Big Time Goals + Florida

I love new year’s resolutions, but any chance I get to plan and make a list, I will take it.

Goals for 2017

  • Whole30 diet for January (so I stop gaining weight)
  • Stand up for myself, even if it means I am a bitch
  • Buy more furniture
  • Travel to Florida, Palm Springs, and Chicago
  • Go camping more than once
  • Redo the siding on the house– it’s a brick house, free the brick
  • Get to know my neighbors more
  • Golf
  • When my girls ask if I can sleep next to them, say yes
  • Replace the carpet in the sad carpet places in my house
  • Fence the backyard
  • Spend more time with female friends
  • Become a really good technical writer
  • Write a book
  • Publish something
  • Plant a walnut tree
  • Read 30 books
  • Grow my hair out long
  • Cook more fish
  • Get a raise
  • Finish that damned quilt
  • Go for more walks

We went to Florida already, and I am on day five of my Whole30 (and I am so sad inside for turning down that free donut this morning). I’ve read two books, and it’s only the 17th.

It’s going to be a great year.

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Christmas Photos

A Christmas, of Christmas past, was one of the best. We opened presents, ate breakfast, and played in the freshly fallen snow, we were euphoric. That is, until we realized we had ten minutes to get to my inlaws. We left in a whirlwind hurry, leaving all our new presents and good cheer to spend the rest of the day driving around the Wasatch front, losing a much needed binky, and generally feeling rushed. No more, I thought.

This Christmas I said no to everyone, and stayed home.

We were in pajamas. We played with toys, markers, play doh…

The girls and I shoveled the walk and played in the snow.

I made a wonderful meal.

Things were just the best.

Except Adam was very sick and spent most of the day either in bed or puzzling. And that’s ok. I am so glad we didn’t make plans. The snow fell so hard we were snowed in anyway. The car would have needed some intense unburying and the roads were awful.

My favorite part was giving the girls new bedding while they slept, and neither of them particularly noticed when they woke up. Kids.

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Princesses

My girls have been a raccoon, alligator, butterfly, scarecrow, and a truck driver, and then last year they were two sides of The Princess in Black. I love Halloween, and I made all their costumes by hand. Each costume represented an entire year of planning, creativity, and effort. Until this year.

I now work full time. I pickup my girls from daycare and don’t make it home until close to six some days. I still try to make a full dinner, which is an hour of cooking, and they must get to bed before 8 pm, otherwise they turn into pumpkins. This schedule isn’t ideal. The other day, I got home, determined to get dinner on the table faster, and Nina just kept calling out to me from the yard, “Mom! Come play with me! Come play with my caramel!” (fun fact: she calls comets caramels, and made one in school that she can throw around the yard.) Despite it not being in the budget, I said screw you dinner, went out and played with my daughter and made a quick phone call to Dominoes while we threw the caramel to each other. We snuggled on the couch and watched Curious George’s Halloween special and at 7 pm, the pizza man showed up with what would be the reason for my stomach ache all the next day (bad food is not nice to me).

In all this light, you can understand why I thought that I would let this industrialized world help with Halloween. I pulled up Amazon on my iPad, and the girls scrolled around for about an hour until they picked out their costumes. Disney Princesses. Elsa and Arial to be exact. It feels a little bit like a defeat. We went to their school Halloween carnival, and every one of M’s friends was Elsa. Four little Elsas running around. Oh well. She loves it. It’s ok to have a few Disney princess years and order pizza for dinner. Those are extremely small sacrifices to have all I have now. I’ll gladly pay.12345678

A Balmy Day

I have taught the girls that those days where the clouds threaten to rain you out, where the heat seems too warm, like it won’t last, and the air in the very space around you seems to holding its breath, are balmy days. They love to find them out and tell me, “Today is balmy, right Mommy?”

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While Nina napped, I went out back, got out my book I started reading earlier, and sat out to the table I made this Spring semester in Furniture Design. I only got 18 out of 20 points for the table. Mae joined me with her paints. She has been making monsters lately. Really great monsters. “The green is blood. The purple is skin.” “What’s the red?” I asked. “That’s blood. The green is streaming blood.”

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Here is an old one. They usually look like this.
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While we sat, three blue jays and two robins seemed to be fluttering around over some drama in the pines above us. When it seemed to calm, one of the jays would sneak in, and steal a peanut from the feeder next to Mae. Sometimes in the morning I will find the feeder tipped over. They are very hot blooded creatures.

