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Thursday, May 28, 2009


I'm starting to get a complex. You see, while I would consider myself a lesbian of the lipstick variety, I don't really think I am over the top as far as primping and self-maintenance. I mean, when the weather allows, I style my hair by putting my head out the window while I drive, I use 12 hour lipstick so I don't have to bother reapplying and I wear a hair elastic on my wrist rather than a bracelet because my hair will inevitably end up back before the day is out. The extent of my beauty rituals include some necessary concealer and a brush of eyeshadow and a quick straightening of my hair a few days out of the week.

But if you would watch the girls, you would make up a different kind of a story.

Ella has taken to "getting ready" in the morning. She goes in the bathroom, wets her hair and then places any number of unrelated hair accessories in the tangle of hair and presents herself to us, usually with bangs pushed back punk rocker style behind a bejeweled headband. Sometimes she forgoes the wetting and simply brushes her hair until it shines (which for sure beats having us comb it like a whisper while she screams in torture.) I heard myself say to her the other day, "Look, you can have the sink to fix your hair as soon as I'm done."

Wait, is she really only four? What does this mean for us?

She has taken to picking out her clothes the night before to minimize the stress of making the choice first thing in the morning before she has had her coffee. She is currently attending a camp at her preschool made especially for little girls just like her- glamour camp. They are dressing up, making lipgloss, having tea parties in fancy dresses and doing their nails.

I've realized it isn't possible to make a child into this. They are simply born with it. The other day she redecorated her entire bed, lining up blankets, pillows and animals just so and hanging other blankets artistically from her canopy. She spent a good 30 minutes alone in her room doing this before the big reveal.

You see, I wouldn't have a complex so much if it was only Ella who had shown an increase in the primping. But the other day, I stepped out of the shower to see Maya with her finger jammed into a tube of toothpaste. She pulled her finger out and then wiped the green paste on her cheek. I looked more closely and saw the remnants of every other toiletry she had managed to open smeared across her cheeks.

People, tell me honestly, do we need more male role models around here?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

wake-up call

Maya has been waking up earlier and earlier every day. This morning it was 4 a.m. with a small rest in the bed until 4:25.

All I can say is that I think I might lose my mind if this moves to the 3 o'clock hour.

The one saving grace is TiVo. I catch up on my daytime TV while I try to unplug my eyelids, gather up the necessary sippy cup and Cheerios to sustain some long range plans for snuggling in the recliner. And then Oprah, Ellen, Maya and I all sit down to visit. And two pots of tea.

I knew I hadn't had much sleep when the tears started. I was watching an Oprah episode about a mom of three who had been in jail for stealing and getting high on heroin. She was about to be reunited with her kids after a 900 day incarceration. I cried like she was returning home from war or from a close-call operation. I cried like I related to her, as though I could find myself in this situation with my kids not really knowing who I am.

Then I remembered that I don't shoot heroin and that, unless it becomes a felony to eat too many chocolate chips on a spoon with peanut butter, I will probably not lose my kids.

On to bigger and better things...President Obama's announcement of the Supreme Court Judicial Nominee, Sonya Sotomayor. I am feeling happy and proud of this woman, a 54-year-old Puerto Rican who has worked her life for this honor. Then the President starts talking about how her parents came here with nothing, her father had a 3rd grade education and they lived in the housing projects in the Bronx. Oh, boy... Her dad died when she was a kid and her mom worked two jobs to support she and her brother, buying them the only set of Encyclopedias on the block.

Then Judge Sotomayor speaks and I come unglued. She says, "I sit on the shoulders of countless people, yet there is one extraordinary person who is my life aspiration. That person is my mother. I am all that I am because of her."

The lady from jail thanked her mom for caring for her kids during her imprisonment. The judge is thanking her mom for a her supreme court nomination. Apples and oranges but moms are moms.

And this one has been up since 4 a.m.

I better get a shout out when my girls are giving their Oscar acceptance speeches or winning Wimbleton.

Monday, May 25, 2009

More pics people!

Sandi's master mind at work...

My garden

Can't you just smell them?

