Thursday, August 7, 2014

who am i

Wouldn't it be funny if I really tried to wax Socratic or Shakespearean or what-have-you in this inconsequential space of internet? "And today we shall be discussing the id vs. ego as it pertains to one, Jessie Pope..." No.

Who am I? That is the question, properly accentuated. The reason I ask is I feel like I'm going through some kind of midlife crisis at the tender age of 28. A few fundamental things are just...changing or leaving or evolving. Not anything serious! In fact, you'll probably eye-roll vehemently when I expound on what I mean.

Take...alcohol. Jess of yesteryear (Jessteryear, if you will. You totally will.) had the palate of a nine year old. My buzz was attained through purely sugarfied means e.g. Mike's Hard Lemonade, Smirnoff Ice (barf), Angry Orchard Hard Cider (stilllll a fave, mind you), or some concentratey juice blend that was ever so unobtrusively spiked with a quarter jigger of vodka or rum. Keep wine or beer or anything whose taste remotely resembles mature out of eye line, earshot or taste bud. But now? A glance at the happy hour menu of one of our favorite haunts stirs up a longing for a pretty pint of their microbrewed honey blonde. Wine tasting has become my jam. I like whiskey now. I just...what? I have to ask: who am I.

Or perhaps take the state of our apartment. I've never considered myself a slovenly person. My mom is not permitted to weigh in here. It's not as if I would have won any Mrs. Meyer's trophies or anything, but I've always erred on the side of tidyishish. Ok but in the last few months I've become a little obsessive about a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place. I can't sit down to begin an evening with Sean post-Bedtimeageddon until toys away dishes clean clothes folded. And I'm kind of annoying myself. Sean will do this Tazmanian Devil type thing where the room is picked up in literally 17 seconds but I can't have it the way he does it. Because toys that have pieces? All the pieces need to be accounted for and put together (like those stackable cups and woodenblock towers.)

all the offenders pictured

The kids' DVD basket? Alphabetized. (Nope. I jest not.) Not to mention I've completely overhauled the kitchen such that there is nothing on the counter that doesn't absolutely need to be there (microwave, latte maker...yeah that's it actually.) Knives have been mounted on a magnetic strip. Paper towels hang from under a cabinet. Produce in wire baskets on the wall. Kitchen Aid found a new home atop the fridge. I've rearranged every room we have and when the kids nap during the day I use the time to reorganize or stare at the wall and wonder what and how to reorganize next. I feel like I'm on speed. That's what speed feels like right?

Here's what I'm thinking after ruminating on the cause of all this maturation. Necessity is the mother of invention. Wait, no. Survival of the fittest. There's an adage that I'm trying to apply here, but they're not panning out so I'ma make one. Mothering necessitates survival. Or something like that but I think what I'm trying to say is I'm evolving to suit this particular season of my life. A liberally spirited drink spurs a moment of unwinding. A clean room produces order in my mind and soul. As a mom I'm pulled in various directions throughout the day. Well, not too many because our apartment is pretty small but it's kind of like, "wait you guys need to eat again?" and "Mom, can you wipe me?" and "[something unintelligible which loosely translates to "Mom that blond girl who you call my sister hit me in the face again."]" There are emotions felt and tantrums had, and the surest thing about each day in unpredictability. Which means it's kind of nice to have that glass of wine to run to and a spotless floor to cling to and a Good Wife ep to zone out to. (Julianna Margulies - so zen. I crave her stability.)

Those are the constants in my ever changing environment. I like my ever changing environment - it's funny and full of life lessons and opportunity and there are two freaking adorable kids that live there. But you know those tops with the trippy patterns that spin and spin and spin? Eventually they have to come to rest. In this case rest just looks like a whiskey ginger and alphabetized DVDs.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

and just like that

She's three.

Today this very day my firstborn achieves the elite status that is three. Not a girl, not yet a woman. 

I deeply doubt I'm the only mother ever that becomes a little introspective on the occasion of her child's birthday. I've been thinking a bit this week about what this year was to me, to us, to this family. How much much much Jordan changed; what/who we've added to our lives since her last birthday; how I've had to adapt as Jordan grows and tests and pushes and experiments with the circumambient boundaries of home life. 

