Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baby, Babybabybaby, Baby

That's what I have on my mind today. Babies...

Oh, man, do I ever still really want to do that whole baby thing again. The wonder and magic of it ALL, even the sleepless nights and the tiny upset tummy and the Green-baby tradition of barfing up nearly as much breast milk as consumed. I think I actually miss the smell of baby spit up!

I just feel so right when there is a baby in the house, in a sling, or filling my arms. I love having those chubby thighs around, tempting me to take a tiny nibble. I miss nursing. And kissing those soft, warm, just-woke-up cheeks.

David is still holding steady with a "NO", which, yes, I admit, is a bit... problematic. But since I actually don't desire to be pregnant right now (for various health and timing reasons), I'm just convincing myself that I can convince him to change his mind.

The one drawback is that right now, I feel like I still get to look forward to being pregnant, having a birth adventure, and spending a couple more years mothering a baby. As soon as that ball starts rolling, however, it suddenly becomes not something I "get to do" but something I'm "doing for the last time- EVER" [commence tears and woe].

So, hey *clap, clap*: for those of you playing along at home, please get out your score cards and pencil. Ready?

Under the "sick children" column, you can add "two kids with strep throat". Joan, though vastly improved, casually complained of a sore throat. David took a flashlight and discovered that it was quite swollen. Before taking her to school yesterday afternoon, we decided we should get a throat culture, just in case, here in Tiny Town. It was positive!

When I called to let our doctor in Bigger Town know, she asked how Marin was. Fine! I said brightly. At that moment I noticed what a puddle-on-the-floor Marin had, quite suddenly, become. (It was hard to ignore with all the noise coming from her scream-hole). Any fever? our doctor asked. Nope, not since Monday... well wait, she does feel a little warm.

While on the phone, I asked Marin if I could see her throat. Sure enough, swollen and spotted. I don't think we even need to culture her. I'll just send in a prescription. This is why I've dubbed her Dr. Awesome.

Oh, but hey, 2 hours before Marin presented with strep, I spent the morning at Target with her. (I swear, I kissed her 83 times while there and she never felt AT ALL warm). And looky, looky what I found!:

That's right. I was at one of the smallest Targets in the country (in nearby Middle Town) and these were sitting there- all innocently blinking at me- on an endcap.

They only had Iowa Pine scent, and not my beloved Lavender, but I bought them up anyway.

Now when I think of "Iowa" I do not, in any way, think of "pine". And when I smell "pine", I don't think "Hey, everyone, does this remind you of Iowa, or WHAT?"

Additionally, I really HATE the fake-pine smell.

I have faith in Our Lady Mrs. Meyers, however. And guess what? I LOVE the scent! Love, love, love! It's pine-y, YES, but deliciously so. Like I have a real Christmas tree in our house, only better. Also, strangely, it doesn't exactly remind me of Christmas.

(I recently made a special trip to a Suburb Town Super Target, where I've always purchased Mrs. Meyers before... and they no longer carried it! I even asked two different employees (without either of them hearing), just to be sure. And now, a mere 2 weeks later, a non-Super-and-in-fact-a-very-very-small-Target has it? Oh, gods of Big Red... how elusive you are!)

Hey, still have those score cards handy? Under the "weather" column, you can chalk another one up for "cold, gloomy, dark, rainy October day". I will say one thing: all this doom and gloom and gross/cold/wet is making me long for snow.

Clean, white, non-drenching. SNOW!

Well played October. Well played.

Finally I leave you with this:

Why yes, that is my single remaining healthy child neatly sandwiched between the two sickies. And quite likely sharing that bag of popcorn with Marin.

Germ control: FAIL.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Walking on Sunshine

Our doctor yesterday confirmed that yes, Marin and Joan *do* indeed have h1n1. Their cases are mild, and they did not have any secondary infections (strep, pneumonia etc) so we were sent on our way. Wearing face masks, natch.

Speaking of, I'm thinking of procuring a few of those masks for when I need to get through crowds of people (think: grocery store during the "after-church" rush) quickly. Tie a couple of masks on the kids, and I'm sure would be like the Parting of the Seas.

I'm just full of great ideas and handy tips!

Can you tell I'm a bit giddy and stir crazy?

