hi friends!

happy friday.

the word of the moment is: rhythm.

i listened to some of this podcast this morning, and was blown away by this sentence: connecting to the elemental can be a way of coming into rhythm with the universe.

i mean, goodness.

after listening to about half of the podcast i read a chapter from a book i’m starting that is a guided writing course, and the author said this: remember, art is an artist-brain pursuit.  this brain is reached through rhythm – through rhyme, not reason.

ANDANDAND, *right* before i put that podcast on, as i was headed home from school drop-offs, i was semi-writing this post in my head, and i knew i was going to say something about how we are getting into a rhythm over here.  we have learned how much time we really need to get out the door in the morning, we’ve learned to separate finley and edith’s drop offs instead of loading everyone in the car that early, and we are all just a bit more comfortable with our new routines.

of course rhythm is always changing; the point is to listen to the steady beat of the day.

and now we are entering the rhythm of the weekend, which for us means rest, art, a slow-cooked meal.  exercise and time outdoors.  these things are deliberate and relaxed, and they fill our wells for the week ahead.

but first, friday.  it’s taco night over here, and it’s so nice out i’ll be enjoying my marg on my patio.

i hope you stay easy, love hard, & find some rhythm. IMG_7084

*pic of my sweet girl at school drop off this am*

 

wait, when was the last time we talked about kate middleton?

it’s been a minute.  in case you want a refresher’s course, here is this post, and this one.

now she’s having a third baby and i just called her a poser, out lout, to pat.

me (a little sheepishly): so, uh, did you hear kate middleton is pregnant again?
pat: oh the princess?
me (in my head): YESPAT the PRINCESS.  clarify that ONE MORE TIME whydontyou.
me (out loud): whatever, i had three kids way before her.  she’s such a poser.
pat (in his head): jesus fucking christ.
pat (out loud): yeah…umm…totally a poser…

whatevermovingon.

feels like there’s not many more places to go from here.  i’m still over here on the couch occasionally googling kate middleton and pat is still over here on the couch drafting FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYERS FOR AN IMAGINARY FOOTBALL TEAM.

#grownups

 

 

in defense of the bath.

a year or two ago i read an article in the new yorker by jessi klein entitled “the bath: a polemic.”

now, first off, i feel very nervous to go against jessi klein.  she feels like a popular school girl – she wrote that book of essays everyone loves and she and amy schumer are besties and i feel like disagreeing with her is somehow totally lame.

butfuckit!

so, this.  after talking about some physical problems she has with the bath (which i can actually ~sort of~ understand) this is what she says:

The bath is where you go when you’ve run out of options.

I worry that one day I will be a mother who ends up in the bath, reading a water-crinkled book that I’ve been trying to finish for more than a year, squeezing the last gloops of peppermint something or other from a plastic bottle into the water, wishing that there were more space for me than this.

This is why Virginia Woolf stressed the importance of having a room of one’s own. If you don’t fight for it, don’t insist on it, and don’t sacrifice for it, you might find yourself in that increasingly tepid water, pruning and sweating while you dream of other things. 

now, the first real question is this:  why does this bother me so much?  why has her voice stayed in my head, in an ever so nagging way, for all this time?

well-

  1.  she may have a point.
  2. wait, does she have a point?
  3. i am a woman who loves baths.
  4. wait, am i a sad sack of a woman?!

historically, negative voices have been compelling and easy for me to grab, as they knock on the half-opened door of my innermost insecurities and come right inside.

conjointly,  praise or positive reinforcement has dripped right down off my oily skin away from me.  that does not belong on me, i have told self-worth in the past.  you are not welcome here!  only damaging and critical self-thoughts allowed.

but after much practice and effort, it doesn’t look *quite* this way for me anymore.

so, here is what i would like to say to ms. klein, on the subject of women and the bath:

hey, jessi!  see me over here, with my hand raised high?

i fucking LOVE taking a bath.  i do it every night.  i put in salts, and oils.  i read a water-crinkled book.  sometimes i even LIGHT A CANDLE.  (i know.)  occassionally my husband comes in and tells me about his workout that day or something that happened at work, and sometimes i tell him to kindly leave so i can zone out or read.  sometimes i shave my legs.  (i don’t shave my legs.)  sometimes i’m in there for five minutes, sometimes twenty.

and you know what?  you’re right.  you are.  you’re right about it being my space.  i don’t think it’s the ONLY SPACE I HAVE LEFT, as you suggest, but of course i use the bath as my space.  and do you know why?  because i am a demi-god in my house.  i am, it’s true.  i am revered.  every single child (there are three of them) looks for me, follows me, hangs on me, chatters away at me, asks me for endless amounts of things, asks me to play with them, tells me about their day, or screams at me that they are done pooping and will i please come wipe their ass.  all three need me for food, water, shelter, love, affection, brain development, and a sense of security.  BONUS!  my husband also adores me.  he looks for me, follows me, hangs on me, chatters away at me, and asks me for very few but very important things (food, sex, conversation, loyalty, love, and to sometimes rub tiger balm on his sore hip.)  i have yet to wipe his ass, but we are set to grow old together and i’m not going to rule it out as a possibility.

