Wednesday, February 29, 2012
I don't mean to bore everyone with weather talk but, um, I'm going to anyway.
The past week and a half has brought us some of the most blissful sixty-and-sunny degree weather. Spring is such a wonderful time in the Northern South and we are so happy we are here. Fayetteville is a little bit of a funny place. Most of Arkansas is extremely poor, but the area we live in is pretty affluent and a few small towns above us are downright ritzy. Anyway, because we live in Northwestern Arkansas, Fayetteville has some seriously Southern qualities but also has a bit of a Midwest feeling as well. Which, as a Southern-Midwestern hybrid, often puts me right at home. I spent my early childhood in Mobile, Alabama and, at the age of eight, moved to a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri where I lived until I graduated high school. So, I really like that Fayetteville is a little bit of a hybrid. I'm not gonna lie, I'd rather live more South than Midwest and would really, really love to live in one of the Carolinas one day but, with that, I'm totally off topic.
Last night, we had a tornado warning. I didn't mind tornado watches or warnings when I lived in Missouri because we always had a finished basement and, most of the time, next to nothing happens. I mean, if you remember this post, that basically sums up what happens when tornadoes come by. We bring down blankets, mattresses, and pillows, watch a whole bunch of movies and chill out as a family which is fun unless someone starts crying. But! Now that I live in Arkansas with a husband and a baby in a second floor apartment, tornadoes are scary! We don't have a basement! So, last night, we brought Max into bed with us and, once the watch turned into a warning, we threw everything out of my cluttered closet, threw blankets and pillows on the floor, and snuggled up until the warning ended. And, looking back, it was really fun. I know that's a horribly irreverent thing to say, especially because natural disaster should not be taken lightly, but I mean that it's a little bit of a roller coaster to try and figure things out (Should we hide in the closet? The bathroom? What about that other closet?!) when you're young and married with a little toddler and a baby belly and it's extremely funny when your toddler sleeps through multiple bed transfers and high speed winds but then wakes up after everything is said and done and then becomes a tornado in your bed after the real tornado never formed.
Meaning this: Our bedroom is littered with all kinds of craft supplies and clothing and an ugly utility shelf and boxes (pulled out of the closet). Okay, fine, our bathroom is, too. And our kitchen? It's full of cleaning supplies and pretzels and acrylic paints. And our living room? It's bursting at the seam with newspapers and more craft supplies and a whole bundle of photographs and a shelf we took down last night before the warnings... and pretzels, too. So even though we didn't get hit by a tornado last night, our apartment looks like one barreled through every room save Maxwell's which is ironic since Maxwell is, in fact, a tornado.
And here are some photographs from the park today:
I swear, my son looks like a reincarnation of his Daddy, but he has an independence streak the size of the Mississippi he got straight from me. Here he is, insisting that he climb the stairs to the slide himself, get in the slide himself, slide down himself, and catch himself at the bottom:
Also shoes? Don't even think about it. He whips off sneakers and sandals and dress shoes faster than potential lovers whip out gum and breath mints after a meal made up of onions, garlic, and butternut squash.
Yeah, I don't know where I pulled that "butternut squash" line out from, either.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Every time I post crappy phone photos (yes! I do believe Instagram photos are pretty crap-a-licious, even though I love 'em) and even crappier computer photo booth photos (again, love 'em), I think to myself, "This will be the LAST time."
Meaning, it will be the last time I post crappy photos on my blog.
I really should stop lying to myself.
I have been feeling pretty bad about myself lately because I'm just not one of those women who handle early pregnancy well. My apartment gets ridiculously messy on the weekends. The laundry piles up and spills onto the floor. My son eats store-bought muffins instead of homemade muffins. I wear the same large (and so, so, so comfortable) shirt two days in a row. I shower every other day instead of every day.
But! I keep our home pretty spotless Tuesday through Saturday. I still muster up enough energy to work, even if my turnover time is a little bit slower than usual. I make sure the dishwasher runs every night. I plop my baby in the sink when he needs a haircut and I breeze through that haircut as quickly as possible. I let Maxwell play outside on the porch all day unless he's eating or sleeping and rotate activities for him. I read up on pregnancy and try to navigate toddlerhood so that I know when, exactly, I should box up the highchair. I sleep. I feed the dog and take him outside. I make dinner, even if that dinner is cold cereal.
And, y'know, I think that means I'm doing pretty well, even on days when I can barely keep my eyes open.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
I've been spending my Saturday night crying over Max's itty-bitty baby pictures.
And I know I've said it seven hundred and fifty three thousand other times, but babies grow up in a blink of an eye. I can't believe that the little boy who knows how to climb out of his crib and revolts against his high chair is the same little boy who used to sleep most of the day. I can't believe how fast he has grown! I can't believe how much Andrew and I have grown up since his birth. I can't believe so many things.
