three things: me in high school

OK, so I’m totally on a writing frenzy, so I’m going with it.

A few days ago my girlfriend from high school sent me a note that I wrote with her when we were seniors.  It was a list of things that I hoped I’d do with my life and the characteristics of the man I’d hoped I’d marry.

The thing is, and totally unrelated to the content of my letter, receiving that note was TOTALLY awkward.  Like looking at a vivid reflection of myself from High School.  It was…

Such. An. Awkward. Time!

I know there are lots of people out there who are “amen”ing me.  “Yes, Em, totes.  High school was SO awkward.”

And I appreciate that.  I really do.  But here are three reasons why my high school experience was more awkward than yours.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Right here. Bam.

Thing 1: Naturalizers

I wear a size 12 shoe.  When  I was in high school, it was horrific trying to find a cute pair of size 12 shoes that looked like something that a high school student would wear.  Remember, I was in high school in the era of the movie Clueless. Flannel grunge was on the way out and cute little Mary Jane shoes and strappy sandals were in.

Cue me: a giant girl wearing beige suede naturalizer lace up shoes. For real. This happened.

And I was GRATEFUL for those shoes. Compared to what was available to me, these shoes were downright smokin’ hot. Nevermind that a 90 year old grandma sashayed out of the store with the same.exact.pair.

Mad props to my mom because that woman HATES shopping – passionately – and she felt so bad about my shoe situation that she tracked down a small boutique shoe store that specialized in weird shoe sizes and bought me whatever she could find.  When the internets came around, but before shopping online was hip, she would track down bizarre shoe catalogs in hopes of finding a new resource for shoes. That is how sad and tragic my shoe situation was. And awkward.

Very, very awkward.

Thing 2: They Called Me Grace…

… to be ironic.

You guys, and I cannot make this up, I chipped my tooth taking my cello out of its case.

Yes, you read that right.  It happened.  I had emergency dental work due to an ORCHESTRA injury.

Who does that?


I broke my foot taking a lead-off from a base during one of the first softball games of the season.

I also got my tongue stuck in my braces.  Who does that? Me. No one else. Just me.

Hot, awkward mess.

Thing 3: From the Ankles Up

My shoe situation definitely deserved its own horrific category. But, man a live, if you saw what was coming at you down the band hall from the ankles up, you would’ve been very concerned.

First, you would’ve likely noticed the color of my socks.

“Why is that?” you may ask. “Did you have especially cool socks?”

No.  There was just a three inch gap between my sweet naturalizer kicks and the hem of my jeans.

And oh, my jeans. MY JEANS!  My sister and I spent more than one occasion hugging and crying in Kohls due to a lack of long jeans.

When your choice is between four inches of ankle showing and three inches of ankle showing, you sort of don’t notice the elastic waistband at the top, holding the whole hot mess together.

Ya know what I mean?

Yes, I am trying to tell you that I wore elastic waistband jeans for like, three or four years. It wasn’t pretty.


So when I say that I had a vivid picture of the me in high school, writing the me today a letter about my hopes and dreams, I cannot help but cringe at the whole… ensemble.

It’s no wonder I feel a kinship with the ermahgerd meme.  It hits just a little to close to home.

Ermagherd! Yer gers! Nertereezers! (translation: OMG! You guys! Naturalizers!)


My high school picture. Almost.

three things: watching movies with the emmy kay

We don’t go to the movies as often as we would like.  Even before kids, we just didn’t make the time to see a flick in the theater.

We have friends, no joke, that would do three movies on a Saturday, in a theater, no problem.

Us? Not so much.

After writing the following list, though, I might have a few ideas why we tend to watch short form films (ie TV shows) vs. full-blown movies:

Thing 1: For the love of all that is good on this planet, STOP TALKING!!!

I can’t help it.  I see something funny, I see something interesting and I want to TALK about it.  OMG.  Because I understand that it is socially unacceptable to talk in theaters, I reserve this most annoying trait for home viewing.



