Bring out the Hellmann's...

Monday, September 28, 2009
As you all know, I think that E's sense of humor is compelling. Unique. Brilliant. Beyond his years. But I might be a bit biased...after all, he is my son. And I'm guessing that a lot of what he finds funny, he finds that way because of me. I mean, he spends a good part of his life at my mercy, and some of it is bound to rub off, right?

E's ability to imagine and pretend has grown exponentially in the last few weeks and I am thrilled. I didn't know I'd be this excited about it, but I am! And so the other day we're playing with puppets and I grab the white mouse. I show him to E and declare that this mouse needs a name! We shall have a ceremony in which we bestow a name upon this very here mouse! And I turn to E, expecting a typical, banal name like "mouse" but no. Guess what he names him. GUESS!


He named him "Mayo."

Cheating? Kind of...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I just came across something I wrote for a newspaper when E was just a wee little one. Since things have been so crazy around here, and since I keep getting requests/complaints for my lack of posts, I figured I'd post it here. Yes, it's kind of cheating since I wrote it almost two yrs ago (can you believe it?!?) but if you need something sappy, then here it is. And it was bittersweet to read but makes me even more anxious for B's arrival. Down and out, baby. Down and out.

p.s. My mom gets here on Thursday, so hopefully I'll have a little extra time to type something up for you guys. Can't promise anything since I am once again gainfully employed but I'll try...


I am a mother! This is a feeling, a revelation, that I sometimes find myself wanting to shout at the top of my lungs, and at other times, it is an almost tangible entity that I want to hold in my cupped hands and stare at in disbelief. Never does a moment pass where I am not aware of my new role. The fact that I am now, and will forever be, a mother bounces around in the head, sometimes near the front, sometimes towards the back, but ever-present. And if my mind was for a moment to forget, my body would quickly remind it. From the heaviness in my breasts, to the stubborn little pooch that holds on to my formerly flat abs with its kung-fu ninja grip, to the dull ache in my back from carrying 16 pounds of lean, mean, crazy baby machine. Even if I wanted to forget for a moment that I am a mother (which I don't) I couldn't.

I find myself wanting to scream, "Don't you understand? I have a baby at home! He's six and half months and he's not getting any younger!" when I'm standing behind someone at the grocery store who is writing a check in slow motion. I think, "Really? Who writes checks anymore? My son is doing something amazing right now, and I'm missing it because of you," as I try to distract and reassure myself that my son has not learned to crawl in the last 35 minutes, and that while I'm out of the house, my dear husband and our beautiful son are bonding. Dad's building a castle out of blocks, and our son is delightedly knocking it over, ready for the next one. They need their father and son time, but seriously, why is this woman still writing that infernal check? It's 2008, for crying out loud!

I find myself wanting to walk up to other mothers and say, "I understand! I have a baby, too. He's six and a half months old and someday he'll go to ski school, just like your little dare-devil," as I watch mothers collect what I now think might be one of the most beautiful sights in the world...tiny little children with tiny little helmets and tiny little gloves on their tiny little skis, tearing up the mountain like tiny little maniacs. They inspire me with their fearlessness and their tenacity. I caught my husband riding in file behind a half a dozen nine or ten year old skiers, hitting the same jumps they did (but getting air twice as big as they were tall) and I almost fell off my board. I had a brief glimpse of my husband and our son riding together on the mountain, and the emotion overwhelmed me, hitting me in the chest like a wave breaks on a surfer and I almost lost control.

I find myself wanting to cup all this love, all these new emotions, these fleeting moments, in my hands...and hide them somewhere. Dig a hole in our backyard and bury it, in case some day I forget what this feels like. In case some day, my heart feels a little empty and I need to replenish it. My heart swells with gratitude that our son, who at one point might not have been, is this perfect, stubborn, funny little man. I am grateful for our family, our friends, for the fact that I can stay home and raise our son. I am so grateful for our wonderful dog, who lived the first four years of his life as our first-born and surprised us all by becoming the epitome of watchful guardian. We are fortunate enough to be able to provide so much for our son, from the books that fill his room to the little baby piano I just had to buy him and for this, too, I am grateful.

So, if you are ever in line somewhere and there is a woman behind you, with a glint of impatience in her eyes, she wants you to hurry up because what she really wants is for her own world to slow down. Please understand. She has a baby at home. He's probably about six and half months old...and he's not getting any younger.



