Bug,  Family Matters,  heavy on photos,  Super Dad,  the sticks

An Update and a half!

All American Family

I’m sure you are all on the edges of your seats wondering how the gardening went. It went great! We planted strawberries. Or at least I think they are strawberries. That’s what the package said. They’re bare root strawberries. (Now that I find a link for them, I see we did not plant them properly. They’re doomed.) They looked pretty dead to me but my mom kept saying, “You’d be surprised!” I really hope she’s right because I don’t want to grow dead roots for months. Wouldn’t that be a letdown?

bare root strawberries...are they dead?

See? Dead. Or at least deadish. I don’t see any sign of life in these gnarled rooty things. I really hope my mom is right. She is the one with the green thumb after all.

This weekend when we went out to visit Toby, Bug was telling him all about our planting experience and she kept going on and on about planting the strawberries’ hula skirts in the ground. We both were very puzzled until I finally figured out that the “hula skirts” were the strawberry roots—which they do kind of look like. Like zombie hula skirts from the dead!!!! Aaaaack! Anyway, I’m pessimistically optimistic. We’ll see.

digging together future strawberries!

Even if they don’t grow, it sure was fun planting. I’m really liking this American Dream backyard experience I’m living. I feel like a Norman Rockwell painting sometimes. I love digging and fixing it up. I love standing in it and listening to the birds. I love sending my kid out to play for hours on end and hearing her laughing and making up complicated games with the neighborhood kids. I know I’ve gone on and on about how fun it is to have a dog to play with in the backyard. I really hate this town I live in but if I could transport my backyard to the beach, I’d live there forever!


Of course Bug loves it just as much as I do. Maybe even more.

water girl


In other news, we had a really great weekend at the beach. I’m sure those of you who are tuned into the Toby-Brenda-Separation-Saga are thoroughly confused over our relationship. I can’t really go into it but I’d just say that we are still good friends and that we both hope this makes things easier for Bug. We see Toby every weekend and often we still do things together as a family.

Bug and Toby

raking the ball in

This weekend we went miniature golfing. Can I just say that miniature golfing is the most boring game ever?!! Oh my goodness, I thought I was going to curl up and die right there on the astroturf.

on the rocks

I wanted to climb inside one of the little boarded up houses and take a nap. Bug and I were both very disappointed that you can’t go inside the little houses. Why do they build them then? Just to frustrate you? That’s what I think.

blue house

Toby and I had a long discussion about how a homeless person could probably break into one of these and live there for years without anyone ever finding out. I think that sounds like a good book I’d like to read. Anyone?

miniture golfing

Anyway, it was good family time. Toby’s mom came. We haven’t seen her much lately (she’s in assisted living now) and it was good to just hang out with her and let her know we still care about her. I think she really enjoyed herself.

up down

Then we hit the park which was way way way more fun than golfing and it was FREEEEE! Parks are the best, especially the ones with really good swings. Now that Bug can pump, it has made my whole park-going experience about a thousand times more fun.

swingin'! happy

swing-swinging crazy!

Now I get to swing too!

blur monster

And act like a crazy idiot. But that’s really nothing new.

By the way, the crazy blurring was just Toby playing with my camera. Who says that thing was a waste of money now? Not me!


I love my camera.

making a wish sunny park day

It’s just so fun and awesome. For work and for play. Thank you, internet, for helping me buy it.


I heart you.

p.s. Marilyn interviewed me! Everything you probably already know and more!


  • pinky

    “Toby and I had a long discussion about how a homeless person could probably break into one of these and live there for years without anyone ever finding out. I think that sounds like a good book I’d like to read. Anyone?”

    Heh – there is an episode of The Simpsons where Marge and Homer get up to shenanigans inside one of those houses, and it doesn’t end well :-)

  • Yara

    “I can’t really go into it but I’d just say that we are still good friends and that we both hope this makes things easier for Bug. We see Toby every weekend and often we still do things together as a family.”
    Can I just say I’m proud of you two? My uncle & aunt (aunt in law? ex aunt in law?) did it this way, and I think it was easier on their youngest kid (only one was still at home when they separated).

  • a chris

    Weird, I was going to name a post almost the same thing today. But then I only posted the “half” part. Bahaha. It’s the first thing I’ve posted in months.

    Zombie hula skirts from the DEAD. Just felt like seeing how that rolls off the tongue. Fingers. Brain. BRAAAIINN.

    Totally feeling the minigolf boredom. I haven’t played in many years but with a little one starting to get big enough to “do things,” I may not escape indefinitely.

    Bringing Bug to hang out with Toby doesn’t seem strange to me. I think you drop enough clues for us to see that while you may not be best off sharing a little apartment right now, you really do cherish each other. It does give me a warm feeling to know that you make sure he and Bug get to spend time together regularly.

