Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Happy Holidays!

We've been home without internet access for nearly a week now (you'd think our vacationing neighbor would be thoughtful enough to leave her wireless on for our poaching pleasure!) and even though I have missed it, I have also not missed it, if you know what I mean. What do you know--in a week I got emails neither from the MacArthur Genius Grant people (We love your blog! Here's a million dollars!) nor from some old pining-away ex who just wanted to write me a holiday note mentioning how powerfully he still fantasizes about my hot body. Go figure. And I was remarkably able to sit still without that dinging-in feeling haunting me round the clock. But now I wanted to check in and see how everyone was doing, see how the balance of magical/exhausting went for you this year. I hope it all tipped towards the magical.

I also wanted to send you to the new(ish) columns over at wondertime, here. They're both linked from the one page in the new site redesign. Fancy! Also, if I could please encourage you to post your comments over there, that would be awesome! Because they want to see your comments over there! They really really want to! If you run into any kind of trouble, come back here and post, and I'll relay the messages, like the little cyber carrier pigeon that I am.

And finally, thank you to Sarah for reposting that Chex Mix recipe (it's in the comments from the last entry), to "anonymous" for all those viagra links (I should really start deleting the spam, I know), and to everyone who posted a wise nugget about the cheese pumpkin. In the end, I fed the rest of it to our starving garbage disposal, but only because a ginormous turkey needed the spot in the fridge, I swear.

All my best to you and your families for a rich, healthy, and wonderful new year.

xo Catherine


  1. Catherine - just an FYI I am unable to post on the Wondertime blog, unsure why - I use an iBook and have tried w/ both Safari and Firefox to no avail. Hope your holidays were great - beautiful picture of Ben and Birdy! BTW I have been a gagger since I was a wee one - not sure how I made it through 9 months of pregnancy without a single incident (sorry ladies). To this day the mental image of a certain high school classmate eating lunch in the cafeteria can send me running for the bathroom with a bad case of what my old italian grandmother would call "agida".

    Happy New Year!

  2. Anonymous3:22 PM

    I am also unable to coment on Wondertime, as I said in the Cheesepumpkin comments, it is a loop of endless errors relating to my invalid e-mail (which really IS valid)

    The children look absolutely stunning in black & white...Beautiful.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Anonymous3:48 PM

    I couldn't post to Wondertime either. Just empty links it seemed. But I sure could relate to your circus situation! Playing with my kids makes me antsy like nothing else. And I couldn't believe that you mentioned little match box advent boxes. I made them last year from an idea I saw in a Martha Stewart Christmas book. I have trouble finding things that actually fit though. Happy New Year to you!

  4. Anonymous5:15 PM

    What a beautiful card.

    I thought of sending you one of our holiday cards last week, but then I got shy and didn't.

    And besides, I wouldn't have known where to send it.


  5. Anonymous5:42 PM

    I'm another one who couldn't post at wondertime. So here's what I was going to say...

    I thought I had it rough that my daughter (age 4) gags and sometimes vomits if she sees open mouthed chewing or food on anyone's face. This makes it particularly hard to have dinner with family and friends with babies or toddlers. My husband and I joke that it is her way of ensuring she remains an only child. But gagging at every odd smell? God bless your patience!

  6. Anonymous7:43 PM

    Catherine -- Hope your holidays were great! We tipped toward exhausted this year, but it was great because it was the first Christmas we've spent with my extended family in four years. I love the picture of Ben and Birdy -- I wish I managed to send out cards that looked half as good!

  7. Anonymous9:36 PM

    I just realized how fortunate we are to be a "who farted" kind of family without it leading to gagging or barfing. Just laughing and finger pointing. And sometimes followed by a round of everyone making fart noises with their hands just for fun.
    All of you do that, right?

    Catherine I had forgotten about your Chex-Mix recipe. I may need to try that. I make Puppy Chow throughout the month of December and I am kind of sick of it. (rice chex or crispix coated with melted butter, chocolate chips and peanut butter tossed in powdered sugar). Addictive yes, but I am ready to switch over to salty snacks.

