Monday, June 28, 2010

a summer saturday

That's really all this day was. A summer Saturday. A perfect summer Saturday in our beautiful, vast state. A day on the lake with friends. Giggly kiddos and their wacky, make believe universes. Lappy shores and buckles on life vests. A sleeping boy, warm and close to my chest. The goodness that is old friends and new memories.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

who we are now

I am blessed because my husband's a teacher too. While income is not exactly in the extreme, summer fun is. And I think we're hitting our stride. Our days find us on random adventures in hikes, parks, downtown but mainly just around the house. Who knew such adventures were to be had? I just downloaded pictures on to this computer and it seems there's even more fun going on around here than I know about. Baby bro seems to be the focal point of this fun, at the expense of his wild big sister.

I know that both Jeff and Els get a kick out of sweet Soli riding around in Baby's stroller. Remember, Baby is Eliana's raggedy stuffed doll. I do not enjoy seeing the child I nourished and nurtured for ten months in my belly pushed around in a rickety pink carriage. But I have to admit, it is one of the funnier things I've seen in a while (in a disturbing kind of way...).

Also found in this batch of pics, Little Bro with his perfect head dotted in metallic star stickers.

Best yet is the video where Eliana is trying to put her special blue Dora undies on Baby Bro.

Needless to say, no one ever tells me about these adventures. I'm happily rebuilding my "fundus", as Jeff likes to call it, bringing my muscles back together, getting my groove back (without, of course, Taye Diggs).

A few quick words about my little boy. My little boy who takes a bottle like a champ. The little boy who sleeps in a ridiculously small bucket by our bed, shoved between the wall and the headboard.
My boy who just rolls with it, as his little face can attest. I adore him. I am totally out of my mind in love with him. Yesterday I embarked on this ridiculously long hike just so that he would continue to sleep on me, his little breath heavy and loud against my chest. When we finally got home we were a major mess of combined sweat, happy, hot, grunty, milky. I am so thankful for his nature. It helps mellow me out. Reminds me of the chiller parts of my personality, the parts that sometimes get usurped by stress and control when I'm knee deep in mamaland.

He's starting to smile and saves his best looks for me. He loves being out in nature -- the stereo songs of the creek, sunlight, shadows, tall trees. He adores the bath, just like his mama.

Daddy's fun and goofy and loud. He thinks his sister is dope, but super weird (again, we agree on that one).

But mainly he loves being at home with his family. Loves finding his place in it all.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

daddy jeff

Eliana has coined her own version of Baby Beluga. It goes something like:

Daddy Jeff, in the deep blue sea He surfs so wild and he surfs so free Heaven above and the sea below He's just a funny little daddy on the go, go, go!

That's my guy. A funny little daddy on the go. Father's Day brought handed our funny little daddy a number of not so funny house projects. I am so proud to report that my husband is extremely bright. So even if he wasn't raised with the skills to fix underground piping or fallen gutters, he's got the sense and intelligence to figure it out. Our family is extremely lucky that he has this ability, as this here mama can't fix shit. I'm like the geek in The Breakfast Club who couldn't get the elephant's trunk to move in shop class. Thoroughly incapable. Thank goodness one of us can follow directions.

I'll never forget the first time I saw Jeff. I was in the curriculum center, a goofy place for teacher's full of laminating machines and construction paper filled with teacher's nerding out for their classrooms. He was sitting on a stool with his head in his hands, his floppy, stony college hair-do a mess, his birkenstocks worn. I wondered how the hell that dude wound up in the curriculum center. So I walked over and found out.

We sparked a friendship then. A friendship that found us at the same school teaching the same, struggling kiddos. We were so young and so earnest, so green, so shocked at the system, the children, their stories.

It's a decade later and I couldn't be more proud to call Jeffy my husband. He continues to get more handsome with age. Wiser, more capable, his heart expands as our family grows. I marvel at the life we've created for ourselves. And I'm full of gratitude that I found him to share this adventure with.

Friday, June 18, 2010

sacred time

This is sacred time. These days with all four of us home together. Eliana now crawls out of her bed upon waking and joins the three of us in our room. She snuggles with Jeff and he snuggles with me and Soli who have been tight all night long. Our room is tiny and the love that fills it is immense and goofy, messy and real. We are finally settling into a groove that is so lovely, so perfect. Solomon continues to amaze us with his serene presence, his earnest, wide eyes. Eliana is as chatty and relevant as ever, the running commentary to our days.

