Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the thankful feast

Being a two-home family means we try desperately to cling on to the old traditions, while simultaneously adding some new things to the mix.  Since Punk and Kooka are with their dad every Thanksgiving, Rico and I spend the day volunteering.  It always makes us feel great, but we still miss celebrating with the kids. Our solution:  The Thankful Feast.  Last week, we each picked a slip of paper from a hat - I chose drinks, Punk got appetizers, Kooka got meal and Rico dessert.  So tonight we will pile into the car, and do some traveling dining.  It's a surprise.  We have no idea where the others will take us.  We could end up at Dairy Queen for all 4 courses, or driving from Faribault to St. Cloud just to eat our meal.

No rules, except that at each stop we have to tell three things we are thankful for.  Here's a sneak peek at my list:

• my family
• our warm and safe little house - especially the cool new basement that Rico has been slaving over
• 3 happy healthy kids
• dancing with Kooka in the gymnastics club
• Yoda's giggles
• Punk's sense of humor
• Rico's kisses
• The fact that whenever I ask Kooka who she looks up to she says, "You, Treats, Ms. Rachel, and Ms. Liz"  (instead of the latest Disney tart)
• books
• good music
• laughing
• making cheeseballs
• listening to Gram's stories
• Our family doctor and nurse that have taken care of all three kids since before they were born. I love those two.
• my kid's godparents
• hot coffee with italian sweet cream
• my cousins
• our squishy Craigslist couch
• black and white photos
• visiting the ocean
• Sarah Palin (actually, I am just thankful for her on behalf of Treats)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Spent some time with our fave chicks this weekend . . .

Thursday, November 18, 2010

saftey first

Is there such thing as "too safe" - "too cautious" - "too protective"?

Don't get me wrong - I'm the chick who checks the door locks three times before bed, and gets up in the middle of the night to check them again. I make sure Yoda's chest is moving when she naps (I actually do that to Rico too), and the car doesn't leave the driveway until everyone is buckled in.  I'm a relatively cautious mother, but . . . .

Yesterday I was in Target and happened past the car seat aisle.  I probably wouldn't have taken much notice except that there was a height chart posted right near the endcap. I initially glanced at it to see how tall Kooka needed to be before we disregarded the belt positioning booster that she uses - she's starting to feel weird about having to use one at all - even though she does admit that it's much more comfortable.

Glad she thinks it's cozy.
Apparently she'll be using it until she is 15.

The height chart came up to my chin - 58 inches.  That is the cut off for not using a car seat.

If that's true, some of my diminutive adult friends should be strapped into a 5 point harness when they drive themselves to work.

I want my kids to be safe - but come on.
Maybe they should just start making minivans with roll cages.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

honor roll

After one quarter in the middle school, Punk has been named to the "A honor roll."

Tonight I told him that even though I was not surprised, that I was very proud of him.

His immediate response?   "Sweet! What present do I get?" (Don't ask where this little gem came from - seriously, don't ask).

So I say to him, "Actually, you get two things."

He looks genuinely surprised for a moment - he knows me better than that. So I say to him,  "The first thing you get is a feeling of self worth . . . "

"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, yeah let me guess - the second one is your respect." He knew this one was coming,  I can tell by the way his eyes nearly roll back into his skull.

"Yep - and I don't just give that stuff away."

He's a pretty good natured kid.  He takes the report card back and just grins at his stupid mother.

I lean my elbows on the table so I can get a good look into his eyes when I ask this next question. "Dude, can you honestly say that if I bought you something, that this would be a bigger accomplishment?  If I bought you something, would you feel better about yourself?"

He does not miss a beat when he leans in, smiles and says, "Absolutely not.  I'd just feel better about you."


 I noticed it on facebook this morning.  Another slanted article posted about politics. I had to pipe in with my two bits, because the negativity is getting really old.

Which made me wonder.

I am a fairly self critical chick. Especially in the realm of mothering. I keep a laundry list of failures in my head - and it grows exponentially by the day.

So today, when I was busy defending politicians and the fact that they are human, and that maybe if we kept tally of the good instead of the bad, we might end up in a better place overall.

