Thursday, April 22, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Over the weekend, we spent some time in Rockport visiting our dear friends. They moved there a few months ago, taking our hearts with them. While I miss them somethin' awful, it's definitely no hardship getting to visit such an enchanting place. Rockport, another reason to love Maine.
And what did we ever do before swimmy noodles were invented?
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Once upon a time when I worked in an office with regular set hours, it was easy to coordinate child care. Sometimes complicated but usually easy. Now that Miles is approaching three months (I can't even believe it) and my job as a photographer no longer demands such a structured schedule or place of work, it's much more difficult to define and plan for my work time. It seems sort of impossible to schedule 'creative' time, but that's what I have to do for now.
It helps that each day Miles gets a bit more comfortable without his mama. It also helps that we have one of the world's best and most beloved nannies of all time, sweet Anna. This is what I came home to early this afternoon.
It reminded me of a picture I took almost a year ago when I came home to this. She's part of our family and also happens to rock killer dreads. Honestly, I couldn't ask for much more.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Things have been a little quiet around here for a number of reasons, some exciting and some not so much.
I've been bitching and moaning for years about how badly I've wanted to make Lula Photography my main gig. When Miles came at the same time I lost my social work gig, I ran out of excuses. So I've been quietly making progress on a new site, learning more about small businesses and branding, and bolstering my photography profile (networking, advertising, looking for work, etc).
I've also been nursing and changing mountains of dirty diapers.
Part of the site redesign and professional upgrade is thinking about a head shot. Dude. Getting the right head shot seems totally impossible. It's either too pretentious, serious, unauthentic, melancholy, silly, unoriginal, or just plain weird. It's also quite possible that I'm over-thinking it and should just get it over with. Maybe I should just have Eva take it and then go have a bowl of ice cream.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
A few years ago, I made the New Year's Intention to learn how to where lipstick. Now I carry a pretty purple felted clutch in my bag with various lip gloss, stick, stain, moisturizing accoutrements. If I'm not vigilant, though, a certain small someone will take an experimental slant on that Intention.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
We can make it if we try.
I read a criticism of mommy blogging a while back that said something about how a segment of our culture was creating a fake or untrue veneer. In other words, mommy bloggers are only writing about the good and beautiful stuff, depicting an 'unreal' or 'unattainable' world. There's some truth to that.
I'm writing about this today because I'm presently getting my ass handed to me. Mothering two children under the age of 3 is more demanding and consuming than anything I've ever experienced. ANYTHING. EVER. SERIOUSLY, EVER. I can understand why our blogs are somewhat skewed in the copacetic direction simply because it's a coping tool. We're surviving. If we didn't focus ourselves on the many lovely, warm, and worthy moments of this job we would crumble beneath the weight of it all.
I'm tired, really tired. This afternoon while Miles was content, I tried to read my book and found that I couldn't get past the first page. I read and reread the same paragraph 4 times and eventually started to get dizzy. No kidding. The sleep deprivation is making me dizzy. Well, the sleep deprivation and my returning ear infections. There's no doubt in my mind that the job of mothering and the subsequent ass kicking is wearing me down to the point of my body taking a hit. It's just too tired to heal itself.
But we can't end the story there, right? I don't want to end the story with, "Life sucks, I don't sleep, and you'd be wise to hope you never see me driving in your neighborhood." Because that's not the whole truth either. There are beautiful times, sweet times like when we're all up in Miles' room when the late afternoon light drafts in through the two huge windows. I often nurse Miles in my comfy chair while Eva builds a rocket ship out of baby blankets. Yesterday, after four or five successful blast offs Eva grabbed my camera and snapped this shot of Miles and me. It's true that I can't put two sentences together without making my brain hurt, but this photograph is also telling the truth.
Friday, March 05, 2010
We're going to round the week out with a total indulgence of more Miles. Why? Because it's Friday and it's my blog and I need these little treats to remind myself that it's all worth it.
Because it really is so worth it.
I totally lost my shit last Friday. It was the first postpartum breakdown. I hit a wall. Normally, when I hit a wall the whole friggin' world knows about it. I process things externally, in case you haven't already noticed. This one crept up on me sneaky-like, and by the time Ferris got home from work on Friday evening, all I could do was sit still and not cry. I didn't want to cry. It started with days of shallow breathing and heart palpitations as the anxiety set in and started to squeeze my insides. Then, on Friday, Ferris had plans to take me out to dinner for my birthday with reservations at 6:30 sharp. Lets just say that the Mama duties prevented me from getting into the shower until 6:05, and I was pissed. Maybe less pissed than hurt...hurting...exhausted...overwhelmed...done.
