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


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.
Also: ibuprofen.
and bed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


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


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?

Friday, February 18, 2011

context is everything

Julia's vocabulary of signs has exploded. She can say "wash hands," "baby", "banana" and "car".

There's only one problem with this. All of those signs look exactly alike (sort of rubbing her hands together towards the middle of her chest).

Usually with context, I can figure out what she wants. Though I'm waiting for the day that she'll ask for a banana in the car. Or ask to wash the baby's hands. Or learn another three signs that also look the same.

I've been working on "horse", which involves wiggling fingers around the vicinity of the head. I guess variety is the spice of communication.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I miss you terribly, my novels--
those novels I am not reading.
I want to find new ones,
and also turn off the TV.
Ah, technology, you poisoned, sweet apple.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

does it come with a key?

Those plastic zip food-storage bags with the zip tab? They should come with a backup key. The tab came off, and there was no getting that puppy unlocked. When my nail started bending backwards, I decided scissors cutting it wide open was the only option.
Why is it that my 1.5-year-old can do this, and I cannot?
Thanks, SC Johnson Wax. And you say you're a family company.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I am the queen!

she says, her voice rising.
I am not always sure I like this voice. It is the voice she uses when she disagrees with me. It is the voice of telling her sister what to do. It is a not-cooperating voice.
"I am the only queen," she says again. We have made a sword of cardboard and scotch tape, with orange magic marker. She raises it to shoulder height. "When I walk around in different states, you can see my shadow everywhere! I am the only queen!"
This is not a compliant Lucy, or a pick up her own toys Lucy. This is a prickly Lucy, a get-what-she-wants Lucy, a strong and potent Lucy, a Lucy ready to take on the world. Even when that world is me.

"I am the queen," she says.
"You sure are, sweetie," I tell her. "Let me help you tape your sword."

Monday, February 14, 2011

you know what feels good?

Sitting down and working towards a goal that's been on hold for nearly five years.
I've been writing--and even submitting work--since my girls were born, but I haven't been able to do it in an organized way since before Lucy was born. Yesterday, I opened up my old spreadsheet of markets, started culling, updating, and revisiting the places I've submitted work before. I looked at five websites. Today, I did another five. I'm hoping to add to the list and start submitting on a small scale again soon.
I'm blessed to have friends that have helped me keep my toes in the water through these five long years. I'm thankful to have continued writing, even after I finished my degree and got no sleep.
But it feels good to do something for myself, something a little scary and mundane and time-consuming, and decide to do it, even if it's a little at a time, so that I can take bigger steps later.
And it feels wonderful to have the rest, time, and motivation to sit down and do something for myself.
Thanks, Melissa, for challenging us all to love ourselves today. Here's to all of you, taking baby steps towards dreams.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


On a whim, I decided to check out our local Community Resource Center thrift for pants before buying something new online. I'd looked a few weeks ago, and found nothing, so I had no expectations.
Let's just say I walked out with three pairs of perfectly fitting pants (Gap, Limited, White House/Black Market) and two shirts (Moda Int'l and Lucky) for less than I would have paid for one pair of pants in the store. Plus, my money goes to a local charity.
Before three years ago, I had never really thrifted in earnest. But let me tell you, it gets harder and harder to pay full price when I know there's this kind of candy out there.
If only I knew how to be all cool and decoratey and score schwag for my home. Ah, well, at least I have new (to me) clothes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

building a better bedtime

Objectively, bedtime is pretty cool. Snuggles, reading, stories, lullabye.
Except. By seven-thirty, I am done. I am ready for the routine to be as simple as possible, and from experience, I know that when we do something once, it will be part of the routine from then on.

So I have kind of a blanket resistance to anything that might complicate or add to the routine.
Even if it is so sweet, so cute, and downright tempting.

For example: "Mama, I look at the stars while I go to the bathroom! See! I see stars and all the beautiful lights."
(Patient Mommy: Ahhhh, she's connecting with the night sky! Lovely!) (Not so patient mommy: Is it just me, or is she going to do this every night? (Answer: yes.))
Another example: "Mama, I'm so tired, you're going to have to carry me to bed!"
(Patient Mommy: Ah, another chance to snuggle!) (Not-so-Patient: Just move already!)

