Q & A

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:35 PM


I promised you photos of my guest bath update.

It's not done, of course, because nothing is ever "done" around here, but it's as done as it's going to get today, so here you go. I have painted, hung a couple of little things on the walls, and am hard at work on the light fixtures. David very nearly electrocuted himself changing the almond switches and plates to white ones. (It was worth it.)

In exchange for the sneak peek, I have a few questions. Maybe you can help me.

1. Is it weird to hang artwork in the bathroom? Like, if you were sitting on my toilet and staring at artwork on the wall directly across from you, would you be creeped out? I want artwork absolutely everywhere, but it occurs to me that maybe I am abnormal in this regard. (I already know myself to be abnormal in many other regards, thank you.)

2. Speaking of the light fixtures: why would a person install a light in a room, then cover that light with a BROWN SHADE so that it does not provide any illumination benefit?

3. And where the sam hill does a girl go to get chandelier size lampshades, anyway? I can now tell you about 8 places that you cannot buy them (Michaels, 3 different Targets, Anthropologie, and Home Goods) I don't want to order online because I am paranoid they won't fit or look good (based on the experience I've had so far, this is a very likely scenario). Anyone? Bueller?

4. What do you suppose that yellow stain is on the right side of my counter? Maybe a camel peed in the "sands of time"? I can tell you that the hand of God himself couldn't get it off. Whoops, looks like I need a new countertop!

5. Why do I love this blue/green/gray color so much? I just got a (free) lamp that color too. Help!

6. So, do you like it?

Blog challenge catch-up:

Day 15: iPod shuffle first 10 songs:

1. Drive In Drive Out, Dave Matthews Band
2. The Climb, No Doubt
3. You're Only Human, Billy Joel
(why does my iPod like the worst song on every album?)
4. Turn Me On, Norah Jones
(that's better)
5. Dory, Grizzly Bear
6. Blood of Eden, Peter Gabriel
7. Buddy Holly, Weezer
8. Schism, Tool
9. Manchild, The Eels
10. Hallelujah Chorus, George Frederic Handel

Day 16: Another picture of yourself:

This is Iris and I at the library a couple of weeks ago, on a rare lovely cold day:

Day 17: Someone I would want to switch lives with for a day and why?

I think I would switch places with my younger self for a day, just so I could give her some perspective, and give my present self a good laugh!

Day 18: Plans/goals/dreams you have?

I want to finish college, with a degree in music. Maybe conducting? Vocal performance? I've got time to figure it out, because I have to wait until David finishes before I can get started.

I want to get my IBCLC. Sooner than later.

I dream of the fun things and beautiful memories I will make with my family as they grow. I love them so much now, and it only gets better as time goes by. I look forward to having older children, then teenagers, then adult children. And yet, I also never want Iris to get a day older. What's a mama to do?

I want to put a winding concrete path around the backyard so my kids can race their bikes and scooters around it.

I want to have chickens.

I want to travel. More.

I want to write, and have lots of people read it.

Day 19: Nicknames you have, and why you have them:

The Wizzle: This is my Blogger handle here, and my license plate. When I explain it to people, I always start with "you know Snoop Dogg?" If they say no, I usually just give up there. If they say yes, I remind them of his short-lived but hilarious TV show, Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, where everything is renamed, rapper-style, by taking the first letter and tacking -izzle on the end. Wife ----> Wizzle.

My parents call me Lovey. I, um, love it.

Day 20: Someone you see yourself marrying or being with in the future:

I would say this even if he didn't read my blog (and really, how sad would I be if my own husband didn't even read my blog?) but I cannot and do not want to imagine my life married to anyone else. We have grown and changed so much since we met when we were 15 years old, but we grow together and we grow closer and I definitely, definitely made the right choice.

Day 21: a picture of something that makes you happy:

I read The Sartorialist (you should too) and he posted this photo last week. I am totally in love: the girl, her dress, her lips, her darling little valise, the boots, the colors, the city. I just want to slide right in there.

Hiking a la Eve

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, February 25, 2011 at 7:54 PM


A couple of months back, Eve's preschool teacher scheduled her class for a "hike" (by which I mean "entirely flat nature walk") through Usery Pass Park, to occur yesterday. Parents were encouraged to attend. Younger siblings not permitted.

Ever since I got the permission slip, I have been pretending it wasn't happening. We've taken Eve hiking, a number of times. She has walked. She has been carried. It has been hot, cold, and just right, weather-wise. The trails have been quiet and crowded. She has been at age 2, 3, and 4. She has been alone and with the entire family.

(Notice who is not in this picture.)

We have been under every possible circumstance, but no matter what changes, there is always one constant: Eve is miserable.

And when Eve is miserable, the whole of Phoenix metro knows about it, and is drawn into her vortex. It is a black hole from which, as Devlin would be quick to point out, not even light can escape. "Suffer in silence" is not a philosophy to which she subscribes. And there is much for her to hate about hiking: the attendant wardrobe, the requirement to stay with one's party, the sun in one's eyes, the fact that it lasts longer than 5 minutes and there is no readily available toilet facility, the lack of food vendors, the many sharp, poky, hot, dusty, fanged, rattling, jumping, living and non-living entities that one might encounter out of doors.

