Saturday, November 10, 2012


i know...i know...i have neglected this blog terribly lately. but i have a good handful of big projects in the works that i will be able to share soon. and also...the holidays...they approach. and  all their diy craftiness and homemade gifts comes with it.
a thousand apologies. truly. life just got in the way there for a bit.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

stubborn love

Sometimes that stubborn ache,
That 'never enough' hole in your middle
In the very center of you-
Never quite dissolves
Even when you find yourself blindingly, maddeningly surprisingly joyful
at the way things seem to be unfolding unexpectedly right before your eyes.

And maybe that can be a good thing, the way the emptiness claws at your heart and tugs
Maybe it pushes and prods you to be beyond.
Beyond what you thought you could be or could do or deserved to have
Beyond regular. Beyond ordinary. Beyond beige.
Maybe it’s the contented happy people that grow up mediocre, and those of us that had that blood-metallic taste of loss in our mouths earlier than we thought we could, that go on to great passions. 

Because we demand it of ourselves.
And others.
Maybe we finally learned to.

loving fiercely
requires a little extra effort

Monday, August 27, 2012


What a roller coaster weekend we had at the homestead.

I was on an independent-adult high going into Sunday. I had a rare day Saturday all to myself, and spent it in the best way possible: With a bunch of friends, and a bunch of drinks, floating down a river. By the time I dragged myself home Saturday night I was exhausted, but felt ready to conquer the world. I was refreshed. I was ready to have The Munchkins back and get a fresh start on our week together, sure that everyone’s moods would be improved with a little time off from each other.

Good Lord, was I ever wrong.

I spent Sunday morning dragging cranky Munchkins out of bed, squeezing little arms and legs, sausage-like, into church-clothes casings. I pushed, prodded and dragged them all the two blocks to Mass, where they sat/squirmed/whined/half-knelt/eyerolled their way, sweating, in sticky wooden pews through an hour of church. The promise of the routine post-mass doughnut was the only thing that kept us from killing one another by the homily. And then? No doughnuts. Isabelle burst into tears. Sophie nearly did. Heck, I nearly did.

We were set to have one last practice/walk-through for the elder two’s First Communion directly after mass. Sebastian was ready to get it over with. The Monkey was stoic, but entirely ready to go home. The Biz begged off for a moment to run to the bathroom.

And promptly Locked. Herself. In.

No shit. She locked herself in the church bathroom. On Purpose.

Once I realized what she’d done (because we thought she might have fallen in she was taking so long) I spend a good solid few minutes trying to cajole her out. After that didn’t work I had to appeal to several people still milling about to find a way to force the door open and force out a panicked, crying, screaming kid. Regardless? NOT a great morning. We spend the next hour discussing and punishing and crying our way through it at home. Isabelle was never talking to me again. I was never trusting her again. She was angry and I was grounding her faster than you could say boo. It was not pretty. It was more punishing than parenting. I was humiliated and taking it out on her. And once you start sliding down that slope, I’ve found that it’s nearly impossible to claw your way back up.

So the two of us spent the next few hours sulking separately. The Biz in her room, and I in the kitchen.

By the time we needed to leave the house again we were on speaking terms, and I’d received a very grown- up sounding, non-prompted apology. And, by the time we returned home from 2 hours at the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra orientation we were on functioning family terms again, for the most part, although she clearly preferred her grandmother’s presence to mine (and who can blame her?). So it took me a bit by surprise when she crawled into my lap near bedtime for some advice.

“Mom, there’s this girl in my class and she doesn’t speak any English” she starts out.

Apparently one of the new students in her class is undergoing the trial-by-fire version of learning English in the third grade. Poor kid. I can’t imagine. I know the experts say that there is no better time to soak up a new language than when you’re young, but I can’t even imagine walking into a place, not only full of new faces, but of new faces speaking a language you didn’t even understand.

And Isabelle, as this little story unfolds, has taken this little girl under her wing. She sought her out at lunch last week and sat by her every day. She’s helping her learn her English by translating her lunch for her (This is a sandwich, these are pineapples, this is a French fry, etc).

“And Mom? She didn’t even have anyone to play with on recess on Thursday? And I made all my friends come with me to play with her”

And suddenly this little girl, who’s not really so little any more, isn’t just the kid that locked herself in the bathroom at church anymore; she’s the kid that’s brought me to tears I’m so proud of her.

That’s the thing about parenthood, gang. It’s a roller coaster. Children have this amazing ability to go from furious to elated in 2.8 seconds flat. And if you can’t keep up? You’re going to miss out. On everything.

