October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m moving.

Not really moving moving, but my blog is moving.


It just seems like time for a change.

I started this blog as Mama, more when Lena was almost a year old, just starting to talk, and the one word she knew in sign language was “more”, and when she would ask for more, she would let the her appellation for me run together with the word “more”, leading to these plaintive calls of, “Mama, more? Mamore? Mamore?

And at the time that was just so important. My daughter demanding more, the most, from me. And this still is the most important thing. But, as I’m learning, there are other things, too. (Like, reality television and YAF novels!)

So you may have noticed that Mama, more has been slowly evolving in name and in form, now to Welcome to the nerf herders.

Welcome to the nerf herders is partly homage to Alex. For calling my daughter a “nerf herder” and making her laugh endlessly. Welcome to the nerf herders is an evolution of sorts. If Mama, more was about me facing the immediate demands of motherhood, Welcome to the nerf herders is about me finding my niche, with Lena and with all of the intricacies of relationships that come with being a young parent. Or, you know, a nerf herder.

So without further ado, Welcome to the nerf herders.

Thanks for sticking around here, and reading. I hope you’ll join me for my next adventure.




Lost and found and found and found

September 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of thoughts and feelings and new things that are going through my head. This is of course, not at all true, because I’m about to try to do it right now. But I’m doing it in list form for purely organizational reasons.

1. I’m on the board. I joined the board of directors for L’s daycare. I can’t say too much about it because we’re having our first meeting tonight (!!) but I’m already excited about it–a glimpse into how daycare works. Did you know that there are different philosophies for early childhood education?? WHO KNEW? (Except for everyone that works in early childhood education.) So there’s a little voice that’s going what the hell did i sign up for? because there are meetings to attend and budgets to approve, but I think that the amount that I’ll learn about the center, about how a board works, about people, about myself, will make it worth it. Also, they’re serving veggie lasagna for tonight’s meeting. So, score.

2. I went to my first science conference…and also have a science blog. Because I am dorky. I presented a poster and went to talks and will probably write more in depth about it at lab-girl-writes because I don’t want to inundate you here with it.

3. Transitioning to soccer mom. Some of L’s daycare friends are on the YMCA soccer team, so I inadvertently signed L up and she’s on the waitlist for the team. I secretly home she doesn’t get on, because if she does, I know what I will be doing every. saturday. morning. at 8:50. Until the end of time. (aka october). I’m only half kidding. I secretly am really excited and will soon be bugging all of you to come watch my 3 year old “play” soccer. I’ll be the one with the coffee and the bailey’s. Just sayin’.

4. Reading. I’ve started reading again. I completely decimated the game of thrones series, but I’m reading good stuff too. I just started Cleopatra: A life, as well as Francine Prose’s Reading like a writer which I cannot WAIT to finish and recommend. She has this amazing booklist at the end and I’m really excited to start on that and revisit a lot of the classics that I was forced to read in high school/college and subsequently do not remember anything about them. (My mother was a fish, something about symbolism of some green lantern thing, and You your best thing, sethe, you are) <–literally a summation of what I read in high school.

5. Science Ok, I said I would save this for my other blog, but some is here too–I LOVE science. I had an amazing time at this conference, so now/not now/eventually/or whatever I need to decide, grad school?? genetic counselling?? What do I do with my life?

6. Alex/Lena/Aspen/Relationships. For whatever reason, I’ve hit a stride with relationships. Between the boyfriend/the best friend/having a daughter/being a daughter, I would just like to say I have been rocking out all of these things. Alex and I are doing great. Aspen’s on campus more (getting her Masters in Planning (amazzzinggg)) so we get to see each other more, Lena is just, Lena, and my parents and I have been getting along so well. It’s incredible. I hope I can keep it up, because jeez, this is how it should be.

7. Speaking of relationships, I feel like I’m only just beginning to get to know my grandmother. I got to spend some time with her while I was in DC, and wow, she is a really amazing woman. I will without a doubt be writing more about that.

