Monday, August 31, 2009

I Should Be Doing The Dishes

But instead I will post another photo retrospective (since I have no new photos to post).

Two Years Ago
One Year Ago


And three years ago...I guess that's when we used to take pictures of the dog I often now forget I have several hours out of the day.

Sam is at a board meeting and the kitchen is scary messy and emitting a barrage of smells between the compost and the garbage that would warrant a walk out to the alley, but it is dark now so it's going to have to wait until morning.

On Saturday and Sunday, my dad, Lisa and Grandma Barb came up for a visit. The children were charming, my second stab at pizza went relatively well, and Lisa and Dad spoiled us with many treats, including an enormous peach cobbler that I just ate for the second time today.

On Friday night, I was in that "the world is a horrible, messed up place- how can I even bear to live another day" kind of mood, which was too bad, because Friday nights are supposed to be our take-out dinner, kick back and enjoy that we made it through another week date nights, but I totally killed it with my sour mood and story after story from the news of psycho people ruining perfectly nice peoples' lives. Blah. I think I realize that when I feel that way, conversation is the worst antedote. I need to jump on the elliptical trainer and watch one of the three movies I own on DVD. And that does not include the Die Hard series, which was a gift to Sam years ago, because I don't think Die Hard would be what the doctor ordered for that kind of a mood. Not for someone like me.

But then Grandma Barb comes and realligns my perspective. She is so good at that. And I don't think she really tries. It's just her nature. Because she says, yes, yes, that's all true. And that's all here. But God is so much bigger. And there is so much that's beyond our understanding. And there is this mysterious act of trusting God that we practice. And then she tells me about the generations of our family that have trusted God and what they trusted God through and though I am moved and amazed, the cynical part of me wants to resist and protest and say, "but, but, BUT!!!" But in my heart, I sense that she's right. I understand about zero in regards to what that means, but then again I don't understand much of anything. I am truly astonished at how little I comprehend, practical, mechanical, political, historical or spiritual. I understand that food makes me happy, my children make me laugh, I am indescribably lucky to be married to Sam and a list of other things that I guess entails what I am grateful for, but I really don't understand much of anything, including my oven which I can only turn on half the time.

And yet, there is this peace that passes all understanding and if I am not bathed in it, it is only because I stepped out of the tub. The older I get, the more aware I am that there is always a choice - to surrender or to tighten my grip. To embrace the mystery or claim to have the answers.

Grandma is wise and full of the richness you would hope to see in a woman who has surrendered over and over to the Lord for 80+ years, but when I am with her, I see a clear picture of what Jesus meant when he said we are to have faith like a child. There is nothing simple about Grandma, but she repeatedly comes to the conclusion that she doesn't have the answers, but she knows who does. And there is rest in that. Even if the headlines make you want to suffocate in your own despair.

By the way, on Saturday while Sam and I were putting the girls down for a nap, Manny took off all his clothes and made quite a show of trying to fit his penis on the baseball tee for the visiting family. Since he was really little, I have talked to him every time we have guests about being a good host. I guess being a good host is open to interpretation.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thursday

Often I think that my life would be so much richer if it were underscored by some Academy Award winning composer. My lows were be more nuanced and my highs would be more jubliant and when something bad was about to happen, I would know well in advance because of the violins.

Yesterday, the girls got up from their morning nap early and Manny was playing target practice already, shrieking with delight every time he nailed one of them. I knew I had to go somewhere, but where? So many places are tricky now that the girls want to play too. For months, I went to the playground and held both girls while Manny played. It was perfect. I could follow him anywhere, the girls were visually stimulated by all the other kids playing and I got a great bicep workout, not to mention lots of adulation from other parents who only had one or two kids playing independently. I felt....above average.

Then the girls began to sit in the sand pit while Manny played and that worked well too. If necessary, I could square off, so to speak - Manny at first base, Glory at second, Elena on third and me, home plate. 1,2,3. 1,2,3. 1,2,3. But then the girls decided to push the boundaries and crawl out. Now I feel stuck. All these beautiful playgrounds mere blocks away, but we can't go.

So I loaded them into the car to go to University Village where they have a small fenced play structure, the whole while thinking, "What am I doing?" It's not a long drive, but it's not a short one and it's a whole lot of effort to load up, drive, unload into the stroller, on and on and on- I don't even want to type all the steps because it's tiring just to do that.

