Thursday, May 28, 2009

field correspondance

Also titled: letters I've been writing in my head while we have been driving across the state of Washington for the past two days.

Dear Thriving Metropolis of Harrington, Washington:

492 people? Really? Are you that interested in absolute accuracy that you couldn't just round your population to an even 500? I believe you get a special prize when your Welcome to Harrington sign reads that you have at least 500 people.


Dear Alicezilla,

That dinosaur roar you've been doing, though it has secured you an adorable new nickname, isn't so adorable. The noise, I mean. It's gut-wrenchingly awful, actually. It seems to be on the precise frequency of a very specific nerve of mine. A nerve that travels directly into my frontal lobe. Please see what you can do about putting that energy into making a happy cooing noise, mmmkay? Preferably before my squishy frontal lobe leaks out of my ears.


Dear camera cord,

I packed you, I know I did. You were inside the little front pocket of the camera bag. But when I went to upload a whole mess of awesomely hilarious pictures (sure bet for one of the funniest blog posts ever to grace The Creamery... like, ever) - you were no where to be seen. Chip has suggested that you were hidden by Alice in her ramblings around the hotel room. He suggested that I check the lowest drawer in the TV armoire - the same drawer he happened to find the television remote, but you were (again) no where to be seen. Please see what you can do about making yourself available as soon as possible. The Funniest Blog Post Ever can only keep fresh in my noggin for so long.


Dear Sci-fi Channel,

This thank you note is a bit overdue, but I wanted to thank you profusely for showing the Land of the Lost marathon on Monday. It was so awesome, I can't even tell you. It was especially gratifying to see so much Cha-Ka, as he has always been one of my favorite tv characters. Chip and I are still wandering around singing the theme song nearly three days later. Thank you for the dream come true.


Dear Sid and Marty Crofft,

Genius. You are clearly geniuses, the makers of such great television as Sigmund the Seamonster and most especially Land of the Lost. We had the pleasure of watching a Land of the Lost marathon on Monday and let me tell you, it has never been more obvious that you were putting out a quality television program than when a person has the chance to watch nearly sixteen hours of the program back-to-back. Wow. The dialogue? The incredible plots and storylines? I am at a loss to tell you that the fact that Will and Holly continue to get themselves into trouble in every single episode (lost in tunnels, fall down holes, kidnapped by lizard people - just a few of the incredible plot devices) is just mind-blowing. I mean, some tv shows try to get fancy and wild by introducing new situations or slightly different costumes or hairstyles (Lost, I'm looking at you) - but seriously, you guys are hard core. Having Holly wear the exact same red plaid shirt, brown pants, brown belt, and those never-a-hair-out-of-place braids???? Fantastic. Hearty congratulations to the seamless and totally believeable transition from the father, Rick Marshall - to Uncle Jack. I mean, of course it would make sense that the day after Mr. Marshall is lost in a doorway through time, Uncle Jack would come through the exact same earthquake and waterfall that stranded our original heros in the Land of the Lost, like, MONTHS or even YEARS previously. I am especially impressed how Uncle Jack adjusts so easily to just sort of living in the Land of the Lost, and doesn't seem particularly concerned about either escape or the loss of his brother. I haven't even mentioned the set or the special effects, both of which were clearly AHEAD OF THEIR TIME. Kudos for a job so well done, it stands up to the test of time, 35+ years later.

Your biggest fan,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

mission statement

Hi. Welcome to The Creamery. Do you know why you come here? I know why you come here. And it's not necessarily to see this:

(Though I know - totally goofy and adorable, right?)

I've been mulling over Heavy Stuff lately. The world is so full to the gills with Heavy Stuff that in most cases it just seems like Stuff now. I turned on the news this morning and found myself actually cringing from the headlines. Each one was like a physical assault: mothers and daughters kidnapped, missing children that aren't considered topical news anymore, a small 4-year-old girl strangled to death in an accident with a treadmill (nevermind that her father is famous or treacherous or whatever you call biting another person's ear clean off). Not to mention Korea, Iraq, terrorist bombs, the wobbly planet-wide economic confusion. Heavy stuff. It can drag you into a deep dark hole. It can leave you there, pondering the meaning of light and if it even exists in a world so weighted down.

I haven't covered Heavy Stuff here much. Chip and I found ourselves talking about that last night: how there are things that spill through my mind on occasion, but I don't give a lot of space to those waters here. How I dictate what the tone is here each day, and the fact that I make a conscious choice to do what I do, to say what I say - and to voice the question: is this a true picture of who I am? We patted the question back and forth last night for a good long while.

We didn't resolve the question in those darkened hours. We let things percolate. I let things sit in my brain as I dreamt and considered who I am at this moment, and who I'm going to be.

