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our first garden

loving the pool

our first garden

a garden visitor

What do I love this Monday? The feeling of summer that’s in the air. I mean, I’m not looking forward to the heat, but I love summer. I love sunshine and gardens and the pool. This year, we have all of those things in our back “yard” of sorts (it’s hard to call our tiny space in the back of our townhouse a yard).

We caved and bought Elisha a kiddie pool. It gives us something else to do during the day, he loves it, and we can all work on our tans together. He loves the bath (and the sink), so I figured the pool was the next logical step. It’s been very much a success, but I must admit I find a kiddie pool a bit high maintenance considering we don’t have a hose or access to one anywhere near our townhouse. Buckets of water from the sink are kind of annoying, let me tell you, especially since he plastic inflatable thing needs to be emptied and cleaned often because of things like bird poop and bugs. I don’t even think covering it would make a difference, but the smiling baby is totally worth it.

In fact, the baby smiling is really worth it after this rough month we’ve had. Three molars at once, some verbal milestones (he knows a lot of words and signs, even if he doesn’t always use them all when he could), and who knows what else have made sleeping rough and the crankies a constant battle. These past couple days have been on the up and up, however, and I’m not complaining about how worn out a dip in the pool makes little E.

He also loves to jump in first thing in the morning. It’s so cute.

A toddler is a completely different adventure, and I think I still cringe inside a little even when I type that word. He’s still my baby… but he’s gotten so big!

Another new adventure for me is gardening. We’ve got two raised beds out the kitchen door with eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, and various peppers. I’ve got some lettuce and mizuna to plant, too, but I need to knock the bottom off of two clementine boxes to fill with potting mix and seeds. I should hurry up before it gets too hot, really. Summer is creeping up on us fast … and I’m excited!

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Sink party!

Sink party!

Sink party!

Sink party!

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morning sun

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Well, 14 months of Elisha have come and gone. Swiftly at that. I have to confess that these past few months after his first birthday have not been my favorite moments in parenting so far: first year molars and a lot of cognitive development have often left me tired and frustrated. Don’t get me wrong—we have an awesome baby—but his new abilities of walking and talking have brought with them a whole host of challenges very different from simply rolling over or crawling.

Elisha is a very sweet boy. He loves to cuddle, he gives kisses, and he is often very concerned about other babies when he sees or hears them crying. He’s a curious boy. He loves to explore and discover, especially if music, dogs, or the outside are involved in the activity. He is also a strong-spirited boy. He gets that from both myself and his father, whether it’s fortunate or not. Sometimes, it’s not a bad thing, but other times, it’s definitely difficult.

Overall, toddlerhood is a whole new set of experiences for both of us. A new chapter in parenting that has different ups and downs than having a newborn or having a mobile baby did.

Watching him grow and change is a special joy. There isn’t anything I’d want to change, even the hard parts.

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in process

in process

it was a blur of a weekend here at the house. i mostly spent it screen printing for a wedding invitation job for a friend’s sister who’s getting married in july. now that those are all done (150 invites and 150 rsvp cards, all with 2 colors screened by hand on my Gocco. whoo), i feel as though i need a weekend from my weekend.

my weekend my weekend

my weekend

my weekend my weekend

i did finally manage to spend some time relaxing yesterday, while all of my work was drying in the kitchen. please excuse the plumber’s crack on the boy … it’s somehow difficult to keep his training unders up. also, he loves the Bananagrams bag. sometimes, he thinks it’s food and will point at it and/or carry it around smacking his lips loudly (his own made up “sign” for food). other times, he’ll hold it to his head like a phone. bananaphone! i love it.

oh, an the fork. one of his forks went with him everywhere this weekend, and i mean everywhere.

little E will be 14 months old soon, and we’re just not in a hurry to wean from breastfeeding around here. one, he’s not a fan of cow’s milk, and two, i believe there are still definitely health benefits for the boy. lastly, he’s pretty much been teething like a maniac since his first birthday and when there’s nothing else he wants to eat as his first year molars claw their way through his gums, far be it from me to deny him the comfort and nutrition of breastmilk. don’t get me wrong, on good days, the boy can throw down food with toddler abandon, but on days that he is obviously in discomfort, chewing is not on his list of favorite things to do. yes, it can be frustrating for me to put up with the acrobatics of a nursing toddler, not to mention the occasional bite from an overtired, cranky boy, but, i know that the rewards are still there for both of us. he’s comforted and fed. i have a baby asleep in 15 minutes or less. no complaints there.

