Sometimes it just needs to be said.

There are people I love.

Of course there are, everyone loves someone.

What I mean is there are people I love besides the people I birthed, was birthed by, or choose to live with.

I love my family, and I tell them all the time, but there are people who I love and don’t tell.

I don’t know why. It’s not premeditated. It’s not like I sit around and think of dark, devious ways to keep my loving feelings to myself.

I guess I don’t really think about the fact that everyone isn’t inside my head (and believe me, you lucky bastards, that’s a good thing) and so I can’t expect anyone to know things unless I tell them.

The breakdown in interpersonal communication. It’s the curse of the techno generation.

But sometimes I’m reminded that other people are better at conveying their feelings than I am.

Like yesterday. My friend Cody had mentioned on Twitter that he was catching up on my posts. It was very sweet and made me smile.

And then I had the following text conversation:

Priceless. Perfection.

Seriously, have you ever thought about how much a simple statement can mean to another person? My mood went from “meh” to “fuck yes I’m awesome” in milliseconds.

And it made me sad that I don’t do that more often.

I mean, why do I have nice thoughts about people and not tell them? Why would you keep something like that to yourself?

It’s a total rush. I have it in me to totally make someone feel fantastic on a daily basis. I should do it. Often.

And I think I will.

Not exactly Hoarders

Do you guys use Pinterest?

If not, you should.

It’s like a virtual bulletin/idea/brainstorm board where you can keep track of things you like.

Interiors. Crafts. Foods (oh my GOD people spend SO much time on food! Bento, fruit flowers..). Clothes. Outfit ideas. Creative party themes and useful things like that. It’s also a total timesuck, because I look at this cool outfit and that amazing reading nook and ooh this sunroom and then WHAM two hours are gone and my kid is outside smoking.I love this idea. Looking at other people’s creativity. Seeing things people like. Feeling a sense of community in wanting to create things and make things pretty.

The bad thing is, though, that I often come away at a bit of a loss. I believe Moses would refer to it as coveting my neighbor’s ass or something similar (although my neighbors are PaPaw Buck and the invisible lady with the painted mailbox, so really, no worries there).

What I’m saying is I look at these beautiful creations, be they centerpieces, cute jeans with a surprising scarf and bright shoes, or a clever saying painted on a wall, and suddenly my hair feels greasy and my teeth feel dirty and I might as well go put on a bathrobe and a turban and start dipping tobacco because clearly I am a lost cause.

I love the house we live in. I love that these walls house people I care the very most about in the world. I love that my kids can run down the hall and have Dad (x2) and Mom and everyone can all be together. I love that we get two sets of Netflix movies. I love that my kids are growing up knowing that things don’t have to be normal to be perfect.

What I don’t love is the fact that we’re all kind of slobby. We all keep things we should probably toss. I’ve tried every trick in the book – cleaning for 30 minutes a day, throwing something out every time something new is brought in, cleaning obsessively all day.

I suck at it.

And the thing is, my mom was/is the ultimate cleaning banshee. She somehow manages to keep everything looking like Martha Stewart just came for cocoa and even when my 3 kids and my niece and nephew and the dog are all rampant in full force I would have no qualms eating off her floor.

So I kind of feel like a failure before I even begin.

I mean, this is my job, right? To make the home. To have things pretty and fresh and nice.

I’m like everyone else, I go through spurts of mania enthusiasm and things will get clean and organized and I’ll be really proud. Then Dan will make a tuna sandwich and make the whole joint smell like barf or Josh will cook a chef-caliber meal and the kitchen is suddenly filled with pots and pans. Or my kids will, you know, wake up.

So I look at the crisp and pristine loveliness on Pinterest or the living rooms in Facebook albums and I pine.

Well, I alternate between pining and scolding myself for pining.

The answer to this is obvious – just don’t look at it.

But then I get these bursts and I want to make things over – but I am crap at organizing. It totally escapes me. I used to (still do) wish I would wake up one day with a Monica Gellar yen for cleaning and organization, but thus far it hasn’t happened.

I wake up still me.

Still cursing the load of clothes I’ve left in the dryer for three days because I don’t want to put up clothes (PSA: it is not really possible for two adults and a toddler, along with all their clothes and shoes, to neatly share one bedroom and bathroom without some clever apartment type finagling. And I don’t have that. I’m not a finagler.).

Still wondering what to do with all the dog hair.

Still needing to find a system.

Still debating throwing down a paint cloth and just covering up the duck wallpaper.

A girl can dream, right?

Confessions about ice cream

According to a calendar I saw, today is national ice cream day.

I know it’s trivial. But I love ice cream. Ice cream and French fries.

Cheesecake, too.

Iqqqass (Lucy’s typing again. Damn kid.)

