Thursday, June 9, 2016

SHE RIDES

I can't believe that the last time I wrote in this blog, we were pumped because G was "almost walking."  Now she's tearing it up on her bike.  G turned three just over four months ago, and mastered her pedal bike about a month ago. The glorious Woom 2 was the key and Green Pedal Bike has a special place in her heart. Along the way I've become OBSESSED with kid and family biking. I've become a bit of a second-hand kid bike expert scouring craigslist and ebay to add to my bike library and share with friends. It's thrilling to watch kiddos discover the freedom of mastering such a powerful physical skill.

video

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A year in review

Baby G is one.  An it's as hard to believe that she wasn't even year such a short time ago as it is to believe that she is so old already!  She says words!  She has opinions!  She started as a blob and now she can almost walk!



Ellie has been taking little snippets of video throughout the year and pared them down to tell a condensed version of G's life so far.  I'm totally impressed with how she put it together, and I love the little glimpses of our year.  Moving across the country, visits with cousins, grandparents and framily, our park, the snow.  It has been a wild ride, but I'm grateful that so many moments feel like we're thriving.



Saturday, July 6, 2013

Parks and recreation

the magic of the park
Hey! I know it might have seemed like we disappeared for a while, but really it's just been... well... a cross between living voraciously and struggling to stay afloat with the enormity of life changes!  Everything's STARTING to settle, but slowly.  We are, in fact, living in Minnesota.  A few of our rooms are unpacked enough to have more floor space than a pathway through them.  I have a little bit of a daily schedule, and I've booked my first Minnesota photo client.

Our emptied MA house! We'll miss it.

Graylyn "helping" unpack in MN
Still, it's been a whirlwind.  There was the move-- which happened in so many stages that people kept seeing me and saying, "Oh, I thought you had moved already?"  There was the living out of suitcases for a while, as we traveled to Maine for a week, lived apart for a week (Kels starting residency here in MN and me hanging back in MA to photograph some families and a wedding), and then traveled by car across half the country.  And then there was arriving here-- me expecting to be able to take a breath, but then realizing that nothing was unpacked and it was damn near impossible to do so while a 5-month old wants to play with you all day.

I am so fun! Play with me!
But, it's getting better.  Graylyn takes two or three naps a day, in one- or two-hour durations.  During the first one, I usually try to nap, too, since I'm still tired from not quite enough sleep the night before/tired from the extra work of making milk.  During the second two naps, I usually try to either unpack a little, or edit some photos.  I still feel like I'm behind and maybe always will be... and sometimes the enormity of boxes overwhelms me... but it means the WORLD to be able to just drop everything, pick up the crying baby, and walk across the street to the park.  Huge hardwood trees, golden sun streaming through, kids running around, and open expanses of grass... it's essential.  Helps both me and, I think, Graylyn, come back to the present moment, relax, and just be.  (Ok I know Graylyn has no idea what the present moment is, but the park does seem to be the thing we can do when nothing else works.)

View of the park from my deck

I save the swings for last, when she's grumpiest.  They always work.

It will continue to get better.  As my sister says, "One box at a time."  So, on to the next.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Into the Woods


One of my favorite things about Kelsey is the way that she pushes me to do more than I might on my own.  Often things that are really amazing are also scary, and as I get older, I find myself taking a few less risks, hunkering into routine a little bit more.  Possibly the best thing she convinced me to do was to hike the Appalachian Trail for four weeks (VT and NH) on our honeymoon.  Don’t get me wrong—I love hiking, and always have.  But that was a really hard trip.  And not your typical honeymoon.  Yet, that will always be one of my favorite things we’ve ever done together, and one of the things of which I am the most proud.

young love!
So when Kels planned this two-night camping trip with two other couples we’re friends with, I was excited (yay! Camping! I love the outdoors!) and trepidatious (we have a 14-week old who has not established great sleep cycles yet!)

who, me?
I’m not going to pretend that everything went perfectly.  For example, we thought our two-person tent would be big enough to fit a snuggly baby in between us.  This was technically true, but it was not big enough to fit a baby with enough room around her that I was confident she wouldn’t suffocate in our sleeping bags.  Also, our sleeping bags are lovely and warm, but not big enough to fit an adult and a baby.  So we had some arrangement issues.  i.e. I did not sleep much at all that night.

