Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Baby Guh-luh gets a name

First a story about names from months ago:

This evening as I scrolled through facebook I came across a friend's photo of their (adorable!) baby snoozing in a crib.

Little John was watching over my shoulder and asked "who's dat baby? Is Baby Me?"

I told him no. This baby was my friend's baby.

John : "His name is called Baby?"
Me: "No. His name is Cooper."
Tommy: "Ooops? They accidentally named him Cooper? Did they know he's a bad guy?"
M: "Cooper is a bad guy's name?"
T: "Like King Cooper from Mario. He has spikes."
J: "Him only got one name?"
T: "Yeah, how come I got 3?"
M: "His first name is Cooper. (Which is different from King Koopa, but don't tell Tommy that) and his last name is Berry"
J: "Because him loves to eat all the berries? Like blackberries, and raspberries, and BLUEberries! My name Berries too!"
T: "No. You're John."
M: "So what should we call this baby?"
T: "Baby. Cuz it's just a baby."


So you see, naming the baby with The Naming Committee (including Tommy and John and Josh and the ever opinionated Mother-who-has-known-Baby-Girl's-name-since-well-before-we-were-even-pregnant) has proven to be a challenge. At first the boys wanted to name her Koo Koo Head and Poopy Face and Tommy really was sold on the idea of High Note (like the high notes on the piano, because she's a girl and a baby and that's what she'll sound like). But eventually they started getting serious with names like Pink Heart Sweetheart and Darling Baby because they figured out how sweet babies are.

As for me, I knew her name was Elizabeth Katherine (or Catherine? Or Kathryn?) Egbert. Elizabeth is my sister Sarah's middle name and Katherine is my sister Katy's name. And Elizabeth Katherine is beautiful and traditional and royal and perfect. She could have any nickname in the whole wide world (Ellie! Elle! Liza! Lizzie even Beth if she must or Kate Katy Kat!) She could be anyone she wanted. It was perfect in addition to making me tear up at the idea of one sweet little girl holding SO much goodness in her name. She'll grow up knowing her aunts well, and to carry even a tiny piece of them with her through life would be a dream.

So I told it to Josh who crinkled his nose and mumbled something about how he does not love the name Elizabeth and immediately vetoed the perfect name.

A few weeks later he told me it didn't matter if he vetoed my idea because he already had the perfect name for her. And it is Grace. Which is actually a name I truly love. But how on earth do you combine any pieces of my sisters' names to create one perfect middle name out of theirs? (spoiler alert: you don't.) Grace is a lovely name and a beautiful life-changing concept. Grace comes in your life and helps you gather your courage to keep going. Grace is a gift from God whether we deserve it or not. Grace is THE game-changer. Grace gives you what you lack. Grace is unearned and undeserved and Grace is...well....she's just everything.

For a few weeks I thought if I just started calling her Elizabeth he'd catch on and it would grow on him. It did not.

For a few more weeks we talked about Elle or Eliza. Which also didn't catch on.

For all the weeks he just kept telling me how perfect the name Grace is for this sweet one and kept calling her that.

About a month ago, I said "What about Grace Eliza Kate Egbert - she'll just have a little too many names, but they'll all be perfect." We tried it on for a while and the more I say it the more I love it. I don't even mind that her initials are GEKE. And having 4 names seems just fine to me because they are all the perfect name.

When we took "Grace Eliza Kate" to the The Naming Committee, Tom said "why won't she be an Egbert like us? Cuz she's a girl? Only boys can be Egberts?" and John said "you mean Heart, not Gwace." It was a statement not a question. When we explained that she'd still be an Egbert, like us, she'd just have 4 names they scrunched their noses and wondered how that was even possible. Then we told them that she could have LOTS of nicknames and if they called her Heart her whole life that would be perfectly beautiful. (In fact, I'd love it.)

So even though it's a mouthful, there's not even one name we can leave out without crying. So, (we think) she'll be Grace Eliza Kate Egbert. And we might call her Heart or High Note or GEKE or Grace or Gracie or Elle or Eliza or Kate or Katy or any other thing we think of. But whatever we call her, we're whooped.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Snowball the First

In fall of 2005 Josh and I started dating. But more importantly we started the epic battle of "who threw it first: the first snowball of the year" he wins WAY more often than I do. Mostly because he has better aim and the ability to dodge when we're both playing and he makes me feel guilty when I sneak attack him in bed. But when I win? It is with grace and beauty and exceptional planning and sneakiness. 

