Sunday, November 30, 2008

Moving On Up.

I have a new blog address, and will no longer be posting here. Please go HERE and check it out. I'm doing a giveaway, too, so hopefully it will be worth your while. :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things I Hope to Never Forget | Precious Moments

Viola and I were joking that she has Precious Moments eyes.

Exhausted and an Update

Today the boys and I traveled the earth in search of an Advent wreath and calendar. I know you can make both, but I never think about these things until the last minute, hence my frenzied run around town today. I found both, and they are okay. I really wanted an Advent wreath like Grace's, but they are no longer available. (Great post and blog, by the way.) Mine looks like the traditional wreath, except it's flocked and has winter berries...and maybe an apple? I can't remember. I'll take pictures of it this Sunday so you can see it in action. Yes, you are that lucky; no need to pinch yourself. ;)

The Mister and I are will be leaving shortly to visit Isabella in the ICU. Thank you for your fantastic prayers and well wishes. Everyone is touched and moved and inspired. I, for one, am so grateful I have so many people I can turn to when I need something. It is such a comforting feeling. Now, on to Isabella. Are you ready for this? Three or so weeks ago she fell off the second step of a flight of stairs. I mean, not even a big fall. Just a whoops! She cried for ten seconds (you know, that cry where it hurts but they get over it fast?) and that was it. Hours later, she threw up once, and thinking back to the fall, Viola took her to the emergency room where she charmed everyone into thinking she had a stomach bug because of her easy going demeanor and steady eyes. False. Apparently she has had a slow bleed every since.

The bleed stopped sometime in the last two weeks, but there is a stubborn amount of blood that is still lingering. On top of that, fluid is building and causing pressure. They are allowing her to eat, and if she vomits, they recommend surgery to relieve the pressure in her head. If she doesn't, surgery is still a possibility if Sonny and Viola want it. They can also wait several months to see if the pressure goes down on it's own. The debate on whether to have surgery is because the complications are great. It is brain surgery on a 21 month old, after all.

I will update with more information as I have it, but thank you again for even caring! It's a great feeling, really. You know what else is great? Knowing I and my emetophobic compadres were right all along: barfing sucks and is good for nothing but trouble.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I've known Sonny since elementary school. We went to different high schools and lost touch--although we heard of each other's goings on through friends. Sonny met the Mister long before I did when they were both working in restaurants. It was while working as a bouncer in the bar portion of a restaurant that Sonny met his wife, Viola, who I knew from high school. Viola knew the Mister because she and her friends would go into T.G.I. Fridays, where he bartended, after they got off work.

We didn't officially all meet and become friends until Sonny called my dad who called the Mister who helped Sonny get a job at his company. Got that?

Sonny and Viola had there first set of twins 5 months after Mikey. Their second set of twins (yes, 2 sets of twins!) were born 11 days after Nico. We are decidedly outnumbered by children when we go out to eat, which is infrequent because we are all tired.

See that little one holding hands with Mr. Nico? That's Isabella. Not too long after this picture she got what everyone thought was a stomach bug. Except it kept coming back. She'd be fine for a few days, and then suddenly she'd start vomiting again. After a couple of days, she'd be fine again.

Three weeks and several tests later, nothing. Until today, when she had an MRI and doctors found she has a bleed in her brain and needed to be rushed to the emergency room. I don't know anything more than that, because that is all Sonny knew when he called. Bleed. Brain. Bad. Please pray for my little girl.

It's been an hour and a half, and my phone is silent.

Would you do me a favor? I told Sonny I would pray for Isabella and tell everyone I know to do the same. Hello, everyone. Please do say a little prayer for my honey-haired girl. And if you don't pray, we'll take warm wishes or positive thoughts, too. Just leave a little comment here on this post when you do so I can show Sonny and Viola how many people are rooting for Isabella.

Thank you.


Finishing touches: Children and Independence

Pretty soon most kids will want to do things on their own, and from that they achieve an incredible sense of accomplishment and pride. Whenever Mikey wants to do something on his own, like pick out his clothing, make his own snack, or buckle himself in his car seat, I usually let him. Sometimes I end up having to help him (like with the car seat buckle,) but I only jump in to help after he is done attempting it on his own and is frustrated enough to ask for help.

Then there are times when I can't possibly let him leave the house without the threat of a visit from social services. Like when he insists on brushing his hair.

