Sunday Still Life

Sunday Still Life is an evolving mindfulness project; an weekly invitation to pause the busy of our days, to re-center and celebrate the beauty and depth of life. If you are leave inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments.

I waited to hear her first cry eagerly. It didn’t come right away, at least not fast enough for a Momma’s ears and heart. I felt my own breath pause waiting to take the next alongside hers. She was beautiful, looking instantly like herself and my other babies, but so very still. I heard the nurse ask how things were going over there and my doctor reply that she was trying to hold her breath. In my mind’s eye everything went still as we waited, and then, there it was, that glorious sound of new life.

sunday still life

Sunday Still Life is evolving mindfulness project; a weekly invitation to pause the busy of our days, to re-center and celebrate the beauty and depth of life. If you are inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments.

My mom’s here now as we patiently wait for Sugarplum’s arrival. Zuzu has been anticipating this visit for weeks; carefully planning all the things she wants to show and do with Gramma. The first evening Gramma was here this girl who typically has eyes only for Momma come quiet time was happily curled up under the wing of Gramma. It was really quite the sight as Lovey and I raised our eyebrows over the ease with which she attached herself. The first opportunity to skip her beloved school, she eagerly planned a day of muffin baking, nail-painting and flower-picking for them.

The Quail on the other hand is aware that Gramma’s arrival means the depature of Momma & Da for a few days and is showing her 3-year-old weariness. She stands back and eyes our hugs and kisses and eventually comes running to join in. Now on the third day she’s realized what a great playmate Gramma is and is starting to seek her out. A swing-ride is a sure way to the heart of this little bird….

sunday still life

Sunday Still Life is evolving mindfulness project; a weekly invitation to pause the busy of our days, to re-center and celebrate the beauty and depth of life. If you are inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments.

As this pregnancy draws to a close I want to still a very special daily moment that I had the pleasure of experiencing both this time and last time. When little Zuzu was just 2 years old, she became very connected to a little in-utero Quail. Each night that I would put her to bed she would snuggle up to my belly, place a child-size blanket over it, sing a lullaby tune, hug, kiss and tell my burgeoning belly, “Night-night Baby Quail!”

This time around it was quick and easy for Zuzu to fall into the same routine. She also added on to it a good morning hug and kiss and a good bye and hello at the beginning and end of our daily separations. For a good number of months I wondered if the Quail just thought we had all lost our marbles and the new family habit was to salute Momma’s belly. Over time though as she saw pictures of babies or met babies in real life she would smile at them, sign baby and reach over to pat my belly. In the last couple of months she has taken to the morning and nightly hugs and kisses of dear Sugarplum as well.

When they can manage to do it at the same time it seems extra special as they enfold each other in their hearts and arms. What a dear little Sistred they already are.

sunday still life

Sunday Still Life is an evolving photography project; a weekly invitation to pause the busy of our days, to re-center and celebrate the beauty and depth of life. If you are inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments

Remember this day? Well fortunately for me, these monkeys provide plenty of opportunities to work on that. Breathing, it’s simple right?

Last night after dinner I kept hearing Zuzu calling out for the Quail to join her on the flowers. I heard giggles, hollers and thumps. Eventually I had to get up and go see. Of course as soon as I entered the room, I started and let out my own holler.They didn’t hear it of course. They were busy climbing “Flower Mountain”. The giggles were overwhelming. The angles more than I expected. The sharp edges rising and falling in front of them. But they were having so. much. fun. I finally took a chair, set my camera on sport and started snapping.

We had spent the day cleaning out the office and cleaning off the pull-out bed for Gramma’s anticipated visit in a couple of weeks. When the mattress had been propped back on the couch in order to move on to dinner these monkeys started spying it. There was a whole host of reasons to stop them. The angle, the Quail’s reflux and recently eaten dinner, the previously picked up room.

But there were only two reason to just let them be- their love and the lesson of my stillness amidst their motion. Got it this time..

