Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Notes on Friendship: EFFORT in the time of Coronavirus

My thoughts on friendship these days have revolved around how to maximize closeness without being close. How do we support each other without actually being THERE for each other? How do we show up for one another when we can't hop in the car and meet up for a walk, or a hug, or a dinner date? 


It takes effort. Friendship always should take some effort, but during these hard and uncertain times it takes more. It just does. 

Friendship during a pandemic is new for all of us AND it's more important than ever.  Friendships are the touchstone of life. They ground, encourage, and propel us. Friendships keep us accountable and take us out of ourselves...if only for a little while. 

What does being a friend look like right now? It may be different for everyone but for me, it's zoom. It's FaceTime, Marco Polo,  actual phone conversations (WITH screaming kids in the background), and sitting in my front yard- six feet apart- talking and venting and being with each other. 

I have had the beauty of trials in my life- hard, painful, heart wrenching trials. The crises in my life have given me the gift of understanding the "village" and feeling that village love me and my family well. This extended trial that we're collectively going through is a call to action for relationships. Are you willing to put in the work? Are you willing to make the effort? Are your friendships going to be strengthened, galvanized, and woven into your heart because of the effort made when things were complicated? Or do you drift, only to come away from this time looking up and realizing that you are far apart from relationships that were once important? 

Loving people well is the greatest lesson we can learn. Loving your friends well; it looks like EFFORT.

Here is a simple list of questions, that when asked can be profound for anyone on the receiving end. 
    * How are you doing PHYSICALLY
    *How are you doing EMOTIONALLY
    *How are you doing SPIRITUALLY

I challenge you, my friends... make an effort. Ask these questions to those closest to you. Let them open up and in turn, so will you. Make the effort. 

Calmly rage on.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

poppy is eighteen months!

our sweet poppy is eighteen months old. to say that i feel grateful for her is not quite sufficient. Poppy has brought so much joy and sweetness to our life- but more than that, she's brought awe and wonder into the hearts of her parents.

while Poppy is now ten months post heart failure and surgery, the miracle of her life is still as palpable as it was. we are in awe of her resilience and tenasity. we are amazed by her strength and her will. Mostly, we are amazed by God's GRACE in her life and in ours.

Poppy is strong willed and feisty. She has found her screaming voice and makes it heard throughout the house ALL. DAY. LONG. She loves dresses and twirling, she walks with a strut when she knows we are watching (right arm swinging dramatically at her side), and stops performing her hilarious dances or singing as soon as I point my phone in her direction.  she makes light sabor sounds while she holds a stick or broom, and goes nuts for basketballs and soccer balls.  Poppy wants to play outside constantly- she grabs her shoes by the door to try to bend our will to hers.

Poppy is still a tiny peanut. she weighs eighteen pounds and wears nine month clothes (although she's graduated to 12 month jammies). She runs and tries her hardest to jump. Her favorite game is playing "sleep" with sailor. He wraps her up in a blanket and she lays down like she's falling asleep (usually with a stuffed animal held tight in her arms.)

I knew it was only a matter of time....Poppy is now sleeping through the night (Hallelujah!!). She started sleeping through the night about two weeks ago, and I could literally cry from joy. Her naps are in the middle of the day, and she "requires" me to lay with her the entire time, or she'll wake up. Luckily, tony is working from home and both of the boys are homeschooling (freaking coronavirus) so it actually works out for me to nap with her during the day- albeit annoying.

Her appetite is small, but she eats a variety of things. She has been in a phase of walking to the snack cupboard first thing in the morning and saying "ah ah ah ah" hoping for one of the boys to open it and give her gummies (insert slap to forehead here).  sailor is still one of the only people who can consistently get her to eat, a job he is very proud to do. Easton wakes up early and brings her down stairs with him to play every morning. It's their special time and they love it.

she barks like a dog if anyone says "dog," if she sees a dog, or if she hears a dog. Poppy sings "Let It Go" on repeat all day long and dances to music whenever she hears it.

Keep on being YOU, sweet Poppy. "There is no one in the world just like you, and I like you, just the way you are" -(Mr. Rogers).

