Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gone Fishing

I have been fishing.

Fishing things out of the trash.

And out of a 14 month old's mouth.

And out of the toilet.


And super gross.

We are at a new and delightful phase, it's called,
"Steal mom's glasses then see how fast I can run". 
It is made all the more precious by the
 "Now I can open the screen door to go visit the neighbors" stage (terrifying!). 
More award winners include the "Konk the dog with jumbo legos",
the "Sit on sister's head when I get the chance"
 and my all-time fave,
the "Remove my poopie diaper and make a fast get-away".

So.  Awesome.

(Should I take it personally that the boy threw the mom doll into the john?)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


October may be my favorite month of the year.  It brings cool evenings, red and gold leaves, and our annual pilgrimage to Sonoma County for Artrails.

We have been making this sojourn since Ethan was toddling, and as passing years brought more kidlets to our fam, we schlepped them all, each year, to see art.  Some artists loved it that we bring our spring-offs, but some were visibly horror stricken.  I'd call out "Art hands!" and the youngins would plunge busy hands into pockets or fold their arms snugly across their chests.  Still, it was getting a little hard to enjoy the art, what with all of the car squabbles and "she's-touching-me!"s.  So this year we farmed the littler pumpkins out and took just Ethan -because he likes art- and Jonah -because he likes breast milk.
It was a feast for the soul, as always. 

And we were able to visit with artists we have come to call friends,
 some who have known us since Ethan was Jonah's age.  

Which brings me to Ethan.

(Pause and sigh with me.)

We got to the studio of a wood turner who immediately took Ethan under his wing, flipped the switch on the lathe, and handed Ethan a sharp tool, earning him the status of Ethan's new best friend.  Ethan worked for over 20 minutes, only stopping when we dragged him away, but not before the artist told us about free wood turning lessons given by a master wood turner in our area.  I was so excited for Ethan.

On the way back to the van, I had the following conversation with him:

"So, how cool was that?"

"That was AWESOME!"

"Well, what do you think about taking those free lessons in Sac?  You should totally do it!"


"What?  Why?  I though you loved it."

"I did, but I just don't want lessons."

"But why?"

"I don't want someone telling me what to do."

Of course he doesn't.  He's Ethan.

And now I understand more about the boy.  Scratch that; the young man.  He is like his papa.  He must figure things out on his own, even if it makes his life hard and complicated and miserable sometimes.  When Guy was a kid he refused to let his mom teach him the piano.  Instead, he wrestled with the music all alone, and if she tried to help, he would stand up and walk away.  I, on the other hand will pick the brains of anyone who will hold still (Nice image, huh?).  If I see someone doing something that I want to learn, I fearlessly ask them to teach me.  I have learned how to do lawn mower repair, sculpture mold-making, rose bush pruning, and soon we're learning to make cheese, all because I have cat-like curiosity and a frighteningly low level of stranger-danger.  Despite our differences, there is no conflict between Guy and I because he's pretty much done learning stuff, old dog and all, and because I have learned not to make suggestions anymore while he is driving.

So, note to self: Ethan must be his own teacher. 
Now that I know it, I just have to remember it.

I learned something about me on this trip, too.  As we wandered the studios, we saw vast, organized spaces and tiny nooks, some sparse, some not.  But the one that really got my creative juices flowing was a teeny-tiny studio in the back of an old building.  The ceiling was low, and natural light poured in through the windows from a quiet alleyway.  The artist was humble and kind and cheerful.  But what I loved most were her storage shelves.  They were tightly packed, roughly organized, and dimly lit.  I felt like I was in an Indiana Jones movie, surrounded by dusty relics and rusty treasures.

It was purely inspiring.  But  probably only to me. 

 I have been in a perpetual fight with the clutter in my studio, thinking that it "should" be different; tidier, more organized, prettier somehow.  Buy guess what?  I found out that I am not inspired in a space like that. 
It turns out that the space I have may just be the perfect one for me.

So, two points for me.
I learned that:
 I shouldn't try to teach anything to Ethan
that a crowded and cluttered studio is where I find my muse.

Well, that just cleared my calendar. 
I wonder what I will do with my Tuesday?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Today I....