PS: for those loving relatives who are probably cringing at what would be the obvious next photo frame- no worries. No one was hurt.

sunday still life

Sunday Still Life is an evolving photography project; a weekly invitation to pause the busy of our days, to re-center and celebrate the beauty and depth of life. If you are inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments

Zuzu was sick this past week. It occurs so infrequently now that it always surprises me when it does happen. I still get that momentary heart racing when I see the daycare’s number on my caller ID and hear the description of how pale she looks. Fortunately, her little immune system is so strongly built-up from all of those early-on illnesses that she seems to be able to fight off most bugs with a single swoop! Her first year of life that most certainly was not the case. Poor lamb spent the months from May through October on one antibiotic after another and in between battling the side-effects that came along with the dosage. And I’m sorry to say that her mother was a worrywart/basketcase during a good bit of that period as well. In the last year, I have realized I rarely see her with a runny nose let alone a fever or stomach bug. Whew.

That said, daycare called this week while Lovey was out of town to say she had thrown up. Literally, 30 minutes before the call I had heard on the news that Norovirus outbreaks were four times as frequent in our state this season. I thought for sure we were in for a LONG weekend. And not the good kind. No though. We got lucky and as soon as I got her home, showered and tucked in to bed with a cup of water she turned into that cheery sort of sick that lets me know she actually feels pretty all right. All right enough for her chatter to detail instructions for me from what she calls  “the sick kids book” as to the expected progression of how often she could have sips of water and bits of dry cereal. She let me know that would lead up to a plain lunch she could keep down and then moved on to contemplate which “sick animals and blankie” she would keep on the bed for comfort and which PBSkids shows could keep her company while she rested. I much prefer this bossy-cheery sort of sick to those early days where the mere thought of the responsibility of a sick baby overwhelmed me as much as her cries did.

There is something about childhood illness, even the banal ones, that makes you wish your own mother were there with you as your little ones reach out their sweaty hands to you for comfort. I think it is in those moments that it is clearest that the roles have been forever altered. You now are the comforter.

 This time as she drifted off to sleep in the midday sun she smiled contentedly and suggested that I be sure to lay down too so Sugarplum could get a good nap while she napped in Momma-Daddy’s room and the Quail napped on at school and Daddy napped at his hotel. I happily complied under her guidance in how best to make her feel better. My heart now able to soar rather than race.

sunday still life

Sunday Still Life is an evolving photography project; a weekly invitation to pause the busy of our days, to re-center and celebrate the beauty and depth of life. If you are inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments

Just breathe Momma…at least that’s what I tried to tell myself as I sat on a wooden bridge watching Zuzu frolic in the creek. Sounds simple enough. I never thought I would be a hoverer. But sadly, I was *that* parent at the party we went to last weekend. It was a fabulous party. The kind I want to give my sweet girls. The kind of outdoor adventure that I want the girls to think of as ordinary happiness…in theory. But there is this little nagging, worry-filled voice that sits in my head. Maybe it comes from a history of multiple miscarriages or the illness filled early months of my girls babyhoods. Maybe it comes from reading other people’s medical records and very sad outcomes from banal events every day. Maybe it comes from being 30+ weeks pregnant and continually worried about the fragility of life both within and around me. I don’t know the sole source. And I’m guessing it’s not just one thing.

But I had to walk away and let her dad keep an eye on her. I don’t want Zuzu to absorb my continual worry. As a toddler she was fearless and it charmed me because for the most part I could hover and expect her to leap and trust she’ll be caught by me. Now that she’s older those leaps are generally into the world rather than my arms. I still see that adventuring side of her. Notice how she’s walking on th slippery rocks in her cow wellies rather than the soft creek bottom where the mud and muck could keep her upright? I did. And from there my brain and heart leapt to images of her sliding off and her dear head taking their spot on those wicked wet rocks. And her name would be hollared out in a warning tone before I could stop myself.