Ah, dear child, carry you? Yes. Look at the stars with you? Of course. Admire the moon's course across the sky together? Anytime!
Just not at bedtime.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

As heard from the other room:

No spoons on peoples' heads!

Rules to live by, no?

Monday, February 7, 2011

all she wants to do is

"Nurse?" I asked Julia.
She didn't say yes, or no. Instead, she raised her hands up, turned circles, and stomped out some pretty fierce dance moves.
Apparently, toddlers have a new set of priorities.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

feel free

Little baby, you can use my jaw or ears as handles. Yes you can. You can grab them, and shove my face to yours (not very gently), kiss me, and then let go. You can pause, and look into my eyes, and laugh, and then do the whole thing over again.

You can do that as much as you want, okay? Even if it's waaay past bedtime.

Oh, and when you throw your tiny little arms around my neck and give me a fabulous hug, you just earned yourself another minute out of the crib. As long as it's followed by more kisses.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

the creepiest fairy tale ever...and that's saying something

Street musicians? Usually, I love 'em.
Today, 60-ish bearded man played flute
while children frolicked at the playground.
Not sitting on a bench--no.
Walking around, swings to jungle gym,
watching all the children watch him.

I didn't want to feel nervous,
(music is lovely at sunset, no?)
hated feeling nervous, but did anyway.

After three songs, I noticed something:
he seemed to belong to one toddler.
Immediately, I felt better. Even so:
I wanted to ask him, what gives?
Please, wear matching clothes or something.

To sum up: when choosing instruments,
please don't mimic the Pied Piper.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

raised by nerds

Okay, so for Christmas, Lucy got a globe and maps, and a big hanging wall calendar with removable numbers.
I feel bad for the poor child. She was quite happy with her take, but still. When you can do most of your Christmas shopping from Creative Teaching Supplies, you know you don't qualify as the most toy-friendly parent.


Oh, it's all been so cool. Like the super-injection of learning in a really fun way in our daily routine. I'm amazed by calendars. From this one little wall-charty thing, we get:
  1. Math. Number recognition, decimal places, putting numbers in order, reading a chart.
  2. History. Do you know how many books on Abe Lincoln I sorted through today? Because President's day is coming up! (People, before yesterday, I didn't even remember what month President's day was in)
  3. Zoology. What is a groundhog, anyway? What does it look like? What does it eat?
  4. Relationships: Whose birthday comes when? What card should we make for them? How can we celebrate them?
  5. Crafts: When it's on the calendar and we talk about it, I actually make the effort to do holiday specific crafts. Imagine.
  6. Religion: Our religion, like for Christmas. Others' religions, for Hanakkah and Kwaanza. Why we don't celebrate those holidays, why others do, what we believe, and don't believe about God.
  7. Geography: Where is the groundhog for Groundhog's day? Where was Washington born? Where does your Aunt Katie live whose birthday is in April?
Note: I haven't even started talking about the ostensible purpose of calendars! And we already did a full month's worth of subjects.

I might sound like I'm bragging here, but I'm not. Because besides purchasing a calendar, I'm not doing much except trying to find library books about holidays. I'm excited about what we're learning, but mostly, I'm just excited by how easily all this stuff flows. I ask a few questions, Lucy adds some more, and pretty soon we're watching videos about Punxsutawney Phil and learning that groundhogs eat almonds, fruit and rabbit pellets (not bugs). I don't purchase curriculum, or think about grade level, I just get to explore and watch my child learn about the world.

Today, Julia was walking to the drugstore with me, and she bent over, and started examining some corrugation in the sidewalk. It had a few wisps of dried grass in it, and she was fascinated.

May that kind of fascination with the world never get lost. May I figure out how to nurture it and help it grow.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


We have many puppets. Lucy prefers that we give them all names and distinct voices and remember those voices consistently, which is above my skill level.

Julia, however, just wants to hug them. Briefly.

She brings me a puppet: an angel fingerpuppet, say. Then she shoves it onto my index finger and waves at it. I wiggle the finger. She laughs, and cradles the little angel in her arms, hugging it (even though it's far to small to get much huggage).

My heart melts. Because the baby is hugging the tiny little sweet angel puppet!

Then, she lets go, smiles and waves again, then signs "All done", pulls the angel off, and throws it on the floor.

Then she goes and gets the next puppet.

Surely, a puppet is just a puppet, right? And not a symbol for her approach to love/affection/relationships? Right?