Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Doing Hair

As a mother of a girl, I have to worry about hair. Which means I have to worry about my own limp hair which I affectionately call the "seedweed on a rock" look AND my daughter's hair.

All of you with boys may want to buy the cute bows, the charming hair clips and the fun ponytail holders. Sure. There are a ton of cute clips out there! Pricey too!

But to actually DO the hair each morning? It is a nightmare in our house.

I think everyone has a daily item that they struggle with thier kids. Some hate getting thier shoes on. Or thier coats and mitttens. Or sitting in thier car seats. Seren's "thing" is her hair.

It drives me crazy.

Now lets remember what Seren's hair looks like. It is curly. Wavy. Notty as hell. It looks nothing like my hair. And nothing like Sam's hair.

And I have to brush it. Everyday. And she hates it.

So we have come up with many 'tricks' to help with this task. For a while, I was putting on magic gloves. When I had my gloves on, it was gentle and wouldn't hurt. Sam made the gloves fly so for a while, I had to 'catch' the gloves before putting them on. That was good.

When I took her to the hair cuttery about a month ago, I asked them what I should do. They recommended a leave in treatment, etc., etc. (Really!? A leave in treatment for a 3 year old!?). But Seren said that at the hair cuttery, they did it so that it didn't hurt. So now when I brush it she tells me (everyday) "Just like they do it mom. Down-down-down, side-side-side, top-top".

If I stray from this...say, perhaps going to the top first...I hear about it. "NO!! Down-down-down, side-side-side, top-top."


My best friend has two girls now. And her oldest daughters' hair is always perfect. Always. I have asked her to show me how to do it. She said it is all about the part. Right. But I tried to follow her one summer and Seren's hair is a mess of curls and frizzles. When she takes pictures of the two girls together, I can't help but compare the two heads of hair and I cringe. Case in point:

But I am learning. We are getting into it. We now braid her hair. And she likes that. And we are getting there. Just a lot of work in the morning.

Afterall, it could be worse:

Monday, March 29, 2010


While Seren was looking at wilting flowers in a vase she said,
"Mom, these flowers? They are worn out!"


I just sent out invites for her fourth birthday! FOUR!

Night time chatting

I have no memories of last March. None at all. When I was making Wyeth's baby book and scanning through pictures of last March, I can't recall a single day or moment. The pictures, I took. I am even in some of them. But I was waking up every two hours. To calm. And soothe and feed. And I was in a constant state of haze. Returning to the office in tears after three months at home. Pumping. Working. Driving. Commuting. Sleeping. Not sleeping. Repeat.

This March is different. We sleep. I have actual memories of this month. And I hope to include last night in those memories.

Wyeth and I chatted for a good 15 minutes last night. He had so much to tell me. As if he was waiting until the lights were out to tell me all of his good stories, his funny jokes. He sat in my lap, in the pitch dark, and just talked. Talked about his turtle friend, Webby. And his sister. And Dad and I. And trucks. And chicken nuggets and splashing in the bath.

In reality, I have no idea what he was talking about but talking he did.

I worry, most days, that Wyeth doesn't have enough 'air space' as Seren talks constantly. Sometimes we are required to talk back to her- those are called conversations. Other times, as her Daddy notes, it is a stream of unconsious thought. Wyeth's words are far fewer than his sisters' at this age. And I fear that it is because he doesn't have time to tell us anything. And even when she is quiet, WE are too tired to strike up another version of Itsy Bitsy or the like.

But last night, Wyeth had things to say. Stories to share. And his little babbles would be puncuated by giggles and laughter. Which made me laugh into the dark night. The two of us, me rocking and trying to hum him to sleep; Wyeth talking and giggling and playing with my hair- ignoring my attempts at encouraging rest.

Night time chats, when sleep is close by and the moon is out, are the best.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"They Should call this place Hotties!"

On Sunday, after a long, wonderful walk/hike in Valley Forge, PA, my in-laws treated us to a big lunch at Chili's.

I held my breath about how well this would go. We were eating late. We all had a lot of sun. We just had a big walk and nap time was fast approaching. And we were no where near our beds. In fact we were still an hour drive away. Yikes.

But the meal went really well. And Wyeth learned how to sip out of a straw. He was hooked! That boy was hydrated! He loved this new 'trick'. Seren was busy coloring. The adults were busy eating chips. Wyeth was busy sipping out of his straw. Perfect.

