Thursday, May 29, 2008

FYI...I found a couple new blogs/sites that I like and I'm adding them to the Me Likey list at right. One of them is Mommy Trackd and I found a cool list of books called The Anti-Princess Reading List.

Don't get me wrong, I love princesses. But it is, in fact, nice to see girls asserting themselves over things other than a date with Prince Charming and jewelry.

While we're talking about gender stereotypes, I have some questions.

1) Were you a tomboy? Girlygirl? All boy? Boy in touch with his sensitive side?

2) If you have kids, where did they fall on that spectrum and did you do anything to encourage them to step outside their little box?

My kids seem to be hard wired for gender stereotypes. Sweet Pea is very petit, she wants to wear dresses all the time. She is shy. She doesn't play rough. Her favorite toys are dolls, her pretend kitchen, dress up clothes, etc. She loves to help me in the kitchen and begs to clean the house. Sweet Will on the other hand is, at 7 months, about to outweigh his 4 year old sister. He isn't choosing GI Joe over Barbie or anything, but I can already tell that he is more physically aggressive than she ever was.

They are who they are. Obviously. I'm certainly fine with that. Just want to make sure I'm using my mommy powers for good. So any feedback anyone wants to give on encouraging your kids to be well rounded is much appreciated. (And solicited. I'm soliciting parenting advice. Me! Take advantage of it!) :)


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sweet Pea: "Mommy, where is the Heaven for the animals?"

Me: "Same as for the people."

Sweet Pea: "But the animals are on a different cloud. Is that right Mommy?"

Me: "Yep."

Sweet Pea: "How do the animals see the people?"

Me: "Erm..."

Sweet Pea: "When the people cloud is too full some of the people can go over to the animal cloud. Goodnight Mommy."

Me: "Goodnight."

Father Brady, if you're reading this don't sweat it. I'll explain it all to her later.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

There's no random photo this Tuesday.

I intentionally left my camera behind on our trip to the mountains this weekend. I figured the snow would still be melting and it was going to be a colorless, cold, wet weekend. We had a lot of things to take with us already. We weren’t going to do much. What would there be to take pictures of? I glanced at it as we were walking out the door and made a conscious decision to leave it on the counter.

As it turns out the snow is gone and this weekend was anything but colorless. It was the soft green of new grass growing thick around the black trunks and copper needles of the pine trees burnt in last fall’s fires. It was butter yellow and amythest wildflowers blanketing a meadow. It was whitewater and kayakers in bright blue vests. It was red fire engines and flashing red lights on a private tour of the fire station. It was a dark silhouette of an Osprey against a paynes grey sky.

It was that same Osprey reflected in the glassy waters of a marsh where a field is supposed to be. And an old barbed wire fence barely poking out of the rising water. It was a creek turned into a waterfall. A stream turned into a river. A lake dotted with sailboats instead of a giant sheet of ice.

It was wet and muddy. Muddy shoes left by the garage door. Muddy kids playing in the woods. Muddy tracks left by deer in our yard. Mud on our car from Gold Fork Road on the way to the hot springs. Mud on our toes as we went from pool to pool looking for the one that was the perfect temperature for a baby to kick and splash and giggle on his first swimming adventure. And for a big sister to practice holding her breath underwater for five…six…seven seconds!

But it was not cold. Every spring I am reminded that this is the time of year when it is soft. Summer is heavy and hard. Fall and winter are sharp and stinging. But spring in the mountains is palpably soft. Like mist and dew. Like a warm breeze. When it is soft you want to get out of bed immediately to sit outside in your old sweatshirt and watch the mountain and smell wood burning and sip tea. Or leave the screen door open so you can feel the breeze and smell the Ponderosa Pine while you cook dinner. And because it is a soft spring day, it is so quiet you can even hear the little fox when she comes begging for eggs at the porch.

I won’t leave my camera behind again. I will take hundreds of pictures of the beach, the lake, Charlie’s Gardens, the animals who visit us, our friends who come and play at our refuge in the mountains. But today I am being thankful for all the photo moments I didn’t capture this weekend.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Leetle Clover and Uncle Tom - it was a vintage car then too. I'm not that old.

Me at about 2 years old.