True story: the other day, David came home for lunch, and I flew out of here right quick. I went to the thrift store, where I bought nothing, but that feeling? It was like I popped a couple of fucking quaaludes or something. I'm free, I'm freeeeeeeeeee!

So today, when the "sick children" (meaning they have fevers every 20 hours or so, or approximately 20 seconds after I start thinking hmmm, they are much better finally) were also feeling restless, I did what any good mother would do. I sent them outside to play.

If you all can excuse some [more] weather talk from this here Minnesotan, I have to tell you about our October. It snowed here for the first time on October 10th (October FUCKING TENTH. Jesus.) and has been cold, sleet-y, raining, and dark on all other days this month except for about 2.

So while yes, it is a chilly day today, it is also a sunny day. And I have had basically zero time to walk around the neighborhood admiring the trees and smelling the wood-burning fireplace smell.

(Hey townies: vote yes on the referendum, will ya? Our beloved elementary school will probably have to close if it doesn't pass.)

Where was I? Oh, yes. Fall. After I kicked the kids outside, I realized that _I_ really needed to get out too. This shitty weather has been cramping my fall-loving style. True that! So we headed out for a short walk around the neighborhood.

As if this child needed to do anything else to make my heart pitter-patter even more. But then she whips out her Hello! Kitty camera to photograph the pwetty weaves, Mommy and oh, oh, oh. Be still, my heart!

And not to be all Pollyanna on your asses, but these kinds of days make my eyes prick up a bit. The crisp air, the bright colors, the blue skies, the crunch of leaves.

The trees that appear to be on fire. All perfect.

Kate is still not showing any signs of sickness. David and I are still healthy too, which is miraculous since Marin's favorite method of answering to that tickle in her throat is to "turn head, aim directly at Mama's face, and cough mightily".

These two caught some box elder bugs while outside, so that will provide them with hours of box elder bug harassing. I'm at the point where I would probably let them do projects that included mixing bleach with lye, if it kept them busy. I'm just hoping these little guys don't die off before their fascination wears off.

Later I have big plans of walking to the library for a fresh supply of books and movies. So far today, Joan has not had a fever, but I've been down THIS road before, and I refuse to be fooled again. I know it's a little like Ernie on Sesame Street, waiting for that other shoe to drop, but I am not going to say, or even THINK, that she's better. Oh, ho, ho, Fever. I'm on to YOU.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Middle of the Road

For a long, long time our family has found itself with one foot planted firmly on each side of the fence of many issues.

Vaccines? One foot is "yes, please, as many as age appropriate" and one foot is "why do we give our kids so many vaccines, all at once? Isn't that harmful to their tiny, underdeveloped immune systems and brains?"

Attachment parenting? One foot is "we sleep with our babies and breastfeed into the second year" and one foot is "I LIKE my space when sleeping, you bed hog. Off to your own crib you go!"

Birth? One foot is "Thank GOD for modern medicine and those two Csections- we have three healthy- and ALIVE- children because of it!" and the other foot is "Skeptical of modern medical interventions during labor and birth and wondering if those surgeries were actually necessary."

Discipline? One foot is "You will do as I say, when I say, do I make myself clear?" and the other foot is "If we meet their needs, the needs will go away. Come here and snuggle with mommy and tell me how you feel when you are being such a douche."

Eating? One foot is "We have our own bottom line to consider, and also? Processed foods are easier sometimes. Our kids are made up of 90% fish crackers" and the other foot is "We buy local and/or organic as much as possible and make many, many things from scratch with whole ingredients."

On being green: One foot is all "ZOMG I love Clorox wipes!" and the other "we use reusable shopping bags, earth friendly cleaning products, etc and recycle like we're going for a prize".

One foot, planted in each camp. Straddling the fence. Taking a little from each side and customizing it to meet our family's specific needs.

Usually this feels right and healthy. Like we do not swing to one extreme or another. Like there is a balance, and that we've found a good mix for our family.

Other times, it feel like we don't belong in either camp. It feels a little lonely. Or like we can't make up our minds.

Which is where I am with the h1n1 stuff right now. I'm quite casual about it, not really worried, feeling confident that we're all going to be fine. As of right now, we are not planning on vaccinating (mostly because our kids likely already HAVE it).

