Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yeah. This.

I was looking at this series of pictures last night:

And I just felt one thing: Happy.

Ok, and another thing: Lucky.

And I thought about this: years ago when I was young(er), I would have cringed to see these pictures, with smeary half-there make-up, crinkles around my eyes, greasy hair, and Sammy Hagar apparently having decided to take up permanent residence on my jawline and subletting some real estate on my chin to his friend Eddie. I would have obsessed over my weirdly-short nose or my Leno-like chin or those eyebrows that are so desperately in need of a wax, having not been waxed since I was still a mother to one. (Did I seriously just admit it's been over 15 months since my last brow wax??)

But now? Eh. I've got bigger fish to fry than worrying about smile lines. And moreso, I've actually come to a place where those smile lines don't bug me, most of the time. Fuck, man...they mean I'm HAPPY! And I'm all about embracing HAPPY and also learning to accept myself and try to see the beauty in things like the extra pounds that pay homage to two pregnancies and the lines that mean I laugh. A lot. And like it always seems to happen in my life, a few of the other blogs I read quite frequently, headed by strong a beautiful women and mothers, seem to be embracing the soft curve of mommyhood, the beauty that exists even when we don't have our 'pretty face' on, and how it is really, truly, perfect ok and wonderful to be happy.

And I agree. With all of them. And as I said when I commented on that last one there, about happiness, "LIFE and LOVE are beautiful, and blessed are those who can see that beauty and focus their time, thoughts, and energies on soaking it up and letting it grow like a seed in sunshine."

Sunshine, from a sun that rises and sets for my husband, my golden-haired children, my life.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Clean-Up

As part of the YAWYK challenge, I've been working my way through all those tedious chores you avoid for as long as possible, like sorting through old clothes and cleaning up the random things in the far reaches of our backyard that we've managed to ignore until now. So into the trash pile this week went:

- 1 blue plastic kiddie pool (had been sitting in the 'utility' area of our side yard, a gated spot where tools and the lawnmower are kept, for over a year and was cracked to pieces)
- 5 foam floor mat pieces like this, which were strewn in various places in the yard and covered in dirt, leaves, and ewww-ness
- 3 plastic coat hangers that were broken

For the donate/give-away pile:

- 8 baby clothing items (just found out our neighbor's 19 year old is having a baby boy soon, so all boy stuff will go to her)
- 1 old phone with built-in answering machine
- 2 pairs of maternity pants
- 1 pair of maternity shorts

Of course, you might remember this post where I talked about making some more significant changes in our lives in order to simplify, streamline, and be more earth-friendly. So during yesterday's thrift store trip, I bought some glass jars which are replacing the plastic drinking cups, thus tossing 5 plastic cups but replacing them with 5 glass jars. My husband laughed at me a little, but they are durable, cute, functional, and I feel like they are safer than what we used before. We're not entirely plastic-free in terms of cups because we still have two toddlers in the home, but it's a move in the right direction:

*I forgot to mention, we only buy natural peanut butter these days, so we plan on saving those empty jars to use in the same manner.

Also in an effort to be more green, we totally thumbed our noses at the archaic HOA rules stating we couldn't have a clothesline and hung our own. The whole project cost us less than $10 and we think it will significantly reduce the costs of drying the many loads of clothes we wash each week. It's technically against 'the rules' but we figure as long as we follow the cardinal laws of clotheslinery (1. No UNDIES, and 2. Remove dry items promptly) the few neighbors who can see it shouldn't have much to complain about. We do have a neighbor behind us with a 2-story house and a clear view of the part of our yard where the line is hung who happens to be the HOA neighborhood President...but she's got two big yard umbrellas that also violate HOA rules so I'm hoping she doesn't complain.

It was kind of amusing, actually, because after hanging this today I went to get the load out of the wash to hang it. I noticed Darrick watching me, curious about my methods. His parents and mine both have clotheslines, but I wondered if maybe he had never been made to hang clothes.

Me: "Did you ever have to hang clothes when you were growing up?
Him: "Oh yeah. All the time. You?"
Me: "Yep. We didn't own a dryer until I was almost in high school. I hated hanging clothes when all my friends used the dryer!"
Him: "Yeah, I thought it was totally white trash growing up."
shared silence
Him: "Funny how things change when you're the one paying the bills."

