Random Crap: March Wrap-Up

Beanie worked hard today, and for the first time, managed to climb 30 feet up the rock wall at the Y and ring the brass bell at the top. He harnessed himself up, and despite having only his Ugg boots for shoes, he still did it. He did so well, the woman managing the repel rope offered him a pair of climbing shoes, and he made it up a second time. He says his legs hurt but he really liked doing it, and seeing him accomplish a goal he wanted made me tear up.

All three kids are signed up for swim lessons, and Jeffrey wants to take a kick-boxing class. That might be more is strength than rock-climbing. He’s more of a bison, not a mountain goat. It’s fun finding fitness-y things they each like to do. Abby can’t wait to try the kids climbing wall when she turns four next month.

We had our first sleepover last night, and the giggles and gross jokes were over the top. I really like Jeffrey’s best bud, and they had a ball. Overall, a successful evening.

Why do people wear perfume to the gym?

When I got home from the grocery store last night, my home teacher was here with a landscaper in our ward, and they were installing sprinklers in my yard. The kids are overjoyed, and Little House is shaping up to be a place of much happiness.

When I opened the mailbox last night, there was a thick, creamy envelope with crimson writing… I slipped my finger under the flap and pulled out the heavy paper. “On behalf of the staff and faculty at Anonymous* University, we would like to congratulate you on your acceptance…” Oh yes. YES. I exhaled with great joy, not even aware I had been holding my breath. I got in. I did it. This is really happening. Yes.

I took all three kids to the dentist yesterday. This is the first time in 3 years that we’ve seen a dentist, and I knew it was going to be bad. It wasn’t horrendous, and while Beanie is going to have to have some serious work done, this dentist inspired confidence in how he dealt with him, and I feel okay about the proposed treatments. Sealants are our friend from here on out.

I’ve got full-on flowers in my front yard. Tulips and Hyacinth and my roses are greening out. Crazy! It’s still March!

Clues I May Be Doing Okay as a Mom: Sunday at church, Bean and Abby had made a big mess with crayons and paper during Sacrament meeting. Usually Jeff just grabs Abby and walks her to class, Beanie runs off to find his class, and I clean up the fallout of keeping three kids quiet for an hour. This Sunday, Jeff lagged behind. I asked if he was going to take Abby, and he said “Yeah, I will, but I’m not leaving you to clean up all this mess Mom.” As he gathered crayons and paper from the pew. Oh my child. My darling son- you have no idea what that did to this mama’s heart.

Today: Three Ways

The Optimist:

Woke up before the kids and enjoyed a cup of cinnamon tea in the pre-dawn calm. Peace and quiet. Jeffrey was still curled up in my bed where he crawled last nigh, wanting to be near mama. Abby was talking to herself quietly in her room, unaware that I was up, and Beanie was dreaming under his heavy blankie. The plan is a healthy breakfast and then head to the Y for some cardio, weights, and kid-fun.

The Pessimist:

Dammit, I think the roof is still leaking. It’s been raining all night, and of course this is the first day of spring break and we’ve got 40 mph gusts with the rain. Might as well get up, Jeffrey’s been kicking me all night. Oh crap, now I hear Abby. I plop down on the couch, tired already, and my day hasn’t even started. My tea is cold, and now here comes Bean, grumpy that his sleep was interrupted by his sister. No school means I have to haul everyone with me to the Y, as if it isn’t hard enough to get there some days.


I don’t mind my kids crawling into bed with me at all. Never have. It’s more because I think I should send them to their own beds that I feel guilty. But really, it’s fine with me. I like their sweet, rosy cheeks and the relaxed drooling mouths of sleepy babies. Even if the babies are 8, 6 and almost 4 now.

Is the roof leaking? I don’t see any wetness, but I hear a dripping. I’m glad I can just call the landlord if it does drip through. I stand up on a stool to feel the ceiling, but I can’t tell anything. May as well makes some tea, since I’m up now. Since I’m not a morning person, when I rarely find myself that time of day, I do enjoy the quiet and light. But it’s gray and cloudy, so no sunbeam waits for me on the sofa. I’ll check my email instead.

