Friday, August 29, 2014
Last year I wrote a similar post for Blanche, "Blanche Olive at Almost Two Years Old" and now it is already less than two months until her third birthday. Being pregnant and having a newborn all during Blanche's entire third year of life has made it fly by quickly.
While reading back on her last year post I feel like I kind of focused on petty things. Maybe at the time they seemed like a big deal to me. I guess I thought at almost two Blanche shouldn't dart into the parking lot. And now I know that when Rosemary is still under two years old I will probably still be holding her hand even just near a parking lot. But that is kind of how it always is with the first child. I too was the first child, and I know the most pressure and responsibility was put upon me growing up. I was the one who had to set the example. Most first borns tend to be independent as well. Which reading back to last year's post and the story of Blanche darting into the parking lot, I know she probably was refusing to hold my hand.
Comparing Blanche last year to this year feels like she has really grown from a bit of baby left to a little girl. I know she is still very little, but she now speaks in full sentences and has strong opinions and can tell us about them clearly. And sometimes she just screams. Actually lately there has been a lot more screaming. But she is learning how to control it better. I tell her she has to go in the other room and scream, preferably into a pillow. She does pretty good with that.
I know I place a lot of responsibility on her. But honestly I think she wants most of it. Now, I do know she would rather be carried from the car to our door every time, instead of walking. She would also prefer for it to be laying next to her every night as she drifts to sleep. But she and Andrew have grown very close in the last year. They have a bond that is very different than the two of us. They play fun games, and Andrew always handles her meltdowns much better. I may know the details of how she likes things to be done, like two bowls of different dry cereal in the morning currently (you pick your battles right?). But Andrew has a calming effect on Blanche similar to his calming with me.
My mom said she noticed a big difference with Blanche the last time she saw her this month in her ability to entertain herself. She also fell asleep in my mom's hotel room one night. I am proud that Blanche has gotten better at self entertaining and calming herself as well. Just two years ago I could have never imagined the baby that was glued to my hip (or really breast) would ever be falling sleeping with just daddy or in Nana's hotel room.
Blanche also has an extraordinary imagination. She makes up stories and loves to role play by all of us family members switching roles. In the pictures above she was "mommy" with my sunglasses and big sun hat. And then she immediately became a scarecrow to scare away the birds. Um, thanks. I guess a mommy and scarecrow costume is one in the same.
We also have a responsibility chart with magnet smiles for her to put on the different chores and tasks she accomplishes each day. We are working on helping to pick up, being respectful (you know, not hitting and screaming etc.. ) and also self care (taking a bath, getting dressed, and brushing teeth). She is already pretty good at saying please and thank you.
Right now my favorite word Blanche has been saying is "area." Sounds funny but I use the word to describe a "play area" and she pronounces it similar to "aaeeeyyyaaa." I don't really know how to spell it out but its super cute. She is very loving and caring to Rosemary, and repeats so many things to her that she hears us say. Like, "Oh hi you little baby!" and "You so cute! You a big girl!"
Blanche loves to be outside, ride her bike, play at a playground, go to Gigi and Showpas house, hike, swim, watch Caillou, Barney, Thomas the Train, and Daniel Tiger. She loves to draw and paint. Blanche will freely grab her own paper and art supplies and draw pictures for our family. She also loves to make up songs like "Helping Blanche" "I Like Making Messes" and "Bunny Snacks" which are all hits at our house.
Some of her favorite toys are her family of sock monkeys, her three wooden trains, her little wooden kittens, many stuffed animals, and her small Elsa and Ana from Gigi. She likes to read, but it is lower on her list of favorites.
If you tell Blanche we can go get something to eat most days now she will say she wants chick fil a and wants "chicken, french fries, and lemonade." The only thing I have seen her literally eat until she is sick (but most times we have to force her to stop) is donuts. Anything else she can control herself pretty well, but donuts she will eat and eat.
