Wednesday, May 29, 2013

another day in paradise

time flies when you're in the sun! 
we have just a day left of this beautiful vacation. this week has flown! it's been such a blast hanging out with jeff and evie every day, just the two of them, soaking up the sun and relaxing as a little family. the highs: disneyland, and finally getting to read more than just a couple pages of my book in one sitting. the lows: kayaking (evie screamed bloody murder from start to finish), and finding a spider in my bed (i'm still having nightmares).

evie just loves the sand. today she sat outside for almost three hours, digging holes and filling buckets and making a drip castle. she wouldn't have even cared if we weren't around. she was more content than i've ever seen her. burying her feet provokes fits of giggles, so we've been doing that as often as she'll let us. 

most mornings have been spent strolling around the island, stopping for cinnamon rolls and lattes (and a small, empty paper to-go cup for evie because she likes pretending she's having coffee with us). we pet the dogs, smell the flowers, wave to our shadows. jeff and i let evie walk as far as she can in hopes she'll tire herself out, take a good afternoon nap and let us sit on the beach, toddler-free, for a couple hours.

we're staying at jeff's family beach house, which has been in the family for generations. it's really cozy and has the most incredible view of the bay.

tonight we had pizza on the island and then went for an evening stroll, feeling a little bummed about it being our last night. tomorrow it's back to rainy portland!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Beach Bound

bon voyage!
tomorrow we're headed to balboa island in newport beach, california, and we're not coming back until next thursday. i can't wait for a little rest and relaxation! (the version of rest and relaxation that comes with having a 17-month-old, that is.) the last time we were on a sunny beach was in july, when evelyn was bald, immobile and adorably chunky. and the last time we were on balboa island? jeff proposed.

i'm a little nervous about the flight. as a talkative, curious toddler, evie probably won't sleep the whole time like she did on the flight to ocean city, new jersey last july. but it's only a couple hours long. what i'm most looking forward to is a whole day at disneyland on tuesday. evie won't remember it, the rides and crowds and life-size storybook characters, but jeff and i will. sometimes, we think the best part about having a kid is getting to relive our childhoods.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Top Five

years ago, i wrote more narrative stories and less this-is-what-i-did-today posts. it was before i had a professional writing job, when i was living in such a vibrant, inspiring city that i was bursting at the seams with ideas and characters and plots, loving nothing more than scrawling everything down, bringing it all to life. i miss that.

these are my favorite five posts i wrote that way. i hope you can sit back, relax and stay awhile.

how i met my best childhood friend and where we are today

in my dreams, this is the first page of my novel.

on the impact of strangers: sometimes you don't know they've touched your life until they're gone.

a typical (exhausting, and totally real) day with a five-week-old baby. it's not written like the other stories, but it's one that had to be told. 

the story of alexa's and my growing fondness for a homeless man we encountered every day on the corner of our favorite san francisco diner. {lex, this one's a tribute to you! xx}

Monday, May 20, 2013

On Finding Balance

balancing act
as a working mom, my biggest challenge has been finding the perfect balance between home and the office. now more than ever, i feel so lucky that jeff and i work for a company that promotes work-life balance and allows alternative work schedules. i know not all parents are so fortunate. after evie was born, it took a few trials and errors to figure out what felt right: we tried working from home once a week, working four ten-hour days with a day off in the middle, and working half days. i knew i couldn't be away from my baby five days a week, eight hours a day, but the thought of staying home full time scared the pants off me. (bravo to all you stay-at-home moms. i truly believe it's the hardest job in the world.) now, we work full days on tuesday, thursday and friday, and half days monday and wednesday (mornings for me, afternoons for jeff). we get to spend lots of time with our girl while maintaining lives outside the home, a balance that has strengthened our bond and made us happier as a mommy and daddy.

