Wednesday, January 28, 2015

More and Less





So, I've been working more and posting less these days. I've been facilitating support groups for new parents since last summer. It used to be two days a week, and then right before Christmas I picked up another group and then right after New Years I started one day a week as a Children's teacher for another baby group. (Hanging out with babies four days a week. Tough life I know.) 

That combined with the extra day at preschool that Brixton picked up means our schedules have really changed in the past few months. Now we look more like the two-working-parent model, even though my work is part time and somewhat flexible. So mornings have that get up and eat and pack the lunch box song and I find myself doing the carpool shuffle and the homework saga more often than the long walks at the zoo. Except for the blessed weekend of course. 

A few months ago, I read the book "All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting" by Jennifer Senior and it really resonated with me. There are tons of books out there about the different stages your children go through, but this book is about the stages that parents go through. I found that she described them really well- the chaos and loss of control that comes with having a young baby and the wonder and curiosity of an exploring preschooler. When she talks about the elementary years, it was about the shuttling around to activities and the full calendar. (This is a limited perspective of course, to the US and people with some means, which she also talks about in the book.) I feel like all of a sudden these past few months, we've suddenly gone full speed into that chapter.

It's not surprising, my kids are older and this is where we are now. It's just different, and I'm still getting used to our new normal. 

Friday, January 23, 2015








Here's what we are up to. Legos. All the time.  Unity's been selling Girl Scout Cookies, which is lots of fun. That is a picture of her reading one of my favorite books from childhood, All Of A Kind Family. It's a series about a Jewish immigrant family living in New York  in the early nineteen hundreds.  So good! Unity put the blanket over her head so you just get to look at the book. 

The garden catalogs have been coming. It's a good reminder that Spring is not too far away. Chris and I have to sit down and have a garden planning date. I'm excited. I do like having excuses to be cozy in the winter, and curl up with coffee, books, and rain. ( Brixton took that slightly fuzzy photo of me.)But it's nice to dream about a full growing garden and beach dates too. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Follow the sun




I find myself following the patches of sun these day, enjoy them for however long they are there. My grandparents, who live in Arizona, sent the kids these solar powered toys that dance when there are in sunlight. I wish you could see it, it's kind of surprising how joyful it is to see a plastic toy dancing. But, you know, that's how I feel too. 

Chris bought a tiny computer, called a raspberry pi, and has been showing the kids how to hook it up. It has been a fun project for them, because it's so tiny and stripped down, they can really see how it works. 

Last night, I had the chance to have a great Moms' Night Out with some good friends. We have gone through such stages; from desperately seeking things to do with our babies, to watching each others toddlers for rotating date nights, to have monthly family potlucks. And now this, just the moms and some great tapas, and conversation that flows over all the textures of our lives. We may never have met each other, were it not for the fact that we all had babies between March and May, and showed up looking lost and needing to make some friends who understood that condition. And that random chance has been so good to us and our families over the years. So thankful for this company, through all our many changes. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Organizing the Legos







Fresh off some New Year energy, Chris decided to do something about the Lego jumble in our basement. He went to the hardware store and got some of those boxes for storing tools. Then he and the kids spent many happy hours sorting the entire collection by color and a little bit by design. It is nice having them off the floor, and it's more fun for the adults to play Legos now that we don't have to be the "searcher", digging through piles to find that one piece. 

I've been trying to organize some things too. I did my usual new years evaluation of what's taking up energy in my life, and if those things are giving back in equal proportion. I ended up quitting one thing (a women's group from my Meeting) and trying to start something new ( a writing group, we'll see.) It's always a good exercise, to be intention about the things on the calendar. The kids are campaigning for some changes in their extracurriculars  too,  so we'll see how that shakes out. 

I've added another part-time job to my freelance facilitating/ playing with babies gig, and I'm still trying to work out the childcare piece. Which is always a challenge, but something will come together. With all my various gigs, I'm now working outside the home four days a week this quarter, which is something new for me. I'm excited about it though. It's good to have different outlets. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

With love




My Uncle Bob passed away a few days into the new year. When he was born, my grandparents were told to put him in an institution and forget about him. Thankfully they had better ideas.

He loved sweet treats like Coke and candy bars. He always carried a piece of paper in his pocket with his name and his age written on it. He loved handing out the presents, and giving hugs, and bowling. He loved everything Batman, every single thing.

My mom and her sisters grew up with him, and they all became teachers and social workers, they all continued the helping professions. Loving him, knowing him, being his family, it shaped us all.
He was truly loved his whole life long, and isn't that all any of us can ask for?



Friday, January 09, 2015

Family





So here we are, nine days in to the new year. I've been thinking about family a lot these days. How important it is, how lucky I am. I've really been blessed by knowing such love, and all I can hope for is to pass on some of that Light to my own kids. 

Even when we're far away, even when we only see each other sporadically, that influence is there. The stories about where we came from, the habits and the games, and the ways things become traditions. I'm thankful for it.  

P.S. These beautiful photos were taken by my talented photographer brother. All credit goes to him. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reading Reflections

In 2014 I read 85 books. Well, unless I finish my book today. It's an average of about 7 per month, though of course it doesn't work out that neatly in real life. I tend to read more in winter months, and finish fewer things in August and September, when summer is ending and school is starting up again.



Just for fun, here are some of my favorites from the past year:

Some favorite fiction:
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Favorite book on creativity:
Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

Favorite Young Adult fiction:
Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

Favorite Graphic Novel:
Angel and Faith series by Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs

Some favorite Spiritual books:
Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey
Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber
Zealot by Reza Aslan
Altars in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor

Favorite simple living memoir:
Notes From a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider

Favorite laugh until I cried memoir:
Carry On, Warrion by Glennon Doyle Melton

Favorite Childhood re-read:
Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

Favorite parenting book:
All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior

Favorite pool-side mysteries:
Red Harvest and Dain Curse by Dashiell Hammett

Some favorite Literary commentary:
My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead
The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Paul Elie
What Matters in Jane Austen by John Mullan

Favorite Kid-Lit Literary commentary:
Wild Things by Betsy Bird et all.

Favorite History book:
The Tudors by Peter Ackroyd

Favorite Guilty Pleasure:
Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris






Tuesday, December 30, 2014

End of December







                               

     We just returned from the loveliest trip to Chicago. My parents were very generous hosts and we had a week full of relatives and old friends, cousins, dogs, favorite books, wearing heritage outfits, amazing light displays, and just a fantastic Christmas.

I'm so thankful we had this chance to be together and relish this time, of light coming back, of family gathering, of familiar places.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Best Pageant Ever





So, our halos are a little askew. Our baby Jesus was an American Girl doll. Our manger included a dinosaur, a lion, a rabbit, a monkey and a dog. I'm sure there have been more polished productions. Ones where the actors had their lines memorized, or fancier costumes. 

But the kids really loved participating in the pageant and getting into the spirit of the season. And it was really sweet to watch. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014




Yesterday we went down to Seattle Center to attend a party for one of my new parent support groups. It was a lot of fun to see how big the babies have gotten and catch up with the parents. Facilitating these groups has been such a joy for me and I'm so glad that I get to do this work that I love. 

We also got to admire the glowing lights at Seattle Center, which is always fun. 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014