Things seem to go sort of full circle, though. Whereas when we were kids and teens, the dryer was way less nerdy than the clothesline and the microwave was the hot household appliance to own (I still remember my mom talking for months on end about saving up for a microwave), now families like ours are moving back to grilling and eating fresh foods as well as using a clothesline. But we're happy to embrace simpler things in our lives.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Whoa, Show White! This Isn't Jerry Springer!

After playing outside much of the morning, we took the kids to our favorite family-owned Greek place (the one where no one complains when Luca dances in the middle of the restaurant and Rohan circles each table a minimum of 3 times). Luca celebrated the outing by wearing a Snow White dress-up dress and Barbie heels her buddy gave her a few days ago. Next door is a thrift shop we've never visited, run by volunteers of 4 local churches. I went in with one goal: to find glass jars to replace our plastic cups. We were successful (more on that in another post), but as we were wrapping up our shopping Rohan's diaper started to smell in a way that cannot be human. Darrick took him to the car, changed him, and loaded him in, then pulled up out front so Luca and I could hop into the car with the a/c already running. And herein is where the Fatal Mistake of the Day occured.

Darrick DARED to put Rohan in the carseat behind where I would be sitting. As we approached the car, Luca said to me, "I want to sit by you." which in Luca-land means she wants the carseat behind my seat. She's very into symmetry, that kid, and so prefers for 'all the girls' to sit on one side of the car and 'all the boys' to sit on the other. This was impossible, and I tried to quickly inform her of such impossibility while getting her into the car before the inevitable meltdown. I was not successful. As soon as she realized she was not getting her way, the tears started, and they continued all the way home (thankfully less than 3 miles), punctuated by screeching and whining. Charming.

As we pulled into the driveway, I looked over at Darrick and said, "I should probably get her out so she won't throw a fit." but he decided she was already throwing a fit so what was the harm?

The harm, it seems, was great in her little mind. As he opened the door and began to unbuckle her, her crying hit a fever pitch. She started to screech, "I want MAMA TO GET ME!!!!" over and over, and Darrick ignored and picked her up out of the car and set her in the grass next to the driveway. As I got Rohan out of his seat, I saw Luca lurch back toward the car door and attempt to climb back in so that I could go around and get her out. Darrick stopped her, and she turned around, removed her pink and purple Barbie heel, and swung it in his direction.

"Whoa, Snow White...this isn't Jerry Springer!" Darrick responded.

And this is where I lost it and just started laughing. I managed to disguise my laughter and get Luca inside. We took Rohan up for his nap and then I came down and got Luca calmed down and ready for hers. And then I sent her over to apologize for trying to hit Daddy with a shoe...and as I said it I completely lost my cool and started laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face. There are some times when parenting a toddler is so ridiculous that you have no choice but to laugh.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Passing On the Optimism.

Rohan's room looks bigger now, thanks to the sale last night of the glider and ottoman we had in there since before Luca was born. That thing was the worst best purchase we ever made. Amazing quality at an amazing price, it was a Dutailier made in Canada and barely used. We got it for a song at a consignment store and carried it home where it lived in the front room of my ILs' house while we house-hunted. It was our first major baby purchase, and one we fretted over and researched and adored.

And then...we bought a two-story home. And said recliner sat untouched in the nursery as I nursed Luca everywhere but there: on the couch, on the recliner downstairs, at the kitchen table, on the floor, in our bed...but never, save for a few rare ocassions when company was over, in that glider. I did used it more than once to soothe a fussing baby to sleep, holding a precious infant body swathed in soft cottons close to me as I sang a song or hummed or shushed their tears. But as we looked at the things in our home, we decided that chair wasn't a necessity to keep around for the "In case we ever...." pile, and so it was time to sell.

It was with a little sadness on my part. I was actually resistant to selling, instead offering it to several expecting and new couples first (all of whom wanted to buy their own instead). But when I was at work one day Darrick listed it, and last night a man came to haul it away and leave me a pile of twenty-dollar bills in its place. I can confess here that I didn't want to let go, not of the chair, but of what it represented: our fresh-faced naiveity and the excitement we felt over this purchase for our future child. The joy with which we found the perfect place for it in her room. The professional pictures of her turning 1, sitting in the chair 'reading'. The feelings of excitement and expectation that all prgnant and first-time parents have. I was sad to say goodbye to that phase of our lives.

