Wednesday, September 30, 2009

At Least They Do Something Right in This Town

PVT will occasionally accuse me of dissing Tulsa too much. And I do admit I will whine about its provincial-ness, its clique-ishness, its...OK, stop me. But I do LOVE fall here. The humidity is low; the skies are sapphire; the mornings crisp, the afternoons warm; the light stretches long and golden...

And all this autumn splendor foretells my favorite holiday: Halloween! What is there not to love about Halloween? It's all about fun and chocolate. You don't have to go eat boxed mashed potatoes at Aunt Velma's. You don't have to endure canned Halloween music in April. You don't have to go to the dreaded mall at the eleventh hour for your brother-in-law's wife's stepchild who's coming to the family gathering.

And if I had loads of disposable income to fritter away, I would adorn my yard with these delightful frolickers:

And these witchies:

And these spooksters:

I can, however, afford these darling Mad Scientist labels for wine...or dang cranberry juice, in my case:

Bottoms up. It's Halloween!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Defying Gravity at an Early Age

I thought hair was supposed to grow DOWN, not UP:

I hope she loves her hair as much as her mother does. I suspect that won't be the case, however.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just 230 Days to Go!

OH MY GAWSH the first trimester SUCKS, doesn't it? The fatigue! The misshapen lumpiness that prompts people to wonder if you've been eating entire boxes of Twinkies at 3am, washed down with Triple Grande Triple Fat Extra Whip Mocha Mocha Frappucinos! The grumpiness! All of these vague feelings of disgruntled-ness, and you don't have the cute belly yet to explain that THIS is why, people, I absentmindedly shoplifted my coffee this morning! This is why I am ready for bed at 7:54! A.M.! (What? What's that you say? You mean I'm the only person who gets EXACTLY what they want and then COMPLAINS FOR NINE MONTHS about it? Erg. Sorry!)

And then Nordstrom sends me an email with these delightful studded booties:

Just a cruel reminder of all the S&M I'm too dang TIRED to enjoy right now.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


It's about 9 pm chez VanTrease. The baby is asleep. Will and Rory are read to, tucked in and drifting off. Keane is upstairs reading for another minute or two. Finally, PVT and I can sink into the couch, sit and drool. No speaking. Just mute, exhausted companionship. And every night, just as I have ensconced my bum down into the depths of the sofa (sitting! This is HUGE!) and snuggled up to make a little love to my laptop, a plaintive voice calls from upstairs: "Mama, will you please check on me?"

AARGH. Keane, my newly minted seven year old, requests this every night. So I disengage myself from the lovely sofa, climb the stairs AGAIN, where we proceed to grapple with this question: "Mama, I'm afraid Dwayne (name changed to protect the innocence of a fellow 2nd grader) is going to kidnap me."

For freak's sake. Apparently SIX months or so ago, a "friend" of his told him he was going to kidnap him. And every night, I explain to Keane that his friend could not feasibly get out of his own house, walk the three miles to our house in the pitch of night, find our house, climb through the gates to our neighborhood and somehow break into our house and KIDNAP Keane.

Now, internet, Keane is a fairly bright kid. Deemed "gifted," skipped up a grade, et cetera (his father's side, I guess). So does he REALLY think this kid is going to kidnap him? Or is it just for dramatic effect? Or a comforting routine?

I don't really mind "checking" on him at night, despite the fact that I have to move my lazy arse up the stairs again. It's the only time during the day he's in the mood to talk to his boring mother. But if I have to talk about eight year old kidnappers ONE MORE NIGHT, I may kidnap him myself.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Ahem.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Reflections on Knocked-Uppedness

Internet (well, female internet! Sorry all you male readers can't relate!), when you are pregnant, isn't your pregnancy and all its twinges, symptoms and manifestations the most FASCINATING thing in the whole world, nay the universe? Followed closely by the pregnancy of your neighbor or acquaintance who is pregnant at the SAME TIME as you are?

Don't say I didn't warn you, people.

SO...I am feeling good so far! Not pukey! Not tired! But I am about eight minutes pregnant, so that's all to come, I'm sure. (Although how's this for pregnancy brain: I was sitting at the table with Will and Colette today while they played with Play Dough; it took me several minutes of starting straight at her to realize Colette was not playing with it, but EATING it.) But really, internet, my pregnancies are really amazing. So mind-boggling, in fact, that I will consider selflessly allowing doctors and medical researchers to study my gestating self.

