We enjoyed four full days of Family Day, much cupcake eating, antique and thrift store browsing, flea market shopping, marathon Freaks and Geeks watching and sushi eating went on. Our Guy works ten, sometimes,  twelve hour days, six days a week. Having two free days in a row is a treat, four was downright luxurious for us all.

Now that August is a year old,  my record hunting has just started up again.  She seems to enjoy the activity and  allows me enough time to search through three bins or so before becoming fussy that we have stopped walking around. I find myself returning to lounge and jazz.

I wasted seven prints using my Lomo Instant Diana camera but now that I know it cannot be used indoors no matter how much  light you have going on, it's been a favorite camera to take outside. Spring has finally arrived in Oklahoma, no more 32 and below I hope.

The bright blues and greens outside coupled with the images in August's board books have me wanting to paint again. I have not painted since I did these, a few years ago. I have come to like them more and more, at the time I loathed them.

Like last year...


Here Comes August

Tomorrow morning at 10:40am, August turns a year old. I am unable to sleep tonight, excited about her gifts and small party. Since midnight of the 23rd, I have not been able to shake the memories of how I labored with her last year. I had been awake since the 22nd, even woke up early for an appointment because she was over 40 weeks. I didn't really didn't get more than three hours of solid sleep that night or any other night. I was not able to sleep those last few weeks. I didn't fall asleep until the afternoon of the 25th, my new baby in my arms.

Looking back, I am amazed at what I did. Who was that person with all that courage and strength, fearless and determined? I remember watching the sunrise, dewy mornings, walking around by the lake, Mexican  hot chocolate and my arms around Jacob's neck. I remember the miso soup he made me, the playlists I made and listened to, the darkness outside and how the rooms looked lit in the wee hours. The stillness of the night interrupted by us heading for the hospital, it was an hour away in Beaumont. A very long drive. Into a brightly lit hospital at 4am, not knowing what would happen next. All the while, August was calm and she remained so until she made her entry at 10:40am. Her cry, my tears. I kissed her tight, chubby little cheek and she stopped crying instantly and kissed me back. By my side ever since.

The three of us remained together from the moment she was born and for the next two days in the hospital room. We continued the Babymoon in Woodville. From here, it still seems so very long ago. I have looked at the photos and watched the movies and still, nothing makes those days feel like yesterday. I have taken in this year like I have no other. It has been 365 days of gratitude and being present. Not a day has escaped without a photo or recording of some sort, not a day that I didn't smell her head or feet and not a day without true love.

Tonight her Papi took her out to get dinner while I decorated a room for her party. I labored briefly pinning streamers from one side of the room to the other. This time, last year, I thought, I never once thought of the future. Tonight I look over at her and she still smiles in her sleep. Happy Birthday, My Lovely Girl, we are so blessed and in love with you.


Scenes from a Birthday

I have truly always loved my birthday: the month and day it falls on, magical number 21, I even find the famous people I share it with amusing. I especially love that it is in the spring, I cannot remember waking up to a bad day on my birthday. This year my birthday fell on Family Day and so we went to the zoo.

Later we decided to go to the races. I found the sights and sounds of the racetrack quite intoxicating. Just walking through the lobby I picked up on all the goings on. Hearing the bets being placed, watching how the men watched the screens, the voices and expressions on their faces... Outside at the track there were horses everywhere. A race had just finished. Once we placed a bet, something we learned to do only minutes before the next race, we sat in the evening sun, by the finish line.  We won!

Finally, Happy Birthday... The biggest and most gratuitous Pavlova to date. I think I smiled all day, it was  wonderful, special and already, carefully preserved in my heart. I loved my birthday♥


Family Day

"A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood," Rachel Carson 

...and so, after reading Margaret Wise's The Big Red Barn, a favorite around here, in fact I can recite it from memory, we headed for a petting zoo. I thought August should experience the animals we read about [and Mommy could get her fur and feather fix]. So many books for children talk about livestock and I was becoming frustrated not being able to have August see, hear, touch and smell these sweet animals that I grew up around. While she s only 11 months old, I feel she will take in what she can and might even store a tidbit or two in her little head. It might one day become a hazy, blurry, dreamy memory like the very few, brief ones I have stored, of sights and sounds that were experienced before I could speak. 

