Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Emily's Rules

  1. Don't not live somewhere because of the weather.
  2. Do not give reciprocal Christmas gifts or cards. Accept what others give you graciously, with no manner of "Oh shoot now I have to give them something, too."
  3. Don't go to Walmart.
  4. Buy good toilet paper.
  5. Neither encourage nor discourage the believing of Santa Claus. It's like a Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, but if you have to do one or the other: discourage.
  6. Keep your children's expectations for Christmas presents low. Do this by never asking them to make lists of what they want.
  7. Have a policy of inclusion when it comes to social gatherings.
  8. Try new restaurants or new menu items at old restaurants.
  9. Mismatch whenever possible.
  10. Express gratitude when people do nice things for you.
  11. Read the news.
  12. Make sacrifices, especially in the name of financial responsibility.
  13. Sleep is more important than many, many things.
  14. Few things in life are worth waiting in long lines for.
  15. Try new recipes.
  16. Take recommendations for books, movies, and television.
  17. Don't watch television.
  18. Don't keep ice cream on hand perpetually. Buy it a couple of times a year, max.
  19. Teach your children music.
  20. Have a child without drugs, but embrace epidurals for all the other children who may come if you feel like it.
  21. Introduce yourself.

Number 2 is my favorite.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Vintage dresses

Somebody should buy these darling dresses on Etsy.

Is there a pioneer trek in your future? Fabulous bargain!

This could be really great.

Love it.

Why have I not shopped on Etsy before? darling darling stuff.

I would do prom so differently if I had it to do over.

Shopping is so fun. All of a sudden I'm an Etsy fan.


All right. I'll stop now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Well now, it's been a while, hasn't it?

Abby posted this picture which inspired me to steal it and say a little somethin or other about my baby.

  • is 14 months today!
  • is not in the least bit interested in walking
  • is by far the last of my children to walk
  • can take a step with his right foot, but is ever so much afraid to lift up his left foot, so when I force him to try to walk, he pivots around in a circle a little bit, then gives up and crawls like a madman
  • has the greatest toothy grin, which I have yet to capture on camera (bad mom!)
  • sleeps like a champ
  • says, "Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom." a lot
  • also sometimes says, "Daddy" but that's about the whole vocabulary
  • upon finding a barrette or hair tie on the ground, immediately takes it to Norah where he fiercely insists on putting it in her hair. If she tries to take it, he resists until she lets him be her hairstylist
  • grew out of his stranger anxiety mode in the last month or two and will now be non-cry-ey and even tender with other adults. Good job, bud!
  • knows what to do with all the various implements he encounters: a microphone is to sing into, a baby wipe is to clean a surface with, a hairbrush is to apply to the head, a toothbrush (never you mind whose it is) is to put in the mouth
  • gives the sweetest hugs
  • makes big messes
  • self-entertains
  • likes to dance to music by swinging his shoulders back and forth
  • blows kisses to say goodbye
  • is such a sweet kid and a perfect addition to our family. We love him so very much!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yi er san si wu liu qi ba

It's not every day we get to make calls to the furnace guy, the plumber, the garage door repairman, and the yard guy.


In one day, lucky us!

Fixing broken stuff, all of it. Good thing we gave a bunch of money to our former yard guy to redo our backyard and he has been AWOL for 8 months. Actually, not good thing. That was sarcasm.

In other news, I went in to help out in Isaac's Chinese class today for the first time. How awesome is it that all these 6 and 7 year olds can count to 100, recite poems, do the hokey pokey, write characters, do addition problems, and sing songs in a language they knew nothing about a few months ago? Not sarcasm this time, it really is awesome! I am taking advantage of a Chinese instructor who is giving some parents lessons in the language and even though it starts at 9:30 on Monday nights and I never want to go out in the cold at that hour to go, I'm always really glad I did. It's amazing to learn new things. The kids today were duly impressed that I can count along with them in Chinese. Yay me. I like knowledge. I like gaining it and I like being empowered by it. I usually eventually forget it, but then I can gain it again and it's empowering all over again, so it's all good.

