Thursday, August 30, 2007

Episode #204, a very special Sinki

You know when Family Ties celebrated episode #200 (or something) with a show that was basically Alex P. Keaton sitting in the kitchen musing and we got to see a bunch of great clips from past episodes? Lazy writing.
But I'm going to do the same for post #204 at Blanco de Sinki, and here we are:

First photo posted on first entry 10/13/006

Dog incident of Dec. '06

Lessons learned last night:Anemone bulbs are toxic to dogs.Hydrogen Peroxide forced down their throats makes dogs throw up.A lot. Everything. Maybe even parts of their eyeballs.Jim and I are a good team in a crisis. Dogs are okay.Willa watched the whole thing while laughing and dancing in her doorway jumpy seat and turning a solid teething cookie into plasma.

On motherhood, January '07

Hey, look. I'm such a mom." "Did she spit up on your shirt?" "Nope. That's snot."

Her first "wow" March 22 '07

The damp spring air swept her cheeks while she heard the cardinals in the trees and saw water dripping off of the roof. She looked at me and said, "wow."Sigh. I'm in love.

On dogs in public buildings, June 11, 2007

"I don't understand why people with tiny dogs feel that they have an all access pass for their animal. I mean, we could stuff Greta into one of our suitcases on wheels with her head poking out, and take her with us everywhere, but we don't."

Finally, one out take from the photos that got edited out:

Tune in Tuesday when the writer of Blanco de Sinki returns from vacation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Final photo show from weekend

One final photo set from our weekend. Can you see the joy and freedom in Willa's head flung back enormous grin? If you noticed a change in the speed of the earth's rotation on Saturday, you can blame us. Willa had this duck moving so fast I started making mental notes about preparing for baby teeth lost to contact with a concrete duck head. Or figuring out where the nearest hospital might be in the event that she catapulted herself over the rocking duck and over the cottage and into the lake a few hundred yards away.

I've been holding onto this photo, awaiting the go-ahead from my mom. We were at their cottage and, to my knowledge, this is the first time some one's stayed there without them there as well. I have 3 siblings, and a peaceful heart. Lisa, Bill, and Brian: ask nicely and see what happens.

Okay, really? One more photo:
Disclaimer: Blancodesinki receives no payment from Li'l Willies, nor should this photo be taken as an endorsement for this particular company in your porta pots needs.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More weekend photos

She found a large stone and used it to dig up sand at the surf (is that the correct term for where the water meets the shore?). There was another dog at the beach. Apparently Greta and Arlo are guarding their Willa. 2 minutes later, the other dog was romping with Greta through the water like they were reunited sorority sisters. We stoped at a small preserve at the side of the road and saw water lilys and minnows. This is where Willa learned "windy." The late August storms and other weather have given us a good language lesson.

If Jim were running for office, we'd put this on campaign material. Here he's a man with a plan, a sunny future, and a cute kid.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Are you from Michigan? If so, take out your "handy" MI map (for those of you not from MI, we're not nicknamed the mitten state for nothing) and look at the middle knuckle of your middle finger. That's where the Sinkis retreated for the weekend. It was only 3 days, but I feel like we were gone for days and days. I am relaxed, Jim is relaxed, we are reconnected. Sunshine and water and ice cream was enjoyed copiously.

Every so often we all run dangerously close to the "taking things for granted" line, and the weekend brought us far away from that. Sigh. It was blissful.

Willa entertaining herself on the ride up. This photo will go in the "to embarrass her later" file.

More pictures to follow.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'd be a good carrot farmer.

I've been on the road a lot for work this week. A drive to Battle Creek on M-37 gave me hills, curves and roadside corn stands. Yesterday I drove to Southfield. It's a ride I do often, and I've become oblivious to most of the scenery. Instead I was rewarded through the air waves of the radio.
There was a story about a couple in their 80's who have been running a summer camp for ever. The focus of the story was on how much the kids enjoy the simple camp food. I called Jim excited about the possibility of starting a summer camp. He wasn't very interested.
That's fine, like Jim, campers aren't likely to be interested in a the Thai Basil Eggplant dish I had hoped to make last night.
Still searching for the gleaming answer to my gifts, interests, and time. Carrot farming always appeals to me when I'm feeling like I'm in a rut.
Today I am grumpy and sore. GRRR.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Look, there's a barefoot kid, lying on the floor

Wednesday night I met a friend for dinner. A child who looked like Willa joined us.

And then the child who looked like Willa insisted on not sitting down, growled at me when I tried to stop her from taking off her sandals, laid on the floor on her back and checked out her toes. I forgot that I was dining with the slowest eater in the history of eating (sorry Beth, but I think you'd claim that title, right?). When it came time to pay, I found that I had left my wallet in the diaper bag from the concert outing. Gaia let me pay with a check. We got home and Willa was back to herself. I sighed with relief and my bra strap broke. We read books, she drank milk, she fell asleep with her baby doll snuggled under one arm.

