December 30, 2006

Alive and Well

I'm here in Reno and have been enjoying my time with family and friends very much. I've eaten way too much food and we've taken advantage of the free babysitting privledges every moment they've been offered. Awesome-ness. Christmas was fantastic and we're leaving tomorrow for Atlanta, Georgia to play for a break out group at Passion 07'. I'm so excited to have some alone time with my hubby and they are putting us up in a nice hotel, so, you know... free towels and mini toiletries and stuff! woo woo!

These next 5 days are going to be rough, however, because it's the first time we both have been away from Ezra that long. I know the grandparents will do great, but the thought of not seeing Ezra's little smile for 5 days?!? HEARTBREAKING. The other night we left him over at Chris' parent's house overnight, and I collapsed into bed at 11:00 crying like a baby because I missed him so much and suddenly had this overwhelming thought that Ezra didn't know how much I loved him. I was saying ridiculous things like, "I think he thinks I think he's annoying!" through sobs while Chris gently patted my back and whispered "He knows you love him, honey..." Chris must have been thinking I'd finally blown a gasket as I slobbered into my pillow and ranted about being a horrible mom...

It didn't help that we watched the movie 'Click' that night-- the one where Adam Sandler misses out on his family because he gets a remote control that will fast forward him through all the gunk of life, and one of the last scenes is him lying on his back in the rain muttering "Family first, Family first, Family ALWAYS first..."


Anywho- I'll try to write while I'm there. It's going to be an amazing experience and I can't wait to get there and begin. More posts about the horrific plane/airport experience and our wonderful Christmas to come soon.. Happy New Year!!

December 20, 2006

We make him dance for his Food.

Plane and Simple.

I'm sick. my head feels like its puffed up like a balloon and I'm pretty sure there's enough pressure in there to propel a small locamotive. It's very rare for me to get sick, and of course the one time I do, it attacks right before I'm meant to board an airplane. If any of you who live in the states between Oklahoma and Nevada hear loud screaming overhead on Friday, it very well could be me on my flight- hollering in pain because the pressure was intensified one billion percent on takeoff. (Just a friendly heads up.)

We leave for home on Friday and I can't wait to see everyone. We'll be in Reno until the 31st, and then we are flying to Atlanta, Georgia (Ezra-less!) because Joel, Chris, and I are leading one of the 'break-out groups' at Passion '07 this year. (wooooo woooooo!!!) I plan to take many pictures and come back with many stories to tell. After that, we fly back to Reno again, pick up Ezra from the grandparents, and then fly back to Oklahoma the very next day... eek.

For the plane ride, we went and bought some fun toys at the 'Dollar Store' today, and since the selection was somewhat limited, Ezra ended up with a handful of Little Mermaid Stamps and some watermelon scented 'fun-dough'. I found them right next to a sponge in the shape of a credit card that you put in hot water and watch grow into a huge-normous Platinum Visa with the name 'Mrs. Spender' on it. Classy! We will also have the beloved DVD Player and perhaps a benadryl or two on hand in case of a total mid-flight meltdown. I think we've pretty much got all the bases covered.

But no matter how "prepared" I think I might be, I know that traveling with a toddler will always be challenging and unpredictable. Kindof like wrestling a giant boa-constrictor in the jungle. Only, you're not in a jungle- you're in a small airborne craft full of people who expect you and the boa-constrictor to keep your voices down so they can listen to thier iPods in peace.

December 19, 2006


My dear friends Seth and Skylana had a gorgeous little baby girl named Arabella on Sunday, and I am so happy and excited for them both. She had a long and triumphant labor at home, and all of this is bringing back to my mind the sweet, precious moments leading up to my own son's birth and the unforgettable emotions Chris and I both shared on that day.

The only way I can describe giving birth is this overwhelming sense that I had accomplished much in a very short amount of time, and that I would never, ever be the same. The moment all the pain was over and I was holding a wiggly stranger in my arms, I felt a huge wave of strength wash over me and it hasn't ever quite left me since. Not that I was suddenly this superwoman who could handle anything this baby could dish out, (quite the opposite), but that I was somehow stronger underneath- like my foundation had been reinforced and I had more solidarity and substance to me than just 8 short hours earlier. So, since I've never shared my experience with labor here before, I thought I'd do that now.

