Showing posts from February, 2013

I wrote an excellent sentence today.

Just one excellent sentence, I think, though I wrote a lot of really-quite-good sentences.

The baby woke up at five this morning, and indicated she thought this was a good time to begin the morning, which wasn't very nice. I fed her, and while I sat feeding her, ideas for the essay I've been working on ricocheted off the inside of my head. I worried they would leave me before I had a chance to catch them.

I changed the baby's diaper, put her in an outfit and a hat that matched. A hat to cheer me up about the early morning. We played with her toys and practiced her tricks and I read her two chapters of Frog and Toad, a book that makes her kick her legs and squeal with delight, which is sort of the effect it has on her father and me. Once we were done reading, she started to twist and fuss and indicated that maybe I was right after all, maybe this was too early for the morning. So I took her downstairs and put her in her swing, and I began trying to catch the tail of those…

Baby Shower Idea: Writing and Ilustrating a Children's Book

It's a little amusing to me that I used initials yesterday for our friends' names, and today I'm going to share a good deal of their business, so let's just say now that their names are Kenneth and Emily, and we were friends with them here in Boston, and we plan to be their friends forever and ever.

They are the best sort of people, and they've been trying to start their family for eight long years. I'll let you insert what you know of infertility, and pretty much nod that all of that was involved. And now, to their surprise and gratitude, they're expecting a baby girl in ten weeks.

As I said, they came up last weekend to visit and I threw a small shower, and in what I think must be the curse of a lot of Pinterest activity, I was stressing about making it fabulous. Didn't I need favors and decorations and games and all of that? It turns out I didn't really need any of that, since it was more of a luncheon out at a restaurant, and only a few of us …

Bright Baby Quilt for a Miracle Baby

I love miracle babies. Henrietta was a miracle baby, of sorts, and now my dear friends, K & E, are set to have one of their own soon. They visited this past weekend, and we had a small shower for E, at which point I gifted her this quilt.
E is the one who taught me to quilt, and I'll just say it is scary business making a quilt for the person who taught you how. I'm generally pretty easy-going about quilts, as E taught me to be, but I was so worried with this one that she'd see all its flaws. She surely will. But hopefully it will be shiny enough to love anyway. Look! Bright colors!

I started the quilt during Nemo, the enormous blizzard, and it was a lovely way to spend the day while it blizzed (I made that word up) outside. You need lots of bright coins of fabric on very snowy days, right?

It was nice to get back to quilting, even if it was perhaps a bit ambitous to think I could finish it in a couple of weeks. I managed, but next time I'll begin sooner. And…

Rattling Around in My Brain: A Room with A View

I have things to tell you and show you and this and that, but golly, I'm exhausted. Busy weekend, and busy weekends are more difficult with a baby, yes? I was reading your awesome comments on the mean brain post, and thinking about you saying, almost collectively, that when you have a small baby, everything is a victory. Brushing my teeth is a victory! An accomplishment!

In a way, that makes me sort of sigh and feel sad about things. But in another way, if it's true, I may have been a bit overly ambitious last week, and, you know, in general lately. Last week I had been sort of praying, asking God, okay, what should I do next, should I attend this function that's not 100% necessary, and I thought He said sure, but this morning I decided that I was, somehow, praying to my own perfectionism, my own high expectations for myself. Does that make sense? I wasn't asking Him at all, because He is so gentle with me, and I was not exactly gentle with myself. And now I feel rund…

Names We've Called the Baby Today

Baby Kitty
Tomato Creature Feature Drooly Vibes Sweetie Draculetta Dummy Goofball Mulligatawny Stew Ookla Thundette the Barbariette Vomit-Down-the-Side-of-the-Face Vomit Head
Uncle Fester McGillacutty Captain My Lovely  Jumpersonian Floppy Flop Flopperhead Borderline-Personality-Disorder Squiggle Poopmerelda Cupcakehead Young Lady Darling Plum Henrietta and Henrietta Plum-plum-plum

The Mean Voice in My Head

Usually the mean voice in my head shows up in the evening, when it's almost time for bed. And I start to despair and say really hopeless things, and Sam has to practice remembering that I don't actually think they're true, I'm just exhausted. And exhaustion manifests so much like sadness, for me.

