Family matters

Happy birthday Dad!!!! Happy birthday cousin Stephanie!!!!

So turns out that my great-grandmother is going to have surgery after all, and things may not be as bleak as they originally seemed. Of course, I have been receiving all of the updates from my mother, who has a tendency to exaggerate and distort the actual facts from time to time based on her own outlook and opinions. Gotta love her. She also has a tendency to take way too long to get to the point, which frustrates me to no end on telephone calls, but that's an aside to the point of this post. I'm a bit PMSy right now, can ya tell? I'm just glad things seem to be looking up for my Lola.

And so, we will visit my 101-year-old great-grandmother tonight. The aunts and uncles will converge upon the city tomorrow to spend the weekend with her, while the cousins will continue with the reunion plans.

There are about eight cousins that I grew up with. I have a ton more second cousins and family friends we called cousins, but there's a core of about eight of us who really spent a lot of time growing up together as kids since we all lived either in Oregon, Washington or southwestern Canada. Now most of us have our own kids. This weekend is almost like a passing of the baton, as we are now the adults bringing our own kids together. It's a little odd, since it seems like just a moment ago we were the kids, running away from cousin T because he was trying to fart on everyone. I'm not saying that won't happen this weekend, but it's weird to think that soon enough it will be Boo and his second cousins Master S, cutie pies Miss S and Little Miss A, and cousin KNJ who is on the way... soon they'll be the ones chasing each other, playing games, making each other cry, and telling each other exaggerated stories.

I am looking forward to this weekend with my cousins. It feels really nice to be able to see them all again and catch up. It feels so good to have family like this, and to pass along these traditions and responsibilities to my own son.


The slow goodbye is here

This weekend we were supposed to go to our annual family gathering. I just got a call from my mom that it's cancelled. My great-grandmother, who is 101 and will turn 102 this December, was in the hospital earlier this week and they just found another infection that is blocking her intestines. The doc asked if she wanted to go through surgery to clear it. She's 101 for God's sake. Her heart may not survive surgery at this age. She has opted out of surgery, which means we sit and wait, as to live in her condition without surgery means an end sooner than later. So we sit, and we wait, while she is assigned a hospice worker, most likely she'll be fed through a tube, and is given what she needs to be "made comfortable." Family members are coming down this weekend instead, to join us in this wait. It could be a few days, it could be a month, knowing my Lola it could be a few months - who knows.

In many ways, it is harder for me to write about this waiting period than it was to write about my grandfather's death earlier this summer. My Lola, as we call her, helped raise me. She lived with us when my parents moved to the US when I was two years old so I never had to be in daycare. It is no surprise to me that she is still living and cracking jokes and being a wise-ass to family members she doesn't get along with at the ripe age of 101; she's the sassiest lady I've ever met. But for years we've had close calls. For years we've made trips to the hospital with her. For years, we've been with her through complications and illnesses and wondered if she would pull through. She always did, so we'd learn to breathe again and go back to life as normal.

This time is different. This time we've been told. This time we know, and I don't like it one bit.

The picture here is of my Lola with my son a little over a year ago. Before he was born, she had said she was just living so she could meet him in person. They've laughed together and played and smiled at each other and talked, without speaking the same language, for over a year now. I am so happy they have been able to know each other, and I just want more time.

I know she's 101. But that doesn't make it any easier, and that doesn't make it all make sense. So on we wait...


Since I am all about dessert...

It's time for a new poll and this one is about my favorite topic: dessert.
If you had to choose one, which would you choose?
Tiramisu or cannoli, chocolate chip cookie or sugar cookie, apple pie, vanilla ice cream, fruit tart, all of the above, none - something else, or you don't eat dessert. Vote now on the poll down the right side of the blog!

The last poll drew mixed opinions. If you had to choose to trade lives with one of these celebrity moms, this is how the poll panned out:
31% - Reese Witherspoon
17% - Julia Roberts
14% - Courtney Cox Arquette
11% - Demi Moore
11% - Sarah Jessica Parker
9% - Madonna
6% - Angelina Jolie

Interesting results! Sorry it took so long to change polls...I almost forgot I had them! Hope everyone is having a great weekend!



