Category Archives: Babies

Hello? Anybody There?

If you are still out there, then I am a: shocked, and b: grateful.  I’ve been gone a long time, but I needed to be gone for a long time. Sometimes those pesky little dark night’s of the soul pop up when least expected, and if you ignore them they get worse. Guess what I tried to do? If you said “ignore it,” you are very correct. And then it got worse, as I’m sure you’ve guessed. So I took a break from a lot of things: from reading, from writing, from blogging, from looking for a job, from beating myself up about it.  And I started spending a lot of time in prayer, and with my family and friends. I took a lot of time to focus on what matters and who matters, and tried to cut out the excess.

I love literature because it puts us face to face with truth, with reality, with the whole of humanity. But sometimes that hurts, and sometimes I need to look away. I’ve only really read the Bible and a few old favorites that are always good for my soul (Anne Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, Shauna Niequist’s Bittersweet, Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies, Dr. Zhivago, A Wrinkle in Time, bits and pieces of The Chronicles of Narnia, and lots of Denise Levertov, Rumi, Rilke, Dickenson, and Frost.) That puts me hopelessly behind in my quest to read 104 books this year, but I just realized that some things are more important than reading, or even writing. I know most writers would balk at that statement. I’ve been admonished time and again that “We write because we must! Because it is our charge, our purpose, our calling! We write when it is painful because that is what it means to be a writer!” And sometimes we rest, because we are human, even those of us with calloused and ink stained fingers.

But there is a time and a season for everything. And this is the time and the season to crawl back into the light. Hello blog! I’ve missed you!Hello books on my bookshelf! You are dusty and beautiful, and I can’t wait for the adventures we are going to have! Hello pen and journal! I have so much to tell you! Hello story I was working on! I have so many ideas for your future! Hello great wide world! I am different now, but I think I’m better, and I’m ready to rejoin your dance!

I know I’m going to have to work pretty hard to build back up my readership, but it was worth it. I have started reading a thing or two in the past few weeks, so hopefully come Monday I’ll have a new review up. And since I have nothing else worth while to say to you right now, here is a brief photo update of the last two months of my life: (Warning, if you follow me on any social media, this is going to be a lot of repeats for you and thus probably a little boring. So sorry!)

Remember my favorite baby Josiah? I cuddled him a whole bunch.

I spent a lot of time at the beach…

…and I spent it with my best friend.

I got some good advice from a fortune cookie, and from some friends, though I didn’t take their pictures.

I took many gratuitous photos of Cambria, who did not mind.

We ran a 5K obstacle course challenge. Or rather, Tyler and a few of our faster friends ran, and I walk/ran it with a few of our less ambitious friends.

Tyler went to NYC for business, and I had to stay home. But I started this book, and he brought me back this huge mug, so it was okay.

And while he was gone I got to spend my afternoons with this adorable puppy, so that made it okay too.

Cambria found a new hiding/sleeping spot in the bathroom.

We celebrated friend’s birthdays, and Tyler got even more handsome, which I did not realize was possible. Look at that jaw line. Mmmhmm.

A friend found a left-over turkey in his freezer, so we all got together and had a feast. All I can say is the world needs more holidays with turkey, and also look at that amazing view!

We bought Cambria her very own castle, and now she insists we call her “Queen Cambria.” It’s mostly an honorary title since she makes no laws and really just sleeps up there like normal non-royal cats.

We went to our very first Polo match!

At the Polo match we dressed all fancy and drank champagne and pretended to be rich. We are not in actuality rich, but we did look fairly dapper.

I made the Queen cuddle with me a lot, because even Queens need love.

(Not pictured: I also ate a lot of ice cream, called my mom and/or dad almost every day, and spent a lot of time snuggled up with my man watching Dr. Who. It was, all-in-all a good respite for my soul.)



Filed under Babies, Books, Cambria, Cats, Odds and Ends, San Diego, Tyler, writing

A Long Overdue Acceptance Speech, the Book Bloggers Hop, and a Man Holding a Baby.

I was recently nominated by two sweet people for The Versatile Blogger Award! I was so flattered when two readers nominated me, that, I have to be honest, I got a little case of stage fright. Who should I nominate? Can I even thing of seven random things about myself? I basically just write about books and cats, is that enough to make me “versatile”? But I had a solid 10 hours of sleep last night and a lot of coffee this morning, and a cookie for good measure, so now I’m feeling up to the challenge.

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person(s) who shared the award with you by linking back to them in your post.
  2. Pass this award to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know that you included them in your blog post. (I don’t have 15. I hope that’s okay!)
  3. List 7 random things about yourself.
  4. Copy and paste the Award Image to your acceptance post

So thank you, Michelle and Dreamy Eyes! I am so sorry it took me this long to recognize, but I was truly appreciative that you thought of me. I am humbled.

