January 31, 2008

Reasons Why I Love Preschool: #38,473.

The art projects are so cute that I find myself wanting to photograph them all and put them on my blog.

(I have restrained myself {YOUR WELCOME} until the octopus showed up. Oh, the octopus!)

It is snowing here today. I drove down South of town to plunder the thrift stores, and all I have to say to sum up the excursion is this: NOBODY BUT ME KNOWS HOW TO DRIVE.

As traffic whizzed by me at 65MPH on a solid sheet of ice and snow, I found myself quietly hoping they would lose traction and skid around a bit... just to put the fear of God in them a little, you know?

Then I quietly repented of my malicious thoughts.

Then I thought them all over again two nano seconds later.

I went and picked Ezra up early from school today because I knew the roads would only get worse and... and maybe I was a little bored, too. I knew he would nap better at home, anyways, so I went and got him and on the way home he told me all about how he played outside in the snow with his friends and painted circles on paper and did I know that circles look like letter O's? I told him that yes I did know that and that they also look like number zero's! To which he replied "No, mamma. TIME OUT." (He's strict that way.)

Chris is compiling a list of your questions from the other day and collecting his thoughts with such care and attention that you would think he was preparing to address Congress. I can't wait to hear what he has to say... thanks to you all for the great man-questions. (Got any more Man-questions? He's got MANswers! har har har I kill me.)

In other news: maybe we'll start trying to have another baby soon? I think?

If we do, I will blame it (in part) on this video of Henry, and also this picture of Ezra baby-face that I found in my photo archives the other day:

photo by Cameron Ingalls

Baby fever? Oh, it's at about one bajillion-ish degrees right now.


January 28, 2008

If You Could Ask My Husband Anything...

This weekend, my husband dug up the entire backyard and replaced the plumbing mains to our house. Ummm, can you say HANDY?

Let me introduce you to the key players:

This is my handsome tractor-drivin' husband who sacrificed his ENTIRE weekend so that Ezra and I could flush toilets again.

This is Phil... the neighbor of all neighbors who sacrificed his ENTIRE weekend with his wife and child in order to spend countless hours de-lodging mud from a rented tractor bucket. Wee!

This is Craig- the brains behind the operation- who sacrificed his ENTIRE weekend so that he could teach Chris how to drive tractors and fix plumbing mains and lay new pipe and save his family over $2500.

Ehh... no biggie. I'd rather have toilets than grass.

This is where the busted pipe was. I'm thinking of asking Chris if we can just go ahead and extend this ditch all the way around the house so that I can finally have that moat that I've always dreamed of. Complete with Swans!

Someone else decided to help out as well...

Okay, I'm getting a little gooey inside...

...cutest thing I've ever seen...

AND I'm a puddle on the floor.

After all of this insanely hard work, my husband would come back into the house after it got dark, take a quick shower, and then play with Ezra until his bedtime because, GET THIS, he said he understood that I HAD HAD A LONG WEEKEND. Then he would put Ezra to bed and do the dishes and I may or may not have fallen asleep ridiculously early last night after a nice bath.

Lest you think I am some lazy bum, I must tell you that I totally contributed to the project as well. Once all the holes had been dug and the pipe had been laid and glued, Chris asked me to do the strenuous deed of flushing the toilet. THREE TIMES IN A ROW. It required all of my patience, strength, and skill, but it was the very least I could do to help. (YES, The very least.)

Chris is astonishing. Some mega-breed of husband. I don't deserve such goodness, yet he keeps piling it on. He works so hard for me... for us... and in some deep place in my heart it makes me feel like I am worthwhile... Like every shovel full of dirt he lifted was for me or something...

I am the luckiest girl in the world.


PS. I am still trying to convince my husband to write a guest post here at 'Moms are for Everyone', but he seems a little shy. If you get a moment, would you let him know you won't bite and maybe ask him a question or two to help guide his thoughts? You can ask him ANYTHING.

Except whether or not I snore. Because the answer to that is ABSOLUTELY NOT. (And if he tells you any different, HE'S LYING.)

January 25, 2008

Room Therapy. Train Board Style.

Today was one of those days where I needed to do something calming. I've been cooped up in the house with my boy for five days now... he got sick and then I got sick so we took cover from the world for awhile.

