Home Sweeter Home

August 25, 2011

We are here!

Top 10 Things About Our New House:

1.  No weird smell in the master bathroom.  Our old house had a tiny bathroom, which we realized had a mysterious smell after we moved in.  (We previously thought it just needed a good cleaning.)  We tested for mold – nothing.  We scrubbed and scrubbed – still I scrunched up my nose.  In five years, I never once used the master bathroom.  Instead, it became Herbie’s bathroom, and I shared a bathroom with a preschooler and a baby.  Now I share a room with my hubby (double sinks!), and Moo pretty much has her own bathroom, which means I have to check once a day to see if she has remembered to flush at all (usually no – not a pretty sight).

2.  Saying goodbye to the Cave.  Also known as our kitchen – the Cave had no natural light, and when I washed dishes, I stared at a beige wall.  Plenty of space, but that space came with ugly green countertops and cabinets that had been installed for people over six feet, so I had to stretch on my tip-toes to reach the plates or even the microwave (and I’m tall!).  The oven was also installed in the refrigerator’s spot and vice versa, leaving a lovely little chasm next to the stove, perfect for drips, drops, and suicidal noodles.  Now I have a WINDOW over the sink, looking out on two orange trees.  And if I turn around, I can see my children tackling each other in the family room, instead of trying to interpret their shrieks from the Cave.  And the TV!  I can see the TV!  I can’t wait for Christmas, so I can bake cookies and watch Elf – a dream come true!

3.  Not feeling creeped out by my neighborhood.  Cars parked in the yards.  Fat men without shirts.  Houses falling apart.  Having NO desire to go trick-or-treating in my own neighborhood.  And we were robbed a few years ago, which I realize can happen in even the nicest neighborhoods, but in our case, we kinda got the feeling that our robber could live on the next block.

4. Not feeling embarassed to invite people over.  When Moo began preschool and made a few friends, I longed to start scheduling playdates.  But I felt ashamed of our neighborhood, no matter how many times Rosalind assured me that nobody was judging us.  When we gave Rosalind a tour of the new place, she said, “Whoa, this house is so much better.”  I’m planning a back-to-school party for Moo’s new preschool class next month.

5.  High ceilings.  Now Herbie can throw Juice and Moo in the air without worrying about giving them concussions!

6.  Pool!  And a backyard that we actually use, even when it’s 108 degrees.  We neglected our old backyard, because it was barely visible from the house and never had any sort of landscape design.  Now, our family room looks over the covered patio, pool and nice, grassy landscaped yard.  Bonus:  FAKE patch of grass in the front yard!  Joke’s on you, weeds!

7.  Master bedroom.  Like the kitchen, our old bedroom was distinctly cave-like, made worse by my misguided decision to paint it dark blue (“It’ll be like the ocean!” I chirped).  So small, Herbie and I often had traffic jams just trying to walk around the bed.  Our new bedroom has a window seat, a GLORIOUSLY HUGE closet, and room for piles and piles of laundry.  It’s a nice light blue, and so far I’m resisting my deep-seated desire to paint everything teal and violet.

8.  Garage.  Hey, where does this go?  Garage.  Hey, where should we store this?  Garage.  What, it’s 115 degrees again?  Ah, the car is nice and cool in the garage.

9.  No more ugly diagonal white tile.  It never looked clean, it always looked ugly.  Now we’ve got lovely dirt-hiding tile and lush carpet, upon which Juice adores throwing himself mid-tantrum.

10.  Santa won’t have to come in the front door anymore – he can come down the chimney!

As Herbie said, It’s like this was always our house, we just didn’t live here yet.


Origami Parenting

January 17, 2011

When I was pregnant with Moo, Herbie and I drove out to California to see my sister and talked about our future daughter.  I talked about how I wanted her to be brave and bold, to not let opportunities pass her by out of fear, as I so often have.  We wanted her to be open-minded, intellectual and curious, respectful but not afraid to stand up for herself.  We talked and talked for six hours.

