Hello, and Happiness

IMG_9231I feel like several months ago I had the epiphany that it would be a good thing to write a post just to say hello. So, hello! I hope everyone is enjoying fall and getting excited about the holidays.

Beyond that, though, I have had some thoughts kicking around in my head for the last few weeks that I wanted to share. Mostly about how very, very happy I am. As I type this, my eyes are burning, and I expect Micah to wake up any minute now because he has been asleep for thirty minutes, and that is what constitutes a nap around here there. Gone the days of two-hour naps, or even one-hour naps! But hopefully not gone forever. Every single stage we go through as parents is temporary, and that is simultaneously so encouraging and so heartbreaking.

I can’t help but laugh at this mommy conundrum. All week long I think, Oh, I wish I had just a little bit of time to read or knit or paint.” And then the weekend rolls around, and I think, “Yay! It’s the weekend! I can read! I can knit! I can zzzzzzz…..” Yesterday I took a nap for two hours and seventeen minutes while Micah hung out with his daddy, and it was awesome. I didn’t get to four or five of the things I was hoping to do, but that’s okay. Last night was a special night because I did the dishes and washed the bottles while Eric put Micah to bed (Eric always does the dishes and the bottles, and I put Micah down most of the time), and then we watched a comedy special on Netflix and had a drink. It was so, so sweet. We haven’t done that since long before Micah was born, and so we totally count it as a date night.

Part of the reason we haven’t done this in a long time is that Micah goes to bed at 7:30, and I go to bed at…8:30. After going full steam since about 6am with only a few thirty-minute breaks in which to do things like eat lunch and cook dinner, my head hits the pillow so gratefully every night. I am so tired. But I am so happy.

I was talking to someone a few days ago about these crazy days, whether they’re part of some growth transition or something more long-lasting, and after I’d walked her through all the ins and outs of a typical day for me, I think I had pretty well exhausted her. But in spite of all this fatigue, I told her, I am so happy on the deepest level. There is nothing else I would rather be doing, no greater gift than to watch this beautiful child grow day by day, even if it sometimes includes screaming (his! not mine!) and sleeplessness. Being pregnant with Micah and giving birth to him and meeting him, I told her, have been the most magical experiences of my life, and I can’t wait to do it all again. (But I will wait!) And then she said the most wonderful thing–that it’s a gift to be able to see that the magic and the madness co-exist. How beautiful. A gift indeed.

So as we gear up for Micah’s first Thanksgiving and Christmas and plane trip (whee!) and hope that maybe this napping thing will resolve itself sometime, our hearts are so full of joy. A special sleepy kind of joy, one that we wouldn’t trade for anything.

Being Nervous and Being Brave, or a Trip to San Diego

We just got back from our first road trip with the baby. He was a champion! But we were so nervous. When we found out that our dearest friends had experienced an unexpected death in the family, we immediately knew that we wanted to be there for them and with them at the memorial, which was in San Diego. We made our travel plans, agonized over hotels (mostly because agonizing over hotels is kind of fun for me), asked for travel advice, and hoped for the best. And it was a great trip. We were so happy to be there for the beautiful memorial and reception. There were tears, but there was laughter too. And I am so glad for that. A lot of the laughter was caused by…our foibles. Which I shall detail here before I forget them. We planned to head out on Thursday morning, no later than 9, in order to get to the memorial at 1 in plenty of time, hopefully with time for a quick lunch. San Diego looks deceptively close on the map, but there is that little thing called traffic, so we wanted to be on the safe side. Google maps predicted it would take about 2.5 hours, but we knew it would be closer to 3. And so, I got up with the baby at 7 and called my mom, as I do every day. She asked what time we were leaving, and when I told her, she suggested that I wake Eric up. Ahahaha, moms always know best. It took us a full hour and a half to get all packed up and ready to go. Thanks, mom!

Our poor little darling was screaming even before we made it to the freeway, but I fed him, and he fell asleep. Victory! There were a few periods of crying, but in general, he napped and played with his toys (we bought him three new toys for the road, but he liked his hands better than any of them). Things were going swimmingly as we flew down I-15 past Temecula and the turn-off to go to Palomar. I know this road so well. Someone was getting fussy, so I started making him a bottle. I pre-filled the bottles with water and then just scooped the formula in. Only…I dropped the canister. And before I knew it, this had happened:

Ahahahaha! It wasn’t exactly funny in the moment (that stuff is pricey!), but Eric was so reassuring that it wasn’t a big deal, and at least it was only halfway full. And that, my friends, is how I rode through Southern California with my foot buried by a mountain of formula.

