Life? Not Too Shabby

Serious dork confession here: at least every other day, there’s a moment where I stop and think to myself, “Wow. I love my life.”

Seriously. Who is this girl?!

20140911. Birdie photo bomb.

Our favorite play things – the nasty old mirror on the inside of Chris’ closet and Birdie.

And then it occurs to me that life probably isn’t like that for a lot lot lot of people. And then I wonder if Chris feels the same way. Hell, five years ago, I definitely didn’t feel this way. Even two years ago, I didn’t have these moments wash over me quite so frequently. Blame it on the baby and the massive, life-changing decisions that have defined the last year and a half?

091023. oh, hi!

Me. Five years ago. Not looking like I love my life.

It’s not super easy, and it’s not perfect. But I’ve decided I need to kick perfect to the side of the road. It’s great, and I love it. Even the hard stuff.

I think a lot of it is that I’m starting to feel settled in this whole motherhood gig. Looking back, the first four or five months were me battening down the hatches. Being a mom was so all-consuming. I went from successful working person to OMG WTF DO I DO WITH THIS TINY CREATURE (and with myself). I had no idea what being a mom was going to look like for us.

IMG_0032

I hardly remember what we did all day when he was this tiny.

We’re seven months in now, and I feel like Willem and I “get” each other these days. I’m expanding my fellow mom friendships and feeling confident in getting out of the house and doing stuff. EX: Willem and I met up with a friend for a youth orchestra recital (at a McDonald’s, of all places – a McDonald’s WITH A STAGE. Only in Broad Ripple) today, and he sat in my lap, eating sweet potatoes and taking in the world while friend and I chatted. We can DO stuff like that now, because we get each other, you know?

Baby brigade takes over City Market.

Us downtown this past week, kicking it in the fall foliage with our iced coffee (for mom) and sweet potatoes (for Willem) at City Market.

I’m knitting and cross-stitching and making friendship bracelets and doing “me” stuff again – note that this is stuff that, five months ago, I had literally no concept of how I would ever be able to fit it into my life again. Like, really. I was just keeping my head down and hoping to fake it til I made it.

Now? I’m able to lift my gaze, and the view is good. I can see, if not the horizon, at least to the end of the road. The more comfortable I get with this whole mom thing, the more I’m able to dream and plan and think about other things again. Fun things. Crafty things. Projects. Friends and relationships. Farms in the Smokies. Tiny houses and big barns. You know, life and stuff and the future.

So life? Yes. I love it.

A Gratuitous Post All About LOVE and THE FUTURE

Today marks our one-year wedding anniversary. What a wonderful, insane year it has been.

20130907. Our wedding!

20130907. Our wedding!

20130907. Our Wedding!

20130907. Our Wedding!

20130907. Our Wedding!

For instance, we now have some new residents: tens of thousands of bees and an adorable almost-seven-month-old.

Willem adores his BFF Crosby:
Friends.

Homies and their chew toys.

As always, we are looking to the future. I think that’s one of the coolest things about us as a couple: we push each other and support each other and egg each other on with whatever latest hairbrained scheme one of us has until it doesn’t seem so hairbrained anymore and we actually do it.

Today’s discussion (during lunch at La Margarita, our fave Mexican restaurant, which I hadn’t visited since my due date) centered around finding some land/buying a farm so Chris could start raising nucs and building top bar hives (the latter he could do here; the former, not so much). I also had a really freaking amazing idea last night centered around food deserts and a new way of getting produce to communities who would maybe love to eat fresh produce if only they had access…. And that’s all I want to say about THAT because I might actually want to try to do it at some point.

I’m also exploring new ways to spread art into the world (and maybe make a little cash on the side so we can maybe, possibly, actually get us some land one of these days) and have re-opened my Etsy shop! Visit me at www.etsy.com/shop/famousthecat and get yourself a custom “home sweet home” print to display your own family love all year round.

Here’s ours:
20140712. Updated Home Sweet Home.

ALL THE THINGS!

