TIA

Among expats, there’s a saying “T.I.A.” – This is Africa. It’s used like a hashtag at the end of a ridiculous story involving lost electricity, donkeys, crappy internet, or illogical conversations where “yes” really means “I have no idea what you’re saying,” but “ishi” means “no problem.”

TIA

We have a lot of TIA stories, but none quite like the time I got chlamydia. Re-read that sentence. Digest. Move forward.

About a month after moving to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, my eyes started bothering me. They felt dry all the time and especially at night. I was living at high altitude (which causes dry eyes) and also pregnant (also known to cause dry eyes), so I didn’t think much of it. Then I returned to America and delivered Ryan. Man, that was awesome.

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Except my eyes weren’t getting better. In fact, they kept getting worse. I went to my parents’ eye doctor in Georgia. She suggested it was hormones from the pregnancy and gave me a steroid to “kick things back into gear” (because that’s how folks talk in Dawsonville, GA). That worked for a week. Then I was back to eye drops.

Fast forward two years and a handful of specialists, and no one had answers. Then my ophthalmologist called in sick. I met his colleague for my appointment. The colleague specializes in eyelids. Weird, but whatever.

So no surprise, half way through the exam he asks if he can flip my eyelids inside out. My exact response: “that’s disgusting. Can I watch?”

He flipped my eyelids and started to laugh. Not exactly the best bedside manner. Then he asked if I had recently been out of the country. Oh. crap.

For two years I’ve been living with trachoma, the world’s leading cause of blindness, because Western doctors don’t know to look for it. Ya’ll, trachoma is CHLAMYDIA IN YOUR EYES. You contract it through contaminated water while washing your face or taking a shower. The treatment is easy: swallow some antibiotics, put some cream in your eyes for a few weeks, go back to life sans chlamydia.

(to answer your questions: No, it can’t spread to reproductive organs. No, it cannot be transmitted to a fetus. Yes, Mark is going to the ophthalmologist to get his eyes checked. No, we’re not taking Ryan because have you tried to make a 21 month old sit still with his eyelids inside out? We’re taking the doctor’s advice to wait for symptoms before torturing him.)

Except not everyone has this opportunity. Remember, this is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Left untreated, you end up with bumps on the inside of your eyelids and corneal damage that together, lead to blindness. I have only mild damage to my cornea and no lost vision. For millions worldwide, that’s not the case. If you’re short on gratitude, tonight say a prayer that in America we’ve eradicated trachoma and take a moment to think of all the cute kiddos who, full of promise and goals, are stripped of their ability to work or have a family because of an otherwise preventable disease.

We’re 59 days out from Zambia and I’m pumped. Bring it, Africa. Your germs don’t scare me. TIA and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Dead fish, small clothes, + cheap bookcases

 

If you’ve ever moved, you understand the purging process: the more you void from your life now, the less you’ll have to pack, move, unpack and find a place for (…or pile in the garage) later. I suffer from the all-too-American paradox of wanting a pretty home (read: looks like a catalogue full of things I can’t afford without a hint of clutter) and loving to shop (for crap I neither need nor can afford). This leaves me in a near constant state of purging. Mark thinks I’m a little nuts.

My purging hits a whole new level of crazy when the aforementioned moving process involves crossing the Atlantic and worse the unpacking process involves the skilled hands of men and women who could never afford a bed for their kid but find themselves unpacking two flatbeds of junk for mine. I’m feeling preemptively guilty. Add to this avalanche of guilt, the best Craigslist app ever, Jen Hatmaker’s book 7 and an indulgent spouse…I’ve rid our home of just about every spare item I can including, but not limited to: old toys, small clothes (I’m looking at you cheeks 1 & 2. Who told you to grow?), rugs, bookshelves, desks, antique light fixtures, game systems, bedding, serving platters, holiday décor, and a fish.

Let me explain. Yesterday we had a home study interview in our home. It’s a necessary step in the adoption process and it involves a walk-through of the home inspecting fire alarms, escape routes, child safety features, sleeping arrangements, my underwear…okay, not the last one, but it’s pretty thorough and invasive. To prepare, we cleaned, installed baby gates, purchased new fire extinguishers, and added door locks to a few additional cabinets in the kitchen. There was a whirlwind of activity on Friday afternoon.

Five months ago Ryan and I bought a fish and hung it in one of those cute half-globe aquariums on the wall. It was cruel really. I was feeling pretty bad about it. You have to clean the bowl every two weeks because it can’t hold a filter or pump. Cute, sure. PETA approved, not exactly.