Who says a skirt and dirt don't mix?

fun in Carver playland

Photographer and Editor: Suzanne Carver
Blog photo downloader: Suzanne Carver
Producer/Director: Suzanne Carver
Writer: Suzanne Carver

Dedication: To my dear friend Angela, who asked me why I was getting the camera out since I couldn't do anything with the pictures anyway... eat your heart out.

We had some fun at Casa de Carver last week on a beautiful sunny, smacking of summer afternoon. The only difference was that Emilie and kids came from school instead of a day romping around and making bread, swimming, sewing quilts,reading books and perfecting her physique that would be typical for a summer day.
The pictures say it all.

Where there's food...

Couldn't get this photo to be clear because she was going SO fast.

It was a long trip down...

Ella calls these "heart bleeding"

A personal favorite...


Yes, there is even a tent. Anna is the gatekeeper.

Happy kids = Happy Moms

Pudding pops. Ahhhh...

Maya, in her truest form.

Reedo. Plain and Simple.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ella's Big Day

Ella and Brady had their last day of preschool last Thursday. It was utterly adorable and left me emotionally bereft. I cried through a good portion of it. I just couldn't believe that her first year of school was coming to an end and I cannot get over the transformation of a timid, quiet, nervous Ella into the expressive, brave and confident little girl who graces each of our days and who has drawn an even richer outline around my heart.

The teachers kept telling us to love them, enjoy them, hug them now because before we knew it they would be graduating from college. STOP IT! I wanted to yell and then wanted them to keep reminding me, remind me every day so I never complacently sit back and forget to relish them in each moment.

Note how Ella and Brady are next to each other in almost every picture.

Maya was making the rounds...

They put the social in ice cream social. I tell you, there are as many different ways to make ice cream sundaes as there are kids to make them- from vanilla ice cream with 15 cherries to a bowl full of sprinkles and whipped cream to the old standard of fudge sauce, marshmallows, melty ice cream and sticky fingers...


Maya, for a change, in the eye of Ella's storm.

The kids made these sweet ceramic squares with their darling handprints on them. Each child stood on the stairs while the teachers read the answers to two questions the children had answered: What do you want to be/do when you grow up? and What was your favorite thing about preschool?

Ella said when she grew up she wanted to be able to do a somersault (as in the forward roll with magic hands in gymnastics that requires her to roll over and stand right up with her hands in the air and which will earn her a medal when she masters it which she has been working on for 3 months.) Her favorite thing about preschool? Why, playing with Brady of course.

Some top answers to what do you want to be when you grow up were: a bunny rabbit, a fire truck, a rockstar, and Brady's answer was my absolute favorite "my parents"- now come on... they must have prompted him (just kidding Ange.)

Ella's solo

B's big moment

Could someone please bring me my ice cream?

A whole class of Teddy Bears.

We must have told Ella 100 times just how proud we were of her. By the time Sandi had told her on time #99, she said, "Yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone's SO proud of me."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

zzzzz's quiz

Okay folks... you need to step it up and respond to this pressing question. I promise I won't judge or scoff at you. I need parents and non-parents to answer. Here goes...

How many hours of sleep do you get on average?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

back on the horse

I really wanted to go for a run today. Needed to go for a run. As in, needed to get back on the horse after my last Wednesday fiasco.

Sandi let me know when she was leaving the hospital via bike and I waited in the driveway at the designated time, ipod at the ready, headlamp fastened to my forehead, last minute stretches being performed, waiting to see her flashing light coming up the street. You see it was 8 p.m. and I needed to get moving in order to squeak every bit of daylight out of the evening. I could have passed the baby monitor off to her like the baton. She pulled in and I took off. The relay of the fitness minded moms...

I'm happy to report my legs were not only not rusty but they had the power of a greyhound sprung from the gate. I ran and ran, hitting my stride around 4 miles, a sign I am realizing of a long distance runner, just as darkness fully engulfed me. I smiled and ran, thrilled to overflowing that I had not lost it. You see, I was afraid to admit that maybe running for me really was a fluke and my honeymoon had ended.

