...You'll never believe what his photograph revealed.Read More
This post is the blog version of me running into a meeting fifteen minutes late, sweating even though it's -11 degrees outside (that's not hyperbole, it's -11 degrees outside right now), carrying thirteen different notebooks and four bags hoping that one of them contains the notes I need. Am I too late? Can I still participate? (Am I fired?)
In 2015, nothing changed and everything changed. We brought a new human into the world and our hearts grew three sizes and I now catch vomit in the palm of my hand...but I don't feel all that different. My street got its first handlebar mustache, a sure sign that our neighborhood is headed for bigger and better and more hipster-y things. Ike hasn't been on a walk since February (that's not true but I think that's how he feels.) Y started his first office job, and I had to coach him through traumatic experiences like "people keep interrupting me and I can't get anything done" and "OUR PRINTER NEVER WORKS."
I always like to use these "currently" templates to reset writer's block:
reading It's What I Do, by Lyndsey Addario -- the memoir of a photojournalist who runs toward bombs in Istanbul, sneaks into remote towns in Iraq, and wanders through Darfur without water. I like reading about brave women because frankly, I am not one. (I cried at a bat mitzvah because the DJ wanted me to play a game where balloons would be popped in my vicinity. I was 30.)
writing in THREE of those novelty journals that places like Anthropologie basically force me to buy every time I walk in the door: Q&A A Day, Mom's Q&A A Day, and Mom's One Line a Day. When Chronicle Books outlined their ideal target market, they basically drew a picture of me.
listening to D's sound machine, which is an old iPod tuned to a white noise album on Spotify. My "Discover Weekly" on Spotify is so sad. It's all ocean sounds and meditation albums.
thinking about which critically acclaimed drama* Y and I should take on next. We're just starting season 2 of Fargo.
* "If you've ever held someone you love and watched hours of critically acclaimed dramas, you've experienced the peak of human happiness." -- Aziz Ansari
smelling lingering garlic from the disaster of a crockpot meal I tried to make yesterday. I really want to be an amazing cook, but I just don't think it's going to happen. I'll stick with baking and restaurants and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
hoping that I can find some way to sweat this week. Some days I manage to work out 5 times in a week, sometimes it's once.
wearing This dress that I tried on thinking was just a dress, but quickly realized was actually loungewear - a word that I feel really fancy saying. For this lounge-y Sunday, I've paired it with a simple pair of snow boots in case I need to let the dog out.
loving INSTACART. LISTEN. They brought my groceries to. my. house. At 9 pm on a Friday. I love the future so much.
wanting ice cream. I am broken, y'all. The colder it gets, the more I crave ice cream. D is in the middle of an epic nap, but I'm thinking we might need to go on an ice cream date to Milkjam -- the latest ice cream shop to hit Minneapolis (it looks like a cross between Jeni's and Milk Bar and I am SO DOWN) -- when she wakes up.
needing to think about packing for our next adventure, to exotic and mysterious Wisconsin.
feeling panicky. Nap time is a beautiful, wonderful thing, but I panic throughout each and every one. Should I clean? No, why waste precious free time with something boring like that -- read blogs! No wait, work out! No wait, write something! No wait, read a book! Just when I decide what to do, she wakes up.
clicking the Zillow app. We have no plans to move but in the summer I like to walk around the lake and imagine what the multi million dollar houses on the shore look like inside. Now I'm in hibernation mode and I have to be creative, so I just look at the multi million dollar houses on Zillow. Pro: I can actually peek inside them. Con: this activity yields far fewer steps on an activity tracker.
I was a mildly angsty teenager -- angsty enough to listen to music and feel something, but not so angsty as to feel actual angst for more than a few minutes at a time. I think this is a good temperament to shoot for.
When I was a freshman in college, I was at school six hours from home and a hurricane was hurtling toward my hometown, my family, and all of the friends I was desperately missing. In one of my moments of angst, I thought, "If they're going to get hit by a hurricane, I'm going to be there with them," jumped in my car, and sped home (I literally sped. I got a ticket in the middle of nowhere Mississippi.) listening to the song "Hurricane" by Something Corporate on repeat.
you don't do it on purpose but you make me shake / now I count the hours till you wake / with your baby's breath sweet symphonies / come on sweet catastrophe
Whenever I needed to be angsty, Something Corporate was there for me with lines like "she needs to hear she's beautiful" and "you can tell me why you just don't fit in/and how you're gonna be something" and, when my mom died, an entire song called Ruthless. Her name was Ruth.
