Tag Archives: housewifery

Enough

I wrote this post several months ago but found it today and still got smacked in the face by it.

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Last week, up to my elbows in soapy water and covered head to toe in the mess of motherhood, I lost it. Full on tears dripping into the clean dishes lost it.

And the most maddening part of all was that I ruined those clean dishes (not really, I totes put them in the cabinet anyway) for a phantom. For a nothing. For an imagined problem that nags at women and moms with an incessant chirping of you are not doing enough!

I am surrounded by strong, ambitious superwomen. They inspire me continually. But because we have been numbered and categorized since our first breath, my instinct is to begin numbering and categorizing the theirs against the mines. This friend does this job, and this job, and raises this baby, and volunteers there. That friend works there, works out that many days, earned that degree, and takes her baby to the library. That girl wakes up at this time, works those hours, cooks those meals, and always wears mascara.

And, inevitably, what follows is the conclusion that

I am not doing enough.   

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What is “enough?” How am I supposed to know when I’ve reached it? When I can’t put down the computer until midnight every night? When I have to find someone to watch Addison five days a week? When I have structured, age-appropriate Pinterest activities planned and prepped for her every morning when she wakes up? When my husband comes home to a hot, home cooked, edible (<– key word) meal every night of the week?

Why are we am I in an all-consuming, head-down, relentless pursuit of a goal that is wholly subjective and indefinable? What am I even chasing? If I look up, what is ahead that drives me to justify neglecting the truly valuable in anticipation of some fleeting, self-prescribed merit?

Stop. Look to the left and to the right. That is the goal. Those are the milestones that build a city of memories, a lifetime of timely pauses and spare minutes. The race is not against mothers or friends or women who do things that I can’t or never will. The race is with them, a shared marathon with some paving the way, others coming behind and the  beautiful synchronization of friends striding beside you. Swooping in with home cooked meals that will taste better than any concoction you could dream up. Busting out their own hot glue gun and ribbon when you don’t have any more space in your head for DIY crafts. Walking into your house and scooping up your baby with the warmest familiarity.

Time to enjoy the space between afternoon naps and dinner, with a swing in the yard or wagon ride in the driveway, is not

wasteful

or insignificant.

It is not a consolation for not having more important commitments.

It is

enough

and so much more.

When responsibilities are met, and the must-get-done’s are done,
breathing, deep and slow, for a minute or an afternoon, is okay.

When did it stop being nourishing and start being indulgent to read a novel that wasn’t accompanied by a test that counted toward a degree, to take a nap because you were up three times with an unhappy baby or just because you are tired, to let the laundry pile up one more day because a lunch date with your daughter is way more fun?

I have freelance projects every week.
I am a full-time mother.
I volunteer at my church.
I take care of Addison while Clayton volunteers at our church.
I handle the cooking (or ordering) of our meals, the cleaning of our house, and the organizing of our schedule.
I keep my body healthy.
I go to a small group once a week.
I see friends and family as much as I can.
I write sporadically on a blog.

In what universe would this collection of identities not be enough?  I feel so compelled to fill in the gaps of every hour in order to feel accomplished, to be sure I am making the most of my time. But I know in my head that making the most of my time is defined by what and who gets most of my time. And I don’t what that to be a computer. Or a stranger. Or a brochure or web page that will wither and die.

Making something requires an intent to create, a choice to design a life that has some growing room, some space around the edges to relax for awhile. To allow for minutes that spring up when a cat finds its way into the backyard and needs to be watched through the back door, when the play area at the mall is completely empty for the first time ever, when your kid discovers how to flip over her toy table and climb on top of it but can only get down with a Mama’s hand.

Those seconds will sprint right past you if you are not so very diligent in making time for them.

And I have told myself I do not want to miss them.

I do not want more clients if it means less time with Addison, I do not want more volunteer commitments if the joy of giving is replaced by dread, I do not want quiet moments with my husband at the end of each day to be hijacked by exhaustion.

