Five Minute Friday: glue

…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.


“Move over Quail! I was there first! MOMMAAAAA!!!!”

I hear the Quail giggle as she squishes her bottom up against the pillow my head is lying on. At the same moment Sugarplum let’s go and hollers as Zuzu climbs over her in her primal need to be in the center of us all. And the wrestling starts. Breathing in huffily, I push myself up and tuck my shirt back down. “Girls- stop it- there is room for everyone….” Zuzu cuts me off in protest of the spot next to me that she had only momentarily vacated to gather up her lovies as she clambers on top of her sisters.

This scene is nothing new. I’m used to it after 7 and a half years of parenting her on the outside after having had to pry her from my womb in the first place. Zuzu may be the oldest of the Sistred, and she may have contorted herself over the years to allow her sister’s in to her space. But she is always eyeing the spot near Momma. Be it my lap, my arms, my bed, the seat next to me at the table, on the couch, in the car or plane. She will go to the mattresses to be kept close. And her sisters- they’ve learned this pattern. They may be more comfortable stretching away from us, but when they see the light in Zuzu’s eye’s turn towards me, they will barrel in under her. I didn’t know little girls wrestled and rascaled. Their need for physical and emotional closeness often dickers with their need for mental independence. They sleep in their own room under protest. They peek through our door longingly in the wee hours of the morn. They stop their Netflix, their little pony’s, their playing of “cook”, “bye-bye, off to work” and “school” the minute they hear the bedroom door to the bathroom creak and slide under the covers with their lovies marking out their territory for snuggles.

The mornings come early and are oh so very long, but the years they are dearly short.

Clamping down my own protest to the squabble this time, I sigh, “Come around this side. Careful where you step.” I slide over to the middle of the mattress, pressing up against the Quail as she leans down to pat and kiss the baby who is feverishly kneading her blanket between us. Zuzu grabs up her monkey lovies, whimpers and spoons her angular seven-year-old self against me as I rearrange myself over the “Nah-neh! Side!” cries for nursing from Sugarplum. Lovey steps in the room and settles next to the Quail with a cup of coffee and his laptop while Zuzu turns on PBS and we all settle back for a few moments of family meditation before the weekend comes unglued.


corner view: something to celebrate!

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!


I’ve put a lot of effort into reclaiming myself this past year. After almost 8 years of mothering I’ve been feeling more than a bit, well, not myself. My energy level has waned, my weight has bloomed, I’m irritable, scattered and tired. So 6 months ago I started the Couch to 5K program during my lunch hour. I figured that since I had spent over 3 years of lunch hours pumping milk for the babies I could  spend that time exercising for me- and also for them- happy mom = happy kiddos and all that. After 4 months of regular running and upping my walking time outside of that though, I lost 6 inches around my waist but no real change with my weight. So in February I restarted Weight Watchers- fast forward 7 weeks and I’m down 12 pounds- I’m on my way! In February members of my on-line fitness group that I had started last fall when I began running decided we needed to create a team for the upcoming Color Run which was scheduled for April in our town for the first time. In total there were 40 of us Tired Tiger Moms and our little runners. And the day was great! If you’ve never done a Color Run or any kind of race- take this from a tired momma who has yet to feel a runner’s high- sign up for a Color Run! This world-wide phenomenon of a 5k raises money for your local charities and offers a light-hearted emphasis on fun and fitness. When my friends first mentioned it I was fairly certain I was not going to join in. After completing the C25K program I found I really didn’t enjoy running for 20-30 minutes straight and I was constantly looking for excuses to not go out and run. So I switched over to a more Jeff Galloway- type approach and settled in with doing a 5 minute warm-up and cool down with 10 intervals of 2 minutes run/1 minute walking in between three times a week. While I’ve managed to keep it up, I’ve yet to say I truly enjoy it while I’m doing it. I’ve tried audio books, Netflix and Pandora to keep my interest up. There has been a noticeable benefit in trying to keep up with the kiddos and not feeling winded, cranky and exhausted playing with them. Then the thermometer rose to 76 degrees and the end of my outdoor running stretch was clearly in sight. I’m already up at 6 am and I barely have time to use the loo on my own in the evenings- so switching to a cooler time of day is not likely. I had a little on-line temper tantrum “announcing” that I was done running until the autumn, and then, what do you know- the thermometer and I kept at it.

This past weekend came The Color Run. Zuzu and I had agreed to join in but we both had our own set of worries. For Zuzu- she was convinced a bear would appear on the race course and spent the morning of the race plotting how she would finagle getting up on the bear to ride him the remainder of the course. For me the thought of being up early on one of the two mornings I get to sleep my exhausted self in so that I could run in the cool morning air and have paint thrown at me was just not appealing. Zuzu also had created an image of buckets of liquid paint being thrown at us as we tried to run away. Yet, bless her devoted little heart- in spite of bear and paint attacks she applied her HAPPY arm tattoo, donned her Color Run glasses and anxiously followed her beloved mother out to the car. When we arrived at the scene of what can only be described as a rock concert- both of our eyes widened- mine in excitement, hers in alarm as I tried to herd over to the run’s mascot- the Runicorn. Shaking and clinging like a baby monkey to me she absolutely refused to go anywhere near her favorite animal in the world. Let’s just say she was insistent enough that I am clear it would be folly to pay for a trip to Disney for this child. We tried to join in the warm-up work-out but in spite of the pop music and enthusiasm around us she remained stricken at the thought of the paint and bears. Once we were on the course her typical anxiety acts started in, she alternated telling me her heart and tummy hurt and that she didn’t want to wear the fluorescent tutu I had gotten her with pointing out how ridiculous men looked in tutus. She was so-not-happy. And then we got to the first color area. As we ran through the fine mist of powder and wiped it off of our glasses she looked down trying to spy the streaks of yellow. About a half-mile out from there when we spotted the pink station her pace picked up and her complaints faded as she ran up to the people cheering to be sprayed. From that point on she was sold. This was fun! We alternated walking and running per her requests and six months of prep-work let me keep up with her. After we got our water and kind bars and the paint throws in the finish galley started she perked up and asked to get up on my shoulders to cheer and eventually got herself over the fencing and up on stage to join the little runners in their celebration. Full throttle this girl of mine- all or nothing. Win big or stay home. Next year- we’re bringing the whole family. Fitness seems to be the new us. My first race at age 41, Zuzu’s first race at 7. Now that’s something to celebrate!