The food arrived and Seren was so excited to chow on mac and cheese and corn kernels. (Which she ordered by herself- she loves to do this). She looks at the food and then looks at me.

"Mom! Why do they call this place Chili's? My food is hot! They should call this place hotties!"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

To be of Use

A long time ago a dear friend of mine sent me this poem on the back of a homemade journal. I filled that journal and many others with secrets, stories, poems and adventures. It remains one of my most prized possessions; grateful for the space to share the stories and for the home made gift my friend gave to me.

As I continue to contemplate this one, wild, amazing life and what I am supposed to do with it, I find a 'home' in this poem. I wonder if you do too.

To be of use
by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

"To be of use" by Marge Piercy © 1973, 1982.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Nice Weather = OUTside

We had a fabulous weekend this weekend! My in-laws were in town, my best friend was in!

And it was 76 degrees on Sunday.

76 degrees. On a Sunday. In MARCH!

I made the kids play outside. (Not that it took TOO much arm twisting). But after several walks, I wanted to go outside again.

"Mooom...We already went outside. Can't we just stay in and do playdoh? I waaaana do playdoh!"

"We did playdoh all of January and all of February. Come on kiddo, strap on those sneakers. We are going out!"

And playing outside we did. :)

Pics of family and friends to come...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

While My Butt is Being Kicked at Work..

I have these photos to make me happy.

The sun is out! The flowers are coming up! I can't wait to PLAY!

Work has been exhausting. But this deadline will come and go soon!

Seren's letters and her note about her 'broder'. (Seren loves Wyeth)

After I saw this image on the computer, I decided a haircut was due.

I'm smiling (kinda) now. The haircut wasn't THAT bad.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"We can't hardly wait"

My in-laws are coming to town tomorrow! They were supposed to come during the last major snow storm! One of the two blizzards. Yeah, that didn't happen.

But they are coming tomorrow! And it is spring time again! Yahoo! Seeing Grandma and Grandad will be great.

Seren said to me this morning, "Mom! I can't hardly wait!"

We saw them last in late November which wasn't that long ago but it feels like a lot has happened.

The other expression which cracks me up these days is "I am so happy that I can hardly speak words."

And trust me, if you have been around Seren, knowing that she can hardly speak words? That is saying something.

Monday, March 15, 2010


My Mom and Dad are enjoying a fantastic vacation this past week. Full of steam baths and saunas on a cruise! It sounds amazing! My mom called to ask of we were all "relaxed" now that the Bar is over.

And yes, life is MUCH better now that the bar is behind us. Sam smiles. We all talk more. It is more focused on family. Yes. But relaxed? Not so much. I don't hold out hope on that for another what, 25 years?! :)

I know I'll look back and say "Those were the best years". And maybe they will be. And maybe they won't be. But I do know, a lot of these moments? They aren't relaxing.

Just for myself, I made a list of the 'events' since Friday at 4:15pm.

* Got myself a quick haircut
* Received great news from two friends
* Had dinner with family
* Watched poor Wyeth lose his dinner right after eating it (too fast?)
* Attempted to clean up the puke
* Had the lights go out while cleaning puke. Nothing better that being on your hands and knees trying to clean something nasty in the dark.
* Saturday morning, Sam went to a consignment sale while I hung out and played with kids
* Drove down to Philly to visit the Please Touch Museum. Had a blast as a family.
* Came home, fed the kids lunch
* Attempted to put Wyeth down for a nap
* Got dressed up
* Drove an hour for 'high tea' with friends. In POURING rain
* Had tea with friends- fun!
* Drove back home and went to another friends' home for dinner. We all played well.
* Sunday morning attempted to give Wyeth a haircut. Screwed up.
* Emergency run to Hair Cuttery
* Sam and Seren went grocery shopping; Wyeth and I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond
* Had lunch as family
* Put very tired children to bed
* During nap, did three loads of laundry (sam), cleaned and bleached both bathrooms (me)
* De-chaulked the tub in the downstairs bath
* After nap, went to Lowes to buy a rug, a tree and caulk.
* Did dinner
* Played. Took pictures. Tickled.
* Did bath
* Did dishes
* Vacuumed downstairs
* Caulked tub on my hands and knees and learned that I kinda suck at caulking
* Downloaded pics
* Bed

See? Nice and relaxed!

Friday, March 12, 2010


Just over three years ago we moved from our short term apartment into our home. To save money, we cut off our expensive cable bill and went with basic. The cable man came to our home. He told us "Well, I don't feel like going up there on your roof. So I'll just say I did, we will bill you with the basic service but you'll still have the expanded."

