Friday, February 24, 2017

Letting Go

I'm working on being a minimalist, but I'll admit, I'm still really attached to my stuff.

I like having knick knacks and paddy whacks. (Sometimes I even give my dog a bone. Sorry, I couldn't resist.) I like having stuff, like the "rock" my husband made when he tried sculpting in high school and the bronze Egyptian treasure we found at an antique store on our 8th anniversary. I like my teacups with feet and the mallard duck bookends that hold up my antique book collection.

I like the baseball glove I've had since I was a kid, probably 10 years old or so. It's my autograph glove, and even though I go to spring training games every year, I only have three autographs on it.

One signature I got when I was 10. Mike Jeffcoat, who was then a member of my favorite team, The Texas Rangers.

One was signed my first year at spring training, when I thrust my Sharpie and glove at a unknown Rangers player. I still have no idea who it was.

Then, a few years later, my parent were visiting and we went to (yet another) Rangers spring training game (they must've been playing the Cubs that day), where catcher Joe Garagiola happened to be signing copies of his book. He was the last signature I had on my glove.

But there's nothing like having dogs that chew up all your stuff to learn how to let things go.

I now only have two signatures. The entire front of the glove, and the unknown players signature, has been devoured by puppy teeth who think a baseball glove smells good.

Can't say I blame them. It does probably smell like dirt and dead cow.

It also smells like hot dogs and commemorative soda cups and Texas summer nights and friendship and childhood.

I'm sad. I'm upset that an important symbol from my childhood has been destroyed. Baseball has always been such a big part of my life.

But I've also taken the road to less belongings. To letting go.

While my autographed glove is never something I would have ever let go of, I think that the process of attaching less meaning to items has helped me get past the anger of losing such a treasure. Because I will always have the memories.

I still have the memories of all the baseball games I went to, the autographs I got, the players and plays I saw. I was at games Nolan Ryan pitched. I cheered Pudge on as he threw a man out at second. I read articles about the players, including a funny one about Will Clark that made him one of my favorite players, but I didn't keep the article. I spent countless hours watching baseball games in person and on TV, recording each ball and strike. I never kept any of those scorecards either, but I still have the memories. Such will have to be the way with this autograph glove. Memories will carry on, even though the mangled remains of the glove won't.

 After all, they are just puppies. They don't even know who Joe Garagiola is.

This is the first time in my life I have ever been glad this glove didn't have a Pudge Rodriguez or Nolan Ryan autograph.

Monday, February 20, 2017


Ugh. Total Mom Fail today. Worst one yet, which says it all right there. I kind of Mom Fail a lot. Don't we all? Please please say that we all do?!

Months earlier both kids asked me if they could prettyplease with bacon on top be in the school play.  A former thespian (read that correctly!) myself, I told them sure, even though the $$$ admission was super expensive. Think: Disneyworld expensive.

But experiences are worth it, and I knew they would love it.

They have loved it, going to practice every week since early fall.

Today, the director of the play came out to meet me after rehearsal. Uh oh, I thought. What happened?!

I double-booked them on performance day.

Double-booked them. And not in a "sure, we can skip the other event" kind of double-booked.

They will be the ring bearer and flower girl in a wedding, 2000 miles from where that community performance is happening AT THE EXACT SAME TIME.

Ohhhhhh man, that's some awful double-booking.

So I'll sum it up for you. Because I didn't triple check the dates of the wedding and the performance, I now owe $$$$ for rehearsals for a play the director will have to replace my children in because they will not be able to perform SIX WEEKS before the performance. Ugh. Triple zillion million Ugh. Total mom fail.

Please tell me that this is not as bad as it seems? Or that you have done worse?

I can't stop thinking Ugh. I feel awful for my kids and for the play directors. UGHUGHUGHUGHUGHUGHUGH.

**On a side note, all those UGHs look like HUGS when they run together. And I need one right now. A hug, that is. 

Goodnight Moon

"You brush your teeth and I'll pick the book," I shouted across the house as my little monkeys clambered across each other towards the bathroom. We have double sinks in their bathroom, but they have to use the same sink and wait in line impatiently for the other to finish.

