Oh, sweet irony

So I posted on Wednesday night. And by 10:30 p.m., the contractions started.

Thursday, 2/3/11 at 2:11 p.m., sweet little Farhan David was born. A BOY, a little brother to join his big sister in our wee family. He weighed 7lb, 5oz, and 21 inches. He’s asleep on my chest as I type. We’re still at the hospital but should leave around lunch today; thankfully we’re both doing great!

I’m excited to go home and get settled, but nervous about keeping up with two kids. My mom & sister should be in town by mid-week, which will help. But you know what? These next few days, it’s ok if the laundry goes undone. I have a couple of meals in the freezer, and we’ll just take things slow, sleep when we can, and get to know this new little guy.

Here’s the video of Sofia meeting her brother for the first time. I could laugh & cry watching this–what a beautiful, beautiful new sibling relationship. I’m sure they’ll be yelling for Mommy all too soon, when someone won’t share, but here’s proof that there was wonder and love and adoration:

 

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5 February 2011 at 10:38 am 1 comment

Returning at last

So, I never pulled the plug on this blog, because in the back of my mind, I still wanted a place to post the longer-than-Facebook thoughts, to share news about our wee family or post a quick & delicious recipe when I came across one.

And now, with Baby #2 due a mere 9 days away, I’m nesting and that includes this blog. It should be pretty! Where are the photos!? What categories should I list?!

As I write, I’m propping up my sprained ankle, wondering if that was just the baby moving or another crampy contraction, and I’m trying not to laugh. Because the LAST thing I should be doing is kickstarting the blog again. But here goes.

The photos will have to wait. But for tonight, here’s a recipe that we’ve had twice in the last week and might even have again: Mark Bittman’s fried rice from this month’s Cooking Light magazine. I’m simply going to link to the recipe, but here are a few of my notes:

As you can see from some of the comments at the site, the chopping does add to the prep time (24 minutes? I’ll bet he didn’t have a two-year-old begging “Up, mama!” while mincing the garlic!). But if you prep the ingredients the night before, it does come together very quickly on a busy night.

We don’t eat pork, so I substituted chicken breasts. I used olive oil instead of peanut oil, and while we don’t usually have mirin on hand, but I had leftover sake from a previous Asian marinade recipe, and that worked just as well in a pinch. I also added at least a half cup of frozen peas about a minute before the end, stirring until they thawed (you could rinse & thaw them first, I didn’t on account of the aforementioned “Up, mama!”). I topped the finished servings with the green onion as well as a shake of sesame seed, because it sounded good.

Sofia is going through a picky-ish phase–she loves veggies, but meats are hit or miss and she often won’t have anything to do with them, but she gobbled this right up and asked for more!

So, while it may be February and not January, and while my life is about to turn upside down again with the addition of new, sweet little newborn toes, I’m back with a sort of new year’s resolution. I’d like to post once a week here, at the very least, and hopefully more.

Yes, yes, you can stop laughing now! 😉

2 February 2011 at 9:57 pm 1 comment

Reminiscing

My new job started last Tuesday, and being back on a college campus makes me so nostalgic. I’m a decade older (and hopefully wiser) but it still feels like yesterday that I was finding my way around Hope’s campus, learning where to sit in Phelps (and sitting in the “wrong” place for fun sometimes). And getting to know all of my new neighbors in Scott Hall, several of whom are now my closest friends.

Yesterday, of course, was 9/11, and while I don’t mean to be flippant, a memory resurfaced that I think I had tried to forget. 9/11 happened during my sophomore year; I woke up to a phone call from my dad telling me to turn on the tv. I watched in horror with my neighbors.

It’s not that I was unaware of the impact, but maybe in my youth or disbelief or downright denial, I did something that has embarrassed me to this day. It was maybe an hour or two after the buildings had collapsed. I was walking through campus and saw a professor, whose class was coming up shortly. I shouted across the way (his was one of my more relaxed classes, to say the least!), “So, I guess class is cancelled?”

