Wednesday, September 17, 2014


No, YOU have a six year old!  I surely don't, because people who have six year old children are old and I'm so young I've barely cleared six myself.  I certainly do NOT have a six year old, Spiderman obsessed, football jersey sporting, little sister terrorizing, kindergarten going boy.  A kid who, last night, brought home a handmade sight word book and read me the gosh darn thing like some kind of TEENAGER KID.

Okay, so maybe I do have a six year old.  Maybe, while Mabel had a snack and some Sesame Street time this morning, I sat down and pulled up the story of Mister A's arrival (here) and cried a bit over the past gone-in-a-flash six years, over the sweet pink cheeked infant who seemed so BIG to me on this day in 2008, but who now, in comparison to the six year old boy who now occupies our household, looks impossibly tiny.  I had no idea.  I had no idea how September 17th would change everything.  I had no idea how he'd grow so fast out of his babyhood that it's like it happened in our sleep one night.  How he'd challenge us, how he'd inspire us, how he'd make us laugh every single day.  How he'd thrive in some ways and struggle in other ways and just make me so darn proud in ALL his ways.   I had no idea how those sacrifices I made to get him here - the endless appointments, the tears, the night-consuming fears, the discomfort of those insulin-checking finger pokes (and the excruciating, sweaty walks through the hottest summer EVER in Austin when too-high numbers flashed on the screen), the fifty pounds (FIFTY.  DAMN.  POUNDS.) - how those were all a trivially nominal price to pay for the kind of joy motherhood had in store.  For that first slobbery kiss right on my lips, that first "luh-you", that first wobbly step into my arms.  For his laughter, for his kind heart, for his uniquely Buggy ways.  I'd do it all twenty times over again for the gift of this boy who made me Mom.

My Bug, six.  Unbelievable.

Monday, September 15, 2014

the cheese stands alone

Oh, MG.  This one's been a prize-winning tagalong from day one.   The plight of a thirdborn child, no?  Two days home from the hospital, she was toted along on a shoe shopping expedition because each of the Faketwins had lost exactly one shoe, so we were two short of a pair.  (You may remember, our belongings had already moved to Colorado, leaving us in the Wisconsin woods in a two bedroom cabin with just a suitcase full of belongings and but a single shred of sanity.)  She maybe was abandoned for five seconds in the shoe aisle when I had one Faketwin and J had the other Faketwin and we each thought the other had the baby but turned out NOBODY HAD THE GOSHDARNED BABY.  Eleven days home from the hospital, we strapped MG in and drove (and drove, and drove....) halfway across the country to our new home.  A few days after that, Bug started preschool and we were on the run again.  Drop off, pick up, repeat repeat, nap schedule be darned.  Faketwins did gymnastics, soccer, ice skating, swimming .... and MG, she tagged along.  Birthday parties, play dates, preschool story times, teacher conferences.  Nothing was MG's own.


With Bug at kindergarten five days a week, and Vivi off at pre-K three days a week, Mabes is finally, FINALLY getting her time to shine.  Yes, thank you, she WOULD like to eat the last apple in the house!  Her hands are on ALL the toys.  She's dismantling Lego houses and stripping down immaculately dressed dolls and she doesn't even CARE.  She's in her first gymnastics class, and let me tell you, if you haven't seen a two year old do gymnastics in a leotard you need to get on that.  Because CUTE.  We do lunches whenever we want, lunches where MG actually behaves and converses nicely because there's nobody stealing her last cucumber slice or snatching the Dora book out of her hands.  She can sit wherever she damn well pleases in the grocery cart, you guys!  That's HUGE!