I started having contractions that were sporadic and not too intense during the day, so I walked around alot and even went to my friend Jessie Cheatwood's baby shower that afternoon. By the time evening rolled around, they were getting more intense and coming only a few minutes apart, so Chris and I grabbed the hospital bag that had been packed and ready to go for 4 months and headed out the door. We got to the hospital at 11:00pm that night and they showed me to a room that was small and had no shower in it. (They were really busy that night.) By this point, I was really uncomfortable, and the nurse checked me and unsympathetically told me I was only 1 cm dilated and should probably go home and come back in the morning. Luckily, my friend LeeAnn was there to help coach me through the birth, and she was able to calm me down and let me know that I didn't have to go anywhere if I didn't want to. We decided to stay.

Well, my contractions were intense, and we finally convinced the nurse to check me again an hour later. In 60 minutes, I had gone from being dilated 1 cm all the way to 5 cm. The nurse was shocked and started taking me a little more seriously after that. They moved me to a better room with a shower, and I spent a lot of time in that shower sitting on a big yoga ball after that. Less than an hour later, I was at 8 cm. It was happening so fast, which was good, but it was also very very intense. My body was having a hard time catching up and I felt out-of-control for the most part. LeeAnn and Chris were AMAZING, though, and they helped me stay focused enough to get through each contraction one at a time. I was begging for drugs, but was dilated too far for an epidural. They gave me a dose of 'Stedol' to calm me down in between contractions so I could catch my breath. My water broke soon after that, and my midwife still hadn't arrived because the nurse hadn't called her in time. The nurse kept saying it would still "be awhile", but Ezra had other plans.

After my water broke, things started progressing super fast, and my body was telling me that I needed to PUSH. The nurse, however, was trying to get me to NOT PUSH because the midwife wasn't there yet. Finally, LeeAnn leaned over and told me that if I needed to push, I needed to push- and not to let the midwife's absence stop me. So, I started pushing. I only had to push 3 times, and Ezra was born and in my arms. I was in shock that he was suddenly HERE. The nurses were freaking out about how long his eyelashes were, and the first thing I said was "I could totally do that again." HA!

Ezra was born at 4:00 AM- weighing in at 6lbs 8oz and 21 inches long. Long and skinny, just like his daddy. The time at the hospital after he was born is completely surreal, and I remember sleeping a lot and being surprised that this baby really did need to eat every hour or two. I remember the first time we were all asleep in the room together, and Ezra woke up in the middle of the night, and I felt like I had no idea what to do and kept hoping the nurses would come in and tell me. It was like getting hired to be an Electrical Engineer even though I'd gone to school for 'Recreational Administration' or something... I had NO idea what I was doing, but I had to figure it out quick because it was suddenly my job. 22 months later, I still feel like that sometimes... although I'd like to think I'm getting a little better as I go... hehe.

December 15, 2006

Growing Pains.

I've decided today that I want to grow my hair out again.

I think...


Most Definetly! (or not.)

this is the longest my hair ever got... it was right after I had Ezra.

Is this a good idea? Or am I just one of those 'short haired' kind of people? I do like short hair, but sometimes I get bored with it, you know? Oh, and if it is a good idea to grow it- I'm gonna need some serious help. Because, when I have bad hair days, I will usually just shut myself in the bathroom with a pair of scissors and CHOP CHOP CHOP like it ain't no thang. I'm going to need strict punishment and hoardes of accountability if I plan to grow my hair more than 1 inch past where it's at now.

what to doooooo????

PS. As I was looking for a 'long hair' picture, I came across this: (click on the picture to make it bigger)

Ezra's bellybutton used to be in the shape of a perfect STAR. How crazy is that?!

Emery Explosion.

I've always loved having my name. I love that I was named after some old man in a movie. I love that it's a unique name, but not TOO unique-- like Shanaqkwahleeanna or Fidget or something. I love that it's typically a man's name and I love how no one ever believes me when I tell them that.

I love how no one else I know has the same name as I do.

But that all changed a few days ago.

First, I learned that someone who goes to my church, whom I don't know personally, just adopted a baby girl named Emery Lou.

