21 May 2015

while the girls sleep

Sometimes I feel upset about my nonexistent "writing time." (Not quite nonexistent, because clearly I have time to write this. Both girls are napping like miniature cherubs.) It's almost literally true that my life now consists of diapers, cooking, and reading Drummer Hoff five million times in a row. I used to have so much time to think and to blog! Now I hardly have a chance to process a thought, let alone write it down.

Okay. Well. The reason for my limitations is that I am so busy mothering these small people, for whom I prayed and begged and cried for years. (Look at the archives and you'll note the dramatic drop in posts after 2013, which was when Ellie came along.)

I would rather have my girls and all their incredible, wonderful, drive-me-up-the-wall noise and mess than revert to the echoing emptiness of before. Yes. I would.

Zoe turns four months old today. At one month, I was happy just to sleep. At two months, I started wearing lipstick again. At three months, I felt like myself: I managed to make a fancy dinner and do the dishes while wearing lipstick. At four months, I'm able to visit friends, read a real book (I am currently in the middle of Quiet, that is, when Ellie gives me a break from "Dummer Hoss") and even have a few original thoughts.

So of course I will have time to write. Someday.

I am still me, even if I don't get to do all of the academic stuff--the reading and writing and philosophizing around the cafeteria tables--that defined me for so long. I am just finding new ways to use my gifts and interests, and learning that I don't have to live inside such a narrow definition of myself. I don't have to be afraid of leaving certain things behind, or at least putting them on long-term hold . . . I won't lose myself. I won't miss out on life. I am living right now as hard as I can.

15 May 2015

Family snippets

"Water! Look Big Jerry, water!" 

Zoe is growing up, in baby terms. No more silent staring; she likes to practice gurgling, squawking, and singing. Loudly. And she sleeps all night, most of the time. She loves it when I smooch her cheeks or when Ellie plays peek-a-boo with her, and dishes out grins right and left. Ellie is overjoyed by this, and usually starts shouting "She smile! She happy! Zo-Bear smile!" to make sure we all notice.

We are just starting to glimpse the fun they'll have as sisters so close in age. Ellie has totally accepted that Zoe is here to stay, that Zoe is her playmate, and that she should include Zoe in everything. I mentioned last week that Zoe can laugh-- well, guess who is an expert in getting those giggles? Big sissy, of course! Video proof here.

They are a marvel.

(And I am not sure why Ellie's stuffed giraffe is named Big Jerry. That was Jared's doing.)

The Madewell shirts got sent back. They were cute, but in the end I really need a petite cut, which Madewell does not carry. (Yet they have "tall" sizes galore. I guess you only get to wear their stuff if you are an Amazon. Why no love for the peewees?!) The fabric also seemed flimsy for a $30 piece. So instead I ordered yet another one of these perfect shirts. In black, because just about everything I own is black, blue, or gray . . . with a bit of purple tossed in for fun.

Look, at this point in my life I know what flatters and what doesn't. I am short and curvy, with what might charitably be described as strong features. Were I a character in an Austen novel, you would find me filed under "rather plain, but with a handsome profile." (I would also dance enthusiastically at every country ball and bear a flock of children à la Isabella Woodhouse Knightley.) Pastels, complex patterns, and fussy details overwhelm me; simple silhouettes, feminine tailoring, and saturated jewel tones are my jam. You say boring, I say French editor. I may have a small closet but I love wearing everything in it.

07 May 2015

Family snippets

The list of Zoe's nicknames so far:

Zozo
Zoe Bear
Baby Doll
Little Zo
Zoe Bug
Pinky
Polar Bear

And Ellie generally calls her "Babyzoe," as if she can't just say her name, but must add in the fact that she is a baby. In case we forget. :)

I placed my first Madewell order this week. We'll see if it lives up to the hype. Since I only bought one thing (in three different colors and sizes) this is not a thorough test, but according to the internet I should adore everything Madewell produces. I had considered ordering a pair of their famously awesome jeans earlier this spring, but then I discovered the best jeans ever ever ever at the Banana Republic outlet, got two pairs, and thumbed my nose at Madewell's outrageous prices.

Am still considering these shorts though.

