Monday, September 30, 2013

a weekend of firsts

We had a very busy and productive weekend-- and there were a lot of firsts, too! Our main accomplishment of the weekend was going rock climbing in the mountains with some friends-- that was an adventure!! Unfortunately, my Sunday was far too busy to even have 10 minutes to sit down and get the pictures off my dSLR (yes, I was the girl lugging a dSLR on a freakin' long hike up a mountain to get to the place where we'd climb...but it was WORTH IT!! I think. Not that I've seen the pictures, really, yet...), so a full discussion of rock climbing is going to have to wait til tomorrow. Here's a phone picture to whet your appetite, though. I should have thought it through and worn a NOT-gray shirt so it'd be a little easier to find me in pictures, but oh well. Promise I'm there, and obviously I didn't die, so we call it a success!

I'm sure this will come as a shock to everyone, but we spent most of the rest of our time thinking about and planning for the baby! Considering that we've known about her for barely over a week, I feel like we've accomplished a lot. Or at least thought about accomplishing a lot. I think that counts. And pretty much all of these things are 'firsts' for us, too, so that makes them extra-accomplishy (that's a word). 

Baby-Related Accomplishments of Late:

1. Got a prenatal (heh heh, not really, but they call it that even when you're adopting) appointment with our first-pick pediatrician for mid-October!

2. Got our bloodwork/physicals scheduled/started for our homestudy.

3. Picked up some light reading and education at the library-

4. Used some coupons my super-sweet and helpful neighbor gave me and started our formula stockpile! Using the coupons and sales, I got one of these for free and one for about a dollar- sweet!

5. Networked with other adoptive families. So far I've been invited to join (and joined) a local 'Adoptive and Transracial Family Group' (with moms' nights and playgroups), had dinner with family friends that recently adopted their son via private adoption using the same attorney as us, discovered that a coworker I don't know well has two adopted kids (also transracial; she invited me to coffee as well!), found lots of new blogs to's been a whirlwind!! 

6. Worked on figuring out who/where I'm going to borrow all of Baby B's 'first two weeks' stuff from. (ouch, dangling preposition...sorry!!) 

7. Received our first (beautifully wrapped!) baby present!! Even better-- no birds, owls, or pastel colors!! LOVE!

Note to self: drink less coffee get some Crest Whitestrips or something...
8. Broke my 'don't buy anything until after the first 2 weeks' rule by ordering an Ergo!!! It was HALF PRICE, people!!! That never happens, so obviously I couldn't resist. 

9. Registered for ridiculous stuff I will never get and really don't need (like designer diaper bags...HAHAHAHA) just because it was fun and I can. Boom. Speaking of diaper bags...anyone who has ever had the pleasure of holding one of my 80 lb. purses in real life is probably already wondering: how on earth do I plan on adding even MORE weight to my shoulders? It's a valid question. That's why I'm going to ask the nice folks at Target if I can just register for one of their shopping carts. I think that'll be more practical for me than anything else I have to pile on my shoulders. Just a thought.

10. Freaked the freak out at church with everyone celebrating and congratulating. It was awesome. These people have been praying and fighting for us for so. many. years. This is their baby as much as ours. I have never seen so many people crying, hugging, high-fiving, and congratulating. It was awesome. Our baby is so loved already.

Well, now we're all bored stiff. Sorry 'bout that. Actually, I'm not bored. This is all pretty fun to me. :) This morning I have plans to speak with the social worker that will be doing our home study...hoping that goes well. We have physicals Wednesday. A meeting about my maternity leave on Friday. This is getting real fast!! So exciting!!

Happy Monday! I actually got some sleep last night, miracle of miracles...I feel like I can conquer the world today! Or maybe even upload my rock climbing pictures. Hopefully. Anyway. Have a great day!

Friday, September 27, 2013

planning. and a picture of the baby!

I had hoped people would be excited to hear our happy news yesterday. Expected it, really-- I mean, it's happy news! But seriously-- people (including all of you) BLEW US AWAY. My phone was basically dead (from the constant email/FB notifications) by like 10 a.m. I am so incredibly overwhelmed by the support and excitement of what feels like every single person on earth-- so thank you. I told Matt halfway through the day (when I had a mere (haha) 50 blog comments and 30 FB comments) that I wanted to print out all of them and put them in Baby B's baby book. Now there are double that many comments, plus emails, voicemails, texts...holy cow. And I still want to print them all out because if Baby B ever wonders whether she was wanted, whether she matters...I want her to know. I want to point to the hundreds of comments, to the people saying they've been praying for her, to the people excited to meet her...and it'll give me some really solid evidence to prove that yes, you were wanted. Yes, people were ECSTATIC about you. I really can't wait.

My mind is all over the place- forgive me. I've gotten about 8 hours of sleep this week. I love the people suggesting I rest up now-- WHO CAN SLEEP WHEN THEIR KID IS COOKING IN SOMEONE ELSE'S BELLY?!??!! I am far too excited, with far too many things to think about and plan, to get any sleep. Alas, I may be making a date with the beloved adrenal cocktail if my mind and body can't get back on track soon. Blech. 

We have only known about the match for a week. So no worries, people who think I've been keeping a secret/living a lie for months on end or something-- YEAH RIGHT. Like I could ever do that!! 

I want to share so much about how the match went down, about how we found out about the situation, about everything...but I'm not going to right now. Suffice it to say that this situation started out like every other situation we've had, only this time it ended with us being chosen. With phone calls with the birth mother. With joy and peace and the hope of a baby. So basically, it's been the best situation ever. :)

The baby's mom had a doctor's appointment yesterday. I was so thankful that she texted me afterwards with an update! All is looking healthy and well and Baby might be here quite a bit earlier than we were anticipating-- like, before Thanksgiving!! She'd been given two different due dates previously (for mid-Nov and early Dec) and now they're putting it even earlier, weeks should be plenty of time to prepare, right? No one really NEEDS nine months, right? Ha! That's what I'm telling myself.