What, pray tell, is so intriguing? WELL. For the first trimester, my little garbanzo apparently implants not in my WOMB, but in my BUM. How do I know? Because my arse keeps expanding at such an alarming rate these first few months that this is the only logical conclusion. When the end of the first trimester rolls around, my bum is about eight cheeks wider than Queen Latifah's. And then, slowly, the baby migrates to its proper position - you know, in front. But the damage to my posterior is done, not to be resolved for about a year hence...

See? I told you that was fascinating. Even if you're not pregnant.

Friday, September 18, 2009

We're Way Too Close to Kansas, Dorothy

I don't get homesick that often. Between picking up individual shards of far-flung rice and obsessively taking temperatures, there isn't a lot of space for reflection and longing. But the other night, one of PVT's favorite shows, "Man v. Food," (which I peek at with a mixture of awe and repulsion; should anyone really eat a 6 POUND burrito?) took place in Seattle. The ferry puttering on the Puget Sound against the backdrop of the Space Needle! The infinite permutations of gray clouds and gray drizzle you only find in Seattle! Sniff, sniff.

And Dad, knowing my penchant for frequenting stores WAY out of my budget, sent me clippings of the new stores opening in Bellevue, my hometown. A shopping paradise called The Bravern (huh? I can't find that that's any real WORD; just sounds like fancy Euro-speak for expensive bodegas you can't afford) just opened, anchored by a NEIMAN MARCUS! The only Neiman Marcus in the Pacific Northwest! The only Neiman Marcus to open this year! And all this is happening in my old ' that I've moved away!

Just listen to this st-orgy: Tory Burch! Anthropologie! Salvatore Ferregamo! Louis Vuitton! And...drum roll...JIMMY CHOO! Come ON! Throw in some schmancy restaurants, a Red Door's like Rodeo Drive just moved North a wee bit.

Again, I have to remind myself, if we lived in Seattle, I'd probably be working, we could probably only squeeze two kids into our 877 square foot bungalow, and I'd have impaled myself last February on said Jimmy Choos after not seeing the sun since last August. So, would I trade Will, Colette, and the Little Garbanzo for the ability to finger this gown or maim my body wearing these?

NAH. Well, not usually.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shana Tova from Nordstrom

It's Triple Rewards time chez Nordstrom, my friends! I am trying to decide if Colette really needs another Jenna and Jessie dress, or if I can dream up some cosmetic I need for the Lancome free gift...such a conundrum. Because when I get one of those Nordstrom Bucks in the mail - usually $20, but once I was debauched enough to get $40 - the sky opens up and rains happiness and Pinot Noir.

And LOOK! Talk about customer service - can you read the fine print down there? It says "In observance of Rosh Hashanah, please let us know if you would like to shop with Triple Rewards shortly after our planned Triple Rewards event."

Golly! Now, most of my Jewish friends (none of them Orthodox; most are Reform, a few Conservative) say that while Rosh Hashanah is important, it's Yom Kippur that's the big guns.

But it's nice the WASPs at Nordstrom are thinking of everyone, yes? Because what better way to start a New Year than TRIPLE POINTS!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

She Who Fears Suffering Suffers from Fear!, or GET A GRIP, ME!

This stupid swine flu is kicking me arse, my friends! The irony here: we have not even had it! (And yes, I call it swine flu! Does anyone really call it a bunch of consonants after it's been christened something so whacky and sensational as SWINE flu?)

I really didn't worry too much (and by gosh, I can WORRY. It's one of my special talents; the other being getting pregnant) at the first outbreaks this spring - Mexico is SO FAR AWAY. But these past few weeks so many kids in our own 'hood have had it, I have been completely obsessed with it. Why? I don't know! Probably because I have all these bodies that could be affected by it, from negative 34 weeks to almost 7 years.

So this morning, Will woke up with a fever. I wouldn't normally call the doctor at a mere fever (I've become a paragon of restraint in the past seven years; with Keane I would call the ambulance for 99.8), but with all this FLU swirling around, I called just to see at what point I should have him checked out. To my surprise, they said TODAY! Now! Cripes!

So, just as he was about to doze off into a feverish slumber this afternoon, I dragged him and Colette to the doctor. First the doctor swabbed for strep; Will has a very sensitive gag reflex, so BLAH! He barfed all over me. Strep was negative. And so they swabbed for the FLU. NEGATIVE too. Phew. Diagnosis: just a virus, the usual catchall. If I hadn't been so paranoid, though, I could have avoided dragging them out and sitting in the little doctor's office blanketed in puke, holding Will of Fire, and trying to entertain Colette for an hour and a half.

