Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday's Friday Four

All of our highlights are going to follow a theme, seeing as though all we had time for this week was moving back into our house and packing for NY. So here goes:

Matt: Having a bunch of guys come help him with all the finishing touches around the house. It was nice to know that there were friends and family that were willing to interrupt their own busy lives to help us. He knows how precious evenings are, so for people to come out and help on multiple nights meant a lot to him. 
MY Matt highlight on a much more shallow level- :) 
He dominated the phone lines to get us the only pendant lights that we agreed on, which might I add, were not even for sale. We've been looking for a matching chandelier and pendants for a while and haven't been able to agree on any. We finally got a chandelier but there weren't any matching pendants. Matt had to contact the corporate office, who sent him on a wild goose chase that eventually lead us to the beautiful pendants that will hang from our ceiling in 5-7 days. Thanks, babe!

Emma: Since I forgot to ask her, I'll have to guess that hers was all the time she got to spend with her wawa as her mommy was M.I.A. working on the house. She loves her wawa time.

Jax: Last week Jaxie found his lip, this week he found his toes. He loves grabbing on and rolling 'round.

Me: After almost eight months out of our house, we finally moved back in this week- obviously my highlight! I just like to sit on the floor in out great room and look around at how pretty it is. I mean, how many people get to live in their first house for a year, figure out everything that they would like to change and make all the changes at no cost. There are some benefits to toxic gases being emitted through your walls! Thanks Chinese drywall. We owe you, except not really. That would almost be akin to Stockholm syndrome. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday's Friday Four

I'm adding some of my own observations to Matt's today. Since I'm writing it, I can do stuff like that! 
Matt: Spending a lot of time with Emma this week. She was super excited when he came home from work every night, which isn't always the case. There's been times when she's just downright mean to him. Not this week though.
I've noticed how this sneaky thing called family keeps interrupting my husband's life, and he's been powerless to do anything about it. He really wants to get into shape (Though he already is in good shape, might I add.) but doesn't have a lot of time to do it. He works out during lunch so he can spend time with us at night but tries to go for a quick run as soon as he gets home from work. Twice this week his plans were thwarted, and I have to say one of my highlights has been how he's responded to the interruptions- because I'm not sure I would have had the same response. Tuesday night he came home and was about to go running but Emma looked at him and said, "Daddy, pwease don't go wunning. Don't you want to come hang out with me in the basement?" HA! He explained that he's be right back and then they could play. Then he changed his mind. He just couldn't resist his little girl's desire to spend time with him. Emma put on a baseball helmet (yeah I don't know) and they played ping-pong. So sweet. Then he skipped out on another night of running to come to the park with us. Emma loves going to the park with Daddy because she gets to do all the dangerous things that Mommy won't let her do. I almost had several heart attacks watching her climb things that she was way too little for, but Daddy was always there to catch her just in case.

Emma: She's had three parties since last Friday, so my girl's been in heaven playing with all her little peeps. Plus, it's been gorgeous in FL lately so all of said parties have been outside. Extra bonus.

Jax: Jax has found his lower lip and loves sucking on it nonstop. Smiling, laughing, crying- regardless of what he's doing it's the ultimate baby soother/entertainer. 

Kelly: Can we say stainless steel appliances upgraded at no cost??  I never thought I'd be so excited about appliances, but I can't stop talking about the great deal I got on a range in the beginning of the week and an even better deal on a beautiful french door fridge at the end of the week. Now if only I could learn how to cook!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Woe is She

My poor Em had her first taste of the real world today. We were at a play area where she usually knows most of the kids and runs around like a maniac. Today though, there were two other little girls there that she didn't know, so she just hung back with me while I fed Jax. After several minutes of watching her quietly watch the girls longingly, (seriously, she looked like a puppy waiting to be taken home from the pet store) I suggested that she go introduce herself. That was all the prompting it took for her to walk over. 

And then I watched her get shot down.

Crash. And. Burn.

One of the girls said, "No! We're playing," and proceeded to push her away.

She stood there for a moment looking like she was going to burst into tears, and then walked back to me.

Curses! She's only two! Isn't it a little early to deal with playground bullies?? I mean, I'm used to the not sharing or throwing fits about some perceived playground injustice (where she's often the culprit), but to see my kid being left out and knowing that she felt the sting of it just broke my heart. 

She sat quietly next to me and continued to watch the girls. Then her daddy came to see us, expecting to hear her jovial, "Daddy!" followed by a big hug, but instead he got an embarrassed look while she just sat. And then decided to try again. And was rejected again.

Dangit.

Aah well. Such is life. I guess two's old enough to learn to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and keep going. I think she'll survive to play another day. Hopefully, there was a lesson learned too. We talked about it on the way home, and I reminded her to remember what if felt like and that she needs to include everyone when she's playing. Except from what I remember about child development, she's not really in the empathy stage yet. Stink. Regardless of her ability to empathize, she is old enough to know right from wrong. I hope when she finds herself on the other side of the situation, she's able to make the right choice.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WYSIWYG

My sophomore year of college I was on a drama team with five other people that traveled around one summer in a van together, putting on programs at churches and camps. One afternoon we were all talking along the lines of how we wanted to just be real with the people we encountered. One friend turned to me and said, "You know, WYSIWYG." I stared back at her in utter confusion. Nope, didn't know anything about this wysiwyg. As she continued to look at me as if I was a complete moron, she tried to rally the troops in support, expecting everyone to be with her on this whole WYSIWYG train. Everyone else was staring just as blankly as I was. Finally, in complete exasperation she explained, "WYSIWYG...what you see is what you get."

Oooooh.

Well that made a whole lot more sense after the explanation, and I have since used the expression often, and expressed my own exasperation for any fool who does not know what I'm talking about.

Last night Matt and I were talking about one of our good friends who we both agreed that we really enjoy being around. As we tried to nail down why that was, we concluded it came down to he's a WYSIWYG. He's just completely comfortable in who he is, and so he makes other people comfortable too. He doesn't try to impress people, and if someone doesn't like him he's not going to sweat about it. He's a confident dork, which we determined to be a great combination.

