7 months old

Hey baby girl,

Another month has come and gone.  It’s simply unbelievable.

You are still as cute as always.  And pssst, just between you and me, some people are saying you are starting to look like me.  It thrills my soul every time I hear it.  You sure are good lookin’, but your insides are more important.  Let me tell you about your little 7 month spirit.

You are determined.

You are alert to everything going on around you.

You are smart, smart, smart.  Your brain is working all the time.  Just for future reference, I don’t think I’ll be able to help you with your homework.

You’re getting the hang of the peek-a-boo game and we can play that for a real long time.  It seems I get bored before you do for sure.

You are sweet and have just begun to give hugs and snuggle down to us when we pick you up.  You are starting to show affection to your people and it is so darling.

Sleep?  Who needs it?  You are too busy scooting around on your tummy, dragging one leg behind you like a wounded soldier, exploring everything you can and everything you shouldn’t.

You’re getting much stronger in your legs and have begun to attempt to pull up, especially in your crib when you don’t want to be in there.  You can also stand for a real long time holding onto something, like the ottoman.

You aren’t crawling on your hands and knees yet, but you’ve started to crawl onto things.  The other day you got in quite a bind when you crawled on top of a case of water sitting on the floor, and you didn’t really know what to do next so you started yelling.  You’re funny, girl.  But you don’t think other things are funny.  Although you grin and smile all the time, you rarely laugh.  It usually takes your cousin Ash to get you to laugh, and yesterday for the first time ever, you laughed at me.

This month we’ve hit a few bumps in the road.   It seems that you’ve developed a small case of “Stranger Danger” and will sometimes cry when your not familiar with the person holding you.  Also, you’ve gotten super attached to momma, and you’ll cry if I walk out of the room.  So guess what I’ve done?  I’ve pulled out the old baby wrap.  Remember that thing?  I’m back to strapping you to me and away we go to do the things that don’t really get done, like sweeping and cooking.  I need to figure out how to turn you around to face out however because you keep twisting your little torso around to see what in the world is going on behind you.  I’m worried you just might topple out.

But the biggest bump is the sleeping thing.  All over the internet is says kids your age should be sleeping through the night.  You did that once.  Once.  Months ago.  So in case I haven’t already told you, mom and dad would really appreciate it if you’d go ahead and meet that milestone real soon.

I hope you know sweet thing, that I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.  I google directions everyday for you concerning all sorts of issues.  Should I let you cry it out at sleep time or should we co-sleep, should I teach you sign language so you can communicate, what sorts of foods should I fee you and the list goes on and on.  I don’t know if all the “experts” have a clue either.  What I do know is you are loved deeply,  and you matter.  I want you so much to be an independent, confident, well rounded little person, now and always.  I’m trying my best and we’ll just figure this out together, okay?

I love you, baby.



Angel Unplugged

Yesterday I did something radical.

I unplugged.

I spent the day (well most of it) with no connection to the outside.  Newsweek published an article in their August 10th edition entitled Technology:  Is it making addicts of us all?

It went on to say “Next year, for the first time, “Internet use disorder’ will be listed in the appendix of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.”

So now it’s a disorder.

I love technology.  I love the internet.  I love that the whole world is at my fingertips.  I am a knowledge seeker and I think it’s cooler than crap that I can just google something and instantly know the answer where previously I would have just scratched my head in curiosity and went about my business.  But if I want to know if EK is developing on target.  Bam!  If I want to know how to finish a seam without a serger.  Bam.  If I want to know how much money is in my bank account.  Bam.  If I want to know how many calories I’m supposed to eat and be able to lose a pound a week.  Bam.

The internet has helped me raise chickens.  It’s helping me raise my kid.  It finds better words for me when I’ve used the word helped too much.  With the internet I can put my thoughts out there for the world to critique and I can pay my bills on time with online bill pay.  And then there’s the whole social networking thing.  Yes, I’m speaking of Facebook.  Before that there was myspace, and before that there were chat rooms and forums.   It helps me have friends on my own terms.

So yeah, I like technology.

