Posts Tagged: Adam

Jul 13

July 27, 2013

We had a sweet little family party yesterday in honor of Adam and Lily’s birthday. Adam’s brother Chris and his family (my sister-in-law Rejane and their two kids Bruno and Max) drove down from San Luis Obispo and my mom (kids’ Nana) came also. It was a small and wonderful gathering! Adam’s cake was a lemon cake with lemon curd and a lemon buttercream. Lily had a little eggless lemon cake with whipped cream on top. After she licked all the whipped cream she wanted more! It really felt festive to be celebrating both of these birthdays on the same day for the first time and it made me think of all the wonderful July 27ths in our future with our little family. I love these people so much!

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May 12

Home Stretch

After a day of delicious pampering and relaxing yesterday (Mom and I went to the Ojai Spa), I was in bed by 9 and soundly asleep well before 10 pm. This is the thing about me….when left to my own devices, I don’t stay up late and sleep in. I go to bed incredibly early (that is the part that feels like a luxury to me) and get up early. I rose this morning at 7:15, bright eyed and bushy tailed, a little sleep-drunk from all that amazing sleep (NINE hours straight?!?! You’ve got to be kidding me!). But, for as much as I relish my uninterrupted sleep (no child talking in her sleep or snoring–Anna is definitely not a quiet sleeper; no husband stealing all the covers and refusing to yield them–I’m looking at you, Adam), I am, simply stated, missing my family like crazy.

I have loved the quiet this week. I have loved the freedom of “whatever, whenever.” I have even loved–in a weird way–having a little feeling of loneliness, because I am, by nature, an introvert and we introverts love our alone time (I guess I like myself enough to be with myself for long stretches of time–that’s good and not weird, right?).

But as much as I love all of that, I love, even more, tucking a wriggly body into bed, kissing flushed cheeks, a big bear hug from someone bigger and stronger than me, late night pillow talk with my one and only (even if it means that it keeps me up later than my favorite early bedtime hour; oh, the sacrifices we make for the ones we love!). I can say now, this many days later, that I am looking forward to the little extra bit of chaos that will ensue when this house isn’t full of just me, but is full of the extra energy and vitality (and mess) that a full family (even if it is just two extra people) entails.

I love them and I miss them and I want them back.

(Now, will someone help me remember this when I’m sighing over mud tracked all over the kitchen floor, crazy unreasonable temper tantrums in the middle of Trader Joe’s, laundry that needs to be folded, library books that need returning, and all that other “tending” that tends to happen when one is a full-time caretaker of a family?????).

Jan 12

It ain’t easy but at least it’s fresh

I (genuinely!) like that we make almost everything in our house “from scratch.” From breads to sauces to desserts….it’s just the way we do things around here. But tonight, as I wearily chopped onions to make a tomato sauce to go with our Chicken Parmigiana, I thought to myself, damn…I really wish I had a jar of Ragu!*

*This post is guaranteed to make my lovely husband’s head hurt. It would make him cry to see a jar of cheapie pasta sauce sitting in our pantry, when “it’s so easy to make it ourselves! And better!” I know, Honey. I know. I’m just so tired.

Nov 11

On being a grown-up

I’ve decided that I really like being a grown-up. Oh, sure, being a kid was cool and all, what with the lack of responsibility, the not having to make one’s own food or worry about the budget or all that other stuff that comes along with being an adult, but I love the freedom that comes with being responsible for one’s own self. I like deciding stuff. I like driving where I want to, when I want to (well, within reason. I am a parent, after all, and I do have responsibilities). I like choosing to go run at the bluffs or at the beach. I like deciding what to make for dinner and I like making my house my home. I like organizing birthday parties and having dinner cooking on the stove when my husband comes home (this, unfortunately, does not always happen). I like taking my daughter to the library and I like folding her little clothes. I like being a grownup.

