Super

Super
And for once I was SuperMom

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Potty Talk

We began the process of potty training this weekend. A sister of mine told me not to post updates on Facebook about it, I didn't. So I decided to blog about it. Don't worry I will post the link on her wall.

The past three days we've been boarded up in the house, we took my kids pants off and sat vigilant for any sign of 'potty.' We quickly read an online article about the 'three day method,' and I skimmed a book called 'Toilet Training in Less Than a Day.' We were ready.
The First Day:
Potty: 2
Floor: I didn't count
The Second Day:
Potty: 4
Floor: the floor is definitely still winning, or losing
The Third Day:
Potty: 4
Floor: We might not get our security deposit back

Parenthood has brought a host of things into my life that I hadn't even known to say 'I will never do that.'
Like on Saturday morning when I eagerly demonstrated all processes of going to the potty to my daughter, including lifting her up and showing her what I had deposited in the bowl.
Nope, didn't see that one coming.
Or camping out in the bathroom reading books and watching Dora, just so the pee will land in the bowl and not on the carpet.
Didn't really expect that one.
Sitting on the floor, playing tea party, all the while eying my child's nether regions, like they were a loaded gun in the hands of a mad man.
Didn't see that one in my future.
Or the smack or frustration I gave the rug after cleaning up another accident.
I never cursed wall to wall carpeting until parenthood.
Or bribing my child with candy to use the toilet.
I might have predicted that.
Or the breaks I gave myself; turning the corner and stuffing peanut butter M&M's in my mouth and standing in the kitchen demolishing a jar of hot fudge sauce with a spoon (because Mommy can't drink right now).
Actually I think I saw that one coming.

Each time I watched my husband race around the corner holding our child by the armpits, legs dangling, eyes wide, piddle dripping, I thought, 'Really?'

I guess that is just what this thing called parenting is, a series of 'are you kidding me?' moments. You know, you have the kid, not knowing all the fluids that you will really be dealing with, and then you end up dealing with a lot of fluids. There really is a lot more fluids involved in parenting than I ever dreamed possible. I'm pretty sure that if someone had told me the amount of fluids involved I wouldn't have believed them, or thought it was their failing as a parent, rather than just the truth of 'children produce a lot of fluids,'
The same aforementioned sister told me a story of a night when all her children had come down with some kind of stomach bug. There her husband and her sat, spooning vomit out of the rug and into the trash can, she looked up and said,
“Did you ever think it would be like this?” I think she may have been weeping.
“No,” was her husband's reply.

I guess that's just what happens; we all come into this world naked and going to the bathroom on ourselves. Eventually we have to learn to wear clothes and to learn where to put the pee and the poop. Someone has to teach us, and that's our parents.
Now I am that parent.

PS: I really want hardwood floors right about now.
PPS: I think she got it, no accidents so far today!

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Moment in Time

I'd like to invite you into a vignette from my life:

