Coming Soon(ish): The Littlest Di Julio

Baby Di Julio announcement

That’s right, folks! The Littlest Di Julio is on his/her way, much to the shock and amazement of all our family members and close friends (and me).

Now, I’m sure you have a lot of questions, so let me answer them as best I can. These are just the basic ones, though; any other questions or comments are graciously accepted below!

Baby FAQs

How far along are you?

9 1/2 weeks! Yes, I know it’s early and common wisdom says to keep quiet until after the first trimester in case anything happens, but folks are finding out because I can’t lie when they ask, so we figured we should go ahead and make it official. Besides, my mother might explode if she has to keep it a secret any longer.

When are you due?

I haven’t had my dating ultrasound yet, but it’ll be mid-May. If my calculations are correct — I’m 99.9% sure which day It  Happened — Baby Di Julio will be born on or right next to Daddy’s birthday, May 20th.

Was this planned or a “happy accident”?

Planned! We decided last fall that it’s time to start our family, and it took almost a year for us to conceive. Not that we were ultra-strict in our efforts (no calendars or temperature-taking); it was more about us building our intimacy than OMGMUSTSEXFORBABIES.

Do you want a boy or a girl?

We’re happy either way, although we both strongly feel like we’ll have a girl. Only time will tell, though (and yes, we will find out the gender — whenever that happens).

How are you feeling?

I am proud to report that I haven’t thrown up once. I’ve certainly wanted to throw up, but I refuse. Mostly, I just feel motion sick all the time (looking at digital screens makes it worse, which is why I haven’t been online much), and I’ve been sleeping 10-12 hours a night. Suuuper lucky, I know. The current struggle is figuring out how to eat. While I don’t have cravings/aversions per se, what doesn’t make me gag changes every day. What worked yesterday may be awful today. I’m told this goes away. Lord, let it be so — I’m tired of eating all these carbs. (Now there’s a sentence no one’s ever said before.)

No, but how are you feeling?

Weird? It’s no secret that until last fall, I never wanted children. To have that suddenly 180 and to now be hosting one is hard. Like, where most girls name their future kids in kindergarten, I’m having to come to terms with the idea of Being A Mom at a 30-year disadvantage. It both feels too real and not real at all. I’m nervous and scared, mostly. I also feel selfish and broken because I’m anxious about “my life being over” and because “I don’t love my baby yet.” But, I will say that excitement and joy are gaining ground. Prayer helps, as does talking to other(!) moms. It’s a process, and I’m trying not to rush to where I think I “should” be and instead be where I am without expectation.

Do you need anything?

People keep asking me this, but I don’t know what to say. Of course we need Baby Things, but after Googling what medicine and I can and can’t take during pregnancy, I’m terrified to look up even the most mundane of lists. Basic furniture has been spoken for, and Mom is already buying onesies. One thing I know I can certainly use, however, is advice on maternity clothes that don’t make me look like I escaped from PT Barnum’s shed. If you’re dead-set on helping out or just want to send a card, email me, and we’ll talk.

Aaaaand I think that’s it. For now, anyway.

If there’s anything else you’d like to know or secret handshakes I’m supposed to learn or suchlike, please leave a comment below or email me!

As always, possums, I appreciate your company on this new grand adventure.

30 weeks and counting…



The State of the Ellie: Be Still

only for you by jeremiahketner

Hoo-boy, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these. And I have to admit that coming to the keyboard is giving me the sweats. That’s not internet hyperbole — I just had to go change my shirt. But there’s a tiny susurrus of bravery keeping me here. Let’s see where it leads, hrm?

It’s been a month and a half since The Quittening. It feels like a year and more.

Every time I meet up with someone for coffee, they inevitably ask what I’m up to these days. Some people don’t know I’m not writing, some do. They all get the same basic response: “Not much. Working part-time at the card store. Otherwise, a lot of reading and video games.” An awkward, confused pause on behalf of my well-meaning friend follows, and I don’t know how to fill it. So we move on and talk about them because it’s more interesting. Their lives are filled with stress and work and excitement and hobbies and families. They’re busy. We know how to handle busy; we don’t know how to handle vast stretches of time with no particular aim.

In this age where busy-ness is idolized, it’s borderline blasphemous for me to say I quit good, productive, praised work to do nothing and am content.

