This Saturday will mark five years since my first date with Andy. I’m sure it’s been longer. I mean, we’ve got two-ish kids. Life before him is kind of hazy. Surely we’ve been together forever, right?

But then I still have those moments – growing rarer all the time – when I feel like I’ve just brought home a stranger. I’ll get this silly, naughty feeling saying, there’s a guy I hardly know in my bed!

Andy and I were set up by my best friend, a decision so brilliant I will be grateful to her for the rest of my life. To hear her tell it at my wedding reception, I was begging and groveling and whimpering for her to find me a man. I don’t remember it that way in my head, but whatever. Let’s just say I had gotten over all my stupid relationship issues and history and was super ready for The Real Deal.

So she offered me Andy. Actually, she mentioned she had another guy in mind too. I said, well give me a crack at both of them! She said no. I had to date Andy first, because he was better.

She showed me his Facebook profile pic, which at the time was this:

andrew for julie

I said, “Ehhh.” She said no, I didn’t understand, he had a “super sweet smile” and was “totally nerd hot.” Well, okay.

So she hooked us up over the interwebz, and one day Andy IM’d me on Facebook. I don’t know what we chatted about but then he started mentioning local theatrical productions – cause I’m a theatre girl and going to plays is how you land my kind. When he started talking about the Rocky Horror Show, I knew I had to move fast, because that is just NOT where you want to be on a first date. Men. So I was all, “Hey, The Importance of Being Earnest is playing too!” and he was smart and asked me if I wanted to go see it with him.

We met at a coffee shop an hour before the Sunday matinee. I put on skirt, like a girl, and eyeliner. Man, those were the days. When I saw him walking up, I got a quick thrill that he was goatee-less and ADORABLE.


No, that’s not from our first date. I’m not that weird. It’s like our…third.

We talked, we went to the play. Two seconds after the show ended he said, “Are you hungry? Do you want to have dinner?” Sure! But it was early yet, so we wandered around until the fancy restaurant opened, and we had dinner. My main memory of that dinner is leaning in and saying, “What?” about a hundred times. Cause Andy’s just not as loud as me.

When all was said and done, I think we had a 6 or 7-hour date. Can’t remember now. Andy was still trying to extend it but I said, since I think we had already made another date, “I WILL go out with you again,” so I could go home. I think I kissed him on the cheek. He would claim later he had no idea if I was interested in him because I never touched him or kissed him but that’s blatantly not true. I took his hand when we met, I kissed his cheek…uh…maybe that was it. Still! That should be good enough!

And it wasn’t till dinner on the second date when something just hit me and I knew I was most definitely interested in him. There was some pretty hot hand-holding and goodnight kissing on that 6-hour date, let me tell you.

Okay, now I’m done telling stories. Almost time to go celebrate!


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Let’s See a YION


For MONTHS – at least I think it’s months; it feels like months – Audrey has been insisting we go to the zoo and see a “yion.” I’ve had to tell her our children’s zoo wasn’t open yet and didn’t have a lion, but we would go as soon as it was.

Every day she’s talked about the zoo and that yion. So the second the children’s zoo finally opened this morning, we were through the door.

There’s still no yion there. But we saw everything else: reindeer, snakes, baby bobcat, lemurs, hilarious gibbons, tortoises, flamingos, camels, barnyard animals. Which, at that point, she was only getting through so she could get to the train ride. Oh, the glorious train. Oh, the wondrous train.

We waited at the little station and when she heard it coming, the look on her face was one of absolute rapture. I’ve never seen anything like it. I wish I could have caught it for you.

As we sat on the train waiting to go, the look was far more serious.



In fact, she looked like that the entire ride, staring straight out, until we were about 30 seconds from the end of the ride, when she looked up at me and smiled.

When we got home she said, “I go see a YION?”

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Sunday I told Audrey we were going to a different place for church that morning.

“Dere’s cookies dere too?” was her response. So she knows what matters.

There were cookies. And it was technically still our regular church: just a new, small, informal, off-site place where you can sit at tables with your coffee during the 45-minute service. Which is right up my alley. This month.