    Happy New Year.


  8. Anonymous11:51 PM

    The Wondertime redesign involved a refresh of some small text (CSS) files which may be cached in either your memory or your hard disk cache.

    For those of you unable to comment on Wondertime, try these tips:

    (*) Empty your cache and refresh the page.

    (*) If the aforementioned doesn't work, try exiting all instances of your browser and restart your browser.

    (*) If this doesn't work, log out and/or reboot your computer.

    (*) Finally, Mac users, you should use Safari (default Mac browser) or Firefox instead of Microsoft Internet Explorer.

  9. What a beautiful picture...and to think we needed 6 pictures and Photoshop to create something worth sending out : )

    Thanks for the standing on one leg trick....that could come in very handy

  10. Happy Holidays to you guys too! I was also having trouble commenting on Wondertime but Im gonna take another stab at it. As for magical/exhausting: Mine was more magical. I think it was because I got the one gift I REALLLLLY wanted. I wanted a police scanner and Burts Bees shampoo. I got both. The shampoo smells awesome and the scanner is loads of fun!! :) I hope you guys had a good time too.

  11. Anonymous8:56 AM

    reading the posts for the first time... what a fine bunch of folks!
    Long time fan first time poster.
    Thanks so much.
    ps. didn't even try to post on wondertime... sounds beyond my capabilities.

  12. Anonymous8:56 AM

    Hi Catherine. I tried to post a comment on wondertime to no avail. I wanted to let you know that the pic of Ben and Birdy is great. Also, never feel bad about the lack of patience sometimes! For me, it's not so much my one year old (crying whenever I leave the room! :), but rather my 3 year old son testing limits. I have a new mantra for myself in these times of frustration: "Find the Joy. Find the Joy." It seems to be working on most days!!! I've been a faithful reader, but not the best poster of comments. I'll try harder b/c I've SO enjoyed reading all these years. Happy New Year!!! Vanessa

  13. I was able to post a comment, but I can't see any additional ones...only the first three, and if they are long, not all of those.

    Thanks for the stand on one foot tip...really going to have to try that one out!

  14. Happy holidays (a little late) to you, Michael, Ben, and Birdy. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season!

  15. Anonymous11:54 AM


    I wish I could send you a gift because of all of the enjoyment you've given me and my husband this year - and past years - maybe one of those ionic breeze machines that clears odors out of the air???!!!! But since I can't, I'll just send our best wishes for a merry, joyful, peaceful and magical new year.

  16. Anonymous12:04 PM

    Headed over to Wondertime right now. Love your writing. Wish I had a million dollars to give you, but I'm hoping that e-mail comes to me first. Sorry...I'm selfish that way.

  17. I, too am unable to post over at Wondertime. I have tried several times. I just wanted to let you know that we suffer through performances of our sons' "plays".

    He gathers as many of his stuffed animals and Bionicles as he can drag to the living room, along with laundry baskets and other miscellaneous things and then puts on plays for us. Most of these plays have no plot and make no sense whatsoever to anyone but him, and many of them are performed in utter silence. We have taken to calling them "interpretive theater". :-)

    I always feel like a horrible mother when I get bored and can't pay attention to his performances, but my god! They are tedious sometimes!

    Please know that you are not alone in having a gagger. My son is also a gagger, smells can set him off as can certain visuals, or even just thinking about one of the things that makes him gag. It gets very frustrating at time, but I know that he can't help it.

    I will keep trying to post over at Wondertime, but in the meantime, if you wish to tell them what I think of your column, please tell them that I think you are wonderful.

    Hope you had a great December Holiday, and have a wonderful and prosperous New Year. (Oh, and just for the record, if I were in charge of choosing who got the Genius Grant, I would give it to you.)

  18. Lovely card. I posted comments at Wondertime and will continue to do so. Your last Wondertime story made me laugh until I cried. Thanks, I needed that.

