Thursday, November 30, 2006

The End

Or the beginning, however you choose to look at it. It is the last day of NaBloPoMo, and I did it. I managed to get in a post a day. Admittedly, some of them suck a bit, and there were a couple of days I almost forgot entirely, but I did it.
So is it the end? - a little bit, the compulsion of posting every day is gone. But hopefully a habit has been formed (maybe routine would be a better word).
In addition, NaBloPoMo gave me a lot of things, if we want to get a bit sappy about it. I got comments from strangers (a small personal goal), a long list of blogs to peruse and enjoy, and a little bit of time to sit down and reflect each day. A few more things to be thankful for, and that is a good thing.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tough Stuff

I think that we can all agree that this parenting stuff is hard. I nannied, and had lots of older cousins whose babies I looked after. I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into. I didn't ever have that "oh my goodness, they just gave me a baby, now what" feeling that so many of my friends have had. Which brings me to my friend Carol.
Carol got married in her late thirties, and mentioned that one of the best gifts her fiancee could give her was a vasectomy. Other people's kids were okay, but she really didn't have interest in having her own. Last month she gave birth to a healthy, very welcome baby boy. The first comment she had to several of her friends was "I had no idea it would be this hard." And then her baby contracted pneumonia, stopped breathing in her arms, was resuscitated by her, hospitalized in the NICU for a week. I talked to her today and she just sounds like she is at the end. The end of her energy, the end of her reserves.
I know that feeling - after a few weeks of it when Big Whompers was 9 months old I called my doctor and asked to be treated for post-partum depression. After a year of treatment I felt like myself again, and this time around it's been so far, so good.
But I worry about Carol. I knew what I was getting into, but even so, the unexpected toll of my job pushed a fragile balance out of control. How hard must it be for her, a bit blindsided already, to have such a stressful event happen. I really do hope she's alright.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Day 28

Scheduled outage? Blogger is telling me that there is a to be a scheduled outage at, oh right now, to last for 5 minutes. Evidently it's not began, or I missed it. I was a bit panicked that I might be so close to the end of NaBloPoMo and miss a day.
I have perused a bit using the NaBloPoMo randomizer, and I hope to use Mrs. Kennedy's list of participants to go back and check out the other players in this crazy game.
I'd write more, and post links, if I wasn't typing one handed & nursing Little Whompers. More exciting content tomorrow!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Selma Augusta

I copied some recipes from my Grandma's cookbook when I was at my parents' house for Thanksgiving. It was the first family holiday since she died last February, and I was surprised at the little things I wondering who will eat the turkey neck (since no one but Grandma would touch it).
Going through her cookbook was like a step back in time. Recipes that I didn't want lost to time were there, which I diligently copied and brought home. I would have liked to have made photocopies or scans, to capture the neat, well-spelled script that belied her eighth-grade education.
Most of the recipes are for desserts, the everyday meals of meat, potatoes, and veggies varying little. But desserts, that was where these farm wives could shine. Church picnics, family reunions, anniversaries, funerals...these occasions called for desserts, the grander the better.
It was a long time before I discovered that most people will not go to the trouble of making an angel food cake from scratch. It requires electric beaters (or a hand egg-beater for Grandma) and a glass or metal bowl scrubbed free of any indication of grease or oil. It also requires a ridiculous number of egg whites, which is why grandma made several cakes whenever the hens were laying in abundance. I can still see the finished cakes, one pan with little legs on the top, so that it could be inverted on our buliding blocks to cool without marring the top, another pan inverted onto a green glass soda bottle, the rest in regular rectangular pans - easier to freeze.
It's funny, the things we miss. The things that I miss were gone long before she died, replaced by a forgetful cantankerous woman that was difficult to like. Having my daughter was such a joy, for around children she returned to the woman I knew, ready to cuddle and rock. I spent many childhood evenings drifting off to sleep in her arms, listening to the click-tink of her artificial heart valve opening and shutting. It's funny, the things we miss.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Big Whompers (in blue) with my Aunt, her Granddaughter, and Ehemann. My aunt is my mother's twin sister, so that gives you an idea of what my mum looks like. They have rhyming first and middle names, married men whose names rhyme, and have both have a girl whose name starts with A and boy whose name starts with J. Did I mention that we all lived in the same house for a time? I don't remember it, but it must have been chaos.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Horse is a horse,

of course of course, unless that horse is under me. I rode a horse yesterday for the first time since, oh 1998? My aunt and uncle have horses, and Big Whompers and my niece were riding (being led by my aunt). My aunt asked if I'd like to ride, so I hopped on behind my niece, and she handed me the reigns. I was a bit taken aback - I wasn't actually planning on leading myself, especially with my niece in front and no saddle. I gave it a quick go and handed the reigns back.
I will post some pictures of Big Whompers and her first horse experience when we get home.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Round Two