But today she showed up much earlier, while I was getting dressed for the day. I went to get a dress from my wardrobe, and I told Sam, "The mean voice in my head came out early today."

"Did she? What's she saying?" he said.

"Do you really want to know? Like, what she's actually trying to tell me?"

"Sure," he said.

"In the last two minutes, she's said the following: My thighs are disgusting. I'm a worthless human because I haven't vacuumed yet. I should stop blogging because it doesn't matter anyway, it's not really writing. I have neglected to mail x and scan and email y and write to z, and I'll proba…

Everything is Already Lovely

I thought I'd do another one of these. This is a compilation of several days--my life isn't quite this shiny all at once. But join me, in the comments, if you're so inclined. I would love to read your lists.

1. Human Interaction. *Walking around the New England Quilt Museum with Sam and Henrietta Plum. Listening to the white-haired woman with a hip, asymmetrical haircut tell us about the ones with sticks (and other strange objects) sewn into them. *Talking with someone at church who seemed genuinely excited to see me. Maybe I have a friend? (!) *Teaching the Young Women at church about choice and accountability. They were smart and savvy and interesting to talk to. *Whispering in HP's ear about Jesus during church.

2. Food. *Ribollita. I used the recipe from this book, which is my favorite book about food ever ever ever. Will probably do a post in praise of that book soon. *Green smoothie with pineapple juice, greek yogurt, frozen mango, and spinach. *Working on recre…

First Smile of the Morning

Sometimes in the early morning, when it's clear that Henrietta is not interested in sleeping in her crib any longer, I bring her into bed with me in hopes of getting a bit more sleep. She nurses while I try to doze, and eventually she nods off too.

After awhile she wakes up and wants to nurse again, and I help her latch, and this time she's ready to be awake for the day. This is how I know she's ready: she pulls off,  and when I look down to see why, and she's smiling at me.

It's my favorite smile of the day. Later smiles are silly and squirmy, but this one is quiet. It's wide and deeply content. She's a strange little creature then, a bald and armless green glowworm in her swaddle. In another context, I'd be sure an alien was sucking the life from me, smiling maliciously. But it melts me when she smiles that way.

I think the official word is that she doesn't yet know there's a difference between the two of us, yes? But she seems to know then. …

The Pain of Growing Up

[I'm worried about this post. It's pretty close to my heart. I wrote it weeks ago, but I keep putting off publishing it. And then in quiet moments I’ll think of it and feel, again, like I need to say it. So let's all put on our generous hats, shall we?] 

One Christmas I came home to visit my family and realized that my oldest niece and nephew were growing up. They were twelve, I think, on the cusp of teenagehood, and I realized I was terrified for them. They were (are!) such awesome and good kids, and I was excited for them, in a way, but also scared. That was when the world got complicated for me, and I don't think I've ever quite forgiven the world for becoming so. When I say I was scared for them, I mean I was nearly trembling. It was almost a physical reaction, a slow-motion "Noooooo!" in my head, willing them away from the cliff of further development.
I just got called into the Young Women's program, the organization in our church for girls at jus…

Of Jobs and Motherhood: Three (Guest Post) Gems

From Cula

All my life all I ever wanted was to be married, have babies and stay at home with them. I did go to school for two years and I received my associates degree in early childhood education just in case my future husband lost his job and I needed to work. 

The truth is that I love this stay-at-home mom gig more than I ever thought possible. Admittedly there are days when I want to throw in the towel but those thoughts are immediately dashed when my children wrap their arms around me and tell me they love me or when we're in the school room and what we're learning finally sinks in and the look on their faces makes it all worth it. 

