10.31.2007

happy.




These are just some photos that have made me happy this month and thought I would share.

I want to post happy photos more often.

Even if it's just a can of Sprite Zero or the color in a photograph you love, it's worth sharing to celebrate the smallest of happy details that make you tick.


I invite you to do the same next month.


Thanks for the inspiration Beka and happy mundane.

The Husband Fault

I never really noticed my husband's sleeping patterns. I never realized he was a heavy breather. Tossed and turned a little abruptly here and there at random times all night long. Kicked his feet to get the covers just right. Pulled the blanket up with a firm TUG. Adjusted the position of the pillow. All causing the bed to jiggle or hop just right.

I don't really notice all these subtle things until we go to sleep after feeling an earthquake. And then about 76 times throughout the evening I attempt to fall asleep, but instead freak out with all these false alarms. I often sit upright and feel the walls. Grab the baby. Sometimes run towards the hall before I realize it's just him settling in for the night. Not Heyward, afterall.

10.30.2007

5.6 in alum rock, CA

earthquakes suck.

even the teeny tiny little baby ones with an epicenter miles away.

they still suck.

happy halloween.

10.28.2007

one for the kids


In honor of Halloween this week, I want to review the Do and Don't List of Trick-or-Treat offerings. Thoughts inspired by my toddler's collection via weekend party, which btw was a happy candy experience for the most part.


Do
chocolate of almost any combo
twizzlers
skittles
suckers
ring pops
spooky eyeball chocolate/ candy
any Halloween novelty candy [molded or wrapped in holiday icon]
glow sticks, glow wands, etc.
tootsie rolls (only chocolate variety)
original life savers mini packs
spider rings
candy corn packets
gum
bit-o-honey
sugar babies
dots
nerds
junior mints

Don't
chocolate of mini-snack size (too small!)
wacky 'hot dog' gummi nonsense (yuck)
pennies, any change
baked goods (boring)
toys (lame)
flavored tootsie rolls (yuck)
hershey kisses (too small, too common)
whoppers (yuck)
sweet tarts of any variety (boring)
gummy life savers (yuck)
mint life savers (too small)
hard mint candy in general (yuck this time of year)
jaw breakers (unless it's a spooky eye)
pixie stixx (too instant, makes me choke)
plain m&m's (too common)
taffy (too sticky)
coupons
jolly ranchers (too common)
bottle caps (yuck. sorry lindsey)

10.25.2007

chain talk

Remember the Sizzler restaurant commercial, you would hear a man's voice whisper {ssssssssizzllllllllerrrrrrrr}?

I remember they started to go out of business one by one in Arizona. So when I had a friend in college, Matt, tell me he worked there I laughed every time. All I could think about was there is still one standing? and the whisper {ssssssssizzllllllllerrrrrrrr}.

We were hanging out once and he had to stop and get his paycheck. I just stared at the sign and laughed while he went inside. As he got back into the car I asked him about red-headed waitress who kept looking at me through the window. He told me how he used to date her and they just barely stopped going out.

As she seemed rather attractive, almost out of his league attractive, I asked what happened.

"Dragon breath" was all he said. That was it, apparently bad breath was a deal breaker for him.

Tonight on my way home from shopping I passed a Sizzler and all I could think about was a man's whisper {draaaaaagon breeeeeeeath}. I have never eaten there and never will because it is completely associated with nasty paste-mouth in my mind. Like the way you feel as if your tongue is made of shredded cotton after you run a long time in the desert. yuck.

***

What were your deal breakers?

Some of my more shallow ones were:
poor smile
dirty finger nails
big booty
lame shoes
lack of life plan or aim
pot smoker
didn't open doors for me

Thoughtful Package


October's Thoughtful Package goes to Zane's preschool teacher.

Why?

We all know he is one of the more busy, high energy boys in the group. And nothing says hey, I appreciate your patience like a jar full of cookies. That, and I was...well.....a little late picking him up one afternoon. {big oops} Nothing says sorry- here is a peace offering- I promise it won't happen again like that jar full of cookies.

At the end of the day, I know not even a jar of cookies is going to make you like me or my son more. But at least I can try!!

