Monday, May 31, 2010


I've been wanting a few chickens forever.  Forever.  Erik has always adamantly refused.  Flat out refusal is so...ugly.  A few days ago we had this conversation:

Erik:  As soon as you take care of [fill in trivial situation], you can get 2 chickens.
Me:  Three.
Erik:  Fine.  BUT!  I don't want to feed them, water them, clean up after them, or have to deal with them in any way.  I want nothing to do with them!
Me: don't want to eat the eggs?
Erik:  [Pause]  I'll eat the eggs.  But that's it.

So magnanimous, am I right?  ;)   As luck would have it, my neighbor's chickens are currently incubating 2 dozen eggs...some chicks are bound to come of that situation, don't you agree? 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Heartfelt (Tiny) Gifts

Tommy gave these presents to his teachers for Teacher Appreciation Day a couple of weeks ago.  Each little satchel contained a single hand-knitted 100% cotton dish rag, and a package of Honey-Oatmeal soap.  I've always crocheted dish rags, but Miss Pippa sent me several of these knitted waffle-weave version, and I have been so smitten with them that I switched over!   The downside is that, for me, crocheting takes but a moment, whereas as knitting is an eternity.

This is exactly the reason why I haven't been able to make any for myself!  Spending most of two little league games knitting up a dish rag for somebody else seems like the right thing to do; doing the same for myself seems ridiculous.  (Yes.  Two games.  I'm a slow knitter!  Plus, I get sort of distracted by the game!  Then I have to undo some of my, all of them, sometimes!)

I made this other special package using different cotton and it had two dish rags instead of just one, but the same lovely soap.  It's going out today, and I've been wanting to do this, or a little something like this, for so long....sometimes, I just need a little bit of time (*cough*) to get my act together, you know what I mean?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

First Month's Budget, in Review

I'm so bad about money.  I have never been particularly interested in money, as a concept.  I am blessed beyond measure that it's never been an issue for me.  It works two ways:  one, we've both been incredibly lucky about always having good work and lots of opportunities to actually make money.  Two, we never seem to want anything we can't afford.  Erik is more of a consumer than I am, for sure, but neither of us longs for status cars, addresses, or clothing.  It's helpful to feel this way, for certain.  Less helpful?  I toss money ~ at people and situations ~ like my drunk uncle at the racetrack.  Basically, I don't value money, so I don't take care  of money.  Easy come, easy go.  That's been my philosophy my whole life.

This month, I took over the accounts.  Erik was beyond thrilled; he's wanted me to take over the finances for years.  Nothin' doin', chump.  But.  I can't say for sure what changed.  A run of bad luck with car and motorcycle repairs?  A string of electronics purchases?  Dropping a chunk of change on a new bathroom?  All of these things, combined, within a short 6 weeks?  I mean, it don't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.  (hat tip:  bob)

There's probably a lot that can be said here about how nutty I've gotten about money, but I'll refrain.  I just started seeing it differently...I sort of get the excitement of an account that is balancing to the penny, for example.  And, as Erik said early this month, "Congratulations, honey, you managed to do something that's never happened in almost twenty years...we are officially having a fight about money."  Oops!  I'm sure I'll relax, as I get used to this new role!  Hang in there, sweet pea.

So, without getting too technical, I had three major accomplishments this month.  First?  When I printed out our account transactions summary for April, so I could get a handle on what we spend, when, on what, and especially what's "fixed" and what's "extra" (and if you're thinking anything like:  dude, in 18 years you've never had the occasion to do this?  Well, if you're thinking that, than you are starting to get the picture) and it was fourteen pages long.  For May?  One and a half pages.  That represents some serious control we've taken back, and although I'm sure it will vary month-to-month, I'm pretty pleased!

Second?  I made a ridiculously ambitious savings goal.  I thought within a few months, we could probably hit that target each month.  I was able to hit that savings goal during our first month of budgeting.  What what!

