Friday, December 9, 2016

What I'm Into: November

Time to share what all I was into in November!

On the Nightstand:

Honestly, not a thing.

On Their Nightstand: 

Y'ALL. Graves read his first little reader. I could not be more proud. I have a whole post I need to finish up about how school is going with him this year.

On the Shelf:

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion- Jonathon Haidt

I mentioned that this was our book last month, but we actually didn't have book club last month and are having it in a few weeks. It's a long book but I'm SO interested in it. And Peyton wants to read it, too. I'm excited about it!

At the Theater (or from the couch):

Our Town
My old high school drama teacher now works at a wonderful community theater and Minnie really wanted to go see Our Town since she was directing it and since Minnie's high school had done a production. It was the first time I had seen it and I really enjoyed it. It was a bit slow in some parts, but I love how meta it was and I enjoyed the idea of just watching the ordinary details of the lives the townspeople. I've said this a few times before, but I'm really not into a big involved plot. I'm much more interested in the idea of place and watching the characters develop. So it appealed to me because of that.

St. Vincent
Okay, I loved this movie. It's just about an older, kind of crass man and the wonderful relationship he forms with the boy next door. It was nothing amazing from a deep or artistic standpoint but it was just a good story and didn't require too much mental or emotional energy but also didn't feel like a waste of time. 

On the Small Screen:

Law and Order: SVU
About the same. I'll leave it alone for a week and then watch three episodes at a time.

The West Wing
I felt like election time was the perfect time to jump back in. I love it whenever I watch but it takes a lot more mental energy than like SVU or something. I think partly because I want to catch like every word.

In My Ears:
Well, something reminded me of this list of Springsteen songs that didn't make the cut and I've been so into it. Favorites are Cindy and The Klansman. They have very different sounds but I love the music with both and of course the storytelling- he says so much in such a few words. The former is the story of unrequited love and the latter is a haunting tale of a boy growing up in a family where prejudice dominates.

Around the House: 

A lovely little herb garden in my kitchen sink. [Peyton worked two extra hours that day- so a fourteen hour shift- and then ran by the grocery store for me on the way home and THEN dug up the basil and such and potted it so it wouldn't freeze. I have no idea where he gets his abundance of energy.]

Some folks have Christmas china, we have Christmas bedding. Actually, it's red and olive and it's a floral print. I loved it and when it when in sale at Ikea (like $15 for a queen duvet cover) while we lived in BK, I got it and hung onto it. I really thought I'd use it for Summer because the white feels so fresh. But I spotted it last week in the attic when I was getting our flannel Christmas tree sheets down and decided to give it a try! 

 I love how the sunroom shapes up for Christmas!
In the Kitchen:

Pro-tip that I learned from some footballer players at Prep: two peanut butter sandwiches- as thickly spread as you can tolerate- right before bed to put (or in this case, keep) the weight on. When I was nursing Graves, my OB told me I looked malnourished (not the most diplomatic, but Peyton looked up my BMI and I was horrified to know it was past "underweight" and all the way onto the anorexic part of the spectrum). I just didn't realize how many calories you lose when you breast feed (you need to be taking in even more than when you're pregnant). I scared myself a little this time when I realized I had lost twenty of the thirty pounds I gained within a week of Sarah Lamar's birth. Things have slowed down a LOT as evidenced by Graves constantly asking me no less than twenty times why my tummy is smushy. (I feel like this does not bode well for his chances that his future wife will go for his hundred thousand babies idea.) That's sort of discouraging (the other two times, it was gone at this point) and to be very honest sometimes I do have a really hard time with it even though it's not that many extra pounds. That said, I want to make sure I'm doing this in a healthy way. I'm determined to do better- for myself, for Sarah Lamar, for all of us- this time. And P is a big help-- he's cooking a lot more and makes smoothies on the regular. He told me that first week "you take care of her and I'll take care of you" and he's done just that.

 This is how Peyton parents. She loves it, of course, being up on everyone's level. She is such a weird baby. He is such a weird papa. Love them both to pieces. [Be careful with Papa's Bombay. Be careful with momma's baby.]

In My Closet: 
Weird weather for November!