I know everyone loves ice cream and that’s no big deal, and I don’t claim to love it more than anyone else. and please spare me the laments that you don’t like ice cream and sweets aren’t your thing. Forgive me, but it is the right thing to do, enjoying sweets. Why else did Jesus serve Welch’s to the disciples?



I do realize, though, that when it comes to being an adult and controlling consumption of things like ice cream and cake, candy, bacon, and things like sugar sandwiches (that’s a joke. Kind of.), I am woefully inadequate.

I would eat ice cream for every meal and dessert.

Josh and I have gotten into this habit of buying two half gallons when we buy groceries. Kroger is obviously plotting my demise, what with their damn 2-for-$5 deals on their delicious ice cream.

I mean, a responsible adult eats ice cream for dessert, maybe once a week.

I ate it for breakfast twice last week.

It’s not that I set out to be an idiot about the things I eat, but it’s the perfect food. Creamy. Cold. Exactly the flavor I want. It’s even useful as a cold compress.

Hippies and smart people say that your body is your temple and you have to take care with what you input. Especially if you’re worried about your gut, and I know they’re right. That’s pretty much why I’ve stopped complaining about my gut.

Even if I’m on a diet.
I just can’t help it.
It’s a sickness.



What do you do with a BA in English?

Lately, perhaps spurred by rewatching season one of Teen Mom (Gary and Amber could make anyone feel better about their relationship) and seeing all the online classes they withdrew from, I’ve been severely jonesing to further my education.

I never finished my degree. High school, yes. Further education…nah.

It embarrasses me that I don’t have a degree.

Everyone else was hitting the books, and I had babies.

I like my babies more than a BA, no doubt. But a part of me feels like kind of a loser. Less of a person.

I’ve been looking into degree programs and online classes. I filed my FAFSA today (even though actually applying to school takes money that I’m not sure we have) and it felt kind of surreal. Still does.

I don’t know what I want to pursue. I could focus on English and have a worthless degree that got stage time in Avenue Q, or I could do Psychology and have a degree that is useless without even more degrees. I could be sensible and do something like Business Administration or Paralegal.

Perhaps this is why I was no good at college – because I get overwhelmed by all the choices. I know it’s why I’m no good at any sort of design or styling…because I LIKE IT ALL.

I feel like I’m standing on the edge looking forward at a life I could have, but I’m really nervous to take it. I mean, I can’t fail at college a third time.

Oh yeah – I went back to school after Max was born. I didn’t last a semester. Probably because my dumb ass was majoring in Theatre.

Seriously, what the hell was I thinking?

I just really want to stop feeling subpar. At the risk of sounding cocky, I know I’m not dumb. I know I could do great things if I had the drive. And there, that? See? The drive? I sound like an ass. Since when is it okay to laze around and not pursue goals just because I don’t feel “driven?”

Not that I laze around. I didn’t mean it like that.

Hi, I’m Emily. Have I mentioned my kids? Lazing is not part of the drill.

I’m tired of being embarrassed of how little I’ve accomplished. Yeah I know, my kids are accomplishments and I’m not denying that – my kids are the greatest thing I’ve ever done. It’s just that I want to be proud of me and not just them.

Does that make sense?



Writing prompt #134



Begin with “I wish someone told me…”

I wish someone told me…

  • life is not a Disney movie.
  • marriage is not so much romance as it is backbreaking labor, and you have to like the other person enough to love, forgive, laugh, cry, forget, overlook, remind, endure, apologize, and so much else.
  • loving your kids does not mean they will never irritate you so much that you want to flick them in the forehead. Repeatedly.
  • the cliche that friends are rarer than diamonds and gold is not a cliche at all.
  • even if you love someone to the bone and back doesn’t mean you won’t hurt them.
  • saving money is hard.
  • being broke is harder.
  • religion is often a mask worn to hide from truth.
  • following your dreams is perhaps the hardest thing to make of your life.
  • finish college.
  • be a whole person alone before you try to be whole with someone else.
  • movies lie.

Smarty threw a party

Earlier this week, Ava took her IQ test.

Max took his while we lived in Jackson, and while he went on to be in the gifted programs both there in Madison and here after we returned home, all he knew is that he’d done well on the test and got to be in fun classes to play chess. He never knew specifics, and that was okay by him because he never had any basis for comparison.

I’ve always known my kids are smart. Not in the cliche mom “my kid is better than your kid” way of knowing. I totally recognize that my kids have flaws – they’re about as far from perfect as I am from the arctic tundra. But the smarts they’ve got. Common sense is a different story, as evidenced by the wax on the curtains or the persistent rumor that one of them (I won’t say who, I have integrity) once tasted pee.

Like I was saying – smarts. They’ve got ‘em.