The last thing?  I've always considered myself lucky and grateful.  Both things, equally.  But, budgeting put a whole new perspective on both things!   Early this month, I got a $7 cash back coupon on my next purchase at the grocery store, plus a $2 cash back on my neck purchase from a manufacturer.  I can't tell you how many of these things I've just forgotten about or lost.  But, because I had set a flat cash amount for groceries for the whole month, I saw it differently!  I was so happy to use that $9 on a produce run.  A colleague asked me to visit his college course one evening, and do a presentation to his students (on math) and I agreed (because I adore him) and he (quite unnecessarily) kicked me a generous gift card to Trader Joe's.  It made my month!  I have held onto gift cards for, like, years!  But I was so lucky to have this one right when I needed it.  And then, there was the gift from my mom.  My parents have some friends who live out in the valley, and they own and work the almond and walnut orchards.  She couldn't eat all the nuts that were gifted to her (and residing in her freezer) so she kicked me two huge bags.  Easily saving me $30 to $50.  We eat tons of almonds and walnuts, plus I use a lot of walnuts in my baking.  All those walnuts you see are actually almost gone after just a few weeks...but we'll be rolling on those almonds for a few months.  And, as much as I've always felt thankful, knowing that this was money I could spend on something else for my family meals, it just amplified my gratitude in the happiest of ways.

Lookit.  I'm way too old (and remember all too well actually having no money) to think there's anything cute about being poor.  It's not charming nor romantic, in my mind, to have to stress and worry about where it's coming from and where it has to go.  Having said that, that's just not the situation (knock wood) in which we find ourselves.  This budget is more about being conscientious consumers, not being wasteful out of sheer negligence and/or laziness, and, yes, amplifying our gratitude.  So far?  So good!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Laurel's Kitchen :: Canneloni

Perhaps the most ambitious LK "project" I have taken on to date was the homemade canneloni.  It's funny...when we redid the kitchen, we got this amazing oven with the 6-burner stove.  The price was inflated by an additional 30% when we had to purchase the industrial-strength hood with the enlarged outtake tube...and when I questioned the need for this (speaking with my checkbook, of course), I was told that it was a safety "thing", because if I had all six burners going at the same time, a regular hood and fan would not be able to pull the heat off fast enough to be safe.  I thanked the sales rep for the information, and when Erik and I got back in the car, I laughed and said, "Yeah right!  When would that ever happen?  It's not like we're a restaurant!"  Well, I will say for the record, I was very close to using all six burners at once with this meal preparation.  It was steamy, my friends.

Part of it was that there was so much going on!  I need to steam the fresh spinach, make the tomato sauce, boil the water, make the cream sauce, and make the ricotta filling.

Just for Brit, I even used my pestle and mortar to prep the thyme and oregano.  Because she loves that.  :P
Frankly, it was all an awful lot of work.  But, I can say, that both the cream sauce and the tomato sauce could be made any time (and in bulk, because both are used in many of the recipes, with small additions for adjustments) and I will also announce, prematurely, that it was fantastic and well worth every moment, pot, and spoon that it took to make it.  Seriously yummy.  Anyway, I've kept a container of each at the ready in the refer over the last couple of weeks, and it works well.
 One little snag?  My whole wheat dough was an epic fail.  It's that brick-like mound in the background.  It was...not good.  I blame the whole wheat flour I had on hand...after this, I replaced it (I think it was too old?) and I haven't had this problem since.
I'm nothing if not flexible, though, so I quickly scratched the offending dough and made a batch of (even more offensive?) white flour dough.  I quickly rolled it out (my little table has a handy drawer that holds several of my kitchen secrets for success...the thrifted wooden rolling pin...a brush for egg white application...and, barely visible, a tube of lipstick.  So I look good, baking.) and it was very satisfying to use the pizza dough cutter to zip-zip-zip it into perfect little rectangles!
When I was young (college, I guess) and first started making my own pasta doughs, I would always get frustrated that it would stick together in the boiling water.  My great aunt Angie did some troubleshooting and let me know that "our people" add a bit of olive oil to the boiling water to remedy that problem.  Laurel's Kitchen mentions the same tip, so in case you don't have a Venetian auntie to set you straight, there is still hope.
Okay.  Homestretch!  All ten little canneloni 'burritos' fit snugly into a 9x13 casserole dish.  (Those are Laurel's whole wheat breadsticks in the far background, and that's an awesome reusable produce bag in the near background.)  And, honesty here:  It's not too early to pop open a bottle of wine and take a little breather.  You've been on your feet for a while at this point!
Now.  Now you can officially sit down and enjoy an amazing dinner with your family.  Everyone loved it!  This version of the cream sauce has a pinch of nutmeg, and it's brilliant. 
I've featured the canneloni incidentally, when I wrote about picnics at the baseball field.  I think it was even better as leftovers...or, at least, as good as leftovers!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's Growing?

