Breaking Into Blossom: Light

Link above, just for your reference (if I still actually have readers that is!).

Things have been incredibly busy.  I started my doctorate this fall, was promoted to Assistant Dean, and decided to simply find a way to show up and make a place for myself in some incredible and very painful conversations about race and diversity on our campus.  Somewhere in there my wife was hired as a full time Hospital Chaplain and my son grew into an amazing, energetic little boy.  When the semester ended earlier this week I realized I was bone weary.  And, that somewhere in the course of the fall all of my very few close local friends had taken jobs in far away places without me having time to even consider the weight of that loss.  So, add lonely to bone weary and that’s right where I am.  Thankfully, rlg posted at exactly the perfect moment and at least I was able to feel a little less lonely.

Below is the reply I left to her original post.  It is something I had considered writing about here and seemed appropriate to share…

“We too have started attending church more regularly this fall. While I admit this hesitantly (as ordained clergy this is dicey territory) many days I don’t know if I believe in God. For years the themes of Christianity, particularly of sin and salvation have rung hollow. I just couldn’t quite figure out how these notions related to me, or really were helpful in any way.

After Ferguson it became clear that I desperately needed beloved community. As a family we needed church. And we were lucky enough to find an amazing, inclusive church home that is completely focused on justice. All of our pastor’s Advent sermons have focused on racial justice and she uses words like “transgender” and “racial reconciliation” from the pulpit. After one passing mention – most of the way down the page in a very long email – more than half the people in our congregation wore black on Sunday in solidarity with the African American churches in our community who were seeking support because black lives matter.

All of a sudden I find I don’t care if God exists, what I need is a community that has the language and tools to work for justice. In light of the things happening on my campus and in our country a bunch of theological concepts I had no use for suddenly make sense.  When I talk “privilege” I understand “sin” – something we did nothing to earn, that is invisible to us but that hurts us and society all the same. When I imagine “grace” I see dear friends and students who have gently corrected my poorly chosen words and sentiments – people who taught my sorry white middle class backside over and over again so that I could learn. When I hear “salvation” I think about the school where I work that is wrestling wholly and honestly with these questions and the students, faculty and staff who have opened their broken and battered souls over and over and over again to bring that change about. When I consider what the “kingdom of God” might look like I see a world where my son knows how to treat people with kindness because they are perfect, whole and beautiful members of the world.  A world where he is treated with the same kindness, a kindness so all pervasive that he never has to think much about it.

Church can be pretty screwed up, but when it is pointed towards justice and people are willing to be wrong/be changed it can be a tremendous place for transformation of self and society. It can also be a place of restoration when the weight is too heavy to bear. For so long I thought I needed God, but could scrap the church. I now find I am in a space where God I can take or leave, but I need the church like someone starving.  I was starving for sacred community and I had no idea. It is good to know that I am not the only one….”

A story for Caemon and his moms (http://cisforcrocodile.wordpress.com/)

 

Cameon’s diagnosis came just a few months before I gave birth to my son, Zachary.  As I laid awake, nursing and struggling with insomnia in those early weeks I watched, and listened, and prayed for you through Caemon’s last days.  When Caemon died I too was heartbroken.  My wife and I prayed that you would find peace and loving companionship in the darkest of days.  

 
While I do not “know” you personally your incredible parenting has always resonated with me.  I began reading your blog long before Caemon was born, before I had even “come out” to myself.  Subconsciously I believe I was preparing myself for what was to come.  And so, you, T and J, were the first elixir.  Your story brought me hope and understanding that my life would still be full of the joy of family even if I wasn’t “straight”.  
 
