Tuesday, November 29, 2011

on a cold and foggy morning...

Someone came and frosted the spiderwebs.


Or should I say they dewed the spiderwebs.


Except it doesn't sound as good.

Now these someones, the ones who go around frosting or dewing the spiderwebs, whichever you want to call it, depending on whether you're in a literary or literal type of mood...


Are they the same someones who put flyers on my car windshield in the middle of the night?

I don't think so. Two separate job descriptions, those.


On another note, today would have been my Popa Al's 102nd birthday.


In honor of my Popa, who was always kind, I suggest doing something kind today.


Plus, it's the holidays, and people seem to be getting just a tad bit frazzled out there.


Kindness is in order.

I suppose it always is.


Back to the spiderwebs, and the maple tree, their webby home.

When we lived in Berkeley years ago, in life B.C. (Before Children), I would walk the idyllic streets of our neighborhood and think If I ever buy a house in Berkeley, I would want it to have a Japanese maple tree.


Amazingly, when we found our little condo, it came with the most beautiful 40-year-old Japanese maple tree in the patio. We have a tiny bit of outdoor space, and this tree dominates it, which is just fine with me. It is visible from every room of the house except one, and that's just great with me. I love it at every time of year, but right now, the tree is in its full glory.

The leaves at the top, where it gets more sun, are so red it hurts my eyes.


Lower down, the leaves are yellow, and at the back, against our neighbor's house, still green. I don't have a picture to show what I mean, but I love the variation in it. The red of the tree contrasts beautifully with the green-yellow of the bamboo and dark glossy green of the camellia.


I could look at this tree all day, and in fact, I do. I catch flashes of it in the bathroom mirror as I wash my face, from my closet as I put away laundry, from the kitchen as I steam the windows up cooking pasta, from the living room as I play tickle monster with the kids on the floor.

And so this morning, when I saw the decorated spiderwebs, I grabbed my camera, stepped away from the hustle-bustle of getting ready for preschool, walked onto the wet deck in my slippers, breathed in the fog-muffled quiet. I got lost in the branches and those red, red leaves. For a few minutes, the kids did whatever they were doing without me.

We were late for preschool.

It was worth it.


Friday, November 25, 2011

no, really?

I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. We had a very happy Thanksgiving. The food at my husband's aunt's house was so good, I made slightly inappropriate groany noises as I ate it. We went for the traditional walk to the park, football playing in the park, and then came back to the house for dessert. It was all lovely.

And then... (because you know there had to be an "and then")

My husband was installing Elan's carseat back into our car from his mom's car and said, "I feel like I could throw up."

Now it is nearly 24 hours later, and 4 of the 6 people currently staying in my house have been repeatedly sick. Including me, and I used to never puke, before my children ruined that track record.

Not food poisoning! Just unfortunately timing for the Vicious Stomach Bug that's been flying all about Berkeley. Plus, the baby, who thankfully has not been puking (not yet at least), has a weird rash AGAIN. And Elan, who started his puking at 6 a.m. today, has been throwing screaming fits because we won't let him gobble up toast. I'm like: I can't even look at plain white rice, and you want to eat MORE food?

I should probably wash nearly every sheet, blanket and towel in my house. I believe half are already piled in the carport by my washing machine. But I'm just so darn tired. And still nursing the baby. And drinking some flat Coke my father-in-law, the only adult not felled by Vicious Stomach Bug, scored for me.

And did I mention tomorrow is Elan's birthday?

Hello, life/parenthood/illness? Can you ease it up a bit? I'm getting pretty worn-out.

Mama still in her robe at 5:45 p.m.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

because i know you were wondering

Elan on the pumpkin pile, October 2011

Halloween was a very big deal at our house this year. First, we went to our neighborhood's version of a pumpkin patch, which is more a pumpkin pile, a huge hill of pumpkins at Monterey Market. The kids (and brave adults) scramble all over the pumpkins, including some that must weigh 100 pounders (pumpkins, not people, well, people too, but that's nothing extraordinary).


Someone should have taken a picture of the maneuvers I had to make in order to get myself, Emry and my camera onto the pumpkin pile, not to mention position the boys and get the shot, while balancing in my clogs on pumpkins. They're not so stable, pumpkins. Kinda round and slippery.


But it was worth it.

Then, on Halloween, we had a robot.


Elan came up with the idea. This is the second year that I've been surprised by how definite he's been about his costume. Execution was carried out by Mikhail, on box duty, and Grandma, on decoration duty. My job was to admire the results.


We also had a monkey who, true to form, managed to get through this banana peel and cover himself with banana goop despite the fact that he has exactly zero teeth.


I was dressed up as a harried mother of two. I threw that costume together in about 4 seconds flat. That's how good I am.

And this picture proves that I suffer from lack of imagination when it comes to Halloween costumes:

Elan as a monkey, 11 months old, Halloween 2007

Or maybe I just like tradition.

It was Elan's first time doing official trick or treating, since last year, our Halloween block party fell on Oct 31, and Elan was so worn out after 8 hours in the jumpy house that he was asleep before the trick or treaters were out. This year, trick or treating was a huge hit. The monkey hung out in the Ergo and sampled his first 3 Musketeers bar.


My husband got into the spirit. Someone had to help Elan get up and down stairs without falling. Boxes don't have the best visibility, we learned.


Eventually he would just take his head off between houses. Which led to funny lines like:
"Dada, you have to put my head back on!"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

boys in sleepers

November 2011

They might not always sleep a lot, but they always spend a lot of time in their sleepers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

sometimes it goes like this

On the hunt for stuff to get into, October 2011

Today, I am sorry to admit, my baby ate his own poop.

Need I say more?

He has become a total squirmy monkey during diaper changes, and this morning, he almost managed to kick the dirty diaper off the edge of the changing table. I caught it, but a tiny bit of poop must have fallen onto the floor, because after I had cleaned him up and re-diapered him and set him down and washed my hands, I turned back to see him putting a little light-brown, squishy thing into his mouth.

"What is that? Is that POOP?" I screamed.

This reminded me of a movie clip I saw once that often runs through my mind in these kinds of insane parenting moments, where the Experienced Mom analyzes the brown substance on her toddler's face. "Poop, or chocolate?" she asks, grabbing her child's dirty face while her childless sister looks on, horrified. "Poop, or chocolate? Poop, or chocolate?" She swipes a finger through the mystery substance and into her mouth. "Chocolate!" she proclaims.

This was like that, except there was no chocolate around.

There are two possible reactions to a moment like this: laugh or cry. And today, because Emry has an ear infection and is on antibiotics and isn't sleeping well and I don't know if these facts are related or he's just decided to stop sleeping well, and because two nights ago Elan woke up at 11 p.m. having spewed vomit all over his bed, sheets, mattress, pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, sleeper and himself, and because Elan then couldn't go to school yesterday which made his 4-day weekend into a 5-day weekend, and because that reduced the amount of time I have to do what I need to do from marginal to ridiculous, and because I'm feeling Mama-ed out right now what with someone always needing something, getting into something, crying over something, making a mess, waking me up, or sick, I cried.

Maybe next time I'll laugh. Except I'm really hoping to not have a next time. Really hoping.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Emry's first birthday was on October 22.


The birthday boy is seriously into his thumb these days.


He is seriously into his brother too.


The birthday hat has stick-on numbers from 1-5. Elan's worn it for 3 out of his 4 birthdays. I like that it's now an official family tradition, even if I did drop the ball on Elan wearing it last year, when he turned 4.


And of course, no first birthday would be complete without baby's first cupcake, which he mostly enjoyed squishing into a cupcake pulp and then sucking out of his little chubby fist.