I want to find enough

laughter surprises spontaneity fulfillment joy confidence beauty

right here in this moment. Because I am certain it is there. I just have to stop and look.

 

Getting Away and Getting Back

Guys, let’s get real. Life’s hard. It can be plain exhausting. And you know what? A few weeks ago I was over it. I was sick of being exhausted, sick of all the pressure I felt to be everything at all times for everybody, and sick of feeling like I was letting everyone down.

It was a slow build up, but as a friend of mine says, the fit hit the shan. Try as I might, I was not shaking the heaviness, and my head and my spirit were wilting.

So I got the heck out. Out of a house that was starting to reek of sadness. Out of a routine that was draining my creativity. Out of engagements that were overwhelming instead of enriching.

Within an hour of online research, I found a resort on the bay that was running a fantastic weekday special. Clayton had commitments Wednesday through Saturday of that week, so Addison and I packed up the car and hit the road. Okay, I packed. Homegirl threw everything out of my duffel at least twice.

We arrived on a Thursday afternoon and stayed through late Saturday morning. While my intent was to work through a lot of the junk piling up in my head, I wasn’t sure how much actual excavating I could do with Addison in tow. But it ended up being a perfect mix of passions that fed my soul and empty-headed playtime.

We went on a run together Thursday afternoon and finished just before a beautiful sunset. We made a mess of the breakfast buffet. We were up all night because someone practices tai kwon do in her sleep. We scuttled around the beach, plopped down in the water and waved at every single person out Friday morning.

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And when Addison napped or after she fell asleep, I wrote. I prayed. I read. I started and nearly finished Rebekah Lyons’ “Freefall to Fly,” which put to words how imprisoned I felt in the everyday. I dove into 1 Corinthians 13 and realized the futility of the best of my actions when they aren’t motivated from a place of love.

I also made the difficult decision to get a sitter for Addison one morning, in addition to the two days she is with my mom. I wrestled with this for weeks and had been attempting–and failing–to get my work done, the house un-messed, the errands ran, half marathon training completed and volunteer projects managed in the small window I had. Some or all of these things suffered on any given week, but I refused to acknowledge both the impossibility of handling every task on my list within my current schedule or the toll trying to handle it all was taking on me. So I finally pulled the text trigger that Thursday.

In the preceding weeks, a recording played in my head that said:
I have it so good. I can’t possibly complain about my life.

I am stronger than this. Why am I being so weak?

That girl and that girl and that girl have it all together and they do more than I do. I must be able to get it under control. I should wake up earlier.

These were the lies  I told myself for a good two months before even mentioning how I was feeling to another person. WOMEN, ESPECIALLY MOMS: The rest of us get it. We all feel completely inadequate, too. Even if we managed to put on mascara that day or wear the cute jeans instead of the yoga pants, we are simply staying afloat. Talk to someone!

By Friday night, just 36 hours into this little girls getaway, smack dab in the middle of the crowded waterfront patio of the resort’s restaurant, I ached with missing my husband.

Saturday morning I felt cautiously drawn back to the place I’d escaped. I knew that anyone can feel refreshed and awakened with the smell of saltwater in the air and a fiery Florida sunset within view. I had to go back. And while the scenery set the change in motion, the true shift had to be deeper than a camera angle, more personal than a standard double hotel room.

It’s been a few weeks since that mini retreat, and I cannot believe the difference in my perspective. Very little has changed within the confines of our weekly schedule. We still have must-do’s most nights of the week. My work is not slowing down. Addison continues to be very good at being 15 months old. But I can breathe. I can make it through a day (a week!) without tears.

I can face the pace, routine and impossibility of my to-do list with a shrug, with sleeves rolled up and a smile. I don’t believe my value, my daughter’s development, or the strength of my marriage depends on the check marks–or lack thereof–next to those tasks.

And that is freedom. That is the power and inconceivable compassion of God moving in a life you said was too insignificant, in a problem you said was too small, in a hidden darkness you said you could transform on your own.

