Sunday, September 30, 2007

25 Days, 19

Kidspace Children's Museum with his Aunty and three little mamas. Awesome.

Aunty + french fry = life is perfect

Dash's main little mama, Hayden



Every few minutes water would pour out, washing away their work. I think the lesson is that sometimes life is futile.

The girls made cards for kids in the hospital. I hope Hayden's card goes to someone not very ill and with a sense of humor.

Mason made a portrait of Aunty's recently deceased cat, Sydney.

I think Hallmark should make this card. I would buy them in bulk and tack them all over the house.
(by Mackenna)

Dash: "OK, Daddy, let go."

just resting

child labor

Make. It. Go.

Daddy saves the day

every perfect day ends with ice cream and a cuddle from Mason

Saturday, September 29, 2007

25 Days, 18

When we bought our first house a pig just like this one came to live with us.

We would use his chalkboard to announce birthdays and holidays or just proclaim our love for one another. The only rule was that every entry had to start with "Pig says:".

As we began our in vitro journey we started noting significant numbers on Pig's board. Number of eggs, number of embryos, number transferred, blood HCG numbers. Pig eventually became a talisman to protect the pregnancy. That was in June of 2005.

We've since sold that first house and bought a new one and Pig came along, unchanged, to live in the window above the kitchen sink. I then had a baby and proceeded to raise him for 20 months before I felt safe enough to erase the numbers, which were barely even visible anymore.

There was an expected moment of bittersweet when I wiped the last number away, but I was truly surprised at the relief I felt, too. It had never really occurred to me that those numbers, though the best and luckiest numbers of our lives, were also a daily reminder of the desperate fear and pain of two years of infertility and loss.

I realize now that I was moved to erase those numbers because something rearranged itself in my heart and head to allow me to finally consider us a normal family--no longer a miracle of science, just a regular family of three.

Although I will never take for granted the gift that we've been given in Dash, I don't have to spend every dish-washing moment in remembrance of what almost never was.

So now we are, finally, blessedly, back to this:

Friday, September 28, 2007

25 Days, 17

Is it too soon to start with the Halloween stuff? Yes? Then I won't mention the Christmas stuff I'm almost halfway through already. Anyway, lookit what Mama made last night:

I started with a pack of doll pins I picked up at the craft store (20 for $2.99; nice).

Add a little paint and a little wine and we have this:

The ghost's "shroud" is made out of a used Mrs. Meyers dryer sheet (Josh was folding laundry while I was doing this). The witch's hat is just some black paper rolled into a cone and secured with double-sided tape, then glued onto another piece of black paper cut into a circle. Eventually she'll have a cape. When we're ready to display them, they'll be wired to hang from branches I'll steal from the back yard and stick in a bucket.

I made two of each, but Dash took possession of a couple this morning so we'll see how many are left when it's time to hang them.

I love this project so much I can't tell you. I have big plans for all sorts of Christmas ornaments (unbreakable is the way we're going this year) and farm animals for Dash and--oooohhhh, I just thought of this--I could do one of each of us! And the cats! The Engel Family Doll Pin Puppet Players. We could make a puppet theater out of a shoe box and I could sew mini curtains.

OK, I need to go lie down. The possibilities are overwhelming me.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

25 Days, 16

First rain after 150 days.

Friday, September 21, 2007

25 Days, 15

Here's something that provides me a disproportionate amount of pleasure.

When Dash started bring home artwork from school, I bought a couple of pre-matted 8"x10" frames meant to hold photos and hung them near the entry. The backs are hinged, so I can just pop them open whenever the mood strikes and swap out the art.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

25 Days, 14

We have Gnomes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

25 Days, 13

Wow. Took a little break there, huh?

Anyway, the Santa Monica Pier has a program called "Wake Up with the Waves" every Saturday morning starting mid-September. It's a kids' concert series on the pier that begins at 9am. When I told Dash's Godmother that we were planning on attending this past Saturday she marveled that we'd be able to get a toddler out of the house and a good 40-minute-drive away so early in the morning. "Cake," I declared. "I'm one organized motherfucker."

We were almost crushed by the stampede of strollers on their way home for snacks and naps when we finally rolled onto the pier at 10:45am. We had fun anyway.

commentary: "No, no, no, no, no, down, down, no, no, down, please, down."

the Tub Toss got OWNED by Daddy. (also, see that pink clog? mine. awesome.)

running the stairs


the carousel went a little fast for his taste

singing "Like a Virgin," accompanied by her laptop

is it weird that Yankee Doodles is, like, my favorite restaurant?

Edited to add: Hey! It's my first blog anniversary. Know how I know? 'Cause it's Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Here: How did the pirate quit smoking? He used the patch.

Also: What has eight arms and eight legs? Eight pirates.