This year. Hm. This was a tough one. It was gratifying too, and frequently punctuated with the hilarity that is the sibling dynamic, and a two year old's increasing vocabulary. But the newness of juggling what were, at the time, two difficult children (Jordan = terrible two's, Weston = colicky + what is sleep?), in addition to acclimating to was a strange few months there for awhile. All the while Jordan was keeping me sharp. She alternated fitz n the tantrums for the world to hear/see/sense deep within its soul with the most comic genius since Mitch Hedburg. I wasn't sure how to combat meltdowns that saw her hurling her entire body against a closed door, when the next sentence out of her mouth could be, "Why is your fo'head sad Mom?" (She thought the sweat produced from a Jillian Michaels workout was tears. The tears of my forehead. You guys...) And what to do, when she pinches Weston (hard!) for some offense that was probably not offensive, when a few minutes later it's: "it's okay buddy, I'm right here. I not gonna leave you. I not goin' anywhere."?

Ok I feel like I'm deviating from the traditional sing-the-good-stuff birthday post here. And there is so much good stuff. Jordan is this person who encompasses so many antonyms. She is unpredictable and yet steady. She is generous and loving and selfish in the same breath. She is a friend and a mother to her little brother - but watch carefully because that plastic saucepan could come smacking down on his skull should he overstep. She is frank, sincere, and devious and deceptive. She cares fiercely and rejects harshly. She does these, all of these, whimsically and seamlessly and in a toddler fashion that is also beyond her years.

As I laid in her bed last night and sang her the nightly lineup in my broken, harpy voice (Barney Song, Let It Go, "Mass One" (Glory to God), You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch, Winnie the Pooh - IN THAT ORDER DON'T SKIP A SONG MOM) the thought crossed my mind: it's you're last night to be two, girl. Which I promptly voiced to her and received, "Yeah....I'ne ahmost three..." in a deflated little voice that undoubtedly was meant to mirror my own. Of course her concept of the passage of time is close to nonexistent ("We're going to have Christmas tomowwow?") but there is an old soul wisdom about her that could just know that these are good years. These young innocent years where fun is an overheated park slide, and a splash pad fountain that unexpectedly shoots water up your nose, and a session of methodically emptying all 68 stuffed animals and puzzles from the toy box, and snapping an empty Pez dispenser repeatedly to hear the belly laugh your brother gives you. I want her to know that these are the good years. And I want me to know that too.

So happy day, to my Jordan Girl. You keep doing you - it's just really fun to watch.

Monday, June 9, 2014

it's his birthday

Hey, it was Sean's birthday yesterday.

I told him to pose for a birthday picture. He did this. I told him I was posting it. I think he didn't think I meant it.

The big 2-8. Sean was being all drama about it too, how he feels so old and he doesn't like getting old and his life is over...I told you, drama. Then my uncle the mathematician (actually) told him 28 is a perfect number because the sum of its factors add up to it. I think it made him feel better? Sean is mathematically-minded. I'm literary-minded. Opposites [attract].

On Saturday evening we had a bit of a party for the old man. Sandwiches, mac & cheese, beer - a few of his favorite things.

Sean opened the fridge and he allllmost cried. (See: this commercial.)

It was super fun and pretty chill, much like the subject of the party himself. We dipped into the hot tub, talked on the patio, and busted out some beer pong. I know, I know, we're getting too old for that right? If there's one thing about Sean though, his interests don't expire with age. The guy has seen Top Gun upwards of 30 times.

Okay and I am honestly the worst documenter of anything ever of all time. I took zero pictures with the exception of the first one in this post (a winner though it may be) and stole the rest from Kimmy and Sean.

brothers [-in-law]

PS we're all hunched over kinda weird in that first one because Kimmy (on the left) is taking a picture from her real, actual, big-girl camera that was set on the countertop...with her phone. In her hand. My mind was blown. 

Yesterday - the actual birthdate - was slow and easy and beachified. Like a dutiful wife, I let Sean take a Coveted Beach Nap (theeee best kind that there is) while I took the kids shoreside. And because I left my phone plugged in at home (please refer to worst documenter of anything ever of all time) I have no pictures of the pleasant day and pleasant(ish) dinner in which Weston decided to put on his difficult pants. (Jordan was the most angelic she's been since...almost ever, so it was a wash.)

In the craziness of party prep and beach day, I did not wrap Sean's presents at all. I handed them to him unceremoniously. But I really loved one of the presents I gave to him, and it wasn't the Corona boardshorts from Target. Personal Creations was so kind as to send along the cutest little engraved cutting board:

which is actually quite perfect since Sean - resident BBQ-er - is constantly stealing the cutting board I use for veggie & side prep to season uncooked meat. Cross contamination!! Inconvenient sterilization!! And so now he has own ("you has ya own" as Jordan is wont to say when I snack off her plate) and it's cuter than mine. Maybe I'll switch him.

(You should head on over there and check them out because they have some super great ideas for gifts. Their grilling section is just the picture of an awesome summer and I was halfway tempted to order this but to be honest, we don't host that many parties. The cutting board will get more use by leaps.)

