Friday, March 7, 2014

on cool girls

I read THIS article and it really hit me hard.
Cool girls are essentially behaviorally "masculine" (in the most common connotation) hot girls. The idea, as the article puts it, is to "act like a dude but look like a supermodel". The article goes on to show the history of cool girls repetitive, yet brief, fascination with them. I think this was so fascinating because I identified so strongly with the cool girl description. And if I may, this post will now turn decidedly inward.

I was always a tomboy. I had brothers and boy friends and a father and a stepfather. I played nintendo and drums and could climb the 50ft rope in the backyard faster than any boy. I could belch as loud, be just as crude, and curse as well as any guy I knew. I smoked cigars on rooftops. I played poker to win. I played in a rock band nearly half of my life.
I also
wore a c-cup bra by the time I was eleven, wore thongs in junior high, and owned (and by this I mean was acutely and manipulatively aware) of my sexuality at an alarmingly young age. I may not have been a supermodel, but I was a cool girl. I have always been keenly aware of the precarious line that a cool girl must walk. Belch but never fart. Curse but not too much. Be overtly sexual but never making the first move. Be fun and care-free but never an airhead. Put on the feminine attire, occasionally, but be sure to acknowledge that you "are more of a jeans and a t-shirt type of gal".  And so on.
I was this and more until one day in college I got pregnant. Try being a cool girl when you're a walking 18-year-old taboo. I played the role as best I could (think Juno in her most believable moments). Ultimately though, that sexual desirability that is the essential component of cool girlness is exceptionally tough when you are especially rotund. The boys who had once objectified me were now trying to protect me. And in the wake of what can be an especially harsh and judgmental culture, I couldn't figure out a way to play genuine tribute to that cool girl identity that I had cultivated and the most self-protecting identify that I could conjure in the situation - the victim. And rather than shed the identify completely, I just became mute. It seemed like the best way. To those who knew me, I wasn't NOT the cool girl, I was just being quiet and mysterious. To those who didn't know me, I was a quiet victim of unfortunate circumstance.
Shortly after the adoption I moved across the country. I could never regain the identity I had forged after having been the victim. And moreover, I couldn't escape the setting of the most difficult experience of my life. So I moved. But now I was different. After being effectively mute for nearly a year, I couldn't remember if I was gregarious or quiet. Was I shy and coy or loud and a playful tease? That carefree confidence was missing. Boys started noticing me again but with each lengthy gaze, I was now torn between my history of coquettish response and my still fresh and burning wound that commenced from a once lengthy gaze. And I responded sporadically. On the 2nd of each month (her birthday) I would crumple into a pile of post-partum goo and would become a quiet wallflower in need of help and protection. I'd reach out to the companionship of a gender I could count on to deliver whatsoever I wanted. A week would pass and I'd summon the strength to keep moving, falling back on the independent ideal of my juxtaposed identity and repulsed by the very idea of men. I'd use my sexuality as a weapon, luring them in and then stabbing them with reject. I'm not proud. This was my very skewed idea of power.
Then one day my secret was out. At the smallest campus nearly 2 thousand miles away, a wildfire spread. I was the flame, and my baby was the match. But because I had been so destructive, I was nearly burned alive. Suddenly the men I had once held so much "power" over now, again, shifted their objectifcation to victimization.
And so I went back to my protective mute state. I moved off campus. I started attending events at other schools. I never ever ever hung out with anyone. I was an outcast. I hated men. I hated the awful girls who felt threatened and tried to light me on fire with gossip. As you can imagine, it was a very difficult and confusing and lonely time.
Gratefully, it was remarkably brief because
I met Doug.
I was 20 and still violently flopping between cool girl and angry mute when we began. He was attractive and smooth, but not too smooth. He was masculine but just enough feminine. He was incredibly attractive but in that "I don't try hard" way with messy hair and unshaven face. If ever there were a cool girl counterpart, a "cool guy" if you will, it was Doug. I despised Doug and yet I was so incredibly drawn to him. He had just ended a nearly decade long relationship and with broken heart, seemed to be doing the violent flop at nearly the exact same velocity as my erratic convulsions. We look back at that time completely astounded that we ended up together, let alone are still together 9 years later.
And marriage is a brand new chapter to the cool girl image. Those first few years you're still desperately seeking the other's approval. ("Hey, how about we play video games and eat pizza? ,,,naked?) When you marry at 20 and 22, you're attempting to build an identity and a foundation and a career all with another person who is also trying to do all of those same things. No wonder most of our friends who married at the same time are now divorced. For years Doug and I flopped back and fourth together, perfectly playing the roles when the stage was set and the audience attending, and letting them aside when it, and they, were not. New circumstances aroused the same identity questions- parenthood, depression, moving...
And to this day I wonder how much of image and identity are intertwined. Like the chicken and the egg, do we create image as a result of our perceived identity, or do we allow the desired image construct the identity? And how much of it is a result of cultural norms versus the breeding of character traits? My mother, the thong-wearing blond who loves football? My father, the military man who loves butterflies?
I really have no idea. I do know that being desirable and ultimately feeling accepted is a natural human longing. I know that I desperately sought this as a child, as a teen, as a birth mother, as a young wife. And all I know now that I didn't then, is that self-acceptance is the key. Even, if like me, you're still struggling to pinpoint just who that is.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hello forlorn blog

