our little talker.

{santa barbara :: montaña del oro}

Rowan, you're a runner and a good listener. You're helping to make mama a better listener too. Your first word was actually a sentence 'ooh dis' (meaning what's this?) around 15 months. Your first signs were more and milk, but it's so hard to remember when we knew you were making your version of these signs. 9 or 10 months? You still make the milk sign somewhat frantically like you did when you were a baby. Now you are 17 months old, and you're 'ooh dis?' sounds a lot more like 'what's this?'.

Signs you produce in the approximate order appearance...
  • more
  • milk
  • eat
  • up
  • car
  • bird
  • shoes
  • ball
  • where (made up sign)
  • dog (although usually you just bark)
  • baby
  • dance (made up dance moves; i love your dance moves)
  • vacuum
  • truck 
  • book
  • where the wild things are wild rumpus
  • monkey
  • flower
  • train
  • moon (made up sign, pointing up)
  • light
  • elephant (made up sign using an arm as the trunk lifting upward, because that's how mama always made the elephant sound, before she looked up the real sign)
  • banana
  • bridge
  • please
  • butterfly
Words you say or other sounds to signify objects/actions...
  • what's this? 
  • no (shaking your head while doing something you're not supposed to do, like throw a hard object or hit the plants)
  • arf arf arf (dog)
  • vrroom vrroom (for car, vacuum, truck, train)
  • bye (for bye and good night)
  • hot (you also say this for bright sunshine, for ground that hurts your bare feet, and for cold.
  • baba (dada in turkish)
  • choos (shoes)
  • hi (the sweetest hello)
  • ah ee ah ee (while putting your hands in your armpits to mean monkey)
  • meow (cat)
  • mooo (cow)
  • light (sounded the same as hot for a while)
  • ağaç (tree in turkish. You started saying this on our trip to yosemite while we were walking up to the top of Nevada Falls. You, heavy boy, were on my back in the Ergo and started lifting up my arms; each time you did I'd stretch them out, lift them up and say fly, while you'd giggle.) 
  • kiss (actually just the super cute muah sound you do sometimes when you kiss us or your dolls)
  • mama (very occasionally)
  • raaawr (for tiger, lion)
  • gook (for book)
  • kuck (for truck)
  • off
  • home
  • bus
  • pweese
  • on
  • bop (combo of ball in turklish: ball + top)
  • down
  • wat (for water)
And, since I started writing this a while back and new words are coming to you every day, this is not an exhaustive list. Yesterday we were eating strawberries and I looked up a video sign for strawberry. The way you looked up to me and smiled, each time I restarted that 30-second clip. Which I of course had to play over and over again, because you loved it so much and because you asked me so nicely.

Even though I sometimes felt discouraged about teaching you signs--because maybe we started really early and it seemed like a long time for them to really take hold--I am so thankful for the places signs have taken us. I love that you can share your memories and thoughts with us by doing the butterfly sign or the airplane sign. Maybe it's not a complete conversation, but I then know that you are thinking about the airplane we saw earlier, or that you want me to read the book with the butterflies in it. Sometimes you're just checking in to make sure that the airplane sign still has the same name: airplane, uçak. 

And while, I've never read any research to this point, I think the signs have helped you understand that one object can have different names. When I say, Rowan, do you see the trees?, you do the sign for tree and say ağaç. We are clearly communicating. This is so much fun.

I love you, little boy.

your mama 

life. and mama's milestones.

{bits of montaña de oro, car camping, after extending s's passport so we can go to turkey (and india for my work) in august}

oh what can i say. and where do i start? today i'm weary of capital letters, and as i write it i realize i spent my formative years in such a state--its rightly quiet flurry. damned if i could now order my smudges of memory on a timeline.

blogging was going to provide a sanitized order of my life's moments and loves; maybe it would even jog my memory--ah to let the sweet spill ensue. but that only works if i come here once in a while. i've accumulated part-written beginnings, a couple of quotes, heaps of photos. but honestly after i'm finished with work, the day's commute, floor time and books and bath and bed for rowan, the last thing i want to do is flip open the laptop lid.

but i admit that when i am able to summon my best shots--however rare--the night shifts into a self-defeating, facebook-gawking session. you know the kind where you like posts almost indiscriminately, yet you're sincere as sincere can be. but no matter how sincere, liking everything out there is draining, and it leaves me feeling somehow not enough.

now how, i ask myself on nights like these, did i let myself fall into that sultry self-pity trap? so seductive in the same way that studying philosophy is seductive. to observe and feign understanding from the comfort and dis-ease of incomplete immersion. (when talking philosophy, it only seems apropos keep your sentences rather latinate.)