But the man who came to get it? There was some fate at work there. He and his wife are in their early 40s and parents to one son. "I'm too old for more babies," he shrugged, "but hell if that's going to stop us from trying for another!" Not evern expecting another yet, they optimistically and with that twinkle in their eyes purchased that same glider from us. And no doubt he took it home, unloaded it as his wife stood watching, imploring him to move it an inch or so more over there or closer to the window or maybe into that spot where a picture of our with her first baby will hang above it. Beckoning the energy of 'baby' into their home in the hopes of welcoming another sweet child into their family. And I was happy to pass that chair and the ottoman on. And I hope that sometime very soon, that nice man's sweet wife is shushing another newborn to sleep, holding it in her arms as she rests in that chair.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sammy Hagar.

So, I made the news. And so did Sammy Hagar. What....you don't see him in this clip?

Look closer...he's on my jawbone, partying like a hormonal rock star.

And here I was worried about my lovehandles!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Just try not to swoon over these pictures from Canyon Photography. We did our photo shoot in May, but thanks to a sad-sack clingy Luca we didn't get a lot of the smiling and personality-filled pictures we'd hoped for. So Adrian kindly agreed to brave 108 degree temperatures and do a few more shots in her backyard. And boy am I glad we did them, because they gave me these:

We got lucky and Luca let her true personality shine after warming up to Adrian a bit. Sadly, Rohan had skipped his afternoon nap and the heat was making his masto act up a bit, so he was off for this shoot. Lucky us, Adrian is AMAZING and managed to capture both kids in a way that managed to make Rohan look like a happy little charmer....which he usually is. Poor dude was so tired and overheated that he spit up (one of his masto reaction signs) as we were leaving, and then was asleep before we were even out of Adrian's neighborhood.

And on another picture note, my in-laws are planning a big family photo shoot for July 10th....which gives me a new mini-goal weight loss date. I've lost 2.8% of my body weight in the past 8 weeks, so my goal for the next 2.5 weeks is to get to 5% lost. Wish me luck!!

Monday, June 21, 2010


As in failure. Epic failure = me and my weight loss roadtrip the past few weeks.

I'm floating around the same 2 pounds I lose, then regain, then lose then regain over and over and I am sick of it. Sick of myself for making excuses about it, too. There are no more excuses left: I simply have not been on track with eating right, working out, and giving a shit. Work has been stressful and very very busy, I've been fatigued more than usual lately, and my spare time is still immersed in kids and husband and reading and loafing and just generally not giving a damn even though I know I should.

But today? Today is a new day and I was interviewed for the news after my organization put out a press release. And as I tried desperately to look cute for the camera, all I kept thinking was "I hope they are not showing anything below my shoulders. Oh my god...is my muffin top totally visible in this shirt? Maybe I should have unbuttoned one more button to create a deeper 'v' and make myself look thinner? Would a deeper v really make me look thinner? Can I die now? Why must people who work for the news all be so damn skinny?"

I've run out of new things to say about this, and the old things seem like life on repeat. I'm sick of repeating myself in words and then failing myself in actions. So, it's back to basics and the ol' drawing board, if you will. I'm focusing on something simple right now: track what I eat. That's it. That alone should help me manage my intake and hopefully inspire my love handles to go the fuck away.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Fahder's Day"

For Father's Day, I had a little conversation with Luca about her Daddy, and thought I'd record her answers for posterity. She is really quite funny, but in addition she has this unadulterated sweet side I just adore in her!

Me: Luca, what is your Daddy's Favorite color?
Luca: All the colors!
Me: But is there maybe one you think he likes most of all?
Luca: Brown and silver and orange.
Me: Ooook. And what about animals? What is his favorite animal?
Luca: Alligators!
Me: And his favorite food?
Luca: Pasta Primavera!
Me: What do you think Daddy wants to be when he grows up?
Luca: A giraffe.
Me: Wow, that's awesome!
Luca: Yeah! And he's gonna be big and have a loooong neck!
Me: What is your favorite thing about your Daddy?
Luca: I think he's pretty special and I love him a lot!