The other day we had dinner at our friends'/neighbors' house. Afterward Sweet Pea crawled up into Mr. Neighbor's lap and fell asleep. It was pretty sweet to see this big (brand new dad of a little boy the same age as Will) guy's guy with a little pink wisp of a girl snuggled up to him. I think he was pretty happy to be the stand-in dad for a little while.

When it was time to go home he carried her in the house for me and put her on the couch. I was out in the driveway putting sprinklers, bikes, chalk, etc. away when she woke up - totally confused as to how she got home, didn't know where I was, disoriented, tired, and mostly mad because she didn't want to leave the party. She freaked. Poor baby.

After I got her all calmed down, which only took about 3 minutes, I had this kind of lightening bolt of a memory. I was about 3 years old, we lived in the house that my mom and I lived in before she and my (step) dad got married. I was asleep in her bed, and we had company over. I got up, probably because I couldn't stand not being part of the fun, and tried to go out to where she was. But the room was dark, and I was disoriented. I couldn't find the door, I couldn't get back up on the bed...I have this very dreamlike memory of finally giving up and just going back to sleep on the floor.

I bet my mom doesn't remember that. Because really, it was probably a non event in the life of a mom. But I remember it! To 3 year old me it was kind of traumatic. I bet Sweet Pea will remember waking up by herself in our house when she is 34 too.

I wonder all the time what other things she's going to have vivid memories of. My first memories are from around 2-3 years old. I remember picking strawberries with my Uncle Tom in his garden. I remember playing at our old house with my friend Molly, and going next door to see Carla's big girl Barbie collection. I remember asking my mom's (then) boyfriend if I could call him Dad. (He said yes, and I still do!) I remember many trips to Coeur d'Alene with my Dad to visit my Grandparents and cousins. I have all kinds of weird memories of a road trip we took to Upstate New York the summer after I turned 4. Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, the Budweiser Clydesdales, going to my Aunt Jean's camp and making a chain out of Starburst wrappers with my cousin Wendy. Learning how to make yarn flowers on a plastic loom while we drove and drove and drove in a rented motor home. I even remember a funny little toy I found under the couch in that motor home. It was a turtle, and it smelled like soap.

Memory is a funny thing. I feel like mine is working against me lately. I can't remember names, which is something I always prided myself on being able to do. I can't go to the grocery store without a list. I have to write everything down at work or it's just gone. But I remember saying, "Mr. Strawberry, can I pick you?"

I'm counting on this blog to be my memory to a degree.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

So. Unfortunately, I was not getting the flu. I was getting matitis. And mastitis, to put it mildly, SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS. You do not want to get it. No rosy La Leche "but it's worth it!" spin on that one. Mastitis = suckage, Do. Not. Get. It. That said, if you are nursing, I don't know how to tell you to avoid it, so good luck with that.

I do not want to whine about me right now though. I want to share some heartbreak instead. I know that makes reading my blog not very fun today. But please bear with me, because my heart is in fact, broken.

I got an email via my blackberry on Saturday from a friend from high school. She did a nice "how have you been" intro, and then asked me if we were planning on doing any kind of memorial for "A". My heart sank. I didn't know that we would be needing to plan any memorials.

So as soon as I could, which happened to be this morning, I drug out my laptop and did a Google search for his name. Sure enough the obituary popped up. It is vague. And as much as I am NOT hoping that he had any kind of terminal illness that involved any kind of pain or suffering. I am hoping that my friend did not meet his death in the way that most vague obituaries of people who die too young imply.

I cannot fathom a world where this person, who was so kind. And smart. And funny. And generous...I cannot fathom a world where he questioned the value of his own life.

I bought a card to send to his parents. I had to rewrite it 3 times. (Should have bought 3 cards, now this one looks a little like an art project. But still...) I just can't find the words. I would give anything to go back in time to 3 weeks ago. I would Google him and call him up out of the blue like some crazyassed stalker and MAKE HIM come hang out with me and my crazy kids. Or I would show up on his doorstep with dinner in a sack and a few hours to spend doing nothing but talking and laughing, and crying if need be. I would bring yearbooks. I would tell him stories of all the things he did and said that touched me and made me who I am today. I would remind him of all the people who call him friend. Hell, I'd call them up and bring them with me.