(Grr!  There's a smudge on the uv protection for my camera, so any pictures in bright sunlight have a smear.   I've cleaned it twice, but I obviously need a new protection ring.  I also need to PUT THE LENS CAP BACK ON every time I'm done taking pictures.  Ahem.)

The artichoke plants I planted last summer are huge now, and as you can see....they are producing artichokes!  I brought in two this weekend and I'm boiling them today. There are easily a dozen grown and/or growing between the two plants.  (Do you see how the hill is no longer 3 feet tall with weeds?!?  More to come this week on that development. :)

I planted back in...I think early April?  or late March?...I'd have to check my archives (thank you blogging!) but I'm too lazy at the moment.  Anyway, these small boxes were planted with yellow squash and a tomato plant.  The squash is....failing to thrive.  I'll pull it out this weekend and add some composted soil and some new veggie starts.  It makes me wonder why some plants grow and others don't?

Like, check this out.  This tomato plant, and the yellow squash on the right and the one zucchini I planted on the left (way too close together, I might add!), are positively Jurassic in comparison.  Planted at the same time, from the same seed batches.  Not even as good soil!  I wasn't even planning to put veggies in this brick box under my kitchen window, but I had too many starts and just plopped them in on a whim.

There's even a zucchini growing in there!  Look at the size of the leaves!  It's crazy. 

It's been a cold and wet spring around here.  (After a cold and wet summer, last year.  Harumph.)  I think that might be partly to blame.  But you know what I really think the issue is?  The wind. It's been so windy at times!  It exhausts the little plants, I swear. 

I have absolutely no emperical evidence for this, at all.   Just an observation that the plants I put in the brick planter in the corner, where the garage meets the house, are protected on two sides from the wind and it also stays warmer in that little nook.  Even the second extra tomato plant I had, which I put at the other end of the planter, is only half the size of it's near-neighbor!  But it's not as protected there, because the garage isn't jutting out on that side to make a protected area.  It gets a lot of late afternoon sun there, too.

So, all we can do is wait and see what happens!  I'm still two weeks away from when I started the garden, last year!  Last year I planted too late.  This year?  It seems I may have planted too early.  I'm looking for the Goldilocks timeline...I just wish the weather would cooperate.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pictures are Better than Bullets, But...

A busy weekend, in bullets, because I didn't take a single picture.  Unheard of.

  • The last baseball game!  In fitting fashion to the typical little league game, it was absolutely freezing and windy that day at the middle school on the mountain.  It probably would have been around 90 degrees if I had forgotten my sun hat, but seeing as how I had my hat and a jean skirt...freezing it was.  Oh, wait.  Why am I complaining?  Because it's my last chance, for  a while, I guess!  Tommy had a great year.  He learned so much, he loves it so much, and we are so proud of him.
  • Straight to a birthday party for Tommy's best friend.  He and I stayed until after 9 o'clock.  Don't let it end!  :)
  • Early Sunday morning walk with dear sweet Linda.  It was a gorgeous sunny, spring morning and we walked the lake and then had tea at a nearby Starbucks, sitting on the patio, and just enjoying each other's company and catching up.  I am so grateful for our Sunday mornings!
  • Straight home in time to see my family off to a picnic they were attending...leaving me alone in my house for the first time in...who-can-remember-when?!?  But how could I enjoy it when my sweet neighbor Bev was laboriously moving buckets of dirt from her driveway to around the back of the house to her new garden beds?  Well, I couldn't.  She's been at it for days, and I was only too happy to spend less than hour finishing it off with her.  Many hands make light work, and she's always so quick to offer help and a could I resist?
  • Spent a few hours cleaning the garage (holy!) and then took Tommy to a local park where the amazing Mr. Phil (who runs the after school program at Scotty's school) had organized an informal dodge ball tournament.
  • Then...Lost, people!  I haven't watched the series at all, but Erik is obsessed, so I got the kids bathed, read to, and in bed...with prejudice...then I headed into the garage to do some laundry and more cleaning up, and stayed out of his way.  
Have you ever played dodge ball?  Oh, my.  It is a total blast!!!  The kids LOVED it and it's so fun and inclusive the way Mr. Phil does it.  I guess I had a vision of little kids or weaker kids getting ganged up on and pelted, but it's nothing like that.   It's fast and, during the Parents versus Kids round, I can tell you for a fact that it's a work out.  It was close....hard to say who won that particular round, with 8 parents on one side and 15 or so kids on the other.  I guess you'd have to call it for The Kids, though, since, officially, they immediately jumped in to play the next Kid-vs-Kid round, while all we adults sprawled on the grass, nursing our scrapes and bruises, and catching our breath.   Ahem.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


When I went up to Mamaw's memorial service last weekend, I got to spend some time with Marie's kids.  I've spent time with all four of them, in various singletons and configurations, over the last six months.  But this was the first time I was with all four of them at the same time.