This doesn't come naturally for most. I was reading a passage from James about how people were showing favoritism to the rich that visited their gatherings. James was a little confused because these same people that were being treated better than the poor were the same people that were swindling them and taking them to court for all their worth. Seriously? Why do we do stuff like that? It's like we start acting like morons when even the slightest possibility of getting pushed up the social or financial scale emerges. Our own pride starts rearing it's ugly head.

So glad we don't have to live like that. So glad we can teach our children that Jesus shows us a better way. We don't have to impress; we can just be WYSIWYGs. Through Jesus we are completely loved, completely accepted, and completely free.  So here's to the nerds, dorks, dweebs, and even the coolest of the cool kids, laying it all down at the cross, trusting Him to be the only thing good worth shining through us anyway.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Seeing vs. SEE-ING

A few weeks ago as I was getting into my car, a man came up to me and asked if I had seventy cents. As I don't carry cash with me, I truly didn't have any change to spare. He quickly turned away with my quick response and started walking away. He didn't expect me to give him any money. He had been brushed off many times before, I could tell as soon as the words came out of my mouth. In that split second I realized that I had completely looked at him without seeing him at all, as if he had no value. I quickly reconsidered and asked what he needed the money for, to which he replied that he just wanted something to eat. Since I had no kids with me and McDonald's was a five second drive, I looked him in the eye and told him I'd be happy to go get him something to eat. (Aside to my mother, so I don't get yelled at: I was safely in my car and he was a good distance away, as well as about 130 lbs. soaking wet. At no point was I in any danger. :)) He returned my smile with gratitude and waited in the parking lot as I got him his food. This was an easy situation that cost me nothing, apart from the $5 value meal, but made me think. What if I took that split second to reconsider the value of every person I talked to before responding to them? What if I really saw the people that I interacted with? What if I viewed them as the people of worth that they are, created in the image of God. What if I didn't roll my eyes (on the inside, of course) at the middle school boy acting obnoxious in Sunday school or the high school girl trying too hard to get noticed by boys. What if I just loved them right there in their present situation? What if I didn't cringe at the story of the crotchety old person that thinks the world's problems revolve around whether or not they sing a praise chorus written in 1973. What if I let the people around me not feel like they need to try on another persona in order to have my approval?

What if I let my own guard down and let people see me just the way God created me to be?

What if I loved because I was first loved?

What if we all did this? What could our homes, our churches, our communities look like?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday's Friday Four

Ok- so I'm a little behind...

Emma- My girl transitioned out of her crib at fourteen months when she started jumping out and consequently, falling on her face. The transition only consisted of moving her mattress to the floor, but at her grandparent's house she upgraded to a toddler bed. This week, she got another upgrade, so when we move back into our house next week it will be with Emma's twin size bed.  It's kind of a big deal.

Jax- Jaxie-boy has officially rolled over from belly to back and back to belly as of this week. He's still working on not getting his little arm stuck underneath him, but he usually manages. Good thing he has a big sister than is always ready to pull it out from under him when necessary.

Matt- Every time I get on Facebook I feel like someone has a new status update on how they just ran a marathon or half marathon or 5k or 10k or yada yada ya. I don't have the running bug, and I don't understand it. Matt, on the other hand, has drank the Kool-Aid. He loves running and wants to do it all the time. Since he really enjoys it, last Saturday I agreed to run a 5k with him and another couple. Matt was all chipper when the alarm went off at 6:30 in the morning and did not appreciate my lack of enthusiasm. He ended up running a personal best and we won in our category. Holla.

Me- It's no secret that I've been having trouble with Em lately. There were days this week where I felt like ALL I did was discipline and have an attitude from her thrown in my face. But, one night in particular I was reminded just how blessed I am. It was nothing big, but just a simple reminder of how being a mom is the best thing in the world. Matt's been putting Em to bed while I feed Jax, and then I go see her when I'm done. One particularly difficult day when I went to say goodnight she asked me to lay down. We talked for a while and when I started getting up to leave, she put her arm around my neck and whispered, "Don't leave." Now, this wasn't anything unusual, but at that moment it just melted my heart. No matter how frustrating raising a toddler can be, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm so glad that I'm the one who gets to spend day after day with her and teach her about life. I love my two sweet children so much.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloweekend

Em's a bit tall for her age, so when it came time to get her Halloween costume, it was a bit short. I looked everywhere for a size up but to no avail. She really wanted to be Jessie and I really didn't want to try to find everything that I would need to make it myself. That also meant that I had spent $17 on a costume that she wasn't going ever wear again. So, she wore it all weekend. Friday night she wore it to a high school football game, Saturday night she wore it to a party, and Sunday night she finally wore it trick-or-treating. For less than six dollars a day, I think I'm actually quite thrifty. Jax, on the other hand, got a super cute hand-me-down, but without the pressure of having to get my money's worth, he only wore the costume to take some pictures. Poor boy would have been a sweaty mess if he had to wear it any more than that.


Keeping up with the news and pop culture, Matt went to the party Saturday night as a Chilean miner while the I was a Real Housewife of Polk County.


Then for Em's final night wearing her costume, I had her go all out spraying her hair red like Jessie's. I probably should have thought that through more.  A sweaty two year old taking and putting on a hat all night was bound to end up a big red mess. Oh well. She's never really been a hair girl anyways.


We were the trick-or-treaters that everyone loves getting at their doorstep. You know, a pack of almost twenty people, with ravishing children, all sticking their baskets up yelling, "Me too! Me too!" with a chorus of parents yelling from the street, "Don't forget to say thank-you!" It's always fun to listen to conversations while being with so many kids.

A favorite from last night was when one little boy informed his friends that he'd heard that Halloween was the devil's holiday. He asked his buddies why this would be, and one shrugged his shoulders and answered, "Maybe all the candy?" The other boys seemed to think this was a logical conclusion.

Now to figure out what to do with all this candy laying around. Yuck. I had so much sugar this weekend, I'm to the point where it doesn't even taste good anymore. Yet, I continue to eat it for some reason.  I think it's time to detox. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Four

One of my friends started posting each member of her family's highlight of the week on Fridays. She calls it "Friday Five". I thought it was a great idea so I'm stealing it for my family of four. :)

Matt: Seeing you and the kids at random times during the day this week.  
(Ummm...I could also make this into a game of Fact or Fiction. Was that really the highlight of your week, babe??)
Anywho...
One afternoon I got a text from him telling me he was going running, and since we were nearby, I decided to see if I could find him. Sure enough we found him shirtless and sweaty in the parking lot where he runs. Just as I suspected. Even better, he treated me to a smoothie. Then as I was climbing the stairs at the gym yesterday I got a whack on the butt. Though I workout alongside some creepers sometimes, I doubted anyone would be willing to be that creepy- except for my husband! Sure enough, it was him.

