Friday, November 9, 2012

The only chicken served in my vegetarian household

Okay, that's not completely true. I've also made a chicken out of a cheese quesadilla. 

I cut tofu into a large circle for the body and a small circle for the head, and fried it in teriyaki sauce. For the rest of the chicken I have carrots legs, raisin eyes, apple wings and beak, and a red pepper comb. The ground is made of quinoa with green pepper for grass and steamed broccoli shrubs.

The husband and I also had teriyaki tofu with quinoa and steamed broccoli, but our dinners weren't nearly as cute.

This gives me an idea of what I'll be serving to SchmoopyBoy on Thanksgiving ;)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloween wrap-up

Here's a closing to an eventful Halloween season. For a 'date afternoon' with SchmoopyBoy, we went for a hayride. I like to call this picture "SchmoopyBoy and a couple of asses" because I'm a dork like that, although his head is conveniently hiding one of the asses.

Of course the hayride would not be complete without a goofy overexposed self portrait, in which SchmoopyBoy makes one of his characteristic poses for the camera. 

Later that week we carved a pumpkin. A cute happy pumpkin, not a scary one.

On Halloween night both kids got dressed up. Lil' Cowboy Schmoo kept me company while I handed out treats at home. Batman chose to see a movie over Trick or Treating, so the husband took him to see Hotel Transylvania. But, because we are super cool parents, he still came home to a bucket of treats.

Why do you keep walking to the door?
Don't you know my reading my stories is serious biznis?

The caped crusader. Shh, don't tell anyone his true identity.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What "Having It All" looks like in my life

In keeping with the theme of this month's Feminist Odyssey Carnival, today I am writing about what "Having It All" looks like in my life. I approach the concept of Having It All from my particular set of circumstances, which include the facts that (a) I work outside the home as the primary income earner in my family (I am not in a formal leadership position but am respected as a technical expert in my field), (b) I have a rather crunchy, AP-ish style of parenting, and (c) my husband and I do not have a local “village” of support. I would expect Having It All to look fairly different for a woman with different circumstances.

Given all that, this is what Having It All looks like in my life:
  • I am immersed in an imaginative world almost every day, if even for a short while. Sometimes I get to play the role of a dinosaur. Sometimes I get to play the role of a superhero. Sometimes I get to play the role of a train, horse, fairy or any other number of characters my preschooler can dream up.
  • I spend a good portion of my days surrounded by really smart, motivated people that, like me, believe in public service and sustainable resource management.
  • I get to exchange hugs and kisses with two sweet little schmoos every day.
  • I get to nerd out to my heart’s content, studying data and figuring out how to better answer questions and solve problems.
  • I get to be as silly as I can and make up songs with the word “poo-poo” in them (yeah, I’m juvenile like that).
  • Several times each year, I get to present information to representatives from 7 states and numerous local and regional agencies. It instills a sense of pride to have my organization’s confidence to present high level, high stakes issues to key stakeholders.
  • I am challenged to be creative with food in a way I never thought I would be.
  • I derive the personal and professional satisfaction of being respected as a technical expert in my field.
Most of the time, Having It All looks and feels pretty great. I am incredibly privileged and my life is full to bursting with laughter and love and pride and accomplishment. Sometimes it looks and feels like complete chaos, but I love that there is seldom a dull moment. That does not mean that it is not hard, or overwhelming or heartbreaking sometimes. This is also what Having It All looks like in my life:
  • My house is a mess. Always. Even when it’s clean there are piles of clutter everywhere, and I simply do not have the time and energy to change the average state of chaos.
  • Sometimes, my last view of home when I back my car out of the driveway in the morning is my baby crying and reaching for me, trying to swim out of his father’s arms because only mommy will do at that moment in time.
  • Sometimes I have to turn down good opportunities for interesting projects that would lead to better exposure and relationships with my organization’s stakeholders – which could lead to better advancement potential - because they involve overnight travel; and with a breastfeeding baby that still wakes multiple times per night and spends a good portion of the night by my side, overnight travel just doesn’t fit into my life right now. (Night weaning, I have my eye on you, but I'm not quite ready yet)
  • I have heard my preschooler tell me “I don’t love you when you leave”. I know that kids his age can mix up words like “like” and “love”, and that he really means “I don’t like it when you leave”, but still, ouch.
  • When my group manager retires next year, I will probably not be in the running for his replacement. I will likely stand by and watch my (equally talented and deserving) childless male coworker apply for and get the promotion, because I will not be willing to take on the additional hours or travel requirements at that time. It will be a bitter pill to swallow because I do have ambition, but I will have to maintain hope that there will be other opportunities for me at a later date, that my time will come when my children’s need for my presence isn’t so great.
Having it all does not mean having perfection (as if there were such a thing outside of fairy tales and click-bait mommy-war articles). There are always trade-offs and choices to be made. I make the choices that I think work best for my circumstances and my family, knowing fully well that other women might make different choices and would judge me for my choices.  And that is ok with me. Just as there is no single monolithic Woman, there is no single set of life choices that represent Every Woman's personal priorities. 

