Just Write: She Turns One…

In five days my baby will turn a year old. I’m stunned (like all first time parents, I’m sure) at how quickly a year went by. Between preparations for this weekend’s birthday party and keeping a very active almost one year old busy, I’m finding that in those quiet moments my mind keeps wandering to the day I went into labor, the day I gave birth to my darling girl. This birthday isn’t just about celebrating a baby growing older but about a couple changing through the team-work of labor and love and turning into the family they are today.

The birth is blurry in  my head. I think that’s why I never told Ellie’s birth story here. I remember tiny bits and pieces; needing Jeff to be a constant all 20 + hours, feeling the warm water of the hospital shower rain down on my belly and back, easing some of the pain and being conscious of whether or not that damn IV stuck in my hand was getting wet. I remember leaning on a ball, the same ball a new Daddy would bounce his infant to sleep on. I was moving a lot. Up on the bed, squatting on the toilet, resting in the shower and back to the ball again. I don’t remember the pain, although  the photos our doula took suggests there was plenty of pain to go around. I do remember the surge of power I got when the midwife exclaimed I had reached 10 centimeters. The women in the room wanted me to push two times, each time, but I had insisted on pushing three times. I wanted that baby out. I remember lots of people in the hospital room at the end. A male nurse propped up against the wall with equipment. They thought Ellie may have swallowed merconium and as a precaution, specialized help was there at the ready. When she finally came out it was instant relief for my body and a flurry of activity. When she was checked over quickly and given the okay, her brand new, little body was placed on my chest. My body swollen from hours of the hardest work I had ever conquered and a steady stream of IV fluid was already doing what it was made to do, warm up that little creature lying there. I can picture the sweaty curls on Jeff’s forehead as he looked into my eyes as not just my husband but a father. I do remember that. My husband had in seconds changed before my very eyes into a father. Ellie was born on her due date at 9:59pm. And what I clearly remember is after the excitement died down, after I was stitched up, after the doula said her goodbyes and my own Mother got to meet her first daughter’s first daughter; it was dark and warm in that hospital room. Jeff had passed out for the night on the couch next to the bed. My Mom with tears in her eyes gave me a kiss on the head and one for her granddaughter too before leaving for the evening. After all was said and done, I laid there with Eloise, breathing ever so quietly and spent that first night holding her in my arms and memorizing her face, her breath, her smell. I was exhausted and the happiest I had ever felt in my life. I fell asleep with my new little baby safely sleeping on my chest. The nurses would leave us alone until morning. What a magical night that was in the hospital, this new little life I had created and pushed out, sleeping on my chest…

labor

pushing

shes here

a daddy

im a mother

And now she’s turning one. Like the labor I endured, this first year has been hard work, sometimes harder than I anticipated. With our new roles as mother and father, Jeff and I have supported each other through sleepless nights and milestones of every kind. And like that first night in the hospital, I’ve had euphoric moments with this little one. The first smile, connecting through  breastfeeding, waking up to her sweet face every morning. This year has been magical and tiresome, exhilarating and anxiety-producing, wonderful and marvelous and frustrating and emotional. My baby turns one in five days, I will celebrate her and hold her close and I will remember that night in the hospital, when I became the most important thing I will ever be… her mother.

-joining in with a special birthday edition of  JUST WRITE this week.

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July’s Garden

It’s almost the end of July and I’ve all but given up on our garden this year. The climate here in Ventura is something else. It’s mild and sunny one day, freezing cold the next and overcast and humid the next. The garden seems to be reflecting the strange weather patterns with a lackluster production. In Orange County’s blistering summer heat,  we were seeing lots of tomatoes by this time and my container garden was looking lush and full. Things are growing here but very, very slowly.

julys garden

herbs

The mint and parsley are finally doing well. We are catching little caterpillars chewing through some of the mint, but it’s made a recovery since I planted it a few months back.

black pear tomato

Our Black Pear Tomato. The only tomato plant that seems to be doing anything. This is the first tomato that’s ripening, ever so slowly.

lackluster strawberries

The strawberries are not doing much, sadly. We have gotten one nice-sized strawberry from these plants and that was that. I’ve noticed strawberries will grow for a few days and then wilt up. Not sure what’s happening but I’m very disappointed in our little strawberry box. (It also looks as if it needs some weeding).

what is it?

The question of the day… is this a cucumber or a squash? I seem to think we planted squash here but Jeff thinks this is a cucumber. It looks a little bit like both? Seasoned gardeners, please tell us what we have growing?

pumpkin vine

pumpkin green

We have pumpkins in the box vineing all over the place and one little pumpkin has started growing too, which is exciting. But, we are fighting this strange yellow fungus (?) on some of the leaves. We’ve been cutting back yellowed leaves and spraying the others with an organic copper spray. It doesn’t seem to be working. Hoping this pumpkin continues to grow.

hop

The hops are growing rapidly and probably the best out of everything in the garden. They are beautiful, green and viney and I love watching Jeff tend to them every day. Jeff pointed out a fresh cone growing off of one of the vines. He’s pretty excited and I am too. At least there is some good news in the garden.