Me: Going on a date with Matt last night.
Aaaahhh- I'm glad that after five years of marriage I still get excited to go out on dates with Matt. All we did was go to Home Goods and Lowe's, but anytime I get the chance to shop without kids is awesome. We could walk around leisurely, without alternating between looking at an item and making faces at a baby to keep him from crying, or telling a toddler that she shouldn't eat random pieces of candy off the ground. Oh- and we also got frozen yogurt, which would be a highlight of the week even if I was eating it by myself trapped in a glass bubble. Having Matt with me made it that much more enjoyable though.

Em: Jumping and playing in the Jeep at the beach.
This actually happened in a backyard instead of by the ocean but that's okay. I'm glad that she likes imaginative play. We went to an annual pumpkin painting party at a friend's house where she got to play with a bunch of other kids, jump on their trampoline, and cruise to the beach in a broken down Jeep toddler toy. I got to chat with other adults. Win/win.

Jax: Going to the doctor.
Okay, this is probably a stretch, seeing as though the poor boy had to get three shots, but let's roll with it. His sister got stickers, which made her happy, and a happy sister makes for a happy little brother. At least when the sister is prone to biting. We found out that he's measuring in the 43rd percentile for weight and the 39th for height. This is great because it means he'll be able to stay in all of his clothes for longer. No need to pack up the 3 month old clothes yet. My peanut will have plenty of tine to wear them out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Veggie Tales

There's something that will never be found on my blog. Ever. It's a staple for most mommy blogs but not mine. At least not without a miracle from God.

I will never post a recipe.

I love food.
Truly. Madly. Deeply.

But cooking.
Ew.
Hate it.

For as much as I love food, I should like to cook. I think about food. I make plans around food. I'll drive miles out of my way for food. Just don't ask me to cook.  I have two dishes that I make with relative success, but beyond that, I'm a hot mess. I manage to ruin every recipe I get my hands on. I used to think Matt just wasn't really a "dinner person" until we moved in with his parents. Turns out he likes dinner just fine as long as his mom's cooking. Though he'd never admit it, he makes his plans on whether or not to eat dinner based on who cooked.

A typical conversation of ours goes is as follows:
"Are you planning on eating dinner?"
Pause.
"Who's cooking?"
"I was going to make _______ (insert anything)."
"Hmm, I had a pretty big lunch. I'm not that hungry."

So the story goes.

I can't say that I blame him, but still, how's a girl supposed to improve if she never has the opportunity?

Here's the other problem though. I hate touching raw meat. I hate even looking at it. The smell, the texture, everything about it makes me sick. When it's cooked I'm as carnivorous as can be, but if I have to handle it myself I  can't get it out of my mind what it looked like before being cooked. I mean, the feel of a once living being's flesh between my fingers makes me want to vomit. When I'm chewing, all I can think about is how gross it is that I'm eating something that was alive. Weird, I know. What's weirder is the fact that I rarely have these thoughts if the meat was cooked by someone else. Give me a nice steak marsala from Carrabba's and I'm a happy girl. Have me season some chicken before Matt throws it on the grill and I'm done. Cooking almost makes me want to be a vegetarian. Not a real vegetarian- just a when-I'm-cooking-vegetarian. I've run the idea by Matt but he's not for it. He likes his meat, but since he doesn't like my cooking to begin with, what's the difference, right? Right. Maybe meat has been the problem all along though. What if there's a great vegetarian cook trapped inside of me, desperate to get out?

So, with that said, I need some good vegetarian recipes to ruin.
Can anyone help a sista out?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Life As Three Seconds From Insanity

Life as art? Hahaha- Monday's post mocks me here on Friday. This week it's more like life as surviving without poking my eyes out. Or life as three seconds away from losing my sanity. Or life when your child's your thorn in the flesh. Yep- it's been one of those weeks.

Em has always been prone to tantrums. She's had some doozies but had been doing really well for quite a while. She had a rough patch in the time period right before she could really talk and her method of communication became the freak-out. Then when Jax was first born she threw some hissy fits, which have continued off and on since June. The past month or two have been hard, but we've tried to be consistent with her when I know life is pretty inconsistent right now. When Matt's gone (like this week) the fits usually peak, but this week...oh- a total mountaintop experience. I mean, my girl peaked.

It started off at the gym when she decided to bite her bro. On the head. Poor sweet, unassuming Jax who smiles 90% of the day started wailing as I had just put him down to get a diaper out of my bag. I knew instantly that it had to have been the result of a bite, so when I saw his wet forehead with huge teeth marks in it I wasn't surprised. I handed my sobbing Jax over to the childcare worker, spanked my Em, and subsequently watched her fall into the tantrum to end all tantrums. She freaked. She screamed, she cried, she flailed. It was awful. And she did it the whole way out the door. So there I was with a baby in one arm, trying to pick up my psycho two-year old with the other arm. It's a darn good thing I've been working out. We got about halfway to the car (it's a looooong way to the car) when I put her down and just started walking. This was a great lesson for me to learn. Two-year olds don't realize that they won't really be left behind. Muhahaha. I used that trick more than once this week. Yeees.

Back to the biting though. Unfortunately, it's become a pattern. As in, she's bitten her little brother in the toes twice before the head incident and just last week bit her best buddy on the cheek. So, I did something that no parent ever wants to do. I bit my child. The whole idea of "this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you" was so true in this situation. It was an awful feeling. Very calmly, on the ride home, I told her what I was going to do and explained to her why. Then I tested it on my own arm to figure out the balance of not too hard, but hard enough to have an impact. I called a friend who had done the same thing and whose child never bit again. Then I swallowed down my own tears and went up to her room. I guess this is what they call tough love. I don't like it at all.

