Sadness revealed

Lily in her Cinderella dress holding baby Cinderella.
04 August 2008

After a long, anticipated wait by our three-year-old daughter, the next Ariel movie, Ariel’s Beginning, was released this past Tuesday.  Super Daddy bought it on the sly and put it on after dinner as a surprise.

I cried.  Yes, a direct-to-DVD Disney movie made me cry.  When the whole family was together Tuesday night, I hid my tears because… well, because that’s what we do in this society, isn’t it?  But the next day, when Matt was at work and Lily watched it again, I got the lump in my throat again when King Triton races to Ariel and holds her unconscious body in his arms.  And this time, since there was no one watching and therefore no need to hide my emotions, I cried.  Once I gave myself permission, I sobbed like a little baby.

And I realized that I wasn’t crying simply because it was an emotional scene in the movie.  That was merely the vehicle that finally brought all my sadness out from under the rock where I had been keeping it.  I was crying because of all the crap that has happened this past month.  I was crying because my ITP has gotten worse and my hematologist has recommended a splenectomy.  I was crying because I gave into societal pressure and tried to wean Damian, and the extreme pain of weaning too soon was acute for both of us.  I was crying because I had been dealing with the intense fear of putting my writing and my ego up on the internet.  I was crying because my beloved cat of 11 years was violently killed by a dog right before my eyes.  I was crying because when you’re a parent of young children, you have to keep your shit together no matter what you’re feeling on the inside so you can do the laundry and feed the children and make sure the bills are paid on time.

I was crying because I desperately needed to cry and the movie finally gave me an opportunity.  And that’s when I realized that sad movies are sometimes more than just storytelling; sometimes they are a cathartic release of emotion.

August 29th, 2008 | Podcast, The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

The fashion icon for the next generation

Lani can often be seen lounging in the sandbox.
04 August 2008

Lily’s favorite character from High School Musical is not the leading lady, Gabriella, but the antagonist (well, as close to an antogonist as you’ll find in HSM), Sharpay.  How can this be, you ask.  Wouldn’t Lily identify with the sweet girl next door?  Well, Sharpay has the sparkliest, flashiest clothes and hair by far, so she wins by a landslide.  There really is no competition, actually.

When I surfed the internet to find pictures of Sharpay to illustrate Lily’s love, I found this blog entry about another little girl infatuated with Sharpay’s sense of style.  It’s really funny, and Kenzi, the little girl in the blog entry, sounds exactly like Lily.  In fact Lily bought a little pink sparkly sweater — and she wears it all the time in the heat of the Texas summer — because it looks like a sweater Sharpay has.

Sharpay Evans is molding the fashion style of the next generation.  In 15 years, when our little four and five-year-olds turn 20, don’t be surprised if shiny, sparkly and pink is the leading fashion craze.

August 25th, 2008 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

Waiting for HSM3…

Lily and Clara snuggling on the couch.
15 August 2008

I have a devoted readership of about 15 people which include my family, my husband’s family, and a few friends.  If I don’t update after a few days, I get a phone call from my father-in-law telling me to update my blog as they want to see more photos of the children.  I think I mentioned before that the children are the rock stars now and I’m just with the band.

I’ve been busy trying to write… you know… become something more than I am… believe in myself… shoot for the stars… all that good stuff that after-school Disney movies are made of.  It’s hard though.  Very hard.

And speaking of feel-good after-school Disney movies, I watched the trailer for High School Musical 3 today, and I am so excited!  We’re going to drive to San Antonio on opening weekend and go see it with Lindsey, another HSM fan.

Now, here’s a little bit of advice: if you have never gone to a popular children’s show on opening weekend, you really must do it once.  I went to see Mortal Kombat on opening weekend, and the theater was packed with 7-year-old to 14-year-old boys.  It was so much fun!  At that age, they don’t know to act “cool” yet, so they are totally into the movie.  They laugh, scream, clap, whisper.  Excited children take what would be an average experience at the movie theater and make it something really enjoyable and memorable.  I love HSM anyway, but I want to go with all of the tweens, and laugh and cry with childlike abandon and enjoy 100 musical minutes of unaffected fun.

