Monthly Archives: August 2009

A little slower please

They seem bigger this week

Maybe it’s the long pants and sneakers

Or how they’re both losing the roundness of baby cheeks

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Maybe it’s how fast they’re running

And how high they’re climbing

Or the silliness that comes with age

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Maybe it’s the small voices getting bigger

Or quiet thoughts that come across their faces

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Whatever it is, I want it to slow down

This week, they seem so big

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Speed Bump

One day we were on a drive and the car started making a clinking sound. As soon as we got home we found something loose and fixed it. Lucas wanted to drive around to make sure the rattling sound wasn’t there any longer. So we went for a drive, me behind the wheel, around our complex.

We have speed bumps. Sometimes they’re in the most inopportune places. Like when you just start to speed up, boom, there’s a speed bump.

In any case, I asked Lucas how fast I should go over the speed bump, to see if it would make the car rattle. He told me to go over it regular speed.

I looked at him, waited a second, then sped up to regular speed. 25 or 30 miles per hour…

And I went over the speed bump. At regular speed.

Lucas looked at me like I had five heads – rightfully so – and said rather loudly “I normally go over speed bumps a little slower than that!” and I retorted “but you said regular speed!!!”

Obviously he meant to go over it at the speed you’d normally go over a speed bump.

Doh.

We laughed for a minute. Then later as we were getting ready to go to bed we burst out laughing about the incident and I laughed until I cried. It takes a lot, and then again sometimes only a little, for me to laugh that hard. It’s probably one of those you had to be there moments, but to this day, I still giggle thinking about going over speed bumps at regular speed.

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Purpose

I’m coming up on my three year anniversary of being unemployed. How did that happen?? That means Fynn is almost three… but I’m so not going there tonight.

The funny, or interesting, thing is that I’ve lasted longer at being a stay at home mom than I have at any job. Granted, I wasn’t in the working world all that long before I got married and wanted to start having babies, but still, I was never content in any job. I temped the first year after college, then was at a ┬ápseudo publishing company (that just republished already published things online – go figure) where I met my hubby, then a marketing company (not doing marketing though), and finally I was at a medical staffing company. All within a three years. I think the problem was I wasn’t challenged at any of the positions, so I got bored. And irritated. And I had no patience for the job or people.

I graduated with a degree in Political Science, and a minor in English. You can do great things with that – but I never had the guts to take the GRE’s so that I could continue on with my education (as those sorts of degrees almost always lead to grad school in some way or another). I just didn’t have the motivation, the energy. I took the path of least resistance. Meaning, the lower paying jobs that didn’t come with a lot of glory.

Then I got pregnant. And everything shifted, what really mattered became clear, and I knew what I wanted to do – what I wanted to be.

I’m not saying the old cliche “I was meant to be a mom” – I find that kind of silly. But motherhood has given me a sense of purpose. My kids have made me want to be better, they give me motivation every day to do something. I’m not very driven in nature, but they give me drive.

When they’re in school, I have every intention of getting back into the working world. In what sense, I’m not sure. I’m very lucky in that my husband is the most supportive man I’ve ever known. He knows being at home makes me happy (most days…), and that makes him happy. We cut a lot, and I mean a LOT, of corners so that I can be at home with the kids. Our bills get paid, and sometimes we have a little extra, we’re hardly living a life of luxury. But we’re all in love and happy.

I have more to show for the last three years being at home than at any job. This road has not always been easy, but it’s the most rewarding one I’ve traveled. I wasn’t always sure I’d find something that would drive me, but thankfully my kids found me.

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Parenting with less no’s… possible?

For one whole day, I’d like to try to not say the word “NO”.

With two kids, I don’t know if it’s possible. I try so hard, on a daily – hourly – minute by minute basis to come up with positive alternatives to saying the N word. I’m running out of things to say.

But I don’t like to say the N word. Really. It just comes out. It comes out mostly when I’m tired, or frustrated, or are too shocked or angry to say something else (like if a certain two year old tries to jump from the couch to the dining room table…).

