Posts Filed Under weeks of mayhem

This week…down two guinea pigs, and it’s already better.

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. Do you ever get annoyed when you have to pee because it’s just ONE MORE THING YOU HAVE TO DO?
  2. Or…maybe that’s just me.
  3. Speaking of pee, I do it like 6 or 7 times a night. Literally. I think that’s weird. Is that weird? Maybe I should get on WebMD and diagnose myself. I think it’s my third kid’s fault. Ever since I had her I piddle on myself with startling regularity, particularly when I sneeze in an inopportune moment (you know, when I haven’t peed because it’s just ONE MORE THING TO DO) or I laugh too hard. And I pee a thousand times a night. Kegels? Yeah, I thought so.
  4. Forgive me for over-sharing. I guess once I realized I lost all coolness and most dignity, I figured I might as well just seal the deal by discussing my bladder online.
  5. We donated the guinea pigs to a 2nd/3rd grade classroom at my kids’ school. Ya know why? Because my kids – who were DYING FOR THEM last Christmas – never play with them at all, and each week an insane argument ensued over cleaning their cage. So for a few weeks I agonized, “I want to get rid of them but I don’t want to hurt their feelings. Plus I should make them stick with this commitment. Tenacity. Devotion. Etc.” But then I just got sick of the damn fighting and declared “Guys. If you don’t play with these small rodents at least ONCE in the next week, I’m giving them away.” I’m expecting some big emotional response. You know what the little bandits said…? “Why don’t you give them away now?”
  6. Done, offspring. DONE.
  7. That was probably bad parenting. But whatever. A woman can only take so much. And it wasn’t fair to those adorable little animals to never get any attention. In the classroom they get held daily and there are twenty children to clean the damn cage. SCORE.
  8. You guys should go read Calamity Jane at Apron Stringz. She lives in this super remote Alaskan town doing crazy home-steading awesomeness, and she’s funny and smart and doing some super intelligent things in the arena of “Reclaiming Housewifery.” Radical homemaking. “Cowgirl, Cookie Baker, Renegade.” Soul sisters? In her words she’s a “punk neo-feminist housewife.” Um, rad? Yes. Yes indeed.
  9. Yesterday we went on a mini-hike near Point Reyes in Marin County. We went with some gorgeous wonderful friends. It was lovely. The weather was fine, the company superb. And Point Reyes, well. It’s Point Reyes. There was a meadow involved – ‘nuff said, right?
  10. Have you ever noticed how flattering and wonderful it is when people take interest in your children, like real interest? Particularly when they don’t have kids? Like they play peek-a-boo with your toddler and wrestle with your boy and give piggy back rides and engage in deep conversations with your budding intellectual 10-year-old daughter? These people did that. And my heart swelled. A big, warm “thank you,” and a little burst of pride, maybe because people – at least some people – find my kids engaging, and interesting, and worth their time. There is no better compliment to a parent, I think, than engaging with their children, listening to them, and, dare I say it? Appearing to genuinely enjoy it.

Don’t have many pics, but here’s one of the meadow, and two of Georgie…taken by my super lovely talented friend Katie Stohlmann. You can find her here (in case you missed the first link). Follow her Tumblr blog. You won’t be sorry.


Have a great week, everybody.


9 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | September 17, 2012

This week…Rocket turned seven, and Ava’s raisin’ hell.

