Sunday, November 27, 2011

not a metaphor at all

I decided, in my quest to reinvigorate my Spanish, to change the settings on my iPhone to Spanish. Now when I type, I don't get auto-corrected back to English.
I had been afraid that I wouldn't be able to type in English (getting auto-corrected back to Spanish). Except there's a little button to push when typing that has a globe on it, and it will auto-correct to English temporarily. Which is frickin' brilliant.

It's also very sad to me. Because so many English speakers don't even have reason to notice that such a button would be useful. And we don't realize how the rest of the world caters to us, every time they press a button.

Hey, don't get me wrong. I'm proud of the fact that the iPhone and Windows and a host of other technologies came out of our country. I love English, and I feel lucky it's the world's lingua franca. I just wish we understood what a gift that is, and made some small, small attempt to reciprocate.

Monday, November 7, 2011

opening doors

We were blessed with visitors over the weekend. Friends of mine from my year abroad in Argentina visited with their three lovely daughters. Our kids (two languages, three nationalities) mixed and played pirates and held hands through a day at an amusement park.
I greeted my dear, dear friends with delight and made a cake for their middle daughter, who turned three while they were with us.
I spoke in Spanish for the first time in years, and realized, to my amazement and delight, that it still hasn't disappeared. My vocabulary sucks, yes, and my grammar isn't great either, but I still understand my friends, and can make jokes.
What a blessing, to be able to joke and laugh bilingually.
I had trouble sleeping while they were here because my brain was rediscovering whole cities of knowledge it had forgotten. I woke up in the middle of the night, remembering how to say "drop of water" in Spanish. I went over conversations in my head, remembering the correct way to say things.
Now they are gone, and I'm sad, but also thankful. Because that world is there, and now I know it's not as far away as I thought.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

insert cuteness here

It's so hard to record baby talk. Especially when the five year old is talking at the same time. I have a word count my brain can handle each day, and it's usually filled up by about 9:30 am.

However, Julia is talking. A lot. We had lots of words for a while. Now we have sentences.

A few samples:

Julia, why don't you do your puzzle?
"Oooohhh. yeeeah!"

"Angry. Monster. Mama?" (Meaning, Mama, pretend to be an angry monster.)

"Hi Pad? Yes? Sissy, Hi Phone?" (Meaning, Lucy has the iPhone. So can I have the iPad?"

"Mama bye? No. No Mama bye."

"Missing you, Mama."

The last one, obviously, kills me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

another birth book

I read another birth book, "Deliver This", and wanted to put it out there. I have a feeling other home birth vets might not love it--since it presents all the birth options out there (from homebirth to elective (by the woman) caesarian) with equal weight. What I liked was this:
  1. Very few books by people not already convinced of the need to overhaul the current birth system will write so respectfully of home birth or birth centers. I felt like Marisa Cohen tried hard to abandon her misconceptions about natural birth and take it seriously. For that reason, I could give this to someone preparing for birth and felt like I was showing them options, without hitting them over the head with natural birth info that they might see as propaganda. Resources in the back would point them to great books, like Gaskin or Goer who could further guide them.
  2. No one is served by women duking it out over birth choices. Less eye-rolling and more real discussion would do everyone good.
  3. If all women would see the options, perhaps more would do the research on their own, and make actual choices. What breaks my heart in birth stories is not women who make choices different then mine--it's women that wanted one thing, but felt like they got another, without their consent. More empowerment, more responsibility for women preparing for birth has to be a good thing.
So there. Everyone should go check it out. Especially if you know someone who is not sure what kind of birth experience would suit them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

half full. I think.

With the cold and flu season upon us, I am not surprised to find myself fighting something. I've had a cough for the last week, and it does not seem to be going away any time soon. Last year, it seemed like I'd no sooner recover from a cold then I got another one.
Anyway, I say a cough, and that's what I have. No sniffles, no sore throat, none of that awful taste in my mouth or the crushing headache or--you know.
In fact, I feel pretty good about the fact that the last three times I've been sick it's been like this. One or two annoying symptoms, a lot of tiredness, but not the full-blown cold. Maybe my immune system is really pumped! I'm so healthy! This year is going to be different!
Of course, I've been sick-ish a lot over the last month. In fact, it seems (perhaps I'm whining) I'm mostly sick most of the time. It's an improvement over last year, but--not exactly a victory. (Cough. Cough.)
Hmmm. And there I'm stuck. Because I can't decide whether to (sort of) celebrate the cough, or feel like my immune system is going to hell in a handbasket.

Monday, October 17, 2011

math, homeschool style

Lucy has been spending 99% of her free time doing artwork. Lots of artwork. Watercolor, masks, cards, oil pastels, beading, coloring. You name it.
She has not been interested much in say, more traditional school subjects.
So today, I snuck it in at dinner time. We all had cut up veggies with our dinner. As she ate them, she said, "I have six left!"
"But how many sets do you have?" I asked.
She looked, and said, "Three?" We all went around and counted our sets.

Yes, I marked that down as our math lesson on our daily log. Set theory, check.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

the beauty of leftovers

Lately, Dyami and I have been working a lot. A LOT. So dinner has been a challenge. I realized that some nights, I don't have time to cook, but I do it anyway, because I love cooking. It relaxes me, and having yummy food to eat relaxes me even more.
Plus, then my husband cleans up. (Thank you, Dyami)

However, some nights, I don't have much in the way of new food to prepare, and I don't have time to prepare the non-existant food, and we have leftovers from five different meals in the fridge, and I realize that I can do leftovers.

I never loved leftovers as a kid (unless we were talking pizza or fried chicken). But man, as an adult, I dig it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

treasure box

Yesterday, I was folding laundry in the living room, when I heard a crash. I went into the garage, and saw nothing out of the ordinary except for a lone bottle of water toppled onto the floor.
I went back inside. Three minutes later: CRASH! BAM! POW!

I ran into the garage this time, and definitely saw the source of the noise: three storage boxes on their sides, contents partially spilled.

What had tipped them over?

We'd balanced some other bottles of water on the boxes, and one of them had gotten punctured somehow. Half of its contents had leaked out....soaking the top of a cardboard box that's filled with Dyami's and my old papers (school essays we liked, precious letters from friends, diaries). This you probably Would Not Want to Get Wet.

I decided cleaning up the spill took precedence over the laundry.

What might have been a horrible tale of ruined treasures, however, is actually a tale of rediscovered treasures. Only a few things were water-logged beyond repair. I'm lucky I heard everything falling over. The stuff that was most precious to me (namely, a bunch of my letters from college, notebooks I filled while I was studying abroad, etc), were fine.

And so I looked through a bunch of old memories for part of an hour, and marvelled. Because back in the day, I kept me some diaries. Some of them (when I lived in Argentina), I kept in blank-sheeted drawing notebooks, which makes them all the more compelling: space for calligraphy, and drawings, and just jam-packed text. The text isn't super-exciting (though I did find diaries from when Dyami and I started dating, and my entry for September 11th), but the sheer amount of WORDs is quite astonishing.

I left thinking that maybe I needed to start a diary again. Something that feels artistic in my hand, and that I make into more of an art work, a daily practice of working with my hands.

It might mean that I post less here, because the sheer physicality of the memories really charmed me.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 3, 2011

activity

They pruned trees in front of our house today--big old trees, all in a row along the avenue. It required several hours and very large equipment.
I was watching a friend's toddler, and after a few minutes of everyone being frightened by the noise, I explained that the trees were getting a haircut. And that they were chopping up the bits of leftover tree and putting them in the truck.
And then I sat and read while two mesmerized two-year-olds watched the workers. Who knew yard maintenance could be so darn useful?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

home

I had a moment of panic when plans got cancelled. I had childcare arranged, and it fell through, and I have a lot (lot) of work that needs doing. Work with deadlines and such.

And then I remembered that I've been feeling overscheduled lately, what with having something scheduled every single day. For three days, all day is pretty much scheduled. Which is two days too much.

So we have a free day tomorrow. And suddenly, I'm craving it.

Hidden blessings, in the form of open space.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

more red tide metaphors

This one from Lucy: Mama, the red tide looks like blue fairies dancing through the edge of the water.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

wonder

I went out and saw the red tide tonight. Eerie lightshow on the waves, in long ribbons of lumenescent blue.
It struck me that all my metaphors to describe it are from the world of entertainment, special effects and light shows.

My husband makes software to do stop-frame animation, which as an art form nearly died when people started doing computer animation. But funny thing: after a while, we all realized you could do pretty much anything with a computer, and that can get boring. What are we amazed by now? Real things. Real things that awaken us to the possibilities (literally) in our fingertips.

Much as I love computers and the interWeb, I hope I can introduce my daughters to the REAL possibilities out there.

Monday, September 26, 2011

disconnect

I can't blame it on sleep, or a long day of kid-watching, or lack of caffeine. Whatever the cause, my brain's gears never really connected to the motors. Methinks it's time to fold laundry and watch TV and go to bed early.
Thus ends today's brilliant post.

what you really really want

I needed a few minutes of (ahem) privacy. A toddler (who will remain unnamed) was lingering in the doorway.
Dyami called her from the other room. "Julia, come here."
"No."
"Do you want to read some books?"
"No."
"Do you want some hugs?"
"No."
"Do you want some tickles?"
"No."
"Do you want some pinches?"
Pause. "Yes." Toddles away.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

when you know you really need the tea

Boiled water, added the tea bag, added sugar, waited for it to steep, added sugar, took out tea bag, stirred, sipped. Bleh.

So then I...

Dumped out the tea, boiled water, added the tea bag, added sugar, waited for it to steep, added sugar (yes, I know) took out tea bag, stirred, sipped.

