Family

Babies

I cannot believe that May is over and we are full-swing into June.  For some reason, I feel like both of my babies have grown-up far too quickly in the past month.

Mid-May marked the end of elementary school for Hope and it was such a busy time for our family.  There were tests and parties and forms and meetings.  It didn’t really hit me that my baby girl was growing up and entering a new phase in her life:  Middle School.  It didn’t really hit until I went by the school office to drop off an updated vaccination record and the school was chaotic.  It was the second to the last day of school and that school was having an “honor walk” for the fifth graders.  Basically all the teachers stood in the hallways and the fifth graders walk through the school with Miley Cyrus music blasting and everyone cheering.  I saw Hope with her little gaggle of friends.  Her blonde hair stylishly swooping over her face, her giggly grin, her sheer happiness.  She looked so…. grown-up.  It hit me that my baby girl is now a young lady and I stood in the school office, looking out the office window, and weeping happy, proud, bittersweet tears.  Later that day I told Hope that she has grown to be such a young lady and she replied “but, mom, I’ll always be your baby.”  Then she crawled up into my lap and gave me such a great big hug.

She has changed so much… her life is filled with friends, a first crush, nail polish, music, and fashion.  She’ll be playing the trumpet in band next year with her best friend Brianna and she has a summer filled with roller skating and swimming.  Even though she seems so grown-up now, she is still my Hope.  She is silly and sarcastic and smart and the sweetest girl ever.  I know she is going to make her mama proud.

out and about in Athens

Her little brother is also filling-up my days with equally bittersweet moments.  Atticus is seven-months old and has been growing-up WAY TOO FAST!  In the past few weeks he has experienced his first round of antibiotics for an ear infection, mastered crawling, said “Da-da”, and he has started pulling up.  He is a chubby, happy, funny little boy.  He is almost always laughing and chattering.  He will most likely be a class clown — he loves making silly faces and blowing raspberries.  The stage is so delightful and fun, but a part of me still wishes he was a snuggly, newborn.  The photos below are blurry because this little man is always on the go.

Reading with big sister

on the go!

Yup.  Both babies are quickly growing; all I can do is squeeze in plenty of hugs and cherish each moment.

A kid-free 24 hours

On Saturday — at approximately 11:30am — Sam and I had weekend get away.  Although we were gone for only just over 24 hours, I came back relaxed and well-rested.

First we went to our local Michaels so Sam could pick up some new canvases.  Next we were on to the local Thai restaurant; I had a bowl of Tom Ka (coconut soup), a spring roll, and some Masaman Curry.  Sam had the same except he opted for the Yellow Curry.  Then we were off to Athens, Georgia.

We stopped off at a local thrift store, but didn’t find too much.  It was close to check-in time, so we went on to the Holiday Inn.  Then we went our separate ways for a bit.  Sam and I work well together because we both know that we need time alone.  So Sam went to a comic book convention and enjoyed some PBR (ewww) and I went book shopping at my favorite bookshop, Jackson Street Books.

I behaved very well at the bookstore.  I purchased four titles — all Viragos — and then went in search of a coffee shop for some reading.

Sam met me at the coffee shop and we strolled back to the hotel to change for dinner.  It was nice getting all dolled up in a dress, and jewelry, and tights, and boots (because that’s how I roll).

We walked to dinner at this lovely place called Farm255.  They grow their own food and raise and butcher their own meats.  We enjoyed homemade bread, fries, and burgers.  Afterwards we walked to The Grit for coffee and cake.  I had an orgasmically good vegan Death by Chocolate Cake.

With our happy and full bellies we walked back to the hotel.  We showered, hopped into bed, and watched Cupcake Wars until we fell asleep.  OMG y’all, I slept sooooo much.  We went to bed just after 11 and I woke up at 5am and freaked out because I didn’t hear the baby.  Then I remembered that the baby was with the coparent and I was with Sam in a hotel in Athens.  I WENT BACK TO SLEEP.  I slept until 9:30.  It was heaven.

Around 10:45 we checked out of the hotel and went back to The Grit for brunch.  Sam had the breakfast burrito and I had the potatoes and vegetables.  We both had grits, toast, and coffee with our brunch.

After we finished with brunch, we drove back home to the kiddos.  It was a wonderful weekend.  We’re going to a Memphis wedding in August, but we’re hoping to get away for a longer weekend trip in January on our two year anniversary.  Hooray for mini-vacations!

Things I’m Loving

The past week has been about 80% shit.  Some stuff happened on the weekend, work is busy, and Sam’s truck broke down.  Not really that bad — but it has been a stressful and emotional week.

My reaction to this week has been to be a complete bitch to all the people I love.  I’ve been sullen, selfish, and not a very likable wife and mom.  Yesterday, I decided to try to focus on the positive things in my life.  The little things I love that make the day wonderful; there is almost always something sunny on a cloudy day.

So here we are, the tiny wonderful things that occurred on a Wednesday:

coffee in a Shakespeare mug

Office art created by Hope

Having lunch with Sam.  I told him I wanted to take a picture for “the blog” and this is his more than thrilled expression.

My sweet girl doing her homework

Silly cereal face

Talking to duckie

Sweet Potato Fries!!!

Reading Jane Eyre in the baby room while rocking Atticus to sleep

That one, semi-clean space on Hope’s floor

Gigglebox

Baking bread

There we are, all the happy little moments in one place.  All in all yesterday was a good day and I’m sure those other horrid days wouldn’t have been quite so bad if I had thought about all my blessings.

 

I’m an Aunt!

