Christmas 2016

It's Christmas Time!! Time for newsletters and family pictures and eating lots of treats.  I haven't been good about journaling, or blog posts, and the last time I did one of those picture books it was to commemorate Sophie's birth...so this newsletter is my way of updating friends and family, but also documenting for any interested future generations.  Here goes:

Kate and Clint are spirit buddies.  When Clint gets home from work she finds a way to crawl onto his lap and they sit together, both possessing an ability for stillness and quiet.  Kate is my child that surprises me the most, probably because she is least like me and most like my husband.  Her preschool teacher described her as a quiet leader, analytical, independent and focused, which are things I could pretend that I am, but really I am not.

Around Halloween we drove past one of those huge inflatable spiders and Sophie said it was scaring her so we all launched into the things we would do to the spider.  I said I would stomp it with a giant shoe, Zachary would flush it down the potty and Sophie would 'get it.' Before we launched into round two of group think in killing a blow-up spider, we asked Kate, who had remained quiet, what she would do.  She said "I would do nothing. I would cheer you on." Smart girl.

Kate started taking speech therapy this year and works so hard at it.  She has gotten many of her sounds and patterns down and I am so glad that we have found good therapists and programs.  All her therapists are kind and encouraging and during one session Sophie looks up at me and says "Wow, Kate is really good at this!!"  Which is not really accurate, because well, speech therapy, but the sentiment of us being proud of her could not be more true.

Zachary started kindergarten in the fall and the transition from him being home most of the day to being at school most of the day was relatively smooth and organic.  The other day he found out that I volunteered to help with his Christmas party and would bring Kate with me, and he turned to Kate in all seriousness, "But Kate, you cannot be crazy.  This is kindergarten."

In September he did the jog-a-thon where the collision of youth, health and impermanence left me both nostalgic for the past and excited for the future.  They had a parent blasting pop music from a car hooked up to a couple of speakers, and all the kids were so excited to run around ten times in a circle.  I think that was the longest and the fastest Zachary had ever run (I seriously could not keep up with him), and at one point he said "Mommy, feel my heart...can you feel it? It is beating so fast."  His blond curls bouncing, the determined look on his face, all the other kids moving their bodies with their parents and teachers, feeling his heart pumping through his chest, all topped off with a cheesy pop song....ok, ok, yes, I cried.

I feel like I can't talk about Zachary without sounding cliche and annoying; he really has a heart of gold.  Some mornings can feel crazy with all the things one must do to get children and self ready (and Clint is 99% of the time still sleeping from working late) so I am doing it solo.  One morning as I was zipping up Zachary's jacket and he was trying to rush off to meet his walking carpool I said, "One day you will be grateful to have a mommy that cares if you are warm enough."  Which was a bit melodramatic on my part, (but hey sometimes it feels good to play that part), and Zach's reply was "I'm already grateful for you Mommy."

He wins!!!!  It's like this child came pre-scripted with all the things to do and say that will melt your heart.  Everyone loves Zach!!

Sophie is a trip and the alpha male in our family.  She always has something to say and always has something to demand.  When she was a baby we would joke that she was vying to be born into royalty and become Queen, and is now resigned to life as a commoner.  As a family we have all developed coping mechanisms to live with a jilted queen and really it is not so bad.  In fact, I think she is entering a new phase in her reign, one that is less marked with severity and sovereign, and more focused on ruling with charm and compassion.  Hopefully this era continues.

When not overwhelmed by Sophie, I am in awe of her.  She is tenacious and witty; beautiful, bright and strong.  Really everything a young queen should be.

This summer she got potty trained and insisted on only going in the little potty, and then also insisted on pouring its contents herself into the big potty.  If I can escape these episodes without developing an anxiety disorder I think I am set for life.  Sophie with the little potty in her hands is like the girl at a party with her fifth drink in hand. Sloppy and sloshy.

Our morning prayers usually included praying that Sophie would go on the little potty (can't hurt) and at some point Zachary, in all his perceptiveness, changed it to praying she would go on the big potty.  God willing and hands to the sky.

