Monday, October 26, 2009

Santa Ana Discovery Center

Bryson has been way into science ever since Mor Mor's last visit...she got him hooked on this show Sid the Science Kid, which i have since banned since they go and get all political with their vaccine agenda....why do kids shows have to be political? why do kids movies have to be so political too? Battle for Terra, Astroboy, Wall-E, Up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs...its like Al Gore decided to make kids movies...anyway - back to the point of all this...

So Bryson has been into science and the other day i was trying to get some work done and he kept getting into things he ought not to have and all morning it was "Bryson stop touching that" "Where did you get that? Put that back and never play with that again!" and "Stop playing with mommy's sewing stuff!" so i started feeling bad for the poor much of his day is "no - don't touch" i wanted to take him somewhere with cool stuff he could actually touch! so off we went to the Santa Ana Discovery Science was a lot of fun...minus the field trips of kids - i thought by going right after it opened we may bypass them, but no...but it was still great. my biggest challenge was that i didnt want to tell him no - or as little as i had my patience tried as i let him play as long as he wanted with the dinosaur wand or the height measure and tried not to let my boredom get in the way of his fun...

they had a dinosaur hunt in the back that was by far the best thing for him. they gave him a treasure map and wand (well for $3 they "gave" it to him) and when you waved your wand over some of the parts - for example a geode - it opened up and lit up and made a sound like a fairy sprinkling dust or something...when you waved your wand over something that wasn't on your map it went "wah wah wahhhhh" this pic on the right is of dino poop and it made that noise and to an almost 4 yr old this is absolutely hilarioius...he has reminded me of this approximately 567 times since we went last week.

this is the kind of museum that Bryson belongs in...someday LACMA, but for right now this works!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shop Update! Animal Hoodies

the shop is updated with my latest little addition...i haven't thought of a creative name for them yet...any suggestions? this came out of a halloween idea for me since i will be a dog - to just use a brown hoodie and stitch some ears on it...bryan thought it would be good to do for kids too and then my mind started racing...i have a lot of other ideas and will be making them in the coming weeks - dinosaurs and monkeys and dogs and kitties and skunks to name a few...too bad i didnt think of this a couple months ago BEFORE halloween! but i think its something that kids could wear year round...not too costume-y since they can put the hood down and be "normal"...super easy and fun to make and a great little new gift idea that i am sure i will have in my "bag o tricks" in case i realized like i did this weekend that we were going to a bday party the next day and i hadn't gotten the birthday children anything yet!!!

i know this isn't a new idea...i know it must be done before...but i have never seen them around have you? now some smart alec is going to find some huge brand that makes them...oh well...i promise i wasn't ripping anyone off if that helps things at all :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Glass Castle

i dont normally critique a book before i finish it...but lets just be real honest here...i am less about finishing books these days then starting them...i am currently *actively* reading 5 books..."The Year of Living Biblically", "The Prodigal God", "Lonely Werewolf Girl", "The Known World" and this one..."The Glass Castle".

i am almost done with it...but it has my attention and focus...which to give you a funny background story - i thought that this book was actually a YA (young adult) read...i thought it was a fantasy fiction...long story short i had a conversation with girlfriends about the "Golden Compass" and one of them started talking about this book and i must have forgotten her comments because i had thought it somehow that was a boring story...anyway...i started reading it and was thinking to myself that they better start picking this story up because how depressing then i read the back cover and realized this is a MEMOIR and NOT a fantasy...all about this woman's poverty stricken childhood story...

for the past 5 years i have worked with the children at Mary McLeod Bethune Transitional Center in Long Beach, which serves the children of parents in the transitional centers at the Villages at Cabrillo. they are "homeless" children waiting to find housing and to be transitioned into a "regular" school. i have learned volumes working with these kids...not just on their resilience of character...not just on our attitudes towards the homeless...not just on our cultural taboo on class...but above all how to help the kids by not actively helping, but passively being a positive presence. that is an ongoing lesson...we all want to be "active" but what most of them need is a passive presence...which is more requires a commitment and a consistent presence, which is more than most of us can give unfortunately.

reading Jeannette Walls' story has really impacted me. i have been researching her because her story intrigued me and found this Q&A and wanted to share one of them with you:

Debbie Teubert, of Irvine, Calif., writes:
First of all, I have to comment that your life-loving, positive attitude is absolutely refreshing. What worries me is that, I might not have recognized you (or your brother) as kids in need. You are probably sensitive to those signs. What are some of those signs? Would you have wanted any "outside" assistance? And if so, how would you TODAY approach a kid in the same situation? I wouldn't want to offend or interfere with the parents either.
Jeannette responds:
That is such an interesting, intelligent, sensitive question -- and I'm not sure how to answer it. I'm not certain that some well-meaning person's interference would have helped. I honestly don't know. The times I was most insulted when I was growing up were when someone called us needy or poor or tried to help in a heavy-handed way. One time, a teacher announced in front of a class full of students that I needed to dress better and she handed me a bag full of clothes from a church drive. It was just awful. On the other hand, there was another teacher, the one I was named for (see question 4), who stepped in and made sure that I wasn't kicked off the high school newspaper when some people felt that someone like me shouldn't be allowed into the newspaper offices. I'll never forget that act of kindness. There's such a fine line between help that makes someone feel inferior and assistance that genuinely improves someone's life. Thank you so much for caring enough to ask.

