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Karmann Ghia

I saw the hands go up to their mouths, parents eyes waxing with worry and felt that panicked rushing inhale of breath, anxious gasps all around me and I’d no idea why….

Now I didn’t see it, but my sweet sprite of a 5-year-old was zooming down the snow hill when a bigger kids tube cut sideways and ran right over him. He flipped over a bit. I saw a Mom below, spring into action and from the top of the hill where I stood, I threw down my mismatched travel mug of Mocha and uttered “shit’ with concern and worry. His wide flashy eyes have always been sparkly. I didn’t need to take another step down towards him, he was grinning ear to ear and his chilly red cheeks perked into these pink apples with his smile. “I’m fine,” he assured us in his smiley, bouncy voice. Relieved, I glanced around, realizing I had said what I said checking the other parents and kids to see if anyone was bothered. Soon things started back up where they had left off.

Of course he’s fine. It’s a snowy hill and he is on a blow up tube and got run over by another blow up tube. Now granted they could have clunked heads like bowling balls or bent some appendage backward with a break or a sprain or worse I suppose. But this is what kiddom is right? Breaking us in, teaching us, calibrating us to a certain level of discomfort so we can cope for the long haul. The fact that any of us survived our own wonder years is a testament to that first toddle your baby makes almost falling, almost head bumping, almost…but skates through, usually, mostly, as they are supposed to.

There is that time before Babies R’ Us. Before every fear and inadequacy was teased out of us leaving space. Space that we could fill with worry or with stuff. Their stuff. And we had all of it. Some of it was fun and great. And some was not. And the not great was the flat monitor that slid under the ‘Sealy’ crib mattress which would sound an alarm if it detected too long a pause before the babies next heartbeat. Really? And these first time parents spent our first night home with our babies waking in panic to an alarm telling us….well you get the sense of it, until my Husband had the mind to and did shut it off. In truth being a parent is probably the most frightening thing any of us will ever do. But an alarm for heartbeat misses….I couldnt have scared the sanity out of me any other way. I was 5 years old when they brought my baby Sister home from the hospital. For the first few days she slept in a wicker laundry basket. Not like neglected laundry but bundled and tucked and fine. BC, before car seats, my Mother tells me I rode in a shelf seat in the back of my parents Karmann Ghia for as long as I could fit there. Not recommended for sure but a point of reference, a little pull back on just how far parenting has gone. For certain, the parents before made their own slurry of mistakes as I will. I just wonder sometimes how it got from a certain lack of safety with children, to the outer banks of over-inserting our worry all over our sweet maniacs.

My Dad’s flexible flyer was wood and metal, and he showed me how the front bar of it tilted side to side so I could steer. So I could steer. That’s all. That was it and that was enough. My friends and I, no parents except maybe a few, flew down hills and crashed and went off in the woods to make better sled trails which always had the risk and eventuality of head crashing with a good tree. I can think of at least once when I walked home frostbitten, wet, breathless and probably closer to a concussion than I or my parents knew. When I take my kids sledding they expect that I’ve got a ready supply of dry mittens, snacks, drinks…How could they ever cope with the damp, mildly frostbitten walk home reminiscing that would probably be good for them?

It comes into focus from here of course. First babies:no refined sugar, no video games, homemade baby food. Fourth baby has her own Wii controller (the one sans batteries) and loves to ‘play’ with her brothers and Sister. First babies Raffi. Last one Foster the People, oh but they all have heard their Dad’s acoustic often. I see everyday, what my sweethearts need from me is for their Dad & I to be here. Sometimes the only thing to do is be here with them while they struggle and hurt and stretch and grow. To be with them because there are scary things about the world, because we ultimately have no control, and because someday an alarm may or may not go off when our heartbeat isnt followed by the next. And I’m finding that if I can bring some acceptance into my head about that, the days in my zoo are a little less white knuckle and have a few more breathes and hugs.

