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Just a friendly reminder

While I’m not fond of the old trope about moms always putting themselves last, a large part of the reason I dislike it is because—for me, anyway—it tends to be true. Thank goodness I have friends who sometimes drag me out of the house. I hear it’s even good for a person to do that! So I’m over at Alpha Mom today with a few words about my Village and how much I appreciate it.

And as long as you’re over there, last week I rounded up some of our favorite soup recipes, which you may find useful as this second round of Arctic weather hits us.

Friendship or soup; take your pick.

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Raising kids is not for wimps

I have two sort-of-parenting-related things for you today:

1) I’m coming clean and I’ve donned my fireproof suit; over at Alpha Mom I’m explaining why I feel justified in snooping on my children. Now I just sit back and wait for someone to explain to me why I’m a terrible person, right? Because that’s how the Internet works.

2) While I am merely angering random people online, some other folks are doing awesome charitable things while being rockstars. For the entire month of October, my friends Asha Dornfest and Christine Koh (co-authors of Minimalist Parenting) are donating 100% of royalties from books purchased via this link to WOMEN AT RISK, an Ethiopian organization that helps women lift themselves out of prostitution. Their book is fantastic, anyway, and this is an easy way to extend your charitable reach for a worthy cause. Go buy a book. Heck, buy two—they’re small.

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It’s just like that song

There’s so many things I wanted to tell you about our camping trip, but somehow I got stuck on a title. What could possibly convey the depth of emotion in just a few words? How could I make it clear what these few days meant to us?

Somehow Paradise by the Dashboard Light got stuck in my head, and then I started thinking that “Pigs and Cards by Mosquito Bites” might work, but then you’d have to know that I was thinking of the song, and also that it’s a very different kind of paradise, and… yeah, it got kind of complicated. Just trust me that IN MY MIND that all made perfect sense.

In the meantime, I just went over to Alpha Mom and wrote about the little joys in hanging out with our special needs tribe, because it was really fantastic. (Also: really, really loud. Boys! So many boys.) Come on over and take a look.

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So very warm and fuzzy

Here’s a part of a terrible picture I snuck around a corner of Kira‘s house and snapped while my girly was chilling out with her new posse:

(From left to right: Tre watching Max play a video game, Max playing said video game, Chickadee texting and making Max into her personal cushion, and Raphael desperately wishing he was the one playing the video game.)

There’s something unspeakably awesome about your friend’s kids welcoming your kid into the fold, so of course I wrote about our trip for Alpha Mom because I still feel like there are cartoon bluebirds circling my head. (Sure, they’re teenage bluebirds with stinky feet and they periodically squabble with each other, but still.)

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Teenagers and travel and moths (oh my)

There was a time in my life—a long time, actually—when I thought I would have a houseful of children. Then I realized I was neither independently wealthy nor particularly patient, so I figured 3 or 4 kids would be plenty. And then, y’know, life happened, and I ended up with two kids and the realization that I am perfectly content with the size of my family. (Well, okay, some days I’m perfectly content and some days I am willing to sell the children for puppies or parts or even just to make the noise stop.)

So this is to say that I have no regrets about the state of my life or the size of my family. On the other hand, I packed up Chickadee and we flew out here to Kira‘s house, and I am positively marinating in pack-o-teens and lots of kill-me-dead-with-the-adorableness of watching said teens cater to Sophia (who is FOUR and a BIG GIRL), and there is a not tiny part of me which thinks that having an entire houseful of rowdy children would be really, really awesome.

Kira and I have been friends for coming up on a decade, now, and this is the first time our children have met, which is just weird because my kids know Kira and Kira’s kids know me. (I’m bummed that Monkey isn’t here, but he is still off being manly with Otto.) I think it took about half a day for Kira’s boys and Chickie to fall into an easy pattern of competing to see who could be the most obnoxious to each other (it turns out that my 15-year-old and Kira’s nearly-15-year-old may actually be sharing a brain, which is both frightening and FANTASTIC), and suddenly I can picture what life would be like if we formed a commune. It would be loud, mind you, but very entertaining. (more…)

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Just what I didn’t know I needed

So, uh, this week has kind of sucked. [Sidebar: Thank you for the kind words and thoughts and emails after that last post. I consider myself very lucky to have so many kind folks out there in the Intertubes giving a damn about us, and on low days like that one, it helps more than you know.] When things sucks, I like to go full hermit. I don’t want to talk to you, I don’t want to see you, I don’t want to do anything but curl up and maybe talk to Otto a little bit and hug my kids. That’s just how I am.

