Tuesday, August 31, 2010



I was awoken well before the sun decided it was morning. From the other room, Rohan fussed a little and called out for me. This is a 'thing' he's doing now, the waking early and whining for me. I hauled myself out of bed, lifted him from his crib and brought him in to my room, where he collapsed into a warm pile of butter skin and whisper-soft hair on top of my torso. His body was heavy, but he fell immediately into a content sleep, and together we ignored the alarm three times, me contorting one arm over my head and to the right a bit while trying to keep the rest of my body still as a stone so I could smash the snooze button and steal a few more minutes with my boy. His head burrowed into my collarbone, his drool dripping down to wet my shoulder and my pillow below it.

I stood barefoot and still in jammies in the kitchen, prepping the coffee maker, washing dishes to load the dishwasher, and making lunch all at once. Suddenly, a blonde fairy came around the corner, sleepy eyes bright and green and cheeks flushed and rosy. She smiled at me and then turned to show me her naked bum, laughed, and ran away. A few minutes later she was fully dressed and I suddenly found myself with this thought: I wish I had my daughter's wardrobe.


Later, I brushed her hair and let it run through my fingers, feeling like silk and smelling like sweet dreams. She is very into long hair right now ("Just like yours, Mama!") and I confess that I dread the day she wants it cut. Sometimes I admire other little girls with their perfect smooth bobs and bangs or their short beautiful curls. And I laugh at her hair and it's indecisiveness, with the smooth and straight top layer falling smooth from the crown and the underlayer of perfect Shirley Temple curls. Poor girl got her daddy's good looks and her mommy's schizophrenic hair.


He wanted to be held, as usual, and followed me around with one hand tugging at my jammies and the other clutching blankie to his side. What started as protesting how rude I was being by trying to get ready for work soon turned into frantic crying and big, fat tears rolling down his delicious little cheeks. I bent and picked him up, sitting him on my hip and attempting to get the diaper bag and my work bag packed while also reminding Luca to get her shoes on. Suddenly, I remmebered I was still in my jammies and I needed to get dressed for work, but before I could move up the stairs he dug his toes into me and buried his head under my chin. This is new, and it makes me laugh because every time he does it I feel as though he's trying to bury himself in me and become one person all over again. I stop and rock him for a moment, patting his bum and running fingers over his peachy skin. "Are you my monkey baby?" I tease, and he smiles big, nods emphatically while saying, "Yeah." and then shyly buries his face in my shoulder again.


He called me Mommy for the first time, which made me swoon like crazy, but also made me wish I could freeze the world because these new language skills are a very blatant reminder of just how big he's getting.


Before we could leave the house, I had to get dressed upstairs and both kids followed me. Luca shut the bedroom door from the hallway and decided to tease Rohan by pulling hard on the handle without turning it. After I asked her twice to stop, she did it again and I had A Moment. So I raised my voice to Scary Mom level (not quite a yell, but you know the voice, right?) and made my daughter cry. Awesome. I immediately felt like shit for losing my cool, and sat on the steps with her so we could talk. I feel bad every blasted time Scary Mom comes out of her hovel, and for some reason she's been making more appearances lately. I'm not sure what it's about, but I do know it's not about them as much as it is about me. I think I need more zen in my life.


I offered to drop both kids off even though usually Darrick takes Luca since her preschool is on his campus. I knew it would make me late to work, but I also know that I love how Rohan plays peek-a-boo behind his blanket in the car, cracking up every time he pulls down the blanket and catches my eye in the rearview mirror. And I love how Luca tells me stories about all her new friends the whole drive and asks me to play "I spy" and then breaks the rules by telling me what color she spies and immediately following it up by telling me what item she spied. They make me laugh in the morning, which in itself is a grand feat.


When I got to Luca's preschool, she wanted to show me where the naptime 'things' go, so while she left her blanket in her backpack she took her stuffed toy over to the 'rest time basket'. Two other preschoolers followed us, and one of them looked me square in the eye and said, "Can I come play at Luca's house?" I laughed out loud without realizing what I was doing, mostly because I loved how she knew what she wanted and just threw it out there. I wondered, for a second, if the world would be a better place or a worse one if everyone was just upfront with what they wanted out of life. And I felt that mom burst of pride when I realized how much Luca loves school. She has new friends. She is learning and her confidence is growing. Even on the days when she's a bit too precocious for my taste and the days when it's almost painful for me to see her growing in such huge leaps and bounds, it's beautiful to see the person she's becoming.