This right here? This is what he calls perfection. He doesn't see the fact his hair is plastered flat from the water in the spray bottle only in the middle of his head. He is blind to the two cowlicks that stick out like devil horns. He doesn't see the rat's nest that is the back of his head.

All he knows is he did it by himself and he looks hottt. "Mama. Did you see how handsome I look?" So I let him brush his hair. But, I've also developed a strategy that allows him to wield the brush of independence without him leaving the house looking like a ragamuffin. Mikey brushes his own hair every morning. In his pajamas. Then, we get dressed for the day.

Now, as often happens when you are taking off pajamas and putting on shirts, his perfectly coiffed hair will get tousled. Bummer. That's when I come in and try to repair his work.

Mikey: "But, mama! I already brushed my hair. Remember how handsome I am?"

Jules: "Of course! But while we you were changing your hair went a little crazy. I'm just putting on the finishing touches."

So now, every morning I put on the "finishing touches." Is it duplicitous? Maybe. However, I doubt years from now Mikey will lament from his spot on the therapist's couch that I never let him leave the house with messy hair. The way I look at it, Mikey feels like he is doing something on his own and I don't look like a neglectful parent. Everyone is a winner. Especially me, because even with tornado hair, I still think he is a bowl of sugar.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blog Crush {My Timing is Impeccable}

This week I was going to write a post about my crush on the blog, The Misadventures of Kelly and Kelly, but it seems she is taking a modified break to reevaluate the direction of her blog. Gah!

Regardless, do go through her archives. I am always happy to see her blog highlighted with a new post in my blog reader. Without fail, each week she provides me with at least one great link I would have never discovered and seems to be on the same mission I am: to find joy and peace in the minutia of life and to value the blessings we have in the present. She's giving me many great links with that goal in mind.

Which brings me to my request. Kelly, you can change whatever you like about your blog, but don't deny me those great links. You're shaving hours off my day by doing all the work for me. ;)


Friday, November 21, 2008

Favorite Moment | Books

I had a terrible week and the boys were trying my patience, so when I called the Mister yesterday and asked if he would like to meet us somewhere for lunch, he quickly agreed. Secretly, I think he was worried I would dust the boys' lunch with crushed Excedrin PMs if he didn't take us out for burgers and fries. Wise move, the Mister.

Mikey is still obsessed with dinosaurs. We go to the library weekly and bring home 3-4 books and videos, which he spends devouring the rest of the week. The idea of taking him to the library was mine after one exceptionally expensive trip to the bookstore. Prior to dino-mania, trips to the bookstore were not so frequent that they hindered our ability to buy food and diapers. But, it turns out, they are many, many books on dinosaurs--and Mikey wants all of them. So, perhaps, the Mister and I weren't thinking strategically when we decided to meet for lunch at our favorite outdoor '50s diner, which happens to sit across the street from Borders.

On our way to lunch I promised Mikey lunch and a trip to the park with daddy, which had him very excited. But when the rods and cones in his eyes feasted on that large, national bookstore with a cavernous children's section and an entire shelf devoted to dinosaurs, he could think of nothing else.

Jules: Mikey, eat your food before it gets cold.
Mikey: Oh, mom. I can't eat another bite.
Jules: Another bite? You haven't had your first bite, my friend.

And so it went. The Mister and I imploring Mikey to eat his food while he tried to convince us to take him to the bookstore.

Jules: Mikey, I'm serious. Eat your food.
Mikey: Mom, I can't! My tummy is telling me something. It's telling me I need to go to the bookstore.

What Mikey needs is to go into network marketing because he is a relentless salesman. When the Mister and I bought our first house, we made the mistake of allowing a water purifying salesman in the door. Three hours later, the Mister was forcibly pushing him out the door while the salesman yelled he could outsell the Mister any day of the week while he waved the checks of little old ladies as proof. Mikey is that guy. An hour into lunch, and he was still presenting to us the features and benefits of visiting the bookstore.

The Mister: Mikey, we said no. We're going to the library this weekend. If you want a book, maybe you should ask Santa.
Mikey: Well, actually, the bookstore is a really good idea.
The Mister: Mikey, we said NO.
Mikey: Well, I think when we get there you will think it's great.

Finally, the Mister had enough of Mikey's sales presentation. He was going to put an end to this compaigning by hitting Mikey where it hurt: taking away the trip to the park. Mikey, like every little boy out there, loves the park. He loves climbing, running, jumping, swinging, and getting sand in his shoes. Me? I can leave the park. There are germs everywhere and I can't function when there is but one grain of sand in my shoe. The Mister loves the park, so he was confident he had the upper hand when he told Mikey, "Okay, buddy. I guess we won't go to the park. What's more fun? The park, or the bookstore?"