Last month, and for a while, I was feeling our big, formal, put-on-a-great-production-of-a-service church didn’t even have enough ritual or tradition to suit me. I thought it was weird that I looked forward to Ash Wednesday of all times of the year, because there was ritual and liturgy and ancient stuff. I started threatening to defect to Catholicism. Not even trying to be cute here. I know that when I feel a total disconnect from all that is greater than me that physical worship can bring me back. Your brain can’t stay in the same place when your body is kneeling, making the sign of the cross, saying the rosary, things like that. All of a sudden you don’t have to make this cerebral strain like you’re trying to spiritually poop yourself to a higher place. You just get taken away. Or I do. It works for me.

So how did I end up in the opposite sort of place this weekend? I think it was because I read a wonderful book by a nun who did a great job of describing the revolutionary, often female-driven house meetings of the early Jesus Movement. I started to romanticize that and felt like right now I’d love a gathering where I could act and dress casually (and therefore feel like me) and is small enough for me to feel known. Also, after this service you can hang and have a conversation with the pastor about the sermon topic. It has that Bible study class-like feel that Andy and I often like more than actual worship. Andy, listening to me ramble about this stuff just points out the obvious: we can alternate what service we feel like going to.

One other nice thing: this was the first time in ages that Audrey stayed with me for a service. She’s used to her church nursery full of kids with toys and felt-board bible stories and coloring. Sharing a service with her was rather sweet. She danced to the music and clapped afterward (unlike the rest of us still-too-repressed-it’s-for-the-glory-of-God-alone Protestants) and managed to not go too crazy until halfway through the sermon.

Then at the end she said, “We go odder church now?”


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Freedom’s Just Another Word


A couple Fridays ago I abandoned my family and ran off to party with my best girlfriends for the entire weekend. It felt like the most self-indulgent treat I’ve ever had. I had never left my kid for a night before, much less two.

Andy was still hurting from hernia surgery the week before and so had constant grandmother backup on the toddler front. So I vacillated between two feelings: 1) I am so grateful that Andy would make this sacrifice of time and money that we don’t really have so that I could have this joyous experience even thought he almost never gets to do fun things with his friends and 2) Wait, he didn’t have to deal with a single annoying toddler thing while I was gone? I wanted him to suffer more so he’d know what I go through!

I’m such an nice wife.

I did a lousy job of preparing Audrey for how long I’d be gone but what do you do? Her sense of time isn’t great. I only talked about it the day before I left and then the next morning I kind of rushed out the door, saying, “Don’t you want to hug me some more? I’m going to be gone kind of a long time,” which just made her look at me weird.

But we kept in touch by sending pictures back and forth.


Hey, mommy, what’s up? My car seat is in the living room!



Whatever, lady. I don’t need you.



M cookie is for MOMMY COME HOME!


I missed this kid but I’m not gonna lie: I had a lot of fun pretending to be a single girl for the weekend. Well, a single pregnant girl who couldn’t drink all night, but it was still a blast. I’m going to have to do it again.

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Facebook Lent


I gave up Facebook for Lent. So this is my fourteenth day social media sober. I was going to write about it before but it didn’t turn out to be the Big Deal I thought it was going to be. I mean, it’s a real addiction for me. I rarely let my brain be quiet for a minute without filling it with bits of news from my charming friends. I rarely experience my family doing something remotely funny without desperately needing to post about it and get validated by the “likes.” So I thought I was going to have serious withdrawal…at least eventually…when I gave it up.

It hasn’t happened. I’ve barely noticed. I mean, the urge to type up every little thing that happens is still there:

-Hey, guys, I just found out my husband doesn’t know how to spell our daughter’s middle name! I understood when we were still in the hospital with her, but…she’s two, dude. -

But then I just make a note and try to figure out how to work it into the blog – smooth, huh? – which I also seem to be neglecting. Have I just stopped needing attention? Am I content with real life? That doesn’t sound like me.

-So Audrey has a small stuffed grizzly bear and a little sock monkey and she’s been making them kiss a lot lately. Just those two.-

Oh, if you’re wondering, I did stop posting about the Bible. It was making me cranky and it was no fun for anybody else to read either. I will keep reading, eventually, but I don’t feel like writing. It was hard for me to keep the big picture and easy to get caught in the ickier details. Anyway.

Back to Facebook. Without it, I do feel calmer. I read more books. I pay attention to my kid more. I find there’s a lot more time in my day than I thought. Maybe next Lent I’ll go whole Amish. :)

-Andy LOVES to tell me that, by dictionary definition, it is totally valid to use the word “literally” hyperbolically. It really, really annoys me. And that’s why he tells me.-

Now let’s look at a cute picture.