I'm preparing by spending a lot of time looking at Pinterest. Ha. But's true. Sometimes I diversify by researching baby products and registering for the ones I like best. Then I become overwhelmed and do more exciting research, like about birth announcements and how to fix baby hair. Our lawyer is busy doing the boring legal things, which is going well, and we are working on getting our bloodwork and physicals done for our home study. Sometimes I wander into our nursery, which is basically an empty room with curtains. Then I feel overwhelmed by the emptiness of it, so I go back to Pinterest and print some free printable artwork. So basically I'm a champ at this baby-prepping thing. I should teach a  class, maybe. 

SPEAKING of classes- Matt and I thought maybe we should be really awesome and take some of the parenting/infant classes at the hospital. That's a normal parent-in-waiting thing to do, right? But I couldn't make it past the class descriptions. The 'Parenting Basics' (or something like that) class promised to "teach you the identifying characteristics of newborns" and I totally lost it. REALLY? I'm picturing a diagram of a baby with arrows and labels identifying arms, head, etc. Newborn babies are characterized by looking like small humans that cannot walk, talk, or do anything for themselves. You will recognize them by their high-pitched shrieks and poopy diapers. I don't know. I just feel like I don't need QUITE that basic of a class...I always was an AP class girl, ya know.

Yesterday, after updating me about her doctor's appointment, the baby's mom texted me an ultrasound picture from that day. Holy. Crap. I was in my co-worker's office at the time and she can attest-- I FELL DOWN on the floor, crying. She (and she's five months pregnant with a girl herself!) rushed over to see what was the matter, and then when she saw the picture, she sat down next to me, sobbing with me. In about two minutes, everyone in the office was sitting on the floor in that office, crying and fighting over my phone as we struggled to discern what the heck all the white blobs on the sonogram were-- but agreeing that it was most definitely the most beautiful blob-baby anyone had ever seen.

Despite the label (GIRL) and arrow, no one could figure out what we were seeing. So another co-worker took it on herself to call up a friend who is an ultrasound tech and convinced her to come by our office so that she could 'read' the sonogram to Matt and I!!! (More tears) So she did, and here is Matt and I getting educated about the first picture we have of our baby girl. (Many thanks to Diana for thinking to take pictures of us)

The reason no one could tell what the picture is is because it is evidently an extreeeemely zoomed in close-up of our baby's lady parts. Ha. The baby's mom has not been 100% convinced it was actually a girl, so apparently this is the indisputable evidence. So there is no head, arms...all you can see (if you're an ultrasound tech, because I STILL couldn't really see it) is lady parts and the umbilical cord. So...probably not the most flattering picture the girl will ever take, but I must say that is some adorable cord and amniotic fluid, wouldn't you agree??! I mean, one of her cord thingies looks like a rubber ducky, so that must count for something.

Time to get back to work. Thank you again for all the love and support yesterday-- I tried really hard to respond to comments and will get back to it today, but please know that we read and loved and cried over every single one. You guys are incredible. Thank you thank you thank you.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Sooo...I need to confess something.

I've sorta been keeping a secret from you. I've been debating whether to share. When to share. How to share. Whether sharing will somehow jinx me, even though Amanda reminds me that our God is not a God of jinxes-- and I'm repeating that to myself twenty times a day.

But this verse keeps popping back into my head, uninvited, out of nowhere:

"Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep." (Romans 12:15)

And I feel like we've done our share of weeping around here. Way more than our share. For the last few years, this (both my blog and the community of women I've met through it) has been such a safe place- a place of support, of kindness, of love. A place where so many of you-- STRANGERS, even!!-- have promised your prayers and offered kind words and cried with me. We've done our time weeping. So it only seems fair to share the happiness, too. Even if I'm scared. Even if I fear that more weeping could come in the future. Why shouldn't we take a few minutes and be happy when...well, when there is cause for happiness?

And there is cause for great happiness, my friends.

We have been chosen.


We're going to be bringing home a baby.

There is a pregnant mother right now and she chose us. She likes us. She told me with her own mouth-- when I saw you, I knew. You have been waiting far too long and now it's over. Your baby will be here soon.

And in five years of infertility and two years of pursuing adoption, we've never heard that. We've never had our hearts fill with love and fear as we contemplate being parents in two short months. We've never gotten to tell our parents that they're going to be grandparents, and our siblings that they're going to be aunts and uncles. We've never had to tell our bosses that we're going on maternity/paternity leave, or registered for cribs, or analyzed the virtues of various formulas. But now we have.

And we are so, so, SO happy. 

And of course, terrified-- not of impending parenthood, but that it could all fall apart. And it could. We're not naive. And so the fear of that happening was almost enough to make us want to keep it under wraps. But you know what?

"Be happy with those who are happy..."

Because (big shocker) we really, really want and hope and pray and believe that this will work out. That a baby girl will be joining our family right in time for the holidays. And when she does, we want to be able to tell her how excited we were to meet her. How many people love her already. How she has been prayed for, fist-pumped over, and delighted in even before she was born. I won't deprive her of the right to be loved and anticipated before she's born. This could be our only child, who knows? I would hate to waste her pre-birth days in fear. I want her to know beyond any shadow of a doubt that she is infinitely valuable and loved. By God, and by a million people- some people she'll one day meet in the flesh, and many she never will. But her life will be beautiful and I want to celebrate it now. 

We are so, so happy. Feel free to join us.
Turns out this was our babymoon! Who knew?

Matt y Erika...and finally, at long last...a baby. December 2013.

 Bless the Lord, O my soul.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

eating (haha) my words

Remember yesterday when I talked a big game about how exercising in the morning sets me up for a day of successfully avoiding all of the temptations in the break room? Ummm...yeah, about that. Seriously. Within 45 minutes of posting that, I received the following communications from co-workers. Check the times-- I got these at almost the EXACT SAME MOMENT. I mean...I couldn't make this stuff up.


9:30 a.m. and I'm getting word of the world's best cheese biscuits, amazing carrot cake, pumpkin dip, and an open invitation to get anything I wanted from Dunkin Donuts? YOU PEOPLE ARE NOT HELPING ME BECOME SKINNY. Don't you like how I really hemmed and hawed over that doughnut order, too? I seriously considered saying "nothing for me, thanks!", but then I remembered that I am not insane and I never say no when someone offers me a doughnut. So...yeah. I guess there's no danger of me starving to death around here.