Oh this blog. What a sad state it sits in.

I write on you today to list my goals for 2014. I like the idea of having them out there to hold me a bit more accountable, even if it is on an oft-abandoned place such as this. I would catch this place up on all the happenings but I don't really feel the need. I think the purpose of the blog has always been a bit challenging to me. Do I blog to journal? Not really but maybe a little. Do I blog to publicly discuss? Maybe but not that much. Why in the world do I blog? I don't know. It doesn't really feel like an outlet to me and I'm not motivated to keep it up for others. SO while I'd like to say that I will make more effort here, I don't know that I will. I think it will be a completely random occurrence like this post. :)

So here are my goals. I separate them into areas of myself to work on (spiritual, mental, physical, etc). Not all of them are "smart" (measurable, achievable, blah blah blah) but I like them and I feel good about them soooo there. Anyway, here they are:


1.       Make the bed everyday
2.       Kitchen sink/countertops clean every night
3.       Bathrooms 1x per week
4.       Vacuum/sweep 1 – 2x per week.
5.       Sheets/pillow cases every other week
6.       Get rid of more stuff


1.       Homemade meals at least 5x per week (leftovers 2x a week)
2.       No soda
3.       Drink water before every sweet
4.       Find milk alternative (for Jo)
5.       No food after 9pm
1.       Work out 2-3x per week (7 min workout program at least)
2.       Go on walks every day of nice weather
3.       Townhome with gym in LA
4.       Bed by 11pm weeknights
5.       Whole family vitamin everyday

1.       GRE practice test every Friday morning Feb – May, test in June/July
2.       Read every weeknight before bed
3.       Learn Adobe Captivate and Connect software
4.       Improve my drawing skills

1.       Read Book of Mormon (follow 1 year reading plan)
2.       Attend church every week
3.       Say prayers before dinner, with boys before bed, & as couple after boys in bed
4.       Sunday night gratitude journal
5.       Keep the Sabbath day holy


1.       Attend church/social events
2.       Have someone to dinner 1x per month
3.       Call family/friends on Sundays
4.       Be a better mom – PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE, get on the floor, play
5.       Be a better wife – serve and date

6.       Be better to self – smile in the mirror
      So those are my goals. I have ones for work but those don't really make sense to post on a personal blog. 2014 is going to be a very exciting year. Doug graduates with his Masters Degree. We move to LA. My job will hopefully transfer with us. Doug will hopefully secure employment as a screenwriter. The boys will likely start joy school 2x a week in the fall. We'll celebrate our 9 year anniversary. Annabelle will turn 10 YEARS OLD!!! Crazy. Anyway, these are my goals. Its taken us a while to be able to get back on the wagon after having the boys. Its amazing how long it takes to feel like yourself again and be able to get in a groove and have goals. The first 2 years with them has mostly been about survival. But now I think we are ready to move beyond that and move into thriving, not just surviving. 

