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Showing posts from 2011

Why I Occupy

I marched in the Occupy Philly protest last Saturday, and I've been trying to find the words to describe it all week. People who know me look puzzled when I tell them, and I've been trying to explain why this movement has taken root in my heart.

Last Saturday, for a few brief hours, I stood up to the anxiety, anger, frustration, and fear that has gripped me for the last few years. For a few brief hours, I marched with people who want better for me and you and this entire country, people who may be ideologically different but stand together because they believe there’s still hope for this democracy, that there’s still a chance that our government will take action for the people and not for the corporations that fund their campaigns.
There’s a perception that the Occupy Wall Street movement is simply a mob of young, disenfranchised 20-somethings who have nothing better to do than sleep on city sidewalks to disrupt the lives of those of us with jobs. Revolutions are often spar…

Flu: The bright side

I had the flu this week. For five days, I moped around the house with severe body aches, off-and-on fever, chills, and various other unmentionable horrors. When Happy started vomiting the other night, I hit a pretty low point of self pity, I'll admit. It's really hard to hold your kid's head over the toilet as he pukes up his guts while your own stomach is churning and your arms are shaking with chills.

But we survived, and when I stepped outside for the first time today, the sun seemed especially bright, the breeze especially refreshing. And I started thinking, maybe a week with the flu isn't totally awful. I mean, it did have it's good points:

(5) Sleeping. Do you know how long it's been since I had a full 8-hour night's sleep? A really, really, really long time. So the 30-hour night's sleep on Tuesday-Wednesday was especially awesome.

(4) Reading. I love to read, but with two little monkeys running around this house, I rarely have more than a few mi…

A quick rundown on a summer gone too quick

Can you believe it's September? How did this happen? Astounding! I'm sure you were off enjoying your summer and hardly noticed that I haven't been here since June (yipes!), but we have some catching up to do. I'll try to bring you up to speed on the summer that was 2011, the high points, at least.

June-August: Happy goes to YMCA summer camp and loves it. Well, all except for Color Wars week...which Happy really hates but Mommy really loves. (Have you ever run as far as you can while screaming, like a human javelin? It's fun. Try it.) Every day he comes home exhausted and ready for a snuggle.

July: We spend the 4th of July with our Besties -- then Mommy, Happy, and Zippy have a week off, which includes a trip to Ocean City, a trip to the Delaware Museum of Natural History, a day at the pool, and a birthday party weekend extravaganza (four parties in three days, two of which are in New Jersey).


July: Mommy, Happy, and our friends Miss B and Princess D go camping! In te…

Tent lessons

The first trip Big Daddy and I ever took together, way back on Memorial Day weekend in 1997, was a camping weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia. We stayed in a KOA Kabin, and we both remember it as the weekend we fell in love for real. Sappy, yes. We were married three Memorial Days later. What better way to celebrate our 11th anniversary than by taking our kids to the place we fell in love?

Well, actually, in hindsight, I can think of about 100 better ways to celebrate our anniversary weekend...live and learn.

We learned a few other things this weekend, which we will forever call our Williamsburg Camping Adventure 2011:


(1) Be wary of any campground that purposefully spells its name with a K. As in Kampground. The only nice thing I can say about this particular KOA is that the bathrooms were remarkably klean. Which is a big deal, really, to anyone who's camped in any number of state parks around the country. But there is no privacy. At all. The kampsites are shoe-horned in; we went …

When Mommy's away...

