09
Oct 13

At home

We embarked on The Next Big Thing in our house over the weekend: the kitchen remodel. It has begun. (Duh Duh DUHHHHHH!). And I remembered why I have such a love/hate relationship with any kind of home renovation. Love the outcome. Hate the process. It always takes longer (and costs more) and is way way way way more inconvenient than you ever thought possible. Especially with two kids.

The guest room is less a guest room right now and more a holding ground for an odd assortment of cookbooks, kitchen tools, office supplies, and serving platters. I can stand in the kitchen and look into the attic! Fun (and Brrrr cold in the mornings when the cold air from the attic is drifting downwards). Better, I can stand in the kitchen and see into the living room, which was one of the most major things that we wanted to tackle in this project (removing the wall between the two rooms to make for a more open space). I am loving that I can be fixing dinner and can watch the girls playing. It’s going to be so great (especially once we get the storage back in with the new cabinets and the new center island).

In the meantime, I am working on living with the uncertainty and mess that comes with this kind of an adventure. I am appreciating all the more having hot water and a clothes dryer and an oven and stove (the gas was shut off for three days as the gas line had to be cut to make room for the new structural work in the attic). I feel so lucky that we are able to work on making this house if not our dream home, than at least a really comfortable and nice space, great for cooking, living, entertaining. I’m so grateful for all of Adam’s hard work in making this happen. I’ve told him numerous times that if it were up to me, nothing of this scale or scope would ever get accomplished: I’m too chicken and too overwhelmed with all the little details. He is so good at coordinating and managing and getting things done. Can’t wait to share before and after shots (it’ll be a few months for the afters).


03
Oct 13

New day

It’s the end of the day, a long day. A day that started at 5 am (it’s now almost 11 pm). I can’t let it go.

Telling myself this truth: tomorrow is a new day. Plenty of new opportunities. Tomorrow will not be exactly like today (world record loooong afternoon, if not in actual minutes and hours, then just in the feeling). Didn’t eat enough, got grumpy, ate too much, got grumpier (and felt bad about myself to boot).

Tomorrow is a new day.


02
Oct 13

Flying by

It’s been two months since my last post? Eeek.

Life is flying by. This morning the little one woke me at 5:30. This evening the big one didn’t go to sleep until 8:30. And then there are still things to do: lunch to be made, dishes to be washed, laundry to be folded. That makes for one seriously long day, especially considering the little one only wanted to nap ON me (no personal time).

I am told that it goes by too fast, to treasure it, that someday I’ll miss it. I believe it. Some days are bone crushingly exhausting. Some days are maddening. Some days drag by in tedium. Some days are whirlwinds. There is never enough time. There is always too much to do. Someday I will have a perfectly tidy house that doesn’t get undone an hour into our day by busy little hands. Some day I will miss markers strewn on the floor, high pitched squeals, backpacks flung, dirty socks. Right?

I love it and it drains the me out of me.

I am always trying to live the balance of this, of surviving it, of finding humor and joy and love in the midst of chaos and exhaustion and anxiety. Some days I win, somedays I lose. Somedays I am the crockpot-clean floor-queen and some days we get pizza delivered because I can’t think of how to feed us all.

Adam is traveling and we miss him like crazy every moment of every day. All of us. Anna cries, “I just want to snuggle with my Daddy!” Lily toddles around, peering around corners, calling his name, “Dada? Dada?” I sit and wish for those quiet moments between the two of us that are so rare these days. The moments where our hands fall together and our eyes meet and we are glad to be in this together. We are still in this together but sometimes it feels like we are war buddies. Everything is so much more even keel when his presence is here. He calms and sustains us. We survive here, the three of us girls (plus Porkchop, who should really count for two people, I think, given his inclination towards noise and mess and neediness), but we aren’t whole.

Today Anna and I put up some fall decorations and I admired her slow and careful attention to balance and order as she laid miniature pumpkins across the mantle. She is careful in so many things. I am fascinated by watching her become who she is becoming. Such a lovely little whirling swirling presence.

Lily stumbles and falls and gets up again and does this a hundred (thousand?) times a day. She is different from Anna (of course, but it still amazes me). She seems bullheaded like her sister (!), but she is less cautious. She throws herself into things–into meals, into walking, into my arms. She plays hard, she sleeps hard. She is full force.

It is October and soon it will be November and Anna will turn 7. I remember 7. Seven was a slumber party (I think?) and a unicorn cake and giggling girlfriends. How is she seven?

This is a beautiful, messy life and I’m happy to be living it.


04
Aug 13

Fiesta 2013

Santa Barbara’s Annual Old Spanish Days Fiesta is winding down and we are in recovery mode after many very full and busy days. The good camera didn’t make it out to every single event but here are some pictures of a little bit of what we were up to this past week. Adam’s mom and stepdad made it down to visit this week, adding to the fun. Both girls loved having their grandma and grandpa around to play with, eat with, and parade-watch with. Good food, good friends and family, and a good time had by all. It felt especially memorable to be introducing Lily to all the pleasures of the week (last year she was only a few days old and neither she nor I made it to any of the fun). Verdict? ¡¡¡VIVA LA FIESTA!!!

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28
Jul 13

July 27, 2013

We had a sweet little family party yesterday in honor of Adam and Lily’s birthday. Adam’s brother Chris and his family (my sister-in-law Rejane and their two kids Bruno and Max) drove down from San Luis Obispo and my mom (kids’ Nana) came also. It was a small and wonderful gathering! Adam’s cake was a lemon cake with lemon curd and a lemon buttercream. Lily had a little eggless lemon cake with whipped cream on top. After she licked all the whipped cream she wanted more! It really felt festive to be celebrating both of these birthdays on the same day for the first time and it made me think of all the wonderful July 27ths in our future with our little family. I love these people so much!