We stopped in Escondido for a bathroom break and to buy more formula, and we were laughing hysterically by the time we got out of the car. I used my flip flop to scoop the formula out as best I could, and proudly strode through Target with little pads of formula stuck to my feet. Eric was wearing his suit pants with a t-shirt to save time, and we thought we made quite the pair. There was quite the little explosion next to our car, and I was a little nervous, truth be told, to be so close to the border with this much white powder covering the floor of my car. But officer, can’t you smell the iron?! In any case, when we pulled out, we drove right over a huge pile of formula, and it crunched. And we died laughing.

We made it to San Diego and stopped for lunch at the nicest cafe, where they did not mind at all when I made five trips to the bathroom to change the baby and myself and then forgot the burp cloth (vital instrument!) We made it to the service right on time, and it was just beautiful. It meant so much to us to be there with our precious friends.

Our little one was a darling at both the service and the reception. He is not (knock on wood) a big screamer, so I don’t know what I was so afraid of. Generally, his favorite thing in the world is being held, and there were so many loving arms waiting to hold him.

We stayed as long as we thought we could, and then we headed back to the hotel to get him to bed. AND HE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT! For the first time ever! Apparently, all we have to do is take him out of town and wear him out. Lesson learned! Eric and I actually woke up before he did, and we lay in bed staring at each other with our mouths agape. Did that really just happen?! We actually had to wake him up so he wouldn’t eschew all napping in the car on the way home. The hotel had a little breakfast, which was very handy, and there was a little walk-up coffee bar across the street. I showed up at 6:30 on the dot in a sundress and Eric’s fleece jacket, with nothing more than a hotel key and a $5 bill in my pocket. That coffee, it was so good. The baby and his daddy took a nap while mommy read a book (Read a book?! What a fantasy!), and then we checked out and met our sweet friends for breakfast.

We stopped by the San Diego Mission on the way home, and it was beautiful. Eric and I have loved visiting them together. It was hot, and the baby was pretty fussy, but it was okay. He sort of had a meltdown in the gift shop while we were buying a little cross for his room, but it was okay. He cried in the church while a small group of people was praying the rosary at the altar, but it was okay. Our stroller squeaked its way up to the little chapel, where, unbeknownst to us, people were praying during adoration, but it was okay. We didn’t see as much of the mission or take as much time as we might have if we had been by ourselves, but it was okay. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

We lit a candle in the church and prayed in thanksgiving for our sweet boy, the best thing that’s ever happened to us. It was so special to be able to do that because we lit candles in churches all over Greece and New Mexico and California while we were hoping to get pregnant and when we were expecting our little one. And I was able to sneak into the chapel for just a few minutes and pray a mother’s prayer: thanking God for my family and for the safety of our trip and for all the sleepless happiness that fills my days. The word that kept coming to my mind was joy. Joy indeed.

We had a safe trip home, stopping on the way at the most awesome bulk grocery store. We were exhausted, and it took us almost as long to unload as it did to pack up, but what a wonderful way to spend our time. And so, we were nervous, but we were brave. And we had such a good trip. It would have been okay even if it had been a disaster, as long as I still have this sweet one to cuddle up with and his daddy to laugh at all the mishaps with. I am so glad we went. Travel is such a great love of mine, and Eric and I always took a handful of little weekend trips together every year before our baby was born. It was so sweet to get over this hump, as it were, and realize that this is still a possibility. I think, really, it’s the unknown that’s the scariest thing. But now I know that we can do it. I started planning our next trip before we had even unpacked from this one. It’s a beautiful world, and I’m so happy I have one more precious person to explore it with.

November 2014 Goals

November GoalsI had to think for a bit about my goals for this month. “Um, do I have any goals?” I asked myself. Thankfully, the answer was yes. I spent some time thinking about it this weekend and felt so energized and excited when I came up with this little handful of things. I know I sound like a broken record, but I love the reminder that I can choose what I want to devote my free time to. Even if there isn’t very much of it!

