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Friday, September 22, 2006

Motherly Identification

“Look! I’m a mom!” my daughter gleefully declared tonight.

Of course, at the time she was standing over the trashcan scraping the remnants of dinner off her plate.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or groan, so I settled upon a head shake and an incredulous look sent my husband’s direction.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Kiddie Pool and Newsweek

I spent this afternoon mowing my lawn and then watching my kids play in a bright blue kiddy pool in the backyard. In a particularly creative move, I moved a small plastic slide over to the pool, so that when either kid slid down it, the resulting momentum propelled said child over the side of the pool in a blur of water and grass clippings. Nonetheless, the kids enjoyed it, particularly my oldest daughter, who relished the challenge of trying to thwart physics and remain in the water rather then being ejected over the side.

I reclined in a chair and watched the proceedings, mentally debating whether I should read the latest issue of Newsweek or interact with the kids in some meaningful way.

My ultimate goal being to read my magazine in peace, I first made a few laps around the yard with the giggling kids before settling down to read an article on Johnny Depp.

Apparently a few minutes of children’s laughter is my currency of choice when it comes to assuaging parental guilt.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Zip Lines and Genetics

The other day I was reclining in my friend’s back yard watching my three-year-old daughter fly across the lawn on a recently installed zip line. The multi-step process involved Little M climbing up a ladder propped against a tree, clasping onto the handle, then letting go to cruise across the yard at roughly jogging speed, and lastly, (here’s my favorite part) holding out her feet to absorb the impact of smacking into the fence at the far end.

After only a few practice runs, where I ran next to her and helped her avoid whacking the fence too hard, she had it down. Not only that, she loved it.

I sat back and smiled, proud of her in the most primal way. ‘Cuz as I watched my daughter fly across my field of vision, I knew it wasn’t my parenting that gave her the confidence or drive to climb up that ladder and take that leap.

No, I sat there with my excited smile because in that little three year old body, I recognized my genetic code in action. There for all to witness were the same genes that reveled in my skydiving at the age of sixteen with my father.

Later as I retold the tale to my father-in-law, he laughed and rhetorically asked, “I wonder where she got that from?” I simply smiled proudly into the phone.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Skinny on Models

Is it just me, or is this one of the best ideas you’ve heard in a while? Personally, I wish all fashion shows/publications tested model’s BMI. It’s about time health was placed ahead of some warped ideal of beauty.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Price of Admission

The other night I was stretched out next to my hubs in bed enjoying a rather dry chianti, when I told him about a recent conversation I had with a girlfriend. She’s adamant about wanting to have a second child, while her husband is firmly against the notion.

The icing on the cake came in the form of friends from church, who came over to her house for dinner one night, with two kids in tow, ages four and two. After refusing to dine in the house because of baby proofing issues, everyone settled down to eat outside in the fenced in backyard.

Suffice to say the there were repeated interruptions, a few tantrums, more than a little dirt dug up and several prematurely picked flowers. Not long after they left and the dishes were soaking. My friend's husband turned to her with a look of incredulity and asked again why she would ever want a second child. All night their friends could barely finish a sentence, let alone maintain an actual conversation.

My friend didn’t have a good answer and after telling me the tale, I spurted out a rambling reply involving phases, parenting styles, dispositions, etc.

“So,” I asked my husband. “What would you have said?”

Dr. J paused for only a few seconds and replied, “That’s the price of admission. The best things in life always require hard work to achieve from marriage to education and now children.”

He then smiled and took another sip of wine. After all, that just says it all don’t it?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Alaska...In a Few Thousand Words

Well, I'm officially giving up my search for my missing Alaska Notebook, which contained all my writings while traveling this summer…sniff…sniff. Apparently it drifted off into another dimension; perhaps the one to which my car keys recently traveled.

So, instead of attempting to recollect those words written weeks ago, I've decided to simply post a few pictures.


This is one of Dr. J's favorite pictures of me and the kids with Portage Glacier in the background.


Here's a shot of the kids enjoying their view of the beautiful and rugged Talkeetna Mountains.


And this one is of my kids gazing out over Eklunta Lake with a rainbow stretching into the sky.


And finally, here's a picture of the kids taking a hiking break by Turnagain Arm, right outside Anchorage.

Man, oh, man, I can't wait to get back there again some day.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Buzz Kill

Thanks for the great welcome back everyone…Alas, still no sign of my missing notebook from my travels in Alaska. So, in the interim, I’ll just post pieces I wrote over the summer…Enjoy.
________________________________________

The other day my girlfriend was over for lunch with her two kids, ages four and three. As she sipped her beverage of choice amidst the turmoil and squeals of four children, she confided in me an obvious epiphany she had after her son’s recent birthday.

“[My son] really wanted a particular Buzz Lightyear statue he spotted at a store,” she began. “He begged me almost every day for it. Granted he already has two Buzz Lightyear dolls, collector cards, etc, already at home. So, on his birthday he rips open the box and there’s the coveted statue.”

At this point she paused while the kids careened through the kitchen.

“He played for it for maybe ten minutes and then moved on. And that’s when it dawned on me…He will never be satisfied at this age. He will always want more and no matter what I buy for him, it won’t be enough. You’d think I would’ve figured this out sooner.”

I smiled back at her in response and the conversation drifted on.

Later that afternoon while the kids napped, I sat on the floor, picking up after my son, who had spent the past hour gleefully pulling out old photo albums from our bookshelves. One album was open to a series of photos taken over ten years ago from a hike Dr. J and I took in Maine.