We were able to solve these the second night, when we made a sleeping bag out of Kelsey’s wool sweater, and put G in her own little pop-up tent we use for her naps, and placed that under the rain fly.  Unzip our tent, unzip hers, and bring her in for feedings.  A happier night for all!


One good thing happened the first night, however.  I awoke at one point to a multitude of echoing, harmonious loon calls.  It was one the most romantically dreamlike and yet clearest and most ‘real’ moments of recent memory.  Forget the restless, sleepless night we were in the midst of: their calls gave me that feeling that everything was perfectly right.


Sunday morning we received another avian gift: a heron landed on our waters and began to walk along the shore towards us.  We were all quiet except for Graylyn’s hiccups, and the heron paused behind a large pine and peered around the tree with its long neck to check out this strange sound.  Deeming us safe, it kept walking.  Its silhouette, elegant yet strange, kept us rapt and silent.


Another first for G on the trip was our canoe ride!  We had purchased a baby life jacket for her, thus resulting in a very safe canoe ride, but she HATED the jacket, resulting in a slightly stressful start.  I was unable to handle the pressure of keeping her from crying while simultaneously trying to enjoy the lovely scenery, so Kels took over.  Sometimes the other parent just has the magic touch.   Kels was able to hold her such that she was… shall we say… slightly dissatisfied but willing to acquiesce.   It was an invigorating and beautiful ride from there out.

pretty.
Can you find G inside her massive life jacket?

All in all, it was a great trip.  The campfires were pretty perfect, the s’mores were as glee-inducing as in childhood, and the hammock swings were peaceful.  We succeeded in our first family camping trip, and I owe it to Kels for encouraging us to keep pushing ourselves.  I don’t think we’ll be doing any 4-week trips as a family any time soon, but overnights in the woods definitely seem possible.





Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Twelve Steps of Baby Crying in the Car


1. Maybe she won’t cry this time… Hm, nope. There she goes.
2. Try reaching back to put the pacifier in.  Root around to find it in her carseat and put it in again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
3. Try jiggling the carseat a little, shushing her, and/or singing to her.
4. Decide I should stop messing with her and she’ll stop.
5. Hm, she hasn’t stopped.
6. Wow, she’s really worked up. It sounds like someone’s murdering her! (Chuckle a little at the intensity of babies’ crying).
7. Wonder if maybe something actually is wrong.
8. Get mad that she hasn’t stopped yet even though everything’s probably fine.
9. Start to lose it, imagining that she will continue crying forever.
10. Start crying myself.
11. Turn the music up loud.
12. Realize she’s stopped crying as you pull into your destination.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Loving and leaving the squishiness


When I was first getting to know my post-partum body, I have to admit I kind of loved the softness of everything.  I had never weighed that much in my life, but because it was weight with a purpose I didn’t feel badly about it.  I just got to love all the softness and the silly squishiness that was left of my belly once that hard ol’ baby came out.  That was a joyful time I’ll remember.

G likes squishiness
Once I got a little farther along and things started to settle, especially around the 6-week mark when we started to get more sleep, I felt like it was time to reclaim my body—you know, the one that could do things besides make milk.  Making milk and growing a baby are a funny category of exercise: they are A LOT of work, but you don’t feel yourself doing them.  You’re not directing the muscles to do their thing.  You feel tired, but you don’t really feel the kind of ‘good tired’ that comes after a walk or a workout.

So I started to do a little more walking, which felt good.  But I also started to not be as into the squishiness.  After all, none of my clothes fit and I was wearing the same few maternity-pants-that-you-couldn’t-tell-were-maternity-pants over and over every few days (lucky for us we were doing laundry constantly).  I wanted to wear all my favorite clothes again, and to feel like a fierce, badass healthy person.

