You Capture: Joy

The You Capture theme this week was Joy. I know that lately I've complained of being tired a lot and yes, I am often short of energy. I am not, however, short on joy. It's pretty much what keeps me going.

My heart was silently exploding when I took these pictures.


This is my girl. She is all sweetness and eyelashes and fat delicious wrists.


I drew Clark this Totoro on his chalkboard, expecting to "capture" the joy on his face when he saw it.

i drew totoro for you clark!

Instead he reacted by doing this.
clark = not impressed

This is my boy. He is a riot and a half.

blurry kisses


I had a point, once. I think.

My brain is all dried up.

Today we didn't do a single thing. We didn't leave the house. It rained all day. We changed from our pajamas into our clothes, and then from our clothes back into our pajamas.

Alice is on this kick where she won't sleep unless I am holding her. She is sometimes okay if I am just touching her. (I am touching her right now. With my foot. She isn't picky.)

Also, I can tell she is my second baby and not my first because I honest-to-goodness just remembered that baby sign language even exists. She is 8 months old, and when Clark was her age I had been wildly signing to him for months with a crazy mom look on my face.

I really miss sleep.
I am so glad the breathing treatments are over.
I am tired of getting up and doing stuff in the middle of the night.
I am tired of waking up feeling like I never slept.
I am just plain tired.
I think even my hair is tired.

I had a dream last night that my hair was growing long. I was looking into a mirror and watching it grow, right before my eyes (kind of like one of those weird hair-grow dolls I had when I was a kid.) It was silky and manageable and straight and I felt fantastic. Really. I was pretty pleased with myself, looking into the dream mirror and seeing my dream hair. When I woke up, I didn't have silky long dream hair anymore. I had slept-on wet short hair in a barely-reaching ponytail. This doesn't have a point or a moral or anything. If you want one of those, you're reading the wrong blog. Tonight, anyway, you are reading the wrong blog.


This week I learned...

...that adding an animal name to a flu makes it ten times scarier sounding.

...that sometimes I have to bribe my kid and that's okay. As long it is for health reasons. (Your mental health counts too!)

...that it's impossible to make every single person in your life "happy" at the same time.

...that being "happy" isn't really what it's all about anyway.

...that it IS possible to watch one movie 25 times in a week.

...that My Neighbor Totoro is really kind of fantastic. Even after watching it 25 times in a week.

...that Clark really really REALLY REALLY loves car washes.

...that you sometimes have to let other people help you even when you want to do it all by yourself. It can even be a blessing to that willing-to-help person to have the opportunity to make a difference in your life.

...that talking to myself in my head is not as satisfying as talking to you all on my blog.

...that little feet clad in too-big rubber boots should probably not be dangled. Unless someone else is interested in putting the too-big rubber boots back on the little feet. Over. And over. And over.



THE (weird cough) THING RETURNS!

Oh hey, so you know that mysterious coughing/wheezing illness Clark had on Saturday?

It was asthma. (I know several of you are probably saying duh, Erin, that's what asthma IS in your head, but I honestly had no clue.)

I took Clark yesterday to follow up with the pediatrician after the incident on Saturday, thinking his lungs sounded all better but that maybe he was having some allergy symptoms and we should probably talk about it. TALK about it. I thought that's what we were doing at that appointment. Instead, she totally checked him out, and announced that without a doubt, he has asthma. His lungs that I thought sounded "all better"? They apparently sound all wrong.

I should have seen this coming. He has this "weird cough thing" that he gets sometimes, that I have always raised an eyebrow at but never gotten too worked up over. Uh, yeah.

Weird cough thing = asthma = mom fail.

I was sent home with medicine and equipment and various apparatus. They started us off with EIGHT (8!) breathing treatments per day, as well as oral steroids. Figuring it all out and making Clark comply? It's been way way WAY harder than potty training.

