Sunday, October 23, 2011


Yeah, our traffic sucks and our cost of living is obscene, but the east coast knows how to rock autumn. I met up with my fabulous former roommate Sarah, and we bravely took the two kids on a 2.5 mile hike in the Shenandoah. The company was great, and Emily was a champion hiker. When Rob asked her what she did on the hike, Emily told him "I put rocks in my pockets and saw waterfalls." I guess we didn't have to drive so far for that first part, but she loved it at least.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


We're in the process of purchasing our second car (read: it has taken the seller a week to get us a buyer's order with both our names on it and spelled correctly, but that's another story...). Life is very, very good. My evenings are suddenly relaxing because I can take care of errands during the day. I can go to friends' homes to hang out, or leave a playgroup early without inconveniencing my ride. I can schedule appointments more than a few days in advance because they are no longer dependent on my husband's work schedule. I'm actually starting to look at grocery store advertisements because I'll have time to go to more than one store. Bless you, little Camry.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Healthy Food

It shouldn't have taken me that many years to realize my husband and I define “healthy eating” very differently. My idea of healthy eating is putting lots of good foods in. Rob's is keeping bad foods out. You'd think these ideas would mesh, but not so. He, in his kind way, would put in requests for healthy dinners, and I'd oblige. Or so I thought. But the kind requests kept coming, and I'd keep obliging. I didn't get it. I was cooking from scratch and using tons of fresh produce. Finally, I wised up and asked him what some of the meals he considered healthy were, and I was shocked. Spaghetti? The only vegetable in that is canned tomato sauce. What about that pasta I'd made the other night that had five fresh vegetables in it? Turns out, it also had a stick of butter, a cup of cream, and a cup and a half of cheese in the cream sauce (OK, maybe he had a point). Ramen noodles? That's loaded with preservatives and has no fruits or vegetables. But Rob (mistakenly) thought it was low fat. Anyways, I'm not claiming perfect nutrition in our household, but we found common ground. I stopped serving my broccoli in so much cheese its fat content rivaled ice cream's, and he munches frozen blueberries to increase his vitamin intake.

This dichotomy has come up again with our epic battle to get Emily to eat. I'm all about bribing with junk food. I figure it is better for a toddler to eat zucchini and a cookie than to not eat zucchini at all. Rob thinks it wouldn't be healthy for her to eat cookies every day. We both have valid points. Our compromise is rewarding her with a gummy vitamin when she at least tries the dinner the whole family is eating. Not perfect, but we're getting there.

I'd ask how you pull off an approximation of “health” in your dining habits, but I'd probably throw an eggplant at you if you told me your kids beg you to serve more lentils, or that they didn't wake up screaming with hunger multiple times when you tried the “if you don't eat what the family is eating, you'll go to bed hungry” trick (and still refuse to eat dinner the next night). But at least it would be an eggplant coated in Parmesan cheese and deep fried in oil.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I didn't mean for Nelly* to get pregnant and drop out of high school. You'd think I'd have to be a guy to have something like that on my conscience, but it happened all the same. As an oboe player, she was looking for a way to participate in marching band, so I taught her the marimba. And she shared that marimba for a song with Ian*. How did Ian wind up on that marimba? I got him onto the color guard. Resentful I'd been passed over for captain, when my boyfriend's friend mentioned how he'd love to be on color guard, but didn't think he had a shot because he was male and no boy had ever made it on (it was well known our band director was uncomfortable with the idea), I jumped at the opportunity to spite my director. Ian had tons of natural talent, but I drilled him so aggressively (even on the girly dance segment), turning him down would have been blatant sex discrimination. He was flawless. He made the team. And while he nailed the dance segment, the director couldn't bring himself to let Ian shimmy on the field, and assigned him to share Nelly's marimba for it. They spent many rehearsal hours talking and flirting, and well, the rest is history. Do I blame myself? Of course not. They made their choices, and I had nothing to do with it. But without my little nudges, their paths would probably not have crossed. The direction of their entire lives changed because of me. Last I'd heard, Nelly was pregnant with their third child, and for her birthday, Ian had bought her a three year subscription to a bridal magazine (um, can you say stalling?).

I've been thinking about how the little things we do impact others in ways we can't anticipate. My life is full of them: my randomly assigned roommate that convinced me to apply for study abroad … on the day the application was due for the program Rob was going on; my freshman year bishop that clued me into the fact librarians do more than put books back on shelves, and informed me about the available distance ed programs for schooling in it; the nasty, long-lasting cold my kids caught that prevented me from doing the book chapter proposal I was considering. We bump into each other, in little and big ways, and knock each other on to completely different courses, even when we have no intention of doing so, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad.

It is easy for me to see the good bumps and find God's hand in it, but it is a lot harder for me to find meaning in the bad ones. But I guess the trick is to take the bad bumps we're handed and grow from them, and just do our best to be the kind of person that gives good nudges.

It still doesn't make me feel better about Nelly, though.

* Names changed to protect the, well, not innocent enough.