Magnolia has been sounding different. I spent a few days trying to figure out what it was, and then I got it when she was playing blocks on Saturday. She said she was building a tower. Tower was different. Her R's sound like R's instead  of W's or uh's. She has the R sound! YAY! Having the R sound makes her sound older. It's weird. And she says Cora differently. Instead of Coe-uh, she is now Cora. My little baby is getting bigger and I'm all kinds of happy and sad about it.

Did I tell you she now wears her age size, too? I bought her 24-month sun dresses at the beginning of summer. This fall, I bought her 2T leggings, nope, she just skipped right over 2T to 3T. Her legs grew. She's funny and sweet and a little hoarse right now. She's been having fun with her voice.

Jake was the répétiteur for Street Scene. He worked on it for seven weeks. Seven weeks of not getting home until 10:30. I felt my anxiety start to spiral a bit. I had an anxiety attack a little over a week ago. Oh how I hate those. My first one in a really long time. We saw Street Scene with his parents on Sunday afternoon. It was wonderful. The music is by Kurt Weill and the lyrics by Langston Hughes. Yes, that Langston Hughes

I'm admittedly not a huge opera fan, and I think this is especially true when it comes to operas written in English. I think it all sounds so much more romantic, or tragic, or whatever it may be when it's in a language I don't understand. It was not the case with Street Scene. I think it might be because it's really a blend of opera and musical theatre. There was even a tap number. It was still tragic. And lovely. And parts were so very tender. Anna Maurrant sings a song called Somehow I Never Could Believe. Part of the lyrics read:

I don't know - somehow something awful happens
in the kitchens where women wash their dishes
Days turn to months, months turn to years,
The greasy soap-suds drown our wishes. 

Langston Hughes captures bittersweet moments in the most vivid ways. Him and dreams...

Jake is already onto the next show. I can't wait for it! TheatreOCU is putting on the radio show play of It's a Wonderful Life. First, it is my favorite movie ever. Second, I love radio shows. A Prairie Home Companion? YES! The fact that my favorite movie will be presented in one of my favorite forms of entertainment is huge. But that's not all! Jake is a character in the play. He's been fitted for a costume and everything. I'm certain that it will be amazing, and if you're reading this, you should come. Here's a link to showtimes and tickets. Tickets are $12, and I'm sure you can just call or visit OCU's box office to avoid the $1.65 fee for ordering on-line.

Did you think that was it? Nope! Because when It's a Wonderful Life is over, Jake won't be working insane hours anymore. We've been having this discussion: there are insane hours (not just 5 days a week, mind you. 7. He works 7 days a week), and then there's just downright ridiculous. He's in the downright ridiculous work schedule category. All told, I believe it will be 11 weeks of this schedule when December 15th rolls around. Phew.

Amid the crazy schedule, our 92-year-old sewer line backed up last week. The smell of a backed-up sewer line is.... Is.... Hmmm.... Atrocious. I was happy when the plumber could come on the same day to clear the line and get things moving again. I'd love to write a whole post comparing a sewer line to bowels. Maybe you should look forward to it.

In other news: We sold our Outback on Saturday. Are you ready for a story? Okay. In May, about a week after we bought our Prius, we got a letter in the mail letting us know that our mortgage would be going up $350/month for a year because when we closed on our house, the taxes weren't calculated correctly, so there was a shortage in our escrow account. It was also news we weren't really thrilled about heading into the great desert of no paycheck known as summer. It wasn't something we were planning on, but we would make it. Since the bills from Cora's ear tubes started coming in, we started feeling an even tighter pinch. We used to put 1,000-1,500 in savings at the end of each month. Since getting paid at the end of September, we definitely do not have that much left over. The only extra expense we really anticipated was the increased tuition we'd be paying for Magnolia to start school, and Cora moving from half-day to full-day. We were planning on that. That was fine. The other extras were beginning to stress me out.

When we were looking for a second car, that's really what we were looking for, a second car. We ended up finding the Prius for a ridiculously good deal thanks to a hail sale, so we got it. But that meant that we had two practically new cars. And Jake has a 1 mile commute. 2 miles if he's going to his church job. Our life doesn't need two really great cars right now. Selling the Outback became a really obvious way to free up some money each month. Selling it was a big relief. (I love being able to pile money in my savings account, and I'm a little moody when I can't do that - especially because we rely on a hearty savings to get us through summer.)

I'd been looking for a real second car since I decided to sell the Outback. I found one that I thought would do just fine, but it was about 60 miles away. I went down and test drove it today. There was one minor hiccup that looks to be about a $30 fix, which the dealer is fixing. If all goes well, the dealer will be delivering it on Thursday. I think I might be a little jealous that Jake will be the main driver. Until then, he's walking. I don't know why I just realized he'll be walking home at 10:30 tonight. That makes me nervous. 

We've been downsizing in other ways too. We sold our television. I'd always worried what it might be like without one. It's a crutch for me. Sometimes I just need to make dinner. But really, it was just excess in our house. I was watching a video about a woman who moved her family into a micro-house. As she was giving the tour, she said most people who come talk about what she doesn't have, but as she opened up a cabinet displaying her full 8-piece china set, she said, "I like to focus on what I do have." I don't even remember if that's the exact quote, and I wish I could remember what minimalist blog I found the video on so I could share it, but that's what stuck with me.

I love how easy it was to get rid of the Outback. I loved that car, but I love the freedom of less worry. (I don't know that life is ever completely worry-free. Moments are. Maybe Days.) With the ease and lightness that comes with purging, there is something else that comes along: the ability to pass things up without feeling like I've giving up something or missing out. Constantly wanting more in terms of things is exhausting. Even useful things like a Garmin watch. I would love to not buy a single thing, besides food [okay, and flowers], for a year. (Minus kid stuff because one-year is far too long for little bodies that seem to be growing every day.)

There are days when I long for paper and pencil living. [Cora would call it paper and graphite living.] And I keep feeling more and more like that's what my life should look [feel] like. I think figuring out that I'm the one who is ultimately responsible for what my life looks [feels] like definitely involves a learning curve. There are times, like during the last week or so, when I really feel like I'm getting the hang of it.

PS: Somewhere near the beginning of this post, Cora came out of her room. [I'd already put them to bed.] She said she couldn't get comfortable because her covers were all messed up. [They were, she'd been reading at the foot of her bed.] She wanted me to cover her back up, but she was a little sad that I'd told her to go back to bed. I picked her up and held her for a minute. She said she was hungry. [I was a little hungry, too.] So we went out and had a little evening snack. [It was really like a second dinner.] We had such a fun conversation. I loved it. Those are my most favorite moments.


  1. It's official, we're in the end of days. http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2013/11/18/wonderful-life-sequel/3630929/

  2. WHAT?!?! All I'm imagining is the Hallmark version of It's a Wonderful Life.



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