I can see her point.

But that doesn't mean I want to go hiking with her.

Luckily for me, Iris has dance class at the very same time that Eve's class was scheduled to hike. Long story short, there was no way for either parent to accompany Eve on the hike and also get Iris to her class, which she literally lives for. Since my attendance on the hike was neither compulsory nor attractive, I opted to allow Eve to go under the watchful eye of her teachers and many adult chaperones, while I watched Iris turn somersaults and try to point her fat toes. I wouldn't go on a hike with Eve if you paid me, and since I am *paying for her* to have this...opportunity, I took the coward's way out.

Feeling relieved to allow someone else to shoulder the burden of herding Eve through the treacherous outing and yet guilty that I was basically lobbing a grenade into the room and running out the side door, I did my utmost to head off the triggers that I knew were likely to arise. In the week of the hike, I went over the written protocol the teachers had sent home with her many, many, MANY times in preparation to leave her in the hands of her guardians (anyone who has ever had charge of her for even two minutes knows that an official "transfer of power" is required, signed in triplicate, to have any hope of her cooperation while under the care of another adult). All the kids were asked to:

- wear long pants, closed-toe shoes, a shirt, a sweater *and* a jacket (my eyes watered from bitter laughter when I read this)
- bring water in such a way as to leave both hands free (backpack, shoulder strap, etc)
- wear sunscreen or a hat if desired (I assure you, this was not desired)
- stay with one's chaperone
- not touch cacti
- not stick one's hand into holes in the ground
- not approach or heckle critters

Surprisingly, we succeeded on nearly all fronts. When confronted with the specter of owies upon her knees and elbows, she conceded to jeans (the pair she likes, with heart pockets on the bum), a long-sleeved shirt, and her favorite jean jacket with soft furry lining at the cuffs and collar. She took our smallest Camelbak hydration backpack, tightened as far as it would go, and I had her practice to make sure she could get water out of the nozzle (even though she's used it a hundred times whenever we go hiking as a family, see paragraph 4). I styled her hair in a bun so that it would neither be caught in the straps of the backpack and pulled by the roots (oh, the HORROR!) nor drawn into her mouth whilst drinking.

She saw the wisdom in closed-toe shoes, but would not consent to boots, tights, or socks. She chose a pair of well-favored scuffed black mary janes. Much time was spent in assessment of the pitfalls of toe seams/constriction of one's feet vs. rocks in one's shoes, and she was firm that she would stop whenever necessary and have the teacher help her empty her shoes. The mathematics of 20 children and the cumulative amount of minutes spent emptying shoes if everyone in the class subscribed to the Eve Method were discussed, but in the end I decided that it was likely to be less hassle for her teacher to deal with periodic shoe emptying than continuous hateful seam presence. No boots, no socks. Fine.

She has already had one memorable experience involving her hand and a cactus, so only a brief review was required on that point. She is also not remotely fond of critters/varmints/things that go bump in the night, so a mere few recitations of "look with our eyes, not with our hands" were deemed sufficient on that score. For a 60-minute outing, the issue of a sunhat did not pass a preliminary mental cost-benefit analysis and was not even brought to the negotiating table.

(If you've gotten to this point and are wondering: yes, this much preparation is typical for an outing of this caliber, with this child. It might seem like overkill, but I can confidently assure you, from vast personal experience, that it is the best course of action.)

So, having done all the hard work ahead of time, on Thursday morning we merely suited her up, handed the girl and her car seat to her assigned driver, and waved goodbye.

* * * * *

At pickup time, I was there waiting for her. She ran to me, carrying her jacket (as I had known she would be), with a ridiculous grin on her face. Her teachers appeared normal and unharmed, showing no signs of a struggle or mental anguish of any kind. I thanked them profusely for the opportunity, and asked them how she did.

"Oh, she was just fine! She did get a few rocks in her shoes, but we just stopped and emptied them." (Yes, yes, all part of her diabolical plan.) "She also had quite a bit of trouble getting the water out of her backpack" (whaaaaaaaaaa????? we went over this, girl!) "and she seemed reluctant to keep her coat on" (you have NO idea, lady) "but overall it was pretty uneventful".

She paused, thinking for a moment. "She's quite her own little person, isn't she?"

Yes, Mrs. F. Yes, she certainly is.

Sweet and Sassy

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on at 2:01 PM


Me, interrupting Eve and Iris going toe to toe over...something: You can't win an argument with a 2-year-old.

Eve: Yes, I can. I have a loud voice. I can use it, and talk very loud so I can't hear Iris's voice. Then I win.

* * * * *

Me, describing a photograph of the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle: The soldiers stand guard for a while, then when it's time, they change formation.

Eve, jaw dropped, hushed voice: Just like penguins!

* * * * *

Eve, this morning, explaining why she felt her winter coat and sandals were the beginnings of a sensible outfit: My arms get cold, but my feet will not. They're at the bottom. There's no wind way down there, I don't think.

Good news and bad news

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 9:05 PM


Good news: My hallway guest bathroom is now painted. (It's the same "blue fir" color as the kitchen, for anyone keeping track.)

It looks awesome.