I like to think that The Creamery is a close-ish record of who I am. But more importantly, it is this:

A place to put down those thoughts that I most want to remember. Even if they aren't Big Thoughts. Even if they aren't Big Thoughts revolving around Heavy Stuff. And the distinction: these are the things that I most want to remember for myself. I'm not sure if I even care that I'm remembered by others for these things.

Which is why the Heavy Stuff doesn't see a lot of screen time. The Heavy Stuff is important. It's important to me - even if I don't say so. But I'm not sure if I want to talk about it all the time. It's enough that it creeps in to our daily conversations, that it tinges the things we say with a greenish light. I think you can tell who I am and what I stand for by the way I say what I say - and not because I tell you: THIS IS IMPORTANT TO ME AND I'LL TELL YOU WHY. It's the difference between doing what I say and doing what I do. I want to be a parent that can say to Alice, Follow my example. I do my best to be the kind of person that I want you to be. You don't have to listen to the words themselves, just listen to the way they are said.

In the end, this place, The Creamery, is a sacred space for me. And I hope it's a special place for you too. That's why you come here, you know. Because you can tell that I sweep these floors regularly. I wash the windows to let in lots of light. I make sure it always smells good. I put flowers out on the table. I make fresh lemonade. And I invite you to come in, sit with me. Let's talk.

Monday, May 25, 2009

up and out

Three-month-old Alice. Rocking the guitar pj's.

There is so much to do. The sheer volume of it presses down, makes me feel heavy if I let it. We worked hard this weekend. Yard work. House work. Cleaning. Laundry. Organizing. One closet had been literally bulging at the seams, it being the resting place for a good chunk of baby-related gear (swing, bouncy seat, car seat, walker, boppy - how did we fit all of this in a closet - jammed packed it was). This closet became the focus of our weekend efforts. It was emptied. The contents placed inside those ginormous ziplock bags that are seriously huge-beyond-huge. Alice liked looking through her old stuff. She seemed almost wistful, if a high octane speeding toddler can be wistful.

This is Alice seeing her old carseat/carrier: a bright smile, a squeal, dimpled fingers reaching out and touching the orange fabric we know so well. She lifts her right foot, Kate calls it the climbing foot and I think she's absolutely right. Alice lifts the climbing foot in the air, reaching for purchase on the seat. I lift her in - sit her deep in the cradle shape. She is delighted. She squeals as I rock her. She reaches her hands up to my arm, asking for more.

When we had wrapped each item, Chip took each piece to the garage where we stored them up, way up, up inside the crawl space over the garage. Chip was stationed on the ground, carefully lifting each piece to me as I stood on the ladder. It was sobering to put these things away. To know that they are no longer a part of Alice's life. Too big for swing, too tall for carrier, no need for walker or boppy. She's just not a baby anymore. She's a little girl.

But my girl just the same.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

a week in pictures

It's unlikely that any of you will even be reading this tonight, or the next day. Because I know what you do on your weekends (and your holidays), and it's certainly not read blogs. Since that's the case, putting these pictures up tonight is like posting them in my own private scrapbook. If my private scrapbook were sitting in the middle of a large city intersection where anyone and everyone could stop by, at any moment, and look.

If they wanted to look.

I'd want to look.

Wouldn't you?

There's a cat asleep here on the bed. I think she's waiting for my toes to join her. They will soon enough. Also a husband who is on Facebook. He's here too, right next to me. We're such a post modern modernity, with our laptops and our smartypants phones. Without further delay - last week in pictures.


I cleaned out the junk drawer in the kitchen. It was long overdue, since Alice had developed a keen interest in its contents. Namely a container of black shoe polish. That's her taking off with her contraband and then examining it in the living room. The kid can move pretty fast when she wants to.


That would be a drippy milk mustache. And big blue eyes.


Alice discovers Sesame Street and Elmo. And more specifically: wow, messy living room there, Whimsy.


I watched Alice carry this bowl around the house, filled with colored plastic links. The links kept dropping from the bowl, and Alice would stop, bend down, and carefully pick up each piece, placing it back into the bowl. She repeated this over and over. She almost convinced me that it was fun.


Chip fired up the barbecue on Friday and did up some really great chicken. My offering was roasted red potatoes and onions with a lemon cake for dessert. Lemon cake and warm sunny weather are go-togethery things, don't you think?


The fabulous Chelle, a friend from church, dropped off my winnings from a recent drawing she had on her blog. Anything coming from Chelle's kitchen is bound to be fantastic, and she didn't disappoint. She dropped off two of her tall vanilla cupcakes with rich fudge frosting (soooo good). So good, in fact, that I don't have a picture. Because we ate them. Ha! (To be accurate, we ate them tonight. And they were beyond yummy.)

