Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Zonked

Sound asleep on the couch

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Learning to let go on the great roller coaster of life

Yesterday was a bad day.

My coworker, my friend, suffered a terrible tragedy. Over the weekend, her sister took her own life.

We are a small office of less than 20 people. We don’t do backstabbing or politics. We like each other and are genuinely friendly both in and out of the office. We know each other’s spouses, parents, children and siblings by name. We met our coworker’s sister. She was a bright, funny woman who loved animals and singing. We are grieving with our coworker. Our friend.

All day I found myself periodically choking back tears imagining the horrible pain she and her family is going through. It is unfathomable to me.

Only two days ago, I wrote about the close bond between sisters, and my coworker certainly shared such a bond with hers. They were roommates. When they weren’t working, they were together.

I think of her parents. The pain. The guilt (undoubtedly there whether deserved or not). The emotional wreckage. The baggage. The second guessing. The hyper-analyzing of words recently said, as well as those those that were not. The horrible void that will never be filled. The tears that will always flow.

I ache for them with every cell. I can imagine nothing worse than losing a child, and even more so in such a senseless, sudden way.

I came home from work last night and wrapped myself around my daughters, trying to fold them into me, make them part of me again so that I can protect them, keep them happy and warm and safe and by my side so that I can watch over them now and always. Thoughts of them growing up and away from me present too many fears and worries to count.

* * *

When I was girl, I loved to ride roller coasters – the old wooden ones were the best. I’d ride them over and over, but could never completely let go – literally. I’d cling to the safety bar in front of me while other riders sat with their arms in the air, waving to friends on the ground below as they plummeted through space, nothing holding them in but a regular old seat belt and that one thin bar. They trusted that they’d still be in those seats when the coaster ascended its trough on the other side. I’m not sure I ever did.

I know someday I’ll have to let go on this crazy ride called motherhood. I’ll have to release my fear and trust that I’ve built a bar strong enough to keep my daughters in their seats even when they fall through space. I’ll have to trust that no matter how dramatic the fall, they’ll come up on the other side, with me standing on the ground below, waving, hoping, praying.


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Sunday, July 27, 2008


They are 19 months apart.

One likes pink and the other blue. One prefers vanilla milk and the other chocolate. One loves taking baths while the other prefers a shower. One is a verbal wonder while the other struggles with speech, but can probably dismantle (and reassemble) the television.

They both love horses and princesses and lollipops. They like to pick flowers and squirt each other (and me) with the hose. They love their cats and books. One’s hair is wiry and wild while the other’s is fine and pin-straight. They both have huge eyes and thick lashes, but different eye colors.

Sometimes they fight.

Sometimes, the fights turn physical. They slap, bite and pull hair. They kick, punch, push and pinch until the nearest adult comes running.

They are at times so different. But at others, it’s as plain as day that they have the same genes swirling in their cells, the same blood pumping through their veins.

Today, they lay next to each other on the floor, staring at the ceiling and tittering. I’m not sure what the joke was about; they wouldn’t tell me.

“It’s a joke only for sisters,” said the elder, sitting up to face me.

“Yeah, just sisters,” the younger concurred, joining her sister in a seated position.

The older threw her arm around the shoulder of her younger sibling and together they collapsed back onto their backs in a fit of giggles.

They share blood and genes and a bond that I hope is never broken. Sisters. Friends. Forever.

New dresses . . .

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: But it's a classic, right?

I cleaned out my closets on Sunday and came to the realization that I currently own a few (OK, nine) little black dresses.

NINE! Count 'em:

I own 9+ Little Black Dresses

And I'm positive I have at least three others stored upstairs in the attic. That's three that I can think of. Who wants to bet there are more than that up there? Anyone?

What's your fashion fetish? Care to share?

Click here to see who else is Wordless today.


Inside the mind of a three-year-old

Recently, two items in our home went missing.

The first was the right shoe to one of Peanut’s favorite pairs. Actually, her very favorite pair. This caused much whining and moaning on her part, which was quite unpleasant.

