Friday, August 29, 2008

Full tickets

John McCain has picked a running mate, and Sarah Palin is not the name of a man.
I'm excited to be a part of history: come November we'll have a minority in the office of President or Vice President.
But. Sarah Palin?
Astute followers of politics knew McCain's VP choice would be a woman or racial minority. Given the media-reported island of Hillary Clinton supports still adrift on a sea of ire (Word to the island: come on, and move on; biology aside, she didn't run the best campaign), there are a lot of votes out there ripe for the taking.
Obama has been criticized for his lack of experience. I think McCain probably ought not use that line any more, as his choice for "wing woman" has only a year and a half of experience as Gov. of Alaska. Hm.... Alaska... pipeline... oil... hm.
There are so many other Conservative women in American politics who have a better resume, I'm perplexed by this choice.
We expected this type of transparent choice for his VP, but I thought it would be someone with more... well, anything.
Obama picked a running mate to balance the ticket and fill in some of his weaker spots.
McCain, it seems, picked someone who would get him votes. Great if you think the American public is stupid enough to vote for a slate just because someone on it doesn't have a penis. America, I am certain, is smarter than this (America? Please, please, please consider).
Even after the Democratic love fest in Denver, I am not in love with Obama. But it seems his choice is the better balanced and responsible one for the country.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


"What's your red monkey's name, Willa?"
"Sin-cil-la" (translation: Chinchilla. The zoo visited daycare a few weeks ago, and she loved the soft chinchilla).
"That's a great name for your red monkey! What about your horse here? What's her name?"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Love from Mom

I love Grand Rapids. I am home here. I know, I know... I've talked about this before.

We are not moving, but...

Jim started off last week with an ear infection, and sure enough I ended the week with a sinus infection and bronchitis (and made a doctor who wasn't my own go pale after I stood up and he realized he darn near prescribed antibiotics to a woman who was in a family way.) I got the meds eventually. This is not the point of today's post.

My mom came to visit on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday we got up, had breakfast, talked and the next thing I knew I was waking up an hour later with Willa and my mom upstairs. A nap. Sigh... so nice. Something about my mom taking care of me while I'm sick and pregnant - even though Jim does beyond a great job - made me think about picking up the family Sinki and heading east.

It was a nice visit with my mom. I like it when she can see Willa playing on her home turf. It was nice to be in the same room and talk and check up on each other to make sure that, after my sister's loss of the twins, we're both doing as okay as possible with it. We sat on blankets with Willa (while Jim was at class) at Reed's Lake and enjoyed some breeze. I shot mom dirty looks as she laughed out loud when Willa misbehaved. "This," she said, "is fun."

Yesterday, I made pasta sauce with tomatoes and peppers from mom and dad's garden which is a few weeks ahead of ours. It was delicious.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Alice pants

Have I told you (the collective you out there) that Willa has seen - more than a few times - and loves Alice in Wonderland? She likes the rabbit, she gets sad when Alice cries, she bounces to the music.

When she sees a photo of any female Disney-esque character, she calls them Alice. Tinkerbell? Alice. Cinderella? Alice. We were at a garden shop a few months ago and she informed me "Alice sleepy, mama." I followed her pointing finger to a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Willa is doing pretty well with potty training. She's nearly at 100% at home. Daycare is going to take a while longer. I don't always like to leave a fun group of friends when I have to go right away either. So, we're patient.

She has a few pairs of big girl underpants with Tinkerbell all over them. She calls them her Alice pants. Soon, even the pairs with My Little Pony were called Alice pants.

During our last visit to my parent's house, my mom gave Willa several more sets with Elmo and Curious George. She knows and likes these guys, so we're hearing "big girl underpants" a lot more than "Alice pants."

Jim left 2 comments in the Willa-isms post that I didn't publish. I told him I'd use his reminders of more Willa-isms in another post. This is one. We wanted to get Alice Pants captured here before we forgot. Look for more Willa-isms soon!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I thought I would maybe have "knowers remorse".

When I was pregnant with Willa, we did not find out if we were having a boy or a girl. We're all about gender neutral at Camp Sinki, and wouldn't have planned any differently, had we known the gender. I like to think we're not raising our daughter one way or another just because she's a girl. We also looked forward to the surprise element of "it's a ...." when she was born.

And like I've written here, I have no memory of that moment. 9 months is a long time to wait for something you don't remember happening.

So, with (oh boy, I just typed and then erased his name. Something has to stay a secret, I just hope I can keep it for two more months.) er... this one, we opted to find out.

