Tuesday, December 29, 2009

If it smells like shit...

You know when you are sitting at your computer and think, what is that smell? And you know it smells like shit, but find that hard to understand since it is 7 in the morning and no one else is around. So I get up, open the curtains, turn around and yes, indeed, there is a nice pile of dog shit under my desk. A little love present from our Christmas "miracle," Sparky.

Let's go back 4 days - to Christmas evening. It's been a day of joy, general wreckage of the living room, food, movies and . . . wait, what is that outside? There is a flash of white by the back door. Is it Santa - did he forget to drop off something? No, it is a black and white dog - a very small, freezing cold, terrified dog.

Have I mentioned that our yard borders on open desert - you know, sagebrush, dirt and coyotes? Yes, this dog was terrified with good reason. So I go outside with some of the the Christmas ham and spend about 30 minutes coaxing him out from under the snow covered patio furniture. Get him in, set up a dog crate, post his picture out there for the owners to find him and put him in the laundry room for the night.

Fast forward 4 days. Yep, Sparky is still here...leaving me presents. One thing I can say about him is that he has changed my view of small dogs. This guy doesn't bark all the time (only if he is in his crate and doesn't want to be). He hasn't once snapped at the 3 kids or 2 dogs. He's put up with being chased around by Kippen, our 70 pound bundle of puppy, and being wrapped in a blanket and put in a doll beds by QueenBee.

And he is hysterical! His most favorite thing to do is sit in anyone's lap and occasionally lick whatever he can find (neck,arm, hand, keyboard). He was clearly rewarded for dancing around on his hind legs by his owners and will do that forever. He tries to play with Kippen and Kaela's toys, but the balls are as big as his head. Sparky really is a sweetheart. But he has this way of shooting poops out so fast, it's crazy. I mean, he wasn't under my desk but for 2 seconds before we put him outside. What is that about?

Today, a new owner will come take him home (we won't mention the poop issue). He will be king of the roost there - no other dogs, one kid. And our life will go back to the same calm it was before Sparky entered our life (you know, the one with - everyone sing with me: 3 little girls, 2 black dogs, and 1 albino garter snake).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Maui: To Do and Not to Do

To do:
Go to Baby Beach in Lahaina - shallow water, no waves, other kids to play with - hours of fun with little intervention needed by parents.

Not to do:
Forget your book when you take the kids to Baby Beach. This
leads to ridiculous amounts of pictures being taken since you are bored without your book.

To do:
Play hide and seek under the huge banyan tree in Lahaina.

Not to do:
Don't let the kids play by themselves - join in. There is nothing like the joy in the girls' eyes when they find mommy! And it is very quiet to hide for a while.

To do:
Go to the community pools. Maui has an amazing system of community pools that are free! And heated, with showers and bathrooms. And most come with playmates for the children. Some are big and fancy (with fountains), some are small, but perfect because the kids can touch the
bottom in the whole pool.

Not do to:
Reprise - remember your book or magazine - we were at one pool for 3 hours!

To do:
Practice snorkeling in the pool and then at Baby Beach for maximum children's snorkeling success. Put up with the endless moving of the snorkel from the mask to the goggles, to the mask, to the goggles, flippers on, flippers off. It is worth it for the kids to have a positive experience early on.

Not to do:
Forget to label the snorkel equipment for each child. Otherwise your time spent adjusting masks and fins will quadruple.

To do:
Eat a fish sandwich at the Fish Market in Paia. They are amazing. The wait is totally worth it. The community seating is fun.

Not to do:
Expect kids who don't even like fishsticks to eat a fish sandwich. They have really good burgers, too, from local beef.

To do:
Go to Ulua beach, in Wailea. Great snorkeling for grownups, and maybe for kids if it is calm. Fabulous surf for boogie boards. Soft, soft sand. And bathrooms and showers!

Not to do:
Leave in a hurry. You want to have time to play on the grassy hill across from the showers. It is perfect for royal queens and princess to hold court, with towels tied as gowns and royal robes. Also a fabulous picture spot.


Same Crap, Different Place, Just Smaller Location

At the risk of getting my head whacked off for actually complaining about a vacation to Maui, here goes. And I am not complaining about the whole thing - most everything was great fun: new and exciting things, warm weather and water, and no snow.