The other was a brand-spanking-new toothbrush. Fresh from Tarjay, the toothbrush was bright orange and featured Eve from Wall-E. Despite me telling my little heathens cherubs not to open the package, they did. I found the packaging carelessly tossed on the dining room floor. The toothbrush was nowhere to be found.

For two days, I looked high and low for both items searching all the logical places: under couches and beds, on shelves, in the big basket of Barbies and Barbie clothes, in the dress-up box, and on the seats of all the dining room chairs. I conducted a thorough search of each bedroom, both bathrooms, the dining room, the kitchen, the living room, the porch and even the basement. I scanned all the built-in bookshelves in the living room, the end tables spread around the house and the bottom of all the closets. I looked on window sills and even inside wastebaskets.

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Both items appeared to have been sucked into a vortex along with half the Polly Pocket princess dolls my daughters’ got for Christmas, a handful of books, too many socks to count, the remote control to the DVD player, one of my weight-lifting gloves (calluses are so damn unladylike), dozens of tubes of Blistex and my round brush that’s been missing since March. (Where the hell is that thing?!)

Then, earlier today I stumbled upon both items in two unrelated, random finds. Instantly, I realized the err of my ways. To repeat what I stated above: “I looked high and low for both items searching all the logical places.

Do you see what I’m getting at? Where I went wrong? No?

The key word here is “logical.”

Because when you are looking for something that has been hidden away by a naughty clever three-year-old girl, you must abandon all logic.

Shoe on the bottom shelf of the pantry

Shoe in the pantry

Toothbrush in the dollhouse shower

Tootbrush in the shower

When I asked Loaf about this, her answers were very straightforward. The shoe was hungry. And the tootbrush? Well, Eve was dirty. She needed a shower.

Perfectly logical after all.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Different styles of management

We have a huge thicket (which I’ve decided is my new favorite word – thick-KET, don’t you just love the way that rolls off the tongue?) of wild raspberry bushes behind our barn. This year, we have a bumper crop of them and the girls and I headed out there to pick, pick, pick today.

As I stood there in my jeans and rainboots drawing berries into a bowl, it occurred to me that it’s unlikely Mark would ever pull on jeans and boots on a 90+ degree day to engage in such an activity. But that’s O.K.

Let me explain.

As you may know, we have an arrangement where we both work part time. I go into my office two days a week and when I do, he becomes a stay-at-home dad.

Mark and I offer up very different parenting styles. I mean, we agree on the important stuff like rules and discipline, but the days they spend with me are wildly different from the ones they spend with him.

He is much more physical – rough and tumble if you will – than I. He stands at the foot of the bed and tosses them onto the mattress. He chases them through the house flapping his arms and screeching like a hawk. He grabs them and rolls on the floor with them and holds them down and tickles them until they’re laughing so hard they can’t speak.

The time I spend with them is more quiet and reflective. We like to go sit at the edge of the pond and “fish” with long sticks. We chase butterflies through the yard. We pick flowers and dig in the sandbox. We finger paint and color. We pick berries.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I roll around and wrestle with them and he’s been known to sit on the floor and help them build things with their blocks. But for the most part, we stick to our “roles” not on purpose, but just because we’re both being ourselves with them.

The arrangement is good for everyone. One day, they’re running through the house from the Daddy Bear and the next I’m painting their toenails under a tree in the backyard. It’s really the best of both worlds – for all of us.

After all, variety is the spice of life.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Ridiculously silly girls

Great minds . . .

Yesterday after publishing my ode to a king-sized bed so that I can continue snuggling with my (wiggly) but oh-so-sweet daughter, I cruised through some of my favorite blogs. I was surprised to see a very similar (though much better written) post about the sweetness of sharing a bed with a child by Jennifer over at Thursday Drive.

Go check it out - along with the rest of her blog. Jennifer is a really talented writer and storyteller whose posts always touch me.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Seeking a comfortable closeness

Our bed is small. Not college-dorm small, but full-size small. I have longed for a king-sized bed for years. A bed where I can stretch and roll and always find a cool spot even on the hottest summer nights.

