Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Strawberry Girls

Sometimes this city, perhaps sensing how it pisses me off sometimes, throws me a bone. Like a random 70 degree day in January. Holy cripes does this make me happy. I broke out the spring collection from Gymboree (yes, I continue to be Gymboree's bitch):


My gawsh there are few visceral delights in this world that equal dressing a red headed punky two year old and her roly poly buddha sister in new springy clothes.


Except perhaps watching many kids and dogs rollick in the backyard. In January.




And those 99 cent margaritas I discovered down the street last night.

Truce, Tulsa.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mazel Tov Neiman Molly!

Oh my GAWD enough about kids. How about: weddings! Yes, Neiman Molly finally became Mrs. Stech this past weekend, in a small civil ceremony in New York: Is she not lovely?
(Yes, you look pretty good in your duds too, Bryan!)



So finally after MANY years (I'm not sure how many. I remember her crying in the NICU where I was staying with my now 6 1/2 year old about something Bryan had done. So it's been a while. And be sure to use that little anecdote if you need to, Molly!), they've finally gone and done it.
PVT and I made up our minds much more quickly: I think we were engaged within 6 weeks of our first date. Of course I was married at the time, so there was that little problem.



ANYHOO. So: what advice do you all have for a newly married couple these days? Well, more precisely, a newly married, over-educated, well-travelled couple of lawyers in their thirties, each with their own list of long-cemented habits?


Julia Child's advice has always worked pretty well for me: "Feed 'em, flatter 'em, f*** 'em." Simple and easy to follow, yes? I am doing pretty well on 2/3 of that advice...I'll let you guess which 2/3.


So? Anything else we should tell my dear sister as she embarks on a lifetime of happiness? And dear God, Bryan, I hope you don't starve.


Ducking now.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Yes, I'm a Mom, Blah Blah Blah, Sniff Sniff Post; or, When Can I Sit The Freak Down?

Sometimes all it takes is an errant puke to make you realize how good things are.

To wit: my favorite time of day is - not surprisingly - post bedtime, 9pm-ish: all of the children en route to snoozeland, PVT and I with our arses firmly planted on the couch, snuggling with our laptops, half-listening to the TV, sipping something illicit, chatting about something - or nothing. It is the time of day I finally feel my muscles loosening up - when I hadn't even known they were wound tighter than a pig's tail all day.

Perhaps it's been all the snow days lately, or a particularly long, gray, and trying Sunday, but I've noticed how I've started to look forward to this near-sacred detox/intox hour pretty early in the day. Like 10am or so. Is it bedtime yet? Yet? Yet?

Sometimes, though, all that you need is an errant puke to kick you in the arse - to remind you that life, even the life before the kiddies' bedtime, is just, well, swell. Today Colette threw up randomly after she drank a very non-nutritious colored water drink from QuikTrip. So: Oh my GAWD she has a tummy bug which will spread around to all of us and ERGO I am facing 5 days of unfettered puking and then I will get it and I won't be able to take care of my family and I won't be able to nurse the baby and OHMIGAWD the baby will starve and WE WILL ALL SURELY DIE.


But - she has been just fine since then, so who the freak knows? Which is the wake up call I needed: yes, some/all of these days are boring, long, tedious: breaking up fights, cleaning up crumbs, nursing, changing diapers, and helping print out Dora coloring pages - this is my life. And sheesh it can be stressful/frustrating/dull. But I am home with these monsters - I could not have imagined that five years ago. And these moments in my children's lives: all too soon they will be gone. All too soon my window of opportunity to teach them, talk to them, model what is important to me - all of these moments will evaporate into the ether. I only have so much time to make sure that they love to read, that they love to learn - and that they are, most critically, good, polite, respectful people. And when I think of it all that way, there really isn't a lot of time in the day before my decadent, treasured couch time.

And now let's channel Flashdance, since these are the accessories she insisted on wearing today.



Carry on.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Channeling Springtime, Bubbles and Baseball

My children have attended school in January a mere SIX days. So now after surviving two snow days and the attendant trip to a Burger King playland, I am about ready for spring.

When we can tote about whimsical handbags like this:



And wear flimsy dresses like this:

My other efforts to channel spring include, oddly, signing up my first grader for baseball. Why, you ask? He is already enrolled in semi-competitive soccer, with practices two nights per week and games on the weekends. And piano lessons once a week. This totally goes against my rather free-range approach to childhood: lots of free time, not a whole lot of rules. As little time in the car as possible. But I'm learning that overarching principles need to be bended a bit to suit each child. Rory needs to get away from the Wii; he needs an activity that his brother does not already excel in. He needs to be out in the air, socializing with kids his own age. And sports around here are so ridiculously intense that if a child wants to play a sport, if he waits until third or fourth grade it is TOO LATE.


So there you have it. I'm going to need to install an open bar into my SUV, since good GAWD these kids and their activities are going to be cutting into my springtime cocktail hour.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Losing the Mommy Wars, One Battle at a Time

I don't know if a lot of you get Gwyneth Paltrow's occasional "Goop" emails, but they are pretty entertaining. You can pretend you and Gwynnie are close chicas, live just around the corner from each other on the Upper East Side, and hang with the same group. It's some nice escapism after your eight year old has just called you a "mean fattie" and your two year old (daughter) has proclaimed for the ninth time that day that everyone is invited to see her "penis."


Anyhoo, Gwynnie's latest email is a great cure if you suffer from High Self Esteem (HSE). If you do, you can read about a few high profile Moms and how they balance their careers and children. A day in the life of supermum Juliet de Baubigny had me wanting to crawl under an afghan with a quart of Bailey's (yes, she's hot too):

This woman makes me feel like I have the ambitions of a vagrant earthworm. She's a partner at a venture capital firm! On the board of this, that and the other hospital/HIV/art museum/charity! Steel cut oats for the kiddies' breakfast? Even I don't do that, and I stay at home! Flaxseed oil all around! And she "curates" her "social media" while running on her elliptical! What exactly does "curate" mean?