I stood in line for hours to be in the front row at shows; to meet the lead singer Andrew McMahon. For high school art, I did a photography project based on Something Corporate lyrics. I posed my friend Michael holding a bouquet of flowers in the doorway of a half constructed house in my neighborhood (maybe when the door gets broke down, love can break in.) and, in the darkroom, watched my favorite song come to life in a tub of developer.
I was very deep.
And then, for whatever reason, I stopped needing music to help me feel things. I left this band and its words with my high school self's "problems." I was vaguely aware that Andrew McMahon was still around - making music, dealing with a terrible cancer diagnosis, fighting cancer, beating cancer, making music.
And then, when I was six months pregnant, he re-emerged into my life with a song called Cecilia and the Satellite, about his baby girl, Cecilia.
And I remembered how music can help you feel things.
Last month, I convinced my friend Bri to go to with me to Andrew McMahon's Minneapolis concert at First Ave. She had a baby two days after I did, and as soon as I had her listen to Cecilia and the Satellite, she was on board. We were sitting in a restaurant just before the concert, drinking wine and eating tater tots like the classy new moms we are, and I was telling her how far back my Andrew McMahon fandom went.
"I even brought one of the photos I developed to a concert," I said out loud for the first time since high school, cringing, "and handed it to him after the show. It felt very important."
We laughed at former me.
"I wonder if he still has it," Bri said. "I wish we could ask him."
And then he walked into the restaurant.
Seriously. He was wearing a giant coat, because Minneapolis, and his wife and baby -- the Cecilia -- were right behind him. He greeted some fans around the restaurant, and walked right past me and disappeared as we sat there, frozen, our question unasked and unanswered.
We laughed at current me.
We laughed at timing. At pictures of our babies. At how many tater tots we consumed. And then we ducked into the concert and marveled at how the dad in the coat that had just brushed past us was now jumping on a piano, moving hundreds of people to tears.
And then we blogged about it -- the 2015 version of standing in line to tell an artist how much their work means to you.
November 8 weekend | 1. A November warm enough to sit outside is a beautiful thing | 2. I just love that these are our neighborhood swings | 3. One of the many activities they enjoy doing together (others include playing with dirty diapers and drooling) | 4. Just Sunday
November 1 weekend | 1. There is something equally hilarious and, for some reason, sad, about the idea of a baby painting a picture of a dragonfly | 2. First Halloween: successful until you consider that our trick or treaters took all the Reese's pumpkins and left all the Twix | 3. She has good taste | 4. My dinner part rules: I'll make you food if you bring your instant camera and take lots of pictures of me
1. On Sunday I read a book on my couch for TWO UNINTERRUPTED HOURS. Do you have any idea what a luxury that is?!
2. Crazy Halloween this year, guys. I dressed Dalia and myself in Rosie the Riveter costumes under the guise of feminism, but really because it required nothing more than a five dollar bandana from Target. (We already had chambray shirts. What are we, animals???) We went to a party at 2 pm in a basement apartment where I sat on the floor with a bowl of candy corn and an apple cider and grand marnier, and Dalia enjoyed one chicken nugget. Then we answered the door for our six trick or treaters while friends came over for a glass of wine. Something about this series of events makes me feel refined and low key all at the same time.
3. In the books: my first Shabbat dinner as a Jewish mother. My matzah balls were, according to Y, "bad." The challah I picked up from Whole Foods was, according to Y, "meh." The ham stuffed squash our friends brought was, unanimously, "not kosher." (But so, so good.)
4. Last weekend we got a baby gate. If you're visiting Minneapolis and love hearing obscenities screamed every three minutes, please do stop by my house because we have tripped on that stupid thing nearly every time we've walked into the kitchen.
In fact, one time I thought I heard Ike eating the remains of a rotisserie chicken off the counter so I ran as fast as I could and then sat screaming on the kitchen floor convinced I had broken my toes. We even got so far as to brainstorm babysitters in case we needed to go the ER.
(Well, Y brainstormed. I sat hunched over yelling something about how my toe felt like a wet noodle.)
In the end, we decided my toes were not broken, but they did turn blue. We've been calling the incident BabyGate.
And as far as who hasn't been having trouble getting past the baby gate...
1 | Breakfast with Y at a neighborhood-y spot called Pilgrimage Cafe. Neither of us were into it. At all.
2 | A new friend of mine recently introduced me to an amazing dish I hadn't really thought much about before: APPLESAUCE OMG THAT STUFF IS DELICIOUS. Also that new friend is my eight month old.
3 | I worked remotely last week from the new Urban Bean. Not only was it beautiful, I had the best oatmeal of my life, hands down. And you should know that I have traveled around Ireland eating porridge at bed and breakfasts so I know my shit.