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. Ava came home the other day with a sheet to sell cookie dough as a fundraiser for her school. She told me about it. Here’s what she said: “Mama, the school wants me to sell cookie dough. When my teacher handed me the sheet I raised my hand and asked ‘how much of the proceeds actually go to our school? You know, cause I don’t want to sell my family something that’s just going to make money for some company with sweatshop-like working conditions.’” Then she says “I’m probably the only 5th grader asking these questions, but I don’t care, because I think they’re important questions.”
  2. I’m sure her teachers adore her. No really, I’m sure they do.
  3. Is it weird to have that sort of skepticism at 10 years old?
  4. I don’t understand those “baby on board” signs people put in cars. Every time I see them I’m like “So glad you let me know, because I was just about to ram into your vehicle. Now that I know there’s a baby on board, however, I’ll pick somebody else.”
  5. I think there’s something wrong with my brain.
  6. Speaking of something wrong, does anybody else have a son who pretty much cannot accomplish a ten-second task without getting distracted, possibly by something existing only in his brain? You know, like getting in the car. I swear to you my son gets distracted from the time he opens the car door until he sits down. He’s just standing there with the door open and I’m like “Rocket! What are you doing?! GET IN!” And he’s like flicking something off the handle, or staring at the ground, and when I yell at him he looks at me like I rudely snapped him out of a deep important revelry. More on that later.
  7. My insomnia is back. I wake up every morning around 3:45. I could get up and  do something useful, but I seem to prefer to lie there miserable wondering why I can’t sleep and wishing I could either sleep or die. Sometimes my preference for the former is miniscule. Such good times.
  8. Oh, yeah. Rocket turned seven yesterday. I only cried about 5 times. For some reason I always have a tough time on his birthday, I guess because I got really sick with alcoholism almost immediately after her was born, so I was basically absent until he was nearly 4 years old. I try to forgive myself, move on, live in today, but the remorse sits like an old friend in my soul, all the time, and it rages when his birthday comes around, reminding me with perfect clarity of the birth of my beautiful son, and my joy at his arrival, and my prompt inability to be there for him. Last year I wrote this post on his birthday. At least I’m doing a little better than that.
  9. Anyway we had a party for him on Saturday. Despite my attempts to urge him away from said party (“Rocket, let’s go to the beach!! Wanna go to the BEACH!? The BEACH would be amazing! I love the BEACH.”), he insisted on the party, so I made it happen. About 9 kids showed up from his class. Seven of them I had never met. It was a good party, I think. The painted pots went well. Also, as I mentioned on FB, I had a revelation: My kids are not that bad. No really, I mean it. There are some fucking terrible children in the world. More on that later, as well.
  10. And so, here we go, my son is seven. Another year gone by, little man. Another moment I must accept, of a boy getting bigger, growing up, telling me things like “I liked being six. Six was a good age.”

He wanted a cake with monsters and flowers. [I die, people, from this cuteness.] Since Ava, my mom and I have been taking a cake-decorating class (WHAT? You didn’t know I’m Martha Freaking Stewart? Well, now you do. HA.), I was able to make a cake, frost it, and add monsters and flowers. (He stuck them on.)

I was, in short, relatively impressed with my skills. Okay fine. OUR skills.

But still. I made the damn monsters.

I love you, Rocketship Rock On.















And, the boy…on his second birthday. I know it’s old, but I’ve always loved this photo…



















Alright fine. Here’s more what he’s like now…



But to be honest, it’s all the same to me. Happy birthday, son.


11 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | September 10, 2012

This week…we hung out with old friends we just met.

by Janelle Hanchett

This week, I’m going to tell you a little story. It’s a story about friends, and it’s a good one.

A few years ago, through the generally insipid Facebook, I became “friends” with a few women I went to high school with. As I read their posts, comments, and/or blogs, it became pretty clear to me that these were women I wanted to know again, in real life, even though I hadn’t seen them since we graduated in 1997, and I promptly fell off the planet.

You see, the truth is, I really didn’t want any high school to remain in my adult life. I was a douchebag in high school. I hated it. I was insecure, angry, fake, terrified and full of the bluster of the wholly petrified. The few “best” friends I had either decided they hated me or married my ex-boyfriend, so they were out, and truthfully, it was okay with me that I had no relics of that period of my life. To put it mildly, high school was not the pinnacle of my existence.


But our 15-year reunion was coming up and I really wanted to meet the aforementioned women again, so I asked one of them if she was going to the shindig. She said “no, I’m getting married. Wanna come?” And I said “yes” and we went and it was, in her words, “Amazeballs.”

The girls I knew in high school had grown into some seriously badass women. Wicked smart, totally independent, fucking hilarious. One of them looked at her husband after he said something ridiculous and, with a completely straight face, told him “you’re ruining my life.” The bride did insane booty-shaking dances in her gown, had her dog function as the ring-bearer, and at the after-party, donned a unitard. Are you getting this? I thought so.

Here’s a picture of Mac and me at the wedding. Are you enjoying his face? I KNOW I AM.

Not only did I experience the most authentic, fun wedding I’ve ever attended, and reconnect with incredible people, we also (through the bride) met another couple with whom we hit it off (you see, sometimes it’s just RIDICULOUS to avoid ending a sentence in a preposition, Cara Lyn (that’s the bride. She’s a bit of a grammarian)).  And that couple invited us to go camping with them this weekend (over Labor Day). We exchanged numbers but of course I assumed they’d never actually call. I wanted them to, but you know how those things go. Nobody ever actually calls.

But she did call, and we actually went. And my soul was restored on the South Yuba River. Partly because we were in hanging out in places so beautiful and fresh and dramatic it makes your heart skip, partly because I could not quite believe how much I loved these people – the women but ALSO their husbands (how weird is that?). Our three families got along like we’d known each other forever. It was remarkable.