I woke up this morning feeling scatterbrained, so I decided to rearrange a room to bring me back to planet earth.

This time, it was Ezra's room. His fancy new train board** has been fabulous because Ezra wants to play with it constantly. It's been quite the lifesaver the past few days as we've been nestled inside our warm house recooperating. However, the thing takes up most of the floor space in Ezra's room- so I am constantly hanging it back up on the wall and taking it down again. And the board be HEAVY.

On top of this, everyone knows that train boards just aren't as much fun if they are stuck down on the floor, so I got a brilliant idea to solve these problems of ours.

I rearranged everything in his room so that I could use the lip of the built-in bookshelf and a short stool which happened to be the right height to balance the train board across so he could play and maneuver around it. Plus, it gave me a little extra storage underneath it for his bulkier toys that wouldn't fit anywhere in his closet.

He absolutely LOVES it, and so do I.

There's nothing like rearranging furniture. I swear it's some sort of cheap therapy for me...

**To answer Kerry from the last train board post: Chris built the board from scratch on a piece of thick plywood- he mapped out the track and then painted it and laquered it a bajillion times. We used the strongest glue we could find and plastered the track on the board so it wouldn't get ripped off. So far, it's holding up great!

January 24, 2008

Swept Away.

Ezra's disposition is such that he will cling to an idea or a correction and then he will refuse to let go of it. Ever again.

For example, one day LONG AGO Chris and Ezra went to the store together. It was a very windy day, and Ezra was wearing a hat, so Chris told him while getting him out of the car that he needed to hold onto his hat or else it would blow away.

Simple enough, right?

Well, five months later, Ezra still clamps down on his hat when we are walking to or from a store because he is convinced it will blow away if he doesn't. Even if it's not windy outside at all. He holds on to it so tightly that he has trouble walking, or even SEEING for that matter, because he shoves it down so far over his eyes and refuses to let go of it. It's gotten to the point that now, even if he doesn't have a hat on, he will grab onto HIS HAIR as if that will blow away too.

For five months we've been telling him that, really, it's okay to let go of your hat. Or- you don't have to hold onto your hair... IT'S NEVER GOING TO BE THAT WINDY. But he refuses to listen because he's clinging to the instruction that Chris gave him so long ago.

It's the same with him refusing to get out of bed on his own. This was great when he was younger, but now that he is older, we wouldn't mind if he got up and played in his room for awhile in the mornings or came and woke us up in our room. It sure would be nice if he could run to the potty on his own in the middle of the night- a feat that he is perfectly capable of except for the GETTING OUT OF BED part. We got that little bed over a year ago- and I told him ONE TIME (one time!) that he couldn't get out of bed at naptime- that he had to lay down and go to sleep.

He has never attempted to get out of it since then. EVER.

Some might see this as a stubbornness that is more than half-way to crazy.

I see it as something else... something that needs to be dealt with delicately through the years so it doesn't get crushed or magnified- too much of either would be detrimental to him in the long run, I think.

He has an insanely acute desire to please the people around him- which is a nice trait in a toddler, but if left unchecked it could become a crippling crutch for him as a grown man. I want him to live from his heart- not from a heart that is trying to make everyone happy at all costs to himself.

I have lived from that place in the past and have NO DESIRE to go back. I will listen to God if He is whispering... even if the people I want to please most are screaming something different. Lesson learned. Moving on.

So, the way I see it, I need to SHOW Ezra how to live from this heart level... I need to SHOW him how to stand up for what he feels is right, even if it means stepping on the toes of the people in charge. But I also need to nurture that place in him that wants to make the people around him happy... I need to teach him compassion and how to give himself away (even if it's only little bits at a time) to people who are hurting or in need.

Does this sound like an impossible magic act to anyone else besides me? How do you teach a human to be self-sacrificing without sacrificing his...self?

Lord Almighty, I need a whiskey sour right about now.

This parenting business is a lot like tightrope walking on a single thread of silk.

One thousand feet in the air.

While holding 1000lbs weights.

I think I'd have gone crazy YEARS ago if I wasn't thoroughly convinced that I am not alone or left to myself to figure this all out. I know God is real because He has proven Himself very real in my life. And I know that He knows Ezra better than I ever will... that all I have to do is listen to the gut he gave me and we'll all be okay in the end.

