Minimalism by Judah: Volume 1

I would never call Judah "artsy." He doesn't lose himself in coloring or drawing or creative projects the way some kids his age do. But sometimes, he does catch inspiration and will put a lot of focus and hard work into a project.

And then there are times when he just dashes off a few drawings in about 90 seconds and they come out kind of simple and brilliant and I am cracked up.

The first time he did this was 5 months ago during a strong Ninja Turtles period. I posted that minimalist rendition on my Instagram

At first glance I thought he was just being lazy and 5, but upon closer inspection I realized these are fairly thoughtful and capture the relevant details perfectly: Raph (red) is intense, therefore the mouth. Mikey (orange) is a jokester therefore the tongue. Leo (blue) is the leader and therefore was drawn first. I even love how he ended up putting their eye masks atop their heads (nothing genius there, I don't believe, just cute and gigglesome).

Well, last night we got our next installment of our little man's highly specific form of art. He called us into his room and surprised us with this batch of sketches that, again, failed to impress me at first glance, but which rocked my world when I looked at them more carefully.

 He's not huge into detail, but what he does include is pretty cool.

Am I suffering from mommy-blindness and it's NOT totally obvious who these guys are? Can you name them?

I am not wanting him to churn out many series of these--it's such a cool insight into how his little mind works!


About Us

If you looked at the "about us" tab at the top of the blog at any time in the past 4.5 years, you would have seen that it is a general synopsis of who we are...and that it was last updated before Layla had ever breathed oxygen or escaped my uterus. 

Total obsolescence.

Once in 2013 I rewrote that page, but somehow deleted it before publishing, and was too enraged to cope.  So I just left the old one where it was, and slapped in a little PSA at the beginning: "this is so out of date it's hilarious. Layla, our almost 3 year old, is a fetus in this 'about me' page, so take that into consideration." And even that disclaimer is now woefully out of date.

This is poor form by me because when I visit a new blog I often go to the "about me/us page" to get a feel for the writer and how he or she describes him/herself in a nutshell. Anyone who may have done the same upon visiting here would have likely met a very outdated version of our family. Alas.

Thus I shall now write a new about me page. The old one is archived in August of 2010 where it belongs. 

About Us (as of February 2015)

I am Keight and I do all but 2.4% of the writing here (I calculated it).  

Here is what I looked like one day recently:

I look like this far less than 2.4% of the time.

Some census-y things about me: 

-Birthday: October 2, 1982
-Married to one Jesse Dukes since October 1, 2006
-Mother of a son and two daughters: Judah (2009), Layla (2010), and Noa (2014)
-Born and raised and stayed in Atlanta, GA.
-I have two parents who last May retired after 70+ combined years working at the private school I attended PK-12th grade and moved to St. George, Utah. No, they are not Mormon. Yes, they like to hike and hate humidity. They fly a LOT to come see us.
-I have one sibling, my brother, Tripp, who is 3 years younger than me and lives in Seattle. He looks almost exactly like me and acts almost nothing like me. If that sounds like a winning combo to you, he IS single!

Some more interesting things about me:

-I love spreadsheets. My full-time "real" job revolves around this passion. It is just the right mixture of easy and challenging and fun and zero-stressful. Be envious now.
-I played volleyball in college for Georgia Tech, where I pretty much majored in volleyball (not a real thing) because obviously that was more important than my actual Business major. Whoops. But don't worry, we were freaking ballers. 
-I started loving Jesus when I was 21, and went lots of wild and crazy and broken before then.
-My favorite ministry is marriage. I love talking about how mother-flipping hard it is and how mind-bogglingly fantastic it can be. I also love talking about being messed up.
-Passionately love: cheese, meat and sushi. Goodwill, IKEA and Target shopping. "30 Rock," and "The Office." Harry Potter, ASOIAF, Star Wars and other quality fiction. Thanksgiving, and being made fun of. Straight up authenticity/honesty.
-Violently hate: raw tomatoes, silverware scraping on plates, people touching my face, shoes touching any furniture ever, Bro Country, small talk, refilling my bobbin, the slang word for breasts that starts with a T, wet paper, capitalization (but I'm trying), one-upsmanship and douchebaggery.
-I am an outgoing introvert. I will tell you all about my perineal tear in the first 5 seconds of meeting you, but would probably always prefer being at home reading in sweatpants over being around lots of people.
-Accomplishments: I have an MVP trophy from my 6th grade jump rope team and I was voted Wittiest in my senior class superlatives (as well as "life of the party" and "biggest kid" in the jokey ones). I lay these crowns at the feet of Jesus...but I am still pretty happy I got wittiest.
-Was all about natural childbirth with my first two kids, but maybe not so much anymore.
-Sold out to Jesus; get really fussy when people use Him to push agendas other than Love.
-Lice survivor...just barely.

