Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fun in the Sun: Outdoor Activities for your Kids this Spring (Summer)

Since I have been super busy cleaning horse poop, planting my own garden, repeating myself, mowing the yard, pulling a filthy amount of weeds from my flower beds and experiencing debilitating insomnia, I am offering up this lovely post full of wonderful ideas to get you started on the magical journey of summer vacation. It is written by ghost writer, Emma Crosby. Enjoy!

Fun in the Sun: Outdoor Activities for your Kids this Spring

So Spring has finally sprung! The days are getting longer, the temperatures are creeping up, flowers are blooming, birds are singing and air is filled with the sweet sounds of 'Mommmmm I'm bored!' After a long winter of being cooped up indoors you can hardly blame our kids for wanting to run free in the great outdoors but lots of enticing activities for the warmer weather such as zoos and theme parks come with a far-from-sunny price tag. There are lots of weird and wonderful ways to occupy the kids in your own garden this Spring that are fun, educational and cheap too. Here are just a few to inspire your family.

Plant a vegetable patch
Spring is a fruitful time of year so make the most of it with your green fingered little ones and encourage them to grow their own crops. Studies show that kids who are involved in the growing process of produce are generally more likely to have an interest in healthy eating and consequently have better diets and general health. Giving them the responsibility of planning, digging and maintaining their own vegetable patch will make their sense of accomplishment even bigger when they finally see the fruits of their labor and present you with their harvest. Herbs, salads and root vegetables such as carrots and onions are all great starter plants but it may also be worth including a few 'fast flowering' crops such as tomatoes so that they see results quickly before losing interest in their project. Fun and educational, this is a popular Spring past time that will save you money and provide the entire family with fresh, organic food.

Bird watching
Here in Colorado we are blessed to have a number of migrating birds in our skies during Spring. Hawks, warblers, hummingbirds and buntings are just a few of the birds that you might be able to spy from your garden so invest in a pair of binoculars and get the kids interested in bird watching. If you want to make this a really educational activity then have them read up on said birds beforehand so that they can try and identify anything that they see and add a little healthy competition by allocating points for the child who can correctly spot and identify the most birds. For rainy days you could also help them to create their own bird feeders using everything from hollowed out fruits and pine cones to plastic bottles.

Camping out
While you may view camping out in your back yard as a cold, uncomfortable and unnecessary way to spend an evening, the kids will see it as an exciting adventure. It really is crazy just how much fun sleeping 50 yards away from your own house is to them so now the temperatures are creeping up indulge them and try and get into the camping spirit. Songs before bedtime, dinner cooked over a camp fire and the threat of 'going indoors' to quell any bad behavior will ensure that everyone has a great night. And if the heavens open you are only a few steps away from your cozy beds.'

Getting crafty in the garden
Nature is beautiful and so the garden is a wonderful place for your little ones to get creative and bring the outdoors indoors with their own works of art. From sketching garden critters to creating collages from leaves and grass, the possibilities are endless. One of my kids favorite crafts is flower coloring. This involves picking flowers in the garden (pale or white flowers such as daisies work best) and adding them to jars or vases that have a small amount of food coloring in, ensuring that the stems are cut at the bottom. As the flowers drink up the water their white petals will take on the color of the dye and become flecked with bright colors. Not only will this amaze the kids but it teaches them about plants and brightens up the house too.

Build mud pies
Some things never get old and making mud pies in the garden is certainly on that list. However old your child is you can bet that they'll love digging, mushing, sploshing, spooning and stirring their mud pies. A designated area of dirt, a wooden spoon and a few pots and pans is all they'll need for hours of fun. And far from being a pointless and filthy activity, handling mud and water encourages sensory development and encourages your kids to use their imagination. With leaves and twigs as entrees, you can even let them bring their favorite toys into the garden for dinner.   
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Secret is Grandma and Papa...

Have you read The Secret?

I read it about six years ago. It was enlightening.

It's all about the power of your thoughts. You see, enlightened people know that your thoughts manifest themselves into your reality. Basically, if you think negative thoughts, your life experience will blow hairy donkey balls. But if you think POSITIVE thoughts, rainbows will shoot out of your ass and you will get a shiny new pony!

CONGRATULATIONS! You're now enlightened! Now go do the laundry and don't forget to scrub that pee smell out of the bathroom.

In all seriousness, this shiz really does work and I am here to prove it.

For example, I personally know a lot of sucky, negative people and their lives are super gloomy and blechy.