To which Mikey responded, "Oh, Dad, books are better than everything."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Book 'em, Dano.

Those two clowns who robbed the Mister? The police caught them tonight. Of course the money is gone, but so is their freedom. If they were smart, they kept some of the money they stole. They'll need it to post bail. Hah!

Soccer Party

The season is officially over. We had Mikey's soccer party tonight at Straw Hat Pizza, where pretty much every child has celebrated the end of season at least once in their life. The allure, of course, is the oodles of video and arcade games. They could care less about the cardboard-like pizza.

The coach gave a two sentence speech on each of the boys during the trophy "ceremony." We were supposed to guess who he might be talking about before he announced the recipient. When the coach said, "I'm not sure precocious is the right word to describe this little guy, but he always had the most unique answers to any question I had..." I knew immediately he was talking about my Mikey.

I tried to get a sweet picture of the moment our son received his first trophy, but both my cheap camera and my willful child were not cooperating.

OK, Mikey, smile!

Mikey, open your eyes. One more time, smile!

Mikey, you're killing me. Seriously, look in the camera, forget about the candy in the bag, and SMILE!

Note: His hand is now deeper inside the bag. I give up. You get the idea--happy moment, so excited, trophy!

p.s. Do my children need a haircut, or what? They look like characters from a Charles Dickens novel.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pity Party: Walk Ins Welcome

I've lost count of the number of times I've watched the video I posted yesterday. Aside from truly enjoying the message, the video has helped me put into perspective a challenging few days. LinkI do not have a Brady Bunch family, I do not coffers brimming with gold, and I do not have enough hours in the day to do everything I need to do BUT I do have clean water, thank you very much. Can you really quibble about the insanity (that is actually banality) when there are people out there without clean water and shelter? Sadly, I can and do.

On top of miscellaneous family theatrics seen all over the world, the Mister was robbed again yesterday. The timing could not be worse. With the economy the way it is, with people as desperate as they are, I imagine events like this will only become more frequent. I guess all I can muster is: I don't know what to say. Rather, I know what I want to say, but I doubt my audience will be receptive to the message.

So I knit to keep from unraveling.

I've talked to a few knitters, and the pattern the yarn shop had me start with is actually complicated for a beginner project. That makes me feel better about my rocky beginning. I might start to really enjoy knitting, after all.

I enjoy it especially right now. When it seems like everything around you is falling apart, it feels productive to create something tangible. I am incapable of controlling much around me lately, but I can control my knits and purls. So, forgive me, please, if I spend a little time knitting when I should be writing. It's the next best thing to crawling under the covers and hibernating until the storm passes.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

Found here, thanks to someone new following me on Twitter.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Favorite Moment | Hell in a Knitting Basket

Oh, dear. What a week. I have been quiet for many reasons, not the least of which was the implosion of my internet service on Monday. We were able to get things partially squared away by Wednesday, but we are still unable to get the Mister's PC communicate with my Mac/Airport Extreme router--or at least that's what I think it's called. This means if I have to use our backyard office if I want to do anything internet related. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the peace and quiet, but I can't leave the kidlets inside unsupervised because they might eat the dogs.

Speaking of kidlets, Mikey has been sick, although not terribly so. We've been up a few times with him the last two night dues to fevers and runny noses, but nothing serious enough to prevent him from obsessing about dinosaurs. This morning, while I was changing him into some fresh pajamas, he perked up enough to point out the manufacturers had made a most embarrassing mistake: Tyrannosaurus Rex has two fingers, not three like depicted in red, iconic glory. Three fingers is clearly an Allosaurus, which predates T-Rex and is really something any pajama-maker worth their snuff would know.

And while we are on the subject of pajamas, I finally broke down and had a sleep study done. I thought I was a light sleeper, but I didn't know the half of it; I have severe sleep apnea, and must now sleep with a cpap, also known as the world's sexiest oxygen mask. I only exaggerating slightly when I say it looks like this.

I have yet to wake up feeling magically refreshed as promised, but I've had interrupted sleep due to the aforementioned paleontologist. I'll reserve comment, for now, until I have at least two full nights sleep under my mask belt.

