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My mother gave Rio a bicycle for her birthday. A purple bicycle covered with Disney Princess decals. Safe to say, this was her dream bike, long awaited. She spent many winter afternoons sitting on Nana’s lap fantasizing about the bike that would magically appear to her when she turned five. So of course my mom made it happen. It’s in her grandmother contract, I’m sure.

Since I sent “Santa” a letter last Christmas asking “him” to go easy on the beeping, blinking Stuff, we have received nothing battery operated for the kids. Instead, the bike came with a bright pink, princess-logo-sporting, made-in-china air horn. It might be the loudest thing either kid has ever owned. Conveniently, it was not attached to the bike, so the kids were able to bring it in the house and blare it at the breakfast table for a few days.

A word about my mother. When Rio entered the world, I laid down the law: give nothing to this child that you would not give to a child of the opposite sex/gender. Ah, that was the sweet, naive week when I imagined that child was mine, not a free agent in the world. My mom’s response was to show up at my house the day we brought Rio home with about ten pounds of pink lace and an innocent look. “What?” she said, before I could mention the dresses. “I would have bought these for a boy!”

Of course you would, Mom. And you were surely powerless against the waiter who gave eight-month-old Rio her first Oreo cookie while I was in the bathroom. I love you. Never, ever start listening to me about my kids. You totally know better than I do.

I actually do love that my mom gives the girls Disney schwag, and jelly beans and access to cable TV. That’s a huge part of the world they’re growing in, and they get none of it at home. Somebody has to do it, and Nana is the perfect choice. (She also taught Rio how to slide down staircase bannisters, but that’s another story…)

Most recently, she gave Rio this bike. The bike has a row of princess faces emblazoned on the handlebars. As she climbed onto the bike, Rio looked thoughtfully at the princesses, and pointed to Belle.

“Belle looks very princessy there, Mama,” she said. “This must be after. You know, after those photos we saw yesterday.”

Not sure what to make of that, except to say that I’m grateful to Ms. Dina Goldstein for inviting my daughter to think about the prettiness of her princesses.

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Candy!, originally uploaded by MzMuze.

We’re not big Easter celebrators in my house, but we do love any excuse for a party. Today, courtesy of our friends and family, we had the most conventional Easter I can recall since my own childhood living with my Catholic grandparents.

Our day started with church, followed by an easter egg hunt in the churchyard. Then we went to Nana’s for brunch, which featured amazng homemade beer bread and cinnamon fruit salad.

Along the way, the kids ate probably a six-month-supply of candy. Serena especially was more than a little excited to discover the existance of jelly beans.

Hope you all had as lovely a day!

Do you still have a transitional object from your own childhood? What sort of role does it play in your life now?

My answer:
I have the pillow I’ve slept on every night since I was two years old. As that sentence implies, it plays the same role in my life now that it did then. I sleep on it, and it makes me happy. The pillowcase has disintegrated a couple of times, and I’ve replaced it with the others from that set of sheets. I am coming to grips with the fact that the one I am using now, which is already worn through in several places, is the last one of it’s ilk.

It’s perhaps an act of magic then that a pillowcase my mother hand-embroidered during my childhood, from a different bedding set, randomly surfaced in my kitchen linens drawer last night while Mom was visiting. Thanks Fairies!

I’m back at my house, and my computer, after ten days in Maine training to be a Waldorf preschool teacher. The past two weeks have been among the most dense in memory. Since I last posted, in no particular order:

1. I have learned many wonderful and exciting things about caring for and teaching young children. Among them: I do not want to be a Waldorf teacher. Happily for me that was never my plan, and I think I got a lot of good tools that will help me build a nature-based homeschool for my kids and some of their friends.

2. I signed a purchase and sale agreement on my current house this morning, crossing the final and scariest hurdle to my moving plans with and . We are selling the house for a Very Low Price, and I am just holding my breath and praying that we recover financially. The to-do list remains long and daunting, but all systems are go on the move. *huge sigh of relief*

3. My sister gave birth on July 21 to a baby boy, Caden Blake Gleason. He is a charming tiny gnome who looks disturbingly like his daddy. He is also the smallest baby I have ever held, at just over 7 pounds.

4. has taken our two older children to Argentina to visit his family for nearly three weeks. I miss Rio, Ian and Martin terribly, but hear that they are loving the holiday time with their cousins and grandparents and everyone.

5. I turned 30. Right on cue I seem to have sprouted a couple of gray hairs. The day was uneventful, full of classes and classes and more classes. The highlight was a lovely dinner at a quiet Thai restaurant with my oldest and dearest friend. I’m really looking forward to my thirties; I love being alive and just have this calm sense of joy and wonder at what the next decade might bring me.

6. Someone close to me lost a pregnancy. I’m grieving for her and missing the bright spirit I saw moving in her aura for just a few short weeks before it was called on. Looking forward to meeting her children when they do come.

7. My grandmother is very ill and undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. My mother will be flying out to be with her. Energy and prayers much appreciated.

8. Legal drama reared its ugly head in the lives of people I love. Thankfully, it did not directly involve me, but it was sad to watch it eat up their life energy.

9. Ian can haz LJ.

10. In addition to these big things, the past two weeks saw the horrible and untimely demise of my cell phone (since replaced), the breakdown of my Amazing Van (which has yet to be repaired as the mechanic searches for some crazy part), a flare-up of my chronic bronchitis, and all the expected logistical issues that come up when one is traveling for two weeks with young kids.

I am, in other words, very tired. If you see me or speak to me, please be kind and gentle.

I’ve come to expect Christmas to be a time of intense social stress, and to find myself the day after the event with a pile of credit card bills and a larger pile of noisy, expensive plastic crap cluttering up my house.

I don’t normally like being on the giving or receiving end of expensive gifts, and I really don’t like getting a huge pile of little stuff I would never buy because it’s stuff I don’t like or want me or my kids to have.

This year, however, the loot was good. I feel like a happy pirate.

Rio got a doll she LOVES and has not been separated from since it came out of the box. Plus everything else. I mean, everything. Happily, an everything that included no plastic toys at all.

I got a noisy, expensive plastic toy. My fetch has not been this psyched about a holiday gift since I was about Rio sized.

Martin got a set of guitar strings from my folks (who run a music store) and a Fender Stratocaster to go with them. Anyone coming to the fondue party is strongly encouraged to bring any instruments that play well with a Fender Strat. He may have put it down by then, but I kind of doubt it.

And in the most-lifechanging gift of all, Serena cut her first tooth!

Flickr Photos

A little bird told me…

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