Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ooooh Bring Me a Higher Love!

My dearest Sissy,
I am all apologies for my long absence in correspondence. I could waste your time with countless excuses, but instead I will choose a manipulative approach, by insinuating that you had done something to upset me, and that even though I won’t tell you what you did, I have decided to take the high road and forgive you. See that? Tables turned. Ye ol’switcharoo. You are now the implied transgressor, and I don’t have to take any accountability for my actions. That’s what we professionals call....PSYCHOLOGY. No need to fact check, just take my word for it.
As you know, I am over 7 months pregnant and living the dream life -going to high society balls, going on many montage baby shopping sprees with “Bring Me the Higher Love” playing in the background, and getting honored at fancy lady brunches for my work in raising funds and awareness for prenatal care. All of this is very much happening for me, in the alternate universe I’ve created through one of those sad internet websites where people have avatars and spend all night trying to avoid their shell of a life...well, I have no idea what they do next and whether or not that still is a “thing” -cut to Ava rolling her eyes saying, “that’s so a THING. IT’S AN EPIDEMIC.” Because you’re now one of those people whose always outraged over things that don’t affect you in the least. 
Anyway, back to being pregnant, I must just put a few things out there: being pregnant is harder when you’re chasing around a toddler and definitely not as cute. The first time around I was working up to the end, dealing with only adult-type issues, and having time to rest and enjoy the pregnancy. Plus, knowing you’re pregnant from the first week makes one feel it’s been going on for an eternity. I’m definitely entering into Jessica Simpson territory for longest pregnancy EVER. Also, I don’t remember ever being punched in the stomach the first time around, but now I get so many toddler knees to the belly I feel like I should call an abuse hotline. Oh, and another thing! the belly makes visual of small sharp toys under-foot very difficult to catch. Walking in her room is like...(this next line should be sung) WALKIN ON BROKEN GLASS! OOOOOO AND IF YOU’RE TRYIN TO CUT ME DOWN....aw, Annie Lenox. Androgynous. Talented. Female David Bowie. Victor Victoria.
Okay that was just free association, but I think we all agree, that you get the point (insert knowing glance, slow blink).
Last time I was pregnant I was living and working in center city Philadelphia, where I noticed a trend in which pregnant women, including myself, were regularly being hit on and approached by men. I can only equate this regular occurrence to the heavy influence of “cheesesteaks,” “cheese-fries,” and city’s number one consumer of large pretzels (for breakfast). This steady diet, is what I believe to cause pregnancy-like bellies...which therefore led men to not quite notice the difference between women who are actually with-child. This however is only a hypothesis, and has not been statistically analyzed to determine whether the city’s widespread attraction to pregnant women is an accident induced by body-style diet, or whether or not these dirtbags are just really disgusting. We may never know. Anyway, now that I live closer to the burbs of Philly, I no longer experience this in my 2nd pregnancy, and it’s like, “what gives?” I miss the days of being Amy Poeler’s character in the “I’m No Angel” video -
(sorry for poor quality)
On another note, I know in this last year I have discussed my difficulties adjusting to Philly’s gritty or “just keep’n it real” attitude, which is a nicer way of saying, “we have zero manners.”  I’m not sure if I’m just getting used to it or if things have gotten better, but I just have to tell you that I’ve gone back to shopping at the ghetto target close to home. It doesn’t phase me anymore and my visits there have become unremarkable. I don’t really think the store has changed for the better, as Dean still tries to avoid going there, and just recently relayed a negative experience of having to confront people blatantly trying to cut in front of him in line....but really, Dean works in an ivory tower in Philly, and only has limited interactions with the general public on his train rides home, where he is normally left alone and only gets an occasional “boss-man” comment while he is on his ipad. Not only does the ghetto-ness of Philly not affect me anymore, I am noticing a slight appreciation for the level of unprofessionalism and inappropriateness. Let me relay a recent interaction that actually clarifies this paradigm:
I go to a nice salon to get waxed, and on my recent visit, I had forgotten that getting one’s legs done is no longer simple with pregnancy. One cannot lay on their backs or stomach. So, needless to say, a lot of awkwardness and weird positions were necessary in this ordeal and on top of all of this, my usual woman was temporarily out and her replacement, whom I’d never met had taken over. All of this led to my feeling extremely uncomfortable and anxious.  Now as you know, regardless of whether I tell anyone what my degree is in, for some unknown reason I give off an impression to others, that they should relay very personal, awkward, and shameful stories about their lives. This interaction was no different. After making some nice pleasantries about my due date, family life, children, etc, my esthetician relayed some personal gems:
  • Her current boyfriend is married. She doesn’t understand why he stays married when he’s obviously not in love with his wife anymore...but he’s got “strong” values and doesn’t “believe in divorce.” 
  • She met him at a club, where she didn’t care if he was married because it was supposed to be a “one night thing” and she hadn’t done anything like that since she was 18. YES, 18 year olds apparently do that sort of thing, ALL THE TIME.
  • She’s starting to develop feelings for him, and her daughter really likes him too.
  • His family members and friends really like her.
  • (this is where I interjected that her story sounds like the first 15 minutes of a Dateline episode, and that this storyline will only end in her being forced to testify against him in a murder trial of his poor wife.)
  • She then relayed various “situations” she had been involved in with previous boyfriend’s
  • Discussed life as a bartender at several strip-clubs
  • Being propositioned to “punch a guy for 600 dollars because he’s into being knocked around by women, and OF COURSE I DID IT” 
  • Various cocaine/drug use with local NFL players. 
You may be wondering how this experience involves my desensitization of Philly’s “grit” and I’ll tell you why: If you only knew the super-tricky and humiliating positions I had to get into, while only wearing underwear, the compromising physicality involved in this process, you would be MORTIFIED. However, this woman’s stories literally cleared the room of all shame I could possibly feel. I mean, seriously, after reading all those “experiences” that by the way, I CENSORED, what possibly can I be self-conscious about? By the end of this hour-long hairy debacle, I not only recognized this dynamic, but fully appreciated her lack of professionalism and poor life decisions that led me to undergo a very embarrassing experience with general ease. I hugged her afterwards. Thank you Philly. Thank you.
So I don’t know if I’m changing for the better or not, but at least I can see the silver lining now. But who knows, this all could be crazy pregnancy hormones and tomorrow i’ll call you up screaming about being cut off in the grocery line. 
Alright my love, it is time for me to clean the house, which will take 10 times as long, due to my restricted mobility and my darling Sofia insisting on “helping” by unfolding and undoing everything I’ve done. Please give my beloved nephews big kisses. I can’t wait to see you in only a month and a half! Sofia is so excited to see “Auntie Sissy” and her cousins. Yippeee!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Goldfish Crackers – why are they so good?!

