Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

My Grandfather, Robert Lee Zimmerman, Germany 1944

Today is for remembering with gratitude.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Smacksy Sunday Links

I am thrilled that my friend Dr. Tina Bryson has started a blog. She is a parenting expert and her real-world, real-mom advice is smart and delivered with a sense of humor. If you have children in your life or are surrounded by adults who act like children, sign up to have her new posts delivered to your email. You’re welcome.

I am the person who will spend 20 minutes looking at photos of collections of mason jars filled with buttons and the interiors of a stranger's lovely kitchen cupboards. I am not defending this, merely relaying the facts. I like the pictures over here. The photos are of nice stuff and pretty places and cute clothes.

And this is :33 seconds of delight.

Happy Three-Day-Weekend Sunday.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Smacksy Saturday Photo: All The Force, All the Time

I have recently heard Smacksy described by more than one person as "a blog about parenting and Star Wars." This is a step up from a year ago when it was described as "a blog that talks a lot about poop." Meanwhile... I have an excellent new poop story for you next week.

Ah, nostalgia.
Happy Saturday, everyone.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Helper

“I’ve got to hurry, little guy. Have you seen my black –“


“No, shoes. I need my black high heeled –“

“Bra? Your black bra?”

“No, honey, shoes. I can’t find my black heels.”

“You have a black shirt, you need a black bra.”

“I have it on. I need my shoes. Do you see them by the ottoman?”

“You are wearing a pink bra, you need the black one.”

“Bob? What’s going on? I have on my black bra.”

“You do not.”

“I do. See the strap? I changed. I’m wearing the black bra. Why are you obsessed with this? Dude, you’re four. What’s happening right now?”

“Right now you’re needing shoes.”

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Big Questions



“I want an ice cream sandwich.”

“Try that again.”

“May I have an ice cream sandwich please, beautiful Mama?”

“You may but after lunch.”



“What color is God’s cape?”

“God has a cape?”

“Yes. You know, so that he can fly all of the dead bugs up to heaven.”

“And he needs a cape?”

“He doesn’t have wings or anything so yeah, he needs a cape.”

“Like a superhero?”

“Yes. Except he’s God. He holds the dead bugs all in his hands. He takes them to bug heaven.”

“Sounds like you have this figured out.”

“Yes. Except the cape color.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Momaw Nadon, so they tell me

It started with the collection of Star Wars action figures that Jeff had held on to since childhood and then passed on to Bob last summer. Add to this, one successful Star Wars themed birthday party, plus a number of almost over due library books, our home printer, and Bob’s status as the only grandchild on both sides. This has resulted in Bob’s bedroom currently housing the following:

Storm Trooper Costume
Anakin Skywalker Costume
Darth Vader Costume
Yoda Costume
37 Various Star Wars Images (Found on internet, printed out, hung on walls)
Clone Trooper Tank
Millennium Falcon Model
22 Star Wars Action Figures
Set of Star Wars Sheets
Millennium Falcon Quilt
Star Wars Optical Command Unit
Star Wars Tie Interceptor
2 Star Wars T-Shirts
Star Wars Transformers Crossovers - Clone Trooper to AT-TE
4 Light Sabers
Star Wars Plate, Bowl and Cup Set
2 Star Wars Chubbies Series 2 Nesting Dolls
4 Star Wars Sticker Books
LEGO Star Wars: The Clone Wars Assassin Droids
9 Star Wars – Various Books
“Help Restore Order to the Galaxy” Poster
3 Clone Wars Hanging Party Favor Sparkly Things
R2-D2 Play Doh Playset
Star Wars Clone Wars Endor Speeder
Star Wars Transformers Obi-Wan Kenobi/Jedi Starfighter

Today Bob insisted that we hang on the wall in his room a 4” x 2” piece of paper with the words “Star Wars” on it. He explained that he needed to have it there because, “I have to let my friends know that I like Star Wars.”