But try taking two four year olds and a six year old anywhere, really, and you get the usual complaints, whines, etc. Top that off with the younger two going through this thing right now where they only want mommy ("I want to sit by mommmmyyyy") and you get a mom who needs a vacation from a vacation.

I think at this point (day 7) what we are dealing with is sheer tiredness. So we had a "lazy" day - meaning no beach or driving anywhere but a leisurely morning at the condo, then walking to the aquarium, then lunch out...you get the idea. But somewhere along the way, someone forgot to tell the girls that leisurely morning means you don't fight, pinch each other, complain about having to eat your whole breakfast, brush teeth, put clothes on, not getting to listen to the whole book-on-tape. Really, I could go on and on.

Then there is the aquarium - the end all, be all of distractions for whiners, right? Nope. LittleBug immediately wants to go to the "tunnel" (apparently she heard me talking the day before about the plexiglases tunnel at the aquarium) and asks incessantly to go to the tunnel. Every exhibit of really cool fish, octopus, seahorses, "I want to to to the tunnel." Look girls, sharks, "When can we go to the tunnel?" When we finally get to the tunnel, I'm thinking that I can sit down and relax and watch the girls marvel at the sharks and rays going overhead. Nope. Almost immediately, LittleBug says, "I want to go through the tunnel." I am not kidding.

But, I digress. If there was a way to just have the great parts of a vacation, it would be amazing. The shrieking and dashing away from the surf and waves, the proudness of learning how to snorkel, the silliness of running from the tiny little crabs popping out of their holes on the beach, and playing hide & seek under the huge banyan tree in Lahaina, all lit up with Christmas lights. These are all fabulous memories. I wouldn't trade them for anything.

But, with the good, comes the bad, I suppose. Being in a condo smaller than our home, being tired and hungry (apparently all the time, but not for whatever we are eating), plus still having to follow rules gets old. Then the whining and fighting begins. Top that off with the fact that I am also used to more space and alone time and something has got to give.

And it did - it was called movie night.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Venturing forth....

On her own. For the first time ever, LadyBug, one of my twins, is doing something on her own. She is starting ballet class.

This was no easy decision - she had to give up gymnastics, which she loves very much. But she has had this idea for a few months now. Ballet is her thing.

I took her to a class to try it out and it was probably the cutest thing I've ever seen. She was younger than the other girls, and it turned out that all the other girls had at least a year of dance already. But she did it all - when Miss Diane would put her in a position, she wouldn't move. She held the position. She watched the teacher and the other girls and figured things out. In the end, even the teacher was impressed and said that she could do this class if she wanted to (and skip the intro class). So this weekend we will buy her ballet slippers and leotard and on Tuesday she will be venturing forth to her first activity without her twin.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Angel, Witch, and Ballerina - Oh My!

Here is a "proud mama" moment - this year for Halloween my three girls not only chose what they wanted to be early on and stuck to it, but each girl was something different and individual to her.

My eldest, QueenBee, was an angel - all white and gold and glittery. She strolled about in her long while gown as if she owned the place. And I bet you've never seen an angel pushing everyone else out of the way to be in front of the pack to say "Trick-or-treat"!!

LittleBug chose to be a witch - and not just any witch, but one with a black boots, a broom with black and purple ribbons, and of course, black lipstick. She made the best "witchy" faces and relished the scariness of herself.

Her twin, LadyBug, was a ballerina. She was true to her heart - she has wanted to take dance now for months and dances around the house, Trader Joe's, or wherever. With her hair in a bun, makeup on her face and the pink leotard it was like seeing into the future. She positively glowed!
An angel, a witch, and a ballerina - how perfect is that?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby Blues

So, I finally take my husband to one of my favorite lunch places, Nothing To It, a cooking school and all around cozy-yummy place. I've been there many, many times with friends and my mom. All that good food, coupled with the fact that you are eating in the kitchen (what could be cozier than that?) means that we always have good conversations - full of laughter and sometimes even tears.

Well, my husband and I were having a great talk -- laughing, making plans for our relatives who are visiting this weekend, discussing our darling children, when all of a sudden I climbed into myself and hid. My husband is very perceptive and asked where I went, but I am unable to answer. Without crying.