But, see. I've done this before, and I knew exactly what was happening before it even happened. So I sat quietly at the restaurant until the panic subsided. Then, I had a lovely evening. Yes, I've done this before which means I've learned some lessons. This time, I've decided not to sit back and complain about how I need a break or a hug or a nice warm bath. I'm not going to complain about it because I'M GOING TO DO IT. No muss, no fuss. So, over the weekend, I took a warm bath, several long naps, and I hired some care for Miles. Just a few hours was all I needed to get back on track. I also know that this will happen again. This time, though, it's not so scary because I know I have some control...control enough to do something.
I knew this video would be chalked full of 'coochicoos'. At this stage, getting even the smallest response from Miles is enormously gratifying. But as I played it back, I caught myself at the very end rambling on with a bunch of 'I love yous' that broke my own heart. I didn't remember saying that when I was filming, probably because it's the kind of thing a mama says a million times a day. It was nice to hear myself, though. Makes me feel good about what I do.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
They say he has my eyes. I should clarify. I say he has my eyes and everyone nods in agreement for fear I might lop their head off. Eva looks so much like Ferris, I'm sort of obsessed with staking my claim on his genetics. Frankly, he doesn't look like anyone. He's just Miles.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
It's day two of weight watchers, and I'm already a little grumbley. Morning coffee without cream and sugar just isn't cutting it, although I refuse to eat my oatmeal without a drop or two of Maine maple syrup. It's sacrilege to use the fake stuff and totally worth the points.
Thank you for the radical birthday comments, emails, phone calls, and ichats. My family in Pocasmello met together at My Mother the Prude's house last night so they could sing 'Happy Birthday' to me, Bernt-style. What is Bernt-style, you so appropriate ask? Bernt (pronounced like burnt toast) is my maiden name, actually it's also my middle name. My name is Stephanie Bernt Hatzenbuehler. Rolls right off your tongue, doesn't it? Anyhooters, Bernt-style is when everyone sings the words to 'Happy Birthday', but the catch is that we all sing it to our own tune. Some people use the tune of another song while others make up their own tune as they go along. The result is something akin to a barn yard of animals wailing at the full moon. My grandpa used to cover his ears and close his eyes until the torture was over, which only served to urge us along with more gusto. The whole ruckus is something I'll never stop loving.
I also had plans with my dear friend, Kitty, who offered to watch Miles while I went to a short work meeting. She showed up with my favorite chicken bean soup and an absolutely knock out arrangement of my favorite flower, stargazer lilies. She made the arrangement herself with twigs of cherry blossoms sticking up from the top. Knock out, I tell you. When I got home, my house was picked up with the dish washer washing. The absolute greatest gift a mama could ask for.
Monday, March 01, 2010
Today is my birthday, and, like many beautiful bloggers before me, I'm going to regale you with 32 things you really don't care to know about me.
1. I collect calendars.
2. I never wanted to be a mother until I was one.
3. My husband and I were born in the same hospital, 4 months apart.
4. We were on the same soccer team 4 years later.
5. We had next door paper routes for several years after that.
6. I married for love.
7. I've been shopping for boots for months and refuse to buy a pair until I find the perfect ones.
8. I have great boobs.
9. I have stretch marks on my hips from adolescence and none on my belly after two pregnancies.
10. I'm going to take a cooking class.
11. My favorite song is My Sharona.
12. I fall in love very easily.
13. I love fiercely.
14. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and it gives me away...every time.
15. I play the piano.
16. I crochet.
17. I'm allergic to red wine.
18. I think it's because of the sulfates.
19. I require more sleep than anyone I know.
20. I have a killer jump shot.
21. I live in a yellow shingled house.
22. I love laying in hammocks, but I've never owned one.
23. I'm 3/4 done with my goal of visiting all 50 states.
24. I'm 4/7 done with my goal of visiting all 7 continents.
25. For the most part, I've never been happier.
26. I have routine anxiety dreams about being in high school and forgetting my locker combination.
27. I fancy myself a writer.
28. I'm starting weight watchers today.
29. I'm growing my hair out and rapidly approaching the awkward phase.
30. I have become intensely private about my spirituality.
31. There's a small picture of Jesus hanging in my bedroom closet.
32. I want for nothing.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
There was a week or two when I wanted to write about how manageable our lives have become. Parenting is never easy, but I've found that staying at home without the constant stress of working outside the home has been a true blessing in disguise. Everyone knows I lost my social work job at the end of December thanks to budget cuts. What I didn't know is that by losing my job, I was opening room for more simplicity at home.
