Wednesday, August 25, 2010

finding a new routine

We have been back at it for a week and I'm exhausted.  I'm trying to remind myself that I FEEL LIKE THIS EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR during the first week of school, but I'm still scared this is my new reality and I'm sad that my sinking spell (meaning I feel like I've been hit by one of the school buses that takes the children from our school to their home) falls at the time that I'm supposed to be enjoying quality time with my own precious children.

BJ takes them to Miss Diana's in the morning.

I took this picture of them on the way out the door and he jovially offered to take mine but I declined as my hair was in rollers and a pump suctioned on me.  Not even I would want to see that image!

  Mom came up for the week because BJ went out of town, so I'm sure I'll have a lot more to write about in that visit.  In the meantime here are some pictures of my little angels who lately have been taking seconds to the 8th graders I've met yesterday.  I know I'll get my mojo back so I'm trying to forgive myself, and  tell myself it is ok to give others what they need, too.  Lack of attention in this household isn't the case as Nana is in the zone when it comes to love, patience and attention.

So, here are some images of the last week or so...

Molly is on the move:

and sitting up:

IMG_2421.jpg picture by batesking04IMG_2420.jpg

Here is a great shot of the sisterly dynamic we're crafting (or might I say what I've got to work with): A LOT OF LOVE -- just not very GENTLE (the word I've used 1,000,000 times since March 2).

Anna Cate enjoyed swinging Molly, and welcoming Molly to the playset.
IMG_2448.jpg picture by batesking04

And I think Molly liked it, but maybe not as much as her thumb (and yes, I see the gesture she is making, but it was too funny not to post).IMG_2445.jpg

Anna Cate is happy as a helper (translation: when she is occupied). Sunday night, she enjoyed basting the veggies for Daddy to grill. IMG_2424.jpg

She excitedly introduced Molly to food on a spoon (rice cereal mixed with breastmilk).

We haven't tried it again yet as the breastmilk was wasted, and Molly's expression says it all:

Anna Cate and Molly, I'm sorry I'm a little rough around the edges as we are figuring this all out again...
but I promise, I'm still yours.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Becoming family on lazy summer days

IMG_2395.jpg picture by batesking04The days of "kicking it" for me are dwindling.....

Tomorrow is the first day back to school for us teachers, so an end of a season for us King girls.

Yesterday was Molly's first day at Miss Diana's. I didn't have to but chose to go to school for a while, and used this day as a "dry run." We took the girls there and I dropped off a box of Molly's stuff for her daily care there and tried to give Diana some directions. But I know that they will figure it out, and Anna Cate can give some great tips, too -- solicited or not.

This wasn't the type Mom I thought I'd be: dropping my baby off for the day, but it is the Mom I am, so I celebrate what I can and that is that Anna Cate LOVES being there and Diana seems to really love babies in general, and Molly in particular so far, so I feel good about it. And I will get all the details I need from Molly's day in Anna Cate's stories.
IMG_2398.jpg picture by batesking04

Anna Cate was overjoyed to show off her baby sister to the other kids there yesterday. So tomorrow will be easier.  I could get all sappy and think about summer and how it is coming to an end, but I'm just not going to "go there" tonight.  I'm so thankful to have had these months home with my girls.  We became more of a family this summer, as I figured out the way to care for 2 girls, although it still kicks my tail many days.  

Going back to work isn't leaving them, really...I'm still the mom and we will find lots of other ways to connect and to settle into a new routine.  
We've enjoyed a fabulous summer together and while I feel like the experiences have slipped through my hands like sand as I try to stop and soak in the joy that is my children's youth, I cling onto the memories for comfort.  So we make memories. 

We spent the day together like we have many summer days.  We went to the gym in the morning so Mommy can be healthy (and be a nice person since I'm much more amicable to be around when I've worked out). 