4 | It appears I need to step up my eating game.
Still going on The Clasp, and liking it more and more. In the car I've listened to Why Not Me (Mindy Kaling's new book, and I'm one of those people who thinks she can do no wrong so I loved it), and am now listening to On the Move (Oliver Sacks' autobiography).
So much Hamilton, so many podcasts (I need an entire post to talk about my favorite podcasts), and a lot of Adele. I don't watch much tv (starting a new tv show seems like a lot of energy, and the fact that there is SO MUCH good tv and I will never have the chance to see all of it makes me not even want to try... I am officially the only person too lazy to watch TV), but we started watching Master of None (Aziz Ansari's new Netflix show) and it's SO good.
During the third song at the Ingrid Michaelson concert last June in Minneapolis, a woman in the fifth row started tapping her foot.
I know this because I was high up in the balcony with a view of the entire audience, and this woman was literally the only person moving.
Forget the snow and the bone-chilling cold: this is my least favorite thing about Minneapolis. Here, dancing at concerts is weird. People stare at you and make snide comments under their breath.
(I don't know how I still have friends, because one of my favorite hobbies is convincing people to go to concerts with me, and then spending 60% of the time complaining about how no one is moving.)
Last month, in New Orleans, I realized why this bothers me so much.
Y and I decided to take Dalia on the streetcar to the French Quarter. I was regretting my decision as we crossed the street into the icky part of the Quarter, dodging puddles of mystery liquid. It smelled like last night's daiquiri. (I, on the other hand, covered in spit up and carrying a tiny human who poops herself, smelled heavenly.)
But the whole experience was redeemed when we ran into a crowd of people, a dancer, and a band in front of St. Louis Cathedral. It was a funeral -- not just any funeral, famed chef Paul Prudhomme's funeral -- and the jazz march was about to start.
As the band led the mourners and spectators and a handful of famous chefs down the street to Prudhomme's restaurant, as service industry people stepped out of their restaurants and removed their hats in respect, as the band leader (Rockin Dopsie Jr) encouraged the crowd to dance with him to When the Saints Go Marching In, I understood why the lack of enthusiasm and celebration at Minneapolis concerts bothers me so much:
Where I come from, we dance at funerals.
4 snaps (okay, 5)
1. All of my fall dreams came true when Y raked our front yard and I plunked D into the pile of leaves and she LOVED it. | 2. Waiting for brunch at The Kenwood. | 3. Ike ate my decorative gourds and now fall is RUINED. |4. Don't you love it when you randomly stumble across the perfect leaf strewn walk? Fall redeemed. | 5. Hey, have you heard it's fall?
1 | Saturday afternoon. I'm sitting on my couch watching college football playing around on my new obsession, The List App. It's like Twitter, but instead of 140 characters, you get your very own bulleted list. I love a good bulleted list.
This is right after Ike ate my gourd, so, as has been my custom over the past two weeks, I make a list about it.
And then it happens. Someone else, from across the country, is also sitting on their couch - or maybe their toilet? In line at Target? - and sees my stupid picture of Ike, chuckles, and decides it is worth sharing.
And that someone was John Mayer.
It wasn't a big deal. I only texted "MY BODY IS A WONDERLAND" to a cool dozen of my friends and am still talking about it five days later. But it really wasn't a big deal.
2 | Do you watch The Americans? On one episode, a ridiculous character named Martha repeatedly asks her partner, in the most obnoxious voice known to man, if they can have a "long lazy romantic morning" and now anytime Y and I have nothing to do on a weekend, we call it LLRMing (pronounce lurming, although I think it should be pronounced yurming). A LLRM can consist of a wide variety of things, from breakfast at the restaurant down the street, to breakfast at the slightly nicer restaurant across town. But what's really important about it is that it usually doesn't involve phones. (Which can be a little upsetting when all of your friends including John Mayer live in your phone.)
3 | Speaking of phones, I felt strangely relaxed this weekend and on Sunday afternoon, I finally pinpointed why: for the first time in WEEKS, neither my phone nor my computer were out of space. I had no idea how STRESSFUL those popups were. It's like when you know you're in trouble, but your parents won't yell at you, which everyone knows is much worse.
4 | As much as I love and miss screaming my face off at an LSU game, my stomach full of free jambalaya and tequila shots, there's something to be said about my current LSU football gameday ritual: watching the game on my couch, snuggled up with Ike. Bonus points if gumbo has been sitting on the stove all day.
That being said, if you give me tickets to the Alabama game I'll be there in a heartbeat, decked out in purple and gold and ready to scream, dance and be unnecessarily mean to people from Alabama and eat all of your Cajun food.
