Instagram-Mania

I’m not one to get all excited over new things to do on my phone (yes I am) and I’m almost exactly two years late on this. Which by the way totally makes sense because two years ago I was busy building two babies at once. (I’ve been told that I can use “twins” as an excuse for pretty much everything from my weight to flakiness to neediness to uncoolness for the next five years. Wonderful.) So. Instagram. I am your newest addict.

I have been resisting getting on board with the latest social media hot shot sites. Because for reals, my time has been sucked up enough by Facebook and Twitter and various blogs. So, Pinterest, I am resisting you. Google+, I am resisting you. Twitter, I am slowly quitting you. But Instagram? I love you. For anyone who is lame-o like me and hasn’t really gotten on board the Instagram train yet, let me break it down. It’s simply a site where you load pictures, with a caption or not. You can crop and re-size, and there are a few filters you can choose – not an overwhelming amount – and they give your photos a nice finished gloss that in the past has made you wonder how your friends get their pictures to look so good while yours look so….homegrown. And everything is down from your phone, super duper easy. Here are some examples of my photos before and after using an Instagram filter:

My Backyard - before

My Backyard - after

Roan on 9th + 36th - before

Roan on 9th + 36th - after

Empire New Yorker - before

Empire New Yorker - after

Smitty + Shepz - before

Smitty + Shepz - after

Right? Ok – so I’m new at this and am not the most awesomest photographer-ess ever, but I love getting these pics. And that’s it – you just have the chance to look at your friend’s photo feeds, they look at yours. They can “like” your photo, or add comments. But the sweet thing is that there is no need to come up with clever, amusing, bright or brilliant statements about what you’re doing. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to make riding the bus sound interesting. But a photo of what’s happening on the bus? Sometimes – very compelling.

Roan and Me on the B61 Bus

I have not been paid or contacted by Instagram, by the way. I am just their newest fan. If you’re on Instagram, let me know who you are and I’d love to follow you. I think it’s a great way for me to connect with people who might read me. And feel free to follow me – my user name is PistolsPopcorn. Obviously – expect many many many pictures of my boys and Brooklyn. I do love to share this world.

2012, Hello.

Happy 2012!

Oh Hi!

I know I’m a little lame-o for ending 2011 with no final post, no well wishes and safe admonitions. That’s because my friends, I am utterly unprepared to plan ahead that much. I thought I would do some epic last post, something with video and a soundtrack and fancy word-wrangling but as it turned out I instead ate a whole bunch of food and hung out with my family. I know you understand.

There was a lot of this

The holidays were awesome of course. Kellene and her entire family came to NYC. This trip was made possible by the good folks at Appaman, who let the somewhat large Kellene clan crash at their home while they were off in paradise. We also got to take care of their dog, Party Hat. I nominate Party Hat for best dog name ever. There were activities planned every day and night and so don’t let anyone ever tell you that large Mormon families do not know how to party because party they did.

Party Hat! (In front of our tree, before Sheppard knocked it down with his high chair. So predictable.)

As I am essentially tethered to my neighborhood for the next two years by two babies, I was mostly a spectator, high-fiving my family on their way in and out of each adventure. I did get to go to a performance of “Traces” with them however, which was pretty exciting. It’s a show where a young, extremely fit, and totally talented cast throw their bodies around each other in impossible ways. I do believe in the past I would have simply taken it all in, absolutely amused, and decided on which member of the cast I would date, given the chance. But the tell-tale sign of my age and status in life was clear in my overwhelming urge to ask them all to stop doing such dangerous things because I was truly worried about their safety.

These boys will not be allowed to join the cast of "Traces".

I’m so totally lame. Yet I can crack myself up to no end…as I photo-bombed my niece’s picture with one of the cast members who we stalked/followed into a Bodega outside of the performance. He’s deadly handsome, she’s super cute, and the Auntie in the background? Lame! But funny! (?) This picture made me laugh for a full five minutes. Join me. Laugh at me. I’m the dumbest.