The pushing and shoving continued until they both were toothbrushed and pottied and climbed into bed with me.

"What book did you pick, Mama?" Peanut asked.

"An oldie but a goodie," I answered, although if I was being completely honest I would have answered,"The shortest one I could possibly find, because Mama is tired and DONE with the refereeing and the fighting and there is a very good $8 bottle of chardonnay in the fridge that needs to be open NOW."

Can we also talk about how they mostly call me Mom or Mama now, not Mommy?! They are way too old.

I chose a book that I don't particularly like. But it's a short book and I wasn't kidding about being done with the day. Also, it's way too babyish for them. We've been reading chapters of books some nights, mostly from my old Sideways Stories from WaySide School, but occasionally I've been delving into Harry Potter and, recently, Percy Jackson. Mostly, Bjorn reads those on his own during the day, as Peanut still enjoys a good picture book at night.

So what did I pick?

Good night moon.

I'm sure there are moms out there that love that book. It's so sweet and innocent, and if you have a sweet little toddler of a child, they usually wave Good Night to all the things in their room just like in the book.


But if you have my smart-ass children, they wave to EVERYTHING in the room. "Goodnight doorknob. Goodnight string that turns on my light and fan. Goodnight left sock. Goodnight right sock. Goodnight fart I just made."  At this time of night, it just isn't cute anymore, so normally I don't read it.

But, again. SHORT. (And also, Chardonnay.)

This time I made it all the way to the page "Goodnight Cow Jumping Over the Moon" before interruption.

"Wait. Can that cow REALLY jump over the moon? Is that real?!" Peanut asked. She's been very into what is "real" lately.

"No. It's just a trick,"Bjorn answered her. " The cow is really close up and the moon is far away, so it LOOKS like it jumps over it because the moon is so small, but it really doesn't."

"Ohhhh..." Peanut says, confused.

"Because if it really was jumping over the moon," Bjorn continued, "the cow would be jumping all the way into space, and it would get sucked into space where there is no gravity, and no air for it to breathe, so it would die before it could even get to the moon to jump over it."


I think we have definitely outgrown this book.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


I've heard that somewhere it is fall. Somewhere the leaves are changing into beautiful yellows and oranges, drifting softly to the ground on a breeze that smells like cinnamon pine cones, annoying the crap out of parents who have to rake them into big piles the kids jump into, and then have to rake again.

Not in Arizona. Here in Arizona the high should be about 88 today. I will be wearing long sleeves with my shorts, because, well, it's November and I've sick of all the short sleeve tops I own after wearing them non-stop for the last 8 months.

So after clearing up Halloween decorations (note to self: NO fake cobwebs next year!), I opened my "Fall" decor box. Which essentially is a bunch of pumpkins that are too pretty to be used for Halloween, a cornucopia, some brown and red ribbon and a handful of fake leaves.

Two years ago I asked my kids (then aged 3 and 5) to come up with things they were thankful for and I wrote them on these fake red and orange leaves. Finding those leaves in the decoration box made me pause and smile at what my kids were thankful for.

Hansa. (The dog we had when the kids were this age. She died four months later.)
The White House. Bald eagles. The Liberty Bell. (Bjorn was studying history of the US in Kindergarten that year.)
Bjorn. (Written by his sister, who has always been his biggest fan.)
God and Food.

That year, we hung the leaves from a decorative tree and called it our "Thankful Tree".  While we no longer had the decorative tree (it was actually an old jewelry tree, designed for hanging earrings and necklaces!), we did have lots of extra fake leaves, a sharpie and an unused wreath.

I asked the kids to fill out more leaves with their thankful prayers. They dove in to help (mostly, i think, because they love Sharpies and I let them use them so few times), filling out leaf after leaf with what they were thankful for.

Bjorn. Peanut. Mommy. Daddy.
Lucy. ("Even though she eats all my Barbies and all your shoes," said Peanut.)
Goldy. (Goldy is my childhood dog. "You still miss her, right, Mom?" asked Peanut. "And you're thankful she was yours when you were little?" Yes. Yes, I am.)