However, I do still feel uneasy about it all sometimes. The "what if's" come sneaking in, and I too want to camp outside the clinic with a deadly weapon and demand protection for my family.

Also, I hope I have not come off smug about our experience with h1n1. So far, the kids are fine. Kate is still healthy, and the other two are doing that maddening thing where they are fine and fever free for 15 or more hours, only to dissolve into buckets of weeping woe. Which only means one thing: fever's back.

I do realize though that our family is not out of the woods. That it has yet to be determined whether or not we will all escape with only being mildly sick. I am well aware that one of us could still need a hospital stay... or worse. I'm just choosing not to dwell on that and to NOT get caught up in the hysteria.

(I see the media coverage as less "public service information" and more as "a way to get great ratings". And I think it is their fault that none of us has the ability to gauge the actual seriousness of the situation. We are shown case after sad case of deaths and then told "not to panic" and that "most cases are mild".... wait... what? Are we ALL GOING TO DIE or not?)

Oh, and remember the mixed-up doctor's appointments? Well, the REAL appointments are today and I've talked to the nurse there TWICE about whether I should bring in my sick kids; once this morning when they appeared to be on the mend, and again at noon when they both presented with fevers. She assured me both times that I should keep the appointments because (1) our doctor is hard to get in to and we've had these appointments since August and (2) because then she can check out the kids and make sure that they do not have anything else.

So! Off to Bigger Town we go! Wheeeee! Two Sickies and me!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Internets, we have another fallen child. This one was was merrily eating her oatmeal yesterday when her mouth suddenly became a geyser of stomach-content woe. Kate, being the barfaphobic that she is, let out a blood curdling scream and abandoned her breakfast in favor of heading outside.

Where she sat, on a chilly fall morning, on the trampoline. Being cold is better than hearing barf, I guess.

So we got some extra snuggles from the little one (love that), and she has moved on to fever/runny nose portion of this swine-extravaganza-2009.

Joan was better ALL DAY yesterday. She had a low (99.something) fever once during the day, but seemed great. She played outside. She helped Daddy clean out the garage. And then, at bedtime she became a soggy, teary mess. Fever, predictably, 102 again.

To be honest, if I didn't know about THE flu, I might not even be calling it that. (The nurses at our family practice are the ones who first said that these symptoms are quite likely IT). I'd be saying that the kids have "some sort of cold/fever thing" with a shrug of my shoulders.

Really, they've been much sicker before. Higher fevers, days of throwing up etc.

There was the one time when Joan had a fever of 105 and the urgent care clinic couldn't find a single thing wrong with her. They almost put her in the hospital except for (1) she cried tears and (2) she timed her gulping of her water-filled sippy to the exact moment the doctor was in the room. Since she wasn't dehydrated, they sent us home with warnings about febrile seizures and instructions on keeping her hydrated.

In other weekend news, we decided to take down the girls' bunk beds. They need a little more space from each other, and the bunk beds just weren't working for me (aesthetically speaking) any longer. Now I'm scouring Craigslist for some bedroom furniture for them. Headboards/footboards, dresser, and nightstand. For cheap. And I like the old, worn look. I should be able to find something soon.

(I am also toying with the idea of converting our office to a bedroom for one of them. But where to put David's desk and computer? He works from home- in the evenings- a ton, so this is an actual consideration...)

Also, in a "Zoh-my-god this could not be better timed" turn of events (see also: being stuck at home with sickies since Wednesday), I am going to an all girl NAKED LADY party this afternoon. It's a clothing exchange, with the real emphasis being on socializing and drinking wine. For me, anyway. Plus I get to downsize ye ol' closet, which always feels good. (Anything extra will be donated to the Neighborhood Service Center).

OMG. Even though I just typed the above paragraph MYSELF, as in *I* typed it, I just realized that I AM LEAVING MY HOUSE BY MYSELF- WITHOUT CHILDREN- FOR SEVERAL HOURS- IN A ROW- AND NOT TO RUN STUPID ERRANDS- BUT TO HANG OUT WITH FRIENDS- SQUEEEEEEEE!!!! I think this calls for some lip gloss.

What have you been up to this weekend?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sickie Sickie Poo

Her cheeks are pink, her lips are stained orange from juice, and her feet are as hot and dry as a dessert (did Catherine Newman first use this description of feverish feet? Anne Lamott? Not sure, but whoever it was, it's quite accurate).

