Music & Humor

I found a new anthem. Or twelve.
I’ve always been moved by music and it is in times like these, I run to find solace in compositions that deeply move me, rhythms that inspire me, grooves that rock me to the core. And we dance. Like we did way back when…and it healed then too.
I wrote a paper on music in college and how it drives us. Like that time in college I blew $150 at Forever 21 because U2 was blaring in the store and it tricked me into thinking I had the $150 to spend or that I looked hot in cheap, stretchy cotton.
So, I’ve been listening to this huge playlist of soul-healing tunes. And, I admit, The Black Eyed Peas have strangely brought peace. Because “Tonight’s Gunna Be a Good Night” makes me think it is gunna be a good night. And we dance and laugh and tell ourselves that our life is simply fabulous. Because it is.

And when we’re not dancing, we are laughing. Because humor is equally healing. I am beginning to remember all the funny things that happened at the hospital that helped bring comic relief when it was so needed. Like the fact that I used the frozen pads the nurses gave me for my stitches for my eyes instead…because they were so swollen and sore from crying. So, every time the nursing aide came to interrupt my sleep to take my temp, she was met with a forlorn mother, sleeping with her face covered in maxi pads.

So it is, with moving melodies and maxi pad memories, we are plunking along…and all the things I had looked forward to have been waiting. Until now.

I made Valentine cookies with my girls today. My two girls. And we had So. Much. Fun.

The littlest Valentine, swaddled in pink, slept soundly on the table while my bigger Valentine tediously rolled and floured and frosted.

My cousin-slash-soul-sister, Joann, is here from Michigan. It’s been wonderful having family down here and each has served their purpose. My sister providing initial scrape-her-off-the-floor duty, my mom and dad home-after-the-battle support and Joann coming later for “aftershock.” But, the aftershock has instead been this incredibly enjoyable time of holding babies and reading books and drinking coffee and making fires and watching movies…exactly what we should be doing after a baby comes home. Because it is a very happy time indeed.

I am not kidding when I say this baby has not been put down since she’s been home from the hospital. We hold her at every moment…squish her cheeks, nuzzle her neck, kiss her feet…and at night, I am sandwiched between my two girls in our big, beautiful family bed. Smothered Love…just how we like it.

Joann brought Lainey a new shirt…so completely appropriate for our puppy-lovin’ girl.

Nella never cries but for a tiny squawk here and there, but there is definitely a significant pouty lip when she gets cold.

It’s funny…even as I write this, I realize how perfectly wonderful and normal our life still is now. I am learning to stop fast-forwarding. To turn off “sad” when it comes. To shift my paradigm and direct my mind where it needs to go. To listen to music and laugh and pour myself into what makes me happy…being with my girls and taking pictures and writing about the little things of life that piece together this greater picture of beauty. I will allow myself my fears and sadness later as they reoccur. But, for now…I need beauty.

(Nella’s first sunset tonight)

I suppose it’s cliche to say “life is what you make it,” but it truly is. And here, tonight, I am inspired to continue to do what we know best…to suck the marrow out of life.

Bad days will come. Laundry will multiply. Frozen maxi pads may certainly find their way back to my sad and swollen eyes. But tonight…life is beautiful.


it was perfect.

…the house has fallen quiet with christmas naps as the second fire of the day snaps and cracks behind me and a hefty spread of food sits welcomingly on our counter, and i am just now taking it all in.

we began festivities this week with our bi-annual trip to the mall where we not only watched as a man coughed and spit phlegm in the parking lot but also got raked over coals for a picture with the only santa in town.

i paid $17 for the (not even good) photo on the left…two small little photos they gave me…and almost got in a fight with the elf who told me i was strictly forbidden from taking any photos of my own.

thankfully, i simmered down later for our own celebrations of home which, this year, seemed so much more purposeful. she is completely aware and comprehensive of every bit of magic and tradition and meaningfulness which makes everyone in our home take extra measures to expose her to as much happiness as possible…the little things making the most impact.