In related news, I am also taking a South African Liberation Movements history class and have a big hairy term paper due before Thanksgiving.

For all of the above reasons (repairman phone calls, volunteering for disparate causes, Chinese class, motherhood, history class) and oh, so many others, my house is approaching tornado-dom. Wild and crazy times these are.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Utah is great because

-- my husband is happy
-- I feel safe (perhaps naively so, but I feel safe nonetheless)
-- my neighborhood feels like the center of the universe in some ways
-- I experienced few public discussions about my changing body when I was pregnant
-- no dirty looks at restaurants or grocery stores when all the kids are in tow
-- the mountains are pretty
-- the summertime weather is ideal
-- living so close to BYU offers much in the way of culture, sports, enlightened thought, et cetera
-- everybody comes here to visit
-- my children don't hear a lot of bad language at school
-- I know and love all of my neighbors — really, all of them
-- much parental volunteerism at school results in good opportunities for my kids

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Talking to myself?

Do I ever watch tv?
It's a rare, rare occasion.

Have I watched tv at night since the finale of LOST?
Negatory, I cannot remember a single time.

As a good citizen of this fine community and country, is there anything to do but watch election results trickle in?
There is nothing else to do.

What do I want to see happen if Mike Lee wins?
When Mike Lee wins, I want my friends Marcus and Michelle to be appointed as grand rulers of something important and festive and magical.

Am I dreading writing a big term paper for my South African history class?
No doiphy, Ralph.

Should Marcus and Michelle be appointed as Rulers of Classes That Can't Make Their Students Write Terms Papers?
I can support that.

Do my children have a hard time understanding what "Don't talk!" means?
Their supreme lack of understanding qualifies them for the remedial class. Or something like that.

Is it kind of lame that I bought the AppleCare Protection Plan in May and it's still sitting wrapped on the computer desk?
Yea. A wasted $79 or however many dollars, to be sure.

Whom do I most want to win tonight?
My neighbor and friend Don Jarvis because he's a smart and capable and principled man and because darn it if Utah County hasn't elected a Democrat in over 15 years.

What was the most memorable and exciting conversation I got to have this election season?
Hands down, the 45-minute, fiery one that started: "Emily, you have a democrat's sign in your yard? I was shocked to see that." "Well, first, he's my friend... ." "I don't care if he's YOUR DAD!" 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Maintain this

We went to a movie as a family this afternoon. Calvin lasted  -2 minutes, which is to say I left with the wiggly squiggly child before the opening credits rolled. Had been meaning to get some maintenance done on the van, so pulled up to BigO:

Hi, I think I ought to get the 120,000 mile service done on my van. It has 133,000 miles and I've never done that before. What does that entail? Please infer: I'm willing to spend a lot of money, and I don't really know what the car needs because I'm a girl, so please take advantage of my gullibility.

Not sure, I'd have to look up your specific model. Let me pull it around back and take a look at everything.

Everything looks great. You seemed to have maintained your car really well. You don't need anything done.

Wow. I appreciate your honesty. But are you sure you don't want to sell me some service that's really expensive? The front end shakes...

I can fix that. It's just the tires that need to be rebalanced.

...and I'm probably due for a cooling system flush. Did you look at that? Need to be changed?

It looks okay. We can change it if you want because it's usually a good idea this time of year, but I'd say not necessary.

I've noticed my brakes have been squeaky. Did you look at the brakes?

I already took care of that. We just brushed the dust out.

Hmm, what about my spark plugs? Do I need a tune-up? I've never had one of those.

Your spark plugs look old but not original, and unless the car is acting sluggish, I wouldn't change them. It'll run a few hundred dollars.

Well, it doesn't get great power going uphill. Would new spark plugs help that?

Hey lady! Basically, I'm trying to tell you that we rebalanced your tires for free and your car doesn't need any work, so don't fight it.