… correctly… I don’t think my guesses regarding the endings of movies would be so terrible if they weren’t usually so spot on.  I admit that I did not guess the ending to Sixth Sense, but I was like 16 or 18 when that was released.  A  lot of kids that age can’t guess the ending to a night of drinking, so I’m going to give myself the nod on that one.  Tonight I guessed the ending to a movie and Frank spent the next five minutes pseudo annoyed because, darn it, he was enjoying the EXPERIENCE of the movie and did not want it ruined. And also? I was right. BAM. Again. (as usual, etc, etc)


Thing 3: SIT STILL!!

When at a theater, I tend to order the biggest, baddest diet coke I can find.  And I drink it ALL before the opening credits.  When at home, I like to shift my positions as frequently as possible, so as to encourage good blood flow.  The end result, for Frank, is that I either wait until a major plot moment to need to get up and move OR I wait for a major plot moment to need to get up and move.

He LOVES when I do that.

three things: bodily functions

A few months after having the twins, Frank and I were out on a mini-date, and during a lull in the conversation, Frank said, “You know, having twins wasn’t quite the poop storm I thought it would be.” (He didn’t say poop… but you know, what I mean)

And, really, it wasn’t a total poop storm.  Except on the few occasions that it was literally that: a storm of poopies. Or barfies. Or whatever.

Just today, I was thinking that I didn’t want to write something my kids would be embarassed about later.  But just like Carrigan cannot resist the siren song of the TV remote control, I cannot resist telling a few scintillating baby stories that I am sure will make their weddings all the more memorable.

Story #1: Everybody Poops

At some point, we realized we couldn’t both get up for every feeding, so we started taking shifts in the middle of the night.  One night Frank came back to bed and I rolled over, half sleeping, and asked him how the first middle of the night feeding went.

“I got poop on my face.”

In my sleep-induced fog, I couldn’t quite figure out the mechanics of that statement. I was vaguely aware that poop just typically doesn’t go on your face.  Or my face.  Or anyone’s face.

In the morning, certain that I was having weirdly realistic dreams, I dismissed the memory as fiction.

But over breakfast, appropriately, Frank gave me the low-down.  While changing Ellie’s poopie diaper, he dropped it dirty-side-down on the carpet. Annoyed and without thinking, he bent over to pick it up, putting his face dangerously close to Ellie’s behind. Being a gassy little love, Miss Ellie chose that moment to let a wet one loose, resulting in poop on Frank’s face.

The way that Frank tells it, there was a long pause where he reflected on the situation, absorbing the reality that it was 2 a.m. and there was poop on his face.

Story #2: Diapering 101

One night, after many nights of not getting a lot of sleep, we were bathing the girls and getting them ready for bed.  Or maybe we were just changing diapers and it was dark.  Or maybe we were changing diapers and it was the middle of the day.  Who knows?

The important thing is that one of us (Frank) took a few liberties with the diaper changing process.  Namely, he didn’t really secure the diaper to Carrigan’s itty-bitty behind.

I was sitting on the rocker, holding Carrie on my leg when it happened.  It began as a subtle warming on my leg, spreading  quickly. When I finally realized what was happening, Carrie had peed through her clothes, my pants and onto the floor. 

Her diaper, however, was hanging around her knees and was totally dry.

Story #3: The Barfies

Our twins had reflux from the time they came home from the hospital until they were 9 months old. Seriously.  You can’t make that crap up.

They barfed all the time.  Sometimes, just when you would think to yourself, “Oh, it’s been an hour since their last feeding, certainly they can’t possibly get sick” is usually also the time where they would unload the motherload of vomit. So. Awesome.

 I smelled barf everywhere I went for a very long time.  Even now, I sometimes sniff my clothes just to make sure I don’t have barf on them somewhere.

While many people experienced the twins’ epic barfies – my family members started bringing extra clothes with them when they came for a visit- the best barfing extravaganza happened to my dear friend Eve.

Eve came over to visit while she was still 6 months pregnant with her little Josiah.  Probably expecting a zen evening of snuggling babies, I don’t think that Eve really understood what was in store.

“Want to give Carrigan a bottle?” I asked her. Said another way, “Want to pull the pin from this grenade?”


