Saturday, December 29, 2007

Real Age Resolutions

My entire life I have been very baby-faced.  I always wished that I looked older than I did.  I felt that perhaps I wouldn't be taken seriously given the young-looking shell I came in.  People always gasped when they found out that I was actually 25, not 18, or 30, not 20ish.  Now, some of this could have been that people were just being kind, but usually I felt it to be authentic.  

I've prepared myself for these comments.  I respond with such things as " It's not in the birthdays you've celebrated, it's the wisdom, and experience that counts."  

But here's the thing:  I haven't really received these once-dreaded compliments lately.  Now it's, "Oh, you're 31.  Mmm-Hmm."  Just as I suspected. 

What happened to the, "Jamie looks so young" comments?

I know that I *am* in fact young.  I savor the time ahead still, I do.  But it's someone else's turn for the baby-face comments.  Maybe parenting has brought me some more lines and wrinkles (which I cherish), but that doesn't take away from the fact that I guess I miss the shock on people's face a little bit.

And here's the real zinger:  I went to a website designed to calculate your age based on lifestyle/nutrition etc.  and damn-it  my actual age is 31.4 years and my "real age" is 32.1, a difference of 7 months.  Older.   

So I guess I need to take my vitamins, have a few less drinks, and maybe even eat more vegetables.  All very timely for the New Year.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I'm Dreaming of an Apple Christmas

Now I know that Christmas is about the kids, but let's face it, I talk about them too much anyways.
Look what I got!  Well, you can't really see it here, but you can see my seven-year-old brother consoling me in my excitement.  I have never cried over a gift before, but here it is, as Oprah calls it, "the ugly crying."  I got a MacBook and I am so stinkin' thrilled.  Yippee!

Thanks to my husband for getting me that which I would have never asked for (especially given our $50 limit).  They must have had a damn good sale at the Apple store!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Watch Us Grow

November 2004

November 2005

November 2006

November 2007
Our babies are growing up.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Spirit of Christmas

'Tis the season for...solicitors at your door. Yesterday, a young-ish, African American-ish, charming-ish couple came to our door. Now I *know* how this works. I *know* the canned compliments, the reel-ins, the sympathetic, "How am I doing so far, ma'am?" questions. As this young man is rattling off with these, I hardly listen after he says, "As a young father of a baby girl..." He's a father? He looks about 20, tops. Still, my mind wanders to the crowded room where these folks receive their "training" on door-to-door salesmanship.

Teacher: Okay, Lady of the house answers the door. She has a child on her hip, another wrapped at her leg. Tell her you're a parent, and BINGO! You can't lose. Compliment her home, her hair, her dog, her child's runny nose. Make reference to your deceased Gramma, "Oh my Grammy always told me an oatmeal cookie is an oatmeal cookie." [He really said this. I still don't know what it means.]

So here comes the schpeel. The black book flips open, and a photo of a sweet, chubby-legged baby "accidentally" spills out.

Me: Cute baby. Is that your little daughter?

Him: Oh, no, that's my son ma'am.

Me: [Holy Moly. He has a son, too.] Well, he's very adorable.

The list of magazines I can purchase for myself, my husband, my friends, my church, to promote literacy for "the children in Watts" now comes out. What? Just take my checkbook now. You've got me.

Good manners pull at me to invite them in. Good senses propel me not to. Afterall, a woman at home with her children should not be allowing strangers in. Fortunately, just as it was my cue to run and get the checkbook, my husband came home. He invited them in. This is when my heart really broke.

They (charming man and his assistant in training, who also shows me a picture of her 3 year old daughter) step in. Seriously, I want to just say, "Come have a cup of coffee, juice, water, something. Sit down. Toss the one-liners and tell me about your life. Seriously." Suddenly I just want the cheesy lines to go away and to learn about them. They stand in awe of our home, our home we complain about. I want to cry I'm so ashamed.

Him: Glancing at a photo of the family at the local beach. "Wow, that's a beautiful picture ma'am. Is that the Atlantic Ocean here?" Ouch. We live in San Diego. He breaks my heart.

I just want to know how bad (or good)it really is for them. Do you really have two children? How does it feel to see countless white face after white face answer the door, close the door, say "No, thanks," and you muster on?

