This and That

10 Apr

March was a looooong, painful month. Lots of travel and work and stress for Mike, and lots of work and stress for me. Michaela, as usual, did pretty well, though. She’s LOVING her after-school jump rope class and can often be found outside, practicing techniques like “skier” and “Irish jig.” (Who knew there was so much to jump roping?)

Mike’s mom came to stay with us for a week or so at the end of the month, which was lovely. She and Michaela had a great time hanging out, going to the park, making shrinky dinks, and doing crafts. The Easter Bunny visited our house and hid 30 eggs, some of which were filled with candy and others of which were filled with candy and dollar coins) and then we had a big lunch that included neighbors coming over so we could taste each other’s homemade cakes. Mike and his mom made a cake in the shape of an egg.

Like this one from How to Cake It:



If March dragged, April seems to be flying by so far. I hope we’ll be able to kick off a front yard renovation soon (lord knows it’s terribly needed) and book some fun stuff for summer. After all, it’s only nine more weeks until Michaela is done with second grade!

That Age

27 Mar

Apparently I’ve reached the age where friends start to die?

I got a call yesterday that someone I worked with passed away over the weekend. “She went into the hospital and didn’t come out,” is how the person who called me put it. This woman just turned 40 and was a very warm, bright personality. We weren’t close, but I just had dinner with her and her boyfriend (and some other colleagues). At dinner, she and her boyfriend were giddy, so in love, talking about the place they found to rent together, how they got rid of their “his” and “her’s” furniture and bought new stuff, and the life they were planning to build together. My heart aches for her boyfriend and her family.

Forty used to seem old, but now, of course, it doesn’t. Stuff like this definitely forces a reality check– focus on the things that matter, which are not the small things that are usually annoying me.

I went home and hugged Michaela extra tight.


10 Mar

Michaela took ice skating lessons when she was a tot. She liked it but not well enough to keep doing it. She’s skated once or twice since then during free skate, but that’s about it. So when we decided to go roller skating with friends last weekend, I wasn’t sure how she’d do. Heck, I wasn’t sure how I would do!

We met our friends, slooooowly strapped on our skates, and proceeded to the rink.

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The girls were wobbly and had a hard time, and we were outnumbered (three kids to two adults), so we got them each a skating support. It’s a little contraption made out of PVC pipe that the kid can hang onto and push along with them– a walker of sorts.

After a couple of trips around the rink, Michaela handed me her walker, dramatically held out her arm, said “Bye, Mom!” and skated off! A little haltingly, sure, but she she did it! She spent the entire rest of our time there skating around by herself, having a good old time.

I’m so proud of my little skater!

Grandma Pat

24 Feb

Mike said it best, so I’ll excerpt part of his Facebook post here:

Grandma Pat fell asleep in her armchair over the weekend (as she was known to do), but this time she didn’t wake up. She lived 83 good years.

She was loving and nonjudgemental, but wasn’t afraid to yank you out of your chair by your ear if you were out of line.

Grandma Pat was a lovely woman. She was always incredibly kind to me, welcomed me to the family with open arms. She lent Mike and I 10% of the purchase price of our first home so we’d have a 20% down payment (we paid her back with interest and early, I’m proud to say). That investment in us is a huge part of the reason Mike and I have the life we have today.

When Michaela was born, Pat came down for several days. She held Michaela constantly and the two of them often fell asleep together. Grandma would be on the couch holding Michaela and one or the other of them would fall asleep. Eventually they’d both wake up, Michaela would have a diaper change, and Pat would take Michaela out to sit on the porch swing in the sun. One or both of them would fall asleep there, and the cycle would repeat. We were so frantic and tired that we didn’t snap a picture of the two of them napping together, which disappoints me more than I can express.

I’ll definitely miss Grandma Pat, but am happy she took her leave of the planet the way she wanted– peacefully, in her home, no slow decline in a nursing home, no move to be closer to one of her sons. I hope we will all be so lucky.


Unleashing My Inner Yogi

4 Feb

I’ve done yoga off and on over the years, including several periods when I did it multiple times a week. I love the way it calms my mind, helps me be more flexible, and tones my body. So I set an intention on Dec. 31 that I would start my mornings with 30 minutes of yoga each day. I have done that every day since!

I wake up about 40 minutes earlier than I used to, to give myself time to roll out my mat, turn the TV onto a yoga video (thanks, Amazon Prime Video!), do my 30 minutes, and feel genuinely refreshed at the end. I have felt less stressed during the day, even during crazy work days, and it inspires me to eat better, too.

I signed Michaela up for an after-school yoga class. It’s only an hour one day a week, but I thought she’d like it because her old nanny used to take her to yoga at the library. She has embraced it and comes home talking about different poses. Given that, I decided to get her her own mat (she had been using mine).

