clouds

Chris called home on his way to work last week and said, “you have to go outside and see the clouds.” So the birdies and I flew right outside and looked up. Dawn revealed some very awe-inspiring clouds, tinged with pink, purple and orange. And just like that (snapping fingers) it was nearly gone as the sun woke up in our neighborhood. Wren had a lot of questions about these beautiful clouds and the “stuff up there” we were beholding. It was so remarkable to her that she asked about clouds several times over the course of the day so I promised her that on our next library visit we would find some books about clouds.

As it turns out this reflection is not only about a love of clouds, but also a love of the library. It’s been rekindled in me in the last couple of years with our almost weekly library visits. Upon explaining to Wren how a library works and how the librarians can help you find books on any subject you want to learn about, she squealed, “that is so cool!” And it really is, isn’t it? She now takes such joy in confidently marching up to the counter in the children’s area and asking one of the librarians to help her find a book on x, y, or z. Last week: “clouds” and “meteorology,” but it’s hard for me to write out exactly how she said “meteorology,” but the librarian understood her anyway.

So we got a few new-to-us kids books on clouds and a book on meteorology experiments for kids.

The first experiment involved making clouds too, perfect. Because really, who doesn’t want to make her own clouds? The experiment is really easy and perfect for little scientists. And Mamas with a babe in arms… All you need is ice, hot water, a glass and a bowl. And five minutes.

So heat a bit of water and pour about 1-2 inches into a glass. Have your kiddo fill a bowl with some ice cubes and then place the bowl on top of the glass. Let it sit for a few minutes and watch the formation of the clouds as the warm meets the cold. After a few minutes, take the bowl off and watch the clouds escape the glass!

Now instead of just calling clouds “cool,” “wacky,” or “beautiful,” we’ve been talking a bit about cumulus, stratus and nimbus. Or a combination like, “look at that wacky, fluffy cumulus! It looks like a mountain. I want to climb it.”

It’s fun having a kid around and having an excuse to spend time watching the clouds roll by… Have you looked at the clouds lately?

spring break

It’s spring break in northern Michigan. We took the weekend to have a mini “up north” getaway with some good friends. We weren’t basking in the sun with a cabana boy bringing us fruity beverages, but it was nice to get away. It was particularly refreshing to be away from ye ole Internet too so I’m going to extend that a bit this week. Happy spring, lovelies!

March toes

March, you are so strange. We arrived home last weekend from the D to about two feet of new snow and today? 60s and sunny. We spent almost the entire afternoon playing outside with bare toes. Phoebe might’ve even acquired some sun kisses on her cheeks, oops! We talked a lot about the garden and what we might want to plant this year. Soon! This year I will not let the rogue plants take over. As much, anyway… More potatoes too. And peas, of course. We’re getting anxious to get some dirt under our nails, can you tell? What are your garden plans, lovelies? Are you anxious too?! I’ll take that as a “yes.”

 

mouths of birdies

My Mom reminded me that I should be writing all the funny things Wren says down in a notebook. Notebook?! Well, I don’t have a notebook for said (written?) purpose, but did I mention that I have a blog? So I will keep this post updated with a running list of funny things from the mouths of my birdies. Here goes…

During lunch on Tuesday, Wren sits down and says, “well, what should we talk about today?” Can I just interrupt this original train of thought by sharing that she really says that and I just think it’s the cat’s meow? OK. So I say, “let’s talk about what you did in school this morning.” Wren says, “no, let’s talk about baby Jesus.” Me: “um, OK.” So we start to talk about how baby Jesus grew up into a little boy and then a young man and he did lots of wonderful things and was REALLY good at sharing. I tried to keep it simple and describe things in a way she could relate to. So fast forward to dinner that night and I tell Chris about our interaction during lunch. So he asks Wren, “what do you know about baby Jesus?” She says, “baby Jesus turned into a beautiful man.” Chris: “what made him beautiful?” Wren, without missing a beat, “glitter.”

“Mama, when I grow up, I’m NOT going to be a hedgehog, I’m going to be a squirrel that lives up in the trees with rabbits.” And then she laughs, “just joking, Mama. I’m going to be a Cheeto when I grow up.”

Wakes up in the morning and FIRST thing she says is, “I was thinking that we could go get some gelato.”

