give your people smiles.

Today we're celebrating our first Christmas with a baby, only he's 11 months old and baby hardly seems to describe Rowan anymore. He feeds himself food, climbs, flirts, elates in the ladies' smiles, problem solves, kicks and screams during diaper changes, throws himself on the floor in elaborate dramatic schemes, reaches high things on his tippy toes, reminds me of the pristine thrill of childhood joy.

I sound a little soupy, it's true. But you know that feeling when something is so cute you just  want to eat it all up? I do believe that's the sign of a full heart. It's an exciting time right now. I'm pretty sure this excitement will evolve into something a little more mature. And I sure could do without those tantrums. But for now I'm trying to make the most of being so lovestruck and giddy. (Doing so helps me keep perspective through the nighttime parenting journey and sleeping roadblocks.)

This year I decided against buying packaging materials. I taped together magazine pages to make wrapping paper, purged my ribbon scraps to embellish the gifts, and cut the unwritten fronts off of cards given to me in past years to use as gift tags. Wrapping presents took a whole lot longer, but I also enjoyed it a whole lot more than I normally would. We also celebrated Festivus with cheesecake cupcakes, good friends, wine, and lots of cheese food.

A few minutes ago, S said Merry Christmas and we kissed. Oops that we hadn't exchanged Christmas morning greetings yet. He also reminded me that the anniversary of our meeting was about a week ago; we'd both forgotten. We are true romantics.

Rowan is likely toward the end of a super nap, which will help him cope with the rambunctious family gathering we're heading to this afternoon. It helped me finish the last of the gift wrapping, too. We still have laundry to do, wine to buy, and suitcases to pack in their entirety for our early morning plane ride tomorrow. Wish us luck on our first long journey with a baby! Eeps.

Wishing you a beautiful holiday!

spark of rightness.

Do you ever have one of those moments where you breathe a sigh oh so sure that everything's right the way it is? I just had one of those moments. It's fleeting, because then you move on to the next thing and the feeling slowly glides away.

This morning I pulled out the Moby wrap, which we never really used because managing it as a fumbling new parent with a fragile new baby was overwhelming. When Rowan was an infant, he really didn't appreciate it (probably because we were fumbling). We splurged on an Ergo, loved it, and put the Moby away. But we are going on a 6-hour airplane ride pretty soon, and I'm thinking that long spool of stretchy fabric might be helpful on the flight.

I watched a few how-to videos (seriously guys, this baby wrap contraption is long) and put Rowan in it. He smiled up at me like it was a fun new game. He soon fell asleep while I prepared breakfast. We ate, readied our things to go hiking, and I made a gift-wrapping shopping list.

While I was choosing the clothes I'd change into after Rowan woke up, he stirred and switched the position of his head. I looked down and covered his head with the wrap, and bambeholdtheangels! That supermom feeling, or that moment of lightness, call it what you will. Uttered, it sounds like: This feels so right.

I looked into the mirror and realized that a.) I don't say that enough in my life, b.) S should take a picture of me feeling that all is right in our world, and c.) I should be blogging. So he did and so I am.

a time of understanding.

{thompson ave, where every house is lit up}
On October 13 last year, I sat in the American Embassy in Santiago, Chile, watching the miners being rescued on CNN, feeling my baby hiccup and kick, and eavesdropping on the consul interviewing my husband for his visa. We were in between seasons, in between continents, in between imaginings.

Within a month, we said our goodbyes, sold off bits of our lives, and packed the rest into duffle bags. At nearly eight months pregnant, we moved to the northern hemisphere--for another round of winter. I thought moving would be simple. That we're so adaptable that having a baby with no stability would still be a piece of cake.

Well, there was a lot more to this whole having a baby thing than I'd imagined. But somehow we made it work, Somehow every day these days--if even for a breath or two--I arrive to a place where it is as fun as I pictured it all those months ago.

I'm used to being sleep deprived, and at the same time I'm getting a little more sleep. We're growing a mini patio garden, we nurture (and occasionally murder--sorry!) houseplants. S + I take turns cooking. I turn the heat up too high, S turns it down. Sometimes the TV is on when Rowan is in the room, and I don't freak out. I give baths and nurse baby back to sleep at night. S makes me coffee in the morning (and sometimes in the afternoon). Rowan grabs garland off the Christmas tree and swats at the reachable houseplants. He pries the outlet covers out of the sockets. He explores, looks back to give a foxy smile, then continues to explore something a little further away.

We understand each other, and that understanding is magic. So we move to the rumpumpumpum beginnings of our family's rhythm. We are a family.

That family feeling didn't happen overnight. But it did happen. This is what I'm thinking about when I'm feeling all Christmasy for the first time in years.

What's on your mind?

patagonia in time lapse.

Guys, this is where we used to live. Granted, it's only the pretty side.  But it's all pretty in the end anyway. Sometimes I feel like I'm lost in a time lapse.

Have you ever been to Patagonia?

an anniversary.

It's our one-year anniversary of living back in the States. While I would thoroughly miss my friends and family if we weren't here, I find myself wondering why we are here. Not in an existential crisis sort of way, but in a 'life is really expensive and complicated here' sort of way.

All is right with the world if I'm feeling the usual pull.
  • Part of me wishes I was wearing my trekking boots, breaking to patch blisters in howling gales while my fingers turn all icicly. To feel the walk-faster glee of pushing to a peak and, slowly not all at once, seeing what's beyond the lowering horizon. I'd be lugging the extra weight of a book, a journal, and the journey's rocks piling up.
  • The other part wants to buys a sewing machine and make Rowan's clothes. Knit all the Christmas presents and adorn the packages with holly berries and redwood sprigs. To be the girl with glue guns and the roots of place. 
{but this could be nice gift :: glitzglitter}
The reality is I can barely motivate myself to leave the house for a 30-minute run. I might say I'm in a rut, but the truth is I'm living on air. I'm teaching Rowan to raise his hands up to the sky whenever I say Hallelujah! When he does it, he does it like Superman. And it's impossible for us not to smile.


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