Beauty and the Dumb

New Year’s Eve was spent with Roan, Anson and me taking a low-key dinner together at a local restaurant. We all wrote on napkins what our hopes were for the upcoming year. I guess I’ve arrived at a zen-state, where all my hopes seem static. All I can seem to hope for is health and well-being of my family. The worry that I need other things has disappeared over the years. I’m not so enlightened that I don’t want certain luxuries and such, but they’re not what I hope for.

Hope + Anchor, Roan + Me, New Year's Eve 2011

So what about you? How were your holidays? What are your new hopes? Plans for change? Resolutions to keep things the same? Isn’t the world supposed to end soon? That’s a broad spectrum of questioning to get some feedback – talk to me.

[Reminder: Tomorrow is the last day to enter the Tea Collection Clothing $100 giveaway. Do it because I really want you to win!]

Only $159 for My Son

I mean, it kind of is a bargain if you think about it.

I’m sorry. I can’t help but be amused when I see my boys hawking these Angry Birds costumes in the world. I’ve had a few readers send in images of my Angry Birds that they’ve found in costume shops. However, I was totally shocked to see how much Roan’s costume is going for on ebay ($159.00, if you can’t read the print.) If the seller is reading this, I can arrange to have it autographed for a small portion of the sale price…

So This Is Christmas…

Well not really, it’s the middle of Summer. But time is going at warp speed and I’m writing so little that this may well not be published until Christmas. Ah, the dog days and laziness of the hot months. Not to mention that the wee young masters and I cooked up a special cocktail of cough, fever, congestion and general malaise which we have been heartily battling for the past two weeks. Lucky me, though. I have a talent special super power that can turn even the dumbest cold into pneumonia and that, my friends and loved ones is exactly what the doctor told me I have this morning. Antibiotics all around in my home.

But still.

We are having a lovely summer. Did you know this happened?

Crawl.

Crawl.

Crawl.

Crawl.

It’s true. A few weeks ago, Smith was performing for a crowd in our backyard during a BBQ. He was rocking back and forth, getting all the people to say, “Any day now…he’ll be crawling” and then BAM! he did it. How many children crawl for their first time in front of like twenty people – who are willing to applaud? Kid’s a genius. Smith crawls everywhere now, and I do not recommend it at all especially if you have twins. Don’t let them crawl. Fortunately, Shep is being a sport and pretty much staying like this:

Stay.

Seriously, thank you Sheppard. I do not know how to keep two mobile units safe.

Little guys are also engaged in this behavior 3x a day:

Eat.

Eat.

Smartee-pants dudes are still breastfeeding as well like mad, so basically a meal is always on the horizon in their world. They’re fond of squash, carrots, applesauce, watermelon, sweet potatoes, yogurt and tofu. They would like peas, avocados and string beans to die die die a cruel and sad death. I blame Rock Music and Video Games.

And my sweet Roan.

Sweet.

Roan was lucky enough to get cast for the H&M Holiday campaign with his brother Sheppard, and they were shot by Inez and Vindoodh. (Ok, I’m totally not savvy enough to know who they are but I Googled them and then was totally OMG about it. Totally. I’m not even kidding.) But mostly Roan would like to talk about the fact that he’s flying alone this summer, going to visit all his millions of cousins, has seen a few ina-pro-pro music videos, and that he’s earning a Kindle by reading daily and doing extra-credit chores at home.

Woot.

I feel as if I haven’t even seen my sweet big boy Roan yet this summer. He’s forever playing with his friends, or immersed in a book or drawing or doing something magical that makes me levitate with pride. I remember our olden days where we would go together and take it all on, but now – he’s got his own agenda, and I’ve got two new ones. Still, that child just owns me as he kisses me and hugs me and gives me all the “I love you mama’s” I am hungry for.