Thursday afternoon during my daughter's precious naptime I found myself wearing my husband's headlamp, kneeling, pregnant belly hanging, while scraping black char off the inside of our oven.
Last week the turkey pot pie that I cooked for dinner overflowed from the 2 quart casserole, that the recipe told me to put it in and spilled into my oven. Instead of turning off the oven, removing the pot pie, and cleaning it like some may do I whipped the pot pie out, put a 9x13 underneath it and kept right on baking. Because that was our dinner and it wasn’t done yet. And we didn’t have another option. Later in the week I baked some cookies for only ten minutes and the house filled with smoke. When I peered down into the oven I saw a patch of volcanic lava bubbling up on the bottom of the oven.
One might think that I would give up on the cookies and save myself from a kitchen fire. Nope. I wanted those cookies. So I waited while smoke coursed in the sunlight streaming into my living room. Did I set my fire alarm off? No. It didn’t go off. This is something that concerns me.
I had decided to bake a quiche for my Friday morning bible study. I knew that I couldn’t bake in that oven again. I would surely cause a fire. I grabbed a spatula and sponge and knelt before the appliance. I glared into the gaping mouth, and began to scrape. I only did this for a few minutes before I decided that I could not see a damn thing. I heaved myself to my feet and fished Scott’s headlamp out of his bedside table. Some of you right now may pause and ask,
‘Lara where is your headlamp?’ good question. Thanks for asking. It disappeared somewhere in Nairobi, either it got lost in all the shuffles or my houseworker made an unfortunate decision with it. We have not purchased a new one for me because with my burgeoning belly backpacking seems a little out of the picture.
Back to the task at hand: I strapped the little Petzl to my forehead and re-assumed kneel position. Pieces of burned debris shone like a glassy lava field at the back of the oven. The molten mess I spotted earlier had flattened to a hardened island of char at the front of the oven. I scraped and wiped and eventually was reduced to scratching a butter knife across the mess. Bad for the enamel, I know, but expeditious and therefore easy on the knees. I thought about all those Saturdays cleaning my mother’s oven and tried to remember how it was done, all I could remember was a can foaming cleaner that I am pretty sure is toxic to the unborn. So I just used water and elbow grease.
It was at this moment of domestic failure that I chuckled at my life. How did I end up here? In an apartment in Massachusetts, in the middle of the day, with no discernible loss of power, a headlamp on, elbow deep in a mess that my own laziness had caused. Do you stop and wonder at your life? How did I get here? Is this my husband? Is this my daughter? How did this feisty little girl from San Diego end up in Boston moonlighting as a stay at home mom?
But I did.
PS: the quiche turned out fine and my oven no longer smokes.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Smoothie Recipes!

I don't think that I have ever really understood the smoothie craze. Is it snack or a meal? Some smoothie aficianados I know have said that 'yes,' it is both.

During this pregnancy I have been craving them. I don't know why. Anymore than I understand any other pregnancy craving that I have.
This Monday at my monthly appointment with my midwife she instructed me, that's right instructed me to drink blueberry smoothies.
'Why? That's weird medical advice,' you might think. We were having a discussion about my slowed down system and she had asked me where I was getting my fiber. I fumbled through a list of things I had eaten in the last few days, trying to prove that I know what I am doing with nutrition, in a very kind way she told me that I probably wasn't getting enough fiber. I told her I had been eating yogurt because even though it's not rich in fiber the live and active cultures are supposed to help. She nodded and suggested blueberry smoothies because their skins are a good source of fiber. I had drank one just the afternoon before.
Here's what I have come up with for what looks like a 12 oz. smoothie:

Blueberry Smoothie
1 banana
1/2 cup of blueberries
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3/4 - 1 cup juice (I've been orange, peach, mango because it's sweeter than just orange)
Squirt or two of honey if needed.
Blend, blend, blend. (You could also switch out milk for the juice and make a berries and cream smoothie)

There was a smoothie place in Santa Barbara that makes the best smoothies I'ev ever had. Wait, Lara, I thought you didn't like smoothies? I'm from Southern California, every now and then a smoothie just happens. They made one called The Peanut Butter, it was fantastic.
Wait, Lara, wouldn't a peanut butter smoothie just basically be a milk shake? Yes, yes, it is. Here is my approximation of their blended goodness:

Peanut Butter Smoothie
1 banana
1 cup yogurt
1-2 TBSP peanut butter
3/4 - 1 cup milk (I used almond milk, it's sweeter)
A squirting of honey (you'll want it for this one)
Blend, blend, blend. Mine turned out a bit dense, which I like, you could throw in ice cubes or more liquid if you like it thinner. I also used yogurt that I made which turned out thicker than any yogurt I have ever seen. (I will post about making yogurt later, once I have another batch under my belt and feel like I know what I am doing.)

Anyway drinking (I keep wanting to type eating) a smoothie every afternoon for a snack and adding 1/3 cup of a cereal called Bran Buds to my breakfast has revolutionized my pregnant life. No, Bran Buds are not all that tastey, but if I can finish the day not feeling like my abdomen is going to file for divorce if I don't change my evil ways I feel like I have won.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My friend has been freed!

