oh, my wonderful normal

Today was Saturday. Today, we made homemade pizza, played play-dough, and then went to Toys R Us, just to get out of the house. (We left without a purchase, but did come away with a renewed appreciation for the free train table and Thomas train cars Clark inherited from my brothers. Those puppies are not cheap.) We got Dairy Queen on the way home. We talked a lot. And laughed a lot. Clark made a huge mess with his ice cream. Alice learned how to sit up all by herself. It was cold outside. We whined about being tired. We wished for Spring.

Tuesday Whitt, born October 11, 2006, was diagnosed with cancer in late July. I know exactly what I was doing in late July. I was waiting for Alice, hurrying-up the days, wishing they would go faster. Last night Tuesday passed on to her eternal home. She was two. Barely two. Just like Clark.

It's hard in blogland, being connected to real moms and their real stories. They aren't always boring and regular. I have read many that have broken my heart.

We can't hold on to our babies. We can't keep them little. We can't keep them. We can love them and make their hearts feel cozy and teach them right from wrong, but they don't belong to us. They belong to the Lord.

Days like today, in all their glorious boring regularness, are a gift.

In the entry Tuesday's mom posted yesterday morning, I found so much to identify with in her photos from the previous year--her son and his Superman cape, photos of nursing her baby on her bed, even her haircut in the photo... it all felt familiar. I couldn't stop thinking, that could be me.

Clark, playdough chef

We love the apron.

Thank you Jessi. You are a fun and thoughtful friend.


he's like the wind

I finally got a coffee table at Goodwill. I like it. I don't lovey-love it deep and sparkly in my heart, but I like it. It's really sturdy and heavy. It's a little retro (though it doesn't scream it) and has a laminate top. I realize a laminate top is not generally a highlight in a coffee table, but it means I no longer have to worry about Clark's clementine slices dissolving the finish. (Yes, this is a problem we have had.) My house is full of design compromises but this is less of a compromise than our old coffee table. Its most attractive feature is that it was $4.50.

And that it can withstand this...
(Yes I photoshopped out his boy-area. I used the "wind" effect. I hoped it would blend in with his frantic jumping-on-the-table blur. Instead the area is very... windy looking.)

I have more to post, but our internet has been on and off for days and I want to spit this out quickly before it dies again. The cable boy who came to fix it today thought he had found the solution, but apparently not. And when I say cable boy, I do mean boy. It was one of the first times I have felt O-L-D. His wife is expecting their first baby in a few weeks, so we talked a little about babies and pregnancy and laughed awkwardly when Clark started crying real tears and shouting at him "THAT'S MOMMY'S LAPTOP!!" as he clicked the internet settings on my computer. (A lovely introduction to parentland! Also, what?)

And then he told me he was 20. And that he got married when he was 18. It took me a moment to remember that I got married when I was barely 20, so I suppose I could have been pregnant at that age too. But I couldn't stop myself from blurting out, "Oh my I feel so OLD. I was born all the way back in 1983!" To which, he laughed and retorted that he was born in 1989. (NINETEEN EIGHTY-NINE!) And there he was fixing my cable and chatting baby names like a grown-up. It kind of freaked me out.


twenty five random things about me

For Kari and Jessi who tagged me and everyone else too (yes even you, random reader I don't know!)

I married my best friend's big brother (my high school sweetheart) when I was 20 and he was 22...

...In a courtroom on a Wednesday without my mom's permission.

I really like baby names and have some stunners tucked away in case I ever need them.

I am a big fan of taking the easy cheaters route when it comes to appearances. Benetint, Downy Wrinkle Releaser, Colorstay lipstick, and dry shampoo are all in my bag of tricks.

I curl my eyelashes every single day.

When I had an office job I would curl them while I was driving to work. (This thought is all kinds of scary to me now.)

My mom and I lived with my grandparents until I was eight. It was a very happy place to live.

I could play the piano by ear when I was four but I'm not very good now. (We should probably have a piano.)

I always keep my toenails painted. I admit it's been challenging for the last two years three weeks and one day.

I think about death a lot. Not in a morbid way. In a "How do I want to spend my limited time on Earth?" kind of way.

I am terrible at making decisions. And I'm fickle. I already don't love my new blog banner and I just made it last night.

I was not a very happy high school student.

I was always in trouble for forgetting things and arriving late.

I think I would still get in trouble for those things if someone was keeping track.

I secretly like McDonald's cheeseburgers. The pickles! The mustard! The itty bitty onions! The excessive use of salt! What's not to like?

I have never felt like I fit in in this time period. I kind of hate the aesthetics of today. I would have much preferred to exist before things got so technological and casual.

