Wednesday, January 19, 2011
When a big milestone is in view, I tend to go back and review what lead up to it. I roll the tape back and think on all the little moments that led up to the big moment. On the approach to Cordelia's first birthday I'm remembering this past year, my pregnancy, Cordelia's birth, and every precious minute since.
I read a birth story recently wherein a mother reflected that she wanted to go back to before her child was born. She longed to go back to the great expectation that filled her, the joy that was ahead. This desire was so strong in her.
I can see how a person might want to go back and experience that joyful expectation again. The fact that this is not possible is a good thing, at least in my eyes it is. Knowing that we can not go back makes experiencing life that much more poignant. Each exquisite moment of joy and pain is fleeting, here and then gone.
Right now I can hear my baby girl breathing on the monitor, see the sun beginning to shine more brightly than it has in days, hear someone cutting up a tree with a chainsaw far away, faintly smell the cinnamon from yesterday's muffin baking... this is just one moment in the string of my many days that I have to live.
Doug and I are in the midst of thinking about trying to have another baby. There are so many pulls and pushes on our hearts about this. Chiefly, in the middle of it all is this little girl we have growing up before our eyes. Sometimes I want to go back with her and feel those early days of pregnancy when she was our secret. Feel her move inside me and be filled with all the great expectation of waiting for her. See her for the first time. Watch her be embraced by our family and friends and see life begin to fill her and take her to unknown places. As the time went by, I savored as much as my heart could hold because I knew I wouldn't be passing that exact path again. If we do decide to open our hearts to the possibility of another child in our family, the experiences will be entirely new. There is no reliving or replaying, especially while simultaneously editing out the tough parts. Here we are, plodding away on our journey, admiring the scenery we can see as it goes whizzing by. I don't know what path we will turn onto next. I just know that there is no going back.
P.S. Some days no posts, other days, TWO! I was going to save this one and post it tomorrow... but why? This is what I was given for today, we'll see about tomorrow.
This Friday is, as you may know, a very big day around here. Cordelia turns one year old on Friday. It seems like she knows it, too. Every hour of each day she seems to get a little closer. Cordelia is having another one of those growth spurts of the developmental variety. She's becoming a toddler.
So what's new about her? Oh, simply everything. She's standing by herself, often letting go and just playing with whatever she has in her hand. Or dancing! It seems like each time she does this, it lasts a few seconds longer. Cordelia tries to stand up at any and every opportunity, somehow pulling up on things that really aren't that sturdy or stable. How incredible! In the mobility department, her absolute favorite activity is to chase the dog. With the help of a finger to hold in each hand, she takes off running in Oliver's direction, laughing her beautiful baby laugh the whole time. So far, Oliver thinks it's pretty fun too. Cordelia usually stops when she loses hold of a hand, but has figured out that she can cruise quite a distance along furniture or by holding onto a pant leg. There are occasional bumps and falls, but she is still quite cautious. Cordelia gets a look that tells me she is calculating her next move or maybe, the possibilities before her.
She has strong opinions about things these days. What she wants to eat, and when, and how. What she wants to play with and when/if she is done. Mommy or daddy. Inside or out. She now understands the sequences of activity that regularly appear in our days. For example, she knows that at the end of a meal, we go in the bathroom and wash up. Sometimes, she's excited as I carry her to the bathroom, other times she starts squirming or protesting. I try to shake things up a little bit every now and then, while still allowing her to feel a sense of normal routine. Mostly, it looks like Cordelia would like a little more control over things and, within reason, I try to give her some chances to do that.
Imitation is becoming a fun game. I imitate her and she imitates me. Cordelia is quite an observer - loves to watch things and people. We went to a restaurant recently and she couldn't eat a bite because she was too busy watching the people all around her.
I am surprised by what tickles her funny bone. She's a pretty quiet and serious person, but there are some things she finds hilarious. Kissing her feet during a diaper change. Particular moments in some of our books. Turning around and being surprised by the dog. Daddy. Playing peek-a-boo with objects in my hand, like blueberries, cheerios or a small block. When I put something on my head and ask for her help to get it off.
On the way to one year old, there are some baby things that I have to let go of. There's less snuggling. I miss the early morning snuggle times when she laid her head on my chest and settled in for a long moment of comfort, awake but calm and quiet. I miss how she used to sit still, examining and manipulating the objects that were close at hand. I used to plop Cordelia down in the middle of her room with blocks or balls or toys around her. I would sit next to her and just watch or play along. She was content for long periods of time to just sit and play. Now, we are on the move constantly like a hummingbirds flying from one sweetness to the next.
