Feathered Aspen


2 Comments

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


4 Comments

7 mos/34 mos

It’s 11:30 PM on Sunday night and the house is sleeping, quietly.  I’ve just finished some homework, and I’ll crawl in bed soon too, but for now, a short post:

It’s the first day of February, and it wasn’t until someone asked me at church tonight how old Lu is that I realized that I had missed her monthly birthday for the first time.  I’ve been so good about remembering the 30th and documenting with a photo, but I suppose this is a bit of a milestone, too:  she’s old enough that I might casually live through the 30th day of a month and forget that that means she’s a month older.

Lu is a gem.  She is very content, smiles often, plays well, and remarkably resilient.  She’ll sit for 30 to 45 minutes at a time, playing with her toys.  When one is just out of her reach she’ll fold in half, reaching with all her might to capture it.  Sometimes she succeeds, but it amazes me how, even when something doesn’t come to her right away, she doesn’t grow upset.  She keeps trying.  As a result, she’s scooting on her butt, getting up on her hands and knees, and ending up on her tummy pretty often these days.

Lu has started saying, “mamamama.”  It’s very intentional, but I’d hesitate to say she knows what it means.  She knows we smile and mimic her when she says it, and she loves that.  She has a beautiful little voice, and sometimes she’ll use it the whole time she’s in the car, just cooing and ahhing all the way to wherever we’re going.  She’s been sucking on her upper lip a lot lately, which results in a funny smacking noise, and she also likes to fake cough.  Lily is still the one to make her laugh most often, but mommy’s also a pretty good tickler.

This month, Lu hiked to the top of Mt. Sanitas in Boulder, swam in the Wheat Ridge Rec Pool a couple of times, and even let Joshua and I go on a date for a few hours without crying (thanks Grandma!).  She’s getting so much bigger, and I feel so lucky to be able to spend every day with her and watch it happen.

Lily is has been doing very well for the majority of the month.  She’s been really helpful, cleaning up, getting things ready to go, getting dressed, and keeping Lu ‘safe’/keeping her company.  She’s doing so much better as an older sister, testing the boundaries much less often and even showing interest in sitting next to Lu and playing with her.  (Next up, please don’t take away Lu’s toys….  A struggle, as ever.)

Her language is getting stronger and stronger, too.  Her sentences are more varied, and she’s including words that you would never expect out of an almost three year old like, ‘assistance,’ ‘ridiculous,’ ‘nervous,’ and ‘especially.’  My personal favorite is ‘also.’  She’s very funny, and she tries to make jokes often.  Her face is so expressive, and her ‘I’m sorry, but that’s just how it’s gotta be’ -face is hysterical.

I love this girl to pieces.  Before she Lu was born I remember wondering if it would be possible to love another baby as much as I loved Lily.  Well, I do.  The love I feel for Lu is simple and full and satisfying.  She is such an easy going baby, and it’s so comfortable to snuggle her and love her all day long.  I know what she’s feeling from each cry, and I feel confident in my abilities to address her needs and soothe her.  And I love Lily too, and the love is the same, but it’s also different.  They’re both my daughters, both flesh of my flesh, borne of me, grown from me and with me, but they’re also so different.  With Lily, I’m a little less confident, less sure.  When she throws a fit for….  Three days, let’s say, I’m completely broken.  I’m frustrated, yes, but I’m also distraught.  What am I doing wrong?  What could I be doing better?  How can I teach her to regulate her emotions and treat others with gentleness and love?  I’m absolutely in love with this mostly sunny, sometimes volatile little girl, and it shakes me when I can’t get it quite right.  But that’s love too.  In fact, that’s a love I’m pretty familiar with:  the kind you have to work at, the kind that has a sharp little underbelly but an absolutely gooey and lovely center.

Sometimes when I write these things, I worry that Lily or Lu will come back when they’re older and read this and think, ‘see?  This is how I’ve always been, how you’ve always seen me.’  I don’t mean to do that at all.  If I’ve been learning anything this year, it’s that people can and do change and what is true now won’t always be true next week.  But for now, this is how it is.  This week/end has been tough for me, tough for Lily.  I’m hoping for a better week.


