Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Best Feeling

Sometimes Darin has band practice and it is just me home at bedtime with both girls. Although it can be trying, since each babe requires pretty much full undivided attention to get to sleep, it is also the best feeling on earth to me to get them cuddled around me at the end of a long busy day, safe and snug in our bed, and breathe and sleep together peacefully. 

Last night, oh-so-late, after Cozmic Cafe's Night-After-Thanksgiving show at which Darin played and to which I brought my two babies, risking looks of horror and disbelief, and danced the night away, it was finally time to go to sleep in bed. Polly on my left and Lucy on my right, in their fleecy footed jammies. Polly likes to have her legs propped up on my hip or legs, and was already sleeping like a tiny log, now that she's totally walking and also finally cutting a tooth she has been sleeping a little better, and Lucy snuggling up to my arm (she still calls it ba) and finally giving in the the little elves of sleep, making the sweet whisper mouth noises she makes right as she finally lets go. Our cats are close by too, purring in the dark room, and our daddy will be home soon, full of quiet laughter and tales to tell. I pretend we are on a little boat, sailing through some inter-dimensional moonlit universal plane, (not unlike the magical bed traveling scenes in Bedknobs and Broomsticks) with colorful stardust, memories and love surrounding us, it is bigger and wilder than us or anything we know, and yet we are completely safe.  

Scenes from the day replay in my mind, and it is moments like this that I have a strong urge to turn on the light and write down every single tiny thing I can remember, every funny thing Lucy says or surprising word she made up, every dance move and look of delight that Polly gives, every nice thing that happens to me, and even the frustrating ones. I want to write down about Joey's deliciously rich mashed potatoes, and how everyone was so tired, but they all wanted to help me clean up, and how Scout gives these sweet drooly kisses with plenty of tongue involved, and how Em can laugh at herself better than anyone I've ever known, and how proud Addie was of her gorgeous vintage cape, and how Utah goes around calling "tootie!" wanting to play, and how Art gets totally into the game we are playing and spontaneously rhymes words like a champ, and how we drank champagne together and told our own versions of prayers. 
But instead I cuddle around my sleeping daughters, a mama polar bear with her cubs, let the cold night swirl outside my window, hear my own heart beat, hear it slowly soften, feel the excitement and the tensions and my own sometimes overbearing energy finally tilting into the darkness headlong, waning, waning, and I tuck it all into bed snugly inside my chest and take one more breath and fall asleep.

For most of Thanksgiving day it was just the four of us hanging out. I was busy in the kitchen, Darin and the girls played. here I am in the morning starting my first pumpkin pie, using my mom's pie crust recipe written in an old journal.

it was the first year i made little place settings for everyone. it was the first year i had interest in a "tablescape." (is this social media's influence? or just an honest yearning for prettiness as I grow older?) then i realized how fancy matching dishes do not and will never fit my personal aesthetic and that all i really wanted to do was to tie together my own things in a rustic, bohemian looking tabletop that looks friendly and welcoming and hearty.

it was such a beautiful day; we took a nice little retreat outside to play awhile.

Darin helped me cut up butternut squash, not a job I relish!

The afternoon's activity.

And then everybody arrived, a little after 5 pm, to start our evening's feasting! This year we had a fairly small group as far as Beattys go: Addie and Art with Utah, Joey and Em with Scout, and us.

All four of the littlest Beatty-Spring clan.

I don't have a good food photo but I will say this: I attempted two salads that were out of the ordinary for me. This and this. On top of pumpkin pie, two Tofurkeys with carrots and potatoes, stuffing, and fresh lemonade, it was a lot of work, but I think they were well worth it. That kale-brussel sprout one especially, good lord, with those candied pecans! Holiday feast perfection. 
Joey made homemade rolls and his mashed potatoes, Addie and Art made brussel sprouts and she brought her two kinds of cranberries: traditional tart cranberry sauce and spicy. Yummmmmm. Plus an assortment of beers and champagne. We dined wonderfully well.

As spirited and excitable as my two little ones are, I am still looking forward to my most peaceful holiday season yet. I can feel it in my bones. I get pure comfort from this season, at once familiar and exhilarating, full of family visits, baking, and music. I wish beyond the stars that everyone on earth could feel that way, though I know the holidays leave so many feeling glum, so I can only hope that some interwoven intangible goodness is created and let loose upon the world by our individual moments of peace, joy and merrymaking.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

under the toadstool

Some Novembery tidbits:

Lucy left gifts of acorns for the tiny gnomes that live under these toadstools.

I could easily live on these Arkansas Black apples and mandarins I bought at my favorite stands down the road a bit.

A certain someone turned ten months on the 5th and is starting to walk! 

We went for a fall drive yesterday up to Camino through pretty country scenes.

and I wore a country mama outfit. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Perfect Day

What would a perfect day in the life of Heather be like, you might ask. Well, my 38th birthday will serve as a great example.

First of all, a rainy day would be preferred. Looks like the heavens are on my side because we wake up to misty rainy dreamy November day.

Also, most importantly, Darin is off work. He takes the girls in the morning and encourages me to sleep as late as I'd like. At 8:30 I roll out of bed and I am greeted in the living room by bright happy smiling faces and Tootie saying "Happy birthday mommy!" I get my coffee, we play and read, and Darin makes us a delicious smoothie for breakfast. I open gifts: new cds by Bonnie Prince Billy and Lucinda Williams, two books and an antique painting of horses running in the surf. Darin watches the girls while I shower, and also, he also cleans the catbox. So far, so good!