At one point yesterday, the men had journeyed up the river with Ava to jump off rocks and we stayed behind. It was the three of us women and two toddler girls (one of them also has a baby girl). We sat in the river on big granite boulders, partially submerged, warmed by the late afternoon sun, cooled from the waters of the mountains, cradling our deliriously happy, naked toddlers, and we talked. About nothing. About it all. We watched the babies splash, the dog try to swim. We may or may not have been fully clothed. And as I sat there with these women, in perfect comfort, I thought to myself “I want to be here, with these people, every year for pretty much the rest of my life.”

There was just something there. Something that doesn’t happen every day.

Friendship, I guess.

That came out of the blue.

And knocked my fucking socks off.

Here are a few photos from the trip. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend, too.

So thank you, Facebook, for not sucking completely. And thank you, new old friends, for the same.



this picture makes her look like she’s about to fall into an abyss of water…it was actually about 3 inches deep…

he’s in love too

Ava climbed a very, very big rock. And was proud.

naked happy river baby!

9 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized, weeks of mayhem | September 3, 2012

This week…we bailed, again. This time to Tahoe.

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. First of all, I realize it’s actually been two weeks. But we’re going to pretend like it’s been one. Mmkay? I’m happy to report I have a computer again, finally. It’s rather shocking how dependent I am on this damn machine. When it died, I felt like I was going to die. However, I have reason to believe that I did not. Ha.
  2. Tomorrow school starts again (for me). I am an instructor of 4 classes – not real classes – writing workshop/tutorial type classes. However, there will be 12 students per class looking at me for direction. Please nobody tell them how I am in “real life.” They’ll never take me seriously.
  3. As many of you know, my husband and I have a ridiculous habit of taking impromptu trips – usually camping – to various parts of northern California. Usually one of us says something like “we should go somewhere this weekend,” and the other one smiles and perhaps says “yeah. Totally. Where?” The answers vary, but usually can be summed up by the following two geographies: ocean or mountains.
  4. This week, on Wednesday, we decided we needed mountains. So I got online and by some gorgeous stroke of obscene luck, got the one remaining campsite in a campground in South Lake Tahoe, called Fallen Leaf Campground, which is one mile from the shores of Lake Tahoe and 2 minutes from Fallen Leaf Lake, a place so beautiful I almost don’t want to tell you about it, for fear it may lose its hidden-heaven status. But I love you too much to do that…so I won’t.
  5. Apart from one unfortunate event involving the dog, his excrement and my car, which I will I explain to you later because indeed it deserves a whole post of its own, the weekend was amazing.
  6. Also, do you ever try to be present and calm and enjoy yourself but just can’t seem to make it happen? Yeah. I was kind of there. I was in heaven. HEAVEN. But something was awry up in my trusty old brain, and I kept finding myself irritable and impatient and just not relaxed at all, save for a few moments that took my breath away, as the Tahoe Basin only can.

And now I’m going to be quiet, and let the pictures speak for themselves. I apologize for my crap photography. Someday I’ll take a class and wow you with my talent. Right. Let’s all agree not to hold our breath for that one.

I figured we’d get some crap campsite that nobody wanted. No. We got what appeared to be the best campsite in the entire place. It was against a meadow, people. A MEADOW. Site 148. Be there. Here’s the meadow. And Laser.

And then, there was the LAKE. Fallen Leaf Lake. I had never been there. I will go back. When I checked into the site, the ranger lady almost fell over when I told her I reserved the site two days prior. She said the campground fills up a year in advance, so there must have been a cancellation and I snagged it within moments. Sometimes the universe delivers. Here’s the lake…by the way, my mom took the last two shots, which is why they don’t suck.

Laser swam in a lake for the first time. Adorable.









The water was not deep, so the kids could go way out and play. They played with logs and an old pallet. For like hours, in heaven.

perfect, right

happy kid

the prized pallet

Georgie spent a lot of time on Nana’s lap, or throwing dirt, eating dirt, rolling in dirt and scooping dirt into a green bowl, “jumping” off rocks, and asking for “later,” which she thought was the name of marshmallows, since she kept grabbing them and we’d say “Later. We’ll eat those later.” She kept holding them up saying “later.” When later came, we asked Georgie, “Do you want some later?!” Not gonna lie, it was funny even after the fiftieth time we asked her to go get the “laters.” She also, as you’ll see, passed some time eating chips out of a bowl with a giant serving spoon. Yes, yes I am that kind of mother.

my wonderful mom, and a very happy baby





















it’s hard to explain this face. she makes it all the time. nobody knows exactly why, but obviously it’s a win.




















getting ready to jump off a 3-inch rock…she says “ready, go, SET!” and “jumps.”

