office expressions.

musings from my experience at the home/office.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Somehow I forgot...I got a little lost...and life just sort of happened and I found myself listening to other people and thinking: I used to be well spoken and have 'deep thoughts'. I used to feel [overly]confident in my intellect and my ability to communicate my thoughts through words, pen or brush stroke. I found myself wondering what happened to that highly intellectual girl who majored in Theology and minored in Philosophy and Studio Art, and who relished nothing more than a deep conversation over a cup of coffee or around a roaring fire. Where did she go?

And then I remembered. I heard her tiny little voice squeaking out through random craft projects I would do around the house. 'One day' projects that could be accomplished during a night of watching netflix, or simple handcrafts, or even when trying a new recipe. She was still there, stuck in the corners of myself, trying to connect.

And today, I did it. I picked up a paint brush and there she/I was. It was as if every brush stroke brought a rush of emotion and thought to the surface. The backyard was quiet, the clouds were illumunated in peach, purple and magenta by the setting sun. But inside my soul, an awakening was happening.

No wonder I have done my best in the classes when I doodled the most. Those notebooks covered in random wandering sketches as my mind opened to the teacher's lesson. A simultaneous act of creating while taking in the world around me...this is how I learn best. This is when I think most clearly. This is when inspiration and connection with my own Creator occurs. When I myself am creating.

This is what it's like to be 'right-brained', and I had honestly forgotten how good and normal and comforting it is. I am sitting in a toddler's disheveled living room, with puzzles and blocks scattered everywhere...but it's no wonder I have been buying every type of crayon I can get my hands on for little H. My latest discovery, dry-erase board crayons, are my personal favorite. And they are all over my living room. I guess I wasn't totally lost, but it's good to be back in that creative space again...even if all I am doing is refinishing a coffee table!
my studio this evening.

Monday, May 6, 2013


As spring has s.l.o.w.l.y....arrived in Denver (we have had snow once a week for the last four weeks!)...I have found myself living in a very nostalgic place. One year ago I was creating crazy spreadsheets titled "paycheck week-by-week for maternity leave" or "who tell tell first when baby arrives", creating draft 'birth announcement' emails so all I had to do was fill in the 'he/she', name, and birth stats, and beginning to slowly (unwillingly) inflate the skin of my feet beyond all comprehension.

The weekly midwife appointments were scheduled, my mom arrived hoping to be here the day the baby was born, and then the every other day midwife appointments were scheduled as I measured 44 weeks during my 39 week appointment and was rushed to a perinatologist to make sure I wasn't indeed growing a giant human baby...but just a regular sized one. My due date of May 15 came and went, my mom went back to New Jersey, and we even scheduled an induction for May 21 through many tears and prayers for the baby to come on it's own time.

Low and behold, the morning of May 20, I woke up earlier than normal, kind of crampy but not convinced anything was actually happening. My sheer girth made it hard to understand if I was just perpetually uncomfortable or if I was indeed in the early stages of labor. I consumed an entire pineapple, a pound of (candy coated) almonds, ate pizza, ate spicy food, went for walks, drank cotton root oil every hour for 48 hours (or something crazy like that). We did everything we could think of to get the party started in the weeks and days leading up to May 20. After a walk around the neighborhood (ok, it was a very slow waddle-shuffle)...I started to experience contractions. I will save the rest of H's birth story for another post, but needless to say, she was born on 5/20/12, all 8 lbs. 3 oz. and 22 inches of her and we could cancel our induction on the 21st!!

I am feeling nostalgic as I  so vividly remember the days leading up to her birth, and how ready-yet-clueless I was for what was about to happen to our family. My sister is expecting my very first niece any day now, and that definitely brings all of my memories flooding back.

Last week I organized H's baby clothes, and finally decided it was time to pack away
the breast pump, bottles, and burp cloths. We just haven't used them in a long time and it's crazy to think/hope that some day when they get pulled out of storage it will be for a baby brother or sister for Miss H. H's baby stage is long gone, and we cherished every moment of it, but it's still hard to believe we've got a toddler on our hands when I can so vividly remember what was going on this time last year.
A calendar that I LOVE which my mom passed down to me before we even lived in CO and had this view of Pikes Peak every day. :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

A post to myself a year ago.