Aud wearing her baby in a sling. Who’s my good little Attachment Parent-in-training?

Thus endeth the rambling post of randomness.


Weekend of Sick


We decided to spend the weekend with giant colds. We figured it would be fun to do it right when it got nice outside so it would be more of a slap in the balls. The kid was sick with us but opted not to feel it. She was just as perky as ever and so bummed we weren’t taking her outside or chasing her or even bathing her.

She has learned a great trick though. When she hears her Daddy hock up a loogey, she immediately runs to open the kitchen trash can, so he can deposit it in there. It’s so gross, you guys. I still have a wicked gag reflex.

Aud was fine enough to be dumped at school this morning, so I did that. She was super excited. Finally, fun people! Her teacher asked me, “So…do you ever have to ask her to do something about twenty times?” Ha. Yes. YES. And twenty different ways to avoid it devolving to a wresting match with a toddler. Oy.

Here’s something cute the kid did yesterday when bored out of her mind with us:


She’s wearing my shirt and has made a pocket out of the front for carrying her water.

The expression is because when she’s trying to smile on purpose, that’s what comes out.

And that’s my whole story. Later.


Growing Up is Hard to Do


Audrey’s gone and grown into a new person again. In the last couple of weeks, she’s launched into more imaginative play, gotten a little more complex with her grammar, and become a little more needy. So she’s fascinating to be around, often very cuddly, and then very, very…uh…obstinate. I’m suddenly surprised with battles over things I didn’t expect and am therefore thoroughly unprepared for. She doesn’t want to nap, so will scream and fight to stay sitting on the toilet rather than make any move that leads toward her room. She wants to leave the house, but doesn’t (she’s like a cat), so battles me over everything from putting on clothes to combing her hair. Once she’s out of the house, she may not want to leave wherever we go, so we do the whole show in public.

So I find myself wracking my brain for the appropriate psychological warfare at any given moment. All the things that worked last month and made me feel so brilliant are now useless. Audrey found out that when given a choice of two options (“Do you want to go potty or wear a diaper?”) there is always a secret third choice, which is “NO.” If to achieve one goal, she has to complete a task first (“You can have a banana if you pick up those Cheerios you dumped on the floor”) she will choose to expend that menial energy bemoaning the state of her existence instead.

But like I said, she’s also more charming and brilliant and dear every day. It all goes together. I just ended up inadvertently rocking that child to sleep for her nap, as she had a testy morning and desperately needed closeness. I know she’s going to need so much more of that kind of smushy love in a few months and am so worried about how I’m going to give it to her with another person attached to my body.




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Lookit Mah Preshus Bebe


Ultrasounds are like Disney World to me. I have often referred to Audrey’s as the best day of my life, and that includes her being born. It was just thrilling. She was so real; she was doing stuff. So I was a crazy level of excited to go meet our new bambino on screen yesterday. Just crazy excited.

It was scheduled for right after we drop Audrey off at school. I kind of wanted to bring her to the ultrasound, but also hated having her miss those few hours she gets to be at school. However, it wasn’t the most genius idea, as we were bringing Andy’s mom along to the ultrasound and Audrey was just destroyed that we brought her Grams into her day for a few minutes only to abandon Audrey to school right away. She looked at us like we had killed her puppy. We totally suck.

Anyway. Ultrasound!

Just like our Audrey, this baby was spread-eagled for us right off the bat and let us know that WE HAVE A BOY CHILD!!!!

No, we do not have that screen shot for you. Be decent.

Here’s what we have!



Hello, son!

He’s perfect. Everything is going as perfectly as possible. He was SO busy. Kicking and covering his face with his arms and yawning.



See him looking right at you?

Oh, my goodness, you guys, this technology is the most mind-blowing thing ever. This whole baby thing is so abstract and now I feel like I’ve met our kid. I am suddenly all I will do anything for you mah beautiful bebe and Oh no, Andy, someday he’s going to grow up and love some other woman.

So the point is he is so gorgeous and smart and talented and the Best Thing Ever, you guys.

Also, he’s a dancer:



Check that leg action.

I love you, baby boy!!!