he no longer requests to nurse in public unless he’s tired. our nursing is now mostly centered around nap and bedtimes. before you explode with how terrible that must be for my child—how will he ever learn to sleep on his own? oh the horror!—i’ll just say this … i highly doubt my child(ren) will be unable to sleep on their own at 3, 4, or 18 years old. there will come a day that Eli sleeps on his own, and there will even come a day that he sleeps through the night (he still wakes up once to eat at night … sometimes twice).

there are definitely times that i want my body to myself. i get impatient and frustrated when there’s whining or biting or upsidedown antics. so, i’m no supermom in that respect.

to be honest, when Elisha was born i didn’t even know if we’d make it breastfeeding to begin with. it took 8 days for my milk to come in (instead of the standard 24-72 hours that all those nurses and baby books swore to me), and if it wasn’t for the assurance and help of an aspiring lactation consultant friend, i would’ve given in and supplemented with formula instead of enduring and waiting. instead, i was comforted knowing colostrum was all that my newborn needed, even though it never felt like enough. in retrospect, little E was just a hungry baby. he still is. he ate often, and i’m thankful that i was able to feed him on demand. after my milk came in and we all got to know each other better, E settled into a schedule all his own. we didn’t have to impose one, and my milk supply even endured my returning to work and pumping twice a day while at the office. i was blessed to be able to go home and feed him for lunch, and now that i’ve quit my day job to work for myself all these months later, i’ll admit i was happy to put the pump away.

i understand that not everyone will have or has had the great experiences i have with breastfeeding, but i do feel like so many new moms aren’t even given the choice to even try it. some are afraid of the whole thing, and others are simply pressured to supplement with formula when it’s not necessary or even to stop breastfeeding early. since breastmilk is a supply and demand sort of function (funny how that works out so well), i often wonder if my milk would have come in at all if i hadn’t endured the long wait.

i’ll admit that parenting has taught me a lot about patience from all sorts of angles. some of them, i wish i could’ve learned differently, but others have been worth it entirely. breastfeeding has been one part of this journey i have no regrets about. little E will wean eventually, and we’ll move on to new parenting adventures and hopefully more children.

i look forward to it all over again.

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My Son the Collector

My Son the Collector

My Son the Collector

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sorry for missing a post yesterday. i just couldn’t think of what would be a fantastic tutorial or other tidbit to share. i’m also suddenly busy with work again, which is (of course) a good thing. the sporadic schedule of a freelancer is still rather interesting to me; i keep hoping for work to pick up and become more regular, but i know there are some things i still need to work on personally first. i’m a little frustrated at how it seems nearly impossible to hear back from some of the freelance opportunities i apply to online on places like freelanceswitch or freelancefolder. i’ve sent plenty of applications and have only heard back from one. maybe two.

i guess i know i’m bursting with all of this eager, excited energy, but i still need to beef up my portfolio. well, i’ve got two pro bono websites in the wings and a non-profit site that i just met with the client for today.

i’ve also got some wedding invites to silkscreen. it’s a lot of work (work i should probably have started by this time in the evening, to be honest), but they’re going to look so great when they’re finished. i just don’t know if i have enough room in our townhouse to lay them all out to dry—150 invites, 150 RSVP cards are a lot of little sheets of paper!

anyway, i’m still struggling with my identity, i think. i feel like i really need to figure out what it is i do best, what it is i’m happiest doing. i don’t think i know the answer to that yet.

i love the web.

but i also love illustration.

i also love photomanipulation and image editing.

i also love silkscreen and printmaking.

i also love sewing.

so. uh. which is it? should i focus on one? all? none? is there something i’m still missing in this puzzle of my life as a self-employed creative?

i don’t know yet. i’m not sure. i feel like the picture was clear, but after what feels like rejection after rejection (silence can be just as heavy as an email negative), i’m beginning to question whether or not i’m good enough at what i think i’m good at. i think i just need more examples of what i can do—i’ve been designing for the web for almost 10 years now, people. 10 (and that’s not counting the few years before that i taught myself HTML and built my own blog as a high school student). i’ve also been drawing and printmaking for that long, too.

i hate feeling stuck. it’s the worst feeling ever.

i hate realizing that i have all of this passion, this potential, but i feel like it’s being wasted. on nothing.

someone notice, would you?

i’ve got a lot to give here, you see.

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