  • bethany actually

    Heh. I was gonna mention Marge and Homer Simpson too! I do believe Bart was conceived in one of those little houses.

    I’m curious…how did you plant the strawberries wrong?

    SAJ says: we didn’t soak them for 20 minutes before planting. oops!

  • Madge

    Those strawberries look interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing if they take. I have 3 little pots in our windowsill that are supposed to grow strawberries, but I don’t know if I should expect anything from them, they were from seed.

    Miniature golf at Bug’s age should be called miniature hockey. At least that was the experience I had with Pixie when we went to a mini golf birthday party. I would have been bored too, but there were so many other kids and moms there that it was really entertaining, haha.

    Isn’t swinging fun? We go over to the school a lot and swing. It is sooo much fun. I don’t even have to do that weird knee bend thing when swinging back because they are so high off the ground to begin with and I’m well, short! and I made that observation, before scrolling back and seeing you have a pic of the “weird knee bend thing” OK, I’m rambling.

    SAJ says: I do have that weird knee bend thing! I was totally aware of it too but I thought it was because I have such wide-set hips and the swing squishing me made me do that. Who knows!

  • BeachMama

    Sounds like you had a really great weekend. I think it is great they way you are working out things to be happy for Bug, if only everyone could do it that way for the kids the world would be a much healthier place to be.

    I am thinking there was a Scoobie Doo episode where a crazy clown lived inside one of the mini-golf buildings… and your strawberries? Just try to over water them a bit for the next day or two to soften them up, then they should take just fine… only a bit though you don’t want to drown them out. I had strawberries at our old house and never did replant them here, they were so wonderful to have fresh out the backdoor.

  • Heather

    Bug look so cute in her bikini and rain boots, and I’m super jealous that she can pump herself on the swing. Is there a trick you used to teach her that I can pass along to my daughter?

  • SAJ

    Yeah, preschool! Haha. I guess she just picked it up from the other kids. I tried and tried to teach her but she never learned it from me!

  • Sam

    The pumping thing just kinda happens. I’ve noticed Thomas trying to do it. I didn’t teach him, but I think he picked it up. Still, I have to push him. Those little houses are so cute! I would be sad I couldn’t get inside one, too.

    Your interview with Marilyn was just delightful. It’s one of my favorites so far! And I know you!

    I think it’s so great that you and Toby are getting along. Nothing could be better for Bug! It’s not weird at all – I know lots of people who get along well with their exes.

  • Mrs. Wilson

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying your camera so much!! And your back yard as well. And I agree – you and Toby getting along IS the best thing for Bug. Not easy, but definitely worth it. :)

  • Mallory Sinclair

    The strawberry roots look dormant to me–not dead. But not soaking them first might be bad–you could pull some up, soak and replant. If you’re more ambitious than I am, that is.

  • Keratin Girl

    My ex and I get a long very well, we’ve even vacationed together with the kids – it’s SOOOO much better than just being angry and yelling at each other. My new partner has a crazy ex wife that is always causing problems and it’s so sad for their kids. We’ve been together 7 years and she still does nothing but badmouth him and file court crap. Keep doing what you are doing, Bug will be so thankful when she gets older!

  • Jummy

    It’s always great to get these updates like this from you. I’m rooting for those strawberries and I am glad that you and Toby are getting on well.

    I got the full feed for your blog entry through google reader and I can’t remember if I used to only get snippets or not but I think I did. That made my day!

  • Jann

    This was such a happy, wonderful post. I am so glad you have so much to be thankful for!!

    P.S. The picture of Bug in her bikini and rain boots is TOO much!
    P.P.S. I miss California and I am jealous of your perfect weather!

  • Jeanie

    I hope you get tons of strawberries. Maybe they can knock the lemons out of position as Most Prolific Fruit You Personally Grow??

    That’s awesome. Make sure to tell us when the fruit starts growing because those of us in the snow-covered upper midwest have to live vicariously through people like you.

    Also, big props to you and T for keeping it classy about the family. <3

  • mari

    Hi, I just read your interview on Marilyn’s La Salonniere. So colorful and fun! I came away feeling pretty inspired. And I really admire how you and Toby are, as Jeanie says, keeping it classy about the family.

    Your comment about the boarded up houses really cracked me up. It made me think of the show Modern Family where a guy presumably moves in nextdoor when he’s actually living in the kid’s playhouse in the backyard. Crazy, but somehow I can imagine it happening somewhere…

  • gingermog

    I am really happy that you and Toby are still friends. Love the photographs of all of you on the swings and the lushness of the grass. I’ve never seen strawberry plants quite like those you have just planted but I live I faith the will grow and provide you with fruit for the summer. Does Wimbledon get shown on TV in the states? Because over there for two intense weeks in June each year we are tuned into tennis, agonizing over the rain and a vital part of that week is eating strawberries and cream :)