  19. Anonymous1:10 PM

    A happy holidays to you too.

    My five year old said to give you guys a great big hug, he sees your pictures online when I read - but has no idea we have never met! I think, he thinks you are at work with me here. And honestly sometimes you are, your are a great friend in my heart, even if we shall never meet. Had I had your address you would have gotten a Christmas card in the mail...sparkles and everything.

  20. Despite the pink eyes and fevers, our holiday was pretty magical. ANYTHING is better than the barfing flu we all had LAST Christmas! Hot chocolate has lost most of its appeal after that!

    Hope yours was magical, too. :-)

  21. Anonymous4:58 PM

    Hi Catherine,
    FYI: I couldn't comment on Wondertime either.
    What I wanted to say was this: In one of Martin Amis's books (maybe *Money*?) he has a character say something about wanting another cigarette even when he's still smoking his last one. His addiction is so intense that even the act of smoking doesn't appease it.
    This is pretty much my experience with your writing. Even while reading one of your blogs, I find myself nervously wondering whether, if I googled your name, I would find some as-yet-undiscovered source somewhere, to tide me over until your next post.
    But hey, no pressure.

  22. Hi Catherine:

    I will start posting at Wondertime once all of the kinks are worked out. Just wanted to take this opportunity to send the season's best to you and your family.

    Thanks for all of the laughs and tears over the years!

    You are the best.

  23. Anonymous8:48 PM

    "She UPDATED!" I said just now, squealing, as I leapt over the couch to get at my laptop. "And LOOK! The kids are so BEAUTIFUL! LOOK!!!"

    And although she agrees that they're lovely, Audra is now threatening to have me medicated. :)

    Again, happy happy new year!

  24. Anonymous10:05 PM

    Yup I went through registration, and reading the 19 (NINETEEN) Terms of Service points [[you give up all rights to privacy or your own thoughts, and we can spam you and give your name to others who want to spam you, and some of these terms are SO IMPORTANT WE WILL SHOUT IN BOLD AT YOU... there we've squashed all loopholes, someone play the Law and Order *clonk* sound of bars locking]]...and then after all that, Wondertime appears to have eaten my post. sigh.

    Anyway your thing about potatoes was right on, I love them but know that smell. And I told my hubby about one-foot brushing because he's a gagger!

    Oh and despite their legalese intimidation and web flaws, your column over there has inspired me to drop one of my other subscriptions and add Wondertime!

  25. So, I'm doing my best to hide out at my parents house since it's considered antisocial -- as it harkens back to my childhood -- if I take five minutes to myself after my daughter goes to bed. It doesn't help that I'm howling out loud (with great empathy, of course) in the study while reading your column!

    My own little one is currently going through a phase (I hope) where she cannot handle any spots on her clothes or garbage on the floor -- this has made her a great source of entertainment for her older cousins while gifts are being unwrapped -- and I'm waiting to see if it passes or develops into something to be more concerned about.

    And since it was a struggle every morning and evening that I was pregnant to brush my teeth without puking in the sink (how's that for a mouthwash commercial?), I will be giving your friend's trick a shot.

    All the best for 2007!

  26. Anonymous9:10 AM

    Tried to post at WT. Didn't work.

    What I was going to say is how glad I was to read about another crazed smeller. I am Super Smeller. It is a horrible curse and a wonderful blessing. I can smell EVERYTHING.

    It runs in the family. My sister does it too. She'll complain endlessly about somebody who smells like "scalp," and I'll know exactly what she's talking about.

    I bought her this t-shirt for Christmas. Maybe they have it in Birdie's size. It reads:

    I smell the smelly smell of something that smells. Smell!

  27. Anonymous9:24 AM

    Oh my gosh, that shirt is hysterical - but I am also weird like that. C, you should totally get that! :-)

  28. Anonymous2:24 PM

    I had to tell you that I laughed so hard reading your latest post at Wondertime.

