Thursday, December 31, 2009

lessons learned

circa 2009
...hope reigns

...lullabies ward off nightmares
...some people need the freedom to choose on their own in order to follow the path you would have chosen for them anyway
...pigs in a blanket are decadent and represent simplicity, and I discovered that I crave both
...the perfect day includes family, pj's, good books, diet pepsi and board games
...they told the truth when they said 'enjoy your children while they are young, they grow up too fast'
...my kids genuinely like each other

...matching is over-rated, unless it is serving spoons
...people will barely notice if you don't wash your hair everyday
...even a cat lover like me can fall head over heals for this dog

...it is good to accept invitations when it is easier not to, and it is ok to turn them down when you need to
...shoveling the driveway in the moonlight is romantic, if you want it to be
...watching a child crack them self up over a one-liner brings instant joy, and so do cupcakes

...you can make room on the couch for snuggling and you can always make more room in the closet for shoes
...you should wear your retainers
...it doesn't matter if other people think my cat is beautiful, I do

...it is not the cleanliness of your house, or the perfection of your appetizers that makes a party memorable, it is the conversation
...being musical has nothing to do with pitch or tone and everything to do with stage presence

...reading is my guiltless pleasure
...you can like or even love someone without liking everything about them

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sapient

Yesterday was my sister's birthday.


My sister is a phenomenal woman, that is a fact. I have been thinking for a while now how to sum her up in just one word.
I couldn't think of one.
A thousand came to mind.
How can you pick one word that embodies a woman who can do anything?
I should ask her, she would know.

The closest I could come was...
SAPIENT

that is...
-capable
-competent
-persistence
-guts
-ability
-push
-gumption
-wise

When I have a "how?", I call Andria.
She has an answer.
She has an answer for me, for everyone who asks.



She even has answers when you don't.
Just a week ago our brother said to me regarding a computer problem "Andria will fix it when she gets home". And just yesterday I overheard her son Kaid say, "Give it to Mom, she can do anything!"

Even when she is resting, she is fixing something. In this case she is fixing a restless Margo.


She can do it all. She has the right answer to every question.
As I rack my brain, the only question that I have asked as of late where her answer was just a little misguided was who was older, me or her... she has convinced some that it is me.

Happy Birthday Andria.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

meet Margo

Margo is the sweetest little Mastidane pup you may ever meet. She is black with the cutest little spots of white on her back two feet and a wittle bitty white tuft on her chest. She has big blue eyes and delectible wrinkles on her blocky head. Tony has been pining for either a Mastiff or a Great Dane for eons and she is the perfect little combo. She is the complete package, puppy breath and all. I want to smootch her and ootch her and love her and call her George.
Ok, maybe call her Margo, the only name the four of us could agree on.

She's alright, I guess...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

I love prints

It doesn't matter the medium, whether it is sand or snow, mud or dust.
It doesn't matter the artist, whether it be man or cat, bird or snake.
Pumi the Squatter Cat, december 2009

I love the tracks that life makes.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

my love

Thirty-three years ago this very day a woman, that is to say a very pregnant woman, was walking, carrying her own toddler and holding the hand of her brother's when she tripped over a railroad spike. Little did the world know that railroad spike would be the beginning of a brighter world, one that includes my love.

Exactly 17 years later Tony would give me a tilted grin and explain to me what a golden birthday was. He went on to say, with his green eyes shining mischieviously, that since it was his, I really should be extra nice to him.

I wasn't.

But every birthday since I have. And I hope to for every birthday that comes. On that golden day I didn't understand how much happiness that tilted grin would bring me. I didn't understand that I would turn to those mischievious eyes whenever I had a crazy plan or needed him to come up with one. I didn't know that I was looking at the hardest working, most compassionate and loving man I would ever know. If only I had known then what I know now.

Happy Birthday Tony!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

i hope we are creating a monster

I stopped mid-eye lash curl when Tony called to say yes we do have a 2-hr delay today. I went downstairs to check emails (and facebook, who are we kidding here?), make myself something warm and cozy to drink and prepare the batter for the traditional 2-hr delay pancakes when I heard the stirring of a little man upstairs.

He found me climbing the stairs and asked, "Mom, do we have a 2-hr delay today?"

I grinned and said, "Why yes we do! You can grab a blanket and snuggle down on the couch to watch cartoons, or you can go back to sleep it is up to you!"