The play area was bustling with moms and kids and it was HOT. I let Manny loose and then tried to hold Elena in the stroller with my foot while I unbuckled Glory so that I could buffer both of their initial burst of energy at the same time. The girls are fearless. They were all over that play structure and seemed to be nonverbaly planning their strategy. "You go wobble at the top of the slide and I'll stand at the three foot drop-off and kick my legs out like I'm going to jump. Okay, break!" I kept my knees soft and even bounced up and down a little, ready to pounce like a mama cat. Back and forth, over and under - I, too, was all over that play structure. After 30 minutes, I was done with my cardio and a little miffed that no one had told me how amazing I was, so we went in search of a cold drink and our mini-van.

Manny successfully avoided sleep at naptime again so he got up and we kneaded our first round of pizza dough. I found it to be a great receptacle for pent-up stress and he found it to be something fun to hit and slap that doesn't cry. It was great. When the girls got up, the pizza dough was rising and we needed to get to the grocery store and the farmer's market quick because it was getting late. Both the girls wouldn't stop crying (I think they were hot) so we swooped out of the house and I let Manny hop into the stoller in his Thursday Lion Underwear with nothing else.

Once we were out of the house, I felt a little embarrassed for him, like no one loved him enough to offer him a pair of shorts. I don't think I will do that again. It was an even funnier visual when he fell asleep with his hand petting the lions and his chin slumped again his chest. I thought about laying my reusable grocery bag over him like a blanket, but the bag was visibly dirty and that seemed worse.

When we got to the market, the place was alive with colors and smells and alluring, expensive ice cream trucks. There was also this beautiful blues/American roots musician singing and strumming his guitar whose presence was both enveloping and humble. At last, my soundtrack. I made my rounds a little slower than usual, trying to soak up the notes. And I stood in line for a long time at the outrageously expensive ice cream truck because I had promised Manny I would. And even though he was sleeping, he remembers things now and I didn't want him to ask, "Where'd the ice cream go?" and have nothing to say but a sheepish, "I didn't feel like waiting." Manny doesn't feel like waiting all the time, but he does, so I guess it was the least I could do in return.

The pizza turned out beautifully despite the meager amount of cheese I sprinkled on top. Sometimes it's hard to know when to be lavish and when to hold back, but I find if there's a soundtrack, it's much easier to go big. I am about to do some cleaning. Maybe I should turn on some music and the toliets will sparkle that much brighter.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Supermom is back!

Yesterday


Today was a much better day because my trusty partner, Super Sam, whisked in unexpectedly and at the nick of time to conduct a business meeting on the go, while pushing Elena and Glory in the stroller. He even had the guy he was meeting with walk the dog! Hallejuah!

It was especially helpful because I attempted an even more complicated dish than rice and beans (Cumin-Scented Mushroom and Cheddar Galette from www.inpraiseofleftovers.com) and it was taking me a LOT longer than I thought it would. It was my first time making it, but it certainly won't be my last. I think I went up a notch in Sam's eyes. Thanks Sarah!

Manny was happily occupied with sitting in the tub of water on the deck while I crisped the bacon, roasted the potatoes and boiled the kale. I think he drank half the tub water with a plastic straw he was playing with, which would explain the burst of pee that exploded while Sam was finishing his business meeting in the pea gravel pit. Bye bye Monkey underwear. At least for now.

While I sauteed the mushroom, cumin, garlic, salt, pepper and splash of lime juice in olive oil, Manny ate playdough. He even got a big piece stuck on his teeth, but I didn't care. Sometimes you got to take one for the team or something.

After the business meeting ended abruptly with the change of underwear, Sam and the kids played drums and Manny even took my hands and danced funky moves with me in circles, his eyes closed, perhaps to avoid having to watch me attempt funky dance moves. That's okay. I understand. It was great.

After dinner, the girls ate books as I tried to get them interested in reading them and Sam did the dreaded tooth brushing. There were plenty of kisses to go around and now I have a mountain of chores, including cleaning the toliets which are hotbeds for disease, I'm sure, but Sam picked up cookies from Macrina on his "business meeting" and life is really, really good. It was really, really good yesterday too, but today feels a whole lot sweeter.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Elena's First Word

Almost forgot.

