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Archive for February, 2010

Year, The First

Today my blog is one year old.

I have been eyeing this date on the calendar this entire month. Plotting out possible poignant posts (Big P, Little P what begins with P?) with which to commemorate the start of something that has given so much to me. I wanted to say grand and lofty truths that spoke to the masses (ie: All 7 of my readers. You guys are the best.). I wanted it to be inspirational. I wanted it to start out with a single pluck on a string, then grow to a soft hum and then the crescendo and then BOOM a full orchestra is playing out the wonders that have been My First Year Blogging Experience.

Only nothing came. It hasn’t helped that the state of my writing the last few months has left much to be desired. Or that I had originally planned to unveil my new site today, a process that isn’t even out of the design stages yet. Or that I’m so tired of this winter that I find it hard to get fired up about anything except that one piece of green grass I thought I saw poking out that, oh wait, ended up just being a strip of discarded candy wrapper. (DON’T TOY WITH ME SPRING.)

I’m in a spot where I feel rather ambivalent about my place here on the interwebs. I read blogs of people who amaze me with the power of their words. Blogs that build strong communities. Blogs that have a unique and invaluable mission. I am floored by these writers and the impact their craft has on me and the blogging community. These blogs are amazing but they tend to block me. I get cowed because I know I am not at a place where I can devote that much time or energy to my space here, and unfortunately beautiful prose doesn’t come naturally to my fingertips. I ask myself why I am doing it when so many people out there were doing it first and are doing it better.

So, again, I did nothing. I wrote nothing. I didn’t know what I could say about the last year that hasn’t already been said.

This afternoon, after I laid Keaton in his crib, softly humming “Stay Awake” while one of his hands clutched blanky and the other held my own against his cheek, after I set Rowan up for rest time in our room with a stack of books precariously piled next to her, after I cleaned the remnants of the terrible tornado of mess that lunch time with two small children produces, and after I distracted myself long enough by the words of others, I opened my dashboard and clicked New Post. Then I stared at the blinking cursor.

Just when I had about given up on the whole thing, Rowan came creeping out of the room, carefully placing three dis-robed princess figurines next to me on the couch. Next to each princess she placed the dress she wanted that princess to wear.

“I need help putting the dresses on”. She stated, smiling.

“OK.” I said- Even though she was supposed to be resting on the bed with books, not down playing with toys. She had that little sparkle in her eye that has been my undoing more than a few times.

“Which one first?” I asked.

“Snow White.” She said. There was that sparkle again.

I picked Snow White up and as I attempted to pull the arm through rubber dress sleeve, it fell off.

“Oh my goodness! Her arm broke!” I exclaimed.

“Mom! What did you do?!” She said. Now the sparkle wasn’t alone. There was a giggle in her voice as she spoke the words and I realized that the arm hadn’t snapped, or bent and it didn’t fling off, it simply fell to the ground.

And it dawned on me.

I had just been set up.

“Rowan! Was this already broken? Did you break this?”

“No it was you! It was you!” but she was full-out laughing now, seeing she’d been found out and was now using her unbearable cute and clever-ness to mask the crime.

“You tried to frame me!” I exclaimed but she was so pleased with herself, positively gleeful, that laughter took over both of us. You have to admit, doctoring the arm so it looked fine and then presenting it to me in an unsuspicious manner so I would think I broke it is fairly impressive, even if she was her own undoing.

I’m now adding Evil Mastermind to her possible probable careers list.

And then I remembered. I remembered why I started this blog.

This little incident (stunt? con?) reminded me that among my favorite blogs to read are the ones where the author lets me into their lives, into their families, through this window of the computer screen. They let me see how different and how the same we all are. They are the ones that made me feel less alone in this sometimes very isolating career choice I’ve made. I remind myself that I never really set out to have an audience. I started because writing the minutiae of my life, made it all make sense. It allowed me to step back and laugh at the things that I might not otherwise have found funny and find the beauty and wonder in the things I so often take for granted.

I’m not crafting life changing sentences. I’m inviting you in… to laugh, to commiserate, to communicate. I’m simply writing our story. My story. Here it is, and thank you, thank you for reading.