The week didn't improve either. She threw tantrums all week and I truly don't know what to do. She just did again this afternoon. I've tried everything. I stay calm even when I'm seething inside. So what in the world can I do? What's the one thing I haven't tried yet? There's gotta be something. Is it just me? Am I just a terrible parent? Oh my word. HEEEEEEELLLLLLLLPPPPPPP MMMMMMEEEEEEEEEE.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Life as Art

Emma's really into coloring these days. She's pretty good at it too, for a two-year old. I love watching her creativity develop. She'll draw circles all over the page and tell me that she made a giraffe. She likes her art abstract. My nine-year old niece called me yesterday for advice on a monologue she's going to use to audition for community theater. I hope she continues to seek out opportunities to be part of the telling of great stories.


All of life has some element of art to it. I love that God has placed this innate desire in our hearts to create, to make things beautiful, to tell rich stories. To be a part of something. God is the ultimate creative genius, but he lets us be a part of creation. He's been doing it from the beginning. Even after forming the world and proclaiming it good, he allowed Adam and Eve to continue with the work, to cultivate the space around them, using their own minds and hands to make it even better. What's even more amazing is that he knew we would sin and mess things up, and he still allowed us to be part of the creative process. What artist lets amatuers take his work and add their own touches? A generous and confident One that knows that He cannot be outdone. No matter how good or bad the other artists are, they ultimately just highlight the works of the Original. When I backpacked in Europe, I visited countless churches and cathedrals and saw great works of art, but nothing made by man compared to the Meditteranean coast or mountains of Austria. I was literally awestruck by the greatness of God while walking the mountains of Cinque Terra, where every turn produced an even more breathtaking view. And the God who created all of this invites us to be a part of the continual creative process.

Life is constant motion. We all have our own little space that he's given us to cultivate and keep. He's given me gifts and talents to use along the way, but my whole identity is secured in Him. I don't have to be anxious about not getting it right or failing. I don't have to operate in crisis mode, like I was in this post. Even when life seems mundane, whether it's cleaning the house or learning to raise my children, it's all the work of taking something as it is and cultivating it's potential. I just have to be faithful with the palette He's put before me and trust that He will make it into something beautiful.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Where It All Began...

Six years ago these kiddos were merely a twinkle in our eyes.


Six years ago, Matt pulled into the parking lot of the Cedarville gorge, took my hand, and asked, "Want to go on an adventure?"
Such a loaded question.

There are several gorges where we lived, but this particular one had significance to me from our college days. One of my first days as a freshman, I went on a class walk there, where I had my first, awkward conversations with people that would become my friends. I remember hiding from the police with random people after bridge-jumping at this gorge. Throughout my college years I would often go running there with my girlfriends, sometimes ending up just laughing together or swimming in the deeper parts of the creek. Matt and I would take walks there together, where I learned of our shared love of nature and that he could identify plants and knew the names of the each layer of the rock walls. There were times that I would escape to the gorge to have a good cry by myself or look for God when I had trouble seeing Him in the middle of my Christian college. I loved it there.

But back to the proposal...

We got out of the car and he dragged me lead me through the trail, tripping over roots and rocks, almost breaking our ankles. A flashlight probably would have been a good idea, but I suppose a pitch-black rocky trail was more our style. We got to a staircase that was lit with candles that lead to a rose-covered blanket with an open Bible and two bottles of Jones soda. He read I Corinthians 13 to me, said lots of nice things that I can no longer remember, and got down on his knee and asked me to marry him.

I'm so glad I said yes.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Homecoming

A couple weeks ago we headed back to Ohio for the first time since leaving two years ago. It was Matt's five year reunion and since I'm always up for a sixteen hour drive with two young children, on we went. Matt's mom was nice enough to make the trip with me, so we could take extra time and Matt wouldn't have to take off more time from work. We split the trip up, stopping at Joel and Terri's in Atlanta. We got to spend an entire day with Terri, doing what three women with two children do- shop, eat, and shop some more. Em and Jax are well trained for such excursions. The next morning we were on our merry way.

It's always funny stepping back on Cedarville's campus. Not much has changed; the Cedarville culture that existed while I was there is still in place. The students still look the same, dress the same, and use the same lingo. Case in point- while out to dinner at Chili's the night before with my sister-in-law and a couple of her friends, one girl was describing a possible crush-worthy boy and used the same inflection as I remember my own friends using while saying said boy was "quality." Yep. So many Cedarville boys in my day were described as qual-it-y during a quality conversation in the dorm while stuffing our faces with pretzels and nutella. Those were the days.

We got to catch up with lots of friends at the alumni soccer game where all the once soccer girlfriends were toting our now soccer babies and watching our almost thirty-year old husbands try not to injury themselves on the field. I also got to have lunch in Yellow Springs with two of my favorite people from college whose lives are so totally different from mine right now, but whom I'll always be able to connect with. I love relationships like that.

We were able to get a couple fall(ish) activities in on Friday with the kids. And by fallish activities I mean going to an apple orchard that wasn't producing any apples to pick. Boo. We got a few cute pics of the kids with some gourds though. It was the best we could do. We also took the kids to where it all began- the gorge where Matt asked me to marry him. Actually, today is six years to the day that he proposed. One of these days I'll blog about that.

Saturday afternoon was a washout. It rained all during the soccer game, which is not fun in the Ohio cold. Literally two minutes into the game Jax and I called it quits and sat in the car. Nursing in a cold rain is not on my bucket list. All plans of catching up with people that we had missed thus far were ruined. We also made the mistake of attending Matt's reunion. Unlike my involved-in-campus-life friends that I graduated with, we forgot that Matt's friends were all too cool for such events. Can't say we knew more than 3% of the 250 people that attended. Oh well.

At 4:30 the next morning Emma woke up coughing, which woke Jax up. With two kids and a mommy that couldn't go back to sleep we did the only logical thing- we hit the road. We were stopping in Atlanta again and since Matt hadn't seen Joel and Terri on the way up, we thought we'd get there in time to actually spend some time with them. A good choice on our part. Along with being able to hang out, we were able to have Pinkberry for the third time that week. Score.

I think we might attempt the trip again in May for Tim's graduation. Too bad we didn't go to school in a more exotic location. Or at least not in a cornfield. Note to self: when it comes time for my children to attend college, think Westmont.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sickest. Story. Ever.