I love to be dressed up. I would wear a dress every single day if I had enough of them in my wardrobe. And if I didn't have such short legs and weirdly disproportionately fat calves.

I was very relieved to see that Alice got Luke's nice long thin legs. Clark got my weird legs, but he's a boy so he won't be traumatized by them.

My mom and I talk on the phone every single day. We come from a talkative family and boy can we ever talk talk talk.

I love to sing.

I couldn't win American Idol but I like to think I could make it to Hollywood Week.

I want Alice to learn to tap dance.

I want to learn to tap dance too.

Sometimes I fake tap dance in my living room.

I think I'm pretty good at it.

There they are. Twenty five random things about me. I think I'm supposed to ask other people to participate, but I don't want to be pushy. If you do make a random-things-about-you list please please please send me a link. I would love to read it!



I went to two Goodwills today, in my never ending quest to find a midcentury coffee table.

You know. One that looks like this.

(The following image of the-coffee-table-that-is-not-mine was taken from google images and if it yours I am very sorry for stealing your image and can you please give me your address so I can also steal your table?)

I think Fridays are a bad day to go looking for furniture. I think they put new stuff out on Mondays. But hey, Friday is the day I happened to have the energy, so whatever. I did not find a coffee table.

I did find...

This sock monkey ($2.99!) He also has a hat, but Clark is a little obsessed with it and was trying to wear it on his own head while Mr. Monkey's mug shot was being taken.

And this awesome old globe. ($3.99!) Clark can look at La Plata and maybe sort of kinda understand a little tiny bit better where Uncle Nate and Aunt Deb and Ellie and Scotty (and soon Emerson) live.
And this amazingly fun vintage skirt that Alice can someday wear playing dress-up. (Okay, so maybe it's not totally for Alice. Maybe it is 50% for Alice and 50% for me.) The tag just says "POM POM".

(Yes, I tried it on. It's 50% FOR ME PEOPLE!)

And another Puppet Storybook (69 cents!).

And three vintage floral pillowcases (99 cents each).

And some other stuff.

I could be wrong, but I doubt you want to see pictures of the plain brand new in the package fitted sheet or the pop-up book about Jonah I was forced to buy because Clark tore some of the pop-up people out in front of several Goodwill employees.

Okay, okay.

You're welcome.


lookie what I have


Instead of finishing my laundry, I made Alice itty bitty hairbows today. The lack of tiny hairbows was a most pressing issue, and needed to be resolved. You know. So I can dress her up and stare at her. Um, it was really easy. So easy I feel kind of dumb blogging about it. I just tied little bows and hot glued them to barrettes. But they are fun and make my heart happy. A baby girl this sweet just needed itty bitty bows.


And because bloggers who only show their perfect houses make me feel insecure, I will now share the backdrop so you all can feel better about your own normal laundry messes. One of the things on my list of vague goals for 2009 was "be encouraging to others" and I am really serious about it!

what the fluffy white backdrop REALLY is

I'm not 13 I'm just normal

Now that I am the ripe old age of 25 and a half, and heading into my "late" twenties (gasp), I have noticed something.

Some of the feelings I thought would go away never have. And I suspect they never will.

I've read a lot of blogs and met a lot of people. I've been to a lot of houses and I've had a lot of company. And there is one thing that stands out amongst all of that interaction: we are all people, women, moms, just doing what we need to do to get by. And along with that comes all of the normal human emotions. Insecurity. Frustration. Feeling left out. Sometimes you feel self confident and totally in your element, and sometimes you feel just plain dumb.

I was hoping I would outgrow all of that. But apparently it grows with you.

(And as I type this I hear my oven clicking, implying that I left my oven on all night. Uh, super. I so do not have it all together...)

Edited to Add:
Another sign I do not have it together? I totally meant to save this as a draft, and only realized it was published when I got an email saying I had a comment! So there you have it. An unedited sloppily published post. And guess what? I'm leaving it that way.



I am getting fiddly with my blog design. I apologize ahead of time for the messy way it might look for a few days. I know nothing about html and am making things up as I go. It will get better. But first it will get worse.


I never went to camp, is that the problem?

Have you ever noticed the way that super neat and perfect people tend to fold towels just right? And they can do it really fast? I am not a perfect towel folder. I have a little craziness in my brain that makes me want my house to look just so, but it doesn't come naturally. And I'm only about 20% successful. (Meaning, 20% of my house looks cute and the other 80% has something spilled on it or has had its contents dumped onto the floor.)