Eve fed Carrigan a bottle. And Carrigan, equal to the task, gulped the whole bottle down in record time.  She gave a few demure burps, batted her eyelashes, opened her mouth as if to yawn and …


It went down the back of Eve’s shoulder and the front of her shoulder.  It cascaded like a rancid waterfall onto the couch.  It went down the front of her shirt.

And Eve, being six months pregnant, began gasping, coughing, dry heaving and generally reacting to being coated in a thick layer of regurgitated formula. 

If the quantiy of barf expended by my children was directly proportional to the amount of love they feel for a person, my dear twins must love a lot of people VERY MUCH.

three things: being tall

If you know me in real life, you know that I am 6’1″ tall.  And it’s also likely that you know that my dear husband, Frank, is 6’9″ tall. For those of you on the other side of the world using the fabulous metric system, that is a LOT of centimeters/meters.  Believe me. I’m too lazy to go over to Google and figure out the exact numbers, but it’s huge.

And so, without further ado, here are three things about being tall:

thing #1: Yes, I am Tall.  

Every day, everywhere I go, someone asks me about my height.  How tall are you? Where do you find your pants?  Did you play basketball? How’s the weather up there? Are your parents tall? (feels like a thinly veiled attempt to suggest that I might be a freak show… just sayin’….)

If Frank and I go out together, it’s mass hsyteria.  We’ve watched small children walk into walls staring at us.  Entire tables of people will turn their heads – especially if we are out with another normal-sized couple because they just enhance our tallness.

We were at a bar once and a guy actually REACHED DOWN AND LIFTED UP MY PANT LEG to see if I was wearing heals.  WHO DOES THAT? Apparently that dude does it.

My lovely friend Eve said, “Well, it’s just people trying to connect – albeit ineptly…” and I can see where she’s coming from.  But, whatever happened to inane comments on the weather or the local sports team?? I can totally dish on the Blackhawks with the best of ’em…

thing #2: Tall People Need Clothes, Too.

If I walk into one more store with a petites section, I am going to lose my brain.

Seriously. You can cut things shorter, but you can’t cut them longer. Tall people need clothes, too.  And cute clothes.  Not the stuff they sell at Tall Girl or Big & Tall Men’s stores. Legit nice clothes.  Frank went over to a Big & Tall store, hoping to find a pair of dockers that he could TRY ON and BUY, but everything in his length (37″ inseam) was in a 76″ waist. And I know – there’s a ton of stuff available online, but do you know how annoying it is to buy something, pay for shipping, wait for it to arrive, find out it’s not your size and then ship it back, waiting for the next item to come in – ugh – it could be almost a month before you get your clothes!  I would love to know what it’s like to walk into a store, find pants that are long enough and walk out with said pants.

I will say that I’ve become a better shopper and have found a few stores that have a few sizes/items that work, but it’s few and far between.

thing #3: Tall People are People, Too!

I know that I am tall and that in arranging groups of people for pictures that it is easier to put me in the back row.  And I try not to stand in front of short people in church because, man, it must be annoying to not be able to see.  But, just because I’m tall, doesn’t mean that I don’t have feelings too! Standing next to me and saying, “Wow, I feel short!” or trying to subtly walk next to me so that your friends can determine how much taller I am than you or asking me to get something from the top shelf at the supermarket when I am CLEARLY not an employee of said supermarket, is rude.

So, as in most life situations, the golden rule is always best: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

And hey, I say all of this as a person who has put her foot in her own mouth frequently.  I try to always respond nicely and kindly to others commenting on my height because that is the grace I would like shown to me. But, in the meantime, this is what it is like to be tall and if you find yourself walking up to a tall girl to ask her if her parents are tall (with the unsaid “or are you just a freakshow who had too many growth hormones in her milk?”), maybe you’ll think twice and complement her on her hair instead.

Thanks for reading!

three things: dancing emily-style

It has become apparent to me today that Frank and I desperately need dance lessons.

This is not just for us – it’s for everyone who has to watch us dance.

And it’s not because of Frank.  Standing at 6’9″, Mr. Frank can cut a rug seven ways until Sunday.