So. What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

for absent friends

This is what we say: I wish I could be at your side. I wish I could hold your hand. I wish I could give you a hug. I wish I could show you how much I care, by being there. By being with you. Instead, I am far away. I cannot whisper in your ear that you are strong. I cannot squeeze your shoulder and smile that yes, you are going to get through this.

So I will leave you phone messages. I will send you emails. I will write this and hope that some of my words will reach you.

No matter the distance, no matter the time that has passed, you are not alone.

Post edit, Friday morning...
In the light of day I can explain more of what I hope these words can do: weave a web of golden threads that will spread beneath you and around you, lift you in ways that my distant hands cannot. And say again, no matter the distance, no matter how long it has been, you are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone in this, in anything.

Monday, May 18, 2009

geeking out for swistle

Last week blogger Swistle ignited a controversy about, of all things,
dolls. Maybe controversy is too strong a word. A heated debate. Very passionate comments. Some strong opinions. See, Swistle shared a photo of a number of dolls she had collected four years ago. She was trying to figure out which dolls to get rid of, and which ones to keep. But the comments that were posted, repeatedly, were of the TAKE THEM ALL AWAY, RIGHT NOW, THEY ARE STARING AT ME! and THEY ARE GOING TO COME TO LIFE IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT AND CHOP EVERYONE UP INTO TINY LITTLE PIECES! variety. You know, all along the lines of YOU ARE SO CRAZY TO COLLECT DOLLS WOW WOW WOW.

I joined in the fun, you can be sure.

And then, well, and then fate handed me a nice big slice of humble pie in the form of this box.

I was cleaning out our hall closet and I found this box. This box that I hadn't seen in the four years since we first moved in to our townhouse.

I, um... don't know where to start. Except to say: IS THAT A TINY HAND COMING OUT OF THE BOX?

Yes, yes it is. Tiny and very well formed.

Almost... action figurey.

That looks like an entire box filled to the gills with itty bitty action figures. YOU MIGHT EVEN CALL THEM, **GASP**, DOLLS.

Um. How to explain? It was a Thing? A Lord of the Rings Thing?

(I still love them, the AF's--- even if they have been living in a crammed cardboard box for several years. And to explain, even a bit: I didn't buy them all myself. Some were GIFTS. Because I would write these hilarious emails to the Minions about the adventures of the action figures, and and and... good grief. There is no explanation that will fit. The best I can offer is that this is actually not the weirdest thing I have hidden in my house. There is something else, a silver-coated plastic man barbie nailed to a small wooden block, called a CREAMIE --gift from minion SS-- and maybe, if you're really really good, you might catch a glimpse of him here but that will have to wait for another day.)

So. Firstly: TOUCHE, FATE, YOU SURELY DO HAVE A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR AND HAVE REMINDED ME THAT WE ALL HAVE SCARY DOLLS LIVING IN BOXES IN OUR GARAGE OR BASEMENT OR COAT CLOSET. (And one could argue that the action figures are even scarier because they have teeny tiny weapons.) And secondly: Oh action figures, how I've missed you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

more chip dips

The infamous WOW BALL of our soon-to-be-sweeping-the-nation game of the same name.

I can make Chip laugh himself silly anytime I say to him, "Have a delightful meal." This is what an Arby's employee said to us sometime last year as he handed us our bag of heavily fatty fried food. Delightful! We've theorized that the dude was either some Super Vice President General Manager of Arby's or he'd lost a bet.

Chip and I have been playing a game we're calling Wow Ball, where we sort of ridiculously ping-pong this 6-inch diameter ball back and forth to each other. It is the kind of thing that actually makes you feel, um, PROUD for the skill involved. When really, there is no skill involved at all. It is two full-grown adult humans sitting on a colored mat madly patting a small ball back and forth to each other. When Chip pointed out how silly the game was (as he naturally continued to carry on his side of the mad ball swatting)---- I told him to stuff it. I am a stay-at-home mother whose conversation partner is a 14-month-old cavetoddler (total range of vocabulary at last count: five words, and that's stretching it). Furthermore, anything that gives me a Sense of Great Accomplishment and Skill that doesn't involve poop or other bodily fluids is a WIN in my book. We will continue playing Wow Ball. Maybe one day there will be some rules. Next stop: Olympic Wow Ball.

