Thursday, June 30, 2011

Walking across the USA

We are ready to go tomorrow after a very fulfilling and lovely couple of weeks of summer school! We have been diligently packing for our road trip. First stop, Knoxville Tennessee to engage in a series of games, an Olympiad of Sorts, so we, the Gaurkees, can take the championship cup of awesomeness home proudly on our shoulders by defeating the Patels' and the Koshys' (should this be Koshi?) meager attempts at greatness. We will also be celebrating Independence Day and we have diligently selected our 4th of July outfits. Then we will make our way, with a possible strategic stop or two, towards Holland Michigan where we will visit the Hilgerts and meet Henning the newest addition to the clan. We will see the great state that looks like a hand (I had a good friend at summer camp for years that would show me his hand as the map of Michigan) and see the great lakes up close in Traverse City and then to Canada! Oh Canada, so many reasons why I like thee. I can't wait to see an tiny bitty slice of it. This is at least the first half of the plan. We will see where the road takes us.
me desperately trying to get her on video but failing so i took this photo

In the meantime, we have been packing. It turns out that packing for a 9 months old is a much harder than packing for an infant. More things to think about and consider. Last night as I was making my 89th mental list of things that needed to be grabbed, when my daughter stood up in the middle of the living room which she does often and took two glorious steps forward!

I was happy to have been there for that moment. Now to wait we to see if she does it again and if I can keep up!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Lydia can say NO! She says NO and shakes her head clearly from side to side. Clearly, she knows exactly what it means when another spoonful of organic Chicken Risotto from Earths Best (which sounds good but really is flavorless) comes towards her mouth but suddenly when she is about to smack the laptop she doesn't have a clue what I am talking about. Well, I take that back. She has a clue. She looks up at me with a sly little smile and a devious twinkle in her eye. I can only assume that she thinks that I will cave, that somehow the universe will alter her reality and she will be allowed to eat laptops, cell phones, remote controls and dvd players.

There are those moments in which she will look at me when I say NO and she falls intentionally on her butt and smacks her arms down in a pout. She normally has a loud disgruntle sigh that comes with it. It's hard not to laugh. I am not sure how parents around the world hold it together when these tiny people are so expressive. The worst is when Eliot is across the room and he will look at me when I am trying to redirect her and he starts cracking up from afar.

It really is funny but rationally I know that Lydia eating the dvd player when she is 6 won't be funny, and she may need other kinds of treatment if that becomes a pastime. But the reason you tell your 9 month old NO! now is so she won't be one of those kids that you cringe when you know they are coming over. My mom would always tell me not to be one of those kids. She would tell me the story of two twins that lived blocks away from her when she was young and the entire neighborhood would leave their breezy front porches and hide inside so their mom wouldn't stop to chat with them. Consequently, not wanting to be that lady (how sad not to have any support group) I will tell Lydia NO! hide my tickled snicker at her cute defiance and hope she will be rational enough as she gets older not to be a nightmare.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

She is on the move!

She has been crawling for awhile but she is speeding through the house and most of the time is doing a crab crawl where she has her feet flat on the floor but still has her hands down for balance.

Lydia is also a dancing machine! Any music she shakes it up! She has been doing the cha-cha with Abuela since she was just a couple of months home. Not to mention that salsa and the polka (Eliot's part German) are in her blood. Later in July we are doing a Kindermusik class that will be a great time!

Lydia also had her first pigtails! We are gearing up for our road trip of Fun Friend Visits in 10 days!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Religious Division

NPR and I are tight. If I was telling someone this in person I would cross my fingers and maybe even kiss them to express how tight we are. During graduation season I heard a news report about a high school senior that wanted to say a prayer at her commencement ceremony since she was the valedictorian. Because we need to make news out things that are not always news worthy there were political commentaries on the controversial speech. One expert witness stated " well, religion is always divisive..." and as he continued, my mind drfted and proceeded to get all worked up.

Why is religion divisive exactly? If this commencement speaker stated that she was going to pray, does that actually force others to do the same? Does that actually change the beliefs of someone in the audience? Would an atheist suddenly say...OH! So THERE IS A GOD! No. What it provides is a moment for the girl. The girl that is charged with the giving the speech. It brings me to my next question, is religion divisive or is it people? Recently I was teaching a group of freshmen about Islam when I realized that they have never lived in a world without the "war of tara", oops....I mean terror. They don't remember life before 9-11. They don't know anything about the images of Arabs without machine guns and of course the proverbial t-shirt that says MUSLIM. Consequently, I have students that began sentences such as, "so you know how all Muslims are terrorists...." And then after discussing that thoroughly another student states, "well most of them are." Really? 1.5 billion people all out to the the United States...we really are a super power! We have super powers from outer space apparently. As a nation we have ingested kryptonite. But I digress...

God is not the divide. God is not responsible for the atrocities of humanity. Don't blame God. I normally wouldn't think of myself as the individual marching on the steps of the capital chanting "allow prayer in schools" because well I don't anyone tell the children what to believe but rather school is meant to teach the children to think. To question. To investigate. To synthesize. And eventually to defend! To declare! To share! But really, don't pollute my NPR with bizzaro blanket statement propaganda about God or religion. Pretty sure, the commencement speaker didn't damn everyone to hell at the conclusion of her speech and thus it was a moment of reflection to be thankful for a celebration.

For me, humanity is interconnected. Faith is one. I could continue to rant. I could argue for religion or for God. For peace. For justice. For freedom of speech.  Instead, I will end with this:

May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

9 Months: Exhaustion

It has been a couple of weeks now since I have blogged. The reason for the this mini-sabbatical is exhaustion. I knew the moment that I went back to work in January that there was no harder or more tiring job on the planet than being a full time mom. Between taking care of the house and taking care of Lydia, the days speed by and I found myself wondering how it happened as I laid in bed at night for the past 2 weeks. Lydia helps around the house some, mostly with laundry.

We have had splash park play dates and pool time play dates. We have been to library story time. Even the stay home days are jam packed with meals, and playtime. Lydia loves her friends! Our entire living room has turned into Lydia's playroom by day. I move ottomans and chairs to create a fortress of fun for her and for me to be able to walk away without her crawling to Timbuktu. It has been absolutely amazing to wake up in the morning and squeeze her tight. Lay in bed together, sometimes watch the Today show as she bounces from pillow to pillow.

Yesterday I started summer school. So for the next two weeks, I will be back to business as usual before we take our road trip. It is hard to believe how fast time has gone. I know that everyone always says that and I try to hard not to think how life flies by us. Lydia is 18 pounds 12 ounces, she is 28 inches long and has a perfectly proportioned head of 17 1/4 inches. She babbles a lot but says Mama Dada and Tata (what she calls my mom) discriminately. She crawls faster than lightening and so often now does a crab crawl with her barefeet flat on the floor. She eats rice, Vienna sausages (recommended and encouraged by her pediatrician who says babies love the texture and it's a good source of iron) and every fruit you can imagine, though watermelon is hands down her favorite. She is amazing! And gifted of course.