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

notes on quarantine: week 5

you guys. i can't tell a lie. this quarantine has NOT been hard for me. i am a self described "outgoing-introvert." if you have ever met me (and if you're reading this, I assume you have) you would probably think- she's easy to talk to, outgoing, talkative. those things are true. I'm also an introvert. I get energy from alone time, home time, and yoga time. it takes WORK for me to do anything outside of the normal daily life activities. if i am home, i am usually pretty happy. if i have my husband home, i'm always content.

i can safely say that as the shelter in place order goes on, I am getting progressively happier and my dear husband is getting a little more stir crazy.  tony asks me every single day if I need anything at the store- I remind him that we have all we need and there will be no shopping today. He walks away, a little deflated and then starts to "tinker" in the garage or around the house. He's succesfully changed the bathroom faucet, painted the bathroom, and painted the railings on the stairs. He's also still working full time and experimenting a little more in the kitchen (which is a HUGE benefit to me).

the kids? the kids are all right. these are sweet times for our household, and i've chosen to look at quarantine life through that lens...sweet.

we have gone on daily walks (PE time, i like to say). on those walks we stroll...we don't have a time constraint and we move at the pace we feel most comfortable with (although we often beg Sailor to move his little butt). Our school day starts around 8:30. Sailor works on his virtual reality eye exercises to strengthen his eyes, Easton writes his gratitude list. We move on to a video that Sailor's teacher posts every morning and Easton does some computer math (Khan academy is his favorite). Sailor practices his piano, Easton works on Spanish, and I try to distract Poppy from coloring on the carpet with one of the many markers she always seems to get her grubby little paws on.

I have enjoyed watching the boys learn. I never imagined myself in this role of Head Teacher and mama; and while I don't plan on continuing it past our quarantine, I'm really enjoying the time with my boys.

the hard stuff is present of course. if i look hard enough i can certainly see annoyances. but why? why not cherish this time with my entire family glued to one house, with little or no outside influence? we are luckier than many. we have our jobs, food is in the fridge, medical insurance is active, and our children are loved and respected. OUR experience has been something that I hope to look back on with tenderness and fond memories.

*Sailor showing off his cooking skills and Easton's "moss castle" in our front yard. 

the introvert in me has a hard time with constant engagement...even with (and sometimes especially with) the kids. Poppy is a bear. A sweet, cute, difficult BEAR. the key to my sanity is finding outlets that bring me joy. I still teach my regular yoga schedule, just virtually these days. I get to see friends pop into my classes from back home, which warms my heart and fills my bucket. I pray, I meditate, I practice my own personal yoga (the latter has been a little more difficult to carve out the time for, but some weeks are better than others). I have weekly zoom calls with my church community group, my girlfriends in California, and three of my close friends here in Washington. I even get to do AA meetings on zoom! Life is good, these days. I am soaking this up. I'm letting these sweet times permeate my spirit and fill my heart. I will enjoy this time, for as long as it lasts....I choose to be OH-SO- Grateful.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Notes on Travel: Vancouver, BC

In early December I went to Vancouver with three of my dearest friends. We came together to celebrate my ten year sobriety birthday. I could not have asked for a better way to enjoy this milestone. We ate food and sipped tea and explored and spent time with each other. We had adult conversations that held depth and meaning and laughed... a lot.

A couple of months before our trip to Vancouver I sent out a bat signal to my thirteen girls from California. Our group text is one of the highlights of my life on any given day, and it was there that I mentioned the idea of a quick trip with my nearest and dearest to celebrate my big 1-0. We chatted about a few trip ideas and when we couldn't quite settle on any one destination, I decided I would go to Vancouver. I told my girls- "I totally understand if it won't work, but either way, I'll be going to Vancouver. Join me if you can!"

Soon enough texts came in from Kathy, Zoraida, and DeAna. They were making the trip. I booked a spa day for us, reserved dinners, and found some yoga classes to attend. Zoraida flew into Seattle where I picked her up and drove with her to Vancouver. We talked the entire ride and never turned on the radio. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Time with Z. It still warms my heart when I think about it. Kathy and DeAna met us at the AMAZING AirBandB. We went to our first yoga class on Friday night and then dinner at Maenam (a Thai restaurant).

On Saturday we did a morning hot yoga class and waited in line for about twenty minutes to be seated at Jam (an incredibly delicious brunch spot). Then it was back to the AirBandB for naps! Saturday night we went to the Vancouver Christmas Market to soak up all that European vibe holiday spirit. We ate a late dinner at Farmer's Apprentice (seriously my favorite meal, if I HAD to pick). Farmer's Apprentice is a farm to table family style restaurant. The bread and butter were my favorite and I even bought a loaf for the next morning!