Summer, so far I love every single hacking-coughing-sniffling-sneezing day of you. I imagine I will love you even a little more when this Z Pack kicks in. And friends? I will try to write again before Valentine’s Day.

Magical Lucky Seven

Roan and Javier. Dancing in the Brooklyn streets.

I vaguely remember eating giant strawberries out of our garden when I was seven. From the ground, into my mouth. No rinsing needed/wanted/suggested. I remember riding my big plastic Big Wheel up and down my street, using the hand brake to spin out. I remember running through an empty and abandoned lot playing cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, hide and seek with the neighborhood kids. I remember flocked velvet wallpaper and horribly beautiful beads separating my childhood home’s dining room from our living room.

I remember being seven years old. Summers lasted forever and the world belonged to me. Magic was a daily occurrence and lady bugs were my friends. I cannot watch closely enough as Roan lives his seven-year-old life. I think we would have been childhood friends, he and I. This is the age that most of my memories begin. How lucky am I, to be able to live it again with my son?

Welcome, Summer. We’ve got some magic to make. What do you remember about Summer from when you were seven?

A Thing Called “Time To Myself”?

Roan: Quite mature for his age.

Tomorrow after school, Roan and Anson are heading up to the Solid Sound Festival at Mass MOcA. They’re headed there with our good friend Ajay and his son Sachin. So, what I’m saying is that these kids are going to a weekend music festival that the fathers have planned and will be executing, without much help from the mothers. It’s an awesome event – the festival features great performers: Wilco, Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth, the Story Pirates and a bazllion other acts. There will be camping out, and sleeping in bags. There will be eating from nameless food vendors and playing in crowds. There will be the negotiating of different shifts as the adults decide who gets to go watch the late-night performances, and who gets to watch over the wee young sleeping (hopefully) lads.

I mean, what could go wrong?  (Don’t answer that Don’t answer that Don’t answer that)

I do believe everything will be extraordinarily mind-bendingly memorable for everyone involved. This will likely be a weekend that Roan talks about to his future people, about how cool his pops was. And I also believe that I have figured out exactly every single way things could go wrong. I have figured these things out because I am a crazy lady who cannot control her own mind entirely. Or even very much at all. Yet I am happy to let these boys go because even in my land of cuckoo and worry, I know that Anson would sooner cut off all of his limbs than let any harm come to our boy. So certainly he will be protected.

Ro and Sachin - totally get each other.

This does not mean I am not sending a first-aid kit. I am sending a first-aid kit. And flashlights. Also a bag in case Roan gets carsick. And a whistle. Also considering sending my phone with Roan in case he gets separated from his dad. And possibly writing our address and phone number with a Sharpie on his forehead. And looking into under-the-skin GPS chip placement technology.

Oh for the love of all that is holy. The good news is that since the Tiny Twin Masters go to bed at 6:30 (*ahem* yay for sleep training…not to start a fight or anything…but YAY in the most emphatic way) eh…since they’re down for the night at 6:30, I actually will have what resembles some “time to myself”. I have heard about this phenomenon, and seen it on TV, but for the life of me cannot remember exactly what it means. Hmmm….”Time To Myself”, by Jodi Nelson Call.

Sounds like a work of fiction.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Hopefully it won’t be spent perseverating about if Roan is collecting ticks on his butt, or if Anson will remember that not all concert going experiences are enriching for seven-year-old boys. No no no I won’t spend it thinking on these things. I don’t know what I will do with my stolen few hours but I do know I am looking forward to them.

I’m happy to take suggestions. What would you do if you had two nights where you could be at home uninterrupted by child-rearing stuffs? Movies? Reading? Hanging in the back yard? Cleaning? Organizing? Worrying?

Probably the Worst Anniversary Post Ever

The Nelson Calls, Eleven Years Into It.