And I really can't believe that there'll be a second one coming this fall.
Honestly, in a lot of ways, this pregnancy feels more surreal to me than my first. When I was pregnant with Max, it almost felt creepy because, like, there was a little baby growing inside of me and it was so much like a fairy tale but also so odd because, well, growing a human is a one-of-a-kind experience. It's tiring! It's exciting. It's really scary. But, when it's the second time around, you know what (hopefully) happens at the end of pregnancy. You know about the smelly socks and night time pee-throughs and the messes and the mayhem and the first time your sweet little child wakes up with horrible baby breath. You know about the highs and lows of basic child care. You know how much you're going to have to give up- the dates, the sleep, the sanity, and the showers. But! You also know about the love. The love that twists and turns and seeps into every little part of your child's life. The love that roots deep inside of your entire being. The love that makes the temper tantrums laughable- no matter whether they're thrown by an infant or an adult. The love that makes you clean up your home even though you just want to go to bed. The love that makes you pull out the camera even when it feels like too much of a chore. The love that draws three baths in one day. The love that's always there, no matter what's happened during the day. The love that casts a shade of brilliance over everything everyone in your family does. The blinding love that makes everything stay afloat, even when everything sucks.
And so! Even though I'm tired, restless, nauseous, scared, and a little crazy, I am just so happy that I know that, no matter what happens, I know what's at the end of the tunnel.
And, more than that, I know that, even though the nausea eventually subsides and that, this time next year, I won't walk into Sam's Club and realize that I forgot to button up my pants, I'm pretty aware that the tiredness, the craziness, and the fear never really subside. They're all part of parental love. The kind of love that brings sunshine to every day and a little song to your heart when you spend two hours crying over your son's baby photos even though you should really just stand up, walk to your bedroom, and sleep.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I haven't meant to slip into a blogging hiatus. But! My couch is comfortable. My blankets are soft. My Maxwell is funny. My husband is dreamy. My novel reading is skyrocketing. My photographs aren't finished. My puppy is crazy. My little embryo is growing. My family is lovely and my eyes are so, so tired. So! I am kinda lovin' these slow days.
I'll be back when my restless little spirit catches up with me and our pajama filled afternoons.
Monday, February 20, 2012
My little bear will not stop growing up.
Sometimes when I'm folding his laundry or cleaning up his room or squeezing his toddler thighs, I get overwhelmed with how sweet childhood is. It's so wonderful and imaginative and goofy and determined and sweet, even when you're a little boy who loves to draw on walls and pull the puppy's ears. And it's silly and it's sappy and a million other sugar coated things, but I'm just so glad this little man is ours. He is so much hard work but so much fun and, on days like today when he throws all his fried rice off his plate gleefully, I can't help but smirk when he tries to pull the broom out of my hands because he can do it.
And he can do it all. by. him. self.
P.S. Thanks for the nice words on Saturday's post! We are excited.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
If I were the practical type, I would definitely not be writing this post.
But! You see, I've never been much of a practical type and when something's really obvious, it's nice to just lay it out on the table. So! Here I am on a Saturday night, laying it on the table:
Meet my six-and-a-half-week baby bump. Yep! You read that correctly! Six and a half weeks. I'm thinking this baby is gonna be a big'un, just like his or her brother. Or, better yet, maybe there's two! Doubtful since no one in my family has ever had twins but y'know, you never know, right?
And yes! I realize that a million heartbreaking things could go wrong between right now and the acceptable time to announce a pregnancy (twelve weeks) and, you're right, I'm not even far enough along for my first doctor's appointment. But! With an obvious baby belly like this, there's not really much I can hide.
We are happy.
PS. Andrew just showed me these diagrams of baby sleeping positions and I about died. I love babies.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Today, when Andrew came home, Napoleon went a little crazy and we ended up chasing him outside for twenty minutes. I've still been a little sick (feeling much better though!), so to fully appreciate this, you should know that I was running around outside chasing a fluffy, curly haired, ten pound dog in thermal pajama bottoms with a t-shirt I've had since I was fifteen or sixteen. And to appreciate it even more, I should probably tell you that when Andrew victoriously brought the little emperor home, he had dog pee all over his pants.
I'm just going to put it out there:
Napoleon is crazy. He lives up to the name Napoleon Bonaparte religiously. I mean, he doesn't even walk. He prances and steals Max's pacifiers and tries to mark his territory on territories that aren't his own (read: our couch and our bed). He's terribly cute, though, so we can't help but love him.
Anyway, after Napoleon proved himself bonkers for the fifty-fifth time in the past five months, we all changed our clothes and set off for a little nature walk in the forest behind our building. And as soon as we stepped into that grove of trees, Max decided it was his turn to go crazy.