Some things about being a mom that I would tell my '8 month pregnant' self a year ago if I could:
My 'one month to go' cupcake on 4/15/12.
  • You will get extremely swollen and the swelling won't go down until your baby is about three weeks old. Find some very stretchy flip-flops.
  • You will get really great at picking things up with your toes. And doing things one-handed.
  • You will quickly learn how to order items off a menu that can be eaten easily with one hand, without falling into your lap as you bring it to your mouth. 
  • Breastfed babies can't get constipated...some babies just hold on to their poo.  So be READY when they do...
  • Your brain will be consumed with 'to-do's', and it will be next to impossible to prioritize them correctly and get them all accomplished in between nursing, burping, rocking the babe to sleep...and starting the entire process all over again. But really, you ARE doing your most important to-do's when you nurse-burp-rock the baby to sleep.
  • There will be days when it feels like a complete and utter miracle that you showered, put on make-up, and are wearing cute clothes that kind of fit. 
  • Your baby will want to be 'walked' despite your own healing will walk. You will wear a path in every patch of carpet and probably your backyard. And your baby will be happy and fall asleep. 
  • You will find your self jiggling and swaying as if you were holding your baby, even when you are not. Like during worship in church or while chatting with a friend at a BBQ. That will eventually go away...but honestly, you can't help it for a while. 
  • Your glorious pregnancy hair will all fall out, right around the three month mark when you are still feeling very fat and exhausted...and balding! But you're not balding, and you WILL start growing some spikey rebellious hairs along your hairline right around the six month mark. 
  • You might start crying the first time you do something nice for yourself, like getting a haircut. When the stylist gives you the complementary scalp massage and shoulder rub and you feel like you could melt into a puddle on the floor of the salon...that's a clear sign you should have done this much sooner. 
  • Chill out and enjoy maternity leave...your husband will find a job and your employer will werk with you and your desire to be part-time.
  • Your body is going through an incredible process, trust your body and the process, even when you miss your 'due date' by a few days. It will all be ok, and you can't be pregnant forever!
  • You will understand and love your mom on a completely new level. Moms are rockstars, and good moms are angels. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Some of my most fun childhood memories involve the neighbor kids on our street, romping through the woods, splashing in the creek, playing cowboys and indians across all of our yards. Fast forward to me as an adult, and I am not the most neighborly person I know. Perhaps it's because we have been renting our home and I don't feel truly settled here. Perhaps it's because I don't feel comfortable striking up random conversation in my pajamas. I'm just not sure what it is.

As I was putting the baby down for her nap this morning there was an authoritative knock on our door. Normally I hesitate to answer the door if I'm in my pj's or in the middle of something with the baby, but this time I felt like I needed to go see who it was. In the back of my mind, I was thinking "what if Lexi somehow got out and there is someone out front who is bringing her back?".

I opened the door to an employee with the Denver Police Department, showing me his id tag and asking me about a night a few weeks ago when the police were called to our neighbor's home due to a domestic disturbance complaint. I told him all I remembered was peeking out the window to see what loud engine was running on our street, because it had been there for a while and that's unusual.

Jake and I were watching a movie, and as I poked my head between the curtains, I saw two police cars and an ambulance parked in front of our neighbors house. The police were walking back to their cars and the ambulance drove away. I was mildly concerned, but I don't know either neighbor on that side of us very well and didn't want to be TOO nosy. We finished watching our movie and went on with our lives.

The police department employee at my front door said that our neighbor was claiming he was a victim of police brutality, and he wondered if I had heard or seen police beating him in their front yard that night. "Um, no??!!". That was my response. I didn't see anything like that and now I'm a little dumbfounded at the whole situation. He took down my name and number just so he could document speaking with me and went to go and talk to the other neighbors.

I feel bad in some ways that I don't know those neighbors well enough to even know much beyond the cars they drive and what their dogs look like. I feel bad that I am relieved I didn't see more that night. I am also not surprised because the little interaction I have had with the 'man of the house' next to us made me think he might have an anger problem due to lots of yelling inside their house.

In general, we live in a really great neighborhood and I have never felt unsafe. But sometimes I wonder at the type of neighbor I am and if I should have or could have done anything to help our neighbors on that night. On a happy note, I WAS being neighborly the other day when another young mom and I struck up a conversation and we realized we both werk from home, live a block away from each other, and have daughter who are one month apart. We went to 'book babies' at the library the other day with them and are looking forward to a walk with our new friends/neighbors tomorrow. Maybe our girls will have memories of playing outside and dressing up and climbing trees together!

And then there are THOSE neighbors...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

the darndest things

For some reason, I escaped a lot of awkward comments and unsolicited belly rubs while I was pregnant, but now that our sweet babe has been on this green earth for almost 10 months, I have collected quite the assortment of uber weird/unwanted/well-intended comments:

"Your baby is so beautiful, I can't wait to see what her brother or sister looks like!"- our labor and delivery nurse immediately following Hazel's birth
"Oh thank you, but I think I can wait a little while to find out. Actually, I think I might still be bleeding?" -me

"Wow, she looks like a perfect blend of you and did THAT happen?!". -many people
"ummmmm..."-me (someone needs a review of the birds and the bees)

"When are you due?"-awkward co-werker
"I'm not."- me
"Oh, so you are just trying to lose the weight you gained. that sucks."- rude and awkward co-werker
"Sure."- me (actually, I've already lost all forty pounds that I gained, so thanks for reminding me I have extra werk to do!)

