Wednesday, January 30, 2008

lost and found

Last night, my brother told me that I was "inspiring." So, obviously, I must find a way to squash, I mean LIVE UP TO HIS HIGH EXPECTATIONS. Prepare to be dazzled.

So I was reading a very funny post over at While They Play, and Kalurah told the story of the Peanut Butter and the Penis. It made me laugh. A lot. And I said a quick prayer of "Thanks for the Girls."
Ok, are you back? I told you that it was pretty funny.

Then, I remembered the crazy/gross/frightening things that have happened to our girls: They have all -each and every one of them - passed out in my arms. "What kind of horrible parent lets this happen to all 3 lovely Littles," you ask? I had very little to do - and try as I might I couldn't stop any of them from holding their breath when they cried . So each and every child - eyes rolling into their heads, going limp in my arms, quite breathing - passed out!

Noni actually bit a hole clear through her tongue when she fell off of a chair and hit her chin on the arm rest - it took multiple doctors HOURS to decide if they should stitch her sweet, pink tongue or not. In the end? Not. Turns out a tongue is quite resilient. Who knew?

But I think the story that takes the cake is this one:

My children prefer to be naked. Well, really, who doesn't?

One lovely winter's afternoon, Via was playing - naked - in her room. Her new baby sister, Noni, was taking up a lot of Mom's time, so Via found it increasingly easy to create toddler chaos. On this particular day, Via had taken the entire box of hair doodads and dumped them onto the floral rug in the girl's bedroom - spreading pink plastic hair clips and polka dotted ribboned bows from bed to dresser to closet to door. It was like a field strewn with wild flowers, except it really hurt to walk on.

I didn't think much about Via's au natural romp through the plastic hair clips until she came in and told me that she couldn't find her favorite one. I was tired. I was trying to be a supermom to Newborn Noni and Toddler Via, and I don't think I was making the grade on either account.

"Have you looked for it?"


"Honey, I mean have you REALLY looked for it? Everywhere?"

"Yes. It is missing."

She was looking very concerned and close to tears...

I asked in an exasperated voice, "Where did you last have it?"

"Here," she said, and pointed to her body.

"Was it on your lap," I asked.


"Then where did you have it last?"

"Here," she said, more emphatically and pointed to her body again. Now she was starting to cry.

"Via, you just said it wasn't in your lap. Where did you put it?"
I am sure that was really shrill when I asked it - I was sleep deprived, after all.

She lay down on the floor, threw one leg up into the air and pointed at her crotch.

"I put it in there, but now I can't find it."


Now, those of you with children will understand that the toddler years are filled with exploration of the body, with particular curiosity directed at genitalia. It usually doesn't matter who's genitals - "Daddy has a penis. Do you have a penis?" Typical questions my children have asked random men in grocery stores. Toddlers are busy labeling and investigating and exploring.

I totally freaked out! I bundled up my new baby, grabbed Via's winter gear from her bedroom - cursing every time I stepped on a purple plastic hair clip or a yellow plastic hair clip as I searched for clothing, loaded both girls into the solid gold mini-van, and sped down to urgent care. Just imagine, if you will, telling the attending doctors and nurses the reason for this visit. I was absolutely certain that the folks from Child Protective Services would show up at any moment, and I'd be sent home without either girl.

Well, after some gentle examining and lots of discussion, Via ran to her jacket pocket and produced the pink plastic hair clip for the charming doctor with the purple latex gloves. It had been THERE all along. I dissolved into a teary hormonal heap on the sticky vinyl chair while Via danced around the exam room. The doctor and nurse gently laughed, and sent us on our way. They recommended that I try to keep my children fully clothed.

My kids still run naked and now they spend a great deal of time drawing washable magic marker tatoos all over themselves and each other. I haven't had to return to urgent care because I feared that a child had lost something inside their vagina. Now, our motto is "The only thing you can put in there is your fingers." A pretty good motto, I guess. I have had "The Talk" with Via and Noni - they asked. I guess after you've got a toddler at urgent care with a Case of the a Missing Hair Clip, nothing is really that shocking again.

lamp: runner

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

apple: blossom

Here's what I noticed today. Inside my house. Outside my house it's 35 below zero.

Monday, January 28, 2008

monday's inspiration

I've been inspired! The following links are the places that have inspired me today. Most of you know that I have plotted and planned and pleaded and got down on my knees and begged until I finally got a new camera (canon EOS DSLR). In my quest to take better pictures, AND find a place of peace for myself and my family... well this project just seems like the right fit right now. I hope you go exploring and find the magic, too.
Alicia and Heather are swell artists on their own - check out their own blogs, shops and Flickr sites - but together, they share something really special.
They have created the Noticing Project
Mayfly This link is Alicia's shop.
Mayfly: this site is the blog of artist Alicia Alferman
Heather Smith Jones is where you can find artist Heather Smith Jones.