Going into the second ultrasound, I could have very genuinely told you that I had no preference for girl or boy. Jim and I were both very happy to know we'd be welcoming a son.

Part of me is a little sad that there won't be a Hazel (my top girl name choice that Jim was slowly coming around to) any time soon. I was going through some of Willa's newborn clothes and actually felt sad that all of the cute dresses would be kept in storage until another girl - our own or someone else's - came along. Sure we could use them on the boy, but we aim for gender neutrality, not gender challenging.

I love knowing I can refer to him as a he. I can have long conversations with him in the car and call him by name. Willa's gearing up for her "tiny baby brudder, swimming in mama's belly." I like to tell Jim, "your son is moving around a lot right now."

I have some learnin' to do about the care and maintenance of a baby's and later young boy's penis. Other than that, we're not preparing ourselves any differently than we did with Willa. With, of course, the lack wide eyes and saying, "we're going to be parents?!"

This time it's more, "holy crap, 2?! What have we done?"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Zoo photos

We went to the John Ball Zoo on Sunday. This is the perfect size zoo for a hot August day with a toddler while 7 months pregnant. The Sinkis had a great time.


That's Jim holding Willa who is holding a seed-laden stick out to a budgie. The birds were not hungry on Sunday morning.

If she had asked if the goat could come home with us, I probably would have gone out and bought black ninja gear for our midnight goatnapping. She did not ask.

We pulled her strolled up to the spider monkey exhibit. She stood up and immediately did her monkey impression: "ooh ooh ooh, ah ah ah" with the scratching of the armpits. Funny kid, this one.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Then again...

On the wall, next to Willa's crib are 2 hats. One is the kid sized Detroit Tigers batting helmet autographed by Justin Verlander and Marcus Thames. Below that is a large sombrero.

On Saturday morning I woke up feeling jostled. Jim was urgently nudging me and whispering, "look, look!!" I opened my eyes and standing next to the bed was Willa, holding her stuffed doll and horse. She was wearing her pajamas, the sombrero, and a huge grin. "Good morning, mama," she said.

And that can be a good simile for parenting on other days...

Our first tomato

Jim handed me the first red tomato from the vine.

We started our relationship with this tomato over the winter when we planted their seeds in soil and put them under grow lights. And we regularly check on their water and light levels. Jim and I were excited to see the first sprouts and laughed when nearly all of the 100 or so seeds turned into little plants. We found homes for some of our overabundance of sprouts and planted the rest in our brand new box that Jim designed and built just for these plants. We've been cautious about weeding and watering. We've treated these plants very well. I don't think J-Lo gets better care while she's touring. If they asked for pink M&M's and a handspun silver boa, our tomato plants would get pink M&M's and the prettiest handspun silver boa, darn it.

I turned the first red tomato over in my hand admiring it, and feeling proud of our journey.

Then Willa asked for it.

I watched her, only the week before, eat 7 tomatoes from my parent's garden.

She put it in her mouth, bit down, spit it on to the driveway, and walked away.

Jim and I looked at each other. He told me he wanted to share it with me. We looked at the fruit, chewed up and spit out on the driveway.

On some days, this is a good simile for parenting.

Over the weekend Jim and I ate the second and third (nearly - we couldn't wait) red tomatoes.

And they were fantastic.

Send your recipes and preservation techniques my way please, folks. Over the next few weeks, we're going to be up to our elbows in tomatoes.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic fatigue

Jim has an ear infection. Again. Do they do tubes for adults? He gets them fairly often - especially since our own little germ transductor (Willa) has been living with us. My body weak point is my sinuses, his are his ears.

I told him this was probably brought about by his Olympic fever. He's got it bad, folks. Last night he turned off the television after 1 am. I think there were tears in his eyes after seeing one of our gymnasts take the gold. (post script note: I found that more than a little endearing)

And I? I am the Olympic grinch. I would totally go to the olympic village and take their little pins and medals if it meant that I didn't have to see that Phelps guy or Misty May again. I do not think I would be redeamed with a bigger heart that felt closer to the true meaning behind the olympics. World wide harmony over the thrill of athletic competition, bah humbug. It's all about the money.* I'm pretty sure there are other sports besides swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball in the summer games. But the smaller sports don't draw the viewers, and advertisers won't pay for spots unless they are guaranteed big audiences. And don't get me started on faked fireworks and a lipsynching cutie...

Are we done yet?

