Life with a Frances

on 29 August 2011

Did your mother ever read the Frances books to you?  I mean specifically Bread and Jam for Frances.  Am I the only one familiar with this particular book o' irony?  I know there are other titles, but I'm having a Frances problem and it just so happens to be the EXACT same problem that Frances' mother faces in Bread and Jam.

I am living with a Bread and Jam Frances kid and it is making me INSANE.

And I come here with my insanity because it's literally taking ALL of my patience to keep this child among the living. 

I confess, I loathe the dinner hour.  I'm not good at planning a menu, and I can't even blame the fickleness of pregnancy for that one, because it's a constant, unwavering part of my natural M-ness.  I just suck at it.  Inevitably, four o'clock rolls around and it occurs to me that people will be hungry in a couple of hours and perhaps I should come up with a plan to deal with that hunger.  And then it's the mad dash to the fridge and pantry to attempt to assemble something from the odd bits of staples that we keep on hand.  It's not so bad the first few days after I grocery shop, for there's a lot of fresh stuff in the fridge, but as the week wears on and the fridge thins out, things become decidedly more experimental and haphazard.  Never good words to describe dinner.

But lately, I've been wondering if my apathy towards the dinner hour isn't at least partly the Boy's fault.  He went from being a relatively laid back eater to The Pickiest Child on Earth. 

Even when I plan, people!  Even when I start early!  When there's a nutritionally balanced meal, beautifully presented to him at the table, he doesn't even SMELL it, he takes one look and then declares himself, "Don't like it, Mama.  Do. Not. Like. It." 

And of course, I insist that he TRY it.  Just TRY it, child.  And most evenings I can get him to put a microscopic spec of food partical into his mouth and then he just reiterates the "Do. Not. Like. It." declaration.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I've tried everything!  I've tried the whole, "You have to sit there until you eat it." routine.  I've tried sending him to bed hungry--no good.  I'm not Dickensian enough, of course, when he woke up crying and hungry, I got him up and made him toast and milk.  I've tried the Children are Starving in Somalia, but he's not entirely sure where Somalia is, it might just be another planet for all he knows, so he doesn't particularly care, or rather, he might care, just enough to send them HIS dinner that he has flatly refused to EAT!

So I come to the internet to lay my parental frustration on the alter of the almighty Internet.  Please, help me.  How to I get my child to eat more than yogurt, cereal and cashew nuts?


on 24 August 2011

Our final ultrasound was today.

Good thing too, those are getting expensive.

Though, I have to say, I LOVE those ultrasound chairs.  I told the technician that I woke up feeling uncomfortable and thought about that lovely chair that I was going to get to sit in and that was something to look forward to.

I have to say, this pregnancy has been weird, but since it's only my second I'm starting to think that maybe every pregnancy is a little bit weird.  I was sick at the beginning but then I've been fine ever since.  I alternate between craving red meat and wanting to drown myself in chocolate.  I swing between tears and fits of the giggles.  My cup of hormones runneth over.

What?  I'm stalling and y'all want to know what we're having?  Well, ok.  I suppose I should get down to business.

Except that I'm hungry...maybe I should go eat something first.

Not so much?  Oh I know, it's quick news...but since we still have no name for the Child it all feels anticlimactic.

Fine.  It's a GIRL!  We're going to have a little girl in our house.  We're about to be inundated with pink and purple and all manner of sugar and spice.  It's no small wonder that I'm feeling overwhelmed. 

Incidentally, the Boy has called this one from the beginning.  But the funny thing was, after the technician told us it was a girl, the Boy burst out with, "No!  Want a baby brother!"  Sorry dude, maybe next time...

Home Again

on 23 August 2011


We got home late LATE last night.  Our flight got in around 10:15 and then it was the mad juggle of luggage and Boy and then Chris left right after work to pick us up.  We got home and unloaded the car and got the Boy down in his own bed for the night.  I was expecting a big fit (he and I have been sharing  a bed for the week... I've got some funny stories there), but he did just great.  He was so happy to see his Monte bear that he bounced down into his bed and hugged him tight and was out cold by the time the door closed.

Guess what Chris did while I was gone?  He traipsed into a bed of ticks!  He was out walking my sister's dog (Maya, she's been hanging with us while Sherry's been out in Utah with a wide variety of familial stuff) and thought it would be a good idea to take Maya through the woods behind our apartment, give her something new to smell etc.  Well, Maya gets flea and tick medication, Chris does NOT.  So Maya got out completely unscathed, Chris was bitten from ankle to waist and it took a good 45 minutes to pick all the seed ticks off of him.  It was awful, but I'm guessing it's nothing compared to how bad the man itches now.  Even with the itching, he's happy we're home.

We're happy to be home.

It was so much fun to be with my amazing sisters and to watch their kids play with the Boy and how much they all loved each other.  I'm thoroughly exhausted, but I'm blaming the pregnancy for that one.  I've slept most of today, thanks to my lovely husband.  The Boy is pretty fried too, he's watched Charlie Brown videos all day long, and while I would normally feel guilty about that, I figure, he needed a day in his jammies to just decompress.

