This Page

has been moved to new address

Tiaras and Trucks

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
/* global ----------------------------------------------- */ body { margin: 0; padding: 0; text-align: center; min-width: 760px; background: #ce436e url( repeat-x left top; font-family: helvetica, arial, verdana, "trebuchet ms", sans-serif; color: #632035; } blockquote { margin: 0; padding: 0 10px 0 10px; border-left: 6px solid #f7d8e2; border-right: 6px solid #f7d8e2; color: #ba476b; } code { color: #ba8094; } hr { display: none; } /* layout ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #wrapper { margin: 0 auto; width: 760px; text-align: left; } #blog-header { padding-bottom: 15px; background: url( no-repeat left bottom; } #blog-header div { background: #632035 url( repeat-x left bottom; } #main-wrapper { position: relative; width: 760px; background: #f7f0e9 url( repeat-y left top; } #main-content { display: inline; /* fixes a strange ie margin bug */ float: left; margin: 0 0 0 3px; padding: 0; width: 483px; } #content-wrapper { padding: 22px 0 0 0; background: url( repeat-x left top; } } @media handheld { #wrapper { width: 90%; } #blog-header { background:none; } #blog-header div { background: #632035; } #main-wrapper { width: 100%; background: #f7f0e9; } #main-content { float: none; width: 100%; } #content-wrapper { background: none; } } .post { margin: 0 16px 14px 29px; padding: 0; border-bottom: 3px solid #f7d8e2; } #comments { margin: 0 16px 14px 29px; padding: 10px; border: 1px solid #f0ced8; background-color: #f5e4e9; } @media all { #sidebar-wrapper { display: inline; /* fixes a strange ie margin bug */ float: right; margin: 0 3px 0 0; width: 269px; color: #761c37; background: url( repeat-x left top; } #sidebar { padding: 7px 11px 0 14px; background: url( repeat-y 179px 0; } #blog-footer { padding-top: 15px; background: url( no-repeat left top; } #blog-footer div { background: #491525 url( repeat-x left top; } } @media handheld { #sidebar-wrapper { float: none; width: 100%; background:none; } #sidebar { background:none; } #blog-footer { background:none; } #blog-footer div { background: #491525; } } #profile-container { margin-bottom: 20px; } #blog-footer { padding-top: 15px; background: url( no-repeat left top; } #blog-footer div { background: #491525 url( repeat-x left top; } /* headings ----------------------------------------------- */ #blog-header h1 { margin: 0; padding: 26px 0 0 84px; color: #feeef3; font-size: 30px; line-height: 25px; background: url( no-repeat 16px 26px; } { margin: 0; padding: 0 0 0 29px; font-size: 10px; text-transform: uppercase; color: #c88fa2; background: url( no-repeat 13px 0; } .date-header span { margin: 0 0 0 5px; padding: 0 25px 0 25px; background: url( no-repeat 0 0; } h2.sidebar-title { padding: 1px 0 0 36px; font-size: 14px; color: #bd8095; background: url( no-repeat 0 45%; } #profile-container h2.sidebar-title { color: #95526a; background: url( no-repeat 0 45%; } .post { margin: 13px 0 0 0; padding: 0; font-size: 18px; color: #ba476b; } #comments h4 { margin-top: 0; font-size: 16px; } /* text ----------------------------------------------- */ #blog-header p { margin: 0; padding: 7px 16px 0 84px; color: #feeef3; font-size: 10px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 14px; } .post-body div { font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; margin: 0; height:1%; overflow:visible; } .post-body blockquote { margin: 10px 0px; } { font-size: 11px; color: #bd8095; text-align: right; } em { display: block; float: left; text-align: left; font-style: normal; } p.comment-data { font-size: 12px; } .comment-body p { font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } #sidebar p { font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 20px; } #sidebar p.profile-textblock { clear: both; margin-bottom: 10px; } .profile-link { padding: 0 0 0 17px; background: url( no-repeat 0 0; } p#powered-by { margin: 0; padding: 0; } #blog-footer p { margin: 0; padding: 0 0 15px 55px; color: #feeef3; font-size: 10px; line-height: 14px; background: url( no-repeat 16px 0; } /* lists ----------------------------------------------- */ .profile-data { font-size: 13px; line-height: 17px; } .post ul { padding-left: 32px; list-style-type: none; font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; } .post li { padding: 0 0 4px 17px; background: url( no-repeat 0 3px; } #comments ul { margin: 0; padding: 0; list-style-type: none; } #comments li { padding: 0 0 1px 17px; background: url( no-repeat 0 3px; } #sidebar ul { margin: 0 0 20px 0; padding: 0; list-style-type: none; font-size: 12px; line-height: 14px; } #sidebar li { padding: 0 0 4px 17px; background: url( no-repeat 0 3px; } /* links ----------------------------------------------- */ a { color: #bf277e; font-weight: bold; } a:hover { color: #96095a; } a.comment-link { /* ie5.0/win doesn't apply padding to inline elements, so we hide these two declarations from it */ background/* */:/**/url( no-repeat 0 45%; padding-left: 14px; } html>body a.comment-link { /* respecified, for ie5/mac's benefit */ background: url( no-repeat 0 45%; padding-left: 14px; } #sidebar ul a { color: #e25984; } #sidebar ul a:hover { color: #b02c56; } #powered-by a img { border: none; } #blog-header h1 a { color: #feeef3; text-decoration: none; } #blog-header h1 a:hover { color: #d9b4c1; } a { color: #ba476b; text-decoration: none; } a:hover { color: #902245; } /* miscellaneous ----------------------------------------------- */ .post-photo { padding: 3px; border: 1px solid #ebbdcc; } .profile-img { display: inline; } .profile-img img { float: left; margin: 0 10px 5px 0; padding: 3px; border: 1px solid #ebbdcc; } .profile-data strong { display: block; } .clear { clear: both; line-height: 0; height: 0; } /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { font-size: 14px; } #postfeeds { font-size: 12px; }