I don't even have to paint the ceiling.

I have enough of this color left over to do the laundry room too!

Bad news: That means I get to paint the laundry room.

When the paint is dry tomorrow, I get to put back up the hideous towel ring, boring mirror, and almond-colored switch covers (to match the "sands of time" countertop and shell sink). This is demoralizing.

I am such an amateur blogger, I didn't even take a "before" picture. Will I ever learn?

Question: Will you forgive me if I post an "after" shot tomorrow? Maybe I'll even spring for new switch covers...

People Pleaser

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 7:42 PM


Last week, Devlin performed in the Hale Elementary Variety Show. He was the youngest participant (there was a lot of stiff competition for the spots!) and I know I'm biased but I think he's just so fabulous. He did a stand-up comedy routine and was in hog heaven. He just loves to make people laugh!

He did have a couple of small technical difficulties (the microphone fails first, then he has a minor wardrobe malfunction) but he handled them like a true professional. (This is important because he is his sensitive mother's child and has been known to burst into heartbreaking sobs over much smaller incidents.)

Here's the text of the jokes so you can follow along. The video is more than a little shaky because I had a 40-pound toddler bouncing on my arm. The girls sat through the entire 75-minute show once and loved every minute. In fact, they watched half of the second performance later in the afternoon and cried when I took them home early! It was really a cute production.

1. Three skunks were going down a road. When the path split, the first skunk said, "my instinct tells me to go west".

The second skunk said, "my instinct tells me to go east".

And the third skunk said "my end stinks, but it doesn't tell me which way to go!"

* * * * *

2. The nurse says to the doctor, "there's an invisible man in the waiting room".

And the doctor says, "tell him I can't see him!"

* * * * *

3. What do you call a fish with no "i"?

A fsh!

* * * * *

4. Why was 6 afraid of 7?

7 ate 9!

* * * * *

5. The doctor said to his patient, "I have some good news and some bad news."

The patient said, "what's the bad news?" And the doctor said "we're going to have to amputate both your feet".

The patient said, "that's horrible! What's the good news?" And the doctor said, "the patient next door wants to buy your shoes!"

My favorite joke that didn't make the cut, due to young children's lack of understand about the various snake subtypes:

Noah, after the flood subsided, opened the doors of the Ark and released the animals. All living things rushed to freedom except for two snakes who just lingered in a corner of the Ark.

Noah asked the snakes "Why don't you go forth and multiply like the others?"

The snakes replied " We can't....We're ADDERS!"

Nyuk nyuk nyuk. Watch out, Louie CK - Devlin Thomas Dixon is comin' after you!

I bet you want to hear about my party

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 at 8:01 PM


I've talked it up enough, right?

I bet you want pictures, too.

Unfortunately for you, I neglected to take a single, solitary photo at the party. Not one. I don't believe it either. No, I don't know why you put up with this from me.

Can I make it up to you by telling you that David and I spent literally the WHOLE DAY grooming the front and back yard, only to invoke the biggest windstorm we have had in recent memory which promptly blew in just as many leaves as we had managed to rake up? Or that it was unseasonably, unreasonably cold and rainy all afternoon, derailing my best attempts to plant two new hibiscus bushes in our front flower bed? We opted to cut our losses and focus the event around our roaring fireplace.

What if I told you that I got to catch up with about 30 of my most awesome friends and family, or that there were too many faces I missed seeing (does this mean I need to throw another one of these? Because I think I might need to wait at least a year)?

Would you be jealous if I told you that I received 1975-related gifts of house numbers, two lava lamps, brown-and-orange platform shoes, a paisley romper of truly dizzying color scheme, a period-correct map of London, and a microwave cookbook? (Did you know you can make cookies in the microwave? Apparently so. If I try it and it the result doesn't poison me, I'll let you know how it goes). I also received (and continue to receive) the gift of the friendship of more than one person born in that illustrious year!

And you will *definitely* be jealous when you hear that we gave away a copy each of Wish You Were Here, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Humboldt's Gift, all brought to you courtesy of 1975. Renee, of the hilarious MommyBlogYay, was the winner of my giveaway and she also came to collect her winnings (and, presumably, for the pleasure of my company. Or maybe her winnings and chips and salsa.)

So, since I completely failed in my blogger duties, can I interest you in photos of some of the other home decor items that made their way here in preparation for the event? I thought so.

My little French table moved to the other side of the bookcase, and sitting on top is something I very rarely purchase: a purely decorative object.

Thank you, Ryan and Holly, for the birthday gift card! I took my sweet time picking something out with it, but the whole family agrees we have a winner. Spinning that little thing is strangely therapeutic, and it adds just the right amount of sparkle I'd say.

And why did I move it? Because I found this darling little chair to go on the other side, that's why:

I might reupholster it, but the naugahyde is original and I hate to tamper with it unless I really need to. What do you guys think?

(As a side note, I'm trying very hard to learn what all the buttons on my camera do, and I think I'm making some headway - but it turns out no amount of fiddling with the F-stop will do a lick of good when your toddler has destroyed a strategically placed shelf on your bookcase and it's in EVERY PICTURE. You see it now, don't you?)