That is hope. A sun setting and a dawn rising. A life that you didn’t recognize for shame and fear breathing again with the promise of all those things you’d dreamed it could be.

I cannot share this without saying how grateful I am for this life I’ve been given undeservedly. For the health of my beautiful baby girl. The love and devotion of an unwavering man. The unconditional support of family and friends others must covet. I recognize the great luxury and incredible overflow of prosperity that I enjoy in every sense. I know I have it so, so good. But a lesson that I am learning in this season is that I do not want to trade “good” for what may be best. I am after best in this life. I hope that you are, too.

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Licensed to Pout

I apologize. Habitually. When people cut me in line even though I’m standing in the right place. For not having correct change. For having to stop for water on a 10-mile run.

Somehow along the path of a private school education and Southern Baptist upbringing, I adopted a generalized attitude of guilt over everything. I’m in the way. I’m making this harder for someone else. They might be inconvenienced.

In many instances, this guilt can manifest as empathy, selflessness and generosity. All uppers. Go me!

But lately, always maneuvering around other people’s needs has prevented me from recognizing that sometimes I need to be maneuvered around. Frankly, I am in an overwhelming mom-worker-wife-life season, and I am just too tired to keep apologizing for it.

I am the spaghetti in this analogy.

I am the spaghetti in this analogy.

The whining is forthcoming. Pretend there’s no Syria or shutdown or Jenner divorce and play along.

On top of a stupid long list of things that will not be accomplished this century, I lost my wallet this weekend. In addition to 10 p.m. Sunday night calls to cancel credit cards, I had to add a trip to the DMV to my to-do’s. Let’s stop here and share that collective joy that abounds with an impending trip to a government office.

I worked through the morning, and by the time I looked up DMV offices and requirements, I realized the license services were only open for another 30 minutes. Foregoing a shower (shock) and full face license photo makeup, I ran out the door hoping to make it.

The closest office is in a somewhat questionable area, but is also one of the busiest. I’ve made the rounds, I know. After I got my number, I found the chair least likely to attract a chatty fellow license seeker. Strangers are weird and I’m about 80% sure I’m allergic to them. I brought my Kindle and mentally braced to camp out for awhile. The first number I heard was G657. I was G670, and the letters went all the way from A to H. Oy.

Before I even scrolled through my Facebook feed, the loudspeaker shouted, “G-six-seven-zero is now being served at window 19.” I waited until the number flashed on the board and I had triple checked my ticket before walking cautiously up to the counter.

I had it formed, already swirling around on my tongue, about to let it fly out like vomit. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry your machine malfunctioned?
I’m sorry I followed every procedure down to the letter?
I’m sorry other people may be unhappy?

There was nothing to be sorry about. So I decided I wasn’t sorry. I gave the woman my ticket and told her honestly how long I’d been waiting when she asked. She knew there was a mix-up. She also knew it wasn’t my fault. So she asked me the string of questions (No, I am not currently addicted to drugs. No, I do not toss Cheerios into the cup holder of my child’s car seat on the interstate.), snapped my picture and handed me a new license. Less than 10 minutes. No apology necessary.

For one time in what’s been feeling like many, many times of unfavorable adjustments, this was a little break in my favor. At just the right moment, for just the right person.

After the laundry overflowed out of the hamper preventing the closet door from shutting,
after a conference call was 30 minutes late,
after I realized I had no cash or cards to go grocery shopping,
after I spilled half of Addison’s still-raw eggs on the floor,
after she pooped THREE times before 9 a.m. and I had to change her while she sobbed desperately because of the most intense diaper rash ever,
after cramps and hormones beat the reason and sanity out of me like baseball bats,
after an email reminded me I completely forgot about a project with a looming deadline,
after all those normally-I-can-muster-some-perspective-but-not-today moments,

I really didn’t want to be sorry that I was G670. Or go sit back down.

So I cashed in that ”lucky” ticket today. And I think I may take some time to hang on to being G670.