We made some delicious home-made smoothies with fresh ingredients from Saturday's farmer's market.  The sense of pride I feel about my daughter love for fruits and vegetables abounds!  I know it might be "luck of the draw" so I don't really take credit (and I may be eating my words as Molly may just eat cheese and crackers), but health is so very important to me and I'm so thankful that Anna Cate has good taste buds.

We plucked some figs from our tree out front.   I never had a fresh fig until we moved to this house and they are divine; no wonder they were delicacies for the Ancient Romans.  For Anna Cate, it is a process...look for the brown fruit, softly pinch it to see if it is soft enough to eat and then voila...DELICIOUS!


We went to the pool and packed lunch.  We are so lucky that the community pool is a short walk away.  We pack up the bags, schlep Molly into the stroller, and off we go. One time this summer, the bags on the back were so heavy, it tipped the stroller over with Molly strapped inside.I am thankful for the cushion that protected her as she tipped!

This summer,  I've learned a bit more how to parent these two darling girls and I've enjoyed sharing our time and our space as we make this place more of our home, create more bonds of our family, but mostly we've just relaxed and enjoyed being together.  

As I think on the everyday of our summer days of leisure, it makes me think about how we become family daily, a constant process; I am still doing it with my parents and my brother's family.  And while there won't be as much leisure, we'll still be creating this family and loving it simply because we love each other. I am absolutely charmed to be in my girls' presence and stand in awe of how competent BJ is. We are always growing, changing, experiencing new things and by doing so together, we are creating our family in all those big and small experiences.

Tonight, here are some everyday experiences from this summer I am reflecting upon rather than being full of dread about the end of summer.  I'm thinking about

--Figuring out how to get them to take a nap together so that I can spend some "quality" one-on-one time with Anna Cate as we snooze together
-Anna Cate cuddling with me after her naps,
-Making smoothies, cooking dinner together, eating fresh fruit and vegetables, going to the Farmer's Market (which won't stop since we go on Saturdays)
- Breakfast picnics on the deck, ice cream treats outside
-Watermelon on the front porch
-Making new friends at the pool and watching Anna Cate become a good swimmer
-Nursing Molly in bed early in the mornings, knowing I really didn't have to get up for a while, breathing her in
-play dates with friends
-long chats with Anna Cate, playing the guessing game
-answering the millions of "why" as I marvel at her grasp of concepts, language, love, and humor. 

After dinner, I was trying to have a contemplative moment with Anna Cate,  get some words of wisdom about our summer out of her. She said she'll remember my taking her to the pool.  When I asked her if she has any memories of Molly, she diverts the question but she says to me with her popsicle in her hand..."you don't have to worry about Molly, she's going to be with me."  I'm really happy that she used the pronoun "she" correctly, but touched beyond words with this sentiment.  Anna Cate is learning how to be a big sister.IMG_2413.jpg

~The family is one of nature's masterpieces.  ~George Santayana, The Life of Reason

Friday, August 13, 2010

Chincoteague Island

So this little girl really wanted to go to the beach...IMG_2273.jpg picture by batesking04
And BJ has always wanted to visit the Eastern Shore of Virginia:

And Chincoteague Island is known for the wild horses. I may have read Misty as a child, but maybe I just recognize the title...
It was also named "Best Beach Town in America" recently, which made us feel "hip" for choosing it as a vacation location.  

It was our first family vacation where it was just us and it was grand.

We ate ice cream EVERY. SINGLE. DAY...because that is what you do at the beach!


The last night, we went to a hoppin' place in an old victorian home in downtown Chincoteague.  Anna Cate wasn't feeling very well, and she may have only had a little lick because she got a little too much sun because we allowed her to apply her own sunscreen....but it counted.  I'll leave you to wonder who finished off her ice cream, and it wasn't Molly nor I.


We had to stop at the creamery on the way out of town to get a tshirt and have ice cream this day too (cake batter birthday cake), which even though AC taste tested it, decided she only wanted one lick. And it wasn't Molly or BJ who finished this one off.
IMG_2391.jpg picture by batesking04
Molly even drooled a bit for the cream, or maybe she is yawning?! We told Anna Cate that Molly was a great little sister to be out and about on this trip so that big sis could have fun.  I hope that one day they will enjoy the same things on vacation; and if not, that they will be kind, considerate and fun-loving for each other sisters.IMG_2316.jpg

Molly slept after her bed time on me every evening...


