Feathered Aspen


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8 months

Well, hello there, lovely.  How is it that you’re eight months already?  Hmmm?

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Today, we took the bus to the library.  We missed story time, but no matter.  There were crafts and computers and toys and Lily made a little friend.  Lu was her usual happy, contented little self.

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Playing with my phone.  Can you believe she’s almost three?!  I had such a wonderful evening with her, getting some snuggles in and just spending some lovely one on one time together.

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The library near our home just opened, and we’re pumped to have such a gorgeous, big new library within walking distance.

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Going through old photos.  This one is of Josh a bit younger than Lily is now.  Whaddya think?

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Joshua’s jock days.  They crack me up.

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So young!

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Dave, Yvonne and Sarah.  So serious :)

 

 

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My husband kind of scares me in this photo.  He looks like a mean middle schooler.

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Joshua’s old house on Ingerson.

 

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90s selflie

 

 

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This makes me laugh.

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Lu’s mound of toys.

 

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An old photo I found in Vivienne’s cache of photos.  I love this one.  Love them all in the tree.

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Nursing Lu.  The last bit of photos are just from my phone.  I would have written more, but the computer is being super glitchy at the moment.  Love, E


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Dear Lu

This morning, Lily and I crawled out of bed and left you sleeping.  Your hands were curled shut and flanking your cheeks like little bookends.  Somewhere between coffee and eggs, I hear you sigh.  It’s half a song and a yawn, and when I walk in to say good morning, you smile with your whole face.  You kick your legs and give a wriggle when I kiss your nose.  I pick you up, and you curl into my shoulder, nuzzling my neck.

You’re so patient in the morning.  I sit you in the sunlight, surrounded by pillows and rattles and books that crinkle, and you pick through them methodically, grasping each with your little fists, smacking them into the floor or gumming them.  Your sister gives you kisses and hugs, she runs around, takes your stuffed animal and hands you another.  Sometimes she makes you cry, and sometimes she makes you laugh.  I’m always telling her to be gentle, to pull back, to be a good big sister, and she tries.

We eat breakfast and get changed.  Just before we leave, you nurse.  I almost always think you’ll fall asleep, but you rarely do.  You curl in, trying to get some peace while your sister competes for my attention, playing the harmonica or banging about in her little kitchen or asking for a story.  “Not now, Lily.  Lu’s eating, she’s trying to sleep.  Shhhh.  We’ll leave in a little bit.  Go play with your toys.”

On our way out the door, my hands are full.  You’re in your car seat, Lily’s still resisting her winter coat, and I have my purse, the keys, my phone, a carrier, and a bag of library books looped through my arms and banging the sides of my legs.   You were crying on the way out, but once you see the sun, you start cooing and smiling again, happy to be outside.

I wrangle the two of you into the car.  Once I’ve buckled in your car seat, I run half way down the block to chase after Lily, who’s giggling and looking behind her to see if I’m in pursuit.

We drive to Walgreens for passport photos, and I hold you in front of the white screen awkwardly, trying not to get in the photo.  No matter.  You smile anyway, and then it’s your sister’s turn.  She’s a little alarmed.  She thinks we’re going to Mexico today; the link between this photo and our summer trip doesn’t quite make sense.

You’re happy in the car.  No cries.  You play with my wallet, hitting the sides of your car seat with it.  When we get to music class, I can tell you’re tired and you want to nurse, but I’m wearing a dress, and I’m still not completely comfortable nursing in public.  I try to avoid it when I can.  I hate that.  I’d like to invent a nursing bra with the image of a hand flipping the bird to anyone who doesn’t like it, but it does bother me, the looks.  So I hand you my watch to play with, and we go inside.

You like music class, but the time’s all wrong.  You’re ready for nap.  You cry after we put away each instrument, and when Lily tries to dance or cuddle with you, your face crumples.  Even so, you smile and sing along.  You like bouncing on my knee and shaking the rattles, ringing the bells.  You love when we get up and dance.  Today we danced to ‘Send Me On My Way’ which is one of my anthems.

At the end of class, we sing ‘so long, farewell, goodbye my friends, so long, farewell, goodbye.’  I load you into your carrier, and we walk the six blocks to the library.  On the way, you nurse and then you fall asleep, head into my chest, heavy weight.  I cajole and bribe Lily the whole way.  ‘You can have a snack after we are done with the library.  Hold my hand.  Lily, watch where you’re going.  I know it’s a long way.  You have strong legs.  Wow!  I’m so proud of you!  You’re such a great runner!  Are you going to be a runner like you’re mommy and daddy?’

You sleep through it all.  I wrap you in my jacket, but the sun in shining, and you head feels warm.  I kiss your downy hair.  At the library, you start to cry because your sister is worried that I won’t let her scan the books at the self-checkout.  She calms down when I set her up, stacking the books and lighting up the bar codes, but you’re a little grumpy that you’ve been woken up.

We get outside, and you smile up at me.  Something about that sunshine and cool air.

Lily looses it on the way back to the truck.  It’s my fault.  It’s one thirty, we’ve walked nearly a mile, and I’m out of snacks.  She’s tired and hungry and… Tired.  I carry her on my hip for a block, and she sniffs through her tears and kisses you.  You’re not pleased with the additional passenger, encroaching on your space.

