Sunday, July 30, 2006

Less Blogging, More Mommy (and a gratuitous boob shot)

I have some less mommy blogging and more supergirl needs mommy time today, but thanks to my new friend Elizabeth from Table4Five for the great new header idea! Ha!
We claim our right to use the word penis liberally and without restraint!
I don't think I have been in one place with so many brilliant, wonderful, awesome and funny women in at least...well, EVER!
I'm not name-dropping. I will tell all some about only those I actually met. But not right now. Right now I have to go play something that involves pink plastic ponies, oh save me for the love of all that is sacred.

For now, I will leave you with this shot of my nearly illegal cleavage. Enjoy them - they're only temporary, and I sure am!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mind full.

Back home now. From BlogHer.
Speechless (almost).
So many new friends. So many gorgeously giant brains. So many mammaries! So much inspiration, so much to process, so much fun.
My new best roommate in the world, and the woman who convinced me to go to BlogHer, was none other than the amazingly great prize winning writer, Jenijen. Who will certainly achieve sainthood for offering to share her room with A BABY (and me too) after being able to leave her own four at home. My deepest thanks, dearest one.
I think we had a little too much fun nearly peeing ourselves with hysterical giggles at- I think it was - 3 am, poor little Bubbles. Actually, he was quite the partier himself and stayed up rockin it with the flirting and the ladies until most little 9 month old babies were already fast asleep.
Check out his hot new girlfriend, Adrianna.
Does that kid look like he had fun, or what?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I think I need to go out more often

So, on my way out the door last night to the pre-BlogHer Mommybloggers dinner, after many hugs and kisses had been delivered, I called out my goodbyes to Supergirl.
"WAIT! MAMA! WAIT! WAIT!!" (can you read the urgency?)
"What, sweetie? What is it? Mama needs to go."
"WAIT! Before you leave, could you please tell Daddy that you are going so he knows to take care of me?"


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Non-commercial Midsummers Heatwave Party

For 12 years I threw a Summer Solstice party that rocked this mountain. After Elijah died, June just came around too soon...and it seems the solstice party may have died with him. But last year we decided to throw a midsummmer's party instead, being that Supergirl's birthday is also July 20, it seems a great time to get all festive. It was a hit, so we went that route again this year. We combined the all-out summer celebration and the pink ballerina sparkle heart rainbow fairy fifth birthday party. Hey, I can pull off almost any party.
Like dear Lin, we had our Party of the Summer on Saturday. And like dear Lin, the temperature at our party was over 105 degrees, no joke. California heatwave, my ass. More like the gates of hell and welcome to global warming. Thank goddess I say for the pool. Not one of them fancy inground ones, just our little everyard white trash pool...but 36 inches of water never felt so good as it did on Saturday! Just ask Jen, who is still somewhat shy about admitting that she walked around in her underwear at our party after cooling in the pool. What she didn't know is that nobody noticed, as most of them were also in their underwear (which shockingly resemble bathing suits!), and quite frankly the dress code at our place is, well, optional.
Many of our faithful party goers (so many bailed due to the heat) camped overnight, an annual tradition. As the night cooled off to a mere 93 degreese, not much sleep was had by anyone, frankly, and least of all by those in tents and my 9 mos pregnant friend who insisted on sleeping in their VW van!
Oh- have you ever tried to get buttercream frosting to become buttercream frosting, let alone stick to the cake, when the temp is 106? It does not work. But I whipped up some fluffy pink stuff and piled it on high enough to make it stick. I will add 'upload pics' to my list of chores today.
At any rate, Supergirl's party was a blast. Because Mary Poppins was in town to help, you know. It really was awesome. We set up a stage in the yard (no we didn't build it, we just re-appropriated a deck) and decorated it with pink curtains, unicorns, rainbow lights, with fairy skirts and wands for the taking. We were treated to many 'performances' during the evening, and any parent who has a four or five year old probably knows what I am talking about. Which is why we did it. Because that is what those kids love to do! Well, that and what Supergirl was telling anyone at her party who would listen after she had slugged down a few full strength juice boxes and was uninhibitedly speaking her mind: "Well, I wanted to have a cinderella party, but my parents won't let me have anything commooshal, so I picked a ballerina fairy party."