In other unexciting news: our garden is filling up with vegetables and flowers, Zoe has figured out how to grab and play with toys, Ellie is obsessed with smoke detectors, and I started a ridiculous new diet in an attempt to address some health issues. Jared gamely offered to do it with me. One week in, we're loving maple breakfast sausage, baked plantain chips, and these coconut bars (but with less maple syrup and more coconut oil, because as written, they are insanely sweet). On the down side, I miss eggs, I am tired of sweet potatoes, and my eczema has not budged yet.

Nevertheless, I feel good and keep losing weight despite the unholy amount of food I am consuming. A rash that had popped up on Zoe's elbows and cheek has also vanished. So we soldier on. I'm giving this a solid two months before I hand down a verdict.

For pictures of the two bonny lasses, remember that you can request to follow me on Instagram. Leave a comment here with your IG handle, if you'd like, just to let me know that it is you . . . if I don't recognize your name I probably won't approve the request. :)

27 April 2015

Eve over again

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”-Genesis 3:1
New mothers frequently stand in Eve's shoes. We hold fragile young life in our arms, often rejoicing, but just as often-- on the long restless afternoons, in the dark wakeful nights-- facing down the serpent and his questions. Did God actually say? 

Did God really promise to walk with us? Did he really say that He would be our strength and did He really pronounce children a blessing?

Or perhaps does He not care as much as we'd hoped? Has he forgotten us and these children?

He really did promise.
The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
-Genesis 3:20
We inherit Eve's task to birth new physical life, but more than that, we are heirs of spiritual life ourselves. Our heavenly father is always upholding us, just as we hold our tiny ones. The things of the grave (whether actual death, or its everyday relatives, pain and toil and disappointment) don't have power over us anymore.

He really did promise.

23 April 2015

Family snippets

Here Zoe, have a drink!!
Ellie turned two last month. Her personality, much like her mother's, tends toward extremes, and so she vacillates between showering Zoe with tenderness and treating her like a rag doll. One minute she's stroking her head and cooing "Baby Zoe! Oh sweetie!" but the next minute she's stealing her socks, yanking her thumb out of her mouth, or in particularly wild moments, scratching her dear little face. Zoe goggles at Ellie's acrobatics (she goggles at almost everything) and objects strongly to the rag doll treatment.

I'm pretty sure they love each other.

Zoe grows about an inch every night. She is already wearing 6-month clothing! That is actually quite convenient. Ellie was born at the end of March, a three-month difference that technically puts them in different seasons; you wouldn't expect her clothes to work for Zoe. But because Zozo is so huge, she ends up fitting them after all.

(Less shopping for baby means more shopping for Mommy.)

Zoe has become much more demonstrative lately. Her smiles are enormous. If you work really hard you can even get her to laugh! Unfortunately, she has also begun teething, and that is very traumatic for everybody, with much crying and finger-gnawing. I don't think it is fair to make a mere three-month-old sprout teeth, but then, I didn't exactly get a say in the matter.

I am thankful that despite the impending teeth, she still sleeps well at night. The difference between Getting Up Thrice and Getting Up Once is staggering.

Back to the newly minted two-year-old: she is giving my patience a run for its money, with her irrational whining jags and ceaseless chatter. And yet she is so much fun at the same time. She frequently asks to "pray Jesus?", snuggles on my lap to read book after book, and adores all of our relatives-- she hopefully suggests "grandma's house?" even when we have no plans to go anywhere. She has a strong personality and decided opinions. I love seeing her determination every day. She likes to figure things out, and likes to help us with our work: she has learned to work the salad spinner, enthusiastically imitates Jared's running stretches, and hands me clothespins when I do laundry. She knows all her colors and is learning to count (not always accurately: "one two fee, five  nine ten!")

The Long Winter is finally over, and we can enjoy the outdoors as a family, whether on walks around the city, trips to the park, or fiddling around in our garden. (The lettuce is up and I have tomato seedlings ready to transplant soon.) Oorah. Jared and I also got to go out for dinner without the girls last week, and it felt like a turning point. I love tiny babies but it's awfully nice when they are old enough to leave for a couple hours; I am feeling more like myself, and less like a groggy, bed-headed milk machine.

So that's good.