Archives for category: pictures

So much has been happening lately, I can’t keep up with it. This is a rambling post. I’ll try to put some pictures in to break it up. Did I mention that Elinor is full-on walking? Yep. It’s awesome and exhausting.

Iza, my dear kitty, has diabetes. It’s totally treatable and we caught it early (when they start peeing like crazy, something’s bad. Thank goodness she’s so particular about her litter box), but it’s a significant expense. We changed her diet and are monitoring her ketones, but haven’t yet started insulin. It’s like we’re holding our breath to see if things will work themselves out, which sometimes happens, but is rare ….

Elinor and I took a trip to Siesta Key, Florida, with my mom’s family. My grandma turns 80 this year and it’s her and my grandpa’s 60th wedding anniversary this year, so they wanted one big family hurrah. I’m impressed, because we did get the entire family down there — except for Chad. This first year of work at the firm precluded any week-long vacations for him. So El and I walked into the Gulf of Mexico, and El loved it even more than I did. She’s a beach baby, loving the water and the waves. And she had such an amazing time with her cousins, both Peyton and Harper (babies everywhere!) but also Spencer’s awesome step-children, Tyler and Maddie. It was a good week, though I missed Chad like crazy and have vowed never to take another vacation without him. Pictures to come — we forgot our camera (!) and are relying on grandparents and aunts. They’ll supply soon.

And then Chad’s big bad firm did some computer upgrades, shutting down their whole system for Memorial Day weekend, which meant he COULD take a short vacation. To Kenyon it was, then, for my 10th-year reunion. I had debated going due to the timing and expense, but Monica and Rhoda and Marc were going to be there, and I so wanted to see them …. Brittany and Joe, Chad’s sister and basically brother-in-law, drove up from Oxford, Ohio, and joined us for a day and a half, and Jeff drove up from Pittsburgh with Sarah and little Emmett, and we spent a nice afternoon with Juan DePascuale, whom Chad worked with one summer at St. Olaf, and then we drove to cute, perfect Hudson, Ohio, to spend one night with Matt and Monte and their little ones, Finn and Willa, two good friends of Chad’s from his college days. It was a packed vacation, but a good one. Oh yeah — and Kenyon!

El and Em love the dog on Middle path ….

Monica and Rhoda look normal — parenthood makes for goofy posing. Ah, kids.

All of this to say that it’s been an expensive spring. We’re doing OK, but we have a fair amount of debt and it bothers Chad. He’s vowed to work at the firm five years or so just so that we can manage that debt down and have some more freedom, but that’s still a hefty goal. We constantly debate the weight of that goal’s importance, especially compared to Chad’s health and El’s time with Chad. And my time with Chad!

And my first day in Florida, my school district called to say that they were denying my request for one more year of unpaid maternity leave since they were closing my school and had reduced my position. It’s a little weird, and they sure could have told me much earlier, but that means that I either need to resign or find a job in the district by August. This was not in the plan — but that means more money?

MDPL is swinging along, too, with paid opportunities to run some contract work, and I miss teaching a whole bunch.

A friend from college offered me some contract work writing for online sources ….

Let’s take a break on those uncomfortable but imposing chairs in Nu Pi Kappa. And yes, there was a current Kenyon student napping while El ravaged the room.

My head is aswirl with options for our lives. I’ve begun babysitting Blaise, Erin’s awesome 2-year-old, once a week, and I’ve dedicated all of those earnings to paying for our two mega-vacations. But I could go back to work. I could contract with MDPL. I could write for some online sources. We could make some more money, meet those debt goals earlier, and maybe have some freedom sooner, together. But in the meantime, that means finding and paying for childcare for El, which is a whole ‘nother headache.

Who am I, and how important are these cash flows compared to being here for Elinor and making sure that Chad’s quality of life meets some basic standards?

Going back to Kenyon didn’t help clarify any of this. Education came up everywhere, and I do feel so committed to those causes and to that mission. The Amanda from Kenyon days is different from the Amanda now, too, and living with both of them was strange. I feel so much more ME now than I did then, but my life is strangely larger and more sprawling now, too, way less focused and way less constrained.

El was ready for long conversations in Peirce as she waited for high-quality local foodstuffs.

