I'm moving this blog on over to wordpress. Since my business blog is over there, it's just simpler. I know I rarely write here, but I will... I need to figure out exactly what I want to share here, but as the kids get older, I feel a bit less like I can just blurt out every single thing about being their mama. Somewhere between respecting their privacy, and still needing a space to write about life in general, you will find me now here:
and more than here, there:
good love (the blog)
and you can always peruse the pretty pictures at
good love visual


about a boy

When S was born, 11.5 years ago, I was determined to do everything right. I read parenting books, I knew early in my pregnancy that I would nurse exclusively, that I would co-sleep, that I would love love love this child so much that no harm could ever come his (or her...I didn't know) way. What I didn't know, or couldn't really fathom, is that life has its own trajectory and even if I was the most amazing parent on earth (which I'm certainly not) so many other factors determine how a person's life turns out. Peers. School. The internet. DNA. There's so much at stake, yet so little I really can control, in terms of his eventual destiny, and the way he chooses to lead his life, the mistakes he'll make and just how much they might affect him.

This fact terrifies me.

And of course, I feel exactly the same way about all four kids. J & I look at each other sometimes, and reluctantly shake our heads with the unutterable knowledge that, with four, odds are fairly high that at least one of them will go through some very difficult times. Obviously we aren't assuming that it will happen, but I can feel us mentally bracing ourselves for it.

Back when S was a baby, I read what I considered to be a parenting bible. It was written by Katie Allison Granju. Katie also participated on the hipMama forums, which for me as a novice yet determined and overwhelmingly in love new parent, were the source of so much of my parenting decision-making. If anyone knows how to parent, it's Katie. If anyone is wise, and loving, and close to her children, it's Katie.
On Monday, after over a month in the hospital due to a drug overdose and a vicious attack, Katie lost her 18-year-old son.

I can't imagine how ripped asunder she must feel. I can't put it together in my head how it must be to logically come to terms with the fact that not only has your child died, but that there was nothing you could do. A parent who has lovingly and mindfully raised her children with intention, and yet....it didn't stop it from happening.
I have talked to S about it. He's seen all the pictures of Henry-- and he can see himself why I'm reminded of him, a little. When I read that Henry had not made it, after following every single update for over a month, and I burst into tears, his eyes welled up, too. I hope this affects him profoundly. I hope he sees how my heart can break for another mother, and in imagining her pain, and I hope with all my heart he remembers when he is 15 and tempted. Or 12 and tempted. (A sixth-grader at his school was suspended for smoking pot on campus this school year.)

I am looking at this differently. I think my generation tends to think that despite all the experimentation we may have done, we all made it through, intact and healthy and responsible. We have jobs, and homes, and our own children. We vote and we care rabidly about what happens to the next generation. So, yeah, we turned out pretty damn alright. But kids... the game has changed. Little sneaks out of parents' booze cabinets and smoking a little bud out of a Coca-Cola can are no longer the main attractions.
Lock up your prescription meds. Replace household chemicals with natural cleaners that can't be abused.

Talk to them. Tell them what could happen to them. Tell them how it would wreck you. Cry.

Tell them a story. Honor Henry and his family.
good love. and stuff.

I'm once again sorely neglecting this blog, but I think it's just a side-effect of having an extraordinarily busy life. Four kids, a full-time job, pets, being a Girl Scout leader, trying to be an attentive wife... I think I've got a fairly legitimate excuse for slacking, Then there's this other thing I have been working on, and I'd like to show you, finally.
good love
Now I know I'm a bad blogger and I know many of you just keep up with me on Facebook, but those of you who still stumble around here now & then, I hope you'll pop over and take a look. I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'm excited about this. I'm not quitting my day job or anything, but this gives me concrete opportunity to exercise my creativity in a way I really, really enjoy.  I'll also be blogging on that end, intermittently I'm guessing, as well, but more toward projects I'm working on and sharing some photos. If you're interested, the blog is here.
I will keep this going as a family/ general musing blog, as well, although I won't promise to be super-regular about it. Maybe by giving myself lots of flexibility, I'll be more inclined to write. Since I have a few minutes to relax at this very moment, I think I will go by your blogs & say hi!
Oh boy, I am so out of practice...

