Helen’s Birth Story

Dear sisters,

Birth stories are a tradition here. Find Calvin’s here, Thaddeus’s here, and Eve’s here.

It’s time to write up Helen’s birth story. I’ve had enough time to settle into being a stay at home mom to feel like I can use naptime for writing and there’s a bit of a calm before our storm of moving into our new house next week. More on that later.

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Helen at 5 days old. Babies are pretty incredible.

_MG_5925 Continue reading “Helen’s Birth Story”

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the summer of my (almost) content

Hello dear sisters.

It is August 10th and I have a rare day at home because I’ve been afflicted with a summer cold. Miriam is at her grandparents’ for the week, Eve is at daycare, and instead of being at work, here I am in my pajamas on the couch, blowing my nose and coughing. It’s strange to be sick in the summer–really, it shouldn’t be allowed–but at least I have some down time to write to you all, finally.

We are in the last few weeks of summer already, how did that happen? Of course it goes by too fast every year. Summer is a tough time of year for me. I’m still adjusting to working right through it without a break. Having been raised by two college professors gave me the skewed idea that summer means months of free time! For some, it does. For most of the parents I know, it doesn’t. Homer Simpson summed it up so perfectly:

Continue reading “the summer of my (almost) content”

Writing again to share…

Hello sisters,

This blog has been on a long hiatus. I don’t know how much I’ll be writing here in the future, now that I’m expecting another baby, but I know I enjoy looking back at these posts. A lot of big moments have been written about here (and little ones too, which is just as nice), but I thought I’d add another big one.

Kevin and I are moving again, to Fort Collins, Colorado. Now, some of you may be wondering, wait…Colorado is farther away from family and friends, and you’d be right! Kevin and I had been hoping to get back to the East Coast eventually. Being within driving distance of many of our loved ones would be lovely, but at the same time, permanent jobs in the field of ecology are also lovely!

Winter in Fort Collins
I think I may have to learn how to ski…

As Kevin’s post doc started winding down (and federal funding became less of a certainty…), he started applying to permanent jobs. There were lots of fish in the water, but the one that took his bait was Colorado Parks and Wildlife Service in Fort Collins, CO where he will be a spatial ecologist! It’s another big move, farther west. Kevin joked that in 10 years we’ll be in Japan at this rate. Continue reading “Writing again to share…”

Chasing my summer baby

Dear sisters,

It feels strange and wonderful to be chasing (walking and sometimes running) after my baby. At the library I work at our storytimes for 9-23 month olds is called “Little Movers,” which describes Calvin perfectly.

Black and White

He is still my baby: still wants to be cuddled and nursed back to sleep in the middle of the night. When he wants me, he wants me RIGHT NOW, and has taken to hugging my legs, crying out, then biting my legs when I don’t pick him up fast enough. I’m teaching myself to think of him as my little toddler, not my baby, and encouraging his moments of independence. His happiest times are spent outside, walking/trotting around. People remark on how happy he is all the time; he smiles and chatters and laughs a lot. They’re getting to see him when he’s getting his way, enjoying the outdoors or exploring some place new. When he starts feeling cooped up in the house he becomes a little tyrant, wanting me or Kevin to always play, biting or whining til we cave. It’s not hard to give in to him, though it makes activities like preparing meals, writing emails (or blog posts..cough cough), doing the dishes or packing up for the day difficult.

Continue reading “Chasing my summer baby”

Life lately

Hi sisters,

I wrote this post 2 weeks ago, so it feels a bit dated. Calvin is changing at such a quick pace, learning more expressions and saying words more clearly. But here is a bit of an update about our lives lately.

In May we enjoyed a visit from Mom and Dad over the week o13227595_10204553149748292_2012715915268047601_of my final Chamber Chorale concert for the season, so it was a wonderful time for them to be here!