She also likes to dress herself and is becoming more "girly" in wanting to wear tutu and dress like things. Before this stage it was always a comfortable t-shirt.
These are a lot of things I can think of off the top of my head. I should be better at writing these types of things down. I know time moves fast and many times the things I remember are only because of my blog posts or instagram. Blanche is almost three and continues to be passionate and intense, like she has been since birth. I do however see a calmness in her that comes at times (maybe it is tiredness because of no nap) but I am enjoying that side as well.
Blanche I love you! You are the one who makes my heart ache with love at night when you are fast asleep, and you are teaching me how to control my own emotions better with your own.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
I probably could have been better at writing things down as Rosemary has been growing. Luckily Instagram seems to be a great way for a busy mom to snap pictures and write little bits day to day. This morning Andrew's mom took Blanche for a day of fun with Gigi. I got my camera out and started treating Rosemary like an only child. My girls are funny. Rosemary likes what she is use to. Which most of the time is Blanche grabbing her by her head, yelling "Rosemary Rosemary Rosemary!!" Once Blanche had left with Gigi this morning Rosemary immediately did not know what to do with herself. It is sweet to see these sisters so close already in life.
I wanted to snap a few pictures of Rosemary playing without Blanche on top of her. Rosemary has been sitting up well since six months. She will be seven months next week. I told my mom last night that I think when Rosemary is older and asks about herself as a baby I will always reply, "You were just the sweetest baby. Always so sweet." She has her fussy moments for sure. And she also has the ability to drive me nuts. Or like last night when nursing her to sleep she lifted her head and slammed it into mine... all while trying to crawl over me. But those moments are rare. Most of the time she is smiling and even waving to people. She started her little wave around six months as well. When we were living with Andrew's parents for a week between houses. We were always surrounded by people and she started moving her hand up and down like Showpa would when he would say, "Hiii Roossemaarrry...!"
In the pictures I take, her hair continues to look strawberry blonde. I keep hoping and praying it will stay a little red and not go all the way to blonde like Blanche. I would love to have both a blonde and a redhead. She has plenty of rolls on her legs like Blanche did, maybe a little less of a tummy than Blanche at that age. Thanks to her Gigi and Showpa, Rosemary's favorite song is "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes" by Edison Lighthouse. A late 60's hit. Here are the lyrics. Pretty fitting if you ask me:
Rosemary has a fuzzy little head of hair and the sweetest gummy smile. She smells like fruit and essential oils. She is rocking back and forth on all fours about to crawl and discover the world on her own. She bounces and laughs and loves when Blanche jumps on her. She is full of spirit like her sister, but seems to have maybe a little more joy in the place of Blanche's full driven passion. Rosemary is just the baby I never knew I wanted. She is pure sweetness, and I love her slobbery kisses.
Hear Rosemary's favorite song
Friday, August 15, 2014
In my mind I had taken so many pictures while we were in Arkansas. The reality once again, is that most of the time I am already doing 3-5 different things. Most of the time it includes wearing Rosemary, nursing Rosemary, helping with Blanche, talking with someone else, and so on. So once again, I find that I took a lot of pictures on my phone. We did have one nice slow morning that I was able to take a few pictures. The first morning that we were in town, we were able to spend time with Joy and Rosa. Andrew and I had both worked with Joy, and I have known her personally almost as long as I lived in Siloam. I guess we met around eight or nine years ago. Which in itself seems sort of crazy.
I had wondered what coming back to Siloam would feel like. I thought maybe since I had been away everything would feel so different. But it was all so familiar. Yes, it was only a year we were away, but the odd part about it was it felt like maybe we only left for a day. All of our friend's babies now being toddlers was the biggest sign of a year away. Maybe a couple of new shops downtown and the new fountain at our old college campus. But everyone was still warm and friendly, every time we would go to get coffee we would bump into some we knew. I almost felt like a movie star or maybe that I was just in a movie. About a small little town were everyone literally knows your name. It was so comforting to know something so well for once, after a year in a big and unknown city.