Over the weekend, Adam and I went to a concert with friends. We saw Toad the Wet Sprocket, a band who we have both seen in concert numerous times, but not for years. And as we stood and swayed and sang every single lyric to every single song, I saw us as we are: two grownups, for whom these songs hold memories. I remember going to see a different concert, years ago, with someone else. We saw Journey. Yeah, we did. You’re jealous, aren’t you? And I remember looking around and seeing all these….grownups. These people for whom this music was memory-filled, standing and swaying and singing all the lyrics (and wearing acid washed jeans–WHAT NOW?–and feathered bangs and the like and, ok, maybe we did make fun of them a little bit because this was, after all The NINETIES and all so why are they all totally EIGHTIES????) and this all somehow had deep meaning to me. I got teary as the band came on for the last encore and they sang “Walk on the Ocean” and I remembered and I remembered and I remembered. And I was happy for every one of those memories, and I was happy, too, to be standing there with who I was standing there with, with his arms around me, with his voice singing those words, knowing that we would go home together and pay the babysitter and gaze at our sleeping daughter. I was overcome with being a grownup, the sheer happiness of it. The happiness of being alive and well and now (because I wasn’t always) confident and grounded. And loved. Oh, don’t forget the love.

I’m a grownup and I like it.

Aug 11

14 years ago

14 years ago, I couldn’t sleep, like I can’t sleep tonight. 14 years ago, I was hours away from slipping into a frothy white dress and walking down an aisle on my father’s arm and signing papers and swearing in front of a church full of people that I did, I would, yes, forever until death do us part.

We are so changed from those people we were 14 years ago. We are so different. We are more wrinkled and grey-haired (yes, even Adam, it’s in his beard and don’t let him try and tell you otherwise) and battle-hardened. We have fought battles we didn’t even expect we would have to fight. We have done so many things together, so many amazing, wonderful, hard things. We have laughed and we have cried and we have always, always been there for each other.

I can’t think of a single decision in my life, not ever, that has been as good as the decision I made to tie my life to this one person, this tall, blue-eyed man who knows how to fix stuff and how to talk and how to listen and how to make me feel like the most beautiful, most funny, most important person that he has ever met.

My lover, my husband, my best friend.

I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Even for those times–especially those early years–when we argued and we made threats to leave and we doubted ourselves, over and over again. I would do it all over again to have what I have now, which is this: a beautiful marriage of 14 years.

Happy Anniversary, Adam. I love you.

Jul 11

When Mama is away……

Daddy and Anna will play. Anna told everyone, for weeks, that when Mama was gone on her trip (I just went away for four days with my sister, to Palm Desert), she and Daddy would have “no rules! And eat ice cream and popcorn and candy and chocolate ALL DAY! And watch movies! And have no bedtime! And not wash hair!”

Coming home, it is evident that this was not totally the case, but they did have fun. Anna told me so. She also, diplomatically, told me that she loved being with Daddy and being with Mommy JUST the same because she loves us both SO much. Whew.

I had a fantastic time with my sister. The weather was remarkably not insanely hot (!) and we got to do all sorts of crazy things like go out to the movies (Bridesmaids. Awesome movie) without children, go hiking without children, sleep without fearing being woken by children, swim without children, shower without children, drive in the car without children, shop without children, and go to a spa (without children, naturally). Do you sense a theme?

It is crazy that it is possible to love our little girls SO much and yet be SO relieved to have just a handful of child-free days. We got to talk and talk and talk and never once were we interrupted to wipe a butt. It was great. I even awoke cheerfully at 7 am each morning, well rested because I had not once been called in to investigate the monster status of a bedroom in the middle of the night. The only downside is the bit of melancholy I always feel after such trips, where I feel so acutely the longing to live near enough to my sister to see her every single day. I wouldn’t trade our relationship for anything.

How many of you guess that I came home to a perfectly tidy house? You would be wrong. Just kidding. Actually, it was incredibly clean (even though Adam did jokingly text me last night that he should have scheduled the housecleaners to come through this morning to clean up the disaster), though Anna put away stuff in her room last night. And by “put away” I mean shove dirty clothes under her chair, baby toys in with her stuffed animals, and little blocks and books and Polly Pockets in with her dress up clothes. That’ll take a while to sort out, but I really can’t blame Adam for delegating the clean-up responsibility. That was a stellar move.