This is what I look like most of the time. Not the breastfeeding under a conference room table part; just the outfit/face situation.

Here is my husband:
That jacket is red and awesome. It is not Michael Jackson's from Thriller nor Marty McFly's vest. Haters to the side.
Photo by Holli Hamby

He is Jesse. 

You may know him from such things as: being wonderful and hot. See also: the biggest grace-slap in the face I ever received from Jesus. 

Things about Jesse:

-He is a professional Christian. Aka a pastor. His official title is Worship and Discipleship Minister. He also preaches about 12 Sundays a year. He's really good at his job.
-Jesse also attended Georgia Tech (we met there), but he went on a 100% academic scholarship. He double majored in International Affairs and Spanish. He only speaks English and handles local affairs these days. Oops.
-He just randomly decided to learn guitar out of the blue when he was a freshman in college, and he now is a professional musician. Um, that's cool. He's a total panty-dropper playing his guitar and singing about Jesus. 
-Curly brown hair, ice-dragon blue eyes, fabulous butt. People think lots of hot celebs look like him. They should be so lucky.
-Hates cantaloupe, feet-tickles, and boogers, and also the version of me that he first met (can't blame him...she was embarrassing).
-Morning person, people-pleaser, great athlete (like 80% as good as me), gifted listener, unapologetic pun-lover. recovered chronic shoulder-dislocator.
-Is the middle of 5 children born to two full time disciplers.
-Voted "Mr. Senior Class" by, um, his senior class. Which I am told was like Best All Around at their school. I confirm this nomination. (Fun fact: the girl who won the Miss Senior Fancypants is my friend Bethany who is my conversational soulmate, and sang  in our wedding with her talented hubby).

Here is my son:

He is Judah David. (his name means some cool things)

-Most luscious head of thick blonde (but getting darker!) hair to ever grace a preschool.
-Loves his Razor scooter, cereal with milk, being tickled, mayo, fruit, collections, reading (learning), popcorn, swimming, baby Noa, a clean room, "The Little Rascals."
-Hates: potato anything (french fries included), wearing underwear (my little covert commando), mint toothpaste, dressing "snappy" (this means jeans), being cold, seeing mommy and daddy smooch, being alone in his room with the door closed.
-Total firstborn with the drive to win/achieve/be the best/dominate all lifeforms.
-Incredibly tender heart and deep thinker both of which can be easily overlooked due to his brash, wild, stinky, upside downness.
-Was in a published book and had a song written about him before he was born.
-Used to really dislike Mommy and prefer Daddy to a heartbreaking degree until about 3 years old when that relationship blossomed into something completely magical.

Here is my oldest daughter:

She is Layla Embry. (her name means some cool things).

