appreciating our moments.

Sometimes I wonder, where did all the moments go? Times like today when all I've managed to do is hang out with Rowan in my pajamas and eat a nutella-strawberry-banana panini (yes, topped with whipped cream).

There was lots on my mental to-do list. But I think I need to start writing my lists out again if I want to get anything done. I used to be such a list-keeper. S used to add items to my lists, like dar mil besos a tu marido or jugar. I think I need to bring the list back into my life. 

  • Today R and I spent the morning watching our candles flicker for the families in Norway. 
  • We continued the dance of his first solids.
  • We talked about night weaning and decided that we're not ready to try that. That it's OK that we don't "sleep through the night" if we are both happy. 
  • We wished Arctic Mum congratulations on her sweet new daughter. There, we found this music video of Violet Road showing off a bit of Arctic summer. It looked so much like where we used to live--the fjords and mountains, right down to the low, stringy fences, roads, and stone skipping. Rowan was mesmerized, so we watched the video together three times.
  • Then I chatted with an expat friend in Patagonia. I dreamed of summering back there and diving into the goat milk and organic produce business with her.
  • While R napped, I immersed myself in overnight cloth diapering solutions and how to make your own baby wipes. Even found some organic cotton washcloths on Craigslist that'll start us off. (Can't wait to hear what S has to say about this!)
To help us remember our moments and the world's moments, I started soaking the labels off of a giant olive jar. By tomorrow, this will be our jar of moments. We're hoping everyone who comes to visit us will write a memory down on paper. I think reading through last year's moments will be a lovely way to honor New Year's Day. 

Sending love to Norway... 

looking out.

The good thing about imagination is, there is no wrong answer. I hope I can nurture Rowan in these terms.

That could be us sailing out in the Monterey Bay. We'd start our morning ashore with bowl-sized lattes and zucchini bread. Soon we'd wave to the sea otters, swing our feet in the Pacific, and get a little sun. For lunch, we'd spread out wrinkled olives, green grapes and red strawberries, goat cheese, fig jam, and sourdough baguette. I would start to peel the skin off the cucumber, but S would take the knife and cucumber away when I peel it all the way down to the seeds. I would say this is another argument in favor of buying me a vegetable peeler.

In this story, R is still breastfeeding only. (Though one day this week, he will eat his first sweet potatoes.) But he could be old enough to eat grapes too, old enough to clink his sippy cup against our plastic wine goblets. In that version we'd toast and all eat our fill. I'd ask him: What do you see? And he'd respond.

What do you see?

a post-partum evening.

Last night S was going to be back late after being away for a few days. R has been needing more care lately. I think he might be teething; he's fussy, not sleeping, nursing all night--and yesterday--suddenly a runny nose. (People always ask if he's drooling a lot and eating his fist, but he's always done both of those things to slurpy cute excess.)

After an hour or so of putting pookers to sleep, I got the idea to open the bottle of wine S + I bought when we went wine tasting at the river last week. Wine is always better if you let it breathe, especially if it's good California winery-bought wine with an Italian name. I was lighting candles when I thought I should cut up some apple and pear and cheese and crackers to go along with the wine. Of course olives would look good in the middle of the food plate. I set all this up like an art project on our massive table. Then I artfully numbered the installations with folded post-its. 

This is the nicest thing I've done for S in a long time. (Though, I guess I did recently spend a day framing photos around the house and creating a family-photo wall for Father's Day.)

{the photo wall: I like the top right photo, because you can hear me smiling}
I figure it's time for us to be close again. It's like having a baby separated us a little. I have to admit I was one of those people who thought nothing would ever come between us; our relationship would be the same even after the baby.

Fast forward to reality: We literally have a little kicking Rowan sleeping between us and thwacking our faces every night. I hear it's really common for a couple's state of normalcy to take a while to return post-baby. Of course, what was normal before never returns after the baby ingredient is introduced. It's a journey; it's a tango. And so we adapt.

By the time S got home, I had already had to nurse R back to sleep three times. His little nose was stuffed  the last time, so I just brought him out to the rocking chair with me. We cuddled, and he fell asleep just in time for S' knock on the door. Oh, reality.

