolute easiest to look your best (I mean, seriously, WHERE does the time to work out come from with a toddler, a full-time job and a need for social interaction?) and B) you can do NOTHING productive while a toddler is awake and in your house and move that task forward. Like, you could TRY to unload the dishwasher, but mainly someone with sticky fingers is going to ‘help’ you and then tear apart the bottom rack of the dishwasher and put it in her Minnie Mouse shopping cart or her baby jogging stroller and it’ll end up in the master bathroom. I mean, not that that happens every night…

Kind of like when I got in the shower this morning there was definitely NOT a Mountain Dew bottle in the shower.

It’s not that Jon or I is really craving the Dew while we shower…it’s simply that the shower in our bedroom is one of Elle’s go-to places to a) play or b) poop. And she’s a pack rat. She puts all sorts of things (summer sausage, beer nuts, dirty socks, sticker books, baby dolls) into her shopping cart or stroller and pushes it around the house. And sometimes Mountain Dew. And then puts it in the shower.

I’ve told you, she has her own sense of how the world should be organized.

Anyway, wedding planning takes up A LOT of time. And I like planning things, but there are reasons (which I’m not going to get into quite yet) why it’s been a buggar to plan this wedding. But, it’s going to be awesome. Can. Not. Wait. I love the vows we’ve chosen. I’m feeling good about the photographer. I love my dress and the accessories that go with it. Nearly all the people I love and hold dearly in this world will be celebrating with us.

Going to be awesome!

And then, there’s the Board position at the country club. It takes up a LOT of time. a LOT. But, it’s moving in the right direction. I’m so, so hopeful about the direction that the Board is taking the Club. We’ll see where it goes, but it does take up any extra time I might have.

I got a new title at work, which means that I’m now the Director of Marketing & Business Development. Which sounds ROCK STAR FAB. And it is. But it also means that I kind of have less time to get things done. My job didn’t change, but some of the descriptions of things I’m supposed to do (like, walk the 100 acre property at least once each day!). The walking every day has been great for my hips, and I love NOT sitting at a desk.

I went to the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism this week. Talk about things looking up. I’m always inspired by Pure Michigan and the things going on in the world of tourism, but Michigan is definitely the creme de la creme. For sure. And the conference was just the re-energizing thing I need.

Not to mention that as soon as the wedding is complete, I have the following Monday off work, then Tuesday I’m in the office, then Wednesday go to Novi to set up for the Novi International Women’s Expo, then work the Expo on Thursday and Friday (well, some of the day Friday). Then host a big event at the Club on Friday night. And then…enjoy the weekend off before flying to PHOENIX for a week the following week.

THEN, I’m going to cold-turkey cut bottles off for Elle.

Yes, she still gets a bottle. Don’t judge. She likes it. And it’s been easy and it, along with my blog, is one more thing I’ve allowed to not be a priority. And I’m okay with that.

My Aunt Lori has been battling multiple myeloma for several years now. The battle is getting harder these days. I watched my Grandma battle the same disease. I hate this. Cancer sucks.


Anyway, I needed to word vomit. Now I’m going to write a letter to Elle, to attempt to not lose sight of those. I like those letters.