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Molly's Place

Everyone needs a place -- their own little spot in the world. Somewhere where creativity flows, ideas are born, and the rushing pace of the world at large becomes still.

Updated: 2018-03-06T12:08:39.030-08:00


Breastfeeding a preschooler


I have struggled finding good resources for breastfeeding preschoolers but ran across this website tonight:

Just in case anyone out there is like me, or the women and children these articles talk about, and is wondering if there are any other families co-sleeping and breastfeeding their kids past 3.

Lost in play


Yesterday was such a perfect day. A perfectly normal day. An Eden-and-Mommy day that was spectacular just for the normal-ness of it. Eden's been getting over a cold so we skipped church. We watched some shows. Read a lot of books.  Made lunch. Played school. Drove through the car wash. Went to the library. Did a little shopping. Finger painted...and then moved the paint into the bathroom and painted the bathtub.

I remember this sort of normal-ness from my childhood. Slow, lazy days at home, concentrated on discovery, keeping oneself occupied, learning, and spending the day with each other. Getting lost in our play. Making the day up as we went along.

Spending the day with the day itself.

Noticing the light on the walls as they day goes by. Letting yourself be a part of it rather than anxiously waiting for the next thing to happen.

Spending time listening to the daytime neighborhood sounds: wind chimes. Trucks. Children. Birds. Footsteps. Cars. Silence. The breeze flowing through the trees.

I am concerned that our society is forgetting what this feels like.

It feels good.



Few things are cooler than watching your child experience flow.

Scavenger Hunt


Sunny and 88 degrees in March? This calls for a scavenger hunt.Here's our list. Daddy drew the pictures.We have to find three different bushes. This one has pink flowers. This is not the tree. This one is the birds. Betcha can't find them. This bush has white flowers!Isn't she cute? Oh, yes, that is the third bush.The tree. The cool one with red berries. Kids in the pool?? Yep. Crazy.Looking for bugs.Found ants on this tree, but the camera isn't good enough to get a clear shot. Trust me, they're there.The bunnies weren't out, but Daddy walked up to the bush and saw one scurry through an open patch. We heard it!Got everything on our list!Family cheer!!!![...]

Eden's Point of View


Eden loves taking pictures, and since our camera is inexpensive I don't mind handing it over to her when she feels like taking pictures. She seems to have a knack for it. It's also a great little camera, so 90% of the time she comes up with some really cool and interesting shots! Here is Thanksgiving Walk from Eden's point of view (from a rolling stroller). She was a little blurry this day, but just wait until you see her other batch of pictures from our downtown walk! What is this shadow? I'm not sure. It's at a crosswalk.  Downtown San Diego in the backgroundA construction barrierThe skyA homeless manConstruction equipmentThe road aheadMom resting while we waited for our clam chowderDaddy making funny faces at the camera.[...]

Thanksgiving Walk


This was one of our best Thanksgivings ever. Dinner was easy and fun. We were in a hotel, so someone else vacuumed and made our beds. (The hotel staff were SO acommodating; I can't say enough good things about them.)

AND - we got to take a walk along the embarcadero that evening. This is what we saw:

It was chilly, so we bundled Eden up in a huge, soft blanket we found in the hotel closet and tucked her snug into her new jogging stroller (thank you, Stella!). "No pictures, Mommy!" she said.

These were all taken with our inexpensive Sony 8.1 megapixel Cybershot, and then cropped and autocorrected for contrast in Photoshop. I love that camera.

An Unconventional Thanksgiving


Given the atrocities taking place at our house (since we were supposed to host Thanksgiving this year) Mom and I opted to go for easy, and we had Thanksgiving dinner -- the five of us -- at Claim Jumper this year.

It was packed! Who knew so many people had the same idea? And it was tasty, too!

We forgot to take pictures during dinner, and decided to try for a family self-portrait outside, afterward.

