27 June 2009


the glow of new motherhood (ha) has worn off and i find myself back in my normal, often concerned, occasionally cynical state of being.

Collins and I just got back from his first trip to Kroger (and my first in exactly two weeks - probably the longest i've gone without going to the grocery store in five years- this has been enabled by 1) sweet people bringing us meals and 2) having stocked up on milk, fruit, and bran flakes just before the baby was born)

We saved over 70 dollars with our Kroger Plus card - go Collins and Me! Just because we spent 139 dollars does not negate the amazing savings we accomplished.
(Although it does remind me of an old I Love Lucy show when Lucy buys this awesome hat on sale and exclaims to Ricky how much she saved and he says asks her how much she would have saved had she not bought the hat at all...she, rightly, sticks her tongue out at him.)

Kroger is depressing. I love to grocery shop - with and without children, as i've written about before. But today, I've come home with a terrible headache. Its probably highly related to the 99 degree temps we are STILL experiencing.
But, its also related to the sad state of Mississippi (i'm not saying its not equally bad or worse elsewhere, just that this is where I live and so I know its not so hot here)- specifically, the way we are raising our children and what we are feeding our families.

Things spotted:

1) 2 1/2 year old little boy (frame of reference: Older than Eason by a few months) in cart, sucking on baby bottle filled with red koolaid/hawaiian punch type substance, ocassionally turning it upside down to watch the drops come out onto the floor.

2) 1 1/2 year old little boy throws his sippie cup full of milk out of the cart, top begins leaking, spilling milk all over floor. mother mutters to herself, says a few words of condemnation (containing no corrective value) to child, and they keep walking, leaving milk spill

3) woman, on blue tooth, using profanity, three kids in cart.

4) multiple carts with only highly processed food-like substances in them (Michael Pollan - read his books- coined 'food like substances' and I love how descriptive it is) - which leads me to mention this distinction that i think we are failing to make in the national conversation about food -

There are many different extents to which food is processed!
an apple - pretty much (hopefully) how God made it.
a can of black beans - processed to some, in my opinion non-tragic, extent
a loaf of bread - processed to some, in my opinion non-tragic, extent
Totinos Pizza Rolls (the angels - or demons - sing hallelujahs in my ear at the mere mention of this food) - processed to a very high extent
Easy Mac - a highly processed food-like substance (even the easy mac people don't try to hide it - they call the yellow powder "powdered cheese product")

So - my point is - while I love the idea of making our own bread from locally grown oats, I recognize that thats not the first step. But it is very disconcerting to me when I see all these buggies full of packaged, process food like substances. Where are the bananas? the cheese (like real cheese...), the milk, the juice (like real juice, not fruit punch)?

I have no idea where to start with this. I care about our planet and that we use sustainable practices to produce our food, but more than that, I care about what we are putting in our mouths.

My feelings get genuinely hurt that there are these mothers who are knowingly, or more likely, unknowingly, filling their children's bodies with, excuse my language, worthless crap.

My feelings also get genuinely hurt that there are these mothers who are teaching their children that when we spill milk on the floor at the store, the proper reaction is to walk away. Oh, and lets not even tell the child not to throw his cup ever again. We don't throw cups. We don't throw things inside. We don't throw things in stores, certainly. And we never throw anything that has food or drink in it.

I talked to my mom yesterday afternoon and she was upset because, "The world is going to hell in a handbasket - the stupid House [of Representatives] just passed this fool-ass energy bill" - Well, whether the energy bill is bad or not, I don't know (new baby, not up on news, don't trust most news sources anyway, thought since MJ died there wasn't any other news allowed to happen, etc. etc. etc.) - but the world may be going to hell in a handbasket - or maybe saturday afternoons are a bad time to go to Kroger.

23 June 2009

Great new Amoretti Dress

One of my favorite brands of clothes for little girls, designed by lovely ladies.

One of their new dresses:

Isaac Collins Forster 18th of June 2009

I'll have to set about changing a few things on my blogger profile - because the forster fam has changed size and shape this week. I think shape is a good way to describe it - because our little (or not so little depending on your point of view) family is such a unit - all of its separate parts ultimately intertwined - that when something or someone changes, the shape of life changes for us all.