No. Thank you.

I also know a lot of super positive people and they seem really happy! And I find them slightly fucking annoying.

Wait, I lost my direction for a moment....

Oh yeah! I've been trying to do this positive thinking jazz and visualization stuff and guess what??? While rainbows are yet to shoot out of my ass (there's still time for that, Brock had the stomach flu only five days ago), we did get a SHINY NEW PONY! Thing 1 owes Grandma and Papa a LONG thank you note for this guy. And I owe them for my existence on this planet. THANKS MOM AND DAD! You're my favorite Mom and Dad, EVER! But seriously, they're getting one helluva thank you letter because what kid gets a PONY for his 7th birthday?*

*Answer: A lucky little turd.

Drumroll.....

Everyone, meet Clyde- the most adorable palomino pony in the history of ever!



Thing 2, Duke and I surprised Thing 1 at the bus stop with Clyde yesterday. Do you see the PURE JOY on my kids' faces?




What is wrong with my kids? They are both scowling.

In other great news, Duke and Clyde seemed to take to one another like peas and carrots. Clyde seems pretty flowy. It also probably helps that Duke is 146 years old and no longer gives a shit.



In addition to all the fabulosity, we thankfully found Blizzard (my sweet, blind pony) a home. He is now living on a large ranch in the mountains (seriously, it's basically paradise) with the actual, real-life Snow White (minus the dwarfs). We will get to visit him often and he will be well cared for and loved. But I hope she gets her shit together and gets some dwarfs before I visit.

AND, as if we needed MORE awesomeness, we found a bit of sweet pasture for our horses! The best part is that it is literally on the other side of my driveway. They love it so much that they lounge around in it like Hugh Hefner at a pool party. Or drunk hookers in Vegas. Or Courtney Love at a tattoo parlor. You pick. In fact, I saw Gus (the buckskin) laying down while eating grass earlier today. That is taking chillaxin' to a whole new level. In my horses' defense, they can't help their laziness. They are full brothers in blood who are descendants of the famous racehorse Seabiscuit, who was known for his love of sleeping and eating. No shit.




To top it off, I visualized myself drinking a beer and writing tonight and I'll be damned if it didn't manifest into my reality!



The Secret is real, people. IT'S REAL.

Now, if you'll excuse me I need to go draw a picture of myself cashing a check for ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

Peace, Love and OMG PONIES!!!!
Johi




Saturday, May 17, 2014

Why I Drink.

Living with three members of the male species, a cat that smells like a dumpster and two dogs who think horse poo is a delicacy has its benefits.

I haven't figured out what those benefits are quite yet, but I'm keeping my eyes open.



In an effort to remain "organized" I try to keep the house picked up. Is it CLEAN? No. If it were clean it wouldn't reek faintly of urine, Old MacDonald's boots and the bacon that was fried last weekend. But I try to keep the crap cleared off the floors, furniture and counter-tops.

This should be a simple task.

SHOULD BE.

Let me let you in on a little something called REALITY. This simple 'keeping the house picked up' can consume every minute of your day. Mainly because YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO GIVES A SHIT. Which leaves a person feeling like they are all conspiring against me. I have six culprits, which I will list in order from the least to the most offensive.

Red Dog LOVES to chase the horses in their muddy pen, then rest her fluffy red body on my outdoor couch, where she then cleans her muddy paws. She thinks the indoor living room furniture is her personal dog bed. I'm so glad she likes my leather couch and $50 throw pillows. She also likes to sneak her slobber and manure encrusted ball into the house, just in case anyone is up for a quick game of fetch. Then we have the shedding.

Smelly Cat is vile. He stinks of roadkill and drools blood everywhere. He also perches on the counters, the back on the couch and always my lap, if I am seated- naturally with his claws OUT and ready for action. He left his trademark claw prints in the arms of my white chairs and the thighs of my white legs. For some reason, his tail always houses a variety of outdoor particles, most of which are sticky and unidentifiable. Then we have the shedding.

Black Dog always seeks out the one bed in the house with the freshly washed comforter. That is where she naps. Something about that Downy smell must make her want to poo... just a little... on that comforter. She also has severe gas, probably because she sees to it to personally clean 'the litter box' (i.e. the sandbox) whenever we are outside. Then we have the shedding.

Because... pets.