I kid you not, at the next table, the woman behind him had taken a baby out of his car seat. A very cute few week old baby, dressed in blue, with big blue eyes -- baby blues. She was holding him on her shoulder so that when I looked at my husband, all I could see was this baby's head looking right at me over his shoulder. It was unbelievable, all the sadness and longing that poured through me. It was all I could do not to grab that baby and just hug it so close....

I gritted my teeth, dug my fingernails into my palm, and told my darling husband to look behind him. He did, and I started to cry. Right there in the restaurant. Which is really just someone's kitchen, so that was ok....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Black lipstick and pink ribbons

Nothing makes girls happier than lipstick and ribbons. I don't mean to sound sexist or be giving in to stereotypes, but living with 3 little girls has taught me more than I care to know about shrieks of girl-happiness. Today I bought the black lipstick LittleBug wants to go with her witch costume. Of course both LittleBug and LadyBug, her twin, wanted to try it on. Now I have two 4 year olds who look like they are 20 heading out for a rave. Flash forward, perhaps?

Ladybug is going to be a ballerina, all in pink, for halloween. Now she insist that in addition to the pink satin ribbons I bought to "lace up" her ankles, she must also have black lipstick. Ever seen a ballerina with black lipstick?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Little Runner

I'm a proud mama. Today LadyBug, our "middle" child (not really, since she is a twin, but she seems to fit right in there) showed some true determination and grit. We did a 1/2 mile fun run today. I was with the other girls, who alternated between whining and walking really slowly. LadyBug was with her dad and ran the whole way! At the start she began running and she ran uphill, then downhill, then sped up at the end. You Go Girl!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Turns out LittleBug is quite a shutterbug. This shouldn't surprise me - she has a knack for seeing things in a way that only she could. She is very observant and loves to share her observations with us in paragraph form, talking very fast. What I love is that my camera is almost as big as her head, yet she perseveres.

Here are a couple of her pictures. The one of our eldest dog is just priceless....

The one of the hot air balloon she entitled "Balloon All By Itself."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Vintage" Dress Up

Note to self: do not try to clean out the closet with two 4 year old helpers. My clothes-to-give-away-pile quickly became dress ups! ("Now we can be real mommies," said LadyBug.)

(Yes, the shirt was from the 90's when the 70's came back - what were we thinking?)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Just call me Julie . . .

Ever since seeing, "Julie & Julia" and then reading Julie Powell's book, I've been craving meat cooked in lots of butter. And not just any meat, but meat I would have never before considered eating. Like liver. If you haven't read her book, you should. The way she describes the taste of liver makes it sound like the richest, gooiest chocolate cake ever (no, not that it tastes like chocolate, but its that same rich, complete over-indulgence taste). However, the idea of me cooking liver is laughable. I barely cook beef. Boneless/skinless chicken breast and ground turkey are my "specialties." (It's amazing my kids don't think all meat isn't white-ish).

So, on Wednesday I had what I would call my "Julie Powell moment:" I made a new recipe that called for a whole chicken cut up. None of this mamby-pamby boneless/skinless crap. My husband bought it and had it cut up, but when I unwrapped it, I realized that the breasts were too big (ha - not a thought I have had in my life too much; but I digress. . .). So I hacked them in half. I say "hacked" because I had to cut through bone and various other ligament type things. Crunch.

The recipe turned out great and actually looked like the picture in the book. Although it's nothing compared to Julie Powell's stories of cooking bone marrow and aspic, I was pretty proud of myself. And I won't tell anyone that at one point during cooking, I yelled out, "Honey, help - I can't tell which ones are the thighs!"

Monday, September 21, 2009

Take me to your leader!

I am so sick of listening to Beethoven's Wig, I am breaking out in hives. I'll be driving along, with all the girls singing in the back, "Beethoven's Wig, it's very big..." and I start shuddering. Of course, at the same time, I love these CDs. For those who aren't familiar, there are now four CDs by Richard Perlmutter that take classical music and set it to very funny and bizarre lyrics. So this time, with Beethoven's 9th symphony playing in your head, read "Beethoven's wig, it's very big" again -- see! Very catchy - and you won't ever hear the song the same again.