A very very very happy birthday to my main man of almost 9 years. You're pretty old now, but like a fine wine (or maybe a Coors Light?) you better with age. I love you, boyfriend.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

three days

From one end to the other, Memorial Day Weekend was a pretty righteous one. We did family things, we did friend things, we did some normal things, we did some unusual things.

the normal things

// We started the weekend with an earlyish lunch at our fave Mexican spot, where Sean, Jordan, Weston and I scored some steak burrito/plethora of chips and little else/tureen of refrieds/chicken soft taco, respectively.

// Sean consumed many beers while building from scratch and installing a computer at my parents' place, to replace the one he previously made that lasted seven years (quite the life span). And the new computer works fabulously! How he can booze and build like that is pretty beyond my capacity to comprehend. I have a margarita and I start veering off pathways and into bushes.

// We went to the beach Sunday AND Monday. (Well, Monday's not the norm, but beach as much as possible is the norm.) Jordan played alternately with cousins and all by her lonesome. Sometimes we just look down to the shoreline and she's doing weird karate-esque moves on the waves and clearly sing/shouting some fabricated tune or another. Plays well with others (mostly), but decidedly an introvert, that one. Weston, he just ate sand and squinted into the sun a lot and was mainly content to study Mum Mum crackers before ingesting them whole.

the unusual things

// Saturday night, Sean and I went on this epic date.

It was crazy, really. We left the kids with my parents around 4:30 and met a couple friends for drinks at this pub type place in the "old" part of town. Great vibes, friendly service (the bartender bought us a round!!) Our friends could only stay for a bit and took off to go pick up their babe. Sean and I headed in from the patio area and decided to play a game of pool.

the Paul Newman to my Minnesota Fats

I haven't played in, oh, ten years. Since I first met Sean, actually. Totes held my own though. The second game, there were only three of my balls left on the table, so basically I won.

Around 8, the bar started Karaoke Night. We are so not those people. But we got a round and grabbed a chair to watch people who were those people. A guy named Lester sang Jethro Tull and Margaritaville while his wife cheered him on, and eventually Sean got curious enough (...liquored enough...) to check out the song list. He rattled off an Eric Church song while I played supporting vocals from the sidelines, and we sat down to enjoy our drinks and applaud the string of valiant vocalists.

I couldn't help it though. On my way back from the bathroom, I detoured over to the DJ and asked if he had Idina Menzel's Let It Go. He did and I was feeling diabolical I guess because I signed him up.

Sean dedicated the song "For my daughter Jordan," and off he went. IT WAS TERRIBLE. I thought Sean knew the song's cadence from hearing it so many times but he was like a stanza behind and there I was dying laughing. The crowd was completely cheering him on, much like Cameron Diaz in My Best Friend's Wedding. Eventually I did step in to get him on track, but I refused to sing into the mic. I think the moral of the story is I'm the meanest wife. But the other moral is we had an awesome time.

PS Sean signed me up for Boston's More Than a Feeling and I made him duck out with me before they called me. See: meanest wife. (But also - that is the HARDEST song to sing in all of history. My singing voice? Like the goat in that Taylor Swift vid.)

// The beach was strikingly glorious TWO days in a row. And there was zero - talking, zilch - traffic on either days, when Sean and I suspected Memorial Hell. Instead we enjoyed this


with no money spent (except gas because it's pretty much ouch these days) and no aggravation felt. Essentially the most celestial sequence of days one could ever ask for. And we all pretty much felt like


on Monday evening.

The End.

Oh you know what, Sean made an excellent point over the weekend. I had never fully appreciated the gravity of Memorial Day, really, until this year. I said something off-the-cuff about the Day as juxtaposed to the 4th of July. How it's always more celebrated, or something. And Sean said, "Yeah, but it shouldn't be. Memorial Day is a day to honor all veterans in all wars in American history." That's a lot of wars and a lot of lives. So, I'm three days late in saying this here, and it's supremely inadequate besides, but Thank You, American Soldiers. To those who have fought and to those still fighting for this country.

Monday, May 19, 2014


I bodycheck the hand-me-down couch - recently acquired from my parents - with all the force and disorientation of a tornado touching down. The couch is slightly sagged in the center from years of use, which serves to make it more restful, if less aesthetically pleasing. The down feathers pull my cheekbones, rib cage, hips and knee caps down, down, down into their comfort as if with magnetic force. I feel heavy all over; eyelids, body, brain - not from a glut of knowledge or anything, because thoughts don't bear physical weight anyway. But wouldn't it be great if they did? Karen Smith would be walking around with her head practically flying off her shoulders with its weightlessness

while Bill Gates and Ke$ha walk around with their heads bowed down near their ankles.