Happy Father's Day, babe!


So this week I got rid of 2 major things:

A carseat and a base, both donated to a woman giving birth sometime this week and unable to afford them. Turns out, carseats cannot be donated via the usual routes (Goodwill, etc) nor can they be sold at resale shops. And since we're not planning on another baby anytime soon and if we DO have another the old seat would need to be replaced anyhow since it would be 'expired', I was thrilled to find someone in need to whom I could donate it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Neck Freckle.

Remember this post?

Well, amazingly I managed to capture a picture of that sweet sun kiss on his neck when we were in California. Go ahead....try not to swoon even a little:

I nibble that little neck freckle whenever I can.

PS: He also has one on the outside of his wrist that matches one I have in the same place.

Caterpillars and Cheese

This is what we call dinnertime in my house. It makes many people cringe I know, but we're not a very formal family and even sitting with all of us at the table together is nothing short of a miracle. But we're trying this whole 'family togetherness over dinner' shtick, and it's actually pretty awesome. However, with a 1 year old and a 3 year old, you have to allow some room for interpretation.

Which, first and foremost, means we do not serve pasta and parmsesan cheese. We serve caterpillars and cheese, and we eat it out of a communal big blue bowl with steamed brocolli on the side. No plates necessary.

It also means we're allowed to eat with no shirt (him) or dressed as a princess (her).

And that eventually we'll end up piling two bodies in one chair and giggling our way through sharing dinner.

I love this. It's us, as a family, and it makes me smile. Oh, and these two make me smile with his coming over to rest his cheek on my leg and hug and her unbelievable green eyes and that smile that says, "I am trouble in the making." Love these two!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

15 and 3

We took the kids to the pediatrician this morning. Luca was due for her 3 year appointment and Rohan needed to go in to have a few vaccines done. Because of his masto and our change of insurance a few months back, he's on a delayed vaccine schedule. So we made the appointments together and headed over first thing.

First, the facts:

Luca: 38-ish inches tall (70th%) and 30 pounds clothed (50th%)
Rohan: 33 inches tall (95th+%) and 28 pounds clothed (90th%)

Yes, my kids are within 2 pounds of each other at 2 years apart. Before we know it he's going to outweigh her, and soon enough he may be taller as well. Maybe we need to have a 3rd so poor Luca isn't the littlest sprout in the Kahle garden? She keeps telling us, "When I get bigger I can carry Rohan like he's MY baby!" and we just smile and say, "Won't that be fabulous???" because we haven't the heart to inform her he hasn't been small enough for her to carry since the days when she was too small to carry him.
Other than their weights, both had Hep A shots and pneumo shots. In addition, our Pedi's office is now testing for TB at 12 and 36 months, but the test wasn't done for Rohan last time he was in at 12 months, so both kids had it done this time. It was a simple procedure but evidently pretty painful as they both cried quite a bit. Luca is rather proud of the pain she endured though, having gone to bed tonight with her round bandages still on her arms despite the fact the 'bleeding' lasted a mere 10 seconds or less.

Both kids are on target, with Luca a bit ahead in language and Rohan a bit ahead in fine and gross motor. His language, much like his sister's did at 15 months or so, has really picked up the past few weeks. His words include:

Hi (first sentence was "Hi Dada!")
Nana (banana)
Laura (our amazing in-home daycare provider who Rohan adores)
Gamma (grandma)
Didter (my mom swears he says this at her house to refer to Luca)

He's walking, running, climbing, putting things on and taking them off (sandals, mostly), mimicking our sounds and actions, playing with toys, throwing, hitting (ugh), smiling at us for a reaction, giving kisses on command, throwing tantrums (seriously, this is early isn't it?), watching us do things and then repeating the same action, hugging, doing 'tickle fingers' (chases Luca around while moving his fingers and making the noise we make when we tickle him). He still LOVES water and can't wait for bath time. If one of us tries to bathe without him, he comes up, pulls back the shower curtain, and leans in as far as he can so the spray hits him and wets his head and shoulders. He feeds himself and tries to use a fork. He drinks from a straw. He loves pretty much all food, and when he's hungry he goes the the fridge, grabs both handles, and hangs from them begging for a snack. He's a charmer and a flirt and still very tactile and affectionate. The past two or three weeks he's been very attached to his Mama, and whenever I am around he wants me to hold him and kiss him. He will stand in front of me, clinging to my legs saying, "Up.", and when I lift him onto my hip he leans forward, brings his face close to look at me, smiles, and gives me a kiss. And he adores...loves...thinks the sun rises and sets for his big sister.