I have our DVR record Lost every week. Do you know how many episodes of Lost our DVR has recorded this year? Zero. Because we still don't have ABC. Chip is mystified by my continued taping of a show that doesn't come on. We get a blue screen and a bunch of words to the effect of SORRY SUCKERS YOU STILL DON'T HAVE ABC AND WE'RE GOING TO QUADRUPLE YOUR MONTHLY RATE WHEN THE DAY DOES COME THAT WE EVENTUALLY CAVE AND SIGN BACK ON WITH ABC. I tell Chip, "I have faith. Our DVR has faith. We will be able to watch Lost on our television once again." Chip says, without an ounce of sarcasm, "AND GLORIOUS WILL BE THAT DAY."

If I don't talk about the fact that I've been feeling like a sore-throaty runny-nosed sick person, maybe it will all just go away. What do you think?

Speaking of feeling like death on toast, two nights ago Chip and I had one of those nights that lasts for days and days and days. Can someone explain this to me? You know the kind of night where you fall asleep at 10 and wake up and you're quite sure that it's at least 3am but when you look at the clock it's only 11:37. You drift back to sleep and then wake up twenty minutes later with the words from the Belly Button Book going through your head on a maniacal repeat button. Later, you wake to the sound of your husband rooting around a drawer in the bathroom, apparently removing every medicine bottle and then shaking the contents for the sheer joy of it (rattle-rattle-rattle-SHAKE-SHAKE-SHAKE-rattle-rattle-rattle-SHAKE-SHAKE-SHAKE). Finally you hear him mutter triumphantly, clutching a small white packet of Ibuprofen. He comes and shows the little treasure to you, as you try to smile helpfully--- YES, IBUPROFEN, you say. CANYOUCOMEBACKTOBEDANDTURNOFFTHELIGHTKTHANKSNIGHT. As your husband gets to his side of the bed you hear another mutter, notsotriumphant and a little, um, MAD, "Well that's just great. It expired in 2005." You suggest that he check downstairs, dreaming of dancing bottles of leggy Ibuprofen. It is 1am. Your husband is back upstairs ten minutes later, holding a very large bottle of Tylenol. Annnnnnnd back in bed. Eyes close until you wake up again: Belly Button Book. And again: more BELLY BUTTON BOOK. And again: this time because your husband is trying to pull a blanket off the bed - a blanket that is being anchored to the bed by two sleeping cats and your right leg. Eyes close as your husband mutters, "I'm going downstairs." You allow your face to mimic sleeping, hoping the rest of your body will get the memo. Whisper "goodnight" to husband's retreating form. Also, "Try not to turn the TV up too loud. Please don't cook any chili." It is 4am. You wake an hour later: WE HIPPOS LOVE OUR BELLY B'S. At 6 you wake up to your husband getting back into bed. You settle in for forty-five more minutes of sleep, the best of the night, until your baby girl wakes at 7, calling DA-deeeeee, DA-deeeeee. You let your husband sleep and you start your day.

A night kinda like that. Why why why between earth and heaven do these nights always happen when you're on the newish cusp of a cold with the itchy horrible ouchy sore throat? WHY?

And with that, Whimsy out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

night night

This is how she falls asleep in the mid-morning: grunting and thrashing against the rest that is so dreadfully needed. I am rocking her in her room. Blankie held tight against her nose as she looks at me with eyes the color of bluebells. She smells of toast and yogurt. As she slowly falls into that place of sleep I can put my nose there, at the base of her head, where her downy-soft hair is even softer, where an ineffable baby-smell still clings. This is the place she hides her best gifts to me during the day.

This is how she falls asleep in the afternoon: wiping crumbs from her face, nestling against her blankie, smelling of sunshine and alphabet blocks. I am rocking her in her room. The light is blue against the blanket that hangs in the window to block out the most blaring rays. The rushing sound of waves on the radio. I can kiss her as she drifts in my arms. Her eyelashes rest quietly against her cheek.

This is how she falls asleep in the evening: after her bath and lotion rub-down, after the jammies are zipped and footies are wrestled, after teethbrushing and prayers and a story. In her bed. In her room. No longer in my arms. She rolls around, rubbing blankie against her face. She doesn't cry. We are watching her from a corner as we have been for the last 10 days - inching closer to the door - letting her know we are here for her should she need us as we bid goodbye to babyhood, bid goodbye to the silent conversations of kisses and cuddles when eyelashes are resting so soundly on a little girl's cheeks.

This is how we fall asleep every night: thankful to have her, thankful to be her parents. Soundly. Quietly. Peacefully.

Monday, May 11, 2009

by the power of grayskull

Well now. How was your weekend? Mine was fine.