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The division of labor in our home is simple: do what you can, when you can EXCEPT! Mark waters the plants and I tend to the fish. I had slacked on the job a little (no surprise) and the bowl was a few weeks overdue for a cleaning. I removed the fish from the bowl, set him in a cup, cleaned it out, and put fresh water back in. But…the water may have been a little too warm for the fish and I may not have given the fish the opportunity to acclimate before dumping him back in. Blame it on the rush to clean our home or the need to purge a fish that I WAS NOT going to take to Zambia with us. I dumped the fish in the clean tank and walked away. Fast forward 24 hours and, no surprise, he is dead.

This wouldn’t be a bad thing except Mark is out of town which means there was no one to distract Ryan while I remove the dead fish from the tank hanging on his bedroom wall. I tried not to make a big deal out of it. When a kid trips, if you don’t gasp they don’t cry. I was hoping if I didn’t talk about it, he would let it slide. That didn’t happen. I tried last minute tactics to move his eyes elsewhere, but he lasered in on the red cup and wasn’t budging. He watched the fish go down the toilet and cried for help. “No! No! No!” his head hung low, tears ran heavy and I sulked into my skin knowing that I officially became the worst mother in the universe.

You’re feeling pretty good about yourself right now, aren’t you? Jerk.

Back to the bigger story here: purging and American consumption. Jen’s book kinda screwed me up. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to. I don’t want to replace what I’ve purged. I don’t want to want things. Jen’s argument is pretty simple: to grow with God, we have to grow out of excess. This means caring more about the environment, more about those in need, and less about what you have so that you can help level the playing field. Have you ever given until it hurt? I hadn’t. Not really, at least. We’re fortunate enough to be in a position to give and not suffer. We live in the top 1% of the world’s economy and if you have a roof over your head, can read and know where next month’s meal will come from, you do too. This week, inspired by Jen, we gave to a cause until it really hurt. I had to return things to the store to make it happen and I almost immediately regretted hitting that donate button. Then, after a night or two to sleep on it, it’s really wonderful. I’m suddenly unburdened with the need to own the greatest “thing” – I’m happy making do with what we’ve got. I thought that the gift would make me feel good inside because I had done something for someone else, but actually, it did something for me. It’s incredibly empowering to overcome your immediate desires – perhaps this is why God asks us to fast. So bear with me over the next few months as I discover new ways to repurpose old things, try to create more than I  consume, and (with any luck) smile more without the burden of being the best-dressed girl on K street. Don’t worry, I won’t be putting together whole posts about fighting the capitalist machine, but when I find something that works or do something I’m proud of, you can bet I will find a way to brag about it here. I have to do something that reminds the world of my redeeming qualities… I murdered my son’s spirit fish after all.

Better late than never.

I’m over a year behind in blog updates. Please forgive me. I don’t have a great excuse. Life in America is a lot busier than life in Africa. If you want to know what’s going on in our life, Facebook and Instagram sum it up pretty well: our kid is adorable and we like to do fun stuff with him. Also, he’s naked a lot and I’ve cleaned pee off my living room floor more times than I care to admit. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about Zambia!

On March 28th Mark, Ryan and I will board a plane to Lusaka, Zambia (by way of some European country, I’m sure) for a two year stay. We’re excited. While the past two years in DC have been great and we’ve really enjoyed our time with family, we’re giddy at the thought of Ryan spending his days outside chasing oversized bugs and playing soccer with the neighborhood children. Here’s what we know about life in Lusaka:

  • It’s in the heart of safari country. We would love you to visit us! By international standards, flights to Zambia are reasonable (about $1,100 from ATL). We’ll be itching for visitors and welcome anyone interested after June 2014.
  • Victoria Falls. It’s going to be amazing. So is THIS place. Can’t wait.
  • There is a baby elephant orphanage in the heart of the city. I plan to spend a lot of

    This may be the highlight of my life.

    time there and I have been praying every night that when Ryan is an adult, his earliest memory is feeding a calf.