And so begins the second round of Thanksgiving festivities. We are heading to an aunt and uncle's farm to see some family on my Mom's side. It is a fantastic day weatherwise, so we will be able to spend some time outdoors. I know it will be at least 11 people, plus the 7-9 we will bring, in a very small house. I am counting on the outdoors to save me.
Included in the crowd will be "the uncle who hugs too tight, for too long". Doesn't everyone have one of these in their family? The relative with no boundaries or sense of one's personal space. Thankfully mine lives on the other side of the country, so there aren't too many encounters.
We are heading for home sweet home tomorrow. It's been great to see everyone, but I know that by the time we leave I will be desperate to be home.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


O Give Thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, and His Mercy Endures forever.
We have so much to be thankful for - we have wonderful friends, a loving family, secure jobs, two happy and healthly little girls. May you all be as blessed as we have been.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I'm glad that's finished. We made the trip in rather record time, 1 lunch break, 1 gasoline fill-up, 2 potty breaks, and one swap of the mommy into the back seat to wedge my bum between 2 carseats. Total time: 7 hours. Not bad at all. Hotel is decent - I was a bit afraid, it is a former chain hotel taken over by a local company, and at under $50 a night I was suspicious. But it is clean, there is a fridge and microwave in our room, and it has plenty of room for everyone to sleep. Plus I think that having a place to escape to at the end of the day will be wonderful. My parents are great, but the house is small for so many people.
We just broke out the new digital camera for my parents' Christmas gift, so hopefully we'll post some Thanksgiving photos (maybe even one of the turkey, who survived the trip in the trunk).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

O Give Thanks

Thanksgiving, our nation's most glossed-over holiday. We are heading to my parents for the big day, so I need to start packing now. Diapers and wipes (all cloth, I've got a sensitive Little Whompers), clothes, swimmingsuits and floaties (hotel pool!), snacks and entertainment (no car DVD for us yet), the yet-unmade holiday gifts to work on in the car (Mini oven mits and kitchen linens for Big Whompers and her friends) goes on and on and on. Oh, and the turkey. Awhile back I got an email from the farmer who managed our CSA, offering free-range organic turkeys for sale. They sounded like a good idea at the time. Now I have a turkey that weighs more than Little Whompers waiting in the fridge to make a 6+ hour car ride. Truly I must be crazy.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Stellar Housekeeper, I am not

We had friends over for dinner last night, and the usual pre-guest frantic housecleaning ensued. Shortly after our guests arrived, I helped Big Whompers use the bathroom. When I put her at the sink to wash her hands, she gasped and said incredulously "It's changed. What is changed? The counter is different!" To my horror, the only thing I could reply was "It's clean, honey, the counter is clean."
And then I proceeded to feel like a total loser that I keep things in such a slovenly state. Could she really be that shocked at the sight of an uncluttered counter?
She made me feel slightly better today when she insisted that I move the soap dispenser back to the right side of the sink and said "there, not changed anymore". Even so, it was a mortifying thought, that my child could be so shocked at the sight of something clean. And even more awful, it is sometimes cluttered enought that I believed that she would be shocked at the sight of a clean counter.
(As a disclaimer to make myself feel better: the problem is clutter, not filth. We are just constantly overwhelmed with scattered toys and mountains of clean unfolded laundry.)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I was going to do a nice long post...

but both of my children are asleep! at the same time!! and it is not yet 9 pm!!! So I am off to have conversation with Ehemann that doesn't got like this:
Me: How was ultimate frisbee?
Ehemann: It was ---Big WHompers yelling: "Mooommmm, I pooped!"
Me: hold that thought hon, I gotta go wipe a bum.