If you're squeamish you should just stop reading. I swear, this will make you throw up. Mom, I guarantee you can't handle this post. You will throw up in your mouth. And if you don't throw up, you'll at least look at your little granddaughter differently, and I wouldn't want that. She really likes you. I'm not sure what your feelings towards her will be if you continue. Seriously, if you're still reading, let me just say you were warned. It is officially out of my hands.

Today Emma kept telling me to look in her mouth. She had it wide open and I obliged but didn't see anything. I turned back to what I was doing but she wouldn't let it go.

"Wook Mommy, wook!" Distracted, I turned around again to see. Nothing.

"What Em? I don't see anything. What am I looking at?"

"A boogie!"

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Gag me with a wooden spoon; I thought I was going to vomit all over my child.

It gets worse.

"That's gross, Em. Don't ever do that again."
"It's not gwoss, Mommy! It's yummy!"

Oh. My. Goodness.

Are you kidding me? What do you do when you get visions of your two year old being the completely socially awkward kid in grade school? How do you handle it?? If I make a big deal out of it, I know she'll just think it's funny and keep doing it. Of course I have to address it. Are you stern or playful about it? I chose the stern route. I don't know. We'll see. I know she has no chance if another kid sees her do it (well, in a few years at least). I knew a kid in late elementary school who was a boogie-eater and it's forever burned into my memory. I knew him throughout high school too, but the first thing that comes to mind, to this day, when I think of him is booger. When I got a facebook friend request from him, it was the first thing that popped into my mind. Poor guy. I can't let that happen to my Emma.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Let Mama Sleep

For the last several days I've felt mostly like this

Because this little guy


has been doing VERY little of this


Back in college I used to pull all-nighters on a fairly regular basis. Some would say I tend to procrastinate. I say I work best under pressure. My first year teaching, I would stay out until midnight and then have to leave by 6:40 in order to get to school by the skin of my teeth on time. Some would call this irresponsible. I call it young and in love (which usually equals stupid and irresponsible). In those days, I could function fairly well with only a few hours of sleep. I had to. There were tests to take, papers to assign. Now I can hardly form a coherent thought, much less articulate it, when I don't get enough sleep. This past week Jax has been waking up every two hours...and then staying awake for 45 minutes...which equals much less sleep than I require. Matt was out of town, so I was at it alone for three nights. When he returned I was hoping for him to have grown some soothing breasts, but alas, he hadn't. He did hold him on his chest much of one night though, a huge help. I'm just really hoping for a good night soon. Last night he only got up twice (but didn't go back down well), which was better, but at this point I'm so exhausted that I just really need a decent stretch.

He is such a sweet baby though. During the day he's a momma's dream. He smiles as soon as I look at him and laughs just as easily. He's just a chill little guy that I love so much. I just wish he'd sleep through the night.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Heard in My Hoopty

"Mommy, I want to go blueberry picking. I want to go blueberry picking so much."

"It's okay, Jax, it's okay. We're almost home. It's okay, it's okay... Be quiet, Jax! Jax be QUIET!"

"Mommy, the man (on the radio) said BUS!!"
"Mommy, the man said God!"

"I wanna hear our favorite song! OoooooOOOh, ooohhh somfin beautiful!"

"I wuv you, Mommy."
"Aaaww, you love me, baby?"
"Mmm..I love watermelon!"

"I want to go to Starbuck's. I want madewines and ice water."

"I want a cookie. I want a cookie so bad."

"Wook Mommy! The man's dwiving your car!"

"What did you learn about in church today, Em?"
"Um, Jesus."
"Oh you learned about Jesus? Anything else?"
"Mary...everywhere that Mary went."

"There's a rainbow. God did it?"
"There's a bird. God did it?"
"There's the car wash. God did it?"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Throwback

I've always been a pretty easygoing, carefree person.

Except...

for a period of time around the end of college.

Those first years out of school were a tumultuous time for me as I tried to sort through a lot of different issues in relationships, my faith in God (or sometimes lack there of), and figuring out what my identity really was found in. There were times when I literally felt like I was going crazy, but looking back, the words "But... God" stick with me. "But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ..." Thankfully the Lord didn't leave me where I was but lead me to see Him. It's funny- a lot of the same things that I learned in those years I've been reminded of over the last several months...minus the feelings of craziness this time around, thank goodness. Anyways- I found something I wrote while I was coming through it that I thought I'd share...

INSPIRE ME.

Don't lecture me. Talk to me.

Your formulas confuse me. If so much can be simplified, than what's it saying about me if I never get it right?

Don't put me in a box, or I'll get out. One way or another. Even if it's kicking or screaming, I can't stay there. It's too dark. And lonely. It makes me want to scream.

I don't want you to be perfect. I don't want to hear about how you are. I could never unload on you because I don't think you could handle it.

It's okay though.

There was a time when I couldn't either. I didn't realize it. I was caught up in my own perfection and goodness. I didn't know. I just didn't know.

There's unbelievable safety here though. In breaking free. It's not as you think it would be. There are no ten steps or bullet points.

I wish you could know it. It's messy sometimes. And it hurts like hell. But there's peace. And gentleness. And forgiveness.

You don't even realize how much you don't deserve it. Forgiveness. Being a child of God. I know you think you deserve it, at least more than others do. You'd never say it outloud of course. You may even be blind to your own thinking.

I know because I've been there.

But...

(But God...rich in mercy)

I've been shown love when words could be considered appropriate by those observing from afar. I've been shown grace, with a closed mouth and open arms. I've been shown mercy.

And that's just from mere humans that understand in a way better than I, the supernatural workings of a God that cares.

And if that isn't enough (it gets better!), there's Jesus. I'm shown a cross. By the only One who can truly claim perfection, who bore all the weight of the ugliness of all Time.

GOD in flesh. ROCKING people's worlds.

THAT'S inspiring.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Other Fab Four

Between giving birth, vacationing with Matt's family, vacationing with my family, business trips, not living in our house, and just everyday life we've had to squeeze in family time wherever and whenever we could find a spare second.

We had our quick trip to Boston coming back from Maine.


Then we stopped for a day in Savannah on our way back from NC a couple weeks ago,

where we ate some nasty food because I was hungry, irritable, and too impatient to find a good restaurant. Boo. The place that we walked into served nothing (I mean nothing) but fried food, which made Matt sick for the rest of the night. It was a good time!