Drank it. Because at that point caffeine trumped taste.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

a new game

We created a new game today. I'm thinking about trying to bring it to market.
It's pretty simple: you grab a kid, and then you say, "Ham scramble!" over and over again against their neck.
It's pretty fun. I think it could be huge.

Monday, September 19, 2011

the art of negotiation

Tonight, lying in bed:
Me: Lucy, I'm going to go in the other room now.
Lucy: No, you need to stay for fifty and one thousand minutes.
Me: It sounds like you'd like me to stay longer. How about I stay for another minute?
Lucy: Seven minutes.
Me: How about three?
Lucy: No! Three hundred!
Me, sighing: I'll stay for one more minute.
Lucy: Okay.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

not exactly a stash

I started a skirt project for Lucy. I wanted to coordinate a few colors, so I pulled out my stash.
Such as it is.
Assorted thrifted sheets in 70s prints, mis-matched prints that don't go with anything, very few solids, random discarded clothes, and a pair of old socks.
I know little about sewing, but I know you cannot make a tiered ruffled skirt for a little girl out of old white athletic socks. Well, at least not with my level of skill with textiles.

If I had a little more skill and time to sew, I would plan projects, and order fabrics. But you need know-how and vision to order fabrics. Nothing calls out to me on-line (and in the very limited stores nearby, it's worse).

What does one do to build a stash cheaply? Where do you all shop?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

juxtaposed

Lucy and I have been working our way through Little House on the Prairie. Re-reading it with so much attention (I tend to skip a bunch when I re-read), I'm struck by the ridiculous juxtapositions:
1. Pa builds a bed.
2. Ma does the laundry.
3. The prairie catches on fire and they all almost die.
4. Pa takes off his boots.
5. Someone nearly dies in the well.

After the Indian Massacre, a lesson on doing laundry in the creek!
Or, in our world, a high-speed crash, then let's go to the car detailer.

Ah, Laura. How I wish I was part of your world.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

documentation

Now that we signed up Lucy for a charter school, we will start meeting about monthly with an educational facilitator who checks in on our homeschool progress.
In other words, I show her work samples.
This should not be stressing me out. The woman seems very low-key, Lucy is in kindergarten, and it's not like we need to start bringing in to-scale dioramas of the solar system or anything.
But me being me, I get a little stressed out.

Mostly about math. Because every other subject is pretty clearly covered by what we do at home.

And Lucy has not responded super-well to the math curriculum I've showed her--mostly because writing numbers is still hard for her--even though conceptually, she generally gets it.
And much as I think you can learn some good math from cooking, it sounds like a cop-out. (Yes, she pretty much has covered the standards for kindergarten already. I still need work samples, people!)

But today, she went and learned a little bit of chess at school. (On her first day. She was very nonchalant, as if she'd played tic-tac-toe.) And then we played dominoes. I took a picture of our game, for proof.

Work sample? Check.

Monday, September 12, 2011

a little wolf pack

Lately, when I've been going around with my girls, out and around, or up and down stairs, I feel like I have a little wolf pack about me, a tribe. A different feeling than me with a small child and a baby in tow. A feeling of being in company, rather than just having my hands full.
It is a lovely feeling.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

lessons

In bed tonight: "Mama, here's how you snuggle. You get close like you are a peanut-butter-sandwich. That's snuggling. And it's when you fall asleep together."

Duly noted. Feeling rather warm and gooey. In a good way.

Friday, September 9, 2011

staying still


Disneyland trip cancelled: kid with congestion.
So, we stay still all day.
Power goes out? We're home, snug.
Thankful we weren't moving and grooving.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

no luck

Last year, we planned a Disneyland trip to avoid crowds and still have nice weather, and arrived to crowds and rain.
This year, we planned a Disneyland trip to wait until it got cooler, and the heat wave is stifling.

Next time: just go. Don't plan.

Hmmm. Perhaps words to live by?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

all of a sudden

Fall has come, all of a sudden. Yesterday the air changed, rain dropped, and we changed our plans.
I'd like to think it wasn't a drastic change, but I'm feeling a bit changed myself.

We signed Lucy up for a school. A charter school, mind you, one that only meets one or two days a week, but still, a school. I had been advocating for keeping the status quo, but realized that I was really the only one in our house who really wanted that. Well, me, and maybe Julia.

We drove today to drop off Lucy's enrollment papers, and I walked through the school's resource center. Textbooks, and ten copies of the Little House books, and globes, and a little balance I'd seen in a math and science catalog. It was amazing to see the resources I could get, just for the asking. And I'm curious to see how Lucy will respond to having someone else ask her to do exercises in a math book.

I'm eager, awaiting my girl's first day of kindergarten. I'm a little wistful. But I also have this sense that saying yes to this small change might keep the door open to homeschooling longer than if I were to say no.

So we're going to try it. And we're all going to move forward into this changing season, and hope for more rain.

Monday, September 5, 2011

poet-girl

It rained today. This is unusual here in September, and took us all by surprise. We went east for twenty minutes to attend a barbeque; the smell of the desert of the rain is lovely.
"It's like eating vanilla," said Lucy. "Not the sweet kind, but it's bitter, but it still tastes so good."

Exactly, my girl.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

math rant

I was doing some work the other day and needed to print off the last few pages of a PDF I'd made. So I looked at the page number I was on (35) and the ending page (39), and realized I was getting the wrong answer when I tried to figure out how many pages to print. I think 5+4=9, right? So I'd print 4 pages.
Except I needed to print 5.

This is one of the reasons I want to homeschool. Because I actually did very well in math in school (honors/AP classes, an A in the calculus class I took in college), and I still cannot COUNT and do BASIC ADDITION.
Something very basic about numbers never got lodged in my brain, and I still have this sense that when I use math, I am not walking on firm ground. There are holes in my comprehension, despite the As and the completion of courses, that plauge me. And I never know when I'm going to fall into one.

I would like more than that for my daughters. Despite the math books and my parent's paying attention to which teachers I got, and hiring tutors when I was struggling early on, and my own efforts (taking calculus was not required) I still don't feel like I GET math.

I'd like to figure out how to get my daughters that comprehension, even if they miss the calculus. Because honestly, if they have the number sense, I have a feeling they could figure out the calculus if they needed it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

banner day

Today: Lucy, reading her first book, on her own. Sounding out the letters and making them into words. Recognizing those words again when they came up. Using context to figure out words without sounding them out.
We are all quite excited.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

toy exchange

From swap box in the garage:
Treasure, newly found: homemade felt board.
Three years old. Used as intended*
for the very, very first time.

Finally: the careful cutting's worth it.


*Other uses for somewhat perfectionistically cut pieces: burrito stuffing, pizza making, random mess. Not a bad thing to have the toy played with not as intended, but had I known they were going to be stuffed in a tortilla, I would not have spent hours carefully crafting them.
Note to self: less effort, more joy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

another side benefit to midwifery

Going in for a physical and also getting to chat with a lovely mentor-type person. For like an hour.
I've had doctors I knew before, but they never have that much time...

Monday, August 29, 2011

for dinner

The most summery menu ever:
Pesto pasta with fresh tomatoes, peach and plum cobbler.

Thank you, God.

the sweetest thing

I wish I could bring you a picture of this, but it's not feasible. So:
Imagine one large bed, with two small girls in it.
And me in-between them, at least for a while.

My smaller girl is big enough to sleep with her sister. Her sister is not quite sure about it, yet, since it is hard to let go of dominion of things. And yet she falls alseep just fine with her sister in it.

And me? I get to put them to bed with one on either side of me, getting severely awesome snuggles.
These are some of the best bedtimes ever.

Night, night, girls.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

earthshattering events


Today: I asked: "Lucy, get ready."
You know what? She did it.
Today, I said, "Please clean up."
Suddenly, she was putting things away.

Do this? "Yes." Can we? "Okay."

Does being FIVE make everything easier?


Blessed girl, happy birthday. Whether you're feeling cooperative or not--you are always my girl. Though I must admit, I'm liking five so far.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

you know what I like about babies?

That you're so used to holding them that their weight is particular to you, the way they fit on your hip or rest their head against their shoulders. The weight that is theirs, but also yours, it is so familiar.
That's what I like.

Monday, August 22, 2011

a whole world full of books part II

The books, they are all over my floor. All the time. I know, I know, a good problem to have, but still.

I need a logistics company to handle the inventory.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A whole world full of books

I suggested "Little House in the Big Woods" to Lucy after we went to Old Town. We tried it; she loved it. We finished all but the last chapter (lyrical, but slow) and I saw "Mary Poppins" on the shelf. So we started that.

Just think: there's a whole world full of lovely books we can discover together.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

worth it

Making soup noodles from scratch? Unexpected.
Dried store-bought pasta is simple, sure,
but after tasting hand-made? No return.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

tourist trapped

Today, we went to Old Town. It's a state historical park in San Diego with old-timey houses and lots of Wild West fonts and at least two Wells Fargo stagecoaches. I'd mentioned it as an aside to Lucy as a possible outing. When really, I was thinking it might be better when she was eight, and then only slightly.
Because the truth is, I've been to Old Town before, and have never left impressed.
Old buildings with museums in them with lots of fine print? Dusty streets, with little shade? Many (many) tourist trap restaurants and stores? With a kindergartner and toddler?

No thank you.

But Lucy heard about it and would not let it drop. So it was that we pulled into the (notoriously overfull) parking lot...

and immediately found a space.

Thus began a charmed morning.