Yep. Our little Maximillian (happily) screamed so loud he stopped traffic and spent the next twenty minutes moving a pile of rocks from one side of the path to the other. What can I say? The little man loves to organize.
Do I need to mention he (sadly) screamed the whole way home?
Welcome to our Friday nights. They're not quite a Katy Perry song, but we love 'em just the same.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Last year, on Valentine's, Andrew and I decided that we wanted to make Valentine's a family holiday.
[Last year, on Valentine's.]
I mean, I'm not going to lie. Last night, Andrew played ever-lovin' husband to an art, complete with dinner and a box of chocolate and one hundred daisies (!!!) and a promise to go shopping and a whole set of bubble bath to boot (my man knows me). Just like I played ever-lovin' wife to a twenty-five year old electronics lover perfectly, meaning I bought him a video game he's wanted for two years rather than the You and Me puzzle piece pillow covers that I've wanted him to want for two years.
We decided to make Valentine's a family holiday one year ago and, two days ago, we decided that each Valentine's, we'd buy everyone in our family paperback books that cost less than ten dollars a pop.
These arrived a few minutes ago and, really, I just love the family traditions we are cookin' up together.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I first saw Andrew when I was a silly, overly happy twenty-one year old with long hair and a deep tan.
At the time, I had a really crappy half-boyfriend, a bedroom wall covered in a seven foot peace sign made up of photographs, a lot of friends, a film SLR, a laptop covered in flecks of fallen nail polish, an extremely colorful closet, dozens of books and half written stories, a splotchy red streak in my hair, a lot of sad music, and over seventy-five pairs of shoes.
Now-a-days, I have a really awesome (and attractive!) husband, a living room wall covered in maps and chalkboard paint, a few friends, three DSLRS (and the film one, too), a desktop covered in toddler fingerprints, the messiest closet known to man (besides Andrew's), hundreds of books and half written stories, hair that is almost too long to be pretty, a lot of children's music, and I could probably only find three pairs of matching shoes if I went to look for them at this moment (boots included).
But! That's fine by me. The past few weeks we've had some curve balls thrown at us- some absolutely wonderful and some that, in the same breath, are just really hard to swallow. And I wish I could get on here today and post a cute-but-cliche post of me holding heart garland and gushing about the loves of my life, but instead, I'm going to tell you that right now, life is really hard for us. We have no idea what we're doing, we owe thousands of dollars for Max's trip to the hospital last month, I'm (still!) so sick I can barely stand straight, I'm behind on my work because I'm sick, I watched all of the Bachelor this weekend (ah! I hate it!), I spent the morning reading two blogs that I absolutely loathe, and all I really want to do is stay in pajamas, pour a huge glass of milk, and eat Reeses' hearts as my naked toddler runs around proudly displaying his handmade tattoos and my husband cooks fake Cafe Rio.
And, sometimes, that's what Valentine's is all about: taking a couch vacation when a couch vacation is needed.
(Be back tomorrow with some sap and maybe an announcement, too!)
Monday, February 13, 2012
Excuse the unexpected blogging break. We have been busy snuggling away winter colds and the winter blues. Be back later!
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Being the cheesy girl that I am, I've been thinking a lot lately about how to live a full life.
I think that the time we live in is a pretty crazy time to be alive. BUT. Hasn't it always been that way? As someone who has spent a lot of time studying history, I often flinch when someone says "I was born in the wrong time period" because, even though the forties were full of pretty dresses and nice hairstyles, they were also full of horrible deaths, devastation, and starving. As was nearly every decade in the twentieth century. I was born in 1986. I am twenty-five years old. My mom was born in 1960. She had just turned twenty-six when she had me (her third child). Sometimes it feels like the past is a far-off, forgotten era, but most of the past isn't that far away. My grandparents fought in the Second World War. Their grandparents (maybe great grandparents?) were slave holders who fought in the Civil War. And those people? They were just as human as you and I, just like all the people who have lived since the world began. To me, that's mind boggling.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this post but, like I said, I've been thinking a lot lately about how to live the fullest life possible. Everyone has a bullet list, whether written down or imaginary, that outlines what they believe a full life entails. And me? Mine's always consisted of religion and love and family and art and words and music. I want a beautiful life and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. In fact, I think it's something that's really, really good.
When you become a mom, it is really easy to just lose yourself in your child. Really easy. All of the sudden there are little toes to touch and little cheeks to squeeze and a little bum to laugh at and little lips to kiss and little ears to whisper into and little eyes to stare into and little hands to teach to count and little knees to put Band-Aids on and little legs to keep up with. And, sometimes, losing yourself in your child is the perfect route to go. Your children are literally part of you. Whether they came naturally or through fertility treatments or through surgery or through adoption or through foster care or through chance or through any other way, your children are a part of you. I think of Max nearly all day. I teach him to say words. I kiss him all over. I dress him. I bathe him. I scold him. I pull him off tables and stop him from climbing on chairs and follow him around trying not to laugh as he throws thirty minute tantrums because I won't let him stand on the table and TOOK ALL OF THE CHAIRS AWAY.