OK. So I've lost momentum in the blogging part of my life, which means I'm not recording lots of milestones. Baby milestones are funny, because when they happen you think there's no way you will ever forget this. And time and time again, it slips just beyond your reach. And it's gone. I ask my friends with older babies (kids!) when such and such happened or what they did in such and such situation. And the answers are without fail fuzzy. Memory is a fickle lover.

While I'd love to write Rowan the story of my life and the life of his family before me, it's a step I'm still afraid to take. Not to mention a huge undertaking for someone who already feels drown in computerland. So let's just stick to the milestones and a list of firsts.

I bought a sewing machine. I sewed the curtain of Rowan's play kitchen, which Serkan made from mostly found and salvaged materials. I sewed my first pencil roll as a gift, and I sadly did not take a picture.

I started a journey of rather expensive vegan baking. And milling my own flour for said baking, because if I'm going to do it vegan, I might as well do it gluten-free too. And if I can get the whole grains for cheaper and keep more of the nutrition in them, I might as well go for the gold. I realize that there is a lot of trial and error in this journey, and it's sad when a really expensive cake flunks.

I've been teaching myself how to knit. Last night I learned the long-tail cast on and how to purl. I also started knitting English style (rather than Continental), so now I'm holding the yarn in my right hand. It feels so much better. For some reason holding the yarn in my left hand felt more natural at first. The needles I'm working with right now are big and bamboo; the yarn is a beautiful wool I picked up in Punta Arenas, Chile, back when I was pregnant and planning to crochet a baby blanket. Both together are lovely to touch and hear, much better than clicking away on a keyboard.

At work, I taught myself how to write regular expressions among other basic database and terminal things. It might not be my passion, but I've always liked to learn new things.

I've lost some blogging momentum, sure, and I still haven't gotten back into running regularly (on average 3-5x a month?). Both of these things are major bummers to me. But I'm taking baby steps to building momentum in other parts of my life. Like I started doing yoga again. Once a week, but that's better than nonce. And while we don't attempt it in the classes I've been taking, I can still stand on my head and it still feels as good as ever.

I won't even get into how I've grown into myself as a mother, as much as I doubt it sometimes. That's for a different day. Rowan's babbly milestones coming soon, really. :)

Happy solstice, dear friends.

role modeling.

Tonight toward the end of putting Rowan to bed, as thought sought after thought, I worried: Everything I can do for this little boy has to do with modeling. Somehow the better human being I am, the better being he'll become. Model good eating and outdoor habits, calm, attention. Oh no, but today I didn't model anything crafty. I didn't write in my journal (which I have never ever managed to consistently do anyway).

At this point I stopped myself and tried to make a U-turn. OK, but what about all the good things you did today? When you got home, you sat on the kitchen floor with Rowan on your lap while he ate his bowl full of figs. You read stories and crawled around like a panda. You hugged and kissed and tickled and laughed. Played the toasting game at dinner. Had a mini dance party in the living room. You gave him a bath and sang songs. Marveled at how much he understands (and how much you understand the way he communicates his understanding). You just spent the last hour settling him down for sleep. And right now he is so cozy asleep in your arms.

It was a really good night.

When I write it out like that, of course I think I'm crazy to feel like less than enough. Or lacking in the good role model department.

At the end of the day, I want to model love. Self-love is part (the biggest part?) of that. There's enough poor self-esteem in the world; I'd rather not pass that down. I want to model the part of me, who remembers all the best parts of the night. Like Rowan pushing my back down so that my nose goes toward my toes while I'm sitting cross-legged on the floor (cuz apparently I'm always sitting on the floor these days), so he can drum my back, walk around to the front of me as I sit up, and giggle while he runs back to my back to push me back down and darumdadumdrum. 

