Friday, May 27, 2005

This week's tidbits

I was just finishing a belated thank you note to Heather for the fabulous evening of radical mama conversation and inspiration, and I accidentally closed the browser and lost the message. UGH. So, I'm going to catch up here before trying again.

It feels like forever since I've written. Last week I took the boys to see my dear friend Megan and her beautiful family, who live 272 miles away. My boys did really well on the road for the first time in three years of visits, and the new car was awesome. We had a terrific time visiting. We tore up their living room, took four small boys on a walk and returned with only one major injury, had a picnic and fed the pond fish fresh strawberries, and wet the couch.

Megan made me the most fabulous apron as a birthday gift. It's both modern and retro in design, with lollipop spirals of varying shades of pink in the fabric pattern, and yellow rick-rack edging. It's also quite short, and Scott thinks it's sexy. My friend was concerned that I might find it anti-feminist. But as a progressive homemaker, I embrace it for both its beauty and its practicality. Yes, I've finally learned to cook, I'm getting pretty good at it, and I like being able to wipe my hands on an apron as I work. Should I mind that it turns on my husband?

Today I learned that vintage aprons are all the rage on eBay, and there's even an art exhibit honoring the women who have made and worn them at

I found myself getting excited about summertime this week, which is not normal since summer around here usually means 100 days of 100-degree weather. But life has been so busy, I'm looking forward to regular commitments slowing down and new projects being added to my to-do list. I want to paint my living and dining rooms, catch up on four years' of scrapbooking and a year of thank you notes, take the boys to the zoo, the waterpark and the children's museum, lose 10 pounds, and write a book.

Pray I gain some sense by July.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


If you have time for a phone call tomorrow and you haven't signed up yet, there's still room in Heather Cushman-Dowdee's MOOFEST 2005. I'll be there, celebrating radical motherhood and supporting Heather's art-activism as creator of the free comic strip "Hathor the Cowgoddess and the Evolution Revolution". I am VERY excited about this.

Friday, May 13, 2005

First stories

Just have to share this... as we're climbing into bed this evening, getting ready for a story from Daddy, my 2.5yo pipes up, "Once upon a time, there was a boy who had lots of Legos. And a monster came and knocked down his castle." My 4yo has been requesting stories that begin similarly, but the ending on this one was his brother's original.

Yes, I'm beaming with pride. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Taking my own advice

I'm happy to share that I've managed to do my Pilates video twice in the last three days. Pray I keep it up, so I can actually wear the jean shorts I just bought with my birthday money...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Perfect Day

How many hours would you need to create your perfect day?

I went to bed last night wondering how I really wanted to spend my Mother's Day, and woke up still not sure. For me, that's not a great place to start. I wish I were more comfortable being open to spontaneity, but the truth is, if I don't set a goal and a timeline, I'm not going to get much done. And then I'm going to feel like I wasted a lot of time.

That's not true every day. Otherwise, it'd be nearly impossible to unschool. But it is true for certain times. Like those rare days when Scott is off work and doesn't plan to head straight to the shooting range, or holidays that don't have every minute already scheduled by extended family members. That goes for Mother's Day in particular because it's supposed to be a day moms spend doing what we want, instead of just taking care of everyone and everything around us. At least, that's the expectation I've grown to know. Turns out, Mother's Day was originally a day for peace activism and parades, not pampering.

I've been out of balance this week. My wood element has been neglected. The new shoots of spring want to be born, and they need a creative outlet. This afternoon I called my sister (practitioner and teacher of Shiatsu, artist and poet), and that was her diagnosis. She asked if I'd been eating a lot of dairy or sugar. Uh, well, only if you count ice cream. No, I haven't been eating leafy greens. The ones I bought last Monday are now rotting in the refrigerator.

My sister says mothers are often low on the wood element. We spend all our time doing for others and our creative energy gets blocked. We need more exercise, more time for soulful expression, less sugar. It's easy to drive through Starbucks with the kids in the car, it's not so easy to make time for yoga classes. Doing Pilates at home isn't much better, since the video has fallen unseen to the back of the tv armoire, the floor is covered with Lego pieces and peanut butter sandwich crusts, and as soon as you lie down the baby is crawling on your face so you can't see what move comes next.

