kellianne: (Default)
Yes a heart should always go one step too far
Come the morning and the day winding like dreams
Come the morning every blue shade of green
Come with me, go places

Come head on, full circle
Our path blocked but sure we'll
Make records, then set them
Make copies, win races
Stay with me, go places
Once more for the ages


Today is Niko's birthday. This morning he woke at 5am and called me into his room. We have been discussing his wake ups, begging him to call Mama or Papa (whoever he wants) when he wakes instead of crying. So he woke this morning and called out sweetly. I went into his room and he smashed his face up against mine, saying, "Hi mama."

We fell back asleep until 7:30, which is no small feat for even a little guy in a blacked out bedroom. As usual, we went to my bed to nurse when we woke. While we did so, I looked up his old ZeroToBaby birth post and told him his birth story while showing him pictures. He was especially enamored with the idea of being in my belly and laughed when I explained (in toddler language) how I pushed him out.

He asked to wear his choo shorts (they are dirty, but whatever), his choo hat (spots of finger paint dotting the rim), the Super Niko cape (he got for his first birthday from Samantha), and his new "woof woof" shirt. We walked to daycare holding muffins, which he was stoked that I made to share with his friends. When he got to daycare, he sat adorably on the couch and said, "Mama? GO."

How did my baby get so big? Just a few months ago he was beside himself every time I left him. Now when his babysitter, Tristan, comes by every Tuesday he can't wait for us to leave so they can continue with their private lives, in their secret language. Probably they sit around watching choo videos on youtube the whole time, who knows?

Anyhow, I've been thinking a lot lately about how- 2 years in- I am finally feeling like the mother me has fully integrated with the me that I was for 34.5 years before becoming a mother. I feel solid on my mother legs. I'm not going to lie... these two years have been rough. They've been hard on my marriage and hard on my confidence. I am pretty sure that I lost about 4,000 hours of sleep, at least. I look older, I feel older, I AM older.

When people (usually expectant first time mothers) ask me if it was all worth it, I can only answer yes. And I mean it. Yes! A good mother is a phoenix rising out of the ashes of her youth. I'm pretty sure that I'm finished burning my old self off, and I'm pretty sure that I'm a good mother.

I love that kid so much. He is all the best parts of me mixed with all the best parts of my husband, and he is fully his own. He is all my favorite dreams mixed with all the best magic. He is hilarious, wonderful, and endearing. He loves choos (trains), hows (cats), busses, dactes (tractors), and his parents. He gets excited about friends and loves it when we have a party. He does a million silly things every day and makes our family feel complete.

Thanks to everyone who helped make @nikobenson feel loved these last 2 days. He's really happy.
kellianne: (Default)

1) I have a lot of things to think about.

2) I don't have to be in a rush. I am pressed for time in a Newton sense, but feeling plentiful in an Einstein sense.

3) I am sleepy and expect to be smarter in the morning.

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kellianne: (Default)

It is lovely to spend the afternoon in a sunny house. It isn't even sunny in Seattle today (and hasn't been in almost a week), but today I am afternoon-ing in a place positioned just so, with lots of windows, and what a difference it makes. This morning was the first one in a while that Niko wasn't BEGGING me to be outside. He was perfectly content to sit by a fire and some big windows to play. It makes me realize more what I would be looking for in real-estate if we were to stay in Seattle, long term.

Not that we aren't staying long-term. We might. You just never know, in this family, what could happen in a year. It's fun being a Benson. It's great, exciting, stressful, fun. I mean one or both of us Benson adults might die of heart failure long before we'd like to go, just from the stress of being us, but everyone will say as we go, "they never were lazy." I'm fine with that.

And that, dear friends, is all the detail about how exciting we are that I am willing to share with you today.

Today I went to a class at Barre 3, which I've been meaning to check out for the longest time, and wow.... That was one expensive treat! One that I am now possibly addicted to. Classes out the wazoo, right down the street, and so much muscle burn and shake that I have no doubt some regular attendance is just the thing to infuse my yoga practice and my bad knee with some strength. I was proud then the instructor asked what I do to stay in shape at the end of class because I was "obviously strong". Extra proud because I feel like I haven't been doing enough at all. There just isn't enough time!

Since then I have been at Adam and Amelia's house sit, wrestling with Niko between his snuzzles and nose kisses. Man, my guy is so affectionate! I feel so fortunate for every last moment of the magic.

For all of you who aren't parents and can't understand how we field temper tantrums without totally losing our shit- know that the other end of those tantrums is the most sublime laughter and love anyone could ever possibly know.

I was thinking today of everything I've gained and lost through parenthood. I do wish I could be around in the later hours to take the cinnamon challenge after some cocktails (you know who you are). I do miss dance parties. I do miss having free time (and I find it somewhat hilarious that people who aren't parents think they have no free time, or that I was once overwhelmed with thoughts of having NO time before parenthood). But I love having a healthier schedule. I love that I always have an excuse for an afternoon nap when I'm not working (I am "sleeping" next to Niko now). I love maximizing my minutes. Somehow this journey has steeped everything in more meaning and health.

What else? Nothing special. My parents were here and it was REALLY nice to have them. We are leaving in a few days for a much needed vacation to places the sun shines, which should be helpful with holding us over until the sun shines in Seattle- which generally happens for only a few random days-long stretches between now and July. Vacation will be awesome. I miss family time with my husband because we almost never are together as three.