FLOSS.

We had a discussion about whether or not to call it and we decided it was affirmative.

Elena's first word was FLOSS.

She hates the toothbrush, but maybe she would like floss. Perhaps we are going about this dental hygiene thing all wrong.

I Need A Time Out

I totally got my butt kicked today. It happens a lot actually, but today was a real doozy. And it was really only from 3pm on, but boy, it doesn't take long for everything to unravel. For example, we had rice and beans tonight and I had all the dishes done up until afternoon nap and my kitchen currently looks like I haven't done the dishes in three days. Three days! I am so out of it right now that I am just walking around my house grazing on bits of food. I was going to work out when I put the kids to bed (Sam is gone tonight), but instead I came downstairs and watched previews to a movie while I ate Manny's oatmeal from this morning spruced up with some sugar, whipped cream, strawberries and bits of granola bar that I made this morning while I let Manny watch a little too much PBS kids.


Manny was freaking out all afternoon because he was tired because he never takes a nap anymore. I think the Lord is trying to teach me increased patience because once the girls got up, they were a mess too. I finally figured out that Glory had a dirty diaper and I don't know what was wrong with Elena. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Manny kept pummeling her like he was practicing for the NFL. Only those guys wear clothes and they don't put their underwear on inside-out, front-side back, with their crotch in the wrong pocket so that there's no choice except for the underwear to remain tightly tucked in you-know-where. How can someone so absurdly dressed cause so much commotion? You would think he would be too busy just trying to remove his underwear from you-know-where.


On one of the many times where one of the girls was thrown halfway across the room by Manny's tackle, I started to scream in that terrible voice that resides just below the surface of my calm, cool, collected Super-Mothering exterior. I hate it when that happens. I feel like the worst person on the face of the planet. And it's awful because there is this day care next door and I am sure that all the kids, teachers and parents can hear me and they probably think I'm some kind of alcoholic, abusive witch of a person when really all I am is literally bombarded by people whose unknown demands I can't meet. I was on the phone with my mom at one point today and I sat down on the floor. All three kids within seconds had thrown themselves at me and I actually fell over because the force of three little people hurling themselves at you is a lot!


During Manny's time out, Elena walked over to him and they began to laugh together. I can't remember whether she had been the most recent victim or not. I felt like the only one who was on the outside of the joke. I think it is cruel that I am supposed to prepare healthy, balanced meals for these children while I am trying to referee the madness and keep everyone from losing an eye or scooping out fistfuls of water from the potty. I can see why some people resort to frozen chicken nuggets every night, but I absolutely refuse, even though my "easy" pot of beans was somewhat of a culinary disaster. Thankfully, the kids ate it with gusto anyway. We finished off the meal with whipped cream dashed with a bite of fruit. My kids don't like milk and Glory is so teeny-tiny that I am afraid she might waste away with an undeveloped brain if I don't resort to some serious measures.


The last time out of the day was met with constant screaming from Manny, "I need to go potty!" The time out is two minutes. I did not warrant his requests with a reply. He replied to my lack of reply with a strong stream of pee that covered his whole time out corner. I made him sit down in it while I got a towel. I don't want him to slip, do I? Glory grabbed a rag and helped clean up and then the girls stood outside of the bathroom and screamed while I put Manny in the shower for literally two seconds to rinse off the 65% of him that was covered in urine. Sheesh.


I felt a great sense of relief when I secured all three kids in Glory and Elena's room to get them ready for bed, but that was no cakewalk either. Neither girl wanted to be changed or dressed and Manny kept climbing on top of my head and throwing himself down onto some appendage of the babies. Then it came time to nurse. Glory can't decide which side she wants to be on and they pop on and off every five seconds for a total of about 50 latch-ons, half of which involve some level of biting. I can't believe we are still doing this, but we just dropped a feeding a few days ago and I don't want to push them to wean too quickly.


I skipped brushing the girls' teeth because I simply couldn't wrestle with them any longer and I am really hoping their teeth don't decay. Every time we brush their teeth, the sounds they emit are so horrific that I almost can't stand to be in the same room. I want to run down the hallway and hurl myself into the pea gravel pit below and ride one of the plastic cars straight to West Seattle for a Twice-Baked Almond Crossiant from Bakery Nouveau, the new most amazing thing I've ever tasted.

