No, No, No!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Please, no!! No summer school please!!! Tomorrow, at the crack of dawn, I must be back at school pretending to know what I'm talking about to a bunch of 9th graders who are as apathetic about being there as I am... And it's my BIRTHDAY. Boo! Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...

Today was WONDERFUL. My baby was wonderful, I got several things accomplished (which may not sound that cool to you, but it has been an elusive thing for me since being home with Noah) and all was well and good in Emily's Little World. I mean, you shoulda seen the SMILES this baby was giving me today! While he played INDEPENDENTLY!! And didn't WHINE!! And he let me take him to the bank and the post office and the drugstore AND the grocery store, and was cute and charming the entire time!! And he played with kitchen stuff while I made him homemade baby food to freeze (squash and peas). And I managed to get dinner microwaved (whaddya want from me?? It's better than cereal!!) for my hubby before he was out the door for work tonight. I feel like a SUCCESSFUL stay-at-home-mom!!

And right on the heels of this thrilling, self-esteem building day, comes SUMMER SCHOOL. Ugh. Where I have to think about bedtime for me, and alarm clocks in the morning, and pumping at work (double-ugh!!) and squirrely kids and DRESSING PROFESSIONALLY... and losing the rhythm and momentum I've been building up as a stay-at-home-mom... I am so so sad.

Okay, okay-- granted it is only for two and a half weeks. And it pays SO WELL. But still. My heart is heavy at the thought of it. My tomorrow is going to come too soon.

Anyway... No pictures for you... nothing inspiring either. Just a bit of my true thoughts blurted into the blog universe. Take it or leave it.


...okay. One photo. Noah with a wire whisk and silver mixing bowl, using his Boppy for support, sittin' with me outside as I cleaned his exersaucer...

{photo taken with my cell phone this afternoon}

at last...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

H - copper O M McElman_071126_2011

at last.

And while there is so much to share and talk about, please forgive me if I am a bit slow in the doing. I want to do a proper job, and that will take time. Until then, here I am:

  • Tired from getting into St. Louis at 4 a.m. and only getting to sleep until 9. (Thanks, Noah.)
  • Proofing photos frantically to make up for the lost two weeks of vacation
  • Desperately craving an orderly house, but with no time to make it so.
  • Feeling a bit sad that I have no energy or inspiration for my upcoming birthday.
  • Not looking forward to heading back to school in a few days to teach summer school. Too much, too soon!
  • Grateful to have seen so many dear friends and family during our trip.
  • Getting over a rogue summer cold that Utah threw at me.
  • Hoping baby will sleep a bit better tonight than he has the whole trip.
  • Sorry for the quick, photoless update.
Missed my blog world and my blog friends... Hope all is well with you! Leave me a comment to let me know you still read this thing, so I can get the drive to post a better blog entry soon!!

Leaving Town...And Other Ramblings.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This photo was from a couple of weeks ago, when Joe, Noah and I took a little mini-trip to the zoo. It was a lovely afternoon, and Noah even fell asleep in the stroller for a little bit, which is always nice!

I am currently sitting at my computer in the darkening evening, very casual, procrastinating editing some photos before I leave town... and I am utterly AMAZED that my baby boy is STILL awake in his room, kicking the sides of his crib and chatting to himself, when Joe and I laid him down SLEEPY an hour and a half ago. NINETY minutes!! And he has been kicky and chatty off and on ever since. Hasn't dozed... Nothing. Is this a side effect of baby Motrin? Sleeplessness? Because he's not crying. He doesn't even seem to be acknowledging teething pain, so the Motrin is doing its job... But seriously, kid. The vigorous kicking sounds emanating from your room signify to me that not only are you not asleep, you are NOWHERE NEAR it. Ack!

Tonight, I have to finish editing a batch of photos, finish packing for Noah and myself (which is nearly done), tie up loose ends here at home, shower, and get SOME sleep so that tomorrow isn't AWFUL... because driving cross-country with a teething baby, a night-shift husband, and a sleepy mama is a recipe for disaster!