    My son has a neck thing, that he unfortunately inherited from me. He cannot bear to wear anything around his neck. No turtle necks, mock turtle necks, not even crew neck sweaters too tight. If he does its gag, gag, gag, splat puke. I really worry about him on his wedding day (20 something years from now maybe they will have an invention to cure him from this problem) because in that tight collared tux he will be saying, "I Justin take thee - gag, gag, puke- to be my wife..." It just wouldnt be a pretty sight! Ive suffered through it myself and know its tough - remember the whole choker fashion fad of the 80s, needless to say I NEVER wore one of those! Anyways, its funny how we get these little naunces. I once asked the doctor about it, because I too was worried about sensory integration disorder. She told me that we are all about one or two idiosyncricies away from a sensory integration disorder! Go figure.

  29. Anonymous8:22 PM

    I've been reading your columns for years now without ever posting - I guess I thought I had nothing to say because I'm 22 and have no children! The beautiful picture of Ben and Birdy finally sent me over the edge - I had to tell you that your kids are gorgeous and that I enjoy your writing SO MUCH even though I can't relate from personal experience. I hope that I have a family like yours someday! I just love your parenting philosophies - my children will also wear what they want and play with toys that others consider gender-specific, no matter what gender they are! The world needs more parents like you.

  30. Hi Catherine,
    It has been a while! I will pop over to Wondertime soon to check out the latest and try to comment...It has been a happy/sad time as a beloved Uncle (my Godfather actually) passed away suddenly the week before Christmas. So instead of last minute shopping and baking we were at the hospital and or funeral home all week. Not a nice way to spend the week and certainly made for a strange Christmas this year.

    Hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Our kids did manage to have an amazing time and we are not done yet. We have more people to see! Alexandra had her 6th b-day yesterday so that just adds to the insanity...I mean fun!

    All the best to your family for a wonderful New Year.

  31. So Catherine - you've inspired me. I thought you would like to hear that. I've enjoyed your journals since my 3 1/2 year old was just born - and have followed you from babycenter to your latest spot (in the least stalker-sense possible).

    I enjoy your blog and the Dalai Mama journal. I promise to comment there too - I know you want them to know what we're thinking. But today it's all about my inspiration. I've started my own blog.

    Even though I've kept a journal since I was about 9 years old, this is a brave step for me. What if someone actually read it?! But it's fun and it's a nice outlet. And even though I'm a working mom who lives in the middle of the country, Nebraska to be exact...I still feel like we have a lot in common. And I enjoy reading comments from your other readers. We mamas have to stick together!

    So thanks - for the inspiration. And thanks for your wonderful words, I really do enjoy reading all of your wonderful posts.

  32. Thank you so much! Your posts and Ben and Birdy articles have SUSTAINED me as I navigate the murky waters of parenthood (my son is 18 months and I am expecting a baby in June). Your kids are so wonderful and loveable, and you make it ok to be human and a parent at the same time. I think regularly about your comment that parenting is like "juggling quail eggs in the rain" and I try to be a mindful parent. Don't ever stop writing.

  33. Anonymous10:18 PM

    Happy New Year, Catherine and family! Hope you've been enjoying the holidays.

    I was unable to post at Wondertime, but just wanted to say that I enjoyed the post and commiserate - my daughter doesn't have the gagging problem, but my son does, but only when it comes to rice. Rice? What is so disgusting about rice? He can't tell me, but its white inoffensive blandness gets him every time - even causing him to projectile vomit when we insisted he try "just one bite." Uh, won't be making that mistake again any time soon...

  34. Anonymous5:23 AM

    Hi! I am up at 3:16 AM on New Year's Day raging with insomnia, and your post was such a treat - and a link to a Wondertime post I hadn't read, too - double treat! I am not posting there because of the registration requirement - I may be weird that way, but there it is, no more registrations for me unless brutally necessary.

