Friday, June 27, 2008

If It Walks Like a Duck

I went to a seminar the other night offered by Noah’s school. It was an invitation-only event for the parents of kids with “identifiable problems”. We certainly have a problem, I am not sure how identifiable it is.

For those of you in need of a catch-up, Noah’s kindergarten teacher thinks he should be tested for ADHD. We took the Connors Test for ADHD (One of many tests available, in which the parents answer questions and the teacher answers a different set of questions and it is scored). The teacher gave him a very high score and we here at home gave him a low one.
But then, the issues we have at home are different. At school it is hyperactivity and distracting other students. At home it is sudden bursts of anger, negative talk about himself, and sudden bursts of furious rudeness when a moment before he was a cheerful boy.

I got to spend a good 20 minutes talking with a therapist from the school system. The topic was supposed to be what to expect from therapy and how to find a therapist that is right for your child. We did talk about that, but also about his symptoms. We talked about his issues at school and when I said, “he just doesn’t exhibit that behavior at home”, she sighed and said that THAT phrase is one of the things you hear over and over again from the parents of a child that is later diagnosed as ADHD.

In the second session, which was actually about ADHD with a specialist, I brought up the idea that it could instead be early signs of bi-polar disorder as that would explain the mood swings and occasional depression we see at home as well as the bursts of creativity at home and the hyperactivity at school. They asked if I had B-P disorder in my family.


Does my husband?


Does anyone in my family have ADD? Yes, my brother and his son. Does anyone on my husband’s side have it? I thought I had heard that Michael's brother did, too.

Apparently both disorders are highly genetic.

I had a long talk with my brother yesterday who described to me what ADD feels like (he does not have the H=hyperactive) and also explained that his son, who was diagnosed around Noah’s age, was experiencing low self-esteem and depression symptoms, too. In fact, they concerned the psychiatrist more than the ADD did.


But still I persist in my doubts about Noah having ADHD. He does exhibit a few of the behaviors. But there is a good deal of symptoms he doesn’t exhibit. And a lot of the ones he does show COULD be chalked up to “being a boy” and lack of maturity. He is one of the youngest in his class.

But, geeez...
* The teacher believes he probably has it.
* The doctor who never met him but heard all about him agrees it’s likely he has it.
* “He doesn’t exhibit these symptoms at home” is a common thing said by parents of ADHD kids.
* My nephew had personality changes and low self esteem before diagnosis (which resolved after he finally went on medication after trying other methods for awhile).

* It is genetically passed on and seems to be in both our lines.

I guess I have moved from being on this side of the fence to being officially on the fence.

We got a referral for a great child psychiatrist who (thank heavens) is in our insurance network. He has been given accolades by his peers for being one of the best in his field in the county, and has been described as a very conservative doctor, who does not pass out ADHD diagnoses as if they were candy, like some doctors do.

There is a part of me that is actually hoping he has ADHD. If so, I will have an explanation for some bewildering and difficult behavior and therapies to treat it. If he doesn't have it, we may be dealing with something far fishier and difficult to pin down, to parent, and treat.

Until then, three more weeks of school until the end of Kindergarten.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bits and Pieces

I have to admit, I have been kind of lax when it comes to my blog lately. Haven’t been keeping up with my Wordless Wednesdays and have been posting about patio furniture and bird’s nests.

Even with summer coming, our lives have fallen into a pattern of the same things over and over. Not a lot of variety, weekends usually spent getting small jobs done and just relaxing at home. Nothing to write home about.

Or blog about, for that matter.

So, here are some small goings-on in our world, not worthy of their own blog posts, but together, maybe enough to make a decent read.

* Tonight I am off to a seminar at Noah’s school that was recommended to me by his kindergarten teacher. The big group will break out into smaller groups to talk about topics pertaining to kid’s with behavioral issues like ADHD, autism, mood disorders, anxiety, and behavior management. You can pick two topics to sit in on and I am going with “Mood and Anxiety in Children”, and “Understanding Mental Health Services” which explains what kind of therapies are available and how to find out what is right for your child. Hopefully, this night will answer some questions I have and set us on a path to find some help for Noah (who is not a basket-case but clearly has some issues that we are finding difficult to define).

