Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Today after getting the boys in bed (sort of), I was chasing Savanna around the living room. She was almost screaming with laughter, and then held on tightly to me when I scooped her into my arms. It was then that it hit me (like it has before on so many occasions) that she is absolutely, deliciously, devastatingly cute.

And just like that, I couldn't put her to bed.

I became completely ineffective and decided instead to take her out in the front and photograph her in the just-set sunlight. Maybe I was hoping to freeze and preserve her off-the-charts beauty. Maybe I was trying to freeze time.

We laid down on the warm concrete of the driveway, looking at the sky.

"Ma, wook! Is ky! See?"

"Yes, Savvy! Sky. I see."

"It fly." (holding a toy airplane in her hands and moving it around in the air above us.)

Today she carried her baby doll all over the house. She was in a panic whenever she mislaid the baby doll, and would search frantically, calling, "Baby! Baby?" until she found her.

Last night she put Baby to bed in a Tupperware container with a dishtowel for a blanket.

Today she bathed her (cloth) baby in the toy wheelbarrow out back, which was filled with sprinkler water, courtesy of Savvy's great assistant, Reed.

Some time earlier this morning I found Savanna laying in my bed, with her dolly (wrapped in the dishtowel) held tightly to her chest, a blanket around them both.
"Is Baby sleeping, Savvy?"
"Dess. Is sleepy tired."

"She's sleepy and tired? Are you taking a nap?"
"Dess. Nap."

Then she patted Baby's back and whispered, "Ssshhhh....okay."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

buy today or pay

Spurred by the posts of a couple of friends, as well as a recent rash of salespeople in our neighborhood, I feel like sharing my little sales experience of almost two weeks ago.

A girl came to the door toting information about children's books. She was a foreign student, cute accent, pretty approachable. However, she spouted her first memorized paragraph that ended with, "So if you have a minute, I'd love to come in and show you. It'll only take a second" and with that, she picked up her bag, moved toward the door, and appeared to have every confidence that I was going to invite her in at 7:00 p.m. to tell me about books I should be buying for my kids.

Strike one. I was nettled that she just assumed I'd want to listen. That sales tactic does NOT work on me. Does not.

So then I say, "You know....I need to put my kids to bed. Could you come back another night?" (This was a reach for me. I was feeling like saying, "I don't care about those books and I don't want you to come into my house right now go away.")

She gets this suspicious look on her face and says, "Now?" And looks at her watch, then looks at the sky as if to check if it's dark yet. As in You are putting your kids to bed now?

Strike two AND three--are you really questioning my household routines? Who do you think you are? Do you think you'll get a sale out of me by making me feel like I'm strange or hasty for putting my kids to bed now, or get a sale out of me by giving me the impression that you think I'm LYING about our bedtime just to get you out of my house?

I say with a mean little smile (I'm sorry sweet foreign sales girl, please forgive me for that mean little smile), "Yes. Now."

So she says with something that smelled suspiciously like You're A Weirdo, "Um....wow. Takes them a long time to go to sleep, if you put them down so early?"

Are you growling yet? Because I was, inwardly. I could have said, "Look, lady. We like our kids-in-bed-by-7:30 policy. And you know why? Because by that time, our children are tired. They need their rest. And frankly, we do too. In fact, this is most assuredly the time of day when I am most apt to send a cheeky salesperson away, because all I REALLY want to do is SIT DOWN and do NOTHING."

But I was mostly polite and said, "Come back another night." And silently (why didn't I just say i'm-not-interested ?!) decided I would be mysteriously running an errand on the night she chose to return. How non-confrontational of me.

Anyway--I don't have some vendetta against salespeople. I was one, once. I sold Cutco knives and believe me, I was TERRIBLE at it. Why? Because I can't bear to put the pressure on. My sales pitch was terrible. "If you think you need these some time down the road, just give me a call." I couldn't create a sense of urgency without feeling enormous guilt, and I knew that almost no one is "in the market" to buy knives. Sorry, Cutco. I failed you.

And maybe because I was a salesperson once, I'm doubly annoyed by the tactics. That whole Create A Need for the Product thing? And how about A Sense of Urgency? The book-selling girl mentioned that she might not be in town next week when I "wanted" her to come back. Uh-oh. Guess I'd better by these books NOW WITHOUT DELAY! One last-ditch sales effort? Guilt-tripping. You put your kids to bed now? How dare you cut off any hours of summer-days enjoyment just so you can rest and recharge? What kind of mother are you? Or simply, You do that? You're weird. But buy this and you won't be weird anymore, I promise.

I have been known to do one of two things under pressure:
1-I fold. Yes I do need your ultra-powerful lasts-forever Citrus House Cleaner and how was I possibly living without it before?!
Or 2-I get upset.
Once when Phill and I were considering buying a second car, we went to go test-drive at a dealership. The sales guy was really chill at first, totally calm, let us take it out for a ride with just ourselves and our at-the-time two kids. Then we came back and told him we'd get back to him. Then guess what happened?
He began to talk about how he could definitely get us a good rate, but only today. Only if we bought TODAY. (Already I was turned off.) I say, "No," just feeling oddly brave and direct and assertive.
Then he asks me, "Don't you think that's kind of rude? Just an outright 'no' before I've explained anything?" And even Phill is looking at me strangely, wondering who I am. (I am hardly ever this brave.) Then I say, "No, I don't think that's rude. I'm just being honest in telling you that I don't think I'll buy a car today."
THEN he talks to me about how they NEED to get rid of inventory TODAY so that they can make a PROFIT. Boy, was he desperate. He started telling me that it was not very "correct" for me to make him think I was going to buy a car (test-drive) and then not buy it (I'll think about it).
At that point, I was done. I finally said with unmistakable heat in my voice, "You know, I don't like feeling like I'm a bad person for not wanting to make a hasty decision. I am not going to buy a car from you today and I'd like you to stop guilt-tripping me for it."
Phill was trying to soothe me, probably totally uncomfortable with this uncharacteristic display from me, but the guy finally backed off, and basically went into his dealership in a huff. Which brings me right back to: Do you really think that's going to work?
What part of your brain thinks that you can make me feel bad and thereby want to buy something from you?

