Hello! This is a long post. But it's got pictures! And videos! And good old-fashioned words!
Settle in, won't you? Grab a cup of coffee or something.
Before I dive into this huge list I've made, I wanted to say thanks for all your thoughtful comments on my last post. That whole explosion of words came from a very insecure place deep within me. I have been writing for my entire life, and it is at times a tough gig, but if there is one thing I do know, it's that I am a writer. And I have to do it. And I have to do it honestly, from a place that is real and raw.
Like I said, I do get jealous sometimes. It's hard not to, when people out there (some of whom don't really deserve it) get paid to do this thing I love so much. Although I mentioned two bloggers by name in my last entry, I don't necessarily think that their popularity is undeserved. And apologies to those of you WHO USE ALL CAPS TO EMPHASIZE THE FACT THAT YOU'RE BEING CLEVER. I DIDN'T MEAN TO OFFEND YOU. I WAS JUST SAYING THAT I DON'T USE THAT PARTICULAR RHETORICAL DEVICE. NOPE. NEVER.
I do feel that blogging often is one big popularity contest, and some bloggers who have huge readerships aren't necessarily wonderful writers. I felt like that when I wrote poetry regularly. I would crack open the most recent issue of Poetry magazine and feel downtrodden when I saw the utter crap that graced its pages (not all of it, but the majority of it, it seemed) - all because the poet probably went to the right school or had an MFA. It was very discouraging and sometimes I felt (feel) like giving up.
I've been feeling that way about my blog lately, but it doesn't mean that I'm going to. I was just finding myself in a place where I was wondering, "Why do I do this?" I want to do it for the right reasons. I found myself wanting to do it for the wrong ones. But I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I suppose I may someday stop blogging, but no way in hell would I stop writing.
But there is something that I've been feeling the urges for months now but have been (honestly) too scared to sit down and see where they take me. I want to go back to my journal and begin writing once again as I used to. I want to invite the words to pour out of me, because they threaten to on a daily basis.
The last time I sat down and wrote in my journal, I started a poem about my birth experience. The words came from a place so hurt and sad and angry that it felt like it was happening all over again. The next day I found out that Jewelyn had died. And I haven't gone back to that poem since. Fear is a big reason.
But fear is actually not a reason to avoid doing something. So in February, I'm going to do it. Maybe I'll share. Although I don't usually share until I feel that something is pretty well polished.
(And thank you, really. I'm so glad to have you guys to talk to. I didn't mean to make anyone think that I was going to be saying goodbye or anything. This blog is a labor of love and such a great part of my life, and I'll keep at it until it runs its course.)
So many things happen on a daily basis, and I never really have the time or energy to blog most of them. Still, I hate to think of all these events being lost in a fog of mommy brain. I'd like to do a monthly post where I list all the noteworthy/fun/interesting occurrences of the month, some of them documented by photo/video and some not, some of them previously documented on here/Facebook/Twitter and some not.
January's list is rather long, and it surprised me when I was making it. Here it is, in no particular order:
1) I found out that my dad has a brain aneurysm. I don't have a lot of information about it right now, and I'm trying not to worry. However, anything out of the ordinary in his brain worries me since things are already so precarious for him. He doesn't need another brain issue. He has plenty. I'd really like for the universe to take it easy on him now. Please?
2) It rained a lot! And it snowed in certain areas of Southern California that don't normally get snow.
3) Roy and I did a week-long cleanse diet that only ended up being about five days. Yeah, we're wimps. But we did it and hopefully we're a little more healthy than we were. Some of those habits that we started during the cleanse seem to have carried over, like...
4) I seem to have kicked my Dr. Pepper habit. And I may even have kicked my caffeine habit. I'm not going to jinx myself but I'm doing okay without both. It's been two weeks since I had a Dr. Pepper.
5) Charlie started saying "dada." So. Effing. Cute.
6) I began making baby food in earnest. And I have to say that I love doing it. Yeah, it's a little bit more of a time commitment than popping open a jar of Gerber baby food. However, to me it's worth it. Jarred baby food is disgusting, in my opinion, and I sure as hell wouldn't eat it. So I don't expect Charlie to. So far, Charlie's had avocado, banana, carrots, green beans, pears, sweet potato, oatmeal, beans, and applesauce. All made by me. I love it. He loves it. The planet loves it.
(Disclaimer: No offense to those of you who feed your kiddo jarred food, really. Whatever works.)
7) I ordered a crap ton of photo gear. This was scary because it's effing expensive. I've needed some better lenses, a flash, etc. for quite awhile, but I have just been making do with what I've got. Since I have a party to photograph in February and a birth to shoot in March (plus other things coming up), I need good gear. I was also gifted a tripod and a wireless remote when we did our family gift exchange. So exciting!
8) I went to see my friend Cynthia's twin girls, who were born in mid-December. They were a little premature and both had to be in the NICU for a little while. However, they're both home now and doing great. I'm extra happy for Cynthia because she went through years of infertility and at times was unsure if she would ever have children. I know she's a great mama to Samantha and Ashley.
On a side note: when Cynthia had her C-section, the surgeon sliced through her bladder while performing the surgery. Cynthia had to leave her catheter in for a month after her surgery. Yet another reason to avoid a C-section if possible. She has healed up just fine, though - thankfully.
9) Pagan, who'd been a member of Roy's family for many years, passed away. She is missed greatly.
10) I began work on a new blog. (As if I needed another thing on my plate.) But it's been a long time coming. This is big and huge and exciting, and I wish I could share the link with you. But I'm not ready. In February, I hope.