10.23.2007

plans

Every day this month I have thought about all the things I planned to accomplish in October. Then I realized I was saving all my photos in the September file on-line and HEY wait October is almost over.

So with the measly chump change I have left of the month, here are some of my goals:


get kids' costumes
complete 72 hour kits
make a new friend
shop for fall clothing
and shoes for zane
call my grandma
buy a new CD
baby announcements ordered
find myself some cozy threads
pray with Zane each morning (especially on preschool days)
laugh every day
set up my drum kit
take the kids outside each day, even if only for 5 minutes
make my kids laugh every day
call landlord to request an indoor pool
and half pipe for backyard

10.22.2007

Good? yes.


*update: link corrected.
Ear candy for this fine Monday.

The only word I can think of to describe these powerpop New Zealanders is captivating. Can't say I love the name The Mint Chicks for their band, but since I love mint chocolate chip ice cream it's forgiveable.

10.19.2007

stocker or stock broker mentality


There are times I believe I might have shed much of the thick skin I developed living in New York while boarding that plane in LaGuardia Airport, sending me off to the West for good.

People that have not had the New York Living Experience often ask me the same questions. "Are people really THAT rude?" is always one of them.

The deal with 'rude' there is that there isn't time to be overly nice. Business is business. Commuting is commuting. People have things to do, places to be and little time for the fluff. That makes it a tough place to adjust to if you are friendly, but you learn to accept it and quickly build your armor. Hurt feelings or sensitive reactions to some sharp conversations will hold you back. It will exhaust you in a place like that.

There is not always sugar coating. No, there is hardly ever sugar coating. After you realize rough interactions are not always the norm you just prepare to face it in every situation and gauge which personality guns to respond with. It's not needed as often as you would think, but it's an important strategy to roll with. Especially on the subway. If you want a seat.

With this behind me, I often kick myself when the opportunity lends itself to respond with my New York Liz Graces.

----------

I remember sitting in jewelry class in high school. Steve B was working on a welding project for a belt buckle. He wore a welder's face mask that always cracked me up. He came back to the table I sat at and talked about this mellow guy he worked with after school. They worked in a stock room somewhere stocking boxes. He laughed to the group of us at the table how the mellow guy pulled a box off a shelf that was packed incorrectly. As he was up on the ladder and pulled the box out, everything fell from the bottom and all over the place.

I would be so pissed, I though.

He mentioned how the guy calmly got off the ladder and cleaned things up, only responding with "Heeeeeeeeeeey. Who was the wise guy who packed this box?" Then he proceeded to continue on with his job. I admired how emotionally non-affected Mellow Guy was and have always thought of that story when I freak out over little things.

-------------

Today I was told by the landlord that I was 'crossing the line' by asking for bathroom faucets to be traded within the house. My toddler cannot pull out the handle to the most conveniently located bathroom sink. I was totally Mellow Guy and made it sound like no big deal.

As I thought about the conversation today, I tried to measure how important it was to me to have that sink changed out and if I should have busted out a NY attitude. Initially I was proud of myself for not getting angry during or after the conversation, albeit a little shocked it was considered 'crossing the line'.

It really isn't that big of a deal, the sink problem has multiple solutions that do not involve a handy man. But I wish I had been more prepared for his strong tone and at least matched its intensity to some degree. To let him know I can. Dang, why does that matter so much to me. Because perhaps I would not be thinking about it 5 hours later.

10.18.2007

ganja

I've never smoked reefer, I have never been officially high by the stuff. Now I might have had a 'contact buzz' by others in the same room during college parties and at concerts smoking out. But I would honestly never really know. I never felt like I was missing out on anything, back then and sometimes today I find myself laughing uncontrollably at things that are not terribly hilarious.

That, and I have lived my entire life with the munchies.

So would pot even out my dietary weaknesses? Would it perhaps reverse my munchies? Do you think I could get my doctor to write me a prescription?

10.16.2007

too many days of no writing= lots of words

I remember being at a skate park in Brooklyn on a warm Saturday and a friend asking what Mike and I planned on doing the rest of the day. It was about 9am or so and I had not thought much about it until he asked. I dunno, maybe go to Ikea? He replied with something about being lucky, how we could do anything we want without kids. Nothing else was said by either of us. He would be returning to his parenting routine for the remainder of the day with his adorable wife and sweet child.

