26 February 2007

and the oscar goes to...

...Ellen for being such an amazing host! I think the Oscars rocked this year--I mean, more than usual. Even the little repartee between the presenters was kinda cute this year. Or I am just officially old this year. Whatever.

And those wacky shadow dancers? How the hell...? Loved it. The only thing that I was kind-of ho-hum, maybe I'll get up and go pee now about was that little musical number with Jack Black and Will Ferrell. Sorry, guys. You know I love you, right? But that was pretty lame.

Why, oh, why do I cry through the tribute to all the famous people who died???? I do it every friggin' year. As if I knew these people personally. But there I was, like, Oh, my God, June Allyson died?! Why didn't anyone tell me?

And all the respect paid to Al Gore... again, I welled up. Am I PMSing? Maybe. But it's just so nice to see him getting some love. And what a different country this would be if only... If only.

Anyway, in no particular order, my thumb's up for :

I am so happy he is getting himself sorted out.
I think he is so talented and he looked particularly hot last night.

Why didn't anyone like this dress?
anne i think ur beautiful. xoxo luv girlysmack from va

24 February 2007

22 February 2007

21 February 2007

The Lion's first cake

I am ridiculously proud of this cake I made for the Lion's birthday! Can you see how much time I spent, coming up with the concept and dyeing the coconut--and oh, yeah, those little bananas are Runts and the tiny coconuts are Raisinettes.

And this picture cracks me up. My dad came over today to bring the Lion his presents--and I think they look like twins here:

Anyway, people, I don't have time for all of this photographing and writing and nonsense. I have a house to clean, streamers to hang, balloons to blow up--and, oh, yes, it's all for you, Little Lion Man. Happy Birthday to you!

bad bad bad to do

As I am busy happily decorating Lion's (fabulous) birthday cake, Blue ran by with an orange crayon, saying, "Scuse me, Mommy! Scuse me!"

"Hold it!" I yelled, just as she was about to write on the kitchen wall with said orange crayon. "What are you doing?"

She froze, then led me into the dining/play room to show me this:

That's the before picture. Here's the after:

As she wiped the crayon off the wall she sang,

badbad badbad to do
badbad badbad to do
Bluebird is messy
badbad badbad to do

to the tune of "Happy Birthday."

20 February 2007

Singing as He Does

I've got a little boy now
Just the way I was a little boy

--Alberto Rios

Staring over the asphalt roof of the Kmart
past the rise of McDonald's roof
and the sunset sign of Taco John,
looking past the circling gulls
and the fir trees and birch that line
the lake, away and north
I feel a hunger for him like pain.
For his length not two feet and
the wingspread of his arms outstretched
and wrapping around my neck and for
the call and response of mom
in my ear and his name on my tongue,
a happy red ball tossed between us.

This hunger,
physical but not sex
love but not love as I know it,
love forced by fire into sweetness.
I want to mirror everything
he sees, how he sees it:
balloons, the letter D, chocolate milk,
the fat cat, the heaviness of sleep,
his red car -- a kind of singing,
singing as he does,
happy happy to you.

Rhonda Lundquist

things i love - #13

this face

19 February 2007

oh, happy day!

I had such a fantastic birthday!

And, get this: I finally convinced Jonathan to get a pedicure with me! It's only taken me ... 8 years? to get that punk to sit down with me, and I won't tell you what I had to promise to get him there, not to mention how he almost turned and fled when he saw a guy giving someone a pedicure in the salon as we were walking in. But it was my birthday. And that was what I wanted.

A woman (thank God--I don't think he would have let another man touch his feet) gave him the pedicure--and I don't know if he will ever have another one in his life, but I think he really enjoyed this one. He keeps saying, "It's really just a foot massage" which is what I have been telling him for eight years, but whatever. Anyway, then we went out to TGI Fridays because I wanted to try their $12.99 special (I'm a cheap date, what can I say?).

Blue is feeling so much better. Thank God. We had decided if she wasn't better by Saturday night that we were going to take her to the ER. It just killed us to see her so lethargic. And she wasn't eating a thing--just drinking water and maybe eating a slice of toast, and she couldn't keep even that in her. But that Pedialyte stuff is amazing. It smells like absolute crap but she has been sucking it down since Saturday and she is so much better. We went to Toys R Us tonight to buy the Lion a birthday present, and she was running all around the store, singing the Dora theme song and showing Lion all of the toys. She showed me a Disney Princess ball (she already has one at home) and I asked her, "Are you going to throw it?" She said "Sure!" and threw it into our cart! Later we snuck it back out of the cart, but she totally noticed because about two seconds later she was like, "Hey! My ball!" So Jonathan distracted her by showing her some more Dora toys and that was that.