Tiaras and Trucks

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shattered Mirror

This week's Red Writing Hood prompt was to write a first-person piece from the point of view of someone that drives us crazy, really gets under our skin.  Thanks to Abbey, I've got Disney princesses on the brain, so I stretched the idea of the prompt and updated a bit of Snow White as the Evil Queen.  I guess I should note that all references to Vogue are completely fictional, which is probably obvious, but I thought I'd mention it anyway!

My phone buzzes again and again as I sit in the reclined chair, tiny needles injecting toxins into the almost imperceptible wrinkles only my dermatologist and I will ever see.

In the cab, I quickly scan through the text messages, my face either painfully or pleasantly numb; I can’t tell the difference anymore. I don’t even listen to the voice mails, knowing they’re all variations of the same message: Congratulations on the latest Vogue cover.

The magazine hasn’t even gone to print, but word travels fast in a world where what is current changes by the minute.

Bile creeps into my throat.

Delete all.

I haven’t gotten this amount of congratulatory calls in a long time, possibly since my first cover too many years ago. September Vogue might be considered a coup, but I’ve been there before.

Anger pushes the bile back into my stomach, shifting into a cold fist of panic and anxiety.

My hands are shaking as I pull my compact out of the ridiculously expensive satchel on the seat beside me. Helplessly I hold the compact close to my oft-photographed face, turning to let the bright sunlight stream through the dirty filter of the cab’s window.

Thirty, forty, fifty phone calls congratulating me on something that has been my job, my life, for as long as I can remember, something that wouldn’t have been a surprise even two years ago, means only one thing.


I am getting old.

Staring into the mirror, I can’t see any of the panic that fills my insides, a welcome change from the hollow emptiness that comes from years of coffee breakfasts and diet soda lunches. My doctor is unparalleled, perfectly perched on the Botox scale that so easily tips from unlined to unmoving, toeing the collagen line that divides the lush from the comical. When I shot my first cover, I had never considered letting a needle near the face they were paying me to photograph.

I search the face in the mirror for signs of aging, tiredness, gravity. My face, my livelihood, can’t calm my anxiety. Only thoughts of the Vogue cover, the photo vivid and exquisite in my memory, slow my racing heart.

My phone rings, then stops. Rings again. My agent’s ring tone.

There’s a problem with the cover. It’s not going to run. They’re swapping it for a photo from a small shoot they did yesterday morning, with a young model so fresh her head shot’s not even on her agency’s website. They say her name is Eirwen*; she doesn’t use a last name.

The voice on the phone is reassuring me, but I don’t hear it. Bile rises again, anxiety flamed into anger once again. I hurl the compact against the window, shattering the mirror. Blood pounds in my ears, mocking me: old, tired, hag, finished.

I am twenty-four years old.

*Eirwen is Welsh for "white as snow", at least according to my Google search research

Labels: ,

Thank You Museum Reciprocity!

Our entertainment budget is fairly small, but I try to make the most of it.  Our zoo membership is one of my best buys, and this year we also purchased a membership to the Detroit Science Center.  The membership can also be used at the Detroit Children's Museum and for partial reciprocity at some other local museums.

When the weather turned a little chillier in Nashville (I swear, the cold follows us like Pigpen's cloud of dust!), we decided to spend some time at the Adventure Science Center.  Donnie and I, along with our cousins, used to visit the museum when we would visit Nan and Pap, although it was called the Cumberland Museum back then. 

