Sunday, January 31, 2010


Last weekend we went to see Phoenix perform at the Crystal Ballroom. If you're not familiar, they're a super cool Indie Rock band. You can check them out here: It was awesome, one of the best live shows I've ever seen.

However, the opening act. A band called Soft Pack. Horrible. Horrible, horrible, horrible. A group of random misfits including two old boyfriend lookalikes and a hobbit. First of all, someone needs to tell them about microphones and amps. When sixteen-year-olds are plugging their ears, you are too loud. I know a lot of people like their punk rock loud, fast, and way off key, but I am not one of those people. Every song sounded exactly like the one before it. The lead singer was particularly self-satisfied, and with no good reason. If I can master your song on Rock Band, it's too easy. I had to feel for them, though - when they announced that it was their last song, everyone cheered.

The Crystal Ballroom is a general admission, standing-room only kind of place. In good citizen fashion, we had arrived early to secure our spot toward the front of the crowd. A few people squeezed their way up during the opening act, but it was nothing unreasonable. As soon as Phoenix took the stage, though, a huge group of kids started pushing their way up to join their friends. You want to bring a couple of friends up to join you, fine. But a dozen? They were, of course, loud, drunk, and obnoxious. Suspiciously full of energy. And proudly proclaiming, in unison, "FRESHMENNNN!"

Remember being a college freshman? Man, life was easy. Wake up, go to class (or don't, it often didn't matter), eat cereal for lunch, play flag football, go to a party, watch a movie in the lounge, sneak onto the boy's floor after hours, get busted, bake cookies for the boys' R.A. as atonement. I spent my freshman year in Seattle. It was such an adventure. I took the city bus to my part-time job downtown. I went to bonfires at Alki Beach and drank Strawberry Boone's. I learned the hard way about balancing a checkbook. I studied (really!) and got good grades and loved my classes. I worked as a' writing tutor in the library, and spent hours trying to edit the Asian students technology papers. I took step aerobics at five in the morning and ate Ben & Jerry's almost every day (I blame you, C-Store, for my freshman fifteen). I made wonderful friends. I made not-so-wonderful friends. It was absolute freedom and independence and adventure, and I hope that my children will get to have the same sort of freshman year (minus the Boone's and the overdrawn checking account, maybe). But I digress.

Back at the concert, I realized that I am officially Not Young. Not old, but I have definitely crossed beyond the boundary of reckless youth. As my toes were crushed by the spastic moshing of the young people (did you know that the youth are still moshing?), I ran a silent dialogue through my mind. At one point, I used the phrase "paid good money" to justify my indignation at their behavior. I think that's enough to prove that I'm getting old. Also to that point: I was constantly distracted by my too-tight shoes and the thought that we were going to be late for the babysitter.

Fortunately, Phoenix put on an amazing show. They sounded great (not always the case with a live performance), and most importantly, they were obviously having a blast. I'll still see shows at the Crystal Ballroom... but it might be time for the balcony.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

sunday stuff

I suppose I'm a fickle blogger.

I really want to write daily. I have the itch. I have the ideas. It's the time and the energy that seem to be lacking.

My sort-of-secret dream is be a "real" writer. As in, published by someone other than But I know that takes more dedication than I currently seem to manage. In the meantime, I'm here today.

(By the way, today is Stream of Consciousness Sunday. Didn't you know?)

I am a bit of a worship music junkie. Is that a contradiction in terms? God bless whoever created modern worship (it's got to be either King David or Keith Green, right?). My taste in music tends to run to the indie/alternative bands, but I try to listen to worship music as much as I can. I absolutely believe that what I feed myself with (music, TV, movies, books) affects my emotional and spiritual health. Anyway. A few songs on my current worship playlist:

Everything - Tim Hughes
With Me - Chris Tomlin
Desire - Phil Wickham
Alleluia, Sing - David Crowder Band
My Soul Sings - Delirious
Sound of Melodies - Leeland
Now Unto the One - Evan Wickham
Beautiful King - Danyew
Birmingham (We Are Safe) - DCB
You'll Come - Hillsong United
I Will Wait for You There - Phil Wickham
How He Loves - DCB

Just a sample. I also recently discovered Seeds Family Worship, which are scripture memory songs for kids. Basically GT and the Halo Express, but slightly cooler.