It is a busy business, this growing up. Its exhausting and exhilarating all at once. A bundle of joy and grace and frustration, more filling and fulfilling than I ever imagined.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I have to admit that I am sinking fast. I read so many beautiful, delicious, blogs. They are festooned with details, both in imagery and words. The cooking ones make me want to cook. The parenting ones make me want to be a fantastic parent, raise a million kids, homeschool and document it all in stunning photos. The crafty ones make me want to, well, you know, make things. You get the idea. And I am so full of ideas. And so short on energy and time. And so not blogging every day like I said I would. And so not blogging well, like I hoped I would. I'm not knocking your socks off and I'm boring myself to tears over here. Probably both of you reading this (hi mom+dad!) want to turn this thing off and never read it again. Boo hiss.
I learned something recently: My blog-a-day energy just doesn't carry over to the weekend. Or any time that Doug is home. I have to be alright with that because that is how it is. But I will still TRY.
This week, to get myself motivated again, I will turn to my muse. The little person who lives here is about to be one year old. Oh goodness! More on that later. Stay tuned. Baby book sharing in full swing this week.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
It is Sunday again and the wind is still blowing. We put the babe to sleep in our room tonight, so I'd say the fear has won the night, at least for tonight. We had a good day today - got a little work done, had a little adventure (tried our local pool - the baby swam for the first time!), relaxed, and started the day with pancakes. All in all, a good day.
But here I am blogging with zero passion again. The knitting on my needles is calling me. I have read the scriptures assigned for the day and I have to say they aren't something I really want to write about right now. I have preached some good sermons (At least I think they were good, you know, in the moment.) on these texts in the past. Maybe I'm just not letting them in. I can hear echos of my own analysis of the texts and even some of the stories and poems I used. But, now is a different time.
So, just a quick note from me tonight.
It was a wonder to see Cordelia get the idea of the water. All three of us became more comfortable in it during the time we were there. We passed her back and forth, twirled her around, did a fair amount of bobbing and floating, and all the while she watched the big kids with eager eyes. By the end, she seemed to be authentically enjoying the gigantic bathtub she found herself in. Splish splash, I think we are on our way to having a little fishy in the family.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Last night, the wind started to blow. It was modest at first, but quickly gained speed and force. We've had a lot of water lately and the ground seems saturated. We live in a house surrounded by trees. These trees are beautiful and, for the most part, I feel a sentimental reverence toward them. On a clear and calm day, their green strength shelters us here. On a windy day, the same large presence feels ominous rather than protective.
Last night was a very windy night. We shuddered each time we heard a pick up in the wind or a groan. We tried to distract ourselves with a movie. I confess to praying a bargaining, fearful prayer to God while I nursed the baby to sleep. All night long, I worried over our decision to leave the baby in her room instead of bringing her to the safer side of the house where we sleep. I listened to the wind off and on throughout the night.
There was the greatest sense of relief when I woke up and realized that the wind had died down.
At some point in my life I heard the idea that when named, fear loses it's power. No matter how many times I named this one, the fear stayed strong. I must admit that I have been a worrier throughout my life. Not a terrible one, but one none the less. In the past, I always seemed to know when there was nothing to be done and found some calm in the midst of it all.
The accumulation of relationship (and people) in my life has actually had the effect of increasing my worry over silly things. I originally blamed this on postpartum hormonal adjustment. It was quite a ride. But now that I am through that phase, I wonder what it is that causes me to worry so. I suppose that when one has nothing to lose, one has nothing to worry about. Is it really true that the more love increases, the more there is to lose? I do not want this to be true for me. I want love to free me for more loving and risking and hoping. I'm still working on it, still loving and worrying.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Today was supposed to be a snow day. We were promised a snow storm with snow that would stick, preceded by two days of sunshine! But instead, we got a slurpy machine explosion. Two grey days, followed by tons of snow all night (that stuck) and then rain to melt it all away. Somehow, we also got intermittent cable/phone/internet outages too, which is why I'm writing to you now instead of earlier.
Today, I was also supposed to meet with a friend to teach her the art of crochet. But her son is sick, and so we have pushed that lesson off another week.
Today, I was supposed to make something in the crockpot but I was afraid that the power would become intermittent too and I would have a steaming (then cold), half cooked pot of wasted food. So, it's on to plan B for dinner.
What is plan B anyway?
A change of plans is something I am getting used to. I used to be so punctual and reliable. I used to do exactly what I said I would do, be where I said I would be. I was a gifted procrastinator, but I always finished and I was usually on time.