The first thing we wandered towards was the blacksmith shop, where a small sign hung out front. "Special event," it said.
What they had were real live blacksmiths who made Lucy a little funny face out of hot iron and then handed it to her to keep. Talked with us for about 15 minutes and showed her how everything worked, their tools, horseshoes, anvils, whatever. We were the only ones there, and Lucy's face was shining.
Then we walked past donkeys, who brayed quite convincingly, through tackle and rein displays, into a schoolteacher "show", in and out of old houses with old toys and clothes in them, saw a chamber pot, walked through the courthouse and appalling jail, and finally, visited a school house, where Lucy sat in a desk and saw a slate.
We ate some extremely touristy mediocre Mexican food (the only disappointment), then went home.

She had been fingering her blacksmith memento and talking about it ever since.

That was just about the coolest historical park I've ever been to.
Sorry for doubting you, Old Town. Trapped isn't quite right. Captured is better.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

first aid

Someone in our house has a little obsession with band-aids.

Scene 1:
Julia: Na-na. Na-na. Na-naaaaaaaaaa! (No, she's not asking for a banana. Sometimes it takes me a while to figure that out).

I give her a band-aid. She tears it open, peels off the sticky tabs, plasters it on her skin. Her eyes glaze over with bliss.

Then she takes it off and throws it in the trash.

Immediately:
Julia: Na-na. Na-na. Na-naaaaaaaaaa!

Scene 2:
Actual injury sustained: a tiny, heart-breaking blister on the pinky toe.
Julia: Na-na! Na-na! (Points to knee).
Heather: You want a band-aid for your toe?
Julia: No!! (Points, more deliberately, to knee.)
Heather: You want a band-aid for your knee?
Julia nods, happy.
I get the band-aid. She grabs it, opens it, and sticks it to her forehead.

Scene 3:
Ointment applied to the bandaging area provides extra relief from symptoms. Ointment is also known as "cream".

Julia: (Still sporting blister) Na-na! Keem! Na-na! Keem!
Heather: (Fetching items). You want them on your toe?
Julia: (Pointing to cream) Mine?
Heather: You need the cream? (Unscrews jar lid. Thankfully, the jar is nearly empty).
Julia: (Sticks finger in. Looks at it with pure joy, then lifts up her shirt.) Belly. (Rubs it in).
Heather: Do you still want this band-aid?
Julia (Nods, grabs. Sticks it to her forehead.)

Bliss.


Monday, August 15, 2011

oh, bath

Oh, bath, you are calling me
I'm coming. Just as soon as the childrens are quiet.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

note to Julia

Waking up at still-dark does only one thing for me:
Helps me catch up on bad reality television.

Please, little one, just sleep in already.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

sissy ja-ja's

Sister's pajamas catch magic in seams;
clearly, Julia can wear nothing else.
Try: sneaking off shirts when eating.
Try: leaving off pants when diapering.
Try: putting anything else on.
No.
Error, error, error, error, error, error.

Try: buying new pajamas; matching pairs.
Sister pajamas in two different sizes.
Also: matching flowered dresses and tights.

Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

listen

Here's something I'm thankful for, Julia:
You aren't quite two. So sometimes, you lose it. You just do--your face is red, you scream, and a thin, glistening string of saliva drips down your chin. Your eyes say: ANGRY! Your eyes say: NO!
Your eyes say: I WON'T!
Then, just then, I say, "Can I talk to you?" I say, "Can you be quiet for a minute, sweetie?"
And you do. You try. You listen, just for a minute. A lot of times, I can help you understand, and things are not so bad.
Thank you dear one, for trusting me to tell you something worth being quiet for.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

too much of a good thing

We live within walking distance of a lot of things. So we walk. Not every day, but often enough. Except I've realized that I throw in the long walks on days that we've alredy had enough walking, thank you very much, and then we go out to run a quick errand, too, and by the girls' bedtime, I am ready for bed too.
I need a Segway.

Monday, August 8, 2011

creative

I don't just start one project. No. When I start one, I think, "Oh, I'm doing so well! I could also start x!"
That goes decently too, so I add Y.
Z looks pretty good too.
Then I give up.

The end.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

magic time

We read books today. Also, we got take-and-bake pizza and watched The Great Muppet Caper. And got to watch our daughter hop up and down as the Muppets catch the jewel thieves red handed.

Sometimes, it seems like we shouldn't be allowed to have so much fun.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

speak up, please. Actually, don't.


Baby says WAAAAAAA. Lucy says, "Mama?
I have a question. (About everything)."

Always, they speak at once. Loudly.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

going back for more

Today Julia was dancing on the bed with her sister and Dyami. She fell forward and hit her head pretty hard on the corner of the dresser. Screaming ensued.
Dyami brought her downstairs to me, and I held her. For about ten seconds. Then she pulled away. Still crying, she said, "Dance! Dance!"
She's a maniac (maniac) that's for sure.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

golden, then black

Lucy came home from camp, and we played for nearly thirty minutes. Games she learned in camp, then games made up, inspired by the camp ones. Wax works and body moving and freezing and balance and trickery. We laughed. We reconnected. It was golden.

Then I realized it was also very quiet.

To the kitchen! Where Julia was discovered with a Sharpie and some (very dry) drawings on our lovely dining table that Dyami refinished.

I was very, very bummed. I scrubbed with rubbing alcohol and then baking soda. I made the marks--and also the finish--more dim. But I did not remove either completely.

Now, writing it, I realize something: sad as I am that the table is marked, it will always remind me of my husband's hard work, and also both of my daughters. Vividly.

Those golden minutes of play. So precious. So (really) worth it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

chow hound

Julia: is my shoulder sweet, dear?
Then please stop biting it. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Goooooooool!

There's really no better cheering section for a father's soccer game than a four-year-old and a (very loud) toddler.
We were so loud we distracted the ref.

Well, they won, so it worked.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

thank you, bathtub

I'm sick and headachy, and we had no plans today, and I was running out of ideas. SO I filled the tub with water and containers, and sat and read while the girls played.
It was a very painless hour, and everyone was happy.
Thank you bathtub. You really came through for me today.

Monday, July 25, 2011

just get up

I woke up at about 5:30 am today to go use the bathroom and because of the early morning light. Then I fell back asleep for 10 minutes or so until Julia woke me.
I felt fine at 5:30, but those extra ten minutes put me right into some crazy sleep cycle. I was groggy and out of it until the afternoon.
Next time, Heather, the extra ten minutes of sleep WILL NOT HELP YOU. Just get up already.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

plane shakedown

So flying back from Michigan a few days ago, I succumbed.
I'd packed little new toys and activities for Julia, but the truth was, I was exhausted, and even the energy entertaining her or reading to her for the ride home seemed like too much.
But we got on the flight, and voila! Individual entertainment centers.

I scanned the menu, and saw it: Little Einsteins episodes, $1 each.

$1 was not to much to pay for thirty minutes (or ten even) of quiet.

I inserted my credit card in the slot ,and sat back, and got out my headphones, and...

Did not get even one minute of relaxation.

What was I thinking? Earbuds for a toddler? Of course she was putting them in her mouth after thirty seconds. The screen couldn't hold her attention if the headphones were out, and couldn't hold her attention without sound, either. She really wanted to press buttons, and not watch the screen, and after a minute fighting her, I realized:
I'd been had. By my own desire to check out.

I put away the earbuds and my expectations of hands-free parenting. I got out the first of the little baggies of fun, and I interacted. And of course it was a lot less taxing than I'd made it out to be. Two hours passed (relatively) quickly, and she finally nodded off to sleep with hardly a protest ("Apple!" She said. "Apple. Apple. apple...app--")

And then I wondered why we all believe that a credit card and a video will solve all of our problems.

Friday, July 22, 2011

loving it


After jet lag, a morning nap.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

oh, dear children

When you are jet-lagged and beyond tired the day after the crazy plane flight, and are rude, and impossible to control, and you refuse even hugs and sympathy, and you melt down because of everything, then we are very sorry, but it is time to go to bed.
Also, it's time for us to go to bed too.
Hopefully we will all feel better tomorrow.

Monday, July 18, 2011

better than fireworks:

when the sky goes dark in fifteen minutes, the wind picks up and blows waves over the lake, and the trees start dancing . The humid air blows away like fog and the fresh air blows in.
The rain starts.
Every so often, the lightening flashes in the darkened sky and you can watch the wind blow it in waves over the waves of the water.
And then, ten minutes later, the lake is glass.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

stillness

Was on the plane yesterday for four hours, sitting next to an older lady--probably in her seventies. She didn't have a book, or an iPad, or watch the movie. She was friendly, but quiet, and just sat. For four hours.
It makes me a little sad that this was remarkable. It feels like it's a rare person that feels calm and still enough in our society to sit still and alone like that for that long. I know I couldn't.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

carrier

It's been a while since I've put Julia in our Ergo. Mostly because she hated it--cried any time I picked it up--so I gave it to a friend who has a 10-month old.
But we needed it this week, so I borrowed it back, gritting my teeth at her reaction.

I needn't have worried. She saw the darn thing, lit up, and immediately wanted to be carried in it.

Ah, novelty. A parent's best friend.