August 23rd, 2008 | General | No Comments -

I did it.

I uploaded my first podcast.  The first chapter is up over at, so if you are in the mood for a dark, dry, romantic audio book, go check it out. 🙂

Now to write chapter two…. I only have two weeks…..

August 16th, 2008 | Podcast | No Comments -

Crazy Sexy Lady

The children watching Toy Story 2 together.
03 August 2008

Matt and I watched Crazy Sexy Cancer the other day.  When I first heard about it, my mom and I were picking films to watch together, and I told my mom that I wanted her to watch this one with me, and she said, “I don’t want to watch a documentary about a woman who has cancer!” implying that the subject matter may be a bit on the depressing side.  And I said, “It’s a documentary about a woman who chooses to take her health into her own hands and learns to live with a chronic disease.  One of your children [Carla] has a chronic disease [Type II diabetes] that she must learn to live with.”

The movie that my mom chose for us to watch together was Miss Potter in which the love interest dies.  After he died, I turned to Mom and said, “He dies?!  You are definitely watching Crazy Sexy Cancer with me now!  At least in my movie she doesn’t die.”  But, unfortunately, we didn’t get Crazy Sexy Cancer in the mail from Netflix before my mom had to return to Kentucky, so I have yet to share this documentary with her.

But, anyways, back to the main thread of the post.  Matt and I really enjoyed the documentary.  Being about cancer and involving real people, there were definitely parts that really pulled at your heart, but overall it is an uplifting documentary about health, and by the end of the movie, Kris Carr is this vibrant, beautiful, healthy woman — an amazing flower that has opened up to the sun.

We watched a few of the extras on the DVD, and Matt and I both noticed, independently of each other, how healthy she looked.  She was just… vibrant.  She was beautiful in a way that you never see in supermodels because the foundation of her beauty was health, not cosmetics and a thin body.  She is far healthier than both Matt and I, who do not have cancer, and that was a real eye-opener for both of us.

So now Matt and I have a standard set for the kind of health we would like to achieve in our life.  If we could look as amazing and vibrant and beautiful as Kris Carr, then we’ll know we have achieved a healthy lifestyle.

August 12th, 2008 | General | 2 Comments -

The Woodings’ Crazy Weekend

If you have ever wondered what a 3-year-old
who does not want her picture taken anymore
looks like, here it is:

Damian is weaned. I’m both happy and sad about this.  I’m happy to have my body back after three and half years of nursing two children, but I’m also sad that I will no longer share that intimate moment with either of my children… very sad about that actually.  That chapter of my life story has ended, and it was a beautiful chapter.

Lily is potty-trained and has finally moved out of the security of her pull-ups.

Damian said his first word which is “Yeah!”  We were all throwing our hands in the air saying “Yeah!” and then Damian did it too.  Since he only communicates through grunts and growls, “Yeah!” definitely counts as a word.

I have had a weekend filled with pain and drugs.  I woke up on Friday with my neck muscles locked tightly and I couldn’t move my head without extreme pain.  A doctor visit later, I was loaded up with Vicodin, muscle relaxants, and steroids.  I can now move my head and the pain is under control, but I have been doped up all weekend long.

… so kind of an eventful weekend actually.  Oh, and I’ve been working hard on  I should have the first podcast up on Friday.  For me, that is both exciting and scary.  There is nothing like having your ego readily available for anyone to download.  But what is the point of being alive if you choose not to live, right?

I hope everyone else had as surreal and progressive a weekend as we did at our little house. 🙂

August 10th, 2008 | Podcast, The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

Cats and keyboards

Damian playing in the sandbox.
04 August 2008

I’ve decided that the folks who most benefit from wireless keyboards are cat owners.  No longer do we have to attempt deft maneuvers and contortions around the cat while trying to type on the keyboard.  We can now simply pick up our keyboard, place it on our lap, and type at our leisure while the cat sprawls across the desk.