I don't know. Maybe I'm a sucker. Maybe they live in a palace on the Pacific Ocean. But why do I feel so bad after they leave? Why do I feel the injustices pouring into my cracks and seams as I send them out (with 1,000 points towards his ... something something award). Do they go back home and just say, "Man, those people have no idea." Or do they say, "Man, those people are such suckers?"

Whatever the answer is, they did their job well. They should go home proud.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Secret Santa

One of my favorite times of the year is Christmas. Duh, right? But not for the obvious reasons. I *do* love family gatherings, big meals, carols, and gift exchanges. Ah...but there is something else that gets me even more giddy.

This time of year reminds me of my days waiting for response on college admissions. Running to the mailbox, hoping for a fat envelope (because everyone knows a fat envelope is a "yes" while a thin one is a "not in a million years.").

Decemeber means running to the mailbox hoping for fat envelopes containing those glorious Christmas Cards! The photos, the Santa suits, the baby in a stocking; the dogs with red hat, matchy-matchy sweaters, and around here: the families in white shirts and jeans on the beach! The joy! I sincerely love receiving these cards, watching families grow over the years. It's a timecapsule in an envelope.

So, no pressure...but could you hurry up with those hundred and fifty ubiquitous messages and send your holly, jolly cards today?

Monday, December 3, 2007



Chase: Mommy, can I be excused from the table?

Me: Yes. You may be excused.

Chase: Buy why maybe, Mommy?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Band wagon fan

Recently I finished the book, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I wasn't going to read it, intentionally, because it had gained so much hype. I always do that. I didn't watch the show Friends until it was nearly in syndication, and then of course I realized that all of those fans were right -- it's a great show. Well, same thing with this book. The hype is right on. My Mom actually gave me the book, insisting I would love it. And I did.

Here's one of my favorite passages (which really has little to do with the story line, but I love it anyways):

"I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, "There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over in history. How much do you love me? And Who's in charge?" Everything else is somehow manageable.

Love and control. Go figure. When I reflect on the arguments of my past, these two topics sure stand out. So really I'm not fighting or arguing, I'm being historically accurate. Wouldn't want to let history down by fighting over silly things like what to eat for dinner, or how to dress the kids.

If you're not one of the 40 million (made that number up) who have already discovered the it, give it as a gift, donate it, leave it on a doorstep. It's unforgettable.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Aloha cookie

My kids are really tired of the camera. They're tired of seeing Mom's face obstructed by that dreaded black piece of plastic, insisting that they look cute/don't move/act natural/or even occasionally ... say "cheese."

It's come to this: I bribe them with a cookie. I'm ashamed, I am. But I'm a sucker for trying to capture the moment. seen in the above shot, I say, "Who wants a cookie?"

They're not actually saying "cheese," they're actually saying "meeee" (which consequently has the same smiling effect).

Maybe if I focused on trying to live the moment, rather than document the moment, we'd all be better off. Besides, do you know how far we had to go to find that damn cookie?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Have family: Will travel

Nostalgia and reverie are powerful things. Sitting at dinner one night on vacation, my daughter and I were talking about Hawaii. It came up that Daddy and I had been here before.
"Why?" She ALWAYS asks.
"Well, because Hawaii is a beautiful place to visit. The last time we were here..." I choke up. I tear. "The last time we were here, YOU and Chase were with me!"
She looks confused.
"Inside my tummy. You were here, with me." I point.
In fact, I remember exactly the first time someone actually recognized me as expecting was here. Sure, so maybe I stood a little more pregnant-looking than necessary, and yes I jumped into maternity clothes with the excitement of a prom-queen, but it was here where it first happened.

Not the most flattering shot, but here we are: Family of 4 (almost).

Here we are: Family of 4 (completely).

Friday, November 16, 2007

What are the chances? (Twice)

So...we had a fantastic time on the shores of Waikiki. The kids were fantastic beach-goers and vacationers. Everything was cruising along like a typical vacation.

Cut to Day 7 of the family Hawaii trip. I don't know which was more interesting, running into Patrick's ex-wife on the elevator of our hotel, or chatting it up with Jack Johnson's wife and kids. Hmmm... Tough call.

Although it would make for a much more exciting blog, I have neither a picture of "the ex" or of Mr. Johnson and family (darn-it).