There's also no danger of me becoming disorganized-- yesterday our long-awaited, much-anticipated, amazing, beautiful, fully-customized, fan-freaking-tastic Plum Paper Designs 2014-2015 (18-month) planners arrived!!

There was no shortage of squealing and freaking out as we opened our packages, trust me. I am SUPER excited about my new planner and can't wait to get started entering in all of my events and plans for next year! I think it's safe to say that the people at my work fall into two categories: those that are SUPER PASSIONATE about planners (and therefore were highly excited, impressed, and jealous of ours) and those who stare at you like you grew a third head. And then jot down whatever date they need to remember on a post-it note, which they will probably lose in 5 minutes. I've never been prouder to be a member of the first group! And it's pretty great being surrounded by like-minded folks. Especially when there's doughnuts. And pumpkin dip... And cheese biscuits... And cake... 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

on feeling successful

Last week, after we'd gotten up early and gone running a few times, Matt commented that the best part about running in the morning is that he gets to feel successful the rest of the day. He expained, "I feel like really successful people probably get up and work out in the morning." So then we would kind of joke about it, like at the end of the day instead of saying "how was your day?" or "thank God THAT'S over...", we'd be like "what OTHER successes did you have today?" or "how did you dominate the rest of your day?" And really I know that sounds cheesy and self-help-y, but it was all tongue-in-cheek...but with a little bit of truth.

When you start your day out with something that makes you feel successful, maybe it encourages you to find other ways to feel successful throughout the day? At least for us, the mornings that we've gotten up and gone for a run...the whole rest of the morning goes more smoothly. Even though it means BOTH of us have to shower (I normally shower at night) and theoretically adds more to our morning to-do list, I guess we've been timing it really well and we actually end up having MORE time to get ready, eat, and take care of stuff before we leave the house on time. When we don't run, we tend to snooze til the absolute last minute and then swirl around like a double tornado in our frantic rush to accomplish the bare minimum before we leave. So running has led to more peaceful and productive mornings. So no wonder we get to work feeling better, more ready for the day, and like...dude, I just ran. I'm not going to ruin it by chowing down on doughnuts in the break room (although exceptions will certainly be made for snack mix and/or pumpkin spice doughnuts). It's like I'm setting myself up for an altogether more successful day just by doing one thing different in the morning. It blows the mind, right?

This morning, as we leisurely sipped our coffee out of ACTUAL mugs and not the travel mugs we usually have to rely on, Matt again declared that running in the morning is probably one of the 'seven habits' of Successful People. Neither of us has actually read that book, but he Googled to find out what those habits are (because if you don't snooze til 6:50, you have time to do stuff like Google). Turns out that 'exercising in the morning' isn't technically one of the habits they propose, but it sort of combines two of them (prioritizing your day and exercising). So obviously we are geniuses because we figured that out without even reading the book. BOOM.

That got me to thinking about what other things I do (or could be doing) that make me feel successful. Because the thing is-- feeling successful feels good. A lot of things in life are out of my control. But the things that I can control...well, if some of them can make me feel like my day/life has been more successful, then I should make a point of doing them, right? So I did some brainstorming, and here are some of the Habits of a Highly Successful Erika. I know. Catchy.

(Not to imply that I regularly (or ever) do all of these things...I'm just saying that if I did, they would make me feel successful)

1. Exercise. Obviously I just went on and on about how doing it in the morning is the MOST successful, but truly-- doing it at all makes me feel pretty happy.

2. Spending time with Jesus. Like exercising...if I do it in the morning, it helps fuel the rest of my day. But doing it anytime is better than nothing. 

3. Fixing my hair. That is, having it look any other way than a ponytail, bun, or braid. I go through phases with this. Currently I am experiencing zero success in this department, ha.

4. Drinking water. I drink so little water (or anything. I basically drink a cup of coffee in the morning and then very little the rest of the day except maybe a cup of water at dinner) it's a miracle I am alive. I hate drinking stuff and I never feel thirsty, and I REALLY hate drinking when I'm not thirsty, so carrying a water bottle around all day doesn't do anything except add to the amount of things I'm juggling in my hands. But if I do make a point to drink water and then I actually do it, I feel so PROUD of almost makes up for the extra thousand trips to the ladies room. Bah. (In this vein, today I put lemon and mint in a waterbottle in hopes that the prettiness/flavor will entice me to drink the whole thing. Fingers crossed.)

5. Being thoughtful. I don't think I'm naturally inclined to being thoughtful. Does that sound awful? I'm just not- but that's no good excuse for not doing it. I just mean-- I never think to initiate a coffee date with a friend, call my grandparents, bring in treats for my co-workers, or send birthday cards to loved ones. I rarely buy gifts for people 'just because' and half the time I forget to buy them even when there's a valid reason. And then I feel really guilty, but it doesn't translate into remembering to be more thoughtful the next time. Ugh. BUT- if I DO remember to do some thoughtful thing, even if it's small, I feel like a better friend/daughter/person. So I need to do this more often. Today I feel successful because I texted my mom to initiate us coming down for a visit next month. It made her day. Why don't I do this more often??

Alright. I'm gonna quit at five today. I mean, if I went for seven, I'd feel obligated to just write my own book, and don't nobody have time for that. So I have five things that are completely in my control that can contribute to me having a successful day. Now someone please explain to me why on any given day I accomplish zero to one of those things? Exactly. I defy logic. Today, though-- today I could get FOUR! All I have to do is actually DRINK the water in the bottle and we're golden. Unfortunately, the ship has already sailed for fixing my hair. Hope you like seeing my bun. Again.

Monday, September 23, 2013

and on the 8th day, He created pumpkin spice doughnuts.

 And it was good. Very, very good.

We had a fabulous weekend celebrating the arrival of fall and hanging out with our siblings in Charlotte, NC. This was our first ever 'siblings weekend' (we need a catchier name)-- Matt and I drove up, Amy (Matt's sis) and Tom (and baby Timmy!) drove down, and we all crashed Stephen (Matt's bro) & Jessica's house for the weekend! We split our time pretty evenly between playing games, shopping, and eating Krispy Kreme Pumpkin Spice doughnuts. And honestly, it wouldn't have killed me to spend a little MORE time with those doughnuts because HOLLA they are good. Oh, we made s'mores, too! In the fireplace! So fun. Basically, we did not starve.