So that Anna Cate could play Put-Put and go to a carnival.
:IMG_2295.jpg picture by batesking04IMG_2294.jpg picture by batesking04
And she hit a HOLE-IN-ONE!!! No lie...yes there were several Hole-8 or 10, but there was that one hole. Daddy was a good teacher and the decorations were sooo tacky and hideous, but AC thought they were great!

On Saturday night, we experienced life in small town Chincoteague.  Each year, the wild ponies are rounded up from Assateague Island (where the beach is, and whose beautiful landscapes are owned by the Park Services) and swum across the water to be marched down Main Street for auction.  The firefighters are sort of in charge of this event, and they also host a carnival each year for the the visitors (someone from each state was represented for purchasing the ponies). 
We missed the Pony Penning week by one weekend, but got to experience the carnival, giving us a real feel for the town as it seemed this weekend was for the locals.  Anna Cate enjoyed the kiddie rides, tossing rings around bottles, eating carny food (although, can you believe she doesn't like funnel cake?!?!?)
IMG_2329.jpg picture by batesking04IMG_2344.jpg picture by batesking04IMG_2342-1.jpgIMG_2339.jpg

We got to see some of the ponies who were passed over.IMG_2334.jpgIMG_2336.jpg

Neither the rides, nor the funnel cake nor the ponies kept Molly's attention.  Thank goodness for a Baby Sling type thing and the smell of Mommy...
IMG_2338.jpg picture by batesking04

Two days for lunch, we ate outside at this fabulous carry out eatery, Woody's Beach BBQ that WILL be on Food TV one day soon showcasing the fresh crab sandwiches, BBQ, cool music, and homey feel. The kids meals come in a sand bucket.. 


One day, Molly stayed in with BJ so that Anna Cate and I could have some fun together in the sand (and BJ could get a break from the sand).  
IMG_2359.jpg image by batesking04

These images will live in my heart and hopefully in hers. Anna Cate loved the beach. As I watched her take in the waves with her bold, joyous self, I would help her up from some strong ones and smile to see her going back out with bravery and a little caution.  It seems one needs both in life and I think the elements are well mixed in my little girl, yet it is a daunting task to parent, to tweak, to model, to let go, to pick up.  I'm always blessed with images in my heart of the experiences I have with her as I think about her, watch her, love her, fear for her, guide her, but mostly just deep down in my heart...cheer for her...


On our way back to the hotel from the beach, we found BJ "crabbing" with Molly.  BJ's vacation style does not include much "down time," so I wasn't shocked that they didn't stay in for long.IMG_2375.jpgIMG_2376.jpg

Chincoteague and Assateague are beautiful pieces of Virginia, and it was a great time.  We enjoyed fabulous dinners for fresh seafood with fairly well-behaved little girls who matched every night as we made vacation memories as a family.  I will remember falling in love with Chincoteague Island, knowing we will return as I have a feeling it became "our place."  The small town feel appeals to me, the beauty of its nature, the low-key feel to it all made it new to me as I felt myself knowing that it will become familiar.  IMG_2380.jpg

Now that I reflect, it was much like how I remember feeling about BJ when we started dating in the Fall of 2003.  He was new but I knew he was going to be familiar; he was for me and told him (and meant it) that I loved him  really "nerdy" soon after our first date...He said it back.  But when you know, you know.  I just knew I loved him, and maybe some where deep in my soul, I knew what he would be for my future; could I have really even imagined what a caretaker he is for me, the fabulous Daddy he is?!  Well, heck no, but I knew he is a good thing and this is what I'm thinking about Chincoteague Island...I have a hunch she holds good times for our family.  And if I'm wrong, then I'm happy with the memories I have of this trip and of our family vacation.