* * *

Loaf has never been a good sleeper.

She didn’t sleep through the night until she was over two years old. And really, for the most part, she still doesn’t, though the nightly wakings are less traumatic.

Though often, sometime between 1 and 4 a.m., I hear little feet paddling down the hall. I prop myself up and wait for her head of fuzzy curls to appear at my side of the bed. I lift her up over me and plop her down between me and Mark. We are all typically back to sleep within five minutes.

And all would be right with the world except our little bed feels even smaller when she’s in it. Complicating matters is the fact that Loaf is the twistiest, turniest, floppiest, kickiest sleeper in the land. She likes to doze parallel to the headboard with her feet pushed firmly into Mark’s back and her skull pressed uncomfortably against mine. Forming a big capital “H” on the bed, Mark and I struggle to sleep on a sliver of mattress only an inch or two wider than our bodies while Miss Thang lounges luxuriously across the pillows.

As Loaf grows, the problem with this sleeping arrangement has grown with her. Any night now, I’m going to fall out of bed onto the hard floor or worse, get clocked in the nose by her rock-hard head as she flops around like a fish out of water.

So last week we decided that something had to give. Loaf has got to learn to sleep – all night – in her own bed.

Last night at 4:12 a.m. I heard her trademark paddling and before she could even reach my bedside I was up. I scooped her back up and lay her on my shoulder.

“You’re just too big to keep sleeping in Mommy and Daddy’s bed,” I murmured to her. “It’s time to sleep in your own room, but I’ll sit with you for a minute.”

She was almost back to sleep by the time I returned to her room. I laid her down and curled up next to her. In seconds, her breathing slowed and I knew she was asleep. I lay next to her, studying her long lashes and the way her wispy curls framed her face. I propped myself up on my elbow and ran a finger gently along her cubby forearm, one of the few parts of her that still bears close resemblance to her baby pictures.

She is growing up so fast.

After a few minutes, I slowly rose from her bed and walked back to my own, but I couldn’t sleep. Mark, unable to go back to sleep, had gotten up. I could hear him clicking on the computer down the hall. The bed was cool and quiet,. but also very, very empty.

This morning when she woke up, I praised her for sleeping in her own room. She stared at me blankly, her lips drawn into a pout.

"I like sleeping next to you, Mommy. I want to be with you."

My heart clenched and my eyes filled with tears. I sat next to her and folded her into my arms. She rested her head against my chest and gently clasped my index finger with her hand.

* * *

I have longed for a king-sized bed for years. A bed where a small girl could stretch out next to me in peace and comfort for as long as she'd like.

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A year without Harry Potter

It's been a full year since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out and even longer (though not by much) since the last Harry Potter movie hit the theaters.

So how excited was I today to see this?

Very freakin' excited!

November! Gah!

::passing out onto floor::

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Haiku Friday: Inner Tiger

Haiku Friday

Slinking through the grass
Gold eyes and inky black fur
Inner tiger roars

Pretending to be a lioness

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Simple joys

It started with Peanut. She found Mark’s cranberry red, v-neck sweater on the chair in our bedroom and slipped it over her head. The sleeves fell well below her fingertips and the hem dragged on the floor.

“Do you like my new dress, Mommy?” she asked, turning to wander down the hall.

A few minutes later, there was an uproar. Poking my head out of the bedroom I heard the sound of my daughters’ laughter and racing footsteps coming from the living room.

Curious, I walked toward them. They appeared at the end of the hall. They were both wearing the sweater. Both their heads peaked up from the neckline and each had an arm stuffed into one shoulder. Their other arms were wrapped around each other.

They scurried toward me, hooting and cackling. Someone snorted. (::Wondering from whom they got that trait? Whistling and looking at ceiling:::).

Their giggles were raw and pure and genuine.

Full of life.