Generally I am overwhelmed with gratitude for Seattle in general. I've been thinking lately that there is no way, no how I could move back to the East Coast again. Mostly because it's not pretty enough and the food isn't as tasty. And of course also because every day out here is like an episode of Portlandia, which cracks me up.

That is all.
Good afternoon!
K

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Life

Mar. 21st, 2012 10:08 am
kellianne: (Default)

I have a miserable toddler with a cold that just won't ebb an two parents en route from Delaware.

The two parents on the way, who I haven't seen in a YEAR AND A HALF, make me feel pressured to show them how awesome things are when everything is running smoothly. But I'm currently locked in the bathroom while my kid screams like he's being murdered because my husband is making him take off his PJs and put some clothes on. Which isn't all that abnormal, come to think, but I still don't get it. One can't live in footy pajamas alone!

Anyhow, my parents won't care. This is all just me being a control freak who wants to show off that she's a happy, grown ass woman. So I'm annoyed. And upset. And stressed.

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Sleep

Mar. 17th, 2012 02:02 pm
kellianne: (Default)

I am fairly sleep deprived for the first time in some weeks. It's amazing what a difference it makes with all the voices in my head. They become pretty terrible when I am exhausted. Jeering, resentful, paranoid.

It's a wonder the first 1.5 years of parenting didn't totally do me in.

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First Joke!

Mar. 6th, 2012 07:39 am
kellianne: (Default)

Niko made his first official joke last week. It went something like this:

Me: Oo look, here's a cow! What sound does a cow make?
Niko: Mooooo!
Me: Right! And a horse says?
Niko: Neeeeee!
Me: Totally! And what about this pig?
Niko (laughing and exaggerated): HEL-LOOO!?




Cracking up on both ends ensues.

You guys, having a toddler is a parent's amazing reward for dealing with a sleepless baby. Our toddler, by the way, has been sleeping through the night (more or less) for 3 weeks now. Better late than never. Now life is amazing and we have everything we ever asked for (except money- but whatever). I am feeling so grateful these days.

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kellianne: (Default)
Hello, Christmas!

I am feeling generally cheery and in a good place this holiday season, but I could really do without the uncontrollable coughs that seek to remove seemingly immobile phlegm inside my chest.

Truly, I don't think this cold would have walloped me so hard if I hadn't started out Monday's (disappointing) Prince concert with three shots of tequila. What was I thinking? Not sure I was thinking at all. It's easy for me to get quickly out of control when I'm with my VAIN ladies. Honest - I really haven't drank much of any liquor since getting pregnant. I'm a wine kind of girl, and usually quit after 2 glasses. If I'm at a crappy place and the wine tastes like sugar, I can't even pretend to finish the first glass. So tequila at a wood-paneled bar in Tacoma? Weird.

And fun, actually. That night was a lot of fun.

Since then, I have been busting my ass doing hair. And busting my ass with this sick toddler, who seems to have the same cold I have (I think I got it from his new-to-daycare self in the first place). Niko, as usual, has been sleeping something awful. But hello? SO BORING TO TALK ABOUT.

Mostly I'd like to talk about how he is the most adorable and awesome baby ever. Even at his worst, he cracks me up. He is obsessed with cheese right now because it's one of the few words he can say, so he's always hitting me up for some. Today he had some in his hand and was asking for more from the fridge. I told him to finish what he had and he turned on me! threw down his cheese! picked it up and threw it down again! and stomped on it repeatedly! Hard for me to show empathy when I'm laughing at him so hard.

Those tantrums are so far short lived and do dissolve when I make a show of empathy (which I did somehow manage today). Mostly he is awesome. His OK Cupid profile would read like this:

"I enjoy long walks in the Central District neighborhood while pushing my pink stroller (don't judge), songs with sign language, and dancing to modern music that sounds like it's sung by girls in the 1960s. I like to think of myself as cultural when it comes to food and will inhale anything you put in front of me that is Japanese, Italian, or Mexican. Books about the alphabet are ace with me right now, be they gothic and filled with ghosts (which my mother says "isn't seasonal"- but whatever) or written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss. I especially like to read from the vantage point of a lap. If you take something from me, I won't shout. I will, however, wait in a cunning and patient manner until you abandon my toy of interest before reclaiming what was rightfully mine. My attention span is probably longer than yours, so do not take my demands lightly. If you are sweet to me, I will give you the fattest face crushing cheek snuggles you will ever know."

Yeah, he's pretty great.

I've been meditating a whole lot on what Christmas should mean to us as a family, which means lots of memories from Christmas past have come up. Mostly, I remember raucous family meals and AWE INSPIRING first views of the tree on Christmas morning. Guys, I realize now as an adult that my parents did Christmas like no one else's parents I know. That morning was HUGE. The whole room would seem to be filled with presents, perfectly arranged around something like a new bike or, god, I don't know, a gorgeous baby doll perched on top of a mountain of gifts. Santa was BIG TIME in our house. I would go to the living room before sunrise and quiver with excitement.

The modern and adult me is all boo hoo about consumerism in this American society and blah blah blah - but the kid in me who got MAD MAD TOYS every Christmas is like OMG THAT WAS AWESOME. I think I can figure out how to balance the gift buying with the traditions- and frankly think my parents did a pretty good job with that as well (it was also all about family and our involvement in our church). I have to fully admit that I totally enjoyed spending money on Buster and Niko for Christmas day, and that I will be stoked to see gifts under the tree. I totally didn't go overboard, either. Some of the gifts are second-hand, most of them were on some sort of sale. And there are no where near what there were when I was a kid, but they should still make a little bit of an impression on Christmas morning.