Many many prayers, bribes, and viewings of Jessi and Ian's videos later-- he will finally do his "dinosaur medicine" breathing treatments. Without clawing me. Or biting me. Or throwing the nebulizer machine. And he asks for only two things in exchange for his cooperation: 1) Lindt Lindor truffles 2) My Neighbor Totoro turned up as loud as it will go.

I told you he has good taste. I think I would ask for the very same things.

This afternoon, Clark and Alice really interacted well for maybe the first time ever. He looked into her face and said, 'let's laugh together Alice' and asked me to tickle him. So I did, and they both laughed and laughed. But then? Clark started coughing and choking and wheezing and gasping for air. He really couldn't breathe at all. I was in a total panic. I ran towards all of the new medication we have and realized I don't even know what is what yet, or what I should do. And as I was pawing around like a bumbling idiot in an attempt to open the box with the fast-acting inhaler inside he finally caught his breath and smiled at me.
Oh, sweet boy.

I tend to be kind of a skeptic about, uh, everything, and it is hard to let go and accept that he really does have asthma, that he needs all of this stuff, these treatments to just be healthy. I am working on it. And I am so very thankful that if this is what it is-- praise God! It is just asthma. It isn't fatal. We can totally handle asthma. Praise God.



it may seem like a dream


1pm: Attempt to distract Clark from his mysterious coughing/wheezing illness by turning on a borrowed copy of Cars.

1:10: Clark makes it very clear that he hates Cars.

1:15: Attempt to distract Clark from his mysterious coughing/wheezing illness by turning on a borrowed copy of Finding Nemo.

1:30: Clark also hates Finding Nemo.

1:45: Attempt to distract Clark from his mysterious coughing/wheezing illness by turning on My Neighbor Totoro, a movie we already owned.

1:47: Clark positively sequels in delight over Totoro from the moment the credits begin. He laughs! He smiles! He sits on the couch! SCORE! (Also, my child has great taste. )

3pm: "Let's watch that Totoro movie again, mom." cough cough wheeze wheeze cough

3:15: I start the movie over.

5pm: "Let's watch my Totoro movie one more time mom!" cough cough wheeze wheeze cough

5:15: I distract Clark from his mad desire to watch Totoro by making him an early dinner.

6pm: Luke doesn't know any better and per Clark's request turns on Totoro.

8pm: We decide to take Clark to Urgent Care for the bad breathing. Breathing, in my experience, is kind of important.

9pm: Arrive at Urgent Care. I force Luke and Alice to come too, because I'm nervous about the whole thing and want the support. Alice falls asleep on the way, so Luke stays in the car playing Moxie.

9:15: Take Clark potty at Urgent Care. When it's my turn to use the potty Clark decides to throw the door wide open, leave it open, and run wild into the waiting area. And there is not a single thing I can do about it.

9:45pm: Clark gets a breathing treatment. He insists I sing the Totoro song for the entire 15 minutes that he wears the breathing mask. His breathing greatly improves. (thank you Lord)

10pm: We get in the car with Luke (who now has a crazy high Moxie score) and sleeping Alice and discover... the car battery is dead.

10:01: We decide to wait 15 minutes before we call one of our moms to come jump the car.

10:03: I remember there is a case of coldish beer in the trunk and get myself a drink. It's around this time that I decide being stuck in a parking lot with my whole family isn't really the worst way you could spend a Saturday night.

10:30: Have the car jump started by mom.

11pm: Go to Walgreens with my mom, brothers and very hyper two year old. Purchase some questionable items out of the 75% off Easter section.

11:30: Pick up pizza.

12am: Eat pizza while watching... Totoro. Again.

1am: Get all of four of our family members into our King Sized bed.

Rest of the night: Kind of sleep, kind of get kicked all night by rolly-bed-hog Clark. Check 459 times that Clark hasn't put a pillow on Alice's face.

That was last night. Tonight Alice is throwing up. My house is filled with laundry that has been puked on, peed on, or is disgusting in some other less specific way.

Someone please send cupcakes.

