Friday, April 29, 2011

And, Again With The Princesses

This is the last thing I will say about princesses for awhile, I promise.

 Yesterday, I posted about princesses.  It was a mere coincidence that it came the day before the big royal wedding.  No disrespect was intended toward the new Princess Catherine.  She is not of the Disney variety after all.

She strikes me as a quietly confident girl who passively chased her Prince Charming (for years) until she caught him.  Good on her.  I hope it works out well.  I really do.

I did not stay-up/get-up to watch the wedding.  Though, I admit I wanted to.  Unlike the royal wedding of thirty years ago, I have real responsibilities now.  Which (who am I fooling) I would have gladly shirked to watch live wedding coverage, except that I don't like to be sleepy.

The children and I caught a glimpse of the highlights this morning.  I told my Catherine, "Look honey, that is a real princess.  Her name is Catherine, too."

"Cate like me," she announced happily.  "I want a tutu."  (Tutu is her word for dress.)  I thought the dress was lovely.  Could have done with a little less lace, but lovely.  So there we sat, my daughter and I, gazing at all the pomp and loveliness.  It was sweet.

The boys were fascinated by the commercials.

And that was that.  Though, thanks to the invention of the DVR, my mother, sister, and I may have a viewing of our own on Mother's Day. 

I hope you have a royal weekend.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Princess Revisted: A New Line in the Sand

Sometimes, the best choice is surrender.

Last week, the kids emptied their piggy banks to buy scooters at Target.  The toddler scooter, the kind that won't tip over when your two-year-old daughter rides it, came in exactly one color.  Princess.
Cate didn't want a princess scooter.  She just wanted a scooter.  Like her brothers', but without the falling over.  I had no meaningful choice.  I bought a princess scooter.

But, I think I'm at peace with it.

A few weeks ago, I wrote of my distaste for all things princess, and her marketing half-sister, the fairy.  I used terms of disdain, and questioned their moral character.  I stand by that.  But, I have new information.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter, a new book by Peggy Orenstein, is an actual, intellectual discussion of this very topic.  It turns out, the whole princess thing might not be so evil.  It might, in fact, be normal.

I haven't actually read the book.  (Hardback, expensive, too time consuming.)  But, I read the review in People Magazine.  (Glossy, quick read, includes celebrity baby news.)  According to the review, Orenstein puts it like this:  Little girls don't know that gender is immutable.  They could turn into boys at any moment.  Clinging to princess culture is their way of telling the world, "I'm a girl, and I want to keep it that way, thank you very much."  They don't care about subtext.  They just want to wear a pretty dress.

This makes sense to me; or it may be a load of bunk.  Who knows for sure?  The blurb in People Magazine  did not reference any research or sources.  (Shoddy reporting!  Not what one would expect from a publication with Snookie on the cover.)  But, I'm comforted by the idea that one Ariel costume and a tiara does not mean my little girl is doomed to a life of unhappy relationships and an eating disorder.

I still don't want to buy Cinderella home-decor.  (Or, have it given to my daughter as a gift.  Do you hear that grandparents, aunts, and cookie ladies from church?)  But, it is getting harder and harder to avoid all things princess.   We even bought a copy of Beauty and the Beast, because the dancing tea pot is classic, and, as Hubband pointed out, "Belle is not a princess until the end."  A distinction without a difference, I know.  Cate spent the first half of the movie asking, "Why frincess sad, Mommy.  Why frincess sad?"  Yes, she says, "F-rincess."

I cannot win this one.  Not really.  So, I give up.  Do you hear that Disney?  I surrender.  I am waving my white flag.  Until Barbie tries to snatch it out of my hands to wear as a slutty halter top.  Then it's on, baby!

The first picture is from the blog Disney Princess Recovery.  
I went to steal borrow steal the picture,
(Which she stole from Disney, so I feel no shame.  
Though the moral relativism is making me dizzy.) 
and decided to follow.  
I have only poked around a little, but it is an interesting read so far, 
if you want to go and check it out.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Momarazzi

We are moms.

We are moms who blog.

We will stop at nothing to get the picture.

We may be bad parents.

We are the momarazzi.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What a Twit!

