Things I Love Thursdays

A few of my recent favorites…

1. This post from Like Real Life, one of my favorite mommy blogs (though dangitall, there has to be a less condescending term for a blog that is mostly about parenting and written by a mother).

“It is not all a pleasure, although there are many moments of pleasure. It is not all fun even though there are plenty of fun moments. It’s that all those moments, whether a pleasure or a pain add up to something. It’s an exhausted, messy kind of happiness, like finally crawling up the stairs to bed at night and seeing them sleeping, breathing slowly, their soft little fingers twitching in a dream.”

This speaks to me as a parent, and just as a person.  All our moments add up to something.  They add up to a life.


2. This Side Table. I have no idea why I love this, but I do.  It won’t go with anything in my house, but I don’t think I care.  (There is a good chance I just used my husband’s credit card to order it. It was on sale!  Merry Christmas to me!)

Sterling Lighting Hexagon Frame Side Table image from Houzz (click on photo to go there).

Sterling Lighting Hexagon Frame Side Table image from Houzz (click on photo to go there).


3. These customized library totes for kids by SixpencePress.  Because I am a big dork.  I’m contemplating getting these for my 3 dumplings for Christmas.  We love books.  And we love our library.  They’ll be psyched about getting a personalized tote bag instead of a My Little Pony, or 2.5 foot tall Imaginext Ultra T-Rex, right? Who needs toys when you’ve got totes?!

Little Boy Explorer Library Tote by SixpencePress. Click on image for link.

Little Boy Explorer Library Tote by SixpencePress. (You can choose the hair color you want!)


Little Reader Bookworm Library Tote by SixpencePress.

Little Reader Bookworm Library Tote by SixpencePress.


4. My final favorite is this quote by Charlie Chaplin:

You need power only when you want to do something harmful. Otherwise, love is enough to get everything done.

You tell ’em, Charlie.

Image from Charlie Chaplin Official Website

Image from Charlie Chaplin Official Website


(As always, links are for your convenience.  None of them are affiliate links.)

A Thousand Words

My children love to play with my iPhone.  This is a normal kid thing, I’m sure.  They mostly like to play games. Pickle likes the build-a-robot game and Plum prefers a game with a loud annoying monkey.  (Which reminds me that I should delete the annoying loud monkey game.) Pistachio likes pushing the button until Siri asks him what he wants.

The other morning Plum was using the camera mode in a Toca Boca game.  She was having so much fun demanding that we “SAY CHEESE!” that I switched the phone over to camera mode and let her have at it.

I adore the results.

The is something so lovely and refreshing seeing the world, her world, through her eyes, and at her level.  Coming soon to a gallery near you…


Brother Little






Brother Ghost






Cat Door/Eyes








Where Toys Go to Die


Brother II


Finger Brother




Dad II


When Pickle was 3.5 we got him a camera for Christmas, but it was a silly, unwieldy, children’s camera.  I should have sprung for the real thing.  I think this Christmas Plum will get her own.


Just a Regular Life

One spring evening, cuddled up together under my down comforter, I asked Pickle what he wanted to be when he grew up, what kind of life he wanted to have.

“Just a regular life,” he replied, as if my question was a little silly.

Just a regular life.

I smiled.

“You mean like the life we have now?” I asked.  He nodded.


Several years ago I asked my husband what kind of bird he would be if he could be any bird at all.

“A robin,” he answered, without hesitation, “or a blue jay.  Just a regular bird.”

I didn’t believe him. I couldn’t believe him.

“A robin?  Just like a regular, run-of-the-mill robin?  You wouldn’t want to be a hawk, or an eagle, or something interesting like a penguin or an ostrich? A heron?”

“No,” he shook his head, “just a robin.”



We met in nursery school.  Though I can’t honestly say that I remember him.  I remember the swing set and missing a step and rolling my ankle.  And I have vague, watercolor memories of making art projects, perhaps Easter bonnets, in a bright sun-filled room.

