Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Today was one of the first days we really played outside since it became Serious Winter. We bundled up for a romp in the park instead of the obligatory 7 minutes death march around the cul-de-sac. It was chilly but not cold. We were happy and not sour. The day broke us out of our cabin fever funk and the sun tasted like warm bread on our skin. It was exactly what we all needed. I made contact with the guy who walks the black lab with an enlarged heart. I always hope to see him still walking his dog but feel an instantaneous ache for them whenever I do. The dog's breathing is more labored and intense than even a few weeks ago and the man who walks him has so much slack in the leash he doesn't even need a leash. It's more than obvious they only have a short time left together. Not sure why, but the entire scene takes my breath away.

Then there's my vibrant old lady dog who finds her inner Marley each time she's allowed to unleash herself from home. Her nose is a quivering animal on the end of her face that makes her snort out an exhale every ten minutes or so. She must inhale more delicious scents than she can handle because the aftermath is a continuous dance of buck and jerk like a puppy half her age.

Then there's the children who swing, climb, hang, and clink around the swings and slides until someone ends up with a mouthful of faded cedar chips. The little one is tenacious though and not even cedar chips will keep her down. She is an echo of, "I fine, Mommy!" when I hover too close by. How quickly they leave our clutches and gain entry to the rest of the universe with gusto. Well, the playground anyway. The rest of the universe can just hold its horses for her. Not ready to let that one venture off too far just yet.

We have lots more wintry days of sun to enjoy before that happens. Lots more days of going back home just to snuggle down and wonder when our snow will fall.

Monday, December 27, 2010

In Review

Oh December.

You came in like a lamb

and are going out like a man eating virus.

Wow. I haven't the right words to describe you. The start of you was great.

The ending rather placid too.

It was your prickly middle that stung and cut me in places I hadn't anticipated.

You left bite marks on my patience and bruises where there was (so very) recently resolve.

We had our ups and downs, me and you December. And in the end, you forced my hand on more than one occasion, in more than one way. I pushed on you and you pushed me back even harder. We came to know each other and understand that sometimes you don't always deserve balance. And that's okay.

What matters is that we were never at a standstill for very long. My character gnawed and clawed its way out of its cage because of you and now I understand exactly what I am made of.

And it's okay.
It is good, in fact.

I am weak at heart and strong of will.

I am loveless, hopeful, practical, determined,

unbending, inflexible and predictable as hell. Because I need to know what comes next. They need to know what comes next.

So I show up to do the building. Create the hours, cultivate days, harvest our moments.

It is up to me not to jack it all up to an unrecognizable state.

And with that pressure I give to myself, I am sometimes mean, joyless, selfish, and skull numbingly tired.

Inside December I learned what happens when I no longer recognize me.

And it's okay.
It is great, in fact.
December, now I understand you. It wasn't that you were pushing afterall. You were pulling. I was the one who couldn't feel the direction. Face down, alone and in love with being mad as hell I woke up fighting with those things I could not change nor did not want entirely different in the long run.

You pulled.
And I mouthed off.
You pulled harder.
I cursed you for not leaving me alone.
And not once, not even a little bit did you ever let go.

I should've trusted you from the beginning, December.

But now you're free to leave, to become an old calendar's page of memories.

And that's okay.
It is great, in fact.

I got the rest from here on out. Yes, I got this.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When Parents Text

My fellow mommy blogging friend from My Family Gossip shared something hilarious on her Facebook page. It's a website called, When Parents Text and seriously, I haven't laughed out loud from reading texts since my husband and I caught up with each other over Instant Messaging recently:

Hubby: hi luscious
Me: hi lishis
Hubby: lady
Me: lover
Hubby: how you be?
Me: i be (whew) b/c abby did not scream herself to sleep tonight. just got her down and G is puttering in bed
Me: how u be?
Him: i'm good just finished small bowl of cereal and first cup of coffee
Him: how was rest of your day
Me: first cup ? how many a dya? u guys have a keurig over there?
Him: no keurig....i make a samll pot every morning and drink two american red cross travel cups full
Me: short version: library - 10 bks in 10 min. b/c miss I YELL EVERY SYLLABLE abigail didn't realize we weren't at a rock concert
Him: keeps me from spending money at coffee shop
Me: subway for lunch - abby thoroughly enjoyed salami/cheese sandwich
Me: G had tea. :\ no appetitie still but he's sounding much better tonight.
Him: like mommy like daughter
Him: mommy likes the...
Him: sorry
Him: miss you
Me: miss u too
Me: and your ...
Me: (chuckle)
10:36:11 PM Him: that took us two minutes to become naughty....shorter every time...

Sorry, TMI. Got it. Next time, I will make it PG-13.

