roll over, roll over

this baby is pure coziness. he's holding his head up, so when i rest him over my shoulder he nestles into my neck. i can hear his quick little breaths and can't resist kissing his pudgey cheek. some people don't enjoy newborns; they say they're boring. but right now i'm at the point where i agree with his onesie, if only they could stay small forever. what's so great about a 6 week old baby?
the tiny goosebumps he gets when i give him a bath
his tight grasp on my hair
the grunts he makes in his sleep
the high-pitched squeal when he tries to talk
his wide eyes after he eats
his thinning hair
his desire to be held close
his struggle to get his arms free from the swaddle and then how he screams when they're finally loose
his sneezes
his tiny boogers
the way he kicks when i change his diaper
his determination to roll over... and his squeal of success, or exhaustion.
pick one. then come see him and find out for yourself.


not for hire

someone told us that once wyatt arrived we would be living in a bubble. it's true, except i think this guy meant we would forget stuff all the time and basically be less functional. i think i've entered the busy tunnel. it's probably because life broken down into 3-4 hours increments means you have to prioritize. and there's no such thing as relaxing any more. exibit A:someone has to clean off the dog's paws when she comes in from romping in the snow.
someone has to feed the family, and do the dishes (i'm actually a kitchen snob and refuse to let people help. get out!)
and since we want to be hospitable, we try to keep the house clean and the food fresh. but that doesn't mean we won't talk a little trash while playing fifa.
someone has to feed the little booger. he can't sleep all day, dreaming of emmylou and baby back ribs.
that's not to say tom doesn't help. he's great at keeping out the cold... (winkwink)

it's a tiring job, being a wife/mother/friend/blogger. but darn it, at the end of the day... i'm tired.


girls v. boys

of course, we spent the last four days with family, blake and franz alike. we kicked off wednesday with rachel and dinner, then made our way over to the blakes to see jason and shannon and their two kids, landon and kelly. then thursday at the blakes, friday at the franzes and saturday was a mixture of both families.

there are two main differences between the two families: food and gender. the blakes eat because it's the holidays; the franzes have holidays to eat. and though there's different reasoning for eating, there are always dirty dishes.

a more subtle yet important difference is that the blakes grew up as three boys and one girl and the franzes grew up one boy and three girls. nevermind that people are now married and things have evened out a bit more, conversations still run in the true fashion of male-female communication.

for instance, last night at the blakes we spent about 30 minutes debating height among the boys: is paul taller than eric and is jason really 6'1? after much debate they decided to get out the tape measure and the level and mike blake measured each of his boys. tom had to be measured three times because he didn't believe he was really that much shorter than the other boys. and indeed the first measure was inaccurate, only showing that he's 5'11 and 1/2 instead of his true height of 5'11 and 3/4. rewind to saturday afternoon and the jewelry party that my sister rachel had while my dad and uncle watched football. a bunch of women came over to my mom's house and hung out talking about and trying on different necklaces, earrings and bracelets. the conversation ran along the lines of babies, mothers and clothes. and we're not even girly girls.

when we played poker at the franzes the girls dominated the mood: lots of laughter and talking about (and enjoying) old memories. meanwhile, when we play games at the blakes there's more debate about cheating and rules and when the boys reminisce there's more conflict about accuracy of story-telling than laughter about the fact that one of the boys actually pooped in the bathtub.

we'll see how wyatt adjusts to the holidays and his different families. certain things are a given: he'll keep eating like a champ and be a true competitor at most things. and maybe one day he'll be able to take on abbie when she pokes him in the eye.

is the death cab before or after the hearse?

i was telling luke today that his musical kindness is blog-worthy. for the last few months he's been generous in sharing his new and old music listening. the first cd was comedically titled "mix tape for another man's wife" and even though it's a cd, it's still a great mix. it reminds me of high school, when my guy friends would make me real mix tapes. blink 182, h20, spoon, frank black, cursive, all these bands joined together to make the background music to lunches in the atrium and late night swims before graduation.

just when i thought i had outgrown these silly compilations, here comes luke, the husband of one of my best friends, sharing music that i had forgotten existed. interpol, the killers, sufjen stevens, death cab for cutie. so thank god for friends with good music and the willingness to share that goodness. maybe one day i'll be able to figure out our burner and reciprocate the generosity. until then i'll just blog about it as a pathetic form of a thank you.


paternity leave

something about being self-employed is alluring. maybe it's the flexible hours, or working from home, i'm not sure. i am still technically employed by both abm, llc and kelly jackson photography. and what that means for me is: no maternity leave.

kelly is laid back about the whole thing, although i predict a minor, or possibly major, breakdown in the financial system. will the bills get paid or will they remain on my shelf awaiting my uncertain return? megan, please check those bills.

and since abm is a family company it means both dad and mom ask me if i've done the commission statements or the postcards for sunflower dayschool. the answer to both is no.

that's why i'm posting. my eyes are slits, wyatt is waking up and i'm supposed to be "crunching numbers." (my creative writing degree is oh so handy.) but i thought i'd let you all know, we're all doing great, working hard and yuma is keeping everyone in line.

and it's getting better all the time

there's nothing better than a sister who knows what she's talking about. except having two sisters who know what they're talking about. rachel lives in denver and runs a pre-school out of her home. she is the "girl" of the family, which isn't really saying much since none of us look good in pink or need to talk excessively about our days. but she knows how to look beautiful and she's kept me updated on good maternity fashion, sending me great skirts that i wish i could still wear.

