Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Oktoberflash

it's gone by too fast! i am glad halloween is almost here, and then darin's birthday, and mine, and thanksgiving, and then the holiday season, and then baby! but doesn't that just mean that my head will be spinning more and more through the next two months? i mean, today it dawned on me that there is really just one more turn of the astrological wheel, half of one season left, before we have a new newborn in this household. it will be my last winter solstice with one daughter. i will know capricornicus in a whole new way. i will meet january with mysterious new energies and capabilities and dreamlike days that only a brand new mother knows. 

so for now i am savoring time. october has got to be one of my favorite months. i could stand for a bit more rain but at least this year we had some cooler days and very cool nights. in fact the aspens went into full color early this year, and my tree out front that i mentioned before...completely bald now! the ground is covered in red leaves. the scarecrows wear mischievous smiles, the witches fly on broomsticks, and the skeletons laugh. the little graveyards hoist their spirits into the air in these next few days, and it is a nice time to honor them and that thin thin veil. 

in october, i relished this:

lucy is 15 months old this month. she loves to play outside more than anything in the world. she has a chalkboard table and can get up on her own chairs now to color. she still loves her swing, and she loves to find treasures and smell flowers and....

DIG! she loves to say it, and she loves to do it.


we went to a casserole potluck party at addie's. we had some really good macaroni and cheese and saw the biggest most mellow four month old i've ever met and the tiny ones got into great mischief.




i went with my parents up to tahoe to see the kokanee salmon run, something i had never heard about until my friend farmer ben told me at the market. lucy loves fish (she always does her little kissy smackeroo face to indicate "fish") so i am so glad we got to witness such a display of them, in their great abundant fiery red orange glory. it's a really big deal up there, we went on a thursday during the government shut down so the visitors center wasn't even open, and there were still throngs of people (by my book.) i would hate to see it on a weekend! usually each year there is a big salmon festival but they also put the kibosh on that because of the federal government this year, and there were bold lettered signs everywhere that said, "NO TRASH SERVICES" "NO RESTROOMS DUE TO GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN." i don't even know what to say about all that, except it was pretty sad and seemed almost mean spirited to us pregnant ladies who really could have used an open door to one of the many restrooms or even portables along the way. local volunteers? fish enthusiasts? friendly neighbors to keep the place open? i guess it just doesn't work that way. 

nevertheless it was a wonderful day and there's a pretty little looping path called Rainbow Trail that takes you through the woods and wetland and along Taylor Creek. We saw two bald eagles circling in the sky! and guess who directed our attention upward to see them, with a gleeful shout? you got it. my little toot. the girl is a nature lover extraordinaire. 



the male kokanee develop a humpback and a long protruding jaw just in time for spawning season. SEXY!
but seriously, i had my camera on a weird setting that day so you can't really tell but their colors were so vibrant and beautiful! and the water was just wriggling with fish, they were leaping for bugs, and crowding and slipping past each other provocatively.




art's band played in placerville so we had a little sleepover with the fam.

and lucy got to show her cousin her new (old) sandbox!

he was way into it...she was more into kissing him.


another fun day with our cuzzie, last week my dad drove lucy and i over to grass valley to attend a fall festival at Clear Creek Elementary with addie and utah and all his cousins on his dad's side. they all know lucy as "toot" and passed her around like a prized pumpkin! she hung out with teenagers and tweens quite a bit that day, had her share of treats, got into other people's photos, climbed on hay bales, and generally ran around everywhere.





my pops is the sweetest pops. he is lucy's number one fan and he will do anything for us, and finds it utterly delightful to just be around his kids.




next up: lucy got her very own library card. here is her haul from her first real library trip. 
(note: finding nemo was an utter failure and pom poko is a bit beyond her although she loves to say the name. the care bears video, on the other hand = great success). 

then it rained and i got to wear bright colors with the most comfy maternity leggings from addie and jaunt about town feeling rapturously in love with this time of year. piles of yellow leaves swirling up from the streets, maples and oaks, cherry and plum, woodpeckers and squirrels, everything vibrant and alert and making ready.  and me too....

30 weeks along, that is 3/4 through this pregnancy. what???? for reals???


often i have to take lucy on a little country drive to get her to nap. she is such an active girl these days that the car seems to be the only place she will chill out, she will quietly study the pages of a favorite book until she nods off. it can be frustrating for me, having to drive for "no reason," or on days like yesterday, it can illuminating. i have learned which things you can and cannot do with a baby asleep in the car. one thing you can do is quickly stop by an amazing rural farm stand and purchase some delicious handgrown organic goodies on the honor system. Five Strings Farm, you are my new dreamland. the winesap apple i ate immediately as i drove tasted like pure crisp falltime heaven.





all edible pumpkins, all half price, so pretty and friendly and bumpy are they. 





