Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Dress up.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Horror

I took Sabine to the pumpkin patch the other day. She has been obsessed with monsters, bugs and creepy things so I thought she'd love it. I took her last year and she loved it. But not so much this year.

The patch, down the street from where we live, is a made-over parking lot. It's been disguised with warped pumpkins that look sad and deformed, or just bored. There's a few haystacks with too-scary monsters standing all around. One of the creeper's eyes pop out as you walk by. The head of another one spins around as you approach. And the worst one is just a sheet-covered body that screams and has a bloody neck and a head in its hand.

As I walked through, Sabine kept saying, "Yet's go, mama." I looked down and saw her head turned into the side of the stroller with her eyes squeezed tightly shut and her fingers clutching the sides of her ride. She was terrified. She's rarely terrified.

As I headed toward the exit, a toothless woman, whose visage was just as deflated and nicked up as the pumpkins, approached us. She had a bad dye job, dirty clothes and seemed miles away from sober. It was 9:30 a.m. She'd come out of a broken-down trailer in the corner, where her shirtless partner was standing, smoking a cigarette and spitting. He was also seriously lacking in teeth.

When did people who run pumpkin patches start living at the pumpkin patch?

I convinced myself that the pumpkin patch couple was brewing up batches of crystal meth in their clunky, brown trailer. The pumpkins were a cover for their chemist, cracked out ways, and what they really do is tie up and torture little children and their unsuspecting mothers a la Deliverance. I was suddenly just as freaked out as Sabine.

Maybe next year we'll drive somewhere to a pumpkin patch that has hay rides, apple trees, scarecrows with happy faces--and people with teeth. For now, we'll go ahead and pick up a pumpkin or two at the grocery store, where Sabine exists as the only terror.

via Observando

Vintage Benetton

Remember this Benetton advertisement? This is what New York City feels like. And, I guess, childhood.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No Sleep Till...

Bedtime avoidance involves playing with a giant ball; running away until mama catches me; and hiding in a cabinet with my vintage lightsaber and as many pillows and stuffed friends as I can cram in there with me.

Caramel Pumpkin Cheescake Bites

Black-bottomed mini caramel pumpkin cheesecake bites. Don't these look and sound amazing? Happy almost Halloween, the perfect excuse to eat as much crap/sugar as your body can take. (Recipe below.)

Clickety click on over to Picky Palate for the recipe and baking directions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Honesty is the Best Policy

The following is a recent text conversation I had with a long-time friend, who is also refreshingly honest about the good, the bad and the ugly parts of parenthood. When you are dizzy from how simultaneously fantastic and treacherous being a mom is, I can't tell you what a relief it is to have friends like this who make you laugh and feel less crazy.

Amie: How's the bun? And the one that's already cooked?

Me: The bun is killing me. I'm twenty times more nauseus than I was with Sabine. Why do people get pregnant again? Sabine is awesome. She's so much fun these days. How are you guys? How's Baxter and Lula?

Amie: Do not miss feeling pukey. Yuck. But it will pass. And then you have a baby. Yuck. Just kidding (sorta). Though I have to say Bax is really f-cking cute. Lula, too. Though tonight she is on a sleep strike. I, however, am pro sleep and already in bed.

Me: So funny. Yeah, it's crazy how kids are so much work and totally ruin your life but bring so much love and happiness at the same time. I wish you could just put them on a shelf when you need a break. But then mine would be on the shelf all the time.

Clutching On

This clutch is super casual yet fancy in the coolest way. The gold clasp--which gives it a vintage feel--is my favorite part. Free People, $68.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dirty Looks

According to our extended family, Sabine almost entirely takes after Kadin. Except when it comes to her dirty looks. Those, apparently, come directly from me.


If only I lived here. The ocean would be my decor. Nothing else.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Day After

Happy Birthday, Pops. Today will be better than yesterday. I hope that you continue to swim around in all of the good memories.

I'm so lucky to have you. Yesterday you told me to give Sabine a kiss for her grandma. Tomorrow when I see you, I'm going to watch you kiss her in the flesh. And I will brand the image into my brain.

Today, I'm thinking about our Yellowstone trip. I'll never forget it. I love you.

Photograph by Matthew Hranek via Momfilter

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins: The perfect fall breakfast.
Sabine is going to lose her tiny mind over these.


Yield: about 18 muffins
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. applesauce
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
6 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Clickety click on over to annie's eats for baking directions and the full recipe.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The End

Today is the anniversary of my mother's death. My dad's birthday is tomorrow. I remember thinking when she died that his birthday would probably never be happy again (birthdays, anyway, are more sad than happy now because they remind me of how quickly time is going by and how little of it I have left).