After she was born, it didn’t take us long to realize:  it didn’t matter what we wanted.  Moo was simply – Moo.

Then Juice arrived, and while I knew, this time, that Juice would be Juice, and not Herbie, Moo, or me, I was still shocked – still AM shocked – at how crazy different two siblings can be.

We barely had to babyproof for Moo.  With Juice, I play defense as he patters through the house, until, by the time we reach the family room at the end of the hall, I’m balancing a side table, roll of toilet paper, napkin holder, Wii remote and tea set over my head.  And there he goes again, barreling headlong and clicking through his mental inventory of Things I’ve Been Dying to Grab and NOW I CAN CRAWL!, all with the sweetest smile on his marshmallow face.

We went to a local outdoor mall today that has one of those squirty fountains, with water shooting up from the ground at friendly intervals.  (Ah, Phoenix – 70 degrees in January.)  When Moo was a baby, she would smile and stick a toe or a pinky finger into the water, and then turn and throw her arms around my legs, giggling.  It took her nearly three years before she ran back and forth through the spraying water for the first time.

Today at the fountain, Moo pulled up her leggings and went squealing into the water.  Juice tried to catapult himself out of my arms.  I thought, “Why not?”  and crouched down next to the nearest sprayer, standing him up in front of me.  He stamped his feet.  He stuck his entire arm into the water.  Then he started squirming like the Dickens, trying to free himself.  And I figured, “Hey, I’ve got a change of clothes.  Get a little wet if you like, kiddo.” 

So I scooted a distance from the sprayer and sat Juice down as Moo danced around us.  The moment he realized his freedom, he went scuttling toward the water.  When he got close, he sat for a second, getting his rump nice and wet, and considered the spraying water.  He seemed to think for a second, and then, decision made, threw himself forward on hands and knees, tucked his head into his chest, and went charging full-speed straight into the belly of the beast.   The water shot onto his head and drenched his whole body, and Moo and I half-shrieked, half-guffawed.  Juice looked at me as though perhaps questioning his judgment, and so I leaped up and fished out my rather alarmed, but proud, soaking wet baby.  Simply Juice.

You don’t mold them, you unfold them.


January 10, 2011


I really want to be efficient with my time.  Go to bed at a decent hour, use every free minute wisely instead of looking up Brad Pitt’s latest project.  But I am easily distracted.  And especially so when horrible tragedies occur in my own damn state, and I wonder (again) why it is I live here…oh yes: our parents, and Rosalind.  So I guess we’re stuck here until we get them all to agree to move to Portland…or Austin.  Arizona really is such a lovely state…I don’t understand what’s going on here.

But before I start googling the political history of Arizona, my point was that I am becoming a lazy writer/blogger, and I Must. Not. Let that happen.

So I think I’m going to accept WordPress’s post-a-day challenge.  I do so much better at achieving goals when someone else is keeping tabs on me.  Starting today, I will attempt to post every day for all of 2011, with WordPress watching over my shoulder.  Wish me luck.  What are your goals for the year?

It should be easy for me to think of what to write about – there’s lots going on this week:

* Inspired by our New Year’s Eve party, when we moved all the furniture out of the way so that people could (not) dance, we’re rearranging all the furniture in the family room, and I am strangely giddy.  It’s like moving into a new house, only much cheaper.

* Juice is crawling!  And now that he’s accomplished that, he’s trying to conquer climbing, standing, and walking by the end of the month.  I just got a lot busier.

* Juice also gets measured for his helmet on Tuesday.  He has moderate plagiocephaly, and we put off making a decision for almost four months.  I wanted to just leave his lumpy head alone, but Herbie convinced me that it would be worse to regret not fixing his head-shape when we could actually do something about it.  And it’s just not getting better.  So, my little Juice will be wearing a helmet/band-thing/whatever for about three months, and I will be deprived of constantly kissing his head as I do, and I don’t know how I shall survive.  Three months seems like forever, although as my wise mother pointed out, it really is not long at all.

