Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Making of the Picture

I've been trying to think of something to say here, but I'll be honest with you - I've got nothin'. But at least let me enumerate the reasons from my dazzling life so you will understand why my mind is as dry as the pages of the books to which I so desperately cling. (Name that quote.)

1. I had surgery. It's actually not even a big surgery. It probably doesn't even merit the name "surgery." But surgery I will call it, nonetheless, for the sympathy it garners me. I had a cyst surgically removed from my wrist on Tuesday in surgery. (The more I say "surgery" the more you'll remember to pity me.) It was a fast procedure which resulted in the best sleep I've had in months. (Is it sad that when I heard they were going to put me under general anesthesia, my first thought was, "Score, that sounds like a nice long nap!") Now my wrist is getting steadily better, and I've had my in-laws, hubby, and sister to help me handle el baby-o.

2. Speaking of sleep, we've been sleep training the baby. This has nothing to do with my mind being blank, but I just thought I'd mention it...though I do suppose it has to do with my mind being preoccupied. Me ol' noggin ain't working like it used to. I won't blame it on the baby though, as that's too in fashion. I choose to blame it on the preponderence of dried mangoes I've been eating lately. Do you think anyone in the history of writing has used "preponderence" and "dried mangoes" together? Now that's innovation. Anywho, sleep training: The baby had picked up a very bad habit from her parents which is a dependence on her pacifier. She was as dependent on pacifiers as I am on dried mangoes and quesadillas. She was waking up 4-6 times a night and unable to go back to sleep without it. No bueno. But for the past three nights in a row, she has slept 11 1/2 hours without waking once. And the angels sang from on high.

3. I've been planning a baby shower. This is no actual reason to keep me from blogging, as I have plenty of time in which to plan. But I tend to go crazy when it comes to party planning. It's a family trait. We're all insane. Certifiable. But we're also all darn good party planners.

And that is why, at the end of yet another day, I have nothing to show you bet yet another video of my baby. But she's more cute than I am clever anyway. And this way, you get to hear me talk in ridiculous voices. It's win-win.

I warn you in advance: This video is not interesting in the slightest. It's simply her rolling around moments before I took the picture I posted on Sunday. But she's just so cute.


And now, one of Mike talking like a big goofball, in our quest to get Allie to eat food.


And now here's a better video of Allie "eating" (which I mean in the loosest sense). (I really just posted that last video so you could hear Mike's applesauce voice.)


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Caption Me

As I sat trying to come up with a caption for this photo, going on 3 hours of sleep, my creativity was somewhat wanting. So Mike suggested you caption it for me!

What do you think? I'm thinking, "My baby could beat up your baby," but that is contingent upon you noticing her little pink skull and cross-bones on her shirt.

I'll be looking at this pink rocker to get me through my Monday!

The Pulley

I stumbled upon this poem today in a book I'm proofreading. I thought it so very lovely and apt, so I thought I'd share it with you, from my restless heart to yours.

When God at first made man,
Having a glasse of blessings standing by;
Let us (said he) poure on him all we can:
Let the worlds riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.

So strength first made a way;
Then beautie flow’d, then wisdome, honour, pleasure:
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that alone of all his treasure
Rest in the bottome lay.

For if I should (said he)
Bestow this jewell also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts in stead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
So both should losers be.

Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlesnesse:
Let him be rich and wearie, that at least,
If goodnesse leade him not, yet wearinesse
May tosse him to my breast.

~George Herbert, 1633

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beware the Single Story

I still love this video that I posted a year or two ago, and I am reminded of it often.

It is so easy for those of us who work in the nonprofit world, or those of us who support nonprofits, or even those of us who are just humans to focus on the single story.

The single story is the easiest story to tell.

It's the story that all Africans live in mud huts.

It's the story that all poor people are in despair.

It's the story that all women are victims.

The single story is a one-dimensional caricature. It's a kindergarten rendering of a doctorate level problem. And it's a cop out.

I bump into single stories nearly every day. It's in the innocent looking line in a donor appeal that asks donors to save poor children from the "nightmare" that is their life. It's in the appeal to adopt a child from a certain nation because surely all children living in that nation must have dreadful lives. All other aspects of a child's life are dismissed save for one fact: they are poor. Forget their loving parents. Forget the fun they have playing with a makeshift soccer ball with the neighbors. Forget the way they love to dance and sing to the music at church. They are poor and so they only get one label: nightmare.

Certainly there are children living in a nightmare. And surely some aspects of some children's lives are nightmarish. But we simply can't boil each unique story out there to one word.

There are many reasons we tell and retell single stories. Black and white is simply easier to write than grey - and it's snappier too. Complexities muddle writing, whereas simplicity is vivid. The single story is dramatic, it is emotional, and it gets us hopping. It motivates us to just do something! The single story sells.

