Sunday, November 04, 2012


We had our 3rd child, Edie Elizabeth, at home in July.  I have been a bit busy since then, so it's taken me a while to finally post here.  She is beautiful, and the other kids love her. As far as I can tell, our family is complete.  

 Birth Day Photo by our Doula Bess Schaefer

Edie at 3 months old!! 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Hello Grandad

 *This is an old myspace (does anyone remember myspace?) blog post from February 28, 2008 that I wanted to re-post on this blog because I was just thinking about my dear old Grandad, who passed in February 2007*

 I visited my Grandma today. My Grandad passed away a year ago the 18th.  He was the love of my life until Ivan came along, and more recently, Abigail.
I left my Grandma's house feeling overwhelmed.

My brothers & I grew up there. After Grandad had retired from the DSCC, he did a bunch of impressive home projects. He built a gorgeous 2-tiered back patio, almost the full length of the house.  He converted the basement to a sweet hang-out spot with billiards, ping-pong, darts, a bar, a tv room, and a bedroom with a 3/4 bath & kitchenette. My brothers & I had our friends over there all the time. Everyone would dip their hands into the cookie jar, and from time to time, Grandma would bitch about "feeding the whole damn neighborhood," although I think she secretly enjoyed it.  As we grew up and went to college, the basement became more of a holiday place, where we would all go to play pool after eating turkey.  I don't really remember the last time we actually played pool down there, but there was a last time.

Today my Grandma and I were talking about all the stuff in the basement and garage. Tools, building materials, all kinds of stuff.  SHe wants us all to come over & take what we want. I am sure this is a common ritual in families, it's just weird now that it is actually happening to us.

Grandma & I decided to go to the basement together to have a look.  It really struck me to find, that in my Grandad's twilight years, he had taken apart everything that he built.  Seriously, everything was disassembled and rearranged- for no reason- except maybe to give him something to do.  The game room was nothing but a storage room, the pool table was hoisted up on wheels and had become just a table, with all kinds of tools and hardware stored on it.  The bathroom light switch had been removed, as well as the medicine cabinet- for no reason.  The antique grandmother clock had been completely disassembled- the casing was hanging up, empty, but then I found its pendulum hanging on another wall, and the weights hanging on a nail a few feet away.  He removed an entire wall that had stood between the game room and his work space, and he gathered like items and put them on shelves.  I opened a drawer & found a box full of old batteries.  Grandma said that at one point, she caught him taking up some of the floorboards of the back patio. She said "Oh, no you don't..." and made him stop.

Why did he feel compelled to disassemble what was once such a place full of happy memories?  Grandma said that in the end he would spend all day down there & just come up for lunch and dinner.  Then he would spend the evening watching tv with her and then they'd go to bed.  We knew what he was doing in the basement, but I guess we never really thought anything of it. We just figured he was working on some other big handyman project & he would eventually clean it back up.

I thought that until today.  Ivan said that it might have been a side effect of some of the medications- that the tendency to disassemble things is a strange side effect of crystal meth.  Maybe his medicines were interacting with each other and this was a side effect.

He was definitely losing his mind. He was beginning to have hallucinations, like he would wake up in the middle of the night and look out the front window and see people dancing in the yard across the street. I witnessed him picking at his clothes and removing little tiny imaginary bugs and throwing them on the floor.  Once he asked me if Ivan was sitting across from him, and Ivan wasn't even there that day.  I could tell he was a little embarrassed when he realized it was his imagination.  He wasn't always like this.

Grandad liked Ivan.  I think he saw himself in him and approved of him.   He walked me down the aisle at our wedding.  As I said, he was the love of my life.  He was a funny man.  Jolly, happy, witty, smart, politically interested, a veteran of the 2nd World & Korean wars.  He was a humble great man, proud of his family.

Grandad died after falling backwards when he reached the top of the basement stairs after a normal day of disassembling. He went quickly -within 12 hours- so we are thankful that he didn't suffer.  Funny-I found out 2 weeks later that I was pregnant.

The last time I saw him was at my mom's a week earlier.  She made a special dinner for my Grandparents and me and just wanted to get them out of the house for something different to do. He was in good spirits, lucid, and seemed to be feeling well. I am so thankful to have that memory.