And finally, you already saw it, but my beautiful birthday tablecloth has been in use since the party Saturday night - and it still looks great! There are a couple of sweet little orange fingerprints on there somewhere, but it turns out that a rainbow of colors and an intricate pattern go a long, long way to hiding the evidence of life's little messes. I spend a lot less time wiping down the table now - just brush off the crumbs and away we go. I'm leaving it on there as long as I can, then I am flipping that jacquard baby over to the reverse side and we'll just see how long I can go before it has to be washed. Any bets?

Blog challenge catch-up:

Day 10: Songs you listen to when you are bored: If I ever had an opportunity to be bored, which I will have to merely imagine for the present time, I might listen to Sufjan Stevens' Illinois. Something on there to keep anyone busy!

happy: I love Bjork's Telegram remix of Hyperballad. Just go listen to it.

sad: Radiohead's OK Computer or Charlotte Gainsbourg's 5:55. When Iris was briefly hospitalized last summer, that album was the only one I had on whatever portable electronic device I had with me when I stayed overnight with her. I had it on repeat all night to help us both calm down, and every time the nurses would come in to check on her I would wake up just enough to wonder where I was and this music would be playing. I loved it before, but now it is part of my consciousness in a very strange way.

hyped: Maroon 5. They make me want to boogie down.

Day 11: Another picture of me and my friends: Noelia Waldo, Jen Bass, and me, having a very special *wink wink* girl's night out a couple of years ago!

Day 12: How you found out about blogger and why you have one: Well, I think Blogger was what most people were using, and I don't know why I started it. Just an experiment, I guess. Now just look where it got me!

Day 13: A letter to someone who has hurt me recently: You know, I just don't feel like doing this one. How do you like that?

Day 14: A picture of you and your family: Thanksgiving 2010

How I went to London

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 7:58 PM


My last post was a little bit ranty. And this one is going to be too, I'm just warning you. I have a few soapbox essays that have been buzzing around in my head for a while, and they're starting to get pretty obnoxious in there. If I don't let them out, they're liable to do some permanent damage!

A lot of people have asked me, and I'm sure many more have thought it: how does a regular old mom of three in a single-income family take a week-long, kid-free trip to the motherland? Right after Christmas, no less?

(I'll give you a hint: our new house was landscaped with bamboo, oleanders, and a tall skinny pine. No money tree in sight.)

On the one hand, I have wanted to lay it right out there, because I feel like by not disclosing the means, I am by omission making myself sound cooler, more affluent, and more glamorous than I really am. But then the other half of my brain thinks that this kind of question shouldn't even be dignified with a response. Why do we need to know this about each other? Isn't it kind of still off-limits to discuss finances in polite company?

But I'll come back to that later.

For now, here it is: my parents took us. Plain and simple. Me and David, my sister and her husband, and themselves: airfare, lodgings, transit, food, and sightseeing. All of it. We bought our passports, some meals out, and souvenirs. That's it. My in-laws live here in town, and they very graciously hosted all three of my kids for the week.

I know, it sounds pretty simple now, right?

My parents love to travel, they love to spend time with their kids, and they decided that combining those things was worth the price of admission. They wanted to go, we couldn't afford to come, so they took us. All the stars were aligned: they had the money, my kids are just old enough to be left, my sister is having her first baby this summer, so this was really our only shot for the forseeable future. My children have the most wonderful grandparents on earth and I couldn't pay to leave them anywhere more perfect, even if I could afford to, which I can't.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I have noticed a shift. All my life, I have been told that we shouldn't "judge" each other.

When I was a child, it meant not making fun of someone because they used crutches, spoke with a lisp, wore headgear, or wet their pants in PE.

When I was a teenager, it meant not excluding someone because they didn't wear the right brand of jeans, flunked out of geometry, didn't come to church, or had a ring in their nose.

Now that I'm an adult, I see that it goes both ways. We still judge each other harshly: so-and-so is always late, has let herself go,or else always puts herself first, feeds her kids junk food, doesn't come to PTO meetings, dresses like a floozy (do people still say floozy?)

But even worse - because it's sneakier, and we don't even realize we are doing it - we judge each other to be more perfect than any human should ever have to be.

We see someone's cute, clean house and think not only that ours looks worse, but that theirs always looks magazine perfect.

We see someone at the grocery store in lipstick and heels, and think not only what a slob we are, but that that person never feels unattractive.

We see someone at church every week, with their perfect family in matching clothes, not a hair out of place, and assume they feel that they belong there.

We see that someone has bought Christmas gifts ahead of time, wrapped in darling handmade paper, and think not only that we are behind the 8 ball yet again, but that they never feel disorganized or inadequate.

You might hear that I went to London for a week, and think not only that your life is boring and uneventful and you're broke, but that mine is always exciting and I have no financial worries.

Do you see how crazy this is?

We are hurting ourselves, and we are hurting each other. A sincere compliment is one thing, but when we build each other up so high, we can't see the people around us for who they really are. We make each other into something we are not, and cannot be. We need to give each other space to be imperfect, to be insecure, to fail. We need to know ourselves, and to let go of the idea that we all need to enjoy the same things, and to excel at all of them.

It's okay to be better at something than someone else.