 

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Year of the Ham

Soon it will be the Year of the Dragon. Strong, and powerful doesn’t sound so bad when most days I feel drained, washed out and emptied from raising three children & a toddler. Cold now, it’s dark so much earlier now. Our dogs dance in crazy anticipating circles as Rob comes in the narrow back hall into our kitchen, home from work. Like dealers in a casino I give him the details of who to watch out for and where they are all at. I feel like I should hold out my hands palms down, palms up before I go. Cheek kisses instead and I’m free for a bit.

A few moments driving and a shuffle on the mp3 and I feel my self starting to come up for air. I love softly echoing along with Courtney Love to the lilty parts of ‘Malibu.’ I am so not a singer, but I seem to do okay with some of her range. And when she gets edgy and gravelly I join in as best I can.

“And I knew…love would tear you apart….. and I knew …the darkest secret of your heart…..”

Seems almost dragonesque. It had been the year of the rabbit. I’m ready for the dragon. Courtney Love. Not really a dragon. At least not yet. There’s performance and show and opiate created esteem, but down in the bellows where that throaty voice lurks, I’d have to bet there’s no self. A hot mess of narcissism. A strange brew of her own wave of vulgar feminism, and a vocal range that surprisingly I like to think I can pull off. I don’t think she has dragon in her. Or she hasn’t chipped away at the stuff deep down to let it surface. It takes a lot of work to let out who you really are. Even if it’s not authentic and alive, it’s fun to pretend there’s some dragon in her voice. She wants to be the girl with the most cake. I can’t blame her.

Drifting up and down farmyard back roads I’m on my way to good coffee, escape, a place to write for a while and to get some spark and color back in this tired Momma. Even if I don’t write I get to sit in a cafe and maybe feel like a writer. A thinker. A solitary, literary soul pondering great things. What I’m pondering now is earlier today when my busy, devilish, sprite-like 5-year-old boy called to me so sweetly from the bathroom.

“Momma, guess what….? My pee smells like ham.”

He sounded surprised and proud. There was some marvel in his voice too that such a thing was possible. The literary thoughts will come. But for the moment I feel much more connected to my job of being the un-clogger of crusty green noses and abused toilets. There are no clogged toilets in Malibu. It’s my favorite song to sing to and once when I sang along to it playing in our kitchen my daughter said, “you sing this really good Momma.” I do. I remember that I had to pause the mp3 before ‘Celebrity Skin’ came on so that I wouldn’t have to answer any kid questions about ‘hooker waitresses.’

I know that I had absolutely no idea whatsoever what any of the songs were really about, but in 4th grade my friends and I sat around singing from ACDC’s ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.’ We were sprawled out on the textured, olive-green carpet of my parents living room. I loved the scratchy zip of one of us running our finger along the needle before it touched down, crackled and found grooves. So when we giggled and laughed and declared that ‘We’ve got the biggest, balls of them all,’ we relied on older kids, our own imaginations and the nuances of adolescence to figure it out…or not. Maybe I was the only one who didn’t know, I’ve always been a late bloomer. Now she’s only a year younger than I was when I was singing about balls, but my daughter isn’t allowed to watch icarly. It’s different though. ACDC was raw, edgy, sexual and provocative in a way that made us excited and silly. It didn’t make us think that every young girl is supposed to be pretty, thin, sarcastic, a boy magnet and a model.

On my drive I’m allowed to sing ‘Celebrity Skin’. I imagine that I’m in some fun cafe in the East Village. It’s karaoke night and I can gesture a hybrid of Courtney’s mannerisms made my own and imagine I am humble, silly & cool. The room loves me. I don’t have to answer any questions like,

“Um… Momma… what’s a hooker waitress?”

Not one of the onlookers says indignantly that I’d promised to take them to Five Below to spend their allowance….and even though we have homework, dinner & god knows what else that evening, I’m supposed to drop everything & fire up the Acadia to keep my promise. No one insists that they have a playdate at our house with 2 of the triplet boys who are 10 years old. Great kids, some of my sons nicest friends, really, but no manner of three boys in a house less than a behemoth is manageable unless they play outside. Nope, no one is disappointed with me, no one needs me to listen to more bickering, noise, falling down, squealy, tattly bawling cause someone got hurt wrestling (hurt wrestling-shocking I know) they simply love my silly awkward fun self singing.