Tonight I had to take the sheets off of our bed and use our only spare set (yes we have only two sets of sheets, king sized sheets are way expensive) because I had ripped the flat sheet in an attempt at "hospital corners." A very, um, vigorous attempt. Keep in mind that I don't really know what hospital corners are, I just read about them from time to time in Domino and Martha. I imagine they are perfectly tucked and folded sheets at the end of the bed, though I'm not really sure. Every hospital bed I've ever seen has had a scratchy sheet and a thin white blanket casually strewn over it, possibly tucked in at the end in some kind of haphazard way. But nothing notable. Nothing helpful.

Am I the only one who can't fold a guest towel or tea towel? Or make a bed?

(I usually feel pretty good about my sloppily made bed simply because I love my duvet cover, but this afternoon Clark drew on said duvet cover with lipstick. This neat and perfect folding business has taken on a new importance.)


a thank you for a friend

Emily (who I have not seen in years) sent Clark a birthday gift today. And she sent me a pie pan, so I will no longer have to resort to making square pie. This girl is just plain thoughtful, and this is what I love about blogging. You can be friendly in so many new ways. So Emily, this little video is for you. And I want you to know that I think of you every time I spread my condiments with a spoon.

An except from the card she included:

"Thank you for reading my blog and letting me read yours-- it's been great to reconnect, and though our lives seem very different, I'd like to think we both have a lot of appreciation for the magic in them."

It's so true, and really the heart of the reason I recently started this public blog. It's good to appreciate the little things that make life interesting and at the same time make and grow friendships with all kinds of people in between your daily tasks.

I hope you don't me mind me sharing that Emily but I loved it and have put it on my fridge where I will periodically smile it from now on.

chop chop

[old hair]

[new hair]

I'm still adjusting. It's really short!


my real home is far away

Far too often I drink far too much coffee far too late in the day. And when I can't sleep, I contemplate.

I get caught up on certain subjects. What the Native Americans would have thought of iPods. Or even Fresca. I'll bet they would have loved Fresca. My daughter's tiny hands and all the things I pray they will someday accomplish. It doesn't sound deep written out, but it always blows my mind.

Tonight, it's my house that has my head spinning. Our simple but solid 1950s ranch that was clearly built to someone's specifications.

Who lived in this house when it was built?
What were their names? I'll bet they had cute names. Betty and Frank? Mildred and Joe?
What kind of clothes did they hang in my closet?
How did they arrange their furniture in the living room? It's tricky with the big window and the fireplace and the curved wall.
Did they have kids?

Maybe someone was born here.
What did they argue about?
Did they throw parties in my living room?
Did they pray?
Did they leave anything behind that belonged to them?
Did they actually use the little slot at the back of the medicine cabinet that says "razor blades" to dispose of their razor blades?

And then after awhile.

Will we live here until we're old?
What kind of things will we hang in the closet when we're old? I'll probably wear slacks instead of pants by then. And maybe even a housecoat.
Wait, will we live that long?
Who will live in this house after we do?
What will become of this place we call home?
Will it someday be bulldozed?


Then I do eventually go to sleep, thinking of my little blip in the material world. Picking out wallpaper is fun, but it sure doesn't last.


mission acomplished, kinda

We did finish our t-shirt project.

(the tee shirt design - this was taken the next day as is obvious from the cake stains and wrinkled shirt)

The short, sweet, rosy version would go like this:
I cleaned my house on Friday night so we could wake up to a fresh start on Saturday. We drank some coffee together, and then figured out how to get the t-shirts made. We made a little dark room in the bathroom and timed it all just right and the image actually burned itself onto the screen. We were able to screenprint the shirts! High five us. I made four lasagnas (two Italian sausage and two mushroom & artichoke) bread, salad and punch. The party was a blast. The kids were well behaved and the adults were able to hang out for hours. It was a really cool second birthday for Clark, and I'm so happy I was able to pull it all together. (Insert smilies! And fireworks!)

The real, accurate, true-life story would go like this:
Friday night I went to visit my grandpa in the hospital. He was just diagnosed with ALS and I was barely holding it together on Friday evening. I contemplated cancelling the party, but what would that fix? I did manage to drag myself around the house so it would be clean for Saturday. Cleanish, that should say. I began to make a cake, but after vacantly staring at the ingrediants for awhile, decided to put it off until the next day. Saturday we woke up and realized that the shirts were way way way harder than we had anticipated. The prep work alone was going to take hours. We haphazardly made a dark room in our (main) bathroom and slopped bright red emulsion everywhere. Only half of the design made its way onto the screen, but we thought we could live with that. We yelled at each other a lot. Washing out the screens got my only-pants-that-fit soaking wet. I spent the next hour making lasagna in my underwear, while wearing my four month old in the Angelpack. When the screens were finally ready, my husband had to do the ink part himself because I was up to my ears in messed-up lasagna noodles. The bright red emulsion we had slopped everywhere in the shower was now the color of dried blood. The bathroom our guests were going to be using looked like a crime scene.

