July 2012

Just Write {46}

July 30, 2012

We woke up a little later than usual on Sunday. This only happens when our early bird alarm clock that goes by the name of Miles actually sleeps past 5:45. Oh yes, an early bird he has always been. To roll over to peer one-eyed at the clock and find the first number is a 7 is a true gift. I made coffee and put my feet up, held the iPad and did pretty much nothing. Ryan shifted next to me, he’s always moving. Maybe boys never grow out of that. His newspaper was making those whispering and rustling sounds that only come from those good ol’ feather-light newsprint pages. Asher climbed up next to me and handed me “James and the Giant Peach”. He wanted to know what was going to happen next. Elsie took dominoes from their tin container, one by one, setting them scattered across the table and onto the […]


Dear BlogHer Attendees,

July 30, 2012

Have you been applying your wrinkle cream? Are your teeth white enough? What color polish did you choose while you had that mani-pedi? Or are you waiting until the day before to make sure it’s as fresh as possible? Have you been shopping and packing, packing and shopping? Did you get your hair freshly coiffed on just the right day so that it doesn’t look like you just had it done while it also looks totally fresh and healthy? No, I haven’t been watching you. But I have been applying my wrinkle cream and looking more closely at my teeth. I’ve been thinking of when to fit in a pedicure and wondering how many people will notice that I bite my nails. I didn’t go BlogHer shopping, but I’ve been standing in front of my closet wondering what fits and what doesn’t and then holding things up with other things, asking myself which […]


I thought it would be a good idea to sit down and tackle some things. Just for this moment, while Ryan takes the constantly (not exaggerating) crying and sick Elsie Jane for a walk to distract her. (Thank the good Lord he came home to rescue us.) (Yes, I had her ears checked. They’re fine. She just has a big nasty green slime producing cold. She’s really mad about it.) It wasn’t that good of an idea to sit down for the tackling of the things after all because they are growing around me, as I speak-type. Do you know that feeling like your eyes won’t ever stop reading over lists and lists and lists of things to do and so you just kind of freeze? That’s when a lot of bloggers blog. Just so you know. I realize it makes no sense but it does something in which all the growing of […]


The dresses really do make me swoon and I don’t really swoon over a lot of things. Except my kids and their eyes and hair and the way they smell. SWOONABLE sniffy goodness.  But I digress… Katie Hanson is the owner and creator of the handmade goodness that is The Crafty Chic. I’m lucky enough to live very near her, so I went to see her (and her gorgeous smile–seriously best smile ever) at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and ended up coming home with this dress for Elsie Jane: I bet you had no idea that fabric owls could scream, WE BELONG TO EJ! but they do! Oh how I love the fabrics that Katie chooses when she sits down to sew. Aside from the beautiful little dresses, Katie has Nook/Kindle cases, smart phone cases, headbands, skirts, camera strap covers and MORE:       and now Katie is doing us a solid […]


Just Write {45}

July 23, 2012

She toddle-followed me to the door, getting nervous. She always wants to go with me, through any door. She wants outside and me. She loves both a whole lot. Elsie Jane, my little but fierce follower. I was dropping her at daycare for the first time. She and her brothers will be there two days a week while I work. Write. Work. Write. Mother. Yes, I bit back tears when I drove away and no, they weren’t guilty tears. They were mother tears stripped of guilt because I’m learning it’s not so much about what I’m doing but what I’m thinking about what I’m doing. I could so easily ask myself if it’s wrong for my kids to be away from me when I’m not actually punching any type of clock, but I’m not. I’m a late bloomer, always so slow to grow up, fighting it. So I easily question myself, assuming I […]


We only got into one fight on our road trip. What? You didn’t know that we fight? Of course we do. We’re two human married people with three small children, a dog, three chickens and a work-in-progress house and jobs and a minivan that isn’t a Chrysler Town and Country. Heh. Anyway. We do fight, but we also almost always figure out how to work through whatever it is I’m mad about we’re arguing over. Ryan loves vehicles almost as much as he loves the good old fashioned actual paper newspaper, and that’s a lot. When Chrysler contacted me to offer a Town and Country to drive for a week, I forwarded the email to my dear husband and within about ten seconds he emailed me back. It was a long heart-felt love letter to me and minivans that went like this: SAY YES! The first day we got the minivan, I couldn’t […]