And since I know you're Team Amy (or you're a traitor!) I know you'll be thrilled to know that even in my "too pregnant and sick to cook or clean or shop or stay our of the ER" I THREW IT FIRST THIS YEAR!!! In my bathrobe. While Josh sat on the sofa staring out the window at the beauty of freshly fallen snow - like a chump. I threw the most perfectly packed snowball across the house up the stairs and pegged him right in the chest.

Then I threw my hands up in the air and did a little victory dance (waddle) and whisper-shouted "2015 is MINE baby!" and Josh laughed the "I can't believe I'm married to the coolest person on the planet" laugh and we all lived happily ever after. (And the effort of it all didn't even send me into labor.) 

Last year I couldn't find the score and was too embarrassed to look hard for it. I'm pretty sure that this year, on the 10th anniversary of the Greatest Snowball Fight Ever, the score is 
Amy: 4 
Josh: 7. 
(Unless I get double points for the first ever EVER from 2005. Or triple points for "pregnant while balling". Both of which I think are totally legit bonus points. And would make it a tie this year.) 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

When Brene Made a Fool of Me (again)

I haven't purchased yet (but plan to) Rising Strong for a Brene Brown class I'm starting in January. So I started just listening on audible while I was at work this morning. Not listening closely, just kindof taking comfort in Brene's friendly and familiar voice and knowing that I'm soaking up goodness even if I'm not really listening. 

But then she starts telling this story (not a spoiler) about going to the lake of her childhood and Steve blowing her off when she was sharing a beautiful moment with him and the fight they could've had in their sleep because they've had it so many times ("I dunno what's for breakfast, let me ask the breakfast fairy, oh wait! there IS no breakfast fairy, because on vacation just like every other part of life *I* have to make the breakfast and do the shopping and make the plans and watch the kids and and and and.....") and that's when Troy (a guy in my office) said "are you OK to meet right now?" and I realized that I have totally stopped working and started crying at my desk and the guys have gathered at the conference table 3 feet from my desk and are waiting for me to join our weekly coordination meeting. 

I grabbed a tissue and a notebook and spun around trying to look like a professional while some other thing she said earlier (when I wasn't really listening) was running through my mind. Something about how there's not a neat and tidy and business professional version of vulnerability you can use to get through the middles at work. That you still just have to dig deep and be authentic and look stupid. 

And that's how passing out in the middle of a business strategy meeting with a guest professor a few months ago became my 2nd most embarrassing moment in this office.


Friday, June 19, 2015

The Night Sky

Bedtime didn’t happen until nearly 10 because of all the summer fun going on after the baseball game. After the kids had been “in bed” for about 20 minutes they both came running into my room to tell me something amazing. They’d been told to go back to bed at least 5 times, but this was something they couldn’t not tell me - so the risked the wrath of the post-bedtime parents and marched boldly to our room. Tommy was the brave spokesman. He took a deep breath – the only way you can tell that the words coming next are coming out fast. “Mom. We found the moon! It’s out there in the sky! And there’s also STARS!!! We can see it! Right out our window! You gotta come see this.”

Apparently they know I’m a sucker for a good sky. I followed them to their room, they ran to the window. I hope that the picture in my head of their mismatched pajamaed bums sticking out just this side of the window while they knelt on the window seat never ever fades. They’re still small enough to fit 2 boys in one open window. They showed me where the crescent moon hung just above the mountains. The showed me the stars and they told me that there were even “moving stars” out there. (satellites? Or perhaps the magic of a real live shooting star….) And when the stars stopped moving you could just keep your eyes open and shake your head back and forth and ALL the stars move. Little John shakes his head like a maniac and Tommy shakes his like a very slow metronome. And lookit! Some of the sky is blue and some of it is green! Plus the moon! Mom! Did you see the moon?! We found it! I knelt over them and stuck my head out the window to join them in the magic of it all. We pointed to all the things we saw and we looked and looked at looked. We soaked in the beauty together.

