I love my babies.

I love my little Evie-Doodle.

Her bursts of sudden and quite uncontrollable laughter.

I love the way she walks with her belly pushed out and back arched.

I love that bubble wrap and popsicles can make her so happy.

I love the way she flings a door open and explodes into a room.

I love that she explores her world by touching.

I love that she still kisses with an open month.

I love that she is not stingy with kisses.  She will dole out 20+ in one sitting.

I love that, “can I have a kiss?” is, maybe, the only verbal request she responds to regularly.

I love when she stands behind me and hugs my neck.

I love how her body melts into mine when I hold her.

I love that she has taught me the most important lessons I’ve ever learned.

I love every single inch of my happy baby’s body, heart, mind, and soul.

I love my XiXi-bots.

I love the way she says, “good morning, mama.”

I love her enthusiasm for travel.

I love her feisty spirit.

I love her sense of humor.

I love when she puts her hand over her mouth when she laughs.

I love that she asked me, “can I get you anything?” when I was crying about my dad’s death.

I love that she corrected me when I answered one of her questions about evie, “because evie doesn’t talk,” with, “yes her does!”

I love how she cares for her baby dolls.

I love her wild imagination.

I love her little chipped-tooth smile and her belly laughs.

I love that she challenges me and makes me think long and hard about what I want my words and actions to teach her.

I love every iota of her mind, body, heart, and soul.

Happy New Year sweet babies!  Thank you for filling my days with love, joy, and meaning.






dad’s death

The phone call from my brother came out of no where.

My dad died.

When I think back to the nights I spent as a child, probably quite abnormally, awake and fearing that one of my parents would die, I am surprised that, not a week, later I am carrying on so well.

I smile and laugh.  Find joy in my children.  And I look to the future.

My immediate family, especially Dad, have always had unconventional feelings about death rituals.

Difficult to explain to others.  The bottom line is that, while we respect the way other people process their grief, we don’t do them.

People have asked how I am going to get closure without the traditional laying remains to rest.

For me what remains of my father is the love he put into the world.  The memories I am so blessed to have of him.  The people he loved.  I don’t need to put any of those things to rest.

I don’t need to see his body to know that his soul has been released from it.  I believe that his body has died and I prefer all of my memories of him to be of the vibrant and fun-loving man I loved.

I made the arrangements for the disposal of his body.  If that sounds cold, please remember that his body, to me, is nothing more than the packaging of his essence.

He was in FL so I spoke on the phone to the funeral home.  The gentleman I spoke to told me that he didn’t recommend my father’s ashes being put into a wooden box as the box would not last.

I think he was shocked when I responded that a wooden box would be perfect as it is biodegradable and my dad was an, albeit unlikely, environmentalist…and that he didn’t want to take up space.   In fact, he has always said that his remains should be thrown in a dumpster.  In more recent years, he may have changed that to the composter–given his obsession with recycling organic material.

Anyhow, I was, unfortunately, denied immediately as remains can’t be mailed in wood.

As terribly morbid as the conversation was, I couldn’t help but get a little inside my head chuckle about how the funeral home dude and I were coming from such different places about how to best honor my dad.  I have pictured retelling my dad the story and about the little lift I got that I thought he could have an organic box and know that he would laugh.

Told you our thoughts are unconventional.

But it is by these little things by which my dad would be terribly amused.  I wish I could laugh with him about it.

I take full credit for the shiny bald dome my dad sported.  I absolutely tormented both of my parents…but especially my dad… as a teenager and young adult.  I was the wild child and definitely got myself into some tangles.  And I know I surprised, even him, at the lengths I was willing to go to have a good time.  As mad as I could make the old goat, and I could make him damn mad, I never for one moment doubted how much he loved me.

And circle the wagons he did when I needed him.

As I got older and settled into my skin (thank you Paxil and having children), things got easier between us.  We learned to avoid having political discussions…for the most part.

I spoke to my dad almost every day and I will miss those calls.  Sometimes brief.  Sometimes long.

I will miss being able to call him to ask what the squeaking sound in my car might be…really just to say hi.