Now just about the sweetest singing that I ever heard was my nearly nine-year old daughter in the back seat of our car. Before she was born, Rob & I would listen to ‘Summertime’ by The Sundays in our apartment. The CD was in our alarm radio and we woke up to it every day for a spell. This may have even been before we were married, so to be driving to Maine for summer vacation and see our sweet, wide-eyed daughter, ear buds in, singing in that way when you can’t hear yourself, sweet melodic notes up so high from ‘Summertime,’ as she gazes out the window, is definitely moment. I can remember all of her chirping and squawking baby sounds that led us to call her Ladybird, and she’s still singing.

I have no desire to be Courtney for a moment. I like that there’s actually a song or two that I can sing that sounds pretty good. I like the idea of having balls big enough to not give a thought to what people think and jump up and do karaoke and have fun. I don’t want to be a reckless mess. I don’t want to be so polished that I don’t seem real. I want to show up and be brave and see who else is out here being themselves. I always love the stuff that you see on a person that kind of hums inside of them, emanating if you look. I want to know when to look, when someone is showing you their proud stuff, what they are afraid of, what they have lost and what they know. Not a thing to prove, she showed me an unaware, sweetly confident girl singing in the back of our car. I think this thing of a self is a courage filled recipe of humility, care, time and timelessness.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I like my cover, I’m not Pema Chodron or anything. I like my sarcasm or looking smart and ‘writerly’ when I’m really just faking it. Put a super competitive person around me and it’s hard for me to dig deep in who I am and not play and get caught up in somebody else’s contest with themself. I don’t know if it’s the forties or what, but there’s this sense that all at once I’m an awkward 4th grader singing about balls, an overworked stressed out mother who feels haggard and like she lost her self, a teacher of how to be yourself to my children, and a karaoke daydreaming silly rocker chic. I’m not on the PTO. I’m not the Homeroom Mom. I was never Homecoming Queen or the girl with the most cake. I don’t think it’s ever too late to get cake. And sometimes it’s bellowing song lyrics like a Courtney-she dragon alone and sometimes it’s one of those moments I see in our children and knowing how very much of a hand I had in it. Cake is always good.

Confetti Cake Balls

  • 1 package Naturally Nora A Lot’a Dots cake mix (available on amazon)
  • 1 package Naturally Nora A Lot’a Dots frosting mix (ditto)
  • Candy Melts (like Wilton’s)

Prepare cake as directed. Let cool. Crumble finely, breaking up any big pieces with a fork (or else they will ruin your balls). Prepare frosting mix. Add 3/4 of the frosting to the cake crumbs and mix thoroughly. Using a melon scoop or your hands form into 2″ balls. Place on wax paper lined cookie sheet & place in freezer for about 15 minutes until firm but not frozen.

Melt candy melts according to package directions. With a spoon lower cake ball into slightly cooled candy coating & spoon melted stuff over it until it’s covered. Spoon the cake ball out of the candy coating, tapping the spoon a bit to drain the excess coating. Place on another wax paper lined cookie sheet to harden.

Naturally Nora cake and frosting mixes are fabulous! No preservatives and junk (unless you think sugar is junk~but I don’t). Have 1, have 2 or have the most.

colored sugar sprinkles

I wanted to write something real and honest about the holidays. Insightful. I got nothing. I’ve eaten too much fudge and it’s given me a sugar hangover and the lack of sleep and winces of reality of what it took to pull off Santa this year still have me reeling. We didn’t do the charitable things I had planned, or go to our Church or even bring cookies to neighbors. I managed to bake off a few dozen sugar cookies with the kids, but just as they did when they were 4 years old, the twins got giggly and uncontrollably ‘spilly’ with all of the colored sugars. The kitchen floor was covered. Our stumbly toddler trekked happily over all of the crunchy, gritty colors. Mostly we kept up. Gift exchanges at school, class parties, bills, preparations… We managed the rough surf of rafting down this wild river that is Christmas for the Santa-type Christians we are. We did manage to make homemade fudge to box up and give as gifts. And honestly, our children are genuinely caring, kind people year round, so if my idea of a Christmas list became right size, I’m getting okay with that.