* The ridiculous heat wave we had has finally passed and we are back down to the high 70s, which is rather lovely. My plants outside are a little worse for wear, even the desert plants. I might give them an extra watering tonight. I have been cutting the dead branches out of the jasmine vines and knocking off (and sweeping up) some of the dead blossoms when the kids want to play outside. I want to hang some pretty string lights up above my new patio furniture to make the pergola a more festive and inviting place in the evening.

* This weekend we are heading up to Michael’s mom’s house in Encino. Michael’s cousin Tanja is having her wedding reception there. She is originally from Serbia and found a nice Yugoslav boy here in America. He lives in D.C., though, so it’s a happy celebration and a bit of a sad farewell. I have been asked to take the “official” wedding reception family photos.

* Michael is getting a week off in late August and I have been scouring the internets looking for a place that our little tribe can attempt our first full-blown family vacation with twin toddlers. I really want to go to the woods. But the more we think about it, tent camping is just going to be too hard to be fun for a couple more years (visions of trying to cook food everyone will eat over a campfire, while trying to keep toddlers from running off into different directions in the woods). So, are started thinking of those campgrounds that have cabins. I found this awesome place that has tent and cabin camping, kitchenettes, a cafĂ©, playground, swimming pool, kid’s crafts, movie nights, trails, a lazy river to swim in, rocks to climb and is right in a dense forest. Unfortunately, after I fell in love with it, I realized it was pretty far north of San Francisco. Looking for something as good further south is not going well. Anyone know of a place that would work for us?

Well, there is your latest news on what we are up to here in lovely, not-too-hot-anymore San Diego. What are YOU doing lately?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hot In The City

Its been stunningly hot the past few days! (photo included for karmic balance.)

Today, the heat was supposed to break with a high of 86 degrees, but I clocked it at 100 late this afternoon. We don't have any air conditioning.

I have learned the intricacies of managing the heat in the house to the best of my abilities. I know when to turn the window fans blowing out to vent the heat. I know what time of day to turn them around and point them back in. I know that if you open a window and feel a wave of desert heat roll into the living room, to close said window and pull the drapes.

I put my kids to nap upstairs today in a very warm room. I had the fan blowing out, the blinds had been drawn all morning to keep out the sun. The oscillating fan swivelled between one crib and the other. When they woke (they DID sleep!) they had wet hair and I stuck a thermometer in their room. It had been 97 degrees.

Downstairs it was 90.

We made a lot of lemonade and ate cold things like yogurt and frozen peas for lunch. I thought of going out and filling the baby pool but that would involve, you know, going OUTSIDE! Where it was stifling.

Its past the kid's bedtime but they are still up and playing because the sun only just went down, and the outside air is cooling. We are trying to blow some of that 88 degree air into their room before forcing them to bed. If they would sleep, I would put them down in my room, but they would consider it a time to explore, get into my stuff, play with the radio buttons and jump on the bed.

So, we wait.

And sweat.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Time to Fly

When we recently moved into our new home here, I was madly in love with the huge growth of Jasmine that was enveloping our patio cover. It was in full bloom and was almost too fragrant with its thick romantic scent.

Within a couple weeks, though, the full bloom of little Jasmine flowers succumbed to a heatwave and browned, much of it falling to the patio. It's not so pretty anymore, and I am waiting eagerly for the next bloom.

But new life has come to the Jasmine!

Up in the corners of the trellis, where it meets the neighbor's wall, the Jasmine grows in thick, dense bushes. It seems that a pair of birds comes back each spring and burrows into one of the bushes and builds a new nest beside last year's abandoned one. There are now four nests that I can see, and in the latest one are a gaggle of not-quite-so-little baby birds.

We see the parents come by on a regular basis, both bringing little morsels of food for the hungry mouths, and the chirping commotion when it's feeding time always brings me to the window to watch.

The parents used to fly around and scream at us when the kids would come out and play under the nest in the shade of the patio cover, but I think, while wary, they have come to trust that we will not harm their babies. Ethan will point to any bird that comes near our yard and yell out "Daddy!" and "Mommy!", his best guess on which is which.