A surprise to us in many ways (even when we get to “pick” the gene pool our children are never what we expect) one of the biggest surprises from Zachary has been his wispy blond hair.  I come from a family of mostly dark haired folks, and so did our donor from what information we saw.  Z’s hair is not as light as Caemon’s was – at least not from the photographs – but often Z’s hair triggers a memory of your story – the second elixir.  For me the elixir you brought back was a reminder to treasure all of this.  When Z screams through a diaper change, twisting and turning so that I cannot change him, when he wakes up night after night after night so I do not get enough sleep to function, when my partner works so many nights in a row that I cry out for a break, the elixir shakes my soul and reminds me that even this moment is sacred.  As of now, we are in agreement that we will only have one child.  This sometimes seems risky to me – what would I do if he were gone? How would I live?  In those moments the elixir shakes my soul once again and I am reminded that we only get this now, this moment, this day.  And this moment, this now, this day is a celebration.  

Yesterday as Z threw his dinner on the floor with the requisite, “uh-oh” following I had a moment of clarity.  As I reminded him that “uh-oh” implies that you made mistake – throwing one’s food on the floor may be fun but it is not a mistake – I realized that I’m done.  I adore my son.  He is perfect.  And. I don’t want any more children.  

My sister claims that there is a “sibling conspiracy”.  At 15 months old your child is so freaking cute that it is impossible to avoid the desire of a second.  Z will be 15 months old in just a few weeks.  He says “please” and “thank-you” appropriately – I actually heard “thank you mama” a few days ago when I opened the freezer drawer for him.  He chews with his mouth closed – it took my mother 10 years to convince me to do that!  He is crazy, and limit testing, and adorable, and amazing.  I cannot imagine a better life.  And I don’t want a second child.  I want to take Z & KK to Belfast when my dear friend gets married in December.  I want the three of us to travel around the world together.  Some day I want to go camping and take Z’s cousin B with us. I am so excited about watching him grow up I cannot stand it.  I love being a parent to this little boy.  And. I don’t want to be pregnant again, or to nurse another infant, or to be mama to anyone else.  We would be good at it, great even.  But this is not a world where we will “oops” into #2, and I think that is the only way #2 would happen.

People around me keep telling me that my desire for # 2 will come.  In fact, they ask when we will start to try.  I think the answer may be never. This life.  This now.  This is the BEST.

The last few months I have been in a state of recovery, bouncing back from a life turned upside down and inside out.  In the past five years so much about me changed from the music I listen to, to the things I do to relax, the people I call friends and the place I live.  I feel like I am finally settling back into my skin.  No. Scratch that.  I feel like I am desperate to settle back into my skin.  

For the past five years KK and I have been so busy getting to know each other and creating a life that everything, including hobbies, sat on the back burner %90 of the time. When we weren’t moving, getting married, getting pregnant, working too many jobs and too hard, and trying to make friends in a new place I was helping her dig her way out of clinical depression.  It has been a beautiful, tragic, lovely, important time.  But now I find we are settled.  We love our family of three.  KK has found stability in her soul and that has made room for me to rediscover myself.

I was a knitter.  I think I’ve made just a handful of things in the last five years.   In the past month I’ve knit a ton.  KK will be getting new socks tonight.  I made Zachary a fabulous fair isle Christmas Stocking.  My best friend’s second child, V, will be getting a Layette at the end of this week (sweet booties, a sweater and a hat).   Last weekend I attended a knitting meet up.  It was a bit of a bust.  In graduate school I was a part of a “goth” knitters group as well as our founding the knitting group at the Women’s Center and in my first landing spot after that I started the local Stitch’n’Bitch.  What I loved about both groups was their youthful energy and willingness to tackle any topic.  Some of my best friends were found in each group.  I can’t seem to find a similar thing here although I am so relieved to be looking!

I was femme.  While I only adopted the label after meeting KK, it is something that has always been true of me.  I love feeling beautiful and taking the time to curate my appearance.  Pulling together a special outfit and adding a little makeup has always been a treat.  Since Z’s birth I’ve struggled intensely with my self image.  I love my body more than ever before.  I feel at home in this skin, with these stretch marks.  I am beautiful, but my size has changed so dramatically that a year later I am still wearing things that I’ve purchased “to get by” until I’m back in my old clothes.  In addition I’ve kept the same hairstyle for so long that I am bored by it.  We eat more carefully now that we have a little person to feed and so I know that in time I will be back in those beautiful clothes I love.  The struggle in the interim though is to find ways to make myself feel beautiful when I am out in the world, not just when I see myself in the mirror after a shower.  