I have loads of stories, flashes of memories to share with you all, but it's going to be a little bit.  I have a lot of sleeping still to do!  Also, we have the great Ultrasound tomorrow morning, so if you want to hazard a guess as to the variety of baby we'll be having in January, now's your chance.  Naturally, I'll be letting you all know...some time or other.  Oh, come on!  I'm kidding!  Of course I'm going to tell you all!  How could I not?  We're so thoroughly excited that we don't much care if we have a boy or a girl, but let me just say, if it's another boy, he may never get named.

Found Again

on 17 August 2011

My sisters and I are all together out in Utah this week.  We came together to attend Education Week, but really it's about this girl:

the one on the right...

She's my sister's only daughter and she's starting school at BYU this Fall.  Sherry brought her out to help her move in and get settled.  She also had to get her wisdom teeth out.  (She's currently nestled under a pile of her cousins in her bed.  I was just in there and it was so sweet that I went back to my room to hide and cry a little bit.)

Because I've been thinking a lot about being the youngest in a family.  I'm the youngest of four.  My two older sisters (whom I idolized growing up and I'm sure I made them absolutely insane) and then my brother (whom I also idolized but for different reasons).  My sisters have always teased me quite a bit about being the youngest and being spoiled, and I think to a certain extent, maybe it's unavoidable.  The family dynamic changes, and as the chicks fly the nest, the ones left behind get more and more time and attention and so yes, they get a bit spoiled.

And yet.  I think what Sherry didn't see when she was younger, but what she's seeing now with her own children, is just how hard it is to be the youngest.  Sure, you might be spoiled a bit, but you're also the one that's always left behind.  Whether it's left behind while the older kids go off to play, or left behind for schools and missions and marriages.  It's a lonely place to be.

And as I watch my nephew play around his sister, and my own Boy play with his cousins, what I wish I could do is take them in my arms and whisper this secret in their ears.  What I've learned as an adult, who is still the youngest child, is this:  there is nothing lost, that may not be found again...if sought.

Through my twenties I despaired of ever catching up with my sisters, of ever getting to be close to them.  They were off having a life, while I seemed stuck in perpetual youth.  I thought that they had just slipped through my fingers like the passage of time and once gone, they were just gone.  But here, in this lovely place in my thirties, we have all found each other again.  If someone had whispered this secret in my ears so many years ago, I wouldn't have believed them.  And so I whisper it here, and continue to hug and kiss my nephew and nieces and Boy and trust that in the years that are coming, they will all find what they once thought was lost.

Maybe Not

on 10 August 2011


At the risk of sounding like two flakey people, Chris and I have decided NOT to buy the house.  We had some concerns going in to it and we spent the weekend thinking about it and decided it's just not the right time for us to buy.  Oh well.  C'est la vie.

On to the next crisis.

So I'm leaving for Utah on Monday and Chris will be checking rental listings trying to find something in our price range.

Why are you going out to Utah, M?  Well, it turns out that the three of us Sisters are far too awesome to live all together in one concentrated area, so Sherry and I are heading out to Utah to open up a Vortex of Awesome at my sister Susie's house.  We're all going to Education Week, and we'll spend the week tooling around town and reeking havoc like a pack of teenagers.  Well, as much havoc as you can reek checking out yarn shops and fabric stores and bookstores and art museums.  But we're three wild and crazy girls, so you never know.

The Boy is beyond excited to play with his cousins and play in the dirt!  It's a tough call which he's more excited about...his cousins or the dirt.  Yesterday he asked me approximately 87 times when we were going to get on a big airplane and go see Aunt Susie.  I think he's learned by now that the Aunties will let him eat things and get away with things that Mama does not normally allow.  And you's ok.  I have absolutely loved spoiling my nieces and nephews, so who am I to deny the pleasure to my sisters?  Plus, it's hilarious to watch him charm the pants off of them.

Chris is on Animal Duty all next week while we're gone.  We're keeping Sherry's dog here with the cats and Chris will be a veritable Kennel Keeper.  The dog is hilarious, I should note.  She has a bit of a death wish--I think it's because Sherry lives more in the country than we do, so Maya (the dog) isn't quite as accustomed to cars.  I took her to walk this morning and it was all I could do to keep her from hurling herself into traffic with wild abandon.  I'm trying hard not to take it personally.  I'm pretty sure she likes spite of trying to throw herself after cars.

And with that, I suppose, you are all updated.  Sorry for not having blogged much.  I'm not feeling very lively lately.  Whether it's a normal side affect of pregnancy, or just life in general, I don't know.  I told my friend Samwise the other day, that I feel like burying my head in the sand and blissfully ignoring all the stuff I should be doing and just knitting baby stuff--so that's what I've been doing.  I'm working on a few pairs of neutral colored baby booties and hats.  They're so tiny that they knit up in a few hours.  And they're adorable.  (Though, I have to say, I knit the first one to pattern and maybe it would have fit the baby NOW, but by the time the baby is actually BORN, there's no way that bootie would fit on baby's feet!  So I changed the pattern to fit Burnstopia Baby Feet and like it much better.  Likewise with the hats!  I swear, other people must have these teeny tiny newborns...there's just no way that these delicate doll-sized hats will fit on a Burnstopia Baby.)