Monday, July 11, 2011

preferences

Newborn preferences: I would like to be held, thank you. And nurse. and sleep.
Baby preferences: Same as above, please. Plus, I'd like to look around and smile.
Crawler preferences: I want to see that! And that! And that!
Walker preferences: I want to walk. NOW.
Toddler preferences. I want to get everyplace I couldn't before. Where do you keep your knives? ALso, I want that shirt on. No, actually, that other shirt. No, the first one. No, both of them. I also want water. No, tea. No, milk. Get me a snack! I'm hot! Get this shirt off of me. No I want it on. I'm done with this diaper! Could you put it on my baby? I want to help! I want to be done! I want to start over! I want the music on! I want it off. I want to dance. I want to lay down. Get me a snack! I want to sleep! No, I'm awake now. Get me a new shirt.
Now I want to be naked! No more shirts, ever.
Except that one right there, that I just had on. Could I have it back, please?
Now, about the knives?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

nothing much

You know the favorite moment of the day? Lucy lying on the couch, me snuggling up next to her, then her giving me gigantic hugs and kisses. And then Julia joining us, and inspiring a tickle fight.
I love how the small moments are the best ones. The ones I will probably remember till my girls have their own kids.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

looking at the globe with Lucy

Blue crooked line, wending through desert,
Tight state lines, heedless of mountains,
Ridiculous lines fixing ebbing seashore,
Drawn on maps, stilling ocean's movement
Magic lines, drawing us into our world.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

tipping point

Today was a tipping point, from having a baby and a kid, to having to kids, both able to be involved in the same activity (cookies/playdough) at the same time.

A not-stressful, yet project-filled day.

And also a day to say goodbye to those other days, that were fresh, and raw, and tender, with newness and needs to be met.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

poetry

I didn't really grow up reading poetry, and I got through nearly all of an English degree without reading much of the stuff. Not intentionally, though I think my lack of familiarity didn't make me jump at the chance to study it.
And then, in my grad studies, I took a bunch of poetry classes, and wrote poetry, and even got some pieces published.
And then I had baby and misplaced my brain somewhere.

However, Lucy and I have been reading poetry together. Children's poetry, which is about my speed these days, but also good children's poetry. Discovering it through her eyes is helping me rediscover it on my own, those little distilled looks at the world, with their incantations, their rhythm and tricks making the language dance on the page, the jokes and riddles buried in the letters themselves.

Ah, childcare. An education. Really.

Monday, July 4, 2011

notes on catching (and releasing) fish

Those fish, they are wily. They do know that behind the bait lies a hook .They must, because 99 out of 100 times, the bait is gone, with nary a bite.
Also, when you do catch them, they go all sideways when you reel them in.
They lie still in your hand as you unhook them. So still you're sure they're dead.
And then, splash, they swim away upright, as if they'd never left the water.

Is there a life lesson in there someplace?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

here we go

Yesterday, Julia decided she didn't need a nap, thankyouverymuch.

Now, as I'm trying to figure out what to post, I realize it's thirty-six hours later and I still have not recovered from the mental shock.

Note to self: The toddler, she has arrived.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

existential conversations with a toddler

Scene: Julia and I, looking in a mirror.

Julia, pointing up at me: Mama!
Me, pointing at her: Julia!
Julia, pointing at herself in mirror: Baby!
Me: Is that the baby?
Julia: nods, laughs.
Me: Are you the baby?
Julia: Nods, laughs.
Me (thinking): Well, not actually. The reflection is an image of you, but not your actual self. Can you understand that, little one, the otherness of the image that is also, well, you?
Julia, pointing at my reflection: Mama!
Me (thinking): Note to self: less caffeine in the morning.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

thank you, car

It took a while for my brain to make the connection, but the light went off last night:
Children in the car=captive audience, hungry for any kind of entertainment.
Into the CD player went the audio book of poetry Lucy has consistently rejected.
"Mama, I love these stories!" she said.
"Poems, sweetheart. And I'm so glad."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

haven't seen that one on a crayola yet

Lucy: "You know what my favorite color is? Blue with sequins."

Monday, June 27, 2011

the nuclear option

Upon me coming up the stairs:
Dyami: Lucy is pretending to be a clown. And if the children don't cooperate with her, she blows up the whole world.
Lucy: Ready? Three, two, one. (Explosion. Well, a box full of Monopoly money flung into the air).
Dyami: Her name is Toodles the Silly Clown.
Me: (Peeing my pants.)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

context

Lucy seems so BIG to me usually; so articulate and capable. And then, we see her surrounded by kids a few years older than her at church, in the celebration for VBS, and I realize: she's just tiny, still. Still just a small person, and so many stages to look forward to.
And then I watch her small shoulders underneath the gigantic camp T-shirt she was wearing, and watch her do hand motions to the songs this morning, and I enjoy the smallness of now.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

better than that magic lamp

If wishes = peaches, who'd need wishes?



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

capture the flag=injure the groin

Notes on camp counseling:
1. Perhaps one should train for it, rather like for a triathlon. Then when you volunteer for capture the flag, you can not injure yourself, or feel like dying afterwards.
2. It is gratifying to play capture the flag against fourth grade boys. Because in fourth grade, they were scary, and you could never have captured the flag. And now that you're twice their size and (even if out of shape) faster than them, you actually have a fighting chance.
3. It's also kind of fun to accidentally take down a group of said boys (not exactly a tackle, more like running into several of them, like dominoes). And I, personally, never would have as a fourth grader, and now I can without worrying about dying or getting injured. (And not injuring them either).
4. One game of capture the flag is enough.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

she didn't learn this from me


Lucy: "Everyone, welcome to the baby sale! Get your babies here, in a cage! One dollar! You have to buy the cage here!"

Monday, June 20, 2011

exercise

Before I had kids, I volunteered once with our church's VBS.
Let's just say it wasn't the biggest success. I mean, no one died, but I think after I finished each day, I felt like taking a three-hour nap, and by the end of the week, I was wondering how I'd ever have kids.

So now that I do have kids, and they are attending the camp (or at least my older one is), I vacillated between two poles: the feelings of guilt and obligation to do my part, and the fervent desire to still be alive at the end of the week.

I decided to volunteer.

So I was a little nervous this morning, the first day of camp. And then I did my job (a different one, this year, one that was a better fit), and I actually had fun. And I am tired at the end of the day, but considering how much energy I put out all morning, I'm doing pretty well.

Here's the thing: I am a lot more used to kids now. Apparently, this childcare thing is like exercise, and you can actually get more stamina.

Who knew?

Now I have to plan a crazy hairstyle for tomorrow to amuse my kids, and go to bed early, to make sure tomorrow is as high-energy as today.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

the little graveyard

So our ant farm has (mostly) been a success. For us.
For the ants, not exactly*.

Apparently when the ants die, their sisters drag their body parts over to a little pile at the edge of town and leave them there. Along with yesterday's lunch and other debris.

Lucy's quite matter-of-fact about it all. "Look, Mama! That ant died, and the other one is carrying its head over there!"

Not sure what lesson we're teaching here, but we're definitely teaching it. Right now.

*I think the normal life span of a worker ant is only a few months, so it's hard to tell if our care has hastened the demise. They always had food, and water, but I think I moistened the sand just a little too much at the beginning, and it's seeming a little funky in there. But then again, don't ants like moldy things? Hmmmm.
Perhaps I feel less than optimistic about the goldfish we're supposed to buy tomorrow...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

if your child asks for an egg, will you give him a snake?

I grabbed a fresh, ripe peach from our fruit bowl and held it up for Julia to see. "Do you want a peach, Julia?"
She shook her head. "On-yon,*" she said.

No wonder her grandfather calls her a spicy meatball.



*Just to be sure, I asked again. "Onion?" I said. She nodded. "On-yon."
This is a girl who asked for chili oil, tasted some, coughed as if we'd just had her sample a cigarette, and then signed, "More!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

not a good sign

Today, Julia woke up at 5:30 (again) and Lucy was tired all morning, and I was tired, and Julia was tired, and we were all cranky and yelling for no particular reason, and short on patience.

Dyami and I had to get something notarized, so we walked to the notary with the girls. We got there and I had forgotten my ID. So we walked back, got the ID, and drove there.

Then I had to sign my name. My full name, middle and all. As the guy told me while I was writing.

This shouldn't have been tricky.

But you'd be wrong! Because I forgot the middle name.

"It's okay," he said. "Just sign again below, and initial it."

I tried that too, but left out two letters from my last name. Then I wrote HCC, instead of HLC.

I decided it was good enough, because I wasn't going to sign a third time and initial my initials.

Then I went home and waited expectantly for naptime. Which thankfully, doesn't require signatures.

Monday, June 13, 2011

of course

Something about the husband being gone from breakfast past dinner immediately introduces the day-long, low-grade headache. The kind you get from variations in hormone levels or barometric pressure.
My body's way of telling me how much I love my husband?
Oh, sweetheart, let me count the ways (you make me take Tylenol...)

mouths are useful

I had some dental work done late last week. I'm amazed at how useful my mouth is, and how little I think about it. Chewing, spitting, swallowing, sucking at straws, flossing, drinking hot things, self-cleaning mechanisms; all of these things are interrupted by these (not very severe) injuries I've sustained.
However: I did need to eat more ice cream to heal. So there was that.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

the beginning of the end

Today and yesterday, Julia's naps were teenie weensie. Too small to count, really. I'm remembering that Lucy was close to this age when she started skipping naps. I'm also remembering how much someone whined and cried when those naps started stopping. Plus Lucy was fussy too.

Sigh. Early bedtime, methinks.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

good thing it was free...

We visited the Natural History museum today. It was the free Tuesday for the month. Lucy wanted to go. She wanted to go today. And I thought: will it be worth it, when it's swarming with people?

Hard to say. We stayed maybe an hour, and hardly looked at anything. After all, it was swarming with people.

However, with a toddler there, we likely could not have devoted tons of time to the exhibits after all. So I felt thankful to not have plunked down $20+ bucks for the pleasure.

Also, because it was not so fun, we went down the row of museums to the Model Railroad museum. Which I've wanted to visit with her, but haven't, because I'm not going to drive that long just to go see model trains (that I don't know if Lucy will _love_), and we're usually exhausted after the dinosaur exhibits.

