Friday, January 27, 2012

The Land of Sand & Fog

We are wading through the sunlight in Del Mar, California. It is a typical Wednesday. But I am tired, feeling a little broken. Dave suggests we drive here, for a change. The beach stretches it's beige & powdery paint just 15 mins from the house.

After parking, we clip towards the panorama. You can feel that languid, cool vibe of streets stuck together with sidewalk stores--the kind that frequent towns butted up next to the ocean. I'm feeling glad we came here. Even if we're quiet.

We reach the green & then the cliffs &
there's the ocean.

Tears get caught up in the throat for no other reason other than
it's beautiful & i needed to see this.

We stand in the pink muted part of the scene as the sun fades down. Everyone is standing still & watching as the fog rolls its grey damp mass over the ocean.

When it finally envelops us--we close the eyes and feel the earth move.

In a silent powerful instance, the fog erases the sun & turns the scene damp and grey. The heart counts its blessings. Thank you god for the big, beautiful things that reminds us to get out of our own brains.

I set Dax free and he runs & runs, facefirst into the giant soggy landscape.  The mist cooling his teeth, stretched into a full joyous smile.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Letter to a 15-month-old

You seem so much less like a baby as of late and more and more like a little boy. This thrills us and saddens us at the same time. I already can't remember you as a little newborn and that was not that long ago!

You understand so much. I feel like you get almost everything I am saying these days, which definitely means the boundary testing, on your part, has begun. You know when I don't want you to do something, and you get a little glint in your eye, and most of the time, you do it anyway. This means mommy and daddy need to brush up on our 'how to get toddlers to listen' info.

You try to talk now and that's fun. You say a bunch of babbly stuff and look at us like you are making perfect sense, even though you have made none. You try so hard to tell us stuff with increasing fervor and daddy and I just have to laugh because your attempts at conversation are so endearing. I have a feeling you'll be a pretty chatty toddler.

You say 'uh-oh' right before you find or grab off-limits things such as cellphone or glasses of water. You also so 'whattttt?' and 'wowww'. You have also started obnoxiously yelling 'MAAAAA!!!' which kind of reminds me of Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers, trying to get the attention of his mother in the other room to cart in some meatloaf.

You are so super physical. The other day you climbed into a drawer, balanced on a ball inside the drawer while simultaneously holding onto the oven door and reaching for the fridge. Any onlooker probably would have freaked a bit, but I see you do the most dangerous things kid.

You now go to playcare at my gym on a regular basis, and the woman who is there all the time said she couldn't keep you off the older kid's playground equipment. She showed me how you climbed up the big kid's stuff and then as you headed for the slide she started to stop you. I told her you were fine, and she was like 'No! he'll go down that big slide by himself?!' And I said, 'Oh yes, just watch." And of course, you smartly turned around backwards and there you went, all by yourself, squealing the whole way down the big kid slide. She said  "He's fearless!" And I would have to agree.

you're so independent. you would run that whole field without looking back
Unfortunately though, everyone still notices how you still take a bunch of tumbles though. People say, "I've never seen a kid fall so much!" And this is true, you biff it all the time. But I know that the only reason you do is because YOUR WILL is beyond what YOUR BODY is yet able to do. So you kind of go full force on everything, but you still got these short little toddler legs with developing muscles that haven't quite caught up with your desires, so unfortunately this ends up with your head hitting almost everything all the time. Your glee overrides your caution every time.

You went all the way to Alaska this month to visit your Grandma Deb & Grandpa Dan & Uncle Dalton on their farm in Anchorage. You had such a blast! They have animals everywhere, and you were beyond thrilled. They had a newly hatched little chick in the entryway and atleast 20 times per day you went to check on it--you peered through the little kennel and pointed and said 'ooohhaa!' or 'ddaaa' (these are your universal words for 'things that are pretty cool').