Basically, I'm saying that your babies are your babies.
BUT. It can be hard to maintain yourself- your wants and hopes and dreams and even your personality- once you become a mother. It's easy to become an extension of your child. Just like, if you're an artist, it's easy to become a paintbrush or an acting role. When I shoot a lot, it's really easy for me to become an extension of a camera rather than the camera to be an extension of me, especially when I'm trying too hard to please others. Just like, if you're a new wife, it can be really easy to become an "us" all the time rather than a "he-and-me". Mr. C. and I are definitely an "us" but, at the same time, we're also a "he-and-me". We get wrapped up in each other easily, but we're different people and, even though we are working towards the same life goals, we're also working on our own side projects. Otherwise, we'd drive each other crazy.
And then there's the online world. I have a love-hate relationship with the online world. On one hand, it's necessary for my profession and I love it when it's nice. On the other hand, a lot of the online world is a huge piece of crap full of negative vibes. Like, I've gotten more into Pinterest lately and I'm starting to really love it, but at the same time, I have to wonder if I'm just wasting my time. It's very rare that I look at my pins more than once or twice and I used to spend that time to work or read a book or, y'know, actually make crafts instead of reading about them. But... pinning is fun! And, on that note, it's really fun to love and hate blogs. Most of y'all who frequent here know that I'm not very active in the blog world. I always answer emails, but I don't read a lot of blogs and I don't respond to many comments. Life blogs can just become so pompous when a blogger feels like they've made it. And when a blog is pompous is it really that much fun to read? I mean, they can be really fun to joke about with your fellow blog-reading friends, but are they fun to actually read? I hope my blog never comes off pompously. For the record, I'm very aware that my blog is never going to be a blog with thousands of followers and I'm more aware that I'll never make any money from the words I publish from this little Blogger Template. And that's okay! I have kept extensive journals since I was in the second grade so, even though this journal is a little different because it has an audience, it's still one of my journals. And I love that. I love documenting my life, especially with mixed mediums. Other people don't like that or they don't like that unless they're profiting and that's okay, too! Blogging is one of my hobbies, not one of my career goals, but that's just me.
Anyway, I feel like this post contains six or seven almost-tangents, but I think what I'm trying to say is that it's easy to lose yourself through so many different things. It's easy to say "I'm a mother" and just see yourself as someone who is sleeping on a sheet-less mattress because your baby was busy throwing up on them last week. It's easy to say "I'm a school teacher" and just see yourself as someone who teaches social studies to moody seventh graders. It's easy to say "I'm a Mormon" (cause you know I am!) and just see yourself as someone who goes to church three hours a week instead of the normal one hour church all your friends attend. It's easy to say "I'm a hobbyist" and feel bullied by people who have been doing something soooo much longer than you so you should probably just stop now, even though you're just having fun. And all of this is easier to feel in a world where you can click a screen two or three times and read about how someone else has the best life that ever was.
I just think that everyone, no matter their circumstance, has so much potential. I'm not saying that everyone is capable of everything (I could never be a chemist or an actor or a politician, for that matter), but I do believe that everyone is capable of great things, even when it feels otherwise. And I just want to live the fullest life as possible. Full of happiness and sorrow and baby toes and snuggles and art and beautiful music and horrible music and middle school concerts and dead fish that need to be flushed down the toilet and scraped knees and drama over whether or not to sell the zoom to buy a new prime lens and positive pregnancy tests and annoying pets and home sewn blankets and dirty sinks and long nights mopping the floor and wake up calls by three children running into the room and expanding my business and watching fireworks and running into old friends and holding Andrew's hand all over the world and trying to keep everyone calm in the church pew even though I forgot the bag full of quiet toys and cleaning up messes and staying in my pajamas too late and forgetting to brush my hair and trying out new kinds of clothing and trying out new recipes and long date nights with my husband and taking little girls to ballet and taping up broken fingers and crying during immunizations and peeling glue off my fingers while watching a movie and photographing all kinds people and long meetings that turn into fun nights out with friends and regrets over buying two hundred dollar boots and displaying my artwork all over our home and, better yet, displaying our childrens' artwork all our home, and supporting Mr. C. even when things get really hard and demanding back rubs late at night, even when I'm seventy-two and just so many things I can't even write out because there's so much that happens in a single life and I want to experience so much of both the good and the bad that it just makes me want to sing.
And that is what I have to say this Wednesday in the early afternoon.
PS. I didn't proofread this and this computer has auto correct so... forgive me for the typos?