Regardless, please, do yourself this favor and check out When Parents Text. If you don't get the first few (Mom - I love you but you and I aren't always technologically forward and I did not "get" the first few entries), stick with it because your payoff might be this one:

When Parents Text: Sum Luv

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Short Story

Once upon a time a little girl named Abigail got a new baby doll for Christmas.

Someone close to Abigail became green with envy.

He wondered aloud why he didn't get a new baby doll for Christmas too.

So he stole hers.

And hid it somewhere only he knows where.
The End.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's Come to This?

Late last night I lurked in a Ustream bird chat room spying on my mom. And my aunt. And a few other regulars who shall remain nameless. And you know what? It was so fun. Sure, I definitely felt guilty about lurking and not showing my avatar but guilt did not sway my decision to remain cloaked under "guest" status. Plus, I was balancing checkbook, addressing holiday cards, deleting spam by the hajillions and otherwise all over the map. Listening in gave me the freedom to be that fly on the wall without having to keep up a lively social front that just was not possible at that hour with Abigail screaming her mimies off (she goes through spells of this no matter how much lovin' arms she receives, don't worry it never lasts more than three nights of spine ringing madness). But still, I woke up this morning giggling to myself that for entertainment I spied on my mom in a bird chat room with four other people. Four other really nice people, mind you. The lady who hosts the chat makes you want to find an Eddie Bauer catalog and cuddle up to a pretty glass of eggnog. Her voice is so soothing I find myself hoping someone in the room will make her laugh one more time just so I can hear it. Then there's my mom and my aunt. Two grown women with more wit and whimsy than The View. They play off each other so beautifully that I forget these two did not exactly grow up in the same household. Laverne and Shirley. Lucy and Ethel. Thelma and Louise without the horrific death roll at the end. Such fun to see this other side to two ladies I thought I knew pretty well. Definite entertainment for me, a complete and utter house Frau that I am now hooked and might have to tune in and lurk some more tonight.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cold Busted

Grayson's reconnaissance mission to find The Mommy produced great results within seconds of climbing the stairwell.

Next time, I'm hiding in the shower.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Night Owls

There was a time when I was young and it was (mostly) me, my brother Eric, and my mom. We lived a small house next to a very old woman who grew rhubarb and had a dog named Rocky. There was a large grate in the middle of our hallway where the heat pushed out loudly in the winter. Most cold days Mom would spread a blanket out on it and she'd read. I would grab a coloring book and drift off in my own thoughts while Eric probably scaled a couch or built a bike ramp on our roof.

Those days were good. They were not so good for other reasons but in my memory bank of cozy, that's what I remember. I remember hanging out on that warm blanket with my mom, trying not to let bare skin touch the scalding metal underneath us. It was like we were stranded on this hot breathing island together with nothing to do but read and be together in silence. It was great.

At night we three had a meeting place on the second floor stairwell, near the slanted ceiling. We called ourselves the Night Owls and would "hoo-hoo" when we had reason to meet. Sometimes the gatherings were important. Often they were called to discuss where exactly we'd be eating Mac & Cheese that night. Should we eat in the living room while watching M.A.S.H. or maybe picnic upstairs in one of our bedrooms? While we hashed out the pros and cons of our dilemma (real or imagined) Eric would be a constant blur of movement stretching his lanky legs up two stairs while balancing both hands on the opposite wall just to see if he could. I would be still, silent, and very serious. Mom has often told me I didn't grow a sense of humor until college. I had one before then. Just didn't know how to use it.

Now that I've been with my kids all alone for almost two months, I have my own nest of Night Owls. Grayson, Abby, and I meet together every night - not in the stairwell - but on our living room rug. The kids start with a solid sprint around the house until they tire a little and join me on the floor. I am on my back either petting Sadie or just relishing not standing on my feet. The kids don't allow me to show affection to anyone but them so my Sadie time is limited.

Usually Grayson tromps over me with a, "Mommy, you are under attack. Peeekow! Peekow!" as he screeches off imaginary rounds of sticky web darts. Then the little one shows up. "Mommy do bumpa-da-bum (game my mom played with us where you fling the kid around on your my legs while laying on your back.) wish Abby. Mommy do eet."

So here I am, smack in the middle of being their mom and I'm caught off guard by these parallel threads from my past. Life is funny that way the older I get. Just when you least expect it, time shows its cards to you bit by bit to help make sense of things that were once so blurry. The bad fades back far into the distance while the strong, substantial good threads remain and give me something cozy to think about well after my Night Owls have drifted off to sleep.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I know the secret. Only four years, two children, and one very serious crush on alone time and I have figured it out. You have to pretend your children are someone else's. Like you are the babysitter. You are only borrowing your children for an hour or two until the real parents show up. This way your mind is not concerned with other things. You don't care if the toddler eats while standing up and making his finger purple with the string of a yo-yo. You don't care if the little one finds two month old Halloween candy *somewhere* and walks out of a dark room with peanutbutterchocolatemouthshirthair. In fact, if you are the babysitter, you root around the pantry a little bit until you find the rest.

