Friday, May 28, 2010

Day In The Life 1

I am totally stealing this from an online friend. I love this idea and I hope she doesn't mine if I grab it:) This a photo commentary of a day in our life. I took these photos two weeks ago on Camille's birthday...also the day of the home invasion. Before that incident it has been a wonderful day. Thus these pictures are even more special as a reminder of much we have to be thankful for, and that ugliness can not take the beauty of my life.

6 am: This is what I woke up too Friday morning. I nursed her and then H took her out with him so I could sleep some more. He brought her back an hour later, I nursed her and then we slept for a couple more hours.
11 wakey time for mama and baby. My bedside stand with all my partially read novels.
While the coffee is brewing, I check on my sleeping beasties. Yeah we are all night owls except for poor H.
Camille, the birthday girl is up, and grooming her birthday present!
Back to the coffee...
Yeah I check facebook while partaking of my coffee...
Piper waking up on daddy's lap...
After breakfast nap...
Feed me? Please? It doesn't matter that I just ate a can of cat food....
We love getting mail! Umberto is always expecting something fun even though we usually just get bills.
Impromptu game of hopscotch while waiting for mom to pack the diaper bag.
H and!
My driver...
The best way to eat out is with a baby in the sling...

At the Mexican restaurant requested by Camille for her birthday lunch.
Camille awaiting her tacos.

This is why they love having their birthday dinner here...the waiters come out with a hat and they sing happy birthday in Spanish to you:)
Walking to the playground across the lake from the restaurant.

While the kids play, the blueberry passes out from mama milk overload.
Hanging out on the playground with numerous stuffed kitties...

Ducklings! We got an extra surprise while surveying the water fowl.
The beautiful birthday girl overjoyed at the surprise ducklings

Camille requested a stop at the pet store. We got to see puppies, parrots, bunnies, and iguanas.
Getting the blueberry settled so we can bake cake!
Piper gets the bowl out for cake.
Eggs ready to go!
Camille is an excellent cracker! Egg cracker that is.
The horse cake pan. Ikea rules my world!

Camille reads to Rowena while we wait for the cake to bake.
My impromptu kitty cupcakes for Piper.
Everyone helps put sprinkles on the finished horse cake. And do note the horrible frosting job. I seriously can not frost a cake.
Oh no the cake is on fire!!! Not really just an optical illusion but it does look really scary.
Piper didn't have cake on her birthday so she got to do a belated blowing out of the candles.
As a grand finale we went to Movie in the Park night at Freedom park. We had to wait for it to get dark which took like an hour!
The girls entertained themselves by playing tag, rolling down the hill, and just running around wildly.
Rowena decided to just take a nap which inspired Piper to "nap" for like five seconds before commencing to once again run about wildly.

Camille resting on my well padded lap. Gargh even my normally really thin legs are fat!
After the movie we went to the Taj Mah Teeter. This store is part of a local grocery store chain, Harris Teeter, but this one outshines them all by being huge and stocked with everything kind of food under the sun. Plus it's located in the fancified South End. One thing I love about homeschooling is that we don't worry too much about bedtimes so a late run to the grocery store is a total norm with us. It sounds silly but we really do have a good time on these little outings. We walk around, get free cookies, check out new foods, and scare the customers. Good times!

Camille walking her birthday present in the store. We actually had a clerk approach us because they thought the dog was real.
Sleeping baby cuddling with daddy. I forgot our sling at the house so we had to take turns carrying her through the store.
And finally "goth" baby. Shortly after this was taken someone broke the door to our house down and kind of put a shadow on what had been such a great day. Of course it was hilarious watching the police try to figure out what was going on with Rowena's lips. Imagine if they had known my nipples were the same color.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bad Things

I finally have a few seconds to just tell the whole story for the world. We've been asked a lot what happened on Facebook so this means some pretty quick explanations, and I realize some might think it's over kill that we moved out seven days after the incident. Hopefully, I can write it out so it makes sense and also because I just need to purge myself of the whole thing. Writing helps me purge in case my dear readers haven't noticed.

Friday, May 14 was Camille's birthday. We had an awesome day hanging out, going out to lunch, looking in a pet store, and eating cake. We decided to hit a movie in the park as a grand finale. We made it half way through the movie before the two youngest girls started to have a fit. We left to go to the grocery store and got home around 11. We gave Umberto's his medicine, fed the kids a snack, and then H spent time on the computer. I picked up a little, and then went to my room to nurse Rowena to sleep, and read to Piper. Umberto was sleeping, and Camille was on her bed reading. H was on the computer. All the lights except for the dining room one were on as Piper has gotten a glass of milk from the kitchen about five minutes before the attempted home invasion.