My Grandma has had a rough year. She still cries a little almost every day, and she talks to him.  She's lonely and that makes me sad.  But she is strong and sharp as a tack, and still goes to the gym 3 days a week to walk around the track & do the machines without the weights.  She has a laugh with the few friends she has there and then goes home to an empty house.  She can still drive, thankfully, but she's afraid they'll take her license away when she turns 89 this April & goes in to get it renewed.  She has her 1 mile radius that she drives- Kohl's, the library, the Post office, Kroger, Carfagna's, the "spa" (gym), and her doctors.  I hope they don't take her license.

Funny- the thing that keeps her going is a doorbell that Grandad installed a few years ago.  It seems to have a short in it or something and goes off several times a day.  She is convinced that it is Grandad, saying hello.  It didn't start doing it until we got back from Washington DC after taking Grandad's ashes to Arlington National Cemetery for a beautiful 21-gun salute ceremony in June.  My cousin thought the doorbell might be picking up a signal from someone's garage door opener in the vicinity, but I think for Grandma's sake, nobody wants to know if that's true.  She even took it down & took it to Home Depot to have someone look at it & they said there was nothing wrong with it.   It's funny, though, it seems to go off at the darnedest times.  It always goes off when someone visits, as if he's saying hi.  Today, it didn't go off right away & Grandma took note of it. "Your Grandad hasn't called yet to say hello to you.  I wonder why?"  After a while, Abigail woke up from her car-induced slumber, and after I took her out of her car seat & gave her to Grandma to hold her, the dorbell rang.  Grandad didn't want to wake the baby, so he waited to say hello.

Hello Grandad.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

39 weeks

I am sitting on my birth ball, watching my 2-year-old son play with his chicken nuggets while I eat my chocolate chip pancakes. I've given up on timing contractions for the time being- I couldn't concentrate on starts & finishes, and all in all, they aren't really proving to be regular anyway.  Planning a home birth, my biggest concern is that I will be in labor and my kids, particularly Chu, will wake up in the middle of the night & want to sleep in my armpit.  With him, no other armpit will do. Abs is pretty good about finding her way to the toddler bed in our room & not waking anyone.  But Chu needs skin-to-skin contact when he comes into mommy & daddy's room.  It's sweet, really, but if I'm not in there because I'm birthing a baby, he's gonna flip a lid.

Anyhoo, I'm very close to having this baby, and I've been having periods of interesting contractions and then nothing.  So I am trying to be careful not to cry wolf with any of it.  But I also want to  be careful not to have a 2.5 hour labor like I had with Chu, I'd like to give my attendants enough time to get to me.  It's a beautifully frustrating balance of being in tune with my baby, my body, the time of day & the schedules of my husband & my children, and the universe.  Tall order!

Here are a couple shots from a photoshoot I did with the lovely & talented Kim Sailor with Sweet Meadow Photography last week.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

31 weeks

It's going to get hot from here...  Abs is out of school and I am scrambling to come up with ideas to keep the kids occupied during the day.  I have a feeling there will be lots of playdates in the shade.  I have a lot of really groovy mom friends around town so I have plenty of options. It's just a matter of getting us out the door.

I just attended the Eco Chic Craftacular this afternoon and went to visit my friends Karen Buoncristiano & Nick Singer from Crafty by Nature and picked me up some soap.  Then I went to see my friend Tera play her Ginger Lees gig and got pulled up on stage to sing with her.  Since I had the kids with me, they got on stage with me.  It was fun since I don't really get much of a chance to play many shows these days!

Anyhoo, just checking in. Hope you have a great summer.
Catwix  XOXO

Monday, April 30, 2012

28 Weeks

I've entered my 3rd trimester.  I have all my appointments set up from here on out.  It's funny how my kids all have their own season.  Abs is Fall, Chü is spring, and #3 is smack dab in the middle of summer.  Thankfully, this is our last.  I'm not interested in having a winter baby just to even it all out.  This is our home-birth baby.  I'm excited and relieved to be able to have this one at home.  I've always wanted to have a home birth, but I guess I just wasn't completely comfy with the idea before.  But I had 2 lovely, uncomplicated, unmedicated births in the hospital, the second of which I might as well have had at home because he came precisely 2.5 hours after I woke up wondering if the labor pains I was experiencing were real contractions or more teaser contractions like I'd had nightly during the previous 2 weeks.  I felt like the ride to the hospital was kind of a waste of time and I wasn't happy about being treated like I didn't know what I was doing (I guess they have to assume their patients know nothing to be sure that they get all the information conveyed, but for folks who have done their homework on childbirth and the early newborn phase, it's just kind of irritating).  So I felt this time that I was very much ready to plan a home birth, and I feel very confident 