We went to high school together.  I sat behind him in Ms. Zaffer’s 9th grade science class.  He teased me, and wore bright striped shirts that were too big for him. In college he called me, very much out of the blue, and perhaps under the influence of some adult beverages.   We dated.  Then we didn’t.  But he still agreed to come to my 5th college reunion with me.

And when we ducked into the parking garage by the grad school to escape a torrential downpour I looked at him and I knew.  I knew that I would marry him.

And I did, a few years later in the same church that housed our preschool.



Of course he wanted to be a robin.  He is a robin.

I had dated hawks, dodos, kiwis.  I had lusted after eagles and peacocks. But I married a robin. My robin.

My robin who is humble and kind.  My robin who is responsible and loving.  My robin whose goal has never been fame, or attention, or fortune, but instead just to lead a good and regular life.  Spending time with his family, loving his kids, mowing the lawn, going to work, going to church, paying bills, cooking dinner, playing catch, changing diapers, reading magazines.  Learning, laughing, doing.



A few weeks ago, at an event, a childhood acquaintance who I hadn’t seen in at least a decade complimented me on my handsome (baby-holding) husband, much the way someone would compliment me on a new sports car or a trophy wife.  I laughed, a bit uncomfortably, but agreed.  “He is tall and handsome,” I conceded. But, I thought to myself, he is so much more.


“Just a regular life,” I repeated to Pickle. He smiled, his nose with new spring freckles crinkled.

He is five.  I had expected him to tell me that he wanted to be a Superhero or a Transformer, or to lead some sort of fantastical life.

But he is his father’s son.  A little robin who is content to live a life of kindness, loving other people, being a normal kid, doing normal kid things, and snuggling with his mom on a spring night.

“Do you know what kind of job you want?” I asked him, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

He thought.  “A cowboy,” he said, “and a dad.”

I kissed his forehead.

“That sounds like a very good plan to me,” I said. “And I think you’ll be a really great dad.”


Admissions of a Tired Mom – Part Five

1. My kids wear their shoes on the wrong feet ALL OF THE TIME.  I always tell them, but I don’t usually make them switch them if they don’t want to.

2. I dislike the word “cray” (meaning crazy).  The Brits and Aussies (Kiwis, too) are really good at slang. “Bro, this Chrimbo, I’m going to slap some shrimp on the barbie for brekkie before we open prezzies, s’truth!” (Okay, I probably butchered that a bit, but a basic translation would be “This Christmas I’m going to grill shrimp for breakfast before we open gifts.”) Cockney slang takes things to a whole amazing other level.  Americans?  We’re just not as good at slang.

3. I could eat Russell Stover pectin jellybeans until my tongue bled.  I’m not proud of this.

Nom nom nom.  Image from Russell Stover.

Nom nom nom. Image from Russell Stover.

4. I thought my brie and Juicy Juice dinner was awful.  Then I got sick, for quite some time. I lost my appetite and most of my sense of taste. So dinner a few weeks ago was croutons.  Out of the bag.  Because I couldn’t taste much.  We needed to go food shopping.  And they were crunchy.  And there. And I was tired. And I wanted to go to sleep, but I was supposed to eat something with my meds, and stay upright for at least 10 minutes (weird, instruction, right?).

Crunch.  Image from Pepperidge Farm.

Crunch. Image from Pepperidge Farm.

5. Rare moment of parenting genius? Buying my 4-year-old son a DUSTBUSTER for Christmas.  He and his sister love it.  They can carry it, it is noisy, and exciting.  They cruise around the house, dustbuster at the ready, looking for “yuckies” to suck up into its whirling vortex.  And when they suck up something they shouldn’t (there was a dollar bill on the floor?) we can simply open the DB up, and retrieve the item. And I never have to yell “Shut that thing off already!” because it is rechargeable, and needs to be plugged back in after 30 minutes of hunting yuckies. $40 very well spent.  Thanks, Santa.

Vrooooom.  Image from Amazon.

Vrooooom. Image from Amazon.

Happy Friday, and happy Spring!  Bring on the mud and daffodils!