My 8-year-old sugar spiller son is waiting patiently for me to put our littlest nudge to sleep for her nap. He wants to build his new architecture Lego set with me. One year we built Lego cars together and I feel special that he wants to build with me again. I watch Inside the Actors Studio while putting our sweet baby girl to sleep and cringe a little when I see Charlie Sheen being charming, reticent, admired.

“People root for me because I’m honest, I take my lumps.”

I’m amazed a little by his comfort level with his self-admiration. I don’t think of honesty as I hear him. A click on the tivo remote info button says this was taped in 2007. Pre ‘winning.’

No, people root for you because like me, the first time I saw you in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, with your coked out eyes, James Dean hair, and taunting sexuality, I didn’t even know what it was I wanted, but I was in. I was 16. At 42 oops, 43 and 2 weeks, it looks a lot different.

I hit the mute button, and as he talks to Lipton I write some dialogue for him.

“You know, I just don’t have it in me to deal with the legacy that is my Father. I could say… figure out who I really am and all that jazz…but I’m quite comfortable being uncomfortable in his shadow. I’ve got lots of addictions to distract me and I just don’t think I want any more out of life. I’ll take the multimillion dollar paychecks and life in the shadow.”

Why do we pay entertainers these offensive salaries and perks and love and ‘homage?’ As he tells another calculated, charming, endearing joke as if he is one of them, most of the audience gobble it up with romantic intimate giggles and applause. The camera pans the onlookers. People. Real ones. Some with thinning hair, gap teeth, student loans and our own moment of longing to maybe once in a while have it that easy, have access, have praise and status and a chair on the stage.

While Sheen basks in the Lipton led audience praise for his baseball movie, one slightly effeminate male audience member invites Sheen to play in his softball game ‘anytime.’

“I only play hardball, but thanks for the invite.”

Hardball, really? Is it hard to live a life of financial and facial entitlement? A gravelly voice, cheekbones and a jaw that start women’s unfertilized eggs popping like popcorn, thinking (in a primitive mind) that those are the clues to survival, strength, progeny and a strong protective mate.

If this man-child ever faces his own inner demon that is his father, that would be taking his lumps. Avoiding incarceration, landing million dollar paychecks, and giving in to a brief stint in rehab, are those lumps? It’s uncomfortable to watch this seemingly well packaged lump talk as if he has this worldly, humbled air of integrity and comedic brilliance and that the sit com world that is Two & 1/2 Men is raised to an art form because of him.

The most honest thing that I heard was when Lipton mentioned that Sheen had once referred to movie sets as’ playgrounds.’ A real, if unintentionally revealing moment. His father is an icon. He misses that mark of his own making and hunkers down in this costume of hunched shoulders, clasped rubbing hands and seemingly handsome likeability. It is play. It is fleeting and limited and the playground that my kids stumble around has bars that are too high for a few seasons, gnats, friends, mud, bee stings and time to go home.

Sadly he has become his own desperate caricature and those once edgy lines are deeper and less flattering. As I watch his love affair with himself, I think about grown up love. About the attractiveness of a man who works hard, wants more and appreciates and loves who he’s got.

As he held our baby girl, talking during the jumble of clean up after Christmas dinner at my Sister’s house the other night, I overheard my husband telling someone,

“Yesterday the bottoms of her feet were covered in colored sugar sprinkles…”

His eyes have this sturdy, limitless flash behind them that he’s passed down to our youngest boy too. He is strong and kind and when he jokingly (I think), lovingly asks, in our sea of barking dogs, bickering kids, phones ringing and messes to clean, “let’s have another baby…” my ovaries go crazy.

