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! 


Ebb & Flow

Sometimes I feel like I capture the good stuff in the blog – at least recently – so since this is kind of my only way of looking back on what’s gone on in our lives, I wanted to be honest.


Jon and I have been at it – it being each other’s throats – which lasted a full week, about a week ago.


It was the culmination of my work schedule being Ca-razy busy and Jon working 16 hours+ overnight at the windmill farm in Munger/Reese. And my being essentially a single parent during that time, with Elle sleeping like poo and work demands heightened, not to mention trying to keep a house or a home in some semblance or order. I think I didn’t even trim my toenails for the four week stretch where everything descended into chaos.


And then, his work was over and he was laid off, and my work was still uber-busy with the Black Friday nutties out to shop. And he was tired and trying to ‘catch up’ on sleep or get back on some sort of schedule.


And finally, after two solid days of not talking, then two solid days of me yammering, nagging, yelling, Jon (in his Forever Lazy…I can’t even begin to describe how when you are really pissed at someone, how much it just makes it even worse when said grown adult is wearing a DAMN FOREVER LAZY) took to walking around, as I followed him trying to have. it. out. And he walked himself right into our bedroom.


Silly man.


He was cornered. I actually thought he might open the slider and head out onto the deck in the snow and jump to the patio below. Or lock himself in the bathroom.


And I think I was scaring him.


As well I should have been. I was fed up and tired of feeling like I was the only one putting effort into the house, the home, the parenting, the relationship.


So, we talked it out.


And the talking brought out my question


“Do you feel like you’ve even been pulling your weight around here lately?”


And then, finally…




Ahhhhh…that felt good. It wasn’t going to be like that forever, with me running ragged and Jon just enjoying clean underwear and jeans daily, as I battled the mountains of laundry, dusting and general cleaning (a lot of which went, frankly, undone by me too).


I will say this: next time, I’m just cornering him in a room he can’t get out of as that seemed to work really well.


Anyway – I just wanted to say that relationships are hard work. They should say that in books. It’s not just that there are ups and downs — they are actual hard work. I mean, don’t get me wrong, days like the last few are AWESOME and I wouldn’t trade my days with Jon and Elle for anything. But days like those when Jon milled about in his damn Forever Lazy (and it’s bright freaking blue, too) and did NOTHING to help out – from daycare drop off to taking out the garbage, to folding laundry, to changing the f-ing roll of toilet paper – those days are challenging.


So, I want to capture that here – so that I can remember when it ebbs again, that it will quickly ‘flow’ again too.


It’s the ebb and flow of relationships. So long as it flows far more than it ebbs…I’m good.


My First-Ever Call to Poison Control

It was rivalry week – Michigan vs. Michigan State football on the schedule this afternoon.
We were invited to a party at a friends house. We headed over a little early. Elle was great, in her Michigan cheerleader gear. As I continue to forget, it’s challenging to have a toddler when no one else at the party does – their kids are either a little older or younger. Which means, you’re at an un-baby-proofed house. And it’s a buggar. I opted to head home (about 2 1/2 miles) with Elle for a nap and some down time – which was exactly what she needed. A 2 1/2 hour nap later, she slept through the game where the Victors Hailed…and we went back to the party to pick Jon up a little while after.


She was in good spirits, all was well.


We hung out for a little while longer, but then opted to head home. Elle was still in a good mood and while it was after her normal bedtime, she had just slept from 4:30-7, so I was feeling a little bit adventurous. She couldn’t go to bed too early (as I type this, she’s screaming from her bedroom). Anywho…


I was checking my facebook or twitter, or something equally as inconsequential and Jon was playing Borderlands or something like that on the stupid Xbox.


And Elle disappeared around the corner. Not unusual, she normally makes the loop from living room to dining room to kitchen, to kitchen dining room, back to living room.


Except it got quiet.


Too quiet.


So I sped into the kitchen around the corner, and there she was…playing under the sink. In my head, I dreaded seeing the garbage laid out across the kitchen floor.


Instead, she’s in the dishwasher detergent box – the Cascade Action Packs – and I calmly freak out, yell for Jon. Say the f-word a few times. There is a large chunk bitten out of the crystals-side of the action pack. F— F— F—, I say. At least once.


I read the back of the box.


Keep Out of Reach of Children.


Well, that ship sailed.


If swallowed or in mouth, drink one glass of water and call a Poison Control Center (their capitalization, not mine) or a doctor IMMEDIATELY.


Jon’s reaction this entire time is to pause his video game, come look at what I’m freaking about and say “oh, she’ll be fine”.


I force her to drink a cup of water, no lid, no sippy, just right out of the cup, down the front of her pj’s. More water, more water, not enough water. I try to Google Poison Control on my phone, but it’s taking a long time. Too long.