Now, I roll with it. The other day, I arrived (on time) to the vet for the dog's shots. Actually, we were a little early and I commented to the receptionist that this was a minor miracle. She said, "Well, you have your little darling there, so there's your excuse." She meant it in the kindest possible way, and since I was early for the appointment, I didn't feel judged. I asked her how long this grace period lasted and she told me, with her tongue firmly in cheek, that it completely depended on how cute your kid(s) are. Whoa. Even though she was trying to be silly (I hope!), I ended the conversation there and took my seat to wait with my nervous doggie and darling daughter.
This tiny episode (and many other daily ones) has got me thinking about responsibility and changing plans. Children seem to be unreliable by nature these days. Maybe my memory is faulty, but I don't remember plans changing so much when I was little. We were flexible, but always reliable. I want to strike a balance. This is partly for selfish reasons, of course. I am the one missing the snow, crochet lessons, and a warm meal from the crock pot.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
These days, it feels like I am taking in much more than I am giving out. I'm not sure why this is. When I was blogging during November, I could hardly wait to post each day. Nap time would roll around and I would get my tea and set myself up on the couch with the computer. I would type away, almost sad when the post was done.
Then I was interrupted.
Starting over this month, I haven't hit my stride yet. All I want to do is knit and crochet (and drink my tea!). When nap time rolls around, I want to read or knit or bake or (rarely) clean. I'm longing for time to take in all that is occurring around me. I still come up with posts in my mind and have lots to share with you, it's just that when I have the chance to write, I don't really want to.
What's up with that?
I let myself skip a day on Sunday because of this. Today, I let myself bake (I am the muffin mama after all!) and clean and read during nap time. So now I am writing in the evening after Cordelia is in bed when I could be relaxing with my husband. Not so good.
Today, I decided that this daily writing thing is a discipline and as such, I need to just keep doing it. Every day. A discipline can not change or shape me if I don't stick with it.
See you tomorrow!!
Monday, January 10, 2011
But I digress.
It would have been good to go to church to remember Jesus' baptism because we just baptized our little one on the Sunday after Christmas. It would have been good to stop and reflect again on that most sacred of moments when God said to Jesus, "You are good." It would have been good to hear that and remember when that was said about us.
I heard myself describing Cordelia's baptism to a dear friend the other day... and I left out some of my favorite parts! So, I think its important to recount it here and to therefore preserve the memory.
Doug and I talked about baptism almost from the moment that Cordelia was born. Since I am an ordained minister who is not currently serving a congregation, and Doug and I did not grow up in the same Christian tradition, the question of where to go to church (let alone where to baptize a child) is not too simple. We agreed that we wanted to baptize our child as a baby but were left with questions about where. It was starting to look like we might not get the question resolved while she was a child. That is, until we thought of my home church and our trip there for Christmas. After conversing with family, church and each other, it was decided! Baptism at home. Here are a few "snapshots" that help me to remember the day.
- Cordelia was given a pair of patent-leather, RED shoes for Christmas by her Aunt Allison. I had her wear these for her baptism in celebration of the Holy Spirit and for good fashion as well.
- Cordelia was too small for the dress my mom purchased for her. With a little sparkle in her eyes, my mom went to get the baptismal dress that I wore. I was only 3 months at my baptism (on the Sunday after Christmas!) and I was very tiny so we didn't think it likely to fit. We tried it on and the gown fit Cordelia like it was made for her. It truly felt like a miracle. We both cried as we watched her in the big mirror in the hall.
- Worshipping on Christmas Eve helped me get ready for the baptism. I got teary a few times singing about the baby that we all longed for, his arrival and the rejoicing over all of it. I knew exactly what those hymns meant. Last year I felt Advent in a new way - this year it was Christmas.
- Everything, every single thing, felt right.
- When we went forward for the time of baptism, I felt joy nearly overcome me.
- As I looked out on the congregation, it was difficult to hold all the different feelings I was having.
- I was confirmed, ordained, and baptized my baby on the same steps. Wow.
- I held Cordelia next to Doug while the pastor read the words and prayed the prayers. Cordelia seemed to love this part. She "talked" all through this time and made elaborate hand gestures. It looked like Cordelia was interpreting the words into baby language, much like a sign interpreter would do for the deaf. Afterwards, people said that she preached her first sermon. Ha!
- I tried to hand her to the pastor for the actual baptism, but Cordelia cried immediately and we had decided ahead of time that if this happened, I would hold her and he would sprinkle her.
- When we took Cordelia into the congregation to meet her new family, she grinned her biggest baby grin and talked and flapped her arms.