Snow White and the One Arm. Helping bloggers find their purpose since 2010.

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If you ever wonder how the elite in society enjoy their imaginary tea and fishy crackers, look no further…

"You have GOT to try this. It's the absolute best, most sophisticated fake tea I've ever had, dahhhhling".

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Getting these…

Dandelion bouquets, picked with love by small, pudgy fingers.

The weather has s-l-o-w-l-y been improving, with highs in the high 20s, low 30s which paired with the fact that we just got through a huge 2 months which were packed full of stress and planning for the short and long-term, is lifting our spirits and allowing us to hope for spring. Since mid-September I can count on one hand how many free weekends we’ve had and every single one of those weekends were free because we were stuck home sick.

Now we are free. Free to make plans with other adult-y type people. Free to take the kids to the museum or out sledding. Free to not have a head full of what-ifs about next year’s Kindergarten and events to plan or attend. I feel like after 6 months of obligations we are free to live our life. And stuff. What an amazing concept.

The content of this blog has definitely suffered. I feel like the last 2 months have been filled with half-assed attempts at posts which in the end I give up on and just post a picture(s) as a diversion to my crappy run-on sentences. And you know what? That’s really OK. Those posts serve a purpose. They more than accurately mark how we’re feeling most days, but I would like to actually write something worth people’s time. Worth my time. Something that makes me have to think harder than just re-sizing photos for web purposes.

Sadly, this is not that post. But! I’ve started a dozen different posts that I’ve abandoned and that now stare at me from my drafts folder every time I open my dashboard. So this is a house-cleaning post where I tell you a bunch of unrelated marginally entertaining (or not!) things so I can feel better about the state of things. You are so welcome to skip this and go look up Lost spoilers. Really. I understand.

With that warning in place, let me get you up to speed with what we’re all busy with and what we hope spring will bring:

Bill is working his ass off on freelance projects that helped us pay for a lovely Christmas and a good amount of our portion of Cabin! Vacation! Twenty! Ten! which will be spent here. I can’t wait, can you? Of course you can’t, silly. What idiotic behavior will the DCFI regale us with this year? YOU JUST NEVER KNOW. Bill’s also been working on designing a site for me. (Can you imagine having me as the evil overlord of your designs? Me either. I would totally hate to have me as a client. Poor, poor, Bill.) I think we’ve all had enough of this crappy generic wordpress page and would like something prettier to look at. It’s coming along but it’s never important enough to sacrifice any of the rare downtime we’ve had.

Bill hopes the spring will bring painting that pink room he’s been forced to live in for nearly 10 months, a less stressed out wife and maybe to get out snowboarding before the snow melts.

I’ve been working on staying sane. Seriously. We’ve never had such a busy winter and I am NOT a winter person. I do fine until after Christmas but the doom and gloom of being stuck inside for the next three months with 2 small children is really daunting. Add the kindergarten drama and planning a baby shower and vacation and all the sickness and [INSERT HEAD EXPLOSION HERE]. Anytime the kids were healthy-ish and the windchill stayed up in the teens we made it outside, but bundling up two wiggly 30 pound dervishes and trying to keep their hats and mittens on is way more work than it’s worth.

I am looking forward to the birth of my niece in a few weeks, warm weather and putting a little effort into my health after collapsing every evening with a glass or 3 of wine, a jar of olives and not moving until bedtime. Point being, it’s time to start taking care of myself and that’s an exciting concept. I may even start hanging out with that Michaels bitch again.We’ll see how this goal works out. I really like wine and olives.

