Band-Aid off…Lights on!

December 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

After a brutal month + here at the MEZ household, there is a light on the horizon. Actually there are two lights. And they are shiny, new and super bright. My parents arrive here this week, and they are not staying in our spare bedroom (‘cause we don’t have one). They are renting a house, basically across the street from us, for 3 freaking’ glorious months. And they are not here for work, or to star-gaze and sightsee. They are here to snuzzle their only 3 grandbabies, and hang out, hardcore. Lucky us.

hey guys, did you hear the news?

Yep, we're ready. Come on over and snuzzle us Grandma and Papa!

I don’t really even know where to start when describing all this means, but in a nutshell, help has arrived. And not a second too soon.

This fall has been sobering on the parental front (don’t take this too literally – wine is still a dear friend). We have had illness, and logistics and work conflicts and conundrums, and way too little backup. And by way too little backup I mean basically none. Especially since Kirky left town last week. We are in a funk, and subsequently life has been funky. Everyone’s health is finally restored, but the house hunt SUCKS donkey (unless we are willing to shell out ~6K for a shabby – not shabby chic – rental hovel in Venice, EAST of Lincoln), and the kid’s book writing is coming along. But it is S L O W, and not as steady as I would like.

It’s a bit early for resolutions, but Grandma Peg and Papa John’s arrival feels more like the launch of a new year than any first night celebration I’ve attended. So the ball is dropping early in these parts. And it’s ripping the band-aid off on its way down.

are they here yet?

maybe they're in here?

Yo! Where are you? We could use a little help over here!

the news is spreading and it's kick your heels up good stuff.

Yippie! One more sleep.

Maybe this means Mama will comb here hair and look more like this all the time.

What do I know? Is back on, and it’s gonna be full of all things merry & bright.

yep, merry and bright.

Here’s what I know…It started last night with the restringing of the x-mas lights outside the house and putting my first holiday decoration in place. And who knows where it may end?

Helicopter Tears

November 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

My girl has been inconsolable, crying for two days now, about a shiny helicopter who hardly paid her any attention, and she knew for all of 30 minutes. (Ladies, sound oddly familiar?) Yet this ongoing meltdown has been the highlight of my month.

My skootchy lil Zel went to her friend’s house yesterday where she watched in awe as a remote control helicopter hovered above the neighbor’s house taking aerial shots of the teardown that is about to go on the market for 2.5 (that’s MILLION – for a teardown). Until that moment she thought she knew love. She thought she loved her parents, her siblings and her dearest pals, Willie, Charlie, Syd and Ella, but her bubble was burst, ’cause she found out, at all too young an age, that true love (from my experience I think it was lust) can blind side you. And a simple life that once revolved around play dates, passies and snacks is not a life worth living when you know it is out there. At least you would think this is so hearing her wail on and on about the *od-dammed helicopter we watched get packed up into a Jeep Cherokee (yes, they still make those) and drive away. Probably never to be seen again.

It has been over 24 hrs since Zel parted ways with her first love, and still she can talk of little else but that chopper. “Where did the helicopter goooooo….?” through sopping wet tears, has been her MO for two days now. No matter the message we give her, and no matter the messenger (Riley nailed it) she is not ready to accept the news that the helicopter is gone. Forever. He’s not coming back. And frankly, I am over it. But she, clearly, is not. She hardly ate a thing all day. She is that sad.

But I welcome this heartache because it has broken up the monotony of the living hell over here at the MEZ household.

I have been avoiding this blog because I know you all don’t want to hear one more word about the stubborn-a** lingering virus that is proving f’ing impossible to shake (it’s been 5 weeks, but the doctor told us 2), and you don’t want to hear any more about my labors over my kids’ books (2 done and done, and the last one is wearing me down), and since I really don’t have anything to say that anyone would find remotely interesting right now (unless you want to hear about how much I HATE my house), I’ve been trying to keep my trap shut.

But I don’t want you all to forget about me.

‘Cause I’ll be back one day, in full force, healthy, with a publisher (fingers crossed), living in a new house where my kids aren’t risking their lives every time they climb one of the 3 (open) spiral staircases, and until then I am sending out this sloppy mess. Just to remind you that I am here. Barely.

