pretty viv

10.16.2014

An essay I wrote while I was pregnant this summer.  I was feeling particularly sad about my days with just my baby girl coming to an end, and these days I just feel guilty because i don't give her the time and attention I used to. Oh hormones. oh newborns.

Tonight. 
5.30.14

She came out of her room three times tonight, dragging her white blankie, her ragged bunny, a bouncy ball and a cat pillow with her. She would discreetly lay down next to the wall within eye shot of my bed, glancing up at me to see if I saw her, and then quickly pretend to be asleep when I would look at her, eyelids fluttering, a hint of a smile on her face, completely serious about sleeping on the floor. The first time I carried her back to her bed, tucked her in and kissed her good night. The second time I made her a little bed out on the floor in the hall, telling her to go to sleep or else. But the third time I looked up to see her bashfully standing in my doorway, dressed in her pink santa jammies, curly hair wild,  smiling a little crooked smile and saying “Cats! Hats!” (her pillow has cats wearing hats on it).

My heart melted, and I told her to come to me so I could hold her. She climbed into my lap and I asked her where she wanted to sleep tonight. She grinned and said, “Mom’s ded (bed)”, and she quickly crawled over my protruding belly and onto Dale’s side. We have a strict no sleeping with mom policy, but sometimes I feel nostalgic and sad that time is passing by so fast and my days are full of everything else but spending time with her. I gave in.  I cuddled up next to her, and she looked over at me with her pretty doe eyes. She excitedly whispered, “swimmin’! ‘self!”, because just yesterday she went swimming on her own with floaties on and found a new type of independence. She’s been so proud since then.

Much rolling and tossing and turning ensued after. He little eyes fluttered, sometimes wide awake and staring, sometimes barely open, fidgety, trying to find a comfortable spot on all the pillows and sheets and body in the bed. Finally, she faced me and snuggled into a nest of pillows, lacing her little fingers through mine. I started singing her some primary songs, and gradually I felt her breathing slow and deepen, her body relax and her eyes still. I tangled my fingers into her curly hair, and rested my forehead on hers. Her soft hair tickled my nose and I could feel her sweet breath on my face, slow and even. I faintly smelled her coconut shampoo and twisted a particularly curly ringlet around my fingers, marveling at how very beautiful she was. I traced her tiny fingers with mine, feeling how soft and delicate and babyish they were, her fingernails rudely painted purple and red with nail polish, curators of such silliness during the day. Her forehead beaded with sweat, so I pushed her hair back and kissed her baby cheeks, because although she seems grown, those chubby cheeks keep the toddler at bay during the night. Kissable, sweet and home to so many broad smiles brought by childhood happiness, I see my baby in those cheeks when she’s peacefully dreaming of sunglasses or her daddy (both which she woke up crying about the last few nights). 

Right now, she has her arm entwined with mine, and I think about the little tummy that I nourished, the curly hair that I created, those perfect cheeks that I know how to make smile – they inspired me tonight. I love her beyond my best words. She’s perfect. I want to remember that forever. 


    We got some family pictures taken the other day, and I snapped the shot above, trying to capture the beautiful light and my daughter looking ethereal. I wanted more, so dressed her up and went to find more beautiful light and the last summer flowers. Turns out I'm not so good at catching pretty light....but still. She's just so beautiful it makes me want to cry like a hormonal postpartum mom (wait...i am that).




     


     


     





     

finding happy

10.01.2014

It's night, quiet and still in my apartment. The kids went to sleep early without a fight and I'm sitting alone on my couch in the dim light, legs curled under me and searching for words that are rusty from lack of use. It's clean and still here. The carpet freshly vacuumed, my amber and black orchid candle from Target is flickering on the shelf, making shadows on the wall. No dishes in the sink, the kitchen floor is mopped. Apples we picked last weekend are piled up in the middle of the kitchen table, just waiting for someone to bump into them so they can topple over and get bruised. My husband is gone, and coincidentally the smell of pumpkin bread is floating out into the living room. Late grad school husbandless nights are dangerous for me and my ever growing postpartum gut. I can hear crickets chirping and frogs ribbeting, the light that buzzes in the kitchen and the quiet sounds of my kids sleeping. Their rooms are picked up, my bed is made and everything is completely clean. Finally, the chaos of bedtime nodded off with the setting sun. I live for this time. My house will stay this clean for approximately 12 hours, at which time tomorrow will start and I'll lose the motivation that this day gave me. I clean best when I'm pissed off.