If I can cultivate his self-love: compassion, a love of learning, questions, and inner discovery will follow. It really is about planting the right seeds and caring for them. Starting with the compassion I sow for myself.

Someone must have done this for me when I was a wee one. Being a mom has changed the way I view my own childhood. I watch in what subtle ways Rowan's personality unfolds. His flare for drama and laughter, hot temper quick to cool, a bit of a dark streak. Dare I say an undercurrent of joy? I see his mama and where she came from--maybe for the first time. I believe that, no matter how things turned out, some people loved me very much (and that they still do). Sometimes the obvious needs to be stated. Stating so gives it life, makes it something to feel thankful for, rather than doubt.

For Rowan to know that he is loved. Always. What more could any of us want for our children?

Well, hopefully his papa's side will take away some of the darkness, so Rowan can have a simpler light.

hello, toddlerhood.

Dear Rowan,

Welcome to toddlerhood. I bet nobody ever actually says that to a toddler. That welcome is saved for said tot's parents.

For a year people have been saying, it will get better, it will be so much more fun. And I usually thought, but it's not so bad now. However, what they say is true. This is a really fun age. The blooms of communication are so tangible between us, it's like I can reach up and pluck a flower for you to smell. We understand each other, and that, dearheart, is an superb feeling.

And it's such a special exchange, because--for now--we ((you and me) + (papa, you, and me)) are truly in our own world. We know what your barking sounds like and that you bark whenever you see any animal. We know that you do this because we often look at dogs in the picture books and ask: Rowan, what does a dog say? Arf Arf.

Some things are more obvious, like when you bring your shoes to the door and try to put them on. Obviously you want to go outside. Arms up is up. Nmmm numm nmmm + the more sign closer to your mouth means eat.

Then there are the more nuanced wishes, which an onlooker may not decipher. Like knowing the difference between your milk sign and bye-bye wave. And that bye-bye means Good night, or I'm ready for bed.  That grunting to get my attention while twisting your wrists above your head with pointer and thumb together in what looks to be the beginning of the sweetest little pirouette means, Mama, please sing. And that only mama knows the story behind this made-up sign of yours.

Of course I've felt blunted by those moments of doubt, times where I set to fretting whether you'll ever sleep several hours in a row at night, or if you'll ever lay stand still for a diaper change. But your sleeping has improved organically, without us having to do anything drastic. Even when you kick and cry during a diaper change, you know how to help me--and you do. When I ask for hugs, you give me hugs. When we go to kiss daddy good night, you lean in for a kiss.

I love you, my little angel, who sometimes likes to scream.

shades of green.

"A mountain keeps an echo deep inside itself.
that's how I hold your voice."
- Rumi

Friends, I wish you are well. 

the way we grow.

{almirante nieto, torres del paine}
It's so fascinating to watch a little one grow. It is relearning wonder as the new person you have become. Remembering to play. To trust. To encourage: yourself and each other. Some days it's a 'pull your hair out' good time. But love. Love is the easy part. When you hear that laugh, the baby babble, first words and sentences ooo what's this?, witness the personality unfurl, the one that's going to someday tell you jokes that will make you guffaw. Guffaw? Guffaw. Well, none of this is what I meant to write.

Let's try this again. 

Rowan went to meet his new pediatrician last week. It made me appreciate how caring and good with people his previous pediatrician was. But all is well. After the appointment, we had to go to a different floor with some paperwork to get his vaccines.

We used to stay in the same examination room and the same nurse who took his measurements before the doctor exam also administered the shots. He received a few of his vaccines with nary a tear. The nurse would make warm eye contact with Rowan, he'd bat his eyelashes and sit in my lap, and I'd be upbeat and smiling while I held his hands away from the needle. All done. Cute gender-specific bandaids. Pants back on.

This time, though, the needles seemed much bigger.

The mild-mannered shot technician was nice and apologetic. A little too apologetic. She started saying Sorry before she even gave him the shot, which melted my cool and drowned out my Yays. Poor little guy needed three of these, and he started screaming with the first prick. I guess there's just something colder about the care we've transitioned into. Not that it's poor quality. I just miss the smaller, happier needles.

