1. What did you do for work before the kids were born? I managed a restaurant called Britta's Cafe. I started as a waitress when I moved home from Pepperdine after my sophomore year. I became a manager after about a year. It was great money, and enabled me to still go to school in the AMs and then work full time in the PMs. It took me 3 1/2 more years to finally get my degree in Psychology from CalState Fullerton. And I thought I wanted to be a Marriage and Family Therapist. But by the time I was actually finished, I had gotten married, and Matt had gone back to school to get his teaching credential. So I was bringing home the dough for awhile. Once he started teaching and I could've gone back...I didn't really have the passion to be a therapist that I once did. I definitely didn't have the desire, or money, to go back to years of grad school, internships, and 5000 MFT licensing hours. So I stayed at the Cafe. There were a lot of things I enjoyed about the job, but I knew it wasn't a career. I liked the fast pace, that everyday was different, and I learned a TON about cooking, baking, wine, multitasking, managing all kinds of personalities, how to interview and hire someone, how to fire someone, how to plan a menu around seasonal ingredients, how to run the "back of the house" (restaurant speak for the kitchen) how to set rat traps, unclog toilets.... Lots of life skills! The free food wasn't bad either. Especially to broke newlyweds! I really enjoyed my boss and the other women I worked with too. And we had some regular customers that came to the cafe everyday that I enjoyed getting to know. One couple had a grandson named Wyatt. Ever since I heard that little boy's name, I knew I wanted to name my son (should I have one) that one day. So all in all, I look back on the 8 years I gave to Britta's Cafe with good feelings. I was laid off, with no notice or severance, when I was 3 months pregnant with Megan however. So that left a small bitter taste in my mouth. But I know it wasn't personal. The business needed to cut corners and I think my boss knew that after the baby - I wouldn't want to come back anyhow. So I was the easiest, and smartest choice for her to let go.
2. If you were not a stay-at-home mom, what would your profession be? I have two answers. Not sure which I would enjoy more. A high school AP English teacher or own my own Bakery. Both are fanciful dreams I think about often. I love to read and write. Dissecting poetry and finding undercurrent themes in literature brings me simple joy. In high school and college I used to write papers for friends for money. It's even been said I wrote a few application essays to colleges I never applied to. I always love to tease, "I was accepted to UCLA, Boulder, Colorado State, SMU..." What really gets me is when I am in the middle of a book and a sentence leaps off the page at me because of how it is written and what it is saying. I want to do that, teach that, inspire that. I also loved my high school AP English teacher, so I think that's why I pick that age. (Plus I wouldn't have to go back to school to do it!)
(Perfect Segue BTW) "She's a feeder," said Linny. "Gets it from her mother. Both of them devotees of the philosophy that all the world's ills can be cured if you throw enough food at them." ~taken from the book I am currently reading, Loved Walked In, by Maria de los Santos.
This is one of those sentences that lept off the page at me. And this is one of the reasons I want to own a bakery. I am a feeder. FOR SURE. And I totally get it from my Mother. To me, FOOD = LOVE. I really wish it didn't, but it does. I love to bake, create, decorate...cakes, cookies, muffins, pies, cobblers, bread. If the recipe sounds the slightest bit yummy, I want to try it. Having already run a restaurant, I know I could do it. And I like to think I know enough about what sells in this town, that I could make it cute, fun, kitschy AND delicious enough to be successful. The only thing that makes me second guess this dream is that fact that I would have to rise EARLY in the morning! And anyone who has seen me prior to 7AM knows I am NOT a morning person. Maybe once the kids can get themselves dressed, fed and to school I will revisit this possibility.
INSERT SCREAMING GIRLS FROM LIVING ROOM..."Mom...Ohmigosh!! Come look at WYATT!!"
What happens when you leave your newly mobile, almost 10 month old baby on his own in the living room, so you can blog?? He eats a blue rubber stamp ink pad that his sisters had left in the middle of the coffee table when they were crafting. Hands are blue, mouth and tongue are blue, face is blue, chubby hand prints on coffee table are blue. Melissa and Doug stamp pads are non-toxic....right!!??
Must make exit to clean aforementioned baby. I took pics - but can't post!! I'll return to answer more questions at nap time!
3. If you could only take 3 books to a deserted island, what would they be and why?
1) The Bible. I can always find answers, strength and inspiration here.
2) The US Army Survival Handbook. I seriously have NO sense of direction, my need for comfort is relatively high, and the last time I signaled to a plane with my body was...um, never. So I think this book would be a necessity. On a side note - Who watches Survivor? EVERY season it is SO hard for the contestants to make a fire from nothing. Now maybe it's just me...but if I were chosen to be a contestant on a show named SURVIVOR, I would probably invest in a book like this and practice making fire a few times before leaving on that jet plane. Just a thought.
3) Any Pat Conroy piece of fiction. They are big - as in long, lots of pages - entertaining, great character development, and whisk you away into the world he creates. Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, Beach Music. LOVED Beach Music. OR any Frank Perretti piece of fiction. Also great page turners that I can get easily lost in.
4. When did you know Matt was The One?
I think truly - when I think about it in a way that I want to put down on paper - there are two instances that brought me to the conclusion that Matt was The One. To begin, the very first night Matt and I hung out was at a mutual friend's birthday party. We didn't come to the party together. I didn't come expecting to meet anyone, that's for sure! But he says his motivation for coming was me. Which is nice. Anyhow...we ended up sitting on a street corner and talking to just each other for hours. Over the course of that conversation we discussed our dreams, goals, faith, what we were looking for in a mate, how family was most important. At the end of the night he asked if he could take me out sometime. And the feeling I had inside was good, warm, respected, safe, peaceful, and excited.