I came home and logged tonight's run on and finally went back and logged my last Wednesday run that I apparently was too disappointed to care enough to record. The kicker was that I had miscalculated my modified course. It wasn't 9 miles but 10.6 and, even with walking some of it, I averaged a 10:49 minute mile. Again with the perspective...

Oh, and as a side note, I now know that there are people everywhere, even on days as glorious as this one, who can get under my skin if I let them. I am such an external optimist I cannot help but think people are good- almost naively at times. I think people are fair, open-minded, and honest. But then there are people like the man ahead of me in traffic today who had a bumper sticker that said "1-23-13 Obama's Last Day" and I wanted to ram my car right into his back seat...

life...figured out

Some things we've figured out:

Ella has mastered the very important life skill of blowing on a skeletal dandelion to make it snow in the air.

Maya has determined that in addition to hitting other people when she is angry, it is simply closer and thus more efficient for her to strike herself.

I have learned that the only way to cure the lawn of a really bad looking hair cut is the tried and true weed wack. And that Marden's is the cheapest place to buy mulch. And that the only downside to gardening each night until dark is that you can't really admire your work, although it makes waking up at 5 a.m. all the more rewarding.

I now understand the power of chocolate pudding frozen into a popsicle mold, really good sunscreen, the need to have permission to change clothes several times a day and the merit of fresh, organic veggies from Ella's preschool friend's family until the farm share begins in a couple of weeks.

I also know now that it could be considered a sign of progress that I am not always sure the last time that I showered.

Sandi has figured out that she loves to ride her bike to work. If you see strobe lights up ahead before 6 a.m. or close to 8 p.m. on the Main Rd. it's likely her.

I have decided that it makes me ridiculously happy to beautify my little corner of the world.

Ella has learned some new ways of determining things- specifically psychic connection. At lunch today she said to me, "My spirit tells me that that is not a good idea."

Monday, May 18, 2009


Ella was coloring Swiper the Fox (as in from Dora the Explorer.)

"Look Mom! Come see what I did!"

I went in to see poor Swiper had one red eye.

"He has pink eye!" she announced proudly.

Oh, brother...

My Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend- yard work, sun, BBQ, summer kick off... Sandi ends up working almost every year and this year, almost accidentally, we celebrated early. No BBQ but we had the sun (one day) and we had the yard work for sure. And summer? Well just ask Ella who was out in the yard, rubber lady bugs boot full of mud and on top? Why a lovely, flowing summer halter dress no less. She was digging in the dirt, climbing trees and getting soaked by the hose- all while dressed for a formal dinner. And if the dirty threshold was met? She would disappear into the house and come out literally about 20 minutes later with a new, fancier outfit on.

It is a crying shame I don't have photos. I promise. This is next on my list. Learn how to use the damn camera- oh, and the computer while you're at it.

For whatever reason, I haven't been able to get back on the running horse since my misadventure last week. I kind of have a (mostly) irrational fear that I will not be able to run home and that I will be stranded somewhere in Hampden. But, no worries, for the past few days I have replaced my somewhat compulsive running with marathon gardening.

My perennial garden has gotten a full face lift- weed-free, relocation of the plants that were in a traffic pile-up and choking each other, yummy, velvety mulch sitting like skirts beneath each plant and now, beautiful landscaping ties as a real border giving my garden a classy look. (I promise I will take some pictures!) I have worked until dark for the past three days, and even in the rain yesterday morning because I want so much to be out there. Ella helped me plant, water and mulch what we now call "Ella's garden" (a small jetty off the main garden) and Maya helped by taking all the mulch and tossing it on to the lawn.

We had some much needed family time frolicking and working around our yard, cleaning the garage, swinging on the playset, mowing the lawn, decorating and finding summer toys. Our backyard is reminiscent of an amusement park right now. Sounds a lot like Memorial Day weekend doesn't it? And what I would give to have this as the bonus Monday holiday but, alas, Sandi is back at work...

As a p.s...

Ella asked me, "Momma, can you just stay home forever?"

The other night before bed: "I can't wait to have kids of my own." (yikes...)