It's incredible how much babies use their caregivers as a mirror for their own states of well-being. When Rowan stumbles, the first thing he does--if he doesn't immediately get back up--is look at me to gauge my reaction. I've been pretty good at keeping my cool. But there are times when the bonk sounds loud and I start. And of course Rowan grunts and gets back up like nada. Still other times, I've seen him break down because of somebody else's animated are you ok? response.

It makes me think a lot about modelling the right things for him, and what exactly I want that to be.
Calm is the first thing that comes to mind. Space inside and expanse outside.  Indoors, that means unclutter, small compartments for his toys, flat shelving for his books so he chooses them by looking at their fronts rather than their spines. Outside, that means forests, mountains, meadows, rivers, oceans. It means access to the outdoors is close at hand. We're working on this. Breathing deep.

How are you?

they call it a laundry list, because it needs to be cleaned.

There are essays running untamed through my hair. I'm non sequiturs and full of spine. Rowan's been walking for about a week. It's still funny to look over and see my tall little boy or put him down on his feet rather than his bottom.

We may be seriously on the prowl to purchase a house. I'm supposed to be getting paperwork together for a preapproval now. But as you can see, I procrastinate. Instead I'd like to tell you what's on my mantel. In order from left to right, like reading a book.
  1. An ugly cylinder lamp with its cord tucked into its gape circle mouth, so Rowan won't pull it down. We never plug it in or turn it on, because it's blinding bright like the dickens.
  2. Triangle garland folded up to be put away, from Rowan's 1st birthday, more than a month ago.
  3. An old glass dropper bottle with a dried out rubber bulb, which we found at a salvage yard three weekends ago, while hunting for parts to create a DIY play kitchen for Rowan. 
  4. The camera in its bag. 
  5. A box of tissue. 
  6. Snapware with Rowan's reusable wipes. I cut up an old receiving blanket and make the water solution at home. We cloth diaper, so it's actually easier just to have cloth wipes as well (one bin to put stuff in, instead of two). Easiest baby wipe recipe: a baby blanket's worth of cloth, cut into squares or whatever shape you desire; a container; water; olive oil; the innards of a vitamin e capsule; essential oil (I use lavender, because I'm not a huge fan of the smell of tea tree oil.)
  7. Ball of handspun wool yarn, which I bought in Punta Arenas, Chile, back when I was really gung ho about learning to crochet for real and wanted to make Rowan a baby blanket.
  8. Incense catcher and the butt of a nag champa stick. OK. I got up to light a new one. 
  9. Lighter that I just used to light the incense.
  10. Four tea light candles in rainbow holders. 
  11. A seashell from some far-flown place, I don't remember where.
  12. Remote for the stereo. 
  13. Three opening daffodils inside a chemistry vial, also from the salvage yard. 
  14. Rowan's favorite sorting puzzle
  15. Tibetan singing bowl, pillow stuffed inside, mallet pointing to 4 'o clock. 
  16. Remote for the TV. 
  17. Baby nail clippers. 
  18. Box of rose Rosicrucian incense that my brother bought us when he visited last May. 
  19. Cloth box of incense and sundries. 
As you can imagine, our mantel is extremely long. It wraps around the fireplace and then some. It's also a mess. Maybe it gives the living room that special lived-in look. I used to be way more on top of these things. Everything had its place. Of course, with Rowan stalking, everything needs to move up up up and out of reach. Rowan's a thrower, which is why his toys sometimes take a time out on the mantel, if you're wondering about the aforementioned puzzle.

If we actually go through with this house thing, it will prove that we have grown too accustomed to living on the move. That we cannot live in a place for more than six months at a time. It will also solve that problem, give us roots, give us a place to hang our hats. That I'm reading Bruce Chatwin's The Anatomy of Restlessness right now is mere cosmic accident.

What's in your clutter space?

a bit of lately.

1} when life gives you clementines, smile :: 2} chain-linked fence :: 3} tobias, king of the surrey :: 
4} round earth :: 5} on the way to lover's point, monterey, ca :: 6} a bite of bright

if i knew the way, i would take you home.

Hi. I'm behind with my life. How do you feel?

This weekend it was so warm, we tried to spend most of it at the beach nearby. Sunday evening I ate an ice cream cone the size of Rowan's head (almost).