Luca is walking, running, hopping, and trying to skip. She climbs and dances and sings. She has an amazing memory and knows the ABCs well, but we're working still on letter identification with her. She counts to 20 easily. She recites songs and poems and nursery rhymes from memory. She makes up her own words, then makes up rhymes to them, "Figmel...pigmel...bigmel...". She has a vivid imagination and often takes us on journeys through the stories and pictures in her mind. She remembers people easily and enjoys being around them, but is shy and reserved when first meeting someone. She is generally quiet unless she is excited or angry. She has learned the pleasure of rolling the words, "No." and "Why?" and "I don't want to" and "I can do it myself" around in her mouth like sweet candy before spitting them out by our feet 4700 times a day (give or take a few). She likes to pick her own clothes and typically prefers dresses. She likes 'pretties' for her hair, but doesn't like having her hair done unless she's bribed. She loves playing outside and still asks almost daily when Piggy will be 'done in her hole and back out so we can play.' She is very aware lately of her power over adults, and has also learned some impressive words for a 3 year old which she can usually even use in context.

The other day we had to run an errand and she put a big toy ring on before we left. As we drove she said to me, "Oh mama, everyone at the store is going to love my beautiful ring. And they will all be curious about it." When we got to the store, she showed it to the girl at the register and said, "I thought you might like my ring."


I say it all the time but these two are such a joy to have in our world. They are bright and blonde and funny and smart. The give the best hugs and sweetest kisses. They dance together and hug together and argue over toys and jump on the bed together. They are healthy. And happy. And so are we.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Am.

All my life, I've never liked to share big things.

I wanted to keep the sex and names of both kids a secret, even choosing the second time to not find out the sex nor decide on a name for certain until the day our son was born. The truth was, we had an ultrasound at about 14 weeks where I was fairly certain I saw a penis, but it was never confirmed nor denied, so I let it rest and decided I didn't really know and therefore I wouldn't share that information. Sorry, friends who are reading that for the first time.

I didn't tell a lot of people when I got engaged. They spotted my sparkler and asked, and the attention made me sort of uncomfortable.

I didn't even tell most people when we got pregnant with Luca until I was past 12 weeks, and same with Rohan.

I keep quiet (usually) about efforts to lose weight, plans to make over some part of my life, etc.

I am a fan of vague for a few reasons. Chief among these:

1. Vague allows me to not draw so much attention to things I don't love about myself (say, love handles you might notice were I to discuss my wish to do away with them).

2. Vague allows me to fail and save face.

But, for example, I've joined Weight Watchers (WW) no less than 4 times in my life. And the only time I really lost a decent amount rather quickly on WW was the time I threw pride and vagueness out the window and went to meetings to weigh in.

So I'm putting on a brave face and saying two thing here that I've been skirting around discussing for quite some time now. I alluded to them below, but it's time I just put them out there and let the universe scoop them up, swirl them around in circles, and toss them back into the wind. Here, then, is the vague explanation I posted earlier this week:

"On top of it, I've started considering ways in which two very different passions and loves of mine could parlay into...a profession?...a paid hobby?...a priority on my 'Me!' list? I'm not yet sure, but I know that it's important for me to follow the calling of both passions and see where they lead me. Until recently, they have been nothing but daydreams, but then the daydreams started to take over my thoughts more often than not to the point where I was constantly feeling like I was not being true to myself if I didn't look further. Small step #3: be true to self and look further."

And then, the truth, more plainly spelled out so that the universe knows just what exactly it might be scooping and swirling and tossing (good lord that made me crave an ice cream cone?):

Daydream 1: A long-standing daydream dating back to....high school? Certainly predating college and marriage and kids and career at very least. To write a book. Not even to get published, though certainly that would be the proverbial icing on the proverbial cake (man, I must be hungry...). Just to write it. To get it on paper and to have someone or maybe a lot of people read it. What stops me from this now is partly time (hello? time to blog though?) but mostly terror. Terror at having the things in my head spilled onto paper and then open to the laughter or horror or amusement or bemusement of people I don't know or...even more breath-stealing...people I do know. But I have one book all but written in my head already, small excerpts scribbled onto the unmarked side of a piece of green construction paper; the other side decorated by my only daughter. So. Why not?