I’m on my computer a lot.  And if I’m not on my computer, I’m on my phone.  But I don’t want to be addicted.  I don’t want to be mastered by it.  I do not want to have a pathological relationship with my devices.  According to the Newsweek article, internet addicts are considered those who are online more than 38 hours a week.  That’s about 5.5 hours a day (and I didn’t have to google that).  In addition, brain scans of these people can resemble those of cocaine addicts and alcoholics due to a shot of dopamine the reward center of our brain receives each time we receive instant gratification of a text, tweet, email alert etc.

Internet addict?  That’s me.

So I asked for my husband’s help and told him my plan of spending a day unplugged.  I sweetly asked him to take my phone and my computer with him when he left for work the next day.  Yes, I’m that weak.  Well, guess what?  He didn’t.  So yesterday morning, I was faced with the moral dilemma of “should I really go through with this or wait until another time?”  I decided to forge ahead and standing on a very tall stool, I grievously put my “devices” in the top of my bedroom closet and began my day.

I’m not going to lie to you.  It was tough.  The first thing I wanted to do was check the weather on my weather app, but instead I stepped outside.  Brilliant idea, huh?

I couldn’t call anyone, I couldn’t text anyone.

At one point, I thought I smelled a grassfire. Like an Indian brave, I scanned the horizon, sniffing the wind.  I got nothing.  Oh well, guess I’ll evacuate when I see the flames.

Throughout the day, my mind was “online”.

But it was oh-so-good for me.

  • Emma and I had a fun day because I wasn’t distracted a bit by anything else.
  • During her naps, my house got a wee bit cleaner.
  • I had supper cooked by 3:00.
  • I wrote this blog out long handed and awoken my middle finger callous.  He’s been sleeping way too long anyway.
  • I prayed longer and more often.
  • I spent more time outdoors, despite the wind.
  • I held my baby and tried to imagine a few years down the road when she won’t want to be held and I’ll wish I had this day back.

I felt refreshed, lightened, un-cluttered.  So much so, that I’m going to try to make it a once a week occurrence.

J-Dub returned home around 4:30.  He claimed he hadn’t forgotten to take my devices, he just knew I could do it.  Then arose the question of “when is my unplugged day over?”  Is it when my husband came home and theoretically brought my devices back to me?  Is it 24 hours front the time I decided to do it?  Is it at midnight?  I decided for no good reason, that at 8:30 my unplugged day would be over.

And I got my fix.

You want to know what I discovered?

I hadn’t missed a thing.

Dreams, not the night kind

We sat across from each other at a little round oak table finishing up our supper.  We hadn’t been dating long and were still in the beginning stages of exploring one another, learning all there is to know.  Things like favorite colors, how many dogs we’ve had, places we’ve visited.  We were new to each other so talking and kissing is what we did.  A lot.

And then he asked, “What are your dreams?”

The answer didn’t come to me quickly.  It wasn’t simple like yellow, three, or Boston.  I paused, I stammered, but I couldn’t come up with a dream.

“I guess I’m doing it.”  I replied.  “I’ve done everything I’ve wanted.  I’m content where I’m at right now.”

Maybe it was the way he looked at me.  Maybe it was me, but a feeling of failure overcame me.  Is this it?  Is this all I want?  Is that the best answer I’ve got?

Then nonchalantly, I let it out.  I said it.  I released my dream.  The dream I’ve been afraid to tell anyone.  The dream I didn’t even want to admit to myself.  I told it for the universe and everyone to hear.

“Well.  I’d like to be a writer.”  I felt my insides crumble.  My anxiety rose.  Will he laugh?  Will I fail?  Will the universe shake its head in disgust?

The years have come and gone.  I’ve written.  I’ve submitted.  I’ve been rejected.  But I will persevere.

I just finished a book by Amy Greene entitled Bloodroot.  She’s a debut novelist who wrote an awesome story.  I love debut novelists.  You know they’ve tried hard, as hard as they could.  I rejoice when a first timer’s book makes a best seller.  What an accomplishment.  I imagine myself.  I study the books and envision my name instead on the front cover.  Sometimes I even believe it can happen.  I get so wrapped up in these debut authors so much that I read their interviews and their stories.  I study their writing process.  I learn of their backgrounds and search for connecting threads to convince me that if they can do it, so can I.

