SUMMER, STAY A WHILE

September 1, 2014

ob_sunset_831

credit to babe baker for this gorgeous shot

Early Friday morning, Emet and Jade left with their dad for the annual Miller Family camping retreat, an event which very clearly marks the end of this beautiful season. They’ll return late tonight, with just one day to spare before the new school year begins, our life once again governed by alarm clocks and lunch boxes.

I like to reorganize their room while they’re away, to tidy their drawers and clear their space of any clutter, in anticipation of the chaos these next few weeks are sure to bring. Of course, all I’ve managed to do up to this point is make a much bigger mess than they ever could! At the moment, however, I’m avoiding doing anything about it at all, since both my mister and my baby are sleeping and I can’t remember the last time I was able to quietly sit and sip an entire cup of coffee with nothing but my thoughts and the ceiling fan buzzing about.

I have mixed feelings about you, September.

We watched the sun set over the ocean last night, and as the last of the light dipped into the sea, it occurred to me that while the freedom of summer break has come to an end, our adventures do not have to suffer the same fate. Sure, we spent more time in our house than anywhere else these past several months, and maybe we didn’t have as many barbecues or sleepovers as we could have, but we do happen to reside in one of the premiere vacation destinations in the world, and I fully intend on stretching out this summer by punctuating the rest of the year with twice monthly beach days and at least a dozen exploring expeditions (as per my goals for this year, ahem) because why live in San Diego if we aren’t going to live in San Diego?

With that, I wish you a very happy and relaxing Labor Day. I’ll be making a slow tomato sauce while I finish sorting through the last of the big kids’ things, all the while pretending that Fall isn’t just around the corner. Summer Forever!

MOVE IT OR LOSE IT

August 18, 2014

flowerbombwebsite

image via

Endorphins might just be my favorite drug. I was reminded of their potency when, last week, I went to my first ever spin class at our local YMCA and felt better than I had in months for days afterward. So good, in fact, that I went to a different class at the gym the following day. I can still feel a tingle in my shoulders, and there is almost nothing as comforting to me as feeling that my body has been used with purpose.

I’m not sure why I go through periods where I’m not as active as others, but it’s never a good thing for me to stay still for too long. I tend to go a bit, well, crazy. How good I feel is directly proportionate to how much I move my body, and it is with that in mind that I chose “get my butt back to dance class” as one of my goals for this year.

My instinct, naturally, is to take ballet. I’m most comfortable – and also uncomfortable? I know, but that’s ballet for you! – at the barre, where each and every class begins with pliés. In my entire life, I have taken exactly two hip hop classes. It’s a style far from where I’m comfortable, and requires from me a different kind of flexibility.

So, with that in mind, I did that thing, the one where you go and do something that scares you, and I registered for hip hop classes, which begin this evening.

Between my broken foot and my unexpected and rather invasive surgery, there is a lot I’m still not quite able to do. I’m not even entirely sure hip hop is the answer, but I do know that just having dance class to look forward to has been good for me. Imagine what actually dancing might do!

I’m nervous, sure, but I’m also excited to try something new, something I’ve been afraid to try for a long time. A hip hop class is nothing compared to what I went through twenty-six Mondays ago, is how I like to look at it, and hey. I might just be the next ballerina turned b-girl, you never know.

SIX

August 17, 2014

hucklesixmonths

Half a year old already, and growing at a rather impressive rate, my Roux Huckleberry is one squishy bundle of delicious baby. Ours was a rocky beginning together, and the past few months have been next level difficult, but today, as we celebrate this six month milestone, my tiny guy and I are in a very, very good place.

I wouldn’t say he’s fussy as much as he is particular, though what he loves one minute he might loathe the next, so it’s always an interesting dance through our repertoire to find what is pleasing to the Huckle at any given moment. Sometimes the Ergo is all he wants, and other times he thinks it to be a mechanism of torture. He likes what he likes when he likes it, and that’s that.

But oh how he loves him some boobies. All boobies, all the time, is really all he wants out of life.

The water is most definitely his happy place. We’ve been taking him to swim at the YMCA since he was six weeks old, and just last week he put his own face in the water for the very first time. And then he did it again. And again! I couldn’t believe it. He kicks and splashes and slaps the water, and is instantly soothed by the sound of running water, so much so that even the most epic of meltdowns can be tempered by a trip to the bathroom for a quick listen.

He is steadily collecting new skills to add to his bag of tricks, including blowing raspberries with his tongue and yes, it is the cutest thing you’ll ever see. The teeth that have been causing him discomfort for almost three months have yet to cut through, which means his wide smile is still gloriously gummy. He smiles all the time, even when he cries, and he is starting to laugh with a lot more enthusiasm, especially at his big brother Emet, whom Huckle considers to be the funniest person on the planet.

The love that exists between all three of my children is a precious thing to witness. The way the older two care for the baby absolutely melts my heart. If only they could care for each other the same way! Ah, siblings.

This past week has been a real turning point, for both Roux and me. Well, mostly I made a personal breakthrough to which he immediately responded, resulting in nothing short of a miracle. A real, viable rhythm is emerging, one that includes a much more peaceful and restful night for us both. Thank goodness, really, because I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t be able to get to enjoy his babyhood, but this is better than anything I could have dreamed. It’s a real love affair we’re having, and I’m in heaven.

It may have taken a whole hell of a lot longer than I ever fathomed it could, but my Huckle and I managed to overcome all kinds of adversity to form a bond so sweet and strong, it eclipses any expectations I had of being a mother to someone other than Emet and Jade.

I am a mother of three, and I can’t imagine life any other way.