For now, I giggle and crouch down and tell my son that he doesn't have to hold on so tight... that it's perfectly okay to lose a hat or two or three to the wind.

And as I do, I feel a bit of me get swept up and away as well... the bit that worries if I'll ever be good enough to be this delicate boy's mamma.

Craft Idea.

For those of you who are stuck in your houses this week due to air so cold it could freeze your boogers, I have a little craft project for you!

This is an idea Chris and I came up with after seeing something like this:

...in a boutique store in San Luis Obispo, California.

It was an old vintage children's book that someone had dismantled and then spiral bound with blank writing paper. They left some of the original pages throughout the journal as well.

Since I am attracted to vintage things (and cool journals) like a fly to poop, I really liked the idea. However, the spiral bound thing seemed kindof cheesy and predictable. So, Chris and I hopped on over to the used book store down the street and picked out some vintage books that we liked the look of in order to convert them into journals for ourselves.

I LOVE big, thick journals, so I picked out some really cool old children's textbooks/reader books. Then, I bought a super cheap lined journal with tear-out pages and just started gluing the blank pages into the vintage reader book. We used spray-on glue because we figured the white glue would make the pages too wrinkly. Also, as I went along, I discovered that the book was getting too thick with all the extra paper in there, so I started tearing out a few pages here and there to compensate for the extra thickness.

This was the end result:

I thought "Vistas" was an appropriate title.

I was writing in this journal when I was pregnant with Ezra, and I found the list of names we liked. (Some of these are completely embarrassing now. Gak!)

I didn't blur out the words because they were filled with things I didn't want you to know. I blurred them out because I was writing A LOT about feeling "bloated" all the time. (That was the first sign that I was pregnant- a symptom I now lovingly refer to as 9 MONTHS OF CONSTANT GAS.)

This is the page where I tried to sum up what it was like becoming a mother for the first time... a daunting feat I must have attempted at 3AM one morning or something, because it came out sounding like this: "Being a mom is, like, so cool and stuff. Ezra is really cool and its cool being his mom. And stuff. HAPPY FACE." How eloquent.

Anywho- I love this journal. You guys should totally make one. Also, I have 3 more vintage school textbooks that I bought around the same time if anyone wants them. I could mail them to you, or (oooh, here's an idea!) I could MAKE a journal FOR you for the low cost of, um, $25.00 if you want (including shipping). Email me at emerybored at aol dot com if you are interested.

(Look at me! I'm being all business-y and entrepreneur-ish and stuff!)

(PS. I added a killer vintage coat to my ebay store. Click the icon over on the right to check it out.)

January 22, 2008

At Least They Keep You Warm.

Ezra has a very high fever again today, for the second day in a row, which is heart-breaking on two levels:

1. The poor little guy turns into a total introvert when he is sick- he just lays around on the couch and doesn't make an audible noise for hours at a time. He reverts to head nodding as his only form of communication and the only time he gets up is to go potty or silently point to the next movie he wants to watch. IT'S QUIET 'ROUND HERE.

2. He doesn't get to attend school today, which means mommy will not be able to pick up applications and wander around in thrift stores until her feet are sore. Also, I will not have the joy of blasting my favorite music while I drive from place to place- a past time that I had almost forgotten about entirely until Ezra started school and I realized that I was driving around town (TODDLER-FREE) singing "She'll Be Coming Around The Mountain When She Comes" while tapping my foot against the clutch pedal to keep time. In my defense- That's a catchy little number, yeah?

In other news, I bought this yesterday:

But, I am returning it today because it gave my room less of the "Parisian" feel I was hoping for, and more of an "Asian Nascar" vibe that I could really live without.

Chris and I have recently decided to sell our super cool green retro-vintage sofa bed on Craig's List so that we can replace it with an actual comfortable bed for guests that come and stay with us. I have been looking on eBay for bedding and blankets, and have found some that are just too good not to share.

Oh, man... I bet the photographer just crapped his pants
when he snapped this picture. What an epic setup!

Nothing says "comfort" like a suicidal unicorn!

The crashing waves behind this eagle head really sold me on this one. I wanted to see how the blanket would look if I were to ever toss it into the ocean.

Welcome to our home! Snuggle up with this man-eating dragon blanket! Okay- lights out... Sweet dreams!

Ummm... "Lady liberty's Legless Tour of the Coast of Maine."