When did I last write? It's been a few weeks, I know. I guess after such a long blogging hiatus, I barely remember that this is something I love... writing, musing, spewing forth, whatever. Part of the issue is I read so few blogs now and don't feel part of any specific blogging community. This used to be a mama-blog and I read the other mamas, they read me, we had a dialogue. It then morphed into a knitting & family life blog; again, I was conversing back and forth via blogging. Now, what's it about? Hmmm... still family life, some photography, very occasional knitting (though I'm trying to remedy that.)
I'm re-defining myself, I guess... again. Problem is, it's not a complete definition. One strong motivator right now, though, is moving in the direction my creativity dictates. I can't keep ignoring it, it causes way to much existential angst, and in a life where I barely have time to breathe, I find myself actually holding my breath for lengthy periods (and yes, that does cause a person to pass out, or very close) which I'm taking as a life metaphor. It's a piece of me I must nourish. I'm immersing myself in learning as much as I can and allowing myself the time to really push myself creatively. To that end, I will be launching a business in the next couple weeks, focusing mainly on custom annnouncements and invitations, but also marketing materials. I expect, for the moment, for it to be a trickly business-- a little here and there, with friends as my main customers (which is already the case) while I stick with the day job. But that is okay with me, as long as I'm doing something that really feeds this truly ravenous side of me, this part of who I have always been yet chosen to ignore for logistical reasons, mostly. Any maybe because of tiny bit of doubt.

“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

So, yes. I will be doing new things, and I am really excited to dive in and go for it. The name, the site, and the fun will be revealed within... one week! I'm committing.

In the meantime, I have been doing the Year in Pictures project on Flickr. I flailed through January and February, posting just a few shots I truly loved. The rest were done under pressure, and half-assed to be perfectly blunt, and so I almost quit. But then I decided a theme would help, and so this month I am shooting hands & feet. Hands, mostly, because they tell so many stories. Here are a few, so far.

this, that, the other

These are some little legwarmers and a beanie I just sent off to my sister's good friends who recently adopted a little girl. I also did their announcements, which I'm actually launching as a side business. I haven't put up a site yet, but I will soon be doing so with more details. You can see the announcement in the background, but here is a better view:

I don't feel like the blogger upload quite does it justice, but you get the idea.

Most importantly, right now... Miss V's tests came back normal. The doctor wants her to try some albuterol to see if that solves the chest pain issue when she exercises. She is such a sweetheart-- she is forever drawing pictures for all of us and writing mini love letters and just generally being such a lovebug. She is working on a series of stories with M about our dog, Olive, and fully intends to get them published. I think she has a pretty good shot at it! I'll try to scan some of the illustrations soon. Too funny.
She asked me last night if music was playing when she was born and when I said yes, she asked me what song. This is for you, my sweet little girl...

When it rains, it pours...even in the desert.

Poor Miss V, all hooked up to an EKG. Please don't worry... her doctor thinks she has exercise-induced asthma, based on his check up yesterday. She's been complaining of chest pain during PE at school, or when she runs around in the yard for very long. The air is very cold and dry right now, which can be one of the initial triggers. Nonetheless, he also took the prudent approach and ordered an EKG, which while I know is just good medicine and ruling out all possibilities, was still a little unsettling to see.
This week has been a doozy. On Sunday, our washing machine caught fire. Quite literally. The good news is, we were home, and I smelled smoke, so J pulled it out immediately (full of water and a load of laundry!) If we hadn't been home, it could have been truly disastrous, as it's parked right next to the gas hook-up for the dryer. As we priced new machines, we consoled ourselves with the thought of how very much worse it could have been. 
So... this sexy beast and its equally racy partner-in-laundry were delivered and installed this morning. Yes, red.
On the same day, I completely jacked an old whiplash injury (car accident eight years ago...kind of funny story, in retrospect) and spent the next few days totally unable to move my head without excruciating pain, far worse than the actual initial injury. Oy. Stress, much? Anyway, I had never seen a chiropractor, even thought I'm very open to alt medicine, having gone the acupuncture route before, and having seen a naturopath back in Seattle for my primary care for quite some time. But you know... there are enough sketchy stories out there, that I had never really considered it. Momday morning, though, I was in so much pain that I googled for pain specialists here in town, and wound up seeing a chiropractor who is also an accredited pain specialist, and who combines his practice with an acupuncturist and a massage therapist. So far, I have had two TENS treatments, along with deep tissue work, and adjustments (yowza! those are trippy-feeling...) I'm feeling much better, but will need to have at least a few more visits.
While still on the subject of pouring when it rains, I'm going to side-step the enormous car-repair bill we also have coming next week, out of sheer denial. I am going to have to momentarily stick my head in the sand on that one.

In more pleasant news, I am doing the Flickr Year In Pictures project again. This time, I am going to stick with it. I'm enjoying it, although on the busy days, it stresses me out to not have a decent shot. My favorite so far?
always endeavor
It hit #20 in Explore, too, so I guess it was a pretty succesful shot. I mostly love it because J & I have this ongoing thing about crows-- how they mate for life and live in extended families where the older siblings help with the younger siblings, etc. They are crazy-smart, they have dynamic relationships, and they are all-around fascinating creatures.
I'm also getting ready to launch a small side-business that I am very excited about. I will leave you with bated breath for the moment, but I will be buckling down and getting the site up soon, so expect an announcement of sorts.

this time eleven years ago...