It's okay to admit it.

It's okay to be a miserable failure at something.

It's okay to not feel bad about it.

It's okay to be honest.

It's okay to doubt.

It's okay to be confident.

It's okay to love yourself, and your friends, and total strangers, exactly as they are.

Just because we don't have the same problems, doesn't mean we don't have problems. Just because you can't see someone's insecurities, their fears, their flaws, doesn't mean they aren't there.

Don't waste your energy envying someone else's life - because you never know who bought their plane ticket.

Frocking Friday Times 2: Shake What Your Mama Gave You

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, February 18, 2011 at 7:41 PM


I hate beauty pageants.

The goal of a beauty pageant, as far as I can tell, is to take a large diverse group of women, put them into a Cuisinart, and extrude them onto a conveyor belt all looking and acting exactly the same. Well, that's not quite true. You can be blonde, or brunet, or even "exotic" - just as long as you are tall, tan, 36-24-36, with long bouncy waves and a gleaming white cap on every tooth.

It doesn't matter how you get there, you just have to get there. Dye, bleach, bronze, chisel, inflate, inject.

Ladies, it is GARBAGE.

Whatever you have is awesome. Your freckles are awesome, your cowlicks are awesome, your crooked teeth are awesome. Your big feet, small boobs, pale skin, knobby knees, childbearing hips, and prominent ears are all awesome. The things that make you different are the things that make you interesting! Don't edit yourself. Don't equalize yourself.

Saturate. Enhance. Amplify.

There is a house down the street from mine that we noticed when we were scoping out this neighborhood. It was a graceful two-story, well-kept and tidy.

It was also mauve. There was just no other word for it. (Maybe "faded raspberry".)

We have often wondered about the owners: who are they? Did they choose the color, or inherit it? Are they saving up for a new, beige paint job? Are they embarrassed to be the owners of "the mauve house"?

Last week, I drove by one day and noticed a work truck parked in front of the mauve house. The windows were taped off and covered in plastic. A paint job was in the works. I texted David to tell him the news, and together we waited to see the fate of the mysterious dwelling. We speculated, we placed bets, we passed down their street more often than was strictly necessary.

2 days later, I drove by on the way to take my son to school. The truck was gone, the tape was down, and the house was no longer mauve.

It was PURPLE.

It was purple as an aubergine, and the beaming owner stood in the front yard, surveying her kingdom - wearing a purple tracksuit and shiny purple sneakers.

So in her honor, here's me last week on Frocking Friday, wearing a pencil skirt that definitely does *not* make my ample bottom half look more balanced, and no mascara. Because red eyelashes are beautiful too!

And here is this week: two real-life regular mama friends, who left our piles of dirty dishes and unfolded laundry to frock together at a picnic lunch. We're no beauty queens, but I think we look pretty amazing.

Girls of every size, shape, and color welcome here:

My legs are *not* my favorite feature. They curve where I wish they were slimmer, they're straight where I wish they curved, they're ghostly pale and that makes their abundant veins, freckles, and bruises all the more visible. But you know what? That's not going to stop me from rocking these awesome socks:

So give me your moles, your lumps, your untamed curls! What is your favorite "outside the box" feature on yourself, or who is your inspiration to let your freak flag fly? I love Tilda Swinton, myself, because she is colored just like me and she doesn't apologize one bit. Let's hear it for the real, un-Photoshopped us!

Jump Around

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 9:13 PM


On Wednesday mornings, I take Devlin to school at 7:30, in my pajamas. Sometimes I wear my slippers, which have Eeyore on the toes. The girls usually stay home with their daddy and eat their toast and bananas. I have to promise not to listen to our Junie B. Jones audiobook without them. Every day.

When I come home, I get as ready as I can in between breakfast dishes, making beds, and reading at least 4 library books to the girls (I always make it out of my Eeyore slippers - everything else is negotiable). I drop Eve off at preschool, and Iris and I are off on a 3-hour adventure, just the two of us.

We go "treasure hunting", which means the Goodwill on the way to the library. I have to be sure to remember quarters so we can get Mike and Ikes out of the vending machine (only I get Hot Tamales so I don't have to share). We walk around and browse for awhile, carefully avoiding the toy section (whatever I succumb and buy is sure to be moldy, broken, or both), and then at 10 when the library opens we head over for story time.

My standards must have slipped considerably, because I find this event legitimately enjoyable, without a hint of irony. We listen to Sheri read books like The Napping House, and Hondo and Fabian, and Hi, Pizza Man. We sing songs, we do finger plays, we look for Little Cat behind ten-gallon hats of various colors.

Today, Sheri kicked it up a notch and made crepe paper Tigger tails for all the storytime kids.

Iris, bless her heart, was first.in.line to get hers tucked into her waistband, and when the music came on, she crouched way down, launched her considerable mass into the air, and came down with a tremendous BOOM! Over and over and over.

She twirled drunkenly and whirled dervishly (it helps if you stick your tongue out, apparently).

Ashes, ashes...

we all fall down!

Blog Challenge Day 9: Something you're proud of the past few days

I worked out today, even though I didn't want to and it was *really* hard. I am doing it mainly so that I can rock the resort wear on my anniversary cruise this summer. What's in it for me, that's what I always say!


Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 6:59 PM


So, I've been very busy, happily feathering my little nest in preparation for our party this weekend. I'm not going to spill all the beans quite yet, but here's a couple of photos of some of the more notable acquisitions (if you gave me birthday money, chances are it has been sunk into one or more of these items!)

The girls and I love to sit and read books on this blue couch, and now we have somewhere to rest our feet while we do it! The ottoman also doubles as a two-seater canoe for my adventurous little girls. And even David concedes that the decorative pillows do, in fact, "tie it all together":

I had lots, lots more pillows. But they have to go back.

Want to know why?

Because it turns out that my tea towels have a big brother. And now he belongs to me:

It's colorful, it's gorgeous, it's cotton permeated with Teflon. Sounds like a perfect fit for my colorful, messy family!

Blog challenge catch-up:

Day 6: Favorite superhero and why:

I spend a lot of time mocking comic books (sorry - graphic novels, I think?) but I'll say a toss-up between Harry Potter and Jack Bauer. They're superheroes, aren't they?

Day 7: A picture of someone or something that has influenced you:

I'm not going to do any family members because there is a day for that later, so let's go with this set of books. Standin' Tall - did anyone else have these as a kid? My sister and I spent so.many.hours listening to these, and I think every child can benefit from a healthy dose of indoctrination in obedience, honesty, forgiveness, work, courage, happiness, gratitude, love, service, cleanliness, self-esteem, and dependability.

Day 8: Short term goals for this month:

Well, that's easy. Host this party. Will be accomplished, one way or another, by Saturday.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go scrub my shower in case anyone, you know, needs to use it during the housewarming.


Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011 at 7:30 PM


As of this writing, 76 Facebook friends have wished me a fabulous birthday, fantastic birthday, happy birthday, or some variation thereof.

Unfortunately, today was day NINE of one or more children who are just sick enough to have to stay home from school, church, the gym, or any other outfit that might give me a moment to myself, but not sick enough to lay down on the couch like good little zombies. They're ornery, they're antagonistic, they're hungry, tired, not hungry, cold, bored, mommommommommommommomMOMMOMMOMMOMMOMMOM. They're on a mission, that mission is to drive me certifiably out of my mind, and they get a 9.9 from the East German judge.

I'm feeling just the littlest bit better after eating two donuts, taking my birthday money to Home Goods, and buying the entire decorative pillow department, but I think for the safety of my innocent readers I'm going to keep it short and sweet tonight.

Happy Valentine's Day from my sick, whiny, grouchy kids and me!

Juice and Couture

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, February 11, 2011 at 6:41 PM


I thought of another bad habit of mine: I simply, positively, hate to only do one thing at a time. My brain just will not be quiet. (Sounds like I need to work less on my headstands and more on my meditation, right?)

When I was a little girl, I read the cereal box while I ate breakfast. Now I clean the mirror while I brush my teeth, fold laundry while I catch up on Project Runway, read books at stoplights (I know, I know)...

...and browse through my brand new In Style magazine while juicing 6 interminable bags of oranges. (Can you spot it?)

On a related note, can I just take a moment and say how glad I am that everyone seems to have come out of their low-rise denim madness and embraced a multitude of styles? In this issue it detailed how to wear trouser, cropped, boyfriend, high-waist, flared, *and* skinny jeans, as if they were all valid options. Can I get an amen?

Blog challenge #5: A picture of somewhere you've been to

Well now, let's see - there was the small matter of me going to London a few weeks ago. I'm sure you remember that. Behold, my yellow jacket and red scarf and gloves! (Also, the Tower of London in the background.)

Well, this should be easy

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 9:48 PM


Day #4: a habit you wish you didn't have

- I bite my nails. Yes, STILL. I figure I am almost 30 and if I still do it we might as well stop pretending I'm ever going to quit. Also, you pointing it out to me does not help. I know I do it, I have nerve endings.


- I am completely anal about my skin looking perfect all the time. I am so vain and I hate to go out if I don't have makeup on because people will know my skin isn't actually perfect. This is so silly and stupid, and I know it, and yet this is what I think.

- I spend a lot of time planning for contingencies and situations that don't ever materialize. I've gotten better about this, simply because with three small children my time and brain cells are more and more valuable and I have to be stingy with my mental energy. Go ahead and ask David some time how long I house hunted before we actually moved. (I'll give you a hint: think in terms of YEARS.)

- I build things up in my mind to be much harder and more intimidating than they actually are. See: using a sewing machine, planting a garden, mopping the kitchen, having the kids' friends over.

I think that's enough for one night. I don't really like focusing on my negative qualities. If I forgot anything important, I trust you all to bring it to my attention!

With a little help from my friends

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 8:59 PM


(Sorry, Beatles fans - Joe Cocker does the definitive version of this song!)


Day #3 of my blog challenge dictates that I post a picture of myself and my friends, which I am delighted to do.