I got into work late, ignored my sack lunch so I could go out with co-workers, and realized at 2 pm that I had never put on mascara so I ended up using my cell phone camera as a mock-mirror with which to apply it. Which somehow morphed into cleaning out my work bag and throwing away an obscene amount of trash. Like, embarassing piles of trash.

Before (eek.)



While Darrick was at the gym tonight, we ran to Target for diapers and wipes, which of course ended up meaning we got those plus 3 bags of 'stuff'. While in the food area looking for string cheese, an older woman pushed her shopping cart past ours and stopped to admire Luca and say hi. Not to be outdone, Rohan waved manically and called out, "Hi! Hi! Hi!" from his seat in the cart. She mooned over both kids, then turned to me and said, "You sure have your hands full, don't you?". Immediately I replied, "I do, but I'm blessed to have them so full."

And then, I felt like an ass.

She meant it in a kind way, I knew. And my response came off bitter and curt and possibly in a way that made her believe these were some miracle kids. And they are MY miracle kids, but not your traditional miracle kids and there I was, wondering how to backpedal. And apparently she was too, because she quickly replied, "Oh yes. They are the best blessings."

We walked away to finish shopping. And it nagged at me. If I had the chance, I thought I would go back up to that lady and tell her this: "My hands are full, and there are times I want to shut myself in a room with a hot bath and a book and no recollection of ever having created life in the first place. Sometimes, I look forward to work. Sometimes, I take my sweet time in the shower or tune out the whining and read a magazine. And once in a great while, I cannot help but daydream of a shopping trip void of whining kids begging to get in the stroller...no out now...no back in, and complete with a wad of cash in my wallet because in this alternate universe? The IS no preschool and no daycare, and thus I never have to worry about money. But more than anything, my life is full with her artwork and giggles and funny stories and his contagious smile and sweet kisses and warm cuddles in the morning."

But probably I would have just smiled, if I could do it over again, and went on shopping.

Monday, August 30, 2010


In the past few weeks, Rohan's vocabulary has really increased. I'm not sure what it is, but it must just be a developmental phase. I remember this happening with Luca right around 15 months, and I knew that most boys were a little further behind girls in language, so I was just sort of sitting back waiting for it to happen.

And now, here we are. Rohan's a big boy, which for anyone who knows him in person comes across as a sort of understatement. Like calling Arizona's summers 'hot'. So it makes it even more adorable that his voice is little and sort of squeaky, whether happy or defiant. In just the past few weeks, he's started to say:

-Please (Pease or tead)
-Thank you (tan dooooo)
- On
- Off
- Boom (for when he falls down)
- Ruby (our dog's name)
- Gaga (for grandma and/or grandpa)
- Laura (daycare provider)
- Yuca (for Luca)
- Kiss (tiss)
- Book
- Sit
- Bop-bop (for his Boppy, or pacifier)
- Go

He has been saying things like, "All done." and "Ine down (I want down)." and "Go Ruby!" (which he hears about 34 times a day as we're constantly shooing her from underfoot) for quite a while now, but the newest addition to his repretoire is a three-word sentence: "Read a book?" And let me tell you this: not much makes this mama swoon more than those early sentences, especially when one of those sentences gives me a little hope that maybe, just maybe, he will grow up to be more dork than jock.

Ok, fine. I have no real qualms with jocks, other than the fact I fear they end up dating vapid girls with small pores and fake tans and that is where this mama's head starts to feel a little like it's on crooked. You see, much like we half-kid about enrolling Luca in a convent and feeding her vats of bacon grease in the hopes it'll keep gross teen boys away in about 10 more years, I'd also like to make Rohan into more nerd and less jock to keep those hussy teen girls away in about 12 years. So if books be his true love for now, you can bet the farm I'm going to encourage him down that route. Because everyone knows that nerdy boys don't date tramps and harlots, right?*


*No actual pig fat is going to be used in our attempts to keep Luca wholesome. It may be too late, anyhow, seeing as how her new best friend at school is named Maddox and is the son of the school's Vice Principal. Shoot for the top, Luca-bear!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Bunnies.

I just love these two together. I love how they feed off each others' energy and giggle like wild monkeys together. I love when they both start dancing, him bouncing up and down and nodding his head and her spinning in circles. I love two blonde heads dipped close together, conspiring and giggling and, yes, even fighting. I love how he tells her, "NO!" and how she raises her voice a few octaves and says, "Oh, sweetie, it's ok. Shh shh shh..." just like her mama does. I love the way he never goes to bed without a blankie hugged tight to his chest and rubbed on his cheek, and how she knows when it's his bedtime and brings him that blankie to love on.