Friday, May 16, 2008

I hate that it's been over a week with no new posts here, sorry! My kids have been sick. Poor babyboy has something flu-like, and is also cutting his first two teeth. He is a royal mess.

I'm pretty sure I'm catching the flu-like thing. (And I'll take that over cutting teeth thankyouverymuch.) So it will probably be a while before you get any more Clover. :(


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I read something yesterday that I’m rather obsessing about. Go figure. Me, obsess. I can’t even give you any context, because it was in an old issue of Parent’s magazine that I was flipping through just seconds before I donated it to the art center at Sweet Pea’s daycare. It didn’t occur to me that I would be obsessing (I give myself far too much credit for being sane and rational) or I would have torn the article out. Actually, I was annoyed that I couldn’t find the “Best Vacations with a Baby!” article promised on the cover. So the following sentence didn’t register with me until later:

“Even though I’m a Cranky Mommy, I do give great hugs.”

Huh? Cranky Mommy? Is this a legit new parenting style? What exactly defines a Cranky Mommy? Are we talking about harping on your kids about keeping the lids on their markers, or a nightly gin soaked crying jag about your saggy breasts and non existent sex life? (But later, when mommy is weepily apologizing for slapping you, there will be hugs! Great hugs!) And how do you know if you’re a Cranky Mommy? I would think that if you suspected this trait you might want to work on letting it go. I’m not Pollyanna, but I don’t want to give myself permission to reside in Crankyville permanently. Do your kids tell you that your Cranky? Your husband? Strangers? None of these scenarios sound appealing to me. And helllooo…they make fanFREAKINGtastic good drugs for that particular affliction. Xanex anyone?

Maybe I’m just not comfortable with the level of candor writers of Parenting forums seem to have as of late. I blame it on the blogosphere. People are just so willing to air their dirty laundry on the interweb. I guess I’m guilty of that too. But I’m here to tell you that you will never see me crowing to a national magazine about how my kids get to see me be a biotch all day long. (Not only because that seems over the top self deprecating, but because THEY DON’T. In general, I attempt to be pleasant to my children. Call me crazy, but Happy Mommy sounds more fun.)

Additionally, I am a little nonplussed by all the Mom bashing in the world of women’s light reading these days. Not that blaming your parents for your life failures is a new thing, but come on. I was thumbing through a special feature story for Mother’s Day where several authors were asked to reflect on the things their mothers were right about. And I swear that every single one of them was all, “Lets see…for the most part she sucked, but after years of therapy I can tell you that she did teach me how to mix an excellent dirty martini. And that has served me well.”


Maybe we have swung a little too far on the “June Cleaver I am not” pendulum. It’s Ok not to be perfect mothers. (Thank ya Jesus!) It’s Ok to want a life that includes some fulfilling adult activities. When Mommy is happy evahbody happy. Got it. But. Erm. I dunno. Maybe we also need to adopt a little bit of the Thumper credo when we are writing about our moms in a magazine that everyone we know – including our moms – is going to read. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”

Perhaps that’s too sugar coated? Really I’m just hoping that when Sweet Pea and Will become successful/famous somethings or other, I will never be caught off guard by very public, and very detailed descriptions of all the ways I failed them as a mother. (Not enough sunscreen! Incorrect interpretation of preschool art project! Attempted humor at the expense of children’s dancing skills! Too hungover to make pancakes that one morning! Inability to keep eye rolls to myself! Swearing! Bad haircuts! Overly critical of hot new girlfriend! Can’t make nice with that other mom at playgroup! Birthday party invitation screening! Ban on neon blue yogurt tubes! Sweet Pea got to go to Disneyland more times that Will!)

Fantastic Mom who might be a little obsessed with hand washing and clutter control is fine. Cranky Mom? Wince. I sure hope not.


Friday, May 02, 2008

I just met Jane Wooster Scott! I have always liked her paintings, so I am a little starstruck. She did a painting of the historic Children's Home in celebration of their 100 Year Anniversary. I am on the BOD for The Children's Home Society, so I was at a press conference today where the painting was on display. I was oohing and ahhing over it to a beautiful blonde lady, and she said, "Thanks!" and then proceeded to tell me about painting it. And also painting Oprah's house. I tried to play it cool, but I think I may have been a little dorky.

