Danke Schoen Day

Ah, Thanksgiving. The official start of the big winter holiday season. The beginning of the friends & family end-of-year extravaganza. The day we take a moment to pause, give thanks, and eat way too much food. I train all year long to gear my stomach & metabolism up for the holiday feasts to come. This year, I feel prepared. Bring on the food!

Of course, I am thankful for the ability to have such a bountiful feast each year, and to be blessed with such amazing friends and family. Here is a list of just a few key items I will be giving thanks to this year:
  • coffee and my coffee makers that work tirelessly each morning without fail
  • the ability to hear my kids singing all day and night
  • surprise snuggles from my 4 yo son, whom I sometimes fear will one day soon say "no more snuggles mama!"
  • sloppy kisses from my 19 month old daughter
  • my husband's unconditional love & support
  • my kids, for their spirit, hope, unconditional love, and inspiration
  • incredible girlfriends
  • living close to my brother and his family so our kids can grow up together, just like me and my cousins did
  • my crazy parents
  • my mom's new love of texting. it makes me smile.
  • my office & new office mate. may she never tire of my crazy kids playing in the office sassmouthing me while she works.
  • President-Elect Obama and his beautiful family. thank you, America.
  • American voters, for reinstating my faith in the intelligence & compassion of the people
  • authors, for their talent & ability to transport me to new worlds and open my eyes to experiences I may never have
  • the incredible doctors and scientists committed to stem cell research. keep on keeping on, good people.
  • Facebook, you clever dog you, for reconnecting me with friends & family all over the globe and from lives past
  • Twitter, you cunning conversationalist you, for connecting me with new friends all over the globe
  • the makers of fine chocolate everywhere
  • vintners, for bringing the beauty of fine wine to the comfort of my living room
  • local business owners, for their passion, creativity and perseverance during a tough economy
  • my MIL, FIL, BILs and SILs, for being the coolest group of in-laws ever
  • Etsy artists, for bringing handcrafted beauty and delight to the world
  • did I mention chocolate already?
  • all the amazing people who make beautiful music that fills my soul
  • cozy jammies
  • bacon. I am sorry little piggies, but I do love meat candy so.
  • my workhorse KitchenAid mixer and food processor
  • online photo galleries
  • our Lab Retriever/Husky, even though he's getting cranky in his old age
  • my son's teachers, for the care and love and learning they bring to my son's days
  • all the new babies in our lives, and those new babies to come in the next year. we're so excited!
  • the beautiful beaches of the Oregon coast
  • Portland, this gorgeous city that keeps on giving
  • kind strangers who return smiles and especially those who offer an exchange of kind words on drizzly days
  • the opportunity to live my days with the most incredible kidlets in the world
And thanks to all of you, for reading my words and allowing me to know that sometimes, even just for a moment, they might matter to someone else in the world :)

May you all enjoy a lovely, hearty, laughter-filled Thanksgiving surrounded by friends & family. I am with you all in spirit! Now, bring on the turkey!


It Takes A Village to Raise a Marriage

Me & hubby in Zurich, 1999...you know, when we were young.

Fifteen years ago today, the morning of November 18, 1993, a relationship was born into a village that has grown into an amazing community of friends, strangers, family, kids. In the beginning there were people like Matt, Jen, Bill, Cindy, Julie, Fred, Ian, Dave, Whitney, Andrea (A1). Throughout the years people like Andrea (A2), Amy, Heather, Kelly, Graham, Jim, and Scott moved in. And then there were more. Families combined, strangers became friends, friends became partners, co-workers became confidants, and all became our family whom we love fiercely. The village keeps growing, and as it grows, our relationship gets stronger.

Today is the 15th anniversary of my relationship with my husband, whom we'll call Cha Cha. It is not our wedding anniversary, but rather the anniversary of when our lives first started together. Don't get me wrong: I loved our wedding! It was a fantastic weekend full of fist fights, a night in the ER, and wedding crashers in Hawaiian shirts who bought us shots. There was laughter, dancing, many a long rambling toast, and lots of love all around. But that is not when our story started. To only celebrate the day we got married is an insult to our relationship. To discount the 8 years prior to being husband and wife is to dismiss the sweetest and hardest journey. And so I like to celebrate this anniversary which, in truth, is the anniversary of not just me and Cha Cha, but of me and him... and all of the lovely people who have seen us through all of the highs and lows.