not flat, but round…

July 21, 2012

This morning the chickens jumped out the coop and I peeked in their first ever eggs peeked back. I nearly squeeled. I took them in the house and left Ryan a note “from the chickens” For: Ryan… We made you something. From: Haymitch, The Road Runner and Boss Hog. Sorry about the chicken scratch. On Instagram, with this picture, I said “Thanks for the eggs, Haymitch.” Someone asked if the name comes from The Hunger Games and I tried, not so eloquently, to explain. (If you don’t know much about The Hunger Games, Haymitch is a soft-hearted, hardened and drunk human being.) “Yes, actually. I understand Haymitch a little too well. So there’s some meaning for me. Chickens make me feel peaceful and that name reminds me of how much I need that dose of grace. Which sounds weird if chickens aren’t your thing.“ Yesterday a friend told me that Brennan Manning died. (Edited […]


{This is sponsored content by outmywindow and BlogHer.} This is a story about how I left Elsie for the first time and was Phoebe instead of Heather, for a moment. If one can randomly fly to California that’s exactly what I did. I wrote snippits of the journey for Just Write this week and I don’t really know why but it’s one of my favorite posts ever. Maybe because snippets of life is where it’s at, you know? It was a whirlwind trip, just an arrival in the afternoon, an overnight, a full day at Warner Brothers studios and back home again that same day. Or night, really, since I pulled in the driveway at about 3a.m. This was my first time away from Elsie and even though it was super short, I missed her and her brothers super much. But I had a great time and it was so good for both […]


Nope, I was not driving while photo-ing. But I am giving everyone suckers every time we go somewhere far, even Elsie Jane no matter if her thighs and toes get all sticky or not. Aaah, the quiet! ::::: You won’t believe it. We started off on our road trip yesterday, right? And we were prepared for a rough time, since EJ pretty much hates road trips. But then, this beautiful thing happened in which… it went really well. Maybe I’m a pessimist about such things, but I was utterly shocked and so was Ryan. Is it naive of me to give a whole lot of the credit to the Chrysler Town and Country we’re using? Does it sound like I’m just saying that because I’ve been given the use of this vehicle for one week for the sake of review? Well. I’m not. I sincerely love this vehicle, and my dear husband, who […]


Just Write {44}

July 17, 2012

{snapshots from last week’s solo trip} driving alone is a simple pleasure for a mother. There’s no mommy mommy mommy! or fighting from the backseat. No angry babies with screams. just you and the road and the radio. I was nervous, leaving Elsie and the knots in my stomach tried to take over what I could see around me but I took those deep breaths and then I saw it, the way the trees and their shades of green made matte and glossy and it felt like I could touch them through the glass. Deer were out during the day, a mama and her fawn standing in the farmer’s field looking on. No deer in headlights, just that look they get like they must be curious but you can’t tell because it’s as if they’ve had botox for animals or something. They were far enough away to not scare me and so it […]


My Facebook status, “It’s not that I’m more thankful than other people for my kids, it’s just that Asher has had this journey with hydrocephalus & we watch him so closely and every birthday that he has pretty much has me weeping with gratitude for his life. The Ash Man, The Noggin, the totally hilarious Asher Michael is FIVE today.” Yesterday he would touch his forehead and say ouch ouch ouch. A little pocket of panic always rises up from my gut to my chest when he does something like that. It’s probably the heat, the way humidity and barometric pressure play games with someone with head pressure issues like hydrocephalus. But I always watch closely for anything more and then I hope hope hope that it isn’t a shunt malfunction. He’s okay. He’s five years old today and he’s okay. He’s more than okay. He’s Asher. “Mommy, look! I put on your […]


I mean, if you live somewhere near Lexington, Kentucky. Do you? We’d love to see you if you do! If you don’t, we’d love to come and see you as well, but this time, we’re headed to Kentucky, ya’ll! On August 10th and 11th, Ellie and I will be attending the St.Agnes House fundraising event(s) in Lexington, Kentucky. We are so honored to have been asked to be keynote speakers for this event that supports a cause close to both of our hearts. St.Agnes house is a place for patients and/or their families to stay while in Lexington for cancer treatment or any kind of long-term care (NICU, transplant patients, etc.). Many of these people have to come from far and wide to get the care they need and St. Agnes does the job of extending not only hospitality but grace and love. St. Agnes is a community, drawing people with similar stories […]