8. With all of this it’s really hard to grasp the fact that I’m only 23. Sometimes I feel self-conscious about it. People that aren’t in my situation tend to look at their own experiences and say to me, ‘but you’ve never lived away from home, you haven’t traveled a lot, you haven’t had a lot of jobs’ and I used to think that that was the only range of experience people were supposed to have. Like in your twenties you’re supposed to move to a big city and be poor or go to China and teach english or be a bike messenger or work on a manuscript, and I thought that was how it was supposed to be. But I’m just kind of realizing, you know what? I think I’m going to be on the board of directors and be a soccer mom in my 20s, and see where the world takes me. For one of the first times in my life (now, right now) I’m learning to not be so apologetic for my actions and decisions. And only you can make yourself feel inferior. And the next time someone “feels sorry” for me, I’m gonna be like, don’t. Please don’t. I get to play Left for Dead before picking up my kid at daycare. I get to stand and watch my kid chase a soccer ball while drinking coffee and baileys at 9 am on a saturday. I have a best friend. I have a family. I said this to Alex last night, and he called me out on it, in such a good way. I am so blessed. There’s not really a better way to put it. Blessed. And I’m only 23. And I’ve got my whole life to live. My whole life! Gosh, can you just imagine it?


July 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

There are some things that I never really thought about before having kids, and now am utterly thankful for them. Without further ado, I give you the top six things that never fully appreciated before having kids.

1. Take-out
I was never a big take-out person pre-Lena. Sure, I did the requisite college late night pizza thing, (Pokey stix…) but I’ve always enjoyed cooking and going out to eat with friends. Now, take out is like, the most awesome special treat that I can have during the week. A meal in the comfort of my own home that I don’t have to cook? No dishes to clean afterwards? After a long/stressful day of work, this is my idea of heaven. I had that first glorious taste of it a few weeks after Lena was born. There was a knock on the door and then there was a guy holding a lasagna. For me. This was the most amazing experience of my life. (Also, a huge thanks to Bob and Jenny–who ordered me a lasagna from all the way in England that would arrive at my door.) Hold on, I’m getting tears in my eyes. And, uhh…I’m not really this lame all the time. We don’t do take-out that much, my mom and I still cook a lot and enjoy every minute of it, but sometimes it’s nice to just say, hey, I’m going to pick up chicken and macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes and green beans from Boston Market on the way home. See you there.

2. Kid-friendly restaurants with good beer selections
I swear this is how I get friends to come out to dinner with me. I’m lookin’ at you Aspen “Can we go somewhere with a good beer selection?” Price. This could also be categorized as restaurants as simply, good local restaurants that are kid-friendly. I have a co-worker that likes to talk about the only restaurant she can take her son to is Red Robin because he watches tv the whole time. Thank god for awesome chapel hill-carrboro-durham restaurants that are great with kids. (Here’s to you, Southern Rail, Tyler’s, Brixx.)

3. People that are naturally good with kids
Some people are naturally really good around kids. I previously was not one of these. I mean, maybe, and I’m still a little worried that I won’t know how to act around Lena when she’s 5 (what if she notices how awkward I am??), but there are just some people that are so undeniably good with my child that I really have to keep myself from just falling to the floor crying when they offer to get my kid a glass of water and she takes it from them. Okay, it helps that a lot of my friends work with kids and have a ton of experience with kids, but seriously, these people go above and beyond anything I could expect when dealing with my child. Here’s to you. You surpassed my wildest imagination.

4. Pixar
I’ve been hard on Pixar before. They tend to err on the side of more strong male characters and less strong female characters, but that is a whole other societal issue that I’m not going to fault them for at the moment. Because, there is no denying this, every movie they make is pure gold. These guys (In the gender neutral term but they’re mostly guys) know kids. And they know adults. And Pixar movies are the only movies I can reliably watch Lena and be completely satisfied with every image she is seeing, every piece of dialogue that she hears. Dreamworks, on the other hand. You are responsible for when Lena sometimes says, “We’re all going to die!!!” Pixar though, Pixar has put names and images to a wide variety of feelings–jealousy, abandonment–and shown her invaluable lessons–friendship, responsibility. I know partly it’s L growing up, and it’s not like she really learned all this just from Toy Story, but Lena is really beginning to play with her toys, giving them voices and names and actions, and it’s just so clear that the folks at Pixar just know kids. And the daycare scenes in Toy Story 3, priceless.