Man, they will print anything on blankets these days.

Maybe I'll go a different route and have them make me a king size blanket from this:

Now THERE'S a dragon I could really get comfy with.


Hee hee.

January 19, 2008

My Day: Served Up for You on a Toasted Cracker.

**phone rings**

Me: "Hello?"

MoMar: "Hi. Is Ezra home, please?"

Me: "hehe. Yes, one moment. May I tell him who is calling?"...

He's getting his own calls now. Maybe we'll need to install a "teen line" soon. (I suppose this would technically be a "toddler line"?) Did you ever have a "teen line" when you were a teen? I did, although I never liked talking on the phone. I think I just got one because it would make me cool.

Did it succeed in making me cool, you ask? I'm not sure... I think I pretty much canceled out any "cool" vibes that were heading my way at the very moment I chose to JOIN THE SHOW CHOIR.

It is sweet to hear Ezra on the phone with grandparents. He tells them all about the big box that came in the mail and the hot cocoa he had this morning at the coffee shop. And then, while MoMar is in mid sentence, Ezra abruptly says "Okay. Bye!" and drops the phone.

We need to work on his send-offs.

Today, Chris dug up most of the backyard because it appears that we have a shot plumbing main. Wee! We discovered this problem the other day while the washing machine was draining... the water started to BUBBLE UP from underneath the concrete walkway on the side of our house. Ummmmm, not good.

While he spent his Saturday making piles of mud and mire and swinging an axe around in the freezing cold, I wandered around the warm house and drastically altered TRIMMED my bangs. Sometimes I'm so glad I am a woman.

Also? I tried on possible interview outfits. For, you know, the off chance that someone will actually want to interview me someday. (So far? Notsomuch.)

To end the day, I watched as Chris and Ezra put some of the finishing touches on the new and improved train board that they have been working on for sometime now. The board was getting trashed and needed some re-vamping, and it looks amazing so far. My favorite feature is still the "hang-it-on-the-wall" feature, because it looks like a piece of incredible art on Ezra's wall, and I don't have to keep stubbing my toe on the thing as I fumble around in his room at night- covering and recovering him 80 times or so before I go to bed and triple checking to make sure his blinds are closed the right way.

The finished product:

The reason I have had to cover and recover Ezra so much every night is because our heater has not been working very well for the past 8 months or so. It works, but it won't light unless you get up (IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. MULTIPLE TIMES.) and flip the thermostat on and off a few times.

HOWEVER, last week I prayed to God that my heater would stop being a pansy, and the very next night (I kid you not) it started making all these weird noises and it has been working 100% perfectly ever since then.

I have the gift of healing.

(But only for heater units.)

Thank you Jesus.

January 16, 2008

The Guided Tour of Life.

Ever since I've been back home, I've felt like a new person.

I feel confident, unafraid. I feel excited about life and the possibilities of a job. I'm helping Chris paint houses, and when we go to lunch together in our matching painting whites, I feel like I'm in a ball gown. I feel stunning... glowing. Something about working with my hands- even if it's vacuuming up spiders from a dusty garage so we can paint it- it suits me.

I have not been easily overwhelmed. I've been able to make phone calls and talk to strangers with ease. I'm managing my money better and eating healthier and feeling undaunted by trips to the grocery store.

Something really has changed.

A friend of mine put a perfect picture to all of this last night, and it really resonated with me. She said something about a bud pushing up through the ground after a long, long season of being buried and in the dark and cold dirt. So simple, yet my insides leaped as if they'd been discovered. As if a spotlight suddenly drenched them and the jig was up. She also said that the time spent underground was not wasted... that God needed that time to cultivate and prepare for the difficult push upward... the breaking of ground... the sunlit days ahead.

These past three years have felt very buried. Ever since Ezra was born, I've felt plunged into the soil... left to trust that the seed of motherhood would germinate and I'd burst through the dirt ceiling again in time.

This all goes along with what I feel God has been telling me over the last couple of months. Every single time I would start to freak out about what to do with my life or what direction I should be heading in or what decision to make or how I felt I wasn't fulfilling my purpose in life, I would clearly hear him say

"Emery... Just know Me."

And then I'd have a moment of clarity, like, Oh yeah! It's not my job to have everything figured out, is it? It's not my job to plan my steps! No wonder it has felt like a responsibility that is too much to bear... I can't see the whole picture. How am I supposed to map my way towards an ending I want but don't even know?