Have you ever thought to yourself, "I wonder what Tracey is thinking right now?"  Well, wonder no longer.  I have joined Twitter.  That's right, friends.  Twitter.  I tweet.

It is like talking to myself in 140 characters or less. 

I send out little snippets of my day, and people can read them in real time.  I don't know what people, as I only one follower, my sister, whom I begged to join Twitter, just so she could follow me.  Sad?  Probably.  Am I too needy to care?  Yes.

You can  also follow people who know what they're talking about, on whatever subject interests you.  Many writers are on Twitter.  And literary agents.  Just saying.  You can also stalk celebrities.  Which is voyeuristic and fun.

C'mon.  You know you are curious.  Check out the widget on my side bar.  Read, join, follow.  Or, don't.  I'll keep tweeting anyway. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday Best

You may not be impressed with this picture...

...but look what I had to work with.

From right to left:  Grumpy, Bashful, and Ninja.

None of them will look at me, and Jonah has completely turned his back on the whole thing. 

Now Cate and Jonah have both turned their backs.  Sam is still making martial arts poses.

Now, Cate has turned her back, and walked away.  
Jonah's still grumpy.  Sam's still posing.

But this makes it all sort of worth it, doesn't it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mercy Dessert: Teaching My Son About Grace

I have been teaching Jonah about justice, mercy, and grace.  Last week, I baked cookies.  Then, after a particularly disobedient day during school, we had this conversation in the car.

Jonah:  Mom, what do you call it again when you get what you deserve?
Me:  Justice.
Jonah:  Yeah.  What's the other one?  Where you don't get what you deserve?
Me:  That's mercy.
Jonah:  Yeah, that one.  I know I was bad today, but I think you should give me some mercy dessert.
Me:  So, you think I should give you cookies, even though you don't deserve them?
Jonah:  Yeah.
Me:  That's not mercy.  That's grace.
Jonah:  What's grace again?
Me:  Grace is when you get something you don't deserve.

He didn't have a response to this, and I was pretty sure he was calculating his chances of getting a cookie.  Then, after a few minutes...

Jonah:  Mom.
Me:  Yeah.
Jonah:  Jesus didn't deserve to die on the cross.  Is that grace?

The easy answer is, "no."  But the answer is more complicated than it seemed at first.  I am pondering it still.

By His Wounds

By His Wounds

He was pierced for our transgressions,
Crushed for our sins.
The punishment that brought us peace,
Was upon Him
By His wounds, by His wounds 
We are healed

We are healed 
By Your sacrifice
And the life that You gave
We are healed
For You paid the price
By Your grace 
We are saved
We are saved
 --Mac Powell

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pyrex Love

Happiness is a glass Pyrex measuring cup in every size.

I know this is mockable.  My own mother has mocked me.  "Good grief!" she said.  "Do you really need all of these?"  Ouch.  How can someone who loves me so much, know me so little?

Yes, I really need all of them.  This isn't even all of them.  There is another four-cupper, which did not make it to the photo shoot.  It was in the dishwasher, because I needed it to make breakfast.

I think I might get my love of Pyrex from my Grandma Bunny.  She had elaborate towers built of the stuff.  In the kitchen, in the garage, in the second oven.  (*sigh* a second oven.)  She had a piece for everything, and lost lids were mourned.

Quite a few of my pieces used to be hers.  That beautiful eight-cupper among them.  I didn't even know they made them that big.  Now, it is my most prized.  Mix the pancakes, pour the pancakes, all in one.  Genius! When Grandma died, I asked if I could have it.  I had to flip my aunt for it, but I think she only wanted it for canning, not out of any true affection for the Pyrex.  I lost the toss for the casserole dish with lid and insulated bag.  I still remember.  Surely, this is true love.

Also not in the picture is the bastard step-child of my measuring cups.  An Anchor Hocking two-cupper, which is sort of like Cinderella before the ball.  I don't really love it, but I keep it around for it's utility.  I would feel bad about this, if measuring cups had feelings, which they don't.

If they did, mine would love me back.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sometimes, When I Open My Mouth

Sometimes, when I open my mouth, words fly out.

Last summer, I was sitting in my beige station wagon, outside the beige preschool, in the middle of my beige town, when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but another mother, come to fetch her child, dressed in a white peasant blouse, burnt orange cut-offs, and black biker boots.  Nothing beige about her.