Thursday, September 17, 2009
Sometimes the universe still surprises me.

A few months ago when we had that terrible hailstorm that damaged 75% of the roofs in our neighborhood and left my garden looking like it'd been shot down by kamikaze veggie haters, I was heartbroken. D had built me a raised garden bed for Mother's Day and E and I had spent a lot of time back there planting, weeding and mulching. As my tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, green bean, onions and pumpkin seedlings grew, so did my ability to patiently and creatively work alongside a very determined and headstrong two-yr old boy. Then the hailstorm came and left machine-gun holes in everything we had tended to. A summer without homegrown heirloom and sungold tomatoes left me depressed, but the pumpkin vine is what really broke my heart in two. I had pinned my hopes on having our very own pumpkins for E and B. As I stood in the midst of the tragedy that laid at my feet, I tried to talk myself out of the sadness. E won't care - he's 2. And B, well, she'll be days or maybe weeks old so I'm pretty sure that she won't care either. No, I confess that it was I who cared and I knew I needed to let it go. We'd buy the flavorless variety of tomatoes at the grocery store and we'd buy E a $10 pumpkin at Safeway and life would go on.

Well, our zucchini managed to make a glorious comeback (cue LL Cool J now) and let me tell you, I'm grateful it came so close to total annihilation because I can't imagine what it would have looked like had it not. We've had a steady supply of zucchini now for months and we give it away pretty regularly. The tomatoes, while fighting the good fight, didn't come back with the gusto of their neighbors, but they came back and the fruit they have offered has been delicious. But the pumpkin vines...there had to be over 100 feet of vines weaving back and forth throughout the garden, over the a/c, through the frame of the wheelbarrow and along the fence. And guess how many pumpkins we got? Just guess.


And the best part of all? Without the miles of vines to get in his way, now E can access the "razbiddies" himself and eat them right off the stalks. In his pajamas. With his wild-ass hair and waffle crumbs on his chin. To his heart's content. And there's nothing more gratifying than enjoying the fruits of your labor. Especially when he's enjoying the fruits of his.


Be the change...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009
It drives D crazy. Just when he's finally gotten used to how things are, the lay of the land, what goes where, inevitably I change it. I reorganize the pantry. I have a new system for maintaining the linen closet in order. I switch up the cloth diapers and introduce a whole new kind of cover when he just got comfortable using the old covers. He swears I do this to make him crazy.

But I don't. I strive to improve. I am constantly trying to look at my life through someone else's eyes to see if there's something I can change, something I can do better. I try to pay attention as I run through my day, and whenever there's a glitch, something one of us gets hung up on or something that doesn't sit quite right, I try to fix it.

Which brings me to my blog. While pretty, the last template wasn't reader friendly. You had to click through a couple of links to comment. The font was too big. It didn't highlight links, so unless you scrolled over them, you didn't know they were even there. So I finally said a sad good-bye (I really thought it was a cute background) and have found one that while not as cute, is better. Or at least, eliminates the issues with the old one. Is it better better? Who knows. Maybe issues with this one will crop up as it gets written on and read. But guess probably won't be the last one you see. Because if there's one thing I'm not afraid of, it's changing things up.

96 months and counting

Friday, September 4, 2009
As we're hiking up St. Mary's Glacier, I'm wondering what the hell I'm doing. I'm eight and a half months pregnant, I have a backpack that is overflowing with snacks, shoes, fleeces, water, a mini first-aid kit, and a camera, and chances are I'm going to have to carry E at some point because this is a really rocky hike. Not to mention that the three of us are all fighting a cold and do I have to remind you that I'm eight and a half months pregnant?

D is a bit flustered because we got a late start. The snow will be fine because it's a glacier, but we're racing against the lunch time/nap time clock. Tick, Tock. And D usually keeps his streak alive with his imaginary friend, Andy (he's been friends with this guy for years and I've never met him and only seen one picture - highly suspect.) D typically packs up the car the night before - crampons, splitboard, avalanche beacon and sustenance - and he's usually out of the house by 4:30 am, parking lot by 6:00 am, up at 14,000 feet by 11:00 am (yes, they hike for 5 solid hours) and skiing down an avalanche path or couloir shortly thereafter. But not today. This hiking up with a pregnant wife and toddler in tow...well, it almost seems more dangerous than what he's used to.