my favorite word in spanish and one of my favorite roads in placerville:

what are you relishing this october? any fun fall traditions you'd like to share with me? i love starting new traditions. tomorrow i will cook a big old pot of vegetarian chili to have on-hand for trick-or-treater friends who pop by, and to share with joey and emily while we watch scary movies after lucy goes to bed :) 

happy halloween, and catch those blustery days as they rush on by!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Full Fall


i love this picture for so many reasons, not the least of which is the dog stationed between my legs.

sunday jorden and becky hosted their annual pumpkin carving party potluck. (look at all those links! how the years fly!) they have the perfect yard for it and it is the loveliest gathering of kids, pumpkins, snacks, and stories. their backyard was BORN for october, with vines and leaves and old stone walls and fireplaces and stairways. it feels like it's out of a charming ghost story.





lucy pretending to have a pumpkin ale :)
she loves pumpkins (buh-buhs!) and bats (eeee! eee! eeee!) and scarecrows these days.

as the evening unwinds, we head inside for a little feast and more baby wrangling.


Can't wait to see what this gathering's like next year!

if i don't see you before thursday, happy halloween everyone! i know a little someone around here is going to be off her rocker excited at all the costumes and fun. she has discovered candy corn, by the way, heaven help me.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Neophilia

I recently brought home Desmond Morris' gorgeous book Amazing Baby from work and i've been enjoying learning from a biological/zoological perspective about the development, anatomy and growth that occurs in a baby's first two years. 

It's so crazy what their brains are up to! They work like sponges, soaking up every bit of information, finding uses for this information, putting it all together. "In the brain of a newborn there are about 2,500 synapses attached to each of the ten billion neurons.  In the brain of the two-year-old infant, this number rises to 15,000 synapses per neuron, more than we find in the brain of an adult human." This exuberant peak of  neural stimulation lasts until about middle childhood (age 4-8) and has been set in motion largely due to mental stimulation occurring in the first year of life.



Most of all I am excited and encouraged to read about how the opportunities and environment of those first couple years really does shape the adult human being. Morris writes about "neophilia," or the love of the new, as a craving that is stronger in humans than in any other species. 
"Given a rich, varied and friendly environment, every toddler will spend hours every day trying out new things and exploring different possibilities, as she feeds her growing brain with a variety of sensations and experiences.  If she enjoys these activities they become more and more essential to her existence.  If she is positively rewarded by her parents for her neophilia, then seeking novelty becomes a basic part of her personality and should last her a lifetime."  

I can see all this happening right before my eyes. This child of mine has always been curious but her wild side that has developed since she turned one has led her into whirling energetic explorations that engage her every sense and perception. She is on the move constantly and it is all I can do to just hang on for the ride, keep her safe, and help narrate and facilitate the discoveries she's making.

Here she is smelling the rosemary.

She has discovered the dynamic wonder of the changing season. I can see her delight at the leaves falling, the squirrels dropping their acorns, the eagles and vultures soaring overhead, and the shape and feel of a pinecone in her hand. 



Our tree out front is bright red with leaves for about two weeks only before they all fall. i am loving the view out our window, especially with the passersby: deer, bluejays, finches, woodpeckers, squirrels, towhees, skunk and raccoon at night.

Lucy wore these absolutely perfect fall overalls gifted from Kerry back when she was first born. I couldn't wait to get them on her and now I can't believe they already fit so well and she's growing out of them. I know I've said it before: overalls are the perfect article of clothing.

I wore a vintage tent dress thrifted in Reno last year before I knew I'd be pregnant this fall. It is perfect for my big belly and the fabric is magical with a print of animals that I like to think are astrological figures like Aries (the ram) and Capricornus (the seagoat) and Leo (the lion). 


28 weeks along, (now i'm 29) and i can still honestly say that i love being pregnant.



more Desmond Morris....
 "The more talking, the more music, the more visual excitement, the more social interaction, the more mental stimulation and the more physical activity that an infant experiences, the better are her chances of growing up to be a lively, intelligent, sensitive and responsive adult.  And the more playful and exploratory the daily life of an infant is, the more likely she is to grow up to become an imaginative, creative adult."  

on that note, we took Lucy to her first art show, which was her own dad's! Darin displayed photography and a couple pieces of art as well as screened a short film he made of time lapses of the stars.




an extremely busy one-year-old at an art show is a good idea in theory. however, she did not make it through our author friend Doug Rice's reading. it seems her more sophisticated literary pursuits might have to wait a bit.

for now, it's running wild and spinning around, and being a neophiliac!






a look at our growing bellies...me at 28 weeks, emily at 23. i'm wearing the dress mary sent me last time, filling it to maximum capacity these days.


any thoughts on neophilism or neophobia (the opposite, a fear of the new, which can result from constant caution, trauma, or inhibition associated with new experiences) or their own effects in your life or your children's? and speaking of the new, bringing forth a whole new life has got to be the most mind-spinningly provocative experience i could have ever imagined. i think about this all the time as i grow another new life inside. i trip.