I don’t know what to do. My crunchy Mama podcast that I love (Mama Natural Show 43) just reported on study that found that stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) have significantly higher levels of depression than other moms, most likely due to isolation, aimlessness, and a lack of feeling any accomplishments. I don’t think isolation is a big issue for me (thank God for my family and some good friends), but I suffer from aimlessness like you wouldn’t believe (she’s sleeping?! What to do first? clean? yoga? eat? sleep? make stuff? MDPL? aieee!), and that lack of accomplishing anything (another load of laundry left, another load of dishes, and El’s crying yet again …. rinse, repeat) drives me mad.

But I love being with El.

All of this just to get some of the things in me head, outta there and somewhere else. I will figure it out. We will figure it out.

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I think I am just desperate for creative outlets. That, or obsessed with wool. Perhaps both.

But when Janice was out here, we both bought needle felting kits at the local craft store. I made a tiny little owl for Elinor, which she loved, and was taken with the whole process. Since wool, super-fiber that it is, naturally clings to itself, if you poke a barbed needle into shaped wool thousands of times, the whole thing felts and takes that shape, albeit a tad bit smaller. But that means that you can sculpt wool into almost any shape you want, and that means safe, fun, cute toys for babies. Or for adults — I made Chad an anatomically correct heart (from another kit I shared with Janice) for Valentine’s Day, as well as a weird little bird.

I can’t find the owl, the heart, or the bird, of course, but I just made some toys for my niece and nephew, whose birthdays are approaching. I think I might try to make sets for all new babies — they’re so easy to hold and so safe and fun to chew on ….

Harper’s panda:

Peyton’s sea turtle:

Chad is half Swedish. His mother is fully Swedish; her parents emigrated from Sweden in the 40s, I think. This is a wonderful thing, to have such a recent history written across the world, to have such a certain connection to another country and culture. It’s especially precious because Chad has a large set of relatives in Sweden, with whom we keep in decent contact.

We visited in 2009, two weeks of relatives and Västergötland, or West Gothland, in south central Sweden. We divided our time between two cousins of Chad’s mom — Kristina and Karin. Kristina is younger, and much busier, with a son in high school and another young son in lower grade school at the time. But Karin, slightly older, and her husband Börje, have four children who are only slightly younger than Chad and myself. Staying with them, on their organic sheep farm (!), felt a bit more like being part of a family, if only because of the age range of everyone there. It was a wonderful visit, all around. I felt completely welcomed and was enchanted with Sweden, proud to be married to a half-Swede, and strangely conscious that my skin is pretty darn dark and that my hair is, too.

We haven’t kept in the best touch, but all of the people there became very real to me, very much a part of the larger family into which I had married.

But we heard yesterday, haphazardly in the way that intercontinental news travels without the internet, that Börje had died. He was only sixty, and the little information that we had gleaned was that he had been feeling tired. By the time he got to the doctor, he had advanced lung cancer, and within weeks — days? — he was gone.

It’s a shock, as many deaths are. I am still not accustomed to them. Yesterday my mother-in-law told me this as I returned from my afternoon out, as she and my father-in-law babysat Elinor. So I picked up my chubby baby and spent the rest of the day absorbed in caring for her, thinking occasionally of the news and not sure how to approach it, not sure how to deal with it.

I’m still not sure. But last night, while rocking and singing and nursing E to sleep, I felt this calm peace about Börje himself. If there were ever a righteous, humble, and wonderful man, it was him. He was a kind of rock to his family, and he was a gracious host and father-figure to us while we visited. He loved the earth, and machines, and animals, and church organs, and his family with all of his heart. We loved him, and I know in my heart that he led a good life and that he is with God, somewhere beautiful, farming as he loved to do.

What breaks my heart more, to be honest, is thinking of Karin and his children. Karin is a whirlwind of a woman, and she and Börje were the kind of odd couple that makes life richer and louder. She is strong, of course, but I hope that she finds love like that in other places, because it was a unique and wonderful one, from what we could see.

All four kids, too, are in their twenties, and that is just a difficult time to lose your father. Pontus, Britta, Lotta, and Elsa … I cannot even imagine what they are going through.

I suppose that all of this is a miniature tribute to a man I met once, but in that meeting I respected and cared for him.

