when all you want to do is take a shower, #movingday

All you want to do is take a shower.

That's it.

You have two days' worth of sweat and grime all over you, and the only time you're not sweating is in the air-conditioned car.

Your ankles feel like they're about to break because all you've done all day is carry things and go up stairs and stand around wondering where to even start.

All you want to do is take a shower.

The baby is finally down for the count, and the shower is yours.

But then you have to dig through one of the many "miscellaneous" boxes to find your face wash, body soap, shampoo, and razor.

Then you have to put up the shower curtain, because you didn't do that earlier.

All you want to do is take a shower.

You finally turn on the water and set it to a tepid temperature, because it's just been so awfully hot today.

You step in that shower and watch the dirt wash off your feet.

You've reached Nirvana.


month 10

:: These pictures were not taken with the usual intention and care. They were taken on impulse without any editing at all of my surroundings. This is my real life today, people.
:: Sometimes I'm surprised Asher is such a person.
:: He'd probably roll his eyes if he heard me state my marvel at his person-hood, but it's true.
:: You know what I mean?

:: Crawling happened for real over here.
:: In fact, it was hard to take any real candid photos of him, because as soon as he heard the camera, he turned and promptly made his way over.
:: I think he was crawling in secret for a couple days before I saw him action.
:: He'd be one place, and when I looked again five seconds later, he'd be over

:: He graduated to the high chair and a lower crib setting.
:: Those blankets you see strapped around the crib railing?
:: Those are there to prevent him from gnawing his way out of that thing.
:: Goodness.

:: He went through a growth spurt at the beginning of month 10 that involved an entire week of grumpiness.
:: He laughs at body noises like burps and farts.
:: Asher is now a pro with finger foods and has also learned to drop food off the side of his high chair.
:: I hardly know how to react to this. Sometimes it's funny and sometimes it's maddening, but I don't want to give him a reaction either way. So how to do I get him to stop?

:: Like I said earlier this week, moving has been hard on him. He can feel the fatigue of the situation, and I'd do anything to make this weekend a little easier for him.
:: Since becoming mobile he gets himself into all sorts of tumbles, bruises, and scrapes.

:: He can pull himself up on things quite nicely, and his favorite place to practice is in the bathtub. That's the place where we practice no the most.
:: Lots of ba-ba-bas, once a ba-ma, but no mama or dada yet.

:: At this exact moment he's supposed to be sleeping.
:: I'm supposed to be packing.
:: Neither of us is doing what we should.


instead of packing

I should be packing. Obviously. But I'd much rather be eating Target-brand honey nut cheerios and blogging instead. Again, obviously.

Last night contained the first moment that I saw visible packing progress. You know, that moment when all the boxes full of stuff look like they're actually emptying your home, just as you intended all along. I took down all the wall ornaments, and isn't it fascinating how doing just that one thing can make giant strides in transforming your home into just almost-vacant space?

I've had several podcasts to keep me company while packing, my new favorite being NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour. For a TV junkie like me, this podcast is audio delight. I'll often turn on Friday Night Lights while I pack, and isn't Tim Riggins just so frustratingly lovable? Then there's Harry Potter audio, obviously, and when I really a boost, *NSYNC Greatest Hits.

Asher was playing with the dresser drawers this morning and pinched his fingers several times. Every time was oh so sad, and it didn't take me long to realize that he wouldn't stop playing with the drawers any time soon. So I made a snap decision and put him down for a nap about half an hour earlier than usual. And speaking of the babe, I'm overdue for his 10-month post and I haven't even taken the pictures for it. Month 10 has been a big one, folks: we're talking bona fide crawling.

My cereal bowl has been empty for some time now, which probably means I need to get to work and accomplish something before Asher inevitably wakes up earlier than I want. Thanks, blog, for providing such a wonderful distraction.


on fumes

I've been trying to write a poem for you about how we painted our new place last weekend, but I haven't been able to finish it yet. Moving makes you tired, emotional, sensitive, and opinionated, and that, dear readers, is a recipe for implosion.

The babe is no exception to that recipe. He's been more sensitive and has needed more devoted time and attention. What's getting me through this week is knowing that this time next week I'll be on the downward slope.

Two more days until the official moving day. Two more days.


OSR: Bonjour!

Do we need to talk about how I haven't posted any reading updates in six months? I don't think so. Let's just dive in. Miraculously I'm ahead of schedule for this year's reading, so how about I just give you the condensed reviews, and if you're interested in the full ones, hop on over to my Goodreads page.

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn: Meh. Maybe if you don't have anything else to read. Stay on the library's waiting list instead of buying your own copy. Lots and lots of language.

The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Tracy Hogg: One of my preferred parenting books, if I have to choose one. Great combination of regimen and flexibility.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child, Mark Weissbluth: I was pretty burned out of parenting books when I read this one. Nothing in it was super new, but a few tips did help me during that month of panicky sleep deprivation.