  • I’m on the job market. Nothing lined up yet, but we’re hopeful. You can’t exactly lobby the host government when you’re staying on a diplomatic passport, so I’m rethinking my career right now and open to your advice.
  • Zambia is a former British colony and the official language is English. I’m bummed that it won’t have the cultural richness of Ethiopia, but grateful that roads will have names, homes will have numbers, and language won’t be a barrier.
  • The slums are in the ‘burbs. We’re bummed about this, too. In Addis, we were

    Lusaka Slums

    surrounded by slums on all sides of our home. This meant serving and ministering to others was easy. In Lusaka, we’ll be in a safe cocoon of wealth and we’ll have to make an effort to get outside our comfort zone. We’re mentally preparing for this now and anxious to get involved in the community.

  • We’re planning to adopt in Zambia and we’re almost done with our home study. We’ve been anxious to adopt for a while now. In Zambia, we’ll petition the ministry of women’s affairs to become foster parents and we’ll be placed with a child for three months before they are forever ours. We’re hoping for a girl, but open to whatever God has in store for us. We are also committed to keeping “birth order” – that is, we may not get an infant, but we will make sure they are younger than Ryan. More posts on adoption to follow.
  • We are packing light. Ethiopia taught us that you don’t need a lot and we’re anxious to get back to a simpler way of life. We’ll be storing most of our possessions in the U.S. If you need to borrow some furniture for two, we’re happy to lend you ours.
  • We’re blessed beyond measure. Our family and friends have been nothing but supportive and we’re forever grateful. Thanks for joining us on this journey!

Why Wine and Flash Sales Are Never a Good Idea

I know. I know. I owe about a million updates. I’ve been a little too busy participating in life to write about it. And boy is my life sweet. I love spending time with my little family. I love Saturday morning cuddle sessions with Ryan nestled between Mark and I. I love “date nights” with a bottle of cheap wine on my front porch with a baby monitor. I love having someone to share the responsibility of Ryan’s care with and I really love working. I forgot how great it is to talk with adults about adult things.

Last night Mark and I had a date night that involved pork, roasted cauliflower, cheese, crackers and a bottle of wine. It also involved shopping. Mark and I are great shoppers when we’re together – put the two of us in a Homegoods and we can fill a house in an hour – but last night definitely takes the cake for “largest impromptu purchase ever.” We got this guy.

Yup. It’s a sofa. Yes, I have one returning from Ethiopia as well. Mark promises me that the couch returning will not meet my standards and isn’t comfortable. We’ve been talking about our need for a new sofa, but we haven’t been able to find one remotely in our price range. Here’s the problem: we have cats. Cats with claws. Cats with claws that I find cruel to remove. Cats with claws that expertly destroy any upholstered furnishings in their path.

We need a leather sofa. And we LOVE this one. So we bought it. We’ve never sat in it, never touched it, never done anything with it other than drool over its picture on One Kings Lane. So, over pork and wine we decided it would be a good purchase. The whole process (from finding the sofa to purchasing it) took us less than 30 minutes. Calvin (that’s his name) is set to arrive sometime between Nov 5- 8. I will, of course, be sure to share pics as soon as he’s assumed his position in the middle of my living room.

Speaking of the living room – we’ve been painting!!! I’ll post before/after pics ASAP.

Lastly, our air shipment arrives today. With our 250lb allowance, we selected my fall boots (stop your judgement. it’s getting cold and new boots are expensive), curtains, towels, Ryan’s crib and his mattress. My son is six months old tomorrow and will for the first time sleep in a bed that is his own. We’ve never co-slept with him (smothering my son isn’t on the to do list) but he’s never slept in anything other than a sling, car seat or pack-and-play. How GRATEFUL I will be to lay my baby down in his own bed tonight!

The remainder of our belongings are set to arrive the last week of October, but I’m not holding my breath. More posts/updates to follow!

Thanks for being on this journey with us!

xo,

Laurie

T-minus 24hrs!

Since March 2012 Mark and I have lived separated by an ocean and a few continents and clung tightly to the things that tie us together. Day-in and day-out our lives have looked completely different: while I tote my son between Target and family in the suburbs of Atlanta, Mark has been dodging donkeys on the streets of Addis. At times, we’ve struggled to find common ground, shared plans, and a sense of unity in our lives. Tomorrow, it all comes to a glorious end.

Mark is coming home.