The Things, while adorable and funny, are capable of destroying both the interior of the house and the backyard in as little as 10 minutes. Toys. Clothes. Shoes. Art Supplies. Ropes and sticks and the chain they keep dragging out of the barn. Daddy's tools and a variety of crap that they shouldn't touch. Then they break their toys because they think everything can be taken apart and put back together. Then they beg me to glue it back together. They steal my tape and my scissors and I am left to clean up 3467 tiny pieces of paper. Everything they do is a boobie trap. And they make a crap ton of noise while doing it. I can't ... just... make it stop.

Because... boys.

I dare you to walk through their room.
Barefoot.
My husband is the biggest dirty clothes culprit in the history of ever. He leaves his heavily worn clothing in the most random of places. He simply does not give a shit.  Just yesterday, I discovered his shirt and pants. Outside. On the deck. Wadded up on a chair. I refuse to pick up after a grown man so I left them there. The cat bedded down in them. Then it rained. I will not say anything. The clothes will sit there for a least a week. He still will not give a shit. Every time I walk outside, I will see his stupid fucking clothes wadded up on my deck chair, next to the Popsicle sticks that the kids dropped, and it will fill me with disgust. The rage will build. But I will not pick them up, because principles! Then I will lay awake at night listening to him snore. Then he will leave four pair of socks on the floor of the bedroom and one pair on the coffee table. Then I will find his jeans in a puddle, with the belt still on them, dropped in the hallway. Then he will stand too close to me in the kitchen while I'm trying to unload the dishwasher and he will probably be smacking his lips on a banana six inches from my ear and I will turn around and yell, "OH MY GAWD! PICK UP YOUR FUCKING CLOTHES THAT HAVE BEEN ON THE FUCKING DECK FOR SEVEN FUCKING DAYS!" Because I'm a lady.

This is the fabric of my life.
It is soaking wet and smells of B.O., campfire smoke and mold.


Because... marriage.

It's exhausting.

Maybe in my next life I'll come back as a childless lesbian with a pet allergy!
Or maybe I just need a week away from my house and the six beating hearts who share it with me.

Namaste.






Sunday, May 11, 2014

Muthas!

I am blessed to know so many incredible women! My family is knit together by strong women who each have brought something unique and wonderful to my life. My friends are fabulous ladies who never cease to amaze me with their gifts of love, laughter and support. Whether it be working moms, stay at home moms, step-moms or animal moms, we all give endlessly of ourselves. We join together to help one another. We are the backbones of our households. We pick up the dirty socks of life (and our husbands and kids). We are the muthas of the MuthaLand!

Today is Mother's Day and I want to honor all of you, with a shout out to some special people. My life is better because of these gals... these women... these muthas!

My Momma



My mom is a beautiful woman, inside and out. She raised my sister and I with more patience than I have ever witnessed in another human being. She was always kind and soft spoken, yet strong. She always looks for the light in others. She is smart, funny and generous... and she made me, which is obviously awesome.

I once asked my mom why she didn't have more kids. In my mind, my 14 month older sister and I were well-mannered, close-to-perfect children who worked hard in school and never colored outside the lines. Why wouldn't my parents want to breed more of that goodness? It seemed like a no-brainer.

Her reply was not what I expected, but it explained everything.

My mother recalled, “It was a cold, snowy January in Iowa when I was eight months pregnant with you. I was carrying your sister on my hip as I trudged through the snow, checking flood gaps on our farm. I struggled up and down the sloping creek banks, clutching your sister and trying to keep my balance while working my way through the thorn bushes and slick spots."

I nodded sympathetically and said, "Yes, that sounds like the glory that is checking flood gaps in January."

Mom continued, "I was attempting to crawl through a barbed wire fence, weighed down with a baby in my arms and one in my belly. That is when your father, who had gotten ahead of me, turned around and yelled, ‘Hurry up!’ I knew in that moment that you would be my last baby.”

That pretty much answered all my questions. And probably yours, too.


My Maternal Grandmother



Grandma Rose was special to me. She understood me and always supported my "creative endeavors". She was one of those people who took the time to get to know others and truly engaged with them. She was a wonderful woman and I admired her grit, her selflessness and her style.She was as talented as she was kind. She passed away over a decade ago. I still miss her every day.

I have many fond memories of my grandmother, but there is one that always makes me laugh.

Grandma loved the mountains and jumped at the chance to visit us in Estes Park, Colorado at our summer home. I looked forward to those weeks that she would stay. She would take my sister and I on walks around the lake. She talked with us. She cooked for us. She watched us do our cowgirl thang with a smile on her face. Those days and weeks with Grandma were wonderful. She made everything a little magical.

