Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017 Review

I thought it'd be fun (and simpler) to structure each month with the same three prompts. There's so much to share and to choose from, but a sampling felt good enough, and good enough is good enough. (I know, deep thoughts.)

[Awkward silence]

Aaaannd, here we go:

  1. As a new mother, I felt really good about keeping my baby alive and not diving off the deep end (too often).
  2. I learned that I need my family and that they come through in times of need. 
  3. Something funny: My oldest sister and her family came to visit and she did this thing called “the walk” to get fussy Julien to calm down. It was hilarious and it worked! I tried it, but couldn't do it as emphatically as she could. 
Luke at 4mo and Julien at 1mo - newborns are....how do you say it....so weird looking.
  1. As a new mother, I felt really good about contributing the goods to form Julien's rolls (see below).
  2. I learned that when I ask for help, help arrives, sometimes from the least expected people. 
  3. Something funny: the number of things that were going wrong with my body. Let me remind you with a picture of my balloon face.
 Very edible.
Definitely not edible.
  1. As a new mother, I felt really good about trusting my need to go to the bay area and be nurtured by some women in my life. (And meeting Anne Lamott, who signed Julien’s leg.)
  2. I learned tongue tie is no small deal. Get it dealt with early on. The older the child gets, the more traumatizing it is.
  3. Something funny: Julien looking like a minion before his procedure. I was cracking up until they started, and that laugh immediately turned into a look of horror.
This moment reminded me of a glimpse of when I used to be so whimsical and sprightly. I had forgotten about that part of me during my pregnancy and for a lot of his first year. Thank you Annie.
I don't wish this procedure and the one month of "stretching" on any parent. It was horrible.
  1. As a new mother, I felt really good about starting to like my son.
  2. I learned how to prune fruit trees. (Now for many more years to go of trial and error.)
  3. Something funny: My diaper cream on my face dayZ.
Love pruning.
So glad my clown days are over.
  1. As a new mother, I felt really good about getting outside as much as possible. It may have been short or longer-ish, but we went outside as often as we could.
  2. I learned parents are trying their best with the circumstances they have. (Aka: Sometimes I’m willing to do whatever, to survive the day.) I also learned that I was desperately looking for a sense of connection with others who could relate to my experience(s). 
  3. Something funny: When I woke up from being completely knocked out from the flu, I had a new do. It gave me a good laugh despite being painfully ill.
Puppy love /therapy/distraction.
Obviously enjoying the outdoors.
Nothing glamorous. Mama and baby.
  1. As a new mother, I felt really good about really starting to love my boy.
  2. I learned that home renovation is expensive and time-consuming, and it’s really hard to manage with an infant. But, we got our in-law unit up and functioning after a lot of hard work, a fair chunk of money, and of course a few fights. 
  3. Something funny: three butts.
I don't think this has ever happened again since, but I passed out with the baby. Don't worry, his face wasn't covered even though it looks like from this angle. (Husband came home and found us like this.)
Love my boy. Love hiking. Love being able to do it together.
We hiked to Holland Lake waterfall. I went there when I was pregnant and it felt significant to be back there with my chunky bubba.
Two butts are exposed, the other is hidden. There's definitely three total.
  1. As a new mother, I felt really good about a couple of firsts: biking together, camping. Also, just walking up to another mom, talking for a bit, and then asking for her number so we could hang out. (We've become good friends since then!)
  2. I learned that I have a choice in who I want to show up as in every circumstance. Needed to hear this reminder badly. It changed the way I was showing up in my marriage - from highly critical to more accepting. (I get super critical under stress and husband gets the brunt of it.) 
  3. Something funny: When Julien was practicing his rasberries. (Video posted below.)
First bike ride!
Baby really likes camping. You can see it from his expression. Also. Dirt. Everywhere.
He really enjoyed the views at Glacier NP.

  1. As a new mother, I felt really good about surviving a month of unhealthy - sometimes hazardous - smoke in the heat of the summer with an infant. (In other words, we were inside a LOT.)
  2. I learned a very simple and delicious dressing that I’ve been making and eating since. So good! (Ingredients: fresh basil, olive oil, rice wine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper)
  3. Something funny: Julien's face in one particular frame of a video I took of Julien getting all happy about I have no idea what. (See below.)
Didn't have an extra shirt. Oh well. But that face. Priceless.
We have gotten a thousand laughs from this video and this exact moment.
  1. As a new mother, I felt really good about just simply loving my boy. I didn't know I could feel this way towards another human.
  2. I learned how to harvest, process, and make jam with a lot of plums. Also learned how to can tomatoes. 
  3. Something funny: When Julien and his cousin were feeding each other water and they were like two drunk babies. (The photo doesn't do it justice.)
This face. Must be one of my all-time favorite photos of Julien.
Loving him.
Harvested about 100lbs of these melt-in-your-mouth plums. So good.
Making of plum jam. Look at the color!
"Drink it."
"Gross, I'm not drinking whatever's in that orange cup."

