Sunday, June 28, 2009

That's Not Funny

I'm mad at you!

That's not funny!

I don't have to!

Don't! Want! To!

You not my friend!

This is basically what I hear all day, every day from Mason's sweet little lips. Yes, the cherub is no longer pensive, just obstinate. Oh, and he has a temper.

I honestly don't know where he gets it.

Yeah. Yeah. I'm laughing, too. Steve and I are two of the most stubborn, cantankerous, even mulish people on this green Earth. Seriously I know people have muttered jack ass after dealing with (or golfing with) both or one of the other of us. It's the truth. On the flip side of the coin, one of us is a tormenter.

Yep, a big tease. And this, my friends, is a big freaking genetic liability. Of the worst kind, if you ask me. And So Cooper has inherited the absolute compunction to provoke, bother, and otherwise upbraid his little brother's little lot in life.

Get where I'm going with this? Mason can't take a joke. Cooper pesters him and then ...

I'm mad at you!

That's not funny!

I don't have to!

Don't! Want! To!

You not my friend!

This always ends in tears, and very often blood. I would say, HELP ME. But something tells me, this is my penance.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Hammer

"When am I going to be in the Olympics?"

This is where I choked. Pretty sure that question wasn't in the "Parenting a Humble Child" handbook. He asked with complete faith that 1) He would be in the Olympics, 2) I knew which Olympics.

Turns out, I didn't even know which event!

I took the, if-you-try-hard-enough route and answered, "If you swim every day you might make it there before we expect you to."

"No, no, no, no, no. I'm not going to swim. I'm going to throw that ball thingy with the chain and you swirl around. You know, that thing?"

Is there such a thing as Hammer Lessons?

And since we're in the sporting spirit around here. I can finally reveal the winner of the random drawing I had this past week. (I'm such a dork.) Angenette, who I recently learned goes by Netti. Sending her an art apron from my Etsy shop. Look for it, Netti. Actually, first send me your current address.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Beauty is a Biotch

Ahhhhh, a rose. So magnificent, so captivating... so diva! The rose is in full revolt. That tempermental little biotch isn't taking kindly the news that I've found her a new home. Those grand dames are never pleased to leave the lime light. But when you don't perform... It's straight to the back yard with you.

Sometimes the sun stops shining on your stage and you are forced to persue new venue. It's not like you're Dame Joan Sutherland.

I was warned that a move would be met with opposition. I just didn't realize she'd rather die than reach her full potential. I'm telling you the instant I started digging her up she started to wilt. And even with the most nurturing of transports she is looking pretty sick. Sourpuss.

At one point I actually started talking to her. "Let go," I whispered as I tugged at the whispery fine roots entwined in the sacred dirt of the showcase flowerbed up front. But rather than unfurling in consent, I swear they tightened their grip. And so with a swift tug I ripped her out of the bed and rushed her to a new home chanting, "Don't hate me. It's for the best."

To add insult to injury I planted a flower I have pined for in her spot. Though it's against my better judgement I planted a dream I've carried across years and oceans -- the hydrangea. The new star will probably die. Because they are just obstinate.

But I have hope for my old rose. Come on old girl. I promise, it is for the best.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

If You Love Me...

What does it mean when you realize your friends are photoshopping pictures of you? I'll admit, I was aghast with horror the first moment I realized it. But now, I'm downright grateful. Seriously, never been more appreciative -- except for maybe the anesthesiologists that I met on Dec 9, 2004, and Sept. 27, 2006. In short, if you love me, photoshop me. Give me some digital botox. Blur the wrinkles on my neck, because who doesn't feel bad about their neck? Creatively crop the back of my arm out of the shot, or my thighs... yes, definitely the thighs. Soften the dark under my eyes. While you're at it, just take off a few freckles here and there. I'll love you for it.

As long as we're on the topic. Try not to capture my attitude or "natural look" before 9 a.m. (or after 9 p.m.). Don't shoot me at any angle below my face. Absolutely no one is interested in how many chins are under there. And if you could avoid profile shots of my chest -- or lack thereof -- that would be spectacular. If it's not too much trouble, forget about taking pictures of my butt. Or close ups. Forget about extreme close ups. (Who's idea was that anyway?) And last but certainly not least, if you see me in a swim suit, for God's sake do not look for your camera.

I promise to do the same.

For a true, unblemished, unphotoshopped babe, check out this link from last year.

