Thirty (30!) Months with Alvie Bean

Oh, my dearest darling Bean (“I not a Bean, I a Banana!”),

I tried to give you away on Facebook this month. I didn’t get any takers. There were a couple trade-in offers, but that made me a leetle bit skeptical. You are such a wonderful child, but oh! you can be challenging. There is no end in sight to your barrier testing. You are mercurial. You will kick and hit and then say “sowwy” and offer unprompted kisses.

“You mad mommy? You mad and sad and angwy and fwustwated?”

Yes, Bean. I am all of those things.

Watching you figure out emotions – yours and others – is an interesting if occasionally (often?) frustrating process for me. I’m sure this isn’t the last time I’ll say this, but I have felt more like my bad mom days are outweighing my good mom days lately.

The Crankosaurus Rex does not WANT to go home.

The Crankosaurus Rex does not WANT to go home.

You follow up those challenging moments with such wonderful ones, though. Your sense of wonder is amazing.



You are delighted with the world around you. And you are so freaking smart. This morning as we were driving to daycare, you asked where my car keys were. When I said they were in the ignition and rattled them for effect, you said, “They make engine go, right? And engine makes car go.”

And then I was shocked. And awed. Which is pretty much how I always feel around you.

Of course you're already reading at a college level. Almost.

Of course you’re already reading at a college level. Almost.

You love words and spelling. You will spell out everything you see. “What’s that word, mommy?” You like to guess. Your bathroom stool is a Cosco brand, and you will spell it out and say, “That spell stool?” Logical guess, Bean, but no.

We were driving the other day, and you saw a billboard. “O-M-S-I. That spell OMSI, Mommy. I go OMSI.”

You have stars on your ceiling and planets dangling. You like to talk to (and about) the planets, and you recognize some of them in other places. When you see pictures of Jupiter or Saturn, you totally know what’s what.

You are, in short, amazing.




Of course, you’re also two. You have…quirks. We cut your hair last weekend. Or at least half of it. Then you declared that it hurt and would have no more of that. So you have half of an almost cute haircut.

Yeah...I don't know either.

Yeah…I don’t know either.

You love to build with your LEGOS

I build fire tower!

I build fire tower!

And play ball

I catch it!

I catch it!

And help around the house

I helping you eat them.

I help you eat them.

You hated me being sick, and would say, repeatedly (oh, so repeatedly), “Mommy, you not sick? You happy now, okay? Okay.” And then try to cheer me up by piling train tracks on me. When I took to my bed with a coughing induced migraine, you came up to check on me.

“Surprise! I came back! You happy now?”

Actually, I'm a little bit scared.

Actually, I’m a little bit scared.

We took you for a train ride on the Mt. Hood Railroad last weekend, and you had the time of your life. Trains! With whistles! And train crossings! And train crossing lights! It was amazing.

2014-10-05 11.29.06


You are a challenge, but so are most things worth doing, right? Who wants to have the easy life, anyway?

You are amazing. The last two and a half years have gone by so quickly and it frightens me a bit to think that in the same amount of time you’ll be five. So I’m not going to think about it too much. I’m going to try really hard to enjoy two and a half as much as possible. (And to try to figure out how to explain how an engine works, since I think I botched that this morning.)

I love you Mr. Bean. You’re my favorite banana.





Mommy too mean. Mommy a bad guy.

I know I am, because Alvie told me so. (Of course, this morning, he told me that Jupiter was the bad guy, so it’s possible I shouldn’t take his criticisms to heart.)

Yesterday I was a Bad Mom. I was home with Mr. Bean because he was up Sunday night vomiting. In the bed. On his mom. Everywhere. So I stayed home with him.

The only – ONLY – good thing about having a sick kid is the cuddles that come with a lethargic, poorly feeling child.

That was not what happened yesterday. Instead, he woke up ravenous and full of energy. I was not ravenous and full of energy. I was tired and run down. In addition to being on week four of the bronchitis that will not die, I’d been up with a sick kidlet much of the night.

He was the embodiment of Longfellow’s “There was a little girl…

He was the sweetest Bean until he wasn’t, and then it was hitting and kicking and throwing. And then kissing to make it all better.

A meltdown at lunch when he lost his cheese sandwich (he’d eaten it, and a second cheese sandwich was rejected; he wanted his cheese sandwich) was followed by a too short nap.

By four pm, after being hit, kicked, and having toys thrown at my head (kid’s got a good arm and some decent aim), I had to put myself in time out. But since I’m the only one who can be trusted to not kick the cats (yeah, that happened) or destroy the kitchen (don’t ask) that meant that my time out landed Bean in his room. He told me that he wanted me to go away and Daddy to come home because “Mommy too mean. Mommy a bad guy.”

He was not impressed with my time out. He did chill out fairly quickly, though, and started reading. And later, after the architect got home, I took myself out for a walk and a beer.

It was, to date, my roughest parenting day. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I’d failed so very completely at being the mom I want to be.

This morning, though, it was all smiles and hugs and kisses. “I love you much, Mommy. I love me, too.”

2014-10-05 14.00.01

All Hallow’s Read – Book Giveaway!

It’s time! Time to enter this year’s All Hallow’s Read book giveaway contest.

There will be two winners this year (as usual). BUT, this year, I will be giving away a kid’s book and an adult book. (Yeah, my focus has changed…no idea why.)

Who doesn't love Edward Gorey?

Who doesn’t love Edward Gorey?

Past book giveaways have included:






There are three ways to garner entries for this contest. Contest is open between now (October 3) and noon Pacific time on October 17. Contest winners will be announced that afternoon and books will be sent out as soon as I have sending places!