But the single story is also misleading. It is over-simplified. And ultimately it is an insult and a disrespect to those you're trying to help.

On the other hand, we also can't swing to the other side of our good intentions and keep telling the antiquated story of the noble savage - the idea that all the poor are somehow more noble than we are. The caricature of the good and kind pauper to our garish and gluttonous American. That is also the single story.

So how do we remedy single-storyitis?

We remember that each child, each person is unique. We realize that "African" and "American" are geographic descriptors and not one-size-fits-all end-of-story labels. We remember that there is intelligence and ingenuity south and north of the equator, as well as corruption and despair. We reject the idea that we are Prince Charming to the Bottom Billion's Cinderella. We strive to add learning and understanding to our compassion. We remember that we are all just humans, in the same hopeless boat, regardless of race, income, gender, nationality or profession.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Time to Eat!

Allie had her six month doctor's appointment today, which means two things: 1) She is having a rough day because of the shots 2) It's officially time for her to start eating food!

In honor, we propped her up in her feeding chair and put her new pink bow from Grandma Nancy on. And she's all ready! Now, if only we had some food to give her...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

When It Snows, It Blizzards

Rather than being cliché, I'm going to be derivative and say, "When it snows, it blizzards," in regards not to weather, but to busy-ness.

The weather, in fact, has been quite glorious, leading to a blizzard of work at the gelato store. With this lovely up-turn in temperature, our humble little ice cream store seems to have made it through its second winter intact. As most businesses fail within their first two years and as we are now entering our busier season of sales, it seems that we at Glacier Ice Cream and Gelato Colorado Springs (the gelato store my hubby and I own together), have officially beat the two-year glitch! All kudos to my hard-working, long-suffering husband who excels even when in new and unknown (and scary!) territory. We loves you, yes we does. (Said in a language my husband speaks, Gollum. I know how to love others the way they wish to be loved.)

The blizzard of ice cream work has been countered by a hurricane of freelance work and work-work for wifey. And the hurricane has been punctuated by the ever-present Gulf-Stream current of a 6-month-old baby.

And now that I've broken every writing rule, from clichés to derivatives to mixed metaphors: I will get to my point: I'm busy and therefore haven't blogged so much. My apologies and my sincerest intention to return...sometime.

For now, let hum-drum walking reports and videos of babies suffice. Thank you, my loving and persevering public.

Week 7 Workouts (Not Spectacular, But Not Nothing, Either)
Sunday - a nice walk in Aurora with the 'rents
Monday - a trek about the zoo with a Hawaiian
Wednesday - a bike ride up and down the Santa Fe trail
Thursday - a stressful walk (full of baby fussing) on the Santa Fe trail
Saturday - a hike up Mt. Cutler with a Canadian

And now for gratuitous cuteness:

Allie sits on her own for the very first time...and a very brief time at that.


Allie goes swimming for the first time...(Well, technically the second time, but she wasn't wearing a swimsuit the first time, which means it was just bathing, not swimming.)


Allie does nothing but sit on the bed looking cute.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tea Time with Mr. Giraffe

Do you remember the last time Alexandra went to the zoo?

She was very excited to see Mr. Giraffe, but their conversation was quite subdued.

Yesterday, however, Alexandra, with her more advanced cognitive development, was quite lively with Mr. Giraffe. They shared their thoughts on the cultural sensitivity of Kony 2012 and long-term solutions to Tanzanian food security over tea. You should have been there to hear it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Unbridled Joy

I want to see this world—and the Lord Himself — through the eyes of a child. To laugh with abandon. To sparkle with delight. To simply ooze with the joy of the Lord, unbridled and big and loud. Read the rest here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Help! My Blog Has Been Hiacked!

...By a baby-obsessed mother who posts nothing but things as banal as videos of her child playing with her feet. Gone are the days of interesting comments about life, the universe, and everything. Or maybe they were never very interesting to begin with. In which case, you're welcome! And I'll proceed without further apologies.

Ahem, I think the baby thinks she is a monkey.


She's going to be so sad when one day she finally realizes her feet will never become as dexterous as her hands.

This weekend, I went to Denver for my sister's birthday. I went to the bathroom at one point, leaving Allie alone with my family for just one minute, and here's what happened.

You just can't leave them for one second!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Week 6 Workouts

Sunday was one of those glorious spring days in Colorado when the sky is deep blue and the sun makes you believe, however briefly, that someday summer will return again. So we took a hike from our home, finding a new path behind our home that wound us up above the city and then deep into the forest down to the Blodgett Peak trails. It was lovely.

Monday that tease, spring, flirted with us once again, so I biked from the Santa Fe trailhead to Compassion, my old commute and the trail we will be doing the marathon on. It was so sublimely beautiful and I only had to get off my bike for two hills. Not too shabby after a year and a half off.

