Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Little One is Four!

This last week, the Little One turned four. I am in shock. Four is huge. Four is old. My baby is a kid now. It's freaking me out.

Initially, he was highly pissed off about turning four. He wanted to skip directly to five so he could be the same age as the Big One. I had to break the bad news that skipping four wouldn't work because, unfortunately, math. But! On his birthday he woke up and announced, "I four! I not mad at four anymore. I happy!" And so we usher in a new year for the tiny fella. Who, by the way, is not so tiny. He's huge in fact. Did I mention that his rapid growth is freaking me out? BECAUSE IT IS.

The Little One, who is a total anomaly in the Squishy Family, does not like cupcakes. He doesn't like cake. Or cookies. I know. I know. I can't figure it out either. But he does love doughnuts, and that's what he wanted for his birthday treat. So, we trucked on down to the doughnut shop and got all hopped up on sugar and fat and celebrated our new four year old. And it was good. He got to have his Special Day at school, we made a poster of hilarious pictures of his tiny Nutella covered self, and general goodness happened. So here's to the Little One. Happy birthday, my little love. Thank you for bringing your goofy self into our lives. xoxo

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Also, the holidays happened. We schlepped the kiddos across the country to be with family and we saw so many people and got to say "I love you" in person, which is just as it should be at the holidays. But hot damn, traveling with 2 little kids is a pain in the ass. OY. Thank everything for travel DVD players.

I hope you had lovely holidays, oh Squishy readers. I hope you were surrounded by love and food and drink and family and had the chance to relax. Or, if not, I hope you were at least able to binge-watch a couple of HBO or Netflix series while eating ice cream in bed.

Also also, I did some writing. I was honored to have a piece from this blog posted over at The Manifest-Station. It's such a lovely site and the work there is just stunning. I feel truly lucky to have joined the incredibly writers featured over there.

And I had pieces up (the same day, even!) at my regular gigs: My latest at Luna Luna, Girl Fight, and my latest at Rattle & Pen, The Imagining.

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And, as always, weird stuff continues to come out of our mouths. Weird Stuff We Say, Part 2037483!

Now featuring the all new "My Grampa" series! Crazy stories the Little One makes up about his grandpa. None of them are true. All of them are hilarious.

Little One: "My grampa has a feet beard!"

"My grampa had a pet apple!"

"My grampa has a house farm with cows and chickens and sheeps. And one more. A T-Rex! And a moose and a lion."

"My grampa has an apple city!"

Daddy: "It's really not hard Little One, I'm telling you what to think."

Daddy: "I want you to like me."
Me: "I do like you."
Daddy: "But not like a pet."

Little One: (while excitedly singing the ABCs) "2 R S, T U 3..."

Little One:
crashbrowns = hashbrowns

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

For The Times, They Are A'Changin

So, hi there. I, uh... I'm sorry I haven't called. Er... written. I mean, I know you feel like we're growing apart. It's not you, it's me. How are you?

I dunno. I got nothin. Life is busy? Kids and stuff? The school year started? OH! HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS! School started! I have a kindergartener! I HAVE A KINDERGARTENER. That's insane. I'm a little bit baffled by this particular development. He cannot possibly be in school. Like, actual school. Except that he is. And it's completely terrifying.

Not for him, of course. He's totally fine. He loves it. It's terrifying for ME. I mean... he's out there just, like, living his life. WITHOUT ME.

I know. I KNOW. That's precisely what he's supposed to be doing. It's good for him. We all have to do it eventually. Autonomy n' shit. Yeah, yeah. But jesus, it is hard letting him just wander around in the world doing things and learning things and struggling through things and only getting the tiniest snippet of what that's like for him. It's harder than I thought it would be.

This was the Big One's very first day of kindergarten, and look:

Who's the one marching along, head down, looking all forlorn and pouty? Not him. He's fine. IT'S ME.

After we dropped him off that day, we came home and I was completely overwhelmed with this terrifying feeling that it was over. Our time together was done. I sat in his room and cried and because he doesn't belong to us anymore. I mourned us.

