lost in translation

We were driving home from the store today and the sound of my tires kicking up snow and slush was uncharacteristically loud in the vicinity of the rear door on Ocean's side of the car. I knew I had shut that particular door tight because Ocean tried to close it himself at the store and it didn't close all the way, so I re-opened it and slammed it shut.

I pulled over and sure enough his door was open.

"Ocean," I gasped. "You must not ever, ever open your car door. It is very dangerous. If your door is open while we're driving you could go flying out of the car."

Ocean was quiet for a few seconds, and then shook his head. "I don't have wings. I have just arms... and stuff."


25 things

I was "tagged" on Facebook (whatever that means... I'm still figuring out this Facebook thing) and was supposed to post 25 things about myself. I'm putting it here also for narcissism's sake I suppose.

Here goes...

1. My legal name is Catherine. No, not Cassandra. Yes, Cassie is a nickname for Catherine. Yes, I'm sure. Yes, I've always been Cassie.

2. I dropped out of 3 colleges in 2 years. My high school superlative was "Most Likely to Succeed." (Sorry, class of 97.)

3. I am so far removed from my life pre-children that most of my newest friends have no idea that my favorite place to be is singing on stage.

4. I was meant for warm weather but I was also meant for Ann Arbor. So you see my problem.

5. Having children has made me relax... a LOT. I used to get all worked up about one issue or another, be it political, religious, relational or whatever. And now I just flash a peace sign and give hugs.

6. That being said, if you want to see me go from zero to psycho in record speed don't use your turn signal. It seriously infuriates me.

7. I've spent the last few years deconstructing my faith and learning that the Christianity I followed had little to do with the Jesus I now want to know. I'm not comfortable with where I am currently but I think it's good to be uncomfortable. So I'm okay with it.

8. I'm bossy. When I was a child my parents and teachers used to call me a "natural leader." But nope... just a fancy way of saying "bossy."

9. Whenever tragedy strikes I get an unexplainable urge to pierce something. I've had countless holes in my face over the years.

10. I spent a combined 42 hours in labor with my kids, and a combined 95.5 weeks pregnant with the 3 of them.

11. My favorite store is Anthropologie. I'm very glad that we don't have one near us or we might go bankrupt.

12. I have learned to never say never.

13. If I could skip pregnancy, labor and the first year I'd totally have another kid. Although thinking about the actual birth is almost enough to make me want another. That, and wanting to use the other names we've come up with.

14. I've been a vegetarian for over 4 years. My children have never eaten meat. I can't see myself as an omnivore again, but see #12.

15. My house is usually a wreck because (a) I'm tired, (b) I spend time making lists about myself instead of cleaning it and (c) I don't care.

16. I spent much of my youth afraid of being alone. Now I spend much of my time trying to get a moment to myself.

17. I have a shower curtain addiction. I own way more than any one person with three full bathrooms should own.

18. I don't like scary movies, haunted houses or things that go bump in the night.

19. I'm notoriously terrible at returning phone calls and emails. In my head I think about my reply and then I forget to actually respond.

20. I've never heard my husband raise his voice. He's a lot nicer than I am.

21. My son's name comes from Amos 5:8 in The Message: "Do you realize where you are? You're in a cosmos star-flung with constellations by God, A world God wakes up each morning and puts to bed each night. God dips water from the ocean and gives the land a drink. God, God-revealed, does all this."

22. My daughter's name means rainbow and comes from Genesis 9:16: "Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

23. I find cliches annoying but I love figures of speech.

24. I'm still a Britney fan. Sue me.

25. It has taken me too long to finish this.


my sea of joy

So I'm sure you all have heard by now that our entire family got taken out by the stomach flu this weekend. Poor little Ocean. Is there anything worse than seeing your child sick and not being able to bring them any comfort? I just kept telling him, "You're so brave, Ocean." By 1am he was screaming, "I not brave, Mommy, I scared!" And by then I was in the throws of the worst of it myself so we were quite a pair.

