Tuesday, September 21, 2010

21 Months

Polaroid Violet

Today Violet is 21 months old, 3/4 of the way through her second year of life.  She is just a few months shy of becoming a 2-year-old.  A 2-year-old!  I can hardly believe it.  One of the most obvious changes in her lately is her language blossoming at an ever increasing rate, which is super-fun and such a joy to see.  She calls her sister "DRACE" and her dad sometimes "WOBBER" and herself "BABY!"  I'm not sure what she thinks the word Violet means yet; maybe she thinks it is a call to attention or what I say when she is supposed to stop what she's doing.  She still says "AT-CHOO" for thank you and if you thank her, she says, "YOO WELCOME." If she is looking for you, she will warble, "WE-AW-YOO?" and if you tell her you love her, she will respond, "I-UVOO."  One of her latest words is elephant, which she pronounces something like "APPLE-FANT".  She puts together little two-word sentences, such as "other eye" and "Daddy shoe".


She is obsessed with shoes and socks, and she has a deep fondness for keys.  She declares things to be "MINE!" with said item clasped to her chest with both little hands.  She sings warbly approximations of songs from our favorite CDs or the alphabet song.  She is such a climber, deeply motivated to scale the heights of the fireplace mantel or the dining table or the basement stairs or whatever else presents itself.  She gets so upset about being thwarted (an unfortunately common occurrence, given her predilections) and sometimes throws herself face-down on the floor upon being foiled.  Strangely, this is not the prelude to a tantrum; she lays quietly face-down on the floor for a few moments, then gets up and wanders off to do something else.

No, they aren't actually sharing a bed

The past few months have been a time of great transition for our family, moving from Texas to Utah, and now from this rental to a house of our own.  One transition for Violet has been moving from a crib to a toddler bed.  Our crib was damaged in the move and rather than buy another one with the money our moving company reimbursed us with, we bought this toddler bed (so cute! I really like it).  Moving to a toddler bed has been so nice; it's so much easier to get her to go to sleep when I can cuddle with her, nurse her a little, and be physically close to her as she is dozing off.  Maybe I am coming around to the realization that we are not a crib family, and perhaps for baby #3 we can get away with moving straight from the bedside cosleeper to this toddler bed.  No crib-- I'm a total hippie, aren't I?  Anyway, we also put Violet in her new little toddler bed in the same room with Grace, which has gone smoothly so far.  It is awfully adorable to see both of them sleeping away just a few feet away from each other.

Lunch outside

Of course, there's not much about Violet -- sweet, funny, adventurous, driven Violet -- that isn't adorable.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Church and Donald Miller and Sleeping In

I think we have found a church to call home, and we feel pretty excited about it.  It is this church, which is a fairly new church plant of Imago Dei, a church in Portland you may have heard of because it is where Donald Miller goes and he mentions it in Blue Like Jazz.  (Which is fabulous! And everybody should read it!)  Anyway, it is a really interesting, refreshing faith community and I feel so enthusiastic about being a part of it.  See this video?  Oh, I just love it.  I've had a hard time with church life for the past couple years because of various cultural quirks of big Texas evangelical churches so I feel very happy to have found a really different kind of place where I feel more in tune with the community.  Speaking of Donald Miller, actually, I read Blue Like Jazz when I was perhaps at my peak of church-y unhappiness and he has a chapter entitled "Church: How I Go Without Getting Angry" that both did and did not help me at the time.  He talked about a lot of things that resonated with me ("it was like going to church at the Gap") but the answer he gave to the question presented by his chapter title was, in the end, to find a church that was a good match for you as an individual and then let go of any bad attitude toward other churches that are not good matches for your personality, priorities, etc.  This was not very helpful to me when I was going to a Dallas mega-church, as you might guess, but I feel quite differently here at the beginning of my relationship with a church that seems like it reflects my interests and values.

It is a very young church, both in the sense that it has only been meeting since Easter of this year and in the sense that Rob and I suspect we are among the oldest people there.  It's not that there is nobody older than us, but we are definitely on the upper end of the age distribution-- loooooots of people in their 20s.

This church is so new that it doesn't have a building yet so it is meeting at various random places around the city like people's houses and this amazing bakery (closed on Sundays and thus those amazing pastries tantalize us the whole time we are there but we are unable to purchase/devour any) and the student union at the university.  It meets at 4pm on Sundays, which I must say is a huge paradigm shift me.  For my ENTIRE life, Sunday morning = church and it is blowing my mind a little to have Sunday mornings free.  Is this what it is like to not be a churchgoer? Instead of getting up with an alarm clock and scuttling the whole morning to get yourself and your children fed and dressed in some appropriate way and out the door, you sleep in and are lazy and go to a lovely Sunday morning yoga class?  I can see the appeal.  Seriously, though, I have been going to this great yoga class on Sunday mornings now and if this church ever gets a regular building and has Sunday morning services, I am going to miss it.