Perhaps Tomorrow.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

8 things

...that I like:
1. Cheese
2. the number 8
3. the color blue
4. reading
5. stationary
6. china
7. warm desserts (custards, puddings, and the like)
8. mountains

Friday, November 17, 2006

Long Day

Trying to finish up my lab reports for the past two weeks. I felt like I hadn't accomplished much, but as I put things together and started writing the piles of films and DNA gels and protocol after protocol really started to add up.
I have one last write-up to do, then throw my stuff into my notebook and get my cultures from the incubator, and I can go home. For once I am getting a weekend lab-free.
I am a research assistant in a university lab, and I really enjoy it. I have a degree in Genetics that I rarely use, doing mostly molecular biology now. It is fun, but frustrating. Working with living things, even simple cells and bacteria, means that nothing is static, and sometimes I feel like I am getting nowhere. A lot of my colleagues have experiments with tangible positives or negatives, but my projects generally consist of generating materials for other people to work with. In that regard, there is very little sense of accomplishment, because once I get something "completed" it really doesn't tell us much about our hypothesis - that aspect is up to someone else.
Oh well, I shouldn't complain. I have a job(+), in my field(++), that allows me to work an adjusted and flexible schedule so that Ehemann and I can split the workday and keep the kiddos at home with us(++++).*
*not in any way a "Dis" to daycare - Big Whompers was in daycare for her first 18 months, and I credit a lot of her easygoing, confident, and social personality to her great daycare experiences. But oh how I love having them at home with me now!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Little Whompers toes, less than 12 hours old. Credits to my mother-in-law for snapping away photos when no one was watching.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hump Day

Because it's Wednesday and the first half of NaBloPoMo is complete (or will be after this is posted). It has been a bit trying to get in a post every day, and I don't claim to have meaningful content in every post (or any post that matter). Meaningful is a bit relative anyway...if I post it it probably means a little something to me.
I just drafted what is turning out to be a really long post about raising my kiddos in a liturgical Christian faith, and the challenges of taking my kiddos to evangelical services with some of our family members. But I realized that I was having trouble resolving the issues I have with evangelicals and the issues I have with the particular church in question. So it will need some more work before it is ready to go up.
So instead a related question: for those of you who are regular attenders of religious services, do you expect Church (or Mosque or Temple or whatever) to have an element of entertainment? I certainly don't expect church to be boring, but I am not going there to be entertained. I expect reverence for the Sacred, and while all the better if I enjoy the aesthetics of the service I certainly don't want to be distracted from my purpose. Church is not about is about humbly presenting myself to the presence of my God. In other words: musical solos: great, applause afterward: no way.
Let me know how you feel, and why.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

You eat it with a spoon.

A dinner time conversation:

Me: Big Whompers, tell Daddy what you sampled at the grocery store today.
Big Whompers: Popcorn? (Which she did have at Target)
Me: was green, in little cups.
BW: Grapes?
Me: With a spoon.
BW: Camouflage?

This was the sample, in case you were wondering.

On the Little Whompers front, at 5 months she has been blowing raspberries since the last week in October, sits well unassisted, and for the past week or so has been playing a mean game of pee-a-boo with whatever she can pull over her face.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Girls

When Little Whompers was born, I made a big deal out of having two girls to Big Whompers. I wanted her to feel that being part of "Mommy's Girls" was a special thing, because it is. We are a unit of females, and having two girls puts me in a family that is distinctly different from my own childhood. (Older sister, younger brother) These girls are sisters, and I've never had one. I want them to be close, both to me and each other. It seems like making a big deal about "the girls" is a small start to helping the Whompers realize that we need to work on having a special relationship. But "the girls" may be a bit too popular.
Big Whompers is totally enamored with the concept of Mommy's Girls. Enamored to the point that she is kicking daddy out of activities, snuggles, bed...preferring me to have "your girls, Mommy, your girls. Daddy is a boy." I keep trying to explain that mommy likes daddy, and am trying to break it to her gently that I would rather sleep with him than her.
So I need suggestions, great internet. How do I foster a close relationship between me and my girls without excluding Ehemann?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Upcoming Features

Home Again, Home is done. Home from the big weekend at Grandma and Papa's house. It was a fun time for everyone, but a long day and a long drive and I am beat. So a brief list of things that may deserve a little of my blogspace in the remaining 18 days of NaBloPoMo.
(These things will only make sense to me, but perhaps your interest will be piqued and you'll come back for more)
"The Girls"
Arrival of the Whompers, Big and Little
Little Liturgicals
Early memories
The School dilemma