So, now I guess the word is finally out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Luke, I Am Your Father

This is Jeff in his dorm room back in his second year in college. Please note: futon, batik wall-covering, and most importantly the pillowcase. The Star Wars pillowcase. It covers his pillow not in a funny, ironic way but in a Star Wars-is-the-greatest-movie-ever-I-am-a-mathematics-major kind of way.

Our son now lays his sweet head on an identical pillowcase every night.

You can't fight genetics.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Date Night

Yeah. That's what he's doing.

Jeff and I have been on one real not-with-Bob date this year that did not involve a meeting at the pre-school co-op. This is how the evening ended. Who says the romance is gone once you have kids? He's cute, isn't he? (This is how we pretend we're still in college.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Smacksy Sunday Links

Links selected just for you:

Celebrate a lovely woman here.

Look at something new here.

Watch the video and be inspired here.

Happy Sunday.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sleep Tight

The Little Kid Bed

Tomorrow sometime between 9:15 am and 11:15 am, the big kid bed will be delivered. Bob is thrilled. From then on, he will be stretched out every night on his new Star War sheets snuggled under the warmth of his Millennium Falcon quilt. I hope it will be a place for sweet dreams. I hope it will be a place where the mattress is finally long enough that he can straighten his very long four-year-old legs.

Tonight he will say goodbye to the little guy bed. But I hope there will still be some mornings where I wake up to find him in our bed sandwiched between me and Jeff, and the dog and the cat. I hope there will be another morning like this morning where I wake to find him sharing my pillow and he will greet me again with, "Good morning, Baby Jupiter Mama." I hope all that.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Evil Eye

Image by Magnus Muhr via Acid Cow

If you weren’t one of the people driving past me as I walked to pick up Bob from pre-school last Friday, here’s what you missed: Me, an average-y looking woman in jeans, t-shirt, mom hair (pony-tail) and mom make-up (sunglasses) walking at a moderate pace, headed south. Suddenly, without warning, I ripped off my sunglasses, clutched my left eye in both hands, hopped up and down and loudly recited all of the colorful language that I know. I know a lot. I looked crazy and for a moment, I was.

There was something in my eye. Not a regular eyelash-dust-mote something but a burning-ember-branding-iron something. I jammed my finger into the corner of my eye trying to get my watering eye to water even more and release what I was sure was a smoldering Presto Log. It didn’t work.

By the time I made it to school, my eye was watering a little less but still throbbing. I kept my sunglasses on, grabbed Bob and made a quick exit. When we got back to the house, I poured a bottle of Visine into my left eye. Now my eye was throbbing, my nose was running and I could taste Visine in the back of my throat.

I held a wet washcloth over my eye as I WebMD’ed “sudden blindness“ and “eye disease symptoms.” My in-house physician, 4 year-old Dr. Bob, advised that I have a glass of water and a hug. I popped two Tylenols with the glass of water and the hugging. I then resorted to the action that has never revealed anything in the history of all things in my eye, I went into the bathroom, held up my eyelid and looked at my eye in the mirror. That’s when the screaming started.

There was a large, dead black fly in my eye. Not a little gnat, but a large housefly. After at one time experiencing an infant projectile vomiting directly into my mouth and reacting with laughter, I know that my gross-out threshold is extremely high. This meant nothing now. I was, to use a formal psychological term, freaking-the-hell-out.

Bob ran in to see what I was yelling about and when I explained through my whimpering that there was a fly in my eye, he advised that I let it loose in the yard because, “maybe the fly’s family was looking for him.” I clarified that there was a dead fly in my eye. Dead. Fly. In my eye. Because I killed it. With my eye.

Bob then suggested I calm down. He next suggested that I take the fly out of my eye. His idea seemed less invasive than my own idea, which involved removing my entire cootied out eyeball and socket. I followed Bob’s direction and after a few dozen tries, I was able to retrieve the fly corpse from my throbbing eye with a Q-tip.