and sarah, with her incredibly perfect 20 month-old daughter, remembers enough of her pregnancy, delivery and early life with abbie to keep me feeling like i know what i'm doing. with a style so laid back it's a wonder she runs her own business, she's helped me relax and just do what is natural with wyatt.

and then i have galadriel, my mother mentor/rock star/baby-delivering beauty. yesterday she gave birth to andrew grey, whom we mistakenly called "little greybear." when it was all said and done, he amazed all of us weighing in at 9 1/2 pounds. purely a thompson boy, as galadriel, with her uma thurman-like frame could never produce such a hefty offspring. without using a little miracle grow, that is. i guess that's what happens when the doctor pushes the date up at the sonogram but then conveniently moves it back the week you think you're due. that baby had nothing but time to kill and jalapeno chips and pepperoni to digest.

at one point i thought all i ever needed or wanted was my own immediate family. i even prayed for a small in-law family, underestimating god's gift for irony. and they are a great family, in both size and quality. but i've also realized that life gets even better when you go down this road with people who love you because they choose to love you. i ache to hold little andrew in my arms and kiss him like he's my own. congratulations thompsons. it doesn't get any better than this, does it...


happy thanksgiving

so if you haven't heard, he's here. little squealy wyatt decided he wanted thanksgiving dinner, too, so the floodgates opened and on friday november 4th at 1:18am he appeared. magically almost. i remember saying, "i can't do this" repeatedly and "this is ridiculous" once he was out. other than that, the pain of contractions and the frustration at the stalling tactics of my husband as well as my good friend and nurse kelly to get me an epidural stand out.

and then there's wyatt. having never done this before, it's all so fun and different. and he gets cuter every day. unfortunately the pictures don't do him justice. needless to say, eveything he does is amazing and cute and requires both of us to watch his every move. well, except when he's sleeping. which is a lot.

so thanks all friends and family for your prayers. it was god's grace that brought wyatt here safely, quickly and in good health. you are a blessing and we pray wyatt will be a blessing to you. family is good.

Good Medicine

"God...... is so good.......He rides upon...the wings of the wind..." I have had that song in my head as I reflected upon my amazing weekend. I went canoeing on Saturday with my bra (lingo from Dog the Bounty Hunter) Ryan Gale. He bought a brand new Wenonah canoe (see picture) and wanted to get it wet. Leaving before sunrise, we had a great drive down watching the sun come up over the horizon and catchin' up on the ole friendship.
We headed to the Niangua River around Lebanon, Missouri. (It is this river that a complete stranger spoke to me of at a gas station last summer in south, central Missouri, when he said, "You wanta see some titties..." Of course Luke Thompson and I were heading to the Eleven Points River and avoiding the Niangua because of this at all costs (being married men of course).)
Now, I have come to realize that when people say "canoeing" they get the mental image of summer time, 5,000 drunk people on the river, and general chaos. While that may be the typical canoe experience, it is one that I have not been apart of since I was a young boy and would surely never willingly partake in as a man approaching 30.
Ryan and I head there in the fall knowing that we are not likely to see anyone on the river and that the leaves are approaching peak colors. In fact, our 7 mile and 6 hour float (Ryan was fishing(see picture (rainbow trout))) involved only one other canoe and two small boats. And in all of the years of my outdoor experiences in the midwest (which come to think of it is only like 10 or so seriously), I witnessed something never before seen with my eyes (in the midwest). We saw two bald eagles soaring above the river as we floated. What an experience! It made me think of God riding upon the wings of the wind, soaring high above all of us and able to see down the river when we can only see what is just ahead. Good medicine doesn't fully explain it. It sure is awesome when He gives us just a tiny taste of who He is. We also saw deer, turkeys, ground hogs, snakes, fish, and an Osprey with a song bird in his talons. God is sovereign and omnipotent; but that day, He spoke to my heart.


taking a break from thank you notes

from william blake's "on another's sorrow":

he doth give his joy to all;
he becomes an infant small;
he becomes a man of woe;
he doth feel the sorrow too.

think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
and thy maker is not by;
think not thou canst weep a tear,
and thy maker is not near.

o! he gives to us his joy
that our grief he may destroy;
till our grief is fled & gone
he doth sit by us and moan.


the realization that mary had a baby inside of her like i do right now and that baby was jesus is incomprehensible. like we've been talking on friday mornings, mary had to teach her son about his own heavenly father. did jesus really not know about god the father, the creator? how humbling for both mary and jesus. how cool that the nine months she carried him she wondered, what will he look like, what will he be like? i can only imagine that anticipation. (wyatt hiccups with the wonderment of it, too)


ich bin ein berliner

my brother went to germany for the weekend and came back with some photos: the gate, reconstruction and toilets. this is such a brilliant european thing. my question is, who's the guy? and who gets to take weekend trips to berlin? only my brother. he even has the knowledge to compare the architectural recontrustion with what's happening in dublin. the last time i was in dublin...oh wait.

and speaking of german, my friend bri is going back to school. it's fun and inspiring to hear that she's going not necessarily because it will help her hugely in the business world but because she wants her brain to be stimulated. i felt like that a while ago, and it would be nice to be forced to write, but i feel so overstimulated by baby stuff i think i could explode.

