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! 


What Do I Do About the Racism?

I don’t know how to write this post.

I thought about it all day. I thought about it in the early shower I took tonight, specifically early so I could try to process what occurred today. How to process what is haunting me in a way that I’m unsure how to handle it at all.

I haven’t brushed my hair yet, haven’t put lotion on my winter-dry-skin face because I’m trying to process the blatant racism exhibited at a meeting I attended earlier today.

I told my husband, my parents, my co-workers what happened. And I haven’t figured out what I ought to have done. So, in the hopes that I can tag this post properly and use the right hashtags in tweeting it to get some ideas, here goes…

I’m involved with an organization and today was my first meeting as a member of its Board of Directors. I have a deep affinity for the organization and the community it serves.

There are, of course, other Board members. And I understand that just like the every day life I lead, everyone on the Board brings different perspective to the table. Which is perfect, of course. It’s what we want.

But today…

A fellow Board member began talking politics in the middle of the meeting, entirely off topic, specifically commenting on how Michigan’s Governor, Republican Rick Snyder, was doing a really good job. And while I’m from the complete opposite school of thought with regard to Mr. Snyder and the job he’s doing on a variety of fronts, I have learned JUST enough in my big-mouthed experience to not engage in political discussion in groups of people who I don’t know terribly well. It’s better for all of us, in times like these, to hold our beliefs close and work towards the common goals that bring us together. Political discussion works fine around our dinner table at home, on our back patio, over drinks, or where that is the point of bringing people together. But not in this setting.

So, I bit my tongue.

I even kept my eyes and face down so that no one could see my reaction – I’m an open book when it comes to my emotions.

I’d done well, I thought, in avoiding confrontation and making a scene.

And then, the same individual who had commented on Governor Snyder’s really good job, segued into a discussion about Detroit, about how he couldn’t understand how all these blacks had been elected mayor and driven the city to bankruptcy all those years, and then had to elect a white guy to get them out of bankruptcy.


To say I was shocked was an understatement. I don’t THINK like that, let alone speak in public like that.

But here was this guy, saying these things.

And — I averted my eyes, bulging out of my skull though they were, avoided confrontation and avoided making a scene.

I. Said. Nothing.


And it’s haunting me tonight, 12 hours later. Having said nothing.

I feel as though my silence, in this rural Michigan town, somehow could be construed that I AGREE.

And I do not.

But, how does a white woman like me speak up, in a room of all white men and women, in a community of almost entirely white men, women and children? What words could I have used? What could I have said?

Honestly – I’m asking HONESTLY. What could I have said that wouldn’t jeopardize all the things I’ve worked toward personally and professionally?

I live in this community. I work in this community. I LIKE the community.

I DISLIKE people speaking this way.

Part of it is naivete – it’s not like I don’t know there are people in the world who feel that way about other demographic groups – but I didn’t…

I don’t…

I don’t know.

I could have made a statement, of course. I could have used my words – which can be sharper than knives – and could have stood up for how these words and the discussion made me feel. I could have said that it made me feel uncomfortable. But that would have put this person on the defensive, I fear, and it would have been confrontational. It could affect my work. It could affect my livelihood.

I guess what I am searching for are words – for the next time I find myself in a scenario where the discussion makes me feel uncomfortable and how I can deflect the topic while making it clear I do NOT agree with the views.

Sharing memes on facebook doesn’t change the way racism affects me, affects the community my family lives within. But the way I react and the words I use — maybe they can.

So what can I do? And how do I do it?


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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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! 🙂









If You Ever Wonder Why

MasonFamily-0044To my beautiful, funny, smart daughter who is nearly two years old…it occurred to me tonight that I want for you an understanding of WHY I do what I do. And while it will not be appreciated by you (or likely anyone else) until long after I’m someday gone, I wanted to capture it here. I was inspired by reading this post at Single Dad Laughing earlier today. And it made me wonder what I would regret if for some awful reason you were taken from me. Would I still volunteer the hours to Clio Country Club and all that it entails? Would I continue to make Flint Women’s Forum meetings? Would I care about the Frankenmuth Jaycees? What about every other committee and organization I’m involved with? Would I regret my time volunteering with them because it impedes on our time together?

I’m still not sure.

But I don’t think so.

And god please don’t ever let me be forced to know.

But, for now, I think I would be glad I did all of these things. And here’s why:


If you ever wonder why I’m attending the orientation/open meeting at your school or sport or otherwise, it’s because I want to make the organization and your experience (and every other child’s) the best it can be with all the resources available to us.