I was a swimmer.  I swam three or four times a week until 20 or 21 weeks of pregnancy, when it became clear that I was going to have to buy another suit and I couldn’t face the cost.  I haven’t been back in the pool since and I am desperate for it.  I’ve always swum on my lunch break, but pumping has taken priority for the past year.  Tomorrow I am getting back in the pool.  It is a trade off – in order to pump and keep my supply up I will need to swim in the evening and thus lose time in the evening with Z – but I will also gain so much.  I am extremely excited about this.

I was a goth.  Yep.  For years I wore more black than any other color and spent my weekends in clubs where the electronic music was just short of deafening.  When I met KK I simply jumped groups, suddenly finding myself at Brandi Carlisle concerts instead.  I was so happy to have found her, and so glad to be out of the closet that I didn’t look back.  I’ve always loved all kinds of music, and my family was so glad to see me “looking more normal” that this switch wasn’t difficult – at least not to begin with.  But, I now realize that this community was an extremely important part of my identity.  The social rules and cues made sense to me.  I’ve lost track of the music, the people, an important part of my self expression and a few dear friends.  I miss it.  In some ways this is the most difficult piece of the puzzle to reintegrate.  I am clear that I don’t want to dive back into the deep end of that pool, but I do miss dancing.   

There is more to this picture.  While writing I’ve realized how much KK’s depression limited me.  It was a brutal 4 years and the lightness in our lives is palpable.  I’m going to leave this here but I reserve the right to edit later.  ;)

I have a bunch of new ideas for posts, so hopefully they will keep on coming.  Today’s topic?  Travel with baby!

But, first things first.  Zachary is officially walking.  True to form last Wednesday he was not walking, Thursday morning he was not walking, and Thursday evening he saw something he wanted (to get into our freezer – we have the pull out drawer freezer) and he was off.  He hasn’t stopped since.  Way to go, kiddo!

Now, on to the topic at hand.  Zachary has traveled a ton in his little life.  Because KK has not had a full time job she and Zachary have been able to travel with me to conferences and meetings as well as our usual family vacations.  All in all I think Zachary has flown 7 or 8 times in his short little life.  Next month we head to Tacoma, WA for a week (annual conference there, so it will require some work on my part while KK and Z check out the water front and their Children’s Museum).  

Traveling has changed quite a bit over the past year but it has all been fun in its own way.  Z’s first flight occured when he was 3 months old.  We were still new parents and I was terrified.  But, it was fantastic.  My sister gave me this wise piece of advice, “Think of it this way, you are putting him in a giant white noise box where he can nurse whenever he wants to.”  We bought a travel nursing pillow and he slept and nursed on my lap the whole flight.  When he was awake if I worried about his ears and he didn’t want to/need to nurse I just encouraged him to take his pacifier.  On our flight home the plane was a little rougher on the ears (even mine hurt) and so he cried for the last 20 minutes.  But in all of our airplane travel that is the only time it has happened.  

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Sleeping on the Plane on the way to Nana’s house for Christmas.