* I have my first belly-dancing class Wednesday night.  YES.  Belly-dancing. 

* Herbie told me yesterday that he likes my “new shape.”  So – no more desserts for me.  Did I mention I start belly-dancing class on Wednesday?

Wit’s End

December 7, 2010

I’m unhappy – in a way that has taken me by surprise.  In all my pull-my-hair-out moments pre-Juice, I never felt quite like this.  I feel sort of desperate and panicky, like I just can’t find the path back to happy motherhood, or even begin to know where to look.

I’m being a bit dramatic.  It’s what I do.

Today, as Juice cried on the playmat and Moo dragged her bottom across the floor while I instructed her for the 20th time to put on her shoes NOW, I glanced at the clock.  TWO FREAKING O’CLOCK.  I had been trying to get us out the door since 11.  For God’s sake.  How can just getting out the damn door take 3 hours?

Moo finally reached me, and I pulled on her boots as she studied my exasperated expression.

“All you ever do is say no,” she announced.

And I started to cry.

That is not me!  It can’t be me!  I am not Stern-Face Mom, a big tall symbol of No!  I am not!  I mean sure, I say no – but I’m not that blank wall of negativity that some moms turn into.  I’m not!

But what if that’s what I’m turning into? 

I’m scared.

Herbie’s answer was to Go Get a Job! (or something similar).  I know he’s really truly trying to help, and I also know he would really love for me to financially contribute to the household.  But if I got just-some-job, it would soak up all my time and energy, and everything I’ve been working on – this, and theatre – all of it – would be abandoned.  I don’t feel like I can afford to put it all on hold again.  And I also feel like I am on a path that is leading me somewhere…somewhere good.

Also, I already have an idea for a new project that could hopefully make me some money eventually.  I’m pretty excited – it’s called the GREEN ROOM, a blog for Valley actors and dancers.  It would be a combination of theatre news, interviews, class listings, artist profiles, gossip, discussion topics, and more!  Facebook has bits and pieces of that sort of thing, but the GREEN ROOM would give all theatre artists (and dancers! Gotta love the dancers!) a site where they can stay up-to-date and feel like a community.  Everyone knows actors love reading about themselves, so I think it would have a pretty good chance of gaining a decent readership.  And maybe…eventually…I think I could get some advertisers.

I hope to launch in January. 

What do you think?


December 6, 2010

We had big plans for the weekend – Friday night, Crafeteria at Frances, Saturday, preschool shopping event, Saturday night, electric parade.

Instead, Moo got sick.

Before the stuffy nose kicked in, she met Mrs. Claus Friday morning and asked her about Santa’s favorite dinner (fried chicken and pizza, apparently).  She even deigned to meet Santa himself, and I paid a ridiculous amount of money for the first “professional” pic of my two kiddos with the Man in Red.  (“Why is his beard grey instead of white, Mommy?”)

Then we got home and she crashed on the couch, complaining of a sore throat.  The night was filled with screaming, crying, and Children’s Tylenol.  Early in the morning, Herbie and I were summoned to her bedside for comfort and kisses.  She finally rested her head on my legs, begging, “Just stay like this, Mommy.  Don’t move, don’t move.”

So I knew the parade was out.

Instead, Juice and I hightailed it out of Sick Town (while Moo and Herbie camped out on the couch) and had a fantastic day Christmas shopping.  We shopped and shopped, and cuddled and cooed, and in celebration of our day, he even busted out some brand new “Ba-ba-ba-boov-boov’s” – very exciting.

After we came home and had dinner, we drove around town looking at Christmas lights to cheer ourselves up after missing the parade.  It worked for a while, until Moo plummeted into stuffy-nose despair, muttering “Glug, glug, glug” over and over.  When we got home, she insisted she would NOT go to bed, okay fine ONLY if she could lay her head on my legs again, okay fine just lay down NEXT to me and you can sleep with me, now SING WOMAN!  Okay, get out.


