Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I said get dressed

This is what happens when you disobey your mother with a blog; she is liable to snap pictures of you when you least expect it.

(Yes, for heaven's sake, I cropped it. I love the horrified look on her face as I pulled out my camera, to punctuate my point. *We need to leave in 5 minutes.* Like I'd post the whole thing. Geez.)

My parenting techniques are going to cost me someday - I'm thinking therapy - but we were on time.
(Wordless Wednesday; I wanna play.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

the one where I wander aimlessly around a parking lot

Parking my car takes great effort. (Don't even ask me to parallel park. I think Lisa, age 16, knew how to do things like that. I promptly forgot.)

Parking takes deliberate effort because I am scatterbrained and prone to wandering. I park, deep in thought, and shop in my stupor, getting what's on my list but really, I'm working out plot points in my novel that would so like to be.

I step out the door and come to. I have no idea where I parked, and I stumble about, my cart full of milk and bananas and graham crackers, old before my years.

I justify my dementia, as I circle the lot, trying to land. Writers can be preoccupied; it's just an occupational hazard.

And I catch a glimpse, a flash really, of Stephen King, from the corner of my eye. He shrugs, shaking his head, sitting in judgment.

I glower and under my breath: "Yes, I know thinking about writing really doesn't count." He hears me, like only Stephen can, telepathically. He remains unconvinced, but I'm convicted.

I find my car, right where I left it and go home to unpack the groceries. I find my book (I use the term loosely) right where I left it and go to work.

I always knew that guy was spooky.

Monday, April 28, 2008

blog me like I have one of those twitter things

Messy house, happy heart - still no post. *racking brain* now

Jazzercise instructor has 20 years on me, and STILL manages to bring me thisclose to death. Sweet - we're doing the Charleston - death. 2 hours ago

Returning car seat to my sister and tickling nephews. Taking abuse. They call me Aunt 'Stinky' and I haven't even worked out yet. 3 hours ago

I woke up sure I wrote the perfect sentence in my sleep. I can't remember it. Drat! about 5 hours ago

Stephanie and I are headed downtown, after she points out her crush at the grocery store. Then it's off to Powell's, a movie and early dinner. 1 day ago

I'm took the kids out to Grandma Jean's estate sale. My family is there. Austin, Zack, Lexi and I walk down to the creek, where Lori and I used to play. I'm flooded with memories. 1 day ago

We're strapping on some shoes and make fools of ourselves, bowling of all things. Dignified, fun-loving fools. Go out for Chinese food. 2 days ago

Walking to the new dog park. The kids throw Frisbees. Zack is uncharacteristically bold and pets a Great Dane. 2 days ago

The sun's out and we're going to Austin's soccer game. We mosey over to see our friends, the Monroes. 2 days ago

Zack and I loiter at Borders during Lexi's girl scout meeting. Greg walks in, right after we get home. The kids are happy he's home in time to tuck them in. Me too. 3 days ago

Friday, April 25, 2008

stellar parenting moments

Greg is in Vegasbaby, all week. He calls me from casinos and dinner parties and down crowded hallways and we catch up for a few minutes before he is called away. It's his company's worldwide sales convention and it's quite a production.

Everything here is the same: Bland, but not boring. The kids have broken the bickering barrier, in high pitch tones I'm certain only sea monkey ears can register.

I have reasoned and Loved & Logicked and ignored certain behaviors and doled out consequences. Nothing seemed to take the edge off.

Zack wants to sing 'Head & Shoulders' in French, again, and Lexi wants to play 'When the Saints Come Marching In' on her recorder, again, but if I am not facing them, simultaneously, thoroughly taking in this unholy round, then they begin growling, at each other. Reprimanding the other for interrupting. Growling, to get my attention.

Real, true, I AM YETI growling.

So, I did what every seasoned mother would do; I yelled.

I yelled something ridiculous about their growling and how as their mother, I don't have to take their bulllllllllllllll......crap. (I thought just long enough to correct myself.)

I paused. I thought: I'm acting like an idiot.

And then Zack busted up laughing, busting a gut because clearly his mother is a loon. I started chuckling too. I was sounding pretty pathetic.

(Lexi could not be reached for comment because she was still fuming over something that happened hours before. The pout is strong is that one.)