While I was reading, I heard a loud crash as our recycling went flying all over the kitchen. H cursed and went into the kitchen thinking it as the cat (on later thought we both realized it was much too loud for the cat). I heard a thumbing sound and though Umberto must have gone to the kitchen and was having a seizure. H started to yell in a panicked voice for me to call the cops. I was confused, trying to figure out why he wanted me to call the cops for a seizure. I walked out with Rowena to see him, holding the side door. He had moved the fridge so that it blocked the door somewhat. He looked at me and yelled that someone was trying to break in. I ran upstairs with the kids and called the police. H yelled for me to get our gun, and no we don't have a gun but it sounded good, and whoever was there ran off because I heard our neighbor's dog bark (it only barks when someone is in our backyard). The cops showed up seconds later.

Meanwhile Umberto is shaking so hard he can't hold anything. I had him sit on the floor because I was sure he going to have a seizure. I'm feeling pretty shaky myself and clinging to Rowena and the kids. Even with the police there I didn't feel safe. Initially the police acted as if we had done something to bring on such an attack but we welcomed them into the house, and made sure they had free range to roam so they could see we had nothing to hide. Eventually it sunk in that we were a family with no drugs or weapons around. They went to look for someone but considering there were parties going on all over as well as roaming bands of teens, they couldn't find anything. They did find prints on our air conditioning unit and they called CSI in to take prints.

The cop was pretty blunt that they thought whoever entered our house had entered to do harm not steal anything. The CSI guy when asked if he thought it would happen again said "As far as I know they could be hiding in those bushes across the road." This was based on the fact that it was pretty obvious we were home at the time. We figured they thought I was home alone. This freaked me out even more as a woman had been raped in front of her children earlier in the month not too far from our neighborhood. The cop then suggested we not stay the night (the door was totally busted by the way. They had kicked it so hard they broke the frame and tore out some of the wall). And suggested we get a firearm for protection. At that point, I knew we couldn't stay any longer. I am unwilling to live someplace where I need a gun to feel safe.

Umberto later told us that he saw some guys outside talking in the school parking lot across the road. He saw four guys, and then one left walking toward the main road. The other ones were half hiding behind trees, and one was kneeling on the sidewalk outside the school with his head down. We're thinking they sent the other guy to break down the door, and then were waiting to come in after him. Needless to say we were feeling utterly unsafe. We spent two nights in a hotel, trying to call the landlord to come fix the door to no avail. We then stayed with my mom until Thursday when due to some unrelated issues we spent one last night at the house. We had also gotten a new apartment that we could move into on Friday.

It was a rough night. We were all jumpy due to the house being barricaded as much as Horacio could do (he nailed boards to the outside of the broken door, and some workers for the landlord had nailed a board inside....yeah no door almost a week later). We had bookshelves against all the windows, etc. Umberto was a mess, shaking, and having a hard time calming down. He kept wringing his hands, wouldn't play, and spent half the night looking out the window. The next day while packing some teenagers came up to my fence and made some rude gestures at me...didn't do much to make feel secure.

End result is that we broke our lease and moved. Umberto would never be able to feel relaxed in the house and really neither would the rest of us. I spent a few nights thinking too much about what would have happened if H hadn't been home or if he had been sleeping and I was up alone with the baby. None of the scenarios are pretty.

So my baby moon is yet again interrupted. I moved furniture with Rowena in the sling because the only help we could get (thanks Daren) couldn't show up until later. My mom also helped us pack in a hurry. We're still moving and trying to clean up a bit. I don't dare be there too much alone so I don't end up having a lot of time to do anything. I can't wait until I can just sit and stare at my lovely baby. Of course I am thinking this as I look out at an apartment covered in stuff that needs to be organized and unpacked.

I'm hoping that this incident was the third in our streak of bad things. We found out the same week as the home invasion that H had indeed been laid off. He didn't even make it to the pool because they had eliminated so many Spanish positions. Very frustrating considering how hard he's worked this year. We also had to deal with Umberto's epilepsy earlier in the year. Really I think we deserve some good news...but in the end it is good. We have each other. H kept us safe and no one was hurt. And we have a lovely new addition that we're all in love with.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thoughts on Mothering

As the small group of you known as my loyal readers may remember, I made a decision last summer to let go of fear, to embrace the love around me, to stop fretting about it all ending. I had realized that I let myself love with only a bit of myself, and that I needed to drown in the love I have instead of just dipping my toe in. And soon thereafter, H and I decided to have another baby, and then very shortly thereafter I was pregnant. I am nothing if not fertile.

