Thursday, May 4, 2017

First Conversation of the Day

Alain is allowed to come to our room after his "ok to wake" clock turns green at 6am. He snuggles in next to me and goes back to sleep for a bit (Taison is usually on his way out the door at this time). When he wakes again, he often chooses to wake me with a great pronouncement or demand yelled close to my ear, such as "It's MOOOORNING TIME!" or "what's for breakfast!?!". This time, he asked (a little more quietly),

Were you happy when I came?

Yes, I always like when you come in for cozies after your clock turns green.

No, a long time ago.

You mean when you were born?...Yes, I was very happy.

Because Julian died?


So, I'm glad he gets it. I'm glad we've told him about his big brother, and that we take him to visit Julian's stone at Edgartown Lighthouse, and that we include Julian's name in bedtime prayers. I'm glad that we've explained death as it's come up in the last year, from Grandpa Ernest to Jesus to fresh rabbit roadkill to baby birds whose nest was too close to the ground.

I didn't cry at that moment, or even that morning. We snuggled and chatted a little more about how much daddy and mommy wanted to raise a baby and watch him or her grow up. And then it was time to discuss breakfast.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Untitled Re: Election 2016

For months
You look forward to
A new beginning.
You don't know exactly what it will look like.
But you imagine
And plan
And collect information
To be prepared
For the new beginning.

Then you wake in the dark
Early one morning
And learn that what you were expecting
Is gone.
And you struggle,
Clawing at loose gravel,
To grasp the new reality.

First it does not compute.
It is a mistake.
You are dreaming.
So you pinch yourself
Or try to go back
To sleep.
But you know that it's true.
And you cry
Out of fear,
The shock of the unimaginable.

Then you think back
To the previous evening.
There were signs
That all was not well.
Signs that you did not want to see.
They didn't fit the story.
They didn't fit your experience
Or expectations.
So you pushed them away.
Now you turn the bits of recollections
And over
Until they're worn and no longer
But by now you've sown the seeds of self-doubt:
I should have done something.
I coud have done more.

And then your mind short circuits
A little.
And you are forced to rest
In the fog of grief.

Once rested, you reach out
You find that others have felt the same
Ripping away of hope.
And the same fear
And anger.
So you share
With them.

And slowly time resumes
And you heal
And love.
And there are new beginnings.
But there always remain scars,
And you are forever changed.

I did not expect a presidential election to remind me of stillbirth.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Not a baby anymore

Alain is not a baby anymore. He makes jokes, and builds things and is proud of them, and (finally) slept through the night for the first time earlier this week. And tonight, he asked about Julian. We always include Julian's name in our bedtime poem/prayers, which Alain usually does with g'ma and g'pa. By now he knows and has met everyone listed (mama, daddy, g'ma, g'pa, grandma, grandpa, etc.), except Julian. So, naturally, he interrupted g'ma tonight to ask about this Julian person she keeps mentioning. It was actually kind of funny-he perked up and asked, "Julia?" because he knows my good friend Julia.

I explained that Julian was/is his big brother, but he's "out" and we can't see him. I told Alain that Julian was mama and daddy's first baby, and we love him very much like we love Alain. Alain's only response was to try saying the phrase "big brother". I could almost see him filing the rest of the information away for later discussion. That's my sweet, smart, cuddly 2nd baby boy.

Hi favorite Christmas songs this year were Handel's Hallelujah Chorus and the Pentatonix version of Angels We Have Heard on High. He sang both a LOT this month, with a little Beethoven's 9th thrown in for consistency. Over the course of our Pentatonix YouTube video explorations I ended up hearing their rendition of Silent Night while I was alone in the nursery with only the night light (the one Taylor made for Baby Bell) on. It was a nice opportunity during a busy holiday season to think of my dear 1st baby boy.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Alain is 2!

Taison made another birthday video!