The best part of the evening was saying good night to the girls. They kiss on command now and Elena usually just shoves her tongue at your face and Glory gives you the sweetest, tiny wet mouth kiss you could ever hope for from a baby. I love, love, love these children and God help me because sometimes I think I will melt into a puddle of simmering, puce ooze because I am so beyond the point where I know what to do or how to salvage my experimental healthy dinners.

They say the length of time outs should match the age of the child. I think if I could send myself to the corner for 31 minutes, that would definitely do the trick and I could save myself the sore throat I currently have from shouting.

A few things worth remembering of late...

On drums:

Glory and Elena were crowding Manny and Sam while they were playing before bed. Glory accidentally knocked over the snare. Manny said, "Is she sorry?" This coming from the boy who cannot see a box of anything without immediately dumping it out.

On the penis:

Manny chased Elena around the kitchen island with his penis the other day. He really knows how to win over the ladies.

Elena has discovered Manny's penis in the bath and likes to yank on it.

Manny was running around naked and Aslan sniffed his crotch. Manny ran to the bathroom, singing, "She likes my penis!" (FYI: Aslan is a boy.)

On the potty:

I think every time Manny climbs on the potty, he might fall in and disappear forever. It is like watching a toddler mount a horse. It is a complicated piece of choregraphy and once he is in position, Manny massages the toliet seat (Sam's description). After he drops the mass of toliet paper in the potty, he often tries to retrieve it and my favorite thing of all, he frequently lifts his penis up as high as it will go in the hopes of being able to see himself pooping.

Aren't you glad you read this post?

I try to think of meaningful things to say, but then I don't really write for two weeks and I think it's because that's too much pressure. This is what I've got and I suppose someday I will read this and find it quite hysterical, which was the whole point in the first place.

Time to go attack the mountain of dishes. Bakery Nouveau is already closed and Sam is still gone so I guess I better get to it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Drums

Glory wants a turn too. Manny likes to drum naked.
This was taken on day one before he figured that out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thanks Rona X 3



This is Manny one week ago when I took him to the show. I think I have scary eyes in this picture, but he looks take your breath away handsome.


Out of the blue, Rona (our friend and neighbor) told us she would hang with the baby monitor so we could go out after the kids went to bed. We decided to go use her birthday gift to Sam and had a fantastic three course dinner at Crow in Lower Queen Anne. Then I got home and she told me that her 6 year old niece Isabella was looking at a Victoria's Secret catalog and said that one of the models looked like me. Nobody's ever said that to me before and it won't likely happen again so I wanted to make sure I wrote it down.


I doubt those nice Victoria's Secret girls eat three course meals. It's good being normal and not in catalogs. And it's really, really good having friends like Rona.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Changing Rhythms

Manny got a drum set yesterday. Sam's co-worker at G2B found it free on the side of the road and gave it to us. So with great joy, Manny rocked out with his chopsticks for an hour before dinner. I don't find the sound of it the least bit annoying (ask me again in a week). The sounds I can't stand at 5:30pm are the shrieks of children attacking each other with diggers and their own fingers. Two year old drumming is loud, but it's productive.

When Sam went to get Manny this morning, Manny was laying on his bed, wide awake and content. Sam said, "Have you been up for a while?" "Uh-huh." "Were you thinking?" "Uh-huh." "What were you thinking about?" "Drums."

Manny has also been playing/pounding the piano a lot lately. Who knows if he has any talent, but I am excited to give him opportunities to explore music.

On Monday night, I took him to a Daniel Berryman & Friends concert. It was at 8pm and Manny usually goes to sleep by 7:30, so this was a big deal. It was only his second time ever that he has gotten to stay up late for a special event.

Earlier in the day, I took him to the Counterbalance Barber Shop up here on the hill, so he was looking fantasically handsome. After dinner, he took a shower while the girls bathed and Sam dressed him in nice, clean clothes. The shirt was a Max Vance hand-me-down (meaning it was hip and without stains) and the sleeves fell below his knuckles. The jeans were also just a hair too big, but he looked like he might grow at any second, so it worked.