To try and post a few pictures of our trip, and then wrap up a very busy four day wedding weekend into a couple of paragraphs is not something that I really want to do. Mostly because I am tired, and its late. But overall it was sort of perfect in its own little way. I felt almost on a high from seeing so many people I knew. Old friends and college roommates, old regulars from the coffee shop, and my mom and aunt were also there to help with the girls. I think as we drove away from that weekend I felt very loved. It was my birthday the day we drove eleven hours in the car. I wasn't too bummed though. I felt like all the hugs I had been given were still with me. Maybe that sounds cheesy. It was just nice to have real hugs with people I had known for such a long time. I kept telling multiple friends I just wanted to snuggle them. I think maybe because with all my newer friends in Austin we just aren't to that stage yet. You can't move somewhere and live there a year, and expect the friendships to be the same as people you have known for a decade.
Part of me wished I could be giving my girls this simple and quaint little town for their childhood. As we walked from the coffee shop downtown Friday morning, I told Blanche as she rode in the stroller with Rosa, "Blanche this is the walk you and mommy use to take every day. There are ducks down here in the creek that we use to feed and a park down the sidewalk." She doesn't really remember any of Siloam. Only the back bakery in the cafe. Where she told Andrew, "Daddy worked hard!"
It is easy to come back to a place on vacation and see all of the good memories. I like how Andrew always puts our time in Siloam. It was so good for a season. And that is really all of life. Just season after season. Slowly making up years. I came back to Texas surprisingly ancy to move. I keep telling Andrew Colorado sounds so nice. Maybe by going back to where we came from I saw the adventure we have had. I just love a good adventure. I love meeting new people and seeing what life is like in different parts of the country and world.
It was such a happy trip and time with friends and family. I had never thought we would be returning for a visit so soon. I also think that although the last month has been busy with moving, and family visiting and us traveling, that it has helped me come out of a bit of the depression I was in after having Rosemary. Sometimes I feel like this blog seems really self-centered. But thats sort of what a blog is for. A personal diary. That you know people are reading. I often go through my days just waiting for that moment when the kids are asleep and I have time to myself. And probably 9 out of 10 nights I end up just going to bed rather than sitting down to write. Often times when I do write I talk about my girls or whatever little thing I might be going through. But I sit down to write mostly just to hear myself think. After cleaning messes all day and hearing babies cry, it can be difficult to remember what my own voice sounds like. But that is never to say I am not so thankful for my girls and my job as their mother. I often will have highs and lows. Maybe depressive episodes. Many times at night I lay awake thinking of all the sadness there is in the world. I pray for the hurting people, I sometimes become afraid of how fragile we all really are. But my heart always falls to the left of me, where Rosemary is snuggled beside me, and then Andrew, and then Blanche. They are my whole world, and I realize that love is what makes all the little things not matter so much.
I have trouble after busy days clearing my mind to sit down and write. I struggle between being a documentarian and not wanting to feel like its a book report. Thats why you may never actually know what my blog post is about by reading the title. Or even the first paragraph. I am sure I have failed on proper and organized writing skills.
All this to say... I know I am love in Arkansas. There are so many people there that love my whole family. They love me. It feels good to be loved. The world can be so painful and I know love is the only thing that saves us. It was happy to feel loved and leave Arkansas knowing we can always return.
Friday, August 8, 2014
Lately inconsistency has been our consistency. I wonder what it is like for nomads. Well, I am sure actual nomads that are forced to live that way don't have very happy lives. Or maybe they do, and they just cling to the most important things around them, probably their families. I am probably spoiled by being comforted by all my things and the feeling I get when everything is set up and feels like home.
I can easily fall into cliches and cheesy writing. But its because so many of those cliches are just so true. I always talk to death the idea of bringing a new thought to a cliche. But the truth is its a cliche because enough people have probably realized its true. Almost just like a catchy truth. But lets all just embrace it for a moment. Home is where the heart is.
