Jolly Jumper

Posted June 26th, 2011 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

I know Leena is strong.  But I’d no idea how strong until this morning. Drex let me sleep in. When I woke up, I found that he’d assembled the Jolly Jumper. Leena was hanging out, Sonya was drinking milk, and he was vigorously mopping the kitchen floor. I had to blink a few times, because it was so surreal.

Why, hey there Leena. Look at you. Jumping around. Bouncy, bouncy bouncy. Your chubby little feet padding on the ground.  She slowly turned herself counterclockwise, then Sonya came over and untwisted her.

Leena jumped for about forty-five minutes before her head started to droop. Sonya coached and assisted. I think she’s trying to train up her playground buddy.

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ArcticDrex strikes again!

Posted June 25th, 2011 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

Drex rarely updates his blog, but when he makes a post, it’s usually hilarious. Here is an excerpt from his latest one:

A normal day will start with me waking up to find [Sonya] sleeping with 70% of her body dangling off the side of the bed. She’ll then eat some Cheerios while standing on a chair to reach her bowl, gripping the extreme corner of the chair with her toes, while I hold my breath waiting for her to lose her grip, hit the table with her chin, and knock all her teeth across the room like an open bag of Skittles. After this doesn’t happen, she’ll head into the living room to see Leena at which point she’ll clamber across the back of the sofa, precariously teetering towards the chasm behind it. What ensues from this point on is a grab-bag of death-defying, hair-raising stunts. The best part is that Sonya has no idea she’s in any kind of danger.

Watching her interact with the world is like watching a horror film where you know something bad is about to happen, but the character just can’t hear the menacing music. “Don’t go down that hallway!” I want to cry out,”particularly when eating a grape and walking backwards with one shoe on the wrong foot!”

— Drex Ruths

Read the entire essay “Counting terrors” here.

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The Edge of Glory

Posted June 24th, 2011 in inspiration by Mitsy

There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.

— John Gregory Brown, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery

It will take an enormous loom to weave a fabric from all of Daddy’s love. Our girls will have a shining gold brocade.

Like a protective cape, it will cover them.

I hope they feel invincible.

Like a comforting blanket, it will warm them.

I hope they feel secure about themselves and their place in his heart (and mine).

Like a gorgeous dress, it will adorn them.

I hope they know how beautiful they are (truly)— top to bottom, inside and out.

What forms a mother’s thread? Is it also gold? Or something else?

What type of cloth does it make? Will there be enough for both of them?

What will they do with it? Will they wear it, hold it, wrap themselves in it, and know that I love them more than anything?

On another note, we recently downloaded Lady Gaga’s new song The Edge of Glory. The lyrics have commandeered a portion of auto-repeat neurons. I hear the dance-pop beat in my head throughout the day. I’ll be washing dishes, folding laundry, putting together a puzzle with four pieces when all of a sudden—

I’m on the edge of glory
And I’m hanging on a moment of truth
Out on the edge of glory
And I’m hanging on a moment with you
I’m on the edge
The edge
The edge
The edge
The edge
The edge
The edge
I’m on the edge of glory
And I’m hanging on a moment with you
I’m on the edge with you

— Lady Gaga, Fernando Garibay, and Paul Blair

Forget lullabies. We have an energetic dance party between bath and bedtime. Sonya likes dancing with Leena. This involves yanking her sister’s arm, vigorously jumping, shaking her head side to side in rhythm to the beat.

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Side by Side

Posted June 22nd, 2011 in inspiration, montreal by Mitsy

We have what I call a “double wide” bike trailer that converts into a stroller. Instead of a hitch, you can attach a wheel to the front and add a pushing bar on the back. I’ve been waiting for the looks. After all, this is a monster coming down the street. People have to step out of the way. Yet surprisingly, the only negative feedback I’ve received is from certain snobby doorways. The side wheels are a few inches too wide to fit through some entrances.

Every mother has a quirk. I have a few of them, actually. For example, I don’t believe in one-in-front-of-the-other-so-we-can-all-fit-through-the-door-and-down-the-grocery-aisles strollers, no matter how trendy or ingenious they are in their configurations. I staunchly believe in side-by-side for symbolic reasons. (The same sort of principle King Arthur used to create the Knights of the Round Table).

With absolutely no scientific basis to form my opinion, and in the face of practicality, I think there’s a psychological difference in how I perceive my girls when they sit side by side. I think of Leena as an equal to Sonya, even though she’s younger and doesn’t have the same abilities yet. I also believe them being side-by-side changes how other people see them (“Are they twins?”) and how they relate to one another (“Hey, shish-sher!”).

Oh, we ain’t got a barrel of money,
Maybe we’re ragged and funny
But we’ll travel along
Singing a song
Side by side.

Don’t know what’s comin’ tomorrow
Maybe it’s trouble and sorrow
But we’ll travel the road
Sharing our load
Side by side.

— Harry Woods

All that being said, I don’t think the airline is going to let us fly to Florida with the double wide next week. So we’ve got to find ourselves another stroller.

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The Center

Posted June 21st, 2011 in inspiration by Mitsy

I came across an op-ed piece in the NY Times by columnist David Brooks. He talks about the American culture “preaching the self as the center of a life” and the disillusionment many people face as they grow older. What he writes about has been the gradual revelation of my late twenties.