I detest play dates at parks with other kids. Instead, we spend our afternoons at Balboa Park exploring the museums, doing service projects, seeing plays, or cuddling up on the couch watching an old black and white movie or musicals and learning everything we can. These are things I hold the most dear. Some may wonder how I stay sane being with m…

Dear Henrietta, this is why I married your father.

[These are all things I overheard him say/sing to you on a single day: February 13, 2013.]
[picking you up] "Come here. I want to talk to you about something. I haven't decided what yet."  
"Let's hold one another. You start." 
[singing to the tune of "White Christmas"] "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,  and I'll have to wait a long time. When it's time for Christmas, we'll celebrate it on an isthmus ...." 

"The reasons for Christianity are as follows: 1. Jesus 2. Vlad the Impaler."
"Let's put your sock back on and then you can kick it off again, okay, little Syssaphys-y? Syssaphys-ette." 
"Should we listen to the State of the Union address, Kitty? Or should we just take a nap?"
[singing] "Oh my gosh, you are up in the air! Oh my gosh, you have a little bit of hair! Oh my gosh, you're getting eyebrows! Oh my gosh, you're getting eyebrows! Oh my gosh, let's go have daddy…

Of Jobs and Motherhood: Guest Post from Ginger

Ginger is a wonderwoman. Check out her blog to catch a glimpse of homemaking with thoughtful flair, boys who are wise (and funny!) beyond their years, and adventures in Colorado's wild mountains. I'm so pleased she decided to share her story.
Chaz and I were still undergrads when Miles was born so two things were not in the budget-- daycare and staying home. I was lucky to have a wonderful boss who let me bring him along and hang out in a pack-and-play or a sling while I worked. I remember how snuggly I had to pull my chair in to wedge the boppy against my desk so he was safe to nurse while I reached over him to type. Around 6 months he was too busy to hang out with me, so Chaz and I staggered our work schedules so one of us could be at home. He was doing full-time school. I had dropped out after a few weeks of the online classes I started shortly after giving birth. At some point I realized that I was continually irritated with my baby whenever he was awake because I needed t…

Of Jobs and Motherhood: Guest Post from Mariya

Mariya had her baby boy, Ari, a month early (surprise!) the day after I had Henrietta, so our babies are friends. Mariaya is from Ukraine, and I am as elegantly European as she is only in my dreams. Her story is lovely. I particularly like what she says about having "little bits of it 'all.'"
I had been married for about a year when I decided to go off birth control. My decision wasn't motivated by a burning desire to become a mother and care for a child. I was 27 (an over-ripe age for motherhood in the Mormon world) and my aging parents and my husband were ready for a little one - it was just time. In fact, as a teenager I never remember dreaming about getting married or having a baby. All I ever wanted is to find true love and share all its fruits with my companion.

Travel, meeting new people, social and community events, learning - those have been my passions, passions I enjoyed independently. I still had plans to do more school and move down a different career…

Adventures in Frugality: Dear Target

Dear Target;
I'm considering the very real possibility that you're evil. Or, in any case, that you and I can't be friends. I love you too much; that's the problem.

Today it was the little dolly you see above. She called to me as I walked by, and I picked her up and thought about Valentine's Day, and how I'd been thinking about getting a gift for Henrietta, but I told myself this was silly, since she's four months old, and will not know a gift from a burp cloth. So I hung her back in place, and carried on toward the humidifiers, which I actually meant to purchase. But I kept thinking about the dolly, and how Henrietta doesn't have a single baby doll yet. She has several bunnies and kitties and a stuffed broccoli with an orange bow-tie I made while I was bed resting, but no baby doll. And don't little girls need baby dolls? I put her back in my cart.