So, instead of muscling my way through endless days of confusion and worry, I pause and remember that this is a GUIDED tour... that as long as I'm close to the guide, everything's cool.

It's only when I try to cut my own path into the jungle that I get gobbled up by tigers or something.

I'm SO done being tiger food. So, I'm trying to stay close. And slowly, my strength is returning. My step becomes firm. And the adventure begins.

January 14, 2008

A Résumé Life.

After so many of you sent death threats kindly told me your opinions of wearing cream dresses to weddings, I went with the pink & black number.

(For the record: I really do believe that you can wear cream dresses to weddings, if you do it tastefully. Also, a sidenote- people could have showed up to my wedding wearing cutoffs and safety orange sweatshirts and I WOULD NOT HAVE EVEN NOTICED. Heh.)

Obviously, you need to be sensitive to the specific couple and their desires- it is their day and that demands respect (even if the respect is based on some 1,000 year old rule that is dusty and needs revamping) but don't worry... I am not disrespectful. It's just that I know my friends well enough to know that they would not have been offended by what I WORE, they would just be happy that we were there to celebrate their love with them.

And, oh, what a celebration it was! They had a beautiful wedding, and a super fun dance-filled reception where Chris and I danced like crazies until we couldn't even lift our arms over our heads anymore. We had so much fun seeing our friends begin their new life together, we didn't ever want the night to end. After the reception, we went and grabbed a drink with some friends at a nice bar down the street and had great conversations and laughed a lot.

It was perfect.

I felt like a million bucks in my cute little dress, and I got more compliments on it than I have ever gotten on anything I've ever worn before. It felt so good to get dressed up and boogie the night away... just what I needed to lift my spirits, really. So, thank you thank you all for helping me decide what to wear- it was the perfect choice! I wore it with black tights and flats and a little black cardigan.

Okay, shifting gears.

Here's my embarrassing Starbucks story, in a nutshell: I went to get an application and ordered a drink at the same time and picked out a mug I really wanted to buy as well. We had 4 Starbucks cards from the Holidays, but when I went to pay for my stuff, I couldn't find any of my cards. Also, my CREDIT CARD was missing. I had no way to pay. **wanted. to. DIE.** They kindly gave me my drink on the house, and said they would hold the mug for me and I could just get it when I dropped the application back off.

this mug was SO worth it.

Later, I found my cards buried in an obscure part of my wallet, and figured out that Chris had my card and had left it on the dresser at home. I was pretty much mortified.

Ah, well. Life goes on, yes? I'm learning to live outside the confining box of what people think of me... So, I wear what I wear and I shake off embarrassment and I confidently fill out applications and print out resumes. Resumes that may not be impressive to some, but that sum up a life I am proud of and love deeply- a life I would not change for the world.

Oh! And get this: When I first started filling out my application, I wrote that I didn't graduate college. But then, while looking through old paperwork and trying to piece together my distant past, I found that I actually DID graduate. With an Associates of Arts degree. And? I graduated with Honors and High Honors. And I was on the Dean's List every year.

I had NO idea I was a college graduate. Makes you think they must be passing out those Honors Degrees like candy, eh?

January 10, 2008

Post PreSchool Post. (Heh.)

I had the most bestest day ever! It was due, in part, to this:

That's right, folks... school was a success! He can't wait to go back, and I am THRILLED. I had a great day to myself- I picked up some applications (incredibly embarrassing Starbucks story to follow soon...) and went shopping with my gift card at Charlotte Russe. I also picked up a couple of dresses at the Goodwill for a wedding (Go Dustin and Becca YAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!) we are going to on Saturday evening, and this is where YOU come in. Which dress do you like? I CAN'T DECIDE which one to wear.

Option #1, costing a whopping $3.99:

Option #2, on sale for $1.00:

Thank you guys so much for your encouraging words yesterday... I feel really inspired to look into some writing work somehow, some way. I am so lucky to have you guys to cheer me on towards the things I dearly love.

Also, I wanted to answer the question about preschool costs in the comments of my last post. Ezra is going to a little Baptist church around the corner, and they charge $110 a month. (Total: $990 a year.) Ezra goes to class twice a week, for 5 hours. I thought this was a great deal!