and i do feel like i could explode, this belly is huge. my ankles have officially turned into cankles, and i have hobbit feet. no, they're not hairy, they're huge. i had to get two new pairs of shoes that are a size and a half larger than my usual shoe size. but i found a pediatrician, thanks to galadriel, the baby's room is 95% ready to go, and we have a car seat so we can bring wyatt home with us. that seems fairly important. four and half weeks to go...


progress and the slippery slope

there's a good side and a bad side to moving forward into the technological side of life. we finally purchased a digital camera, and it is fantastic. i think the price was rather alright, and i got what i wanted. nothing too big, something that has a good zoom and enlargement capabilities, and it's easy to use. plus, when we went to best buy (again, i'm really pleased with this large business) the sales guy (austin, at 95th & metcalf) was very knowledgable. he answered all my questions, pointed us in the right direction and then mentioned that there was an "opened" camera, which meant 10% off the original price. no defects, just returned. he went to look for it and couldn't find it, discovered it had been sold but still gave us the 10% off. now that's service.

on the flip side, i installed the software this morning onto my ancient computer (which tom likes to pretend is alright since it has a new modem) and the whole thing flipped out on me. i only have two usb ports, but i have some handy-dandy adaptors which should allow me to put my mouse in a different port (assuming that's what they're called). i try this with no success. then i try the second adaptor to no avail. now i must sacrifice either the mouse (impossible) or the printer (sorry). once i have an operable mouse and the software is loading like a dream i realize, my keyboard isn't working. i didn't even unplug the thing. but sure enough when the program asks me to title something, i can't type a single letter. control+alt+delete. nothing. control+alt+delete. nothing. i hit the restart on my tower, and here i am, finally typing away.

all the while yuma is whining to go outside and then barking to come back in two minutes later. over and over and over. and over. but now all is well. the computer is working (minus the printer) the camera is working (minus a large memory card which has yet to be purchased) and the dog is laying down (lying down?). if only i could master the english language.

Open House/ Baby Bash

So, it's kind of interesting because Leah did not want to have the normal baby shower where (I hear) women get together and sit in a circle and play strange games or something. She's not one to draw attention to herself anyway, so this didn't fly with her. Also, we have been talking about having an open house get together since we bought our house over a year ago but we have been putting it off since there are always more projects to get done. So, Leah (in Sarah like fashion) wanted to have a combo get together where people can come and go as they please. So, if you are reading this and you have not heard it is this Saturday from 12:00-5:00 and kids, dogs, and spouses are encouraged to come. On Saturday, if you start getting bored, please feel free to leave at any time without saying goodbye. We will not be offended. In fact, if you decide not to come, that is OK as well. If you do come, pretend like everything looks great because I have been spending every free moment the last few weeks getting the house ready.


(and that's Yuma when we brought her home last January)



This goes out to a dear friend of the Blakes:

You know who you are, we are sorry if any of our actions or inactions caused you harm. We love you and appreciate your friendship.



The Final Quest

For the last 28 and a half years (Tuesday is my half birthday), I have not been into learning all about the end times and that aspect of Christianity. I figured, we should live everyday like Jesus is returning, regardless of whether we were "in the end times" or not. My brother Paul remarked that without an understanding of this age, I will not be driven to truly live my life accordingly. I have been praying that God would show me the lies that I believe so that He will reveal His truth in my life. I believe He is doing just that.

WARNING: This book is nothing short of life changing! SEARCH INSIDE!


quedstions & searh

this is somewhat tacky, somewhat just what i do 'cause i don't like to let go of certain things and mostly because i don't like to ask for help: i'm creating invitations for our open house/shower (that my sister and bri are having for us) and halfway through printing and putting stamps on these postcards, i noticed two errors. i misspelled 'questions' and my sister's name. i'm thinking the font is weird enough that people might overlook it, but really i feel like an idiot.

isn't this supposed to be my specialty? i spent four years learning how to write and edit and now i've screwed this up. and what makes it worse is i have to feed these through the printer individually, so if i do decide to correct this error it means at least three more hours in front of the computer, monotonously typing in addresses and sliding little blue postcards through the printer. ugh -- what a moral dilemma.


tell me what i want to hear

tonight was one of those nights where i think we're going to be alright as parents. but then i have to remind myself that miles and isobel are amazing because their parents are amazing.

while galadriel went to a meeting to help battered and abused women, luke and the kids came over for dinner and some home improvements. as i'm standing in the kitchen getting dinner ready i hear miles' little voice from out on the sun porch, "you're one of my best friends, tom." and every time tom brings out something and puts it on the table isobel whispers, "thanks, tom." no sooner had i sat down then miles is thanking me for the food. isobel, of course, thanks tom again.

we eat dinner peacefully, no spills or fusses, and then it's time to color. isobel favors pink and purple, gathering all the crayons of those colors to her side of the table, while miles sticks with the red and orange colored pencils. we draw hearts and dragons, dragons mostly, and come to think of it, i do most of the drawing, but they're so happy that i'm using their favorite colors that it doesn't matter that my dragon doesn't look exactly like the one on the box and that my hearts are a little mishapen. and while miles and i finish our dragon, isobel is putting all of her crayons back in the box. without being told to do so.