And really, most of the time I am simply too busy, distracted, or exhausted to care. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Do You Have It All?" is the Wrong Question

I have deliberately stayed away from the topic of Having It All during the past months. As you may be aware, there were a number of well publicized articles in the media discussing whether or not women could, or even should endeavor to “Have it All”. At the time there were so many smart, articulate women that wrote on the issue, many articulating my very thoughts on the matter, that I simply left the discussion to their capable hands. Nonetheless, the theme for this month’s Feminist Odyssey Carnival is “Having It All” so I’ve been thinking a bit about the topic lately. You might even see more than one post on the topic this month.

As I was thinking about the question “Do I Have it All?” and what does that mean to me, it occurred to me that the question that we are asking ourselves, I think, is all wrong. The question is not “Do you have it all?” or even “Should you have it all?” The question should be “Are you happy with what you have?” If the answer to the last question is yes, then the answer to the first question is also yes. The problem is that we are up to our eyeballs in click-bait mommy-war articles that tell us that unless we actually live in a perfect fairy tale world (as defined by ???) the answer to this basic fundamental question ought to be “No”.

There are lots of reasons why a woman with a career may not have children. Some reasons are based on choice, and some are not. There are lots of reasons why a woman with children may maintain a paid career. Some of those reasons are based on choice and some are not.

I tend to think that if a stay-at-home mom is happy and fulfilled and feels well balanced in her life, then she has it all because she has everything she wants, or at least everything she needs to be happy and fulfilled. Likewise if a childless, career-driven woman is happy and fulfilled and feels well balanced in her life, then she also has it all because she has everything she wants, or at least everything she needs to be happy and fulfilled.

There is no exact formula for having it all that equates for every woman all the time, because there is no monolithic Woman. A woman should be skeptical of anyone who tells her that she must have A and B and C but not D or else she does not have it all and should feel disappointment with her life.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

It was a full weekend here at chez Schoopy. I had a 3 day weekend for Columbus Day, which was nice. On Saturday I took the schmoos to a local fall festival. SchmoopyBoy was hoping to get his face painted like Batman, but was pretty happy with the spider theme.

Bounce houses, a farmers market where we bought and snacked on the best, most sweet and delicious strawberries I've had all season, and a playground with a huge play train made for a great day. Of course I forgot the good camera at home, and Lil' Schmoo wouldn't stay still long enough for me to get a half decent picture on my crappy cell phone camera, so no pics of him with pumpkins or trains. boo.

On Sunday, I had a special date with SchmoopyBoy. Just the two of us. We went to see the Batman Live show. In case I haven't mentioned previously, SchmoopyBoy is somewhat Batman obsessed these days. He has discovered the magical world of super heros and villains. Batman is his favorite. I thought the show was great! SchmoopyBoy thought it was a little too long and complained that the villains were "boring." (WTF?!?!?!?) At two hours including an intermission, it probably was a bit long for a 4 year old. And perhaps watching the villains stand around and plot against Batman wasn't the most exciting part of the show. But... Acrobats! The Batmobile! Batman and Robin! Cool stuff!!

I was chatting with him at bedtime, and I realized that the main thing that was so special for him was that I spent the day with him. I don't need to spend a lot of money on tickets to shows to make him happy. The fact that he got to spend time alone with me and get my full attention made him feel special. The fact that he got to dress up like his favorite superhero, and see him in action was just icing on the cake.

My superdude strikes a pose

Even superheros need some time to just chill on the couch
I was able to squeeze in some one-on-one time with Lil' Schmoo on Monday too. I'm going to try to make sure both kids get some decent one-on-one time with me this year. That was my Rosh Hashanah new year's resolution.

On Monday SchmoopyBoy got sick.  It's just a cold, but still no fun. Hopefully no one else will catch it this time around.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Introducing the Scorpion Longtongue

SchmoopyBoy first told me about the Scorpion Longtongue a few days ago. He had made a sculpture of it at preschool. Since I was unfamiliar with such a beast, I asked him about it. Here are a few details:

  • The scorpion longtongue is a big bug that eats scorpions.
  • It has no teeth.
  • It gets the scorpions with its long, sticky tongue.
  • Its tongue is as big as an elephant.
  • It makes a sound effect when it eats a scorpion that I cannot reproduce on this blog.

I finally got to see a model Scorpion Longtongue today when I picked SchmoopyBoy up from preschool. Exhibit:

You might be wondering, how does he know about scorpions? Well, we've found two of the little suckers in our yard over the past month or so. (Eeek!!! Those things freak me out more than the black widow spiders that like to take up residence in these parts!) Pest control has been called. Unfortunately, their arsenal does not include any natural predators such as the dread Scorpion Longtongue.