Lest you think my week centered around sick beds and sleep masks, I did venture out for a lovely lunch with Ms. Kara on Tuesday. She got to witness firsthand Nico's latest trick: food compulsions. Familiar foods (nothing new, please!) must be eaten in groups. There is no mixing allowed. No crazy touching of the chips with the strawberries! While you're at it, don't you dare offer a chip when he is clearly having a chicken tender moment. Sacrilege! And did you know you eat chips with a dinner fork? Of course not. You are uncivilized. Sometimes I look at Nico and wonder how I gave birth to such a persnickety child. Then he'll take the frosting off a cupcake and use it to moisturize his cheeks. Welcome home, son.

So this week our internet asked for a bail out, Mikey caught another cold, I learned I am awake more than I am asleep, and I ate lunch with my best friend and the next Howard Hughes. While not the best of times, it certainly hasn't been the worst of times, either. We have a roof over our heads, no one has been laid off (knock. knock.), and we are are happy and healthy. And, besides, if it wasn't for that little internet snafu, I might not have been able to do this:

It looks wonky, but they assured me at the yarn shop everything is as it should be, which, coincidentally, describes my week perfectly.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Things I Hope to Never Forget | The Outdoors Man

Is there a little boy out there who does not love tents? I think not.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Favorite Moment | Hope and Change

Those of you who have written Favorite Moments know they are often simple and ordinary. Consequently, these moments are often difficult to encapsulate with mere subjects and predicates--or even my beloved adverbs--because while the moment is mundane, its impact on the soul can be magical. For those moments, a string of words makes a paltry net.


Hope and change. Two words on a string that have transcended their once rudimentary place in the dictionary. They now define the future of a country that, until recently, remained shadowed by the stigma of racism. They symbolize the belief of the majority of the nation, and balm the incertitude of those who retain misgivings. They unite and divide and speak volumes, but to me they are so much more.


I find my hope in two pairs of eyes, one gray and one brown. And change, well, I see that frequently in a new word, a new skill, or a new passion. My favorite moment for me happened not at the national level as one would expect, but at the dining room table in a red-brick ranch in a drowsy, if not sleepy, town southern California.


I found my favorite moment in a bowl of apples.


And the dinosaur footprints on the table.

Dinosaur Footprint
Dinosaur Footprint

After lunch and acrobatics on the school swing set.


The milestones in my life shape me, but I am built on the moments that on their own amount to little. I am surrounded by hope every minute of my day, and I create my own change. God help me if I one day fail to see the hope in playdoh and apples. Should that day ever come {doubtful} I will go looking for it tirelessly, until I come up empty.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Health Nut

Much can happen while you are putting away laundry, and it's never a good sign when you call poison control before 10:00am. Of course, my day started hours earlier when Nicholas started chirping away in his crib at 6:00 am this morning, a solid 1.5-2 hours ahead of schedule. I looked at the Mister and said, "Today is going to be a bitch."

I should buy lotto tickets.

As expected, Nicholas has been a bear all day. Crying, refusing to eat, crying, wanting to eat, crying, not liking what I offered to eat, crying, still wanting to eat, and did I mention crying? I made the mistake of giving him the box of cereal to play with while I got him a bowl; he promptly emptied the box onto the floor.

He climbed the beds and tried to take apart the blinds to see how they worked.

He brushed his teeth for 45 minutes.

He colored at the table, but then got frustrated and swept everything to the floor.

He pulled a stool out of the bathroom for the sole purpose of dancing atop it in the middle of the kitchen.

He took the stop out of the third bathroom sink.

He tossed all the soap dishes in the sink.

He opened the refrigerator repeatedly, hoping to find something appetizing.

He climbed onto the dining room table and started chewing on the fake apples.

I was pulling him off the table (and only barely yelling at the top of my voice) when Mikey came up to me talking around an open mouth quickly collecting saliva.

Mikey: "Mu. I neh wa-uh."

Jules: "What? What's wrong with your mouth?

Mikey: "Wa-uh!" pointing furiously at his mouth.

Jules: "Water? You need water? Why? Did you eat something?"

Mikey: "Uh-huh. Eeese."

Jules: "Cheese?" I did have some gruyere in the fridge.

Mikey: "No, EEESE."

Jules: "Okay, I can't understand you," I said walking towards the cabinet with the glasses. "Let's get you some water and...MIKEY! IS THIS WHAT YOU ATE?!"

Mikey: "Yeah. Eeese."

Jules: "Mikey, THESE ARE NOT SEEDS!"