Sugar Cookies:

3/4 c sugar

1/2 c butter softened

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of sea salt

colored sugar for decorating

Heat oven to 400 f. Beat sugar butter egg & vanilla. Blend flour, soda & salt in a separate bowl, then add.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls, roll in colored sugar sprinkles & place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Flatten with bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake 6 – 8 min. until edges are lightly browned.

tweaked a tiny bit from land o lakes fun time butter cookies

Letters to Japan

Grimm. I hardly know more than a few of those old world cautionary tales which seem so riddled with tips for a nightmare rich sleep. I happened across one called, The Story About the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear WasThe ‘youth’ gets haunted at midnight by his Father dressed as a ghost. Not knowing the ghost is his Father he assaults the haunter and is then kicked out of his home for doing so. The next stop on the boys’ quest for fear leads to a cozy night of sleeping under gallows during an evening of 6 or 7 hangings.

Now in Grimm’s, The Golden Goose, at least there’s cake. Children are sent off into the woods, well stocked with cake & wine except for ‘Dummling.’ Clearly the un-favorite, Dummling gets cake made from water & ash and to drink his medieval capri sun is cheap ale. This cake business turns dark when a little grey man with an axe, hacks away at the siblings who won’t share their goodies. Of course Dummling is clearly not dumb and is willing to share his miserable lunch bag.  No axe hacking for him. 

Now the scariest book that my children have had read to them at bedtime has been, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. And at the end (spoiler alert) when the bear follows them home and knocks on the door, our children always looked a bit spooked. Walter the Farting Dog is another nighttime treat and comes with a stuffed farting Walter. The pages of, You’re all my Favorites, are spent with bear parents convincing each little bear that it is in fact a favorite . Poor Dummling. With the book came these three adorable little sibling bears, stitched together with a homemade sort of look. The tan one is my favorite.

At my Grandmother’s house there was this strange little green  ‘doll’ of sorts which she kept in her kitchen. It was this forest green, boiled wool that was sewn in a misshapen cone with a round yellow face. The face had a scary black lipstick smile, rosy cheeks, black eyes with long eyelashes and mean eyebrows. No bigger than a child’s hand, it looked down over the breakfast table from a little wooden shelf. It was an egg warmer. Where to begin.

Margaret had smooth pore-less white skin and still mostly black, long hair pinned up in a bun. She had a throaty phlegmy sounding German accent which clicked once in a while when her dentures slid. Her house was a strange mix of smells. Simmering red cabbage made a pungent, vinegary smell and these little steaks she would cook on her Farberware grill with garlic cloves pressed into them (they were delicious) added a savory air. There was also this faint scent of brown soap (which I think had lye in it) and  her face cream, Oil of Olay. The pink face cream was her one indulgence, that and a red lipstick which did double duty on her cheeks. She kept a stack of Cadbury bars in the pantry which she would buy on sale, being on their last remaining days of shelf life at the drugstore. 

Whenever my sister & I would sleep over, at bedtime she had us say prayers.

“Now I lay me down to sleep……if I should die before I wake?”

After the seeds of souls and death had been planted, and with hands folded we would each get one piece of chocolate placed in our mouths. The chocolate had to get directly into our mouth so there’d be no melty chocolate fingers and no chocolate smudges in the bed. Now my children, well let’s just say our house has all the smears and smudges that their hands can make and sometimes I wish it was only from chocolate.

They lived in Toms River, Margaret and Fritz, and after our death prayer, and expired Cadbury square, there was silent, still, restless, ‘I’m a kid away from home’ sleep. We were either there because our parents were patching things up or because things had fallen apart. Pine trees and sand all were useless at slowing down the wind which had an eerie, gritty, whistly sound all night. Our only other companion in the room was ‘Donna,’ a large doll with  1940’s styled wavy brown hair, brown eyes, and her most recent outfit made from the scraps of the pants and blouse Margaret made for herself. And if there was a lot of left over, silky, slippery polyester print, Donna would have a matching scarf, purse & maybe a pillow too. That wind hissed all night while Donna sat watching us, sharp, whispery sounds that were nothing like home.