As he has gotten older flights have gotten both easier and harder. By 6 months old he started to really love watching people.  In flight entertainment became easier because he was so happy making faces at his neighbors.  At 9 months we started to need to think critically about other forms of entertainment.  When we traveled to Calgary, CA Z and I hit the target one spot and the party gifts sections to look for cheap and entertaining items.  Because he would be in our laps and we watch him closely I allow him to play with things on a plane that we wouldn’t necessarily give him in other places.  On this trip we got a LOT of mileage out of some Mardi Gras beads and a $.99 box of bendy straws.  Now at just over a year old things hare harder again.  He is so long that it is hard for him to nap on the plane.  He can still do it, but it is best if we can get him to snooze with his head on our shoulder.  He also wants to be up and about more.  At Christmas time he wasn’t yet walking so keeping him confined to our seats worked well.  We now pack a bag just with entertainment ideas – things he hasn’t seen before or hasn’t seen in awhile work well – and snacks he can eat on a plane.  While I know that folks have mixed feelings about a pacifier it has proven to be invaluable for us and hasn’t harmed the nursing relationship.  While flying it both helps keep him quiet, and helps his ears adjust to changes in cabin pressure.  I would never use a pacifier to keep a child quiet in any other scenario (we spend a LOT of time yelling and exploring the sounds we can make at home) it has been a helpful tool for respecting the other folks on our flights.  

Zachary is clearly an extrovert.  He gets a lot of energy from meeting new people and seeing lots of different people.  Now that he can wave and say “Hi” and “Bye” much of his time is spent greeting people.  While we were in CT for the winter holidays my parents took the whole clan to NYC for the day.  Z had never been in such a big city and it was a LONG drive (in the end it took us about 3 hours to get into the city and park).  For the drive we used the same pack lots of treats and toys technique to keep him entertained, and because my parents rented a mini-van to drive in we made sure he could see and interact with the folks in the back seat (he will be rear facing until he is 2).  

Our time in NYC brings me to our other life saver while traveling, our Pikkolo carrier.  We absolutely love this carrier.  It is ergonomic, made by a fabulous company located in the Chicago area, and has served us extremely well.  Z is fond of it because it allows him to nap when he wants to, and more importantly because he is level with adult faces when he is awake.  Wandering through Rockefeller Center to look at the tree (the crowd was intense) and down Fifth Ave to see the window displays Z said “Hi” to almost every person we passed.  I think he was in his own personal little heaven.  He is a bit heavy to carry, but at the end of the day all that was tired were KK’s legs.  Not bad at all!

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Snoozing while they wait for the Subway…

Finally, sleep.  First off, beds.  In most hotels they will put a pack-n-play in the room for an infant to sleep in.  Because Z cannot sleep in our bed (see extrovert above) many of our trips he has slept in a pack-n-play quite happily.  He did however go through a period of time where he would not sleep if he didn’t have a good firm mattress under him.  For those few months we would go online and find a local company to rent a full size crib from.  It was never ridiculously expensive when compared to the cost of lost sleep (usually under $100 for a week) and it allowed him to sleep comfortably and happily.  

Secondly, sleeping through the night.  Every time we travel Z has a sleep regression.  For example, at about 11 months Z began sleeping through the night one night a week, was up once 2-3 nights and was up twice 2-3 nights.  This is still the current pattern  (Before that he reliably nursed 3 times per night – every 3-4 hours.) Unless he is teething he is never up more than twice in a night and he always goes back to sleep immediately after nursing.  He has always been good about going to sleep at bedtime and returning to bed after nursing without a fuss.  He’s just a kid who likes his sleep.  When we travel all bets are off.  As an infant this drove me crazy.  After being up every hour to nurse and rock and fight to get him back to sleep KK and I would panic that good sleep would never return.  But each time we would get home and within a week things would go back to normal.  Now when the sleep deprivation crazies hit me over vacation I can remind myself that this too shall pass.  When we are on vacation I just don’t worry about sleep any more.  If it is bad, oh well, it will get better and I will be fine.  Vacation is no longer about catching up on rest, now it is about enjoying time together as a family and exploring the world.  After this last trip we had a week of continued up-every-2-hours-MUST-NURSE-AND-ROCK before we realized that we needed to go through one night where we let him fuss a bit to remind him that he didn’t need help to go back to sleep – he only needs to be up when he is hungry.  What that means for us is that we let him fuss when he would wake up before midnight (a normal first nursing time for him).  If he fussed longer than 10 minutes we would go to him.  He woke up and fussed twice before midnight and each time he was back asleep on his own by the 8 minute mark.  After the 10pm wake up that night he slept through the night.  Since then he’s been sleeping like a champ again.  