      Ok. Thats all. I'll post again in a long time probably. Much love to anyone who still reads this thing. :) 

(Charlie - Left, Whit - Right: Taken at G&G Crabbs Christmas 2013)

Friday, June 28, 2013

6 months. whoa.

its been a while.
In the last 6 months -
The boys have learned to walk, run, climb, speak (30+ words), and master all manners of dexterity.
Doug has finished his first semester, turned 30, placed in the top 5 in a screenwriting competition, secured a TA position for next year, taken on several projects, and taken care of the boys all the while.
I have started a new job (back in March) and am loving it. I'm the training manager at a small company that is extremely family friendly and completely great to work for. Yay!
We've taken several trips as a family - New York and Pennsylvania in March, Dallas and Denver in May.
Also in May we moved a few blocks up to a house that is twice as large as the one we were renting previously. Its a great place and we are glad we made the move (though moving was stressful, as it always is).
This weekend our amazing nanny and her beautiful daughters are moving to Utah and we are completely heart-broken over her departure. Even now, just writing it, I cry. It also means we are back to square 1 in the childcare department. Le sigh. I'm not sure we'll ever have another helper we love as much as Vera. She has been so good to our boys and she is truly one of my favorite people on the planet. Sometimes I get a little sad thinking that they won't remember her and all that she did for them. Hopefully we will all stay in close contact so they won't have to remember.

Charlie - left, Vera - center, Whit - right

Other than that, we don't have too much else going on. We are enjoying a summer full of bbq, watermelon, and lots of swimming. I'll be better about updating and providing pictures. Soon Doug will have an instagram account and then he can post pictures of the boys everyday (which is the only pictures anyone wants to see anyway).

much love to any of you checking in here. We sure miss our friends.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

well hello there

If you were at our house, you would know why that is the title of this blog post. I received a mustache for my key chain that says "well hello there" in a sexy voice and the boys play with it all the time. "Well HELLLOOOO there!"
So, whatcha been doin?
Us? Oh you know. Rrrr wait. Nope. Nope you have no idea. Ha.
Well lets see...

The Boys
The boys are awesome. Check these out

Doug took those the other day. The are SOOC (straight-out of the camera - manual settings). Impressive right? Photos are so deceiving though. They had been playing in the yard and trying to eat bugs and there is mud all over their clothes and they were pissed that we were sitting them on the wicker bench for like 4 seconds to get some photos. They only smiled because, well this is kinda cute actually, they smile because I held up there brother and tickled him tell he squealed and when their brother laughs, they laugh. How cute is that? As it so happens, pretty much anytime they laugh, we laugh.
So lots of laughing has been happening.
Charlie had a hernia surgery. Whitman is tongue-tied (the little string that connects your tongue to your mouth is really tight and his tongue doesn't come all the way out - also explains why he never latched as good as Charlie during the BF days, who knew?) We are opting to not do surgery and to wait to see if it will self-correct (these things sometimes self-correct. Who knew? heh.)
Um what else?
They are wrestling, like, non-stop. Seriously. All the live long day they want to wrestle with each other, with me, with Doug, with the cat, with somebody's kid at the playground.
They are so very curious. They are into EVERYTHING. Nothing is safe in this little house. If you take your eyes of them for even a second they will have something terrible in their little hands and will be giggling and crawling away from you as quickly as their little bodies will allow. And if you make the mistake of thinking something is safe for them to play with, like, I don't know, a chess set from Aruba that has a lock on it, well they will figure out the lock and then proceed to try to eat all the little pieces and then will HIDE the pieces from you so they can try to eat them later when you think you've pried every last piece our of their little sneaky hands.
They are starting to walk every once and a while. Charlie can take a few steps and is trying it out more and more each day. Whit. Ha. Oh Whit. He will take one set and then burst out laughing and shaking with excitement and then fall down.
They both start out each morning holding onto the sides of their cribs and competing with each other to see who can jump the highest. They LOVE to jump in their cribs.
They are babbling a ton and know mama, dada, meow, and something that sounds like "shet". I think it might be "this" but I can't quite decipher it yet. They could very well be cursing, those damn pirates. Who the hell would have taught them that? :)    (...doug of course)

speaking of...