I wasn't the biggest fan of Savannah. It was okay, but a little too southern and Georgia smelly for me. We had fun exploring the next day, but I wouldn't put it on my list of cities to return to.

This past weekend we packed up the car and headed back to the beach for more family fun. We stayed right on the beach at a place where we've been with Matt's family a few times and hung out in the pool, looked for shells, and ate lots of yummy food. It's fun figuring out a new normal for our family of four. For two parents that love being active, it's definitely different with little ones, but exciting to introduce them to new things. I'm learning to enjoy just watching right now. I can't so much bend down with Jax in my carrier and look for shells with Em or jump in the waves with Matt, but I can enjoy just being with my son and watching my daughter bond with her daddy. Soon enough Jax'll be running around with his sister. It's really such a short time that I get to cuddle him. I swear the kid grows like a weed.




Emma loooved the hotel we stayed in. I mean, I understand why, but it was just cute how much she talked about it. In fact, as we were driving today she said," Mommy, I want to go back to the Hotel, Motel, Holiday Iiiiinnnn." Silly.


Now it's back to our routine.
Fall's in the air.
Except we live in FL so really it's not.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kiddie Konvo

I decided I need to start recording some of my conversations with Em. She says such funny things on a daily basis, but then when I try to retell them to Matt, I forget. This isn't even that funny, but it's just so typical of what our day sounds like. I don't want to forget all these silly little things...

Em: Where's Santa?
Me: I don't know, Em.
Em: Is he at college?
Me: Maybe...
Em: Where's college?
Me: Well, there's colleges all over the place, but are you wondering about the college where Tim and Jenna are? That's in OH. They go to Cedarville.
Em: OH? I want to go to OH!!!
Me: In a few weeks...
Em: Where's Daddy?
...and through the list of where everyone that Emma knows is we go...


Sweet Sassy Malassy

So, my mom told me that she really liked the pictures from my last post. In fact, she was planning to use them for some presentation at school...except for the picture of Em. She looked like a dead-end child. I mean, she didn't exactly use those words, buuut...

I had to agree.

The problem is the girl's hair. I have the hardest time with it. If she happens to sit still long enough for me to do it, she just ends up pulling it out within the hour anyway. My mom always made sure my hair was perfect as a little girl. I never had a hair out of place. How this was possible I'm not sure. I suppose I wasn't quite the tazmanian devil that my daughter is but still.

Anywho- I thought I'd post some pics of Em from this weekend. I can't say that her hair is perfect in any of them, but she does look pretty darn cute.







Thursday, August 26, 2010

Funky Town

The hardest part about being with my family for three weeks is the end when I have to say goodbye. It really sucks. After leaving home, it usually takes me a few days to get back into the swing of things here. I get into a few-day-funk where I don't really feel like doing much or seeing people. Emma had a fever the first couple days back so that gave me an excuse to be a hermit. I can be pretty moody during this window of time too. I've talked to other friends that live far from their families who generally experience the same thing. Those first few days back are just hard. I love where I live and the life Matt and I have made here, but at the same time there's always a piece missing. Emma can't get make-overs from her cousins or hugs from her grandparents. Jax can't spit up all over his aunts and uncles. My nieces and nephews will continue to look older each time I see them. When I think about it in these terms it makes me really sad, so I just can't go there. It doesn't do any good. Instead, I need to be thankful for the times I do get to spend with my family and enjoy all I have in FL too. I'd say I've been blessed more than I could even imagine in so many ways. So, why complain?

With that, my funk is officially over.




Monday, August 2, 2010

Maine '10

Emma took her first plane ride at the ripe old age of six weeks. Jax followed in his big sister's footsteps and also boarded his first plane at six weeks. This flight was kind of a big deal for Em too (And me!), as she sat in her own seat for the first time (Oh wait, I still have a child on my lap. Eeeh.). Both kids were great on the three hour flight. Of course, it made it a lot easier with grandparents and an aunt and uncle on the place as well. Emma sat between Wawa and Papa and played the whole time and Jax, well, he slept.



The first time Matt and I took a trip with his family to Maine, he held his head out the car window for much of the trip yelling, "I love Maine!" Yes, it was like the pure joy of a dog letting his ears flap in the breeze. Not saying that my husband is a dog, but for someone who loves nature as much as Matt, he's right in his element in Maine. This is one of the things that I love most about him. He can spend hours exploring tide pools, fishing in a lake, or hiking through the woods. I hope our children love being outside and exploring as much as we do. We start them young so I think our chances are good!


We were able to spend time with some of Matt's extended family that I'd never met before, which was a lot of fun. Hopefully we'll see a lot more of them though because it was hard to really engage in much conversation while running after a 2-year old and constantly feeding a 6-week old. I want to nurse for as long as my sanity allows, but times like this make me wish I could just give him a bottle. I mean, I could just give him a bottle, but I want to nurse for at least as long as I did with Emma, which was four months. Uuuug. But then again, formula can be a hassle as well. It's so expensive and makes for stinky spit up and poo. Who needs that? Plus, the boob's always available. I'm like my own Seven-Eleven.


Back to Maine. Pregnancy brain often leads me off track these days.
Except as soon as I wrote that I realized, I'm not pregnant anymore. Duuuh.
Newborn brain. See what I mean? Where's my mind? I think I left it back in the summer of 2009.

I digress.
Again.

While we were there we celebrated Matt's great-aunt's 80th birthday. The party was held at botanical gardens in Booth Bay. It was a gorgeous place with lots of space for all the kids to run around. Emma caught a bullfrog. Okay, not really. Her daddy caught a bullfrog and she chased after it a little and may have built up the courage to touch it once or twice. She did have a great time though, as did the rest of us. There were over sixty people there, and I think the birthday girl was the only one that could identify everyone by name. Aunt Clara not only sends out cards for birthdays and anniversaries of her immediate family, but with each of their children and children's children and as well as each person that marries into the family. With the sixty people that were at the party being only about half of the family, this is pretty impressive. She's quite the lady.


