Monthly Archives: June 2012

“You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too.” –Kurt Vonnegut, Jailbird

Sometimes I wish I lived somewhere, like France, where instead of giant pantries and economy-sized freezers there exists an eat-as-you-go philosophy, with more farmers’ markets than supermarkets, where you can buy just a handful of berries if you want just a handful of berries, and it’s ridiculous to eat something you might not necessarily want to simply because it’s going to expire soon, and it’s not weird or unhealthy to have a cookie dipped in a latte for lunch if that’s what you really want because you’ll make up for it later when you buy freshly picked spinach and tomatoes and bread that was baked an hour ago and cheese that came from goats that live just over there, and there is no such thing as leftovers because you bought just enough for today and tomorrow you’ll want something new because food should be exciting and pretty, not a five-pack of cotton underwear.

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ON STILL HAVING ZERO DEBT.

Remember when I was all “Husband is quitting his job to go to school and we’re going to take out loans and it’s going to be awesome”?

Yeah. That’s not happening.

We needed a cosigner for the private loan. What we thought would be one simple question for one simple person turned into one million questions for five different people over the course of forever. God was making it complicated. On purpose, probably, because He is so funny. Ha. Ha.

Forever story short, all of our attempts to obtain a cosigner were declined. It’s funny because we were convinced that this was what we were supposed to do and yet all the little doors were being closed even after the big one had been opened. Yeah, yeah, lesson learned. It’s also funny because two important things happened before we got the final “NO”: Husband got a massive-unprecedented-“are you sure that’s right?” raise at work AND God totally changed our hearts toward our original “plan.” Basically, by the time it was all over, we were both relieved. So we’ll wait another year, because if Brandon really is supposed to get this degree, God will make a way. He always does.

Besides, we have some great plans for this year. We will not be waiting in vain. We’ll have another squishy babe to squeeze and so many dinners together and people to enjoy. For whatever reason, we are supposed to have this year to ourselves and Husband is supposed to keep his really, really great job and what could be bad about that?

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TANTRUMS ARE AWESOME BECAUSE THEY MAKE TANTRUM-FREE TIMES MORE AWESOME.

This one time Elliot had my phone when we were driving somewhere and this happened:

And now instead of setting books down, he sets them up, like this:

What I’m saying is that everything he does, even when he is SO MAD that we have to get out of the pool and throws a fit all over me, is awesome.

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AVOCADOS & TOAST.

Did you know that, when paired, avocados and toast produce an electro-gama-Lite-Brite reaction that is similar to looking straight into the sun so you need to wear your sunglasses upside down when eating them together to prevent eye-blindness and face-melting-off-ness?

This guy teaches me new things every day.

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EPISODE II: RETURN OF THE TOOTH.

It’s baaaaaaaaaaack!

This was the best I could do, guys. My toddler is a super slippery sea monster from the swamp lands when it comes to photos these days.

BUT do you see that miracle of enamel protruding from where there once was a hole?

The tooth fairy’s attempt to take what was not rightfully hers FAILED. The tooth has returned!

We and the powers that be (meaning the pediatric dentists) can explain this phenomenon only as a miracle. Okay not really. What we thought had been a tooth-knocked-clean-out situation was really a tooth-knocked-clean-UP situation.

My skin is crawwwwwwwling as I write that. The pain of that, to me, would be significantly worse than having a tooth come out. Knock out all my teeth before you punch them back up into my gums, please.

Elliot, you’re one tough kid.

In conclusion, the tooth was knocked up into his gum line and is now being pushed back down, where it hopefully will remain, as the dentist said it is completely intact and healthy. There is concern about any damage it did to his adult tooth, but we won’t know what we can do about that until it appears in six or seven years.

It may be coming down a little crooked, but I’ll take a little crooked over a gaping hole. Woot!

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SPECIFICS.

I’m trying to be more specific when it comes to the things I say to Elliot, more specifically when it comes to discipline. I have the worst habit of just saying “Stop it” or “Don’t do that.” Sometimes I’m not even sure what exactly I want him to stop doing. I’m pretty sure this could breed a monster of confusion, especially because discipline is so much more effective when it is clear and consistent. Emphasis on consistent.

I want to learn to be clear about what I am asking of him:

“Stop banging that drumstick on the wall. Bang it only on the drum.”

“Hold my hand all the way across the street until we can touch the car.”

“Please don’t whine at me if you are done eating. Use your words.”

Because, in his juicy little brain, my “Stop it” could be directed toward any number of things. Stop making awesome music with your drumsticks no matter what surface you are banging them on? Heavens, no. Music will be made in this house! On the appropriate surfaces.

This is not to say that the longer my sentences are, the more he’ll obey. He hasn’t even been alive outside of my uterus for two years — I don’t expect advanced cognitive miracles. This is also not to say that I need a miracle. My kid is pretty even tempered (if he has had his morning banana). This is mostly to say that I’ve recognized a bad pattern in myself and I’m working hard to shake it now before things get sticky. But kids are always sticky. Amen?