2 Comments

Another Month

IMG_5346.JPG

 

I’m a fairly patient momma, but the past couple of days, I’ve raised my voice.  Even as I’m doing it, I think, “this isn’t helping,” but at the moment, I’m not sure what would.  Reasoning with a two and a half year old is…  Interesting.  Yesterday, after running around the Children’s Museum for the last 15 minutes, refusing to do anything I asked and doing everything I said NO! to, I picked Lily up kicking and screaming, stuffed her in the stroller, and high-tailed it outta there.  On the walk, I started with, “Momma is really upset with you.  I’m sad and mad and upset.  I don’t like what you did, and it made me angry.”  I was speaking sternly and Lily just had this vague look on her face like, yeah, yeah, yeah, whatevs.  Finally, I stopped walking, crouched in front of the stroller and asked a series of questions.  “Should you wait for Momma or can you leave and run to the next room?”  “Wait.”  “How did it make Momma feel when you left her?”  “Sad.”  “When Momma says, STOP shaking the tree, what should you do?”  “Stop.”

We apologized to each other and hugged, and then we were good, but man, was I ticked walking out of there.  I don’t usually get ticked like that.

And then today.  Lily tried to pour water over her sister, and then a little later, she jumped near her head.  I go a little nuts when I think she’s going to hurt Lu.  “Time out, now,” I said, through clenched teeth.  I pick her up and sit her next to the wall.  She fiddles with the baseboard for a minute, and then she looks over at me with a smile and says, “say sorry now?”  Completely unaffected.

But then there’s last night.  We’re all walking back to the house after Lu announced she was done with all that running nonsense, and Lily got out of the stroller to walk Oscar.  It was seriously the cutest thing ever, and Joshua and I were looking at each other and laughing quietly to ourselves.  Oscar’s gate is more of a run for Lily, so she’s running to keep up with him and shouting orders the whole time.  “No Oscar!  This way!  Not safe!  Stop!”  After running almost a full half mile, Joshua and I were nearly in tears laughing.

“Lily, look at you run!  I’m so impressed!  You’re legs must be really strong,” I say.  Lily glances over her shoulder, “Daddy run in mountains.  Lily someday.”  And then, if that didn’t just melt us, she says, “Bear Hunt!”  “Are you gonna catch a big one?” we ask.  “Beautiful day!” Lily responds, “not scared!”

Or today, we’re walking back to the train, and Lily says, “Eat banana on train?  Go home, snuggle?”

And “hot potato!  Lily sweating!”

Most of the time, I just want to scoop her up and tell her that she’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

IMG_5316.JPG

 

This one is four months old today.  Her personality has really begun emerging this past month, and I’m constantly in awe of her size.  How did she get so big?  Now when I nurse her, she sits in my lap.  She loves being supported while she stands, and half the time when she’s laying on her back she’s flexing her abs and curling in, trying to sit up.  Her neck is super strong these days, and it makes things so much easier.  I can carry her with one hand or hands free with a carrier.

She’s been grabbing for toys and chewing on everything in sight, but I’ve yet to see a tooth.  Within the past week and a half, she’s really begun laughing, and of course, it’s her daddy that’s the best at getting her to giggle.  Lily makes her laugh, too.  Oh and yesterday when I was recounting the story of our dramatic exit from the Children’s Museum and mimicking my stern voice for Joshua’s benefit.  She thought that was hysterical, too.

Unfortunately, we’re struggling a bit on the sleeping front.  While I’m fairly certain that Lu slept straight through her first three months of life, she’s been making up for it in the past couple of weeks.  She still sleeps through the night, but then she’s championed the 15 minute snooze during the day.  And let me tell you.  I am not a fan of the four to five 15 minute snooze schedule.  In my humble opinion, she should be banging out three hour+ naps.  For Lily, nursing worked.  Whenever she seemed sleepy, I would nurse her and she would fall asleep, and then I could get some s*** done.  Not so much with Lu.