Our 5-year anniversary fell during this week as well. Where did the time go? I can't believe how much has happened in those five years. To celebrate, we went to Pemaquid Point for breakfast on the coast and to walk around the rocks together...until we had to be back to feed Jax. We spent the rest of the week hanging around the lakehouse, shopping in Freeport, picking blueberries on Mt. Battie, and walking around the quaint little towns that Maine's famous for. We also ate a lot of lobstah, which isn't my favorite with the beady little eyes and nasty green stuff inside, but I did eat a lobster roll from Red's Eats. I have to admit, it was pretty good. We also spent the week getting scolded by the natives. Shopkeepers and random motorists yelled at us for silly things that no one but miserable people would care about. When did Maine get so anal?? Apparently in the two years since we were there last.


Matt and I flew out of Logan so we could spend the day with our sweet little family in Boston. He had the day all planned out with maps and directions to each of our destinations. One thing we failed to plan for was parking though. Big oops. We spent a lot of the day exploring the city from the, ahem, comfort of our own car because we could never find a place to park. Boo. We were also planning to take a tour of Fenway, but weren't able to get there in time. Crazy city driving. Instead, we just walked around outside the ballpark. It was probably best with our two kiddos anyway. We made our way to Harvard, but got so annoyed with the whole parking thing that we just moved onto the next location where we ended up spending the rest of the day. Boston Commons was the perfect place to spend an afternoon (Plus there was plenty of parking!). After being on the move the week before, it was nice to just relax and sit by a pond and enjoy each other. We needed to relax before the airport mayhem that we were to encounter that night was well.

Matt purposefully booked a flight after mine and the kids so he could help me out in the airport. Except Logan isn't a user-friendly airport. Our airlines were in different terminals, which would be fine in a normal airport. In Logan though, you can't go between terminals. I've never heard of such nonsense. Matt helped me check-in, then ran to his check-in, realized that I had checked the wrong bag (whoops), ran back to me, got the right bag that had already been checked, ran back to check his bag, and then ran back again to go through security in my terminal with his escort pass...except he wasn't escorting anyone. HA. Finally we met up again at my gate with a few minutes to spare. Good thing we planned ahead. Upon landing, I also realized that we had left Em's carseat on the shuttle from the car rental place. It's now Wed. and we have yet to locate it. I'm not so impressed with Thrifty's customer service. Thankfully my parents had a carseat in their car when they picked us up. The blessing of multiple grandchildren. :)

Now I'm with the kids in NY for 2 weeks, hanging out with my family and hopefully catching up with some friends. I love summer in the Northeast. Florida's great the rest of the year but summer's are killer with the heat. Thank goodness for this month-long escape.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Days are Long, But the Years Fly By

As we were driving yesterday the song "Cinderella" by Steve Curtis Chapman came on. Before we had Emma we would have changed the station in a heartbeat but now lyrics like that have significance. Emma heard the name Cinderella and immediately perked up. Matt told her how he wanted to dance with her to this song when she gets married (I know, he's such a sap! He's so sentimental- once I found a pile of all the movie, concert, show, etc. tickets that we had ever been to together. How cute is that!? Anywho...). Emma started saying, "Cindawewwa? Cindawewwa is dancing with her daddy?" It was pretty sweet and it made me realize just how fast this time goes. Em's going to be going to school and dances and her first date and before we know it, Matt will be walking her down the aisle. Okay, so we have a little bit of time before that happens- but still- it goes by so quickly.

It's so easy for me to wish away this time. I love this age with Em, but having a newborn... eeee... there's just so many times when I catch myself thinking, "I can't wait until he's older. I can't wait for this newborn stage to pass." The time is so fleeting though. I want to appreciate how he cuddles in to my neck when he gets sleepy and how great it is when he looks up at me and smiles. And how good he smells after a bath. I want to remember how Emma looks over at him in the car and starts cracking up just because he's looking in her direction. I want to cherish every moment I have with my kids and live in the moment with them. I want to focus on today, as long as it's called today.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Help! Our Daughter's Scared of Jesus!

So... we seem to have a problem. Tonight Em kept waking up crying. When Matt finally went in to see what was wrong she told him that Jesus was scaring her and that Jesus won't leave her alone. Then I went in again later when she was still crying and saying something else about Jesus that I couldn't understand. Evidently something she's heard about Jesus is freaking her out. Can't say I've ever known a kid to be scared of Jesus. I mean, what could we have possibly said that would make her scared?? And how do we fix it??

Monday, July 12, 2010

Milestones

We had a weekend of milestones...


Milestone #1

Emma pooped on the potty for the first time! She's sat on it many, many times but just yells, "All done!" about 3 seconds after sitting down. I think she would be a lot closer to potty-trained, but I've been putting it off with Jax around. All I need right now is more pee-pee and poo-poo to clean up off the floor. We'll keep working on it though. I'm thinking Sept. is go time.



Nice hair, Em.
Milestone #2


I had my 4 week checkup on Friday and was given the green light to resume normal activity, so Sat. morning I was back at the gym- yeeaaay. Saturday mornings are always a little strange though; I've only been a couple times. It's not the familiar crowd that I'm used to. The Saturday before I had Jax I went and there was this guy I named Labor Man (very creative, I know) that seemed normal enough. One minute he was chatting with me about how his wife and I had the same OB, and the next minute, well, he sounded like he was having a baby himself. I mean, really, if you have to make those kind of noises to workout, maybe you're putting a little too much strain on yourself. I felt very awkward for him, and then I got nervous that people thought that it was me, the only ridiculously pregnant person in the room, going into labor. Then I just started feeling nervous about giving birth. Blast. All these thoughts just because some man didn't follow the clearly posted rule that states no obnoxious noises (or something along that line). Then this Saturday there was a guy that sounded like he was blowing raspberries on a baby's belly with every rep. Except this was so loud that if he were to actually do this on a baby's belly I'm pretty sure the child would fear for his life. Creeeepy.


Milestone #3

Ok- so this one wasn't in our family BUT- one of Emma's little buddies celebrated his 2nd birthday. They had a super fun party which included a blow-up water slide large enough for both kids and adults to enjoy. I suppose that's a milestone for Emma though. Can't say she's ever been on a big, blow-up water slide before. Of course, she loved it. As did I. I'm pretty sure all the daddies had the best time though. Boys and their toys. Plus, there were Kool-Aid flavored cupcakes- mmmm. They've set high expectations for children's birthday parties. We're thinking there will be ponies for the next one. :)


Milestone #4

Matt, Jenna, and I took Emma to see Toy Story 3. Though it wasn't her first movie experience, it was the first movie that she saw at the theater that she actually sat through the whole thing. She loved it as did the rest of us. Matt and I missed a few parts though, trading Jax back and forth as he complained about the movie.