We talked about other times we might see the night sky. Camping. 4th of July! Tomorrow!!! It was kind of a perfect moment watching them discover something as magical and beautiful as the night sky. And I loved them for sharing their moment with me.

Then I told them that it was so dangerous to stick their bodies out the window because they could fall and it’s a LOOOONG way down to the driveway from way up here, and it was not ok to bump the screen out of the window and they should never ever ever ever ever open the window without mom there and if they kept playing with the blinds they would break and the sun would come in too early in the morning and they absolutely should not under any circumstance climb out of this or any other up high window ever. EVER. And to get their sweet little bums back in bed because it’s way too late to be up. And seriously. DO NOT GO OUT THAT WINDOW.

Miraculously the lecture about window safety didn’t ruin the moment. They gave me hugs and kisses and got their butts back in bed. And I can only assume they dreamed of the moon and the stars and the magic of the night sky.

Tom Hanks doesn’t know anything….

In general I think I’m a pretty good mom. I have consciously chosen some of the most important things I want my kids to know and I focus clearly on doing all I can to make sure that those are things they come away with. Primarily I want my kids to know that I love them. All the time. No matter what. More than anything. Because I firmly believe that a child filled with love can do anything else they want. So I tell them about a million times a day. And sometimes when I say it to Tommy he rolls his eyes and says “I KNOOOOOW mom.” And I say “oh good! I want you to KNOOOOOW.” And I ask him how come he knows. And he uses his most exasperated voice to say “You tell me EverySingleDay. Mom.”  And I sit back satisfied that I’m teaching him The Most Important Thing everysingleday.

But there are other things I want him to learn too. We value lots of other things in our home. Truth telling, teamwork, service, cleaning up after yourself, kindness, hard work, trying again, forgiveness, but most importantly love.

So when we signed Tommy up for baseball I had big dreams of him learning about doing hard things, stick-to-it-iveness, teamwork, winning and losing, practice, and maybe even how to hit a baseball – though that never climbed higher than 29th on the list. He didn’t really like it, but he got a cool hat and a “just for baseball” shirt. So he’d go out and play anyway. Then he’d come back exhausted and overheated swearing that his legs would fall off from “toooooo much running!”

During last week’s game he got out after hitting the ball and his little soul was positively crushed. We talked a lot about how even the really good players sometimes get out, it’s just part of the game, not giving up, practicing makes us better, and The Most Important Thing. After sitting out the rest of the game, Tommy was glad to play with dad in our own front yard when we got home, and I thought we were going to have a great baseball experience. Because Josh and I taught him ALL the things! Boom! Character traits acquired! Next?

But this week Tommy didn’t want to play when we got to the game. He hates baseball and he hates me and he's scared of getting hurt or getting out or or or or... and he was too shy to tell any of the million grownups who asked him if he was going to play that he didn’t want to. I reminded him of all the things we knew. He reminded me that he already knew that. He had given me the "right" answers on the way there, “If I get out, I’ll just keep thinkin’ about the next time. And the more I play the more I get way better.” Then he reminded me that he hates baseball. I told him that the people who play baseball games get treats at the end. Every time the team moved from outfield to get ready to bat I asked if he felt ready to play yet. He never ever did. 8 chances he had to join his team and he firmly said no 8 times. Sometimes with tears in his eyes snuggling into my lap looking for love. Sometimes while throwing his shoes. Sometimes while running away. With every inning the warm wash of shame closed in a little tighter on me and I was a total wreck.

It took 2 or 3 innings for me to remember The Most Important Thing. I told Tommy I was afraid that he might have forgotten The Most Important Thing too so I whispered it in his ear I love you more than anything in the whole wide world. And way WAY more than baseball. He looked up at me from my lap and told me that he hated me. I reminded him about treats. He didn’t care. He hated baseball. When we left – defeated – not even one second of participation, I cried. Because there’s totally crying in baseball, and Tom Hanks doesn’t know anything about 5 year olds or coach pitch or rec ball. Nothing at all. Lousy good-for-nothing celebrity spreading lies. Tom Hanks is now a cuss word at my house. There is crying in baseball. And definitely crying on the sidelines of baseball.