1 | Eggy's diner. It wasn't my favorite breakfast, but it was fine and they have grits.
2 | HOWEVER, I also had brunch at The Kenwood this weekend and they ALSO have grits that are 10 times better.
3 | Also at The Kenwood: banana bread with salty butter that tasted like a legit HUG. We're going to be talking about this banana bread for a long time.
4 | I like to make this chicken on Sunday nights and make dinner out of it for practically the rest of the week - tacos, breakfast tacos, taco salad... so really, we just eat a lot of tacos.
I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloan Crosley is one of my favorite books, so when I heard her first novel, The Clasp, was coming out this month I put myself on the library waiting list immediately. I'm liking it so far.
Let's just say there hasn't been this much Drake in my house since I binge watched Degrassi.
1. I realized that one of the things I miss about the South is the front porch culture, perfect for sweet moments like this one | 2. I always make fun of Y for getting the "basic breakfast" when we go out to eat, but when the "basic breakfast" includes cheese grits and praline bacon, I'm in, too. | 3. We're fun. P.S., The husbands of the Carols have decided that they are starting Lorac Convention. I'm certain it won't be as fun. | 4. Baby's first beignet. I chickened out at the last minute and didn't let her eat any. More for me.
1 | We stumbled upon an epic jazz funeral (for Chef Paul Prudhomme!) which was one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced. More on that later.
2 | I highly recommend playing Cards Against Humanity with your in laws, walking to every meal (with a bloody mary in hand, preferably), sleeping with cats that befriend you in an airbnb (we loved this place if you're ever looking for a place to stay in New Orleans!), pumping on a bathroom floor with your besties, and dancing until the wee hours of... ten pm. Hashtag this is thirty (one).
3 | Like many parts of parenting, flying with a baby wasn't nearly as awful as I expected -- even though D cried half of our plane ride home. Every time I thought someone was giving me the stink-eye, it turns out they were just trying to catch our attention so they could wave, play peekaboo, or give us a bag of cookies "for the baby" (yeah, I ate those.)
4 | Ten years ago, you might have found my friends Dana, Rachel and I on our couch on LSU's campus watching Newlyweds (Fact: I once owned a tank top from Gadzooks that said I'm a Jessica and it is one of my greatest regrets in life). This weekend, you might have found us dressing our daughters -- who are ten months, eight months, and two months -- in matching I woke up like this onesies and praying that none of them ever identifies as a Newlyweds-era Jessica.
1 | Morning Call beignets on a picnic blanket in City Park. Best enjoyed with a big group of friends.
2 | We had the first floor of Elizabeth's to ourselves on a Monday morning, so no one was there to judge me when I ate 6 pieces of praline bacon.
3 | Boudin at Frank's in Baton Rouge. We might move back to Louisiana solely for the boudin.
4 | The best part about New Orleans? When you're out to brunch and you're too busy feeding the baby to finish your mimosa, you can just... take it with you.
FATES AND FURIES CAN YOU JUST END ALREADY?
So many random songs punctuated our fun weekend: a little Feist, What Does the Fox Say, When the Saints go Marching In, the Macarena. By the end of our time down south, D had officially started dancing in response to music. What more could you expect from a weekend in Louisiana?
Have I mentioned that Y is re-building a car in our garage? Probably not, because I haven't mentioned much of anything lately.
One night recently we were hanging out in the garage -- Y was re-torquing the engine-motor-piston-crankometer (or something) and I was playing with the watercolors that kind of just fell into my basket at Target (you know how that goes, right?). We were listening to Taylor Swift and The Presidents of the United States of America.
Quick question: is there anyone out there that loves The Presidents of the United States of America as much as Y does? I think he might be their one remaining fan.
Anyway, our next door neighbors' teenage daughter was having a party, and Y walked outside to throw something away and discovered a puddle of human vomit on our driveway.
Something else you might not know about Y: he is one of million of people affected by EOG. Early Onset Grumpiness.
(Let's review the things we've learned about Y in this post: rebuilding a car, fan of mediocre 90s music, grump. Have I mentioned I like him a lot?)
All that to say that Y was not happy after discovering puke on our property. He went into full on GET OFF MY LAWN mode -- all while wearing mechanic coveralls with a name patch.
I've never been more proud. (I can't wait until D is old enough to be embarrassed.)
1. Neighborhood-ish coffee shop | 2. The girls at R's wedding | | 3. Megan spent a large chunk of her vacation strolling D up and down the aisles of a Target express | | 4. Father daughter dances are best performed with one sock.