And here are my nominees:

  1. Erin at What She Writes: Well, what can I say? I like what she writes! She knits, she reads, she asks deep questions. I enjoy every aspect of her blog.
  2. Rachel at Healthteacher’s Blog: One of my college friends, she’s smart and funny, and she is truly versatile. She blogs about everything from nutrition and fitness to literature and her escapades as a high school English teacher.
  3. Sara at Something To Blog About: My in-real-life friend who is, for lack of a better word, hilarious! I mean, she’ll write haiku to tell you about her week. Could it possibly get any better?
  4. Michelle at Books and Boston: Are you allowed to nominate your nominator? Well, I am. It’s not my fault I like her! She reads good books and asks though-provoking questions.
  5. Maria at Christian Fantasy for Women: Maria is a kindred spirit and one of the sweetest souls you’ll ever meet. I really enjoy following her writer’s journal, and reading the excerpts from her book. I think you will too.
  6. Julia at A Long way From Lyddington: She’s a librarian and illustrator from Australia, and I find her absolutely fascinating.
  7. Christina at The Literary Bunny: She writes excellent reviews. If you enjoy literature and philosophy, you will love this site.
  8. Jimmie Chew at…well…Jimmie Chew: This is totally my guilty pleasure cat blog. I really wish I could teach Cambria to walk on a leash like Jimmie does, but Tyler won’t allow it. It’s probably a better deal for smaller-city or country cats anyway.

Seven things about myself:

  1. I have adult-onset food allergies to peanuts and soy. It’s kind of a bummer, since soy is in practically everything, and peanut butter is one of my favorite foods!
  2. As much as I love cats, I didn’t own my first one until I was 21. My parents are beagle people.
  3. My all-time favorite book is Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. And, per usual, the book is so much better than the movie.
  4. Once, when I was about nine, I started my very own Baby Sitters Club, but everyone dropped out after a week because our parents said we were too young to actually babysit. (For the record, I totally would have been Claudia.)
  5. If I were ever filthy rich, I would own a zoo. Or maybe an elephant sanctuary.
  6. I wanted to become an astronaut when I was a kid, until I learned that you had to be good at math. Then I set my sights on something more obtainable: becoming the first professional woman baseball player. In case you can’t tell, I’m a realist.
  7. I’ve already started listening to Christmas music, although I think the people who have already started decorating are a little nuts.


I’m pretty excited about something else, too! The self-same Michelle from the awards above gave me the idea to do this, and I hope you’ll join in the fun  too! I’m going to participate in the Book Bloggers Hop!

When I started this blog I was not setting out to become a book blogger, but, for better or for worse, it has clearly taken that turn. This is a great opportunity to not just follow but get to know other book bloggers and scope out some new reads while you’re at it! If you’re interested in more information, you can check out the mother blog, Crazy For Books.

Joining is simple, you just have to post about the book hop on your own blog and link back to the original post, which I included above. Then just answer this weeks hop question.

The question this week was “What is your favorite type of candy?” My answer? I love nothing more than a milk chocolate Dove bar, or a Toblerone bar, depending on my mood.


And last, but certainly not least: A man (my man, to be particular)holding a baby, as promised. Because there really is nothing cuter.

Um, seriously. Men holding babies is right up there with my baby-sniffing obsession. Look at that little grin on his face. Le sigh. Josiah would have grinned to, if he actually did that yet. And...oh! Cambria! You selfish little kitty! Get out of here. This is not about you, since you are neither a man nor a baby. I'm sorry about our spoiled only child, erm, cat. I missed Caturday this week, and she's feeling a little left out.

Some of you may remember my little friend Josiah, and my overwhelming love of both his tiny toes and his natural baby smell. He is clearly growing up- he’s almost two whole months old now! And he’s cuddly-er than ever. And he’s Tyler’s new BFF, which, really, I have no complaints about.

Anyway, I’ll cut out the indulgent blather. Go read my versatile friends blogs! And go sign up for the Book Bloggers Hop! And for goodness sake, don’t let me take any more pictures of men and babies or my uterus heart might explode!(Sorry for talking about anatomy in public, mom. It may won’t happen again.)

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Filed under Babies, Books, Cambria, Odds and Ends

“Babies Are Almost As Cute as Cats.”

Yes, my husband really said that.

Tyler, while holding a cat and looking at a baby: “Amanda, which do you think is cuter, babies or cats?”

A: “Babies. Duh.”

T: “I agree. Mostly. I mean, babies are almost as cute as cats. Wait. Reverse that.”

The margin is slim. And it may depend on the baby, and the cat. And the day. Don’t get me wrong. I love babies. But they cry and poop. Cats poop too, but you don’t have to clean it up nearly as often, and they potty-train faster. (I can totally hear my mother-in-law saying, “uncouth,” to herself right now. Sorry, mom! 🙂 ) They both spit up, so they’re even there. And most babies aren’t really that cute at first, but kittens are instantly cute.

What? Don’t act like you’re offended. You know I’m only saying what everyone else is thinking. Newborns and little old men look exactly alike. Plus I already said that babies win, so I am exempt from your rage.

I’ll show you what I mean. I think it’s time for a friendly little game of

Baby vs. Cat.

Round 1:


Josiah, my favorite mini-human, is getting so big! He now weights more than Cambria, my favorite non-person. And he still smells exactly like a baby should:)

Cat: And the winner is… Baby! But it’s close. I mean, look at that little paw, and that little nose. You know you debated for a second.