So, I think I’ll leave it there.  

We LOVE traveling as a family.  I cannot wait to explore Tacoma with my two favorite people next month.  While it has taken some adjustment we’ve found the time together to be worth the lack of sleep.  I’m happy to answer any questions about our experience.  We have good friends who co-sleep and have found that it’s even easier to keep a bedtime routine while away if you do so.  I also think that bottle feeding on an airplane would work in the same way as nursing – just make sure you have all the tools you need with you!  :)

Happy travels!

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1.  A little guy who loves to draw, write, create…really anything that involves putting pen to paper.  Maybe an artist?  Maybe a writer?   It will be so fun to find out!

2. My wife.  She is everything wonderful in the world.  And she knows the truth about me.  When she teases me in love I can’t help but laugh!

3. Work…  I love to work. The lack of posts for months is due to an incredibly hectic work schedule.  I have been so happy!  I love it when my time is put to good use, when I have good work to do.  My crowning achievement for this year was organizing the first “tree lighting” we’ve had on campus in decades.  The accomplishment was not so much in the event as it was in the good faith I have built in this community that allows a narrative of religions pluralism to shine.  The event was intentionally Christian.  We no longer do wishy-washy religion around here.  Only the real deal, because we all deserve that.  A close second were the incredible Diwali and Jewish High Holy Days celebrations.

4.  I haven’t been attending church lately.  I’m clergy so this is a bit of an issue.  Zachary has provided an excellent excuse – can’t miss those naps!  But the truth is that I find church to be full of hypocrisy.  If I could worship here :http://houseforall.org/ or here:http://stlydias.org/  I’d totally do it.  But I cannot.  And I thought that maybe I was just done with God entirely.  Or that I should be Jewish because I always find God when I attend Shabbat services on campus.  But I found myself tearing up during the Tree Lighting and I realized that this is my church.  These are my people.  I may not have the title of University Chaplain, but that’s what I am.  I cannot help myself but do this work.  And, I’m enough of a universalist to be comfortable when I find God in a puja or during the cantor’s singing.

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5. Jammy Sundays.  It’s lovely to forget church and spend all day in your jams!

6. SNOW!  It finally snowed here.  I love the cold.  If I could move further north I would (provided my future home has a garage).

7. Yesterday I found myself telling Zachary how lucky I was to have such a great family.  I love being with Z and with KK.  They make life so much richer than I ever could earn or deserve.

8.  College students.  When the sun sets I have the joy of looking at “Deltmas”.  The Delt’s holiday decorations are epic.  They cover the house with lights.  I have no idea how those gentlemen can possibly get a good night’s sleep!  But who cares?  They are in college!  My students remind me daily that life is meant to be lived with crazy, joyful abandon.

9.  Family.  Thanksgiving was spent with KK’s family and we will head to CT to be with my family for Christmas.  I LOVE Christmas and cannot wait to see my siblings, parents, niece and nephew.

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10. Pickles.  They are delicious.  Confirmed by my son who will eat, and eat, and eat, and eat them.  I’m sure he would add his 8 teeth to the list since they make pickle eating possible!

 

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Testing out the toys at the Children’s Museum

There is very little that I enjoy as much as I enjoy watching Zach-o figure out the world.  I am sure that every little person is just as curious and just as amazing.  We all come pre-programmed to explore.  But, Zachary is the only little person that I get to see grow in this way. I am so honored. I’ve never cared much for the kind of blog that waxes poetic about the perfect-ness of life. I like the messy, the intense, the gritty, the real. But occasionally, as I sit with my knitting and watch Z play, I realize that there are perfect moments in this life of mine. I am desperate with joy of being a Mama. This experience of family with this little boy, and this sweet butch wife of mine, oh, it is so perfect that it breaks my heart, daily.