1 | I was constantly two hours behind this weekend and at one point spent what felt like a full three hours in a pharmacy. Can I get a weekend from the weekend?
2 | A one-time stranger that I met on the internet slept in my basement this weekend and we watched Pitch Perfect 2, sang songs about apple picking, and drank all of the trendy coffee. I think this proves that not everyone you meet online is a creepy old man. Maybe, like, 4% of people. (Hi, Megan and Rob!)
3 | Two years ago, my friend R said "I'm dating a guy. He has a lip ring and he's coming to dinner with us" and we drank too much wine over a prix fixe seafood menu while said guy told hilarious story after hilarious story. Yesterday, they got married in an adorable theater on a lake and they all lived happily ever after! Congratulations to R&G!
4 | D sat quietly on my lap for over an hour while I got a pedicure. She is officially the Best Baby Ever. Never mind the cucumber she threw in the water (so refreshing?) and the broccoli spear that bounced off of my neighbor's purse. Everyone loves a surprise cruciferous vegetable in their handbag, right?
1 | Hola Arepa. I might need to cool it with the arepas, but they are SO. GOOD.
2 | I was excited to take my gluten-free friend to Sassy Spoon, a new GF restaurant close by. Their breakfast was...fine, but in the past I've liked their zucchini noodle pad thai takeout, and their homemade chai is amazing. This fall you might find D and I wrapped up in blanket scarves walking through crunchy leaves to get some hot chai.
3 | I only made it through a few sips of my black pepper and cherry cocktail at Haute Dish on Friday night before I had to go, but I WILL be back for another one.
4 | I finally convinced Y to try an egg and banana pancake and, as I suspected, he was a fan. Currently I like mine topped with pumpkin, yogurt, walnuts, and a teeny bit of syrup.
I'm still working on Fates and Furies, which I'm enjoying for the most part, but I'm a little tired of privileged, unhappy characters in my books. Anyone else feeling that way?
We spent a lot of time in the car this weekend, so a lot of time was spent trying to convince D to sleep. All it takes is a few minutes of 1989. I had to run a completely obnoxious errand on Saturday and, as I told a friend, it took me 10 Taylor Swift Songs to get there and back
7 months | 1 month
+ 4:45 am. I mean, who doesn't love waking up at 4:45 am? (HINT IT'S ME)
+ Grabbing my face. At 4:45 am.
+ Dad. When he walks in the room, she looks at him like he's a celebrity. For reference, when I walk into the room she smiles and then says the baby equivalent of HUBBA HUBBA and starts trying to take off my shirt. AT 4:45 am.
+ Smacking. If she's ever smiling in a picture, it's probably because I was smacking.
+ Also, everything. She pretty much loves everything.
+ Waiting too long to eat. I get it -- I mean, have you ever had to wait in line for brunch? As Mindy Kaling once said, Hell is waiting in line for brunch.
+ The supermoon. Or maybe she loves it? Either way, she did NOT want to sleep that night.
+ The first 10 seconds of being in a new position.
The four stages of bath time: anger, joy, VOGUE, VOGUE.
+ When you blow in her face, she smiles in a way that can only be described as coy, and bats her eyelashes like she's a model in front of a wind machine.
+ Petting the dog. And by that I mean petting the dog, and then clutching his fur in her tiny fist, and then pulling out hundreds of tiny hairs, and then sprinkling them around the house.
+ She knows where all plugs and wires are at all times. Looking for your phone charger? Dalia will find it in 10 seconds flat. That usb cord you stored away knowing you might need it someday? Hire Dalia to track it down.
+ When you come into her room in the morning and turn on the light, she blinks in surprise... and then faceplants.
+ Roo Roo, short for Dalia Ruth
+ Booger, because why not?
+ Silly Goosenik because... too many hours of watching The Americans? Who knows.
If I were to write a memoir about this time I'd call it:
Mama Needs Her Hair Back or We All Smell Like Cottage Cheese
1 | One of our neighbors lost his cat, and I've been a little too invested in this, considering I've never met the guy or the cat. On Saturday night, Y was outside and he called me, sounding excited. "I think we found the cat! Open the front door -- I think it might be on our front porch." YESSS, I thought, We found her! I put Ike in the bedroom so he wouldn't scare off the cat and daydreamed about the look on our neighbor's face when we told him the news. I slooowly opened the door... to see a raccoon snuggling up on our front porch and Y and two of our other neighbors laughing hysterically on the sidewalk. Jerks.
2 | We watched the movie Spy on Friday night, and our favorite line was when 50 Cent makes a surprise appearance at a convert in Budapest and says "Hey Budapest, I just ate goulash, shit was on point".