The Doug
The Doug is also awesome. He got all A's his first semester. He has received some terrific feedback about his writing and his future writing career. He is super healthy and working out and taking care of himself. I think he is doing better right now than he has in a really long time. I don't know how many of you know this but Doug struggles with depression (something we only figured out about a year ago) and now that we have officially diagnosed, he has be doing the therapy thing and the medication thing, and life is completely awesome again. We have learned some pretty incredible things about mental health and we (and major credit to Doug here - he has been unwavering in his efforts to overcome depression - not at easy task) are committed to doing everything we can to never go through the depths of depression again. Its not exactly mine to talk about so I won't go into great detail here but sufficeth to say that we've had some rough times over this past year and its nice to finally have The Doug back.

The Me
Pop pop!
Well I don't know. I'm kinda all over the place these days. I had a job. I had a full time job that was a good job and paid well and was a smart career choice and then I quit it. I wasn't happy there and we had family stuff going on and I just didn't feel like it was the right place. So now I'm back on the job hunt and I got a firm offer for a terrific part-time job that would be the perfect amount of hours doing a mediocre job but at good pay for a part time gig and I just turned that down on Friday. So like, what the hell? Ha. Yeah I don't know. I'm trying this new thing out where I follow my heart and have faith. Its weird. Its totally illogical and uncomfortable. I don't like it. I feel insecure. I hate that feeling. I had this terrific meeting with some amazing people about a week ago where they asked me to write up a job proposal of exactly how many hours I wanted, what pay and title I wanted, and what job responsibilities I wanted, and they would try to make it happen. Shah. That just happened. So of course I did that and now I'm just waiting to see what they think. If that works out, I might poop my pants. That would be crazy! (the job thing - the poop my pants thing is like 'meh' same ol same ol). But you know, trying not to get my hopes up in case it doesn't work out.
But, I think something will work out.
The truth is I'm really just trying to use this time here in Texas to figure out what the crap I want. And who do I want to be and where do I want to go. So far I've come up with - I think I want to get a PhD in Org Behavior. I want to study how to make people happy at work. Did you know that at some huge companies, like Google, they actually hire PhD's to come in and work with HR to make people happy? They want to improve retention and recruitment efforts, etc. Can you believe that? Wouldn't that be awesome. Yeesh. And I love the idea of teaching at a college to the next generation of business students and impart on them ideas on how to improve their daily working life and improve the culture and working life of wherever they go. I've already determined what my research would be on and I've got a working title for my dissertation... yeah got it all planned.
Just got to get in.
But who knows? Maybe God will move me in an entirely different direction. I'm trying this follow my heart thing remember? Its so weird. You should read The Alchemist. It had a big impact on me.
And in other news, I really like my babies. Like, I'm addicted to them and even though I need a break from them every day, I can hardly wait for them to get up from their nap or get up in the morning so I can hug them and love on them till they get annoyed and whine to be let go. Its amazing what a little nap can do to recharge my "I'M SO FREAKING IN LOVE WITH YOU" battery.
So yeah.

Ok. I'm going to bed. Wish I could promise more posting but the truth is, I don't have much time. When the boys sleep I have to get stuff done or do something for my "me time" and blogging seldom makes the cut. But I will continue to post random updates on our fam for those of you I don't get to email as often.

much love to you all

Thursday, November 29, 2012

the adult version of a pitiful lemonade stand

We met when I was a sophomore in college. It was love at first site. She was a vivacious, bombshell blonde with an intensely loud voice and an infectious laugh. We were in choir together but I was certain she'd never seen me. I figured she'd be vain or vapid and decided against approaching her. She'd be like everyone else, I thought, and judge me or feel sorry for me. At 4 months pregnant and only 18 years old, I knew better than to try to make friends. But one night at a small party my roommates were throwing, and despite my turned back and disenchanted expression, her none-to-keen boyfriend insisted that we meet. We awkwardly shook hands while I fumbled for words. I felt it my duty to release her from the terrible predicament of striking up a conversation with a stranger in my obviously delicate and odd state.
"Patrick has told me so much about you..." I muttered quickly, while avoiding eye contact.  
"Oh really? Well he's told me so much about YOU! I've heard your a fantastic musician. I think we have choir together, right?" She asked while looking me directly in the eye. "And I heard you snowboard. You should come to this snow event tomorrow up in Park City with me," completely ignoring the fact that I was a waddling faux pas. 