Tuesday I walked around our park. Not a long walk, but a walk nonetheless.

Thursday I met Mike at the store for some pre-walking fuel (pralines and cream gelato), then we took a stroll down the Pikes Peak Greenway...which is not so green right now.

And, lastly, today, I walked to Blodgett Peak, which I feel really deserves the moniker "hike," it's so stinking steep.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ode to Good Enough

To the frying pan with evidence of yesterday's fried egg lying in the sink

And the pile of tiny pink baby socks and sleepers tainted by unmentionable fluids on the floor

And the stack of bills, unanswered letters, and coupons dusty and forgotten on the desk:

Welcome! You may stay where you are.

For my baby is alive.

My paid job is done.

My belly is full, even if it's only with Honey Nut Chex.

And that is good enough.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Roly Poly

Allie is becoming a certified chubster. I can't get enough thigh pinching in my life right now. Sometimes I wake up at night with the urge to go wake her up just so I can pinch her thighs.

She's also learning to grab her toes which is consuming about 77% of her wake time right now. I had to take this video to capture her thighs.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Good Night, World

Robot Baby

I am a by-the-rules kind of gal. When Mike and I are out walking and there is a "Do Not Trespass" sign, I will tuck my tail between my legs, turn right back around, and go home. Mike, on the other hand, will say, "Oh, that's just there for legal purposes; it's probably meant to keep teenagers out; I'm sure the owner doesn't actually care; yada, yada, yada."

My approach to walking is similar to my approach to parenting. The only problem, is it doesn't work.

I like lines. I like rules. I like nice and tidy equations. When I have a question about how something "should" be done in parenting, I want an answer, like to a math problem. A + B = C. Baby not napping + defined solution = newly napping baby. However, my baby, though quite the amenable gal, is not an equation. She isn't a robot or a computer who simply needs the proper programming solution applied to her. This is hard for me, Hermione Granger, who simply wants to know the "right" answer and apply it.

People tell me I should just follow my intuition. Is there a book I can read that will tell me what my intuition says? Despite what Mr. Meyers and Briggs say, I have no idea what my intuition says...except that I should go read a book.

Mr. Michael, of course, has no such problems as a parent. While I'm scouring parenting books to transform myself into the perfect mother, he's just kickin' it Kauaian style on the floor with the baby. He must take after her.

Despite my bookish compulsions, I do think I'm getting a hang of this gal at 5-months. Of course, in two weeks, she'll be 6 months, and I'll have to start all over again. Though I do still occasionally twitch with my need to "get it right" with my baby, here is what I've learned thus far:
  • I don't think there is a "right" way when it comes to feeding, sleeping, napping, playing, etc., as much as it goes against my German grain to say it. I'm turning into quite the hippie, and plan to go buy some flowing broom skirts this afternoon. (Of course, my particular baby lends herself to this conclusion. She's pretty accommodating to whatever parenting whim I execute on a particular day.)
  • I need to chill out. This is a recurring theme in my life.
  • After watching Toy Story 3 again last night, I cried, as usual, but this time for different reasons. This time, I was the mom watching old home movies and hugging her child goodbye as he goes off for college. Leading me to point three: I better just forget about getting it right and just go hug and kiss the baby some more.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Week 5 Workouts

This week's workouts were dismal. Dismal, I say! There was one bright spot on Wednesday when I got out for my very first bike ride since el baby-o was born.

It wasn't pretty.

My neighborhood is a common training ground for serious, professional cyclists, as it's quite steep. They whiz past me in their tight little neon-green outfits and aerodynamic sunglasses and raise their pointer fingers approximately one centimeter in greeting, while I huff and puff and slog my head over toward them and grunt, "Hi," sounding like Marge Simpson's sister Selma, between sniffs and groans.

Sniffing, groaning, and near vomiting aside, I did get one bike ride in on Wednesday.

Then I sat on my hiney for two more days.

Until today when the Chinook winds blew in the warmth and sun. I have cabin fever something awful and yearn to get out and explore like we did before the baby was born. The baby isn't actually keeping me from exploring, it's my own perception that "it's hard to get out with a baby." Which it's not, really. She's a mellow little trooper. So we headed down to Pueblo Reservoir, as we were curious as to what it's like.

We didn't like it. They didn't have any maps available and this one misdemeanor on their part has driven a wedge between us. It was also windy. Nothing brings out my anger issues like wind.

So we headed to downtown Pueblo instead to get some good walking in. We walked to a new cheese shop and bought beer cheddar and chive and onion cheddar. We also stopped by the cupcake bakery that is going to begin selling our gelato and gobbled up several delicious cupcakes. We also stopped by the novelty store that carries our gelato and they gave us lots of free chocolate. I love being a business owner! Everyone stuffs cupcakes and chocolate in your face!