I run here, to my trusty computer, and Google Poison Control.


And I dial.


And Jon has un-paused his video games.


I am calm, and yet running through various scenarios in my head, in fact dreading that the Poison Control guy is going to say we need to head to the E.R., STAT…


It wasn’t nearly so dramatic.


I have to say, my Poison Control experience was great.


The guy who answered the phone asked for the child’s first name so he could refer to her by name, asked what she had gotten into, asked about her reaction and how she was acting, how long ago it happened, etc. I give all this information. He reassures me that, based on what I’ve told him and that it was a small amount, it’s not anything to worry about at all, but he’s just going to double check.


He puts me on hold, and I’m glad that he reassured me before putting me on hold. I told him the directions I’d followed from the back of the box and he was great.


Jon, on the other hand, was still playing video games.


The P.C. man comes back from having me on hold, and tells me that Cascade has about 45 different products that are some type of action pack, so he locates the one that I have and assures me that there is nothing to worry about if she’s not acting strange.


While he’s telling me this, Elle is coming at my face for big, slobbery kisses. Nope, she’s fine, I sa.


I think I scared her, honestly. Well, she scared me, too.


I laugh and tell the P.C. man that she’s giving me kisses, etc.


He asks for some more information from me (probably so they can report me to CPS or something…bad Mom of the year award, you know).


I was glad of his help.


And then he said they were doing a survey, and would I answer two questions.




#1: Does the child have insurance?
(I answered yes, so…)

#2: What kind?
(I give my answer…)


The questions bothered me and got me thinking…why does it matter? I hope they’re using that information for good, to help more people, rather than proving that it’s not needed and taking Poison Control away…I digress.


And we hung up and I made Elle a bottle (after bitching at Jon that he continued to play his video game and couldn’t pause it for the additional seven minutes I would have required his support….I could just scream at the damn Xbox and him…).


I was mainly mad at myself, because I had the Cascade where it was, because the childproof lock-thing we have on the door is cumbersome, so I didn’t re-latch it the last time and because I’d known it was too-quiet and didn’t react in time.


As I rocked her to sleep (and battled her crying episodes twice through trying to write this post), I just felt like I wanted to become more of a hover-mother, to avoid this aftermath, but I don’t REALLY.


I feel like sometimes my level of laid-back-ness with Elle gets me – and will continue to get me into – trouble.




What to do?


Lock up all foreign substances. Monitor her more closely?? I don’t know. I don’t know. But for a 10 minute stretch this evening, I didn’t like at all where my parenting style got me. Not at all.


We’ve survived, however. Elle wasn’t suds-ing at the mouth and fought sleep in her usual ways. Jon’s playing video games and avoiding the topic at all and I’m going round and round in my mind and in this blog about what I need to change for this to never happen again.


So, there’s my first-ever call to poison control. Here’s to hoping it’s my last!

The #$!@# Backyard: An Update

Yesterday, Jon’s Mom, Karen, said that this weekend was the weekend to work on the pond. We’re hosting a big birthday party at our house next weekend and it’s time to get the thing finished. So, I took her up on her offer. She had a plan, and I was willing to make her plan work.

(NOTE: I know, I know – I haven’t written much lately. That’s not because I don’t have TONS of things to share and thoughts racing through my mind…it has more to do with the complexity of motherhood, womanhood, friendships, volunteer and civic involvement and the melding of all those things…I promise to write more).


So, this is the photo of where things stood at 1 p.m. this afternoon. Notice again that the pond, the bottom level is relatively cleaned up (though at this point growing algae since I last touched it so long ago). Also notice the nice border and color around the patio. That’s my handy work!

Karen even recruited Big John (Jon’s Dad) and her sister Selena to help in the pond, too. And then Selena recruited their other sister Carla to help. I can’t even TELL you how great of a help it was. Work that would have taken me the whole day, Selena and I got done in about 12 minutes together. I was absolutely amazed at how Karen and Selena were willing to literally get dirty to help get this pond in shape (we were all a muddy mess).

Here’s another picture as I headed out to get ready to clean up the pond. I just want to really point out the top level of the pond at this point — filled with cattails where are both rotten (those are the ones that look dead/brown) and sprouting new and growing MORE roots (the green stuff). From this angle you can’t even see how beautiful the yellow iris are. Seriously, incredible.


Here’s from the other angle, Selena hard at work in the pond, Karen taking a very quick (and deserved water break). The three of us spent HOURS in that upper level of the pond today.

Another shot of Selena – and the iris – around the pond. Big John took away three loads of CRAP out of this pond, with his tractor, for us.


And here is the closer-to-finished product.

Again, let me remind you:



In summary – THANK YOU to Karen, John, Selena and Carla for all their help today. Would not have this thing NEARLY DONE if it weren’t for you! We have the best families, I swear!