MUCH better than boring ol' posed shots, I think! It was a really fun day (don't you think, Mom?)  ;)

The holiday I didn't ask for


The week before Thanksgiving, our house flooded. With raw sewage. Over $11k of damage. (We heart Mercury Insurance.)

Let's see, what else has happened since then?
  • A repeat flood before the property management took any action
  • Camped in our house for two weeks with no toilet and no water down the drains (hooray for being able to use the tap for drinking water and cooking!)
  • Got Nate's car back from body shop sans rear-end collision (over $11k damage there, too)
  • Nate's car went to the dealer to fix a battery issue (another $1k! But it's the first thing it's needed in 100k miles, so we are only milding whining on that one)
  • Nate was interviewing for a new job (which he landed, hooray!)
  • I've been (attempting) training for a half marathon
  • We all got sick
  • Thanksgiving somewhere in there
  • Nate's debut solo album CD release show
  • Eden's Christmas program
  • BUSY work season, for both of us
  • Water heater is now leaking...
I had a small nervous breakdown last night. It seemed like every part of my life -- marriage, finances, parenting, work, house, holidays -- was in shambles. Nothing this season was as I had planned, or expected. And none of it our fault! I felt so overwhelmed.

The quiet, unhurried, uncomplicated holiday season I was looking forward to -- a memory-making season -- was torn out of my grasp. The new holiday season I was given was certainly NOT what I wanted, and most definitely NOT what I had asked for. But it was handed to me, with all of it's decisions, harried agendas, discomfort and mayhem.

A memory-making season, no doubt.

I still feel overwhelmed. But then I look at these:

And the list doesn't seem quite so important.

...Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night...



The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.

- Robert Louis Stevenson





the sun has set
just barely
and the sky is pitch black
save a bright orange glow
on the horizon

the stars burn white
the silver moon

first family night
of fetching candy from
nearly strangers
all beneath
that silver moon

she shouts
this is so fun!
as she trips down driveways
bare arms flying in the night

purple. fairy. princess.

and over her shoulder
a THANK YOU!! flies
through the night
a heartfelt afterthought
bringing chuckles and smiles
at her beautiful honey voice

so small
so sweet

carefully pronouncing the given phrase
for requesting treats
just as she was told
probably by her teacher