Empty-handed but unapologetic.
Simply asking for what I need.

And saying thank you to all those people who smile and say, “That’s ok, honey. It’s not your fault.”

(Or who bake me cookies or let me cry in their gelato. Thanks for that, too.)

Nothing but love for the DMV from now on.

Nothing but love for the DMV from now on.

Before 30 Wish List

I originally wanted to list 30 things to do before I was 30. Either because I am so prematurely accomplished or because I am detestably uncreative, I could only think of 10.

  1. Run a 5k in less than 30 minutes. (So close.)
  2. See college friends. If you think I’m talking about you, I probably am. Football season usually makes this easier since we take advantage of anyone we know still living in Tallahassee willing to put us up for FSU games.
  3. Make a few new friends. Gals of Tampa, get ready for a stammering, inaudible, likely inappropriate greeting comin’ at ya.
  4. Get out of my comfort zone. By accomplishing #3, I will most certainly take care of this one.
  5. Find a recipe to master. My husband should say, “Natalie makes the best [corn dogs, café con leche, pea soup or something equally as awesome and surprising].”
  6. Participate in at least one service project face to face. Writing a check is important, but getting my hands dirty is a must sometimes.
  7. Think of an idea for a novel. Write a chapter or two, solely to say casually, “I’m working on my book” for the next 10 years.
  8. Run another half marathon.
  9. Visit somewhere for the first time. California. Greece. Omaha. I don’t really care where.
  10. Read (or re-read) a couple of classics. Don’t persecute me for this, but I have not read one book by Jane Austen.

Precipice

Just checking in quickly to confirm that, yes, people who blog daily with kids and jobs and dogs are superhuman.

We are gearing up for a week-long vacation in Maine, with a brief stop in Boston. I will be excited once 1) all of Addison’s belongings are actually loaded into our car for transport and 2) the dang flights are finished. Figuring out how to take my fly-happy pills while breastfeeding has proven challenging, so I may be going it with just a prayer and a 4:30 a.m. mimosa.

Work is picking up, which is both exhilarating and exhausting. Thankfully my mom volunteered to Addiesit a couple times a week. For now, I’m foregoing entrusting my one and only offspring to a 16-year old texting-while-diaper-changing,boyfriend-inviting-into-my-house babysitter. And exhale.

Clayton and I are expert planners, so when the time came for us to get ready for our first vacation with an infant and plan for Addison’s first birthday the weekend after we return home, we also decided to throw in a master bedroom redesign. If nothing else, at least the bedroom furniture I’ve had since I was 13 is officially out of commission. Buh-bye particle board. Hello legitimate wood dresser, reading nook and “are you kidding me that your shoes are on the new ottoman?” ottoman.

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I also tackled updating a black tv stand to use as a pink book shelf in A’s room, crafting some new art for her room, two mind (and savings account) blowing trips to Hobby Lobby, a novel-length list of ideas for the upcoming birthday of the century and redoing the gallery photo wall in our entryway.

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(Any thoughts for a wall treatment for that ginormous blank wall behind those photos? Oh, and rates for your services to actually come and execute said treatment.)

Maybe I’ll have a chance to post some pictures of the master bedroom “after.” Most likely I won’t, so just go right ahead and lower those expectations now. For the “before,” just imagine a freshman dorm room pieced together with help from childhood bedroom furniture, Craigslist acquisitions and absolutely zilch on the walls. It was a special kind of cozy in there.

The rest of the week will be a whirlwind of packing and cleaning and proofreading other people’s poor grammar and list making and list losing and list re-making and baby chasing and coffee drinking. Or, what I like to call The Everyday at Casa Noa.

I hope your summer has been full of Florida-caliber sunshine and free of mosquito bites!

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Girls Week

Last week Clayton attended a conference for work in Chicago. He was gone Tuesday through Saturday. I survived, and so did my child, but just barely.