I have now awarded my killer left eye the nickname, “The Exterminator.” Please call with any pest control needs. I’ll work on curbing the screams.


“… now I know my A, B, C’s. Next time won’t you sing with me?”

“That was great, Bob. Now tell me, what starts with an A?”


“Good, and B?”






“Terrific. What about E?”


“Wait, Bob? Where are you going? We’re not done yet.”

“I’ll be right back. Hold on. Don’t even move.”


“So, here’s my A, B, C’s computer.”

“But Bob if you look on your computer, that’s cheating.”

“I’m not looking on it. You are looking on it. I know the words and the computer knows the words but you don’t know the words so you can ask the computer. It will help you a lot, Mama. I’m going to play Emperor Palpatine with Daisy in my room.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So Close and Yet Not Even Close

Riding the Pirate Ship. The bike helmet was his idea.

I pulled the station wagon out of the Arco driveway and into traffic. From the backseat Bob said, “Mama? Here is a question. Why does the car need gas?”

“Our car needs gas to give it energy to go.”

“Like I have to eat things and drink things and sleep?”

“Right. Those are the things that give you energy.” I gave myself a little high five for an educational metaphor and solid parenting.

A few days later when I was picking up Bob from pre-school, one of his teachers, Mrs.V. pulled me aside. “I wanted to share something with you that Bob said today that we thought was so funny...”

My life flashed before my eyes. I swallowed hard and smiled. “Oh, really?”

“We were in the play yard and Mia was talking about her new baby brother and she said that he had been having a hard time lately because he has a lot of gas in his tummy. Then Bob told us that he has a lot of gas too, in his head.”


“He said the gas is what helps him think and do things.”


“We thought he might be confused with the other kind of gas somehow.”

Solid parenting.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How to Have a Cold by Bob Rosenberg

Wake up really late in the night and walk on tip-toe feet across the house to your parents bedroom.

Stand at the side of the bed by where your dad is and yell super loud, “I’ve got too many boogers!” Then start crying. Loud. Make it really good.

Do not wipe your nose. Let lots of snots fall down your face for more effect on your mom.

Your parents will get up and help you and be worried and then is the part where you can start asking for all of the things you want.

You can get:
  • The TV couch set up like a little bed for just you.
  • As many shows of Max and Ruby as you want even while it is still dark outside.
  • All of the things you eat can be on your Star Wars plate and bowl.
  • Lots of the juice boxes left over from your birthday party to drink, especially the white grape juice ones.
  • Apple sauce for all snacks plus lots of cold cereal whenever you want.
  • The fancy tissues with the stuff in them that makes your nose not be red.
  • Your own trash basket made out of a Von's supermarket paper bag for your snots tissues that you can throw them in there like basketballs.
  • All your Star Wars guys (good guys and bounty hunters) with you on your couch bed.
  • A whole Chapstick tube and rub it over all of the Star Wars guys and make a sticky kind of nice mess and no one will even get mad at you.
Note: You can get more stuff if you have the temperature but you mostly won’t feel like having stuff if you have the temperature. Try to cash in on a Diego stickers book or something your dad will bring home from Rite Aid and you can use it later.

Don't forget to get well in time for your Show and Tell day at school because you have planned out a thing for it and you want to show J.P.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Smacksy Sunday Link: My Parents Were Awesome

My parents, Sandra and Ed

Jeff's parents, Bob and Janis

Today is the one year anniversary of Smacksy and my 366th post. Thank you all for showing up here to read about our family. On Sundays, I traditionally post a link to a site I like. (When you've been blogging for a whole year it's mostly okay to announce that you have "traditions.")

Today's link celebrates family and more specifically parents, those people that before they were known as parents were just known as people. Super awesome people.

Eliot Glazer's blog My Parents Were Awesome showcases photos of reader's parents back in the days before they were parents.