Anyway, I better not complain too much, because hey, a babe that sleeps through the night on her first night home from the hospital is a precious unicorn.


4 Comments

10.7.14

 

Happy October!  We’re enjoying a warm streak this week with temperatures in the seventies and eighties, and it’s just gorgeous.  The leaves are changing, it’s just cool enough to wear long sleeves, and I’m dabbling in warm drinks.  Life is good, and I’m feeling particularly thankful for my little family and this wonderful time of year.  Lu is such a cuddle-bug, and Lily just told me she loves me to the moon and back when I put her down for nap, sooooo.   Yeah.  I’m one lucky duck.

Joshua took his eighth day of paternity leave yesterday and let me study up for my nutrition exam.  It’s been so nice to have a few three day weekends and little more time with him.  I sure am grateful for paternity leave.  The rest of the country should hurry up and see the wisdom in offering fathers time to take care of and enjoy their newborns.  It’s just so crazy to me how we don’t have better legal provisions for moms, dads, and babies.  For all of the conservative focus on the family pandering, I hear mum about making it more financially and professionally feasible for parents to take time off and usher their little ones into this world.  My heart just goes out to those moms who get no time or just a week to three weeks off, unpaid.  And for all those dads, too.  And babies!  Imagine being swaddled in amniotic fluid one week and then dropped off at a stranger’s the next!

On a completely separate note, you may have noticed a couple of name changes going on around here.  We’ve decided to slowly phase out our girls’ real names and bring in Lily for the eldest and Lu for the youngest.  I’m done going back and changing to Lu, but it’s going to take me a while to change everything to Lily.  Anyway, we decided to take a little more precaution with our girls’ internet footprint, so that’s why you’ll be hearing a lot more about Lily and Lu.

IMG_4563.JPG

One of the things I’m thankful for these days is being able to nurse.  It’s such a nice thing Lu and I share, and I know firsthand that it can be such a struggle for so many people.  Recently, I’ve encountered mommies who have been quite militant about nursing and other mommies who have talked openly about their struggles with nursing, using formula, and then successes nursing with their subsequent children.  Sometimes, I’m amazed at the self-righteous judgement people are willing to cast upon other parents.  So while I’m thankful for this gift I’ve been given, and I do like that nursing in public is becoming more and more acceptable, I’m also hopeful that we can be more open and loving to all of the wonderful ways in which babies are cared for and fed.

IMG_4570.JPG

Just a glimpse into my micro lab.  I kind of love it?!

IMG_4574.JPG

Just amazed by the changes in this little one’s face.  Two months (bottom) to three months (top).

IMG_4559.JPG

Lu!

IMG_4637.JPG

Soooo…  You know how lots of parents say, “you can be whatever you want to be.  You can be an artist!  An astronaut!  A ballerina!”

Yeah.  We’re trying something different.  We’re brainwashing Lily, and she’s going to be a scientist.  She can be an artist too, but I’m thinking I’ll just encourage her to be an artist or a poet or a writer – what have you – in her free time.  I will not be encouraging her to be a ballerina.  Anywho.  I’m sort of joking and sort of not.  It’s kind of like with my students.  I told them they were going to college.  Are there other valid life choices?  Of course.  But there’s something to be said for positive messaging and high expectations, you know?  A lot of people might assume that students from families with low incomes won’t go to college, so I thought it was important to have someone saying – rather adamantly – that they would.  In the same way, I had people telling me I could be whatever I wanted to be, but I don’t think I took them seriously because it was almost too abstract.  The narrative that girls didn’t make good mathematicians and scientists was less abstract.  Even though I felt confident that I was smart and I could go to college, I never ever considered being pre-med because I was “bad” at and didn’t “like” math and science.  Which is ridiculous really, because I never got anything less than an A in high school, and I think I didn’t “like” math and science because I couldn’t see myself as a mathematician or a scientist and the classes were harder for me.

