So you can see what Joshua’s been up to:
As I write this, the forecast is for rain and snow tomorrow. But today it’s warm with a high of 70, and yesterday, Henrie wore shorts. I love listening to the birds and sleeping with the windows open. Henrie comments on every flower, and afternoons are so much easier now that we can go outside without a jacket. Stacy and Margot have moved back into their home for the summer, and Henrie loves walking over to their house. “Margot? Margot house?” she asks almost every 10 minutes.
Henrie has been talking more and more these days. She’s stringing words together, and when she talks, she looks at you intently, trying to will her meaning. I love it. She understands so much of what I say, and she’s become a great little helper. She retrieves her diapers, cleans up her messes (most of the time), and loves cooking in the kitchen or putting away laundry. The best way to calm her down is to give her a job to do.
We visited “Margot house” and Henrie had a banana at the table. She stood up a few times and I told her to sit down, worried the chair might fall over. Sure enough, I turn around for just a second and she goes crashing down. She was pretty scared but not hurt at all. I was terrified. The chair broke into so many pieces that it wasn’t hard imaging Henrie breaking something. Oof.
Stacy, Margot, Henrie, and I went to brunch with Val at a West 29. Henrie had a crepe with a strawberry topping (which was probably a pure injection of sugar), and the three if us had eggs Benedict with salmon. Here Henrie is at the fountain next to our table with her little pigtails :)
Today, Joshua is working on the new house. I’m both thankful for his industriousness and sad that, yet again, a major house project means that we get to spend less time together as a family. Oh well, I guess it really needs to get done before Billie comes along. And that date seems to be approaching with lightening speed. We only have 11 weeks left!
I wasn’t very good about taking photos during the second half of our trip, but here are a few. On Monday, we missed Joshua’s 28th birthday. We’ve been sending pictures back and forth, so I made a little collage of his while Henrie watched, saying “daddy, daddy” the whole time.
Henrie came down with a dry cough on Sunday, and so Sunday and Monday night were wakeful.
On Tuesday, the cough evolved into a loose, productive cough. It sounds worse, but rather than coughing every 15 seconds, she would cough about every ten minutes during the day and then go long stretches at night without coughing. So we finally got some sleep.
On Sunday, we spent the morning with Papa Tim and Granny Joette. Shannon, JoJo, and Guy came over, and Henrie and JoJo played together. On Monday, we spent the day with Boobah and Zeydah, and we went for a run near the Stone Arch Bridge. It was 50 degrees, and Minnesotans were celebrating. On Tuesday, we headed over to the Devanes to visit Brian, Brittaney, Harry, and the new baby, Oliver. On Wednesday, Nana came up and we spent the morning with her.
By Thursday, Henrie’s cold was really bothering her. I’d been giving her ibuprofen for a few days, and the medicine seemed to bring her slight fever down and perk her up, but today, it just wasn’t having the same effect, and she was really sensitive. Boobah had taken the day off of work, so we laid low in the morning and then in the afternoon went into Urgent Care at the advice of the triage nurse with our usual pediatrician.
It’s a good thing we did, because Henrie had a pretty vicious double ear infection, with two very red, very infected little ears. We got her a course of antibiotics, plus some ear drops for the plane. Back at the house, we gave Henrie a dose of ibuprofen, antibiotics, and ear drops, and she crashed for a three hour nap.
By the time she woke up, she was already feeling much better. We headed over to Papa Tim and Granny Joette’s, and then I went to spend a couple of hours with Ashlee.
Driving back to Boobah and Zeydah’s that night, I took the streets at about 15 mph. The snow was really coming down, and I was crossing my fingers that the predicted foot of snow that was supposed to fall that night wouldn’t prevent us from returning to Joshua.
Thankfully, Minnesotans know how to handle their snow, and the next morning, we packed up and headed to the airport with the help of Brittaney. Despite having two little ones in tow and plenty of snow on the road, she seemed completely calm about giving us a ride. We stopped at the Good Day Café for brunch, and somehow, we were able to eat our meals with three little ones. I was kind of amazed.
Henrie and Harry were pretty cute, holding hands and even hugging. It was obvious that Henrie was feeling so much better after even just one dose of antibiotics.
