what i'm looking for.

on perhaps the most perfect day of spring, we had a small ceremony to bless finley's journey through life.  there was good music and pastries and champagne and good family and close friends and so many smiles my cheeks were sore the next day.  it was the best of the best.

it was on a day much like this one almost two years ago that we did the same thing for julian.  we chose two of the most fantastic people we know to be fin's godparents and help him on his path, and they were included in this ceremony.  the whole day was filled with so much love and warmth and just made me feel so incredibly lucky.

the song we chose for finley was U2's 'i still haven't found what i'm looking for,' which is one of our absolute favorites and really suited finley well.

finley felt so at ease he fell asleep during his ceremony.  typical easygoing fins. :)

look at this village, these people.  who have said they willl do this with us.  that they will support us and love us, and they will help to show my children their way.  these people are not just saying it with words.  i have learned, again and again since finley was born, that they are really here for us.  they come over with food, or call to check in when philip is traveling.  they come by for dinner and bedtime to give me a hand.  they are there when i call and say please come hold my baby so i can take a shower, and then they show up with cold beer.  they are there when i say i can't be alone with these kids any more, can we come over? and they open up their homes with a smile.  they plan trips out here to see me when they know i need it most.  they know julian's favorite colors and have learned some signs.

i couldn't do this whole parenting thing without them, and i'm so grateful i don't have to.

finley joe, we are all so happy you are in our lives.  you made us a family, and i could not be happier about that.  you are the cherry on top of my sundae, the extra bit of sweetness in my life i always needed.  i'll forever love you.

[all photos by corinna lander -- she totally captured our essence and light. love it.]

to my village.

they say it take a village to raise children.

and that has never proven to be so true for me as it has this week.

it was pretty much like this the entire time.
let me start off by saying my first week solo with the boys [philip is traveling monday - thursday for the next 6 weeks or so -- hopefully less] wasn't as bad as i thought it would be.   monday morning started our a little rough, but by monday afternoon i was cooking dinner by myself and giving both the boys baths.  it was a little ambitious.

it was a week filled with highs and lows.  getting both boys to bed by myself.  staying up late, dipping pineapple into chocolate and sipping wine after they were sleeping, forgoing sleep myself for some much-needed girlfriend time.  sharing secrets and laughing too loudly.  and the lows.  waking up four times in one night, three with one baby and one with the toddler.  bedtime negotiations for one more story.  nap time protests and a short-tempered, low-on-sleep mama.

and the real.  the day i woke up, and said, fuck it, and just surrendered to the exhaustion and chaos.  i may be tired, but that's ok.  making pot after pot of coffee, turning the music up and opening the windows to let the light and air in, and taking the day outside.  reminding myself they won't be this little forever.  i can sleep tomorrow.  they won't remember how tired i was, i won't remember how tired i was, they won't care about growing up in a clean house, but they will remember the mama that painted with them outside.  that went down the slide in the back yard and drew with sidewalk chalk on our porch.  that ticked them until there were more leaves than hair on our heads and we were breathless from laughter.  choosing to not get angry when the big one stood in his doorway and called for mama until i came in with the baby,  and laid with him in his bed as i nursed the little one and the bigger one cuddled up next to me.  just owning it all.

but the thing i learned this week more than anything else was that i have a village here.  it was something i knew before, of course.  but there wasn't one single day that i didn't have help.  my sister came over nearly every day -- so i didn't have to take julian to the pediatrician for fin's two month visit, so i didn't have to go to target alone, or just so i didn't have to drink coffee alone.  girlfriends came over at bedtime with wine.  my mom came over so i could caucus, and so i could nap, and so there would be four loving hands and one cool head at bedtime.  and other friends called or texted to check in and see what i needed.

it was amazing.  i could not have done it without the people here, reminding me that even if philip is gone, we are not alone.  ok, that sounded a little dramatic.  he's not dead or deployed.  but it's good to know there's a safety net here, for a sleep-deprived mom of two running on fumes and postpartum hormones.  there is no drowning this time around.

we are surviving.

one week down, five to go.

religion + politics.

you know the rule of thumb, right?  the general rule that everyone says.  to keep things civil, don't talk about religion or politics.  you never know who you're sitting across the table from.  a wiccan.  a devout catholic.  a hardcore conservative.  so you don't bring it up.  you talk about other things.   things that don't hit too close to home.

i think it's time to add a few more things to the list, people: marriage and babies. 

hear me out.

how many of you have been in long term relationships?  maybe you've talked about marriage and it's not your thing.  maybe one of you is ready to make that commitment but the other isn't sure yet.  it's a see saw, deciding to get married, each person letting a little more of their feet float off the ground and trusting they won't come crashing down.  you have to be at the same place, equally balanced, for it to be right.  maybe someone is planning to propose and it's just around the corner.  and someone, somewhere, out of turn asks, "so, when are you two getting married?"  and awkwardness ensues.  it's not for everyone, marriage.  and that's ok.

and then, you get married.  and it's not long before the questions, once more, start to come again.  "so, when are you going to have a baby?"  because why not just get it all out in the open, right?  the fact that maybe you haven't talked about having kids?  that someone wants one and someone doesn't?  that maybe you've decided not to be parents?  or that -- worst of all -- you've been trying.  you've been struggling.  and you can't do it.  so sure, let's get it all out in the open, right?

one last thing guys.

never, ever, ever, under any circumstance, ask a woman if she's pregnant.  not because she didn't order a glass of wine at dinner.  not because she just threw up.  not because she skipped over her favorite sushi dinner.  not even if you saw a sonogram picture on her coffee table.  because you will offend her if she isn't pregnant.  she will feel like she looks bloated, or tired, or just fat.  or maybe, just maybe... she is pregnant.  and she isn't ready to tell you yet.  and i assure you, no one who is pregnant is just waiting for someone to ask so she can tell you all about it.

photo by hogger & co
step off, people.  let's just let everyone have their space a little.

ok, stepping off my soapbox now.