My older brother and I grew up with Michael and Jenny (on the right in the photo).  Jenny was a few months younger than my brother, and Michael is a few months younger than I am.  Boom-boom-boom-and-boom.  Just like that, two best friends were married and had four kids between them by the time they were 22 years old.

Toby (on the other side of Jenny) came along right around the time my little brother Jason did.  Freaky, right?  Then, sweet Jake, oopsy-daisy!  Jacob was born shortly after Mimi's tubes were tied.  D'oh! :)

Looking at them is like looking at a warped, slightly "off" mirror.  Boys where there are girls, girls where there are boys, but they are just like us...if we were wildly attractive.  They are our "tribe".  I've had that thought many times over the last few months, as we go down the bitter path of Mimi's illness.  It's not just her kids...I have a baby blanket made by her mother-in-law for me when I was born.  One of the speakers at the service was talking about how "all the grandkids" called Mimi's mom "Mamaw", and I realized that's what we called her too.  Mimi's own brothers and sisters are woven into our family history, even as my own aunts and uncles are. 

You could split in two from laughing so hard when everybody gets together...From "Close Call Albert", who has accidentally shot every person (guns, arrows, you name it), and wrecked every car (boat and bike) anyone ever owned or borrowed; to my godfather, Glenn, who was Peter Pan ~ for real! ~ to all of us having to survive the trauma that was Mimi's second marriage...the stories are dark and twisted and, truly, hilarious. 
This is Michael John.  He looks exactly like his father.  It's...unnerving, honestly.  He is, and always has been, a total honey.  I adore his wife and their son.  Their son?  Almost exactly the same age as my Tommy!  What the what?

Anyway, once when our parents were younger, Glenn had this idea to move his whole family to a commune.  He thought it would be the best thing, ever!  Everybody chipping in, living in teepees, and going off the grid.  He spent his whole life chasing that dream, in one form or another, but Mimi was far too bourgeoisie to ever be as enthusiastic as he was about such a lifestyle.  This was a woman who color coded the kids' clothes in their dressers.  She was not going to live in a teepee.  But, as Michael grew up ~ and out on his own ~ he and Keiko were part of the SF Mime Troupe for YEARS and lived the bohemian lifestyle Glenn so adored.  They were broke and happy.  The dream, indeed.

Still happy, but having moved on to more "vagabond" than "bohemian" (they bought a 'fixer-upper' in San Francisco that has them jumping from temporary housing to temporary housing) and now gainfully employeed and even, for Michael's part, considering giving up his actor's union card and fees, I can't help but think that Glenn would still approve.  Glenn was happy when you were happy.

You know what this picture reminds me of?  It reminds me of when we were little, and the four of us were playing a game...maybe it was "Kings and Queens" or something about a castle?  Anyway, George (my older brother) and Jenny were going to be the King and Queen (of course, as the oldest, they always got to be The Boss!) and I know for a fact that George was stoked to be playing opposite Jenny in this role because Jenny was, is, and always will be, so sweet and adorable.   But I secretly thought that Michael must be so disappointed to be saddled with me, as I was dumpy and freckled and, well, let's just put it right out there, I was filthy.  A real dirt-magnet, no matter how many wet washclothes my mom toted around in tupperware, seconds after being hosed off I was literally covered in dirt.   I was like that until high school, dude.  Who knows?

Anyway, there was no sense of "pairing off", I mean, I was like six or something at the time for heaven's sake, but there was still this impending sense of disappointed that (at least in my head) Michael must have been feeling.  But you know what he did?  He and I had gone downstairs to get something from our mom's, and as we came back, he put one hand on the doorknob and he gave me this exact same look that he's got in this picture, and he said, "Let's go, princess!" and in that moment, I felt...beautiful. 