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I started a new blog a couple of weeks agoto have one that wasn't read by my family. That has probably been blown out of the water at this point. We are staying at the in-laws for the weekend, and I am using their computer. Erasing cookies and clearing histories are only going to get me so far. In fact, my mother in law has been in the room a few times during this post. It doesn't really bother me, but I tend to censor myself if I think people might be offended by posts.
Case in mother in law just came in to tell me that she put some of the craft beads she and my daughter used today in my bag. She came in and said "I put it in the pocket with the lemon?...Did you know that you have a lemon in your bag?" I smiled and said "Yes, yes I did" and offered no further explanation. She waited a moment, and seemed perplexed that there was no reason for a lemon in my bag. Was I really supposed to say "I have a lemon because I mix lemon juice and aloe to use as a spermicide in my diaphragm." There are some things that are better off a mystery.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Quick, Quick

Quick little post. I am at the in-laws for the evening, so thought I'd try to get this in lest it gets too late later. Kerflop was discussing earliest memories today, so I thought I'd post one of mine.
We were driving our old red pickup truck to my grandmother's farm, and we were taking my bright blue plastic pool along. As we were speeding along the wind caught the pool and it flow out of the truck bed. I remember instantly bursting into tears, it just didn't occur to me that we would back up and get it! I thought it was gone forever. But we reversed, retrieved, and anchored (with a big old tire) and continued on our way.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Does this blog have a theme? I guess my primary goal is to have a family scrapbook, but it would be oh-so-nice to do some creative writing again. It seems as though I often think in narrative, rambling about my actions in interal third person. This stepping outside of myself happens most often when I've been reading a lot, and my thoughts turn into a steady stream of prose, most often in the style of the genre d'jour. It seems a logical step to get some writing down, though I would never categorize myself as a writer.
It is a bit of a dilemma, this writing business. Do I want to tell stories for the sake of the story, or for the exercise of telling it in the best possible way? To me it seems that the story will come out well on it's own if it is worthy of sharing. To spend too much time on the prose and style detracts, in my opinion. When does the rhetoric become the focus, rather than the topic? And if all I want to do is keepsake items for the Whompers, does it really matter?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sibling Environments

I've been thinking a lot about the differences in environment for Big and Little Whompers. Big Whompers, as a babe, never had an older sibling knock her over, poke her, love her ferociously. Little Whompers has Big Whompers, a force to be reckoned with, someone to contend with, someone to adore. These two will shape each other, that is obvious already. But I am a different mother to Little Whompers than I was to Big Whompers, and that is my biggest concern.
When Big Whompers was a baby I wasn't trying to parent a toddler. Now I am. Despite my best efforts not to embody my mother and yell at little provocation, I yell a whole lot more than I would like. And there is a pent up aggression that never reared it's ugly head when Big Whompers was a baby. I didn't have the frustration of trying to protect my baby from another of my own children. The conflict of "Mother Bear" who will do anything to keep her baby safe...but what if it is her own (other) baby who is the threat?
There will be so much more frustration, and anger, and yelling for Little Whompers babyhood. I look back at my childhood now and wonder if therein lies the broad distinction between my brother and I - his rebellious aggressive childhood compared with my straight-laced easygoing eager-to-please self. I always wondered how two children with the same parents could come out so differently - but I realize now that the parents are not the same, they are shaped by the first child, and their interactions with the first permeate the environment to the second.
Did the stress on my mother's psyche as a result of parenting me set the course for the aggressive (yet surprisingly close) relationship between her and my brother? And why is it that I, who had the benefit of her to myself during my formative years, cannot seem to interact with my mother on a less hostile basis? And my biggest concern - what do these interactions mean for the relationships I have with my daughters as they grow?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A wall?

Already - I cannot be hitting the wall, can I? It's only been a week. So I shall write about the Undaily News. The Undaily News was a play on the the title of my hometown newspaper, The Norfolk Daily News. It was composed by my friend Alexis and me on a rather unregular basis, and then distributed to friends who lived outside the immediate vicinity. It consisted of brief updates on what we were up to, amusing (to us) anecdotes, and random nonsense. We did it in an effort to keep in touch with a large number of people and entertain them a bit at the same time. I think that we probably found the Undaily more intriguing than any of our "subscribers". It was, in a primitive, pre-internet way, a blog. More than a journal, open to others, but primarily for our benefit. A good way to waste an afternoon, playing with text and words and fonts and formatting.
I hadn't thought about the Undaily in a long time, but in a lot of ways, it was a precursor to this type of endeavor. I talk to Alexis about twice a year, we live thousands of miles apart. I don't know for sure, but I'd bet that somewhere out there, she has a blog too.