"You should just leave the baby here with us and take Lexi home with you, the baby will be fine without you". -well-intended family members and family friends
"Well, Lexi stopped breast-feeding a couple of years ago, but the baby hasn't. Are you lactating?" -me
"....awkward silence...."

I know people mean well and are just trying to relate, but sometimes I let my snarky mama bear out of her cave and just have to say something.

Public Service Announcement for the day...
Do the world a favor, friends: when in doubt about a woman's pregnancy status: say absolutely nothing. ever.
On a seasonal note, I am fairly certain our sweet baby will not be paying a visit to the Easter Bunny. Way too many of them are way too creepy...


Thursday, February 28, 2013

post less

well, I have actually completely forgotten about this blog for almost two months. seems as though the 'down time' in my life is changing shape, and I spend most 'nap time' opportunities trying to keep my basic to-do list going in my head. little things like...brush your teeth, put away the dishes, put dinner in the crock pot...and then the babe is wide awake!

it's also the middle of winter, and a lot of times I find myself prepping for opportunities to escape the house as soon as she is fed-changed-napped-etc. it does all of us good to get out of the house at least once a day.

some days i think back to my life at the land.of.cubicles and wonder how that 'me' from a few years ago did it all. i picture a multi-tasking wonder woman pounding out 50-60 hour werk weeks, who also happened to be freshly showered and nicely dressed in cute Ann Taylor and Banana Republic clothes. oh, and she wore high heels every day.

I may be pajama clad and bed-headed most days, but every precious moment with our babe and our family and doing what it takes to keep the house semi-picked up and our bellies full... is a true gift. there are definitely closets to be cleaned out, random piles of clothes that don't fit, and books that haven't been read lying around for months, and we'll get to them. but for now, I might be posting on here less and spending more time on my new version of participating in the day...with cozy slippers on my feet.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Traveling Mercies

During our Christmas vacation which traversed approximately four thousand miles in eleven days, I often thought of the phrase "traveling mercies". After a few google searches, this is the closest thing I found as far as a definition:

"Christians often wish people "travel mercies" when they are about to go on a trip. This expression appears to be rooted in the Southern Baptist tradition, and conveys "May God's mercy be with you and protect you from the inconveniences/difficulties/dangers associated with traveling." It is especially meaningful to hear when one is traveling for sad/stressful reasons or into danger, when "Have a good trip!", with its implication of enjoyment, just doesn't seem appropriate."

Especially as I prepared for the leg of our trip from Minnesota to New Jersey/Pennsylvania without Jake, I began to ask God for the kindness of strangers. Flying solo with a busy 7 month old and a few heavy suite cases isn't necessarily what I would call relaxing. I decided that no matter what happened during the hours in the air, I would focus my thoughts on the incredible feeling of touching down at our destination, knowing that loved ones were only a few minutes away.

I have to say, we did experience many travel mercies and the kindness of strangers. One woman in Philadelphia saw me jugging two shoulder bags, a stroller, and our little babe, and offered to walk with me to my gate. I was totally taken by surprise, as I thanked her and told her we were heading in the opposite direction from her. Every single flight attendent we met did what they could to chat with me, allowed me to walk the aisle of the plane to put our little babe to sleep for at least an hour en route to Philadelphia, and on our way home moved us to a row with an open seat so that we could spread out a little. (Genius thought of the day: Airlines should create a family friendly flight or section of the plane where families can let kids play on the floor, cry it out, and change diapers in a slightly larger bathroom).

There were many times when it was impossible to not feel self-conscious about bringing my babe on the plane. Some passengers openly glared at me, as if I was carrying a bomb onto the plane. Others scowled or commented loudly when they saw the proximity of their seat to "THAT BABY". I'm sure nursing her on the plane made some uncomfortable. Surprisingly, it was the younger kids who provided the most entertainment for our smiley babe, who currently believes that everyone in the world should smile back when she flashes her gummy grin. Many 'grandparent types' felt the need to tell Hazel what a good job she had done as we were exiting the plane.

All in all, we did it. We might have made a few enemies along the way (sorry to the college boy who our babe blew a very spitty 'raspberry' at...although I had to laugh a little to myself at that one!). But we had incredible quality time with loved ones across the country and learned that while sometimes you might feel like you are carrying a bomb on a plane...other times you might feel like Super Mom after a 5 and 1/2 hour plane ride, and gettings 60 lbs. of luggage off the baggage claim by yourself, all while pushing your babe in a stroller. We did it, and it is SO good to be home.
Now here's a way to fly!