Anyway.....I suppose I have stronger feelings than I realized regarding sales people! Disclaimer: I don't hate all sales people. Just most of their tactics. And I really do just need to learn to be brave enough and courteous enough to say, "I'm not interested"--and hope that they will just leave it at that.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Just in case you wondered:

I DID IT! I have finished my first week of marathon training, which ended with my first long run this morning.

My schedule this last week was 3 miles on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, with my long run falling on today. The short runs were pretty do-able and fun, actually. But last night, I got really, really nervous. So nervous that I started getting ready for bed at 9, was in bed by 9:45, and asleep by 11. (This is after a week of going to bed at midnight.) I know that seasoned marathoners would laugh at the (to them, paltry) six miles I had to complete this morning.

But me? I woke up and thought all kinds of crazy things like, "Why did I think this was a good idea?" "Maybe I will do this tomorrow instead." "What if I don't finish?" And "I immediately regret this decision." But I got dressed, surprising myself with each article of clothing I managed to don, eventually finding myself wearing my complete running garb. (Looking down in surprise, "Oh! Hello, there, clothed and out-of-bed-at-six girl. Who are you?") I did put my underwear on inside-out, but I didn't notice that until I was done anyway, so....I like to think it gave me an extra boost, somehow.

When I got outside, I realized with a jolt that I had already done 90% of the battle--I was out there, I was beginning, and I was committed to finish. That realization made me grin like a fool for almost the first full mile.

So now I'm back, intact, underwear still on inside-out (oh hush, I'm sure you were wondering), and my muscles are not quite stretched out yet. But I had to record this first little success. I can look forward to the marathon and become entirely overwhelmed at the thought of 26.2 miles, or I can take it one portion at a time, and be excited that today I successfully finished the first week of my 18 weeks of training. :) Whew. And now I'm going to go eat. I'm famished.

One last thing.

Dear Santa Clara,

Why have a gas station fully equipped with a bathroom when said gas station doesn't even open until 8? I'm just saying. You know. Someone might just HAPPEN to need a bathroom at 6:30 in the morning.

Just saying.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Make your cake and eat it, too!

For Savanna's birthday yesterday, I made one large cake and one Savvy-sized cake. I used my favorite recipe from my friend Heidi--and let me tell you. It's addictive. I wanted to see if I could do a little bit of nutritious substitution to lessen my guilt in devouring it piece by piece each day. (And sometimes two pieces in one sitting. It's GOOD.)

Mojo’s Birth Day Cake

["Mojo" being the darling unisex name of their in-utero baby, since they wanted to keep the sex a secret. This cake was to celebrate his birth. Darling, no?]

4 eggs
2 c. sour cream (Here I used 2 C of vanilla yogurt, because Phill needed the sour cream for the enchiladas. I'd use plain next time, but it worked beautifully. We like Mountain High all-natural.)
3/4 c. oil (This is where I was hoping a substitution would be successful. 1/2 C carrot puree worked perfectly.)
1 devil’s food cake mix
1 sm. pkg. instant pudding mix
1 cup chocolate chips (We like semi-sweet mini chips.)
1 1/3 c. water (Only needed 1 C with the substitutions.)

Mix together; pour into bundt pan; bake at 350 degrees for 45-65 min. or until done. (Ours took 60 minutes.)

And now she is 2.

I am never going to stop missing her newborn smallness.

I don't know when or if that's going to happen.

Certainly not yet.

Yesterday morning at church, she was cranky and clung to Phill. But she looked beautiful. And like a 2-year-old.
Her birthday was simple and wonderful. Phill made his amazing chicken enchiladas.
The children were entertained by balloons in the backyard. The presents were plentiful, but not overwhelming. A shopping cart and babies (that seemed size-appropriate, were a baby to give birth to a baby) from us and a little Elmo mailbox from some friends of ours.
When presented with her cake, her approach was calculated and methodical.
Perhaps "thorough" is a more fitting word.
She didn't attack it like the boys attacked theirs. The cake attacked her.
A bath was necessary.Today on our way home from lunch with Phill, she fell asleep in the car. Her body was warm and totally relaxed, her cheek soft against my own. I held her a little longer than necessary, standing by her crib, thinking how soft her hair was, how pure she is, how complex and beautiful she is. She peeked at me out of sleepy eyes as I laid her down, and I took note of her diluted-brown eyes and long lashes, and brushed her hair out of her eyes as she fell back to sleep. That little ache somewhere near my sternum isn't gone yet, but each stage of her life--and each stage of my boys' lives--has its own particular beauty. I might survive, remembering that.