I had ended a roller coaster of a relationship just a month earlier and had since been seeing a guy with not the best reputation. The next day I went to the beach with 2 of my girlfriends from high school - who also knew Matt and the Bad Boy in question - and one of them asked me, "How many people have bad things to say about J***?" "Almost everyone," I answered. "And how many people have bad things to say about Matt Burns?" "No One," was the answer we all replied in unison. That was a really good feeling. That - in culmination with the previous night's conversation, made me think for the very first time "I could MARRY this person."
Fast forward thru 6 wonderfully fun, Summer weeks of new love and courtship. Matt leaves to play football in New York and I stay in California. We both tell each other that if we want to see other people, then by all means, please DO IT! We were 19 for gosh sakes! But a year and a half of long distance relationship later - neither of us had felt the urge, or need, to be with anyone else. I was hanging out with a guy friend one afternoon, who couldn't believe I was saying I wanted to get married. He (typical hormone raging 20 something male that he was) said to me "I mean, I get it - you like Cheerios. Right now, Cheerios is the only cereal for you. But you're telling me that every morning for the rest of your life, you only want to eat Cheerios?! You KNOW that you'll never want to try something different?!" And the feeling came over me when presented with this silly metaphor, was that I was so completely at peace with eating Cheerios for the rest of my life. And in that singular moment, I knew Matt was The One.
5. Tell us a crazy high school story about Libby and Joanna.
Oh gosh - considering our kids may read this someday, I better be at least PG rated! Libby was the first of the three of us to have a boyfriend. Jeff Remy was his name, I think. And the first to go to a high school dance with a boy. I also remember one guy that used to leave her love letters hidden in the shingles on the side of her house. And Ron Schaeffer - the smartest guy in school - asked her to a dance on a floppy disk! Libby is like the Smart Guy's Jenna Jameson. Smarter than most everyone I know - male or female - and smokin' hot. Trim, but not without curves, white blond hair, and piercing blue eyes. As well, there is an undercurrent, alternative side to Libby that not many people know about. I think presented with the right opportunity, she'd try almost anything once. We used to call her "Harley Homebody" because she'd hand quilt Bible covers and make homemade cookies all while listening to Nine Inch Nails and Metallica. Heck, even our Chemistry teacher had a crush on her! She wont admit it - but he did! And she was totally smarter than him too. Joanna and I passed chemistry because of Libby and the Grace of God - not because of Mr. Cram. Libby and I met on the first day of first grade and walked home from school together almost everyday after that. She's the one who taught me how babies were made - from a picture book - sitting on her mom's couch. I think we were in the 2nd grade. It's a great feeling to have a friend in your life that long. I find myself wanting to give that to my children. Wanting them to go to school with the same kids all they way from elementary to high school. Make those memories, form those bonds, find that friend. It's very special.
Let's see...now Joanna. Joanna and I met the first day of Freshman year. We had PE lockers next to each other. I guess when you strip down to your skivvies next to someone everyday - you become fast friends! Seriously, we hit it off immediately and never looked back. Two high school stories stick out in my mind. The first she'll probably kill me for telling, but the second is more of a rip on me, so hopefully that will compensate. I recently came across my diary from Freshman year and this entry made me laugh right out loud. By no fault of her own, Joanna always seemed to develop crushes on boys who did drugs - meaning smoked pot. (MMcN, LEMcG) Seems she also like guys who's last name started with "Mc," but I digress. In Joanna's defense, my Freshman crush, Brett Jason Marshall, was a total druggie. I just didn't know it yet. We were young and naive and liked boys because they had cute hair and drove cool cars. Not because they would make a good boyfriend. Anyhow - I used to tease Joanna as we would walk between classes and say "Hey Jo, Look! There's a Druggie!" and she'd excitedly say "Where? Is he cute?!" It would make us laugh every time.
Senior year we were actually talking to the boys we had crushes on, but not dating them. Valentine's Day we were hanging out together at my house. A night with plans of making dinner, eating whole cartons of Haggen Daaz, and flipping thru multiple Victoria's Secret catalogs while listening to Madonna in my room. All of sudden the phone rings and it's the guy I have been in love with for most of my high school career. He wants to come over. Do I have an ounce of self respect or an inch of backbone and tell him how silly he is calling on Valentine's night...that I already have plans with someone who really loves me. Sadly, NO! I tell him to come on over and then quickly pack Joanna up and shove her out my front door. I can still see the look of disbelief on her face when she realized I was serious and I wanted her to go. What an awful friend I was that night! Thankfully she forgave me. Joanna was there the night I got my period, was the first person I called after I kissed previously mentioned crush, and gave her Senior AP English speech about ME. Joanna is still the first person I call when I want to share, reminisce, whine or need encouragement. And she ALWAYS delivers.
Kids are up from naps. I'll try and write more tonight. Joanna can attest that my blogging conditions are not the easiest - or most comfortable - as of late!
6. What would your kids be most surprised to learn about you?
7. If you could live someone's life for one day--whose would it be? (cannot say yourself!) =)
8. What is your biggest challenge as a mom and wife?
9. When are you guys going to come and visit?
10. What is something you will do differently with Wyatt, this being the third time around?
11. What is the square root of 2,154,654,545?...divided by 17.5, minus 7???