TODAY:

  • Dig out all the weeds growing in the lettuce bed.
  • Steam some green beans for Willem’s lunch.
  • Cut back the blackberries.
  • Pull ALL THE WEEDS.
  • Lay down plastic to KILL ALL FUTURE WEEDS.
  • Mow.
  • Buy winter rye for cover cropping (and a bunch of other seeds) from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
  • Update a website and track the produce from our last CSA of the summer.
  • Get some more work done on our family portrait.

Family.

  • Make rosemary-lavender simple syrup.
  • Go buy some fixings to make a pumpkin pie. I need some pumpkin pie like whoa.
  • Play with, feed, talk to, smile at, put down for naps, read to, and change the Willem.

This guy.

  • Take at least two showers.
  • Drink ice water, eat ice cream, watch the series finale of The Killing, and drink pumpkin beer in our underwear under the fan once all of the above is complete.

Also? It is stupid hot and humid out there. STUPID.

Balance

So… I was supposed to return from maternity leave to my old, full-time, wonderful job on May 15. I had been there six years and had very much climbed the ladder (and had been given the opportunity, trust, and support to do so from my boss, co-workers, our board, our members… everyone) in terms of both salary and job responsibilities/title. It was an awesome place to grow and learn, and in those respects it was very hard to not go back.

In the I-have-a-Willem-now respect, though, it was very, very easy to not go back. I just… I can’t even imagine working full time right now and am utterly thankful I am not having to make that work. However, being completely focused on a baby and someone else’s needs? That gets old fast, and so I am super lucky and thankful to be working very part-time for Growing Places Indy as their operations manager. I’m writing grants, tracking donations and entering data into QuickBooks, doing graphic design – basically, whatever needs getting done, I’ll do. It keeps me tied to the real world in an awesome way, since I get to work for an organization that is doing some amazing stuff in my city and that I really believe in and am interested in already.

I’m pleased as punch to see my signs around town for our new u-pick farm and farm stand:

Farm U-Pick and Farm Stand, Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center

Growing Places Indy's Urban U-Pick is open for business!

And the other day we got notice that we received funding on the first grant I’ve ever applied for. It seems weird that this is the first grant I’ve actually ever applied for; I’ve worked on grants for other people before but never really been the head grant-applicator. Or something. Anyway, it’s awesome, and it means we will be able to grow produce year-round AND support a year-round urban farmer, which is huge. I’m super proud.

P.S. Backyard panorama, just for scuzz.

Backyard panorama.

P.P.S. Speaking of “balance,” I’d be remiss to not post a picture of my Willem being cute, right?

The cutest.

Life Goals and Stuff

New life goal: live life so the smile lines way outweigh the frown lines. Way easier said than done at times.

New life goal: live so the laugh lines far outweigh the stress lines.

Things to smile about: how much Willem loves watching the wind blow through the trees.
20140708. Watching the wind in the trees.

Chris’ new obsession/love of all things bees and our dreams of alpaca/bee farms in the mountains outside Asheville. Hey, it could happen.
Fat Honey Comb in my Top-Bar Hive - Day 62

First tomatoes:
20140708. State of the garden address.

Mad, mad gardens:
20140708. State of the garden address.

Dear Today, I Love You

Dear Today,

Happy Summer Solstice, Today! How did that happen already? I swear, you get distracted for one minute and suddenly, Today, you pull a solstice out of your hat, and you’re all like, “Surprise!” And, “Shazam!” Maybe even, “Tada!”

You have been good to us so far, Today. And by this, I mean:

  • You convinced my son he should sleep until 7:45 am, and he woke up all happy and adorable and smiley and what-not. This is the latest I have slept since before the little guy was born, so this is nothing to sneeze at.
  • You then somehow convinced my son that he should take a nearly two-hour-long nap, which meant I had time to trellis the tomatoes, weed the garden, and feed the chickens some lovely arugula that went to seed weeks ago. Side note: I love when my hands smell like arugula, but hate when they smell like tomato plants.
  • You gave me an awesome husband who went on Willem-duty so I could mail my nephew’s birthday presents and make a run to the store WITHOUT A BABY. I had an entire cart to fill with stuff AND two free hands! It was amazing. Also, the post office was holding a passport party, which meant all these normally serious postal working ladies were wearing leis and grass skirts and sunglasses inside. And there were cookies. And, like I said – amazing.
  • You inspired me to make chocolate chip banana bread, which means our house smells like magic.
  • You presented me with a cardigan covered in pineapples, which, DUH, of course I had to buy. Because cardigan = yay for breastfeeding, and pineapples = yay for life.