I didn't end up getting the humidifier, since I looked up the one you carry on my phone and it ha…

Of Jobs and Motherhood: Guest Post from Mel

Mel is kind of living my dream: teaching and raising her baby. I think she might be onto something with this idea of our inclinations being a reaction to what we saw growing up. What do you think?
I think sometimes this choice [of working vs. staying home] is a reaction to what we see when we're growing up.  
My grandma was really poor, so she always wanted to work, and she worked when my mom was growing up.
Some bad stuff happened to my mom while her mom was working, so she said, "I will never leave my kids," and to this day has never really worked.
But then when I was growing up I thought my mom got trashed by my dad too much and had no options and no respect, etc. so I said "I will always be my own person and I will always be equal to my spouse," which was something I never thought I saw in traditional LDS relationships.  And that has been what I have chosen. I'm lucky to have an awesome spouse and an easy kid and the talent and opportunities to have a j…

Of Jobs and Motherhood: Guest Post from Laci

I'm in awe of how attentive and fun Laci is as a mom. When I see social media evidence of her adventures with her son, I always think, "I hope I'm half that fun someday." Laci also works full-time, and I love her story. I think you will, too.
I remember when my little boy was born, just four short years ago; my how the time has flown by.  I knew when I had my son I would have to go back to work.  My husband was in graduate school and his small stipend would not support a family of three in an expensive city like Somerville.  I took three months off of work and enjoyed every minute with my sweet baby.  
It was very difficult to prepare to go back to work; I was not ready to leave this helpless and beautiful baby.  We found a friend to watch the little guy for a few months while I first went back to work and until my husband finished the semester, and could be home with the baby in the summer.  
When I first went back to work I was miserable.  The line of work I did wa…

Digging out of Nemo

I didn't hear about the storm until my neighbor mentioned it Wednesday evening, and then I heard about it everywhere. There were flashing warning signs on the side of the highway on Thursday, and my phone did a special alert bulletin (which I didn't know it was capable of), in case I had missed the memo. But even late Thursday, there was no real sign of it. The skies were blue, though a slightly brooding blue, if that's possible. And everything felt sort of calm, as the cliche goes.

We went out to get a couple of things from the store, and the shelves were nearly bare of essentials. Everyone was hunkering down. We, on the other hand, were buying items for fish tacos with mango salsa--unseasonable fare for the night before a giant blizzard, but oh they were delectable.

Friday passed, mostly in waiting. It was snowing, but not earnestly. Sam kept the fire going, and I started a quilt, and we stayed indoors, thinking this thing wasn't going to be that big of a deal.

But …

On Being Beautiful

I'm not beautiful. I mean, I'm not ugly. My looks do nicely enough. But I'm not drop-your-jaw and turn-your-head, look me up and down, holy wow, how-is-that-creature-walking-this-earth?, sort of pretty. I'm okay with that. I don't think I'd like being that kind of beautiful. It appears to be sort of a hassle.

Lately though, I feel like I'm getting a taste of what it might feel like to be that beautiful, though the attention I garner is in its most innocent form:

I have a beautiful baby. She turns heads.

Or maybe it's just that I have a baby, a little baby. And though she absolutely is beautiful, there's something about her being a baby--any baby at all--that softens the world, makes it turn and coo and exclaim and comment.

I walk into a store, and an older woman holds the door open for me, exuding sympathy for my awkward maneuvering, as if she's momentarily projecting herself back into new motherhood by looking at me. She looks down at Henriett…

Of Jobs and Motherhood: Guest Post from Eden

Your stories are good. Oh, I love them. Will you keep sending them? Will you consider sending one if you haven't yet? Email or Facebook message them, will you? The comment section is not really adequate space, and I want everyone to see them when I post them. I've revised my paragraph suggestion: feel free to make it paragraphs upon paragraphs! And since I love them, I'm going to put them up as guest posts, if you're comfortable with me doing so. I mean, this is a humble blog, so the idea of guest posts is a little silly. But it makes me happy to think of including your words with mine. (If you've already commented and/or sent one to me, and the idea of your very own guest post is not cool, please let me know.) I also think I'll be posting more than once a day, if you can stand the joy of such a thing. I have a number of these, and they are beautiful, and I want to get them out in the world.

Our first guest post is from Eden. I think you'll love Eden. I do.�…