Jun 30 2014

the start of summer berries

we’ve been out strawberry picking twice and my hips and i are ready for raspberry and blueberry season where you can pick standing up.

the first time we went picking, we went with friends on a sunny saturday (on solstice) and everyone in seattle apparently had the same idea that it was a nice day to pick berries. the second time, it was a rainy weekday, just me and josephine (and the bump), and it was the last day our favorite organic farm was open. there were only a handful of people in the field and the berries were like red jewels.

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Jun 25 2014

waddling into the third trimester

i’m feeling quite rotund these days. ned came home from work last week, looked down at my belly, and said, “something has changed.” and i said, “seriously? since yesterday? huh. i agree.” this baby (who is a girl, by the way. have i said that here yet?) is making herself known. i keep looking back at photos of me pregnant with josephine (when we took weekly shots of my belly — how first time parents of us) and comforting myself that i’m not really bigger than i was then. and that i’m probably not going to end up ginormous. but it feels like a distinct possibility whenever i look down.

i’m 27 weeks today and trying to remind myself that this is the blissful part. everything — eating a full meal, rolling over in bed, washing my nether regions in the shower, putting on socks, walking more than a block, etc. etc. etc. — will get more tricky. and i’m trying to enjoy this reasonably comfortable stage without focusing too much on the discomfort. which means, i suppose, that i just released you from having to read a list of pregnancy-related complaints.

josephine has been nothing but excited about becoming a big sister. she once made one less-than-happy comment about how when the baby comes we won’t take care of her anymore. i believe she said this while i was literally wiping her butt. “oh, don’t worry, sweetie,” i smiled through the stink, “we’ll always take care of you.” and she smiled back and went immediately back to her optimistic projections about the future; giving her sister rides on her back in the yard, helping me nurse her (?), singing her songs. she frequently gives me a hug and then gives the baby a hug, murmuring, “i love you already, baby.” sadly, she usually does this right after being a total twerp, so it doesn’t make my heart melt quite as much as it should…

i don’t know how to wrap my mind around another person being in this family of ours, can’t quite picture how it will all go. so i don’t try too hard to do so.

instead, i have spent a few wakeful middle-of-the-night hours as my mind plays out various getting-to-the-hospital scenarios. josephine’s birth was a reasonable 12 hours long and that gives me (misplaced?) reason to believe that this little person will make her arrival in an even more expedient fashion. a friend of ours just had her second child after 2.5 hours of labor. 2.5! i don’t think we could get josephine where she needed to be and get to the birth center in that amount of time. and of course seattle’s had numerous bouts of crippling traffic lately; where one accident on the highway slows down traffic on arterials all over the city. in my mind, in the middle of the night when reasonable thoughts are nowhere to be found, labor will happen like this: in the middle of the night i’ll suddenly be doubled-over by labor like a woman on a tv show, our friends who are scheduled to take josephine will be unexpectedly out of town, we can’t untangle her car seat straps to give her seat to other friends we wake up in the middle of the night, there’s one of those horrible traffic catastrophes and the best route to the birth center involves crossing lake washington twice and the baby is delivered roadside by a passing vagabond who once watched a movie that had a birth scene. seriously.

oh, and we have no idea what we’re going to name her.

but we’re good. i’m good. this big belly of mine is very good.

Jun 16 2014

ned, tree-chopper and rat-finder

if you had told us a year ago that by june of 2014 we’d own a home and be expecting our second child, we would have thought that sounded pretty great and would have felt pretty impressed with our future selves. if you had told us that with said home ownership would come chopping down holly trees that litter the yard with spiky leaves and spread their pervasive holly-ness everywhere, we might have felt less enthused. and if you’d told us that home ownership would also involve seeking out the creature that must have died in order to make the house smell so terrible, we might have figured out a way to cling to our little apartment-dwelling lives a bit longer.

i make it sound like i had anything to do with tree-chopping and rodent searching. it was all ned. he’s incredible. i thought the tree removal would be a summer-long project. nope, he was done in a week and a half. he chopped down a tree taller than house nearly single-handedly and then rented an enormous truck, filled it with 700 pounds of holly branches, and brought it to the recycling station. farewell, holly.