So I looked her right in the eye (hard as that was to do what with the sniffling and the nose blowing and all) and I told her that even though we didn’t get along very well that morning, I was so proud of her. And when I asked her how it made her feel, to be the one who made sure this little girl didn’t feel lonely at lunch, at recess; she said it made her heart feel good.

And that made my heart feel good. To know that, despite the fact that this kid is so ornery that she locked herself in the bathroom at church (see how I’m having trouble letting that go just yet?) we must have done some things right along the way, is encouraging.

So I told her to hold onto that feeling. To help her friends have that feeling. And above all, to keep doing what she was doing. That she’s learning what’s important about school, not just the math and the science and the spelling; but how to treat other people. She’s learning how to be a good person.

And I suppose I’d better hold on to that feeling, that surge of pride that nearly brought me to my knees that evening, because I’m fairly certain we haven’t see the last of our locked-bathroom-door days with that one. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The obligatory First Day of School post.

Well, it's finally happened...
All Three of The Munchkins are in school.

No more babies. No more bottles. No more sippy cups. No more daycare.
I have a house full of "big kids" now.

God, it just breaks your heart sometimes, doesn't it? I blinked and they were out the door.

The Monkey just missed the window to join her brother and sister at the world's best IPS Magnet school, so we signed her up for Holy Cross Central just down the block from our place. And, oh, does that place bring tiny memories surging back. Catholic schools all just smell the same don't they? It's this mix of carpet shampoo and worn wood bannisters and incense and floor wax. 

And the Monkey didn't even hesitate, didn't even flinch this morning. She treated her first day of school in much the same way that she does every aspect of her life: Full tilt forward.

Not a glance back, not a moment's hesitation. And much as it would have soothed my maternal instincts to have her be just the tiniest bit tearful this morning, practically speaking I was thankful she wasn't. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to hold the tears at bay until my breakdown in the parking garage at work.

Rally on, gang. Life moves to fast to stress the small stuff.



Friday, August 10, 2012

More People

A very smart man recently reminded me “Life’s not over…you just have more people to enjoy it with now”

Sometimes, people unintentionally tell you exactly what you needed to hear your entire life.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Soul Crushing

That Moment...
When you walk in the front door
.after working a nine-hour day at an automaton job
.after driving in a car with no air conditioning
.to pick up three kids who have been outside all day and are exhausted
.and you step from the blistering heat into the dry cool air of your apartment
.only to realize your day might be over but your evening stretches out in long swaths of hours and minutes in front of you with nothing but running and fetching and cooking and bathing and calming and soothing for the next five hours?

That moment is soul crushing.

It's a damn good thing those kids are cute or I'd be a mess...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Babysitting Louis

I got to steal my nephew away for a few hours last week.
And I have officially discovered the joy of nephews.
We got to hold him and spoil him and coo at him and when we'd done all that?
We got to give him back.
Why did I even bother having kids? This is SO much better!

Louis: The world's most laid-back baby EVER.

Unless he's hungry, or had three cousins in his face trying to play with him at once for a few minutes. Then watch out, this kid's got a set of pipes on him!

The Monkey has proceeded to ask me two questions every single day since our first baby-sitting adventure:
1) When do we get to babysit Louis again?
Answer: as soon as his parents will let us!

2) When does she get a little brother?
Answer: Kid. It's so not happening.

'Merica. We love you.

So here's a quick recap of our Fourth of July celebrations.
Just a couple of weeks late.

Happy Birthday, USA.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


My wish for you…

Even now, when I feel empty for the ache of you at my side, I wish for your happiness above all. I hope you’re laughing, and giving someone that derisive twist of a smile that everyone but me seemed to find vaguely condescending. I found it charming and horribly sexy. I hope you have legos underfoot where you are. I hope you’re three steps into a random DIY project that involves dropping something that will shatter out of a second-story window. I hope you have three kinds of ice cream in your freezer and a jar of hot fudge in the fridge. I hope you have something to blow up soon so you don’t fall out of practice. I hope you have a bar close enough to stumble home from after drinks with your brothers. I hope you’ve fallen into a routine, but not too strict of one. I hope you have time to sleep in, time to relax, time to realize the weight of the world doesn’t rest solely on your shoulders even though you think it must. I hope you laugh. Often. Because it transforms your entire face and makes you seem years younger. I hope you find someone to tease you mercilessly about your staunchly unartistic views on life. It’s good to be challenged. Sometimes the best mix of people includes those on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. I hope you’re watching dinosaur movies and being corrected on the names of them. I hope you miss me, just a little, even though it’s selfish of me to even think it. I hope you find contentment in the small victories and everyday occurrences that most people rush by on the way to their next job, next meeting, next big thing. I hope you’re happy, wherever you end up. Even if it's not with me.