Clint has had a big year at work.  He has grown his company, and what started as something to help pay the bills in medical school (cause you know med students have loads of time) has turned into a legit operation with over sixty employees.  He thinks big and so far it is working.  We just had his company Christmas Party/Ten Year Celebration, and it was awesome to see what he and his employees have been able to create.

This growth has had a downside, mainly him pulling all-nighters with his computer and an energy drink that should be illegal.  Like I mentioned passive-aggressively in Zachary's section, the late nights have also meant that it is solo parenting for me in the mornings, and often him crashing on the weekends. Zachary has fully taken advantage of this situation, and if I am gone exercising in the morning he asks Clint in his sleep if he can watch a show.  Clint has evolved to the point of being able to carry on conversations without waking up, gives Zachary a sluggish 'yes' and then when I get home and gives him the eye its always "What?!  Daddy said YES!!"  If I had a dollar for every time I uttered the phrase "you need to get on family-time" I would be more privileged than I already am.

This crazy schedule has somewhat started to taper off in the past months and we all love spending more time with Clint.  With the kids he wrestles and gives horsey rides and cuddles and indulges them with gifts that I am too cheap to buy.  He also lets them destroy the house while he watches football, and has coached Kate to cheer "Go Utah!"  Kate loves sitting in his lap while they watch the endlessness that is football.

Now that we are out of the baby stage we can do things like go skiing, go on the occasional sans kid trip......or just experience general happiness together.  I'm kidding, we experienced that with babies, just at more exhausted and less frequent intervals.  All in all this year has been good to be a Womack and be married to one.

You probably have a good idea of what my year has been like through my family, as I am the one both orchestrating and being affected by everyone's comings and goings and life events.  I am mostly content to play this role, although I have been able to also carve out some autonomy this year, more than previous years, which is great, but initially felt self-indulgent.  Before the birth of each child I had a feeling of 'incomplete' and then a child would come and fill that hole.  Next the baby grows and becomes more independent...and before you know it you aren't even responsible for their bowel movements!  I used to be in charge of wiping all the dependents bottom's, and every year that number goes down.

When Sophie was 18 months I went through a transition where I knew I did not want anymore children, but I mourned the completion, and the 'not wanting any more children.'  Both my mother and the environment told me I was done, but I found myself thinking that if I were different, more Mother Teresa-like, I would keep at this game of creation.

Then I realized that Mother Teresa did not have any children.  Which is not a negative because guaranteed she was feeding the needy and making the world a better place while I was getting a pedicure, but why I am a comparing myself to other situations and people?

This 'owning who I am' has carried over into other aspects of my life, like moose tracks ice-cream.  I'm sorry, but I am not going to apologize for excavating all the chocolate swirls and leaving the left-overs for the next unlucky person.  I'm an adult, the ice-cream costs 4$, and those are my choices.  Its like I'm an archeologist.

Anyways, the phase of mourning my empty womb passed, I told my eggs to take a hike, and I've settled into the idea that I can potentially have a waist for the rest of my thirties.

I like being able to spend time with my children but I also like not spending time with my children.  While the girls are at preschool I teach a dance class at the community college, I wake up early to jog or do pilates, and I imagine that as the kids start to spend more time at school I will teach more or maybe just watch bad television.

There is so much sadness swirling around us, I appreciate this season where we can try to carve out the hope and peace that is there as well.  God bless you all, and cheers to a wonderful holiday season.



I am totally into New Years Resolutions.  I love that small window of time where you ride the momentum of change and control, and 'this time it will be different.'  Who cares that it will all be forgotten by January 20th, I am living in the moment and 2016 is going to be my best year ever!!  Yessssss!!!!!!! (fist in the air!)

I have two resolutions this year; one is to be better at cooking and having family dinner.  That was actually my resolution last year, but it turned out that that year was not so different, so now this is the year that is going to be different.
My other resolution is one that I just added today, and was feeling a little insecure about until I talked to my sister.  She said it was a really great idea.  In fact, she was so enthusiastic I think she might adopt it for her own.