I’ve wondered if the differences between my personality and Adam’s personality is ever any more evident than in the differences between us when the other one is out of town and we are in charge. When Adam is gone, Anna and I become recluses. We hang out at home. We have easy, simple dinners, things like grilled cheese sandwiches and, Anna’s favorite, “cheesy, buttery pasta!” When I am gone, Adam calls all of our friends and proceeds to cook for all of them, every day, all day long, the most complicated meals he knows, things that need to cook or braise or smoke all day long and that take finicky ingredients. Personality meter? Who knows. I do like people…..I just prefer to conserve my energy when I am having the single parent gig, I suppose.

Anna seems well fed and sufficiently clean. The dog and cat are still alive. I got to spend several days with my sister, hiking* and eating and drinking and talking and spa-ing (massaaaaaaage so gooooooood). I really can’t complain.

*P.S. Every single person I spoke to before I went on my trip, upon finding out where we were going, told me that we HAD to take the aerial tramway out of Palm Springs. I repeat, HAD TO. Even Adam (who I didn’t know had even ever gone to Palm Springs without me in over 14 years, except for maybe that one business trip he took and then wasn’t he supposed to be, like, going to a conference or something, not taking aerial tramways to enjoy the views?). So we did. And it did not disappoint because we went from barren desert to piney forest hiking in 10 minutes and that is pretty darn cool. Do it. You HAVE TO.

Jun 11

Surfer Girl

Ok, so it was really just hitching a ride with surfer Daddy while he paddled from Goleta Beach to Campus Point and back, but ya gotta start somewhere, right? I’m still counting it as her first surfing experience!

Talking it over at home

Getting all suited up

Posing for the photo op

On their way

On the board!

Paddling off towards Campus Point (Gee, I hope they both come back)

Back to shore! (Is that a smile I see?)

Happy girl, envious friends

All dried off and dressed; time for a snack after all that excitement!

Jun 11

No more, or The Saga of Anna and Poop

Anna has been potty trained, for #1 and #2, for over 2 years. Yet, up until last month, I was still wiping her poopy butt. Why? Because she was refusing to do it herself and it just seemed easier. But then I reached my limit, my poopy-butt-wiping threshold and declared NO MORE. Adam, ever the softy, was continuing to wipe her (when he was home, that is). I pointed out to him that he was enabling her, for goodness sake. That he was making me look bad. That he was ever-more turning into the “Good Parent,” the one who buys ice cream cones and dolls and wipes poopy butts waaaaay past the time that it is needed.

“Ok,” he said. “I hear you.”

And that is where the wheeling and dealing began.

“Anna,” Adam said to her a few weekends ago. “You are SUCH a big girl.”

“I know!” she says, immodestly proud of herself. “I AM!”

“Do you know what big girls do?” he asked.

“They ride tricycles! They play with Barbies! They eat their dinners!” she exclaimed, bouncing, still unaware of the turn that this conversation was about to take.

“Yes, that’s right. They do all those things. But they also go to the bathroom on the potty, all by themselves.”

“I do that!”

“Well, you go to the bathroom by yourself, but you are asking Mommy and Daddy to wipe your bottom and we think that you are old enough to do it yourself now. Like a big girl!”


“Wait wait wait wait wait,” he calmly said. “Let’s talk about it.”


“Let’s make a deal,” he said, thereby gaining her attention (Anna loves nothing more than making deals.This girl is a born negotiator).

“What?” she said.

“Let’s make a deal. Let’s decide on a number of times that I will wipe you and then when those are all used up you will be all done.”

“And then Mama will wipe me?”

(Here I have to interject, despite Adam’s finger raised in admonition, as Anna swings around to look at me): “No! I am ALL DONE wiping your bottom. You CAN and you WILL do it yourself.” (Okay, I may or may not have been having one of those kind of days. You can’t prove it).

“Mama, YES! YOU DO!”

“Calm down, calm down,” Adam soothes. “Let’s decide on a number of times. How many?”