Rowan has been busy touring every Kindergarten in freakin Minnesota. At the last one we visited you know what they got her to do? Something amazing. Something huge. They got her to put on her own damn jacket with no help. NO HELP. I have been gently nudging this child to show interest in dressing herself on a regular basis for 2 years. She’ll randomly put a shirt and pants on, or pull a dress over her head, maybe put on her own socks, but most of the time “it’s tooooooo hhhhaaaaarrrrdddd” “I neeeeeeeed HHHHHHHAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLPPPPPP”. Her preschool teachers have been desperately trying to get her to do it as well because they have 16 kids to get ready and out the door and there is Rowan… waiting for help while schmoozing with the preschoolers that have already put their own coats on. Her teachers even started refusing to put Rowan’s coat and snowpants on her, hoping she’d just figure it out. And she did figure it out. She enlisted the help of the other four-year olds. She now has a regular group of girls that get her dressed.

Anyway at this Kindergarten the parents separated and the kids got to go on a bus ride. These were all new kids and the teacher told them to get their coats on and Rowan was left without help so she put her coat on by herself. I didn’t know this until the following day when I brought her coat up and attempted to put it on her and she said “I can do it myself”. Internet, I almost cried. She told me there was no one to help her the day before and she tried and voi-freakin-la! She did it. Just like that. Rowan’s also obsessed with sight words, pointing them out in all the books we read and pretending she’s a cat with royal lineage.

The part of spring Rowan is most looking forward to is puddles. Lots of puddles. And getting back out on the trails.

Keaton is working on figuring out this whole potty business. He absolutely loves the attention he gets when he pees in the potty but his body is no where near ready. He doesn’t at all recognize the signs and seems surprised when warm wet stuff trickles down his leg even after just repeating our new household mantra, “No pee-pee on the floor…only pee-pee in the potty!” He is making progress though. Before he would sit down for no more than a few seconds and if he couldn’t go he would give up, and now I’m able to keep him seated for longer periods, giving his body a chance to let things flow, so to speak. Today he asked for big boy underoos and successfully pooped in one pair, peed in 3 others and all over one of my pillows. A pillow that I then attempted to wash. A pillow that then successfully broke our washing machine. Like broke broke. Potty training is now replacing the high-chair as my arch rival and nemesis.

Keaton is looking forward to the snow and cold going away so he doesn’t have to fight with his arch nemesis: Das Mitten. And riding his beloved trike that he pines after every time we enter the garage where it hangs on a peg, which is roughly 4-6 times a day.

Fawksey is working on being fat and smelly. She looks forward to continuing being fat and smelly, but out on the deck.

Monkey is way too good for all of us and would prefer to keep her master plans under unholy wraps. She looks forward to nothing, you silly mortals.

Luna is busy barking at every fucking car she hears. And dog she sees. And that old guy who walks past our window four times a day. And that one sound she might have heard but wasn’t sure so she better just fucking bark some more. What if she stopped barking? Would the world cease to exist? I’m pretty sure she thinks so. This spring she’s looking forward to being taken out to go to the bathroom more than 3 times a day, sniffing other dog’s poop and peeing 9 bajillion times on our walks so everyone knows she was there.

There. Whew! I think you’re caught up and I think that now we can safely say we are all absolutely none the better for reading this mess. Let’s just keep our gaze firmly fixed forward. Into a time of hopefully less wordy posts. Into a period of calm. Into longer hours of sun light. Into spring.

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This is how all Sundays should be…

It was all fun and games until I told him Luna needed to go out and the kids would be heartbroken if he pulled out all their hard work. Could he really disappoint them like that?

Yes. Without question, he assured me he could.

Even this man has his limits.

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Rowan and A Half

Today Rowan is 4 and a half! Yay for her and yay for us for keeping her alive and in relative good health! At this age she…

…no longer needs my help getting dressed, but often asks for it anyway. Also thinks that plaid and stripes are the IT look this season. Don’t try to tell her otherwise. She will not believe you.

…takes not one dang thing at face value; she has a follow-up question for every follow-up question.

…is fascinated by the human body and wants to know everything about organs, muscles, bones- you name it. Let’s just say google images has been working overtime here, and where I get grossed out, she just wants more More MORE!

…Has been officially classified as “spirited”, by Dr. Me.

…is getting less and less obsessive about her lines. Thank. God.

…is also getting less obsessive about princesses, which makes me oh so very happy.

One Half

…is a skilled negotiator, making you lose sight of the fact that you are 20 minutes into a deep, passionate argument with a four year old about when the appropriate time to watch a movie is.

