Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hey God, it's me OSMA

I've always been a little jealous over those people who get to hear God. Not as in a sign that He's around or faith that He's there. I'm talking live and direct hear The Man's voice. I've read enough Guideposts in my day to think maybe it's possible. In that publication alone, there are several accounts of every day people getting an important message, via God's voice, in their head. I say sure, who can forget a voice and God's would be a very hard one to ignore indeed. Then I can't help but wonder what they did so differently to rate a tete-a-tete with the Big Guy upstairs?

For the record, I'm a spiritual person, not so much religious. To me, there's a difference. To God? Doubt he's keeping score. I pray every night. Perhaps I say the wrong words or make the wrong promises but it's important for me to thank Him for letting me hang around this long and more importantly allowing me the greatest gift of my family and my friends. I'm big on thank-you notes. And usually I don't ask for anything like he's Santa Clause in his spare time. Except lately. Recently, for some unknown-even-to-me reason, I really want to hear Him. So, after I click off Housewives for the night and thank Him for my blessings, I buckle down and irreverently ask to be one of the lucky few who get to hear His voice. Then I wait. Nothing. Nothing but the shishing of Abby's sweet little legs making half circles in her sleep. Nothing but Sadie's teeth clicking together from her 30th ultra wide dogyawn of the night. But I'm a patient girl so I ask again and wait. . More resounding silence. More nothing. Husband's nose whistling halts and I freak out a little because although hearing God would be really neat, hearing Him speak through my husband's dreamy delirium would send me to an exorcist in my pjs. (Would serve me right, not sure how God resists a good prank.) Husband settles in with a small tug of the covers that I commandeered earlier. No Linda Blair tonight. No George Burns voice in my ear either. Not even a little Morgan Freeman. Nada.

So I fall asleep and dream of babies that aren't mine when I'm awake. Beautiful bald babies named Nathaniel, Edward and Natalya. I am to watch over them, in my dream life. I am their mother. I spend the rest of my dream life feeding them warm milk, bathing them in old tin washtubs and drying them with my billowy cotton skirt. Then I wake up to feel disappointed that they are not real, that they are not mine, that I do not own that skirt. I walk to the kitchen, trip on my doppy feet, and bang my hand into the refrigerator door. My body feels disproportionate and alien. I'm all Great Dane puppy in an egg carton. Must need coffee.

Within seconds, Grayson is at my feet inquiring about his milkandjuice. Probably hearing our footsteps, Abby sounds off from her crib. Sadie leaves a swatch of her downy white hair on my black yoga pants.

"Yes yes, Abby, I'm coming. Just a minute, Grayson, let me get your cups. Sadie, be patient with me momma, I'll get your breakfast in a second."

Hmmm. Oddly reminiscent of my dream life.

Then it hits me.

For weeks, I've been asking to hear His voice for my own amusement. For days, I've been begging to know His voice and hear His words in my head just because. All this time I've been daring God to show me He's there with the one thing I know I will recognize. And at that moment, when my dream life bumps into and layers over my day life, I see He returns my dare with the one thing He knows I cannot ignore.

And He's right, why speak when you can whisper?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Time Bandit

See this darling little red-head baby I'm holding in this oldie but goodie (circa 1992-1993)?

The boy who makes me laugh with his silly faces and goofy grins?

Yeah, you remember me talking about my little brother, Matt?

Well, that little brother just had his senior prom....

and is graduating from high school in two days.

And is actually now more man than boy.

While my head is still spinning from meeting this milestone like a brick wall, I knew. I knew I'd be a proud big sister of this grown up boy. I just didn't know I'd be this tear jerky oh my god he's so lovely proud. Congratulations, Matt. We love you madly!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Don't Wanna?

It's not exactly a hidden golden treasure but I stumbled on this little ditty a few minutes ago in my Documents file. I feel it would be neglect of duty to leave it tucked mutely on the digital shelf for all of eternity when it clearly should be shared with all of you to make you laugh. And laugh you must because, oh my, well you'll see.

Perhaps my lack of actual musical verbage such as, (Slow Change Bridge Thing), has prohibited me from entering the next phase of music making? Or maybe it is the lyrical See Jane Run hot mess below that didn't turn heads at Capitol Records (oh yeah, I was there). There is just too much innanity to speculate but thankfully that is all in the past and we can all be better from never having to hear the accompanying audio that probably sounded more like a Glee member on helium than any Sarah McLaughlan or Indigo Girl.

(I'm totally looking for a recording of this. Be back with that if I can unearth it from the cassette tape on which it is most likely dying a slow and horrible dinosaur death.)

