Wednesday, September 26, 2012

This IS the Easy Part

I recently read an article (blog post) about how married couples naturally pull away from each other (hideout in bathroom) and then come back together (wine/tequila) in a natural ebb and flow that would, if given the proper machinery,  look like a woman having a contraction.

So, marriage would look a little like this:  --------^^^^^^^--------^^^^^^^----------^^^^^^^---------^^^^^^^^^^^(*sick kids, up all night for weeks, ne touch pas)^^^^^^^^^^^^^^----------------^^^^^^^, etc.

Interesting.  More issues once again, stemming from the mother.  When do we hardworking girls catch a break?

I digress.  After some thought I'd have to say I'm in a contraction marriage too.

Sometimes the contractions last much longer than a minute or two.  Sometimes those puppies go on for months.  Barking Bernese Mountain Dog puppies without an epidural.  Oh mama, the pain is hard to bare.

Then, eventually the dust settles, the children get their Cephalexin, and the crushing fog lifts. Contraction over, you're chewing on ice chips and looking each other in the eyes again.

"I've missed you."
"I've missed you too."
"Where have we been?"
"Busy.  We've been really effing busy."
"Let's snuggle tonight."
"Yes, let's."

To expedite the snuggling, I attempt to throw the children into their beds like boomerangs two or three times until they're finally down for good.

 "Do you think this is ever going to get easier?"
"Babe.  This is the easy part."


"Sh*t. We'd better get some sleep."
"Goodnight.  I love you.
"Can you scoot over a little please, I love you too."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Brady Bunch

My husband and I shared a bed last night.  Not in the biblical sense, this is a family blog and those are things of which we don't speak.

Andy has been sleeping on the couch downstairs for weeks now.

Remember when I was all, "I LOVE the new school hours, he's always HOME!" and so on?  Well, once again, I am dumb.

It's graduate school.  It's military graduate school.  It's an intense one year military graduate school.  It's like he has another family.  Hidden in the library.  Waiting for him in the conference room.  Bringing him coffee at Barnes & Noble.

Oh this new family isn't only getting the best of him.  They are also getting the most of him.  They even get him every weekend.  I bet the new wife is a really good cook and an 

I fought off the single parenting idea but it's part of sharing your man.  Before I accepted it, I spun my wheels in resentment, disillusionment, and the kind of tired that brings dreams of moving in with the retired couple next door. Who are in their 80s.  And recovering from knee surgery.  Probably not great candidates for floor puzzles and Hair Salon.

We do win him back for one thing, though.  Regardless of her penchant for cinnamon buns and pumpkin spice latte, they don't get him for dinner.  He sits down with us for at least 30 minutes to eat, hang out, wash a few dishes, and then balefully kiss us goodbye as he heads downstairs to be with them until 1 on the morning.  That hussy accountant and her silent offspring, I bet she even lets him watch Bill O'Reilly in bed with her.

Hmph.  I think I'll make him steak and potatoes for dinner tonight.  A little something to remember us by.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Thumb Tacks

My grandfather had a heavy pewter desk in his bedroom.  At which he could be found all the time, glasses low balancing checkbooks, cutting out articles, or working out numbers on his tiny calculator.

As a little girl, I would sneak into his room while he was outside to pilfer a pink eraser because it looked like gum.

This denizen of work was a measure of being grown.

There were things in that big silver tank that kids didn't need or even recognize:

-wooden rulers
-butter tubs of paper clips
-sharpened pencils all facing east
-envelopes fastened together with thick rubber bands
-heaps of papers separated by tabs in the heavy drawer I could only open halfway

As a kid I can remember hiding love notes in the top drawer.  When they were discovered, sometimes days later, he would find me somewhere in the house and ask, "Is there a love-mouse in this house?" and I'd laugh like it was the funniest thing anyone could ever say.

As a teenager, I would leave a quick note about where I was going to be that day and probably nab a paper clip from his desk as my absent-minded souvenir.

As a college student, I would steal off with one of his black army-issued pens with the smooth black ink.

As a teacher, I would ask if he had any extra file folders I could borrow.  He always said yes.

Now, as a mom, with him being gone for over a decade now, I hoard this little butter tub of thumb tacks like they are the last ones on earth.

Because to me, they are.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yang to the Yin

Whoah did things head south after we last talked.

It's definitely because I broke the Mom Rule.  "Thou shalt never braggith."