Mother’s Day & Food Poisoning, Those Go Together, Right?

Mother’s Day 2012, my first as Elle’s Mom.

Was looking forward to getting nine holes in, to planting some flowers in the yard, working in the pond for awhile, cleaning out the garage, doing some laundry and just catching up on our lives, while spending time together.

That was what I honestly wanted to do on Mother’s Day, silly as it may sound.

We had been invited to my Aunt Linda’s house about an hours drive away but when I drive lots of hours to be able to work each week, driving again for fun just doesn’t sound, well, fun.

So, we turned down that invitation and I was really, really looking forward to doing just what I wanted to do for the day.

Only, Saturday afternoon Jon met me at the high school where I was announcing (in the rainy weather) a Mustang Challenge race in conjunction with the Healthy Community fair. We walked through the high school and decided to grab a quick lunch at the local bar.

I was excited to order my favorite chicken quesadilla — but after it took nearly an hour and a half to get our food, I was annoyed. And when the food came, it wasn’t made right at all. The peppers and onions were still crunchy and the spray that they use on the griddle/grill was overwhelming on the outside of the tortillas. And then, there was the salsa and sour cream. The sour cream was smooth – not like it was terribly cold, in hindsight – and I used it anyway. Because it tasted so not good, I needed condiments for sure.

So, that was at 3:30 when we finished our food. Came home and about 7 or 8 I said to Jon ‘That Nite Cap food sure isn’t sitting right with me” and I made myself a bowl of yogurt and granola to try to bland my stomach up.

No dice.

I even poured myself a glass of wine, but one sip into it and I couldn’t stomach it either.

By 10 p.m., I was breathing heavy and couldn’t handle it. And that’s when it started…the, you know, the vomiting.

And over the course of the next twelve hours, it happened about four more times. My Dad brought over some Pepto, which I took gladly, and then that just made me more sick.

So, my Mom stopped by at about 9 a.m. with Vernors (and warmed some up for me), water, gatorade, Mrs. Grass soup, Coconut water, Saltines, etc.

I slept in blocks of two hour stretches looking out the window at how nice it was. Finally, at 4, I called Jon and he and Elle were at my Mom and Dad’s. He came and picked me up at home and I proceeded to lazy around at my parents house. I ate a few Saltine’s bit by bit and tried to get more water in me. My Mom made some Mrs. Grass soup for me, and that actually tasted alright, though a bit salty.

My Dad had started dinner, so I felt obligated to take some bites, which I did of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and some chicken. And it seemed to be alright. We went to Jon’s parents later to drop off gifts (Jon’s Mom is sick with the flu) and I fell asleep on the couch, so we headed home where I fell asleep on our couch.

And at 10 p.m., I woke up to rid my body of any sustenance I’d put in earlier in the day. Slept on the couch until about 5 a.m., when I went and laid in bed for a little while until elle woke up at 7.

Jon got me a great patio heater for Mother’s Day (which I’ve been wanting) and an umbrella base, which we needed desperately. It was set to be a great day, but the damn food at the Nite Cap did me in. And it pisses me off.

I feel like I should get a do-over or something.

Anyway, Mother’s Day and Food Poisoning do not go together, for the record.

In General, Today

Just a few thoughts top of head…

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. I was not here on the actual day to celebrate with Elle, but…such is my life right now. However, I got home today and started going through Elle’s lunchpail (it’s the thermal tote from thirtyone with her name on it, a gift from Molly). There’s a whole little white lunch sack folded up in the bottom of her lunchpail and I realize: IT CONTAINS VALENTINE’S.


I saw the signs at the daycare when I was dropping off/picking up in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. I even thought ‘that’s nice that they do that for the bigger kids’ and went on my way. I got Valentine’s Day cards printed and mailed them (real mail!) to her friends and relatives. But I did NOT purchase the cliche box of Valentine’s and give them to the kids in the infant room.

So, I’ve been trying to decide if I feel like an asshole mother for not doing this. Will the other mothers judge me that their kid didn’t get the same amount of Valentine’s as they gave? Will their kid even know the freaking difference?! I guess I felt that I really was ahead of the game by sending out real live Valentine’s early…and then I return from the road today and just feel like a giganto-turd-Mom.

Oh well.

There’s always next year, I suppose.


I kid you not – I began thinking of things to do for Elle’s first birthday party (mark your calendars friends and family, October 13, 2012 is right around the corner). [Elle’s birthday is definitely the 14th, but I already evaluated dates and the 13th is it].



And then I tried to minimize my own judgement on myself by thinking ‘well, if I decide on a theme NOW I can pick up items on sale/clearance as I find them’. Which sounds good IN THEORY but I’m not a huge bargain shopper and have a tendency to change my mind. So it’s much more likely that I’ll just wind up with party decor for three different first birthday parties.