I know that most of us are looking to decrease our screen time and unplug, and that can be such a good thing. But I think it ebbs and flows. For the last two weeks, I haven’t been on Instagram at all, and I really miss my friends there. I didn’t intend to take a hiatus, but I had the new Murakami novel out from the library, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to renew it, so I was reading pedal to the metal. (I finished it! I really liked it!) I can pretty easily scroll through pictures when I’m feeding Micah, but I can’t type responses, and IG doesn’t have a voice command (yet!), so I need to do this some other time. I love the support I’ve found on Instagram, and the true friends I have there. Looking forward to getting back!

On to goal two. I have so few pictures of myself with the baby. Eric takes one every now and again, but I need! many! more! I keep intending to use the timer to take pictures of us together throughout the day, and I keep forgetting. But last night as I was feeding him, I was scanning the room for good places to set the camera to capture some of our daily activities from different angles. I also want to take more pictures with my real camera because so many of our shots of the baby are blurry. Some of this is due to the fact that he’s always in motion, but some of it has to do with lighting, and my real camera is just better equipped to deal with it.

This second goal dovetails with the third. Every year Ali Edwards does a week in the life–seven days of daily photos and words. It’s a lot of work, but what a rich reward! I haven’t done a day in the life since April, and it’s something I’ve been wanting to do. I think a week would definitely cover all the little variations in our routine. Even though right now I feel like I will never forget any of these precious days, I know they will fade in my memory, and I will be so happy to have this record of what our lives were like, three months into parenthood. Ali did hers last week, but I am a big fan of doing things when I can, so that doesn’t give me pause at all. The week in the life will be shared on Micah’s baby blog, since it will surely contain millions of picture of him.

I used to bake all the time (just search my blog for sugar, and I bet you’ll get at least fifty hits!) But I was so sick for the first four months of my pregnancy, and then just really not interested in sweets for the rest of it. Last year I baked two pies for Thanksgiving, and the morning sickness started in earnest the very next day. Aside from those pies, one batch of lemon poppyseed muffins is the only sweet thing that’s come out of my oven. I’m still working on losing my baby weight, so I’m not quite ready to get back into baking full steam, but Thanksgiving is special. Thanksgiving requires pie. Maybe even two pies! Because surely I can’t be the only one who can never decide between pumpkin and apple.

I finally have my little studio space put together in our bedroom, and I am really looking forward to spending some time there. Right now Micah is really not napping for more than thirty minutes during the day (but hope springs eternal!), but I am usually off duty around 7:30 when we put him to bed. Most nights I have just been reading, but I am hoping to have the energy to knit and draw and work on my woefully neglected scrapbook. I feel such a strong urge to make something, and I’m so happy to have that. I think it’s one of the truest parts of myself, this need to create. Even if it’s just fifteen minutes of sewing or stitching, I’ll take it.

I’ve had a monthly goal to take lots of pictures ever since I started making monthly goals. But I think I’ve pretty much got that covered elsewhere here, so I’m just making it a goal to enjoy every little bit of things this month. I have been thinking so much about what an incredible gift this life is. I want to say yes to every part of it.

I will be back in December with an update. October goals have been updated here. And, wow, I’m getting old: November 2013 goals, November 2012 goals.

Update, December 2014: Oh, November, you were great, and I so enjoyed you. You were a mixed bag in terms of meeting my goals, but I’ll take what I can get in these busy mommy days. I totally did a Week in the Life! It was way easier than I thought it would be, and when I finished it, I kept right on taking lots of pictures, which was great. And I can’t believe how much Micah has changed even since then. That makes me all the more happy that I did it. I have Monday through Wednesday up on his baby blog, and one of my goals for December is to finish typing it up. I know I will be so glad to have it! I did better with the pictures too, taking them from more angles and including more with me in them, but…I think that should be a perpetual goal. I did okay on Instagram, but lots of days I just didn’t get to it. When Micah’s awake, I’m usually fully engaged with him, and he just doesn’t nap that much! A lot of nap time goes to eating lunch and cooking dinner (and occasionally typing up a blog post or reading a book), but hope springs eternal! Ahahaha, I did not bake a pie for Thanksgiving because we were sleep training Micah and I was exhausted, but I did *eat* some pie at Thanksgiving, and it was DELICIOUS. Thank you, Hillary! I also did NOT make evenings my craft time. Mostly I have just been reading. But I have two weeknight events this week, and that’s making me feel like those at-home nights hold lots of possibility, so…we’ll see! I honestly don’t think I will get back into the groove of things until Micah starts napping better, but I don’t mind waiting. He’s pretty cute:)

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