Finally, finally, we get to the truck.  I buckle the two of you in, slide into my seat, and pull out the passport photos to take another peek.  So darn cute.  I look at my watch.  It says 2.8 miles, but I’m not sure how much of that is from shaking a tambourine in music class.

We drive the residential roads home, but neither of you fall asleep.  Back at the house, I set you up in the sun again.  You play while I make lunch and pour myself another cup of coffee.  Lily bursts into tears over her eggs and beans.  I change your diaper and put Lily down for nap.  I scoop you up and we nurse.  You fall asleep and I pull out the computer, trying to write without waking you up.

These are our days.  This is you.  You’re still so little that you feel like a part of me.  I know your cries, and your comfort is mine.  Nursing, cuddling – these are my rest too.  Soon, you’ll be crawling.  I find you on your tummy often, having launched there in an effort to grasp a toy just out of reach.  But for now, you’re in my arms or sitting in the sun.

I love you, Lu.  You’ve taught me so much.  You’re resilient and curious, patient and happy.  When I labored and delivered you, I felt your little spirit the whole time:  calm, patient, and sure.  You’re first months have shown me the ease and joy of new life.  You help me to be calm, to be patient, to be sure.

Love,

Mom

My lovely sister-in-law.  Lookin' like an american gangster ala 1960s.


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Vivienne et Cecil et al…

Some photos from the past few weeks.  Sarah, my sister-in-law, and I have been working hard to put on a little vintage pop up shop.  This past weekend, we had our first sale.  Leading up to the sale, we tore out cabinetry from inside her garage, painted the interior all in white, hung rods for clothes hangers, dug up all of our thrifted, vintage clothes fit for sale, made price tags, flyers, signs, steam cleaned everything, took photos in the freezing cold, and created a facebook and etsy site.  It was quite the production, but it was fun, and our first shop was very successful.  We had probably 60 people stop by, and we made almost 70% of our overhead.  We plan to open again on March 14 from 9 to 3, so if you’re in the area, please stop on by.

We named the shop Vivienne et Cecil, using Grandma Vivienne’s and Grandma Joanie’s middle name.

When I’m not working on the shop, I’m snuggling with the girls and traipsing all over this city, finding little adventures.  On Friday, I have my Human Anatomy and Physiology course, and this week is my first exam.  Combined with church, running, and A Simple Year course, my life is decidedly a little less simple and a little more busy, which means that I’m failing February’s mission of owning my busyness and prioritizing few, rather than many.  Oh well, it could be worse, and I am having fun.  One of these days I’ll give ya’ll an update on my minimalism adventures in the past four months.

Lu and Lily.  Lily's face is smeared with raspberry puree from a failed attempt at making Valentine's Day cupcakes....

Lu and Lily. Lily’s face is smeared with raspberry puree from a failed attempt at making Valentine’s Day cupcakes….

Lily, act surprised.

Lily, act surprised.

Lily and one of her best buds on a hike at Matthew Winters.  He's moving to San Diego next month :(

Lily and one of her best buds on a hike at Matthew Winters. He’s moving to San Diego next month :(

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At the library, playing on the iPad (sort of).

At the library, playing on the iPad (sort of).

My lovely sister-in-law.  Lookin' like an american gangster ala 1960s.

My lovely sister-in-law. Lookin’ like an american gangster ala 1960s.

Cute

Cute

Love the light in this one

Love the light in this one

Nursing Lu.

Nursing Lu.

Clockwise:  Valentine's Day night cuddling with Lu while Joshua is chaperoning the high school dance; in the changing room of our shop, with Lu in her sling and me in my killer hat; Lu gazing up at me <3

Clockwise: Valentine’s Day night cuddling with Lu while Joshua is chaperoning the high school dance; in the changing room of our shop, with Lu in her sling and me in my killer hat; Lu gazing up at me <3

Clockwise:  shop; changing room; coats and scarves.

Clockwise: shop; changing room; coats and scarves.

Clockwise:  shoes, hats and jewelry; lacy things; dresses.

Clockwise: shoes, hats and jewelry; lacy things; dresses.

Clockwise:  some Nana Made things in the shop; one of the photos of me for the etsy site; Sarah in a skirt.

Clockwise: some Nana Made things in the shop; one of the photos of me for the etsy site; Sarah in a skirt.

Clockwise:  Sarah looking fabulous; me in the coveted polka dots; Sarah in Koret.

Clockwise: Sarah looking fabulous; me in the coveted polka dots; Sarah in Koret.

The poncho (can I really sell it?  It actually keeps me awake at night.); Italian silk; Velour Navy gown.

The poncho (can I really sell it? It actually keeps me awake at night.); Italian silk; Velour Navy gown.

Red Dress; 80s pants and turban wrap; pink cheetah print.

Red Dress; 80s pants and turban wrap; pink cheetah print.

Old Hollywood gown; the gorgeous dress I wore to Caitlin's wedding; all in black.

Old Hollywood gown; the gorgeous dress I wore to Caitlin’s wedding; all in black.