Sisee! Sisero!

Where you at? Why you no write your country-livin’, immigrant big sis? I’ve been waiting patiently for 6 months for the big boat to bring a letter from you, telling me about the “big city” you live in.  But alas, hitching up the horse and buggy and taking it down the gravel road, while ol’ Farmer Brett is working the field, proves to be a disappointment… it’s usually just more barrels of fish and boxes of tea being unloaded by men with scruffy beards, dressed in sweat-stained, flowy button-down shirts. (It’s ok to write jokingly about immigrants when you ARE an immigrant, right? I hope so, cuz I do it pretty much all the time.) (And you like how even though we are Middle Eastern, our “Immigrant Experience” is straight out of Ireland? After I checked the docks, I went and “found mi-self a fawncy haat, fer church.”)

Sisee, I have major food issues. Food issues with the boys, that is. They are SO PICKY. It’s killing me. Evan especially – getting him to try anything is a battle royale. (Not to be confused with Casino Royale, the James Bond movie, which for the record, I LOVE. What’s with all the Daniel Craig haters out there?? Could he be a better Bond?? So he’s blonde – DEAL WITH IT! What is there, James Bond purism now? You know he did all his own stunts? Yeah. He’s amazing. And none too shabby on the eyes, either.)

Ok… yeah, ok: I don’t understand how this picky eating happened, when they both gobbled up those yummy veggie purees I HOME MADE, when they were babies. Carrots? Check. Broccoli? Check. Pears? With Apples and cinnamon? Check and check. Seriously, the other day, I had baked a CHEESE PIZZA… ok?.. cheese pizza… the food every kid likes, which frankly hasn’t the best nutritional value…. and I told Evan to eat at least 5 bites, and while he did, he also almost GAGGED on every bite. Like it was eel sushi. Pizza, sis. PIZZA. Same goes for: Spaghetti. Lasagna. Hamburgers. French toast. Regular toast! It’s completely and utterly maddening. Should I have made cheese pizza purees when he was a baby??

And actually, I know – I KNOW! – it’s TOTALLY my own fault. It’s this combination of my own selfish desire to avoid combat with the kids and my immigrant-based need not to see food wasted, that have led to this daily diet mayhem. Forget giving the kids vegetables – I can’t get them to eat pizza! What the WHAT! 

Anyway, I read this article one time, written by a mom who had slowly gained 15 lbs by guilt-eating her kids’ leftovers. NOT hard to understand. Nothing is more annoying than scraping perfectly good food into the trash. (Which, thanks to said article, I do, rather than stuff my own face with extra food I don’t need.)