Daydream 2: This one is harder to write about because it's more recent. Fresh. Raw. Terrfiying. And, from a practical point of view, writing it puts it not just in the universe but in the internet...free for the taking and digesting and scrutinizing I'm not convinced I am ready for. But....here it is: I am studying midwifery. I want to be a midwife, or at least right now I do and damn if I am not the least decisive and the most scattered when it comes to my hopes and dreams. But I do love pregnancy and babies and birth and all of it and I am so drawn to the whole masterpiece of midwifery. I talked myself in circles of 'It's a calling' and 'I don't even believe in callings, do I?' and 'You're still paying off your MSW!' and 'Your husband is not going to love a costly career change.' and then 'But your husband loves you.' and ended up with this: a commitment from my husband to support my exploration of this daydream, and a commitment to myself to submerge feet first and explore the shallows before diving in. So I joined a group and I bought some books and I confessed my dream to friends and....I'm now submerging. And loving it!

I think Small step #5 should have been: See how brave you really are.

Followed immediately by Small step 6: Don't choke on the panic.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Road to Happiness

There are times in everyone's life when you feel like the famous poem applies to you: two roads diverge and you are left to choose.

Sometimes, it's not two. Sometimes it's four or seven or so many you can't possibly know how many there are. I don't know if it's the season and the warming of the earth where the sun wakes earlier and stays with us well past the hour when Rohan starts to run the sleepiness in his eyes. I can't be sure if it's the aging of my children, now One and Three, Toddlers both with not a Baby left in the house. Maybe it's just life and MY age and being married six and a half years and owning a home and three cars and one dog. Maybe it's the reality of credit card debt that sits hidden like porn, shoved under a mattress so no one will see it when they come to visit. And we shut the doors too, to keep prying eyes of friends and family away from the secret messes that lurk in the darker corners of the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen pantry. Maybe it's the feeling of stuff, piled and stacked and never really sufficiently organized but rather re-piled and re-stacked and re-hidden (Close door to hide mess. Open door to shove more mess in. Close again. Repeat.). Maybe it's budding tomato plants and a pink potted flower that blooms bright from its corner of the patio, decadently soaking in the late afternoon's golden rays. It might just be the curls that form at the nape of Luca's neck, reaching through like vines on a trellis of straight blonde hair above. Sometimes, I think it's the way Rohan stops me from moving - physically apprehends me with his body, clutching at my legs and throwing his sweaty face into me, crying "MAMAMAMA!" until I lift him - and grounds me in the moment. Whatever it is, it has awoken a need for change.

You know, as a married and parented person, it's difficult to say that. I want change. Because no matter how you couch it or what qualifiers you add, it ends up sounding less like the "I'm ready to take on the world and make myself a better and happier person!" and more like "Holy shit this family of mine makes me want to imbibe grain alcohol and flirt with inappropriate men!" And, for the record, in my case at least it's fully the first one and entirely not the second.

For some time now I've been very happy with my life but not quite thrilled with the Me who is living it. Not entirely comfortable in my skin. Never feeling like I have enough to give to anyone, anywhere. Not enough time for the kids, not enough energy and intrigue for the husband, not enough freedom for the friends, not enough motivation for work. That's not to say I've given up; instead I have given my all and ended up not wholly satisfied with what that has meant.

It has meant I work long hours and miss precious time with my kids.

Which in turn has meant I rush home, spend all evening with them before tucking them into bed, and miss caring for my home and my husband.

Which means when they get to bed I clean up and do laundry and blog and catch up on emails and catch up with my husband.

Which means, I borrowed a book from my boss in March and have only just this weekend cracked open it's spine and read the first 4.5 pages.

Which means, which means, which means....

My life is full, to be certain. It has love and friends and importance. I give my all to the task at hand, whether that's a presentation at work done on 3.5 hours of sleep with no time to prep, packing lunches for daycare, or just plain sitting on the floor playing blocks with the kids. But while this is happening, there's this inner voice saying to me: what about...and what about...and what about???.

