A few random updates

Since they shut down Google Reader, I don’t really read blogs anymore, which also diminishes my motivation to write blog posts. Curse you, Google! (shakes fist)

That being said, here are several things that have happened since I last blogged, in no particular order:

1. We had a new baby. Her name is Ramona and she has strawberry-blonde (or, as Evan calls it, mango-colored) hair. At some point I’ll write about her birth and stuff like that but, for now, Ramona is here and that’s what I have to say on the matter.

2. We were planning to take the train to California for Christmas, but the cost of the rooms on the train (with a new baby, we realllllly needed one) plus a hotel room plus plus plus . . . we ended up just staying here for the holidays. June got a dress-up box full of very frilly skirts and tiaras and wands and bracelets. (I am not trying to over-the-top reinforce gender roles; it’s also ok if skirts and tiaras are what June likes. That’s the beauty of feminism.) Evan got a robot frilled lizard (frilly things for everyone, apparently) and the promise of starting parkour lessons with his best friend.

3. Evan started parkour lessons today! I went in to fill out a waiver (which I DID read thoroughly before signing) and June was so entranced by the gymnastics classes that we stayed the whole hour, even though I had Ramona with me and would have liked to go home and feed her someplace comfy like my couch. Evan had SO MUCH FUN. It was adorable to watch him. He’s by far the smallest in the class. He couldn’t stop talking about how great parkour lessons are – so I think it was a success as a present. Jarom got a Fitbit (I have one too!) and a smoker (with the caveat that he is required to learn how to make really good ribs). My big gift is a trip to visit my sister-in-law, with just Ramona, no other kids – for a whole week!

4. My sister-in-law moved to Washington :( and after seeing pictures of her house and giant, giant, giant foresty yard I’m working on a plan to get us moved out there too.

5. June is very reluctant to start kindergarten this fall. I’m not sure what her deal is, although she’s offered excuses like “I’ll miss you too much” and “I want to go to the ivy school instead of Evan’s school.” Last year a Montessori preschool opened up in a cute yellow house covered in ivy down the street from us, and I guess I mentioned something about it to June. I was pregnant at the time, so I don’t take much responsibility for how rational I was being.

6. I can’t describe how much June loved watching the gymnastics, tumbling, and cheerleading classes at the parkour place. She begged me to let her start gymnastics. I said first she’d have to stop fussing about kindergarten, but that confused her and she thought I meant she had to start kindergarten first. I don’t know, June, we’re in the middle of a huge building with tons of kids doing incredibly dangerous things and it’s loud and I’m having lots of anxiety and can we talk about this later?

7. I switched my anxiety medication about a month ago and while there’s been a lot of rough patches with the transition, the best part is that I no longer feel exhausted all the time. I can make it through the day without a nap, I can get out of bed in the morning, and I want to paint. That’s a big and wonderful change.

8. Next month Evan will turn 7. Over the past 3 years, since we bought our house, there have been lots of room swaps. Sometimes Evan is in the bigger bedroom, sometimes he’s in the littler bedroom, sometimes he and June share the bigger bedroom. But I finally put my foot down and said NO MORE SHARING (not long before #9 happened). Evan was initially excited to have the “cozy” little room but it wasn’t long before he had very hurt feelings about it. We hadn’t moved everything out of the room from it being a storage room/Ramona’s eventual room, so there wasn’t a ton of space for his things. A few weeks ago Jarom helped clear it out and we started letting Evan have the dog sleep with him. For Evan’s birthday, we’re going to get a loft bed, move out the rest of the storage things, put up some posters, maaaaaaaybe paint a wall or two, actually organize the little closet in a way that’s useful for Evan, and put his desk under the loft bed. All in secret while he’s away for the night! I hope he loves it.

9. In a terrible bedtime drama mishap, June gouged a big chunk out of the bridge of her nose. I took her to the ER for stitches. I’m crossing my fingers that the scar fades, because it looks quite Frankenstein-y at the moment. How shallow of me is that?

10. Also, Evan broke his arm when Ramona was about 2 weeks old. That was another fun ER trip. It’s healed now, though.

11. Ramona laughed once when Jarom was tickling her, a week or two before Christmas; she laughed at her reflection in the mirror twice last week. Otherwise she makes this face that ought to be accompanied by peals of laughter, but she’s silent. Come on, Ramona! JUST LAUGH! She’s ridiculously easygoing, everyone loves her, she sleeps through the night, and I feel like we hit the jackpot here.

12. I didn’t blog when we hit 2.5 years since Christian was born/died. Partly I was caught up with a beautiful new baby, partly I didn’t want to force it on everyone, and partly – like I said before – I just don’t blog anymore. But I did note the day, and, while I wasn’t as sad as I’ve been in the past, it was still hard to think of what Christian would have been like at Ramona’s age. Or as a rambunctious two-and-a-half-year-old. What would he think of Ramona?

13. We didn’t get any family pictures done last year. :( I wanted to wait until Ramona was born, but then Evan broke his arm, and June busted up her nose, and Ramona was really jaundiced. In another shallow move, I’m waiting until we’re all a little nicer looking (and that includes my extra chub – I mean, comfy padding – from the past 3 years).

What have you been up to since the beginning of the school year?

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The smell of happiness

Sunscreen. It’s sunscreen.

Even though I sunburn very easily, I don’t remember wearing sunscreen much as a kid. Not for everyday playing, at least. What I do remember is putting it on for adventures. For going to my cousin’s grandma’s pool in the summer. For a class trip to the zoo. For a family outing to a Northern California historical attraction. For a trip with friends to a theme park.