We both crashed on the floor of the playroom with piles of blankets and pillows, and this morning I awoke to my little boy curled up beside me, awake, rubbing my cheek and saying, "You okay, Mommy? I so proud of you. I hold your hand?" He had also surrounded me with all of his 'cuddlies'... his special blanket, pillow and about 4 stuffed animals. I have no idea how long he had been laying there next to me but it made waking up feeling rotten much more bearable.

We are once again camped out on the playroom floor; he got sick again this evening and is running a fever so I want to stay close to him tonight.

For a little entertainment value, here is his first ever portrait of me, drawn on his Magnadoodle:

I know I'm his mom but I think he's pretty talented, especially this being his first attempt at drawing a human being and all. He even remembered to include my neck.


my little rainbow

Poor Iris is having her very first bout with the stomach flu. The worst things about it, aside from the obvious fact that my baby is miserable, are (a) my having to cancel watching baby Ingrid this morning, thus putting Jamie in a bind, and (b) my ruined, barf-covered formerly white Anthropologie bedspread.

While she sleeps, in the spirit of keeping things light so I don't cry, I decided to give a little air time to my precious Iris and her 14-month-old antics.

She has about 20 words now... everything from "duck" and "shoes" to "yeah" and "uh-oh!", but mostly she just screeches and/or bellows when she wants something. Her normal volume level is that of a freight train and is probably loud enough to wake the dead so like the well-trained Iris servants we are, we all come running when she calls. Sometimes "we all" includes neighbors or people living in the next zip code.

She sits with her ankles crossed and loves jewelry. But given the choice she'll play with cars or dinosaurs over dolls. And she'll beat you down if you enter her personal space bubble uninvited.

She eats everything. She eats all day long. When she is done eating, she says and signs "All Done," and then proceeds to grab food off of her plate (or mine) and stuff it in her mouth frantically while I'm taking her out of her chair. When I try to put her back in her chair to eat more, she cries and signs "All Done" again. It's like the poor thing knows she could spend a lifetime in her booster seat if she doesn't just decide to take a break from time to time.

I also periodically find her munching on stray Cheerios or graham cracker crumbs that she has dug out of the carpet or out from under the couch. (My house is messy. Don't act appalled, like you didn't already know that.)

Her favorite thing to do is wait for Ocean to put down whatever toy he's playing with, snatch it up and go running across the room with it, laughing hysterically while he screams, "No Iris! I don't want to share!" as he cries and chases her down.

She loves dogs. LOVES them. And she can spot them from a mile away. We were in Target the other day and she kept saying, "Dog! Dog!" and pointing. I finally looked at where she was pointing and there was an average-sized poster in the photo department with a small puppy on it. It's like she's got puppy-dar.

Yesterday she woke up from her nap crying and when I went in to her I said, "Awwww, Iris, are you screaming your head off in here?" She looked at me inquisitively, shook her head no and patted the top of her head as if to say, "No, mommy. My head is still attached. See?"

The girl can sing. She hums The Barney Song, on key. Sometimes I swear I even hear a little vibrato. She also likes to dance, walk backwards, and spin until she falls down or crashes into the wall.

She can recognize the letter X. And she says it when we get to that part of the ABC song. It sounds like "ak".

When I correct Ocean, I ask him to say "Yes, Mommy" so I know he heard what I said. Now when I correct Iris she has begun saying her version of "Yes, Mommy," completely unprompted. It sounds like, "Mama-ya." And she nods her head.

With all the potty-related praise we've been doling out to Ocean, Iris has become interested in sitting on the potty, fully clothed. She likes to grunt and then smile.

She gives kisses freely. "Mah!"

I love this little gal. She is a firecracker and a troublemaker, a fighter and a peacemaker, a lady and a brute. Life is much more chaotic, frenzied and spontaneous now that she's here. And of course we're a better family for it.