"Or, I can keep reading Huckleberry Finn?" He called over his shoulder as he was already half way back to his room.

...

I become obsessed when reading a good book. One summer when I was lead to the world of Jodi Picoult I spent a few days straight on the couch, sobbing then laughing then appreciating my own healthy world. I have no memory of what my neglected children ate, whether they napped or if they were clothed. (I am guessing they were not clothed as I am raising a couple of streakers). There was also the discovery of Twilight (yes I know, but a good book is a good book), and my sister introduced me to Janet Evanovich, and there was Khaled Hossenini and Gregory Maguire (and many a trashy novel in between), and of course my Christmas favorite, Little Women. Then there was Marisa Del Los Santos just this summer.

Obsessed! Once I start, I can not think of anything else.

One of our best memories of the little town where we grew up was our class reunion. Tony and I brought a Carmel apple pie to the family lunch in the park. No one ate it. We had time to spare between the family festivities and when my mom was ready to watch the kids so we could enjoy the evening fun. So there we sat, us in the front of the car eating the Carmel apple pie with the fork I stashed in the glove box, kids napping in the back, shaded by a beautiful old tree, Tony and I taking turns reading from the 6th Harry Potter.

Two days last winter Tony and I spent the entirety in our jammies, reading, reading, reading. The children chilled around the house with their Christmas treasures and we ordered in.

In fact there were many a Christmas vacation where Tony would read to his hearts content with pistachio nuts, jerky and pepsi for nourishment. Tony is more tempered in his reading but his loves are many. There are still mornings when I ask Tony how he slept and he lets me know he stayed up just a little to late reading.

To think of it now, there have been many nights where we have to take a book away from Aidan because he wants to read until sun up.

I don't think I have to hope, I think we have created a monster!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

an apology

Dear Family,
I apologize from the bottom of my heart and with all sincerity for my behavior every single year when we try to capture our family photo. I hope, children, when you look back on the torture I put you through during family pictures you will laugh it off and not shudder in horror of ever having to saddle up in that frozen pose of symmetry. You may even make me the subject of your ribbing and that will be alright, it is certainly well deserved. I am sure there will not be a Christmas that goes by that someone doesn't bring up a story of matching sweaters, ridiculous amounts of hair primping and the command through gritted teeth to "please.just.smile.so.we.can.get.this.over.with!" I am sorry I become a freak-show-monster-mom when it comes to these moments, but I hope you understand it is more than a picture, it is a memory of our 2009 versions looked.

And just look at how lovely we are!
I love you.
Love,
Mom

Friday, December 11, 2009

a tribute to Bing

The voice of Christmas belongs to Bing Crosby.
You can try to argue with me, but I am likely not to listen. Others have come along and we have all danced to their voices and even my one-track heart has skipped a beat listening to a crooner or two. But there is only one voice that welcomes the Christmas season for me.

My memories of readying for Christmas include Andria and I dancing a crazy jig to Bing Crosby's rendition of Jingle Bells, accompanied by the Andrew Sisters. Just put that song on and you really can't stop yourself from moving. Mele kalikimaka has been a favorite ever since Tony began starring as Bing's duet partner. White Christmas warms my heart, not to mention how the movie gets me. The song Count Your Blessings (instead of sheep) is a song of the season. But the song that speaks to me this year, as so many are in need, is Christmas is a Comin. We will be listening and seeing where we can spare.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ah come on!

These smooch-tacular lips...

A brilliant blue eye...

An ear so cute you want to nibble it...

A smile that makes my heart swoon...

An eye that twinkles with mischief...

Even this silly tongue is praise worthy...

Beautiful pieces of my family...

But put the four of us together, all of our cute little bits vying for shared space on one Christmas card, and you get one horrendous family picture.
We dress in our coordinating sweaters,
practice our smiles,
give ourselves a little pep talk
and
year
after
blessed
year
we end up looking like a 'before' picture for the latest and greatest beautify your family product that promises to take away every nerdy attribute, every snaggle tooth, every cross-eye, every expression that says "I just smelled a rotten egg".

We are not asking to be portrayed as American's Next Top Model Family, but come on!
Maybe next year the sum of our parts will make a decent picture.
For this year expect the words Happy Holidays to be strategically placed over upcurled lips and squinty skewed eyes.