I maintain that my diction is perfect and that I enunciate with enough clarity that even the most hard-of-hearing would fully enjoy the richness of a conversation with yours truly. (As long as they enjoy the litany of all I seem to be able to talk about: feeding twins, sleep habits, teething, and the special bond of brotherhood). My superiority in speech is not easy to shoulder for I have a calling – nay, a responsibility – to help people in need with their own diction and enunciation issues.

Most of all, the beleaguered and tortured yin to my yang, Anson.

This guy. First of all, Anson is like tofu a little bit as far as speech patterns go. Put him in a room full of Irishmen, he’ll come out drunk, with a perfect Irish Brogue while hitting a leprechaun with a shelaighlee.  He soaks up the accents and speech patterns of those around him. You cannot believe the tears of laughter I cry when he gets Old School Brooklyn on me at home. I mean. I die from laughing. D-E-A-D. It’s murder by humor.

But Anson also has some home-grown speech funnies – words that come out of his mouth that again make me go dead from laughter. He pretends that he’s helpless and that he has no way of correcting these things but I suspect he twists his mouth and mangles these words just to get a laugh. There’s no other reason that my smartee-pants husband who in his spare times watches geek documentaries on String Theory and Quantum Physics has for not being able to fix the following words:

  • Whupped Cream. Seriously. I mean – I love the stuff but I’ve almost had to give it up because I have to hear him say “Whupped” instead of “Whipped”. My son Roan has joined the dark side of the Whip/Whup battle. Hopefully I’ll have sway with the twinnies.
  • Time Cap-S-YOU-El. As in, rhymes with “mule”. We will not be getting a time capsule anytime soon so that we can avoid talking about it.
  • Vase. V-aaaaaaah-zzzzz. Honestly. We are not from money and we do not summer anywhere that doesn’t take food stamps. I do not believe we are allowed to manipulate the long “A” sound in any word until we are significantly more wealthy.
  • Marinade. Mar-i-naaaaaah-d. See above.
  • Schmear. Ok, he says it like it’s meant but we are not in the chosen tribe and I’m pretty sure Gentiles (particularly those who were raised in Utah) are meant just go ahead and say, “Cream Cheese, please.”

I’m going to stop there because today is also mine and Anson’s 11th Wedding Anniversary. My gift to him is that I stop making fun of him at five words. I know fellas…too bad I’m taken, right?

The truth is, I love Anson like crazy, not for his lantern jaw and rugged stunning good looks, but for his ability to laugh at himself. And for his shocking ability to not get mad at me for laughing along with him. Ok ok ok AT him. But still. He has that ability and that alone has probably saved our marriage about one million times. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now – love is not too serious. It should be fun and funny with some frustration thrown in between bouts of admiration. There should always be more good times than bad.

Happy Anniversary to my one true love.

**********

[Totally unrelated note: If you haven't already, go here for details on how to win a $25 Gift Certificate from HomeGoods - my new favorite shopping place.]

Are We Afraid of Our Children?

“You know what’s great about having kids?”

That’s the question that came out of my friend, Kara’s mouth as she was wrestling with her 1 1/2 year-old daughter on a walk home from school.  I mean it.  Wrestling.  The child was clearly winning with a decided advantage of being able to use her small stature and surprising strength to wiggle in and out of Kara’s not-so-deadly grip.  The little master was also using her ability to control sound with amazing noises coming out of her body.  Amazing.

“They’re.  Just.  So.  Relaxing.”

Kara’s answer to her own question. I’m guessing she was kidding, judging by an exasperation score which I would put at roughly eleven.  Out of ten.

If you are a parent, then you have definitely been bested by your child at least once.  At least once, if they’re only a day old.  More likely you’ve been bested, exasperated, frustrated, and manipulated a few times daily.  We all have.  But not only by our children.  Also by our impressions of what our friends are thinking.  Or other parents on the street.  Or expert children raisers who yell at us from magazine articles to stop!  Change everything!  New information!  You’re doing it wrong!