My husband just asked me to turn down my laughter. We're watching The Music Never Stopped, and it reminds me to ask myself: Do you feel connected? It also reminds me that I need to remind S that we do not stifle our laughter in this household. Done and Done.

I hope you all have a beautiful week!

separating water.

Now that I'm not near Rowan during the weekdays, I've taken to bringing him into the shower with me. When he was a baby and S wasn't there, I'd set Rowan outside the shower in his bouncer and sing to him from inside. When Rowan got too big for the bouncer, I could still bring him into the bathroom with me; he'd play for a very short time before starting to swat the water inside the toilet or pull open the shower curtain.

For a while, I finished up my showers by filling the bath and calling for S to bring Rowan to me. Now I just sit the boy down in the tub while I shower. This evening while we were doing just that, it hit me: How exquisite it is that we are so together and yet so apart. Closeness, like reading with your spouse or writing with a friend.

I washed my hair, brushed my teeth, and daydreamed. (I know, I know. I don't take short showers, but I do recycle and do a bunch of other things to reduce waste.) Rowan played with his toys (those attached to his body and not). He clapped the stacking cups together, attempted stacking, squeezed the happy-faced bath fauna, and babble-talked whenever the mood struck. When he looked up at me with his wide eyes, I couldn't stop thinking: You are my little angel.

It's not that I don't still like to take a shower alone every now and again. But I also cherish these quiet moments we share, where we are wholly submerged in the now.

Around this time (12-18 months), babies hit the separation anxiety stage. They're realizing that "mommy and me aren't one. We are separate." It's one of the baby milestones, but I don't think it's happening to Rowan all by himself. I wonder if all moms stumble through the same realization with their babies at some point. We are so together, yet so apart.

Mamas, how did you juggle showering with your infants?

hair story.

Self-Portrait With Cropped Hair by Frida

I have a confession to make. I don't shave. After living abroad I stopped and started epilating. I learned (mistakenly or no) that pretty much only American women shave their legs. Yes, epilating hurts, but the more you do it the less it feels like pain. You never get that five o'clock shadow of spikiness and it lasts for weeks. Well, hair grows in cycles, so epilating every week is best. I think I might be hairier than most, so maybe others can get away with longer intervals.

So did I mention, tweezing hair out by the root in mass quantities hurts? And it especially hurts the first go around when you have lots of hair to remove. When we moved back to the States, I was nearly 8 months pregnant and I'd sold my epilator with its Chilean-style plug. So the leg hair grew. I ordered a new epilator after Rowan was born--using my phone while breastfeeding, which is how I accomplished anything not baby related the first few months.

But the truth is, I've hardly used the thing. The noise scares Rowan, and having him nearby just makes me more tense. Though I find singing really helps alleviate the pain. Anyway, my baby is one now, it's almost spring, and I'm turning over a new leaf. Which is that I intend to spend more of my days with less hair on my body.

Do you shave? Go au naturel? Wax? How often?

eight days a week.

I'm thoroughly enjoying my family after hardly seeing them all week. Today we relaxed, ate eggs for breakfast, and went for an afternoon hike where we discovered a grove of cairns and a labyrinth, the first of the wild irises, and rainbow serpentine.

It was a good first week, though I finally experienced the pain of a plugged duct. Oh heavenly ouch! Next week I'll continue to get used to commuting.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!

a soapy mess.

recovering from a lovely dinner, game, and wine night with friends strolling the Palace of Fine Arts in grey, windy weather // first shoots of spring

When we got home from San Francisco this evening, I decided to do some laundry. I left a bagful of dirty clothes and our huge container of Costco detergent by the door while I went to grab a sweatshirt to go outside. Can you tell where this is going? Rowan has officially learned how to unscrew caps. And he's long since mastered the skill of tipping stuff over. Now there's a huge puddle of laundry soap pooled beneath some towels in the living room. Thankfully Rowan was just splashing in it and hadn't yet tried to taste it. Oh, and he was still naked because I'd just given him a bath. So I rinsed him in the kitchen sink, which he absolutely loved and which he loathed to leave. Do you have any tips for soaking soap up from the carpet? 