I would love to have a picture of all this, but that didn't work out. So here are my new favorite pictures of the boys.

{quartet at the monterey bay aquarium}
Eventually R sung his baby dinosaur noises on his way to sleep in the swing with his dad's hand on his belly. We poured the wine, toasted, snacked on apples, and retreated to the other side of the room with our wine glasses to sit on the floor and listen to quiet piano sonatas.

What's the nicest simple thing you've done for someone you love lately?

perspective + new hair.

Gee, you know the week breezed by too fast when it's Saturday and the last post you've written is about how great the last weekend was.

Have you ever had one of those moments in your life, where you maneuvered a huge change or a huge move, looked around you and said: Maybe this is not for me?

I've been having one of those weeks. Even though I underwent a huge makeover, courtesy of my beautiful cousin. I mean, those have to be some rough thoughts to wonder if this is the right life, after getting me-time, a facial, a new hairstyle, and a pedicure.

 {I had great plans about snapping before + after photos for the makeover. But I ran out of time. The before photo--taken on the way to the salon in the car--is stuck on my phone. And the after photo with straight hair was taken in bad light. So here's Rowan's adorable hand grabbing at my necklace instead.} 

And honestly, you guys, that was the best gift ever! Except for maybe the time S brought me a huge flat of strawberries to the hostel one morning in Santiago. (We were only going to be there for two days!) Well, maybe you can tell just how much I needed the makeover...

I know it would only require a subtle shift in perspective to change the color of my mood ring. But knowing it, doesn't magically give me that pinker perspective.

{honey bee mood ring from phoebestreasure}
Some things help though. Like when R and I take a walk around the neighborhood to watch people living their lives. There's always something interesting happening: neighbors washing their cars, an old man picking other people's flowers, new homes up for sale, sparrows and wind chimes singing, or the auto sound system guys making sure the bass on their latest installation booms off other car alarms--first to 50 Cent, then to Adele.

Maybe I just need to be by myself for a bit. I tend not to take my me-time. I think I don't want it, but I need it more than I'd like to admit. What about you guys? Are you good about taking your me-time? Do you (know you) need it? If I were outside your window looking in, I'd see you and think: My, how together you have it. Your Zen-like appearance would tip me off. You see, I've glamorized you all that much.

Sometimes I need to take myself less seriously. Maybe we could do that together.

Here's to us not taking ourselves seriously, at least for the rest of the weekend.

an amazing weekend

While I'm not keen on the way we Americans so often wish our days away awaiting the weekend, I am in love with the weekend we just had. Even though I'm working during the week, I usually spend my weekends wishing my husband was here. Occasionally I have a full weekend planned, with friends who pick up Rowan and I to whisk us away from the house. I really do love you guys; thank you. 

Since S was home this Saturday, we asked my aunt to babysit for the first time. This is probably good for all of us. Since S + I didn't have much time, we decided to forgo driving across the bridge into San Francisco. We hopped over to Berkeley, and started out with brunch at La Note, a French cafe. We sat in the garden with bright blue and yellow tables on uncomfortable weathered wooden chairs. Everything about the cafe screamed Frenchness, right down to our French waitress and the men speaking French next to us.

{pathway to the ethereal garden}
Let's be clear: I am not a francophile. I am not an anything-o-phile. But I do love colorful tables in pretty garden settings with delicious food. I've never studied a lick of French, so all I know about it is that aurally it's sophisticated and assured; visually, there seem to be a lot of extra letters. So... ordering in French could be a little daunting, but it was so much fun. Our waitress correctly repeated everything back to us--even espresso--in such a dreamy way. It was her matter-of-fact, not-friendly-not-unfriendly manner, which might annoy some people. For me, it just added to the Parisian charm. I giggled, I loved it.

{inside the garden :: i wish we had more pictures + that i wasn't in all of them--
we forgot the camera and played around with a mini outdoor video camera}

They served my cafe creme in a bowl, and it was the most delicious latte I've ever sipped. I ordered gloriously glorified French toast (pain perdue): cinnamon brioche, soaked in orange water batter and topped with lavender honey. I haven't stopped talking about it since. It was the last piece (lucky me!), and it moseyed me to heaven.

