impromptu double nap, originally uploaded by kelanew.

i'm writing this post from the car (hurray for wifi), sitting with eva parked in our driveway. it's about 68 degrees, and we have the windows open, listening to the sounds of rush hour traffic as people head home for dinner. we're also listening to the radio -- it started on NPR, until eva tired of my "woman radio" and changed it to her "kid music" CD. she's in the driver's seat right now in more ways than one. she keeps changing tracks or stations, adjusting the volume to her liking.

as it turns out (and you may be surprised by our spontaneity in vacation plans), eva is driving us to the airport so that we can then fly to guatemala. apparently, we'll see all of our cousins there. just now, she buckled her bear into the car seat (correctly, too, quite snugly tightened), and both eva and i have our seat belts on as well ("so we can be safe").

why are we sitting in the driveway at 6 pm? well, it all started at 3:00 while driving home from our ice cream date, when i suddenly decided that i must, absolutely right now, clean out the car.

the car has been a huge mess for a few months -- traveling nonstop contributes to this, as does taking a month's worth of stuff plus everything christmas to college station in december. the poor car never really recovered from that. i think we had four of eva's hats, three of her pairs of shoes (one outgrown), and a coat or two for each family member all in the back seat. i feel overwhelmed by such things -- if it's not simple to tidy it up, why even start? -- and the car is just a microcosm of the house. i'm seriously done with the clutter, but feel helpless to overcome it. that's something i need to figure out before this new baby arrives.

so, at 3:00, frustration or a surge of can-do-it spirit or (and this is most likely) nesting urges brought on by pregnancy hormones caused me to drive straight to the car wash place. i did it by hand, feeding quarter after quarter of hope and cleanliness into the little slot. i cleaned every surface of this car, places such as the crevices of the air conditioning vents and the weatherstripping inside the trunk lid. it took two hours. i think the attendant was chuckling to himself watching me -- for all i know, he sees pregnant women scouring the hinges of their car doors on a regular basis.

upon returning home, we showed larry the fruits of our labor, and then eva refused to get out of the car. i so rarely let her play in the driver's seat for an extended period of time, so she's pretty much on cloud nine. now that the street lights and traffic head lights have come on, i think i might try anew to convince her to go inside. i think she gets the power of the driver's seat, and is hesitant to give it up. however, the power of my rumbling stomach will soon tip the balance, and all we have in the car is water and oatios.

who knows, next time i might be blogging from a sturdy branch of a tree.


enough to go around

lash II, originally uploaded by kelanew.

earlier today, eva was feeling generally a bit put out, about life and the state of things (such as the relative number of peas in each of her two bowls at lunch, or the fact that larry lifted her breakfast bagel from the toaster by placing the tongs on the wide edge rather than the preferred narrow edge of said bagel). sometimes she has a lot of rules -- let's call them "strong preferences". i think that just means she's two; larry taunts me that it means she's just like me, and the truth is likely somewhere in between.

speaking of preferences, for the most part, i try not to interfere with her little projects and such if it's not really hurting anything. a little chaos is fine with me. but it seems that i will express my own... um, preferences... when it comes to large amounts of waste. encountering her in the midst of emptying an entire sheet of 42 cent stamps onto the leg of the kitchen cart, i explained that those stickers were special (along with the rudiments of the concept of postage) and suggested that we not waste them. more often, i present "waste" in environmental terms -- why we can't leave the sink running (even if we're sure we're going to come back later to finish washing our hands), or why we put certain things in the recycling rather than the trash, so it can be made into something new. avoiding these sorts of waste is good for the earth.

but you never know if these concepts are sinking in or not. sometimes they take hold in a way you don't anticipate.

so earlier today, when eva was protesting the state of her peas and the bagel tongs, i found myself taking her face in my hands, overcome with the need to give her lots of kisses. i smooched my way from her temple to her chin and was moving up the other side when she stopped me in cheerful protest.