Wednesday is the Lion's first birthday. I cannot believe he has already been around for a whole year. And how much he has changed. God, when I think how rough it was in the beginning... How much he cried. How much I cried. I have all this cute classic Curious George stuff for his party--little plates and party hats--and it's so crazy because I bought it all when he was only three months old! I was in Wal-mart with him and he was (what else?) crying and I saw these adorable plates. We had been listening to the "Curious George" movie soundtrack with him since the day he came home from the hospital when Jonathan bought it for him, and I just couldn't resist buying the party stuff. Even though his birthday was nine months away. I put the plates in the cart and I thought, I am crazy. But I needed to remind myself that one day he would be such a happy little guy and all the colicky hell would be over.

Whatever. Anyone who knows me knows that is just an excuse. The truth is that I just fell in love with the silly plates and hats and I had to have them. The truth is, I buy birthday cards and presents months in advance because I like to be that prepared. I bought my brother's 40th birthday card two years ago--and he turns 40 this May! (But it is such an awesomely appropriate card! I'll tell you about it after I give it to him. I don't want to spoil the surprise for him.) I bought my mom's Mother's Day present a month ago downtown. As the guy was sticking my purchase into a bag, I asked Jonathan, "Is it ridiculous that I am buying my mom's Mother's Day gift today?" And the poor salesman was like, "Oh my God! When's Mother's Day?!" just as Jonathan was sweetly assuring me that it wasn't ridiculous, thereby completely calling Jonathan's bluff.

So my party on Saturday, in case anyone is wondering, was so much fun! The products Elisa showed us are too cool--some of them are hilarious, though. Why, on earth, do the products for, ahem, "personal pleasure" need to be shaped like animals? There was a rabbit, a dolphin, an elephant, a hummingbird... Very strange. Anyway, we had so much fun! My sister-in-law, Leila, was very reluctant to come--she was like, "Erin, I'm married to your brother, how weird will that be?" and I kept saying, "Leila, trust me, I do not want to hear any personal information coming from you." And I think she had a blast. She and my stepsister, Roxanna, were cracking jokes about some of the products and practically heckling poor Elisa. Anyway, we played some funny games and I won one of them. My prize was a penis-shaped lipstick. It's a horribly bright pink color, though. Looks awful on me, but it is, after all, penis-shaped, so I guess I can't very well give it to someone else! It was in my coat pocket tonight for some reason--I think I threw it in there because my dad was coming over today and I wanted to get it off my kitchen counter (it was still lying there from the party). I was putting it on on the way to Toys R Us and Jonathan glanced over and was like, "Is that the penis-shaped lipstick?!" And I said, "I know, I know, but it just happened to be in my pocket..."

One final note: 2 different friends each gave me a bottle of Bitch wine for my birthday. Hmmm...

things i love - #12

my birthday!

18 February 2007

things i love - #11

receiving flowers
thank you, Lesley--they're gorgeous!

17 February 2007

naughty, naughty

I am having a Slumber Party tonight to celebrate my birthday! My dear friend, and fellow DWAF, Elisa, is a party hostess--should be very fun. And wild. I'll keep you posted.

On a decidedly un-sexy note, Blue has had some kind of stomach bug for the past two nights. Basically, we have to give her a shower each night around 2 am to clean her off and then she and I sleep in the guest room while her sheets are in the wash. So all night it's "Mommy?" and "I sick" just before the inevitable "Bleccch!" At least she gives me a little warning. Poor girl. Poor Mommy.

I really need this party tonight. Girl time. Party food. Outrageous friends. Bring it on.

things i love - #10


15 February 2007


I tore a picture out of the Garnet Hill catalog last night.

"What are you doing?" Jonathan asked me.

I showed him the picture. "This is my goal," I told him. "I'm going to look like this."

"You're going to look like that?" His eyes were practically popping out of his head.

"Well, I'll still have my face," I told him. And then I thought, as if he had even noticed her face.

what else is new?

We are sick sick sick again at the Young house. Andrea called me this morning and when I answered (in my uber-sexy Nina Simone voice) she was like, "hhhhhello? Erin?"

So much for my plan to post something every day for the month of February! First, our server was down for two whole days, and then I got sick.

I love saying "our server was down." It makes me sound like I know anything about computers! Jonathan and I kept turning the computer on and off and jiggling various wires. We had no idea what was wrong. Was it our modem? Our router? (Like I even know what that is?!) I just sat there, poking and tapping random parts of the computer, much like a monkey in a control group. Anyway, it is working again, so that's all good.