I’ve realized that more and more of us – mostly mothers – are becoming afraid of our children.  It starts when they’re infants.  We read every book, gleaning all the information we can about what we’re doing wrong.  Our children are either not eating enough, not sleeping enough, not independent enough, not social enough, not having enough tummy time, or are not being stimulated enough.  We buy swings and bouncy chairs and excersaucers and bumbo seats and activity centers (I just looked around my own living room to compile that list).  We try Cry-It-Out and the No-Cry Sleep Solutions.  We are told not to use rice cereal because it’s overly processed and no fruits because they’re too sugary and how many times in a week are our children pooping?  What color is it?  What does that mean?  Do our diapers have chemicals in them and am I good breastfeeder and what will happen if I slip some formula in once in a while and you know, pacifiers?  What?  Who?  Why?  When?  Wait….what was the question….?

It’s just overwhelming.  And it’s hard to keep any normal perspective because, you know, it’s your child.  It’s vitally important, the work of raising a kid.  But I’m convinced now – more than ever – that we mothers and we fathers need to relax.  I am going to just admit that I’m the worst offender.  I read things.  How to get my kids to sleep, eat, what they should be playing, how they should be developing.  I do.  But I’ve also found that when I put all the information aside and just do what comes naturally – that’s when they respond to me.  What do my twins want?  They want my ugly mug to be about 12 inches away from their faces, they want me to have a big smile, and they want me to make ridiculous sounds at them.  I did not read that on the internet.  It’s just what I do, and it’s just what makes them happy.  They do not care if they are sitting in a vibrating seat that makes ocean noises while this is going on.  In fact, they prefer just laying on their backs.  On our dirty rug that recently was thrown-up on by my nephew’s dog.  I did not read in a book if that is ok, but guess what?  So far, so good.

Kids are not relaxing, they are challenging.  But as a parent, I think the challenge is not to exhaustively schedule them for music, yoga, swimming, spanish and cooking classes hoping that they’ll be well-rounded and entertained.  The real challenge of being a parent – the really real challenge – is learning how to play with your child.  On your own, without the distraction of an instructor or an itinerary.  Just one-on-one time (or in my case one-on-two).  It is an intimidating prospect for a lot of us.  What do we say?  What should we say?  What is the right thing to do and what if my kid doesn’t enjoy it?  How can we possibly fill the time?

But it works out.  I’ve found that if I just put all the toys away, stretch out a blanket, and have some Stevie Wonder playing, time flies and the twins are laughing and I don’t want it to end.  I am trying to trust my parenting mojo.  Trying to believe that if I just follow the cues of my children, it’s going to be alright.  They squirm when they’re hungry and cry when they’re tired. This includes 3 AM.  But there isn’t a sleep expert in the world who can explain to these tiny masters that they shouldn’t actually be awake at that time – there’s just their mother and father who have our own routine that gets them back to sleep – and it works for us.

I don’t always have things figured out.  I often times have monkey-brain happening where I cannot come up with a solution.  A few days ago my twins were tired really tired and d-o-n-e with the day but I couldn’t put them to sleep because I was waiting for Roan to get home, and he couldn’t get into the apartment without me opening the door for him.  Shep and Smitty were screaming, and I’m bouncing them all around.  Carrying them around.  Singing, dancing, sweating.  Finally – my instincts kicked in!  TV!!  I quickly pulled up Roan’s movie playlist and the first movie – in the “A” section – was Aladdin.  Robin Williams?  Animation?  Loud and bright?  That’s going to work!  I sat my four-month old boys in front of the TV, turned it on and they were mesmerized.  And quiet.  Lazy parenting?  I think not.  That took a lightning storm of thought!  And I defy any expert to come up with a better solution for that exact situation.  But for sure – if I tried – I could certainly find a huge amount of literature on why infants shouldn’t watch TV.  To them, I say: Bite Me.  Either that, or come on over and help me.