There was another story in her book that spoke about her mother wanting to make Christmas really special for her kids but not being able to afford a tree, so she went on Christmas Eve to try to find a bargain. She found a tree marked at $5 and told him that the tree should not be more than $3...the man looked at her kids and probably realized their situation and told her "Lady, this tree has just been marked down to $1". i started tearing up. that man showed such love and kindness through his lack of *charity*.

knowing what i know about homeless children in our school system...that in Naples in Long Beach, one of the most wealthy neighborhoods...that still there are a dozen homeless children enrolled in their schools (their parents live on boats) and that they are everywhere you wouldn't makes me all the more want to be more some ways as a passive presence and others as an active presence - i.e. - teaching my kids that if another kid doesn't dress the way that they do or act in the same way or eat the same foods - it doesnt make them any less or more of someone than they and that they need friends too...

a statistic i learned early on with my work with the homeless is that the average age of a homeless person in an urban setting is 11...the homeless family is in the background, but such a stronger reflection of the problem than the beggar in the street. they aren't in your face because they live in cars, or motels, or boats...but there they are.

i know many a parent who has school aged kids and parents with kids about to enter school and felt it on my heart to share and hope that book may enter their library and their hearts. the saying "it takes a village" should also ring true in the urban setting as well.

if this is something you also feel on your heart and want to help in just ask your child's principal about the homeless consultant for the school district. i know Rhonda Haramis is the spokesperson for the Long Beach School District. In Long Beach we have a uniform rule in our schools and one way to help is dropping off gently used uniforms to be re-used by those who maybe can't afford it.

even though i can't fully endorse this book since i haven't finished far it is an amazing read and i would highly recommend it at this point!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tell Them Anything You Want

we just watched the HBO documentary on Maurice Sendak entitled, Tell Them Anything You Want. we have verizon on-demand - if you have it to its under the short documentaries...if you don't i am sure you will be able to rent it soon...

its directed by Spike Jonze and Lance Bangs and what a great portrait of the author and illustrator. he is 80 years old now - he lives alone - never had kids - he is gay - he loved his brother and sister but still has issues about his parents. it was so interesting to hear his story and to see how they influenced his work.

it made me want to read some of his other works with a new set of "glasses".

in case you are not going to see it please continue to read if you desire, but just a warning - the following may contain bits that just may spoil it for you...because it is tainted with my commentary...

above all it made me realize how shaping our childhoods are...and just how scary that is for me as a parent...he tells about how he was "an accident" he was born in the year of 1928 - right around the great depression and his parents could not afford him, so his father made his mom take a bunch of pills and even fall off a ladder to try to abort him...what is worse is that they retold the story to him on several occasions since he was young...because it "was a good story".

another shaping experience for him was the story of the Lindbergh baby (Charles Lindbergh's 20 month old was kidnapped in their home in 1932 and found dead days later)  he was only 4 but remembers seeing a paper depicting a of the corpse of the baby and it has haunted him his whole life and in fact he became obsessed with the case. in his words (paraphrased)  it rocked him because..if a rich gentile baby could die under his parent's nose, what hope did someone like me have? (he is Jewish by the way). his book, "Outside Over There" is sort of his take (not a literal depiction) of the Lindbergh baby and definitely on my list to read...

i think it gives so much insight and depth to learn of the author and artist behind your favorite books because their experiences can not help but leak into their work and i think my take on "Where the Wild Things Are" is a little changed now knowing his story.

what a character Maurice is...what a fascinating person to happen into children's books...i am sure a psychologist could have a field day with him :) - i found the documentary to be exceptionally heartful and a beautiful portrait of a true *artist*.

Give Away Winner(s) Announced

Yeah! Big Success! all 3 of my commenters are winners! Congrats Kaci, Jen and Paige! Email me your new address Paige and Kaci - not sure if I have yours - so email it or facebook it! Thanks for entering and keep tuned...there just may be another coming soon!

Pseudo Rebels Live!

The boys have been working extra hard putting together their live show - they had their first full set last week and i was able to go (thanks to a lovely babysitter) and here are some pics from their show in Laguna Beach.

