Tuesday, July 29, 2008

time warp

To quote another blogger I have neither the time nor inclination to look up, I have discovered two things this month:
  • I can live my life
  • I can write about my life
...but I may not be able to do both at the same time.

We have been blessed with a wonderful month of visits from family and friends, trips around town and out of town, great meals, concerts, tours, weddings, and lovely nights under the stars. I would love to share some details, but I need a moment to catch my breath. I know some of you faithfully check my blog everyday and I hate to disappoint you for a little longer, but writing may be scarce for the next little while.

Thanks for being patient with me.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog

For a few short hours you can watch this, the most awesome, thrilling, funny, poignant supervillain musical ever created free of charge. After that you can download it at itunes for under $6. Cool, huh?

Friday, July 18, 2008

So this girl walked into a blog...

So busy. No energy to write. Here is a photo from the 4th of July (before the month of company started). Isn't Finn cute? And doesn't River look pissed about the whole thing?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

River News: Month Fifteen

Dear River,

You are changing so fast and in such significant ways, a blog post feels hardly weighty enough to document all that this month has brought. With a little more time on my hands I might hand-write your adventures on parchment, laminate the 20 or so stories therein, and collect them all in a book called The Amazing Things My Brilliant Son Can Do! Unfortunately, given how busy we have been as of late, you will have to live with this sad shadow of a re-telling. I hope you can cope.

First, let's talk about your WORDS. I know I've mentioned this in the past, but you definitely have some words now. I hear these regularly, and in the correct context, so I feel confident to say that YOU ARE TALKING. It's still sporadic, but some frequently used ones are mama (pronounced Ma-mom), dada, yea (pronounced like the Russian "Da"), and hi.

You're getting very good at communicating what you want--either verbally or with signs. We've taught you a few that you use often (more, milk, all done, hot, drink, eat, and water) but my favorite is the one you've made up yourself. To request something, you take your hands to your chest, twist back and forth, and give a huge smile. I didn't come up with it, so I don't have a direct translation, but depending on the context, it has meant: yummy, please, give, or nurse. One day you created this sign and now we see it all the time; I have no idea how it fell into your brain, but I'm so glad it did.

Most of your signs seem to be related to eating, which is appropriate since we sit you down to roughly seven meals a day. That sounds like a lot, doesn't it? You don't always eat a lot at each sitting, but it's key to give you lots of opportunities to get food in your belly. Otherwise, my cute little River disappears and you turn into The Hunger Grouch. Picture the Cookie Monster crossed with Mama Alien, and you'll have some idea of what you're like when you get hungry.

This month you've made a big step in eating: using toddler utensils, plates, and cups! The mechanics of scooping and drinking are still tricky, but the speed at which you're learning is incredible. Still, when the fork is too slow, you often resort to shoving fistfuls of food--gooey peanut butter or juicy cherries--in by hand. Yesterday I watched you put four grapes into your mouth, only to fit two more on top of them. These are moments I question the wisdom of having your father feed you dinner every night. He is king of shove-it-in eating, and if it wasn't an inborn trait, you have definitely learned it from watching him.

But if we're talking about modeling behavior, I have to admit responsibility for a few of your quirks. We know you like order, but now you seem to be under the impression that when it comes to the house, mom is in charge. About two weeks ago, you were downstairs with your dad and decided to do a load of laundry (you really do help--putting clothes in, taking them out, and pushing the buttons). We keep a bucket near the washing machine full of dirty washcloths, towels, River clothes, etc. You pulled the bucket to the washing machine and, with your dad's help, started to load it in. I told him to hold off on running it while I got some more of your clothes from your room. While I was upstairs, I heard your dad trying to explain something to you, "No, honey, don't put those away. We want to wash your shoes." Apparently, you found a pair of your shoes in the bucket and were trying to put them in the closet where they usually go. No amount of reassurance from your dad convinced you that those shoes belonged in that washer. As I headed back down I heard your father say, "Okay, ask your mom." You waited expectantly at the bottom of the stairs, disputed shoes in hand, and when I said, "It's okay, honey, we want to WASH those shoes," you made a bee-line for the machine and tossed them in.

Does this story make my heart swell? Yes. I'll leave it at that.

When your cousin Sydney was two, she already had one chore: feeding the kitties. I know your dad is just waiting for the day when you can take the garbage out or mow the lawn, but I think we may aspire to Sydney's example. It has become part of our nightly ritual to feed the cats before we head up to your bath. You help with this by pulling the dry food out of the cabinet and handing us a can of wet food. Sometimes you need a little coaxing, but you've become unbelievably good and helping with this. I imagine by the end of the year, this job will be all your own.