I don’t lie

brilliant toy. highly recommended.

two days later. still fun.

Ava, well, she was Ava. She read, mostly. Yelled at her brother, played, asked complex existential questions. Got annoyed, cracked jokes way too funny for her age. And cradled the baby for a minute in the hammock.

ANNOYED. And Rocket missing his front tooth. He’s officially entered the goofy kid stage.

 We went to Taylor Creek, a stunning watershed alongside Lake Tahoe. It was gorgeous, and across the street from the campground. Go, people. Go.

Taylor Creek watershed, Tahoe to the right…

wading in the creek

When he wasn’t running around tormenting his sister or playing like a madman, Rocket pretty much lived in the hammock, singing to himself and making up stories – talking to himself, lost in pure imagination. I love it when they get lost. Ha.

nothin to do…

He turns 7 in a week…hold me.

thanks, mom, for capturing this shot before Ava started hating me

Tomorrow, the crazy begins.

But today, today my heart’s in Tahoe. Have a great week, all.



18 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized, weeks of mayhem | August 26, 2012

This week…First day of school! WHEEEE! (and the story of “rocket”)

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. The kids went back to school on August 8. Does anybody else find that odd? I distinctly recall going to school after Labor Day, every damn year.  Other weirdness: the single-spaced PAGE of crap we’re supposed to buy for our kid, but also, the classroom. Including hand sanitizer, which my family doesn’t even use. Petty much? Yes, yes I am.
  2. I also remember going to school with a backpack, a binder, some pencils and a lunch, in a brown paper sack. End of list.
  3. I’d say the whole thing went pretty well. I made them breakfast. Always a win. Also I don’t think I yelled. I mean shit, it was the first day of school, I couldn’t yell at them THAT DAY.
  4. Okay maybe I did once. But for sure only once.
  5. Rocket is in first grade. Ava is in fifth. Ava was most concerned about her teacher being able to “control the hoodlums” better than the last year’s teacher, so she can “actually learn something.” I have no idea where she gets that attitude. Rocket was most concerned about whether he should go by “Rocket” or “Charles,” since he’s in the first grade he was thinking it might be time for the more mature name. Though I was silently weeping and rolling in hysterics, begging him to keep his nickname, I kept that inside and muttered “Whichever you choose is fine, buddy” in my most supportive voice. He tried “Charles,” but soon realized he has no idea how to read or write Charles, so on the second day of school he announced he’s sticking with Rocket.
  6. Speaking of Rocket, have I ever told you how he got that nickname? I don’t think I have. I’ll do it now. When I was pregnant with him, Ava was about 3. She was a very precocious, verbal kid. Again, no idea. Anyhoo, we decided to take her to the ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. When the doctor announced “boy,” Ava got off her stool, walked up to the doctor, looked him straight in the eye and started yelling at him that it was NOT a boy it was a GIRL. She was pissed. Like really pissed. To change her mood, and get her excited about a little brother, we asked her if she’d help us name him (ROOKIE FUCKING PARENT MOVE) — immediately she responds, as if it was the only name in the world, “Rocketship. And his middle name can be ‘Rock On.'” Rocketship Rock On.
  7. And we told her it was a great name (if we were Frank Zappa) and of course she started telling everybody “I’m having a little brother and his name is Rocketship!” God help you if you called him something else. We thought it would fade after he was born. No way. Stronger than ever. After a few months, she let us shorten it to Rocket. And so it stands.
  8.  It was a little tough letting Rocketship Rock On go to that first day of school. I was remembering last year, when I was so excited about homeschooling, and I was remembering all those days together, and how little I appreciated them at the time and how I lost patience and sucked as a homeschool mom — and I felt that familiar anguish, just a few flashes, of wondering why I couldn’t be a little better, a little more patient, a little more present. I fucking hated homeschooling, and I sucked at it, but in hindsight it’s beautiful, you know?
  9. Like most things.
  10. In other news, Georgia never wears clothes. Or shoes. Or diapers. We have a potty in our living room for her. So that’s not trashy at all.
  11. And…check it out. I recently had an experience that sums up motherhood PERFECTLY: Try to get your two-year-old to pee in the toilet every day for two months. Cry when she finally does it because you realize she’s growing up.


How nutty is this motherhood thing?

Have a great week. If you’re in my area, try not to die from the heat.

all ready to go

22 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | August 12, 2012