Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

Garage Sale Gems

Ty came home yesterday with a 50-year-old packet of chewing gum he’d bought at a garage sale—as far as I can tell, the highlight of his summer. (The garage sale was a few houses down from the friend’s house where he was playing.)

Aside from computer games, Ty’s favorite pastime is garage saling, so much so he paid his bored friend to stay longer so he could peruse further. When he came home he flew into the house with his purchase.

“Wow. That’s quite find. How much did it cost?” I asked.

“Twenty-five cents.”

Well, at least he didn’t have to pay antique prices for antique gum.

“Have you eaten any of it?”

“Oh, no, Mom, this gum is more than fifty years old.”

Just checking.

So we admired the labeling, and he opened the end of a stick to show me its brownish hue, presumably the result of no dye rather than age, although we couldn’t be sure. We also read the ingredients and wondered if they were more natural than gum nowadays. They sounded more natural.

Later, in the car, he mused aloud about the steak knife at the garage sale. We have been talking lately about needing them in our house.

“Did you buy it?” his sister asked.


“Why not?”

“Think about it, Leah. Two nine-year-olds and a steak knife?”

Leah and I had to laugh. No, I suppose that wouldn’t do, would it?


Tagged as: ,

Family Exercise

Last night at bedtime Leah asked if we could go jogging in Whatcom Falls Park today. “Can we go in the morning?”

Are you kidding?

This morning, Leah and I don our running gear and pack Ty’s bike into the back of the car. This is our summer mode of exercise—she and I jog and he rides ahead. It works pretty well. We don’t do it nearly often enough, but on the way to the park Leah decides she wants to start running more regularly. Girl after my own heart.

We hit Whatcom Falls just as the rain starts up, but under the trees the ground is still dry. We take the route Leah had run at the end of May—except in reverse—during the middle school challenge, an event for kids from any of Bellingham’s middle schools.

“The steps are really bad,” she tells us maybe fifteen times. “I’d rather run down them.”

As we jog, I realize I have never explored this park. Not really. Sure, I’ve been to the bridge and the surrounding trails numerous times, but as Leah directs Ty ahead of us—“turn left, stay right, go straight, Ty”—I realize the network of trails is way more extensive than I’d thought. How have I missed these beautiful trails? I feel sheepish. 

The air is cool, smelling of rain and leaves and damp gravel, a Northwest summer rain smell that I love. Ty rides ahead, pacing us, until we arrive at the steps. Ah. I get it now. Steep. Hmm, good for stair training, I can’t help saying out loud.

“No way,” Leah says. “We had to run up these steps in the middle school challenge. It was awful.” Okay, maybe no steps. I make a mental note to come back on my own. Today, we are going down, and I heft Ty’s bike for the trek.

Beyond the steps we begin hitting the hills, mostly up, and the kids groan. “Come on, you can do it, Ty, you too, Leah, to the rock. Let’s run as far as that rock, and then you can walk.” I sound like my high school track coach, and you know what? They go for it. Ty busts up the hill, and Leah laughs and keeps jogging. This is her idea, after all.

Before I was a parent, I was not a baby person, nor did I ever want to go through pregnancy, but at the same time I couldn’t imagine life without kids. I always pictured myself with school-age kids, never babies or toddlers. Old enough to join in, but not old enough to opt out.

I’m there. I’m in that picture. I wish I could freeze time.

At the end of our run, we walk to cool down, each of us breathing a little harder, each of us a little sweaty. “Can we do that again sometime?” Leah asks.

But of course.


Tagged as:

Musings on Teens

Just in the last few days, I feel like I suddenly have a teenager living in my house. (I’m sure by next fall—2010—I’ll be realizing I didn’t at all, but enough friends have commented on Leah’s stature and composure that I know the change is noticeable.)