Abby is chatting to herself, and I decide to surprise her and go nuzzle her in own room. She thinks this is fantastic, and dissolves into a torrent of giggles. Which wakes Bean, and he stumbles into the living room, a scowl on his face, dragging his heavy blanket. I open my arms and invite him into my lap, where his grumpiness fades and he starts to tell me about the elephant in the airplane on his blanket.

Jeffrey wobbles out, his leg obviously asleep, and he winces as he plops down next to me. Bean elbows him, not wanting to share my arm. The scowling match ensues, while Abby strips naked and tells me she is going to be Darth Vader today. Excellent. As long as Darth Vader know’s how to use the potty, it’s all good.

It’s toast and yogurt for breakfast, then everyone out to the car.

When we get to the Y, I sign the kids into their respective areas, and then realize I’ve forgotten both my iPod and my water bottle. Sigh. Okay, I can do it anyway. It’s not going to be as much fun as normal, but it’s okay. I head upstairs without my usual accompaniment. The gym is packed. Oh yeah, spring break. Sigh. I have to wait for all the weight circuit machines, and am particularly annoyed at two women who are working out in tandem, but taking up way more than their allotted room. Deep breath. I move on to something else. I keep having to hit the water fountain since I forgot my water. My goal at this point is just to follow the map.

Picking the kids up, I kneel down to tie Abby’s shoes, and when I stand, Bean is gone. Jeffrey and I both wander around the vast Y calling his name, and he is nowhere. I am not panicked yet, but I am starting to be uneasy. I find him in the car, already buckled in and ready to go home. He was trying to be helpful.

Going to the YMCA: So Far

Abby slid from the backseat and raced me across the grassy meridian in the parking lot towards the front doors. It felt good to run- my legs stretched and quickened. Beanie was already inside, racing ahead and hiding between the water and pop machine in the foyer like he does everyday. I’ve learned to keep my ID cards in my pocket rather than fishing around in my purse every morning. The kids each like to scan their own cards, and the lady at the half-circular desk usually smiles and humors them. She hands me my clean white towel, and the kids are already at the daycare gate, printing their names on small stickers in green marker. They know the routine by now.

Since that first day in early, frosty January, we’ve established a new normal for our family. The kids know that four or five times a week, we’ll be here. Rain, snow, hail , ice or fog, makes no difference. They’ve made friends in the children’s center, and the leaders know their names and greet them with smiles. We’ve watched the nursery leader’s belly swell from a bump to a baby ready to be born. We’ve climbed rocks and played basketball and triumphed Beanie’s fear of the water-slide and getting his face wet.

I clip the little laminated number to my shirt that claims my children and head to the locker room. At first I was invisible. Or at least I wanted to be. Now I walk in the locker room with purpose, no longer afraid. I grab a locker in my favorite row, toss my stuff in, shove my iPod down my shirt, grab my water bottle and towel, and head upstairs. Today I am going to step it up.

At the top of the stairs, I see familiar faces, and equipment that not only doesn’t intimidate me anymore, but some of it I really genuinely love. Making my way across the vast semi-circular room, I grab my chart from the rolling drawer, and attach it to a clipboard. My trainer, Heather, who has also become something of a friend and cheerleader, worked out a training program for me, and I have a clear list of how many and what to do each day. It’s exactly what I wanted that first day- someone show me what to do, and I will do it. They did, I do, and it’s working.

Heading to the the bank of elipticals, I see my yoga teacher talking to Heather, and I stop to chat too. We have kids that go to the same school, and I really like her. She’s a powerhouse of strength and the cadence of her voice is soothing. She heads off to the rowing machine for some cardio, and I jump on my second-favorite eliptical. The Foo Fighters cheer me on from my iPod.

Ten minutes later, I’m good and sweaty. Thats been a pleasant surprise- the sweating. I never used to sweat. I hated to sweat. I would do anything to avoid it, and actually I don’t think my sweat-glands worked very well due to disuse. Now, after almost 3 solid months of working out, they work great, and I actually love the feeling of heating up. I check my heart-rate on the little handles, and then jump off and head to the weights. In a course of 20 minutes, I move through 12 stations, and then back on the eliptical. Then I repeat the whole thing again. By choice. I only really have to do it once, according to my map. But like I said, today I was stepping it up, and I did a total of 30 minutes on the eliptical and 40 minutes on the weights. I thought I was going to puke when I finished, yet I’ve never been so pleased with myself.