I showed my trusty Detroit Science Center membership card to the museum volunteer, hoping to get some money off our visit.  To my surprise, my membership covered our admission in full, including my mom's admission (we saved $33!)

The museum has changed so much from what I remember from my own (very fond) childhood visits; there are some truly amazing exhibits, in particular the hands-on exhibits meant to teach kids about their bodies.  Abbey and Dyl are both a little young for the main museum, but Abbey loves wandering around, watching the older kids, and playing as much as she can.

Some of her favorite things were plucking the giant guitar, raising and dropping little parachutes via a pulley system, and going down the intestine slide (and yes, it said Poop! at the end of it).

Museum memberships can be a little expensive upfront, but this visit was just another reason that I believe they are definitely worth the cost.  I'd like to think that by exposing my kids to these things from a young age that I'm planting seeds of curiosity that will sprout into a lifetime love of learning.

A mom can hope, right?
checking out the preschool area 
Abbey loves school buses
she's pretty sure she's taking one to preschool in the fall
this is the closest she'll get to riding one for a while!  
driving a car
this was Dylan's favorite exhibit, but I didn't get a picture of him driving

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Monkeys Love Bananas

a little bit gangsta 
so much for only eating at the dining room table

Ryan eats one every morning, too, but I don't have a picture of him!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Me: Pulling Out My Hair

I am having issues with photos and issues with disqus and issues with losing my mind, so thanks for bearing with me while I figure out my problems!
(I'm not really losing my mind, just my patience.)

Also, check out The Red Dress Club for some lovely kindergarten memories.  I didn't have a chance to finish my piece, but there are some great ones this week.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Say Hi to My Toddler

I should be the mom who meticulously records each of Abbey and Dylan's milestones in a gorgeous baby book.

I should do this both for them and for all of my current and future friends, because I have a terrible memory. I don't want to be that annoying mother who swears her child was discussing the effect of expatriate authors on American literature at eighteen months. (Is it wrong that I am looking forward to having that discussion with my kids?)

However, it's been over three years since Abbey's birth, and her one-year scrapbook is still a scrapbox. Which means that there is a scrapbook, various paper crafting supplies, and lots of pictures thrown into a wicker box in her closet. I even started a more traditional baby book halfway through 2008 in hopes that I would be more consistent with that. It's in the scrapbox as well.

Dylan's first steps? I don't know exactly, though the date's on a post-it note somewhere. Despite those first steps, he's been sticking with his speed-of-light crawling for a while. Something about the Nashville air inspired him, though, because he's suddenly walking much more than crawling and building up to speeds I don't even want to think about.

Suddenly, he's upgraded from a crawler who sometimes walks to this little man who stalks around the house like Frankenstein, all flat feet and balancing arms. And I'm upgraded from a mommy of a baby and a preschooler to a mommy of a toddler and a preschooler.
I need to stop blinking, because I need to soak in every single moment of their beautiful little lives.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Old Habits

I've spent the majority of my adult life telling myself that my body wasn't meant to get below a certain number on the scale. 

Earlier this year, the scale slipped below that number.  Seeing that number should have been motivation to stay on track with my healthy eating and running goals, especially since I have a race to run this week (eek!)

Instead, I've found myself slipping, nibbling a little extra here and there, skipping a run or two.  Not surprisingly, that elusive number hasn't been seen again.

Honestly, I try not to focus on "weight", because like so many women, I see some crazy flucuations over the course of a month.  I don't want my body image to be found in those little digital numbers.  I'm not upset about the weight gain itself but the way I let myself react to hitting that lower number. 

At some point, I need to break those old habits, because I don't like how I feel when I'm treating my body that way.  Maybe I'll get down to the lower weight and maybe I won't, but I want to know I'm doing what I can to stay healthy and energized.

Because spring is on the way, and Dylan and Abbey are ready to hit the ground running.  In opposite directions, I'm sure.
Abbey saw this picture and said, "Mommy, you need lipstick."
I should be offended, but she's kind of right
time to get some new spring make-up!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Quick Note

Greetings from lovely Nashville, where the weather is warmer, and the kids and I are visiting (with Grandma & Grandpa) some of our favorite family members!

I meant to schedule posts for the week, but packing and some mouse issues (computer variety, not creepy household pest variety) got in the way, so I have an empty blog queue for the week.

In the spirit of vacation, I will likely post a few times but that all just depends on how early the kids go to sleep and how much I end up running and how droolworthy I find my new copy of In Style.

So we're going to savor flip flops and tight-free legs and shopping for some warm-weather clothes for the little man.

Back to regularly scheduled rambling next week!

