Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I ain't afraid of no horse

Yesterday the kids and I went to visit my friends Karolyn and Susie, who have two beautiful horses: Beau and Sundance. Sidamo, historically, has been terrified of horses. Not just of horses, but of the greater part of the animal kingdom. In fact, it was just a couple of weeks ago he remembered last year's ill-fated visit to a nearby butterfly exhibit and told me, "Mommy, I think I'm brave enough to go to that place with the butterflies now."

We learned yesterday that his bravery is increasing with creatures even more intimidating than butterflies. Whereas the last time he met Beau and Sundance he wouldn't let me take him within five feet of the animals, this time he actually hopped right into the saddle—first with Karolyn riding behind him, and then, get this, he rode the horse all by himself. 

This is a big, big horse. He's not some circus pony or miniature horse, but a horse whose back is about as tall as I am. You could fit a tennis ball in his nostril (note: not advised). In other words, Beau is an imposing figure. In fact, when Karolyn put both my babies on his back and then stepped away to let Susie get this shot, the top of my head got hot and my lips went a little bit numb.

I kept my fear to myself, lest I awaken the terror sleeping in the recesses of Sidamo's brain.

Nora, on the other hand, shares not an ounce of our fear. She connects with all animals and would surely ride a rhino if given the opportunity. The little creatures capture her attention just as well as the big. The other day I took a break from my work to peek outside and found her crawling after ants on the patio whispering, "Can I hold you?" It just doesn't occur to her that an animal might hurt her (or vice versa—poor ants).

She took to the horse immediately, throwing herself into what looked like a pretty effective jockey position (really she was just trying to stroke Beau's mane as they rode). She too started off with Karolyn on board and then got to ride all by herself while Karolyn's wonderful sister Kathi kept a hand on her leg (meanwhile keeping mama from having a stroke). 


It was a wonderful visit, and something tells me the kids are going to be asking for more trips to "Aunt Karolyn's" very soon.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Needs versus wants

Things I'd like to be doing on this beautiful Sunday:
  • Playing with the kids in the splashy pool
  • Riding my bike to the farmers' market
  • Gardening
  • Picking out paint colors for the living room and kitchen
  • Scouring resale shops for the perfect rug and armchair
  • Updating the blog with all those incredible pictures from camping (and Nora's birthday party, and Sidamo's preschool faux-graduation from a month ago, and, and, and …)
Things I would rather not be doing on this beautiful Sunday:
  • Editing
  • Feeling sorry for myself
Guess what I'm doing?

So I'm taking a momentary break to whine about it before turning back to the old that-versus-which grind. Let me be clear that I'm incredibly grateful to be in a line of work that affords me the flexibility to largely do without daycare while still earning a living—trust me, I know what a privileged thing it is for me to complain about—but every once in a while I wish for boundaries between my work and family lives. Every once in a while I think it would be nice to have an office that isn't a) a coffee shop, or b) my dining room table. And every so often I wish I could spend an entire day focusing on work and not having to stop every few minutes to get someone a snack or congratulate another someone on a potty success. Then, of course, there's the flip side—that I wish I could sometimes spend a whole day with my kiddos without needing to check email or take phone calls. That I could go a weekend (or maybe just an evening) without giving a thought to deadlines.

Truth is, though, that despite my occasional complaints (usually reserved for sunny days when I can hear my family playing happily outside), I do love this set-up. I love that I get to be an almost stay-at-home mom and still keep my career going. I remember the 9-to-5 office life, and I don't want to relive it. And I remember how I felt three weeks after Nora was born (in other words, when I was supposed to be on maternity leave) when I was offered an assignment. I jumped at it. The truth is, I kinda like to work, and I definitely like earning at least a little money. Typical Capricorn.

Whew. That was therapeutic. I think I'm ready to meet this editing challenge with a more focused and grateful attitude. At least until I hear the next squeal of delight coming from the backyard.

Monday, June 21, 2010


We went to the mountains with a 1-year-old …

… and returned with a 2-year-old.

No one tells you how quickly the mountains can age you, but let the above photos serve as proof.

Many, many camping photos to come. And maybe a little whining, sprinkled with some melodramatic navel-gazing, about the acceleration of time. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My joy (part 2)

Piggybacking on the last post: Please also remind me of these eyes, these fairytale red lips, this scrunchy little smile, and the sweet, sweet voice that calls out to me many times a day (and night), "Mama, I need a tuddle!" My heart …

My joy (part 1)

If I ever, for even a moment, forget what a charmed life I lead, please direct me to this post. Remind me that it's not everyone who gets the incredible fortune of starting and ending every day with this overflowing fountain of joy.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Double rainbow

After dinner, some clouds moved over us, dropped about a minute's worth of rain, and then moved on. As they were passing by, we looked up and saw a perfect rainbow. About a minute later, we noticed a second one forming on top. Greg grabbed these pictures of the double beauties, with an extra set of beauties down below.

The many faces of indulgence

After feasting on my favorite-ever cheesey, tomatoey, olivey pasta dish for dinner, we had these Chocolate-dipped Banana Bites for dessert. They didn't do much for me (weird consistency and a pain to make), but the kids were a little over-the-top smitten.


Photo credits go to Greg, who has completely mastered our Nikon in the time it has taken me to learn how to upload the photos from it.   

Thursday, June 3, 2010

21 thousand questions

If 2 is the year of defiance, and 3 is the year of more defiance, then 4 is the year of defiance and interrogation. In the car today (prime spot for rapid-fire Mommy-questioning), I got the following litany from the boy:
  • Why do we have boogers? (Just today he started calling them boogers instead of mucus. Sad, sad day.)
  • Why can't we eat boogers?
  • Why do we get lots of boogers when we cry?
  • Why can't we put things in our eyes?
  • Does it hurt when a bug gets in your eye?
  • How does the bug get out of your eye?
  • Is the bug alive when it gets out of your eye?
And then, apropos of nothing (which really should be the title of the blog these days):
  • What can run faster than a cheetah?
Honestly, I feel like I'm on a months-long episode of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, and I've long since run out of lifelines. Who is equipped to answer all these questions? I honestly do try my best (encouraging natural curiosity and all), but come on! Why do we get boogers when we cry? Who can answer that?*

* If you can, please do, and also include your phone number so Sidamo can ring you up next time he hits his least favorite question: Why don't you know, Mommy?