My other resolution is to work on being more vain.  Maybe even the kind of vain that takes selfies with duck lips.
But even if I don't take it that far, I at least want to be vain enough to figure out a better hairstyle.  And a lipstick color.  And up my everyday wardrobe.  Since going through pregnancies and kids the questions that I ask myself before making a clothing purchase have become this;
But does it feel like I am wearing my pajamas? (Proceed if yes)
BUT is it a slight upgrade from actually wearing my pajamas. (Proceed if yes)

Me wearing upgraded pajamas became glaringly obvious when on a shopping trip with Clint at Anthropology.  It was my birthday so I felt justified both in buying something and making Clint wait while I shopped the sale-rack (seriously the rest of that store doesn't even exist.  Like who does the rest of that store exist for???)
I came out of the dressing room in this longish open sweater that kind-of draped open in a way that felt breezy and forgiving.  But it was made of sweatshirt-ish material so it was really comfortable. 

"This is cute, right?  I mean I know its not really cute, but its like comfortable-cute, right??'

And I can't even remember what Clint said because really, it doesn't matter, it never does with shopping, I bought the sweater.  The wake-up call came when I looked down at the receipt and it read: 

Fringe Blanket

I couldn't believe that I had just bought a wearable blanket.  Like when did it get that bad??!! 

For this being vain resolution I also want to work on getting better at taking family photos.  Now that I am of a certain age and have children I feel like family photos are a big thing.  They are important.

This is a family photo that my sister took over the holiday while we were all in California.  I love how happy we look (she was saying 'poop' and 'fart' to get the kids to laugh) and I love how I am doing that thing with my leg to make that little calf muscle pop.  That was a good being vain choice.  But I wish I would have not laughed so enthusiastically that my eyes closed, and why didn't anyone tell me to wear lip-stick? Or get a tan??  Or do that arm pose that everyone does???  
These are the things I need to get better at for next time.  I read somewhere that the most flattering pose is to turn your body three quarters away from the camera, and then turn your head back to the camera so you are kind of looking over your shoulder.
I wanted to try that for these photos but I wasn't sure what to do with all the children.  And then there is Clint.  What would he do while I am three-fourthing??!!!  Also I am not sure that my neck has that kind-of flexibility.  Its like the Exorcist: Fashion Edition.   

Anyways, those are my New Years Resolutions.  I would love to hear yours!  Happy 2016!

Sophie working on the 3/4 rule


It is that time of the year where everyone is sending out holiday cards and newsletters, and while I know some roll their eyes, I love it all.  Here is the Womack Family Newsletter for 2015:

Big news for Kate--she is potty trained!!!  When Kate was 20 months we were swimming at my uncle's pool and she suddenly got out of the pool, said "te-ee" and then peed.  And I remember saying confidently to my Mom, "I could potty train her, she is ready."  And then Sophie started crying, and Zachary wanted me to watch him do a trick, and Sophie needed to be changed and you know the revolving door of children and their needs.  Fast forward a year and change and we celebrated Kate's third birthday with cake, pizza and her still in diapers.
The breaking point of our dependency was when she demanded to be changed in the middle of the night, started crying when I tried to prevent her from cuddling with the full diaper, and came down the stairs in the morning cradling her diaper like a baby.  Creepy. And weird. And gross.

In other news, Kate loves to help make eggs and cookies and pancakes, and she loves going to preschool.  Her teacher told me she has a little friend in the class and they are always together playing dolls and dress-up.  When I asked Kate what her friend's name was, she looked at me a little bewildered and said, "I don't know."

Sophie wakes up at 5am every morning.  She doesn't take a day off for holidays, late nights or good behavior.  There is nothing I can do to gloss this over for the family newsletter, it is by far her worst trait.