And just like that. We were best friends.

It's been ten years. She's loved me through pregnancy, adoption, marriage, thousands of miles of separation, a marathon, grad school, another pregnancy, twins, and all the other aspects of my life over this past decade. 

And I've loved her through marriage, a marathon, grad school, moving to D.C, trips to Europe, a house, another house, pregnancy, and...


Shortly after Leah turned 24 she began to have seizures. The seizures were debilitating and intense. She went to numerous medical specialists and they could not pin point the problem. But through a long, painful, and tedious process, Leah found a way to cope  -
and that's where Charlie comes in.

Charlie is Leah's seizure alert dog. Whenever Leah is going to have a seizure, Charlie gives her a 5 - 10 min warning of its onset by "freaking out". He will jump, bark, and even lick her face. This allows Leah enough time to get to a safe place and lie down or call for help. Charlie is an amazing dog. And how fitting for such an amazing girl?! 
Sadly, Charlie was recently diagnosed with cancer. He has gone through a major surgery to remove three cancerous tumors and will need to receive chemo and radiation therapy. These treatments are extremely expensive and while Leah has paid for the cost of the surgery, she cannot cover the cost of the treatments he needs to receive and the cost of having her baby (she is 7 months pregnant!) It's crucial Charlie is with Leah, especially at this important time, to ensure the safety of both Leah and her baby. 


I'm asking for your help. A few years ago I recorded a mediocre piano cd of Christmas music for close family and friends. I've put it up on CD Baby (here) where all the songs can be purchased and downloaded. All proceeds from the sale of these songs will be given to Leah to help cover the cost of Charlie's cancer treatments. I'm asking you to consider purchasing holiday music to support my best friend. If you'd rather avoid listening to my piano creations, I'm asking that you make a donation to my little Charlie Fund by clicking the "Donate" button right here on my blog (top right). 

Thank you for giving to a cause that has deep and personal meaning to me. Please pass this on to anyone you know who might also consider giving. 

I love you all.

Have a wonderful holiday season and the Merriest Christmas!


p.s. To read more about Charlie, see the blog Super Dog Charlie Pants here,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

bad days make good bumper stickers

Well I'm really looking forward to the day when my life isn't such a roller coaster of emotions. Of late I've had some pretty great days and one incredibly bad horrible no good awful day.

Friday, September 27th (henceforth forever known as Day From Hell).

It all started a few weeks earlier when I told my mother that we wouldn't be coming up to Kansas for my counsin's wedding.

My mom cried.

I felt bad. So I started thinking of a way that I could make the trek to Kansas. I came up with the plan that I would leave around 3am or so and drive for about 6 hours before the boys woke up (they wake up around 8:30 or 9 so naturally they would just sleep in the car until when they usually wake up - Clue #1 that I'm an idiot).

As the day for departure neared, Doug and I realized there was no way he would be able to accompany me and the boys due to the amount of school work and projects he had going on. So I decided I would travel just the three of us. No problem! (clue #2 that I'm an idiot).

The night before we were set to leave I was scrambling around the house trying to get all the last minute details figured out like,

1. Where does my mom live?
2. How do I get to Kansas?
3. What should I pack for the boys?
4. How much money do we have left in our account at the end of the month?
5. Can I afford gas there and back?


So when 12:30am rolled around and I was still not in bed, I knew 3am was going to get ugly.

3am Doug and I got up and got the car ready to go and in the pitch black got the boys changed and in their car seats and in the car without hardly a peep from anyone. I rolled out of the driveway at about 3:15. After 45 min of driving I knew my plan was brilliant and that I should be given the Trophy of Momhood, complete with gold stars and chocolate.

Then at around 4am something happened. I think there was a switch inside Whitman's head that clicked on and he realized he needed to cry as loud and as hard as he possibly could so I can barely keep my bleary eyes on the road or remember what on earth I was doing. The "go - ape-shit!" switch went off.

I thought surely we will go back to sleep (clue #4) but noooooo my kids are dutiful and Whitman pledged his soul to the ape-shit switch at some point in his short little life so he kept on belting his majestic voice until Charlie too felt the call of duty.