More to come, pictures too, but I have to get ready to go meet some mommbloggers I get to participate as a non-lurker in the upcoming Blogher festivities. Yee-haw!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mary Poppins is at MY HOUSE

So happy! Auntie Deedee is here for FIVE WHOLE DAYS!! Can I get a WOOHOO?!
Oh yes, we packed our little family into the old van and headed up to the big city today after collecting beloved auntie at SFO. If you have ever heard a story or comment about San Francisco in the summer, chances are the words 'sun' and 'warm' were not included unless bitterly recounting the lack thereof. So you will understand the weight of what I am about to say.
There was no fog in the city of San Francisco anywhere today, AND I wore a tank top all day and never once needed fleece. It was truly amazing, and I have lived in this area for 19 years.
So we had a stellar lunch at the grimy gourmet House of Nanking in Chinatown, then shopping, oh the shopping! I could easily spend all day in Chinatown, but it seems I never have more than 2-3 hours there, which I suppose is just as well since shopping does involve spending money.
But Supergirl wanted pink silk pajamas for her birthday (tomorrow), and I was more than happy to oblige, as this is a tradition we started years ago for Elijah's first (okay, only) birthday and it is sweet to carry it on- plus they just look so damn cute in those outfits! I will post some pics later, but Supergirl, Bubbles, and G-mama all came away with some swell new flash.
We then went on to meet friends at the Fairy Building (shhhh- we don't want Supergirl to learn that it is really the Ferry Building) and gather them up to trek to the opposite end of the city - Ocean Beach, where the Beach Chalet Restaurant (and BrewPub) is primely located to watch an amazingly fog-less San Francisco sunset. Wow. Welcome to the left coast, Auntie Deedee!
So back the WOOHOO? Auntie Deedee is better than cake. What can I say? Better than chocolate - THAT good. NOW you understand, right? Babies love her. Supergirl worships her. Think Mary Poppins for the kids, valium for the mom. Natural valium, mind you. Although she is Dh's sister, she likes me better, and loves the kids best of all. So what does this mean for Gwendomama? This means that I will be able to look forward to things like: crapping without an audience, potential uninterrupted naps, showers that last longer than 3 minutes, help folding the Mt Denali of laundry piles, the ability to pull off The Party of The Summer on Saturday, the occasional moment to blog...just to name a few...and for the next four days!!! (today is spent)
So can you hear me?


Saturday, July 15, 2006

For Parent Bloggers (not just those sans penis)

A big THANKS shout out to Guy! No, not just for linking me on his 'Ultimate Mommy Bloggers' list, but for sending me this article.
I am still sniveling like a baby after reading it.
More on 'Kids Today' Here.
Actually, this one brought a few tears as well, having a child that is about to enter school.
As Guy put it, "If this isn't mommy blog material, I don't know what is."

7/16 update:
somebody (you know who you are, virginia) just emailed me to tell me that, as a mommy blogger, i should probably not use the word 'penis' in my posting title. i am terribly sorry to everyone out there with or without a penis, for using the word penis, because i had no idea i was not supposed to use the word 'penis'!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Trolling for Truthiness

I have spent too much time thinking about this.
You have to read down to the comments section to see the war I walked right into.
I am pretty new at blogging and I also don't know when to just walk away sometimes.
Mary writes about it further here.

