Lists and Prayers

IMG_7747The Little One wakes in the middle of the night. “Mama, I’m scared,” she says. She is pressed to the side of my bed, her face inches from mine. I can just make out her tousled outline in the gloom. She is clutching her Elephant Lovey, wide-awake, restless, needing. I am sluggish and groggy, but not entirely asleep.

This is the fourth night out of the last five she’s come padding down the hallway before daylight. After the second night, my body reset itself to match her wonky circadian rhythm and I stir just seconds before I hear her door open. Each night before I click my light off, I plead to whatever divine power is in charge of slumber: “Please let her stay in her bed tonight.” My prayer is for me as much as it is for her. Once again my petition has been denied. Continue reading “Lists and Prayers”

Flutterby 7

A collection of what’s winged its way across my path and got me thinking, grinning and gearing up.

Up a tree.
Up a tree.

Start Looking by Jill Robbins: “I don’t run to the doctor over every ache and bump but I’m quick to climb the crazy tree with my good friend “what-if”. I’ll scale that tree with amazing speed, although it’s not too hard to talk me back down, especially if you have booze or chocolate.” That is so me, plus there’s some really good stuff here about appreciating what’s right in front of you.

The Identity Crisis of Motherhood by Meredith at Perfection Pending: Every mama can tell you about her days of doubt, her days of wondering “Does what I do matter?” Those of us who stay home with our kiddos often wonder what life would have been like had we pursued one or another of our dreams. Meredith turns the focus inward, giving us her insights into the small but beautiful world that defines who she is right now: Mom. Continue reading “Flutterby 7”

U is for Uvula

uvula: a fleshy extension at the back of the soft palate that hangs above the throat.

The toddler is deep asleep. I’ve just tucked in the 9-year-old and called out a final “‘night ‘night” to the tween. Josh is out of town for work. The dog is snoozing on the living room couch. My laptop is open and I’m happily settled into a stool at the gleaming clean kitchen counter, a glass of wine winking at me. A quiet evening to myself is absolutely thrilling.

That’s when the giggling starts. How can that be? Lilah’s been asleep for a solid hour already and I just put the big girls to bed in their own rooms a few minutes ago – didn’t I?

I listen intently, valiantly hoping the laughter will just, you know, disappear and that everyone will go to sleep in their own beds all on their own. Right.

I’m in no mood to go traipsing up the stairs to play the enforcer. The clock is ticking on my precious Me Time. But I need them to go to sleep because sleep is awesome and magical, but only if my kids get enough of it. When they don’t, the next day is like trying to survive among the Walking Dead: everybody drags their feet, moaning and drooling. If you get too close, they try to bite you. It’s pretty gory.

I lean back in the stool, facing out the kitchen door in the general direction of the stairs and let loose my most urgent, hot-breathed shush. The giggling abruptly stops. I can’t believe that actually worked. I reach for my wine. Seconds later the laughing starts up again, only louder. Okay, that’s it. I give up. I tromp up the stairs to lay down the bedtime law.

I bust through the door to Ruby’s room. “What is so funny?” I demand in my best voice of authority. They are on the bed totally cracking up. “Hello? What’s going on?”

IMG_0013Ruby finally comes up for air. “Ella’s wiggling her uvula!”

Huh, what? Uvula? At first I can’t place the word. It sounds remotely vulgar and completely ridiculous at the same time. Oh jeez. Where did they hear that word? Did they Google it or see someone wiggling theirs on YouTube? I hope Ella didn’t SnapChat her uvula to anyone.

I stand there in the doorway, searching my brain for “uvula.” I quickly zero in on my sparse knowledge of anatomy. Vulva, labia? No, wrong end. Vocal cords? Nope. Then bam! Uvula, yes, got it. It’s that little drop of flesh hanging from the back of the throat. Thank you fourth grade anatomy unit!

Meanwhile, Ruby can’t stop saying “uvula.” It’s so true that sometimes the strangest words are such a delight to say over and over again. You can’t help yourself. You just want to roll them around in your mouth, touch them with your tongue and tumble them out into the world

“Say it mom! C’mon, say it,” Ruby urges.

