Friday, January 29, 2010

Wii Are the Champions, My Friends...

It's cold.  Really cold.  Actually, I can't tell if it's really that cold or if I just can't get warm after three solid months of cold.  On the bright side, we live in Minnesota, so we are probably only half-way through winter.  Sweet.

Every day (I'm not exaggerating), as we walk out to the car to head to preschool, Gan asks me how many more days until the snow melts. Seriously, I'm bitter and angry about the snow, so it takes every ounce of self control I have to answer him in a loving-mother manner, to not scream, "HOW THE HECK AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW?!?!  MAKE IT MELT!!!  MAKE IT FRICKIN' MELT!!!"  

Anyway, this post is not supposed to be about the depressing weather.  The local weathermen have the franchise on that.  

When the weather is too cold to be outside, my Mighty Murphys still find a way to be true to their essential selves.  They were born athletes.  Maguire tried dance class, but her heart wasn't in it.  Her heart is in t-ball, tennis, swimming, basketball, and golf.  Last summer, Gan could throw a baseball twenty yards or so and hit Ryan, while he was moving (if only I had the camera...).  As much as I try to cultivate their artist-selves and their cooperative-selves, they are jocks, and they don't like to lose.    

So, on a Friday night in late January, when all seems lost, you do what you do best.  You have a Wii sports tourney.  

There is tennis...

There is golf...

There is disappointment (she quickly recovered)...

There is joy....

There is Poj, questioning Dad's club choice...

It's the prototypical American drama, playing out right here in my own living room, while I have a glass of red wine.  I guess I can see the art in that.


Momma T.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

So I got a new camera...

I wanted one of those super-cool SLR cameras that takes the amazing pictures, but when I counted the change in my car, I only had $3.17.  Plus, I think I'd need to spend some quality time with the owners manual, which is only likely to happen in, possibly, 2022.

So, I went with an upscale point and shoot.  Here's a sample of my artistry, with their titles:

"I'm so delicious."

"Is this what you do in pilates class?"

"Are you guys brothers or what?"

"Gettin' my BB game face on"

And, last but not least,

"So sweepy."  (By the way, this is the Ganimal, in case you weren't sure.)

Art is in the eye of the beholder, right?


Momma T.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Uncle Mark

I have a brother-in-law who loves my kids.  He doesn't love them because he's supposed to love them, they're cute, or he thinks it'll get him chicks. He loves them for who they are.  It's a blessing that I never imagined.

Mark was born in Pusan, South Korea, and is now living in Seoul getting a graduate degree.  My in-laws adopted Mark when he was four.  As a child, they say he really adored Ryan, who was about 9 years older.  It seems that things have come full circle because Ryan's children adore Mark.  All of them.  No doubt about it.  Given a choice between Ryan and me and Uncle Mark, it'd be a close call.  And I'm not even sure about which way they'd come out.

Maguire has always loved him - right from the start, he's been her favorite person.  He's always been patient and kind, and he watches her play American Girl Dolls.  (He has his standards - he doesn't actually play AG, but he will watch.)

Poj loves Mark too.  He's been known to nap on him in the beanbag, a true sign of devotion.

Magoo and Poj are the mild-mannered ones though.  Let's face it - those two are outgoing and smile at and talk to strangers on the street.  They are people persons.

The real sign of Mark's talent is the fact that Gan adores him.  When he was first born, Gan only liked  Ryan, me, and Gramps.  But he tolerated Mark.  Gan's toleration of Mark grew to adoration.  Gan's subtle, but he leaves clues.  When Mark plays wrestling with Gan, Gan builds a soft ring made of pillows and beanbags to show his love.  When he kicks other people's butts, he makes them feel it on the hard floor.  

So, Mark, I know that you're one of my three readers, and I want you to know that I adore you.  We miss you.  You know there's always room for you in our basement.

Annyonghi kasayo, my brother.