One Bite at a Time, Tsh Oxenreider: Great little ebook with 52 different projects and ideas for simplifying your life. One of my favorite home management books. I also read her other book, Organized Simplicity, and really connected with it.

Patty Jane's House of Curl, Lorna Landvik: A sweet story about sisterhood and living. Reading my grandma's old copy with her handwriting in it made it all the more sweet for me.

Whiter than Snow, Sandra Dallas: Not my favorite Sandra Dallas book, but still enjoyable.

True Sisters, Sandra Dallas: A really interesting narrative about the Mormon handcart trek. I found it much more realistic a story than many of the books written by LDS authors.

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell: A reread done audiobook style. What can I say except that Scarlett is fabulous and Rhett dreamy?

What Alice Forgot?, Liane Moriarty: Like 13 Going on 30 for grownups. A really interesting look into marriage and forgiveness and fresh starts.

And now I'll post a real review on a book that a sweet friend recommended. I've had several people ask to know what I thought, so here's what I think, in its multi-paragraph glory.

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French ParentingBringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before picking up this book I was burned out on parenting advice. Everywhere I looked had conflicting approaches, and every one claimed that theirs was the one and only method to raise a happy, successful, and loved child. (I did find one book, though, that I will sometimes go back to for reference.) All that said, I really enjoyed my experience with Bringing up Bébé. First off, I connected well with the memoir style of writing. It was a far more approachable read than other parenting books.

In many ways this book validated my views on parenting and having a family. Rules and structure (or as the French call the concept, cadre) are not only OK but they are beneficial for children. In fact, not only is it possible to teach young children appropriate behavior and table manners, but parents can even go so far as to expect that behavior! I really latched onto the idea of children--and even babies--as sentient beings capable of learning and applying essential life skills, like sleeping, waiting, and respecting others. It's OK not to coddle children, and it's OK for them to feel frustration. We can and should expect our children to learn and act accordingly. Teaching them certainly takes repetition and patience on our part, but children really can learn these things. I feel that these levels of expectations can forge important bonds of mutual respect between a parent and her child.

I certainly didn't connect with everything Druckerman observes about French parenting (especially the all-encompassing, government-run education system). Toward the end the praise and reverence of all things French got old, and I started feeling slightly defensive of my American-ness. Her characterizations of French and American parents are perhaps unnecessarily polarizing. I'd love the input of some of my friends and family who have their own experiences with the French.

Throughout the book I solidified a few important things in my personal parenting paradigm: parenting can and should be intentional and deliberate; establishing a framework of set rules and behavioral expectations does not make you a mean parent; and children are highly capable humans who can learn, understand, and apply concepts as early as infancy.

Many of the ideas presented in Bringing up Bébé validated and empowered my own approach to parenting. What I loved most was that so many of those ideas are simple. They don't require intricate and precise steps for implementation. I felt like I stumbled on the Occam's Razor of parenting, and I felt freed.

View all my reviews

What have you read this year? Do you make reading goals? Are you on track?


a eureka! marriage moment

I did it. I finally nailed down Josh's love language.

Yesterday was Father's Day. Obviously. We're not huge gift givers when it comes to holidays other than birthdays or Christmas. (Gift-giving is probably at the bottom of both our love language lists. We appreciate gifts--obviously--but especially when it comes to the two of us, we're close to indifferent about it.) So for Father's Day, I reciprocated what he did for me on Mother's Day. I let him sleep in, made him breakfast, took care of all baby duty to-dos (except for one poopy diaper Josh insisted on changing because he "had to be a father on Father's Day"), made him a cake, and let him indulge in Josh-time while I took care of everything else. I enjoyed doing it, and he seemed to enjoy it too.

So here's where my revelation comes in. Later that night he was telling me how much he appreciated the day and how it felt so special to him. Then it clicked. Josh feels loved through acts of service.

You would think figuring out his love language should have been easy, but when you're married to a man who has a hard time talking about feelings, sitting down to talk about love languages is probably not the best plan of action. So I observed. And observed. And observed a little bit more.

I observed until it hit me in the face that obviously Josh responds best to acts of service: letting him have the last brownie, making dinner after work, packing him lunch, suggesting he play on the computer instead of putting away dishes (sometimes), pouring him a glass of cold water because I know he's thirsty. It's so simple, I can't believe it took me this long. But here I am, a newly enlightened wife, and eureka! I'm feeling empowered.

I feel loved through words of affirmation, perhaps the most insecure of love languages? What's yours?


Mr. Wilson, fatherhood becomes you

I sure write a lot about motherhood and how it's changed me, but I don't think I've told you too much about Josh's fatherhood. Today is certainly an appropriate day for that.

Some of my most treasured days of our marriage are those first days after Asher was born. I can't adequately describe the renewed and amplified love I felt for my husband as I saw him love and care for our newborn son. Josh has taken very well to fatherhood; it brings out in him a tenderness and softness I don't think I would have seen otherwise. He's playful and silly, kind, patient, and protective. And Asher simply adores him. I wish you could see Asher's face when Josh comes in the door after work. It's like Asher's whole world just doubled in goodness.