But it was free too, so we saw it, and we got to walk around the park, and enjoy a display of birds, and just feel lucky to enjoy a free day at museums, and sun, and excitement.

All worth the price of admission, I think. And the swarms of people.

Monday, June 6, 2011

loss

My hard drive died about a week ago. Luckily, my husband works with computers, so he was able to install a new one.
One problem: our pictures and videos of the girls weren't backed up. Thankfully, older ones were (but there's about a year's gap). And also thankfully: I had just made a photo book of the last year's pictures, so though we don't have digital copies, we do have printed ones.
But the videos. Oh, the videos.

I keep trying not to feel sick to my stomach about the loss. I keep not quite succeeding.

And yet, it's made me realize: all of this time, all of this unique nowness of our girls--there's no real way to capture it. Even the videos we have of Lucy of her first words, steps, laughter don't bring back the little girl of them. They only remind us of what was, but in hindsight, I can't really remember what they were like. I can't keep the video going in my mind once it's over. I have lost those moments.
Now there are just a few more lost.

So here's a list of the doubly-lost moments. Just so they aren't completely gone:
Julia roaring like a lion.
Julia "reading" books to herself, in her baby talk.
Lucy and Julia taking turns on Dadda's shoulders, marching through the house, with Julia screeching with delight.
Dancing. So much dancing. Plus a recap of another (possibly) lost video, to the Killers "Human".
Greeting our Ojai cat and saying "Meow meow."
First food. Whatever that was.
Funny nudie toddler walking.
Lucy's fourth birthday: the endless (and fruitless) bashing of the pinata.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

bedtime redux

Bedtime has been better. Better better better.

Notes to self for bedtime:
  1. One parent for bedtime routine for both girls. The other one gets a break (bonus) and the "on" parent seems to be more able to create an experience (read: pretend games) and less likely to overwhelm the child with barked orders that were just barked by the other parent.
  2. Pretend games. Pretend games. Pretend games. The child will bite and play along. Just suggest a pretend game, and go with it.
  3. When they start ignoring, disobeying, going deliberately slow, keep voice happy and see if ignoring the misbehavior for a minute will solve the problem. Often it will and you can go to the next step. And happy moderately cooperative child is much faster than unhappy uncooperative child.
  4. Happy bedtime=worth it. Today we discovered shadow puppets and I got kisses under the covers when I sang the lullabye with the help of a penlight. Nothing like little-girl kisses in the twilight.
So: bedtime is better.*
Any other bedtime tricks for the less-than-patient parent?

*At least for this week.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Yes, it was a long morning.


Why yes, that is black tea. In the tub. With baby footprints in it.
Why do you ask?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

just a spoonful of sugar

Oh, bedtime. Bedtime, bedtime, bedtime.
Not the best time of the day over here. Lately, it's been like pulling teeth to get Lucy to bed. She fights it, she is rude, she has a bad attitude, and the parents aren't much better.

Today, she was stomping up the stairs in a huff when I insisted it was time to do so, and I decided to try ignoring her bad mood. I decided to distract her, instead.

I suggested using her new flashlight to find her pajamas. Which delighted her. She found the pj's. She found her toothbrush. She found her stories and did it all in record time. We told her story under the blanket, we giggled and snuggled. We both had great fun.

Sometimes, the problem isn't her. Sometimes, the problem is me. Well, not me, but the end-of-day blah-ness that makes it hard to think of anything besides what I'm going to do after the children are still and quiet for the first time that day. It's hard to be creative at bedtime.

Hard. And so, so worth it.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

not a deal

I subscribe to various frugal/deal/we're saving you money.

They often do. Save me money, that is.

Sometimes, however, they do not. They really do not.

It all comes in reading the fine print. Or not even the fine print; the print that is smaller than the headline of the deal: "$50 dollars of groceries for $25!"
In this case, the fine print was: shipping flat rate of $5.99 for 5 pounds.

On first read, this sounded pretty good. For the things I buy online, 5 pounds is plenty. But for groceries? When the item that seduced you into the deal was that case of almond milk?

'Twill not be less than five pounds, I daresay.

Which I discovered after securing the deal, browsing the site, and realizing that
a) nothing I really needed was light, and
b) the things that were light, I didn't really need.
c) If I factored in shipping on what I had intended to purchase ($33 for shipping!!!) the cartons were definitely, definitely cheaper at Trader Joe's, where I usually buy them. And I wouldn't have to fill up my garage with a case.

I bought a few toiletries that will get used, though they are not in huge demand right now, and decided that I will henceforth read everything twice. And then wait an hour. And still maybe another hour, before clicking, "Count Me In!"

Monday, May 30, 2011

signs of life

Today we planted some seeds in pots and watered them. A few weeks ago we got an ant farm. Now, we're talking about a goldfish.

It seems that life is a little relentless with children. That newness, that discovery, that growing messiness pokes its head up through the established patterns of adulthood. So that pets, and dirt and growing things get in all of the tiniest places. And take over.

appliance shopping

At Best Buy:

Julia, walking over to the first in a long line of refrigerators: "Food-food?" I open. She moves to the next one. "Food-food?" Repeat. Again. Etc. They have a lot of fridges in Best Buy. All of them empty.

Upon seeing a Hello Kitty toaster Lucy said, "But Mama, I need a Hello Kitty face on all all my toast."*

And another appliance we will not be purchasing for our kids: A beer keg. But Lucy wants that too. Thankfully, that did not have Hello Kitty on it."

*Yes, ON the toast. Seared. Also available: Your favorite baseball team logo, and who knows what else. Perhaps we need the Caliri family crest.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

idyll

Today, my girls and I walked around our neighborhood scoping flowers to pick*, all of us in spring skirts, ribbons in the sisters' hair, a basket with a checked cloth in it.
It was all springy and idyllic, and I felt kind of embarrassed, because it made me look a little Stepford.
Then Julia started screaming, and laying down in the dirt and rolling around, and I felt a little better.

*Does anyone else feel really weird about picking other peoples' flowers? It's one thing if you're a kid and you do it, but to be the adult, egging them on, is that weird? Because I feel both weird and awful, like I'm encouraging graffiti. And then I feel very Type A for feeling weird.
I feel better getting that off of my chest. But still a little weird.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

toddler brain

(Inside Julia's head)
No! I want the bag of banana chips. You know what I want. Don't try to give me chips in a Tupperware. It's NOT the same thing.
Now you're insulting me. A sandwich baggie? It's not called a banana chip baggie. It's called a sandwich baggie. Bag! Now!

Blueberries, you say?

I love you mama. And blueberries. Both. Best mama, best blueberries. Mmmm.

Wait, Look what I just found! A sandwich baggie full of banana chips! Perfect accompaniment to these berries. Mmmmmm.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

help

I did it.
I called a housekeeper.

I resisted for a long time. There have been times help just wasn't in the budget, but we're feeling blessed enough to have some funds for now.

But really, I just resisted the idea. Resisted having someone in my space. Resisted the idea that I couldn't keep up with stuff myself. Resisted.

And now, what has changed? Well, two children, plus more homeschooling work from one, plus increased ornerieness from the other, and then a work project on top of it. And reading a few essays on how accepting help helps keep us moms sane.

Also, my floor hasn't been vacuumed in weeks. And not because it doesn't need it.

When I started asking my husband for a birthday gift of an hour so I could vacuum, I decided it was time. Time to give myself the gift of someone who actually has the time and patience and the renumeration to give my house the attention it deserves. Time to stop stressing about not being able to clean the toilets, again. Time to be able to see through our windows.

She can't start for a few weeks, and suddenly I CAN'T WAIT.

Help.

Monday, May 23, 2011

the horror

It's a peaceful day in the house; girls playing peacefully, birdies chirping outside. Mother does a quick pick-up while everyone's occupied. She picks up stray bits of paper, a stray sock, a puppet, a lego, another stray sock, a crayon.
She pauses, looks back.
(Cue creepy, scratchy music)
The sock. That white little girl sock she just picked up. How did it get back on the floor?
******
It's bedtime. Everyone carefully takes off their clothes, shoes socks, and dons footed pajamas. They put all the clothes into the laundry bin, and crawl into bed. Except--wait.
(Cue creepy, scratchy music)
The socks. They've reappeared. Somehow.
Everyone looks at each other nervously.
********
Putting the laundry into the wash, Mom scans the floor for strays, adds detergent, then closes and starts the machine.
(Panicky violins)
The tiny little girl sock! There's one on the floor. Wait. Is it--smiling? Laughing maniacally? Mom screams and slams the door to the house.
*********
Girls asleep, Mom and Dad get ready for bed. They brush teeth, turn off lights, then fold back the sheets.
One small girl sock lies still at the center of the bed. So peaceful, so white, so ribbed. Then, without warning, it strikes.
(Blackout)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

oh, dear

Yesterday, some kind of switch was flipped in Julia. When she didn't get her way, she screamed, "NO!!!" and stamped her feet, multiple times.
Ahem.
I knew that was coming, but it always takes one by surprise, no?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

secrets of homeschool autopilot

Buy lots of different kinds of paper. Long strips, tracing, graph. Place them on a table. Kick your feet up and read all day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

school supplies

We started setting up our kindergarten today. We have some snazzy workbooks coming in the mail. Also, we bought beginning-writer-friendly lined paper, and some big paper strips with lines, and chunky pencils, and tracing paper, and a set of drawers to store them all in.

Lucy told all of the store clerks she was starting kindergarten. She sat down at her desk when she got home. She drew pictures on tracing paper, and it was hard to convince her to come eat.

I'm loving this.