  1. As a new mother, I felt really good about going on my first trip away from Julien. OMG, it was so awesome!
  2. I learned that I’m really allergic to something inside an all-natural salve I used. Oh my gosh. My face blew up again!
  3. Something funny: When a book becomes real.
Reunited after my trip.
You're welcome.
  1. As a new mother, I felt really good about unfollowing a bunch of people on Instagram who made their version of life (motherhood, their home, their body, their lifestyle, whatever) look “perfect.” I felt really good about unfollowing people who portrayed a overwhelming perception of perfection.
  2. I learned how to make pho in the instant pot and basically #cantstopwontstop.
  3. Something funny: Leg wrestling with the family after Thanksgiving. And when Julien got stuck between the wall and couch.
  4. Noteworthy: Spontaneous date in LA to watch the musical Hamilton. It was absolutely extraordinary!
Too good.
I can't not see that guy in the photo. We are really good at selfies.
  1. As a new mother, I felt really good about how an educator observed Julien’s secure attachment to me. I think it was especially powerful to hear that because I was grieving how disconnected I felt in the early part of his life and concerned about what kind of impact it would have on him.
  2. I learned to let go of cleanliness and be more accepting of "good enough/clean enough."
  3. Something funny: Julien and I went cross country skiing with a friend and her almost 3yo son. (The boys were in a trailer being hauled behind me for the ski back to the car.) We stopped because one of the kids was crying, and when she opened up the trailer, Julien had stolen her son’s cracker and was eating it like it was no big deal, as the 3yo shed sorrowful tears.
  4. Noteworthy: Julien turned one on 12/3/17. We threw a Korean-style birthday party for him in both LA and back home in Missoula which included a doljabi. He chose a whisk in LA, and a hammer in Missoula. I'm thinking he might become a maker of sorts, based on his selections. I can only hope...his father and I both lack in those areas. (Ha! Who the heck knows what he'll become. I just hope he lives a life of integrity, works hard/loves hard, and has a great sense of humor.)

2017, you go down in the books as one of the hardest years of my life, but also a year that brought me immense joy. I learned I am stronger than I knew. I learned to care less about what others think. I learned I have a lot of control (over me, and only me). I relearned to let go of all should's/ought to's/obligation. I learned how important family and friends are. Oh, and I'm learning that raising a child will be 100% confounding until the day he or I perish. It will likely be the greatest (and most frustrating) gift for keeping me open and curious.

I'm sad to say goodbye to this past year because it will always hold so much pain, joy and growth, but the year is over now and I'm also curious about what's next. I'm hoping for a prolific year of creating in 2018.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

8-month interview with mama Liz

1. What's up girl? It's been three months since your last post! Where you been?
Well two of those months were spent reno-ing our in-law unit. It consumed me. I hate renos now. Just kidding. I love em AND hate em. Then this last month, I spent a week in Oregon with dear friends, two weeks trying to cool down in this crazy Montana heatwave and deal with all this emotional stuff that surfaced and then a week with my sister and nieces when they came to visit. I'm glad to finally be catching up with this blog. It feels good to be back.

Julien getting changed in the trunk of our rental car. He clung to the trunk like he was going to fall out or something.
2. Emotional stuff?
Yes. Emotional stuff. Like...the deep juicy stuff of life. Like...the stuff that if you don't deal with it, you're screwing yourself over. I don't feel like getting into the details because I'm still in the thick of it, but there have been many tears shed and hours spent playing Angry Birds Pop (this is me in I-don't-want-to-deal mode). 

3. Let's talk about something a little lighter then. What's the story with J? What's new with him?

*gushing* Listen, I love my little j. And somehow, my love grows exponentially when he is asleep. Can I get an AMEN mamas? :) He has had MANY new firsts. In just this past month alone, his first tooth broke through (OMG). He went camping for the first time - which means I went camping with a baby for the first time. (Trust me, it was not as easy as outdoor ads make it look. Advertising is such bullshit!) He also started crawling for real for real. At first, he did this really funny leg lift every 2-3 leg movements, but now he's straight up crawling on all fours and moving pretty fast. This has made me very aware of all of the wires we have everywhere and how much I hate the cute wool rug we bought to make our home look all matchy-matchy. The wool gets all over him and I'm pretty sure he'll cough up a wool ball and start licking himself any day now. 