My legs are shaking as I wobble down the curving staircase and back to the locker room. In my ears, fed by thin white wires, Iz Kamakawiwo’ole serenades me with his divine rendition of Over the Rainbow. I feel high, in the best possible way. This is the real payoff. Yes, I am losing weight. Actually, a lot of weight. But the real payoff, besides looking better in my jeans, which is not to be understated, is how fantastic I feel.

I can run through the park with my kids now, and I’m not out of breath. My back almost never hurts anymore. I sleep better. I’m happier. My kids are moving more. We go swimming together. I’m not dieting, only eating healthier, because I’m valuing myself more. I refuse to diet. Ever. And all this started because I was terrified, but did not want to be invisible anymore.

I am so grateful for the kind people who helped me and showed me the way. I am grateful that the YMCA is a family-friendly gym and there are people exercising with every shape and type and age of body. I love the salt and pepper-haired gentlemen who are pumping iron right next to me, and their sweet silver wives, who have their own iPod’s while they walk on the treadmills. I love that you must dress modestly and not wear booty-shorts to work out at the Y, and that you get two free hours of child care every day, while you work on getting healthy.

I love that I can do my custom workout, or jump in any one of a dozen classes. I can go swimming, or do Zumba, or kick my own butt in the stair-stepping class with crazy yelling mic’d lady (who also happens to be very nice) When I get a little braver, I’m going to try to rockclimb myself. The boys love it, and when Abby turns four next month (I know!) she can try it too.

So far? So far, so good.

{Back in January, I wrote an essay about my first trip to the Y. That essay got noticed by the powers that be at YMCA HQ in Washington DC. HQ requested permission to link my piece to all the Y’s in the country. Yeah, all of them. The feedback has been tremendously positive and I’ve made some new friends. The really nice woman in DC has asked to reprint my essay as part of a training program they are instituting to catch the people like me, that first day, and keep them from falling through the cracks. I am not being paid to say this: The YMCA really cares about making the population healthier, and they are looking for ways to better serve the community. If you’re looking for a jumping-off place to take care of your whole self, the Y is a great place to begin.}

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Random Crap: With Pictures!

It would seem that regular life leaves me with not much interesting to say. What with all the drama of the last three four years, all of the sudden things are just… normal. And I don’t know what to do with myself.

Took the boys to the barber shop today. The same barber has been cutting their hair since I fist had their shiny-penny curls chopped at 18 months. Jeff is big enough now to be vain, and to have an opinion about his cowlick. The barber and I marvel at how much he looks like a boy from a Normal Rockwell painting. Bean doesn’t care either way, as long as he gets a sucker.

The smell of a new box of crayons still delights my soul.

A friend popped by last night and surprised me with with a night out at quilt group, providing her teenage daughter for babysitting. I haven’t been to quilt group since the first of December. It’s hard to leave when you don’t have a) anyone to watch the kids, and b) any cash for a sitter. It was a treat to just hang out and kvetch with the ladies for two hours.

Remember this book? Well, I made a dress from it. Perhaps it was picking her most difficult pattern that was my doom, but it didn’t go so well. And I consider myself an advanced sewer. Overall, the book is still useful, as she gives some very good pointers, but her patterns are not all that great. I didn’t buy it for the patterns, so that’s not a loss, but still, it was a lot of fabric that now gets to be ripped apart. Oh well.

Slight progress with Abby on the potty situation. Mum’s the word.

Spring Break is next week, and I’m really wishing I had the means to pack us off somewhere for lighthearted fun. My goal is to make the week fun anyway, and hit some local highlights we’ve never visited.

Remember what I said earlier about the potty-training? Yeah, nevermind.

The dreaded Pinewood Derby is tonight,  and can I just give a shout-out to his awesome third-grade teacher, Mr. S.? It’s been a rough year for us, and not having a dad to help him has been something of which he’s keenly aware. I wrote about my feelings regarding BSA here. Well, Jeff’s teacher volunteered to help him with his Derby car, and it’s tricked out. I don’t know if if will win, but it’s great looking, and more than that, Jeffrey felt special for the attention his teacher gave to him, on his own time. I’ll return and report tomorrow.