I have to keep in mind that gardening is always a learning process. You win some, you lose some. You try again next year. This is our first year in a new climate and the first year growing in a raised bed. Next year I will plan better and hopefully have a helper in Ellie who seems eager already to get her hands in the dirt.

Weekending!

This weekend was filled with good friends, lots of car travel, morning surprises to see hot air balloons and preparations for a very special someone’s birthday next weekend. One of my very best friend’s in the world was in town (he’s living in NY at the moment). Most of us hadn’t seen him in several years, so we decided to have a special brunch. He got to meet Ellie for the first time and we got to spend a wonderful few hours brunching with him and my best friends and their families. We’ve all come a long way since high school (some of us friends since elementary school) and it’s always neat to get together now. Mimosa’s and coffee are scattered between sippy cups and organic puffs now. It’s less about getting to chat and more about keeping babies busy and catching up quick as we can before melt downs occur. We are so much like family though, when time whizzes by and we finally do get together, like we did this weekend, it was as if no time had passed at all.  A fun day was had and we’re all hoping we get to see more of each other on a regular basis soon.

the brunchy brunch

dads and their baby girls

friends and babies

sister friends

all of us

dancing

cheed

We also wanted to make this  somewhat local festival but missed it with all the hoopla going on. So early sunday morning we jumped in the car and made it to see one last balloon. I was disappointed there weren’t more but seeing the look on Ellie’s face when she saw that hot air balloon rise was worth it just for that! It was a bit of magic for a chilly, foggy, sunday morning.

oooo!

watching

magic

captured

How was your weekend?

joining Amanda with weekending.

Portrait Project

30/52

munglejerr

eloise: you are thankfully feeling much better after getting a yucky bug and a funny rash all over your face and body. It’s no fun seeing you so tired and achey and not being able to do much about it except for nurse which thankfully you were doing a lot of this past week. Now you are eating solids again and laughing and throwing things. Sure signs you are getting better. Let’s all try and stay healthy for your big day coming up! We can’t wait to celebrate you!

-joining Jodi for the 52 project

Right Now…

sick baby

 

sick baby reads books

 

sleeping sick baby

 

Right now…

– we’re spending a lot of time upstairs in bed with a baby who’s still fighting a bug since coming home from Washington.

-we’re snuggling under covers and trying to stay warm with this strange chilly , windy Ventura weather.

– we’re planning a first birthday party from a laptop computer while a sick baby sleeps.

-we’re reading this book over and over and over again. Ellie points to the Mommy hen and says “Mama!”

-we’re drinking lots of tea with honey in hopes of not getting sick ourselves.

A Painter’s Studio

Growing up, I’ve always thought of my Grandmother as someone very special, almost as if she was of celebrity status. Our house walls were covered with her watercolor paintings. I was surrounded by her works of art daily, inspired by the sweeping, muted colors and the simple farmhouses, flowers and scenes of rural America she choose to focus on. I whole heartedly believe my love for art and color stems from having her paintings in my childhood home as well as her influence throughout my life. I didn’t spend nearly as much time with her growing up as I did my maternal Grandmother who lived close by throughout my life, but I do feel a strong bond with this grandmother, a kinship in spirit and creativity. This past week I was lucky enough to spend some time in her home and her studio. I had visited her studio before and just loved its magical elements. The pictures I took do not do the room justice, but I wanted to document them here anyway.

welcome

all done up

the tools

 

 

a work in progress

 

computer area

 

photo area

 

other peoples art

 

music to influence

 

photos

 

a corner

 

happy painters dog

I love all the natural elements she has brought into this room. Old birds nests, rocks, branches and flowers she’s found on walks. She has pottery from all over the world and trinkets hidden in corners in case it strikes her fancy to paint them. She has a big, open window providing natural light that  looks out onto her property, where a moss-covered Adirondack chair sits outside in the overgrown grass, begging to be painted from inside. Her classical music c.d.s sit ready to provide aural inspiration and there are art books upon art books and picture upon picture that she has collected and taken to get her geared up to begin and finish a painting. I love how she not only has her own paintings framed and up on her walls but other painters art. She is not only a painter, but a genuine lover and collector of art and I think this makes her as an artist, so much more interesting. This room and the rest of her home is so inspiring. I’ve just recently been introduced to the word and philosophy of wabi sabi and I truly believe my grandmother’s home is the epitome of this aesthetic.

If you would like more information on where to get your hands on one of my grandmother’s incredible works of art you can go here. Or click on the Marty Rogers icon on the right hand side of my sidebar.