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New Digs!

Hey! Jen made me a shiny, purdy new blog – you should go check it out!

My new link is:  http://emilyshollow.com, so, you know, if you need to update links, that’s that.

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Back!

Well.

That was an adventure.

We are finally back home in VT, where it is warmer than about 80% of the country (OK, probably not 80%, but I’m not listening to your math-y talk). I’m sure it’ll go back to normal in March, when I’ll still be bitching about blizzards while everyone else is posting those “legs by the poolside” selfies.

Anyway, I’m still a bit fried. We got in late Saturday, after several cancellations and a near stranding in Detroit, and I started this semester’s classes with an 8AM this morning. All things considered, it went well. For a Monday.

Christmas was fun, my brother’s wedding was wonderful, John and I are newborn level exhausted because Luna decided that the vacation was a good time to teeth and regress and be a general (but adorable) pain in the backside non sleeping baby.

But I’m glad to be home, and I’m glad that Downton is back on, and I’m glad that our heater decided NOT to be broken, after all (that was a fun little surprise to come home to).

I hope you all had a nice Christmas/Festivus. I’m pretty excited about starting 2014. I think it’ll be a good one.

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Hope

(I attended a few writing workshops this week that had built in writing time with prompts. This came out of one of the prompts and I decided to use it as a post).

 

Hope is tulips planted in the dead of winter

Is the heater programmed for 7 AM instead of 8

Light streaming through frosted windows

A quilt and a steaming mug and a date night with the DVR

 

Hope is remembering and

Hope is forgetting

 

The sunrise

 

Hope is the blue sky underneath the black storm clouds

The rainbow over the freeway

 

It’s the end of a day with too many tears, too much yelling

And the start of a day with no history

 

Hope is a promise and a smile and the blossoms that emerge from the snow

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A Day in the Life

On her Disney Baby Blog, Jansen did a photo an hour of a “typical” day home with her kids. I thought this was a fun idea, so I decide to attempt the same. Now, the caveat being, John and I are both college teachers, so our hours vary day to day and there is no real “typical.” I chose a Thursday, because it was easiest for me; neither John nor I have classes on Thursdays, so I was able to keep up…for the most part. It falls apart at the end.

6:15AM – Luna wakes up for the day. It’s been a whole 3 hours since her last night waking (haa womp womb), so I’m dragging a bit. But she’s rather smiley and adorable, so I rally with a cup of coffee. We play on the living room floor until everyone else is up.

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7:15AM – Xander is awake. He watches a TiVo’d episode of WordWorld while eating his Kashi Cereal Bar for breakfast…the same breakfast he’s had for at least a year.

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8:15AM – I take Xander to preschool while John stays home with the baby. In a stark contrast to last year, Xander runs in the door without a single backwards glance at me. On the way home, I stop at a restaurant/bakery for some coffee and a treat to bring home and share with John.

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9:15AM – While the baby naps, John and I enjoy our second breakfast in SILENCE. Afterwards, I tackle the many (many) piles of laundry and finish off the kitchen, which John started while I was out.

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10:15AM – Luna is still sleeping. I fold diapers and catch up on Nashville.

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11:15AM – I nurse Luna after she wakes up from her nap, then it’s time to get Xander from preschool. We make a quick stop at the store on the way home, and he charms the checkout workers with his chatter.  John stays home with the baby again (sometimes he does the drop off/pick up while I stay home, but he hasn’t had much Luna time, so he wanted to hang with her some).

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12:15PM – Lunch time! PBJs all around (well, Luna has some puffs), and then Xander goes into quiet time while Luna has some more play time on the floor.

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1:30PM – Luna goes down for a nap and Xander comes out of quiet time and gets a snack (yogurt pretzels). John plays with Xander downstairs while I attempt to finish off folding the laundry.

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2:30PM – I join the boys in the basement for a dance party to Wheels on theBus.

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3:30 PM – I work on my blog post for the day and do some reading for a writing workshop I’m going to that night. Luna wakes up the second I get productive, so I go up to nurse her.

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4:30PM – Because I’m leaving for the evening, I start working on dinner early and try to fit in a few extra nursing sessions to tank the baby up. She’s more interested in playing with the Nose Frieda than eating.

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4:45PM – Everything goes to hell in a hand basket until 5:30 when I head out the door and crank up the Christmas music in the car to drown out the echoes of Xander’s tantrum over dinner.

9:30PM – I’m home from the writing class, and John and I watch some Covert Affairs before I collapse into bed.

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To Do

Thanks for the suggestions about dealing with hyper kids in the evening hours; if nothing else, it helps to not feel like the only one who isn’t doing peaceful crafts while dinner simmers until my spouse comes home.