I know my own shape has certainly changed...

First, briefly, labor and delivery: fairly short (6 hours roughly), entirely drug free, complication free. Very painful. It was the exact answer to every prayer I've uttered about it over the past 6 months. Now I must remember to be thankful - it would be such an easy thing to put in the past and ignore, even though I am still being blessed by it through a much easier recovery.

I recommend highly a few things:
1) reading Ina May Gaskins's Guide to Childbirth - first for humor's sake, but very much for her techniques and advice about having as natural a childbirth as possible in the hospital.
2) being pregnant with a good friend. The second is obviously a bit harder to orchestrate, but I have benefited enormously from sharing my pregnancy with a good friend who delivered 4 weeks prior to me. It made labor and delivery preparation funnier and more ever-present than it would have been otherwise.
3) have a funny, loving, supportive husband. and make him read Ina May as well.
4) have an amazing labor and delivery nurse. (also hard to orchestrate, but pray)

Now, the name.

He's going by Collins.
i recognize that some will lament the 'going by the middle name' curse that we've given our son, but, oh, I don't know, kiss my tail.
First, if going by his middle name becomes a big burden, then we won't have passed on any level of humor and lightheartedness that we hope is intrinsic to all of our children by the time they fly the coup. Second, I love the literary sound of a first initial followed by a name. I. Collins Forster. Plus it has that funny/epic "I Claudius" sound.
Third, my dad is Paul Brooks Eason, but goes by Brooks, and he's managed to lead a fairly happy, successful life, not professionally or personally hindered by this great curse. And, like Paul Brooks is better than Brooks Paul, Isaac Collins sounds better than Collins Isaac.
So, again, kiss my tail.

Collins is a family name on my side of the family. I've loved it for a good long while, and lobbied hard for it out of the gate. Paul liked it too, so we checked that off the list. The other name was a much more prolonged decision. I told Paul early on that he could just pick - Obviously, I retained veto power, but since Collins was coming from my side of the family, I wanted the other name to come from wherever he wished. He vacillated among a few of the Forster male names - Paul, Michael, William being the main three, if I remember correctly - and then about three weeks before Collins joined us, he asked me what I thought about Isaac. Paul loves the Isaac story in Genesis and loves that it means Laughter in Hebrew.
I think Isaac is pretty, complements Collins well, and who can refuse the title of "Mother of Laughter"?
Not this girl.

So, little Collins is here. And delightful. So far. =)

He weighed 6 lbs 11 ounces at birth. (Smaller than his brother by a good bit and his sister by a small bit). He was a week early (11 days earlier than his brother or sister, who were both 4 days post term), and we can tell by his behavior that that last 11 days makes a difference. He's quieter and sleepier than they were at the beginning. Which doesn't hurt my feelings.

He has the saddest cry. He rarely cries, but when he does, it breaks my heart. And if you know me and my mothering, my heart is not easily broken.

My intuitions about his personality thus far are that he's going to be quiet, serious, sweet, and dry-witted. I could be wrong, but, I will say, that I've been right so far about both of the older two. Which could be because I've projected on them what I thought they would be like... =)

I'm so excited for Eason to have a little brother so close to his age. And excited for Ada Brooks to have another little person around.

So far, it hasn't been stressful having an extra child - I mean, it has added some stress, as any person tends to do, but it isn't an upsetting amount of stress. We've been well taken care of - I haven't had to cook yet - and Collins is sleeping at night fairly well - only waking up once to eat - which makes all the difference in the world.

His eyes are navy (So were Eas's and Ada's - i assume he'll have blue eyes - but maybe, one day, i'll have a child with my weird, blue, green, grey eyes - he has three blue eyed grandparents and then my daddy has the weird, blue, green, grey eyes referenced above).
His hair is very, very dark (So was Ada's). His eyebrows and eyelashes are almost white.
He is very ruddy right now, but I think that's just new baby redness.