We spent Sunday driving through Vancouver, checking out the park (which I would compare to central park in New York...), and stopped for lunch at Fat Mao's Noodles which was a hole in the wall noodle joint that rocked my world. We then went to get some delicious spa treatments! Dinner on Sunday night was at Forage. Sheesh. All the restaurants were so great. Vancouver is a very foodie city, and for this sober alcoholic, finding good food is my number one priority on any given vacation.

The trip with my girls was really special. They treated me to a couple of very sweet gifts and cards from all my girls back home- each one gave me so much joy and so much gratitude for the women in my life who have stood by me through the best of times and the worst of times. I was blessed beyond measure for this trip and the time and the conversations and the company.

Also- Vancouver...I see you. You sweet little Canadian city. I will be back. xo

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Sailor is SIX.

Sailor turned six today. What an awesome kid our little Sailor has turned out to be. He is gracious, funny, and light hearted. He loves to snuggle, his favorite food is chili, he LOVES Star Wars (specifically the Dark Side), and he still wears dress-up clothes almost every single day.

When Sailor was born, I knew he would be special. I couldn't have imagined how special he would turn out to be- how deeply loving and kind and positive he would be. He is all of those things. He is generous with hugs. He hears music and mimics it. He sings. He plays piano. He dotes on his big brother and his baby sister. Sailor is still the only one in the house who can consistently get Poppy to eat. Sailor has a special touch.

I have been amazed at Sailor's creative spirit throughout his six years but in the last six months, his creativity has blossomed even brighter. He loves to color and draw and he LOVES to read.

We celebrated Sailor's birthday with our close friends. We ate John's Tiki Masala and white rice and sailor blew out his trick birthday candles like a pro (I wonder what he wished for...). We have created a tradition where every birthday is celebrated in the morning. I decorate the night before and the kids come down stairs like it's Christmas. This birthday was light on the gifts since we celebrated his birthday in DisneyLand last week. He has wanted a Zurg action figure for a long time now, so he was quite excited to open him up and start playing bright and early this morning.

Sailor is hoping for a piano for Grandma sent him some money to put towards a piano and Tony and I put some money in a jar to show him that we are saving up for said piano. Easton wanted to buy him special Pokemon cards- Sailor was so excited to get them!

All in all, it's been a beautiful life so far with our sweet Sailor boy. He brings so much joy and whimsey into this house. He is such a gift.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Poppy is ONE!

This is a momentous birthday.

It took a whole lot of medical intervention to get Poppy to her first birthday. She has had two major surgeries (abdominal mass removed at five months and open heart surgery to correct an undetected heart defect at 7 months). The night before her birthday I sat next to Tony after we put the three kiddos to sleep. I sat on the floor and tears started welling up in my eyes. We made it.

I cried that night out of exhaustion, gratitude, and joy. This past year has been the most challenging in my life. Poppy has been strong and fragile since the very beginning. I remember the moment the nurses put Poppy on my chest. She had these perfect little red lips. She had a small red mark coming from both nostrils. She had the face of her brothers. She was perfect.

When I talked with my sweet husband the other night, I reminisced on the two weeks before we took her to the ER. Her strong and fun disposition was slowly fading. I remembered that I wanted to stay awake and watch her sleep- because I couldn't quite put my finger on it...but something was wrong. I remembered the doctor telling us our baby was in heart failure, and wondering if I had anything to wear to a funeral...

A week before her hospital stint, my friend Nicole came over for a girls night. Nicole is amazing and artsy and the right person for me to tell a little secret too. I told Nicole that I had written not one but two poems about Poppy. I read them to her. She cried and then told me to write a poetry book (I laughed).

After Poppy went into heart failure, Nicole called. She said, "I can't help but think about those poems! I think you wrote them because God was putting Poppy on your heart so completely and deeply that it came out in poetry." I thought about it. She was right. For two weeks, I was more connected and concerned and consumed with Poppy than ever before (with any of my kids). I think that's been the theme of mine and Poppy's relationship this year. Connection.

We have never been away from each other for more than a few hours. She has consumed my heart and body and mind.

While tony and I talked the other night, I tearfully thanked him for our third baby. He was never quite sure he wanted a third until one day, miraculously, he was. I wouldn't change one moment of Poppy's first year. She has made us stronger, wiser, more faithful, and deeply compassionate (for others and for ourselves).