Momma T.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hoop Dreams

Basketball is my favorite sport 
I like the way they dribble up and down the court 
Just like I'm the QUEEN on the MOMMA-phone so is Dr. J and Moses Malone 
I like Slam dunks take me to the hoop 
My favorite play is the alley oop 
I like the pick-and-roll, I like the give-and-go, 
Cause it's Basketball, uh, Mister Kurtis Blow

Props to Kurtis Blow on that one.  It's basketball season in Murphy-dom.  Gan's rocking the parent-child basketball, and Magoo is full-blown hoopin' it up (albeit six-on-six - there's an explanation but I'll spare you the details).  

Here's a few pics, courtesy of Uncle Mark, so you can get a little taste of the action.  

Gan-the-man is monster on the hoop - shooting about 70 percent.  Dad's been trying to coach him on the dribble, but Gan knows that no one dribbles in the NBA anymore anyway.  He wants to work on the skills that'll get him to the bigs. 


Magoo, on the other hand, is not about the glory or the stats.  She's a purist - she's about the game.  She is a phenom on the boards.  One little punk tried to push her off the post, and she gave him a little love tap back.  Love it.  No one out-rebounds my girl.  NO ONE.  


Don't tell anyone that Dad wasn't wearing the prison garb.


Momma T.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Family all are we.

The kids have been asking questions about the Haitian earthquake this past week.  It is very real for them because one of our cousins just returned home after being in Haiti during the earthquake.  As I'm answering their little kid questions and watching round-the-clock news coverage, I am awestruck by the generosity and the kindness of all the world's people.  I see pictures showing rescue workers from nations all over the globe.  People (with the exception of Pat Robertson who, this week, I have begun to believe is barely human) have transcended language, religion, nationality, race, politics, poverty, borders, and everything else imaginable to help a people in need.  Why is it that these things get so big and pose such huge obstacles in the absence of extraordinary devastation?

Thank you to all those people who helped answer our prayers to get our cousin home safely.  We are forever in your gratitude.  May the Haitian people find comfort and strength.  We are praying for you.

Momma T.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Criminal Intent

Eight years ago, Ryan started doing some seriously hard time on a modern day chain gang.  He works 15-20 hour days, sits in a torture chair while at the office (presumably to ward off sleep), has to wear pinstripes and uncomfortable shoes for 15 hours a day, stares at bright lights that are making him blind, and does repetitive wrist and finger work designed to give him carpal tunnel - something to remember prison by long after he's sprung.  Occasionally, he gets lunch and exercise time in the concrete jungle.

A few years ago, I arranged a deal whereby I got him out on home-monitoring.  I had the house set up with wireless internet.  Really, it's marginally better than the office.  He's still working all the time, but he doesn't have to wear the pinstripes or the uncomfortable shoes when he's at home.  In exchange, however, they have required him to wear the prison gear to outings like Father-Son basketball practice.  Johnny Cash would be proud; Ryan's "got stripes, stripes are on his shoulders..."

The kids and I have had enough; we're bustin' him out.  Maguire's the mastermind, and Gan is the muscle.  Roj and I are in charge of supplies and, for obvious reasons, the getaway car.

I can't go into all the details, because I don't want WP (aka the Word Processing department - their first line of defense) to have time to prepare.  But Gan's backpack is loaded up with his Nerf dart gun and two 48-dart refill packs.  Maguire is loaded up with rubber bands and hair ribbons, in case we need to take prisoners.  My preparations are slightly different, more organic, so to speak.  I'm going to feed Roj two jars of baby pears.  (If you've read my previous posts about Roj and baby food, you'll know this is no small feat.  It's gonna be over 20 degrees tomorrow so I think I'll do it outside.)  Why pears, you ask? Well, have you ever smelled a baby diaper after the baby's had pears?  If so, you wouldn't be asking the question.  The diapers will serve as our grenades.  We're gonna canvass the 38th floor with them to smokescreen our getaway.

We're comin' for you Daddy.  Just hang tight.

Momma T and the Mighty Murphys

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Poj likes pancakes and other lessons from a six-month check up

Poj (aka Ronan, Rojo, Rojey-Pojey, The Baby Man) had his six-month check-up last week.  I think I need therapy to cope.