And, my brother and sister-in-law and Jonathan and I managed to pull off the hoax of the century and we threw my mother a surprise party on Saturday! It was so incredible! My mom came up on Saturday for a birthday facial and a pedicure and then we were all going to go "out to dinner" (wink, wink). Jonathan had to disable my mom's car to keep her from heading over to my brother's early, but he fixed it the next day.

My grandparents came from North Carolina and my aunt came from Connecticut and my mother's aunt and cousins came down from New Jersey. It was wonderful! We walked into my brother's house and they all yelled surprise and my mom was like, "Oh! Oh my God! Oh--is that my father?"

So a good time was had by all. Especially Blue, who I think thought the party was in her honor. Anyway, Jonathan began to feel sick on Friday and I just kept praying I would not get sick until after the party. And, magically, I didn't. But I woke up Sunday feeling like crap. And, of course, the babies are both sick, too. I wish, on days like today, that I could rent a Mommy to come and tuck me into bed and bring me won-ton soup and take care of the whiny, slimy babies for me... sigh.

Last night was nice, though. Jonathan and I gave the babies their doses of Benadryl and sent them to bed and then we watched "Project Runway" and ate Thai food he picked up from my favorite restaurant. Then we exchanged valentines, toasted each other with our Nyquil and went to bed.

things i love - #9

thai food

08 February 2007


Blue and I were shopping in Wal-Mart. As we walked past this woman in the frozen foods section, Blue turned to her and said, "I'm crazy!"

things i love - #8

losing myself in a book

07 February 2007

i can almost taste it

I can't believe I will be in London in less than 2 months! Or at least I will be in Lincoln, about to be in London! It's funny. When Jonathan took me to Rome for our honeymoon I was not at all involved in planning our trip. I left everything up to him, having never traveled anywhere before. (Besides I know my boy loves planning.)

Anyway, I think he thought I wasn't excited about that trip, because I didn't even pick up a guidebook until we were there. But it wasn't that I wasn't excited. No way! It was just that I couldn't really believe that it would happen. That I would actually be in Rome. And it didn't feel real until the plane landed and we were actually there and everyone around us was speaking in Italian. (Or German. Or French. There were a lot of people there.)

This time, I know we are really going somewhere. It is really going to happen. And I am so excited! I bought a new coat that is water-resistant, since we will be in London during the rainy season. I bought an adaptor so I can dry my hair and iron my clothes and not look like the total slob I was schlepping around Rome. I have been studying our guide books and have written down an itinerary for each part of the city, including cheap places to eat. I told Jonathan that by the time we arrive in London, I will have memorized both books, and I will be able to say, "You hungry? I'm hungry. There's a great cafe on the next street over, or we could take the tube to Soho where there is a great sushi place on Bladdy-Blah Street serving half-price sushi for happy hour."

For all that I have always wanted to go to London, there is actually a lot of places in the guidebook that I am not that interested in seeing. The Aquarium and the Natural History Museum, for example; I've been to aquariums and I've been to the Smithsonian. It's more like a few things that I want to spend entire days seeing. I want to spend an entire day at the Tower, and at the British Museum and at the Tate Modern and a huge chunk of one whole day at Westminster Abbey. I want to see some really old, crumbly cemeteries. I want to walk along the Thames. I want to eat a picnic lunch out in the cold under a grey cloudy sky in Hyde Park.

things i love - #7

happy birthday

06 February 2007

things i love - #6

I never leave home without 'em

05 February 2007

things i love - #5

i am such a nerd

not quite what happened...

Blue and Jonathan and I were kicking around this little soccer ball this morning in the kitchen. Blue was running away from us, squealing with delight, when Jonathan tried to pass her the ball. It bounced off of her foot and she tripped and fell down.

"Are you okay, baby?" I asked as she picked herself up off the floor.

"Yeah," she said, matter-of-factly. "Daddy hit me, but it's okay."

04 February 2007

things i love - #4

bubble baths

Jonathan is out watching the Super Bowl and playing poker.
The kids are in bed.
I have a date with some bubble bath
and another London guidebook.

03 February 2007

"gotta hava wawa"

So I am a bit addicted to Wawa coffee. More specifically, to their instant cappuccino. More specifically, to a mix of half Original Cappuccino and half Low-Fat Vanilla Cappuccino. Mmmmm... so good.

Anyway, after Blue was born, I would get up each morning, force myself to take a shower--oh, who am I kidding, to brush my teeth and throw on the least smelly clothes from my bedroom floor.  Blue  and I would hit the road together. I would drag her baby carrier into the Wawa gas station so I could get a huge cappuccino and then we would head to Target so I could walk around and look at all of the pretty things that I wanted to buy.