I always knew I wanted to be a mom, and to more than one kid. And while there are days when the sheer noise of two little ones makes me feel the need to jab my own eardrums with a steak knife, there are many more days when they light up my world.

Playroom on the Cheap.

I'm not quite ready to debut the final changes we made to our former den now playroom/weight room, which I originally blogged about to show the embarassing before pictures. The room's not done, but I have a small update on our progress as well as a few pictures. It is, after all, still a work in progress, and progress is a bit slow since I don't have the endless bank account I'd really need to make it my dream come true. What would a dream come true involve?

- Wood floors
- Custom built-in shelving and cabinetry
- New paint
- New ceiling light (the room is...ready for this?...not wired for a ceiling light...)
- New weight bench that folds smaller so it doesn't have such a huge footprint

Since I'm living in reality and not in my dreams, here's what I have done:

- Cleaned and purged and organized (YAWYK update below)
- Cleaned carpet
- Sold 2 bookshelves on Craigslist
- Sorted and organized CDs and books
- Bought a large shelving unit at Goodwill on 50% off day ($30) to store books and toys
- Bought a cedar chest with seating cushion on top at St. Vincent de Paul store on 50% off day ($35), which is now used to store photos and albums
- Was gifted some $1 plastic bins for toys (Thanks, Mom!)
- Moved weight bench to make more space on the floor for the kids
- Created an 'art center' for Luca

Close up of chest. We want to get a new cover for the cushion made, but otherwise plan on bucking the 'refinish everything shabby chic' trend I see everywhere and leave it classic wood.

Cedar chest, which is living in our dining area for now (and, apparenlty, hiding a sippie cup and a scale).

Goodwill storage unit, loaded with toys and books we're still organizing.

Art center, complete with a line to showcase Luca's artwork (and someday Rohan's).

One of the more fun and creative projects we are completing involves finding a way to fit the little bins we got for toys into big openings with no shelving built-in. Sure, we could get bigger bins. We could also find a way to create our own shelves. Or, an idea I considered more than briefly, we could finish the unit off with cute patterened and solid curtains in each opening, thus hiding the mess so I can ignore it.

Instead of one of those options, I decided to try my hand at a little repurposing of something that would have otherwise ended up in the recycle bin:

Yep, diaper boxes. And even though we've only got one little bum in diapers, we sure do seem to tear through these boxes rather quickly. But as I prepared to toss them in the recycle bin this morning, I had an idea I had to try out.

Cut out one of the long sides, then attached the piece I'd cut to the bottom of the box for support, and flipped the box upside down, so that the bottom surface is now the 'shelf'.

After I covered the box in various colors of construction paper, I left Luca to decorate it as she pleased. She said the one on the left (yellow) is me and the one on the right (red) is Rohan. :)

Once complete, the 'shelf' can be put in one of the cubbies. A bin fits below and one above.

Luca was really proud to have a part in creating this, and while I don't expect it will hold up forever, it's a completely free and easy way to repurpose what would normally be 'trash' into something useful and personal.

As for YAWYK, so far for our new room, here is my count:

- 2 bookselves

Given Away:
- Nothing at this time

Thrown Away:
- 2 large bags of trash (counting as 50 items each because they included pens, pencils, paper, broken CDs, and tons of random junk that was lining the bookshelves)
- 14 CDs with no case, which were scratched and which no one listened to
- stereo that was not functional and coulnd't be salvaged
- 18 old notebooks from college
- 12 broken toys
- 2 plastic grocery bags full of assorted 'orphan' toy parts: puzzles missing pieces, beads, gamepieces that are not complete, etc), which I am counting as 50 items because I didn't count

This little room project is not yet done, and I'll update more as we get more finished, but for now I am happy with our progress. Our main living area is much less cluttered with toys, the kids have a place to go play together, Luca has a craft zone that is safe from Rohan's grabby hands, and Darrick has floor space and a bench so he can work out at home.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Only Girl In The Room.

My husband is a Leo.

Our daughter is a Taurus.

You could call it a coincidence, but then I could call it a case of them both being a bit stubborn and a bit intense sometimes. Now, don't get me wrong: I love them both to pieces. And it's a good thing I do because if I didn't they would be convinced it was because of something wrong with me, since clearly they are perfect just as they are.

