Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I see you...


Favorite new phrases: "Come on", "You ok?", "Daddy's back!", "More Chockchit?" (chockchit = chocolate), and "I am Margaret Zuzu".

Favorite book: Goodnight Moon

Favorite food: Beans

Favorite drink: Almond Milk

Favorite friends: Mommy, Daddy and Blanket

Favorite Outfit: Cowboy Boots, Polka Dot Tights, Tutu and Heart Hoodie

Favorite Disney Princess: Ariel

Favorite Indoor Activity: Dancing

Favorite Outdoor Activity: Dancing

Still hates baths.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Popcorn Poppin' on the...

Riley flew up to Oregon yesterday. He is gone until Monday. I hate it.

Blog confessional...I was almost excited about this alone time. I don't remember what it is like to be by myself. It has occurred to me lately that I might not mind remembering. This weekend was to be the perfect walk down memory lane. (Yes, I still have a 22mo old at home with me, but Margaret sleeps nearly four hours a day and then goes to bed at 7:30 each night. That is a lot of Megan time.)

There was considerable determination to be ultra productive in Riley's absence. I was going to make serious headway on my writing, acquaint myself with a yet to be determined literary classic and maybe master some basics of the french culinary tradition. You know, nothing much.

Riley has been gone for just over 24 hours. Margaret has been napping like it is her job. The weekend of Megan is well underway. And...the writing is pedestrian, I can't focus on reading and, let's face it, french food is just a titch trendy right now.

My bed is empty. Margaret doesn't get my jokes. The "i am lonely" self pity eating has gotten out of control. I am currently consuming my body weight in popcorn...I made yesterday.

I remember now what it is like to be by myself and I cannot believe it is only Friday night.

This Guy. I like him.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I think I have a lovely smile. I have seen it reflected in mirrors, windows and the odd clean spoon. I know it exists. However, there is little record to this effect. Point a camera lens at me and that smile disappears leaving something very, very different in its place. In most photographs I appear to be baring my teeth in an effort to intimidate some very menacing animal in the distance.


Enter one Heather Mildenstein. Heather is the creative force behind, The Coterie Blog, a lovely haven of whimsical delights. Mrs. Mildenstein is an expert in many fields, and I thank my lucky stars that photography is one of them. We will be sending out a Christmas card for the very first time this year and it is all thanks to her wonderful work.

Not bad, right?

Feel like documenting your family this Christmas and looking good while doing it? Contact Heather at heather@thecoterieblog.com (she is great with kids!)

Monday, December 6, 2010


Dear Margaret,

Last night was a hard night.

I read a story about a mom just like me that lost a daughter just like you.

Your Dad held me while I cried in our bed.
Have I mentioned how sweet our Riley is? He wanted to go wake you up so that you could cuddle me better.

It was very tempting.

I decided to let you sleep.

Today has not been hard.

We have so much fun together.
Every morning you play in your crib, chattering with people I can't see.
Finally, you call for me and I open the door to your room. You shout, "HI MOMMY!"

Hi baby girl.

Our days are filmy with fun and frolic.

You help me sweep. We dance. We read. You yell. I laugh.

You love The Little Mermaid, soup and singing.

I love you.

Tonight will be a better night.

I am going to stop worrying about tomorrow. You give me too many good todays.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

From this moment on...

Cowgirl Margaret
Dear Margaret,

You turned 18 months old yesterday. I am not much for the marking of milestones. I forget anniversaries and birthdays...even when they are my own. Ideally, I would have you believe that this forgetfulness is the result of my being so preoccupied with saving the world. I can just hear the conversations on the playground that this explanation would lead to...

"oh my mom forgot it was my birthday because she was curing world hunger, what did your mom do for your birthday...bake a cake?"