I love, adore, cherish my husband. He is crazy fun and brilliant. He knows more about everything than I can ever imagine to know, and I still don't know how he can remember the names of all the random generals in this war or that (and yet somehow forget weekend plans I had told him about three times...but that's for another post!). He is a witty, talented smart ass who makes me laugh every day. He is amazingly sweet, silly and absolutely over-the-moon in love with our kids. And incredibly, he loves me. Still. He supports my many crazy ideas and causes, puts up with my constant singing, dancing and general loud silliness, and appreciates my weird quirks and annoying habits. He believed in us, when I didn't. And through it all, our friends and family believed.

We love each other to the moon and back, but our relationship is truly strengthened by the other people in our lives whom we love beyond words. We owe so much of our relationship to our parents, our siblings and their spouses (I just want to take this time to shout I LOVE MY IN-LAWS!! Totally lucked out with how awesome they all are). We owe our cousins, co-workers and dear life-long friends. Our memories of our relationship are nothing without all of them. The people who not only helped raise our marriage, but are also now helping to raise our kids. The fact that our kids will grow up knowing so much love, never having a reason to doubt they are supported, and being able to grow up with the strength of such a community...it is all we as parents could ask for.

So on this anniversary of the beginning of our relationship, I take the time to thank those who have been there from the beginning, those who have joined our lives in recent years, and those who have just entered or re-entered our circle. If our marriage will always be as strong as our foundation of friends and family, then we surely will have many more anniversaries to celebrate.

PS. And Cha Cha, if you're reading this, which you probably aren't because you got bored with my rambling after the second paragraph and it's all the same blah blah blah you hear from my nonstop chatter... I love you, man. Here's to another 15. Holy shit we'll really be old by then.


this is my time

it's 1:12 am on another saturday night. the house is asleep save a little light in the living room, the television with another random sappy movie (tonight it's the lake house). oh, and me. wide awake. giddy with the anticipation of life that is to come tomorrow, the next day, the next week, the next month.

i love my sleep, but i love my awake life more than my asleep life. i've never needed much sleep, but after having kids, need much more. yet i rarely get a full 6 or 7 hours, and i can't even blame the kids. the kids are great sleepers (took my son a while --very rough first two years, oy vey --but he's there now).

sometimes it's insomnia. i really want to sleep but i just can't. and the harder i try, the more awake i am.

but sometimes it's this. what i feel tonight. this comfy cozy bliss of being wrapped up in a blanket on the couch in the semi-dark of our living room, alone with my thoughts. i love this. as parents, as business owners, as people who like to do things and have to do a lot of things, sleep can be easy to come by, but how much harder it seems to achieve this: the solitude, the peace of being surrounded by this lovely life and the time to actually sit back and soak it in. to reflect. to remember. to love and enjoy it fully with every molecule of my body and every particle of my soul.

i relish this. sometimes i will sit with the cheesy movie of the night on in the background for just a few minutes, sometimes for a few hours, but during these near-silent early morning moments time stands still. life pauses, and smiles. the voices that peck at me during the day, the obligations that tug at my sleeve -- all fall silent as they oh so kindly take a seat beside me and wait patiently for me to start the clock again. its as if they understand. they know i will be there for them in the morning. but this time, this place, this moment... this, is for me.



I am writing this at 6:45 pm PST. Less than half of the states are called in the historic presidential race between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain. I know many will write their posts tomorrow, post-election, but I can't wait. I have to write this NOW. Regardless of the outcome, regardless of who becomes President of this amazing country of ours that I love dearly, what has happened throughout the course of this election has been monumental beyond words.

An African-American man is *this* close to being President. In less than 12 hours he may well be. A woman is on the ticket as the Vice Presidential hopeful. Although I believe strongly she is an absolute insult to womankind, she is still a woman, a mom, nonetheless. And there are all of you. The voters. Turning out in record numbers. MORE than Barack Obama. MORE than Sarah Palin, there is YOU. And it is honestly all of YOU that are the cause of my tears tonight.