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A PIN BOARD OF SORTS & A CONFESSION.

This philosophy.

These 22 rules of storytelling by a Pixar storyboard artist.

White cake.

This article on the adolescence of American Christianity — if you’re into eight-page articles on that stuff.

This song.

And this song, too.

Now, for my confession.

Here is a sad, stupid truth: I am too practical to be creative.

Creative in the sense of making things. Stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really creative when it comes to masking the fact that I haven’t showered in three days or in soliciting information I might not necessarily be privy too. But when it comes to creating stuff, I run full speed into the wall.

If it were up to my right-brained self, I’d make this blanket. But I have no need for another blanket. I have a perfectly fine blanket. I certainly can’t fathom actually purchasing a plain white blanket, fabric paint, and heart sponges. I might purchase them and make it to give as a gift, but no one’s birthday is coming up that would want this and Mother’s Day already happened. But I love that blanket and I want to make it. But I don’t need it. The turmoil!

I know — you could just make it for me.

Great.

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WEEKEND WARRIORS.

We had an actual weekend this weekend which never happens. I felt like someone had given me a gift, a much-needed gift before Husband left to get paid to geek out in super secret Apple land until Thursday. I tried really hard not to marry anyone cool, like a rockstar, and I totally succeeded with my computer dweeb of a man.

I mean, I think you’re cool, babe. Really super cool.

Saturday was spent swimming in the pool (I have a tomato-red belly to show for it) and digging in the garden. It’s a little known fact that if you dig at the same rocks for 1+ hours magical (read: imaginary) plants will grow. Who knew?

The evening consisted of our BFFs, Settlers of Catan, slushees, and many, many brownies. Sugar hangover: 3, me: 0.

On Sunday, we saw the new Wes Anderson movie, Moonrise Kingdom. It was, as a good friend put it, nearly perfect.

And then Husband left for California yesterday and I loaded the dishwasher and this means that something is wrong because I always wash dishes by hand so Husband should probably come home now before I do something even more crazy like alphabetize the spices or go grocery shopping. Wait, that’s a real thing that people do.

Oh, dear.

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Belly Diaries: 28 weeks.

I also write for Scottsdale Moms Blog.

Read my latest post, if you’d like.

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On having zero debt and then having all the debt.

We have been debt free our entire marriage — even before that, actually — save for some small personal loans from family that have been paid off / forgiven / are almost paid off. Now we’ve made the decision to enter into some serious, serious debt, and it is the best thing we could possibly do for our little family.

Husband has been in school for a, uh, really long time. It’s taken so long because he, of course, has to work full time, and with a family, that really only leaves room to take (online) classes part time without dying. Except he has been dying.

This is what our life has looked like:

Husband works 8 to 5, does homework from 5:30 to 10, goes to sleep (dead).

I single-parent from when E wakes up at 7 until he goes to bed at 8, then read books or blogs, then go to sleep (also dead).

The end. The WORST.

The fact is that if we continue with this life, Brandon will graduate in 200 years and miss every important moment in his sons’ lives and I’ll shrink to invisibility. He will have a degree but will not have a relationship with his family. Yes, Pell grants have covered all his tuition. But is it really financially responsible to remain debt free but want to kill yourself? I’m being dramatic but I’m also being serious.

We’ve prayed and thought and searched and then prayed harder for a solution to this. Brandon’s heart has always been to teach, and more recently it has been to teach the Bible, so we started looking into Arizona Christian University. It is the world’s smallest school (<– probably not an accurate fact) but almost 100% of their alumni are successfully doing what they went to school to do. Many of the professors also teach at Phoenix and Fuller Seminary or do important political, church, and activist stuff. Basically, it’s Brandon’s dream school. He wasn’t confident in applying because his GPA is less than lustrous (being dead will do that to you), but after meeting with an advisor there and praying endlessly, he couldn’t shake the duty he felt to try, at least. We also had no idea how we were going to afford it, and life, but God does crazy stuff. So we went for it.

He applied on a Monday and was accepted that Thursday.

Praise, praise, praise God.

We flirted with the idea of Brandon working part time while going to ACU full time, just to keep that door open and to keep some earned money coming in, but have felt sincerely convicted that that isn’t how we’re supposed to do this. It would be the same life, only flipped — school full time, work part time, sleep, death. So we, my friends, will be living entirely off of debt. And you know what? I look at the five, potentially six figures we will owe the government and the bank and I smile. I welcome it. My family will be whole. My marriage will be whole. I’ll have my best friend back and he’ll be pursuing his dream and then he’ll be living it, which means we’ll all be living it, and how could we not have joy at that? I’ll tie pretty ribbons and thank-you notes around the money we pay back. After all, it is impermanent, fleeting, gone in a second, but my people, my men, our families and our community — they are foreverso we choose to invest in them.

It will be worth it to have Brandon doing what he wants in two years instead of 200. It will be worth it to be making a real living instead of a retail living. It will be worth it to have dinner together again.

It will be worth it.

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