This morning I sat dutifully eating my bran rich morning cereal, and 'helping' my daughter eat the last of her applesauce. Scott looked up from the computer,
"Jess has been released!" He stated excitedly. Something like sunlight spread through my chest,
"What!" I gulped down a mouthful, not really believing that an end had been brought to what seemed like an impossible and unending crisis.
He started reading the BBC report about her rescue. A group of Navy Seals (the same that executed the Osama mission) raided the compound where she was being held captive by Somali pirates and pulled, my friend, Jess Buchanan, and the colleague who was also being held for a ransom of 38 million, out of captivity.
I've thought about her on and off in the past three months since she was taken. Scenes from kidnapping movies have popped into my head. Where does she sleep? What does she eat? Is she okay? I remember standing in the bathroom at my dad's house on Christmas and thinking about her. Looking down at the white tiles of the counter and wondering how her family was doing. Did she even know that it was Christmas? Could she see the sun that day? Could she even pray?
I wonder now where she is exactly, in the hospital? Apparently Obama pulled the trigger because her health was failing. What was wrong? Has she seen her husband yet? Will she quit her job with the Danish Demining Group? Will they move back to the US or Sweden, her husband's home country. Will this make them angrier and more determined to stay?
Where do you go from here?

This is one of those things that makes life stop. Makes all the things that our lives rotate on seem petty and meaningless. Our jobs. Our accolades. Somehow all that seems to matter are family and friends. The people that love us.

I think that sunlight I felt was hope. Hope that even in a world where people do horrid things that there are people that fight. People that fight well. People that win. Those people are on my side.
I am so proud of our president and those Navy Seals. All throughout this ordeal I felt powerless. I certainly can't go to Somalia and bust in on some Somali pirates and free my friend all Rambo style (pause for a moment and just picture that, remember that I am six months pregnant, it works best if I am holding an ak-47 and have a bandana on my head) Could I write to someone? Do they already know? Who knows? Does the president know? Does he even care about the life of one US citizen?
Apparently he does.

There were repeated kidnappings when I lived in Nairobi. This is actually the second time where I know the person. Every morning at six am when I went for a run I wondered if this was the day that I would be taken. When I ran when I was nursing I wondered how my husband would feed my baby. I was never taken. Thankfully. You wonder what would happen, if your family would get you back. How they would get you back. If your government would care?
Apparently they do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Queen or Princess

My daughter recieved a hot pink tutu, flowery crown, and fairy wings for her birthday. We immediately put them on her she twirled in a circle and proclaimed,
"I'm a princess!"
Scott and I looked at each other,
"I didn't do it," Scott said.
"Neither did I," I sighed in return.

Today Emma was wearing the hot pink tutu, she started climbing up my leg and said,
"I a princess, and you're a prince."

Wait, I can use this.

"No, I'm the queen. If you're a princess, then I'm the queen," I responded.
"Daddy's the prince!" Well, he is a boy...
"No Daddy is the King. A Queen is the Mommy of a princess and a King is the Daddy of a princess."
"No, you're a prince," she asserted. She then went on to talk about 'Princess Rosie' and 'Prince Caillou.' Brother and sister characters from a TV show, that make a castle and then play prince and princess. I gave up. In her equation there was a prince and princess, but in our real life equation there is no 'prince.'

I had noticed that I was perfectly okay with using the moniker of 'queen' for myself, but not really comfortable using 'princess' for my daughter. Why is that?

Our lexicon of fairy tales has displayed princesses as weak individuals in need of saving. Beautiful women only used as marriagable pawns in male run politics.

I have always hated the 'Princess and the Pea,' even as a child. Here is a girl being judged for marriage into the monarchy, her test? Are you so delicate that you can feel a pea through ten mattresses. I think I have always hated this story because on a gut level I know I would fail. They would present me with the tower of mattresses, I would climb to the top, and because you know they would be nice, were in a castle after all, and...zonk...snore...
"How did you sleep?" asks the queen.
"Fantastic. Those mattresses were great!" I say smugly, thinking I had passed. Because sleeping well means I did well, right? (I could get used to this luxury thing.)
"Oh, you didn't feel anything?" the queen would ask.
"Nope, nothing but sweet down." All the while thinking, 'Where's that prince? Time to put a ring on it.'
"I'm sorry, you failed," the queen would say, ushering me out of the palace, past the prince, and back into my peasant life of drudgery.