So I’m telling Lily that she’d be a great scientist, and we’ll see where it goes.  Should she decide that she wants to be a teacher or a lawyer or a mechanic, I’ll get behind that, too 🙂

IMG_4643.JPG

More brainwashing, of course.

IMG_4625.JPG

I hope they are good friends someday.  For now, I’ll settle for Lily keeping her fingers out of Lu’s orifices.

IMG_4593.JPG

Oh, Lu.

IMG_4688.JPG

The pregnancy hair hasn’t vanished quite yet.  Maybe it will stay forever?

IMG_4702.JPG

Lily and I went on a walk around the neighborhood the other night.  It was a date, just the two of us.  When we got to the park, I asked Lily if she wanted to get down and play, but she said, “no mommy.  Lily, mommy walking.  Cuddle, talk.”

As you might surmise, I was more than ok with that.

IMG_4678.JPG

More mommy and Lily time on the front porch.  Love this girl.

IMG_4695.JPG

Is that….  A BABY in the laundry?!

IMG_4700.JPG

Cha-cha-cha-chocolate face!

IMG_4708.JPG

Mommy and Lily hiking at Guanella Pass.

IMG_4713.JPG

Friends that wear your baby are the best sort of friends 🙂 🙂  This morning was so great, you guys.  We got into the car at 645, got up to Guanella Pass by 8, and Joshua and Will ran together while Val, Lu, Lilly and I walked together.  It was gorgeous!  Afterwards, we had lunch and then Joshua, the girls and I walked around Georgetown.  It was a good day 🙂

IMG_4718.JPG

Cuddle bug!

IMG_4753.JPG

Fort building later that day!

IMG_4777.JPG

Miss Lu and me.

 

IMG_4757.JPG

It feels like such a win when you pull off a meal with zero groceries that actually tastes good 🙂

IMG_4764.JPG

I won’t go on with all the details, but I’ve been learning about fluids, etc in nutrition, and guys.  Drink up.  Seriously.

Lotsa Love,

E


8 Comments

Sleep, Little Baby, Sleep

As a new parent, trusting my instincts isn’t always my strong suit.  I’m impressionable and sometimes insecure.  Here’s this beautiful little girl, and I feel this incredible responsibility.  In the past that word – responsibility – has carried with connotations of obligation or burden, but I say “responsibility” with a gladness and wistfulness.  Weight and girth of this responsibility feels enormous.  Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but most of the time, it just feels like the most important thing in the world.

Yes, there are other important things.  I am a wife, friend, daughter, teacher, dreamer, runner, and so many things in between.  I have an identity beyond motherhood, but I’m also struck by the gravity of bringing life into this world and being the bow that bends and set that arrow forth (to use the words of Mr. Gibran).  I know that I will makes mistakes – believe me, I already have – but I want desperately to do my best for her.

Which brings me to Attachment Parenting.  Never has a body of thought pertaining to parenthood struck so many chords.  In Lily’s first year, it seemed that every instinct – whether timid or sure – aligned with this thinking.  I loved co-sleeping.  Breastfeeding, although rocky at first, became a cornerstone of our relationship.  I loved carrying Lily from place to place in the Ergo or the Bjorn, and we did everything  pretty much on demand:  no hard and fast bedtimes, no regular nap times, and nursing whenever the need arose.

But after the first year, I’ve begun having my doubts.  It’s strange, because no one told me, “hey, Attachment Parenting is the only real parenting, and anything else is a surefire way to detach your child,” but for some reason, I’ve internalized this body of thought.  At first, I was searching for unconventional ways to parent children, and when I found something unconventional, I leaned hard on its conventions.  It became my barometric for good parenting, and I accepted it nearly wholesale.

Yes, yes.  Very ironic.  I know.  But I’m getting there, so bear with me.  It’s an evolution, people.