I spent the next five minutes instructing Mikey on how to rinse out his mouth with water. I tried to teach him how to swish, but he couldn't get the hang of it so he shook his head from left to right. Effectiveness Rate: Absolutely None. One thousand raw lentil pieces later, Mikey looked at me calmly and asked for real seeds. I said no.

I called the pediatrician, who referred me to poison control. I explained the entire situation, and how Mikey mistook a bag of lentils for the seeds I often given him with nuts and raisins to snack on.

"That's what I get for trying to raise a health nut," {pause for chuckles from Poison Control operator.}

Still waiting.

After a brief time on hold we got the all clear. I decided staying in the house one minute longer would surely be dangerous for all of us (mainly because I was going to kill them), so I packed up the boys and went to the bookstore and then lunch, whereupon I realized one of those life truths you only realize after hitting bottom.

Everything is better with books and ketchup.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Failed Domestic

Last year, upon my request, my mother-in-law gave me gift certificates to a yarn shop for supplies and lessons. Two weeks ago, I finally made the time to schedule a lesson. I did alright in the shop, but once I got home and a few (7-ish) days went by I swear knitting became as easy as teaching yourself Cantonese.

I learn by reading and by clear examples and pictures. So, last night after I forgot, um, everything, there I was with the laptop on my lap, two needles in my hands, and a ball of yarn bouncing around like a tumble weed all while I surfed the web for decent pictures and videos. Have you ever seen pictures or videos of people knitting? Allow me to demonstrate.

Imagine a close up of two hands and white yarn against a dark white background. Fingers everywhere, no clue which string of yarn is the tail, and a 42 second flurry of finger flouncing activity complemented by a mystery female voice over lay who says:

Mystery Female Voice: So the knit stitch is super easy. You just go left to right, out the back door, wrap around, drop, and your done!

Sure! Of course! Now, come a-flippin-gain?! Huh? Wha? 42 seconds?! Repeat!

And I did. And I looked for other videos. More white yarn, more lightening speed knitting, and more pale, bony fingers that, I'm sorry, say "I own a whole crap load of cats."

God knows, I tried. I am nothing if not persistent. After I untangled, unraveled, and un-knitted whatever knotted, unspeakable horror I was 'creating' 231 times, my yarn looked like an 80s perm: fried, frizzed, and frazzled. I was half-tempted to put some John Frieda on it and keep trying, but the Mister, sensing a Mount Vesuvius of rage building every time my knits turned into knots, wondered out loud,

Didn't you take up knitting to relax?

Why yes, I did. Which means only one thing: screw you, knitting! We're done. Finished. Through. No longer an item. Instead, I'm going to dust off the sewing machine I have sitting in the closet collecting dust and see if maybe, just maybe, there is somewhere in my being a crafty sewing gene. My mother-in-law also bought me this book for Christmas, no doubt suspecting the only thing I would be capable of fashioning from yarn is a noose.

I am also putting this book on my birthday/Christmas wish list.

Anyone have it? I already read Angry Chicken, so I know the writing and projects will be fun and creative. Anyone have any other crafty sewing book suggestions? I would like something fun and easy. Something even a failed domestic could handle.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do it for the kids, man.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hallow...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Oh, my. Is it really only 8:00 pm? I thought for sure it was midnight. I tried so hard to get a decent picture of the boys in their costumes. Unfortunately, I think the fabric was laced with cocaine because the second they put them on they were screaming, yelling, and clawing at the door to get out. Allow me to present to you Exhibit A of the barely controlled chaos.

Halloween '08

Halloween '08

Halloween '08

When that door proved impossible to breach, they scampered like hungry puppy dogs towards the front door.

Halloween '08

Thank goodness I took those mediocre pictures of Mikey in his Superman costume a couple of weeks ago, because he was faster than a speeding bullet and would not sit still long enough for me to take a face shot. When we stumbled upon a neighbor boy his age, forget it. I spent the rest of the night screaming at the top of my lungs for him to SLOW DOWN! WAIT FOR US! YOU'RE GOING TO TRIP ON YOUR CAPE!

Halloween '08

My saliva must be made of Kryptonite, because it fell on deaf ears.

Nico was no better. All I wanted was 1) a face shot and 2) a full body shot. Instead, I have a million pictures of him turning away from me. I'm going to have dreams of bouncing blue and yellow wings.

Halloween '08

Halloween '08

Halloween '08


Halloween '08

I took one from the paparazzi hand book and hid in the bushes.

