Thursday, April 22, 2010

Laugh until you can't breathe

This week I need to give a shout out to my mama friends.  Funnily enough some of my mama friends aren't mamas, but hey, Mama Friends has such good ring to it.
I love going out with just my husband, I love going out with us as a couple with another couples or a group, but I LOVE going out with my girlfriends.  I love getting all dolled up and meeting in a smoky bar, a table full of women who have gotten pretty-ed up just for themselves and nobody else. We sit a table and are obnoxiously loud and belligerent.  We swear. We laugh at our children or our partners or ourselves.  We say the word, Booby, frequently.  We mock men in crocs  (Sara and Kate, you know what I mean).  We drink a little too much and eat tacos in the rain.
My Mama friends are partnered or singled, some have kids, some don't.  It doesn't mattered.  We talk about serious things and we have each others back.  We sympathize and empathize.  And we laugh and laugh until the next morning my throat is sore and my head is sore and I don't mind at all and would do it again in a second.
Today, I lift my champagne bottle, er, glass to my girlfriends.  You are the best.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Free Range Kids

Children, like chickens, deserve a life outside the cage. The overprotected life is stunting and stifling, not to mention boring for all concerned.

My husband sent me this article, and I found myself compelled to share it.  But first, a little background.  We are planning out next building project, the treehouse.  We believe that our children, whose lives are dictated by the rules of adults deserve a place that is their own, a magical place, above our heads.  We also believe our children should be strong and independent, solve their own arguments, learn to stand up for themselves, learn to be confident. 
We let our oldest two children go to the park by themselves.  One block down, sometimes if I stand in front of my house I can actually see them.  They are 9 and 6.  People think we are crazy.  Strangers I meet at the park comment on it.  One block down.  Yes I could be afraid, but what good is that? Statistics show me that my children are more like to be hurt or molested or stolen with someone I know, somewhere safe, like their own home.  They must be strong and go into the world bravely and intelligently.  They need to learn that they can leave and then come back and we will be here, waiting to hear about the adventure.

Read the article.  Tell me what you think.

So what's for Dinner?

I hate meal planning.  I love to cook, but meal planning sends me over the edge.  Finding something we all like to eat, that contains the proper food groups, doesn't take two hours to make and I have all the supplies for, geez, why is that so hard.  I guess because there are alot of us and only one of me and because sometimes it is just hard to come up with good ideas.  Right now, I am already trying to plan the next few days..any ideas?
Me, I'm at a loss.
Thinking about investing in this book
recommended by a wise mama-friend.
Maybe it will help, but for tonight.  Pasta and red sauce, my "I'm at loss, go to meal"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Champagne Thursday

When my husband and I were married (some time ago) we ended up with a couple of cases of champagne left.  For the next 6 months or so we had Champagne Thursdays, we would hang at my mom's with my mom and step-dad, pop a bottle of champagne and drink it.  It was a great tradition, one that led to much laughter and is still fondly remembered by all.
I know alot of people do grateful Mondays or that sort of thing, well, this is my version.  Every Thursday I will (virtually) lift my glass to ONE thing.  It can be very hard for me to pick one thing of anything, but I will do my best.
This Thursday I lift my glass to April.  I love April.  I know, I know, the cruelest month.  poor misunderstood Eliot.  But why is April cruel? In there lies my love of April.

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering         5
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers

In case you didn't get it, this is all about rebirth.  
In April, Christians have their Easter, Pagans have their Easter, too, sans Jesus.  Earth has her Easter, with a madcap display of blooming and growth and sunny days and sudden storms.  Everything that has died is born again, 

You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;  35
'They called me the hyacinth girl.'
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,  40
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

It is true that every year I read The Wasteland , every April I torture my poor DH and kids by reading sections outloud, but this Spring I am especially grateful for April.  I am especially aware of my rebirth.  
The strength and beauty of women's bodies are so amazing, knowing this time last year I was growing two little healthy people in me, causing my own body such considerable distress and now I can run and play with all my children, I can garden and clean and sleep and see my toes, and they do not look like sausages.  The fear I held to is gone, replaced with the relentless tiger love that I have for all my children, not just my littlest two.
April, thank you for reminding me of the rebirth of my body and my heart and my soul.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Paddy loves Hummus.