Other than catching that damn proverbial worm, she loves reading books (no shows for this intellectual baby!), her bathing suit (suit-tay) and going in the hot tub (hot TAA!!). This past November we spent a week up in Park City and went in the pool and hot tub everyday.  Really it was the only thing we really did on that vacation.  I have never seen Sophie more content; warm water, cheeks flushed, round belly, big smile.

This year Zachary learned how to swim.  Or really I should say he learned how to not drown.  Learning how to swim is the next installment.
Learning how to not drown was not going well in the beginning, he was reluctant to go under, it was a pain take all the kids and then keep Kate and Sophie occupied and alive, and one day it was so hot in that indoor pool that as I started to sweat I decided that this would be our last day.
But then I found out you have to cancel four weeks in advance or pay a fee, and I am way too cheap to pay fees, so instead I called my mom and complained.
"Is this what it takes to get a kid to swim??!!!  I mean can you believe how expensive it is??!"
And for some reason the person who shelled out money for my own private swim lessons, not to mention four years of college, failed to react.  So then I had a heart to heart with Zachary and told him that I really wanted him to learn how to swim but until he 'went for it'  he would never learn, and have to wear a floaty the rest of his life.  And we talked about being brave and doing things even if you don't like them.
The next swim lesson he 'went for it.'  And every swim lesson after that he 'went for it.'  What a stud.

This past November he turned five.  I love this age and all the funny things he says.
When he failed to listen one day I said, "Zachary, you are five now. You are old enough to listen and follow directions."  And his reply was, "Dude, I am only five! Like maybe when I'm fifteen or something!"
And one day when he was acting crazy I told him, "Zacahry, I am not very impressed with your behavior." And he said, "Hmmmm that's fine.  I'm still your kid, right?"

Clint is a super-dad.  Whenever he takes a kid, (even only one of them!) to the grocery store someone confirms it.  This obviously is annoying to me because I never get those accolades.  This senario climaxed when he took the three kids to Costco one Saturday, which is impressive but something that I do ALL the time, and there happened to be a Chinese tour bus. (Why I have no idea, although now we do have the biggest Costco in the world.)  Clint came home triumphant and smug; "You are not going to believe what just happened.  I was putting the kids in the cart and like ten people from this tour bus start clapping and taking my picture.  I don't know if it was because our kids are blond or there are three of them, or maybe because I'm a Dad doing the grocery shopping with three kids??  But it was so awesome."

Besides being super-dad, Clint is still running his company, binge watching TV, and is going to start playing in a flag football league come January.  He loves his family and he loves chips.      

Now that I am officially out of the newborn stage I find that I have a bit more energy to be on a health kick.  I love eating healthy because it makes me feel so much better than everyone else.  How else could I be any more superior than when I am mindfully dining on soaked chai seeds with fruit, sipping a kombucha, and Clint walks in and pours himself a bowl of gluten and sugar with lactose???!  It's sad really, I feel bad for him.
I also feel bad for him when he doesn't get the satisfaction of seeing me hiding in the pantry eating microwaved cookie dough and ice-cream.  But that's life.

Soon I will have two years of having three kids at home under my belt (kindergarden looms in the future!), and while at times I feel that it is getting easier, there are other times I just want to lay down on the floor and give up.  So that is what I do.
Aren't you supposed to play dead when fearing for your life from certain beasts and wild animals?  This is where I took my cue, and the first time I did it it was very effective.
"Mommy is dead??!!" they all said, and there was a feeling of alarm and importance.  Clint helped, Zachary and Kate settled, and Sophie just kept wailing.  (You can't expect 100% success.  There will always be one rouge beast.)  The technique was so effective that every time I was feeling overwhelmed, I would immediately drop to the floor.  Problem is, it happened one too many times, and it became classic 'boy calling wolf syndrome.'  Me laying facedown on the floor became common-place, I was an extra piece of furniture that you now had to walk around.  It was the new normal and the demands kept flying.  Getting a new coping mechanism is my New Year's Resolution.  If you all have any ideas let me know.    

