"Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!" --Ms. Frizzle

"Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!" --Ms. Frizzle

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thankful for Paper

Thank you, paper, for preserving the fleeting thoughts and ideas of my growing and changing children. What a gift to be able to keep these things-- letters to Santa, family portraits, to-do lists, the first-ever writing of a name-- forever and ever. And what a gift to get to share them with you!

Dear Santa,

I want a saddle, tickets to the theater (Nana), an umbrella (Lavender). What kind of cookies do you want? I think your reindeer are awesome. I want to ride a horse, please.

Geneva Lynn

Geneva's To-Do List:

go atsid (go outside)
red (read)
bacin ccez (baking cookies... or maybe bacon cookies)

Family portraits by Lavender and Geneva

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lessons My Body Taught Me

After baby #1, I was upset that it took two whole weeks for the swelling in my ankles to go down. I was annoyed that a month after giving birth I had to wear pants that were a single size larger than what I had been wearing prior to my pregnancy. I delivered my daughter in the late spring, and by mid-summer I was pretty much back to my original shape, only this time with enormous (by my standards), perfectly hemispherical nursing boobs. I ran out and bought a brand-new two-piece bathing suit. I think everyone in Mom & Baby group hated me.

My body: "Whoa! What just happened for the last nine months?" *Shakes it off*

After baby #2 I found myself in kind of a funk. This was my first and only encounter with "the baby blues," wherein a delightful cocktail of hormones causes you to shrug and say "ehhh" to every situation in which you find yourself. I loved my daughters, but felt like I was only doing an ehhh job at taking care of them. Going out sounded ehhh, but staying home sounded even more ehhh. And of course, my post-partum body was the epitome of ehhh. It wasn't unrecognizable-- I had only a single stretch mark-- but it was squishy and unmuscled and didn't feel like it belonged to me anymore. If I said to it, "body! Perform this physical task, and be quick about it!" it would accomplish the task. But it would do it slowly, and with no elegance or grace. I was annoyed with my body, and annoyed with myself for caring so much about it. I thought maybe this made me vain or shallow. Honestly, though, I didn't give much thought to being attractive. I simply missed feeling strong and capable in my own skin. That was a feeling that returned slowly, after many months of hiking and camping and walking, many months of hefting children up and down flights of stairs, and many months of forgetting what "normal" used to be.

My body: "Yes, I will regain muscle tone. But I will do this as slowly as I possibly can without inspiring you to adopt an actual exercise regimen."

Then came baby #3. Great, big baby #3. He was nine pounds, six ounces when he was born, and in a photograph taken six hours before I went into labor you cannot even tell that I'm pregnant from behind. I carried that big baby and all of his accouterments directly in front, with no help from the rest of my torso. My skin ripped wide open in shiny purple zigzags. My abdominal muscles were roughly shoved aside and still, six months after his birth, do not meet in the middle. His labor was long and challenging and full of question marks, and at the end of everything I was just grateful that we were both healthy and whole. But this was no first or second birth; this time my foundation had been cracked. It took me a week just to walk fully upright, and many more after that to feel as though my insides weren't on the verge of tumbling out of my stomach. I don't recognize my own reflection in the mirror, but this time it's not the baby blues talking. My structure has been fundamentally altered, and not in a way that society would deem "pretty." I look the way I feared I would when I heard women talk about childbirth ruining their bodies. 

The thing is, it doesn't bother me-- at least, not for longer than the nanosecond it takes me to gasp at the scars that still take me by surprise. I measure my physical fitness by how long I can hike without getting tired (not very) and how many kids I can carry up a hill at once (three). I now know firsthand how rapidly a person's physical form can change; my body won't always be this strong-- or weak. But it will always be the place where my children grew, and the source of milk and snuggles that nourished them after they were no longer a literal part of me. That seems like a pretty healthy source of self-esteem.

My body: "Nope. There's no going back this time. Find something else to like about yourself."
Me: "I will. I have. Thank you."

Ari and me, at midnight before our 6:00am labor began.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Deep Ocean

My kids do not live in a television vacuum, and I have mixed feelings about this. Depending on the day I catch myself muttering "screen time... attention span..." or, conversely, "digital age... media literacy..." Today I suppose I was feeling especially ambivalent about the ol' boob tube. Geneva and Lavender were clamoring to watch something-- anything-- about the ocean, and would not be dissuaded, even with the offer of a walk to the park. I gave in with a few conditions: I would choose the program, we'd watch it together, and afterward we would talk about what we learned. That wouldn't be nearly as bad as putting on Finding Nemo (again), right?