I even went so far as to Google the football schedules for Michigan/Michigan State to see if Elle’s birthday could have a football rivalry theme (nope – Michigan play Illinois; Michigan State plays Iowa).


I get to meet Holden this weekend (I’m hoping!). A fresh, new, cuddly little guy. So excited to meet him!


Last night, my Mom was watching Elle because Jon had a meeting to go to. Jon had called my Mom earlier in the week to coordinate this plan – which I was so proud/glad that he had done.

I called my Mom earlier in the day while she was still at work and asked her if she would call me later, when she was with Elle, so I could talk to Elle before she went to bed.

My Mom called me on her way home from work to catch up and say she was on her way to see Elle (who was with my Dad and Grandma) and have dinner. I asked her again to call me later on and she says she will.

I watch the clock. It’s 7 p.m. so I go to the gym at the hotel. I get in a 30 minute work out and figure that I’ll hear from my Mom any time. I wait. I text ‘hey don’t forget to call me and let me talk to elle’.


I think, well, they did go to my Grandma’s for dinner, so they must just be hanging out…can’t believe that Elle’s not cranky for them.

Finally, at 9 p.m. (which is about an hour after Elle’s bedtime) I call my Mom.

She reports that Elle got a bath, got her medicine, is sleeping soundly…and I’m in tears on the other end of the phone, in a Homewood Suites in Indianapolis, hundreds of miles from my baby for the second night in a row.

I finally manage to collect myself enough to remind my Mom that she was supposed to call me and let me talk to Elle.


She had TOTALLY forgotten.

I made my Mom feel bad (which was not the point, but it did make me feel better since I felt so rotten, at least I had someone else in the rotten trenches with me…) but I was so disappointed.

It’s SO FREAKING HARD to be away on all these over nights. I need to find a job that doesn’t require me to travel each week; find a way to be home, develop a consistent schedule for our family. But, I also need to pay the bills and this is the way. This is what it is. I have to do it. And it SUCKS friends. It totally SUCKS. I cry every night when I’m gone. I cry as soon as I get home and see my happy, smiling girl.

I forget that it’s only been about five weeks since I returned to work and I’m still working out exactly how this will play out…but it’s hard to be optimistic when I’m spending SO MUCH time away from my girl.

And then, you read those dumb baby websites and the emails you sign up for from them and they’re talking about perhaps the best way to celebrate your baby’s first birthday is with your FIRST OVERNIGHT away from your child.


If only.

If only.


That’s all – good night.

Day In The Life: February 2012

The “Day in the Life” project is hosted quarterly by Navigating the Mothership. I think you should check out her blog – I enjoy following her! The Day in the Life’s are cool to read and they seem to grow each time they’re hosted. Can’t wait to see what this winter’s holds.

If you’re interested, check out the Mothership blog and see if you’re up for it.

If you want to see what mine looked like when I did it the first time, here’s mine from October 2011, one week before Elle came to our world.

And without further ado, here’s mine for Winter 2012.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

6:56 a.m.: Elle’s awake. Time to get medicine, a bottle and the like going for the day. (Let it be said that Jon took the middle of the night dining event, so that wasn’t a part of my day).
7:00 a.m.: Here I don’t have enough hands to make the bottle, get the medicine and the whatnot going – so Elle takes refuge on the floor of the kitchen. And no, the floor is NOT clean. Whatev’s.
I choose the Avent bottle over the Playtex Ventaire bottles for no particular reason, other than the Avent’s are clean and the Playtex are all used and need washed.

Here’s Elle (still laying on the floor) getting her medicine. It’s propanalol for her hemangioma and it’s working wonders. She gets this dosage three times each day.
Elle loves her medicine AND the mornings. Here’s our happy girl!

7:03 a.m.: Bottle made and medicine administered, it’s back to Elle’s room to photograph the evidence as well as change a diaper.
The blanket made its way to the floor in the middle of the night, and I had to use the flash to shoot this photo because it’s still so dark out.

7:13 a.m. : Here are Jon (gray sweatshirt on the left), Elle and I laying in bed as Elle eats breakfast. Let me add the disclaimer that MANY of the photos you’ll see of me are unfortunate looking…but whatever, this is my life.

7:17 a.m. : This is what I find in the living room upon my entrance this morning…the remnants of Jon’s Call of Duty Modern Warfare festival last night. In other words…a bean bag chair and the boppy on Elle’s blanket, in front of the tv. Glad that the boppy has found good use – holding up Jon’s rear for marathon COD events.

Just another view of Jon’s setup for COD playing.

Playing with her feet – a new trick of Elle’s! The blanket was made by my grandma’s sister in law, my Aunt Julie.

Realize that my camera time and actual time are off by several minutes. Take this photo to be able to calibrate the timing for my Day in the Life blog.

