Grate. Just Grate.

Pardon me while I, er, "vent" for a moment.

While Nathan was disassembling one of the bookshelves, and carefully gauging the pressure of the peg holes with a tire gauge, Isaiah went through the house and removed the grates from all the vents. The better to fill them with rubber band balls and dish towels, you know.

Without realizing just why Isaiah had moved the kitchen island from its usual spot, I nudged it back into place so I could get to the sink. One wheel promptly fell into the gaping vent hole, tipping the entire unit to a precarious 45 degree angle. The doors swung open, spewing forth pots and pans. The drawer slipped out, littering the floor with cooking utensils. And everything sitting out on the surface tipped over. Like the open jar of olives.

And the dishsoap.

As I knelt there, struggling to right the capsizing island, the green gloop flowed straight through my hair into a puddle on the floor.

And there ought to be a punch line, but well... that’s just the kind of day it’s been.


One thing you need to know about two-year-olds is that they are very particular about their wardrobe. A two-year-old knows exactly what shirt he wants to wear, and he will die if he cannot wear it. A long, painful, horrible death. Either that or he'll flail his arms and flop about like a fish.

The shirt that he wants to wear may or may not match his pants, may or may not be clean, and may or may not belong to him. In fact, like as not, it's his bubba's shirt from yesterday.

But oh, it makes him happy. And oh, he tromps around so proudly.


Jack fell down...

When the boys overturned the trash can to use it as a trampoline, I rushed over as quickly as I could. Too late. My arm was mere inches away from grabbing Nathan when he fell down with a crash, thwapping his head loudly against the linoleum.

He didn't cry, but rather paused to assess the situation and contemplate the lessons learned. Cautiously, he put his hand up to his head and turned to me with a bewildered expression.



Everything in Moderation

Especially oregano.

Sweet Victory

It should have been a savory victory, but the sauce needs a little work.

No matter. I have discovered the secret to a scrumptious pizza crust.




 Posted by Picasa


We’ll be eating Italian for the next few weeks. Not Italian-Italian—more like New York-Italian... Wuggyville-style. Spaghetti and pizza. Lots of spaghetti because spaghetti is easy, and life is not. Andy’s plate was full to begin with, so to speak—add in classroom observation, and we’re eating a lot of spaghetti.

The pizza is because I make terrible pizza.

One night last week we got carry-out from Pizza Hut. It was a sublime supreme pizza, covered in sausages and peppers and mushrooms and pepperoni. All atop a perfectly brilliant crust. This was the first really good pizza we’d had in a long time. Since losing Anna Mia’s, we’d been frequenting Little Caesars. Quick and cheap and relatively nutritious, those pizzas are well worth $5. They’re everything you could possibly ask for in a $5 pizza. But nothing to write home about, and certainly nothing to make me feel insecure about my cooking.

I’m entirely okay with the fact that an experienced Italian grandmother can prepare a fabulous meal that’s far beyond my skills. She’s got thirty-some years on me. She’s made a career out of, for crying out loud! But when the teenaged boys working at Pizza Hut can do something I can’t...

We’ll be having pizza three nights a week until I get this crust thing down.


He told me I ought to mapquest it. I didn’t listen to him. 57 to the 210, East all the way to Allen, take Allen right to the very end, where it dead-ends into the Huntington.

Which way on Allen?

South. South.

Or maybe you should take the 91 to the 5 to the 605 to the 210... You really ought to mapquest it.

Whatever. I just need to get out of here.

To see something real, to smell something alive and magnificent. What I really yearned for was a wild unkempt desert, but a gloriously cultivated garden would have to do. The need for something solid and tangible amid the manufactured hum of suburbia was too pressing to bother about maps.