Babies are amazing. Life is amazing. We are so very blessed.

While I've been writing, the children have appeared, fully dressed for the day, and Eason just asked for a squirt of lotion. I said sure, squirted a dollop of Aveeno Baby into his hand. He promptly rubbed it in his hair. "Eason's hair is dry"

I am so very happy to be un-pregnant.

17 June 2009

...you live in a zoo...

Today is Miss Ada Bee's birthday. Five whole years. Seems like yesterday and like a lifetime (as things like this often do). She is such a gift - and such a goose. I feel like she's where she needs to be as a five year old, which is a good feeling as a mother. I also feel her little-girl-hood slipping away, which is a heart wrenching feeling. It is amazing to me that in a week (or less), we'll be starting this process with yet another soul. Yet another little person, as my Paul calls them. And its an appropriate name - they are people - in every sense of the word - and they are certainly little.

And they are a treasure from the Lord.

15 June 2009

the pain of longing for today.

i'm not one to put all my eggs in the basket of the dictionary definition of a word, but i have to say that this evening, i'm motivated to actually look one up. (this is not to say that i don't believe in dictionaries - i love them, but there are a lot of words for which the connotation is actually appreciably different and sometimes contradictory to the denotion, which is all a dictionary will offer. So... i just think one has to be careful not to limit a word to the dictionary definition too much... whew)

nostalgia: The term nostalgia describes a longing for the past, often in idealized form.[1] The word is made up of two roots (νόστος nostos "returning home", and άλγος algos "pain"), to refer to "the pain a sick person feels because he wishes to return to his native home".
This according to the Gospel of Wikipedia.

I experience nostalgia often -

I am nostalgic for my early childhood (ages 3-7) when I can remember vividly being fitted for my Circus tuxedo when I was four, who I sat by in my kindergarten class (between Tal and Brock, end of table, in Mrs. Brasfield's and Mrs. Hull's class), and making stone soup in the first grade.

I am nostalgic for those lovely middle grades - when i had the best haircut of my life in 4th grade, shaving my legs (after lengthy written negotiations with my parents about a shave-start-date), playing in the pearl river (new years resolution in sixth grade was to have 'too much fun in '96'-), going to the fair sans supervision, and learning the macarena.

I am nostalgic for high school - corsages, making out, hammocks, being a designated driver, playing pool, reading literature and thinking I was the first person to discover it, and beginning to write competently.

I am nostalgic for college - both the pre-Ada college - chicken on a stick, waking up and it taking a minute to remember all of the priceless details from the night before, alcohol sick friends, cigarettes, the first class in which your brain became stimulated, talking with other people who love and are fascinated by the same things you are -
and with-Ada college - falling in love, talking about your future when one is supposed to be studying, sweatshirts, swingsets in the park, real intellectual stimulation, and learning to laugh at ourselves.

And now I find myself nostalgic for today - wishing to come back home - as though I have really already left. Because I know that I will not have very many days like today - and certainly those days will end.

A day when I got to stand up and lead the girl part of "Praise ye the Lord" at Vacation Bible School while Paul stood up and led the boy part, both of us cracking up the whole time.

A day when I listened to my husband rant and rave about the stupid f**ingly inefficient city of Jackson, which has left the fire hydrant in our front yard running for over 24 hours now, and then a day when I watched it come over his face that maybe their inefficiency wasn't so bad after all.... as he rounded up the children and pushed them outside to experience the fire hydrant first hand.

A day when I watched as my kids giggled and loved and laughed their way to a cooler June afternoon - soaked and delighted, as they ate fresh cherries for a post hydrant snack, and Eason tried to teach Ada Brooks to spit 'sherry seeds'.

A day when I cooked a fresh tomato tart for supper, and listened to my family be genuinely pumped about fresh basil. All three of them.

A day when I sat on my couch between two sparkling post bath children and read "The Foot Book" by Dr. Seuss and then patted them on behinds and sent them off to be tucked in by their (more-mobile) father.

A day when I looked at my husband and realized how much I respect him.