I really don't watch as much TV as I seem to based on my blog, but we watched the premiere of the new NBC show My Name Is Earl, and I have to say, this show rocks. I didn't even plan to watch it, but somehow it was on and there I was. It's actually funny. The writing is quick and smart, and I just love Jason Lee, ever since he was in Chasing Amy. As Earl, he's a lovable lower class, former house robbing, very simple dude who suddenly realizes the power of kharma and makes it his mission to right all of the wrongs he has done in his life. A sweet premise built into a twisted comedy. A show about decent people trying to do good things. I love it. This may have to be a show that, along with Lost, I must watch each week. If you missed it, catch it on Tuesdays at 9/8central.


Cookie monster - me, not my son

Tomorrow is the start of autumn, which means the holidays are right around the corner. I LOVE the fall and winter holidays. These cookies are just one reason. I love making cookies because they are so easy to make, and you can make tons of them. I would like to have some right now, in fact. If anyone out there is baking some cookies, please send them my way. Or if you have a great cookie recipe, please send it my way also - I'm always on the lookout for new cookies to make!

Superman and his books

First, happy birthday to my mother-in-law, Rosemary, who is sadly a million miles and countries away, and to my pal Andrea, who is a new mom herself!

Boo thinks he is Superman, and sometimes Spiderman. He is all over the place. Climbing, jumping, dancing, running, climbing again, running again. Always running. He's getting really good at building himself a makeshift step stool in order to get to what he wants, whether it's to see out a window or to just, well, climb up on something. Right this moment, he is taking turns walking back and forth on our sectional and sneaking up on me and playing with my hair. This kid is non-stop GO. He actually tried to climb the walls yesterday, and to my dismay, was actually doing a pretty good job.

When he's not climbing the walls or creating his own step stools, he's engrossed in reading and trying to figure out how things work. Take his trucks, for instance. Not only does this kid LOVE his trucks, but in addition to rolling them about making engine noises (so damn cute), he's started rolling them slowly on the couch and bending down to check out underneath the truck. You can almost see the wheels turning in his head: "what makes the wheels turn like that?" "what happens if I do this?"

He has always loved his books, but yesterday after he changed out of his pjs, I left him in his room for a minute to go get something from his bathroom. When I returned, he was just sitting there, flipping slowly through his caterpillar book as if he were actually reading it. He sat there like that, uninterrupted, for several minutes (which, at his age, is more like about four minutes). I just watched him from outside his door (which is probably the longest I have been able to stand still since he has been born!). He's been doing that a lot more this week, and today I caught him "reading" one of his baby sign books, which is a black and white book with more words than pictures - there are no nice big illustrations in this book - and he just sat there and flipped page after page. Quietly, seriously, with a stillness seemingly miles away from his Superman/Spiderman hyperactive constant babbling self.

As always, I am amazed. What a trip it is to be a parent. We get to watch our kids do cool things every day. I wish somebody would pay me for this. As fun and incredible and rewarding as it is, it's hard work, damn it! Oh, but that's a topic for another day...


The sickies in the house

Last Sunday, for the first time in his near 16-months of life, our son had his first real cold. He had a runny nose way back when last year, but Sunday he had a cough, a runny nose, and he was just run down. Poor kid. He took three naps that day. The night before he had a hard time sleeping because his nose kept getting clogged up. It really is sad to watch your baby not feel well.

Then Monday late afternoon, BAM! He was back to his old happy self, running around the house, making funny noises, laughing at little things, trying to be silly and get laughs out of us, talking up a storm. It's so funny how one day can change everything.

So of course today I was the one who woke up with a sore throat and felt run down all day. I had deadlines to meet so I couldn't sit around and luckily my brother's girlfriend came over during the day so I could go to a meeting and also get some press kits out in time. Tonight I feel crummy. I am going to turn off the computer and go snuggle up on the couch with my husband and watch some TV now.

Tomorrow night I have declared to be NO WORK NIGHT, as the season premiere of Lost is tomorrow! And, I have to admit, I am curious to watch Martha's version of The Apprentice. I'm done with the regular Apprentice- so old and stale and ridiculously pedestrian now, with its overt product placement and fourth string wanna be Donalds. I expect to see some good outwitting and cat fights on Martha's Apprentice show. But Lost is the one show I will drop everything for. It has resurrected my faith in the possibility for good television shows to be born again, and makes me think that television writers are actually getting paid to, well, write again.

Off to the couch.


Worth a Thousand Words

For once, the caption is correct.

Our fearless leader must raise his hand to go potty?