Or how about: What do you call a pirate who poses for Playboy magazine? A Playmatey.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

25 Days, 12

I started asking for a sewing machine for my birthday in December. My birthday is in July. I got it on schedule (thanks, Baby!) and it took me another two months to take it out of the box and figure out how to load the bobbin. But I did. And look!


after (side 1)

after (side 2)

Now it's just a matter of time before I start making these:

photo by superemee.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I often think about how I'm going to talk to Dash about 9.11. How I'm going to describe a world that changed so drastically five years before he came into it.

When I was a girl in elementary school, Holocaust survivors came annually to talk to us about what happened to them during that war. Even then, at 9, 10, 11 years old, I understood it was important to listen carefully. To never forget the lesson they were trying to teach us: that there is powerful hate in the world, but that love and rightness can beat it.

I am hopeful that something like that will fall into place for Dash's generation. I'm hoping that by the time he's old enough to understand, some of the political detritus that clouds our vision of that day still will have settled. I hope that the person who tells his story can explain about the hate that drove the terror, but also remember the love and bravery and sacrifice that sprung up instantly from it.

We who lived that day remember, don't we? How everything became pure the instant we realized what had happened. How the only things to feel were mourning for those lost and gratitude for those safe. Anger hadn't crept in yet, and even fear was still a little ways off. Those of us who were blessed enough to have ours whole and sound looked around and felt only love and thanks.

Regular life, of course, seeps back in. We let the pettiness and greed and thanklessness sneak past our guards, and we forget the way we felt that day--the saddest day of most of our lives (God willing) but also the truest.

Maybe that's how I'll talk to Dash about 9.11. We'll make its anniversary a day to focus on two things: mourning those who were lost and thanking God for those who are safe.

Monday, September 10, 2007

25 Days, 11

It's taken nineteen months, but Josh and I are finally finding our sea legs with this whole baby-outside-of-the-house thing.

As soon as Dash arrived we went into hibernation, nearly never venturing out of the house except to run to the grocery store or for a short stroll around the neighborhood. I don't know what we were so scared of. That the baby would get cranky? That we'd screw up his nap schedule? Maybe we weren't afraid of anything. Maybe we just forgot that kids are inherently portable and that sippy cups can be pre-filled and packed into coolers.

But I think we've snapped out of it. Or are snapping. This weekend was another adventure and we all three (I can speak for Dash because I have a scar where they cut him out of my body) feel more like humans and less like bears. It's pretty astonishing what a meander around a beautiful garden can do for one's soul. Mine is both more full and lighter than ever.

Look what we found, not too far from home, and just the perfect size for a smaller-than-full-grown person:

Japanese Pagoda

Spanish Mission
bottom left, pointing to "Please keep off grass" sign;
bottom right, running to gather more pebbles to throw in fountain

French, English & Italian Gardens


Thursday, September 06, 2007

25 Days, 10

Our first house was teensy and charming and perfect in every way except that we couldn't all actually fit in it, and it was in a bad neighborhood that was only getting worse.

But it had the most perfect backyard of any backyard. Ever. It was huge and surrounded by giant old trees. The soil was rich and smelled strong and heady. Anything would grow there, and I took full advantage of that fact. I planted an entire fence with honeysuckle and jasmine and the smell of sweet tea and my childhood wafted through every evening. Ferns and impatiens spread under tree canopies and the camellia bush exploded in so much color it was near obscene. The small basil plant I plopped down one day grew into a bush so big that guests weren't allowed to leave that house without garbage bags full of its leaves.

Our house now is bigger and has high ceilings and enough bathrooms and is in a safe cul-de-sac and a good school district. I love this house. But the soil here is better suited for pottery than gardening, and everything I plant grows slowly if at all. We've taken a few small steps toward improving the soil with compost and amenders and such. Progress is slow and time is short.

But I haven't given up. Tonight I got home with enough daylight and cool breeze left to pull some weeds and make some assessments. The soil is progressing and I even spotted a couple of worms. Maybe next year we'll have made enough headway to plant some tomatoes and squash.

But if not, I'll continue my easy strolls around the perimeter of the yard, glass of wine in hand and baby playing nearby. I'm not going to be competing at any county fairs so I can afford to be casual in my approach to gardening. I'll rejoice in my small and occasional victories over weeds and slugs, and look forward to a garden that will, one day, produce a salad.

25 Days, 9

Dinner is in the oven and we have 20 minutes to kill with a play-food picnic on the floor.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

25 Days, 8

Cambria 2007

On the way up north we stopped at the landmark Pea Soup Andersen's and ate soup in 100 degree weather.

partial ocean view

view from the boardwalk

view from the water






mama hen


lucky baby

On the way back from lunch: zebras on the side of the highway.

good day