If you can't surmise that I'm loving this one-kid time as much as Mabel is, then you've never run errands with one kid.  Only one set of removed and thrown off shoes to tie on before exiting the vehicle!  Only one parking lot suicide mission to circumvent!  Nobody's touching anybody and screaming about it and making all the people everywhere stare!  But beyond the sweat-reducing convenience factor is this cherished time with my tiniest girl, who's growing all too fast.  Three days a week, for six whole hours, I'm all hers and she's all mine.  She gets to talk and talk and I've got all the time for listening.  She's finally getting a turn to choose a book from the bookstore, one she can hold in the car on the drive home and hear in its entirety before nap time.  She can call the shots when we get home.  Do we go outside?  Head inside?  Spend five minutes examining a bird feather we find in the garage?  What we totally DON'T do is get into a brawl over who's going to wash their hands first or who pinched whose fingers in the shoe closet or whose turn it is to choose a nap time story so can I get an AMEN?  Amen!

Friday, September 12, 2014

on becoming school people

Kindergarten.  It once seemed a far off concept, a foreign place where big kids went, a place I mostly didn’t give any thought to. I remember sitting in baby A’s playroom in our Austin house, a converted dining room facing the street.  He was tiny, we’d been up for hours, and together we watched the backpack wearing school kids run past our house to catch the bus.  The world where I had kids with backpacks and lunch boxes and places to GO (places besides Target and Hobby Lobby with their mama) seemed light years away from that morning with a footie-jammied newly sitting baby trying to stack one block onto another with his chubby little fists.  But all the supermarket old ladies were right - the time, it flew by.  The long long days of babyhood and toddlerhood and preschoolhood zoomed by and before I knew it I was ordering a Spiderman backpack and a robot lunchbox for my baby.  The sticky summer, those dragging days of pajamas until noon and the leaky backyard pool, days where 5:00 might as well have been the middle of the night for how far off it felt at 3pm (when they’d been up from their nap for an hour and were already bored of the leaky backyard pool)…..well, the summer abruptly packed up and out at the end of August and left school days standing tall in its place. 

It’s been a GOOD transition, I must say.  Smoother and happier than I feared it might be.  We haven't had as many teary drop-offs as I'd feared we might with A, the resident "drop off crier".  He's made friends, friends he likes enough that he'll instruct me to roll down his window as we pull out of the school, because he's spotted this friend or that and needs to say "BYE FRIEND!"  He likes hot lunch, he's amazed by the 'puter lab where he gets to work at his own 'puter, I've noticed him speaking more clearly and writing his name more neatly than he did even three weeks ago.  He's got the loveliest teacher, whose welcoming hug put him at ease those few days when we did have a tough drop off.  The school kid is TIRED.  Goodness gracious, is he tired.  The days of bedtime shenanigans are, for now anyway, history.  I forgot to give Anderson his mandatory pre-bed hug and kiss one night when J handled tuck-in.  Maybe four minutes later, when I realized my mistake and was surprised I hadn’t yet heard him holler “MOM!!!  YOU FORGOT MY HUG AND KISS!”, I went upstairs to find him out cold.  Exhausting, the business of learning to be a school kid.  It really is.