What do you see when you look around your home? Work? School? Neighborhood? I mean, really look. It took me a long time to get past the pet hair, spiderwebs and dust in my house. Yea. I tried to photograph them for the sake of "art", but ... yuck. Who really wants to see someone else's laziness? So, look for a new photo every day (M-F). It's my attempt at peace and perfection. Ha!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

its' a start

It's time to catch up with some unfinished business - here goes:

I've been given the task of passing this award on to other wonderful bloggers. Each of these blogs has something interesting to offer the reader. I'm not certain that any of these lovely folks are into this - or if they even know that I've been lurking around their sites, but you really should visit them, so...
Minnesota Matron starting close to home. Turns out - our children go to school together. Not the same grade, but the same school. Cool. Can't wait to meet her. Love what she writes about.
Ahnalog is another Ahna! This Ahna is the southern version. She is young and creative and thoughtful. She is who I wanted to be at her age. She even spells her name the same way that I do. Cool!
bean & noodle is such a lovely little spot with a magical blend of creativity and parenting.
cjane enjoy it is funny and goofy and real. She's like a favorite cousin.
Derfwad Manor is one of my favorite places to visit. Ms. G is so damn sarcastic and funny and right on the money - I can't drink coffee while I read her stuff. It's likely to shoot out of my nose. (I'm pretty certain that most people who read this blog love her - and at last count, that's a lot of folks. She probably knows how excellent she is, but that's totally OK.)
Inside Out is a lovely, soft, gentle site. Very thoughtful. Full of love. Written by my very favorite sister-in-law!
Marsbarn Designs... is a really creative spot to visit. I am always inspired by the creativity that bubbles over here. Creative and a great mom - wow!
Welcome to the Patti-O is definitely one of my favorite spots to visit. Patti has such a sarcastic wit and a sharp sense of who or what is full of it - she'll happily share her take on things which is usually very funny! She'll openly share her take on life. Without fear of trying to please everyone - very refreshing!
shining egg is a great site! The photographs are gorgeous and her take on mothering is very refreshing. I love what is written, but visually - it's gorgeous!

There are so very many great sites that I visit, I can't include them all. Perhaps at another time I will share more snippets and insights into the ones I love.

We Rocked the Cradle in style. This is Noni and her buddy, Otto. She loves Otto. She will do pretty much whatever Otto says. She was all set to dance with her mother until Otto said he didn't want to dance. Then Noni wouldn't dance. When I suggested that we dance our buns off, she just rolled her eyes - did the tsk & huffy - and then, she crossed her arms and gave me a sassy look that I expect to see well into puberty. Great. Otto and Noni did exactly what they wanted to do. It seemed that they had a great time together. Glad I could be there to chaperone.

This is Noni taking in the rhythms of the day. She really is an art and music lover! It's so fun to go places with her because she so actively appreciates what she is seeing and hearing.

That's a start. I'll check in again in a day or two. Couple of stories that I can't wait to share with all of you.
Here's to a restful Sunday evening and a rockin' week!

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I am going to a party tonight for our dear,sweet neighbor. It is a surprise birthday party! He is 38 years old. Tonight, we are celebrating more than just another ordinary year. We are celebrating a spectacular year. You see, he has survived what the doctors decided was an inoperable brain tumor. He has been through many rounds of chemo and radiation. The cells have stopped growing and the tumor has actually shrunk in size.
And so, we celebrate this spectacular year!

As I walked with his wife this morning, we talked about the power of positive thought and prayer. She firmly believes that his health and healing are a direct result of prayer and positive thoughts.

Recently another friend, a few blocks away, was given a new diagnosis. She also has a brain tumor. She is just beginning her journey on the path to renewed health. She and her husband will go to Mayo on Monday for a new round of tests and pictures. She has said that she will "not give the thing inside her head the power to take her life." She has 2 small children and a lovely husband.

And yet another neighbor is finishing up her last round of chemo. She is a breast cancer survivor. She also is young and has a family. She is also strong and positive and has a courageous faith.

Is the power of prayer and positive thought enough? How does anyone look at such a diagnosis without being frozen by fear? How does my friend go on with her day without falling into a heap of tears on the kitchen floor?

I obviously don't have any answers, just lots of questions. And prayers.
If you have the space in your heart to include these people, I am inclined to believe that prayer and positive thoughts are a powerful healing tool.