So I will continue to bathe my children in Germ-X and hope we can continue to keep the Evil Piggy Germs at bay.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Post Whereby I am Unfriended by All You Normal People

Well, internet, guess what? I've gone and got knocked up again:

So there you go. I suspect most of you will cease inviting me over, because who wants anyone with FIVE KIDS in their house?

FIVE! Isn't the woman who has five kids a bit of a freak? One who homeschools, leads the family hour of hymns every evening, and grinds organic beet juice for her children to guzzle each morning? AM I THIS WOMAN? (Besides the beets and the homeschooling and the hymns?)

Maybe! But I don't feel TOO freakish. I thought, when I was working with two kids, that I was DONE. But then I had Will. And I could not rid myself of the nagging sense that I wanted one more. And I had Colette. And...I still wasn't sure I wanted to be DONE. Ye gads, will I feel done after this one?

PVT, by the way, despite having some of the same concerns I do (how do we afford this? How do we stay sane? IS THIS THE KID THAT BREAKS US?), is really quite thrilled. He wanted me to let you all know that yes, it's his.

I am bracing for the onslaught of comments: your carbon footprint is bigger than Godzilla's! You are overpopulating the earth! Do you know WHAT CAUSES THAT? How are you going to afford them all? Are you going to have MORE? Your child is misbehaving - it's because you have TOO MANY CHILDREN! Why don't you get FIXED?

Well, I don't have the answers to any of these questions (although YES, we know what causes it). But I do know this: every time a baby is born, the world changes. Slightly, imperceptibly, nothing is as it was before. Whether the baby is a crack baby or a Upper East Side heiress, life has changed. And if you have even a shred of faith left in this morass that is humanity, you have to believe this change is for the better.

And my good friends at Nordstrom? If they ever see me coming with my entire brood, they will call security and lock the doors. Thank GOODNESS for Because they don't let my kind in the doors.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Metro Tulsa Soccer: Here's a Thought!

Today marked the launch of my big boys' soccer season. I can't tell you how much I LOVE going to their games. Now, I don't know much about soccer. There's goals, you to try hit the ball there.

But at soccer games, I get to a) sit; b) legitimately attempt to ignore my other children; c) chat with other adults; d) watch PVT coaching; e) yell and embarrass whatever offspring is playing; f) appreciate and love the little stinker, marvel at his little talents, without him bugging me or asking me for a snack. This is NIRVANA.

Now if only they had a roving bartender at these games...

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Case You See Me Smoking Gauloises

This school stuff is kicking me arse, internet! And I'm not even the one ATTENDING. All the to and fro and packing and checking and dressing and loading - my Gawd. It makes my Dallas sojourn seem like a long ago self-indulgent SUCH, I am spending my bits of free time conjuring up purchases that make me feel like I am more than a snack-packer, homework checker and nagger in chief.

One potential cash sucker: while Kappa Kappa Karen was being tormented by the Dallas Neiman Marcus Beauty Nazi, I was wandering around the forest of parfums and unguents. I was quickly accosted by a Frederic Fekkai sales girl wondering if I'd like to buy his "Ageless Creme Luxe Hair Treatment." Um, hrm, how much? $75! For that price, I wanted a sample (which always irks these ladies, but come on - I'm going to test drive for that price!). But I put it on that evening, and wow! I woke up with Rapunzel hair (well, shorter and browner, but you know). I am out of my sample now, and I may just buy it, so delucious did my hair feel. Alas, it is not at Nordstrom; I can only find it at Neiman Marcus.

I've also purchased two hard-hitting, erudite and cerebral novels that have NOTHING to do with children and everything to do with FEMALE FLUFF:

And this:

Because my life is SO JUST LIKE Coco Chanel's it's SPOOKY.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

O Where O Where Has My Little Bootie Gone

Look at these kick arse Michael Kors boots and booties that were in my Nordstrom email today:Zowiee! I didn't even look to see how much they were, because I have absolutely NOWHERE to wear them. The Kindergarten Mommy Volunteers Meeting? Sunday School Teaching? Bus Stop Pick Up? Piano Lessons? Soccer Practice? ALAS.

