Saturday, March 27, 2010

Amish Horse Auction

Over the past weekend, we went to an Amish horse auction.  It was our first time, but we'll definitely go back.  When we do, I will make a bigger effort to get our daughter to dress less like a princess and emphasize the dignified darker colors.  Blending in is ok as a survival tool.

There were many things for sale that we may have enjoyed biddng on but the kids refused to participate in quilt browsing, preferring to frolic with the myriad rabbits, pygmy goats, chooks, or horses - Oh! the horses!  Each one had to be cart-driven by one of the hosting Amish men to show off their chops.  This fellow seemed to be the local Amish favorite, causing a wave of twitters amongst the young Amish girls I stood next to.  He was a handsome fellow, almost making the dutch boy haircut work for him. 

It definitely speaks to who I am that I simply couldn't get past the sad fact of all that black suiting made of polyester double-knit.  Gack!  There is nothing less comfortable, less attractive, and scratchy.  It can make you sweat on a 30 degree day,  but it does indeed wear like iron.  The poor Amish elders must miss the days of wool and cotton.

There was much physical investment that helped the naps and later bedtimes.  Bale jumping, ring around the rosy, and running amongst the barns. 

  We passed the parking lot on the way back to our car.

Very nice, but I love my Mazda.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sylvia Plath channeling June Cleaver

Having just posted about how fabulous my evening went, I was going through the post-mortem of the day with Homestead Mama.  I described having a hard time keeping my temper this morning and was ready to beat myself up until I realized that it isn't the kids or my mood - it is the multi-tasking that is killing me.

At 9:17 this morning I realized that I was in various stages of doing all the following AT THE SAME TIME:

-feeding the kids
-feeding the dogs
-packing the diaper bag for the day, including hydration, snacks and lunch; diapers, spare clothes, toys, wallet, phone
-washing my hair (in the kitchen sink)
-dressing myself
-calling 3 doctor's office to get 2009 yearly out-of-pocket expenses mailed to me since I need them for taxes and can't keep track of it myself over the course of a year
-dressing Monito (this involves laps in between bits of clothing)
-dressing Pequita (this involves NO HELP, but close monitoring to ensure warm clothes and a minimal of filmy princess garments)
-making/drinking Earl Grey (I lose my tea mug 47 times a morning; this evening I finally found it on a low shelf next to the potty in the bathroom)
-cleaning the breakfast mess up in kitchen
-planning the grocery list in case I made it to the store (requires computer)
-breaking up a (few) fights between kids
-called insurance company to argue an ultrasound not being covered
-gathering library books to be returned (forgot a DVD in player)
-getting kids dressed in coats, mittens, hats (fuck winter!  I'm ready for no layers!)
-rushing to get returnable bottles packed in car to cash in at grocery store
-re-dressing kids as dramatic play caused them to undress to the skin to play "Beach"
-creating new ritual of holding hands in circle and taking deep breaths with children to keep from doing bodily harm; evolved into Ring around the rosy (Thank you, Larry Cohen!***)

We made it to the library and home for naps by 12:30, and were up, fed and perky with the house vacuumed and rugs out freshening in the cold winter sun by the time the 10 year old for whom I do after school care got off the bus at 4pm.  Nothing to show for the day, but holy moly, I feel like I need a medal.  Seriously, I may have to institute a job-review chat once a month with the wife just for the external validation.

***Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen is the single-most useful book I've read about parenting.  I cannot recommend it enough. 

(this moment)

Inspired by SouleMama.

They're Here!

The babies are here.  Not the chicks I'd have expected; we are waiting until it is warmer and we have a coop-like structure built.  No, the snakes have hatched.  We'll have reptiles sunning themselves on our rocks for weeks now whenever the sun is out.  I keep meaning to turn the ugly garage cinder block foundation into a lovely painted, raised-bed flower bed but can't because I'm not sure the snakes will keep breeding there if I do.  That and a total dearth of extra time and energy, but who's counting.

June Cleaver Moment

Most days the children miss their Mama.  She works at a demanding job she loves that is an hour away; most nights she doesn't get home until 6:30pm and their bedtime is 7pm.  She loves her job and is really good at it.  She stands out in a sea of coworkers who are waiting to retire as she works to help a population of people who don't much want to even help themselves.  Her job allows me to stay home with my kids, something I've always wanted to do.  I only resent it on REALLY tough days, when I'd rather have her with us than helping other people. 