So, it went like this.  I told Dr. G that Poj isn't all that crazy about baby food and that every feeding episode is like a bad war movie - hand-to-hand combat over the spoon, other kids getting hit by food shrapnel - you get the picture.  Dr. G said that, based on what he sees, which includes four teeth, Poj could probably skip baby food and try feeding himself with finger food.  Dr. G said that Poj has enough hand-eye coordination to do it, which explains why he's grabbing the spoon so much.  He recommended that I give Poj a sippy cup and some mashed-up banana.

I wanted to punch him.

Then Dr. G watched him sit up and bounce away happily, and he said he'll probably be crawling soon because he really likes to move.  Exhibit A:

Again, I wanted to punch him.

I knew that Dr. G had one more strike until he was out, so to speak, so I fessed up.  I said, "Dr. G.  You gotta stop talking this way.  This is my last baby, and we are savoring every minute.  We will be skipping no stages, including disgusting baby food stages, and we will neither crawl nor walk early.  Am I clear?  AM I CLEAR?!?"  Without turning his back on me, Dr. G moved slowly to the door, half-smiled, and said he'd send in the nurse.

Despite my desperate need to delay any development on Roj's part and my ongoing desire to stuff him into his baby sling with him kicking and screaming for a little space, I did what I was told and gave Poj some pancakes.  Poj, it turns out, loves pancakes.  Loves them.  (As an aside, I really emphasize the "cake" part of pancake by adding some extra sugar and vanilla.  It's been a cold, cold winter so everyone could use a little more insulation.)  Dad also gave him some watermelon, which admittedly is a far more sensible choice.  And it, too, was a big hit.  Exhibit B:

So, tonite, I'm going to drown my sorrows in chocolate truffles and Prosecco left over from the holidays. Tomorrow, I'm going to see if the big kids will let me spoon feed them their oatmeal.

Momma T.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hands off, ladies, he's mine ... for now.

My Gan is going to make someone a fabulous mate someday.

1.  He cleans.  He really likes to clean.  He asked me today, with all the enthusiasm of a 3 1/2 year old, "Mom.  Can we put that blue stuff in the toilet and swirl it with that cool brush?!?  That'd be awesome!" He also does floors.

2.  He is chivalrous.  A few months back, Ryan said I was talking "crazy talk" at dinner one night.  Gan turned to me and said, "Mom.  Do you want me to kick Dad's butt for saying crazy to you?"  I love having my honor and my sanity defended.

3.  He is working on having huge superhero muscles.

4.  He is good with babies.  Although he's never done it himself, he could talk someone through a diaper change.

5.  He is adventurous and a bit wild.  Life with him will never be dull.

But for the next twenty years or so, ladies, eat your hearts out.  He's all mine.

Momma T.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

January 8, 2010: Dad

My dad died 18 years ago today. Sometime in the past year, I passed the point where I have now lived more of my life without him than with him. I'm the lucky one; Tim and Trish both passed it a few years back.

I've never written about my dad dying, so I thought long and hard about this post and what I should write to honor him and the anniversary of his last day and how it should be the very best thing I've ever put to paper/internet. I tried, but apparently, I'm still not ready to think about that day or to, in any way, relive it. So, instead, here's a few things that I can say. They are not artful or lovely or insightful, but they are true.

My dad drove a gray Chevy hatchback that smelled faintly like cigarettes and coffee and strongly like Wrigley spearmint gum.

My dad always had room for me in his orange recliner.

My dad laughed his butt off when I asked for directions somewhere and he told me to take hwy 151 and I asked him if that was "the big road that led to the mall."

My dad used to ask me, when I was little, how I could possibly like McDonald's hamburgers better than the ones he made on the grill.

My dad wore Rockport shoes because they helped his bad back. He even wore them when he ran during seventh grade girls' basketball practice.

My dad loved that strange little song, "I want money ... lots and lots of money .... I want the pie in the sky." He also liked, "Don't Worry. Be Happy."