*See what happens when my favorite, "wholesome" politician goes and admits to an affair? John Edwards made me jaded and cynical.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

so "that" kid

We went to a Whitecaps (minor league baseball for you non-natives) game last night. The thing about minor league games is that they make such an effort for family friendly fun you forget there's baseball going on. Willa and I spent some time at the playground instead of watching the game, as I had hoped we'd do.
For the last 2 days she's kind of been Dr. Willa and Ms. Hide, as in hide from her: hide well, and hide fast. I think the upper molars are destined to arrive soon. Hopefully on that glorious day the moodiness will pass. Before leaving the house there were tears over milk, the wrong song playing on the cd player, and the fact that the yellow crayon was missing.
So. No baseball because I didn't want to, nor had the patience to, endure another crying fit. Instead we spent 20 minutes waiting in line for the bouncy house. It was finally her turn. She jumped and ran and fell like the other kids, all older and bigger. When their 5 minutes were over, the other kids filed out. Willa didn't follow. I told her, "Willa, it's time to get out and let other kids have their turn." She replied, "in a minute."
The other kids and parents who had been waiting in line were not amused. The person working the bouncy house gave me dirty looks as I hissed at her through the netted window, "Willa. Get. Out. NOW."
She jumped with a giant grin - she had the whole place to herself - "in a min-ute!"
One mom sent her twin 7 year old girls in after Willa. They ran to her, and Willa screamed.
I could not go in - the opening of the place was tiny and my greatness with child is fairly great. I nervously looked at the back of the structure while bribing her to get out. No escape hatch, and cookies were not luring her out.
Finally mom of the twins went in and scooped her up.
Willa grinned at me as she got out. "In line again?"
We went back to where Jim was. I handed her to him and walked away for a moment, very enviously eyeing the large beers the vendors had.
It was a rough night in parentville.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sinki security team

This morning I heard Greta growling fiercely. Arlo started barking. I went into the living room to see what had offended them. They were standing at the window looking into the side yard. Hackles were up, and I think I saw Greta's teeth.
I peeked out the window. Our neighbor has a new lawn ornament. And our dogs feel they need to protect themselves, their humans, and their den from the 18" tall, wooden uncle Sam with a flag.
I let them out of the house, they ran toward it, stopped 5 feet before it and started to bark their fool heads off. A minute later, they had apparently gave him the what for and trotted off to threaten the squirrels.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


On Sunday I cut Arlo and Greta's nails. Greta doesn't seem to mind it much. She sits and offers her paw, like she's getting a manicure. Arlo doesn't like it, but puts up with it. I have to hold him in my lap. This is the first time, I think, Willa's observed this ritual. She stayed with us the whole time. After Arlo tried to slink away the first time, she crouched next to him and said, "you're okay now." While patting his back and putting him in a headlock.

Willa's declaration of needing to use the bathroom consists of looking at us and saying, "don't pee on da floor."

Bill and Jackie's dog is, and may always be "Otis da puppy." And my parent's place up north is called "Grandma's Grandpa's cottage, fun." Lake Drive, she knows, is where we turn to "see Baby Brody - today?" (a friend's little guy who Willa has a slight obsession with).

When Willa was a baby we got the Elizabeth Mitchell CD with the song "Little Bird" on it. I've been singing it to her nearly every night ever since. Now she sings along. It's one of the best moments of every day.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A mistress must be the new American flag lapel pin

Dear John Edwards,
You'll have to make your own grilled cheese sandwich next time you're in GR.

I heard the rumblings start a few weeks ago. "Edwards cheated" small headlines of news sources with questionable credibility suggested. I took a party line, chalked it up to Karl Rove moving his GOP machine right over the man who could have been a great VP for Obama.

And then he admitted it. You'll recall that I put a great deal of stock in Mr. Edwards.

Now I know how an 8 year old football fan and devotee of Michael Vick may have felt. I have not generally been one to put a lot of stock in people simply because of celebrity or power. I do not recall having a lot of famous heroes growing up. I never joined a fan club. I don't keep up on celebrity news, and don't hold much stock in the rumor mills of Hollywood or DC. I don't watch "reality television" because it bores me. I just don't care much about people who I don't know. And I think I've rarely fooled myself into believing that I knew someone via interviews and performances. Politicians and celebrities are not idols to hold up as a way to live your life. They are human and they make mistakes. They are learning how to be, just like everyone else.

But it seemed like John Edwards was talking to my heart. And my heart and his were old pals. And I wanted him, so much, to be in charge of what happened with my country - something else I care about a whole bunch.

I do not think that the private sex life of anyone should disqualify them for a job. Training dogs to fight and betting on them doesn't make you less of an awesome football player. It makes you an asshole...

I thought he was so much better than that.

Friday, August 08, 2008

It's a big day

This morning Willa left the bed where the Sinki's were easing into Friday morning. She came back in a skirt and bloomers declaring, "no diapers today, mama."

