My online journal.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hey Grampa Books!

Dad, did you teach Eddie to say "Fee, Fi, Foe, Fummin', I smell the blood of an EnglishWOMAN!" 

... because it's hilarious!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In which I atone for my absence

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Wow, it's been so long since I wrote -- three weeks!! -- that "" doesn't even pop up in my navigation bar when I start typing. That, my friends, is what you call "sloth."

Except I haven't been slothing! I swear! I got sick right before Ed's birthday and I feel like it's been an uphill battle since then. Add in Joel going on two separate trips, plus 2 more b-day parties for Eddie, plus 2 wedding showers for Julie, and I feel like I've been running on fumes for all of March. Which is a shame, because it's been a particularly lovely March, weather-wise: sometimes chilly but often quite fantastic. I've been able to snuggle Eddie into several wonderful afternoon naps, even though he hasn't napped regularly for at least 6 months. And I've been remarkably un-busy in the dance-teaching department. This was by choice, for Lucy's first year in school. It's been a successful experiment on some level -- there have been Zero afternoons of flying around like crazy chickens, trying to arrange childcare and choreography at the last moment -- but we have been missing the money, and I'm also missing the work. I'm looking forward to diving back in ... maybe in a couple years. I would love to be able to honor Ed's first year in school (this fall! Already!) in the same way, but 1. I don't see myself sitting idle every afternoon, and 2. I'm just getting a little... itchy. A few stay-home moms I know are taking a "Year Of Mom" for their youngest child's first year in full day Kindergarten (which is all that's offered here in St. Paul, and which would be the 2011-12 school year for me). Basically, trying not to overcommit during that first year when I'd have an Entire 7-Hour Stretch All To Myself Every Weekday. I kind of can't even imagine the freedom.

I've been meeting with a Life Coach lately -- she's a doll and is supposed to help me figure out what I really want to be when I grow up. So far we've figured out that I love change/variety, deadline/project-oriented work, and teaching/service/helping others. Fortunately, that lines up well with itinerant dance-teaching. Another thing that popped up is becoming a doula -- an assistant to an expectant mother during labor. I'm doing some research, and I'm blessed with some wonderful doula friends who are happy to share their knowledge and experiences. Joel and I rented "Up in the Air" last night -- loved it!! The movie makes the point, along its way, that life is too short not to do what you love. I've heard the phrase "Do what you love, and the money will follow" -- it kinda sounds way too good to be true, but part of the faith journey I've been going on in my Bible study this year has also led me to the same conclusion. What if the reason a super-steady, stable, boring office job feels so wrong to me is that it's not what I'm meant to be doing? What if there really is a bigger plan -- some work I'm meant to do that can make a difference? Well I dunno. I'm working on it.

Kids have been SUPER cute lately. I drove Eddie into the Subway parking lot to check out prices on their loooong party subs (astronomical, btw), and Ed took one look at the storefront and said, "Mama, is this Five Dollar Foot Longs?" and then when I got back in the car he muttered "Subway. Eat fresh!" Take heed, marketing people -- whoever's doing Subway's ads is a GENIUS.

Lucy asked me the other day if she could make something "All by myself, with no recipe." Here's what I do know was in it: cheddar cheese, mustard, mayo, fennel, cinnamon (lots of cinnamon), salt, chicken bouillon, green food coloring, and an egg. She did microwave it long enough to cook the egg, but HOLY HECK was it uneatable. She tasted some, offered me some (I did try it), and then insisted we save the rest so Daddy could join in the feast when he got home.

Last night we convinced Ed and Lucy to TRY ONE BITE of the spinach/walnut/craisin/bleu cheese salad I made. We told them it was just like in Ratatouille, when the rat eats a bite of cheese along with a strawberry, and the flavors mix together and make something wonderful. They both ate more than one bite (wahoo!!) and Eddie said "I think I'm getting a flavor.... Hmmm. It makes my shoulders go up, and I shiver." Score one for bleu cheese.

And: you know your kid is reading too many books about sea animals when you're eating shrimp for supper and your son asks you to "Pass the krill." Also the other day Ed hugged me and said "Think big, Mama, and you can do great things!" And also, Lucy has been using "whom" correctly. As I said in my Facebook post documenting some of these, I'm pretty sure God has given me exactly the right kids.