Friday, January 25, 2008

oh dear.

What a dork. I thought Sally Field. I saw Sally Field in my mind. And yet, I wrote Sissy Spacek. Who I do like quite a bit. I think she's a great actress... but I KNOW that it was Sally and not Sissy who had the same insecurity thing that I do. I wish I could chalk up my brain fart on hard livin' and tough lovin' but, alas, I fear that it is simply old age and young children. C'est la vie. I still love all of you!

I'm off to tame a wild young cowboy. What are you doin' this balmy Friday night?

And of course, by "cowboy," I mean my kids - the Littles - are running stampede through the bedrooms and I've got to corral them to greener pasture for the night.

I wish that I meant "Cowboy" as in hot young college boy, scantily clad in chaps, a hat and a low slung guitar... mmmm.

obviously, I need more sleep.

Or an pretty pink cocktail

Or less bedtime stories that rhyme.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

you like me. you really like me.

I had a perfectly difficult day today, and when I checked my on line pals - searching for solace and a few laughs - guess what I found? My friend Kalurah over at While They Play had planted a big wet one on me! Well, let me tell you what - I feel a whole lot of better knowing that someone thinks I'm excellent. I feel a little like Sissy Spacek - "You like me. You really like me!"
Watch this site for the names of those I will be giving this award of excellence to... How fun! The power. Oh, the power..... mwahahahahaha!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

quick pics

This is what happened at Martha's Cabaret. That beautiful blue haired child - she's our expert on 'bear-fish' underwear. We had a blast - laughed a lot. The Littles really loved to play at Martha's. We're going back next month- wahoo!!!

This is what I saw at bedtime last night. Noni helping Yaya brush her teeth. I didn't ask her to help her sister, she simply took it upon herself to help. She's feeling much older and more responsible these days. Do you notice how great at brushing teeth she is? She doesn't even have to watch what she is doing.

And this is what happens when you don't watch what you are doing...
It takes a surprisingly long time to get sticky blue toothpaste out of long blonde hair.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

ww tuesday. wahoo.

So. I know that you have all been waiting for me to check in. Gosh. Who wouldn't.
I had a great week. Stuck to my goals. Ate really great food. Exercised my buns off, I hope.
Now you know.
** Editors note: I lost 5 pounds this week. I totally rock! Yea me! 'Working my ass off' seems to be working out OK!**

On other notes, this is what I was greeted with the other morning. Life is good!

Friday, January 11, 2008

in search of the fun(k) in family

While researching tomorrow's goings on, I checked into the Public Radio Station (The Current is one of the event hosts) and I found this great link. Wonderground Radio Check out the awesome play list. Now, this is some music that would actually be fun to play AND it's totally "kid safe!"

This is a page from the on-line coloring book. Down load the whole thing at the link below.

I think that a fabulous time will be had by all! Check it out, if you'd like: Rock the Cradle!

Before we Rock the Cradle, we are going to lunch at a great kids theater event: Martha's Clubhouse at the BLB!
Editors Note: We, luckily, figured out that the Rock the Cradle event isn't until NEXT Sunday - I am a dork!

Martha is actually our good friend Ann. She is hilarious! The kids dig her.
Editor's Note: Check out our Flickr link for photos of this great event!

Martha's Improv and Kiddie Cabaret

Join Martha & guest for an hour of improv fun and games for the whole family. Children are gently encouraged to get on stage to improv with Martha & her friends. We’ll travel to distant lands, sing funny songs and tell tall tales all right there on stage. (Parents… there is some good life stuff in here too!)

The Bryant Lake Bowl is such a rockin' place to be. It's in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. Artsy-cool-young-hip. Many moons ago, I lived just down the street from this place. It had not found it's groove then. It was a scary liquor joint! Now it's sort of a bar/bowling alley/theater/all-around-hip-hangout. They make their own root beer and have really fabulous eats! This is a venue that both Daddyman and I have work before. It's a home to some really interesting, adventurous, wacky theater and music. If you are ever in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area, you should really try to stop here for a beer and a little bowling. If you can get a ticket, what ever is playing will be something you've probably never seen before! If you are in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area and you are going to the BLB, send us an email and we'll join you for a beer!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

weekend plans, anyone?

Fist of all - thank you, all you tricky on line friends, who wiggled your way around the disengaged comment option to wish me well inmy new health endeavor. I appreciate your good wishes so very much. Update: Day 3. Sticking to my diet and exercise goals. Avoided that which I love the most - coffee cake! (Yea ME!) Switched sugar for Splenda. All is well. I feel proud of the choices that I am making and I'm on the road to a healthier me.