We have this saying on a little fabric heart magnet on our fridge. It is pretty ugly. I love it. My cousin and best friend had it on their townhouse fridge when they moved in a couple of years ago. I asked if I could take it. Because that little saying just makes me happy. Even if I become that little sentimental seventy year old woman when I stick in on my own fridge every time we move.
Its late and my mind is trying to think too hard. I want to bring something new. But I also just want to write that today was so happy. There is this image in my mind of our old life in Arkansas. It is when we were living in our little pale blue townhouse in downtown Siloam Springs. In this memory Blanche is 18 months old. She is the perfect age. She still nurses for comfort, and is so much of a baby still. I am almost pregnant with Rosemary. Andrew works at the cafe downtown. Blanche and I walk to get him from work each afternoon. Its spring and our dogwood in the backyard is in full bloom, and I hang my cloth diapers off a rope tied to it. Blanche wears her hair in pigtails and has on overalls. Andrew roasts coffee out in the front yard or works in his garden in the back. We bake together. Eat together. Laugh and play together.
This image is what I have been holding onto for the last year. I have come to realize (and partly knew as it was happening) that these are all the happy times squished into one giant memory. They are several instagram pictures taken at the perfect moment. I talk about these times to Andrew and I say I know we never had any money when we lived in Arkansas. Or health care. Or a real career. I knew we would never stay there forever. I wanted more adventure. But there was just something I always felt like I was missing just a bit of and I could never put my finger on what it really was.
And then today, I felt like that feeling was here. It was back again. Not to say there was never a happy moment in our old apartment. I just think maybe I had been tired for a very long time. We moved to Austin when I was pregnant. Andrew had a part time job and then two. Then he advanced quickly in his career as we brought home a second baby. I tandem nursed. I carried sleeping children across the parking lot and up the stairs by myself at the same time. I missed being outside.
So much of the beginning of this year was survival. And then by the time things felt more calm, we were packing boxes and moving. And looking and not finding. And then finding. And then staying in Georgetown. And then moving. And then family coming. And then traveling across the country. And then coming home and doing laundry. And then... we were home. All of the sudden the long list of happy yet tiring tasks had started to shorten. And I realized today that I wasn't that tired anymore.
Our trip to Arkansas was full of friends and memories relived. Andrew and I felt like we jumped back in time a bit. On our way home I told Andrew that I didn't really feel like I had a home. Missouri doesn't feel like home anymore and neither did Arkansas. And Texas is still so new. But something happened today when Andrew was off of work and for the first time in so long, we were all just here together.
Home is where the heart is. As cheesy as it may be. The longer version is that home is where I nurse my babies to sleep. Home is where I hang my cloth diapers in the sun (even if they tell me to take them down...) Home is where Andrew roasts coffee and Blanche learns to play new games. Home is where we eat and where we sleep. Where we make memories and write down the mundane stories of the day. As humans I think we all crave something familiar. I know any home I ever have is so much more than many. But tiredness can often blind you from what you really have. It can make people you love seem distant or happiness seem foggy. Maybe I am just refreshed and excited for the new of this place.
Today was so happy. We did projects around the house and spent time together with no real obligations. Rosemary had her first popsicle, and Blanche who hasn't wanted her picture taken all of the sudden wanted me to take hers too. I have other pictures to share but I really just wanted to write my thoughts out before they left. There is something so freeing about sitting and just letting my fingers fly uninterrupted. I know my words aren't always wise or maybe even correct, but I am still going to tell my own story. Andrew told me the other day that I just need to write. And then leave it. Its out there. Its me. I always talk about what this blog is for. Sometimes I think its mostly that my brain is a big pile of laundry and I am just sorting through it all putting my thoughts in different piles. Sorting by texture or color. I always sort of love doing laundry. I act like it is such a task, but deep down I love to take a big huge pile of mess and make it clean and neat and ready once again.