A nat lips

The biggest challenge was a freelance project I’d agreed to the previous week without carefully reading the last sentence in the email that said, “It’s going to be tight, but I think it’s doable.” “Doable” meant working through every nap time and after putting the peanut to sleep every night. Not impossible, but certainly stressful.

My mom was a saint the entire week and spent too many hours over here Tuesday pulling Addison’s fingers away from the electrical outlets they are so drawn to. I put that vintage desk in the guest room to good use. Clayton and I host a small group from our church every Tuesday night, so I called it a day early to clean up the house and run to the store for some snacks that no one ever eats. I threw dinner in the oven for me, fed Addison and found a t-shirt free of spit-up stains all in time to welcome the group at the door precisely at 7. Except there was no group at 7. Or 7:10. Or 7:20. Turns out they thought we’d canceled since Clayton was out of town. I drowned my disappointment in the hummus artfully displayed on the counter, gnawing on those few hours spent Swiffering up coffee spills on the floor that could have been spent working.

A computer

I spent Wednesday night at my parents’ house thinking the extra help with Addison would give me more time to work. My attempt at forethought and planning blew up in my face when Addison slept for two hours that morning. I’d already packed my computer in the car in hopes of a quick wake up and hit the road scenario. The reality was my pacing around the house aimlessly, “accidentally” dropping glass objects on the tile and nervously watching the non-productive time tick by.

After Addison finally woke up, I loaded up the kid, the dog, myself and 83% of all our belongings, and we trekked the 35 minutes to Wesley Chapel. My mom took over Addie duties and I got my work station all set up…only to discover I’d forgotten my laptop charger at home. No worries, I thought, I’ll just work until it dies. So I power up the trusted HP, and surprise—7% power remaining. Enough to move the cursor over about 1/8 of an inch before it shuts off.

A humiliating all-call on Facebook was useless, but luckily my dad had a charger at work he said he’d bring home. That still left us gals with three hours of time on our hands and no work to be accomplished. I nearly broke down. I wanted to, but my mom was close at hand and I didn’t feel like a pep talk, I just felt like chocolate. The realization that it was only Wednesday also played into the feeling that I was trapped in a never-ending week. I did end up getting a good chunk of the project completed once my dad came home and they tag-teamed Addison. They also did a great job of infant entertaining after dinner until it was time for her to go to bed.  

A ring

Being away from my own space proved even more stressful, so the three Noa ladies came back home on Thursday. I found time to sneak in the last portions of the big project, plus finish some smaller jobs that popped up in the inbox. I even managed to take Addie to her first baseball game that her Uncle Tony was coaching. The difficult-to-watch two hours of errors and restrained rage was a decent metaphor for the week I was having. I won’t mention the score, but Uncle T did not come out on top. 

I have to give a mama shout-out to my little girl because that kid slept like a dream every night. If I had to combine the tension of that week with two or three overnight wake-ups, I may have crumbled. Lugging her around the city probably aided in exhausting and confusing her throughout the day, so yeah, high-five to me for yanking any hope of stability away from my 8 month old. That seems to really tire them out.

A standing crib

In related news, I actually do know the exact location of the trash cans in the garage and which days all that garbage magically disappears from inside of them. I enjoyed two sweet potatoes in the absence of my potato-hating husband, and there was no one in my living quarters forcing me to share my sushi, ice cream or red wine. Or make judgments of how much of them I was consuming.

I don’t know how single parents do this day after day after day. My solace so many times throughout the week was looking at the calendar knowing, down to the second, when I has handing that baby over and clocking out of mom mode. My life is so very good, and ridiculously easy with the support system I have around me. A long list of people offered to help last week, so I knew that I had reinforcements whenever I needed them.

A abuelo

A beema

Still, Addison and I were both jazzed about Clayton getting back home, harmonica and all (don’t ask). She showed him just how much with a warm welcome from 2-4 a.m. that morning. I would have joined the party, but like I said: I was off the clock.