So as of the last 6 months, I have eliminated almost all semblances of snacks from our routine (with minor playdate-related exceptions) and it has been working to a great degree. It’s amazing how much more eager they are to gobble up lunch and dinner, when they haven’t eaten a string cheese and a bowl of goldfish crackers 2 hours prior. (Not to mention, picky eater kids is such a first world problem... hey, picky sons – privileged much?) Our pediatrician always uses the tag line “No kid ever starved to death with a fridge full of food” which I totally agree with… but letting them starve until they get so hungry they will eat grilled salmon and steamed broccoli has its own problems:

A) The hungrier they get, the more grouchy and unreasonable they get. Well, they’re not the most reasonable people to begin with, so the worse their moods are, the more insanely difficult it becomes to take them anywhere nor do anything. Mom: “Get in the car, so we can go.” Son: “NO! I WANT TO LAY IN THE DRIVEWAY IN THE PUDDLE OF DIRTY WATER AND GET WET AND DIRTY!” You find yourself playing an intense game of chicken with… well, an unreasonable, small human being.

Then there’s…

B) The worse their moods get and the more difficult it is to deal with them, the worse YOUR mood gets. Dealing with endless, hunger-driven whining makes YOU more moody and annoyed! Then you’re snapping more, and yelling waaaay more, and in turn, they are getting worse… it’s a vicious cycle. Ultimately, it’s just so much easier to throw mac’n’cheese and a handful of goldfish at them, than make the whole family crazy. (And yes, Daddy feels it, when he gets home and has three cranky people waiting.) What is one to do??

As an aside, though – why are goldfish crackers so good?! They’re cheesy, they’re crunchy, they’re good with a side of cheese. They pair well with sweet and savory things! You can class’em up or dumb them down. If someone highbrow told me they put a teensy dollop of crème fraiche and a singular caviar egg on each goldfish and served them as an appetizer to their dignitary guests, I’d totally believe it. (Though, I'd definitely question their judgement.)

Well, hello there.
Wait... do I see NACHO on one of those bags?! Sold!

I recently discovered my own love of goldfish-and-raisin “sandwiches” – two goldfish on either side of a plump raisin. Or a Craisin. Or a couple of currants, which according to my (NON-IMMIGRANT, impulse-buying, American husband) are “Just like raisins, but tiny!” (BTW, do not buy currants. No one will eat them, EVER.) Seriously, the salty crackers with the sweetness of the raisin are freaky good – and I’m sure it’s “good for you” so eating the normal 47 “sandwiches” in one sitting won’t matter.

Also – dip goldfish into cream cheese. O!M!G! Maybe I should say, DON’T dip goldfish into cream cheese. You will not stop until one of the ingredients has run out. I tried it last night, as an after-dinner snack FOR THE KIDS. They had miraculously eaten all of their pasta (thanks Auntie Bev ;)) and plain yogurt AND fruit, but were still hungry (thanks to the NO SNACKS METHOD!) so I thought I’d see if they’d like a little cream cheese-dipped goldfish cracker. They LOVED it! The unfortunate part is that I loved it too. I loved it to the tune of an entire meal portion, thus ruining my own appetite for dinner. Mmm… goldfish. And the multi-colored ones – they’re so cute, right? WHYARETHEYSOCUTE?!?!

Sis, how is spring time in the land of East? We are having the usual rain-rage inducing Oregon “Spring”: Cold, rainy drizzle 6-8 days in a row, followed by random and senseless one or two days of 60-80 degree, kind-of-sunny weather. (So yes, the rainy days are colder than 60.) It makes me realize how much I hate Oregon some months of the year. Actually, let’s just say it – 10 months of the year, I hate living in Oregon. I’m not satisfied with the random warm day, when it’s the end of freaking April. It’s Spring. It’s SUPPOSED to be warm EVERY DAY. There’s a reason stores start carrying shorts, skirts, sandals and cute lightweight dresses in March – it’s because in the season called Spring, one is supposed to be able to wear those items, without a North Face fleece on top. 

Typical week in Oregon "Spring"...
But, hey, keep moving here, unemployed young Californians.

I was telling someone that the weather here is like a philandering husband, who on occasion, in order to make up for his constant betrayals, will try to appease Wife with some half-aced gift.  And she’s like… Yeah, thanks for the Jane Seymore collection open-hearts pendant from Kay Jewelers that I’ll literally never, ever wear, but maybe you could just stop cheating on me all the time, mmmkay? Anyway, I’m ready to move. And you know that says a lot, because I’ve really grown to love beautiful, conscious Portland and its endless supply of illogical but admirably-defiant and unending liberalism. I won’t miss all the Subaru's though.

Ok, Sisee. I hear the whistle of the tug boat, so I best be getting’ my letter to the dock. I hope you, my brother in law and beautiful niece are well in the big city and are “keepin’ yer wits about ya.”

Love you,

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tiny Plastic Pieces and Other Signs You Have Kids

Dear Sisee -

It’s 9:00 AM and I just now ate breakfast. I woke up at 5:45AM thanks to one Alec P. Of course by “ate breakfast”, I mean that while I stood at the kitchen counter, I attempted to shove half a banana smeared in almond butter and honey down my throat as quickly as possible (bananas, almond butter, honey: because I’m trying to eat in a more healthy manner… BOO! That’s not the point – FOCUS!) before a two year-old decided he urgently needed me. I also tried to drink an entire cup of coffee without it getting cold (HAHAHAHAHAHA!! I can hear you laughing! You’re also applauding my dedication to a dream though, right?)
Halfway through my meal, a little kitty cat appeared. A little kitty that looks like a beautiful two year old boy with a mop of curly hair and big brown eyes, who makes teensy high-pitched squealing sounds, while he tries to wedge himself in between me and the cabinet base, wrapping his arms around my legs.