I think the first shift was the haircut this week—very slight, really, going from long straight hair to long straight hair with a tiny bit of layering around the bottom (truly, I can’t tell the difference) and some side bangs that aren’t true bangs but do manage to flop across Leah’s eyes to give the impression of indifference, even if she’s not actually feeling that way. Gone is the pony tail that was the style of choice for about two years. Because long hair gets in your face, after all, and a pony tail is just so sensible. Only sensible isn’t the operative mood anymore.

I miss that pony tail even though I was the one to encourage wearing hair down.

Vocabulary: All at once, “emo” is top choice (pronounced eemo). Have you heard it? I hadn’t until last weekend. Neither had Leah, as far as I know. Granted, we were hanging with cousins, who range in age from 12 to 18, so how can you not catch up on the latest teen stuff? Emo, for the uninitiated, is short for emotional. I thought it was the name of a cute puppet from a show I hadn’t heard of.

Tight clothes: Okay, these have been creeping in over the last year, but now that school is just around the corner, Leah and I are in heated discussion about jeans and what size she should be wearing. I maintain that although, yes, she seems thinner than last year because she’s now taller and moving out of the squattier 10 & 11-year-old phase, her jeans should still be a size larger than those I bought last summer. Right? She’s not convinced. At all. But today, she agreed to let me exchange some of her new denim purchases for the next size up if I let her keep one pair of the tighter ones. Done.

Makeup: Definitely being used, although I will admit she wears it gracefully and minimally. I am keeping my mouth shut on this one.

Hard to say what’s coming next. Cell phone, I’m guessing. We’ve managed to put her off all summer. My sister-in-law nearly laughed out loud when I expressed doubt. All her kids have them, as do all of her 12-year-old daughter’s friends. Not having one is not even a conversation.

I sound like I’m complaining, but in truth I am amazed every day by the metamorphosis I see going on in my house—rather like a moth, pretty but a little plain, changing little by little into the luminous colors of a butterfly, if moths could do this, with new beautiful wings that flutter and stretch and brighten a little more each day.

1 comment

Tagged as: ,

Water Ban Off

The water ban is off. Whew. I’m so glad because after four days of being away, I came home wondering about my plants and whether I would be allowed to water. (Today they’re okay, but next week? Likely not so good.)

Like other Bellingham residents, I was a good conservationist last week (according to the Bellingham Herald, we ‘Hamsters did a great job). In fact, I emptied the skanky water from my kids’ little swimming pool onto my landscaping—if you can call it that—in lieu of turning on the hose. Wait, I’m not sure if I’ve painted that picture adequately.

Picture the watering can being hand-dipped into the pool and carted to the various plants around the back yard and to the front of the house, up and down the walkway through the raised beds from the front yard to the back yard and back again, trip after trip after trip, dip after dip after dip. I’m not sure how many trips I made. Twenty, maybe?

I won’t claim to understand what it’s like to live without running water in a remote village, but I will say the experience did take me right back to my childhood. So back. So familiar. Kind of eerie that I can do water conservation without a thought.

I grew up on acreage with a surface well—something like only ten feet deep—that dropped precipitously every summer even though I grew up in the Northwest. With back-to-the-lander parents who lived for conservation, running out of water was no big deal (this green living, small carbon footprint thing was the definition of my early years—I’m pretty sure it’s why I love buying canned food and taking long showers).

Every summer we used our outhouse all summer (even now my parents continue to use it out of habit despite the hundred-odd-ft. well they’ve had dug since my childhood).

Every summer we took shallow, shallow baths.

Every summer, we carted the gray water from the washing machine to the flower beds, easily done because we used a wringer washer that somehow was the norm in our house although the rest of the nation had long before converted to automatic washers. You haven’t lived until you’ve devoted a day to laundry with a wringer washer, I tell you, equally as time consuming as watering with bailed swimming pool water, but that’s a tale for another day.

Suffice to say, I know how to do hard work, but I prefer not to. I appreciate my automatic washer and sprinkler every day. However, if the world comes to a grinding halt, and we have to go back to earthy living, I’ll be able to thank my parents for my work ethic.

leave a comment!

Tagged as: