Monday, March 30, 2015

This Weekend We / Sena's Disco Funk Party

Quite frankly, these pictures didn't capture the chaos.
Or the noise. 
Or the fun.

They don't really convey Sena's nonstop smile, or the satisfaction she had regarding a party she has been planning in her own mind since days after her last birthday. Actually, I take that back. She's been planning this party since before her last birthday. 

She invited all her friends, and lucky for me, she counts among her best friends many of my best friends, grown-ups willing to indulge in late night Parliament dance offs.  The party included a disco ball, a spotlight, tons of sparkly dresses, an Afro, a Russian fur hat, and plenty of impressive moves. Sena had the foresight to spend the morning stretching in preparation. She wasn't going to let cramps or sore muscle keep her from the action. 

We also discovered that Arlo takes after his big sister in more ways than we previously knew-- just like her, he never wants to leave the party. He fell asleep on Tom's back dancing, then woke up through the night begging to dance with his friend some more. 

The party also felt like my first real attempt at my New Year's resolution, which has been on my mind a lot despite not being put into action the way I had intended. As it turns out, having fun in the dead of winter while pregnant was not all that easy. Have I been happy? Heck yeah. But I don't think I've had a ton of fun, per se.  A disco funk party was just the way to change that, so thank you Sena for making that happen, even if it did mean strapping a three week old to my chest so that I could bust some moves. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Moment Just For Me

Tonight the house is dark and quiet, filled with only two souls-- me and a sleeping Alamae. The rest are off doing their own things while Alamae and I enjoy the comforts of a semi-empty home.

Tonight, I will stay up a little later, drink mint tea and watch a movie of my own choosing. Tonight, I have the luxury of finding these words, sinking into my own thoughts without interruption. It's something I have been missing as of late. When I was working, I had time during each day that was mine alone. I could think my thoughts without anyone asking me for anything. I could aimlessly drift through dozens of ideas. But this stage in my life is about efficiency, which has never been a strong suit. I have to use my moments well, especially those moments when I do not have another human being physically attached to me. My time is not my own, a price I am certainly willing to pay. But these few moments on this dark, cold spring night are appreciated and not the least bit taken for granted.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fairweather Friend

I wish I was more outdoorsy, that I made it a consistent priority to breathe fresh air and get a little dirty. I wish I knew the names of birds and insects and that I could start a fire more easily. I wish I went out there when it was cold and damp, that my family was good at setting up camp.

But the truth is, I prioritize dozens of things above moments outside, especially when it's not that warm.  Laundry needs to be put away. Dinner needs to be started. My sister has come over to drink coffee. So the outdoors wait, and I sneak a peek at my phone or a blog, and I see all the folks living in the great wide  open while I'm inside.

I want to be one of them-- those people who own all weather jackets and appropriate footwear. But I've never been that woman. My family never went camping growing up. My first night in a tent was when I was thirteen on a mission trip to Venezuela. Most of my camping experience since then has been right beside my car while on the side of a mountain for some music festival or another. In college a friend's boyfriend criticized us for our indoor ways-- he was off to play midnight soccer, while we were content with a board game, a box of wine, and a stereo blasting our favorite live shows.

All day yesterday I vowed to get out there, to put everything else aside. But then it rained and when it cleared, Alamae was fast asleep, and there was such a small window until dinner would need to be made. So plans to go to the beach turned to plans to sip tea on the porch and putter about the yard. It didn't feel outdoorsy in the way I had hoped. But we did hear the spring peepers as the evening settled in, and we spotted a cardinal hanging out on own of our azalea bushes. We discovered mole tunnels snaking through our yard, and Arlo delighted in meeting his shadow.

The weather will turn soon enough, and I will spend more time beyond these walls. For a little while longer though, I might just be a porch person, enjoying the first signs of spring from my newly hung swing.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Playing Scientist

I am fond of making plans, and I am equally fond of cancelling them. Actually, that isn't true. While I frequently cancel plans, I'm always deeply dissatisfied when I do. And yet, I still do it...all the time.

Last week, I almost did it. I planned to take the kids to the Calvert Marine Museum. I had an itch to go after spying sea otters on my parents' pier for the first time in ten years, and since the museum has a pair of otters it seemed like a fun idea. Then I discovered that on Friday they were having their twice annual home school day, so it seemed perfect.

However, when I woke up Friday to snowy weather, the prospect of trying to get four kids out of the door by nine seemed impossible and completely unappealing. Plus, the last time that I tried to take my kids to a museum did not go so well. I called my mom to bag the whole thing, but then called her back three minutes later to say wait, wait, I changed my mind. Let's go.

So we went.

And I am so glad we did.

Sena, generally, loves museums of all varieties. It's easy to engage her. Her nerdiness runs deep. Gus, however, is pulled in as easily. So the fact that he loved the place meant a lot. There were lots of hands on activities, and the museum had undergone massive growth since the last time I was there when Gus was a baby and Sena was a toddler. The giant Megalodon hanging from the ceiling of the Paleo Hall was definitely a highlight. And Arlo enjoyed pushing any and all buttons he could find.

It's pretty awesome having such a beautiful museum dedicated to our specific part of the Chesapeake. I think that was part of the appeal for Gus; he wasn't learning about far off places that he can't particularly relate to. He was learning about his backyard.

The weather did keep us from checking out the sea otters though, so we are going to have to head back once warm weather comes round these parts in earnest.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Four is the smallest "big family" number. It's a whole human being over the idea of 2.5 children average. It feels like a crowd, a traveling party We've only all ventured out once so far- to Whole Foods to stock up on provisions. It was a bit of an ordeal which luckily ended with running into a friend as we checked out, a friend who generously helped me out to the car to unload (Thanks Christie!).  Sena expressed pride in our numbers, recognizing that we seem to stand out a little more than we did a few short weeks ago. And Sena is always happy to stand out.

Tom says four is our max, that he just can't handle the idea that there are any more people to be out in the world to be worried about, too many fragments of his heart living outside his body, in need of protection. And while I am not 100% ready to think that there are no more children destined to join our family, I do know what he means about worrying about all the pieces of you that are off living without you. Four such pieces does feel like a lot.

The days have mostly been remarkably peaceful and quiet, considering.  Some moments scattering the four kids across the house, other times finding them all in one place. We're trying to find our rhythm, balancing the needs to two homeschooled kids, a toddler and an infant. Sena and Gus have been quick to help. Sena frequently has Alamae filling her arms, and Gus has been taking Arlo outside to play when the little man requests it.

There have certainly been kinks and bumps, but we'll figure it out, establish a new normal or at least something as close to a normal as we are likely to ever experience.