Chip and I have this phrase we've been using a lot --- "going downtown" and we use it in funny ways, like if Chip is going downstairs to grab a glass of milk he'll say, "I'm going downtown to get myself a glass of milk" and then I'll mock his fake use of an equally fake and ridiculously pseudo "urban" phrase of going downtown. It's a thing. It doesn't even SOUND funny when I say it here. Because we've used it so much, it's one of those phrases that we've RUINED for normal conversation. Do you have those?

Chip was talking to his sister last night about seeing a movie with my mother-in-law today (Star Trek, and being the sainted mother that I am, I am staying home with Alice so they can go out and watch a movie and eat popcorn and you really should be sooooo nice to me because I'm just a long-suffering martyr and really I'm going to stop talking about it now.). Chip had been looking for theaters, and he says to me, "Well, I found one downtown." and then I say, "So you're going downtown?" and then we both started to laugh as I say, "That's never going to be the same, is it?" It's at this point that Chip asks me if I even remember when we started using that phrase, and of course I don't remember. So I ask him to tell me. And you know what he says, YOU KNOW WHAT HE SAYS, "I'm busy." And then he proceeds to totally do something else, leaving me hanging. Oh it makes me mad all over again just thinking about it.

I know he does this stuff to tease me, and it doesn't usually drive me NUTS, but I just hate it when someone asks me if I want to know something, and when I express interest, they're all, "Oh never mind. I'll tell you later." or "So you REALLY want to know??????" Makes me CRAZY.

(And in Chip's defense, he did tell me eventually. And we laughed about it all over again. And then I said, "If you do that to me again, if you leave me hanging like that? You know who's going downtown? YOU. THAT'S WHO."

I've hinted that life around here has been a little off-the-rails for the last several months (read: seven or so, ouch). One of the major contributing factors has been helping my mother-in-law to move: selling her house, finding an apartment closer to us, dealing with the odds-and-ends that this entails, along with several other high-stress items. It's been quite the process. And we're reaching something of a plateau in this here process, which is good. We've got her moved in to an apartment that's within 15 minutes of us, and most of the moving stress is done. There are still some other things to take care of, but we're mostly in the clear, right?

Except. Our garage has become the resting place for several several SEVERAL boxes and doo-dads out of Chip's past. And also his brother's past, it would seem (as I do believe we're now storing his brother's college car cover -- a cover for a car that I don't believe the dude even owns anymore, can you believe this madness?). Besides the various and random, we've gotten a good selection of garden tools (awesome), AND a stellar washer and dryer (also in the overstuffed garage and ask me how I'm getting to our cars these days, go ahead just ask me). Which leads me to this story: we're in the process (there's that phrase again) of selling our old washer and dryer. Because we don't need two sets. And clearly, we don't have ROOM for two sets. This is the same washer that flooded several weeks ago. A flood that was caused ENTIRELY BY OPERATOR ERROR. In other words, me dumb cannot properly load washer duh. Originally we mentioned it to a few people at church thinking that there might be a family that could use a washer/dryer and we'd give them a good deal. When there wasn't any interest expressed, Chip and I looked in to putting them on Craigslist. Then, Saturday night, we were at a fundraiser at our church (for the girls to raise money for girl's camp this summer) and we got to sit with the fabulous Wandering Nana and her husband, The Mister. Out of the blue, this nice dude J comes up to us and expresses a little interest in our washer/dryer. Chip tells him the price we're looking for and why we're getting rid of them (got a nearly brand-new high tech German set from MIL), and I jump in with some selling points (in great condition, we're only the second people to use the set, Maytag, and have I mentioned that they're in great condition?). J sort of nods and then walks off. Wandering Nana has witnessed the entire exchange and she says, "Do you think they read your blog?" To which I respond, LOUDLY, "OPERATOR ERROR! IT WASN'T THE WASHER'S FAULT! THIS IS ENTIRELY HAPPENSTANCE AND RANDOM! THE FLOOD HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH US GETTING RID OF THE WASHER! I PROMISE!" I am now listing this fact on my blog, in case any other perspective buyer is also, quite randomly, a reader of The Creamery. Yes we are selling the washer and dryer. THEY ARE NOT DEFECTIVE IN THE LEAST. You have my word.

We watched Run Fatboy Run this weekend. I think there is something wrong with me because besides making me laugh a lot, it also made me CRY. What with the inspirational bits and all.

I made the cursed cake on Sunday. Quite miraculously, I didn't make any mistakes in the baking or ingredients or compilation of the cake itself. But don't worry, the cake is still cursed. Because I made a whole mess of what I'm calling mechanical errors with the cake. Namely, the counter was a veritable SEA of chocolate icing when I was done. Cake? Still cursed. Taste? Still fantastic.