So as you can deduce from all the mentions here in this blog post, we are headed out of town tomorrow. The babe, the hub, and me, driving to Arizona. Oh, only about 23 hours or so. Did I mention we're bringing the baby? Yeah. I'm a bit terrified.

Our game plan is to stop frequently, take stretch breaks, and rotate sitting in the back with him to keep him entertained and help soothe him to sleep for naps. (Update: Still kicking. MAN, this kid is boycotting sleep!! How will he do tomorrow?????) We'll crash overnight somewhere and split the journey in two, and hopefully we won't be tearing our hair out by the time we reach Payson, AZ, the site of my family reunion.

The trip is going to span two weeks, with 4 days of driving, 3 days in Arizona, and a full week in Utah. We might be crazy, and I think we might never travel again after this, but cross your fingers for us. Pray for Noah and his teething, not-going-to-bedness. :) Hopefully we'll all survive intact, and maybe even have fun stories to tell and good photos to share.

Okay, okay.... enough randomness and procrastinating. When I get back from my trip, my goal is to be a more regular blogger again. I don't promise batches and batches of cupcakes or project after project... but rest assured there will be lots of photos, as usual, and a few stories of my little life here and there.

Till then....

My Sis...

Friday, June 6, 2008

This is Beezo. She's one of my four kid sisters, the one that is four years younger than me. She is the tallest. She is the most sarcastic. She is the best debater. She is an unbelievable cook. She is great to have on your Trivial Pursuit/Cranium/Celebrity team. She is an avid reader, movie watcher, TV show junkie. She has a degree in psychology. She is deeply loyal. She knows what to say when she listens to your problems. She is self-deprecating to the extreme. She is hilarious. And she is one of the most important people in my entire life.

And last week, she started an incredible, challenging, life-changing job Iraq.

My kid sis. In Iraq.

Just last week, she was still living four blocks away from me, a stroller walk away. A trip to the cupcake shop away. A movie away. But this job offer came into her path, and she and her roommate Kathy applied for and got it. Something about reconstruction/engineering/blah blah blah. So in a whirlwind of applications, immunizations, physicals, and background checks, within a month of applying for this job, Beckie has been whisked away to a small military base in northern Iraq to spend a year trying to make a little difference. Kathy, too.

They'll live on a military base, but do a civilian job. Their room and board is paid for, so the money they'll make (and it is a sizable chunk) is basically money in the bank. During their year, they'll get two different 2-week R&R breaks, where the company will pay for a trip wherever they want to go. Oh, and though they applied together, and got the job together, the two close friends have been sent to two different locations. So even that small bit of familiarity has been pulled out from under them.

And honestly, VERY honestly, I am thrilled for Beckie. She has always wanted to do the Peace Corps or Amnesty International, or something like that. She had graduated from college two year ago and was beginning to stagnate in a serving job at Macaroni Grill. She needed a change. Needed something that would make her feel like she was really making a difference in this world. She needed to get out of her comfort zone. This fit the bill.
And the only thing that makes me a little uncomfortable with this new experience is that it is in the Middle East. Besides that little detail, I think this is the chance of a lifetime for her.
On the other end of the reaction spectrum, the more selfish end, is how I feel about what I'm losing. I am happy for her. I am hopeful this will be a deeply influential life experience for her. But one of my very best friends is now as far away from me as she can possibly be. In a scary place. Alone. I ache for her and for me and for Noah, her little nephew she has gotten so close to. It makes me so sad- to think of the many many moments we'll miss together while she is away. And though it IS only a year, a year is a long time in Beckie's nephew's life.

And Beckie has had such a good time with this little man. She has gotten so confident in his patterns and idiosyncrasies. Almost as good at "reading" Noah as Joe and I. She and he even have their "shtick"-- their little routines that make both of them laugh.
So this part of Beckie's leaving is especially hard. For her and for me. And though I'll send her plenty of pictures and video clips, as Joe's parents in Korea can attest, it simply isn't the same.