I got to wear a “My Fair Lady” costume for our fundraising dinner/silent auction featuring songs from Lerner & Loewe. I got to sing “Without You” from My Fair Lady and it was a blast! Kevin got a lot of alone time with Calvin as Mom, Dad and I went to rehearsals and showed a family friend around town, which was sweet for him. Mom and Dad got to spend one entire afternoon watching Calvin while I went to work and I know they had a great time. It is so wonderful having family around. We’re looking forward to having some more visitors this summer! It makes us melancholy as we realize how far everyone is travelling. Where is the magical device we’ve all been waiting for that can transport us across countries? Continue reading “Life lately”

we’ll make our garden grow

Dear sisters,

I’ve had the satisfaction of finally getting to some “adult” goals in my life this past year. Owning a home, having my own piano, and finally…planting a garden! It’s true, if I really had wanted to, I could have started a garden at some of the rental homes we’ve lived in, but the motivation just wasn’t there. Finally, in our own home with a nice backyard, and with the help of Mom and Dad and Janna, we managed to start a garden this spring.

garden in infancy
garden in infancy

Mom and Dad brought us some local larch from Eddy’s lumber yard to build the beds. Dad and Krestia built them together on a very hot day a few weeks ago. Seriously, I think it was 90 that day! We decided to try one shallow bed (6 inches) and one deeper bed (12 inches). Our backyard tends to be wet so I’m thinking the deeper one will be better for drainage. We shall see. So much of the garden this year is experimental. Next year we can make improvements!

After building the beds, Krestia worked on the fence and the gate. We also ordered some soil to be delivered to fill the beds. The kids loved this part! It reminds me, again, that simple joys are the best. In this case, a big pile of dirt. It had to be loaded into the wheelbarrow and taken to the beds in the backyard and the kids were so happy to help.

helper #1
helper #1
helper #2
helper #2. Yes, she is sticking out her tongue at me.

 

getting there
getting there

So, the beds are filling up with soil, and the fence and gate are taking shape. Now it’s time for planting! I managed to plant three rows with the kids “helping” before I got too frustrated. Eve kept pulling up the row markers and running away with them, and when she wasn’t doing that she was digging up all the seeds I had just planted. So, last Sunday I took the kids to a birthday party and Krestia stayed home to plant. Ahhh. It was a much better plan.

Finished!
Finished!

And here we are. A gate and a fence to keep away animals. Two filled beds. Seeds in the ground.  A few starts (tomatoes, Brussels sprouts). Our own garden, at last!

yes, two rows of arugula!
yes, two rows of arugula!

Now we wait for things to sprout, and water the beds occasionally. Mom found a little watering can for Eve which is pretty much the cutest thing ever.

little helper
she has to do it all by herself, of course
her aim is not very good yet
her aim is not very good yet

I’m so thankful to Mom and Dad and Janna for their help in getting us started on this project! I’m excited to be able to harvest veggies in our own backyard. Here’s to summer and fresh green salads and happy, dirty kids. I have so many good memories of gardening with Mom and Dad. My fondest one is of picking sugar snap peas right off the vine and eating them while standing barefoot in the garden. Yes. I’m hoping to do that in my own backyard soon. Come visit! I’ll save some peas for you.

Love,

Rachel

P.S. Anyone recognize the song reference in the title? I remember Mom conducting the AU Chorus when they sang this song. It’s a good one.

Calvin’s first year for posterity

Dear sisters,

Kevin and I have never been huge celebrators of things. Birthdays and anniversaries go by with smiles and sweet thoughts, sometimes a present or special meal, but usually we just celebrate the little things throughout the year. Moments when we have extra in our budget and can go get flowers for the yard, or when we’ve saved up enough to get a new laptop and can pull the trigger, or when we’re not too tired and seem to be working extra well together and everything clicks. Every once in awhile something comes along that feels extraordinary, worth celebrating to the max. Calvin turning one fit the bill. Continue reading “Calvin’s first year for posterity”