I am dying for a vacation. Ben and I were vacationing fools when we were kidless and had lots of pretend money. Since Eli was born, we've spent one night away, just the two of us. ONE. Our tenth anniversary is coming up this summer, and I want to go somewhere. And while I wouldn't say no to a free trip to Fiji, I will happily take a couple of nights out at the coast.

Speaking of Fiji... I have a problem with daydreaming, I think. God is working on that with me. I daydream a lot. I mean, a lot a lot. I imagine the things I want to be and have and do, and sometimes it gets me down about what I currently am and have and do, and that's when the Holy Spirit steps in to remind me about contentment. I am thankful to be loved by a God who takes me the way I am and makes me into something better.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

ten things i have never done

1. Gone skydiving. 2. Eaten mussels. 3. Mailed in a self-addressed, stamped envelope. 4. Picked up a hitchhiker. 5. Seen an opera. 6. Ran a marathon. (Yet!) 7. Slept outside on the ground. 8. Darned a sock. 9. Swam in the Indian Ocean. 10. Had an operation.

Friday, January 15, 2010

a project runway color commentary

That's what they call it in football, right? Yeah. I know some stuff.

Project Runway is back! I'm a little apprehensive about watching the premiere, because last season really let me down. I mostly listened to the first half of this show while doing other things, but here is what I thought of The Show (runway, of course).

(I realize you may not be watching the show at exactly the time you are reading this, although I recommend that you do. Go back in time and record it. Or just imagine the looks and enjoy my brilliant writing.)

Dear Heidi Klum: We all know you're hot. We know you know you're hot. Don't feel as though you need to wear see-through clothes to prove it to us.

Michael Kors looks exactly the same way Michael Kors looked in the first episode of the first season. I know the man has a trademark look, but come on. Try some color. Heidi's got an awesome green see-through shirt you can borrow.

Nina looks suspiciously perky.

Nicole Richie is an odd-looking gal. A little Fraggle-ish. I hope she doesn't read this, as it would probably give her an eating disorder.

Let's start the show!

Jonathan has good glasses and a whole lotta self esteem. His dress is kind of design-y, I guess. Not a fan of giant belts. Definitely not a fan of the peekaboo crotch. "Hey everyone, guess where my crotch is? It's right here."

Seth Aaron looks like Liberace. He gave his model a very predatory look when she came out. His dress has zippers and looks like something you might buy at Forever 21 in 1998.

Poor Model Britney. Looks like she was swallowed by a snake backstage, and had to chop off its head and stick her feet through its neck to hit the runway because the show must go on! Oh, and she made a special collar out of the leftover snake, because she is crafty. Or took a little off her left boob. Or maybe, Jesus (the designer, to be clear) just made a crappy dress.

Huh. When did Mrs. Jetson get into modeling? The designer reminds me of Thom Yorke, but not enough to redeem the dress.

I lovelovelove the top of the next dress. The oversized belt is kind of cute, but has too many poufs attached. Oh I'm sorry, that's a skirt? No wonder Heidi looked so excited. We all know how she loves the mini.

The next dress is pink. I like pink. This dress is PINK. And odd.

EMILIOOOO! Oh, how I love you and your adorable circley stripey confection of a dress. Please make one in my size and mail it to me. I promise to look much less intense than your model when I wear it.

So, the next dress came out and I did one of those little puff-of-air-through-the-nose-laughs with a half eye-roll. It's totally Naughty Caravan Fair Fashion Show.

Ping Wu is very excited about her outfit. Ping Wu is delighted with her outfit. I had to rewind three times to take it all in. There is so much going on here, and none of it makes me as happy as Ping Wu.

Christiane's dress makes me want to go on a Carnival Cruise.

At first glance, Amy's dress is kind of adorable. I love the black-and-white checkered skirt with the accordian style pleats. However. What is happening with her boobs? I think she forgot a step in her sewing, because one cup is very structured and thickly padded and the other is almost transparent. But since Amy is giving no indication that a mistake was made, I guess this was part of her design. Odd.
p.s. did you notice how i used the term "accordian style pleats" so effortlessly? it's because i
made it up.

I actually quite like Janeane's design, but why oh why must our shirts be see-through? Heidi Klum LOVES it. She is going to tear it right off the model and wear it for the rest of the show.

