Tuesday, July 31, 2012


We've been celebrating around these parts lately. Last weekend Elka was baptized, followed by an everybody-who-has-a-birthday-in-the-next-few-weeks party for all of my side of the family. My parents and nephew were leaving on their journeys so there was much gift-giving and merry-making. And junk food.
The next week, Elka became 6 weeks old. (Last Thursday, to be exact.) We had Greta's godparents over that evening for cake and ice cream because they had not yet met Elka. It was a really nice time! There's something so charming and fun about spur-of-the-moment get togethers with people you really like. And the charm and fun is heightened when cake, ice cream and coffee are involved.

And then today is Martin's 30th birthday! We've been having a really nice day (with the exception of not making it to morning Mass on time and having to leave and feeling extremely frustrated. But it turned out okay because we were able to drive home and have plenty of time to load up and walk to a different church for a different Mass time.) And this is what brings me to the title of my blog post: Oldness.
I think about oldness a lot. I'm slightly obsessed with aging, the inevitable passing of time, and keeping track of years, minutes, events, etc. that come with a life. Specifically, my life and the way I see other lives through my own eyes. This obsession is almost always really depressing, unfortunately. I feel like my kids are growing up too fast, I feel like the next step of our lives can't possibly be as great as this part, I feel like we're so young and strong and happy and soon we'll all be old and wrinkly and we'll be empty nesters and people will look at us and say "check out those people... they sure are OLD."
Today at church I saw Mr. Klinker. He still mows his lawn, he still smokes his big fat cigar while he fills up his huge car at the gas station, but Mr. Klinker is looking really old. And even though the Klinkers are older than my parents, they aren't THAT much older, so I get to thinking, "Gosh, do my parents look that OLD?!" And then I think (with alarm), "DO I LOOK OLD?!?!?" And I realize that, yes, I do. To little children I am an old person. I am "a mom." I have some wrinkles around my eyes, I have a bigger bottom than I used to have, and I probably have that mom-ish look about me.  Maybe not to my peers, but to little children I most definitely am looking like an old person. And in the blink of an eye, it will be more than just a child's perception and I really will be an old person. And my kids will be grown up and moved away and have little children of their own. They won't be hanging from the top of the couch whining at me to stop typing and read them The Tailor of Gloucester for the ninety bazillionth time. (worst Beatrix Potter story EVER, btw.) And even though that scenario sounds pretty good right now, I know that years from now I will feel like I'd do ANYTHING to read that mind-numbing story to them again.
But there's a bright side to this sad obsession of mine and that is that I am getting really good at appreciating my moment-by-moment life. I'm good at stopping to smell the roses, dirty diapers, stinky potato bin that I don't have time to empty because I'm too busy reading storybook after storybook to my children. And yesterday when I was able to slip out by myself for a very, very, very short trip to a coffee shop I listened to a song in the car (Eels) with the line "these could be the good old days" and it made me think that these ARE the good old days! And aren't I lucky to be living them! And even though I'm getting older and Martin's getting older and we'll continue to get older every year, we really aren't THAT old yet (obviously) even though we like to tease each other about it.... and we certainly shouldn't let a 4-year-old's perception of us color the way we feel about ourselves.

So here's a picture of me not being old:

*** The previous part of this post was written on Sunday. Now it is Tuesday ***
 I have always used a wrap-style carrier for our babies and have continued to do so with Elka, but this time around I kind of wanted something less time-consuming (since it takes a whole forty-five seconds to tie on a wrap and get the baby into it.) I was really wanting a sling style carrier, but not a ring sling because I've use them and the rings always manage to annoy me. So I broke down and bought myself a New Native carrier and I really love it. It's perfect to just be able to pop her into it and keep moving. Since she's so little and doesn't seem to like lying down in it, it's not the most secure option--I have the wrap for that--but it's perfect for times like this, when I need to chop up my garlic for dinner but Martin is walking the dogs. Also, she just likes to ride around in it and see the world that way. It's pretty cute, actually.

SHE'S pretty cute. And so are Anja and Greta. We've been working our way through the Little House books and have made it all the way to On the Shores of Silver Lake, in which Laura is pretty much a grownup. I think she's sixteen or somewhere around that age. She discovers she has to be a schoolteacher and doesn't want to. We're about halfway through the book and we were reading it yesterday when Anja sighed and said, "I wish we were still on Little House in the Big Woods." I told her we'd put Silver Lake away till she's older and now we are re-reading about Laura's life in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, which is my favorite one of the books anyway, and Anja's too, since Laura is four years old when the story begins. After we read the first chapter, Anja and Greta started to play "butchering day." They got all their stuffed animals and pretended to cut them up. Then they built a fire and laid the animals on top of it to smoke them. And they were talking about salting the meat, too. It was so cute and silly.

Another activity they (Anja especially) have been into lately is paper dolls. But mostly cats. We read these stories about this cat named Jenny Linksy. The stories were written in the 40's and are just about the sweetest, most nonviolent things I've ever read. They are about all these cats who have a special secret Cat Club and Jenny Linksy is a tiny black cat who wears a red scarf always. Anyway, if you want to know more about the stories you can get them on Amazon, but my point is, they are innocent to the point of being boring. And we have made paper dolls of all the cats in the Cat Club--I cut them out and Anja decorates them--along with a paper doll for each of our family members, which don't get played with nearly as often as the cats. Anyway, imagine my surprise yesterday when I saw Anja playing with the paper dolls, arranging the cats carefully and then taking our family members and ripping them into tiny pieces. !?!?!? The cats were chopping up the people to make a birthday cake for Jenny Linksy!!  This is NOT the kind of activity these stories advocate!!!!!!!! Truthfully, I think she didn't like the people dolls and was looking for a creative way to get rid of them without hurting my feelings. Because if even a tail gets bent on one of the cats, she cries, but she never has been fond of those people.