I will take a moment to mention that I have slept peacefully in a tent, while be snowed on, and with a tree limb jabbing me in the shoulder blades. This quality would make a good prince, because they're supposed to be good in battle and I'm sure that war requires you to sleep in conditions as described above. But me, as a princess? Nope, stay at home and be so delicate that a pea bruises you.
Blah.

Queens actually get to boss people around. That's why I like it better. They get to tell people what to do. A few of them have even found themselves or made it so that they end up sitting in the throne.
Of course there are the fairy tales where they are mean and evil. I'm assuming because they are old, and once you are old you are no longer beautiful, and not worth anything, and therefore you must take out your anger on the young beautiful princess.
Right?
Wrong.

While I was having that conversation with my daughter I was trying to convince myself that if I got her to say that I was the queen it would be more an assertion of my authority over anything else. I was also thinking that the monarchy did exist, and we like stories about them because they had power and money. In modern times we have taken 'princess' to mean a pampered woman incapable of doing much other than being pretty. A fate I do not want for my capable girl.
So instead of throwing out the princess and her perfume I am hoping to get in there and reframe the idea before anything sticks too hard.
With a father that does the dishes and a mother that climbs mountains I know that the 'princess' myth won't stick in this household.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Powerful Words

Last night when I picked Emma up, while playing, she rested her head on my shoulder and said,
“That’s so sweet, honey,” I was so surprised. She said it in the exact tone that I use with her. Later that evening she, again, rested her head on my shoulder and said,
“Oh, sweet pea,” again I was taken by surprise by her mimicry of my tone of voice and words.

I hear stories from mothers that say one day their child looks up at them and repeats something horrible or tiresome that they say all the time. Like,
“Not right now, Mom, I’m busy.” Or a cuss word; or just something that reflects back to you that maybe you’re not doing as bang up a job as you thought.
I’ve been bracing myself for that day. The day when I am convicted that I don’t pay enough attention to my daughter, or the day that my potty mouth finally catches up with me.
This I was not expecting. I was not expecting my daughter to reflect back words of love. She actually hears me when I tell her I love her or when I use soothing tones or sweet nicknames.

As a mom we have so much power with our words. Especially as we grow older and our girls grow into adolescents and then into adults, it seems like one offhand comment has the ability to fell a woman and tell her that her mother doesn’t see her for who she truly is or love her for who she truly has become. That the one person that is supposed to know us and love us unconditionally does not. Of course I hope that my overarching motherly message is that I love her and accept her no matter what her decisions are (okay, unless she drops out of college, takes up exotic dancing, and decides to run off with Jim Bob, then we may have some tense conversations).

Maybe just maybe that is actually what is happening. Maybe just maybe my efforts to love on her and be gentle are penetrating. Maybe just maybe the foundation that I am laying down now will be solid. Maybe just maybe when she’s fourteen and I say, ‘no, you can’t go to the party with that boy,’ after the door slams, I can know that I made a good decision. Maybe just maybe when the hormones settle she will know that I love her.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Your Mess or Mine?