Thanks for a wonderful year one, everybody.
High five.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Smacksy Saturday Photo: Oh, the Places You'll Go

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
And you are the guy who'll decide where to go.

From Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Happy Saturday, guys.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Team

I found these guys in the closet because, "Daisy is shaking scared because of that loud sound from the dryer and she said she needs a friend to keep her company while she is hiding in the closet and doing scared shaking... so I am going to be here the whole long time that she is here because she needs petting and Mama is she going to be in here... forever? Can I have a snack?"

Thursday, May 13, 2010


At the park today, Bob ran up the slide backwards. He chased squirrels and his friend Mia. He roamed the sandbox with his gang of guys from school. He swung on the swing next to a little girl wearing a tiara and he called her "princess."

He climbed to the top of the jungle gym and called out,"Asajj Ventress is a dark Jedi! I will kill her!"

I called Bob to the bottom of the jungle gym ladder for a little conference. "Babe, it's not okay to talk about killing people."

"But Mama, I am protecting my friends. And it's pretend."

"I know but let's just not use that word. I know you're not supposed to say it at school either."

"So what should I say?"

"How about saying capture? Can you capture the bad guys?

"Okay Mama."

"Thanks sweetheart."

Bob turned and climbed back to the top of the jungle gym and called out, "Asajj Ventress is a dark Jedi and I will capture her and then make her die so that she doesn't live anymore!"

I'm a problem solver, everyone.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Out in the World

Photo from here

"Bob, we're going to Steve and Rene's tonight to meet baby Edgar."

"He's all done now?'

"Yep. He's all done. He was born two days ago."

"So he's not in a tummy in anymore?"

"Nope. He's out in the world."

"On earth?"

"Yes. He's brand new here."

"I will need to show him lots of things like Backyardigans and Storm Troopers."

"That's true."

"Maybe when he's bigger... So how do babies get out of tummies?"

"Oh. Well... often they come out of the part of the mama that's..."

"Where the pee comes out?"

"No, but near there. And sometimes the doctors make an opening across the mama's belly and bring the baby out that way. That's how you came out because you were too big to fit out the other way."



"I very need to talk about other things now."


"Boba Fett is a bounty hunter."

"He is."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?

Photo by Lisa Sjolund

Jeff and Bob are in the station wagon on the way home from Trader Joe's.

"So. buddy? Did you want to go to the library later? I think your Wookie book is due."

Silence from the backseat.

"Bob? Pooman?"


"Bob? Can you hear me?"

"Yes Daddy, I can hear with my working ears that work."

"If you can hear me asking you questions why aren't you answering me?"

"Sometimes I'm just too busy."

"But Pal, you're just looking out the window."

"Daddy? I have a lot going on."

Bob's 4th Birthday Party FAQ: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Photo by Lisa Sjolund

Yes, it looks like earth, but for two hours on Saturday, it was a different galaxy: A galaxy far, far away.

Photo by Lisa Sjolund

The piñata was glorious. Contrary to speculation, we did not fill it with canned hams.

Photo by Princess Leia
32 Gift Bags.
38 Pool Noodle/Light Sabers made by my mom.
66 Vanilla cupcakes with multi-colored sprinkles.
126 prize filled tin foil meteors hidden in the yard.

Photo by Jennifer Heftler

New record: Only one child trampled in post-piñata break stampede. (Sorry Baron.)

Photo by Jennifer Heftler

Ultimate nerd prom photo.

Photo by Jennifer Heftler

The Dark Side was fought. I only refer to Jeff as "The Dark Side" on special occasions.

Caftan made of 100% polyester and 10,000% awesome, courtesy of my friend Marianne, a retired Leia.
Belt $8.00 on Ebay.
The secret to the Leia Cinnabon-do: Hair nets.

Photo by Lisa Sjolund

3 gifts were approved for "secret opening" in the Skywalker bedroom because "waiting is too hard."

Photo by Lisa Sjolund

A villain does have chores.

