7 Late Quick Takes

22 June 2013

- 1 -
One of the hardest things about leaving LA will be saying goodbye to my favorite coffee shop. Oh Balconi you have been so good to us!! They do siphon coffee and have arguably the best latte on the westside.


So any of you readers that hail from Houston need to send me your coffee shop recommendations.

- 2 -
Before we even got out of bed on Tuesday, Jacob and I got in a spat over changing the first and ripest diaper of the day. Long story short: let's just say I lost the rock paper scissors game and lit into him as I carried our smellybutt offspring to the changing table. Jacob then made breakfast, converted Jake's crib to a toddler bed, and went to the DMV. Afterwards he brought me home a cup of Balconi. 

I said: "You realize this makes me the worst wife in the world." 
He said: "Why do you think I did it?"

- 3 -
My banjo broke recently. A tiny piece of plastic that holds a string in place popped off. Handyman Huz was SURE he could fix it. I wasn't so keen on him (i. e. almost forbid him from) taking a drill to the old girl but he was adamant about not paying someone else to do it. And a few youtube videos and one call to the manufacturer later and we've got this:


That's my banjo neck with a flat head screw in it. It's very cool. I know. And it seems to be holding tune.

Not pictured: gloating husband.

- 4 -
UPDATE: Big boy bed - Good News

So far nighttime has gone pretty swimmingly (knock on wood). I was worried about early wake ups and him crawling into our bed, but yesterday morning he got up at 5:30, walked over to our bed, and watched us sleep for 30 seconds before crawling back to his bed and sleeping till almost 7. I was lying in bed completely still, feeling like I'd just witnessed a small miracle.

- 4b -
UPDATE: Big boy bed - Bad News


How do/did you teach your toddler to put himself down for naps in a bed?  Right now the process is taking an average of 2 hours. I'm not a nazi about it, but I do like me a little bit of a sleep schedule...And this new transition has turned our beautiful summer afternoons into nightmarish nap debacles.

Yesterday, I tried the don't engage and keep putting him back in bed method which quickly became the best game ever. He just started laughing and running back to the bed by himself whenever I came into the room. So I stopped that game after half an hour.

Then I tried the fine just play in the room until you fall asleep wherever you end up falling asleep method. But he just played for an hour. Once I checked on him after a suspiciously quiet five minutes and found him having somehow retrieved my sewing box from a super high shelf and set himself up on the floor poking his fingers with needles.

So yeah. Desperate McDesperate over here.

- 5 -
After the hell of naptime though we have teatime which is kind of the greatest. I'm not big into letting Jake snack. Mostly because we don't keep snack foods around and so snacks always require some effort on my part, but also because I like Jake to be good and hungry at mealtimes. But recently we've been having a snack with tea in the afternoon. The kid needs a little something to get him from lunch to dinner and I need a little something to get me from naps to night night so tea time it is. 


We sit and I ask him questions and he tells me stories about falling down in the ocean. 
- 6 -
Pregnancy. Want to know something fun about my pregnancies? It's not gross at all. (Actually that's a lie.) 

I get these lovely little things called cherry angiomas, and I always have. They're genetic or something and plenty of people get them. Just little collections of capillaries under your skin like red dots and sometimes they get a little raised. Well, you know how the pregger's blood volume like doubles or whatever? When I was pregnant with Jake, I was blessed with about FIFTY new angiomas. It wasn't cool at all, but the WORST part was that two of them morphed into pyogenic granulomas: a pea-sized collection of blood vessels that balloons up out of your skin, grows and grows, and bleeds whenever you touch it (here's a pic for the strong-stomached). Fun, I know. 

When I went to have it removed at the dermatologist's office, he walked in, took one look at my head, and lit up like I'd handed him a Christmas present. He told me he'd only ever seen one on another pregnant woman in his 25 years of practice. I felt special. And by that I mean I felt like a freak.

- 7 -
Also. This is the smile-face Jake dons whenever he notices that someone is taking his picture.


You can offer condolences in the combox.

Happy Saturday!

Big Boy Bed and Belly Pics

18 June 2013

In the wake of a love story that went viral thanks to Grace, I welcome all you new readers and apologize that we are now returning to the regular programming of not that much of interest is going on around here.

So we'll talk about baby sleep habits. Huzzah! Babies who don't sleep! Empathy train!