Good farming, Börje.

 

 

 

Yep. That’s enough for today.

Well, this is our third snowstorm of the year, but it was the first time I truly took Elinor out into it, partially because I didn’t have snow gear for her before, and partially because our busy schedule of nursing, eating solids, trying to get her to nap, and changing diapers precluded it beforehand.

Anyway, we got five inches last night (on top of five on Thursday, too!), and I had to shovel the driveway.

First we suited up.

Then we tried the carseat as a safe location.

That lasted for about 10 minutes. So I began to get creative.

A tarp!

That only lasted five minutes.

But I am a tenacious mom when it comes to finishing my chores (when I actually start them, that is). So —

She was happy there for probably another 10, which was enough for me to finish the driveway.

Here I made the mistake — I thought that she’d be game for really hanging out in the snow, like the true Colorado baby that she is ….

Whoops.

(But she just napped for 2.5 hours!)

I should never, ever, ever revel in something like I did in my last post.

Since then, dear sweet Elinor and I have had a sleeping … disruption. She rarely sleeps for more than three, maybe four hours in a row at night, anyway. But now that she is truly teething (two so far!), she sleeps even less. We have good days (today! I am writing as she … NAPS!) and bad days (yesterday!). But this child does not want to sleep.

Let’s see. Monday night I finally got her down around 8:30, and then I stupidly stayed awake to get some items finished on my long list of things to do. I went to bed around 10:30, but my mind was racing and I couldn’t sleep. Just as I was about to drift off ….

I went to her, followed the normal routine. Change diaper, nurse, try to put her down between breasts, but she was still hungry, so nurse the other side. Try to put her down — she’s usually pretty soundly asleep by now — she falls into a fitless state around midnight. I crawl back into bed, drift off pretty quickly. But by 12:30, she’s crying. Throw myself out of the nice, warm comforter. I try to just get her down by rocking and soothing, thinking I might be able to head back to bed and curl up next to the furnace of a husband. No go. So, back to nursing. Both sides, another hour. She’s sleeping on me, but when I put her into her crib, she cries. I rock, soothe, put her in her crib — she cries. I try nursing, but she isn’t hungry. Her diaper is not wet. We rock, I sing, and she cries, growing more frantic by the minute. I walk around with her, I change her diaper despite the lack of stuff in it, and finally I try the baby tylenol. We rock some more, she nurses some more, and she finally, finally goes down around two a.m. TWO!! She and I were up for three hours.

The next morning, she woke up at seven. A five hour stretch is not bad, but it wasn’t enough for me, or for her. I spend the entire morning trying to get her to nap. She’s obviously tired, fretting and rubbing her eyes, but every time I put her down, she cries. It’s not a little cry, either — it’s the full-blown, world-is-ending cry. At some point I leave her in her crib for 25 minutes, and by the end of it, she is wailing like a hurricane, and continues to cry for 20 more minutes in direct reproach to my callousness. I feel like a bad mother.

And then we went swimming and she was awesome.

But afterwards, she was exhausted yet again, but still wouldn’t nap. She was awake the entire day, minus two 30-minute car rides. She barely made it through dinner before I had to bring her upstairs, and she was NOT having a book read to her, per our normal routine. Instead, she nurses fully, then cries as I rock. I put her down and say hi to Chad, who’s just gotten home. He goes in to rock her, and she cries for 20 minutes on him. We switch off. She doesn’t want to nurse, so I rock and begin experimenting with different positions, thinking it might be her tummy. Finally, I have her feet at my waist, her head on my shins, and am rocking in the rocking chair as she happily farts and farts and farts while basically hanging, upside-down, on my legs. She talks to me for a few minutes, I draw her back up into my lap, and she falls asleep laying back against my arm. I put her into her crib, and she makes happy noises for a few minutes, then drifts off to sleep.

That whole thing took two full hours. TWO HOURS!

And she woke every three hours last night, on the dot, though she went down after nursing each time like a dream. Ahhhh.

I don’t know. I attempt some sleep training, but she isn’t usually crying for me, per se, but because of pain. It’s her teeth or her tummy, methinks, and it’s my job to calm them so she can get some rest. This is hard, though, and it’s wearing on me.