I am in love with the jacket on Mila's model. I officially covet. The rest of it, meh. But oh Mila, make me some jackets.

Anthony is like a cartoon character. What's more over-the-top than over-the-top? His dress would be a cute little number if you took off the voluminous ruffles on the side. He just said, "I like the volume on the saahhdd..." Is that irony? I'm never sure.

Anna Marie is precious and twelve. She didn't actually make her dress. She bought it at Anthropologie. And I would buy it too.

Maya has amazingly long lashes and a dress with many, many, many ruffles. The ruffles are brownish, so it actually looks like one of those potato tornado things you can get at the state fair. Which is not a bad thing. (Mmmm... fried food...)

And that's it! Let's see if I'm as completely off-base as usual. It seems like Heidi is calling names for ten minutes. I always forget how many contestants there are at this point.

Well, I get a couple of points.
The judges like Anthony's dress okay, but hate the hip bubble.
They are eating up the plaid number with all the many zippers. Way to go, Vancouver WA!
They actually love Ping Wu, and Ping Wu loves them loving Ping Wu. I just like to say Ping Wu.
Snakeskin Britney is a no-go.
They don't care for Christiane's fabrics, but not for the same reason. Seriously, nobody else is thinking cruise ship?
And finally... Hurray for EMILIOOOO! and his super awesome adorable dress. I am sending him my address. And a coupon for Tillamook cheese, because I have no money.

Until next time... auf wiedersehen!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

this just in: motherhood is freaking exhausting

I spent the entire day out with my two darling children. It was Errand Day.

Errand Day always falls on or just after the most important day of the month: Pay Day.

I had three errands on my list when I left the house this morning: Drop off rent. Target. Grocery store.

On the way to Target, I decided to get coffee. I unloaded the boys and got my favorite drink - medium-triple-iced-vanilla-2%-latte - in decaf. Somehow, I really thought it would have a placebo effect and I'd be bursting with energy in ten minutes.

Not so much. And it tasted different.

Pulling into the Target parking lot, I called my doctor's office (hands-free, of course) to see if maybe-just-maybe I could get an antibiotic for what I absolutely knew was a urinary tract infection. We women know when this little delight comes calling, don't we?

Nope, had to be seen first. Could I be there in twenty minutes?

We drove back across town to the doctor's office. Is there anything better than peeing in a cup with two hungry, cranky children in tow?

Guess what? UTI.

After the impromptu doctor's visit, I decided we should have lunch with Ben and his assistants. We met up at a very popular Vietnamese restaurant. We squeezed into the only available booth - all six of us. Lucas screamed. Ben fed him with one hand and maneuvered chopsticks with the other. I performed the Dance of the Distracted Child with Eli and tried to get my food into my mouth without being able to raise my elbows. I wondered why I thought this was such a great idea. The staff probably had the same thought.

After lunch, we beelined for Target. A trip to Target always involves the question: ride or walk? Eli is old enough to hate riding in the cart, and generally is good about staying with me. I chose to let him walk this time, and decided that we would just take our time and mosey. We made it through the entire store - including the toy section - without a single tear, screech, or whine. Just as we were leaving, Eli discovered a spinning airplane candy thingie that he absolutely Had. To. Have. I gently instructed him to put it back.

He stuffed it down his shirt. Visions of juvie danced in my head.

I needed to pry the toy from his death grip without making a scene. I tried the lighthearted approach: "Heh heh, you funny little shoplifter, let's put it back now!" I tried counting to three. I tried being matter-of-fact: "This is NOT OKAY."

I tried the Get Up Next To His Ear and Threaten Bodily Harm While Keeping A Pleasant Countenance So No One Calls Social Services method.

Finally I just yanked the damn thing away and stuffed it into a random box of candy.

Eli collapsed on the floor in a puddle of weep. Heartbroken sobs. Oscar-worthy, really. I scooped him up and carried him - sob, sob, sob - out the door.

Back in the car, Eli apologized ever so sweetly. He asked my forgiveness. He asked for a hug.

My cold little heart melted and I told him that if he would get into his seat and be very quiet while I unloaded the cart, I would give him the special treat I had picked out in the store. He was pumped.

I told him to close his eyes and hold out his hands. I placed the handpicked gift in his little hands - a Valentine's Day book about puppies. He opened his eyes.

He threw the book on the floor and yelled, "I WANT A DIFFERENT TREAT!!"