Also, I'm very confused. What exactly did I say differently that has created such enthusiasm? Is it something in the water?

I shall ride this wave as long as it lasts.

Monday, May 16, 2011

kindergarten...redux

"Mama, I want to go to kindergarten," Lucy said today, on the way home from the park. We were walking leisurely through our neighborhood under sunny skies, after having just played in the sandbox, bounced on the teeter totter, and slid down windy slides.
I paused. We have had this conversation before. "What exactly are you hoping to do at kindergarten?"
"Well, learn to read and write. And have recess. That's when I'd get to play with my friends."
If satisfying her need for kindergarten was so easy, I'd jump for joy. "If we sat down in the morning with some writing books, and learned to read and write, then you went outside for recess afterwards, could we do kindergarten at home?"
"Yeah! And could I have a desk? With a drawer for pencils? Or maybe Dada could make me one?"
"Sure!" Please, let Ikea have one.

I'm hoping her need for school is satisfied with these techniques. It could work. If it doesn't, I've been looking into local charter schools for a hybrid program. I'm not thrilled about doing a charter (someone looking over my shoulder, "work" I have to supervise and hand in on someone else's schedule, up to four days of my daughters not being together the whole day, and standards tests that I don't really see the value of, not to mention some of the issues with letting the state coopt homeschooling) but I'd rather do that, I think, then a full-day public school with less room for homeschooling. I'm hoping if we do enroll her someplace, it will be a positive experience, that she will be motivated to let me guide her because that's part of the bargain of being in the school, and that listening to her and honoring her desire for more structure will build trust and maybe lead to more homeschooling in the future.

But. We will see.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

crowned...

one artistic aunt
+ three big poster-sized paint samples
+ glitter glue and markers
-------------------------------

Friday, May 13, 2011

lurching towards wisdom

Perhaps wisdom comes when I think:
"I can't do that for her."
"It's not my place to fix."
"Let me stay silent right now."
"I bet they'll solve it themselves."
and "They are capable. They are."

Instead of fixing, I'm just...waiting.

Monday, May 9, 2011

post mother's day

My lovely husband and daughter got me a fab dress for Mother's day. A summerish dress, with pockets for easy use in the park. Today, I proudly wore it for its first trip.
But instead of cooperating, the weather decided to sprinkle on us. Sprinkle!! In Southern California!! In May!!
I feel betrayed*.

*Not really. But I wish the weather had cooperated. Plus, I'm a little brain-dead after an early morning.

Friday, May 6, 2011

everyone needs one

"We saw a huge black widow today, Dadda," says Lucy.
Dyami looked at me.
"A house spider," I said. "Small."
Lucy, not to be fazed, said, "House spiders are helpful. They eat bugs and things and keep houses clean."
"Wow," said Dyami. "Do they vacuum and everything?"
I stopped. "They should. Eight arms? Man."
I need me one of those spiders. Maybe a few. Except slightly bigger, like Lucy said. With microfiber cloths tacked to their wiggly legs.
A woman can dream.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

lesson learned

When you're looking for important documents, get someone to hold the baby. Let them hold the baby while you flip through the filing cabinet. Without the baby, you will flip carefully, without fear that the baby will not only flip but empty. Flipping carefully ensures you will not miss the important bunch of documents, and think they were lost on an important errand or (possibly) misplaced by your spouse.

Have someone else hold the baby and you will not burst into your spouse's office and accuse him (or her, since this is hypothetical, right, and in no way based on real events, probably) of moving the files and leaving them someplace. You will not spend an hour tearing through your house, trying to breathe, but failing, since the documents with all of your personal data were probably placed in the car, which just spent days at the shop, with the documents in them, %$#@%!

Nay, have someone else hold the baby. That way, you will just see that the documents are there upon careful examination. Right there in the filing cabinet. They are there, where they always are, and you won't embarrass yourself with accusations or flights of fancy, or panic.

Just hand that baby over now, please.

Trust me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

pink. pinkpinkpinkpink

Lucy's room is very pink. PINK. We went with the lighter shade, the one that did not remind me of pepto-bismol (one shudders to think what that would have looked like). Yet the pinkness of her room is very overwhelming. In the twilight, with the one lamp lit, it is like being in the pink light district.

Needless to say, it is not the color I would have chosen.

However, it is what Lucy wanted. Also, since it is a color, the room looks immediately more inviting. We rearranged the furniture to create better space for play and better flow, and I'm already looking at the walls, wondering how to make it even cosier. How could I put up her art and pictures, create interest on the walls, make it hers?

Welcome to our home, color. It's nice to have you back.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

new things

Besides the excitement of the gas leak scare, we've been having a few busy days. After we came back from evacuating, we welcomed painters to our house to paint some accent walls. We evacuated again to the zoo to give them time to paint two walls downstairs without young children dipping fingers into the paint. Then, just for fun, we added a mommy's night out, an early-morn dentist appointment, and a feverish, fussy baby all day, and we're sort of wandering around our house, wondering where things are, and what time we get to go to bed.

But: paint! (Yolo Colorhouse shown here: Water 06) Lovely and so perfect, and as satisfying as accent walls can be when the rest of the walls are still (sigh) white. But it's better! And it actually looks like people live here semi-permanently.

Also: we got an ant farm today. The ants are busy making their house a home, as are we.

So, ants, paint, zoo, dentist, and a snuggly, feverish baby. It did not feel like it was going to be a great day this morning, but it turned out to be lovely.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

so much excitement I can hardly stand it

Late this afternoon, upstairs folding laundry, I smelled a peculiar smell. First, it reminded me of the fragrant days living within range of the Houston Ship Channel. Then it just smelled like gas. Lots of gas. In and/or around our house.
I saw Dyami outside. "Do you smell that?" I yelled.
"Yeah," he said, very calmly. "Get the girls and come out here."
I grabbed* my purse and the keys and went outside.

Thus begun a peculiarly leisurely "emergency". We called SDG&E, and they pledged to send a technician before midnight. I walked the girls over to a local restaurant while Dyami waited outside of our house. He loitered there for a few hours, kind of looking like he was staging a sit-in.

By the time Julia, Lucy and I ate** and came back, the gas smell had dissipated. SDG&E still wanted to come. We moved indoors (no smell, no danger??) and evaluated our options. I decided to take the girls to my parents (conveniently) empty house. DYami would stay home, sleep at home, and wait for the technician. And probably watch basketball.

In the end, the technician came (after the girls were asleep off-site), and declared our house fit for habitation. "We got a lot of calls today," he said. "It was probably a ship, or a factory, or something, but no one's fessing up."
Ah, well. We're all safe, and key youngsters are asleep, so I'm happy.

However, I am ready for a very hot bath.

*Ironically, I have been preparing some emergency supplies. None of which were used in this adventure.
**During the dinner, Julia was extremely fussy. I gave her my iPhone as a last-ditch I've-got-to-eat-dinner gambit. I looked over two minutes later and saw (no joke):
CIA NET
PASSWORD:
Hot diggity, did I scramble to get that thing back and undo whatever she had been doing.
Note to child: Do not hack our country's intelligence agency before you're old enough to use the potty.

Friday, April 29, 2011

no such thing as last place

Lucy's first upstairs? She's the winner!
Lucy's last upstairs? Still the winner!

Me: posting last: winner! winner! winner!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

easter: the aftermath

I like Easter. As a Christian, it's an astounding holiday. As a churchgoer, I like Ash Wednesday better (fewer people, and the service is usually a little more focused on God then proving how cool the church is to all of the visitors).
Howver, I've not done much easter celebrating (kid-style) since I was a kid. So:

We decorated eggs with cousins and hid them around our yard-away-from-home on Sunday:
Lucy had fun finding them.

And then we had two dozen hard boiled eggs and a three hour drive ahead of us.
I hate waste, but we threw away a lot of eggs. Those I could, I ate and I saved the shells. Which I put into a baggie.
Then, we made a little collage this morning. Which brings me to my question:
That little rubbery skin that makes the shell stick together? What is that exactly? Will it rot if you attach it to paper with glue? Or is it benign?
The collages were fun, but not terribly beautiful. Eggshell (with or without the rubbery skin) is not easy to work with.
And now Easter is over, except for some strawberry/Easter baskets and some toffee.
Next year, I'm hoping to have the chance to go to all of the Lenten/Holy Week services, and get more into the Easter service. So that I can have my egg dyeing and my contemplation too.

Monday, April 25, 2011

home home home home home

We came home.
The trip was lovely: lizards and friendly cats, family dinners and cousins decorating eggs together, our first easter egg hunt, and gospel music to celebrate the Christ; living in a house decorated in warm, rich earth tones (instead of beige and white), live oak trees and long walks to the library, wading in a creek bed, lots of mud pies, bath times to warm toes, and many meals on a picnic table at sunset.

But. We're home. The air is softer here, close to the ocean, and the girls spent an hour at their play house, just enjoying the flowers newly dusting the ground. I did a load of laundry and went grocery shopping, sorted mail, and laid on our carpet. I made plans with friends, and anticipate (longingly) an early bedtime.

Home, home home. Lovely as our sojourn was, we are home.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

chicken?

I've never thought of a chicken as a lovely bird. Obviously, I've been blind. And it's not just because my girl is holding one.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

music appreciation

Being that we're in a small town for a while, the radio options are limited. I usually listen to NPR, but no reception. So: yesterday on a longish drive, I turned on the classical station.

Usually, Lucy tells me to turn down NPR, so when she told me to turn it up, I did.

We listened to various pieces I wasn't familiar with. I asked her what each piece made her feel, what instruments she recognized. She liked the more classical stuff, and did not like a contemporary piano quartet piece. I told her a story (vaguely Firebird-esque) to another piece that was slightly lyric and spooky.

