Sunday, July 27, 2008

I am sorry. There are no new pictures, because Kagan takes them with his new iPhone.

It is a sunny Sunday morning in Mississippi. Annaliese just went down for her morning nap, quietly so far, though I doubt she's asleep yet. She has two soft stuffed animals in her crib, a pink sock monkey from the GAP and a black-and-white Newfie dog purse, and she likes to roll around with them.

I often find her with the monkey draped across her chest and a leg hooked through the newfie purse, as if sleep smacked her down right in the middle of a wrestling match.

K. too is (still) sleeping. Sundays are his day to sleep in, and Wednesdays are mine.

So this sunny Sunday morning is all mine, and for the first time in a while, I feel like I've slept enough.

A note on Annaliese's sleep habits: after a PISSPOOR beginning, she's now what I think other people's babies are usually like: she goes to bed around 8, 7.30 if she had a poor late afternoon nap, and then she takes usually 3 naps during the day, generally about an hour a piece, at 9, 1, and 4-ish. She wakes up at 7 and has 1 night feeding. And she's easy to put down now... no more endless rocking.

There are always exceptions, but that's the standard-- and thanks to her beginnings, it never ceases to amaze me. I now have no one to blame for being tired other than myself. And K., what with his nightowl ways.

Annaliese is turning into such a little person, and K. and I just love her. The grip-your-gut, Thank-God kind of love. I said the other day that I thought we should have another one kind of soon to spread that feeling out, because it's on the edge of too intense, and without asking what I was talking about, K. just said, "I know."

(Of course, the funny part is when you think you can actually PLAN a family. You can plan to stop. Not really to start.)

Now for a long story that will eventually get to a point:

There is another couple that is roughly in our peer group at church. He's a lot older, but she's our age, they have a child about a year older than ours, blah blah, and she told me the other day that she loved watching K. and I in church because she could see things in us that reminded her of her own marriage back when it was young.

"How long have y'all been married?" I asked, and she said, "Three years."

Our third anniversary is in September.

I did some quick math and figured out that she got pregnant around 3 months into their marriage, while K. and I had a full year-and-a-half of childless, pregnancy-free matrimony.

But here's the thing: I don't really remember it.

I asked K. about it and he does.

"Did we have fun?" I said, and he said, "Yeah, we did."

Sure, I have memories, but not really eighteen months worth. It seems like I was always pregnant, like we've always had Annaliese, and yet it ASTONISHES me that she's nearly 7 months old and I still don't have rock hard abs (which will CHANGE. When school starts, our babysitter will walk to our house three days a week after school gets out and watch Annaliese so I can run errands and go to the gym and man, I'm glad school starts early down here because I got to get in a bikini, people, SOON.)

I am now busier than I've probably ever been. I've got a 20-hours+ job to which I take my infant child, I'm still writing, I've got a house and 2 dogs bent on destroying it, a garden full of tomatoes, peaches spread on my counter waiting to go into our new chest freezer, a husband who is home too rarely between his various commitments, and then I've got fun projects like knitting and quilting and that damn slipcover THAT WILL GET MADE, all in the company of a baby who can amuse herself for about 10-15 minutes a time.

But you know, I am pretty sure I felt just as busy when it was just me, in the house, with one novel. Expansion and contraction of time and happiness and franticness is not so much linear, ya know?

But here's the point: I want to keep putting K. and me first. There is so much else, always, but he is the most precious thing that has ever happened to me. Even though Annaliese is a miracle, K. was the first miracle, and I do not want to lose knowing that.

I don't ever want to tell someone that my husband and I used to be in love too.

Monday, July 21, 2008

a sop, forsooth

there was an auntie and a nonni and a swimsuit: oh my.

it had pink polkadots and white strings and annaliese loved the ties!

and since it has been a very full day indeed, that's where my rhyming abilities end...

mom and sister were here, which was fab. Catfish was eaten, blueberries were picked, we hit the lake yesterday for a nice afternoon with friends and boats and babies galore, and now...and now, the baby is asleep, there is mounds of laundry to do, and I'm procing chest freezers on the internet because ours is already full and we've got a bushel of peaches to process.

behold our little mississippi queen:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

on solids

We've started feeding Annaliese solids on a regular schedule, meaning, at dinnertime.

I read other moms' blogs and they have recipes. They puree and mash and steam.

So far K's prepared the actual babyfood, and his strategy is thus:

Make whatever soft and mushed enough. Put in jar. Feed child from jar for ~4 days.

This week the jar is sweet potato and carrot, and there are some fun pics that will follow, from which you will conclude-- we need a high chair.