Also, we barely took any pictures. That's how you know you're having fun-- when you're too busy to take pictures or to be thinking about your future blog posts and how you will wish that you'd taken pictures. Good times, living in the moment. 

Here we are last night, cozy by the fire (HELLO FALL, YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!) playing Family Business. I'd never played before but I did manage to win my very first game of it, so obviously I have what it takes to be in the Mafia.

Naturally, playing with Timmy was a highlight of the weekend. I think the highlight of HIS weekend was trying to pet Steve & Jess's kitty and climbing into these ottomans. And then he looked like a jack-in-the-box and it was super adorable. So at least I got a picture of that!
PS. Jess would probably like you to know that she is reupholstering this will not remain pink. She likes pops of color, but not like that.
The ladies did some shopping for the wedding on Saturday and I'm happy to report that I did find a dress. I need a few key accessories before I'm ready to call it a done deal (namely some awesome bright-colored wedges...I'm thinking mustard or purple), but I think it fits the bill. It also has an exposed zipper that runs down the entire front of the dress, from the neckline to the bottom. And it's like...scandaloussssss!!! Hahaha. It was very strange unzipping the entire dress, slipping it on, and then zipping it back up. I hope nobody gets any cute ideas about 'oh, I'll pretend to unzip Erika's dress!' and then...does it. Because it would totally go all the way down. Luckily I'm not in middle school, so the odds of this happening are slim, but still. Maybe I should wear a bathing suit under it or something.

It was a great weekend-- I must say, the only way it could have been better would have been if we'd been able to eat Krispy Kreme Pumpkin Spice doughnuts a few more times. Truly, I feel like we could have been a little more committed to the cause. Oh well. There's always next time...we'll all be back in 3 weeks for our cousin's wedding! (PS. The Krispy Kreme was in the same parking lot as an Ulta and I DID NOT EVEN GO IN ONCE!!! Can you even believe it? Have I gone insane? Who even am I?....)

Friday, September 20, 2013

happy happy happy!

So yesterday afternoon I lied to you.

I didn't mean to. Deepest apologies and all that.

I said I was going to get back to my online dress hunting/shopping. And I really meant to. That was 100% my plan.

But then one thing led to click led to another...and the next thing I knew?

This was happening:

I went back to the beach and had some severe sudden-onset testosterone level problems?
 I discovered that they invented a Duck Dynasty Beard Booth App. And I may never go back to unbearded pictures again. If you ask me, a nice full beard really livens up just about any picture! 

Matt was still working late, so I 'helped' him finish up by texting him all of my newly-enhanced photos.

He looks fierce, Jack.

We're going to spend the weekend with my sisters- and brothers-in-law (and Baby Timmy!) in Charlotte this weekend. So I thoughtfully texted my SIL Jess this picture and said "can't wait to see your gorgeous face tomorrow!!"


Well, that's about all I have to say. Obviously I have some more picture-enhancing to do, and I'm guessing you're only half paying attention anyway as you frantically download the app yourself, so I'll bid you adieu and only ask that you make it your weekend goal to post at least one beardy picture on Instagram so that I can laugh at it. Thanks in advance!!

Matt actually looks pretty sexy here. I look like a caveman. Go figure.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

conundrums. and makeup. and food.

Alright. So this whole get up and run in the morning thing? It's all fun and games (no it's not) until YOU EAT ALL OF THE FOOD IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE BECAUSE YOU ARE SO HUNGRY ALL DAY AFTER THAT. Seriously. If I were currently tracking my caloric intake, I think that MyFitnessPal would break. So while I like the feeling of accomplishment and superiority that comes with running in the morning, I do not like stuffing my face all day. I mean, well, actually I do like stuffing my face, but I will not like the end result of that after a few weeks. There's no way running 2 miles burns enough calories to justify 11 extra meals. No way. So...what's up with that?

Also: what's up with fashion this fall. Not fashion in general- I'm a fan of most everything this season (except booties...heck no). It's just that I'm going to a cousin's wedding in October and I'm looking for a dress and like--- what? No. No, no, no. Maybe I'm totally out of touch with fashion or something, but this should not be so hard. So please tell me: what should a 30 year old fashionista (hahaha) such as myself be wearing to an outdoor (park), casual-ish evening wedding in October in Charlotte, NC, and where do I buy it? My budget is on the Target-Old Navy-Forever 21 end of things, although exceptions could be made for exceptional dresses. Bonus points if I can wear it to work the rest of the fall/winter, too. Oh, and Matt's a groomsman and they're wearing these pants (in Russian Red) I would like to not clash with him.

In more positive fashion news, my box of Sephora goodies came in! 

I am looooving the Urban Decay Dangerous Palette. So far I've used Deeper, Loaded, and Evidence (mixed in with shades from some other palettes I have) and it's been excellent. So many great few appropriate places to wear them. The good thing about bangs, though, is that it makes it hard for people to notice your not-appropriate-for-daytime eye makeup. I mean, it's a bad thing, too, because I can spend 30 minutes on my eyes and then no one can see them. But it's okay. I know they look awesome, and I can pull up my bangs and admire their awesomeness to my heart's content in the mirror and that's all that really matters, I guess. 

In other news, I am still declaring eMeals to be the Best Thing Ever. We have made 3 meals and I am itching to get home and make tonight's (Spinach and Feta Pie; Orzo with Olives). It is definitely doing the trick and making me excited to cook at home. Sit down, because I'm going to share some shocking news. I didn't even go to Taco Tuesday this week. I KNOW. This hasn't happened in like...2 years or something (without extenuating circumstances like being out of town). And I chose to cook instead of go to Taco Tuesday. Don't expect that to be a regular occurrence or anything, but it seemed noteworthy to me.

Well, back to my regularly-scheduled online hunt for a dress. And another hour of trying really hard to not go raid my co-worker's candy jar while I wait for Matt to finish working late...gaaaaaahhhhhh. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

the confession booth

Join me in the confessional for a few moments, will you?