I am hoping that every Wednesday night of Jim in class won't be like this.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

2 accordions, 2 cuties, and Jim to school

Sweet Julia and Willa (and Willa's bangs) at their first concert together.
Last night we met up with Heather, Jenny, Joe, Julia, and Jenny's sister, put 3 blankets together and watched some great local bands. Any band with 2 accordions is okay in my book.
Today Julia is 10 months old.
Also today Jim starts Grad school. As we parted ways in the driveway, I noticed he was extra dressed up (and lookin' good). He was so precious getting on the school bus with his backpack and lunch box.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

She can see clearly now

"So... does this count as her first hair cut?"
"I think so."
"But it's just the bangs."

Keeping up with milestones can be exhausting. When, exactly does it count as a first tooth? When you see a teeny white dot break through the gum, or when it seems to be settled? Does the first step before a tumble to the padded bottom count as walking, or is it when 5 steady steps are put together? Do other parents feel this, or is it just my desire to remember everything accurately? As I write here every day, there are whispers behind me: "don't forget, you don't get this back." And so more detail, more photos, more snippets of our life together.

As you've seen in recent photos, Willa's untamed hair was starting to impede her vision. Last night she was buckled into her booster seat eating her corn on the cob when Jim and I double teamed her with a wet comb and scissors. Three tiny cuts later, she looked like she'd aged a few months. She didn't put up much of a fight. Jim held her hands and her head while I did the trimming. There is a before and after photo, which will be loaded into this post tonight, perhaps. At the end we were left with 1" clippings on the table.

"So, do I have to save this hair? I mean, if it's the first haircut, I think we have to save this."
"Or we could just save the photo of the clippings."

I put the hair in a ziplock bag and labeled it "Willa's first haircut. Bang trim. 8/20/07" I slipped it into a drawer in her dresser. I do not keep a baby book to tape the clippings into. What's the modern mom to do?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Architect of the unlikely winner

Last week I had NPR on in the car, and wasn't paying attention when the story of another member of the Bush administration's departure was announced. "Another rat jumping ship," I thought. When I was focused later in the day, I learned it was the head rat. Goodbye Karl Rove.

Not so soon, I think. Karl Rove has made some pointed comments about Hillary Clinton. He has said she's likely to be the Dems nominee for President. And then he goes on to disparage her. That's cool. I mean, that's "his thing," and if I have the right to call him the head rat he can say bad things about Mrs. Clinton. I suspect, though that the architect of George W's rise to the top may be up to something. If he's so publicly introducing doubt about one of the front runners, there's no doubt he'll soon be named the campaign lead for another candidate.

Also, Rolling Stone and I think we ought not discount John Edwards. Go read this article.

I'm just putting my prediction out there so when Karl Rove becomes the Republican party's go to guy on not having to lie down and lose this election, I can say, "I called it." Shiver up the spine.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Potty - it begins

Last night Willa and I bought a potty.

I'm not pushing her into anything. I knew we'd need one eventually, and she's been showing some interest by saying, with a very serious look on her face, "otty" and pointing at the toilet.

When we got home, I put the box on the ground and she was fascinated. So, we opened it up. She hugged it. I thought - "oh, what the heck," put the seat over our toilet seat, took off her diaper and put her on. She loved it. She looked at me and started getting "the face." And she pooped on the potty. We sang ("Willa pooped in the poootttttttyyyyy"), and clapped, and made a big party out of it. I took her off of the seat feeling mighty proud of my gal, who I was ready to crown the genius of potty training.

While we watched it flush she looked up at me... and peed all over the bathroom floor.

(Also? I'm pretty sure I hate the word potty.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Me vs. "them"

Half a block down and across the street is an elementary school. This is not where Willa will go because, well, it's hardcore Christan, and we are not. Jim and I used to take the dogs there to run in the open field on the hill. Now we take Willa there to run across wood chips to conquer slides of various heights and shapes.

On our walk to the playground last night Willa and I (finally) met the four young girls who moved in across the street from us last year. They range from entering kindergarten to 7th grade; sweet, charming girls with shy smiles and a fun secret language shared between sisters and cousins. As we parted ways they warned us that "the big kids" were at the playground.
Willa played on the smallest play set for a while, and then walked over to the metal slide. A group of five "big kids" were sitting in on the steps of the slide, blocking the way. Willa was ready to part the sea of big kids to get to her favorite slide.

One of them asked if he could hold her. "No," I said, "she's a little shy, and isn't comfortable with strangers."

This apparently insulted divawithsunglasses, who went commented on how her friend wasn't strange, and should she be talking to me, because I was a stranger (and frankly with that attitude, I'd rather she didn't talk to me)? "That's your choice," I said.