I braggithed and now majorly regrettith.

Everything's fine today but not without two nights of cut-throat wack-a-mole between insomniacs: Grayson, Abby, and Sadie.  Sadie is nearing 11 and so is her bladder.  Dear baby bores holes through my blanket with her eyes and beats me to the sliding glass door.  Aging, you twisted sister, you.

For one reason or a streptococcus other, these children of ours have been resilient to replenishing their sleep tanks.  And mine.  But not Andy's.  He came home yesterday from slogging through Gettysburg during a tornado warning (those silly Marines) with a load of wet laundry and an immediate upper respiratory infection.


I'm staving it all off with loads of late night TV and blueberries.

So, here's some things I chose to distract myself with from the Crapville that was Tuesday night, Wednesday, Wednesday night and half of today.  I pushed myself outdoors because the day was OUTSTANDING and these things caught my eye.

I'm sorry, I just happen to think these webs are gorgeous lairs of wonder.  All but the giant light orb that haunts all sunny images.  I believe it's is a speck of sand inside my camera.  Or you know, Boompa.


Poison Ivy glided across my right arm as I climbed in the bushes to get this shot but I did not even question it.  We already know why.  Because there is always a Yang to this life of Yin.


(She found me last night after I crawled in her brother's bed to get some sleep at midnight.  Brother man came strolling in to join our slumber party.  We were all wide awake until quarter of four.)


 Sometimes it's good to document Zombie Mommy.  It reminds me that fashionably, there is only one direction I can possibly go.  The direction away from boyfriend Ts and hair clippies. 

Yin and Yang, you really make me appreciate this crazy life of natural balance and chaotic (dis)order.  Some place way far away in a land of sunny light orbs, we will kick back and watch the black and white sew into each other; a harmonious circle in the most silkiest of gray.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Not as Bad


Okay Kindergarten, I get it.  Sometimes my kid needs me to believe in him instead of bail him out.

I'm learning.  Slowly but surely.

Last night, I didn't fix a pretty significant school issue for Grayson (not being bullied or anything Dateline-ish, don't worry) even though I could've. (I'm using the singular parenting pronoun because my husband was on travel although really, if I'm being honest, most of this crap happens when he's not here anyway.  What's with that, moms? Something else they don't tell us in Lamaze class.)

It was one of those parenting decisions made based on empowerment.  Based on trying to teach them how to cope with life's adversities when they arrive. 

Unfortunately, this is the same breed that makes you question yourself.  It makes you second guess, hold your breath, and gut out the hours until the outcome is revealed because your mommy heart just wants to ask the teacher to be extra patient with your sensitive boy.

You know, like they are in preschool. 

Grayson is having a tough moment with Kindergarten.  He loves school, loves his new friends, loves to rise to the occasion but has been plagued with his "wiggly belly" again.

His nerves have made a serious comeback.  Headaches, upset stomach, dizziness, near bodily collapse, you name it and my poor boy felt it last week and now again this week.  

Last night we had a heart-to-heart right before bed.  He detailed his worries for me, right down to almost hyperventilating about a poem, and begged me to help him fix them with his big 'ol puddled up doe eyes.

I wanted to fix them all for him.  Oh Dear God I wanted to make it okay right in that second like all mommies do.  The most haunting part was that I most likely could've solved things with one e-mail or phone call to his teacher. 

This time felt different though.  I had a sense it would be more beneficial for him to do his own legwork.  Even if that legwork took more painful strides per mile to get there, it was his hill to climb, not mine.

After our chat and a good body hugging cry, we both felt completely ambivalent about the next day.  My "convincing" voice needs some work.  Neither of us bought an ounce of what I was sellin'.

Pep talk number two started in the a.m. when I could see his pale face starting to go Twilight on me again.

"You can do this, Honey.  It's going to be better once you get it off your chest.  The worry is always worse than the outcome," I prattled off to my own shaky hand trying to apply eyeliner.

Oh no. What if he throws up in class?  What if I throw up in the car?  What if they are too busy to help him today?  Am I some kind of horrible mother expecting too much too soon?  He's just a little boooyyyyyy!!!!  Breathe, Freakshow.  It's Kindergarten, not Iraq. 

Before either of us needed a paper bag, we grabbed our things and scooted out the door to drop Grayson off at school.