I lay in bed, exhausted after 32 hours of arduous labor, overwhelmingly in awe of the little creature nestled in my arms.

I had been afraid. I had really believed that for some reason, having children wouldn't come easily, if at all. I wanted it more than anything, but I feared it wasn't in the cards. But there he was, pink and healthy (albeit temporarily cone-headed...poor thing,) nursing and sleeping and pooping and crying and being certifiably the most amazing, wonderful baby ever. I felt like the only person in the world who had ever known the sense of miraculousness that having a baby seems to invoke.

To this day, I still sometimes have to shake my head at the wonder of it all, at the great privilege of being mama to this boy, this young man, really. He is whip-smart, truly kind, genuine, funny, a freckled, sparkling-blue-eyed goofball who knows exactly when to have fun and when to take life very seriously. He's a wonderful brother, a true-blue friend, and a devoted sweetheart of a son.

Happy Birthday, S. Your mama will always love you.
Preparing to bid a fond farewell to one of the best years of my life...

It was a year like no other, that is for sure. I learned a lot, I became more myself than I have ever been, and I found my spot. I toasted the new year with a wonderful man, and with our lovely children, and I knew without making wishes or resolutions, that I was in for a big year.

 I got to travel more than usual. J & I went to Las Vegas (a first for me!) where I learned that not only did I adore him at home, but that he was far & away the best travel companion a girl could hope for.

I went to Portland, and got to see old friends, which was wonderful, albeit brief. I went on a whirlwind trip to Phoenix for work, which was...nothing special, as travel goes. Eventually spring rolled around, and I planned a trip to Seattle. I wanted my family and closest friends to meet the guy I'd fallen so madly in love with. We planned the trip for June, but on May 5th, he proposed... so in the end, I brought my fiance to meet the family. We had another wonderful trip together and resolved to travel as much as two people with four kids possibly can get away with.
So yes...one of the major highlights of this last year was just that. The proposal. The move to Santa Fe. {God!! I love this town. I thought I was happy in Albuquerque, but having moved to Santa Fe, I feel truly at home. It's like a very small Seattle, at least in terms of culture and ideology. Of course, it's the desert, so there's a pretty significant difference. It lacks the beautiful waterways of the Puget Sound, but oh! the sky is so blue. And it snows and feels like winter and has the most majestic cloud formations you've ever seen.}
And autumn. Autumn in the high desert is unspeakably beautiful. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to marry this man, to clasp his hand and promise him everything, on a sparkling, crisp October day. It was like everything that had ever happened in my life led to exactly that moment of pure magic.

Immediately after the wedding, we launched into holiday mode. This year has been nothing short of whirlwind. It's had its difficult moments, of course. A lot of change and transition, and especially seeing the kids through all of that...well, there have been challenging moments. I went through a couple losses in terms of friendships, which is something that had never happened in my life before. That was rough, particularly in the sense that for a while, it made me question myself and who I am in a relationship. But I came to the conclusion that really, everything does happen for a reason. And by and large, I'm the happiest I have ever been, so who is to argue with that outcome?

So, it's with some reluctance that I'm preparing for the end of this year. It's odd, I can't say I have ever felt that way. I'm usually glad for a new year, the notion of a clean slate. This year, I'm simply thrilled to be where I am and to continue to see how things evolve. I loved this last year and I welcome the next. I have lots up my sleeve, but I'm not one to make big declarations or resolutions. At least, not out loud.

Oh! And in case anyone wondered, after the baking fiascos of my last entry, the gingerbread apple upside-down cake was unbelievable. So delicious.

Yeah. So good.  For New Year's Eve, I'm making Cappelini with Beans & Greens (good luck foods... I never said I'm not superstitious!), with some chianti, and for dessert, Vanilla Roasted Pears with homemade butterscotch. Can you tell Smitten Kitchen is my favorite food blog?

J & I are sans children for five more days while they are off with their other parents. It's still not easy for me to put S & V on a plane, and this year was particularly hard, since it fell on the anniversary of my mom's death (there's an interesting story of a shooting star in there, but I'll save it for another day...) but I am glad they are getting time with their dad, and I'll be honest...solo time is good for us, too. It's rare.

I hope 2010 brings ridiculous levels of joy into all of your lives. All five of you who read this. And to those who used to, and to friends I've lost track of, and to my lovely family, all (or at least most) of whom I miss, to my dear friends far away, and to my newest friends and family, please...have a shiny, happy new year.

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