Eeps! It's my first day of work. I feel like I haven't done this in forever. I'm more nervous about how I'm going to get there (train changes, shuttle, timing) than anything else. A friend poking fun at me reminded me how I'd traveled another continent and moved abroad mostly by myself. When you put it into perspective, it's silly to get butterflies. But I've been a homebody for so long and fairly rarely alone. Oh the things I admit here. Wish me luck! (:

Wishing you a beautiful week, friends!

learning to fly.

the journey: that's a whole lotta hormones to stabilize // reminiscing at six months

So I was reading this article about how it basically takes nine months to birth a mother. I'd never thought about it like that before, but in hindsight it makes so much sense. Sure, around six months I started to feel like things were getting easier, but at nine months I started feeling like, yeah, the hormones had left my body, and I was turning back into me. Well, me as a mom.

I'm sure it's not just me, but during those early months as a first time mom, I just wanted verification that I was doing OK. That the baby was normal. That other moms have the same difficulties. And then you turn a corner, and the hardest part is remembering just how hard it was. OK, sometimes I still wonder what the hell I'm doing, but it's not nearly as intense. Oh, and I'm aging a lot.

If you're a mom, do you remember how long it took you to feel "right" again?

in a family state of mind.

I wrote a full blog last night, Firefox crashed, and none of it saved. It's definitely time for me to change browsers. Sigh la vie.

It's been a rough couple of weeks with a feverish baby, who needed antibiotics and then broke out with a full body rash allergic reaction to said antibiotics. Then I caught the bug. Add teething, familial sleeplessness, and some odd behaviors that can likely be attributed to separation anxiety to the mix. Whew, welcome to toddlerhood!

Monday was my last day of my old job where I worked in from my home office in Rowan's closet. Rowan never took to bottles and I never really had to worry about that and hardly ever had to pump, because I've been able to stay close enough to breastfeed him whenever he wants. I won't miss the low wage, no benefits, or no vacation. But I will miss my boy, working from home and from cafes, and eating lovingly made lunches and snacks from my husband. I will miss my boys.

But missing is good, right? This is a step in the right direction for our family. And I am ever grateful to have been able to spend this past year with Rowan. S is going to stay home with him so we won't have to pay for child care, in all the ways that you pay for child care.

I start my new career job on Monday, so for the rest of this week I'm on staycation. I originally thought that I'd only have four days off in a row, and I was thinking of spending it roadtripping to the snow or someplace pretty. Oh me and wanderlust. Instead we're just chillin'. My to-do list for the week includes purging, primping, lightening. Also playing, hugging, loving--but that's not the kind of stuff to put on a do-to list.

I'm excited for the purge especially. We've had lots of stuff come into our lives over the past year, and not enough exit. I think this causes blockages, obstructing the natural flow of things. Imagine if all you did was inhale with nary an exhale. Well, you'd burst! And that my friends is what I'm on the brink of.

Today you might find me scrubbing the bathtub with my new homemade cleaning solution of vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and baking soda. I polished our teapot and panini machine with it last night. Wondrous! What adventures are you up to?

happy birthday, my little heart melter!

Dear Rowan Skye,

Today you are one. I can't believe that you can reach the third shelf of the bookcase, that you take baby steps all by yourself when you're not thinking about it. I can't believe you've been with us for a whole year. I can't believe you've been with us only one year. How can you be so new and so forever at the same time? You'll surely hear me talk about the exquisite uselessness of time in the years to come. I hope I can sometimes express it with a semblance of wonder.

You love opening and closing your books while sitting on my lap. I keep reading even after you've clapped the pages shut on my fingers. You love emptying items from anything and tossing them behind you. And you love opening your drawers and cupboard in the kitchen and clacking the measuring cups together.

Your diaper tantrums are a huge part of our lives. Sometimes it's hard not to laugh, because it's such a stereotypical tantrum--head moving side to side, arms and legs flailing alternately. It makes me appreciate the easy changes, when your body's lithe and I can snap the diaper on evenly. I'm always surprised when my singing actually calms you. And so often it does.

Mommy doesn't remember the lyrics to almost anything. You are my sunshine has tons of verses, where the color of the sky varies. In mommy's version, you never go away. 

You have always loved the ceiling and lights and looking up. This hasn't changed much since you were born. Now, too, you love disco balls. When you want to get closer to something, you say woooo ooowa oooowa and wave your hands. Balloons make you go a little crazy.