3 | At brunch on Sunday morning, I took a bite of a crepe cake (because we ordered three desserts before our meal, because obviously) and said, "hmm, it's kind of tasteless yet weirdly comforting" and my friend said, "it's like when you were a kid and ate sticks of butter" and I just have so many questions.
4 | Usually when I have a day off from work, it's a holiday and daycare is also closed. But Monday.... I had the day off, daycare was OPEN, and Y took the day off and we did what everyone longs to do after they have children-- we took a nice long bike ride to get fried chicken and ice cream in peace and quiet.
While sitting at lunch waiting for our fried chicken, I accidentally knocked the table with my foot and a pitcher of water crashed onto the table and spilled all over the floor, making the LOUDEST noise. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that the restaurant, pleasantly noisy in the middle of the lunch rush, became silent and everyone looked at me. I waved. I guess it wasn't the baby making dining out hard.
1 | Fried chicken from Revival (the BISCUITS), ice cream from Pumphouse. Let's talk about this ice cream. It was buttermilk flavored, with lemon bars mixed in. The lemon bars were from a local bakery called Baker's Wife, which is worth mentioning because a) best donuts in town, b) .50/donut, c) within leisurely strolling distance from my house.
2 | Exciting news! I can report that Dalia officially loves pumpkin and has thus unlocked level one of autumnal bliss. Next step: a tiny pair of boots and a tiny scarf.
3 | Brunch at the restaurant everyone's talking about: Spoon and Stable. There was a chocolate hazelnut cherry situation that was amazing, and I don't like chocolate OR cherry. The crepe cake, as noted above, was tasteless but comforting.
4 | This delicious tomato sauce with the insane amount of tomatoes we keep getting in our CSA box.
Fates and Furies, which we're all supposed to be loving, right? It took me about 50 pages but I think I'm finally getting into it.
Do you know about Hamilton? It's a hip hop musical about Alexander Hamilton and I spent my Saturday night streaming the original Broadway cast recording on NPR. GOD I'M FUN. No but really, it's amazing, and now it's on Spotify. DO IT.
You can have your smelly goats and fried whatever on a stick -- my favorite part of the Minnesota State Fair is the vintage photobooths. They're so vintage they need a sign: This is actual film. Please be patient.
Last month marked our fourth yearly visit to the fair, and after we showed Dalia the state's largest boar (she was so impressed she may have wet herself), we set off to take our annual photo.
We came prepared; we knew the photobooths were next door to the butterfly house... we just forgot where the butterfly house was.
As we snaked our way through fanny packed fairgoers and livestock turds, our conversation felt familiar.
"This looks right, doesn't it?"
"I know where it is, just follow me."
"I think we turn right up here."
"I know where it is, just follow me."
"Isn't it near the cookies?"
"Can you please just FOLLOW ME?"
After 20 minutes of passing the same corndog stand, we realized that finding the photobooths--and arguing incessantly about their location--was as much a part of the tradition as the 30 seconds behind the curtain.
It's always important to honor old traditions -- I'm already excited for next year's navigation-themed argument -- but new state fair traditions may include: nursing while eating an ear of corn, napping while Y looks at the tractors, getting licked by an angry horse, and inhaling a milkshake while walking back to our car.
Fine, that may have been an exaggeration (have you READ Sarah's Key??), but the premise of this book, a journal, is that when you have a kid, you have 940 Saturdays before that kid turns 18, and YOU NEED TO WRITE ABOUT THEM BEFORE THEY GO AWAY. Eighteen years is a huge chunk of time, but putting a number on it -- a number that silently ticks away while you're busy living life -- is enough to give me hives. We're already down to like 914 Saturdays over here, and what do we have to show for it? A giggly baby with rolls for days and 2,000 pictures on my phone? IT'S NOT ENOUGH. How will I remember?
I'm half joking, but the book's point is well taken. I've been trying to write more often -- it's been a goal of mine every new year, every Jewish new year, every fiscal new year (I like to use any opportunity I can find for a fresh start) every birthday, every month, every week -- and jotting down what happened each weekend seems like a good place to start.
Have I ever told you about the time I got locked in my tenth grade computer science classroom?
It was a nightmare for many reasons, the first of which being OMG I HATED COMPUTER SCIENCE. Apart from the subject matter, at which I was utterly hopeless, our teacher was a religious fanatic who wrote a pamphlet about abstinence that he regularly passed around to his students. AND, the internet was, like, a toddler, and still really novel and the guys in my class had just discovered a website with pictures of dead bodies.