having a sweet tooth myself, i offer them their choice of blow pop or tootsie roll pop. miles takes the red tootsie roll and isobel takes the purple one, of course. miles, being the responsible three year old, asks his dad if it's okay for them to have the suckers. and after telling both me and luke that she can unwrap the sucker herself, isobel eventually gets too eager and asks for help.

so hats off to the thompson parents -- they have succeeded at something most people can't even imagine. they have two, soon to be three, beautiful children, who respect adults other than their parents, know how to share with each other, and even pick up after themselves. and of course, say all the right things.

sweatpants are good

i woke up this morning and realized, i need to shower. isn't that scary? i won't tell you how long it had been, but it felt good. absence does make the heart grow fonder. and as i was getting dressed i looked at my belly and said, i want to be really comfortable today (by the way, com-fort-able should always be pronounced as such, not com-frtbul). i opened up the closet and ta-dah, these black addidas-looking pants were hanging there, on loan from my sister-in-law. and they are just what the massive belly ordered. i don't think i can get any bigger, which is good, 'cause i'm wearing these pants every day till this baby comes. at least around the house...

also, i'm trying to get the business organized and i am realizing how poorly large businesses run things. they make it so hard for the little guys to really make any headway. example: yesterday tom and i went to a large furniture store (one that boasts it's four football fields big) looking for various items. we found a fantastic rocker, maybe a bit expensive, but very much our taste. when we asked a sales clerk for some assistance it turned into such a fiasco. it ended up with me saying, we'll just look around and see what we find. thanks...

but then the real trouble started. we're switching furniture around for the baby and realized, maybe we should recycle for him and get a new dresser for us. we found a dresser that would work so well in our room, the right color, the right size, the right price. it was a perfect solution until we were told that a) the dresser we were interested in could not be purchased for the price that was shown, b) we could order it for more money ("but it's still a great deal"), and c) the only way we could get the dresser for the price that was advertised was if we bought the whole bedroom set ("we can't sell individual pieces, because who wants part of a bedroom set?" um, we do, that's who, idiot) . so i was frustrated after hours of looking and then thinking we've found what we're looking for and THEN we run into this bozo with his false advertising.

after working for a small business and now with another small business, i expect more out of customer service. i refuse to believe the world is full of idiots, but recently i have not had enough proof to show otherwise. garage sales and second-hand stores are still the best places to get what you want.


just to show off

this is abbie again. i love this munchkin so much. i got to hang out with her friday and i have to say, if the lord blesses us with a child like abbie, i will forever be thankful. she has the sweetest temperment; she only fusses when she's hungry (she's a franz girl) and she just loves being with people, even if they're not completely focused on her. we played with blocks, and talked about animals and then cuddled while watching baby einstein. the night was rounded off with some mac-n-cheese and asparagus. that girl can chow down. then james came home and as i was leaving all i could hear was this hilarious exchange, with james saying, "ABBIE!" and her saying "DAH-DAH!" right back at him. back and forth. so cute.

come on out baby

who knew 9 months could look this good. in this picture candra is three days from having her son, alexander william. (born this saturday evening) doesn't she look incredible? galadriel's got about 6 weeks and i'm pushing 11. all boys. they will be best friends and true trouble-makers. just check out their fathers...

it's been so long since i've had anything to say. i think this baby is sucking out my brains. and i've been on social overload. so saturday, after a morning of cleaning out the to-be-play room, i threw up and stayed on the couch. watched my favorite wizards player score an own goal, which hurts tremendously, then slept.

truly i wish my belly would get bigger. i've been in this miserable state of maximum capacity, where he's pushing into my ribs and making my esophogus do disgusting things and all i know is, i'm ready for this guy to make his appearance. 11 weeks to go.

so candra and andy had their little booger this weekend, and he is cute. at least in the pictures. dark hair and great little features for being so new to the world. i don't know if i can do this feeling of expectance for another two months or more. how grueling. i suppose i've gone into enough detail about the "joys" of pregnancy, but the shine has worn off and now i want my son.


My Soccer Journey

I still remember watching my first World Cup in Italia '90. (I may have watched some of Mexico '86, but I don't remember). I only remember the games on the USA network and they would cut to commercials throughout the game. When the game would come back on, there was often one or two goals scored...bad luck for the viewer I guess? In the '94 Cup in the USA, the television innovaters in the US used our marketing genius to put the score and advertisements in the corner of the tele-screen during games to prevent interuption (something all sports would steal from soccer).

By this time, the Blake family was well on their way from transitioning from a basketball family to a soccer family (a little discussed movement in the Michael Blake family). The round of 16 loss to Brazil on Independence Day set a precedent for Blake holidays and hangouts as the family gathered to cheer our nation to victory. The precendent was also set as the Jason Blake ran "Masterpiece Painting" (who happened to employee Tom and Paul Blake) focused on the games instead of their work. (Good thing we were saving for college since we were in the 5th grade....true story).

The MLS kicked off the inaugural season (with my college team playing before the first Wiz
game of all time) shortly after the World Cup; and mom and dad had season tickets with mom bringing her yellow card to the games to show off to the opposing teams when necessary.

