Look Who’s Here!

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We welcomed Calvin Cedar into our family on February 6th, 2015.  The build up to his birth was long and somewhat stressful, but once he decided he was ready things went quickly. Calvin was born at home in what was one of the most beautiful, empowering experiences of my life.  Our midwives are my new heroes; I have so much respect for their knowledge, experience, and compassionate care.

We have been tucked safely in the new baby bubble for almost 2 weeks now and are so in love. Sleep deprived and desperately in need of a shower, but very happy indeed.

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Big Sister Georgia is also doing well. She didn’t want to get too close too fast to this new alien baby in our home, and we didn’t push her.  She would cautiously approach him, ask a question or comment on his smell, and be gone.  We’d read a story or share a snack in bed with the sleeping baby, and she’d steal looks here and there.  After a week she was ready to hold him, and hasn’t wanted to stop since!

I’m thrilled that you’re here in our arms, Calvin. Welcome to the family.

The Geeg turns 5

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Opie & The Geeg, friends since age 0

Opie & The Geeg, friends since age 0

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This past weekend was a big one for our little family. The Geeg (formerly known as Peaceful Baby) turned 5, and we had activities large and small to commemorate this occasion.

Five felt like a significant birthday, almost as much as her first.  Leslie and I joked that it was also our 5-year parenting anniversary, which really is the truth.  This is the moment we can celebrate all the changes not only in our daughter, but in our lives and in our selves, since becoming parents.  There are many, and it’s nice to have an annual opportunity to recognize and honor them.

We held a small party at a local nature center, where a guide taught the children all about a few amphibians and reptiles.  There were frogs, newts, salamanders, two types of snakes, and a box turtle.  The children had varying levels of interest in these creatures, which was fun to watch!  G was in kid heaven, surrounded by her friends and by animals.  It was a good day.

Two birthday celebrations, two batches of mama-made chocolate cake and cupcakes, thoughtful gifts from friends and family, a few surprises from the “birthday fairies”, the new privilege of chewing gum, and many little conversations about her life at 5 versus 4.  This was our weekend.

This is going to be a big year!

Quiet

Lately I’ve been trying to create a little more quiet in my days.  Time spent without talking, listening to music or podcasts, no television, and no visual noise from the internet.

This can be hard in the busy, plugged-in screen-watching world we’re living in these days, but I find it extremely peaceful.  It’s during these quiet moments that we have room to breathe, dream, and truly relax.

Hamamelis shawl in-progress

Here’s how I’m trying to make room for quiet time in my days:

During the day I try not to turn on the television; sometimes I let PB watch Sesame Street so I can get a head start on dinner, but not every day.  She’s just as happy sitting on the floor with a pile of books.

I spend plenty of time at the computer while PB naps, so when she’s awake I shut it off.

I think it’s important to spend a portion of every day outside, even if it’s just a few minutes between downpours to stroll to the mailbox.  It’s especially nice during our walks to the park or backyard play time to just listen to the sounds of the neighborhood.  PB has noticed the buzzing of bees, chirping of birds, the hum of a distant airplane, the rumble of a garbage truck.  And now she even makes her own version of these sounds vocally or via sign language, which is darn tootin’ cute.

Time spent in the kitchen is great for quiet time.  The sounds and smells I am creating help me feel grounded as I focus on creating something tasty and nourishing for my family.  And as I’m stirring soup or chopping vegetables, my mind is free to wander off into a daydream.

Sweetie has been working evenings this week, so I’ve had a lot of quiet time to myself.  My first impulse was to cram as much productivity into the evenings as possible, but then I decided relaxation was key.  The first night I watched a movie and knit for 2 hours.  The second night I took a long soak in the tub with candles, bubbles, and a new library book.  Last night I drank wine and knit while listening to a podcast.   Not as much complete quiet as I thought I would want, but it was nice to mix it up a bit.

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This post was inspired by Katie who recently wrote about quiet evenings at home with her husband.  I think we need a quiet evening each week around here, too.  So often Sweetie and I end up in our respective spots in the living room silently watching tv together.  And while sometimes that is just the antidote to a stressful or busy day, I also really enjoy it when we turn off the tube and just sit and talk or play a game.  Now that I’m writing this, I remember we used to do just that on Monday nights!  Hmmm…

How do you make room in your day for quiet?

Busy Days

It’s been a whopper of a week around here.  Monday I was sick and grumpy.  The day ended with me trying to pull the bed away from the wall so I could plug in the laptop charger, which resulted in me accidentally breaking the bed frame.  I about lost it, and said as much to Sweetie who quietly went in and fixed everything with a ratchet strap and a clean set of sheets while I sat on the kitchen floor whimpering.

Tuesday we spent the entire day in the hospital between 3 different appointments for PB.  She’s fine (her condition has improved yet needs monitoring), but it was a long, slightly frustrating day.  She’s a really resilient kid, and in between behind held down on tables she was able to get excited about playing with toys and exploring the doctor’s offices.  We saw some pretty sick little ones, and I feel so very thankful that PB is healthy; one day at the hospital is nothing in the scheme of things.

While we were at the hospital, I got word that my dear little sister had gone into labor and was in her own hospital about to give birth!  It went smoothly, and I have a sweet little niece to knit for!

Another (slightly less exciting) accomplishment was finishing my spring tee.  I did the last couple of rounds and weaved in ends last night, and now she’s soaking in a bath waiting to get blocked out.  We’re also pug-sitting a little guy named Byron this week, who isn’t quite sure why he can’t chew on all the toys.  Busy week!

Today is sunny and predicted to be in the low 70s.  I think there will be some knitting and gardening time in the backyard while PB plays in her new “tax refund” cottage.