Not once did either of us get sick of it.

When we get home, I might start listening to classical, and not just the news. Less fighting, more soul. For both of us.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

no, really, it's a science project.

"Mom?" said Lucy. "Pumpkins rot, right?"
"Yes, honey."
"What doesn't rot?"
"Do you have any guesses?" (I'm thinking: all those dried fruits you eat endlessly?)
"Well, I think pears don't."
"Pears don't rot?"
"Yeah."
"You think we should test that out?"
"Yeah. We'll get a pear and leave it out, and see if it doesn't rot."
"Okay."

So if you come over to our house and see a rotting pear, that's why.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

makes perfect sense

Today:
Julia: Ba-ba.
Me: You wanted berries?
Julia: Da. (yes)
Me: Not now. It's time to brush teeth.
Julia: (Nodding.) Ba-ba!
Me: You ready to brush?
Julia: (Nodding.) Ba-ba!
Me: Can you say brush?
Julia: Ba!
Me: Can you say tooth?
Julia: Ba!
Me: Look at you, you big talker!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

honestly?

I've been having another doubting moment with homeschooling lately. Lucy again asked to go to kindergarten: please please please may I go to kindergarten, and said she didn't want more special mama time and did not like her sister, or being at home, and everything she was saying was right, and we were wrong and nananana she wasn't listening any more.

It was a real confidence booster.

I feel for the girl. It sounds like she wants to go because big kids go to kindergarten (no not all of the big kids we know go, but apparently the ones that count do). Also, she just wants to.

I know it frustrated me immensely as a child when I didn't have a choice, or a say. Ironically, that's one of my reasons for homeschooling, because so often school is all about doing things because other people think they're important.

So: it's a dilemma. Here's a place where my child is calling out for choice, and I don't want to give it to her.

We'll try it, we'll make something work.

But it's funny, the argument, and her lack of enthusiasm for our days has left me questioning the whole endeavor. Perhaps if I were more trained, less of a messed-up person, more perfect in some way, I could guide her more ably. I don't think being trained or perfect would prevent her from wanting to go to school, mind you. I don't think that's about me as much.
Or: Is she really learning anything? is this time as rich for her as I'm thinking it is? Is she bored with our life? Is she longing to escape?

Feh.

Thankfully, the day after our fight, I suggested building a treehouse for her fairy dolls. We got her started with bark and sticks and leaves and such, and now there's a fort with escalators and beds and banquet halls. (No, not fancy, just imagined). It's lovely, and rich, and we're going on three days of her going out there to work on it and play.

Something is going right, even if everything isn't.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

meow meow

A friendly neighborhood cat visited today, and Julia really connected the name, the sign, and the sound she made.
Once it left, she started wandering around, asking for the cat. Except she didn't use the name, or the sign.
"Meow, meow?" she'd say. "Meow meow?"
Might have to buy a cat, just so I can hear this more often.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

canny

When Julia doesn't want to do something (get in the car, the stroller, or go to bed), she flings her arms around me and holds on for dear life. Sometimes she throws in some kisses.
Clever. Very clever.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

mixed together

Julia is a spicy little meatball, in the words of her grandfather. She reaches for the salsa, likes her chicken with plenty of garlic, and dips her finger in chili oil, coughs, and then reaches for more.
She also says yes like a German: "Da."
She honors her forebears, that one.

Monday, April 11, 2011

orange spider

I saw you again today. How are you so orange? How do you move so quickly? Are you an aphid, or an arachnid.
So many questions, and all for something so small.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

pros and cons

Weighing the pluses and minuses of downsizing for a month:

Plus: less laundry! Minus: Fewer clothes. When I'm cold. And wouldn't mind a coat.

Minus: Less space. Children underfoot. Plus: When I sweep, it takes five minutes.

Plus: More outside space. Minus: More skinned knees (gravel=ouch).

Plus: Fewer toys = less mess to clean up. Plus: Kids seem happy with the ones we have. Plus: They play outside anyway.

Plus!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

our adventure today

eating lunch in the clearing created by oak leaves, attempting to climb said oak, and watching bluejays cavort through the tree's crown. Also exciting: wind blowing through the eucalyptus leaves far, far above us.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

an adventure

So we did it. We packed up our car, hired a housesitter, drove north, and are staying in my husband's home town for the month of April. We rented a small (lovely) house out among some trees, and are living a pared down existence for a few weeks close to my in-laws and Lucy's cousins.

We left behind toys and clothes and extra rooms, and are making do with:
-three rooms, total (though it's a pretty spacious smallness).
-one very large backyard
-crayons, watercolors, paper
-potholder loom
-watercolors
-fairy dolls
-scissors, tape, glue
-pail, shovel
-bike
-as many books as we can get from the library
-dirt.

So far, so good. I think the play has been more involved than average with 1% of our toys and supplies. Shall I do another purge when we get home?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

treasures...for those who are looking

Easter is a approaching. Last year, no easter basket, no easter crafts.
This year, I'm thinking ahead. So when we got some strawberries that came in little green mesh plastic baskets, I pounced.
I saved them. Then I bought some yarn at the thrift store.
I told Lucy we were going to weave. She grabbed the supplies, ran into the bedroom, shut the door, and was gone for about a half hour.
If this were a craft blog, the result would not look like a plastic strawberry basket with yarn on it. However, this is not a craft blog. This is a blog that is all about enjoying four-year-olds and how much fun they can have with things like yarn and recycled strawberry baskets.
We shall do more weaving tomorrow, methinks.

Monday, April 4, 2011

tree friend

We've gotten kind of friendly with a local oak tree. Here's what I've seen:
Tiny bright orange spiders speeding over wood,
Little green caterpillars descending from branches on thin strings of silk,
Acorns bored through with those same little caterpillars,
Feathery flowers like chenille stems littering the ground,
The green heart of the acorn, waxy and oblong,
Little oaklings (encinitas) popping up with acorns tethered to their roots.

Ah, tree. Thank you for befriending us.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

happy in a box

At the farmer's market: three pints of strawberries, or two pints of strawberries plus one pint of blueberries for a dollar more.
Happy plus blueberries for just one dollar?
Sold.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

let's try for a different kind of exciting

1. The sudden unexplained crying in the library. When explained, it turns out that the oldest's mild cough/runny nose is now a full-blown ear infection. That does not initially respond to Tylenol, rest, or even offers of toast with jam.
2. Trying out a new-to-us trampoline, I gently bounce the younger one while holding her hands. Once! (laughter) Twice! (laughter) Three times! (A scream, falling over, then crying, also pointing to her leg and saying ouch)
This was followed by more crying, and when it starts, a limp. A newly walking child should not have a limp. It should not be allowed, especially when it is My Fault.

A few doses of Tylenol later, also after some sleep and a call to my nurse sister-in-law, and the excitement seems to be over. Hopefully for a few days.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

love poems for shelves

Ah, laundry shelves.
White, pristine. Loaded now, with the weight of my detergent.
I didn't even know how much I needed you.
The dryer top, scummed with soap
is usable space when cleaned. Who knew?
Ah, shelving, shelving, lovingly installed.
You increase my love for my husband (thank you, Dyami),
you let me fold laundry mid-day,
you look clean and tidy.
Now: with my free time at night, with my pure whiteness,
I will watch TV, and not even fold towels.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

and even better

I unloaded stuff on Craigslist today: an old changing table we were done with (not just done, but Done, like we don't want to have it in our house anymore), and the bucket car seat we used for Julia and Lucy. Plus, we installed some shelves and picked paint colors, and can I tell you, I feel fabulous? Like I look around and I see signs of taking care of myself, of choosing to make things more useful and beautiful.

In less successful news, I came up with an idea for rearranging the girl's room that would improve flow and storage and cuteness. I showed Dyami, and he said, "Have you asked Lucy?"

At which point I realized: not only had I completely forgotten about her, but her opinion was unlikely to be positive. She is not a fan of changing things.

So: I asked, and was rebuffed (even after a compelling Visio presentation). However: we are painting soon, and I think I need one of the pieces of furniture she's not using, and perhaps we might just rearrange everything while we're at it.

Or maybe I'll just let the poor girl have her opinion, and let go of my plans. But not the Visio drawing, because that's pretty slick.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

finally


I knew what would improve things:
paint, reorganizing toys, back patio space.
Yet starting took a year.
Next time: GO already. Do it.
Live that better, spacious life now.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

summertime (except it was January)

This picture just makes me feel blessed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

disappeared toys

If you do decide to disappear some toys (the one with many small, magnetic, choke-worthy pieces, or the variation on Chutes and Ladders with none of the charm and all of the repetitiveness), put them up, out of reach, until you manage to smuggle them into the trunk and to the thrift store. Either that, or be up front about it, and agree on which toys will go. Because if you don't put them up, and you don't warn your child, you will suddenly discover that they've unloaded the box of things That Must Go, and fallen in love with them all over again.

Monday, March 21, 2011

ugly pretty?

I'm almost done with a beach blankety type sewing project. It's some largeish pieces of thrifted sheets and pillowcases, quilted together, then attached to a thrifted old flannel sheet. It sounds all thrifty and throw-back-y and cool.

But the end result? Hmmm.

Perhaps it is ugly-pretty, or will be, once I attach the binding. Harvest gold and olive and green and orange will surely look cool? Or cool-ish?

Or perhaps it will be something to sit on? That's slightly less ugly than the old torn, stained sheet we're currently using?