It was a lot of fun - they have a fun show - and even though i have heard their songs about a billion and 5 times it STILL made me get up and dance...what does that tell you?

this is my one of my favorite sweaters that Bryan has on here (above) the little diamond in the middle actually has leather in rad...people just crack up when they walk into a room...its great...they also played last night at The Good Hurt Club in LA and if you are in Long Beach (or close) they are playing at the Shore Ultra Lounge this Friday (tomorrow) and next Friday 10/30 - Please come if you are around - Join the Party!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

mommy fashion-able

i recently took my niece and nephew into L.A. last week to visit some museums...while waiting for LACMA to open i took them (okay dragged them more like it) into my old office. we got to go into the office where Glamour and some of the other mags are made and it brought back floods of memories...fashionable memories...child-less memories...of when i experimented with my clothes and had NO money but an ounce of creativity and a cheapy sewing machine and my weight still registered in the 20s...and we were going FOR FREE to New York and Hollywood event parties where Ethan Hawke inappropriately touched my fur-lined coat and i would giggle just being near Robert Sean Leonard and Bryan sat next to Marissa Tomei and gawked at Selma Hayak...she is striking in person...i believe i gawked as well...anyway...

flash forward to the present...carrying a 10 month old in my ergo and pushing Bryson in a stroller through that same elevator and down those same halls and feeling very much like a mom and not a fashion forward 20 something in the publishing world. what is funny is that i didnt feel dowdy or out of place or resentful or anything negative...just a little giggly that i was that person and my life is so different now...that my values and priorities and direction is so different...wonderfully different...and out of place at the same time.

i think my fashion sense has always been a little off of the "main stream" - in high school i changed my style about as often as i changed my underwear...i was a ska girl, a swing dancer, a preppie, a tom-boy...i dressed with my passions and moods...not much off from now...but i think i was always trying to find my "style" - there have been several occasions where people have bought me clothes saying, "i saw this and it just was so YOU!" and then i would open it and suppress my gag reflex and think...who do you think I am???? my mom once told me that when she bought me clothes she would look for the ugliest thing she could find and buy me that...thanks mom...

but its not just my mom...its my husband too! he can NOT pin down my sense...after 8 years of marriage he still does not know if i would find something repulsive or attractive. he is constantly surprised when i am in LOVE with a piece of clothing or art and constantly says that if he picked it out i would hate it...although for some reason i think it is so romantic when a husband buys an outfit for his wife...but i agree - i am quite picky and he is probably better off either a) accompanying me on a shopping trip or b) skipping that all together and getting me a gift certificate and a special bonus c) getting me the gift certificate and sending me ALONE on a shopping trip for the afternoon...maybe a pedi we are on the right track!

i guess the point in all this is realizing how important it was to me pre-children how i a world where i had no money and worked in the fashion world and felt like i had to constantly now - where i am more concerned with comfort above all...but i still try to portray my self through my style...not sure where it all fits in...being a mom and loving fashion...and not wanting to spend MONEY on it...

i think not just being a mom...but anyone who is post-high school and college and perhaps trying to still figure out their style can relate...i am curious - where do you love to shop? what is your fashion credo? what are your fashion challenges?

here are some of my current the top of my head...i am sure this will grow in the week to come!

Nick And Moe Clothing
Lamixx Clothing
My Baju
Urban Outfitters
Buffalo Exchange

Also - dont forget to enter my give-away - ends tomorrow night (thur!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


yesterday was pockey pock's bday apparently. i asked how old he turned. "five" was his reply. "but when i play with him i am 5 too"

uncle jake had to pick up a co-worker the other day and so he took bryson to get doughnuts. after they got back he asked bryson, "who's the greatest?" bryson replied, "uncle jake". "who's the bum?" uncle jake asked, "mommy" bryson replied. i then reminded him, "remember the other day bryson when you told me 'mommy you're the greatest...uncle jake's not the're the greatest."....a spry smile and he replied, "ummm...yeah, but i wasnt gunna tell him that!"

at dinner the other night i had to nurse a fussy Bodie...apparantly Bryson told B " is such a downer, why doesn't she just let Bodie cry and come and eat or sumpeen"

B got his hair cut today and Bryson told him, "Dad, i like it when your hair is big and curly...i'm not saying i dont like it now though"

trying to get him to go to bed tonight he says, "i just want to stay up some more or sumpeen"

at dinner the other night he tells B and I, "I was like what?"

when did we get a teenager?