Does anyone want to shed some light on how a small girl-child can ADORE bananas when she eats them in chunks by her own hand, but when her mother mashes up a nice, soft, very sweet banana and adds it to oatmeal, milk, and a little bit of butter--- it becomes THE GROSSEST THING TO EVER GROSS. Like, she won't even lower herself to let it touch her lips. I've eaten several bites of the stuff to convince her that it is quite edible and still nothing. I recently had a eureka moment when I decided that I was going to make Alice the most delectable oatmeal EVER and she wouldn't be able to resist it for all the yumminess. BEHOLD MY SUCCESS, PEOPLE. Ugh.

Does anyone watch Dollhouse? DID YOU SEE THE EP ON FRIDAY? DUDE. DUDE DUDE DUDE! Help me with some exclamation points, kids!!!!

Have I mentioned that I have a headache?

Speaking of which, I do believe that a sure-fire way to chase a headache out of the head is to consume several chocolate cupcakes. Whimsy out.

Friday, May 8, 2009

another mother

In quiet moments when I am holding Alice, comforting her as only a mother can, I think about my own mother. I think about the gifts she has given me--- the wisdom and strength she has passed on to me by her very existence. I think about the sacrifices she has made for me, the things she gave up and the things she embraced for my sake. I think about her face and how it lights up when she sees Alice. I think about my love for her and how it's changed and grown over the years. I think about our friendship and the things she's teaching me even now. Looking at Alice, I think about my mother. And then I think about another mother.

This other mother is a little bit taller than me. She has dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. A big smile. She likes to crochet and spend time with her little boy. She laughs and calls her husband buddy. She's athletic: doing aerobics and whatever else she can to stay in shape. She likes to decorate and paints furniture. She loves her family.

I don't know this woman, but I share her eyes and hair - I share her face and smile. I've never met this woman. I've never heard her voice. I've never felt her hand in mine. I've never spoken to her. And I won't ever do any of these things. This woman is my mother, my birth mother. She died in 1985, when her little boy was barely eight-years-old. I was eleven. A carefree eleven, without knowledge of this lady who gave me her eyes and hair and artistic sense.

I didn't grow up with this woman. She was my mother, but not my mom. I was raised by another mother, a mother who wasn't able to have children of her own. People ask me how it is, to be adopted - to have a family that isn't related to me by blood. I never know what to say. I never know how to tell them that you know what you know. That my family is born in my heart and in my hands. That I am bonded to my family through experience and time. That these people - my mom, my dad, my brothers, my sister---- we ate dinner together every night, we went on long car trips, we ate pizza and went to church and cut down Christmas trees and watched movies and swung on swing sets and took family pictures together. We fought and we cried and we loved each other in the best way we knew how. And we still do those things today. These people I bled with and cried for and danced with in the kitchen. These people are my family in the only way I've ever known.

But my heart is beating because of another mother. Another mother who made the best choice for me that she could. Another mother who cried for me and bled for me and wanted me to be happy. Another mother who was so very brave, so very selfless, I can't fathom it. I share her eyes and hair and hands. I see the world because of her. I can love Alice because of her.

I am blessed to have these two mothers: the mother of my heart, and the mother of my hands. Two women who have given themselves to me in a way that only a mother can. I hope I can have the same strength, the same wisdom, the same sense of sacrifice for my daughter. I think I can. I have wonderful teachers.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

you'd think i'd be more on top of these things

But I'm not. Luckily I checked in with Statia tonight and found out that she's holding the Plain White Box contest NOW. So get on over there and enter soon (ends on Monday). And be extra especially nice to her, okay? She is in the advanced stages of pregnancy and you know how fun that can be. Maybe tell her how pretty she is.

Oh, and if you're newish around here and want to know why I am caring about a random box? It's not so random. See where it started here and here. (MY DREAM IS COMING TRUUUUUUUUUUE.)

Now get out of here and try to win that box.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

a true nursery rhyme

Mr. Chip NotMuffet
sat on his tuffet
bathing his baby girl.

Along came a spider
that wanted to bite her--
Mr. Chip's toes began to curl.

He moved the girl away
and kept the spider at bay
while yelling for mommy to come.


So mommy ran in
with nothing but a grin
and an itty bitty book to kill it.

She tossed dad the book
he gave her that look
while she ran to get a mallet.

Dad leapt into the fray
the beast didn't get away
and he squished it flatter than flat.

When mommy came back in
the gore was not lacking
with black legs and guts on the bathmat.

No spiders were seen
for the rest of evening
and everyone was happier for sleeping.

The next day mama took
to clean off the book
and found the spider's body was keeping.

For what did she find
but the irony in mind
was funny and out of pace.