These are a couple of paintings, in case you are not familiar with her name. (I think everyone recognizes her work though...she's very prolific.)

Anyhoo. That was cool. My list of famous people encounters grows:
The Governator - back when he was just Aaahnold and hung out in Eye-dee-hoo more
John Larroquette
George Stephanopolis
Herb Ellis
Susan Estrich
Big Head Todd (whose head is not all that big really)
Joe Theisman
Mark Shelereth
Jane Wooster Scott (waaaaaay better than Mark Shelereth!)

And in related news, a picture of me and my chillins appeared in the newspaper today on a circular for the Children's Home Society's week of Centennial events. Which would be cool if I didn't look like I had a fat roll hanging out over the top of my jeans. But at least I'm holding the baby in the photo. I like to think of him as a giant flashing neon sign that reads, "Someday I'll fit back into my jeans."


Have I gushed about Anthropologie yet? We just got one here in the City of Trees, and ohmigah. I could light a visa card on fire in that place. The kitchen towels are so pretty they make me weepy. I have $50 from my birthday that I'm going to use to buy these cool little juice glasses.

Except, of course, we are going to repurpose them as extra sturdy/no tippy wine glasses. Cause that's how we roll.


I also don't think I have appropriately fast talked about how excited I am about tonight. I get to have a girls night out!! Except instead of going out and getting our cute on, we're staying in and getting our craft on! (I am So. Old.) Tonight marks the first of what we hope to be a monthly "Ho-Made Night". I am bringing wine, chocolate, and my laptop so I can get caught up on Sweet William's baby book. And maybe knock out a few pages on the ABC Book that I am working on for Sweet Pea. I will post the fruits of my endeavors tomorrow in honor of National Scrapbooking Day.

Until then, Au revoir! And if you are so moved by my writing that you'd like to shower me with prezzies, may I suggest an Anthropologie gift card.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

These pictures are all on our Shutterfly site with captions, but I'm too lazy to retype them all...

If you were wondering if it's possible to party like a pre-school rock star, then I am here to tell you that yes, yes it is. We spent Sunday freebasing cupcakes in an attempt to recover from the sugar crash with a little hair of the dog.

My recollection of the entire Fete involves words like "chaos", and "sticky". But the guests have assured me that they had a very nice time. And I suppose, as I am the only attendee who will be vacuuming tiny heart shaped glitter out of her carpet for the next year, I may be remembering things slightly differently than everyone else. But even so, it was Good Times.

Sweet Pea was positively frantic about decorating Saturday morning. She has been doing this thing lately where she wants to reorganize and clean things. Which is all at once cute, and slightly scary in that "What have I done to her" kind of way. Seriously, before the present extravaganza, her favorite toy had been a Swiffer duster. I guess OCD is genetic. But anyway she and I had things Just. So. And it was all very cute and pink and Princessey. Natch. (And so, I may have freaked out just a tad when I realized that my FIL was playing show and tell with a set of turkey feet in my entryway as guests arrived. That's right. I said turkey feet. As in, the detached, purple, floppy, claw like FEET from a dead turkey. OMG, I can feel the freakout coming on again...)

Sweet Pea reports that her favorite gift is the new Baby Annabelle doll that cries real tears*. But she is also pretty stoked about her big girl bike, her real actual wireless internet accessing laptop, her dollhouse, the big girl doll with pretty red hair, the princess Barbie type things, all of the coloring supplies, the books we have been reading every night, etc. etc. etc. Good swag.

*And if you employ a technique that probably warrants a visit from dolly CPS, you can also make her SOB gallons of real tears. Wheeee!

The actual birthday was Monday, and when I asked her what she wanted for a birthday dinner she said, "Chinese" like she was a 30 year old city girl making the nightly decision between take out joints. So Chinese it was, and she charmed the entire staff with her, "It's my birthday!" and "I'm four now!" routine.

I am doing that mom thing where I am all kinds of bewildered about how on EARTH she could be four already. And I had this very surreal moment on Sunday morning when I looked at her naked little form (as she invited herself into my bubble bath) and saw her grow up right before my eyes. I had to go immediately downstairs and get out her baby book so I could remember her birth day, and the weeks and months that followed.

I love you Sweet Pea! Thank you for giving me the chance to find out how much I adore being your Mommy.