-Born 17 months after Judah. We almost peed our pants when we discovered (on video) she was a girl.
-Boy, howdy, is she ever a girl. Can't get enough pink and dresses and princesses and twirling and sparkles. I wasn't prepared for that.
-Freaking hilarious sense of humor and totally knows it. Will play imagination games all day long.
-Loves so fiercely (her kisses often hurt) and loudly. Is a fabulous sharer.
-Recovering paci addict.
-Chatty, chatty, chatty.
-Loves: ketchup, talking to all humans, music, being in charge, popcorn, baby Noa, getting up from the table, a different doll/stuffed animal every week, quality time/attention, hotdogs
-Hates: being tired (it hates her too...yikes), cleaning up anything, eating during mealtimes (is constantly hungry all other times), cereal with milk, being controlled when she's having emotions, buckling her seatbelt by herself.
-Had a song written about her before she was born.
-Most likely to make us die laughing and die from exasperation in a 5 minute span. Completely charming and wonderful.

Here is my baby daughter:

She is Noa Lou. (her first name means something, and her middle name came after she was born and is also very special).

-Born last October and has already broken my heart by  growing from a tiny newborn to a  4 month old!
-Is the first newborn I have been really fully able and ready to embrace the utter MAGIC of.  I lose my mind on a daily basis from being in flat out captivated by her...not even the stresses of having three are standing in the way.
-Was my hardest, blah-est pregnancy (because I already had two to chase after? because I was over 30?)
-Biggest baby: Noa was born 6 days early at 8 lbs 1 oz. Layla was this exact weight too but she was a day late...so tie goes to Noa.
-Loves: baths (has never cried in one ever ever), making and listening to mouth noises, her bamboo blankets, her hands, MILK, pulling hair, the car and car seat, sweating, assisted standing, blowing out her diaper, her siblings
-Hates: gas, tummy time, being swaddled, back sleeping, staying latched on and not getting distracted, when Layla controls her limbs like a puppetmmaster, the nosefrida (too bad because it works!)
-Has never disobeyed and is currently my favorite child.
-She has a song written about her, but it isn't recorded yet.

Here is my blog. (Its name means something special and kinda weird)

It started the way many do: as a digital baby book when we were first pregnant with our first child. It stayed that way for about a year until Jesse and I made a conscious decision to do more than survive this "simple" life of marriage and kids.

I decided to start documenting our attempts at doing more than just sitting around watching TV.  I took up sewing out of the clear blue, started trying to figure out my style (fashion and home), learned to love hating running (did a half marathon!), fell in love with DIY everything and started putting real thought into my writing (sometimes). 

I don't know how much of any of this I would have stuck with if it wasn't for the blog and the community and accountability that it has provided. Blogging (and my Etsy shop that spun off from my sewing efforts through it) has become a legit second (and third) job for me and has provided a perfect creative outlet from the spreadsheets and mommying. 

There's no real bloggy category that this one fits in because I write about a little of everything, but I hope the common threads--no matter what the topic--are humor and authenticity. The best compliment I can get when I meet someone in real life who has read my writing is to hear, "you are exactly the way you come across online." GOOD. 

As always, if there's something you were wondering that isn't covered here or in the FAQ, feel free to ask. I'm an open e-book (except for some sex and family stuff).

Great t'meetcha!



Why This Pastor's Wife Recommends Reading "50 Shades of Grey" Excerpts to Your Partner on Valentine's Day

Welcome to the first installment of "Keight Reviews of Books She Will Never Read, and then Immediately Stops Talking in the Third Person."

You may have gleaned from the title that I'm a Christian woman married to a professional minister, and, yes, that's right!--I think you and your partner absolutely should read passages* from 50 Shades of Grey aloud to each other this Valentine's Day. But not for the sexy....for the hilarity. Because if you tell me this book isn't a comedy I will tell you your pants are on fire.

Feminism/porn elements aside--for a brief moment only, because they should be/have been considered by people smarter than me--let's talk about the abuse of the English language that is running as rampant in this book as an outbreak of the STDs that it has surely contributed to.

Here are some selected favorites from the book itself:
 sourceI added my own commentary because it's just too easy and fun, but theirs is definitely worth reading too.

"I feel the color in my cheeks rising again. I must be the color of The Communist Manifesto."  WHAT?!? NO. BAD. Why drag Karl Marx into this?

"And from a very tiny, underused part of my brain - probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata near where my subconscious dwells - comes the thought: He's here to see you."  I think there may be very large parts of your brain that are underused, sweetie. And from a part of my stomach where all my bile dwells comes a sensation: gag.