It has been through prayer, patience, the support of family, and a whole-lotta communication that we’re coming out of this year as well as we are. To those of you who have encouraged us along the way (on both continents), thank you. Over the past year, we’ve made a conscious decision to surround our marriage with people that will always encourage us back together and celebrate our marriage with us. We are engulfed in love and support and it’s been amazing to see the loved ones in our lives band together to see us through an incredibly tough season. We are entering a new life in DC stronger and happier than ever and so incredibly grateful for each moment that we will share. I can’t believe my one-true-love is coming home and that finally, our son will see his face each morning and feel the warmth of his love each night as he’s tucked into bed. It’s a terrible feeling when the day ends and you realize that yours is the only face your child has seen all day. While I love Ryan endlessly, I am simply not enough. I want Ryan to know he is loved by many and cherished by all. I want him to feel and experience his worth. Tomorrow I am one step closer to actualizing my dream.

Over the next 24 hours, Ryan will be the in the Imagecare of my sweet sisters as I travel up to DC for a few business meetings and to greet Mark upon his return. We will fly back to Atlanta tomorrow evening and spend two weeks with family before making our final move to Washington on September 3rd.

2012 has brought us surprise, love, drama, heartache and the loss of a future we had worked so hard and sacrificed so much to achieve. I will always treasure this year as the one God granted us the opportunity to meet Ryan and mourn it as the one I spent separated from my husband. We’re sad to see Ethiopia go, but hopeful that in a few short years Africa will be returning to our lives. In the interim, we’ll be in DC enjoying the snow (they say it’s going to be rough winter!) and exploring life in Washington with our little man. The past six months of life-in-limbo comes to a close tomorrow and I couldn’t be more excited or feel more blessed.

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Souvenirs

(blogging via iPhone. Please forgive brevity and punctuation. Not that I ever proofread any of my posts to begin with.)

My husband loves me. This I know. Sure he shows me in his day-to-day adoration, sweet words and sacrifice, but I know for sure because he has managed to acquire the best souvenir ever.

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know I’ve got a nasty obsession coveting problem with mid-century modern furnishings. Show me angled chair legs with clean lines and I will show you a woman with no self control. It’s embarrassing. Over the past two years, I’ve lusted after this sofa (via Thrive Furniture)

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Maybe it’s not your cup of tea, but this guy makes my cup runneth over with joy. He is simple, clean, hand-crafted and sturdy. All good-couch qualities. So it’s not a surprise he’s also WAY out of my price range. With all of the handmade furniture in Ethiopia, I thought finding a craftsman to reproduce this beauty would be no problem, but I tried for two months and visited endless local shops without any success. I left Ethiopia empty handed and convinced that happiness would always lie out of reach in the form of an $1800 sofa (I hope you’re sensing sarcasm here).

Alas, my husband is amazing and managed to do what I was unable to:

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Amazing, right!?!! With the cushions she is a little too squared off (yes, this beauty is a woman modeled after a man) but that’s really no problem. We are ordering leather cushions once she’s home and with our other furnishings and we can decide what color will work best.

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In a few months I will have a custom sofa and the best souvenir a gal could ask for. Thanks, Sweetie. You rock my mid-century socks off.

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Kick @$$ Women are…grateful

This past week was a blur. Mark flew to DC for a business trip so, naturally, Ryan and I flew up to the District to get a little QT with Daddy in before his final return on August 17th. We spent the last Saturday of July celebrating cousin Clark’s third birthday in what must be the best planned soiree for 3-year-old children I’ve ever attended. My sister-in-law, Kate, is an amazing wedding planner. Check out some of this stuff…

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ImageUmm…yes…in the event you’re curious…that IS a glittering chandelier made of wine corks saved by the bride and groom and beautifully assembled by Kate. This girl’s the Team USA of wedding planners and she does it with a group of other talented (and neurotically organized) ladies at Simply Chic Events. So you can imagine that when she puts together a “casual” birthday party for her son and 50 of his closest friends, it’s pretty well done. Clark’s construction-themed party even included safety cones stolen from a nearby construction site (that was me and Mark’s contribution to the decoration! Ha!). Here’s our adorable little dude enjoying the festivities:

ImageWe’re so grateful to have Scott and Katie nearby in Leesburg and really excited to watch Clark and Ryan grow up together. The rest of the week was spent meeting with potential employers, toting Ryan around DC to show him off to friends and colleagues, stealing every spare minute with Mark that we could, spending afternoons at the pool and evening walks at the National Zoo. We had fun and it was great to spend time as a family in the city we call home. During Ryan’s morning naps I focused intently on reading and prayer. I’m not saying this to appear “holier than thou” but rather to explain that what began as a practical endeavor has turned more spiritual than planned. I’ve quickly realized how much time I’ve spent reading the Bible as a chronicle of events rather than a novel filled with emotion, drama and scandal.