Today’s list topic is: List Your Life “To Do” List

  • Write something that’s publish-worthy. Note that I’m not saying I’ll get it published, that’s not really the end goal. But I do want to get back into some more ACTUAL writing. I naively never considered how hard it would be to keep up any sort of regular writing/creative work while (mostly) staying home with the kids. And it’s not that that’s a BAD thing, but I don’t want to just give up, either.
  • Take a vacation outside of the country…well, actually, I sort of did this. John and I went to Cancun, but I mean more immersive, I suppose. Cancun was wonderful and I loved it, but it was a tourist destination, no doubt. I’d like to do Europe or New Zealand or Thailand or…something, and really experience the place I’m visiting.
  • Run another race. Maybe not another half marathon, perhaps “just” a 10K, but something. I liked being part of something big like that. It was fun and motivating and it felt like I’d really accomplished something.
  • Go to NYC
  • Also Washington, DC
  • (I know! Can you believe I’ve never been to either of those places?!)
  • Take the kids on a Disney trip
  • Participate in some sort of …. I don’t know, “charity” event or trip. I’m not really sure what I mean by this, only that I think it’s important to make sure to leave some sort of positive mark. Doing something outside of my comfort zone to help the environment, the poor, the sick…Any or all or something else.
  • Sleep for more than 3 consecutive hours (DREAM BIG, LADY)

I’m sure I’ll think of a dozen more after hitting “publish.” What’s on YOUR list?

 

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Songs List

Yeah, another list.

(So, the thing is, John comes back tomorrow. That’s Monday-Thursday of solo parenting, which is NOTHING, I know. I do. I know that I am beyond spoiled. But it is what it is. I’m not a military wife; he’s not a traveling sales man.  Both of us being teachers means we’ll never be raking in the dough, but we do get oodles of time together.)

Anyway, so . The list.

List Your Favorite Songs

  • Brand New Day by Joshua Radin. This song will always remind me of the end of my pregnancy with Xander. I would take the dog for a long walk around our neighborhood, and as we went up the final (steep) hill, I’d play this song. “For the first time, in such a long, long time, I know I’ll be OK.”
  • Labor of Love by Sweet Talk Radio. This was one of those songs that, for a long time, I thought said something other than what they said, but even now that I know the real lyrics, I still love the song.
  • Come Talk To Me by Peter Gabriel. I mean, it’s Peter Gabriel. I feel that this is explanation enough.
  • Gratitude by Nicole Nordeman. It may seem somewhat odd that I have a Christian song on here, but I lived almost soley on Christian music for most of my life, so I think it makes sense. This song is really pretty, and I also like the concept that prayer isn’t about getting something, but just being changed by the process of asking.
  • Takes a Little Time by Amy Grant. Another Christian one, yes. In the year that I was crazy, when I was still at school but attending a treatment program, my mom came up from Alabama and stayed at a nearby hotel. She drove me there and back, and to lunch, every day, and we listed to this album in the car nonstop. It seemed an apt theme for that time in my life. “It takes a little more than you’ve got right now, give it time.”
  • The Treblemakers Final on the Pitch Perfect Soundtrack. What? It’s catchy.
  • Hallelujah by Damien Rice. I’m a walking cliché.
  • Looking at the Sun by Gramercy Arms. So peppy!
  • Song for You Far Away by James Taylor. I’d listen to this when I was homesick for my family.
  • If I had $1,00,00 by the Barenaked Ladies. Unoriginal. But fantastic.
  • Last Friday Night, the Glee Version. Ok, only because I find it insanely hilarious when Xander sings it and does the “DAMN!” complete with a headshake.

There are so many others that I can’t include them all, so I’m arbitrarily deciding to cut the list off here.

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Birthday Cookies

I almost gave up today, on Day 2 of A Post A Day Month.  But I didn’t. I feel that I deserve some sort of reward. I also feel that feeling I am entitled to a reward for rambling about myself says quite a bit about me as a person.

Anyway. Today is John’s birthday! As to be expected with very small children, it was more chaos than relaxation, more frantic than celebratory, but still nice. We met up with some friends for lunch at a local pizza (oh, I’m sorry, Wood Fired Flatbread) place. I managed to procure a recipe from a restaurant that we used to frequent in San Diego and made it for dinner (I forgot to put salt in it, though, which, while healthier, did not make it taste any better).

And even though it felt wrong to do so, John requested birthday cookies in place of cake. I feel that I was robbed an excuse to make and eat chocolate cake, but, Birthday Boy and all that.

The cookies turned out quite well. Shortbread cookies with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

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For a gift, I got him the Hue lighting system, thingy. It’ll also end up being part of his Christmas gift, too, since it’s somewhat pricey.