I am already in pain for the fact that nothing will ever be this day again. Nothing. Perhaps nostalgia is not the pain that comes from wanting to go home - it is the pain that comes from knowing that it's impossible. Hopefully, this nostalgia will be motivational - push me toward loving every moment - even (and especially) pouring bleach on the cherry stains.

12 June 2009


if i could figure out way to do it modestly, i would film myself putting on underwear in my nine month pregnant state just so that others would get a good laugh.
it now always involves some hopping up and down and sometimes involves falling. I position myself near my bed for safety.
i could lie down and put my legs up the air to do it, but then i'd have to get back up...

Did they have panties in Jesus's time? If so, did Mary hop up and down while carrying the Son of God?

and did she mutter curse words under her breath?

I love laughing with Paul about all of my physical awkwardness here at the end. When i go hobbling across our floor in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and i groan like an old woman needing a hip replacement, he just giggles to himself, which makes me laugh, which hurts some other part of me, which makes us both laugh harder. When i drop something on the kitchen floor and just stand there for a minute, evaluating if i have to pick it up or if i can rope someone else in/ignore it.

a cheerio - ignore
a piece of fruit - try for a child or a pet to take care of it
a paring knife - okay, okay, i'll bend at the waist. wait...what waist?

In other news....
Eason's potty training is officially being called a success (zero accidents in four days, minimum accidents in the four days before that)! and BOTW isn't here yet! yay!
now that he's figured out how to control his powers of the potty, though, he's going to the bathroom whenever he remembers that if he goes, he gets an mnm. we have about fifty mnms left and then i'm not buying anymore.... hee hee hee.

gave Eason a haircut this morning. Makes me sad because its a big boy haircut (not his first, but only about his third, so i'm still a bit sad about it), but he looks so cute with his choppy, wavy layers. and i LOVE saving the 17 dollars it would cost to get his haircut every month.

Ada Brooks, at the pool today, pulled away from me and said she could do the sunscreen herself. Eager to be relieved of any mundane parenting duties, I try to let her try things for herself. I sunscreened Eason and watched her lather up out of the corner of my eye. i did not watch closely enough, and she has slightly pink cheeks and strap marks on her back.

If it were a bad sunburn, I would feel terrible. But its not - just slightly pink - and so I'm kind of okay about it - she looks so typically childish - and impish- AND she's learning a mild lesson.

We did talk about skin cancer. I could watch her register that something she did now, over and over again, could lead to bad consequences down the road. And when she heard that it would likely be of consequence when she's her Ba's age, she immediately shifted back to the present and ask for dessert. Silently, "Oh- when i'm fifty, not computing not computing not computing, back to what matters..."

Last night at 3:45 am, Eason knocked on our bedroom door (which we have to lock at night because the cat can push it open if its not locked. although its occurred to me that its probably handy for more intimate purposes)
"Open the door, Mama"
"Mama, open the door"
Paul gets up to open the door and says "Eason, what in the world do you need?"
"Its time to go to the pool"

There would be advantages to going to the pool at 345 am - it wouldn't be crowded, no sunburns, no traffic on the way, not interrupting nap time or meal time....
despite all that, Paul told him that the pool didn't open for 7 hours, tucked him back in, and we didn't hear from him until after 8 am...

sometimes my kids are weird agents. (don't ask me what this means, but my mom used to call me a weird agent when i was goofy as a kid and my dad hated it and told her she couldn't call us that anymore. making him....a weird agent.)

11 June 2009

Proof Alcohol is not Required

for fun or for ridiculousness.

The photographer from Justin's and Melissa's wedding, Kevin Beasley, is married with young children - and thinks that pregnant women are just 'phenomenal'.

Phenomenal is a word.... =)

Notice the Wal Mart flip flops... on the swollen feet.

Observing Grief

When one is young - you know - like my age - and one is in a process of discerning various things about life, the truly wise people listen to you and try to offer only one caution - 'the discerning never ends.'

I'm starting to believe them.