But, back to the real. Our daycare has worked well until now. My kid is a big time sleeper. In fact, he is working on a 2 hour second nap (nap number one today was 1.5 hours). He slept for 13 hours last night. This is a bit extreme for him, but not all that far out of the usual. And the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree – as an adult I still need 9 hours minimum to function well. I’d happily sleep for 10 if I didn’t feel I was missing out. Daycare is insisting that he move to one nap a day so that he is ready to go into the “Ones Room”. I’ve repeatedly told them that we will not be doing this because sleep is critical to development, and that’s not enough sleep for my kiddo, but they are not willing to support my choice. It stinks. Financially we cannot afford to have one of us stay at home. I’d love that, but it’s just not going to happen. Neither of us make enough money to support that option.

So, now we are praying for and working on an alternative. If you are the kind of person who sends out intentions, or prayers, or just plain old good vibes, they would be very welcome – as would any advice you may have. I look forward to preschool, but I don’t think he needs a classroom setting before then. Our hope is to find an option that allows him to spend time with other children, to eat healthy food (the thought of giving him fish sticks and chicken fingers grosses me out) and to take naps as he needs them.

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exploring the leaves during an early fall picnic

Our summer was wonderful… Here is the whole story told in photographs…

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Popsicles at the Farmer’s Market became a highlight of the summer. Zachary loves the Peach made with local peaches. Yum!

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The Cousins at the beach with their “Bob”… (My father refused to be grandpa when the rest of us all call him Bob anyway.)

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Watchin’ the waves with Nana.

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Cheery with Mommy for an early morning flight to Canada. A cousin getting married is the perfect reason to get a Passport and travel internationally for the first time!

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Morning play with the Cousins in Calgary! The Canadian toys were a highlight with no surprise to us. New toys are always a hit!

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Day 2 in Calgary: A trip to an awesome park that even had things for Zachary to do!

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Visits to the Canadian Badlands and the Canadian Rockies started out like this… Road trips are better with Mommy to talk to!

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Hiking in the Canadian badlands. Z rode on Mama’s back in the Pikkolo. It was a perfect way to prepare for the longer hike at Lake Louise!

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Mamma and Zach-o dressed up for the big day. We sure do love a wedding!

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Uncle Dave is crazy fun at the reception.

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Who has time to put on Jammies when there are places to go and cats to see? That’s right, folks! We’ve got crawling!

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Z would like you to know that we have cats. And, the cats are awesome. They are quite possibly his favorite people in the house…

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End of summer picnic at Mama’s work. The perfect way to end the summer.

My last post was more than just a few days ago, and while I realized almost instantly that I had not responded to RLG’s Liebster nomination this is the first moment I’ve had to correct that mistake.  Oh, my, the start of the academic year is intense!  

 

So, a huge thank you to RLG at Breaking Into Blossom.  RLG and JLG have been an inspiration for quite some time.  Their honesty and resilliance is incredible.  Thank you for the nomination!  

The questions put forth to me (with my answers) are as follows:

 