For the record, there were probably 5 different churches here in Salt Lake City that would have been great for us, one of which is where I am going to MOPS now.  We had a bit of concern about this before we moved here, because all the people we knew here were agnostics/atheists/skeptics/etc and faith and spirituality weren't big priorities for them.  All these people were/are really happy in this city and we thought we would be too because we have a lot in common with these various friends of ours, but we were a little worried that the only church-goers in the whole city were Mormon and we would have a hard time finding a spot for us.  Not the case, however-- the churches here are smaller and newer than what we were used to in Texas (OH NOES <- sarcasm) but they are thriving and vibrant.  So, to sum up, this is not a reason to avoid Salt Lake City.  Nor are the Mormons, really; to be honest, I haven't met many LDS people since moving here.  This is, of course, because of where I've been spending my days since we moved here in July-- the liberal neighborhoods around the university where we live and go to the park and Grace does gymnastics and we go to restaurants and shop, the Jewish Community Center where Grace goes to preschool and I use the gym, various churches we've been visiting.  I hear tell that the suburbs are a vast swath of LDS folks as far as the eye can see, but the only reasons I go to the suburbs are IKEA and In-N-Out Burger.  (Yeah, we are not very good quasi-vegetarians.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Like a Chicken Bereft of Its Head

Whew! Life has been a bit of a whirlwind recently!  I keep getting further and further behind on laundry, and I am not even sure what we've been eating because I haven't planned and cooked proper meals for quite a while now.  It's all been good/fun/important stuff that has kept us in this hectic state, but some calm and peace would be very welcome right now. Violet started developing a runny nose late yesterday and then had a miserable night, so I cleared our schedule today and declared it to be a day of staying home in comfy pants.  Having a sick 20-month-old is pretty wretched (the coughing! the snot! the terrible toddler moods!), but I will admit that I could really use this quiet day after the harried tumult of the past two weeks.

Those two weeks have seen us close on our house (hooraaaaaaaaaaaay...), the sellers rent back from us for a while, and then us take possession of the house.  It is now really ours, and I am super excited.  I started work on the mantel, which I am refinishing, and then this week people came in to refinish our floors.  We're having them use an environmentally friendly finish on the floor, which I am kind of excited about.  It's low-VOC and LEED complaint and all those good things, and I perused the internet to find people who have had it on their floors and folks seem very happy with its durability and whatnot.  After the hardwood floors, we will have somebody come in to wire for the speakers in the media room and then somebody to do all the painting, and I am still working on getting somebody to refinish the front door.  It's probably under 3 weeks now until we get to move in and it is hard to communicate just how HAPPY this makes me.

Back to school!

Yesterday Grace had her first day at her new preschool so there has been much scrambling around to meet-the-teacher and parent meetings and making it to the first morning drop-off WITH all the appropriate items and WITHOUT being late.  I think it is going to be a fun year for Grace; her two teachers seem so sweet and engaged in small children and serious about this as an important and wondrous part of life.  She is going five mornings a week, which is only slightly more hours weekly than she did last year but going everyday is going to be new for us.  It is mainly going to be an adjustment for me, I think; I have to get us all out the door dressed appropriately with a lunch packed EVERY MORNING. For FIVE DAYS A WEEK. Shocking, I know.

Speaking of getting dressed and packed up and where one is supposed to be, I have recently been bemoaning how much time my exercise habits now take up.  By the time I drop off whatever children I have with me at the childcare room after having packed them what they need and me what I need, then work out, then pick them up and drive home and then take a shower and do my hair and so forth, I have used up almost two hours (or more, when I work out for 90 minutes instead of an hour).  Multiplying this by how many times a week I am trying to exercise, I am up to about how many credit hours I was teaching before Violet was born.  So much time!  I wish being in shape wasn't so much WORK.  I am hoping that after we are settled in the new house, more of my time and energy gets freed up so that eventually I can return to sewing and fun things like that and eventually having a job again without returning to my slothful, non-exercising ways.

Rushing water

On Labor Day, instead of staying home and doing laundry and buying groceries as some priorities would have directed, we went on our first outdoorsy outing here in Utah.  It was SO MUCH FUN.  We drove out to Big Cottonwood Canyon and hiked a little trail to Donut Falls.  It was a perfect first hike to try out with Grace, as it was just 1.5 miles roundtrip and there was this great waterfall to see.  There were a lot of people there because of the holiday and the beautiful, slightly cool weather, but it was still fun.  We had an inauspicious beginning to our hike as Violet threw an absolute fit for about the first 20 minutes.  She wanted so desperately to walk and be independent but I had to keep her in the Ergo as she isn't a good enough walker to navigate rocks and a bumpy trail and so forth.  Oh, how she protested! Oh, how angry she was at being thwarted!  Rob said it was like being the one with a crying baby on an airplane, except WORSE, because all these people had come out to enjoy nature and trees and mountains and there we were with our tantrumy screamy toddler.  We just kept moving forward and eventually she calmed down after she screamed herself hoarse and hungry and thirsty.  For a while we thought it was going to be an absolute failure of an outing but Violet calmed down and then shortly afterwards we arrived at the falls and it was just lovely.  I climbed about a third of the way up the falls but turned back when it got too slippery to scramble up the boulders with my balance compromised by Violet strapped on me, while Rob and Grace went all the way up and got to see the circular hole in the rock for which the falls are named.  We had such a good time, and I can't wait to see more fun outdoorsy things here in our new home state.  If we make a habit of such things, I am going to need some appropriate shoes or clothes or something.  I wore my one pair of jeans and was reminded how much I just abhor wearing jeans-- so uncomfortable.  And the shoes I wore (a really old pair of retired running shoes) went into a pile to be donated because they were making my feet numb.  Another benefit to hiking-- I get to buy a new outfit!