Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Day in the City

On Friday Andrew and I decided to take a day to really explore the city. We do live in the city limits of Austin, but we love in the north part of the city. We mostly did this to be close to Andrew's parents as we adjusted and also for when the new baby comes. If we had moved to south Austin, it could have been an hour drive from them to us over just twenty minutes from where they live north of Austin. I am glad we decided to do this. We also weren't too sure of where Andrew would even be working. He did get hired at Whole Foods. However he is working at the one downtown. So we will see how long we stay where we are. The only thing I don't really like as much being in northern part is that it feels like we are sort of in the suburbs. A lot of the "nice" shops and restaurants are around us, but Austin really gets more "weird" in the center. Andrew and I like the weird. Or at least that more creative part.

One thing that is also different about moving to a new city with a baby or toddler, is that you can't just take a whole day to explore and figure things out. We are pretty laid back with Blanche and her schedule, but the girl has to have at least one nap at some point in the afternoon. Which that can really break up a day. Having to drive home and wait for two hours.

On Friday we decided to just pack everything we could possibly need. Swimsuits, changes of clothes, lots of diapers, snacks, water, etc was put into the van. We decided to just conquer the day. Blanche has actually taken to falling asleep pretty easily in the car now, so we thought we would just take it as it came. First we ate at Taco Deli. I had a breakfast taco with mashed potatoes and bacon. That can really rock a pregnant lady's world. I was feeling strong for the day ahead. Then, we headed out to Barton Springs Pool. Its a huge spring fed pool. It is 68 degrees year around and has moss and grass on parts of the bottom. Blanche has been pretty good about water, although she does like to stick to the steps at our new apartment pool. I did not think too much about what she would think of "the big pool." She kept talking about the pool and seemed excited enough. The first photo was when we first arrived. I love that I accidentally got the woman doing her yoga in the shot. Blanche was excited and couldn't wait. She did great as we all waded as a family into the freezing cold water off the entrance ramp. But that was a as far as she wanted to go. Another mom who was also pregnant with a toddler told us we could borrow their little floaty boat. Blanche cried at that. She cried at us picking her up. She cried at us taking her out. And by cry I mean half cry, half scream, with added "no No NO." I really tried to keep my cool for quite awhile. But it wasn't that she just didn't want to get it. She wanted to walk, okay run, every where on her own, cry, and try to do everything independently. I was a little stressed at one point. We obviously survived. Andrew doesn't care that much for swimming so he helped and walked with Blanche while I at least swam a little. I figured if I ate mashed potatoes for breakfast I should at least swim a little.

Of course, when I look back today at the pictures, I really feel for Blanche looking at that second picture. Eating her snack with a worried little look on her face. She is like me. Like almost all me. She wants to be independent and free, but she worries and wants to do things her own way. I get that. She told me later (several times) that she cried at the pool. It was cold. And very slippery and different. Maybe next year.

I knew Blanche was exhausted. We decided to change clothes and head out. I went into what seemed like a 70's built dressing room. There was a courtyard with beautiful plants and yellow walls. All the dressing rooms were lined around it. I would have taken a picture but there were lots of naked women. Mostly women in their 60's with long gray hair and trim bodies. I felt like I was in a hippy commune or something. Maybe I just haven't been around a lot of serious swimmers. Plus I forgot to pack a bra, so I felt like I fit in. I really felt like I was finally in Austin, Texas.

Blanche passed out in the car listening to Justin Timberlake (its always him or Regina Spektor, and she will tell us which she needs). Andrew went in and tried a coffee shop while I sat with her. Then we switched, and I was going to "pop" into a natural baby store. Thirty minutes later I came out with a bag of natural mama samples and the name of a new "friend." We went on to eat lunch and then decided to take Blanche to the Children's Museum. I love how serious Blanche looks in the first picture. She did have a blast though. There was so much for her to do. We ended the day getting frozen yogurt and driving home in five o'clock traffic. We were out for probably eight hours with a toddler. And we survived. It was a good day.