In summation, Today, I think you’re the bomb. I’d totally marry you if I wasn’t already married to awesome dude (see bullet point #3).

XOXO,

Christie

P.S. Check out how wild and wooly the garden is this year. Rather than get all uptight over the OMG WEEDS EVERYWHERE, I’m embracing the crazy greenness. I feel like I shrunk or something, because everything – the apple trees, the perennials across the back of the house, the bee balm and lemon balm and green beans – are suddenly gigantic.

20140619. Wild garden.

Lettuce trying to go to seed, weeds everywhere, tomatoes going nutso, collard and kale out the yin-yang, monarda about to bloom – garden madness, I say.

20140619. Wild garden.

Second year of hops.

20140619. Wild garden.

Wildness from the other direction. Those perennials along the house are taller than me.

20140620. Garden time with Willem.

And my garden buddy. We spend time each morning, checking out the garden, before naptime.

20140619. Wild garden.

When will I learn that we really only need, like, TWO collard green plants, not eight?

Willem has an appreciation for green things, too. Kale, collards, and garlic scapes, coming right up!

Willem was very excited about the kale, collards, and garlic scapes the other night.

My Big Fat Baby

Willem had his four-month doctor appointment today.

20140610. Tummy time is tiring...

Oh, hi! Don’t mind me, just busy being ADORABLE.

Two things about this:

  1. Time has absolutely no meaning to me anymore. I’ve been in this strange time warp where it feels like we brought him home just yesterday, and at the same time it feels like he’s been part of our little world forever. I guess when you can’t even keep track of what day it is, it’s no wonder that time is going a little wonky.
  2. We have a gigantic baby on our hands, folks. Willem is happy and healthy and “engaged,” according to the doctor… And he is also 1 ounce shy of 19 pounds. 19 pounds! I found my baby book and learned that four-month-old Willem = 10-month-old me in terms of weight. And I was bigger than him when I was born.
Found my baby book! Willem is now the same weight I was at 10 months.

My baby book.

20140616. Working on the sippy cup action.

Such a big boy – although he has completely rejected bottles, it turns out sippy cups are kind of cool.

I sure do love my big fat baby and all of his dimples and rolls and chins and chunkster thighs. He’s pretty much the best thing ever.

20140616. Stormy outside, sunny inside.

THIS GUY!

Calling All Judgey McJudgersons

I’m convinced that there’s nothing like having a baby to make you realize OH WOW, WAS I EVER A JUDGEY, UNREALISTIC WENCH PRE-BABY!

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but having a Willem in my life has taught me a few things:

1) Everything you said you would/would not EVER do re: baby raising will go completely out the window. Pacifiers? We were NEVER going to use a pacifier. EVER. Enter four-week-old, crying-for-no-reason Willem, and you’d better believe I tried every pacifier available. Turns out he hates pacifiers, but the point is I was suddenly all for it if it helped. Likewise, I’ve read every dang thing out there on getting your baby to do whatever it is you want him to do – say, for instance, sleep past 5 am. Go to bed early! Feed him before you go to bed! Don’t pick him up in the middle of the night! Pick him up immediately when he starts fussing in the middle of the night! Whatever. If it works, I’m going to keep doing it. If it doesn’t feel right (like patting my sobbing baby in his crib because some book told me WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T PICK HIM UP), well, I’m not going to do it. In short, I’ve learned that whatever works for one mom-baby combo is absolutely perfect for them. We’re all just struggling along, doing our best here… and we have no clue what we’re doing.