Back to Day 3 of the trip. As we're strolling along the beach boardwalk, Patrick asked me if I ever think I'll run into my ex-husband somewhere. Maybe, I say. (We don't talk about our exes much. More out of respect for the exes than anything, so it was funny that he brought it up.) He continues..."I always think I'm bound to run into her somewhere."

So go figure -- we're standing in an elevator with her 4 days later. Consequently, we invited her to breakfast with us, she declined. Cute girl. Enough said.

Same day on our flight back home, Jack Johnson is walking the aisles trying to entertain his 15 month old son. Granted, he sat in first class, but you gotta love a guy willing to walk the aisles with all of us regular schmos. So back at baggage claim waiting forever for bags to arrive, Jack's (yes, we're on a first-name basis now) wife and I chatted it up. Her son's Moe (3) and Leo (15 months) (pronounced lay-oh) were sharing Chase's toy cars with Tatum. Put those 4 cute kids together and let's just say... I'm pretty sure we're going to be invited over for Christmas. :)

As my Dad said, on a day like that, I should have bought a lottery ticket. Stranger things have happened right?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

On Holiday

Well, the family is off on a vacation. Check back next week for embarrassing stories from our travel to the islands with two 3 year olds (I'm sure we'll have a handful). We can't wait!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Frog Prince (Revised)

You may have heard of the story of the Frog Prince. Yes, this story promises spells to be broken if only the young, innocent girl kisses the frog. What kind of lesson is that? Even though you may not really want to kiss that slimy thing with warts, go ahead, give it a try, and you might be rewarded with a life of royalty.

Well, as for our princess, she doesn't need to hear that garbage. We'll tell her: Don't kiss frogs. It's an amphibian, not a prince. And if it says it's a prince, it's lying.

And as for our Frog, well, he already is a Prince. The frog costume was just on sale and he really only cared about the candy. Can't say I blame him.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Chase Fenway does it again!

The curse has indeed been broken. We think it was, maybe, with the birth of our son in September 2004 -- Chase Fenway.
Red Sox Nation rejoice at TWO World Championships in 2004 AND 2007! Go Sox!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Happiest Place on Earth... actually a little scary. We braved the crowds, but didn't realize we'd have to brave the rides, too. Fortunately, Disney employees gave us "the magic flashlight" to help ease little 3 year old fears. Hugs from Mommy, Gran, and Uncle Henry helped, too.
Daddy was like one of the 7 Dwarfs whistling at home while he worked, "Hi-ho-hi-ho, it's off to work" he goes. I think the rest of that song goes something like, "to pay the bills for a day at Disney hi-ho-hi-ho-hi-ho-hi-ho."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


We are home. We have a home.

There was a mandatory evacuation for our area Monday morning. Patrick was at the airport headed for Mexico City for business, which ironically probably had better air quality than here. Thankfully, he turned back and helped scoop up his family. We stayed at a hotel Monday; one of the last rooms available we were told -- at 9:30 am. Tuesday, we were taken in by the generosity of friends in La Jolla.

It became a evacu-vacation, or evacu-cation.

Don't mean to make light of the tragedies of others. I know how fortunate we are. It's not that the fires were ever really putting our home in danger. The nearest one was probably still 5 miles away. Those poor people who had reverse 911 calls in the wee hours, with literally a moment to grab a pet/child/pair of strange it is to drive away and wonder if you'll be back.

We had enough time to actually choose...Should I bring long-sleeved shirts, or short? Open-toed shoes, or closed? I packed an emergency kit which I keep in the laundry room (food/water/first-aid/pet food/flashlight). Some clothes. One toy per kiddo. My photos on discs. Important paperwork in a binder. Seemed reasonable. But as days ticked off I realized the things I forgot. Baby books. Ugh. How could I forget those?

It brings to mind those things which we truly do need. What would you grab? In a minute? In 5 minutes? In a half an hour?

Thanks to our friends Wendy and Dane for putting us up. Despite the tragedies, we enjoyed the good company, (good wine), soft place to sleep, and friendship. Dane, nearly 10 years old, even put Tatum and Chase to bed, complete with a bedtime dance session, and story. Thanks also to the Lippes, who had our dog, Molly. (We didn't know it at the time, but hotels were actually allowing dogs due to the circumstances. The four-legged friends were a funny sight on the elevator.)