So now, 18 months in, I’m discovering some things that aren’t working so well, and I’m having a hard time trusting my instincts, because – like I said – Attachment Parenting has become my barometric for good parenting, and deviating feels like I’m failing on the barometer.

The impetus for this post?  Well, Lily and I got home at 12:45 like we usually do, and I nursed her in our bed for 10 minutes like I usually do, and Lily wasn’t feeling it.  She rubbed her eyes, exhausted, and sat up, ready to play.  So I took her into the kitchen, made myself some lunch to share, and then we ate.  Actually, I ate, and Lily winged and literally put her head on the table, absolutely wrecked.

So I took a page out of Brittaney’s book.  I grabbed her blankie, a stuffed toy, turned on instrumental music, and held her for a couple of minutes in my arms.  “Night, night,” I said, and I laid her down in the Pack N Play.

She cried for three minutes – not hard, but consistently – and I went back in to rub her back for a few seconds.  And then I left again.  She cried – hard – for five minutes, and now she’s asleep.

I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve literally never let Lily cry it out.  I’ve never put her to sleep without holding her or nursing her or laying next to her.  In her first year, letting her cry it out seemed draconian, but after months and months of being responsible for Lily’s journey to sleep, I’ve decided that something has to change.  My instincts tell me, of course she’s going to cry.  This is her pattern.  This is what she’s used to.  But my instincts also tell me that she can learn to fall asleep on her own, and that once she does, she will sleep better and longer, because she will no longer be dependent upon me.

So I don’t know about tonight.  I’m not even sure about tomorrow’s nap, but those are my thoughts for today.  We’ll just try to figure this out one day at a time.


1 Comment

Big Ocean

 

Some photos from our trip in reverse order…
a

b

c

Good looking family 🙂

d

e

f

g

h

i

On the beach in Sonoma.

j

Love her face in this photo!

k

Bratwurst.  Mmmm… Mommy kisses Lily.

l

Big blue chair.

m

n

o

p

q

Pretty Cornerstone gardens.  Loved ’em.

r

The sparkly wishes 🙂

s

Adorable, right?!

t

Kills me.

u

v

Love this one.

w

x

Mesh clouds with sparkling crystal “rain drops.”

y

z

Tram ride in Benziger vineyard.

z1

Sauvignon Blanc

z2

Sleepy girl 🙂

z3

To the lighthouse 😉

z4

z5

z6

Walk along Bean Hollow.

z7

Tide pools.

z8

z10

z11

The experiences!

z12

Dude.  What is Dada doing?

z13

z14

z15

Got hit.

z16

Anniversary picnic.  Oh. My. God.

z17

z18

I always collect the white ones.

z19

Heirloom beans from Phipps Country Store, Goat Cheese from Local Artisan, Pescadero, CA

z20

Phipps

z21

Our favorite foodie village.

z22

Marsh walk with the big ole snake.

z23

z24

z25

Walking out to coast in Sonoma.  Gorgeous family 🙂


4 Comments

The long road home…

If you read the last post, I left off anticipating a nice long run with the husband, baby, and dog.

That did not happen.

Before I tell you what we spent the next four hours doing, I need to tell you something else:  while I can ace Art History and Anatomy exams with my excellent memory recall, I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to remembering small, salient details such as where I put my pen, my earrings, my phone, and of course, my keys.

Yes.  I lost the truck key.

No biggie, right?  Wrong.  Very, very wrong.

Because we have exactly one copy of the truck key.  The one I lost.

Why would someone not make a copy of a truck key, you ask?  ‘Cuz it costs $75 from the Isuzu dealership, and I’m a cheapskate.  That’s why.  Any other questions?

So we spent the next four hours looking for the key.  We combed every inch of the popup, truck, and campsite.  Twice.  We spoke tensely about every minute detail of the morning.  On the third combing, Joshua struck gold sifting through the dirt next to the picnic table.  Hallelujah.

And then we went for a run.

Later, we went down to the beach and walked along the water for miles.  We stopped to play in the sand with Lily, and we chased each other around the drift wood.

