Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dear Miss M

Dear Miss M*,
Last night I got your letter. It's nice to hear that a girl about town is thinking of me. I practically stalk you. Your instragram feed is one of my favorites and don't you think you could blog a little more often (insert motherly guilt-inducing face)?  Oh I hope that you do move here.  I would love to know that you are close.  Your experience of New York will be so different than mine.  I am jealous to think of what yours will look like.  Your experience is going to involve hole-in-the-wall restaurants and shows of bands that I've never heard of.  Ohhh.  And dating.  Ahhh, to be young, employed, single and attractive in this place. Maybe, through your eyes, I can learn to love the city a little better.  I don't yet.  It's just a big city.  Sure there's great public transportation and museums and a million trendy bakeries and restaurants that are good but overrated (Levain and Shake Shack I'm looking at you).  I just haven't seen the spark yet.

That's not really true. I do love the rough people who are scruffy and grouchy on the surface but really have hearts of gold. I also love the accents.  And the fact that I have never seen my landlord when he is not wearing a velour running suit.

There are a few things you should know.  I am going to make you meet us in Central Park and go to the petting zoo with us. Afterward we will go out to eat.  When my children start acting out and throwing things on the ground I will look at the other patrons and roll my eyes and act like "can you believe that she is just letting her kids run wild like this?"  At these lunches I will also ask for all the lurid details of your life.  You will tell me about the concerts and the first kisses but please, could you please linger and dwell on how last Saturday you stayed in bed until 10:30, then you walked to the bagel shop for an egg sandwich and promptly returned to your apartment where you spent the entire day watching movies on the futon and reading the most recent NYT book review?  Please? Every single one of my fantasies these days revolves around an ambien, a room with black-out shades and 24 hours.

And when you come here I think you should stay with me for a couple of days.  We have a futon.  And we could take the train into the city and look at places to rent.

Think about it.
I miss you and would love to sit and talk with you right now

PS.  I will make you framed prints from this book which you can replace when the city grows on you.  I'll do the same. (and maybe we can dedicate some time to stalking Joanna Goddard because I stole these pictures from her blog and heck, she lives in the city too)

*Nothing says classy lady like publicly responding to a personal letter.  What can I say?  That's the way I roll.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Club: Bring Up the Bodies


I can't tell if I am just over Henry and Ann or if this was not a great book.  I suppose I have to assume that the former is the case as I keep seeing it on "Best of 2012" lists.  But uggg.  I had a hard time finishing it.  I did find myself reading with my phone next to me so that refer to wikipedia whenever I needed.  I also found myself thinking about and feeling sorry for a populace ruled by someone who was truly crazy.  Depending on your political affiliation you might think that Bill Clinton was crazy or George W. Bush but really, these guys have nothing on Henry.  According to Wikipedia (where I get all my facts) they suspect that he truly was crazy.  That he suffered a traumatic brain injury that changed his personality and there was nothing anyone could do.  He was the supreme leader appointed by God and God would not allow him to make bad decisions.  Scary.

I'm currently reading

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking.  I'm finding it fascinating.  I feel comfortable with my own introverted tendencies but someone suggested this to me because she and I are both raising children with introverted tendencies.  This book doesn't talk (yet: I'm only 100 pages in) about how to nurture children who are introverts but I'm learning really fascinating things that I feel like will help me as a parent of someone who likes to have quiet time in her room after her friends come over to play.

I also checked out The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton from the library last week on the suggestion of a girl with whom I went to college. She is really smart but edgier* than I am.  I'll report back when I finish.

*I know what you're thinking. How could anyone be edgier than I am?  After all, one of the people with whom I share a bedroom did wear these rocking guitar jammies to bed last night.  

And... he'll probably wear them all day too (don't mind the boogers smeered all over his face in this picture.  I swear my kids have the cold that will not go away.  We've had it since Christmas).

And a double guitar jammie pic just for good measure.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


This video is perhaps greatest thing that Youtube has ever brought to the public eye.

Yesterday I texted the hubbs around 3:30 and said, "Today is one of those days where I haven't had enough interaction with people who aren't screaming demands at me.   Please plan on a game night."  The hubbs is one of those good people who listens and worries when I say things like that so last night after the kids were in bed and the dishes were done we played board games. Then we snuggled on the couch and the hubbs just let me talk.  And I did.  A lot.  I talked about how hard it is to spend a whole day working very diligently at something that shows no immediate rewards and that I don't get to share with anyone.  And I told him silly things that only I know about our kids (like how Noah likes to be breathed on.  If he's fidgety and fussy and you hold him so that the breath coming out of your nose hits the top of his head he calms down). But mostly I just continued to talk about how hard it is to spend a whole day working very diligently at something that shows no immediate rewards and that I don't get to share with anyone (over and over).  