5. Daycare professionals
To the people that spend eight hours a day with my child, I cannot ever give enough thanks. Lena’s at a great daycare, where they have an amazing curriculum, and all the teachers are experienced and ready and willing to help me and Lena with whatever we need. I’ve learned so much but interacting with these wonderful women (they are all women.) I’ve learned a lot about being a parent–what it means to be an advocate for your kid–something that did not come naturally to me, but now I’ve found my parental voice, and I’m in the process of understanding that that means and learning how to use it. And to the people that not only keep my kid safe and happy for most of the day, while also helping me be a better parent, thank you.

6. Family
I really just need to get this tatooed on my forehead, for the amount that I say it to everyone that I meet that thinks I’m doing a great job, or asks how I do it, or compliments me on Lena’s behavior–I could not do this without my family. I have the greatest parents in the world, and not to say that I didn’t know that before I had Lena, but they have risen above and beyond in raising Lena. And me, for that matter. I only really hope I can repay them some day. And since I have kind of a shoddy work ethic and don’t want to exert too much effort into anything at all, I can only hope that I win the lottery some time soon in order to buy them a house in Cape Cod. (Look ma! I’m learning!)

This is an every evolving list, as day to day I discover more and more hidden things in the world that just make me think that, yes, someone is rooting for me. Because parenting is hard. And it’s isolating. But we can’t let ourselves get stuck in that mindset. Because there are some great things about being a parent. (Some?? Rachael, really? Just some???) And I appreciate everyone around me that helps open my eyes to that.

the most important thing

April 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Lena is growing every day. Seriously. All of her pants are like an inch above the ankle, and I don’t want to buy her more pants because we’re almost out of pants season and then we’ll just have to buy her more pants, etc etc etc, although today I received a not-so-subtle comment from a teacher at day care stating that, “Lena seems to be getting taller every day.” No, just say what you really mean, YOU THINK I’M A BAD MOM BECAUSE OF THE PANTS.

When really, we have a plethora of 24 month jeans. Beautiful dark jeans with appliques on them, pretty embroidered flowers. Pink jeans, blue jeans, everything from Ralph Lauren to Roxy.

And she won’t wear them.

Only the grey sweatpants that are 2inches too short. Or the pink sweat pants. Or the blue sweatpants. We have a gazillion osh kosh overalls and the only thing my kid will wear is sweatpants. I love osh kosh overalls.


The most important thing,  more important than the state of her pants, the most important thing is the beautiful little person that Lena is turning out to be. And I’ve realized, (I mean I’ve known this forever, but haven’t really ever believed it) is that I’ve got to be the best person I can be around her, and only hope that she follows suit.

Case and point:

Alex and Lena and I were driving back from the beach this weekend. We forgo fast food for a small cafe where I can get a caffeine fix and we can eat sundried tomato bagels for lunch. We all sit down, our bagels toasted, the coffee hot, and Alex says, “Thanks for lunch, mom”. And I smile at him, say, “No problem,” and then there’s this little echo:

“Thank you for lunch, mommy.”

And it’s Lena, her head just barely clearing the table top, her mouth already covered in cream cheese, saying so politely, so honestly, thank you.

And I’m not going to lie, it brought tears to my eyes. And I said the only thing you could say in that moment, “You are very welcome, Lena.”

Because have you ever thought about that statement? “You’re welcome”? I’ve never meant it more in that instant than sitting with Alex and Lena, and a little cafe in who knows where, that yes, you are so welcome. Please, make yourself comfortable, stay a while, stay a long while. Hell, you can stay forever, that’s what I had in mind, because you are welcome. So very very welcome.

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