But we need to do it anyway. Somehow, we must ignore the laundry piled on the couch and the fact that the children are playing naked in the front yard. We must take twenty minutes to ourselves, to breathe and practice good posture, to finish that scrapbooking page or blog entry, to sip an entire mug of tea without having to reheat it in the microwave. We shouldn't wait until Mother's Day to take a moment for ourselves. If we do, we'll wake up in a bad mood because the pressure of a perfect day is just too much.

I've decided that next year, instead of trying to come up with a plan for the perfect amount of time with my family and to myself, I'm going to organize a Mother's Day parade for my city.

Nothing like setting the bar even higher when you couldn't reach it the first time.

Happy Mother's Day!

Today I am thankful that no one in my house is releasing the contents of their stomachs prematurely in any direction. I am thankful that the sky is a pale shade of my secondborn's eyes instead of dirty computer monitor gray. I am thankful that we don't have a septic tank that could overflow like it did at my friend's house yesterday. I am thankful for the calming effect of a Yogakids video, even if no one is actually watching it.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Misery trumps memory

It's really really late, and I should be asleep, but I've wanted to write all day. Plus I'm addicted to your comments.

I felt so lame this morning. First, I ate ice cream three nights in a row despite my lactose intolerance. Misery upon misery. And then, because I've been so focused on overcoming the diarrhea in my house this week, I completely forgot that I invited a dear friend and her darling baby to come visit this morning.

So, I'm sitting with Boy #2, he with a bare bum on his brand new potty, me in my pajamas on the edge of the tub, and the doorbell rings. I yell to Boy #1, "Don't answer it! Look out the window and tell me who it is!" He does, and I hear him say my friend's name as the bell rings again.

I jump up, tell Boy #2 to stay put, tell Boy #1 he can answer the door, and greet my friend, hugging around the baby's carseat. She, noticing my pajamas, asks if it's the right day. And I stare blankly, then realize that she's not just stopping by for a spontaneous hello, but that we made plans two weeks before and I forgot to write it in my calendar (which I probably would have forgotten to look at even if I had written in it).

I spent the whole morning wondering how I could possibly think I could handle another baby, when I don't have enough brainpower or organization skills to remember a date made with a close friend.

Monday, May 02, 2005

New things need more new things

So, Friday night Scott and I came home from the dealership where my dad works with the very first brand new car we've ever bought together (my first ever, period): a silver 2005 Ford Focus wagon. And then it sat in the driveway all weekend since we couldn't reach our insurance company to add coverage.

Last night I went to Target with my mom to get new carseats, so we can still use the Jeep without needing to move the boys' seats back and forth each time. And tonight I bought a seat protector to go all across the back. Now I need to order new bumperstickers! I just put the two on the Jeep a month ago. One says, "Treat your child as you like to be treated." And the other says, "Breastmilk: the milk of human kindness."

I had one reservation about buying this particular car. As I said to Scott on Thursday, what if we need room for a third carseat in the back in the next two years? Obviously, it's not a great idea to resell a new car that quickly. They depreciate too much the first year. It's the main reason I never thought we'd own a brand new one. But the warranty was just too good to pass up after the last few repair bills.

Scott has said since our second child was born that two kids is all he wants. For a while, that was fine with me, too. When they're so close together -- 18 months -- you don't have time to want another baby for a good two years. But lately I've become ready. Not ready to get pregnant, necessarily, but ready to think about the next one. Unfortunately, every time I brought up the idea, he'd change the subject. Or worse, give me dirty looks.

Until Thursday night. As I reminded him of how easy he's got it now that I'm doing all the cooking and shopping as well as laundry, cleaning, etc., and how much better we get with each child, and how much fun they become, and so on, I finally saw a glint of possibility in his eyes.

As we sat in the salesman's office on Friday, I noticed the pictures of his three kids on the wall. "Yeah," he said, "I was happy with the two boys, but my wife had other plans. Now that little girl's got my heart." I grinned. Scott muttered, "It's a conspiracy."

He muttered the same thing Sunday morning at church, after the rector's seven-month-old grandson smiled and cooed at him, and was generally adorable from the row in front of us.

Putting our firstborn's new booster seat in the Focus today, I realized that there probably is room for an infant car seat in the middle of two boosters. We'd just have to wait for boy number two to be four years old. I could get pregnant as early as next February. Now that's something to get excited about.
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