"My very small inner goddess sways in a gentle victorious samba."  My very small intestine is swaying gently at the sight of all this crap in need of passing.

"I can almost hear his sphinx-like smile through the phone." This guy sure sounds like a raging sphinxter to me!

"His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel... or something." FUN!: a choose-your-own-adventure simile for your readers to DIY. That's like as fun as like...something. Somebody, quick, get me a PULITZER!

"I flush at the waywardness of my subconscious - she's doing her happy dance in a bright red hula skirt at the thought of being his."  Does Sherwin Williams carry Communist Manifesto Hula Skirt Red? Because it sounds like it would look real primo in my scrapbooking studio.

I mean is this butchery of the English language supposed to be part of the naughty, naughty bad girl pain? Because it hurts worse than if someone locked my brain in fuzzy handcuffs and whipped it with just horrible, horrible metaphors (as turns out my brain is old fashioned and just isn't into that).

If the writing sounds like Twilight fan fiction, that's because it is. Seriously. How on earth that fact alone didn't stop this book's publication in its tracks is beyond me. And, yes, I purchased and read all volumes of the Twilight saga in about a week. They were no Ulysses, yet they were still harmlessly, addictively enjoyable. Like delicate cardamom-dusted plantain chips...OR SOMETHINGBut as Sir Salman Rushdie said, "Fifty Shades of Grey makes Twilight look like War and Peace," so I cannot be faulted for indulging in those, right?  (to be fair: I read War and Peace last year--just to have actually done it--and I hated it, so what do I know about anything?).

Even if this was somehow a book on biblical marriage (and, spoiler alert, I'm like 60% sure it's not)--written in this "style" of prose, I would still find it offensive just for its terribleness-of-words (with phrasal gems like that, clearly I should be writing all the books). 

I was reading some lists of the top awful/ridiculous quotes from this series, and something kept tickling (in a G-rated way, I assure you) my memory. And then I found the perfect article, and it hit me (figuratively/platonically) why the syntax seems so familiar. OH! Because it's exactly the method of essay-writing that I used in the eighth grade when I wanted to sound fancy and smart like those writers from the Seventeen magazine.  

This misuse of the noble thesaurus smarts more than a riding crop.

The offense: "He puts down his cutlery and regards me intently, his eyes burning with some unfathomable emotion." Cutlery?! Who died and made you the manager of this Olive Garden, ANASTASIA!?

The fix: "He puts down his fork/knife/spoon and looks at me intently, his eyes burning with some unfathomable emotion."

The offense"To be honest, I prefer my own company, reading a classic British novel, curled up in a chair in the campus library. Not sitting twitching nervously in a colossal glass-and-stone edifice." Oh buh-ruth-er

The fix"To be honest, I prefer my own company, reading a classic British novel, curled up in a chair in the campus library. Not sitting twitching nervously in a giant glass-and-stone building."

source: Vulture (many other facepalm-worthy examples found therein)

As when I go back and read my middle school feelings journal, the constant appearance of these kinds of sentences is cringeworthy, and I am embarrassed for the author. You can just feel the affect: she was writing and decided "hmm, it's good, but it needs to sound smarter," and then just flung in a handful of highfalutin words (leaving one to wonder what exactly ended up in the editor's trashcan when all these, PLUS 183 repetitions of the word "Crap!" and 173 "Oh my's!" stayed in the published series).

It is for these reasons and many more that I am giving my endorsement for this book as date night fare: Two enthusiastic thumbs up...and directly into my eyeballs.

Such levels of LOL-inducing nonsense are sure to have you and that special someone laughing yourselves silly, and should guarantee that you will thoroughly enjoy your evening. Because laughter is an even better aphrodisiac than oysters or torture[d phrases].

The only safe word you'll need when considering seriously reading this book and/or seeing the movie:  is NO...or something.

*Online. from websites that mock it.  For the love, do not spend money on this.