At the airport, we got to the gate and waited for boarding. I was able to give Henrie another round of meds, and she slept through the entire flight, which was eventful. Two men passed out, and the medical professionals on board had their hands full.
Henrie turned two yesterday. She’s a great fan of the feline species, so we decided to throw her a kitty-themed birthday party. Pulling this off in less than 24 hours was a bit stressful, but with some help, we were able to pull it off. Joshua picked up Henrie and me at the airport at 3:30 PM on April 4. Once we arrived home, we sat down to write a grocery and to-do list, and then we headed for Kinkos, Whole Foods, and Target.
At Kinkos, we printed off some google images of kitties on cardstock to turn into “Kitty Sticks.” It was an idea I stole from Pinterest, and I must say they were just as cute in replication :)
At Target, we bought some party supplies and Henrie’s birthday outfit, of course. Both Henrie and I were devastated that the pants that we really loved only came in 3T. They had black and white vertical stripes. Oh well. This outfit was pretty cute, too.
Between Kinkos, Whole Foods (and an unplanned but delicious dinner at Whole Foods), and Target, we didn’t get home until nearly 10 PM. Needless to say, the three of us were absolutely exhausted, and after carrying Henrie for a good portion of the trip, I felt enormously pregnant and my back was screaming.
The next morning, we made pancakes, Henrie’s favorite breakfast, complete with whip cream and strawberries. Stacy and Margot came over, and it was nice to start the day a little more slowly with company. But when 9 o’clock rolled around, we leapt into action. I began cooking, Joshua began cleaning, and so did my mom. Henrie got a bath and then she followed us about, making sure the process went at a speed more befitting a family with a toddler.
Besides giving the house a thorough cleaning, Joshua took it upon himself to tidy up the yard and lay down some fresh mulch. That, in addition to half a dozen helium balloons, a couple new balls from Target, and a birthday banner, announced the whole block that it was party time.
I’m felt pretty proud of our spread, so forgive me if I share too many details. For dips, I settled on three kinds: artichoke spinach, white bean and tarragon, and hummus. I found the recipe for the artichoke spinach dip here. It’s vegan, which kind of blows my mind. I was telling people at the party that I’m pretty sure that it’s understood that “artichoke spinach” is really code for “my main ingredient is full fat cream and cheese.” Nevertheless, it was super delicious. The white bean and tarragon was also super yummy, and the tarragon part was a bit of an improvisation, because Whole Foods didn’t have the rosemary that the recipe called for.
My mom did her magic with the hummus, and I finished out the spread with a kale salad, crackers, cheese, and veggies for dipping. I didn’t follow a recipe for the salad, but I did try soaking the leaves in salt water and then massaging them for the first time. The process left the leaves softer and much less bitter than usual. To finish, I added chick peas, parmesean, and a salad dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard, garlic, and pepper.
Finally, for drinks we had beer, champagne, and juice. I watched enviously as people drank their champagne out of my pretty stemware.
Just to prove that great minds think alike, when Stacy showed up later in the day to borrow our mixer and cupcake pan, she brought yellow flowers from Whole Foods. I laughed and showed her the white ones I had bought the night before. All in all, if you’re going to have double of something, flowers are the item of choice.
Thankfully, Stacy willingly agreed to bake Henrie’s cupcakes, so that was one more task I didn’t have to worry about. Plus, no matter how much thought or time I put into the food portion of a get-together, Stacy’s baking always steals the show. She’s just that good.
We finally got Henrie down for a nap with less than two hours to go, and I sat down to crank out some decorations, including the “Kitty Sticks” and a few bunting garlands. There were some extra kitty prints, so I made a garland of them, too.
Henrie’s room was ready for some toddler action.
Joshua says that the ride home with the helium balloons was pretty thrilling.
At ten to three, I jumped in the shower, my heart racing just a bit. Ten minutes is enough time to shower, dress, do my hair, wake up Henrie, dress her, and wash the windows, right?!
At five after three, I walked into the living room, thankful that no one had arrived. When I expressed that relief, Joshua said, “well, yeah. The party doesn’t start until 3:30.”