First, a family update.  After blogging last Thursday about my sister being in labor with my niece, my anxiety for her increased.  She was having some complications and I really felt I needed to be there.  Shannon, the co-parent, had a fabulous idea:  Sam would stay with Hope and she would take care of the baby at a hotel while I helped my sister.  We left my house around 10:30 and I arrived at the hospital shortly after midnight.  Atticus and Shannon went to the hotel.  Armed with Breastimus Prime (my breast pump) and a suitcase of bottled water I spent my the entire night at the hospital helping Becky.

I was very disappointed in the hospital, the staff, and the care (or lack thereof) they gave my sister, but I’ll hold my tongue on that.  At 9:49am on 03/11/11 my beautiful niece, Evelyn Rose, was born via emergency c-section.  Even though Evie was a few weeks early, she was a whopping 9lbs, 12 oz.  I was so excited to hold my little niece and I can’t wait to spoil her to pieces.

Next topic — why I haven’t blogged much lately.  I alluded my shut mouth in my last post.  Sam and I were desperately trying to figure out a way for me to be a stay-at-home mom.  We budgeted, we analyzed, I figured in part-time jobs (babysitting, baking, tutoring) and it won’t work.  It would work if we never had any major emergencies and I’m not comfortable with that.  Also I would be giving up health and dental insurance, 16.5 paid vacation days a year, at least three full weeks of paid holiday time, accumulating paid sick time and a flexible work environment.  Not to mention the university I work at gave me three months PAID maternity leave.  I can’t beat the work conditions.

I didn’t want to say anything on the blogosphere until we made a decision.  I’m at peace with the decision.  I talked to Sam about some of my concerns about working and having a baby.  Namely, when I get home from work I try to cram in playing with kids, gardening, cooking dinner, laundry, cleaning, bath times and bedtime routines in a four-hour window.  I told him I need more help and — because he is super awesome — he has really pitched in.  We made a daily schedule with everyone (including Hope) helping with taking care of the baby and chores.  The house is neat, the clothes are clean, the baby is happy, and we haven’t gone out to eat all week.

Now if I could carve out a little more blog time all will be right ;).

 

Meet the Co-Parent: Shannon

Today I’d like to introduce one of the most spectacular people I know: Shannon.  In addition to being a book nerd, whizzbang barista, and the outdoorsy adventure type, Shannon is also our co-parent.

Unfortunately, Georgia is an incredibly conservative state.  Gay people can adopt as an individual, but joint partner adoptions are incredibly hard to come by.  Also, for visitation and custody purposes, Shannon would have to go back in the closet and NO ONE should have to be in the closet.  In addition, out-homosexuals cannot be foster parents.  That’s really sad.  Thousands of children need good homes and are being denied the potential for a loving family because of close-minded conservatism.

So Shannon is our co-parent and is living motherhood vicariously through me.  She has taken Hope kayaking and to amusement parks.  She cared for Hope while I was giving birth to Atticus.  She was one of the first people who found out I was pregnant with Atticus.  She was there when I thought I was having a miscarriage and she was there shortly after his birth.  She came several times a week when I was home from the hospital to help care for Atticus.  She cares for Atticus during the day when I’m at work and she even was at the house at 11:30pm last Friday to rock a teething, fussy baby.  Both of my children love Shannon and if anything every happened to Sam and I we’ve already decided that Shannon will get the kids.  You should have seen the elementary school secretary when I listed her on Hope’s school pick-up list as “co-parent!”  I don’t like the term babysitter, because she is more than that.  Shannon is family; a sister to me and a second mother to our children.  The kids have many “aunts” and “uncles”, but only one Shannon.

Straight people — think about the privileges we have that are denied to homosexuals simply because of their sexual orientation.  Think about the kids who are missing out on loving homes.  Every kid deserves a Shannon.

Persephone Reading Weekend

 

This weekend is Persephone Reading Weekend!  “Wait,” you say, “the weekend is almost over!”  Yes it is and I haven’t blogged one bit because Atticus is teething.  There’s drool.  There’s cranky faces.  There’s drama to rival any Whipple novel.  Speaking of Whipple, I’ve been reading her novel Someone At A Distance and I’m loving it.

I may not be able to blog while holding a teething baby, but I can read.  I’m a little over a third of the way done with this novel about a marriage crumbling thanks to a conniving French woman.  I’m anxious to see how this Whipple novel will end.  The only other novel I read by her was The Priory.  I really enjoyed it, but I thought the ending a bit too idealistic.  I’m wondering if this novel will end all rosy and happy.

So that’s my meager participation in Persephone Reading Weekend.  I’m going to stretch it out throughout this week.  I’m on “vacation” for Spring Break at the University and I’m planning on squeezing in at least two more Persephone titles (Kitchen Essays and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day).

If this post seems slapdash it is because… well… it is.  Sam’s rocking Mr. Crankypants and I’m about to relieve Dad and take over.  Sam is working tomorrow, so I’m the designated baby snuggler for the night!  At least I’ll have Dorothy Whipple to keep me company!

Happy Birthday, Hope!

On Saturday, 02/19/2011, at 3:45am my little girl turned 11.  ELEVEN!  I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by.  It seems like only yesterday I was cuddling with Hope like I cuddle with Atticus.

To celebrate, Hope decided to have a rainbow themed sleepover.  Hope spent the morning on the front porch with her little brother making paper garlands out of construction paper:

Of course we had to make rainbow cupcakes.  We used a white cake mix and then divided the mix into several different bowls.  Next we added gel food coloring.  The final step was to layer each different color in the cupcake pan.  I used pale liners so the colors would show well:

Next, vanilla frosting mixed with blue food coloring:

To top things off, I added marshmallow clouds and rainbow candy!

Hope had a wonderful time with her friends.  They giggled well into the night (1am to be exact; Atticus was up for the partying due to teething).

Happy Birthday, Peanut!!!