Me: “What is it honey?” Alec: “Meeeeeewwwoooooo…?” That means pick me up. He knows how to say pick me up please in regular human talk, he just doesn’t want to. Also, he doesn’t know why he wants me to pick him up – I know this already. I just asked What is it, Honey? as a formality, and to buy time. What he wants is my attention, because his big brother is at pre-school and he is bored. And he is bored because we walked in from dropping off big brother 10 minutes ago, and he doesn’t feel like playing with the bucket of play-doh “toys” – aka: a million, tiny plastic pieces (that’s more or less how I classify toys: a million tiny plastic pieces and NOT a million tiny plastic pieces) – which he dumped out earlier. He dumped them out initially, not because he needed a particular mold/tool, or even that he wanted to play with play doh, but because he likes the act of dumping a million plastic pieces on a hardwood floor. It’s fun. It makes a loud sound, and everything scatters.

It will take a small act of God to get him to pick these up, and since I feel bad wasting God’s time trying to summon “The Miracle of Picked Up Toys” and also because I’m tired and don’t have it in me to Love-and-Logic-style seize the opportunity to teach some valuable lesson or other, I will just pick them up myself later. Later, that is, after I have pierced the heel of my right foot in that same exact spot that always lands on the sharp corner of something tiny and plastic. This is how I roll. It’s tradition at this point, and who doesn’t love tradition?
[BTW – thanks DADDY for impulse buying that super awesome millions-of-plastic-pieces play doh set, the one time I didn’t go to Target with you guys. Cleaning up all the tiny pieces AND constantly vacuuming dried play-doh crumbs is exactly the piece of the stay-at-home-Mommy fulfillment puzzle that had been missing. Who says only Moms buy uneccessary things at Target? Sarcasm? Yes. Truth? Also, yes.]

This was the account of one fraction, of one morning, of one day, of one week, of one month, of the last 4 years. I didn’t even transcribe this morning’s pre-school “Dance of the Crazy Mom” trying not to be late again.  (Suffice it to say that while I was upstairs for no more than 10 minutes, the kitchen faucet had been on at some point and not all the water remained in the sink. Also, some dry erase markers were involved. Do they know better? Yeah. But do they just really love messes and chaos? Oh yeah.)
It’s funny, on “days like this” I inevitably end up in some hurried conversation with a female who is thinking about having kids, or more kids, or lots of kids, and I catch myself saying something like “DON’T DO IT! It’s hard!” Then less than one second later, I say: “Wait, actually, do it. It’s hard, but it’s fulfilling in the most weird way, that I can kind of explain on most days, just not today.” Then I try to lighten up the awkwardness I just created with something funny like “Actually, do you like to sit down when you eat? Or do you even like to eat, at all? You should enjoy those things now.” (It’s funny, you see, because it’s TRUE.)

My point in all this is that it’s not easy, but there are more good days than bad days. I love my boys so freaking much it hurts, and honestly, 90% of the time, I feel truly privileged that I can stay home with them before they start school forever. At night, I sneak into their rooms, and I pray over them while running my hands over their sweaty little heads, and bend down and kiss them however many times I like, because they won’t push me away. But, do I have to pretend that every day is Mommy bliss? No I don’t. And I won’t.

Can we all just acknowledge that sometimes, it’s not easy and that’s OK? It’s normal. That there are mornings where you are tired, and listening to the tiny people's relentless and loud noise isn't what you were looking forward to? Let’s sympathize with each other and let one another off the hook. You ever meet one of those moms who pretend they love every second of it? You test the waters of Friendship Material by saying something like “It was total chaos this morning – Evan dumped out four puzzle boxes in the same spot, then mixed all the pieces up like soup. WHY would he do this?!” And she gives you that closed-mouth smile, like she has no idea what you’re talking about but is just being polite. Then you give her that sideways smirk, because you both know she’s pretending stuff like that doesn’t happen to her or at least phase her and you BOTH know she’s a liar. (You know who you are – stop it right now, and join forces with the rest of us!) Then one of your kids sneezes and green snot comes out – not because he has a bad cold, but because the tip of a green marker had been up his nose earlier. (All true stories, btw.)
Anyway, it is 10:52. It took, 1 hr 50 min to write this. In order to make it happen, I allowed Alec to open a deck of cards, and scatter them about, while bending and tearing some of them. I also had the tv on. Some other messes were made, which are so routine I don’t have it in me to explain. For a while, he played in my car, in the garage. Also, some of the paragraph starting with “It’s funny” was written with him laying sideways on my lap. Like a cat. I gave him kisses, and squeezed him. Because I love him a freaking ton.