7:18 a.m.: NEED COFFEE. Dunkin Donuts Hazelnut is my absolute favorite these days. One scoop per two cups for this gal…does that make it weak? I don’t know if it does or doesn’t, but it sure makes it taste good.

For the record, I realize after I take this photo that the clock on my coffee maker is horribly wrong, so I set out to fix it. I thought it was going to be one of those awful things…but turns out, I just had to push ‘hour’ until it came back to 7 a.m. and I was done. TOO EASY.
7:24 a.m.: I notice this stack of ‘stuff’ in the kitchen next to my dying Peace Lily. The pile includes anything out of the dishwasher that Jon didn’t know where it went. A cutting board and a decorative appetizer plate. Put those away…

Speaking of, I decide to try to figure out why the lily is dying. Because it’s really pitiful.

Over-watering seems to be the culprit. I dump the water out from the container and jot a mental note to stop watering the thing. Realize that I haven’t watered the poinsettias by the front door in over a month, but they’re still doing alright so I don’t worry about it. I’m hoping they die anyway.

7:28 a.m.: As mentioned in a previous post here, I recognize that my kitchen counters really need to be wiped down, so I grab my favorite stuff (which I can no longer find at the Dollar Tree) and begin cleaning the countertops. LA’s Totally Awesome, Lavender.

Were you wondering where Elle was this entire time? Me too. No, kidding, but she was back in bed with Jon for some quality snuggle time, which allowed me the time to clean the counters and get ready for the race.

More to come on that whole race thing…

Evidence that I fixed the clock, at 7:43 a.m.

And, with that the coffee is FINALLY ready.

I grab my favorite cup, so that it can make it into “Day in the Life” blog. It says “Peace Also Takes Courage”. The coffee tastes better out of this particular mug.

Notice the spilled coffee spot on the counter…I hadn’t gotten around to that side of the kitchen with my Totally Awesome yet, but I did manage to do it after the photo.

As I’m now snapping pictures, I realize that the scene with Elle’s bottles and mine (mine are the ones with wine in them) is kind of a neat (weird) photo, so I capture it. Also, I really wanted you to see how cool that compass thing looks on the wall of my kitchen. Honestly, that’s really why I took the picture. It was a Pier One purchase, but it’s supposed to be an outside decor thing, but I loved it for my kitchen. So there.

8:53 a.m.: Text back and forth with Molly after turning on Good Morning America and the local weather. Turns out, that after the weirdest winter ever where it was like living in the Carolinas or something, winter had finally come to mid-Michigan. It was seven degrees with a wind chill of -12 (so it felt like 12 below for anyone who doesn’t understand wind chill). Molly and I had been planning to run the Sweetheart 5K in Flushing all week, but the weather seemed to be a big road block for me. But, I’d said since the first of the year I was going to run this race. So, I text Molly to see if she wants to back out.

No, she says, reminding me of Rocky with her reference to Eye of the Tiger. She’s in if I’m in.

Ok, crap, I’m in. This is gonna be cold.

Yes, it’s going to be cold. I gather my cold weather gear, including long johns and Dri Fit shirt. That was layer number one. To prove it, I took a picture. I apologize for the body…but…it’s what I’m working with!

8:05 a.m.

Molly is picking me up at 8:45ish. Race registration opens at 9 a.m. and the race begins at 10 a.m. For the record, I printed off the registration form and began to fill it out. Except, I realized only too late that I had written my last name and Molly’s first name onto the form. I swear. So, ripped it in half and threw it away. Only to realize that the directions on how to get to the school were on the sheet. So, I dug through the trash and set my mistake paper into the bag to take with.

8:18 a.m.

Jon and Elle are in bed, and she’s awake, waiting for him to wake up. We hang out in our room just taking photos for my blog and talking about the day. I tell Jon he can always run Elle to my Mom and Dad’s if he wants to get started painting our room, or if he needs to get the driveway cleared of last night’s snow.

This is for photographic proof that I do exist and hold my baby…but since I’m the one that typically takes photos, I have to force others to capture the moment with me and our girl.

Jon’s enthusiasm for my blog and being awake is short-lived.

8:25 a.m.

I’m set and ready to go with more layers to add on waiting at the stairs for Molly’s arrival.

Waiting for Molly to arrive…

Elle and Jon, watching morning cartoons!

Here, a photo of my Valentine’s gift from Jon’s Mom, Karen. She loves orchids and got me own of my very own that I swear I’m not going to make look like the peace lily.

8:45ish: Molly arrives and picks me up. I grab a couple of bottles of water on the way out the door.

9:25 a.m.: Arrive at Flushing Central Elementary. Here’s Molly’s pre-race look.