I pulled over and gave them both pacifiers. They sucked on them just long enough for me to be convinced that all was fine and I could continue driving. As I pulled back on to the mostly deserted highway they chucked those measly green plastic good-for-nothins across the car and let loose.

After nearly 2 hours of them screaming and it nearing 5 something in the morning I looked down at my speedometer to see that I was going over 90 miles an hour so I could get the hell to Kansas, just in time to see the lights switch on above the black patrol car that was hiding in the median with no lights on. Surprisingly, my boys were not impressed with the siren or the blaring lights and wanted to let the world know as I tried to hear the commands of the police officer who was shining a very bright flashlight in my face and my babies' faces. As it turns out, Texas patrolmen are EXACTLY as they are portrayed in the movies.

30 min later, and despite the policeman "feeling sorry for me," I was on my way with a lovely little $300 speeding ticket and two babies WHO WERE STILL CRYING.

I got to Dallas/Ft. Worth and pulled off into a gas station and began to bawl. I decided there was no way in hell I was going to drive with deliriously tired screaming babies and that no family or cousin's wedding or even my own wedding would have been worth it at that point. So at about 6am I called my mom and told her we weren't coming, which of course made her cry. Awesome. I called my brother and told him we weren't coming, which of course didn't make him cry, because that'd be weird, but made me cry at the thought that they wouldn't be able to meet their uncle for even longer now. I called my husband and cried and told him the whole saga, and at 6am he seemed to only be able to grasp the $300 ticket (me to Doug: Can you FORGET about the damn ticket for one second?) Then I called my cousin, who I am only sorta close with (as in we are family but not HEY its 6am and I'm randomly in your city and remembered you live here and I'd like to take my screaming babies over to your house and crash for a bit before I turn around...not that close). But I called my cousin and miraculously, she answered.

Sometime around 7am I showed up at my cousins house with my boys who had resorted to quiet whimpering because their voices were all but gone. As I picked them up to bring them in her house, I realized they had had major poop explosions (no sense of smell, remember?) in their carseats and they were di-i-sgusting. But only having two arms I just picked them up anyway and carried them, poop now up my arm - and all, into her house. I promptly changed them (Hi cousin!) and then they played around for a bit while I attempted to set up the pack-n-play for 25 min.

It was sometime around then that my cousins neighbor backed into my car.

Running on about 2 hours of sleep, my NEW car being hit didn't really seem to phase me. Somehow, it seemed to make sense. I started hallucinating about the stairs caving in and my legs being made of bloody sponges. Yeah. I don't know. I was deliriously tired and freaked out from the 3 hours of screaming that were still resonating in my head. I got the guy's info and then took a short nap, reaffirming to my cousin that we would not be crashing at her house long. The boys would just take a short nap and then we'd be on our way.

4 hours later.

Yeah, the boys took a 4 hour nap so I was at her house for a very long time. I felt terrible. Not to mention that I now made things very awkward for her and her neighbor. Ugh. Sometime around 2 or 3pm I finally was able to leave her house. The boys were perfectly well behaved and were thrilled with the new brain-frying dvd device that I had bought especially for this trip so they would be good little boys in the car.

They were angels on the way home (though I did stop frequently this time). We made it back around 8pm - I still hadn't had anything to eat or drink that day so the moment we got inside, Doug gave us all big hugs, the boys wiggled until they could get down and stretch their legs, and I went to the kitchen to get something to drink. I saw that Charleston was pulling up on a box that was on the ground. I took a swig of water and looked back down at him just in time to see him face-plant into the tile floor. I ran over and scooped him up and he screamed into my chest. I imagined the Momhood Trophy of wonder and chocolates slipping slowly out of my fingers. I held him tight and rocked him until I finally pulled his head off my chest to look at him. He was bleeding profusely. My shirt was soaked. I had blood all over me, him, the floor, my legs. Everywhere. I almost passed out and yelled Doug's name seconds before I almost dropped Charlie. Doug grabbed him and immediately got the bleeding under control and managed to soothe him and eventually make him laugh. We still aren't sure the extent of the damage. It was the end to a very very bad day.

As I was driving back from Dallas to Austin I tried to come up with a few bumper stickers for the lesson I learned that day.

Don't have twins.

Wait. No that wasn't it.