But it got pretty ridiculous. For one birthday, 3 different people gave me Wawa gift cards! I was so thrilled, and then I asked Jonathan, "Is it pathetic that one of the best gifts I could ask for is really just a gift card to the gas station?"

Anyway, one of the managers at this Wawa was always saying "hi" to me and holding Blue while I got my coffee. And then one day, I was getting Blue out of her carseat outside of the Wawa and I hear

"Hello, BLUE! Hi, pretty girl!"

on their intercom. You know, the one they use to say, "Welcome to Wawa, pump 7?"

So Jonathan was like, "You really need to stop going there so much. How much money do you spend there in a month, do you think?" Then about a week later, we were all three going inside a different Wawa and he was joking around, saying, "Do they know you here, too?" and I'm like, "No, I've only been here about 3 times, jeez" when this cashier turns to us and goes, "Well, hello, Blue!" I was so embarrassed! I totally forgot that I had talked to the cashier for a while the last time I was in that particular Wawa! But Jonathan didn't believe me, of course! He assumed I was in there all the time feeding my addiction.

things i love - #3

16 ounces of love

02 February 2007

eight years ago today

"...was the scariest day of my entire life." Jonathan just said that to me.

He was making fun of me for writing again. I tend to write one day a week, but that day I write 2 or 3 times. Anyway.

"You're writing again?" he said.

And then I reminded him that today was Groundhog Day. "Was it 1998 or 1999?" I asked him. (I am terrible with dates.)

"Oh my God, it's Groundhog Day? It is. It's Groundhog Day. Wow. It was 1999," he told me. "1999, because I graduated the following year."

"Eight years ago today," I said.

"Eight years ago today," he said, "was the scariest day of my entire life."

Eight years ago today we found out I was pregnant.

We had only been dating for--well, let's just say a ridiculously brief time. And let's just say for the record that I am definitely not a loose woman. There was just something about him, okay? Anyway. We had only been dating a brief time. And I just knew, I knew I was pregnant. My period wasn't due for about a week when I went to my doctor for a pregnancy test. They did a test and told me it was negative. I couldn't believe it. They explained that it might just be too early to tell, and told me to come back in a week or so if my period was late. I said, "I will."

I don't know how I knew. It makes no sense to me, because with both Blue and the Lion I didn't know! That first pregnancy was so different from the other two from the very start.

Anyway. February 1st, eight years ago, I left work late at night, and I told my coworkers I was sure I was pregnant. One of them, a girl named Maria, said (for some reason I can't remember now), "If you're pregnant, I'll bake you a chocolate cake and bring it in to work." I drove to Wal-Mart and instead of buying tampons, I bought a pregnancy test.

I took the test the next morning and I was right. I was pregnant. And it's funny because I am such a wuss--I didn't call Jonathan right away. I started crying and I called my friend, Gillian, instead who was a year older than me and was already married and had a baby. I had no idea how to tell Jonathan. I asked her what on earth I was going to do. She told me, "You're going to hang up, call Jonathan and the two of you are going to go to that emergency clinic to get a blood test. You need to make sure."

I told her I was sure. She said, "Well, then Jonathan will want to be sure."

So then I called him. And I tried to sound normal. I was determined to tell him in person. So I asked him what he was doing. It was fairly early in the morning and he was about to leave for class. I asked him if I could come over. Even though we didn't know each other that well, he knew something was afoot. He told me to come right over, that he would skip class, and after we hung up, he turned to his roomate and said, "Oh my God. Erin is pregnant."

So you see, he knew, too.

The rest of the day is less clear. We went together to get the blood test. While we waited for the results, he took me to Friendly's. On the way back to the clinic, we listened to the Beach Boys song, "I Can Hear Music." The damn nurse told us, "It's positive," right out in front of all the people in the waiting room. We hugged and didn't say much. I could hear Jonathan's heart it was beating so loud. We went to Borders to buy What to Expect When You're Expecting and we rented "Mulan" because it had just come out on DVD. I went to work that night and I told Maria, "You owe me a cake."

things i love - #2

my mom's chocolate chip cookies

taken today

01 February 2007

things i love - #1

my family


Okay. There's this big, huge scheme that Jonathan and I are hatching. And it is all we talk about anymore. But I haven't mentioned it on my blog yet. Partly because we are afraid that if this plan does not come to fruition we will look like big idiots. And partly because there are so many thoughts flying through my mind at any given moment that I haven't known exactly how or when to begin. So. Without any further bullshit--I mean, buildup, I begin:

We want to move to England.