Elka is very smiley, but of course I can never catch a photo of it. So here's one of smiling Anja instead, with a birthday donut and the birthday boy himself. Thirty!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One Month Current Events

Pictures, pictures everywhere! Above, Anja and Elka

Elka, at one month. Why is this typing up as a link, I wonder?

We've been spending lots of time on the porch, since our scummy neighbors moved out! No more stinky cigarette smoke coming into my house! No more hollering at all hours! No more vacant eyes staring us down every single time we go outside! No more lighter fluid smells! Life is sweet when the house two feet away from your own is empty.

Anja took the picture above one night. I think it's a nice picture!
You might think Anja took this blurry one too, but in fact, I did. I just think her expression is so sweet though, I had to post it. She's getting really good at lifting her head/top half! She LOVES being on her tummy, which makes life easy.
These two pictures demonstrate the difference just once month can make! Hard to believe that slimy, blood-covered, cone-headed being is the chubby-cheeked baby she is today. Same amount of hair though.

One month! Good grief, time flies, doesn't it? I spent nine months being miserable in pregnancy, feeling like every hour was creeping by, and then Elka is born and now life has sped up again and she's already a month old--smiling, lifting the front of her body with her forearms, and mostly only waking up once a night. She's turning into a BABY. I never thought I'd miss the newborn stage... but I do! Although she's pretty fun now, especially in the mornings. While she is a champion sleeper, I sometimes worry that nighttime is the only time she's getting any good quality sleep. It's hard to keep a four and three year old quiet for naps.

Anyway, we've really been enjoying our summer, despite the heat and the drought. Sadly, the only thing our garden is producing is bottom blight. Well, and our raspberry transplants are doing well because Martin is pampering them. But my herbs are looking sad and weak, and except for the tomatoes (which are huge and actually have LOTS of tomatoes... just no good ones) nothing grew. And I mean NOTHING. Last year our heirloom tomatoes came up in our raised beds without any care at all. This year we have a box full of dirt. And I tried planting some pepper plants late in the season, but they are still the same size as when I got them! It's laughable, really. Oh well, we are fortunate enough to not only not be depending on our own garden for our food or livelihood, but also we have plenty of sources for good local foods nearby. Except this past Saturday we forgot to pick up our CSA share, so we're a little short in the fresh veggie department this week. So, EAT LOCAL! But once you've made the commitment, don't forget to GET your food!

The last two weeks Anja was enrolled in swimming lessons--her very first organized activity. We signed up with my sister's kids, and all of them had a pretty rocky start.... only one out of six children stayed in their original class--the rest of them moved down a level the second day! And one dropped out. Every day Anja said she had a great time but wasn't going to go back the next day because she was convinced they were going to "make her" put her face in the water. (So you know--her teacher was super sweet and I can't imagine her forcing anyone to do anything.) Anyway, we made it through! And at the end of the two weeks you're given a report that tells you what level you're ready for next summer... Anja is ready for the same level again! Hahahaha, only one of the kids was recommended to move up a level. I'm telling you, we've got some real fish in our family. Har har.

I read some of the regular blogs I read this evening and it seems like everyone is doing exciting things this summer. Well, actually, it seems everyone's exciting lives include broken bones and lost children...... I don't want those things. But my point is, things are anything but exciting around here. Martin goes off to work every morning and the girls and I spend our days being happy together. We've lately been making and decorating paper dolls. It's super hot (gee, have you heard?) outside, so we mostly stay in, except to go out and jump hopscotch or swing on the porch swing. We've been making iced coffee by the jugful and while it's been too hot to take family walks, I did recieve a package in the mail that contained a pair of Indian clubs, so I have to learn some routines with those and then I'll be back on the excercise wagon, which will be good. Very good... especially with all this creamy iced coffee I've been drinking.

But even with all this "nothing" going on, we are having the happiest summer ever. I have yet to feel stressed by moving up from two children to three. Admittedly, Martin and I are not getting a lot of sleep, but it's not that bad... and during the days everything is just pleasant. The girls went through a short phase of fighting all. the. time. about a week after Elka was born, but they've gotten over it.

Greta's been up to her same old silliness, and Anja has been just as creative and sweet as always. The one hard time of the day is when somebody, somewhere, flips the "crazy" switch at 4:30 and Greta temporarily loses her mind until she goes to bed. Sometimes it's a happy crazy, sometimes it's an angry crazy, but it's always violent and destructive. Today she started catopulting cheerios against the wall from the far end of the table. When I told her to go into the bathroom and wash her hands then, she ran by the fridge with her arms out, taking down everything that was magnetized to the fridge. Uuuuuggghhhhh. And you know how some kids like to have their back scratched when they fall asleep? Greta likes to have her tummy scratched! It's so funny. It's another huge difference between Anja and Greta: Greta loves physical contact--she likes to be tickled, she likes her feet rubbed, and she likes her whole body scratched.... Anja, on the other hand, has to wash herself in the bath because she hates being touched SO MUCH that I can't even wash her. So funny!

This is a seriously boring post. AND it doesn't touch on the annoyingness and unfairness of pregnancy that I said I'd post about. I'll do that soon. I still want to. I hope you at least enjoy the pictures. And I hope my next post is less dumb.

The really dumb part is that I started this early this afternoon, and now it's 10:30pm and after working on it all day, this is what I got. Ugh. I'm a loser.

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