Showing posts from January, 2008

"You call this a happy family?"

"Why do we have to have all these kids?" Of course, this quote comes from the movie It's A Wonderful Life , a favorite of mine for many years, since growing up. I can recite most, if not all, of this movie by heart. This particular line is one that has risen to my mind many times over the past several years. This past Christmas, we introduced the kids to George Bailey and Mary Hatch, and Pete, Janey, ZuZu, and Tommy, and they LOVED it. But I digress. Really, this post isn't about that terrific movie, but about how impossible it is to have a happy family when you have kids. Take tonight for example. Today, when I picked up the kids from school, Samuel handed me a note. Here's the gist of what it said: "Dear mom and dad, Tonight I would like to have some family time, like playing Apples to Apples, building a fire in the fireplace, and having some hot chocolate. I love you. Love, Samuel" (The spelling was MUCH more creative in his version -- h

Fun Monday: I Can't Show You What Isn't There

For today's Fun Monday, AOJ and the Lurchers gave us this assignment: Continuing in the spirit of "being interested in people," I would like to know, or see, what's on, in or under your bedside table! Well, I can't show you what isn't there. I have no bedside table. Yes, I know, weep for me now, it's quite sad. We've tried a few different configurations of our bedroom, and the only one that allows for the two dressers we need, plus a bookshelf, without having our bed right up against a window -- because we live in California and Californians don't put their beds near windows if they can help it because we do not want shards of glass to fall upon us during an earthquake -- is also a configuration that does not leave enough room on the sides of the bed for tables. My husband has the bookshelf within arm's reach, so he can put his books, his glasses, his bottle of water there. So what do I have on my side of the bed? About 1 foot of s

Time for a Story?

I listened to an interview today with William Maxwell, the writer and one-time editor for the New Yorker magazine, who was born in 1908 and died in 2000. The interview was aired on the NPR program Fresh Air, hosted by Terry Gross. I have read Maxwell’s book So Long, See You Tomorrow , and after listening to him speak today, I will be reading it again. Terry Gross asked him what he thought about living through so many changes in the world, having been born in the time of horse and buggy, and seeing things like moon landings, cell phones, and instant messaging come into being. His answer stopped me in my tracks and held me captive for a few moments. He talked about how his “condition,” his place in the world still existed some 40 or 50 years ago. Here is my best attempt at memorizing what he said while driving down I-80 in a fierce rain storm, because I wanted to hold onto the words for as long as I could: “I like the world I came into as a child. It was a beautiful world..unhurr

Little Messes

Here are a couple of things I never really thought I would have to explain: • Why it's not a good idea to put glue in the bathtub while your three little sisters are taking a bath. • Why it's not a good idea to store your bedtime story in the bathroom sink...while you are brushing your teeth. *** And how about this for a question from a nine-year old? "Mom, do you know what 'She had a son for her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed' means?" That crazy Shakespeare again!

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere, Right?

Socks This one pulls her socks off before I have a chance to find her shoes. Three times. This one gets fussy if the socks are “too thick.” This one pulled “clean” socks out of his drawer, except they weren’t. Discovered approximately 5 seconds before we need to leave for school. This one won’t take off her dirty socks, which she slept in, to put the clean ones on. Why do I care? Because she’s not going to be with me today; she’ll be with her daycare providers. This one…no drama. Smooth sock transaction. Pasta This one wants it plain, no nothin’ on it. This one wants it with butter only. This one wants it with butter and parmesan cheese. This one wants it with red sauce. And parmesan. No, wait, just parmesan. No, red sauce only. No, both. I’m not hungry anymore. This one will eat and eat and eat and eat and eat, with whatever I put on it, for as long as I let her, until she falls asleep, head nodding over her highchair tray and finally coming to rest on a little pile of elbo

Dressed For Work

I just love a girly-girl who knows how to hammer nails. This one in particular. She and her brother have been making wood and nail contraptions for the past week or so. I've been waiting for the first smashed finger, and like death and taxes, it finally did arrive tonight. She survived: she was more mad and offended than anything else. "What? How can you possibly hurt a princess, you dastardly hammer?!?" You should see what she wears for working in the garden...

