Friday, July 20, 2007


I hope you're all eating lots of buttered corn and blueberries.

New wondertime columns are here and here.

More soon. . .


  1. Anonymous11:34 AM

    Just bought those two things this morning, yum.


  2. We went blueberry picking! But no corn for me, sadly - I'm very allergic. You eat my share.

  3. Summer corn, crisped on the grill is my absolute FAVORITE!

  4. You bet! We are all about the local produce right now...mmmm berries and corn.

    I am three weeks behind at Wondertime...shame on me. I will be heading there later today.

  5. last night we had corn on our pizza, with prusciutto, which is exactly the sort of "creative" cooking my S.O. always does to irritate me, and which truly was quite good.

  6. Can I just say that your wondertime column about the swim lessons is my favorite thing I have read in weeks. Its fantastic and represents an ongoing struggle for me.

  7. I'm so happy to have found you again, Catherine!!! I was so sad you were leaving BabyCenter last summer. With me mid-pregnancy, no less, and in desperate need of your sage advice and Chex-mix recipes! After your final post on Baby Center, I left you a little (okay, long and sappy) 'love you and your writing/goodbye note'. Actually, I typed out the whole long sappy message twice--but couldn't get the note to actually post. Could have had something to do with writing in the wee hours of the morning, thanks to pregnancy-induced insomnia. Anyway, I'm just sitting here catching up on the last year of your life, with tears running down my face reading about Birdy's valentines. Thanks for all the hilarious, uplifting, sappy, and sad stories you share.

  8. I'm so happy to have found you again, Catherine!!! I was so sad you were leaving BabyCenter last summer. With me mid-pregnancy, no less, and in desperate need of your sage advice and Chex-mix recipes! After your final post on Baby Center, I left you a little (okay, long and sappy) 'love you and your writing/goodbye note'. Actually, I typed out the whole long sappy message twice--but couldn't get the note to actually post. Could have had something to do with writing in the wee hours of the morning, thanks to pregnancy-induced insomnia. Anyway, I'm just sitting here catching up on the last year of your life, with tears running down my face reading about Birdy's valentines. Thanks for all the hilarious, uplifting, sappy, and sad stories you share.

  9. Wait, Catherine - what? What are you doing, with the Thanksgiving in July, and all this stressful stuff. Scale it back, baby. Reel yourself in. Take a deep breath and start over.

    Did you somehow take on too much in an effort to create some amazing turkey nacho recipe? And once you have calmed down, can I have that recipe?

    All I know is when it's hot, it's impossible to stay sane. And when you have hot, feverish, bored kids then it's doubly impossible.

    Last week I reached a point where I realized I've been waiting for my husband to get happy in order to feel like it's ok to be happy myself - isn't that silly?

    Something - no, almost everything - about being a wife and mom can really eff with your compass. I was crying over this the other day and my two year old hugged me and said, "It's ok, mommy. Don't cry. Don't be lost."

    So now I'm making a strengthened effort to rediscover everything I love about myself. Without feeling guilty! It's hard.

    I know your writing always comes down the pipe a few weeks after its happened, so I hope now you are feeling soothed and finding ways to manage the stress.

    Now I have to leave to pick up my almost-six year old. I've shuffled him off to a week-long 9-4 art camp. Aaah, it helps.

  10. Are you writing an article on Thanksgiving recipes well ahead of time?

    Hey I know the weather has cooled, I hope that helps. I'm sending you a big hug and hope that the stress has eased off with the weather. FWIW I really think kids benefit from their moms having important things in their lives even if day to day it means they get less of you. I sometimes worry that at the moment I'm not doing much but being home with my son, I think he should see his mom being useful in other ways too.

    Maybe the kids could do a camp session for a week or something? There are a trillion around here and that could give you some time to catch up and miss them. Or send them up here to entertain the Pepper, he really could use an older kid to play with.

  11. Anonymous9:19 PM

    awww...I too read and reread your bbc columns and waiting for birdy. I first did a search for the name Abigail when we were debating our baby bear's name- and that's how I found you. And then I reread the book and some colums as our little one has gotten older. She's 10 mos now and it's fun to see what Birdy and you all were going through at similiar ages. It's also interesting how much of your writing I read differently now that she is here! I could go on and on about how great your writings are but it generally boils down to being grateful to have another mom I actually identify with in sentiment...boils down...sort of a corn reference so it's not totally off.....I enjoy having something mommy oriented to read while I pump at work :) Thanks!