PS – Not affiliate links, just for your convenience.

The Sweet Spot

It is 9:30pm. My family is sleeping.

I’m sitting in low Sunday night light, looking forward to climbing into my clean sheets.  The dryer is running downstairs, and I can smell the moist clean laundry smell. My children are clean, brushed, cozy, and sleeping that deep sleep of childhood.


My sweetest little one has learned to love sleep.  He sighs as he rolls to his side, pulls his silky blanket up to his face, and closes his eyes.  And I have sighed, too. I have felt my shoulders relax, my mind calm, as I slowly, slowly start to catch up on nights of sleep interrupted.


I made applesauce today from bright fall apples. My son told me he liked it better than chocolate pudding. High praise from a 4-year-old.


I pulled out a tiny ceramic tea set for Plum this morning. It was a leftover Christmas present; she was too little for it last year.  She dropped and broke one of the teacups this morning – she’s probably still too little. But she loves it, and loved making tiny cup after tiny cup of tea, coffee, and some other creation that included peppermint and salt. We played all morning, sipping delicious drinks from those thimble cups, as she poured the teapot, holding the top as she poured, always adding lots of sugar.


The sun was out today.  Leaves turning, falling.  The chill I love was back in the air after a stretch of rare October humidity.  And we had nowhere we needed to be.  We have many years of busy weekends to come.  Friends, sports, activities, adventures, all of these will fill our calendars too soon.  It has already started. But this weekend, today, I got to spend the day enjoying my cozy house and my favorite small people.


They are big, big enough to sleep, to play, to imagine, to inquire.


But they are little, too.  Little enough to snuggle, to need reassurance that monsters are never allowed in our house, and to love pudding more than just about anything.

Admissions of a Tired Mom



1. The other day, I actually thought that it might be nice to get sick. But only sick enough that I would feel justified in staying home and sleeping all day.

2. There is a dead frog in my car. Somewhere. Thankfully (?) it is flat and dried.

3. I sometimes feel bad about:
a. not reading The New Yorker;
b. not eating enough fish;
c. sometimes writing “congrats” instead of “congratulations,” because that’s just lazy.

4. I don’t watch much TV, except for Wild Kratts and Curious George, so I’m woefully behind in my knowledge of news and pop culture.  And I don’t really go anywhere interesting anymore.  This paired with my usual state of exhaustion means that I am, in fact, only able to talk about my children.  I do recognize how annoying this is.

5. My children think they have the power to change stoplights and songs on the radio using only their minds.  This is going to come back to bite me, I’m sure.

Pickle trying to exert mind control over his unsuspecting little sister.

Pickle trying to exert mind control over his unsuspecting little sister.

The Real Christmas Card

The Real Christmas Card

(idea shamelessly lifted from my friend, Ellen)

Anyone with small children (or pets!) knows that getting a good photo of a clean, still and shiny small person/pet is nearly impossible.  If I made my Christmas card using the actual photos I’ve taken over the last year, it would look something like this…
Clockwise from top left:
  • Blurry memories.  How many of my photos are blurry?  All of them.  Kids don’t sit still.  And if they do, it is only to stare at a television.
  • Pistachio’s ultrasound photo.  Or Skeletor’s.  Or something.  Who the hell can see anything in these?
  • Photos of cute sibling love always end up being of injuries, or other dangerous kid behavior. (Her eyes were fine.)
  • Don’t take my picture! #1
  • Pickle’s Actual “Smile” Face
  • Violent Kid Love.  Hug or choke hold?  You be the judge.
  • Plum’s Actual “Smile” Face
  • Don’t take my picture! #2
(I have left out the entire collection of photos my husband has taken of me and the kids this year.  First of all, there are about 8 photos.  When the kids get older they’re going to wonder where the heck I was during their entire early childhood. Second of all, he tends to take photos when I am grumpy, not expecting a photo shoot, or sans pants. Or all three.  Awesome.  You’re thankful I left these out, trust me.)


Note: I found this cute card template on Shutterfly.