So that was our Halloween. Blessedly uneventful, and yet still bone crumbling. I, for one, am ready to loaf on the sofa with the Mister and eat the kid's candy. Oh! And before I forget: If you enjoy reading about holiday legends, you must head on over to Dawn's blog (Wicked Good Dinner) and read the story of Jack O' Lantern. I absolutely love folklore and the history behind common holidays and practices, and this story doesn't disappoint.

Happy Halloween! :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Things I Hope to Never Forget | Morning Rituals

Perhaps it's all the pink makes them look twice as sweet. Either way, this moment made a late morning worth remembering.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dinner for Two and a Family of Four

Dear Miscreant Children,

Somewhere between some time ago and today, you've decided to boycott everything I make for dinner. It doesn't matter what I prepare, it's revolting. And I'm a good cook! I understand I shouldn't complain since you both (especially Mikey) have been fantastic eaters for most of your life. But, frankly, no one has ever smacked my ass and called me "mature." Therefore, I feel somewhat entitled to bitch, whine, and moan. And so I shall. I will also take the time to dispense some advice.

  1. When I make chicken noodle soup from scratch, do not complain that it doesn't taste like "the other one." I know you all like Chicken Tortilla Soup. I didn't make Chicken Tortilla Soup. Consequently, shut your pie hole.
  2. When daddy decides to help me out the next night by making canned Campbell's Tomato Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, do not proclaim it's the best dinner you have ever tasted. I control the check book, and the check book controls Christmas. If you catch my drift.
  3. Do not change your taste overnight without telling me. This means, if you have liked roasted pork loin, potatoes, and sauteed cabbage until now, do not tell me you now think "it's really boring and awful" after I have spent 3 hours cooking enough pork loin to last us a month. Guess what? Your cute, tiny, fat free butt is going to be eating pork loin for the better part of a week in many, many different incarnations. Sucks to be you.
  5. No, chips and ice cream will not make your stomach ache feel better. Don't ask, and quit pretending like you are on death's door.

You've been warned. Sit down at the table, eat your dinner, then call me the best cook ever. I don't ask for much, do I? Just a little appreciation, is all.

I'm still debating how to coerce you into doing my bidding, so I'll have to get back to you on that one. I'd threaten you with Hamburger Helper, but I think you'd like it, you sick, sick, children.

The Management

Monday, October 27, 2008

7 Random Ways Motherhood Made me a Liar

Hannah over at Strapless Living tagged me to reveal 7 random things about myself. Well, I think this is particularly unfair because my entire blog is random! Just read the last 7 posts. There's your random! So I decided to mix it up just a bit and disclose, instead, 7 random ways in which motherhood made me a liar.

1. I will always work.

As you know, I vowed to never be a stay at home mom.

2. I will continue to enjoy fine food.

I never imagined I would eat old food simply to avoid throwing it away in the trash. Yet, several times a week, while cleaning up the table from lunch, I wake up and find myself feasting on delectables such as peanut butter and jelly sandwich crusts, banana nubs, 1 chicken nugget, or a 1" square piece of cold quesadilla. Why?! It's not like I don't have my own lunch. The trash can isn't that far away--in fact, I pass it on the way to the sink. What possible harm could come from tossing away old, cold, bits of food? Are people still starving in China? Yes, and it's because I'm eating all the food.

3. I will never buy kid-themed anything.

Something happens when you get pregnant. You walk through life with a particular design aesthetic, and you really do believe it will never change. I remember rolling my eyes and shuddering every time my sister-in-law bought a new mom bracelet, or family sticker, or personalized stick-figure anything. I found it all revolting. That is, until we had Mikey. Six months later I was affixing something very similar to this abomination on my Christmas card envelopes as I whistled to some peppy little tune--no doubt by the Wiggles.

Then, at the beginning of the year I wrote a letter to Mikey's class introducing myself as the room mom for the year. I wrote it on paper I bought especially for the occasion.

4. I will have a modern nursery.

I decided even before I was pregnant with Mikey that I would never, ever buy a glider. They are ugly, serve only limited purpose, are ugly, cost a fortune, and are ugly. Instead, I was super slick and bought this chair from IKEA. Yes, it had a longer life than most chairs out there--Mikey and I can still sit side-by-side and read a book--but it DOESN'T ROCK. See, in my little know-it-all, pea-sized brain I forgot that babies float in amniotic fluid for 10 months and happen to like rocking. So you know what I had to do? If I wasn't in the living room rocking him in our La-Z-Boy (more on that chair another day) I was sitting in my "design savvy" Ektorp rocking back and forth like Rain Man.