The Claytonism

To celebrate twenty-nine years of one truly rad guy, I though I’d pay homage to the hilarious, usually well-intentioned, sometimes downright insulting thoughts my husband shares with me. He doesn’t always run things through the ol’ mental filter, so I often get blindsided with a random comment to which there is no response but a confused stare while I allow him to reformulate his thinking and try again. After that, there is a ballet flat to the jaw.

Here are a few of my favorites.

“Hey, Karate Kid!” (In response to my foray into the precarious world of headband wearing.)

“Oooh, cool. Like Rambo.” (In response to yet another headband attempt. To Clayton, it is actually a compliment when he compares you to a movie from the 80’s. I know, I don’t get it either.)

Me: Can you please put your socks away after I wash and fold them so the dog won’t eat them?
Him: Babe, I’ll try. But I probably won’t.

“It’s okay. You’re Cuban.”

“Wow. Did you get bigger?” (Daily, upon entering the house, for the last three months of my pregnancy.)

Me: I’m going to run 4 miles.
Him: Okay. So I should expect you in a couple hours?

“So that’s why your ears stick out.” (While looking at my tee ball team photo displaying my unfortunate cover-as-much-face-as-possible hat styling choices.)

“Did you guys work out? Smells like you did.” (We didn’t.)

But for every one of those mishandled remarks, there are 100 mornings where I wake up to fresh coffee. For every accidental slight, there are 50 dinners cooked. For every comment about my weight, well, those are actually pretty costly for him.

I love this man so much, and I love celebrating his being in the world.

2005
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Spring 2006 0722009
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Clayton bday park

Sole Train

Do you want to feel like a new person who could take over the world and win the presidential election via write-in votes? Of course you do.

Step one: reorganize your closet. For serious.

Two weekends ago I set aside about an hour for the seemingly mundane task of making better use of our large master bedroom closet. Three and a half hours later, I was standing in the middle of our newly organized closet swelling with pride, glistening with sweat and slightly confused by how empowered I felt after such a silly accomplishment. I think part of my excitement stemmed from the 11 pairs of shoes that I completely forgot I owned in my previous organizational system of two large black holes of shoe crates. This includes two pairs that will now become part of the small collection of shoes that actually fit my post baby elephant feet. Win.

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Nowadays to-do lists seem like jokes. It’s a successful day if I actually take the time to consider making a to-do list, much less tackle anything on it. The mix of having to tend to baby needs and wanting to witness every smile and hear every noise keeps my days pretty full. It was only two weeks ago that I started opening my computer on a regular basis. My tiny closet project was a healthy reminder that, while basking in babyhood is unquestionably my top job, getting stuff done for me, for my husband and for our family feels good, too. A necessary reminder considering the steady stream of work emails that I’ve been receiving lately. (Will not complain. Will not complain.)

Motherhood is teeming with no end of guilt. I should work more. I should work less. I should cook more. I should clean more. I shouldn’t clean if it takes me away from the baby. I shouldn’t go to the mall in the middle of the day because other mothers can’t. I shouldn’t leave my baby. I should practice leaving my baby. I should try more bottles. I should breastfeed whenever I can. I should start on Addison’ baby book. I should spend more time with Maya. I should read to my baby more. I should do more tummy time. I should lose the baby weight as quickly as that girl. I shouldn’t lose too much weight while I’m nursing. I should exercise. I shouldn’t exercise if it takes me away from the baby.

Holy “Should.” Where does that come from??? Women are their own worst critics in general, but becoming a mom magnifies that self-doubt a hundred fold. One of the best things I read so far emphasized the sort of balance I hope to achieve (even though I know I will never truly feel like I’m doing it right). The author said most of the time, we just need to give ourselves a break. But to nurture that part of us that does seek tangible accomplishments, try to complete one task a day.

On Sunday, those shoe racks and that closet were my “one thing.” And it felt incredible to scratch just one item off my mental novel-length list of projects. To see that it’s possible, at least every now and then, to be a mom and a little something else. A mom and a closet organizer. A mom and a writer. A mom and a football fan. A mom and a runner. (Used jogging stroller for sale? Anyone?) A mom and a sarcasm enthusiast.