     

Today I woke up in a really really horrible mood. To borrow the expression, I knew today was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Because you know in that newborn stage when the night was looooooong and the lack of sleep is quite literally killing you, and you wake up with your body screaming in resistance, begging for just one more tiny hour of sleep, no matter how restless. But your husband goes to school at the break of dawn, and your toddler wakes up extra early and extra whiney and your baby decides he won't sleep at all unless you bring him into your bed and pat him in 5 minute increments, insuring your wakefulness and his peaceful slumber, and then when said baby is finally sleeping, your cranky toddler comes in yelling that she's hungry, effectively waking the baby and causing you to snap, cue the tantrums and a time out that was probably too long for the crime is was meant for (and it's only 7 AM).

     

 I credit this terrible night to my one time indulgence in like 3 (ok maybe 7) bites of this really amazing ice cream that my dairy-free diet just couldn't resist, and to the fact that I stayed up reading a good book until way past my bed time. There's just not enough time in the day.


All of this converges on the fact that I just don't have time for myself anymore. Newborn-ness is hard.  Hell, being a parent is hard. By the time you get kids in bed, you have a small window of opportunity to do what you want....and looming over that want is the hugely piled sink of dirty dishes that are probably housing a cockroach they've been there so long. Or the toppling tower of partially clean clothes in the corner of your room, or maybe it's the million dirty diapers sprinkled throughout the apartment, reminding you that your day(s) really were too busy to even pick up a diaper and throw it in the trash two feet away. Nights like this happen once in a blue moon for me. I cherish quiet nights alone, with a fresh house, a fresh slate for tomorrow and an early bedtime (after I eat that loaf of pumpkin bread that's baking....still).


Now, today is just one of those days that we all inevitably have, being a parent or not. We all have those who-peed-in-your-cheerios, woke-up-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-bed, terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-days, sometimes for no apparent reason except that the universe wants to hate on us that day. It's no surprise, and complaining about them is my specialty.


Today, after I flipped out on my daughter and sent her crying to her room for an undetermined amount of time and after I kinda sorta glared at my 2 month old as he gurgly smiled at me, I sat at the breakfast table, groggy and pissed off, wondering how the hell I was going to get through this day. I realized at that moment as Viv spilled her oatmeal everywhere but her mouth that I had two choices:

1. Be pissed off and have a really terrible day and equally long day
2. Choose to be happy

So let me let you in on a little secret. I'm a pessimist. I don't choose to be happy. I feel all the feelings, and as stupid as it sounds, I like to feel angry and pissed sometimes. I choose to complain. I choose to be mad. I choose to feel the bad days and I take them at face value. I don't remember choosing to be happy on a day that I woke up mad.

Today, I did.


I see this is a shift in my personality. Life is so much harder when you choose to have a bad day, especially with kids (duh).  As a mom, you set the tone for the day. I realized that I could either be like Rapunzel's mom in Tangled (Viv and I call her the "mean mommy" at our house), or I could grin and bear it. So I did. I took Viv's face in my two hands, asked her to forgive me for yelling at her, and told her that I would be happy today if she would be happy today. "K mommy" she said, and continued spilling oatmeal into her mouth.


And that's what we did. We cleaned the house together, painted pictures, changed diapers, walked to school, and cleaned some more. We played outside, watched part of a movie, and when bedtime came, it came early. I got through this day with a smile partially plastered on my face and a fatigue headache settled somewhere around my eyes. As a result of this fake-it-till-you-make-it mentality, today was salvaged and productive and exhausting. A lot of really great things happened, including Viv exploding with a correct B sound on all of the words we've been working on, and some she just did on her own out of the blue. I cheered like a crazy person, she grinned the biggest grin I've ever seen, and we did a celebratory dance. We (she) ate ice cream with sprinkles after dinner.