Oh, and registration opens for Sock Summit today; hopefully I can get into a fun class or two.  Anyone planning on attending?

Take a Moment

Peaceful Baby is all about stopping to smell the flowers these days.  All flowers get equal attention and admiration, from the lowly dandelion to the newly opened tulips.  The grape hyacinths in our yard seem to be her favorite for picking.  Her enthusiasm for every little thing that is new to her has me looking at my surroundings with renewed interest.  I never really noticed how nice a daffodil smelled until I had watched her take several deep whiffs of one and decided to see what all the fuss was about.  And dandelions? They don’t smell so bad either!

Sometimes you need to take a moment to smell the flowers.  Such a simple act can be both calming and invigorating, and it may just turn your day around.

Alison recently wrote about how spring has invoked a sort of reverse hibernation in her life.  That, while the weather is changing and warming, she wants to spend more time playing around her own home, installing a garden, raising chicks, and encouraging the littles to unplug and play outside.  I have been feeling much the same way.  When it stays light until 8pm, as it has been doing around here lately, it hardly seems right to curl up on the sofa and watch tv.  It’s still a bit chilly to sit outside in the evenings, but I tell you, every time I see the sun come out, PB and I are throwing on our jackets and getting out there to stop and smell the flowers, throw some rocks, watch the ducks fly overhead, and just soak it up.

As you can imagine, there has been less knitting going on with all this time spent outdoors.  This time of year, I’m okay with that.  A few rows done here and there are fine progress, and things will get done when they get done.  I’m still working on a secret project, my around town socks, and deciding what to do about that darn Rayonnant Pullover.  There is a new issue of knitty out, and I am thinking of knitting this instead.  With any luck, I’ll be able to knit on it while sitting outside in the spring sun next to a bouquet of dandelions!

Home is where…

My new Home is where….

 

 

♥  there is something tasty happening in the kitchen

♥  my bed is waiting with fresh sheets and sleepy kitties

♥  our family is busy laughing and playing and the messes can wait

♥  the yarn is safe and sound

♥  I feel inspired.

Our new house is slowly starting to feel like Home.

It can take a while to develop a sense of Home, of feeling at peace and in rhythm with where you live and the activities that occur there.  Home is a very special and important idea to me; it’s that soft spot to land, the place that feeds and cares for your soul, where you can learn, feel, grow, rebuild, experiment, and play with abandon.  Home envelops you with a sense of comfort and peace, has a few beautiful things to make you smile or feel inspired, and smells nice too.

The journey to Home has been steadily moving forward since we landed out West.  At first it was all about getting our family here, checking out our new 4 walls, and then trying to make our house comfortable while we settled in and explored.  For me, it’s important to develop a safe home base quickly when we move someplace new.  It can take a while to find that perfect spot for the coffee pot in the kitchen, or the most comfortable place to sit and knit in the evenings!  But more than that, it takes time to get to know new surroundings, incorporating your existing family and life into a wholly new place.

I think we’re getting there.  Peaceful Baby and I have our new haunts via the library, playground, neighborhood walk (planned to maximize exposure to chickens and ducks!), yarn shop, baby-friendly consignment store, coffee shop, and more.  We spent a lot of the early days in our new town exploring what was out there when the chaos of too many boxes and not knowing where I put this or that was getting to me.

Now, after having been at our new place almost 3 months, I feel a sense of balance coming on.  My idea of Home is coming to be, and we are all seeming more relaxed, happy, and secure in the knowledge that I won’t rearrange the kitchen cupboards again.

What does home mean to you?

7 Months Later

Peaceful Baby turns a mature 7 months old today.

I love my daughter so wholly it’s shocking.  Her bright eyes and easy smile fill my heart to capacity, making me laugh and enabling me to see the world from a new perspective.

But there’s another side to all of that: being a parent is hard.

Motherhood is so much more complicated, challenging, rewarding, exhausting, and loving than I ever imagined.

When I was pregnant there was no shortage of comments from people about how life would never be the same. You  know the ones: enjoy ____ now because after you have the baby, forget about it.  I knew my life was about to change in unimagineable ways, and I felt up to the task.  The day to day challenges were expected: sleep interruptions, feeding, changing diapers, struggling to keep up with laundry, housework, trying to maintain a social life, or even a reasonably put together appearance.  But what I wasn’t prepared for was the realization that becoming a mother didn’t complete me as a person.

Take a moment. Breathe.  I had to.

Through all those months and years of struggling to conceive, I held firm to the belief that once I held this little being in my arms I would be awash in a sea of contentment and love.  Don’t get me wrong, I felt those things and more.  But once life with baby settled into a routine and I was able to see clearly again, I realized that it’s more complicated than that.

Who is satisfied by just one facet of their lives?  Are you solely contented by your career/family/spouse/art?  I think if we look honestly at ourselves, we can see that we are multifaceted and have needs that can only be filled with a rich variety of interests.  I was shocked to discover that having a baby didn’t complete me.  I still struggled with the same issues and concerns about my life as I had before becoming a mom.  This was upsetting, challenging, and painful, but after some thought, I realized it’s also okay.

I am a mother. I love my daughter.  But I am also a dynamic person who needs to find room in my life to explore and create, without the guilt that seems to be an inherent part of motherhood for many women.  Taking the time out of my day to knit, read, meet up with a friend, or even take a long shower doesn’t mean taking time away from my baby.  This time I create for myself within the day allows me to refill that little creative battery within me, and when fully charged I am a much more patient, engaged parent.

So, 7 months into this motherhood gig these are my thoughts.  Life will always be a work in progress, and I know that as quickly as PB changes and grows, so will my identity as a mama and as a woman.