Saturday, May 21, 2011


TW is sprouting fuzz. When G did this she was just over 4 months old. I was nursing her on the bottom viewing gallery at the marine aquarium just outside of Anchorage. Little M was watching a sea lion watching him watching a sea lion thru thick plate glass and the calm light from above. She sprouted this soft blonde fuzz that truly marks the end of every one of my kids' infant stage and their moving onward to baby stage. G's fuzz reflected the light as if it were the warmest strands of gold. Tomorrow I will take TW's 4 month old picture and it will most likely not pick up his blonde fuzz. You will be able to see it in the photographs a few months from now. The picture will also be harder to take because all he wants to do is kick his legs. Kick, kick, kick. He is very proud of his bendy knees and kicky legs. They will pull the picture out of focus though, these very busy legs of his. I am writing about TW's fuzzy head and busy legs as he takes his fourth 2 hour nap of the day. I pray to God he sleeps tonight. I have a dull ache forming just behind my eyes and his older siblings are still thumping about with large and secret plans for the bar of soap in the bathroom. I am also writing about TW's new fuzz to avoid writing about how much I will miss this community that really has no problem pitching in and helping out - even knowing that we will move and our chance to pitch in and help out in the near term will drastically decrease in about 15 days. I was homesick here. But that doesn't mean I didn't make this a home. I must text E O'H back and let her know that yes, it would be wonderful if she could take Little M to Sam A's birthday party tomorrow. I have to take a picture and to watch TW sprout some blonde baby fuzz.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Am I spoiled? Dumb?

I feel a bit turned around. Kind of like the picture above.

Perhaps I am spoiled. There is so much we can do from online these days. I can book summer schools for the kids in Portland whilst we are still in Glasgow. I can hunt for a house, apply for a house loan, and peruse golf courses the area has to offer. I can even see the road a favored house is on via Google maps. I can order groceries to be delivered to the temporary housing we have set up on the very day of our arrival. Surely, I should be able to figure out if a public school has openings for my kids? Maybe not online, but through a phone call or email?

But no. Not the case and I am turned around. While I know, respect and understand why they want us to live in the district that we would like the children to attend, I don't want to commit to an area unless I know my kids are accepted. Why would I buy a house and support a local economy only to find that I need to plop my kids in a car and drive across a county line to get them into the school that accepts them. Maybe I am the one dumb as a stump? Read the post below - especially the bit about pirate bones.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

dumb as stumps

I love the Guardian newspaper. Especially Saturday's edition and especially the Family section. There are celebrities interviewed every week about their families. Every so often one of the luminaries makes the comment that he/she tries to teach his/her children that there "isn't a dumb question." This "no dumb question" lesson is meant to encourage the children to always communicate with the parent. To this, I say: WHAT?!? I think those children must be dumb as stumps. Or maybe emotionally neglected so when this radiant parent actually lands at the kitchen table the parent is essentially at a loss for what to say and starts foaming, "Really! Darling! You can ask me any question at all when I am actually giving you the time of day! Quick! Before your 5 minutes is up!"

Just to test my theory, I decided to see how many questions Little M asked me in the first 15 minutes after picking him up from school. 18. That's more than a question a minute and depending on the length of the question there was hardly time to answer before another question came barreling thru my taxed synapses.

G, who is more of take it or leave it gal, doesn't ask questions so much as state increasingly weird maxims until you simply can't bear it any longer and must correct her with an air of, "Good lands child! How will you ever survive without accepting this basic premise?!" Examples from yesterday include, I kid you not, "Actually, I have more bones than a pirate." and "I don't need the sky. It could even be green. Actually." I must also own up to my faltering knowledge of the body as G was right about pirates. Teeth are indeed bones and pirates, for a 3 year old, have very few teeth. Actually.

Thankfully, TW is not talking, questioning, or stating anything just yet. Moaning? Yes. Wailing? Yes. Cooing, laughing, and smiling too. I was relieved he slept soundly during my experiment. Though, I have no doubt he is not as dumb as a stump. I am also fairly certain that he will display characteristics belying the long line of delightfully odd people from which he has sprung. Actually.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May 11

I am having a hard time writing. When my kids are having a hard time, I tell my kids to take a breath. In thru the nose. Out thru the mouth. We do it together and it often takes the edge off our most recent worry or tantrum.

I have many things I should tell you. I should tell you about TW unfurling from his womb-time. I should tell you we celebrated the Royal Wedding with my parents by visiting the Glasgow Necropolis - a city of the dead laden with leaning tombstones and quiet mausoleums cutting up the unexpectedly blue sky. I should tell you that we are moving to Portland the end of June. I should write how very sad I am to leave the people and the hills we have discovered here. I should write you about how excited I am to be close to our American friends and family again.

But, then I take a big breath and find myself on the other side of all these stories and worries. After all I should tell you, I find all I want to tell you is about my Grandmother. You may remember that last summer she passed away. Today is her birthday and today I would call her and ask if she got her nails done. I often sent her money to get her nails done for special occasions. We would then chat and I would tell her all the stories from my small family and then she would tell me all the stories of her large heart. They were often the big stories of little things as she neared the end of her life. Stories about what she ate for lunch, the weather, and who sat with her in the sun just the other day and told her all the comings and goings of whatever leaf on the family tree.

Today, she is not there to answer the phone. There isn't an address for her that I have lost in one of our many moves that I can recover and then go knocking on that door. "Grandma! Hello! It's Jen! I thought we had lost each other. Silly me! You're right here. Your nail appointment is at nine. Let's get going..." Though, when I take a breath today, this hard day to write, I smell her.

Since her passing, many more babies have been born into our family. Like TW, they are unfurling in their own time and discovering knees and drooling over their new-found fingers and on relatives and cooing at magical things like, oh, I don't know, the very bendy nature of one's knees. Though I am very sad she will not meet all these babies, Grandma would be very happy about all of these babies. I have so very much more I should write to you, but I think I will take a big breath and enjoy a day thinking about her...