In the last few days the babies have begun to come out and sit on the "front porch" of their nest and peer out into the big wide world and I am surprised at how big they have grown, almost as big as their tiny parents.

I think it's almost time to learn to fly.

Because there is nothing but concrete below them, I have moved my coveted new patio furniture underneath them, covered the sofa with an old bed sheet to keep it clean, and made a soft landing for the babies should they decide to make the great leap and need to try, try again.

I assume with four nests there, the babies likely survived in the past, but when you venture out in the world for the first time, its always nice to make a soft landing.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Outdoor Living

It's gonna be a comfy summer!

I love that here in San Diego, it's lovely weather almost all year long. And while we can afford smaller houses here in California than we can back in Ohio where I grew up, our yards and patios are almost always available for lovely, outside living.

I have a fence around my back yard (a good-sized courtyard, really) and just allow the toddlers to open the sliding glass door and go out and play most times they want to. It's a safe, small environment for them to run around and explore.

But for me, it's never been very comfortable. I find myself sitting on the ground, or on the occasional camp chair.

I have fantasies about these lovely outdoor rooms with palm fronds and hanging textiles, lounges and pillows and lanterns and waterfalls. I have no such patio, nor do I plan to put that much expense into a rental house.

But I came a tiny bit closer to realizing my dream patio. We invested in a set of that all-weather resin-wicker patio furniture. We spent a bit more and got the deep, comfy kind you sink way into, with an ottoman so you can put up your feet.

Now, I can sit comfortably and watch the kids cavort. Since the acquisition, I have been taking a little more "me time", too. I have a bowl of cereal out there while listening to the baby birds chatter, or drink some coffee while I read my friend's new novel and the twins have their nap.

It's a nice, thing. It slows me down. It gives me pleasure.

And maybe, just maybe...

...I will start to invite some of our new San Diego friends over for the evening, now that I have an attractive place to seat them. It could be the beginning of some beautiful friendships!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Another Bend in the Road

I have a couple friends here in San Diego that have achieved some really awesome goals and I am feeling so warm and squishy inside with happiness for them!

I have known my friend Karin for, gosh, maybe fifteen years, although for much of that time I only saw her once a year at the National Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes we both attended yearly (until I had a family with more small kids than adults and Karin's mother suffered a stroke and Karin became her main caregiver).

Karin is an awesome force of nature.

She is an activist, a surfer, a person who knows what needs to get done and gets it done! She is a strong catalyst of change in her neighborhood community, too. She never sits around and says, "You know what someone should do?". She just goes out there and does it. For instance, she has recently worked to restore a small natural river at the end of her street back to its native plants and with a small group of people, worked to plant lots of native trees there and helps care for them until they can fend for themselves.

And now she is a novelist!

For many years she has been writing a book about a young woman and her search for her father who left the family she was just a small child. Last week, Karin finally finished her book, and gave a copy to me and our friend Jenn to read and critique. And I have to say, I have really been enjoying it! I just went to read a page or two to see what it looked like, and its already usurped the place of the book I had been reading!

Karin introduced me to her friend, Jenn, who is also a writer. She has just been accepted to a graduate program for writing and is packing up and moving her life to Albuquerque! She just bought the cutest little adobe home EVER and is a first time homeowner as well as a grad student now. She is in for some exciting new life changes and is excited about reinventing herself.

The three of us meet occasionally for long walks on a difficult-to-get-to and often deserted beach here in San Diego. We will sit and talk, sometimes swim, and when it gets dark, take the long walk home again, giving us all a much needed respite from the responsibilities of our lives.

On our hike down to the beach, I pass the place where Karin and I buried my old friend (my kitty) Hailey, and I always whisper a hello. It's a beautiful and natural place.

Saturday was our last walk together as a threesome before Jenn moves away and we decided to turn it into a little party/picnic, celebrating my friends' achievements. We had fresh yummy sushi, some beautiful desserts, and (shall we say...) a festive drink out of little plastic kiddie cups.