Labels: ,

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wild Things

"Dylan's wild!" is one of Abbey's favorite comments, especially since we recently checked out Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendack) from our library. 

Sometimes she uses it as an explanation for his frustrated tantrums, but sometimes she uses it as her highest compliment, such as when they're playing together, and he's crawling after her at warp speed and laughing like crazy.  During those moments, between giggles, she might interject: "WE'RE wild!"

Demonstrating his true place amongst the Wild Things, Abbey gleefully pointed out that Dylan, "has a horn like Max!  Max has two, but Dylan has only one horn!"  I didn't have the heart to tell her that Max's "horns" are really just the ears on his wolf costume.  Or that Dylan's horn is just a symptom of a bad hair day.

I'm not going to contradict a Wild Thing.
she's drawing a picture of "Wild Dylan"
he's waiting for me to turn around so he can eat the dry-erase crayon
seriously, Mommy, I won't eat it, I promise

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 18, 2011


This week's The Red Dress Club prompt was to write (fiction or non-fiction) about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?

This piece is fiction, and I think the idea is solid, but it didn't come out on paper the way it did in my head.  Any suggestions about how to fix it are much appreciated!


July 2011
“We have begun our descent to Paris De Gaulle, where the current weather is slightly overcast. After making great time in the air, we will be in the gate in approximately twenty minutes, about fifteen minutes ahead of schedule. Thank you for flying with us today.”

The pilot’s routine spiel trickled into Caroline’s light slumber, a smile appearing, somewhere between wry and relieved.

‘Great time in the air?’ Maybe for the rest of the passengers.

It had taken Caroline almost nineteen years of layovers to fly to Paris from her small New York town.

July 1992
“I thought we agreed on backpacks?” her best friend called from the bathroom.

“That is a backpack!” Caroline groaned, gesturing to the gigantic travel backpack bobbing in the middle of a sea of clothes, shoes, and guidebooks. “It’s useless to think I can fit everything in that thing.”

“Don’t forget these. Who knows what we’d have to buy over there,” Anna laughed and tossed over a full box of tampons.

Preoccupied with trying to figure out what clothes were necessary for their senior trip to France, Caroline caught them without thinking. Prepared to throw them into the disaster on her bed, she noticed the thin film of dust on the top of the unopened box. Her brain made calculations before her stomach could stop it, and blood rushed to her head, her mouth suddenly too full of saliva.

Anna silently held Caroline’s hand when she waited three minutes for the second pink line to appear and held it again when Caroline couldn’t face her parents alone and held it once more when she told the guy who turned out to be a boy when he heard the news.

But Anna couldn’t hold Caroline’s hand all the way from France or college in Boston or any of the places the girls had planned on going together before their lives veered north and south.

February 1993
“Well, you can’t do it alone,” her mother had finally said from behind eyes that seemed permanently filled with tears.

Caroline brought Lydia home to the house she had entered as a newborn eighteen years before.

But she was alone. Alone at night when Lydia wouldn’t stop nursing or crying or nursing. Alone in her college classes, so grateful for her scholarship that she studied next to Lydia’s nightlight so her grades never dropped. Alone when she avoided eye contact with guys in her classes, hating the look in their eyes when she inevitably mentioned her daughter.

Gradually, the sleeping got better, and Lydia began to smile, and Caroline was never alone again.

January 2011
Lydia’s eyes sparkled wildly as she handed Caroline the envelope, postmarked New York City.


“Accepted, but look what else’s in there,” Lydia prodded, and Caroline saw an airline confirmation e-mail, an e-mail with Caroline’s name on it.
“Lydia? What is this? I can’t tag along on your trip to France.”

“Mom. Stop. I’m not saying we need to spend every minute together. You stick to your museums, and I’ll stick to mine. You know, Chanel, Hermes, the classics,” Lydia answered, smiling, and Caroline knew she couldn't miss another trip to Paris.

July 2011
Fully awake now, Caroline slid her small travel pillow into her satchel. She grabbed Lydia’s dog-eared copy of Vogue from the seatback next to her and stowed it next to the travel pillow. Gently, she smoothed her daughter’s hair with the singular softness known only to mothers and watched the plane descend into Paris.

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tea Party Redux

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I'm not Irish, but Dylan and I will be decked out in green at the zoo today, while Abbey will be wearing some variation of pink or purple.  Such is life in the closet of a three-year-old in love with pink.

My days of celebrating with flat, green beer are over, but there are still many delicious beverages to be enjoyed on this day of the Irish.  One of those beverages is tea.  Invisible tea, to be exact.

Since our tea party playdate, Abbey has been into tea parties.

Since I stopped nursing, Dylan has been into napping (more on that in another post!)