and so! at the end of the day, i want to get in the bath.  i do.  i want that space.  i want to submerge my body in hot water.  my body that carries and nurses those kids and hugs and loves on that husband.

i want to look down at my own naked body and remember that i am glorious.

i fight for myself every day.  i insist on it.  i sacrifice for it.  sometimes this looks like an hour or two to write, sometimes it’s a therapy session.  sometimes it’s yoga and prayer, sometimes i close my office door and paint.

but sometimes my day sees none of those things, and all i have time for is a bath.

and when i get in, night after night, when i find myself in that increasingly tepid water, pruning and sweating?  i am not dreaming of other things.

i am thanking my infinite universe for the day i got to have, the day that led me to that hot water.  i am savoring the rest that i deserve.

and i am dreaming of the days to come.

 

 

 

 

 

edith.young.dinolfo, hurricane harvey, and also just hi.

e: mom, when i was a little girl, i wiped blood from my leg onto my cheek.
me: what?! you did?!
e: yes, i did. and my whooooollllle face was red.  well, my cheek was.
me: and where was i?
e: you were not in our family yet.

me: edith if you don’t do your buckle i can’t start driving the car.
e: mom that is just a coincidence.

e: mom if you get a ticket that’s just a ticket but it’s not jail.
me: that’s right.
e: but if you break off someone’s arm then you would have to go to jail.
me: yes if i were to break off someone’s arm i would have to go to jail.
e: like a t-rex would probably go to a loooottttt of jail.
(followed by): HA! no no no. dinosaurs don’t have jail.

 

those are just some recent convos i’ve had with edith.  (she is THE funniest kid on the block i tell you and also like, creative and intelligent and witty and the coolest.)

we are praying for all of the destruction brought on by harvey, but i have to admit we are loving this cozy rainy weekend.  it’s perfect timing after the first full school week – no one left the house today, we just ate pancakes, had dance parties, and watched trolls.  no one changed out of their pjs and pat and i finally hung some pictures on our walls.

i’m looking forward to another restful day tomorrow, with nothing on the agenda but cooking and laundry.

hope you are staying dry and loving on your loved ones!  happy last week of august!

 

 

 

a back-to-school update.

well, we are three days in to kindergarden and six days in to e’s montessori school.  a lot of you have been asking how we are doing (thanks!) and here is the answer: we are exhausted.  but we are doing well.

both girls are pretty much rocking it.  finley, i think, *almost* loves her school and her class – when she gets home she talks excitedly about all the things she has done that day and then throughout dinner or bathtime or the next morning she will keep bringing more things up.  (i take this as a great sign, and she never did this with preschool.)

she’s been nervous at drop off, and she has cried the past two days at lunchtime when she reads my note.  but she’s happy, albeit, tired, when she sees me at pick up.

edith had a flawless start to school last week, but the last two mornings have been a hair weepier.  i think it’s setting in that school isn’t like camp or some quick one-week shebang.  ((i will also add that edith is my most attached child – she still comes in my bed every night and is always wanting me around her.  so, that’s a big piece of it.))

one thing that i think has helped my kids is that pat and i constantly talk with them about how you can cry and still love where you are – about how you can think school is awesome while also feeling nervous or a little low.  i want my girls to know that their day or their feelings or their school or their life is never going to be either//or.  i want them to see that they will experience sadness, joy, nerves, calmness – sometimes in the span of a single day.

i want them to know that sometimes being brave is knowing how to feel sad, and that sometimes being strong is knowing your own vulnerability.

one of the best things about being a mother is that it gives me the lessons i give to them; i am able to absorb all the loving advice i give my daughters and hold it for myself.

i read something joe biden once said (from this incredible speech), and it has stuck with me in the deepest way.  he said: “the real reason i went home every night was that i needed my children more than they needed me.”

gosh.

i do this so much, trick myself into thinking it’s finley who is not okay.  it’s edith who is suffering.

but usually it’s me.

because we are never afraid of the obvious.  it’s always the lesser known, messier bundles inside that are pulling us into fear.

i was never only worried for them.

i was actually mostly worried for me.  for that part of me that still stumbles, insecure.  that part of me who is still learning who i am, separate of motherhood.  what will i do with that space?  that space that comes when i don’t have my kids to focus on?  

(even when of course i still have that sweet baby we call plum to focus on 😉 )

but, this is a question i can now begin to answer.  this is the shift that has brought fear, but also, the excitement.

and so i commit.  i commit to growing and changing with as much grace and guts as i can muster.

and the good news is, my kids, them, those kids i need so badly at night –

they will be the better for it.

i wish everyone a healthy back-to-school experience, however “back-to-school” translates for you.

