Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thank You!

Thanksgiving is over, it was absolutely wonderful and I'm exhausted. Since I've been absent from here for a while, I figured I'd better update so you all know we survived Turkey Day, even though we eschewed turkey for beef. Rebels, yes we are.

My dad and his wife Pam came to spend the week in Pennsylvania, and we had a great time. They worked hard to tire out their granddaughter, and she responded with lots of squeals and a few new words. She sort of learned "gobble gobble" (though I'm pretty sure it was Gabba gabbba), and added "Happy!" to her vocab. When asked to say "Happy Thanksgiving", we got "Happy! Thank you!" Close enough. Though the hotel pool was too cold for swimming, we found plenty to do, and had a lot of fun.

We spent Thanksgiving playing Wii (Dr. B's self-purchased early Xmas gift), setting the table with the fancy dishes and cooking. Friends joined us and helped with the meal, and we all rolled away from the table stuffed with my Mom's Norwegian meatballs and gravy, rare roast beef with au jus (I hate writing that. With "with juice". Argh!), lefse (which turned out beautifully this year), cream cheese garlic mashed potatoes with extra garlic, green beans with almonds and garlic (well, we figured we already would have stinky breath due to the spuds), spinach soufflée-ish thing, salad with clementines, red onions, dried cranberries candied walnuts and lemon vinaigrette, brown sugar/vanilla cranberry sauce, dill pickles, gherkins, 2 kinds of chow chow, pumpkin cheesecake and shoefly pie. Bring out the fat pants.

We took Dad on a tour of Happy Valley, Big Valley and Stone Valley yesterday. Pam was feeling kind of yucky, so she decided to avoid the possible car sickness and rest up. We enjoyed the drive, and shared the sights of central PA, including the Allegheny Mountains (also known as biggish hills), the Susquehanna River, Amish buggies and purple dresses flapping on the clothesline*, and even a black bear that ran across the highway and up the hill. During a particularly curvy part of the road, I started to feel a bit ooky myself. I focused on the horizon, leaned to the center of the car, and gripped the door handle. Just then, Rowan looked at me, reached out, and grabbed my hand. She held it until we were on straighter roads and I relaxed. Her dad says she is an old soul. I think he's right. (I rewarded her thoughtfulness with banana Teddy Grahams, which rock, by the way.)

After a gargantuan Mexican lunch at Mad Mex, we spent some time watching her play at the library before driving them to the airport for their flight. It is hard to watch them go, knowing it will be a while before we see them again.

Today was spent napping (her), doing laundry, and running errands. Dr. B took care of Rowan while I ran out, and essentially ran in circles. Without a plan and a need for speed, I didn't quite know what to do. Not a Christmas gift was purchased, and I came home with something for me and a bunch of food, and forgot the thing I really needed, a folder for my choir music. Though the stores were full of supposedly great and amazing deals, it still looked like a bunch of stuff I didn't need or didn't want to give, so except for a cute vest I found for about half price that I knew I had at least 10 things in my closet to wear with, I came up empty. That's OK. My wallet stayed fuller that way.

So that's what's up around here. We're planning on staying at home for Christmas, and I'm looking forward to a relaxing holiday. I've got a lot of things on my list to do before then, including more gift-buying (I started during the sales in January, but I'm not done yet), gift making, holiday cards, baking, and even a few concerts. I know this month will fly by, but I'm hoping to enjoy the ride.

*along with striped towels. I didn't know they were allowed stripes!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thanksgiving: Mother, Daughter

Self Portrait: Rowan and Mom Rowan and Mom, November 2008

What a difference a year makes.

How many days, weeks, months. Mornings, afternoons. Evenings. Nights. Feedings, meals, snacks. Tears, giggles. Cuddles, baths, walks, books. Games, toys, songs, dances.

How many moments.

How blessed.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My boobs hurt.

I'm weaning her.

After 17 months, it is time. I've got nearly nothing left, and she varies from barely nursing at all for days to sucking on me with such ferocity that I feel like my boobs have been drawn through a keyhole with a crochet hook. She doesn't need it anymore, physically. She gets plenty of nourishment from all the things she eats, and we're learning her likes and dislikes more and more as she gets older. Likes: fruit (especially pomegranate, which she calls "apple"), kidney beans, chocolate, anything we're eating that she can't have, black coffee and diet Coke. Dislikes: meat (except ham), little things like rice that are hard to pick up, tomato sauce (but not ketchup--that she loves). Can't eat: dairy, apparently. But a little cheese just yields a few farts so we let that go sometimes.