Grandma Deb took you out every day! She strapped you to her back in your puffy snowsuit and big fur hat and off you went to help her feed the horses & chickens & goats & sheep & cows & dogs! You loved it, especially the goats and the chickens. It was freezing and snowing, but you didn't mind, you loved your trips out into the yard. Daddy took you out too and even you & I went for a long walk, but mostly, you were Grandma's little helper.

outside with Grandma Deb, a chilly 10 degrees!
the sheep
your fave, the goats
 the chickens
petting Angel & Precious, the retired sled dogs
out for a walk with Daddy
Inside the house you became BFF with Zeus, the house doberman, better known as 'the nicest dog ever.' You loved to give him your breakfast and you found the dog biscuits and gave him like 20 per day.  I'm sure Zeus is missing your friendship immensely.

You were good to the cats & pretty interested in the parrot that visited one day too. You pretty much ran the place for the week we were there, and it took three days for you to be normal Dax again--you missed it so much. We missed it too as your Daddy and I got lots of breaks with all those babysitters around (it also didn't hurt that your Uncle Dalton showered us with homemade delicious pizzas everyday). I wish so much that more close relatives lived in town here--I feel like you would benefit greatly from all of those extra hugs in your life. I wish I knew how to reconcile that for you (us).

a parrot?!
hanging out with Elizabeth, your first cousin once removed :-)

a Christmas book from Grandma

saying goodbye  at the Anchorage airport,
This month has been huge for you on the sleep front. As I've already raved, you've been sleeping through the night for a couple months now. But this month, we were able to put you in your crib while you were awake! WHAT?! This is unheard of. Prior to this month, if we put you down even a smidge before you happily fell asleep in our arms or in my lap while nursing, you would stand up and scream and cry so hard. Now, it seems as if you prefer it! We get you really sleepy and then when you're almost there, we lay you down and then AND THEN you grab your blanket, turn on your side, and VOILA, Just. Like. That.

I've always laughed when people would advise 'put your baby down when they are sleepy but awake'! Ha ha ha, yeah right! You would never allow that. Until NOW! It's the most amazing thing I've ever seen. We've never really done any sleep training whatsoever (despite everyone's assurances that if we didn't you'd never learn how to sleep EVER), so the fact that you've naturally evolved into this is pretty awesome to us. Of course, you won't let us leave the room yet if you're still awake and in your crib, which means we frequently snooze next to your crib until you pass out, but hey, baby steps right?!

You had your second Christmas this year and still have no idea what's going on, but you got lots of books, toys, and clothes. Me and your daddy and your uncle cole took you on a Holiday Hayride at the Del Mar Fairgrounds to look at the cool Christmas lights. We also took you to see Santa at Old Poway Park, although we didn't get any pics with you and Santa because the darn line was too long. We figured you'd forgive us.

at Old Poway Park, awaiting Santa's arrival

You love to look out the window. You make piles of blankets and dive bomb on them. You play with cars and planes and even make the "vrooooom" sounds. You point at the sky when you hear a plane. You love to play your little instruments and when a good song shows up on Pandora you stop what you're doing to dance. 

We love you so much Dax. I know these letters are so long, but we forget so quickly--this helps me remember every you that ever was!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012: Forwards and Reflections, Three Lists

HAPPY NEW YEAR! While 2010 was The Year of Dax, 2011 definitely was a Year of Transition. Becoming a mother to Dax turned my world upside down. While I birthed him in 2010, it was 2011 that truly challenged & changed my core being. I learned that most of what I missed doing pre-child (staying up late, watching TV series marathons, going out with friends spontaneously, leisurely travel) were a thing of the past. And I learned to accept that.

I learned what it meant to be responsible for another human being, I felt the weight of that become part of Who I Am. I learned how to find time with my husband, the love of my life, and I learned that my love for him only gets deeper and stronger with each shared experience.