I guess we all have our breaking points. It's nice to know that sometimes, our kids can bend.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

*jazz hands*

Once upon a time, in the not so distant past, Mama Milton liked Jazzercise. Strike that: She loved Jazzercise. She had loved it since its inception, when Judi Sheppard Missett pranced around in bare feet to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.She took classes in high school. She took classes in college. She dragged invited friends and begged boyfriends to come to class. And they did, and tolerated her obsession.A couple of years back, while wearing sensible workout attire - this isn't a hoedown, Ms. Jessie - she injured her knee and had to quit. For a while. Then she was diagnosed with sjogren's syndrome and her doctor lowered the boom: No more dance, no more Jazzercise.

And she grew, well, fluffy.

At least she had a tiara. Thanks, Stephanie.

She's been walking a lot lately, doing yoga and weaning off Prednisone and frankly, she hasn't seeing much change in her fluffihood.

She started missing Jazzercise. Terribly. So she got the nod from her doctor, and found a new studio, minutes away.

She came home from vacation, and started the very next Monday, nervous and intimidated.

Get a real shirt, Ms. Perky.
But for every inappropriately dressed bimbo show-off,

there's a token fella in the group, lost and confused.

She made a go of it.

Death by leg lift. Ok, she doesn't LOVE this part.

She may be fluffy, but she still has it. She smiled when the instructor asked her if she had ever considered becoming an instructor, after the first class. She has. She feels right at home.

We at Mama Milton operate on a small wardrobe budget, what with high gas prices and all.

Now Greg can't get a moment's peace; all he wants to do after a long day's work is eat a quick snack and watch a little Science channel. Now it's all kick ball change this, and chasse that, blah, blah, blah.

As goofy as it sounds, she loves it. She's sweaty and sore and blissed out.

And maybe a little sick in the head...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

cue the beastie boys

I put the buttons on the table and passed out the gloves; the rest was crafty magic. I think I need to invite this kind of creativity, and mess, again. The kids are still talking about it.

{It's Wordless Wednesday, yo.}
Edited to add: Here's directions to two of the patterns, off of the Martha Stewart website.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I was poised to write something else, but then my eyes rolled out of my head

I woke up in a mighty good mood, that is, until I caught a segment on GMA, between my morning coffee and my morning monologues, delivered by two chatty offspring.

(Today's topics: Bedroom Design for Girls Who Have Outgrown Princess Pink for Heaven's Sake and How Lego Star Wars Transformed my Life in Six Easy Steps.)

Juju Chang, with her shiny hair and sweet 5 month old baby boy, introduced the LENA system. A system designed to send moms right over the edge and into a therapist's office to count how many words you say to your child, during the first three years of life. Yes, for a mere $400, you too can place a pager-like monitor on your baby, to track your wordcount on your PC every night.

The makers of the LENA device claim that babies need to hear 17,000 words a day - any ol' talking will do - for you to CREATE YOUR VERY OWN PRODIGY their wee little brains to develop and as an added bonus feature, you can also track their babbling and create bar graphs to compare junior to his peers.

Now, my son had dyspraxia and other developmental delays so I know the early intervention terrain like the back of my google reader: Folks, I lived it. And I'd be the first in your circle of friends to urge you to seek an evaluation if your kiddo isn't talking. But the chit-chatting to my kid thing? I had that nailed. (Exhibit A: Lexi and her 18 month-old dinosaur vocabulary. Oh say can she say Brach-i-o-saurus.) I imagine Zack spent many hours, squirreled away in his silent world, making plans for a baby man-cave of sorts, to escape the many words hurled his direction during those early years, saddled with his long winded female family all day.

The thought never occurred to me, as I sat in therapist waiting rooms, that if Meth Mama over yonder would have spent just a little more time talking up the latest ingredients in her special peanut butter crank, that her sweetie would be just fine. I'm pretty sure a tweaker could take on my motor mouth but that sort of rambling doesn't undo neglect, I'm afraid.

And that's what got me up in arms. That's the point of the segment: Keeping fear alive and well and in our homes.

That if I somehow chart my child's progress, I can outrun autism. Dyspraxia. Delays. If I monitor my daily word count down to the very last 'the' between saving the Earth, and preventing lice, and following the election, and volunteering, and ignoring Oprah's smug suggestions about not losing myself because I am a mom, and looking 10 years younger, and sneaking spinach in my brownies, and trying to be sexy for my husband, and calling for educational reform, and praying and, meditating, and packing the lunches, and squeezing in my spanx, why by golly, I will come through this life unscathed.

I'm sure the next segment featured some report about how American women are not getting enough sleep; they're eating too much, drinking too much and popping way too many pills. And some reporter will paste a puzzled grin on her face and act all alarmed by these trends. Like she's surprised.


I don't know. I turned it off. I'm too busy to live in fear.