Then Abby and I went about our day.  We distracted each other with make believe Polly Pocket villages.  I worried, fretted, and regretted my decision to have him deal with things himself.  I needed pick up time to be here so I could wrap him up in my arms, apologize for making him do the scary thing, and feed him several cookies while streamlining Jessie on Disney.

Four o'clock finally arrived and do you know what?  Everything was fine. 

"Mommy!  Our class got FIVE stickers today and a special treat from the office!!  But a few kids did not because they got to yellow and that means they do not get the treat.  I think even some of them got to red."

I listened intently while checking his daily folder for the note about how many times he was sent to the nurse's office with a migraine and hives.  What I found instead were papers with "Grayson" in his own handwriting (I will miss you "Grayzon" ) AND the names of two of his classmates...all written out legibly!  By him!  The boy with the wiggly belly and sad sorrowful eyes.

"Did you talk with your teacher today about ______?"


"How did that go?"

"I don't remember."

-give him a second, shut your piehole woman, wait for it-

"Actually, I do remember. 

(I know, the suspense was killing me too.  He's a man of few words, like his father.  Sometimes I can read an entire article on Huffington Post while waiting for either of them to respond.)

"She said, 'Oh,' and then we lined up for lunch."

"Did that seem to make your belly feel better?" I ask with a quick prayer to the Kindergarten Gods.

"No...I still have a wiggly belly at the day time but it is I is not as bad."

Not as bad.  A parental win, as far as I'm concerned. 

I will certainly be happy to take Not as Bad from him over All Better from me who wants to fix every boo-boo and climb every mountain with Julie Andrews.

This growing up thing is hard to do but I think we're both getting somewhere.

80% Rain

Rainy days and Sundays always get her down.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Daughter Thinks I'm Ugly

When I was little I can remember standing in my mother's closet in a wondrous stupor.  Hanger after hanger of flower dresses, cuffed slacks, and pleated skirts longer than my own body shimmied as I walked under each one, imagining myself as a woman. 

My little girl feet pushed down into my mom's glossy high heels.  I loved the way the straps felt.  Even loose around my ankles, I could feel their promise:  You can be a beautiful woman one day too, just like your momma. 

It wasn't long before I gave up pretending her sweaters were dresses or pulling her skirts around me as gowns.  I parted ways with my frilly self and embraced the opposite world.  I favored my brother's clothing over her girly stuff - Adidas shirts and high top sneakers won me over just in time for middle school.

Just in time for puberty, new curves, mean girls and hormonal boyfriends. 

It didn't help that I chopped off every wisp of my inky long hair right before 7th grade.  It was when the Demi cut was big and lots of girls were donning asymmetrical short cuts.  I wanted that too but made the grave mistake of looking into a Hair Cuttery to seek out a brand new Hollywood style.

I am still growing that sh*t out.

Most of middle school, I looked more like a dude than my brother.  He was gorgeously metro with his long rocker hair and ripped up jeans.   Girls flocked to him.  Boys asked me to go dirt bike riding with them.

Even my beautiful grandmother favored Jackie O.  Her closet was the tiny version (not even feet tall) of my mom's:  stylish long skirts and delicate blouses.  Not a day went by without me watching her apply her coral Avon lipstick with golden leaf clip-on earrings wondering how she figured out her winning recipe.   

I was surrounded by fashion models.

My family tried to help me.  My sweet grandfather even offered up his closet when it became clear to everyone that I had zero fashion sense and defaulted to the same tragic baggy pink and white checkered sweatshirt; hiding whatever young lady was happening underneath.

My grandmother and mom would stage hair interventions.  They put hot curlers in my hair, twisted them tight, sprayed them down like hornets, and watched with tears in their eyes as my hair fell flat and listless the minute they unrolled each one.

I was the tomboy who would not quit. 

High school came and somehow I managed to pull things together well enough to remain neither fashionable nor a complete train wreck.  Thanks be to GOD for big hair where I could mousse up my lackluster waves and poof up the bangs to look like every other girl in 1992.  And I'm pretty sure I traded my baggy checkered sweatshirt for an oversized checkered blazer I wore once a week with leggings.  That blazer (and $%*! Algebra) is all I think of when I think of the 11th grade.

College was when I finally bloomed.  States away from home and anyone who knew me helped me to discern what I felt good in vs. what other people were wearing.  Long buttoned down skirts and fitted T-shirts were my new norm when the mountain air didn't call for flannels and boots.  I even added a few scarves and oversized batwing shirts with leggings in the mix before I confirmed with the public that it was stylish.  I was finally finding my own rhythm.