No, my brain is heavy not with cognitive power but with grog. The poor Weston child contracted a "viral infection" last week, the diagnosis of which could not possibly be more vague and all-encompassing. With it, he has seemingly lost the ability to sleep within the proper time confines as most of the general populace. 

Sean and I hit up urgent care a few nights ago after a battle to the death between Weston's vomit and the elephant print sheets (bile won), accompanied by a fairly high fever and complete listlessness. The poor little guy. He was so lethargic and lifeless, it hurt to see it. We stayed long enough for them to bring his fever down and were sent home with a prediction that the virus will stick around a few days.

The day after urgent care, I carefully planned our morning. I calculatedly timed meals and errands and cleaning around afternoon naps. At 12:30, both kids were freshly fed and diapered and pampered and loved, and firmly put in their respective prisons. I promptly proceeded with the formalities outlined in the first paragraph. But I had forgotten. I had forgotten Weston's superpower.

There is this fuzzy, nondescript place in my mind that directly follows consciousness but teeters on the precipice of full on sleep mode, wherein I know myself to still be connected to my time and place, yet things are a little nonsensical and bizarre. I think it's my brain trying to convince my body to let go and fall into total unconsciousness, but the two of them duke it out for a little while in the in-between. It is this Carroll-esque state that seems to eep from my cranium, traverse the 15 steps from living room to bedroom, wind up the legs of my baby's crib and set alarm bells off in Weston's head. Because - almost without exception - Wes has woken a-wailing at THE EXACT moment I pass into naphood. For ALL eight months of his life. Whether he has slept fifteen minutes or two and a half hours, he is acutely aware of any attempt on my part to take a day snooze. 

Sean frequently asks why I don't try more often to nap when the kids do. The truth is, I think I've had three successful endeavors. Weston's Spidey senses are finely tuned, and so I busy myself with other things during naps, be they restful or choreful. So long as I am deadly silent, of course - and believe me, I've mastered this. I mean, it's a gift.

And then over there, there's Jordan with her superhuman ability to volley from cutesy flirt to screaming banshee to polite debutante to violent ax murderer to overprotective sister to sobbing depression master to studious crayon wielder to backtalking teenager. Annnnd repeat, with all the volatility of a superball on a trampoline. 

Amusement park of emotions and all, this girl is a straight up character. Her comedic timing rivals Woody Allen's and she's about as introspective as a Wes Anderson flick. Her budding conversation skills quite often give me pause to wonder where in the H she picked that one up from. The other day, she and my brother were having a tea party and, as she poured herself a cupful, my brother requested one as well. She told him, "No, Unca Lukey, you can has your alkyhol." (oh, perfect.) The same brother asked Jordan's permission to pinch Weston's cheeks and, lioness of an older sister that she is, she reprimanded "NO! ONLY kisses." 

These kids and their heroics, I tell ya. I'd really love to hear what your babes are doing these days. Are they quirked kids like mine?

PS - Wes is doing just fine. He spent the weekend at the beach and couldn't have been happier about it. He even felt well enough to eat some sand.

totes recovered

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

a serving of brazen toddler with a side of emma stone

The other day I followed a weird spike in my blog traffic that landed me at GOMI on a forum where people were asked to link their favorite lesser known blogs. To my shock n' awe, someone had linked mine (*blush*). I followed the comment thread, and it garnered one response from someone who said something like, "I want to like this blog, but it's just another oversharing mom." (*blush again*)

It's SO TRUE though. My blog posts are rife with feelings caused by my children, stories featuring my children, pictures of my children. My sister Audrey of the Great State of Washington called me the other day to object to my blog desertion. And I know she mourns not the loss of content but of her niece/nephew photo fix. I simply told her, "I just don't really know what to write about right now." To which she advised, "Just write your thoughts."

My thoughts:

Emma Stone is my spirit animal.

Circa 2001 a young girl named Jessie stared at her 400 pound computer monitor, patiently sitting through the 12 minutes of cacophonous dial up that would eventually land her on AZ Lyrics, that she could repeatedly read chorus and verse to Blues Traveler's Hook until she could recite them without a hitch. I loved that song. And when Emma Stone got up there on the Jimmy Fallon stage I rapped transfixedly along with her. It just goes to show that sometimes following Buzz Feed LOL (on which I found above gem) isn't totally worthless. Even though most of their stuff is like, what Anime character are you? Well, the only Anime reference I even know is Pokemon. And only because Pokemon and pogs are the love language of my generation.

Jordan is simultaneously sage and sassy.