When we came home Tommy finished his school work, then went out to play with his friends. Because Hunter Blesshisheart came and knocked on the door to see if Tommy wanted to play. Hunter and his brother are on Tommy’s team. And in all of their childlike goodness they didn’t care at all if Tommy played or sat on the side lines. They just wanted their friend to come and play when we got home. So they invited him. And yes he did want to play. So he went outside and played with his friends on a lovely summer night. They drew with sidewalk chalk and rode bikes and played with squirt guns and ran around and played on the playground and acted like kids. They were kind and loving and welcoming and fun.  And nobody cared one bit about baseball. Thank goodness for good friends. Because I swear it healed my heart a little to see him outside playing with his friends.

I wish I was more like Hunter Blesshisheart. I wish I could go to someone who bailed on my team with my eyes wide open, full of love and hopeful that they’ll join me now. Or anytime really. 
I wish I was more like Tommy, leaving the hour of shame on the field and ready to pick up and face the shame people 10 minutes later. 
But at least I remembered The Most Important Thing. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pseudo Weekend

Josh's work schedule means we don't have a lot of weekends together, but it also means we pretend it's the weekend when really it's Tuesday.

Yesterday I came home from work and managed not to fall asleep on the sofa before the kids got to me. Little Big John ran up to me already in his swimsuit and told me "I really really REALLY wanna go swimmin today? kay mom? Now you home, we can go swimmin!"

Josh was standing right behind him nodding and smiling and hoping I'd agree.

So we all got dressed and headed to the pool.

Here's the thing about the pool. I love it. I really really love it. I love swimming, I love the smell of chlorine (gross! I know!) I love the cold of the water, I love floating, I love lazy rivers, and I love watching my babies defy gravity in a safe place. I love the quiet when you stick your head under and hear nothing but splashing. I love it all.

So I batted my eyes and looked at Josh with my very best bribe-face and asked if I could swim some laps while he played with the boys in the kid place and then I'd come and join them. He lovingly agreed and I had the most peaceful 30 minutes of my day.

I love yoga because you focus on your breath.
I love swimming because there's nothing to do but breath. The slow steady strokes when you aren't racing are comfortable and soothing.

After getting my fill of laps, I joined the boys for sliding and lazy rivering and jumping and splashing and kid swimming. Which by the way is significantly less soothing than adult swimming.

As we left the pool and headed for home I realized that making dinner sounded hard, and we stopped to grab Cafe Rio on our way home. We rarely eat there (because holy $ for a salad!) but when we do it creates a special occasion. The boys were sufficiently exhausted from all the swimming and partying and happiness and joy, so after their bedtime, Josh and I played a rousing round of Phase 10. I lost pitifully.

And we were all in bed at a reasonable hour.

So, sometimes, Tuesday is the winning day of the week. Watch out Saturday, there's a new kid in town.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Conversations About the Baby

M: Dad and I wanted to tell you that we're going to have a new baby in our family! What do you think about that?
T: Where is it?
M: Growing in my tummy. Want to see a picture of what it might look like. [note to self: don't ever do that again, it was the wrong choice.]
T: That baby is freakin' my brains out! I don't even like alien babies!
J: So I a big kid now? Not ours baby anymore!!!
T: (hiding in a pillow fort) I'm staying in here. There's not room for anyone else in here. OK mom?

Me: So gentlemen, what do you think would be a great name for this new baby?
T: Well, it' going to be a baby, so maybe we can just call it that.
J: Yeah, And Egbert. Because (points to me) Egbert! (points to Tommy) Egbert! (points to himself) Egbert!
T: So. Baby Egbert.
M: What if it's a girl?
T: (standing by the piano....) Umm....what about High Note (plays the highest note on the piano) that sounds like a girlish.
J: Baby High Note Egbert

T: (knocking on the bathroom door) So mom? Are you goin' potty or barfin'?
M: Barfing.
T: That's gonna take for HOURS! Who will get our breakfast?


So....in all things are going well around here. Baby is due in the middle of December. Puke-fest is now part of the daily routine. The boys are less and less afraid of the alien baby in my tummy every day and I'm anxiously waiting for the internet to show me a picture of the baby that won't terrify small children. John is thrilled not to be the smallest one in the family anymore and Josh and I are appropriately excited and terrified. (Do you remember babies?!)