And that was a very long way of saying: I only got two walks/workouts in this week (though I managed to get several cupcakes in). But I'll worry about that tomorrow, for tomorrow is another day! Here was the lovely sunset on the way home today, reminding us of why we love where we live so stinkin' much.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Wanderlust: Koln

The culmination of 10 years of intense study of the German language and a minor in the subject was five hours one afternoon at a Christmas market in Koln.

(Yes, Koln as in Cologne, but I like to use the German spelling, minus the umlaut, to make you think I'm erudite. I also like to use words like erudite to make you think I'm even more erudite.)

I always intended to live in or travel through Germany. My sister had moved to Germany when I was in middle school, and I started studying the language so I could write her letters in German...which I'm pretty sure never happened. But I did develop a fascination for the culture and language. And yet, my five hours in Germany, ordering sauerkraut and gluhwein, are the only workout my linguistic skills have ever gotten. (Unless you count IMing with my coworker in the Dominican Republic in German.)

Back to the Christmas market, or Christkindlmarkt, as us erudite people say. I had moved to Amsterdam, after this last trip, which afforded us incredible access to travel around Europe. I had always wanted to experience Christmas in Germany, so my friends Rachel, Naomi, Diane and I took the train that wound down south through the flat landscape of the Netherlands. The green fields of the Netherlands were slowly replaced by the thick forests of Germany and into Koln itself.

The first all-encompassing thing you have to mention about Koln is the Dom, or cathedral. I've seen a lot of European cathedrals in my day, and none come anywhere near touching this thing, not even St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

It's big, imposing, impressive, beautiful, breathtaking, and...big. It's so big, in fact, that it took 600 years to build. At the base of the cathedral is the Christmas market, looking like a perfect story-book wonderland.

We wandered around the market trying chocolate covered bananas and gluhwein (mulled, spiced wine), and rubbed our frozen little hands together in the warming hut while eating crepes. We browsed the many stands selling ornaments and cuckoo clocks and every German delight imaginable.

After we could fit no more down our little gullets, we wandered the streets of Koln, peeking in store windows and taking pictures in front of stereotypical looking pubs. When it was time for dinner, we found one such pub and squeezed into one of the tiny booths. Americans were a novelty, apparently, and many in the pub blatantly stared at us while we tried to figure out how to order in German. I remember I ate something meat and red cabbage.

And it's so sad to admit, but that's all I remember of my one glorious day in Germany. My sister spent several years there and her remembrances of castles and cheeses make me want to go back someday. Einmal, gehe ich zuruch nach Deutschland.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Tooth

I was 18 the first time. My parents had made an appointment for me at the dentist during a break from college. I sat in the dentist's chair, overlooking Cherry Creek, and the dentist said, "So, your mother said we should take a look at your yellow tooth."

Yellow tooth?! Yellow tooth?! I was aghast and embarrassed, as only an unreasonable 18 year old can be.

At some unknown point of time, my front tooth had turned yellow, but I was personally in denial of this fact, so the dentist's words were an unwelcome wake-up to my new signature look. It was declared a bruised tooth, the only way to fix it being to cover it with an expensive veneer. Every single time I now visit the dentist (especially since I'm a dentist hopper), they say, "You know, we could fix that tooth for you..."(For a thousand bucks.))

And now every time I look in the mirror or look at a picture, all I see is that yellow tooth, like a beacon from a lighthouse calling out to me.

Recently I was out hiking with some friends. I had my best North Face gear on. And a friend said to me, "I think we're close enough for me to say this to you...If I didn't know you better, I'd think you were a pot smoker with that yellow tooth."

Not in my best of moods, instead of laughing it off, I told him that it was the single biggest thing I am self conscious about. Now don't worry, he later apologized, realizing that a. no women wants her physical flaws pointed out and b. no woman wants to be compared to a pothead. And all is forgiven and good in the hood.

But my tooth represents a larger issue and one that will come to the forefront now that I have a daughter: That of beauty and self-acceptance.

Like many women, I've had a tumultuous relationship with my body and beauty, involving many ups and downs and heated conversations with my inner thighs. But now, more than ever, I have a responsibility to model a healthy relationship with beauty to my daughter. I don't want her to see me rebuking my new-found muffin top or loathing my scraggly eyebrows.

Here is what I do want her to see:

I want her to see a woman who knows that a woman's looks are not her greatest or most important asset. I want her to see a woman who takes with good humor her tooth's foibles and her stray chin hairs. Yes, I said it, stray chin hairs. I want her to see a woman who takes good care of herself, but as a means to an end - good health - and not an end in itself.

I have a long way to go. But I have more motivation than ever - my sweet little daughter who is so much more than just a pretty face...though she is pretty darn cute.