9:45 a.m.: 15 minutes til race time, I’m just snapping pictures to post to my Day in the Life. Here we are in the elementary school gym. It was pretty well-attended for a race that faced down sub-freezing temps.

9:59 a.m.: One minute til race time. Here’s the crowd amassing for the start of the race.

Here are Molly and I. Again, an unfortunate look about me, but whatever. This is what I looked like for the race. It was cold, so I was certainly not about to make this a beauty contest!

For the record, I did put on eyeliner and a bit of foundation just to try to make myself look a bit better.

10:28 a.m.: Not sure where I was on the race course, but here’s what my run generally looked like. Like running in sand, the snow sucked to run in, but I kept pushing. Not like I didn’t stop and walk, but I felt good that I did it at all. All I wanted to do was finish, and I did that and in a semi-respectable time!

There was one couple who I ended up keeping pace with the whole time. They would jog and then walk, and I was on sort of a separate jog/walk schedule than them. With just two tenths of a mile to go, I had jogged past them and they were walking. I took off my headphones, said ‘come on, I’ve followed you guys the entire race, I’m not going to finish ahead of you now.’ and we chatted across the finish line. That’s them, holding hands as they cross the finish line. I thought it was very non-competitive (or, perhaps, VERY competitive) of me to do this. Either way, it made me feel good.

About this time, Jon probably took Elle to my parents so he could begin painting after he got the driveway shoveled. Just so you won’t wonder where Elle is when you keep reading…

11:07 a.m.: I’m waiting for Molly in the car. She arrives after completing the 10K. Woohoo! Go Molly. (Forgot to take a picture, but she looked pretty much the same as she did pre-race, except with redder cheeks (hello, wind!).

11:22 a.m.: Bob (Molly’s man) was working on a roofing project around the corner from the race and was freezing. He asked for some coffee, so we stopped at this gas station to pick up a cup for he and his buddy. When I say ‘we’ I really mean ‘Molly’. I didn’t get out of the car, and just let her…Nice of me, right?

I also captured the moment with a self-portrait.

11:30 a.m.: Bob and his buddy get off the roof of the airplane hangar where they’re working to grab the coffee. I tell them I need a picture so I can post it to my blog. The buddy thinks that sounds cool. I don’t let him know how semi-dweeby it really is…because I personally think it’s cool too.

Bob had the door to the hangar open and asked if we wanted to see the planes. What a treat (and, I thought it’d make my Day in the Life seem uber-cool, too). So, we parked the car and hopped out.

Here are some snapshots:

Acting (not very well) like I’m going to start the plane by turning the propeller (isn’t that what it’s called, I had a total mental block when I was getting this pic taken).

In the meantime between the race and the plane hangar, Andrea texted and asked if Jon and I wanted to do pizza and cards at their house later. I get a hold of Jon and he says ‘sure’. So, we now have dinner plans!!

11:42 a.m.: Head to Bob Evans for a post-race breakfast. I totally forgot to take pictures of the food, but at least I took a photo to prove we were there. By the way, I’m SO getting a quart of soup to go (they have them on special for $5 to go). It’s a great deal and it sounds so, so good. That’s probably going to be dinner tomorrow night if I can help it!

12:09 p.m.: And, just to prove I paid the bill, here’s evidence of what I actually ate.

12:30 p.m.: Home again, home again jiggity jog. Here’s a picture from our driveway out onto our backyard and the golf course after the night before’s snow.

12:45 p.m.: We are painting the blue color on our walls in our room today and this is a ‘before’ photo. I have better before photos of the room – this was just for the day’s cataloging purposes.

1:32 p.m.: Progress on the cutting-in. Ugh, tedious. And the color is a BIT brighter than I anticipated. Of. Course.The good news is that I turned on the Pandora “Old School Rap” station, and Jon and I are completely enjoying the tunes.


2:00 p.m.: Still painting.

3:00 p.m.: Still painting. And the Old School Rap station is now repeating songs. Been at this too long. Good news is, Jon and I had decided we’d paint til about 4, get cleaned up, pick up Elle (oh yeah, she was hanging out at my parents house so we could focus on painting) and head to Frank and Andrea’s by 6. Good plan.

4:57 p.m.: Still painting. Or rather, I’m still painting. Jon quietly washed his brush and grabbed a snack and watched some dumb show on E! after the 4 o’clock mark hit. When I asked what time it was and he said “Oh, almost 5.” I about fell off my stool. So, I finished up what I was doing and got ready to go. Sweet, no shower after the race and painting all day. Whatever. They’re not our friends because of our cleanliness, I suppose.

Here’s how much further we got with the awful paint in the looks-like-painters-tape blue.


5:06 p.m.: Select an outfit that doesn’t make me feel awful and slap some make-up on my face. The bathroom is a mess, because we just tried to get everything OUT of our room, and the bathroom worked at the time. Not so much now, but it did at the time.