Lest you think we're running a baby sweatshop (Iron those clothes Riverella! Clean out the litter!), we do engage in activities that are pure play. You love to dance, and you shake and wiggle when the spirit moves you. Usually you are inspired by a poppy song on the stereo, but it could just as well be The Cure or Death Cab that gets your booty shaking.

One activity that I'm very excited to encourage is your interest in coloring. Early this month we made a Father's Day poster for the grandpas, and you loved getting messy with the markers, creating lines and squiggles, and painting yourself in the process. A week after Father's Day had passed you had asked work on the poster for the twentieth time, so I decided you needed a permanent place to color. We got a little table and chairs, a roll of butcher paper, and some crayons, and now you sit down almost daily to do some art. You're still learning how to hold the crayons, and you seem to love taking them out and putting them away more than anything, but it's so fun to see that budding creativity in you.

Your grandma Julie (the librarian) will be very happy to hear that over the last few months you have developed a real love for books. Your only interest in books during your first year of life was to chew on them, so I was thrilled to realize you actually enjoy reading them together now! Often during the day, you will go to your bookshelf, pick out your favorite book of the week, and bring it to me to read. We sit together on the floor or in the rocking chair, and off we go into imagination land. Some books appeal to your sense of rhythm (Hand Hand Fingers Thumb), some appeal to your tactile stimulation (That's Not My Pirate!), and some appeal to your need to snuggle (Hug and I Like it When...). I love reading with you, watching the wheels turn as you connect pictures to words, and helping you begin a love affair with one of my favorite things.

There is one thing from this past month that I can't ignore and that is all the time we have spent outside. Summer is here! The weather is warm! And, this month, Mr. River, you have taken full advantage of the beautiful outdoors. We go to parks daily; sometimes we've made two or three trips by the time we plunk you into your bath at night. You love to be outside exploring, trying out your climbing or sliding skills, or wandering around the lot picking up abandoned pieces of trash to throw away. (That's right. You go out of your way to clean up after other people. When you are 15 and surrounded by teenage filth I will refer you to this paragraph and ask what the heck happened.)

I'm thrilled that you're old enough this summer to play in the water outdoors. No more scuzzy YMCA pool for us! Between the kiddie pool we have in our yard, water features in the playgrounds we visit, and occasional trips to public pools, you spend time in the water almost every day. Usually I end up getting pretty soaked myself (though I'm not always planning on it), but the water calls to you and we must both answer.

The advantage of spending so much time outside is that it let's you burn off the enormous energy you have buzzing through your body. You are a human super-nova: burn, burn, burn... and blackout.

Outdoor days yield good naps, and your momma chases good naps like a fashionista chases Manolos. You've recently added a step to our naptime routine that is just about ripping my heart out. After I set you in your crib, you snuggle in with Lou and Mr. Bear, I put the blanket over you, and you look up at me expectantly. You are waiting for me to a give you a wave goodbye. After you wave back, you smile, lay your head down and the ritual is complete.

After many, many years, when I have reached the end of my days, I hope that that is the last image I am blessed to see: my beautiful son smiling and waving me on.

I love you my boy,

Thursday, July 03, 2008

the path I'm on...

Given a few years, I imagine I could have written this:

Out With the New and In With the Old

I have somehow declared buying new things to be completely frivolous and somewhat unhealthy. I’m not sure how this happened. It was partially due to Don trying to work freelance only (and making less money) - so that he and we as a family have more flexibility and time together.

But then, I recieved a few gift cards for for the holidays and went to try to use them. It actually made me sick to my stomach. I’ve gotten so use to shopping in thrift stores and really thinking about the consequences of mass producing plastic crap, that I just couldn’t buy something new. I know that I will buy things in the future and sometimes they may be new but I really feel such a consciousness every time I think of making a purchase. This can’t be bad.

This idea of buying things used and trying to make things as much as possible has gotten embedded into my psyche. I also want this to be a part of my daughter’s world too. She is a self proclaimed Target addict, so we try to no longer shop there. We shop in local thrift stores and yard sales - I love the idea of swapping what you no longer need for something that someone else no longer needs. Our entire house is made up of hand-me-downs and used but lovely items.

I have made all of my gifts this year. Sometimes this is hard. There are many people who don’t appreciate the handmade. I’ve been really trying to use recycled materials and found objects. Sometimes I make a trip to the fabric store or the art supply section but I’m really trying to make a difference in this over-produced, over-purchased, over-stuffed world of ours.

Besides we have so much shit already. Just keep me away from Ikea!