"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Sunday, July 29, 2012

i know what this looks like

You're thinking I lost the battle.


Or it could be, I won the war.

Sometimes deals are made.  Like ... you pick the cars and I'll pick the baby names.  Because, trust me, there were some doozies.  And well ... cars come and go but a name is forever.

As we've embarked on our final hurrah to enjoy summer's end here, I do admit, we've transversed this country in pure comfort and haven't maimed or abandoned anyone along the way ;)

This car feels conspicuously huge. A body could get lost. There are kids I haven't seen for days. But I think Grant is still in here ... somewhere ............. I think .................. Grant??
Has anyone seen Grant ???

Two weeks of storing up some South Carolina coastal sunshine. It's the only way to survive an impending Colorado winter. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

baby handlers

First bath.

And every girl in our house is wearing this from head to toe.

Our new favorite scent.

nesting vicariously

Pre-baby, my brain goes through a crazed nesting overhaul.  I say crazy because it went something like this:

I need lights strung across my patio.  The baby needs lights on the patio!

There must be a garden.  A baby must have a garden!

These walls need to be painted white.  Every baby needs clean white walls!

Out with the carpet. No baby can lay on such dirty carpet!

Green grass. Green grass. Fill that baby's nose with the smell of green grass!

And the insanity pushes me onward .... I think it's gotten worse with each baby I've had. Multiply that by seven :)

Poor Newel.  Where most husbands rush out in the middle of the night for chop suey and watermelon, he spent more time down at the Home Depot managing my nutty requests. 

I imagined him entering the door, hailed by the good ole boys who work there, guffawing and slapping him doggedly on the back exclaiming, "What's the old bag got you renovating now? And when's that baby a'comin'??"

Okay, maybe not that bad, but once I had the baby, one of the big kids did ask, "Mom, can you stop nesting vicariously through us now ... please???"

And, though I've cooked another human being faster than my handy man has managed to remodel my girl's dormitory bathroom ... I think, yes, the dry wall dust of the nesting craze is finally settling.

And what's not done can take a back seat because ... that baby?  Why ... she didn't hardly notice after all.     

Finished project pictures to come ... eventually ... if I ever grow another arm  :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

careful what you wish for

Someone dared breathe in the wake of chores, "This has been the most boring summer ever."

Have we been co-existing in the same summer?

I gave a little lecture about how in my childhood, rarely did mothers entertain children day in and day out.

And I dished out more chores.

Dearest Children,

How soon your days will be filled with text books and learning so your time will never be this monotonous ; )

Love, Mom

Sunday, July 15, 2012

the party starts at midnight

And sometimes goes to 3.

So here we are, in the quiet of night, alone in the closet, trying not to wake a dad who must work.

Both desperately wishing to see through blurry eyes.

But who would want to sleep and miss all of the fun?

Not me.  This is our time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

postpartum realities

I remember the follow-up phone call I received from the hospital "Ask a Nurse" hot line after the birth of my first baby.

"We're just calling to see how you are feeling?"

"Any mood swings?"


"History of depression?"

I was confused by the questions, having found myself in la-la land with a new little one to smell and kiss and hold sweet softness to my chest.

And then a night later, sat in the bathtub crying senselessly over the fact that the relationship that Newel and I had previously enjoyed together would never be the same.

It was a small worry made grandiose by all the swirling whirling around me. Thankfully, I had a husband who didn't ask much but wrapped me and baby together with him in our favorite couch blanket with our favorite movie and my favorite movie treat, inadvertently letting me know that things had not changed, only expanded.

It wasn't the last time either.  With each subsequent baby, I found myself in my "bath tub" moment, different string of irrational fears with each, and perplexed husband waiting outside the door to put me back together again.

Still, it didn't seem right ... or normal ... with the precious gift of a newborn waiting to be cuddled, so I allowed myself only one night of it and forced myself to moved on.

I typically find myself anxious to get back into motion following each birth, because I feel so much better with a baby in my arms rather than wrapped around my middle.  To those around me, I'm a gale full force.  It seems to help me move on from my "lows" if only on the surface.  But once, in a group of friends, one asked, "Don't you get any postpartum??" and at first I think I stared blankly because I'd figured those feelings in the wake of such a joyous occasion were not conversation worthy.

How could I tell them that twice I'd cried for a boy who'd so desperately wanted a brother and was saddled yet again with a pink, squishy new sister.  Who would understand that I'd boo hoo'ed alone over the perceived final infant and a stage I never wanted to end?

We are women of strength, after all. Don't be silly.

But, the discussion that followed took me by surprise, regarding postpartum. Is that what you would call it? Was it real? Was it normal? Was it okay? Was it .... common??? They all admitted similarities and in some instances more.

And yes, I realized then that big or small, whether a full on depression or baby blues, the "let down" at the end of such a roller coaster ride is a tangible thing and the spectrum is huge and varying. The key is to recognize and acknowledge those feelings — in whatever form they come --- and ensure that appropriate support is at hand.

The other night following a lot of this ...

I was tired from the sleepless night before.  Packing children to bed, an unhappy Eliza needed extra care and I heard a sibling breathe, "How come I have to give her a piggy back to bed every night" completely void of the pre-baby excitement to do so with a happy heart.

Eliza began to cry.

Someone spoke harsher to her than they previously would have.

Feeling like I was hovering above the scene, I saw a baby who was baby no more. I saw a girl struggling to find her new position in a family that had just increased by one.

I ran the bath.

Celia approached me and said, "Mom, if you're tired in the night, you can always come and get me to hold the baby for awhile so you can get some sleep."

I hugged her goodnight and took to my tub.

And sat for my cry.

To hold everything just like it was.  To keep babies as babies and big kids as kids.  For all the times I'd focused on beginnings.  For all the times I'd forgotten to watch for endings.  For middles I'd not soaked in as deeply as I should.  For years that came in three's.  Three moments ago, Eliza as that baby. Three years later, a displaced three year old. Three more would send the one I'd just hugged far from my nest.  New baby, three in the blink of an eye.  Would first and lasts know each other at all? Couldn't I freeze it all right now? Don't let things change. Let it all be as before.

I stepped from the bathroom red eyed and wrapped for bed to my support group waiting outside the door.

"What is it?" he asked ready to listen and wanting to be a part, "Talk to me."

Tears starting afresh and eager this time to spill my emotions, to face postpartum full in the face, I opened, "It's because right here in this moment, we are all here and I need things never to change, not for me, not for Celia, not for Eliza or Charlotte or anyone in between.  And the natural order of things takes that beyond my abilities."

And everything poured over as he listened.

And he wrapped me and baby in a blanket with him and our favorite movie and my favorite treat to show me that some things would always be the same.

And I knew it would all be okay.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

on this side of the 4th

What felt like long days before, have been a blur after. Funny, that perspective.

Due to recent dry conditions and fires, our Fourth of July shaped up to be a really quiet one with the cancellation of most celebrations around here.

Thank heavens for fantastic neighbors hosting a fabulous Americana BBQ. It lit up our holiday just that much more.

Where I could sit in the shade, sip lemonade, hold our new baby, eat the tastiest finally-heartburn-free ribs whilst watching children play in the water, catch greased pigs, participate in a chicken run, and enjoy neighborly conversation.

A low key, perfect holiday afternoon before going home to breathe in a little more of this private celebration that we just can't put down.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

july 2, 2012

Born 10:30 pm last night
7 pounds, 7 ounces
20 inches

We're home and feeling great.
And every inch in love.