Really? All righty then. Thanks so much and have a nice day.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Calvo is one

Note: While I hesitate to post this photo for fear that the possibility of a child getting his head stuck in the rails might give my mother a bad case of the ND, I just can't resist. Sorry, AG.

We call him: Calver, Calvino, Cal, Calvie, Little Dude, Pumpkin Nose

His latest tricks: picking his nose, shaking his head fervently when anyone asks him a question, going up and down the stairs with great finesse, lifting up the toilet seat and splashing around

We love his: irresistible toothy grins, sweet sweet hugs, goodbye waves, open-mouthed kisses

He likes to eat: crackers, rice cereal, fruits, pasta, olives, beans, whatever we are eating
He promptly deposits on the floor: Cheerios

He is getting better at: letting people hold him, not crying for the babysitter

The cake that we made for his family birthday gathering which ultimately had to be canceled due to vomitous children in the house was: maybe the best cake I've ever made, really delicious and we're sorry we couldn't have you here to share it

Thanks for joining our family, sweet baby. We love you!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lazy farmer

Every once in a while I like to revisit this song. It's a favorite.

See 1:50.

Norah is 4

Somebody took pictures of an event in the Craig household (and her name is Abby), so I present to you a photographic account of Miss Norah's rainbow birthday party

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The world is collapsing

When I remember, I like to end each day asking each member of our family his favorite part of the day. It causes us to end the day with a memory of something happy or fun or peaceful, instead of dwelling on all the garbage we dealt with. Today, though I neglected to ask my children, I am choosing to sort through much mucky muck of this day and remember the best part: a spontaneous and fervored duet with Steve of rem's Radio Song as we were getting ready for bed. I also liked when Abby came over and was nice and supportive and helpful. I hope she had fun seeing Phoenix tonight in concert. I like Phoenix, both of them. I love Abby and I'd like to add that all of my sisters should live near me. I adore rem. And I like favorite parts of days that really aren't altogether stupendous.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ni hao

My life is sort of crazy right now, much busier than usual and with ever so much not getting done (*ahem* laundry/backyard/temple/bills/reading for class), so what did I do? I started attending a Chinese class that a neighbor put together for parents whose kids are in the immersion program at school. It starts at 9:30 at night. No problem, right?!

Xie xie.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Stop me if you think you've heard this one before

I like to change up my blog design with great frequency, and sometimes I like to make it purposefully ugly and unpleasant to read. Why would I possibly want to have an ugly blog? Because, my friends, every once in a while I need to channel my younger, sassier, and more defiant self who wants nothing to do with the status quo and has general distaste for conformity.

Not that I don't appreciate beautiful blogs. I do. My sisters are both the at making things look gorgeous. But it's not necessarily a talent that I value enough to dedicate serious time to myself. Plus, while I love having a forum in which to have conversation and I especially love conversation and am interested in what people have to say and so I think blogs are great especially since I'm taking a fb hiatus (breathe), I do not seek after nor desire a large audience to read this blog. I have never once promoted my own blog and I like that's it's very grassroots and raw. That is why I said, back in my depressive post which made all my friends come to my rescue (thank you), that I like that my blog is boring. I really do. It's just me trying to impress not a soul in the world.

Friday, September 03, 2010

I really like

Pandora, all of a sudden.

People who genuinely love my children.

This expression of specific belief.

Saying "I believe" or "I'm coming to a belief" in favor of "I know" in formal bearing of religious testimony.

My mom and dad and brothers and sisters.

Long weekends.

Days with nothing whatsoever on my calendar.

Buying gifts for people.

Receiving gifts.

Eating out.

Exploring big cities by myself.

Beating Ryan at Scrabble.


My Blendtek blender.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Cougars are OUT

I'm so proud of BYU for choosing to go independent in football, and proud of our friends who were intimately involved in making it happen! You know something exciting is happening in sports when Steve and I are is spending a lot of time talking about it.

BYU as a rule doesn't like to rock the boat, but they rocked it, baby!  I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

how many zeroes?