Love you a ton too, Sisee!
Miss you – COME HOME!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Everything Makes Me Cry - So Annoying!

Dear Sisterella –
Can I just begin by saying how ready I am for Kelly Clarkson to take a break from the YOU GO GIRL! single female empowerment ballads? We get it, we get it! You’re single and it’s AWESOME! You don’t need a MAN! That break up made you STRONGER! You’re INDEPENDENT! Cliché much, Kelly? Your voice is above this. Or is it? I don’t even remember / care anymore. A self-respecting artist creates one over-played-but-absurdly sad song after another, (like Adele), makes the world uncontrollably weep (and the world’s husband change the station in the car, because even he realizes that some songs are just “way too sad”) and moves on. I seriously can’t take one more “you don’t know a thing about me” from her. No, we do… we know at least one or two things about you now, trust me.

Oooh, remember how I hate actors and celebrities? (Except for Tom Hanks. He’s just so friggin likable!) But yes, even the ones I like, I really just hate on a lower level.  (I know God wants us to love everyone – I KNOW - this one’s gonna be on the “My dear child, I need to have a talk with you” list when I get to the pearly gates.) It’s just so hard to respect, much less love, people who (mostly) without college educations, and via paths that contribute in precisely ZERO ways to the well-being of other humans, make grotesque amounts of money, then proceed to spend it all on themselves. If a cardiac surgeon made $20 million every time he operated on someone’s heart, got his picture plastered on millions of magazines and websites, and inspired kids to be just like him, I’d be totally cool with it. But don’t even get me started on the fine “art” of acting, much less reality “stars.”  
Thanks to our friend Shay, I was recently watching an interview with Jon Hamm (of Mad Men fame, y’all!) and… wait, I totally lost my train of thought. It was a funny interview… he said some witty stuff. Ah, heck, it’ll come to me.  Why was I even picking on him? Hm… suffice it to say, he’s on the LOWEST level of actor hate. Yes, because he’s funny... and extremely handsome. (I’m not a robot, people!) Oh!... ok, it’s actually Jessica Simpson, whose status as a “fashion mogul” sent me down this dark path. I was watching “Fashion Star” (I have zero self-control and can’t resist) and was VERY puzzled that she’s one of the mentors on the panel of experts (WOW, so many of those words deserve quotation marks, that I can only push shift+’ so many times. “Mentor”… Really?!) so I turned to the ol’ Google for some research.  Apparently, her “brand” is worth… are you ready… a BILLION dollars. BILLION! This Jessica Simpson, who has no discernible talents, and who for the majority of her tenure as a celeb has been known for having TERRIBLE fashion sense (and a creepy dad – another story), has a BILLION DOLLAR fashion line. Meanwhile, physicians spend 40,000 hours (forty thousand!) training and with an average of $300,000 of debt before they start practicing. It’s not hard to see why so many kids think becoming “famous” is a viable career goal, and it makes me CRAZY! Rant over. And Jon Hamm, I’m sorry I dragged your handsome, “cartoon pilot” face (I love you Tina Fey!) into this.
OK, remember how I cry about everything? And you do too? And so do all non-psycho people who have children? It all started after Evan was born, and it got kicked up a notch with the preview I saw ONCE for that Ben Affleck movie where he loses his corporate job and struggles to find his identity. Man, I cried at the THOUGHT of that commercial, like four times. So, I saw the SADDEST commercial the other day. (BTW, why is it always commercials? I think the advent of DVR has caused advertisers to have to step up their game and get viewers to watch and not forward.) It should be noted that I saw said commercial without volume, because I had headphones on while Brett watched tv.
Anyway, so in the commercial there is a family with a sweet little girl, and there are a series of things that lead the audience to believe she MAY have a terminal illness. Ok? You following me? Like, her parents are looking at ex-rays and reports and stuff and she’s like 5 and wears adorable glasses and is laughing and playing with NO IDEA, and they keep giving her those “trying to suppress deep, deep sadness” smiles. They hold her hand and they hold each other’s hands like “we are in this together” and other incredibly sad gestures. Then they take her to the hospital, and she takes off her shoes and gives her mom her favorite stuffed animal to hold, while she slowly lays down and goes through the MRI machine. She’s being so brave, Sisee. Then it shows the doctor with her parents, serious looks on everyone’s faces, pointing to the images of her lungs, and suddenly… they all smile BIG smiles of relief. She’s ok! She’s not dying! They’re so happy! And I’m so happy! Thank you so much… SIEMENS MRI MACHINE….?! The commercial is for the MRI machine. Yes. No, I’m not lying, it is. First of all, I thought the little girl was… I can’t even write it. It’s so sad, the thought of losing a child, I feel like it’s wrong to say the words. Seriously, too heartbreaking to even imagine. You know what’s NOT sad, though? Siemens MRI machines. I want to strongly-worded-letter-punch those guys in the face for sending me into near-hysterics with their inappropriately sad commercial. Really, guys?! Why was it necessary to be THAT sad? I assume MRI machines cost hundreds of thousands of dollars – (Oh!... Google just informed me the average cost is between $1-3 MILLION DOLLARS!)… clearly, I’m not the target audience for purchasing one. Is a hospital exec gonna be watching tv one night and see the super sad commercial and suddenly decide to order one? I don’t get it. Man. Sad! OK, I have to find the commercial on Youtube, and you can tell me if it’s indeed a tear-jerker, or if I should consider a prescription for some “happy pills.” (Which a friend once called “Mommy’s little helper” – haha!)