following the rules with
gleeful abandon
even down to the flashlight

small hands in big hands
and yawns

this purple fairy princess
so precious

On anger, and redemption


March, 2011 -- It started at Starbucks -- I met Nate and Eden there because Nate had a gig, so I swung by on my way home from work to pick up Eden. She didn't tell us about a poopy diaper, and when we were walking out of Starbucks she could hardly walk and started crying that her bottom hurt. We were at San Diego State University, which OF COURSE doesn't have diaper changing tables in the (somewhat dirty) bathrooms. We walked a little bit, Eden limping along in tow, until we found a bathroom with a big handicap stall. I laid down our packs on the floor and tried to make it as sanitary as possible. She SCREAMED through that diaper change. Anyone who heard us must have thought I was abusing my daughter. And I forget what exactly she was doing at the sink afterward, but it made me so angry I hit the faucet and started. speaking. through. clenched. teeth. (Warning sign number one for next time.) We made it home and had a very pleasant evening together, until it was time for bath. She asked for another five minutes, which is usually no problem, but tonight she was too tired to deal with it and wasted her whole five minutes crying about the bath that had to come afterward. And then I made her get in the bath with a diaper-rash bottom. CRYing and SCREAMing, and I needed to get things ready for bed. I needed her to sit down and soak her bottom, and she was too tired to do anything but cry. I lost it. I walked in to our bedroom, may or may not have thrown our ironing board at the closet door, and screamed SHUT THE **** UP!!!!!!! at the top of my lungs to the ceiling.Wow.Meanwhile, Eden's calling, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" in fright from the bathroom and as much as I needed a minute to myself to calm down, I couldn't leave her in the bathroom alone. So I made a few ill-fated attempts to walk in and quiet her down, which ended up in a few more retreats to the bedroom to scream bloody murder and a stern "You. Need. To. STOP. CRYING." to Eden. (Which is stupid. She was tired and in pain.) She actually handled it pretty well. I know she knew I was yelling and that I was upset. She was trying her best to calm herself. ("Mommy (hiccup) I (hiccup) stopped (hiccup) cryyyy----innnnnngggggg....[more crying].) I breathed, "God, help me, I can NOT do this," and walked back in to the bathroom. Got down on my knees. Hugged her, wiped her face with a cloth and told her I was sorry. That it was wrong to yell, that Mommy was sorry, and I loved her very much, she was a very good girl and it was okay for her to cry if she needed to. That I was sorry her bottom hurt so much, and let's try and take care of it for you.She fell asleep not even five minutes at my breast and that's when I cried. Cried because I selfishly wanted her to say she forgave me and understoond. Cried because I couldn't handle it. Cried because she hadn't done anything wrong. Cried because I remember so many, many days when I was a young teenager, and yelled the same way at my brother and sisters because they wouldn't do what I had asked...and I was supposed to be in charge...and I didn't know what else to do.It's terrifying to realize how thin the line is between going off your rocker and behaving the way you should as a parent.   I wrote that out for my blog but never posted it....partly because it is embarassing, but mostly because it unnerved me, and I didn't want to dwell on it.   We've had a number of tantrums since that day. Not a ton -- Eden is very mild-tempered, good natured, and can often verbalize her way out of frustration -- but she is still a preschooler, and so there you go.   Tonight, however, was a doozy. Nate has been out of town for a week and it's been hard on Eden. She's handled it pretty well, but I can tell from the clingy [...]

Labor Day


Better posted late, than never -- We started outside... Drawing rainbows on the sidewalkPainting with vegetablesTurns into finger -- I mean, BODY paintingAnd, perhaps, pottery paintingWhy not? More white sounds good.On a paint-friendly tableThe paper is just there, let's just get rid of the paper"I'm making a million pickles!"Experiential Learning (aka Making A Big Mess)Who's counting now? Hey! We can write in this stuff!Hair's pulled back now, so you know it's serious.And the clean-up,my friends,is what we mean when we say "Labor Day"at the Jarrell house(p.s. It was well worth it.)[...]

This painful practice of falling in love


Every time I find myself composing posts in my head, it's in letter form to Eden.

"Dear Eden, I just want you to know how proud I was of you today."
"Dear Eden, I missed you so much while I was at work today."
"Dear Eden, you had a hard day today and I wasn't sure how to deal with it."

It's like I'm scared to try and write about other things, to write about myself. I want to ignore that part. And I don't want to forget a millisecond of the other.

I can't seem to shake this sense that I've got to do it right, that there is only one chance, that might be the day. Or tomorrow.

It is unusual for a child's parent to die, I tell myself. But it's such a hard feeling to shake.

Friends and coworkers joke about getting old, about "milestone birthdays." Joke about turning 29 again. Forty doesn't seem old to me, but it is a looming milestone. It would mean I only have 8 years -- really, 7 years -- left. And that doesn't seem long enough.

It's not a morose feeling (anymore) and I'm not depressed. It's more like an expectation, except I know it's irrational and I should just let it go. It's very similar to the feeling I got several years after my rollover car accident, every time I would drive past an SUV. It's like Pavlov's dog, a conditioned response of sorts.

It makes me want to throw caution to the wind, quit my job, and spend every waking minute I have with my family. But that isn't rational, either. We depend on my job for the income, for the health care, for the retirement...for the mortgage, school.... And work is something I value -- making a difference, leading the way, helping, honing and refining one's gifts for the greater good. Traits I want to model for her.

I can't tell where to draw the line between feeling guilty and feeling relieved. Between worry and preparation. Between acceptance and anticipation.

It's not every day that I feel these things, think these things. It's like a comes, it goes, it comes, it goes. Ebb and flow.