where the wild things are movie review

i have been looking forward to this movie ever since i heard rumors of it a year ago and the trailer...the book was my favorite as a along with millions of others i am sure! i was very skeptical how they could turn a book with a mere 10 sentences into a feature length movie...i was weary about the story and someone sneaking some agenda into know how agendas get snuck into just about every children's movie...not naming names (cough...pixar...cough)- i love me some pixar, but how much of their movies are for adults? really...

anyway - i was so pleasantly blown away - by everything...the costumes of the Wild Things (which took a year to make...which took another year for the facial expressions - there is a cool article here about the making of it if you want to read more) the acting, the visual experience of the island, the fort, the world Spike Jonze created, the story...the heart of it really.

the heart of it...let me expand because this is what grabs me...max is a 9 year old boy...he has an older 15 or 16 year old sister who has crossed the brink from childhood to puberty...max is at that age - you know that age - that age where you know your childhood is going to end are not sure whether or not to believe in Santa Claus, but you still want to very still want to play with your Barbies or GI Joes or Star Wars Characters, but know you are getting a little old for it...but you still feel very much like a kid. you are still very much treated like a kid...but on that brink...that precipice...that scary unknown where everyhting is about to change and your emotions are becoming more complex...and you aren't sure how to articulate that because everyone still very much talks to you like you are a child.....*sigh*

so he has a "wild thing" in him...and explores this world where he can be the king...the parent if you will...the one in control...and finds out it isnt so much what its cracked up to be...i won't spoil the movie...i won't hype it up either, because i am sure this movie isn't for *everyone* - it is Spike Jonze after all...but it was very much for me...and very much for Bryson...he went to the movie in his max suit (i wish i had pics of very cute and made other movie goers so very happy) and he gasped when Max said "Be Still!" ( i always say that to him when he is being a little wild thing and he always flashes me a big mischievous smile)

is it or is it not a kids movie? i would argue YES and NO - just like any great kids book should be! but to be more helpful in case you are wondering if this is safe to take your child to...i was not worried about Bryson because he is some sadistic kid that loves scary things...always has...fearless this one...and dreams about smores afterwards...BUT if that is not your child here are some parts that raised an eyebrow:
1. max bites his mom (not like there is blood or anything gory, but still)
2. they say "damn" (i think...i am pretty sure...they use some strong language of some sort at least once)
3. one of the wild things tears off another wild things' arm (again no blood but still)

Can't wait to hear what you all thought!!!

P.S. - Dont forget to enter my first give-away!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

disneyland in the rain

disneyland in the *light* rain is the best! we had some much needed family time and re-grouped a bit yesterday. it was halloween-town at D-land...not sure what that meant...there were pumpkins...and the Haunted Mansion was decorated in Nightmare Before Christmas style...i think they have trick or treat-ing on certain nights too...anyway - it was a lovely day...fewer crowds...wonderful smells...Bryson loved it...he even loved the Haunted Mansion (this was his 2nd time going...we went last year around this time too)...and he isnt scared of the Pirate ride! yay!

first evah give-away!

In honor of my 300th post i decided to host my first ever give-away! i am going to give away a pair of  bandana pants in red for a lucky contestant! these pants can fit 12 months to 2T - depending how you cuff them! (bryson is almost 4 and still can fit in his huck finn style!)

all you have to do is....

1. Follow Sweet B's Blog (if you already do you are already through Step#1!)


2. Leave a comment...any comment...

contest ends in 1 week - Oct  22nd

party anthem

so...a long while back my husband had some crazy notion to get into stop motion animation and created a video. please note that while this may look completely cool and effortless it actually took approximately 6,365 hours for him to complete...which is why i can blog...which is why we work together - he can do this sort of thing....while i absolutely can NOT!!! i love my husband and his detailed-ness...but seriously...please enjoy! and know this is amazingly time-consuming!!! (PS I LOVE the Bionicles dance!) - if you love it join the party!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

nature walk

at the El Dorado nature of our favorite places to explore!

cream ale

with the weather *finally* cooling down...( i thought until i just looked at the paper today and saw that it is supposed to be 80 degrees on friday...whaaaa?) and the holidays approaching we decided to start brewing again! i made a cream ale and added some pumpkin spice (last year i did a nutty brown and added roasted pumpkin puree and you couldn't really taste the pumpkin - so i changed it up) i also decided to do an ale without grains and not as much hops to make it more of a creamy pumpkin-y flava...hopefully...

we had 3 worts going at once - all females...hopefully we can recruit more females, but due to space (and time - it takes about 3 1/2 hours start to finish) 3 is good :)

like a good little brewer i took my attenuation levels - my OG was 1.062 - it was supposed to be 1.052 - not sure what that will mean...the best part though is that if it doesnt turn out good - i still have time to possibly brew another before Christmas!

miracle mile

after my SIL left on sunday she left me with a special 9 yr old nephew and 12 yr old niece...oh how i wish i had a 12 yr old girl ALL the time...they are fortunate to be enrolled in a year round school and have the month of October "off track". my niece, Hope, gets extra credit if she visits certain places and takes pictures and does a report so i promised to take her to the La Brea Tar Pits and the Page Museum. My husband thought i was a little nutty for taking 4 kids into LA the day after running a half marathon, but to me it was much easier with the help of the older off we went...