This is what we're doing this weekend. Our children's theater and groovy art museum and indie radio station are all supporting this event. There will be stories and artsy crafty things to do with the Littles. They even get to participate in an on air radio broadcast. Cool. But, I am mostly looking forward to dancing with my girls.
During the summer months, The Minnesota History Center sponsors a night of music every Tuesday in the summer. They bring in all sorts of crazy music groups - reggae, blue grass, swing, indie rock, string quartet... We bring a picnic and a bottle of wine and camp out on the hillside in the warm evening air. Usually, it is a band that is totally dance-able. Last summer, I took the girls by myself several Tuesday evenings. I have some of the best memories of dancing with the Littles on the open air plaza!
I think this event will have a similar funky feeling, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to share it with my girls. I am glad that Daddyman will be available to attend this event with us. We all miss him when he is doing his actor thing.

Hope your Thursday is going great!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I am mother-ish

I think I've discovered the problem with my parenting.

I sat next to my children at the kitchen table, and realized that
I feel so damned out of control because my children are just
gelatinous blobs of goo that I gave squeezed off myself and are now
somehow living next to me. I still feel the need to control what
they do much is the same way I need to control what I do...
We are like an amoeba, except in revearse.
We are like a bowl of Christmas Jello that was left on the counter
too long, we are melting and separating at an alarming rate.

I know that my children feel it, too. Judging by how much of their
flesh must come in contact with my flesh at any given moment throughout
the day. It's like we are trying to get our cells to rejoin into one
gooey girl blob.

We are a wet and messy bunch.

hang on to your hats, it's going to be a bumpy ride

Today, I bought a pair of gorgeous shoes. Nikes. The first pair of athletic shoes that I have purchased - for myself - in at least 10 years.
Today, I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting in almost 7 years.
Today, I worked out at my new gym - it's a girls only sort of place.
Today, I purchased a bus pass to ride the city bus - which I will have to walk several blocks to ride.
Today, I went to the doctor and had an entire physical. Blood work, the whole deal - and I am really fucking healthy. Except that I am fat. No, not just fat. Morbidly Obese.

Today, I decided ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH!

I am not telling you this so you will stand up an cheer (Even though history shows that I really love an audience!)
I am not telling you this so that you will ask me "how's it going" with strangely chipper voices and forced smiles.
I am not telling you this so that you will offer advice or pity or sympathy or understanding.

I am telling you this because I am done lying to myself!
And I am done lying to you.

I feel like a skinny girl. I feel like a pretty girl. I look like a fat girl, and that does not make me happy.
But most importantly, I am afraid that if I don't do something RIGHT NOW, I am going to die.
And I really don't want to die.

I will canoe, ski, hike, dance, play with my children for more than 5 minutes without sweating like a pig.
I will run a half marathon within the next year.
I will loose between 70 and 80 pounds so that I fall into the healthy weight range for my height, gender and age
I will bring my BMI down to a healthy range of 20 -30.
I will walk by a window and know that I look GREAT.

And, I will be around to watch my children grow into adults. Healthy, happy, confident women.

All I ask of you is this:
Don't offer forgiveness for mistakes.
Don't offer suggestions or sympathy.
Don't lie to me or tell me that "no one really thinks of you as fat."

DO ask me to go for a walk. A climb. A bike ride. A run. And hold my ass to the fire when I try to find a reason not to go...
Cheer me on when I am almost to the finish line.
And most importantly, Please remember this:
I just want you to be my friend!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

poverty. epiphany. hope.

Today, in the Christian church, we celebrate Epiphany. The following is based on "A Common Foundation: Shared Principles for Work on Overcoming Poverty," an interfaith statement which is guiding work through A Minnesota Without Poverty.

A Litany in Epiphany of Commitment to Ending Poverty

In this season of Epiphany, the glory of Christ has shined upon us and will continue to shine as we look for the daily presence of Christ in the world.
As we live through the rhythms and changes of life, let us remember to live by our faith in God's salvation which leads to healing the wholeness for all creation.

As a people of faith, with varying traditions and beliefs, we see a vision of common work which we can do to combat poverty and to walk with people living in poverty.

We believe it is the intent of God in Christ: that all people should have enough of this world's goods to live with dignity.

that we avoid those things which divide those with too little from those with more;
that all necessary private and public resources work together to end poverty;

that all communities of faith be invited to commit to overcoming poverty;
that direct actions and advocacy in the public arena be used to end poverty;

that government be called to work with communities of faith in bringing an end to poverty;
that overcoming poverty is an Epiphany hope that we learn in Christ. We are determined to let the light of God in Christ shine throughout our communities so that people of faith will see the call that ensures that no person is forced to live in poverty.