On other Christmas tradition making fronts- we of course have an awesome tree but did not get lights hung outside (no outdoor plugs!!). At least I made wreaths a few weeks ago and hung some garland on our porch. I've also had mulled wine on hand for whoever is asking, candles everywhere, and I've been singing mad mad carols to Niko.

We are entertaining on Sunday. It'll be my first time doing so for the Christmas holiday, and I"m a little nervous. We aren't having many over, so my work is pretty light, but AGAIN, my family does this stuff UP like you wouldn't believe. For instance, my mother has a full and gigantic set of CHRISTMAS CHINA and entertains at least 30 people for dinner every year. She supplements the china with my grandmother's green depression glass for full Christmas effect. We always had a 10 foot tree in our house- and usually we went to a tree farm to choose it and cut it down as a family (so many delightful arguments and so much mulled cider!!). There are usually lit reindeers in the yard and there has never EVER not been lights on the house and a candle in every window. I have a lot to live up to! Having one kid now, I can say that I honestly and truly do not know how they found time to pull this stuff off.

In fact, HELLO TO PEOPLE WITHOUT CHILDREN! You have no idea of how much your parents love you or of the sacrifices they made to raise you. It's 24/7 crazy love/frustration/busy times when you have a kid, like you can't imagine. I am working on seriously developing my parent legs, and think I have come far in 2011. I have a lot more growing to do, but feel as if I have some time, and learn fast, so it'll be ok.

Gosh, I have so much more to say but am coughing my head off and have a migraine as a result. So I guess I'm off to bed.

Merry Christmas, friends! (Or whatever you want to call it!) It's dark out there and I hope we all feel the love through it all!
kellianne: (Default)
Hello!

After I had a meltdown that included me screaming, "I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY TO YOU PEOPLE I AM SO ANGRY!" to some poor incompetent person working for some completely incompetent internet company (why are they all so bad?!)- we finally have internet here on 20th! Hi, world. That was almost a month of no internet. Which sets me really behind because I don't do the whole working in an office thing- so I just let things slip away. I did get a new iPhone! Which is awesome because the old one was so old that none of the buttons worked. Now my technology is ridiculously slick. It's practically an embarrassment of riches.

The move went off without any major catastrophe. I am filled with so much amazing gratitude every time I walk around in our new neighborhood. I absolutely love it here, and feel as if we've landed in a home for the first time since we lived on Bell Street. I am happy to no longer feel in transition mode... which is a mode I feel as if I've been in since getting pregnant, really. I honestly think that, with this move, I feel I am settling into my roles as a co-parent, a working mother, a home-maker, etc. It's a really exciting time!

And so BUSY. I have so much to say and I won't say much because my gosh, I'm ridiculously tired and still a little overwhelmed with trying to get our lives in order quickly- before my parents come on November 2nd. I just want to feel settled into the house a bit more before taking on 2 guests. I seem to get things done in fits and bursts, though. And we've had a few good friends helping out! Loren has taken Niko on a date one afternoon a week and Amelia! good god Amelia came over to the house and went crazy organizing things and helping me hang art. The house went from being the sort of space you can't really LIVE in to being a actual HOME in the space of a few hours one afternoon last week. She's a mighty talent.

Does anyone out there do all their banking through BECU? We opened an account with them when we bought our car and think I'm going to transfer all the household finances over. I'm interested in hearing about anyone's experience with them, or with credit unions in general.

Also! I'm hosting a clothing sale for ladies on Saturday the 29th. There will be all sorts of random things aside from clothing, too. I am broke as a joke and have all these big ideas for our new space- so please come for deals that will help you (deals!) and deals that will help me (cash!). Also: I'll bet it will be fun (fun!).

Goodnight!
kellianne: (Default)
Hi, friends!

I am not sure how I'm in such high spirits while surrounded by boxes. Of course, taking everything into the perspective of The 10 Years since That Horrible Shift I realize:

In these 10 years, I have:

Lived in 4 cities and 7 apartments.
Had 3 serious relationships and countless dalliances, rounding the bend to being with Buster for 4.5 years now.
Gotten married once.
Had 1 child.
Worked for 6 different companies.
Had one major career change.
Etc.
Etc.

So why should I worry about another move? Even one that has a toddler clinging to my leg and insisting that we spend our time NOT packing boxes but, rather, spending quality time at any park we feel compelled to walk or drive (!!!!) over to. Whatever, no worries. I've got this moving thing down!

Instead of worrying, I will link to you a photo of fabulous and amazing new kitchen! Oh the things I will cook on that Viking range! Oh the pancakes I will lay on that griddle!!! So exciting.

I've had lots of important meditations lately. Including:

Can it be a next step for me to embrace people who haven't had tragedy or pain in their lives? Can I forgive them their innocence and let them talk at great length about the NOTHING they assume to be important around me? This is a lengthly and long storied meditation for me. It boils down to this-

I realize that I am very chilly to people I feel are too self-conscious. Something horrible recently happened to a young girl at work and I reached out. We've been hanging out a bit and talking about how one deals with living with the life shift that tragedy brings. I am much warmer to her now that she talks about more than her hair extensions and no longer sits around at talking great length about how she wishes she were skinny or pretty or whatever. And then I catch myself wondering if I'm a horrible person for not being warmer to her when she had nothing better to think about than OMG I'm fat and OMG I need my color done. If I can embrace the innocence of my son, shouldn't I be able to embrace the innocence of a girl in her mid-twenties?

