We Hurt, But We Smile

It's been difficult...

I've had a hard time trying to...

There's so much going on inside me...


No sentence I write is right.

This is the eleventh time I've tried to start this post. I'm going to lead with that. If I continue to struggle with how to talk about my sadness, well, it ends up being yet another struggle and that makes me sad. See how that works?

Last week, Cooper and I went to do our "sit in" at the YMCA. Mommy observes as baby explores the new and exciting world of pre-school.

The first twenty minutes were splendid. We met Teacher Porsha and Teacher Jill. Both were amazing.

Cooper played well with the other children. He loves fake food. I don't know what it is about plastic fruits and veggies, but kids can't get enough of pretending to cook it, eat it and serve it up on plates with a combo of tastes that do not traditionally go together, like bacon and chocolate cake. (Mmmmmmmmm. I'd eat that.)

Then, it was time to clean up. The whole class started organizing toys into bins and placing them away on shelves.

As the other children formed a circle on the carpet in preparation for story time, my son went ballistic grabbing at everything. He threw musical instruments. He screamed and stomped. His trantrum continued throughout, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. (Some consider it Geisel's filet, but I've always favored McElligot's Pool.)

I tried to comfort my child with a hug. He pushed me away with a , "NOOOOOOOO!". My heart shattered.

Instantly I remembered saying awful things to my mom. I called her an ugly old witch once when I was five.

I smiled and told him it was all going to be ok. I felt awful. "I'm a bad mom," has surpassed, "I'm so fat," as the negative phrase that repeats in my head. Perhaps I have not prepared him enough. My concentration was never on manners. Mostly, I just loved him, played with him and prevented him injuring himself via electricity or sharp objects.

I think I gave the appearance of a cool, calm mom. The teachers assured me that that it's always overwhelming at first and Cooper will do just fine.

I'm sure he will.

It's mommy that's questionable.

Family Vacation - Part 2

They say Maine is Vacationland. I agree with they! They be right!

Maine is both beautiful and mysterious. The jagged rocks, the twisted trees and the old homes hold countless secrets. If you listen closely to the coastal breeze, you can hear the faint voice of deceased actor Fred Gwynne saying, "Sometimes...death is bettah." ('Pet Cemetery' ref. Some local author named Stephen King wrote it. )

Coop enjoyed picking up shells and playing with starfish in the tide pools on the rocks.

He wanted to continue climbing, but the rocks were a bit treacherous. He kept crying, "UP! UP! UP!" Perhaps he'll be one of those nuts who climb Everest!

It's tough being a continent away from Mimi, Grampy, Uncle Jay and Scott. Coop had the time of his life.

I like the face he's making here.

Jakob took this photo of me lounging on the rocks. In fact, that's a perfect title for this image: "On the Rocks."

"Aye, Captain! I see a mess of red hair."

The rock pictures are a family tradition. I've seen pictures of Jakob, Sean, Scott and Jordan as small children playing with their dad on the rocks at Pemaquid.

Now I have photos of Cooper playing with his dad on the rocks of Pemaquid.

Our fave place to eat ended up being Shaw's--a wharf restaurant where the lobster boats come in and unload their fresh catches of the day! Sure, it's a tourist magnet, but the food was BEYOND DELECTABLE!

If I counted correctly, Jakob had onion rings at every other meal and three platters of fried scallops.

I tried to refrain from fried foods. ("Vacation" and "diet" do not go hand in hand.) I did have some onion rings (beer batter is brutal for the belly bulge) and I had to have chowdah!

I hate this picture, but Jakob loves it. What is being slurped down faster at this meal: the raw oysters or the martini?

It was great to see Cooper play amongst the trees. My own childhood was filled with adventures in the forest or at the beach.

Now Cooper is having his own adventures. He found a tree frog and shouted "Riddit! Riddit!"

Here's Coop spending some quality time with Uncle Scott.

And here's Coop spending some quality time with some heavily buttered corn on the cob.

Jakob did find some time to smile, despite work woes.

This summer has been a stressful one. I look forward to a time and place where my husband can slow down and relax just a bit. Before he knows it, his little son will become a young man. ("Cats in the cradle and the silver spoon...")

Life is both short and long. I'm glad I have my family around to help make it joyful, too.

Oh, and I had a mad love affair with a pirate, but that's a post for another blog.

After Maine, we spent time with Great Grandma and Grampa Bonin on Cape Cod before we flew back to Burbank.

Those two weeks were fabulous. But it's good to be home. There's some time to adjust before autumn comes and changes everything.

Family Vacation - Part 1

The first stop on our grand East Coast tour was Jersey.

We visited my sis Danielle, her hubby Owen and their amazing new addition:

JOSEPH...my devastatingly handsome nephew!

He stole my heart right away. I suppose I look like (and sound like) his mom, so he took to me. And my bosom. He's a boob man. I like a guy who respects a woman's curves.

He's a smart baby with wise eyes. He barely complained and when he did, it was the tiniest "wha, wha, wha," as if to say, "um, hey, guys, I don't mean to be a bother or anything but there seems to be some pee in my pants and, not to rock the boat, but I'd really appreciate a dipe change. No super rush. When you get a moment. M'kay? Thank you ever so much."

My sis, being a teacher, researched "the best toddler activities in the greater New York area." The Liberty Park Science Center had a hands-on exhibit for ages 2-5. PERFECTO!

Cooper was glued to the Wondrous Ball Thingy! It was a Dr. Suess-esque contraption where you hurled balls into a basket, turned cranks, pulled levers and pushed buttons to watch your ball whiz about inside the gigantic moving machine.

There was an area with parts to build your own miniature wooden car and watch it careen down a series of hills. Cooper liked it so much that he went and grabbed the balls from the Wondrous Ball Thingy and started placing them on the series of hills to watch them roll with the cars. My friend Jessica pointed out that he was the only kid who thought to join the two experiments. Cross-pollinate...a forward thinker!

Did I mention that seeing Jessica Trimble in her hospital scrubs and white nursing clogs filled me with joy to the point of tears because I am so proud of her? It's true.

There was a long troth filled with rice. Cooper started counting rice at one point and I thought to myself, "Well, this could probably occupy him for...well, forever."

Not so. We moved on to a coloring corner with a block building station.

Then mirrors and body mechanics...oh my!

Then, the Sound Experience Podium where you push buttons to hear a heart beat or a nature sound or your own voice echoing over the speakers. At one point, a four-year-old blonde girl sang into the microphone. She was softly treating everyone to the sweetest rendition of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Then my boy ran at her, with all his might, and TACKLED her to the ground. I think he had a crush on her. He likes pretty blondes who sing. We might have to work on his communication skills with the opposite sex.

Oh, and then there was the Oversized Xylophones! Would Coop be into smacking things with sticks?

You betchya!

I kept the crazy red eyes in this pic because they really capture his xylophone mania.

My sister is an excellent mother. In fact, she seems happier and calmer. Parenthood suits her. She shines when Joseph is in her arms.

I wish we did not live so far apart. But I can see these two cousins becoming friends despite the distance. And when they are pre-teens embarking on mischievous adventures together, I'll show them this video so they can witness the first time they hung out:

Still to come...Part 2 of Family Vacation: Maine!

While You Wait...

Just got back from the East Coast.

I promise to have a post with all the deets and pix soon.

But for now, enjoy this picture I took of a deformed green grape.

I was about to just eat it, but then I noticed that this grape was no ordinary grape.

Doesn't it look like it has a bum? This grape totally has a butt.

A perfect grape for Sir Mix-a-lot.