It was at this moment that my mother in law and my dear friend Melanie stepped in and saved me from calling the whole thing off.

They cleaned the scary bathroom and the sticky kitchen. They buttered the bread, put the salad together and let me take a moment to put on pants and mascara. My mother in law helped my husband with the shirts and went to the grocery store to purchase the cake I never made.

Amazingly, the house looked normal for the party. The kids were well behaved. The food came out better than I even expected (if I do say so myself-- mushroom and artichoke lasagna is my new favorite). The party was a blast. The kids were well behaved and the adults were able to hang out for hours. It was a really cool second birthday for Clark, and I'm so happy to be blessed with friends and relatives who love me enough to step in when I need help, and stick around to help me celebrate. Without them, where would I be? Probably still standing in the kitchen, in my underwear.

(the happy birthday boy)


operation t-shirt project update

My husband and I decided to screenprint shirts as party favors for our son's slightly Yo Gabba Gabba themed 2nd birthday party on Saturday. Nevermind that we have never screenprinted anything, ever. If you're going to bother to try something new, go big! Right?

So here are the Operation T-Shirt Project stats as of now:
(Sidenote: why does blogger not have an underline button? Imagine the above heading is underlined.)
status --> moving along
likelihood we will finish the shirts --> 75%
likelihood we will finish in time for the party --> 60%

Because Clark is so crazy about Yo Gabba Gabba but already has like, ten Brobee shirts (thanks to his grandma, mostly) we decided to go with a more obscure Gabba character, the flying toast who says "way weird". Here is one of our sketches.

And here he is in a very poor quality photo of a paused DVR'd episode of YGG. I am a little puzzled by this photo. I don't know how it got chosen and uploaded to flickr when I'm sure I took a better one, except maybe just maybe I was drinking a lot of coffee and trying to do a lot of things at once.

The design is done, the shirts arrived from the t-shirt blank store in the appropriate sizes and colors (orange for boys and pink for girls) and we have the transparency ready. We have the screens and the emulsion and all that. It's just... we've never done it. And there are a lot of steps. And the screens need to be exposed to light for the just right amount of time or they get messed up. Stay tuned.


the seasons, they go round and round

I'm not really a New Years resolution type. I mean, button earrings are one thing, but setting goals in stone for a year I know nothing about (today was good, I guess I do know that one little thing about 2009) seems silly. There are many things I need to work on. SO MANY things. Little things and big things.

(from my high school notebook)

Qualities I want to focus on and encourage in myself, and some quirks that have probably run their course and need to be suppressed. Relationships to cultivate and relationships to let go. Many many things to remind myself that it is okay to do (not always be self deprecating) and things that it is not okay to do (gossip).

I also need to soak up every moment of my baby girl's first year and spend thoughtful in-the-moment time with my toddler, who will likely turn into a full-blown kid right before my eyes in 2009.

Learning to use my sewing machine is on the list of "stuff I would like to do sometime in the very vague future", but resolving to accomplish it in the coming year? Health and income and life as I know are not even all resolved. They are what I have right now and what I am thankful for, but not a promise for the future. I don't have a life plan because I can't have a life plan. I am on God's plan. It is a mystery to me and may or may not follow the path I am imagining in my head.

So in the spirit of all things holiday and new and fresh, I suppose I will offer a few hopeful maybes for the year to come and a few reminders to myself-- many of these are things I tell myself every day in the shower. Okay. Not always in the shower. I don't shower every day. I'm a mom. Maybe "showering" should go on the list.

--> learn to use my sewing machine
--> listen to more music and watch less tv
--> be friendly to strangers
--> cook more
--> be encouraging to others
--> keep on top of the toenail polish situation
--> not get caught up in the games people play
--> put myself out there
--> not take things personally
--> learn how to be direct without being rude
--> accept that I can't make everyone happy and I can't be perfect
--> pray with focus
--> stop stressing about the dirty kitchen
--> find time to take a hot bath when I need a break
--> it's okay to need a break right?
--> breaks are normal. people without breaks are not nice or healthy and often have to drink diet Pepsi to get the energy to brew the coffee.
--> accept that I'm a coffee drinker
--> (let's be honest, coffee addict)

(again from my high school notebook. if i drew this picture now there would be some levers and some pulleys all hooked up to a very extra large mug of coffee.)