Don't babies and drive.

or if you'd rather,

MADB (Mothers Against Driving with Babies).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happy Days are Here Again

What up Blog World! Long time no talky talky (my bad)

Here is the loooooooong update

On Doug

Most days Doug is loving school. He comes home pumped about all the cool stuff he is learning and he works very very hard to make time for the family and get all the school work done and still have time to keep up with other media to help him in his program. Basically he is crazy busy but somehow is doing a really great job of juggling it all.

On the Provo house

Looks like the house will most likely close by the end of the month. The mortgage company approved the short sale and we are waiting for the final word from the city. I'm sad but also relieved and also a bit detached from the whole thing now that we are in the swing of things here. Though this is my favorite time of year in Provo and people post pictures of the canyons and a part of me just wants to cry and slowly stroke the computer screen... but I disgress. The house sitch is shaping up and we couldn't be more grateful.

On Austin

Cooler weather has arrived (at least for a little while) and it has been SO NICE! We've been able to keep the windows open at night and we have been outside EVERY DAY for like a week now. Holy crap is it nice to be about to not be stuck in the house. This has really really improved our mood (the collective House of Crabb mood that is). We also found a rockin' awesome park very close to our house (not close enough to walk but only like a 5 - 10 min drive). It has equipment and a water splash up pad thing and tons of stuff for kids. It also has a LAKE and a beautiful path and deer and bunnies and stray cats that I will eventually domesticate enough to take home with me (don't kill my dreams - just keep nodding your head) and the park is practically deserted most of the time. It has been an amazing find.

On the job front

I have had two interviews this past week that both went very very well. I would be grateful to work for either company. The two companies are very different and the jobs themselves are slightly different but both would entail doing training, which just makes me so excited! I'm going to describe both a bit in detail so feel free to skip this boring part  -
Job 1 - I'd be a trainer/consultant for a small software company that has created a product solely for the vast and confusing world of higher ed accreditation. They require you have an advanced degree (which makes me feel like maybe grad school was worth it afterall) and they pay well. Its VERY close to our house here (AWESOME!) and I think I would absolutely love what I'd be doing and would also really get the chance to push myself and move up since its such a small company. I wouldn't be doing quite as much training as the other job but the consulting portion of the job sounds equally as appealing to me, so I'm not bummed about the training part only being about 60% of the job.
Job 2 - I'd be a contract trainer working part time for a subsidiary of the State of Texas who does all their employee training. I'd train all sorts of things from tech topics to professional development topics. They are not flexible on the hours (classroom trainings are pretty standard 8 -5 with the trainer coming early and leaving late) but I get to choose what days I would work so hopefully I could try and make it work around Doug's schedule. Its also pretty close, pays reasonable and the company is really really great. I'd really get a TON of training experience under my belt and I think I could add some real value in other areas of the company and could even make it a full time role if it made sense/cents.
For Job 1 I have a second interview next week where I am doing a 30 min training to show my stuff. I plan to just blow it out of the water. I'm so excited to knock their socks off. I'm definitely more interested in Job 1 but I think either would just be an amazing blessing for our family. We are really getting down to the wire in the financials and could really use some employment.

On Working v Staying Home

I suppose I really came to terms with staying home a few weeks ago in the depths of my despair about it all. I felt like I really came to a point where I felt like if this was what God was asking me to do then I would learn to be happy doing it. I can very easily see the joy in staying home with the boys. On days where they were in a good mood and I had stuff to do and I could meet up with people or speak to adults at any time in the day (more than, "No I don't need the receipt. Thanks.") I had some really fabulous days. I feel like queen of my domain and was so pleased with myself for things like successful trips to Sam's Club. I think I'm happier working outside the home but I also think I could be happy not doing so as well. I take great comfort though in knowing that I'm just doing exactly what I feel God is telling me to do. Right now that looks like I will working which also means that we will have to figure out some childcare options. I feel really torn about that and I worry about time away from my little guys, but I also know that if I'm supposed to work then the Lord will also show me exactly what I should do with my boys. I have a lot more respect for stay-at-home moms and I think both routes can be both very difficult and very rewarding.