PHOTO NOTE: An awesomely unflattering photo snapped by none other than my husband.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

May I Provide a Little Context

I've made a presumption. But now I have doubt. I have always thought to have more context is to better understand. I know I wish people didn't hear out of context things that my children say, like, "My Woody was upside down and then it felled off."

But I just read a book that rocked what I think about context. In fact, I'd say the more context the book offered, the more I waffled in my opinions about the characters. And then because I over analyze absolutely everything I do, I started wondering how much the idea of context has influenced everything from the justice system to public education. (Seriously, I'm weird.)

Those of us who believe we guide our decisions with a moral compass should continually evaluate the coordinate system we use to establish our standards for judging or deciding right from wrong. Well this is what I thought until I read, Reluctant Fundamentalist. Now I'm starting to battle with the realization that our internal compass probably doesn't determine right from wrong. It only helps us stomach the outcome.

The book itself is written from the perspective of a Pakistani, and yet the experience of the American he meets is understood. Just go read it. But it's not just that thrice-accursed book (yes, it freaked me out that much). I also watched Doubt. Oh that movie left me beside myself -- and not for the reasons you're thinking. So, if like me you'd like to put your brain in a twist, seek out some mind benders like Doubt (for those who have about 2hours to devote to provocation) or Reluctant Fundamentalist (for those with about a week to cloud issues). And if you really want to rock your world, pick up A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City--A Diary.
You'll never think about war the same, again.
Good luck and let me know what you think.

PS -- In case you'd like more context, Woody is the star of Disney's Toy Story.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why I Cut My Children's Hair, An Essay

At some point, well, actually, it was the point at which I pressed my knee into my 2-year-old's chest to restrain him, I realized that my children should never step foot inside a salon. A scene from "How To Properly Sheer a Lamb" is not generally included in basic tuition for most beauty colleges. Or is it? I just don't know.

Anyway, when it's time to cut hair at our house I start by dropping hints. The, "I think hair is going to grow into your brain through your ear" is a pretty good scare tactic. I also try the, "Don't be afraid it doesn't hurt" tactic. I generally let them touch the clippers while the clippers are buzzing away. After about a week of this pussy-footing around I spring it on them. Something really subtle like, "I'm cutting your hair and you're going to like it."

This is when the screaming begins. There's also a lot of half clad boyness running to and for. Oh and tears. There is always a liberal amount of tears. Then there's the fight to see who will be first. Sometimes Cooper mans up and just goes for it. Usually that's when there's ice cream sandwiches at stake. (That boy will agree to just about anything for an ice cream sandwich. And please do not use this juicy bit of information for evil.)

The first 2 seconds are usually uneventful and I usually let my guard down. Not the guard on the hair clippers, but my actual anxiety guard. As soon as I do that, a little teeny, tiny bit of hair will get inhaled up a nostril, or fall onto a big fat lip and the boy goes wild. Perhaps you don't know what wild means.

Rolling on ground. (I know that's not all parallel constructiony, but I don't want you to think we're doing anything with green grass and papers.)

The wild part doesn't really end. I just get creative in pinning them onto the floor at various angles so I can chop parts of their hair off. Occasionally other body parts get chopped, as well.

And that's it. That's the very reason I don't take them to a salon. Oh but wait. I know what you're thinking. If it was a professional they would behave. (Please wait just a second while I pee my pants from laughing so hard.)

The last time I took them to a haircutting place -- I refuse to call it a salon because stylists I know would be offended -- the above scene happened but I paid $32 for it. And, because the haircutters -- again, not going to call them stylists -- were afraid of hurting my children to achieve decent haircut Cooper came home with a mullet. So, I then recut their hair that very same day.

So, I'm just saying, if you look at either of my kids and you think to yourself, "GoodNESS that boy needs a haircut." just know that I probably did just cut it.

PS -- You have until Friday, Jun 12 to enter this little give away. I'll announce the winners the following week. Sound good?

W. I. P.

When I look at this photo (taken from the patio of my backyard) all I can think of is change of heart. Sure, sure. It's a weather system, science phenomenon, a pretty cloud in a prettier sky. But it looks like courage. Courage to think about something old in a new way -- well, to me, at least.

But.. I have a fault. Well, perhaps many of them. But there's one in particular that everyone from my mother, to my husband, to my friends have pointed out. Some in utter consternation, and others with jesting love for my eccentricities. I start projects with great gusto. But I rarely finish them with the same enthusiasm, if I finish them at all. I've recognized this about myself since I was in high school. I've only admitted it out loud in the past couple of years. Why? Because I keep thinking I can overcome it. I've also believed others -- particularly that guy I share my bed with -- want me to overcome it.