Therefore, a few opportunities have arisen for Abbey and I to play Cootie (too many mini-pieces for Dylan's quick fingers).  And then have Cootie tea parties.  In case you aren't aware, all Cooties love to have tea parties with tea and pizza, even "Little Brother Cootie".

Unfortunately, Abbey's love of tea parties is overshadowed by her love of looking at pictures, specifically pictures of herself.  I tried to casually take some photos of our Cootie Tea Party (so I can blackmail her she can't deny these moments in twelve years), and she immediately went into picture mode, which involves making the goofiest faces and most contorted poses and then sweetly asking, "Can I see THAT one?"

Remember when you didn't get to see the picture until you paid to have it developed?  I am thrilled those days are over, because I would be paying for many, many shots of silliness and little hands grabbing for the camera.
Abbey is always, always the pink Cootie
I shudder to think of what will happen when she plays with another pink lover, like her BFF Brendan
she's dancing here
sister and little brother Cootie are having tea
mommy Cootie has fallen apart
daddy Cootie is going to get the pizza
(without his head)

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Real Men Like Pink

what's cuter than a little guy wearing trucks surrounded by a sea of pink and flowers and butterflies?
nothing, right?

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sunshine After Snow

Planning a wedding for the end of April in Michigan means accepting that the weather cannot be slid into a pocket of a shiny wedding planner or checked off a to-do list, like “find romantic smoky-eye photo” and “pay eight trillion wedding vendors”.

Marrying my best friend and the love of my life made it easy to laugh at the snow covering the ground as our plane took off, as did the knowledge that the beaches of Hawaii were waiting patiently at the end of a long flight, with a few day’s stop in southern California, land of beautiful weather.

My first Hawaiian cocktail: a pina colada, sticky sweet and icy and garnished with a little umbrella and a slice of Hawaiian pineapple. Relaxed and content and surrounded by sand, I sipped from the coconut-infused rum, cool sweat from the glass dripping welcome relief from my warm hand to my (still basically lily white) legs.

I slid the garnish from the glass without thinking, nibbling at the edge of the pineapple.

Sunshine flooded my mouth, dancing across my tongue and leaving a trail of nectar on my lips.

I forgot that the pineapple slice was only the drink’s garnish, an afterthought grabbed by the bartender from a black, plastic nest of similar slices. I devoured the rest of the fruit, ignoring the sticky juice on my fingers, the napkin that came with my drink long-forgotten on a table somewhere.

I’d eaten pineapple before, appreciated the sweetness of the fruit, the slight tartness, the juice seeming to be held together by tender threads of flesh.

This pineapple was different, eaten from the edge of a glass, my new wedding ring a pleasant, unfamiliar weight on my hand. The fruit captured the languid sunshine of the day, clinging to the roof of my mouth and corners of my memory like the brown grains of sand that remain in tiny folds in my suitcases.

Before that day in April, I had tasted pineapple, but not pineapple cultivated on ground only a few miles from my beach towel. Before that day in April, Ryan and I had traveled together, but not as a married couple, a team, a complete circle. Later that day, we decided to forego our planned island hopping and settled into island time.

Friends and travel forums extol restaurants around the island that boast delicately prepared fish and extravagant wine pairings, but I found myself looking forward to bowls of fresh fruit eaten at our breakfast buffet. Those chunks of pineapple, surrounded by mango and papaya, were a stolen dessert, one eaten before setting out to snorkel or swim or nap.

Dessert in the morning, day after day, promised that life could not get any better, and I think about those moments now, years later, when I add a whole pineapple to my cart, balking at the cost of the pre-cored, plastic containers of fruit.

When I needed a healthy treat to add to a party menu, I slid chunks of pineapple onto kabob sticks along with strawberries, melon, kiwi, blueberries, and blackberries, a rainbow of flavors, as delicious as they were healthy.

When my miscarriage shook my faith in my own body, I carefully separated the core of the pineapple, eating the tougher, bitter part of the fruit, fervently willing myself to believe the old wives tales that promised increased success with implantation.

When Abbey was ready to start “cutting things” with me in the kitchen, I armed her with a pink plastic knife from Ikea and showed her how to turn the long strip of fruit into bite-sized pieces. We ate her handiwork from the cutting board and from a bowl and from the refrigerator until the acid rendered our taste buds inoperable.

Planning a wedding for the end of April in Michigan meant giving up control of the weather. I hadn’t expected snow on the ground, and I hadn’t expected to discover a fruit I had eaten countless times before, but both unexpected moments are precious threads in the tapestry begun when a simple circle slid onto my finger and my heart.

This post is part of The Red Dress Club's RemembeRED, an exercise in memoir writing.  The prompt: This week, we'd like for you to write about your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable.