Another girl spoke up, "she only means that the baby doesn't know him."

I smiled at her and agreed. We chatted for a minute when I noticed what she was doing.

"Hey, what are you doing there?"
"I'd really appreciate if you stopped burning your name into the playground wood."
"Aw mannn.... why does everyone have to get in my business?"
"Because that's part of our community, and you should respect it."
Divawithsunglasses sucked her teeth, and started talking about how strangers should tell people what to do. She tried to make it about race.
"Look," I said, "you live near here. I live near here. I think we should try to keep this playground nice, so people can enjoy it. I'm just asking you to respect the neighborhood." I scooped up Willa and walked back to the smaller play set.

These "big kids" were probably the same age as the oldest in the group of girls we met on the way to the playground. I'll be damned if I let a group of bored, disrespectful 12 year olds ruin a trip to the playground.

There is an apartment complex at the bottom of our street. It used to be a desirable place to live. Now it's section 8 housing. In the nearly 2 years that I've lived in this neighborhood, I've witnessed tangible tensions. "Some car windows were smashed this month, it was probably people from the apartments." "The school was broken into, I'm sure it was one of them." The socioeconomic reality of our neighborhood is that there are middle class white folks in houses, and poor black folks in apartments. And part of me hungers to see a white kid throw a piece of trash on our lawn so I can say, "see, it's not them!" Even better, an old white woman, so it's not the kids who are "ruining" our neighborhood.

While I was walking with Willa I heard 2 boys playing basketball talking. "I stay in the apartments. Where do you stay?" "I stay in the apartments too."

Stay. Not live. It starts to click for me. Staying somewhere implies a lack of ownership; people stay in hotels on vacation.

I'm writing this to explore and understand. To understand last night's exchange. To understand my own prejudices and social structural norms. To understand those of others.
Those "big kids" probably aren't thinking about me or our experience last night, but it's staying with me. How do I, how does my community, how does America become more inclusive? How do we get a bunch of bored, self-involved, full of attitude "big kids" to care about and respect their community? I thought I would start by asking them to.

Honestly looking for ideas, shared experiences, and feedback.

Postscript: Our neighborhood is safe (no need to worry mom and dad) and almost idyllic, with the exception of this current of tension.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Check up visit

She is 16 months old. 25 pounds, 2 ounces. 33 1/2 inches. Took 2 shots like a champ today. Expected back to see the doctor in 6 months.

Contrary to how this somewhat haunting and painting-like photo came out, she still has both legs.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

holding hands

We walk with Willa between us. She pauses and looks to one side and up at her dad, and reaches her hand up. He takes it. She then turns to look at me, and holds her other hand up. I take it. The three of us continue walking on. A family.

A few zoo photos

Willa ran around the petting zoo with enthusiasm and sense of purpose. She apparently needed to acknowledge each animal separately with her touch. This is a GOAT! This is another GOAT! This chicken can't be real until I touch it. CHICKEN! "MOO,"this is a COW, but it's not moving much so it's not as interesting. Hey dad, did you know there are GOATS here?! Hey look, SHEEP! These were the words expressed with her eyes, feet and ever outreaching hands. The last goat photo is a baby pygmy. For those of you visiting the GR Zoo, they're in a different area of the zoo.

The penguin was not part of the petting farm.

The budgies are in a huge cage. There are probably 100 birds in here. It was a blend of neat and a little too Hitchcock's "The Birds" for me to really enjoy it. This was Jim's favorite part of the zoo.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Straight off the vine

Notice the juice on her shirt.

Also, Nature? Hi, me again. IF you wanted to send a pregnant pygmy goat to our house, we would be sure to give it plenty of straw and shelter. We went to the zoo this weekend and Willa and I fell in love with baby pygmy goats.

I discovered that having a kid means an adult doesn't have to feel sheepish entering the petting zoo. Bonus points if you can identify the 2 awful puns in the previous sentence.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Nature, affirm elsewhere, please.

Dear Nature,
Please stop having babies so close to our front door. It's making us nervous and/or prompting thoughts of another pet.

First there was the house finch clutch - attacked by a sparrow. When we admitted that keeping the surviving chick alive was beyond our skills, and handed it over to more capable hands, I though Jim would cry. He loved that darn little bird.

Last week 2 bunnies were born in a very shallow burrow 18 feet from where Greta and Arlo exit our house with enthusiastic bounds. We are careful to move the wire mesh fence around the burrow while the dogs are out, but the thought of forgetting to move it and keeping mama rabbit from feeding her kids (who we have named Desitin and Chlamydia - lovely, yes?) is giving me an ulcer.

Nature, I know that you've been kind and have housed the neighborhood skunks several houses away from ours, but I think we've had enough reproduction for one year. Okay? We know it's an honor, but we're no Snow White in the forest surrounded by woodland creatures.