Saturday night excitement

Is it just me online blogging (and working a little) on a Saturday night? Am I the only loser that does this on Saturday nights? Suddenly this realization just hit me. I am emailing people and returning emails and no one is replying. Oh, that's right, it's because they have lives! Meanwhile, my boys (baby and his papa, and our dog) are all sleeping already. What exciting lives we lead, eh? :)


Too tired to think straight & breaking the pacifier cycle

and too unimaginative to write a witty post. I am dead tired and I think I've hit that brick wall, the metaphoric one that smacks you in the face and makes you stop and, well, just stop. Today I think I need to stop. No work for at least the next two hours. My printer is driving me crazy. Why does it print perfectly on my test paper and then so horribly crappily and off on my expensive paper? Argh. So for the next two hours, until I have to go on a press check, I will forego work and try to relax. Before I hit another brick wall. Perhaps I should be wearing a helmet for all of these walls I am battling.

Boo is the shining light of all my days. Yes, he was driving me crazy just an hour ago because he decided to resist all attempts to nap (and is still awake, but I'm too tired to care anymore. Will try to get him to nap again in a bit). He is growing so damn fast! He's so heavy now and taller. Granted, he's still a little guy and probably in the 10th percentile or something, but he's changing every single day and it still shocks me.

The one thing we cannot break him from yet is his beloved pacifier. Everyone has The Thing that they have trouble with, right? Whether it's getting your child to stop nursing, getting your baby to stop depending on a lovey like a blanket or stuffed animal, getting your toddler to stop sucking his or her thumb, getting your baby to sleep without fussing at night, getting your toddler to use the potty. Well, ours is getting our son to stop using his pacifier.

We've been told that now is not the best time to try to take it away because he is teething, he finds comfort in it, and he's more apt to strong resistance right now. That we should wait a few months, and really, there's no harm in him using it until he's almost three. Well, we will definitely NOT be having this problem when he is three if I can help it, but I do wonder about how we'll wean him from it. Right now he mainly has it in his mouth to go to sleep for naps and bedtime. It doesn't stop him from developing his speech - he's got a nice vocabulary, and just takes it out of his mouth to talk when he wants to (which is all the time). I don't know how we'll do this though. It was easy to get him to do so many other things that could have been much harder, but this is the toughest battle I see coming so far. Right now it's just a social nuisance, but as long as he's not 3 or 4 running around with a paci I guess we're not in terrible shape.

Five minutes later: the Boo napeth at last. What a good baby :)


Blogging, Napping, Working, Playing, Flaming Napkins

I am blogging about blogging today, at least for the first paragraph or two. I find my chaotic life leading me further away from maintaining this blog, this outlet for random spewing of thoughts/Boo's online baby book. I used to write every day or every other day. Now maybe I am down to once or twice a week. I feel like I have neglected this dear blog when I don't write as much. Poor blog. I do love you like the rest of my daily must-do's I just have been struggling with balancing responsibilities. Like right now, when I should be completing some copy for something that will actually help me get paid in cash instead of you, dear blog, who pays me in kind and reassuring comments and sometimes evil spam comments.

Boo is down to one nap a day now. At 15-1/2 months, he sleeps in the middle of the day for about an hour and a half. On the couch, not his crib, mind you. He seems to have transitioned fairly well. Of course, this puts a wrench in our playdate scheduling. One of his pals has also transitioned to one nap a day while the others are at two. I'm hosting this week's playdate, and figuring out a time when all babies and mamas could meet was rather interesting. I hope everyone can make it! I think this means I have to clean my house... I can get a heck of a lot of work done in the hour and a half that Boo naps, both housework and work-work. Which is good, because I desperately need to get a ton of work done in the next month.

I'm working every minute Boo isn't awake, or at least that's what I feel like. I'm trying to get my businesses off the ground, which requires a million hours of work, while simultaneously helping others with their businesses. It's seriously a lot of fun and challenging in an exciting, adrenaline-rush kind of way, but still challenging nonetheless.

My husband and I actually took some time out this weekend to play a bit more than usual. Yesterday we went to a concert and then went to a bar/restaurant we used to frequent a lot. The night before that we went to a friend's party, but we brought Boo. He loves our friends parties. We just change him into his jammies toward the end of the night and he falls asleep in the car on the way home. But the combined festivities kicked our old, creaky boned, lame asses. I think my husband slept most of the day today, when he wasn't watching football. I worked and played with Boo most of the day, but this morning I was in a world of hurt. Oh, we also went on a jog with Boo yesterday, which could have added to the ass-kicking we felt today. I have been on possibly three, maybe four jogs since giving birth. I'm down with the walks around the huge-hill-infested neighborhood every once in a while, but it's taking me a while to get back into jogging. Not that I'm a Jogger, mind you, but I like to do so every now and then. So we did a lot of stuff in one weekend for us, in addition to the usual housework and errand running we do, and our sad bodies are tired. I need to work out more. My jelly belly is screaming for a regular workout and so is my bubble butt.