Somehow, filling in that second blank once a day or once a week helps me own those other times when all I can or all I care to be seen as is Mama.

sept 2012

Pathetic? Maybe. Still a victory? Absolutely.

Since we moved into our new house, we’ve had more than our fair share of prying eyes. From cars driving by at conspicuously slow speeds to dog walkers who somehow always manage to give their dogs a rest right across from our front windows. We even had a number of eyebrow-raising intrusions the day we moved in.

But a couple of weeks ago the potting mix hit the fan and we received two letters from the Homeowner’s Association about two alleged HOA violations. The “you need to weed your yard because children are getting lost in it” complaint was, admittedly, legitimate. We don’t own any sort of yard-beautifying tool outside of a lawn mower and hadn’t touched the outdoor space since moving in two months before. Fine. We will pull out that clump of weeds that is rivaling our pine tree in height. Whatevs.

The second violation crawled right under our skin. According to the HOA, we needed to “plant more shrubbery in the front of our home.” When we moved in, the house had a row of shrubs in the front. Pretty hard to miss seeing as how they’re In The Front. Of Our Home. You’d think the private investigator neighbors would have caught the row of shrubs when they were staring At The Front. Of Our Home. But I guess they missed the shrubs when they were compiling their list of anonymous complaints against the young new homeowners.

We figured this was a power play. HOA v. NOA. And we were not rolling over. I responded to the shrubbery violation with a letter of my own and included a few of our complaints about how the HOA handled welcoming new residents to the community. (“Hi. We’re the HOA. Here’s a list of everything you need to fix.”) I also may have included the technical definition of a shrub.

And this, friends, is what I call a win.  HOA letter

This totally makes up for the time I unsuccessfully tried to dispute my Spanish grade being lowered from an A to an A- because of tardiness. I’m still late to everything, but I am NOT spending my hard earned donut money on shrubbery, thankyouverymuch.

Phoebe or Phoebo?

At the beginning of my pregnancy, Clayton and I weren’t sure if we would find out the baby’s sex. When people would ask, I would flaunt our courageous decision like some kind of medal. Man, we are so brave for having a baby with complete pre-natal medical care, in a hospital surrounded by specialists and in the middle class of a first world country without knowing the gender!

But that lasted about a week. Until the appointment where the possibility of knowing was upon us, and there was no more bravery to be found. I wanted to know, and I wanted to know bad.

In an effort to maternalize myself and to compete with the growing “Throw a Party for My Baby’s Genitals” trend, I got a little ambitious. I found a recipe for cake ball-stuffed chocolate chip cookies that could have either blue or pink cake in the middle. I went for it. And by “it,” I mean to Wal-Mart for every single ingredient, including the pie pans and hand mixer, because this gal doesn’t do much baking.

Our appointment was last Friday afternoon, and I was not going to have enough time to teach myself how to bake between then and our dinner plans with my family. So I started the night before, and even though I’m still eating cake balls for breakfast, it was exhilarating to start the process without knowing what the end result would be.

cake supplies (2)   batter collage

cake ball collage

Once we knew the million dollar answer, I covered the winning cake balls in chocolate and baked them into giant cookies.

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And then it was show time. I already have to apologize to my little nugget for how it’s finally announced on the first video. Sorry, kid, your mom is sarcastic and the pre-natal vitamins don’t seem to be changing that. Also, please make sure you hear my dad’s comment.

The Big Reveal, Part 1 (YouTube link)

Clayton’s mom just happened to be passing through town and stayed with us that Saturday night, so we got to tell her in person. She was a big fan of the belly rubbing.

The Big Reveal, Part 2 (YouTube link)

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tony ally collage

 mom jenn collage

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So there you have it. I’m pretty confident that our little genius will be able to give Mama spa pedicures and shampoo/cut/highlights in about two years. So much to look forward to!