My issues with coding and creationists and dead bodies aside, the real problem of my being locked in my computer science classroom was the reason: hundreds of angry students marching down the halls, slamming lockers and screaming.
"NO GAY CLUBS!" they yelled, according to the Newsweek article written about that day. "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!" I remember people chanting. It was the first time I had heard that chant.
The reason for these protests -- riots? -- was the recent formation of a club called the Gay Straight Alliance. The Newsweek article (yep, my high school was on the cover**) mentions that it took 6 months for this club to get permission to form on campus.
I hope when you're in high school, everyone shakes their heads in horror that anyone would have rioted over such a thing. "Our parents' generation was so weird," you'll say to your friend via some communication device that hasn't been invented yet, "my mom couldn't code and gay people couldn't have clubs."
Today, your dad and I are celebrating our six year anniversary two days after same-sex marriage became legal in this country and the same day as Minneapolis's Pride celebration. It feels really special to me to share this celebration, and although we didn't make it to Pride this year, my goal is to bring you as often as I can. I hope you grow up in a world where everyone is allowed to do their thing. I hope it's not even a question.
Mama loves you (no matter who you love),
** P.S. -- "Newsweek" was a magazine. A "magazine" was a bound collection of articles and pictures that was delivered to your house every week or month. A "cover" refers to the very front page. KIDS THESE DAYS.
It's funny what sticks with you from childhood, isn't it? I've been thinking about that a lot lately: what songs Dalia will remember us singing to her, what books she'll remember reading, what smells will remind her of home. Part of me wants to [brace yourself for the most hated word of 2015] curate that for her, but my practical side realizes that despite my best efforts, that one time I got Carly Rae Jepsen stuck in my head might be, in her mind, the soundtrack to her childhood. And that's okay.
My mom clearly wanted me to feel a connection to certain things, namely books -- scribbled inside my old copies of A.A Milne's When We Were Very Young and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein are heartfelt notes about how her mother used to read those books and how special they were to her -- and hopefully me.
But... sorry, Mom, I have no recollection of ever reading those books.
The books I remember most vividly from childhood are some that I'm sure my parents bought as afterthoughts and definitely weren't meant to be family heirlooms. The breakfast page from Richard Scarry's Busytown is still the gold standard to which I hold all breakfasts (nothing has lived up), and there's a Sesame Street book about flowers that has, for some reason, stuck with me. In a brilliant plot line clearly meant to span decades and cross continents, Big Bird buys a bouquet of flowers and distributes them to his friends. There's an iris, a tiger lily, a daffodil, and a rose (he couldn't afford a peony, I guess). To this day, all of those flowers make me really happy -- especially irises -- and I know for a fact it's thanks to that book.
Last weekend, a big bouquet of irises bloomed in our kitchen while I threw together an impromptu surprise party for Y's last day of residency (okay, I made tacos and brownies for six people. STILL.)
Our house was just the way I like it -- filled with people (again, six of them... we have a small house) and early 2000s rap music.
Dalia and I visited the farmers market where I drooled over handmade pottery and dribbled breakfast tacos on D's head (motherhood is hard, man).
On Sunday night, Y and I took our leftover tacos and my 75 cent garage sale picnic basket, filled the water jug from my hospital stay with champagne, and walked to the lake for a picnic. (Full disclosure, we opened the bottle of champagne because we both needed a drink after one of us threw a wee temper tantrum. It wasn't the baby.)
In between there was baby yoga, footlong hot dogs on a corner patio, and a visit to the chicken bookstore, and I know Dalia will never remember it, but I hope these are the kinds of weekends she does remember.
Dalia at one month // Dalia at two months
+ Neil Patrick Harris. I've been listening to his audiobook while feeding her, so I'm pretty sure she thinks he is her mother.
+ That weird eye pattern that's threatening to become stylish. I think I heard her say it was on fleek. Look at that smile... she's into it.
+ The mating habits of penguins.
+ Modern art
+Dance parties. We even have the same favorite French rap song.
+ 6 pm - 10 pm.
+ The sound of Ike's tags when he shakes. She throws her tiny little hands up in surprise every time.
+ Opening and closing her fists while eating -- is this something all babies do or does she finally have her first very own Thing?
+ I can't fit myself and the carseat through my tiny old kitchen without breaking the knobs off the oven. I guess life in the 1920s was a little smaller.
+ My neighborhood library has a story time for ages 0-2. Great, I thought, That will be a nice walk and maybe I'll meet some people who live in my neighborhood. Side note: there's a weird phenomenon in Minnesota of NEVER seeing your neighbors for 4+ months. It's too cold to spend any more time outside than is absolutely necessary, you see, and outside is where you meet your neighbors. I think I started looking pregnant around November, right when we all went into hibernation mode, so when we walked out of our house in March with a stroller, all of our neighbors were shocked.