He starts small. I think he started with three more times. Anna rejects this offer. They finally settle on 10, he wipes her bottom (did I mention that we are holding this family conference from the bathroom, with Anna sitting on the toilet?).

“How many are left now?” he asks her. (Oh, good, a math lesson AND potty training, all in one! What a day!)

“Ten!” she says.

“Noooooo. If we had ten and we take one away, how many are left?” He holds up his fingers and she counts them.

“Nine? Only NINE?”

“Yes, nine. You let me know when you want to use these last nine because after these nine, no more wiping.”

And so it goes like this, for a few weeks, actually. She is a smart one, my Anna, and she sees immediately that it does no good to insist on ME wiping anymore. Mama is DONE DONE DONE and it doesn’t matter what she says, I will not do it anymore. Unfortunately, it evolves into something else, something else that makes me crazy.


SCENE: Anna in Bathroom. Monday morning. Adam at work. Jen doing breakfast dishes in kitchen. Anna makes going to the bathroom noises, then stops.

ANNA: “Mama! I need you!”

MAMA, appears in bathroom, dish and dishtowel in hand: “What do you need, sweetie?”

ANNA: “I need you to show me how to wipe myself.”

This seems like a reasonable request to Mama, despite the fact that we have gone over this in the past. She complies, putting down the dish and dishtowel in the kitchen and returning. She mimes wiping herself, admonishing to be careful not to wipe back to front (no one wants poop in their vagina. Not good). Anna does as told, flushes toilet, washes hands. All is good. Until the scene of the next poop.

ACT II, later that day. (Anna is usually a twice-a day pooper).

SCENE: Anna in bathroom, making going to bathroom noises. Finishes.

ANNA: “MAMA! I need you!”

MAMA (a bit less patiently than last time; she senses where this one might be going): “What do you need, sweetie?”

ANNA: “I need you to show me how to wipe myself.”

MAMA: “ARGH! I just did that this morning! Ok, ok, ok. I’ll show you again.”

Mama mimes the wiping, explains it, expresses confidence in Anna’s abilities as a Great Big Girl Who Can Wipe Herself, leaves.


MAMA: “Oh yes you can!”

ANNA: “NO! I CAN’T! You have to stay and watch me do it!”

And so it goes. On and on. For days. Meanwhile, Adam, when available (basically just weekends) wipes Anna, ticking off her last wipes, down towards the very last one. Anna, being the shrewd and crafty child that she is, reserves the Daddy wipings for the harder to wipe poops, the messier ones. Adam looks relieved as there are fewer and fewer left. He remains cheerful in the face of ever-increasing child-panic at the thought of almost being all done.

We went camping Father’s Day weekend. Anna had one more wipe left. Adam took her to the creek to go fishing and….you guessed it. The story, as told to me by Adam:

“I have to poop!” she said.

“Ok,” said Adam.

He leads her to a private spot, helps her squat.

“Remember, this is your last wipe,” he said.

“Where’s the toilet paper?” she said.

“We don’t have any,” said Adam. “We are out in nature so we will have to use a rock or a stick or a leaf.”

Anna pauses, mid-pooping-grunt, surprised.

“A rock?” she asked.

“Yes, a rock. We sometimes have to use things like that when we don’t have toilet paper.”


“I don’t think we have a choice!” he said.

“Nevermind!” she all but shouted. “I do NOT have to go potty. Just farts. NO POOP NEVERMIND!”

Pants up, they return to camp. Anna announces she has to poop. I take her to the outhouse. Surprisingly, these pit toilets have never really bothered her. She is curious, but she never refuses to sit on them. Today is no exception. She asks for a wipe and I refuse.

“Ok,” she sighs, in a resigned tone. “But will you show me how to wipe myself?”

I am nearly apoplectic. How in the WORLD can she need me to mime wiping myself for what feels like one hundred bazillion times over?

“NO.” I say. “You know how!”

Eventually she does it, reassured that at least I am in the same room with her, apparently to check her form. Her eyes never leave mine as she wipes herself. “Like this?” she asks.

“Yes. You are doing FINE. Now finish up ’cause it stinks in here.”