So I bundled the children into their carseats, and hopped onto the freeway. Strange how natural this bubble of glass and steel becomes. An extension of my body, moving with my will. I drove and I drove and I drove, as far as I could see. I drove to the place where sky dips down to touch the dust, and when I got there, I drove again as far as I could see. I drove until the progressively shabbier, progressively sparser strip malls blossomed suddenly into lush golf courses and gracious mansions, orange trees and jacarandas and purply undulating hills. And then I drove beyond all that, beyond all the civilization and cultivation to the earth beneath it all, and saw the mines, raw and bleeding and hopeless and desolate.

Freeway ends in 4 miles.

He’d said something about a dead-end, so I kept driving, straight on to the end.

Finally, when the 210 melted into Alameda, (Allen? Alameda? Allen.) I gave up and turned around.

210 West.

Pasadena 37 miles.

Woo-Hoo! vvvvcccccccccccccccccceacc

The second half of the title is September's first contribution to this blog. In honor of this momentous occasion, I've decided to leave it be. A literary genius in the making, I tell you.

At any rate, many thanks to all who voted, I WON!!!

Maybe we can pay off our fines at Blockbuster now.


Perpetual Optimist

Looking at the world through rose colored goggles. Posted by Picasa


If you like to hang out over here in Wuggyville...

...comment from time to time...maybe link here on your blog...

then I'd like to add you to my blogroll.

Just drop me a comment with your url. I want to be sure to get to know you all a bit better. =)


We take turns coping around here...

And it's his turn tonight, thank God.

I'm going to go curl up with a good book and a hot bath.

Good man, I've got. Good man.



Sitting in the doctor's waiting room, I flipped through a fashion magazine. The story of the day was that Lindsay Lohan is growing up into quite a sophisticated young lady with impeccable taste. She is so exceedingly stylish, in fact, that she has been known to go through as many as six outfits in a single day.

Yeah, I can totally relate.

Suddenly motherhood feels like quite a glamorous career.


Non-Appeasement Policy

"I have no idea what he's so upset about."

"I think maybe he wanted a whole sandwich, instead of a half."

"Well, if so, there are lots of ways to communicate that. Tantruming is not a recognized language around here."

"The government of this household does not negotiate with terrorists."

Yours and Mine

We were all enjoying a nice snack of peaches. Most of us, anyway. Tembo wasn't quite sure whether this bizarre new taste sensation was enjoyable or not. It certainly wasn't milk, that's for sure... And Meepo was temporarily confined to his "ba-doom," having been caught hurling cans of tuna across the kitchen.

When I brought Meepo back out of exile, his brother immediately got up from the little table, and greeted his brother with a smile, holding out a peach slice for him. When Nathan ignored this overture, Isaiah put the peach down on the table, and went back to his plate... which he promptly covered up with both hands.

Here you go, brother. I love you and will share a peach with you... but you keep your hands off my plate!


Adagios, Adagios, Adagios!

It's pledge drive time over at classical KUSC, that time of year when the woman with the syrupy voice talks about how very important classical music is to our lives, and how important exposure is to classical music, and how classical radio is all about exposure, exposure, exposure.

"Have you ever used the phrase 'let the music wash over you'? I know I have. And when I do, what I mean by it is to let the music relax and soothe you. Like a good backrub. Well, for this hour of our pledge drive, we will be playing nothing but adagios. Adagios, adagios, adagios. All music taken from two wonderful collections, aptly titled Adagios I and Adagios II."

It's an indecent sort of exposure, to hear adagio after adagio, unclothed by their allegros. An adagio is an intimate reflection on the the themes introduced (and eventually resolved) in the fast movements. Decontextualized, and lumped together like that, all form and meaning is lost and only the texture remains. Wonderfully sumptuous texture, to be sure. But this is not education, this is gluttony.

I let one amazing Brahms adagio wash over me, but that was quite enough. My tastes are a bit too snobbish and highbrow, I suppose.

So I quickly turned the dial over to the country station.


Close Neighbors

Yesterday morning, when I poked my head outside and saw two extremely full garbage canisters out by the curb, I thought to myself, what a good man. After working two consecutive 16 hour days, he still thought to put out the trash before stumbling off to work again at 6am.