Maybe this embracing of innocence is something that will come more easily to me in my eventual wise woman years. But maybe I can learn, in the meantime, to be more patient with beautiful girls who sit around and talk about how ugly they are. Or exuberant girls who seem to need my validation only because I am chilly towards them.

You have to understand, in considering all of this (if your'e even considering it) that I've worked in the beauty industry for almost 10 years now. People pay handsomely to sit in my chair and have me convince them that they are beautiful (I am also a really fucking great hairdresser, make no bones about that). I think, therefore, that I'm really sensitive to all these conversations when I'm not being paid. I just want to turn it off. Shave my head. Scowl at the trite silliness of it all. Does this mean that I'm absorbing too much innocent self-conscious vanity issue bullshit when folks are in my chair? So I haven't any patience left? Maybe!

Anyhow, I'm finding all of this hard to describe well in a quick LJ post. It's more for conversation's sake. I had a nice conversation about it all with Carinna last night, and that helped.

For the record- I don't really have any vanity issues. I am a hot and beautiful lady. And you believe what I say because I am telling you so. It's all in the energy you put out there.

You know what I do have issues with? Clothing. I own a lot of it and I have a hard time getting rid of it. I attach memories to shoes and dresses. My now-broken gold shoes make me recall so many beautiful parties and birthday celebrations. So many size 4 dresses make me remember falling in love, more than once, and most importantly- the one time in to a marriage that I am continually inspired by. How can I sell these things? Or throw them away? I wish I had taken a photo of myself every day, of every outfit, so that I can remember every night through an image.

But! I don't remember things this way. I remember through texture and textile. I have clients that I have absolutely no recollection of until I touch their gorgeous hair... then suddenly my brain flashes to me what college their son goes to, or how their mother wasn't feeling well the last time we talked. I'm sure it's not just the texture of their hair, either. Sometimes it's their scent, the lilt of their voice... but it's rarely how they look unless they are super-regulars.

I guess I like to feel things. Artistically, I am FAR more interested in creating sculpture than creating images or photos. But how to continue to feel my tactile things when they take up so much space? Especially when I will now be sharing a small closet with my husband (who is just so messy with his clothing, he seriously does not care if a shirt is wrinkled until he's wearing it to a wedding). The answer surely connects to clothing racks in the basement. And maybe a mirror down there so that I can be alone while touching things, trying them on, and smelling them.

Anyhow. This entry, like my things, is all over the place. I'm ok with that. I'm going to go and pack some boxes while Niko finishes his nap.

Onward!

EDIT to add: I also need to be patient with young women who tell me I'm crazy when I mention that I am a mother and not a hot young thing anymore. Ladies! One does not need to feel necessarily young to feel sexy. I am about to turn 36. While that is not old, it is also not young. I am proud of my age and my accomplishments. It is not crazy to be my age, or to feel my age.
kellianne: (Default)
Oh fuck. I finally wrote a huge entry and then it got lost.

Oh well! Hi! We bought a car and everything is awesome. I am spiritually connected to the wilds of the PNW and I explained how I know this. Niko is hilarious. Buster and I are in top power couple form. I can't go through all the details again because I alone and I want to READ. Sorry, future self.


Here's a baby in the woods!!

About to leave the woods for dinner at Canlis.  TRIPPY!

Relief!

Jun. 25th, 2011 12:29 pm
kellianne: (Default)

This week has been so full of Niko promise and happiness, you guys!

I hit rock bottom a little while back with his nap and night schedule. We were literally laying down with him at least an hour before every nap and then an hour and a half for night time sleep. It was a full time job on top of all our chores, work and MOST IMPORTANTLY- play time! SO- I decided when my brother visited that it was time to start Niko's transition to being a one nap a day dude. I used Joey's visit and all the activity we were doing to start distracting Niko from his afternoon nap, and eventually started nudging his morning nap (which was always the easier nap) a bit later.

The results are amazing. We now have him in bed around 7:30 every night. He still has some night wakings, but Buster has been working on gently night weaning him by taking my milk factory out of the picture. So
B is always the nighttime parent until about 6, prior to then Niko is offered a bottle of formula if he seems really persistent, which he rarely drinks. Around 6, I nurse Niko- then we all cuddle and snooze until 8 or so.

Last night dude slept for over 9 hours on his own. I feel awesome. I don't expect that sort of sleep from last night forward, but just the fact that it happened tells me that we are on the right path.

It feels so freeing to have him down by 8, too. I have a night life again! I feel almost comfortable inviting people to sit for the evenings now, which I didn't feel confident about before, because he often wasn't down until 10- and by then we'd be too tired to do anything, and he'd be up by midnight anyhow. SO! Those of you who offered might just get a call soon!

Thanks for your patience with all my short tempered tweets and entries on this matter. Not sleeping is not good for these bones of mine. I'm hoping to see some of my health (mental and physical) get back on track during the next few months.

Also, thanks to my lovely husband for continuing to put up with me. [livejournal.com profile] busterbenson is FAR more patient without sleep than his wife.

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kellianne: (Default)
Is anyone else out there listening to buzz on the playground about the "How to Land Your Kid in Therapy" article in the Atlantic?

I'm having a hard time reading the whole thing. The article lost me when it jumped in two sentences from helping a toddler who fell and hit his head at the playground to having a freshman in college be a "teacup" as a result of over-parenting.

The premise is basically this: If you don't let your child experience unhappiness, how will your child ever know when he or she is happy?