1. I may be 30 years old and supposedly mature, but I must admit that this week I decided to teach a co-worker a valuable life lesson (slash pay him back for a way he legitimately wronged me) by means of seriously pranking his office when he was away at a conference. I'm sure I could have handled this issue by means of like...conflict-resolution or a serious conversation, but neither of those has quite the same appeal to me that messing around with his office/mind did. This consequently made yesterday, the day he came back and discovered all of my work, a great day...I got to watch him discover the many layers of my pranking as the day went on. And he hasn't found everything yet. I consider the best pranking to be the kind where they're still discovering stuff months down the road, and it looks like I succeeded with that here. Point: Erika!

2. Throughout my whole life I have selected running/workout shoes based 100% on the following qualities (in this order): price, cuteness, comfort. This means that my shoes have always been within my budget, reasonably cute, and at least semi-comfortable. However, now that I am anciently old and my body is falling apart...and yet I still desire to remain active and in-shape...I have decided to go to an actual running store and get a legit fitting/consultation for my next shoes. I'm pretty excited about the whole process, really, because it looks really scientific and fun-- they videotape your legs/feet while you run on a treadmill so that they can analyze your stride, you stand on this scanner thing that will analyze the way your weight distributes on your feet, and also you bring in your old running shoes so that they can analyze the 'wear' pattern. I mean, that sounds awesome. And then it's like a multi-part fitting/selection process for new shoes. I'm pretty pumped...or I will be as long as my future shoes still end up being cute and neon. But ever since I've decided to do this, I'm thinking about it all the time while I run (still in my old Asics). And I think I have possibly too lofty of expectations for my future shoes. Like, early in my run I start thinking about how 'oh, when I have my new shoes my knees might not hurt!' and then my feet get sore and I'm like 'if I had my NEW shoes, my feet would still feel great!'...and those things are hopefully true. But after a mile or so (which to me is like...long distance...haha) I think I become delirious in my expectations. When I have my new shoes, I bet my lungs won't hurt when I run!! ...because Mizunas cure asthma or something??...if I had my NEW shoes on, my thighs would definitely not be chafing...stupid old me, if shoes gave you instantly thinner thighs, I would have already bought them. When I have my new shoes, I am going to be so much more awake and have more energy and run further!! Good luck living up to all this, New Shoes. Bless your heart(s?).

3. (BITTER INFERTILE PERSON WARNING!) Like most people, I'm pretty excited to see fall coming...I'm only sad that fall happens to coincide with one of my least favorite times of year to be on social media/around people with kids: the time change. This twice-annual event is, evidently, the WORST THING IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE for lucky bastards with kids. And everyone needs to know about it. All the time. For at least a month surrounding the actual blasted event. I mean, forget war...poverty...mass shootings...disease...floods. PEOPLE HAVE TO SPEND AN EXTRA HOUR OR THREE CUDDLING/BEING WITH WITH THEIR OFF-SCHEDULE BABIES! THE INJUSTICE!!! THE MISERY!!! Trust me, I'm crying a river on your behalf. Really. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone complain about the awfulness of the time change, I could afford a lot more infertility treatments. Sorry for the bitterness. It's just...yeah. Seriously. Sorry.

4. So there's this snack mix in the break room at work. It was left over from some kind of event over the of those homemade Chex mix-type things, where they mixed all the components together and then put some kind of seasoning on it and baked it. And it is possibly the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. So salty. So many delicious ingredients (Chex! Golfish! GOOD mixed nuts- like pecans, pistachios, almonds, and cashews! Bugles! Nothing sweet!)...the seasoning...I mean, it's ridiculous. And I should be ashamed to admit that my work week has basically revolved around that snack mix. "After I do X and Y, I will get snack mix." "If I complete Z by 11:00, I will get snack mix!" And when I hear other people commenting on how tasty it is, I get really panicky because I fear that they are going to eat it all and then there will be none left and THEN WHAT WILL I HAVE TO LIVE FOR??? It's a problem. A delicious problem. Unfortunately, at the current trajectory, it looks like it will run out today, so...feel free to pray for fish-and-loaves-type miracles.

Four confessions. If you glean one fact about me out of each confession and put it all together, you can conclude that I am an immature, bitter fatty who is a little bit delusional about shoes. Sounds about right. And now I will bid you adieu. Gotta beat my co-workers to the break room.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Over the weekend, in an unprecedented act of decisiveness, I decides to go ahead and sign up for eMeals. After less than a week of debate and fact-gathering??!-- I know, who is this person and what did she do with Erika? When it came down to it, it was only $18 for a 3-month that price point, it's not much of a gamble. Better to just get it and try rather than think it to death, right? Right. 

So last night was our very first eMeals meal and I was excited about it all day long. We're doing the Mediterranean plan right now because it closely resembles how we like to eat...lots of fresh veggies and fruit, fish, not much meat. We're planning to do four meals this week, Monday through Thursday...then we'll be out of town for the weekend. So it'll be a good kickoff week, I think.

And the verdict from last night??



We had Mediterranean Stuffed Squash as the main course and Polenta with Wilted Tomatoes for the side. And it was DELICIOUS! And looked really fancy.  Not surprisingly, I spent a lot of time patting myself on the back after we started eating. But seriously. It was yum. 
eMeals - Dinner Done

With one day of eMeals under the belt (literally...), I think I'm fully qualified to say its awesome and everyone should sign up. Tonight is some kind of fish and risotto thing...risotto from scratch?? Wish me luck. 

In other words, I've gotten up early and gone for a run two out of two days this week. That's 100%, for those of you not so mathematically-inclined. So basically, this week I am winning at life. Running AND cooking my own food?? Surely there is a medal for this level of achievement. 

Unfortunately, morning running means I require more coffee to I am off to Starbucks. Have a happy day!

EDIT: How typical!! This morning my friend received a Groupon email with a freakin' great deal on eMeals!! Sadly, I'm already signed up, but if you're considering it, this would get you a year's worth of meal plans for a song!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

o my soul.

Yesterday morning I was at church early, rehearsing with the worship team. While we were practicing, I saw my phone alert a text message. Since it was from my sister, who isn't normally in the habit of pre-10 a.m. Sunday morning texts, I grabbed my phone to see what was up. 