As I've already shared, a little tip for introverts who have nursing infants (even those who love their families and the families they married into with their whole hearts): wear something that is absolutely not nursing friendly and escape to a dark room to snuggle and decompress a few times. Bonus: people will be lining up to entertain your other children. 

Fun quirk about me: At home, I like to wear my trouser socks with leggings and sneakers. In Brookyn, I'd occasionally wear them out. Because there's always, always someone who looks weirder than you.

And then I decided to do polka dots on plaid at the Kroger doing an emergency run for Oreos, Coke, a Neti Pot, and mascara.

These are some of the pjs I got to wear at the hospital when she was born. They're just from Targey but they're SO soft and wearing them feels like a luxury. I've goaled it to slowly get rid of my ratty t-shirts and boxers end acquire a small collection of delightful jams.

In Their Closets:

When it's sweater weather, we go with thirty year old Feltman over thirty year old Feltman

I'm afraid I'm about to have to SLOWLY phase out the three little dresses Sarah Lamar has been wearing since she started going to church. I'm hoping she can wear each a couple more times; I can't even put words to how much I've loved putting her in them. They still fit (they are getting a little short) but they kinda have a newborn/tiny baby vibe to them. And they're paper thin and I'm not sure how appropriate they are once it's truly Winter. I liked this more than I thought I would (I typically avoid collars, especially for infants) but the whole thing- down to the sweater and mary janes- looks a bit too mature. Almost toddlerish. I told Minnie that, especially in the sweater, she looked like she was ready for nursery school. And it's pretty casual for what I usually put her in (even though Graves and AP now wear tennis shoes to church often- Converse and mary jane style with rubber soles, respectively, but still!) Fortunately, next up are some tatted dresses that I hand wash in my biggest mixing bowl. The excitement over that is inexplicable, too. 
Not from this month, but I finished the last bit of the kids' closet changeover and along those lines, is it weird that Annie's Summer church capsule consisted almost exclusively of avian motifs? 
Bailey Boys ballet shoes. She seems so grown up in a janejane style romper with an undershirt- this was a signature look for toddler Annie. Actually, this outfit is SO quintessential Annie Baby to me. Bailey Boys was one of my very first favorite brands and it remained a go-to on eBay and at consignment sales/stores for Graves. This was actually the first one I found for Annie (Graves had several his first Summer- a yellow chicken, a blue sand bucket, and a red sailboat- and Sallie actually wore all of them I think). 
Cutie in his suspenders. Bless his heart- we were on our way to a funeral in a different state and this poor guy had a weather headache so bad he was screaming and vomiting. We got him some medicine, cold water, and I got the little fan from Sallie's diaper bag on him. He took a nap, rallied for the service and was able to visit some this evening. He went to bed super early, though. Through it all, he was so sweet and considerate (like telling Annie "you might not want to get too close to me...I'd never want to give you my disease"). So proud of my precious boy. I know how hard these things are!
The toile teddy bears are some of my favorites from the 3-6 mo. collection.

Annie loves the elephant apparel Minnie found at TJ Maxx, a black turtleneck, and her favorite Summer shoes. Girlfriends got her own sense of style. Alson, she and Peyton are so proud of this single azeala bloom. I told a friend yesterday that I think she's the weirdest kid. I just adore her so much.
Silly girl in a fox muscle tee because her papa thinks it's funny. It does coordinate well with her "woodland animals" swing.

Surprisingly we don't have an infant turkey apparel (we have tons of toddler turkey apparel, for whatever reason). So on Thanksgiving I put her in a thermal one piece, pink granny print jumper, and chenille booties. LOVE.

In My Mailbox:

These were actually going out! Away from the pressure to do housework and my elusive attempts to catch up on blogging and the siren call of social media, I finally got most of these addressed on our camping trip in October and sent at the beginning of November.