My sister and I were far enough apart in age that while we were competitive (maybe it was less competitive and more me being jealous), it was never realistic competition.

But Max and Ava aren’t far apart. Almost exactly two years.

And their competition is very real. Over everything. Toys, chores, privileges.

Accomplishments.

Therein lies the rub.

I guess inside I’d always known this was coming – the day we’d have to get down to it and find out which of them was technically “smarter.” I kept myself from thinking about it, actually, because I kept telling myself it was like trying to compare candle flames.

It had to be recorded, though. Max’s test was long since taken, and as much as none of us really talked about it, Ava had to follow.

I still remember taking my IQ test. Puzzle blocks, checkmark boxes, and a dim building that smelled of carpet and mold. I remember misspelling “kitchen.” I left out the t. I knew it the moment I did it.

So in preparing for Ava’s test this past Tuesday, I really didn’t know where to start. I wanted her to do well but at the same time I didn’t want her to feel pressured. We decided a practice test would be a good idea, and let me just tell you now – free children’s online IQ tests pretty much don’t exist. I picked one thinking it would be appropriate, and it was going well…until Ava asked me what “lubricate” meant.

Tuesday came. We went in a monsoon to the test place, and Ava disappeared into a tiny office with a sweet little lady who knew her when she walked in. That was a good step, she felt like a celebrity.

Now let me say – I’ve always been under the impression that one thing you never, ever did was reveal a child’s IQ. Something about altering expectations or something. Like if they know their magic number is 25 they won’t try as hard because they think they’re not capable and if their number is 175 they won’t try as hard because they think being a genius paves the way. Basically it’s all based on keeping the kid from being lazy.

I didn’t find out my IQ until I was in high school. I don’t remember why I found out when I did. I may or may not have lied about it ever since.

Apparently sweet little IQ test giving lady never heard about secret IQs, because she came out of that office oohing and ahhhing over Ava’s wonderful results, and repeating her score over and over and over.

So there it was. Ava knew her number. Max didn’t. And this presented a problem, because one of the numbers was definitely higher than the other.

I’m not going to draw out the suspense. We told Max his number, and since then I’ve been kind of conflicted.

I want my kids to feel good about themselves, and so now what? The lowerscore kid (let me clarify, though, both numbers were totally decent and landed them both squarely in the gifted category) feels bad because they’re the “dumb” one?

I don’t want that. But I don’t want to minimize the accomplishment of the “smart” kid, either. They both deserve to feel good about themselves, right?

To be honest, this is probably not something I really need to worry about – Ava had trouble operating the dustpan earlier, and Max is a little too entertained by burning leaves with a magnifying glass.

Famouser even than Captain Kangaroo

Friday night we found some old friends again.

They weren’t really lost, to be fair.

Josh and I are fundamentally antisocial. It’s awkward and it’s weird.

I don’t know why we’re this way. We like having people around and whenever we end up in a group, we usually have a great time. But when presented with the choice of staying in or going to Joey Doe’s birthday bash, we usually stay in. Or we get in the car and ride until we’re falling asleep…we then go to bed, having accomplished absolutely nothing.

I suppose it’s good that I married someone who is like me in this way, because otherwise I’d

(Dan and Josh are watching Forrest Gump. Damn, that’s an excellent movie. The scene where Jenny and Forrest are reunited in Washington D.C. is absolutely my favorite scene in most any movie ever. Out ranked only by the bridge scene in You’ve Got Mail. I kind of have a thing for Tom Hanks.)

Anyway, what was I saying?

Otherwise I’d end up either going to a bunch of places I didn’t really want to go, or I’d lie my way out of various gatherings constantly.

So Josh and I bucked our usual trend of riding around purposelessly or staying in, and we went to Alabama to chow down with some friends we hadn’t seen in far too long.

Jared and Cassie are married. They are the Wallins. And they also share a birthday week, so they invited a bunch of folks to eat Mexican and then hang out at their casa.

We went. I’m still kind of reeling in surprise, but enough of that.

I was nervous. Isn’t that stupid? I knew most of the people that were going to be there, I had nothing hanging out of my nose, and I dig Mexican food.

I’ve heard it called social anxiety, and I buy that, but in my case I think it’s just stupid. Also I’d taken my birth control pill in the car on the way and it got stuck behind my uvula.

I do not advise doing that. It was stuck there most of the damn night.

We ate Mexican and then we went back to the casa.

And their house is so pretty. They are such great people. Why am I afraid of people like that?

Cassie also made margaritas and they were excellent. I’m thinking of compiling an album of pictures of all the margaritas I drink. I think it’s a project I’d excel at.

Happy weekend.

Call me pathetic, but…

As you may recall, I’ve talked once or twice lately about a contest I’m a finalist in.