Many of you probably understand the type of dread that you immediately, unintentionally associate with receiving calls/texts/messages from certain people. With most people (okay, females of child-bearing age) in my life, I immediately, subconsciously brace myself for a pregnancy announcement. You get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that plants itself there for the amount of time it takes you to unlock your phone and access your message. I don't know what your particular 'insta-dread' is-- maybe it's seeing your child's school show up on CallerID. Maybe it's your sick grandmother's caretaker, the one that will definitely be making the call when tragedy strikes. And even though that person may be calling or texting to chat about the weather or chaperoning a field trip or the touchdown in last night's football game-- it's still there. The minute you see their name flash, you assume the worst. Even though 99% of the time a call from that person is innocuous, you're ready for the 1%. The time when the news will be hard to take. The time when your emotions need to be ready.

With my sister...well, her husband is serving in Afghanistan. The level of 'potential bad' that could be in a call or text from her is pretty damn legitimately bad.

This is what she texted me yesterday:

I thank you in advance for ignoring her spelling errors. My sister has a thousand incredible talents-- spelling has never been counted amongst them, so we'll just let it go. ;)
 Is it 'the news'? You know...the news you know every military wife is sitting at home praying they never hear? No. Thank God, this news was not the worst. But it still hit me like a sucker-punch. Right there, in the middle of my practice, I burst out crying.

Because this? It's too hard. And it's not even my husband...but this having your man away at war's too much. A heart can only bear so much, I think...and knowing that there's nothing but prayer and a Kevlar vest separating the brave members of our troops from...that...I just...I can't. I hate war, and I hate injustice, and I hate guns, and I hate that some people die so that others can live freely. I hate that my sister has to live with the knowledge that her husband may not come home. That one morning, it may not be an email telling her about a close could be men at her doorstep, holding a flag.

It's too much.

And here I was, trying to sing-- trying to worship the God that I fully believe is in control of it all. Who is worthy of all glory, all honor, all praise-- even if the worst happens. Even when then worst happens. Even when life is unfair. And I just...I wept. My heart and my mind and everything, they just can't always put it all together in a neat package and understand how it works. How God is good and his love endures...even when we don't see it. Even when things don't look good. When they don't feel good.

And it's weird, because-- I mean, really, it was kind of a GOOD text, right? I mean...Mark's safe. Some of his men are injured, but they're alive. And so we rejoice, and we thank God for His protection, and we beg for more. But I was suddenly faced with the truth of how fickle my heart is, how easily swayed my faith-- if the news had not been so good, would I still be able to have kept singing? Because it was hard enough as it was...and the news was good.

And then we got to the last song of rehearsal, and it's a song I deeply love. But what I really love is the last part of the song, at the end...and over and over we sing 'o my soul, praise Him...o my soul, praise Him.' And I love that because it's beautiful and it's true. It's over and over in the Psalms, when David is distraught and lost and his life really sucks, and he says 'O my soul- praise Him.' And he's bossing his soul around, you know? He commands his soul...he's like 'soul, I know you're a mess right now, and you're not in a good place, and you don't even understand where God is or what's going on, and you don't know if you'll make it til tomorrow....but PRAISE HIM still.' He doesn't wait for his circumstances to shape back up, or his mind to get in a happier state. He commands his soul to praise Him. And I love that and I need that, because I am like David. If we leave my worship up to my emotions, then I'll praise Him when I feel like it. I'll praise Him when things are going well and people are healthy and money is flowing and Mark and his troops are getting bored from sitting around doing nothing in their barracks all day. And that's fine. But what about all the other days? What about the rest of the time, when things aren't great, when people are sick and relationships are strained and uteruses are broken and civilians are being slaughtered by their own government...and it's just not okay and it's too much.

Then O my soul, praise Him.

Then even still, it is well with my soul.

I'm not a theologian and I don't have a lot of things figured out, but when I am weak and when I am sad and when I want to shake my fist at God and tell him it just isn't fair...I'm learning instead to command my soul to praise Him.

And yesterday I got to do that in real time. As I stood there and wept, and the rest of the band played on and probably wondered why women get so emotional at the drop of a hat, I made the choice to praise Him. And maybe it was a liiiiiittle easier since ultimately, there wasn't any bad news in that text. So I don't know why it plowed me over the way it did. But I am thankful that it happened when and where it did, because while I cried and struggled with why God lets war happen, why innocent people have to die, and why my sister has to go to bed every night wondering whether she'll be awakened by the most horrible news of her life, I was in a safe place where people I love stopped everything to pray with me. To pray for my sister, and her husband, and our troops. Their eyes filled with tears, too, and we hugged and shook our heads and wondered at our fallen humanity and the unfairness of life. 

And then together...o my soul, praise Him. And when our eyes welled with tears again, we reminded one another: O my soul, praise Him.

I am so, so thankful for my community of faith. For a church that doesn't brush hurt and confusion under the rug, but cries along with me-- even as they cry out. For a God of abundant, reckless love. O my soul...praise Him.

PS. The song we sang that had me crying all day is O My Soul by Samuel Lane. If you use this link, the 'o my soul' part starts around 3 minutes. I can guarantee you I'll be singing it all day long...feel free to join me if your soul needs some bossing around. If you want to listen to a much less-polished version, shot with the amazing technology of an iPhone, with lots of off-tune congregational singing mixed in, Matt did record us yesterday at the end of the song. You can watch it, but only if you promise not to laugh at me.

Friday, September 13, 2013

the boulevard of broken (eucalyptus) dreams

On Tuesday morning while I was scanning Pinterest, a particular photo and caption caught my eye. I didn't re-pin it, so I can't say exactly which pin it was, but the picture was something like this:
The caption went something like this: "When I was in _____ (some European country) I noticed that everyone had bouquets of eucalyptus in their shower. I couldn't figure out why until I was taking a shower one night. The hot steam from the shower mixes with the fragrant eucalyptus and makes the entire bathroom smell just divine!! It was like a spa!!"

Well I mean...that certainly sounds delightful. And do-able, when you have this growing in your front yard:

So I made a mental note to do a little eucalyptus pruning/home-spa-creating at some point in the future. I told Matt about it and I think he was even more excited at the prospect than I was. 