In My Cart:

I promised myself I wouldn't do this too often because Sallie has SO much of Annie's and because of Voluntary Simplicity but when a friend alerted me back in the Summer that one of our favorites, Winter Water Factory, was having an amazing sale and I found the "daisy" dress in a 12 mo. for less than $20 I had to get it, especially since I'm confident Annie's will still fit her next Summer. For those that don't remember, I bought for Annie because it looked like something an Annie would wear, it looked like our Annie, and Daisy what she was referring to Sister Baby as. I knew I wanted her to wear it for the first time to meet Sallie and she did. So I had to get one for Sal. And bonus that it's yellow which is sorta my favorite for Little SallieSunshine. I did forget that they run a little big. Good thing our New Girl does too and if not it certainly won't be the first knit dress Minnie has hemmed. If you happen to be looking to do some fair trade  shopping, this is a great place to shop! The fabric is ethically sourced and the actual garment construction is done in Brooklyn. And it's excellent quality- Annie and Graves both wear their WWF stuff for YEARS. 

Around the Town (and At Home):  

Well, this was definitely one of the biggest things this month. Bet you can guess what went down at seven thirty this morning while all three kids and I waited in the car. Set up a little recovery station for Peyton with my left over post delivery supplies. He was super brave and surprisingly, Graves and I have been to. I have such a peace on closing the biological babes chapter at this point. 

Mistletoe! I worked both my shifts and had a really good time. And I LOVED the color scheme this year!

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Having an excessive amount of free time one weekend, Annie has spent a good bit of it making lists for next week. On the agenda, among other things: "groshry" store, a meeting, jedi training: reading and quiz, holiday!, eat refried beans, wash dishes, math, "eglish", and plan week.
I've got my seasonal sinus infection and we had a pretty busy (fun!) week by my standards recently. I was completely peopled out and had a mild come apart yesterday one day and then one of the scary breakdowns the next. I gave Peyton the baby and took myself to get take out and unpacked it all with a trusted friend. It rained and the front coming in was like a big exhale. I was a lot better the next day but I also knew to give myself lots of space. Sallie took the best nap she'd had in a week and the big kids asked me of they could pack their own picnic. I started to object but then agreed and they did so good- salad and carrots from the fridge and raisins and plain tortillas. It was so quiet in the sunroom (see thing swing through the window) that I could hear myself think. Relief. So grateful.
A lazy Sunday night. I feel only a teensy bit of guilt about this: Sallie is watching her first feature length film here. Annie was probably five by the time she saw a real movie because I had some extreme screen convictions at that point in my motherhood. And then God totally took me down a peg because Graves was near about five by the time he could sit still for more than half an hour (despite my ironically basically begging him to do so). Sallie is frightening obsessed with screens, so there's that. Anyway, Gravey Train was learning "n" that week and we'd made Native American headbands and come up with Native American names. Normally, I lather myself in "Sabbath" on Sundays and do next to nothing and certainly nothing school related so I decided we ALL deserved a little (N)emo that evening (Annie requested we wait until it got dark because movies are more fun that way.) 
Target by myself and lunch with a friend!
I doubt any other grown woman would be so enamored by the amount of compartments in this van. But I love little hiding places and extra storage pockets. One of my favorite things in Brooklyn was finding just the right object to put on a shelf on in a drawer or cubby hole that would maximize our space and I loved it again when I tried to reorganize our house to make room for Sarah Lamar. I sort of see Graves enjoying these types of projects, too.

Bean Boozle with the bigs. Annie said she enjoyed tooth paste, lawn clippings, and baby wipes and that boogers probably wouldn't he so bad because she assumed they'd be salty.
Wreck nine (Peyton said it was my ninth, I lost count) happened today. I was in a hurry and the sun was in my eyes and I hit a parked car. There was a guy who saw me looking at the truck I "bumped" as Graves would say. He was a worker guy and the truck was his buddy's and we couldn't find a dent and he said it was his work truck and he honestly wouldn't care anyway. He told me most people wouldn't even check and I told him I wouldn't think of not leaving a note. I woke up sick this morning (just a sore throat from drainage), I was running late and had all three kids with me, and he just made me feel so much better. 

A friend of mine is giving Annie, her own daughter, and another friend of theirs piano lessons. Annie is loving it! 

thankful wheels at the grief center (baby shampoo, guys!)

 We had a fun Thanksgiving. Love our Sister Baby, Cousin Baby, and these two sweet guys holding them.