It's such a painful practice to fall deeply in love again after having lost it. I'm not quite sure how it's done.

"...So you know I love you."


Ring ring. It's Nate's cell phone.


[Pause. Did he pocket call me?]

"Hi Mommy!!"

"Hi Eden!"

"I got a LIIIIME flavor!"

[They had planned to get Viva Pops today. Local, organic fruit pops that are the best in the world.]

"Oh, those are SO GOOD! Did you like it?"

"Yeah!! It was good."

"What flavor did Daddy get?"

"Daddy got lime, too!!"

"So you guys matched."

"Yeah! Mommy, how are you?"

"I'm good."

"Are you coming home now?"

"No, I will come home at dinner time after you and Daddy have play time this afternoon. Then we will all be together all night and we can play!"

"Oh. I am going to send you a message after I call you. So you know I love you."

[my heart catches in my throat]

"Oh, thank you, Sweetie! I will send you a message, too."

One day I'll be glad I wrote this down.


Today was just another day. One of those days where Nate and I don't see each other till the very end of the day, and then we're full of stories about this and that and the other that Eden did. Full of the this and the that and the other that is so precious, yet so fleeting. Parental brains have little capacity for memory. Sort of like...sand.

Daddy and Papa went to a preseason Charger game tonight, so I picked Eden up from Grandma's. Since she hadn't had a nap, I snagged the chance to take her to the mall. (See, usually she and Nate do so many "out" things while I'm at work that by the time I get home, she usually doesn't want to go anywhere.)

Before we got in the car she wanted to run and run around their front planter. Just because. Her long, strong and slender legs pumped up and down in her pink and white polka dot leggings. I couldn't believe she had enough energy -- her eyes were rimmed red, she was so tired. But she must have gone around 15 or 20 times. Just because. (Wish I felt like that. Maybe I should!)

One of the things we got at Target were light bulbs. She didn't remember the light being broken, so I was told her a lightbulb was sort of like a battery -- it doesn't look broken, but it will run out of energy and stop working, and needs to be replaced. "OH! Batteries and lighbulbs," she says. A pause, then, "they rhyme."

Earlier in the day she walked up to Nate and said, "Do cat's poop?"
"Yes, they do."
"I think one of them pooped in here."
"That's not poop. That's barf."
"What's barf?"
"Sometimes Oscar makes his food come back out from his tummy, and that's barf."
Thanks, Dad, for teaching her the word "barf."

Nate asked her if anyone at school ever gets in trouble. "Mmm Hmm," she said. "But mostly just the boys." Yep, True dat.

There was more. But I forgot.

(Annual) Update: My Great Garden Adventure


Well, it's the dirt that did it. The wonderful compost that my fabulous mother brought down from her magic chickens up in Julian.Bugs' eye view of my squash plantRandom flowerAnd now, you see, my garden is doing GREAT now. I can't believe it. Has someone been praying for my plants? Did the earth shift on its axis? Is there a secret gardening fairy who has taken pity on my black thumb?Nope, I think it's the chickens.And my mom.And the water. That helps, too.First tomatoSquash blossomThese grew by accident in my compost bin. [...]

My guilty pleasure...

2011-07-10T21:11:51.498-07:00 after dinner.

Never let me go until you've told me...


"Hold me, hold me, never let me go until you've told me..." croons Daddy to Eden

and then one day

"Hold me, hold me, never let me go until you've told me..." croons Eden back to her Daddy


head swaying back and forth

the whole deal

One day, "Hold me, hold me...." croon Mommy and Daddy to Eden (in a big family bear hug)

"Stop! Stop!" she cries

We can do it this way, she says

"Hold us, hold us, never let us go until you told us!"

At which crazy giggles ensue

Not three...yet...