She's come down with some kind of flu, animal-derived or otherwise, and she's home today. And probably for the rest of the week. My sweet little first born, Joan.

She's getting plenty of rest and lots of snuggles. For as fierce of a child she is when she's well (and I do admire that about her), she's a sweet little lamby when she's sick.

We've got the supplies: juice, drugs, a freezer full of freezy-pops, and thermometer. I've called our family doctor and spoken to the nurse.

I also did myself the huge favor of not watching all the media coverage of the elephant flu, so I have no scary images in my head, no sad stories about perfectly healthy children getting horribly sick. I am so thankful for this!

While I really don't like seeing my children sick, I am enjoying reading to Joan today. She very rarely lets me do that anymore. While I am thrilled beyond belief of what a great reader she is, I still enjoying this chance for her to be the little girl, and me to be the mama reading to her.

I really feel confident that she is going to be fine. I'm not one to really worry about these things anyway. We are not what one would call "overly careful", and I have peace that she will be back to her ol' spirited self in a few days.

(I am curious as to when/if my other two, or David or I, will get it however...)

She had an appetite for breakfast this morning and has kept hydrated with juice and water. Her fever has been, at times, quite high. At other times, she has a brief reprieve and plays for awhile.

I know that things can go horribly, horribly wrong and that this type of illness can be quite serious. But I also know that there was really nothing I could do to prevent it. My kids go to school everyday, and I take Marin to the libraray, grocery store, and other public places. The vaccine is not available yet.

I also keep in mind that for every story I hear about (through other people, as I don't watch it myself), there are many MANY (thousands?) of other people that get the piggy flu and are just fine. F-I-N-E.

So I am keeping an eye on her, yes, but I am calm.

And I'm also angry that so many others have been scared shitless by our ratings-hungry media. I suppose asking them to do a story about someone who didn't get really sick would not be very interesting: shots of them napping in the comfort of home, drinking fluids, reading books, eating Popsicles would certainly NOT create the fear-mongering frothy frenzy they are going for, but these stories exist too.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Yesterday I arranged for someplace for Kate to go after school, arranged to pick up Joan early from school, woke Marin from a nap, arranged for David to pick up Kate from our friends' house (thanks, Beautiful Neighbor!), and planned a place to meet him and Kate in Bigger Town.

Meanwhile, I drove myself, Marin, and Joan over to Bigger Town for a doctor's appointment. We arrived 1 minute before our scheduled time, sweating as it was an unseasonably warm (and very welcome!) day. I jostled my bag, Marin on my hip (she was sleepy and refused to walk), and Joan's tightly clutched hand up to the check-in desk.

"Hi! We have an appointment. Well, two appointments..."

"Which doctor?"

"Dr. Awesome. For both girls."


*clicking around on her computer*


"Well, I don't see you listed anywhere. What time was your appointment?"

It turns out I had the wrong Monday! So, we get to do the whole process over again next week! Hurray!

Scheduling FAIL FAIL FAIL.

Joan was a bit scandalized that I took her from school to a doctor's appointment that never existed. I was tired, thinking of doing it all over again, in one week. Joan, in her endless brilliance, saw my weary body language and suggested brightly "Mom! How about some cake batter ice cream?"

Who can say no to an offer like that?

Later, after David picked up Kate, he was kind enough to drive over to Bigger Town. Monday nights are my work nights, so either he came and picked up the 2 girls I had with me, or I drove them home (30 minutes), drove back to work (30 minutes), and then drove home AGAIN (30 minutes). Plus the 30 minutes to drive to the (FAIL FAIL) non-existing doctor's appointment.

He was partly motivated to meet me in Bigger Town because he was overdue for his biannual shopping trip to Old Navy for some khaki work pants.

(And now I've just admitted to the internets that my husband shops for clothes twice a year. And the thing is, he always looks neat and put together. I, on the other hand, shop... more than twice a year and look like a disaster all the time. Please explain.)

Which leads me to my bigger, more profound FAIL of the day. Joan, Marin, and I have a perfectly lovely afternoon. Cold Stone, thrift store, just hanging out, everyone in harmony. Then we met up with THE OTHER TWIN (Kate) and David at Old Navy.