Take Eve, for example.

To begin, she’s the first woman ever. EVER. Can you imagine? Women are uniquely social and thrive in a web of relationships …. but all she had was God, Adam and that damn serpent to talk to. I love Mark and I love God even more, but a day without sisters or girlfriends or my mom and I’m a wreck. I need women in my life. It’s no wonder that she found the serpent so appealing. I adore that while she messed up and ate the apple, God comes to the garden and asks to speak with Adam. While I struggle with a lot that the Bible has to say about the relationship between men and women, I revel in the knowledge that God holds men accountable for their family’s behavior. (Insert evil, unaccountable laugh here)

So Eve gets married and preggo and has Cain and Abel. Then Cain kills Abel. Really!?!? What would you do? I think of my Grandma Markle and how she would have handled my father killing my Uncle Korey (or vice versa, sorry Korey, didn’t mean to kill you off like that!). While I’m sure they nearly wrestled one another to death as kids, the emotional struggle that a mother would endure seems insurmountable. The time spent playing mental games of what-if and re imagining your present circumstances with the other child present…it would become an endless cycle for me. My Uncle Mickey died before I was born, but his presence was never far from my Grandma Ryan. In every conversation we had, it was clear that the burden of his loss never left her completely. Mourning became a hidden personality trait for my Grandma, always tinting her worldview and shaping her words without ever verbally acknowledging its influence.

After the loss of Cain, Eve gets pregnant again and has another son, Seth. To this Eve responds:

God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.

Genesis 4:25

My heart nearly stopped. If I lost Ryan, I could never accept another child as a gift from God “in place of” him. Perhaps “in addition to,” but not “in place of”. Ryan is not expendable. Whether this is an accurate account of Eve’s exact emotions at the time, I am not sure. Something tells me that, as a woman and a mother, she probably had more than a sentence to share with God about the whole ordeal. However her story reminds me of a deeply terrifying loss that my sister and her husband experienced when they lost the battle to adopt a little boy that God had called them to love as their own and later were granted the unbelievable opportunity to raise Maya, the coolest, sweetest and most profound woman I’ve yet to meet. Trust me: this little girl with change the world with love.

Why did our Heavenly Father sign Eve up for such suffering? Why did He sign Meghan up for hers? Why did He take away only to give again? I’m not sure of these answers, but I’m amazed at Eve’s gratefulness to God for His gifts and her complete acceptance that the One who gives can take away. The name Seth means “granted” or “appointed”.

Perhaps by channeling Eve’s gratefulness I too can be at peace with God’s blessings. When I listen to Ryan’s breaths, it is too often with anxiety rather than a grateful heart. Too often I worry about his development rather than rest easy in the knowledge that God has given me a perfect gift— and I better enjoy it today because He offers us no promise of tomorrow. Eve teaches us that a grateful heart frees us up to accept the past and live in the present thereby allowing us to endure unthinkable challenges and loss. Through her sin, we also learn that an ungrateful heart creates unthinkable challenges and loss.

Easier said than done. Gratefulness does not come easy to me. I like to attribute my successes to my own hard work. As if I captured my smokin’ hot husband on my own. I didn’t. God’s hands are all over our marriage and He’s working on us and in us every day to bring us closer together and closer to Him. I like to think that my career, academic success and family life are also the products of commitment, hard work, and self-sacrifice. That’s simply not the case. God placed people at every step to push me along, encourage me, and challenge me. He recruited my sister (the same sweet one, Meghan, as above) into His kingdom so that our whole family could be restored. While I may verbally give credit to God, it’s all too often for show. In my heart, I’m patting myself on the back with pride and a swollen head. Perhaps it’s the independent, free-thinking streak God placed in me. Doesn’t it seem that our God-given gifts and talents often provide us with spiritual challenges? I’m only one woman into this endeavor and I’ve already got a lot of work to do.

Speaking of work to do… I have some worldly commitments to fulfill this evening before dozing off. Better get to it.

Lots of love,

Laurie

P.S. I looked up Genesis 4:25 in NLT, KJV and the Message. All of them use the phrase “in place of”. I’m still not certain that this one sentence can fully encompass what Eve was feeling and I’m therefore not interpreting it as a message about the replaceable nature of people.