Then we bought R a couple of board books (Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?), and we browsed the hippie stalls on Telegraph. Vendors told us how in love we look. Before I could swig down a flute of champagne, it was already time for us to go back and pick up our panda bear.

If that was the only thing that happened this weekend, I would still be glowing. But we also took Rowan on his first camping trip near the American River, where S works. It was a little too hot in the 100s, but R loved it and so did I. It'd been way too long since I've been away from the populated bustle. I needed to get out. If only we could get our act together enough to do it regularly.

{setting up camp}
Last night we managed to get back to town in time to meet up with my family for their fireworks show. R fell asleep on the way home and slept for an almost-six-hour stretch, till about 3.30 a.m. This morning, after a decent night's sleep, we cleaned up the house and ate pancakes. Tomorrow I start working again. I also have a surprise that I'm really excited about.

How was your weekend?
Hope you all have a wonderful week!

run like a mother.

Today I ran for the first time in, I don't know, maybe a year. I had always planned to be the pregnant lady who kept running right until labor. But I never imagined I would spend most of my pregnancy in winter snow ice sidewalks. So we bought a cheap elliptical machine that creaked a whole lot, and I caught up on This American Life and several seasons of Grey's Anatomy.

When we finished winter in the southern hemisphere, we moved to northern hem's winter--its wettest winter in years. We walked the hills I used to run up, and I bragged lamented about how fast I used to be. We walked those hills up until the day before I went into labor. I'd even secretly hoped I would have a daytime labor, so we could keep walking those hills--you know to progress said labor. But that wasn't gonna happen, and you can read all about it here if you're interested.

Today S and R dropped me off, so I could run around a busy lake about a seven minutes drive from our apartment. It's a small lake with coots, mallards, baby mallards, and egrets salting a tree-filled island in the middle of the lake. And way too many Canada geese (and their green logs of poop), because people feed them popcorn and wonder bread. (I don't get it at all. Here?)

I ran for 19 minutes, with 2 one-minute-long walk breaks. That's how long it took me to circle the lake, and I wasn't feeling up to circling it again. It did feel great to be out in the morning and to be running again. It was also humbling. We should never compare ourselves to anything, not even ourselves on a different day. Though perhaps that's inevitable.

{i love this pillow and find it highly motivational}
I've been running since just after high school. I started out slow and eventually I was trail running several times a week for up to 90 minutes at a time. (I love trails more than anything, and would prefer to never run on pavement.) Before I had foot surgery several years ago, I was fast. I wasn't breaking any records. But, for me, I felt fast. And I guess I loved my speed. I liked overtaking fast, unsuspecting runners--especially up hill. (Um, competitive much?)

After my foot surgery, a friend asked if I would train for a marathon with her. Sure, why not? She introduced me to walk breaks, which I was a big snot about... because real runners don't walk! (Ugh, see what I mean? This is when competition can be unpretty.) I ran the marathon a bit below my capability, but I was doing it for fun. Then I had some incidents, which put a dent in my running for about a year, and I slowed down quite a bit.

Then I started traveling and didn't really start running again until I settled in one place for a while. (I was running in a more metaphorical sense.) A couple years ago I trained for another marathon with a friend in Patagonia. We'd planned on running the Maraton Fin del Mundo in Ushuaia, Argentina, reached 20 miles in our training (taking walk breaks, which I now highly recommend for long distances more than 19 minutes), and found out it was canceled. I think I broke my foot around about this time. But the end of the marathon took the steam out of my running again. I still ran and biked, but much more sporadically.

{i hope to work my way up to this}
Today I ran humbly for 19 minutes. And better-dressed runners passed me during my walk breaks. The sun made my shadow long. On the far side of the lake, I could see S wearing R in the carrier bouncing on the pier. I breathed in new air and remembered what I was missing. Maybe tomorrow I'll run for 20 minutes, maybe 30.

Do you have a favorite solo activity that takes your breath away?


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