Wow.  She's not from around here, I thought.  It wasn't just the way she was dressed, it was that she managed to pull it off.  Go ahead.  Go back a few lines and re-read the description.  Then believe me when I say, she looked good.

As the summer wore on, we had the opportunity to meet.  We were parked next to each other, dropping our kids off.  I smiled at her and her cute daughter.  She smiled at me and my cute daughter.  Then, as a conversation starter, I said the first thing that popped into my head.  "You aren't from around here, are you?"

I meant it in a good way.  And, as she has seen so much more of the world than my sweat pants and pony tail ever will, I think she took it in a good way.  At least I hope so.  I didn't try to "make it better" by explaining myself.  With my mouth, that only seem to make things worse.

My verbal ineptitude aside, a casual acquaintance was born.  She and her family just moved to California.  She is a lawyer in several states, but not California (yet).  She has two kids the same age as mine.  Good, right?

Last week she told me that her (hip) daughter had out-grown some of her (hip) clothes, and asked if I would want them for Cate.  "Yes, that would be great," I said, politely, and tried very hard not to jump up and down, like a giddy stay-at-home lawyer on a tight budget.

Well, we went to her house the other day and picked up a gi-hoo-gah bag of clothes.  It was like Christmas!  And, the clothes are adorable!  Hip adorable.  Some are brands I have never even heard of and have European sizes in them.  Three dozen tops and dresses.  I know this because I had to buy new hangers.  That's not counting jeans, leggings, skirts, shoes.  Cate could wear a different outfit everyday for a month, and I still would not have to do laundry!

My daughter is small for her age.  Do you think it is too much to ask that she keep wearing a 2T until she is in kindergarten?

Thank you, thank you Hip-mom and Hip-daughter, whom I shall not name here, because they could be in the witness protection program for all I know.  We have been buh-lesst! 

Sometimes, when I open my mouth, words fly out and it isn't all bad.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Baby Can Count!

And, she almost does it right.

One, two, three, four, five,
six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, five, fourteen, FIVE!

She still can't eat spaghetti with her clothes on.

And, she'll drink her bath water, if you don't stop her.

But, she can count!!!  We'll work on that other stuff later.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Attention All Moms...and Dads, too

If you have not tried this, you must.

Two parts corn starch to one part water.  Mix.  And let the weird ooey-gooeyness begin!

It is a crumbly-like substance.

But, wait!  Now it is a drippy liquid.

And, even though it looks like a huge mess (which some how makes it seem more fun) when it dries, it just sweep right up.

Easy-peasy and hours of fun!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

satruday, melancholy.

A good spring day.  The little girl's bath water turned to mud.  Her arms are brown.  I think, she'll sleep well tonight.  Now, I have a song from four lifetimes ago running on a loop through my head. 

Lonesome for a Place I Know

So here we are in Italy
With our sun hats and our dictionary.
The air is warm, the sky is bright,
Your arms are brown you're sleeping well at night.
So why does England call?
The hedgerows and the townhalls.
After all, there'll soon be nothing left at all.

If we were born outside of place and time,
To make our choice, well this would be mine.
To live and die under a sun that shines.
But something pulls, something I can't define
Tells me England calls, whatever she's done wrong.
Always calls, "This is where you belong."
And I'm lonesome for a place I know.

Oh but Florence you tempt me (here) to stay,
Amidst your hills to while my years away.
But your roots in soil lie, mine in paving stone.
And I hate what it's become, but in my bones
I'm lonesome for a place I know.
-by Everything But The Girl

Friday, April 8, 2011

Work Clothes

When you are a big boy, you get to make your own fashion decisions.

This is Sam in his Easter clothes.  Work clothes, he calls them.  And, why wouldn't he?  His daddy wears clothes like this to work.

"Look at me.  I am so handsome," he said, when trying them on for the first time.  Then he insisted on wearing them to school.  And, the park.  And, everywhere we went, all day.

Did I mention that he wore them with cowboy boots?

His sister was not impressed.  (But she insists on buttoning her cardigan all the way down, so she may not be a good judge.)  Everyone else couldn't help but be charmed.  He is charming.