If you've read this blog for awhile you know that it took us a long time to get Jake to sleep through the night. I think living in a one bedroom apartment hurt our sleep training efforts, and "sleeping through the night" at its best (from 13-20 months) looked like sleeping till 5:30 and kicking around in our bed until 6:30 at which point we'd kick him out of bed and he'd reek havoc on the living room until one of us finally dragged ourselves out of bed and started tending to him. And that blessed routine would get royally screwed up by ANYthing: travel or teeth or whatever. Then we would coddle the night-waker a couple times and then the night wakings would increase and we'd find ourselves back in hard core sleep training mode...again. At least for the past few months he'd been sleeping till 7, and we were patting ourselves on the back until last week.  

We're kind of textbook parents so you should probably be taking notes.

Jake learned how to climb out of his crib months ago. This was a crib Jacob basically built, so we just dropped the mattress to avoid any further thumps in the middle of the night. Then we had to drop it again. And again. And again. At which point it couldn't get any lower without the mattress being lower than the bars. And last week the inevitable happened: our little climber conquered crib Everest and nighttime and nap time rituals flew out the window to the tune of miserable toddler and more miserable parents.

Yesterday after putting him back in his crib eight times at naptime, he was finally quiet. I peeked in and found him like this:


I was torn between congratulating myself and feeling completely guilty.

So apparently we're late to the toddler bed train. I had NO intention of transitioning Jake to a toddler bed before the move, but circumstances have slapped us in the face - they have a way of doing that - and this morning we finally bit.


Jake is much more excited about his "bid boy bed" than I am.


With my luck he will force me to potty train him the same week his little sister is born because I'm not interested in cracking that pandora's box until baby girl is like four months old.


I have to go be a mother now because Jake is tired of playing "fetch the bobby pin."

But I will leave you with some preg pics because I'm on the ball and thought you guys needed some 22 week photos:

baby 2 week 22  
And I will FLAP this even if I'm two days late because that was my church outfit on Sunday, or it was until my shoes broke. Classy classy classy like always.

The Love Story Pt. 2

13 June 2013

So at the end of yesterday's post, I left you in the cap bar during a crucial five minutes when I'd realized both that I was falling for Jacob and that he had just started dating someone else. 

But it was just as well. I met Jacob's bubbly new girlfriend from Notre Dame, and told myself I wasn't jealous at all when I would see them walking around campus holding hands. My boyfriend and I got back together and spent the rest of the semester on again and off again.

That spring semester of our Junior year Jacob ran for Student Government President. I was pretty surprised because it seemed so unlike him. Sure - he'd been active on campus and in student government, but it still surprised me, in a good way. As a concerned member of student government, he had asked several classmates who he thought were qualified to run for SG president, they all declined, and the last one turned the question around and asked Jacob why he wasn't running himself. So Jacob thought about it and did it. 

And he did it right. 

He threw himself into the campaign. There were posters of him all over campus. They were witty and funny with the perfect amount of self-deprecation/adulation. I couldn't dig up the actual campaign posters, but I did find some of the photos he used for them to help you get a picture of it.


Fine. He didn't use this last one, but it would've fit the essence.
And the way-too-self-conscious-to-ever-do-something-like-that me...well, I just loved it. I was so proud of him. I wore his pin for weeks. And he won. (Of course he won!)

I remember toward the end of that semester I called him to get his apartment number because we were taking a final the next day and had decided to study together. We stayed on the phone and chatted idly as I wound my way through the shady apartment complex. Talking with him came so easily. We had a connection and a naturalness when we were together that I was beginning to get tired of ignoring. I turned a corner and saw him, but he didn't see me. He was sitting on a stairwell, all lank, elbows resting on his knees, one hand holding the phone and the other rubbing the top of his head as he stared at the ground. My heart lodged in my throat, and I paused and watched him as he chatted with me. I stood there marveling at the feelings I had for this character even though he was dating somebody and I was (I think?) dating someone else too. I'll never forget that image of him. I'll never forget how I stalled in the dark so the moment wouldn't end. 

Summer finally came, and I headed off to Chicago to work the girls version of the same program Jacob had worked the previous summer. And guess who I'd be working with: Jacob's girlfriend. (Ready for the drama? You know it. Not really.)