E insists on wearing his "agua shoes" (tevas) and in keeping with the whole natural consequences parenting thing, we let him...even though it goes against our better judgment. But after he trips for the second time, we warn him that the next time he falls we are putting his sneakers on. So he falls. And we put his sneakers on. This sets him off and I'm afraid he's going to cause a landslide with his screaming and crying, it's that loud.

Once we get going again, we finally find our rhythm. A dread-locked woman with three malamutes is catching up to us and yells ahead that she'll get past us. But it takes her a while. And I realize, "Huh. We're not moving that slowly after all." Surprisingly enough, I'm not short of breath, which is amazing considering my lungs are smooshed up into the top third of my rib cage, we're at almost 11,000 feet elevation, I'm carrying 20+ lbs of crap on my back and a baby in my front. Yeah, that's a touch of smug you hear in my voice.

When we were packing up the car it was a pleasant end-of-summer morning, but up here, it is all crisp and hinting of fall. It's chilly in the shade and when we break through the trees, the sun provides a delicious warmth. I fight the urge to stop walking and turn my face up to the sun...mostly because my bladder is so full that B has started to complain and I know D is eager to get up to the top of the glacier. At this point, we can still hear the ticking of the nap clock, but it is growing fainter by the minute.

We get up to the lake and it is absolutely beautiful. E and I start scoping out the landscape for a good sitting rock and D and Scout leave us there with an I love you tossed over the shoulder. We have a snack and E throws rocks into the lake, briefly disrupting the crystal calm waters.

Then we head up to the bottom of the glacier so that we can see Dad and Scout come down the snow. I'm hoping to get there in time to take a couple of decent pictures, but I'm also trying to temper my expectations - something I've been working on a lot lately. I get these ideas in my head and then when they don't come to fruition, I'm disappointed. But I digress...

I scoop E up into my arms and sprint up the last 100 feet or so because I can see Scout careening down the glacier and I knew that D isn't too far behind. I drop E on his feet as soon as we come out of the low-growing shrubs, grab the camera and start snapping away - we need a zoom lens. Maybe for Christmas. But I have a few pics that aren't too bad. And E is so excited that he can see Dad and oh my god there's Scout!

E starts hiking up towards Scout and his dad and I take my chances. It's rocky and unstable but I think it'll make a good picture so I stay down and practically lay on the ground to get the right angle. E manages to stay on his feet and actually makes some serious progress up the slope. The boys meet up and at that moment - when Scout is yelping with excitement, D is proudly showing E the snow on his board and laughing because E thinks his snowboard boots look like gravity boots (Roaring Rockets is a current favorite) - all the morning's stresses dissolve and what I am left with is this very moment. This is the moment I will remember. This is the moment the camera will capture and everything else will fade away.

As we're hiking back down, I realize that I don't want to leave. It is a remarkably beautiful day and while it's been a mild summer, this is the first real taste of fall, and it leaves me craving more. A smile creeps across my lips when I remember all the things we've done up here over the years - none of which I can repeat here - and my heart swells to think that even though it seemed daunting initially, we managed to put our heads down and accomplish our goal. D kept his streak alive (he has skied at least once every single month for the past 8 years) and E and I were a part of it. One of the things I am most proud of is that as parents, D and I have managed to keep the most essential parts of who we are, the very core things that make us us. We are dedicated heart and soul to E and will soon be as head-over-heels in love with B, but in all the messiness that is being mom and dad, we still find ways to be him and me.

We find ourselves at a new restaurant and devour a surprisingly good lunch at Mangia in Idaho Springs. Small mountain towns are infamous for their crappy food and sub-par service but this place is a culinary oasis. We're about to pile back into the car when the smell of waffle cones has me wandering the streets with my nose up in the air like PePe Le Pew on the scent of a lady cat. D recognizes the look in my eye and takes E into the consignment shop next door to look for toddler skis so that I can peruse the ice cream flavors unhurriedly. I emerge from the ice cream shoppe with two melty cones - the girl was literally peeling the waffles off of the iron when I walked in the door. My boys sit outside the shoppe and share a cone while I try not to get ice cream on what is quickly becoming one of my favorite possessions. As I snap away, laughing at how eagerly E devours the ice cream, stopping only to look up at the motorcycles and to let D get a few licks in, I feel like my ice cream - all melty. It's not going to be just the three of us for much longer, and I know that I will look back at these times with a yearning. But I look forward to what's ahead. Today's hike serves as the perfect metaphor for the challenges, and the payoffs, of the adventure we are about to take on.