Herbie let me sleep in until 9 a.m.  I still remember when “sleeping in” meant noon.  Moo felt much improved, so we ventured out to the nursery and bought our first Noble fir tree.  We always, always talk ourselves out of the Noble and buy the cheaper Douglas, but this year, somehow – we didn’t.  I don’t know how we’ll ever return to Douglas.  Our Noble makes me feel like I’m in a 1950’s Christmas movie.  Didja hear that?  An angel just got his wings!

Back at home, Herbie headed outside to weed, and I had a slight internal meltdown when I realized that I pretty much just plain ol’ don’t like being home alone with my two kids right now.  Key words “right now.”  Moo’s going through a bossy phase, Juice – well, Juice is a baby, and I am a person who loves the peace and quiet of being alone, and I am never alone, and it is never peaceful around here.

At least that’s how it feels right now.  After I finally got Juice to sleep, and I dozed with him on our bed, I felt so much better…until I heard the beginnings of Moo’s tantrum down the hall.  Over turning off the TV, for God’s sake!  She never gets freaky over the television!  I guess that’s what happens after you let her watch television alllllll day when she’s sick.  But that’s what you do when you’re sick, right?  I have so many memories of watching Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, curled up with the blue “sick” blanket on the couch.

After So. Much. Screaming. Moo finally recovered, and we ordered a pizza, put on Christmas music, and brought in our grand Noble fir.  We plopped little fir sprigs in small vases all over the house.  We plugged in the lights and “ooooh’d” when the bubblers started bubbling.  Juice kicked and ba-ba’d with joy.  Moo spread out the ornaments all over the floor, squealing over the ballerina and her baby ornament.  We hid the Christmas pickle, and Moo won a Hershey’s kiss for finding it first.  I got all nostalgic over my childhood ornaments.  Herbie lifted Moo up, up, up so she could put the star on top, and I looked around at the happy mess and finally felt peaceful.

God I love my family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2010






And lots…

And lots…

…of dancing!


Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

The Vom

November 18, 2010

Driving over to my mom’s house for dinner this evening, I had a sudden moment of panic:  “Good God!  Is there a show tonight?  Am I supposed to be at the theater??  WHAT DAY IS IT?!”

It’s 10:15 – I think someone would have called me by now if I’d missed the show.

But tomorrow – yes, tomorrow is definitely Friday, and we definitely have a show…hmm, let me just check…YES.  Tomorrow at 7:30.  Must not be late.  Must not forget new eyelashes.  Must not forget what day it is!  Must not forget lines I haven’t said in five days…

Jude’s Prince Charming is coming to the show tomorrow night with Rosalind, and I’m feeling strangely nervous.  He’s going to roll his eyes if he reads this, but I can’t help it.  I don’t know why I feel nervous.  Maybe not nervous, just – jittery.  He’s never seen me perform.  Jude never saw me back on stage.  She was supposed to get better and come see me with her Prince.  But now she’s gone, and he’s going to come see a show and sit there while we’re all, “HA HA HA HA HA!  FA LA LA LA LA!  WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”   ???  It feels rude.

Shoot, now he’s probably going to change his mind.

In other news…

* Juice is semi-sleeping through the night. I refuse to admit that 5:30 is morning.  Herbie and I decided to switch off nights being on-duty, and so far, he’s slept through the night every time I’m on duty.  Herbie hasn’t been so lucky.

* Apparently, Moo is going to fall in love tomorrow with a boy named Jack and get married.  The wedding will take place in a very big building downtown and they will serve chocolate cake with caramel inside.  Hop will be the flower girl.  If Herbie and I aren’t busy, we’re allowed to come, too.  No word on the wedding dress yet.

* Late last night while listening to Juice toss and turn on the monitor, I got an idea for a new blog – a second blog, actually.  I’m pretty excited.  I thought I even had a name for it – The Vom – after that little area in a theater that connects a backstage door to an auditorium door.  But it turns out “vom” is short for “vomitory,” so I guess I’ll have to keep brainstorming.