    My middle child was fearless and not the least bit squeamish about anything until the cow's eye dissection in 2nd grade. I assisted in class that day and she was very excited about the whole thing right until I uncovered it, and she literally turned green, shoved her chair back, and focused elsewhere for the rest of the lesson. Really, pretty understandable if a bit extreme. But then, but then, but then . . . she became extremely squeamish about every single thing - bugs, bleeding, raw meat in the grocery store, mown grass, etc. etc. and she is just now overcoming a few of these things 7 years later. I'm not making any particular point with that story other than to say yep, kids are wired in so many ways, and they seem to be rewirable, but with unpredictable results.

  35. It's always something, innit, Cath? Lately my darling 3-year-old Peej has developed an inability to go to bed without 3 or 4 frantic calls down the stairs. Last night it was, "Real Daddy! Real Daddy!" Turns out he is afraid of his windows. He never did explain the "real Daddy" part, aside from looking at me as if I were a lunatic when I asked him if there was a pretend Daddy.

    BTW, I, also, couldn't post to Wondertime. I did manage once a couple of weeks ago, but this time got a "this page cannot be found" message.

  36. Anonymous3:57 PM

    sorry to say I can't imagine getting through the holidays without internet access...I've become completely dependent on it.

    Happy New Year, Catherine!

  37. Anonymous7:35 PM

    Add me to the list of people who cannot comment at Wondertime even after registering . . .

    What I tried to post there:
    I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful piece! I also wanted to say kudos to you for dealing with what sounds like a trying situation with patience and humor. I look forward to reading your entries every week and appreciate you sharing your parenting adventures with us.

  38. Happy New Year Catherine, Michael, Ben and Birdy! I've been on blogging vacation for 3 months, and I realize now just how much I've missed reading you Catherine. I'll be checking out WT now.

  39. Anonymous12:11 PM

    I love you. I had been reading your babycenter journal since it began. I got kind of sidetracked the last few months... I'm so glad to have found you here. I don't think I have ever made it through one of your entries without having to stop and laugh out loud, and then later, wipe a tear. I read your book when I was pregnant with my second child and I loved it.

    On the gagging, I can relate. When I was pregnant I craved roast beef sandwiches, I made my husband go out and buy a whole pound. Then 3 days later made him throw the whole thing away because it made the fridge smell so bad that I couldn't open it without puking. I'll never forget the look on his face as put it in the trash, with me standing on the far side of the room plugging my nose.


  40. Anonymous8:43 PM

    I cannot post on Wondertime - you probably have enough proof now that it is not working but I wanted to say that your article on Birdy's smell aversion made me laugh so hard I cried. And I needed to laugh that hard after a day of failed bread making and toilet bowl cleaning. I hope in the future Wondertime will make it possible to subscribe to your blog. Also, I really felt like you did a good job of describing my "melancholy" view of the beauty of life. I guess I'm not the only secretly neurotic mom(I blame that on Oprah's shows about yet another way you didn't know you could die).

  41. I tried to post on Wondertime, going through their whole "give us lots of personal information and then swear you've read pages and pages of stuff we know perfectly well you're not going to read" registration process even though I hate it when sites make you do that, and then it wouldn't take my post (page not found error, with a list of reasons why it's more likely my fault than theirs---charming).

    I followed the advice of another poster (emptying cache, restarting browser, etc.), but that didn't change anything. My husband is a computer programmer and couldn't do anything with it either. His diagnosis: "This site SUCKS." I'm really, really sorry about that, because YOU are awesome, and your posts are awesome, and I would love to comment my little heart out.

    I hope by now that this pile of "I can't post!" comments is having some effect on your hosts at Wondertime, and that they're not shrugging and saying, "Huh. Well, I'm sure it's not OUR site that's the problem."

    Hm. Crabby much?