I love how fatherhood has affected my husband. It forges a connection between us that is unique and intimate. As I see Josh with our son, my heart swells and leaps, because he made me a mother and I made him a father. We wouldn't be who we are without each other. Our souls and destinies are forever connected, more than they ever were before his fatherhood and my motherhood.

Happy Father's Day, Mr. Wilson. I love you.


sandal delivery, thank you very much

Yesterday after an unintentional, neck-cramping, disorienting nap I had to sit down and focus on some writing for these people. After some not so productive brainstorming I heard a quick knock on the front door. I found a white square box stamped with a simple pink ShoeDazzle on the side, and suddenly my weird Friday morning received a welcome tweak.

Inside I found my new pair of sandals that I ordered on Monday. Have you heard of ShoeDazzle? It's this site where you fill out a style profile, and after a day or two you get your own personalized shoe showroom. It's fabulous. Plus you get all these coupons in your inbox for crazy things like $15 off and save 25 percent and free shipping. So these all Italian leather sandals with that delightful metallic band were only $34. Seriously.

It was too chilly to wear them yesterday, but I was so giddy about their arrival that I gave myself permission to read my book for the entirety of Asher's afternoon nap, and it was lovely.


let's be friends

I feel that if we're going to be friends--which, obviously we are--you need to know a few things.

:: I am a low-maintenance friend. This means that I don't always text, call, or write back (I do try--promise) but all that doesn't mean that I don't care. In fact, I can go for months without talking to you and still feel like we're best buds. That's what I mean by low maintenance. 
:: Watching TV is a highly enjoyable way for me to wind down. If we share a favorite show or two, all the better.
:: I hate exercise. 
:: I love cake.
:: I won't judge you on your grammar. Promise. (People worry about that one all the time.)
:: I am an introvert. This means that social things, while often enjoyable, drain my energy rather than replenish it. I need time to recharge. This topic actually deserves a whole blog post of its own, don't you think?
:: I value handmade and homemade, especially when it comes to cake. I love whipping up a good, made-from-scratch layer cake. I'll even teach you how to bake a cake.
:: Harry Potter and I are BFFs. You are more than welcome to join the club.
:: I drink hot cocoa year-round.
:: I pick Pepsi over Coke every single time. 


scribbled pot roast and writer's block

I've been feeling that I have nothing to write about that would be super interesting. I thought about telling you all about how I made a pot roast last night and how I'm still using the instructions I scribbled down as a college sophomore as my mom told me step by step how to roast a pot roast. But really there wasn't much of a story there.

My new favorite snack has been Nutella. I guess to get specific it's Nutella between graham crackers or on toast or on a spoon. Nutella. I went to three different grocery stores today because I refused to pay $4 for a small loaf of sandwich bread when I could get two big loaves of sandwich bread for $6 at Costco. So we schlepped to Costco just for the sandwich bread. I signed up Asher for the summer reading program at the library, and I'm thrilled. I figure that if I'm going to indoctrinate him with something it might as well be a love for reading, right? I start my weeks off running and slowly peter out to coasting by Friday. We've been chowing down on the most delicious watermelon.

You can't help but agree with me that none of those constitutes a real story. But I guess they're all small pieces that are currently making up mine. I just wish they'd lend themselves better to beating writer's block.

(We're closing on a home a week from Wednesday. I guess that's kind of a story--one for another post, I think.)


bookish mojo

A few weeks ago I had a sudden urge to read a Sandra Dallas book. I knew that she had a few published recently that I hadn't yet read, so I packed up the babe and quickly headed to the library. For several months now (basically since Asher was born) I lost my reading groove. I preferred to watch effortless television than crack a thoughtful book.

It's not like I haven't done any reading since last August. I read magazine articles, news reports, and blog posts, and I've been listening to both audiobooks and podcasts. I've been staying informed and (hopefully) interesting. Actually reading actual books, however, just wasn't an enticing option for my wiped out mind and body.

So I welcomed this sudden and urging desire to actually read. I feel like a crucial part of me has been lying dormant for a while, and now it's finally ready to come back. I've finished a few books in the past several weeks, and it's delightful. I have a list of potential summer reads that I gleaned from Ultimate Beach Reading: A Summer Reading Guide from Modern Mrs. Darcy (check out the link on the right-hand side of the page).

Several people have requested my opinion on my current read, and so you can expect a book review post soon. All I can say is that I'm so glad my bookish mojo found its way back. Have you ever lost some of your mojo? How did you get it back?


so this happened

Yes. The Bachelorette happened over here. (Well, just to me. Not to Josh. Obviously. He mocks me at every opportunity.)

I haven't ever watched this brand of reality TV, but something about The Bachelorette just called to me this year. It's delightfully mind-emptying, and in a season with no new episodes of my favorite TV shows, it's nice to invest some superficial caring into this super real reality show.
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