I also decide I’ll show you how gross it was behind the bed and under the dressers when we moved them. The dust mop is holding my clean-up rag for painting but the dust bunnies…ugh. I was disgusted. I thought I had a relatively clean house. Not so much.

Time for the make-up. (And a different bathroom).


5:12 p.m.: Well, not too shabby for not showering at all.

I need to run and pick Elle up from my parents house. I suggest to Jon that he shower while I go grab her.

So, I need shoes. Unfortunately, I’m still wearing white athletic socks. And I choose the black and white heels. Bad choice in the ice and with the socks. But, here were my choices sitting outside the garage door…

5:13 p.m.: Opening the garage door and heading out to get Elle – nine houses down from ours.

Treacherous driveway.

And with a windshield like this, it could be scary. Evidently, when Jon moved cars around and pulled mine in to the garage, it hadn’t had enough time to warm up.

5:14 p.m.: Didn’t let the car warm up very long, did I?

Here’s our house in the snow.

And, nine houses later, here we are at my Mom & Dad’s.

5:15 p.m.:

Here’s Grandpa, making pork chops (or something that smelled equally as delicious).

My Grandma, Ruth, is in town visiting at my parents. She claimed Elle was totally happy until my Uncle Bill had arrived. So, we are proving here that Elle isn’t 100% happy ALL. THE. TIME. And, she loves her Uncle Bill. So. It is what it is.

5:17 p.m.: Uncle Bill and my Dad.My Uncle Bill has been doing a lot of genealogy research on our family and I asked if I could be a D.A.R. and he found about four ways I can. So, he was telling me all about it while we were there. I tried to wait for my Mom to get home from the grocery store, but it didn’t work out that way. We had to get our show on the road.

Here’s my Grandma – Elle’s Great Grandma. So glad she and Elle have been able to meet one another!

5:21 p.m.: Still waiting on my Mom. Elle and I take a self-portrait on the couch. For the record, Jon dressed her for the day. Typically, I lay out clothes for each day but didn’t before I left on Saturday. Jon’s a snazzy dresser generally and he did a good job dressing Elle. Not an outfit I would have put together, but terribly cute. Purple long-sleeve onesie, purple fleece pants, purple socks. Lots and lots of purple – but at least it all coordinated!

Here’s the view from the couch and my senior year headshot above the fireplace. That handsome guy adjacent to me? Uncle Trevor!

5:47 p.m.: We have now gone home, picked up Jon and got back into his car to head to Frank and Andrea’s. I tell Jon about my Day in the Life project and he’s grouchy about it and tries to look out the opposite window instead of on the road. Which makes him mad. He snaps at me. We sit in silence for about 7 minutes until he cracks. I win. And I got the picture!

6:11 p.m.: Arrive at Frank and Andrea’s.

Greeted by Drew on our arrival!

7:27 p.m.: Capture a photo of Jon, Elle, Frank, Steph and Tim (Andrea’s sister and brother-in-law). We had just finished eating pizza and salad.

8:18 p.m.: Girlfriend needed a diaper change AGAIN. And this one was bad. It was reminiscent of hummus. Uck. Ucky uck uck. She, however, couldn’t be more pleased with herself.

We hang out at Frank and Andrea’s, don’t play cards and just chat away. I drink about a bottle of wine. I cuddle Drew up and just have a nice time with our friends. Great night.

Jon drives us home. We get home about 11 p.m.

10:47 p.m.: Spotted…a man in a forever lazy.

Had to snap a picture because it cracks me up that he loves that thing.

10:55 p.m.: Snap a good night picture of Jon and I before he plays Call of Duty and I watch Grey’s Anatomy on the iPad.

10:58 p.m.: Elle had slept on the way home and we put her in bed. She woke up a little and instead of waking her up to change her and properly feed her, I just stood there and fed her the rest of her bottle. And it worked like a charm. I snapped this photo to end the evening.

11: 10 p.m.: Laying in bed, checking “Texts From Last Night” and playing some silly games before turning on Grey’s.

11:15 p.m.: Turns out, I fell asleep before the first commercial of Grey’s. Oops.

Great day, good night. And it was all just a day in my life!


Wait, THIS Is My Life?

I was supposed to have a baby named something like Payne (after Payne Stewart, the late, great, knicker-wearing professional golfer). Or maybe a Peyton (played out, by the time my time came around). Or Maddox (after Ford Maddox Ford, because, you know, I WAS an English major) but then Angelina and Brad started their family-building initiative and that name went off the list.

I figured I’d have a dog named Comma, or maybe Fitzgerald (F. Scott, anyone?). Again, I’m an English-major-dweeb.

I was going to host dinner parties with placecards and over-planned menus.

I thought I’d take cooking classes and be a wine snob.

