A Wonderful Week of Thanksgiving

It’s been a truly wonderful week of thanksgiving for my family! We’ve been down staying with my parents, about 40 minutes outside of Portland, OR, cooking, playing, dancing, making things…being awesome, generally!

We embraced our inner ducks to play outside:

We collected cool leaves to dry (though we truthfully forgot to dry them – but the gathering and exploration of all the different shapes and colors was great fun in and of itself)20121123-131548.jpg

We cooked delicious food together. Here, my dad (Pops) and Silas work on pizzas for lunch. ๐Ÿ™‚

I made this ridiculously good Spinach Artichoke Dip for snacking – I think this one will become a holiday regular!20121123-131600.jpg

My wonderful husband surprised me with these super wicked awesome dino knee socks (and yes, the dinos are saying, “RAR!”)20121123-131529.jpg

My father-in-law, husband and Silas put together this amazing cardboard giraffe – it walks when you turn the crank! Thanks, Uncle Paul, for sending it to us!20121123-131618.jpg

And of course, there was a lot of dancing!20121123-131635.jpg

Lady Gaga (Bad Romance) is always a really big hit around here20121123-131652.jpg

There was also some dressing up in matching outfits for little boys – something they LOVE to do (which kind of kills me)! They are BIG fans of fancy clothes. ๐Ÿ™‚ 20121123-131726.jpg

And there was a Santa Sighting20121123-131740.jpg

And a family jam session with my dad and Uncle Tim20121123-131755.jpg

And proof that I participated: my swollen fingertips. Boy do I need to play more! I’m so outta practice. 20121123-131804.jpg

And now we’re off to take Silas to Wreck-It Ralph. I just love seeing movies in the theater!

I hope you all had wonderful holidays!


Breaking the Seal


“Mom, I want cereal, with milk.”

I fill the laundry cup with detergent and throw it in the machine and answer, “Ok, just a sec!”

“Mom, I want cereal, with milk.”

One scoop of clothes.

“Mom, I want cereal, with milk.”

The next scoop.

“Mom, I want cereal, with milk.”

I close the lid of the machine.

“Mom, I want cereal, with milk.”

I grab the carton of almond milk from the pantry shelf.

“Mom, I want cereal, with milk.”

I walk up the basement stairs.

“Mom, I want cereal, with milk.”

I get the cereal off the shelf, the pink plastic Ikea bowl out of the cupboard, open the almond milk and pour.

“Mom, I want cereal, with milk.”

I say to my two-and-a-half-year-old, “Here is your cereal.”


My six-year-old is stalling on getting dressed. He keeps asking for his brother to come with him to his room. He is scared to go alone. Since his room is 10 feet from where I am in mine, I am too annoyed to get up and go with him.

After five minutes of him trying to cajole his completely uninterested little brother, I screech out of bed and literally scream to the heavens with wordless frustration, scaring both of them.

Five minutes later, he is dressed, standing in the doorway, blocking the door. I give him a silent hug. He sort of fake wimpers and, aggravated, I ask what the matter is.

“I don’t want you to yell.”

I sit down on the red plastic kiddy chair and give him a big hug.

And all my anger and frustration liquifies as I start sobbing.

I apologize for yelling, I tell him how tired I am, how they fight all the time, how they are constantly needing something from me. How they never eat any good food, how I’m tired of arguing with everyone, how I just want it to be easier.

I am not enough.

Seal. Broken.

They get their shoes and coats on without too much fuss and we make it out the door on time for our weekly homeschool classes at the community center.


We are walking into the community center and my 2 1/2 year-old stops dead at the outside doors and demands to open the doors using the handicap automatic door button.

Of course, I tell him to go right ahead and push that button!

But the button isn’t activated. It’s not turned on yet.

And he starts screaming. Snot bubbling screaming.

I cannot fix this reality for him.

In a perfect world, I could say, “Let’s go in and find the maintenance person and ask them to turn it on!” and he would say okay, albeit reluctantly, and we would go in and do just that. Or one of 100,000 other things that I could think of, if only he weren’t screaming so loudly, with so much snot all over his face. But that doesn’t happen.

Meanwhile, people are carrying heavy boxes full of things for the curriculum sale that is being set up. They walk by, laden by their things but offering sympathy.

And he’s still screaming.

His little buddy comes out to greet us and I give her a happy smile and hug. Sometime while this is happening, the maintenance person comes and miraculously activates the door button.

But all hell breaks when his buddy pushes it first. More screaming.

He finally pushes it and we can go in.

A friend makes the mistake of asking me if I’m okay, and I’m not okay. My crying seal has already been broken for the day, so these tears come so easy, this ashamed sobbing in the bathroom stall, where I know that everyone can hear us, both sobbing, both loud.

He is screaming that I have to give him a hug in a certain spot, at least I think that’s what he’s saying. He’s basically hyperventilating, so it’s really hard to tell.

I finally get my act together enough to take him to what I think is the place he means. Right outside my dance class that starts momentarily. I hug him there and he continues scream-sobbing. And I’m crying still, I can’t help it. It’s so futile, how bad I am at this. How little I can fix things. My dance teacher comes over and somehow breaks the spell, snaps him out of his emotional feedback tunnel and somehow we are able to move forward.


For several hours, it’s like nothing ever happened.



But after lunch, it happens again, at home.

He is screaming. I am trying to understand his words.

“You want me to re-zip your jacket?”

Through snot-bubbled screaming tears he yells, “YES!”