I anticipated that this would go over with a small to medium amount of whining and some reluctant regurgitation of ocean facts. What actually happened was kind of amazing, at least to me. They were engaged in the video, excited about our discussion, and eloquent in their description of deep sea life-- at least, by two- and four-year-old standards. I guess that makes the score kids one, mom zero. Or maybe TV one, mom zero. Heck, let's call it awesomeness one, boredom zero.


Down in the deep ocean there's a vent that is pretty cool, because it's kind of like a trap down in the ocean. This bubbly venty stuff comes up from it and then it traps fish because this aroma comes and makes them sick and they fall down, and so the fish that live up higher get sick and the other creatures that live down in the deep, deep ocean eat the fish that are caught.


Divers wear suits and swim. They see clouds under the ocean. There are volcanoes. Crabs, a whale, and a little shrimp live under the deep ocean. They eat fish.

Geneva again:

We also saw crabs down in the ocean. They are the ones who eat the other ones who live on the top. The flatfish go way down in the ocean. They live down in the deep sea because they are adapted. The deep ocean is full of creatures. They like it dark because it's very dark down in the deep ocean. People can't live there because the pressure pushes them down too much.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall with Five

Fall is here! It seems that only my favorite season could compel me to sit at the computer during daylight hours long enough to throw together a blog post, but such is my love for all things autumnal that I had to share some fallish pictures of our family. They are unedited, and come without text or commentary. I can hear the girls downstairs with the water running, which is never a good sign. So for now, enjoy some photojournalism!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Story That Wasn't

Geneva told me this story just before going to sleep. Actually, I should say that she set up this story before going to sleep. Apparently describing the characters was too exhausting to allow for any plot development, which is too bad. I found the ghost dog monkey kind of intriguing.

Mom, can I tell you a story? Of course. Not from a book but one that I'm just telling. I have a shelf in my mind. I can look and see what I have. Hmmm... I don't have any grown-up stories in there. Just kid stories. Is it okay if I tell you a kid story? I love kid stories! Okay. This story is kind of spooky. Actually it's kind of scary. It's really scary, actually. If you get scared you can just reach over and hold my hand. Okay. It's about a ghost that's a dog but it's in the shape of a monkey. So there's a ghost dog. Monkey. A ghost that looks like a monkey and is a dog. Is he friendly? No, he's angry! He's a mean kind of ghost. Um, and also there was this princess, and her name was .............Mom! What's her name? Oh, sorry. I didn't realize you wanted me to answer. Is it Vivian? No. Claire? No. Melissa? No. Celeste? No. It's Belle. And there's another princess. She's, like, really a princess. What's her name? Why don't you just tell me? Okay, her name is Merida. So there are two good guys. Um, but there was another princess and her name was Cinderella. So there were three good guys. I mean there were four good guys. There was another princess. Four good guys ...and a HUNDRED BILLION bad guys! Woah. Isn't this a scary story? And they were in a circle, a really big circle, that was as big as this whole, like, bed. I mean house. Actually it was as big as the whole continent. As big as the whole Earth. So the princesses were there and the bad guys were all in a circle and, um, this story is going to be too long. I'll tell you a different one.

I think if I ever write a book (hi, internet! Discover me, please!) I will use this as my foreword.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Interview with Lavender

Jamaica: What is your name?
Lavender: Dada.
You're not Dada!
Yeah. Daddy.
Haha, okay. What is your favorite animal?
What do wolfies eat?
What do wolfies say?
Huff and puff and blow your house in.
And what do wolfies like to do?
Tell me something you like to do.
What do you play?
Oh yeah? Who do you play chase with?
Katie's a good friend, isn't she?
[smile, head shake]
Do you have a favorite food?
Soup, cottage cheese, and pancakes.
How do you make pancakes?
In bed!
Haha! What ingredients do you use?
Powder, butter, buttermilk, egg.
What job do you want to do when you grow up?
Are you going to make pictures?
Yeah. Of Mommy.
How old is Mommy?
What does Mommy do?
What do you think Mommy's favorite thing to do is?
Help me!
I do like that. Do I love you, Lali?
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
What is your favorite story?
Tell me about Nemo.
He four. Swim, splash, cuddle with Cory (Dory).
Who is in your family?
Is Ari a shark?
Uh-uh. Barracuda.
Okay, what is Geneva?
Marlin. I'm Cory. [gasp] Shark! Ahhhhhhh! [runs out]

Love her.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's the Little Things

I love love love it when a simple image tells a vivid story... like when I find a large tuft of cat hair pinned between the toilet seat and the lid.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Today is my birthday, which means that I made french toast for breakfast, and that when we decided to go out for a treat this afternoon I got to choose our destination (Baskin Robbins). Awesome, right?