So, I might use a variety of different adjectives, adverbs and even the occasional noun to describe my life. Others may have an even wider variety. But I don't think 'superficial' has ever been one of them until this lovely troll slung it at me. And so, knowing the difference between a real judgment and an irrelevant insult, of course it didn't bother me, right? Wish I could say that was true.
I wondered often yesterday at the things I was doing:
10am drop off Supergirl and her posse at camp (was this superficial?)
10:30 drop off van for smog check (was this? surely the DMV doesn't think so)
10:50 spend an hour at the social security office getting cards for my children (this? i don't know - supergirl is going to kindergarten...)
12:00 change another poopy diaper, more breastfeeding (no, I don't think this gritty reality is superficial. is that poop on my hand? oh let me go take care of that while I balance the baby on hip with the non-poopy hand!)
12:15 shove cheeseburger into mouth with freshly sanitized hand while nursing and talking with friend (oooh! indulgent lunch date!) about how much we love our babies (now SURELY that counts as superficial, right? cause they're just average babies, nothing special)
1:00 pick up van
1:15 van not ready. dash over to nearby superstore for some plastic crap for Supergirl's upcoming birthday party (now I know if it involves my credit card, it must be superficial, right?)
1:30 van still not ready. nurse baby in grimy garage waiting room.
2:00 RUSH through grocery store to get groceries AND still make it the 20 miles to pick up Supergirl and her friends (it's my carpool day) by 3, jiggle and cajole baby through store to stick to strict schedule...
3:00 pick up and gather children, lunch boxes, backpacks, art projects,
3:10 answer a playdate question with the answer 'no' and drag own screaming child off playground. deal with tantrum. (is this superficial because the child is not 'special' and my parenting is not extreme? really feels extreme in the moment)
3:25 buckle three children into carseats, sing songs for 3 miles then break up some petty arguments and encourage much snack sharing. drop off children that are not mine.
4:15 HOME! NOW the fun begins! we have babyfood making, painting, crying, baths, dinner for those with teeth, more baths for those who insist on wearing their food, really...nobody needs to hear the details of the singing, the book reading, the kisses and hugs;The Bedtime Routine (that lasts for 2 hours) because I am sure you have your own to deal with. Don't you?
But you get the idea.

I have spent time angry at this person, and have come to the conclusion that I have to let it go. It's not about reality, it's about her truthiness. It's not about validating my parenting, it's about her anger. I mean, come on - this is a person who WISHES a special needs child upon another parent, JUST SO THEY KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE! WTF??? (no, cannot contain or muffle anger here. really. Just WTF???) Now THAT shows sincere sensitivity to children! WOW!
I can understand a lot of what this angry little troll is going through - which is what I was trying to say in my original comment - it IS hard to be the parent of a child with special needs! It IS indeed hard to be part of this club you never willingly joined. It IS isolating to have a child that you cannot take out in public unless all defense is in place. It IS ALSO hard to parent your other healthy children and maintain some sense of a normal life when by all accounts you can't find the normalcy. It IS hard when you have just come back from the neurologist having told you your child's brain is not quite right, and your friend calls you to rant about what her ex-husband did at her kid's birthday party. How insensitive! My child may never even go to a freaking birthday party, and she wants to rant in MY ear? Jesus!
But what a waste of time that seems to me now that my 'imperfect child' is gone. How I wish I could have those days I spent angry at the world back again. I would only sing to Elijah, I would let the anger go.
I am not perfect. I am still very angry about losing him. I can't seem to let that all go. Yet. But I know that someday I will have to - or it will destroy me.

So, back to the troll...The anger is leaving me. I just want to have empathy and patience for her (? him?) because I do know in my core, that if someone is that angry, they are in great pain. Clearly this person is NOT getting the support she needs - either from her community of friends, or for her son...I don't know. But I do know that the anger comes from the deep deep pain of being hurt, simply put. To acknowledge that hurt does not mean that you love your child any less, but it feels that way to we-the-mothers sometimes. There is so much guilt attached to those feelings.
Dear Anonymous:
I think you are an amazing mom (dad?). Your son is lucky to have a parent that cares so much to be so involved and dedicated to the commitment of ABA. You are doing a great job as a parent. I wish for you strength and good friends. I hope that at some point, things get easier for you.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