Not that it’s easy. I struggle with the direction I was given, this concept of Stop What You’re Doing And Then Don’t Move Until You’re Told. I’d imagined a new wave of productivity following my author-exit. Projects I’d toyed with and didn’t have time for would burst into life, artwork I’d abandoned would be revitalized, my to-read list would be decimated. That’s how it’s gone when previous ambitions went south; a new venture arose swiftly after a period of rest.

But it hasn’t happened this time. Mostly, I’ve clocked 70+ hours across two Mass Effect games.

See, what I didn’t understand when I laid down my writing work was the depth and strength of the iceberg two years of constant pushpushpush had formed, the hulking mass of mental and emotional resources lurking beneath the writing itself. Quitting left a sudden gap. Like a smoker who quits cold turkey, I knew I’d done the right thing but wasn’t prepared for the sensation of loss, of not knowing what to do with my hands.

But rather than dive head-first into something, anything to fill the void and keep me busy, I’m choosing to be still. Rather than appeasing the fear of irrelevancy and the craving to earn the validation of others via work, I’m embracing a season of unproductiveness. I’m obeying the call to be at peace without striving. It’s odd, and few people understand, but there’s a real happiness in this space. And I’ll stay here until I’m called up again, learning to cultivate life without busy-ness.

So that’s the state of the Ellie, possums: I’m drifting along day-to-day, content for now to rest and do nothing more productive than throw the occasional dinner party. It’s different and weird for me, but I’m embracing patience. Because I laid down what I believed was my life’s work at God’s gentle insistence, I must wait for new directions from the same source, wait for a new heading crafted by the one who draws the maps.

And that, my loves, is worth waiting for.

The writer is out

There’s no good/easy/clever way to say this, mostly because I’m terrified of how it’s going to be received, so I’ll just blurt it out like a teenage girl in the AV Club shouting her crush at the quarterback from a moving car. (Not that I’ve ever done that…)

Here it is:

My dearest darlings, I’m hanging up my writer’s hat.

No more novels, flash fiction, self-publishing, or Patreon.

Not forever, but for the foreseeable future.

It’s not that I don’t love writing (I do), and it’s not that I don’t love Cora and Jack (I do), and it’s definitely not that I don’t love you (I do, so much).

It’s that I’m no longer the person I was when I started this endeavor.

It’s that I’ve tried to keep my writing life separate from the rest of it, and the fruit of that has been less and less joy and more and more angst.

It’s that I’m burned out and frustrated, exhausted and chafing.

I need to rest.

I need to refresh the well with God and friends and family and time with my husband and sex and art and reading and movies and sleep.

I need to see where this writing thing is meant to go rather than where I keep trying to force it.

And, in order to do that, I need to put it down and walk away, at least for a little while.

But please don’t worry about me or my sanity or my happiness. I want you to know that I’m fine—great, even!

This conviction has been on my heart for months, but it was too scary to acknowledge (much less accept). I resisted, rebelled, refused. But eventually the pain of ignoring what I knew in my knower was right outweighed the fear of change and the shame of failing. And here we are.

What’s wonderful is that having decided to Do The Thing, I feel released. Free. I’m lighter, even as I grieve the loss and nurse my wounded pride.

I’m ready. It’s time for a new season.

In practical terms, I don’t know much about the future. The fate of the Forgotten Relics series, when/if I’ll come back to writing, who I’ll become in this new season—they’re each a giant question mark. Perhaps an interrobang.

What I do know is I’m not disappearing. I’ll still be lurking/oversharing on Facebook and Twitter, and you can follow me on Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest for pictures of food and Dean Winchester. Also keep a weather eye on this space for random blog posting.

I also know that I love you.

I may not know what happens next, but whatever it is, I’m convinced it’ll be amazing because you are amazing. You’ve been my cheer-readers, my co-adventurers, my friends. You’ve trusted me when I felt untrustworthy, loved me when I felt unlovable, and continue to do so even now, when I’m saying I need an indefinite break.

Words aren’t enough to thank you for your love, support, and generosity, but the internet doesn’t support transmedia hugging yet, so words will have to do.

Thank you, my lovelies—for everything. See you ’round the ‘verse.

Garnet Dagger haircut FFIX
“Sometimes, you can’t think everything out. You have to listen to your heart.” — Zidane Tribal, FFIX