Our own old house creaks and pops on any given windy day or night, and on certain places on the floor when you walk. Shortly after the birth of our baby girl, her big sister sat wide-eyed, nervous and scared in her bed at night. Afraid of hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis, my now 2nd grader felt panicky and unsafe. She told me she was worried about the noisy wind that night, and maybe a tornado could take away our baby and our dogs. This was around the time that her class had just written letters to children in Japan right after the earthquake. It was a kind, empathic project reaching out to students just like themselves that were going through horrible tragedies.

We keep the news off around our children and only share current events like celebrating our first Black President, or to indoctrinate our values by simplifying for them that “All George Bush Jr. cares about is money, not people.” So when my 2nd grader shared with me, the particulars of a teacher in Japan who had escaped a collapsing building and returned later on her bike with help for those trapped inside, only to get swept away and drowned by floodwaters I knew our cozy home had been breached. She told me this with a sadness and disappointment in her new discovery of what can happen in this world. Her 8 year old sense of things seemed to be asking if I knew it was like this. Unfamiliar with tragedy and war and cancer and children’s Hospitals until now, she is becoming aware. We are not Amish. We simply wanted our children to keep their sensitivity and not become numb to gratuitous, repetitious violence, and objectified Disney Channel pop tarts. My tragedy censoring days seem to be waning and now I have to be confident and sturdy in being with my children, answering their questions and talking thoughtfully about this world we live in.

Maybe the Grimm Brothers knew what they were doing by scaring the innocence out of children and calibrating them to a certain level of fear and horror. I’ve always pointed out to my little souls that when they are scared of the bear knocking on the door, that on the next page the whole family is nestled together hiding under the covers, cozy and safe. I hope I’m right.

Black Forest Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache & Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes adapted from The Food Network Cupcake Challenge

  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 6 oz butter
  • 2 c sugar
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 c cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1/4 c dried cherries, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together boiling water and cocoa. Set aside. With a mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Add the eggs and continue beating until light and fluffy. Sift  the flour, baking soda & powder together and add alternating with the buttermilk. Add  the set aside cocoa and water mixture . Blend until combined. Fill cupcake pans about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Makes about 36

  • Ganache:
  • 8 oz chocolate chopped
  • 3/4 c heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream and sugar just to a boil in a small saucepan & add to chocolate. Wisk together & add butter, blending until melted.

  • frosting:
  • 4 oz softened butter
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2  1/4 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1tbsp cream

Beat together butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar & pinch of salt, beating to a good consistency. Continue beating and add vanilla and cream.

Cool cupcakes completely before decorating. Dip tops of cooled cupcakes in the warm ganache and let set. Fill a pastry bag with the frosting. Using a small tip, pierce the center of the cupcake top and pipe frosting into the cupcake without overfilling (or it will break apart). Switch to a decorative tip & swirl top of cupcake with frosting. Sprinkle with finely chopped dried cherries.

Great snack for a bear hunt.

 

Aside

Velociraptors

Ok, for the past few days there has been nothing sweet in my house (which is rare). When you need sweet, you just need it. Especially when you can’t even have a quiet moment to yourself taking a shower. Last night there were 5 different knocks on the door. Each time the owner of the tiny little knuckles that tapped so politely would ask in a tone gentle & questioning with just a pinch of feigned surprise, “What are you doing? ”  “I need to brush my teeth, can I come in?”  “I need to pee, when will you be done?” There is another bathroom where all of this could take place. The best one was, “I want to take a hot bath, are you almost done?” 

It’s hard for these little people to learn that you are a whole person which includes parts of yourself that are not always involved in everything that they are doing. So, for the sake of being random & indulgent, I like this quick easy recipe for homemade fudge that can be wrapped in enough foil, and placed far back enough in the refrigerator so the little velociraptors don’t get it.  Hide this fudge. Its yours. Yes you could work out or go to yoga or meditate, blah, blah, blah. It’s all wonderful stuff & we should do those things. But sometimes, quick & easy fudge is the answer: Recipe adapted from, The Compassionate Cook.

Now this is coming from a vegan cookbook, so feel free to ‘compassion it up’ or substitute butter & heavy cream : )

  • 6 tablespoons margarine~or BUTTER
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted confectionary sugar
  • 1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup soy milk~or HEAVY CREAM
  • pinch of sea salt

Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler then add the cream, vanilla & pinch of salt. Add the sugar & cocoa & stir until smooth. Pour onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Cover & refrigerate until firm, about an hour. 