11) I went to a sex toy party with Mandy. The consultant told me I should be doing sex toy parties. I think it had something to do with me clanging two big ol' dildos together while singing, "Don't Fear the Reaper." Because I gotta have more cowbell.
Yes, that's me holding a very giant and impressive dildo. For the record, I didn't order it. But I may have wanted to. I'll never tell.
12) In a moment of desperation one night, and after watching an online tutorial, I cut my own bangs, completely forgetting that I am challenged in the beautification department. What a horror show of giant proportions. I luckily got them fixed the next day.
13) Even though he's been able to roll over for some time now, Charlie threw caution to the wind and really began rolling, rolling, rolling to get where he wants to go. And sometimes blew raspberries for emphasis while doing so.
14) I caught up on editing photos. This was a huge undertaking. I still have some from December and this month to work on, but it's a hell of a lot better than where I was.
15) I started exercising again. I'm hoping in February that I will be a little more disciplined about it, as we continue to work towards a schedule around the house. Getting some exercise actually makes me feel pretty damn good, especially when my exercise of choice is walking up the mountain right by my house and having this as my view on the way up:
16) Charlie discovered his outside voice. It is, at times, hilarious. At other times, not so much.
17) I made a kick ass mix CD. I think a good mix can make or break a season. This one's called "Wintering" and it's been playing constantly around these parts. Some of the songs are by some new artists I've discovered: Basia Bulat (my current favorite), White Rabbits, Soap&Skin, and The Tiny. I discovered the latter two thanks to Kari, who has the best taste in music - next to me, of course.
18) Charlie's friend Luke turned had his first birthday party. I photographed the pirate-themed event, all the while thinking that in just a few short months, Charlie will be having a first birthday party of his own.
19) We re-entered the evil and frustrating world of sleep training for naps. Last week was tough, but this week I began the week with a new attitude. I took an honest look at what I'd been doing for Charlie's naps and realized that I probably hadn't been consistent enough. So I began a naptime routine with him and made it very similar to his nighttime routine. The very first time I tried it, he went to sleep in his crib. And he's done it ever since. Sometimes the naps aren't long, but at least I can say that I finally have a crib napper. I am so proud of both him and myself.
20) I was given several beautiful handmade gifts. A camera strap and bookmark from Amber and a key chain from Mandy. I love love love handmade gifts, and I can't wait to get my craft on in the future. Thanks for thinking of me, ladies!
21) Charlie weighed in at 24 pounds 3 ounces at his doctor's appointment at the beginning of the month. He can wear anywhere from 6-18 months in clothing, depending on the item of clothing and brand. He's a big ol' chubster but we wouldn't have it any other way.
22) I won a giveaway on bluebirdbaby: a print from this Etsy shop! This is the print I picked:
23) Charlie demonstrated his love for sucking on his parents' noses. Many, many times.
24) Roy and I had a wonderful night out with friends. I love that I had the opportunity to get a little wasted.
25) Charlie did a lot of swimming. Or maybe flying. Something.
26) I picked my word for the year, the word that I want to define my year. More on that later.
27) I read five books. My goal for this year is to read five books a month - or to end the year with a total of 60 books read. Reading really took a backseat to pregnancy and motherhood in 2009, but in 2010, I'd like to get back to it more. I've missed it.
Here are the books I read this month:
-Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty - This was a cute YA book. I enjoyed it. But I had to stop and think about whether I wanted to continue the series. Then I realized that if I had to think about it, I probably really didn't want to. So I probably won't. I have so many other books on my shelf that I'm much more excited about.
-Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers - This book was highly recommended by Jessica, and having read Summers' first book and loving it, I was excited to read this one. And I wasn't disappointed. This book was intense. I literally had physiological reactions to some of the events contained within. I don't want to reveal too much, but I will say that it's a book about bullying and it's incredibly powerful. I loved it. I loved it so much I'm keeping it.
-Bag of Bones by Stephen King - This was a reread. I read this back in 1998 when it was first released; that was when I was still reading Stephen King on a regular basis. I have since outgrown Stephen King, and this book made me understand why. While I enjoyed this book, I felt that so much of the 700+ pages was mere fluff and could have been cut. The story is good, and the writing is fine. Not great, but fine. I cried when I read this way back when, but this time there were no tears. Probably because I was too distracted by all the extra words that didn't need to be there.
-Echo by Francesca Lia Block - I've read quite a few of Block's books, and I always zip right through them. This book in particular was probably my favorite of hers. It's a nicely woven tale about a girl named Echo and the people in her life. The chapters of the book seem to be independent stories, but as you make your way through the book, you realize all the stories are connected - as are all the characters. And then there's the matter of Block's writing style, which always makes me want to eat tons of fruit and chocolate and paint lots of surreal landscapes. (That's a good thing.) Overall, I'd recommend this book.
-Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood by Naomi Wolf - My mother-in-law let me borrow this, and I have to say that it really resonated with me. Wolf (the author) had an unnecessary C-section, like me, and from that experience, this book was born. In her words, I found more of an understanding of myself and my own birth experience. She was able to express things that I haven't been able to yet. I really loved this book, especially the first part of it. The second half or so kind of dragged on it in places, but it contains some really important and helpful information about the medical industry's treatment of mothers-to-be and laboring women. Wolf is a really wonderful writer, very expressive, and I think this is an important book for expectant mothers, as well as people like myself, who have had disappointing and traumatic birth experiences.
28) And while we're on the subject of books, RIP JD Salinger. I didn't have a crush on Holden Caulfield, but I sure as hell wanted to be him.
29) And lastly, the event that has been on everyone's mind: the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Words really and truly fail me.
Wow, I sure as hell can cram a whole lot of stuff into one post.
And that, my friends, was January. An interesting start to the new year. How was yours?