I was astounded to learn the number of people living in poverty in the state of Minnesota. Do you know how many people are living in poverty in your state?

MPR broadcast this information in 2006, and of course, there are many, many more reports that tell us just how many children and families are living in poverty. Of course, lack of insurance goes hand in hand with poverty and low income.

My dear friend and Sister-In-Law wrote about the school on wheels and about the poverty that fueled its existence. I teach theater in an inner city public school. I see poverty every day. I know children who go home to crazy environments with parents who will do just about anything to keep a roof over their family's heads. I know children who bounce from shelter to shelter to shelter.

Sometimes, I wish that I could bring the whole world into my life...

Sometimes, we have enough.
Sometimes, we have a little more.
Usually, we have not quite enough.
We struggle and worry and draw straws - who shall we pay today?
My husband is an actor and a writer and a stay-at-home dad.
I am a part-time teacher and actor.
We pick up all of the extra gigs that we can.

And still, my family is so very, very fortunate.
We have one car - just one, that is woefully under insured...
We have three lovely children - three, that are woefully under insured...
We have a lovely home - just one, that has a mortgage just barely within our reach...

We are so lucky, even if we sometimes feel the squeeze of wanting and needing more.

And I look to my friends - doctors, and architects, and lawyers, and artists - and I wonder if they ever feel that squeeze?
And I look at all that is around me, the glutenous abundance that is being advertised everyday, and I wonder which is better: the safety of financial security or the happy laughter that fills my home?

This celebration called Epiphany celebrates the 3 wise men that came to find Jesus shortly after his birth. They were guided by a star to find this baby. What star guides you? Family? Fame? Fortune? Faith?

The wise men brought offerings for the baby they knew that they would find. They gave up Herod's dreams of fortune and control to protect the Child of Hope. They knew what they would find when they followed the star. And they knew what they would do when they found what they were looking for.

What will you do when you get to where your star is guiding you?

I don't know which star I am following anymore. I don't know if I am following more than one star - can I do that? Or will I just end up wandering around the desert?

I do know this: poverty sucks. Our family may not have much, or on some days - enough, but it is enough to share with anyone. Anyone who asks. Anyone who needs to be fed. or clothed. or sheltered.

What will you do to end the poverty that mankind shares with you?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

marianne... or ginger

So, which Austen heroine are you? Apparently, I am Marianne Dashwood. Huh. Really? What do you who know me think? Is this true? In any case, I'm just happy to show up in an Austen novel. That's got to count for something.
I am Marianne Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

I guess I was really hoping for Ginger. Mary Ann is so cute, and I'd like to be a little va-va-voomy in the new year. I guess the blessing is that I am more Mary Ann and less Mrs. Howell...


Thanks to everyone who commented and e-mailed and called to talk about my recent failure in the kitchen. I am happy to report that I have had success.

How did I do it, you ask? New flower, new cast iron pan, new method of blending with a new hand held blender... you get the idea. Daddyman is certain that I have lost my mind now.
The results of this yumminess yielded a dramatically puffy, slightly crispy, light and airy oven pancake.

So, who's up for a cup of coffee and a slice of this yummy baby?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

puff pancakes and plaid santas

I tried. I really tried to make this Dutch Baby Oven Pancake. It's supposed to get really big - dramatic. This is not dramatic.

Ok, you bakers out there... any ideas as to what went wrong. The recipe is not a hard one... one cup of flour, 6 eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar. Put the cold batter into a hot pan with 6 Tbsp melted and bubbling butter...

I think the Littles loved it - we topped it with vanilla yogurt, almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup. I want it to work. I want it to be amazing. So far? Not so amazing...

We put butcher paper on the living room wall for the holidays and let the Littles and all of their friends have at it. This is one of my favorite doodles. The Plaid Santa.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

new hat

Our friend, Hillary, stopped by yesterday to give Noni this lovely hat. She did it so that I could have my lovely hat back
Noni loves this new. She hasn't taken it off since yesterday. She even asked to sleep in it. She says that it's going to be her signature hat. I think that it suits her.

This morning, I overheard Noni and Daddyman talking. At one point, there was the potential for a little tsk and huffy from Noni. I held my breath - no tsk and huffy. Daddyman told her that he'd noticed how she respectfully she been treating her family today - no tsk and huffy. Noni told Daddyman that since it was 2008, she'd "changed her act."

It appears that Noni is the process of creating a new image for herself. One that she is apparently putting some thought into.

What are you working on this New Years Day?