And here, again, is where it's tricky. Because when you say, "Well that's all going swimmingly and all, but why can't we do X and why haven't we pushed forward and tried Y and forget about Z for a minute, because remember when you promised yourself that you would do P and Q and W?" it comes out as, "Oh man I am SO sick of my life and everything in it!"

And let me be the first to admit that I know this sounds Pollyanna-ish, but the truth is this: I am unbelievably happy. Not, like, every-fucking-minute-of-every-disgusting-please-quit-being-such-a-faker-optimist-before-you-start-shitting-unicorns-swathed-in-rainbows day, but in general. Overall. Imagine me sweeping my hands in a full, circular motion. Because that full, circular motion is my life. It's grand and lovely and organically beautiful. But in the center of that sweeping circle, sometimes it is a bit empty. I am a bit empty. I let myself off easy and stop trying to make myself better. I accept the status quo with platitudes like, "Oh who has time for X, anyhow?" and "I would love to Y, but I still haven't done P and Q and it's all so overwhelming!" and mostly, "I'd do W but dammit I was so busy doing A-L that I just don't have the time or the energy anyhow!"

And so I sit, not choosing ANY road, but sort of peering down each to see which one has the most scenic view and a pack 'n' play for the boy and books for the girl and perhaps a good local dive with tasty wings to draw my husband in as well. And, indecisive as ever, I decide inertia isn't so bad and just keep on digging my heels into the same spot, stepping from one foot to the other and sometimes leaning against a sturdy tree to rest in the shade.

I'm not only weary of resting here much longer, I'm quite ready for an adventure. And it doesn't even need to be anything big enough to change the earth's rotation or cause an end to boredom. Boredom, really, is pretty underrated. Boredom is a sign of contentedness, and who the hell doesn't want to be content? But I have found the place in life where I'm feeling the need to take off my shoes and squish mud between my toes and then run in the grass down any one of those roads just to get out and see the sights. What mom and dad used to say when I was a kid and sandwiched in the back seat of our Suburban on road trips is insanely true of life: "Look all around! You're missing the world as it's passing by right out your window!"

So I took to the therapy of purging and list-making this weekend. It's insane how someone as chaotically disorganized as inertia lets me be can love lists so very much. But a list I made and purging I did, until my kitchen pantry door need not be closed now (well, that would be true if not for a certain little blonde imp who likes to troll for fallen animal crackers and pull out all the trash bags), and my fridge and freezer are not only in order, but all three are inventoried. Small step #1: organize and list, so that eating better foods that nourish us and make us healthy and strong is easier than hitting up the Taco Bell drive thru.

And then I bought a basil plant. And a few weeks ago I planted tomato and pepper seeds out back. In addition to Piggy's purple flowers and a butterfly garden kit I threw down, we're working to build a yard that is functional and beautiful. A happy place for us to play with our kids. Small step #2: bring beauty home.

On top of it, I've started considering ways in which two very different passions and loves of mine could parlay into...a profession?...a paid hobby?...a priority on my 'Me!' list? I'm not yet sure, but I know that it's important for me to follow the calling of both passions and see where they lead me. Until recently, they have been nothing but daydreams, but then the daydreams started to take over my thoughts more often than not to the point where I was constantly feeling like I was not being true to myself if I didn't look further. Small step #3: be true to self and look further.

And we've made the committment to simplifying our financial lives as well. Credit cards are no longer welcome in our home. Debt is being paid off and not replaced. We are working to become a cash-only (or debit-only) household because the constant worry and thought involved in credit cards and loans and payments and interest rates is not worth the stress or the time it takes, and nothing is worth a 29% APR. Small step #4: let go of credit and build savings.

The road to happiness, for me, is marked by many things. Above all, though, I have come to realize most recently that it's marked by simplicity. I feel the need to purge my home of junk, my body of junk, and my life of junk that clogs up my mind and takes my focus away from where I want it to be.

You are What You Keep: Challenge!

My friend Tabitha started a new blog that has me inspired, so I'm joining her challenge. It's called 'You are What You Keep' and...um...it's true.

Here's the link to her blog, You are What You Keep.