So, I convinced dear Jen and her sizeable family to come to a north coast beach - much nicer, in my very biased and neighborly opinion, than the one she was headed for. Pay for parking? Phooey!
Okay, so we did this on Thursday. But Jen is far more organized and fast as lightning!
Amazingly, I got my entire family (Dh- decidedly homebody) to come along, and amazingly still, our entire family arrived at the same time as did their entire family.
I am in love with Sophie. Oh. My. She is so smart, spritely and fearless - a great match for Supergirl! All of Jen's kiddos were sweet and interesting people, even though I did scare the heck out of Nate by asking him a direct question with eye contact.
If it had not been so damn cold, the girls might have been more inclined to build sand castles together than huddle shivering in blankets, nibbling the cookies that Amazing Jen had baked. THAT DAY. Not just one kind but two. Chocolate chip for the kids (I nabbed one - yum) and these tasty morsels for the adults. Ommmmmm....divine.
We did manage to stay for the sunset, but the visit was cut short by the freezing winds and the sight of my shivering infant. Once home, and after the children were bathed, warmed and sleeping, I poured myself a favorite flavor and sat down to read and eat some more of those addictive cookies that Jen sent home with me, and they magically disappeared. I am pretty sure the cat got into them when I got up to pee. Wow! Gotta get me some Ibarra to make some ASAP!
Sadly, I think I frightened Jen with my pinot-enhanced appreciation for her cookies (really though - the combination canNOT be beat!), because I sent her a little love note of thanks and quoted lyrics from a Partridge family song. So I can be a little overzealous if you give me a gift involving chocolate, admitted.
Anyway, I can't wait to do it again - see those kiddos fight pirates and defend castles together. OR just drag really large rocks around. Whatever. But next time I will bring wine - which is far more warming than the chilled beer we brought (doh!) - and probably an armload of firewood would be nice as well, so we won't have to make such a hurried and fussy exit.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

makes me laugh

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

When jam fails, make cookies

So, every year I go strawberry picking down the road, and every year I make jam with those berries. Not the kind Nana used to make, with all the boiling of jars and steamed up windows and cooked jam. Freezer jam - jam for idiots. I am a baker, not a canner.
But even freezer jam is not foolproof, as I found out the next day and realized the jam had not set, and had in fact become strawberry waffle syrup instead. In retrospect, I think I was a bit conservative with the sugar, and if you do not measure exactly, your jam will not set.
So, after making and eating crepes with said strawberry syrup for breakfast, I considered my plight, and the fate of the remaining jars of jam-syrup.
When I was pregnant (can't remember which time), I stopped often at the strawberry farm down the street, and became hooked on one of their baked goods - jam bar cookies, they had inexquisitely named them. I dubbed them 'butter bars of yum'. And then Andrea-the-baker stopped making them and I was sad. But then one day, after much begging, Andrea gave me the recipe, and I was happy. And happier still when I accurately cut down the recipe from commercial kitchen sized to my 5qt Kitchenaid size.

Here's the thing: you need to have a stand mixer OR you need to put the ingredients in a very large bowl and use your hands. Messy work. I prefer the mixer, my single best kitchen investment to date.

Butter-Jam Bars of Yum
In the order listed, place in mixer bowl:
One pound (yes, four sticks) of cold butter, cut into cubes
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1Tbsp vanilla
5 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups oats
1 cup+2Tbsp shredded coconut
1 cup + 2Tbsp chopped walnuts (I use walnut meal which is dirt cheap at Trader Joe's and I use it to sneak protein in on Supergirl's pancakes and so forth)

Mix with paddle on low speed (#1) until coarse meal. Do not overmix.
It will just barely fit in your mixer bowl if you have a small one like I do, but do not despair - it looked as though it would overflow, but I only lost about a tablespoon of dough over the edge.

Butter a standard (approx 11x17)cookie sheet pan, or even better, line with parchment paper. I was out of parchment and used foil this time.
Reserve about 2 cups of the mixture in a separate bowl; spread and firmly press the remainder evenly over the pan. Bake at 325 (hot ovens more like 300) for 15 minutes, then remove pan from oven but leave oven on.
Spread (or, as in my case, pour) two to three (1/2 pint size) jars of jam over the dough (I used two but wished I had used three), crumble the remaining meal/dough on top, and bake for about 40 minutes. Let cool, and cut into bars.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Eight months!!