In reality the forgetfulness most likely stems from my distaste of change I cannot control. Every birthday takes me further from the life I am living and closer to stiff joints and chronic hemorroids. I grow attached to a moment so quickly and then find myself surprised when it trips away. It seems we are given everything, down to our very breath, just so it can eventually be lost. Your dad cannot understand how I lose so many things that matter (my first anniversary gift) and so many things that do not (those darn pizza gift cards... WHERE ARE THEY?) Maybe I lose things quickly, before they are treasured and lost anyways.

I already know that you, my darling girl, are not something that I can keep. I know that. And yet you, my little star traveler, my girl that is not really mine, I can love you wholeheartedly and without fear, even as I know you will not always be here, even as I know I will one day lose you.

In this moment these are some of the things I absolutely treasure about you, Margaret Zuzu Bingham.

Your mouth was built for the new words that spill out of it daily. As of today you say: cheek, hair, ear, toe, mouth, eye, nose, baby, foot, nana, no, uh oh, daddy, mom, papa, side (outside), water, dog, where'ditgo?, cracker, choco (chocolate), hot, cold, ouch, night night, I know, nug (nugget), gankgoo (thank you), please, thereyougo!, anel (Daniel), Mey (Jaimie), Keke (Katie), Tay, mine, on, off and gamma (grandma)

When I sing while I am cleaning, you sing "lalalalalala" and twirl

I know you are happy when you hum and shake your hips back and forth. This happens before and after every meal and each time I hand you your blankie

You call your blankie, "baby"

Today I caught you rubbing different containers, lathering up your hands and then applying the phantom product to your hair like it was gel. You must be watching your daddy get ready in the mornings.

At night now you sleep like a big girl, on your back, arms and feet stretched out, this made me a little sad...

You kiss me a hundred times a day. Always on the spot that is closest to you, generally my knees and my toes.

When you are being quiet, it is always because you are in your room "reading" to yourself out of Goodnight, Moon.

If you want my attention, there is no "mommy" or "mama", only "mom", you are my teenage toddler

Happy 18 months, Margaret. Thank you for teaching me the importance of a milestone and the moments leading up to it.

I love you.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

I capture the...

Riley and I sat down to watch The Dark Knight while it rained outside. I started crying about 15 minutes into the silly thing. Motherhood makes darkness, even the predictable kind found in summer blockbusters, more potent than it once was. The transformative powers of parenthood are odd. Having Margaret made me so much stronger and, at the same time, so much more vulnerable. Some sort of Superman/Kryptonite complex? (Maybe I should go outside...too many comic book references.) Riley is finishing the movie while I distract myself with our little blog. It plays on in the background and I think I could have written the storyline and dialogue myself. The creation and dispersion of ugliness requires little talent. Shadow is easy, it is the light that is hard to capture.

Us, in the light.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Slippery Fish

We just spent a week with Riley's family at the beach in California. Margaret took two things away from the experience. On the one hand,we now know that she hates the ocean. When she and her sand toys were touched by the tide she cried so hard she threw up. This was followed by a five hour long healing nap. On the other (less throw up prone) hand, we now know that she loves her Nana as much as she hates the demon sea. That love is in full sparkle when Nana sings Slippery Fish,a hundred verse song performed with love and hand movements. Zuzu has been singing this song to herself in gibberish since we drove away from the beach. Here is just a little clip of her preparing for her inevitable audtion for America's Got Talent. Back up is provided by Uncle Tay.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dreams and Dragons

Pixar and Almond Milk

Dear Margaret,

The brevity of our time here on Earth has been much on my mind lately. Days are too quickly and freely spent. Night comes and I wonder if I gave you anything new, if I helped you to discover anything worthwhile that day. Too often I have not. There is wonder and awe bottled up inside your mama just waiting to be poured into you. I want you to see a world inhabited by fairies and the magic of the written word. It is the world in which I mean to raise you. Today there was no wonder and I am sorry. We spent the day inside. I was tired. You were grumpy. Monsters Inc was on loop. Totally pedestrian.