In other Mommy Admin, today was Will's first day of preschool. After much protesting ("School is YUCKY, Mama. I want to stay here with YOU. Will you HOLD me, Mama?"), he bravely walked in with me. He heard another kid crying down the hall and told me, "I am not going to cry, Mama." So there you go. In fact, he was so comfortable he told his teacher during the "learning" period of school that, "This is BORING. What are we doing next?"
Future Phi Beta Kappa, I'm sure.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Reason #451-2, Why We Won't Be Able to Afford College

I have discovered that the more of a fiery tempest my daughter becomes, the more I want to buy her cute outfits. Why? Cripes! I don't know. Maybe so I can reassure myself: "Yes, she may be terrorizing her brother, stealing his marbles, arching her back in anger, screeching for yet another blueberry or M & M, and wrapping her entire body around my legs so I cannot move, but BY GAWD she is CUTE."

I'm obsessed with this little Jenna and Jessie brand I found at Nordstrom; I think I've bought the whole line. The only other bauble currently available is this:

So cute! So original! And relatively inexpensive!

Speaking of inexpensive (an awkward segue for you), our latest exorbitant kiddie expense has been keeping this kid in puzzles:

Rory is different from his brothers. He's not a big conversationalist. He doesn't like to detail his dreams, or his worries, or give you blow-by-blow analyses of his latest greatest whacky Lego model idea. He lives in his own head more than the others. So how does he deal with the stress of spending his days with all those Kindergarten kiddies? He does puzzles. For HOURS. He did this one in a day and half with only intermittent help from PVT - 500 pieces.

Rain Rory, I tell you.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rack Attack

One of the highlights of my Dallas junket was a stop here: The RACK! I am shocked we were still ambulatory, given we got there at 7 pm after NINE hours of scavenging North Park (and a stop at the NEIMAN MARCUS MERMAID BAR! Retailers: do you know that your sales skyrocket when you strategically place oases like a MERMAID BAR or MIMOSA STOP or DROP-IN MARGARITA STAND throughout your store?).

The Rack is really a lot of FUN. It's like a scavenger hunt for adult females. Sometimes it's chock full of marked-down treasures from Juicy, luscious handbags, Roxy baby girl dresses, and racks of Stuart Weitzman shoes IN YOUR SIZE. Sometimes all they seem to have is piles of fluorescent green granny underwear. You just never know!

Kappa Kappa Karen hit the motherlode and got several pairs of shoes and some cheap toner (which she felt compelled to buy after being berated by the Neiman Marcus Beauty Nazi who did our makeup that evening). Nothing really grabbed me, though, so I left empty-bagged. I was just happy to BE there.

So, Brothers Nordstrom, if you don't think Tulsa can sustain a Nordstrom, what about a RACK? I think the mommies in my neighborhood ALONE could do years and years of damage just hunting the shoe racks.

Just a thought, Erik. Bruce. Blake. Call me and we'll chat.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I Think the Cliche is WHOOSH

Guess who had their first day of school today?

Yep, 13 months old. We start 'em young. (An aside: why is it that so many people ask me if I HOME SCHOOL my children? Just because I have more than three, does that automatically make me a fundamentalist, apocalyptic-type who homeschools, makes homemade kefir and knits hemp sweaters? Doesn't it make more sense that the MORE children one has, the MORE LIKELY it is that she will want them OUT OF THE HOUSE for periods of time? But I digress.)

And NO, these pictures aren't actually taken at school. Do you think I am capable of packing a baby lunch, labeling the blanky, packing the diapers and spare clothes, AND bringing a camera?

Colette's preschool is twice a week at the local Baptist church, which is also apparently the congregation of blonde South Tulsa yummy mummies who have one or two kids and the presence of mind to bring a camera. It was terribly difficult to navigate the path to her class without getting in the way of all the "Smile, Peytons!" "Look at me, Jakies!" and "Over here, Ashleys!"

Well, I may not be much of a historian, but when she's 19 or so, she can find cached pictures of herself on this blog. Ye Gawd, the therapy.

As our daughter launches her academic career, PVT and I mark our NINTH anniversary today. 'Twas a warm, drizzly weekend in Seattle (yes, that is a terribly redundant phrase) we were married. I still remember seeing a rainbow through the sunlight and gray rain clouds on our way to the reception.

PVT has been up to his eyeballs lately in work, worry and wifely drama. But he continues to handle it all with his characteristic alacrity, and even managed to have my beloved Moonstruck Chocolates overnighted to me.

Happy NINE YEARS, PVT. I suspect we're in it for the long haul.