My very favorite of all is what he did to Moonlight Sonata (which I loved before and now will never be able to listen to it again without hearing the words). You really have to listen to it to get it, but it is all about a car sitting in the middle of nowhere at a red light that never changes. First one car, then another, and another line up behind him, honking, "beep, beep beep." For kids it is fun, for grown-ups it is delightful because the singer says he doesn't know why they are honking at the light, but he joins in the fray. So delightfully clueless. Really, maybe you have to be there?

My next favorite is the theme from 2001 -imagine the big drums set to, "take me to your leader, take me to your leader." Perlmutter has quite the sense of humor. But I have hives.
Oh - one final note - don't you all run out and buy these - we plan to get them for all our friends with children this year for Christmas. (If you would like to opt out, just send me a note!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

No Time for Butterflies

Something has been weighing on me this week: our decision to send our eldest to public school first grade. She seems happy enough -- she is making friends and doing well in class. But the chaffing against rules has begun. This week (her 3rd back from break) there has been lots of complaints: that they can't take their shoes off, that they can only drink water after recess, that they can't talk ever, at all, that there isn't enough time for lunch, that they can't go to the bathroom after coming in from lunch. Now some of these complaints are suspect (really, you can't go to the bathroom?) And I know a lot of the reason for some of these rules are because there are 31 children in the class. It is a lot to manage.

But managing seems to have become a big part of teaching first grade. Her teachers seem to do a great job managing to get through the day. With the requirements put on them for testing and more testing (in 1st grade!), new daily initiatives involving the children from all the first grades being taught by reading level (sounds admirable, but a logistical
nightmare), and so many more data-driven teaching tools, there seems hardly any time for creative learning.

Case in point: I offered to bring in a monarch caterpillar if we find one (you all remember this, right? The cute orange, white and black caterpillar crawls around and eats milkweed, makes lots and lots of poops, and then, magically, makes a chrysalis! And even more magically, for children and adults alike, emerges 10 days later a beautiful butterfly.)

The response -- with
all the requirements, they won't even have time for that this year. No time for butterflies. It makes me want to cry.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mind reader

Apparently, I am supposed to be a mind reader.  At one point at dinner, during which everyone else was trying to talk at once, Littlebug screamed at me, "Don't talk while I'm thinking!"  She then ran out of the room sobbing.  

Did I mention that she is 4?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I cannot tell you how many times I am completely baffled, enraged and generally without understanding of my children.  It is apparently impossible to get in the van, get out of the van, go brush teeth, set the table, feed the dogs, pick out a book, or turn off the t.v. without fighting!  Somebody must be first or the other blocks both sisters or whatever!  It seems to be anything.  
I'd say some of you are reading with a knowing smile, maybe even nodding, "yep, that's siblings for you..."  And then maybe a few of you are nodding and saying, "yes - what is with those kids?"  And now I will venture to guess that the former group all have siblings.  The latter are, like me, only children.  

I've told my friends and husband about some of the above mentioned drama and, while I do get sympathy, I also get that smile (sometimes annoyingly all knowing and dismissive), "oh yeah, my brother/sister and I used to fight all the time."  

Well I don't get it.  I need to read a book called "Parenting More Than One Child, Written for Only Children Who are Now Parents."  Maybe I'll write it. . . 

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not losing my mind

So, we got back from vacationing in Santa Cruz for four days to discover that the hose in the backyard was left on.  We are now probably home to a few dozen frogs and thousands of mosquito larvae, all in the swamp that is our grass.  

Now, it is not unheard of for me to do something like this - especially since I was in charge of getting us all packed up, house closed up, AC off, windows locked, etc.  We were picking up my husband on the way over in Sacramento, where he flew in from a business trip.  But I just know I didn't even go in the backyard the morning we left.  I even specifically thought about giving the garden a bit extra water, but was just too busy.   But, last night at 11:00 p.m. when my husband and I discovered this, I eventually concluded that I must have done it, even though I have no memory of it.  

This conclusion was very disheartening for someone who really tries to be organized and together. In fact, I dare say I pride myself on my organizational skills.  So I've been feeling a bit off this morning, wondering what other bizarre things I have done that I have no earthly memory of.  

After breakfast, my eldest, Queen Bee, went outside to survey our new swamp.  After about 10 minutes she comes in and nonchalantly says, "Oh, mom, I must have left that on when I went out to water your tree before we left."  That's it . . . no drama, just stating the facts.  

