On the origin of tic tacs.

Mog is always curious about the origins of things. Today he asked, "Mom, what are tic tacs made of?"

I replied, with a thinking frown, "Sugar, mostly, I'd guess."

Holding a little orange sample up close to his face, examining it, he says, "So...they take the sugar, and they put the orange stuff on it, and then they round it off...and then they put in the tacs and sell it to Walmart?"

"Pretty much. That sounds about right."

"Hunh." He turns it around one more time in his little fingers before popping it into his mouth.

Orange tic tac ingredients, for the curious: "sugar, maltodextrin, tartaric acid, natural and artificial flavors, rice starch, gum arabic, magnesium stearate, ascorbic acid, yellow 6, carnauba wax"

Yum. Sounds appetizing, right?!


Larkin may have had the right idea.

Sometimes Mog tests my patience to its limit. What?! Surely not! A four-year-old boy? Nah. Look at this face:

Is he not the very picture of innocence and adorability?

Don't let him fool you, people. That cuteness masks a whole lot of stubborn, highly demanding, often clingy, four-year-old hijinks. Add that to the Momma from whom he inherited all those traits, a Momma who is domestically challenged, yet playing stay-at-home Mommy for the summer WITH NO DAYCARE, mix in a bit of muggy weather, and you get some real crankiness. Did I mention that Mog is not going to daycare this summer? At all? Any days? Okay, just making sure.

Today was one of those days where really, I was just about done in. I can only participate in couch cushion fortress assembly, Matchbox car races through the entire house, dance-a-longs to an entire CD of songs whose lyrics reference tractors, and other such delightful shenanigans for so many days in a row before I begin to go insane.

It has come to my attention that I have absolutely no ability to balance my other responsibilities with taking care of my son. When he is here, it is ALL Mog ALL the time. It's like I'm a grandparent instead of a parent. I focus 100% of my attention on him and push aside all the not so important stuff--laundry and other household chores, paying bills, grocery shopping, etc.--and during the school year, this kind of semi, sorta-ish works because I jamb all of the other life crap into the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday when I work, and then Tuesdays and Thursdays, when it's just him and me, it's party time! This approach (and honestly, I didn't even realize it was a pattern with me until here lately) clearly is not going to work all summer long. Not only am I going to end up getting my utilities shut off for nonpayment, but also, I am going to go shit ass crazy. Shit. Ass. Crazy. This is not your normal, run-of-the-mill "this kid is driving me crazy," crazy, people. I'm talking about clawing at your own face, pulling out your hair and eating it crazy. Hyperbole much? No. Not at all.

Ahem. Where were we? Ah, yes. I have to find a way to balance things. A better, more responsible means of parenting. I won't deny that part of my parental style probably has to do with being divorced. Who doesn't want to be the "fun" parent, after all? In the back of my mind, no matter how much I tell myself to grow up and be rational, lurks this terror that someday, he won't want to live with me. Someday he'll choose his dad over me. Someday I'll lose him. He'll leave me too. Just like his dad did. (Oh fuck off, Freud! What do you know?!)

Then again, I had these tendencies before the divorce too. The 100% undivided, all my attention on the baby/kiddo. When he was born, this little guy was suddenly my whole world. How could it be otherwise? (Don't worry--I've already begun a savings account for Mog, which I try to contribute to regularly in order to offset the cost of the extensive psychotherapy he will need later in life.)

Philip Larkin's "This Be the Verse" keeps running through my mind, in a closed loop.

 All of this is just to lead up to the ridiculous irony, the fact that all day long I've been thinking (okay, I may have also said it aloud ONCE) "Thank God he's spending the night with his father tonight." When is he getting picked up? What time is it now? *checking clock repeatedly* And yet the very minute I hear vehicle tires crunching over the driveway gravel, my deliverance(!), I am bereft. Even before the hugs and goodbyes, and the last-minute grabbing of essential toys, my stomach gaps with the wide open emptiness. I don't know what to do without him here. He's gone, and I'm a shell.

I realize how dumb this all sounds. And whiny. It sounds whiny, even to me. As though I just refuse to be happy, either way. I kind of want to smack myself and yell in my own face, "Shut up, you with your fake problems!"

Sometimes I tell myself Mog would be better off if I turned him over to his father entirely: surely Eli couldn't fuck him up as badly as I am bound to. And then pretty quickly, I think, "Nah. ... That dude's got issues too." ;)

So tell me, oh wise Internet, what is the answer? How does one raise a child, this walking, talking, thinking being of whom one is in near constant awe, without turning him/her into a spoiled rotten, ungrateful little punk with a sense of entitlement OR a sniveling, non-functioning adult with severe Mommy issues? Because honestly, some days I have no idea.

