Category Archives: Tyler

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.)

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

Return of the Blogger

Aaaaaaaaaand, I’m back! Good grief, has it really been a week? Please accept my sincerest apologies for my long absence; it won’t happen again. Or at least it won’t happen again until someday when Tyler takes me on a Caribbean cruise or some other such wonderfulness. The Week of Moving Madness was just that: a week of madness. This is the list of what I did over the last week:

  1. Pack up a flobbity-jillion boxes.

    The moving truck, before and after.

  2. Put said boxes into a moving truck.
  3. Follow behind my husband driving said truck in our car.
  4. Wait on the side of the road for the mechanic to come and look at the moving truck to determine why it wouldn’t move.
  5. Ask the mechanic if he could jump off my car while he was at it, since the battery was dead.
  6. Spend the night in a hotel after driving for eight hours to get to a place we should have gotten to in three and a half.
  7. Finally get to  the new apartment a mere 24 hours after we left Bakersfield.
  8. Unpack the moving truck and drag all out stuff up to the seventh floor. For five hours. Yipee!
  9. Discover that our car is dead…again. Wait for AAA to come and replace our battery.
  10. Unpack all those boxes that are now in our new, shiny home.
  11. Try to remember to eat at least twice a day.
  12. Try to remember to sleep a little bit.
  13. Steal moments to read when I’m “going to the bathroom.” *wink*

What did you do this week? Whatever it was, it was probably 29 times more exciting than what I did, but it was all worth it in the end. Hencefourth, I get to wake up to this every morning:

Now that we are here, I’ve been very busy. I have been…

  1. Not getting up before 8:30 am. Rough.
  2. Setting up house. My first order of business was setting up a reading corner, though the kitchen and bathroom are pretty much squared away, and the closet shall join them shortly.
  3. Looking out the window a lot. I’m still in awe of our cityscape.
  4. Reading. I started this lovely little book today:

    The Secret Lives of Wives by Iris Krasnow

    It is really interesting so far. Some of these women say having a man on the side has helped the, some say illness is what made them strong, and some say their arranged marriage is the best thing that ever happened to them. I’m not necessarily advocating for any of that, but I am fascinated.  Being married long enough to be passed the newlywed stage but not long enough to be considered a pro by any means, I’m really interested to delve into this topic. So far, if someone asked me the secret to our happiness these past four years, I’d say a strong underlying friendship, our shared commitment to our faith and core values, and honest communication. At the end of the day, no matter what has happened, that man is still the best friend I have in the world, which gives me something to fight for, no matter what. But in another four years, or eight, or twelve, who knows what I’ll say?  What about you? Man or woman, what would you say the key to longevity is? How do you keep a happy marriage? For that matter,  how do you keep any long-term relationship going?

  5. Taking an obscene amount of Cambria pictures:

    Sorry about missing Caturday! This little quartet pretty much sums up what she's been up to, though- sleeping and chilling out in odd places.

  6. Cooking dinner and other domestic type things.
  7. And tomorrow I will begin hunting for the perfect wall color. I’m thinking a nice, bright yellow.

Like I said, life is really tough right now. Another endeavor I plan to undertake soon: find every bookstore I can reasonably walk to/take the trolley to in San Diego. There are two just on the street I live on alone! But right now I’m going to sleep for the next ten hours. But I promise not to abandon you! I will surely be back tomorrow, my friends, granted I can pencil you into my demanding schedule.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Books, California Dreamin', Cambria, Cats, Caturday, Love & Marriage, Odds and Ends, San Diego, Tyler

“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:

Baby:

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:

Baby:Cat:

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:

Baby:

 Cat:

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

Six Years Ago Today…

…this boy

met this girl.

And a few months later, they became this couple.

And now, they are us.

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Filed under Love & Marriage, Tyler

An Ode to Sleeping Alone

When we lived in South Carolina, Tyler’s job frequently took him away from home overnight, often for the whole week or weeks in a row broken by short weekend visits home. When this husband-stealing shenanigan disguised as a job first started, I couldn’t sleep when he was gone. I’d lie awake in bed for hours, exhausted. It wasn’t because I was frightened of anything, it’s just hard to sleep in an empty bed now days.

This is what I do on nights home alone: read, write, yawn, repeat.

See, we have a full size bed, and have for the entire four-year duration of our marriage, simply because that’s what was given to us, and we were too strapped for cash to buy a new one. So we’re not only used to sleeping in the same bed, but practically on top of one another. Seriously. There is no position in the bed where we are not somehow touching unless we both roll to the farthest edge with our hips hanging off and our arms stretched out in front of us. But who could possibly sleep that way? Also, I tend to roll off the bed when I’m in it alone. I never realized that Tyler acts as my human guard rail until he was gone, which was a painful, bruising way to discover that I’m a roller.

I had not had to face any of these horrors for a very long time. Until last week when Tyler stayed out until 6:30 am recording drum tracks for the Hingepoint worship team’s new album. He’s out again tonight, recording bass tracks. (Hopefully he won’t be out quite as late/early this week.) I don’t mind at all, really, I just can’t sleep. So I pray and read and journal and read some more and stalk friends who are probably asleep on Facebook. (And tonight I also visited a certain little man with whom I am currently infatuated. He has, by the way, added a new ridiculously cute habit to his repertoire: he squeaks while he drinks his bottle. I am dying over here, folks. Death by baby.) This little poem is what came out of all that restless reading and writing and stalking last week. I thought I’d share it with you tonight, as it is now 10:52pm, and I am on the cusp of my sleeplessness. I call it An Ode to Sleeping Alone...

Now that I have been married long
enough to be used to
it, I cannot sleep
alone
anymore. There is still the
ghost of you upon
the sheets, the wraith of your arm curved around
my hips, drawing me into
your warmth, until I awaken, startled,
alone,
and cold, on the strange side
of the bed, on your odd,
lumpy pillow. Please come home
quickly. I am in want of
your real arm.

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Filed under Love & Marriage, Poetry, Tyler

Colorful Fork Clocks

Tyler and I are now the proud owners of a strange clock made of brightly colored forks and spoons.

Obnoxious, isn't it?!

It’s bizarre. Our kids with think it’s hideous.

We love it.

Tyler found a kitschy clock in Toronto while we were on our Honeymoon four years ago, and it’s all been downhill from there. It seems like he’s always finding an odd new clock or a funky lamp, but we never buy them. Until now.

I made the wallpaper on our shared computer the portrait of a baby elephant. Because it’s ridiculously cute. She’s wrinkled and has red hair, and I’ve nicknamed her Rosie for reasons unknown even to me.

Tyler leaves it, because baby animals are his weakness. (His other weaknesses include fixing things and protecting me with his big muscles. Because he is far more masculine than baby animals might suggest.)

We both love listening to classical music at loud volumes. We could both watch Star Trek for 19 flobbity-jillion hours (and sometime we do). Our outfits match on accident at least three days a week because we favor the same colors. We keep a  stuffed alligator on our bed who we talk about like he’s a real animal, and we talk about our real animal like she’s human.We’ve picked out future-baby names, and they’re old and weird, and we adore them. We could live on sushi and we don’t like candle scents that make us hungry. We drink a lot of black tea, and if there are actual sugar cubes, it’s even better.

To be sure, we have our frustrations. In some ways, I just don’t get that man, and I’m certain (because he’s told me so) that there are things about me that baffle him as well.

But there are 1,000 ways that we’ve melded into our own strange little Stroud family. Our quirks align in a startling, wonderful way, and today I celebrate that.

Amanda

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Filed under Love & Marriage, Tyler