Margaret, there will be as few of these days as I can manage. Life is short and absolutely bursting with goodness. We were created by the same hands that shaped the stars. You were thought of by the same mind that controls the atom and lit the morning sky. Who am I to keep such a beautiful creation inside, idle and ignorant? Margaret, we have so much to do! There are mountains to climb and shadows to light. We have dreams and dragons to hunt.

I promise I won't forget again.

Love, Mama

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Unabashedly Zuzu

Uncle Tay and Zuzu in our Backyard

Zuzu has discovered that if she lays down and throws her feet in the air good times are sure to follow. What can I say? I hope she approaches play time a little differently by the time she hits her teens...

Monday, May 3, 2010

The girl who cried puddle

My daughter hates water. Except for when it is dirty. A bath full of toys and bubbles? She screams like a banshee wandering the Irish hillside. Give her a puddle full of insect corpses and suddenly you have a happy girl. So there it is. My daughter loves cornbread, pork, and dirty water dancing. Margaret's emerging personality seems to have a distinct backwoods hue...

(Full Disclosure: Margaret playing in the water really was a fabulous first. We peeled all those dead ants right off of her and headed out to dinner with Grandpa Conley to mark the occasion. The fine dining took place at Chuck-a-Rama...it was a true redneck celebration.)

"What the hell did I step into? "

She was shocked that the water moved when she stomped on it. This lasted some time.

She may not be a genius but we think she is real pretty.

She VOLUNTARILY got her hands WET!

Best mommy moment this side of her quitting formula.

In the Conley-Bingham family we celebrate feats of bravery with all you can eat cake.

Tonight was no exception.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fortress of Favorite

The world is full of things I don't care for... overzealous utah cops, Nicholas Sparks movies, and people who use the word "mesh" account for just a small percentage of the unlovely things one can encounter in a day.

This onslaught of ugly has to be fought precisely and definitively on the homefront. The space within our four walls may be small but it is filled to the brim with things that help me forget that I live in a world in which Kate Gosselin has been given yet *another* tv show.

Just a few of my favorite things...

Favorite side of my mantle.

White vases stolen from Kaleidoscope, Orange and green deliciousness from successful trades with Amy Holmes, short stories plundered from the DI.

Margaret's favorite things.

John Deere indoctrination courtesy of Grandpa Conley.

Favorite frivolities include Roseville pottery, costume jewelry and Chanel No.5...throw an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians in there and you have one happy (and unabashed) girl.

Favorite measuring cups.

Very reassuring in their pear shaped honesty. Who wants skinny baking utensils?

Favorite 25th birthday present from my Mom.

Favorite grump

Favorite corner in the kitchen

Favorite travel companion

Favorite puzzle missing the letter X

And there they are, my simple but effective defenses against a world that can sometimes be just a little too lame.

Hope your homes are as delightfully defended on this lovely Sunday!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Now and Then

Woman with Infant Flying by Brian Kershisnik

Dear Margaret,

Today I sat around a table with friends talking about things that matter and things that do not. I found myself wishing that adult you were there to be a part of our discovery and discussion. It occured to me that you will never have a conversation with me when I am 25, that in many ways you will not know who I am until I have passed through much of what life has to offer me. There is a sense of loss in the fact that in this life you will follow me rather than walk beside me.

Just a few things about myself that may change before you even learn my first name. I research and outline novels that I never write. Your mama cannot make rice for the life of her, not even minute rice. It burns everytime. (On a related note, rice is one of the only things you will eat right now...so bully for me.) I spend a lot of my time reading about dictatorships, imperial design and historical calamaties. Five years from now I hope we are still in this little house with a fenced yard and a swing in the bottle tree for a certain little girl.

