Sand season

Posted May 18th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

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Summer weather is finally here, which means playground! Which means sand! Jubby is squishing it in his hands and sneaking it into his drooly mouth. He squirms out of my arms. He must be set down! He must crawl!

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Someone recently posted a video of a “live painting.” Lines are drawn, erased, redrawn, and layered to show a time lapse of a baby aging into an old woman. The stages are transient, fluid, natural, deep. To see it like this, as a morphing image, made me feel many things.

I don’t quite know how to articulate them. I immediately thought of my favorite line from the third Game of Thrones book A Storm of Swords:

The oak recalls the acorn, the acorn dreams the oak, the stump lives in them both.

— George R.R. Martin

I read that line many times, over and over, to etch it into my memory. There’s something so profound packaged in it. “Oak” and “acorn” and “stump.” Those three images. “Recalls” and “dreams” and “lives.” Those three actions.

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I’m just kind of mulling it over, this puzzle of time and human transformation as I sit and knit and knit and knit. I think of Shelley (“Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”) while we listen to one song on repeat: Ontario band Walk Off the Earth’s Rule the World (our summer anthem).

These summer days of riding scooters with light-up wheels, scraping chins and knees and elbows, trying to double dutch, blowing bubbles, grilling dinners, making ice cream, and staying up an extra hour with the sun. (“I said I rule the world!”) And here I am, the acorn thinking of the stump. Trying so very hard to be a good oak.

Whatever any of it even means.

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tiny beautiful things

Posted May 14th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

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After most of my book club couldn’t make it through the Emile Zola novel we’d chosen, we collectively decided to switch books. Someone suggested a quick read like Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed, the bestselling author of Wild (which I decided to read concurrently). I’ve been recommending this book to everyone and I recommend it to you. Highly.

You might, for example, be interested to know that the word “prestigious” is derived from the Latin praestigiae, which means “conjuror’s tricks.” Isn’t that interesting? This word that we use to mean honorable and esteemed has its beginnings in a word that has everything to do with illusion, deception, and trickery? Does that mean anything to you…? Because when I found that out, every tuning fork inside of me went hum.

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The very first vignette grabbed at my heart. She begins:

My mother’s last word clanks inside me like an iron bell that someone beats at dinnertime: love, love, love, love, love.

Something that I enjoy about well-written books is the “call-back” when an image or place or moment is echoed later in the work, tying characters and events across time and experience. Sugar/Cheryl is a master of that.

Be brave. Be authentic. Practice saying the word “love” to the people you love so when it matters the most to say it, you will. We’re all going to die, Johnny. Hit the iron bell like it’s dinnertime.

My favorite line from the book. It clangs inside me over and over and over again while D is away. Hit the iron bell like it’s dinnertime. Hit the iron bell like it’s dinnertime. I want to buy an actual iron bell and hang it near my desk as a reminder to be brave, be authentic. To say and show and BE the “I love you” that my loved ones hear and see and hold and carry.

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Mother’s Day

Posted May 11th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

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My neighbor said, “It’s like we woke up in a CGI world.” The grass is green green, the sky is blue blue, and the clouds look like cotton balls glued above us.

For breakfast, D rolled up some avocado, egg, and cheese burritos so we could hike the mountain. We saw snails, earthworms, and ladybugs. Jubby got some backpack training for Iceland. The girls cheered for me to climb mossy rocks and balance across fallen trees. This is “Mommy Adventure Training” because I am by far the least coordinated, most risk-averse member of this crew. Including Jubby, who has no edge detection. (He crawled out of the living room and down the front two steps of our entryway like a ninja cat. He has a scrape on his nose. I call him Warrior Baby).

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I got homemade cards and a bouquet of dandelions. Quality time at the playground. And the chance to attend a very special Mom & Daughter barre classe with my two girls before D left for California.

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Later, I read about the fascinating history of Mother’s Day. And overall, I think we did right by Anna Jarvis.

If you think the spirit of Mother’s Day has been spoiled by the commercialism of cards, flowers and once-a-year sincerity, you stand united with the woman credited with giving us the annual event.

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Meanwhile, the one thing I really wanted was a “nice picture” of us. SLR camera. Tripod. Coordinated outfits. The works.  The one picture in sixty that came out in focus with all five of us looking at the camera, I had a strand of hair across my face. Of course. It’s a visual reminder that I can’t orchestrate perfection.

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Winter will not leave us

Posted April 25th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

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I can’t wait for summer to be here. I’m craving the sun and the grass— outdoor afternoons and dinner picnics. Meanwhile, these past two cold and rainy weeks with Leena at home full-time have been incredible. No more daycare! While I’m on maternity leave, I plan to make the most of my home presence, learn new recipes, indulge my hobbies, and spend as much time as possible with my little adventure buddies. Eating up these delicious and nourishing moments. Like Thursday, Leena was “reading” book after book to Jubby. Then she was showing him how to type his name: J-U-J-U! Funny enough, Arjun doesn’t respond to his actual name. But if you say “Juju!” he looks over and breaks into his very drooly Jubby smile.

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Lately Sonya has been making beautiful paper laptops. I probably have a collection of about twenty with fully colorized keyboards and detailed screens. This was one of my favorites. She made a small coding window and a wallpaper of our family in the autumn.

I know these are the halcyon days of childhood. I cherish them. Life is simple and easy and loosely structured. Within the daily rhythms, there’s a lot of room to play and discover.

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Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too.