If you ever wonder why I’m running late to pick you up from Gamma and Pappa’s, it’s entirely because I got caught up in the ways to improve our golf course, our schools, our community, our state. And while it’s not important to you if the golf course/club thrives, it’s important that I continue building the tradition we have here so that someday you have the choice to continue it or enjoy it as an adult. It’s important to me that I leave some legacy for you to live within.

If you ever wonder why I’m outspoken at meetings of any gathering of people, it’s because I’m smart and have a unique take on the world. I believe that I’m a better person for speaking my mind and forcing other people to speak theirs (it’s truly NOT that I want to hear myself talk). It’s because I believe that we can all be made better at ALL times. And talking is the way I know to accomplish it.

If you ever wonder why I’m challenging your teacher, coach or mentor to try something new or different, it’s because I believe that tradition is strong, but it takes creativity to make traditions stick.

If you ever wonder why it’s you and your Dad home late lots of nights – it’s because me, your Mom, is pretty good at being involved in things and I believe it’s important that SOMEONE volunteer to do things, so I will do it. And I will sacrifice my time and energy for those causes, organizations and events because it benefits YOU and your FRIENDS and people who might someday be your friend.

If you ever wonder why I’m willing to be the loudest voice in a room full of women, it’s because I want you to know how to be that too.

If you ever wonder why I’m willing to stand up to the bullies (yes, there are adult ones too) it’s because I’m not afraid. It’s because I’m well-educated and smarter than most and am pretty good at debating and arguing. And I’m not afraid to be made wrong. More importantly, as a woman, I’m not afraid to be right.

So if you ever wonder why, someday, that I was loud, that I wouldn’t shut up when your Dad asked me to, why I didn’t come straight home from work and instead went to networking events on lots of nights, it’s because I want you to know that this, too, is possible. Being a woman or a Mom who stays home is possible with the right financial situation. Being a woman or a Mom who is hyper-involved while maintaining a pretty sweet career is possible too. And being happy and free of guilt (mostly) is possible too.

And I want you to know that – without me having to tell you.

This is my example. I’m proud of it. I look forward to watching who you’ll become. I look forward to regretting nothing about the parent I’m trying to be for you. At least thus far.


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.


Mom Crawls

So, this just happened…

Elle is napping (like a champ since we got her on the mend now…). And while she naps, I’m cleaning the house, showering and getting ready to attend Holden’s first birthday party later this afternoon (Elle’s going too).

I go to dry my hair and have decided that the last time I got compliments on my hair, I dried it with the round brush (which makes my arms hurt and I’m no good at it and it takes For.Ev.Er. BUT – I want my hair to look its finest. For whatever reason.

So, I go to the bathroom drawer and pull out…four hairbrushes that I put back into the drawer about five times per day (Elle’s on a hair brush kick and an emptying-everything-from-a-drawer kick too). But, no round brush.

Think, brain. Where is the round brush?

Ah, yes.

In my mind, I see it.

Laying in the middle of the floor of Elle’s bedroom.

(Told you she’s on a hair brush kick).

The bedroom where that girlie girl is napping.


I do what any mother would do…

Put on my softest slippers (damning our hard wood floors the entire time) and head toward her barely-open-a-crack door.

It sticks, and knowing this I try to do a shimmy/jimmy lift thing.

It fails.

The door makes a loud creak.

I stop, fearful.

Will she wake up and pop her head over the edge of the crib?

No! I need more time.

So, I quickly close the door back again and drop onto all fours outside the door, waiting anxiously.

I hear the sound of her sucking on her pacifier, hope that she doesn’t wake further.

But I NEED beautiful, lustrous hair. And the only way to get it is with the brush that is JUST beyond my grasp inside that room.

So, I decide to try once more. Evidently the risk being worth it…

I open the door, and I gingerly continue on all fours (less of a chance I’m spotted that way). I reach for the brush. I’m not close enough. I will my arm to grow a half inch – and somehow, it does (or I pulled a muscle in my side while I stretched for it).

I’ve got it!

So, I won that mild battle and headed for the hair dryer…only to realize that it really does hurt my arms to use that stupid round brush and it’s taking forever and I don’t have that kind of time, dammit, so I give up and go to the hairdryer-roundbrush all-in-one that was safely in the cupboard the whole time.

And, in the end, I’m having a moderately good hair day.

But I had to pull a muscle to get there…


Ahh, motherhood!