It’s exhausting to be the mom of a newly minted school kid, too.  My alarm goes off before dawn.  And then it goes off again 5 minutes after I fumble for the snooze button.  And, um, again 5 minutes later.  BUT ANYWAY.  Up early.  Coffee, mascara, a non-yoga pair of real pants, an actual bra when all summer I lived in a sports bra until noon.  Just kidding, until dinner.  (When I changed into a fresh one.)  You all know the drill, I know you do, you’re probably doing it, too.  More exhausting than those bleary eyed early mornings of combing down sleep-tossled hair and tugging on socks so they can shovel in a few more spoonfuls of Cheerios, is, well, the art of just BEING a school mom.  Figuring out the precise absolute last minute we can leave the house to make it to school on time (7:27am, if it’s not raining and we hit both stop lights on green).  Figuring out where to park, where to walk (there's a technique to avoiding the soggy parts of the soccer field between the parking spot and the door, you see).  Figuring out when he’s ready for a car line drop off so I can quit putting on real pants to take him to school, for heaven's sake.  Figuring out how to LET GO.  That’s the toughie, my friends.  Letting go.  Letting go of his nervous grip on those first few days where he was teary eyed and plaintive in his urgently whispered request to just take him back home and watch Paw Patrol (oh, it was so hard to say no!)  Letting go of control.  I’ve had a lot of control these past 6 years.  What he ate, how he was made to feel, when he slept/played/napped, where he went and who he met.  No longer.  He told me, this morning on our 12 minute (non rainy day, green light hitting) drive to school, that he’s sometimes “soooooo cold” on the playground during morning recess that he has to hide inside the tunnel.  Quizically, I asked him how he was cold when we were diligent about packing along his favorite cozy zip-up sweatshirt every day.  “I just can’t remember to put it on all the time, mommy!”  And the pre-school mom in me, the baby-mom one who’s been making sure his sweatshirt was zipped up to his neck before we went to play for the last 6 years, thought “WHAT?  Colorado mornings are COLD!  Someone needs to make sure he has his freaking sweatshirt on!  I should mention this to his teacher!  RAWR RAWR MAMA BEAR!”  And then, the light bulb moment of realization that this, this learning of things the trial-and-error hard way, is a good part of why he’s THERE at school.  Yeah, it’s ABCs and 123s, but it’s also responsibility.  Self-accountability.  Decision making.  And for me?  It's letting go.  Not chewing my lip today when I know it’s morning recess time, worried that he’s cold and upset and rolled into a ball inside the tunnel ….. letting go.  Trusting that he’s fine.  And that if he’s not fine, if he’s cold and upset, that he’ll probably remember the sweatshirt next recess time.  And he’ll have learned.  And he'll have done his kindergartener job, done what he's there to do.  Grow up, as hard as that is to accept.  It's why we're here, right?  Every day, to let go a little more so we're not in our real pants at dawn in the year 2027, trailing a college freshman across campus holding out a zip up hoodie?  BECAUSE LAME?

Day by day.  We're getting the hang of this school life, my Bug and me.  And with that, I wrap it up.  We have to leave this house in exactly 27 minutes if we're going to get a prime school pick-up parking position.  I KNOW THINGS, YALL!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

a tiptoe

Hey.  Hello.  This thing on?

I'm sneaking back in.  I'd turned this place off, just pulled the plug one pensive weekday afternoon when I'd been thinking through the blog thing and what the point was and how much I really wanted out there.  Online.  In public.  In this expansive frontier ..... do my kids want to be a part of it?  Are their tales mine to share?  Will they one day thank me for connecting their grown up selves to the elfin children they once were?  Or will they feel I somehow violated their trust, spilling our quiet moments together out into the noisy world?  Could I tame down the personal nature of the version of their days I put online, or would that sort of censure defeat the entire purpose of being here in the first place?  What's my point here?  It started, quite simply, to get me through the darkest days.  It continued, after baby Bug's arrival, to share my joy.  To keep far off family informed and connected.  It grew, from there, as a place for me to flex my stiffened creative muscles, a place to connect with other parents and parents to be, a place to share the things I needed to share and ask the things I needed to ask.  And I'm finding, some days, I dearly miss that outlet.  That place to put my thoughts, to share the laughs and the angst and the minutiae of life with little children.  And cats.  So many cats.

So I'm tiptoeing back to my blog.  I may never turn it on again, publicly.  I may share the link with close family and friends and leave it there.  I might just flip all the switches back on tomorrow morning without a word and see where it goes.  I do know this - there'll have to be less about the kids as they grow.  Privacy will become more pertinent as they grow into school kids (so soon!) and become bashful about their home life in that way school kids always do.  And beyond that, their lives, their moments, I want to share whole heartedly in those and not mentally photograph and draft my words in such precious times and in turn, miss out on the real action.  The squeeze around my knees from little MG, tickled by the bounce of the rubber ball I bought her at City Market.  The smooch straight on the lips from my V, for no reason other than she's V and she's smoochy.  The high five from Bug, after he connects racket with ball and knocks it across the yard after so many attempts ended with a wild swat through the air and teeth gritted in frustration.

