Monday, September 28, 2009

The latest and greatest

How long since I updated here? Ugh, too long, not good.

Quick bites and bits of me:

I am reminded of why the toddler years drive me crazy.

I am reminded of why I will miss the cuteness and sweetness of the toddler years.

The first-grader is blooming--intellectually, socially, gracefully and verbally. Was it just three years ago she was in speech therapy? Today she correctly used a really big, grown-up word. Gah! I forgot what it was. [smacks forehead]

My fourth-grader presented me today with a decoupage artwork she made in art class from a b/w photo of the two of us that I supplied. We are both wearing bejeweled crowns and she gave me angel's wings, with a poem on the back and a quote from Cicero. Cicero! I spent a whole semester of Latin on Cicero's orations. Oh! she has my heart! I cried.

My husband is better. And every day better. And that makes me better.

I am writing again. For payment. On my own schedule, on my own terms, stuff I like to write. It is good.

It is Fall.


I want nothing more than to live in this moment. Stay here. Savor it. Crunch it. And not let it go.

Monday, September 7, 2009


there are layers there
thin, like
skin on the onion
not the thick ones
but the nearly invisible
that might or
might not
show when you peel the brown shell off
that cracks and snaps
dry, brittle.

but the thinnest layer

i just realize it's there
as i pry the outer from the
and it pulls away like
the filmy amnion
from the chorion

but my layer
is more elastic and doesn't break
or shred
or shed
but snaps back
resists the fingernail
hides the underneath
because the layers below
are unripe


Friday, April 24, 2009


Why I Love Goodwill: $1 Thursdays.

Yesterday I was able to replace most of my shrinking wardrobe for less than twenty bucks. I've been clearing out the clothes that no longer fit. Since giving birth a year ago, I've lost almost 50 pounds (and considering I only put 14 pounds on during the pregnancy, I don't have pre-pregnancy clothes that fit--the last time I was this size was in college and I don't have any of those clothes left, not that I would wear the 15-year old styles anyways). I'm finding it hard to be restrained and blase' about the weight-loss. I am so happy and excited about it I want to shout it from the rooftops, but that would be self-absorbed and rude. So I will mention it here and tell you all that if you comment on it to me, you will make my day and I will walk around for hours feeling the glow of the compliment. It makes the breastfed-allergic-baby deprivation diet worthwhile.

Why I Hate Goodwill: Rude employees.

Yesterday my joy at fitting easily into a size 10 was dashed by a cashier who ignored me when I asked for help at the jewelry counter, then when the baby was done patiently waiting started screaming, the cashier looked at us, stuck his fingers in his ears, shook his head and clucked his tongue. I LOST IT and went off on him. I don't think I have ever before let out that long a string of angry admonishments on a retail employee in my life. But NOBODY deserves that treatment, and we had been waiting very patiently. They won't see me in that location again.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Kisses wake-up.
Sisters hug.
Grandparents call.
Play, nap, eat.
Friends wish happy things.
Homemade chicken soup.
Cupcake and frosting.
Candle flickers, "Blow it out!"
A present!
A pirate ship dismantled.

The best first birthday ever. I love you my baby boy!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This New Year I Resolve...

to declutter my home.

Oh, lordy. How did this much stuff end up in this house? Nevermind, don't answer that. I already know.

We have accumulated more stuff here than in any of our previous residences. Why? Because we always moved every three years, and that always forced a big clean-out. Now we've been here four years straight. It makes me want to move again just to clean stuff out. NOT! HA! I am so glad to not have to move, but now I have to clean-out without the assistance of seeing everything as it goes into moving boxes. Moving is great for decluttering because you don't want to have to pack and unpack that unnecessary junk. Taking it to the donation center is more satisfying when the alternative is saving your back from one more box to lift.

In order to accomplish the declutter project, not get burned out or give up, and cheer ourselves on, I've created a plan. One room a month, breaks from the project in June and December (usually our busiest vacation and holiday months), simple guidelines to follow and step-by-step approach to problem areas. I'll post our progress on our fridge and on this blog. If I get behind, feel free to give me a nudge. In the meantime, here's the plan of attack:

Month Room Areas of Focus
  • January: Kitchen & Laundry -- Cabinets; drawers; counters; tops of cabinets; baker's rack; refrigerator.
  • February: Girls' room -- Closets; dressers; desk; toy bins; beds.
  • March: Boy's room -- Closets; dresser; bookshelves; toy chest; boxes; bed.
  • April: Computer room -- Desks; closets; bookshelves; sewing cabinet; boxes.
  • May: Computer room continued -- Put in new desks & wall shelves.
  • June: Off -- Summer break!
  • July: Master bedroom -- Closets; mule chest; nightstands; boxes; bathroom; underbed storage.
  • August: Family room -- Bookshelves; entertainment center; china cabinets; linen closet.
  • September: Living room -- Bookshelves; entertainment center; baskets; bench seat; coat closet.
  • October: Patio -- Boxes; toy; deep freeze; deck box; side yard.
  • November: Garage -- Closet; boxes; tools; toys.
  • December: Off -- Holiday break!