It’s not that I don’t want the kids to know what No means. Far from that. I think we overuse it, and it’s meaning gets lost, and it’s just another word. It doesn’t mean anything – doesn’t mean business.

I’m a big believer in positive discipline. Turning things around to not criticise as much as to reinforce positive behavior and encouragement. You’ll often hear me say “you can put the milk on the counter” instead of “NO! Don’t put the milk on the floor!” or “you can play nicely with your sister” instead of “stop being a butthead to antagonizing your sister” It’s tricky. It takes thought, and sometimes, I don’t have a thought to spare.

Parenting takes so much work. We’re molding minds, shaping human beings, helping them to figure out the world around them. It’s overwhelming and scary. And sometimes, it’s rewarding. But others, other times it just takes so much work. My brain gets so bogged down with different ways to handle situations. I think about parenting my kids all. the. time. I think about it too much – but I can’t help it. Most of the time I go with my gut, but sometimes my guts have shit for brains… (if you can tell me what movie that came from I’ll give you a big pat on the back ­čÖé It’s one of my favorites…) I’m punchy tonight, but really – most of the time my gut is right, but I can’t help but question it. These are little people we’re dealing with – and I’d hate to screw them up.

Positive parenting is tough – especially when I’m not sure that I’m always a positive person. Trying is the best we can do, I just hope it’s always enough.

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A perfect outing

We’ve been grumpy this week

waking up on the wrong side of the bed far too many days in a row

Fynn actually didn’t want to leave this morning

But we went anyway

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Fynn ran

Paige chased

Mommy walked

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Then Fynn came back to tell us about his travels

Paige was still chasing

Mommy listened

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We walked through meadows

Fynn at his own pace

Mommy & Paige slightly behind (Paige in our nifty new Ergo…)

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And then it was time to turn around

Fynn grabbed my hand

Off we went

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Back to the car

For snacks and some climbing

Paige not even two steps behind Fynn

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And we laughed

Basking in the almost autumn sun

We weren’t grumpy any more

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Wordless Wednesday

Aug 26, 2009 002

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Christmas every Tuesday

Every Tuesday Lucas comes home bearing the best gifts in the world.

An entire box full of farm fresh goodies! We partake in a CSA (community supported agriculture). A local farm divides up some of their crops to members who pay for a share of their seasonal vegetables.

It’s one of the best things we’ve ever spent money on. Not only do we get our vegetables for the week, but we get things we might never ever buy at the grocery store. I never would buy fennel, or leeks, or chard on a whim. But we don’t control what they put in our box, so we have to get really creative in using whatever shows up on our doorstep. I’ve gotten really good at just throwing things in the pot, so to speak, whatevers in the fridge gets used before it gets old. I have dried herbs to keep through the winter, tried things way out of our comfort zone, and have generally been pleased with the results.

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Hacking through my soybean plant tonight I felt like some sort of pioneer… as funny as that sounds. I never would think that I’d be boiling baby soybeans at this very moment, but I am, and it gives me a great deal of pride. Almost every dinner we’ve had since late May has included produce from our CSA. Another source of a gread deal of pride.It’s almost like a game – how resourceful can you be?

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Receiving the box every week also makes me long for a garden of my own… I think about all the yummy things we could plant, and how much fun it would be to go out with the kids and harvest our crops. Maybe not a full garden, but someday I think I’d like at least a small one.

There is something to be said for fresh vegetables.

You can’t get anything closer to the earth, anything more nutritious.

Bring on the beets and edemame please!

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Lessons from long ago

It came out of nowhere today. One minute I was making eggplant parmesan (a successful attempt to redeem myself from yesterdays dinner disaster…) and the next I was yelling. It was just all too much. My hands were covered in eggs and breadcrumbs, I had two cookie sheets worth of eggplant ready to put in the oven, but not enough room to move.

One child was in the fridge begging, no, screaming at me to get him popsicles and ice cream. The other was trying to get into the cabinet that I was in front of so she could empty endless plastic containers onto the kitchen floor.

