Showing posts from December, 2010

You know you are a blogger with a big family when...

Image load five kids, two dogs, the mother in law, two skateboards, one scooter, one tricycle, one soccer ball and a bag of snacks into the car on a chilly wind-swept day to go to the park, where you negotiate rambunctious children, under-exercised dogs who keep wrapping their leashes around your legs and little ones who keep going momentarily missing, where you respond to "Look Mommy!" 13 times in a row in the space of 60 seconds, where you hold your breath while watching newly minted skateboarders try out their new skilz, where you brave the wind and the threatening rain to infuse cabin-feverish kids with fresh air, where you deftly handle the one kid who wants to call a taxi to take him home because it's too cold, where you carry cast away sweaters and hats and wheeled-conveyances, and where, when it's finally time to leave, you load everyone and everything back in the car EXCEPT the four year old and her tricycle because she stubbornly remains smack in the middl


Two things unequivocally confirm for me that all will be well this Christmas. First, my husband put a lock on our bathroom door. And second, my neighbor brought me a gift awhile back that has been hiding in my cupboard for just such an occasion as Christmas Eve, the day before I host 18 people on a rainy day in my small house: Peace on Earth.

An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Facebooking

We've all got that Facebook friend who makes us wonder: "Does he do anything all day long except post status updates? How does he have that much time to be online? And does he really think we care that much?" Is he simply oversharing? Suffering from a little narcissism? Afflicted with an inflated notion of how much his friends care about his morning hot yoga class or the fact that he loves thunderstorms? Maybe. But now that I've been using Facebook for awhile–and I was an extremely reluctant joiner–I understand the impulse. I am guilty of posting some pretty silly stuff, which is no great crime, but definitely a waste of time, mine and my fb friends'. We're all guilty of that, probably. I think Facebook is getting under our skin. It's getting into our psyches and starting to be something like second nature. It's changing the way we think: we now think in the structure of The Status Update. Instead of enjoying a gorgeous sunset alone or with people w

Tomato Soup for the Tortured Soul

There is a bright side to one's minivan being ankle deep in discarded jackets and sweaters. When your daughter up ends her bowl of tomato rice soup on to the floor, very little car clean-up is required. All you gotta do is scoop up the clothes and drop them in the wash. So I did recover from today's tomato soup spill. But not before I blew a gasket upon hearing the bowl clatter to the floor. Let me set the scene for you: I had failed to feed the children in a timely manner, and had just spent the last 10 minutes trying to rush everyone through a late lunch in order to herd them all into the car and get Cenzo to his soccer practice. Everyone, more or less, finished, but Tallulah did not and she was having a love affair with this soup. She couldn't bear the thought of leaving it behind. I could have put my foot down, but I was in one of those situations where you have to choose your battles. I chose unwisely. I let her bring the bowl of soup. Before we had been i

Family Time

We put up our Christmas tree last night. Simultaneously, we were finishing up a bit of painting in our dining room, installing some shelving on a dining room wall, and re-hanging doors on my kitchen cupboards. I think it's safe to say we were attempting to do a few too many things all at once. That's how we roll. So that could be the reason. The reason our Christmas Tree Decorating Family Time was a bit wonky. Family time around here is always a layered, complicated affair. We've got the children happily diving into ornament boxes, emerging with old favorites and happy memories. We've got the dizzying range of Christmas music filling the house, from the Messiah to Bob Dylan. We've got kids coming up with lovely ways to decorate their own rooms with left over tree branches and lights. We've got children dancing around the tree with sheer, unadulterated glee. We've also got the bickering, the hurt feelings, the jockeying for prominent position for

7 Quick Takes: Volume 22

Friday, good to me, Friday, Friday...will you be all I hope you can be? Welcome to 7 Quick Takes at And I'll Raise You 5. Please visit our lovely host at Conversion Diary for the original 7 Quick Takes . Take a moment to congratulate her on expecting Baby #5! And check out the links to other Quick Takers playing along this week. ~ 1 ~ Today's recommended reading: The Epic of Gilgamesh . One of the oldest stories in the world, Gilgamesh tells the story of a cruel king and the friendship that teaches him to be kind. Rick used to teach this story in his English classes, and it has always been a favorite of his. The kids and I are listening to The Story of the World these days, and this week we heard a retelling of this ancient story that comes to us from 3000 (ish) BC Mesopotamia. Before Gilgamesh meets Enkidu, he is a cruel and tyrannical king, enslaving his people and taking anything he wants for himself. Everyone fears him. Enkidu is the first to s

You know you have a big family when...

...the cashier who rings up your weekly grocery haul asks you if you are having a great big party. * * *

30 or So Tales To Tell

There is just something about sitting in Peet's Coffee on a rainy afternoon. Lovely classical notes waft through the thick, confident smell of coffee, every seat is crowded with people talking or working or reading, rain falls through the plentiful North Berkeley trees outside the corner window. Right now, this place is the center of the world, buzzing with life, people, relationships, ideas, and caffeine. And there is so much more here than meets the eye. A young guy at the next table, knit cap pulled down over his ears, skinny jeans half holding him on the wooden chair, clicks earnestly away at his iPhone thingamajiggy, looking for all the world like a dude connected, to people, movements, important events. He is intent, focused, thumbs working purposefully. I spy his screen. He is playing solitaire. The older gent sitting across the way is reading a thick paperback with a Moe's bookmark clutched in one hand. I strain to catch the title (I am forever trying to spy on

In Which I Start to Think I May Be Worrying About the Wrong Things

My kids have those chocolate Advent calendars from Trader Joe's, thanks to my generous friend Laura. We also have a cloth one, where we add one item per day to the manger scene, the last one, of course, being Jesus. This one is sweet and fun. But the chocolate ones stress me out. First of all, there are FIVE of them. They take up too much space in my already too small house. Second, my kids go rabid at the mere mention of chocolate. That's a lot of froth on a daily basis. And third, the kids trash them with overzealous window ripping. Last year, instead of having nice Advent calendars sitting neatly on the kitchen shelf, we had beaten up and bent cardboard shells, with the little cardboard windows ripped out and strewn all over the house. The kids were so rough with them that the chocolates ended up popping out of their holes and sliding around inside the cardboard, inducing panic and indignation in the opener. It was not a peaceful, pleasant part of the holiday seas

Daybook, 3 December 2010

Outside my is grey, damp and cold. I am thinking...about how to keep myself motivated and heartened for the things I find most daunting. I am thankful for...carmel popcorn at timely moments. From the kitchen...eggs in baskets for lunch, fried in real butter. Deelishous. I am sweats, grey T, red polartec jacket. I am creating...clean walls. I am enjoy an evening out with friends. I am reading...Half Broke Horses, by Jeanette Walls I am hoping...for courage. I am dryer running...Toy Story 3 from the living room...children munching on carmel popcorn. Around the house...messes, messes everywhere. One of my favorite things...paella. A few plans for the rest of the week: finish prepping the living room walls for a new paint job. Here is picture for thought I am sharing... Thanks Nicole for the Daybook idea; play along at the simple woman's daybook . * * *

7 Quick Takes: Volume 21, The What Was I Thinking Edition

Gimme a F , gimme a R , gimme a I and a DAY ! As long as it comes with a glass of wine, I'll take it. Please visit Jen at Conversion Diary for the original 7 Quick Takes and links to other people playing along. ~ 1 ~ I ~ 2 ~ AM ~ 3 ~ CRAZY ~ 4 ~ FOR ~ 5 ~ HOSTING ~ 6 ~ CHRISTMAS ~ 7 ~ DINNER. * * *