So I had time to run a curling iron through my hair and wash the windows, after all.
Henrie was so excited the whole evening that I’m pretty sure this is one of the only photos we have of the two of us, and it’s definitely one of the only photos we have of her looking at the camera.
Although we had invited nearly 40 people, we had 17 in total, including five toddlers and two infants. It was actually a wonderful number, considering our small space. Maybe it’s a good idea waiting until less than a week before the birthday party to send out invites?
Stacy’s cupcakes were super delicious. She decorated the kids’ ones with dried mango, chocolate chips, pretzels, pepitos, and Annie’s gummies to make cat faces!
The grown up version was the same, sans the cat faces. The cake was honey and the frosting was marzipan, and I still have more than a dozen sitting in my kitchen, begging to be eaten. Yummmmm… (This coming from a woman who doesn’t even really like cupcakes.) Henrie, needless to say, thought that the cupcakes were the cat’s meow, the cat’s pajamas, the… You get the picture ;)
Sadly, Pin the Tail on the Cat, a spin off game I invented wasn’t as winning in execution. Henrie thought the tail-less cat poster was cute, though. Joshua’s game of hiding little easter eggs stuffed with kitty stickers all over the front yard was far more popular with the toddler subset.
When it was all said and done, people stayed until nearly 7 o’clock, which I took as a standing ovation for our efforts. Who stays at kid’s birthday party for three and a half hours?! It was fun chatting with the moms (and three dads), and the kids seemed like they had a great time.
Afterwards, we cleaned up while Henrie played with some of her new gifts, and then, before all three of us collapsed into bed at 8 o’clock, I had Joshua take a couple of photos of the belly… Seeing as I was all dressed up and on Friday, we hit the third trimester mark at 28 weeks.
It pretty much blows my mind to think that we’ll have another little girl in the house in 12 weeks! Just before we went to bed last night, I told Henrie two stories. One was about her day and the party, and the other was about the day she was born.
The kid’s version goes something like this:
The day before you were born, I woke up really early. I was excited because I knew that you wanted to meet your daddy and I was going to see your face for the first time. We worked together all day, because it’s hard work trying to get a baby from inside a mommy’s belly out into the world.
We worked all day and all night. Mommy got really tired, and Daddy stayed with Mommy the whole time. The next day, we finally figured it out, and you were born! The doctors handed you to me, and Daddy and I looked into your blue eyes for the first time. There was a special song playing, and both Daddy and Mommy started crying, because we were so happy to see you.
For the past two years, we’ve looked at you every day, and we’ve thought about how lucky we are to be your Mommy and Daddy. You’re such a special little girl, and we love you so much.
And Henrie’s eyes grow heavy as I’m whispering to her. She falls asleep, and I feel Billie moving. In three short months, I get to do it again.
Well, folks. It’s the end of March, and I’m happy to say that we’ve survived. In some ways, it flew by, and in some ways, it crawled.
During the weekend of the 15th, we drove down to Salida for Joshua’s trail marathon. We left on Thursday evening and made a long weekend of it, so we really felt like we had a proper get away. Henriette loved the pool, and we got outside to enjoy a couple of walks as well. Salida is so beautiful and surprising. I think this is the first time I really appreciated all the many old and well taken care of homes. A lot of them have a very similar style to the old homes in Denver with great porches, creative shingles, and skillful brickwork. Downtown seemed even more vibrant than I remembered too, with at least half a dozen restaurants I would be happy to eat in and a collection of outdoor shops that I wouldn’t patronize because I’m cheap.
Joshua’s run wasn’t what he had hoped it would be, but he still beat his time from the same race last year, and in my personal opinion, any time you finish a marathon is a good time.
We arrived back in Denver to guests. Yvonne had an interview over the weekend, and Dave accompanied her. On Monday, Hannah arrived, and that night, we all went out to Watercourse for some gorgeous food and to celebrate Yvonne and Dave’s 25th wedding anniversary.
Yvonne and Dave headed out that Tuesday, but Hannah stayed until Friday morning, and it was so nice to be able to spend time with my sister who is quite grown up these days. Henriette also enjoyed soaking up some time with her mega-cool auntie.