Here are a few snippets of what you are (hopefully) missing. It has been a s*#t show over here!

we have all pretty much been in jams since early October.

on the rare occasion we get out of the house, zel has been dressing herself. 100%. It's been an all out war! She looks a mess, and on her best day (this one) she channeled Little Orphan Annie

she also potty trained herself on Monday. I know many of you may think I have nothing to complain about, but trust me, I wasn't ready for this.

she insisted she do her art on the floor

in the buff

ready to get out of the house in a rare snot free moment

we made it to Ri's soccer game on Saturday. Not sure how he scored with a 101 fever, but I admire his dedication. He slept for 4 hours after this game.

and georgie was happy to feel the grass between his toes.

the glare he game me when he saw me coming at him with tissues

you know times are rough if I pull out the play dough. I despise this stuff.

my grey-green big boy trying to meet all of his sister's sculpting demands

at the park this afternoon georgie showed signs of real improvement. I'm thrilled, but i kinda need him to stay sick 'till I'm ready to keep up with a healthy toddler.

on the upside.... the long naps have allowed me to make kitchen sink soups galore! Stay tuned for the details of my favorites... Roasted Fennel & Butternut Squash and Portobello Mushroom, Roasted corn & red pepper. A girl's gotta eat.

we did take a stroll to the beach for a most awesome sunset.

Here’s what I know…Zel’s helicopter heartache will pass. And so will this virus.

But when??? 

Up & Away

November 6, 2011 § 2 Comments

I am still officially NOT posting because I am, a-hem, writing a coupl’a (attempting three actually) kids books. Weeeeeellll. Kinda. I am trying. But it’s harder than I thought. I am kicking around some decent drafts, but as every writer knows, it’s all about the revisions, and the occasional start over from scratch page one re-write. I have had a lot of those. They’re painful, but necessary. The Sleepover Pirate (kmongiello.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/the-sleepover-pirate) is coming to my house tonight to bring some treats to Ri and Gar-Gar, and aside from his words of wisdom for the boys, I’m hoping he has some notes for me. I need ‘em.

But just to keep What do I know? in the mix. Kinda. I have an itty-bitty post for tonight. It will scare the pants off of some of the mammas I know out there, but to just as many it will make you chuckle. It made me chuckle.

Even though I was screaming inside.

Kirky has many talents, and one of the gems that he keeps in his back pocket, just for a day like today, is that he can toss the s*#t out of our babies! He never asked if he could do it. He just did it. And if he had asked I would have said, “NO!” But he didn’t ask. He just threw them straight into the sky on a regular, call it Tuesday, a while back, and those babies shrieked with utter delight. So he did it again. And again. And everyone who knows me knows I am not petite, and I hate nothing more than when people even try to pick me up. I’m 5 ’10. Seriously, you’re going to toss me around, or sling me over your shoulder? And my dear sweet Zelly-pants is showing signs of being cut from the same cloth – not a hugger, and not a “pick me up” kinda gal -so although she may never make 5’10,  I’m figuring, on the off-chance she doesn’t stay short and stout, and should get it while she can. And georgie-pie, well that little nugget was built for air.

If I can’t join ‘em, I can at least document these test flights. I do have a new fancy “cam-er-mam-mer-a” (as Zel calls it). So today, while kicking it at our ol’ faithful Hotkiss Park, I snapped away while Kirky chucked our babies right into the most beautiful Santa Monica fall blue sky.

Here’s what I know… I should warn you.  They flew high. Maybe even higher than it looks? So some of you ninny-ish moms may want to stop reading now. Or just brace yourself, and know no one got hurt. And they LOVED every second of it.

He caught 'em. Every time.

Pumpkin-ninny

October 31, 2011 § 2 Comments


I am officially “off the blog” until I get 3, yes, 3 first drafts of my 3, yes, 3 kid’s books done. I have one locked and loaded (Cup of Three), and I’m wrestling with the other two. They are bears, and really making me prove myself. To myself.  I needed to take What do I know? off the table as an excuse (one of many) for why I don’t have time to write these books. And so I have. And I am scribbling away between the nastiest never-ending kid germs, a new job, and full on house hunt. I am determined to write these books, get my family cured from this nagging virus, nail my new job and land us all in a new house. By Easter. But I also happen to be baking away. It is the tip of the season. And from here on out the Kitchen-Aid mixer will be parallel parked on my countertop ’till we ring in 2012.