I guess Em wanted to pretend that we were seeing it in 3D.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Male Anatamy and Other Strange Things

Even though I had four nieces and nephews before my own kids came along, I've never been the best diaper-changer. However, since Em didn't come out potty-trained, I had to step up my game. After two years of intense training, I can say I've mastered the art of changing diapers.

Changing a girl's diaper at least.

Changing a boy's diaper is a whole new ball game in which I am quite an amateur. It's not just wiping and throwing on a diaper anymore. Oh no, this requires strategy. There's time constraints as well. If I don't get in, get out there's going to be trouble. We're talking pee pee all over- clothes, carpets, corneas. There isn't an object (or person) within three feet of my boy that hasn't been christened. You would think I would learn after the first...second...twelfth time, but no. Yesterday he did it three times in ONE change! It felt like a cheap attempt for a laugh in a Will Ferrell movie. Which makes me think that my son is going to be an awesomely funny little dude. But anyways, first shot got him square in the face, poor little guy. As I was cleaning up that mess, his range improved and he shot clear over his shoulder... and left me with a nice little poo as an extra gift. Thanks, Jax. As Matt and I were scrambling to take care of that disgustingness, he continued his shooting spree. Uuuuggg...three diapers and one soaking onesie later, he was in the bath. However, he learned his first lesson in karma today. As we were walking from our car to the park a flock of birds passed overhead. Poor little Jax got pooped on. Ahahaha. Ok, I'm not really a horrible mother laughing at my 3.5 week old getting pooed on. It was disgusting, but thankfully it only landed on his leg. But maybe next time he'll think twice before pottying all over his parents. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What's Happening

Welp, it's only week 3 and I already failed to meet my 5 times o' blogging/week goal...two weeks ago. Whoops. Lucky for me, it was just a personal goal, and I have no one (apart from maybe my husband and mother) breathing down my throat to actually meet it. In my defense of myself, (to myself... since I'm my only accountability) I was in West Palm all last week without Internet...and was sick...and my parents were here. All good reasons to forgive myself for my failure. So there.

What's been going on....

My parents came to town two weeks ago. I can't say I remember much about the first week, apart from feeding the boy often and taking daily smoothie runs. Good thing my parents weren't expecting a fun Florida vacation because I certainly didn't provide that. They were content to hang out with their grandchildren and help me keep my sanity. In fact, my mom somehow even convinced Jax to sleep between 5-6 hours every night that week. Whoa- I felt like a new woman after all that shut-eye. The following week Jax realized that it's much more fun to hang out with Mommy every 2-3 hours during the night again though. He's such a party animal.

Our week in West Palm was pretty uneventful too. I got sick, which meant a lot of time hangin' at the condo. Em really appreciated that. For something to do she decided to experiment with just how naughty a 2 year-old can be. Um, pretty naughty. The combination of being in a new place with a sick mommy, new baby, and no daddy proved too much for my normally good-natured daughter. Devil. Child. She did enjoy seeing Mummi and Marja though. She's been talking about them since we were there in the beginning of April. At the end of the week my parents drove us back and headed out for their cruise. It's always difficult when my family leaves, but this was especially difficult this time, even though we'll be up in NY in just a few short weeks.

The day after my parents left, we headed to Long Boat Key with Matt's family for the holiday weekend. It wasn't the best weather, which worked out well for little Jax. Being at the beach in extreme heat and sunshine with a newborn is not my idea of a good time. Being at the beach with chilly, overcast skies and some rain is. Woo hoo! Everyone else enjoyed themselves too. :) Em loooves the beach. She could spend hours playing in the sand and waves. She even boogy-boarded for the first time. What a champ! With the help of a little daddy discipline she had also thrown off her attitude by the weekend too, thank goodness.

And now here we are. Jax is a gassy mess who hasn't slept hardly at all in the past 24 hours. If he's not feeding he's grunting. Or pooping. Or grunting and pooping. Rarely sleeping though. Neither are his mommy and daddy. I'm having trouble thinking clearly, and looking forward to the day when the newborn sleep deprivation fog clears.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Welp- my parents are in town and my mom has Jax until his next feeding. I'm going to bed. :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming...

My wise husband realized last night that he would get a lot more sleep if I got a little more sleep, so he took an earlier-than-in-the-mid-middle-night-holding-screaming-Jax shift (I think it shaved my heavy sighs for the night in half- I know, I sound like a huge brat...and I'm sure I am, but it's really hard to not be running on no sleep). Julie also soothed him for a while so both of us could sleep. Both of these things definitely made all the difference in me not losing my sanity completely. It's amazing how a couple hours of sleep can keep you from going nuts. :) Plus, it's 3 in the afternoon and I just woke up from an hour long nap, and both kids are still sleeping. I don't even have to worry about attempting to blog later on. Life is good.

Things I need to remember-

- Patience with my daughter. She's only two. She's a nurturer and wants to help me. Even if it's annoying, let her as much as possible. Speak kindly to her and give lots of hugs.

- It's okay that I can't get out of the house before 11:00. This just means that the day goes by that much faster. Isn't that what I want for the next several weeks!? Running errands will take longer too until I get in the groove. I knew that this would be a big adjustment because I remember how much I had to adjust with just having one kiddo.

- Everything will get easier. Really. I know it will. I feel like such a wuss even saying that it's anything but easy since I have so many helping hands. That's just silly to think though. I just had a baby, have a very sore body still, and raging hormones. Give myself a break, right? Now I feel bad saying that. Geez. I'm such a woman.

- Be sure to show my husband how much I love him and appreciate him. It's easy to just go about all the baby business and ignore him. I know this will get better in the coming weeks as things calm down, but I really don't want to just shove him in the background. He's been pretty great. And I sure feel a lot better when we get to have some cuddle time. :)

- My friends will still be my friends, even if it takes days to answer phone calls, texts, facebook messages, etc. They've all been here before. I never felt bad when they didn't get back to me after they had babies, and I'm sure no one else feels bad either.

- Play loud music in the car- it helps. It's also so fun to listen to Emma try to sing along. Ha- it always brightens my day!

Aaahhh...and just keep swimming. Dory is so wise.