The rest of the world may find it amusing when I tell them that now when Claire yells out a demand and I say, "is that way of asking going to help you get what you want?" She puts her hands on her hips and says, "Do you think Please would help?" but the rest of the world doesn't recognize it as a major victory and an outcome of a little work and whole lot of patience on my part.

Where does a stay at home mom find validation?  In how her kids turn out?  No. In the number of hours she spends planning learning activities?  No.  In her method of discipline or scheduling or the number of hours of TV her kids watch?  No.  In the number of tantrums her kids throw per day? I certainly hope not or I am doomed.

I don't really know the answer.  \

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

*that* mom

Oh yes.  I have become that mom.

A friend gave us a coloring book and this morning as Claire and I were coloring I couldn't help but give Jasmine a little more clothing.  And increase the size of her waist.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

An honest question

Do any of you who live with small people between the ages of say, 2 and maybe 4, ever feel like you're living under a totalitarian dictatorship with a tyrant leader who is neither benevolent or enlightened?

Really? Me neither. I was just wondering

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Pinning Mom

I didn't want to love pinterest but I do.  When my mom was here a couple of weeks ago she asked me what Pinterest was and I tried to explain it to her.  I explained how it's a virtual pinboard where you can store things you like.  I then proceeded to show her all of the hilarious quotes that I've pinned and we laughed until we couldn't breath.

Pinterest makes me a better mom.  I don't spend more than 10-20 minutes there every day but it really does inspire me to do fun things with my kids.  I look at those pictures of what mom's are doing with their kids and I think, "I could do that."

This was a totally fun bath paint activity where you mix baking soda with bath paint and then spray it with vinegar.

Let the eye bombing begin!

Sorting diapers.  So we're white trash but we're practicing sorting.

If any of you moms are looking for an awesome person to follow on Pinterest my friend Jen pins awesome educational things to do with your kids and you should follow this board of hers.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Way We Were

This week my grandmother (who has been dead for 30 years) would have been 103. In honor of the occasion my very thoughtful older brother sent out several pictures. I was 3 when my grandmother died so I don't really remember her. I remember that her house was full of afghans, candy and piles of stuff. I have looked at the pictures again and again. I love the hair and the smiles but mostly I love the way that the little kids in these pictures now look just like people who are holding them.

When the hubbs saw the picture of my grandma and my dad he said, "what a great picture of your little brother." (for the record my little brother does not wear glasses like that)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Game Changer

You know what changes everything?

Googly eyes.

I remember thinking as a child that googly eyes, pipe cleaners and those little chickens that look like their made from large-diameter pipe cleaners were incredibly expensive and that's why we never had them.  It was only as an adult that I learned that you can get a package of pipe cleaners for a $1.  I just bought 500 googly eyes for $7.99 or something.  I know what you're thinking.  What could you possibly do with 500 googly eyes?

Well we made valentines.

And we already made these.

And we will be doing this all around town.

I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Yesterday I read this article from the NY Times. It's a great article about busyness and how some of us fill our lives with things that make us incredibly busy in order to feel important.  And how we don't need to do that.  I sent it off to the hubbs letting him know that I was thinking about it.  Last night after getting the kids to bed, getting exercise and watching our favorite bad Netflix show we snuggled on the couch and talked about it.

That may not seem like a big deal but in a world where we are still adjusting to commute times, winter, 2 kids and new city taking a moment to talk about something real that's making us think is a BIG DEAL.

So read the article--it just might prompt enlightened talking to your spouse or friends or family.

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's a New Year

I've been thinking about New Year's resolutions for the last couple of weeks.  My cousin and his family thought of one word to describe what they were going to work on this year (his is devotion).  Then, he and and his family made a piece of art to hang up in their home that says the word.  I love the idea.

The trouble is that as I've thought about it I don't really know how to sum up the things I've been thinking about it one word.  Our new religious congregation is teaching me some valuable lessons. In most Mormon communities congregations are called wards.  In areas where membership in the church is very small and the congregations are small they are called branches.  We are in a branch.  There are between 35 and 50 people who attend regularly (that includes kids).  Many of them rely on public transportation to get to church and lots of them work multiple jobs or have no jobs at all. 