But I hadn’t noticed yet how quiet campus had become, and this professor sort of grimaced, and “shushed” me as he walked closer. He was kind, but I was already mortified. Yes, class was cancelled that day, but in a way, that was the first moment that I really let myself believe that this was monumental, that things might never be the same again. I know that might sound cold, that perhaps I should have fully realized this as I watched the buildings crumble into ash on live news feeds. But perhaps because it was so unbelievable at first, I said that stupid thing. And I still wince when I think of it.

That morning, everything stopped. Not just classes, but everything: we were all in a state of shock. The photo of our prayer service appeared in national news, alongside the many other reactions and experiences across our nation.

Now, nine years later, so much has changed and yet it feels as though we’re treading water. My dad is in Afghanistan. My cousin was shot there this year (thankfully, he’s home and doing well). My father, brother, cousin, friends have all been overseas. And we’re watching news tonight about how Bin Laden still isn’t caught, about a Quran burning that was barely stopped, about a community center that has been grossly misunderstood.

This is a little heavy and again, I don’t mean to be flippant about 9/11 or any of its implications. I guess, I’m trying to be real: that’s what really happened for me that morning. It feels as stupid as it sounds, but that was part of my morning, part of my finally realizing the true scope of what I saw.

12 September 2010 at 8:03 pm Leave a comment

Everything, a season

We’ve had a busy summer, and suddenly it’s been two months since I wrote here. But today, a door closed in my life and while it’s bittersweet, I feel free. I’m excited for what’s next. I haven’t shared this here, though most of you know me outside of the blog, but we’re expecting.

Plus, on Tuesday I’ll begin a new job, and I still can’t quite get used to the fact that I will be a full-time photographer at one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve ever seen.

But tonight? Tonight I feel like it’s sink-or-swim for this blog. I’ve neglected it, often for silly reasons at times, or for very real reasons such as exhaustion after a long day at work and then chasing a silly, stubborn toddler.

It’s strange to think: I have had a blog, in some shape or form, for over ten years. And I think it’s time I take this seriously.

A couple of days ago, I rearranged my bookshelf. I was interrupted several times by my sweet Sofia, who wanted “bookies” to read. But I did get a start, lumping together the writing references, fiction writing prompts, literary works by authors I’ve had the privilege to meet, and other practical, or sentimental, categories. One of the things I want to do in the next year is write. The other is to finally resume learning Spanish–I stopped right at the point between being conversational and being able to fully read & write.

But right now? Right now it’s Friday night, and there’s a steaming cup of tea next to my feet, which are propped on the coffee table between a stack of books, a sippy cup, three remote controls (why?), and a random hand towel. My husband wisely saw “that look,” the weary, emotional face of a 17-weeks-pregnant woman who spent the better part of the week packing up an office and moving (light) boxes. And the other look we both saw: the devilish glint in our daughter’s eyes as she stirred the rest of her dinner with her hands, seconds away from throwing black beans to the floor.

And while many, many times there’s no break because you’re in this together and life is tough and days are long….tonight? My husband whisked our tired toddler out the door and gave me a moment to make a cup of tea and gather my thoughts.

So maybe I won’t write here. I’d like to. But if I can’t commit to at least a post a week (let’s face it, I’m no Pioneer Woman, nor do I wish to be), then perhaps this is time for a crossroads here. We’ll see. I think I’ll decide at the end of this month: if I’ve written here & there, then it stays. If not, then I’ll be cutting ties.

For now? I’m going to get back to that cup of tea, and wait for my toddler to run through the door with her arms outstretched, calling “Mama? Mama!”

3 September 2010 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment

Creative juices

Finally pulled the sewing machine down from the attic. Blew off the dust, untangled the cord. I had a couple of old sundresses with broken straps or missing buttons. They’re both a bit too small and the repair work would have been tricky on at least one. At first, I debated making baby dresses but realized that the fabric in the skirts would be plenty for making new cami/tank tops–the fabrics are actually perfect for work if I can remake them into sleeveless tops.