I remember wondering what was lucky about another trip to Ikea where we would argue about which cheap item of furniture wouldn't fit into our tiny apartment. What was so exciting about Swedish meatballs for lunch with hard French fries? I partially envied that they had already started their family, dove into the glamorously unknown life of parenthood.

-

Initially, once I charted that course, I remember missing dinner out at a new restaurant featuring cuisine from a country I had never been to. Sampling unique appetizers, sipping from wine glasses filled with mineral water, and discussing how well the wait staff served us.

I remember feeling like it was hard to not have adult interaction throughout the day. To not have a measure of productivity, far less sleep, and my new wardrobe of old navy t-shirts covered in regurgitated milk. And it was hard, for the me at that moment, a transition I stumbled with. Despite the fact that 'hard' as defined by the world at large has little to do with middle class American housewife boredom, I was still allowed to determine what my label of hard would be compared to the course my life had followed prior.

Looking back, I want to think of myself as silly for thinking that hard. But I understand the perspective now and how the definition of hard for me changes the more life experience I have. That is largely different compared to how my neighbor might define hard. How the me in 5 years will define hard.

"The Hard" of today will keep changing. Hopefully it will encompass common wifery complaints of nonstop laundry and essentially busy schedules like a taxi cab driver. Hopefully those normal aspects of parenthood will not be muted by health issues or tragedy. Although for many others it does. And that sucks and makes my "daily hard list" rather pathetic. But my stubborn perspective refuses to permanently change. And I think that has to be alright sometimes.

The hard I find in my life right now has little to do with newborn needs, although I had suspected otherwise before Evan's birth. Today the hard is reviewing the short 3 years I have been a mom and hoping I have been doing it right. Letting go of the wish I had done my education and career on a more child-rearing topic. Nutrition, Childhood Development, Health Services, Math, Science, Something More Helpful to this Most Important Job. Something that didn't make me start from scratch in the 2004 delivery room. Something that could have given me a head start. Like the way my sister taught me to play the flute weeks before my first lesson in elementary school. It was great to be first chair that year. I wish I was first chair in parenting.

--

Lengthy marital alone time/ frequent dinners out are still missed, but that 'hard' is becoming long forgotten. The easy part about my old life was not so much the freedom of where we got to go at any time we wanted. The easy part of before was the limited amount of worry and responsibility for another. The weight of that emotional addition of new life (coupled with unbelievable joy and love) fills the brain beyond rational volumes.

Making decisions about how to teach, discipline, direct, redirect, encourage, discourage, etc. marks the future of someone that cannot be undone. And you would peel off your skin and hand it over if needed to make sure those decisions are the best. That's what's hard, you don't always know if you are right. You can only love, use best judgment, research, consult with others that are experienced or experts on specific components of this gig. You have to walk into an office and hope that Pulmonologist (for example) didn't cheat on her tests.

Before, we used to just show up for a job on time and accomplish tasks. We didn't know what this hard was like back then. And that's alright, no one is supposed to know a future hard. We are just moving up our own scales of life experience at our own given pace and every stop allows us to look back with new glasses to see today more clearly. This month I want to remember that wedding coming up for someone and that college girl I know have their own 'hards' that are allowed to be, even if nostalgia makes us intially remember otherwise from our own paths. And I imagine if/ when I have more kids I will look back at age three + newborn as a breeze and wonder why I ever worried about anything. Even if it seems to make sense to worry some in the now.

10.08.2007

of juggling and sand

I often think about how I would describe something to the former me, to prepare the future me. Which is really the present me. Or maybe it's just outside thinkery to the present me to organize my thoughts and life into order and perspective. To fold them up nicely and put them on shelves of understanding.

The experience of having my first child was like being given a new round of balls to juggle in life, in the dark. Slowly as I figured out motherhood and the new tasks/ responsibilities of my new life the the dimmer to the light slowly allowed some visibility. I also became more skilled at juggling, less of the balls would fall to the ground.