Wait, let me back up and set the scene for you.

At the thrift store, both girls found tap shoes for 50 cents. And then, wanted to wear them. Into Old Navy. Really, it's a tap dancer's dream store- all the concrete flooring stretching out before them! Plus, one of the girls had a quarter in her pocket and purchased a rubber bouncy ball.

So there I was, ushering two children wearing tap shoes (it sounded like 12 children wearing tap shoes) and a bouncy ball through the aisles of Old Navy. David heard us coming from the moment we left the thrift store across town.

Back to the FAIL: as soon as the two older girls, the twins, were reunited, the entire dynamic of the evening shifted. It was all shouting and bickering and competing for attention. Fighting over who got to hold my left hand. But I ALWAYS have to hold her right hand! You NEVER let me hold the left hand!

All the while tap, tap, tap, bounce, bounce, bounce. The ball going over and under racks of clothing, three little girls chasing after it, yelling for David or me, panicking when they got "lost" (not understanding that you could never be lost with tap shoes on in Old Navy), Kate grousing because she doesn't HAVE ANY tap shoes (she does, at home), Joan whining because SHE wants a turn with the ball.

I think you get the idea.

(Suffice to say, the Old Navy folks were not sad to see us go.)

What I realized (besides the obvious lesson about the tap shoes) was that I don't like Joan and Kate when they are together. Well, and perhaps more importantly, they don't like EACH OTHER.


Of all the things I want for my children, finding friendship in each other is pretty high on the list.

And they do, yes they really do (she reminds herself), have lots and lots of moments together that are peaceful, or fun, or even just quiet.

But lately, it's quite hard to NOT feel like David and I have dropped the ball (ha!) in some big way with those two. To NOT feel like they compete with each other so relentlessly around us because of something we did or didn't do. It seems like it must be a shortcoming on our part, and neither of us has a twin to draw life experience from to indicate anything different.


For the eleventy kajillionth time, I feel highly unqualified for this job.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Different Christmas

This year for Christmas, my siblings and I decided to do things a bit differently. (You know, Teh Economy, and all.)

We are drawing names as per usual (11 people in total), but instead of trolling the aisles of every big box store around, we made some new "rules".

Rule 1: Gift must be handmade (not necessarily by you, just handmade by someone)


Rule 2: Gift must be second hand

This is different than a "White Elephant Christmas" (though we've done that before too- with the larger, extended-extended family gift exchanges- and it's quite fun) in that the gift should not be junk or joke-worthy. The gift should be something thoughtful, useful, and nice, just like if you were going to Target to buy a gift, only NOT purchased at Target.

(And now I've just defined handmade/2nd hand for you! You are welcome!)

The idea was spawned when I spent several shopping trips scanning the shelves of various stores, looking for a birthday gift for my 1 year old nephew. Nothing seemed right. It was either more plastic that he didn't need, too old for him, or too expensive.

Then Marin and I were making our weekly(ish) stop at the local thrift store when she spotted this vintage ride on horse with wheels. Yes, it was plastic. But it was from the 70's and seemed somehow familiar to me, though I don't think we owned one when I was a child. And it was $2.

Sheepishly, I bought it for him. It did feel weird to give a 2nd hand gift, but it was simply the best-suited gift I had found. I was not sure how my SIL (my brother's wife) would respond.

As it turns out, SIL loved it- I didn't know this before but she too loves the vintage look. AND, it's THE toy he plays with the most. It's the perfect size for him to haul a leg over, and as a not-yet-walker, he's delighted with the mobility. Did I mention that it was $2?

Awww, I know. What a cute little 2nd hand success story, huh? What I am learning, though, is that nearly EVERYTHING I want to buy at Target can be purchased 2nd hand for SO MUCH LESS. (I'm quite sure that a modern version of that ride-on toy would be priced $20-30 new.)

The other issue that I think is worth mentioning is: what can you REALLY buy someone at Target/Kohls/wherever that they really will be delighted with? Let's assume that the budget for each person is $20-30... there are very few times when I experience joy in purchasing for someone (adults especially) on my Christmas list. I mean, they either already have it, or I'm not sure if they have it, or I'm not sure which color would be best, or I'm not sure at ALL what to get. Or I am working off a list that they have made, which is lacking in the magic and surprise of the Christmas spirit, ya know?