This morning, I asked her if she wanted to do yoga with me so she could try out her newly purchased mat. She said okay on the condition that we do her kids Cosmic Yoga. It’s a video series where a super enthusiastic British lady wearing a onesie spins a 15-minute yarn, using different poses and actions to advance the story. I prefer my regular video, but I figured what the heck. I felt like a total idiot making”meow” sounds during cat pose, but it sure was fun to do it together!

Breakfast with the Principal

4 Feb

A couple of weeks ago (I’m behind on blogging!), Michaela was nominated by her teacher for Breakfast with the Principal. Her teacher’s nomination included: “I love that she does not shy away from voicing her thoughts and opinions and always stands on the side of what is fair and just. She’s kind, thoughtful, , and has an awesome sense of humor!”

That’s why I found myself holding back tears at 8 a.m. at a folding table in the school multipurpose room. In my opinion, that’s just about the nicest, best thing anyone could ever saw about someone. My goal in life is to raise Michaela to be someone who speaks up for herself and others, and who makes the world a better place. I’m hoping it sticks and she’ll continue to be the way her teacher described her!

Eco Warrior

14 Jan

Michaela and I were at Jamba Juice yesterday enjoying our smoothies on the patio when someone walked by and dumped two plastic water bottles into the trashcan. Michaela got up immediately and peered into the trashcan. “Mom,” she asked, “Can I take these bottles out and find a recycle bin? These shouldn’t be in the trash!”

Making the world a better place one water bottle at a time.


14 Jan

Friday night, we’re at home eating dinner. Out of nowhere, Michaela gets this big smile on her face and sort of breathlessly announces, “Claudia told Jack I like him!”

I almost fell out of my chair. Since kindergarten, various kids a school have had crushes and “boyfriends” and “girlfriends,” but Michaela was never one to express even a passing interest in that stuff.

Mike and I asked her, “Well, do you like him?”

She said yes, “But I didn’t want her to tell him! She told him I LOVE him. There’s a difference between like and love!”

(And for emphasis, as she was relating the difference between like and love, she did this adorable “Michaela look” that I desperately hope to capture on video before she outgrows it. Eyebrows up for emphasis, head cocked slightly to the side, gesturing descriptively.)

I asked her if she wanted Claudia to tell Jack Michaela liked him. She said no. So I asked why she told Claudia – her best friend – that she liked Jack.

Michaela gave me a “that’s a silly question!” look and said, “I told her because I wanted to tell her!”

To which Mike chimed in, “That’s what besties are for!”

Be Not Ashamed

7 Jan

The other day, Michaela was talking about Harriet Tubman. Apparently they’re learning about her in school, and we have an awesome book about her, so it’s not a totally unusual subject. In the course of talking about Tubman, I told Michaela I could give her a copy of a picture of my grandmother’s grandmother, who was a slave. Michaela declined, emphatically. She didn’t come out and say it, but it seemed pretty clear that it was because she doesn’t want people thinking she’s descended from slaves. Which she is. And which, from my perspective, she should be damn proud of. Trying to keep from crying, I told her exactly that:

These people – our ancestors – survived against long odds. They survived the Middle Passage. As slaves, they had children, though God only knows if they were able to know their families. They made it through (failed) Reconstruction and through Jim Crow and through separate and unequal. They eventually resulted in my grandmother and my dad and me and Michaela.

And if that’s not something to celebrate and honor and cherish, then I don’t know what is.

I think it sunk in because she told me tonight at bedtime that she would like to take a picture to school after all.

Thank goodness for that.

Happy New Year!

2 Jan

We didn’t have big plans for New Year’s Eve. We were invited to a friend’s house, but opted to stay home and make fondue instead. We dipped apples, carrots, french bread, broccoli, and carrots in a cheddar-blue cheese mix, and steak, shrimp, mushrooms, and red potatoes in a broth, filling ourselves full of yumminess to say goodbye to 2017.


Michaela insisted she be allowed to stay up until midnight for New Year’s Eve. She was close to giving up and going to sleep at about 11:30, but she managed to stay awake (we played about a million games of Uno and Old Maid) and as the ball dropped, we toasted with sparkling apple cider and counted down to midnight.

The next morning, she slept until 10:30!

We puttered around the house before Michaela and I headed to the beach. It was 70 when we left, but ended up being a bit more chilly at the beach, so Michaela contented herself making sandcastles. She even made friends with another girl who was there and they built a long moat together.


After coming home from the beach and rinsing off, Mike joined us and we all went for a long walk. It wasn’t quite “take a hike,” as many people advocate on New Year’s Day, but I ended up hitting (actually exceeding!) my 10k steps goal for the day.

We had extra steak shrimp from fondue, and I decided I’d make them myself on the grill. I don’t eat seafood so never cook it, but it seemed simple enough (thanks to the internet) to do. I threaded the shrimp onto skewers, seasoned my steak, and threw them on the grill. The steak was delicious and Michaela enjoyed the shrimp; it was fun to start the new year by doing something I’ve never done before!