And then we endured the week from hell. Eva was as sick as I've ever seen her, so we rolled out the pull-out couch, played every Disney movie we could find, and kept the puke bucket near for days. Literally, days. Poor kid had a fever, a wicked cough, she shook, and she cried. All the while, I tried to keep Miles and her as far apart as possible. Luckily, he never got sick, however...
We figured out that Miles is tongue-tied...also known as the thing that happens when the connective skin under your tongue is too long and prevents you from being able to stick your tongue out. Sometimes it keeps kids from latching well and can effect speech. Ferris had the same thing, although his tongue was never fixed until he was much older. So Monday afternoon, we took Miles to the doctor for a frenulectomy. I'm sure I spelled that wrong. It's a relatively easy procedure where they topically numb under the tongue and quickly snip the connective skin back. Miles did great. Mama almost passed out.
Things aren't so very easy, but I have to admit that they'd be a million times more complicated if I had an outside job to work around. No doubt, I would feel buried. That said, I'm already starting to miss the personal balance that working outside of the home seemed to give me. I used to work too much, but I can already see a time when I'm going to want or need some of that back. Not all of it, but some of it.
Perhaps I should just watch a few episodes of Oprah and hope everything rights itself while I'm busy.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Dear Eva and Miles,
My loves, my babies. You could have pushed me over with a feather when they put you in my arms, sweet Miles. Yes, I was mondo beyondo exhausted, but I was also blown away by the fact that you were a boy. Your daddy and I were totally and completely convinced you were a girl. When you arrived, your daddy announced breathlessly, "It's a boy!" and could barely get the words across his lips before he lost himself in emotion. I can count the number of times I've seen your daddy cry on three fingers, the day you were born being foremost among them. We wanted you, oh, how we wanted you, my sweet baby boy.
And here you are, come to join our crazy racket. Several hours passed before your big sister came to meet you. Your daddy was holding you next to the bed where I sat. I looked up and called to Eva who came running across the room into my lap. A few minutes later, your daddy put you into Eva's arms where you snoozed peacefully as she cuddled and cooed and pawed at you. She calls you 'My Baby', and anytime the two of you are apart for more than 20 minutes, she'll come bursting into the room demanding, "Where's My Baby?" You are good-natured, content, peaceful, and at ease. You are a delight.
And you, Miss Eva, have been a study in the extremes of toddlerhood. The past few months have been spent in one of two gears. You are either the brightest, most colorful, and charming creature or you're the queen of discontent. There was a moment, a few weeks after Miles was born, when the two of us looked at each other knowing our relationship was never going to be the same. We needed to grieve over that loss in order to make room for something new, and it was brutal. Seriously, girlfriend, you and I had to endure some difficult moments that challenged us both, but we made it through. We always do.
I'd like to credit my fabulous parenting skills for our peaceful transition, but, frankly, I need to give credit to The Reflux. Most of our issues came while navigating the rocky terrain of sibling rivalry and jealousy. Naturally, it seemed impossible to figure out how to deal with your Mama spending all her time (time that was usually given to you) taking care of your brother. Each time I nursed or cuddled him, you would want to be right there with us. And by 'right there with us', I mean that you wanted to be in my lap along with Miles or, better yet, nursing and cuddling Miles yourself. All this pushing and pulling and needing and nagging made for some interesting hours on the couch until Miles resolved the issue for us. One massive puke all over your precious, pink Dora sneakers was all it took. It seems that no amount of heartbreak was worth risking another puke shower. Now, when I ask if you'd like to hold Miles after we've nursed, you flash me a look as if to say, "No thanks, Ma. I'm cool."
We're spending more time together at home, the three of us. I'm learning the art of putting my laundry away while Miles snoozes and you play dress up. You run into my closet, close the door behind you, and try on anything that will stay on your slight frame. Then you knock on the door.
Me: Who is it?
You: It's Eva!
Me: What do you need?
You: Open the door!
Me: What's the magic word?
I couldn't have said it any better, my love. Our new life together is like Abracadabra. Magic.