  1. What comforts you most when you’re sad?  It honestly depends on the day (I’m such a Gemini .  Sometimes I need to get into the pool and swim for awhile.  Swimming clears my head and helps me in the moments when my ever external processing self needs to stop processing.  On other days I need to watch a cheesy TV show – House Hunters anyone? – with my knitting, a cup of good British tea, and some biscuits.  Occasionally I really lovely amber ale, preferably consumed out of doors on a warm evening, will make things right again.  
  2. What would you do on a dream day where money and travel time were no object?  I would take my little family to Belfast, N.Ireland.  I lived there for a year and one of my best friends is there with her partner and son who was born just a few weeks before Z.  KK has never met Tracey and I would love to introduce them.  If it were my lucky day there would be a really fabulous concert to attend.  (Tracey is a fabulous DJ.)
  3. Favorite drink (with or without alcohol)? Milk…gosh do I miss drinking milk.  Sadly it gives Z a tummyache when I drink it these days…
  4. What character trait (of yours) do you most struggle to accept about yourself? I can be bossy.  The ability to direct others makes me a good leader, but I have to be very careful about how I direct and when…  I hate the way that I boss KK around before I even realize I’m doing it.  I’m sure it will make Z crazy some day too…
  5. How much water do you drink in a day?  A lot.  At least 5 25oz bottles.  I always carry a water bottle with me and I refill it many many times a day.
  6. If you’re a parent, what has surprised you the most about the gig? If you’re not, what do you like best about not having kids (right now or at all)?  How naturally it comes to me.  As a child I thought I wouldn’t want children of my own so I have been surprised by how naturally parenting comes to me.  It’s not easy, but so much of it has been intuitive.  
  7. What (if anything) makes you feel insecure about either being a parent or not being a parent? I love my work.  Love Love Love my work.  Left to my own devices I’d work 60+ hours a week.  For fun.  Seriously.  Balancing my love of work with my love of my son is a challenge.  I feel insecure when I am not giving enough to Zachary and insecure when I don’t feel like I am giving all I’d like to give to my job.  My guess is that this is the story of the rest of my life…  
  8. Top three television shows of all time? Buffy the Vampire Slayer, BBC Pride and Prejudice Miniseries, Eureka (embarrassing but true…)
  9. Specialty dish (or baked indulgence)? Something you’ve made time and again.  Homemade Marshmallows.  I make them a few times a year and they are always a hit.  I also occasionally make french Macaroons.  Yum!
  10. Favorite thing about the person you’ve grown into? I am so much more driven than I ever thought I would be.  As a child my mother always wanted to know what would happen if I actually had a fire lit under my backside.  Lots of brains, but no focus.  I love that I’ve become dedicated to and extremely passionate about my work.  I am always looking to improve and that feels amazing.  
  11. One simple, happy memory.  On Saturday morning KK and Z woke me up at 9am and the three of us hung out in bed with the cats.  I slept in until 9am.  Then we (all 5 of us) hung out in my favorite place, our bed.  KK calls it my bed-womb.  Z nursed, we all giggled, the cats let him pet them.  It was awesome.  

So, a big thanks to Yogi’s Mama at Love Invents Us and Camille at And Just Add Water for the nomination for a Liebster award.  :)  I’ve been way late in my response because of our recent vacations.  I’ll start with the Liebster and post about vacation in a few days.

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Blogger awards are such a great way to learn more about your fellow bloggers. This is a way for small bloggers to give recognition to other small bloggers (200 followers or less). Here’s how it works:

Copy & Paste This Whole Post and Replace All Your Information — who awarded you, for example.

The rules:

  1. Thank the Liebster Blog presenter who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Post 11 facts about yourself, answering the 11 questions you were asked and create 11 questions for your nominees.
  3. Nominate 11 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.
  4. Display the Liebster Award logo.
  5. No tag backs meaning you can’t just re nominate the person who nominated you.

As Solo the First put it “The real purpose behind these nominations are not only as an accolade from a fellow blogger and let’s face it, nothing gently strokes our little writer hearts more than someone telling you they appreciate your work. In addition to the back patting we need to receive from time to time, it also allows us to get a little more personal as we get to know our increasing blogging community. It also helps drive traffic to your site as we reference one another.”