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I’m reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I didn’t know what it was about before I bought it. I’m kind of glad I didn’t. Toni Morrison has a quote printed on the cover that simply reads “This is required reading.” I should have known then how important it is. It’s a letter to Coates’s son about his body and his relationship to the world. It’s similar to Emerson’s Self Reliance or Thoreau’s Walden. I’m reading it and want everyone to read it as well. Coincidentally, as I write this Nina Simone is singing Black is the Color of my True Love’s Hair. The other day on KRCL there was a news segment on Tamir Rice, I didn’t listen, Adam did, and he came home upset. Said he cried. A drive by shooting of a twelve year old boy at a playground is heinous. Leaving his body on the ground for his sister to watch it bleed out, is the stuff of nightmares. I can’t believe this is the world I live in. I watched Persepolis the other night, and cried again about the conflict and horror of this universe. Unlike Coates though, this universe where people are shot dead in the street, his reality, is another universe away from mine. I live in the world where I sit with my children in my backyard and read books and have discussions on the different bird body types and what they like to eat.

Sometimes I don’t know what to do to help the disenfranchised. How can I help the poor? How can I make things right? How can I make it so no matter the color of your skin, you can play at a playground, stand on a street corner, or walk at night and not be shot down? I believe in the beauty of immigration. I believe that it should be easier and simpler to be an American citizen. I support those that support that cause, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. I believe that the school system needs to empower the youth, not stifle them. I believe in better child care. I believe in the free economy that benefits the everyman not the few on top. I believe in women standing next to men as equals, without fear of violence.

“I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night…”
― Sylvia Plath

All these thoughts are with me often lately. Sometimes I lay awake at night and think about Bernie Sanders, like a teenage girl with a crush. When I see his name in the media or hear someone mention him, I hold my breath like he’s my special person and no one knows. I watch his speeches and cry. I see photos of him and love bubbles in my heart. And it also makes me sad. How can I love a politician? And how can this underdog ever beat out the powerhouse that is Clinton and the entire world that campaign against him? Once or twice, I can get calm enough to imagine a scenario where we give him power, and he does some good. He helps the poor, women, illegal immigrants, Muslim refugees, and anyone else who find themselves on the wrong side of the powerful few. It’s not going to happen. I feel defeated already.

I don’t know who you support, but I hope it isn’t someone who likes to hurt others to make you feel good. Or just so someone is hurt and it isn’t you.

 

We are back inside and it is raining violently on my little home. It’s hail now, and I can’t hear Jeff Buckley through my speakers anymore. My girls are looking through the window, and Nina coos, “Ooo, it’s beautiful!” Mae notices that it’s bouncing off the garage roof, “Look mom, it’s hopping just like us and kangaroos.”

 

Bird Watching

Adam made this beautiful ceramic bird feeder, and I have noticed a pretty diverse population of birds using it, so I put the camera by the window today, and I want to catalog them. These guys today were a pretty standard black-capped Chickadee.

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Family Portrait

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I know this is a dark thought, but it comes to me more times than it should. Life is so good right now. We are so happy. Everyday is magic and it feels like we can live forever. There are more moments than I could possibly store in my long term memory of everyday beauty and sublimity. And yet, this part of Annabel Lee recites itself to me, making me afraid.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

If ever the angels were jealous of something, it’d be my family. Am I the only one that fears happiness? I will hold tight to it while I have it, that is for sure. I will record it in my journal every night, as I do, and I will hope that these times last long. You know, despite sitting under the clouds with my two daughters in a field of long wavy grass, watching the dragon flies swarm between us and the setting sun, feeling complete and happy, I know things could get better if we keep at it. I know they can be worse, but I know there is even more happiness to be experienced.

The Play Garden

Mae loves nursery during church. She talks about it all week. She is not super happy when I have to collect her after the two hours. She spends the next few days telling me all about the blue ball, snacks, and friends from church then drawing the thank you thumb and please pinkies on my fingers. So even though she is only two, we knew it was time to look for a preschool. The one we picked is special. I can ride the trailer on my bike to it in just a few minutes. The toys are incredible. It is moderately priced. The amount of students is pretty small. Today was her first day, though we have been a few times already to look through it and talk with the ladies who work there. She was thrilled beyond all compare. 

I knew I would have trouble collecting her just three hours later.

She is still asking if she can go back. Poor girl has to wait until Thursday. 

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