"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Saturday, December 29, 2012

"The Last Brownie"

I'm just going to complain for a minute. 

We took our first road trip with the new car and the new baby.  Mystery Baby SCREAMS on even the shortest car trip, so we were crossing our fingers that we'd arrive with our sanity and our hearing intact.  He did fabulously!  Seriously, he's gotten so much better in just the past few weeks and while he still has his moments, we've gotten much better also at helping him fall asleep in the car (the screaming is always when he's tired and fighting sleep). 

The car... the car got a cracked windshield.  A rock or something kicked up from the car in front of us somewhere in Pennsylvania.  We had our old car for ten years and with all the other problems it had, it never got a nick or crack in the windshield.  We've owned this car four months.  We called around and the crack is 7 1/2 inches which means it can't be repaired and has to be replaced.  Awesome.  (Sarcasm.) 

I was also looking forward to Mystery Baby having his own bedroom on this trip so we could let him scream it out some at night.  He doesn't need to wake up in the middle of the night anymore, but still does.  He only sleeps swaddled up in a SwaddleMe baby straight jacket.  Otherwise the second I put him in his crib, he yanks his binky out and starts screaming.  You are supposed to stop using the swaddling things when the baby can roll over.  Until this trip, he never tried to roll over in his crib or in the SwaddleMe. We've spent the last two weeks cutting out middle of the night feedings and putting him in bed slightly awake so he gets better at soothing himself to sleep.  Last night he immediately rolled over in bed every chance he got, and while he *can* roll back over, he rarely does.  He just screams until someone comes to rescue him and roll him back onto his back, which I had to do a bunch last night.  Luckily I finally got him to sleep without the SwaddleMe and we both got some rest.  Add to all of this that I have a cold and it's winter.  So while I'm nice and toasty cuddled up in bed, every time I get up with him I'm freezing again.  And I had a runny nose and a pounding headache. 

Okay, complaining over.  I think.   

Good things.  Mystery Baby was awesome on the trip.  I had a super yummy hamburger at a Bob Evans restaurant. (I LOVE restaurant hamburgers!)  We beat the snow.  The roads were great.  We managed the entire trip with minimal eating in the car so our car stays nice.  Jed gets to watch Premier League soccer on the big screen.  

*Title taken from Notting Hill, where I believe the full quote is, "Surely that's worth the last brownie" when everyone is sitting around comparing how sad their pathetic lives are trying to earn the last brownie and Julia Roberts (playing a movie star) tries for it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sandy Hook

I'm with the rest of the country/world in how much reading the reports of this horrible tragedy kept me in tears.  I don't want to get into the politics of gun control or anything else.  I don't really want to think about the possibility of something this horrific happening, even though it has.  I just want to comment on one thing.

One of my Facebook friends wrote about how they explained what happened to their children (aged 12 and 10 are my age guesses) and the boys were unfazed.  My friend then talked about how they think and play too much violence so that real violence doesn't register with them.  And then this friend wondered when they will grow out of this.  They won't!  That's the point.  I agree that kids might not completely understand what happened.  They also might be keeping their feelings and reactions inside, not sure how to express them.  But being accustomed to violence in games and movies leaves you accustomed to violence in real life and that's not something I ever want myself or my children to become accustomed too.  I can't express to you how many times in the past years we've had to remind our kids that we aren't playing "killing" or "now your dead."  And we own a Game Cube as our only video game and the most violent games have exploding Lego people.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Jed and I tend to be private people who keep things (even things other people blab left and right about) to ourselves.  "But you have blogs," you laugh.  Yes, we have blogs.  But I still feel that we are generally private people.  In person and online. 

We secretly chuckle every time someone tells us of a lofty life goal that seems completely unattainable, but I think, on the inside, we're a little bit envious that they can just be so out there with their goals.  Regardless of failure.  We (and I keep saying we, but I can't really speak for Jed, so read "I") are too fearful of failure to be out there with our goals and life ambitions. 

The Split is... I can't decide which is better.  Should we be so pompous (not that any of you are, I would just feel that way) with our ambitions and declare them to the world, sure of our success.  Or are we wise to keep things to ourselves until we are assured of a successful outcome, at which point, we can then blab left and right about it feeling no embarrassment because the outcome is already known and positive.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Monday night, Mystery Baby rolled from back to tummy a couple times.  Tuesday he rolled some.  This morning, I put him on his blanket (in the middle of a toddler sized crib blanket) and was helping the kids do their school when we looked over to find this.