The next day, while talking to my friend Ryan, I discovered that another couple just had a baby girl and they were all excited about the name they 'found'. Yep... another mini Emery.

The day after that, I was sitting in the play area at the mall watching Ezra poke the foam dog in the eyes, when I heard a mom and dad talking to their little girl who was about 4 years old. Her name? Shanaqkwahleeanna. HAHA just kidding. Her name was Emery.

I feel sortof sad about this. Although, I always knew this day would come. I'm lucky to have made it 24 years without ever bumping into another female Emery in my life. Actually, that's not true. I was at the mall a few years ago when I still lived in Reno, and there was this little blonde girl who couldn't have been more than 3 years old playing on the chair next to me. Her mother was sitting a few tables away, and she kept looking right at me and saying, "Emery! ... Emery! ... HEY! Are you LISTENING to me, Emery?!" And I was feeling really confused and I kept just trying to smile and wave at her- and then she was looking all confused, and- well, it turns out the little girl was an Emery and I ended up looking like a creepy doofus in need of supervision.

Come to think of it, the only other Emery I've ever met happened in a very similar situation. I was in a college textbook store in California, buying some books for the semester, when one of the ladies that worked at the store told a customer that her employee could help her find the book she needed. The woman turned and was looking right at me and she said, "Emery! This girl needs help finding such-and-such a book. Show her where it is please." I remember I blushed crimson and started to stammer as I wondered if I'd accidentally become an employee of the bookstore while I was browsing the shelves of textbooks somehow. That's when a young guy who was standing right behind me turned and said, "Sure thing! Right this way, ma'am."

Emery the Mineral.

Emery the Board.

and Emery the Band.

So, maybe I'm just being lame and I need to suck it up and embrace the fact that my name just might become as popular as 'Sarah' or 'Amy' in the next decade or so, but part of me freaks out about that. So much of who I am is wrapped up in my name. It has always made me feel set apart... special.... different somehow. It has always given me confidence and pride to be the only one of me.

What if, someday, I desire to run for a political office or public school board? What if I drag out the old campaign posters from all the High School Student Council election days and enthusiastically remind everyone to "Burn it in your memory-- Vote for Emery!" ? What if the people see the poster and have to lean over and ask eachother "Which Emery is that? The dark haired one? Or the one that's overly hyped-out about things that aren't a big deal and never quite grew into her arms?"


*head explodes*

December 11, 2006


The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of much needed "girl time" for me... First, a mom's Christmas Party; then, hanging out and sipping wine with a few lovely ladies; then, getting to chat with a friend over dinner; and finally a dessert/coffee get-together with another group of fantastic females. Woo wee! It's strange how I have felt so disconnected from the women around me here (what with having to chase down a toddler before introductions can even be completed and whatnot), and yet suddenly this weekend I had more girl time than I knew what to do with! It was amazing and refreshing. I laughed and blabbed and felt truly welcomed into their hearts.

Even before I moved out here to Oklahoma, I had never really had a lot of those girl-bonding experiences. Chris and I married while we were pretty young. We were some of the first of our friends to tie the knot, and so I didn't have a lot of female peers who were on the same page as me in life... you know, having sex and franticly trying to learn to cook and keep up with the laundry. So, I never really got to get together with anyone and gab about the challenges and thrills of the newly-married life. I didn't get to laugh with girlfriends over the fact that all of Chris and I's indoor potted plants died within the first month or two of our marriage because he assumed I would be the plant-waterer, and I assumed he would be the plant-waterer. Before we knew it, we had crispy greenery and our first reality check that marriage was going to take some figuring-out.

To be able to get together with other really cool girls and talk for hours about kids and marriage and life was huge for me. I felt like I'd finally found my niche... Like a fish out of water that finally flopped its way back into the pond. SPLOOSH! I'm meeting some girls again on Saturday for breakfast. I'm finding that I am becoming passionate again about seeing women freed up from all the CRAP this world tells them to believe about themselves...

Like, You've got to look pretty. (CRAP.)
You've got to have it all together. (CRAP.)
You don't ever ask for help. (CRAP. CRAP. CRAP.)

