Just one girl trying to not to drop anything too important...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Dear Mags,

I’m feeling a little over-full from dinner tonight, and it’s reminding me of five years ago when I was about to go into labor with you. Five years is a pretty long time, especially since I really have no concept of what life was like before you arrived. When I try to remember the me I was before you were around, it’s kind of like looking back at a different person, so much of who I am now revolves around being a mom to you and Ellie. You surprise me every day – sometimes the surprise hits me when I realize that you and Ellie have cut your own hair or eaten a whole tin of Altoids or drawn tattoos on yourselves with marker. Today I found the mechanism for a door knob – the part that goes inside the door – under your bed. (?!?) But, more often than not, the surprise is the kind that leaves me nearly stunned with the wonder of how big, how smart, how beautiful and how unique you are.

Yesterday, I bought your Halloween costume – Snow White this year. I was decidedly NOT surprised that you chose a Disney princess as your costume of choice. I was surprised at the fact that you chose Snow White. You have never seen that movie, to the best of my knowledge, unless the babysitter snuck it in there one night while we were off at the symphony (because your father and I are VERY cultured). You tend to be a top-tier princess fan – Ariel, Cinderella. Snow White is more of a classic. She doesn’t say a lot, isn’t all that feisty, and she’s very kind to the dwarves. I like that you went a little off of mainstream. But, back to the shopping trip. I went without you and Ellie because I wanted to have a chance to THINK if necessary, so I bought everything without having you try things on. I went to Target in the hopes that they would have both the Snow White costume you had requested and a pink princess dress because (again, to my surprise) Ellie chose to be a princess but not one from a Disney movie – just one with a pink dress. Anyway, I found both dresses (and the angels sang) AND two pairs of sparkly shoes – pink for Ellie and red for you. You had admired the same shoes months ago, but I had refused to buy them because at the time, I didn’t see the need for you to possess red sparkly shoes. It’s a good thing, too, because your feet have grown. I showed you the shoes this morning, and immediately you said, “Those are the shoes I wanted a long time ago!” And, there you have it – me standing there stunned that you are old enough and smart enough to remember a shopping trip that had to be in July. You have a mind like a steel trap. Then, I had you try the shoes on, and God bless you, if you could have WILLED them to fit, you would have. But, Honey, these are shoes for Halloween and we are actually going trick or treating this year (for the first time ever) – Your shoes need to be comfortable. Eventually, after getting your foot stuck in the ill-fitting sparkly shoes (like Anastasia and Drizella when the guy comes with Cinderella’s glass slipper), you admitted that they probably wouldn’t work. Then, you promptly hid them under a pillow in the back corner of my closet. You did show me where they were and trust me to go in search of a bigger pair today (which I did – and found some – and the angels sang again, even louder than yesterday). When you and Ellie got home from preschool today, you tried on the new shoes and they fit (my surprise at the size of your feet is huge – as are your feet themselves). You then tried on your costume, showed Ellie her costume, helped her put her shoes and dress on and danced about in shared delight with your sister. Neither of you coveted the other’s dress or shoes (knock on wood and register more Mommy surprise – yay!). I’m looking forward to the coming year.

I think four was kind of tough. You developed a very strong head, which I’m sure will serve you well, but which at times drove me BONKERS. Thankfully, along with that new-found assertive opinionated persona, you also set aside the crippling shyness that we’ve dealt with for so long – well, maybe you didn’t set it aside, but you are much better at communicating with people – even in the presence of your Papa and I than you used to be. Thank goodness. Fortunately, (knock on wood again) I think in the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen you actively choose to be a nicer girl on many occasions. I believe that you’re actually getting to an age where you realize what it means to elect to be kind. You have kids in your class that are not considerate or well-behaved, and you tell me about them and how you don’t like to be around them. I enjoy hearing this stuff because hopefully it’s molding you into a thoughtful human being and teaching you to steer clear of ne’er-do-wells. Also, I think you’re really honing your critical thinking skills. In fact, you have developed what I consider a pretty impressive ability to reason with the best of us (although I have to tell you that if I say, “Because I’m your mom and I said so,” it will always trump any argument you can provide no matter how well-considered it may be).