So what we get sometimes is a bit of butting heads, and it's interesting to me that we live in a house divided: on one side is the pair of them, a bit impetuous and boastful but at the same time so generous and loving it can make your heart burst with joy. On the other side is us: the son with the silly personality and carefree ways and flashing temper, and his momma who loves laughter and peacefulness but wants things done her way.


On any typical night, I get home from work and Husband is mildly grumpy and pretty hungry, sitting on the floor with the aftermath of 2 wild kids circling him and dropping toys in their wake. As soon as I turn off my car, she's running out to greet me, sometimes with little brother following dutifully. Their faces are bright with smiles at first, and then: she starts to talk and he bursts into manic panic of some variety because I Have Not Picked Him Up Yet and Why Haven't I Picked Him UP??!!?!. I swoop his warm body up in my arms, kiss her like it's been weeks and not 9 hours since I saw her last, and go inside to put down my bag. And then we eat and we play and we barter over bites of food and potential desserts and she talks through the whole thing, interrupting stories we're telling to give us her version. And, in her version, everything happened 'last summer' or 'on Sunderday' and her voice sounds how I imagine a little squirrel would sound if a little squirrel could talk. And then sometimes he begs to be held or he WILL CRY, but when you hold him you'd better stand up and rock or he WILL CRY and then he needs kisses or he WILL CRY but when he's ready to get down and tells you, "All Done!" and you let him down it will offend him that he's no longer being held even though He Wanted Down and he WILL CRY. And then he'll be distracted by something and tear across the room with his head thrown back and crash into the couch with a boom and laughter.


Tonight, we went out to dinner. We fancied it up at Olive Garden, mostly because they have endless salad and endless pasta and my husband is still on that wing quest I mentioned before. It was a fun dinner, actually, with Rohan eating possibly more food than I did, and Luca barely eating unless I concentrated on reminding her to eat (flighty, too...she's a bit of that but it's so endearing, you know?) and the waiter misinterpreting my husband asking him for a to-go box for my leftovers as a sign that I wanted him to pack my dinner up as I sat there, fork mid-air between plate and mouth with angel hair pasta hanging from it.

And then, CRASH went the bliss when we walked outside, me with a big boy in my left arm and leftovers in my right, and her daddy offered her his hand to cross the parking lot. This was met with tears which were soon a full-blown meltdown of epic and heart-wrenching proportions. Why? Because, you know, she wanted to hold my hand. Naturally. Since both his hands were free and neither of mine were.

We both acted cool as we crossed the parking lot, acutely aware of the old folks watching the stormy sky light up in shades of pink and violet and most likely preparing themselves to judge our every parenting mis-step. Smile, keep your humor, don't let her rattle you with the scene she's attempting to create.

But when we got to the car and I leaned to buckle her in, it's entirely possible I lost all cool and semi-growled, "You WILL stop that right now." in the Scary Mom voice.

Once everyone was buckled in and some semblance of calm had stopped her tears, I asked her what That had been about. And at first it was, "I wanted YOU to hold my hand." but then I dug a bit more because even though I said before that he and she are so alike (this = the root behind the head-butting they do), it means I sometimes best know when to call her on her...bullshit? Can you call a 3 year old on their bullshit? Because, frankly, I do. And it works. Sometimes. Usually.

"At school," she whimpered, "when daddy gets me? He doesn't give me a cuddle."

There it was. Simple. Surprising in that he hadn't even thought of it and who expects a 3 year old to remember and fret over these sorts of things anyhow? And of course he brushed it off at first, because (a) he's a dude and (b) he's a dude, but when I pressed a bit he said to me, "Well, I don't run in and coo over her, if that's what she means." And then, to her directly, "But sweetie, does Daddy come in and talk to your teachers and all your friends?"

Her: "Yes."
Him: "Well, see? Lots of kids don't have Daddies who do tha-"
Me (cutting him off): "She doesn't care what other Daddies don't do, babe. She cares what her Daddy DOES."
Him: "Oh? But..."
Me: "Sometimes, even when she's only 3, a girl wants to feel like she's the only girl in the room."
Him: "Oh."

When we got home, I gave Rohan some milk and got him in nighttime gear and carried his sleepy body up to bed. We had smooches and cuddles, and then I put him in his crib with his Bop-Bop and blankie and left the room. When I came back down, they were there, together in the playroom, peas in a pod teasing each other and building houses and shapes with blocks. She would erupt in giggles every time he'd knock her building down and then he'd tickle her feet and suddenly that magic between Daddy and daughter was back and, in his eyes I could see this: She was the only girl in the room.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

When Romie and I Grow Up....