That's it.  I'm really done this time.  So for my Great Western Friends, if you hear of anything strange happening in Utah next week, don't worry, it's just me and my sisters and our Havoc. 

Home Sweet Home...maybe...

on 05 August 2011


I think we found a house.

It's not a huge house.  It's not new.  It's not extravagant or luxurious.  But it's lovely.  It's surrounded by trees and has plenty of room (for us) to spread out.

Now we just have to buy it.

Chris will start the offers and the haggling next week.  For that is ALL him.  I don't care to bargain (and if you can name that movie (or book!) I'll be duly impressed).

For now, I'm taking a break.  I've discovered in the midst of all this craziness that I'm actually a MUCH (nay, profoundly) better mother when I have less going on.  And so I reiterate for all of those multi-tasking, working Mothers--I don't know how they do it.  The Boy and I have books to read and Charlie Brown specials to cuddle and watch together.  His new favorite expression for anything at all is "Good Grief."  It's hilarious.

And for those of you who, for reasons I don't quite understand, are interested, I've gone back to working out.  Are you impressed?  You should be.  I'm unspeakably impressed!  It's not really hard working out, I'm doing some strength training on upper and lower body, trying to build my I-have-to-carry-a-baby-and-lug-a-carseat-in-6-months-oh-crap! muscles.

And while I shall be packing up our apartment, I have already absolved myself of the actual move itself and declared my intention to spend the day hiding at my parent's house and watching television and biting my fingernails all day.  I've never missed a move before!  Not one of my own!  I feel a little strange...guilty and pansy all at the same time.  Is this all preemptive?  Since we haven't even bought the house yet?  We've told the office we're not renewing our lease so technically if the house doesn't work out, we still have to move.

And as for the babalah, I've been feeling inordinately guilty for not having blogged about the Babe much.  It's not personal, I don't mean to make the poor wee one out to be a lesser loved child or anything, there's just not much to say at this point.  Talk about what?  My fickle stomach?  My incessant craving for peaches?  The buckets of tears I've cried over absolutely NOTHING (last night it was the last 2 episodes of Battlestar Galactica!  BSG?!  I've seen it 3 times!  I've never cried over it before, but there I sat, on the couch, sobbing my heart out as Athena holds and rocks Hera and Sam steers the ships into the sun and Roslin dies and Starbuck disappears on Apollo and weep weep weep, what is WRONG with me?!)?  It's a pregnancy.  It's healthy and normal and I've relaxed A LOT thank Heavens.  I can feel the lovely twitchy, tickly movements of a real live baby in there, and that's nice.  And in 3 more weeks I'll be able to tell you if it's Another Boy or A Girl and that will make me inexplicably happy.  Maybe then, I'll start to blog more...I don't know.

We're talking names.  I've reached a point where lo, I am sick to DEATH of the pronoun debacle.  Do I call it an It? Him? Her?  Somebody pinch me please, it annoys the crap out of me.  I usually alternate between the three, but I am just sick of it.  And yes, we're those odd sort of people who name the child in utero and refer to the child by name, because we happen to believe that it's an actual person.  I like Margaret for a girl (Chris likes Mathilda) and Liam for a boy (Chris likes Isaac), and while I can get Chris to think about Liam, I can't even get him to consider Margaret.  (People, please, we'd call her Maggie while she's little and she'd have Margaret to grow into as an adult--if she chose.  We're not horrible evil people.)  So I think we may have found another girl name that we can agree on, but we can't agree on the adult form to grow into and until we do, I'm not talking about it here.  We can't agree on ANY middle names (for girls) at all, and while my Dad would opt not to give her (if it's even a HER) a middle name (so that she can use her maiden name as a middle name) I love the middle name option.  That way if she's happy to relinquish her last name she still has a middle name she can hold on to.  Anyway, this is all bounding around inside my head most of the time because Chris won't even have the conversation with me until we know what IT is, and now you know why I'm feeling a little bit CRA-ZY.

And I just reread that last paragraph and I sound LOONY, so it's not small wonder that I haven't blogged in a while.

(I'm leaving it there as future evidence, when my grown children come to me and attempt to argue that I love the Boy more than any others, that I was indeed obsessive and neurotic about each and every one of my children.)

Anyway.  It's a cloudy day today, which is just so lovely.  I'll never understand why people complain about the weather in Seattle.  I loved the clouds.  The unending weeks of glaring sunlight, that is Summer in the South, it makes me a little bit crazy.  I need the cloudy days, it's what reboots my brain and settles me down.  I always feel better after a nice long string of gloomy days.  Is that strange?

And on that note, you are all updated.  C'est la vie en Burnstopia.  Ce n'est pas une vie en rose, mais, c'est bonne.  And since I haven't heard from anyone in a while, tell me how you're all doing.

Silent Bob

on 01 August 2011

All week, last week, I felt like I should write something to update everyone on the house hunting, on the pregnancy, on the Boy.

But I'm just so completely and totally exhausted that the thought of stringing together more than one coherent thought is really beyond me.

I promise to try to come up with something before I leave for Utah in a couple of weeks.