20140603. My garden buddy.

2) You will become really good at reading your baby… until he/she up and changes on you without any forewarning or notice. By extension, then, don’t gloat. Willem had two weeks of awesome sleep – bed at 8:30, woke up once between 3:30 and 5, and slept until 6:30 or 7. It was a glorious two weeks. And then he was back to waking a few times each night, cooing and talking away happily at 4:45 am, waking up crying an hour after going to bed… you get the picture.

Morning garden visits.

3) You will also get really good at prioritizing. I kid you not, one morning while getting ready, I had this inner dialogue: “First I need to put clothes on. Clothes are non-negotiable. Is the baby still happy? Check. Okay, I’m good for another two minutes. Should I take a dump, pluck my eyebrows, or comb my hair?” You also get really good at doing everything with one arm and at lightning speed. Chris found a one-handed bottle opener the other day, and I was like, BITCH PLEASE. I’ve been opening bottles one-handed for months now!

Tummy time.

4) You will become a tired, pissy wench unless you realize you just need to go with the flow and accept (and even be glad for) exactly what is in front of you in that instant. Note that what is in front of you may be an exhausted baby who woke up at 5 am but has decided his morning nap should be 30 minutes rather than his usual 1.5 hours. Note also that you will need to remind yourself over and over and over again of this point, particularly if you have a million other things you need to get done. Truly, you are just along for the ride here, and the sooner and more completely you embrace that, the better.

Thanks, Circle City Rain Barrels!

5) You will find yourself extremely annoyed when, after expressing that you’re just TIRED, you are told to not worry about folding the laundry or the dirty dishes in the sink. Believe me, I’m not stressed because the dishes are piling up. I’m stressed because the baby has decided to nap only in my arms (and my arms get TIRED, dangit!) or I haven’t shaved my legs in a week or I have an ever-growing list of work-related tasks that need to be done or I would just really like to be able to spend an uninterrupted 30 minutes tending the garden and cleaning the (absolutely disgusting) chicken coop. Or I’d just like 10 minutes during which I’m doing something as decadent as reading a magazine while not holding a baby – and not feel guilty about that. By comparison, laundry and dirty dishes are a piece of cake; it’s all the other LIFE stuff that gets you.

My dudes.

6) And after writing #5, I must revisit #4. Because, ultimately, this is exactly what I signed up for – a sweet, smiley, funny, thoughtful, crazy little ball of baby who, every moment, is becoming more and more his own tiny human self. And I get to see it happen. How cool is that? I’m the one who gets the giant smiles first thing in the morning, the adorable coos all day long, the funny little facial expressions and gestures and rocking chair snuggles. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Sumo baby.

Into the Great Wide Open

Today would have been my first day back from maternity leave. Instead, I’m hanging out with my little dude.

I feel so lucky to be able to stay home with Willem while he’s little. So thankful to Chris, to my parents for teaching me to live within my means, to myself for working hard and saving for a rainy day (for THIS rainy day, it turns out), to so many chance and luck kind of things that have transpired to bring me to this day. I know a lot of people don’t have an option and have to go back to work. Today, I am incredibly grateful to be exactly where I am. Doing what I’m doing.

Which today is a little grant application writing, some dreamy gazing at the suddenly growing garden, and a lot of this:

image

TWO MONTHS: A Lifetime or a Blink of the Eye?

Two months! Yesterday, my little dude celebrated two months on this planet.

We’ve been living in some strange time warp during that time, I swear. In some ways, his birth feels like it happened a really long time ago. But then he does something that causes me to screech to a halt and tell him emphatically, “STOP GROWING SO FAST.”

Like yesterday morning? He was cooing and kicking away on the changing table, and then he expertly put his hand in his mouth, like he had been doing it for YEARS. He put that hand in his mouth like a total boss. And I was left reeling at the fact that my tiny nugget is growing up before my very eyes, changing every single day.

So to review – here’s the little guy on his due date:
20140215. Hello, due date!

His birthday:
Baby K has arrived.

One month:
IMG_3139

And two months! My happy boy:
20140418. Two months!

I’ve decided to take our monthly photos on a different handmade blanket each month. We received so many beautiful quilts and blankets, and I knitted a few, too – I want to show them off! I knitted the one month blanket, and Grandma Lynn quilted the two month blanket.