I almost left him at Target.

Oh, and after that we still had the grocery store, the dry cleaners, and the pharmacy.

And I never did pay my rent. Crap.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


There has been so much sadness today.

An old friend received unthinkable news from home. Her life is turned upside down in an instant.

An elderly woman is losing her beloved husband. Even in old age and sickness, how do you say goodbye to the person you've built your entire life with?

My dearest, closest friend, is watching her father die. It is unbearably slow and painful. She is so strong, so steady, but I know how loudly her heart is breaking. My heart aches for her.

Haiti. This tiny, massively impoverished nation, crumbled. Literally torn apart by the ground beneath them. It's impossible to see why God would allow this tragedy to fall onto such a defenseless land. Of all the nations of the world, why Haiti? It feels immensely unfair.

My own life: richly, abundantly blessed. And still, I am facing down giants who refuse to surrender. The trials seem to be relentless. It weighs on me. Wears me down. Wears me out.

I am bent today, sending up prayer after prayer for crisis after crisis.

Running through my mind all day, the words to a favorite song:

I can choose to ask why. I can choose to be angry.
I can wrestle when life is not what I thought it would be
I can wish that all the pain would simply go away
And at the same time I can choose Lord to trust You

Do you see me I can't do this on my own
Are you near me just let me know I'm not alone
I prayed, had faith that you would answer me so differently

To trust Your ways are not my ways
To know there's purpose in this pain
To trust that you will bring my joy again
But I'm still asking why...

One day, I promise, we will know.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

rainy day musings

I took the plunge today, friends: Grocery Outlet. I drove past one and then when I saw another one on the way home, I decided that God was asking me to be humble and buy some stinking cheap food. I expected to feel ashamed and dirty, wandering aisles of outdated, generic food like a supermarket leper. But actually, it wasn't bad. No different than the dollar store, really. I found my favorite sandwich bread, half-price, and it tasted perfectly fresh in my pb&j. I found some Dole canned fruit, very fresh bananas, and Spaghettios - all dirt cheap. God is teaching me to be humble... and humble some more. Go, Grocery Outlet!

Somehow, I can always tell when I've forgotten to lock Eli's bedroom door after putting him down for a nap. Even before he escapes, my Spidey sense starts to tingle.

I am seeing a new doctor in the never-ending quest to rid my life of headaches. This gentleman instructed me to stop taking Excedrin (which I gobbled like candy), stop taking Zoloft (which I was considering anyway - I'm not exactly postpartum any more), and stop using caffeine (whoa there, pal). I've followed his orders and have to admit that my headaches are already improving. Granted, I have zero energy and am massively irritable, but that should sort itself out over time.

I am excited for a new season of Project Runway. I am addicted to a show called Make It or Break It. It's about teen gymnasts. It's ridiculous in its angst and cheesiness, and I heart it. American Idol? Meh. Bring back the Gleeeeee.

I wonder if there are actually women whose homes are not in a perpetual state of disarray? Let me rephrase: I wonder if there are actually mommies-of-young-children whose homes are not in a perpetual state of disarray. Seems like I'm forever re-organizing a closet or cupboard or bookcase, and every time I think it's going to stay permanently organized because my organizational skills are just so darned organizey. Not so much, though.

I am ready for spring. Leaves and flowers and sunshine and warm weather and going outdoors.

I could really use some coffee.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

dear oprah: this is why I deserve a free vacation

It's no secret that my Eli is a little mischievous. Behind that sweet disposition and those angelic blue eyes lurks a little rascal just looking for something to get into. But this week has been one for the books.

Tuesday. In a fit of housewifely ambition, I decided to clean the oven. I forgot about the leftover fire extinguisher residue from New Year's Eve. The house quickly filled with toxic fumes. I opened every window and packed the kids out of the house for a few hours of good, clean oxygen. When we returned hours later, I put the boys down for their naps. Completely forgetting that Eli's windows were still open - only a bit, but open. Yes, I am officially a Very Bad Mother.

I wasn't feeling well and decided to lay down for a little while. I could hear Eli playing in his room, as he often does before he goes to sleep. About twenty minutes later, I found myself... stuck in the bathroom. Suffice to say, when my dog started barking, I couldn't immediately investigate why.