As soon as we put the babies to bed, Manny began to prance down the hall. "Come on Mama! Let's go Mama!" I told him I needed to change my pants, so he ran down to our closet and handed me a pair of Sam's jeans. "Here you go!"

We arrived at the Good Shepherd Center just in time to go potty and grab our seats. For the next hour, Manny sat on my lap and listened to Daniel and three of his friends sing, half the time performing opera in foreign languages. He watched intently and clapped with enthusiasm after each song. I kept revisiting my escape plan, in case he started to shout, "Mama! What's happened?" or wiggle out of my arms, but it never happened. The four performers were amazing, but I kept wondering why the audience wasn't applauding my son, for I felt he was the most astounding person in the room.

Elena is getting fast. She's going to be running any day. And Glory can walk across the room now. She holds her arms out to her sides and wobbles back and forth like a zombie. The only difference is she giggles the whole time. Maybe if zombies did that, we wouldn't be so scared of them and I would enjoy those movies more.

Incidentally, Manny was supposed to go to the dentist for the first time this week, but I couldn't get my act together and ended up rescheduling. When the receptionist put me on hold, I got to listen to a segment of George Michael's Faith. What is it about George Michael and dentists? It's like that album inspired a whole generation of young people to pursue the drill. Once, while I was having a cavity filled, my previous dentist's office was playing the musak version of George Michael's I Want Your Sex. I thought that was one of the more absurd moments of my life.

That is until I had two babies giving each other a smackdown over who gets which nipple and then swapping back and forth every ten seconds. I think it might be time to wean.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pictures From the Beach

Glory at the wading pool.
Elena.
Manny in too small swim trunks.
Oh sand! Oh ocean! What rapturous delight!
Tastes GOOD.
I wanted to write tonight but I decided to spend some quality time with Kathy Smith instead and then proceeded to smear Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (that I had been saving in my freezer from the Baked Cookbook) all over my oven, dropping the F-bomb twice in front of Sam. He hates that. And I admit, it is not a becoming reaction to anything.
I try to be so good all the time. But all my ickiness comes out whether I want it to or not. And when my baking explodes into disaster, I am always beside myself with anger and grief, at least for a minute.
We ended up defrosting some Lemon Loaf and eating the couple edible bites of the cookie remnants and laughed much too hard joking about Sam taking the dough-strewn piece of parchment paper to work tomorrow and seriously offering some cookies to his co-workers, suggesting that I would be offended if they declined.
One of my favorite games when I am tired and loopy is thinking of the most inappropriate thing one could do or say in certain situations. Try it! You'll like it!
I better get to bed so I can clean my oven in the morning.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

This Week

I am sitting at my favorite coffee shop that is much too close to my house eating a gigantic piece of Macrina Walnut Anise Biscotti (every word deserves capitalization) and wiping all the stray crumbs (there are a lot) on my recently clean pants. I am recovering for a few minutes. We had a fundraiser for New Horizons at our house yesterday and I blew my energy wad early. Sam and I both have been dragging for the last 24 hours and are walking a fine line between exercising proper coping skills and completely dissolving into selfish misery.

I almost lost it last night when we got home from the playground and Manny began to freak out about some unidentifiable incident. He was a broken record of screams without a single syllable to support his complaint. I took him to the bathroom, but he was too despondent to pee. Like the Tasmanian Devil, he whirred a path of destruction back through the kitchen and dining room until it all exploded into a furious stream of urine flowing down the ramp. “Mama! Mama!” Manny cried, as though I hadn’t noticed what was happening.

I wanted to take the scream baton from Manny and run with it. I wanted to do that thing where I also act 2 years old, but I dress it up a little nicer so that it seems like it might be defendable adult behavior. I’ve been practicing that a lot lately. Thankfully, I was able to stifle my impulse long enough to get Manny to the bathroom where he proceeded to proudly deposit a poop in the potty, thus solving his mood entirely. Never underestimate the power of accomplishment.