…is getting taller. She is still tiny, at just over 30 pounds, but she’s finally stretching out and fitting into some 4t clothing. Woot!

…has trouble with handwriting, just like her mama did. She just recently figured out “W” which is good because she’s been signing her name as “Roman” since she was 3.

…has an insatiable appetite for books of any and every kind.

…rarely takes naps but when one is deemed necessary she fights them tooth and nail. TOOTH AND NAIL.

…knows how to fake sleep. And well.

One and a Half

…loves the snow and playing outside. No snow mountain is too tall for her to conquer.

…hates it when people call her small or pokey and makes sure her personality makes up for any confusion over her size.

…shares the spoils she gets at preschool parties with her brother. Willingly. Even the chocolate.

…is NOT a morning person. She needs to be eased ever so gently into the day.

…would stay in pajamas all day, every day if I let her.

…loves to sing loudly. Thank goodness she can stay on key.

Two and a Half

…can hold her breath and dunk her whole head under the water.

…still looks like a little frog when she gets out of the tub, with a little round belly and skinny, flailing legs and arms.

…hates being cold when she comes out of the bath.

…thinks picking up her toys is the worst punishment anyone could ever hand down in the history of punishment.

…is a wee bit dramatic, wherein “wee bit” means “really freakin'”.

…gets terribly dry skin in the winter.

…loves butter noodles and butter bread and well…I guess anything slathered in butter. Once when she was 1, we were grocery shopping and I gave her the butter to put in the cart and when I looked down a few minutes later she had chewed through the cardboard and eaten a quarter stick of the butter. That a girl.

Three and a Half

…doesn’t like to sit on my lap anymore, but prefers to sit beside me. Boo. BOO, I SAY.

…still loves woobie just as fervently as she ever has.

…has a new found love of broccoli. Whose kid is this? Oh yeah… she loves to dip it in Ranch dressing. Nevermind. Clearly she’s her father’s daughter. Cleared that one up.

…Has a ridiculous memory. She will accurately describe events, out of the blue, that happened when she was barely 2. It’s cool but sort of unnerving- Like she will remember every mistake I have made while parenting her. Oh God. That would suck.

…”reads” stories to Monkey when they curl up on the bed together for rest time. I want that life.

Four and a Half

…can count to 100 with a little help, to 49 without help.

…has a really high-pitched scream that can only be out-done by her brother who I’m pretty sure has lungs made of that shit wolverine’s claws are made out of.

…made her first phone call. When her cousin picked up the phone and said “hello?” Rowan yelled, “WHO IS THIS?” instead of “Hello, is Ellie there?” like we practiced. I guess she got excited.

…loves pretend play, assigning herself, her brother and I characters and yelling at us if we accidentally call her by the wrong name. “I am NOT Bells Kitty I am Bows Kitty! GEESH GET IT RIGHT, Chandelier Kitty.”

…smiles with her whole face.

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I don’t have a lot of pictures of my mom and I think that’s because when the memories were being made, she was ever-present but most likely off getting a paper towel to tend to a spill, or cooking something in the oven and on 3 or 4 burners or off finding that one shoe of mine that went missing every Sunday five minutes before we had to leave for church.

Yesterday at her 65th birthday party I asked her if she even remembered how to sit down. She stuck her tongue out and may have tried to knee me. She’s always finding something to do, necessary or unnecessary as it may be. That’s what happens when you raise five kids. I think after going going going for so many years, the motions are engrained in her muscles, in her bones.

I chose this picture because…well, here we all are. You see those dresses us girls are wearing? She picked out, washed, ironed and put them on us. You see my dad’s suit? It was pressed and readied by her hands. My brother’s shirt and pants most assuredly were picked out for him and under her instructions were kept clean until at least after the pictures. We all have our shoes on the right feet and our hair is combed because of her.

She held us all together and if you’ve ever met us, you’d know that is not such a small task. But not just that. We all feel loved, by her hands and all the work they did for us, yes, but more importantly by her heart.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

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