My dad had huge forearms, chubby feet and fingers, and a large chin dimple. (I've been blessed with the dimple and the chubby feet and fingers, but spared the forearms).

My dad could hold his breath underwater for an unusually long time.

My dad used to say that the best way to hit a baseball or softball was to swing so you'd take the pitcher's head off.

My dad called me "motormouth" and my sister "Trishie-boom." (I think I got the short end of that stick.)

My dad would play touch football on the side of our yard with all the neighborhood kids, but he always called "all time quarterback" because of his bad back. (He may not have been wearing the Rockports.)

My dad really, really, really loved the women in his life - his mom, his sisters, his wife, his daughters, his sisters-in-law, his nieces. We were adored, even when he was harassing us.

My dad is still my brother's very best friend.

So, I've shed a few tears writing this, which is good. He deserves that. I miss him every day. As I get older, I miss him for different reasons. Ryan, Maguire, and Gan miss the chance to have known him. I have no doubt Ronan will feel the same way when he's older.

As a parting note, I'm attaching a little something my sister and brother-in-law had a hand in a while back. It's lighthearted and funny and so very true about my dad. It'll make you smile.

Kiss your dads for me today. Snuggle up with them in their armchairs or recliners. Tell them that you love them.

Momma T.

So, if you and Dad die...

After I read the last page of Where the Wild Things Are last night, Maguire said, "Mom. If you and Dad die, what will happen to us?" (This week is the anniversary of my dad's death so we've had a few "death" discussions. It's on her mind.) Before I could answer, she said, "I know we'd live with Aunt Cia (pronounced "sha" - nickname for my sister whose name is Tricia) and Uncle Jesse. But, I mean, what will happen - how will I call them? How will I feed Rojo a bubba? How will I change Roj's diaper? How will Cia and Jesse know that they're supposed to come and get us? I think we'll all fit in their car, but how will they know to come here to get us?"

At first, I was taken aback - how could she so matter-of-factly discuss Ryan's and my demise? Where is the angst and the terror? Where is the begging - please don't ever die!?!?

Then, I realized it wasn't about ME at that moment. And I remembered that it was about HER, and SHE is highly, highly analytical. She is also a planner. I answered the questions as best as I could, but ultimately I told her that she'd have to have faith in the grown-ups around her and herself. She's highly, highly resourceful.

She's not much on faith, so I told her that she'd find Cia's number in my cell phone - under "Tricia DeFosse." That seemed to put her at ease. She apparently didn't need to hear me say, "But you know, Love, that Dad and I aren't going anywhere anytime soon." Because after I said it, she smiled her kid smile and said, "Well, but you could." I started to wonder if she was plotting something. Hmmm......

Gan, bless him, took an entirely different approach. He is not as much of a planner. He's more of a seat-of-the-pants kind of guy. He is also desperately in love with Ryan and me. He listened to the whole conversation and, at the end, said, "Mom. If you and Dad are going somewhere when you die, I'm coming too." He also told me that he wishes he was a real superhero.

Momma T.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I basically have one big resolution this year - I want to be more present for my kids and my husband and my self, but mostly for my kids. We are just at the early stages of being swept away into basketball practice, piano lessons, homework. playdates, birthday parties, etc., etc., etc. But I can already feel time slipping away with a rapidity that terrifies me. To combat the terror, I've decided to be more here - to care less about laundry and more about this...

I quit my job in large part so I would be less distracted when I was with my kids. But then the holidays came and I got distracted - - - - really, really distracted. And then I got lazy - - they watched too much tv and we read too few books - - I yelled when I should have explained - - and I didn't hear them when I should have been listening carefully.

I love you my Mighty, Mighty Murphys. For 2010, I promise to be better.


About Me

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I'm a 36-year-old mother of three (one girl and two boys), lover of fashion, chocolate, and red wine, ex-lawyer about to become a lawyer again to fund the fashion, chocolate and red wine habit. I revere the sisterhood of moms.