Monthly Archives: August 2008

Look Over There!

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My friend Family Phil was kind enough to invite me to guest post on his delightful blog, A Family Runs Through It.  I’ve been enjoying Phil’s unique point of view as a stay-at-home dad and homeschooling guru for quite a while now, and I heartily recommend a visit for a fresh perspective on parenting that will make you laugh and cry and think, in turns.

Head over to check out my post on playing games with your kids, and stay to take a look around Phil’s world!

Confessions of a Mommy Blogger

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When I started blogging, I never intended to write a “mommy blog”. I just wanted to write. But they say to write what you know, and what I know in this season of my life happens to revolve around potty training and PBS television, cheerios and crayons–all the flotsam and jetsam of an existence defined, at least temporarily, by the two precious souls I have in my care.

So I write about boogers. About bedtime rituals and birthdays. I blog our sleepless nights and our busy days. I share my rare flashes of parenting insight and the cute things kids say. Sex talks, sibling rivalry, pancakes, puke (did I mention puke?)—nothing is above or below my purview as a member of Team Procreation.

I am mommy. Hear me roar.

There was a time, when I was younger, that I feared becoming a mother. I was afraid of losing myself—of having my love of great literature usurped by a cultish devotion to Dr. Seuss, of trading in my stylish clothes for a uniform of baggy sweats with permanent spit-up stains, of not recognizing the girl in the mirror as the one who dreamed of travel and adventure and changing the world in some sweeping stroke of divine inspiration.

I’ve been a mother for a decade now, and I can honestly say that I haven’t been lost, as I feared, but found—transformed into the self I never knew I always wanted to be.

There have been changes, true.

I’ve learned that love truly does conquer all, including my fundamental aversion to handling other people’s body fluids.

I’ve rediscovered my inner child. Also, my inner chef, my inner therapist, and my inner drill sergeant.

I’ve uncovered fears that far eclipse the loss of my skinny jeans.

But in essentials, I’m very much the same as I ever was.

I still love great literature, but my definition of greatness has widened to include the likes of Seuss and Sendak, sandwiched cozily next to Bronte and Browning on our bookshelf.

I still enjoy a beautiful pair of shoes, or the perfect little black dress, but what I’m wearing isn’t nearly as important to me now as what I’m modeling for my children in my choices and actions. (And judging from pictures of the good old days, I wasn’t as stylish as I thought I was, anyway.)

I still love travel and adventure, but now every adventure is seen through the fresh eyes of childhood, wonders piled upon wonders, a mystery around every new corner.

Most of all, I still dream of changing the world, but I realize now that the change I envisioned will not sweep through on a grand gesture of mine, but will creep tenderly in through the hearts that are growing beneath my care, hearts soaked daily in the waters of love, compassion, faith, and hope.

And the Divine inspiration? Well, I couldn’t do any of it without that.

So there it is.  I have a Mommy Blog, and I’m proud of it.  (But check back in fifteen years or so for posts about beautiful shoes.)

Bits and Pieces

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*I’d like to give a shout out to my awesome friend, Regina J, who, when she heard that I had finished the first three books in the Twilight series, offered to loan me her copy of the fourth one, but instead secretly went and ordered me my very own copy from Amazon. It arrived yesterday in the company of yet another book by the same author that I’ve been wanting to read! The riches!

How lovely is that? Of course, this means I’ll have to stop teasing Regina about her “allergy” to the post office (she usually saves up Christmas and birthday gifts between visits and showers us with them all at once and in person), since that nearly pathological aversion is probably partly responsible for the two beautiful new hardbacks sitting on my bookshelf right now.

And oh, they smell delicious! (Come on! I know I’m not the only book sniffer out there.)

*Today I got to talk with the mother of one of my new students. She wanted to meet me before finalizing her daughter’s enrollment in kindergarten. We had a nice visit and I tried not to feel like I was being tested as I answered questions about the curriculum and myself. (I think I’d give myself a B+.) So there you have it: I’ve already convinced one parent that I am an honest-to-goodness, bona fide teacher! Now I just have to convince a room full of five year olds and I’m gold.

*Speaking of teaching, Jen came in to the school today to officially pass the torch, showing me where to find all the supplemental teaching materials, answering the first hundred of my thousand questions, and revealing the top secret hiding spot for Kathy’s chocolate stash (you don’t keep track of how much is in there, do you, Kathy?) I feel like I’m stepping into big shoes, but Jen’s confidence in me also bolstered my own. And I have her cell phone number, for when I remember those other 900 questions.

