Friday, October 24, 2008

Second-Hand Rose

I am a true second-hand shopper. I love consignment shops and thrift stores. I find it more enjoyable to pick through a full rack of shirts, sweaters, and pants of all different colors, styles, brands, and, well, former owners, than shopping in "real" stores.

Except for undergarments. I do have boundaries. I'm not wearing someone else's skivvies where the sun don't shine.

Shopping second-hand is also essential for my budget. I simply can't afford to shop at regular department stores. I mean I'm a regular Joe Six-pack with a Main Street Joe the Plumber standard of living. True middle class, baby.

Although I admit, I do take the occasional escape to TJ Maxx to scour their clearance racks where this weekend I can get a $10 clearance blouse for 25% off! They are having a sale on their clearance items this weekend!

Second-hand stores and clearance racks. Yep. That's me. Things are tight right now.

And then I saw this. At first I was merely checking out the hip outfit so that I could go and duplicate the fashion at one of my favorite clothing haunts.

But then I looked more closely.

Let me say that I think Piper is darn cute. And frankly, I like her name. How couldn't I? I named my girl Harper.

But this is pitiful.

I mean, come on. McDonald's? Yuck. What is this teaching our children?

McDonald's? Please. Let's get the girl some food with nutritional value. Can't they afford to feed her properly on the campaign trail?!

Ok, I admit, I do take my kids to McDonald's once or twice a month, but I think the Republican National Committee can afford to spend a little more on Piper's diet.

It's wrong. Really wrong.

Oh, and one more thing.

Can I have the Louis Vutton bag when they donate it to charity?

Is there a list of some sort where I can jot my name down to be considered as its next owner?

I mean I really like the bag. Oh, I realize Piper is 7, so really I should give the bag to Harper, my 7 year old, but I kind of want a Louis Vutton for myself. My 39 year old self.

But, that's ok, I can just wait and see if one pops up at the local Junior League.

I found a real Gucci once.

Maybe I'll get lucky again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hey, Boo.

If you know me well, then you know that I am obsessed with Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird". It was the first book I remember reading which made a lasting impression on me. And while I wanted to name my first born Scout, I just couldn't, as Demi Moore had just done so, and I was sure that people would think I was attempting to go Hollywood.

It was Andrew Bernstein, my neighbor when we lived in the condo on Monroe Street, who actually gave us the idea for Harper's name. I think it went something like this,

"Why don't you name the baby Harper if it's a girl?"

It was perfect.

Now, my Grandma's name is Lee, but seriously, could I really name my first born Harper Lee? No one would even believe that the middle name was her Great Great Grandmother's name. No, they would just see . . . Hollywood. And, out of respect for Harper Lee herself, who would find it absolutely ridiculous that one would even name a child after her, I decided against Lee as the middle name. Instead we went with Ella, after George's Grandmother.

I've told Harper how much I love reading and have shown her the card, above, which is actually in her baby book - a vision of a quality I saw in the daughter I carried. A painted prayer, if you will, that my daughter would embrace reading as I do.

So, you can imagine my glee when Harper came home from school today with her very own paperback copy of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone".

"Mom, look what I bought at the school bookstore!"

Harper has an account so that periodically throughout the school year she can choose and purchase the books of her choice.

"Honey, we have all the Harry Potter books", I answered, secretly excited that she had chosen the books (as she also picked up "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"), but thinking more about the money wasted on books we already owned, rather than the fact that Harper had made her own choice.

"Yeah, but they are too big and heavy to hold."

She had a point.

She then ran upstairs, settled into the beanbag chair under her loft and read Harry Potter.

I found her in bed later that evening finishing Chapter One.

The funny thing is . . . I first began reading Harry Potter while pregnant with Harper. In fact, I remember clearly my father purchasing one of the books for me the summer of my pregnancy with her.

And now? She's hooked.

I am awestruck at how much she has grown since February when we first began to investigate options for helping her. She has had an incredible inner growth spurt this year. Incredible. She's vivacious, inquisitive, enthusiastic, funny, effervescent, imaginative, and becoming more and more of a risk taker.

Many have told met that she's a new kid.