Around the end of March I picked up with WeightWatchers again.  I had done it for a few weeks right before the pregnancy, to get myself off on the right start, and it had definitely worked for me.  Plus my lovely wife had had enormous success with it, and was the healthiest she had ever been, so I had a good role model (and a partner to do it with me, which is the biggest help!)

This was our dessert at brunch today with the Carson-Groners.
It is not an example of healthy food, but it was delicious, nonetheless
Anyway, it’s been going well… it’s been slow (but it should be) and I’ve learned a lot about what foods are healthy for me and which are not (sometimes surprisingly so).  It’s helped me reframe my thoughts and my habits.  And over the last five weeks, I’ve lost 6 pounds.

Then this week, I got a nasty stomach virus that rendered me pretty useless.  I didn’t really want much food for a string of days, and yet I was still producing milk for my favorite daughter several times a day.  The result of this?  I lost 6 pounds in one week.

So there you go.  A little jump start to the weight loss.  Not sure I’d choose to do that again, but I’ll take the benefits where I can get them…

the 6-pound-lighter version of me
Can I just end by putting in another plug for my wife? She is a good wife.  She reminds me daily how much she loves my body, and keeps my mental approach to the getting-healthy in check.  It’s important to have, because I love a good challenge, but this whole getting-my-body-back thing is supposed to be slow.

G reading the paper with Grandmom

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Falling

I don't have to tell you it's been a crazy week.  Bottom line, we're lucky to all be healthy and whole, and to have all our family and friends intact.

But a couple times it didn't seem like that was so.  To start off, Kels was way too close to the bombs when they went off.  She had an appointment a few blocks away and started to notice the sirens as she got close by.  She smelled the explosions.  She asked people on the street what had happened and they said an explosion... and naturally she thought a pipe burst or something.  Because who thinks a bomb has gone off in Boston??

When she got home that night, we hugged and she kissed the baby a lot.  We talked about how grateful we were that no one we know was hurt.  Some family members of hers were at the finish line just minutes before the blast, but they left to get a sandwich when the person they were watching finished.  How random it all was.

Then not ten minutes after she was home and holding the baby, she set her down on the couch as we often do.  We looked away for a second and she wriggled herself sideways and off the couch.  She landed face down.  The sound, although not the bump of a head hitting, was still sickening.  I freaked out.

I've been half expecting her to fall off of something since she arrived.  I thought of how awful I would feel if it happened.  But I had no idea.  It was one of the worst feelings I've ever felt.  Kels said I was making noises like I did when I had my bad bike accident and was in actual pain.  I'm honestly not sure what I would have done if she hadn't been there, but she was, and she said immediately, "We're going to the ER."

We got in the car as fast as we could and I rode in back with her.  She was crying- differently than usual? Probably not.  But it felt different.  I wanted so badly to crawl inside of her and wipe all the hurt away.  I tried to make calm eyes at her, and tell her it was ok.  I held Kelsey's hand, and told her it was ok, too.

Getting checked out by a kind doctor
At the hospital, I kept wavering between feeling like a silly first-time parent who is overreacting and feeling like it was urgent we were there.  One of the nurses told us, "Don't worry. Babies bounce."  Sigh.  And indeed, she was totally fine.  Not even a bruise or bump.  Still, I'm glad we went, so that I didn't have to stay up that night watching her breathe and wondering if she might have a concussion or be forever damaged.

Graylyn was smiling at the doctor by the end of the visit.  She's such a charmer.

The whole thing just felt a little ridiculous.  Rushing to the suburban hospital with our infant who fell off a couch when Boston hospitals were filled with emergency surgeries.  But, whaddya gonna do?  You deal with what's in front of you.  It was random that Kelsey wasn't hurt by the bombings, it was random that others were.  In the moment, we deal with what's presented to us, the best we can.  

I love this girl.