Jim put her big girl underpants on her, and put the skirt back on. We brought her to day care with a change of clothes, just in case. It's her first day there with no diapers.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the great experiment went.

Our hairy, active, healthy, very big

Three hours ago Jim and I got to see our son.

I can not post this until later because I'd like to tell my family in person and not via the blog.

We saw all of the major organs again, and they're working well.

He (he he he he!!!!) has a lot of hair that showed up on the screen. And giant cheeks.

He is a big baby. I am 28 weeks pregnant, and he's measuring 31+ weeks. Ultrasounds have limits on accuracy, but the computer tells us he (our son. We're having a boy!!!) is 3 pounds, 11oz. He is bigger than 97% of all other babies his age. I am only somewhat concerned.

He was sitting, using my cervix as a foot rest. He is facing my spine, and his head was on my right side. "Little" guy you've got a few months to get into the best possible birthing position. Put it on your long term to do list, okay?

Since the day I knew I was pregnant, I had a very strong feeling that I was carrying around a fella. Kind of neat to have confirmation of mother's intuition.

The ultrasound wand was placed on my belly, and seconds later I had a tear coming from both eyes. I saw a penis before she (the same tech who spent a very long time with us the first time)could say so.

He's on the way....

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Photos from the weekend

She kept trying to go back to the water after we were done swimming. How to keep a toddler still on the beach? Bury her under sand. Four times because she liked it so much.
Feet. Sand.
I thought 8:30 was too late to get down to the lake for a little swim on Saturday night. Turned out it was perfect for these two.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Just us. Justice.

The three of us haven't had a full weekend together since our vacation. Ahhh... summer working for a nonprofit. At least for Jim and I this means a lot of time spent on the road. Me, meeting clients, him, meeting sponsors.
In addition, last week was a darn horrible week and we needed to get away.
We went to Higgens Lake on Saturday and came home Sunday. It was lovely.
Yesterday we spent time on the beach at the state park. Jim and I built sandcastles in the surf under the watchful eye of our supervisor, Willa, who was just waiting for them to get big enough to stomp apart. A little boy joined us. His name was Sam and he was three.
A while later we met up with Sam again in the water with his mom. Sam splashed us. His mom took him away while giving him a stern talking too.
Willa jumped on the bandwagon. "Sammy bad. Sammy naughty. Sammy in trouble." She talked about Sam's (who she decided was more of a Sammy) terrible behavior the entire walk back to the sand. If Willa and St. Peter were in cahoots, poor Sam's soul would be doomed for all eternity simply for splashing us.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Willa, a pit bull, and I go to the County jail

I was late for work today. But I had a really good excuse.

Willa and I got in the car this morning and turned from our street to a fairly busy road. Traffic was acting weird, and after a truck moved on, it was obvious why. There was a dog walking down the right lane. I nervously watched it as I prepared to make my turn. The dog left the street for the sidewalk, and I sighed with relief. But then there was this stray dog, walking around kind of aimlessly and looking confused...

I had to stop.

Okay, I know my mom is reading this and is about to worry a bit. This ends well (I hope) for everyone. Onward.

So. I turned onto another side street, rolled down my window and whistled. I am a good whistler, so the dog - 4 houses away on a busy street - heard and stopped to turn around. I put the car in park, got out and called for the dog. He perked up and clumsily loped over to me. He was a young (probably not yet a year), beautiful, and very sweet pit bull.

I, of course, put the strange stray dog in my car. I made him stay in the front seat because I didn't want him to get anywhere near Willa. See? I have some sense. Willa was in the backseat smiling and saying "brown doggie" over and over.

And we drove to the animal shelter which, lucky for all 3 of us, happens to be on our route anyhow.

The shelter and the jail share adjacent land, so we wound up there first and I kind of felt all bad ass with my temporary pit bull next to me. The 2 year old in the back seat singing her ABC's kind of ruined the vibe though.

We got to the shelter and they were not open until 10. Luckily, an overworked and burnt out employee was walking in while I was on the phone with the sheriff ("um... I have this stray dog and I have to get to work"). The worker sent someone else out to get the dog. After rolling her eyes at me when I asked for her help.

The kind shelter guy promised me that they give this misunderstood breed as much of a chance for adoption as any other dog. That made me glad, he was a sweet buddy for the 8 minutes he was in my care. I hope his owner thinks to call the shelter. He had a collar but no tags. I signed a paper and the guy took the happy and willing dog from my car.

At which point Willa lost it because she thought her new doggie was gone.

It was not a usual morning.