So, last night I really wanted to write - but I was too tired. So I went to bed, and then I thought about wanting to write. And I couldn't decide if I wanted to write about the really awesome cookies I just made (with the fresh jam I had just made), or if I wanted to write about my son's ashes, and the anger that is again welling up. Some of it at the pediatrician who I will not sue, and some of it just at that feeling of being ripped off. Losing a child - it feels like the ultimate rip-off, Dh once said. He was right. Anyway, that is how crazy and emotional I have been feeling lately - going back to work is part of that I think - cookies or ashes?
Then I realized that both would have to wait.

My baby is eight months old today.
Time flies when you're having fun, and we are speeding along at breakneck speed to the - gulp- one year mark.
You, dear Bubbles, are the most fun baby in the world, and every morning when you wake me up about one hour too early, grinning and drooling, I cannot believe my good fortune. It makes me feel very confused about the universe and her tricks.
But no confusion surrounds you at all, just joy, discovery, and immersion. It is easiest to become immersed in you, in our dance of interaction together, in our moments and seamless days into nights that will soon give way to more structure, more demands, more developments...but for now we get immersion.
Like just about an hour ago, when you called me back upstairs for a little more nursing, please, and you closed your eyes immediately upon latching on, content with the universe. And I decided that curling up with you was more important than grabbing a moment while you slept, and I was content with the universe. And after you were done eating, you turned the other way so I could spoon your little body, something you had never done before, and reached up to touch my cheek with your hand. You rested it there, your tiny hand felt like a flower- a flower that smelled like applesauce- and we slept, immersed.
I don't think it ever gets better, and then the next day I wake up and there you are...and it is! Every wonderful stage makes me nostalgic in advance, worried I will miss this when you move on to the next thing - because I love it so much. And then the next stage comes, the next new thing, and WOW! It is just as fun! I love it just as much! I remember this with the first two, but it is brand new all over again. And perhaps filled with more wonder, if sometimes bittersweet, as there were so many things that Elijah never was able to do that you can.
A week ago, you got your first tooth. Tiny, razor sharp, and anxious to try out some serious chewing, it comes with both excitement and some trepidation on my part.
Baby food is not your thing. The closest thing I have found you will eat from a spoon is Trader Joe's organic berry applesauce. You do love finger food, mostly non-nutritive sucking from pretzels, celery, carrots and things...all will become much less frequent offerings now that a tooth is present. Last night I got you to eat some of your sister's mac and cheese after putting it through the baby grinder. Yum, you said, in your own special way. You love flavor! Grilled cheese or pecan-crusted chicken smashed into a teeny tiny schmear, are voraciously lapped from my finger. Farmers market peaches are a fave, but only whole. I swear you are signing 'milk'. I have been using a few signs with you since you were born, milk being one of them. When you are upset or hungry, your little hands go wild, grasping and searching. You talk all the time, babble babble, and have some special sounds you make when playing or trying to get someone to play with you - like the dinosaur roar and the freaky-shriek.
You sing! Oh, how you sing! You love coming to class with me (to the extent of your patience, hunger, or state of awakeness), and especially love the babies class, where I can spend more time gazing into YOUR eyes, which I can understand is your favorite best thing of all. I sing to you, you sing to me, we dance and you ask for more - it's a symbiotic relationship. You love classical music the best, second to us making music with each other, and you will stop mid-fuss if we put it on and put you next to the speaker - unable to maintain your displeasure once you realize the music is on.
You are a long and lean boy, the pediatrician tells us you are 75th% for ht, 10th% for wt - which is really funny to me - just to have a child on the charts at all!!! (they say Supergirl is 3% and 3% but I suspect they are just saying that so I won't worry.)
Oh crawling! The access to the world is in store for you, my boy!! You are so close - realizing that the downward dog position is far more effective when starting a good roll than just a simple roll over. You get farther. And now you have your knees and feet all ready set to GO! Except that your arms haven't quite caught up and you end up sliding along in a faceplant, smiling the whole way and extremely pleased with yourself for the progress you've made.
Your love for Supergirl is matched only by hers for you. You two look for each other first thing when you wake up, adore snuggling and wrestling together, reading books together, taking baths, eating celery, playing, jamming on instruments - all together. Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined such interactions and adoration already taking place between my four-years-apart children.

I am so glad you are both here, to remind me so often that life is good.
I heart you.