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Finding Turtle

My son Declan loves the movie Cars. Loves, loves, loves. And ever since we broached the subject of Halloween, he was determined to be Lightning McQueen on the spookiest night of the year.

But here’s thing, while I have nothing against Lightning McQueen as a person, err, talking car… I really hate pre-made costumes. Particularly cheap, made in third world country costumes that still somehow cost me an arm and a leg. And if your child is as obsessed with Cars as mine is, you know the Lightning McQueen line of Fall fashion is bottom barrel of cheap. So, I thought we could take on making Mr. McQueen. With chicken wire and paper mache. What, am I a lunatic? Every weekend we even came close to thinking about attempting this marvel of craftmaking ability, I started hyperventilating so badly that I used all our paperbags up for breathing rather than costume-making.

Home For the Holidays

Even though I’m not yet ready to think about it, I know the holidays are coming.

I can ignore them for a few more weeks, assuming I stay out of department stores and home improvement stores, but it won’t be long before they’ll be inescapable.

I love the holidays insofar as celebrating them among the four (soon to be five) of us, right here at home. I’ve already got some great ideas as to what to get for both girls, and since my husband has plenty of interests, it’s always fun to figure out what to get for him. I love to put up a tree and hang stockings. We’ve established a traditional Christmas eve dinner – homemade pizza – and a traditional Christmas dinner – steak. We have a lovely time lolling about and doing exactly as we please.

A Behind-the-Scene Peek at the Insanity

The following is a true account of the email stream that occured after I asked our Mile High Mama bloggers to volunteer for an assignment. Reader beware: this is a disturbing confirmation of what occurs when “Mama” leaves the children alone.

Amber: Who has Rockies fever? Is anyone in your family totally gung-ho? What are you teaching your children about this big event? Anyone sporting Rockies paraphernalia? Personally, I’m not a huge fan but am getting swept away in it all!

Is anyone interested in writing a fun post about the Rockies from a “Mama’s” perspective? It will publish on the first day of the World Series.

Aimee: Well, I have a small one up right now… and I am not all that into it like yourself but I can definitely do it if no one else really wants to. Let me know!

Julie: Likewise, I can do it if no one is a HUGE fan. I fear that my credibility is flimsy though, as a transplant and a former Mets fan and Reds fan (I do stick with the National League though, if that helps).

Mitch: This sounds like man’s work ladies….

For the youngest in the family, the hits just keep coming

Being the lowest kid on the totem pole, I had my share of childhood trauma. The first injustice I suffered at the hands of my older siblings was when I was just a baby. My oldest sister was playing with me on the couch. She was holding me up by my hands and somehow flipped me over. When she heard my little shoulders pop, she just put me down on the couch and yelled, “Mom, the baby is crying,” and walked away.

Luckily, there was no permanent damage. Except for the fact that I can’t put on my coat by myself, but that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Fast forward a few years to the third grade.

The Great Pumpkin Contest

[photopress:IMG_7751.jpg,thumb,1]My family’s dinner conversations have gone from how to eradicate war and famine to the intricacies of growing the biggest pumpkin. (Though I am sure my obsessed husband Jamie would somehow argue the latter is the solution to world peace).

It started out innocently last spring when he planted the first pumpkin seed. Over the summer, he and our daughter Hadley religiously watered and watched it grow from a molehill to a mountain.

Unfortunately, so did his competitive drive.

The Others

Jimmy, Mickey and Chamber invited themselves into our family for two years when we lived in Oklahoma. I’m normally quite accommodating of guests, even the kind that invite themselves. But two human years can actually felt like two DOG years when the guests take to entangling themselves in your hair, rummaging through your underwear drawer, starting fist fights, complaining about the texture of your pulled pork, and scaring your child to the point that she’s hiding behind your winter coats in the closet.

I shouldn’t really accuse them of inviting themselves. I do believe Toni was the one who actually brought them into our home and, hence, made herself responsible for their upkeep and well being…. as much as a three-year-old can be held responsible for things like upkeep and well being of anything. She always saved a place for them at the table. Made sure they had enough blankets at night. Reminded them to brush their teeth each morning. And was honest enough to inform me when they were making faces behind my back and whispering curse words into her ear.

While I never actually SAW any of these mischievous sprites,

Parallel Lives

Nothing in life is stagnant and there is no greater testament of this than when I return to my childhood home. My parent’s backyard oasis is always lusher, their house more cluttered with “treasures,” and our home, once on the outskirts of town, is practically the inner-city. Well, minus the gangs (unless you count my band of brothers’ occasional visit).

There is only one thing I can count on: my mother’s driving ability. Or rather, the lack thereof.

Mother is a nightmare behind the wheel. Picture the worst driver in the world, throw in a few blinders and you’ve got dear ol’ Christine. I have not let her drive me for years and I strongly protested when she recently offered to take my daughter Haddie to the “treat store.” When she demanded an explanation, all I had to say was “Parallel Parking” and the bomb was diffused.

Musings on Breast Milk, Formula and Placenta

This is dedicated to all you new and almost new dads.

Needless to say, if your lady is on board with nourishing your child from the melons-of-life, count your blessings. Sure you may have to submit to a handful of keep-her-company 3AM feedings, just to show you really do care. But as the weeks slog by and you sense she needs you to tough it out with her one more time, you’ll do what we all do: roll over and go back to your date with Carmen Electra in Dreamland. If she’s smart, and she probably is, she’ll counter your man-ness by engaging in one of the most unsettling activities imaginable: Pumping.

Imagination and Beyond

Apparently I have given birth 15 times. At least that is what Declan tells people. That he has 14 brothers. Luckily for all of us, he is just expressing his creativity in that old tried and true way: imaginary friends.

They started appearing right after his 4th birthday. Right after he started at the local elementary school for preschool. He had been attending daycare since age 2, but this was full-fledged school… with big kids and big halls and big responsibility.

It was clear from the beginning that his imaginary brothers were a way to sort out behaviors he saw at school that he didn’t understand. They did things that Declan would never do. He described situations with such clarity we knew he wasn’t just making them up, he just didn’t know what to make of them.

We’re all downstream

It kind of looks like a beach ball on a diet. Or an upside-down garlic bulb a la Dr. Seuss. Or where you might find The Wiggles partying if you popped a hole in the side and peered in. To Jonah, it looks like a miracle.

“Mom, what is it?” he finally asked one day, after countless other days of studying its beautiful blue stripes and enormous roundness and awesome ability to mingle with the clouds.