As the child grew with age, there were hard parts about the age he either outgrew or I learned to handle well. Thus, some balls rarely fell in the art of juggling or might have been discarded altogether only to make room for a new rotation of balls. This could be in the shape and form of discipline, childhood development, new techniques of play, potty training (this one, btw, feels like 16 balls have been added to the load), behavioral setbacks or challenges, etc. Just as I begin to feel like I can climb onto a unicycle and juggle all the balls above my head with ease, some begin to hit the ground or need to be changed up. Things always seem to change when I feel I have a handle on them.

Enter another child and that one comes with a whole new bucket of balls to juggle. Albeit the colors and sizes of them are familiar and less stressful if handled alone, they are more tricky to weave into the colorful balls already in the air. Learning to handle the new combined tasks requires inventory and sorting. Some of the more complicated ones have to be set aside. It basically means choosing the balls with the label basic survival mode such as feeding, cleaning, laundry, and safety. And even those are a struggle to keep in the air initially. My mother was here to help me identify those and keep them up in the air.

But once again, I got used to the round in my arms and found it time to evaluate the shuffle. My sister came to stay with me this weekend at a good point in the process. She helped me see ways to ease into a new juggling routine. It's time for me to bring more balls into the game, take on more control of the pace. So some are going to drop again, but I will know which ones to let go of and which to keep my eye closely focused on. I think. I hope.

I often find my head filled will exclamations such as ...and there are people who have more. FIVE! NINE! TWELVE? How do they do it?! They are crazy. I could never. I can't imagine!

I will never personally know how to balance the needs of raising twelve children, but I get a better understanding of how you add a little at a time and sort out priorities much better today.
____

It's so corny to say, but I really do love the poem Footprints. When I read the last lines I always get goose bumps. I know that when I glance over my shoulder at the past month and think about how fast it went and the days I was able to function with such little sleep and feeling so overwhelmed, I know I was not doing it alone. Not only did HE carry me, but so did my husband, my mother, and my sister. They have all caught some of the balls flying into left field and helped me put them back into the game.

Sometimes there just isn't a thank you big enough for the people in your life that offer so much more than you could ask for.

10.05.2007

ironic

We have a freezer that automatically refills the ice trays. It makes a shhhhhhhhhhhhhh sound each time the tray is getting refilled with water. We might just happen to be on the same schedule, or the sound of my freezer making ice causes my milk to come in.

love is like a merry-go-round

I keep trying to start writing but someone needs me or my emotions flip into something opposite of what they were 2 seconds prior. Sounds so cliche and there really isn't a very creative or interesting way to write about emotional ups and downs. But it sure is funny to collect them into a list and laugh about them the next day.

To reflect on how all those little ant hills seemed like The Rocky Mountains at the time. Then not. Then so. Then not. It's like a spinning wheel only the needle never really lands on one feeling for very long. It just keeps on spinning and changing and you are hoping for no! whammies! I thought I got the hard end of the deal, you know, the one who has to grow and birth the baby. But really, he has to deal with this mind boggle of a wife on occasion. Maybe he's the one with the hard part.

+ the weather is so nice, i love this blue sky. it's so beautiful here year-round. i love it. [smile]

- where did this chilly air come from? ARGH! I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!!!!! [scowl]

+ so glad i got into a pair of jeans. now i get to choose from TWO pairs of pants each day! [joy]

- damn these are h u g e jeans, i can't believe i am this size right now. why can't i have THREE pairs of pants to choose from?! [sob sob sob]

+ yay for preschool, my son is so happy and will love to play with other kids and outside and paint.....[bliss]

- what the....? why is he the only kid doing __________?! what am i doing wrong, is he really ready for preschool? have i been a good enough mother? i let him watch too much t.v. [sob, sob SOB]

+ this baby is so sweet, love the sleep i get at night. [birds chirping in spring time]

- everything is out of control. this house a wreck, my body is a disaster, i have no idea what i am doing, i am a horrible mother, laundry is all over, the dishes are piled up, the baby book is incomplete, someone won't poop on the potty, it's all going wrong. [gnashing of teeth + sob, sob, sob]

+ these jeans really don't look too bad. [wink in the mirror + smirk]

- you can see the milk-catching pads through every single shirt i put on. i am a circus freak. [hopeless]

+ my whole family is safe and snuggling on the couch. nothing better, more peaceful than being together. [piano sonatas]

- "Mike, can I have a hug?" [ just sobs. just because. not even about one single ant hill.]