Jason actually paid for cable for the 1998 games in France (good thing France hosted so they could qualify). Jason and I claimed to have watched every single game; but mom and dad's professional soccer enthusiasm began to wane as they focused on Susan's rising soccer career and skills (thanks in large part to her club coach).

And who can forget the early mornings/late evenings for Japan/Korea 2002? Leah and I began our relationship during the hermit-like season that is the month of a World Cup. After Brazil lifted the trophy, I knew she was the one because we were still dating (I was also playing twice a week). Plus, it was a quarter final finish for the USA (we should have made it to the semifinals if not for the German hand ball on the goal line that was never called) so Leah was destined to be a fan of the world's most popular sport. We got cable at my house in the hood with Nate and Seth and then cancelled the cable shortly after the games, but we still had free cable until the day they sold the in the hood is it was free rent (I miss Luna).

Well, soccer has come a long way in the US, and I am glad to be alive during the "birthing process" (Wyatt William will be born around thanksgiving time). MLS has almost completed its 10th season and the Wizards were the champions in 2000. My best understanding is that the Wizards will get a new stadium in Johnson County and an ownership group that stands behind us. Not a bad place to "raise your kids on Wizards soccer" (Leah Blake).

And, as of Saturday night, the US men's national team, your red, white, and blues, have qualified for the World Cup next June in Germany. We beat Mexico 2-0 to finish a qualifying campaign that has lasted about 2 years. Well done Yanks...and Go USA! (this is about as patriotic as I ever enjoy).


The Art of The Little White Ball

Once upon a time, there was this little ball. And all he wanted to do was to go into this little hole. It seems very simple. It looks pretty easy on the tele (that's for you Andy). But, NOOOOOOOOOO sir. Mr. "I love playing all sports" found a very interesting challenge. I mean, I knew it would be difficult, but I didn't think it would be THIS difficult. Mark (Armstrong..shout out to Iowa) is shooting in the 80's and I am still in the $@&*'s. I actually have two really good teachers in my dad and Rod (my father in-law). But, like any good sport, it is not something you pick up over night.

It's also my observation that golf brings out a unique side to most people's personality. Little did I know the openness that the little white ball reveals. Who would have known how emotinal my dad would get during a round of golf? I have already decided that taking up golf is worth it just to play with my dad.

It's a simple game really and I am not even good enough to talk trash yet, which makes me feel way below average. I've also learned that in golf, you have to pick and choose when you talk trash. Example: guy tees off and skulls the ball which doesn't get past the ladies tee. This is not a good time to make fun. It seems to me that after 3-4 holes you start making cracks about overall scores and the number of 3-putts the other guy has had etc. (or you throw pink tees and markers throughout the rest of the game as Paul supposedly does (yes Megan, he's real). It's a finer point to the game, but something that with practice I think I will be able to master....the art of talking trash on the golf course that it. The only problem is that my game has to be a heck of a lot better before I can even begin my favorite art.


not the man

sorry everyone, that's not tom. it's a really funny picture that luke sent when the guys were talking about pompadours, but then chickened out of the style. i guess only a real man like johnny cash could pull something like that off. now they're just faux-hawkers like a lot of the world.

but tom's brother paul is thinking of going with the beckham-like mullet. i'm not sold, i'm a little nervous about it really. paul's a good looking guy, but a short-long is risky. it'll either make or break the dating scene for him. good luck paul.


where's my husband?

aren't you all curious as to why tom doesn't post? he's the one who started this whole canoe americana blog and now it seems that it's strictly me posting. frankly i'm a little disappointed that he hasn't taken advantage of this media. he's got opinions, and stories, and life experiences that he could share -- so why doesn't he?

for instance, in the last week, he's taught our dog how to "bring the paper" on a somewhat consistent basis, as well as lay on her side when he shoots her with his pretend gun and says "bang." that's really impressive right?

or he could talk about the controversy on the bigsoccer postings -- how these younguns think they know soccer, but clearly have no clue when they say bo oshonyi is a better keeper than tony meola. they love to rip into tom with stats and whatnot, but stats don't mean anything unless you're watching the game. and they called his brother paul a name, which is just hilarious because who calls people names when they're trying to prove a point? nevermind what they called him. they're mere children in the world's oldest sport.

and speaking of -- tom insists that the wave (where everyone stands up in a tidal-like motion at sporting events) originated in mexico and that it is actually called the "mexican wave." and also says that he hasn't done the wave at the k, during a royals game. are you kidding me? who hasn't done the wave at kaufman stadium?

so here are some topics i wish he would talk about, as well as many other things. like becoming a father, or taking a vacation with my family (scary?), or anything else that people blog about. (thanks for the photo, luke)


be still my beating heart

i know he has a new movie coming out, but currently tom & i are watching "quick change" which he helped write and direct, as well as star in, of course. he's a clown holding up a bank. even in 1990 he was a deadpan actor, just on the brink of becoming a cutely depressed old man. and i love him.

every time we see bill murray tom reminds me that his own looks are wasted on me. he's convinced that he could be a wrinkly, saggy-mouthed middle-aged man but maintain his sense of humor and i'd love him the same. he may be right. it's so much more important to laugh every day then think to yourself, man, my husband's hot. in twenty years he probably will be a wrinkly, saggy-mouthed middle-aged man. but he'll still say funny things, and do funny things and that's what i need - to laugh every day. several times. if not all day long.