If you know me, and you know Frank, then you know that the source of our dance move mojo… issues… is me.  And here is my amateur diagnosis of what goes wrong on the dance floor…

thing 1: rhythm

A major element of dancing is rhythm.  You know, keeping a beat.  It’s a fundamental element of dance. As in, required. Oddly enough, my inability to keep a beat (and carry a tune and sing & clap simultaneously) was a leading factor in my decision to end my orchestral career after 8 long years of torturing a variety of dedicated musical professionals. Tonight, for example, there was a song playing and everyone was clapping along with it.  Some people were even stomping and clapping.  Me?  I was clapping.  Was I clapping at the same time as everyone else? No. And I certainly wasn’t stomping at the same time as everyone else.  As a matter of fact, I probably wasn’t even dancing to the same song as everyone else on the dance floor.  It probably looked like I was having a stroke.

thing 2: mah moves

I think that dance class would be beneficial in helping me develop more than four moves. “What are your moves, exactly?” you might ask.  Well, generally my “moves” involve looking at the people dancing near me and trying to do what they are doing. If I can’t do what they are doing, I do some sort of variation on aggressively stepping to the left and right, twitching, anxious hair adjustments and grinding on my husband’s leg.  The last dance move has been banned in some of the more conservative states in the Union, but my lawyer is appealing on grounds that I can’t help myself.

thing 3: leadership skillz

If you thought that my lack of rhythm or any dance skillz at all would’ve stopped me from trying to lead on the dance floor, then you’d be wrong. I have serious control issues that manifest themselves in trying to take over during slow songs.  Frank, being the alpha male-type that he is, often fights me for control.  Lucky for him, I also don’t have a good sense of balance, so usually he can regain the lead while I am trying not to fall on top of the cute 80 year old couple doing the foxtrot next to us. Our struggle for the lead has resulted in a lot of clenched smiles as we hiss at each other “one-TWO-three-FOUR” and “NO! ONE-two-THREE-FOUR!!!”

So… any suggestions on where to take dance lessons?  We still have three more weddings this year (although one is tomorrow, so we are probably too late on that one).

three things: birthing humans

In the middle of the night, when I am trying to feed two babies bottles and pump and watch Food Network before it goes to horrible paid programming at 3 a.m., I often think back on my time in pre-term labor (PTL) and delivering my little girls.  I thought it would be good to expose the truth about child birth (without grossing everyone out).  Here goes:

#1: lying liars!  the epidural DOES hurt!

I was most concerned about getting an epidural.  I know several people with botched epidurals and the dreaded spinal headache.  I hate headaches.  Of all the stuff that happened to me in the hospital over the course of the 12 days I was there, the headache and neck pain I had from lying in the horrible hospital bed was what made me cry.  Yeah, that’s right, pushing babies out was less upsetting to me than the headache from the hospital bed.  That says a lot about the hospital beds, right?

Anyway, I digress.  The anesthesiologist was annoyed that I was concerned about his skillz putting huge needles/catheters into people’s backs.  I think he would’ve given himself an epidural to show me that it was “no big deal, yo” – except that since it is hard enough to scratch your own back, much less stick arm-length long needles in your back.  (Note: I do not know the exact length of the needle… but I’m pretty sure it was arm-length).  Let me tell y’all, I felt everything.  I felt the numbing shot.  I felt the catheter going in.  I even told the nurse, “OH my gosh!! PAIN! Shooting down my legs/back!”

But once it was in, I had about an hour or two where I was pretty comfortable and didn’t feel anything. Until I felt EVERYTHING.  After about 2 hours on the epidural, I started saying, “I think that’s a contraction.” and Frank would look at the screen and say, “Oh, yeah, that was a contraction.”  And then I started breathing to get through the contractions.  I told the nurse that I was feeling the contractions.  That I knew where my cervix was.  OH-Heavens to Betsy-I knew exactly where my cervix was and what it was doing and it WAS NOT PRETTY! I emphatically told the nurse: THE EPIDURAL WAS A LIE!!!