Also, I'm pretty sure my water bill is past due.


Stitching up work from one of my favorite artists.

I think I blogged about this project when I first started it, but here it is finished: 

My niece Zayda is forever drawing pictures and writing stories to mail to Eliot and me. I have a never-ending source of embroidery inspiration in her artwork! It was surprisingly easy to transfer this picture to fabric without ruining the original drawing. I just used a piece of tracing paper to trace her lines, then flipped the tracing paper over and traced over the design with an iron-on transfer pen (had to flip it so that the words would iron on correctly). Then ironed the design onto some plain white fabric, and voila! stitched over it. Easy peasy.

I'm going to frame it, so I've mounted it on some self-adhesive board. I wrote on the back "Drawn by Z___, Embroidered by Rachel Panepinto," along with the year. That way I won't look at this someday and wonder what the hell it is.

It's ready for an 8x10 frame, and then I believe it shall hang in Eliot's room.

I love collaborating with the kiddos. They're much more creative than I am!
Here's the next of Z's drawings I'd like to translate to embroidery:

I was informed by the artist herself that this is a picture of her thinking about Eliot. They're very dramatic about missing one another.  As we live an hour away from my sister and her family, Eliot and Z don't get to see each other nearly as often as they'd like. They'd prefer to be joined at the hip 24/7. Of course, it only takes twenty minutes or so of each other's company for them to start squabbling like siblings, so the 24/7 thing would probably grow old rather quickly. LOL.

We're actually quite lucky to live as close as we do. And if we weren't at least this far away, we wouldn't get happy mail all the time! :)


In the moment.

Currently, I am:

*Playing Words With Friends on my Android phone. I'm mrs.breadpony, should you wish to start a game with me. Is it weird that I'm delighted that Steven can totally kick my ass at this game?!

*Listening to the Florence + the Machine channel on Pandora Radio. I may never change this channel.

*Crying over this stoopid rental house:

Roaches, water leaks, broken air conditioning, plaster falling from the ceiling?! I'm very afraid of what's next...

*Being cheered up by these two serenading me in the car. "When I see your face, there's not a thing that I would change...":

They always know how to make it all better.

I have the day to myself today. I predict a lot of lounging about, pointless internet browsing, and sitting on the porch with bare feet, reading a book and/or stitching. These are my goals.


And then our creative vision began to diverge.

Remember the embroidered tractor quilt project? Yeah, that one. The one in the post below this.

Well, Eliot must have decided that the tractors were a bit too minimalist for his taste. What they really need, apparently, is smoke roiling from the smoke stack, forks on front and back, with big black bales of hay on each, and a cab. He assures me that this one has air conditioning and a television inside the cab. (Oh, you thought they looked like random scribbles? Well. You're wrong.)

Oh well. I'm not one to stifle creativity. Just wondering how the hell I'm going to stitch it...LOL



This summer will be the first time since Eliot was four months old that I've really been a stay-at-home Mom. I'm both looking forward to and dreading spending so much time together. ;)

Today is a Mommy and Eliot day, and so far...we're both surviving. He has built a fort out of the couch:

and generously helped Mommy by opening the mail:

I have a feeling I will be ready for school to start again once August rolls around...LOL

Having a constant little helper is not all bad, though. He's been entertaining me with his hilarious thoughts and questions: "What's inside of a carrot? You wanna play cops and robbins with me? What's inside of walls? *pounding on the wall with his fist* I think I hear bricks inside this wall."

And...he likes being crafty! Usually this involves paper and scissors and results in a million tiny slivers of paper all over the floor and him standing in the midst of it, shaking his head, "Mom, this is ridicleous! I think we're gonna need the vacuum for this."

We've gotten started on a more productive collaboration, however. Every time Eliot sees me stitching something, he asks two questions: 1) Is that for me? and 2) Is it a tractor? Finally, I can say, "Yes. And yes."

My mom found a package of quilt blocks with tractors, and after debating a bit how I should stitch them (Admire the lovely chain stitch on the tire, which is supposed to look more like "tread."), I decided this was something Eliot and I could work on together.

He's coloring; I'm stitching. Our first block is John Deere:

There are five more tractor blocks left. We're thinking Allis Chalmers, Minneapolis-Moline, International, Ford, and Massey Ferguson...

Wish us luck. We may need it! :D