That sounds great, but after cutting and measuring and pleating some nice tucks into the neckline, I realized too late that I had pleated backwards, meaning they all came undone when I tried to sew the seam on the machine.

So, the next time I sit down, I’ll be re-pleating, re-pinning, and trying once more. And I’ll try to take some before & after shots, too. If it doesn’t work this time, oh well: I can still just scrap it all and make a few cute toddler tees!

15 June 2010 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

All that you want from this day

I am diving deep into poems tonight–at the moment, William Stafford:

…Are you waiting  / For time to show you some better thoughts?

Read the rest here. Or hunt around for poems by title, poet, or even themes at Poets.org. You can even sign up for the Poem-a-Day email.

14 June 2010 at 7:32 pm Leave a comment

Spring to summer: feeding the bunnies

If I had a dollar for every time I wanted to pause and write here, I would be a very rich woman.

Last weekend, I took a spur of the moment trip up to DC to visit with college friends I hadn’t seen in over four years. We’ve all moved on: half of us have married, I have a child, there was at least one advanced degree represented in our group, and three far-flung homestates. Texas, Iowa, and Virginia–all of us scattered from our Michigan college days. And yet? It felt like yesterday, like we were just picking up after a long weekend. Those kinds of friendships are the best.

My wee family just returned from an afternoon cookout with friends–our hosts’ parents were in town, and it was nice to spend an afternoon laughing around a dining room table, pausing after dinner to allow a little more room for dessert.. I miss having extended family nearby, so this week has been blessed with two “surrogate family” moments.

We are still busy–busier than ever, really. Our studio continues to grow, my “day job” keeps my hands full, and our house always needs one more day off. Ha. The morning glories are starting to take over the whole plot of daisies, and if I don’t get out there to pull the darn vine soon, it will be too late.

And my sweet Sofia? She is walking! I think that’s even new since the last post, but now a normal part of our day. And she demands my keys when we arrive home, and “asks” (points) to go out on the front porch and run around. Which means, I get to sit on the porch swing and watch her. It’s one of those moments I never knew to hope for, and a new favorite way to pass time in the evenings–especially when there’s a slight breeze, or a rainstorm.

As far as art or writing, they are on the backburner. It’s hard: I don’t want to settle, I don’t want to wake up in ten years and wonder why I never tried to write regularly. College friends have completed masters programs and are teaching; some have even completed drafts of novels and are looking for agents. I feel the need to defend my life, my time–and yet, in the back of my mind, I think, what if I woke up early and wrote a few pages each day? Last year, I tried (unsuccessfully) to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) but didn’t make it more than a week, if that. And I feel terribly disappointed in myself. It’s just a month! But then, I can’t do everything, and I have a full-time, professional job! a family! a home! and a photography studio!

My hubby even asks how the raised-bed garden he built will possibly fit in our schedule; I’m being stubborn when I insist that it will. Frankly, I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m hopeful. Or just foolishly stubborn. In the mean time, stray bunnies have helped themselves to half the okra seedlings, all of the basil and who knows what else since I last looked. So maybe I’m just helping feed our neighborhood bunnies and we’ll try again next year.

So here I sit: my husband feeding my daughter in the other room (most nights, that’s my job), feet propped for a rare moment, writing here if nowhere else. And the bunnies are probably nibbling the arugula sprouts; but maybe that’s ok, maybe I can’t grow healthy arugula this year, maybe I need to grow my sweet daughter. Tonight, we were told we have “good parenting” by someone older, wiser. And I think for this season of my life, for this spring turning summer, that I’m ok with being called a good parent and a bad (or very, very novice) gardener. And for having a half dozen poems that are calling out for their companions to be born, for more words to make it to the page, for a draft of a manuscript to appear.

Maybe next season.

5 June 2010 at 6:32 pm Leave a comment

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