By the time the program started in July, Jacob and his girlfriend had broken up. But the awkwardness wasn't averted: she and I were living in the same house, and she was like the queen bee of the program. Jacob was working the boys program again across town. I had no idea if she knew about Jacob and my "history" since she was sweeter than sweet to me. Turns out she knew about all of it because his lingering feelings for me were instrumental in their break-up. He hadn't told her that, but she'd figured it out. She also knew that nothing "real" had ever happened between us. I found all this out in a late night heart to heart after which we were fast friends. Perhaps it was one of those "keep your enemies closer" situations, but she was all around a pretty dear soul, and we genuinely got along well.

She didn't know that I had feelings for Jacob, but that was something I hardly knew myself. I wasn't surprised that he still had feelings for me, but I was very happy to hear it. But since I wasn't a boyfriend stealer, for the rest of the summer program I had to keep up the farce that I wasn't falling in love with my friend Jacob.

Jacob and I still managed to hang out casually a few times that summer. We ran into each other at a coffee shop once and spent the afternoon chatting away about various things including the end of our respective relationships.  Another afternoon his sister - wily one that she is - invited me on a picnic with them.

When we got back to UD senior year things heated up rather quickly. We started hanging out all the time, and it was awesome. Tons of flirtation and dollar theaters and late night conversations and stolen kisses.


I loved it all, but I was squeamish about dating. I'd successfully ended my other relationship only a few short months before, and I wasn't interested in jumping into another one. And I was scared. I didn't trust my feelings for Jacob, and I didn't want to hurt him. I'd spent years convinced that he was just a friend, and I was afraid this new affection would disappear as quickly as it had appeared. So we trotted around the idea of "dating" for a couple of months.

One Saturday in September, he took me to UD's 50th Anniversary Gala, and afterwards we were hanging out and he showed me this rock. It was about the diameter of a quarter, grey and smooth. He told me the story of this rock. On a trip to Croatia during his semester abroad sophomore year, he'd picked this up at the Marian shrine at Medugorje. (Neither of us were Catholic but incidentally joined the RCIA program together our Senior year.) So he was praying on the mountain and picked up this rock. As he tells it, he was praying for me while holding this rock...and he was praying for me, that is, praying that we would end up together. It was rainy and cold and he made his way down from the shrine and by the time he got to the bottom he noticed that he'd held this rock so tight it was now warmer than his hand. So he carried it everywhere, all over Europe, and had kept it with him for three years. This rock had signified his hope for me, his hope for us. He told me he wanted us to be together, he always had, and he wanted me to have this rock, unless we couldn't be together, in which case he wanted to keep it.

I held the rock in my hand for a couple of minutes. I turned it over in my hands. I couldn't believe such a thing existed, a little incarnation of how much he cared about me. After a few minutes, I handed the rock back to him, and we sat in silence. I was too afraid to make a commitment to him and his feelings for me were too strong to ask for anything less. He took me home, and we didn't see each other for a few days.

But we couldn't really stay away from one another and within a few days he'd started coming around again. Fast forward a month and we'd fallen back into our old habits of hanging out all the time, and one Friday night we had a frustrating conversation that ended with him getting out the rock and handing it to me and telling me he never wanted to see it again.

And finally. Finally. This got through. 

I looked up at him and saw in his face that he was ready to give up on me. It suddenly all made sense, and I could see the narrative of our relationship. He was the nice guy in the show that everyone wants the jerk-girl to notice even though she doesn't deserve him, and I was the jerk-girl who was happy to leave the guy hanging, so long as he stuck around. And everyone knows in that narrative what's truly at risk, and it's not that he won't get her. He's swell, and he will find someone better if this girl is too stupid. The real risk is that SHE will miss out on him.

I looked up into the face of someone whose conversation and input I valued as much as any friend I'd ever had; someone who made me feel more like myself when I was with him than I did when I was alone; someone who had cared about me undaunted for so long. I took that rock, and I kissed him long and good. And I haven't stopped kissing him since.

This was us at our Senior Formal
The rest of our dating relationship was not without tedious bumps, but that night was the pivoting point. Perhaps someday I will tell our engagement story, but I think I will give you all a break for now. This certainly is a good enough stopping place, and I should probably seize the opportunity for all of our sakes.

Well, one last thing.

I lost the rock. A few years ago. I don't remember how or when exactly. Somewhere between moving to Irving or Rome or New Jersey or LA, I lost it. When I realized it was gone, I felt sick and went to Jacob sobbing. Very entertained by the amount of emotion I was displaying, he looked at me and said: 

"Katie, it was just a stupid rock."