I don't know. I had a pretty unhappy childhood. There was divorce, abuse, issue with alcoholism, and LOTS AND LOTS of teenage self-loathing. I just don't remember very many times when I was coddled. I DID have parents who cared. They had me in therapy for the better part of my childhood, which I am not thankful for, but they did do the best they could given the strange circumstances of my being a redheaded step child with a temperament vastly different from that of the family.

If the premise of the article is correct, and if I consider myself a study of that premise, then I should have damn well known I was happy when I was in my 20s after experiencing so many daddy issues, playground issues (there were many, I was a total outcast), and issues with abuse.

And yet! I spent most of my 20s wondering if I was ever going to be happy. I spent most of my 20s lost and wandering. I spent most of the time doing too many drugs/ drinking too much/ sleeping around with the wrong people. I mean, I made a success of myself, and really wrapped things up by the end of the decade, but there was a LOT of floundering on the way.

Isn't that the nature of being in your 20s? Questioning everything? Seeking happiness and never finding it because you're just Too Damn Neurotic and Self Destructive? I see a whole lot of this going on with my clients. IN fact, I HATE doing the hair of anyone under 25 because they are just too crazy- and I don't have energy for drama in my work day.

There is this trend going on in parenting articles lately about how parenting is not FUN enough for women or how our kids aren't HAPPY enough. IN fact, there is a trend going on lately about how to be more HAPPY and have more FUN in general (see: The Happiness Project). I don't know about any of it. Who said that you were supposed to just walk through life all OMG I AM SO HAPPY all the time? We have our ups, we have our downs. I BELIEVE that we grow in our downs and can then open ourselves up to experience an UP. It's really not too complicated, and we really shouldn't be telling 20-somethings that they are down because their parents cared too much. That's just more parental blaming bullshit and THAT is what you are supposed to get over in the course of your 20s, anyway.

Now, I am not saying that I don't think the whole American trend of being absolutely obsessed with anxiety over your children isn't a little nuts. I agree that a kid shouldn't be told that he's done a "good job" every time he ties his shoes. I also agree that we don't deserve a trophy for every little thing we do. Also! I think it's silly to be upset with an educator for marking things wrong when they are, in fact, wrong (I saw LOTS AND LOTS of this when I worked with schools, and those kids were The Worst). But I also think that articles like this that are quite obviously published to raise controversy just make things worse. The more media I read these days, the more the slant of the article is so blatantly obvious that it just upsets me. Everyone is just doing the best job they can at growing as people. It's a private affair with many paths to take. We don't need media at every turn telling us how we should change the game.

EDIT: I just got to the part about giving toddlers too many choices. I was never given choices on what to eat, and I was not content. I hated those fucking brussels sprouts because my mom just boiled them and served them up with a little bit of butter. Gross. Having been forced to eat that, along with tough meat, and having been forced to go to the same grocery store did nothing to make me a happy adult. And it did NOTHING to stop the rampant narcissism of my early 20s.
kellianne: (Default)
I have to admit that I've been feeling pretty majorly homesick lately. It's partly the awful spring we've had; I have to take into account my SAD when assessing my feelings... but I feel like there's something more to it. Mostly, I guess, I just need to go home for a while.

You know, I have fantasies about living a PNW lifestyle for long term. I think that Seattle has been really good for me. It's helped me mellow out a little and not be so dependent on my expected outcomes. Does that make sense? I don't know if I have the energy to be more clear. Just know that being all west coast has mellowed me in a way that I think is good for my soul. I have been striving for YEARS to shush bitter voices in my head and feel more JOY. I desperately want to be more of a pollyanna, though it's certainly not the way I was raised (I was raised to stress, for serious). The west coast has helped me oodles...

But of course there is always the flip side to the coin. There is the Seattle awkwardness. When I first moved here, I felt so strange having almost any conversation here. I felt as if the sentences moved so slowly, but accomplished so little. So many things are left unsaid. Grudges hang in the air here, heavy as the grey sky, never ever to resolve.

It's just not like that where I'm from. Where I'm from, much is accomplished in a nod. Sentences move fast, accomplish a whole lot, and are short and concise. Fights happen in a fierce way. Tempers flare, screams happen, and then... everybody back to laughing again.

I still don't feel comfortable here. I still find the tension in the air palpable. At least now I find myself dealing with passive aggression by being aggressively passive aggressive, instead of just aggressive. Yeah, um, that doesn't sound good, does it? But, you guys, the culture here dictates that you behave in a "politely" passive aggressive manner. I'm not kidding. It's practically law. In fact, there probably is a law.

I've made really REALLY great friends here, and I have a few that I trust completely. But I am beginning to doubt I will ever feel comfortable, completely. Back home, I hate the food, I don't trust the recycling programs, I can't believe how little everyone around me seems to care about waste, I miss the mountains and the water, and I am definitely at the point where I've lived on the West Coast for so long that I can't believe how roooood everyone is when I fly back east... on and on. But! I feel like I know how to navigate relationships there in a really solid way that resonates with me. I feel like my passion is understood. I feel like everyone knows what I mean when I raise my eyebrows in a certain way and nod from across the room.

Does that make sense?

Add all that to the fact that my son doesn't know his family, doesn't know the cousins, who are the exact same age as he, from anyone, and it all just boils down to very sincere homesickness.

I'm not leaving Seattle anytime soon, and even if I did... the chances of my moving back to the middle of the east coast anytime soon are pretty low. I'd probably land in San Francisco if I left this place (which is great, considering the fact that it's the only city in the US that I have always wanted to live in and haven't). I'm not sitting here tickity tacking at my computer waffling over Seattle v/s NYC like I was back in the day. I'm just HOMESICK for feeling like I am in my element and I get to thinking about feeling comfortable on the off chance I have time to think at all. You know?