Have a fashionable weekend!  
Come back next week to find out what is going on here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Three Alarm Dinner

It's 4:30.  Do you know what your family is having for dinner?  Roast chicken?  No, still frozen solid in the back of the freezer.  Carnitas?  No, that should have gone in the crock pot six hours ago.  Frozen lasagna?  That takes two hours to cook and you only have one.  Tortilla soup?  Don't have all the ingredients.

This happens to me all the time.  I have served peanut butter and jelly, cereal, and frozen waffles for dinner.  (Not all at once.  I'm not that crazy.)  This is unacceptable, really.  I have three growing kids, and a husband who works hard all day to put food on the table.  Well, he works for the food, and the table.  Putting one on top of the other is supposed to be my job.

So, I invented the three alarm dinner.  I set an alarm to keep me on track.  Three of them actually.  I use my iPod Touch, but any phone or alarm clock will do.

10:00am     Lovely church bells ring, usually from my back pocket.  When I pull out my iPod, it gently asks me, "What's for Dinner?"  This may be a little late in the day for some of you, but any earlier and I would be too busy to hear it ring.  I stop, and make myself answer.  I look in a few cupboards.  I take something out of the freezer.  If I can fit in a quick trip to the market, I do.  Even if I have all the meals for the week scheduled (which I do about every fifth week) I need to be reminded, in case some early prep work needs to be done.  Like loading up the crock pot.

2:00pm     More lovely church bells, just checking in.  "Do you need to prep dinner?"  This comes in handy if I am baking, or roasting, something that is going to take awhile.  I chose two o'clock, because it takes three hours to make bread in my bread machine and dinner is between 5:30 and 6.

4:30pm     Chimes again.  "Make dinner."  Okay, it may say, "Make dinner, Stupid!" but the love hate, perhaps abusive, relationship I have with my iPod is a topic for another post.  This alarm has a snooze button.  Sometimes I don't need to start cooking that early, but I need to be kept aware of the time.

This  might sound nuts.  But it works!  Only once since implementation of the Three Alarm Dinner plan have my children eaten frozen burritos for dinner.  And that was just because I was making steak and there wasn't enough to go around.

There is a fourth alarm.  This is more of a WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH alarm, like you hear if there is a nuclear meltdown or you don't push the button every 108 minutes.  It rings at 5:30, and gives me the number to the nearest pizza place.

So, what is for dinner?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Big Boy

And, Samuel-palooza continues...

Sam is a big boy.  He is poop-in-the-potty big.  He is stay-dry-through-the-night big.  He is get-himself-dressed big.  (See above.)

We played the "big boy" card so often while trying to get him to do those things, that he now thinks he is make-his-own-bedtime big, drive-the-car big, run-for-President big.

Me:  No, Samuel.  You may not have that [permanent marker].  That's not for little boys.

Sam:  I am a big boy.

Me:  Not big enough.

Sam:  But, I pooped in the restaurant potty.

How can I even start to explain this to him?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Our Father...

It has been Samuel-palooza around here lately.  Yes, I have two other children, but he is giving me the best material the most colorful right now.  Read on to see.

I have been teaching the boys the Lord's prayer.  We recite it together every night before bed.  Well, parts of it are more "call and response" at this point, but they are coming along.

Jonah loves this.  He has asked me about every phrase.  He is full of questions about God's power and the nature of heaven.  What is God's kingdom?  What is God's will?  He is like a little computer: input, process, classify, sort, seek new input.  You can see it happening.

For Samuel, theology is more vague.  Since we have started praying, "Our father..." he has started referring to Jesus as "Baby God."  At least, we think that is what he is doing.  He might just think there is a special god for babies, but I doubt it.  The God of the Babies would not concern him much, as he is now a big boy.  Just ask him.  He will tell you.  And if you don't believe him, he'll scream and throw a fit until you change your mind.

The other night, as we were gathered in their room, getting ready to pray, Samuel interrupted me.  "Wait, Mommy, wait.  I have a good one."  Okay.  I invited him to pray about what was on his heart.

"God, please don't let Jesus run into the street or get in the washing machine on accident and get dizzy.  Amen."

To Samuel, this is what a good father does.