That's completely melodramatic and slightly ridiculous, but it's also kind of true. The us we were doesn't really exist anymore. I've been home with him since he was born, and I've been a part of his entire life -- including his education -- up until now because of co-op preschool. (What? We live in Seattle. It's awesome. Shut up.) Now, he has this whole life at school that I'm not a part of for the first time in his life and it's a bit sad. I don't really know what his days are like, and I miss that. I miss watching him experience things for the first time.

He's doing well though, and we've worked our way through the transition hiccups and he's becoming this little person. This little person who's starting to read! Which !!!!!!

So anyway, big changes à Chez Squishy. Because in addition to the Big One starting kindergarten? The Little One started preschool. And DUDE was that kid excited. Like, AMPED. He has been waiting to go to school for a year and NOW HE GETS TO GO AND OMG. It's the cutest. Every day he's excited to go, and every day he leaps out of class and into my arms and says, "Mommy! I work and sing and play!" And I melt into a giant puddle of oozy love. I get to be with him in class once a week and watch him do all these amazing things...  Actually, he mostly just plays with the blocks and trucks and sandbox. Like, pretty much the whole time. But he's SO HAPPY about it. He'll shake it up soon, I'm sure. Or not. Whatever. He's happy.

My little squishies, they are growing up. Oof. That stings a little.

I have been working on getting things published (and writing things that are publishable), so there's that monopolizing my time. But it's working! I posted in August (oh... is that the last time I posted? OOPS) about my pieces in Brain, Child Magazine, and Luna Luna Magazine, but what I forgot to tell you is:

1. My piece in Brain, Child then went up on HuffPo and 15,000 people liked it on Facebook (so conceivably more than that read it) and WHOA.  I was totally blown away to even be there, and deeply honored to reach that kind of audience. Amazing.


2. I'm now a staff writer for Luna Luna Magazine! I am so excited to be a part of Luna Luna and look forward to writing much more there. We talk lit, we talk feminism, we talk pop culture, we talk makeup, we talk tarot, we talk about all kinds of things and you should come on over and check it out.

So... stuff is happening! There's more coming out soon, too. It's a little surreal that I'm actually getting my work out there, and it is such a thrill to know that people want to publish and read the things I write. But even more meaningful is the idea that something I've written might have helped somebody. Or made them laugh. Or made them think. Or made them say, "Me, too." Ultimately, that's all I want.

And also, I got new glasses for the first time in 15 years. Turns out you should really have your eyes checked more than once every 15 years! Go figure. Here they are:

And with that, I'll leave you with the promise that there will be more from me soon and in the meantime... bizarre word combos that come out of our mouths. You're welcome.

Weird Stuff We Say

Daddy: "No. A penguin doesn't need a vacuum."

Daddy: "Who's on my team?!?"
Little One: "Not me!"

Little One: "My baby toe is 'llergic to dogs and cats."

Little One: "Mommy? You smell dat fart? Oh... dat not a fart. Dat the fries."

Daddy: "Did you wipe your nose, Little One?"
Little One: "Yep."
Daddy: "Then why are you wiping your nose on your shirt?"
Little One: "Because dere's booger water in dere."

Daddy: "Stop it. Just sit for one minute and be happy with your life."

Big One: "Sometimes, I accidentally eat toilet paper."
Me: "How's that taste?"
Big One: *pause* "Not very good."

(Apparently he was referring to when he's blowing his nose and the toilet paper gets stuck in his mouth. So at least he's not INTENTIONALLY eating toilet paper. There's that. Tiny victories!)

Big One: "Daddy? I need a cookie. Cookies help me remember stuff."

Little One:
bongo beans = garbanzo beans
bandeds = band-aids
tattoon = tattoo

Big One:
Star Vors = Star Wars

P.S. here's how I know having children causes you to lose your mind: My children made me start a puzzle with them and then abandoned me with the puzzle and then I really wanted to finish the damn puzzle BUT THEY KEPT WALKING ON THE PUZZLE. And then I was angry. The end.