I heard a song today, as I whipped powdered sugar and shortening into frosting for the Easter sugar cookies V painstakingly cut into flower shapes and egg shapes earlier this morning.  The song, it grabbed me. It put words to the breathless feeling that comes over me so often lately.  Looking at my children, seeing long bony legs and newly freckled noses where chubby knees and porcelain skin once were.  Out the window, grass greening up when I'm sure, so sure, it was Christmas just moments ago.  It's all gaining momentum, with each year I add to my age.  Looking at Facebook, seeing the little cousin I once snuggled to sleep when he stayed with me while his parents traveled, scared of the dark and missing his mommy, beaming behind the wheel of his first car.  Blowing my birthday candles earlier this month, bumping up to an age less "early 30s" and more "IN MY DAMN 30s".  (Okay, I didn't even get to blow my candles out.  Faketwins done spit them out for me.  Details.)  It's not so much that I want to go back, because where we're at is glorious, in the back breaking way life with three young children is glorious.  It's just, more so, awe at the blur it's all becoming.  Anyway, this song.  (Gabe Dixon Band, And the World Turned.)

Girl stood on the rocks with the water at her feet
the sun on her skin and a tear on her cheek
With her hand on her chest and the wind in her hair
Underneath her breath like a beggar's prayer she said

I miss you, come back to me
I wish you'd come back to me

But nobody heard
And the world turned and the world turned and the world turned

And thats when the girl reached in her pocket
pulled out a silver heart-shaped locket
Opened it up and stared for a while at her faded boy
with a lazy smile, oh how

I miss you, come back to me
I wish you'd come back to me

But nobody heard
And the world turned and the world turned and the world turned

Thursday, December 19, 2013

wait what?

Did someone just say that in one week, Christmas will be OVER?  HOW?  WHY?  NOOOOOO!

This season has just flown by, no?  The late-falling Thanksgiving, was that it?  Just a moment ago I was sorry-not-sorry for pulling out some of my Christmas decor before you'd all bought your turkey and now ..... it's here.  Gifts are (mostly) wrapped, minus a few stragglers Amazon and Zappos should be throwing on my porch any minute now.  (Get moving on those drones, yall!)  Christmas cards adorn the wall, and more arrive every night when the mailman finally makes his way up the mountain to our last-on-the-route 'hood.  MIL's here from Texas to share in the joy, Uncle's due this weekend from Denver.  Christmas parties have been had by both Bug and Viv, and the resulting sugar high insanity has been survived.  House is all put back together from the pajama party we had at our house with seven of their preschool besties last weekend.  The preschool Christmas program?  Today.  (Please don't puke, please don't puke, LIKE LAST YEAR!)  A holiday party with some neighborhood ladies?  Tonight.  Pajama-clad trip on the Polar Express?  Saturday.  Oh, and who could forget SANTA?

Mabel would like to forget Santa, actually.  The big kids couldn't have cared less that Santa was a bit snarly, and I couldn't have cared less that Santa gave me the stink eye in response to the "bitchplease" face I made when he requested I sit on his lap (HUH?) with my screaming baby (YEAH NO, hold her, I'm not paying $30 for this AND doing your job for you, Santa.)  Mabel?  Well, she probably couldn't have cared less if we'd just skipped this outing entirely and just put something exciting under the tree for her on Christmas morn.  Like, you know, a box.  Or rippy paper.  Or my car keys.  (I trust you've read this?  If not, go now, and thank me later.)

Ah, Christmas.  Just slow it down this last week, would you?  I don't want you to end!

(Oh, what, you didn't know I got another cat?  Yeah.  Oops.  THESE THINGS HAPPEN!)

Monday, December 2, 2013

the tree post

Gave our thanks, ate the ham and stuffing, made a Black Friday excursion to Target with my brother just out of curiosity (emerging with only a peppermint mocha apiece, three pieces of kids' clothing, and a general sense of bewilderment) (because OMG BLACK FRIDAY PEOPLE BE CRAY) .... then onto the legal Christmassing!  The first stop, as is tradition in our new lives as Coloradans, was the San Juan National Forest.  Where I eschewed all trees under the 9,000 foot mark and forced J to climb higher and higher and HIGHER GOSH DARNIT with his chainsaw until I found just the right Tannenbaum for our living room.  It's hard to breathe up there, yall.  And the snow was up to my waist.   SEE WHAT I DO FOR CHRISTMAS?
do i have the cutest sister and brother in the world?  why yes.  yes, i do.
sparky is a big tough man.