And, sorry, one more random reflection: I know I've said this before, but as I suck down the final dregs of a Cherry Coke (and oh, how delicious it was!), I'm reminded how healthy eating begets healthy eating, and unhealthy-vice-versa. I had a couple handfuls of Cheez-its this afternoon and I immediately craved a Coke. How terrible is that!? If I could've left the Cheez-its alone, I would have been soooo happy with water and some avocado slices... but noooo, I had to go and Cheez it up. Grrrr! Anyway, if anybody's having trouble making healthy food choices this early spring (with Easter candy rearing its ugly head, and farm-fresh produce still a few months out), Take Heart! Be Strong! You aren't alone. 

And, OK, listen, I'm really sorry, but here are some Facebook statuses I've been posting which I now would like to document in some format I am hoping I'll actually be able to print out someday. You know, for posterity. Anyway: 

1. My dance teacher told me I have "great feet for yoga." By which I'm pretty sure she means "chimpanzee feet."

Yeah, see, some of these things are better with the comments that get added. For example, my friend Sherry (a yoga teacher) explained that "your toes have some separation, and they support your feet on 'all four corners,' as we yogis say." 

2. Things I'd Never Imagine Would Come Out of My Mouth #416: "Lucy doesn't mean "a boyfriend," she means "a boy toy."

OK, now this one, people laughed but nobody asked for an explanation! And so I give it here, where you are captive. So, you know how little kids anthropomorphize their toys and call them their "friends"? I assure you, they do. Lucy was talking about how Eddie has boy "friends," while she prefers girl "friends." Lucy then added "Someday, when I have a boy friend..." and Joel shot her A LOOK from across the room, and I jumped in, trying to clarify, by saying "She doesn't mean 'a boy friend,' she means 'a boy toy.'" Which, as you can see, actually sounds much worse.

All right, I'm outta here.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Happy 4th birthday Eddo!

Something about the late-afternoon sunshine streaming into my kitchen window brings on waves of introspection and nostalgia for me. And if that late-afternoon sunshine is accompanied by any sort of public radio programming -- Prairie Home Companion, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me... even All Things Considered (the theme music for which is inextricably linked (within my brain) with the sound and smell of Italian sausage cooking) -- my wiping and bustling and swishing and chopping can be brought to a complete standstill. And sometimes I even cry.

I have a long and varied relationship with late-afternoon sunshine. As a pre-teen I recall the first of many migraines exacerbated by the unremitting bore of late-afternoon sunshine. I have other memories of watching dust float through the sunbeams in one living room or another... of pre-dinner TV shows like I Dream of Jeannie or The Andy Griffith Show (if the Cubs game had ended but Mom hadn't yet come in to switch off the tube).

When I stop to think about it (as I now have), that kind of sun, that specific angle, happens at very different times throughout the year. Now, March 7 in the Twin Cities, 4:30 PM is exactly the right time. But around Christmastime, it's pitch-black at 4:30. And this kind of sunlight comes looong after dinnertime, maybe even 7:30 or 8 PM, at the height of summer. It's one of the wonderful, interesting, and ever-changing things I love about Minnesota weather.

I feel like I'm still shaking off the cobwebs in my brain and body after the last three days. On Wednesday, Joel went to Jamaica for his soon-to-be-brother-in-law Jeff's bachelor party, and my dad came in for a visit... and I promptly came down with the most debilitating fever-thing I have EVER had. Honestly, I could not prepare myself a Neti Pot on Thursday without having to sit and rest for several minutes in between steps. It was brutal. I missed dance class, a funeral, Bible study (including a fellowship session I was FINALLY going to get to attend since my dad was in to babysit), morning workout, volleyball, lunch with a friend-from-out-of-town... and my poor 68-year-old dad took the brunt of the childcare responsibilities for nearly three days. AND I was pretty much a zombie when my mom came in and we took Jean shopping for wedding stuff (she bought a dress!! eeeeeek!) and for Julie's bachelorette party. UGH. And I have been up coughing the last 2 nights, after being up the previous 2 nights with dreadful body aches. I am a sad, sad panda -- who also happens to be extremely grateful for my wonderful support network, especially my super-dad.

And today... TOOO-DAAAAY... Eddie turned 4! My little baby. He's as tall as Lucy was at 4.5 -- and Lucy herself has grown, I swear, even since we measured her on her half-birthday 5 days ago. Ed asked for Bakugans and "fighting guys" for his birthday and got both (among assorted other treasures), much to his adorable little-boy delight. He's been playing by himself and with Lucy nonstop, narrating little dramas and negotiating conflicts like the mostly-sweet soul he is. Jean's fiance Cameron also made Ed his requested "brown -- I mean chocolate -- Nemo cake." And it was adorable and delicious, which is why Cameron's so right for this family.

I have to go prepare a meal, solo -- first time in several days. The freedom is bewildering.