Firstly, I present David and I with 4 of our greatest friends, Jacob and Gretta Hansen (sadly, for us, dearly departed to Utah) and Brennan and Ashlea Allen. We met the Hansens when we lived in our old house and they lived in the apartments across the street. We called them the first time to see if they wanted to hang out, and Gretta said, rather sheepishly, that they had a TV show on Thursday nights that they simply couldn't miss. I suggested they come watch it at our place, which they did - and thus began my addiction to The Apprentice and the Hansens.

(Capitalist Champion Jacob and Bleeding Heart Rachel watching The Apprentice together makes for some mighty fine entertainment, just by the way. Luckily he's so nice that you can't possibly be mad at him ever for anything, no matter what the politics are.)

The Allens were friends of the Hansens, and they quickly became friends of ours. They've got a darling baby girl now and are as sassy and sarcastic as ever, which is why we love them.

Next, a photo of my choir, Cantilena. Obviously, this is not a recent shot - I'm pregnant and was in the middle of growing out my hair. I love these people, and I love the privilege I have to perform amazing music every week - I literally come home from every rehearsal thinking "I just LOVE to sing!"

And lastly (for now - day 11 brings more of the same) I give you a photo from my baby shower a couple of weeks before Iris was born. Left to right: Susan, Kim, me, and Noelia. Incidentally, everyone in this photo now has one more baby, and everyone also now has shorter hair! I met Kim and Susan when we all worked together at BESTFed many years ago when we all just had one little boy each! Noelia moved here from Maryland a couple of years ago, and well, all us redheaded homebirthing moms get to know each other eventually.

How my blog got its name

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 8:16 PM


(Here, I'll post the full list of the 30-day blog challenge so that anyone else who wants to can participate, and so that you guys can properly quiver with anticipation as I unveil each day's offerings):

Day 1-Recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself

Day 2-The meaning behind your Blog name

Day 3-A picture of you and your friends

Day 4-A habit that you wish you didn't have

Day 5-A picture of somewhere you've been to

Day 6-Favorite super hero and why

Day 7-A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you

Day 8-Short term goals for this month and when you'll accomplish them

Day 9-Something you're proud of in the past few days

Day 10-Songs you listen to when you're bored, happy, sad, mad, hyped

Day 11-Another picture of you and your friends

Day 12-How you found out about blogger and why you have one

Day 13-A letter to someone who has hurt you recently

Day 14-A picture of you and your family

Day 15-Put your ipod or shuffle on-first 10 songs that play

Day 16-Another picture of yourself

Day 17-Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why

Day 18-Plans/dreams/goals you have

Day 19-Nicknames you have and why you have them

Day 20-Someone you see yourself marrying or being with in the future

Day 21-A picture of something that makes you happy

Day 22-What makes you different from everyone else

Day 23-Something you crave for a lot

Day 24-A letter to your parents

Day 25-What I would find in your bag

Day 26-What do you think about your friends

Day 27-Why you are doing this 30 day challenge

Day 28-A picture of you from last year and now-how have you changed?

Day 29-In this past month, what have you learned?

Day 30-Your favorite song

(We're on Day 2, in case you forgot already.)

So, have I ever told you how my blog got its name? As a matter of fact, I have. But a challenge is a challenge, and surely some of you are new - plus, it's a good story. (I'm not going to go back and read my previous entry - let's see exactly how boring I am by how closely I duplicate it!)

My blog was originally called "Redheaded Stepchild". One of my old boyfriends used to call me that, and I put this blog together in about one hot minute (like I do almost everything - slapdash is a good word) so I grabbed the first "redhead" phrase that came to mind. Later on, I went back and changed it to something more meaningful to me, because I do not, and never have, felt like a "redheaded stepchild".

So, I changed the name to the title of a poem I have always loved, a phrase snippet I have used elsewhere on the internet to define myself. The poem is by that wonderful crazy man, e. e. cummings:

 O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have

fingers of
purient philosophers pinched

,has the naughty thumb
of science prodded

beauty .how
oftn have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

to the incomparable
couch of death thy

thou answerest

them only with


I love the essence of this poem, as I receive it - that there is so much about this earth, and this life, that is unknown and unknowable. No discipline, so branch of learning, no mere human can ever put all the pieces together, and that is just the way I like it. I get no satisfaction from trying to figure out how the dinosaurs and Adam and Eve and fish walking out of the sea and the great flood and the Big Bang all line up, or don't line up. There's just no point. Whatever is, is. We learn, and perceive, and contextualize our experiences within the framework of our individual selves.

Some of us are primarily spiritual beings. Some people possess a scientific mind. Some are content to just observe, keep silent and trust that the things that are meant to be known will be known in their time. And it's all okay. We can all be experts in our own spheres, and yet reside within a whole that is more vast and benevolent and wonderful than any of us, or all of us put together.

It's like we're all doing a puzzle together, and you're working on the sailboat, and I'm going round and doing all the edges, and someone else is gathering all the sky pieces, and none of us has the box to know what it's all supposed to look like at the end.

Me? I love surprises.
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30-day blog challenge

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, February 7, 2011 at 9:51 PM


A friend of mine gave me a little idea for my blog this month, and I think I'm going to go ahead and do it. I hope you don't mind.

Day #1: A recent picture of yourself and 15 interesting facts about you

Well, the biggest challenge here is finding 15 things I haven't already shared somewhere on the internets. I love questionnaires like this, and I've been blogging for quite awhile now, so surely everything interesting about me must already be part of the public record, no?