I don't know if my staying home will make my children turn out any better. And I'm not sure I would have stayed home, either, if I had a sexpot job as a venture capitalist in Menlo Park - it wasn't exactly hard to retire from being a CPA.

But at the very least, I will never have to ask myself: "Did I have dinner with my children at least three times during a seven day period? Did I read to them at least five times during a seven day period?" For better or for worse - and believe me, sometimes it's definitely worse - I am here. All. The. Time.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In Between Grand Moments (and Watching My Sister's From Afar)

Here we are, back in Oklahoma! And I must confess to battling with a few niggling demons: nothing terrible, all certainly problems that inhabitants of the first world luxuriate in. But there they niggle. Perhaps it is the new year; perhaps it is because I'm always prompted to reflection after I leave my hometown to return to Oklahoma. But I'm irked that the few last pounds of baby weight are stubbornly persisting. And, prompted by this article, I'm concerned that I'm not doing enough to raise my children right. We only practice piano for 15 minutes daily, for cripes' sake! And our financial situation: we are managing. But there is little room for frivolity. This would not be such a problem if PVT were certain that this job is where he should be, career-wise, but he's not. He keeps facing impediments that make him unsure what its trajectory holds.


So if PVT's job is not as great as we thought, why are we here? This question haunts me as I face down the return to our day to day grind.


But as a priest's sermon reminded me today, life is not made of grand moment after grand moment. It is the slow and steady efforts, day in, day out, that will prove fruitful in the end. The silly weight will probably come off (and if it doesn't, who cares!). My kids will hopefully be gainfully employed, non-sociopathic members of society in twenty years. And each day PVT will figure out a little bit more where his career should lead.



And maybe I'll figure out something I enjoy besides popping out kids. Hrm.


So, patience, I must remind myself. Patience, even when things do not seem to be changing or getting better. They are, imperceptibly. Do not give up, my friends - whatever you are striving towards. Silly how such cliched wisdom can move us so profoundly when we need to hear it, yes?



Speaking of slow and steady efforts, my sister - I think?! - will be getting married in a private, civil ceremony in Albany, New York, next Friday. Alas, this means she will not need the Nordstrom brothers' wedding services:

And alas, alas, double alas, I will not be at the ceremony. This of course serves me right, since I eloped once, but on my do-over I did the grand she-bang. So, dear sister, my very best wishes and all my love to you! I hope that this grand moment in your life leads to a lifetime of peace, contentment, and something else besides bagel skins for dinner.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thwarted

I am sorry for the absence, my friends! Can you imagine that while traveling with four children is hard, traveling with five is....hardER? So much ADMIN. But we are having a fairly marvelous time - a Great Wolf Lodge junket, time with my parents, hikes in the damp and drizzly Pacific Northwest forests...and yes! Time at my favorite mall. Although - can you imagine - I have stepped foot in these hallowed walls TWICE, and have only managed to return a defective cosmetic? Even with a mere 40% of my children in tow, I could not close a deal. An attempt to buy jeans proved fruitless - I could not find my size or the correct flare on the legs before the two year old had a meltdown.

All this stuff about how kids are expensive is NONSENSE, my friends. Clearly these naysayers have never gone to a mall with five kids in tow. All you end up doing is going to the kiddie playground, buying two drinks at the bakery (the clerk gives you two cookies on the house because she feels sorry for you), and wistfully gazing at Sephora, Williams Sonoma, Coach, and the Apple store....

So the great irony is that I will have to wait until I return to TULSA to shop at Nordstrom......dot.com.

Where I am hoping to channel a great deal of springy-ness. And hope on my next trip that some of my children will have morphed into self-sufficient teenagers.

Well, maybe not that. Yet.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bed Monsters, Nos. 3 and 5

My whip cream dollop #5, who continued to cough a week after the doctor told me it was nothing, turns out to have a bit of PNEUMONIA. For cripe's sake. I thought the doctor's office would have me committed to the nearest freaky house for bringing her in AGAIN, but this time I was vindicated. So: YAY! Me not crazy! But: BOO! 3 month old with pneumonia!

Luckily she should be just fine with some antibiotics and breathing treatments. And to all of you who wax poetic about the seasons, I say a pox on your house. Give me the neverending late spring or early fall ALL the year long, thankyouverymuch. Winter and its litany of germs suck donger.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Resolutions Expire 1/3/11

Ah, January! How is it that I have already succumbed to the breakfast pastry I swore I wouldn't gorge myself on? And how is it, despite PVT's company-wide 2% raise (that's a raise? It barely covers the increased costs of the medical plan! Yes, yes, I know, he has a job! And I don't work! WOO HOO! But my five children - and, OK, ME - are a financial black hole, my friends. At least I know my weaknesses.) that I have already forgotten the Christmas orgy and now am ready to shop again?


But Nordstrom? These?




Mummy sandals? Brown bandage sandals? Not working for me.


Nor are these brown boots with holes in them (though the shoes are arguably cute): But I do like these jeans:



Well, of COURSE I like them. They're $209. And huh? There's a size 23 now - DOUBLE zero? Is that to make all of us in the mere single digits feel like arse hats?

So I think my fantasy (see: 2%!) shopping will temporarily come from this collection of fantabulous mommy porn: This is from Chasing Fireflies, an "aspirational" (my term) kiddie store. Everything just makes you want to moan - both the girls' stuff:And the boys' stuff:
It's all so heartbreakingly adorable. If, of course, you have some serious disposable income. Maybe some of you whose income increased more than 2% can do some clicking for me.

Happy shopping!