When they were finished, I gathered all the leaves, hot gluing them around the wreath. A wreath - a never ending circle - of thankfulness.

Last week I was thisclose to the siren song of Target clearance and almost bought a harvest wreath for my front door. I am so glad I didn't. Today, I made a wreath out of materials found in my garage that announce to me every time I enter or leave my home:

You are blessed. Look at everything wonderful you have. Be thankful for your family, even when they whine for Happy Meals or because you made them turn off Wild Kratts. Be thankful for the dog that eats your shoes and your doormat and your glasses - she is your faithful companion who demonstrates unconditional love and joy. Be thankful for the Liberty Bell and the White House and the Marines for they are all part of a rich history of the country we live in. Be thankful for food, we know that so many go without it. 

With every word my children wrote, I see it. You are blessed. Be grateful. Be thankful. And then, pass it on.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election: elementary school style

This election season has been crazy. Between the fighting among strangers to those among friends, I have seen enough angst and bickering to last me for the next four years. 

My wish for today? Peace. Respect. Kindness. 

I want to hug, to shake hands and apologize when something wrong is done. I choose to cooperate and work together. I hope for all the things I try and teach my kids to do every day with their friends and siblings. Maybe we should just ask ourselves "What would my kindergartner do?"

In that spirit, last night I asked the kiddos some of the questions from the presidential debate to see what they have to say. I messed up a few times trying to make the questions kid-friendly, or to clarify what they were saying a little bit, but you get the idea. This moderating stuff ain't easy!

I found questions here, and I chose to use three: one concerning american jobs, one concerning cyber security and one about supporting the other candidate. 

Take a few minutes to get a quick laugh, and see how our country would be run by a 5 and 7 year old.

Also, check out what happens AFTER the moderator finishes moderating and they think they are on their own with the debate. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Tooth Fairy: Take Five (or six or something like that)

Over the past year or so, Bjorn has lost a few teeth. (And had his first orthodontist appointment, yay!) His first tooth, if you remember, he lost....and then lost again.

Same thing happened to his second tooth. We were camping in Colorado and he woke up one morning to a Grand Canyon gap, where the night before had been a tooth.  Even though I searched every inch of our trailer, and our entire campsite, that tooth also was never to be found. Its either still in the campsite, disguised as a rock, or he swallowed it in his sleep.

Finally, on his third tooth, he was able to catch it and keep it. He put that tooth in his special Tooth Fairy pillow, put it on his bed and went to sleep.

Only I left for work at 3:30 am the following morning, and somehow between my leaving for work and the kid waking up early, The Tooth Fairy forgot to put in his hard-earned and much deserved tooth money. Oops. Bad Tooth Fairy.

The tooth business has not been by the book with this kid at all. I imagined a perfect world of a "tooth falling out" ceremonial ice cream, maybe even a string wrapped around a tooth and a slammed door or two.  Yes, I live in a fantasy world of parental fun and relaxation. But this kid, and this life, have other ideas.

A few weeks ago, Bjorn felt another tooth get loose. The last few days I knew it was getting looser, as he was avoiding certain foods (i.e.: sandwiches. He has avoided whole apples since the day he got his first loose tooth!) and he didn't want me to help him brush his teeth. Apparently, I brush "too hard". Psssh. Wimp.

So I wasn't surprised when he came home from school today and asked me if I noticed anything different about his mouth. 

"Yay, Bjorn! You finally lost your tooth! How did it happen?"

"Well, I was at lunch, eating a kiwi." he answered. 


My kid eats kiwis?!

"I bit into the kiwi and felt something weird. I swallowed the kiwi and then I noticed that I didn't have my tooth anymore! So I think I swallowed my tooth. And it went down my throat and into here."

He traced a hand from his mouth down his esophagus and stopped at his stomach.

"What did you do after that?" I asked.

"I ate the rest of my kiwi and went back to class." 