Often I just ending buying SOMETHING.

Some THING- a thing that was usually not a thoughtful gift. A overly-packaged item that was on some "gift" endcap somewhere... And that person spends $20-30 on me, on a similar thing found on a different (yet eerily alike) gift endcap somewhere else.

(And since my family would draw 5 names, I would be set back $125-150 for my sibling gift exchange alone.)

(In fact, the last couple of years, my sister and my husband have rigged the name draw so that they have each other's names. Then, they would each buy their OWN gift, wrap it, label it from the other person, and put it under the tree. They are shameless cheaters. But also, they both got something they really wanted, and the sentiment was- nearly- the same.)

I'll be the first to admit to being torn between doing away with the whole gift exchange all together, and LOVING the gift exchange. I hate how pointless it all seems! I love getting presents!

I'm not sure how these "new rules" are going to go, but I hope that it helps put some of the joy and magic back into our Christmas. My kids are already planning what they are going to make for their recipients (a butterfly house! a melting bead heart! a carved pumpkin!), and if nothing else, our gift exchange will definitely be interesting this year.

Hopefully I'll be back here, waxing poetic about our "lovely homemade/2nd hand Christmas", and it will be all tiny elf kisses and reindeer that look like puffy pink unicorns.

And if all else fails, at least we will all have fatter wallets at the end of this Christmas season.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Vacation Day

We are telling our usual Saturday Morning Routine to bite it (farmer's market, garage sales, house cleaning) and heading to the Mall of America for a day of family vacation.

We ate lunch here at home and packed a backpack full of healthy snacks (banana bread, apples, trail mix of almonds/walnuts/raisins/craisins, and water bottles). We'll bite the bullet and eat at the feeding frenzy also known as a mall food court for supper. Nothing about our day will be "supporting local", except for the fact that MOA is local-ish.

We are going to go on rides, see the butterfly garden, a maybe catch a movie.

We haven't done a "family day" like this- just for the heck of it- at ALL in my memory...

Hope your Saturday has a spontaneous aspect as well!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Em-ee-ay-tee Night

Around the time I was articulating that David didn't have the same opportunities for community as I did, he decided to host Me_@t Night.

Me_@t night, as you may be able to guess, is where all the guys get together and eat- you guessed it!- me_@t. Annnnnddddd, pretty much only me_@t. (Though, I did see a bag of cheddar bugles in the mix.) You know, getting back to their primal roots and all that.

(I am protecting this post because I mentioned me_@t night on facebook, and now I'm nervous that certain family member might be curious about it, google it, and land right here.)

Anyway, since David hosted it at our house, I got to see, hear, AND smell what exactly me_@t night was.

There was a moment where I thought they might be burning my house down, as it became so smoky upstairs- where I was putting our children to bed- that my eyes felt a little watery.

There was, of course, lots and lots of me_@t being cooked, but I'm happy to report that no firetrucks were called.

There was much less chest-thumping and much more philosophical conversation than I expected. At one point, when I myself came for a sampling of charred flesh, the conversation was about religious theology and how the different churches, politically speaking, came to be.

The tv offerings last night were much too engrossing (plus I had GLEE to catch up on, as a back-up plan) for me to do any eavesdropping, but I did hear sporadic uproarious laughter throughout the night. The smell of cooking me_@t was renewed often, as I am under the impression that the cooked dead animal JUST. KEPT. COMING.

Just to warn you, if your own man-folk decide to do something like this: when David came to bed at 2 AM, he absolutely REEKED of smoky, charred, cooking food. I had to turn over and breath through my mouth until I fell back to sleep.

I sadly don't have any pictures of the event, though my camera finger was absolutely twitching the couple of times I popped downstairs. I kind of figured that posing for a group photo would ruin their carnivorous mojo, ya know?

This morning I woke to a sparkling clean kitchen, the aroma of the me_@t-athon mostly gone. The only clue that anything different happened in there was the dish drainer piled high with pans, knives, and cutting boards. Well, and a can of cigarette butts outside the back door.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall Harvest Party

The growing season is coming to an end in our climate. To celebrate, "our farmer" as she is known around our house, had all the shareholders from our CSA out to the farm for a harvest celebration.