Highlight of last night: we were at the bar with my dear pal and her co-worker (who is secretly in love with her and she had an interesting night before last with him, which is more interesting seeing as how he is almost 10 years younger than she...and if you are reading this, relax, dear friend, nobody who reads this knows it is you :) So we're having some beers and suddenly I smelled something burning and saw that the napkin in front of my husband and my friend's co-worker was on fire. I don't know how I did this so casually, but I just said "oh, your napkin is on fire. Here, use my water glass" and there you have it. The guys jumped a little, but maybe that's because they realized it was only a short matter of seconds before their shirtsleevescaight on fire too. The waitress came over and asked if something was on fire, and when we told her it was a cloth napkin she just as casually said, "oh, okay" and then walked away.


Mommy forever?

I want to stay Boo's mama forever. I know I will always be his mom, but how sad is it that I am already dreading the day he no longer lets me hug him or he no longer runs to me with a huge smile and his arms up for a hug? I always want to be the one he runs to for a snuggle and hugs tightly when he's sleepy. I want to be the one he looks up to for approval to see if he said a word correctly or if he put something away correctly. I am selfish and want to always be needed and loved the way he needs and loves me now. How painfully ironic this life of parenthood is, to love and care for our children the best we can so that they will someday no longer need us, so they can go out and love and care for others in the same way.

Boo's been playing games like never before and just walking, running, playing, talking like a little boy. He's also discovered this screeching noise that he likes to make when he wants something, which makes my husband grit his teeth, but slowly we are teaching him to use his inside voice and sign for what he wants. How did I become this person who says "we use our inside voice here" or "if you try to eat that rock again I will have to take it away from you?" Who am I? And why can't I stay this way forever? Forever Boo's mama, hugging and snuggling and kissing my baby. I guess I'd better get all of the mushy mama stuff in now, before he starts running away from my arms instead of into them.


How we live

Like many bloggers, I have not written about what still many others have been writing about for the past week: Hurricane Katrina. I haven't been able to settle on an emotion much less a clear thought on the horrific devastation our friends and family in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama continue to face, so I haven't felt quite right putting my jumbled thoughts into written form. Here I am, a week later, and still I have no clear thoughts and no steady emotion. Yet I have to write about it. It is a part of me, and all of us.

From moment to moment, I go from sadness to rage to disbelief. I started a post in a moment of absolute rage at the unacceptable lack of response by the federal government in the immediate days following the hurricane (and the unacceptable preparedness leading up to what they knew was coming, for that matter). Rage at how our government cuts funding for vital services and maintenance needed in our poorest areas, sends troops into an unnecessary war based on lies and greed so our resources -troops and equipment- are not readily available when we need them for, say, a state of emergency, complete rage at the lack of common decency and caring and SOUL of this administration. What kind of president plays golf when a 5 hurricane is hitting land?!! What kind of secretary of state goes shoe shopping at an ultra expensive boutique when chaos and famine erupts from the largest natural disaster this country has seen? As angry as I am, it is the utter shock of it all that I feel the most. I can't watch the news, not for a full minute. I honestly have a hard time even talking about it without crying. I can't believe it. The pictures rip into my heart and I want to reach into the screen and hold the crying mothers, the babies who will die in the NICUs, the hungry and homeless without hope, even the people who snapped and started scavanging houses for material goods and for food in order to survive. I can't imagine what any of them are going through. All I know is I wish I had enough money to have bought an army of busses to evacuate all of the poor who could not evacuate those cities before the hurricane we knew was coming hit, before those damn levees broke. I wish I had a house big enough to hold every single person who now needs a home, enough medical supplies and doctors to save all of the injured and the ill, and enough money to give to every person who lost their livelihood due to this disaster so they could rebuild their homes and their lives once again.

Many of us farther from the south feel helpless. All I feel like I can do is send a check, which we did, and we will again and again in the coming months. It is wonderful that so many Americans continue to donate to places like the Red Cross and Salvation Army, and that countries like Australia and Japan have come to our aid as well. The largest, most fatal natural disaster this country has seen, and we are here to witness and feel the pain as one. Please don't forget to contribute not only now, but again in the next few months. The victims and the cities destroyed by this hurricane will need assistance for many many more months to come.