Baseball Update

Tommy's first baseball practice was surprisingly tons of fun. I mean really really fun. He was happy and worked hard, and I sat in the shade watching him ready with cold water when he needed a break. He was totally adorable and loved being there. He came home all kinds of excited about the shirt and the hat and he adjusted the hat 29 times until it was just perfect for "my noggin's age" (age = size around here).

His coach is really kind. And said more than once something about how having fun is important. Which was good for this mom to hear since I kindof hate focusing on winning - or even being good at stuff. It breaks my mom heart because I know my kids won't always win or even be good at stuff. So I only like focusing on the things they can control. "Have fun. Try hard. Learn things." That's my goal.

His 2nd practice was OK, not great, but OK. Mrs. Coach is a preschool teacher and has a gift for being enthusiastic and fun and goofy. Tommy certainly has a goofy side, but enthusiasm and goofiness in his face from a stranger shuts him down faster than anything else. He didn't love it.

But this week he had a game.

It happened to be one of (only a few) 7pm games. That means that Josh gets to go see, he'll likely be a little late for those games, but he can go. Except on this day, I was sick. Sicker than I've been yet. I barfed over and over and couldn't stand up without my stomach objecting. I sent Josh a desperate text hoping he'd be home in time to take the boys to the game so I could stray at home weeping on the sofa. I got the boys ready to go and Josh made it home in time to take them. I said a quick prayer of gratitude as I swallowed my sleep aid and went to bed.

So....baseball for the win!

Thank goodness it wasn't as awful as my pregnant self thought.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


About 6 weeks ago Josh and I were feeling ambitious and we wanted to sign Tommy up for SOMEthing (note to future self: Don’t sign up for things. You’re not ambitious. If you start to feel like you're ambitious, take a deep breath, and a long nap. Before long that feeling will pass.)

We talked about some ideas, and looked at our options (i.e. what had we not already missed the signups for) and decided that it would be adorable and fun and good for Tommy to try Coach Pitch - which some of the neighbors were also planning to play. So yay!

So Josh took the boys to the rec center to sign them up, and he took them to the sports store and blew a bunch of money on baseball junk. Then I came home and we played baseball out in the front yard one time. And then we took naps. (Because I’m currently preoccupied with naps.) Josh was all kinds of excited about playing baseball with his boys, and doing a dad thing. 

Then we got Tommy’s game schedule. Games are on Thursday, while Josh is at work.

Then we got Tommy’s practice schedule. Practice is on Wednesday, while Josh is at work.

So that’s why I’ll be relocating my naptime to the local park for the next 8 weeks. And why you’ll be able to hear Tommy shouting “NO!!!! I don’t WANT to!!!” every Wednesday afternoon and Thursday evening. Because Tommy is smarter than me and he almost never forgets that he doesn't like to do things. Wish me luck! And wish him luck! And pray for our baseball hating souls.

Parenting Tip: Don’t do things. Don’t sign up to do things. Even if you think it’s a good idea and it sounds fun. It won’t be. Things aren’t fun. Napping is fun. Only napping is fun. And Arby’s. Arby's is also fun.

Which is, of course, an announcement that I’m pregnant.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bad Interviews

I've spent a lot of time (and money and therapy) learning to communicate differently than I used to.

I did that art journaling course with Brene Brown where I learned to let people be and started letting go of judgment.

I've learned that my worth is different from what I produce. (Though I'm still not sure about that concept, and I question it almost daily.)

I'm trying to allow people to feel their feelings without fixing them or offering my (genius!) solutions.

I'm getting better at empathy and the power of vulnerability.

I am learning to be less productive and more peaceful.

And none of that serves me well in a job interview.

My first interview was with an alternative health company that needed front desk help. They knew within the first 30 seconds that they didn't want me (and to be honest, I think it's because I have young kids at home) but did the rest of the interview as a courtesy. I knew the interview didn't go well, but I didn't feel particularly responsible for that. Though I definitely didn't wow them with my skills. Bad interview.