It’s a good thing today was good, though. I keep having dreams that I am pregnant again, and I wake up TERRIFIED. This parenting business is the most difficult work I’ve ever done, and it’s emotionally and physically exhausting, and I can’t even imagine what eight hours of uninterrupted sleep would feel like.

Oh, all of this to say that I did not finish my novel this month. I did write 30,000 words (of crap), and I am proud of that. My goal is to get the next 20K done by New Year’s, and re-assess. When she doesn’t nap all day, I don’t have the fortitude to sit down and write for the hour or so to myself once I get her to sleep. Instead, I watch TV and, last night, drink Scotch. 🙂

It’s a good thing she’s so cute. And she insists on feeding HERSELF these days, manipulating that spoon like a ninja baby. I have video of that, but not a picture, so you’ll have to content yourselves with other pictures.

She’s moving so fast after eating that yogurt, ninja-style.

And even ninjas have to stay clean. Note the samurai topknot. Do samurai and ninjas ever get along? Do they even hang out together, ever?

Who cares. She’s a happy baby ninja, most of the time. The hair is a front for her mad skills, a distraction.

Chad always wants me to read the newspaper, since we pay a pittance every month to receive it. This is a wholly respectable wish, and so Elinor and I did so this morning.

Elinor was intrigued by the Post’s reporting about a DPS school board candidate who blasted the mayor for meeting with former President G. W. Bush about education and NCLB, all during a fraught and highly politicized election season.

But she was truly disturbed by the Denver Post’s continued use of the term “school reform” when talking about organizations whose agenda is primarily to turn neighborhood schools into charters, willy-nilly.

Or is that just me talking?

Things progressed normally for a pregnancy. I started the schoolyear and didn’t tell anyone except my coworker, Loralie; just in case of a miscarriage, I didn’t want to have to explain more than necessary. But we did start letting the word out. We went to visit my Grandma Lueck in Iliff one weekend, and when I didn’t have alcohol at dinner, Grandma just looked straight at me and asked if I was pregnant. That was such a great moment for me — telling my Grandmother that a fourth generation would be joining us was just cool.

We also had some neighbors over for dinner. Just that week I had had my first ultrasound, and the pictures (such precious pictures!) were up on our fridge. I didn’t even notice them there until after our neighbors had left. Chad and I laughed and were grateful that those two were fairly private and respectful people, especially since Chad worked in the same building as one of them.

For posterity, the pictures:

Looking back, it is so weird to think that Elinor looked like that!

But anyway, more decisions loomed. Somewhere in my mind I had decided that I didn’t want to know the sex of the baby. It felt intrusive to me. From birth this little one would have so many assumptions made about it, so many expectations saddled on it, that I didn’t like the idea of heaping gender-based expectations on it prior to birth itself. A little bit of me was influenced by my CNM, who had told me stories about cases where the sex was incorrectly identified, leaving decorating parents and grandparents in a lurch.

But most importantly, I really didn’t want to receive a bunch of pink or blue stuff. In general I don’t like that method of gender identification (though I do look ravishing in pink), and that pragmatic side of me was thinking that it would be nice to re-use some of the baby stuff we did receive or buy, whether it was a girl or a boy. Chad and I went back and forth on it for awhile. He claimed that he didn’t care whether we found out or not, but I still don’t know if I believe(d) him. His mom definitely wanted to find out; she was all raring to go out and buy some cute clothes for the baby, and mentioned how difficult it was to find gender-neutral things, which is very true (and I hate that life is that way!). In the end, my ill-defined wish won out. When we painted the nursery, we finally settled on a vivid, Kermit-like green (I think it was called something like “Geranium Leaf”). It all worked.

But how to refer to a genderless embryo or fetus? A coworker of mine from Outward Bound was nicknamed “The Skink” by her parents in utero — and those early ultrasounds do look eerily reptilian. Chad and I threw some ideas back and forth, but one day we settled on Gorb.

Gorb?

Yes, Gorb. I am pretty sure it was a random set of phonemes that Chad made up on the spot, though I do wonder if it had to do with the sound my impressively loud pregnant belches made. We laughed about it at first, but the darn name stuck. Gorb became Gorbachev and Gorbarella at different times, and we both got a kick out of the way people thought we were crazy when they heard the name. But there was something right about it, something real and human about such a weird assortment of syllables. We loved Gorb already, and that name just let us focus our love somewhere specific.