Concrit is always welcome!

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Olympics, Here We Come!

Abbey's allowed to watch 30-60 minutes of TV a day, depending on both of our moods, and one day I put on women's gymnastics (the world championship) to give us a break from her regular favorites. (Yes, I DVR'd it. Don't judge me for that. If you need to pass judgement, check out my Gossip Girl series record setting.)Not to mention, there's a new game at our house, and that game is "Gymnastics Championship".

She is obsessed.

I know young children pick up and drop obsessions all the time, but she is currently in mad love with gymnastics. She knows that there are girls from Russia and China. She knows that you wear grips on your hands and tape on your toes.  I got so tired of watching the same routines over and over that I searched for other competitions for us to watch, although the world championship is still her favorite.

I'm glad she wants to be active and emulate this sport that sparked her interest.  However, I never would have expected her carpet somersaults and "floor routine" spins to morph into using Dylan's crib as her own, personal gymnasium. 

Ryan and I are both urged to come into Dylan's room with a little voice, "It's time for the gymnastics championship!"  We play this game several times a day, and poor Dylan is left wondering why he's not allowed in his own crib after we've worked so hard to teach him to sleep in there.
the bars
the beam
the dismount

floor routine

(her form needs a little work)

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Save Me

I've been warned that it won't last forever, but right now Abbey might be Dylan's favorite person in the entire world.  (Except when he's tired, then he zeros in on Mommy and won't rest until he hits his target.)

She laughs, and he cracks up.  She throws a piece of paper off the couch, and he cracks ups.  She shares her pretzels with him, and he cracks up.  She says, "Hellooooo," and, well, you see where I'm going with this.

She revels in this hero-worship, and it can be a great help at times.  When he's in the mood, she can entertain him for small chunks of time, enough for me to run the vacuum quickly or clean up after breakfast.  My heart gets all warm and fuzzy, and I pat myself on the back at having done a great job developing their sibling relationship.

Except there are those other times.  The times when he is crabby and won't be satisfied until I pick him up for a snuggle and a song.  The times when he is engrossed in his trucks and doesn't want to build a tower with Abbey.

At those times, Abbey doesn't understand that he's not in the mood to play simply because she's in the mood to play.  She is tenacious, though, and persists with whatever game she wants him to play, regardless of his level of protest.  And in those times, Dylan dons the: "Save Me!" face.

Poor guy.  Just wait until she wants him to play dress-up or make-up with her.
"Save Me!"
Abbey's singing, "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands"
I don't think he feels like clapping


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Gloves

My childhood self half-believed my older brother when he told me Grammy never took off her pearls, not even when she drifted off to sleep in the massive four-poster my grandfather had vacated years before my birth.

Maybe it was true. Like the glasses of tea pooling condensation on her covered porch, Grammy’s pearls were a part of her.

No one saw my Grammy without them. A choker, a double strand, or a traditional single strand tied together everything she wore, the same way my mother went to work daily in her nurse’s scrubs.

No one saw her fling her choker, the necklace with the simplest clasp, against the wall before taking all of her necklaces to her jeweler to be re-strung into a single, too-long rope, but everyone knew it was around the time she started wearing the gloves.

Delicate ivory silk.

Spotless white linen.

Impossibly pale-blue kid leather.

Slate grey suede.

She had a pair to match everything she wore, and I can’t remember seeing her wear the same thing twice, although I must have, since I spent every Sunday after church, in her flawlessly proper world. My brother and my cousins, all boys, played hours of football on the manicured yard. My mother worked an overtime shift at the hospital. I lounged on the porch with Grammy, soaking in her unique fragrance, lavender and tea leaves and a hint of menthol.

Fascinated by her femininity, I studied her hair and her make-up and the way she effortlessly walked in heels even in the softest grass. I valiantly tried to perfect the calm, rolling way that she spoke. I asked for a pair of soft blush pink gloves to wear to church on Sunday.

With my careful attention to her every move, how could I have missed the way she balanced the tea tray almost on her wrists? The way she pushed open the French doors with her forearms? The quick intake of breath as she drew her silver comb through my unruly curls? The tears that glittered silently above her lashes when she slid her own tortoise-shell combs into her hair?

One Sunday, when I was twelve and still learning about discretion, I left a book at Grammy’s. My exhausted mother drove me back up the long driveway and waited in the car with my brother.

I ran breathlessly to the back porch and found Grammy with her hands cupping an empty glass of sweet tea, her gloves carefully discarded next to the pitcher.

Those hands didn’t belong to my grandmother. Couldn’t belong to my grandmother.

Bent and hobbled and curled.

Swollen and knotted and inflamed.