When Andy came home from work, he was quite pleased to see that his normally scatterbrained wife had remembered the trash, as evidenced by the two empty garbage canisters out by the curb.

We were both rather dismayed to find two extraordinarily full garbage canisters behind the house.


Support Your Favorite Wuggies!

The good news is that my post Five Days has won an award over at Everyday Hogwash.

To the tune of two hundred dollars.

The even better news is that this puts me in line for a possible thousand dollar prize.

And the best news of all is that YOU, dear reader, have a chance to participate! All you have to do is click here. Scroll down just a smidge, and you'll see a little poll box on the right. There are three entries for this week, and mine is the middle one, Five Days.

Do hurry... voting ends on midnight of the 17th.

I'm so excited!


For Valentines Day, Mr. Wuggidy got down on one knee and presented the girl he loves dearest with something very special. Something bright and sparkly, one of the most beautiful and intriguing things he's ever seen. A headlight, of course. I was so glad I had the camera on hand to capture the moment. Posted by Picasa

Happy Valentines Day! Posted by Picasa

The Promised Land is a Mighty Sticky Place

You can't imagine how thankful I am that no honey was involved.


Toothsome Dainty

Beyond the usual and ever-constant changediaper-here'sacupofwater-timeforafeeding-makepeanutbuttersandwiches-takethatbacktothekitchenyoungman-diaperchange-leaveyoursisteralone-backtothekitchenNOW... there are only three things I want to accomplish today.

  1. There's a huge pile of clean laundry, and an even bigger pile of dirty laundry. Eliminating one or both is tremendously urgent, because it's only a matter of time before the two become one and start to reproduce.
  2. I am bound and determined to have dinner on the table, kids hands washed and everything, all ready to sit down the moment Andy walks in the door.

My biggest project of the day, however is:

3. Cutting teeth.

I'm actually only facilitating the cutting of Isaiah's teeth. Teething is hard work, and it goes a lot better with your arms around mom's neck. Which thrills my soul... and also makes it very difficult to accomplish any of my other tasks.

Like cutting September's teeth.

Yes, you heard me right. I am cutting my daughter's teeth. Tembo's philosophy is that teething is hard work, and it goes a lot better when mom does it for you. So here I sit, massaging her gums, trying to coax that recalcitrant tooth out, while my little one gazes up at me beatifically.

And what am I to get out of all this hard work? A tooth. In my nursling daughter's mouth.


Thus I spent a good deal of time wondering how in the world I was going to escape the ineveitable body art. The custom-texturized tummy-skin is quite enough of a statement. I don't need my nipple pierced.

I find it rather ironic that the child who actually went ahead and bit me there is neither teething nor nursing.

He had absolutely no shadow of an excuse.

I, on the other hand, had quite an excellent excuse to exile him to his room for a very long time-out.

Allowing me to give my full attention to Tembo's tooth.


Look, Ma! No hands! Posted by Picasa

Oh day of rest and gladness

Really. No day of rush and madness this time.

This has been probably the first truly restful Sunday morning I have ever experienced. Well, maybe not ever, but certainly since having kids. There's always quite a scramble. But today the boys have a minor sniffle. Not enough to slow them down any, but enough to make us think twice about spreading their germs around the church nursery.

So despite staying up very late last night, chatting and catching up---a blissfully restful start to our Sabbath---Andy got up early, and was all ready to dash out the door in time for the 8am service. The idea was that I could then go to the 9:45 service while he stayed home with the kids. But just as he was walking out the door, it occured to me that it would be very hectic to try to arrange a baby-swap in the short time between the services. "Wouldn't you rather just stay for a nice, relaxed pancake breakfast? Then I'll just stay home with the kids while you go to the 9:45."

And so we did just that. The house was sparkling clean, since Justy came over yesterday and took the kids while Andy and I got stuff done. And oh, it felt good. Andy read Scripture aloud while I whipped together some wholesomely yummy multi-grain pancakes, and cut up a platterful of fruit. "I AM the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live."