I want to say it so badly, but I hesitate. I’m supposed to be getting these girls to bed so they can get a decent night’s sleep and I can have some coveted alone time.

Screw it.

“Uvula,” I say loud and clear. Hilarity breaches whatever wall of parenting decorum I’ve been trying to uphold and we are all hysterically laughing in that way you do when it’s well past bedtime and you’re supposed to be sleeping, but you can’t because you’re too busy wiggling your uvula.

I’m participating in the 2014 A to Z Challenge during the month of April using the very broad theme of LOVE to carry me through the alphabet. Check out writing by other bloggers taking on the #atozchallenge at @AprilA2Z.

J is Just for Joel

Just for Joel: a fundraiser to support Joel and his family as he undergoes treatment for AT/RT, a rare, aggressive, brain tumor.

I am obsessed with my Jawbone UP life-tracker. It’s a nifty black rubber, silver-tipped bracelet that tracks, well, my life. It tells me how many steps I’ve taken in a day and how intense those steps were. It encourages me to set goals and reminders, buzzing me when I’ve been sitting on my butt for too long (45 minutes) or when it’s time to take my vitamins or get ready for bed. It tracks my sleep, telling me how long it took to fall asleep, how many hours of deep versus light sleep I clocked and whether or not I woke up during the night. It gently buzzes me awake in the morning per my request, when I’m in an optimal light sleep mode.

I plug my Jawbone into my iPhone app first thing in the morning and marvel at my own data. There is my life, measured and graphed in pleasant hues of blue and spicy shades of orange. I love setting goals that I not only have an excellent chance of meeting, but even exceeding. In my mama world of carpools and checkout lines, having clear objectives helps me to keep my own health and habits in mind. I also happen to be a data geek, so measuring myself in terms of minutes, intensity and quality is right up my alley.

stepclassA few weeks ago, I groggily pulled myself out of bed to get to my early-morning, high-intensity step class. I plug in the Jawbone and see that I missed my sleep goal by over an hour (went to a party) and didn’t quite make my daily steps goal the day before (too much time spent hauling kids from one activity to another). Not enough sleep plus minimal exercise make for a very sluggish morning. I’m determined to conquer my deficit.

I walk briskly into the gym, my tracker at the ready, psyched to find out how many steps I take during the class. I’m hustling to the doors of the studio checking my stats, when I realize there’s quite a hullabaloo going on in the lobby. A long table is set up with several staffers in matching neon green shirts checking people in.


Then I see the sign on the easel about Joel, the young son of one of the gym trainers. Joel has AT/RT, a rare, fast growing brain tumor. Today’s classes are part of the Just for Joel fundraiser to help offset the cost of Joel’s treatment. Suddenly, everything changes. I join the line and make my donation.

I walk into that step class determined to give it all I’ve got for this little boy. For the entire hour, I send all my energy and positive thoughts to Joel and his family. I sweat more than I have in long time, hardly stopping for water breaks, not wanting to mess with the incredible energy and good karma I’m feeling inside and out.

At the end of the class I am red-faced and soaked. My heart is thumping and I can feel a soreness settling in my thighs. I breathe in deeply and towel off. I am energized but filled with sorrow. All I can think about is how much we all love our children and the unimaginable pain that comes when they are hurt or ill. I quietly give thanks for my family, my health and my children’s health and to Joel and his family, too, for giving all of us the opportunity to support them.

When I sync up my Jawbone, it tells me I’ve taken 6,480 steps in 58 minutes. Thanks to Joel, I easily meet my daily goal that Saturday. I only hope that in some small way I can help him and his family reach theirs.

If you would like to help Joel and his family, you can make a donation through his page on

I’m participating in the 2014 A to Z Challenge during the month of April using the very broad theme of LOVE to carry me through the alphabet. Check out writing by other bloggers taking on the #atozchallenge at @AprilA2Z.