Every year Maggie and I are humbled by the outpouring of volunteers willing to spend some time as hosts in The Serenity Suite. This year is no exception. So with no further ado, I give you the 2012 Serenity Suite hosts! (Oh wait, here’s more ado–imagine a line of beauties entering stage right while waving above their heads and grinning.) (Anissa’s wheelchair,which is the new black, is being pushed by Smacksy, who is wearing Bob on her shoulder (that’s the new trend in bigboywearing). He is waving for both of them. Anissa is not waving. It appears she is flipping off the crowd for singing You’re The Inspiration.) Can’t you just picture it all… Kim Tracy Prince (@kimtracyprince) Suniverse (@thesuniverse) Alexandra (@GDRPempress) Maggie Dammit (@maggiedammit) Emily Elling (@designhermomma) Anissa Mayhew (@AnissaMayhew) Kristin Kaufmann Wilkinson (@kristinnw) Jennifer Williams (@mommadeitlookez) Jennifer Denning (@redheadedjen) Annette Kiesow (@annettek) Andrea Bates (@goodgirlgonered) Alexandra Rosas (@gdrpempress) Varda Steinhardt (@squashedmom) Greis […]


One of my best friends and her husband had kids a few years before we did. I’ve had the honor of witnessing her bring up her children in a way that…well, it floors me. She’s a really really good mom. She’s that person I call when I just don’t know how to handle something. I ask her what she did, or what she would do if this or that was her child. I often joke that I’ve decided I’m just always going to do whatever she does, because that’s how much I respect her wisdom and grace in motherhood. Her name is Katie and whenever she talks about raising her kids, I pay very close attention. When Miles and Asher were babies, I was over at this Katie’s house and noticed six little tin buckets sitting along a shelf. Each one had a different word painted on it: Save, Spend, Give. And then […]


Just Write {43}

July 10, 2012

The lake is my happy place. My home. I love the way the water catches the light and the way the spray feels coming up over the sides of the boat. I love the faint fish smell mixed with sunscreen and fresh air. On the 4th of July, I loved sitting in a tube with Ryan, bouncing and laughing like little girls. (Yes, my husband, he does go right ahead and laugh like a little girl. It’s actually more inspiring than it is disturbing, surprisingly.) We bounced and let the sun reflect off our white legs and our boys watched from the boat, timid. Then we swam and Miles’ face lit up when I dumped myself over the back of the tube in a backwards somersault. Lakes make you feel more alive and it’s been so hot that the water was warm, I swear. It kept us from feeling the 100 degrees. That’s […]


2 truths and a lie

July 5, 2012

I love that game. I mean, you get to share two unique things about yourself and also make something up just for fun while coming clean within minutes. Then you get to hear interesting facts and silly made-up things about your friends and family while trying to guess which one isn’t real. It makes people rightfully angry and sad when bloggers play this game (or something more like 3 Lies And No Truths) without letting anyone else know the game is on. We feel duped, stunned, confused and pissed off when the truth inevitably comes out. Of course we do. Drama void of truth and bearing no common sense brings on strong feelings. Online, people have famously hidden behind screens and typed themselves into characters living something Other–the faked death of a baby that never was, too many pretend cancer stories to count and a million other Lies big and small, from letters […]


Just Write {42}

July 2, 2012

I’ve been writing nearly all afternoon. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since that was the case. Simple uninterrupted time is a beautiful thing. And now I can’t wait for Ryan and the kids to walk back in that door. Asher will be sure to say something funny and Miles will lean into my side to hug me. Elsie will say Ma.Ma.Ma…over and over and over and come at my legs like hers have springs. Right now though, I love this time to just write. Before this afternoon it had been a couple of days since my fingertips had found their way or the time for a keyboard. When I sat down to log in and felt the familiar smooth indent of the keys and heard the clickety clack, I said, right out loud, OH I missed you! We had a combined birthday party for Miles and Asher this weekend and […]


I’ll admit it, I don’t normally reach for self-help/motivational/psychology/self-improvement books. That’s basically because if I’m going to have time to read, I’m going to read something purely for entertainment or inspiration. (I mean, I realize self-help, etc. books can be inspiring, too, but in all honesty, the kinds of books I’m describing leave me a bit ambivalent and maybe totally skeptical. I think, Yah yeah yeeeaaah, follow these steps and do this this and this and then wham-o! you’re happy and free and even rich!  UNTIL YOU’RE NOT.) So. When my friends at The Blog Frog asked if wanted to read The Charge, I hesitated. But, because I’m so self-improved and open-minded, I took a look at the description of the book anyway and became surprisingly curious. I saw the potential for The Charge to elaborate on something I’ve already been doing a lot of thinking about; what makes us feel more fully […]

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