If I were still on Facebook, I'd post a link to the $38 quadrillion lawsuit because that's just rad. And I'd also link to the Utah Prader-Willi charity winning the APX money on the Facebook contest. Congratulations, Purcell family! I'm thrilled for you and your friends. I'd also link to this article about my near-relative Jason Bagley winning an Emmy for his Old Spice commercial. Seriously very cool.

But since I'm not on Facebook, I'm going to stop snooping around on my mom's account that she left signed in on my computer, stop thinking about Austin's Logitech contest and how I want to suggest that I don't think it's guaranteed that the top three in each city will be finalists but I am confident he will be one regardless, stop thinking about Facebook altogether, and get ready to welcome my children home from their first day of school.

Thank you, that is all.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Something about Steve is that he is brilliant. He reads things, he studies things, he ponders things, and -- this is the kicker -- he retains everything. Maybe he wasn't brilliant when he was four (but me? I'm pretty sure I was a brilliant four-year-old), but he's 34 now and has all those years of knowledge and wisdom and insight swirling around in his head (me? I'm pretty sure I still know at least as much as I did when I was four).

Seventh grade science class? He remembers every last property of a nucleus and could regurgitate it with finesse.
An obscure Old Testament story he read on his mission? He could name the reference, give or take 5 chapters.
A quote from the documentary about U2's Joshua Tree album he watched last night? Rest assured he will be quoting from it in some conversation 17 years hence, because he will never forget it. He just really will not.

That is something about Steve. I love that guy. I married him thirteen years ago today, and it was hands down the greatest thing I ever did. I remember being in the temple during our wedding ceremony and being so overcome with the magnitude of what was happening: a new family created, forever. We would have children who would have children who would have children, there was so much potential. Our union was bigger than us, that was for sure.

Our marriage isn't perfect. It's hard, actually, and there are times when we do things that hurt each other. But he is a pure-hearted soul and he wants nothing more than to love me perfectly, and I could not ask for more. I never ever doubt that I won the grand prize when I got him to fall for me.


Something about Steve's brother Austin is that he is very very good at seizing opportunities. He always has interesting things happening in his life because he seeks after them, and takes advantage to the fullest whenever they come his way. That's probably my favorite thing about Austin. Right now he has an opportunity to win a big contest to introduce the world to the new GoogleTV and live in a fancy loft in LA for a few months and throw parties and make money and further his career. I think he'd be fantastic at it. The contest ends tomorrow, Monday, at midnight and he wants to finish strong, so will you please help him by clicking on this link, then clicking the "Vote Now" button? That's all there is to it: two seconds and you're done and Austin and I are very grateful. You are the greatest.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Deals yo

Some good deals to pass on:

Macey's Provo has discontinued (but very good) bags of pasta for $.25 each, back by the milk and eggs. Also lots of Mexican crackers and cookies for $.79 per package. We have especially enjoyed the vanilla wafer cookies.

Today's Groupon is two hours of bowling for 6 people at Fat Cats, including shoe rental, breadsticks, soda, and pizza or tacos or enchiladas, for  $25. I bought two and am going to use them together for a birthday party, which they said was totally legit. Click here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Delightful surprise gifts in the mail

are my very favorite.

Thank you to my anonymous, thoughtful friend, whomever you are*. You truly know me, and you made my day.

*Until I hear otherwise, I will operate under the assumption that it was Cerise the beautiful because she is generous and well-read and the reason I read Mountains Beyond Mountains and I love her so.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Cristo XXVI (Gray)

We went for a walk this afternoon to deliver some cookies to neighbors, and ended up with some new artwork, our first J. Kirk Richards original. It's tiny and beautifully framed and we are really excited.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Email me?

Steve says: "Emily, your problem is that you are friends with all different kinds of people: stoners, skaters, Republicans, Mormons" [everyone falls into one of the above categories, don't they?] "and that worked for you in high school, but that isn't working for you anymore. You get it from all sides. You're too conservative. You're too liberal. You're too Mormon. You're too whatever. You can't win."