Just a little note - the Page Museum is quite small...and not so much fun for a pre-schooler - much more suitable for the 8-12 yr olds...we probably spent a little under an hour there...and thats including the movie they show...but anyway - it was cool to see especially since Bryson has been into the movie "Ice Age" and its sequel. i remember taking the kids at Bethune on a field trip to the Santa Ana Discovery Center and seeing a dinosaur exhibit...i think it was the first time i realized that dinosaurs actually existed in the same space where i go to the grocery store and currently reside and drive on highways...i was so blown away and came home to share that excitement with my husband and he told me that i just discovered what every boy discovers around 8 years old...i guess i was more into ballet and barbies at that time...

my favorite part of the museum was the "fishbowl" where they show the paleontologists sorting and piecing bone fragments together...BTW they used Elmer's Glue...which Hope and Buddy found amusing (as did i) and Bryson only talked about how the dinosaurs were all dead...hmmm...not very fascinating to him i presume...

so since that museum did not take up much time and since i knew the area quite well from my L.A. days i decided to show them LACMA - but it didnt open for 45 minutes, so i marched them up Wilshire to my old office to say hi to some collegues...the only one that was actually there was a fellow secretary, Joyce - it was so good to see her though and the kids got to see how Conde Naste works a little...i am sure they were thrilled! it was fun to be back at my old work and to see the changes and what was still the same and to know how i so don't miss going into an office every day!

we headed back to LACMA but i realized the old children's museum portion was gone...good thing the admission was free thanks to Target...we had a picnic lunch outside of the museum and let the boys climb trees and run around and then headed in. the children's portion consisted of 3 tables and painting with asian calligraphy brushes and watercolors...which was cool...for like 20 minutes...and then after each kid painted 2 paintings each they were done.

i took them into the museum and noticing Bryson's sudden rush of energy realized the ONLY way it would work would be him in the stroller and Bodie in the ergo. if it wasn't for Bryson's 20 minute temper tantrum it would have been really enjoyable! There happened to be a Picasso exhibit. I was so taken aback and told Hope and Buddy "Look! Picasso!" which i received an echo of  "huh?" so i started to explain cubism...showed them some of his paintings and what he did and asked them what they which Buddy told me "I don't like that one!" and pointed to a very large painting on the wall. "why dont you?" i a hushed voice he explained "because she is NAKED!" i was actually impressed he saw the boobs all contorted, but i guess that is the benefit of being a can see boobs anywhere...

among Picasso the kids also saw Rothko, Pollock and Frank Lloyd Wright to mention a few of the bigger names (all of which they never heard of). i gave Buddy the camera and told him to take pictures of his favorite pieces (without the flash and where it was permitted of course!) then he really got into it and snapped some lovely shots of the artwork.

it was time to go and on the way home i continued to tell them about cubism. i told them about a project i did in art class in college where we took a piece of art we did and divided it into little squares and cut it all up and then re-arranged it on paper to show cubism and asked them if they would be interested in doing that with some of the art they created in the musem (half expecting them to roll eyes and say "whatever")  and to my astonishment they were excited about it!

so we did just that and here are their "masterpieces"

overall, in the attempt to be helpful...if you are interested in taking your youngster to LA i would recommend these museums to children over 8 - and beyond that, from experience i would also go to the California Science Center for children of all ages - awesome place!

in addition to our "field trip" we also did the following with our niece and nephew:
*baked banana bread
*taught Hope how to crochet a beanie - of which she has now made 3 - one for her American Doll, one for Bodie and one for her sister Katlyn...girl takes after her auntie!!
*hot-tubbed it and the kids also swam in the pool crazily enough
*taught Hope how to sew a sundress for her American Doll

on a sidenote...Buddy asked if i could teach him to crochet as well. i swear i did not put this idea in his head. and another sidenote - he is the sweetest cousin to giving...he left his Wii nerf game for him and was so generous in sharing everything with him and playing guns with him and wrestling...not to mention what a God send Hope was to me and helping watching the boys while i cleaned and got dressed! good to have good cousins!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

half marathon

we are halfway there! by that i mean...our training for the marathon...and boy was that a slap in the face sunday! i didnt think i was going to have any pictures to post, but thanks to our fabulous friends that were waiting for us at mile 10 - dan, staci and becky - we have the rarely seen mid-race photo op! they were there cheering on the racers and passed out beer in dixie cups - so you may ask? really? well - actually beer has carbs...and sugars...two necessities that a runner its a runner's friend. when we did the calico 30k the runners (hippies) all drank beer pre and post race and i thought..."what a good practice" - it was kinda funny too because a runner had a shirt and on the back he wrote "beer is proof God loves us...Romans ??... (i forget the verse he quoted...bummer) LONGEST BEER RUN made me smile and anything that makes you smile when you are running for that long is a positive thing. period.