I have this in Nico's nursery.


5. I will never write a mommy blog.

Oh, hello Internet. Fancy meeting you here!

6. I will never drive an SUV.

When we got pregnant with Mikey, I was driving this:

Now I drive something like this:

I even lucked out and found one in the same Soccer Mom beige.

7. My children will maintain their own identity.

Right after I had Nico, someone asked me if I would dress they boys in matching clothing. I said no, because that was stupid.

I would upload all the pictures in which they wear matching clothing, but the internet might break.

So there you have it. Seven random ways in which motherhood made me a liar. I feel much better. Feel free to confess your own motherhood induced debauchery. You are not alone.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Favorite Moment | The Mister

I never intended to be a stay at home mom. I went to one of the top ten colleges in the country. I had a master's degree in health care administration and ten years real world experience before I entered law school. My career path, while circuitous, promised to be fulfilling and financially rewarding. I had big fish to fry, so I wasn't going to waste my time baking fish sticks.

And then came Mikey. To say we had a rough beginning would be a heinous understatement, but we survived and bonded. The Mister and I were completely taken with our bald baby, and suddenly, after years of scoffing at "The Oprah Set," we realized perhaps there was more to staying at home than we previously imagined. But, it was too late. I had to finish my final year of law school and study for the bar. We had my student loans to repay. I had to live up to the expectations of my family, my professors, and myself.

And I did. I finished my classes. I studied for the bar and passed on the first attempt. I secured a job, thanks to a close friend, as a part-time research attorney for a small family practice/criminal law firm. My mom took care of Mikey and I made very good money. The Mister was relieved to no longer shoulder the weight of everything while I studied. We moved to our dream home: a mid-century fixer upper. We started a complete kitchen remodel and picked out fancy finishes and appliances. Everything was perfect; I was miserable.

There are a series of events I remember clearly leading me to the decision to stay at home. The first had to do with my mom taking care of Mikey during the day. My mom is wonderful with children. My dad frequently says, unprompted, that she was born to mother. And it's true. She is the consummate mother hen. No need goes unmet on her watch, and Mikey feasted on her tendency to dote. So much so, he often cried when it was time for me to take him home. This happens frequently with lots of babies and their daytime care providers, so I wasn't too worried. Somewhat annoyed and hurt, but not terribly so.

Then, one day, my mom called and asked if I could come home early. Mikey was clearly sick and running a fever. Of course, I left the office immediately. When I arrived, there was Mikey snuggled in my mom's arms. I walked up to greet him and take him home. I can't describe the hysteria that ensued when I tried to take him from my mom. He cried until he could no longer breathe. He screamed and scratched at me and clung to my mom desperately. He could not be consoled while he was in my arms. In the end, she had to put him in the car seat for me. He was about a year old. My mom laughed it off to break the tension. I didn't find it funny.

A month or two after that, when I got home from work, we went to order and pay for $20,000 worth of new kitchen cabinets. As we stood there waiting for someone to help us, the Mister held Mikey and occasionally tossed him in the air just to hear him giggle. I stood there holding the check book and smiled at them both. When it came time to pay for the cabinets, the Mister handed Mikey over to me. Again, he cried until he could no longer breathe. People started coming from different parts of the store to figure out what was wrong. The Mister asked the salesperson for the balance three times over Mikey's screams, before he finally turned the computer screen around and looked for himself. In the end, I had to write the check and hand Mikey to the Mister. He was scratching my eyes and hurting me and twice I almost dropped him.

When we drove away, I stared out the passenger window and said in the dark to no one in particular, "I think those cabinets cost me more than $20,000." The Mister knew better than to answer.

Although I was technically part-time, I worked constantly. When I was home, on my days off, I would often drop Mikey off with my mom so I could research and call clients. On the weekends, I did more of the same. I slept poorly, thinking about the latest stressful case and everything I had to do the next day. And always, I thought of Mikey and how we just didn't seem to connect.

Not long after the kitchen cabinet debacle, the owner of the law firm where I worked told me I needed to work the weekend and draft an emergency motion for a divorce client who wanted to increase his visitation with his kids. The client was an insufferable commercial photographer who had left his wife for his much younger photographer's assistant. The rub: he didn't actually want to spend more time with his children. He intended to pick them up and drop them off at his mother's house while he and the girlfriend partied in Las Vegas. He just knew it would piss off his ex-wife. He also knew if we had the visitation agreement amended permanently, he wouldn't have to pay as much in child support. In his words: "I piss her off and pay less. It's a win-win."