And yes, I am now officially a blubbering fool. {Pausing to wipe my glasses so I can see what I am typing. }

What I have seen over the course of this stressful, sometimes hateful, sometimes ridiculous campaign is the beauty of the human spirit rise where so many feared it had left. I've seen strength and courage to find one's voice when many had thought there would be silence. What I've seen - and am seeing tonight - is pride in the power of a single American's ability to VOTE. To say "THIS is what I believe in, and HELL YES I WILL MAKE IT KNOWN." You not only voted in record numbers, but you volunteered in droves! You went door-to-door, made calls, held fundraisers.

And if you didn't volunteer or donate money, you still TALKED about the issues. You talked about healthcare, education, taxes, international relations. Yes, you also talked about wardrobes and rumors and religion. But what matters to me is that there were conversations that happened between people who perhaps never before raised their voices on such matters. And, to that end, never put as much thought into them as they did these past few months. I've loved, relished, ADORED every single conversation I have been so lucky to be part of, with Democrats, Republicans and Independednts. The fact that we are talking, people, is monumental. It means that Americans really do care about what happens to this country, for our children and grandchildren. For our neighbors, and not just ourselves.

Regardless of how you voted, you did it. WE DID IT. Together, we are showing the world who we are as Americans: people of hope, courage, and spirit. Regardless of who is President tomorrow, I hope every American that voted wakes up truly proud of his/her contribution.

As I type this in my home office, I hear my 4 year old son and my husband chatting away while my daughter babbles and colors. They're watching the returns on CNN and MSNBC. My son is coloring a blank map of the United States either blue or red as the projections are called. He may not understand what those colors represent, but he knows there is something big happening tonight. Bigger than him, bigger than all of us. I look forward to telling him the story of this night, of everything that has happened and what it means for him and his sister. I look forward to telling him, with tears in my eyes and a fully, happy heart, how his fellow countrymen and women pulled together and helped make history. And we were all here to experience it.


Saturday Nights

Here we are, hubby and I. Another Saturday night. Both kids tucked into sweet slumber. Dog at our feet. Glass of something red for each of us. He on his Mac, I on my PC. Sitting next to each other, surfing, typing, working, playing, conversing away on our laptops while the television flips between a random Food Network or HGTV show, CNN, MSNBC, and some silly movie on HBO that doesn't demand our full attention. It is near silent except for the murmur of the television and the very loud, hard click-clack-tap-tap-pounding of my typing (the reason behind missing two keys and most of the letters being worn off on my poor battered keyboard).

Here we sit. Side by side. On another Saturday night.

I wonder: good god, how lame are we? Sure, we're tired. Saturdays are full of kid activities, their demands, schlepping the whole family back and forth, to and fro, running errands, seeing friends, making the kids happy. Every couple with two kids or more has Saturday nights like this, right? RIGHT?!


We do go out some Saturday nights. To parties, movies, dinners, events. But not nearly as often as before. This, I know, is normal. Right? RIGHT?!

But here is what worries me, the part that I fear is not normal: this is what I would rather be doing most Saturday nights. What the f*ck?! Did I just say that? Why yes, that was old lame lazy Mom speaking. I enjoy sitting here, chatting online with pals hundreds sometimes thousands of miles away, catching up. Hubby and I are so geeky that sometimes we'll sit here and send Facebook chat messages to each other. Sometimes, we'll share super geeky designy stuff we find online with each other. Oh the romance! The excitement! All while we are sitting less than 2 feet away from each other. I joke, but I think it's kind of sweet. And truthfully? By the time the kids are in bed, I want nothing more than to be in my jammies, take out my contacts, and sit on my butt doing nothing of major importance and nothing that requires me to be social face-to-face.

So there it is: I am lame, and I'm ok with it. Now I'm going to drink my wine, search for some bon bons, and make fun of Larry King and debate politics with the hubster until SNL comes on. I know you are all jealous of our wild weekend night life. Go get yer own!