Life is messy so let's stop pretending it's not and how your hair looked today won't make a bit of difference when it's all said and done. (A sneeze in the hurricane, really.) Live from your heart and find your worth in things greater than other's opinions of you. Stop giving yourselves ulcers because you've been told your daily balancing act must look EFFORTLESS.

Last night I was having a hard time with Ezra because I was tired and it was so close to his bedtime and he was being fussy and exhausting ALL of his energy on escaping my attempts to put pajamas on him. I started to feel that desperate panic rising up inside of me again- the one that suddenly grows larger than life and squeezes out all rational thought. That feeling that tells me I need to sit down and take deep breaths and get calm again... before ANYTHING else. Leave the kid running wild with only one pant leg pulled up and one arm through a T-shirt and sit on the floor and B R E A T H E.

I did that and felt better, but when Chris got home he could tell I was rattled. He asked me what was wrong and I blurted out, "I don't know why people enjoy this!"

"Enjoy what?"

"THIS. Being parents."

It felt so good just to say that outloud, because YEAH I feel that way sometimes. It felt so good to hear Chris say "It's OK, honey." and see in his eyes that he didn't think any less of me for saying what I felt in that moment. It felt so good to be messy and real and honest for a change.

I'm afraid that we (as women) have got our guard up so often and are so damn concerned about how we're measuring up all of the time that we're constantly missing out on the beautiful REALITY. The harsh 'breaking point moments' and the sweet relief that pours in when we finally surrender and admit we aren't superheroes... we're just tired and afraid we're only one second away from dropping the ball. Why is it we are always feeling pursued by some nameless fear? Turn around! There's no one there! Why is it that we demand so much from our bodies, our faces? Have you ever met one of those women who were stunning and breathtaking and gorgeous and it had nothing to do with her make-up or clothing or sex appeal? Cruel irony! The things we've been taught to pursue lead us further from where we want to be.

The nameless fear is bogus. I think we're running from ourselves.

December 8, 2006

A Part of Something More.

I'm feeling so blessed today.

I started an online vintage clothing store a couple of months ago, and its been really fun. Yesterday, I got a call out of the blue from a friend who told me that her mom was helping clean out a house and they had a whole closet full of vintage clothing they needed to get rid of, and she had thought of me. I was really excited and grateful as I went down to load my car up with the stuff. When I got home and started looking through the clothes, I was amazed at what I'd been given. There are some really INCREDIBLE vintage pieces in the mix.

I know it may not seem like a huge deal, but sometimes it's the little things in life that encourage me the most, you know? Things that help spur me on or remind me why I do the things I love to do in the first place. I'm a big vintage buff-- I am absolutely fascinated by objects that carry history and stories with them. I've always been this way. I'm a thrift store junkie. Vintage books are like little treasures in my hands. I'm a bit of a daydreamer, so I love to picture the people who may have owned the books and things before me.

I've never really stopped to think about why I'm like this, but this random gift of clothing yesterday got me wondering what it is about vintage things, or things with history, that excite me so.

I believe that we, as humans, all have a desire to be part of something... a community, a family, a group of people... A bigger picture. I think we also long to be part of a story. A story with adventure and surprising twists and romance and danger... Sword fights near the edges of cliffs, or daring castle rescues, or standing up for what is right even if it means your neck. We all want to live lives that will have a lasting effect-- lives that could fill the pages of a book and be read for years and years and years.

At least, that's me anyways. Knowing the stories behind things makes me feel connected to the people who lived before me. Listening to old family history gives me a glimpse of that bigger picture I long to be a part of. It reminds me that my little family tree has roots-- roots that support and give life... and without these roots, my tree wouldn't even exist! And someday, I'll be part of the root system of another tree- unseen, but crucial. And every car that I pass on the crowded roads holds a person inside with a huge root system all of their own. It baffles the mind.

I also believe that some of us are given the 'gift' of being able to Chronicle life as we know it. You know that person in your family that collects stories like jewels? A Chronicler. That's what this blog is for me. When I write these stories or feelings, I'm thinking of the people years from now that might read them. I'm thinking of Ezra as a grown man- sitting in a cozy chair somewhere, smiling to himself as he reads about his goofy mother's antics and the special ways he drove her bonkers. I'm thinking of his grandchildren who might one day ask what Great-Grandma-Emery was like.