I just got back from six days in Orlando at my organization's annual convention. This is a trip I look forward to and dread in equal parts each year. Imagine it: 10,000 teachers, mostly elementary school level, running around hundreds of sessions over the course of three days, across two massive buildings, with me and my colleagues at the center of every detail. We plan it for over a year; in fact, starting Monday we'll be planning 2012's convention. But it's a week of energizing enthusiasm, a time we can look around and feel that the work we do really is important.
This trip is old hat for my husband and family too -- it's my tenth (!) convention trip. In fact, this year, I didn't even cook meals ahead of time. I knew they'd have more fun with McDonalds and frozen pizza and ice cream truck treats and cereal nights.
And I really didn't worry about the children or the husband being here without me. I know Big Daddy is actually better equipped to be a SAHM…

An open letter to the world's bus bullies

There are things, as a parent, I know I need to be prepared for: My children will fall down the stairs or off their bikes, they will get reprimanded at school for doing something stupid, they will have meltdowns in the middle of the mall, and they will get picked on by other kids from time to time. I know this. Yet for some reason, when this stuff actually happens, I always feel surprised, startled...and so freaking hurt! I know, I know: Welcome to parenthood.

Today Happy got off the school bus and buried his face in my hip, wrapped his arms around me, and crumpled into tears. I shuffled us quickly back to the car, worried the other kids would see him and tease him, where Happy told me that he wanted to tear his shirt off and rip it into pieces:

"Because So-and-so was teasing me! He called me a retard...and said purple is a girl color! And the other kids were laughing! And he said I'm gay!!! And I don't even know what that meeeeans!"
Instantly my heart broke for my sob…

Passing notes

Happy is becoming quite the little reader-writer these days. Which is simultaneously great and awful. Great because, well, it's super-awesome that his brain has cracked the reading code. Awful because we can no longer spell things to keep them secret. OK, so that's not really awful. I recant my previous statement: Reading-writing is 99% great!

This afternoon, during the 3 minutes that I allot for us to change into "play clothes," grab a snack, tinkle, and head back out the door to the YMCA for Mommy's Vastly Important Workout Time, Happy was Grumpy. (And who can blame him with all this hustle and bustle?)

Happy-Grumpy, like his mother, has discovered a catharsis in writing notes to communicate when he's feeling out of sorts. Lately he will write a sentence on a small slip of paper, hand it to me, and stand in front of me with hands on hips, glaring while I decipher it.

(Note: I feel great pressure during this deciphering period because it's hard damn work f…

Rubba dub dub

I know that a blogging is a visual medium, but I think this is one time you'll be happy I've not included photos. Instead I'll verbally paint for you a picture of hilarity:

I've recently (re)started going to the gym after work. It's kind of a big deal because it means picking up Happy from the bus stop, changing my clothes while he gobbles down a snack, then picking up Zippy from daycare and shuttling us all to the YMCA, where Happy runs along to play and Zippy screams like someone's ripping his hair out one by one. I run along to the fitness room, sweat like a maniac for 45 minutes on the elliptical machine, then hustle back to the babysitting room...where I'm met by a 5-year-old whining because he wants to play more and a 1-year-old screaming because he's tired, hungry, scared, etc. (The 1-year-old screamed the whole way home tonight, just to punctuate his point.)

Anyhoo...this evening I was particularly sweaty after a really, really good workout (yay, …

The boy of my dreams

About 10 years ago, on the eve of my mom's birth/death-day, I dreamed about her playing with a toddler-aged boy in the backyard of my childhood home. I watched from a distance, wondering who the child was, until my mom picked up the baby and walked toward us. The baby had strawberry blond hair that shimmered in the sunlight, fringy curls around the ears. His head was nestled into Mom's shoulder a bit so I could only see it in profile, but I clearly remember the round cheeks and button nose. I asked where she found him. She smiled and said simply, "This is your son."

Mind you, this dream took place long before I even thought about having children, but I recall waking up feeling comforted and calm, settled into an understanding that everything in my life was going to be ok. It was the first peaceful, happy sort of dream I had after Mom's death, and the baby was just perfect.

Fast forward to March 2010. My newborn son slept on my chest in a dark, quiet hospital bed in…

I'm proud of us

I filed our taxes last night. Which doesn't matter to anyone, really, but Uncle Sam and me. But reviewing one's financial statements for the past year forces one to think a little bit about the past year. And as I laid awake in bed last night I thought, wow, I'm really freaking proud of my family!