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20
Jul 13

Singing

Today Anna took the stage for a recital with the Young Singer’s CLub, as the wrap up for a week-long singing/performing camp that she had attended. She sang in two group songs and performed one solo.

She didn’t remember every single word. She didn’t hit every single note. She didn’t do the choreography perfectly. But she stood up there, proud and serious (smiling only a little), and she tried her best, and she says that she had fun doing it (despite the serious face). And while she sang, I could hardly quell my own lips from singing along with her (hey–it’s Disney songs, how can I *not* want to sing?) because my heart was absolutely singing to see my girl up there, doing her best and having fun.

It’s that thing about having kids, that thing where you know, intellectually, at least, that they are their own person, full of their own thoughts and feelings and abilities and all of that and yet…seeing her up on the stage, she was me and I was her and I could see the entirety of her life, the past from babyhood on up to what is yet to come. My beautiful, amazing girl.

My heart sings.


03
Jul 13

Swim meets, Summer 2013

Here are a few pictures from Anna’s first summer swim meet.

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She was nervous the night before. Nervous enough that she dramatically declared, “I WON’T swim tomorrow” but quickly rescinded her statement when she remembered the ribbons….the awesome, super-cool ribbons. She was stoked to have a brand-new Speedo bathing suit in blue (her current favorite color), with new matching goggles and a matching blue towel. She loved seeing friends. She loved being in the water. She shyly smiled after each heat, warming with our high fives and congratulations as she rocked each and every heat she swam in. This girl is a fish and she loves it. We just love watching her enjoy what she does so very well.


27
Jun 13

Lily, 11 months old

11 months
20+ pounds
5 (almost 6) teeth
Size 18 month clothes
Size 3 (12-18 month) shoes

10 Words: Mama, Daddy, sister, Anna, more, all done, Baaa (sheep sound), woof (dog sound), “Mo” (for Marco, her lovey), Nana

Lily claps, makes animal sounds, turns the pages of her board books and even paper books (with supervision), plays peek-a-boo, pulls to standing, cruises on furniture, and climbs. She is a busy, busy girl who loves to have attention, loves to laugh, loves to move move move! She loves to swim, she loves to go on walks in the stroller. She loves her sister! She does not love being strapped down in the car (a necessary evil, unfortunately for her). She loves to eat, and she really loves to throw food over the side of her high chair for the dog (not my favorite). She loves to the feeling of sand and dirt and water.
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This girl is zooming so fast to 1 year old that it makes my head spin!


05
Jun 13

Bye, Bye, Kinder

I went to Anna’s final sing-along for kindergarten today and had some silent tears slip out when the kids sang this song (“Kindergarten Wall”):

When I was a little kid not so long ago
I had to learn a lot of stuff I didn’t even know
How to dress myself, tie my shoes, how to jump a rope
How to smile for a picture without looking like a dope
But of all the things I learned my favorite of them all
Was a little poem hanging on the kindergarten wall

CHORUS:

Of all you learn here remember this the best:
Don’t hurt each other and clean up your mess
Take a nap everyday, wash before you eat
Hold hands, stick together, look before you cross the street
And remember the seed in the little paper cup:
First the root goes down and then the plant grows up!

**********
I’ve been thinking more about what I want Anna to remember and learn the most during these years, and that chorus says so many important things in such a simple way. Watching her earnest face singing those words with great enthusiasm put such an ache in my heart to capture that moment. And even though I am, in some ways, a real social networking junkie (Facebook addiction, anyone????), I didn’t even think of jumping to get this performance recorded because the real heart of it was sitting there and living that moment, just watching her and letting her know that I am her biggest fan. It’s one of those moments that burns into your heart. I had no clue before I became a mother that love could be like this.


05
Jun 13

Normal

All my labs came back totally and completely normal. Normal = good. So, apparently I just need to do things like eat balanced meals at regular intervals, hydrate, exercise, and (duh duh DUH) sleep. Sleep! I miss sleep. I was being good about going to bed early and getting as much sleep as possible. Don’t ask how Lily sleeps; I actually think that she is a pretty good sleeper, all things considered. She definitely sleeps better than Anna did at this age (but, then again, so do about 99% of the babies that I have heard of). Yes, we are still up at night a bit but I am, in general, okay with this. I don’t need suggestions about getting her to sleep through the night. I do believe that she will get there when she is ready. She actually was sleeping through the night (miracle of all miracles) for a while and then she just stopped. And now what I suspect is that she is so super busy throughout the day that she is not taking in the amount of milk that she needs so she wakes at night to compensate. So, anyway, point being, I need to get myself in bed earlier at night (so hard! There is always so much to do! And I enjoy having my grown up, no children time–both with Adam when he is home and alone when he travels), I need to nap when possible. Sleep, sleep, sleep.

Part of me feels like a silly hypochondriac for ever worrying about my exhaustion. The other part of me, the part that is more gentle and forgiving, understands that once someone (me) has had cancer, it’s hard to not take any health complaint seriously. Because there was that time, you know, that time when it seemed like no big deal but actually it was. So kudos to me for being proactive but sorry for being a drama queen. See? I feel mixed about it. I do feel a little embarrassed.

I feel like the new baby fog is starting to lift so that is good. Now that Lily is eating solids in addition to nursing, there are more times when I am able to leave her with others without feeling like I have to rush immediately back home. I am gaining back a little bit of that all-important “me time.” I am a little sad about this, truth be told! Not too much longer before Daddy will do just as well as Mama. It’s all a part of the growing up. I’m excited for this, but it’s bittersweet. We are moving on to the next phase of our lives.

Normal. It’s all going to be okay. I have all confidence that I will reach that 5 year CURED mark, come January 2014. Cured! Cured, people! Can you believe it????