I started talking to Buster a few weeks back about bringing Niko home for a few weeks in September (when the ridiculous flight prices go down and the place cools off a little), but IN THE MEANTIME, my bro heard that I was homesick and came for a visit!

It was super awesome. I love my brother so much. He's this person who is SO like me and SO unlike me all at the same time, and it's terribly cool. He's a really charming good old boy who knows how to rock a nod from across a room, is a really nice dude, and he knows how to have a good time. Seriously, on first sight, you wouldn't even think we were related... but there is this (can I say this?) charm that we both have when we're out and about that totally matches. Plus I am SO proud of the man he is shaping up to be. He is really growing up and coming into his own. I just love to watch him be the nicest, most charming, good old boy ever. It felt like such a relief to spend time with him. I got him to eat kale ("It's kinda minty. I like it!") and drink wine ("the first glass didnin taste so good but yeah, uh, it's growin on me"). He got me to eat three burgers in 2 days (ouch). Just look at this guy!!

8:36-My bro is wearing a Phillies shirt, loving Mumford and Sons, and drinking Raineer.  Renaissance man!!! Tags:8:36pm">

And? Niko LOVES his Uncle Joey! They were completely adorable together. I've said this since the beginning: my kid knows his family. He won't see them for months and months at a time, and as soon as we're together, he KNOWS them. It's amazing to see. And my kid doesn't just LOVE people, either, he is not one of those babies who is all-grins for whomever, nosirree. He is a complicated individual who isn't terribly quick to smile unless he really means it, for sure. With Joey, he really means it. It's a beautiful thing to watch.

I'm still planning a long trip to the east coast in September. I'll probably stay in Delaware with family and take quick jaunts down to DC to hang out with Katie. I don't know if I'll do the whole NYC thing this trip around because all that feels too busy for a girl who just wants to hang out on her parents patio by the chiminee. It'll be good for my soul right when my soul needs recharging again after the effects of my bro's visit wears off. I'm excited. I need this.

Love

May. 18th, 2011 09:54 pm
kellianne: (Default)

Love
Originally uploaded by samanthacm

And then there is this one. This one is awesome, too.

kellianne: (Default)

Dancing
Originally uploaded by samanthacm

This might be one of my favorite photos from Ali's wedding. I love it for obvious reasons, and I love it because it was a random moment that I only remember because Samantha took a photo. I'm not sure why we were all holding our legs up, but I do know that I was laughing so hard that night that my face hurt AND I didn't even get drunk.

Well. Not much drunk, anyhow.

This Guy

Apr. 12th, 2011 12:03 am
kellianne: (Default)

This Guy
Originally uploaded by Kellianna

kellianne: (Default)
Was there something in the air? Last week was so heavy. It started with terrible horrible no good very bad news in the media, every day. I ranted about our fear of female sexuality, fear of culture that is in any way different from yours, abuse, politics, and I looked forward to the end of the week.

My friend's father died and I held my baby a little closer. I reminded my husband (who knows this already, of course) that the only thing truly important was family. He's burning himself out to make success and create security for our little pod of Bensons. I'm burning myself out to be the Best Possible Mom. But, really? Just being happy and joyful together is the most important thing. Enjoying each other is the most important thing in this temporary life.

Buster went on a business trip. I hung out with my wonderful friends in my cold living room. I took my baby for walks. Friday approached, and then the earth quakes happened. I worried about the family I have over there that I haven't yet had the chance to meet (so far they're ok, though I can't imagine that living without heat, electricity, or water in 25 degree weather is in any way simple to get through).

Saturday mostly went by without incident. Niko and I visited the aquarium with friends. Completely overstimulated (even after a 2.5 hour nap), he ate dinner like a toddler that night, willfully squishing sweet potato chunks between his fingers while giving me looks of DESTRUCTION. He screamed to catch my attention and willfully threw his bits of quesadilla on the floor. I was impatient, exhausted, waiting for the week to be over, waiting for my husband to come home and get into our bed.

When Buster finally came home, I was relieved. I served him beans, kale and rice and obsessed over the smell of his neck. We cuddled in bed - and then he told me the terrible news that we have lost a friend forever. I will never be able to understand the place such a beautiful, kind, and amazingly energetic soul could find itself that is so dark and so unforgiving that she would need to go. I will never look at balloons or birds on a wire again without thinking of watching her paint in her little LES apartment, seeing flaws that are beyond my eyes, fixing every imperfection to create a sense of whimsical, simple, beautiful, dream like, order. I am so sad that we are lacking one less truly lovely spirit in our midst.

I thank Goodness every day that I have such a lovely family to hold and to kiss. I thank goodness every day for the roof over our heads and the food for me to prepare in our lovely little kitchen. I thank Goodness every day for the walks that I take with my son, for the hour or so that I have alone with my husband in bed, for the 4 hours in the morning when we are all 3 cuddled like fuzzy sleep monsters into the futon in Niko's room. I thank Goodness every day for the friends popping by with jokes and wine. I thank Goodness for everything. I am so overwhelmed with how layered and beautiful this world is, so overwhelmed with how temporary it really is, and so grateful to still have my hope and happiness in tact.