our time was around 2 hours 45 minutes and it was not a record, but it wasn't my worst time, but overall i was very happy with myself because i pretty much ran THE WHOLE TIME...which is NOT how we have been training. and by training let me just say that i really only started 3 weeks ago...we ran 6 miles and then a 10 mile (crazy run up a big butt hill) and then the half marathon...i so dont recommend this training schedule. but i had experience on my side plus confidence that my body could do not an option to walk since mandie and bryan were in such better shape and truckin along. at about mile 8 i developed a stoopid blister between my right pinkie toe and adjoining toe but that is the only thing that really bothered me...until then end my knees started acting up...but still...i felt good!

I realized how different the street runs are from the trail runs we have been training on for our long(er) runs. my feet found every bit of trail they could - a patch of grass here...a dirt island there...some sand over there...because it is so much easier on my (older) body. i love Long Beach and would probably run this one again, but that is probably the only one i would run...i think i am a trail snob now...and i'm not even mad about body feels better - because of the easier impact - because i walk up the hills and because i have less noise in my head on trails. i love the crowds and the cheering and the overall group feel of a ton of people doing something together - that is empowering! but i will take my body being able to run longer and feeling better over that any day!

i also realized on this run that every race i have done i have done with bryan and cool...running has helped form bonds between my brother and mandie and my sister and pete that has been so unexpected and neat...all 6 of us ran the O.C. half marathon in January of 2007 and we have done runs together here and there. i remembered writing this post shortly after i started this blog and read it the night before to encourage me...and it did...i got all pumped and remembered that even though i havent been as serious about my training as before i am still after all a "runner" and my body can do this and knows how and will do it despite my mind tricks!

P.S. i am only writing this after the pain has subsided and i can walk *somewhat* normal again. so take that into account...:)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

pseudo cover

so here is why i have been posting so much...bryan has been busy editing...enjoy their latest!

p.s. on grief

i am so encouraged by your comments...mainly that you took the courage to comment on my grief post, but also to those who read it and couldnt or didnt comment but maybe were moved. it made me feel like i made the right choice to open up the way i did....i just wanted to add one more thing that Sue said that encouraged me is this:

grief is not about how well you knew the person.

grief and loss is not diminished by your lack of relationship.

if you lost a grandma or grandpa and didnt have a relationship with that person it does NOT mean you dont are given permission to grieve over that loss and that relationship whether it was intimate or not.

thank you for your made me realize that my being vulnerable may affect others...that makes my week!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

grief, loss, know...the fun stuff!

at MOPS today the speaker spoke on loss and grieving. she spoke about her organization, New Hope Grief Support and what they do. she really slapped me in the face with her a good a "wake up and realize your grief" kinda way.

her name was Sue Beeney...she was so sweet. before she spoke she flagged me down in the hall and asked me my name, "its Carlee" i said..." just so look like a Carlee...your outfit is so darling and i love your tights and your whole person is just so precious!" and she hugged course i loved her and listened to everything she said and we are now BFFs...i dont think i have ever been told i look like a Carlee before...i guess i have always struggled with my name...maybe from people telling me they knew a dog or had a dog named Carly...(because they wouldnt spell it Carlee right?) but coming from Sue i took it as an extreme compliment and her kind words made my day and made me realize how important it is to uplift people however terrifying it may be to impart a compliment to a stranger.

anywhoooo...the topic was hard...last year sucked...i lost one of my good friends and my uncle within months of each other. i am still processing. i realized today i still have a lot to process, and thought this would be a good place to start. she mentioned the importance of journaling and i realized that by writing about Devon here i helped to express a little of that grief and not carry it with me and i realized i still have a long way to go.

i also had a miscarraige 2 years ago that i am still processing and grieving as well. people may think that once you have a baby after a miscarraige that it is similar to replacing a dead goldfish or hamster with a new one, but anyone who has had a child or lost a child could testify it is something you will always remember and grieve in your own way.  its so common - one in every three or four women will have experienced it and few talk about it. i decided after it happened that i would be open about it because i wanted to invite conversation about it however hard it would be and i knew i made the right decision when a few days ago a friend called to tell me she suffered one and knew i had and wanted to talk about it. when i opened up to people about it and learned how many other women have gone through the same i felt a little more comforted in that grief...that i dont bear it alone i that selfish? human? i found great comfort in the story about a miscarraige in the book Baby Catcher and remembered writing this post shortly after.