Paul and I have both been wrestling with things now, since, oh, I don't know, we met. The currently most consequential, along with Ada Brooks's education, is our church life. Since we moved to Jackson, we've been members at the Chapel of the Cross - an Episcopal church in Madison. We were married in and Ada Brooks was baptized in the Episcopal church, so it was natural that we would continue in that tradition when we moved here.

But, life is ever changing. (This is why the discerning never ends). Different stages of life bring different priorities, concerns, loves, worries, and experiences. And thus demand further thinking, pondering, praying, talking and listening.

We've been experiencing a frustration, although that word doesn't seem quite right, at the Chapel for a while now. Its difficult to describe because its not anyone's fault, per se. It is best explained as a diverging of us from them. We are focused on developing Godly young people in our household, and we aren't feeling like we are on the same page with very many people at the Chapel about how to do that. We don't even feel like there is room for conversation about that issue.

(That is the very beginning of a much longer conversation that I don't quite have time to develop at the moment)

The point is that we've decided to spend the summer visiting other churches. Specifically visiting Immanuel Presbyterian Church (who imagines Paul as a presbyterian...). I am shocked at the effect this decision is having on me - the grief I am almost observing from an outsider's perspective. We haven't made a permanent decision, but I am grieving for my relationships at the Chapel - for the very place that it is. For the fact that my son was baptized there. It is like I have a relationship with the very place - much like a relationship with a person - and we are having a trial separation - an estrangement.

It is a grief, like most grief, that I have not expected. A grief that I am having trouble describing. It makes me feel guilty and makes me feel lonely. I think a big part of it is that most things about which one grieves are out of that person's control - a death, a job loss, etc. But this is entirely of our doing - and not out of anger or anything that we feel is 'forcing' us to make this decision - but its just coming out of where we are in discerning our path.

We'll see.

09 June 2009

I think one of the surest signs of one person's love for another is being angry at the people who hurt the one you love. what is more loving than fiercely protecting the person you love? when a parent thinks of someone hurting their child, they go immediately into predator mode - for a reason -

Paul has this quasi-boss at work who is a, excuse my french, p-r-i-c-k. (for anyone reading this who is not around my family on a regular basis, we spell all non-child appropriate words. it seeps into conversations in which children are not around. leading to very funny interchanges.)

I've met this man once. But he's mean to the one I love - mean for no reason and spitefully and all sorts of other descriptors making it very clear how very mean this person is. And despite me not knowing him at all, I want to punch him in the face. When he doesn't know its coming. Very, very hard.

07 June 2009

Menu for The Week

Sunday Supper: Old Fashioned Lasagna, Broccoli
Monday Lunch: Leftover Lasagna
Monday Supper: To Dad's house for burgers
Tuesday Lunch: Sandwiches
Tuesday Supper: Chicken Fajitas, Guacamole, Pico
Wednesday Lunch: Various Tortilla Creations
Wednesday Supper: Cheese Soup and Paninis
Thursday Lunch: Leftover Gumbo
Thursday Supper: Homemade Pizza
Friday Lunch: Leftover Pizza
Friday Supper: Ada Brooks has a birthday party at which she and Eason will eat pizza. I am envisioning Taco Bell in mine and Paul's future.
Saturday Lunch: Haven't gotten that far...
Saturday Supper: Red Beans and Rice

This all assumes that Baby On The Way stays put.

02 June 2009

Ostrich Like Behavior

I am often criticized, mostly by well-meaning people, for being too honest with my children. Specifically, of course, my child who asks pointed and regularly difficult questions. I should keep a list of my favorites. And maybe a list of my answers, so that one day, when I am an old and wise mother instead of a young and naive one, I'll be able to offer well-meaning, unsolicited advice to young and naive mothers about how to answer the questions their children ask.

Maybe I shouldn't be such a sarcastic person.