Fun Monday: A Way Out of Chaos

I knew what I would be writing about as soon as I read this week’s topic. Ann at For the Long Run was clear: "For today's Fun Monday, I want to hear about a web site that's changed your life." There really is only one website that fits that description for me. I also knew I would be slightly embarrassed to write about it, because there’s a part of me that thinks this site is completely nuts. Like loony-bin, over-the-top, OCD nuts. For the record, I'm pretty sure I could live without this site, and I wouldn't nominate it for a McArthur Genius grant. BUT – it did change my life, so here goes: The website that changed my life is . For those of you unfamiliar, this site is for folks who find themselves living in a household of clutter and chaos, with no apparent way out. That, unfortunately, was me a year and a half ago. Flylady has a whole system to help housekeeping-challenged people like myself from becoming headlines that read: “Woman Bu

Knock, Knock

The boys are getting ready for Spring baseball this week; "player evaluations" are tomorrow. Samuel's division is required to wear a cup, which is a new development for him. Father and son went to the store tonight to pick one up, and came home with these nifty baseball underwear, with a pocket in the front that the cup slips right into. Very cool. Samuel went upstairs a few minutes ago to get ready for bed, but I guess the new equipment was just too exciting because he tried on the whole contraption, came downstairs in his new underwear, and proudly said to me: "Mom, knock on my peni*s!" I've been asked to do many things as a mother, but this is a new one. Poor kid could not figure out why I was laughing uncontrollably. And yes, I did knock. How could I not? Bring on baseball season!


Today I was thinking about the unlikely bra comment I made to Elizabeth the other day, and I realized it's just one of the gems that have been overheard around here lately. Here are a few more. Some are from the kids, some from the adults. “Who put the lollipop in the toilet?” “Stop licking your brother.” “Yes, you can bring your horse to the store.” “Put the world down and go to sleep.” “I love you too, but stop coming out of your room to tell me that.” Elizabeth, to Lola’s Kindergarten teacher: “You’re annoying me.” Samuel, in response to mom asking him if he washed his hands: He sniffs them and says: “Smells of mortality.” "Please, God, let them go to sleep..." ( OK,that one was me, about 10 minutes ago... ) There are so many times we find ourselves saying words we never thought would string together into a coherent sentence... * * * And we have a budding Picasso on our hands. Check out the proud art-eest: * * * And thank you Nicole, for sharing a fun li

It's All About You

I have had the chance to talk about a few of my amazing family members on this blog: recall my award-winning quilt-maker Aunt Carol published author mom Rose ...and today, I am pleased to announce the accomplishment of another relation. My brother Tony Murphy is a cartoonist. He has done cartooning since he was a kid, and he's incredibly talented, both as a drawer and a humorist. And he has worked hard at his craft over these many years. Recently, his strip, It's All About You , was picked up by a syndicate, which means that this syndicate will sell his strip to newspapers across the country. In a very short period of time, he has started appearing in about 5 or so papers; more are sure to follow. As part of the syndication effort, his strip will be featured daily on the internet. I am very excited about this, because now I get to have a daily laugh delivered to me straight from my brother, who lives 3,000 miles away from me. I wish I could post a cartoon right h

The First Step Towards Wearing a Bra

I am potty training my most stubborn child. So it's not going very quickly. We have had lots of conversations about it, about the process, what to do, how to do it, when to do it, yadda yadda yadda. And we've had lots of conversations about what big girls do, as opposed to little girls. I thought we were really getting somewhere when she said to me out of the blue the other evening: "Tallulah can learn how to use a sippy cup now!" Seemed kind of random, until she explained that she herself would be using a big girl cup now and could give her sippy cups to her little sister. She decided, she told me, to get big like her sister Lola, and do big girls things. "Like what else, besides the big girl cups?" I asked, as nonchalant as possible. And lo and behold, she volunteered that she would be using underwear and the potty now, and not diapers. Halleluia, right?? Wrong. She was messin' with me. Told me the next day she changed her mind. Little

An Irish Mystic in the Family!

Well, maybe not actually IN the family, although my mother probably feels related to her: My mom, Rose Murphy, has published a book about the Irish mystic writer Ella Young, a contemporary of Lady Gregory and William Butler Yeats. So we are all very proud of her, and excited about her accomplishment, born of many, many hours of writing, revising, studying, and researching. She even sacrificed herself to the point of actually traveling to Ireland for research...imagine how tough that must have been. All those charming people, cozy little pubs, cute little B&B's...she's been through so much to bring this book to the public. Our hats go off to you, Rose! You can order this wonderful book from Powell's Books .  Please go do so forthwith. My kids were very impressed, especially with the author's photo in the book. This makes the book "official" in their eyes. Please join me in congratulating my mom on this great achievement!

The Miracle of Fresh Air

Fresh air made my children kind to each other. Yesterday we went for a small walk in the woods together. This was yesterday's installment of the 12 Days of Christmas; for each of the 12 days between December 25th and January 6th, we are doing some kind of fun or family thing. One day we made snow globes, one day we watched It's A Wonderful Life together...yesterday's activity was Go For A Walk Somewhere Beautiful. We went to the Little Farm in Tilden Park, and then walked up above the farm. There are trails up there that are great for young kids. So we walked a short distance, until we found a nice open area great for exploring and drinking the hot chocolate I had lugged up the hill in two thermoses. And lo and behold, my kids climbed together, helped each other up steep embankments, played hide and seek without erupting into fights, shared hot chocolate, and held hands down the hill. If I could live up there, I would. They were amazing... It really was a great li