Then I interviewed with the Provo temple for a clerk job there. I would have been really fabulous at that job. Exactly what they needed. I would have excelled in every way. But they had no reason to know that. Because when they asked "Tell me about your time working for the church" I said stupid things like "I felt so blessed to associate with the people I did there..." (which is 100% true and 100% useless for a prospective employer to know.) And I gave zero examples of my skills and abilities. I spoke maybe 2 words about what I'm capable of and how I make a good employee and instead listened to him explain their needs and sat with him in that moment. (So empathetic of me! Brene would give me a gold star.) But never did I say "I can do that for you." or "That aligns with my experience!" or "I really enjoyed performing those tasks in my previous job." Instead I just nodded and validated him. :)

After that interview I realized that empathy and understanding are great listening/conversational qualities in a lot of areas, but no in job interviews. So I e-mailed Aundrea and told her I was afraid I was a fool and I needed a reminder on how to interview.

She reminded me that you're supposed to talk about your skills, experience and expertise. You're supposed to give examples of how/when you do those things. And you're supposed to explain why you're so great. (duh.)

So my next interviews went beautifully.

So you see, not all conversational skills are valuable in all life conversation. And I think it would be wise for Brene and all the therapists to add that disclaimer somewhere. "Sometimes you do have to solve the problem. And job interviews are not the place for empathy." (duh)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Up In The Air

My dad used to sing us this song while making an eye mask with his fingers on his face, like this.
Image result for up in the air junior birdman

When I decided I wanted to go back to school I felt like a bunch of stuff went STRAIGHT up in the air. And I've been singing this song in the back of my head for the last month or so. 

It was close to the same time that my boss told me he was having talks with a bigger commercial real estate firm and thinking of joining them and closing down the office. Stripping all 4 (or 5?) of the business we run and leaving them behind. 

He has roughly 10 million great ideas a day, so I didn't count on this really happening taking a sortof "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude.

But then I started seeing it. He met with a big commercial firm who wanted to give him his DREAM job. I mean THE dream job. Heading up new business development. So obviously he jumped at the chance. Then worried that maybe it wasn't really THE dream. (But it was.)

So I started looking for replacement jobs. And I interviewed a few places. I had some good interviews and some BAAAAD ones. And then after one that was fine, but not great I realized that I was really bad at interviewing right now. So I talked to some people about my interviewing skills to help me remember what I'm supposed to say in an interview and then I had some great interviews. (Practice! Who knew!) (bad interviews will be their own blog post...stay tuned.)

And now, I'm expecting a job offer (from my interview with UVU this morning) and maybe a 2nd interview (from my interview with my Home Teacher this morning) and I know that I'll be done working for Gary about this time next week.

So, while I'm up here in the air, watching all the pieces of life mix and stir and float back into place, I'm curious. What will it be? Where will they land? And what's the bigger picture they'll create? 

Friday, February 27, 2015


Today I registered Tommy for kindergarten.

Remember not so long ago when you all rejoiced with me because I was finally pregnant? Remember how then you cried with me because his heart wasn't beating in there and Dr. Man thought maybe there was no baby at all (but I made a deal with T-man and Dr. Man was wrong)? Remember when my ankles were bigger than your waist? When I barfed in all the public restrooms in the state of Utah? When my belly got all abusive at church and started smackin' people? When I thought I peed my pants, but really my water broke? And when he was born and we all fell in love with his beautiful beautiful self?

Well that baby is so big now that the people want to teach him things, so in the fall he'll start kindergarten.

He's so big that when we walked into the Dr.'s office to pick up his immunization records he didn't even cry.

He's so big that he likes to read some words to me when we have snuggles and stories. But mostly he doesn't like taking tests - which is clearly what reading words is all about...

He's so big that his feelings are hurt by his friends, his body no longer heals at the freakish wolverine rate of a newborn and he can tell when he has hurt someone else.

He's so big that prefers showers over baths and draws smiley faces on the fogged up glass when I ask him if he's ok in there.

And oddly he's still so small. So small that he still loves that "lovey bear" someone gave us when he was born.

He's so small that he still snuggles when we read stories.

He's so small that his backpack is bigger than he is.

He's so small that I really can't imagine sending him off into that big bad school all by himself.

He's so small that when I pick him up, he still snuggles into my lap and giggles when I tell him that he used to be so small that he didn't even have to bend his knees to snuggle on my lap.
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