See what I mean? It's revolutionary.

We had a great day. Nothing big happened. Our day started with a nice long walk. Cold, sunny, and aimless. Then we headed out for a rather uninspired Craft Show which was fine because the church it was in was beautiful so we lollipopped around that for a bit until heading home for lunch. Then the kids threw me a curve ball. They dodged every single Mommy effort to nap or rest or do story time. Lunch had given them all the caloric high they needed to push straight on through until 8pm. Lunch did not, however, do the same for me. I must remember to pack myself some speed with my turkey pepperoni next time.

So they were up. I mean so up that I just wanted to be prone somewhere, anywhere, Dear God even the dogbed where. But I rallied in my brain and we made zucchini bread. There must be six degrees of separation between me and a bakery in France because whenever I get stressed out I head right for the flour and baking soda. Abby loves to stir flour and cinnamon. I watched her as she took absolute delight in manning up to the bowl and showing that bigass wooden spoon who was boss. Then Grayson surfaced from Lord knows where. And he wasn't in the mood for France. Or anything less than hand-to-forearm contact with his already taxed out mother. He was jazzed up and wanted to engage in war. I swear, boys are just born with a need to to kick something's butt the minute they wake up in the morning. Lately mine has been the casualty and then some. Let's just say I've requested punching bags from multiple grandparents for Christmas. One for him, the rest for me.

I digress.

As the day wore on so did my love for being a stay-at-home-and-rot-inside-your-brain-mom. I couldn't muster one more minute of ability to differentiate activities. Seriously you guys. I just wanted to sit in the middle of my kitchen floor and count sand. Then Grayson pulled out his Trump card.

"Mommy? Why don't you like to play with me?" and I did what we all do. I answered his question with a question.

"Whaddoyoumean? What do you want to play?" hoping like hell it would be the Simon Says Don't Move game.

"I want to play Tag. And Hide & Seek. Tag me, tag meeeee!" and he took off like he really believed I wouldn't be reaching for my coffee mug instead.

So I ran. I ran me and my loose skin around our house after him. In seconds, Abby descended from her kitchen chair and ran too yelling, "Tig me Mommy, tig me!" the whole time. Sadie came lumbering down the stairs to see if maybe Nam & Pop showed up. She joined our parade of prancing and dancing with ears and nose held high.

When everyone had their fare turn at being tagged and/or bodyslammed we decided to play Hide & Seek. Grayson "hid" in the same spot four times and Abby ratted him out with her squeals of happy every time. My Mommy brain was just about to switch gears and say, "All right you two, let's clean this place up and get ready for bath," when I remembered something. I remembered babysitting a little boy named Ben many years ago. I loved playing Hide & Seek with him and he was exactly Grayson's age now. How could I give Ben a more playful me than my own son? And just like on.

I hid hard. I hid under blankets and pillows and then furniture. I didn't come out when he already checked the room I was in but whistled out instead. Grayson giggled up and down stairs. He chattered about my whereabouts to himself the entire time. Abby echoed his paces and neither of them never caught on to the fact that Sadie was not only batting at me in my hiding spot but was also barking and howling like she couldn't understand how I could've misplaced myself so wildly. It was excellent. And fun. And all because I remembered little Ben and how my kids totally deserve me to be their babysitter too.


The kids and I went to get our Christmas tree the other day and wound up taking this little muppet version home instead. Very much like going to the pound for a Great Dane and coming home with a tea cup poodle but for some reason it felt right for us this year. We are trying to keep things simple, serene and small. Plus, our mini Christmas tree can participate in games like Charades so what's not to love.


1. Set up your game board (with your most prized possessions.)

2. Invite Player Number Two

3. Begin Charades.

4. Player One starts right in.

Is it a.... WWF wrestler? Mister Myagi? Good Will Hunting? It's not your fault, son, it's not your fault.

5. Player Two takes a Turn -

Is it a movie?

Sounds like....

Player Two helps.

Raging Bull? Deniro? Fight Club? Dark Spidey?

All right! Player One & Two celebrate their win.

6. Player One takes another turn -

(It's a movie again. A very long movie.)

Night of the Living Dead?

Planet of the Apes?

The Sound of Music?

Wait, don't leave... I got it!

The Great Flood of '63?

"What's she talking about?"

"I haven't the foggiest. Maybe she'll go away if we ignore her."

Game Over.