There’s this website, http://www.inthepowderroom.com, and the best way I can think of to describe it is like a mom/women online magazine/talk show. They have daily articles that are hilarious, timely, sometimes poignant, and always at least a little thought provoking.


They’ve had a contest to fill a “permanent blogger” spot, which basically means that the winner has a static gig of one published article a week, a spot in the community, and moves up at least six points on the stalkable scale.

I want it, I won’t lie.

I have wanted something like this for years. An audience. Motivation. A reason to watch some TV (you know, for cultural relevance).

Validation.

A “hey, you’re not bad at this, come be a part of us.”

I never said I wasn’t needy.

So, the contest runs until the end of the month. One vote per person/IP address is permitted.

You can vote by clicking here, which should open up your email with the subject “emylibef”. Just send it, that’s a vote.

I’m being featured on the site today, and if you’ve come from ITPR to check me out, then read this because it’s my favorite recent post.

I will work my ass off for this. And as anyone who knows me knows, I don’t have much in the way of ass. Flab I’ve got, but ass is precious.

And mine is yours.

Same as it was

I’ve never been one to thrive on cryptic status messages and song lyrics.

Well, that’s not entirely true. There were days years ago where I posted quotes in Italian and talked in code like nobody could Google.

I was getting the weirds out, ok? We didn’t have the internets in my youths.

What I’m saying is, were I currently given to posting cryptic mystery messages and provoking curiosity, I totally could.

I could say, “You’re so wrong,” or talk about regret and holding grudges. I could passive aggress my way around every issue and I could make the point for anyone who was in the loop. I could never name names and still hit nerves.

But you know what? I did that shit in high school.

I’ve grown.

There are people I was thick as thieves with in high school who I would inconvenience myself now to avoid. People I rode backroads with and snuck wine coolers and Marlboro Lights, who have turned into Bible thumping Republican pageant moms.

So I choose to stay clear of them. I would rather sit home and make doilies than surround myself with people who pain me.

The same goes for organizations who are comprised of people who just enjoy the power they think they have.

And here’s where I get real.

I understand, folks. Maybe you don’t like my husband. Maybe you think he’s an arrogant prick. That’s ok. He’s my arrogant prick. While it’s his choice to allow people to treat him however, I don’t have to stand for it and I won’t. My children will see that I don’t approve of people who exclude others because of hearsay. Or wrongs so old no one even really remembers them.

I get that I am just one person. I’m not a big loss. But I am what I am. And it’s not okay for you to play with people I love.

So….basically all that stuff I just said about how I’m not going to be cryptic and mysterious?

Ignore that.

At least I can admit it.

I said in an earlier post that my husband has spent the last couple of months in rehearsals for a local production of Bye Bye, Birdie. Remember?

I don’t know how much any of you know about community theatre – and I know some of you know a lot – and while pretty much everyone has a place to be involved, the one thing it does take a lot of is time.

I’m no stranger to this. Community theatre has been a constant in my life for years. It came with the territory when Josh and I became an us, much like golf, Alabama football, and only pooping when I’m alone.

So Josh has been away with rehearsals and such, and the show went up this weekend. He was fantastic – they pretty much all were.

My thing is, I’m glad he’s having such fun. He’s made new friends and he’s doing what he loves. I would never, ever begrudge him something he loves so much, especially because I love seeing him so happy. And I know that feeling. I get the same feeling on a smaller scale just by writing every day and knowing one or two people read it.

Have I made my point sufficiently, that I’m glad he’s happy and doing what he’s so good at? I want to make it clear that I don’t want to take anything away from him.

But the last time I was this jealous, I was nine and my sister was getting her driver’s license.

I know it’s awful.
I know it’s childish.
I hate that I’m even admitting this.

I mean, it hasn’t been bad.

I’ve spent lots of time with the kids. Lucy’s saying real words now, and I can’t say I haven’t been having fun.

I’ve….made lots of things. I’ve watched lots of Yo Gabba Gabba.

I got to go watch Josh perform and I sat practically bursting with pride.

But it’s like he has this whole other life. One that I’m not a part of and that I’m not invited to.

And the nine year old inside me wants to scream and punch and keep him here with me so if I don’t have fun, no one does.

I know that’s not how it works. I know I would just be miserable if I made him miserable like that. And I would do nothing but resent him if he tried to corral me in that way.

I don’t need to be told to join a group, or go make some friends, or get a hobby.

I don’t want to do that. Can you not see I’m whining?

I know that one day the kids will grow and I will have free time again. I’ll miss these days of cartoons and board games and lots of mud.

I’ll look back and remember how proud of my thespian husband I am. It’ll all be worth it in the end.

But right now, I just need to be a brat.

I’ll be over it soon.

Art from nataliedee.com