If you still need more gushing: I wrote our Engagement Story Here

The Love Story Pt. 1

12 June 2013

Today is Jacob's and my fourth anniversary and in honor of that I wanted to post our story. I started writing it months ago, but I always felt a little weird about posting it. And I still do. But I SO love reading other people's stories that I felt that it was only fair to share ours.

FRESHMAN YEAR (in which we don't date)

Jacob and I met in college at the University of Dallas during Freshman Orientation.

I was bumming a ride to the Super Walmart with a buddy of mine and so was he. My friend was very pretty, and he was SO crushing on her. (He admits to this crush, but assures me it only lasted for three days.)

By the end of our Walmart trip we were friends enough to sit at the same cafeteria table, stop and chat around campus, sit next to each other in class, etc. But Jacob had lots of friends on campus. His older brother had plowed the way for him to be in with the upperclassman. He was a social butterfly.

I'm not very good at making friends, I'm better at making friends. I'm like a robot: Make close friends. Share all secrets. Die for them. So I had my little clan, and I would occasionally hang out with other people, one of whom was Jacob Rhodes.

Eating Snow 
Apr 13, 2013_7

Pretty soon into first semester Jacob began developing feelings for me, but he was quiet about them because he knew I didn't reciprocate them, and as heartless as it sounds he was right. 

Jacob was my friend. I didn't feel an ounce of chemistry between us. But as my friend, he was awesome.

He was infinitely interesting. Evey week I'd find out some new astonishing detail about his childhood. Like how he spent his junior year of high school living with his horse'n'buggy Mennonite relatives in Kentucky sans electricity. Or how he'd grown up on Maui and literally lived in a tent on a beach while his stepdad did accupuncture on horses. Or how his family had followed a guru half way around the world before his hippy mother returned to the Catholicism of her roots. To a little girl who'd lived in one house in one town of 6824 people her whole life, Jacob Rhodes was totally exotic.  


Our friendship grew, but no romantic feelings were mine. Talking with some of my girlfriends one day freshman year, I told them the kind of love story I wanted to have. I said that I wanted to one day wake up and realize that I'd fallen in love with my best friend. But that wasn't very simple because for that to truly happen, the friend would have to be just that, a friend. He couldn't be someone I already had feelings for. So I sat there perplexed because, as delightful as it sounded, this plan automatically excluded all of my current crushes. And then I said: "That would be like me falling in love with Jacob Rhodes, and that would never happen."

I said this to make a point. Not to tempt Cupid. You see, as far as I was concerned, Jacob and I were just friends. He took me to Spring Formal freshman year. But we were just friends. We wrote letters over the summer and over the next year when we spent alternating semesters abroad. But we were just friends. We talked a lot. We talked about important things, family and faith and dreams and heartaches. But we were just friends.

SOPHOMORE YEAR (when we still don't date)

Not much happened sophomore year except for vaguely staying in touch since he spent that fall in Rome and I spent the spring. Summer after that year though Jacob finally told me how he felt about me. Never mind that we basically hadn't seen each other that year because of studying abroad or the fact that I was dating someone else or the fact that he was about to spend eight weeks bunking with my boyfriend in Chicago at a summer program they were both working. Never mind any of those things. I let him down easily enough I think, but our "friendship" was ruined.

We didn't talk at all that summer, but whenever I talked to my boyfriend he would frequently update me on Jacob-happenings since they were living together. Jacob was over singing and jamming with some of the guys. Jacob was out smoking on the fire escape.  Jacob was in the street doing some stylized photo shoot with some friends for a wedding gift. This photo shoot actually.

midtown pic

There was one story my boyfriend told me that stood out from the rest.

All the guys from the summer program were on a rafting trip one weekend, and Jacob, his brother John, and my boyfriend wanted to do some cliff-jumping. After a few hours they came upon the perfect spot, the cliff was high and the water was deep. The three of them made the treacherous trek to the top and just before jumping, my boyfriend stopped them. He was a city boy - a brave city boy but still a city boy - and he was a little spooked by the extremity of what they were about to do. He said he couldn't stop thinking about how all the people who get paralyzed from cliff-jumping have the moment - this moment - right beforehand when they are just fine. So he asked the Rhodes boys if they wanted to say a prayer with him before they all made the precarious leap. The three of them bowed their heads, and my boyfriend led them in a prayer. Immediately after the "Amen," Jacob tore himself from the huddle and flew off the cliff with a holler.