My sister and I each had a list of cabin chores to complete every morning before we were allowed to go out to the barn and saddle up our ponies for our daily wild rides on the mountainside. Among many horrible houseworky things, my list included washing dishes. I hated washing dishing. In fact, I still hate washing dishes.

One morning, during one of Grandma's visits, I was rushing to finish my chores so I could spend time in the barn. I set a dish in the drying rack as Grandma walked around the corner. She inspected my work. It was unacceptable. I had done a shoddy job. Again.

She said to me, "You know, Johi, if you aren't going to wash these well, you probably shouldn't do it at all."

I looked at her with big eyes and replied, "What? Thanks!" 

Then I wiped the suds off my hands, ran out the door and let the screen slam shut behind me.

See? She understood me. She knew I wasn't meant for housework.

My Paternal Grandmother



Grandma Maxine raised four boys. 

Let's just take a moment of silence to let that sink in.

FOUR.

BOYS.

My sister and I spent a lot of time with my dad's parents when we were kids. Specifically, we spent a lot of time begging for the lemon drops they kept in the glove compartment of their station wagon, learning how to catch catfish from the pond and playing dress-up with the fabulous old clothes that Grandma kept in the closet of the upstairs bedroom. Grandma is tough, loving and rad. I've watched her cheat at cards, sing in church, make meals for 20 people, mix up martinis and play pool. She was the person who traveled to Colorado to stay with me and help out after the birth of my first son. She just turned 90 last month. She's an amazing women.

Just yesterday, my parents dropped over to visit Grandma Max. They found her sitting, stone-faced, in her back yard. My mom was startled. She thought that something was wrong. They approached her and asked, "Are you okay, Maxine?"

Grandma looked up and said, "I'm hot! I was just push mowing my lawn and I ran out of gas!"

She's NINETY YEARS OLD, people. Do I really need to elaborate here?


My Sister



My sister, Jessi, is an unsung hero in the MuthaLand. She's spent the last eight years raising someone else's daughter. My sister loves this little girl as her own. She makes her meals and her bed. She shows her how to do book reports and apply make-up. She buys her clothing and volunteer coaches her basketball team. She loves her, guides her and teaches her about life. She does this all without being called "Mom", and sometimes without recognition that she is, indeed, a mother. This is the most selfless act of parenting. I just want to take a moment and say that many of us see what you do and think that you are amazing.

ALL THE MUTHAS

I'm proud to be a part of this group of women. I'm proud to be a mother. I'm proud to know so many other women who give others so much of themselves. Your kindness, thoughtfulness and general awesomeness is astounding. You all make our world a better place. We wouldn't be who we are today without your guidance, your examples or your presence in our lives.

Plus, without you, who would pick up all those dirty socks?

THANK YOU.




Monday, May 5, 2014

The Word of my Life


Responsibility. It seems to be the word of my life. It drives me during the day and keeps me awake at night. It is my calling and my crux. It motivates me and drains me. Apparently, it defines me. When I was a kid, there was no higher praise than someone telling me that I was "a responsible young lady." I worked for it. I longed to hear those words. As an adult, I strive to take care of everything around me. Many people, animals and things depend on me and I feel it is my duty to tend to all of those people, animals and things. Every day, all day long, I think about schedules and deadlines and mealtimes and bank accounts. I sweat over expenses, illness, dysfunction and debt. I am debilitated by my inability to keep up with everything that I feel responsible for. I often feel like I am failing at the 'word of my life'.



When Brock and I decided to have a baby, we really had no idea what was in store for us. I remember finding out I was pregnant at the Doctor's office. I was flooded with an entirely new sense of responsibility, and it wasn't the normal kind that people experience when they discover they are pregnant.

"Johi, you're pregnant!"

"What?!?"

"You're having a BABY!"

"Oh my God!" *happy tears*

"You know you can't ride horses when you're pregnant."

"WAIT.... what the... WHAT?????

And so my struggle with responsibility for my horses began. When Brock and I bought this property, we did not purchase it for the tiny house with the stupid closets, odd bathroom, one gutter and horrendous floor plan. We did not purchase it for the weird garage with the cracked and heaved floor and the rotting siding. We did not purchase it because we felt like pulling 5,893 fencing staples out of 135 creosote-soaked fence posts, which we later heaved out of the ground. We purchased it because it had a barn and a horse pen. We purchased it because it backed up to riding trails. We purchased it because it was a "horse property." That's it. That is what drove our decision. It was for our "boys", Gus and Prince.