Hence the desire to meet some people in my neighborhood.
ANYWAY. Story time at the library. So we get there (late), and as I walk in I immediately realize that no other child is under the age of 1, and here I am with this little baby who a) doesn't comprehend stories and b) has suddenly fallen asleep. What's the saying? "Watch other people's toddlers read stories while your baby sleeps?" Something like that.
Also, no one else there lived in my neighborhood.
+ On more than one occasion, I've thought: I REALLY can't leave her in the car for three minutes while I ______?
+ "I like it when you talk about your milk production. It makes you sound like a country." -- Y
Less baby talk, more tug of war, capiche?
Weekly ramblings about things other than baby:
So, I sniffed a book the other day.
It was after I realized that my days of reading actual paper books might be long gone, seeing as my main reading time right now is when my hands are busy but my brain is idle. Holding a lightweight tablet and swiping at a screen to turn a page is doable; holding up a thick book with one hand and turning a page with the other is downright impossible.
I'm struggling through a book called The Fifty Year Silence, about a woman trying to solve the mystery of why her grandparents haven't spoken for fifty years. It started out pretty promising, but never lived up to its potential. My next book is the light and fun Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America.
In eating and drinking
Have you ever had a Cara Cara orange? I've eaten at least one a day since January. Usually three a day, which a nurse informed me was "not moderation." I don't know if the oranges were a pregnancy craving or what, but I am pretty confident I will not be developing scurvy anytime soon. I just ate the last orange from our latest bag, and I don't see them at the grocery store anymore, and I think I'm getting hives.
Unrelated: This weekend we tried a new restaurant called Revival specializing in your basic Southern cuisine: fried chicken, biscuits, grits, macaroni and cheese. This Southerner was into it. So into it.
When you need to put a baby to sleep, you do what you gotta do, so there have been a lot of baby bouncing dance parties happening in our living room lately, to the tune of music from Stevie Wonder to the Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack to...most often... Carly Rae Jepsen. We just have so much in common these days -- "late night watching television / how did we get in this position?" are thoughts I have nightly while cuddling with my breast pump.
I met Y for lunch on the University of Minnesota campus and I was late because hoards of students crossing the street turned a 30 second right turn into a 15 minute situation. This would have been fine, but I got irrationally angry because these kids looked like they were taking part in a "Worst of the 90's" fashion show. THERE WERE YIN YANGS. Get off my lawn.
39 weeks // 2 weeks
A forgotten post from my 8 million months pregnant brain:
+ Everyone keeps telling me, "you must be ready to have that baby." Technically, yes... we have a crib and a white noise machine and a car seat and a onesie with a hippopotamus. But in reality... even though my back hurts and putting on boots requires a crane, being pregnant seems way easier than making sure a child leads a happy life in a world with ISIS and crop tops and Snapchat. I mean, there's no guarantee that my baby won't someday get the urge to join ISIS (or snapchat, for that matter). These [admittedly ridiculous] thoughts are far worse than a little back pain. IT'S SAFE IN HERE, BABY.
+ Speaking of boots, recently I had something stuck in my boot all day. It was driving me insane, but the thought of taking my boot off and putting it back on again was just way too hard. At the end of the day, I finally took off my shoe, and out came a quarter. CHA CHING.
+ Frequently seen cliche on social media: comparison is the thief of joy. I've seen a lot of articles lately about how blogs and instagram and pinterest are making us all unhappy and I'm proud to say that I haven't been sucked into it. You have a beautiful home and adorable dog that never sheds? Good job. You do you. I like my perfectly imperfect house and pulling tiny Ike hairs off of my clothes all day.
Then the other day, I peed in my little plastic cup at the doctor's office, put it in the cabinet next to another cup of pee, and spent the next five minutes beating myself up because my pee was darker than the other person's. Why don't you drink more water? I asked myself. Then your pee wouldn't be such a gross color. That person probably has a way better life than you do.
+ I realized that I've been wearing a maternity uniform: a $7 Forever 21 dress, maternity leggings, boots, and a cardigan or blazer. Editor's note: Still wearing it. I might wear maternity leggings forever.
I feel like those five photos of me need to start a girl group. Is that weird? Maybe don't answer that.
+ Modern love is sharing a Spotify Premium account. Editor's note: Fast forward 7 weeks; now our arguments concern which one of us interrupted Dalia's white noise playlist.