Success!  Victorious, we drove home to the sound of the Glee Christmas soundtrack I can't get enough of (but J can....), set up the tree, and admired our work for a whole twenty minutes before the kitten climbed the helloutta that tree and knocked it down and threw bits of forest debris from one end of the living room to the other.  Fa la la la LAAAAAAA.  As of 9am today we were down two (sentimental) ornaments (yay, kids!) and had already stripped the tree down and dressed it back up again when I spent a good hour last night tossing and turning over the painstaking decision I'd made to do the colored lights (FUN MOM!) when what I really wanted was the classy white lights.  So, you know, DO OVER.  (Kids were thrilled, for the record, because it meant they got to fight over who got to hang which ornament where alllllll over again!)

No but for real?  I love this all.  The tree, the kitty, the nightly Advent snuggle up and read time with the red pajama clad kids.  And the glitter!  And the music!  And the GLITTER!

Monday, November 25, 2013

turkey's dry and tasteless, anyway

So apparently I've become one of those awesome bloggers who shows up once a quarter or so, all apologies and excuses.  My bad.  Good thing I'm not in it to win it, blogging-wise.  My husband won't be quitting his job to hold my purse while I share pictures of my shoes on IG, or anything like that (that's a hello to those of you coming over from "ETST Circusgate 2013", btw.)  (I REGRET NOTHING!)  Anyway, onto the excuses.  I blame The Mabester for this blog circling the drain.  Having a third kid, you guys?  Knocked me off my A-game.  Hats off to my friends with four or five (OR MORE?) (YOU CRAZY?) kids, because three is about all I can handle.  My dishwasher is lucky to get unloaded before noon, the mailbox gets emptied once a week at most, I'm still unable to breathe inside my skinny jeans, and my teeth are more grindy than ever.  My showers are less frequent, and when I do dare take one before J's home from work at night, I pay for it dearly.  Likesuchas, last week when Mabel, instead of playing with the 49 toys I spread all around my bedroom come shower time, snuck into my closet while I lathered up and pulled EVERY SINGLE THING off its hanger.  Like, all the things.  On the floor.  I'd rather be stinky another day than have to spend a half hour re-hanging my entire damn closet, yall.  Or the shower before that when Anderson helped himself to a granola bar he found in my bag while I was in that shower and dropped some of the chocolate chippy pieces onto my duvet cover and then somehow smeared them around so it looked like someone legit wiped their BUTT on my duvet cover.  Which I didn't even notice until J came home and was all "who crapped on our bed?"  And he wasn't even, like, SURPRISED about "poop" smeared on our bed.  Just nonchalant, like it's the norm.  WHICH IT REALLY COULD BE.  What the HELL am I even talking about, now?

CHRISTMASSSSSS!  Wasn't it just Halloween last blog post?  (It was, actually.)  I gave up on waiting until after Thanksgiving to do the Christmas things, this year.  One minute I was all "TURKEY RESPECT BLABLABLA!" and the next I was all "RED!  SPARKLES!  FA LA LA!"  I had one peppermint mocha out of the big red cup and next thing I know, my kids are wearing Christmas jammies whilst sitting in beds adorned with twinkly lights while the Glee Christmas soundtrack shakes the walls.  Who cares, screw the turkey, we're having ham for Thanksgiving, anyway!

It was the first real snow, quite honestly, that pushed me over the edge.

From there, it just BLEW UP.

Next up?  The second annual Thanksgiving weekend family expedition to the forest to chop us down a tree.  My cards are ordered, my shopping nearly done, and I'm quite certain this will TOTALLY be the "hap hap happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny-bleeping-Kaye!"