Many people I have talked to have said that the hurricane has truly made them rethink their lives, how they live and spend their time. Much like 9/11, this event has forced many Americans to truly value what we have. I see so many of my friends and family and even people I meet while getting my coffee in the morning- we are all changed. We want to spend more time with our loved ones. We want to spend more time giving back to our communities and taking care of our neighbors. We want to spend more time living our lives for us and not for some societal ideal. We want to take care of the earth and ourselves and our families as best we can.

I've been praying for those affected by Hurricane Katrina, who lost homes and loved ones and livelihoods. If you've read my blog you may be surprised by this, but I do pray and I do believe, I just don't believe in church. Another blog, another time. I've also been praying for our country as a whole. May our leaders find their humanity and finally learn to make decisions based on what is right and good and just - not just for them and their friends, but for all of America. May our citizens find the strength to work with local governments to ensure their cities and towns are prepared for natural disasters. May each of us learn to live as best as we can for ourselves and for each other, each and every day.

It took me a long time to get to me, but here I am (warning: long gushing self-absorbed post)

I haven't been in blog mode this week because I have been inundated with work. It has been lovely and invigorating and maddening all at the same time. I am wiped out, but I am walking around in a blissful haze of "this is it - this is the life I was meant to lead."

It has been a mere month since I quit my FT job and ventured off to start my own businesses, and yet I feel like I have lived so much more in this month than I did during the last six months of my previous employment. If every month is like this, I can't believe I didn't do this sooner. Like 10 years ago.

I have connected with some of the most amazing, beautiful, inspiring people I have ever met in my life these past few weeks. Moms who have such passion for their personal and professional pursuits, and who are more supportive than I ever believed colleagues could be. Artists who dare to share their souls with the world and test their talents. People who really care about the earth, how we live and treat ourselves and others. People who live the life they believe they were born to live, and do so with majestic gusto.

These are the people whose words and smiles now keep me going and striving for my own personal pursuits each and every day. These are the people who understand why I am doing what I am doing, and how it can make me the happiest it has made me thus far. These are people who make my work more of a pleasurable playtime instead of hours of dreaded drudgery. Sure I have moments of panic, sometimes I forget to breathe when I think about what I have taken on--the "what am I doing and who thought it was a good idea for me to do this?" stopped-breathing moments. Had one of those yesterday in fact. But I know now, this is me. This is who I am supposed to be right now. This is the me I've been searching for the past couple of years.

And I am so lucky to be in this utopic moment with my son and my incredible husband. Being able to spend so much time with Boo every day is the absolute greatest gift I have ever received in my entire life. This age, this highly developmental age of his, is truly my favorite so far. The newborn phase was amazingly fun and priceless, but this is the right time for me to be working from home with him. I know I can do more work once he goes to school, but I am glad I did not wait that long to do my own thing. Boo right now is growing into full toddlerhood, a little boy, and getting to know him as a little human being who responds and talks back (not in a bad way - yet!) and laughs and tries to make me laugh...I am in awe every waking moment of how perfect he is, and how lucky I am.

I always wondered how SAHMs did it. How did their families survive on one income? Now I get it: you can survive on whatever you have because you just have to. You make some adjustments in order to live the life you want to live. It's not easy for us, on my husband's income alone right now, but we're doing fine. I've even thought about taking a PT retail job just for fun! I always loved working retail and interacting with customers on that level and helping others find their consumer happiness. I don't know when I would find the time to fit it in, but that's the other thing I've learned - there is always time to fit in everything you really want to do. I'm learning to cut the fat out, so to speak, and focus on my personal pursuits, my family and my friends.

Some people ask me what my goals are for my business. I used to have a pat answer that made people nod and give me the "good answer" smile. Now I just tell them I have no goals other than to always believe in what I am doing. I don't care if my companies grow to include other employees or if I make a ton of money. I don't want to land corporate clients or have to care about what people think of my attire or hairstyle. I just want to do good things and work with good people. If I continue down this path, I believe things will work out the way they are supposed to.

Now what is holding you back from getting to this place of euphoric inner happiness? Nothing! Now go get happy! I can't be the only one sounding like a gushing ridiculous smiley idiot online :) Ugh, I must sound like an idiot. It's late. Blame it on that.