The drive to Peek-A-Boo Petting Zoo took us into a part of Oklahoma that impressed me and fell in love with. Gone were the flats, grasses and small rolling hills. We entered optimistic topography, beautiful valleys, winding, tree lined country roads, lakes, even some purple wild flowers were spotted along the way. It was an idyllic day to say the least, temperate not a cloud in the sky, spring.

I could hardly contain myself as we approached the farm. Peek-A-Boo is a working farm that is open to the public as a petting zoo if the weather is nice and  the owners complete their chores. The place was just like The Big Red Barn, sans the red barn.

"The sheep and the donkeys, the geese and the goats, were all making funny noises down in their throats..." 

Upon entering the farm, we were warmly greeted by a calf. The owner then led us to Flower, a beautiful sheep who had just given birth to an adorable little lamb only 24 hours before.  The owner asked if we wanted to hold the baby. With Flower's permission we were allowed to cradle her newborn. I have never held a new lamb in my arms before. This baby was so soft, light as a feather and smelled faintly of hay and had a sweet scent. It was an enchanting experience, one that fed my soul. Soon Flower came calling for her baby, I had to thank her.

There were ducklings, baby bunnies, baby goats. It took me awhile to focus and carry on in some organized manner. I spotted a mother duck sitting on her eggs, there was a very showy turkey and a family of llamas. These were indeed happy animals, their owner shared their stories with us, they are much loved and protected. The farm was impressive, neatly organized, impeccable grounds, again reminding me of a storybook.

I could sense August's confusion and understand her inability to focus but then, she was able to hold a bunny and once placed in the duckling and rabbit pen, she was not as easily distracted. Once again, just as the peacocks had caught her attention at our first zoo visit, it was the colorful birds that won her over, this time, pheasants.

Later, a wrong turn led us to a roadside hamburger stand. Burgers served in wax paper sandwich bags under a tall sign that simply read: Malt Shop, was altogether perfect for the day. Cruising down that wrong turn we eventually found ourselves on Route 66 and that explained the motor lodges. Several were still in business and looking sharp. I looked at Jacob as we passed them and thought, it's nice to be in the company of someone who enjoys a good motor lodge. One day, when August is old enough, we'll introduce her to the unique, coziness and time travel of them. So much to see and do.


Where have all the flowers gone...

On my back porch sits a potted rose bush. I must have flowers in my life. There are no flowers in Oklahoma, at least that is my impression. I don't see many.  I did see purple irises growing near an abandoned house, that made my day, they were the largest I had ever seen.

Fuori Borgo has written about adding violets to her honey. I urge you to red her post and view her photos of violets. I have yet to smell a violet, but will find a way too. Her post made me tear up a bit, the beauty of flowers.

Easter, one week later...

August is keeping me busy, very busy, so busy in fact, I had no time all week to reflect on our first Easter until today. Still finding bits of confetti in odd places. Easter Sunday was a beautiful, warm day, what followed were three days of cold rain.  As you know, time in Beatsville moves slow,  last Sunday already feels like a month ago.

On Easter morning, August got up and found that over night she was visited by the Easter Bunny. Easter Bunny 2013 is a cute lil guy named Marty. Every year they nominate and vote on a different bunny...but you know that. Marty brought her three books to gnaw on, six eggs and a toy bunny he claims is the perfect likeness of him. August loved her gifties but I have to say, she loved the eggs most of all. In fact, she started placing them about the room as soon as she got her hands on them. Made us wonder how she knew that is what you sort of do with Easter eggs.

We brunched on special, Easter migas and fruit salad before taking August to the park for a tiny egg hunt.  Jacob and I then broke cascarones on each other, expecting huge belly laughs from August. She, however, was not impressed and was ready for a nap. Even so,  she managed to amaze us with her new found climbing skills before leaving the park. Oh dear...and so, busy days.