On Church

We still don't have really any friends but I do feel a lot of love from/for people at church. We have all the young 19 year-old missionaries over for dinner 2x a month and they are just so cute and earnest and...hungry. The church is responsible for feeding them but because our ward is of the generally poor kind, not a lot of people sign up to feed the poor kids. So we feed them pancakes or pasta or whatever. Its been a lot of fun to have them over.
I was asked to be the music leader for the children. I've been asked to be this before and have turned it down, but this time I felt the distinct impression that this is what I should do right now. I'm actually really excited! I keep thinking of all the wonderful VBS (vacation bible school) songs I learned as a child and all the wonderful traditional Christian/Baptist kids songs I learned that none of these Mormon kids will know. On the other hand, not having grown up LDS, I have no idea what any of these songs are that they sing. So I guess it will be a learning time for everyone. I'm only with the children for about 30 min so its just enough to have fun and not be stuck with a bunch of kids for hours on end at church. This will be one of the first ones I teach:

Zacchaeus was a wee little man
And a wee little man was he
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see
And as the Savior passed that way
He looked up in that tree
And He said, “Zacchaeus, you come down!
For I’m going to your house today
For I’m going to your house to stay”

On the Boys

Sigh. I feel so in love. Seriously. I feel like a lovesick puppy for these guys. They are so wonderful. They are just smiley and laugh all the time. They love each other and they love me and Doug and they just bring so much joy to us and everyone around them. I mean, have you seen this video?

And lest I paint a fake picture, they do drive me crazy. Whitman is OBSESSED, obsessed I tell you, with eating dust bunnies. Seriously. You may laugh but this kid will literally pull fibers off of the rug or carpet until he gets enough to make a wad and then will shove the whole thing in his mouth. I am constantly pulling the nastiest crap out of his mouth. And Charlie. That kid. He is just into everything. And he is really really clingy right now. Like if I walk anywhere he needs to be right at my feet. And if I stand for more than two seconds in one spot then he will pull up on the back of my legs so I can't walk anywhere for fear that he will loose his precarious balance and fall. And they are teething again and have days where they are just SO whiny. But the nice thing about those days is that they sleep a whole lot more when they are teething so its slightly more tolerable.
But all that aside, they are just wonderful. They love to crawl up on to me or Doug and just lay their face on your face like this (sorry for the poor quality)

They love to go out on errands and they always behave whenever we go out...and the people always shout... I'll stop but seriously, they are well behaved. Its great. They both now crawl very well and love to chase Patches the cat. Charlie can pull himself up onto anything and can sorta walk a little bit when holding onto things. Whit is starting to pull himself up on stuff and is a very good walker when we hold his hands. They both have the little pincher hand move goin' on when they grab Puffs (dissolvable cereal snack thing). Whit loves water and will drink the entire sippy cups worth of water if I let him. Charlie, on the other hand, is not much interested in water. They love baths and they enjoy splashing each other and watching the water go down the drain. We showed them a laser pointer the other day and they chased the laser dot around everywhere. It was very funny and also I felt a little bad somehow, like I was making fun of their baby brains or something. Nonetheless, it was funny.
Here are a few more poor quality phone photos...

Charlie - left, Whit - right, more interested in chest than toys. Whit probably found a dust bunny...

Whit - left, Charlie - right, Charlie has his hand on Whit's leg. So sweet. 

Charlie - left, Whit - right
On me

I feel hopeful right now. I feel happy. I have yet to figure out how to train for the marathon in February and make amazing homemade meals each night and keep the house clean  (though I have far less dust bunnies these days...!) and possibly be employed/search for employment and do church and make friends and feed my marriage and keep connected with loved ones and all the other things that are important to me. I don't know how to balance it all. I've obviously let blogging slide a bit, eh? :) Truthfully, I don't spend much time online anymore and I'm grateful for it. I feel like I don't always like what I become when I spend gobs of time on the internet. I'm striving to find balance there too. I'm reading a ton more and I'm really just trying to soak up every moment with my boys. I know I likely won't be home all day with them forever and so I try to just enjoy my time with them. I feel like this whole thing is hard. Its a challenge. But its also exactly where we are supposed to be and knowing that has really made all the difference. I likely won't be blogging as often but I'll try to update every week or two and post more (and far better quality) pictures and videos of the boys.

Much love to you all