So, my sanity is intact for now.  Although 20 minutes ago, upon putting my dad's birthday cake in the oven, I discovered I had forgotten 1 cup of milk (that's a whole lot of liquid!) and ran around frantically taking the pans out, scraping the batter back into the mixer, adding milk, re-greasing and flouring the pans....sigh....  I'll let you know how the cake turns out.  

Friday, August 14, 2009

The new me (ha!)

Word of warning:  if you are feeling down and think that chopping off your hair will make you feel better, DON'T DO IT!  A dear friend of mine told me this, but I didn't listen.  On the way to the grocery store I spontaneously stopped in at Great Clips (have never gotten my hair cut at one of those places) and thought to myself, "how bad could it be?"  Ha!  If you like your head to look like a bell, it's just great.  

Just wish I liked to wear hats.  

On the plus side, my eldest, QueenBee said I looked beautiful and my hair looks like Snow White's (???).  She's also the one that said the housedress I wore while recovering, that belonged my late dear grandmother (picture floor length polyester with a jungle print), was the most beautiful thing ever.  

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Here to make cookies

Tonight, one of my twins, LittleBug, said, "Mommy, it's good you are here."  "Oh, yeah?" I say.  "Yeah, because you can make cookies!"

Yep, can't beat the logic of a 4 year old.  

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Love you all

There is really nothing like seeing friends for the first time since all of this and having each one hug me and say "I'm so glad you are here."  Love you guys....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You know you are not well when....

you want to break down crying at the bagel shop because they didn't get your sandwich order right, and you want to start screaming at the top of your lungs, "Damn it, this is the first time I've been out the house since I came home from the hospital after almost dying last Sunday!"  Can you imagine the stunned silence, the murmured apologies. . . the free bagels?

I haven't written in a while.  Now there is almost too much to write. 

First, I couldn't write was because I couldn't think of anything to write about except what was consuming my almost every thought in early July - I was pregnant!  This was not supposed to happen - 3 years ago I was diagnosed with pof (premature ovarian failure - poof - no more babies.)  My doctor seemed to liked to say, upon doing an ultrasound at my many check-ups, "Well, your ovaries are quiet"  (what the hell does that mean anyway??)  Then, wham - almost 3 years exactly since things went wacky down there, I'm pregnant!  And not just pregnant, but already queasy if I didn't eat every 2 hours, therefore already gaining weight.   My husband jokingly called "them" the quads.   After our initial shock, disbelief and crazy, giddy laughter that would strike at odd times, my husband and I were happy.

Until the 6 week ultrasound.  Nothing, nada - no little alien-shaped baby with that tiny fluttery heartbeat.  Have I mentioned that I hate going to this doctor's office?  Three years of "your ovaries are like those of a woman in her mid 50's" and then this??  I know women have miscarriages all the time - the more people I talk to, the more common it seems to be.  But, of course, it isn't usually talked about.  It's not generally accepted to answer a prefunctory, "how are you?"  with "I'm really sad because the baby I couldn't help but think about all the time and who was to be here in March died."  You aren't really supposed to say that.... 

So, grief, sadness. . . then shock.  The next day, an early morning phone call from the doctors office - your hormone levels are too high - we must have missed something.  It must be ectopic.  Ok, ectopic is one of those freaky things in all the baby books we all just read really quickly and think, "holy crap, no way could that happen to me."  And I didn't have any of the other symptoms (aside from no baby in the uterus).  No crampy pain, nothing.  So, another ultrasound, searching, searching.  Nothing, nothing - ok, maybe that's it, but it isn't typical.  Hmmm.... more blood work.  If my levels didn't go down enough, then I had to have surgery in 5 hours.  "Just" laproscopic, small inscisions.  Aaaiigghh!  I have never had any surgery whatsoever....But, then, big relief, my hormone levels went down dramatically.  So, new plan - monitor my blood hormone levels weekly,  call the doctor if I have any pain.  

So, no more freaking out, just back to being sad and moving on with life....

Until last Sunday the ectopic pregnancy ruptured, causing massive internal bleeding.  After a long ambulance ride to the hospital from Lake Tahoe, and a short visit to the ER, I was in surgery for an hour and a half.  I lost almost half my blood (thank you all blood donors) but made it just fine.  Fine being relative - I am here, alive, have a wonderful family, irreplaceable friends and am getting better each day.   I know I am strong and will heal fast.  What would really help is a bagel sandwich . . .