I was sure I’d be married and have birthed all my children (all five of them) by age 27 because, well, that’s OLD.

I’d be one of those annoying, slender, skinny Pilates-doing women with a perky ass, perky tits and arms that Michelle Obama would want.

My house would be my dream house, all the rooms ready for their photography moments and set to be featured on the pages of Pottery Barn-House Beautiful-Restoration Hardware.

I’d be THAT neighbor who had a plate full of sugar cookie cutouts because, as everyone would know, I have an ever-expanding cookie cutter collection. Said neighbors would thoughtfully pick-up obscure cookie cutters on their respective travels and I’d send nice thank you’s on personalized stationery.

And then, last night, I realized, I named my child a name that was NEVER on the short – or the long – list of names I had selected for my children two decades ago.

It was weird. This flash of recognition that my life is different because I didn’t end up choosing a name for my baby that was on my original list (yes, gentlemen, lots of us gals have lists of names we are intent on naming our children years before we cross your path).

Turns out, I still have never had my own dog because, unlike children, you NEVER have to stop picking up their poop.

I haven’t hosted a legitimate dinner party with placecards in my life — though I’ve had parties and I’ve had dinners. I don’t even know anyone who wouldn’t find me incredibly stuffy if I actually thought to make a seating arrangement for a dinner. I have good friends and smart friends and I’m pretty sure they’re capable of choosing their own spot at the table (or in front of the tv, as the case may be).

I’ve wanted to be a wine snob. I know enough about wine glasses to know what is allegedly a good glass (when they’re one piece instead of having a ridge at the bottom and/or top of the stem). But, I drink less-than-$10-a-botttle wine. Michigan wines, wines purchased at Meijer and various grocery stores. Domestic wines. What can I say – just one more way this isn’t the life I envisioned at some random point in my history.

And, as far as having my FIVE children (HA – RIGHT!) by the time I was 27. Well, I didn’t even meet Jon until I was 27 and we’re not approaching marriage any time soon, so…I don’t know exactly WHEN I thought this one up, but at some point before I was 27, I assume.

The last time I did Pilates was, well, I can’t even remember. The last time I did something truly aerobic with a nice, solid sweat was too, too long ago. My arms are flabby and the thing standing between me and being a jogger is that I don’t have a ponytail that swings. Seriously, I’m growing my hair out so I have a better jogging ponytail.

I can’t make this stuff up, folks. This is who I am.

I have the house I loved when I was small. It needs a lot of work. Parts of it I love. Parts of it I abhor. Parts of it I can see coming together. But one – ONE – room in the house is complete and that’s Elle’s room. Ugh.

I haven’t had the energy to make cookie dough, create the mess and clean it up, let alone decorate cookies, and then willingly walk to the neighbors to deliver cookies. Which means, no thank you notes to write for cookie cutter gifts that never arrive. But at least I’ve got boxes full of thank you notes at the ready – just in case. Heck, I can barely get the dishwasher unloaded and don’t get me started on how many times, on average, I wash a load of laundry. I put it in, it’s clean, and then I forget to move it to the dryer. So, it gets re-washed. Current average: 2.1 washes per load. NICE and environmentally friendly.

So, this is my life. My kitchen counters constantly need to be wiped down and Jon and I leave our coats anywhere that’s convenient throughout the house. I haven’t done more than dust-mop the wood floors in way too long. The vacuum is sitting out in the basement, but it hasn’t been run. The laundry is probably still in the wash, waiting for the day, some day in the future, when I finally remember to transfer it to the dryer. Folding it before it’s wrinkled is another story all together.

I have a lived-in house that’s been full of friends and family. I have a PHENOMENAL daughter and a wonderful partner who’s an awesome dad. I have 800+ cookie cutters that I can brag up as a collection of my own. Jon’s painting the bedroom this week — so maybe it’ll be ready for its close-up soon!!

So yeah, THIS is my life.

Not what I planned – but the one I prefer.

Except, I’d still like a perky ass and a good jogging ponytail.

“I Don’t Know How You Do It”

This conversation took place yesterday afternoon over the phone, as I’m traveling for work…

Me: “How’s Girlfriend doing?”

Jon: “Good. … … I don’t know how you do it, get anything done with her around. She falls asleep, I set her down in her chair and she wakes up in like a half hour.”

Me: “Yeah, you have to learn how to get things done in 30-45 minute increments, because some babies sleep for long stretches, some are cat-nappers. I think we’ve got a cat-napper.”

Jon: “Seriously. It’s long enough to make a sandwich and eat it and that’s about it.”

Me: “Being a stay-at-home-Mom is hard work, isn’t it?”


This conversation was awesome. Loved it, every minute of it. Wanted to capture it for posterity’s sake.

Happy Thursday to all!

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.