This has been the week of love. Monday night Sam was just about to tuck Manny into bed when he asked him, “Who do you love?”
“Mama.”
“Who else do you love?”
“Daddy.”
“Who else do you love?”
“Rona.”
“Anyone else?”
“Glory. Lena.”
“Do you love Aslan?”
“Sometimes.” (Such complexity of emotion! )
By this point, Sam was really enjoying the conversation and wasn’t ready to let it end. So he began to prompt.
“Do you love anyone else? Grandma?”
“Grandma Mike.”
“Anyone else?”
“Cake.”

Then last night, after the poop accomplishment, Sam and I were serving the kids dinner. Sam said he loved me and Manny began to tell all of us that he loved us. Over and over and over. It was very dear and I was so glad to have so many opportunities to tell Manny I loved him back. He really is such a wonder.

Elena is walking all over the place. It is so shocking to catch a glimpse of her little head bobbing up and down as she walks around the kitchen island. These are the same girls who didn’t even roll until after they crawled. I laid them on the bed on their backs until they were almost nine months old. Every time I went to the doctor and had to fill out the questionnaire, I always lied.

“Do you leave your child unattended on the bed?”

“No.” I checked that box every time even though it was a total lie. And now Elena and Glory are trying to scale every climbable area of the house, which there are many. They even climb up on chairs and SIT on them. This may sound boring and obvious, but I hope I always celebrate these details. If I don’t , who will?

On Tuesday night, Sam and I put the kids down, handed Rona the Saint the baby monitor and went to Ryan and Brooke’s house to have a great conversation with Barry and Linda, a couple who are on the brink of being empty nesters. We came hungry for wisdom and perspective about parenting and marriage and following Jesus and they offered up stories of pain, struggle, triumph and praise for the faithfulness of God in their lives. It was the best church I have been to in a long time and I left wanting to love with more abandon, serve my family with less agenda and praise God for all of it.

Embrace the pain, Barry said. Embrace the frustration. Embrace the chaos.

What is remarkable about these sentiments to me is that pain, frustration and chaos are not limited to events of magnitude. Pain, frustration and chaos can sweep over me and there is really no discernable reason except that it is really hard to show up and be present in this life a lot of the time.

Last week, James B preached from the text where Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego receive their death sentence to walk into the fire, but they do not burn. And King Nebakenezer (not at all the spelling, but my phoentic version!) releases them amazed by God and God’s power. And James B’s point was that God does not deliver us from the fire. God delivers us from within the fire.

I hope I never get thrown into a literal fire. But emotionally, there are fires smoldering all over the place and they ignite without warning. I am excited about embracing the heat. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that it dawned on me that it really hurts to grow. I think I’ve always wanted to be mature because, in my opinion, I was never very good at being youthful. Self-awareness is a blessing and a curse. In high school, I equated maturity with melancholy and being moved by Sarah MacLachlan and Tori Amos in the dark. Now I think maturity is about how we respond. And responding requires refining. And refining requires some heat.

Makes me wish I had some more coffee. And some more time. Here’s to embracing the rest of the day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Too Much Water

Manny has begun to go to the bathroom by himself when it is time to use the potty. He always emerges proud and naked from the waist down because underwear is difficult to put on. I still trip every now and then. I frequently send him back from his triumphant victory lap around the kitchen island to flush the toliet and wash his hands. Every time Manny washes his hands, somewhere a reservoir empties. I guess conservation is a learned value.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hard Sun

I am listening to Hard Sun, an Eddie Vedder track from the film Into the Wild. When Glory and Elena were two weeks old and my mom had gone home, the girls went through a difficult period. And Sam and I were reminded what it meant to pace the floor for hours at night. Except when it was Manny, there was only one baby and two of us. And frequent naptimes during the day. Those weeks with the girls were an unpleasant experience and I remember thinking that this pacing with infants must be God’s way of reminding me that parenthood demands everything. Lay it all down. You think you can hang on to that? Nope. You’ve got to lay that down too.

But you know what? It feels really, really good to be sold out for something. I am a confused and divided person about some of the most important things more often than is comfortable. And even though I have moments where I want to hop in the mini-van and drive into the horizon, I am totally sold out on motherhood and the nurturing of my children. And if it means pacing floors and sopping up pee for the sixth time in one day, it is an easy choice. And there is rest in that.