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Little Bunny Foo-Foo

Little bunny Foo-Foo- I am going to get you.  And I don't mean just bopping you on the head.  

Today, I went out to check on our garden - a lovely oasis of lush green, flowering squash and pumpkins, tiny peppers and tomatoes - and, gasp!  My green bean plants are gone!  Not just nibbled a bit here and there.  No, they are nibbled down to the sad little stem that now pokes up, naked in the dirt.  

The girls planted the bean seeds about a month ago and we have all lovingly watched them grow each week, watering and counting.  We even saw a tiny baby bean.  Now, it is all gone.  

This is the price we pay, of course, for trying our best to live on the edge of civilization.  Behind our house is desert - full of coyotes, mustangs, and yes, warrens of bunnies.  When we moved in, we thought it was cute to see the little cottontails hopping away when you opened the door. 

Now, this is war!  (or at least a better fence...)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

No Fooling Them

So we have the new van - slick, dark cherry color outside, tan leather inside.  Crazy fancy!  After just 4 days, I was totally adjusted to the life with automatic doors, stereo adjustment on the steering wheel.  When I had to drive the Eurovan to the dealer to get it inspected for the new owner, it definitely felt odd -- so utilitarian!  No perks...  The family we sold it to is in my mind the stereotypical Eurovan family - youngish (early 30's), 2 kids and one on the way, planning to camp - in fact, he was going to camp in it on his way home to Seattle.  Perfect!

So the new van is a bit over the top - all leather, all automatic, etc.  But it was the right color so I'm suffering through all the amenities (ha!).  One thing it has that we flat out didn't want is a DVD player.   The last thing I wanted was to have the same argument that we have at home every other day  in the car as well (why can't we watch a show, we haven't watch one in FOREVER...).  But in the end, to get the same car without it would have only been $400 less...and for long trips, I can definitely see the argument for having the DVD. 

So there it is, the DVD player, the screen tucked into it's little compartment.   Never seen by the kids yet.  We figured that we would turn it on during our first road trip over 3 hours and the kids would think we were gods, right?  Wrong!  Today, on the way to the grocery store, my husband put in a new CD for the twins to listen too.  Ladybug pipes up, "Daddy, why don't we just watch a movie?"  To which Daddy says, "Because we are in the car."  Then she says, "But doesn't that look like a little t.v. that could flop down?  Right there!"  (she is point to the yet revealed DVD screen).  Crap!  How smart are these kids??  Well, luckily, she's 4 and didn't seem to notice when the subject was changed without an answer or a denial.  Sigh . . . it's only a matter of time. . . .

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Becoming Who We Are, Not Who We Thought We Were

Ever think of yourself one way and then realize that reality is different?  This is different than giving up on something, or dashed hopes.  This is a self-image thing...or rather, in this case, a family image.  

When we were planning our wedding, my dear now-husband and I had been camping all of one time.  That is a story in itself (hiking into camp after dark, trying to cook an entire dinner on a tiny camp stove that seemed more like a bunsen burner from high school chemistry, and "bathing" in frigid Maine lake waters).   Basking in the glow of that outdoor experience, we decided that in addition to the traditional wedding registry at Macy's, we would register at REI.  So we did and got so much cool stuff....all of which we have used about 3 times in our almost 13 years of marriage.  So, while we wanted to be that couple that threw everything in the car and camped at the drop of hat, we realized we really were the couple that planned ahead and cozied up in the comfort of a B & B instead.  (And really, who decided the size of our "2 man tent"  -- you've got to be kidding me!)

Fast forward 13 years to June 1 - and we are now the proud owners of a minivan.  Yikes!  A minivan??? Yep, and we are loving it!