Which is when the anesthesiologist returned, annoyed, to up the meds.  He left and I looked at the nurse and told her that THE EPIDURAL IS NOT WORKING!!!  She looked confused and concerned – how could this magic medication not work?? Now, as someone who would have foregone the epidural with a single baby delivery, I wasn’t as upset about the pain as I was concerned that if something went wrong in the delivery, they were planning to use the same catheter line to deliver the pain medication for the c-section. And if I felt a contraction, I was pretty sure I would feel the knife cutting for the c-section!!

Turns out, the epidural stopped working because Ellie’s head was in my cervix, blocking the medication from getting to me.  Her head was in my cervix because it was time to push!  And no, I did not need a c-section.  Phew!

#2: lying liars!  that is not pressure – that is PAIN!!

Thing one really bleeds into thing two: the problem of pain in a hospital full of pain medication.  I found that in the hospital they try to treat all of your pain – no matter what it is – to make you as comfortable as possible.  This is done mostly so that while in the throes of transition (the really painful part of labor), that you do not scream like a demon and scare the poor girl in PTL down the hall.  When pain cannot be addressed with narcotic pain medication, an epidural or some other such pain relief medication, you are actually experiencing pressure.  For example, when I was feeling pain in my cervix, I was actually experiencing intense pressure.  When I felt the epidural catheter being inserted into my spine?  You guessed it – that was just pressure.

#3: wait, how many gauze pads did we use?

Once our sweet baby girls were born, swaddled and whisked off to the NICU for evaluation and admittance, I was left on the operating table to get put back together.  I will not bore (or scare) you with the details, except to say that I remember listening to the doctor counting off ten clean, sterile gauze pads.  He used them to… um, do stuff… and then he counted eight used gauze pads.

He counted the gauze pads again…. and again… And then a nurse frantically started ripping through all of the linens in the soiled linens container.  And another nurse started shuffling through the items on the tray.  And the doctor started looking through a pile of sheets at the end of the operating table.

“Everything OK?” I asked.

“MMmhmmm,” said the doctor absently, counting  the gauze pads again.

“Missing a few pads?” I asked.

“MMmhmmm,” replied the doctor.


Not to worry, they found the missing two gauze pads.

I’m just glad they counted.

three things: hospital bed rest part one

Hello from a fancy hospital bed that goes up and down and has wheels!

In the land of lost dignity (bed pan much?) and swallowed pride (sure, I don’t mind if four people watch this cervical exam), I’ve been enjoying the view of the world from between my two elevated feet.  Since it appears that I will be here at the hospital for at most another 12 days, this might not be my only “three things: hospital bed rest” editions.  Bearing that in mind, I thought I’d share three highlights from my stay in the south tower.

thing one: the food

If you know me at all in real life, you had to see this coming.  Initially, I didn’t have an appetite.  Shocking, I know, but that just tells you how intense the mag drip was.  An Emily without an appetite is really not an Emily that anyone wants to know.  Since I didn’t have an appetite when they handed me the menu, I was really impressed with the seemingly extensive food offerings available and looking forward to the day when I would be hungry enough to order them.  Of course, my appetite has returned with a vengeance and now the menu looks all sad and boring.  Really, I can work through a lot of things, but bad food might cause me to go back into active labor!

Fortunately, just as the reality of my menu/food situation was settling in, a nutritionist stopped by to talk to me about my eating and to encourage me to… wait for it.. EAT MORE!  She told me to order snacks and even gave me access to the general population cafeteria which has things like PRIME RIB and COCONUT SHRIMP and SPLIT PEA SOUP!!  And, the extended menu changes daily!!

I’ll check back in on this issue in the future, I am sure.  But so far, the food has been OK.


thing two: the outfits

Let me tell you, I’ve started several amazing fashion trends while here in the hospital.  From support hose to gowns that open in the back, fashionistas in Milan have nothing on this girl.