Then I hear how they met so and so who introduced them to such and such who lined them up with this agent who loved their stuff who submitted it to the top publishing company in the U.S.  who made a book that went best seller.  And the demon of doubt knocks on my door, and foolishly I invite him in.  We sit on the couch, I offer him a drink.  Then he tells me, ‘here you sit in the panhandle of Texas with nothing but tumbleweeds and windmills, listening to the wind blow the prairie grasses, existing where agents, authors, and publishing houses might as well be a foreign country.  You don’t have a chance’.   I agree with him.  I know he’s right.  It’s a stupid dream.

But sometimes, like today, I politely show him the door.

And I’ll persevere.



Red River

My niece Ashy has a word she uses a lot.

It’s “Amazing”.

“This dessert is amazing, this smells amazing, my aunt Angel is amazing”.  Well, actually, I made that last one up.  She’s never really said that, but it doesn’t mean she shouldn’t.

It’s a bit ironic.  Her middle name is Grace and she was born under distressing circumstances, yet pulled through and has been our little miracle ever since.  My dad quickly nicknamed her “Amazing Gracie”.

So here we are in Red River, New Mexico, and according to Ashlynn everything is simply “Amazing”.  The mountains are amazing, the smells are amazing, the air is amazing.  And she’s right.

We’re vacationing with some of our good, best friends,the Hoganson’s (Matt, Jaxson, Revelle, and Gage) and enjoying it abundantly.

We’ve spent our day fishing and catching moss.

Then we rented jeeps to head “off road” and upward.

Of course like everything else at the beginning, the excitement and anticipation is high.   Everyone is all smiles.

But after two wrong turns, four hours, and three stops to pee in the woods we were ready to get back on level ground, or at least some smooth pavement.

It was a bumpy, rough ride I tell you.

At the end of it, our teeth were rattled, our bones were jarred and Matt is worried that Emma might be retarded now.

But boy, was it pretty.

Here’s proof:

I love this Aspen forest.  Isn’t it enchanting?  I imagine myself in a long flowing white dress sitting in its midst with butterflies and fairies dancing around my head and unicorns eating sparkly food from my hand.  I’m weirder than weird.  I already know.

But my most favorite picture is this one.

Isn’t it amazing?

Howdy, friends.

Oh, hey there!

It’s me.  Don’t you recognize me?

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I know, I know, I’ve been much too quiet lately.

Oh?  You don’t agree?  Has it been a nice break for you?

Well, not for me!  I’ve missed you all so.

Life is happening with this old gal, I tell ya.  First of all, my computer has been in the shop due to, uh, what is it called, oh yeah, accidental damage from handling.  Translation:  a cracked screen.  One day my camera rolled off the ottoman and landed on top of my closed laptop.  I gasped!  I quickly picked up my camera, inspected it once, maybe twice, found no damage, and silently told myself that was a close call.  Only to find the next day a nice shattered screen and a spider web of cracks on my laptop screen.  Fortunately my husband had the good foresight when he purchased the laptop for me in January to buy insurance.  I thought it would be a snappy ordeal, but was again dismayed to discover they had to ship off my laptop and it would take 2 weeks.  TWO WEEKS!  What can a girl do, but wait it out.

In the meantime I’ve been using my phone to stay connected, but blogging on my phone is just no fun, so I’ve just been waiting it out.

But now, we’re together again.  How sweet it is.

So since it’s been a while, I’d love to catch you up on what’s been going on with me, but alas, that would take all of 2 seconds.  Not much is going on here except I have a precious six month old.  I’m not sure if I’ve told you that before or not.  Would you like to see a picture?

I know you’ve seen her, but really she’s worth looking at again isn’t she?

You’re smiling aren’t you?  I knew it.

And do you love that little get up she’s got on?  Well, it’s your lucky day because I have quite a few of them.  Actually, I’ve started a little online business and named it after my sweet little inspiration Emma Kate.  You can find a sampling of our goodies on Facebook.  It’s right here at this address:


Go ahead and hop on over there and like the page, I’d sure appreciate it.

Not too long ago I was reading some of my old blogs from way back and it just made me homesick for the way things used to be.  You remember, blogging almost everyday?  Attempting to post a blog everyday.  I truly love it.  It gets under my skin.  I need to write like dogs need shade on an August day.  It helps me with the ordinary day to day dealings.  I’m going to try to do better.

Also, I’m on a diet, but what else is new.

That’s about it for me.

What about you?

How’s life going?