4. So you think he's going to turn into a cat?

I guess. He already sounds like one. 

5. The previous question wasn't a very good use of one out of the 10 questions you usually answer. Here's a beefier one: What do you think of motherhood now that you're eight months in? 

It's just not what I had hoped for. In my mind, I thought we would be adventuring together all the time. Bike riding, camping, backpacking, playing outside often, gardening, me having tons of energy to do all these things + more. (I know, I just posted a bunch of pictures that make it look like we're adventuring all the time. Trust me, we're not. It's really quite boring to look at photos of us not doing much.) 

Before having kids, I used to think you just choose to live that kind of life; you just make it happen. In some ways, it's true. I think we all have a choice in how we shape our lives. But, we don't really have a choice in what kind of kid we get, how your birth story will affect you or what kind of experience we'll have postpartum. Most of life is simply out of our control. Ha. I understood that to some level pre-kid, but it's really sinking in deep after having j. I think motherhood gives me so many opportunities to truly go with the flow. It makes me step back and stop forcing my will on the situation. Like right now...my dining room has this morning's breakfast still on it, toys strewn around from yesterday, dirty bathroom, baby clothes still sitting in the dryer from two days ago, legs hairs longer than I prefer, and a yard full of weeds and taller-than-I-like grass. There's more, but I'll stop the list there. I think motherhood has made me more aware of myself, my limitations, and my ability to extend further when I don't think I have anything left. It's also made me more clear about my needs and priorities. I know that there's a LOT more I'd like to be doing, but I don't want to sacrifice what I am actually doing with my child or for myself in the moment. Does that even make any sense? I'll stop here because I think I'm rambling now.

6. How have you coped with the mismatch of expectations vs reality? 

By playing Angry Birds Pop. :-P I'm not kidding. Sometimes I like just playing a game on my phone. Please don't judge. On a more productive note, this blog has been helpful to take a moment to reflect. I think sharing photos and the fuller story behind the photo on instagram has been a good outlet too. The overall theme though is just trying to keep it real, not justifying anything but being honest with myself about what's up. (E.g. Instead of saying, "Yeah, it's not what I expected, but it's still all good," it's helpful to admit, "Gosh, this was totally not what I was expecting! That's disappointing.") I think fully expressing myself has opened up pathways to figure out how to make the best of my new reality without dismissing myself.

7. What are you proud of as a mom?

*blushing* Well that question makes me a little bashful about answering, but let me give it a try. [pause while I think] I'm proud of trying my best.

8. I heard you re-started crossfit. Does your body feel different?

When I do something high-impact like running, my body feels every bounce in my knee joints. It feels heavy and the weight distributed all funny. Also, this week, I did some deadlifts and afterward felt a tiny bit of soreness around my cesarean scar. But the neat thing is that I still feel like I have a good amount of strength in me. I didn't lose it all when I was a sick vegetable laying in bed all day during pregnancy and then postpartum! I think it helped to do birthfit prior to rejoining the normal crossfit gym. I probably would've otherwise hurt myself by jumping right back in. 

9. Didn't you used to run a website for beginner backpackers? What ever happened to that?

I sure did/do. It's called Snowqueen & Scout and I haven't touched that since April of 2016. When I fell ill during pregnancy, I had absolutely no energy to pursue that. I simply didn't care about supporting women to go backpacking. I mean, I cared on a fundamental level, but not enough to spend what little energy I had to create content. I was trying to stay alive. (Sorry ladies!) And after the baby, well....that lack of energy got even worse. I wasn't nauseous and vomiting all day, but I was physically beat up and emotionally wrecked. And now, sometimes I want to pick it back up, but I feel like I'm still just barely staying afloat with all that I have in front of me - namely my baby, husband, friends/family, and the house. I think one day I may pick it back up, but the outdoor industry is so completely saturated with all these things focused on women lately, that I'm feeling turned off by the industry as well. I won't go into that rant here, but I do have some icky feelings I haven't been able to shake about a kind of fad focused on marketing to women and people of color. It feels exploitative. But that's for another day. 

10. I don't have anymore questions for you. Will you just post some fun pics to scroll through?

Sure. :) 

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