To Brady, standing in the driveway admiring their bikes after their preschool bike parade: "Um, I hate to tell you Brady, but you've got a spider on your bike."

One of Ella's common things to say, thumb in mouth, security blanket at the ready, tired eyes on: "Momma, can we snuggle when we get home?" I said, "Sure. I wonder if there will be a time that you don't want to snuggle with me." She looked very serious and then rubbed yellow blankie along her cheek as she does when she is tired. "I will want to snuggle with you forever."

Oh, God. If only that were true...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

reality check

For those of you who think I am completely barking mad, allow me to share with you the level of my insanity.

Today promised to be one of the nicest days of the week and, due to schedule constrictions/negotiations and my preference to run early in the day, especially a long run, I decided to run EARLY this morning. As in, woke up at 4:30 a.m. aiming to run a very ambitious 12 miles.

Now this is only 1 mile more than my furthest run so far. This didn't seem out of the realm of possibility. Emilie warned me I might hit the "wall" going so bleeding early in the morning but I felt confident that, being the morning person I am (read: have been forced to become) along with the added incentive of running without so much traffic, I would be fine.

Enter in some crucial long distance running lessons...

1. If you wake at 4:30 a.m. feeling nauseated after a restless night with a crying baby and some difficulty breathing, best to ignore the alarm when it attempts to remind you of your lofty goals. Especially if you feel like you might get the runs.

2. If you want to exercise the day before a big run, best to lay off the lunges. (I swear it wasn't that many and they rarely make me sore, but, HELLO! to the exception.)

3. If you plan a 2 hour run, for heaven's sake, eat more the night before.

I didn't do the extra loop that would have made the trek 12 miles. Let's be honest, I almost didn't finish the entire 9 miles of the modified course. I ended up tired, queasy, deficient on oxygen and with an overall sense that I just couldn't keep running. I probably walked (yes, WALKED) about 1.5 miles as it was. And I'm not sure why I am writing this in the form of True Confessions, except to say that I had a huge reality check as I kept my tired body in motion back to my car.

I may have run slower, I may have struggled, the hills might as well have been Mt. Kilimanjaro, I may have walked, I may have fallen short of my goal... But, hello Suzanne, you still did a 9 mile course! You still got aerobic exercise for 2 hours! You learned valuable lessons and proved to yourself that you are an athlete- one who knows how to listen to her body, stop when it says stop, modify when needed and praise it for its hard work instead of beating it with a stick of perfectionism. Plus... this morning's run made me appreciate how happy and able bodied I feel most of the rest of the time when I'm running...

And I was able to return home in time for Sandi to get to work and shower in a time frame acceptable to the sweat-phobic Ella.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Can you spell relief? P-U-M-P

Miraculously, my new electronic pancreas arrived at my door from California a mere 15 hours after it broke. It is programmed and up and running and shiny and new and purple.

And I'm happy as a peach. Ahh, the power of insulin.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Technologically oh, so insufficient

This happens to me once about every 2-3 years. And when it does, I hold back tears, pray a little, try to imagine what it would be like to feel Valium coursing comfortingly through my veins and I dial the toll free crisis- I mean clinical support-line.

My insulin pump is down.

For me, people, this is like cutting off my arm and watching it lie disobediently on the floor all the while being told it will be sewn back on tomorrow and it will all be fine but not being able to fully comprehend just how far away tomorrow is or if the person saying this is telling you a lie to prevent a total freak-out.

So, the buttons malfunctioned this evening and the pump can do nothing now. It is completely dead- as in no more insulin delivery- as in get out the syringes and the insulin bottle and wake up every 2-3 hours in the night to give myself the insulin the pump SHOULD be giving me. I might as well just rub sticks together to get the fire going and go shoot some supper in the back woods. I know, you think I'm overreacting but this is a BIG FREAKING DEAL for me.

The good news is that a shiny new, button-working replacement will be here by 10:30 a.m. Good work Medtronic Diabetes. You get an A+ in customer service.