Sunday, December 09, 2012


I had the same best friend from Kindergarten until the end of sixth grade.  After sixth grade she switched to an all girl Catholic school and then went to college out of state.  It's a shame we didn't try to stay close even though we were at different schools.  I wonder if we could have remained good friends, or if the small pool of kids are our elementary school (each grade had maybe 40 students) pushed us into friendship when our personalities and interests would have normally kept us apart.  We were both brainy (she more than I), but she was outgoing, popular and athletic (I was not). For those seven years we were inseparable. 

We sort of kept in contact through high school and college, really just keeping tabs on each other and what was going on in our lives.  When I was pregnant with Princess Sparkley I was invited to her bridal shower.  Then her parents moved out of state and I lost track of her until a couple of years ago when I finally tracked her down (after years of trying to find her), through the white pages.  I think.  We've caught up briefly in emails but she's not on Facebook and isn't much for emailing either.  And we've exchanged Christmas cards. 

I emailed her last week to make sure I had her address so I could send them a card and got a huge shock.  She was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer at the beginning of the year, went through chemo and had a bilateral mastectomy.  Her doctors are thrilled with how she's doing, and her hair, that spent our childhood in a bouncy ponytail, is starting to grow back.  She's 34 (35 next month) and the mother of two.

I know a lot of people who have had cancer affect their lives more than it has mine.  I lost grandparents to cancer (but I was six).  I lost an aunt to cancer (when I was fourteen, but she'd lived in Kentucky my entire life and I'd only met her a handful of times).  And the moms of several of my good friends have both survived and not survived breast cancer.  Even though this best friend and I obviously aren't currently inseparable, it is still a huge shock to me to have someone who I knew so well be affected by it.  I spent hours playing with her Barbie Dream House and Corvette.  She had this awesome playhouse in her yard.  I even ate canned asparagus for her mom.  And she was almost gone, like that. 

Monday, December 03, 2012


I'm a little old fashioned in that I love mail.  Writing letters, sending letters, etc.  I don't get to do it much anymore, but I do try to make a point of writing thank you cards and sending them off on their way.

I also LOVE creating Christmas letters.  Not the super fabulous, Pinterest worthy, Photo shop Christmas cards, but just creative ideas for conveying the events in the past year of our lives.  I started writing my family's Christmas letter each year when I was about twelve and it wasn't until a couple years ago that my mom took back that responsibility.  I created a family newsletter that we stuck with for several Christmases.  And the occasional New Year's or Valentine's day.  I even tried to have a monthly family newsletter to keep my family up to date on the current events in one another's lives.  That didn't go over well since at the time, Jed and I were new parents and we were all living in the same town.  We now live thousands of miles away, but the rest of my family is still right there, sending their kids to the same school, etc. And I think only my parents and Jed's parents actually read our family's blog.

So I love Christmas letters, but I haven't really done anything super creative in the past few years since Jed's been back in school.  Mostly we've done e-cards or emails.  This year is no different, although I did order a few actual physical prints of our new family picture (thanks, Emma) to mail to those people on our Christmas list that would prefer a physical card (eg: Jed's grandparents). 

I'm storing up my creative juices so when the year comes when I do want to drop $50+ on stamps and printed letters and pictures, it's going to be awesome.  But at least I get to enjoy the time of year when awesome stuff arrives in the mail almost daily.  Between gifts we've ordered, those arriving from family and Christmas cards, every mail call is exciting!

Saturday, December 01, 2012


In applying for a job for Jed, I came across an online faculty position for a Beginning Writing course that only requires a bachelor's degree.  I'm qualified!  This could be fun.  Why not!  Then I started trying to fill out the application.  Besides the fact that I haven't done *anything* in the past 11 years, even 11 years ago, my resume was pathetic.  Actually, I've never had a resume.  And as I'm worrying about how I'm going to pad a resume and what aspects of my current life qualify me (Relief Society teacher, CEO of several book clubs, book club discussion leader, homeschooling mom, blogger) I come across the spot where I have to list my past four jobs.  Hmm... I'm not sure I've had four jobs (that don't include cat sitter).  And three references (who?)  Leaving my comfort zone ... now.

[I'm always wondering what I actually do that could earn me money.  I don't want to babysit or do daycare.  But it would be cool to earn some extra money.  Basically, what I've come up with in the past is that it would be awesome if people paid me to bake desserts for them.  Either for their own enjoyment or for them when they are asked to bring something somewhere.  But nothing so serious as a catering gig.  I'm not that good.  Just delicious desserts to impress their friends with.  Wouldn't that be awesome!]
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