When she's not vomiting she's really quite delightful.


fun facts, AFCA edition

Fun fact #1:
I am blogging from Nashville.

Fun fact #2:
I was the only chick at set-up this afternoon. It is a good bet I will be the only female at the convention wearing more than a bikini the entire weekend.

Fun fact #3:
We are not the only recruit management software company here. But we are the best. I am biased, but I am also right.

Fun fact #4:
Before we left this morning our TV smelled like it was going to blow up. So it's safe to assume that my wonderful mother-in-law, henceforth referred to as Super Grandma, will go stir-crazy without PBS Kids. Or maybe I'm projecting. Either way, I'm working on finding a temporary replacement so don't fret, friends.

Fun fact #5:
According to Super Grandma my kids are happy and haven't asked for either mommy or daddy. This actually makes ME happy, because I know they are well cared for.

Fun fact #6:
Super Grandma told me on the phone just now that they all had a great day and that she is tired. I know how she feels, and I know it's because she gives her all to my children. I must confess that I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees how incredibly exhausting my kids are. Delightful, but exhausting. The spirited duo that they are.

Fun fact #7:
I'm looking forward to going to bed early and sleeping all night long with almost zero possibility of interruptions for the first time in over 3 years. Have I mentioned how much I love Super Grandma right now?

Fun fact #8:
I plan to post pictures of our booth once we get them uploaded. We're stoked.


a few thousand words

My mom just uploaded a bunch of pictures and I picked through them this evening. The first 3 are from our beach trip in September.
This just might be my most favorite picture of Ocean ever. Phil took it. I didn't know about his hidden talent.

Washing sand off our hands and out of "our" mouths.

There was a cuter one of Iris and me in the pool but I was still nursing so my ta-tas were taking up half the picture. Far too distracting. Plus I like the way Iris is pointing to an airplane and making fish sounds in this one. (She was a little confused.)

This last one is from Christmas. I like it for two reasons. First of all, something was obviously funny enough to make us laugh, thus capturing a rare on-camera smile for my big bro. Second, I just realized that it is one of many photos where I am being swarmed by my children. I will have to post them all in a series sometime.


how i love thee, wikipedia.

Last night as I was clipping a billion coupons I turned to PBS to see what was on. I immediately got sucked into Tess of the d'Urbervilles, which was originally a novel written by Thomas Hardy and published in 1891. (See? Wiki-awesome.) But I was wiki-pissed when I realized that what I watched was just the first episode of a miniseries on Masterpiece Classics and I was gonna have to wait an entire week to see the next segment. I also remembered I'm going to be out of town next Sunday night and was therefore able to justify reading the entire synopsis on Wikipedia, all the way to the bitter end.

And when I say bitter, I mean bitter.

Thomas Hardy was seriously disturbed you guys. This is the most depressing story I've ever read. I was wondering how I'd be able to fall asleep after learning the fate of Tess the milkmaid, and then I remembered the voiceover dude saying the next miniseries will be Wuthering Heights. I've never read it, and for some reason I thought that one might be less depressing, so I hit up my new best wiki-friend... big mistake. What's with these old school authors? Is a nice, murder-free love story with a few twists and turns followed by a warm and fuzzy happy ending too much to ask for crying out loud?

I am glad that I discovered my own little version of wiki-Cliff's Notes so that I didn't waste many more hours falling in love with Tess only to see what becomes of her and that wussy guy who convinced her to marry him and then kicked her to the curb. I'm really okay. Really. I just need a wiki-pick me up in the form of trashy reality TV that doesn't end with a lynching.

So... will it be Momma's Boys or True Beauty? Decisions, decisions.



I'm online again, guys. Phil got a computer for Christmas so I no longer have to arm wrestle him for mine and the holiday madness is over so I feel more collected and able to post the good deals for you all over at Envirosavings. So head on over there if you're interested in making some money at CVS this week, and also if you want to check out the coupons for next week (I'm all aflutter with excitement over it.)