camera shy

i'm trying to find the best camera for the buck. my sister says i want a fancy one, definitely with slr. perhaps a canon powershot 3.2-megapixel or kodak easyshare 5.0-megapixel. or even a canon eos digital rebel. i was looking at a fuji fine-pix 6.3 or a minolta dimage 6.0. if i go with say, a fuji fine-pix 4.0 i get the speedy shutter, but i sacrifice the enlargement. if i get the fuji fine-pix i get the enlargements but lose the shutter speed, right?

and i have a nice minolta maxxum 300si. it's a great manual camera, but big, and i tend to leave it at home because of its size. do you have a camera you like? something that you take a ton of pictures with, and can reproduce/zoom/take pictures quickly with high quality? i'm itching to get this camera before the baby comes, which means i have 3 & 1/2 months.

and some might know that i LOATHE canon; supposedly they're the best on the market as far as professional photography is concerened, but both kelly and sarah have had terrible luck with them breaking. and on top of that, their customer service lacks in every area, except in being frustrating. but if i get my camera from best buy then i can get a protection policy, which means they'll take care of everything and pretty much hand me a new camera. i hate to admit it, i really like best buy. but not canon. (thus no link, bad camera company)


you taste good boss

i love to cook, mostly because i love to eat. and i love to eat because both of my parents are great cooks. i've found that i cook more like my mom, sticking close to tried & true recipes that always please. my dad is fancier, watching the cooking shows and then emulating them in amazing ways. and i'll eat everything, except veal, which is morally wrong and depressing and every time someone orders it or eats it i think about this sad little baby cow carcass i saw my senior year of high school at alex's lake house. it was just the remnants, bone and fur, and really small. sad, huh? don't you feel bad?

anyway, if you have great recipes, let me know. i can always use some suggestions. and i'll try anything once. i know a lot of you out there cook. from fried fish to chicken tortilla soup to lemon bars, i'll take it.

some of you might wonder, does tom cook? no, i won't let him. i have trust issues in the kitchen and therefore usually refuse to let others around the sink and stove. only family and close friends can really step into that arena. and while tom definitely fits into that category, he doesn't love the kitchen like i do. but he can make some mean pancakes.



i've officially changed positions from "office manager" at kelly jackson photography to "office manager" at associated benefits manager . tom and i get to work together now, and i still get to spend some time with the girls at kjphoto. it'll be a nice change going from one house to the other; messing with files and insurance to retouching good-looking people.

i think i'm getting more done now than before because subconsciously i have more flex time. i'm able to plan lunch dates with friends and little appointments here and there for, oh, wahtever. how do people have 5-day a week, 8/9-hour a day jobs? how do you go full force and then go home and do more? so far i've gotten lunch made, laundry done, kitchen cleaned and my office moved and set up. i feel accomplished. hopefully it'll feel like this every day. otherwise i'll end up on the couch watching bridezillas or dog the bount hunter (which is really worth checking out).



since my brother spoiled me for my birthday i've gotten to listen to new music. and since luke has been exposing me to the new hits of the day, i've noticed a trend in this new music. lou barlow is cropping up all over the place. as i was listening to "mix for another man's wife" i could have sworn that instead of interpol i was listening to the former frontman of sebadoh. and then i got the new snow patrol, and this gary lightbody guy could be the understudy for mr. barlow. not only do the vocals sound so familiar, but the guitars have a mellow mood to them, no matter how loud they get. it's great music, capable of going along with a rainy day like today, or good for a mix for a friend going to the gym. the beats are solid, but it's the voice that really makes the music wonderful.

i talked with my brother about this common-denominator. he said it's called "low-fi"; something started in the early 90's but that got passed over for grunge. lonely guys with guitars and four-tracks recording different music not quite for the masses. the best thing i can tell you is, check out this and you'll see what i mean. or go here. and you can check out interpol and snow patrol; they're really good, too. but never forget who started it.


gallery extravaganza

last night my "boss" had a "gallery" show at her parents house. really it was an excuse to get people together to eat, drink and look at pictures. the dining room was filled with pictures taken in italy, by both her and her father. we all voted on our top five and supposedly we get one of the fabulous pictures.

the best part of the night was seeing some great women. i went with megan, which was a good start, except that we spent 30 minutes driving around the house where we work trying to make sense of the fact that 95th street turns into colburn road (you have to get on bannister first...). when we arrived the first people i saw were my sister and her beautiful daughter! i can't ever get enough of that family.

and then i saw the martins; if they had a link i'd hook you up so you could see how great they are. i actually saw ron just recently, but this time he had the stitches out of his icky index finger. i swear, i think that man has more injuries than any other person i know. right janet? and speaking of janet, let's take a vote. she's a beautiful woman, gorgeous eyes and great skin, but she thinks she gets to just cut her hair off whenever she wants. she's got incredible hair: nice, slight curl and best of all, it's soft grey like emmylou harris'. i would kill for that hair. so all in favor of letting it grow, say AYE! and i've decided that when tom and i have a teenage son, i want him to be as great as tyler martin, who also has great curly hair, although his is red, like his father's. he's super smart, cute as all get out, and relates to women in an uncanny way -- it must be the combination of a great father and a close relationship with his mother. so yay for the martins! i love you. and if you move to alaska, ron, janet can move in with me.