I learned to trust my instincts and forget the rest. He is my child and mostly, I gotta go with my gut. I learned that with that comes a certain amount of assertiveness I'm not used to. I learned that I gotta get more hard-headed about what's right for Dax according to ME (and Dave of course!). I also learned that every other mother in the world has the same damn right. Give her that same respect. At the same time, I learned to be open to ideas, because sometimes I simply just do not know the answer.

Without further ado, the lists....

Ten Highlights 2011:

1. Probably the biggest was our cruise with our family to the Southern Caribbean with our then 8 month old. What an incredible & beautiful experience to share with my loved ones. We saw Puerto Rico, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Barbados, St. Croix i.e. some of the most gorgeous place on earth. A highlight of my life.

2. My third niece, Pria Ann, being born on August 12. I am so thankful that she is healthy and am constantly amazed by how big the heart can get to fit in all these new little beings in our lives!

3. I joined a well-organized and tight-knit stay-at-home mom's group that always has lots of fun and different stuff on the calendar. The playdates I've attended and moms I have met have helped smooth the transition from mehood to mommyhood. I anticipate building some long-term friendships with some of these lovely girls.

4. My cousin Josh got married in September, so we traveled to Fargo to attend the wedding. It was so cool to see all of my cousins and our little ones play together. I also got to see my grandma & lots of my aunts and uncles I haven't seen for awhile. It was an awesome celebration. (Bonus: I hear my cousin and his new wife are pregnant now!!!)

5. Taking a road trip up to Thief River Falls, Minnesota where Dave's dad and extended family live & farm on their family's homestead. I love that my mom went with us to share that time with us too. We got to see Dave's grandma & lots of his aunts & uncles (and introduce them to Dax!). They threw an impromptu bday party for Dax and showered him with clothes and toys.

6. The weekend of Dax's first birthday party and baptism. Everyone from Minnesota & Alaska & Arizona came and our house was filled with celebration & love. I also loved his absolutely beautiful & precious baptism in our backyard, facilitated by the same man who married Dave & I, who flew in from AZ.

7. Another year of countless visitors! You name it--family & friends--it never ended! Two of my Bff's from AZ, Kasey & Beth, visited me twice this year. Dave's friends visited & the Blue family visited. Dave's dad & brother & mom. My dad & stepmom & siblings. My mom & sis & three nieces--Nova, Pria, and Tatum. Extended family visited too. San Diego sure doesn't lack in people who want to come here (although Dax prolly helps too :-)).

8. Five trips to see family. Two trips to MN (one in May for sister's baby shower & another for Pria's birth in September). Two trips to AZ (one in March for friend's wedding & another in June for Father's Day). One trip to Alaska at Christmastime (I LOVED spending time at the farm up there with Dave's family and watching Dax have such a ball was so much fun--he LOVED all the animals!)

9. Finding balance. Thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law, we were able to interview and hire a sitter for a once-a-month date night. We found the perfect person for our family and have been enjoying a night on the town! I also joined a gym near our house that I can walk to that has playcare and even drop-off times in case I need to run some errands. Also, my brother is now watching Dax once a month during the day so we can have some free time. I anticipate this will all just keep getting better and better, although I still wish with all my might that we had a grandma or aunt around that we could get some more relief.

10. Watching Dax reach major milestones has been such a huge joy this year. Rolling over. Sitting up. Walking. SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. And now starting to try to talk! It has been so cool to see him grow & change from an infant into a toddler--what a miracle life is.

Here's is my list from last year, in review....

1) That Dave moves closer to his actual profession. His happiness is so important to me & our family & our future. Yes! Dave, in all his free time (omg how did he do it?!), studied for and got his California Real Estate License. We are one-step closer to him getting back into the profession he loves! 

2) That I find some way, some how, to build some income for myself. Um, yeah right, unless you count selling used cloth diapers on diaperswappers or old baby stuff on craigslist, then I'm pretty much unable to earn a single dime. Will modify for next year.