It might seem mundane, but children's storytime with the babes is one of my favorite activities. I generally see friends and their cute kids, get to talk to other parents, and the girls have a safe place to run around and have a great time. So on my birthday, storytime is one of my chosen activities. It's especially fun with the dads there as well, so they can learn some of the cute songs and see how much fun our babies have.

Joey's first storytime!

Polly loves all activities where she can put something on her head.

Lucy up front and center, always. She's kind of teacher's pet cause she's so into it, except not really because she's too rambunctious to really be teacher's pet, plus she is way too interested in what all the other kids are doing. It's not fading - full blown extrovert.

Polly really worked on her walking that day. Straight into that teddy bear's loving arms!

And these arms too!

Scout tries to be very patient with her wildling cousins. 
She's more of a lady, the most observant little squirt and loves to try to talk along. She is already saying "mom" and "yeah" among other adorable little snippets.

Back to my perfect day. After the library we check out the thrift store; I get a 70's space-dyed vintage sweater that Darin finds for me, and then we head down to Lotus. There is fog swirling up around Mt. Baker and the river flows through a heavy fertile green land laden with bright autumn leaves. Sprinkling rain turns our hair frizzy, and tree branches shaggy with raindrops, scattering leaves and mistletoe. Puddles and mole-holes for exploring, pebbles and acorns for examining.

We have warm drinks and lunch at the Argonaut. I'm feeling expansive so it's totally okay that Lucy steals all the whipped cream from our hot cocoa.

A walk around Coloma and down to the river's edge just to drink in the refreshing day.

Lucy practices her tree climbing and pretends to be a little squirrel. 

At home I have a crock pot of chili on that's been going since morning. It's almost ready. At the last minute I call a couple friends to come celebrate with us. Rebecca says she'll bring corn bread she is just putting in the oven. Scott and Jorden both bring wine. My mom has made me my favorite: Texas Chocolate Fudge Cake. Pops brings chips and salsa, vanilla ice cream.  Joey and Em come bearing gifts. We have everything we need and our babies stay up late, late, late. I am missing a few loved ones, of course, but I am so perfectly, wondrously happy to be surrounded by this fun and loving group of my beloveds on my special day, with my two sweet babies to help me blow out my many, many candles.

Really, it's the moms we should be celebrating on our birthdays. Scott asks her to tell the story, she tells how I was the only one of her five labors where her water broke. I came quick, she was sick with a terrible cold, and they made her wear a paper mask during and after my birth. My sister was only 13 months old. She was young, confident, happy, strict, protective. She got it done, she did it well; she was on her own a lot, my dad hardly remembers anything about our young days. She remembers it all fondly and vividly.

Oh such a perfect day, I'm glad I spent it with you....

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Off with a Bang

How it goes around here: as soon as Halloween is over, we have Darin's birthday then my birthday, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, with tons of other important birthdays in between, and then Polly will turn one and I will be crying. not because i don't want her grow up, because seeing my babies grow is my greatest joy. But just because time moves too fast. No matter how i try to treasure each moment, (always have, ever since I was six years old, I felt funny about time passing, and I've been trying to write everything down ever since then.) it still flies, never more so than since I've become a mother. 
The time that our babies are actual babies is extremely fleeting. I learned that quickly.

So...Darin's birthday. My husband now begins his Walt Whitman year. I think he'll find it a vibrant one and I look forward to sharing it with him and our little family.

To make the day special I basically just tried to be a really good wife. I stayed up late the night before getting all the Halloween stuff put away and making it clean and tidy, getting the coffee ready, etc. In the morning I made him a nice omelette for breakfast and then brought out a few little gifts which Lucy opened for him.

His new favorite, a book whose release he has eagerly awaited. 

He did have to work on his birthday, but we met him at the park downtown for a little picnic lunch I'd made and some playing on the playground. We decided it was so nice we'd do that once a week or so.

He got off work a little early, we went to vote, and then met up with friends at Brick Oven Pub (which is under new ownership and now has giant flatscreen televisions with sports playing everywhere you look, ugh). Penelope brought Darin flowers. I led everyone in a rousing game of Darin Coelho trivia; turned out my questions were way too hard (I guess the stories I've heard a thousand times aren't so obvious to everyone else) but Emily did remarkably well and took first place, with Rebecca as a close second. 

I never got a photo of myself or Darin and I together on his birthday, so this one of our moms will have to suffice. Happy grandmas!


Some of my favorite traits of Darin's include: (in no particular order)
- his mystical nature
- extremely safe driver
- very sweet and completely doting father to his daughters 
- his unbelievable patience in all things except weed-eating
- endless creativity
- he has a special knack for coming up with good titles
- integrity.
- deeply questioning, deconstructing, thoughtful, discerning.
- broad range of knowledge.  
- loves comfort, kind of a homebody in an endearing way
- strong.

Basically, he's good at almost everything he does, he's got a great sense of humor, has a thousand interests and can discuss anything at great length, he's not afraid to admit the things he's not good at (cars) and he is handsome to boot. I love the man, I'm really lucky to have him as a husband and to get to be the one who knows just how many medals he took in the County Track and Field Finals in eighth grade, and in which events.  I can't wait for our little "birthday trip" in a week or so.