So I love that Evan and June frequently wear sunscreen. The splash pad right by our house opened again on Saturday, and we’ve got plans to go almost every day this week. I read an entire book today thanks to the splash pad.

The best part? Our whole day smells like happiness.


Dreams and great fiction

Only once in my life have I had the slightest impression, during a dream, that I was dreaming. Jarom, on the other hand, always – or nearly always – knows he’s dreaming (known as lucid dreams). One of my friends even has a “pause” feature in her dreams when something doesn’t line up with reality, so she can explain to herself that it’s ok in a dream.

I, on the other hand, have incredibly vivid dreams in which I am completely immersed. For me they are reality while I’m dreaming. Sometimes this is not so great; as a kid and even for the first few years after I got married, I’d dream that there were spiders or bugs in my bed and wake up (partly – enough to scream and thoroughly freak out) to get away. Other times my day is colored by the feeling of my dream.

Until recently I felt guilty for being so strongly impacted by dreams. When I’m awake I know they aren’t real, and realize that many of the elements just didn’t make sense, and yet I was getting wistful and a little disappointed that the dream didn’t continue. I wanted to experience the rest of the story.

Then it occurred to me that the way I feel during a dream is similar to the way I feel when reading a really great book for the first time. Good examples for me are The Name of the Wind and Inkheart, both of which I read without stopping on fantastically enjoyable late nights. Even though I love rereading these books, there’s nothing quite like the first read – getting to know the characters and watch the story unfold. Although in an especially good book, it seems more like participating in the story than watching it.

Aha! That’s what my dreams are like. They are new stories I’m participating in for the first time. There are repeating elements, of course, but this only lends to the sensation that all of my dreams are simply chapters in a very large book, and they are related to a single overarching plot. By my estimate, until about 2010, 1 in every 5 of my dreams took place in the ballet studio I danced in growing up. Given how much time I spent there, it makes sense that so many of my dreams used it as a setting. Even in the past few months I’ve dreamed I was back at the studio – this time as an adult, awkwardly trying to resume dancing after so many years. High school is another frequent setting, although here again I am cast as an adult – married! – finishing a few high school classes after graduating college and having kids. My identity as a college graduate, wife, and mother always plays into these dreams, as does a theme of having forgotten about a class I was taking (usually calculus or AP physics). I also often dream I’m in a large grocery store, a combination of Costco and my local supermarket, and there is drama of varying sorts. Interestingly, Evan and June rarely show up in my dreams (so far), but Jarom has been a frequent character for the past . . . 14 years.

Last night I dreamt that one of my friends was setting up a practice as a dentist, that I had a puppy named Mel, and that I helped host a dinner party which somehow involved watercolors. These are just a few basic elements of the dream, of course; the plot isn’t there – only some facts that provide a sort of framework for the actual story.

Having realized why I enjoy dreaming so much, I don’t feel quite so guilty about being grouchy when someone wakes me up right in the middle of a fascinating dream.

What do you dream about?


Off day ≠ day off

Sometimes I really, really need a break from life.

Jarom’s parents both take the grandkids out individually on dates. It’s pretty awesome. Today the stars aligned so that Evan and June were both going on outings – June in the morning with Grandma, and Evan at lunchtime with Grandpa. After Evan left I got to work on some un-fun projects I’ve been putting off. I also called to try getting our health insurance resolved (which is its own post). Then talking to the healthcare.gov people turned into a full-attention thing, so I put everything else on hold.

Unfortunately, June was not having a great day. She woke up too early? She didn’t sleep well? She’s 3? Whatever the cause, she was being a pill for Grandma, and eventually June just wanted to come home. She came back about an hour into my insurance phone call.

So I had to ignore June and my mother-in-law while I finished the call (which did not end well), and by the time I was done with that I was ready for a relaxing break. But I had no car; June wanted to stay home anyway; I had projects that needed to be done; and the house has gone from lovely to disastrous in the past few days.

The rest of the day has mostly gone the same. Neither the things I want to do nor the things I ought to do are being accomplished, mainly because there have been a lot of unexpected interruptions. And when I do sit down to focus, I still get nothing done! I don’t know what it is about today. But having tomorrow mentally blocked off already – for sleep in the morning, cleaning in the afternoon, and a birthday party in the evening – means I’m not likely to get any further this weekend.

It would be beautiful to not have any obligations, wouldn’t it?


Settling in

My life right now:

  • I don’t have any kids in diapers.
  • Evan and June can both buckle their own seatbelts.
  • Most of the time, no one wakes up at night asking for me.
  • Both Evan and June talk clearly and communicate well.
  • No worrying about miscarriage, birth defects, or SIDS.
  • I think this is actually a pretty great place to be at for the moment!


    Sleeping makes life better

    Last night I went to bed at about 6:45. I’m not sure Jarom was exactly thrilled about it, but he did handle the kids alone and let me sleep. 13 hours of sleep? That’s a beautiful thing.

    I’m still terrible at falling asleep at night (at a normal time). Naps are easy, as is staying asleep. It’s that whole relaxing business I can’t figure out after 7pm. I know, I’m weird.

    This morning Evan is pretending to be a hot lava dog. He tells me I’m an ice dog and we’re enemies. Makes sense.


    Writing makes life better

    Guess what? Even though I had mentally composed yesterday’s blog post multiple times over the last week, once I actually sat down and wrote it, I felt better.

    For me one of the important things is to write publicly. It makes me feel like I’m not just talking to myself and getting tangled up in my own crazy mind.

    Speaking of writing, I read a new book almost every week in January, but now I’m out of good books. Suggestions?