her point that hit home to me was her three things she would want to tell any grieving person:
1. everything you are feeling/experiencing is normal
2. you are not crazy
3. give yourself persmission to grieve

she also gave us permission to show that grief to our children. she talked about the importance of showing grief to children. i felt so much better after i heard this because i have broken down SEVERAL times in front of bryson about devon...
"why are you sad mommy"
"because i miss my friend devon"
he would comfort me in his way and in his "windows" and then i would feel bad for not being able to keep it together for my child, but her words and wisdom and experience relieved that and made me realize how NORMAL grief HUMAN it NECESSARY it is. she called tears the "Pain Drain" - she said there are studies of tears from sadness - that they contain toxins the body expels - that they are different than the tears one sheds from joy - no toxins in those. that was huge to told me God designed us to cry.

one of the most cathartic essays i ever wrote in college was one i had my senior year - it was to write about a Christian cliche that you couldn't stand and why. many to choose from....but i chose the topic of suffering. how some Christians like to paint a smiley face over suffering instead of embracing it. i chose the cliche that i heard a zillion times "Suffering produces character" true...but so misused when one is in the midst of it. i found solace in the books of Lametations and Job and Ecclesiastes and still turn to these in times of contemplation and anger and questioning and despair. I love the practice of All Saints Day in the Catholic churches - to speak the names of the dead - to memorialize them. the Protestant churches dont tend to practice this...and that makes me a little sad...

i was/am very fortunate to have found some Christian friends in college who are very real in their faith and friendship and don't shy away from the tough stuff. my uncle commited suicide and the emotions involved in a passing like that are beyond comprehendable. i still am in a processing mode (have i overused that word yet?) and my heart is broken for his wife and boys he left behind. i am constantly in a state of bereiving the great man that he was and memorializing his legacy and the great things he has done and anger at the way he left this world. i think it is important to separate the two...

over the last 3.5 years i have lost 2 uncles and 1 friend and 2 of those deaths were very sudden and Devon's was very drawn out and expected, but i realize that there is a sort of closure with someone who passes due to a terminal illness. at least you make a least you can say your bittersweet least you have some sort of journey with that person...when a loved one passes so unexpectedly the process is that much continues for so much longer. seems...

i felt released today of a lot of guilt i have been harboring...just in the sense of dissecting guilt as an emotion alone and how man-made it it is something so personally constructed...i let go of the guilt of never saying goodbye to my grandma, of not spending enough time with Devon in her latter months, of not spending enough time with my uncles and telling them how much they meant to me, of the baby that never was born. it was so nice to spend time with other women in the atmosphere of comfort of being able to release a lot of that emotion...of not being afraid of that or embarrassed by that.

i decided today that the only way to change a lot of the Protestant cliches surrounding death is to be more open myself. to open myself up to be there to grieve with someone - to not cover it up with a joke or sarcastic comment - to let that person cry when they need - to not be afraid of tears, but to share in them with that person if need be. to not "talk them out of grief" but to journey alongside them and let my grief be exposed. and above all to acknowledge grief. so important. i remember when my grandmother died i was in such community - i was in college - surrounded by friends...Christian friends...i remember the only person who sent a card was my friend meant so much to me...i think everyone else didnt know how to be there in my grief and shied away from it, but for someone to acknowledge it in that way meant so much. just a simple card...just a simple note to let someone know that you realize they are grieving and that you are thinking about them...Sue encouraged us to make a note to send it a couple months after the passing - when the cards have stopped. i will...because we are all too respectful of each other's grieiving process to the point that we can be too removed.

in case you may be dealing with grief in whichever way - loss of a marraige, or baby, or friend, or family member - please check out her website and the groups they offer - she has developed a book for children too to help explain loss and work through it as well and i would encourage anyone who may be in need to seek help...because Lord knows we need all the help we can get!

away we go...

we saw Away We Go last night. i love LOVE loved this movie. directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty) and starring John Krasinski (the Office) and Maya Rudolph (SNL) - both were so believeable...the screenplay was written by Dave Eggers (who also wrote the screenplay for the upcoming very anticipated Where the Wild Things Are) and Vendela Vida and it was just so fresh and simplistically real.

This movie had everything - great story - AMAZING cast and characters - great music and great heart. The story is about a couple who upon learning they are pregnant and that the main character's parents are moving to another country decide they can move anywhere, so they take a trip to various places meeting different family and friends to try to find a new "home". The main characters - Burt and Verona are very much the narrators in the film and introduce the audience to a variety of different types of families, parenting styles and ideas of "home".

