Photo Shoots, NW Style

While other people were scheming over Black Friday bargains whilst sitting on their couches with their waistbands straining over that 3rd piece of pumpkin pie, I was hemming pants. Yes, I know that doesn’t sound like the typical post-Thanksgiving activity, but for me, last night, it was. This morning I gore-texed my kiddos and put them in the car as we headed through the pouring rain drops to a meet my favorite photographer for a photo shoot. Continue reading

Seeing and Looking

John Lubbock once said, “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”  I like this quote because it reminds me that relationships are a very “rich tapestry” indeed.  What  we look for in situations, and therefore see, is dependent upon our proximity to that situation.  It is only with distance, often in geography or in time, that we are able to see the greater picture.

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Tales from Children’s Museum X

This is the first post in a five-part guest post series.

Wendy N. Wagner grew up in the same nutty family as Kristina Martin, and seems to be graying at the same rate. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies The Way of the Wizard and Rigor Amortis, and (forthcoming) in Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine. Her first novel is being released by a small press in Fall 2011. She is also the Assistant Editor of Fantasy Magazine. For no known reason, her husband and daughter love her despite the neglect and the constant influx of germs. You can keep up with Wendy on

Like most of the truly great writers, I have a dayjob to pay my bills. I’ve been working at an undisclosed location–we’ll call it Children’s Museum X to protect its identity–for five years now. That’s right. I’ve willingly continued to clock in three to four days a week (hey, it’s just part-time until I get that best-seller!) at a place where, annually, close to two hundred thousand children come to scream.

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I’ll Give That Both A Thumb And A Toe’s Up!

My family is fortunate enough to have a swimming pool out in the back yard.  I neither blow it up nor cover it in the winter, but it works for my hooligans, ahem, angels.  Of course, I do have a garage full of the previous years’ swimming pools, seeings how we started in a blow-up pool the size of a large dog dish and just kept buying pools to fit the size and number of kiddos.

All I can say is that nothing beats the pure awesomeness of the lingering scent of Banana Boat sun screen on tired kiddos who just spent a couple of hours splashing about in the pool.  I give it a two thumbs up, or in this case, a thumb and a toe!

Spinning Wildly

Now that all of the United States is recovering from the fun and excitement of Mother’s Day, I’d like to just say that my Mother’s Day was one hell of a mutha.  As in, gee thanks, let’s not do that again for a long time.  And then, this morning, I got chapter two.  Yay me.  But I really do try to live in a better moment, so I’m cranking up Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” and refusing to be spinning wildly out of control for another moment.  Or at least until the youngest comes upstairs.  Because my kiddos can send me spinning from happy to crazy in no time at all.

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Help! I’m Stuck Here

Close your eyes and imagine for a brief moment the wondrous fantasy of zen-like bliss brought to you via fast food and an indoor play area.  Yes, there are depths to which parents will lower themselves in the unlikely event of a moment’s peace.  Yesterday had one of those moments.

If you live in an often-rainy area and have children, you just might be tempted to shell out some bucks to take them anyplace where they might be entertained by anyone or anything other than yourself.  Many fast-food “eateries” have figured out this concept much to their financial gain.  I was at such a place yesterday.  And the whole screaming racket brought back some rather unpleasant memories.  Like what, you ask?

It was a particularly nasty winter day and a few moms decided that the hours between preschool’s end and the big yellow bus drop-off would be a great time to take the younger siblings to a local indoor play area.  I have to admit that the $4 cover charge per child seemed like small potatoes to get just a few moments without my child begging me to play yet another round of “drive the truck, mommy!” and “can you dress my doll?”  So, we traipsed across town, got everybody checked in and proceeded to plunk down the equivalent of a year’s college tuition on snacks and beverages while attempting to remove shoes and duct-tape socks to sweaty feet before the whole passel of energy bombs burst forth into the play structure.

Not ten minutes passed before the screaming ensued.  The particular screams which I could not ignore – the screams of my child.  “Mama, I’m scared!”  So, there I went, schlepping my aching knees up the play structure to coax my child from point A to point B.  Except, I’m middle aged and middle sized and those things are not made for folks like me.

It looked innocent enough, a padded opening through which I needed to weave my 5’2″ self to traverse from one platform to another.  Perhaps I was distracted by the copious amounts of tears, spit, and mucus coming from my child.  Perhaps my bum knee just isn’t meant to bend anymore.  Perhaps I need more carrots and less Ben & Jerry’s.  Perhaps it was just my turn to make the group of svelte pre-school moms to feel smug about themselves.  In any case, I got to a certain point where there was no going forward and no going back.

It took a whole group of preschoolers to get me out.  (Never underestimate the engineering skills of small children!)

I had barely returned to my seat, sweaty and disheveled, when I hear the same screams again.  But this time, it was coming from the ball pit.

“Mom, save me!”

There was no way she was coming or going, so into the ball pit I went to collect her.  From the just recently puked-upon balls.  The puker, by the way, was crawling across the balls toward my child – drool hanging like some nasty ribbon from his chin.  If you have never tried this, let me just say, it is difficult to move quickly through hamster tubes and plastic balls.

It’s been a few years and I’m still shaking over the horrors of it all.

So yesterday at the local eatery, when the youngest started crying, I turned to my husband and said, “Have fun.  I went through labor and delivery – you can handle this one.”

We’ve Got All Kinds…

The following is the conversation coming from my daughter’s room as I type.  My 6 year old (A) is having a rousing conversation with her 6.5 year old cousin (F).

(A) “We’ve got baby lotion.”

(F) “Yeah, but if you don’t want to use baby lotion, we’ve got grown-up lotion.”

(A) “Lots of lotion.”

(F) “Uhuh, we’ve got baby lotion, grown-up lotion.  We’ve got all kinds of lotion.”

(A) “Oh, we even have middle-school lotion.”

(F) “Yeah, we’ve got all kinds of lotion.  We even have lollipop lotion.”

(A) “And you can sit on our bed, but don’t wipe your snot on it.”

(F) “Yeah, and do not cough on it either.  You need to cough like this.”  “Oh, and if you need to puke, do not puke in the toilet, you must puke in our special puke bucket.”

(A) “Uhuh.  But be sure you don’t lick your fingers after you use the hand sanitizer.”

Okay, enough of that.  I can’t type as fast as they can spout off rules for successful doll play.  Holy cow.  These ladies sure know how to round off a good year.

So, on the behalf of myself and all the little rule makers and breakers in my house, Happy New Year people.  May 2010 bring you more of the things that make you happy.