Nope. She's my old kid. Returned. As all those adjectives above actually described Harper at age 3 and 4. They just quietly disappeared around 5, and have now begun to resurface.

And wouldn't you know, that after all the discussion I've had with her about my favorite book and my favorite line in a book, she now knows that she can just tug at Mom's heartstrings by simply tilting her head, staring at me with those huge, expressive blue eyes, and muttering, "Hey, Boo."

I love that line. Scout discovering Boo for the very first time and yet realizing that even though they'd never actually met until that fateful night, she had truly known the real Boo all along.

Hey, Harper.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Name Game


I'm not sure I've ever sung The Name Game with name of a presidential candidate in the lyrics.

Obama's name is perfect for this song. Apparently, the folks over at Lowercase Tee thought the same thing - before I did - thus cashing in on it.

So, we're singing it the other night while enjoying one of our favorite Evanston traditions of eating pizza at a window seat in Whole Foods while waving to people on the street who seem like they need a lift, hoping our waves will get a smile and a wave in response, when my hilarious daughter goes deadpan and says,

"I like that song. You just can't rhyme McCain."

We decided at that moment to take the kids to the local democratic office so that they could see how volunteers help with a campaign.

There were people on the phone, buttons being made, posters everywhere. Even an Obama clock.

That was a little much.

I would like a bumper sticker stating, "I'm voting for THAT GUY".

And Harper found that McCain could be rhymed. With "the same". McCain: more of the same.

Walking into that office was a far cry from 2004 when I marched into the Republican Office to share my support of Bush after passing someone on the street wearing a t-shirt that said, "Bush is a terrorist".

I've changed.

And my children are going to witness history. Incredible history - for a nation, which, in my opinion, is still racist.

Harper will be having an election in her class, so I am currently hunting for material that states the candiates platforms in a language she can understand, for even though we are an Obama household, I'd like to see who she would choose on her own.

I think Obama has the edge, though. Afterall, he's got the cool song.


Recently, George began reading "The Hobbit" to Harper and Zane. They are really enjoying it.

Not to be outdone by my husband, I decided to begin reading the Harry Potter series to Harper. Zane listens while playing with blocks or Lego's on the floor, and just like when we read "Prince Caspian" is actually catching the major themes of the story. This is evidenced by his outfitting two kids at the park with magic wands (sticks) at the park today.

I love reading chapter books to my kids.

Yes, they really do sit and listen.

No, they don't constantly ask, "Where is the picture?"

Harper and I have read "Little House in the Big Woods", "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe", "The Incredible Journey of Edward Tulane", "Prince Caspian", "Because of Winn Dixie", etc. In fact, Harper has become a fan of Kate Dicamillo, and is now reading a series she's written about a pig named Mercy. It's cool that she is finding authors that she enjoys. Her ultimate favorite has got to be Mo Willems. She is really coming into her own with reading, even enjoying a A to Z Mysteries which she'll read while curled up in bed at night. I have this vision of her staying up completely passed her bedtime reading under the covers with a flashlight. Yes, I'd be overjoyed if she were that kid.

I've always prayed that my children would have a love of reading. And for Harper, that spark has really been ignited this year as her confidence with reading has grown.

And, now, I get to read Harry Potter again! WITH VOICES! And I get to delight in my son coming down the stairs covered in a blanket proclaiming to be Hagrid, "who is a giant".

What I need to find are stories about robots for my little man. And beavers. We're still on beavers. In fact, we're on to being robot beavers. He's my little imaginative robot beaver.

Thank you, my dear treasures, for allowing me the ultimate pleasure of reading great books to you.

And thank you for finally allowing me to do the voices!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Quotable Zane

"Mommy, you are so cute."

"No, Mommy, you are actually so sweet."

"Well, actually, Mommy, you are CHOCOLATE SWEET."

Now that is a compliment. Especially from Zane.

And lately, my son has been completely into beavers. Being a beaver. Talking about beavers. Sharing everything he knows about beavers.

And where did he suddenly pick up all this valuable information?

"I learned about beavers in school. With my mind."

School for Little Children is indeed an ivy league in early childhood education.

And the study of beavers.