Yeah, I know. Dream on, right?

But you don't understand.

We really want to move to England.

So here's the plan. In a nutshell.

Jonathan is going to apply to some universities in England this fall. If he is accepted to one (which I firmly believe, given the overwhelming brilliance of my husband, will not be a problem) we will put our house on the market next spring. (This is the scary part, due to the stagnant housing market in our area. But we'll tackle that next spring.) Then we will pack up all of our belongings and fly our little family to Lincoln to stay with Jonathan's best friend, Andrew, and his family until we find a place of our own. Jonathan will attend school for one year and the following year he will find a job as a teacher.

So. There it is. The Big Crazy Plan.

Which we have been discussing all day every day. And even all night some nights. And when we are not discussing it, we are both scheming and dreaming silently.

He is much more practical, as usual, and has been researching which universities he will apply to and which areas we could live and work in and housing costs and general cost of living and the cost of shipping all of our belongings to England and tightening our budget now to help afford the move. He has talked extensively with Andrew to determine how much house we can afford to buy over there and has worked out exactly what our budget will be while he is in school.

I am, as usual, much less practical, but so very, very excited! I have already begun sorting through our belongings because I don't want to ship all of these things over to England. I see this as a great opportunity to pare down. I have been getting a little too fond of Things. I want to live in a smaller space over there and surround myself with only the belongings that are too necessary and too dear to part with. I also am excited about not having a car (because we won't--at least at first), and walking a lot more. I am excited about living in a colder climate. Hearing English accents all around me, all the time. Watching BBC. Eating mushy peas. Wearing Wellies. Boxing Day.

Jonathan is excited about having a new career. He has always wanted to teach. He is so creative, so dynamic, such a natural leader, I think he will be a wonderful teacher. He is looking forward to having all of Europe at our doorstep. Traveling every summer. Being near his best friend. Drinking in a pub. Watching soccer. Hearing English accents all around him, all the time.

I think he will fit right in. He looks very English, if that makes sense. He is very into fashion. He would look fabulous in a Burberry raincoat. If we could ever afford one! His favorite bands are Oasis, Blur, Pulp... He loves Earl Grey. He doesn't really care for (American) football. He hates really hot weather. He loves stinky, European cheeses.

He will probably fit in much better than I will. I don't think I will ever forsake coffee for tea. Or be very stylish. And yet, I think we both think that I will love living over there more than he will. Which is funny, since he is the one who has actually been there!

I asked him, during one of our millions of conversations about this Big Crazy Plan, "Are you nervous that I will get to England, see it for myself, and wish we had never left?"

And he laughed and said no.

I can't explain it. I just wish I were English. I remember telling my mom (when I was ridiculously young to even know the word) that I was an Anglophile. And I remember her response. "Ick. Why would you want to be that?! The English are so cold and stuffy. Why not be a Francophile? The French are so romantic!"

How can I explain it? It's impossible. You are either in love with England or you're not. You either hear this Big Crazy Plan of ours and sigh with jealousy or you ask, "England? Why England?" There is no in-between.

When Andrew and his girlfriend were visiting in 2005, Teresa had just found out she was pregnant. So there we both were, newly pregnant, horribly nauseous and tired, and she was so homesick. She said, "I just want some of my mom's chicken curry right now." And she was so worried that I would be offended or hurt because she missed her home so badly. (I wasn't.) She said, "I just love England. I can't help it. I love being English. I'm proud of my accent. I love hearing other English people talk." And I feel that way too. I love listening to their accents. So crisp. So clever. It's like music to me.

I see pictures like this:

or this:

or, jeez, look at this one:

or this one, beautiful:

and I feel this ache inside. Like that's where I am meant to be.

I don't know.

Jonathan's parents lived in Germany for five years--he was born there. His mother said she was excited by the Big Crazy Plan and then she said, "After about 6 months, you'll be very homesick. You will appreciate how wonderful America is." And Jonathan told her, "I hope so. Maybe this is what I need to do, then, in order to really appreciate the U.S." Because he and I have been so disillusioned since Bush was "elected" in 2000. So maybe we need to leave our country for a while in order to truly love it again. Who knows.

And there are, of course, all the Doubts. Are we crazy to want to do this? To give up this amazingly beautiful house on this gorgeous lot? To leave all of our family and friends and live all the way around the world from them? To take our children away from their grandparents? (I know, Mom. You don't even need to post a comment. I know.) I am getting tired. All this excitement all the time is exhausting. And "Grey's Anatomy" is due to start any minute. I'll continue with the Doubts tomorrow...