***

The next morning, we bundled into the car and drove down Highway 1 to Point Reyes National Seashore.  This was my favorite part of California.  I loved the windy road down to Point Reyes National Station, lined with eucalyptus trees, picturesque farms, vineyards, and cycling tourists.  In Point Reyes, we stopped at the Bovine Bakery for fruit cobbler, a muffin, and chai, and we sat outside enjoying a rare bit of sunshine with the cyclists.

Point Reyes Station is adorable.  It also has some fatally gorgeous artisan food, including Cowgirl Creamery, a veritable cathedral of cheese.  Mmmm.   So we bought a sampler bag, and then we walked down to the grocier for some Sonoma County wine and crackers for our picnic lunch.

We drove through the park, enjoying the lovely seaside landscape.  On the point, we walked out to the lighthouse and watched the sun sparkle over the water.  Back in the car, we drove down to Pierce Point Ranch, and from there, we walked out to the very tip of the peninsula.  Elk with full racks ran past us, and the waves crashed against the rocky shoreline.  It was gorgeous.  Hands down best picnic ever.

Also, we were a little drunk for our five mile hike back to the car 🙂

***

The next day, I felt a bit ill.  I went without nursing for the longest period yet the day before, and I was afraid that I might be coming down with yet another case of mastitis.  Ahh…  The gifts that keep on giving…

Anywho, we went for a run and then we spent some time on the beach, playing in the sand and taking in the wind.  We took much needed showers, and afterwards, we had fish and chips for dinner.  GLORIOUS.

***

On Friday, we drove down to Berkley to explore the campus and the surrounding area.  Lily had a blast walking Oscar, and Joshua and I talked about being graduate students.  That’s right.  We want to go to school again 🙂

For lunch, we had an Indian buffet (nom nom), and afterwards, we walked to the University Press Bookstore, and Joshua picked up some texts for his class that he will be teaching this year on Latin American History.

At 5 PM, we began our long haul back to Colorado.

We drove through the night, and after a couple fitful hours of sleep, I took over the wheel at 4 AM somewhere in Nevada.  I was really drowsy, so I did something terrible.  I bought a Rockstar.

Now, it had occurred to me to keep this a secret.  I made Joshua swear an oath that he would take this information to the grave.  But I’m telling you because I discovered something surprising:  there are less than 10 ingredients on the back of the can, and I recognize all of them.  None of them are that bad.  With 250 mg of caffeine, it’s comparable to a cup of coffee, and taurine, an amino acid sometimes used in supplements.

Anyway.  I drank it.  Usually, I can feel the effects of foods or drinks that are not great for me right away, but I was not jittery and I never did crash.  I was happily awake, driving and listening to This American Life until we hit Salt Lake, where we stopped for breakfast and I went for a run.

In fact, I kept driving, and it wasn’t until 2 PM that I started to feel tired again and asked Joshua to take over.  So, Rockstar it is for long drives 🙂

Lily was a champ in the car, and it wasn’t until 4 or 5 PM that she really started to loose it.  I climbed in the back with her and we took funny videos with the iPhone, singing and squeeling, and then laughing at ourselves when we watched it back.  Hours of entertainment, I tell you.

Finally, at about 10 PM we pulled up in front of our home.  We bathed and then collapsed into bed.  Lily even let us sleep for eight hours 🙂

***

Two Questions:

1) Why did you come back early?

We decided to come back on Friday night because we could NOT find a single available campground 😦  Also, Joshua needs to put in a bit of work on his curriculum, and I need to rent out the basement.

2) Did you eat meat?

Yup.  You bet.  It was local and delicious, and I’d do it again.

***

Finally, I wanted to tell you a little bit about the three videos we posted.  I really hope you watch them, even though I know its about a 12 minute commitment.  They were so much fun to make, and Lily is her adorable self through them all.  I was inspired by the much more professional/lovely videos over on Documenting Delight of their trip to the Philippines.  You should go over and check those out, too 🙂