Oh, by the way, this is copyrighted (really? WTH?) so don't even think of sending it to PDiddy.


Music Terrence Brown

Lyrics by First Name Plus Maiden Name here removed for privacy and self preservation

Don’t Wanna


Don’t wanna be a rich girl

Don’t wanna learn the hard way-No

Don’t wanna be a hypocrite

Don’t wanna be on medicine


I don’t want to start another word

Sounding greedy all the time

It’s about to change right here, right now

Right before your pretty eyes.

You are happiest when you’re down

You are lovely without working out

You are a mess within your own skin

You are a gorgeous kind of medicine.


Don’t wanna be a rich girl

Don’t wanna learn the hard way-No

Don’t wanna be a hypocrite

Don’t wanna be on medicine


Boy, you haven’t had the chance

To make any sense of this (no, not yet)

So let’s make cookies together now

And spill chocolate ice-cream on my couch

You are happiest when you’re down

You are so lovely without working out

You are a mess within your own skin

You are the most gorgeous kind of medicine.


Don’t wanna be a rich girl

Don’t wanna learn the hard way-No

Don’t wanna be a hypocrite

Don’t wanna be on medicine

(Slow Change Bridge Thing)

Believe me, it’s such a shame

To live anyone’s life this way-nooo

To become a living nervous wreck

To wait for someone else to jump in…

Come on in, please jump in…jump on IN-yeah!


Don’t wanna be a rich girl

Don’t wanna learn the hard way-No

Don’t wanna be a hypocrite

Don’t wanna be on medicine

Friday, May 21, 2010


Yesterday started out just beautifully.

The sun was radiant and absolutely everywhere.

Our flowers were thirsty in their pots.

Our Abby did not consume even one of her own hair accessories.

We were having a glorious time of it.

Then I pushed the envelope. (Mommies always do.) I told Grayson he could play with the hose for a few minutes as long as he did not turn it on his A) sister B) mother C) dog at any time, in any fashion, at any cost whatsoever, so help him God. He nodded rigorously and promised to keep the water on all things green and non dexterous. I believed him. But only a little. I kept an ever vigilant eye on the little polka-dotted rosebud clapping around her brother like she was the last cheerleader on earth. And he was Terrel Owens.

Exhibit A: Squeals of delight and peels of laughter.

Exhibit B & C: Oh the little innocent lamb is so very very trusting of the wolf.

And then an uproariously supportive Exhibit D:
Bring the noise. Bring the funk.

I should have seen the signs. (They are written all over his face.)

His body language even tells the entire scene about to unfold, play by play, if only his mother can put the Nikon down in time. ("See, my little lambchop, this gentle spray will not hurt you...Come closer now, good...good...")

***** Just a few seconds elapse and BAM!*********

The inevitable ancient sibling water torture is halted before the wolf can finish her off.

But clearly, I am still too late.

The damage was done.

The dancing flower got completely soaked and the wolf incurred a hefty time out on the wet stairs without honey bear grahams for snack. Plus, I made him dry off his sister, help me with the laundry, and promise he wouldn't, under any circumstance or in any fashion, do that to her again, ever.

He promised.

I unplugged the hose.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Goodness & Light

Aunt Jen-

Her favorite color is yellow

like sunflowers on our kitchen table

that Grayson picked out just for her

because he remembered

yellow is her favorite.

The only love worthy of a name is unconditional. - John Powell

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reminder for Myself

It's not belly fat....'s an empty room.

It's not dirty dishes...'s searching for honeysuckles instead of an immaculate kitchen.

It's not noise...'s laughter, play, and an evaporating soundtrack of these most precious days.

It's not crumbs and clutter...'s hard evidence of where we've been and all we've done today so when Daddy asks we can actually remember.

It's not just another trip to the grocery store...'s a chance to see pomegranates, taste satay, and make eye contact with strangers.

It's not nowhere new to go...'s what small but exciting thing can I show you?

It's not may the best man win...'s knowing how to stay out of the race in the first place.

It's not skipping a nap...'s a chance to spend time with you and only you for a few extra minutes.

It's not making it to the end of the night...'s a temporary curtain call on the greatest show in town.

until tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Farm Envy

Sometimes I think life would just be so much cleaner on a farm. Food: organic. Work: honest. Play: in the in-betweens, not extra maybes. Thoughts: uncluttered.

Just looking out the car window and seeing these open fields with soft lofty skies opened up a place in me that I thought was lost. It brought a longing for being connected. It brought a desire to smell sour cow manure and sweet horse food. It brought along farm envy.

Watching the tractors spin slowly over rows of gold have replayed in my mind like a favorite song for days. Their deliberate and unhurried rotation was purposeful and strong. The straight and linear cuts through those rows were like veins leading back to the mainline - the homestead, always understated and out of the spotlight.