Later on, my brother-in-law Dave heard the name. He’s kind of brilliant, and he didn’t laugh at us like others did. Instead, he said something akin to, “Of course. Girl or Boy — GorB.” Chad and I just looked at each other, eyebrows raised. Perhaps our subconscious minds had meant to do that. More likely not. Regardless — when those gender-neutral items would begin to arrive, they would be meant for Gorb and set away in Gorb’s brilliant green room.

I think I have so much more to say about opportunities (taken and lost), but for now I thought I’d give everyone the lowdown before I lose the details to my sieve-like memory.

Play-by-play, our 45 hours from home:

Chad drove us to the airport Saturday morning. I was terrified; when he left us at the security gate, I kept looking back for him. I had our stroller, the carseat, a stuffed backpack, the ergo baby carrier, and the diaper bag. Elinor was somewhere in the midst of it all. I had worried about taking the stroller, but it helped so much. Chad and I saw a belabored momma in the elevator on our way to ticketing. She was carrying her stroller, had two roller bags, and a one-year-old in an umbrella stroller. I will say now and forever — hip hip hooray for Bob strollers that work with your carseat!

We got through security so fast that we had much time to spend at the gate. People were so friendly; babies are magical. I met a woman who is friends with the woman in Maui who created the ergo baby carrier — wow.

On the plane, it was great. We were in the second-to-last row, and there was one empty seat in our row. The occupied seat contained a very nice woman who fell in love with Elinor. The flight itself was great; we nursed during take-off and landing, Elinor bounced a-plenty, we traversed the cabin for 30 minutes, and Elinor slept on my lap in the ergo.

We landed, a car was waiting to take us to our hotel, and the driver was a wacky guy from Queens married to a personal trainer. Janice was already at the hotel — the Intercontinental Times Square — and it was pretty swank and all the staff were amazing.

We went to the corner and ordered from this place called the Shake Shack. Awesome hamburgers and a great concrete with poached figs — yummy.

Our view:

The next morning the hullabaloo began.

Janice and Elinor came with me to Rockefeller Square, where NBC had set up a huge tent over the ice skating rink. We found where I was supposed to be, so Janice and Elinor left to visit the Rockefeller Center Observation Deck. I entered the tent and sat in the front row as Brian Williams (Janice was excited about him; I didn’t know who he was!) facilitated a Teacher Town Hall. Teachers were onstage with Brian commenting about all sorts of things, and teachers in the audience could stand in line to comment, while anyone could tweet into their live feed, as well. I guess last year’s Town Hall was v. public vs. charter, full of enmity, and v. anti-teacher, even. This one was very clean and kind, almost hygienic. Most of the comments and arguments were v. common to anyone who has taught more than a year or two. But it was nice to be heard, without a doubt. Melinda Gates was there (not 100 feet from me!) and I kept thinking about what Diane Ravitch would say about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I have to say that I think that specific foundation is honorable, but I don’t think I trust all other philanthropic organizations, and I DEPLORE how schools will throw themselves at a foundation’s feet for their money. I guess I deplore the fact that schools have to do that, even more.

Did I say anything? Nope.

Afterward, I had no idea where I was supposed to go. I found Janice and Elinor, and we nursed right there by the Lego store. Ahhhh. Then I was clueless and just wanted to hold my baby.

Luckily Rhena, one of the real film stars, spotted me, and then we saw Ninive, the producer and former CEO of 826Valencia. We went on a weird mad dash around Rockefeller Center and that tent, and I met Jonathan and Erik and Jamie, the other real film stars. A woman from Microsoft interviewed us; she’ll be using those clips to try and promote _American Teacher_. I guess that Microsoft (or Lauren from Microsoft) saw the film just as Ninive and Dave Eggers, the co-producers, heard that no one wanted to distribute it (who wants to watch documentaries about teachers who can’t pay their bills?). Lauren thought Microsoft could help, and they have committed to funding numerous small and community screenings throughout the country. Aieee!

While we were standing there, Janice and Elinor and I hung out with Dave Eggers.