Now excuse me while I conduct my own research. I'm wondering if the amount of words I hear every day, as an addled Supermom of two, could be adding points to my IQ.

I'm going to be a blooming GENIUS.


Monday, April 21, 2008

why I stopped at two

I don't care what Jack Johnson says. Three is CLEARLY not a magic number.

By just adding one little noggin, the fighting increases exponentially.

1 sister + 1 brother + 1 good family friend = Evil Tag Teaming and Bickering Galore.

I'll admit: There were some sweet moments of quiet, a couple of peace agreements brokered along the way.

(And I'm happy to help out when my friends were out of town, really I am.)

But that bus can't roll up fast enough for me. Scrubbing toilets and folding clothes all by my lonesome sounds divine.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

time for a meme

Erika & Tara tagged me, so I'm playing along...You can too, if it suits your fancy.

What was I doing, 10 years ago:

Exactly ten years ago? I was returning from a trip to Portland, to visit family, with Cristi and a 3 week old Alexis. I lived in Southern Oregon at the time and I nearly had a panic attack, going on a 5 hour drive with a newborn. In the following weeks, I was dealt a double whammy: Postpartum depression - before it was the hip thing to have - and a colicky baby. Wait! Maybe the depression was brought on by the 5 hour crying jags...

By summer, my depression lifted and Lexi stopped howling. We split our time between Lithia park and our air-conditioned house on what I remember to be a very hot summer.

Five snacks I enjoy:
  1. Thai Kettle chips
  2. Earl Grey Tea, with raw sugar
  3. Strawberries
  4. Ginger beer
  5. Pickles

Things I would do if I was a billionaire:

I really wouldn't live all that differently. Selfishly, I would travel more and go back to school. (I'm nerdy like that.) Beyond that, I would make sure my family & friends were comfortable, and debt-free.

Five jobs I've held:

  1. Sent out batteries to pager customers; seasonal work. boring
  2. Picked strawberries and raspberries in middle school, saving up for a trip to California with my bff at the time, Shannon.
  3. Bank Teller. really boring
  4. Cocktail waitress
  5. Blockbuster manager

Three habits:

  1. Internet and Wiki surfing
  2. Compulsive reading
  3. Tea drinking

Five places I have lived:

  1. Sandy, Oregon
  2. Portland, Oregon
  3. Boise, Idaho
  4. Medford, Oregon
  5. Gresham, Oregon

I'm supposed to add something new here, but I've got nothing. I'm copying Erika: My favorite jammies would be my red silky ones from Target. Simple and sassy. When I'm not wearing sweats.

I'm also supposed to tag people, but I'm lazy and disobedient. Stephanie? Does your Vegas-addled brain want to play along?

Saturday, April 19, 2008


A little snow outside...A little alternative medicine...(run, puppy, run)

A little rough-housing...

We are never bored.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mamma Mia! It's a contest!

Get out your bell bottoms and strike a pose. You and two friends could be headed to London for the Mamma Mia! premiere.Need details? Of course you do. Head straight over this way, to learn more about Pond's Search for the Dynamos.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

chop chop

Spring is here and it's time for some chh chh chhanges...

A sophisticated layered look for my girl and a swing-y bob for her mama.

new do
polka dots

Notice the polka dotted jammie bottoms. Getting completely dressed is hard...

And Stephanie gave me something extra sparkly to go with my new look. You like?

I'm passing my sceptor to some other fabulous ladies: My sister, Lori, has been known to like shiny things. This one's for you. Next up: Erika - she inspires me with her strength and humor while fighting JRA for her 2 year-old, Tottie. And for Melanie - that woman is talented; one of the best writers in blogland.


One more thing: I updated Much to My Sjogren too. Poor neglected thing...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I've been in a dour mood since we got back.

I'm sure it's just the post-vacation blues.

(At least I didn't cry the entire flight back like some people (Lexi) I know. That would have been awkward.)

After a warm sunny weekend, the rain and hail returned and with it, a dead rabbit washed up in the ditch, next to our driveway. Oh the wailing.

When the temperatures dived, the dirty heaters came on and set off the fire alarm at 3 am. Oh the shaking.

So after I contacted the county to pick up the misidentified piglet/bunny - should I call the eye doctor too? - I cleaned all the heaters because they are calling for hail and snow this weekend.


(Aren't you glad you stopped by?)

But it's Greg's absence that weighs on my heart.

Both kids spontaneously started sporting bandannas this week, to look like Daddy. Every moment seems to be followed with, "I can't wait to show/tell Daddy about this."

Our vacation brought us closer together, and made the gap more painful now that we are back to our regularly scheduled life.