That same Friday – a week ago today – Joshua left for LA with his high school. Since then, Henrie and I have been going solo. We’ve spent some more time with my mom, or Grandma, as we now all call her, but otherwise it’s been a long stretch of uninterrupted time with my daughter. While we’re missing Joshua like crazy – like a lot a lot – I’ve felt so lucky to have this time with Henrie. She has been so playful and affectionate all week, and as we excitedly anticipate Billie’s arrival, I’m ever more mindful of this time alone with Henrie. We feel kind of like partners. (Isn’t it strange to think that Billie will never be an only child?)
Today, in less than an hour, Henrie and I will head off for the airport. We’ll be in Minnesota until next Friday, and then we’ll return and celebrate Henrie’s second birthday on Saturday (what?!!!). While we’re gone, Joshua will return, celebrate his birthday all by himself, and work on our new house.
Say what? Yes. I may have also neglected to mention that in the month of March, we also bought our second house. Currently, it’s a lovely mess with good bones and not much of anything else. And by that, I mean that there is no kitchen, no bathroom floor, terrible pergo all over the place, and windows that are all painted shut.
So Joshua decided to ship us off to Minnesota so that he could get some work done. I’m both grateful for his industry, expertise and selflessness and heartsick over the time he’ll be spending away from us until the home is ready for us to move in.
Which Joshua predicts will be at the end of April… We’ll see. It seems a mightily ambitious goal, if you ask me.
While Henriette and I are in Minnesota, we’re going to cram in as much as possible, namely Boobah, Zeydah, Uncle Eamon, Granny, Papa, Nana, Ashlee, and the Devanes.
Well folks, that’s all for now, except for my reading list. Joshua bought me a kindle earlier in the month, and while I had a bit of trepidation over spending money on books at first, I’m sold! I’m a convert! I love my little kindle!
As proof of my love (or maybe just the reason I love it so much), I’ve read two books! In one month! Yes. I am an expecting mother of a two year old and I can read!
First, I read Bringing Up Bebe. I loved it, and after some falling out of love with “attachment parenting”, I feel like having a balance of perspectives makes me feel – shockingly – more balanced. I immediately requested that Stacy read it too, and now when she comes in the beginning of April, I’ll have someone to talk about it with :)
Next, I read Wild. I LOVED it. Not only is Cheryl Strayed a phenomenal writer, but the premise of hiking the PCT is immediately compelling. My only dismay is to find that it’s been optioned for a motion picture and Reese Witherspoon intends to play Cheryl. Um. What?! Anyone else find that completely incongruous/mind boggling?
You guys, March isn’t my favorite. Somehow, I escaped January and February relatively unscathed by the short daylight hours and break-less teaching grind. Usually, I refer to January and February as “the dark days” when I question my sanity and my ability to persevere until Spring Break, much less June when all of the students leave and I have a reprieve.
I’ve heard that January/February dread is a common ailment, and while I’m happy to have completed these months with relatively little kvetching, I’ve got a bone to pick with March: why can’t you be short, like your February predecessor? Why must you wait until the 30th to give me Spring Break? Why must you contain state testing???
I could go on, but I won’t. These days, I teach my first period and I think, I have to teach that three more times? I’ve got a serious case of the count-the-downers instead of the blessings, so this post is about turning that around.
Among the many things for which I am thankful, I will focus on just six, because six is a multiple of three and March is the third month, and I prefer symmetry, you see. Also. Tomorrow I’m six months pregnant.
- Do you like that segue? I thought you would. I’m thankful I’m pregnant. With Henrie, I experienced the anticipation and excitement of welcoming a new person to my family and this world, but I really didn’t understand what that meant. I had an idea, but when Henrie was born, I felt like my whole world changed. My life swung into orbit around this new little planet, and my perspective completely shifted. It was good and hard and wonderful, and it was something I had to experience in order to understand. With this new baby, I understand more, and it makes me feel like my anticipation and excitement are even more genuine. I am SO excited to have another little person in this house (or another house). I am SO excited to get to know her, to love her, and to raise her. I feel so incredibly lucky that I get to be a mom to not one but two girls. I’m excited to teach them how to be strong women and to push myself to be a stronger woman for them. I’m excited to see Henrie and Billie develop a relationship of their own. There are so many things that I look forward to, and I’m thankful for that anticipation this Spring.