but it's a daily battle, the balancing act. just because i'm home on monday and wednesday afternoons doesn't mean work stops. i see emails come through on my iphone and scan them them while evie is eating or napping, deciding which ones can wait until tomorrow, which can wait until after evie goes to bed for the night, and which should be answered now. luckily, most can wait. if i give one-hundred percent at the office, i want to give one-hundred percent at home, too. i try not to have my phone out while evie's around because i want her to have my undivided attention, learn that interacting face-to-face is more important than "playing" on an electronic device. but i also want my coworkers to know i'm fully dedicated even though i'm home some afternoons. i've learned to prioritize, to realize when it's probably okay to have my phone out, and to recognize the moments with my daughter that i'll never have again, the ones for which i should be completely present. most of the time, i'm completely present. i hope evie remembers that about her childhood.

p.s. that first photo? was taken at jeff's grandma's birthday party in april. it would be a framer if it weren't for the old lady in the background! in case it's not completely obvious, that black sticker ("j+m+e") is there to cover her face. apparently there's some camera technology that can erase unwanted people from the background of photos. have you heard of it? i wish i had that!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Surgery. Check!

i'm so happy this whole eyelid surgery business is behind us, and ecstatic to report that everything went perfectly. our brave little evelyn did great. honestly, i think the hardest part for her was having to skip breakfast the morning of surgery (she wasn't allowed to eat or drink six hours before the anesthesia).  she recently learned the word breakfast, and it broke my heart hearing "breakfast? breakfast?" as we were leaving the house. 

evelyn knew something was up when we changed her into the hospital gown, but she never stopped smiling. she looked so cute in the thing we snapped a few iphone pictures of her—probably the last ones we'll have of her trademark droopy eyelid, which we've grown to adore over the last 17 months—before passing her off to the anesthesiologists. (pay no attention to my unwashed mommy 'do or the fact that i'm wearing the same dirty tee i wore on mother's day. despite my smile, i was a sleep-deprived and anxious wreck.)

the anesthesiologists told us that redhead kids sometimes need a bigger dose of that candy-flavored medicine to induce anesthesia because of their low pain tolerance, and that they usually wake up more upset, or feisty, than other kids. (weird, right?)

they were spot-on.

evelyn came out of the anesthesia thrashing and screaming, like she was in pain. the doctors assured me she wasn't. she probably just didn't like the way she felt: drunk from the medicine and anesthetic vapor. nothing calmed her. she cried bloody tears all over my already dirty t-shirt as the doctors injected her with morphine. i cried, too. finally, between sobs, evelyn choked out the words "all done," and i knew she just wanted to go home.

evie fell asleep in the car, her new eyelid so tight it wouldn't even close all the way. she was staring at me while she slept. (according to the doctor, that's normal, and the muscle will loosen up soon. whew!)

i prepared a feast for evie when we got home: apples (her favorite), a few different cheeses, zucchini bread, strawberries, a whole lot of milk, even some french fries. and she was back to normal, just like that. not three hours after her surgery, she was ready to play, bounce, run, read—as if nothing ever happened. it's amazing how kids bounce back like that. 

i'll spare you the pictures of her post-op eye because it's pretty bruised and swollen and probably gross to anyone who's not her mom. through the puffy black and blue skin and stitches, we can tell the doctors did an amazing job. it's got to be sore, but evie seems happier than usual—probably because it's nice being able to see.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

happy list

day 14 of the challenge (a couple days late): a list of ten things that make me really happy. this is an easy one.

1) weekend brunch with friends. seriously, this is one of my favorite things of all time.

2) baby toes, especially when they curl with happiness like this.

 3) family beach trips. you can't beat 'em!

4) my morning latte. oh, it makes me so happy.

5) eating, drinking and laughing with my best girlfriends.

6) backyard barbecues and freshly picked wildflowers. (i have a little obsession with snatching flowers that don't belong to me.) summer in general. 

7) thinking back on this moment, one of the best of my life.

8) my new outdoor living room. the last few nights, i've sat out here with a glass of wine and magazine until dark. jeff has had to make dinner because i can't bare to be inside when the weather's great and my little patio looks like this.

9) this picture. when i look at it, i remember how lucky i am to be evelyn's mama.

10) family reunions at the jersey shore, where it's warm and peaceful and easy, where we stay up late telling stories and my cheeks ache from laughter.