That’s him on the side. I took this picture before Janice realized that this Dave guy was Dave EGGERS.

Elinor slept as we all chatted.

Then we went BELOW Rockefeller Center to a nice restaurant for a private pre-screening party. I HATE those things. I was so glad that Janice and Elinor could come, though, because having a baby and a friend around relieves you from having to talk to people you don’t know. BUT I did meet the director, Vanessa Roth, and Emily, Associate Producer extraordinaire, and Gretchen, a wonderful former teacher and now teacher advocate, and Rhena’s mother, a legislator from New Jersey. They were all awesome, and they all recognized me. They all know me already from my video diary, but I had no idea who they were …. It was very awkward and it didn’t help that I was feeling awkward, too, and that I would rather have been hanging out with Janice and Elinor half the time. When I talked to people, I wanted to talk shop, too — about education. And many of them were up for that, but many of them were so much more involved in the film than I was that it was … awkward.

Finally we all filtered back into the tent for the World Premiere screening of _American Teacher_. I was in the front row next to Gretchen and Emily. Al Roker and Jenna Bush Hager introduced the film, and then the president of NBC spoke, and then the presidents of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers spoke, and then Al Roker interviewed Vanessa, Dave, and Ninive, and then our seats rotated and we watched the movie.

I hadn’t seen it yet. This was part of my weirdness about this whole process; the four main stars of the film have been involved with the film all the way, from the book to the prior screenings at film festivals, etc., and they know each other and know everyone else. They’ve all seen it numerous times, and so have their families …. I wasn’t even sure if I would agree with the film. Of course I agree that teachers should be paid more, but I happen to know that the book, _Teachers Have It Easy_, applauds Denver’s ProComp system, a par-for-performance initiative. ProComp *is* ground-breaking, but even a teacher like me, who twice received bonuses for raising my students’ scores and always received excellent evaluations, cannot build my salary up to what it would have been on the old system. And DPS keeps reneging on which parts build your salary base and which are just bonuses; the bonuses help a little but don’t help in the long run.

That and the fact that education has become such a polarizing entity, and that I feel very strongly about that particularly divisive issue of neighborhood versus charter schools. What if my stuff was in a film that I personally couldn’t endorse? And the fact that my part in it seemed to be last-minute and not as important as the other teachers …. I felt like a skeptical phoney.

So I was hesitant.

But the film was good. It was even-handed and factual regarding teachers and the way our society does not respect them, since our society only seems to respect things by showering money upon them. The other teachers ARE amazing and went through some significant life changes, on film. And the film itself was utterly sympathetic to all of its teachers, which was most important to me.

It was hard watching me onscreen, though, especially since that me was from so long ago. 2007! I was so young, period, and I was so young in teaching, as well. And that was a ROUGH year. Just weeks after I finished the video diary, I got pneumonia. Ugggh.

After the screening there was some downtime. Ninive’s emails had indicated that not everyone would be on the panel following the film, and since I hadn’t heard otherwise, I assumed I wouldn’t be up there. I was in pain and part of me felt like I could hear Elinor crying, so I ducked out of the tent and went to nurse my babe (who had just begun to fuss). I was exhausted and so was Janice (as well as Elinor!), and so we made an executive decision to run away to the hotel before the after-party. It was a good choice; we all needed some downtime.

Then we headed to the after-party, at a very nice hotel restaurant and bar. Ira Glass had been on the invite list but hadn’t shown up, but we talked to Ninive, Jonathan and his girlfriend Barbara, and spoke with Dave and Jamie a little, and Elinor slept for quite awhile. She woke up and was fussy, so we decided to leave; we didn’t know many people and God knows that I suck in situations like that. But as we were saying goodbye to the people we knew, Ninive became an enthusiastic teacher: she stood in front of the room and gave a short speech of thanks and congratulations to all of us, and she made me stand up in front of them all, and we took pictures of all the film stars, and I don’t have any pictures of that. I am hoping that the emails I read asking for shared files come to fruition.

But I felt like a little star at that point. Part of me liked it and part of me didn’t; I still felt a little fraudulent.

Home to our view:

We ordered room service. I hadn’t really eaten since breakfast, besides a few little appetizers at all the functions. Elinor has hyped up and starving, too, and she and I ended up nursing for probably more than an hour. She finally went down around midnight.