Did level three.  With heavier weights.  Take that, Jillian Michaels.

Acted as a human earth-mover for 2 hours at Kathy's.  Next week it's my yard's turn.

Delivered 4 jars of home-canned apple pie filling made yesterday, along with Spanish notes from yesterday's Spanish Lunch.  10 kids, Spanish and 20 lbs of apples, all at my house.  I deserve the Manzana Award (that's apple, for you uni-linguals in the crowd).

Read two chapters of Watership Down to Addy.  Heavenly snuggles.  The girls have lost interest.  Just when it was getting good.

Did school with the kids.  It's a work in progress, when there is any.

Washed 2 loads.

Changed 3 poopie diapers in as many hours.  Well, one was more of a rescue than a change, as the diaper was already off and a little voice announcing "Uck!" called my attention to the diaper-digger. 

Baths for baby: 2.  Diaper total as of 8PM: 7.

Kept my cool on the outside while I secretly burst a vein in my head dealing with Ethan's constant crap.

Did a load of dishes.  Only got through half of the apple-canning dishes.  The night is still young.


Bagged up fridge magnets.  I am done using them as ice skates on the kitchen floor. 

Found the chess pieces stuffed into a sculpture.  Packed them up, too.

Rescued one tomato and one apple moments too late from Mr. Uck.

Dealt with plumbing on the rental I manage.  Stupid plumbing.

Cooked apples that didn't survive the canning process. 

Sorted, swept, and reorganized the studio.  10% done.

Sat on the floor in said studio and cried for about 4 minutes.  Received pep-talk from Guy for 15 more.  Got back to work.

Shared: 1 grilled cheese, 1 rice stick, 1 banana, 1 helping of cinnamon apples and most of my rice and beans with the bottomless-boy (not all at once!).

Sat on the floor and played a rousing game of peek-a-boo...

8:07 PM - Self-extrapolated poopie diaper #4, bath #3.  Gotta go.

Post Edit: 9:15 PM - Make that 5 poopie diapers.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I was on call for almost two weeks, which is pretty average.  The difference this time was that the expectant couple who hired me as their doula did so when they were already three days past their due date.

At the 42 week mark, tests were run, concerns were raised, and the decision was made to set the ball in motion, and by ball, I mean baby.  I don't usually head off to provide labor support until there is actually some sort of labor happening -a watched mamapot never contracts- but when a mama is 4 centimeters dilated before she even goes into labor, there is always the off chance that baby will fly out in an hour or two.  Besides, a pitocin induction,-strapped to monitors and IVs and stuck in a miserable bed -could be used to extract information from foreign spies.  Successfully.  So I went.

I helped with this birth even though I still have a nursling.  Guy brought Jonah to the hospital so that I could feed him at about the 9 hour mark, but baby wouldn't be born for another 11 hours.  
Sometime in between, I looked up at the dry erase board at the date.  

October 7th.   

 Ten years to the day since my first miscarriage.  I looked back over to the laboring mama and felt myself smiling.  Funny how life just keeps going.  I thought about the pain that date used to hold for me, but now as I watched this first-time mother-about-to-be as she welcomed the pains that would bring her baby to her arms, I felt only gratitude - that I could be there to help her, that I have had three healthy kidlets 
since my October 7th, and that, 
all in all, 
life is good.

The baby came the next day.  I was tired, but couldn't, absolutely could not, complain.  I got to witness a life begin.  I was blessed to see a family come into being.  I had the opportunity to lend my hands to help.  How often in a day do you get to say that?  I went home later that day, took a little nap, and then dove right back into my life.  
Well, maybe I stumbled groggily, but happily, nonetheless.

I love being a mom.  I love my adorable husband.  Sadly, I need reminders, like seeing a sweet, shiny little family with that new baby smell, to help me look past boogers wiped on walls and uneaten sack lunches shoved into the backs of closets (I know, nice, huh?).  But it is also good to remember those days that we thought we would never be able to live through - the ones so full of anguish and heartache that next week and next month seemed insurmountable - just to realize that life goes on

Joy returns,
kids fight,
 babies are born,
and boogers
get wiped on walls.   

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

See Above

Mom at age 28, from a photo I found this week in a box.