So I watched as long as I could and then I stepped back to give her some space to breathe and run and play and let the calmer grown-up with less imagery haunting him take over. We will go back. It was a lovely spot, a good and refreshing spot to practice letting go.

Maybe next time I’ll join her in the creek…maybe…or maybe I’ll just practice being still.

sunday still life

Sunday Still Life is an evolving photography project; a weekly invitation to pause the busy of our days, to re-center and celebrate the beauty and depth of life. If you are inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments.

I know, this is a bit literal if not downright silly, but I think this is about as “still” as life gets in our house these days! Actually this was fun. Some cyber-buddies have decided to do a Flat Stanley round and we decided to join in! That’s the Flat Quail to the left and Flat Zuzu to the right. Shortly before they were to be sent off, unfortunately 3D Quail got a hold of Flat Zuzu and pulled her hair, not unlike what often happens in real life. It was a pretty quick fix though and our Flats are off to Kentucky for their first stop. We don’t have much crafting home time here and so while what seems like a simple project ended up taking up most of the day, it was nice to have some one-on-one time with each girl to make their flat. Zuzu was so proud of her cutting prowess as she dressed her in a pink leotard and the Quail was an excellent gluestress! Both girls picked out outfit patterns and colors that seem to embody them as well. Bright, cheerful, patterned and full of their favorite colors. Zuzu wanted to pack a full bag for Flat Zuzu not surprisingly but we ran out of time before we had to get them in the mail. Maybe when our Flat buddies arrive we can make them some treats for their travels!

sunday still life

Sunday Still Life is an evolving photography project; a weekly invitation to pause the busy of our days, to re-center and celebrate the beauty and depth of life. If you are inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments.

I like pretty, content images. No doubt about it. I know some blog readers frown on that. They find it inauthentic. I don’t. I see no point in publishing and dwelling on the moments that are hard. Once I’ve reflected on them and had a chance to learn from them then maybe. But not in the moment. Because you know what- the hard moments, the ugly, angry, frustrating ones, they are no more important to me then the good ones. Why would I want to give them any more power than they already had in that moment? They aren’t the ones I want to dwell on and remember in the years to come. They aren’t want I want to look back over when I’m in my rocking chair sharing a childhood with a new child. Fact is, those angry moments pass. Just as quickly as “fleeting happiness” if you let it. It’s the choice to ruminate that makes it last all the longer in your life.

That said, no, it’s not all roses. This is the one picture from my birthday this year. I turned 39 on a weekday. My loving family, friends and co-workers remembered me and wished me well. I received wonderful, thoughtful gifts, flowers, a tasty dinner of roast and asparagus and cake. I know I’m a lucky girl.

See that little girl screaming over to the side of me? Yeah, well her sister had been sobbing minutes earlier. Lovey, had taken them to the bakery to pick up my cake that morning and she somehow took it to heart that the cake was to be a surprise for me. She had been disappointed earlier in the morning when I hadn’t jumped out of bed at 5:30 am to have N shaped pancakes and plow through my wrapped gifts. I knew it was sad for her. It was sad for me too. I had just failed my 1 hour glucose test and was scheduled to have my 3 hour that morning. I had oh, so carefully scheduled it for the morning of my birthday knowing full well that there was a chance I might not pass, but odds were I wouldn’t get the results before indulging in a slice of the yummy, chocolatey, fondanty, cake I knew was coming. I thought I was sooooo clever.

Two months earlier my high-risk OB had said I had jumped through all his hoops with flying colors and there was no real need for me to come back, but if it would reassure me we could do a growth scan in February. I scheduled that the day before my birthday because it was supposed to be a joyful, ordinary 3D ultrasound where Lovey and I could just sit back and enjoy Sugarplum’s miraculous in-utero image without worry. A birthday treat for myself if you will. And then came the regular OB appointment in January. Where both I and Sugarplum appeared to be growing about 3-5 weeks faster than anticipated and the worry returned. So even though my glucose tests weren’t back, the high-risk OB warned me to cut down carbs dramatically, that even if I “happened” to pass the 3 hour glucose test I was to eat like I was diabetic for the remainder of my pregnancy. The standards had changed in terms of what is considered gestationally diabetic and in review of my last two pregnancies, in hindsite, I most likely had GD during them. I cried a tear or two after that talk. There went my carefully planned cake.