Let’s talk gowns first.  Loose, flowing gowns are all the rage.  Everyone who is anyone is wearing one.  Especially when they are a pale mint green with pastel purple and blue hash marks.   You’ve heard of gowns that accentuate your cleavage?  Well, these gowns reveal your entire rear end – far more risqué than just a bosom-bearing frock.  Have a heart condition?  No worries! There is a handy pocket in the front with a secret hole that will allow your doctors to monitor your heart while you are working the party circuit.  Who says being health-conscious means ignoring your cardiac issues?  And if you’re not a cardiac patient on the run, it’s a great place to store your cell phone.

Because no mint green bootilicous fashion statement would be complete without the perfect footwear, my friends at the hospital have hooked this girl up with some rockin’ kicks.  Wearing plain gray socks would not only be boring, but possibly very dangerous due to the chance of slippage.  These fashion-forward, highly functional socks feature TREAD!  And because it’s hard sometimes to remember to put the tread on the bottom of the socks, these socks have tread on both the top and the bottom.  Sweet!

For those of you who like shapely legs, might I suggest a pair of compression stockings?  You might work up a sweat getting these socks over your big toe, but once on, the socks do an excellent job of relocating any cellulite from your calves to your knees.  And everyone knows that if your knees look really big, your feet will look small and dainty.  Who doesn’t love small and dainty feet?


thing three: free cable!

While I am totally aware that I am still paying for cable at my house that I am not watching, there is something about watching free cable in a hospital room that makes it seem all the more delicious.  Maybe it’s because when I watch TV at home, I am acutely aware of the fact that by watching extensive amounts of TV, I am NOT doing something I think I SHOULD be doing.  Like… pretty much anything else.  But as a patient in the hospital who is not even allowed to leave the room without being put in a wheelchair, I have no other options most of the time that I am sitting here. It’s like watching cable is part of what it is going to take to keep these babies healthy and happy.  And what kind of mother would I be if I didn’t consume as much TV as possible in order help my children?

That being said, for those of you who may be sleeping at around  3 a.m., you should just know that Food Network switches over to paid programming.  Just in case you were wondering.

That is all.

three things: my fabulous hubz (winter edition)

I’m sure some of you out there are saying, “Barf.  It’s going to be one of those blogs where you’re all like ‘I love Frank’ wah wah wah. I want dish on how freakishly huge your belly is and when those kids are going to burst forth out of your belly all Alien-like.”  The babies update will come in due time.

And a few of you are probably asking, “What’s a hubz?  Where do I get one?  Nordstrom’s?”

While many a fine item can be purchased at a Nordstrom’s (ie. super big girl sized shoes that are also somehow still a little stylish), a hubz cannot be purchased at a Nordstrom’s.  A hubz (aka, a husband) can usually be found sitting in front of a TV playing a video game or watching a football game.

But not this hubz.

1. thing one: the hubz that cooks

For realz.  My sweet hubz is downstairs making chicken in a red wine reduction, steamed spinach and cooked carrots. And he is a manly cook.  He uses lots of spice, lots of fire, and real ingredients (none of my mamby-pamby splenda  and low-fat sour cream cr@p).  Gentlemen, if you are still looking for a good woman, ask Frank to teach you a few of his cooking tricks and you’ll be hitched in no time.

2. thing two: the hubz that shovels

I’m sure a lot of you have hubzes that shovel.  But until you’ve had to shovel 6″+ of snow in Wisconsin by yourself after working a full day – with the tears that are streaming down your face freezing on the end of your nose – you simply cannot appreciate the amazingness that is having your hubz home from work when the slushiest, iciest, heaviest wintry mix coats your driveway, front walk and steps.  And then when your hubz goes outside for 40 minutes and valiantly tackles this wintry mix (both with shovel and snow plow) without saying a peep about it – that is hotness right there!

3. thing three: tumz

After casually mentioning to the hubz that pretty much every night I want to vomit when I lay down thanks to this thing called acid reflux (thanks baby a and baby b for parking your cute selves on my stomach!), it was a joy to come home to a container of TUMS! While Frank is thoughtful, this particular maneuver might also stem from self-preservation: after hearing all of the middle-of-the-night projectile vomiting stories from my parents (and there are many), I’m sure it’s occurred to Frank that he could be my next victim.  The Hubz is wise and knows his wife well.