When I walked into my office and saw that 7 inch file in front of me it hit me: I was sacrificing my time, spending time away from my family, alienating myself even more from my child, so that some jerk could get more time with kids he didn't even want to see. I sat down, wrote the motion, and placed it on top of my boss's desk. On top of it, I placed a letter of resignation.

I came home and told the Mister. We canceled the cabinets and reordered much cheaper ones online. We eliminated many of the fancy finishes we spent so much time researching. To this day, three years later, we still don't have a back splash. Many of the items in our fixer-upper still need fixing. I decided to focus, instead, on repairing my relationship with Mikey.

This is a decision we made for us. This isn't something every family can do, or something every family wants to do. I understand that, and admire the families out there who can make it work. We--I--couldn't. I have never been good at balance, especially when it comes to work or school. The need to succeed and be at the top consumes me and, unfortunately, those around me suffer my tunnel vision. I realized if I was only capable of being good at one thing at a time, that one thing should be mothering.

It hasn't been easy. Although the decision to stay at home was, ultimately, an easy one, the actual practice has been difficult. After being so focused on my career for so long, it took me a while to adapt to the change in my identity. I would be lying if I said I didn't still struggle every now and then.

And, of course, we made a huge financial adjustment to our lifestyle. We had to scale back until we didn't think we could possibly scale back more. And then we scaled back again. There are times, like this week, where I wonder if I made a mistake staying home. If, maybe, I should be working in a firm instead of eating popcorn with boys, beagles, and dinosaurs. Maybe if I was worried about my billable hours, I wouldn't be worried that Mikey's feet grew an entire shoe size since I bought his school shoes last month. I wouldn't be looking in shock at the brand new jeans that barely graze his ankles when two months ago they dragged on the floor when he walked barefoot. I wouldn't, I moaned to the Mister, be putting all new clothes and shoes on a credit card because we have to pay the car and home insurance premiums this month.

We should be paying down our credit card, not putting more on it.

The Mister waited until I was done orating and then said, "Every second you spend with our boys has far more value than any dollar we can put towards our credit card."

And for once in my life I had nothing to say except, "Thank you." Thank you for putting such a high value on what I do everyday. Thank you for always putting your family first, even when it meant turning down promotions and jobs I know you really wanted. Thank you for being such a wonderful father that people in restaurants will stop me after you walk by to tell me they have never seen a better dad to his children. Thank you for being nothing but supportive when I said, "I want to be a lawyer!" and then, "Or not!" Thank you for always trying to grope me when I unload the dishwasher, even though I've gained 30 pounds since we got married. Thank you for telling me every morning before you leave to go to work, "Thank you for doing what you do," when it should be me thanking you.

Thank you for being my favorite everything, now and forever.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Things I Hope to Never Forget | My 5 Boys.

Sitting, walking, playing, and lounging under a tree.

Thanks, Saucy Mom, for putting that vertical bar thing-y in your Favorite Moment post. As you can see, I've copied you shamelessly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Have you ever wandered down the aisles of the supermarket, happened upon a yummy snack you haven't had in years, and then gone home and become obsessed with eating said snack night and day? Internet, meet Popcorn. Popcorn, meet Internet.

Popped Corn

Mikey is equally smitten. He is especially taken with the popping process, although he is disappointed with how increasingly renegade I have become with the kernel:pot ratio as the days have gone on.

Popped Corn

What can I say? I am nothing if not a risk taker.

Nico finds popcorn quite revolting, which only encourages me to feed him more because his little gagging face is too cute for words.

As you saw in the pictures, my secret ingredient is Nutritional Yeast. You'll have to trust me on this one. I read it once on a vegetarian website and was immediately intrigued. Nutritional Yeast has a nutty/cheesy taste you can't really describe. The popcorn ends up tasting faintly of cheddar corn. Just a gentle sprinkle of Nutritional Yeast and some salt is all you need after popping the corn in light oil.

Popped Corn

Be prepared for company to show up once the kernels start popping. Everyone likes this popcorn--especially dinosaurs and beagles.

Popped Corn

Given the massive quantities of popcorn I've ingested over the last two days, I suspect my obsessive days are slowly coming to an end. I only hope the next snack that strikes my fancy fits as nicely in the vintage pyrex that once belonged to the Mister's grandma.

Popped Corn