Red and raw and cracked.


Swiftly, Grammy folded those hands under the table. In her clumsy haste, she grazed the edge of the wicker table and couldn’t hide her sudden grimace of pain. Shame flooded her eyes, but her gaze remained steady.

With a grace I have yet to replicate, I sank into the chair next to her and kissed her powdered cheek, laying my head on her shoulder. Silently, she placed her naked, damaged hands over mine, where we sat for an eternity, ignoring my mother’s car horn in the driveway.

This is a fictional response to a prompt for The Red Dress Club: write a short piece, either fiction or non-fiction, about something ugly - and find the beauty in it.
Concrit is always welcome here.  I know I have a lot of work to do in my journey to improve as a writer!

Labels: ,

Bait and Switch

Dylan tricked me.

 He torpedoed into solid foods with abandon, eating anything and everything I carefully spooned shoveled into his waiting mouth. Much more quickly than I could have imagined, he was eyeing the food on our plates, eager to eat what everyone else at the table was eating.

With only a smidgen of the caution I used with Abbey, I let him experiment with food beyond purees, smashing and cutting and slightly overcooking foods to be sure that he didn’t choke. I was relieved to discover he was thrilled with just about any food offered to him.

Like I said, he tricked me.

Toddler pickiness is settling in, and trying to figure out meals that don’t involve a serious amount of wasted food can leave me frustrated. I don’t want to fall into a mac and cheese rut, despite the fact that I am fairly certain both my children part mouse, as evidenced by the amount of cheese they’re willing to consume.

So, I decided to trick them.

While not the most original idea, I’ve taken to using food coloring and cookie cutters to con Abbey and Dylan into forgetting they don’t like what I’m serving.

For some reason, a waffle isn’t appealing, but a purple waffle is the bee’s knees. Pieces of any sort of meat are met with looks of disgust, but if I let Abbey eat them with toothpicks, at least a few bites make their way into her mouth.

Today’s disguised lunch used to be a turkey and cheese sandwich on multi-grain bread. Behold the transformation into mini-butterfly and mini-chick delicacies. I will never underestimate the power of mini-cookie cutters.
mini-cookie cutters sent to Abbey by our very special Aunt Carolyn
I ended up eating all but one of Abbey's blackberries
Dylan's were thrown to the ground within seconds
I guess I can't win them all

This post was brought to you by Mama Kat's Writing Workshop.  The prompt was "What's for dinner? I'm starving." (I figured: dinner? lunch? use a cookie cutter and you can eat it anytime!)

Mama’s Losin’ It

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Two of a Kind

Abbey and Madison at Abbey's party
(Abbey's on the right)

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wishful Thinking

We recently received an invitation to a tea party playdate, complete with the suggestion that the moms should dress up, too.  Never one to pass up an opportunity to wear a dress and cute shoes, I eagerly accepted and talked about it frequently with Abbey.

I shouldn't have been surprised that she chose a pink, sleeveless, tulle dress, right?  Or that she proceeded to paw around in my closet until she found a white and pink sleeveless dress for me to wear?  Trying to foster independent thinking, I went with it, after slapping on some tights (cute ones for her, not-really-matching black ones for me) and cardigans and saying a quick thanks that we didn't have far to walk from the parking lot to my friend's condo!

The playdate was absolute genius, by the way.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed the little tea set and then proceeded to move past the "tea party" part of the playdate to the "play" part.  As for the moms, I think we all enjoyed an opportunity to feel pretty and put-together. 

I can't speak for everyone, but although I am making an effort to wear cuter clothes and make-up most days, the lingering winter weather is really beginning to take a toll on any fashion baby steps I might be making.

Feeling ready to welcome spring, I was sure that Mother Nature would appreciate our efforts to retire our heavy sweaters and boots for the season.  I was wrong.  Snow blustered in again, and there's snow blanketing the ground and wind making Dylan gasp in surprise each time we step outside. 

I guess Mother Nature didn't get her tea party invitation.
at home & still wearing her dress 
not the happiest picture of my little guy
but he wore spring clothes to try to will winter away, too!

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Godmother

This post is part of The Red Dress Club's weekly prompt:

"Water gives life. It also takes it away."

Write a short piece - fiction or non-fiction - inspired by one or both of these statements.

This is fiction and (obviously) a work in progress.  As always, feedback is lovingly appreciated.

"The Godmother"

Forehead. Chest. Left shoulder. Right shoulder.

The movement is smooth and automatic and strangely comforting. Greta doesn’t think about the countless fingers casually dipped into the holy water that morning.

The father. The son. The Holy Spirit.

The Holy Trinity.

Three that were one.