I wish my friend Jenn everything she hopes for and more as she goes off into her new world; her new life. I know Karin is going to have to get used to being apart from a very old and dear friend, so, while I know I can't fill those shoes, I hope I can pick up the slack a bit.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Michael's parents came down for the weekend to spend Father's Day weekend with us. Yesterday, they spent a little time with us around the house and then took Michael and the kids out to dinner (I went to a little goin-away-picnic for a friend). This morning, I stayed home with the twins while Michael and Noah went off to the grand's hotel for breakfast and some frolicking in the room.

Noah went on to visit his cousins with Mima and Papa (Michael's parents) and Michael came home to me. The twins are now napping so we are having a romantic afternoon alone, sorting laundry, downloading photos and changing light bulbs.

Tonight, Daddy is off with some friends to see our friend Jason in his play, Three Days of Rain at the Compass Theater. I went last week (this is how we do dates, mostly... we take turns staying home with the kids and compare notes later!). He is also meeting everyone for dinner beforehand which is great since he is always ushering me out the door for social outings, but rarely goes himself. I am glad he decided to actually get out for some fun on Father's Day. He deserves it. A lot.

Happy Father's Day, honey. You could not be more loved.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: In Disguise

Check out other Wordless Wednesday links here and here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Body Art

I couldn't not play with it, could I?

I had purchased a couple cones of henna from a Mehndi artist last week for the Mother Blessing I threw for my friend, Kim. But we were having such a great talk, gathered in a circle around the living room, that we never quite got around to painting each other. So into my freezer it went.

I was told it would begin to go bad after a week so this past weekend, after getting the kids to bed, and after quite a bit of research into method and design, I went ahead and gave myself a henna tattoo.

Or twelve!

Well, I did both feet from big toe to ankle and then one hand. Couldn't do both because it was hard enough right handed. Left handed would have been a disaster!

It wasn't easy and I made some mistakes on my own skin, but I figure for a first attempt it wasn't so bad.

I made a lotus flower on my hand based on a design I found online, and then decided to stretch out some tendrils up and down my hand. Probably overkill. I then covered it all in medical papertape, wrapped it in toilet paper to soak up the sweat, and then in saran wrap to make it sweat, and Michael's socks (three of them) to cover the whole shebang.

I was disappointed in the morning to find that some of the spots got too sweaty and made the henna float and spread. My finger knuckle looks really messed up and my toe knuckles aren't much better. I guess I have sweaty knuckles.

I scraped off the henna that was still attached and over a couple days the stain changed from a pale orange to a medium brown.

It should last two or three weeks.

The henna I used didn't have any signs of beginning to go bad. It came out very vivid and dark. If I like it, I may hold onto the other cone and give it a go in another month or so.

I might practice drawing a bit between now and then.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A REVIEW: The Sony Reader Digital Book

The good folks at Sony wrote to me a few weeks ago and asked if I would like to review their product, the Sony Reader Digital Book (Model PRS-505).

I had seen the Kindle advertised on Amazon and it had piqued my interest. I didn’t know much about its competitors so of course I said, “Yes, please!”

When it arrived in the mail, I was pleased to find that I could just turn it on and that it was pretty intuitive to figure out without having to read any instructions. The photo above shows the main menu, and you only need click one of the numbered side buttons to navigate. (Once you are in a book, you can use the same buttons to go to a specific page). If one needs further instructions, the device comes with a paper booklet and also has a digital version already stored on the Reader.

My Reader came with some book excerpts already loaded, and so I was able to try it out right away. I was surprised to find that the display was so unlike what I expected to see. I assumed the display would be back lit, much like my computer monitor or my cellphone, but instead it uses a relatively new technology called eInk, or electronic ink. Its pretty cool stuff involving microcapsules that are black or white and float in clear liquid and arrange themselves into letters and white space. I will let you read about it elsewhere.

I was kind of disappointed at first because I had been looking forward to a way I could read in bed next to my hubby who always goes to sleep before I do, without having to have the bedside lamp on. EInk is not back lit, and so produces no light at all. You cannot read in the dark. But, on the other hand, unlike your laptop which is impossible to see when you are outside with it, the Sony Reader is vivid and bright in noonday sun. It also produces none of the eyestrain you get with a computer monitor and the image does not disappear when you tilt the reader left and right. If you do want to read in bed, Sony sells a little book light that will clip onto your reader.