big boy

so here's an attempt at a close up, and a picture of his profile and arm. i think he's going to be into music, he looks like he's conducting. or doing karate.


engaging day

today was a whopper! not only did we see our baby for the first time, it was our niece's first birthday and AND tom's sister got engaged! eric, her husband-to-be, put together the most elaborate treasure hunt/amazing race imagined. he timed it perfectly, dropping off accomplices at their destinations, clues in hand, stalling tactics ready to go. i'm so amazed at what a guy eric is, planning details like making sure she had something to eat before the fiasco began, to a change of clothes, to travel time with some good friends, he thought it through and then let susan do the rest. at the end of the day there was an amazing ring (a fatty band with a gazillion diamonds and then little flowers in the middle with more diamonds -- shockingly gorgeous but very simple susan) and a fabulous man. they say a good man is hard to find, but around here they seem to be in abundance; i can't get away from them.

now my only job is to hook up the great single guys with all my great single girls...applications accepted.

baby oh baby

two arms, two legs, one penis. that's our boy!!! he's a healthy 15 oz, and i've gained 8 pounds. kind of ironic since that's how much galadriel gained since her last visit. no names officially, any suggestions? grandpa wanted zeke, mom's pulling for raymie. we're open for options. but if there's a junior involved we expect to see some college funds.

there really is a baby inside of me, with a heart pumping and hands moving around. we got to see him swallow, and he's got fluid in his throat and kidneys. the doctor said she saw everything she wanted to see and nothing she didn't want to see. and that's good, right?

--sorry the pictures are so bad. we'll try again later. the second picture proves it's a boy. can you tell?


baby will be gendered

tomorrow we get to see the baby inside my belly. i'm crossing my fingers that the baby isn't modest and will show us the goods. i've had so many dreams where the sonographer can't tell if it's a boy or a girl and the doctor tells us, it's a really inaccurate thing, these sonograms. i'm already calling it "him"; at first because it seemed genderless, like the biblical he, but now i do think we're having a boy. and i'm crossing my fingers that i'll be able to scan the sonogram so you all can see the "little buddy" or the "hey cutie". stay tuned...

i do work, i promise

today we had '80's movie day at work. we watched "labyrinth", with david bowie and jennifer connelly. actually on the back they're listed in reverse order, which is wrong because at the time (1986) who was jennifer connelly? this movie is way too scary for younger children, and megan and i realized we were 7 at the time it came out, so it must have been later in life, around 5th grade, that we discovered it. i remember having slumber parties at kelly pickett's house and watching it. jim hensen does an amazing job with the goblins and everything else. check this movie out.

also, we watched (are still in the process of watching) "the color of money." timeless paul newman tries to show weasely tom cruise how to hustle people. this is a favorite movie of megan's friend david, a panera man, so we decided to give it a viewing. now, paul newman doesn't take his shirt off in this movie (try "the long hot summer") but the man looks good. i love him. i think one day my tom will look like paul newman; he will age well i'm sure. and the blue eyes are a perfect fit. now if only he could make cookies the way mr. newman does...


kelly grace

here is a more recent photograph of my neice, kelly grace. my sister sarah is a photographer, which works out really well, since everyone needs pictures. well, "needs" maybe isn't the right word, but it's fun to have pictures of cute kids. kelly grace is an angel of a little girl; she watches everyone closely, soaking in the action of the blake household. shannon, her mom, says she's not so laid back at home -- she demands more when there aren't a million arms waiting to hold her. but she's still this perfect little creation of jason and shannon, with a big helping from god. i love her. this picture makes me want to kiss her.

apparently, though, you should be careful who you let kiss your kids, what with the bacteria and all. that's what my dentist tells me. isn't that weird? it's one thing to not want strangers to kiss your baby, but family. who cares what kind of germs they have?

and here's really the point: tom had a dream a couple weeks ago that we were at our old church two days after i had the baby, and he was freaked out about the germs. not only that, but we were sitting next to the brazilian and argentine national soccer teams. in uniform. and this player leans over to tom and asks if the baby is a boy or a girl. tom replies, a boy. then the player asks what his name is. tom looks at me, then turns back and says, it's tom. ha! but then, the player reaches down to kind of tickle the baby and he has these long fingernails with dirt underneath them. tom freaks out! so ends tom's first dream about the baby. i think it's a boy.

not the only children

one of the greatest people got married this sunday. the guy who changed my musical taste from duran duran to spoon. from what i can tell he married a good girl; i hope she knows what she's getting. i think anyone who ever meets josh berwanger remembers him forever. maybe because his sense of humor is different from most, maybe because his music spans the entire 20th century from bluegrass to g'n'r. when you get down to it, he ranks among the sweetest, most non-judgemental guys around. one of those great guys that are few and far between. so take care of him heidi, he won't let you down. congratulations!

The Blake Olympics

People talk a lot about family and in-laws and the holidays and how much they like or hate or detest or savor or how awkward family events are in their family or their spouses. So, I decided to fill everyone in on one particular holiday in the life of the Blake family. This is how on July 4th, 2005, Michael, DeAnn, Jason, Shannon, Landon, Kelly Grace, Paul, Harrison, Tom, Leah (& Baby Blake), Susan, Eric, Yuma, and Peaches celebrated our nation's birth.