So here we are... Me in St. Louis, and Beckie all the way across the world in Iraq. IRAQ, people. And it really hasn't sunk in yet. Last week, she was hanging out at our house, her bessie Kyle in town to see her one last time before her departure, all of us laughing and pretending the inevitable wasn't coming...

But then the day actually arrived. Last Thursday. And it was all I could do all day not to cry in front of my classes as I thought about the lunch we'd all planned together before her flight. My heart just felt sore the whole day.
At lunch, I made sure she got as much Noah-time as possible. It was bittersweet seeing them interact like nothing was changing. And I could tell that the future was weighing heavily on Beckie's mind. I mean, how could it not?

But the thing is, she's going to survive. Physically, emotionally, mentally. And not just survive, but THRIVE. This will shape her in deep and significant ways. This will enrich her. She will grow. It will likely be painful and lonely... but she WILL grow.

And me? Well... I'll be okay. I'll miss her terribly. Deeply. I'll regret fleeting moments we could have been doing things together, laughing. But I'll be okay. And a year is short, in the grand scheme of things. And email is good. Care packages to Iraq even better. And she'll hurry back at the end of a year and reinstate her campaign to be Noah's coolest aunt... like she had never even left. And we'll all be okay.

God speed, little sis. You're in my prayers.

Dave's Big Day: Richmond, VA

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A couple of weekends ago, Joe, Noah and I got to take a plane to Richmond, Virginia to see Joe's little brother Dave graduate with his Master's Degree from VCU's advertising school, Brand Center. Joining us on the trip were Joe's other sibs, Mary and Peter, as well as Mary's awesome guy Tim. It was a quick weekend, and it was Noah's first plane ride, but everything went pretty smoothly and it was GREAT to see where Dave lives and to watch him get this honor.

{Mary snaps Dave's pic right after he is handed his diploma}
{Mary and Dave goof off post-ceremony}
{gotta love this boy's style, eh? Dressy meets comfy, topped with a classy black gown}

{well, Tim's tall. Why not? (okay, it looks bad. But the gate was broken, and we had to get out somehow.)}
{Joe and Peter}

And in the middle of the weekend, I had the GREAT pleasure of meeting one of my online friends and her daughter who is only a couple of weeks older than Noah. We had arranged to meet up to take Eva's pictures, and I am SO glad it worked out! We had a lot of fun playing with the babies and seeing each other in person, and Eva was a PERFECT photography subject!

{the babies check each other out}
{say "cheese!"}
{The four of us, mamas and cutie-pies}
{a couple of Eva's photos}
Another great delight of our trip was the morning walks Joe and I took Noah on. It was a great way to get him to take little naps, and a really nice time to explore the charming neighborhood Dave lives in. Joe and I would head to Starbucks to get hot chocolate and muffins, then walk the cobbled streets of the historic part of Downtown Richmond, enjoying the storefronts and sights with virtually no other people crowding the sdidewalks. Of course, I took advantage of several cool spots for photos... And Noah just mellowed out/dozed along the way.

Winding down the weekend, we all packed up and made sure to catch a few last-minute photos.

{this was in Dave's room. I dunno who did them, but they made me smile}

{Uncle Dave with Noah}{Packing up the airbed takes some unconventional skillz}

{Dave and Pete... Total bros, can't you tell??}
{Peter, packed and ready to go}

{The Fantastic Four: Dave, Mary, Pete, Joe}

{Joe and Dave}{and last but not least: the historic Southerland Clan Motto, sans peur, which mean "without fear"... A perfect way to top off Dave's big accomplishment!}
Thanks, Dave, for hosting us. Thanks, Mary and Tim, for helping so much with Noah and the luggage and the rental car and such... Thanks Peter for being a fun uncle and good guy...

And thanks, Mom and Dad for the chance to take this get-away trip. We LOVED it. We love you!

Happy Thought

Sunday, June 1, 2008




{Then can I have my life back?}
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