The kids have discovered the webcam on my laptop. I never know what I might find.  The “Twist” ap in Photobooth? Totally give me the gleets.

My Boy Can Read

So I sent Jeffrey out to get the mail. Yeah. Along with my Martha Stewart magazine, which he skipped right over in the “fascinating” department, this little gem was in my mailbox. From whence it came, I have no idea- my guess would be the previous renter. He walks in the house, and he’s kind of giggling and his face is red as he holds out the mail to me.

“Mom?” *giggle giggle* “That magazine says 50 Things to do Butt Naked! ” Sigh… And then: “Mom, what’s a G-spot?” Oh crap. Thanks Cosmo. We’ll be having a little chat tonight, to be sure. He already knows how babies are made, but a face-to-face with Cosmo is not what I had in mind for further light and knowledge.

Jeffrey won’t be getting the mail anytime soon.


Half days at school for the next 6 school days, double carpool, then spring break. Parent-teacher conferences today and on Monday. School play tonight. Pinewood Derby. Getting the car worked on by some awesome friends. Normal chores like laundry, dishes, cleaning, cooking and grocery shopping. Teaching Sunday school. Getting to social security office to get my name changed so I can fix my grant applications to match what SS says. Changing over all the bills, cards, utilities, banks and school information to new name, and chasing down all the paperwork to make that happen. All the paperwork is at the old house still, in the filing cabinet in the garage. Potty training one little girl at the same time. Post office. IEP meeting. A birthday party at the Rat. Editing some writing. Working on a website. Taxes need to be done. The house needs to be listed… And on and on it goes…

I’ll be back soon.


Abby picked a buttload of these babies last night in the front yard, and my entire house smells like hyacinths. At first I liked it, but after a little while, it’s cloying perfume is nauseating. But oh-heck-no, I can’t throw them away. I can’t even move them from the kitchen table where she carefully placed them. It would crush her flower-soul and send her into paroxysms of wanton shrieking. Instead, I’m off to take another Benedryl. For the love of my girl.

Giveaway: Autumn Prairie Pattern

So I’m cleaning out some old-style packaging, and I’ve got a couple dozen of these patterns to give away. The pattern is new, I’ve just changed around my logo and cover design. If you want one, email me at the dandelion address in the sidebar. It’s free! Just do me a favor and send me a picture if you actually make it!

( 4:00 p.m. I still have a few left, but they’re going fast, so email me now!)

(8 p.m.-okay, 5 left; jump now or forever hold your peace!) All Gone! Thanks to those of you who emailed me!

Sewing Clothes Kids Love

This came in the mail yesterday, along with a new gathering foot for my Bernina!

I haven’t used it yet, but I have given it a thorough look-through. Nancy Langdon and Sabine Pollehn have put together an amazing sewing book with fantastic photos and very clear, easy to follow directions. It also looks like a good book for spring-boarding other ideas from; she gives you direction for measuring your child, how to alter patterns to your child’s measurements, and how to make a dress-form of your kid with duct tape! I’ll have to report back when I finish making something, but I’m very excited about this book and getting busy.

Spelling Bee

This was taken at the old house, during a rousing game of Scrabble right before we moved. The theme has been carried over to Little House, and we play spelling games almost constantly. Scrabble is still a favorite, but Banangrams is quickly overtaking it. Abby is the biggest proponent of spelling, and constantly asks me to narrate her life and give her words. I understand, chickadee, I truly do.  I find papers all over with her writing on them- sometimes she actually writes something that is a real word.

When I was little I would fill page after page with little squiggles, pretending I was writing. I loved the written word, and before I could write in cursive, I made up my own squiggles. I also had library cards in all the books in my room, and played library with my dog- after I dressed him in my clothes. What can I say? I was an only-child until I was seven. I also gave ‘birth’ to volleyballs in the front yard too, but that’s another story for another day.

Which is a long way of telling you I have been asked to contribute to an anthology. A real, honest to goodness book. A. Real. Book. Me. Now, it’s not a for-sure thing yet, and I still have to pass the editorial process and the actual editing itself- but still! Yay! When it’s more real than just a possibility, I’ll absolutely share more. But for now- I’ll just leave you with this awesome illustration to tied you over. I may also have another artist on my hands. I’m so proud of him!