Actually, my birthday is hardly on my mind. To be perfectly honest, there's not much on my mind these days... except this:

Ari Malcolm Zoglman
Born Monday, June 24, 2013 at 2:05am
Weighing 9 lbs 6 oz
Measuring 21 inches
Born at home with perfect health, perfect beauty and perfect love

It's a little late, my dearest darling boy, but happy birthday.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Io the Cat

Our little black cat, Io, is an oft-neglected member of the Zoglman family, at least on this blog. He's a sweet pet and a fun companion for the kids, who alternate between tender and aggressive in their interactions with him. They feed him his food and stroke his fur, but also play "catch" with him, which is not a very balanced game when one of the participants has no thumbs. He is patient and tolerant, and today Geneva commemorated his awesomeness in the form of a poem.

Io the Cat

He is as good as Geneva making good choices.
He smells like nice, cool fur.
His claws are like needles.
His back goes up and down as he wiggles his tail.
His nose is like a wet rainstorm.
He is as black as the night sky.
His eyes are as sweet as wonder.
He says meow like a hello.
He runs around on his legs like a tornado.
He is the goodest cat of every cat.
With a whick of his tail, he's gone!

By Geneva

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Cat's out of the Bag

Hey, Internet, there's something I haven't been telling you. Not because I'm not excited, and not because I'm not happy-- in fact, I'm practically vibrating with anticipation. No, I've been keeping this secret because it's the last time I'll ever get to keep it. Back in October, along with a million other questions that suddenly sprang into being, was this one: "whom do I tell, and when?" I decided to keep my good news offline indefinitely, but the fact is that it has become too big of a secret to contain any longer. I am a couple of weeks, if not days, away from delivering a new baby boy into this family. He will be our littlest and last, but certainly not least. 

It has been a joy getting to tell people about our growing baby in person, rather than online, and see the happiness on their faces that almost matches mine. I have had support during this pregnancy from people who will know and love our boy after he is born, without having to deal with unwanted advice from internet acquaintances who will, in all probability, never meet my son. And it has kept me from filling facebook with updates about my various aches and pains; I can choose to either vent to a real person (sorry Avery) or just get over it, which I think is healthier and more pleasant for everyone (except Avery).

The newborn hat is knitted. The birth tub is on standby. The baby clothes are sorted by size. The floors are vacuumed. And now the cat is out of the bag! I think I am officially ready to hold my little boy.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Rock Excavation Project

Geneva received a rock excavation kit from her dear Auntie Kristen as a birthday present. It lasted two days  in its box before Geneva decided we simply must find out what was encased in that cube of clay. I'll admit, I was feeling the same way. With a little help from a dear friend and neighbor Geneva was able to remove and clean all of the rocks hidden inside. It took about an hour, and she stuck with it. We got to talk about what a real geologist, paleontologist, or archaeologist might do while digging, and wondered if they ever encountered the same problems that we did. Overall, the project was a huge success, and we have even decided to make our own excavation kit using quick-drying clay and whatever treasures we feel like hiding inside.

After completing the rock excavation project, Geneva wrote this letter to Kristen. Kristen, I hope you don't mind me sharing it with the whole wide web!

Dear Auntie K,

I thought I would have a hard time doing this, and I did, 'cause I had to chisel these rocks out and I couldn't do it by myself, so I used Haelo's help. I thought I would find a diamond, but I didn't. I thought I would find five, and I did! I thought I would find blue, black, brown, and purple. That was a great experiment! My favorite part was when I popped the rocks out. Then I washed them, and used the brush and chisel. Haelo brought a gold rock over to her house. I kept some rocks. I don't know their names. I call them Earth Rock, Beautiful Diamond, Everyone, and Tall Rock, 'cause this one is tall. I loved it. Thank you.