I had the absolute blessing of a living on a farm for eight months in my early twenties. It was a rich man's farm, yes, but we (the rich man's helpers) were the ones to feed and water the cows and bull every day and night for those eight months. We didn't get paid but we got free room and board and use of a vehicle in return for helping around the farm. This meant that city girl me got to drive a gluttery diesel truck whose driver side was stuck shut so had to slide in through the passenger side just to turn the key in the ignition. We used a tractor to round up the very naughty bull who had a big crush on a cow up the street and would stomp on one section of downed fence long enough to finally walk right over it. If you've never stared into the eyes of a sexed up bull while sitting on a bobcat trailer like bull bait, I highly recommend the rush of it.

So, yes, it's easy to get caught up in the romance of waving alfalfa and tall silos from the comfort of a suburb and a day that begins with Nickelodeon and ends with the ice-cream man. It's also easy to forget that living and working on a farm is grueling, relentless, raw, and tough. But all that still doesn't change the big wash of farm envy I felt when driving through Lancaster, PA. It doesn't take away the notion that life on a farm is both impossibly hard and abundantly real.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Get Out

I just heard the phrase, No Child Left Inside, for the first time today.

I say, amen to that.

In honor of this sentiment, we're taking the day off from inside walls to go jump in some rain puddles and make a laundry nightmare out of a few pairs of pants and socks.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, May 14, 2010

4 a.m. Blue Streak

Two nights ago, Abby awakend with a scream. And when I say scream I mean hit the highest note in your head and then amp it up one more level. Add some bloodcurdling and more tenor and there you have it. She doesn't mess around with a few warm-up wails. Girl gets down to business.

I zombie-walked into her room, grabbed her outstretched arms, cuddled her and went downstairs to make a bah-pooh (bottle if you don't speak baby or don't ever want to). A nice bottle of milk should heal all 17 month old ails. (Nevermind that I should be weaning her. It's my only trump card with this child. I'll drag my feet on this one for a while.)

"Ah, crap, Abby, I spilled it."
"Bah-poooh" she says like I just stabbed her puppy.
"It's okay, Mommy fix it, Mommy fix it."
"Bahhhh-poooooh, Uh oh, bah-poooh." (stabbed and neutered evidently.)
"Shit, I spilled the whole thing mama, you're gonna have to get down."
"Sheet. Sheet. Sheet. Bah-poooh sheet!"
"Shhhh, you'll wake up Nammy, Abby, hush now, hush." I whisper through my own giggles of delirium.
"Sheet Bah-pooh, Sheeet Bah-pooh. Uh oh, sheet bah-pooh."

So now I tell people we get her milk for her bottles at Sheetz. Do they even have a Sheetz in the metro DC area?

Thursday, May 13, 2010


There is a new little creature amongst us. We got him last night at Petco.

He is a blue betta fish with one very mangled bottom fin. His name is Snapper. Here's how the naming went on the drive home.

Grayson: What can we name him, Mommy?
Me: That's up to you and Abby. He's your pet.
G: Okay, Abby? What do you want to name him.
Abby: baeeeesh. caaacker. juicccccccce.
G: Yeah. Those are good ones but I think his name should be Snapper.
Me: Why Snapper?
G: Because he's snapping his toes.
Me: Of course he is. :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


There are some serious negotiations going on in this house at night. Grayson was lobbying hard to stay up past his bedtime. As if he actually has one. I was strong like bull (more like hamster. made from air.) and wouldn't cave. After saying no to an extra hour of reading bedtime stories and/or talking about what we're going to do, eat, wear, play with, think or feel tomorrow he pulled out the heavy ammo.

"Mom? (Yeah, it's Mom now. He gets a haircut and not only looks 13 but is now acting 13?) Is this gooder? How about this idea. How about a few more minutes I can stay up and look at pictures on your comp you-ter because a few is almost none."

Well I'll be darned, that little nightowl punk really thought this through; a few is actually almost none. I cannot disagree with his logic.

Needless to say we surfed my comp you-ter for the next few until the few turned into less and then, as predicted, finally none.

Tonight I'm opting for the extra hour of bedtime stories to avoid the lecture on reverse mortgages and the further retention of jobs in this time of recession and financial crisis. My tiny brain can't take all that thinking that late at night. Now, where is my binky?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sweet Mother

And she whispers into Abby's ear, "When you get to be a teenager, I'm going to pop some corn and come over to your house for the show because your mother won't know what hit her."