Here is our progression of cars:  First married:  family oldsmobile and motorcycle.  Then gave oldsmobile back to family (lucky little sister!) and got older sister's tiny honda something, still have motorcycle.  Move to LA, give up on motorcycle, husband gets much beloved BMW 635csi (an awesome car from mid-90's, if you know about this sort of thing).  Then we went through series of borrowed cars from my traveling parents.   Rich's beloved BMW was totaled - by a minivan, of all things, rear-ending him at a crosswalk) and he bought another much loved and much worked on older mercedes.   I had a small, older audi - loved that car!  Time for first kid - safety, safety, safety - welcome Volvo station wagon!  Next, twins are born - bye-bye Mercedes, welcome VW Eurovan - the "flying brick," I like to call it (NOT a minivan, by the way).  Oh, and now husband drives the station wagon.  

So here we are - lovin' the Eurovan life, right?  Road trips - picnics in the car (the rear 2 rows face eachother, there is a pop-up table), camping and sleeping on the fold out double bed!  The perfect hippy family!  Right?  Well, wrong...or at least not really.  We already went over the camping thing - it just isn't happening.  And did you know, you can't really pop-up the table with car seats strapped onto the seats.  Plus with 3 kids and 2 spots next to the table, there is always fighting over who gets the coveted seats.  Maybe we bought it too early in the kid's lives.  Or maybe, just maybe, we aren't really hippies...  In the end, we've decided that the Eurovan itself really let us down.  I mean what kind of hippy car costs almost $3,000 a year to maintain?? 

So now we own a 2009 Honda Odyssey...and the car journey ends (for a bit).  This car is great, fun and has so many neat features - things I pooh-poohed before like automatic doors are totally worth it!  And of course, on a hot day I need to unroll my car windows 50 feet from the car - that blast of hot air in the face is totally annoying, you know?  

So now that I have given up on being a Eurovan family, do I totally embrace the minivan life?  What does that even mean, really?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Early Dementia?

So, I'm cooking dinner - following a recipe from my in-laws - and I realized that I don't have 3 things out of the 10 in the recipe.  Not that note-worthy, except that I had read the recipe over at least 2 times, made a grocery list, and went shopping.  And now have no onion, not enough ketchup, and no Worcestershire sauce.  A few substitutions later, we will still have edible sloppy-joes.  But still, it makes me wonder....

This past week we have been looking into buying a new car -- my first brand new car!  We were so close to putting down a deposit to get them to bring in the van in the right color, but there was a feature wrong on the car they had found.  Thank god - because, what I had been hearing as "fully refundable" deposit to see the color, etc., was actually a non-refundable deposit!  At least 3 times I had heard wrong!!  Perhaps it was just wishful thinking, or maybe the salesman had not been totally forthcoming earlier?  But, yikes...make me wonder.... 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Path

Tomorrow I am going to an all-day training on being a mediator.   Of course, mediation is something I do everyday -- just with smaller people and (sometimes) smaller issues.   So this should be a piece of cake!   

Well, I'm nervous.  I'm nervous about talking to people (can I prevent myself from going on and on about my children?)  I'm nervous about sitting and listening all day (I'm so used to being interrupted every 45 seconds, I think my brain may go on overload if I have to maintain coherent thoughts all day without breaks.)  I'm nervous about being able to absorb new material (yes, it is true I did go to school for 19 years of my life, but in the past year, aside from the stolen time reading novels, true learning only occurred in snippets, here and there.)  And of course, I'm nervous about what to wear -- what do people wear to these sorts of things?   So really, it is embarrassing - things that used to seem second nature to me (getting appropriately dressed, maintaining conversations, etc.) now seem daunting.  

But it is a first step -- a first step out of the house and on a new path.  And I'm sure by tomorrow evening, this will all seem silly and I would have had a fabulous day and be full of life!  But for now, I'm nervous...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"Yeah, Mommy!"

Her eyes shone as she said, "You looked like a champion -- like one of those women on t.v."  Her little sister chimed in and said, "You looked like a shooting star!"  To what do I owe these accolades?  Mommy is taking gymnastics!  

There is nothing like doing a tuck somersault into a foam pit, emerging and hearing, "Yeah, mommy!"  My girls are young enough to think this is really cool, not totally embarrassing (I can just hear it in a few years - mom, really, do you have to do everything I do???)

I would have never dreamed I would be doing this - cartwheels, seat drops, learning flips.  In my mind, I am not athletic.  I swam as a kid -- lifeguard, swim team, etc.  But that was pretty much it.  I can remember some ill-fated gymnastics class at the YMCA when I was little.  It seemed like everyone else could touch their nose to their knees or do a handstand.  Not me.  But now, at 38, every Wednesday night, I leave the kids with my mom or husband and literally take off (on the trampoline).  