The only thing was yesterday I felt like I had forgotten I was pregnant all day Friday. I felt so tired. And nauseous. But luckily those seven eleven slurpees can bring me out of anything.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

That Time We Moved Across the Country

I had honestly forgotten about some of these pictures that were still on my camera. I remembered the first sweet picture with Sarah and Blanche though. During our last few weeks in Siloam Blanche and I sort of created a little morning routine to help pass the time while our house was half packed in boxes. We would walk to the cafe to see Andrew, and then go to the back and tell Miss Sarah hi. She would always give Blanche some baked good. Blanche started saying, "Sas sash." Blanche really takes to people who give her pastries. Sarah is one of those beautiful and kind people and Blanche knows it. For whatever reason, Sarah has been the only person Blanche has tried to "find" in Texas. Anytime we see a younger woman with dark brown hair, "Sas sash." She desperately wants to find Sarah. That may be the one thing that really makes me feel homesick.

I think sometimes Blanche just does or says things that so loudly exclaim how I might feel inside too. Like she is trying to find someone she knows other than Gigi and Showpa in this new big city. And sometimes she's really excited for a new place. Other times she cries, and sometimes she just falls asleep. I do these things too, hopefully in a little bit more of a grownup fashion. I think the thing that has surprised me the most about moving is that although I miss my friends and the special people that were in my life in Siloam, it hurts me more to hear Blanche talk about our friends and to see that she obviously misses them. The mother in me now aches for her to find little friends at the park. I am surprised by my worry more for her sake than my own. I guess that is what being a mother is all about. Caring for your children over yourself. I really recently had a friend ask me what she thought it meant to be a good mother, and as I write this I think so much of being a good mother is simply caring for your children's needs over your own. Not that a mother should ignore her needs, but sometimes what I think "I need" is to watch reruns of The Office and eat ice cream by myself at ten at night. And sometimes Blanche needs something at that time. (This may have happened last night). The good Ol' Christian American parent in me tells myself that its okay to force Blanche to stay in bed through tears because she needs to obey. But then my heart reminds myself that Blanche is still nursing, and that now that I am almost fifteen weeks pregnant and have hardly any milk left, maybe Blanche is having a hard time. And maybe, she isn't trying to be bad. Maybe she just needs more mama. More mama later than I'd like.

The thing stretching me the most so far in this move, (besides intense city driving…yes I've only driven once) is learning to continue to parent in a loving way while things are difficult. I know Blanche is trying to adjust to her new home, her new life, her new way of having to comfort herself to sleep more now that I'm pregnant and physically unable to give her what I use to. I have to be there to love her when I'm tired and worn out. Thank God I have an amazing husband who lets me sleep in and take naps. I also thank God that He has shown me what true love is. Because without Him I would have no idea how to parent. I mean, I'm sure I'm still not doing it right at times. Like some mornings, I literally push Blanche away when she wants to nurse (I read this is normal… so I don't feel too guilty).

There is so much floating around inside my head. The last two and half weeks here have felt more like two and half months. Siloam seems so far away. I wanted to post these pictures because they were the last two days in Siloam. We were able to see my dad and step mom, and Blanche was able to see her cousins. I loved the look on Rosa and Blanche's face in the last picture. When we first were at Joy's house she had done the same thing to Blanche, squirting her with a little water toy. The first time Blanche looked at her kind of weird, and Rosa wondered why her mommy was playing with another baby. By the end of the week, we all knew each other. We were almost family. I so appreciate and love that my last week in Siloam was such a good one. It obviously makes leaving Joy and my other friends even harder. I have felt a little unconnected from my friends and family the last couple of weeks. My phone continually drops calls in this apartment. Plus we didn't have internet so I had little ways to connect. Its almost felt like a weird vacation where you bring every physical possession with you.

I know things will start to fall into place. I already love that there's a Seven Eleven down the road with six flavors of slurpees. I know you are thinking, "you move to Austin and THATS what you are excited about? A gas station?" But hey, I'm pregnant. And its the small things.