Plus, as I recall, we kicked their butts in the royal battle. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Tommy had this project that his class was doing.  It was pretty straight forward.  They copied an outline of a map of the United States, and then they filled in the name of each state and they had time in class to "decorate" it. 

Nothing earth shattering, am I right?  But I think it's a nice little project for a third grader.  Around the time this was happening in his classroom, I was getting reports from Tommy that his project wasn't going well...someone stepped on it, he couldn't find it, he was too far behind and the teachers were basically telling him to turn it what he had.  (So you know:  the teachers are great, but it's a Montessori school, which means you manage your time ~ with their help ~ and you have to plan out your own projects.  They weren't being unsupportive, just realistic as far as I can can only have so many false starts and redos on a single project before you have to admit that this one will just have to be a learning experience on time management.)

At our parent teacher conference, I asked about the map.  I said we'd like to do it at home.  So I borrowed a poster sized outline of the United States (continental, only!  I had to freehand Hawaii and Alaska off a picture from The Internets!) and a poster sized piece of paper, too.  At home, I showed Tommy how to use my lightbox to copy the image onto the poster paper.

Lookit.  This was not the most cognitively demanding activity he's ever engaged in!  But I was really committed to helping him get this done.  For me, it was a craftsmanship issue.  It was a big, multi-step project, and the truth is, I think he struggled with it at school because he was overwhelmed by it.  He just couldn't start it and stay the course. 

I showed him how to outline the whole thing in black pen, and he used one marker and I used another and we made short work or retracing the entire outline.  Each night (and not every night...hmmm, why is my boy so inconsistent?  ugh) that we worked on it, I helped him by, mostly, sitting at the table with him and getting him started.  He used black pen to write a handful of state names each work session.  I picked out the crayons that were the colors of the rainbow, and I used different ones to outline each state as he finished it.  Then, he filled in the inside of the state outlines by coloring with the matching crayon color. 

It was a fun project for us.  We had many funny and quite enlightening conversations huddled over this map.  I learned that he's a good speller with poor penmanship.   But I was proud of him...that's a lot of states to write out, and he had to make the names fit in the shapes of the state, which was no small trick.  I did show him how to use the "line that points to" teeny tiny states like Rhode Island and Delaware!

I had to get a close up of this crazy mug!!  Anyway, he was really happy when it was done.  It's beautiful, and I was really hoping he learned a lot about making small steps and putting attention on details, like coloring nicely (he wants to hurry sometimes and just scribbles) and writing carefully.  At the end of the project, I asked him what he thought of it, and he told me:  "I think it looks great.  I never could have done this without your help."

I never could have done this without your help.  Er.  That's not quite the message I was hoping to send him.  *sigh*  Parenting is hard, sometimes.  Did I say sometimes?  All the time. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ardenwood Farm, Part Two

At the farm, Scotty liked to push the stroller my friend Kristie had brought for her babe-in-arms, Claire.  Fortunately, Claire felt strongly about walking herself, so there was no danger of an unfortunate toppling incident.

We were very excited to come around the bend and find the farmhouse!  It has a part that is the original farmhouse, and then a part that was added on in the Victorian style.  Guess which part is my favorite?  :)
We sat on the porch and enjoyed the view of our kids blazing across the lawn and playing hide-and-go-seek at the gazebo.  When the kids finally joined us, one of the house tour guides nearly busted her bustle trying to shoo us off! 
Scotty and I paid a few dollars to take an abbreviated "kid friendly" tour of the inside of the house.  Scotty begged to go inside, and he was so curious and excited to be there!  He was cracking me up.  We both nearly came unglued in the kitchen...we know what we like.
Scotty loved the old stove and the 'new-fangled' water heater in the corner...
...while I was completely smitten by the adorable vintage embroidered tea towels.

We were both dying to play with the grinders and handpowered food processors that crowded the island, and we also would have played in that huge sink...except we were also both kind of afraid of our guide.  Yeesh.
Scotty kind of loved her...she was older, and he was right up in her grill the whole time, asking her all kinds of questions about "where did the babies sleep" and "whose bed is that one" and "let's see what's in here...."
She [wisely] kept hustling him out of the more...delicate... areas, though nothing could stop him from clickety-clacking on the old typewriter keys in the study, or trying to crawl into the bathtub upstairs.  She had a sweet and gentle way of letting him know that this really wasn't allowed.  Then she gave him a sticker for his hand and invited him to come back any time.  I kind of loved her, too.

This kid is so domestic.  He just slays me!