Those were the best 4 point 5 years of my life.  If only college lasted forever.

Years later, after teacher clothes, newly married vacation Ts and post baby workout gear, I am once again struggling to find a style that works for me.

It wasn't so bad, floundering about in what I assumed to be a private limbo of Fashionless Land, until Abby piped up recently.

"Mommy.  I want you to be beautiful."


"Don't you want to be beautiful?"  she asks with all the innocence of a girl who loves glittery Princesses.

Yes, actually, that does sound nice.

"Here, I will find you a new style in this book.  You can look like HER!" she points to a Macy's model at maybe 18  with come hither smokey eyes.

No, baby, no I can't.  That's disturbing.

"You can put on pretty make ups, nice pants, and borrow my Ariel wig!"

And give up my REI capri pants?

"You will look beautiful, Mommy!"

I'm trying not to die of self loathing here girlfriend, can you please throw me a bone?

"Abby?  Is there any part of Mommy that you DO think is beautiful?"

(thinking hard, squinting her eyes, looking me up and down)

"Yes, your purple toes!"

Oh no she didn't just say my feet are the only beautiful thing about me. Touchee, Princess.  This tomboy is about to rock your little Ariel world.  Watch out, Diva.  

I may need to borrow that Ariel wig after all. 

Water Balloons and Hammocks

We knew something was up when Abby regressed into not having a "thing to wear" while her wardrobe is filled with the softest clothes this side of the Delaware River.

Andy thought of taking her temperature before I did.


Aha.  Why don't I ever think of that first?

We Tylenol'ed her right away and felt confident she would be feeling better in 20 minutes.

I took myself straight to Giant for chicken soup ingredients, frosting for a doll party Abby insisted on having, and TP.  Three hours later (Someone got carried away reading labels.), I came back home to find Abby's fever was worse, not better.

Andy was buzzing back and forth talking about emergency rooms and cold baths.  Poor man.  He lives with so much stress on his shoulders all the time and this surprise fever was not on his syllabus.  His motherboard short-circuited so I put grocery bags in his hand to calm him down.  Food and organizing the pantry is his happy place.

Even with Tylenol, Abby's fever sky rocketed above 104.  Thankfully, a kind nurse on the phone squeezed us in as the last appointment for the day.

Abby's doctor couldn't have been better.  She took one look at Abby glossy eyes and flaming throat and called it. "Strep."  She was so sure in fact, that she wrote out a prescription for amoxi before we went to the lab downstairs.

Minutes after Abby and the tech tussled, the strep test came back positive.  Thank goodness, an actual diagnosis; something we can work with.  Not a mysterious ailment bringing with it a fever connected to nothing.  I will take strep any day of any week.

But poor kid, she really did have a rough day yesterday between body aches, chills, and generally feeling like hell.  I knew she was hurting when she shunned a Strawberry Shortcake marathon for her own bed and closed shades.

Grayson watched TV most of the day because Andy was stuck outlining historical wars in the study and I couldn't spin the nurse plate and the 5 yo boy plate just then.

By the time I was finished sponging down Abby's scalding hot body, it was near 4pm.

"Can we have a water balloon fight, Mommy?"

Seriously, kid?  I'll have you know I want to curl up on that there couch you've been camped out on all day to close my eyes and dream of rocking in a hammock over fields of barley.

"A water balloon fight.  Okay, yes. Go get your shoes on."

With that, I forced myself to ignore the great desire so sleep and we had ourselves a grand time.

 Granted, the water hose was not the fastest method but it got the job done.

 Which gave Grayson plenty of time to practice his I-Will-Crush-You-Like-A-Samurai faces

 This one kind of had me nervous.

 "I won't throw these at you, Mom!"

 "I will LAUNCH them at you like the scary ball of boy angst that I am!!"

 Ahhh, the One-legged death toss!!

 He even had the dogs running.

 But look who came outside with us later on for a quick visit?  
She didn't last very long but it was good to see her upright again.

I guess sometimes a water balloon fight really is much better than a boring old hammock anyway.