Photo by Lisa Sjolund

The Force is strong in that one. (It's good to be four.)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Smacksy Sunday Link: Mother's Day

My first day on the job

Perhaps you can tell from the look on my face in this photo, but the day Bob was born was one of the happiest days of my life. Perhaps the pain killers were helping too, but most of it was the real happy deal. Still is.

Bob's godmother, Jennifer sent me this sweet link. StoryCorps, the producers of the video describe it like this, "Joshua Littman, a 12-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, interviews his mother, Sarah. Joshua’s unique questions and Sarah’s loving, unguarded answers reveal a beautiful relationship that reminds us of the best—and the most challenging—parts of being a parent." I describe it like this, "It made me cry happy tears."

Happy Mother's Day.

Q&A from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Donde Esta Pablo?

In high school I took three years of Spanish. I got good grades in my Español classes and that may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I sat next to "A" student, Paul "Pablo" Hagen, every year. I'm not saying I cheated, I just liked to "double check" my answers on occasion. I'm thorough like that.

Without Pablo at my side, my fluency in Spanish has deteriorated to counting to 100 and being able to ask for directions to the library. I understand more than I speak and by "understand" I mean I can sort of figure out every third word if you are speaking v-e-r-y slowly and every third word is "casa."

After a recent trip to the party store to purchase a piñata for Bob's birthday party, I was alarmed to find that the mainstream Star Wars piñatas offered were small (the size of a human head) and over-priced ($39.99). I made calls to a few local piñata stores that I found online. The script for each call was the same:

Them: Hello Piñata Junction. Can I help you?


Hello Piñata World. Can I help you?


Hello Las Piñatas. Can I help you?

Me: Hi, yeah. I'm looking for a Star Wars piñata?

Them: Hold on. Jaime?! Donde esta las piñatas de Star Wars?!


Hold on. Norma?! Donde esta las piñatas de Star Wars?!


Hold on. Jesus?! Donde esta las piñatas de Star Wars?!

After a few moments the person would return to the phone and tell me that they did not have any but they could make me one by Thursday or Thursday or Wednesday. I then drove to a small Mexican party store not too far from home and see if they had any in stock. The tiny store was packed with piñatas. A Mexican grandma sat behind the counter eating take-out Thai food, watching a tele-novella on a small TV.

Her: Hola!

Me: Hola! Donde esta las piñatas de Star Wars?

I smiled, impressing myself with my amazing accent. La Grandma then launched into a long involved answer in Spanish. I nodded uncomprehendingly, smiled again and handed her the contents of my wallet.

I will pick up my Star Wars piñata in two days and it will be made quickly by her husband who is named Diego and likes football at the house.


I will pick up my Star Wars piñata in eighteen days and it will be the size of a four footballs house footballs.


I will pick up my football piñata in four days and a Go Diego bouncy house will be delivered at eighteen hundred hours.

Muchas gracias para nada, Paul Hagen.

The Same and Different

"So Bob, those guys are aliens or humans?

"The Clone Troopers are humans but they are clones... and troopers."

"If they all look alike how do you tell them apart?"

"They all look like Jango Fett but with different hair and everything. They have names. My clone troopers have names."

"Who's that guy?"

"I call him Garlic Jim."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Happiness Habit

"Okay, so Mama? So we get to do my birthday at home and at school and at my Saturday party? All of those times?"


"Why do I get to have three birthday times?"

"Celebrating is important. It's good to take any opportunity to do happy things. We should celebrate something everyday."

"Celebrate is not on my opposability chart."

"Responsibility chart."

"Yeah, the pose-ability chart."

"We should put Celebrate on there. That's a great idea."

"So can we put that on there and take off Brush Your Teeth?"


Happy Birthday Bob.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How It Is

Bob and I are in the red station wagon. We are creeping along the 110 freeway in downtown Los Angeles. It is rush hour.