*I just cracked open an egg for the veggie omelet I was making for lunch, and it had two yolks. Two yolks! Cool, huh? If I was Caroline Ingalls, I could charge Mrs. Oleson extra for that one.

Home Sweet Home?

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I knew it would be fun, this long awaited foray into the wilderness of the real estate market, and it has been. We’ve dreamed about buying a home for so long, and here we are, trying on houses like a crab tries on shells, looking for the perfect fit, and hoping we’ll know it when we see it.

What I didn’t realize through all those hours of sighing over HGTV and crushing on Bob Vila is that, no matter how eager the search or how exciting the possibilities, buying a home is a stressful process. We walk into every home eager to love it but afraid to settle for something we’re not crazy about. The likelihood that interest rates will go up before we have a chance to lock in our loan is a constant worry. I spent yesterday scouring the apartment for all the paperwork we have to turn in with our official mortgage application–everything from paycheck stubs to tax returns to third grade report cards. And this weekend, the tension ratcheted up a few clicks.

You see, Thursday we found a house. The House, I hope. It was the second one we looked at that day, and as soon as we walked in, we could see ourselves living there. It was the a-ha moment I’d been waiting for, the fulfillment of the “I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it” feeling I’ve been carrying around with me from showing to showing. Nevermind that the carpet was thrashed like a platoon of marines had been rebuilding tank engines on it, and the tenants were hovering and glowering in the background like a dampening mist, none too pleased at the prospect of making way for those who might send them back to stalking the classified ads for a new place to live. It just felt like it could be home. Paul and I looked at each other and it was clear we were of the same mind.

But we couldn’t do the happy dance yet. Because finding the house you want is only the first step. Yesterday, we wrote up our offer, a three hour process, and after asking the seller to shoulder the burden of new carpet and closing costs, it’s significantly lower than the asking price. They have until tomorrow afternoon to respond. Or not. One of three things will happen: They could accept our offer as it is, with no changes (highly doubtful). They could counter-offer, opening the way for us to make a few concessions and possibly come to an agreement both parties can live with. Or, they could simply reject the offer, so insulted by our failure to approach their asking price that they’ll send the contract back smeared with goat’s blood and sporting a skull and crossbones etched across the front in black Sharpie.

So now we’re just waiting and praying. We’ve talked it over and agreed on how far we’re willing to go to get this house, should we at least get the chance to counter. And we’re steeling ourselves for the possibility that it won’t work out at all and we’ll have to walk away, hitting the streets once more in search of the great American dream.

Waiting.

Not my strong suit.

Ring, phone!

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Update: Our first offer was rejected (no goat’s blood, though–that’s a positive), so we’ve gathered our resources and upped the price to the very highest we’re willing to go. It’s more than we hoped to pay, but less than we’re pre-qualified for, an amount that would leave us somewhere between premium-cable-package rich and Ramen-noodle poor. This will be our last stab at this particular house, and then we’ll be hitting the MLS again. *sigh*

Further Update:  I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.  The sellers countered our final offer with their own lowest price, and the two numbers are still eight thousand dollars apart.  It doesn’t sound like an insurmountable hurdle, except for the fact that we were already pushing the boundaries of prudence.  We summoned up the small amount of objectivity we have left and decided to take our ball and go home before we were tempted to do something truly crazy.  Thanks, everyone, for the great advice, the good wishes, and the prayers–we need them all!

Spoiled Rotten: Further Evidence

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My birthday. I hold my breath and wonder what exciting gadget/software/technological miracle The Geek has found for me this year. Whatever it is, I know from experience that it will suddenly and inextricably become a pivotal part of my functional life and I will lose my ability to remember how I lived without it.

Exhibit A:

I didn’t even know I needed one of these, but let me tell you how totally cool it is.

It surfs the internet, sends and receives email, catalogs my contact list, and syncs its on-board datebook with my Google calendar.

It holds all my music, shows videos, and plays games.

With a simple touch, I can access the weather report, a calculator, road maps, stock prices, or a simple notepad.

It has tons of downloadable free applications, including the Bible, Sudoku, and Pandora radio.

Scrolling by flicking your finger across the screen is indescribably satisfying.

I’m still figuring out all the things it can do, but it has already effortlessly replaced my old iPod and my Palm Pilot in one swift stroke.

In short, I love it.

Thanks, babe!