  12. Tag, you're it!

    Here's how it works: Players list 8 facts/habits about themselves. At the end of the post, players then tag 8 people by posting their names and making sure they know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at the tagee’s blog.



  13. I hope you're feeling more relaxed by now, that wondertime column stressed ME out this week! But your winterish food sounded delicious all the same. I am greedily waiting for winter to be over here...

    BTW, can I just say that your kitchen table is so tidy and neat!! Did you quickly shove all the bills and school notes down the other end before that pic was taken? ;)

  14. Man, I always start summertime off with the idea that it will be this long, lazy, fluid stretch of time when the air smells like salt and eel grass and everyone can just chill out. By about mid July I realize that this is just not reality at least for me right now. My older girl has never done well with summer vacation- having the structure of school pulled out from under her always threw her for a loop. My one-year-old is spending the summer at home with her public school teacher dad after nine months with a wonderful family childcare provider so we can save some money. They are enjoying each other's company, but after about a week she was like "No offence, but where are the kids?" I work in child care- ironically caring for lots of children of parents in publishing -so I get the irony of your "thanksgiving" situation. It's surreal pouring so much energy into developing activities that are enriching for children and families, only to realize that when you get to spend time with your actual family you are burnt! Advice? Don't add "find summer child care" to your list of things to do right now. Really, unless you have an affordable and viable option already in mind, starting this search from scratch would just add to your stress level. Trust me, even people who have their kids in care full time turn into stress cases around deadline time- then it passes. there's only about a month left of summer vacation give or take. Just take it one day at a time- I'm trying to!

  15. Anonymous7:42 PM

    Hi Catherine,

    I just read your Wondertime column and I just wanted to say that I totally relate - there are days when I have SO MUCH to get done, outside of childcare, that I just feel like I'm not giving my children what they need, and that perhaps I'd better just go back to full-time emplyment and get a nanny because she'd probably do a better job than me. And then a few days later I get on top of things, the kids become less demanding, and I start to enjoy life and being at home with them again. I think mothering (and working) is a constant ebb and flo of stress. I hope your load lightens soon.

    We've been eating a lot of corn rubbed with lime - a friend years ago introduced me to that and I've never been able to go back to butter! We've also been picking and eating blackberries like mad, since they grow right next to our driveway. I have also been making jars and jars and jars of blackberry jam.

  16. I'm responding to Wondertime "Thanksgiving" here, because I can't deal with logging in there.

    I've been there (working at home) and eventually moved to a cheaper state not to deal with the dilemma. (I didn't love my job.)

    I'm sure you know all of your childcare options, but I just want to remind you how wonderful it will feel to separate work & home a little bit and give both the attention they deserve.

    My solution when finances were tight? Pre-teens. As long as you're at home, they can entertain your kids just as well as any other care provider, and they're dirt cheap. And they're not as over-scheduled as their teen counterparts. You can shut the door and concentrate, or go kiss every scraped knee, but it's nice to have the choice.

    I also kind of considered it an investment in fixing my finances, because I could stay a little more on top of things (e.g. actually pay the bills and not late fees)as well as bringing in some income.

    And just being at home instead of getting shipped around all day I'm sure is stabilizing for your kids. I'm sure they're doing just fine and that you're not as bad as you think.

    Thanks for doing the work you do. I know it's your "dream job" but you also do so much for so many people by sharing so deeply and sincerely. (Since I'm in a new place, I haven't yet found "my people" and it's so comforting to know there are people that think like me out there.)

  17. Anonymous6:24 PM

    I'm afraid Birdy's right about the whole "standing still forever" thing. Because when you're REALLY famous, you get a statue made out of you and then, well, there you go. :-)

  18. Have you thought about asking Michael for a massage while you are sampling those turkey nachos? I have to tell you that I took a vacation day last week when my daughters (one is 3 years and the other is 4 1/2 months) were in daycare and I went to see for myself what a great massage therapist your partner is. It was worth it - those of you who are out here in Western MA, Catherine isn't lying when she says Michael is good at what he does. After my massage, I went by myself to see Harry Potter... Maybe you just need to take a day off.

    By the way, I can't wait to see the Thanksgiving leftover recipes in Wondertime.

  19. Anonymous2:23 PM

    My son is watching Robin Hood in another room while I write this, rather than getting quality time with me, but I just had to pile on to the chorus of voices reminding you that you’re not alone.