Lucky for me, my dance card usually isn’t full, so if I hit a time like this when I want to hide, it’s not hard to do. (Hooray for maladaptive coping!) But this week as things started crashing down around me, I looked at my calendar and realized that one of my oldest friends was coming to town. And my first inclination, quite honestly, was to call her up and cancel. Because STUFF, man, and THINGS and HARD and WAHWAH and I am an iiiiiiiiiislaaaaaaand!

Last year, I probably would’ve canceled. I would’ve apologized, profusely, and I would’ve felt like a shitty friend, and I would’ve gone back to hiding (now with extra self-flagellation) and that would’ve been it. But I have GROWN AS A PERSON (haaaaaa) and so I didn’t cancel. (more…)

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Have smart friends, especially in hard times

When you don’t know what to say, it’s always good to have friends more articulate than you are.

My friend Kathryn is smart and articulate and beautiful and committed to being part of the light in the world. I’m going to try to follow her example. Thanks, Kathryn.

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Hey, let’s talk about something else

I’m feeling all vulnerable and naked and stuff, and even though you were super nice about it (you’re my favorite, have I mentioned?), I feel the need to change the subject.

Unfortunately, I’m not all that smart, so I’m going to change the subject from “ZOMG THIS SUCKS AND WE ARE ALL SAD” to “HEY GIRLS SOMETIMES HURT MY FEELINGS.” This is… only a slight improvement. And the funny part is that it grew out of a conversation had while camping, when I was feeling perfectly relaxed and calm and happy and not like the world’s worst mother OR like all women are bitches. Huh.

Anyway, if you could also use the distraction, my thoughts are over at Off Our Chests. My delicate flower, easily wounded thoughts. I’m off to procure a fainting couch.

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Everyone in the lake!

The best thing to do when you’ve spent a week in a different time zone and you’re still adjusting to that giant Time Hangover where you never want to go to bed at night but you’re dragging around exhausted in the morning is to pack up again and go camping.

Well, no; that is absolutely NOT the best thing to do, but Otto apparently doesn’t realize that. Heh. Kidding! I kid. I totally wanted to go camping. Kind of. Right after I take a nap.

Anyway, we decided to drag Mario’s family to one of our favorite campgrounds, and the way it worked out was that Mario got dropped at our place and came up with us, yesterday after lunch, and his parents were going to come about an hour later, after his dad got done with work. We drove up here in a cacophony of smallish boys one-upping each other with various monster scenarios (“And then that one went BBBBZTBRRRRP and ripped the other one’s head off!”), and after about an hour I dug some Excedrin out of my purse and mild-mannered Otto finally said, quite sternly, “NO MORE SOUND EFFECTS.” (Monkey snorted, but Mario meekly responded, “Yes, sir.”)

And then we got here and Mario’s parents were MIA for hours. We figured that would be a good scam for getting rid of your kid, but eventually they showed up, and they brought lasagna (made with rice pasta for me!), and a jolly start to our camping adventure was had by all. (more…)

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Friends don’t mind if you barf

So I forgot to put that on the list of things I know about girlfriends, but it’s true. I have an old friend from my former, northern life here visiting ever-so-briefly, and she brought her son (who falls between Chickadee and Monkey, age-wise), and last night he suffered from either a pernicious migraine or some food poisoning (the jury is still out) and ended up having a very long evening indeed. Y’all know I simply do not deal well with vomit, but because they are my friends and I love them I tried REALLY HARD not to dry heave while handing over the bucket the cleaning wipes and such.

I’m a giver.

The good news is that he’s feeling much better this morning; the bad news is that it’s time for them to leave (boo). In light of their visit, however—and that realization I have whenever I get the all-too-rare chance to spend some quality time with a wonderful girlfriend—I’m over at Off Our Chests today, musing on the power of awesome gal pals. Come on over and tell me what would make your list of must-have qualities.

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