Recently I had a funny discussion with my sister about the hilarious food we ate as kids.  Mac and cheese with fish sticks.  Hot dogs, baked beans and potato chips, fried baloney, taco salad, lasagna;  we were products of the 70's.  Our parents had parties where they put out little wooden bowls of peanuts and cashews and the adults all played Pinochle and drank vermouth.
There is a certain comfort in those processed food, it isn't like my mom didn't work hard to give us good food, she made homemade applesauce so delicious I hold all others I eat up to it, they all fall short.  She baked bread and cookies and cakes.  It was different time and we were that sort of family, the kind with banana seat bikes and a van.
I am pretty sure I didn't eat a black olive until I was 20, about the same time I had hummus, a rather repulsive looking mass on the side of my plate at Korey's Mediterranean restaurant. At that time, Greek food was, well, all Greek to me...and I had no idea what to order, let alone, what it was.  My love affair with hummus started that day, and as our children grew old enough to eat "real food" it was always comment on, with the sad exception of Asher, who is more particular with taste buds, that "your kids will eat anything"  Our boys love hummus, Emmet will eat it with crackers or bread or baby carrots, so will Fra, but he prefers pretzel sticks.  Today I offered Paddy some on a saltine.  It went over quite well.  Although, it must be admitted, he loves fish sticks, too.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Why I love baseball.

I love baseball.  It doesn't even make sense for me to love baseball, I don't like sports.  But I love baseball. I love it because my family is from Chicago, and baseball is sorta a religion there.  
There is a loyalty to baseball, like my Grandfather's faithful devotion to Cubs, he would never swear or shout, good or bad games.  He would smile or shake his head.
 There is always next year, you know.
 There is a sentimentality to baseball, that makes great movies like "Field of Dreams" and "The Natural" that people like my mom watch over and over until they can quote whole sections.
 I love the sun to hot on my face and a beer in a paper cup watching a farm team. I love being able to see the players faces, the way they spit and scuff, the fights, the squints, the little hand gestures.  I swear I don't have a freakin' clue what they are talking about, but, hell, the ball goes up and I'm on my feet with rest of them, yelling.
I don't like sports.  Really.  
But I love a sweaty little kid smell and a sprinkle of freckles under a baseball cap and opening day circled big in red on the calender.

"The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past...It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. "

Saturday, April 10, 2010

In all the world, my nest is best.

One of the great gifts of parenthood is learning to care (less) about what everyone else thinks.  I find it impossible to fully let go of my insecurities, but as time goes on, I realzing that pleasing the people who I love, the people who love me and myself are the ones that matter.  Everyone else, well, why are you passing judgement on me? 
Lately I've been thinking alot about my home.  We have a great home.  It is loud and often messy.  It has tall ceilings and alot of light.  It has a big yard and a nice new kitchen.  It is in an amazing neighborhood with a great park near by.  We are house proud.  And there are alot of people out there who think we are nuts.  Heres why, we are at the tail end of a renovation project that will turn our two bedroom house into three bedrooms.  Yep, you read that right, 7 people, 2 bedrooms.  Soon, it will be 7 people , 3 bedrooms, Girl's room, Boy's room and parents room (in which the Twins will remain a little longer.).
No, we don't feel cramped.  No, we don't drive each other crazy.  And no, we don't feel we are depriving our children.  They like sharing rooms.  Yes, it's true.  They giggle in bed every night and we have to tell them to be quiet.  And while it is true, I will like the day it is my Dh's and I' s room only, I was reminding of the sweetness of my luck last night as I opened our bedroom door to go to bed and I could smell the unique scent that is baby, not stinky, but the almost feral and completely wonderful.
It is much more trendy to live in small house these days, most people call it downsizing or rightsizing.  For us it wasn't trendy, it was a choice made for many reasons, but mostly...because this is our place.  This is our home.  You don't understand, but we do.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Go Dawgs!

Mostly, I am not a sports fan.  Oh I love a baseball game, especially live, I love my kids soccer games,  well, I like soccer...but really see no point at all to football. Basketball season usually comes and goes and I don't notice.  Except this year when in the NCAA a little university called Butler slowly gained speed and power until this past weekend when they beat Michigan to play in the final game, tonight.  Now my sister went to Butler, lots of friends did, we live not two miles from the pretty campus... so you know we were supporting them.  A small Cinderella team, kinda like the movie Hoosiers.
So I'm talking to my sister in Belfast today, (She put a tenner on Butler) and she is on holiday this week(for Easter) and she is eating "American Food" all day in celebration of Butler.  And I think, well...thats a great idea, so we did too.  Hopefully our own way of supporting them will help...go Bulldogs!  And as my sister said...may you each have the heart of a lion and courage of three men.

Our All American Meal.



Waffle Fries

Emmet's plate

Alice had her first pickle and she loved it and devoured it.

Paddy didn't.