— lyrics to “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac

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One final note: this blog will soon be password protected. Mostly, I write this as a sort of diary to Future Me, and as Sonya has grown older and started school, I’ve started thinking about her privacy. Her story is hers to share. Same with Leena and Jubtron. So if you’d still like to read, let me know and I’ll share a way for you to access the content. Thanks! Over the years, I’ve enjoyed this little space on the digital outskirts. And I appreciate your visits and comments.

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Baby Doll

Posted April 9th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

When we go for walks around our neighborhood, Sonya and Leena often take turns pushing Jubblyboy in the stroller. People have done a double-take when he moves. One jogger even double-backed to see what was going on with this “freaky realistic doll.” Multiple times, people have been surprised to discover the girls had a real baby in their stroller! Yes, he is indeed very much a real baby, and a very sweet baby, who is growing bigger and more capable before our eyes.

Leena feels sure that Jubbly is going to walk soon, so she puts his shoes on.

A few days shy of the six month mark, we decided to go ahead and try Jub out on some food. As a baby, Sonya got the scientific progression from rice cereal to homemade steamed veggies. Leena got some modification of that with some more jar food, infant crackers, and puffed rice stars thrown into the mix. Jubbly? Drex came home with some random organic carrot jar to see if he’d like it. Jub ate (was fed) a few spoonfuls, didn’t spit any of it up, and seems okay three days later. So I guess he’s eating now!

He can also scoot himself along like an inchworm to get toys just out of his reach. We’re maybe just a couple weeks away before we have to rethink Legos on the living room floor. But I’m excited about this phase of discovery!

Jubbly is a prince. He always tricks someone into holding him. I’ll set him down to look at a toy. One of his sisters will scoop him up.

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky
— e.e. cummings
I’m sleep-deprived and sentimental enough that that poem has almost started making sense (almost).

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La fratrie

Posted April 6th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

Drex started intensive French this semester. His progress has been amazing. Last week, he came back with an interesting tidbit from his lesson about the French names for la fratrie or siblings in a family based on birth order. Sonya is our ainée, Leena is our cadette, and Arjun— here’s the kicker— is our benjamin. That kind of sounds sweet and silly. I don’t know why.

My franco friends verified that this is for real. Huh. Learned something new. In the picture above, the girls insist that I give them something of mine every time I leave the house, so they can be connected to me— and also ensure I’ll come back to collect my stuff. Recently my sparkly hat and heart-shaped sunglasses have been popular. Looks cuter on them than it does on me. I’ll admit it.

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Easter!

Posted April 5th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

The flow of Easter began in the kitchen with face painting and Safari Bunny masks to wear for the egg hunt. The Easter Bunny left all her eggs in the living room.

Before today’s first breakfast, we started off the day with chocolates and jellybeans. The girls were sensible and quit before they got sick. Then we all prepared for our Easter brunch. Alice came early to make her chocolate chip caramel skillet cookie with the girls.

Even Jubjub helped to press the dough into the skillet with his jubby feet. Mmm! It was delicious! We ate, played two rounds of Wits & Wagers, talked, cleaned, played music, went for a walk despite it being REALLY cold, puttered around the living room… and then suddenly it was dinnertime!

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Grandmama!

Posted March 20th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

We fit in a lot this past week with Grandmama. We joined Leena for her Music by the Season class, went for Afternoon Tea at Gryphon d’Or, had a Doc McStuffins birthday brunch for Leena’s 4th birthday followed by a Disney cartoon and pizza movie night. There was an epic sled walk, swimming at the YMCA, and a visit to my friend’s bookstore Drawn & Quarterly. We spent time with friends and neighbors, played cards, charades, and other games. We ate at Burger Royal— TWICE. And Big D and I even slipped away for a date night.

There was sewing time, microscope time, and a portfolio night at Sonya’s school. There was a French lesson at the market and one-on-one time at the gym to kickstart my Going to Iceland Fitness Plan. And we (really D) managed to clean the hall closet as a jumpstart to spring cleaning! Lots of productive fun!

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Party on Pi Day 3.1415!

Posted March 16th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

So on Leena’s actual birthday, we had gifts and cake, but what made it the most special, of course, is that Grandmama arrived to help celebrate! For the record, Sonya is an incredible Birthday Sister— good-hearted, good-spirited, and good-all-around at making sure her sister Leena felt especially special.

Leena’s party on Saturday was awesome. It just evolved from breakfast with Alice. The fact that it was a pyjama brunch party set the vibe. Plus there were two kinds of cake and homemade bumbleberry pie.

There was singing and dancing to Yellow Submarine, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Feliz Navidad (why not? there’s still snow outside!), La Bamba (since we were already in a Spanish groove), and Pirouette Cacahuète (for a little something French) thanks to our talented friend Cam.

But most importantly, the birthday girl had fun.

Today you are You! That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is You-er than You!

— Dr. Seuss

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Four

Posted March 12th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

I vividly remember the day she was born. An echo of that same euphoria washes over me again every year on her birthday as I reflect on what a joy, what a treasure, what a remarkable blessing entered my life on this day.

She writes the two Es in her name with at least five arms reaching for the N. She likes to “play babies” with Sonya, giving check-ups to all their “stuffies.” She also takes very attentive and responsible care of her baby brother. In fact, Leena often asks, “Can I do ______ ?” Whatever she sees us doing or whatever she thinks needs to be done. She is helpful, she is kind, she is thoughtful, she is brave. I love her.

The Birthday Breakfast she requested was “poached eggs and hot dogs” (or breakfast sausages) with Heart Toast (and strawberry jam). She is wearing her very special, very sparkly, pink tiara headband — a gorgeous handmade sample from a local boutique. It just seemed like the perfect birthday present for a very special girl who’s four.

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