Wednesday, July 28, 2010

the most happy fella

My little guy is so dang happy. He puts the Happy back in Happy Sad's step. He coo's and arghhh's and smiles the most sincere, beguiling smiles. He is perfect and he is finding his place in our world seamlessly. I am so far gone in love with him, it's not even funny.

That's one of the super cool things about the second born. Instead of feeling all bleary eyed and overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions -- wonder, love, frustration, unknowing, amazement -- like I did with Eliana, I can just totally celebrate little Soli. That's not well put. Of course I celebrated Elie. But this time it feels so truly of the moment. So perfectly now. I felt like with Eliana she and I were in our own little world so much of the time. With Solomon, it's that all four of us are in our world all of the time. He's made us totally whole. He is my love.

And as our summer at home reaches a high note, we anticipate a new adventure. We head to the coast on Sunday to try our hands at two weeks of beach camping in Washington. We'll be joined by a posse of splendorious, childless friends who selflessly engage and appreciate our little chickens. While friends in all their stages (or not) of childbearing are crucial, friends without kids who really love yours are pretty rockin' to be with.

Matt and Amy spent last week with us and showered Eliana with more fun than she knew what to do with. When I had to race off to teach yoga and Jeff wasn't home yet to watch the kids, I left them with Matt without a second thought. It was four nights of lavish, long meals late into the night on a candlelit porch while the little ones slept inside. I realized that I can't do that with most of my friends normally because they all have to get home to be with their kiddos. If we have dinners together, they have to end so we can all put the kids to bed. But when the party's at your house, you roll in for books and nursings, then sneak out for wine and oysters. It was an awesome visit. And I'm psyched we'll be seeing them again so soon.

Goodness me. So much to appreciate. Montana summer. New and old friends. First and second born. Husbands. Which reminds me. Jeff and I went on a belated anniversary date the other night. Awesome! No wonder marriage councilors make the big bucks by telling struggling couples to enjoy each other. If we could swing it, I'd do date night all the time. We'll try for once a month. We sat in the restaurant for three hours and had way too big a bill, but it was all worth it. Just to feel present with each other. Just to remember that the love in our family can focus in on its nucleus and still shimmer and shine.

I love my husband. I love the way he loves our children. He and Happy are insanely tight right now. They play hard together, long extensive games of make-believe and rough stuff and Jeter and Posada. I am so, so blessed to have such a devoted husband. We watched our anniversary video the other week and laughed and laughed at how young everyone seemed. So carefree. So open and guileless. We snuggled on the sofa while we watched. We are lucky.

So a post that was supposed to focus on all the love I have for my three month old son has turned into a post about all the love I have for my world -- probably a healthy and positive trajectory. So much to love. So much to celebrate. Swanky new double strollers.

Friends who have the perfect bassinet for your big boy and your small room waiting to be had in their garage. Naked tea parties on overcast days.

Budding friendships.

Eliana's beautiful artwork hanging in the kitchen. The way her daddy perfectly measures the space between each piece and then asks me again, Hey, where's the sticky tack? Halibut cheeks. Halibut cheeks when Eliana eats more than the two of us combined and spouts, I want more! Fresh string beans with lots of salty butter. Mama, I'll always love you, randomly but gut-wrenchingly stated as we walk out of the elevator and into the doctor's office. New choreography spilling forth out of nowhere. New music. To Eliana's new magnifying glass that identifies bugs. And to dad for running back home to retrieve it when we forgot to bring it the first go 'round to the creek.

Little elfin grins. Understanding that the more detail I go into, the more goodness I'll have to fall back on. That happiness goes on and on. Lives in the moments.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Today both Eliana and Solomon had their well child visits. I woke up in mega mama mode. For whatever ridiculous reason, taking my children to the doctor always brings up this funny feeling in me. I always want to look good in that real mama way. Case in point, today I wore linen. Hardly ever do I wear anything that can wrinkle. And I opted for my fancy but sensible sandals instead of my daily normal flip-flops. I put Eliana in her birthday dress and combed out her dreaded mess of hair. Solomon wore pants.

Why? Do I think the doctor is going to judge us on our duds? No. I know she doesn't judge us. In fact, I think she really likes us. Perhaps it's out of respect to my profession. I want to represent as a mama. Want to wear it well. Want to walk proud and take my job seriously. Perhaps that's what's up with the collar.

So the kiddos are thriving. Solomon's massive and super strong. Eliana's, after her first year of monthly weigh in's that lurked around the 2nd percentile, has finally made it into the 26th percentile for weight. Little guy had his first shots today and after an intense reactive scream, was content to nurse himself into the slumber in which he remains. Eliana was thrilled to talk about how she didn't need a pokie needle in her arm, but her baby brother did. She was also thrilled to talk on and on and on to Dr. Judy about any random detail in her life. We were in the office for almost two hours. No wonder I wanted us to look good!

It feels like summer is beginning to change shape again. In a week we leave for the coast for two weeks and when we return, Jeff will be back at work in his new, year-round administrative post. Another fleeting phase. Mamahood just feels wrought with fleeting phases.

Casey captured some of the moments yesterday with her camera. And while I certainly do not look like a mama in linen, I look like a happy mama. A devoted mama head over heels in love with the two amazing creatures who grew in her belly. A mama who sometimes can't believe that those perfect creatures are really hers, are really hers for keeps.

This is as good as it gets.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

flathead lake

It seems I get blog back up fairly frequently. A whole slew of exciting things happens and I can't write about them all fast enough. Last weekend found us at a gorgeous house on Flathead Lake with my sister Alison, her husband Kent and E and S's two cousin's, Harry and Cameron. We all vacationed splendidly together. The days were mellow with games and chats and snacks. That lake is so beautiful that just being able to wake up and drink a cup of coffee with that view makes for an excellent day. It's not hard to feel satisfied.