The size is just what you would want. It’s the length and width of a paperback but slimmer with a good size screen. It’s hefty enough to feel like you are holding something substantial but not heavy either. It’s a slim device that rests in one side of a leather-like folder/cover which, when closed, is held together by hidden magnets.

Cool Features:

I love that it has multiple ways to turn the page. You can push a button right where your thumb rests when you hold a book in your left hand with your thumb in the crease. You can also turn the page by pushing buttons along the right edge of the open book when you are holding the book open with two hands.

Another awesome feature is that, when you turn it on, it assumes you want to read and brings up the very last page you were on when you turned it off. Most devices of any kind first bring up the menu and you have to push buttons to get to the media you want. The Sony Reader just takes you to what you want, and you can push a button to get to the menu if you so choose.

The Sony Reader can display photos, although the photos will be displayed in eInk format, in black and white. This is great when your eBook contains maps or drawings. But you can also load in photos of your family if you wish.

It plays audio! I kind of like that the Reader is so simple and at first felt like this was not a necessary feature. I like my phone to do a million different things, but my reader should just be a reader in my book (pun intended).

I don’t like to listen to music while I read (which you can do, if it’s unencrypted music). But, while I was checking out the Reader, I was going back and forth between reading the eBook excerpts and listening to an audiobook on my mp3 player. Unfortunately, I knocked my music player against the bedpost and it broke! I had no way to finish the rest of my audio book! But then I got a bright idea and loaded the last of my audio book into my Sony Reader, and voila! I was able to finish it! It’s by no means convenient to walk around holding while you listen to audio books, but if you want to lie down and listen instead of read, or only have a book in audio format, you can use if for that! There are no speakers on the reader but there is an earphone jack.

I love that the Reader has a font-size selector so you can zoom in on the font if you wish. Also, it has a bookmark feature, not for marking where you left off (because it always remembers that for you) but for if you want to come back to a certain page (or many pages) at a later time. You can actually see the little dog-ear turn down in the corner of the page. Press the button again to delete it.


There are very few drawbacks to the Reader. Some folks are annoyed, it seems, by lag between button push and page turn. It takes about a second to two seconds. What is happening is that the microcapsules are rearranging themselves to present the next page and you can see the page turn black and then the next page appears. That doesn’t really bother me, and I am not sure if its possible to speed up that part of the technology even if they tried.

My only annoyance was that the user interface can be a bit too slow when asking it for a different book or to go to the main menu. During this time, if you try pushing buttons again, this only queues them up, so once the device becomes active again, all of the actions associated with those queued button pushes happen all at once. I have learned to just trust that the reader is working since there is no “loading” or “working” symbol.

I wish that the white part of the “paper” was whiter. It’s honestly a bit gray. I have read, though, that the current version of the reader has a whiter white than the one before it. It just could be whiter still.

The big drawback for some folks is that if you want to order eBooks through the Sony online store, you have to have Windows XP or Vista. The downloading software doesn't work with Macintoshes and without the use of the online store, your quantity of available reading material drops considerably, to the point you would probably not want to buy one.

Some More Info:

It has storage space for about 160 average size novels and can display Adobe .pdf, .txt, .rtf, and Sony’s DRM format .lrx and it’s DRM-free format .lrf.

If you have .doc files you want to put on your Reader, the Reader’s software will simply convert it to the .rtf format before sending it to your device. Easy-peasy.

The Sony Reader, interestingly, only uses power when it is turning pages or displaying a new menu. Once the display appears, it just rests. So the battery life is measured by page turns instead of length of time the device is on. Apparently, the Lithium-Ion battery lasts roughly 7,500 continuous page turns, which are enough page turns to last you a few books.

To charge the Reader you can use either the included AC charger or charge over USB when plugged into a running computer (it takes longer to charge via USB).

The reader also comes with slots for two sizes of memory cards, so even more books (or photos or audio) can be stored.