And the trees. We liked the trees.

Everything Brock and I had built together, we had done with our common passion, our horses, at the nucleus. Yet suddenly our world was shifting. What were we going to do with our lives next?

We kept the horses, who became yard ornaments. I shoveled manure as my pregnant belly grew. I felt guilt every time my horses looked at me and nickered expectantly, as if they were asking, "Can we go out for a ride today?"

When my baby arrived, I was ecstatic. I had my body to myself and I couldn't wait to ride again. But carrying my infant in the saddle with me on top of a 16 hand, 1,000 pound flight animal seemed... oh, I don't know.... moderately irresponsible.

Then I started paying a sitter to watch my child so that I could ride the horses that I paid to keep in my backyard. It was all very expensive. So was the new baby. The stress was building.

All the while, my hand would often find itself running lightly over the scar on my head. The scar that was put there when I was 20 months old. The scar from being kicked in the head by a "backyard horse" at my grandparent's house. I would think about my baby learning to walk and the stress of simply being in the backyard with him. What if he toddled into the horse pen? The only thing that size those animals were accustomed to was Red Dog, who made it her personal job to annoy them, often causing them to kick at her.

My stress level went from 'high' to 'off the charts'. My overwhelming responsibility for my child and my horses were competing. My energy was depleted and I felt like a failure. I didn't know what to do.

My answer came when I discovered I was pregnant again.

Brock and I, unable to consider selling our horses, sent them to work at my family's livery stable.  I was grateful that we did not have to sell them to strangers. We could even go and ride them in the summer months.

Still, in no way was this ideal for me. I grew up working at the stable and I knew the environment. While the horses are well-cared for and the barn rules are strict, the work is hard and the riders are basically ignorant. My gentle giants were about to work their asses off in the mountains carrying all kinds of riders ranging from "I don't want to pull his head out of the grass because I will hurt him" to "Can we run them up the mountain?"
It was not the environment I wished for my personal horses, the ones that I fed supplements and paid out thousands of dollars for training. The ones that were sensitive to leg pressure and liked their frequent baths in the grass during the summer. The ones that I loved and wanted to care for, look at, ride, touch and talk to- every single day of my life.

A part of me died the day we loaded them up on the trailer.

Then the economy crashed and Brock's business took a nose dive. Reality was sinking in. I had to check out from my emotions as we sold our horse trailer. We walked away from years of memories of horse camping. We said farewell to countless weekends spent customizing it with a cedar lined living quarters. I bid adieu to the pin-up cowgirl curtains that I sewed. I had even lined them... and I don't sew.

I threw myself into motherhood- which obviously came with more responsibility than ever. I tried not to think about my horses, because when I did I just felt sad, angry, frustrated and a little sick to my stomach.

We inherited some antique ponies in their 40's and they occupied the horse pen. They were small and gentle and considerably less money and work. We were thrilled that the boys could have their own horses! We cared for them and all their special needs. Little Joe got lice, as old equines do, and I worked hard to rid him of it. Peanut had foundered years ago, and we successfully kept him sound. We loved them and cried when they left.

Peanut and Little Joe- both in their 40's.


Then we inherited two more ponies. Duke was foundered and in his 20's. Blizzard was perfect- just grumpy with other ponies at the stable. Again, they were small and gentle. We were fairly successful in keeping Duke sound. Blizzard, an Appaloosa, went blind in one eye because of his genetics. The kids loved them, yet showed little self-motivation towards wanting to ride. Blizzard, with the onset of his blindness, became spooky and unsafe on the trail.

Thing 2 and Duke.

Duke and Blizzard, fresh after their first baths of the spring.


Our lives had gone from being ours to belonging to our kids. We graciously tried to expose them to our interests and they did not care. All they wanted was to play with Daddy's tools, take turns on the tire horse swing and tie each other up with ropes they dug out of the barn. It was what it was. You can't force interests.

Meanwhile at the livery, Prince got ear mites, which were treated. But he became head shy, which seemed to stay. Then after three years of working, my horse, Gus, developed laminitis. That was the final straw. The time had come for the boys to come home. Money was still tight. We were (are) without a trailer and a truck big enough to haul two giant horses. Our barn and property needed (need) a lot of work to get back into proper condition for large animals. But, dammit, we were bringing the boys home, come hell or high water.