Thanks, Mom. And believe me, I know it wasn't easy. Not until I had my own did I realize how not easy this job is. You made it through the exhausting baby years, the even more tiring toddler years, the tumultuous teenage years, the mid 20s "I know everything, please don't bother me" years, the early 30s uber dependent "What should I do about...? years, all up until now. It was never a walk in the park but you made it and now your reward is getting to sit in the audience and watch your daughter go through it herself with your granddaughter. Revenge is sweet. And so is motherhood. Thank you for making it through your motherhood with me.

At 5, I tried on your make-up and high heels.
At 10, I poured through your nursing books and vinyl records.
At 14, I listened to your cautious words and advice.
At 18, I cried when I moved away from you.
At 24, I became a teacher and thought I knew what it was like to be a mom.
At 32, I had my first baby and realized I had no idea what it was like to be a mom. I also wondered just how the hell you ever did this twice when you were 20 and living so far from your parents.

And now, here I am, some years later and I'm a mother of two. Every day I ask myself how you managed to do what I'm doing when you were so young and (often) alone. You gave up so much of yourself for your kids. You sacrificed a future for yourself - all for us. You got up each morning, went to work before the sun came up and came home after we had already eaten dinner. Your days were brutally long and you did every hour on your feet. You spent your free time at home sleeping to catch up on the rest that you never seem to get. We had Boompa, Boomps, and Jimmy because you brought us back to our home, where we were safe, loved, and taken care of.

If I could go back in time, I'd be quieter so you could sleep. I'd write you more love letters and stick them to your mirror so you'd see them every morning before you went to work. I'd rub your feet and your back because I know they must've always hurt. I'd sing songs with you without being shy. I'd let you buy my clothes from KMart instead of County Seat.

I may not be able to go back in time but I can assure that I finally understand all you've done for me, for all your kids, now that I'm a mom. I suppose it's mother's luck that you get accolades years down the road. I suppose it takes that long for the fruits of your labor to ripen enough to know they had a best friend in you all along.

I love you, Mom. Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The House that Built Me

Every day, I try to be the mom you were
to all of us
but realize now
your shoes
are impossible shoes

to fill.

Happy Mother's Day, Boompa. I love you and miss you so very much.

(for you.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Frankenstein Head

It probably looks worse in person so if you still can't see it...look at my forehead on the side where the camera is. You should notice a perceptible pocket of, oh I don't know - shattered bloodcells maybe? - above my left eyebrow. I will post another picture later if it starts to have its own heartbeat and sing the Star Spangled Banner. On second thought, audio first, then a picture.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Not So Gentle Reminder

see if you can spot the children.

see if you can spot the rug.

see if you hear me scream.

The original post for today was going to be these three pictures with this caption: "Is a washed face, deodorant, and make-up really worth it?" however about 4 seconds post shooting that last picture, I just about had my head severed from my body by our ceiling fan. It was such a hard hit that I actually heard the impact before I felt it. Much like a car crash, only with an imbecile and her phone camera instead of a vehicle and high speeds. The ceiling fan was going very very fast maybe that's why I didn't see it? No. I was reviewing the pictures and scrolling while simultaneously standing on a bed and... so... maybe that's why I didn't see it? Noooo. I was being a jackhole, not paying attention, and standing on my bed to take pictures of what happens when I'm not paying attention and that's why I didn't see it. Ahhhh, the truth is so very unkind. There. Good. At least a minor head injury is out of the way for the day. I can now rest easy and know with certainty that when you're acting a fool, the universe will give you a quick crack on the hairline of your skull as a reminder to shape up or lie down.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The X Amendment

Once upon a time we were driving behind a car with a vanity plate that read, "X AMNMT."
My husband and I like to see who can get vanity plates the fastest so I blurt out excitetdly,
"The X Amendment, HA! I got it first!"

To which my husband replies, "You mean the 10th Amendment?"

To which I laugh, hang my head low and say, "You could've done so much better than me."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cat's in the Cradle

I can remember a few years back when someone gave me the truth about parenting. They told me that no matter what you believe when you get married, parenting always falls 90% on one parent and 10% on the other. I thought they were wrong. I also thought they were crazy, had a lousy marriage, horrible outlook on life and probably needed counseling at the minimum and more babysitters at best.

Now I get it. Oh, how I get it.

They were not crazy. They were insightful, brutally honest, and prophetic.

What I'm seeing almost across the board is that our current day definition of young family is synonymous with 90%:10% model described above. Is it unfair? Sure. Is it healthy? Doubt it. Is it reality for so many in our society today? Yes. It is what happens to many modern families who have to move away from their own families to support the major bread winner (my husband in this situation). It is a reality in many young families that one member (often the husband but certainly not always) spends more time at work and commuting to and from work than they do with their own family. Most work 16-18 hour days and give their all to their burgeoning careers. And if they are Type A like my husband? Forget about it, you better keep a light on.