    I’ve been reading for a long time and have seen a lot of myself in your writing, which makes ME feel less alone with my struggles as a parent (thank you). So, even though I’m a random stranger out in Oregon, I really care about you and your family. I bet there are thousands of other people like me who are moved by your columns and think of you from time to time throughout their week, always sending along a little wish for your well-being (even if, like me, they’ve never posted a comment before to tell you so). I hope you’ve gotten past the weirdness of that by now, and can let yourself be comforted by the thought of so many people holding you in their thoughts, sending supportive energy your way.

    Your Wondertime column this week made me cry, and prompted me to write because God, I know that feeling—when the stress of work makes it impossible to be the person you want to be with your family. Sometimes I wish I could ditch the career, but then I remember that my family’s finances are, as you put it, “a beached whale.” If I quit working, the stress level around here would go through the roof (if there even still WAS one, over our heads, without my income). Besides, my work, like yours, is a big part of who I am—it’s hard to imagine NOT doing it, much as it stresses me out at times.

    I just have to constantly remind myself that even if my work is robbing something from my family, it is also providing for them. And in your case, your work provides something beyond financial support: an incredible history, a sort of ongoing love letter for your kids.

    I wish I could write more—something more wise and eloquent—but since it’s the similarity in our work demands and stress levels which lead me to write in the first place, I really don’t have time. I just wanted to say that it WILL get better. Maybe childcare is part of the solution—it definitely has been, for me. Someone else made the point that FINDING good childcare, if you don’t already have an option in mind, might be too much to add to your list right now. But even if you don’t act on it immediately, it might be a relief just to acknowledge childcare as an option for yourself… to know, for instance, that NEXT summer will be better, because you could line up childcare beforehand or something, before school gets out and it all becomes “too much.” WHATEVER you decide, and however you get there, I wish you peace and calm—or moments of them, anyway. Take care, wonderful Catherine.

  20. Catherine, I know it doesn't help to be told that you're a brilliant writer when you're having a hard time with the ones that matter most. But you are, and you are generous to share it with us. I hope you are on the upswing. As I write this, I am entertaining my six year old with videos of him as a baby, when I actually paid attention to him and didn't snap at every little thing.
    That's kind of sick, huh. I guess I'll end this comment now. Thanks for being so honest, and yes, for being a brilliant writer.

  21. I am in the same boat with you right now, Catherine. I also have my "dream job" working at home as a medical transcriptionist so I can be with the 5 kids. In the last couple of weeks though it has turned into some sort of nightmare though. It is sad when you are longing for an office to escape to and a daycare to pay someone to leave your kids with, but that is where I am at right now. It is just so stinkin' hot, everyone is cranky and no matter how hard I try I am not perfect and I cannot make it a perfect summer for the family. It is so hard to give yourself a break, I am sure most of us are the same way, holding ourselves up to these crazy standards and driving ourselves crazy trying to meet them. I am trying to relax and enjoy this summer and these kids at these ages, it is hard work though and constantly I am having to remind myself of what is important. No matter what we do or how we deal with the day, it will be gone before we know it and you can't get a "do over" so just try your best, enjoy the little things (blueberries and corn...yum) and realize that some days you are going to be hot, cranky and not much fun to be around and that is okay, we like you anyways and are right here going through the same things too!!

  22. i'm feeling really bad about myself now after reading your two wondertime columns. my boys bickering, (it is such a nice way to say it) sends me into the garage with a scream and a bottle of vodka.
    and i'm wondering when i'll be able to put anything farm fresh into their mouths.
    brown rice salad? oh catherine. please say your kids eat salami and tator tots too.

  23. We came all the way back to the U.S. from Spain just for corn on the cob!! Can't get enough of the stuff... Hope you are having a glorious summer, everyone! Annie

  24. C-
    Who needs butter when you've got pesto?! You, being your crafty, foody self have probably done this for years, but I just discovered how freaking fantastic slathering a cob with the green stuff is...

    I just caught up on about 6 weeks of the blog and Wondertime - I never thought I'd get so far behind, but something like having a baby (which I went and did) sometimes gets in the way. Especially enjoyed the "stubborn Birdy" piece.

  25. Anonymous2:11 PM

    I can hardly see through my tears of laughter. A friend recommended I read Waiting for Birdy as I lamented at each prenatal visit my dwindling alone time with the love of my life, Leah my 3 year old. Just what I needed at 35 weeks and counting! Thank you!

  26. Anonymous9:17 PM

    This is a random place to put this...but I hope you read it. I remember some where you wrote that when Ben was in pre-school you thought you were pretending to be an adult, and were surprised the other parents didn't agree.

    My son started his pre-school camp this week and wow...I totally get that Catherine!