Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Some days I declare good enough. It's enough that I finally got to the bottom of my laundry basket, so everything else can wait.

It's fine that every window in the house needs washed. There is absolutely no chance that will happen anytime soon.

It's okay that most of the closets in the house look like some sort of natural disaster occurred within them.

It's perfectly acceptable that I ate a half pint of Ben and Jerry's when I came home while hiding from my kids because I didn't want to share.

Because if there is one thing I know, it's that good enough is good enough.  There are books to be read and pictures to stare at.  Who cares that there are dirty plates hiding in the depths of this sink?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

This Weekend We / Lantern Parade

On Saturday night we drove to Baltimore for another edition of our friends' gonna be an annual Lantern Party Parade. This is the second year (last year), so that makes it a tradition, right?

The costumes were a little tricky this year. We knew Arlo wasn't going to wear the shark costume that my mom bought him because he finds it absolutely terrifying. I thought that I might be able to finagle a clothing based costume. Working with clothing we already had and ideas that didn't require make-up since we were coming straight from a wedding, we decided on lumberjacks. Gus was especially excited because it meant he got to carry around an axle. Arlo, however, proved to be difficult again; a lumberjack who refuses to wear his hat and suspenders is really just a boy in a flannel. Since the rest of the family was in a theme, Sena decided to re-envision her colonial costume and brand herself as a lumberjack's daughter.

Regardless, the parade was pretty great, even if I spent most of the time on the fringes playing spot the dogs with Arlo. He finds little furry creatures far more exciting than drum lines and stilters. Baltimore isn't my city, and is never having been, but I definitely have a soft spot for it. It's fun to parade with friends who do claim the city as their own, with their Natty Bo, John Waters, and blue crab lanterns.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Whittling and Weaving

There are times when it feels like I am doing it all wrong. I wonder when the last time Gus ate a vegetable was. I hope that I reminded them to brush their teeth that morning. I am loathe to really imagine how many hours they have spent staring at one screen or another. And then I start I wonder if I ever read to them enough or if I am to blame for the fact that they complain about boredom. Maybe I didn't foster their creativity. Maybe I stunted their intellectual development. Sure, they are smart, but maybe they could have been smarter. There are times when they pick at each other and the words coming out of their precious little mouths are just a little too snappy for my taste, and they don't sound very nice, or patient, or caring.

But there are other times when they find their way to the porch in the sunlight of autumn, and they talk to each other with kindness as one whittles and one weaves. They plan Christmas presents for their aunts and uncles. They encourage each other and let out little giggles, all of which I can hear from the open kitchen window.

Those are the times I like.

For any mother of a boy who has a hard time finding hobbies, I highly recoomend whittling. Gus likes his crafts to have an air of danger. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Brink of Things

My little girl is in so many ways still a little girl. She spends hours playing with her dolls. She cuts up the pages of catalogs and creates collages and wish lists. She dresses like a little girl, still perfectly content in her printed jersey dresses and leggings, with no desire to wear skinny jeans or try out trends. She jumps on her daddy's back for piggy back rides, not realizing that the task is getting harder and harder for her dad, who is still mostly daddy. At night she needs tucked in, though she would prefer if someone slept right beside her.

Nothing quite prepares you for the change, watching as your little girl starts to become a woman, before either of you are ready. My desperate hope that organic milk and grass fed beef would somehow keep change at bay has not been rewarded.

As I have always done, I turn to books to help me understand. I read and re-read the pages of The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls, a slightly outdated account of the changing role of girls' bodies, which I found on the dusty shelves of my high school's library. Within the pages it recounts how teaching and explaining puberty to modern girls mostly involves the discussion of personal hygiene, and I see my own approach reflected. I can explain the need for deodorant and skin care. My daughter understands science enough to know that this all makes sense. But the book argues for a more inclusive approach. It suggests that we should be talking to our daughters about their approaching role as fertile women. I look at my own shy daughter, who only a few short months ago blushed at a candy commercial that featured a naked M & M. How do I talk to her about all the things I think that maybe I am supposed to talk to her about?

Ever since my children could ask, I told them the truth about bodies and biology. When they asked where babies came from, I told them. And I told them how they got there too. I'm not saying it was the right way, but it was my way. I  didn't want to lie, and  didn't want to have postpone an awkward conversation until my children were awkward preteens. It seemed easier to put it on the table and keep it on the table. But the awkward preteen is sitting at the table now making tickets for another talent show, little hand drawn giblets that litter her wake, and she might know the facts, but there are plenty of other things she doesn't know.  I'm looking at my little girl, and I don't quite know what to tell her or what to ask her.

And so I revert to my old standby, click purchase, and wait for Judy Blume to come and do the talking, hoping that maybe Are You There God, It's Me, Margret, might answer some questions she didn't even know she had.
This was written and posted with Sena's permission. 
I figure she's getting old enough that I should seek her approval before I share. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It Won't Be Long

It won't be long until I can't pick a single activity to please them all. It won't be long until I'm dragging surly teens to family fun events. It won't be long until their worlds divide and likely won't re-converge for many years.

But for now, there are ways of making them all happy. There are places we can go and things we can do that we all can agree on. We can go to a fall festival and Gus can jump on an air pad, while Sena cuddles bunnies, and Arlo pretends to drive a tractor. And I can search out each of their distinct little faces and spot smiles. And we can come home on an autumn afternoon feeling like we conquered the day, together.