Friday, September 14, 2012

a letter to everyone i never call

dear everyone i never call on the phone anymore,

holy sh*t, do i miss you.

i'm sorry i haven't called back yet.  you already know why.  my children won't let me.  they bay at my forehead like bloodthirsty vampires if i so much as glance at the phone.  it's like they know i'm trying to escape.

i cannot believe they still want to play with me.  or try.  are the 5-7 minute long ninja fights and/or tea parties  once a week really enough to sustain interest in me as a valuable play mate?

vampire babies are poor judges of character.

must be the faces i make when i talk with friends.  they don't bother the daddy when he's on the phone- the daddy who is all serious, frown-brow-y, and official.  he's not on a business call, he's talking to pete about bow hunting.  or maybe it's his uniform.  the daddy looks tall, camouflaged, and important.  paisley jammy bottoms and rainbow socks do not exactly make them think i'm on my way to a board meeting.

you'd think all the floor laying, eye-averting, my head hurts why are you yelling please go over there zero body contact after 4pm would be evidence enough that i'm no fun anymore.

evidently, i need to change strategies.  the vampirelings are resilient to apathy.

i tried face-time.  it's disturbing for the other person.  hard to know what to say to a grown woman who clearly has not mastered speaker phone.  the voices in the background (vampirelings) explode and smash together with voices in the foreground (face-timers).  everyone is left smiling awkwardly and hoping someone's battery dies just to end that which hurts to watch.

so you, everyone i never call, please know how much i miss you and yearn to hear your voice again.

it's just not safe.  the vampirelings haven't lifted their curfew quite yet.  it's coming though, the school year is making them weak again;  i even saw one of them fall asleep in broad daylight at 4pm.  the sun shown on her lily white skin while her tired body began to twitch slightly, nearly giving in to an afternoon nap.

until i reached for my cell phone.

vampirelings.  they don't want rainbow toes to escape. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fresh Linen Placebo Effect

When the house is a complete travesty, the children have uprooted every doll, plastic ninja, tea party cup, and thousands of Lego-ey things despite the new baskets you just bought half off from Michael's to keep things tidy, you need this:

One whiff and voila! - You have a neat bun atop your head, dinner already roasting in a pan, and a belt wrapped around your cute dress fitted to accentuate your 50s pin-up girl curves that make your husband growl after he puts down his cigar.

I might need one in every room.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Where My Moms At?

I took myself out to lunch today.

Most of my mom friends (Playground Crew) have new schedules now that our kids are in different schools so we don't pal around as much as we did last school year.  I'm kind of a loner type so thought that would be fine by me.

No worries.  Grab a tea, read a book, introspect and write.  I am on it.  Just like college.

Lunch was decidedly great.

This is fun!

I tried a Pho restaurant I've had my eye on since we moved here. 

 Bean sprouts.  I still don't get what to do with them.

Tea was sweet, single sized, and freaking lonely as all hell.

Just one cup?  Not even room for two.

Truth is, I think this school transition has all of us moms bumping into doorways and forgetting our keys.

We are taking longer to transition into this kindergarten thing than our kids.

The moms I once clung to when we dropped off our scared three-year olds are gone.  The moms with whom I huddled in preschool hallways to chat about new projects, traveling husbands, and potty training are missing.  We are now in some other big school hallway with brand new moms saving cell numbers under "New Contacts."

We knew it was going to happen.  A few of us lamented about how strange it was going to be, suddenly being forced to break up with each other and move on before any of us were really ready.

"It's going to suck not seeing you every day."
"Maybe we can still grab lunch when I'm in town for work?"
"Yes, we will still be touch.  It's not like we're moving out of state or anything."

Except it is.  It is exactly like we all moved to different zip codes with different bus routes and separate Back-to-School nights.  The women we shared two to three years with discussing (often too many) details of our children's pink eye have flown the coop.

We are pushed out of our warm nests, forced onward to figure out new routines, lunch menus, and school policies.

I miss my preschool moms.

My kids have moved on.  They are making new friends and even seem happy about starting over.

I thought I was pretty good at moving on myself, giving credit to our multiple moves and outgoing-TMI-in-the-first-5-minutes-I-meet-you nature, but this time I am feeling a somewhat sideswiped.

We will all move on to make new nests, possibly even bigger warmer nests but right now I'm missing my old one with predictable laughter, sarcastic eye rolls, and sincere shoulder squeezes that I would give anything to feel tomorrow morning at school drop off.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Facebook

Hi My Friends.