Seriously? It was definitely a "fight the Man" comment.


And so it went. For YEARS. Then this past summer, they switched to (from!?) analog and we had to hook up this new box. Sam and I were convinced that the gig was up. This time the cable guy came and said, "Oh yeah, your basic, limited (lame) TV will show up in one hour. Enjoy the last hour of cable."

So we did. All that weekend and the week that followed Sam would continue to turn on the tv, see that our cable still did worked and yell out, "It still works! Score!"

This too lasted for months.

Then this Monday I got an automated call on my cell phone, "In our audits this winter, we found that you have been receiving extended cable for the basic price. On March 16th, 2010 you will begin to receive the cable you pay for."


Still, it was a good 3.5 years!

But cue Sam being sad- it is March Madness after all! And he won't be able to see any of it! Even I feel sad about that!

***Thanks to all who generously offered their homes after yesterday's post! Friends off line did too! Geez! What more can I ask for? You guys are awesome!***

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Fever!

Last weekend we had a little taste of Spring. And man, was it awesome!! I raked in the front yard, decided to clean out the garage, cleaned all over the place and felt invigorated by the hope and ENERGY that Spring brings! Yahoo!

But I am also bitten by the travel bug. MAN, I want out of here! I still dream of an annual trek to Oakland/Berkeley but that is way beyond our budget. And so then I start to think about local places we could visit.

When we were young (around 8 or 10 years old), my parents would take my brother, John and I, on these little one night vacations. We usually drove about 15 minutes away and stayed at a hotel with a pool. My friends at the time thought it was nuts. But we loved it! And it serves a critical need to step AWAY from the chores, the endless to-do list, the distractions of TV, etc and focus on FAMILY. We so need this. We have regrouped post Bar but we really need a little escape. I need one with Sam but we also need a little escape as a family.

Seren's "spring break" is coming up in April and I would love to get away. The main sticking point isn't deadlines or work obligations but finances. We still are working on one income so our escape has to be super cheap! Somehow, doesn't offer free hotel rooms. Bummer! :)

Then I think about driving options. Which wouldn't be too bad, right? Virginia Beach, NC, up to CT. Or camping! We could camp! That is cheap! We want to camp this year. But I think we'd FREEZE in early April- in any place we could DRIVE to. I just googled a whole host of places. And I think anything on the East Coast would be hit or miss.

My travel bug will most likely be solved by several work trips coming up but that urge to just get away and have fun? It is pretty powerful these days.

If anyone knows of a contest for a family of four get away to Northern California, would you let me know? Thanks! :)I'm feeling lucky!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

15 Months

Last week, on the 3rd, Wyeth turned 15 months. It still blows my mind. I spent some time reading what Seren was like at 15 months. Some of the differences are tremendous. Some of the antics are the same.

** Wyeth weighed in at 23.75 (25%) and 32 inches (90%). His growing head plateaued! He still has a big noggin but they were glad to see it was the exact same as it was when he was 12 months old.

** He continues to be comforted by nursing but only if I am putting him down for a nap or the night. It gets tough when he is sick, then he really wants to nurse. But it is usually a 'take it or leave it' issue.

** He continues to be on formula. The recent visit to the doctor's last week confirmed that we were given the go ahead to transition to whole milk. We will work on this transition.

** He still rides rear facing in our car.

** The child runs. He climbs. He pushes his limits. Seren had none of this.

** He loves doing the stairs (when we let him). He first climbed stairs at 11 months and now is pretty darn good at it. But we freak out!

** He still doesn't have too many words. We think about 5-6 words. Mom, Dad, uh-oh, duck, hello, hot, cat and cracker. Despite this, the child can communicate EXACTLY what he wants. Now when you ask him for something he can shake his head 'no' if he doesn't want it.

** He hasn't gotten to the pointing phase where the kids point to an object and want you to tell them what it is. 'Dis?' "Dat?" I wonder when that will come...

** The two nap schedule is being left behind. We push him a bit on this. He now sleeps from around 8 pm to 6:30 am and then again from 1-3 or 2-4. This was Seren's schedule (and is her schedule) but I sometimes wonder if he gets enough sleep. 8pm seems late to me. But that is what works for us. Still! My friends' 16 month old is in bed every night at 6:30. When I wig out about this, Sam reminds me that each kid is different. Wyeth is happy and rested so I guess it is ok...