She saves her very last poop for our return home after camping, Sunday. Happy Father’s Day to Adam.

“This is your LAST wipe!” he tells her.

“I KNOW!” she says. “But I still need someone to show me how!”


A few days later, she and I have a showdown about the wiping situation. I refuse to come and watch her. I tell her that the point is that she do it ALL BY HERSELF. That I do NOT need to be in the same room as her. That I have confidence that she can do it just fine by herself. Thirty minutes of loud screaming from the bathroom later, she emerges, cheerful and repentant. Personally, I am fine with the whole thing. I find it amusing that she has just yelled herself hoarse, screaming at me from the toilet. She can’t hurt me from there. I am actually quite happy. It’s better than when we argue about other things. I just busied myself in the kitchen until she emerged.

Turns out, my little talk about not getting poop in her girlie parts has scared her. Oops. We talk about how it is important to keep things clean, but that she doesn’t have to be so anxious about it. That I am totally confident that she can do it herself. That she does not need me in the room anymore.

And, just like that, two years after her first poop on the potty, I am done. No more. I don’t have to deal with the poop of the child anymore. My little big girl is growing up.

Addenum; This morning, Anna disappears from the breakfast table to go to the bathroom. She comes back into the room. Butt first. Cheeks spread apart with her hands. “Is this good?” she asks. “Did I get all the poop off?”

Oh my oh my oh my.

I nearly fell out of my chair laughing silently to myself. Because she is bent over, back and butt to me, she can’t see the tears of mirth in my eyes as I congratulate her on a job well done. And indeed it is. Laughter is good for my soul.

Jun 11

Daddy-Daughter Time

Almost every weekend, mid-afternoon, Adam will ask Anna if she wants to go help him run an errand. Usually there is an actual errand (hardware store, the office, grocery store, etc) to run, but I also know that the real reason for the errand is a mid-afternoon trip to McConnell’s Ice Cream Parlor.

They left a while ago–like a half hour ago–today. Long enough that I know that this supposed “quick trip to pick up the laptop at the office” is actually that PLUS ice cream.

The funny thing about this is that, every single time, Anna will protest having to go on an errand. “I don’t WANT to go to Daddy’s office!” she wailed today. Adam gives her That Look and asks her what else they might do, trailing off before he finishes, giving me a pointed look and pretending that they need to be furtive and keep this from Mommy.

Her eyes wide, she eventually gets it, and readily assents. And off they go, for some bonding over some sweet, cold goodness. I rarely get the invite, but, then again, I am the outsider to this ritual. I like ice cream–sure, who doesn’t?–but I would rather have a cookie. And I am not a part of this ritual. This is about them, and I love that.

May 11

Cheesy, cheesy cheese

I have not yet written about The Cheese, have I? Oh, how oh how have I not yet written of this? Days pass, new cities are visited, new sights are seen, and seeing and experiencing them somehow has eclipsed The Cheese writing.

So, you will all remember, because our itinerary has been memorized, correct?, that we visited a wine and cheese festival earlier in our trip? Like, 2 weeks ago?

Wine would be a reasonable thing to bring along on a trip, perhaps to bring home, right? Like, if one is a normal and rational person?

My husband. He is not normal and, despite his rationality in a great many other capacities, is not rational in this regard: he has been carrying with him, to lo these many locations all over Spain: mountains and beaches and big cities and in rental cars and on airplanes and on trains and Metros everywhere….a big wheel of cheese. Aged cheese. Smelly, aged cheese. Of the variety of, ohdeargod what in heavens name is that smell? smelly, aged cheese.

Unrefrigerated, mostly.

The guys who sold him the cheese assured him that refrigeration was optional, just so long as it didnt get TOO hot. That the cheese would only, erm, continue to mature out of refrigeration, which, I can quite assure you, is code for: will begin to take on an odor that you do NOT want to transfer to your clothing, yourself, or any of your personal belongings.

So….the cheese. Yeah.

Do you think it will make it home? And, if so, would you eat a slice?

Stinky cheese, day one. Fresh from the festival.