So last night we trimmed a few branches, and I turned them into a 'bouquet' with the help of a rubber band and some string. Then I spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out where the heck to hang them in my teensy, coffin-like shower. Unlike whoever's shower is in that picture above, I actually use PRODUCTS in the shower...and those products need a home, and that home happens to be in a hanging thing that hooks over the showerhead. There was no space for a large bouquet of leaves if I ever hope to use my shampoo or face wash again. Which I do, for the record. 

I finally found a suitable spot to hang them, and then it was go time. Operation: My Lame Shower is a Spa Now was complete!



Ummm...yeah. Maybe there is something wrong with my eucalyptus? (Which I don't think there is-- it smells freakin awesome in the yard when the wind blows, and your hands smell really good after I touch it, so I'd say it's as fragrant as you'd expect) Maybe there's something wrong with the steam in my shower? But I really couldn't smell it in the shower. I even moved it so that it was hanging literally 4 inches from my nose.


Biggest letdown ever!!

I think that at the very beginning of the shower, prior to opening any (scented) products, I could smell it very faintly. But as soon as I started using shampoo and body wash, that's all I could smell. So then it was just like I had a big plant taking up precious real estate in my already-cramped shower. BUMMER.

So...sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this wasn't the life-changing shower experience I know we were all hoping for. We left it in there and thought maybe things would be different this morning when Matt showered. I had big plans of the bathroom having this magical scent enveloping me as I apply my eye Not at all.

Maybe my 'bouquet' isn't big enough? Maybe I'll add some more branches to it tonight and it will become more potent. Then again, maybe I'll have to move out of the shower altogether cause there really is not enough room for a huge tree AND me in there. Good grief, Pinterest. How you toy with my heart.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

an app, a book, a date

Last night on Facebook I saw my friend Lisa mention a new app she was a little obsessed with: Fooducate. I downloaded it to see what the fuss was about, and then I proceeded to spend the rest of my night scanning everything in my kitchen. Even Matt got in on the fun. It's an app that has several functions-- one of them being a food tracker-type thing (like MyFitnessPal or something). I'm not interested in that at the moment, but the food grading system is what really drew me in here. You can just scan the barcode of any food and it will instantly give you a 'grade' for that food, as well as a lot of interesting tidbits about the product. It doesn't just grade items based on calories or fat (or things you could easily figure out on your own by looking at the nutrition panel), but also on things such as controversial additives, chemicals, presence of GMOs, and a bunch of other crazy things. I'm telling you-- for someone like me, who is already fairly interested/aware of that kind of was an ADDICTION running around my kitchen, scanning like crazy!! I was holding my breath as I scanned my favorite/most-frequently-eaten foods, praying they wouldn't get failing grades or weird alerts for strange ingredients. There were plenty of pleasant surprises as well as huge let-downs.

Look- all of my favorite coffee products and veggies got good grades!! (When you are actively scanning (this is just a glimpse of the history), you get much more information and details about each item.)

Probably NOT terribly surprising-- but still devastating-- was how poorly my favorite gum fared. Oh poor delicious watermelon gum. You got a D+ ('much worse than average') grade!! Now I'm going to have to feel super guilty every time I chew you...which is like 11 times a day. Boo.

Anyway. I can't wait to scan everything in the whole grocery store next time I go. If you're looking for a free, educational way to kill some time-- I recommend downloading this! It's free and available for iPhones and Androids. And now I totally sound like an advertisement, but whatever. If you have this app, you should tell me what your biggest disappointment/lowest scoring item is. And whether you will quit eating it or not. I'm undecided on my gum. (Oh- we happened to have a container of Yakisoba noodles that our visiting Chinese student left. It was like 'extra cheesy' or something, which makes me want to vomit-- CHEESY RAMEN NOODLES?! Ick. Anyway. We figured it'd get the lowest score in the house. It did do pretty poorly- a D...which is like...equivalent to my gum. TRAGEDY. I was hoping it'd get an F.)

Oh! While I'm busy being a walking advertisement, I would be remiss to not point you in the direction of Sephora's sale page. There are some super legit eyeshadow palettes on mega-clearance...some of which I own and paid A LOT MORE for a year ago. Which I'm not bitter about or anything. Anyway. I'm plotting my own order, so my only request is that you not beat me to it and snatch up the rest of the inventory of what I want. Thanks so much!

Last night I started reading Ridiculous. That's seriously the name of it. I had my doubts about how enjoyable it would be, especially since I was busy judging the title and cover and plot, but I'm glad I gave it a go: HILARIOUS. It's actually a miracle I'm blogging right this minute and not reading. Self-control, people. Between that book and the food app, I really don't see how I'm going to get anything done for the rest of the week. Sheesh. 

Today I'm having lunch with Amanda G.!! I'm not sure if you can still call it a 'blate' if you've already met and hung out in real life before? Since this is our second time to hang out, I guess you can just call it lunch with a friend. Anyway. I have been super pumped about that all week and now all of YOU get to be jealous, too!! With that, I'm off to scan random food items in my office and scarf down a few more paragraphs of cross-dressing Regency romance...yeah. For real. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

things i want

Yesterday I decided to mix things up. Instead of using my hour of free time before work to blog, I rebelliously perused Pinterest instead. I know. Life on the wild side. To be honest, I haven't looked at Pinterest much at all in the last 6 months or so, so I was time. A new season, right? So that means tons of new pumpkin and caramel things to pin (and never make), fall crafts to know how it is. 

I'm not sure if this slight change in my morning routine is what threw my day (or at least my mental state) off a bit or what, but I've gotta say: the rest of the day was spent thinking about THE THINGS I WANT. Pinterest does nothing for making you satisfied with what you already have, does it? It makes you want all the things you DON'T have. Bah. But strangely, the things I spent the rest of my day obsessing about weren't actually material sort of things.