- During the pastor's fantastic sermon, Cordelia and I entertained ourselves in the back of the sanctuary where we could move about freely. She jabbered away, preaching her baby sermon the whole time. It was beautiful.
- After the worship, we spent time talking with the congregation. What a joy to have an intimate group to visit with. Cordelia fell asleep (it was past her nap time) laying her head against me.
- When we got home, my mom and I took her picture in the gown a few more times. Cordelia seemed proud of her self, like she knew how beautiful and loved she is.
- That night, when I put her down to bed, I told her that I loved her (like I always do) and that God loved her. I held her an extra long time and I felt the tears of joy in my eyes.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Today, my littlest nephew turns one year old. And, oh Lordy have I been hit by a wave of sentimentality. Drew's mommy and I were pregnant at the same time and had our kiddos two weeks apart. What this means, dear friends, is that I am TWO weeks away from having a ONE YEAR OLD child. Oh goodness. But today is about Drew (and my mom too, who graciously shared her birthday with him) so I need to get myself together to celebrate him.
It is your first birthday today. You have learned an astounding amount of things in these first 365 days of your life with us. You are seriously impressive! You are walking, talking, laughing, making jokes, eating, exploring, loving, learning, and growing. You seem to be a happy person and that makes my heart so glad. From what I can see, you are a lot like your daddy. You move all the time and seem genuinely glad most of time. Sometimes things don't seem to turn out the way you expect them to, but it looks like you consider that to be an opportunity, rather than a frustration. This is so good. I hope you always keep your pioneering spirit and zest for life.
Most of all I want to tell you that you are loved. I remember the day your mommy told me that you were on your way. I could hear the love in her voice. Your mommy and daddy were so happy and so excited to welcome you to the family. I look forward to the time we will spend together, and especially to watching the growing friendship you have with your cousin Cordelia.
I hope you dig into your cake and that you enjoy the love of your family today and every day.
with a BIG HUGE birthday hug,
Friday, January 7, 2011
Today, I'm savoring memories of our time in the sun. Memories of introducing Cordelia to the ocean. Memories of being surrounded by family and enjoying moments like the one pictured below. Two happy girls - one still little enough that she needs to be carried everywhere we go.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Happy Epiphany to you! Today is the "official" day of Epiphany. A friend posted the third definition of epiphany (below) and I thought I'd repost it here. So beautiful - it makes it obvious to me why something like that would be celebrated.
May the light break into your life.
Definition of EPIPHANY
capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ
: an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being
a (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosureb : a revealing scene or moment
* More regular posts are on their way - these last two days have been busy! *
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Well, at least I aspire to be the muffin mom. And today I took my first step towards that great title! Just kidding, but I do want to have healthy snacks for my kiddo. Since she started picking up her food, she pretty much doesn't want to eat purees or anything that comes delivered on a spoon. All the snacks I've seen in the store are pretty sugary. And, over the the holidays, I happen to have accidentally (ahem) started her pickup food phase with pumpkin bread. Oops! Rookie mistake! Cordelia turns out to have just a bit of a sweet tooth. So, on the advice of a great friend and supermama (thanks M!) I tried my hand at making some mini muffins. Highly nutritious, highly portable and totally yummy. I started with the recipe below and modified it just a bit. According to the directions, it's made for modifying and that's just my style. Yay.
The answer to the big money question that you've been on the edge of your seat about? YES - Cordelia and Doug BOTH loved it. Cordelia ate them with such eagerness that I had to practically hold her back. Success!
* My variations to the recipe included subbing 1 1/4 cups flour + 1 1/2 cups oats for the 2 cups flour in the original recipe AND adding 2 teaspoons cinnamon AND adding 1 (grated) pear.
Here's the recipe from King Arthur Flour's website:
Basic Muffins (with berry and oatmeal versions)
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
It has been a surprise to me this time around how the new year has brought so much energy for change. When we got home from our trip, I felt like clearing out, cleaning up and generally starting fresh. I initiated conversations with my hubby about what could be better in our relationship and our home-life. I thought of what newness might be emerging in me. I thought about what I wanted and needed. I thought about what I didn't want to do but still needed doing. I took a little look at Cordelia and her life and what was ahead for her. I reflected on my parenting and housekeeping and cooking and all that.
Inevitably, I then had to sit down for a deep breath or too because I got completely overwhelmed by all the resolving, committing and changing.
After all of that, and a bit of quiet this morning, I have found something simple. Eat, pray, love - a book title from a few years back. I LOVED the book (haven't seen the movie). If you know me then you probably see some obvious ways this book title becomes my resolution for 2011. And you are probably right on the mark.