The next day, when Zuzu heard Lovey utter the word “cake” in front of me after an ENTIRE day of her not having said anything about it she lost it. Birthday ruined. No pancakes, no grown-ups rushing to open gifts, no party hats, school and work as usual and now no surprise cake. Her upset tipped the apple cart of imagined calm amidst the chaos of our weekdays and the Quail lost it as well. She lost it to the point of no return and the need to be removed from the table to calm down, which unfortunately seemed to have the opposite effect of calming and seemed to convince her there was not going to be any cake for her either. Over the course of that day, I think I heard the refrain, ” It’s Mommie’s birthday, Mommie’s, you need to be nice to her and calm down.” dozens of times.

So no, life isn’t all roses. But there are some frosting roses to enjoy in there if you care to think back hard enough and look for them in the picture.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go wipe up the pee-pee puddle the almost-3 year old left in the living room after one week of being completely dry at school, put away the pile of stuffed animals that the 5 year old pulled out for a third time after being told to put them away after she was done playng with them, find the Resolve to wash the stain of cat vomit off the hall carpet, try to stretch in a way that will hopefully convince Sugarplum to stop bouncing on my bladder and hopefully locate the pile of gifts I thoughtlessly left in the living room after I finally opened them late that night that seem to have disappeared.

And incidentally, the beautiful cake molded before I could get to it after receiving word that I did miraculously pass the 3 hour glucose test. But Lovey promised me a “push cake” once Sugarplum safely arrives. It’s the little things, no?

sunday still life

Sunday Still Life is an evolving photography project; a weekly invitation to pause the busy of our days, to re-center and celebrate the beauty and depth of life. If you are inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments.

See her over there? The littlest gymnast? Eyeing that rope right alongside the big kids? Yeah, that’s our little daredevil. A couple of weeks ago she passed her neck X-ray looking for atlanto-axial instability which is common in little ones with Down syndrome with flying colors. To celebrate Lovey signed her up for the parent/tot gymnastics class at the school her sister goes to. Apparantly she dug it. Other than a little perplexed look crossing her face at the closing “wiggle” dance the others perfomed. But I’m sure that’s coming.

This weekend we brought her along to a birthday party for some bigger kids that her sister was looking forward to. We assumed she wouldn’t actually participate but figured she could bounce on the littler trampolines while her sister joined in the festivities. Girlfriend was not to be left out. We grown-ups got swiped at when we tried to prevent her from cutting in line for her turn and run away from when we tried to keep this squirt out of the way of the bigger gymnasts.

This rope though? Clearly she was too small for that. But no, she wiggled her way out of Lovey’s arms to plant herself firmly next. And when Lovey and the teacher lifted her up to it she hung on for dear life and giggled her way across the mat, proud as anything!

She’s a constant reminder, this little firecracker of ours to not make ANY assumptions of what another human being is capable of. Give em a chance for pete’s sake!

And I’m pretty sure she just earned herself her very own gymnastics party to celebrate all 3 years of her yummy self!

sunday still life

Sunday Still Life is an evolving photography project; a weekly invitation to pause the busy of our days, to re-center and celebrate the beauty and depth of life. If you are inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments.

She’s not the baby anymore, this Quail-eo of ours. She’s firmly headed towards little-girldom. More and more I find her imitating her big sister. When I get to witness moments like this- my momma-heart swells with pride. In all our “baby” can do now, and also in what a big girl our Zuzu has become. It’s moments like this when I can see her kind heart and soul and her desire to connect each of us to one another.

“Let’s practice our arabesque Quailee!”

And off they go….