So who says I can’t take 10 minutes to share with all you all an amazing, healthy and delightful (Gluten-free) recipe for Pumpkin Bread? Certainly not my editor, ‘cause he/she does not exist…yet.

12 years ago I discovered I had a wheat allergy, 7 years ago I found out Ri does too, and just last week my suspicions were confirmed when we found out sweet lil’ georgie-pie is the newest member of the club. Yep, he’s wheat intolerant as well. So, according to my count, I have at least 3 good reasons to get creative with my baking, and find some recipes that keep this crew healthy, happy and rubbing their bellies.

This is my over time, trial & error, pinch-of-this &  dash-of-that adaptation of my mom’s never fail Pumpkin Bread recipe. Her version is full of wheat, chock full of sugar, and totally delicious. My version lacks the some of the usual suspects, but is made with  L O V E. And damn good.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 cup (white) sugar

1 cup (brown) sugar

1 Tablespoon Agave nectar

1/2 cup Canola oil

1/2 cup coconut oil (liquified – warm for 15 seconds in microwave on stove top)

2 eggs + 1 egg white

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Mix together

Add these ingredients one at a time

2 tsp baking soda

1 cup (gluten-free) oat flour

1 cup rice flour

1 cup all-purpose (gluten-free) baking flour

1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

2/3 cup water

Mix again.

Pour into greased (I use coconut oil) and floured (rice flour is best) bread pans, cupcake tins or coffee cans (makes fun round-y slices) and bake at 350 f for 1 hr.

sprinkled with powdered sugar

adorable cupcake foils from Ikea

next post is a 10 minute ditty 'bout Kale Chips! BIg hit here at the MEZ house.

Here’s what I know…anything made with L O V E  is delicious!

Even these treats!

walking despite his wheat allergy

poster child for wheat free & proud

i can eat ANYTHING! nee-ner!

Writer’s retreat

October 25, 2011 § 4 Comments

My crew has been sick. The sun refuses to shine (day 9 of socked in fog).  This scribbling mama has been up to her eyelids in tissues and chicken soup.  And I’m tripping over crumpled up balls of paper. ‘Cause I figured if I’m stuck at home wiping noses and trapped inside by dense fog (and I am), I might as well have something to show for it. So I have been sticking pen to paper (old school style), and working away at a kid’s book.

There have been 3 stories in the works for far too long. These are tales worth telling. And they deserve my time. So before work starts full-time (any day), and surgeries compromise my prefered arm (yep, it’s the right rotator cuff getting a re-boot next week), I figured I should make my mark.

Wish me luck. And stay tuned for a preview, ’cause the loyal followers of What do I know? will be the first to get a glimpse.  Until then this blog is taking a seat in the way way back (of my (heart) minivan).

Here’s what I know…It’s far easier to write about the idiosyncrasies of my day-to-day than it is to write a damn kid’s book.

It’s just another day

October 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

 

I woke up today, and despite the fog (day 5) I felt calmly optimistic. Sure, I still want a not-so-wonky house (with a yard), less financial stress (looking at private school & preschool for the babies), no surgeries on the horizon (two in the next two months), and a seaside vacation someplace where I’m not afraid to swim (sans sharks & trash) would be nice. But it’s my family that brings me home today. Actually most days.

Zel’s insistence on wearing her size 10  ballet flats while scootering (she’s a size 5),

she's a pro

this is her favorite move

Georgie’s drunken sailor sauntering,

hello, oxi clean

proud lil' Buster

Riley’s impressive independence.

does it really matter if it went in or not?

my big boy. at least one of them can put on their own shoes.

That’s what fills my heart. And my spirit. And then there’s our rock. Kirky. This dad-o-three, who was still single exactly 3 years ago. His commitment to this family, his tireless pursuit of his dream (which is now our dream).

at a shoot right before he pushed the crouching dude (stunt double) off the Santa Monica Pier

there he goes

and we all came out to watch

that's ri and his buddy pier-side waiting for the push

His ability to pick up just where I leave off (or pass-out) with this messy crew is impeccable. It’s a blessing. All of it. Always. But some days I just need a reminder. A pinch in my own a**.

Here’s what I know… Life is good. And the sun is shining somewhere. Probably even 10 blocks east. 

*And Kirky’s even making good coffee these days. Bonus.