Ps- Oh and I also gave up caffeine last week. While I’m not quite ready to celebrate this experiment, I am pretty impressed with how good I feel without it- I see a new more focused, calm, happy energized family life coming my way in this next year.

Next week- Back to a regular yoga practice. Yay!


Sugarplum is Two!

Happy Second Birthday Sugarplum!

Last June is really when the baby to tiny person transformation began for you. Literally over the course of one extended weekend, when your Daddy was away at work and your Grandma & Grandpa were here to visit, you became a little kid: climbing, hollering, running, rascaling and quietly contemplating your world around in between. It was startlingly noticeable. Prior to that we had the sweetest, gentlest first year with you- your calm was what people- strangers, friends and family alike were most likely to remark on. You eased us into your strong, confident, proud, thoughtful and enigmatic little personality. You moved from sweet little baby mews to slightly French sounding lyrical babbles to tiny sentences where I can make out about ¾ of your words, but 100% of your intent. Your intent. You might be the youngest intentional person I know. You are calm when included and respected. Often standing with your hands resting behind your back as you observe before barreling in. And yes, when you are ready- you do barrel in. Your confident little twist of the hips and pump of your chubby fists as you join your sisters in their mischief still makes me chuckle. When told no though, even in the softest and gentlest of tones, your face crumples, your lip bird-perches and your wails are nearly inconsolable. Inconsolable indeed. Your routines are important and known to you. Each night after you blow your sister’s kisses and reach up or over to me you let me know- “Nawneh. Side.” You scour the room for your favorite dozen lovies and blankets before settling in. The funny thing is, that dozen shifts almost every night- but be rest assured you know which ones you want to cuddle. When Daddy lies down with us you reach your sweet hand over to pat-pat him. Audibly sighing as you nurse on.

You started sleeping through the night just after this past Christmas. You were ready. You were sad. But you didn’t cry, we talked about it before going to bed. You woke, you said, “Mommy help”  (note you’ve claimed me as your Mommy- while your sisters insist I am Momma) and I would wake and hold you close to me until your soft body settled back in to slumber. Now nearly four months later it’s a rare night that you wake- and you know to let us know you need to be held for a minute and then back to sleep you go.

In the morning when you get your diaper changed you start calling out your clothes- shirt, fweater, socks, pants, shoes! You know what you want to wear. Sweet baby girl- your quirks and preferences are all your own- and we’re so very blessed that you in all your you-ness are all ours. Love you sweet girl.


Some favorites that have surfaced over the last year:

Favorite TV Show: Elmo

Favorite Games: whatever her sisters are playing be it a board game, card game, painting, drawing or reading- she expects them to make a place for her.

Favorite Toys: cars, swings, books, blankies (babies you call them) and snuggly lovies

Favorite Breakfast: dry cheerios, raisins (ray-ray you say) and a cup of kefir

Favorite Lunch or Dinner: meatballs (eye-balls you call them) or cheese pizza on Friday night in movie and living room picnic style.

Favorite Fruit: bananas

Favorite Dessert: not much of a sweet tooth here- she will eat cake and ice cream for a celebration, but more than a few times I’ve found a half cookie left on her tray at the end of a meal

Favorite Drink: nawneh, kefir and a bottle of milk with Daddy


corner view: inspiration

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

I tend to wait for it to wash over and through me like a ray of sun through a billowy cloud, a spring breeze wafting through the trees, my children’s laughter  raining down from the swing as it twirls up high in the air; the sight of a bloom pushing through the dirt or off of a thin twig as I come upon it on my walk, treating inspiration as a force of nature that comes into my senses rather than created by me at will. Early on in my nursing years it came most frequently in the night as I would wake to the rustle of little mews calling me back from sleep. I could count on it to cloud my brain as the oxytocin released and I relaxed into the simple act of feeding one of the babies. I’d grab a notebook or move us to the computer to type my thoughts into the narrative of our days. Soaking in the images of our days and their years and trying to preserve them to relive and help me see the humor once some distance had eased my view. As these times fade away and tumble from our days and nights though, the children they grow away, nurse less, question more, race away from quiet moments and I find a quiet moment to reflect harder and harder to come by. When I can stop my brain and look at what’s in front of me, when the children are happily playing, reading, coloring and climbing and I see them anew through my camera lens- and then again on my computer screen as I adjust the colors to show their bright, shiny moments I feel the happy melt-up of creativity burst into my brain and heart and my smile plays on my lips. These moments though- in the busy days of raising young and wild little bursts of energy are hard to predict. I need to find a way to purposely bring them to me, because I don’t want the feeling of inspiration to fade as time marches on. Even now- this post was made through multiple requests, questions, pauses and instead of cleaning, laundry, cooking and homework- all of which is calling louder and louder so that I can’t ignore it.