P.P.S. the Big One declared that he would have a band called "Hands Droppin' Through a Tile." He would play the drums. I would play the maracas. Little One would play guitar. Daddy would sing.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Talking About It

I have a new essay up at Brain, Mother right now about approaching sex and permission and rape with my boys.

It was another tough one to write, both because it's deeply personal, but also because it's hard to imagine my boys ever doing anything brutal. Still, I think it's something we have to consider as parents so that we can figure out how to teach them NOT to do these things. All the rapists out there were someone's child. Parents have the to power to stop it. Maybe not all of it, but we can sure as hell try.

So anyway, here's my essay. I would be honored if you read it. And perhaps you'll find something there that will help you speak to your kids about these difficult subjects. No one wants to talk about it, but sadly everyone needs to.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014


So, today I came out on the internets.

Kinda. Halfway out? I came halfway out on the internets? I was only halfway in the first place. I don't know. I told the whole wide world that I am neither here nor there, that I am nebulous, and it felt both glorious and terrifying. Because OMG I CAME OUT ON THE INTERNETS.

I've been expecting somebody to say something godawful to me, although -shockingly- that hasn't happened yet. It will, I'm sure, but for now I'm enjoying the overwhelming and unexpected support and kindness being thrown my way. Did you know there are still so many lovely people out there? I KNOW. I'm a little surprised, too.

Anyway, it's been good. I'm so grateful Luna Luna Magazine picked it up, and I'm so grateful for the support they've given me and my writing. And I'm grateful that it's not something I'll have to worry about anymore. It'll be nice not to have to remember who knows and who doesn't. It'll be nice to just be, as much as anyone can.

I wrote this essay because I think a lot of people live in the middle, like me, and don't quite know how to explain. I hope that this might give a few people the encouragement- the support- they need to understand that there's nothing wrong with the middle. I hope.

Most importantly, I hope my kids are never afraid of the middle. I hope that if they find themselves unsure or confused or definitively in the gray, I hope they won't be afraid. I hope they'll talk to me, or if they're too afraid to do that, I hope they'll know that I will always always love them, and anything nebulous or ambiguous or gray about them is part of what I love.

So it's out there. Like me. And I hope we both do some good things in the world.

Living in the Gray.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Of Patience and Spontaneous Combustion

So, I've been thinking a lot about patience lately. Namely, because I have none. The kiddos are testing my limits these days, (SUMMER!!) and oof. Just... oof.

Yesterday, I very nearly burst into flames MULTIPLE TIMES. Holy hell, these kids sometimes. I love them, but JUST LISTEN TO ME AND FOLLOW MY DIRECTIONS SO I DON'T FEEL THE NEED TO STAB MYSELF IN THE EYE PLEASE. Turns out I didn't burst into actual flames though, so I win. Sort of.

Anyway, I wrote a thing about it over at Rattle and Pen. Read it, won't ya?

Also, I am delighted to discover that other people have this very same problem. It's a thing, Squishies! It's a thing! This piece by Paige Kellerman over at HuffPo rings true for me. And gives me the giggles. It's about patience and saying "fuck" a lot. A friend recommended I go read it AND I JUST HAVE NO IDEA WHY. Eh em.

Here's a tiny snippet:

How Not to Swear Around Kids
1. Don't be around children at all.
2. If you ignored number one, the key here is to pinpoint where your kids are going to be during the day and then go hide.
Read it and pee your pants a little bit. Seriously.

While you're reading those, I'll be over here working and wrangling kids and trying to find time to write all the things I have to write. And taking my kids to swimming lessons in the pouring rain. That's right. Outdoor swimming lessons IN THE RAIN. What? I live in Seattle, people. Ain't no thang.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer and Weird Stuff Parents Say

Hi! I keep disappearing! I apologize!

Things have been busy with work and submissions and a summer filled with swimming lessons and trying to keep my kids entertained and slightly less whiny (I'm failing spectacularly on that one, by the way), and so I haven't had much time to write here. But I will! I swear! I WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN. For you, my Squishies. For you.