Tonight while you were falling asleep you told me an elaborate plan you had about how you were going to go to sleep, then I would go to my room, then you would wake up, come in my room, I would come back with you to your bed, and we would be together. I told you yes, that would be fine. But that it would also be fine if you rolled over and went back to sleep, if you decided you didn't need me. I told you that, as you get bigger, there will be times when you need me, and times when you don't need me.

You stopped nursing and said, "yes, but I am only two."

Where did that come from?

Yes, my dear Peanut, you are only two. And you are a great two.

You are so articulate and tall that sometimes we forget you are just two. Daddy picked you up at the grocery register the other day when you said, "I'm tired Daddy, hold me." The checker asked how old you were, and Daddy said, "Just two."

"Wow," said the checker. "I thought you just picked up a 4 year old because she was compaining of being tired.

(Now I've never had a four year old before so I'm not entirely sure we won't be picking you up now and then when you're four, but that's a conversation for another day. About a year and half from now. Although....if you keep growing at the rate you are, it might not be an option! hee.)

You seem to be gliding through live with so much ease. It's not always easy for you, but for the most part you seem to be in a good place. Preschool has been a welcome transition for you. So has Sienna. You demand some routine (mostly at night!) but you can hang with the flow of your Daddy's schedule, and you often go with him to his rehearsals and practices, or on errands. A lot of parents can't take their kids places we take you. (And thank you for that. I know I tell you this all the time, but we really appreciate it!)

I just want you to know, though, kiddo, that as much as we expect of you, and as well as you are doing, your Daddy and I both know you're still just two. We're not in a rush for you to grow up. We're still okay with it if you need to be a toddler again for awhile. We're crazy excited to see you growing inside and outside, but we love you just for who you are. Right now. In this moment.

Always, Peanut. Always.

On Chocolate.


I've been working a lot lately, Peanut -- and you really miss me these days. I am really missing you, too. I thank God that I have the job I do, and the team I do, because if I didn't, I don't think I'd have the luxury of the give-and-take that I do. But I have to say work has been getting more of the "give" lately, and you've been stuck with more of the "take."See, I know that I have a week off coming up. And I know that we've got the three-day weekend ahead of us. And you're getting older and starting to comprehend time a little better. But I still think it's hard on you not to have me in the now.And it's hard on me to be gone, missing moments.So, we make the best of the moments we have! Thursday night Daddy was still a little sick, and I was really tired and we were all a little restless after dinner. I said, "I want some ice cream," to no one in particular, and you took that as an invitation to take me to Baskin Robbins. Which I agreed was a good plan.You've been wanting to take me to Baskin Robbins for awhile now -- Daddy took you the other day and you just thought it was SO COOL and ever since have been talking about how, some day, you're going to take me there and show me the ice cream store with all the FLAVORS! So we threw on our shoes and off we went.In the car you decided you wanted chocolate. You love chocolate anything, but you especially love chocolate ice cream. I wanted Rocky Road. (You were okay with that decision because it looked pretty much like chocolate.) You got a cone, which is rather new for you (you told me you didn't realize you could eat the cone!) and I got my cup, and we sat down in the chairs. I could hardly stand how cute you were with the chocolate all over your face, and on the tip of your nose. But what got me the most were your eyes. There were shining. Sparkling. You were aglow. We were together. WITH ICE CREAM! Just Mommy and Eden!! It made me so proud and so happy to see your heart exploding with joy. When you are older and if you are a mommy you will understand why it also made me a little sad -- because I wonder if the loss of me day to day increases your joy with me when I am home. One way or the other, it was one of the best evenings of my life. Right up there with the afternoons playing in your room when you were 9 months old with the evening sun lighting up your room in a golden glow. With the ethereal mornings when you were a tiny baby, nestled up to me tummy to tummy, nursing and cuddling and sleeping. With our quiet times outside before the neighborhood exploded with kids and we were just the two of us, exploring and discovering together. After ice cream we decided we were having so much fun we decided to take my car through the car wash, go buy daddy some medicine at Target, and go to Kohl's to buy mommy some exercise pants. It was the best evening of the whole week! It's fun to get to watch you grow up, and I'm realizing how much fun we're going to have together over the years. Hanging out with you is a pretty cool thing. One of my best, most happiest things![...]