The questions put forth to me (with my answers) are as follows:

From Yogi’s Mama:

Here are my 11 questions:

  1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?  An artist, a superhero, a musician, a lawyer.  Lots of things!  I am such a Gemini that I couldn’t make up my mind…
  2. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?  Chocolate.  The more Chocolate the better…
  3. Share your three favorite (non lesbian baby-making) blogs.  I don’t read non lesbian baby-making blogs, but I love all three of these blogs which have something to do with parenting.  Hopefully that counts!…  Elevating Childcare,   Every Little Thing  and  For God and Cheese.  In the interest of honesty, For God and Cheese is written by my Cousin in Law.  She is an amazing mother, lawyer, person of faith, and the wife to a man struggling with cancer (my cousin, Jeff).  I haven’t linked to her blog from here, or shared this blog with my family, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge her incredible writing and parenting style.  
  4. What public figures (people we all might know) make your top five? (As in, people you think are hot)  So much of what I find attractive about people is tied up in knowing them personally so this is hard for me.  Here are a few people who I think are interesting and attractive though… Rachel Maddow, an early androgynous David Bowie, when Angelina Jolie is eating I think she is really beautiful, I’ve always loved Sandra Bullock, and I don’t follow sports, but Brittney Griner is pretty amazing in this article: http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/9316697/owning-middle
  5. What is your most favorite meal? Looking for more than breakfast, lunch or dinner here. What’s on the plate?  BREAKFAST!!!  I really really really love eggs and bacon in the morning.  
  6. What book could you read over and over?  Jane Austin’s “Pride and Prejudice”
  7. Cats or dogs? Cats all the way.  
  8. What are five words that best describe you?  Nerdy, Enthusiastic, Driven, Optimistic, Busy
  9. If you could trade places with someone (anyone!) for a day who would it be?
  10. An envelope stuffed with cash appears in your mailbox, what do you do?  Buy my Sister and Brother-in-Law out of their house.  They are underwater in their mortgage through no fault of their own (because they have done everything right they can’t get any government assistance to deal with the problem).  I would really love to be able to buy their house from them, sell it at a loss and give them the $ it sells for to start over.  If there was anything leftover I’d pay off our student loan debt and mortgage so we’d have some money to save for traveling.  :)
  11. If someone threw you a surprise party would you feel loved or misunderstood?  loved, although it would embarrass me a bit first

 

From Camille:

  1. What is the best book you’ve read recently?  The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel – A friend was shocked that I hadn’t read this and insisted I read her much loved copy.  It was fantastic and I loved it.  
  2. Name a pet peeve.  People who don’t know how to drive in the city…
  3. If you could travel any place and money was not a factor, where would you go?  Right now I’d take my family to the UK to visit a good friend of mine whose son was born 3 weeks before Zach-o.
  4. If you could go to any concert, whether they are dead or alive, broken up or together, who would it be?  Oooohh…  I’d really love to see Assemblage 23 live.  Tom Shear played in our city just before we moved here and I can’t see him returning.  I’d love to see one of his live shows, but he’s such a small act that we’d have to travel a long way to do so…I can’t imagine that with a small fry at home.
  5. Red wine, white wine, beer, or water?  BEER!  Amber.  Smithwicks served at a pub in Belfast would be best.  :)
  6. Do you have a celebrity look-a-like? If so, who?  The kids I worked with in Belfast, NI thought I looked like Brittney Spears. I am pretty sure they thought that only because they were enamored with my american accent and she was big stuff at the time…
  7. What are three blogs you read most often?  I use Feedly so I read the same 10-12 blogs all at the same time.  Lately I’ve loved the posts from Counting Chickens, Butch and Pregnant, Breaking into Blossom,  For God and Cheese and Love Invents Us.  Now I’m looking forward to following Just Add Water!  
  8. What is your guilty pleasure?  Watching “House Hunters” and “Say Yes to the Dress” while I knit.
  9. What is one skill or hobby you’re interested in learning?  I can’t keep up with the ones I have so I’m not going to take anything else on!  :)
  10. What are five words that best describe you?  See Above.
  11. Beach or mountains?   Beach – southern Maine preferably  

I know that the next step here is nominating someone, but every one of the blogs I would nominate has already been nominated.  So, I’m going to leave it at this.  Thanks, folks!