Monday, April 28, 2008


Welp, my site got an overhaul. Thanks to the talent of a borrowed Mac Notebook you will now spend the first moment on "Tales from the Running Mama" hoping I remembered to Lysol the high chair tray. At least its a diversion from counting the spider veins on my thigh which is what I spend the first moment doing.

I have a confession. I do not have a computer. Well, I have a "computer" that my mother-in-law gave me two years ago that may be the actual first laptop man ever carved from stone. I think King Tut was clutching his gnarly mummified arms around it when they dug him out of his rickety old tomb. So if all you want to do is play solitaire or move the tiny hourglass cursor around the screen all afternoon while you are waiting for the Internet to connect, then I have the perfect machine for you.

Go ahead and feel sorry for me. I do. I pout every time I sit next to my husband at the kitchen table, tapping my foot, waiting for him to finish checking his e-mail and updating his Facebook status so I can use his own personal laptop that he has to himself all day. That is what I do just before I type up my post that I pre-wrote ON PAPER. In case you were wondering, paper is this white stuff that ancient peoples used to scrawl runes on before there was Microsoft Word.

Every cloud has its silver lining, and mine is this: Sunday afternoon I spent an hour and a half taking "Mac" pictures of my stupid running shoes in front of any baby paraphernalia available while laughing my face off with my best friend. Jen, thank you for everything you have ever done for me. I love sharing my life with you because you make it funnier, sweeter, and deeper than it would ever be alone.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Good Stuff for Week of 4/27...

I thought it would be nice to share some of the best "mom" posts I found this week during my ample time creeping the blogosphere. Enjoy one of these if you...

Need Validation and Inspiration

Have a Strong-Willed Child

Are a Single Mom

Are a Pastor's Wife

Love Your Slow-Cooker

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Demotion of Man's Best Friend

Have you noticed how quickly a dog moves from "beloved family member" to "faintly barking from the crate in the garage" as soon as a new baby is brought home? I used to love my dog. I used to remember to feed her too. Now I am only aware of her presence when I vacuum the hair accumulating on the baseboards.

Actually, I do value her in a practical sense. Like when Toby knocks an entire plate full of spaghetti on the kitchen tile and I can sit back and watch it get cleaned up for me. Then I love having her around.

What I can't stand: seeing her lick the spoon Charlie is dangling over the edge of the high chair. I know dog's mouths are supposedly cleaner than ours, but since our mouths are only slightly less germy than raw sewage it's not really anything for dogs to brag about. (Disclaimer: Any scientifically knowledgeable people... Jen Stokes...reading this, I totally made up my germ analogy and have absolutely no idea how our mouths compare to raw sewage.)

But seriously, here is a list of things I have seen my dog eat: cat poop, throw-up, dirty diapers, dead frogs, trash, raw meat packaging, and blobs of spilled ??? from the sidewalk. And it wasn't like she had to be coerced. She would knock a blind grandma into the road for a lick of the spilled Ensure she was standing beside.

However, there is one compelling reason to keep my dog in the family forever:

So anyone who is about to call the ASPCA on me, just set the Blackberry down. He likes her a lot. And you know I would do anything for him.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Sometimes I just want to have a moment to myself to think. A moment where Alec Baldwin is not reading the narrative to Thomas and Friends on t.v. in competition with the dog's incessant barking at the patio door. A moment where baby Charlie is not crawling around my lap like a confused gerbil, slinging snot all over my pant leg and clawing at my face until my skin is just sore. Where Toby is not squalling on the tile in the kitchen in the throes of apocalyptic catastrophe because I forgot to let him open the yogurt container himself. I just want to grab a chai and sip on it slowly, listen to some music sung by a non-cartoon, non-Disney, human and pass a few minutes in a lazy stupor, responsible for no one's immediate welfare.

I try to manufacture this pleasure in the afternoon when both boys magically fall asleep at the same time and leave me a bit of glorious silence, scarce as a bald eagle's feather. Instead I end up flitting around the house in a frantic rage, folding infinity loads of laundry and slathering Italian dressing on the chicken breasts for dinner because it must be done now or our very lives will tumble down around us into a pile of stinking, rotten chaos.

When I was sixteen I remember driving down the highway in my best friend's Blazer, listening to the Reality Bites soundtrack blare "Stay" from the stereo, toes pressed up against the front windshield, windows open, warm summer air swirling my hair into tangled pieces of rope. We had nothing to stop us from driving to the next state if we wanted. It was a sort of wild bliss that only teenagers can embrace. How did it fade so far into distant memory that I have to pull it out from the brittle, time-soaked archives of my life?