I created a Facebook page in case you wanted to chat with me, each other or just see way too many dog close-ups.  It's easier for me to load pics to a FB page than it is to this blog.  I vow to broaden my horizons beyond dogs & kids now that I have a bit free time on my hands.  Those 12 hours a week will be precious and I shall not squander in sameness.

Don't really have a master plan for the new page but since I'm on FB four million times a day, thought I could use it as a quick place to launch pictures, quick updates or show off some of my talented writer (and designer) friends from time to time.  You too, just send me your link and I will add you for all to see. 

Here's the link.  Feel free to ignore, I will never know the difference.

And I will adore you just the same.

*Apologies for those of you who might have seen variations of this post in your reader no less than 10 times.  I have a happy "Publish" trigger finger.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fast Car

This weekend was a blur.

This whole year has been a blur.

Last night I asked Andy if his head feels cloudy too.  He said it did.  I asked him what he thought it was.  He said it was fatigue, burn-out, work, children, but not marriage.

(Smart husband.)

It got me thinking and wondering how long we can exist at this break-neck speed?  Will things ever clear up if they don't slow down?  Life has become pedal down, radio blaring, HOV all the way.

Yours too?  What do you do to bring it down to 25?

I'm desperately stomping the brakes in hopes of enjoying the scenery between lane changes.  That isn't happening;  I get used to the left lane.

You got a fast car,
And I want a ticket to go anywhere

Hopefully this year with both kids in school, time will stop pushing us over the speed limit, my comfort zone.

Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere

Or we will figure out a few shortcuts and detours to bring us back to a small town, shorter streets with stop signs at every other intersection.
Because this way is making me dizzy.  I can't even tell if the Chrysanthemums have bloomed.  Have they?

I'm a Volkswagon Bug, not a glossy Beemer.  Andy's a Beemer though and for that I can be grateful.

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so we can fly away

Hopefully that means he can throw a hitch on my bumper and tow me right into the next town until we can stop again for coffee for our next leg of this blurry trip.

We gotta make a decision
We leave tonight or live and die this way

*Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sky Writing

Get this, you guys.


A tornado warning (a tornado warning!?) at 3pm here in VA. 

Looming green skies, swaying tree limbs, and thundering rainfall for thirty minutes around 4pm.

Lights flicker.  Power dims.  We grab blankets and head to basement.

Storm surges then wanes and is just a mess of tricking clouds after 5:30

At 7:55 my father-in-law hollars upstairs, "Hey, a double rainbow, come see!"

And this is what I caught with my camera:

 So excited...that I forgot the flash.

 It was a double rainbow but I was a bit too late to catch both..

 Flash on, rainbow fading.

 Fading more but still there.

I mean, really.

We could have had the tornado warning at noon.  Or last Tuesday.  Or never.  But it was this afternoon, at 3pm.

It could've rained just a normal rain and then passed us by but it came down like angry nails for thirty minutes, coating everything in its path with a swirling pool of water.

The storm could've ended without any encore but this sky had other plans:

(This looked about 10x more incredible in person.)

This sky had something to say.

And I pray Anna got to "hear" it too.

For Anna

One year ago a family's life was turned upside down and inside out in the worst way possible when a beautiful boy named Jack went outside to play with his friends and never came back.

His mom is Anna, a woman I now consider my friend.

My heart is so heavy for Anna, Tim, Margaret, Jack's aunt, Jack's cousins, Jack's friends, the entire world Jack had to leave behind.

I am spending the morning finding a bustling blue ribbon to place in honor of a boy who has changed so many lives forever, mine included.

Without Jack, I wouldn't believe half the things that come out of Grayson's mouth.  Jack helps me understand that sometimes kids just know.  They are connected.  They feel things adults may be too hardened or too busy to feel.       

May Jack somehow be able to connect with his family today.  On a day that must feel upside down and inside out all over again. 

We love you, Anna. 

You don't have to travel this unfamiliar road alone.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Look what greeted me upon my return from school drop off.

She didn't even try to conceal the evidence.

Her sister's bad counter surfing habits are beginning to rub off on her.

Watch this.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fish Fry

The doorbell rang mid-afternoon and I answered it.

I never ever do that unless expecting someone but today the dogs were howling so I glanced through the peephole to find a pretty innocuous lady standing on my front doorstep.  She was there sweating her tookus off while looking somewhat distressed (red flag no.1) so I cracked the door open.