You love the swish swish wind in the trees and eating Mantego cheese. You love going for walks in the baby carrier and for strolls in the jogging stroller. You love sneaking up on yourself in the mirror, walking around the house by pushing the giant exercise ball. You love to nurse, to be tickled, to look at the world upside down. 

When you wake up, you pat my face and giggle before I can manage to pry my eyes open. You pull yourself up on the bars of the headboard, shake the blinds, and talk to the sunshine. When Daddy comes to get you, because somehow he's almost always already awake, you give the hugest smile and point at him with your wrist.

I love the way you use your tongue to bluther bluther bluther talk. The big open mouth kisses you give me on your way to explore something else. I love the quick succession of crawl steps when you decide to chase something you want. I like how you crawl up my legs, just as I'm starting to chop something for dinner. How when I pick you up, you make me take you to say swat your disco ball or hello the mantel mirror. I love you, big boy.

Thank you for choosing me be your mom. 

nice surprises.

This is the photo we used on Rowan's birthday party invitation. I had big intentions of printing invitations, but time was running out, so I just sent an Evite. Also, because I couldn't find a recent picture of him that I was happy with on account of its clarity.

But the more I look at this photograph, the more I love it. You can see all six of his teeth. And he has that smile he has right before he starts to do his happy dance.

You are all invited to his birthday. He turns a whopping one year old on January 27.

Right now the little bugger is sick and asleep and cozy on my lap. 

What are you up to?

this insular life.

You know what they say you should do when you don't know what to write about? Just give thanks. I guess that's about all I do on this here blog anyway.

So here it is. I'm thanking my lucky stars for...

my baby :: who is currently caressing a huge box full of speakers. He's palming the box and sliding up and down it while chanting oooweeoi oooweeoi oooweeoi, like it's giving him superpowers.

this magic little boy :: who has taken his first steps. He's been pushing the big exercise ball around the house. Sometime's it gets away from him, and as it rolls back toward him, he pounces on it--effectively taking two-three steps in the process.

my husband :: who is taking care of said heart-melter, even though it's my day off of work. Even though it's so I could blog.

my first new pair of jeans :: in I-don't-remember-how-many years. 

you :: who have stopped by to visit, especially because I haven't been the best visitor of late. 

What are you thankful for right now?

happy new year, hello to you.

The day after Christmas we visited my dad, stepmom, and brother in northern Wisconsin. (It's the first time my dad met S or his grandson.) They live on the outskirts of a tiny one-horse town with one stoplight, one Piggly Wiggly, and an ice cream store called Phat Ice Cream with a fat sign featuring a blissed-out pig diving into a triple cone.

This is where life is simple and the ice fishing is good. Play dates (and maybe adult dates) happen at McDonald's, everyone seems to know (or know of) everyone else, and even the women wear their hunting camo jackets to run errands. Unfortunately we missed the outhouse races out on the frozen lake. Folks ice fish from outhouses, cute ones with sliver-moon windows. Later in the winter they'll race the beauties across the lake.

There wasn't much snow, but we stuffed Rowan into his snow suit anyway and wrapped him into the carrier for walks in the frigid cold. When the wind bit my cheeks, I'd bury my face into sleeping Rowan's hot hood like the lucky mama I am.

We had a turkey dinner, and I made turkey soup with the leftovers. My dad cooked us lots of hearty breakfasts, and we ate lots of red meat, including venison nachos. Rowan learned how to crawl up stairs. We played copious amounts of late-night double Pinochle, in between Rowan's wake ups.

In the middle of the 10-day visit, S and I took a weekend road trip to Chicago to see two of his cousins, the first people from S's  family to meet Rowan. My husband may or may not have broken his nose (again) while playing hide-and-seek with Rowan to ease his screaming during a car diaper change in a Chicago garage.

We had a great time with the family and I couldn't ask for a better trip overall. On the flight back, we had all three seats to ourselves and Rowan behaved super. I nursed him to his heart's content. He slept, he played, cooed, sang, ate, flirted, and won the hearts of the stewardesses and in-flight neighbors.

So, I've been rather disconnected. It may be a tad bit late, but...

May you have a peaceful, joy filled New Year.


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