A subscription to E-Meals

Maybe it was all the food pictures on Pinterest that reminded me that I never cook anymore. So when I start contemplating a recipe, or thinking about buying stuff to cook a recipe, I feel immediately overwhelmed. And then a friend of mine blogged about how much she hates meal planning, and then it hit me: they invented a solution to this problem already. E-meals. Why the heck am I not doing E-meals?? I remember researching it a few months back and thinking it sounded pretty awesome-- some of my co-workers use it and rave. So I spent the rest of the day pondering it, convincing Matt that it's totally necessary, and thinking about how awesome life will be (and how happy my wallet will be) if I can get back in the habit of cooking and not eating out 48 times a week. So I think I'll be biting the bullet here. Soon. Like maybe today. I think I want to start with the Mediterranean plan. The sample menu looked totally awesome and most similar to how we eat. Anyone a fan (or not a fan...that perspective is also welcome) of E-meals? Any idea how I can get my subscription to come with a personal chef and maid who will come and actually do the cooking and cleaning? I think that's really gonna be the key to getting me to eat at home.


A tattoo.

I know. This is very unlike me. But there it is. It's been in my mind for the last week or so. I think it got in my head while I was reading know...since I'm so Dauntless and all. I just really need a tat. Unfortunately, that's as far as I've made it. I have no idea of WHAT, or WHERE, or like...anything. So that's pretty dumb, really. I guess I like the idea of having a tattoo but I'm really lacking on the specifics. Oh also I'm sure I'm way too much of a pansy to actually let someone stab me with needles, so I'm gonna put the odds of me actually GETTING one at like...slim to none. But nevertheless-- let the record state that today, I really want one.

OH- but then I saw this on Pinterest. And it cracked me up. And quickly eliminated 'random Chinese word' from my bank of potential tat ideas. 

My favorite thing about that picture is that 'water' is in Comic Sans. HAHAHAHA. Way to pick the most stereotypically awful font in the entire world. (Note: sometimes my friend/co-worker Diana and I will change our email fonts to REALLY AWFUL fonts like Comic Sans, Curlz, or something else ridiculous when we email our other graphic designer co-worker. It's really hilarious. To us. I think it makes our designer friend cry.)

The final thing I spent my day jealously wishing was that I were going to the Mumford concert last night with everyone else in the state of Georgia. Life is so unfair. Instead, I ate Mexican food and listened to my Mumford Pandora station. I'm sure it's exactly the same as being there. Oh well. Maybe I'll go see if there are any awesome tattoos of Mumford lyrics. In Chinese. Or Comic Sans. Equally amazing, I'm sure.

Monday, September 9, 2013

another extremely cohesive monday post

The weekend got off to a solid start shortly after I posted on Friday morning. This guy dropped by my office for a little 'you can make it til 5!' pep talk and was kind enough to pose for a picture before he disappeared into the supply room with a brown-bag-covered bottle...

Despite the fact that it looks like he's stabbing my left arm with his sword, I can assure you that our relationship is decidedly peaceful, as pirate-professional relationships go. As a side note: it's hard to say whose shirt has more ruffles. Ha. 

My weekend goal was to purchase fall nail polish, and I can happily say I accomplished that by about 6:30pm on Friday. What can I say? Sometimes I get really goal-oriented. 

Hand pictures are weird.
 I went with Essie's 'mochachino'-- according to Essie, it's 'a perky gray with shimmer,' which is pretty much true, but I'd say there are definite undertones of brown to it as well. All in all I love it and feel much more seasonally appropriate now with my garish hot pink gone. I used a dark navy-ish purple with shimmer on my's OPI from last season but I forgot to check the name of it. Anyway, since there's a good chance we'll still be in open-toed sandals for another 2 months, it's nice to have my toes join in the seasonally-appropriate party as well.

Since my weekend goals were basically accomplished by the time I'd arrived home Friday afternoon, the rest of the weekend was pretty much gravy. We got a lot of yard work done, I read 2.5 novels, and we watched a lot of football.

I also spent the better part of Sunday afternoon *ahem* organizing my Kindle.

I know. THIS is how exciting my life is.

But seriously! A few months ago I was really slack about deleting books off the Kindle once I'd read them, so things were getting really out of hand. Add to it the fact that I occasionally go on free-book-downloading sprees and will download 3-6 books at a time...and maybe do that several times before I ever get around to actually READING a book...and what I had was 8 pages of book titles that I had no idea what they were about/if I'd read them yet...and it was getting really overwhelming. When I want to read a book, I usually am in the mood for a particular genre. So then I'd be squinting at 8 pages of titles, trying to decide 'is this a historical romance?' or was annoying. SO! I discovered that you can create 'collections' on your Kindle..basically make groups, name them whatever you want, and then file your books into handy little collections!

So I spent an obscene amount of hours with my laptop and Kindle-- I'd look up every single book, figure out what category it belonged in, and file it. Or determine that I was temporarily insane when I'd downloaded it and delete. Or realize that I'd already read it and delete it. So basically, the Kindle equivalent of spring-cleaning my closet or something. I almost never re-read books, so I didn't save any previously-read books unless a) I paid for them (which is very few), or b) I might want to loan them to someone. Therefore, don't think that the numbers in each category really mean anything...that's just the number of unread books. For instance, Nonfiction and Memoirs will probably remain stuck at 5 for about 5 years because I'm pretty much never in the mood to read either of those genres. :) But Loooooove Stories, Mysteries, Historical Romance, and Dystopian categories see a lot of flux. Because obviously those genres are the best.

SO! Now you know more than you ever wanted to know about my Kindle and my OCD organization strategies. 

Finally, a non-recommendation:
I was so excited to find this at Aldi yesterday. You know how I love me a good mojito. And since I have pretty cheap taste in alcohol (beer proving the exception to that rule), I figured a wine-cooler-knockoff version would suit me just fine.



End of that story. The fact that I dumped out my glass after 2 sips should tell you something. ICK. Save yourself the $4.99, people. NO BUENO.

Matt was like 'IT TASTES LIKE MINT!! AHHHH!' (that's a negative/grossed out 'ahhhh' by the way). I was like 'it's a's SUPPOSED to taste like mint, genius. What do you think the plant they muddle in the bottom of the glass is?' And then I drank it. And by 'tastes like mint,' what Matt meant (mint? HAHAHAHA so punny) was 'tastes like disgustingly sweet mouthwash.' Anyway...there's an entire bottle minus 2 sips in my fridge if this sounds like something you're interested in. Maybe I should give it to my BFF Jack Sparrow? I hear pirates are pretty indiscriminate in their drinking...

Have a great week!!