If you’re thinking, “Why don’t you just move the cat?” then you are obviously not a cat owner.  Cat owners are a peculiar personality type and they do not move their cats from whatever comfortable position the cat has chosen, whether it’s the book we’re reading, our favorite pillow, or right in front of the keyboard on the desk.  We’ll buy a wireless keyboard before we’ll move our cat.

The spouse of a cat owner, however, has an entirely different view of the cat. 😉

August 5th, 2008 | General | No Comments -


Lindsey in London with St Paul’s Cathedral in the distance.
18 June 2008

Matt’s dad, Damian, took Lindsey and I to London, and we had a really nice day.  While there, we went to the top of St Paul’s Cathedral.  Before we climbed to the top, Lindsey warned us that she was afraid of heights.  Since neither Damian nor I are afraid of heights and have no experience with that fear, we both kind of muttered “Okay” and promptly ignored what she said.  As we climbed higher and higher, she became more agitated.  Damian and I continued to think everything was fine because we were fine.

At the top, she was still masking her fear very well.  She was nervous, but not immobilized, so I continued to dismiss her feelings.  It wasn’t until we were descending the steep spiral stairs and she was looking down a deep well with every step that her mask fell and her true fear of heights became undeniably obvious.  And it finally got through my thick skull: Lindsey is afraid of heights; I need to respect that.

It’s so easy to dismiss other people’s fears and anxieties when you don’t carry those same fears yourself.  I was thinking about this today because I am so happy in my home.  I don’t like to travel much.  This issue came up this year because we have been travelling a lot.  I like to work on my house and my garden, and to sit at my desk to write and draw and dream.  And many people don’t understand this because they want to experience the world and new people and new places.  And though I do love to travel very much and experience the new and see my family who are scattered about the globe, I don’t like it in heavy doses.  I miss my home life very much when I do.

But now I have a metaphor to explain myself to other people.  A fear of heights is easy to understand.  And just like Lindsey is afraid of heights and that is within her nature, it is within my nature to want to be in my home, nurturing my personal environment.  I have very little influence over the rest of the world and how it is run, but I can create a tiny paradise within the small space of my house and my gardens.  And that’s what I do everyday and I really enjoy it.

August 4th, 2008 | General | No Comments -


Lily was playing with her baby doll Belle while dressed
in her Belle dress today. It was very cute, so I said,
“C’mon, Lily. I want to get a picture of the two Belles
together.” My sweet little girl sat down and promptly
posed for me. Whether this is a function of being
a three-year-old or of being a three-year-old who is
constantly photographed by her mother, I don’t know.
But either way, I really enjoyed our modeling session
together. That’s my princess.

I love High School Musical.  Like everyone else, I heard of it from all the buzz that was flowing through the undercurrent of our society, so I eventually watched it.  Like all adults, I first thought it was very cheesy.  But then it grew on me, and now I like it very much.  I’ll put it on in the background while I’m doing housework, and the songs are on my iPod.  And I have the release date for HSM 3 on my calendar because Lily (another big fan of HSM) and I are very excited about going to see it in the movie theater.

I like High School Musical for the same reason I like The Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun: the fictional worlds in which these stories take place are idealic.  It’s the kind of place where you would like to live if they actually existed somewhere in this world.  Everyone is kind and quirky and fun.  And there is a strong sense of community.  And, in the case of High School Musical, you have appropriate background music for your every mood and situation.

While looking up the Wikipedia entry for The Cat Who series, I surfed a couple of links until I stumbled upon the Detroit News Interview with Lilian Jackson Braun.  It’s short and, if you’re a writer, very worth the read.  It sums up beautifully why we write and why Lilian Jackson Braun is still writing prolifically in her 90s:

But, like many artists in various fields who are inspired by some inner need to create, her drive is neither money nor fame. She avoids interviews and lives quietly, writing every day.

What’s alive for her — and what keeps her engaged, curious, amused, productive — is the never-ending surprise of what’s in her own head.

I know that my own imagination keeps me entertained every day.  Who needs fairies, dragons, or a high school where there is no poverty or cruelty if your own creativity weaves fantastic worlds for you every day? 😉

August 3rd, 2008 | General | No Comments -