I like when life looks pretty

an array of photos from our san francisco trip

San Francisco 2014: the trip was full of real life, including a lot of beautiful moments.

I only casually believe in getting real-real on social media — sharing the nitty gritty alongside pretty memories.

But mostly, I say, make it the pretty things you record and share. These are the things I come back to over and over, flipping through them like old family photo albums (I’ve already looked back through my entire 2,000+ collection of baby photos a half-dozen times since King was born).

What good is it to waste any more time on the things that went a little sour?

I want my memories sweet sweet sweet.

Black coffee

brewing coffee using chemex

This is not the coffee I thought I’d be drinking.

So, I don’t officially buy into the notion that drinking coffee black is the only real way to drink it. I drank it with cream and sugar for the longest time. I dropped the sugar several years ago and discovered that coffee + cream made for a cup that tasted like I always imaged the very perfect cup of coffee should taste.

That cream, man. I could never give it up. I tried to — usually only if we’d made coffee at home before I realized we were out of cream (serious, full-fat, heavy whipping cream is my favorite). And every time, I was plunged into mild despair over my ruined coffee experience. Because I tried, but I failed to like that black cup.

And then I had a baby.

And then my husband and I read The China Study and we both got interested in the idea of eating vegan-ish.

And then my 6-week-old baby puked her guts out after every time I ate cheese.

So I spent a couple of months living in the wake of this confluence of events — a body changed by the baby, habits changed for the baby. I didn’t give up the cream in my coffee, but I cut out dairy almost everywhere else.

And THEN — one day we ran out of cream. I made coffee. I took a sip of it, black.

And it tasted damn good to me. Damn good.

I don’t know if it was the body changes, or the fact that my taste buds had evolved through those dietary changes. But every morning cup of coffee since has been black. Afternoon coffee-shop coffees are still a treat, and I still pour in that cream. But if I’m being honest with myself, I enjoy the memory of coffee+cream more than I enjoy the actual taste. That afternoon cream is gonna go, I can feel it.

Mostly this is amazing to me because I never was ever gonna ever ever give up cream in my coffee. No way.

Life, man.

The importance of life lines

life-line-walking

Getting out into the world around us.

Before bird got out into the world, I decided to pay attention to the things I’ve learned about myself. Namely, the things I’ve learned about how I do (or don’t) manage my time; how I do (or don’t) meet my goals; how I do (or don’t) get myself off the couch and into the world.

I am the object at rest that stays at rest. Some people — I see them every day (I see this in my husband) — are objects in motion that stay in motion. I need the outside force.

I’ve been content for a long time to be that still thing. Content but not really happy. I could nap like a champ, happily drifting into sleep only to wake up regretting that I’d cut out hours from my day.

With a little baby coming, I knew that I wanted to move move move myself into more of life. I wanted to show bird how to do it, too.

So I decided to act against my contentedness and start collecting some outside forces. These were going to be the life lines I wanted to tug me back into a productive life soon after the baby got here.

The life lines

The life lines are people and things. The things are goals. I started reaching out to folks while I was still pregnant. I told them what I wanted for myself once the baby was here, and I recruited them to help keep me honest. The goals are all old goals. Nonetheless it was important to me to remind myself of them and to proclaim them to other folks — to make them a living part of my life.

The people

» My husband, whose unstoppable force is inspiration every day. If I think it can be done, I know it can be done when I consider that Patrick fills his day with work and pastime. What he knows is everything, so he’s been an excellent cheerleader for my fitness and food goals, and for my getting-out-of-the-house goals.

» My best friend, Mela, who jumped into mamahood about ten months before I did, and who inspires me all the way from her home in San Francisco to pick up my sewing projects, make the food, take the baby out on sunny days. What she knows is everything, too, but more specifically she knows the struggle that comes with making that everything happen when there is a little baby who just wants to live on my boob or in my arms.

» My friends at Camino, who I miss! I knew I would miss them, so I made sure to proclaim months ago that once I was ready to get out of the house, I would be getting out of the house expressly to visit them. And I have! What they know is my wacky-weird self, and they totally embrace it. It actually took a couple of visits to feel fully like myself again — to joke the same way, to jump in and help ring up customers, to talk coffee philosophy and catch up on everyone’s lives. Once I settled back in, it felt so good to exercise that part of my brain and my persona.

» A team of people who know my fitness goals. This includes my family — me, my parents, and one of my brothers have FitBits, and we are cheering each other! And my sister-in-law, Mela, and a few Winston-Salem friends know that I have athletic goals for the year. Before the baby was born, I recruited them all to help me kick-start a postpartum fitness routine. In a couple of weeks, I’ll have a couple of running and cycling buddies to go on exercise dates with!

And the goals get their own entire write-up. Until next time …

One month old!

Our little bird was born one month ago today.

little-bird-4

Some things I’ve learned in a month with this little person:

» What it looks like when she’s still hungry but needs a burp.

» How to sleep with her beside me without freaking out that I might roll over and smother her.

» Kind of sort of how to breastfeed in public. Sort of. Kind of.

» How to put her down for a nap and go do something around the house. (It didn’t take me any time at all to learn how to hold her for hours and hours.)

» How to eat and drink almost every meal one-handed.

little-bird-3

» How to sooth her without putting her straight on the boob (swaying, swaddling, shh-shh-shhh-ing).

» How to let her cry for just a little bit to see if she’ll start to calm herself.

little-bird-2

» That I’m in love with this little lady, but sometimes being a mom to a teeny one has its boring moments and its frustrations. And that’s OK.

» That baby farts are hilarious and cute every. single. time.

little-bird-1

One month! We partied pretty hard.

Our little woman King

Four weeks ago tomorrow, this little face came into our home, and we named her King.

babybird-out

I’ve wanted to be a mom for so long that not much surprised me about her sudden entrance into our world. They put her on my chest all gooey and crying, and I went from focusing all my thoughts and energy on the hard work of labor, to feeling supremely content.

I expected maybe a wave of emotions, or to feel a switch click. Instead my internal monologue might have been more like this (if it had been translatable): “Oh hi, baby girl! You’re here! Finally! Now let’s hug.”

My youngest brother saw me very soon after delivery and later described my entire demeanor as “forever chill.” We talked about how cute the baby was and how awesome it was that she was finally here, and then he and I went on a tangent (how?!) about food philosophy. It was two in the morning and I was amped to talk about the new ways I was learning to eat right (in the middle of reading The China Study).

I have been surprised here and there, though. And the very first surprise I got was this: I’m happy happy happy for friends and family to hold her and give her love, but as soon as I get her back, I realize that I’ve missed her. I actually exclaimed it once. “I missed you!!” And I already know her little face. And I love when it is near my face.

Missing her! After sometimes just a half-hour of her being with someone else. What a strange and really wonderful thing.

There is so much more to say. I’ve thought of at least a dozen things to share. But they’re all crowding my brain — along with wanting not much more than to just cuddle my little bit — and so these thoughts will probably dribble out at an excruciating pace. Slow.

But slow is just fine. Little baby King, did you hear me? Slow is exactly where we all need to be right now. Don’t grow too too fast.