EAT - With the baby eating real foods and starting to wean for real and for keeps, I am focused more on food and nutrition than ever before. Also, Doug and I want to be more fit in the new year (and forever after) so that requires more thoughtfulness about what we're putting in our mouths. That is what's obvious. The metaphorical meaning of food applies here too. I want to think about and work on what we are consuming in terms of reading, watching, seeing, and doing too. What are we bringing in? I want that to be healthful too.
PRAY - I need to find the Spirit again. Daily writing is part of it, but maybe going to church regularly too. Finding a community where Spirit is part of the language and practice.
LOVE - Delight is my guide this year - and so in all things there will be love. Love in work and play. There will be a focus on kindness, silliness, friendship and happiness.
And so we begin. Eat. Pray. Love. That's it. What are you resolving?
Monday, January 3, 2011
Every year for a long while now, my home church in California celebrates epiphany in a beautiful way. Remembering that the kings were guided by a star, they choose a "star" as a guide for the year. These stars are simple paper cutouts with words written on them. Church members are invited to come forward and pick a star, and therefore a word, to guide them.
Each year, my mom picks a star for me. Each year the star/word has been a guide. It might seem silly or superstitious, but I don't think of it that way. Usually either right away or at some point in the year, the word has a guiding, comforting, inspiring or somehow helpful influence on me. I don't know how it happens, but it almost always does.
This year, she chose a star with the word, "delight". She sent me an email to tell me yesterday afternoon. Instantly when I read it, my soul said YES. I have been thinking about happiness and its sister, delight, for some time now. When my mom arrives here in a few weeks, she'll hand deliver it and I'll put the star on my fridge to guide me towards happiness throughout the year.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
On or around this Sunday, Epiphany is celebrated in many Christian denominations and traditions. Epiphany recognizes, remembers and celebrates the moment that the wise men arrived to meet the baby Jesus and recognized him as the Christ. Epiphany is the day the world found out the good news. Epiphany is the coming of the light into the world. It's the "go tell it on the mountain" moment.
I've always loved Epiphany. I love everything about it. Don't get me wrong, celebrating the birth of Jesus is wonderful, but I sometimes wish the Epiphany got the bigger celebration. In many ways, I think we have our celebrations all mixed up - but let's not get started down that rabbit trail.
In my own life, moments of epiphany have been a big deal. The everyday lightbulb moments and the even bigger moments of radical discovery have sometimes (and this is no exaggeration) changed the course of my life.
I celebrate these little moments personally, right in the moment of course. But I have also found so much joy in celebrating with others. My joy is multiplied in the sharing. So it is now with each new discovery and milestone that Cordelia makes. It is almost as if these things don't really fully happen until I share them with someone or catch them on a video or picture. I felt SO BLESSED the first time Cordelia giggled because Doug was there to witness it with me. It just wouldn't have been the same if he hadn't been there. And so it is with each new thing.
During the holiday we travelled to California to be with my parents. Doug's mom, best friend and brother all met us there for little visits too. And during that time, Cordelia had a developmental growth spurt. She started feeding herself, saying NO, imitating our sounds and actions more closely (like saying "tweet, tweet"), walking holding fingers and pulling up on everything, and many more things. These little building blocks of development were celebrated with much rejoicing by Cordelia's family of big fans. Maybe they happened because there was so much love and attention showered on her. But in any case, there was much rejoicing in my heart over all of this. Much, much more than if we had reached these little milestones at home together, just the two of us.
The LIGHT is coming into the world. We know it and we are sharing it. Let our joy and wisdom be multiplied!
Saturday, January 1, 2011
I am so glad to be back. I hope this new year brings all the adventure, joy, challenge and love that you need. Happy 2011 to everyone! I may be publishing short little snippets each day for a few days here until the hubby goes back to work and we get into a more normal rhythm. That said, I plan to post each day during January, and after that, to see what happens. I found the discipline of writing a daily post during November (until I was so rudely interrupted) was nothing short of transformative. I feel lucky and blessed to be able to take this discipline up again.
So, what did I learn from having a computer break(down)? Here's a short list of the highlights:
- my iphone is super cool
- my iphone is super small
- always, always back up everything
- the internets really do provide a connection to the wider world for me - and i felt a little disconnected without it
- the internets can really suck up a lot of time
- knitting/crochet projects get done faster when I don't have access to the internet
- having less screen time meant that my days were quieter and that i was more likely to take on a project, especially in the afternoon
- i really missed writing - surprise!