"mama, that's too many kisses!"
i countered, "no, no, it's not. i need to give you lots and lots of kisses."
"but don't give me so many kisses, you will waste them!"

well played, eva, well played. but you should know, kisses are a renewable resource.



sibling conversation, originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

so, i'm often asked what we're going to do when the baby is born and eva insists on calling her panowah. i may end up eating these words, but i really, strongly believe it's a non-issue. she's smart. a month ago, she insisted the baby was a girl and wouldn't hear otherwise, but now after we've discussed it a few times, she understands the gender is an unknown. (so now with great frequency she asks me rhetorically, "mama, do we know if the baby will be a boy or a girl?" similarly, she gets that there's a name for the baby when it's inside and that there will be a new one when the baby comes out (which, she hopes, will be any day now.)

eva, what should we name the baby when it comes out if it's a boy?
"um... saint nick!"
okay, that's a good option. but if we don't choose saint nick, then what should we name the baby if it's a boy?
"um... we should name him 'boy plane'."
boy plane?
hmm. well, what if the baby is a girl, then what should we name her?
well, but remember, panowah is a name for inside babies. what about when she comes out?
okay, but what if we don't name her lemony, then what should we choose?
"panowary." (rhymes with "january")
well, that sounds like panowah. do you have another idea for a girl?
"well, we'll just name her 'boy plane'."

now (for the moment) she's fixated on saint nick. "mama, when panowah comes out, then her name will be saint nick!" so you see, everyone, it will be fine. she won't continue to call the baby panowah forever. instead, she'll call her something much more appropriate. like boy plane. :)

the whole panowah thing in the first place is a function of how absorbed she is in the concept of the new baby. she talks about it endlessly, draws pictures for the baby, shares her toys with the baby (by setting them on my belly shelf ), and comes over to give the baby hugs and kisses (and *just* the baby -- if i try to join in, i'm often rebuffed, "no mama, i'm just hugging panowah, not you." well then.). she all but smothers every other baby we're around, and she refers to herself as "the big sister" as often as not. and i think all that energy needs to be directed at something concrete, something with a name... it's far less satisfying to fall in love with a nameless, genderless, belly-obscured lump.

so, panowah, or lemony, or whoever you are (and we *so* promise your sister will not under any circumstances be allowed to name you, even if she throws a months-long tantrum about it), you have no idea how much we all love you already. earlier, eva was jumping up and down squealing, and when questioned, said "i'm jumping crazy because i'm so excited about my baby!" we can hardly wait to meet you, and find out more about who you are.

[photo: 20 weeks pregnant to the day, on new year's eve.]


dear santa

dear santa, originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

on christmas eve, karen and john and larry and i helped eva and sarah write a letter to santa. we suggested some general topics, but the words are theirs (well, toward the end they got a bit more distracted. the most humorous part was when i suggested they tell santa who was in their family, who they loved. eva piped up with "i love uncle john!" aww, nice. anyone else? hmm, ... silence. no one else of note, it seems. :)

Dear Santa,
Baby Katherine is very little. She likes to lay down. We have milk and cookies for you. Sarah and Eva made the cookies and everybody helped. Find the cookies near the fireplace. Santa, you will say "ho, ho, ho"! We are all at Gram's house in College Station. Today we played in the morning, and we played outside. Does Santa want to play outside? That's Panowah in Mama(Kristy)'s belly, and Katherine is out of Mama(Karen)'s belly. I love Uncle John.
Thank you for visiting us.
Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas.
From, Eva and Sarah

merry christmas!

reading hug

we had as nice a christmas as could be expected under the circumstances. as you can see, rita got all of us matching striped pajamas, so we had fun being all stripey and a bit silly. it was a mix of good times and hard times. i expect it will continue that way for a while.

one month

tomorrow, one month will have passed since dick died. there are no words i could write here that would begin to summarize anything about his life or about the void he has left, so i'll leave that to others.

at this memorial page, you will find links to the obituary, news release, and an article in the college station paper (both lovely articles). there is also a link to condolence messages posted by colleagues and friends -- not surprisingly, there are a great number of messages, but it's worth glancing through some. from several continents, from student workers to college presidents and beyond, he was much beloved by so many...

i don't know what else to say. it still only seems real in short bursts, and my brain finds the news shocking every single time. as confusing as it is for we adults, the little ones are only marginally protected by their lack of full understanding. below is a sweet and sad conversation i had with eva just before christmas as while were laying together as she was falling asleep -- she's so clearly trying to make sense of something that her brain is simply not equipped to understand yet.

"mama, i miss grampie."
what? (because i didn't quite understand her at first)
'i'm sad because grampie went away."
oh, i know, sweetheart, i'm sad about that, too.
(short pause, wheels visibly turning)
"where did grampie go?"
well, i don't really know, eva. he died, which means he went away and he can't come back. his body got very, very sick and can't work anymore. but we can think about him, and tell stories about him...
(several minute sleepy pause, then she rolled back to face me with a questioning look)
"but i still don't know where grampie went. i've been trying to find him."

it made me cry then, and it makes me cry reading it now. for so, so many, there is a long path ahead that simply must be traveled, somehow.