The easiest way to obtain content for the Sony Reader is through their online store called The EBook Store by Sony. They have thousands of book titles. The priciest one I ran across was about 18 dollars with the bulk between 6 and 12 dollars. They also sell bundles for a reduced rate, like four James Patterson books for 17 bucks, or Phillipa Gregory’s complete Tudor series for 41 dollars. Lots of books are on sale for 4 and 5 dollars.

Also, if you buy your Reader and register at the eBook Store by September 30th, 2008, you can download 100 FREE eBook classics from the store. These are the books you should have read in school but didn’t: Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, Jane Austin, Nietzsche, Shakespeare, etc.

My Two Cents:

Would I buy a Sony Reader if Sony hadn’t presented me with one?

I admit I had been intrigued about them. For some reason, I love the fact that I can carry around more than a hundred books at a time. That gives me some odd pleasure. But really, what is the benefit of that? I guess it saves trees. And its nice to have your next book handy the moment you finish the old one. On a trip, I could keep both my hubby's and my book on it, but we couldn't read at the same time.

I eventually deleted some of the pre-loaded book excerpts that the good folks at Sony put on there for me because the index of books required a good deal of page turning to see them all. And really, who reads more than a couple books at a time?

Also, it costs about 300 dollars and one could buy a lot of paperback books for 300 dollars. If you wanted to kill those trees.

Personally, for me, frugal girl that I am (who gets all her books from garage sales, the library, used bookstores and from friends), I would probably have gone to the Sony Style store, looked at it, played with it, fondled it, yearned for it... and put it back on the shelf.

But that’s me.

If you are in the market for an eBook reader, if you are planning on buying one of these fun gadgets, (and you aren't a Mac person) I don’t think you could do better than the Sony.

It rocks.

While researching this review, I did some looking at the Kindle and honestly felt that it was too complicated, did too many things. I liked that the Kindle was wireless and think Sony might want to look at implementing that if they can keep the cost down, but really, I just want to use a Reader to read books, not surf the net and read blogs. And Sony knows how to make an ergonomic, well crafted device. I read a few reviews of their older models and they clearly put into works a LOT of the suggestions made by reviewers in this newer model, so it has most everything you would want.

The Sony has no keyboard, like the Kindle does, because it doesn’t need that. It keeps its buttons to a minimum and I love that you can figure out how to use it just by playing with it. It’s totally simple. Sony’s software interface is set up very much like the iTunes software that so many people are familiar with, so even that was pretty easy to manage right out of the gate.

Now, granted, I have never held a Kindle in my hot little hands, but using my Sony, and from looking at the Kindle information, I think the Sony would meet my needs better.

When I say I would pass on buying the Reader, it’s really only because I am so tight with my money. If I were buying an eBook reader, I would jump all over this. And I am thrilled to own one and will enjoy using it.

I already enjoy using it!

To get more info about the Sony Reader PRS-505, visit Sony’s webpage.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Off Color

Mama: Ethan, what color is your shirt?

Ethan: Red.

Mama: Good! What color is Mama's shirt?

Ethan: Black.

Mama: Awesome! What color are your socks?

Ethan: White.

Mama: What color is Mama's hair?

Ethan: Brown.

Mama: Good job! What color are Mama's eyes?

Ethan: (peering into my eyes)!

Mama: What color is Mama's tongue?

Ethan: Pink!

Mama: YAY, ETHAN! And what color are Mama's teeth?

Ethan: YELLOW!!!!!! YAY, YELLOW!

Note to self:
Time to cut back on the morning coffee, and visit the dentist.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

We Have a Winner!

You might recall that last week I announced a little giveaway. The good folks over at Sea World San Diego offered up one of their cool little Bay of Play Cookie Jars as a prize if I wanted to hold a drawing. The jars were made to commemorate the new Sesame Street Play Area near the front of the park.

13 of you signed up and today was the big day! So I popped on over to to see what the random integer generator had to say about the whole thing, and this is what he said:

Comment #12!!