You are really into art at the moment – and learning your letters and writing, writing, writing. Five is going to be the year you learn to read, and that is so exciting. Once you can read, you can begin your quest for world domination – or whatever. I can’t wait to watch those doors open up for you. I also think the art thing is interesting. I don’t remember ever having a great interest in art – I’m not sure why. I’m glad you do. And cooking! Now that we’re finishing up the kitchen remodeling project we’ll be able to cook together even more. I am so proud of you when you help me cook breakfast or dinner. I love how careful you are and how intently you listen and participate in making our food. You can crack an egg without getting shell all over! Rock on, Sister.

Your Papa and I have both noticed that you are developing a knack for turning phrases that are colloquial and appropriate to the situation. I don’t know how that happens in the brain of a kid, either, but it makes you seem like a little adult and very smart. I wish I could think of something you’ve said, but I guess you just stop me dead in my tracks when you do it, and I forget to remember.

Anyway, this year will be a big one. By your next birthday, you’ll have started school and that will be that. I wish you fabulous things for your five-hood. And I look forward to getting to know the unique individual that you’re becoming and becoming and becoming with each waking moment. I’ll keep trying to be the best mom I can be. I love you! Happy birthday, Darlin’.

Love, Mama

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Harnessing the Wind

I checked in at Chookooloonks today and saw this great video. It made me want to do something worthwhile with my afternoon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When Italian Parsley Gets Out of Control

We're Cookin'

Here I am making our first meal on the new range. (We heated up Papa Murphy's the night before, but I figure that doesn't count.) The electrician guys hooked up the hood today. The one in the kitchen held his arms under it and showed me how the suction pulled his arm hairs up, while the guy on the roof said it was like sticking your head out the window of a car at 60 mph when he put his face near where the air blows out. I mentioned that the men on our street like to play, "I've got the biggest/most powerful (fill in the blank)... - in this case "hood." They said they were pretty sure that we'd win that contest without much effort. There's still a way to go, but we're getting down to little stuff - faucets, glass tile, grout...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tacoma Tigers are better than Portland Lions?

Thursday after dance class, I packed up the rugrats to go see the new Predators of the Serengeti exhibit at the zoo in Portland. Very nice, although somewhat predictably, the three lions just slouched around on some big rocks (I'm sure the wise baboon Rafiki - had be been around - would have told me that it was Pride Rock on which they were taking their repose.) However, one young couple there with their children did point out a muddy paw print on the window at just about eye level for Mags and Ellie. So, unless some zoo employee is walking around with a fake paw on a stick smearing mud, the lions have actually approached the viewing glass at some point. But, alas, even if I had had the camera, it would have been tough to get a good picture during our visit. BUT, talking about viewing glass and giant cats, I'll take you back to the zoo at Point Defiance in Tacoma over Labor Day weekend. We got to see a tiger that was awake and seemingly hungry. I'm pretty sure he was giving the eye to the girls in the same way I would, say, a freshly seared bacon-wrapped scallop right about now (not sure where that craving came from...).

I congratulate the zoo in Portland for using the same type of viewing method for the new exhibit. So often at the zoo there, the animals are so far away, on the opposite side of a concrete moat, that it's hard to get a good look at them (at least for my old eyes.) The tigers in Portland always look so apathetic and bored and disengaged. I want a tiger that looks interested. Even if it's in my kids - through a sturdy glass wall, that is. Because when the tiger's interested - so are the kids. See for yourself:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thank God for the Laundry Rooms of Friends

The hardest part of the kitchen remodel, bar nothing, is the lack of laundry facilities. No dishwasher? We have a sink. No stove? We have a grill. No washing machine? We have...... a big rock and a garden hose? No, I don't think so.

What we do have is a short list of kind people we call friends who are willing to let us use their washers and dryers. Thank you, Jen and Garrett. Thank you, Neighbor Ric. And thank you, Robin, John, Nicole, Amanda and Tony. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We owe you, big time.

Today at Robin and John's, not only did they let us launder our week's worth of dirty underwear, they fed us brunch and their girls watched our girls as we lazed away a sunny morning, hot coffee in hand, waiting for clothes to dry. And, the girls got to see where eggs come from, kind of.