I'm pretty sure this is normal...right?


Life is a balancing act.
Work vs. home
Healthy vs. quick
Home vs. school
Diapers vs. potty
Laundry vs. dishes
Family time vs. "me" time
And sleep vs. Everything Else

And questions:

Should I be encouraging weaning more strongly?
Am I smothering her?
Is she getting enough time with me?
Am I slipping at work?

And, oh, there's being married, too. Remember that boy you fell in love with in high school?

Which leads to the forgetting ---

Return library books
Pick up dry cleaning
Call [insert name here] on his/her birthday
Buy bread and milk
Get a smog test
Take my vitamins



Or, ... becoming?



And some happy memories.


I actually wrote this several weeks ago but never published it.  It's been a helluva few weeks lately. Eden has been throwing tantrums every morning and evening. (Well, and throughout the day, too, but I'm the lucky one at work during those.) The sun comes out in between storms, but the storms...they are thundrous. And Nate and I aren't seeing eye to eye on how to deal with them, either. I'm worn out and worn down and quite firmly at the end of my rope. Maybe she'll wake up with molars tomorrow and it will all go away. Or, maybe we're supremely incompetent parents without the slightest clue how to parent a two-year-old. Anyway, I logged on to write about all this here, then found this old post. It is good to remember that fun night. It's just the breath of fresh air I needed. And, for the record, Juana is starting back up again on Monday.***Today sucked, but it was a fabulous day, too. I'm loving work right now, but the sheer quantity of it is overwhelming and quite stressful. I'm loving my family right now, but I never get to see them and I miss them like hell. I'm loving my self right now, but I don't get enough sleep and exercise feels like a mirage. I'm a million miles wide and an inch deep, and unless someone is going to add a few more hours to my day, I've got to figure out another way to get this thing called "life" done. I don't really see that there is anything to cut...only things to add. So I'm going to have to figure out how to do things smarter. Guess I really need to bite the bullet and hire a housekeeper. (Ugh.)Eden was an absolute ham tonight, so sweet and hilarious. I wish we'd had a camera following us around all evening. She wanted to go to Swami's for dinner, so we went. It's like home away from home, one of our favorite places to go. She had Nate and I cracking up as she ordered her pancake and milk like a pro from the wine menu (the portfolio was small, just her size). She had the system down pat, and handled that waitress more skillfully than many an adult. And, after dinner, she successfully used the bathroom and ran back across the restaurant to Nate yelling, "I did it, Daddy! I went potty!" at the top of her lungs. All the women and most of the men were smiling at her. A cute (and un-related) picture of my little (big) girl.Off, then, to the mall, for a quick trip to See's (Eden's "Mommy, Daddy, and Eden, our FAM-I-LEEE!" under her breath as we left was too cute) before stocking up at Target ("Buy your pants at Target, Daddy, Target has everything we need!"). She was running up and down the aisles singing, dancing, and lifting everything but the cat litter into the cart herself with lots of comments about how strong she is ("I have ARM strength!").There is nothing in all the world as wonderful as coming home worn out from work and having one of those golden, I-couldn't-plan-this-if-I'd-tried kind of evenings with your family. Not a thing.[...]

In other words, 6-10


Things Eden has said that I don't want to forget.

6. (Looking at her baby photo album) Wowww, Papa looks young! Look at his hair!
7. Look, Mommy, another moon!
8. (Pouring milk) I did it, Daddy! I'm STRONG! (holding up her arms and shaking)
9. Basket-hoop (basket ball)
10. In Target, while dancing down the aisle, "I'm strong! I have arm strength!"

(I realize these will not bring as much joy to anyone else besides her dad and I, but we've got mental pictures to go along with these that are just hilarious. So please indulge my record-keeping.)