  42. Anonymous10:32 PM

    Week #2 of not being able to post over there at WT. Hmmph. Well, at least there's THIS place to tell you that for the two thousandth time (give or take) you've made me sit back and reflect and think and wonder and feel once again that you have been able to so sweetly write what I have thought in some wordless shape, but could never begin to put into words. This part especially-

    "...I remember how anxious I felt about keeping the babies alive when I was simply holding them in the warm comfort of the glide rocker, food and heat and shelter at my disposal. To be charged with keeping children alive — to be the keepers of the powerful beauty of their being. It is the most frightening task. And it's a responsibility felt the world over, every minute of every day, in places where the tools you have — contaminated water, too little food, war, fear — are all wrong for the job."

    Thanks again. And Happy 2007!

  43. Hi, Catherine,

    I too tried unsuccessfully to post a comment on one of your columns at Wondertime. I hate it when I come up with the perfect clever response only to get a "page not found," hit the "back" button and it's lost... it breaks my heart.

    The gist of it was this: your Three-Ring Circus column was so wonderfully validating. This morning, as I was walking into my first day back at work in two weeks, I commented that it was oh-so-nice to move unencumbered, without two people (ages 3 1/2 and 20 mos.) hanging off of me, but wouldn't you know, I can't stop looking at pictures of them on line and I miss them terribly. Crazy Mama.

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

    Love, Hadley

  44. Well, dangit... I left comments on Wondertime yesterday, but not today on your newest post, it won't let me!

    Here is what I wanted to say there, but couldn't:

    Oh, but your reaction and mine were exactly alike! I just read a follow up story on the Kim's today, and although it really didn't have any new information, I pored over it, trying to imagine myself in that situation.

    And my own anticipation of grief is something I catch myself doing from time to time. I hate it, and yet I find myself powerless to stop it... It's a vicious reminding myself I need to SAVOR each moment because they may not always be there... and making myself miserable in the process.

    As always, I love your writing Catherine.

  45. I just tried to post over at Wondertime, and though it let me log in this time, it would not let me post. What I wanted to say is this: I am so glad that you are willing to share so much of yourself (and your family) with us. I look forward to reading your column every week and find myself reading and nodding and identifying with almost all of what you have to say. I have even gotten my husband hooked on your columns. :-) We both think you are great.

  46. Anonymous11:53 AM

    Hi Catherine,
    Just wanted to let you know that I did write a post a Wondertime yesterday - it seemed to have worked, but I went back to check today it was not there. Oh well, I will try again.

    p.s. my email address is

  47. Anonymous12:00 PM

    I tried to post at Wondertime and got "error" 2x.. So, this is in response to your beautiful article "resolute".

    Catherine, you have the unique, beautiful gift of putting into words what so many of us feel. You do it in a way that is heartwarming, raw, and hillarious at the same time. So so often your words and lessons are in my "mental mothering" brain... thank you so so so so much. My kids thank you too!!!

  48. Anonymous10:54 PM

    You are hysterical. Really.

    I dropped onto the mommytrack when my oldest was 5 and stood by the doorway asking me why I was home from work, everyone had "learned to live without" me. Dagger. Left ventricle. When he was 8 and his brother was 6, I quit work and have been intimate with my washing machine every since.

    I've thought of writing a comedy about how mommyhood REALLY works but never had a writing partner -- you've inspired me to find one (or maybe I'll create one?!? moms are resourceful, right?. In reality there are worrying moms and non worrying moms and neither can identify with the my case it's mostly worry (hence my "nickname" of ww for worry wart). i would have preferred Erma Bombeck, but hey, you get what you get, especially on the mommy track.....

    good luck and thanks for all the smiles :!:Q

  49. I, too, cannot post on Wondertime. There were many strange things so I gave up. I hope they fix the kinks. I loved the column and the comments on the cartoons. I liked what one woman (I can't remember her name now after all the clicking around with Wondertime haha) said about some boys needing to feel like they are super-hero's. My husband no longer lives with us and I think this is part of my son's way of feeling OK. (Karate chopping, "battling" etc). I didn't like it, but the post over on Wondertime helped me see it in a different way and to just lighten up a bit. Keep an eye on the behavior but loosen up.

    Thanks for your great columns. The Valentine Card post was great!!! I laughed for some time.

    Thank you Catherine.