I did it because of the coach.  My girls attend a small start-up gym owned by an amazing coach.  She is always upbeat and can break everything down so much that the kids learn amazing things without being overwhelmed or frustrated.  "Come to my class for parents," Coach said.  I did and now I'm hooked!   This is probably the one thing I am doing just for me and it feels great.

That first night, when she taught me how to do a seat-drop, Coach said  "I knew you'd be able learn this quickly because your kids are so good. "  That gave me pause - I have never thought that I could do anything athletic quickly or easily.  This is redefining my entire self image (and a heck of a lot cheaper than therapy!)    For the past month I have been learning new things, and becoming so much more confident about what I can do physically.  And let me tell you -- jumping on a trampoline is addicting!

Now we'll just see if I'll be able to walk tomorrow...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

MA - Mom's Anonymous

Last week, a friend confessed that she loves to read true mom confessions - a place where we can all go to express our anger, fears, screw-ups, and, occasionally, joys.  This seems like a good thing to me - we need a place to go to vent or just see that others think that raising children isn't such a joy all the time.  

Today my mom gave me Anna Quindlen's "Last Word" from this week's Newsweek to read.  It is about parenting and how we all need to stop pretending that being a parent is "easy and intuitive."  She goes on to describe a couple of studies demonstrating that just having parents join a type of parenting support group can actually produce better parenting.  This makes sense, right?  If we keep all of the struggles, fights, and breakdowns to ourselves, they just build up.  As does the guilt.   But, if we talk about how hard parenting is, we will help ourselves, our children, and others.  She called it "AA for mom's:  'Hi, I'm Anna, and I repeatedly ignored demands for juice and then snapped because the whining was driving me insane.'"  Love it!

So, I'm detecting a theme here.  More and more, the conversations I have with friends - close friends that I "confess" things too -  are about how hard being a mom really is.  How it is truly, and insanely, harder than anything else we have done.  And we have all done some pretty amazing things, way (way) back when.  

I recently came across a description of parenting that was both accurate and terrifying.  So, I will share it so you too can nod, agree and then say very loudly - well now what???

"There is no harder job than parenting.  There is no human relationship with such potential for great achievement and awful destructiveness, and despite all the experts who write about it, no one has the slightest idea whether any decision will be right or best or even not-horrible for any particular child.  It is a job that simply cannot be done right."
(excerpted from Orson Scott Card's Ender in Excile, page 300)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Patience waning...

How many times can a child ask "can I watch a show?" in the span of 10 minutes?  If you are LittleBug, about 30 or 40....

Friday, April 24, 2009

Blogging to save my mind

Why should I blog - I'm not even on facebook; I don't text.  Yet, I am compelled to do this.  Why?   I like to say I compose blogs in my head all day, but that doesn't mean anyone should read them.  
One reason to blog is that, as a stay-at-home mom of 3 little girls, I don't get a lot of time for quiet peaceful reflection.  Or just quiet.  Or peace.  So, in theory, by writing my thoughts and ideas, my mind will get used to thinking again.  How many times each week as I make snacks, clean up accidents, and play "fun" let's-clean-up-the-toys-games do I think, "I went to law school for this???"  Of course parenting is very rewarding, blah, blah, blah -- we've all heard it before.  But that is a subject for a later blog (or many later blogs, as I'm sure the case will be).

I did a search on google for the phrase "to blog or not to blog."  It came up with 144,000 entries (in 0.33 seconds - why does google really think it needs to brag about how fast it is?  I mean really, it created a whole new verb.)  So the question of why to put one's self out there for the world to see is not a new one.  But it is a question each of us must ask and answer for ourselves.  For me, I think it is to be more myself.  And, perhaps, to touch someone with a truth seen in the same way.  


It came to me in a flash -- well, not so much a flash as it oozed out of the folds of my brain that lately seem to hide all sorts of information.  I wanted  a word that could, by itself, describe telling it like it is, saying what is true, recognizing people for who they are.  Verity.  It just appeared....
Defined as "The quality or state of being true or real."

Of course, that kind of name comes with pressure, and I can only write things as I see them.  So, here goes... the journey begins.