Your pals,

The Sinkis

Baby bunnies 2 days old.

Look closely and you'll see either an ear or an eye, and make out other head parts of the week old bunny.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Saying "yes" to Life

Yesterday I read a tragic article about how too many women are still dying in childbirth around the world (no link available, sorry.). I wonder how "they" will determine how many deaths are just about right? Sarcasm aside...

The article said that childbirth is the most life affirming thing many people can do. This, and some lovely solo piano music on the car radio, has me thinking about life affirming actions.

Giving birth is painful. It's also a beautiful everyday miracle. Giving birth is the natural consequence to a healthy pregnancy. The decision to become pregnant - or when there is no decision (a la an "oops"), the choice to remain pregnant - is life affirming. There? No, I'm not going there. Not today. What I'm saying is that the choice to make a baby is life affirming. The process of a baby leaving mom's comfy uterus is nature.

So, now Jim and I have made a baby who is a toddler making sentences (from this morning: "Boobie, all done.") now. And I'd like to continue affirming life. To me, this means way less of our already minimal television viewing, more home cooked (and grown) meals, more adventures into our community. More music. Maybe less National Public Radio: though I like to be informed, I feel more affirmed when listening to music and like to watch Willa dance. More dancing with Willa. More kindness to strangers and folks who haven't "earned" kindness. More books. More kissing of/with the husband. And someday, hopefully not too far away, a decision to make another baby.

Your assignment, darlings (awww... mannnn... homework?) is to think of one life affirming practice and share it, here if you'd like - extra credit for actually doing it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The stage is calling her

Last night we went to hear some live music. The crowd sits on a hillside facing the small stage.
Willa was content to sit between Jim and I on the blanket, eating her dinner until a particularly rhythmic song started. She calmly set aside her plate, stood up, and started to sway.
Later, she found the stairs - and then it was all over. There were probably 45 steps between us and the area up front where the kids danced. She got down pretty quickly, walked directly past the large group of kids who moved like popping corn, and started to climb the stage steps.

This one is destined to be a rockstar, I suspect.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Back to School

My heart broke as I saw some of the most defeated looking kids in the far corner of Target over the weekend. They were dragging their heels and scowling as their moms made them chose between orange and green spiral bound notebooks. Poor, poor kids were probably off to exciting decisions in the sock aisle after that.

I should offer a similar trip for Jim. He has decided to start a Master's program in Non-profit Leadership next month. I'm really proud of him. To express this pride, I might give him this little gem.

Monday, August 06, 2007


I have reentered a time in my life when it might be inappropriate to discuss breasts and nipples - right after this post. On Friday morning, after 2 days of successful sippy cup usage, Willa and I breastfed for the last time. It wasn't necessary for me, I just wanted to be aware that it was the last time while we were doing it. There were no tears, or any real emotion. Like every other time in the past several months, she did a break dancing routine while connected to me. I watched her charmed and waited for a pang of sadness or something, but nope. So... she's 16 months old today. And weaned. I think I'll go and buy a new bra or 2 to celebrate the good and dedicated service of "the ladies."

It was a crazy weekend of work picnic, visiting my parents, going to Bill and Jackie's new house (and enjoying their pool - thanks again, guys), an unexpected date at the Royal Oak farmers market followed by lunch, ice cream with my grandparents... It's no wonder we were all worn out and laid low on Sunday.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

resting easy

8 pints of blueberries: $16. Now washed, bagged, and frozen.
Thus ending this summer's crazy obsession for gathering blueberries so Willa could have her favorite food in the middle of January.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

One of the day care gals

Haven't taken her up on this, as I'm not 100% certain that the next note wouldn't be a ransom note. They really are good buddies.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Stand back, they're loaded.

So, weaning hurts. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, imagine a balloon hooked up to a faucet. The faucet slowly fills up the balloon. Slowly, slowly, slowly... and then the balloon is at capacity and suddenly bursts.
Earlier this week, I woke up with a faint memory of an oddly amusing dream.
In the dream, I walked into a large room that had debris on the tile floor. I was annoyed that no one had swept and I was meeting someone soon. Unable to find a broom or mop, I used my breast as a hose. The end.
I can't imagine where that came from (smirk).
Thanks to AmyinMotown for her thought provoking post that helped me remember my dream. Really folks, if you're interested in breastfeeding or are scared of militant breastfeeders, go take a peek.
The good news for those of you who aren't interested in breastfeeding or hearing about my boobs is that I hope to be done with weaning next week. Ironically it's World Breastfeeding week.

OH! Also, a momma rabbit gave birth on our front lawn this morning. There are at least 2 slimy baby rabbits in the shallow hole she dug. With 2 dogs who roam the lawn, this is going to get tricky.