Case #1: I had a slight - read VERY SLIGHT - case of road rage the other day during which I berated my fellow driver to "come onnnnnn get overrrrrr." Backseat driver numero uno chimed her two year old cents in with a decided "Mom. Calm down. Don' be mad. Take a walk."

Um, ok.

Case #2: A few weeks ago, the totally old man car that I drive around suffered a slight case of vandalism. Overnight, the license plate was stripped from it's poor little old man bumper and the gas cap was mysteriously clipped off for some unfathomable reason. We had the car fully checked out to make sure nothing sinister was afoot, but I blame adolescence and the mostly empty bottle of pomegranate vodka I found under the car. Anyway, Sean replaced the gas cap with a locking one. It is super impossible to unlock it. Utterly. Post gas cap wrestle, I informed Sean as much. He explained the complicated and innumerable steps ( step...) that must be utilized to prise away said cap, and I was indignant that he hadn't explained as much before. He said, rather quietly, "I guess I thought it was obvious." From the backseat (again) Jordan let the tension settle in before all too sarcastically claiming, "It's ozzious, Mom."

Go to your room Jordan.

Weston is weaning.

Which is nice because, freedom. But also not nice because breastfeeding has been my lone form of exercise. I've been eating just the same as I have the last 8 months but my muffin top reached Panera status in the last week. I guess it's time for that double jogger now. Because unlike Grace, I like to nurse my recovery (yes, pun intended, what do you think?) for about 8 months longer than she. Weston is 8 months and 5 days so once you crunch the numbers I think you should give her like a hundred clappy emojis.

Ok the kids have been sleeping a suspiciously long time now. I'm not complaining but I think I should check on their welfare. 

But to recap: I've had three whole blogthoughts in about a month's time. Oversharing mom FTW.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

margaritas and scissors

If pressed, and if I'm being honest, I'd have to say it was the fault the margaritas. 3 margaritas. 3 margaritas that I foolishly permitted Sean to make, rather than myself.

Alternately, I could blame the decision on my running into my hairdresser in a coffee shop the other day, who I hadn't been to see since last May. Which got me thinking about how much my hair is the pits. THE PITS.

Be it the Sean-made margaritas scenario, be it the fateful meeting of the hairdresser in the coffee shop scenario, something happened this weekend:

Let's start at the beginning. Once upon a time, Sean and Jessie wanted to be prudent with their spending and with their public exposure of their children to unsuspecting fellow restaurant go-ers. Both were quite keen to hit the local Mexican restaurant for endless chips and salsa and, more importantly, salted & rocked margaritas. They decided to use their better judgement (ironic snort reserved for a few paragraphs down) and have a patio date. As fate - for better or more likely for worse - would have it, a CVS run yielded the discovery of Sean's favorite tequila on sale. It further produced Tostitos and that kind of gross queso dip that Sean's obsessed with; the one that I strangely can't stop eating despite being perturbed by every bite I take.

It's 75 degrees. The kids are being oddly simpatico - simultaneously. A couple hours of talking and beveraging go by. We hit the hot tub, and I'm pretty sure this is where it went wrong. I dunked my head, you see, thus making my hair wet and manageable. By the time the errant whiff of a not-great idea penetrated my foggy brainwaves, it was too late. Even Sean doubted my judgement - and that means something's really off.

I'll paint the scene here: still sopping from the pool and clad in my "bathing suit" (track shorts and sports tank) I sought out the scissors at the back of the medicine cabinet. I did my best to remain stationary as I held a struggling Weston in my right arm and Jordan stripped down to nakedness at my left (see pink tutu'd bathing suit splashed in split ends, above). And here, here  is where I should have stopped the whole thing:

when I realized that this was the face of my soon-to-be hair-shearer. As Sean brushed my hair out (leaving what I'm pretty sure are permanent track marks down my back from the brush because OW, it's not an Iron Man competition, Sean, it's my frail straggly hairs) I realized I could still stop this, but Tequila said "sh, it'll be fine."

"Oh, Mom, why you doing? Why your hairs cutting?" 
"Don't worry about it, Jess, I think it's a straight line." (<----DIRECT QUOTE)
"Maybe I shouldn't have let you do this."


So I saved about $60. I cheated on my hairdresser (with my husband). It's way way shorter than I instructed and it'll take roughly a year to recoup those losses (slowest growing hair in the land). But it's actually only approximately half-bad.

Oh and I just realized Weston makes that face in that last picture. I always wondered where he got it from.

There's a moral here somewhere. Don't make decisions - weighty or flighty or otherwise - when you're on tequila? Don't keep scissors lying around? Don't quaff & coif? Learn from me, friends.

I'll see you sometime next year, hair. I miss you.