As a sidenote, the whole time I was writing that paragraph, Brett had been alternately flipping channels between It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, making it more or less like trying to read Jane Austen while a crazy clown dances around you. Not an easy feat.

Sad story part 2: 50/50. The movie called 50/50, that is. My beloved husband brought it home to “cheer” me up last week, on a day when I’d had a looooong day with the boys. A very sweet gesture.
I was like: “Um… isn’t this the movie about a guy who finds out he has a FIFTY FIFTY chance of surviving cancer?”
Brett: “Oh, is it?”
Me: “I think so, yeah.”
Brett: “Yeaaaaaah… I realized that on the way home, but it’s supposed to be a comedy, so he probably won’t die.”
Me: “No, it’s supposed to be one of those poignant sad comedies, where you laugh at a bunch of funny stuff, then get SUPER sad, cuz… you  know… he dies of cancer.”
Brett: “How do you know?”
Me: “I just heard, thas’all.”
So we started watching it, and the whole time I was just fighting back tears at the thought of adorable what’s his name dying. So I stopped watching half-way through. I can’t. I won’t. Moral of the story: you get sad a lot more about stuff after you have kids. So annoying.

Sisee, today the boys were wrestling on the couch, and when I paid closer attention to make sure they weren’t getting hurt, I noticed they were really just aggressive cuddling! It was brotherly love, in the form of tumble-hugs and occasional kisses. So sweet! Boys can be so loving and cuddly. Alec especially, makes kitty cat noises and plops himself sideways into my lap, all the time. Poor Evan, who is more “independent” shall we say, was watching tv one afternoon, and I saw Alec shimmy up to him trying to get his attention with some cutesy meow-like noises. Realizing that Evan wasn’t interested, he finally settled for just sitting quietly as close to Evan as possible without sitting on him, facing backwards, then gently leaning on him cheek-to-cheek. And seeing as how it wasn’t really obstructing his view of the tv, Evan just let him sit like that for like 2-3 minutes, left-cheeks pressed together. Cutest thing ever. I love those boys so much. I tried to reenact it for Brett, and I couldn’t stop giggling!

Alright sis, gotta go. Um… you ever gonna write back, or no more Sisees?? Love ya anyway. Give my niece and her bouncy curls a big smooch!



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

First World Problems


Why have we not blogged in so long?! Obviously, as with almost all other things, it’s either the kids’ fault or the kids’ fault. Amiright or amiright?? Ladies?? I feel like I could give a recap of the holidays and blah blah blah, but you already know the lowdown, so let me instead just complain about other people’s children: why are they so LOUD? Hey, kids… SHHHHH! They’re like tiny little 80’s boomboxes, except the 8 giant batteries never run out and “Take On Me” by “A Ha” plays over and over and over again. I was at the Children’s Museum none too long ago, and the volume was craaaaazy! At one point, in the pretend “café” – (yes, soooo Portland to have a pretend coffee shop in the children’s museum –  I imagine in the Alabama Children’s Museum they have a pretend gator pond. If you are from Alabama and wondering whether or not you should be offended, the answer is, YES. That was indeed offensive to you.) – anyway, where was I?... yes, ok, I was sitting at one of the faux bistro tables in the pretend kids’ café watching Evan and Alec fill up their canvas reusable pretend shopping bags with the pretend organic fake food and this not-so-little girl (like 9-ish) (PS. Why aren’t you in school right now?! This does NOT count as homeschooling – tell your Mom.) kept bringing me literally tray after tray of fake sushi and fake panini, trying to engage me in some sort of play. Uh… what’s that all about?! At one point, having been unsuccessful at discouraging her, I actually said “Sweetie, WHERE is your mom? And please clean all this up.” I should have added “PS. You see those two boys – who are btw, THREE and TWO – I’m watching THEM.” Anyway, from wherever her mom had been undoubtedly texting and facebooking on her iphone, she suddenly turned up and was all “Kennedy, sweetie, bring that over here.” Yeah Kennedy, go… go now!

Disclaimer #1: I, too, was texting and facebooking on my iPhone, which is the real reason I was annoyed – I didn’t pay for an annual museum pass so my own kids would nicely play while I then had to play with someone else’s kid. That would be crazy and a “bad investment” as they say in money talk.