And I'm sure more quotable moments are coming down the pike. George is currently reading The Hobbit to the kids, Zane just watched the first two Harry Potter movies, and is now, at this very moment, watching the second Star Wars film.

As much as I kind of hate to admit it, Zane likes "scary" stuff, and robots, (and beavers), so any concern I had about him listening to The Hobbit or watching these particular movies, I've replaced with actual conversation about what he is hearing and seeing.

So, yeah, for such a brilliant mind, one would think he could just use the toilet on his own.

Ha. Yeah. We can only hope.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Little Wise Guy

Just look at him. Snuggler and cuddler one minute, and master manipulator the next.

After listening to Zane play for an hour and a half in his bed, during what was supposed to be naptime, I enter his room to ask him if he even tried to sleep.

"Zane, it's naptime! Did you sleep?"

Pause. Cute eyes. Sweet cheeks.

"Well, I did put my head on the pillow."

Head tilt. The non-verbal equivalent of saying, "Aren't I irresistibly adorable?"

Dumping in the Pull-Up
I'm thinking that Zane has done his daily unload, and yet I'm not sure. Rather than checking, I ask him, point blank, whether he has gone, as we are working tirelessly on teaching him about telling the truth and lying.

"Zane, did you poop in your Pull-Up?"


"Zane, are you telling Mommy the truth?"

"Yes. I didn't poop."

"Good. I won't be mad if you pooped. But I will be angry if you are lying."

"Well, lying IS a problem."

Glad he thought so. He missed out on movie night due to lying. A mother's nose knows.

Upon entering his room after a long nap. His, not mine - are you kidding?

"Oh, here comes my cute Mommy!"

Aw, cut it out, will you?

Friday, October 3, 2008

I Have a Bow and Arrow and I Know How To Use Them!

Dear Indian Scout punk,

Yeah, I know all about how you were smitten by my daughter last weekend. Your little Indian Scout cronie ratted you out in the buffet line at dinner. I wasn't sure I overheard the exchange correctly when he yelled, "Hey, girl in the red tank top! He likes you!", but a member of my tribe confirmed that she indeed had a suitor.

Hey, pal, how old are you anyway? 8? 9? Are we seriously in the "liking" stage at this point in your development?

So, what was it about Harper that had your heart all up in a-twitter?

Was it the fact that she could match you arrow for arrow on the archery range?

If so, I should warn you.

So can her mother.

I know there is a stereotype about the actual Indian Chief of the family, dear old Dad, being the one going all back-woods crazy over a boy coming a callin' on his daughter. And that may be true. For most families.

But in this family? It's Mama who can wield a bow and arrow.

And while I don't own a compound bow (yet), acquiring one is only a Craig's List click away.

Whiz . . .

Missed you on purpose. This time.

Here's to your natural development,
Harper's bada*% Mother

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Has green living created a class system? Of sorts?

A world where we all take on different shades of green to reveal just how earth friendly we actually are?

Think about it.

Are there green snobs? Those who wear a darker, richer shade of green than others?

I'm just asking.

In our home we use the right light bulbs, recycle, attempt to compost in George's handmade composter, have replaced paper towels with microfiber cloths, have reuseable water bottles and won't buy bottled water, purchase recycled toilet paper, use green cleaners and rechargeable batteries, own one car, donate unneeded belongings and try to repurchase second-hand in order to cut down on waste, and are doing our best to make changes that better our lives and our environment.

And yet, we're not totally there.

Zane wears disposable pullups: although I am delighted to say that while wearing underwear in the house today he took the initiative to do the deed on the toilet. I like my skin care products: they are not all natural or organic or paraben free. Alot of paper doesn't get recycled: just check the trashcan under my desk. Food gets thrown away every day: I didn't polish off the entire box of macaroni and cheese today - the last remaining bits found a new home in the trash. I can't afford to go organic and shop exclusively with local farmers: Whole Foods is out of my league. And yes, sometimes, I throw away plastic bags.

Does this make me light green? I ask because sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, I feel sub par when in the presence of the kelly green's of our world.

Maybe it's just me, but I sense the lingering scent of an "us" and "them" mentality.

Is it just me?

So, what shade of green are you?


a work in magnadoodle