how the cookie crumbles.

You know the phrases: "you'll poke your eye out", "if you keep making that face, eventually it'll stick that way", and my all-time favorite, "in my day, we walked up hill, both ways...". While my parents surely meant well, those phrases eventually fell on deaf ears. Disguised as advice, they were phrases reaching for a comeback to a snitty teen who verbally cornered them into throwing the Hail Mary.

There was one I have remembered, however, and it's a good thing. It came in to great use last week:

It's up to you.

While that may look like a simplistic phrase, I assure you it isn't. It came with a tone and finality that made me stop and consider what it was I was about to decide. Perhaps it was because my parents were card-carrying control freaks, but for a phrase like that to be laid out made me feel as though I was being dealt the draw card while holding four parts of a Royal Flush. I was forced to consider the consequences right alongside the successes of my decision-making.

When I went home last month, my 2-week visit turned out to be about a week and a half too long. The second evening I was there I crashed my old Book Club. I could hardly stand to leave, but a girl has got to get her beauty sleep (those wrinkles aren't going to reverse themselves, despite the many benefits of the Lifestyle Lift). That night was followed by several others (thanks to my mom who made good on her annual Christmas gift of unlimited free babysitting) with really good friends. The kind of friends made over years of trials and triumphs, not to be taken lightly and mourned over when lost. Really good friends. And let me say, I miss them. So much.

David works really, really hard. He has experienced massive turnover, is going into his busy season, and is responsible for the guest experience at a hotel that has some i--i--issues. Good thing he's good at what he does, and is willing to dig in and git 'er done. So I didn't tell him about my epiphany-slash-meltdown. And we communicate about everything. Four days later and two glasses of wine into a late evening, I broke the silence. I said it once -- that's all it took.

There is exactly 1 position available in the Central Oregon area in hospitality management. My amazing husband had an interview for the position last week and they all but offered him the job. Problem is, it was a steep pay cut (steeeeeep, people--like Everest steep), and not enough to keep me home with the kids. So we began formulating. First we cut back. Then, my mom watching the kids one day a week while I work. Plus not save...anything. Plus no preschool, gymnastics, soccer or any extras for the kids. And while we can cut and trim, we draw the line at the kids. Which is where we realized putting me back to work had already crossed the line.

So David did what he always does in a crisis. He takes the reigns and makes the decision that we both know has to be made, but never will be if we continue manipulating the what-ifs. He respectfully declined the opportunity and focused back into his job of managing a circus of monkeys. Then he came home and told me.

We could be packing our bags and moving to Bend right now. We could be slipping back into the comfortable throws of good friends, comfortable routines and a town of angled parking (I loathe parallel parking this week, and no--I'm not saying why). We could be making plans, reconnections. And what's odd that instead of being sad I'm effortlessly relieved. We considered the consequences and successes, and it just wasn't worth it.

I look at Emily and wonder where my baby went. I squeezed Ethan today at least 34 times wishing he'd stay a baby forever. I struggle every day with redefining the image of the stay-at-home-mom into a bright, driven, capable woman who chooses to make her home her place of business. A SAHM is not better or worse than the working Mom. But if there is a way for David and I to afford ourselves the opportunity to make that choice, then we certainly aren't going to squander it. Even if it means not moving home.

And when my mom's group asked me this morning if I wanted to start doing girl's night, I was able to say yes. With a smile on my face.

As her grandpa says, "she's 2 going on Harvard".

Just look at that face.


once upon a wasatumunga.

Imagination is a funny thing. We start out with tons of it, but over time chip pieces away with the knowledge and experiences we gain. I don't know how it is I'm just realizing this, but rediscovering my imagination is, to date, my favorite thing about being a mom. --Wait...there are the hugs. And make-it-better-mommeeeeeey-pleeeeeease! teary kisses. So maybe it's in the top 5. There. I can live with that.

We made the mistake a few months ago of showing Emily The Lion King. She was absolutely obsessed with the little orange box with the pictures of the lions on it, and in a weak moment, we gave in. It flipping freaked her out. Not only does the daddy lion die, but at his brother's hand. With fire in the background. And then "the not very nice lion", as he's now known in our house, orders a hit on the baby lion. Who eventually comes back to challenge "the not very nice lion" and nearly suffers the same fate. With fire in the background. And the "not very nice lion" dies. With fire in the background. Enough with the fire already.

In any case, we've been paying for it. Curbing thoughts, nightmares and 'games' of "fire and the burning and the fire", "the lions are going to eeeeeeat meeeeee!"s and the such. Awesome. I've damaged my kid forever, I've been saying to myself as my hand finds my forehead. Slap! Moreover, it's caused the early-onset of the big questions. What's death? Are you going to die? Awesome.

By no minor act of God, we've worked through it. Emily now realizes there are nice lions and not-so-nice lions. And yes, people die, but it's ok. Plus, lions are cool because they now live at the bottom of her bed and protect her from the alligators and monsters that come to, and I quote, "eat me all gooooooone!" at night. Slap.

What the bleep.

In all fairness, the alligators are kind of fun, because we get to eat Daddy, Uncle Gary and anyone else we want. And what do they taste like? Chicken. That's right. I have no idea where she got that...which is why I love my kid even more now that her imagination is catching up with her latest growth spurt.

And the monsters? They make for really great villains in stories about princesses. More specifically, the dragon-monster who lives in the forest outside Princess Emily Peanut Cinderella's castle, where she lives with Prince Ethan, King Daddy, Queen Mommy, and The Duke Bailey. [As a side note, every mom should be called a Queen at least once by their children. It's frickin awesome.]

And at least once every day, as I'm being requested to sing yet another rendition of The Grand Ole Duke Of York, followed by The Farmer In the Dell (sung to the same tune, so it sticks in my head until morning *thankyouverymuch*), I become a child again. Instead of the Farmer taking the wife, he takes the Wasatumunga. "Wasatumungaaaaa! Nononono, Mommy. It's not Wasatumunga! It's the cheyeuld!" And so it plays out. I act shocked. She corrects me. I try again. She corrects me again. We laugh hysterically and forget altogether what we were singing in the first place.

In case you were wondering, Baba is my mother in law, and Georgie is her stuffed monkey.