Today was a good day. And I'm not saying I will always choose to be happy on days that the universe hates me....but at least I can remember today and think of it fondly as that one time I wasn't pessimistic. Maybe it will catch on.


Maybe next time I'll say,

Screw it, I'm sure as hell gonna be happy today and dammit I'm gonna like it.
(throwing x amount of swear words into a sentence helps too)

These beautiful pictures were taken while we were still in California and Merrill was only 3 weeks old. Done by my beautiful friend Ashley who is so very talented at everything she does. Thanks girl.

a name and a blessing

9.27.2014

Back in August, we were in the process of moving from California to New York and planned a little stopover in Utah to see family and bless Merrill all at the same time. Now....let me preface this by telling you how awesome I am:

That weekend was a crazy one...we had finished our internship, and within 2 days, packed up our apartment, returned every ounce of borrowed things, deep cleaned said apartment only to find out that we didn't need to after we had already finished, said goodbye to our friends (AGAIN) and drove two cars the 12-hours-that-turned-into-16-hours back to Utah with a 1 month old baby. We left California on Saturday, planned to bless him the next day (Sunday), and then Monday Dale packed up everything from our summer into our Saturn to drive across the country to New York by himself, after which he would move back into our old apartment and set it up AND start school before the kids and I got there a week later. I stayed in Utah for a week to recover from the traveling and craziness and gear up for a cross country flight with 2 kids--and luckily my mom flew with me, because HOW????!

SO anyway....it was a little intense there for a good few weeks. We can't thank our friends enough for all their help and babysitting and dishes and furniture and being so helpful with our constant requests to borrow a million things. I can't thank my brother and his buddy enough for flying out to California just to help us pack/clean and drive our 2nd car back to Utah for us so that we could actually get there in one day, or my mom for making that all possible and flying out to New York with me just to help out.

Now, I hope you are all thoroughly impressed with that prelude, because seriously, I feel a tiny teensy bit like superwoman having conquered a move across the country with a toddler and a newborn and still staying kind of sane. Compliments can be given according to your admiration after the jump.


Anyway, August 17th: A sweet, relaxing and small affair with immediate family, perfect for my sweet and relaxed and then-small sweetheart of a boy. Dale did a wonderful job, blessing him with a strong leadership skills and a strong testimony of the gospel among other wonderful things.

Blessing days make me so very thankful for a worthy priesthood leader in my home. I loved seeing my dad, brother and husband all join together to bless my son with power and inspiration from God. And I'm so happy we decided to do it at with family in Cedar...It just made it so much more special, because we rarely get to do things like that anymore, being the world travelers that we are....or something.

     


Viv of course was being a complete brat that day, acting silly on purpose, refusing to put her tongue in her mouth so that she could actually smile, etc, etc. You know, the usual 2 year old antics that make you want to kind of freak out. Still though, we managed to snag a few pictures of these two cuties together, and I'm so glad. They kind of melt my heart a little bit. Two is so much better than one.


    

I'm so happy half of my siblings could be there (missing 3 brothers). I sure miss my family and being able to be together for little events like this, so I'm glad that this worked out. It really did mean the world to me in my post-partum, emotiona hormonal state. I mean, FAMILY IS THE BEST DUH.

And Mo....little Mo. He's a sweetheart, a champ, a snuggler and a mama's boy. That kid...gosh I love him. Isn't he just so squishable?? Isn't his face the sweetest little round pleasant face you've ever seen?? Don't I sound like the most annoying mom in the world??? Do you want to gag yet?????


 I know, I know. I think I'm just making up for all the times I wasn't enamored with Viv when she was a baby and a hellion. Mo is restoring my belief in the magic that is a newborn. I mean, that face though. Am I right or what?