I'm reciting the spiel I gave Lexi on the way home to myself now. That our life is good, even though I'm just not feeling it right now.

Here's hoping it does the trick.

Monday, April 14, 2008

the beatings will continue until morale improves*

1, 2, 3, testing. Testing. Is this thing on?

It's been over a week since my last post and well, what do you know? I didn't even lapse into the fetal position, being away from my laptop.

(Cue the choir. I had my doubts...)

We are home and well and rested. I've got some stories to share, but for now it's enough to post some pictures and be glad that we got away, and we spent some downtime together. (And by downtime I mean sprinting through both parks, putting in some serious mileage.) Anything else I write is going to be sappy, because my kids? They haved missed their Dad something fierce this year, with all the time he has been away. That goes double for me.

It was time well spent.

*Back of Greg's new Pirates of the Carribbean shirt.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

bring on the mouse

The last few weeks have worn me out. I think a change of scenery might be in order...

We're off to Disneyland in the morning - a first as a family. Away from our cell phones (I'm looking at you Greg), blogs (what?), rabbits and video games.

I can hardly wait.

(I hope to be back by soon, refreshed. Or at least exhausted in a good way.)


Friday, April 04, 2008

spring break, supermom (yeah right)

I got my comeuppance yesterday; me Ms. Smug 'I don't over schedule my kids Mom'. It's spring break and I've been feeling antsy. I'm finally feeling better and I've had it with washing sheets and scrubbing heads. I wanted to break freeeeee.

(That makes me think of Scamp in Lady & the Tramp 2. Yes, I have seen it many times, back when Uncle Cam bought it for Lexi's second birthday. Scott Wolf plays the rascally little offspring, yapping about not wanting to be a kept dog 'cause he wants to be wild and free.... See also: Little Mermaid 2. Not a second generation Disney character appreciates what they have, the ingrates.)

So, we've made day trips, and play dates, and went to the park, and watched movies late at night with popcorn with melted butter. I was rocking spring break.

We came to Thursday and on the agenda: house chores, Borders, picnic lunch at Washington park and then touring the Japanese gardens.

Now any one of these events would be lovely and I know my girl in particular would love the gardens. But we got hung up at the bookstore, over a rabbit puppet. Now a good mama would have recognized the breakdown in the making and took shelter but I didn't take that route, by golly. I just explained that post-Easter, post-birthday and pre-Disneyland*, I am not buying toys.

We left with our books and started down the freeway, Lexi sobbing and Zack trying to cheer her up, doing his best R2D2 impressions.

I closed my eyes (not really, I was driving) and I could see us at the garden now; Lexi red-eyed and hateful, unable and unwilling to enjoy the trip I was taking, just for her.

I took the exit, and gave them options. Lexi decided to purchase said rabbit puppet with her own birthday funds, and we went to a local park for a picnic. It was a bit cold, but Zack put his calluses to work, making good use of the the monkey bars, and Lexi flitted around with Hazel, Bunny Extraordinaire.

I took a bath that afternoon and my sister invited us over for banana splits; it was a good day.

I guess not knowing if/when we might move, has made me feel desperate to see it all. Desperate to see it all, because we might not be here next spring.

But I have to remember: Crazy rolls downhill. There are only so many hours of the day. And when mama keeps her wits about her, the whole family stays afloat.

ammy & papa

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. You are blazing a trail we all hope to follow.

*More on the Disneyland details tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

end of the trail

on the trail

We took a trip to Oregon City - where I was born - to see the Bound for Oregon exhibit at the End of the Oregon Trail historic site, where we learned about buffalo chips (not for munching).

Those pioneer women were solid I tell you. One woman spent months, walking 2000 miles to an unknown land, feeding and caring for eight kids AND still found the time, while her party slept, to light a candle and write.

That put a smile on my face.

{Here's the rest of the set. And Wordless Wednesday for those who can hold their tongue.)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

my kind of health care

According to sources, Ms. Milton has a thing for grouchy doctors. Oh sure, she says she likes kind physicians with bedside manners, but her TV habits beg to differ.(First do no harm, Dr. House. I need you back on the air.)

During the writer's strike, she took to a new set of doctors in syndication, a little something to amuse her while she throws together dinner.

Those interns? Cute pack of pups. But we all know who she'd fall for...

Grouchy. Snappy comebacks. Smart. Heart of gold. Just how she likes her imaginary MDs.

(And Mama has decent taste. Johnny C. was the 2007 National Buddy Walk Spokesperson, supporting his son and showing some class.)