1. Comment here and tell me your favorite spooky book.

2. Share the facebook post (just let me know you’ve done it)

3. Retweet this (again, drop me a note)

This year’s books (you can specify which you prefer):

For the kidlets:

And for the slightly older crowd:

The mellow autumn came

At last! I was beginning to think the mellow autumn was never going to show up. But apparently Autumn was really paying attention to the calendar this year and decided to not show up until the equinox. It was 94 on Saturday and nearly 90 on Sunday.  And then Monday? Gray. And then, the rains came. YAY!

Things that are not yay?

I have a terribly nasty chest cold with a horrific sounding cough. I spent three days at home last week, one doing nothing, the other two working from home. I wish I could work from home this week, too. I think I’m scaring people.

Alas! Work is busying up and I have been doing meetings. As of noon today (Wednesday), I have attended 13 meetings this week. Fortunately, it appears I have only four to go. As of noon Wednesday. Who knows what will happen in the next two and a half days. I might end up with 13 more meetings.

I haven’t been working out, due to the cough of death. However, I am going to run a 5K in about a month. I feel pretty good about this. I did run 2 miles last week. Slowly. I had to stop and cough a lot. I feel fairly confident that if I ever stop coughing (something I’m beginning to doubt will ever happen) I can absolutely run 3. I can probably even run 3.1. In costume.

As a Valkyrie. Because:

business card

That is my business card that I hand out at professional events. You never know when someone needs a chooser of the slain.

ANYWAY, I am sick. I would like to stop now.

BUT – the most important thing to announce is that this year’s All Hallow’s Read contest opens October 1 (one week from today) and goes for a week. You will have several ways to enter to win this year’s spooky book.

Past books have included:






If you want to throw out suggestions for this year’s book, you can do so in the comments here or on Twitter (@gazellesoncrack).

I’ll post on October first with the rules, and will announce the winner on October 10.

Happy most wonderful time of the year!


Law Abiding Citizen

Blah blah blah random. But look! A theme! Tying it together! Not a stretch at all!

Newton’s First Law of Motion (An object in motion tends to stay in motion) I received my new orthotics on Thursday. My feet have been pretty tired at the end of each day since, but I haven’t had any foot pain since. I’ve been doing a lot more walking. I find the more I walk, the easier it is to walk. If I walk to work (from my parking lot instead of taking the shuttle), I am much more likely to get my 10,000 steps in during the day. On Thursday and Friday, I even took the long route back to my car. After timing it, it turns out that the long route, while 1.3 miles further than the shorter route, actually only takes about 10 minutes longer. The shorter route involves relying on other methods of transportation for part of the trip, instead of just my own feet. My own feet are now much more reliable.

I’m feeling so good with my feet, in fact, that I think I’m going to start running again this week. I’m sure I have plenty of time to ramp up for the Portland marathon, right? I can go from zero to twenty-six point two in three weeks!

Portland City Code Chapter 14B.85: I am doing a new landscaping project that involves digging a large hole. Before starting to dig, I (a) did not call the “call before you dig” hotline to find out where my utility lines were buried and (b) outlined the boundaries of my hole with spray paint. And then I left the empty can next to my large, vaguely kidney-ish shaped outline overnight. Just as I was going to bed, I realized the can was still outside. In order to purchase one of those cans, you have to produce ID and swear an affadavit that you’re not going to go on a mad tagging spree (that last might be a slight exaggeration). I worried that it would look bad if I left it outside overnight, but it was empty and the house alarm was already on, so I went to bed. I then spent a few minutes worrying about whether or not you had to call before you dug every time, or if it was acceptable to just remember where the buried utility lines were. After all, it seems unlikely that NW Natural installed new gas lines without me knowing, right?

Saturday night I had a dream that I was out digging during Alvie’s nap (about the only time I can dig without having to drop my shovel every 10 seconds to determine the whereabouts of my surprisingly speedy kid) while the architect was on this bike ride. So far, so realistically boring. But then! The cops showed up to arrest me for graffiti-ing my yard. And leaving out the evidence with my finger prints all over it. (And presumably for not calling for the location of my buried utilities.) When I requested they not haul me off to the hoosegow because my child was inside sleeping, they slapped me with additional charges of child neglect, since I was outside and not close enough to take care of him. And then they took me to jail without allowing me to find someone to care for my child. Who then promptly died. (It was as bad as it was unlikely.)

Murphy’s Law: No matter what, I assume that this law is as immutable as Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation (which trips me up often). I assume that things are going to be difficult. That if there is the barest possibility of getting lost, that I will get lost. If there is a slight chance of being late, I will be late. If there is something over which I can trip, I will trip over it. My son may be turning out to be the equal victim of those pranksters Murphy and Gravity. He fell into a blackberry bramble last weekend and was scraped up. (He told me a story about the mean plants and they didn’t even say sorry!) He tripped on our patio and scraped his knee on a blueberry (or more likely, on the concrete next to the blueberry). And yesterday, he ran headlong into the measuring tape I had on my jeans, scraping his cheek. Then, he tripped into the sandbox, scraping his ankle and leg. Later, he and his friend were running laps around the house and he was barreling straight towards my foot-deep hole (the first part of my landscape project). “Look out!” I yelled, non-specifically. Alvie looked out, and leapt gracefully, like the gazelle which is my namesake, and cleared the hole. I was very impressed. He and his friend then devised a new game of jumping over the hole (a foot deep, but only about 4-5 inches across. Of course he almost immediately fell in. And then a bit later, he tripped and thunked his head on something else. I’m thinking a bubble wrap suit and a helmet might be under the tree this year. Apple didn’t fall far from the tree on that one. (PUN OVERLOAD! ARGGGHHHH!)

This doesn't look dangerous at all.

This doesn’t look dangerous at all.