This next part is a little tricky to explain and you need some understanding of Mormon culture to follow along.  Mormons, on the whole, are over-achievers. Our religion teaches and promotes hard work and sacrifice.  There are no positions in the church that are paid.  The minister is volunteer, the choir is volunteer, everyone is a volunteer and everyone has a job.  This system generally works very well. When Joseph Smith (who founded our church) was asked how he governed his people he said, "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves."  That idea is very empowering within our church and we are left to govern ourselves in the jobs that we do.  I think that this plays a part in the over achieving.  If you have a boss who can tell you that you are doing a good job you can easily judge when you have done enough and when you can stop.  When you are your only judge, that gets a little harder to decipher.

My parents were here visiting a couple of weeks ago and I explained to my mom that my job in church is sometimes a little tricky.  I am in charge of singing with kids.  I also do some management of kid's stuff so if their teachers don't show up I have to teach.  I also help with decorating the kid's room, remembering their birthdays and that kind of stuff.  The hubbs does some management-type work for our congregation and he is often in meetings.  Claire is at an age where she should go to play group but because our branch is so small she is only person in play group.  And her teacher only comes to church about half the time.  When I explained that to my mom she was appalled and said, "she just doesn't come?" with just a hint of disbelief.  People who are not Mormon won't understand that but I swear it's part of the culture.  Not doing the thing that you are asked to do in a congregation feels a little bit like Moses walking away from the burning bush.  

I said, "Mom, she works 2 jobs, her mom is dying of cancer and she doesn't have a car.  She's doing the best she can and we just have to judge her on a different scale."

Yesterday tested that theory a little.  Once again there was no one to lead play group for Claire.  So the hubbs and I had two babies to take care of while we tried to do our responsibilities.  To top it off none of the teachers for the other kids showed up to teach.  I saw one of them earlier in the day but she vanished when teaching time came around.  The hubbs and I juggled meetings, singing, an impromptu lesson for some crazy 5-year olds and two kids for 3 whole hours.  I was spent.  

There was a pot-luck dinner after church (which I had also had to bake for that morning.  Luckily my kids got up at 5:30am so I had plenty of time).  As I walked into the pot-luck (where there was no food left because I was a little late and there is a tendency for those who do not have an abundance of food in their lives to pack plates to take home) I saw the teacher who had vanished during teaching time enjoying dinner and laughing with a couple of other people. 


Talking to my mom about the whole incident later I realized that my first explanation of judging people on a different scale was totally incorrect.  We just can't judge them at all because, as Mother Teresa said, "if you judge people you have no time to love them" and people need all the love that they can get.  I have every advantage in my life and I am just the person to be in a place to love others.  The teacher who ditches out on class and the one who doesn't come included.

So that's my New Year's resolution.  I thought about having Love as my one-word motto but that seem a little cosmic for what I'm trying to accomplish.  I considered "Only Kindness Matters" but I know that I can't live a whole year with the Jewel song running around in my head. I also considered "Only Connect" which is from Howard's End but that doesn't seem quite right either.  So maybe it is Love.  

Just Love.

That's a pretty big, cosmic motto.  

First item on the agenda to Love is teaching my kids that any wake-up time that starts with a 5 or a 6 is not acceptable. Because adorable as these faces are they are even more adorable on the far side of 6:30

Monday, January 7, 2013

Enough Already

I know, I know.  Enough already with the endless pictures of my kids.  But really, doesn't this baby otter look EXACTLY like Noah?

**This lack of valuable content is very odd considering I recently made my first trip to Bean Town, my parents visited and I went to the 9/11 memorial and lost my phone during the 2nd or 3rd section of security (honestly it was more extensive than a trip to the airport) and magically, it was returned to me.  

Real content coming soon

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hard Heart

If the sight of all this chub does not make you smile your heart might just be two sizes too small

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Things that shock and fascinate me these days

*Have you ever perused Pinterest for tattoos   It's totally awesome.  I had no idea that so many people loved Disney as much as they do (there's a whole tumblr dedicated to it).

And can I just say that in my teens and 20s I was pretty sentimental.  I'm not really anymore. I am so glad that I didn't get "Not all Who Wander are Lost" tattooed on my body because now, in my 30s, I would have to add underneath it, "But lots are.  Probably Most."

*I went to the gym a little later than I usually do this week and stumbled on this train wreck.  I had to go home to check if it's nationally syndicated.  Horrifyingly, it is.  If you've never seen it here's a little clip.  Crazy people making celebrity predictions. Her tag line: How you doing?  Proceed with caution.  You will not be able to look away.