Throughout my pregnancy, I consciously practiced the art of loving without reserve. I opened myself up to H and my children. I pulled my kids back out of school because I decided to just admit and accept that I love being with them, love teaching them, love having them underfoot all the time. Not that it was easy. Umberto's epilepsy really tested me. The first time I saw him seizing, I could feel this pain that was like dying. The thought of losing my boy was so intense that I wasn't sure if I could live through the actuality. And honestly it was an act of will power to not withdraw myself from him--a sad attempt to stave off some pain. But I didn't do it. I kept loving with an openness and intensity that made everything sharp and clear.

Part of this letting go involved accepting that I love being a mother. I never thought that would be me. Ten years ago I couldn't imagine wanting to stay home with my beasties. Throughout my motherhood it has been hard for me to let go of this imagine I have of myself--tough, independent, career orientated, feminist, etc. I had a hard time trying to reconcile who I saw myself as with the everydayness of my life. I felt that if I admitted to liking staying home with the kids then I would somehow be unfaithful to the person I imagined myself as. This year I said "Fuck it!" and jumped into loving my kids, loving homeschooling , loving being pregnant, loving having a newborn.

But this doesn't mean that I am perfect, that I love it all the time, that I don't love my job, etc. And with the onslaught of Mother's Day (that capitalist marketing enterprise made up of guilt and profit) came the usual viral emails about the perfect mother and the not so perfect mothers who realized they needed to be the perfect mothers. How reassuring to read about the mom who complained so much about mothering that her friend thought she hated mothering. She, of course, realized she shouldn't complain. Then there were the hundreds of sentimental verses praising the holy mother who never yells, always says the right thing, etc.

My problem with these thing is that this love is messy, complicated, not natural as in women are naturally meant to be mothers, or perfect. This love is like all kinds of love. It's damn hard sometimes. Mother's Day came at the end of a hard week. The adjustment must have hit for Piper because we had a week of tantrums, crying, sobbing, screaming fits, and clinginess to mama. It's hard to be patient and mindful when you haven't slept more than five hours. I yelled too much, wasn't nearly as understanding as I could have been, and on and on. According to the sentiments I should be ashamed of myself for a lack of perfect parenting. And yeah it would be easy to wrap myself up in the guilt.

Instead, I apologized to Piper when I yelled. I explained to her that I was tired, and that it was hard for all of us to adjust to a new baby no matter how much we loved said baby. I was gentle with myself because the crushing weight of the image of the perfect mother is entirely too much to bear. I acknowledged that I don't believe in natural anything. I think we are cultural beings, and that our culture tries to cripple women by shaping them into certain boxes. Our limbs are contorted until we are no longer able to move. I want out of those boxes, and want to be able to move myself in more freeing ways. I want to be able to stretch into the many facets of who I daily become.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

A Stroll Through Plaza-Midwood

Yesterday was rough. Perhaps the roughest since having Rowena. I knew it was coming--it's never easy adding a new member to your family. Of course a part of me hoped to avoid it--that maybe this time we would get to skip over the adjustment. But yesterday it all came crashing down. Piper had several long crying tantrums throughout the day including an hour long screaming crying session as soon as she woke up. I was not very patient and had more than a few bad mommy moments. Those moments were filled with guilt at how unmindful I had been as a parent. But it's hard to be mindful when you're exhausted and stressed out.

When H came home, we napped a bit together, ate dinner, and then headed out for an evening walk in Plaza-Midwood. I love these spring nights when it's still wonderful warm but not too humid. We emerge from our cocoon of home and get outside to explore little streets. And this time we were introducing little Rowena to our nightly jaunts.

The three older beasties chilling outside the Dish, a wonderful restaurant on Thomas Street. I'm not a big meat eater but I love their Cajun meatloaf.

Note exhausted eyes. Gargh I look old but I suppose anyone would when they're functioning on very little sleep. But also note fuzzy baby head!

H's photo of the little garage right beside The Dish.

This kind of summed up much of my day....

Seriously how could anyone resist this face...I know I can't.

I am very drawn to these lovely overgrown yards. I do like the structure ones as well but these appeal to me on my lazy level.

Wood travels....
Walking away...seems so hard to believe that she is five, and so independent yet so much in need of me still.
Pink houses make me laugh.

Sucky arm baby...

Nymphs in trees....

Resting on stoops.

I didn't know time even resided in a house. It's abode surrounded by barbed wire to keep us mortals out?
Home on daddy...

And then an evening snack from mom....