Poppy is fifteen pounds of pure joy. She says words like, "yeah!", "kiss", "mama", "hi", and "dada." She sleeps for no more than five hour stretches, will (almost) only take naps with me laying next to her, and hates to be changed. She loves dogs, and finds BOTH of her brothers HILARIOUS. She sneaks up the stairs (so so quickly), and crawls with a peg leg. She has stood up on her own for a few seconds at a time but isn't quite ready for walking. She "speaks" non-stop and has the sweetest baby voice I have ever heard. That beautiful scar on her chest is pink and perfect and reminds me every day of her grit and determination. She may be little. But she is MIGHTY. (below are the two poems I wrote for Poppy...)

Happy birthday, sweet Poppy bird. We love you.

Poem #1
I feel her belly
It rises and falls with mine
Her breath milky warm

Quick breaths in and out
Faster, much faster than mine
Short, calm, rhythmic breath

Her lips find my breast
She swallows with fierce hunger
Drinking up her fill

I would pay any
Price, To have her inside me
Just One more time

She fills my heart and
Breaks it with her growing mind
her growing body

She will need like this
Until one day she won’t
I will grieve that day

God spun her to life
Perfectly in my body
Knowing her wholly

He Whispered her
tiny eggs’ existence
All she will carry

Future grandchildren
Of mine, while she stayed
warm in my womb

This wildflower grows
The wind will take her from me
She’ll dance in the sun

I will always be
the first rich soil where she
Grew steady strong bright.

Poem #2
They say not to let
Her fall asleep while she eats
Put her to bed awake

They say never let
Her sleep in my arms
Put her to bed on her back

They say let her cry, give
her all the coping skills
She will be smart that way

They say enjoy her
It all goes so fast
She will be off to college soon

I enjoy the feeling of
Her falling asleep on my breast
Watching her eyes slowly close

I hold her while she sleeps
And love the weight of
her In my arms

I can let her cry
But I would rather watch
Her smile grow into laughter

I will enjoy these moments
They go by so fast
She will be off to college soon

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Poppy is ELEVEN months old!

Poppy is officially eleven months old. How is it possible that in just one month, we'll be celebrating her first birthday? She is still super small, wearing her six month clothes, but thankfully she's consistently moving up on her growth chart.

Poppy is still nursing pretty exclusively. We've tried lots of foods, including finger foods (she has five teeth!) and pureed food. She eats a little, depending on her mood. We tried ordering a food puree meal service for her- Little Spoon, which is amazing food- but far too much for her (i would recommend it, however if you happen to have a big eater). I've had to do a pretty big shopping spree for Poppy this month- all of her 6-9 month clothes are for spring and summer...I needed to buy some warmer tiny clothes.

Poppy has become so playful. She plays peek-a-boo with blankets (and cloth napkins), she squeals when i grab her leg and pull her toward me, than tries to crawl away really fast...we do this over and over with her laughing and squealing with delight. She is still painfully attached to me, but seems to be allowing other people to at least pick her up and hand her to me without crying. Daddy seems to be getting higher on her list of people she likes, with myself and sailor at the very top.

She jabbers all the time. She does sign language for "all done," "milk," and "up." She has tried to say "sailor" and says "ya" and "mamama." All of her other words seem to be inconsistent, but she's getting there. She's cruising all over the place, pulling herself up, and still crawls with one "peg leg" just like Easton did as a baby.

Poppy still loves music. As soon as she hears music she starts moving her little booty, bouncing her head, and dancing to the music. She also tries to sing along- its so amazing to watch. The boys still sing her the song we made up whenever she cries. They also sing Old Town Road by Lil Nas X, her favorite of all the songs in the world.

She's sleeping in her crib most of the night- usually around 3am I bring her into bed with me. She still wakes up between three and four times before it's time to get up for the day. (I recently bought a smart watch and I'm alarmed by the lack of sleep I'm getting each night). Thankfully, she does nap in the morning- but only if I lay with I also take a nap every morning.

The ability to carve out time to workout has been increasingly difficult for me as Poppy won't stay in the studio, I'm now paying a friend to watch her two-three mornings a week so I can get in a workout (this is necessary for me in order to stay sane).

I'm enjoying my sweet baby so much. For all of the attachment, sleepless nights, constant nursing... I still wake up every single day thanking God for this third baby. She brings so much delight to all of our lives. Her humor, resilience, and playfulness inspire me every single day.

God, thank you for making me her mama.

(I missed her 10 month update. below are the pictures I took of her at 10 months...with all the intention in the world to write about it...)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...