- I’m thankful for visitors. Part of the reason that January and February were easier this year is because I got to spend time with people I miss during the rest of the year. Yvonne and Dave came for a week in January, and their trip was followed by a short visit from Sarah. During the second week of February, Stacy and Margot stayed for a week, and after months of feeling a bit friendless, I so much enjoyed their company. Luckily, this month holds in store some more gems: Hannah is coming the third week of March, Yvonne is making a quick trip, and at the end of the month, Henrie and I will be going to Minnesota for a week.
- I’m thankful for Joshua and Henrie. After four and a half years of marriage and ten (ten?!) years of being together, Joshua is still my favorite person. I love running with him, talking with him, and just being with him. He’s the best companion. He’s also crazy ambitious and busy. I’m not sure how that happened, but I guess I’m along for the ride :) As for Henrie, the girl is pure sunshine. Her laugh makes my heart burst, and she has developed a wicked sense of humor. Each day, she’s able to interact with me and her surroundings more, and I’m having so much fun. I tell her a hundred times a day that I love her and I’m so lucky to be her mom.
- I’m thankful for running. These days, my runs are not impressive in length or speed, but my consistency, given my growing belly, still gives me that boost of confidence. For a girl who has often been plagued by feelings of self-doubt and poor esteem, running has been a touchstone. I run every day because it keeps me healthy; it keeps my body healthy, but mostly it keeps my heart and my head healthy. It’s one of the things that I feel proud of, and it’s one of the things that makes me feel strong. I run every day, rain or shine, pregnant or not, happy or sad. I have since I was 12, and not a lot of people can say that. (Hey, I need to distinguish myself in some ways, now that my husband is an ultrarunner.)
- I’m thankful for security. I’m thankful that I’ve had a job that has provided my family with the ability to travel long distances, buy a home (and maybe another), and raise a family. I’m thankful that Joshua has a job that he loves and that will continue to provide us with the ability to own a home and raise a family, even when I won’t have a salary. I’m thankful I can fill up the gas tank without worrying if I have enough money in my bank account, and I’m thankful that we can stop by Chipotle for dinner if I’m too tired to make it myself. I’m thankful that I can buy enough maternity clothes to get me through until this baby arrives, and when she does, I’m thankful that we’ll have enough resources to take care of her as well. I’m thankful that I get to dream about pursuing another career, despite the costs, and I’m thankful that I get to dream about traveling the world.
- I thankful for writing. In the past four years, I’ve written on A Carpetbagger’s Tale and now Feathered Aspen both frequently and intermittently, through teaching, moving, traveling, and raising a family. I’m thankful for the chance to process aloud, the chance to connect with my far flung friends and family. I’m thankful to flex my fingers in a way that I have always loved and continue my passion for words, sometimes eloquently and sometimes completely artlessly. Since October, I’ve begun a project that has always been on my bucket-list: writing a book. Barbara Kingsolver it is not, but I love it, and it’s giving me a sense of pride that I haven’t felt since my days of writing papers or traveling and writing every night. Excluding outlines, character synopses, and other pre-writing I did before I began, I have now written 170 pages. But don’t hold your breath; not even Joshua get’s to read it for now, maybe ever.
So these are just a few of the things for which I am thankful. Hopefully, I can ruminate on them while I’m pacing the floor, proctoring state testing.
Bought this little REI fleece from the thrift. Henrie loves it and insists on wearing the hood at all times :)
Sneak peek at three of my favorite features of our intended: curved wall at far left, Moroccan-style arch, and a fireplace :)
Some of the massive homes in the Historic Stewart District.
Boxes of Henrie’s baby clothes.
We’ve had a laid back sort of weekend; we had no plans, and we never really made any. On Friday night, I went out to Happy Hour with some of the girls from my work, and then I came home to cuddles with Henrie and Joshua’s homemade paninis.
Yesterday, Henrie woke up early, and Joshua made huevos rancheros (my favorite). We tidied up the house a bit and then we piled into the car for a little urban walk.