And the lucky winner was Mannequin over at the blog Fractured Toy! This is what she had to say in her comment:

Oh.. I would LOVE to win this. When my son was younger, we took him to Sesame
Place here and we had SUCH a good time! Now, he thinks he is too mature to go
back but he talks about it so fondly! And yes, I failed to get a souvenir when
we were there. bad mommy, bad mommy. A cookie jar is something that I have
always wanted, there's no reason why I shouldn't have, but have NEVER had. I am now filled with desire for this cookie jar!

I'm really happy to see it go to someone who is really going to enjoy it, whether her son does or not! Hee hee... I will write to Mannequin and if I don't hear back in three days I will draw another name. Thanks to all who entered!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Mother Blessing

On Sunday I threw a Mother Blessing for my friend Kim who is due to give birth in July. We held it at the home of my friend Elaine, which was awesome because I don't think I would have had time to do the preperations AND clean my house.

(I brought my camera that night, but the only time I used it was before the guests arrived while Elaine finished decorating the cake with her daughter.)

A Mother Blessing is kind of like a baby shower, except instead of being focused on the baby, playing stupid games, and consumerism, it's about surrounding the new mother with a show of female support and strength, and really recognizing the birth for the transforming experience that it is.

Our culture has become so insane, so fast paced, that we forget to take the time to celebrate and honor the major transitions in life the transformations in our selves. Sure, there are graduation celebrations, bar-mitzvahs and weddings, but often these ceremonies have become either consumer driven, or are crazy alcohol-driven parties.

Not that I have anything against crazy alcohol-driven parties! Sure, those can be a blast!

But we have dropped most of the sincere acknowledgement of the importance of these turning points from our celebrations. And when we do take the time to recognize them, we deepen our sense of self and discover an understanding of what makes life really meaningful.

So, we gathered a group of awesome mothers into a circle, and since Kim works in one of the finest theaters in the country, the circle was filled with a who's-who of San Diego's most awesome theater-moms. It was an honor to be among them once I saw how together they seemed, balancing motherhood and the business of theater, seeming so ambitious and yet how "at ease" they all were.

Kim looked radiant in her wide smile and Earth-Mama-ness.

We all brought or picked from a collection, a bead which we held in our hands as, one by one, we went around the circle. We honored our own mothers and grandmothers, we blessed Kim, and dreamed our dreams for her, and wished for her all good things. Then, we dropped our bead in the bowl and passed it on.

I turned the beads into a necklace for her to wear or have near her during her birth, to remember that we are there with her, that we are supporting her with love and strength.

Kim then gave us an even better gift. She went around the circle telling each one of us the story of how she met us, what she saw in us, the things she admired in each one of us, and why she cherished us in her life. It was awesome and so sweet, and a few tears were shed.

I had had a few other activities planned, but it was clear before too long that what we all really wanted to do was stay in our circle and continue the talk, allowing Kim to ask advice and share her fears, giving her what wisdom we had to share, learning from each other.

It was a lovely evening, and I realized I how much I missed having a circle of women friends in my life like I have had in other communities, at other times in my life. It was so comfortable, so warm, so full of laughter and openess.

Kim wasn't the only Mama who drove home that night feeling lifted up and blessed.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Little Tenderness

Call me crazy, but there is a small part of me that enjoys it when my kids are sick.

I have three boys that are no longer what you would call, "cuddlers". They are off and running, and when I try to gather one in my lap, I am often met with shrieks of "No!" or "Get down!" or from Noah, "Stop touching me!" which is a little disheartening when you are the one he says he loves the most.

Is it just because they are boys? And that's how boys are? Always on the go? Quick kisses are freely given, but rarely do any of them slow down for any extended affection.

This weekend, Ethan came down with a pretty high fever that knocked the chair legs out from under the little guy, and he spent most of the day Saturday on my lap, lethargic, looking at books, watching the TV, or just staring out into space. So, while almost nothing productive got done, I was able to sit and hold and whisper sweet nothings to into my little guy's ear like I haven't since before he could walk.

He's mostly all better now, and is spinning through the house, trying to keep up with Luka, but I sent Noah off to school today with a slight fever. Poor guy.

I wonder if it will cause him to slow down and spend a little time getting some Mama-love, too?