3) That I start something altruistic that will change the world. or my community. Yea, no. I quit the only volunteer thing I was doing. WTF? 

4) Make exercise a part of my daily life. for health. for life. Absolutely. I walk all the time with Dax. He loves to go outside and so do I. I have only hit a few yoga classes this year, but with new gym membership, I'm thinking this will change.

5) Continue working on healthy food living. Cook more. Eat more locally grown. Consume less crap. Food is life.  Because carting around a baby is hard to do & sucks away the budget, I eat at home almost 95% of the time and prolly ate better this year than I have any other year of my life. We also are almost exclusively getting our fruits & veggies from the local farmer's market, so that Dax and us stay pretty seasonal and local. 

6) Change the way we buy. Try to buy & eat from small businesses. Buy more used.  Use $$$ to create world I want to live in.  No Doubt! I get most baby stuff used. I am trying to shop less at big chain groceries and instead buy at places like Trader Joe's (which I know is everywhere, but I love them and they rock and I never want them to leave). I am trying to check the desire to purchase new things and only assess need, not want. I still have a ways to go on this goal, but feel like I've made significant progress this year. 

7) Get a handle on sleep. Dax has turned our world upside-down and sleep is very, very elusive. I believe it's possible to regain some of it with a healthy dose of education and consistency. YES!!! Dax starting sleeping through the night at the ripe old age of 13 months. 

8) Balance. Keep relationship with Dave lovely by making time for each other sans baby. Find group of SAHMs with young kids so I don't feel trapped at home i.e. make mom friends! For sure! Well, Dave and I still need a lot more time for each other, but we've made gains by finding a sitter and utilizing my bro. Also did join a group of SAHMs and am making mom friends galore! 

9) Friendships. Build some friendships here in San Diego. Try to be more in touch with the good friends that I do have.  I would say I'm iffy on this one. While I have the seeds of friendships here in San Diego, we still haven't really taken roots yet. I truly believe that now that Dax is a little more self-sufficient, that some of the potential friendships will grow deeper this year. It takes awhile to grow a true friendship! In terms of staying in touch with friends I do have in other states? Um, so-so. I call and see when I can and send cards, but prolly could call more. 

10) Think progress, not perfection. Major fail. I am a bit too hard on myself. 

Forwards: my dreams, hopes, & goals for 2012

1). That we sell my old pick-up truck and buy a car! We need another four-door car so Dave doesn't have to haul my little purple truck down to Spring Valley every day! 
2) That Dave moves ever closer to his career goals: building on his client list and sales so he can finally make the cut from his current job. 
3) That I finish a 365-page draft of my first novel. That's a page a day--I can do that i can do it i can do it. 
4) That I grow & birth another healthy child--that's right, we're ready folks! 
5)  Continue making healthy lifestyle choices by increasing my vegetable intake (and Dax's!), trying new healthy recipes, going to yoga more, & trying to meditate more. 
6) That I grow more in my spiritual life, either by finding a place to improve relationship with God or by simply praying more or finding a way to maintain the focus on a more consistent basis.
7) Read more! Whereas last year I clocked in prolly like five books :-(, I intend this year to read at least 20! 
8) Waste less time. Cut out as much bullshit as possible. Biggest time wasters? Reality TV (confession: Beverly Hills Housewives and the Kardashians anyone?!) and mindless internet browsing. 
9) Find more personal time & time with Dave. I feel desperate for both of these. We've made some gains, but far from enough to make the soul feel quite right. 
10) Continue to build on my current relationships here and away. Go see my cousin James & his wife Kristen more in San Clemente (ps another highlight of 2011 is they had a healthy baby girl!). Spend time building new friendships here from my mom's group. Get a sitter & go out to dinner with our other friends more. Call out-of-state friends and family more. 
11) That we get through this next year of toddlerdom with joyful hearts :-).

HAPPY 2012 family, friends, and blogging friends! 

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