Gaze at this picture of clouds long enough and you might start thinking what I've been thinking, and decide you're done shrinking back into the blanket of "the way I always do things." There's comfort in it's dim self criticism, hard to discern subtle differences, easy to hide attempts to change.

But I'm choosing something else for today. Today, I'll forge ahead into the blinding brilliance. In the light I might notice a few more blemishes, wrinkles, and inconsistencies. But, I am what I am. I am, among other crazy things, a mother. It turns out mothers are the masters of starting a project before the current work in progress is complete. (Finally a club I can join.) It's what comes natural. Think about it, for just a minute. My life's work, as a mother, is one gigantic unfinished project. I had a kid. And then I had another one before the first one was finished.

If we didn't dare have a second child before the first was finished -- or in other words, moved away from home -- then very, very, very few of us would have more than one. As for the enthusiasm? Well, you need a lot of that in the beginning -- or you would never survive all those diapers on so little sleep. After potty training, how anyone can find enthusiasm enough to finish at all is beyond me.

So then, I've realized that my problem isn't a problem. In fact, you might say that at least I know when I have too much on my plate. Only two projects for me, thank you very much.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pre-K Delay

Hooray! Coop will start school within the school district this August. He's been begging me to start school for about a year. He's pretty young, so it's Pre-K, not Kindergarten. I've gotta tell ya, I'm a little worried. Not that he'll make friends. Not that he won't understand the curriculum. Not that he'll have behavioral problems. Not that he'll have an asthma attack at recess. No, no, no... I'm worried that he'll be tardy every darn day.

I let him sleep in the other day. Just as a test. At 9:30 a.m. I finally woke him up because I wasn't sure how long it would go on and was starting to wonder if someone was gassing him. How bad is it going to be? You mothers with sleepers, am I going to hate school because my kid can't get out of bed?

PS -- Leave me a comment with the best/most horrific getting to school story and I'll send you something from my etsy shop. Not kidding.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hello, Sunshine

I was thrilled to find this vibrant beauty hiding amongst all the pink geraniums. A gentle surprise that reminds me why I like to plant stuff.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


"Mommy!" he screamed from the backseat. It was the kind of voice that I've heard before, signaling a forgotten toy or a sibling dispute. But he continued.

"There is black hair! on! my! legs!" he exclaimed in something that was half excitement and half fear.

Calmly -- and choking back a laugh -- I asked, "What does that mean?"

"It means I have to move out, soon! I'm going to be a big boy and you're going to make me move away!"

Oh little man. Not yet. You can stay, for as long as you need me. Just remember that someday I'm going to kick you out and even though it doesn't feel like it, it's because you don't need me anymore.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Cousin Camp, II

My boys love being a part of a big family, which is kinda sad because we live relatively far away from all of our family. When it is time, however, for the cousins to get together my boys have a splendid time. On our recent trip to see them I realized just how much my boys -- Cooper especially -- look like all the other kids in the families.

Do you see it, too.

PS -- Cooper has been talking a lot about going to see June's ballet recital. He'd never been to anything like that before. We've heard just about all his opinions on ballet, now. woot woot.

Friday, June 5, 2009

1 Stick + 1 Rock = 1 happy happy happy BOY, II

Remember when we went to see my in-laws way back in 2007 and Cooper found a rock, a stick, and a vast yard of adventure? This year, guess who found the rock?

PS -- Because Claudia asked... In Cooper's picture (taken in 2007) he is about 2 years and 7 months. These pictures of Mason were just taken, and he is about 2 years and 8 months. Taken into account his A.G.A. and they are the same age. (Actually he has overcome his adjusted gestational age, I was just kidding.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

While You Were Sleeping, II

More funny shots of my kids sleeping in some weird places.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cutting Edge

You've heard me declare it before, and here I go, again...

I only left them for a minute. Actually it was more like I left them just long enough to run a clean load of laundry up the stairs. I came down the stairs and found them fencing with the kitchen implements. I'm worried.

Please note the steak knife.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Kids Sleep in Weird Places

You know when the sound decibels in the house cut in half and you start to get creeped out realizing one of the soldiers is down? Well, look where I found him... on the steps going into our unfinished basement.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Grow Green

In case you're wondering, I'm growing a few things this year. Taking another stab at...

Hanging Pots.

A Portland-inspired shade garden.

A vegetable from seed (don't know what it is or how it got there)

The raspberry cane has another year under its belt (and quite a few more before it grows a raspberry).

And... last but certainly persistant... the volunteer is back.