Last week, in the middle of a five day wind storm, our beloved horses blew in from Iowa. My parents graciously delivered them fresh off the pasture. They were lean, shedding and full of ticks. But they were HOME. Home to stay. Home to get their personalized backyard care. Home to get shod every eight weeks at $120 per horse. Home to eat a bale of $8-$13 hay, plus grain and supplements, per day. Home to share the barn/pen rotation with a foundered pony and a blind pony. Home to be barked at by Red Dog. Home to produce manure to clean, providing me with my daily upper body workout and potentially a few lower back blowouts. Home, so that I once again I can be fully responsible for them. And I couldn't be happier... or more stressed out.


And I can't stop singing "The boys are back in town!"

Welcome home, boys!



P.S. We are looking for a pony/horse to replace Blizzard so that everyone can ride- we're still hoping to stoke the horse interest within our kids. We would like a gelding around 50" tall that is friendly with people, gentle and broke to ride. Blizzard will be looking for a new home because of our property size limitations- if anyone wants the sweetest pony in the world, email me. He's an easy keeper with good feet. And yes, I've already shed many tears over this little pony because I love him. He's like a big dog.



Sunday, May 4, 2014

All Nostalgic and Sh*t

Last Saturday we cleaned the garage. After two trash cans and a truck bed full of garbage was removed, I was left with access to the bicycles, a new potting station, a beer refrigerator that you could actually use and a lot of memories.

Among the items in our garage, where many pieces of unused furniture. I have trouble getting rid of things that I paid for... or that were gifted to me from members of my family. I also have trouble realizing that our house is tiny and all my shit simply doesn't fit inside.

As I removed the dust from my great grandmother's bedroom vanity, I looked at the scratched finish. She passed away when I was nine and I can still taste the coffee cake that she always brought to family gatherings. The furniture had been placed in my pre-teen bedroom not long after she died. It came with an upright dresser and I was so excited to have the beautiful antiques in my very own room. As an awkward adolescent, I spent an embarrassing amount of time staring into the mirror of that vanity, wondering if I would ever be pretty... wondering if I would ever get boobs... wondering who I would grow up to be. I hung strips of lace from the mirror and attached all my earrings to it. I tucked pictures of special people under the little yellowed plastic parts that held the mirror in place. I danced and sang in my red unitard as it patiently watched me.

The top of the vanity had a botched spot in the finish where I had spilled nail polish remover as a teenager- an event that had made me cry (both the accident and the teenager.) There were many other scratches, signifying the multiple moves the dresser had made with me. Moves in my 20's, to the little blue cabin tucked away in the Ponderosa Pines on the side of a mountain and the sterile townhome plastered onto the sparse landscape of the Colorado's western slope, where my life took a downward spiral. There were claw marks from my naughty black kitten. There were scrapes and dings from each time the vanity bounced around in the bed of my truck or the back of a friend's horse trailer- making yet another relocation. It was covered in years of dirt from being moved out to the garage when I was preparing the space that it occupied in my house for the arrival of my first baby. Seven years it sat patiently, being neglected, waiting for that "addition" I like to dream about. Then reality kicked in and I called my cousin to ask her if she had room for it in her house. It was a family heirloom, and she was family. Plus, my shithole garage was overflowing with unused stuff and I needed to make some space for our camping equipment.

Crammed on a high shelf, above the many treasures of our lives, I discovered my bassinet- the creamy, handled basket with it's peachy plaid liner, in which I nestled both of my boys as newborns. On its delicate wooden stand, I rocked their tiny bodies to sleep. In my nervous, hormonal filled, postpartum state, I had hovered over the basket- watching for the rise and fall of their chests- and never feeling more relief than when I saw that little blanket move. The bassinet had many memories of precious new lives, as I had also loaned it to three friends with new babies. There was a lot of love in that bassinet- I couldn't possibly get rid of it, so I peeled the garage-sale price tag from last summer off of it and carried it into the house. I set it on one twin bed in the room that my boys share and ran my hand over the soft pad on the bottom. My uterus panged and I briefly thought about having another baby. My eyes began to well up with tears, so I grabbed a bunch of stuffed animals, rammed them into that bassinet, set it at the foot of my kid's bed and left the room. Mama ain't got time for all that emotional shit.



Later we found a dead mouse, our air mattress, my glue gun that I had been missing for three years and the actual floor of the garage, which we hadn't seen since we bought this "2-year flip house" 10 years ago.

Next stop, I plan to take another walk down memory lane in my closet. But first, I need to meander out to that garage and grab a cold beer.