** He "talks" on a cell phone.

** He pretends to feed our hobby horse. I love the early pretending! He'll stick his chubby hand under the horse's mouth and make the eating noise. What a riot! Same with making and drinking tea, 'washing' dishes, etc.

** The boy loves laundry! Man! He loves sorting and unsorting the clothes. I gave him a pile of clean laundry and let him move it back and forth into the basket. Same goes for anything that has a lid. On. Off. Open. Close. On. Off. Open.Close. Sam discovered that he loves those weekly pill boxes. Seven containers that open and close! When I take him to church, I load it up with Cheerios and he is surprised that there is a cheerio in each one!

** He loves to splash in his bath! Seren HATED the bath at this age. OH! It was scary!! Everything was scary to Seren. Wyeth? Not so much. Not scared of dogs. Not scared of the vacuum. He IS scared as of this month, of doctors.

** We need to teach him more songs. We are trying to teach him to dance a bit more too. He'll clap but he needs to learn to groove.

** He still loves to wave. He'll wave at anyone passing by. Dogs. Cars that zoom. People. He really couldn't be more social if he tried. And the smiles! Oh, I melt into those grins.

** He is still a momma's guy. He just gives the best hugs. On the weekend, I pretty much have a permanent shadow/barnacle.

** He is slowly getting 'into' books. He loves the interactive ones. Petting the animals in the books, turning pages, etc. But he is impatient with them.

** Wyeth loves his sister. She makes him smile on a daily basis. He thinks she is SO funny.

Happy 15 month Wy guy. I know I can't capture exactly who you are and what you do in bullet points. So I just try to drink it up. Knowing I won't get these days back. And one day you'll be 15 years old. And have stinky feet. And won't follow me around like shadow. So I'll have these entries and these pictures to remind myself of the way you used to be. And while I'm sure you won't come to me for every one of your needs, I do hope that you'll text or call and look to us as your biggest supporters.

Friday, March 5, 2010


This week has been a time of recalibrating. A time to reassess where we are, where we stand and where we want to go.

We aren't under the pressure of the bar. Whew. So we took the week to just sit back a bit. Not drive forward without any plan. Not that we have a plan now. :) It is just that we are thinking 'big picture' thoughts.

This always happens after a vacation. You come back ready to do it all better. To life more deeply. To be more present. I think thoughts like "I want to run daily. I want to meditate. I should write."


But that is what we are doing, on some level, as a family. Basically, now what?

We just need some sort of plan. On my current radar are the following thoughts:

Find some volunteer opportunity:
** I am working to coordinate a Habitat for Humanity day with my office colleagues.
Good stuff.
** I also sent in my application to Sidelines which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting women on bedrest. More on that venture if I am accepted!

Find my tribe:
This is a big one for me for about 4 years. I have tried many times to do many things to find "my people". So far, this week, I have made two ventures into this goal.
** Attend a 'women's group' at my new UU church. (Set for next Monday)
** Coordinate a women's coffee via a yahoo group that has met on and off for two years

Give additional thought to career next steps:
** Both mine and Sam's. This is a big one. Now what? Sam is already looking for jobs. I consider this admirable considering it has only been a week since he finished. But what kind of quality of life are we looking for as a family?

And something else is pressing on my mind: Seren is turning FOUR in 8 weeks. FOUR. She looks four. She is tall. And funny. But FOUR? Where did the last year go? I feel some sadness about that. And what are we going to do to celebrate?! She is VERY excited and mentions her birthday once a day.

So things are stewing and brewing. We are recalibrating. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Words I Only Want to Hear in About 20 years

Sunday morning, I slept in until 7:30. It was glorious! And I actually feel rested for the first time in about 8 weeks. But when I woke up, I heard words that I am not ready to hear for at least another 20 years.

"MOM! I'm pregnant! See!?"

I can't remember if Seren wanted to do "belly shots" or if I suggested it. But here she is in all of her pregnant glory. I think she is getting close to full term in these shots.

Last night, after her bath, she was putting on her pajamas and giggling hysterically. When I asked her what she was doing, she smiled, turned around and yelled, "I"M HAVING TWINS!"

She had TWO stuffed animals in her pjs. She and her twins enjoyed story time with Mommy before she remarked that being pregnant with twins was "really hard" and "really hot".

Give her a few days. If the number of 'special' friends in her bed is any indication, we'll be calling her Seren Octomom soon enough.