I love this time of year; the music, the gifts, the decorations, the food...everything.  I love the feeling of building traditions for my family and making things special.  Over the summer we were at my parents house in California having movie night, and while they have every Disney VHS created, their kid DVD collection is pretty slim, so the kids were watching the 'Polar Express.'  And there is this scene where the boys sees Santa for the first time and there is a feeling of awe and faith confirmed.  In that moment I felt something special, and Baby Kate, who is not the most verbal of my kids, looks at me and says, "That's Jesus."

We felt the Christmas spirit in August, and I have been actively searching for it all this month.  The hope of something better and brighter, of peace and love in the midst of darkness.

Happy Holidays to you all!!!


the womacks


baby kate turns three

 The other day Zachary came zooming past and yelled, 'See ya later alligator.'

You scrunched up your face, made two fists, and yelled, 'I not a gator!!!! I BABY KATE WOMACK ROSE!!!'

Happy Third birthday Baby Kate Womack Rose.  While you were the one child that was planned, you are the one that surprises me the most.  You intrigue me.  There is a quiet power in you that is hard to place.  In this way I think you take after your father, you say what you need to, but stop there. While the rest of us gush and annoy, express and then apologize, you two watch and calculate.  I wish your father would fawn over me, but after 20 years with the man I know that his independence is what drew me in, and in this same way you draw us in.

The other night I came into bed, your dad in that place of sleep where you can still be pulled out of it, and asked 'Do you think that you understand baby Kate more than Z and Sophie?' 
And he rolled over a bit and said 'No I think I understand them all the same.'
And of course I wanted to have a long conversation where we figure everyone out and feel good about ourselves and how we are living and solve all our stresses in the way that parents only can when their children are finally asleep and you can parent without them being there, but I heard the breathing deepen and it was done.
Regardless, I see so much of your father in you and seeing you two play and laugh and wrestle fills my heart.  I like to imagine you becoming very close as you grow, hopefully you admiring the strengths that you inherited.

While your brother and sister never give me the luxury of not knowing where they are, two bees buzzing all day, you are often off by yourself, organizing your dolls and animals, transporting them from one room to the next.  You love collecting your loot in a big pink polka dot bin and when you come into our bed (every night around midnight) you drag the big bin behind you.
I can count the number of tantrums that you have had in your life on one hand, you are easy-going and undramatic.  I've never put you in a time-out, partly because you don't mis-behave, and partly because you mostly get what you want.  When you say you're done with a meal, and I say 'ok, just have one more bite of carrot',  you say 'no I not, I done' and climb down and walk away.  And I really don't know how to respond other than smile at your little person-ness. 

Kate, you are so many things...you are so beautiful.  When I was pregnant with you I knew you would have brown eyes and brown hair, just like I knew your siblings would have blue eyes and blond hair.  But I couldn't predict the softness about you.  I'm always trying to capture that softness with my camera, but because I'm not a great photographer I never quite do you justice.

I remember holding you after you were born, you so quiet, just taking everything in, and thinking I could do this a million times.  And I could.  If I could have a million of You I would.  But instead I will cherish the one You that I have.  Happy Birthday my daughter.   

Ok wait, I could have a million of you......if you got better at sleeping. You. Are. The. Worst. Sleeper.  Please work on it this year.  Seriously, go to sleep Kate.


sophie turns one

Sophie! You are one!

We made it!!

The other night your father and I sat in bed with the lap top, looking over our genealogy and filling in information and photos to our family tree.  And there your name was: Sophie Jean Womack, like it belonged from the beginning and made perfect sense.  I felt content in that moment, to know what wasn't there before is now a fixture.  Seeing your name and your brother and sister's, so neat and clean,  branching off of your father's and mine, made me want to just add a couple more to the list, so we could have this robust little collection of people.  What a feeling of accomplishment.  And because all you children were sweetly sleeping in your own rooms, your bellies rising and falling with the even breath of deep sleep, the soft glow of night lights and shadows of stuffed bears and figurines drawing shapes on the walls, well in that moment it all felt possible, I mean why not?!
But there are novels that aren't told in these organized family trees, details of joys and anguish that are missing behind each name.  I saw three of my mother's siblings that have passed away and found myself staring at the starkness of their names and dates of birth and death in slight disbelief that that was the only information included.
So Sophie, my point is this, we are so glad that you are part of us, that we could add your name to ours, but this first year of your life has had its  …. details.  When I was pregnant with you I remember saying, Well this baby will just have to be mellow and learn to go with the flow, because whew! its going to be busy!!