I remember spending time with my mom the night before she died. At about six o'clock, I walked into her bedroom where she and my dad were laying side by side. My mom said, "I just knew you were going to come see me tonight. I was hoping you would and you did." She was making a blanket for me. Really, she had a huge, soft piece of fleece that she was fringing by cutting slits around the edges and then tying each piece of fringe between the slits into knots. I asked, "Is that my blanket?" She answered, "Yes, I'm almost finished!" She wasn't. She had half of only one side fringed and knotted.

Her eyes were almost completely closed. She told me she couldn't open them and assumed it was another side effect of one of her medications. At the time, it sounded plausible. Later, I learned it was her body shutting down.

I stayed for a long time, lying next to my mom on the bed. I didn't feel sad, just anxious, which was my mind keeping sadness and truth at bay. When it was late enough or when the anxiety began to make me feel like I was going to explode, I kissed her, said goodnight and told her I'd see her the next day. I climbed into my car, shaking and feeling a terrible feeling that I didn't understand. I drove up the hill to my best friend's parents' house, where my friend was having dinner. I walked through the door and crumbled into a chair and sobbed. I couldn't articulate anything except for how sick my mom was. I had a glass of wine or two and then drove home, wanting to disappear or sleep away the feelings that left me completely gutted.

I fell into bed when I got to my apartment. Sleep came quickly and was a relief until my cell phone rang at 4 a.m. I answered it after one ring because somehow I knew. It was my little sister. She just told me that I needed to come quickly. I drove as fast as I could back to my parents' house. When I got there, an ambulance and fire truck were parked outside. I ran into my parents' room where all of my siblings, father and some medics were gathered around my mom, who was laying on the bed. She was sort of convulsing and making tortured sounds. Tears were streaming down her face and she was leaning up and back down again as if in protest. Her mouth and her eyes were wide open. She seemed terrified and angry. Some uniformed guy was trying to calm her down and I remember pushing him away and telling him to leave her alone. He was scaring and agitating her and I wanted to at least take that away for her. I hugged her and stroked her hair and told her it was okay. She seemed to calm a little before the uniforms told me that I had to let them take her to the hospital. My dad said I should go with her.

I cannot remember that ambulance ride to the hospital. The next thing I recall is someone injecting her with what was possibly morphine and her suddenly becoming lucid again. She immediately asked why she was at the hospital and then told my sister to go get her some cottage cheese. She said, "I'll be good. I'll eat something. Then we can go home." She was dying of stomach cancer and was constantly being told that she needed to eat when she could barely eat anymore.

Shortly after that, some short, round woman asked if she could talk to my family members while one of us stayed with my mom. I don't remember who stayed, but I went. The woman, a hospice nurse, told us my mother was dying and had maybe two days left. I told her she was wrong. My sister told me she wasn't. I was paralyzed.

My dad told the doctor that he didn't want my mother to have anymore medication and he wanted her home. My family traveled back to my parents' house in their cars and I rode with my mom in a hospice van. During the ride, my mom slipped away again. She couldn't speak or move really. Her eyes were wide open and darting all around as if in fear. She would moan every so often as tears fell from her eyes. I kept talking about roses and Jacaranda trees and the weather in an effort to calm her. I was describing what was out the window and how beautiful it was.

When we got home, we carried her back to her bedroom. My sisters and I lay on the bed with her for maybe six hours. We told her stories and played her favorite music (Josh Groban, who I hate). My dad came in and out and would kiss her or whisper something in her ear. She remained in that strange, almost vegetative state the entire time. Sometime in the late afternoon, tears just started streaming down her face again. My older sister told her it was okay for her to go and how much we loved her and would always be with her. She died just after that.

I lay beside her body for the longest time, not wanting to leave her. I remember that her limbs and her face grew cold and stiff and I was sick at the idea that she'd left her body and I couldn't access her. Not ever again.

That night, my two sisters and I individually made our way into my parents' bedroom, where my dad slept. We slept on the floor or in the bed, I with my unfinished fleece blanket, which I still sleep with.

It took me years and plenty of money and therapy to process her death and somehow I still can't completely process it. Losing her felt like losing my feet. I've simply learned to hobble around without them, but I'm not the same.

Today, on the day that my mom died, I'm taking Sabine to my sister's house. I'm watching my two nieces and my nephew (and Sabine) while my sister starts her new job. I can't think of a better way to spend such a sad day--surrounded by my mom's grandchildren, her legacy, who, if she'd met them, would've made her beam brighter than anything else.

via Observando

How to Make It in America

Have you watched How to Make It in America? I love it. I think it so accurately describes a younger perspective of New York City. When I watch it, I can't help but remember moving to Manhattan in my early twenties with a wide-open heart and the feeling that anything and everything was possible. That city has a heartbeat that's louder than anything else. Its people, its movement, its colors, its energy are electric--you come alive when you walk down the street.

How to Make It in America, Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lazy Bones

Sabine parks it on a stranger's lawn and entertains herself when she doesn't feel like walking anymore. Why can't she do this at home?

H&M Kids

H&M has some seriously cute kids' stuff. And it's ridiculously affordable.


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