“When I grow up, Phoebe can nurse on my boobies.”

Wren at the gym after running around non-stop for an hour. Feels chest/pumping heart… “wow, my heart is really pumping my blood around today!”

“Wren, please go upstairs and get some new dry pants on.” Wren: “penis? What?! You said penis. Why did you say penis?”

Santa: “What would you like for Christmas this year?” Wren: “frozen pig.”

Around Christmas… me: “Wren, come and wash your hands NOW!” Wren: “I can’t, I’m going to Bethlehem, Mama!”

Also around Christmas… “Wren what do you want to give Phoebe for Christmas?” So serious, “Cheetos.”

hives and other joys of parenting

Sorry, lovelies, I know you were really hoping for a high resolution photo of the hives that are covering my body, but I’m just not even going to go there… And this isn’t really a woe-is-me post, but maybe it is a little bit. Just need to vent a little because sometimes life is just difficult and I know you know what I mean. You try to behold the beauty around you and cherish the days with your family, but sometimes even the best attitude is not enough to overcome tough times. At least in the moment. The good thing is that I know it will pass, but lately the days have been long. And itchy! Oof. I believe I developed an allergy to the antibiotics I had been taking for the mastitis because I broke out in hives a couple days ago. Nice.

As I write this, Wren is yelling for me from her room as she “naps,” which most days hasn’t been happening. This, as you can imagine, is frustrating and makes for really long afternoons because she really does need more sleep. She just doesn’t want to stop exploring the world. And hey, I get that, but this Mama needs a break. And unfortunately not napping doesn’t mean that she goes to bed much earlier. Whenever I hear of kids who go to bed at 7 or even 8, I think, wow, now THAT would be nice. Those children usually are up early though so you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Phoebe, on the other hand, is a dreamy baby. She eats well, sleeps well and is generally easy-going and a complete cutie pie. I had forgotten, however, just how all-consuming infants are. Because even though she’s not very demanding as far as babies go, she has lots of basic needs that need to be met. Because, well, she’s a baby. But did I mention how cute she is?

I don’t even want to think about the house because again, as I write this, every room in the house needs attention. There is yogurt on the dining room floor that Wren must’ve been “finger-painting” with as I was nursing Phoebe in the other room. The kitchen is overflowing with dishes from several meals and there’s a trail of books around the entire house, which apparently resembles a train. God forbid one attempts to clean these up. I haven’t checked, but I’m pretty sure the laundry in the washing machine has been sitting in there wet for too long and I’ll need to run those through again. Well, you get the point.

So, as it turns out, adding a new baby to the family really is a huge transition for us even though the baby is the least of my daily woes. It’s keeping all these balls (children, relationships, work, home, health) up in the air. Chris and I are in agreement that it probably won’t get a lot easier, but we’ll eventually adjust to a new normal. And that, someday, will feel easier. Please tell me it does?!

Maybe you’ve already read this article about parenting being analogous to climbing a mountain, but if you haven’t I think you should. It’s right on. Because although there is beauty and wonder all around in these beautiful, thoughtful and amazing children, it’s also really hard work. And sometimes it’s honestly just not really all that enjoyable. Here’s an excerpt:

I think parenting young children (and old ones, I’ve heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they’ve heard there’s magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it’s hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.

I like to think that we’re climbing up a particularly steep area right now with a few arduous steps up and sliding back a bit too as some rock crumbles underneath us. And it’s hard to breathe up here, but when I stop to take a deep breath and look around, it really is miraculous and beautiful. In spite of the hives.

 

nesting: salsa and pacifiers

I was gifted with a child-free day today and made use of my special (read: don’t know when this will ever happen again!) time on last-minute nesting projects like finally turning all those October tomatoes into roasted tomato salsa and a big batch of roasted tomato soup. Since I was in the mood to boil water, I also sterilized a bunch of pacifiers. Funny juxtaposition, isn’t it? Ah, well, such is life right now.

I can’t really even begin to describe the great sense of relief I have now that I don’t have to stare at all those tomatoes every time I come through the back door. I’m so grateful they didn’t go to waste because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to them once our babe arrived; I just dreaded the thought of having to see them again as I was walking through the door with a new little birdie. Whew!