Unless the young family makes enough money to include daycare/childcare in the equation, then by default the other parent is left to care for the needs of the children. This is our scenario. First off, this is the lifestyle we choose and I am not asking for pity, conviction or argument. Secondly, Just like in most families, things are ever-changing in ours and we are considering other options to help even out the parenting load. We're getting there.

Now, where was I? Ah yes, the 90% part. One of the parents really does secure 90% of the workload when it comes to the children, house, dog, recycling, laundry, grocery shopping, doctor's visits, dental exams, clothes shopping, daily activities, menu, planning & preparing meals, vacuuming, cleaning in general, picking up, you get it, etc. How can it be different? Raising your children and "staying at home" with them is now your job.

You do it, or you don't.

Would you expect to go into your husband's work, respond to his emails or put on a uniform and speak in acronyms to the Colonel just like mine does? OR would you throw on a power tool, grab your hammer and click together a few beams that will hold up the weight of a new roof? You might but I highly suspect his boss would be holding a "conference"to pick up your pieces after you leave. Point being: both parents have a job to do and never the two shall mix. Is this conducive to great parenting? Would you excuse your husband (or your wife if she is the one to make most/half/even a good chunk of your income) from reading bedtime stories, bathing the children, giving Tylenol at 2am to a screaming teething baby because he is worn out from his day "at work?" Do you allow your husband to come home, change, and rest before becoming ensconced with the family? How many minutes/hours of rest do you allow? Are you bitter? Are you living in the 60s? Is your last name Brady?

Seriously, one of the themes I've come across while befriending women who are in my similar situation (meaning w/young kids, far from family/help, daycare not an option) I've come to understand that our brand of parenting really is 90%. Our husbands work hard. They take classes that require them to be away on weekends. They work long hours (always 13, sometimes 18 hour days) for their families. They drive through traffic, hop on metro trains, and hoof the last mile to their final destination - their workplace. They are forced to go on travel - away from their families for days, sometimes weeks at a time - which then throws another million factors into the mix. As the stay at homer, we now take on 300% of the workload and no longer have between 11pm-5am off. Ever really sleep well while your husband is out of town? Jump at every single creak and crack like me? Yeah, welcome to the "Sleep with the Lights On" Club. These are the times you don't think about when you're walking down the aisle.

While it seems hard to recalibrate and find the energy, patience (oh my God, the patience!!), and love needed to hold things together while we're carrying the 90%, it's also not a great situation for the husband. Who's the one missing out on bubble blowing, sidewalk chalking, and reed surfing at the local pond? Who doesn't get to feel the tight squeeze of his little girl's arm around his neck while she gives wet kisses to his earlobe? Who doesn't know his son can count to ten in both Spanish and French(ish)? Who misses dinner time enjoying a warm meal and catching up with his family?

While I may carry 90% of the house/child workload, I will never feel too sorry for myself because I'm not missing a thing. My husband does the best he can for his current work situation and still misses out on more than he'll ever know. He just finished a Command & Staff course load that was grueling and time consuming. It's over now though which means we just got our weekends back. Weekends are precious to the kids because Saturday and Sunday are the only two days they see him, really see their Daddy. They are precious to me because I get to feel like a family again instead of a single parent who is carrying a really ugly neon 90% sign on her back. They will be precious to him when he looks back and realizes Saturday and Sunday are the days he got to be more than a 10% parent. This life goes quickly. This life with young children? Light speed, fast forward, hummingbird wings times rocket ship quick. I should know, the same "crazy" lady who told me about the 90%:10% theory said so.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Taste of Summer

Yesterday reminded us all that summer isn't really here yet; spring is still predominantly the one in charge. Yesterday we all got a taste of the kind of humidity that only the DC area can conjure up. It's swamp without cajun jambalaya or the French Quarter. It's sticky without the ocean air to add the salt. It's hot asphalt, steamy armpits and stale air that needs to be chewed instead of inhaled.

We're joining the neighborhood pool this year and I'm guessing that will be our lifeline through June, July, and August. We'll be able to walk from our house so if you're ever looking for us on a hot summer day, this is probably what we'll look like.

Add to this a tall pear-shaped woman with multiple canvas bags of towels, sunscreen and magazines she'll never read. Poor Sadie is the only one who won't be able to join us. We'll make sure she gets herself some pool time too because she dearly loves the water.


It's important for everyone's sanity to stay cool, hydrated and silly.

Silly's really key.