We are home. There are ashes and soot to clean, but of course we are fortunate to have a home to dust off. Our thoughts are with the many who still wait...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tune in

Laying in bed alternately reading and watching TV, I realized that I was hungry. Hate it when that happens. I'm all cozy and warm. I know the kitchen floor will be cold, the chill of the I wait. Maybe I'm not really hungry I tell myself. I read some more. In the background a commercial comes on for some gorgeous looking hamburger. That's it! I'm seriously hungry.

Should I lie in bed hungry but warm, or brave the cold and be fed?

I choose to get out of bed, head for the panrty, and pour myself a bowl of cereal. Perfect. That's just what I needed.

Sometimes the best things to do for ourselves are the harder ones. The ones that take a little extra strength.

Getting back into bed with a belly full of Cheerios was worth it.

It's simple really: Tune into our bellies, and brains, and hearts and find what is missing. Then feed it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

17 minutes

We are very blessed to have many wonderful friends and family. Our kids are still opening birthday presents from last month's big party. So today, when my little guy wanted to open this Talking "Woody" toy -- we did. And a mere 17 minutes, scissors, screwdriver, and trip to the recycling bin later ... he had his toy!
My new favorite phrase (see post below): "Are you kidding me?" Is this a toy or a nuclear weapon?
Fortunately, my son did play with his toy for nearly half the time it took me open it. Well done!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A little help...please

Damn those makers at Nabisco! Are you kidding me with these? Like the ebony and ivory goodness of their original version, these are like Oreos on steroids. This puffed up, swollen version of the original offenders take a woman's weakness and dangle it in her face.

"Oh, you like Oreos? Well, what about double-stuffed? Try doubling the explosion of sugar and trans-fats all in one bite."

[With a mouth full of crumbs...] "Yef, fank you . May I have fome mo pwease."
[As she doubles the double-stuffed ones.]

Did you know there are actually websites for recipes for these things? Not like Oreo cookie-crust (come on, how's a girl supposed to make cheesecake?). I'm talking FRIED Oreo cakesters with a side of clogged artery.

And there is actually a lawsuit which seeks to ban sale of Oreos to children in California. The suit, the first of its kind in the country, asks for an injunction ordering Kraft Foods to desist from selling Nabisco Oreo Cookies to children in California, because the cookies are made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, also called trans fat.

If you know me, please get into your car, drive to our house and throw these damn things away. As of now...there are ELEVEN left...I could be dead by morning.

Monday, October 15, 2007

If you decide to...

Remember those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books? Developed in the 1970's, designed to put the reader in the pilot's seat, becoming both protaganist and author at once. Choose your own adventure books offer alternate story endings as the reader sees the story fit. They prompted the reader with the phrase, "If you decide to" stay and fight the dragon turn to page 7, "If you decide to" run home, crawl into bed and cuddle your blankie ... turn to page 91. Hardly "invented" in the 1970's, merely published. For haven't we always been choosing our own adventure?

Remember those college applications? "If you decide to" go to Humboldt State -- turn to page 17 ... There you may become an oceanographer, a poet, a developer of alternate energy sources. "If you decide to" go to University of Colorado -- turn to page 76 ... There you may become an engineer, a business student, a yoga instructor."If you decide to" throw all of the applications in the garbage and join a band -- turn to page 43. But perhaps we would have come to our destination regardless.

There are these crossroads each day; should I eat Cheerios or scrambled eggs, drive the freeway or the coast, give in to the kids 3rd request for fruit snacks. We choose. Maybe nothing in our future really was affected by that choice.

Then there are the bigger adventures. The choices I have made, have yet to make, could have made differently. Dare I expose that ugly word "regret?" What about "fate?" "Destiny?" Or should I just turn the page and say, this is the adventure I have chosen. This is the ending I was looking for.

Admit it: You cheated here and there. You turned to page 17, 76, AND 43. You wanted to see what happened before you chose, right? Did the dragon win? But at some point, we have to commit to the page, close our eyes and believe. It's too hard to keep track of the alternate endings and consequences of each.

So here I am, choosing my own adventure. Some days, I wish I could peek ahead and get a glimpse of the pages ahead. But it takes the depth from the journey.

So here I go. "If you choose to" believe each moment exists entirely for the purpose of enjoying the ride...then it will be and the pages will begin to turn on their own.