Three unrelated items:

  1. If you haven’t gotten the Hyperbole and a Half book, do so. It’s so funny you’ll wet yourself. In a good way.
  2. I had this great plan for DST and how it would work and not be that bad and then, OF COURSE, Luna refused to nap at all this afternoon and Xander is coming down with another cold, so come dinnertime everyone was cranky and tired and not at ALL in the mood to try and push bedtime back to make the morning more bearable and, oh, well. Best laid plans and all that.
  3. John is going to Chicago next week for a conference and I’m just not sure about solo parenting with two kids. Someone do it for me, OK?

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Jobs List

There is no guarantee that this plan won’t fizzle out by Sunday night and I’ll go back to posting once every 6-8 weeks, or so, but since it’s NaMoBloPo (or whatever, look, that’s what it sounds like but I’m feeling too lazy to open a new tab and confirm, it’s that thing where you blog every day for a month and this is that month) I’m going to start with good intentions.

But those intentions also include the disclaimer that I consider lists and single photos to be acceptable blog entries for the entire month. And beyond.

Speaking of lists, I got this great book of list prompts in one of my CDP’s a while back, and I may every well use this book as my idea source. The list I picked tonight is: List Your Past Jobs

  1. My first non-babysitting job was in Colorado at Discover Zone, which is basically like Chuck E Cheese without the liscensed characters. It had a ball pit, and tunnels to climb on, and pizza parties and all that stuff. I started there my…junior year, I think? And I didn’t drive, so I had to be dropped off and picked up by my family or my friend Jenni (who really should be sainted for putting up with me for so long). I mostly did weekends, obviously, and a lot of birthday parties. I was good at them.  For a while I was working these crazy long shifts on Saturdays until the manager realized that he was violating child labor laws and made me clock out, but that basically meant that I had to sit outside for a few hours until my ride came.
  2. In college I worked at the on campus cafe, The Stoop, slicing bagels and scooping ice-cream and “making” soup by putting it in the big warmers in the back and remembering to stir it so the bottom didn’t burn.  I spent a good amount of time giving the stink eye to the junior high kids who came through and stole the tips out of the tip cup. I mean, I worked HARD for that extra $0.78.
  3. I also worked as the copy editor for the yearbook my….junior year. We didn’t really have a lot of staff writers, though, so I ended up writing and editing most of the copy. I got pretty snarky towards the end.
  4. During the summers of college I worked at…Space Camp! Yeah. I know. Oh, wait, before Space Camp I was a lifeguard and swim teacher at a day camp. I was the most tan I’ve ever been, and that was still pretty damn white. Anyway, Space Camp! It was my go-to job for summer breaks and Christmas break and, really, any time I was not on campus. I also worked there once I graduated for…well, way longer than I should have worked at a temporary college job with no full-time status and/or benefits. I was a camp counselor and it really was quite fun. What’s the most fun, looking back, is how DRAMATIC we all were. Ha! So young.  The best part is that I got to meet Apollo Astronaut Dave Scott.
  5. My senior year of college, first semester, I went to LA to study film and interned for a studio on the Warner Brother’s lot. This was a fantastic time. It wasn’t really a “job,” since I didn’t get paid, but I did have to show up and do stuff (namely: read scripts and write a report that explained why it sucked).  I met some celebrities (Brad Pitt), went to some openings, and had a wonderful time.
  6. After I graduated, I got a job (thanks to that internship) with Touched by an Angel. It was their final season, so the job didn’t last long, but, again, it was fun. I was the executive producer’s assistant, but since the shooting was primarily in Utah, it wasn’t as stressful as a lot of people might think. I handled schedules, took calls, babysat agents and stuff like that, and also a few other things like arrange the Christmas gifts and travel, etc…(This is the time frame I went to the Emmy’s and Tom Hanks touched me.)  When this job was done I went back to Space Camp.
  7. After a few years of staying at Camp and realizing that I was not going anywhere, fast, I packed up my Saturn and hauled ass to California. I got a job at a university as an assistant, but by the time I ended I was also a producer for training/educational videos. This was my first “grown up” job, and I really liked it. It gave me a lot of good experience, I got my MFA for free (mostly), and I met John.
  8. I was jobless for a while (I quit to finish my MFA, then had a hard time finding work again, then got married, then had a baby…and you get the picture). When we moved to VT 2+ years ago, I got my first online teaching job, and have been doing that off and on since. It’s a great way to get some teaching experience, but it’s not a great career. Adjuncts get paid for crap. BUT, I have to say, I do like being able to teach, using my degree, and also stay home with the kids.  I now also teach (adjunct) for a local college – one class now, two classes next semester, and who knows from there.  I like it because it’s flexible, it’s using my brain, but it’s not full-time, which I’m not quite ready for.  When Luna is older and I do want to work FT, I hope I’ll have enough experience in the classroom to get a full time teaching job. (Although, sometimes I wonder if this is REALLY what I want, because I still do want to write, I just haven’t written and don’t see it happening any time soon so…well, me and 90% of us, right?)