Monday, October 20, 2014

This Weekend We / Bonfire Season

Even as a young mom, I loved going to bars. I liked making random friends for the evening, the older and more grizzled the better. I liked talking to strangers and putting quarters into juke boxes and dancing to mediocre cover bands. Tom and I would take turns going out. I never resented the nights I was home alone with Sena and Gus because I knew it meant that my turn was next.

When it recently occurred to me how long it had been since I danced so hard that my legs were sore the next day, I was sad. At first I was sad because it'll be quite some time till I can even pretend to entertain that possibility. And then I became sad because I realized that maybe I don't want to go do that as much as I think I do.

During my still going out days, I remember other mothers saying they didn't do that sort of thing since they became moms, and I was mad at them for blaming their children for their lack of spunk. I'm still mad that they blame their kids. Chances are it wasn't motherhood as much as age.

I don't particularly want to stay up that late anymore. I would rather spend my free hours surrounded by people I love. My Friday nights don't need to end in a big tab and minor hang over. I am happy to spend them around a bonfire with an equal mix of friends and family, with a dozen kids wrecking havoc and toasting marshmallows. It feels like a damn fine way to spend a Friday.

And if the next morning follows with donuts, bacon, and coffee, how could the weekend go wrong? It makes it a lot easier to not get too jealous when your best friend texts you to say she had the best old man chat over at one of the world's most perfect dive bars

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Backyard

I don't live in the country. We have neighbors, some of whom we annoy, sometimes enough that they call the police on us. And sometimes I just wish we could move away to a place without neighbors, without people complaining to us that our children's games kept them awake ay 9:30 on a Saturday night.

But if you look out our back door, you could believe for a moment that we lived somewhere rural, somewhere far enough away that the banjo riffs wouldn't be heard by anyone other than the people sitting around the campfire.

We live on the edge of town. We see foxes and deer and hear owls, even if I have yet to actually see one. We have a redheaded woodpecker and plenty of squirrels. There's enough nature that it feels like my kids are getting their dose at our fingertips. So they build makeshift weapons out of sticks and string, and they hide among shrubs and dig in the dirt, sometimes taking a nibble too ,well, Arlo does that at least.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Last year I was sad when my birthday came. I didn't want that year of my life to end. Twenty-eight was really good to me.

I know that life can't be parceled off into neat, little year nuggets, but it seemed like twenty-eight was full of good. And so I was sad to bid it adieu. That sadness might have accidentally doomed my twenty-ninth year. This year has not been one for the books.

I will state for the record, nothing bad actually happened. Well, maybe a few little bad things happened, but nothing so out of the realm of normal as to define this past year of my life as "bad." Anyhow, all this simply leads me to say, I was very happy to welcome my thirtieth birthday last Tuesday because like so many people, I enjoy a new beginning, a sense that there is a fresh start.

I think that the people who get the most freaked out by their "big" birthdays, i.e., changing of the decade birthdays, are those who aren't content with where they are in life, though maybe I'm just being judgy and smug. It has seemed to be that those who had some sort of expectation about where they wanted to be by a certain milestone have been the most likely to be upset when that milestone comes around and they aren't quite there yet.

Anyhow, I am perfectly content with what the past thirty years have brought me. I'm happy to be thirty. I've been ready. Thirty doesn't feel like a new stage. It feels like a continuation. I'll keep on keepin' on with my crew of people.  I'll have this baby in few months, and I will fall in love with her just like I have fallen for my other kids. I'll punctuate lazy afternoons and evening meals with trips to the beach and drinks with friends. I'll let my curiosity guide me from small adventure to small adventure. I'll read books and think thoughts and enjoy good meals and be disappointed and cry out to Jesus and do all the things I've done before and more things I probably can't even fathom right now. Thirty will be full of years as great as my twenty-eighth and as mediocre as my twenty-ninth. There might even be a year mixed in there harder than any year I have ever encountered. But hopefully, I will be armed with the wisdom I need to see my way through it.

So I end this decade the same way I began it, pregnant with a daughter and excited about what this year will bring.

Although the actual day of my thirtieth birthday was maybe the slightest bit muted, I got to spend last weekend with my best friend in her boyfriend's wonderful apartment, being fed every sort of delicious thing AND getting to sleep in, with nary a Weaver child in sight. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

My Sister Married

My little sister got married this weekend. It was equal parts beautiful and stressful.

When I first started watching my sister Claire plan her wedding, I was afraid the jealousy beast might rear her ugly head, and that I might find myself wishing that I had celebrated my marriage with a bit more fanfare. As the months dragged on and the pressure mounted, I discovered that I was in no way jealous. Actually, I feel pretty smug for getting married without putting myself through that whole ordeal.

Claire and Andrew had a beautiful wedding. Beautiful. And I wish my sister and her new groom peace and happiness. I love them both with my whole heart, and I am eager to see them settle into this new stage of their life together.

As is so often the case at events like this, I didn't manage to capture many moments.  Maybe I'll poach some from the photographer if I ever get my hands on them. My children made me so overwhelmingly proud that day that I can only assume there were a few snaps capturing their joy. I think it's quite possible that Sena and Gus had the best time of any guests there.

And if it's not too much to send in a wish on my own behalf, I'm ready for autumn to take a slower, steadier rhythm now.