And then I was five. And seven. And ten. And fifteen. And twenty. At the time, I never understood why my mom got so aggravated when we were in the kitchen as she was getting dinner ready. When we were trying to do our own thing, or get her to do something for us…

But now I know. You get stretched so very thin, and it happens so quickly.

So I yelled… to get out of┬á┬ámy kitchen “OR SO HELP ME GOD!!”

Not that I really know what I would have done if I hadn’t been helped…

But I still yelled. And Fynn ran, and Paige just looked at me like I had five heads. Paige actually yelled back at me. That was pleasantly unexpected!

It happens. And I honestly will not beat myself up about it. Within five minutes Fynn came back and nicely asked for some milk, and he gave me a kiss and hug. It was over.

That’s another thing I never really got when I was little. My mom would get aggravated, but it never lasted long. She’d get mad, then she was done. We always kissed and hugged, then moved on. She never held a grudge (not that I’m aware of anyway). I’m not still mad at Fynn for screaming for popsicles and ice cream. He’s two. He’s my son. I’m not still mad at Paige for trying to empty out an entire cabinet right at my feet. She’s one. She’s my daughter. They’re kids. They’re my kids.

The lessons my mother inadvertantly taught me are numerous. Memories have a funny way of coming back to you right when you need them the most. Today, I could have sworn somewhere in my voice was my mother… if I hadn’t known she was in Florida I would have thought she was standing behind me this afternoon, patting me on the back.

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Sugar and Spice

And everything nice
That’s what little girls are made of…

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Paige with her new tea set, a new outfit & dolly – all from her Grammy & Grampie. (Outfit and doll handmade by my talented mother…)

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Never boast about your cooking

I think it was around the time this afternoon that I told Lucas how I was getting comfortable in the kitchen, and my confidence was skyrocketing, that the earth and planets aligned to conspire against anything I tried to cook today.

We had a really lovely afternoon – we spent the day at my friends son’s birthday party (he’s only a week or so younger than Paige), and had a wonderful time. The kids did well, we all were fed lots of yummy food and good cake and ice cream. We took the long way home so that the kids could nap, and Lucas and I had a chance to catch up and visit. That’s when I told him. Dummy me… I had to go and say I was getting confident in the kitchen.

We got home, and I dove into my afternoon project. Homemade pasta! Not just any homemade pasta, but beet & sweet potato stuffed ravioli. We had beets to use from our weekly box of veggies from the farm, and the recipe sounded easy enough.

Sounded was the key word.

I chopped up the veggies, put them in the pot to steam, and started on the pasta. Then it all went wrong.

The pasta wouldn’t stay together. I tried and tried, looked up online┬áfor things I could be doing wrong, and then tried some more. It was finally coming together when I smelled an awful, terrible smell. I looked to the steaming veggies to make sure they were done, and they were.

The bottom of the pan also looked like thisAug 23, 2009 041

I should have just thrown in the towel then. But I didn’t.

I finally got the dough to what I thought the consistency should be. I then thought the steamed veggies would totally be fine, even if the pan had gotten fried, so I moved on and mixed them with ricotta. I rolled out the pasta, filled it up, and put it all together.

My friends, the ravioli (or whatever you would call them) were not pretty.Aug 23, 2009 043

But I pressed on.

They took forever to cook. I’m not going to lie, I don’t think that I rolled out the dough thin enough. But after they cooked they were plated and doused with olive oil and Parmesan.

Lucas and I dived in at the same time (the children were spared thanks to how long this ridiculous process took, and they had leftovers from the night before… also pasta…). We looked at each other, and Lucas shook his head. He tried another bite, and literally spit it out on his plate.

I cannot blame him.

It might have been the chewiness that no decent pasta should ever have, or the metallic taste that I’m guessing came from the singed pot (because who knows how long it was really on the hot stove looking like the above picture before this cook noticed something didn’t smell right, and it wasn’t just the foreign scent of beets…). But whatever the reason was, the pasta ended up in the sink and we had Chinese for dinner.

Never, ever boast about your cooking, the universe does not like overconfident cooks.

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