What an idiot.  Pregnant delusions and wishful thinking.  Babies don't go with the flow, they create the flow.  And then they destroy the flow for sport.

Your father says that you feel you were destined to be born in a royal family, the next Middleton baby to be exact, but somehow things got switched, and you were born into our family instead.  And so you are jilted.  And pissed.  At first I just laughed when he said this, but over time I have become a believer.  I really think you should have been royalty.

This year has left me exhausted and hagged (a new word I made up when I was crying to your father about how I felt, I think its a cross between haggard and ragged??)  
On the bright side, this year has given me a new respect for yoga.  I used to always get frustrated with yoga.  Like for example during shavasana I would think I know this is constructive rest, but wouldn't it be more constructive if we rested while stretching?  Now I cannot wait for that moment in class where I just lie on the floor with my eyes closed.  In fact about 30 minutes into yoga class I start to think Can we just get to the punch-line already?!  
When I had one child multi-tasking meant making dinner while the baby played with the tupper-ware drawer.  Now mutil-tasking means nursing the baby, while wiping the boy's bottom while yelling out a safety precaution to the toddler.  True story.  And I did it all without breaking latch. 

Queen Sophie, you haven't been an easy going baby, but sometimes we still have a good time.  Now that you are eating more you and I have bonded over food.  The other day we shared yummy coconut and chocolate chip cookies, and then when I declared that it was time to lose this last bit of baby weight and limit desserts, we shared a big bowl of fresh berries.  And then the following day, when I found a blessed loop-hole in my plan with coconut and chocolate chip pancakes, we jointly devoured those.  You had a big smile and a ring of chocolate around your mouth.

You squeal and pump your legs when you see your brother Zachary, and after not seeing Baby Kate for a couple of days scooted up to her and gave her your first deliberate hug.

Which brings me to the distilled version of this post, my royal daughter:

you are loved, happy first birthday.


christmas 2014

I love the holidays! And I love getting Christmas cards and Christmas newsletters! I wish this was being sent through the mail to you all, but for this year this will have to do.  I will start the updates with the oldest and hairiest and go from there.

Clint is crazy.  Sometimes I look at him and just can't even believe it.  He started his real estate and mortgage company (Vintage Lending and Realty) several years ago and is doing really well.  In our family we call him the Mogul, except for that one time I mixed up my words and called him a Mongrel.  Despite his success I still nag him to help more with the housework and children.  He bought a pass to our local mountains for some snow boarding this winter, and loves nothing more than curling up with a space heater, some chips, and an entire season on Net Flicks.  This Thanksgiving he played in the annual Turkey Bowl, and as I was walking up to the field to watch, Clint scored a touchdown.  And then he threw a couple of touchdowns.  My heart went pitter patter for my stud of a husband and Zachary kept saying Daddy!! Daddy!! I am so proud of you!!!

I take spot number two in terms of hair and age.  I have been thinking about how I want to sum up life in 2014 and realized that for the past five years (minus one month in Jan 2012) I have either been pregnant or nursing (or both).  What a blessed life!  But to sum it up: I am tired.  
Despite the general fatigue seems to line both my days and nights, I am happy and I feel tremendously lucky.  I love going on morning jogs for Sophie's first nap (God bless the jogging stroller.) I step outside and it is like taking a bath in cool fresh air.  I am starting to feel stronger and am inching my way back to long lost pieces of clothing, but really the nicest thing about my daily exercise is I have yet had to wipe a butt while doing it.  I am still teaching dance courses at our local community college as an adjunct professor, and I love getting to know my students and I love being an educator.  Next semester I will be teaching a couple of nights a week, which means on those nights Clint will be doing dinner/bedtime/bath solo.  I bid him good luck and goodbye.