The little book was the weapon
that sent the spider to heaven
what an ironic final resting place.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Well my friends, this is post number three hundred ninty-nine at The Creamery. I feel the need to celebrate 399 instead of 400 because 400 probably gets so much attention anyway, what with the extra zero's behind the 4 and all. 399, on the other hand, is sort of a rogue number. And we're all about the ROGUE element here. Viva la 399!

Have I told you I have a thing for prime numbers and odd numbers in general?

I am odd.

No really, I'm the third kid in a family of four which makes me both ODD and PRIME.

In other news, I have results from the quotation situation on Monday. No one got them all, though Parkingathome gets lots of credit for coming very close:

Quote #1, in the title of the post, GUESS WHO HAS A CASE OF THE MUNDEES.
Original quote was from Office Space and goes like this, "Uh oh, sounds like somebody has a case of the Mondays!"

Original quote from Apocalypse Now, "I love the smell of Napalm in the morning."

Original quote from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - Steve Martin as Ruprecht, "Mother? No? Not mother?" And might I add that this is a most quotable movie. Another one, "May I take your trident, sir?" and "Ruprecht, if we keep banging our pots we won't have any pots left to bang."

Original quote from The Office, Michael says to Dwight (because Michael needs to take Dwight to the hospital), "I can't take you. I don't have my car and yours is all vomity."

Quote #5, from Bjork, "People are always asking me about Eskimos. But there are no Eskimos in Iceland."

Quote #6, from The Andy Griffith Show, "Opie, you haven't finished your milk. We can't put it back in the cow, you know."

It's also nice to know that other folks have a vomit story (Spadoman, I'm looking at you with the VOMIT in your POCKET????), and I figure I'm in good company with my losing battle for Mother of the Year.

Speaking of MOTY--- I was feeding Alice her dinner yesterday and was surprised with how much she was putting down. Five chicken nuggets? No problem! A handful of green beans? Done! Four whole rice rusks? Finished! ...So I went to give Alice a fifth rice rusk and saw her stash half of it down by her leg. I figured she was done, finally, so I cleaned her up and took her out of the seat.

And this is what I found:

Yes, that would be a good half of the food she supposedly ate. Behold Squirrelly: the Next Generation. I say "next generation" because the kid comes by it honestly. Chip is the squirrelliest squirrel to ever squirrel. Left to his own devices, the guy can squirrel away any treasure between the desk and the back wall, on a high shelf, inside a box that's inside a box that's inside ANOTHER box. These are all purely mundane hiding places for Squirrelly. When we're organizing a room, I regularly have to come back and CHECK to see what new items have been added via Squirrelly McSquirrel.

We finally got down and dirty yesterday and finished installing the cabinet locks in the kitchen. That was AFTER I found Alice sitting on the kitchen floor, quietly crunching away on DRY CAT FOOD. She was eating it like it was CANDY. Cat food-flavored candy.

Monday, May 4, 2009

look who has a case of the MUNdees

Doing my best to defunkify the funk - which, when I put it that way, makes it sound like I'm trying to get the smell out of something. And maybe in some ways I am. The SMELL OF THE GRAY DOLDRUMS. Today, I'm feeling both random and weird, which means that you get the benefit of random and weird. Now aren't you lucky?

I love the smell of a to do list in the morning!

We got back into town Friday night and woke up Saturday morning with a to do list that was about three feet long. A three-foot long to do list tends to make me simultaneously CRANKY and also MEGA MOTIVATED. Which is a weird combination. Luckily the mega motivated part of me won out and we got a lot done. Including some weeding. Which is strangely satisfying.

Mother? No? Not mother?

I received a really thoughtful email from Miss Sarah in Georgia, who remembers my SAD DEVOTION TO MOTHER'S SUGAR COOKIES. Being all connected and stuff, she received this message from the folks at Kelloggs, and had to share it with me, saying, "Yes, we're on the Mother's newsletter listserv". That's the kind of girl I can understand.

Mother's Cookies, Returning to West Coast Stores May 4

After filing for bankruptcy last year—but then being miraculously saved by Kellogg's!Mother’s Cookies announces its return to West Coast shelves starting May 4. Many favorites seem to be back, including Circus Animals, Iced Lemonade, Iced Oatmeal, and Taffy.

I planned to head out to a grocery store today, to document this bittersweet entrance to the cookie aisle (I say bittersweet because the kind people at Kellogg's are all clued in to what YOU want back on your cookie shelves --namely those pink and white interlopers, the Circus Animals-- but are terribly uninformed what those with discriminating and complicated palates are craving --i.e. the irresistable Mother's Sugar Cookie--). ANYWAY. W
e went to the grocery store on Saturday and what did I find between the Keebler striped fudge and the Archway no-name cookies that no one eats?