I've been lookin'
at my neck lately. 
Blame late night infomercials with 50 year old former super-models that look all hot and perky. I seem to have lost my perk somewhere (maybe with my cell phone?).  My neck is getting all... gross.  Loose, and... crinkly.  Oh, and when I suck in my belly (besides that it pretty much just laughs at me and says "Whatever, lady.") it gets all puckery.  My eye lids no longer retract when I gently brush them with makeup.  They just stay there, all crookedy-weird until I push them back into place with my finger.  When I look down, besides the fact that I am seeing that my once lovely cleavage (and trust me folks, it was Streisand in Funny-Girl lovely) has begun forking at the top and resembles an aerial view of the Sacramento River delta, now I can also actually feel my double chin as it rides up.  Sometimes when I blink, one of my eye lids just skips the whole folding-up thing and just droops onto my eyelashes.  It's night of the living dead over here, ladies, and that's at 8AM.  Add a hump to my back and I'm ready for Halloween.

When did this all happen?  I mean, duh, I know I'm not 20.  Or 30.  Or 40... (ouch.  That one hurt.).  I'm just saying, when the heck did I grow up?  I look at Ethan and I remember 14 like it was September (which I am lucky to remember at all.  Let's just stick with the body though, the memory thing is a whole other post).  It happened one insidious little wrinkle at a time, each wrinkle with a corresponding moment.  And the moments are popping up more often than the weird hairs that are showing up in the general lady-beard area:

While cleaning out the fridge at 6PM on Saturday night, I was anxious to finish so that I could get in one more load of laundry.

My favorite songs, the ones that really rocked my Kazbah, are now being used in mop commercials.

Talk Radio.  I mean, seriously, when did I start caring about my retirement?

I found myself in a conversation about aches and pains, and dude, I was winning.

I made a file for coupons.  Oh, honey, it gets worse.  I am getting excited about shopping sales with coupons. 

I seriously considered buying some Spanx.  And I thought nothing could be worse than my skirted one-piece bathing suit.

I complained that the skirt on my one-piece isn't quite long enough.

I no longer shave above the knees (see above).

I got a zit in a wrinkle.  Seriously? 

My nursing bra is currently the sexiest bra I own.  Oh, well, wait, there is my jogging bra; nothing says sexy like a uni-boob.  I better get back to ya' with this one.

I could have been my doctor's babysitter.  That one just sucks.

I got excited about the fact that my gray hair is clearly the "silver" kind, not that dull yellowish stuff.  I wonder what pastel shade I will choose?

I have a garage full of total crap.  That doesn't happen over night, people.

I could have ice cream right now, but I won't, even though I want some.  That part of being a grown-up is just lame.

Even though I work out every day, I still look 3 months pregnant.  Ok, four.  Five... oh, shut up.

I don't know any singer's names on the radio. 

I kinda don't care (see above).

My son accused me of listening to froofey music on the radio and I couldn't argue with him because (you know the drill, see above).

The newlywed couple at church seriously looks like they are both twelve. 

I am planning my Saturdays around things like garage sales, soccer games and yard work.

I don't like roller-coasters anymore.  And frankly, the whole wait-in-line-two-hours for a ride just ain't worth it, what with my aches and pains (see abov... never mind).

I used to want to lose weight so that I would look like I used to.  Now I am afraid that if I do, I will just look like the saggy-baggy elephant.  Oh, and it is no longer about looking hot, it's about not embarrassing my kids. 


Not long ago I wiped the makeup smudges from under my eyes and Ethan leaned in real close and stared at me from about an inch away.

"You.  Are.  OOOOOOLD."  He said flatly.

A week or so later he let me know that
the pores on my face are "becoming giant holes."

"Look,"  I said, "It's all down hill from here, kid.  You better get used to it, cause this is as good as I'm ever gonna look again.  *So DEAL*."

Sound, and rather depressing advice. 
I know... I hear you.
*see above*.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

With Age Comes Wisdom

"Grils use hairspray
and boys use jello
 to get their hair nice and pretty."

"You know what?  Once I was four I went into the baffroom to go potty
and I shut and locked the door and then I was playing wiff hairspray."

"So you lied?"

"Yes, I was four."