Say it again, sister

October 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

I am completely unable to tolerate things that I find intolerable. I have a difficult time subscribing to, “to each his own”, and secretly there are many arenas where I believe that I should be in charge. Not so secret anymore. This is usually something that keeps me “stepping in it”. Constantly. I’m about to do it again. Ooops.

As I have matured I have not changed much in this respect. Actually not even a lil’ bit, but I have become the teensiest bit better about tempering my reactions to the crazy aggravating things happening around me. There is probably at least an average of three things a day that give me a physical reaction, and I am not talking about the kids tickling my heart or wearing me down (and giving me this flu – yes, I have a puke bug right now.  I am talking about particular things, like people (usually strangers) and maybe architecture (both amazing and horrendous). And people and architecture just scratch the surface, but let’s leave it at that for now.

I am also somewhat specific in the way that I talk to my kids. I did not realize this until recently, but people have commented on it more and more. It may stem from my background as a teacher. The years I spent in special Ed? My (favorite) time rallying 4th graders? Or dabbling in school administration? Maybe it’s just my hard a** way? Or my pain in the a** way, but I tend to talk to my kids like, well, adults. Maybe not adults, but not like kids. And definitely not like babies. I can “baby talk” like the best of them. And we make up words and all the time, but not when I’m really talking to them. Maybe in the car stuck in traffic? Or on the bike just trying to kill time as we attempt to pass knuckleheads on the strand? Or during the endless hours of the afternoons at home when I am just trying to make it past the witching hour. I sing. I make s*#t up. I babble. I improvise a lisp. I can sound like a jolly cartoon character. But that is all play. When I’m engaged with my kids about anything of any real consequence, at those moments, which are basically the rest of the time, I am direct. I am concise. And when need be, I am stern. That’s just another way I love my kids. It’s not entirely intentional. It’s just what I do. And I keep on keeping on with it, ‘cause for me, it works.

This does not mean that they always listen. But it does mean that I know they always hear me. And I know this because I hear “me” echoing in their babble every day, usually at least a coupl’a times a day. Today I heard Zel tell Kirky, “I have told you two times already. Do I need to say it again?

she was serious

You better believe Kirky hopped right to it.

On Monday (before I puked in the Sears parking lot) I was at our local park with the kiddos for our usual pre-lunch romp, and I stumbled on the most annoying and stomach churning of conversations between a parent and a child. It was not entirely unique. But it was extreme. Extreme enough that I actually had to leave the park. I just could not handle it (meaning I could not wear my game face nor keep my trap shut for one more minute). This mother, with a baby strapped to her in an Ergo, was trying to mediate a “situation” with her two other kids. I happened to be right there. I think it was maybe what caused my later upchuck. She started in with “Friends, I observed you from this vantage point and saw something that made me uncomfortable.” These kids were 5, tops! She continued with, “Friend, when you spoke to ‘Sally’ that way, how do you think it made her feel? Inside?” And then she gave no time to respond before continuing with, “It made her feel ashamed. Inferior. Disrespected. Friend, do you understand the words I am saying to you?” Cue physical reaction.I did not want to leave the park. Home was not where I wanted to be with two rowdy babies, but this woman was giving me no choice. It’s a tiny park, and I attempted to move to the furthest nook a fair distance from her. But she projected. And honestly, my sunglasses, actually no sunglasses, were big enough to hide my annoyance. From the basketball courts, where I retreated and just let my kids bump into each other chasing a deflated volleyball that happened to be in our wagon, I could still hear her narrating this annoying diatribe. “Friends…feelings…respect…hindsight…personal space….are you hearing my words?” And then she announced that everyone just “needed to remove himself or herself from the altercation and reflect.” And I was out of there. We made tracks. With earmuffs. We were having lunch early, ’cause I can’t have my crew getting any ideas. Sure I may talk to them like adults. I tell them when they are being annoying, and when they are doing something great, and I try to coach them through a dialog with each other that empowers them. I’m modeling. But I am not about to start a mock therapy session with my 1, 2 and 9-year-old. They have the rest of their lives (with hopefully good insurance) to play that out.

Here’s what I know…There are too few pictures for this post, but not from here on out, ’cause this Mama finally replaced her stolen camera with a new Nikon D5100! That’s what I was doing at Sears yesterday. Right before I tossed my cookies.

*This was my first “sick” post, written during the few lucid moments I have had in the past 30 hours…

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