My mom sent a box of old family Christmas decorations to Chris and I the other day. Things that I remember having as a small girl. It was such a joy to open that package. The memories poured out of it as I pulled each object out of the box one-by-one. In that box I also found some proof that I have always been a "Chronicler"-- someone who has wanted to leave an accurate account of themselves for the future generations. Here is that proof:

Just a regular placemat, yes?

No! It was given to me by an old babysitter named "Ooee".

Here's the 'Chronicler' in me coming out.

A new addition- How could I resist??

I'm sure 'Ooee' had no idea that this little plastic Christmas placemat would mean so much to me 20 years later. But it does. It encourages me to keep doing what I'm doing... It gives me insight on who I really am... And it reminds me that I'm still that little girl who longs to be a part of something more.

December 6, 2006

Naps are for Babies.

Ezra has REFUSED to nap for the past few days. He is usually such a great sleeper/napper. It appears, however, that the last time I was explaining this fact to someone, I had forgotten to knock on wood. This has made things quite INTERESTING around here to say the least. Despite occasionally wanting to rip off both of my own thumbs, I think I have been handling the change really well. Ezra has had approximately one billion screamy meltdowns, while I have only had one or two more than that.

Today, though, Ezra is napping soundly in his crib- just like the good ol' days. I'm sitting here typing away, pushing the keys oh-so-gently for fear of the clicking sound traveling all the way across the house and waking him. Also, I am thirsty- but I have no intentions of getting up from my spot on the couch because I just know that the floor will creak and Ezra will wake up screaming. (And now I have to pee.)

In other news, I am finally learning to play the piano! Remember my list of things to do prior to DEATH? This was one of them! Chris taught me all the chords and now I can play pretty much all of the songs in my music folder. I can only practice my new hobby at night after Ezra goes to sleep because when I try to practice during the day he gets pissed and tries to push me off of the piano bench for some reason. I find it much easier to concentrate when I'm not being dragged to the floor by a tantrum-prone toddler, so I wait until 8:00 every night. When I wake up these days I feel giddy and excited- as only watching one of my life-long dreams come true before my very eyes could make me.

As for the snow, it's almost all melted except for the pile by the tree that used to be our snowman. Rest in Peace, snowy friend.

Ezra liked to look at the snow, and he liked having some snow brought to him while he stood on dry ground, but the second any of it had the nerve to STICK TO HIS SHOES, he would crumple to the ground and cry as if I had gathered up all of his precious train toys and set them on fire. This goes hand-in-hand with his other new quirk- the one where I have to hand-feed him all of his meals because he freaks out when any food sticks to his fingers and gets his hands all dirty. God have mercy on us all.

One reason I AM glad that the snow is finally melting is because a neighbor had taken it upon himself to build a 7 foot tall Phallic Snow Statue in his front yard the day after it snowed. It is only now melting into a tiny, unrecognizable clump. The two huge snowballs he rolled up to accompany his statue, however, show no sign of melting anytime in the next century.


December 1, 2006

Heart Dust

I woke up this morning and reluctantly crawled out from under my warm blankets. The old heater was clicking again- the sound of the temperamental pilot light that won't ignite until I flip the thermostat
on and off.
on and off.
on and off.
I crouched by the closet door and waited for the deep hum that told me she was lit and waited for the warm air that would once again push through the floor vents like a sigh of relief. I felt quiet inside. My heart felt raw and withered. The yard sparkled white and the heater took deep breaths and my busy mind said nothing. I wrapped my cardigan tight around my body and went towards the morning whimpers. Ezra stood in his crib. His hair reached upward on one side and lay flat on the other. His right ear glowed red from being smooshed against the sheets and the warm air drifted up out of the vent across the room. He rubbed his eyes. Slowly, I turned the blinds to reveal the snowy landscape and I whispered in his bright pink ear "This is snow." That pile of leaves I never gathered up was now an unidentifiable white mound in the yard. A single pair of tire tracks in the street spoke of an early riser. He stared out the window as if still dreaming and yawned. His body shook with chills and he wrapped his arms around my neck. The heater breathed deeply. The house slowly warmed and creaked. The yard sparkled. My heart shook off its gathered dust, gave in, and sparkled back.