I quietly zip up the jacket. And then:

“I want to take this off!”

I unzip the jacket and help him slip one arm out. His other arm gets a little stuck. I help pull the jacket off.

“NOOOOOO! I WANT TO DO IT MYSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

And the screaming and wailing continues.


Later. We have all been trying to relax, watching Martha Speaks in my bed. He requests “The Mud One.” But the problem is, I haven’t been paying attention too closely, and I have no idea which episode he’s talking about (the descriptions are not illuminating). I ask my six year old for help, but he doesn’t know, either. We look and look, trying different episodes but none are right.

He screams NO! every time we are wrong. We are wrong every time.


For the life of me, I cannot remember what the last disagreement was about, and I wish I could. But it ended with me saying, “I can’t, I’m NOT MAGIC!” because it was something I truly could not manufacture.

And he answered me, and kept indignantly insisting, “Yes, you ARE magic!”

Until I screamed in frustration again and he stopped.

Because I’m NOT magic. I cannot alter reality. I cannot give you every single thing you would like, even though I *really really really* want to.

I feel broken. Like I am not enough. I could never BE enough for this – for this expectation of creating whatever he wishes, in that moment. How can I live with such a lifetime of what is bound to be disappointment?

I hope he can forgive me for not being magic. I hope I can forgive myself.

Things I’m feeling grateful for

Sometimes there is so much going on and so many things I’m feeling that I just shut down. I can’t express myself, I tunnel inward, putting a protective shell around myself. I remind myself to remain vulnerable, but just *feeling* so much takes my breath away, leaves me gasping for a sense of calm, of order, of peace and predictability.

And I want to write about it, say, “Here, this is the reason I haven’t been writing here,” but every time I start to write that story, I get tired. I’m tired of talking about it, it makes me frustrated and scared and sad. I know this is vague, and I hope you’ll bear with me. I guess I am reminding myself and anyone reading this that there is often so much more going on behind the scenes of the blog than we ever realize. Of course there is.

I’m focusing on gratitude today, as a counterbalance to some of the heavy that’s infused my life lately.

I’m feeling so grateful for:

1. Seeing my oldest, Silas, perform in his first Bollywood dance last night. His class was invited to perform at a Diwali festival, and it was such a blast to see those kids get up on stage and shake it. I laugh-cried. He is brave, and knows how to have a good time.


2. I’m so very grateful for the one most impressively elegant and gifted Hannah Marcotti, and all the amazing work that she does. Her programs never fail to inspire my heart and guide me to a deeper sense of understanding myself and how I want to live in this world. Spirits of Joy was amazing last month, and though my life got a little derailed in the middle and I haven’t been able to complete all the prompts yet, I know they’re there waiting for me. I’m currently loving her Community Grace program – it is *amazing* to feel surrounded by such inspiring women doing so much good in the world. And you better believe I’m looking forward to next month’s Holiday Joy Up! Join us, it’s going to be magical!

3. The tribe of women Hannah has gathered in the Joy Up Alumni tribe on Facebook recently lent me so much love and support through a truly emotional upheaval, and I’m so grateful that I could go there for that love. Much love to all the Joy Sisters!

4. Have I mentioned how much I love Gwynn Raimondi? My life in Seattle got about 1000x more awesome when we became such close friends. She is wicked smart and is not afraid to tell it like it is. And she has a kick-ass blog that you should check out. I love you, Gwynn! <;3

5. I am sooooo loving my online cooking course, Whole Food Kitchen, by Heather Bruggerman. I amost almost almost didn’t do it because I feel pretty confident in the kitchen, but when a friend (hi Teri!) was looking for a buddy to do it with, it was just the push I needed to sign up. And I’m SO glad I did! Heather has such a wonderful, gentle way of imparting what can be a lot of controversial and conflicting opinions about a topic near and dear to my heart – FOOD! I love her approach, her awesome cooking videos, amazing recipes (some new family favorites!), and the comprehensiveness of the course. I get giddy every Monday afternoon when the next module opens! She offers this once or twice a year, so be on the lookout for the next round and be sure to sign up! You won’t be disappointed.

6. Did you know that Silas and I have the same Bollywood instructor? It’s true! Katrina teaches at our local homeschool program that we attend on Fridays. She is so down to earth and welcoming – my class is about is two teenage girls and about 7 moms with little to no dance experience – and she makes us all feel welcome and like it’s just an everyday thing for us to be doing this. And I LOVE it. It is so fun, it uses a part of my brain that never gets exercised and it’s good physical exercise! When my class ran through our whole number without her leading us a few weeks ago, I got such a high from getting through the whole routine! What a joy. I might have to start attending her other classes at her studio, Skin Deep Dance, to get some more dance time in. After the holiday craziness though. ๐Ÿ™‚

7. I’m so grateful that my husband and I spent the better part of today puttering around the kitchen being radical homemakers together. He juiced our apples that were getting waxy to ferment into hard cider and then started the pulp fermenting into fruit scrap vinegar! I rocked two loaves of honey-wheat bread, 2 sheet pans of granola, roasted two pie pumpkins and their seeds and made a batch of honey-miso baked tofu for the week. Hooray for camaraderie in the kitchen! Feeling very blessed.



Ok, I could go on, but 7 is my favorite, so I think I’ll cap it for tonight. I hope to do another few gratitude posts this month. ๐Ÿ™‚

What are you feeling grateful for? Please share with me in the comments!