Showing posts from October, 2008

Order Please!

It seems that Vivi has decided that her world needs a little bit more order these days. Shoes jumbled in a heap on the floor? Not anymore. They are neatly lined up in a row. A stack of library books piled on the futon in her bedroom? No, they must be put edge to edge to form a concise border around her rug. Groceries tossed in a cart? Not unless they can be organized into a circle first. This picture may not look like much to you but to Vivi it is a highly organized collection of her belongings. Initially, I was feeling all self-congratulatory about this change in Vivi's behavior. As someone who prides herself on systems and organization, I just knew that this inclination had to have come from me. She may get her athleticism and facility with language from her dad but, by god, it is Mama who knows a thing or two about keeping things in order! Then it occurred to me-- people who need to have control are often the ones who feel most out of control. (Ummm... guilty!) I think Vivi,

Words to My Ears

This morning, instead of immediately demanding breakfast like she usually does when she climbs out of bed, I heard Vivi say the following: "Daddy, I want to snuggle in bed with Mama and then I eat breakfast." Ladies and Gentleman, Mama is back in favor! Woohoo!!

On the Day You Were Born....

Soon after we discovered I was pregnant with Vivi, my husband bought me a copy of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. Like many women who are pregnant for the first time, I was afraid of giving birth. I had only heard horror stories from other women who described birth as "absolutely unbearable" and appeared profoundly traumatized by the experience. No one seemed willing to tell me what I could reasonably expect and the mystery scared the hell out of me. Ina May's book changed all that. The first section was full of positive birth stories. None of the writers omitted how painful the process was or minimized the strength it took to deliver a baby and I really appreciated that. Instead of feeling afraid, I began to feel empowered. I started to believe in my body's ability to birth without intervention. Over the next seven months, I found a wonderful midwife, read as many books as I could, and even made flashcards to remind myself that "the pain i

Lazy Person's Vegetarian Chili

I've been remiss in not posting any recipes lately. With the election, my pregnancy, and Vivi's various adventures, I really have not been paying much attention to my culinary endeavors. It's not that we haven't been having good meals lately. In fact, now that my nausea has completely abated and my energy is back, I've generally had it together in the kitchen. I've been whipping up mushroom risotto, Tuscan bean soup, vegetarian pot pie, and large quantities of homemade macaroni and cheese. (I've also been eating large quantities of all of the aforementioned dishes.) Still, there are nights when all I want is an easy, hearty meal. That's where my recipe for Lazy Person's Vegetarian Chili comes in. It'll cook on the stove in half an hour or you can let it sit in the crock pot for most of the day. You can also substitute fresh ingredients for any of the canned/frozen items. Here are both variations below: Lazy Person's Vegetarian Chil


This past weekend, my husband, Vivi, and I found ourselves traipsing through Harvard Yard to attend my husband's thirtieth (yes, that's 3-0) college reunion. We had no intention of going but my husband has a very persuasive college friend who made the trip out from Texas so we reluctantly agreed to show our faces for an hour or so. As reunions go, this was probably your run-of-the-mill type event with the exception that everything at Harvard seems to cost more and be more self-congratulatory. When we arrived at the designated location, the woman at the door told my husband that he needed to pay $125 to enter. He explained that we weren't there for the brunch but just to see a few classmates for a few minutes. She let us in but only on the condition that we don't touch the food or she'll "have to wrestle it out of our hands." Not twenty minutes later, my husband was chastised by a former classmate for not registering in advance. That's some schoo

Metaphysical Questions

Yesterday, Vivi asked me something very important. She said, "Mama, what is love?" Oh boy! Have I been trying to figure that one out for a while now. I thought, somewhat cynically, it is when mama frantically chases you down the sidewalk praying the whole time that a car won't back out of a driveway and hit you. Or it's when I read Where the Wild Things Are for the millionth time or clean up your poop. That is definitely love. What I really wanted to explain is that love is a warm, tingly feeling inside but since Vivi is still potty-training I thought that might confuse things. Since Vivi came along, love has been more than a tingly feeling though. It is like my heart is swollen-- a feeling that I could just explode from the weight of my adoration for my little family. It's something that I find impossible to contain and certainly one that I probably couldn't convey to a toddler without scaring the hell out of her. Ultimately, I told Vivi tha

In the Mouth

Not only are interesting things coming out of Vivi's mouth these days; there seems to be no shortage of things going in. In the last month or so I have removed a button, earrings, money, paper, felt, and crayons from her mouth. It's disturbing, really. You might look at this photo and see my darling daughter with her beloved new cousin. Take a closer look and you will see that Vivi is snacking on grass during our photoshoot. That's right-- my little peanut is part Holstein. Ugh... Now, I was under the impression that Vivi's compulsion to put things in her mouth was SOOO two years ago. How is it that this child, who will officially turn 2 and a half in a couple of weeks, is once again trying to eat things that aren't food? My husband and I were thinking that maybe she has some sort of deficiency so we started her on a multi-vitamin. It hasn't worked and if anything, the inappropriate consumption has intensified. Is it the "I think I'm a bi

Words of the Wise

Many an experienced parent has warned us to be careful what we say in front of our toddler. After all, children are sponges and they have a remarkable way of quoting you at inopportune moments. That's the conventional wisdom, at least, but I have to say that until recently I haven't been too worried about it. You see, my husband is not the swearing type. In all the years we've been together, I can count on one hand the number of times an expletive has escaped his lips. And, it should be noted that with the exception of one very colorful expression he used for our President, his verbal transgressions have fallen on the minor end of the expletive spectrum. Like my husband, my language mostly falls under a G rating. Of course, there is at least one point during a day where the phrase "Oh shit" will come out of my mouth but, in general, I've tried very hard to keep myself in check. Well, it seems that Aviva is giving me a bit of a reality check these d

Memo to Sarah Palin Part II

As a mother, and as many mothers and fathers before me, we believe that all of our children are created equal. Apparently, you don't feel the same way about your own children. You seem to have no problem appearing on the cover of popular magazines with your special needs son or carting him around on stage after the debate on Thursday night. Yet, there have been no public appearances by your teenage daughter since her pregnancy was announced around the time of the convention. Why wasn't she on stage with you and the rest of your family after the debate? Oh right, it's not in your political best interest to include her. You're just exploiting the baby for this election.

Memo to Sarah Palin

It's Senator " Biden " not "Obiden." McKiernan is the commanding general in Afghanistan not McClellan. You used "kind of" and "you know" to punctuate your statements at least fifteen times . If you need to do that, it seems to us that you aren't sure and you actually don't know. Is bringing some "Wasilla Main Street" reality to Washington a euphemism for moving crystal meth across state lines? Oh, and it's "nu-cle-ar" not "nuke-u-lar." Doggone it!

Money, Money, Money

Not only is Money, Money, Money Vivi's favorite ABBA song but it seems to be a primary concern for the majority of us these days. With all the news of banks collapsing, the stock market uncertainty, and mounting foreclosures I find myself worrying less about whether or not we'll have the money to send Vivi to college and more about whether or not the money in our retirement plans will actually be there when we need it. I'm a worrier by nature so all this economic news hasn't exactly left me with a warm and tingly feeling. I try to remind myself that we're lucky though. My husband makes enough money that we are able to live a full and happy life. Not an extravagant life, by any means, but a happy one. What makes a happy life? For us, it's lowering our standards for what we "need." We don't have a huge house and, thanks to my husband's foresight, we have a fixed rate mortgage and expect to have it paid off in less than seven years. We have one