Turbo updates:
- The Big One has decided to no longer eat meat. Unless it's bacon. Or deep-fried. Otherwise, he has a real problem with it. So now with the Little One's sensitivity to dairy, things have gotten really interesting when it comes to meal planning. Suddenly, I'm accidentally vegan quite often.

-We went on a family vacation with my husband's parents on the Oregon coast! It was beautiful and chilly and the boys got to build sandcastles and run in a HOUSE and play and be kids and that was fantastic. Also, this happened:

-Swimming lessons! They're taking them. And while I was thoroughly terrified that they'd drown (or the secondary drowning, good god, and if you don't know what I'm talking about DON'T LOOK IT UP or you will never stop worrying ever), they haven't. And they love it. And I get to watch them love it for 30 minutes every day while sitting in the sun wearing 900 liters of sunscreen.

-Summer! So much free time! SO MUCH FREE TIME. For them, of course, not for me. I'm trying to keep them busy enough so we don't all lose our minds, and I'm trying to work. Which really means keep them busy, still losing our minds, and I don't start working until 8:30pm. ppffffttth.

-I don't know what else! Both kids will be in school (Little One in preschool, Big One in kindergarten OHMYGOD) in the fall, and I don't quite know what to do with that. We'll discuss it later.

Anyhoo. In the midst of all this busy, I've been writing down weird things that keep coming out of my and my husband's mouths, so here. I offer these nuggets of odd as a peace offering. YOU'RE WELCOME.

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Weird Things Parents Say

After finding that my kids had ripped the bottom of a shopping bag, just to check it out, I said:  "Much like the cardboard at the bottom of the xfinity bag, the children are destroying me so they can find out what I'm made of." And it's true. They totally are. (And like the xfinity bag, they're finding I'm sort of shoddily held together.)

"Everyone leave everyone's butt alone."

"Please be nice to your penis."

"When's the last time you changed your underwear?"

"I'm sorry I made you mad when I asked you not to call me dead."

"And that's a marble.  Don't eat that."

"No.  We don't shoot anyone with our butts."

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And, of course, the kids out-weird us sometimes, so here's some stuff they say, too. Both weird and adorable.

Little One

After the Big One got up from the table for the zillionth time to go blow his nose: "Brudder!  He pit-peered!  He witch!  I fwared of him." (Translation: Brother! He disappeared! He's a witch! I'm scared of him.)

cerebra = zebra

callcano- volcano

Toefood = tofu

You-me = we; as in, "You-me played soccer!" or "You-me going to da park?"

Little One [while eating waffles]:"Mommy!!  Der sugar in dere?"
Me: [Nodding] Mm-hmm.
Little One: "I wuv sugar!  I wuv it!"

While I was singing an improvised song during dessert, the Little One said, "Mommy?  Dat song not good for eating."  Always a critic.

Big One

"Mommy?  I love a little artist like me.  Do you?"

amblee-ance = ambulance

apple critter = apple fritter

"These blueberries are so organic that I love them." I love my tiny hippy.

"Daddy? I am so compacted with laughs."

Friday, April 25, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour: Part III

The third installment of the Writing Process Blog Tour I've been participating in is up over at Rattle & Pen!  You can check it out here.

It's been such a pleasure (and mildly terrifying) to think through my process as a writer.  I'm still learning how to do this well.  Hearing about how Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum and Ginny Robinson at R&P think about their work and sometimes struggle to put thoughts to page is delightfully reassuring.

If you're a maker of anything- art, food, people, crafts- I highly recommend you read the full series thus far.  I guarantee you'll find something that helps you breathe a sigh of relief.  Making is hard work, people.  But it is always worth it.

Big thanks to Lauren Gordon, also of R&P, for sharing her process on her own blog, and inviting me to participate as well.

I am honored to be a part of the community of women writers over at Rattle & Pen.  And I'm always honored when anyone reads what I have to say.

Thank you, dear Squishies, for riding this ride with me.