This evening found us at the winery. I settled in with old friends we bumped into, traded new baby stories, laughed. Eliana found another crew of our friends, a child-less crew ready to chat up our chatty cathy. The hills are so green and alive, the evening sunny and psychedelic with vibrancy. I looked at the panorama of mountains and wondered how it is that I was less than a mile from my house, sipping a flight of wine, watching my daughter laugh in the grass, exchanging knowing, content glances with my hottie husband, holding my little cooing dove, my grunting little novio. Looking forward to a weekend of celebrating this beautiful time with my family.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

a shout out to my peeps

As I've said a multitude of times on this blog, I love where I live. But I realized this weekend, I also love where I grew up. For years, for whatever reason, I felt compelled to compare the two. Trade goods for bad's in an attempt to rationalize living so far from my family. This past weekend I grew into a new approach. The be-here-now and appreciate-it-all-for-what-it-is angle. Soak it in and don't try to play one against the other because they are different breeds, different strains. So, with all that gratitude and appreciation in mind, a quick shout out to my peeps and the place that raised me:

  • The people. Los Angeles is so beautifully diverse and from the first step off the plane, I began to take in all the colorful beauty of the faces of that beloved city.
  • How expansive it is -- driving on the freeway and imagining the brilliant minds who planned out that space, the way we navigate across bridges and multiple lanes, the way people follow a sea of rules to somehow get from here to there safely.
  • The jacaranda trees in their purple, blooming glory and the purple fairy drops they leave on the sidewalks and streets. Eliana noted it first, "Mama! The trees are purple here!" Pretty damn cool.
  • The palm trees. "Look, mama! Trees without branches!" Again, so cool.
  • Food. I ate hands down the best burrito ever (scallop burrito, Senior Fish, go there if you are ever in South Pasadena). Authentic food from everywhere, fresh veggies and fruits, lemons the size of Solomon's head that fall from trees and make a thunk on the lawn. Plums we used to suck down before washing our hands off in the pool water. So much can grow here, so much I took for granted for so long.
  • Culture. The tremendous space that Lineage Dance is now occupying in downtown Pasadena. Such talent all around, such commitment to the arts.
And last, but certainly not least,

  • My family. My mom. The way she takes care of us. Eggies in the morning, special make-believe games, handmade gold sequin headbands, everything done with care and precision. Holding Solomon so I could do things for myself, playing with Elie so I could have a little quiet. The way Eliana corrects her, "TomaHto" with a, "No, Gran, TomAAtoe!" a new little inside joke for the two of them to share.
  • My dad. A trip to the zoo where we watched Elie delight in a baboon and her mama snuggling and nursing together, tremendous giraffes, flamingos and their one legged stance, meercats and their funny stare downs. How he made his infamous tunnel joke, pretending to be scared while we zoomed through tunnel after tunnel on the 110. She's beginning to get his sense of humor and that brings her so much closer to me.

  • Hilary. Her insane talent. Her warmth and beauty and standing ovations. Her vision, the same vision that choreographed dances to Fame for us to perform for our parents while growing up, now presented on this grand scale. The way she is so calm and cool, even when things are wacky. The way she doesn't rock the boat. Her love of newborns. Her wacky sense of humor. The way I love her like she's a part of myself.

  • My other sisters and brothers in all their diversity and individuality. Eliana's cousins and the brilliant brood they form. All of us lounging around my mama's condo. Eating and laughing and sipping whatever cocktail is in vogue this go around. Appreciation all around.

The trip was really perfect. I made the plane trip alone with a tireless toddler and a newborn. I navigated through airports and asked strangers for help. I was my best, most capable self. It makes me feel like my family is not that far away after all, that we can be together, that they will know and understand my children. Because while walking through Greenough Park after arriving home brought incredible peace, the green mountains my new familiar comfort, the twists and turns on that path absolutely predictable and familiar, I didn't feel like I had to measure that peace against anything else. It is the peace of where I live now. But the sounds and smells and smiles, the street lights and pink blue hue to the sky at twilight, the foggy marine layer in the morning, all of that brought me a different kind of peace. The peace that comes from a lifetime of familiarity. An appreciation that I hope I can pass along to my little posse.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

tiempo de familia

There's nothing like grandbabies who are weeks apart to get a family funfest really rocking. Kelli and her new little one, Annabelle, joined us in Missoula this weekend. Solomon and Annabelle are only weeks apart. What a joy it is to have two beautiful, funny creatures to really bring this family to life. And you thought we were loud before!
Eliana is trying to find her place in it all. She went from being the sole, adored grandchild to sharing her post with two teeny ones. Not an easy thing. Sometimes she seems fine with her role, at others she's full of tests and trials, doing everything in her power to be sure she's still noticed. It's lovely and exhausting and full for this mama. Here are some pictures that bring the technicolor time to life.