Can you imagine me singing this loud enough for Clark to hear over his breathing machine (so really really loud) in the totally silent Urgent Care center? I did. I sang it SO LOUD.
"Now begins a new adventure for YOUUU and you'll be with TO-TO-RO, TO-TO-RO!"

I'm sure the nurses loved us. They got to see me use the toilet and hear me sing, all in one night.


no one in my family even has a mustache

My shortish hair cut is not making me feel all that chic lately. I keep styling it new ways (read: putting it in a stubby ponytail sometimes) and trying to make myself like it more as it grows out, but I should probably just leave it alone.

The other day, I got this idea to trim my little side-swept bangs with a beard and mustache trimmer. I thought, oh they'll look professional and cute instead of all straight across and kindergarteny like they do when I use the kitchen shears! (Why didn't someone remind me that I probably should not be cutting my own bangs if those are my two trimming tool options?)
I fired it up and immediately made a wrong turn and took off a big chunk of non-bang hair.

So... uh... I have kind of straight-across-my-head-non-sideswept bangs now. That I cut myself. With a mustache trimmer.

I want to look all pretty and sweet and long-eyelashy in them like Anna Karina:

But I don't know guys... I just don't know.

I might look more like this:

Or, um, this:

Or even worse... like me in tenth grade.

(long dramatic shudder)

You will not be getting a picture of me in tenth grade.

And because I can't blog about giving myself bangs without showing them to you...

Uh, did I ruin my hair? I mean, I did cut them on accident. With a beard and mustache trimmer. A beard and mustache trimmer that CAME FREE WITH THE PURCHASE OF SOMETHING ELSE.

Notice I am wearing my blackest eyeliner to pretty them up?

I'm gonna go hide now.



I "fixed" them with "scissors"... better right? I think they look less like an accident. Which is kind of an important feature of bangs.


oh papa my papa

I took a break from blogging. Some of the time I spent thinking, some of the time I spent doing memorable important stuff, some of the time I spent playing Pathwords on Facebook.

I almost told the short version of this story, but I couldn't do it like that. I just couldn't.


My parents divorced when I was teeny. My dad moved back to his home in NYC, and my mom and I moved in with my grandparents. We lived with them until I was eight.

The six years I lived in their house were happy and dreamy and full of love. That might sound cheesy and cliche, but what other words am I left with to describe my home there, with them? Here. I'll show you.

Me and Papa. Like my haircut?

As the only child in a family that included my 20-something mommy, Papa, Grandma, and my two Uncles, I was pretty much the center of attention, um, all the time. But it didn't spoil me. Really. It was formative. It was healthy. It was exactly what I needed. It was God's plan for me. It was such a gift.

I could probably write a book about growing up in that house, but I'll get to the point.

Every single day, I spent time dancing and singing while Papa played the piano or the organ.
He was AMAZING. Truly amazing. He taught me every old classic standard there is, and he played them all by ear. It was both a job and a hobby for him. It's what he did to relax. It was as much a part of his day as eating or breathing. It was just his thing.

Papa playing piano as a teenager.

This is not the story I want to be telling you, but Papa is sick. Really really sick. He can't play the piano anymore. He can't walk. He can't even feed himself. He's only 73. When I think about him, my heart breaks. I don't want it to be true. It's hard to even type these words.

At our Easter brunch a man was playing the piano to entertain the crowd. All old classic standards. All by ear. At first I wanted to sing along. Then I was mildly annoyed by a sick feeling in my stomach. Then I started sobbing, right there in the Riviera Club and couldn't stop. We went home.


I took the kids up to visit Grandma and Papa last week. They still live in the same house.
Every time I leave, I wish I could take it with me.

When I was 11, we moved to Indianapolis. We would visit on weekends, and when it was time to drive the 2.5 hours back to our new house, I would always steal something from my grandparents on my way out. It makes me laugh a little now to imagine my grandma looking everywhere for a coaster or a trinket, wondering where it possibly could have gone. I would take these stolen items out later, in secret, and feel for just a tiny fleeting second like I was back there in that safe and happy house, and not in a new school in a new town with a bunch of people I didn't know.