As automatic as the sign of the cross, Greta reaches down to twist her wedding ring before remembering that her finger is now adorned only with a faint indentation, the ring languishing in the corner of her dining room. A small circle of gold placed on her finger under this roof, under this God, promising so much.

Two had become one, then almost three, and then everything fell apart.

Paralyzed, she dips her fingers into the fount again, but this time the water is as warm as blood, and her hand drops to her side without performing the Sign of the Cross, dripping Holy Water onto the stone floor.

Incense floods her nose as she crosses into an alien world and walks purposely to the front of the church where her family waits. A faceless aunt or cousin holds Greta’s soon-to-be-goddaughter, a squirming bundle of white satin, thrust into Greta’s arms as she slides into the pew. The voluminous baptismal gown is deceiving; Elisabeth is weightless in Greta’s arms.

In another life, she had traced the worn wood of these pews every Sunday, taking as much comfort in the ritual of Mass as she did in the words of the decorated priest on the altar.

She hasn’t been inside this building in ninety-seven days. Ninety-six days ago, on a Monday, cramps had wracked her abdomen. James found her sobbing in the shower, water washing the crimson blood to pink, and she found out shortly after that he had really only meant the “for better” part of their vows.

Panic buckles her knees until her brother catches her eyes and holds her up with the strength of his will.

“Breathe,” Paul mouths silently, before smiling and kissing her cheek and holding his hand on her back for an extra instant. That warm pressure lets Greta know that he remembers what she told him over wine and tears the night she told him she was divorcing James. That he remembers the baby.

Someone pops a pacifier into Elisabeth’s mouth, and she is still, sucking methodically with her eyes closed. The priest walks over to the family, his words expressing happiness to see Greta in church, his eyes worried and confused. Greta stretches a smile over her teeth, studying Elisabeth without seeing her.

Father begins the service, and desperately, Greta reaches for her sister-in-law, cradling Elisabeth tightly in one arm. Paul knows about the almost-baby and the shower and the agony, and therefore Louise must know, but Louise shakes off Greta’s hand, a serene look pasted on her face.

Again, Greta’s knees buckle, and she sinks into the pew, torn between clutching the baby to her chest and letting her slip to the floor. Father is chanting, praying, and the standing bodies pray with him, ignoring the flood of tears that baptize Elisabeth as she lies sleeping in Greta’s arms.

Labels: ,

Playing Catch-Up

I won a parenting award a couple of weeks ago.  Of course, I had to bestow the award on myself, but it was one of those weeks where everything went right: we got out of the house on time, ran our errands without meltdowns, played with friends at playdates, and threw a minimal amount of food on the floor.  So I won an award!  Yet, because I've been on this parenting rollercoaster for at least a few hills now, I refrained from patting myself on the back just yet.

Because the last week has been the kind where parenting awards sit dusty on the shelf, perhaps rudely snatched away by the Academy.

A week of catch-up, where nothing seems to happen exactly the way I planned, where my to-do list explodes exponentially although I am happy to finish one or two things by the end of the day, where molars threaten to rob me of all sanity (and Dylan of his lunch if he keeps shoving his little fists into the far reaches of his mouth in an attempt to soothe the teething pain).

It's easy to get bogged down in these kind of weeks, to let frustration take over, especially for people (like me) who forgot to pick up their extra box of patience at the store.  I'm trying to remember that the to-do list will never truly be cleared, that the tantrums of today will fade into the teenage rants of tomorrow, and that a little pen on a princess costume just means that maybe the princess will write a novel instead of idly waiting for her prince to arrive.

So this week we coast along, knowing that another upswing is on the horizon.  We have one chance to live our lives, so I might as well throw up my hands and ride.
proof that we're a little behind right now
this was purchased in December
we made it this week
perhaps more disturbing is that the expiration date is June 2011
I think we'll pass on the eating and just admire our handiwork

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"Sometimes Little Boys Get Mad"

I stole a moment this morning to upload some pictures to our PC, because our laptop is in dire condition.

But I'll think about that tomorrow.

Abbey saw this picture and immediately said, "Sometimes little boys get mad!"

She's absolutely right and summed up the last few days with one little statement, because if one of my kids is smiling this week, the other seems to be in or near tears.  To paraphrase Dickens: It was a happy day; it was a sad day.  We've had some exceptionally fun times this week, but they've been interspersed with tears and tantrums and a lot of "life" that is beautiful in its own way but makes for an exhausted mom by the end of the day!

Throw in extra errands and obligations (hello taxes) and training for the half marathon and I feel like I'm the Energizer bunny from 6:00 - midnight, until we hit the night shift, where someone needs water or someone is coughing or someone just needs a hug.

Where's the pause button on this remote??

Labels: ,