Alain appears to have grown an inch this month, and inhales food accordingly. He loved the Thanksgiving turkey-couldn't wait for it to be cooked and carved, and has since eaten his weight in turkey meat. He has started saying sentences, and especially likes saying thank-you. Most heartwarming to me are his groggy middle of the night thank-yous for milk. He also just today started asking us "how are you?" He's proud of himself and knows we are impressed, so we spent a lot of time answering that question over and over again at the dinner table today.

I can't believe I have a two-year old. I sometimes miss the teeny tiny baby Alain, but I love the little person he is becoming, and enjoy spending time with him. He shares my love of music and food, and Taison's love of air travel. He still lets us cuddle him a lot, and has become a really good hugger. Sometimes I feel like I got a snuggly bear to make up for some of the Julian hugs that I miss out on. I am thankful for that, and grateful for a wonderful two years with a wonderful little boy.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pumpkin time again!

Fall 2014:

Fall 2015:

That is all.

(Except for this fun fact: he can still wear the Fall 2014 outfit. He was just THAT fat as an infant : ). He finally started to lengthen out this summer. I'll miss the rolls and cheeks, but it's nice that pants fit him now. Bonus is he still fits in a lot of last winter's clothes. They just look very different on him this year!)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Kitchen Adventures: Cooking with the Bear

It was just a matter of time (and ability to stand on a step stool) before Alain joined me in the kitchen.  Despite his allergies, he's just as enthusiastic about food as I am. After a summer spent picking tomatoes and berries almost daily in g'ma's garden, he was ready to take the next step with food prep. So, he stands next to me at the counter (on said step stool) and plops (not throws!) chunks of potato into a pot of water, or pieces of broccoli into a colander. He was also somehow involved in helping g'pa make lemonade recently. And he helps set the table for most meals by at least putting his fork and sippy cup on the table.

Of course, there are no photos of my newest kitchen helper in action (or the food we've made) because 1) I haven't uploaded any all month, and 2) trying to take selfies while your 22 month old stands on a step stool and you have a large knife nearby is not a good idea. Some favorites he's helped with so far are black beans and rice*, sautéed potatoes, and steamed broccoli. I wish he wasn't allergic to everything in cookies and cakes (flour, butter, milk, eggs, etc.) but I suppose it's for the best that his taste for delicious baked goods isn't developed yet.

(Taison caught us cooking and snapped a shot-selfie problem solved!)

Coconut is also a new favorite, but he prefers eating it straight up to cooking with it

*He's obsessed with my black beans and rice. We just made a batch today and he hugged my legs as I was serving his because he was so excited to eat it. He insists on having a squirt of lime juice on top of his. Here's the recipe, modified from Epicurious:

4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with a garlic press
1-2 strips bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small bell pepper (any color), seeded and finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained
2 cups water

lime and hot sauce for serving, optional
We were lucky enough to have it alongside grilled shrimp with mango salsa : )

Monday, August 31, 2015


We've been everywhere this month! Looking back at the calendar, I just realized that we were finishing up vacation in the Outer Banks at the beginning of August:

 Almost the whole fam

Cool dudes on a hot beach

Alain and I were obsessed with these figs from a tree in the backyard of our beach house.

Then Alain and I went to Richmond for a long-overdue visit. Then Taison took him on his first visit to the National Zoo:

Then g'ma, Alain and I went to the Berkshires so I could sing Beethoven's 9th ("Ode to Joy") at Tanglewood. And Alain met a llama near our AirBnB rental:

Alain got a lot out of this year's visit to Tanglewood; he is now obsessed with "Ode to Joy" and enjoys singing along and pointing out the instruments ("cello!" "horn!") in a YouTube video of the piece. 

Then we went to the Vineyard with Taison! The sand and water were great, but the Touch a Truck event at the local school made the biggest impression on Alain:

"Fire truck!!"

A visit to Julian's stone at Edgartown Lighthouse

Our annual photo overlooking Edgartown Lighthouse

I'm exhausted and tired of packing and re-packing, but it's so worth it. Alain soaks up each experience and seems to remember everything. It's so much fun to watch him process these experiences. We have one more trip this weekend (wedding on Long Island that should be a lot of fun) then will go back to regular life, for the most part.