I don't have to steal stuff anymore. Now my grandma just gives it to me.

This trip, my grandma sent me off with a little painted table. It was in my mom's room when she was a little girl, and it was in my grandma's room when she was a little girl. Before that, it had belonged to grandma's big sister Vivian (Alice is named Alice Vivian after Great Aunt Div). It is old old old.

I told Luke all about this little table, all dreamy and sentimental like. Then I asked him to go get it out of the car. When he came back in he yelled in an urgent voice, "ERIN you are going to be FURIOUS! Someone stole your grandma's table out of the back of the car... and replaced it with (pointing) this piece of crap!" My heart sank for a moment before I looked over and realized he was just joking and was actually pointing at my grandma's table.

(Okay, so it's a little rickety and needs to be repainted. Did I mention it is old, old, old? IT IS NOT JUNK and guess what Luke? We are going to have it FOREVER, so I guess the joke is on you.)

I am secretly so glad I have Luke's mean jokes to cheer me up and keep me from falling into a cheese-fest sentimental coma.


sunday, sunday

I accidentally took kind of a computer break. No blogging, and no reading other blogs. I promise I'll be back tomorrow.

Happy Easter friends.


just a little green

It's amazing the difference that good weather makes. Good weather and good sleep. We had some days that included those things.

Our seeds looked like this (or more accurately, our dirt looked like this):

And just when I was beginning to feel that Super Mom high, things whipped the other direction.

There I was feeling smug with my clean house and happy time outside and the next thing I know Alice has a high fever and Clark is having night terrors and we're out of every single grocery item and it's snowing.

I did not take pictures of that stuff.

But this is what the seeds look like now:

Does anyone need a green bean plant?


a bird in a cage

Due to an unusual set of circumstances, today I found myself very briefly alone on a property that houses several abandoned pole barns, an old bathtub, and roosters. With my camera.

I was too afraid to get close to the enormous grumpy roosters but I did spot this guy:

hello cardinal

Hello little cardinal. Do you see him there in the window?
He stared at me for awhile and I stared back, with a vaguely peculiar feeling of experiencing something familiar and also funny-- peeking inside at a bird who was staring out at me. I was a little intimidated somehow, like he owned the place. I didn't want to stare him right in the face.

And then he fluttered away.

goodbye cardinal


And I drove off, back to real life where birds are properly outside and people properly peering from the curtains.

(As much fun as it is to imagine, I don't think I would actually like to converse with a cardinal. Or have an argument with a grumpy rooster.)


You Capture: Spring

You know the song "It Might As Well Be Spring" from the 1945 musical State Fair? You don't? Allow me to introduce you. This was my favorite song when I was in 4th grade. I sang it over and over, working on my Jeanne Crain impression. I have to say, I eventually got pretty good. You know, for a fourth grader.

(Don't you kinda wish you had a video of 9 year old Erin doing her Jeanne Crain impression, in earnest, all alone? Hilarious.)

(Okay, fine. Sometimes while folding laundry I still do my Jeanne Crain impression.)

This week, Beth's photo challenge was to capture Spring. (Capture it? I can't even find it!)

I am not entirely convinced it will ever be True Spring in these parts. Fake Spring has dropped by once or twice, but it's still too cold and gray to feel refreshing in a True Spring kinda way.

MY APOLOGIES. It is very very late and the volume on my rambling has been turned up to 11.

On to the photos!

These photos were taken indoors, but they represent Spring to me in a big way.
We are hopefully going to have a vegetable garden this Summer. We talked about it a lot last Summer, but I was pregnant and not quite up for the challenge. This year I think I'm ready. We started some seeds in our window, to see what comes up.
Clark got his own egg carton and his own dirt and his own seeds. And his own spray bottle to water it all with.

clark gardening 3

clark gardening 4

The gardener sometimes needs a drink too.

clark gardening