I am also glad that it is a new week, guys. Because thanking Goodness every second of every day, glimpsing into these illuminating moments of profundity, feeling the whole weight and beauty of this world…. makes me really glad to just get to work on this old Tuesday, AKA... Laundry Day.
kellianne: (Default)
Tonight is our last night at 66 Bell Street. I'm sure that I'll experience a whole bunch of emotions as I lock the door tomorrow and turn over the keys to our renter later this weekend, but until then, there is way too much to do.

Mostly I'm just really EXCITED to move on. I'm excited to live on First Hill, so close to Capitol Hill, Central District, Downtown, AND the International District. I'm excited to have new restaurants at our disposal. I'm excited to meet new neighbor friends. I'm excited to have ROOMS. I'm excited to be able to entertain again, and even let people stay past Niko's bedtime. I'm excited to have overnight out of town guests. I'm excited to be able to get intimate with my husband without feeling stress about waking Niko. I'm excited that the cat won't get almost-kicked for waking Niko up again and again. I'm excited that our little dude gets his own room that he'll eventually sleep in, sometimes. I'm excited to DECORATE!

And I am SO VERY STOKED to have a desk again! I have been without a place to sit and write my thoughts in the evening for 3 years now. Buster and I have shared a desk... and this means that mostly he uses the desk because I don't work in technology so don't have anything more than personal business to attend to at home, so when he's busy at the desk, I'm never going to bother him. This means that I am always massively behind on email, journal posts, ztb posts, niko's posts, photo uploading (not including my iphone photos)... everything. I often don't write back to people because I read things on my phone so on the fly... and then I forget to respond... and then I flake... it's not a good situation! Thanks to everyone who is nodding their head right now because they know I haven't gotten back to this or that. I hope you won't have to be so patient with me in the future!

I'm a little worried about leaving Niko with our doula for the weekend. He has never been without us for more than 18 hours... and those 18 hours did not go well. Of course, he was only 5 months old at the time- just experimenting with food and still waking up every hour. He is much more of a man now, waking up every 2-4 hours and eating lots of food. Hopefully he won't get too angry with bottles offered in the middle of the night. He will be in loving and experienced hands. I think the experience will probably be really good for him. Worst case scenario, I am right up the street and will happen by for nursing at bedtimes.

Best case scenario? I get EVERYTHING unpacked/baby proofed by the time I return to work on Monday. Extra points for art hung, but I'm not gonna press my luck.

Niko News

Feb. 2nd, 2011 11:46 am
kellianne: (Default)
Niko's brain is exploding. Every day, he's doing something new. It's ridiculous. The whole learning to crawl thing really is a big brain BOOM.

He's crawling proper now, but he does often revert to his weird inch worm army crawl. He didn't even seem to realize that he was crawling proper that day that it first happened. Usually he looks SO PROUD when he learns something new, but not this time. It was just a natural thing for him that went by without a "check ME out" grin.

He's standing and cruising. It's a bit dangerous at this point because he really has NO sense of balance and NO fear, which is a rather bad combination. He's still the same unwieldy fat guy that he was when he was our swaddled Mondo Burrito in his newborn days, but this time he is dangerous to himself. He fell yesterday and bled from his mouth. I was literally standing rightthere! I have no idea how it happened and hope he learns some balance real soon. He's got a big bruise on his cheek right now from a totally different fall and looks like a boxer. He will pull himself up on anything and everything. My (engagement) eagle necklace has lately been his favorite thing to grab to attempt to balance himself (a testament to the durability of this particular Kimberly Baker piece).

He's eating a whole lot better. The guy loves sushi. Krab? Check. Eel? Check. I saw a link on my Baby Center email the other day that was all "Is my baby ready for fish?" and I thought, "the dude is Japanese! I didn't even think to beg the question!" He also loves oatmeal. Frozen blueberries that I stowed away from last summer's farmer's markets are a big hit (especially when his mouth is bleeding, I guess). He loves root vegetables. Broccoli is delicious. I am apparently not supposed to give him wheat, but whatevs, he loves crackers and crusts of bread and doesn't seem to have any problem with anything. Ditto for mozzarella. Any sort of goat dairy? Not so much. Something just clicked last week. He suddenly knew how to really chew and went nuts for food. It's pretty fun.

My favorite? Something clicked with books last week. He stopped just trying to eat them and suddenly realized that they were for reading. My heart just about melted a few days ago when he started reading books on his own! Which basically means that he sat by himself with a book and talked in a loud dramatic voice while opening it to random pages and gesticulating wildly! I guess that's what we sound like to him! I love that!!! His favorite book BY FAR is Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. If we are on a walk and I catch his eyes and whisper "Dum Ditty Dum Ditty Dum Dum Dum" he laughs hilariously. In fact, he squeals every time I take that book out, and every time I flip the page.

He is applauding all the time. I took him to see The King's Speech yesterday at a Columbia City Theater cry baby feature. It was actually a good movie for him to see because there's all this applause at the end when the king is out on the balcony. Niko caught right on. He was like OMG I KNOW HOW TO DO THAT and clapped right along with all of England.

Also, we have WAVING! He waved to his first strangers yesterday (Sally and her daughter, Cookie). He's also POINTING at things in books. So adorable!

He's very bright and still a thinker more than a mover. He's a shy guy who likes to duck when people give him a lot of attention, but he's seeking the attention, all the same. He is a SUPER FLIRTER with woman when we are out and about. He makes eyes and then plays shy, over and over. It is such a balance between the behavior of his father (shy) and me (flirty flirt flirt) that I have to laugh.