In one shot I’m smiling at the camera, standing on mountain top overlooking the ocean, surrounded by boulders and blueberry bushes. I’m wearing a black bikini top, khaki shorts and a rather flirtatious smile.

I remember Dr. J begging me to take the photo and my being self conscious about my attire and body. I even remember thinking that if I didn’t like the picture I could just toss it when Dr. J was looking.

God, I was such an idiot.

Now, ten years later, looking at that trim, tanned girl smiling back me, I groan when I recall all the wasted energy spent cutting my body down, frustrated even then that I wasn’t skinny or pretty enough.

And that’s when it hit me: Even ten years later I’m still not happy with my body. If the girl smiling at me from the photo wasn’t satisfied, when will I ever be?

When will I ever realize I have enough fu**ing Buzz Lightyears?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Home Again

Greetings and salutations readers….I’m Baaaaaaaack!

Thanks for all the kind comments and e-mails during my blogging hiatus. As it turns out, Internet access was a rare commodity over the past two months. Upon reflection, this was probably a good thing, a breather so to speak from the deluge of information that flood our daily lives.

On a frustrating note, upon arriving home, I have been unable to find a notebook I kept on my travels. With any luck it will be unearthed in the coming weeks. Until it’s found, I will post pieces I have written while home sporadically this past summer.

Living in Alaska was an amazing experience to say the least. It was like a test drive of sorts because of our lengthy stay, like trying on a new environment to see if it fits.

It fit.

Perhaps it was my upbringing in rural Maine, but Alaska felt like home. Hiking among the mountains, giggling at the sight of moose, dipping my toes in the cold glacial lakes were all experiences that touched a primal side of me and screamed: YES!

There are many places upon visiting that an individual may mentally check off a list, having viewed their beauty - the Grand Canyon for instance. But, Alaska leaves me feeling insatiable, excited about the prospect of visiting this State again in the future.

I hope you also had a wonderful summer and I look forward to the wit and insights written these past several months on your own blogs.

Take care,
Dani

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Summer Sabbatical

Yeah, I’ve officially fallen off the blogosphere the last month and I’m posting today to let you know it’s going to be a while before I jump back on the wagon again. Originally, I stopped because things were a little hectic and we were vacationing in California, which was da bomb by the way. But, after coming home and adjusting back to my routine, I simply realized I just didn’t want to blog for a while.

Admittedly, my family’s got a lot on our plate this summer, including two trips to Maine, one to Wisconsin and a month long excursion to Alaska – all before the end of August.

In addition, the allure of the keyboard has waned with the warm weather, and I don’t want to start blogging only out of a sense of obligation. This should be fun, challenging, an outlet – not a burden.

So, I’ve made the decision to take this summer off, kinda like a summer vacation. I’ll still write, but won’t be posting it until September.

I’ll miss you guys and will be stopping by your blogs from time to time to check up on ya.

Take care,
Dani

Thursday, April 13, 2006

My Parental Tequila Moment

One night in college I was hanging out late at night with my boyfriend and bunch of his friends. With nothing better to do and only a deck of cards and a bottle of tequila at our disposal, we made up a drinking game, aptly titled “Chug That,” which at the time we thought was rather witty.

Sad, isn’t it?

Anyways, the rules of the game couldn’t have been more simple. Each person took a turn as a dealer; while the players would each get to guess the face value of the card at the top of the deck. If the dealer revealed the card that had been guessed, then they did a shot. And around and around we went.

I remember the room filling up with laughter as we each took our turns. I also remember realizing that everyone but me was counting the cards. This is what you get when you play cards with a bunch of guys from MIT. Well, that and a lot of conversation revolving around Dungeons and Dragons, but that’s another story.

Near the end, I remember thinking as I perched on my bar stool and tipped the bottle back yet again, that I was surprised at how great I felt considering the amount of alcohol I had imbibed. In fact, I felt wonderful. Carefree. Totally in control. Yipee.

You see what’s comin’ don’t you?

I then, of course, hit the wall, or more appropriately, the floor after falling from my stool. A “major ouchie” as I’m fond of saying nowadays. Then, things started to get really hazy.

Not long after that I gave up trying to sit on the stool; but quickly learned that standing wasn’t my strong suit either. Another shot later, I began to reconsider the necessity of staying on my feet all together. Just way too much exertion.

Ahhhh, college. Those were the good ol’ days.

Sigh.

My point?

I want you to know that I’ve officially reached my Parental Tequila Moment.

The hubs hasn’t had a day off in almost three weeks and I've been trying to hang in there, running to playdates, playgroups and playgrounds with energy and efficiency.

(Dear readers, I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that this my excuse for not posting or visiting your sites lately. This and the fact that I’m officially hooked on Laurell Hamilton’s Vampire Novels as of late.)

I even whipped up dinners with one child slung on my hip while the other careened at incredible speeds through the kitchen, all while screaming at the top of her lungs.

I then hit the wall.

Actually, I hit the bathroom, using it like an escape pod, kinda like that Jodie Foster movie, “Panic Room.” I even took a glass of wine and book in there with me and then proceeded to sit on the toilet for over twenty minutes.

Sure, my legs were numb by the time I peeled myself off the seat, but I was done. Exhausted. Couldn’t take anymore.

So, as I stood looking in the mirror, listening to sounds screeches and little feet running past my door, I realized that it may have been over a decade since that Tequila burned down my throat, but some things never change.

When you hit that unexpected wall, in the end, you always end up in the bathroom.

At least this time it won’t be a splitting headache or the faint smell of vomit to arouse me in the morning, but a preschooler with her favorite stuffed lobster and love of Golden Grahams cereal at the crack of dawn.