+ the house is so clean, this really is such a great day. i am so grateful for my family. [full heart]

- what did i do with all my free time before i had kids? can i have one of those hours? just one? [desperate]

+ dang 6 weeks isn't getting here fast enough. i have one super hot husband. [gnashing of teeth + purring]

+ I can totally do this! I have great boys and a great husband! [now just tattoo this into your brain, Liz]

10.03.2007

wednesday blues

I have such a sour attitude today. And no one wants to hear about that.

But you might want to hear about
the Spark by Skip Hop diaper bags I just noticed at Target for $30.
I remember my friend Alysha (p.s. who made this killer outfit for Evan {her photo})showing me Skip Hop bags for the first time at a baby boutique in Brooklyn a couple years ago. I secretly wished for the blue camo. Thanks to my sister, I finally have it (just hope she's not too sour we didn't know about Target's selection sooner). Glad to finally toss my dusty old Manhattan Portage.

10.01.2007

backwards namery


Around 1994 I walked into a dusty little concert venue called The Nile in Mesa, AZ on a typical Friday night. The walls were normally filled with messy fliers for bands playing later in the month. That Friday night, however, there was a bright white banner advertising Evian bottled water. I loved the way the word looked and imagined it without the "i" and how bold the name Evan was for a boy's name. Maybe even my own boy's name someday.

Around 1997 I went to the Arizona State Fair to see Morrissey play for $7. I stopped by a free booth that printed out names and meanings in fancy font. The two names I had printed were Ivan and Ahmed. They were my leading names for when I have boys myself. Doesn't every girl have a running list of baby names her whole life? Didn't anyone else have a crush on Ahmed Zappa in 1997? Maybe it was just the way we wore the same blue Converse One Star kicks.

Around 1998 I was dating Mike. Somehow the topic of baby names came up. I thought it was cute he also had a list. I remember Kennedy was a name he liked for a girl and how he was certain his first son would be Trevin Ivan.

Late in 2003 we were expecting our first son. We began our combined list of baby names. We agree that no name would be on the list if the other did not approve. The list started out large, but as time went on many were crossed off by each of us exercising veto power. These were the final names on our list when we headed to the hospital: John (my late grandfather's name), Vance, Torin, Jarek, Ahren, Miles, Hunter, Zane, Elijah, Zachary, Carter, Evan, Hunter, Benjamin, Esau, Isaac, Seth. At some point we learned Zane and Evan were Hebrew for John, these names became more favored.

July 10, 2004 I gave birth and allowed my husband to pick his favorite on our list of agreed names within seconds of his first breath. Zane Ivan was selected for his name and we determined Evan would be the name of our second son. Although Evan was the first boy name we ever agreed on, it could not be used as our first born son would carry on the middle name as a 4th generation Ivan.

Late 2006 we begin a new list of boy names for our second son. Evan is at the top of the list, few other names are considered: Isaac, Ezekiel, Seth, Jake. I admit Mike delivered dozens of names to me month after month only to be rejected. I did not put much effort into looking for some reason. We tossed around several ideas for middle names. One evening in my 9th month of pregnancy I had a strange path of thought that led me to the shocking thought. What would I name this baby if Mike passed away before he came? Would I name him Michael? Or Clive- the name he pushed for 9 months and met with my complete resistance? Clive would never be, but I like the sound of Evan Michael- why didn't we think of that before as a middle name? As we brushed our teeth that night I revealed the end of my thought and he had been thinking about that same middle name as well. Then we openly wondered if we would really go with the name Evan once we meet him.

September 5, 2007 our second son is born. We take long looks at him and cannot place a name for several minutes. What name fits his look? We have panic on our faces and hesitate calling family because we have no name. I finally have clarity of thought. What we love about the name Evan is that it is unique and doesn't have 'a look'. We don't know what an Evan is supposed to look like cos we have never known one. He will define what an Evan is on his own. That is why we want our children to have unique first names. He is named Evan Michael and his father begins calling the family.

The only thing we have left to say about names today is that if we are ever blessed to have a little girl, her name will be Violet. And if she has a sister, I am pulling for Amelia and he is pulling for Millicent.
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