We've been slowly working on purging the excess from our lives anyhow, as two kids will clutter up every corner of every room before you realize it's even happened. So while I cannot go back and track every little thing I've tossed, sold, or passed on in the past 6 months, I'm going to use the rules below to backtrack a bit.

In addition to purging, I am working on trying to get more order in our lives so 'simple' tasks like meal planning and grocery shopping, laundry, and putting away dishes don't end up complex and frustrating. I'll document some of that here too.

So, the rules (some taken directly from Tabi, som altered a bit):

1. I won't count individual pieces of garbage (gum wrappers, bottle caps, etc) but I will count stacks of junk mail, anything that requires an empty hand to grab that has been sitting around not being used and just taking up space.

2. Anything put into the "Sale" category might be moved into the "garage sale" or "consignment" piles.

3. This is going "Clean Sweep" style. So if it doesn't sale at the yard sale or consignment store, it goes off to friends, family, or charity.

4. The items that stay must be in clean usable shape. I will keep items that require some minor work and/or will be fixed up to help us with the 'organize and decorate' part of being homeowners. I won't keep things that require major work to fix.

5. If any item is moved to Sell and a sale doesn't happen within a reasonable time frame, they are moved to donate. Donate stuff is offered to friends and family first, then to charity.

6. I won't keep things 'just in case X Y Z happens in the future'. This means the maternity clothes, baby clothes and toys, etc. are gone. Should we ever have another baby, we can always borrow or buy new things anyhow.

7. I will count back as far as the garage sale we had last month, but anything I purged before then is not being included in the goal.

With those rules in mind, here's where I stand:

Sold: Bumbo chair, baby bath, snuggle nest, books (sold 5), clothes (sold several uncounted, so counting it as 15 items), 5' x 8' area rug, 4 barstools, umbrella stroller
Total: 29 items

Given Away: Bag of maternity clothes (didn't count items, but counting as 15), bag of baby clothes (didn't count, so counting as 5), baby shoes, computer monitor, wine glass holder and 4 glasses, rotating picture frame
Total: 24 items

Threw Away: broken toys (didn't count, but guessing low at 10 items), torn books (didn't count, but guessing at 5 items), torn/stained/very worn clothes (didn't count, but guessing at 10 items), several piles of trash (counting as 2 items)
Total: 27 items

My total for the past month, then, is 80/2010 items.

If you're interested in joining and purging your life of the stuff you don't need/want/use head on over to Tabi's blog for more details!

Friday, June 11, 2010

How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

I know it's only June 11, but let us be realistic: this rest of the 'How I Spent...' story will be going like this:

- I worked
- I went home
- I tried not to melt under opressive Arizona heat

Window Seat: Excited to Fly

Cookie Monster at Great Grandma's house.

Talking rocks.

Over the Grapevine and Into the Sunshine.

Hotel beds are seriously fun for jumping and rolling and laughing together.

Purple Mountains.
"Why are those mountains purple, mama?"
"Those are flowers."
(she is everywhere)

"Now's your chance to run around like a wild woman, Luca!"
(3 Year Olds are Very Literal.)

Barefoot and giddy in Central Coast farm land.

Whatever she had, it must have been good.
(Kids quickly learn: Grandmas usually have all the best stuff anyhow.)

Casa de Fruta.

Don't be fooled: this nap lasted less than 15 minutes.
Eyes Like The Seas.
Dear God. Both kids. Together. Standing still. For a picture.
Monterey Bay Aquarium. Fish and Crab.

Eh. He's seen better fish. ::shrug::

Someone should have told the Dude to my right that flashes freak out the fish. Because, you know, there were totally not signs every 4 feet saying such or anything.


Petting Zoo.

Look Up!

Jelly on the Beach.

Beach Babe.

My Beauty, who took to the sands.

Here Comes the Son.


Grandma the Nature Guide.

Cheeks like peaches.
He eats sand.
I kiss his plum lips.
He cannot be far from me on this trip.

Save me, Daddy!

My boy, who only wanted his Mama's arms. He was carried from LA to Monterey to Hollister, Gilroy, and Santa Cruz. Too close wasn't close enough. I protested for show, but everyone knew I didn't mind.Sore back, tired arms, floating heart.

Love from Great Grandma.

If I am very lucky I will live long enough to be kissed by my Great Granddaughter.


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