“I know what we can do this afternoon, organize our apartment and get rid of some clutter,” I looked up from the computer. Having finally sat down to complete a blog I’d been narrating in my head for three days I didn’t really think I needed direction for my time this afternoon.
He was right, though. Upon returning from vacation I remembered how crowded I felt our apartment was, how our stuff seemed to be climbing out from closets and taking over the floor. It doesn’t help that our daughter pulls apart the tiny bit of organization that I have done and scatters it about the apartment.
“I want to get that box out of our room,” I felt a twinge of guilt. ‘That box’ was my mess. A box of collage supplies that sat at the end of our bed. The contents would regularly explode and throw themselves about the carpet surrounding the box. It was ugly. And it was my fault.
“Okay, well I want to put it in those plastic drawers. Can I fill the desk with art supplies?” I ask.
“I don’t really care where stuff goes, as long as it goes away,” he responds. Done.
So I take another break from my blog and take the plastic drawers that have been following me each move since college, empty the art supplies in them into the desk and then fill them with paper, fabric, and ribbon. I triumphantly walk into the hall and drop the empty box in front of the stairs.
“Done and done.” I announce. He looks up from playing with my daughter on the bed,
“Thanks!”
“So that’s my organizational task done for the afternoon,” I say, hands on hips in satisfaction. Scott grins and asks,
“Okay, what’s mine?” What? We are giving each other tasks? I couldn’t really think of anything that was ‘his fault’ that needed to go away.
“I don’t know, pick a mess and make it go away,” I shrugged. A few minutes later,
“Could we get the mountain bike out of the living room?” I ask.
“It’s only there because we were out of town,” I know this, but we’re back in town.
“Hey, you know your basket of sweaters in the corner of the room, can you make that go away?” I ask after the bike is outside.
“How?” he asks.
“I have those organizer things from Ikea, put them in there. Then we can flip the basket over and put the printer on top of it. Then we would have a clean desk.” Okay, I would have a clean desk. After much shuffling heard from the bedroom he appeared,
“Where are those organizer things?”
“Ohh, in a box. I think in one of those Rubbermaid boxes with fabrics in them.” He gestured to one storage area and then to another,
“Where?”
“I don’t know,” it appears we’re at a standstill. Digging in the storage units is too big a task for this weekend afternoon.
He did get the top of his dresser cleared off. The basket remains an eyesore.

I guess what I am saying is that Scott and I have learned how to get the other person to do what we want without nagging or making them feel bad about themselves. I am not sure how that happened. Maybe it’s not caring as much when it gets done. Maybe it’s knowing that if I pitched a fit about every mess he made he could pitch one about mine. Maybe it’s worrying that I have more messes than he does…

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Big is Beautiful?

I just ate a brownie smothered in hot fudge sauce and whip cream.
Sometimes you just have to relish being pregnant.

A question that has been bothering me for awhile has been bopping around in my head and I thought I would ask the rest of you what you thought:
Why is it suddenly okay to comment on a woman's size when she is pregnant?

Think about it. For most of our lives size is kind of the proverbial elephant in the room. You don't talk about your 'size.' You don't list numbers. You certainly don't walk up to complete strangers and comment on their weight.

I show early and a lot. I am short waisted and short. My abdomen is not first class, nor even business class, my daughters have had to ride out their womb time in Economy class. Sorry girls no extra knee room for you. You might want to keep that tray table locked in an upright position, lest you bump your forehead on it.
I also gain quite a bit of weight. For whatever reason my body seems to need to gain about forty pounds. I tried to do better the second time around but I fear that I am not faring all that well. Really, though, the few times that I have been so sick I couldn't eat during nursing or pregnant I was thankful for that extra layer of subcutaneous loving.

My husband and I went into a maternity clothing shop a few months ago. In this particular shop you have to walk past all the expensive Pea in the Pod clothes to get to the normal priced Destination Maternity in the back. We walked in, trolled the sale racks in the back and walked right back out. On the way out of the door my husband sputtered,
"Those models were ridiculous, they were just a bump and all skinny arms and legs. You need to gain more weight than that when you're pregnant!" I don't know if he said that for my benefit or not. But he's right, they were ridiculous.

I was at a baby shower about a year ago and we played a game where we guessed how much weight she had gained. Everybody was cooing about how tiny she still looked. She was due in about a month, I could tell she was swollen. All the ladies guessed polite numbers, 12 or ten. I did the math and figured she was about on target, I almost guessed 20 but folded to social pressure and said, '17.' I was right. I was a bit incensed that people would congratulate someone for not gaining that much weight when they are pregnant.