Elliot says: "I think Facebook is, like, pulling people apart, not bringing people together!"

I say: Amen, to all of it, except the part that suggests I shouldn't have diverse friends anymore.

I'm taking a pretty major Facebook sabbatical because I've been in the enemy-making business too much lately. I honestly do not try to say offensive things to people, but the written word is so much harder to interpret for meaning and nuance than is the verbal word, and I tend toward abruptness, so I end up irritating people, appearing smug or self-righteous, or miscommunicating my intentions. I'm also vocal: I like conversation, I like to be heard, and I have a very hard time biting my lip and walking away in an argument or discussion that I feel strongly about or in which I feel I have been mischaracterized.

One dear friend made me cry for two days straight when he unfriended me last year because my fb feed was bringing too much hate into his life. What? Come again? Can I have a do-over because that was not my intention, ever ever ever.

Oh yeah, I'm also sensitive. I'm a vocal arguer who gets her feelings hurt. It sort of stinks.

I'm not even that opinionated. I pride myself on being able to see multiple sides of almost every issue. I can be persuaded. I rarely take a firm stand.

Yet I have been making enemies, and lots of them: political, religious, you name it. I hate enemies. I love people, I really do. Don't listen to that part in my last post about being misanthropic.

So, I'm taking a little break. If you don't see me on Facebook, I did not unfriend you (I wouldn't do that, because I know it stinks). I'm just detoxifying for a while. I told the kids I'd not go on Facebook (at least) as long as they don't eat candy, and we shook on it.

I love you. If my cousins are reading this, I especially love you and hope we can still be friends. Real friends, not spew-ugly-mean-spirited-things-at-each-other-online-that-we-would-never-say-in-person-facebook-friends. 'Cause that kind is bringing me down.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


I like that my blog is boring.

I'm sick of the Provo scene.

I am a misanthrope who loves people, or is it a philanthrope who hates people?

Our backyard situation is very demoralizing.

I like the word demoralizing.

I need a hobby and a talent.

Probably the most likely option for a talent to develop is playing Scrabble.

But I'm not going to spend time to get good at Scrabble.

So I shall remain talentless.

My children are good at reporting the problems.

What I need are solutions.

(What I need is solutions?)

I could make grammar a talent, but it would take some work.

I should probably do that.

My basement smells like human pee and rat poop.

I'd like to receive an anonymous package containing a miniature tollbooth and a map of The Lands Beyond.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

H Street

In Washington,  Steve and I and Diana, my sister-friend, had dinner in Chinatown where we took Pepper's advice on the honey walnut shrimp. It was all very delightful. Calvin wanted a fortune for each hand and one for his mouth. Calvin was and is a super champy baby traveling companion who at 9 months has been to 12 states*. The peeps behind us in this photo had SO MUCH FOOD on their table -- all meaty dishes. It was grody to the max.

*In order: Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, California, Montana, Wyoming, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Making my list

I've been limiting my Costco excursions to once a month or so in favor of other grocery stores in the area, but the result has been that when I do go to Costco, my list is full of the items that it really only makes sense to buy there, usually for cost reasons.

These things include but are not limited to:

baby wipes
frozen fruit
baby formula
garbage bags
artichoke hearts
kalamata olives
dental floss
minced garlic
printer paper

What have I missed? What else is cheaper and/or best to buy at Costco?

Friday, July 09, 2010

El fin

They were setting up for Clinton's second inauguration on the lawn in front of the Capitol. (You know, They.) I was wandering the city alone, having successfully indicated to Nate that though we were left alone together on this capital adventure, we were not together. There were really not many people around -- it was cold. Loudspeakers blared Unforgettable by the Coles -- I mean really, really blared -- and I wanted to dance.