Anyway, Day One: DONE. I win at blogging.

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Ornament Exchange!

I floated the idea on Twitter of doing a virtual Ornament Exchange for the Holidays, and it seemed to be a popular idea, so I’m going to go for it! I’m making this up as I go along, sort of based on the CDP concept. So! If you want to participate, shoot me an email (I think it will be easier for me to track emails than comments/tweets) at emily.boost at gmail.  Please put a relevant subject line so I can sort them, too. (Am I being too demanding? I’m sorry!)

Things to include:

  • Twitter name, Real name, and mailing address (obviously only for use in this particular event)
  • Particular likes/dislikes (ie: nothing religious, the sight of Reindeer give you nightmares, you love Snoopy)
  • A theme, if you have one
  • If you don’t celebrate Christmas or get a tree, but still want to participate, what are some seasonal decorations you tend to use
  • Anything else you think is relevant

As for the time frame, register by Thanksgiving, and I’ll send you an email with your person’s information sometime after that. Because it’s my birthday,  ornaments should be mailed by December 12. Let’s also say that they should be somewhat “unique,” like, maybe something homemade, or made in your geographical area, or an Etsy seller you love, or whatever. But, then again, if you see something at Target that is just so awesome, that’s cool too (especially to me, since we have no Target in the state).

Tell your friends! This will be fun!

 

PS – when you main your ornament be sure to include your Twitter handle (if applicable)

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Segue

Well! *clap clap*

Let’s move on, shall we? It’s always weird to write something somewhat….dramatic, and then let it linger. It’s not like things have been consistently that DIRE, it’s just…I don’t know. What else do I write about?

(That being said, thanks, all, for the comments and tweets and general love and support.)

I’m doing OK. Better, even. My parents just visited, briefly, but it was nice. My dad had not met Luna yet! Crazy, huh? It was casual and low key and just…nice. Also the sun has been out. That’s always good. And I had a good work evaluation.

So.

Let’s use some bullets, shall we?

  • I made the easiest recipe tonight. I’m talking, along the lines of that taquito post in terms of “why didn’t I think of this sooner?” Bacon, scrambled eggs, and cheese, rolled up in a wreath of crescent roll dough. Ta-DAH! It was awesome.
  • Glee. OMG. Glee. Did you watch the Farewell to Finn episode? It was so sad. I don’t know what the general buzz about it was, but I thought it was well done. I liked that they didn’t get into how the character died, but rather focused on the aftermath. I thought that was classy. (Though the parent/adult in me also appreciated that they did, at least, address the drug issue afterwards.)
  • I bought and read the Elizabeth Smart book in the span of…less than 24 hours, I’d say. It was really amazing.  I loved that she didn’t sugar coat her experiences, but she didn’t … I don’t know. It wasn’t yucky and graphic and wallow-y, which makes me sound like an asshole, because really, if ANYONE deserves to wallow…but do you get what I mean? I hope you do. It felt sincere and honest, not like a Pollyanna version of abduction and torture.
  • Last week(ish), Xander was telling John and I some complex story before bedtime when he started screaming “what is it? what is it?” He’s three, so I thought that he was scratching at a rogue tag or hair itching his face. But no. It was a big ass SPIDER. On his FACE. HIS. FACE. It bit him on his throat. I hate spiders. And maybe all of nature.  (Uh, he was OK. I had nightmares. Seriously. Woke up sweating nightmares.)
  • I have been thinking about my Internet friends, lately, and how it’s pretty awesome that there is this community, right there, at my fingertips, in my pocket, whenever I need it. And, obviously, it’s more than that. I love that I have been challenged and changed by people I haven’t actually MET (some of you I have, some of you not), but are still my friends. Like, a few years ago, it would have been easy for me to make some  comment about this or that (politics, parenting, whatever) without thinking about it too much because most of my friends had/have similar thoughts. It was easy to distinguish between myself and “other” people. But now? Not so much, and I LOVE it. I love that I will now almost always (hopefully) stop and think, “hey, I know someone who thinks differently than I do about X issue and I still like her and think that she’s smart/valuable/etc…” and maybe rephrase it, or even not say it. I like that I’m not done growing as a person, and that my “virtual” relationships are such a big part of that.
  • Luna is going to be a kitty cat for Halloween. Xander is on the fence about wearing a costume, but decidedly wants candy, so I think we’ll work something out.

That’s all I got. Happy Wednesday.

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