Monday, May 17, 2010


Dude.  There are over 600 pictures on my camera from this weekend.  I'm going to need a minute to work that out!  :-| 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ardenwood Farm, Part One

Last Saturday was a perfectly gorgeous spring day in California.  By the time we woke up Sunday, it was raining and windy.  But Saturday.  Oh, Saturday!  Scotty and I met some friends at Ardenwood Park in Fremont.  Ardenwood is a favorite for me, as it is still a working farm, and the original farmhouse is on the grounds.  We go there to pick berries, see the monarchs, feed the animals, ride the train, pick pumpkins...and, while the kids enjoy all that, plus running and climbing, I also spend a bit of time pretending like it's my farm.  I stroll the grounds and I know it's ridiculous, but I literally itch to go to work!  

I have so many pictures of both my kids climbing the trees at this park!  They are perfect for climbing, no matter how old you are, because of the deep "v" starts in the trunks.
So many new things to try at the farm!
There are naturalist programs nearly every day.  Here is Scotty with our friend Sophia (love her style!) enjoying story time under a tree at the hay circle.  "The Little Red Hen".
After the story, they got to pet...the little red hen!  Good times.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not Too Serious

Sometimes, in the morning, it's just me and Scotty.  (It's nice to have alone time, but I miss Tommy when he's sleeping!)

The weather has been...uncooperative...but some mornings are too beautiful to be inside, so we head out for breakfast.  Scotty eats pancakes and I get hard-boiled egg whites and tea.  (Tea in my favorite specially-made-for-me mug, by the way, which is my most favorite kind of tea!)

When we head inside, Mommy usually has to get some writing done (math-related writing!) and so I set up at one end of the table...and Scotty gets cozy mirroring me at the other end.  He even takes notes.  I could just die looking at those feet!

When we take a break, Scotty likes to whip up some cupcakes.  Green ones, with sprinkles, just as nature intended.  I had to laugh, actually, because when Maia was here from London last month, she peaked into my pantry and found the stash of Betty Crocker cake mixes on the top shelf.  Between that and the granite counter top in the new bathroom, she was positively scandalized!   haha! 

Lookit, I'm a walking paradox...always have been.  I do what I can, but I don't pretend to be, or even strive to be, perfect in any way.  I'm so incredibly flawed, it's painful to watch.  

So, when cake mixes go on sale at the holidays for 50 cents, I'm going to buy a couple of boxes.  Sorr-eee!  And when my contractor neighbor gets some cast-off granite, then yep, you guessed it, I'm getting some in my bathroom. 

When I was in high school, my mom taped a cartoon onto my bedroom door that she had found in the newspaper.  It was a drawing of a young woman wearing a full-length fur coat, and she was being accosted by an anti-fur protester:  "What poor, defenseless creature had to die, so YOU could wear that FUR coat?!?!" she bellowed, spittle flying and arms akimbo.  The young woman hesitantly offers, "My great aunt, from Cleveland?"

Even then, my mom was warning me about taking myself (or anyone else!) too seriously.  I cracked up when I saw that cartoon and to this day, when we see somebody coming unglued about nothing much at all (even ~ or especially ~ when it's one of us) we'll turn to each other and say, "My great aunt, from Cleveland?" and it's a nice, gentle reminder.  I try really hard to arrange my life so that I'm carrying on in alignment with my core beliefs...the rest of the time?  I make my cupcakes from a box.   And then I sit right down and eat one of those cupcakes with my free-trade tea and my cage-free boiled eggs, and don't forget my care-free little boys and life is oh so good.  :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pee Wee Herman

Something BIG happened last week.

It took everyone in our family to pull it off.

Plus FOUR stops at the store.

I'm not sure what possessed Erik to take the boys to the toy store after going to the movies, but Scotty met...and fell in love with...this red bike.  They came home empty-handed because the bike AND all three of them would not fit in Erik's car.  

Which prompted my mom and I to force my dad to stop at a Toys R Us 80 miles from our house, in hopes of finding a version that could be purchased right now.  No such luck.  Better for all, though, in the long run.  The kid is a little runt, and getting everything he wants, when he wants it, would only increase his personality problems.  I promise.

But let's just get real for a second here.  What wouldn't we do to see that smile?  He dreamed about the bike (talked in his sleep about it!) and I found him one morning, glum as hell, and I asked him what was up?  "Just thinking about that special red bike," he sighed.

