Monday, July 30, 2012


Lewis is 10 months old (well, 11 months as of tomorrow) and I think he looks so much like Grace at the same age; what do you think?

Lewis at 10 months

10 months old

I feel like Lewis reminds me so much of Grace at the same age in his mannerisms and expressions and whatnot as well. Genetics are so interesting! And here is what Grace looks like now, about six year later, with her adorable lack of front teeth:

Goodbye, baby teeth!

There was such DRAMA involved in the removal of these teeth. Grace is very sensitive about physical pain and does not have a lot of toughness in her. When she lost her bottom front teeth, she let us "help" them along a little but she really freaked out about the pain and the little bit of blood and whatnot. This time around, she would barely let us touch them and she basically waited until they fell out, but in the meantime there was lots of drama about how they hurt when they wiggled and so forth. And oh, how sickeningly loose they were at the end... The second one to go could rotate almost 90 degrees on the last day. SHUDDER. I much prefer her now with her charming big gap.

I do love taking photographs of people, my small children or whoever. I went to a portrait photography workshop that our friend Mike organized last weekend and had such a fun time. We talked about making portraits for a while and then went outside and shot a bunch of portraits of each other using just our phones. I brought Grace with me because Mike had said it was open to all ages. When I first broached the idea to her, she said, "Mom, I already know how to take pictures of people," but when I explained it a little more she decided she would like to come. She took my new profile picture up there in the corner. Here are some of my favorite ones that I shot that day:

Portrait workshop -- Grace

Portrait workshop -- Mike

Portrait workshop -- Molly

Portrait workshop -- Nash

Portrait workshop -- Mike

Portrait workshop -- Grace & Isabella

What a fun day...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What Is Saving My Life Right Now

This post is part of the synchroblog that Sarah Bessy is hosting, inspired by this lovely post she wrote yesterday.

My gorgeous squishy baby boy. I give him baths in our kitchen sink and he splashes in the bubbles with his sweet beautiful bare arms and legs. I nurse him to sleep at night, his ears perfect pink shells and his breath even and deep. We had rain the other night, something you really stop and notice in this arid valley, and we could both smell the summer rain through the open window as he drifted off to sleep. 

Rob's daily presence in my life. I really can't say enough times or with enough emphasis how wonderful it is to have Rob finished with his medical training. He is available, home, here more now than he has been since before Grace was born. We went from years of 80-hour work weeks to suddenly when we moved here he works 4 days a week. I am still so thankful, now two years into this phase of his career.

Organizing, cleaning, purging. Baby boy clothes are ready to go to a friend with a littler baby than mine, little girl clothes are packed in a box to send to a friend one state away who doesn't think homemade clothes are strange, my email inbox seldom contains above five items, and I did a giant cull of my RSS reader to only keep the things that matter to me, the things that really make my life happier.

Employment. It's looking like I will soon join the ranks of the gainfully employed. This week I was offered a job writing astronomy content for an online education company. It's part-time, flexible hours, working remotely, etc and I think it is going to work out.

The pleasures of summer food. Cold-brewed coffee, apricots and berries, rosé wine, lemon cucumbers, slaws and salads, anything grilled outside.

The promise of honestly cool weather in another 6-8 weeks. Summer in Utah is beautiful in ways summer has never been for me elsewhere, and it is blessedly not too long.

Reading a summer-y novel in stolen minutes here and there. It was great. I need to read more.

Beautiful children's bodies in swimsuits, full of joy, utterly lacking self-consciousness.

Grace sprawled on the couch absorbed in book after book from the library.

The way Violet pronounces "marshmallow".

Playing piano.



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Days Can Be Long But the Years Are Short

We are nearing the end of July and the summer is swimming by like Grace swims by me in her lane at the community pool at her lessons. Life with three little ones is so FULL-- full of noise, full of neediness, full of demands, full of joy, full of love. The days can stretch out so long, and when one or more of these children has a particularly bad night I sometimes get out of bed in the morning looking forward to going to sleep that night. On the other hand the months are speeding by so quickly that it is a challenge to actually notice what is happening, who these small people are, who I am. Have I over-scheduled and over-committed the summer? Is this just the season of life I am in? Will I ever feel caught up on sleep EVER?

We have less than one month until Grace starts 1st grade. This will be her first year to be in school all day and I predict that a) she will thrive and do well and b) I will miss her daily company. She is returning to our neighborhood public school after a lovely kindergarten year there. Her kindergarten teacher sounded surprised that we weren't looking into the magnet schools again but Grace had a great year socially and the academic side was acceptable for now, so we'll try another year there and see what happens. It was lovely to see her and her tiny classmates in their construction paper mortar boards as they wrapped up the year. When is the next faux graduation ceremony? After 6th grade when they leave the elementary school, I think?

Grace's last day of school

Kindergarten graduation

We will not travel at all this summer but our home city is providing more fun things to do than we could possibly take advantage of. We've been to the aviary and the zoo, Grace did a science camp at the Natural History Museum, both girls have done yoga and art and dance at little morning sessions at the preschool that Violet's been going to, there have swimming lessons and sports camp through the city rec centers, and some days we have to do normal things like shop for groceries or get hair cuts. We have gotten out of the city a little bit, most memorably out to a lovely state park with our church for a weekend of swimming, campfires, and time together. Grace and Rob camped and I drove out for the day Sunday with the two little ones.

Bird girls!

Haircut time

Singing outside

Time for swimming in the lake

I've also been preserving a lot of apricots in various forms: jam galore, halves in syrup, and a first attempt at apricot liqueur. We had a very mild winter followed by an early, warm spring and now a hot summer, so the growing season is about a month ahead of where it was last year and everything is going GANGBUSTERS. I should have kept track of how many apricots I've preserved because it is truly madness. The trees here in Utah are just going crazy this year.

Apricot-rosemary jam

It's good for me to reflect on the things I do enjoy about summer (like all the amazing food) because UGH, it is not my favorite season, especially when it is particularly hot like this year. I am thankful for the gorgeous stone fruit and cucumbers and corn and greens, and for the fact that our house is quite a bit more comfortable than last summer thanks to the replacement of a bunch of windows. We had the original windows on the ground level of our 1917 house (the basement windows are newer) and they did next to nothing to hold the air conditioning in. We replaced a bunch of them on the west side of the house with fancy new ones earlier this month and afternoons are so much more pleasant now. The new windows are pretty cool; the glass has this coating that blocks almost all the infrared radiation but lets almost all the light through. You can stand in a patch of sunlight and feel almost no heat at all. Yay!

Goodbye, 100-year-old windows

Things are moving forward with some of the job possibilities I'm looking into; they're all part-time astronomy education jobs. I will admit that on some of the longest, most tiring days I wonder if I am crazy to be considering returning to paid work right now, if adding another responsibility to my life right now will leave me with even less time to think and energy to cope. However, I feel like the timing (with us settled in Salt Lake, both girls in school/preschool in the fall, and Lewis emerging out of infancy) is good. And sometimes I think structuring my life so I get to do a bit of science education and thinking about astronomy and work for which I am paid genuine US dollars might actually help. I guess we'll see.