And then, after a short interlude to clean up the nail polish Isaiah dumped everywhere, and another short interlude to clean up the carpet after Tembo's blowout, we sat down to a leisurely breakfast. Sunlight streamed through the window, setting the freshly mopped floor aglow, highlighting the inviting curls of steam rising from our coffee cups. Nathan insisted on some coffee in his milk, an indulgence that perhaps I will regret. Isaiah was quite delighted with the hearty, corn-filled pancakes, and maple syrup. September just beamed from her high chair.

I didn't make quite enough pancakes, which turned out to be all for the best, since it turned our attention to the strawberries and oranges. Had there been more, we would have simply eaten our fill of pancakes, but as it was, we had quite a nice balance of pancakes and fruit.

There was plenty of time for the meal, and just as it felt like it was time to get up from the table, the clock announced that indeed, it was time for Andy to leave for church. He had, of course, been ready to step out the door since quarter to eight. So he quickly changed into a shirt that was not covered in spit-up, and left for church, where I presume he is tranquilly enjoying a service without interruption.

And I am home with the children, reading The Idiot. Perhaps reading a novel is a profane occupation of a Sunday morning, but not Dostoyevsky. It was remembering The Brothers Karamazov, I think, that brought that particular passage to Andy's mind this morning. "Lazarus come forth!" I hear the words of Christ resounding much more richly for having heard them in the voice of Alyosha. And now this morning, between the diaper changes and sopping up the spilled coffee, I am bathing in Prince Myshkin's holiness and mercy.

And oh, it is good.


On Holiday Shopping

Last night as I was looking over this week's grocery sale mailers, thoroughly bedecked with gushing hearts and flowers, it occurred to me that there are two sorts of minor holidays. There are some holidays that people may or may not splurge for, such as Labor Day, and Superbowl Sunday. In honor of those occasions, the grocery stores coax their customers into celebratory moods with specially low prices.

Other holidays, on the other hand, automatically induce splurging, all of their own accord. And so it is that the stores celebrate Valentines Day by gouging us all.

Can't you just feel the love?


Every time I look at my small Persephone-child, I am once again struck by how very much alive she is. More so in her stillness than in her squirmings, she gazes up at me with confident expectation, and the air vibrates with her vivacity.

Soft and snuggly and sweet and compliant, she is nevertheless very much her own person, and utterly self-contained.

And always I remember that first moment, when the doctor placed that naked little bundle of plumpitude across my new-deflated belly. With startling matter-of-fact-ness, I could almost hear her saying "Hey, everybody, here I am! Where's the party?"


more snuggles Posted by Picasa

Aiden and September Posted by Picasa


Bath Time

Bug-bug was quite a stinker yesterday morning, being simultaneously in need of some discipline and a diaper change.

I gave first priority to discipline, and isolated him in his room for a few moments.

That was a big mistake.


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Five Days

Five is a nice round number, and five days makes for a pleasing interval of time. It's the length of a workweek. A week, but with generous margins, a bit of wiggle room on either side.

That is not what "five days" means when it comes to video rentals. However much five days may feel like a week, five days is most certainly NOT a week. Five days is a trunkated, squozened, crammed short week with two days lopped off.

We like to stop by the video store on the way home from church on Sunday afternoons. Once we have finished enjoying our selections, we place them carefully in the basket by the door, serene in the knowledge that we can safely forget about them until next weekend.

But if we rent them on Sunday, they will be due back on Friday. And we don't drive by the video store on Friday. But if we're making a special trip, of course we'll end up renting a few more while we're at it. And whatever we rent on Friday will be due next Wednesday. And Wednesday's films are due back on Monday, and Monday's on Saturday, and Saturday's on... at this rate it will be five weeks before we once again have videos conveniently due on a Sunday afternoon.

The only way to consistently return things on time is to integrate your trips into your weekly schedule. And when your life runs on a seven day cycle, and the video store runs on a five day cycle, the only way to do that is to schedule a video stop every single day of the week. Either that or resign yourself to paying a small fortune in late fees. Whichever you choose, they win.