Erik offered to find him an even better blue or yellow bike.  Oh.  Oh, silly, silly, Erik!  Erik stopped and got the Awesome and Special Red Bike (the official name) on the way home from work.  And it was....awesome and special, indeed.

Shortly after this picture was taken, we decided that the "trial run" was over and he would have to wear a helmet from now on.  That resulted in a near total meltdown, the noise of which caused several neighbors to evacuate their homes and take to the street.  In case of a martial law emergency, I have to imagine.  Look, we may be suckers, but we're suckers for safety, my friend, and just so you know, the last time he rode a bike, last Father's Day, he fell and broke his arm.  
Helmet. Wear it. 

And he did.  But not before we got "The Look" from our neighbors!  haha!  Whatever, amateurs, we only had to outlast him this one time.  He wears his helmet every time now, and it was worth every jaw-clenching, aggravating minute of his tempter tantrum because, in the end, we won.  We are that petty ~ believe it. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Flowers for Mother's Day

These flowers were made for me by Tommy (left) and Scotty (right).  Tommy used watercolors and wrote our names and "I love Mom" in the middle of the flowers.  Scotty used his handprint and tissue paper.  Inside Scotty's card, he drew me a "spaceship".  It's just that...wait, I have something in my eye.  WHAT? 

Tommy used yarn to "embroider" this burlap drawstring bag with my name.  (It says "Mom", obvs.  :) 

Scotty and my mom stopped at Trader Joe's last Thursday, and he put these in the cart, insisting that they had to get them for me.  When he gave them to me that night (so proud of himself!) he said, "These are for you, because I like you so much."  Swoon.  Apparently, he talked about how much he "missed" me all day.  I get it, kid, I missed us too.  (Last week...was challenging.)

My mom and dad gave me a dozen lavender roses.  Gram, Aunt Barbara, my cousin Kathy, and my brother and me, all went to my mom and dad's house.  We had a big barbecue and, since it was rainy and cold, all us MOMS sat in my mom's cozy dining room while all the GUYS hustled the kids into the yard (kids just do not care how cold it is!) and made up our plates and delivered them to us.  We ate and laughed and enjoyed the quiet and each other.  Afterwards, we passed my mom's laptop around the table, enjoying youtube for reminiscing (do I have the only family that listened to CB radios and The Streak in the 1970s?) and Auntie Barbara got teary-eyed (one of my favorite songs...reminds me of my mom and dad) and then my mom got teary-eyed (one of my favorite songs...reminds me of me and my dad) because some songs just make you sigh.  Gram did some swing dancing from her seat and clapped at the end of each song.  Be still my heart.

I sort of "accidentally" scored these beautiful roses, too, and Erik got me an iTunes gift card (My Precious!) and two pounds of See's chocolate.  Nuts and chews, do you really need to ask?    (Most frequently asked question of the day?  "Mommy, can I have a piece of 'your' chocolate?"  :)

I also collected these gorgeous cabbage roses from my mom's garden.  They are sitting in my favorite vase (gorgeous, cobalt blue, blown glass, and given to me by my friend Tracy the day she married her love, Travis) and they smell like roses should.  What is it about roses from the florist?   They just don't "stink" the way garden roses do! 

Mother's Day is for I wish a Happy Mother's Day to everyone who is or has a mother!   This weekend we'll head up to Healdsburg to say goodbye and honor the life of Marie's mom (Mamaw, who died at 81 years old) and it was the start to a very hard week when my mom had to tell Marie ~ in her own hospital bed, unable to get stabilized blood pressure and lungs filling with liquid ~ that her mom had passed away.   Marie is home now, and expectations are being adjusted... we've moved from "kicking cancer" to "let her make it through the summer" to "she just wants to get out of the hospital".  Every day is a gift, and when my dad and I drove up last weekend to get my mom, I was very aware of how much it cost dear, sweet Marie to put my dad at ease.  He hasn't seen her since she got sick...and I do declare, despite the feeding tube and the hospital bed in her living room and the constant iv of medication, that he has not seen her sick, even yet.  So much laughter.  If you close your eyes and just listen, it's like none of this is happening at all.  Love her.  Wish she wasn't dying. 

Sorry.  Didn't know this was going there.  I guess it's just what's on my mind, though, and that's life...  sweet, beautiful, and so sad, all at the same time.  All we can do is gather around the table and make our memories.