Just a few things about myself that will not change, not even when your last name does. I love your Dad. He is the best man I know. I will always want to be a writer when I grow up, even when I am eighty. Be Still, My Soul is my favorite hymn. I love my Heavenly Father. And I love you little Zuzu. Love you so much I would grow you up this instant just so I could know what is going on behind those blue eyes. Would grow you up this very instant if it didn't mean I had let you go even earlier than I already do. (The folly of youth? Twenty years from now I will be wishing I could shrink you down and sing you to sleep.)

At 25, I can already see that bringing you into this world was reason enough for me to be sent here at all. A pretty big revelation for someone that can't figure out how to cook rice. Imagine all the things you will teach me once you can finally talk.

Here's to our first conversation.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Yes, that is a mustard stain on her shirt...from yesterday

Margaret loves computers, corn bread and her blankie. Margaret hates water, lactose and being clean.

I just love Margaret.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lend me some sugar

God created Monday to balance out the bliss of Sunday. Meg being flip? Think about it. This logic isn't unprecedented. The universe seems to function on the principle of opposition. Joy and sadness, peace and war, meals that include bacon and meals that do not. Miss Sugarpie Sunday could not exist without Maiden Drudge Monday.

This Sunday was a particularly lovely one. The sun was bright. The day was ours. I even made breakfast. Riley studied for finals and I took a two hour nap. All that napping and eating really worked up an appetite for more food and friends. Luckily we scored an invite to turkey dinner at Riley's Grandma and Grandpa's house. They sure know how to put out a spread. It was Thanksgiving in April and I have to tell you I think it might have the power to cure all manner of domestic and international ills.

The Family Bingham

Uncle Tay invents the gravy pacifier

Zuzu searches for more of that gravy gold

The pie was *that* good and the crust was *that* flaky. And I *did* take the last two scoops of vanilla ice cream (in your face Taylor).

When I think about the glorious days I am given on this earth I know I have been portioned out more than my fair share. It is my hope that the discrepancy is never noticed. I sure do love Miss Sugarpie Sundays.

Me. Happy. Usually.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Pippy to my Longstocking

This is the view I have most often of my zuzu pi. The minute she hits the ground she is headed east of our little eden. I am proud of her independence. I am happy that I get to run after her and scoop her up.

And I am really jealous of her sweet red and white leggings.

Like it is even a question.

Because false modesty is overrated.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Margaret has become very serious. She walks around the house like a mini european dictator that just discovered the peasants haven't brought in enough cheerios. She isn't mad. Just emphatic.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Birthday Amuse Bouche

On Valentine's Day we celebrated the one year anniversary of travel girl's arrival. There will be a much longer blog post replete with pictures and mommy feeling later this week. In the meantime here is a little somethin' somethin'. (Can I just say that the birthday girl ends up crying at any good birthday party? Tears mean overstimulation and sugar. Hello good time!)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

PiLove Tile Style

Sometimes I have a husband that loves me. Sometimes I get early birthday surprises. Sometimes the husband that loves me gives me early birthday surprises.

Exhibit A: Returned home from my business trip to find the bathroom beautifully and perfectly retiled. Can't help lovin' that man.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Lady Walks!

It has begun!

(sorry the video is sideways...anyone know how to fix that?)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Who's the best girl?

Margaret is!

Today is Margaret's 1st birthday party. There will be chocolate cake, lasagna and family. We are all excited.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Before the petals fall...

Miss Georgia O'Keefe doin' what she do

I am so happy and so idle. The store is empty. So I will write. Why does writing always start with an empty space, empty room, empty page. I love Riley without complication and I love Margaret as an acolyte loves her priestess. I am learning about life through a prism of love and I recognize it is unfair. Where are the demons wrought by dysfunction and disappointment? Nothing to overcome but my own happiness. Maybe the demons spring after the anointed has recognized the blessing upon her head. The only darkness is my fear of it. I wake up sweating. Margaret is gone. Riley is without merit. The panic lasts until I shove Mr. Husband. Shove and his arm is around me and for that moment I have everything I could have ever wanted. A moment I can drink from when loss has made me thirsty. Double happiness for me.