Round 2:


Readers, meet Max, Josiah and Co.'s pet fat cat, and Tyler's second favorite cat in the world. He is fat, and fluffy, and he thinks he rules the world.

And the winner is…Cat! Because he is doing a trick! And that tail is so fluffy! I kid, I kid! The baby still wins. I mean seriously, look at those lips! *melt*

Round 3:



And the winner is…Tyler! Seriously, could that man be any cuter? He likes cats and babies??! Where do I sign up?

(Dear Tyler,

I apologize in advance for calling you cute. Please forgive me. I will make dinner tonight to make up for it. And I’ll let you watch football without any girly comments about the color or style of the uniforms.

Love, Wife.)

So babies win. Or at least Josiah wins, always. Cambria is trying to say that since we treat her like our baby she technically wins because she fits both categories. Nice try, fur ball. You’ll have to excuse her whinyness. She’s an only child, and doesn’t get many opportunities to share or socialize with other kids, so she’s a little selfish sometimes.

ETA: My father made a very valid point when I spoke with him this afternoon. We agreed that cats are cuter for the first month, and then babies win for the rest of their lives. Or at least until they reach the pimply teenage stage, and then cats win again.  And that Tyler only wins if you are me or his mother.

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Filed under Babies, Cambria, Cats, Tyler

Baby Overdose

My very good friends, Chris and Mark, had a baby on Saturday. Their third boy. Aren’t they incredibly brave? I admire them so much.

Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, or because I wasn’t quite old enough to really help raise my younger brother, or because my husband is the only boy out of five children, but until I met Chris and her family, I a: had no idea what to do with boys, and b: never ever even thought about having one of my own someday.

Now I know, thanks to Jonah and Jacob and Chris letting me babysit them numerous times over the last year and a half, that taking care of boys is the same as taking care of girls, except you don’t have to fix their hair when their braids fall out, and you do have to do things like remind them to close the bathroom door and explain multiple times why they are not allowed to pee in the bushes in the back yard. They get a little dirtier too, but they cry like girls do, and they like to cuddle on the couch also, although they tend to prefer doing so when no one is watching.

Now that I know these things, I would be okay with a boy of my own. They aren’t scary anymore, just messy and fun and loveable. And some of my favorite people on Earth.

And now there are three lovely little men in my life. I am overjoyed!

Everyone, meet my new favorite mini person!

Josiah Phillip!

Look at that nose! And those scrunchy lips! And that little wrinkle above his nose! And his little thumb nail! I got to spend several hours with him yesterday, which included feeding him, talking to him while he looked around, talking to Jacob so he wouldn’t feel like I didn’t love him anymore, and letting Josiah sleep on me so I could covertly smell his head. Is there anything better in the whole world than the smell of new-baby head?! Tyler said that is weird, so maybe it’s a woman thing. Or maybe it really is strange. I don’t know. What I do know, is that the smell of clean new-baby makes my insides tingle. It’s like a drug. I could just sit there and smell him all day. So I did.

Also on my list of addictions: new-baby feet. Look at those tiny toes! And those little wrinkles! Be still my beating heart. They were so soft. I’d run my finger over them, and he’d coo. And then I’d melt.

Here they are again, in case you are not also convinced of the puddle-inducing effects of new-baby feet:

Another totally addicting thing: new-baby tushes. I decided not to post a picture of his diapered little self though, since I’m already pushing the bounds of decency with my obsessive baby sniffing. (Chris, you can thank me later.) New-baby hands are also cute, but Josiah is in the fist phase, where he’s not quite sure what to do with his hands yet, so he makes fists a lot, and this makes picture-taking rather complicated.

Sigh. I’m in love.

Also in love are his big brothers. They haven’t quite got the whole gentleness concept down yet, but they sure are cute. Jonah has taken to trying something on himself first, say stroking his own hair, and if it doesn’t hurt him, he has decided it will also not hurt the baby.

Jacob, on the other hand, has taken to calling him “my baby,” as though he were the one who grew Josiah from seed, and is now the sole care taker of said young seedling. He is also very obsessed with being in any pictures I take. Poor guy is used to being the youngest, and I don’t think he quite knows what to do with being a big brother as of yet. He already wants to get a third Wii remote so Josiah can play too, though, so I’m sure he’ll get the hang of big-brothering soon.

Brotherly love.

Also, when Jonah got home from school yesterday, he turned the corner of the couch, laid eyes on his newest baby brother, and broke out in the biggest grin I have ever seen. I melted a little bit more. I basically returned home one big pile of goo. And let me tell you, it’s hard to drive in a liquified state.

Two of my three favorite little men. Could this picture possibly handle any more cuteness?!

Anyway. This is my new favorite guy. He will probably continue to be my favorite mini-human until I have one of my own, and then he’ll just have to be content with second place. But it’s okay, Chris and I have a plan which includes Josiah marrying my daughter and us sharing incredibly cute grandbabies someday.  It’s a good plan. I’m already indoctrinating Josiah, whispering my plan in his sleeping ear. Maybe the subliminal messages will stick for twenty some-odd years. It’s totally worth a try.

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