Words added to NIV in 2011

Kick @$$ Women: Disclaimer

Before I get started on my little Biblical journey, it’s probably worth sharing the assumptions that will lay the groundwork for this endeavor:

  • I’m not a theologian. In fact, if I’m honest, I can’t say that I’ve read every page of the Bible. I’ve read most of them, but I haven’t made it through Revelations (gives me the heeby jeebies…and that’s when I think I understand it) and there are a few books in the OT that I have skimmed because, well, reading about who was the son of who was the son of so-and-so gets a little boring. Sorry ’bout that, God.
  • I believe that the Bible is infallible. What I don’t believe in is the infallibility of human language, the human mind, and the human heart. It’s all muddled with sin. So I try to acknowledge that while the Bible may be true, how we understand it and what we think it says, is often way off point. I’ve been known to miss the point often (just ask Barbara Biesecker and what she thinks of my read on Derrida. Hint: her answer involves “lazy thinker”). Open my Bible and you’ll find margins full of notes, including one’s that highlight nearly every verse in the book of Mark to support a vegetarian diet. I’m so glad that phase is over (how did I survive without steak?), but the experience taught me a lot about perception. Reading anything is a lot like playing with a wiji board: you always find what you’re looking for, often at the sacrifice of the “big picture”.
  • I believe that our relationship with Christ is an intimate one. While my interpretation of the Bible isn’t always on point, I believe that everyone should read the Bible…or at least the Gospels…and wrestle with it, debate it, pray about it and negotiate its meaning in your heart. I don’t answer to a Pope or Jerry Fallwell, I answer to God. Perhaps it’s a little gutsy to think that I have direct access to the Main Man, but that’s what Christ’s death did for me and while I don’t deserve it, I am pumped that God thought us cool enough to hang out with one-on-one.
  • I read NIV…basically because King James is written in a way that traps my mind in language, not in thought…and The Message sounds like reading about God from a 15 year old girl. I’ve been a 15 year old, and trust me, she doesn’t have much to say that’s of value. Also, NIV recently underwent an update that removed a lot of the “he” and “him” language and replaced it with more inclusive words.

Words added to NIV in 2011

Okay, that’s it for now. I’m sure I will think of other tidbits here-and-there and I’ll be sure to update this disclaimer as I go along.
Gotta run! It’s nap time and therefore reading time…
Get it? It's a meltdown! (Cheeeezze!)

Aww shucks…

Who knew publicly melting down online could produce such an outpouring of support? Geeze. Thanks y’all. I’m humbled and encouraged thanks to your texts, messages, emails and phone calls. People rock. Especially my people.

 

Get it? It’s a meltdown! (Cheeeezze!)

I’ve decided to do a little research. Knowledge is power, right? I want to know what God says about kick @$$ women. What does the Bible tell us about the power within a women to persevere, advocate and fight. More importantly, how does the Bible tell us to go about persevering, advocating and fighting?

My interest arises from my current circumstance and a number of conversations I’ve had recently. I’m curious how the feminine practice of humility differs from insecurity and what our spiritual leaders can be doing to encourage more of the former without the latter. I’m anxious to read Rachel Held Evan‘s new book arriving this October and I’d like to head into it with my own perspective. I’m also encouraged by a rising public interest in the role of women in the church and our communities.

I’ve participated in endless Bible studies focused on a female audience, including one specifically about Esther, but I’ve never attempted my own read of the women in the Bible. So I’m starting with Eve and working my way to Priscilla. I’m no Biblical scholar, but my hope is to start a discussion among my friends and family about God’s love for His women.

 

In an extra dose of domesticity: I’ve begun to sew! I’ve got big plans for our master bedroom back in DC (can’t begin to express my infatuation with kilim rugs and pillows paired with crisp white bedding) and I’m super pumped to make our windows out of fabric I’ve found for $5 a yard! I’m not exactly an expert yet – my poor mother is ready to pull her hair out teaching me. In my defense, this woman has the spatial intelligence of a world-class geographer. She looks at a garment and immediately knows how to sew it without a pattern. I can’t reliably find my way out of the Mall of Georgia parking lot. So yes, I look like an idiot next to her and no, I can’t get over the similarity between the words selvage and salvage…give me time, people. I’ll be proficient before the year is over.

Clothing optional.

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I took my son to the park in long pants and shirt and quickly realized that child services would probably not approve. If I had a serious case of swass in running shorts, I can’t imagine what he had going on under those thick pants. So I let him go naked. And he loved it. Now he gets giddy when I take his clothes off and I once again feel like child services wouldn’t approve.