Oh, but Eddie Vedder. When the girls would scream inconsolably in the middle of the night, Sam and I would take turns coming downstairs to the family room and we would pace in front of a movie. And all the movies we paced in front of were sad and dark and depressing, which did not improve my mood. The three I remember were I Am Robot, Into the Wild, and There Will Be Blood. And now every time I hear Hard Sun, I am back in those moments of helplessness and fatigue. Little Glory was probably six pounds. But really freaking loud. And terribly persistent.

I would say, remind me to watch cheerful, funny movies next time I am pacing the floors. But I don’t plan to pace again, except maybe for my children if ever they find themselves held prisoner by a sleepless baby.

Tonight at dinner, we were listening to a band called Beirut. Manny was sitting at the table finishing his teriyaki (Melissa- I get plenty of take-out despite my better intentions!) and he did the most extraordinary thing. He lifted his chin, closed his eyes, swayed his head back and forth and air drummed through the entire song. I could barely watch. It made me want to laugh uncontrollably. But I don’t want him to censor himself in front of me, so I walked away and stole glimpses here and there, just to make he was still feeling the music.

In Portland, during my dad’s retirement party, I took Manny to the potty and thought, oh no, I have become one of those women who coaches their children loudly in the stall. Another thing I never wanted to be. When we left the stall, there was a young woman in SHORT shorts with TAN legs washing her hands. Manny never saw her face, I don’t think. He turned to me and said, “She’s a pretty girl, huh?”

We went to the wading pool today. Finally. Don’t know why it took us so long. It is blocks away from our house and more shaded than I thought it would be. The girls wore swimsuits for the first time (pictures to come). They had ruffles on their bottoms, which grew substantially with the water. When we changed their diapers later, it looked like we hadn’t changed them for a whole week.

At the wading pool, I saw a baby whose head was the same size as Sam’s. No kidding. There was also a girl running around with goggles on. The water is like eight inches deep. And there was a girl in a fairy swimsuit, complete with a leaf-like skirt, prancing around sharing magic out of her plastic yellow bucket. For Elena, magic meant a Seattle Supersonics ball that she spent the next ten minutes chewing on.

Sam and I walked away asking each other, “Do we look as old as all the other parents there?” We talked this through for several minutes and decided that no, we don’t. Those people are all much, much older than us. Like at least three or four years.

This is a really random post. A series of unrelated thoughts, but in the spirit of things I want to remember, here’s another one.

On our last night at Gearhart on the Oregon Coast, my mom and Mike sent Sam and I to dessert for our 10th wedding anniversary. We left happy, full and with a bag of soft, delicious ice cream for my mom and Mike. On the way back, Sam decided to drive down onto the beach because, for better or worse, you can do that in Gearhart. We had not even gone halfway down when we got stuck in the sand.

Truth be told, I was more worried about the state of the ice cream than anything else, but I didn’t say that to Sam because I knew that would annoy him, as it should. He pushed and pushed the car and I revved and revved, cringing all the while, afraid he was going to throw out his back or something like almost 40 year old people do. The car didn’t budge.

We called Mike to save us. Mike probably could have been a British version of MacGyver. He is very resourceful. Upon arrival, Mike was there to greet the gang of 10 year old children who ultimately pushed our car out of the sand. One part The Little Rascals, one part the cast of the church Nativity play and all bravado, they saved us from an expensive towing bill and the ice cream was still in good form when we arrived back at the house.

My mom gave us a bad time about going to park on the beach and make out for our anniversary. If only we had made it onto the beach. But I still would have been thinking about the ice cream. That makes me laugh. It would make Sam laugh too. It’s good to be loved for who you are. And for ten years? That’s a whole lot of love. And a whole lot of ice cream. More to come. More to come.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Delicate Crumb or Grit?

Elena's first assessment of birthday cake.
Glory's.
Elena; a few minutes later.
Glory. A girl after her mother's heart.


In keeping with my pattern, here are some pictures that are at least four weeks old. We just got back from a week in Oregon and I am still sorting out my stories. At the moment, I feel like I can't remember anything because I am in an ice cream coma and I really should be paying my utility and light bills, which are overdue because I didn't set up auto pay correctly. But I felt like I wanted to post something since it has been so long.

One thing I will say though. My children's new favorite food is sand.

How can you look at cake like that Elena and then turn around and eat, literally, fistfuls of sand?

People are such mysteries.