Now that he is getting more sleep, the stranger danger that we were experiencing over the past two weeks or so has abated somewhat. He isn't totally whiny every time I go out of eyesight these days, thank goodness. He's a bright and sunny dude. Every day is a really good one lately! I am loving this age!
kellianne: (Default)
Though still far from any ideal, our sleep situation has dramatically improved over the past two weeks.

In my last report, I was planning a jump off a cliff. It was, as one of my mama cohorts has reported, the Guantanamo Bay of baby sleep. I was absolutely tortured. This resulted in a whole lot of 3am ANGER.

Things had to change.

Buster decided that he was going to send me out of the house for a few nights in a row some two weeks ago, so that Niko could be left to cry a little. A few months ago, I would have absolutely balked at this idea. For the record, I totally support anyone's decision to do the whole Cry It Out thing. I just haven't really thought it was for us. Turns out, a little crying was the best thing we could have done for our family at this point in time.

Niko was obviously not getting enough sleep. He was nursing all night and taking crap naps. I was getting far less sleep than he was, and poor Buster had to shoulder a whole bunch of emotional weight and keep us afloat for so long. Something had to crack, and we were damned if that something was to be a parent.

So! For two nights in a row I nursed Niko down and left the house until the midnight feeding. Buster took over. I don't want to get into how hard it's been during a few nights for him to hear Niko cry. We agreed that we should check on him every 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and eventually 10 minutes. He rarely cried for very long.

Buster and I agreed to tackle the rest of the night (midnight to 7am) gradually, later, when we have rooms. The important part was to get Niko down in his pack and play for the first part of the night. He's crawling around and pulling himself up so much that there is no way we felt safe leaving him in the loft in the bed. The pack and play is the only safe place for him to be alone right now. I honestly think that this whole endeavor was made harder by the fact that Niko can pull himself up now. He had JUST figured out how to do it and hadn't yet figured out how to sit back down. I rather wish we had done something a few weeks sooner.

Turns out that the whole sleep association thing is pretty true. After Niko figured out that he could sleep, sleep he did. Until about midnight, most nights, when I come and nurse him down into the pack n play again. He doesn't argue about sleep after the midnight nursing.

But we still had trouble. Niko can NOT sleep in bed with me at night any longer AT THIS POINT. He would still wake me every half hour from the moment I brought him into bed (he won't stay in the pack n play past 2 or 4 and we don't blame him! who would want to see us all toasty in the bed right next to him while he's in the baby box?). I hit a wall again about a week ago. While the free time between 8 and midnight was nice, I really wasn't getting any more sleep than I was before.

Finally, we agreed that I would nurse Niko at 12 and at 4, but that Buster would do all the co-sleeping and I would be ON THE COUCH. That first night, with the 4am feeding sandwiched in, we adult Bensons got 8 glorious hours of wonderful sleep.

I have been on the couch ever since, with similar success. Niko still wakes up very often after 4, but his dad gets him calmed down pretty quickly into sleep. Last night, with an aching back, I decided to creep into bed around 4:30. Niko was still in the pack and play after his 4am feeding (he went down so easy after that feeding, which is really unusual). Turns out that that was a BAD IDEA. When Niko ultimately woke up and we brought him to bed, he was really really ANGRY when I wouldn't feed him. If I'm even within eye shot during the night, I'm expected to pony up the boobs. He will absolutely refuse to go to sleep if I don't nurse him down if he sees me. If it's his father, no probs. He knows that the papa doesn't have boobs and is good for a cuddle.

I miss my bed. My back is killing me. I miss cuddling my son all night long. I miss spooning with my husband. But, dudes, I do not miss nursing on demand every half hour. I wish the situation could be different, but right now that's where it all stands! I am a much MUCH better mother this week than I have been in AGES. I get so much done that one would think I were snorting ritalin. Niko gets play groups. Niko gets more walks. Niko gets all of my attention and my attention is HAPPY.

Also, out of the blue this week, Niko has decided that I don't need to nap WITH him in order for him to nap. I think that this is due in large part to the fact that he is getting more sleep at night and isn't so overstimulated during the day. His daytime napping has improved so much with our new sleep situations.

Fuck yeah! But oh shit I might be screwed when Buster goes out of town on business in two weeks…. hmmmmm…..

***

In other, related news!

WE ARE MOVING!!!!!!! We have an beautiful apartment WITH ROOMS waiting for us on First Hill! It is 1100 sq feet of gorgeous amazingness with the original oak floors from 1910, a formal dining room, a cute kitchen, a large living room, 2 BEDROOMS, 2 bathrooms, window boxes, and a terrific land lord. This place has proximity to many bus lines, all my mom friends on Capital Hill, and all my other friends on Capital Hill. You wouldn't believe the price if I told you (that price does come with a hitch, but maybe more on that later).

WE ALSO HAVE A RENTER FOR THE LOFT!!! WHO IS INTERESTED IN BUYING (contingent on the sale of his house in the burbs, so who knows what that means)!!! SO WE ARE NOT GOING TO GO INTO FANTASTICAL DEBT (we don't think) DOING THIS!!!

Things are looking up, dear friends! Seattle is a little cold right now but about to have FAKE SPRING! If you don't live here, you should know that that means bulbs budding! Flowers flowering! Temperate air flowing! All in February. It is one of my favorite fake Seattle seasons, right up there with FAKE SUMMER, which happens in May.

Fake teaser seasons. Oh, Seattle! You are a funny place. I kind of love you. Which is passive aggressive PNW way of saying that we belong. In an awkward way. A little. You're sort of awesome.

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