I looked into a Montessori school by us, but they charged $440 a semester, plus a $129 fee A WEEK. Doesn't that sound crazy expensive??! That was probably for full time, though.

Lastly, I looked at the private school right by my house, and for Pre-K they charge $2,600.00 a year. Also a little pricey for us.

Hope that info helps-- I didn't do a whole lot of research or looking around... I just asked a friend for some help and went with my gut from there, so I'm probably not the MOST knowledgeable when it comes to this stuff. Anywho, good luck!

OK, I must go watch Little Einsteins with my son, and then I am going out for drinks with da girlz. Woot!

January 9, 2008

Preschool. (ish.)


Ezra starts SCHOOL tomorrow.


Technically, it's not a school, it's a "Mother's Day Out" program at a church down the street, but we've been telling him he's going to school and he seems to like the idea. So, we're running with it.

This all happened so quickly, and I owe all this progress to my husband who could see that look in my eye when we started talking about calling the preschools in my area (the look that said 'Pick up the phone and call a complete stranger? ARE YOU CRAZY?! I. would. rather. eat. fish. guts.') and so he nobly stepped in to help me. I got a couple of recommendations from a friend of mine and decided on the program that ran from 9-2:00pm two days a week rather than the much shorter program at the other place. EVERY HOUR COUNTS HERE, PEOPLE. EVERY MOMENT, EVEN!

We were able to get him in right away because there was an opening in his age group- otherwise we would have had to register him in March and then wait until September for him to begin. He has been grouped together with the younger class, which is somewhat of a bummer, because the program director was telling us that the kids were learning things like shapes and colors and letters, which is so last year for Ezra. He's moved on to much more interesting concepts as of late- like how he has suddenly started counting all the way to ten IN SPANISH... a feat that I would be utterly proud of if he had not learned it entirely from a certain cartoon character who's name rhymes with IGNORA, as in, "My parents IGNORA me too much so I learn new languages from that there TV box."

We signed him up today, and he begins tomorrow, which means all I have to do in the next few hours is locate a toddler sized bed roll for his nap time there, and also a lunchbox and a backpack and (oh yeah!) some food that doesn't contain peanuts because it just so happens that there is a kid in his class who is incredibly allergic to THE ONLY FOOD THAT EZRA WILL EAT.

Almost every day, Ezra requests a Peanut Butter sandwich for lunch, and when I start making it, he runs over to the silverware drawer and locates a spoon. Then he comes back and tells me that he's decided he just wants the peanut butter straight up from the jar... apparently the bread does nothing but hamper his overall peanut butter consumption. He never gets his way, of course, but I often humor myself with wondering just how much peanut butter he would eat in one sitting if I turned him loose on a jar.

I think he would come back for seconds. I really do.

With my newly found free-time, I plan to go job hunting. Clothing stores, coffee shops, booksellers... someone has to have a spot for a desperate momma who is more interested in working hard a couple of nights a week than the pay she will be compensated with, right? I am going to try and work in the evenings of the days he's in 'school', and probably Saturdays as well. When Ezra is gone I will either go help Chris at his job site or spend time getting my vintage stuff back up and running. Or maybe I'll try to find ways to promote this blog and make it more profitable for me. Or maybe I will start doing some freelance writing. Or maybe... maybe.... maybe...

Ahhhhh... It feels SO GOOD to have some "maybe's" back in my life. I was beginning to feel completely maybe-less. I don't think I'll ever take another "maybe" for granted ever again.

January 7, 2008

I've Written a Book.

Before Ezra was born, my good friend Angel gave me a little gift basket full of all kinds of adorable baby gifts. There was a kit for making plaster imprints of the baby's feet and stuffed animals and things. There was also a 'Make Your Own Little Golden Book' kit that included markers, crayons, stickers, and a blank little Golden Book.

Best. Gift. Ever.

Not long after Ezra was born, I decided to fill that little blank book with the story of our little family.

Ezra was obviously too little to enjoy this book at the time that I made it, but just the other day Ezra re-discovered it on the shelf in his room and he asked me to read it to him. He LOVES it now, and we've read it countless times over the past few days. I ask him what book he wants to read and he says "The Enemy and Chris book."

I thought I'd share it with you.

(Click on the images to enlarge if you can't read the print.)