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Snow Day

 

We woke up to snow and cold temps, so we made french toast, coffee, and an addition for Lily’s dollhouse.

Materials:

  • One Diaper Box
  • Duct Tape
  • One Country Living magazine
  • Mod Podge
  • Three Hours

I think I had way more fun than the toddler ;)

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So fun!  Hope you’re having a lovely President’s Day…  A bit of a strange holiday, but I’m not complaining.


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A Letter to Lily at 34 Mos.

Dear Lily,

Today, you split your lip.  It was chilly outside, and you and daddy walked to the 7-11 around the corner for milk.  You had your hands in your pockets, and when your toe caught a crack in the pavement, you couldn’t get them out in time.  You came home sobbing, blood dripping through your fingers and your lip already swollen.  I gave you a wet rag and a little ice pack, and you sat on the kitchen island with tears streaming down your face, gasping between your cries.

Later in the day, I watched your eyes light up with delight when I asked if you wanted a mini cupcake.  You peeled off the wrapping, licked off the frosting, and savored every last bite.  You had on skinny jeans and a super girl t-shirt.  Your hair was pulled into a little pony tail, and before you left for nap, I crouched down next to you and asked for a kiss.  You leaned in, and at the last second, you gave me the briefest peck on the cheek, your eyes elsewhere, but your weight threatening to push me over.

You painted me a pink heart for Valentines, you held our hands all the way to playground, you asked “why?” a dozen times.  You noticed the kitties, the other little girls.  You wanted to walk across the bridge.  When you got tired on the way home, your daddy picked you up and you leaned in and said, “I love you, daddy.”

At home, you wrapped your baby doll in a blanket, painted some more, and nibbled on pieces of cheese I fed you as I made dinner.  When your sister cried, you ran over and sat next to her, offering her toys and tucking the blanket around her.

For a treat, we watched the last half of Mary Poppins while we ate dinner, and you sat entranced, mouthing recurring phrases like, “close your eyes” and “chim-chiminey.”  You looked at me with your eyes wide when you watch the chimney sweeps dance across the rooftops, and you asked me to turn off the TV when the fireworks shot through the sky.  As you ate your soup, you said very seriously, “this is good for me.  It makes my tummy feel good.”

Past your bedtime, I finally laid you down in bed and sang you our songs:  the Sh’ma and “New” Song (which is the Part of Your World song from the Little Mermaid).  I laid with you for a few minutes, running my fingers through your hair and telling you about our day.  You closed your eyes.

I sense you’re on a cusp.  At times, you are unbelievable mature and I look at you, unable to fathom how you’ve grown so quickly.  At others, you are still a two year old, figuring out how to use the potty and bursting into tears when we rearrange the furniture.

I’ll see you in your skinny jeans and a pony-tail, scuffing the dirt with the toe of your tennis shoes, and I’ll think, “how on earth did you get to be so big?!”  And then, I’ll melt when you ask me to snuggle.  You’re still small enough to need me for big and small things, but there’s an independent, wise and self-possessed part of you emerging.

A new development is your ability to “calm down.”  You’ll be losing it over something – the wrong breakfast, the wrong shoes, the wrong vehicle – and I’ll tell you that it’s time to calm down.  In the middle of tears and screams and back-arching toddler tantrum, you’ll start to exhale loudly and purposefully, stilling your limbs, and going a little red in the face as you hold back the next scream.  “Ok.  K.  I calm down.  Calm down.  Ok.  I’m calm.”

Or the way that you freely tell me and your daddy that you love us, without us even prompting.  You’ve started saying thank you for more than just simple exchanges, for example in the middle of a meal when you’ve realized that I cooked something just for you that you really like.

I love you, my dear.  You’re funny and kind.  You’re sweet and you’re smart.  You’re beautiful and opinionated.

Love,

Mom


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Ate my ‘tato

Some of my favorite Lily-isms from this past week:

“Dearest wife? May I have some pancakes?”

“It stinks like someone pooped.”

“Lu is ridiculous.”

“I need some assistance.”

“It’s a beautiful day.  I bring the potty outside.”

“Oscar’s a naughty boy.  Ate my ‘tato.  Oscar like ‘tatoes, mommy?”

“Lu not eat lunch.  Lu eat boobies.”

“No want anything in my hair.  So long and pretty.”

***

In my last post, things were a little rocky, but I thought I’d come back to say that things are better again.  I’ve been so blissfully happy this fall and winter that I wasaught unawares by that bump.  I just have to remind myself that I set the tone.  I’m the adult.  I was responding to her outbursts with sadness and frustration, and then she was feeding off my sad/frustrated responses with more negative behavior.  But the next morning she erupted over something and I kept it light, smiling and making a silly joke.  She laughed, and the whole week unfolded with few mishaps.  It’s really astonishing.  Of course, I still get frustrated or feel like I’m not getting something quite right, but if I fake calm and ease, Lily responds positively, and we avoid that downward spiral.

Teaching, I tell you.  These were all part of my tool kit:  fake it til you make it, set the tone, keep it light, be the adult, and when all else fails, make a silly joke.  Glad they’re coming in handy now that I’m the parent of a toddler.

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