And that’s the deal.  As parents, we have to begin to trust ourselves. You know what’s great about having kids?  That when you trust yourself, kids are maybe not so much relaxing as confidence  building.  But you know what’s relaxing?  Feeling confident that you’ve got this under control.  You really do.  See?  It’s on the internet that you have it under control.  So it’s true.  Relax.

[Note from Jodi: This Sunday, I will be attending the first-ever Brooklyn Baby Expo.  This event, arranged by the hot-shots over at A Child Grows in Brooklyn promises to be awesome.  Lots of gear, give-aways and a nursing lounge.  As I'm bringing the whole family, one guess where I'll be, at least half of the time.  Hint: it sounds like "fursing founge".  If you can make it, I'd love to see you there!]

How To Handle It If The Pioneer Woman Links To You On Her Site

If without any warning, Ree from The Pioneer Woman links to you on her site, it’s exciting!  Thrilling!  But wait.  Shouldn’t you do something about it?  Like what?  Act cool and not mention it?  No.  Act cool and mention it?  No.  Be a dork like me and dance to the Go Go’s for a couple of minutes about it?  Duh.  Yessssss.

Then, go like this with your face:

  1. Eyebrows up
  2. Mouth agape
  3. Eyes wide
  4. Say, “Wa-hooo!”

Now stop it because it’s just not your best look.

Next, go to your “stats” page, and try to calm it down.  Your statistical data is currently having a seizure.  It is spiking.  It doesn’t quite know what to do with this kind of popularity.  Follow facial protocol listed above, again.  This time with feeling.  And then stop.  As I mentioned before, it’s not a good look for you.  Or me.  Also, it will give you wrinkles so stop it I mean it.

Now, think of something to write.  It’s gotta be good.  Something short because likely people are going to click on and off superquick.  Just because they’re here doesn’t mean they’ll stay.  Maybe a picture?  Crap, not everyone wants to see your kids.  But wait…what if they’re in the bathtub?  Yes.  Nobody can deny the sweetness of three brothers in a bath.

My three sons

Nice.

Now during this process, pray and hope and wish that your two tiny infant masters don’t wake from their nap early because you really really really want to get something up quick. You are having thousands of guests dropping by and sheesh.  You didn’t even vacuum the carpet.  (Oh hi, tiny masters!  Up already?  Really?  I love you please go back to sleep.  No?  Shocking.)

Ok, to wrap things up, offer some thanks to Ree.  You can call her Ree instead of The Pioneer Woman because once you are in her octagon (Too soon?  Charlie Sheen jokes are funny already, right?) then you get to call her Ree.  That’s her name.  Ree.  Try not to use it more than four times in one paragraph though because then it’s really just trying too hard.

Thanks Ree.

You Give Me Fever…

Happy Valentines Day Loves!

So.  I wanted to do a big post, detailing the loves of my life.  But as luck would have it, my two baby boys are both down with fevers and want/need/demand a lot of holding time.  I estimate that I have about four minutes to get this post up.  I will leave it at this:

Smith is my fire.  He burns hot and furious, but is pure warmth and beauty.  Sheppard is my water to Smith’s fire.  Tranquil and serene, gorgeous and always changing.  They are each impossible to look away from.  Roan is my air.  He breathed life into me as a mother, created me as a mother.  He gives me energy, strength, and stamina, and without him I would die.  Anson is my Terra Firma.  He is my foundation, what I stand upon, and keeps me safe, stable and tethered.

My Valentine’s day and celebration of love is dedicated to these boys in my world.  I love you guys so so so much.

Now – winners of the Valentine’s Day contest!  Winners were chosen using the Randomizer online which is a pretty cool invention.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to leave a comment – and share your love.  I feel so lucky to have you share these stories and times.  I will email all winners individually, but here are your names, in white-hot spotlight!

Gillian (comment #2)

Kathi (comment #20)

Jessica Leigh (comment #31)

XOXOXO Now go kiss somebody!