Strategies for Decluttering
  • If it's broken, expired or used up, throw it out.
  • What stays, must have a place to live.
  • What goes, sort into "Sell," "Donate," or "Storage."
  • Shred or recycle unnecessary paper.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dairy is still not my friend

So now I suspect that my precious, perfect baby boy is allergic to dairy.

Even though I can't tolerate dairy, I still cheat once in a while. Not often, and I don't fret much over hidden dairy in processed foods like bread. Big doses make me notice the discomfort, but everything takes the "worth it" test -- "Is pizza worth the discomfort?" No; "Is that chocolate brownie worth the discomfort?" Yes. Cheese always loses, chocolate always wins. My friends have probably noticed my hypocrisy, because they try to protect me from dairy and once in a while it's a wasted effort (but I do appreciate the thoughtfulness!).

Now, after a Thanksgiving weekend binge on cinnamon rolls with lots of gooey icing and three regular Sbux mochas, the baby has a red rash on his face that won't go away. It's almost a circle around his mouth and doesn't seem to itch him. But it is bright and angry and scaly, and it keeps flaring up after I have eaten something with dairy -- including pastry, fruit and cereal bars, my own chicken pot pie in which I used 50/50 Butter Blend Smart Balance, and Chocolate-dipped Peppermint Joe-Joes (damn!). Just cutting back hasn't helped much. Since my last known exposure, I have been very careful and this morning the rash is much better. It pains me to see my baby boy reacting to something, to think that we may be dealing with a long-term problem. I hope not.

Oh, and the rash is not the only symptom. Around the same time he transformed from a sweet, happy baby boy to a SHRIEKING banshee. He doesn't normally fuss much, but he tells us with whining when he is wet or tired or hungry. But after the rash started, those discomforts became HUGE ORDEALS that would set him off, reaching decibels that surely could not be measured, rattling my brain and piercing my eardrums. I'm not exaggerating. Really, the shrieking was that bad for about a week. It's better now. Actually, the shrieking is almost gone too. Strange coincidence, eh. I doubt it.

My gut tells me that dairy is the problem. The family, the pediatrician, some friends are not convinced. I guess time will tell.

In the meantime, I will be reading labels more carefully and declining what previously might have tempted me. I apologize in advance for becoming picky!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Busy baby

In just the last couple of days he learned to:

Roll over
Blow raspberries
Uncurl his hands
Grasp toys
Try to grab his feet
Scoot his body across the bed by pushing off his feet
Do push-ups
Suck his thumb

In three days, he'll be four months old! No longer a newborn... wow.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

When mama get a freelance job...

...Baby won't nap...

...Three children's stomachs get mysteriously empty every hour...

...Two young girls empty half a jar of Av0n Cinnamon Chapped Heel Relief cream onto their feet in a little over thirty minutes...

...Baby decides that this is the day to discover the toes on the ends of those kicking legs, learn how to bat at toys, practice almost rolling over, and crack up at hiccuping sister (thus, the lack of napping)...

...Eight-year-old develops taste for "tween" reality shows and gets surly with five-year-old sister who wants to watch Dora and Diego...

...Weary mama stays up 'til midnight with M.E.G.O. setting in...

...Work breaks mostly revolved around food and eating (wait, this was the same when I was in an office)...

...Husband gets orders for a business trip...

...All utensils and most dishes are crusting over in the sink...

...Compassionate friends come by to help out and leave saying, "I wish I could help more." (I wish they knew how a little goes a long way!)...

...Getting dressed in the morning involves picking clean clothes out of the pile in the living room...

...Desperate self-employed mama looks up and asks "Why now?" then calls Grandma...


Ahhhhhhh, whew!

Only ten more days to go on this project...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yeah, I'm a grammar geek

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

Sunday, July 13, 2008


On the way to a summer camp class, right in the middle of the city, we pass a man wearing a cowboy hat. The younger girl starts hopping up and down, pointing and screeching, "MAMA-MAMA-MAMA! LOOK! It's a real COWBOY!" He cocks a grin, and tips his hat at her.


The trio returns from grocery shopping. I'm parked under a nursing baby. The oldest enters with a hopeful look on her face.

"Mom, we asked Daddy to take us to Raskin Bobbins [sic] but he said we had to ask you."

"Okay, I'll talk to him about it."

One hour later...

"Mom, did you talk to Dad about going to Askin Robbens?"

"No, but I will."

One hour later...

"Mom, did you and Dad decide-"



(I lied. We had already discussed it and planned it for an after-dinner treat.)

One hour later... rain is coming down in buckets.

"Honey, Dad and I thought we would go to get ice cream after dinner but now it's raining too hard. I'm sorry."

"Mom, this rain is freaking me out. I would rather stay home. It's okay."

"We'll go another day, okay?"

"Yeah, mom." Hugs.