It's early evening and Greg has just come home from work to weed eat the back yard and scoop up the piles of dog poop we can no longer justify as fertilizer. Toby is sifting around in his sandbox, his sweaty red-cheeked face covered in gritty, brown splotches. He squishes a stuck-together clump in his fist and watches the grains fall through his fingers. Baby Charlie chatters away on the baby monitor patiently waiting for me to lift his little bean of a body out of the crib.

Maybe we will eat out on the patio tonight. Maybe we will have corn on the cob and ice cold pop and sit around laughing at Toby ask for his own "gwass of Coke" through a mouthful of chicken nuggets. Maybe we won't notice our dog licking the mashed carrots from Charlie's messy face because we are too busy talking to each other.

Maybe I will stare at the faces of my men with a frenzied passion that only a grown woman can feel.

Maybe I will discover a more profound satisfaction than I ever knew possible.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Tonight's prayer was unusually succinct.

"Dear God... Amen."

You're three and you already grasp omniscience.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Has anyone been watching the coverage of the polygamists in Texas? I read this on MSN, and I am more than a little bothered. I am sad if these kids were being abused. I am also sad that mothers and children are forced to separate. I hope they prove or disprove something soon so it can be resolved. I can't stand the thought of tons of kids (lots of LITTLE kids)having to go through this without the comfort of their mothers. But if they were being harmed...

It is hard to find truth amid such blatant weirdness.

Do you think that most or all of the children were in danger with their mothers (some agreed to leave the compound just to get their kids back, but were denied)? Do you think removing the kids indefinitely until it is all sorted out is the best option to prevent further abuse or risk of flight?

Sunday, April 20, 2008


He has good ones. Really, really, really good ones.

Me: Toby, you shared your train with baby Charlie! Good Job!

Toby: Thank you.

Me: Your welcome.

Toby: Your welcome too.

Me: Uh...Thanks?

Toby: Your welcome.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Hiding Place

When I was little I would crawl into my mom’s arms and press my face to her chest to feel the safety of her heartbeat. My legs would dangle over her lap as she chatted with a friend on the phone or sat at the kitchen table recounting the day to my dad over a cup of hot tea, her voice penetrating through my cheek into my skull. It was muffled and warbled through her skin, but so familiar, like it must have been when I was a miniature version of myself, stuffed inside her cozy womb, amidst a whooshing and bubbling world of darkness.

I loved her smell. Not the perfume, the harsh and intoxicating fragrances that always changed with her moods, but the subtle scent, like the one on her pillowcase in the morning. I breathed it in steadily while her hand unconsciously found its way to my hair and raked through the baby fine strands around my forehead sending tingles down my neck. Her lap was the best place in the world.

This afternoon when Charlie woke up from nap crying hysterically, I pulled him in tight and tucked his soft plum of a head under my chin. I shushed and hummed and bounced him around the living room. His squalls turned into sniffs that turned into silence as the last crocodile tear rolled down his cheek in lonely defeat. I kept him close anyway, relishing the warmth of his languorous body melded into mine. I let my fingers trace a path through his downy hair.

Will he remember this feeling? Way inside the inner chambers of his mind where all of the earliest memories are stored as feeble impressions, unreachable save for the day a smell or taste plunges in from the outside world and coaxes them forth as hazy bits of a dream? I hope so.

When I kiss the top of his head a smile emerges at the corners of his mouth. His eyes catch mine and for an instant they twinkle with the profundity of an old sage. I love you.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Member When?

Having a baby in the house has awakened Toby to a new dimension. It is called the past and it has proven itself a tricky little concept to squeeze a brain around.

He asks:

Member when I was in dat bed mommy? (Points at crib)

Member when I yoos to eat in dere mommy? (Points at high chair)

Member when I put my poop in my diaper? (Yes, I say with emphasis, since it was like two months ago)

Member when I was in a box at Big Toby's house? (He says after visiting our friends new puppies, to which I quickly say no, you were not ever in a box)

The past is complex.