I'll start with a recent photo. I had two taken today, as a matter of fact. Right side up:

And upside down:

1. I love pedicures (see first photo. Big smiles? Post pedi.)

2. I love my sister (see also first photo.)

3. I love yoga (see second photo.) I didn't know that photo was being taken (because, you see, I am standing on my head and can only see the wall) but it's kind of fun, don't you think? My husband thinks I'm kind of a princess because it's all I want to do in the way of "working out", but you know what? I like it. The end. It's the only exercise I can bring myself to do with any regularity so I'm going to keep on doing it until someone invents something better. I haven't tried Zumba yet, so maybe this has already happened.

4. I did not shower in the time between the two photos were taken. That's right, folks - if you see me out and about, you can know at any given time that there is at least a 50% chance I didn't get a shower that day. There just isn't time to work out, put on makeup, juice oranges, supervise homework, chauffeur children, make dinner, clean bathrooms, and tend one's blog AND one's husband all in the same 24-hour period. Something's got to give. Lots of times, it is a shower. I'm just sayin'.

5. Let's see, now I've run out of "interesting facts" I can glean directly from the pictures. Does this mean I have to start thinking now?

6. I am one of those people who is never finished decorating their home. Luckily, we moved into a house that had hardly been touched since the mid 1970's so I have plenty to keep me busy, and I am thoroughly enjoying every minute. Want to get me going? Ask me about my plans for the kitchen.

7. I just heard one of the Top Gear boys use the phrase "Crikey Moses!" and I think it might be my new favorite. Watch for me using it, probably tomorrow, and every day after that.

8. I like going out to dinner and to movies by myself.

9. I used to hate ironing, and I never did it. Now I've discovered that it can be done while watching television completely guilt-free and suddenly everything in my house is starched and pressed!

10. I still think the E-Trade talking baby commercials are hilarious. How can you not love that?

11. I am a night owl. My kids go to bed early, and I stay up late. This is not an accident. I am intentionally maximizing my quiet hours, when my children are peacefully sleeping. This is my #1 parenting strategy. I am confident that it is the main thing that has kept us all alive until this point!

12. I love eggs. Scrambled, poached, fried or hard boiled, deviled or Benedict, on a salad or a hamburger - I will eat them in a house, with a mouse, here, there, and everywhere.

13. I am a chronic optimist. I always think things will be easier, take less time, and cost less money than they actually do. However, David is a chronic pessimist so it usually works out.

14. I love reading about extreme locations: especially very remote, cold locations. Svalbard? Nunavut? The Northwest Passage? Check, check, and check. Ask me sometime about all the various degrees of polar night. I might just bore you to tears.

15. I have spent so long sitting here trying to think of something good for the last slot that the Suns game is over and my husband is starting to give me the hairy eyeball. And I love you guys, but I love him more. So that's it for me!

Check in tomorrow for day 2: the meaning behind my blog name.

Say It Ain't So

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, February 4, 2011 at 8:52 PM


Halle-frickin-lujah, we have our camera back! We sent him in for repairs right after Christmas, and he has finally wandered on home. He was having trouble focusing, kind of like me, but now he's all fixed (and we still have to learn how to use him, but that's another post.)

So, as a proper welcome home, I present to you each of my wild, gorgeous children:

Iris, who suddenly has the face and attitude of a pre-teen:

Eve, sporting her usual "au naturale" look:

And Devlin, contemplating life's mysteries on the new porch swing:

And just in time for Frocking Friday, too! I was still in my yoga clothes at 2 pm when I realized I had to be somewhere with all 3 kids at 2:30. Considering this information, I think I look all right:

Shoes: J Shoes
Leggings: Last Chance
Skirt: J. Jill
Shirt: Anthro
Cardigan: Banana Republic (if I ever had the chance, I would buy this thing again, 2 in every color - I love it THAT MUCH)
Scarf: some twee souvenir shop in London
Earrings: Lia Sophia, $3 at an estate sale this morning

Busy and happy

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 9:17 PM


Things I like this week:

Tea parties with girlie cousins:

Me being a nice, creative mom and making fancy sandwiches on the good china (seriously, I NEVER do stuff like this, which is why I take pictures when I do!)

C for Chloe:

E for Eve:

The library (really, is there anything more wonderful?)

Red peppers 4/$1, even if I did forget my wallet and have to leave my suspended transaction and come back later for my cart o' veggies

"Slushy" aka half-frozen fresh-squeezed OJ

Moms - I have two great ones, which is more than anyone deserves

Organizing/hanging artwork/cleaning closets/no-longer-deferred maintenance

This sofa redo
(why don't I have any chevron fabric in my house again? and I'm such a predictable sucker for blue and green)

The prospect of making these this weekend

This GLORIOUS weather (cold, brisk, and sunny? yes please). I *like* wearing scarves, gloves, and hats:

Reading Rainbow

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 8:07 PM


Devlin's blessing on dinner:

Our Father in heaven, we are grateful to be here eating dinner together. It's really happy to our family that Eve is learning to read. Please congratulate her.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.