Yep. That would be the NOTMother's cookies from Kelloggs. See how much I love you? I even took a picture (badly, but still: a picture). West coasters, you may now visit your local grocery store to pick up the circus animals or iced lemonade or iced oatmeal. Don't tell me I never did anything for you. East and middle/Not coasters? You're out of luck. Unless, of course, I do a giveaway at some future date and you win and I put a bag of circus animals in your package. That's a lot of If's.

I don't want to go in your car, it's all vomity.

There's a story about PUKE from last week that I haven't told you yet. And I'm still not sure if I want to tell the whole story, because it paints Chip and I in a very un-parenty / un-aware / completely IDIOTIC light. Um. Suffice it to say, there was some kind of middle-of-the-night puking event in Bean's vicinity (okay, IN HER PACK N PLAY) and we were totally oblivious to it. In fact, she woke up whimpering a little--- and we sauntered over to her bed, gave her a new paci, and then she went back to sleep. IN THE VOMIT. I know. I KNOW. It gives me the heeby-jeevies, and also scares the living daylights out of me because while we are totally STOOOOPID and OBLIVIOUS and obviously have malfunctioning NOSES, we AREN'T unschooled in all the bad stuff that could have happened to a little girl who throws up in the middle of the night. Namely, she could have choked. Or, like, DROWNED IN IT.

Oh nasty. ANYWAY. In the morning light (after Alice got some revenge on her dumb parents when they brought her pukey little self into bed, and she was able to roll around repeatedly against their faces and all over their pillows)--- Chip looked at me (after I'd been snuggling the smelly girl for a while) and said, "You know, she smells a little... vomity." And I was all, "Ummm... yeah." And then we turned on a light. And saw PARTIALLY DIGESTED BANANAS IN HER HAIR. And there was something of a freak-out on BOTH of our parts. We've never moved so fast to get Alice and I into the shower.

Also: can't say I've ever tried to rinse out thrown-up banana from someone's hair. If you're wondering, it's not an easy chore.

Let's move on from this nasty subject, shall we? But first: I have been trying to get the awful smell out of the Pack N Play for four days now and I'm not having much luck. And let's just say:

Febreze + Odour de Vomit = YUMMY

People are always asking me about Eskimos, but there are no Eskimos in Iceland.

You haven't lived until you have listened to my husband try to (poorly) imitate an Icelandic accent. Not that I know what an actual Icelandic accent sounds like. I just know it doesn't sound like the girl from Journey to the Center of the Earth. (Post-edit: Behold the power of the internet, and also dumb me. Guess I really DON'T know what an Icelandic accent sounds like because the actress that PLAYS the Icelandic chick in Journey to the Center of the Earth is actually FROM ICELAND. Well now.)

You haven't finished your milk. We can't put it back in the cow, you know.

Saturday marked the first day when Alice got all of her milk from a sippy cup. I had eliminated her two daytime bottles back in March, but I hadn't done anything about the first-bottle-of-the-day and the nightcap bottle, right before bed. Talk about stress, man. I did my best to take it in stride, but when Alice didn't drink any milk in the morning, any milk in the early afternoon, and then ANY milk before bed? I was a wee bit stressed. She drank some water, but it wasn't enough to make up for the nearly 12 ounces of dairy she'd been putting down before. Sunday dawned a new day, and I told myself that if things weren't getting better by afternoon, I'd examine my goal and see if I should make a change (like just remove the evening bottle, but keep the morning one). And... afternoon came and I decided that I could give it one more day. She didn't drink milk in the morning. She didn't drink milk in the afternoon. She barely put some down at dinner. What she did drink was a healthy dose of Pedialite, which I gave her telling Chip it was Gatorade for babies. He tried to drink a little and told me that it was DEFINITELY NOT GATORADE FOR BABIES because it was, in his words, "AWFUL". So again I told myself last night that if things hadn't gotten better by Monday morning, I'd just revert and not make a big deal out of it. But lo and behold, this morning Miss Alice actually DRANK HER MILK. FROM THE SIPPY.

I was going to ask you guys if anyone had some experience with this whole sippy cup switch for milk (she's been drinking from sippies for a long while now, but it's been exclusively water), but now, NOW I'M FEELING ALL SMUG AND STUFF. Behold my MENSA child who has figured out that she can actually drink the cow juice from a cup like the rest of us. My advice to anyone contemplating the switch: give it two and a half days. There. That's the end of my advice. Aren't I so helpful and stuff?

Now that I've done my best to bore you to tears with some of the Whimsy-brand Mundane, I'm curious to see who can name all the quotes I listed (and also annihilated) in this post. Game on, folks.