Zachary turned four this November and started going to a fine arts preschool, which means that they are essentially learning through dance, art, music and theatre.  It's probably not unlike most preschools out there, but the dance curriculum is based around creative/modern dance so I felt especially excited about it.  Grandma Womack went to Grandparents Day with him back in November and upon getting in the car says Welllll he definitely is a four year old boy.  Followed by Annnd I don't think he is going to be your artist.  So theres that.  Future career aside, Zachary loves running and jumping and riding his green scooter with his green helmet.  Green is his favorite color.  He is enthusiastic about lots of things, and is so fun to be around.  He still loves drinking milk out of a sippy cup, and putting the lid on (which is this strange ritual that we really don't understand).  This is a habit as an over attentive parent I have tried to break several times.  But he always wins by saying Mommy its just my favorite hing (thing).  It's my favorite hing in the whole wide world.  And bemember I wanna put the lid on!!!  And so I give up and give in because really who cares?  I figure there are worse things then being a grown boy and still drinking your milk from a sippy cup.

Baby Kate turned two in October.  She is finally starting to talk, although we really never quite know what she is saying.  I wouldn't say pronunciation is her strong point, but she sure is cute.  She is our family DJ and is always cueing up 'Don't cha wish your boyfriend was hot like me' by the Pussycat Dolls and some other equally awful song by Chris Brown.  We have lots of dance parties initiated by Kate and her signature move is called the peacock.  When she runs she picks her little legs up really high and essentially runs in place.  Again, not great in terms of function, but really really cute.  The other day she took off with Zachary's suitcase (a beloved possession) while he was doing his business.  Zachary started shrieking hysterically, trapped by the the call of mother nature, while Baby Kate looked at me with a sly smile.    

What can I say about Sophie?  She is a baby.  She does lots of cute things like laugh at her older siblings' antics, kick her perfectly chubby legs, and smile so big her cheeks almost burst. She also does lots of annoying things like cry in her carseat, get tired and cranky multiple times a day, and in general really cannot do anything for herself.  What gives?! 
Like I said, she is a baby.

This year was filled with many exciting things like Sophie's birth and moving to a new home.  We initially tried to sell our first home, but no one wanted to buy it because it has a small yard and no garage. Which is exactly why we wanted to sell it.  What's wrong with you people?!!! 
However, we were able to rent it out in a matter of minutes, so all is well.  And really we are happy to hold on to it.  So many memories and life happened between those walls.

This year also had its share of loss and sadness. My Mom's sweet sister Betty Whitley and prankster brother David Hair passed away within a month of one another.  It was really sad and they will be so missed.  Betty was loving and strong and the glue of her family.  David was the brother that would stand behind my mom and make her hands make him a sandwich.  Clint's uncle Larry passed away just a week ago, and leaves a legacy of ten children behind.

I have found that I as I get older I experience more joy and contentment, but am also more affected and aware of the sorrows and sadness that inevitably affect us all.  For those of you with heavy hearts this season my love and heart is with you.  I pray that you find eventual peace and comfort.

You know how some things just appear and you don't know who gave them to you or how they got there?  Such is the story of this Christmas/lullaby CD that appeared in our house.  We have been listening to it non-stop in the car and while I did yell at the man singing a painfully slow rendition of The First Noel to "SPIT it out ALREADY!!!!" and Zachary thinks the boy drummer song that says rump pa pa pumb is basically the same thing as saying poopy poop poop diaper face and each time produces fits of laughter, I have really been touched with songs about the birth of Christ and have loved basking in the spirit and hope of the season. 

 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller,The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday and hope that 2015 brings us all peace and good times.