Have a great weekend in your nest, lovelies! Here in Traverse City there are a couple really cool things happening that I just had to mention: an indie art fair and the nation’s first XC ski race of the season, for which they are hauling in shaved zamboni snow from the local ice rinks. Something for everyone…

scenes from the nest

How’s your week going, lovelies? It’s been another glorious week in northern Michigan. I realize it seems trite to use the word “glorious,” but it’s true. More blue skies, more sunshine, more gasp-worthy fall color, more 70s, more tomatoes! This might be it for our “Indian Summer,” but it will not be forgotten any time soon. And I’ve got the mosquito bites to prove it – strange in mid-October, no? I’m in the midst of a bunch of nesting projects and thought I would just share a glimpse of some of them with you, along with a few shots from around the nest that we’ve been loving. Enjoy!

1) Wasabi Powder.

We decided to paint our house a light chartreuse-y green that’s called “Wasabi Powder” and we love it. The little birdie calls it yellow, but it’s decidedly not yellow. The pictures also turned out a bit on the mint-y side, but I know you can use your imagination. Ahem. Nothing like a really big project right before the baby is born, right? Ha!

2) Harvest Time.

I was thinking about cleaning out the garden earlier last week when things were wet and chilly, but 70 and sunny arrived–and stayed–bringing with it a slew of ripened tomatoes. I can’t quite believe I’m admitting this, but I’m a bit sick of fresh tomatoes. Salsa, anyone?

3) Bulbs!

Our bulb order finally arrived. I am especially excited about the orange tulips that I plan to plunk in the front. Won’t they look great with the new green if they squirrels don’t get to them first?!

4) Leafy greens.

Remember when the little birdie and I planted some dark, leafy greens? Our kale has arrived so that means that little birdie #2 will arrive shortly too. Wow!

5) Taking time to enjoy the flowers.

We’ve had a crazy morning glory crop this year. In fact, I have to remind myself next year to provide them with some thread/twine so they can more freely climb the fence and not just each other. And the mums have been lovely too. So nice to have such bright spots of color here and there.

What’s been happening in your nest, lovelies? How are you enjoying this beautiful time of year in your neck of the woods? I hope you’ve been having a good week!

Wrenegade

Toddlers. Just like the old adage warning you not to trust a skinny cook, do not trust anyone who says that they don’t remember their toddler being defiant, irrational and insane. They are probably insane themselves. Or have clearly selectively forgotten those harrowing minutes | days | years. Most likely a bit of both. It’s survival, lovelies!

It’s a funny thing with these feisty, chubby-wristed people. On the one hand, I admire how reckless and free-spirited they are. How they don’t give a f*** what you say, think or feel most of the time. How their raw, unpredictable emotions seemingly live on the surface of their perfect skin. How much energy they have and can easily wield at you when you feel like you’re just catching a break. How they can give you the wettest kisses and the tightest hugs. And mean it. How they’re completely uninhibited and will say anything, wear anything, and express themselves with complete wild abandon. It’s actually refreshing to be around this kind of chaotic energy after spending most of my adult life around inhibited adults in various work and social settings.

But sometimes after the third frustration tantrum in one morning because I started to peel the orange too much or didn’t serve the cereal in the correct bowl or had to wrestle the little birdie to yank the poopy panties off, well, I do it self, Mama!!! isn’t really all that charming anymore.

I know, I know. You say I will be grateful for this feisty independence and confidence when she’s older and I do agree with you, but I can’t help to wish for a bit more compliance from time to time. I wish someone had told me to relish the days when it was easy to get the little birdie dressed and out the door–in under 90 minutes of dawdling, negotiations and shenanigans. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but babies are EASY. I know this sentiment will come back to haunt me in a few months when I’m whining about never sleeping and how the world’s a blur of yellow diapers and lots of crying. Please just don’t say I told you so… I’ll probably say it myself.

Actually, today has been wonderful so far. I warned her that we had to leave the playground in a few minutes and when it was time to go, she actually followed my directions. No flailing tantrums, no running away, no screaming like it was the absolute end of the world. I’m not sure what created this or even what might have encouraged her more compliant behavior because I don’t think I did anything differently than the last time we went to the park and I ran into Meltdown City. Oh Wrenegade, how you baffle me. And inspire me too. XO

Happy weekend, lovelies. May you do something with reckless abandon like your inner two-year-old!