Next time, just stick with the sheet. It didn't require hours of painstaking labor.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

less is more...perhaps

I'm kind of minimalist when it comes to buying toys. Either minimalist, or frugal, or insert some other (probably less complimentary) adjective. I mean, I see my child playing most creatively with things like cardboard boxes and dirt, so I'm not always convinced that I need to spend a bunch of money on toys that might limit her resourcefulness. (Note: I do try to have a lot of say, craft stuff on hand, and copious books, and nice toys, when I do buy them).

The toys we do have come in two groups. Those used over and over. And some lovely toys that are hardly ever used. The ones that are used over and over aren't much of a problem. But the ones that never get used, well, I start resenting their clutter. Because like some kind of perverse math, the less they are played with, the more their small pieces scatter throughout the house.

Today I put some thought into what wasn't working, and thought: hmmm. Small pieces. That I hate picking up, so they tend to go into a bin. Where they don't look attractive. So.

I put three quarters of them into a box (for rotating, not giving away). I put the rest, assembled, onto our shelves. Spaced.

I think I hesitated to get even more minimalist with our toys. I mean, really, it's kind of embarrassing how few toys we have. But perhaps if I only have enough that I don't poke my eyes out reassembling them during cleanup, they might actually get used.

And if they don't, well, perhaps I'll talk with Lucy about putting them in that other kind of box...for passing on.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

hope

Let's all show we're human together.
Money's not hope, but support is.


Join Melissa on Making Things Up to gather some funds for relief work in Japan. Comment on her blog and her family will make a donation to Save the Children. So go over there, already!

notes

If you decide to let the toddler go diaperless, because she shows interest in the potty, and even gets out some gas on the potty, don't then forget that you're leaving the diaper off. Or better yet, get the diaper on. Because gas? It's kind of an indicator light for big mess on the floor coming soon.
Sooner than you'd think.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

tired

Today, I was just a little tired. That toddler, she is relentless. If she's not pulling books from shelves, she is sticking her hands in trash cans or toilet bowls or reaching for a hot stove burner. If she isn't needing to be picked up, then it's because I am already holding her, or she's running away to something that isn't good for her.
I'm loving this stage too: the birth of language, the personality emerging more every day, the miracle of a person who can tell jokes before she can even say "cat".
And yet, I'm tired. Tired.
Dear baby, sleep well, okay?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

the beauty of pretending


a picture of the fairy tea party and the little fairy folk we made (not today, but the other day).

Isn't some natural play just lovely?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bodycare by Julia

**Dull teeth got you down? Try my patented smile-enhancing silica treatments! Just a little sand added to your fruit snack will help polish those pearly-whites and get them sparkling again!

**Lifeless, dry hair crimps anyone's style. Who knew that haircare could be so appealing? Or...a-peeling? Simply rub ripe banana all over your head to strenthen and moisturize those tresses.

**Everyone touts the health benefits of chocolate, but have you heard of the benefits for your skin? Even just a taste of chocolate can be rubbed all over your face, leaving you rejuvinated--not to mention fragrant!

You'll never believe all the different ways I can use common foods and household items to keep me looking unforgettable!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

how many times?

How many times do you have to wake up a baby with a vacuum* before you realize: Hey, it's not just a coincidence?
More times than it should have taken, apparently.

*The baby hates the vacuum. Hates. Hates. My solution? Vacuum downstairs while she was napping. Apparently that does not work anymore.
I hate carpet.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

practical fairies


Got girls out on our patio;
An hour. Them: play, me: laundry.
Today, telling stories, I planted seeds:
"Jo-Jo makes fairy tea parties outside."
Planting wonder/some time for chores.
They're practical fairies, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

can I vent?

So after being sick way too long, I am finally all better! For one day!

And then this morning, Julia woke up with green snot coming out of her nose.

Can we all just sigh together? Loudly?

The thing I hate most about being sick is that we get locked inside the house for weeks waiting for us all to be better so we don't infect our beloved friends.
Except when we get better, we go out and get infected.
So: perhaps I should just give up and be a shut-in. At least then I'd have energy and not feel like crap.

Are there any odds that
a) the green snot is something else? Like teething?
b) I might not get sick, at least, even if my children do?

To b) I'd say no, because Julia already gave me a bunch of slimy open mouth kisses today. Which were lovely and all, but are losing their charm the longer we are sick.

Sigh. and Sigh again.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

magic, indeed

When your youngest experiments with redecorating your walls with a Pollack-esque crayon drawing, do not try to remove it with oil and heat, scrubbing intently until there's a gigantic magenta smear on the wall, (instead of the less-intrusive scribble). No. Instead, go out and buy yourself a Magic Eraser, don gloves, and scrub that smear into oblivion. Then reflect on the fact that if you had just gone out and bought the (somewhat toxic) cleaner in the first place, you could have not had the shadow of the smear, along iwth oil residue.
Ah, good (green) intentions last until we have to deal with Crayola.
That is all.

Monday, March 7, 2011

unintended, surely

The "star" shape, on the Playdoh machine? You know, the machine where you put playdoh in one end, and press the lever, and it squeezes out the other end like a pasta machine?
Well, the end result of the star shape looks remarkably like a spine. Little purple vertebraes, all lined up.
On my kitchen table.
Ewwww.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

vacation

We took a vacation. There was sleep for both children. There was sleep for me and Dyami. There was even (bonus!) a nap for both of us. Also, swimming, restaurants, and some chocolate-covered strawberries.
Vacations. Wow. They actually exist!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

might


Might dust, do taxes or dishes.
Or, a little nap? .....no contest.

Dear cold

Dear Cold that will Not Go Away,
I feel like we're old friends now. Except I don't want to be. You're one of those clingy, needy friends that just wants a little more quality time, but I have kids now, Cold, and I can't always be tending to you. I just don't have the energy for you like I used to.
I know, I know, you've backed off, and I at least don't have that drowning feeling like I did a few days ago. Because that was decidedly TOO MUCH Cold. But hey, you haven't completely gone away.
So yes, I guess this is kind of my Dear John letter. To you, cold. Go away.
And don't you come back no more.
At least till next season.
(Not much) love,
Heather

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

more things to watch out for

So when preparing a dinner that goes in the oven, watch that the little magnetic child lock key thingie does not attach to the baking tray full of greens. Because it will puff up and brown* like a marshmallow, but it will not taste like one (I would assume). Also: it will no longer work as a child lock key.

Because apparently, with the roving toddler that likes "helping" cook and the preschooler narrating everything (everything!) happening, and asking questions at key moments, and me opening/closing an oven heated to 400 degrees, we don't already have enough to hold our attention.

*If you must attach the child lock to a baking dish, attach it to the one that comes out after 10 minutes, not 40. Perhaps then you will avoid toxic fumes, a ruined dinner, and flaming child lock keys. As (PRAISE JESUS) we did.

Monday, February 28, 2011

it's like candy. Okay, maybe not candy. Potato chips?

take some kale (or chard, or dark greens de jour), toss them in olive oil and salt, and then roast them for eight-ish minutes in the oven. 400 degrees. Yes.
Kale chips. Thin, crispy, and gone, after about ten minutes.
Seriously, your kids will eat kale. YOU will eat kale.

Thanks to Marta to turning me on to the goodness.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

new glasses

We've lived for about a year in a rental in a fun neighborhood not far from the ocean. It was hard for me to leave the house I lived in as a newlywed, birthed our babies in, and enjoyed for eight years, but now that I live in a walkable neighborhood, it's also hard to think about moving back to a place where you have to get in your car to buy a newspaper, much less go out to dinner.

But. The place we currently rent has no yard. Well, okay, it has a narrow strip of walkway leading straight to a busy street, and a back patio cluttered with bikes and boxes, accessible only through a not-so-safe garage.

"We love it," I kept saying, to people asking about our move. "But no yard? With kids? I'm not sure this can be long-term."

And then, nearly a year in, Dyami and I squinted a bit, and tilted our heads to one side, and thought:

What if we decide the patio is big enough? What if we buy doorstops to create easy access through the garage? What if we put up a gate to keep kids away from saws and box cutters? What if we get a play house or some garden boxes or a work bench, something to make the patio fun?

It's amazing, opening our eyes to what we have, rather than regretting what's not there.

Friday, February 25, 2011

unwell


Sick five weeks out of eight.
argh, argh, argh, argh, argh.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

make a joyful noise

On a normal day, I try to let them make noise. Sing, be boisterous, be toddlers and four-year-olds, ask questions, narrate our existance, etc, etc.
But today, headache, fever, congestion, I just needed them to be quiet. And they weren't. Of course. But now everyone is in bed, and the house is silent.
Bliss.
Also: ibuprofen.
and bed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

cozy

Lucy has very warm blood. Today we were outside at dusk. I had on jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt, and was shivering. She had on a spring dress and (decoratively warm) boots, and was happy as a clam.

Julia, on the other hand, is constantly asking to put on jackets. She points up to the closet and demands a sweater, no, a coat, no, a sweatshirt, no, her jean jacket, yes! she will wear that all day! There is a blanket knitted by my aunt near our night-night chair, and as we cuddle before bedtime, she wants it draped over her legs.

Hmmm. Dyami loves winter, because he likes his clothes to be cozy.
Whereas I hate having to think about layers, and am generally warm. Once (before we were dating), I told Dyami I liked summer because I liked "wearing as few clothes as possible." No, I did not think about how that sounded.

These children, where do they get this preferences, hmmmm?

Monday, February 21, 2011

sickie

Both girls are sick, but it was Julia's first really sick day. Hot fever, tired eyes, little flushed cheeks. I felt bad for her, but it was kind of lovely to strap her in the carrier and have her little feverish body close to mine, and her head lolling against my neck.
Pleasure from the strangest things, no?