Walking through the residential streets of South Colfax is probably not something you would choose to do unless you’re thinking about living in the neighborhood. But we are, and so we decided to check it out. I’m feeling particularly lazy these days, so I’ll upload some of the photos in a separate post.
If I were really good at surprises and the necessary secrecy skills involved with nailing a really good surprise, I’d probably wait to tell you all about our latest adventure until it was a done deal. But let’s be honest; I’ve kept our baby-to-be’s name a secret for approximately a week, and it may be a record (and that’s with no one asking).
Sooooo… Knock on wood, bar a myriad of problems that could reveal themselves before the closing date, we are planning on moving.
To South Colfax.
Here are some ways I’ve heard South Colfax described: “hoody,” “sketchy,” and “mixed income.” Racial undertones and yuppie fears aside, there may be some truth to these epithets. Last week, an eleven year old boy was tragically killed when he was run over on Federal and Colfax, and the driver kept going. Last month, a desperate man took a woman hostage at the 7-11 on Perry and Colfax, and a couple of hours later, he was brought down by a sniper. Between Sheridan and Federal, Colfax is home to the following: multiple tattoo parlors (and you know what kind of people frequent those places*), a bath house (a bath house?!), the Aristocrat motor motel, half a dozen auto dealerships, Girl’s Inc., Colfax Elementary, a pawn shop, and a dozen eateries I have no intention of frequenting now, or ever.
But South Colfax is also home to some surprising features: turn of the century brick homes, a brand new rail line and station at Perry and 10th, and a community of Orthodox Jews. In less than two miles of walking up and down the streets from Meade to Utica, we passed a Mikvah, a Jewish Day School, half a dozen gorgeous mansions, two brand new playgrounds, a community garden, and newly paved, landscaped trails next to the rail line.
Each time we’ve stopped by our intended (the house, that is), neighbors come out of their homes to check us out. They’re friendly, and everyone’s remarking on the new vitality that the rail station has provided the community.
After our walk, we went back to the house for lunch, and after Henriette refused to nap, we decided to head back out for Little Man’s ice cream and a little foray to REI so Joshua could return his running spikes.
I probably don’t need to tell you that Henrie loved the strawberry and chocolate ice cream, even though it was cold outside.
That night, Joshua made Chana Masala (Joshua cooks on the weekends; I cook on weeknights), and I sorted (and Henrie unsorted) all of Henrie’s baby clothes from the attic. I’ll post a picture, but people. It’s a little embarrassing how much we’ve managed to accumulate in Henrie’s almost two years. But hey, at least we’re well-stocked for Billie.
This morning, Joshua woke up early to go for a long run (he’s training for the Salida trail marathon in a few weekends), and Henrie and I slept in until nearly 730, made breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, and went for a run of our own. Joshua was home by the time we got back, so we all went to the grocery store together.
It’s been a good weekend.
It’s taken me too long to update the blog with this bit of news… We found out the gender last Monday, February 10, and then we flirted with social media until Valentine’s Day when we officially announced that we’re having a girl on Instagram. We are, of course, thrilled that the ultrasound went well and that we’ll have another little girl this summer. With two girls, I’m really feeling the girl power, and I’m already scheming ways to raise righteous babes.
As for a name… I know this is very unlike me, y’all, but I’m afraid we’re going to have to keep this a secret. If for no other reason than I need a challenge. I have disclosed a nickname, Billie, but you’ll have to wait until this summer to hear her full name in all of it’s glory ;)
In other news, Stacy and Margot came to visit this past week, and we all had a wonderful time. I’ve been a bit friend-starved since the Pietaris left, and getting to spend time with Stacy and her beautiful little daughter was so much fun. Margot is radiant and cuddly, and Joshua, Henrie, and I brushed up on our baby skills. I’m particularly pleased by how interested Henrie was in little Margot, and I’m happy to report that I think she’ll be an attentive and loving older sister. Stacy and I had fun challenging ourselves on some longer runs (me being 21 weeks and her being 3 mos. postpartum), and talking parenthood with one of my closest friends gave me some much needed reflection.
Hoping all is well with you -