29 May 2015

Weekend linkage

[Ellie runs into my room]: HI MOMMY!!
Me: Hi sweetie.
E: Mommy's get dressed?
Me: Mmhmm . . .
E: Mommy's belly?
Me: Yep, that's my belly.
[Ellie thinks for a while, then]: TINY belly!!

Way to work yourself into mama's good graces, girlfriend.


Being kind to your spouse when you have small kids.

Pixar is clever.

Beautiful succulents. They look like a mini forest.

Finding your "home style" with joy.

I want to buy a print of this comic and hang it in the kitchen.

"Do Mothers Matter? "
Stupid questions aren’t always easy to answer. Sometimes the most fundamental things are hardest to explain, precisely because they are fundamental . . . We find ourselves babbling about Band-Aids and oatmeal cookies, as though those couldn’t be supplied by a social worker or a school nurse. Nevertheless, reasonable people do not dismiss the deep intuition that yes, mothers constitute a unique and vitally important part of a child’s moral universe.
For a somewhat different take on the subject: "The Trouble With Mother's Day." (For me, it's in the same file as Valentine's Day. Nice thought, I guess, but I really don't care if you get me flowers.)
In no other holiday do we spend so much time acknowledging and apologizing to the people whose hurt is extra pronounced because of that special day. The other holidays—Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, New Year’s, Forth of July, you name it—aren’t about us. Those holidays are broader. They’re about something beyond us. We are invited to enter in, but we aren’t the reason for the celebration
"A Libertarian View of Gay Marriage." (Subtitled "A really, really, really long post about gay marriage that does not, in the end, support one side or the other.")
My only request is that people try to be a leeetle more humble about their ability to imagine the subtle results of big policy changes. The argument that gay marriage will not change the institution of marriage because you can’t imagine it changing your personal reaction is pretty arrogant. It imagines, first of all, that your behavior is a guide for the behavior of everyone else in society . . . And second, the unwavering belief that the only reason that marriage, always and everywhere, is a male-female institution (I exclude rare ritual behaviors), is just some sort of bizarre historical coincidence, and that you know better, needs examining.

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:

Zoe Bear
Baby Doll
Little Zo
Zoe Bug
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. :)