There is something so lovely about watching cousins get to know each other. Even with their age difference, there is a special something there, something that is family. Alison is at one end of this journey with her two boys just recently out of the house. I find myself at the other end, a nursing babe in one arm, a chatty cathy on keen watch; I'm constantly on guard while she can finally relax. I love that I share this journey with my sister, that I have her insight to help me with my discoveries. She and Kent were wonderful with Happy and together they played some rockin' games starring none other than Baby Melody herself. Alison had some good chats with Soli and let him coo and gurrr his way into her heart. It was a perfect weekend and we all struggled when we had to say goodbye. Thankfully they share a love of this landscape with us and we know they will be back.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

carousel partay

Eliana's nuts for the carousel. She started going there pretty consistently with her Nana and PopPop this past year. Memories were built, favorite horses chosen, rituals established. When her birthday rolled around it didn't even occur to me to do the party anywhere but our home. I love entertaining and it was an excuse for a big blowout. But then HS had a resurgence of funkiness with sharing that was particularly intense when kiddos were in her space. Sometimes she gets on fabulously with her buddies on her turf, but sometimes it involves high levels of intervention. So after way too much thought on my part, my brilliant friends suggested I do it on neutral turf, say, the carousel. Genius those girls are! I booked the spot and moved forward with my new plan.

It was perfect for my little Happy. The chaos level was perfectly appropriate for a three year old. No one was in the same spot for too long. There was lots of little finger food for munching, but no one had to sit at the table. It was just right for her crew at this point in their wacky little developments. Soli got into the revelry and seems to be on the upswing from the little bug he was fighting last week.

My mama was there to help get things together, even accomplished the monotonous task of grating carrots for the birthday cake and helped me secure all the details to pull the fiesta off away from home without a hitch.

All in all it was peachy. And I'm so, so glad it's over! I didn't realize how much thought I had put into this birthday thang, how much build up there was on all of our parts. When we got home, I felt this weight lifted, this contentedness of birthday completion.

Happy took a bit longer to come down. But it's 24 hours later and normalcy has been restored to the Kessler home. Tonight we were talking over dinner and Jeff was telling Eliana how proud he was of her:

J: Eliana, do you know what the word proud means? E: Yeah, dadda. J: What, Els? E: It means responsibility.

Wowzers. I'll take it.

And then earlier, at the Farmer's Market with some fellow who was chatting up Happy: How old are you? he asked. Two, no, THREE, Happy replied. She looked kind of shocked as she said three, kind of in awe of her own growth. I took am in awe of her growth. Her intelligence. Her beauty. Her insight and exuberance and passion. Her zany sense of humor. Her goodness. So once again, here's to Happy. May you continue to amaze your mama.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy turns three

Oh how I remember those days preceding Elie's last birthdays. I was so reflective. So sentimental. So how-could-it-have-gone-so-fast. I want to read what I wrote then but I feel almost embarrassed. Like reading your diaries from junior high school. So sweet and heartfelt but so in the past. Because now the remarkably quick passage of time seems to be par for the course. Each day full of new developments and understandings, likes and dislikes. Eliana has become a certifiable little girl. And I, a legit mama.

Today all she wanted to read was her baby book. We laughed at how bald she was and the funny faces she and Moanie used to make when they jumped in her crib. We remembered how I used to wear her around in the sling and how she used to say, "Crack-er!" She snuggled up to me and told me how much she loved me. She was unbelievably sweet and thoughtful.

Tomorrow is her carousel party. She's jazzed and ready to ride her, "Tomato Horse." I made four different kinds of quiches and a carrot cake and am ready for the chaos. My mama has been here and is deep into the land of make believe with Happy Sad, the land of long snuggles to sleep with Sexy Boyfriend. I feel incredibly blessed. How I ended up with these two beings is beyond me. And while I no longer have the time to write endlessly about how fast it's all happening, I can attempt to savor every single moment.

Here's to my girl, Eliana. To her intelligence and beauty and grace and humor. To her fourth year.

Friday, July 9, 2010


I remember when my bedroom was my least favorite room in the house. Ugly gray paint covered a gazillion layers of heinous wallpaper. A last minute, pre-wedding project found us scraping the walls in July heat, testing our love and patience as we scraped away with frustration, my willy-nilly ways a mega frustration for my Virgo hubby.

Last summer I decided to take my room back. It started with a red parasol that Casey brought back from San Francisco for Els. Then new artwork from a little gallery on the Oregon coast and a funky Portland street fair. I put the walls back together with objects of beauty. Which reminds me of Eliana's new pre-bed request:

I need something, Mama.
What do you need, Babe?
I need something beautiful. And special. And, and, and SHINY.

That's kinda what my room needed. Once those special, shiny, beautiful things found their place, it all came together.

And then I had brother in that bed. Looking at those walls. Surrounded by that creamsicle orange. And now I love it even more.

Those little walls house three of us now. The bench for Brother's bucket has been expanded and a lady flying a kite hangs above his head. He smiled today when I placed him in that teeny corner. His corner. I adore him. And of course Happy tries to shimmy her long body into his bucket every morning (the one thing that the poor boy has that is just his...). It's kinda a bummer to have to start the day asking her not to do something, but so it goes. She's pushing and loving in equal parts, testing us all, adoring us all. She is, after all, Happy Sad.

And so it goes. Lazy summer days. Naps and nursings and lots and lots of books and songs. Four precious walls. Four people that love to share space.