But I don't do that for myself. Instead I am very keen to dwell on my shortcomings - Yoda's poor nap skills must mean she feels insecure, which must mean I am not doing enough for her; Punk and Kooka have to spend every other weekend away from me - which is partly my own doing; the fact that we do not frequent the zoo as much as we could, or that we watched TV last night instead of playing an educational game. It all stacks up, until not only am I no longer a candidate for mother of the year, but would not be surprised to have social services knock and my door and take my children to a home where they practice multiplication tables for fun, grow their own vegetables, and steam clean the rugs at least twice a year.

So in the interest of self preservation, (and since the end result of Yoda's meltdown has left her sleeping in her crib instead of in my good writin' arm), I have decided to make a list of the things I have done right for my kids. Though it is totally contrary to my sarcastic sense of self, I am going to attempt (for at least the next 10 minutes) to focus on the positive things I have done. Here goes:

• Read all 7 Harry Potters - out loud, with voices.

• Taught my son all 5 ballet positions.

• Threw 19 killer birthday parties (yeah - they are pretty good).

• Said "no"

• Made sure Punk and Kooka have traveled to both coasts, the nation's capitol, and Disney World.

• Give great night time tuck-ins.

• Made sure everybody is up to date on their vaccinations.

• Gave up baths for 27 months. No brain frying for any of my little fetuses.

• Made sure all 3 kids can sing along to classic Jackson 5.

• Taught Punk and Kooka to read by age 2.

• Taught both big kids to do a cartwheel.

• Handmade bedspreads, curtains, and pretty sweet bedroom accessories.

• Nursed three babies - even when one of them weighed 30 pounds as a 5 month old.

• Volunteered at school.

• TAUGHT school.

• Helped with homework.

• MADE the homework.

Wow - being positive is hard for me - harder than I thought. This took way more than 10 minutes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

my big fat greek jewish baptism

Although she was born smack in the middle of the U.S.A. -  her father was born in Queens and her mother grew up in central California. One of her parents was a hippie, the other president of the Young Republicans. One is an accountant, the other a dancer. There is no doubt that child number three is a full fledged mutt.

She's got her daddy's dark hair, olive skin, and a name that is taken straight from Greek Mythology - the girl has a serious Mediterranean streak . But she's also got steely blue eyes, a quick smile, and serious insomnia - which is a testament to Mama's side of the family - Irish, Welsh, Danish and Norwegian.  Daddy cooks spanakopita, and mom was Little Miss Norway. There's a lot of heritage in that 13 pound body. 

And it doesn't end there.  Dad - a hopeful agnostic,  grew up in a house that celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah, while Mama spent her school years at a Lutheran college and her summers working at bible camp. Grandpa takes rituals from a Native medicine man, while grandma keeps a mezuzah in the glove compartment, and a St. Christopher medal hanging from the rear view mirror.

After much discussion,  Rico and I decided that giving Yoda multiple religions, would be the same as giving her no real religion at all.

So last weekend we celebrated her baptism into the Lutheran church.  She has 4 godparents; Rachel, Bob, Frank and Kelley.  If Rico and I kick the bucket prematurely, they definitely have their work cut out for them, because although they are her Christian sponsors - we are hoping that someday Nika will have a strong faith and an appreciation for the full scope of her heritage.   She'll need to memorize the 10 commandments, understand the Hanukkah story, give up something for lent,  celebrate her first communion, know how to spot a good bagel, recite the lord's prayer and travel to Israel. It is also imperative that she learn enough yiddish to use in a road rage situation, as well as the ability to make a passable hotdish for a church basement potluck.

We have no doubt those 4 are up to the challenge.  If not, they can always defer to Uncle D, who says we should forget all of the particulars and start celebrating Hanuramakwanzmas.

Monday, November 1, 2010

happy halloween

It was a pretty good one all around.  Punk took in quite a haul as a retro cowboy, little trick or treaters loved watching Kooka do the robot in her seriously-amazing-handmade-by-dad costume, and Yoda - well - come ON, what else were we going to dress her as this year . . . .

Someone has not yet learned the fine art of posing for pictures.  But she still looks fab in those little green ears. Her super-wonderful godsisters found that outfit. For anyone who is interested in helping with next year's costumes - my children's new nicknames are "Diamond",  "Miata", and "Gold Bricks".