**I just ran a spell check and had to have blogger learn the word "blog". It wanted to replace it with "bloc". Ironic, no?**

Monday, November 06, 2006

Comments Please

I have a site tracker from Google Analytics, and since NaBloPoMo started I have seen my blog travel the world, with people in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia taking a peek. Somehow seeing all those little blips on the map makes me a bit giddy, and realize the idea of world wide web a bit more. So if anyone feels inclined, post a comment and let me know where you are. I would be happy to pop back and check out your sites as well.
Sorry for the lack of significant, interesting content today - we had a busy weekend and are still trying to recover, I am hoping to soon get a solid chunk of time to write more than a little blurb!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Vote, Vote, Vote

I would say more, but I am too busy trying to figure out who to vote for - my absentee ballot must be postmaked tomorrow and I am still reading up on candidates. Please take a few minutes to think about it and vote everyone!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday, in the park...

I wish. How about rainy November Saturday in the mall, buying Christmas gifts and birthday gifts and oh this does not sound like fun to me. My choices are limited to having Ehemann or myself go shopping alone or bring the Whompers along. I know already that it will be the latter, so I'd like to get going asap. Trouble is, everyone is still sleeping. Even Little Whompers, who was rolling around so much when I got up that I wasn't sure I'd even get to pee before she was wide awake and ready to go. She is the very definition of bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Every month, as it comes down to the end, I check the status of the checking account and try to decide if we can cut through the 2 more days to pay day or if a savings transfer is necessary. A large chunk of our income goes into our savings account, and every so often a little bit gets moved to the checking. Either I am saving too much and cutting the budget short, or there is too much grab and go eating going on. A distinct possibility is a combination of both; I took most of the summer as unpaid maternity leave, then began paying preschool tuition in the fall, the budget may be a bit out of whack.
So in addition to posting on the blog each day this month, I am going to be keeping track of what I spend every day, and see where our money is moving. Whether or not I'll post this info every day is up in the air, but here goes so far:
Wednesday, Nov. 1 ~$12.00 at the market deli for dinner, between chiropractor visit ($20 copay) and Big Whompers music class ($60 for the final third of tuition). Also the regulars that were debited on the first: mortgage, internet service, preschool tuition.
Thursday, Nov. 2 ~$20 at the market for produce and dairy products.
What shall we have today? An extra principal payment on the mortgage, gas in the cars, a birthday gift for a friend of Big Whompers - I'm out at least another $150. Cash flow indeed.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Surprising Serenity

I pulled myself out of bed this morning at 5:30 to get ready for work, already behind schedule. As I was gathering my clothes Little Whompers began to stir. I slid back into the bed, still warm from my habitation there moments before, and she instinctively turned toward me. Eyes closed, in that twilight of consciousness, her little hands groping, mouth open. I pulled her close and she latched on, one hand squeezing and kneading, the other wrapped around my finger. She only nursed for a few minutes, long enough for me to gaze further across the bed to watch Big Whompers sleep. Such a short time ago she was the Little One, herself a nursling. It is hard not to expect her to be too big now, not so far removed from a baby herself.
Little Whompers unlatched, returned to blissful deep sleep, her hands still holding me. I laid there a few minutes longer, trying to imprint her on my memory, pondering the gift of these beautiful girls. Absent, for once, was the usual frantic feeling of my days. The relplacement? Surprising serenity, so often lurking there if I will just pause to enjoy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


The first November post for NaBloPoMo...what to say, what to say. We had a fantastic time trick-or-treating last night, it was only after 2 hours that Big Whompers said "I'm freezing". Considering that it was ~0˚C, she did quite well. A decent candy haul as well. She ate her alloted single item, then asked Ehemann "Daddy, you hide it now?" Good to see that she recognizes her lack of self control!
Little Whompers, ensconced in her Elephant costume and snuggled into the stroller, was content to smile, sleep, or blow raspberries (a new trick she learned last week, so fascinating to her that she will even do it while crying). I was afraid that she would need to nurse, and I would be the only ballerina in town with a babe strapped in a sling while various exposed parts braved the frigid elements. Fortunately for me and my sensitive parts, she was happy to wait until we got home. When we got there we sorted candy, Big Whompers went to bed without as little drama as can be expected after that much excitement, and Halloween 2006 was labeled a success.