I'm ready to raise my 3 kids and get the family into a proper groove.  Pregnancy is really hard for me. I feel so helpless, especially in my 3rd trimester because if I barely move the wrong way, I suffer for a week or so.  I have been described in the past as "fiercely independent."  I now feel like that couldn't be further from the truth.  I have to depend on others for just about everything.  It's maddening.  I look forward to a time when I can dig my own dirt, move my own furniture, carry my own load again.  On my own time.  This is definitely a lesson in patience and slowing down. 

Anyway, spring has sprung and I'm ready to get the garden going.  I won't do much, but I'd like to have a few veggies.  It's fun for the kids, and it gives me a little sense of pride knowing that I can grow my own food.  We have a million strawberry plants scattered around the yard.  We planted them 2 years ago so they should be pretty fruitful this year.  

We are still dreaming of moving out of this house and into our dream home with a big kitchen and a garage.  Living without a garage is a drag.  When I was here by myself it wasn't that big a deal, but I'm married to a gadget guy who needs a garage.  I need him to have a garage.  Life would be so grand with a garage.

Ok well I'm rambling at this point so I'll sign off for now.  I'd love to be an actual "blogger" but I'm more of a stream-of-consciousness kind of person so my posts don't have much of a point to them, but I like to write anyway, just in case anyone wonders what I might be up to.  

Hugs & kisses,

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I've entered the 2nd trimester and am starting to feel a little better.  I spent some time swapping clothes out & populating my drawers with maternity clothes.  I acquired a whole bunch of hand-me-down maternity clothes from lovely friends so I will be dressing well this time around.

My next hurdle is to get the kids out of my bed and into their own room.  This may be the hardest thing I will ever have to do to date.  Attachment parenting really does create attached children.  Heavens to Murgatroyd.  Lately these kids have had me so exhausted by the end of the day, that I end up just going to bed with them.  Chü flops around the bed for about 20 minutes, gets down & leaves the room, runs around the house looking for his dad, comes back into the bedroom and finally gets on the bed & submits to sleep.  Meanwhile, Abigail requires me to hold her hand while she drifts sweetly off to sleep.  I occasionally find it irritating because I often have to contort myself to provide her with a hand, but I have to remind myself that some day, she will no longer want to hold my hand. *enter pregnancy hormonal deep sigh & lip quiver*

We purchased a twin-over-full bunk through It arrived on Wednesday and we are planning to assemble it tomorrow, though the mattress isn't scheduled to arrive until Tuesday (gotta love drop-shipping).  Then we will begin the arduous task of transferring the kids to their own room at night. I don't have the heart to force them into any sleeping situation if they are lonely or scared.  We will start them both in the bottom bunk and hope that they eventually feel secure in that arrangement. 

Speaking of sleep, Abigail's latest favorite movie is Disney's Sleeping Beauty.  We've been watching that daily, sometimes twice a day.  (This pregnancy has caused me to abandon many ideals, one of which was to limit TV time.  Sometimes, TV is all you've got).  

It's now 9:05pm and it's way past our bedtime.  So goodnight.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

hipster DIY

I used to be super-organized.  Hyper-organized, even.  That was when I had to take care of my own stuff only.  Now I have to keep 4 of us organized and I'm failing miserably. I am so sleep-deprived that any down-time I have I sit and stare at the computer, looking to all the crafty hipster DIY simplification & organization sites for answers and I just come to the conclusions that 1. I am not a hipster, 2. I am wasting time looking for answers from hipster sources and 3. I still have a lot of reaching within my own self to do to find my own answers to the things that perplex me.

It's January 1, 2012.  I am pregnant with our 3rd child, and I am super duper tired.  I am relieved that the holidays are over. I'm not sure what's in store for this year except that I will be having a baby in July.  We talk about moving, almost daily.  We're so unsettled in this place it's just kind of a hovering gray cloud over us that won't budge.  I'm too tired to try to tackle the disorganization.  I look to my friends with older kids to remind me that this is a short phase in life.  I am not the most patient, nor gracious, mother of small children.  When this baby is born I'll have a 4.5 year-old, a 2.25 year old, and a newborn.  Lawd help us.

Love, light, and peace to you this 2012.