To you, my tiny guy,

Stealer of my heart and my beauty sleep, you have brought such an incredible new dynamic to what I thought was a pretty darn good life to begin with. But now that you’ve joined our party, we have all changed for the better. I cherish our conversations before the sunrise, the way you grab my face and pull me close to you. Your bright eyes look at me with the awareness that I am your mother, and that gaze is everything to me. I am your mama, and you are my child, and together we have conquered obstacles far more difficult than any I had encountered previously. Your strength gives me strength, Roux Huckleberry, you inspire me to be stronger. I love you eternally, across all time and space. Thank you for coming to me, you are exactly what I needed.

To the next six months, and six million more.

HAVIN’ THIS DISCUSSION

August 13, 2014

bullhorns

image via

There’s this great line in Paul Simon’s song Gumboots where he says, “Hey, you know, breakdowns come and breakdowns go. So what are you going to do about it? That’s what I’d like to know.” I try to remember this wisdom on days when I’m feeling more than a little bit crazy. Like today, for instance.

For weeks now, that Huckle of mine will. not. sleep. I spend what seems like hours just to get him to fall asleep for a cluster of minutes, at most. He hasn’t had a stretch of slumber longer than two hours, not even at night, and I’ve just about gone completely batty. I’m trying, trying with all my might, to keep it together and be productive, but after yet another night of very little shuteye, it’s hard not to feel utterly defeated.

To make matters worse, summer is slipping through my fingers faster than a handful of sand. I’ve done precisely none of the things I’d planned on doing with my kids during our break, mostly because I go through each day feeling like there is mush where my brain should be. But the thing that gets me most of all is how understanding those big kids of mine are, because let me tell you they are trying hard, their effort is more than evident. Sometimes they are more successful than other times, and this might go down as the Summer of Silly Sibling Squabbles, but we’ve got just about three weeks left to live into this season before it’s time to head back to school, and we could all use some fun around here right about now.

A couple of weeks ago, I was diagnosed as having a mild case of PTSD. The moment the words fell from the nice doctor lady’s mouth, I was flooded with relief, which is exactly how I knew her proclamation to be accurate. I’ve been struggling to cope with what I can only describe as a constant state of panic, which is only further exacerbated by exhaustion, unrelenting as it is overwhelming. It is so much more powerful than simply deciding that everything is fine, that I’m not falling apart and there is nothing to fear, but it’s also a matter of me actively pursuing a more relaxed and rhythmic existence, one that is balanced and infused with positivity.

Easier said than done, sure, but by golly, there has got to be at least some doing lest there be no progress. This much I know for certain. Aside from motivation, the biggest obstacle for me always seems to be patience. Some adversaries are more easily defeated than others, and the ones I’m currently facing are very, very other. The otherest.

Today, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, which is kind of a silly thing to say because how can you wake up when you aren’t even asleep?! But my point is, I was in an extra bad mood before even climbing out of bed to get the day started, which is never an ideal situation, when my sweet peach of a daughter looked at me with her giant green eyes and told me not to worry. It will get better, she said.

She’s right, of course. It will get better. I will get better. I have no other choice. My family deserves the best version of myself I have to offer, and they are worth every effort it takes to find her. I know she’s in here somewhere.

This is me, humbly, honestly, and with a whole lot of hope, admitting that I’m having a hard time. There is a giant, angry bull I’m facing, but the horns are in sight and there is nothing I want more than to find the strength to reach out and grab them.

I LIKE YOU, THIRTYTWO

August 6, 2014

confettijump

image via

I will be the first to say that 32 started off just about as perfectly as can be, complete with beaucoup des fleurs and a homemade pie. Indeed, last Saturday was all kinds of special, I must’ve said at least a dozen times that I was having the best birthday. I say that every year and every year it is true, but this was the first time in ages that I went and had an actual party, a last minute decision that turned out to be a brilliant idea as it resulted in an unforgettable evening filled with friends and laughter and a whole lot of me feeling like the luckiest gal in all the land.

The week that followed, however, not so much.

Did I tell you about the giant second degree burns I sustained on, of all places, my boobs?! Because oh em gee double you tea effff. My french press erupted on me, drenching my upper body with scalding hot coffee, leaving me with an impressive wound that oddly resembles the silhouette of a pot bellied pig. Breastfeeding has been a bit complicated, especially since my tiny guy likes to touch me when he’s nursing. Oh, and not only is healing from a burn mighty painful, it’s pretty gross too. Super fun stuff.

This was the morning after I got a parking ticket, by the way.

And that baby of mine, he’s plum given up on sleep. Like, maybe he sleeps eight hours a day. Total. And not all at the same time, either. We are going crazy, at least I know I am. The dreams I’m having, if you can even call them dreams, are wild and feverish and terribly, terribly haunting. I’m restless and usually feel more disoriented than refreshed.

BUT I REFUSE TO LET THESE THINGS GET IN THE WAY OF MY BIRTHDAY HIGH, is what I keep telling myself. And you know what? It’s kind of working.

I’ve got big plans for this year, my friends. I can’t think of the last time I have felt simultaneously inspired and motivated, and I have decided to take full advantage of this enthusiasm by setting actual – and attainable – goals for myself. The last few years have been characterized by such instability and uncertainty that it was all I could do to just survive. These days, I’m more settled and focused than ever before, not just surviving, but thriving. I’ve had a few projects and a few secret wishes swirling around in my head for what seems like forever and I’ve decided now’s the time to take action, to stop thinking about doing these things and to just do them already. If not now, when? I don’t remember when I last composed a specific list of things to accomplish, and I’m hopeful that by doing so, I’m able to retain a better sense of where I am and where it is that I’d like to be this time next year.

Continue reading “I LIKE YOU, THIRTYTWO” »