"Mama? How will we ever get there if we don't do any moving?"

"We're moving. We're just moving very slowly."

"Did you know when humans and aliens die on Star Wars they don't go to heaven?"

"So there's no Star Wars heaven?"

"No and droids don't die, they just stop working. You can tell they are droids not aliens or beasts or humans because droids don't have teeth. They don't have ghosts there."

"So no Star Wars heaven and no Star Wars ghosts?"

"No. Star Wars is just a story. So if they had ghosts they would be pretend ghosts like at Halloween, not really ghosts like we have at home."

"We have ghosts at home?"

"Yeah and around the earth."

"Good ghosts, I hope?"

"They're just ghosts, mom. Regular ghosts."

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Dress Rehearsal

Four years ago today, I lay on the couch watching the Food Network. I was almost 39 weeks pregnant with Bob. I had gained a delicate 65 pounds during my pregnancy and it was quite apparent that 20 of each of those pounds was residing in my ankles. I had bronchitis and my wee son had kicked me so hard I had a broken rib in my left side. Coughing was an event. It was my first official day off from work and I was looking forward to some time on the couch with my feet up.

As I watched Emeril work his “essence” there were suddenly two Emerils, then three. Glancing away from the TV I saw that the room had also tripled. My vision was extremely blurry for a few moments and then it returned to normal. Then it wasn’t normal again and then it was.

Since I had become pregnant, any physical change I experienced, I looked up in the book What to Expect When You Are Expecting, or as I had renamed this frightening tome, What to Expect When You Are Expecting the Worst. I consulted my book of fears and found that blurry vision was a sign of preeclampsia, the high blood pressure that can accompany pregnancy.

I called my doctor. She instructed me to go to the hospital. She would meet us there. If it turned out that I had preeclampsia, we would be having a baby today.

Jeff raced home from work. I was ready at the door with my large I’m-going-to-the-hospital-to-have-a-baby suitcase I had packed six weeks previous. My bag was filled with everything every girlfriend and every book and every preggo website had suggested I might need for the trip. I had giant granny underpants and Hello Kitty socks and a robe long enough to cover my behind in the drafty hospital hallways. I was prepared as I could be for an event that was mostly out of my control.

At the hospital, we learned that my blood pressure was fine. I did not have preeclampsia. There was no explanation for my intermittent blurred vision other than “sh*t happens.” I was instructed to stay a few hours hooked up to the fetal heart monitor for observation, just in case.

I asked Jeff to retrieve a bottle of water for me from my suitcase. “And a protein bar, do you see those in there? They should be near the magazines.”


“Thanks. Honey? Where’s your dad bag?”

“I didn’t pack my official dad bag yet. So I threw this together when we left the house.” He held up a small plastic Ralph’s shopping bag. I looked inside.

“So you have three pairs of tube socks and 2 packs of Extra spearmint gum.”


“And that’s it.”


“Seems complete.”

“I’ll do better next time.”

When I went into labor three days later, he added a toothbrush to the bag. He was ready to be a dad.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Smacksy Sunday Link: Laird

I grew up in Santa Cruz, a surf town in Northern California. We lived close to the water and surfing was everywhere. The surf report was on the radio every morning and surfing was a P.E. elective at our high school. I spent long days at the beach. I went to surf movies with my friends at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium and spent most of those evenings ducking the Frisbees that flew through the air. Surf culture was fascinating and inescapable.

I don’t surf. I don’t even swim.

I still love to watch surfing. I am particularly drawn to big wave riding. Big wave surfers are towed out on their boards by boat or jet-ski to waves that are too large to paddle to, waves that can be as many as 70ft high. It’s an extremely dangerous sport and breathtaking to watch. This link is a compilation from the documentary Laird, a film about Laird Hamilton, a big wave riding legend. Watching this is thrilling and never ceases to give me a small anxiety attack.

All early model Volkswagons still look naked to me without surf racks.