She wanted to know if I could buy a few boxes of meat and/or fish from her meat/fish truck parked next door.  You see, an elderly lady pushed the order button twice and only meant once and well, now, NOW there is all this extra meat/fish melting away in the back of her truck that she cannot return.

Why not?  Why is this meat perishable and nonreturnable?  You'd think I would've asked. (red flag no.2)

Nobody else was home, you see, and she was hauling these heavy boxes filled with meat/fish up to my driveway to show me what she could give to me at cost. (red flag no.3)

This very nice overheated and now noticeably tattooed lady went through all the trouble to tear them open with her bare hands, describing each one at length in case I  wanted to make meatballs out of the ground sirloin patties instead of just burgers for my family.

The kids so love their meatballs.

I listened politely in front of a door that was still howling with now an urgent high pitch G note wafting through the living room.  Abby isn't much of a howler but wanted to play along too.

The lady went on undeterred from the warning of many beasts unhappy without their fearless leader.

Their leader who was eying up plastic wrapped frozen solid salmon cakes, crab legs, T-bone steaks, sirloin patties, haddock, flounder, dolphin, Orca, you name it - all very good with Jim Beam's marinade that you should probably just go ahead and get from Giant.

Surely I saw through this ex convict and sent her and her millions of hermetically sealed salmonella on her way. 

Surely I am that smart.

Or maybe you all would like to join us this weekend for the biggest baddest fish fry our backyard grill can handle. 

Fish Fry.  Our house.  Bring your forks and some extra Jim Beam marinade.  We're gonna need it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Putting a Cork in It

I don't cry that much but when I do I can't seem to put a cork in it.

Tonight, after bathing the kids, I pressed my face hard into a blue terry bath towel still tugging on its hook - trying to slow down a trail of tears spilling down my chin.

Grayson starts kindergarten tomorrow. 

He is ready, eager, and bubbling over behind those big brown eyes with excitement for the new school.  I know he will do great, I'm not worried about his first day of school going poorly.  I just didn't expect to feel so sad tonight.

When I ask myself why I'm crying I cannot come up with the truth.

The truth is somewhere between love, time, letting go, and pride. 

I am so proud of my son who has more compassion in one expression than I can conjure up in an entire lifetime.  He has given us perspective with his "Buddhisms" and ability to connect with things beyond this space.

"Who is older, Mommy - You are Daddy?"

"I am, Honey.  I beat him by 10 days."

"So you will go before Daddy because you will grow older first.  What happens to whales and sea animals when they get old?  Do they stay in the water?  They are already in the water and water means life."

"Well, Honey.  Sometimes whales end up back on the beach if they get hurt, sometimes I guess they don't."

"Yeah.  I forgot, everything goes back some day.  We all go back."

Go back.  I don't really know what he means but holy smokes does he have me curious.  Go back.  

So you see these tears don't make sense.  I cry because he is still so little even though he looks eight (my grandfather's long legs).


I cry because he has a new backpack and a new T-shirt he picked out because it looked "boy cool."

I cry because he is the only one around here who laughs at my jokes.  And we have kickass impromptu ninja fights in the middle of a hike.

(Don't worry, I threw that shirt away after viewing these pics. wth?  I bet you're more worried about the pants.  Nope, keeping those bad boys.  Lots of kick room.)

I cry because he is so good with his sister.  What in the WORLD am I going to do with her from 9-4?!  We don't even like each other.  Oh we love each other tons, we just have trouble always appreciating each others perspective on you know, life.


I cry because he picked out leaves for me tonight during our leaf painting extravaganza. 


Then endured the driveway paintfest just because he knew Daddy needed a study break.

 (And let me take pictures of him even though he'd rather eat alfalfa sprouts.)

I cry because he loves cheese but not the color red anymore.  His new favorite is green. 


I cry because his hair stands up on the very top of his head no matter how wet the washcloth.



I cry because 4 o'clock is a long time away from 9 o'clock and so close to dinner time.  What ever happened to half-day kindergarten?


I cry because he did this when I asked him to show me his very first tooth that he pulled himself when I was pretending to be a midwife.

 (Look in the background to the left.  Even Sadie seems concerned.)

My tears don't stop because I'm scared of what's next: all the things I can't see, predict, control, protect, warn, comfort, soothe, and love away when I am here and he is somewhere else.

This is my first rodeo. 

I miss him so much already and he's not even gone.

But he's going.

And I have to put a cork in it and let him enjoy the ride.