Let's review the year that was, shall we?
Big Daddy gets laid off from his 12-year job a mere 3 weeks before we give birth to Baby #2. Instead of spiraling into doom and despair, we regroup, rededicate, refocus.Baby #2 arrives, beautiful and perfect, and we adjust to being a foursome...and to sleepless nights, messy diapers, and marveling at the wonder of infancy.
Mommy is home on maternity leave while Daddy is home on severance pay; Big Brother goes from full-time childcare to half-day preschool and lots of time at home with both parents and his new sibling.We spend 3 amazing months together, a glorious springtime with nowhere to go and nothing to do but be a family. We're …

The sun'll come out

I'm thankful for days like this, full of little gifts in the middle of the endurance-testing, gut-checking, dark-cold month of February: A glimmer of hope on a few rays of sunshine through the bleak, a robin or two chirping a promise of spring, a chance to play outside without hats and mittens and runny noses. A day to look around and say, ok, it's going to thaw, it's going to be lighter, it's going to get greener, we just might make it.

And I'm so thankful for moments like this one to remind me of how sweet even February is: My baby's first recognition of birds flying overhead while he experiences his first swing ride. Look at the wonder in those big blue eyes. The world is beautiful, isn't it?

Sometimes I can't believe they let me have children

A lot goes on here between the hours of 4pm and 8 when Big Daddy gets home. I'm flying solo, without a map -- and often without a parachute. And most nights, when the cherubs are finally filed for the evening in their cozy beds, I sit back and think, man oh man, I cannot believe they let me keep these kids!

Here are some of the strange-but-true happenings in the world of Tall Girl and her Tiny Men this week:

* Flames in the oven. No joke. Fire. Burning tall. Flicking its tongue out the top of the oven door. While pre-heating for a gourmet fish stick dinner. As slightly frantic Mom moves the baby in the high chair and the big brother in his jammies to the front door, Sweet Boy notices the smoky kitchen and asks, "Mommy, are we going to die? OK...then we won't have to eat that."

* Mommy goes King Kong on the Jumperoo because it won't fold right. While Sweet Boy is practicing piano. After kicking the snot out of this seemingly innocent baby toy, screaming like a banshe…

Body beautiful

Just when I start to feel really blech about my body -- when I look in the mirror and think, wow, have you got a long way to go, so long in fact that you should probably just buy a potato sack to keep you warm while you sit on the sofa gobbling all those cookies -- I trip upon something that puts things back into perspective.

Read this mommy's love letter to herself, and view the love letter from her husband that prompted it. I defy you not to see the beauty in these stretch marks, or to realize how amazing the human body really is.

Yes, I've got a long way to go. But this doughy middle has grown, birthed, and nurtured two humans. Two! Whole! People! The tiger stripes on my stomach remind me of the wonder of those pregnancy days, when every cell of my body rippled and stretched with new life. The scar above my pelvis recalls the pain and the sacrifice and the sleeplessness that I've survived. The slight sag of my breasts tells of the snuggly story of nursing a pudgy, lovely …

One hour to live

I, like many bloggers, set a New Year's goal for myself of posting more often. Well. Here it is January 25 and I'm posting for the first time. Safe to say this goal has gone the way of the "no more cookies" and "exercise once per day" goals.

I signed up a couple weeks ago for this post-a-day e-mail from Wordpress. These neat little e-mails with blog-post ideas come to my inbox each morning. And I read them, mull them over while I'm stirring my coffee or walking to a meeting or sitting in traffic on the highway, then I get home, chase a baby, argue about homework and piano practice, make dinner, gulp dinner down, bathe the stinky monkeys, get the kids into bed, collapse on the couch for a moment, then go to bed myself so I can get up and do it all again the next day... yet I neglect to write. Hmph.

Let's try to change this trend, shall we?

Last week one of the post-a-day questions was: If you knew you only had one hour left to live, how would you spend …