So matter of fact. So calm.

"Maybe you lost it on the playground before lunch and you just didn't notice?" Tell me my kid did not just swallow another tooth. 

"No. I was playing with it when I was in line for lunch because it was hurting. I think I ate it. I ate my tooth."

And another one bites the dust. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter 2016

For Easter this year, we tried a few new things and kept a few old traditions.

The kids still went to the golf course next to our house on Saturday to hunt for eggs and whine about the line for face painting and games.  They ration the eggs during the hunt (I guess so they don't run out early?), so they walked away with a whopping two eggs a piece! They did also get a coupon for a flight of beer when you purchase an entree at the course restaurant. Score for the parents!

The riches of their Easter egg hunt

In the tradition of my Grandma K, we made our annual Rice Krispie lamb, and talked about Jesus being the Lamb of God. Bjorn wanted to line our lamb in a bed of Marshmallows. Looks pretty comfy to me.

Grandma's Easter lamb

We still woke up early on Sunday morning for our church's outdoor Easter sunrise service.

As usual, the mass was beautiful and would have been serene had it not been for the screams of a tempestuous four year old who wanted to play with my phone during church, not play with her kids bible or other tiny toys she brought along. It was early, she was tired and it was the furthest thing from calm. Good thing the priest talked about forgiveness and patience in his homily. I needed to hear it that morning! So did Peanut.

She looks so sweet and innocent.

Siblings, Friends.

After mass we headed home for our Easter spoils and egg hunt.

This year, instead of a basket, I bought the kids big plastic eggs. Just like the ones in the YouTube videos they are always watching. Inside the eggs were all their Easter basket goodies - individually wrapped.  I wish I had taken a before picture.

Egg baskets!

They each got one chocolate bunny and a bag of Starburst jellybeans.  That was it for candy. I tried to be practical this year - less candy, more items they would actually use.

Peanut opened her first goodie and squealed. "Jellies! Mommy! You know how much I love jellies!"  She had been asking for jelly shoes for a few weeks, and I had been putting her off since they were going into her basket. She immediately put them on. She also received a Hello Kitty bracelet, swimming goggles, and a pair of Olaf leggings.

Bjorn opened his first present and laughed. "Star Wars undies! You know I wanted these. Thanks, Mom!" Then he opened his second, third and fourth presents and couldn't stop laughing. "Mom! Why did you wrap all my undies? You're so silly!" It was pretty funny to see him get excited about his presents, and then to laugh and roll his eyes when it was more underwear. He also opened swimming goggles and a new pair of sunglasses.

Even our new pup got into the Easter fun with a huge squeaky Peep toy.

Even better than regular Peeps!

Next to their egg "baskets" was a note attached to a Lego instruction book.

Excuse my silly jingle. I had been up for 20+ hours at this point and this was the best I could do!

Bjorn read it first. "I need to find all the blue and green eggs! There are legos inside!"

He was right.

I had bought a box of Legos for each kid and divided them into the proper colored eggs: blue and green for Bjorn and pink and purple for Peanut. That left orange and yellow to be used for a few more small candies and some money. Again, it cut down on the candy factor, and it gave them something fun and useful to do.

They raced out to the backyard to start their egg hunt. I had expected them to go crazy finding all their eggs to start their Legos, but I hadn't expected what actually happened.

Our garden is growing eggs!

Instead of Bjorn trying to get as many as he could, so he could have all the candy, he knew that the pink and purple ones weren't for him. When he found one of those, he would call Peanut over so she could get her eggs. She did the same for him.  They were sharing. Helping. For the first time since they had started Easter egg hunting together, there was no fighting that "he found more" or "I saw it first".  They were actually getting along. It was an Easter miracle. And a happy, unexpected side effect of the Lego egg hunt.

They found all their eggs, headed inside and put together the Lego treasures.

That is his "The Storm Troopers are going to shoot you!" face 

Lego Friends
After all this excitement, we went for a walk and then brunch. A wonderful family day together.

Even Bjorn thinks so.

Happy Easter!