Week after week, they get me.

Because "five days" just feels so much like a week.

Hunter is home!

Thanks be to God!

My husband is reading a modern book


Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight

Not only is he reading it, but enjoying it immensely.

Which just goes to show you that it's a very special book indeed.

The cover caught my eye at Borders--several years ago, actually. Every time I walked through Borders thereafter, I would flip through it, and be sorely tempted. It just looked so much like my kind of book.

A few weeks ago, Andy and I spent our date night at Borders--just for coffee and browsing, you know!--and I finally gave in and bought the book. Andy couldn't really object, because of that Greek book that he wasn't going to buy... just browse a bit... well...... and there it sits on our shelf. So while Andy couldn't object, and while his conscience forced him to actually encourage me to buy it, he most certainly could sneer. With all the great books there are to be read, why would you waste your precious time on one that is less than ten years old? He prefers to wait for the fltering effect of time. Our conversations thereafter were laced with subtle condescending references to "my sort of book."

It most definitely is my sort of book. I was initially attracted to it because the vague black and white photo on the cover seemed to suggest something akin to the sheer rock walls and tallis slopes that formed the backdrop to my own childhood. It's not. Look closely and you'll see that it's actually a house and a lawn... a very different sort of landscape, as far as all particulars are concerned. But still something of the spirit is the same there.

And that is the way of our respective stories. Diametrically opposed in all particulars, but astonishinly similar in flavor. Her African childhood and my canyon childhood were filled with the same themes and incongruities, and though we experienced them from entirely different perspectives, we experienced them in precisely the same way.

And thus it was that my astonishment at finding Andy reading my book was rather surpassed by my relief at hearing him pronounce it to be really remarkable.

I think maybe I'll try to get through a few pages of his book this afternoon. Even if it is all Greek to me.


Pray for Hunter

Please pray for little Hunter Nick, 3 week old son of our good friends Brian and Ashley. He hasn't kept anything down for the past 48 hours, and had surgery this morning. Please pray for the little guy's recovery, and for his exhausted parents, and for his almost-two-year-old big sister.

Jessica has been posting frequent updates.

Thanks all.

Pants. Posted by Picasa


Classic Adventures: Finding Our Groove

Emily found this one, and it's really worth a read.

What a great perspective on motherhood!


Bought by a shopping cart

When we lived in La Mirada, I would go out of my way to shop at Stater Bros. whenever I could. This was partly because they tended to have better produce, better meat, and better prices than Vons, partly because they have delightfully friendly employees, and partly because they don’t have any club cards. Call me paranoid, but my good dispensationalist upbringing has taught me to be quite wary of folks who insist upon collecting all sorts of personal information before they will sell you vegetables at a fair price.

But mostly I liked Stater Bros. because of their toddler-friendly shopping carts. Those little cars in front—with two steering wheels!—turn shopping with two toddlers and an infant from an utter nightmare to a mere unpleasant experience.

So when we moved to Anaheim, I was elated to see a Stater Bros. right on State College.

Alas, it was not the La Mirada Stater Bros. I knew that it wouldn’t be Juan stocking the vegetables, but I thought for sure that they would have the same quality of groceries, the same excellent selection, and the same low prices. Nope, nope, and nope. Worst of all, they didn’t sell cherry turnovers or poppy-seed bagels, and they didn’t have the spiffy carts.

In fact, their carts were utterly absurd, little more than trays on wheels.

The nearest Vons, on the other hand, is gorgeous, with lovely decor, a full-service meat department, spectacular bakery, in-store florist, and even a Starbucks. The produce is fresh, the variety dazzling.

And the carts! Oh the carts! Not only do they have a little two passenger car in front, but there is also room to strap in two—two!—misbehaving children up facing mom.

So now the tables are turned. I pass right by the Stater Bros. around the corner, and drive all the way out to Vons.

And hope that they don’t make me tattoo any barcodes to my forehead.