I will miss listening to Maxine talk to him on the phone.  My little mini me was stepping right in and giving him shit over just about everything.  Actually, two days before he died, Max finally broke the silent treatment she was giving to him over not coming for Thanksgiving as he agreed to come for Christmas.  I’m grateful they got a chance to talk one last time.

I have a lot to be grateful for when it comes to my dad.  As different as we were about just about everything, I learned so much from him.

One roll of paper towels is a “lifetime supply.”  I used that up in my youth and don’t use paper towels anymore.

One tube of super glue is also a “lifetime supply.”  Less is more sometimes.

Be meticulous about sorting trash from recycles.

Protect and help the people you love.

It is just money.  You can always make more.

You don’t have to like everything that someone does to love him/her.

Don’t say “hate.”

You don’t even know what you don’t know.

Having an untidy room, leaving the shower curtain open, and not putting the dishes on the dish dryer away can lead to a visit and subsequent shutdown from “the board of health.”  Actually, I’m going to have to call bullshit on that one, Dad.  Because I put that theory to the test many times over.

Don’t leave doors open.

Milk can cure almost anything.  He meant cow’s milk.  But I adapted that to human milk.

Not drinking enough milk is the cause of all ailments including: stomach upset, headaches, foot cramps, and broken bones.

Checks and balances.

Fixing things yourself is often more costly than calling a professional.  Ignore this rule and do it anyway.

If you work hard enough, you can do anything.

Try to be kind.

Drink beer.

Worship your mother.

Love your children unconditionally.


Love life.

Parenting at Christmas

I am often accused of over thinking parenting.

Or worse.

I honestly think that, as parents, we can give all due consideration to the same issue and come to very different conclusions.  I work hard not to judge the decisions that other parents make as right or wrong.  Except when it comes to physical discipline.  I don’t even bother trying with that.

My opinions, are often twisted into judgements and attacks when I express them.  The most frequently recurring themes being princesses/marketing/gender and good old Santa leverage.

‘Tis the season so I’m going to stick with Santa and the whole good kids/bad kids thing.

I don’t judge my kids as good or bad.  I just love them and am trying to do my best to teach them to be loving, giving, and happy people.

I guess where I differ from most people I meet is on the how to teach my kids to be loving, giving, and happy people.  I don’t for a second, as some people seem to think, question that we are all trying to get to the same place.

When I think about Christmas and what it means to me, I think about giving.  And when I think about giving I want to do so unconditionally.  For me, Santa is an ideal representation of the spirit of unconditional giving, love, and joy.

To me, doing the right thing should be the reward itself.  Doing the right thing because you want Santa to bring an extra gift or fear having a gift taken away is not something I am comfortable teaching my kids.  Intentions mean everything to me and teaching my kids to have good intentions is more important than the action itself.

So the naughty/nice list has not place in our home.  I won’t teach my kids the “You better watch out” song.  There are no elves hiding on shelves watching for good/bad behavior at Casa Ryan-Jacobson.

Christmas is like any time of year in terms of how we teach and model behavior for our kids.  I don’t threaten/coerce/bribe my kids into behaving in a way that pleases me.

Okay maybe the occasional brib.  But I don’t feel good about doing it…although the few minutes of peace that bribe affords feel pretty darn good 🙂

Sometimes we screw up.  Sometimes they do.

I’m okay with that and I wish other people would be too…even if they have thought it through and come to a different conclusion in their parenting decisions.

Maybe I think too much.  Maybe I don’t think enough.

Hopefully neither.

Probably both.

I am terribly human in that I am totally fallible.

And I know precious little about anything.

I know zippo about how my parenting decisions will play out in the end.

There are different ways to get to the same place.

Perhaps I’m taking the hard way.

By all means, ask me why I am choosing this route as I am secure enough in my navigational hypothoses to withstand the questions and sometimes try a different route.

Just don’t tell me that I’m definitely going the wrong way.  Nobody wants a backseat driver in her car… or in her parenting.

I promise to stay out of your parental backseat too.