I can't really understand why everyone is so psyched about the solids thing. The baby has yet to have a tooth in her head, she's a little chunkster already, and now, I have to clean the entire kitchen, change her outfit, and give her a very THOROUGH bath after each dinner. Not just behind her ears, but IN her ears, for example. Plus her poop is weird.

Who knew being a parent would involve so much manual labor?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Things are not the same.

Intellectually, I've known this since last April. When I slunk down to Fred's and used my left hand a LOT as I bought my first pregnancy test. 

But today, it really sunk in.

After getting up at dawn to bake baguettes to sell at the local market (I am so tres charming I can't stand myself), I came home with fresh produce and a small bag of homemade peanutbutter fudge.

I did not mean to come home with such a thing, but I did. Traded a few baguettes for it, in fact. 

So at noon, I had myself some fudge and the daily cup of coffee I'd been too busy for in the morning.

And then, because the baby went down for her one o'clock, I took a nap. Passed out, in fact.

Two things: used to be I couldn't sleep for EIGHT HOURS after a cup of coffee, so I know I'm dead tired. That comes as a surprise to no one; Annaliese's sleeping habits are miles from what they were, but it's rare that I make it through the night, she wakes up at seven am every day of the week, and it's hard not to stay up late after her bedtime to savor the delicious wee hours (like, say, ten pm).

But here's the thing:

No matter how tired I am, no matter how firmly I am sleep, there is now ALWAYS a part of me that is wide, wide, wide awake and monitoring the household. I now sleep like a watchdog, ears moving as I slumber. 

It's the strangest thing.

I don't wake up for ordinary sounds: K. coming to bed (he really does stay up to the wee hours, especially since Caitlin gave him a box of Terry Pratchett); I don't wake up for Annaliese's mumbling episodes, or the dogs moving around, etc. 

But when something happens to jolt me awake, I'm not starting from oblivion; I can look past the sleep and rewind the small awake part of my brain and say, oh, Annaliese has been awake for a while, or Fresh Air started playing about twenty minutes ago, or whatever.

I wonder when that wears off.

Friday, July 11, 2008

calico rock ctd

a pretty place, arkansas.
we're overlooking the white river in these pics.
but the house is a wreck and we're going out tonight and i need to write a novel and bake bread, and go to the post office and set up the farmers market sign so that's all you get.



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Sunday, July 06, 2008

To the Ozarks and Home Again

But for now, these pics (taken at Saturday's lunch in an ice-cream shop) will have to suffice-- along with the statement that Arkansas is neat, but the best part, by far, was getting to hang out as a trio.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I blog a lot in my head.

But things don't always make it to the Web. So, in my particular order:

The bureaucrats I hear on NPR talking about how we need to implement tracking systems for produce so that we can prosecute whoever sold samonella-contaminated tomatoes make me really, really mad. How about we go for PREVENTION and try to avoid INDUSTRIALIZED MONOCULTURE. heh? anyone? Because I seriously doubt tomatoes from a small farmer would 1. be contaminated or 2. even if they were, poison 200-plus people in twenty-something states.

Also, people, eat your meat. It's good for the enviroment. Grassfed, sustainably raised, MEAT. EVEN BACON (though hogs eat slops, meaning they're walking compost piles who are also kickass rototillers.) Stop driving, and start eating locally. That's good for the enviroment.

I got a job.
20 hours a week, my own historically renovated office within walking distance of the house, where I am welcome to bring Annaliese. So for the last two days, we've seen K. off and then strollered down to the office, where she plays/naps and I work, from 9-12.30. I know, that's not twenty hours, but I also work on Saturdays, and longer hours on Wednesday, when Annaliese hangs with her papa. And it pays. Not a whole lot, but enough to pay the rent and the phone bill.

So what am I doing?

I am the manager/executive director of this.

Annaliese can't believe it either.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Say rabbit.

Why we bought the house across the street and not, say, something livable is easy: it was cheap. About half of what we paid for our used truck, and with an acre-plus lot. So there we go. We bought a house I've never been inside of (evictions are underway) and one we won't live in until spring, assuming it's decent enough to fix.

Last night we made plum jam until midnight, and as I type this, twenty-four amber pint jars are glowing on the counter.

We spent the entire time arguing about how to make jam and how to tell if the jam has set. I'd say, but I don't like runny jam, and K. would say, you don't know what you're doing. It just has to get to the gelling point. Then we would try to freezer test and watch our jam fail to gel, in between glaring at each other.

K. said it would be fine. He grew up canning.

We now have twenty-four jars of plum syrup. Absolutely no thickness whatsoever.

Not really how I wanted it to go.