At the Schoolhouse:

Doing some English. She loves it so much. Math, on the other hand. I know lots of people wouldn't agree with it, but I have a new strategy for math this year. Basically, Annie typically has two to three workbook pages after I teach the day's lesson plus about fifteen "mental math" problems. Our agreement is that she is allowed to pick one of the workbook pages to save for the following day and she does the rest, including the mental math, with zero complaints. It's actually usually a pretty good system- she starts math each day by reviewing the previous day's lesson, her written work is broken up and she's doing part before the lesson and then has a break for instruction and more hands on learning, and I love that I can get her going and then have a bit of time myself to prep her actual lesson or do some school with Graves or feed a baby or whatever. I could not have come up with anything better even though my only prerogative initially was to give her a bit of autonomy and cede a fraction of the control we both hold so tightly. It's like so much, I'm realizing- I certainly want her to be able to function in the real world where actual deadlines abound but I also want to give her ownership of her time early so she'll know how to do just that.

A friend of mine homeschools but has her children in a supplemental program two days a week and she mentioned her oldest (who is Annie's BFF) takes notes at school. Annie recently asked me more than once how much longer the church service was (to be fair to her, it was longer than usual) and when we got home I discussed with her the idea of making some notes during the sermon. I told her that doodling helps some people concentrate so she could still color but it'd probably be difficult to read. I explained she could write down anything she thought was interesting, or beautiful, or important and she could also make a note if there was something she wanted to ask me about or discuss with me. She loved the idea and said it would also be fun so she and Graves would have more ideas of what to sauce hen they play church. Later I saw her rushing through the house with her binoculars on, with this very determined little gate. I asked her if she was getting a piece of paper to draw the bird she and Graves were looking at and she replied that she was actually wanting to make some notes about him. Second grade hasn't been without its difficulties, but this stage is so much fun!

Annie's BrainQuest page one day recently (she basically does this book for fun/practice while I prep other stuff). Thursday is her favorite day because we're switching things up and having beans and rice at my parents' that day. But my favorite is that Christmas is her favorite holiday....because she gets to see Cookie and Conrad and they make a Santa Clause cookie cake. Not the first word about presents, which has been the goal for the past seven years.

A little P.E. class they started on their own initiative
On the Blog:

 For the first time in a long time, I really, really prioritized my blog these past few weeks. I looked back and the last time I wrote this many posts in a month was May- right before Sarah Lamar was born. I just haven't been able to find a good flow since then.

Hope. Healing. Peace. : Helping Little Ones Greive Well- I wrote about volunteering at the grief center and how much it means to me.
Post-Election Ramblings- I wrote about my thoughts and feelings on the presidential election.
Inviting Others Into the Mess- I wrote about allowing others- asking others- to be present in our messes.

On My Heart and Mind:
- Alot of it came out in those blog posts, actually.
- If I'm honest (and I sort of hate admitting things like this) getting back in the habit was a lot of work and took a lot of mental energy, especially as Sallie and I have both been under the weather and I've been trying to work on other projects as well. And blogs aren't what they used to be. Not that mine was ever ANYTHING of a big deal, but it's just changed. I know I'm doing it for myself more than ever. (And for the kids down the road if they happen to care about the story of their childhoods and the thoughts and emotions I needed a space for during their childhoods.) But I loved it. It felt very good and like a worthy investment. For quite some time, it's became a place where I'd recap things months after they occur, or process events in retrospect, or copy and paste content from Instagram. This month was different. It felt wonderful to split my time between some time consuming catch-up posts (four letters to the big kids!) and uncovering and sharing my thoughts and feelings in real time (I wrote about the grief center and the election and now some things I've been learning). It's nothing so special, but it was a wonderful gift to myself these past couple of weeks and I hope I can prioritize it more while remembering other things have to come first (mainly sleep- that's what I used to sacrifice for it and now mostly sacrifice for Sallie).
In My Prayers:
- I've been so thankful lately- and have been trying to actually express that to God- for my friendships. I learn so much and am so much better because of them.
- I'm praying for my best friend from ages and ages back, who is having a baby this Spring.
- I've been praying that God will give me strength and endurance and a kind disposition, even on days that feel overwhelming.
On the Calendar: 

Christmas and Christmas stuff! Fortunately, not too much, though!

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