Friday, April 11, 2008

No Comment

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My Nose Are Runnin'

So... we have snot. Drippy, watery, streaming, spoil-my-enjoyment-of-the-spring-weather booger juice. "You do not seem ill," you may surmise. And you would be quite correct. However, when you are three, even the slightest of ailments cannot be borne alone, and I have been invited along as the guest of honor to pull his highness's Kleenex's from the box and gently squeeze the mucous from his crusty little nose. A privilege that begins with a not-so-sweet directive ("MOMMMMMMMYYYY!! MY NOSE ARE RUNNIN'!!") and ends abruptly absent a "thank you". It appears the prince feels snot is "yucky" and is therefore unwilling to touch any, albeit his own.

I graciously accept this esteemed position, and as evidence of my gratitude I wish to thank the following:

Thank you pollen for blowing yourself around our yard and up Toby's nostrils so that he and I can enjoy the subsequent sneeze-a-thon.

Thank you Kleenex for folding your product so efficiently into the box that my son's chubby little fingers are unable to remove you without my assistance.

Thank you baby Charlie for your superior ability in outshining your brother and removing more than half of the Kleenex's without struggle before rendering them useless with your ample drool.

And last, I would like to thank antihistamines everywhere for never making Toby the least bit drowsy but giving him the extra umph he needs to stalk me from room to room all day.

At the risk of sounding unappreciative, is it unreasonable to expect even a teensy weensy bit, just a smidge really, of autonomy from a boy who can touch a warty frog, stand barefoot on a public restroom floor, and eat green beans dipped in ketchup and ranch dressing mixed together without even the slightest hesitation? Am I asking too much??

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Funderstorm

I was given the book called Raising Children Without Going Insane by Australian Author Jane Evans. I thought, how apropos and I read and read until I was so tired that my mental narrator began to sound like The Crocodile Hunter which was really irritating. So I put the book down and went to sleep for the night.

But not the whole night... A storm blew in at four in the morning and regaled the entire house with unfortunately loud thunder and bright flashes of lightning. I wanted to roll over and stay asleep, I really, really did. I tried to ignore the panging in my stomach prompting me to go check on Toby who was probably frozen with fear under his covers gripping tightly to his stuffed dalmatian, Samson. I willed that he was sleeping soundly through it, snug as a bug, blissfully unaware of anything unusual. But I knew I was wrong.

Toby has an anomalous list of fears that ebbs and flows in intensity: bounce houses, large inflatable Christmas decorations for the lawn, getting his head wet (hence the buzz cut...), loud noises, and socks with holes. The other night he gave a sidelong glance at the yellow fire hat perched above a matching raincoat on his bedroom wall that I hung to accent his firetruck quilt. Mommy, I don't like that Toby, he whispered as if it were not an ornamental novelty but an evil alter ego, he no have eyes. A good mother would have removed it at once and explained that it didn't have eyes because it was just a hat and jacket, nothing more. But I was too busy marvelling over my son's imagination to be a good mother. If there is one neuroses this mom can appreciate its an over-active imagination. I spent my childhood dreaming of scrubbing the floors in Miss Hannigan's orphanage like Annie or riding on the back of giant flying dog with Atreyu in The Neverending Story. I would lay awake at night and terrify myself with all of the creepy things that might be lurking behind my own closet door. If I can't offer a cure, I can certainly empathize.

Most often, Toby's creative enterprises compel me to play along because he is just so sincere. I spent a month in the fall sweeping invisible "dinosaurs" from his path while commanding "Shoo! Go away" because it delighted him so much that I saw them too. To him dinosaurs, the very embodiment of evil, are not huge prehistoric lizards (and extinct), but knee-high and mechanically roaring like the toy T-Rex in his friend Kyle's bedroom. Therefore, in September, when I became the lone member of the Dino Extermination Squad, it didn't require any extravagant heroics on my part. And it was easier than wasting logical reasoning on someone who still maintains that Sodor is an actual geographic location.

But this night is different. Standing up to an invisible pest while already awake is not as self -sacrificial as rousting from a deep sleep in the wee hours of the morning to invite a wiggly, chatty three-year-old to share your bed. I slump over the edge of the mattress and drag myself to the bedroom door, but I am stopped by a whisper from Greg.

"Are you going to check on Toby?" he asks.

"Yes, I don't want him to be afraid," I say nobly.

"Well, neither did I so I went and got him already." And in the dark I spy a small quiet body snuggled safely in the crook of his daddy's arm.

"Mommy, the funderstorm made me skeerd," He says in a hushed, sweet voice. I crawl back in beside him and kiss his fuzzy, buzz-cut head. As I drift off to sleep I think of chasing dinosaurs and magical lands and the wonder of crashing thunder outside your bedroom window. I pull him closer to me. Sweet dreams little buddy.