With love,
Erica Clint Zachary Kate and Sophie Womack


fall 2014

It has been so long since I have taken the time to write in here, yet so much has been happening that I would love to write about.  Motherhood (of course), dance and trying to get out of the house with three very young children (challenging), death and the bond of families (sad yet life affirming), and marriage (as in trying to find time and energy to nurture one).

But because I am limited on time; I went downstairs to sleep Sophie, (which was not successful, she is sitting flailing on my lap whilst I write), I will organize this around my children and what they have been up to.  Which is more than fitting because that is exactly my life.  While most of the time I am happy that this is my life and privilege, I have on occasion sat in front of Clint with tears and whiney exasperation lamenting how I cannot do anything without organizing and negotiating what feels to be a million details.  And with these negotiations I seem to always have to push back the feeling that I am slighting someone and their needs.  Ahhhh!! Everyone and their needs!!!


Zachary is full of life and enthusiasm.  He glides through his days with ease and energy.  He loves going to his preschool; to see him tear away from the car and run into his classroom with such confidence makes me smile and feel nostalgic for past days of dependence.  I love carving out time to talk to him about his day and his thoughts.  He says that 'praying is a lot like sleeping' and when accused with watching more than one show on grandpa's iPad responded 'well you were asleep and grandpa was asleep and I don't care.'
This summer he watched American Injury (Ninja) Warriors and now finds every opportunity to make obstacle courses.  His life is one big Parkour!  I should probably be more regimented on what he can and cannot climb/jump/hang/repeal off of, but as a dancer I get satisfaction seeing him physically explore his surroundings, and love that his life is one big site specific improvisation.
I took him to his first dance concert (Mudson at the Masonic Temple) a couple of weeks ago and I loved watching him watch dance. Sometimes I question staying involved in dance when my children are so consuming both in terms of time and energy, but it was affirming to watch through his eyes.  To watch him watch dancers construct realities with their bodies reminds me of why I am so smitten with the world of movment, and inspires me to keep juggling it all.

Zachary working the fish lips rage and schooling everyone

Baby Kate, who we still call Baby Kate, can now climb out of her crib and pack'n'play.  She was sleeping in the laundry room for a time (middle child in a small house), but ever since her climbing exploits has now been sleeping with Zachary in his room.  Which is adorable but has had its challenges.  Sleeping in general has had its challenges.  I never thought Zachary was a particularly good sleeper, but compared to Kate he is.  Kate does not stop.  When we stayed in a hotel room on our way back from California this summer there was Kate, at 10:30pm, playing and singing and laughing in the pitch dark while the rest of us slept, (well I tried to sleep.)  It was hilarious, but not really.  In fact, that was the night that I eventually screamed into a pillow, threw the pillow at Clint's head and yelled at him for sleeping through it all.  How does he sleep through everything??!!! I know it is Darwinism functioning at its finest and I will die first due to all this sleep deprivation, and you know, that pisses me off even more.  Regardless, Baby Kate soldiers on.  She is easy-going, adventurous and loves chocolate.  She also loves wearing her shoes.  She has gone to bed many times refusing to take her shoes off, which really is the least of my concerns when it comes to bed-time.     

 And now Sophie.  The dessert of my children.  Sometimes I feel like I can't carve out enough time to truly enjoy this sweet baby, for she was born in the midst of two other young children with their demands and schedules, and parents that are frankly a little burnt out.  But when I do get to indulge in her babyness I am in love.  I love getting right up to her mouth and smelling her milky breath, and feeling the weight of her increasingly sturdy body.  I am now teaching a couple hours a week at the community college, and while I love getting out of the house, I hate coming back and hearing that she cried, which she does pretty much every time.  On the way back from dinner the other night Sophie was screaming in her carseat and Clint asked if I thought she was our fussiest baby.  I started to launch into all the ins and outs of her and her schedule and the family dynamics, and then stopped and said Honestly who cares, lets just survive and get through this. And so we are.  We are getting through this messy beautiful exhausting time.  And sometimes we love it, and sometimes I cry and throw a pillow at Clint's big head.  Se la vie.