Doughnuts and Drugs


Yesterday was Andy’s actual birthday. So, like any good wife, after I dropped the kid off at preschool, I came home with a dozen doughnuts. He was pleased with me. He did say it was probably too many, which made me laugh, as there is one left in the box right now. I mean, duh.

I don’t know how much Audrey grasps the concept of “birthday,” but it must have stuck with her, because when I picked her up a few hours later, she was chanting, “Daddy’s birthday, Daddy’s birthday.” When I told her we would actually see that very daddy for dinner, she squealed with excitement, and spent the rest of the day talking about the “sghetti” we were going to make for him. (It’s fancier than you think: it’s Rachael Ray’s Cowboy Spaghetti, made with beef and bacon and Worcestershire and hot sauce and fire-roasted tomato sauce. Look, Ma, I cooked!)

After naptime, we took a fun excursion to my midwife’s office to pee in a cup. By the time we hit the grocery store parking lot, I got the not surprising call that I had a UTI and antibiotics were awaiting me at my pharmacy. I asked if I could have them in liquid form, as every time I try to swallow even a Tylenol, it’s a life-or-death battle. I was told to take it up with the pharmacist. I had Andy picking up the drugs after work, cause he had the money on him. So it wasn’t until much later that he came home saying the pharmacist had to check back with the midwife’s office to get a proper dosage if it was going to be liquid.

Whatever. Blergh. So we had a tasty dinner and split a doughnut and the kid was off-the-wall excited to have Daddy home chasing her around the house. “Daddy! Git me! Git me!”

So today the pharmacy and midwife’s office finally make contact – and everything seems to be hurting me more knowing how close and yet how far away I am to drugs – and they find the right liquid version. But heads up, the pharmacist tells me on the phone, it costs $560.

Oh, for Pete’s sake. I’ve had liquid antibiotics before and they were normally priced. What on earth is this one made of? So I call the midwife’s office, who calls the pharmacist, and a nurse at the office calls me back to say, hey, while the original drug is in giant capsule form, you can undo them and empty the contents into a bite of pudding and just eat that.

SERIOUSLY? Yes, please, I’d like to have been doing that since last night.

Oh, well.

I wanted to post a cute video here of the kid singing Happy Birthday, but I do not understand these little memory cards at all. So, you know…maybe later, when I can talk Andy into it.


Party Animal


It was a pretty exciting weekend.

Friday the kid and I headed to my folks’. That means way too short a nap in the car. I dumped her with them and went to my old high school to see a musical and attend a reception for 50 years’ worth of musical alumni. Yes, that’s me in the background of every show. I think I even had a line each of my junior and senior years!

My mom started taking me to the plays at the high school when I was in 6th grade. I worshiped those big kids. I thought they were the most amazing, talented people to ever walk the earth. And the people I was in high school with were really impressive too. And then I watched the current crop of kids performing Friday night, and I realized, yeah…we were all probably just like that. Adorably kind of talented and awkward and awesome and nervous and…yeah.

The kid partied hard with the grandparents while I was out. Stayed up late, refused real food and ate crackers and other packaged nonsense, but what the hey, it was a special occasion. She practiced her new favorite phrase, which is, “I KNOW.” You know how you do that thing where you kind of narrate the action so your kid learns language? Well, she ain’t about to be talked down to like that anymore. ” Ball. Gams.” “Yes, Grams gave you that ball.” “I KNOW.”


Duh, lady, that’s WHAT I JUST SAID.

So we hear that every day now.

Saturday we came back to town. Another short car nap, so a kid who’s starting to be more than a little sleep-deprived. So we threw a party to celebrate Daddy and his BFF’s birthdays coming up. Aud loved it. There were kids, there was another day of eating chips and cake instead of food, and while she looked painfully tired for a while, she got her twelfth wind and worked the room all night. And a good time was had by all.

Sunday we got up and went to church. Then we met Andy’s mom and sister-plus-family for some lunch. Note: pregnant lady at a buffet=pain. I was pretty much dead after that. Aud passed out on the way home and finally got a real nap in and THEN we had my parents over because it’s almost my mom’s birthday too. By then we were mentally gone and were the most boring people to ever entertain company ever. Ever. We had to wait for Audrey to wake up so someone would be charming.


Okay, if I have to.

Then yesterday we got back to our comfortable nothing. How do you people with lives do it?

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