 

finley for president.

finley has recently learned about the office of the united states president. i had a lunch meeting today and pat told me that he spent 40 minutes talking to her all about the past presidents of our country and the watered down basics of what the job entails. soon upon learning that this job is available to her as a citizen of this country, she has decided she will one day be president.

seeing as she is a smart, badass leader who basically already runs this household, this new dream of hers does not surprise me. she loves rules, fairness, and structure. she is rational and incredibly thoughtful. she also has already made a list of laws, four, to be exact, and i recorded them tonight as she recited them at bedtime:

*in her words*

1. do not leave babies or young children alone in the bath, because they could get soap in their eyes.

2. do not go into the deep woods by yourself. this is because there could be a mean and dangerous creature more powerful than you. so, always bring a friend or family into the deep woods with you.

3. share your food with everyone. it is so sad and bad that there are people who do not have food. we must share our food.

4. be respectful and kind. it is okay to be mad, but every week you have to stay respectful and kind.

this is all she has come up with so far, but given all the above information, seems like i’ll absolutely be voting finley for president.

now go share your food with others, watch out for mean creatures, and for the love of GOD, be respectful and kind.

 

sing out strong.

i keep a colorful cermaic bowl in the center of my kitchen table.  it holds paper napkins.  i saw it in anthropologie, loved it, and knew exactly where i would put it.

i never used paper napkins until recently.  i used cloth ones, even as a kid, and maybe the occasional paper towel.  but, eventually, toddlers found their way to my kitchen table, and ‘paper napkins’ became an item on the grocery list.

whenever i go to the store, toss a pack of napkins into my grocery cart, come home, and place the pack on the storage shelf in my pantry, whenever i open up the plastic folded over triangle on the side and grab a handful to put in the bowl i think:

these will last me forever.  

there’s just so many of them!  even when i take out huge heaping chunks to fill up the bowl, there are so.many.left in that plastic wrapper, right there on the storage shelf in my pantry.

toilet paper? sure.  paper towls, definitely.  these need constant re-upping.

but the napkins?

a lifetime, before i have to worry about buying them again.

in ten days, finley will start kindergarten.

and when i had her, and when she was one, and when she was two, and three, four…it was like that feeling i have when i buy a new pack of napkins:

i have forever.

her starting kindergarten?  that’s so far away!

there are markers, as parents, that we have.  kindergarten, driving, graduation. wedding day.  there are things we abstractly know will come.

but they all feel so…eventually.
so…far off.  

for almost five and a half years, finley has been home.

with me.

every day.

every day she has been home with me.  and she had preschool last year, she did.  she went every morning for three hours.

this is different.

and of course she is ready.  of course it’s exciting.  of course this new chapter will bring growth and joy and space.

but every beautiful ending is full of sadness.  heavy feelings, of knowing i never go back.  i never go back to that time i was home, every day, with my oldest daughter.  watching her, nurturing her.  singing songs. asking her to please stop asking me for snacks!! driving her to museums and playgrounds and pat’s office for lunch.  i showed her how to push down and listen for the “click” sound on the marker top so she knows it’s on tight.  i taught her twenty-six letter sounds.  i held her hand and traced the numbers one through nine with her little pointer finger.  i drew shapes with her and told her about the kinds of fish that live in the sea.  i gave her m&m minis so she would start going the bathroom in the toilet and not in her diaper.  i told her that hitting edith was absolutely unacceptable behavior.

i told her she could use her step stool to reach up and get her dress off the hanger.  i informed her about food she was eating.  eggs are a protein.  broccoli is a vegetable.  bluberries are a fruit.

i told her that every morning i wake up i love her more than the day before.

so right now, i am sad.

i am really, really, sad.

and i can know all that i know about what comes next.  i can know that this is healthy for us all.

but, unlike the napkins that run out, i cannot go to whole foods and throw this phase into the cart.  i cannot go home and store it in my pantry.

this phase is over.

i can only say goodbye.

and feel grateful, every day grateful, that i got to have it at all.

grateful, every day grateful, that there will be more.

 

 

looking up.

it is officially our last night of summer vacation. i am sitting in a bedroom of an airbnb in lubbock, tx, nursing p down to sleep. we have driven twelve hours over the past two days, and we have one more long stretch tomorrow.

finley starts kindergarten in a month.

i miss whole foods market and my blended coffee every morning. i’m excited to be in the playroom in the mornings with its natural light, and for plum to be out of our room//bed at night.

i ALREADY miss non-100 degree weather, the view of fourteen-thousand-foot mountain peaks, and the carefree fuck-it attitude we adopted over the past several weeks.

as we often are told, events come, and then they go. all must change and pass. we end one thing and go to another.

and some things are harder to let go of than others.

this particular stretch of time, these past six weeks on the road, i am ready to set down.

but before i do i will say to god: thank you.  

thank you for putting in my view those fourteen-thousand-foot peaks.

it was good to be reminded there is something that high up. IMG_6315.PNG