I'm pretty sure I was heartsick for Steve and it was him with whom I wanted to slow dance right there on the mall, but I'm also pretty sure I didn't allow myself to entertain that dream. He was newly home from Chile; we had been spending all kinds of time together, for he was my best friend (but most especially he had a car and could take me to the grocery store); but there really was just no way a romantic relationship was ever going to come of that. He was convinced of it and I was reluctantly convinced of it and no, we had never had this discussion, but he had eagerly given his blessing to James to ask me out and that was evidence enough that Steve did not love me like I had secretly loved him since 11th grade.

And so I had begun to date James. I had begun to like James. And I acknowledged to myself, and to James, that it was James whom I was missing on this lonely, coming-of-age trip to Washington. I wrote him a heartfelt letter. I sent him a long postcard. I channeled all my heartsick loneliness to the guy back in Phoenix who was into me when Steve Craig so clearly was not. I told James about wanting to dance with him as the workers set up chairs and presidential structures, and about how instead I did a signature shoulder dance move of his right there in the middle of the sidewalk in the middle of the city to honor the moment and him and the 26 states between us.

And that was my trip to DC. The first time I'd been back east. An extension and final installment of my assumption of adulthood that began in earnest six months previously during my thrilling and also lonely summer in southern Africa.

The epilogue goes like this: I came home and married Steve, natch, and I still marvel that I was able to make that happen when I think about it. James was gracious and emotional and sweet when I called to tell him our engagement news; the next person he dated after me became his beautiful, classy wife. Cassie and Shawn got married. Nate is nowhere to be found on Facebook. Clinton balanced the budget and lied to the world. And I got to go back to DC this month, for the second time ever, this time with Steve Craig and our baby #5. We had a wonderful time, thank you for asking.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Howard Jones had a song

Question: Would these skirts catch your eye if you found them at

JCPenney? Kohls? Talbots? Eddie Bauer?

I was going to say no way,

I would not think these were especially great at any of those stores

and is Anthropologie duping us all

but then I remembered that Anthropologie clothes feel better

almost like there's a quality thing happening there

and that I'm wearing my forever-old, green Anthro skirt with bleach stains on the back today

and it has made me feel pretty(ish) in spite of the cold sore smackdown happening all over my face*

and thus I have concluded that I need more clothes.

*not kidding about that

it is a pathetic manifestation of how broken down my body has been due to my year-and-a-half steady stream of

pregnancychildbirthbackpainstrepthroatweaninghormonalchanges [that's a thing]

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Part three and almost done

A few minutes at an airport pay phone yielded heaven sent weekend hosts: a family in the church in Virginia who could not have been more gracious. 

Sure, you can stay with us. When we were in college, we did stuff like this, too. Here are the directions to our house and when you get to the end of the Metro line, call and I'll pick you up to drive you the rest of the way. You can have the entire basement to yourselves. We'll feed you many meals, including Sunday dinner and every breakfast. Want to take a drive? Here are the keys to our Suburu.

They were fabulous.

I don't remember one single thing about the Students for International Development conference, except that we hooked up with some people from it to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant one night. It was fun and messy.

I do remember that, for whatever reason, Cassie and her boyfriend deemed it prudent to go home early -- as in, catch the next flight home -- a few days into our trip. I remember it being in the middle of the night or early in the morning and without so much as a "thank you, we're leaving, goodbye" to our hosts. I remember being mortified by their rudeness and lamely trying to apologize for them the next morning at breakfast. I spent money I did not have to buy an extraordinarily nice flower bouquet for this wonderful family when we were leaving to try to express "thank you, goodbye, I recognize that what our friends did was inexcusably bad form."

I remember the awkwafication between me and quiet, brooding, I-think-he-likes-me Nate ramped up a hundredfold all of a sudden due to our new status of being left alone together on this trip that wasn't our idea, staying with people we didn't know who had every reason to be bugged. Did I mention that he was a painful conversationalist?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

He has horizontal mobility

Calvin was six months

then he was seven months

Norah was too sexy for her Easter hat

and the boys swam at Nana and Papa's.