Janice and I were getting up at four in order to be ready for our car at 5:30, for our flights at 8 and 8:30.

We sat with a former Teacher of the Year from Nebraska in the car; she warned me that the “fame” that comes with things like this can be hard to take. I can imagine that being Teacher of the Year would be difficult, indeed. My solace was that I was in the film almost by a fluke (of meeting Ninive at the 826 conference that year), not by merit.

“But you were in there by merit,” she said. “You were willing to share your life with us.” Hmmmm.

Then the great separation; Janice headed to another terminal. Elinor and I breezed through security — I now have a SYSTEM with my baby — and waited for awhile at the gate. Elinor bounced and played, and we befriended another Nebraskan, Claudia, who was very helpful. Then onto the plane ….

This time we weren’t as lucky. We had a middle seat, the plane was booked solid, and the man on the aisle was a BIG guy. He had to use the seatrest. A mom with a nursing baby is not a small entity, I now know, and Elinor was tired, teething, getting over her cold still, and uncomfortable while we tried to nurse. It was miserable. As soon as the seatbelt light went off, we were up and walking back and forth through the cabin. I walked with Elinor for an hour and a half, straight. She fell asleep and woke up and fell asleep …. Mark helped me calculate that I walked more than two miles, in a plane, in the air. Weird.

Elinor cried as we landed. But we were home, and my system worked for getting us off that plane. Mark was waiting for us, and we came home, and Elinor nursed, and now she is asleep.

I should probably be asleep, too.

I am happiest when busiest. I know this about myself.

Today, not really in the right order:

1. I took a shower (you might not think this is an accomplishment, but it is). I had to take an extra-long one, too, since Elinor’s stuffy nose needed the warm steam. [sigh]

2. I ate breakfast AND lunch.

3. I registered a boatload of kids for MDPL’s next workshop. Speaking of workshops, this is Elinor and me at the last one:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. I wrote all the emails I’ve been meaning to write for MDPL. This has taken me a week to do, so I am happy.

5. I made vegan carrot cherry breakfast cookies (see recipe). I would highly recommend these. The best thing about vegan things: you can eat the unbaked batter and not have that niggling worry about the possibility of salmonella hanging over your head. No eggs? It’s VEGAN!! And coconut oil is wicked cool. So is millet.

6. I made kale chips (see recipe). This cooking blog is my new favorite thing, by the way. I love Joy the Baker.

7. I made broccoli with sausage and grapes (recipe is in my favorite cookbook ever, _How to Cook Everything_ by Mark Bittman — no linkage).

8. I did *most* of the dishes.

9. I baked carraway rye bread in my bread machine and, for the first time ever, it rose PERFECTLY.

10. Elinor and I spend significant amounts of time nursing, of course.

11. I folded the laundry.

12. Elinor and I took all of the above-mentioned baked and cooked goods to Chad, who is working late. Elinor had a lot of fun in the board room that we commandeered for thirty minutes. (I do not know why the spacing is so whack and I wish I knew more html….):

First there must be bouncing.

And you tell me these are the best chairs you have?

Well, I won't stand for it.

I guess I could learn to live with it.

Hey -- they pay for your dinner?

This place is awesome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. I ate dinner!

14. I worked on sleep training a little with Elinor — it took me five visits back to her crib after I put her down to get her to sleep. Not bad for the sad stuffy baby.

15. I watched _I Am Trying to Break Your Heart_, the documentary about Wilco, since I am excited about their new album, weirdly enough (I don’t own the last two of them …). Though I watched the documentary half-heartedly. Not because it was bad — I wish I had been more focused — but because …

16. I transcribed the MDPL stories from the last workshop (easier said than done, thanks to horrendous handwriting — and I used to teach middle school! I think I’m pretty hot stuff when it comes to interpreting kids’ handwriting, but I was bested).

17. I set the design for the last MDPL workshop booklet.

18. I began to clean out the front foyer closet. It is still in disarray. Oh well.

19. I searched, unsuccessfully, for the backpack I want to take to New York.

20. I took ten books back to the library.

It feels good to be productive. I needed a day like today. Now I should go to beeeeeeeeeeeeed.