And for now, this very technologically dependent diabetic is flying solo, no indiglo pancreas, no continuous infusion of insulin, no blood sugar reading from my sensor every 5 minutes, no bolus wizard. Alas, I feel naked and vulnerable but I will be up and running as the advanced, PhD candidate diabetic I strive to be before noon tomorrow...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

love, fashion and quaratine

Lately when Ella and I put Maya down for a nap, after we shut the door and can hear Maya making her settling noises and flopping around a bit in her crib, Ella goes right up to the crack in the door and whispers, "I love you Baby Girl. Have a good nap. We'll see you soon."

Can't you just feel that love? Don't you want to roll it up and smoke it?

Sandi's mom gave the girls some "get well" money this week since they had to miss a trip to Beals (and I got to go alone with four glorious hours of driving solo and not having to pack sippy cups or listen to Little Einsteins!) since Ella was sick. Sick like needed prednisone to open her bronchitis ridden airways so she could breath. Oh, and a double ear infection to push our level of insanity even further over the edge. (Yes, I know, Maria...the bubble family.) Seriously, though we did quarantine and didn't go out until the germs were under reasonable control to spend said get well money. Who knew we could make money for sick kids? We should be freakin millionaires.

Can you guess what Ella wanted to spend hers on?

We spent easily 45 minutes in the Children's Place selecting dresses and skirts, trying them on in the dressing room (while one of us chased Maya the escape artist who would scurry under the door as soon as attention was diverted) and then twirling in front of the three-way mirror. We tried to do some lessons in math to keep her within her spending budget because seriously, if we don't stop now, we can forget helping with college. It would take a lot of thinking for me to come up with the last memory I have of Ella looking as happy as she did, with the mile-wide grin and the sparkling eyes as she made her way around her domain of clothing. The money went very far in helping her feel well.

But the clincher? She is in full accessory mode including shoes, jewelry and hair adornment, has taken to wetting her hair with water and "styling" it in the morning and often cries (actually cries! when she can't find shoes "pretty enough" to wear with an outfit. She selected a headband and sunglasses at the store and said to Sandi, "Now do I look like a real rock star?"

And yesterday when I told her that Tia was downstairs, she called to me, "Show her up."

Are you kidding me?

And here is Maya, in stark contrast... We were grocery shopping at Hannaford, where it turns out the really nice people work, and Maya was eating cranberries from the newly opened bag. As we neared the frozen section a very nice employee stopped me to alert me of a "small" spill that had occurred. I turned and saw the wake of a cranberry explosion behind me and Maya, chubby fist stuffed in the now empty cranberry bag and a grin. I swear if he hadn't told me, I would have gotten to the check-out and thought she ate them all. This man actually fetched me a new bag, cleaned up the cranberry massacre and said it was no different that an accidental spill and told me it was no charge. I feel like I should carry some sort of warning or insurance when we go out with Baby Distructo.

About five minutes after this, she who can open everything, opened her sippy cup full of water in the car (and now soaking through her clothing) and looked at me with a goofy grin, her pink Boston Red Sox cap with the bill off to one side all very reminiscent of Dennis the Menace. This morning she brought me a bag of popcorn she had snatched from a bag I have packed to go to my sister's this afternoon, told me with her hands in no uncertain gestures that she wanted it and then threw a full out, feet and fists stomping on the floor tantrum when I wouldn't let her eat it for breakfast.

Could these children be more different?

Okay, and one quick HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the mothers out there. Hat off and low bow to you. Because there is no husband fawning over the mother in this household, Mother's Day is a bit downplayed here. Kind of like, yeah, we're equals, good job, I cleaned up poop this morning, you were up all night, rock on. I got some awesome new running clothes and my big request (which I got in addition to pink eye this morning) was to get to go for a run this morning before Sandi left for work which meant she had to get ready and be on Maya-climbing-on-all-the-furniture-and-tearing-the-house-apart duty. She got a new pair of sneakers- which she picked out and bought by herself and we made her a pan of her favorite-Rice Krispy treats- and bought her a Sam Adam's variety pack to aid her on her new beer conisiour thing. Plus a painting by Ella that said "I love you xo." What could be better?
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