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and the rodent? when ned came home from work on friday and told him that there was an awful smell in the living room (i may or may not have wrung my hands just a little), he was willing to face what i wasn’t: something had died and it needed to be found. he spent the entire morning of father’s day down in our disgusting crawl space, locating and removing a rat’s nest (and its deceased resident). i stayed inside with josephine, making lunch and yelling encouraging things in the direction of the crawl space entrance. i’m pretty certain that i’d be a rotten homeowner if left to my own devices.

for these and a million other reasons, i am so grateful i have ned.

Jun 15 2014

the preschool graduate (round 1)

even though josephine has another year of preschool ahead of her, the preschool she’s been attending for the past two years is closing so all the kids, whether they’re going on to kindergarten or not, graduated. josephine was just a little bit thrilled about this rite of passage. there was a sweet ceremony on friday afternoon. each of the kids got a diploma and then they sang songs they’ve been practicing for weeks, including remakes of “we are the champions” and “we will rock you.” (we are the graduates, moms and dads, and we’ll keep on learning til the end. we are the graduates, we are the graduates… it’s time for cheering cause we are the graduates of stepping stone.)

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i can’t say enough about how much we’ve loved this school and how good the nurturing community has been for josephine. her time there has helped her learn and grow in ways i never would have been able to make happen on my own. i think there will be some benefits for her to being in a pre-k class next year and to have the practice adjusting to a new space and new kids before she makes the huge leap to kindergarten, but i’m going to have to try my hardest not to cry on her last day on tuesday.

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(after graduation, josephine stole my camera and took artful photos of the playground mosaics.)

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Jun 9 2014

things growing in the yard

photos by josephine

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Jun 7 2014

housing for our fairy friends

one evening, a few weeks ago, josephine decided to make a house for fairies. she worked on it with great concentration for nearly an hour and was so proud of her finished product. she put the house and a welcome note under a special tree in our yard and made a trail to it with rose petals. i told her the fairies might leave her something if they came and slept there, and then i promptly forgot about it. until we were all awake at 4:30 the next morning, thanks to some middle-of-the-night need of josephine’s or another. “damn!” i said into the darkness once everyone was tucked back in. “what?” ned mumbled. “i forgot to put something out in the fairy house for josephine.” we brainstormed some ridiculous ideas (a cracker in a jar?) and settled on a button and a little note. i found the button and wrote the note and ned tiptoed out into the yard to leave it in the house. we climbed back into bed feeling like excellent, fun parents.

and now we regret it, just a little. josephine was THRILLED to discover that the fairies had left her something. she ran through the house yelling in such an unrestrained and wild way that ned thought that perhaps she was terrified and hysterical instead of overjoyed. she made improvements to the fairy house and waited for another treat from the fairies. then she built another, much more elaborate house (complete with a bath with soap sop) with the help of a friend and waited for treats to appear there. and now there’s a third house in the yard ready to host some generous fairies. i heard her telling her friend that she hopes the fairies will leave her a note asking her to return all the treats she’s been given (several buttons, a string of beads, stickers, some notes on fancy paper) and then they’ll give her a stuffed unicorn in exchange. sigh.

how far do we take this? anyone have any good ideas for treats that a fairy might leave?

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Jun 1 2014

our favorite babysitter

a few weeks back, ned and i had tickets to see nickel creek in concert (haven’t heard them? do yourself a favor and listen), so we did what every parent of a young child living in a big city does when they need a night out: we called a grandparent who lives 1,700 miles away and asked her to fly out for the weekend. we sweetened the deal with a caspar babypants concert, a belly with baby kicks to feel, an ice cream outing and by allowing her to buy us all sorts of delicious foods. we’re the best. and so is grandma. (and the concert was fantastic, too.)

the day my mom arrived was art walk at josephine’s school (or, as josephine explained to anyone willing to listen: “there’s a celebration of art at my school and it’s called ‘art walk.'”) so we had some culture and josephine showed grandma around the classroom. the weekend also included a picnic at the park, a ferry ride to a fabric store, and some bread crust fangs. we can’t wait for the next visit.

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