So why does it bother me when someone eyes my belly and asks me if I have, 'twins in there?' Or, 'You're not gonna have a ten pounder, are you?' Or, 'Really you're only twenty weeks?' I feel a twinge of emberrassment, like I've gained too much weight or that somehow I should will my belly to be smaller.
I guess it's that I feel our cultural pressure to be thin infiltrating pregnancy. Pregnancy is the one time in your life, outside of babyhood, where you need to gain weight to be healthy. For you and for the baby.

So next time you see a pregnant women who looks twelve months pregnant, smile and tell her she looks great. She probably needs to hear that more than anything.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Awkward Giving

Remember that funny off kilter sweater you received from Aunt Mildred on your 12th birthday? The one in purple and orange with pompoms that she lovingly knitted with just you in mind? One sleeve was maybe a little smaller than the other, or the hem was perhaps a smidge crooked, or it had a strange bulbous shape that didn’t quite fit your slender pre-pubescent body.
I believe that I have inflicted that kind of awkward homemade gift giving onto my family. I am a horrible seamstress. Horrid, really. It’s true. I get sucked into the idea of creating something wonderful out of fabric, the endless ideas. Curtains made in the just the fabric you love. Pillows that perfectly match the couch. I like fabric stores, full of fun possibilities. When it actually comes to executing the action of sewing there is frustration, aggravation, and sometimes violence, and then profanity.
I have had the idea of making rice bags for a few years. You know the ones where you microwave them or freeze them and then lay them across an aching part of your body. I like them better than heating pads because they conform to your body. I also like them better than a bag of frozen peas because I’d really like to eat the peas, and after you have coddled the bag across your body it seems a bit gross to eat them.
So I did it. In the spring I was sneaking through a fabric store and couldn’t resist a bunch of lovely quilting squares that seemed to typify a ‘country cool’ look that was a part of living in Colorado. So I bought eleven of them, ten for the family and one for me. A few weeks later I hopefully sat down to sew them. I just sewed up the bags like a pillowcase and decided to fill them with rice later in the year closer to Christmas, because Christmas for us usually involves travel. Also this year I had no idea where we would be living. So after a few hours of verbal abuse heaped upon the sewing machine, a remembrance that I am no good at this, two occasions where I called for help from my mother in law, and quite a few crooked seams I had eleven inside out tiny pillowcases.
Then we moved to Boston and I lost access to a sewing machine. So they sat until about two weeks before Christmas day. We brought them to Colorado and I promised that I would finish everything before our family got there. Then I forgot until the day before Christmas Eve. The eve of Christmas eve, if you will.
Sooooo on Christmas Eve we went into town and bought ten pounds of rice, I attempted to be surreptitious as I loaded two huge five pound bags of rice into the bottom of the grocery cart in front of two of my sisters. Then later tried to be sneaky as I took them out from under one of their noses and hauled them upstairs to my mother in law’s sewing corner. In about two hours I had three done and one half filled, and the rice completely emptied out. There were enough done for the families that would be opening presents the next day so I was okay. There was cussing and only once where I smacked the table in frustration. I discovered that the weight of the rice would pull the bags out from underneath the needle of the machine, making some of the seams vaguely zig-zaggy. I would attempt to balance them on my forearm while feeding the bag through and pulling from the other side. A fair act of balance and coordination. Really, maybe, a bit more than I really have.
The next round of sewing happened the day before we were to get on the plane and fly to California for the last round of Christmas with my family. Only one of the bags burst open, spreading rice all over the table, when I didn’t get the seams exactly sewn together all the way. Only once did I need to get my mother in law to replace the bobbin thread. Only once did I swear that I would never sew again. My mother in law’s response,
“That’s what I always say.” Oh no. I hope that I actually stick to that threat.
So if you are in family and you received one of those from me and upon examining the seams you realize that you are much better at sewing than me, raise a glass to yourself, and toast being better than me. I may be bringing you pants to hem in the future. Don’t worry that I will try to sew for others again I know my limitations, I know how bad I am.
So family if one of those bags burst open in your bed while you are trying to ease your aching back and you are bent over, still standing, with your sore back, scooping rice into your hand, think of me. Because I love you enough to never do that to you again.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Home is Where the Heart Is?