she was thrilled to add glitter to some old red river cereal we found lurking in the pantry to make an alluring and tasty concoction for rudolph and his friends…

…intently sprinkling it in heaps along the driveway late last night…

…and pleasantly amused this morning to find it eaten and gone, replaced with snowy reindeer hoof tracks. reindeer eat mine num-num, she announced, wide-eyed and slightly perplexed.

latte even conveniently cooperated with her morning poo placed pefectly between two hooves to which we incorporated into our girl’s christmas imagination, and now, her most memorable event of the day (over family and presents and everything we worked to create) is… reindeer poop on mine driveway. spared you a picture of that…merry christmas.

we visited a church up the road for the third year in a row for their christmas eve candlelight service. silent night, sung in a circle with my family, a bit of darkness and a hundred or so candles always, always makes me cry.

we don’t know anyone at this church and we come, sit, smile, sing and go, but that’s what adds to the whole greatness of this tradition; it’s more about our family and this small special moment we share every year. even if i did write ball of fire on a bulletin and pass it down to my dad after the monotone pastor stood up and robotically presented a boring little message that, sadly, had the potential of igniting some christmas fire.

then it was home where we enjoyed the company of my dad & gary, a crackling fire, a late spaghetti dinner and cozy spots on the couches where we watched movies and finished getting ready for our special day.

and my ho-ho jammies still, barely and tightly, fit. hurrah.

and today…well, today was just real and good and homey and simple. we smiled through every bit of it beginning with her tiny voice announcing between our warm bodies in a dark room this morning: good morning, mama. and then, slowly, her realization that today was the day…the day we climb out of bed to run and look for half-eaten cookies and sparce glittery grain piles.

i can’t figure what’s better…to actually be two and see this all through magic, childhood eyes and be blessed to be loved like she is…or to be thirty and her mama and the lover of this girl. i’ll take the latter.

and so our morning continued with giving and receiving and baking and breakfast…and family.

…and papa made the most beautiful crib mobile for our baby’s bed…

feeling happy and blessed.

let it begin.

i’ve learned, in the six years i’ve spent the christmas season down here, that, if i am to satiate any of the craving of the northern holiday magic i have known all my life…i have to create it.

and so we began.

it’s chilly this weekend.
and the house smells like balsam & cedar.
and the christmas music has played.
the lights have been lit.

and, following healthy heaps of thanksgiving leftovers friday evening, we ignited our first fire of the season…and opened the magic of stored boxes from the attic…with papa’s help.

we watched our girl as she, bundled in her christmas jammies, unraveled strands of twinkly lights, unwrapped the tiny cradle ornament from the year she was born, and smiled at the memory of her nutcracker from last year. or, as she says…mine buttcracker.

oh, it was heavenly. and i know i’m hormonal and emotional and my sentimental heart beats wildly at these kind of things, but really. this season is so special and having this little one to carve out traditions and memories and childhood magic with…what an honor.

embracing the honor like the author of a timeless masterpiece of literature. i am writing her book. and so i fill it with every bit of magic i can think of. and, far greater than gifts and santa and all the hub-bub…are the little things.

our advent pails have been filled with little treats that will begin on tuesday morning…

(target dollar bin pails, two paint pens, a yard and a half of 2.99 fabric and a pair of pinking shears…inspired by this one for twice the price…and our pails are big enough to fit two or three treats for multiple littles)

and last year, anna ruth had the fabulous idea after christmas to take advantage of the bookstore’s 75% christmas books…so we stocked up, and she will unwrap one every night before bed in december…and we will cuddle and read and make memories.

i am working hard to finish the holiday work so i can take a break and drink in our family and last weeks of our ‘only daughter.’ and yet, the anticipation for this season and family and all the beauty that this month holds still can’t hold a flame to the anticipation i am feeling for this tiny one to join our family in january. i love her so much already…and just cannot wait to meet her.

while we wait, we are enjoying crisp hot cocoa mornings.

and cozy hats that seem to don her sweet head just about every moment of the day. she loves her hats.

merry magical season.