The Head and the Heart

There is something about outdoor shows that I had forgotten I loved.

The way the audience's collective voice swells, then echoes off the thin metal sides of food trucks and temporary bar structures and hastily constructed stages. The way it seeps back in under your skin, despite the layers of sweat and salt and sun. They way it reverberates in your chest and your stomach and your heart.

And there is especially something about the singular wail of The Head and the Heart's Charity Thielen that slips up under your skull and settles there, heavily. Point and counterpoint to the soulful wailing of Josiah Johnson and Jonathan Russell, metered by the and the jittery skitter-gallops that can't seem to contain as he leaps around the stage, crashing at times into and off of the drum kit (much to the delight of my son who jumped & pointed and howled with laughter at it all). 

Nights like Saturday's Party in the Park at Opti Park in Broad Ripple remind me that I need to get out much, much more. Thanks for everyone who helped make that night a success. And kudos to those who did, with a sold out show of 5,000+ tickets (not even counting the throngs of eight-and-under freebies I saw


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

They age...even when I don't want them to...

So The Monkey graduated from Preschool last week...

My heart, it's breaking.

How is The Monkey even old enough to wear that tiny little motor board and stole?
It shouldn't come as any sort of shock, I'm sure. She's been haunting the hallways and kitchen doorsteps of the apartment for the past four months reciting her Valedictorian Speech and humming verses of her graduation class song until the four of us could have done them in our sleep.

I can still remember the day I brought The Monkey home.
I was terrified, even in my already sleep-deprived haze. Here was this brand new little person, so similar to the others, and yet so different... And I had no idea how to raise her alongside the other two and keep my sanity alone. Not much has changed, truth be told, in the past five years other than I'm certain that my sanity has, at times, completely fled the building.

But in the past five years The Monkey has proven time and again that her indomitable little spirit would not be ignored. She is feisty, that one, and demands her due. She doesn't back down from a challenge, and she doesn't let others push her around. She has her own way of doing things and a creativity that leaves me in awe some days. I cannot wait to see the adult that this little creature I baked will turn into. 

 And now she'll be off to Kindergarten in just a few months.
I still have trouble reconciling the girl I saw climb the step ladder to reach the podium and give her speech in a loud, clear voice; with the little bit she once was. When I look at The Munchkins sometimes I see their younger selves transposed on top. The three-year-old Isabelle tumbling down the brick steps of our front porch, the two-year-old Baz with a streak of dirt across his face like a lightning bolt, and I wonder where the years have disappeared to. It's just not going to get any easier, is it? I'm going have to accept that these little creatures, little pieces of my heart walking around outside of my body, are going to continue to grow and move further and further away from the arm's length I want to keep them at.

If I'm this much of a mess at Preschool graduation, I don't know how I'll survive high school and college...

Congratulations to my big, grown-up Valedictorian, girl.
What a little Monkey...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Last Minute Gift-Giving

So we did a little sewing last night...

The eldest two Munchkins have book-buddies at school. They're each assigned a junior high student early on at school and this year, and they meet weekly to visit, read, and from the stories that sometimes trickle home, these kids serve as mentors to the younger students. Anyway, both Isabelle & Baz have "graduating" book buddies in eighth grade, and today's the last day they'll get to hang out.  Isabelle's over the moon for her book-buddy and has requested red Chucks, silver jewelry and funky hair on more than one occasion to be just like her. She decided weeks ago that she was going to lay claim to some of my mustache fabric from Crimson Tate and "Make something for Maddie". 

So last night we sat down, The Biz in my lap, and did a little sewing.

Isabelle helped measure and cut the material.
I worked the foot pedal and let little hands guide the material through.
About an hour later we had two simple little zippered pouches done and ready to be filled with silly little trinkets for the book buddies.

I'm pretty fond of the talking mustache keychains...

Baz may not have done the sewing, but he specifically requested the material for his book buddy. Hopefully the older kids get a kick out of the gifts.
The Munchkins were so proud, wrapping them up last night, knowing they'd had a hand in creating something for their friends.

Next Up? Teacher Gifts!
Just three more days of school left!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...