The past few days have been hard. Her dad's been on duty, going to her in the middle of the night and laying her down for sleep. He's cuddled her at 3 AM, brought her bottles of warmed soymilk, and soothed her tears while I laid in the other room feeling like I repeatedly got hit in the chest with a sack of old boots. At first, there were many tantrums when she'd ask, "Nuh? Nuh?" and I'd have to say no and try to distract her. It took a few days, but the requests come less frequently, and she gives up more easily when I say no.

Today, she woke at 5:30 and no Dad-soothing was good enough. She joined me in the big bed, draping her body over me, tucking her head against my cheek, with a shudder and a gulp. I laid there, relishing the snuggles, missing the closeness. She fell asleep, and I waited until I knew she was really down before gliding her off into the crook of my arm, closing my eyes, and letting go. We slept together like that until 8. On the way down the stairs, she clung to me, hugging me tight.

Today, she's reclaimed me. Not the same, but still all hers. Most of the day has been spent sitting in my lap, pointing to the laptop screen, flipping through magazines, reading books, watching "Gabba!", eating my food, trying to steal my diet Coke, kissing, hugging, poking, and loving. Standing between me and the kitchen counter, pushing me away and then demanding "up!" Dancing. Trying to climb me and startling with surprise when I scream "OW!" as she hits Mommy's ouch bags. Begging for a bite of my pickle. And finally collapsing against me when she's just too exhausted to move. After trying to nap with her, I finally had to do tough love and let her scream until she passed out. She just couldn't let me go.

She's still my baby, my little girl.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Flickr our President

I found this on another site, and had a lot of fun flipping through the photos. Click on the picture to take you to a set of photos taken the night Barack Obama made history and became our 44th president. The campaign is not selling them to the media--they are all posted on flickr.
How cool is that?

This is one of my favorites, and it's my guess that it'll be one of Malia's all-time favorites. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


My jeans. For the first time since Rowan was born*, I'm feeling a bit poofy.

Damn these things. They are now officially banned from my house. And they can take the cupcakes with them.

* (Yay for breastfeeding!)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I grew up in a mixed household. My Dad is a lifelong Republican, my Mom was a Democrat. In the days before 24-hour news, the internet, Twitter, Facebook, and texting to your personal back-pocket phone, it was easier to avoid politics. They didn't discuss it, and we were left to make our own decisions.

I became a Democrat. My sister, an Independent.

When I got to high school, a very cute senior boy was a bit smitten with me. I was flattered, but didn't quite know what to make of it. He was really popular, handsome, and well-liked.

Then he found out my political leaning. And that was the end of it.

I couldn't quite believe it.

I guess I was sheltered. I believed people could work together, live together, love each other, and be successful even when they didn't agree. I thought I'd be given a chance even if I didn't have the same views as someone else. I thought that intelligence, character, and integrity were more important than blue or red.

Over the last 8 years, we saw our country swing very far to the right. People took sides, and anger bubbled to the surface. We saw some really ugly behavior on both sides. Living in a very liberal city, and working in some very conservative schools, I saw both sides on a daily basis.

I got tired of defending myself. To people who questioned my reasons for wanting to move to France, to French people who questioned my country's reasons for electing President Bush, to people who questioned whether or not I was A Good Person because I didn't agree with them, to people who thought I wasn't radical enough because I was proud to be a Democrat, and to those who thought I was a traitor to my country because I wasn't as angry as they were.

Good doesn't have a side. We all care. We all want the best for this country. We don't always agree on what that is, but this isn't black and white, good and evil, right and wrong.

Last night, I was excited to be a part of history being made. I stood in line for an hour, laughing and talking with other citizens who were casting their votes, too. I was so proud of my daughter, who waited patiently, munching on vanilla wafers and saying "Tekk Ooo!" to the volunteer who brought them to her. After voting, we picked up her dad to bring him back to the polls, sniffling and coughing, where he waited ninety minutes to cast his ballot.

Even before the results came in, I felt an amazing sense of pride. More people came out in this election than I've ever seen. The election workers said in a typical election, our polling place would get 200 voters. By 3 PM, voter number 713 cast her ballot (that was me!) I've voted in nearly every election since I turned 18, and I have always been proud to exercise my right, but last night, I was prouder for our country than I can ever remember being. Not because of a war we won, or a thing we invented. Because we are the United States of America, and we each have a voice, and more came out to exercise that right than I thought possible.

This election, no matter how you feel about the results, changed the face of America. It brought us out, got people to stand up, and brought excitement back to our country. It reminded us that we do matter. Our votes are worth something, and the sacrifices made for our right to them cannot be forgotten.

We have broken through a barrier, and there's no going back.

Congratulations, America. I knew you could do it.
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