When I did manage to get downstairs, I noticed that the front window was still open, and our neighbors were standing in my driveway. "Of course," I thought. "Molly's barking because the neighbors are outside." If only.

I went to close the window and heard, "Oh, thank goodness you're home!"

I opened the door. Sitting on the front porch was a pile of my son's clothes.

I peered around the corner to see my two-and-a-half-year-old son perched on the ledge of his second-story window, gleefully throwing all of his worldly possessions out on the roof. He had pushed the windows open and pushed the screens out.

The neighbors said, "We thought maybe you weren't home! We were so worried! We called Ben and left a message for him!"

(Excellent. Because this couldn't possibly be a "what Daddy doesn't know won't hurt him" situation.)

Eli said, "Hi, Mama! I'm coming out!" Huge grin morphing into terror when he saw my face.

"DON'TYOUDAREMOVESTAYTHEREIAMCOMINGTHANKYOUNEIGHBORS!" I managed to yell before dashing back into the house and up to Eli's room.

Eli was already sobbing, "I sorry Mama, I sorry Mama!" as I scooped him up and gave him three - yes, three - good spanks.

Then I burst into tears and rocked him on my lap until we both calmed down.

Then, we had a Very Big Talk about not trying to escape out the windows.

How did I feel at that moment, you ask? Mortified. Terrified. Furious. Thankful. So, so thankful.

Did I mention, MORTIFIED?

I imagine the neighbors now have CPS on speed dial.

So that was day one.

Wednesday. I put Eli in his room for a little "rest time" so that I could take a shower. Twenty minutes, tops. I opened the door as he excitedly exclaimed, "Look, Mommy! I painting wif wotion!"

Sure enough, he found a bottle of baby lotion tucked in his dresser drawer and smeared most of its contents around his room. On the floor, the walls, the toys, the books. Inside the stereo. Lots of lotion inside the stereo.

Ironically, none of it on him.

"At least lotion is better than poop!" proclaimed my mother-in-law's encouraging facebook comment.


I heard Eli stirring. I was out of bed and into the shower immediately. Not giving him the chance to get into trouble again.

Ten, maybe fifteen minutes passed while I speed-showered and got dressed.

I opened my bedroom door and smelled poop.

I opened his bedroom door and saw... poop. Lots of it. Everywhere.

Eli, happy as ever, greeting me. "Good morning, Mama! I awake!"

Huge grin morphing into sobs of terror and regret. "I sorry Mama, I sorry!"

I didn't hit. I didn't swear. But oh, I yelled. I stormed around gathering cleaning supplies and hollering. "CAN'T I JUST LEAVE YOU ALONE FOR FIVE MINUTES IN YOUR ROOM WITHOUT YOU WREAKING HAVOC?!!"

I dumped him in the tub, where he let me scrub and rinse without a fuss. (Oh, you better not fuss, kid.)

Then, being dried off, he looked at me with great seriousness. "Mommy, I forgive you," he said. And gave me a hug.

Well then.

"I forgive you, too," I said.

I hugged him back, kissed his head, cleaned poop for half an hour, and we went on with our day. Because that, friends, is life with children.

Monday, January 4, 2010

uncle matt

Ben's brother came to visit us for the first time since moving to Portland. He hates to fly, so we had to persuade him with Portland tales of microbrewed beer and cute single hipster girls. We spent a wonderful week showing off our fine state (Campaign Make-Matt-Move-To-Portland is in full effect). Eli fell completely in love with his Uncle Matt and I think Uncle Matt is pretty smitten with his nephews.

Lucas and Matt
Eli and Matt
Cannon Beach

Snuggling with Luke at Timberline Lodge, Mt Hood

Oregon Coast

Friday, January 1, 2010


Last snow of 2009 was the first snow of the season. I laid down for a nap at 2:00 with a handful of tiny flakes falling on bare ground. An hour later I woke up to an inch of snow covering everything. It was beautiful.

fire safety

Note to self: The next time something bubbles over in the oven, clean it up.

Oh and also, no matter how briefly you use a fire extinguisher, the stuff will get on everything within range. Everything.

Our New Year's Eve started with bit of a fire in the oven. Real flames and all. Poor spring rolls never had a chance.

Thankfully Ben knew how to use the fire extinguisher, and after some minor smoke inhalation and a complete kitchen wipedown we were able to usher in the 2010 in style.

Happy New Year!