They tumbled toward me with laughter that emanated from the tips of their toes, growing in strength and sound as it rolled up through their bellies and thundered out their throats.

Their faces beamed with the happiness of a thousand brides on their wedding day. The hall was filled with total, utter, complete joy. Their joy.

I shall never forget it.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dirty secrets

Yesterday morning Peanut wanted to help me clean up the kitchen. Grabbing her child-sized broom, she stood next to me, sweeping crumbs of toast and pieces of cereal into a small plastic dustpan.

After a few minutes, Loaf wandered into the room.

“If you think we’re playing, Loaf, we’re not,” Peanut asserted. “We’re really working here. This is serious business. You can’t just imagine dirt like this.”

Fannnnn-tastic. Now even my own child knows what poor housekeeper I am.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Revisiting a special place

On Sunday, on our way out of the Berkshires, we stopped at Chesterwood in Stockbridge, Mass., site of our September 1999 wedding.

We haven't been back since the ceremony itself almost nine years ago, and I have to admit, I got goosebumps walking through there. So here are a couple of photos.

The girls? Eh. Not terribly impressed. Maybe when they're older?

Visiting Chesterwood . . .

This was taken at the top of the "aisle" I walked down. In September, all those trees hang heavy with huge, pinkish brown hydrangea.

Chesterwood, Stockbridge, MA

Look at these pretty girls sitting on these pretty, curved marble benches. Why oh why do I not have a photo of Mark and I snuggling up on one of these? WHY?

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Just say NO to plastic

We've been bringing our own canvas bags to the supermarket for several years now and I'm glad to see more and more people picking up on this. It seems everywhere I go now - from Whole Foods to Target - there are at least a few people toting their own bags.

If you haven't started doing this yet, here's why it's so important to make a better effort to bring your own bags. And if you do end up with plastic bags, don't just throw them in the trash. Some stores take them back for recycling.

If you don't have a store in your area that does that, there are lots of things you can do to reuse them right in your very own house including:

1. Save money by using them to line wastebaskets and diaper pails.

2. If you have a dog - poop bag.

3. Use them as filler when you mail packages.

4. Bring them with you when you travel and put soiled or wet clothing into them.

5. Keep them in your car for trash disposal or (if you have kids) emergency barf bags.

6. Use them to put items in when you donate goods to charity.

7. Donate them to local stores or businesses (the food pantry, the library, etc.)

8. If you don't want to spend money on canvas bags, reuse them when you go to the store.

Your kids will thank you someday for helping make the world a cleaner, better place.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

My backup(s)

If things go south with Mark, it appears I have a backup plan in place.

You see, I’ve had two marriage proposals lately. Considering it took Mark over 10 damn years to propose (not that I’m harboring any bitterness about that or anything), I’m thinking this is pretty cool.

And what’s more? They came within seconds of each other.

Plus, the two proposers even fought over me. How lucky am I? It went something like this:

Peanut: Mommy, I love you. I love you so much that I want to marry you someday. Will you marry me?

Me: Oh, that’s so sweet. I’m flattered.

Loaf: NO! I want to marry Mommy.

Peanut: Nope. I asked her first. I am going to marry her and live with her forever.
(turning to me)
Can I live with you forever?

Me: Uh . . . .

Loaf: Mommy, you marry me? You marry me forever?

Me: You are both just the sweetest girls in the world. I’m such a lucky Mommy.

Peanut: No! I asked her first. Mommy, can we get married someday? I will wear the dress and you can wear a suit like Daddy.

Me: How come I don’t get to wear the dress? I have to say, I'm kind of all about the dress.

Loaf: If you marry me, we both wear dress.

Me: Hmmm. That’s a pretty good offer.

Peanut: OK, you can wear the dress too. We can all wear them.

Loaf: We both marry Mommy!

Me: Sounds like a plan to me.

Peanut: Yay!

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Wordless Wednesday: Garden girls

Checking out the flowers

Among the flowers

Loaf makes a kill

Bee balm

Pretending to be a princess

Huge hosta!

Showing off her bouquet

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