I think this movie touched me so much because i could relate on so many levels as a new mom...pregnant with Bryson...trying to figure out what i am doing - what kind of parent i want to be - what kind of environment i want my child to grow up in. when we were pregnant with bryson we were one of the first of our group of friends to make the plunge into parenthood...i felt so isolated on so many levels...we were fairly new to long beach - didnt have a home church really - had a lot of single friends and newly married or engaged friends. our close friends who we dearly loved who did have kids moved just months after bryson was born. i am so glad that things are different the second time around and now i am surrounded by support and moms and church and MOPS and a host of other resources.

i remember being asked by a young mom shortly before i got pregnant what type of parenting style i preferred. i thought it was an odd question...she asked if i was into "attachment parenting" or if i was more into "authoritative". i hadnt really thought it through...just thought my parents did a good job...and bryan's parents did a good job...maybe we would just figure it out and take the good parts and leave the bad and make up the rest (which is pretty much what i guess has happened). at one point in the movie she meets Maggie Gyllenhaal's character "LN" and her family, who describe themselves as a "continuum family" - oh goodness she was so stinkin hilarious! they bought her a stroller, much to her disgust and she explains "I love my babies....why would i PUSH them away from me!"  - they really overplayed the attachment parents and made a point to show how condescending some can be, but they equally showed the ugly side of the opposite type of parents as well.

it started me thinking about my own beliefs...that i typically am turned off by any parent who follows a "sect" of parenting, instead of their own instincts...parenting is not a political aren't one type or another and to follow a person's ideas like a manual for parenting (which would be nice and tempting sometimes) can be dangerous. it makes me think of all those parents in the 70s who followed the androgynous view of parenting - that society impacts and determines the behavior of the sexes, instead of nature and how against common sense that is...(i'm channeling Middlesex here)

not like i know what i am doing...because 2/3 of the day i dont...i am on a journey, but i thankfully have the confidence of a shared value system with my husband and church community as well as amazing parents and in-laws as role models. i think it is so scary as a parent to realize the responsibility you hold shaping a little life and i think for a while that fear seized me, which is why the support i now have i hold as invaluable and would encourage anyone feeling those same feelings to get involved in a playgroup or something where you find that support....because motherhood is not for the fainthearted...

okay - wow - this is a movie review, not a i will step down now and just say that this movie is brilliant and you should see it - whatever stage of life you are in - and see it with someone else and have a conversation about your own journey of finding home...whatever that means...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

feels like i'm falling for fall...

does anyone else know that annoying song from Noggin? yeah...sorry if you do and i just put that earworm in your brain! i cant help myself...i am thinking fall these days...and hoping the weather is in agreement with my thoughts...and stays this chilly, but october is always so nutty in could be raining one day and beach weather the next...i think that is what makes it so eerie...i put the fall decorations up, the pumpkin candle is burning, the list of baked goods keeps growing (as do our middle regions). colors tend to repeat themselves with me - does that happen to you? i went through a big navy and yellow (i called it my swedish period) and seriously would only buy clothes or fabrics in those colors...and right now its pumpkin colors...i found a stash of orange-ish courderoy and knew it had to be made into something! my new sweater is pumpkin too, as is the yarn on my needles - which are begging to be picked up again...which happens when it starts to get cold - maybe because i am a fall baby...maybe because my skin gets sunburnt so easily i am always so happy when the weather cools - i have always loved this time of year...Halloween is probably my favorite holiday...costumes are already in the works...oh be excited...i think bryan and i will win this year...bryson goes back and forth between wanting to be a ghost, a cowboy, a ghostbuster - i will try to let him be any of these...i am making outfits for all three (like last year's pirate and ghost costumes) because i know how hard it is to make up ones mind when it comes to costumes :) speaking of model is growing...i cant fit him into 2T anymore - he seems to have shot up overnight and come to find out none of his pants are the right length!

this is true of the Bod-ster too...i have been absolutely refusing to put him in 18 month clothes...even though he is indeed 18 month is silly but its breaking my heart a little...he is on the last snap of his medium fuzzi bunz...the same fuzzi bunz that bryson wore until he was 20 months and needed a yesterday i opened up the box of 18 month clothes i saved from bryson...donated over half of it (why did i save clothes i hated the first time?)

these days it seems like i am constantly on bryson's case for how he "plays" with Bodie. i probably say, "leave him alone" about 1543 times per day. what is sad is that i think he just doesn't know how to interact with him right now - he wants to wrestle cause that is how he and daddy play, but poor Bodie always loses...right now that just wait brother! i have so many pictures like this...

apologies for the most random of all blog posts. i am in the office today...going back to this between phone calls and mailings...procrastination is an amazing thing...