Disclaimer #2: I have no idea what the kid’s name actually was. I just assume Kennedy because this is Portland and that’s what hipster liberals all name their kids. Frankly, I can’t believe I haven’t met any little girls named Clinton. It’s just a matter of time.

Sis, can we chat about First World Problems for a minute? WHY does DVR only record TWO channels at once? How has technology not yet advanced enough to allow me to simultaneously record as many ridiculous tv shows as my heart desires? Really, only TWO?! What’s next – I’m thirsty, so I walk to the local well and fill up my jug? Unacceptable.

I can imagine trying to explain this archaic technology to Evan while we sit at Starbucks in like 10 years, and he’ll say “What’s DVR?? So the little box couldn’t just scan your brain and show you what you want on the “screen”… whoa!” And he’ll use finger quotes around the word “screen” because by then we’ll just have 3-D holograms to watch wherever we want, rather than that crazy clunky tablet called the “TV.” In fact, I’ll just be talking to Evan’s hologram at Starbucks because the real Evan has to be at home doing homework. (The hologram will be impeccably dressed like the real Evan who will hopefully not have that shaggy dog Justin Bieber hair that HAS to be making an impact on the quality of our youth’s vision – how do they SEE with all that hair in their faces, HOW?!) Oddly enough, I’ll still have to buy him a juice or milk from Starbucks, which - with the Starbucks index of inflation – will assuredly cost in the ball park of $25.00 by then. You got me again, Starbucks, even though your mean barista still refuses to thank me when I grab my Americano, even a decade later! And yes, this is all in ten years. Get to work tech scientists – my brain waves aren’t gonna read and start marketing virtual goods to me, by themselves… get crackin’!

So Sis, how is potty training going? Other than being the immense joy that it is, I mean. It’s funny, when you are young and picture yourself with those sweet little cherubs all decked out in their Baby Gap winter plaid, saying cutesy things like CHEE-YOS (Cheerios) and BABA (bottle), it never for even a second occurs to you that you may at some point have to touch pee. And poop. Over and over again. Evan is almost 4 and we STILL have to convince him that he does, in fact, HAVE to go to the bathroom. Son, it does not matter that you already went this morning, or last night, or yesterday… you STILL have to go. It’s not optional. If you eat and you drink, you have to pee and poop. We don’t like it either. I was changing Alec’s #2 diaper today (which he promptly notified me of by repeatedly yelling EWWW! POOP IN MA PANTS! POOP IN MA PANTS!) and as Evan observed the diaper change he suddenly spoke the wisest words to be declared by a 4 year old child: “Poop is gross, Mommy.” Yes, Son. Poop is gross.

Well, Sisee I better go. It’s been short but sweet, no? We covered all the things that needed to be communicated, so I need to take the boys and do some grocery shopping. They will undoubtedly want to ride in one of those ginormous, police car / fire truck / race car shopping carts that I will have to maneuver with the strength of a professional football player. Unsuccessfully. Man alive, do I hate those carts but man, do I love my boys.

Huge kissies to my delectable niece and to you my beautiful Sisee.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mother of perfect angel or being held captive against my will? We'll never know.