We talk about her a lot during the day.  The kids call her several times a week to cry about an imagined slight, an actual cut, describe a new milestone, tell her they love her, or ask if she'll bring home ice cream.  I facilitate as much contact as possible but do shoulder much of the child rearing. 

My first attempt at teaching them about days of the week ended up with us having 'week days' and 'Mama Days', a.k.a. Friday night and the weekend.  Anticipation of time with Mama is high, and in the most recent developmental spurt, during which our eldest was heartbroken at her Mama spending so much time away from her, we threw the bedtime schedule to the wind and instituted "Mama Friday Nights". Friday is library day and we check out a DVD of a current favorite (right now 101 Dalmatians and The Jungle Book are in heavy rotation) along with our books for the week and a book on CD for Mama to listen to during her commute. By dusk on Friday I have the kids bathed, jammied, fed and ready for loving.  Mama gets home as early as she is able and retires into the family bed with both kids and a sweet treat to watch their movie, snuggle and nurse to their hearts content.  It is the sweetest time for all of them, and I am not remembered until hugs are required right before they are sent to sleep in the nursery 90 minutes later.  

Many weeks by Friday night I am haggard, hair sticking out, nerves frazzled, kids watching Little Bear on TV and me scrabbling to feed us all.  Today, though, was one of those magic times where I was able to present my beloved with a vacuumed and swept home, aired out with frigid-but-fresh air and Nag Champa incense, clean kids, dogs fed, harmony abounding and good food cooling on the counter.  I made a meal from Epicurious, Spicy Beef Cobbler.  Of course, I used our free-range beef, put in black beans, used whole wheat flour and halved the cayenne so the kids would eat it.  HUGE HIT!

So I get to feel like a proper stay-at-home success story.  Lord knows H-Mama doesn't expect it, but I like to feel like a successful professional mom who has it all well in hand.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I discovered today that my pillow wafts the scent of shaving cream.

Every morning that my father is visiting he and my son shave each other; being a trusting man, he willingly hands over the razor to my not-quite-three year old and coaches his razor around the terrain of his face. My dad said that he feels as though he goes through a can of shaving cream per visit, as there are days when Monito shaves two or three times. So now I will fall asleep with my pillow whispering to me about love and connections and family, trust and bonding and manly rituals.

Sweet dreams indeed.


We returned from our outing this morning to witness this entertaining sight.  Dad and I may have encouraged the dogs to keep the raccoon treed until the second car with the kids arrived so they could see our dogs in action and admire the raccoon, but we did hold the dogs back when the raccoon descended.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Gratitude Friday

My parents are in town this weekend.  I am grateful that they are expecting to move here - to the house we own across the street! - next summer.

I am grateful for my my clean car; I took a nap with the kids and my mother washed, vacuumed and detailed the whole thing.  I don't know what the kids will snack on now that the stray Cheerios and Goldfish have been removed from between their carseats.  Look - you can see the carpet!

I am grateful for spring!  We spent the whole day outside - playground in the morning and a hike at a nearby wildflower preserve in the afternoon.  Warm sun, sweet smelling air, and grandparents.  Nothing better, save for weekends when Homestead Mama can join too.

I am grateful to be able to tell my parents all the time that I love them, that I see now, as a parent myself, how hard it was to raise three kids close in age and do such a good job of it.  I am grateful I had kids in time for them to have a chance to know and adore their grandparents.

Signs of Spring

Wonderful people all over the blogosphere are posting myriad pictures of lovely spring images, snowdrops, buds, seed trays covered in tiny sprouts, kids in short sleeved shirts.

What does spring mean to me?  The snakes are back!  They slip out of the cracks in our garage foundation in order to sun themselves on nearby rocks.  In a few weeks we'll have many baby snakes to keep the adults company.  It could be worse.

I love spring!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

9mm Bouquet

Pequita: Mommy, I love Monito best of all, that's why we get married. I wear a beautiful white gown and have flowers and a spahkly wing.

Monito: Ok, Pequita, you my best fwiend. But I want a shooter gun with my dwess, not flowers.