But really its the small things and a million other things. I know I will grow to know and love the area. I love being close to Andrew's parents and the relationship not only Andrew and I will have with them but for Blanche as well. You all know Blanche, she has yet to let Gigi hold her. She did however cry when Gigi left the car today.

We also tried out a church that literally felt like I could breathe again in a church. I think its going to be good.

Thats all I have for now. I should probably change this blog name to "Nap time Ramblings" but I'm sure that blog already exists.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Our Neighborhood Goodbye

This is one of those posts where I feel like all of the pictures really tell my emotions. That and I'm tired, and I think I'd rather go to bed then write much. Sometimes when you are about to leave something you realize in that very moment just how sweet the experience has been.

I know I will never have neighbors like this "on accident" ever again. Our barbecue last night felt like just as much of a goodbye for Blanche and her little friends as for us adults. Both neighbors have bought a house in the last month and our little town home strip is emptying out. Somethings are meant to only last for a season. As sweet as it has been at times, I know none of us had ever planned on renting there forever. When we first moved in I was pregnant with Blanche. I first met Jennifer and her family when Blanche was a baby in my arms, and their oldest son Henry was barely walking. I met Carolyn when we were both pregnant with the girls. Now she has had little Annie after Ruthie, Jennifer has had Calvin, and I'm pregnant again as well. We have all been busy, but it was always nice to see one another outside as we hung our cloth diapers in the sun. Sometimes our backyard felt like another era. I will truly miss these great mamas that lived just right next door.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Staying at Joy's

I am lucky enough to have a friend like Joy. She is the type of friend that literally just went up to Andrew at work one day a few weeks back and told him that if for some reason we needed a place to stay while in between homes, she would gladly house us. It must have been God directing her, because that very day we found out that we did get an apartment down in Austin, but that our move out date and move in date was going to be off by about eight days.

Joy said that we could bring our herb garden (that's housed in several containers) to put on the side of her house, and our house plants on her porch. Of course, she made sure this was all okay with Jon, but she had a feeling it would be. And Rosa, their beautiful little baby… hopefully Rosa would be entertained by it all.

Joy gave us their entire upstairs, with our paintings and my essential oils resting near our suitcases in one room, and a huge mattress on the floor in the other room. Just like home. We even have five milk crates full of our pantry in her kitchen.

It has been so nice this week knowing that everything is in storage and the things that can't be left in the heat or things we would worry about are here with us. Andrew has his instruments, and we even have our computer set up on the guest room desk. I am so thankful for Joy and how much stress was alleviated by her offer and hospitality.

Life is real and even though Joy and I had first imagined a week long party with our babies, Monday sort of hit us like a Monday. I was extra tired and felt a little weighed down by everything. I felt like we were mostly changing diapers side by side. But I'd say each day has been getting better. First, starting off with a latte yesterday, and then Andrew being home with us today. By about four o'clock today we were having our party. The girls were outside in the baby pool, and we were all eating watermelon. At one point when I looked over I couldn't help but see the photo op with Joy and Rosa sitting in the sun.

Sometimes life can feel tiring and busy, and I just want to get everything done. It can be easy to want to be in Texas and moved in to our new place. I will say though, sometimes being forced to wait for a week, having quality time with friends and family is truly a gift. I am so thankful for these last moments in Siloam. Andrew exclaimed one day how nice it was just to read. I even watched an entire movie in one sitting. This rest has been needed and will be such a sweet time to look back on.

Tomorrow is my favorite holiday. The Fourth of July. I love it the most because people tend to forget about it. But it always involves family and friends and being outside. That to me is the perfect holiday. We are having waffles for breakfast as well, and I have been craving those. Only a few more days and then we are off for Texas on Monday morning. I can't believe it is so close to happening.

(The video by the way is Andrew helping Blanche sing a song she wrote for Rosa all on her own. This week she has walked up to the keyboard and bursted out "Yeah yeah yeah baby Rosa")