Some of you know this and some of you don't: I am actually Californian.
Although in the past few years it's grown harder to understand what that actually means, other than a fiendish love for Mexican food and pale skin that I have slowly taught how to tan.
This past week I spent the rest of our Christmas vacation staying in Orange County with my father and stepmother.
As we drove the huge streets I kept asking, 'is this home.' With all it's cookie cutter shopping malls and six lane streets full of nice cars Orange County didn't connect with me now, anymore than it did when I was younger.
We visited my mom for a day in San Diego. Our lunch at a taco stand on the beach felt more like home. This was something I can get behind; fish tacos and the ocean, what's not to love? As we played with Emma in the sand I felt an almost tangible ache, sorry Massachusetts, but your beaches aren't the same.
This was our last week of vacation so in preparation for it I kept telling Emma that soon we would get on a plane and, 'go home to Boston.' I found myself tripping over the words a bit. Is Boston really home?

Our flight home consisted of a stop in San Francisco and then on to Logan. I love the San Francisco airport. I feel like you can often tell the nature of a city by it's airport. SFO always has art exhibits in the halls that go from terminal to terminal and the restaurants are great. Not a McDonalds in sight, and Peet's Coffee rather than Starbucks. John Wayne Airport in Orange County? Clean, new, deliberately plannned, and full of Starbucks and restuarants with the latest food trends. Apparently frozen yogurt and hot dogs are back.

As we bustled past an art exhibit on classic TV towards our Gate I wondered if I had city envy. I am beginning to wonder if you don't get to pick your 'home.' As I visited friends from college last week I heard an echo of discontent as to where they had landed. Several in LA and one in Orange County. They were in these cities in seeming happenstance; stayed after graduate school, next to a job that they liked, a convenient living situation with Grandpa and like a lobster in a pot they are slowly getting used to it.

I picked a soup restuarant for dinner and got chicken tortilla soup and a sourdough roll for dinner. I smirked as I noticed my water cup was made from potato starch. I went back to our gate to wait and sent my husband out to get his own dinner. In a few minutes he came back with a large compost-able looking to go container.
"What did you get?"
"A burrito," he said as he unfolded a glorious looking chicken burrito with chips, salsa, and a salad. I could have kicked myself, as order envy sank in I said,
"I thought you were going to come back with some kind of asian noodle dish."
"Yeah, that's what I wanted but I didn't see that restuarant until I ordered this." I laughed,
"I did the exact same thing, I ordered the soup and then saw that Mexican restuarant after I had paid." My last shot at really good Mexican food and I get soup. I consoled myself that burritos were heavy and I shouldn't eat something so heavy before getting on a plane. Why? I don't know, but it sounded good in my head.
"Why do we always live in places where I can't get good Mexican food?" I ask Scott.
"It's your cross to bear," and he hands me a tub of salsa and motions to his chips, I help myself, of course.
When we got off the plane in Logan I kept asking myself, 'Is this it? Is this home? What do I connect to here?'
The first shop we see off the plane? A Dunkin Donuts. I don't particularly like donuts, and their coffee is pretty sorry. Oh well, their bagels are good. A friend picks us up and we make a deliberate stop at a Starbucks on the way home.
As we drove through wintery leafless landscapes to our door, I kept asking myself the same question. Oddly enough I have grown to love the seasons. Our 77 degree week in Orange County felt a little wrong for January. (Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, it was nice to be warm.)
Yesterday as we put away our Christmas loot I couldn't remember where our utility drawer was in our kitchen. When I went to use the bathroom? I couldn't remember which switch was the light. We have only lived here six months.
This morning when we went for a walk my daughter danced in circles and sang,
"We are home! We are home!"
Maybe home is just what you make it. Our family isn't here, so we make friends our family. The beaches here are small and cold, but they are beaches, and after being landlocked for a season that is pretty great. Scott likes his job. I have already made mom friends. To be honest the North Shore isn't exactly ugly.

Maybe I will grow to love Dunkin Donuts....