Love yourself, be good to yourself and induldge in fudge whenever. No regrets ; )

Ultra Sounds

“I’m pretty sure they had a bit of their own language,” one of us answers, remembering those days which are sometimes far back, or can feel like a moment ago. Little primitive grunting noises that our 1st babies could be heard making to each other at that time when babies start making more sound, more eye contact. Listening now to his teasing 8 year old boy taunts at her & her quick tempered flare ups that screech back at him, I wonder what they share. Together. From the moment their little cells scurried to form embryos right up through elbowing & pushing around in an increasingly crowded space, they had each other. I wonder if there is an unseen agreement they have, born in their subconscious minds from the beginning.

Not identical, they are uniquely different body types, with different palates and different temperatures. His slender body quick to feel a chill, snuggles under as many blankets as he can drag up to his room… throws from couches in the family room, afghans from closet shelves. Her ‘tossy-turny’ nights become sound and still only when enough covers have been kicked and strewn, that her sleepy body no longer feels hot and covered. At times after school I can hear her grunty, exasperated tone before she utters a word. Just by seeing her jumble down school bus steps as she hurries at me charging that I made her dress too warm, for the cool morning which turned into a warm school day. “I was sweating all day because you made me wear long sleeves!”

Not babies anymore, they startle me when I realize he has this long swimmers body, or the mature and ‘able to help now that she’s a big girl’ way that she now has about her. My first ever babies are these big people who eat more, yell louder and want to ride off on bikes without me around like some of their friends do but that I won’t allow. They push and pull at the space that is our home, racing to the container of ice cream with only one scoop left, or getting the bigger couch to watch Spongebob on, or pick the better turn being read to at night, first or last.

With hardly any out loud banter, there is a knowing of who will give in when, who will get the ice cream, who will stretch out on the big couch. Many times my guy gives the good chair, the last cookie, the better wii controller. I wonder why & I wonder if they know why. When his mind’s made up to hang in and fight though, the once grunty little monkeys can be loud angry kids battling to the death over a tic-tac.

Three minutes of a C-section make her his big sister. 3 minutes and a couple of lbs at birth. I don’t quite know what arrangement they have, or what they know when they negotiate their not so little lives together. I do know that when he goes into her room at night and they talk and giggle and keep each other silly company, they will fall asleep. My beautiful girl will be stretched out in her bed, her brother nudged into any remaining real estate not covered by her or her dozens of stuffed friends. Visible in this sleepy place, during that last nighttime check, is this wonderful moment. It’s this gift, this picture which unlike the shadowy, prenatal ultrasound images, now sweetly reveals the two who started together and how they share space.

wabi sabi

It’s the dirtiest job in the world. It’s spit up and diapers, throw up & tears. It is lego covered floors & play doh dried in the carpet. There are endless challenges and fears as all of their growing emotions twist & stretch while they change every day into the people they are becoming. Some parts of which are like us, while others seem to come from another planet. Our own childhood memories, good or bad join in at sometimes unpredictable, unknown moments for better or for worse. I know that I am four people’s Mother. I know that I’ve never done this before. I know that I don’t know what I’m doing sometimes, most times, until I figure it out. It never comes out perfect. We always come through.

Please feel welcomed, comforted and supported at Mommy Sabi. This complex web of raising good people is wonderful, powerful stuff and often times I am powerless to do this job how I want to. I do it how it needs to be done, with lots of support, lots of questions, doubts, triumphs and moments that I keep with me forever. These strange little people are daily lessons in imperfection. Thank Goodness.

Here you will find musings on parenting that have been the ‘stand out’ moments in our house.You will also find information about products that have been our family’s ‘must haves’ (like my husbands back-pack, there’s nothing hotter than your partner washing dishes as the baby naps on his back), as well as things we thought we had to have that were total duds. Recipes, haiku, articles, books, find it, share it, pass it on!