(Isn't it great that the person that grows our local, organic, and sustainable food is a WOMAN? From a parenting perspective, I lovelovelove that our kids automatically think of *her* when they picture a farmer.)

Though the skies threatened us with rain all day, we managed to make it through the potluck meal, garden tour, and hayride without getting wet. WHEW! It was otherwise a nice, windy, fall day.

I really thought these old silos and farm equipment were beautiful.

Hurray for hayrides!

(This is my sister, flanked by my three kiddos.)

Sonny, the horse.

Shareholders taking a tour of the biggest of the three gardens.

"Our farmer" does not yet have children of her own, but kids love her.
Here she's reading them the directions to the scavenger hunt she planned.

Gourds!!! (Not edible, but fun to get none-the-less.)

View of one of her THREE huge gardens (foreground) with the MN landscape showing off in the background.

Marin, Joan, Kate, and my niece June, with the pumpkins "our farmer" grew.

Marin and her best bud (also a CSA shareholder) had fun climbing this huge dirt pile.

My sister and niece were visiting to celebrate Marin's birthday, so they were able to join us. It felt so "right" to see the kids learning about where our food comes from, how- and where!- it is grown, etc.

I think the adults too came away with a huge dose of reality. How she grows and tends to the vegetables ("our" vegetables!) is a TON of work. I get overwhelmed for her every time I think about it. And yet, for her, it is a labor of love. I'm quite sure I'm far, FAR too lazy to do what she does.

While I am somewhat ready for this year's CSA to wrap-up (the pressure! to find ways to use/store all that beautiful food!), I know it will not take long before I am yearning for some garden fresh veggies.

I hope "our farmer" gets plenty of restful days this winter, before she's out there again. Growing food for us.

P.S. The pumpkins are piling up... any good pumpkin or pumpkin seed recipes that you'd like to share?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Poor, Poor, Me

In our family story, Kate is known as our "surprise baby". You see, I was 23 weeks pregnant before we learned (much to our utter and complete SHOCK) that we were expecting twins. Until then, for FIVE months, we had planning and dreaming about our first baby... but to find out we had TWO on the way was mind blowing.

It seemed that Joan, or "twin A" as she was dubbed, was there all along and that on that life-changing day in October 2002, Kate suddenly and unexpectedly joined her in my womb.

Not exactly how it went, I know, but that's how it seemed.

So my surprise baby. The best and most life-changing surprise I've ever received. Her first few days she was red faced and scream-y, but she quickly realized her true nature: sweet, cuddly, and loving. She's a sensitive girl, always worrying about things, most especially other people.

She's also the family animal lover and spiritual leader. Animals love her too. She talks more about God and heaven than any of the rest of us, and she has since she started speaking.

HOWEVER. Lately she's been in this phase of POOR ME. NOBODY LOVES ME. Everything everyone does is a direct and purposeful INSULT directly pointed at her. If you are Kate, life is EXTREMELY UNFAIR, ALL THE TIME.

To say that this drives me crazy is true. But I also just want to help her STOP telling herself that the whole world is against her. She takes the tiniest affront and turns it into something disproportionate. While some things are unfair, she mostly is making herself miserable.

It's exhausting to watch, to listen to, and mostly to parent. At every turn, some little thing turns her into a puddle of tears and woe and some kid-like version of WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE.

The girls like to "write songs" and then sit at the piano and "play" them: the plunk out a tuneless tune while singing the lyrics they have written. (Um, ya think they should be put in piano lessons, like, YESTERDAY? Yeah, I suck.)

So anyway, I found this "song" sitting at the piano this morning. (Kate's standard "pretend name", when she plays the Piano Game, is Angel):

Nobodey likes me


(translated: nobody loves me because my name is a dying word it is angel)*


First, I got goosebumps, because a 6 year old child wrote this. Perhaps I'm just doing that mommy thing where we think our kid is SO GIFTED, but I *do* think that there is something poetic and haunting about what she wrote.

But, more importantly, how can I help her?

Motherhood is hard. Gah.

*It just occurred to me that perhaps these are REAL lyrics to a song (like some Miley Cyrus bullshit that I am ignorant to)????? Anyone??