Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Winter Recap

Naw Ruz (the Baha'i new year) has arrived! (Yes, I started this post more than a month ago, but I'm finishing it WAY before next Naw Ruz. So. many. points. for. me.) It seems timely to briefly mention some key events over the last few months...

10.30.13: Isaiah was born. I have never been so deeply happy and content and complete. Somehow his arrival shifted everything else around in my life and heart to settle squarely on balanced.
Seriously, we LOVE this boy. His seemingly endless smiles showered upon family and strangers alike are just...well...I can't even talk about it in a coherent way. Just come and let him smile at you and you will feel your whole heart smiling back.
His best quality: sleeping when tired. Yes, it is too a quality. I've never had a child who does this. It's awesome. He LOVES his daddy. He discovered his (loud) voice. He decided he actually likes the car. He loves his sisters. He gets scared easily. He doesn't like to be put down or carried in a carrier. He loves new people and places. He blows raspberries. He's trying to roll over.  He tried a couple times to roll over a loong time ago and realized he actually had no interest in such activities whatsoever. Sitting, on the other hand, is totally his thing. He sucks his thumb when he's tired. He has teeth!!

Two teeth baby!

We got lice in December. Mostly, I got lice and the girls got a louse or two. Which one of us is in preschool?? My head was crazy itchy for a couple of weeks at least before I had any idea. At which point I learned that the panic/paranoia/obsessive-campaign-to-eradicate was very much an American response when held up against my husband's shrug-of-the-shoulders, we-got-it-all-the-time mentality.  As much as I admire his even keel, it was not what got rid of the infestation. Nor was it poison-in-a-bottle-which-doesn't-work-anyway. The prize goes to an entire bottle of olive oil, a few bottles of dollar store conditioner spiked with tea tree oil, a tiny comb, and many sacrificed hours. We have never had a relapse, but that doesn't stop me from reaching for that tiny comb every time I itch my head--just to be sure and all.

Shortly after Isaiah was born, the girls embarked upon a dedicated and persistent fascination with all things birth. Neither had any interest in being present at their brother's birth, but a few weeks later they suddenly could not get enough. They have poured over Lennart Nilsson's "A Child is Born,"  spent many hours playing 'Midwife,' and watched countless videos on Youtube, all of which I screened for unnecessary intervention, fear-based models, and foul language, but of which I otherwise did not censor whatsoever. This means they have seen and fully understand what labor and birth can entail, ranging from (relatively) easy, peaceful births to very intense, often painful births. My mother cannot watch what they watch. I want them to know what a woman's body is capable of. I want them to know that it is rarely easy, but that it can be peaceful. I want them to know that it always pushes a mother to her edge, but never beyond. I want them to know that it is the most difficult, rewarding, and empowering experience they will ever go through. And most importantly, I want them to know and trust that their bodies were designed to bring life into the world, should they choose to do so.
We have weekly children's classes and 'pray dates' in our home. This year, I stepped down from teaching children's classes, and we currently have a team of four (four!) teachers. Each class focuses on a spiritual concept (truthfulness, service to others, the unity of mankind...) and uses the Ruhi lesson plans. It has been wonderful watching this community of young and old(er) develop bonds of love and friendship--a microcosm of future generations. 

Our pray dates for 0- 3 year-olds have been going on for more than a year now and they quite literally have been the answer to my prayers. Laid back enough to allow for the organic evolution of the deep friendships I so desperately needed, and structured enough to anchor both the children and adults in a lovely routine of prayers, songs, story, and movement. I feel blessed to be part of a grassroots community-building space that I hope continues to grow.

Violet turned 3. We had a perfectly lovely party at home. Sledding, fishing, bowling, snow (inside), play dough cookies, purple frosted cupcakes, and Pin the Heart on Violet.

Samaya made that shirt for her.

We went out for coffee. and ice cream.

It snowed. repeatedly.

(No, I absolutely did not take this while driving with 3 kids...)

We spent many a winter hour in front of the fire with a good book. or three.

I learned to clean up the house before I sleep. And then I forgot. And then I relearned. And then I forgot. And then I remembered to at least clean up the kitchen so I could spend the next day doing something besides cleaning up yesterday's mess. Or at least have room to cook and make a new mess.

Ayyam-i-Ha happened. The kindness elves dutifully arrived 19 days before to assign us acts of kindness. And when the celebration began, they gave us clues to find our gifts. We made cookie cutter cookies (with cashew flour!) for Samaya and Mora's preschool class and read 'Maggie Celebrates Ayyam-i-Ha' to the class. We made bird feeders for our feathered friends. We delivered cookies to friends. We had a ballet recital! 

A ballet recital! A most generous friend has been teaching ballet to Samaya, Violet, and Mora for the last several months and they had their first 'show of work' at the end of February. It was sweet and joyful and oh-so-hilarious.

Isaiah got at least one bath. This photo serves as proof. There are benefits to being number 3 (for instance, your mom is so much more chill), but cleanliness is not one of them. Basically, you get bathed if you stink. Which could take a while if you are a baby. 

Violet wrote the alphabet. WITHOUT THROWING A TANTRUM. Perfectionism...a blessing and a curse. 

I turned 30 and Sisay turned 64.

We celebrated Naw-Ruz with our traditional family trip to the pool and a party in the evening.

We are currently celebrating Ridvan, the period of time when Baha'u'llah stayed on an island outside the city of Baghdad, and announced that He was the Promised One for today.