In the spirit of the game and our nation's 229th birthday (Happy Birthday 'Merica), I present to you "The Blake Olympics" (insert Olympic music here). Coming to you from the brilliant mind of Shannon Blake, the Blake family decided to participate in a friendly family competition on Independence Day.

The events included watermelon seed spitting, washer throwing, blow dart (suction cup of course) accuracy, around the world one paddle ping pong, root beer taste testing, blue berry finding with your mouth only (inside of whipped cream), and saltine cracker eating and whistle blowing. A very "eventful" day to say the least.

It required the creativity and genius of the entire family to craft the competition in such a smooth manner. Paul's fantasy league experience as a commissioner allowed him to create the intricate point system necessary for such a large and complicated competition. Shannon's creativity and delegation ultimately lead to carefully planned events throughout the Olympics.

From the opening ceremony (seriously, we had an opening ceremony and for some reason we all said the pledge of allegiance to the flag????) to the closing ceremony (seriously, we had a closing ceremony), the competition was beautiful.

The 6 or so hour competition was fierce and hectic (especially when you throw in kids, dogs, dinner, and Harrison not feeling well). (As a side note, Peaches was not happy about us leaving her inside during the watermelon seed spitting event and decided to show her frustration by peeing all over the couch). In the end, we all shook hands and hopefully still love each other. The winner of the Olympics will remain anonymous (but I would love to take your comments on this blog as to who won and why).

So, as you can see, no matter how strange or boring or crazy or great or non-existent your family is, at least you didn't have to participate in "The Blake Olympics".


and since we're on the topic of family, check out this little girl, abbie joy. she's my pudgy pumpkinhead niece and as galadriel would say, "i just want to wrap her up in bacon and dip her in ranch and eat her." i love her so much that if given the option i would turn her into a bacon wrap. she's that good.

family fun

this is kelly grace, a dallas blake, when she was just a baby-baby. she turns 1 on july 15th but we get to celebrate with her tomorrow! happy birthday kelly!

we're maxing out our family fun capacity this summer. it started off with the cruise with my parents, then a week of auntie jim's hilarious stories, now we're entering in to 4th of july weekend with the dallas blakes and my brother coming back to the states for a month. i think we'll round off the summer with a week in colorado with my whole family and then in november we'll have a baby. and in between are birthdays and anniversaries and more birthdays. it reminds me of something my mom told me before i got married: you don't just marry the man, you marry the family. and thank god i have great in-laws. they're as loud, funny, and good looking as my family. so way to go blakes for being so great. i can't believe i have two amazing families. i may be spoiled... no comment.


play it

the wizards take on the columbus crew tonight. i want people to come. one day we may have our own stadium, and a real goal keeper, and then we'll be sold out every weekend. or every wednesday.

and there's definitely news about the indoor team, the tribe, which needs to be addressed. but i don't have the energy to go into that right now...


sorry, i was too vague. you have to click on the link to see the passion that goes into panera bread. then i think we as consumers can appreciate what these people do for us when they serve us bread.


do you love bread?

this is incredible. megan found this while "researching" panera locations. i'm thinking of a serious career change. i can make bread. i love it. i was never on the carb-free diet. ich liebe panera


get out gansler; arnaud's here to stay

i converted my passions from american football to soccer in 2002 when i started dating tom. it was a summer of transformation; years of nebraska football were wiped away by endless hours of the world cup with the blake family, then going out to arrowhead to watch the kc wizards do their thing. even my husker-father has accepted this new life of soccer. the football legacy will probably not be continued in this family. my brother quickly converted to futball when he moved to europe so many years ago; my sister's husband was a soccer player in high school; and let's face it, none of our children will have the size for the nfl. but the mls, that's another story.

so we're at the wizards game saturday night, hoping for a big victory against chivas usa, the worst team not only in their conference, but in the league. to my total devastation, davy arnaud is not starting. the over-paid, under-producing josh wolf, however, takes his place on the pitch as always. we look terrible the first half (wolf showing none of his so-called "skill") and only score one goal because our defender jimmy conrad (assisted by the fantastic and very stylish sasha victorine) steps up to show the forwards "that you can score-it's OK." our head-up-his-bum coach bob gansler finally takes out wolf and replaces him with the beloved davy arnaud in the 69th minute, and what does the boy do? he takes a great ball, fakes to his right then hits it with his left for a perfect far post goal. but like a gentleman, he celebrates in style, and lets the goal tell gansler who's worth starting.

we ended up winning 3-0, with victorine again stepping up, not with his red shoes but with his head and taking a goal for himself. i definitely have my favorites - the ones that perform like major league soccer players always filter themselves to the top. when you make the maximum salary and can't put a ball on frame (ehhum, josh wolf) you need more practice. not more playing time. it sounds like i'm bitter and a little part of me is. they're my new team. anyway, get out there and see for yourself. but if davy arnaud isn't playing, go home.


the pup Posted by Hello


the dog has not moved since her walk this morning. she's asleep in the middle of the kitchen. i think it's a combination of recovery from rhodie's visit and the heat. she's in for a shock when it doesn't cool down for another 2 months. she was born in the winter, learned to pee in the snow and now she can't stand the humidity of kansas. but at least she's not whining, right?


Internet Savy

This just may put to rest all of the naysayers who don't think I am computer literate. That's right, Leah and I are opening our own blog, baby!