...we're going to get married...

...I'll be a princess and he can wear one of my dresses...

...and I will build a house with four rooms and a dog named Ruby (our dog's name)...

...and you and Daddy can come visit...

...let's have a pretend wedding...

...I can be a bride and have a wedding...


Next weekend, my husband is competing in a wing-eating championship. If you read my blog regularly, you may remember that he won the local wing contest on a total whim several months back, which qualified him for the finals in August. Well, that finale is next Saturday, so we've been prepping him for a few weeks now.

At first, 'prepping' meant he ate a lot of dinner and drank a half gallon of water in the morning and another half with dinner. But then, we did a practice run at Chompie's with their slider challenge and he was less than impressed with his results. He started his half hour with 12 sliders and a pile of onion strings. He called it quits 18 minutes into it with 4.5 sliders and most of the strings left. Not too shabby, right? But is it enough to be able to win the wing contest next weekend? He wasn't convinced.

Which was when he decided to suggest the unthinkable to me: cabbage. Yes, it seems in the ametuer eating contest arena, eating a head of boiled cabbage a day is well-recognized as a low-calorie way to get your stomach used to being stretched with a large quantity of food.

Being the awesome and perfect wife I am (ha ha ha) I went to the store the next day and bought him 3 heads of cabbage. And boiled them. Because, remember when I said I am awesome? I am also apparently stupid enough to ignore what I know was going to happen as a result of all that cabbage.

In summary, here's how you know I love my husband even when I might be inclined to tease him or complain about his socks on the floor or even ask him in my very-own semi-annoyed/semi-teasing way if he has somewhere he needs to go so I can have the house to myself for a bit: I boiled him a head of cabbage in order to assist his quest for wing greatness.

Post-Script: It smelled worse 12 hours later. Believe me.
Post-Script Two: I can also admit that I am spurred to Wifely Greatness just a bit by the prizes up for grabs.

Friday, August 20, 2010


One of the effects of Rohan's Mastocytosis is that certain foods cause a reaction in his body, and a very few times they cause him to 'flush'. I posted about it here, when he had a reaction to blueberries. Oddly, he has had blueberries quite often since then, and never had another reaction like it.

Today at lunch I decided to try a new food, and while he ate it right up, he soon had the same telltale signs of reactions. The food was a kiwi, which is known to be high in histamine and thus I knew going into it that it was possible he would have a reaction to them.

You can see, if you scroll down to the post two below this one, how peaches-and-cream his complexion normally is. He gets red easily when he plays outside in the heat for any amount of time, but this flushing is different. More pronounced and defined on his skin:

I didn't give him any of his meds since it didn't seem to be bothering him at all. His cheeks stayed flushed for about 30-40 minutes, in which time I made sure he was not acting uncomfortable, gave him lots of cool water to drink, and used a cool cloth to wipe his cheeks gently. I'm not entirely sure if either the drinking water or the cool cloth actually help him feel better, but they made me feel better.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dinner Deliciousness.

I really wanted to get out of the house for dinner tonight, but we're working on saving up money and paying off debt, and part of that is limiting our dinners out. So I searched the fridge and freezer and came up with this meal, inspired by my friend Suzie at the blog Cupcake Monkey. Check out her beautiful blog, and her post about pizza on the grill for some inspiration of your own.

This version of 'Eating on the Cheap' was really inspired by her mouth watering salad, and I had a head of butter lettuce in the fridge begging to be used. I matched it with feta, candied pecans (sprayed them with a few spritzes of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, tossed in a little Splenda Brown Sugar for the WW-friendly nod, and baked on a sheet), and fat free poppyseed dressing. But it was calling for something else, and tomatoes didn't feel right. So, I decided to dig into the fruit crisper and see what I came up with. And, what I came up with was this:

I used just a tiny bit of butter in a frying pan on medium-high, and when it was hot I added the slices of nectarine and seared on each side.

And here was my final product. Fresh, delicious, healthy, and tasty:

I know they look a little glazed in butter, but I used a full nectarine with just a tiny sliver of butter. This was a juicy nectarine!

I paired it with a frozen CPK pizza with chicken, onion, and an added dash of feta. Delicious! Thanks for the inspiration, Suzie!

Gratuitous Cute.

Because I can:

this one is my favorite..him, draped over my legs like he loves to do

just one of the girl who now hates having her picture taken


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