Other lives.

I’ve chosen a life that I really love. I love being at home with my kids, writing in spare, sleepy hours, drinking cup after cup of coffee. I love being here for every second (well, okay, not every second. I don’t love the screaming seconds, or the clinging-to-my-leg-and-whining-while-I-try-to-load-the-dishwasher seconds. I don’t love the coming-out-of-her-room-fifteen-times-because-she-needs-a-drink-or-has-a-booger seconds), and I love writing and having pieces accepted by journals I read, and desperately seeking an agent for my book, and working on another while I submit the first, because I want my kids to know they can do these things. They can do anything. Like the Country Bunny, they can have it all, and I so want to be that example to them.

But as much as I love the life I’m living, I am eternally grateful that there are other lives. Particularly lives that are lived by other writers, so that I can experience them, too.

About a million years ago, I went to Juniper Summer Writing Institute, where I learned from some of the most wonderful writers on the planet, including Paul Lisicky and Mark Doty, who are so, so lovely. 

I’m going to step aside from this narrative for a second to admit to one of the most awkward things I’ve ever done. My blog is the confessional, and you are the priest, reader. You’re about to feel mortified for and with me. When I knew Mark and Paul, they were a couple. Years later, when Mark announced that his partner had proposed to him, I commented on his Facebook post (oh God, I am beet red just remembering this), “So many congratulations to you and Paul!”

You can kind of guess what happened next, right? Mark thanked me, and said, “But I’m talking about my partner. Paul and I haven’t been together for awhile, now.” (Oh God oh God oh God. Mortifying.) 

Anyway. Juniper was another life, and it was fabulous. I met another writer in the program named Elisa, and I’ve been guilty pleasure-reading her blog, Elisa Writes. She blogs about her life in Paris, traveling all over Europe, and all kinds of wonderfully scandalous goings on that are so very different from my own life. Thank goodness for writers with different lives.

In grad school at Hamline, I met one of my best friends in the whole world. She’s my diary. She’s my Diane. And while her life is actually pretty eerily similar to mine (our kids are the same ages, our husbands are gingery, we have a similar appetite for books), it’s still a different life. I love reading about it. Her blog is called Supergirls in Wonderland, and it’s wonderful. It makes me feel like I’m in Indiana with her, raising our kiddos next door. 

Rachel is someone whose blog, Fellow Passengers, I like to read when I’m feeling stressed out. Her life on the farm with her three girls is always beautifully photographed and written, and it’s a good fix when I’m wishing for a quieter day. 

Anyway, you should read these blogs. I love them.



Is it Thursday already?

Time flies when you’re having… Toddlers. 

Maddie has ballet on Thursdays. She loves ballet. And she loves her ballet teacher, who (sadly!) is moving to Disney. Well, to Florida. But really, to Disney. (Sad for us, of course. Not sad for her. Pretty awesome for her, because Disney!

So we’ll be on the hunt for a new ballet class. One of the moms at ballet today told us about an Angelina Ballerina dance studio in Renton (as in, our Renton. As in, where our little blue house is), and the kids get to wear mouse ears and everything. I mean, how cute is that?! 

In any case, Maddie will get to keep dancing if that’s what she wants to do.

There is nothing cuter than teeny ballet shoes.

While I was nursing Simon before his nap, I found out that there will be a Frozen 2. Maddie is going to lose her mind over this! She’s all about Anna. I texted Zach about it, and looked briefly at our texting history from today. His texts are all about the new house and appraisals and important things. Mine are about Frozen. But you know, I think I add levity to his days. I think he probably really appreciates it.

This is Simon’s precious post-nursing, pre-nap face.

I sing “Goodnight, My Simon” to the tune of “Goodnight, My Someone” before every nap and at bedtime, and he sleeps for these wonderfully long hours, now. Maybe it’s a growth spurt, or maybe he’s just turning into a fabulous sleeper. I really hope for the latter.

Maddie is watching Ziploc commercials on YouTube just now (she really likes the Little Beasts ones) and Simon’s snoring away, so I’m going to make a cup of instant coffee (not a permanent substitute, let me assure you. Just a temporary one until the BUNN arrives next week) and catch up on reading some blogs.

Have I mentioned that my mom is coming on Tuesday? My mom is coming on Tuesday! 


Not all bad, not all good.

I have this awful habit where I call a day bad if a few bad things happened, and I call it good if ONLY good things have happened. I’ve got to knock that off.

So, with that in mind, we had a good experience at Music Together this morning. Both kids had a lot of fun. Ms. G. busted out the parachute, and that is always a major hit with Maddie and Simon.

We had a good experience at the library, where Maddie insisted on checking out several books about winter and snow. I thought about fighting it. I thought about telling her how much I was looking forward to checking out books about spring, but then I thought: “Renee, you are an adult. Let her get the winter books, and if you want to read Lily’s Victory Garden or Miss Rumphius, just do it, for Pete’s sake.”

Let’s talk about how much I love Miss Rumphius one of these days.

We had a bad experience at the train park. I wore Simon in the Ergo carrier and Maddie and I held hands and walked there from the apartment, so I didn’t have to deal with the stroller. I asked her to use the bathroom before we left. I told her we’d have to come home if there was an accident. Ten minutes after Becky and her kids arrived, there was an accident. A wretchedly stinky accident. So we went home, because a.) I’m trying to be consistent and b.) things were very stinky. Maddie screamed her head off the entire walk home. It was a bummer. (Heh heh. Bummer. Because there was also poop.) 

Potty training is quite a thing. Maddie is 100% potty trained… IF she is completely nude from the waist down. But put a pair of pants on her and it’s Poop City.

And you know what? No one enjoys Poop City. No one.

Well, maybe dung beetles do.

Now I’m hiding from my children for a few and scarfing a good (nay, delicious) Nature Valley blueberry oatmeal square. Ramona (the younger and fluffier of our two cats) also believes this to be a good moment.

So, it hasn’t been all bad. Or all good. Stinkier than hoped for, I will say.