Someone turned four last week. I would have made this post earlier, but something always got in the way.

Then I realized, maybe the reason I’ve hesitated to write this is because I’m having a difficult time accepting that my “baby” is four years old.

It’s so much harder the last time around.

Happy birthday, Gwen. No matter how old you get, you’ll always be my baby.

Variations on a theme

JokesterGwen: “Knock knock!”
Me: “Who’s there?”
Gwen: “The interrupting butt.”
Me: “The interrupting bu —”

Gwen: “Knock knock!”
Me: “Who’s there?”
Gwen: “The interrupting horse.”
Me: “The interrupting ho —”
Gwen: “MOOOOO!”
Me: “Moo? I thought it was a horse.”
Gwen: “Yeah, the cow kinda got in the joke.”

in june

Did I mention there was wine?
Did I mention there was wine?

The last few months have been a roller coaster of anxiety, sadness, and depression, so it was a relief when things started feeling inexplicably lighter. It comes in waves, I guess, and right now I’m enjoying calm waters.

Tim took the kids to visit their grandparents a couple weeks ago, so I got some impromptu time off. I questioned whether I might miss out on the family fun, but I’m glad I stayed. I can’t remember the last time I was truly alone for more than a few hours at a stretch, with the exception of traveling for work. I spent the time in the most mundane ways — napping, grocery shopping, making food, watching movies, plucking away at that third book. It was basically the perfect weekend.

Gillian Anderson as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named DesireI also started planning a trip to New York City for next spring, an early Mother’s Day gift to myself. A Streetcar Named Desire is coming to the city in April, and I bought tickets on a whim. Gillian Anderson plays Blanche, and seeing her in a live production is an experience I can’t miss. I haven’t been to NYC since I was a kid, so I plan to take a couple days to explore as well.

Then I discovered GA is coming to Boston Comic Con in August, so guess who’s going to her first-ever comic con? This gal! We’re not sure yet if I’ll fly down for the day, or if Tim and I will make a longer trip of it with the kids. I’m leaning toward taking vacation and spending a few days in Boston as a family; my brother has graciously offered us his guest room, so our lodging is free! Gwen is old enough to enjoy the science museum and the aquarium, and Ellie will get a kick out of meeting “Scully”.

"Work from anywhere? Just *try* to work from anywhere, you mean."
“Work from anywhere? Just *try* to work from anywhere, you mean.”

We’re on month four without a nanny or sitter, and working alongside an active three-year-old for most of the day has been interesting, but not impossible. I’m surprised I’ve gotten anything done at all, frankly. My expectations going into this were low. But the real challenge began earlier this month; Ellie started summer vacation!

Having both kids at home has been surprisingly OK. Ellie is good about finding creative ways to spend her time. So far we’ve built a lot of LEGOs, she and Gwen made up a play (El even designed and built the set out of cardboard boxes), and Ellie comes up with all sorts of games and stories. If anything, having her here makes it easier, giving Gwen a full-time playmate. I am so glad they get along.

Making a splash
Making a splash

On weekends we try to get out of the house; we’ve spent some time at the lake, took a trip to Bangor, and eaten more than our fair share of ice cream. So far, summer is off to a good start.

In terms of work, I’ve been so focused on home stuff that I’m feeling a bit disconnected, operating on autopilot. Grief is like a big glass wall; you can see everyone on the other side, and you can talk to them, but there’s this muted quality to everything. I’ve also been in something of a creative rut. Thankfully this seems to be mild. I’ve been working on a new WordPress theme which has reminded me how much better I feel when I’m making things.

I’m also distracting myself with X-Files geekiness and working on my book, which has almost finished a second edit. It’s been a long process, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve also been mulling over a post on fandom and my experience as a fan, in light of the upcoming X-Files revival.

Digging my way out from under the snow…

…to write something for once!

Halloween was a bit of a non-event this year; I decided not to pretend to be Mother of the Year (who am I fooling, anyway?) and bought costumes for the kids rather than trying to home-ec it. Ellie wanted to be a ballerina, making it easy on us, since we knew she’d be starting ballet lessons and needed the gear. Gwen wanted to be a witch, so I went to Target and found a costume that was cute, relatively inexpensive, and should last through many dress-up play sessions long after the Halloween candy is gone.

The actual trick-or-treating was even more low-key; we hit up a grand total of six houses before the kids lost interest, then went to an old friend’s Halloween party, which proved more fun (for both adults and kids) than wandering the streets in pursuit of buckets of sugar. Halloween: Accomplished.

Ellie started ballet lessons last month, and so begins the phase of parenthood where we shuffle kids to and fro for various activities. She was pretty discouraged after her first lesson — she takes after her mama and doesn’t like to do anything she’s not perfect at — but after her second lesson seemed to settle in, plus she has a bunch of friends from school in the class. I don’t know how we’re going to keep up with her social life.

We rung in the first of November with a massive winter storm that knocked out the power and dumped 21 inches of heavy, wet snow on the ground. It’s not unusual for us to have snow before Halloween, but two feet is a local record. I haven’t recovered from last winter yet, so having fall cut short is not my idea of a good time. At least the kids were thrilled.

I’ve kept myself busy with writing…but not the book. I considered doing NaNoWriMo this month, but given everything else that’s going on decided against it. I don’t need another book right now. I need to finish the series I started, and stop getting distracted by vignettes and short stories. Although now I have this idea in my head for a Walking Dead/X-Files crossover fic…

Speaking of zombies, I’ve been walking more lately, thanks to the treadmill, The Walking Dead on Netflix, and Fitbit’s new Weekly Challenges feature. One of my coworkers started a work-week challenge, so I’m keeping a closer eye on my step count. Also, I’m a teensy bit competitive. And now I really want to set up the treadmill with a desk or shelf of some kind so I can walk while I work.

We’ve been mostly sitter-less for the last couple weeks, so my patience has been worn to a fine thread. I love my children, I really do, but I think a date night is in order very soon.

Five and Two

I love these photos; they illustrate the girls’ different personalities perfectly.

Ellie is cautious, but still curious, and does everything at her own pace. She refused to touch the frog without pulling her sleeves over her hands, and just look at the reserve-slash-wonder on her face! Priceless.

Gwen is relaxed, not afraid to get her hands dirty, and wild but gentle. Note the mischievous finger-in-the-mouth grin. She was responsible for capturing the frog, and then she kissed it. Twice.