My Dearest Sissy:
Hope all is well with you and the family. I love your poignant and astute additions to the Three Little Pigs. It was funny that you should mention that, because Sofia loves the story and I often show her the old Walt Disney classic “silly symphony” of it on youtube. She loves yelling out “huff, puff, huff, puff!” and interestingly, they show the first two “lazy” pig brothers singing and dancing while the hard-working pig is laboring with the bricks.  True to form, the lazy, hippie-artist brothers, also keep singing the taunting song “whose afraid of the big, bad wolf” over and over, even though they’re clearly scared, and never once thank the industrious brother for saving their lives. Your endings, particularly the one about paying rent and building their own brick homes, is infinitely better! Sofia, by accident, found another short cartoon about Pluto’s birthday, and basically the entire cartoon is about how Pluto is tortured by the birthday guests, when all he wants is a slice of cake. At the end, the mean, and thoughtless guests, eat up all the cake, leaving poor Pluto in tears! Then, after they all leave, and Pluto is crying, does Mickey “surprise” him with a slice of cake. WHY? why was all that necessary? and frankly, he was owed that cake, so in the end, to make up for all the torture, shouldn’t he have gotten his cake, plus damages for pain & suffering? Old cartoons are either sad or scary. 
Speaking of cartoons, Dean and I have decided to wean Sofia off of Caillou. Not really because I have such a problem with him, but Dean has developed a sensitivity to Caillou’s backtalk. As I’m sure you’ve witnessed, Sofia learned, “I don’t want to!” and “No, that’s MINE!” and “GIVE ME THAT!” from the little, bald headed fellow. I’ve grown a bit attached to the cartoon, because, well...a)Sofia has learned a lot of great things from him and b)I’m pretty sure he’s bald due to cancer of some sort. I know, I know, they say he doesn’t have cancer, but I’m certain they just don’t want us to treat him any differently. Meanwhile, I’ve got Sofia watching a few episodes here and there, not to cut her off cold turkey. I took more of a methadone approach to Caillou, better to give her a non-euphoric dose, lowering it as time goes on. She now watches one episode a week. She’s taken to liking “Little Bear” on NickJr...which, at least is calm and quiet, but just gives me the creeps. The whole show gives me the creeps. Can’t put my finger on it, but it just does. Thankfully, she loves musicals, so tv-time can mostly go to clips of Sound of Music “Do Re Me” and Annie’s “Tomorrow.” Do you remember before having children thinking we’d never use the television to babysit our kids? We were judgmental losers who didn’t know anything. 
I can’t believe how big Sofia has gotten. She’s turned into this little lady who loves tea parties, pretend feeding her babydolls, and cooking. Wow, now that I write that, am I raising a girl in 1950s deep south? Anyway, she’s obsessed with her bumblebee costume and any type of shoe in general. Do you ever just wake up and think, “omg, when did I become a mother” and do things like literally kiss snot, because my adorable daughter said, “Mama, nose running. Kiss it, make it better?” It was disgusting, but I couldn’t stop myself. And why do I take outright abuse as being hilarious. Just yesterday, I was changing Sofia’s diaper and her feet were close to my head. She actually asked me, “Don’t kick mama in the face?” It was an urge, that she thankfully QUESTIONED. WHY? All I could do was laugh. Why do we do these things? 
I truly believe motherhood is best compared to Stockholm Syndrome, the phenomenon where hostages express empathy and positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. Just think about your life prior to children and how much has changed. Think about how loyally and fervently you adore your little boys. Now tell me, what have they done to deserve this unconditional love? Mostly abuse us. They cry, they need constant attention, they throw tantrums, they make huge messes that they can’t clean, you certainly can never leave them, you cook for them, feed them, change them -even changing their diapers is a fight, wake up at all hours to soothe them...I mean logically, they are irrational people who need constant coddling. They hold us hostage and after a day of tantrums and exhaustion, after they are asleep, we actually MISS THEM and wish they were awake to kiss them 1000+ times. Sissy, we love our captors. It’s that simple.
Sometimes I wonder if Sofia is Marilla from Anne of Green Gables: aka, no-nonsense girl. She rarely cries, has slept through the night from 8 weeks old, and just like Marilla, she knows when to a) mind her own business b) stop the needless gossiping and c) go to bed at a reasonable time. Okay, the first two aren’t really applicable, but Sofia’s sleeping habits have always been amazing. Besides sleeping 8 to 8 and taking a good nap during the day, she has strangely taken to putting herself to bed at times. Last week, she was tired, and came and kissed us “night, night.” Normally I have to prompt bed time, so Dean and I decided to see what she was going to do. We watched as she turned off her light, slammed the door shut, and (viewed from the monitor) ran and jumped into her bed and went to sleep. Seriously? She did this two days in a row. Oh, and if we get back late one evening, and she goes to bed past her bedtime, she’ll sleep in to 10am. The kid likes her beauty sleep! Come to think of it, Marilla wouldn’t sleep in and certainly wouldn’t appreciate Sofia’s puff-sleeves, but would find her a kindred spirit of sorts. No fuss’n about food, sleep, or chores. 
Alright my beautiful Sissy. I miss you and my smart and funny nephews more than you know. I wish so much you could come out here for a visit. You’re the best in the biz and never forget it. Philly expects a visit sometime this year...
Love you with all my heart,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Football Gear and Photo Ops

Dear Sisee -

First of all - do Texans have a patent on "y'all"... cuz it's such a useful and effective way of communicating "you all."

Just a mini letter follow up about the pure, unfiltered mayhem, associated with taking pictures of kids. Last weekend, in honor of the Duck game, Brett and The Boys were all dressed in their over-priced gameday best. It was a lovely sunny day on top of that, so I thought Hey! Why don't I just snap a few quick pics of the 3 Duck fans? You know - just real quick! Easy peasy!

I get out the iPhone (which you know can snap a continuous stream of pics pretty quickly) and it took no less than 51 - yes, FIFTY ONE (I just counted) - shots to get a semi-decent one where:

A) neither kid was trying to run away,
B) no one was backwards, bent over, looking down or crying,
C) Brett wasn't blinking, nor looking frazzled-with-a-hint-of-anger at having to endure this for ONE. FRIGGIN. PICTURE. and,
D) no one was blurry.

I'm frankly just surprised it happened in 51 takes. But I remembered your long-held conviction that it takes a "minimum of fifty" shots, before one looks even remotely decent. Insanity.

Alas, here is the winning entry, if you will....

It took a small miracle and 51 shots to make this happen.

The things we do, Sisee, the things we do.
Love you. Miss you. Give my Sofi the Kissies.