Happy blessing day, Merrill Richard Beard. You are here to do great things, little man. I can't wait for your life.

checking in

9.17.2014

It's been a while, so consider this my check in:


Things here are good. they are really, exhaustingly good. I'm always tired, I've found how amazing I am at multitasking and have been surprised to find all the things I can do while I'm nursing (the list is seriously impressive), and I'm kind of a weird, awkward and hormonal version of myself right now, but things are good. We are good. I'm trying my best to enjoy this stage. It's a hard stage...that's all there is to it. This newborn thing is damn hard, and Dale and I are still reeling trying to figure out life with two. We are doing what we can, when we can, with little to no expectations of what we can and can't do or how much we (I) will be able to shower during the week or how social we'll be or how sanitary we'll look on any given day.


 I took these pictures when Merrill was 3 weeks old on a luxuriously slow morning when the light was perfect and he was a sweet, cuddly ball of squishiness and I was feeling so happy to have four of us tangled in one big bed. He is still a sweet cuddly ball of even MORE squishiness (he's so chunky and I love it! His cheeks could keep a small army alive for a month!) and I still love all of us tangled in one big bed...even though Dale and I are dead-eyed, sleep deprived zombies and the kids are wide-eyed and ready to go.

    

I have neglected this part of my life because...hey. who has time for this stuff these days? It has me feeling a little guilty that Viv has had so much attention on this blog and Merrill is shafted. So for my records, here are a few things I want to remember about him:

 He has a perfect little streak of bright blonde in his hair down by his neck. It's still just as blonde now as it was when he was born. It looks a little bit like the beginnings of a jedi braid or something equally awesome. And his rolls.....ooooooohhhhh his roooooollllls! They are delicious!!



Now he is almost two months old, and such a little sweetheart. He has this little pleasant, slight smile on his face all the time, and though he does cry and always wants to be held and is kind of the worst sleeper ever, his sweet little face gets me every time. He eats like a champ (obviously), and after he does, he's the most talkative, smiley baby. He almost always has a death grip on my shirt and my hair and is happiest when he's laying on my chest with his head is tucked under my chin. He's a mama's boy, and it's about time a kid likes me more than Dale! But really, my back is killing me and I sway and bounce even when I'm not holding him -- yes, I would like a break, thanks Mo.


    

But speaking of dads (just roll with it), it's so heart melting to see these two together. Dale has been busy and wasn't around for the newborn pictures we had taken (coming soon!), so according to my instagram lately, it looks like I kind of had a baby on my very own...immaculate conception and all that. But he IS here! The father does exist! Just thought I'd throw that out there, in case people were wondering at his lack of appearances on my social media (i know it's been the height of your worries).


And speaking of heart melting, these two together is the best part of my life right now. Viv loves him and has from the beginning. She is always covering him with blankets, smothering him with kisses and hugs (literally), smashing his face with her two little hands, yelling excitedly in his face and always asking him "have nice nap Mo?" when he wakes up from his naps. She insists on always helping me change his diaper and loves to include him in anything she's doing. I am so so happy that this transition has been so smooth with her. She has been happy that he's around since the day he arrived, and I'm so grateful for that.  When he was born and she was visiting us in the hospital, she was a little concerned about the bracelets we all had on our arms and wanted one too. So the cute nurses wrote "big sister" on a bracelet and gave it to her. I kid you not, that thing stayed on Viv's wrist for FIVE WEEKS. she did not take it off once, not for anything. It got wrinkled and dirty and started to fade, but she still wouldn't take it off. And then one day, she did, and i have it saved in her little journal. It is something I will always remember about this time.


So, although there is so much going on and so much to catch up on and so little time and so many times I will choose sleep over blogging (over anything really..sex and eating included), I'm hoping to be around a little more, find a little bit of my old self in this old blog and catch up on my life. There's something to getting back into a routine and remembering who and what you are outside of the 25/8 job of being a mom who is also a milk cow and a gold-medalist at multi-tasking and a chef and a taxi, etc, etc.

So that's that. I'll keep checking in and hopefully things will start getting back to normal around here. Until then (who knows when then will be), sayonara peeps. It's been real.

PS: This was written late at night and I was tired but determined to get something done....so if it makes no sense...well, now you know why. I can't be blamed for this kind of nonsense, if that's what it is.

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