I usually welcome - or at least deal with - Ada Brooks's questions. Who made God? Why can't we take communion in the catholic church if we are all Christians? Why do I have friends who aren't baptized? Why are there animals at CARA (the animal shelter)? Where were you when you got pregnant with Eason? Are your bosoms heavy? If you don't put koolaid in my lunch because you love me, does that mean that my friends whose mothers do put koolaid in their lunch are not loved by their mothers? How much money do we have? Why don't you like princess things? What is war? What do people mean when they talk about 9/11? Where is my biological father now? Do I weigh more than a penguin?

For the curious, the answer to the last one is that she weighs more than some kinds and less than others.

But I do not want to answer any questions about George Tiller. So, if you run into Ada Brooks, don't fill her in. I've kept NPR off of the radio and been thankful for the lack of tv over the last two days. I'm putting a bubble around her. I'm not ready for any of those questions. Because, really, what are the answers? Who shoots a person in church? Who terminates pregnancies of people who are as pregnant as I am?

I have no idea, Ada Brooks. That's what I'd have to say. I am for always being honest with your children. Except about Santa Claus. Although I often falter on that one (mainly because I want credit for the presents, not out of a conscience issue).

I can be honest about sex (often vague, but honest - 'i think i was in oxford when i got pregnant with eason'). I can be honest about animal cruelty (not specific, but honest - 'some bad people are ugly to animals'). I can even be honest about my bosoms (or slightly cryptic - 'heavy? depends on to what you compare them...').

But, I cannot be honest, I don't think, about a late term abortionist who was gunned down in his church on a Sunday morning. Yes, sweetheart, someone shot him to death. Yes, darling, in church. Yes, at the same time we were taking communion Sunday morning. Why? Well, he terminated pregnancies. Oh, what does that mean? The list goes on and on.

So, here at 4056 Redwing Avenue, we're sticking our heads in the sand.

I hope Ada Brooks learns about George Tiller for the first time when she's playing Trivial Pursuit, the 2020 edition, in her college apartment at 2 oclock in the morning. I hope someone makes fun of her for not knowing about this major news event. I hope she's embarassed. Because I pray I'm not the one who has to tell her.

Poor Eason....

I made muffins for breakfast this morning. Eason has recently become fond of Ada's play kitchen (now their play kitchen, but it was originally Ada's - an issue about which I'll wisely not blog...). He got down from his chair with half of his muffin in hand and started to walk into their room. I, of course, stopped him. (I have enough of a time fending off ants and fruit flies in the kitchen - I don't need the battle to spread to different fronts).

He collapsed onto the floor (I long, sometimes, to be two, so that I can collapse and it be 'age-normal behavior').

"Mama! mama! mama! Eason neeeeeeds to make muffins in Eason's kitchen and Eason does not have eggs!"

This gives me an interesting glimpse into the process by which people learn to solve problems. He wants to create. He doesn't have eggs. Rather than get the eggs out of the refrigerator and attempt to cook with them, he takes an already baked muffin to 'cook' it. He knows that the appliances in their kitchen won't actually turn on - that his kitchen has very little efficacy when it comes to producing anything actually edible. But he doesn't know it fully - its like his little wishful thinkings have not yet been fully divided from their reality. When I suggest that he cooks something, for real, in his kitchen (usually in response to a request that I cook something in the real kitchen that I don't want to cook....), he laughs at me. He says "Eason's kitchen not cook real food"

It kind of all makes me want to go back and study developmental psychology. It also makes me worry - a recurrent worry of mine - about the children who don't have someone talking it through with them. About the mamas who don't know to say or the ones who don't care to say, "Actually, Eason, you are right - you do need eggs to make muffins, but you're also going to need heat - which you don't have in your kitchen - after we clean up breakfast, let's make pretend muffins your kitchen - what kind do you want to make?"

It also makes me fall on my knees in the awe of how we do develop - how Ada Brooks not only differentiates between real and pretend, but can appreciate the humor involved in Eason's failings to differentiate. And how she also, on occasion, still collapses. It is such a process.

Such a faithful, providential process.

But this morning, in that moment, its just 'poor Eas buddy'(or at least that's what his sister says). I usually just say, 'get up...... ' and with an amazingly different levels of enthusiasm, depending on the moment, 'let's talk about it.'