This story still means so much to me as I reflect back on Jacob's and my beginnings. Jacob was so...fun. I didn't drink, I made straight A's, and I lived for academic recognition. Jacob was goofy and not very academically inclined and had this recklessness that I found endearing and refreshing, but he wasn't boyfriend material. The guy I was dating was a philosophy major and was going to law school and was completely boyfriend material. (Or so I thought...he's now a monk.)

JUNIOR YEAR (when something almost happened)

Junior year I was plagued with school and a rocky dating relationship, and Jacob was determined to get over me. We hardly spoke. He even transferred out of a class because I was in it.

In January - on a Thursday - I broke up with my boyfriend. The following Tuesday I was at the cappuccino bar on campus when I heard Jacob's voice behind me, and I got butterflies.

I was shocked. The unexpected jolt had me glaring at my stomach and reminding my jittery insides that that was Jacob Rhodes. I was in a very confusing place in life, but I knew one thing: I didn't feel that way about Jacob Rhodes.

He walked over to me. Word wasn't out that I'd broken up with my boyfriend, and Jacob had hardly talked to me all of Junior year, so I knew he wasn't making a move, but there he was sauntering over in all his lanky glory and my stomach was in a knot. He sidled up to me and asked how I was doing. We made small talk for a couple of minutes before - in all the delicious little twists of fate that make up these types of love stories - he said excitedly: "So I have a friend coming into town for Groundhog this weekend, and I can't wait for you to meet her."



And there it was. My puppy love Jacob had gone and found himself a girlfriend who wasn't me.

And I'll cruelly leave you on the edges of your seats till tomorrow. 


How will it all end?!?

Answer: you already know the answer, and it's babies.   

Once Upon a Time

01 June 2013

Jake has recently become obsessed with story-telling. He asks for stories every night before bed and at naptime. Specifically "ocean stories" preferably involving big lady bugs and/or "elephant stories." If you tell him a story he will snuggle into your arms and his eyes will be wide with all the imagining in his little blond head.

I hardly recognize my high-energy, high-needs toddler in these moments, and for one of the first times as a parent I feel that don't-outgrow-this-ever tug.

Untitled Untitled

I come from a family of storytelling. My dad is a storyteller. As kids we would request the same stories over and over. The one where Uncle Allan saved Dad from drowning. The one where he was learning to ride a bike. The one where he didn't fall down at the water-ski show but the snooty girl did.

I grew up without the chip that said you were only supposed to tell a story once. I remember as a little girl the first time someone criticized me because I was telling a story I had told before. I was perplexed. It was a GOOD story. Didn't they want to hear it over and over?

My siblings and I all gather around good story tellers like you would around a warm fire on a cold night. We request stories we've heard before. We get a little anxious when crucial details are left out or not poised correctly. It's perhaps my favorite thing about my family of origin. Family get togethers rarely involve big planned activities, they instead revolve around big meals and people sitting around the table afterwards listening to stories.

While training for the last marathon we ran, we briefly kept a blog called Ramsay Reruns. Distance running in my family always involves stories. And we rerun the same stories often. Distance running is also a source of story, and we vaguely attempted to catalog it in the blog. If you have a minute and click on over, you won't regret it. There are some treasures.

I suppose I love Jake's story-obsession because it reminds me of my family. This is important when my son is basically my husband's clone - except for his nose which can put up a Ramsay nostril flare with the best of us.

For Christmas this year, we received a hand-carved Inuit sculpture from a family friend.

It's called The Storyteller. After making the trek, from Portland safely tucked in a shoe, The Storyteller now sits on a shelf in our living room watching us and taking in our daily activity.


He's very mysterious. I like him very much. I don't imagine he'll be telling us many stories, but I hope through the years he and Jake get to listen to dozens and dozens.

In other news. I've been trying to revamp my 2 year old cloth diaper stash via the DIY route. I've made one cover so far. I proudly suited Jake up in it and promptly texted a picture to Jacob.


Immediately after the photo. Jake started fussing and saying, "OUCH! OUCH! TOO SMALL!" He then tore it off and ran onto the porch. 

So, yeah. In the words of the new phrase Jacob and Jessie's husband recently taught my son:

Nailed it.
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