… the tasks of a life are at the center. Fulfillment is a byproduct of how people engage their tasks, and can’t be pursued directly. Most of us are egotistical and most are self-concerned most of the time, but it’s nonetheless true that life comes to a point only in those moments when the self dissolves into some task. The purpose in life is not to find yourself. It’s to lose yourself.

I still struggle with my search for purpose. Each day rises and falls like deep breaths during yoga. Sometimes I get frustrated that I keep standing in one place. I have to remind myself— I am finding my balance. I am stretching. Gently, I am growing stronger and more flexible.

I like an expression Mr. Brooks uses, about finding something that “summons” your life. I truly feel summoned by motherhood and writing. I’ve told Drex numerous times that I don’t know what I was doing before or why I was doing it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still trying to dissolve my ego most days, but I think I’m doing all right. There are good days and there are bad days. But there are far, far more good days.

If you get a chance to read the article, please share your thoughts. Do you agree with David Brooks?

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Interactions [Two Series of Photographs]

Posted June 20th, 2011 in inspiration by Mitsy

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the light of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

— Buddha

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He’s back!

Posted June 20th, 2011 in inspiration, montreal by Mitsy

Sonya spent the morning putting finishing touches on our Father’s Day Card and eagerly awaited Daddy’s return. “Back soon? Miss you?”

A recent report claims:

Both parents bring balance to a child’s physical and emotional welfare, but more than 100 studies say fathers may be more important than mothers in the lives of their children.

To observe him as a father is to fall in love with him all over again. I definitely admire and adore the role that Drex plays in our daughters’ lives. Even if I’m their daily guide, he is their foundation. The day begins and ends with Daddy. He is the bright sun in all our lives. We bask in his strong, gentle presence. His absence is eclipse. His return is summer. We can wake up in the morning with joy, we can go to sleep at night with peace in our hearts, knowing he is there to protect us.

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Leena :: 3 month update

Posted June 18th, 2011 in inspiration by Mitsy

Leena is three months old now. She likes to gurgle, blow bubbles, and squirm her legs. She can roll over from her tummy onto her back. She is very strong. She doesn’t like to unclench her fists.

Leena smiles with her whole face— joy in her eyes, dimples in her chubby cheeks, and cooing burbles coming out of her gummy grin. She loves being outdoors and being around people.

Leena weighs a little over twelve pounds and measures almost two and a half feet (29.5 inches) in length. She is solid. Sometimes, I want to squeeze her just to be sure. She does not like to be squeezed.

She does like music, bright colors, long naps, and walks in the stroller sitting next to her big sister. (Who loves her!)

Leena’s eye color is an ongoing debate: sometimes, her eyes look blue, sometimes brownish green. People even ask if they’re hazel or gray! I don’t know. I thought they were turning brown, but then they stopped after a dark starburst in the center. Her eyes are complex, mysterious, and definitely one of her most striking features!

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Daddy’s Matching Game

Posted June 17th, 2011 in crafts, inspiration by Mitsy

Before Drex left for his conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan early Thursday morning, he pulled an all-nighter getting ready to give his talk. Somehow, he found the time to make a little surprise for Sonya. (Because that’s the sort of amazing daddy he is).

When she woke up, Sonya discovered an envelope on the breakfast table with four pairs of index cards inside. There’s a pair of fish, a pair of hearts, a pair of dogs, and two squares of sandpaper. I held up one card, Sonya tried to find the one that was “the same.” The dogs went for a walk, and everything went back in the envelope when it was time for another activity. (Because that’s the sort of responsible little girl my daughter is).

We miss Daddy a lot here. Throughout the day, Sonya will look up and ask, “Daddy?” I’ll say he’s on a trip. She’ll nod. “Back soon,” she’ll say.

“Yes, he’ll be back soon,” I’ll answer.

“Miss you,” she’ll reply. Then she’ll usually echo herself in a whisper, “Miss you, Daddy.”

I’ve also noticed that she’s been making her stuffed animals talk to each other. They have a dialogue like this: Hey! Hey! Eat? Salad. Salad! Apple? PUM! (Pomme is apple in French). Cookie? MULK! BYE! BYE! See ya! Miss you. Miss you. Back soon. LUB YOU! [And then they kiss].

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Chrysalis Project: DONE!

Posted June 14th, 2011 in crafts by Mitsy

The gorgeous quilting was done by Monika (a.k.a. Quilt Lover) in Saskatchewan. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I folded my completed quilt top into an envelope. It traveled through Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba (to give you a little Canadian geography) to a place called Big River. It took almost two weeks to reach there.

Then Monika ironed the top flat and went to work intricately quilting these fantastic swirly patterns that go well with the hexagon tile design. You can make out some of it in the middle picture and the last picture’s black corner.

Monika has a long-arm machine. My sewing machine has a short-arm. Even rolling and scrunching and shoving wouldn’t have let me quilt this. It’s the biggest quilt I’ve ever pieced. And certainly, my handiwork would not have been even remotely as beautiful as Monika’s. Her talent is amazing.

If you like piecing quilts (like me), but want them professionally finished (so you can start piecing another one), I highly recommend mailing them to Quilt Lover Studio in Saskatchewan so that Monika can get her hands on them. You will be amazed by what comes back in the mail from Big River. Two cents per square inch. And if you want, she’ll bat it, back it, and bind it, too!

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