Margot Mondays – nine months

18 Aug 10570401_10100983183506408_7180227527097225609_n

Margot will be nine months old on Friday.

Nine. Months. Old.

It’s hard to recall what life was like before she came into our lives. On the one hand nine months is a blip, yet on the other it feels like she’s simply always been.

What we’ve been doing lately:

Our elephant/water baby.

Our elephant/water baby.

Making friends goes two ways. Margot meets other babies, we meet other parents. Hopefully someone hits it off.

Making friends goes two ways. Margot meets other babies, we meet other parents.

What we were doing nine months ago:

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A Halloween House.

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Mike the Swaddle King.

And what we were doing nine months before that:

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Mike studied more.

We cheered on our Hoosiers.

We cheered on our Hoosiers.

And what we were doing nine months before that, even:

I was in Peru!

I was in Peru!

Cusco.

Cusco.

Whale-watching in Redondo.

Whale-watching in Redondo.

 

Margot Mondays – girls just want to have fun

11 Aug Margot enjoyed the park.

Margot and I had a wonderful week together last week. Though Wednesday was a slog to get through (having just learned how to pull up and crawl, all she wanted to do was stand up, topple over, and bang her head on the 1% of the coffee table we’re unable to baby-proof), we eventually hit our stride. In fact, leaving for work this morning was really tough. I felt like maternity leave was ending all over again, watching her sad little face as I waved goodbye and walked out the front door.

I’m so thankful that I got to be there to see several milestones. Crawling was a huge one. There’s also clapping, waving goodbye, and dancing now. I was able to take videos and send them to Mike, too, and we even had a couple of nice Skype sessions with him.

We had two swim lessons and a pool party visit with Kate.

We had two swim lessons and a pool party visit with Kate.

We made homemade chocolate chip cookies.

We made homemade chocolate chip cookies and Mommy ate them all.

We created a Toy Tableau.

We created a Toy Tableau.

We went on a tea date to our favorite local coffee shop and split a spinach quiche.

We went on a tea date to our favorite local coffee shop and split a slice of spinach and feta quiche.

We cuddled.

We cuddled.

Margot enjoyed the park.

We played at the park.

I made Margot parsnips, apricots, and pears from the farmer's market.

I made Margot parsnips, apricots, and pears from the farmer’s market.

I told her about Jake Ryan.

I told her about Jake Ryan.

We went on a date to the Hammer Museum.

We went on a date to the Hammer Museum.

 

 

We’ve got it ‘Made in L.A.’

10 Aug Kim Fisher

Long time no write, huh?

Mike buggered off to Greece two weeks ago today and will be gone for another five weeks.  Yep. Two weeks down, only five more weeks to go. Somehow that particular landmark doesn’t seem very reassuring.

I decided to take a week off work last week, the first full week I’ve ever had off of any job in my entire life where I wasn’t traveling somewhere. Really I just wanted to spend that extra time with Beaner Schnitzel, just in time to see her avail herself of several new skills: crawling, pulling up, cruising, waving, clapping, and being super cute (and super tiring) in general. She can also go down slides (with assistance) and ride mini merry-go-rounds. It’s been quite a week!

But more on that later.

For now I thought I’d share some snaps from our mother/daughter date to the ‘Made in L.A. 2014‘ exhibit at the Hammer Museum. Recall that the last time I visited the Hammer was to see a design exhibit with my friend Denise. It’s a great space with a solid, albeit inconsistent, cafe (sometimes your salad comes with real shaved Parmesan and sometimes with, like, powdery stuff). Admission is free and parking is a measly $3/hour. In L.A. that’s saying something. Plus, you know, Art. I particularly wanted to see ‘Made in L.A’ when I saw this in the Los Angeles Times:

Speaking of gender, the show stands out in another way: This may be the first major biennial exhibition anywhere in recorded history that features more art by women than by men. Given the oft-repeated statistic that more women than men go to art school and become artists, that makes simple sense.  – Christopher Knight

That’s fantastic.

Here’s the thing: I want Margot to grow up being perfectly at home in museums. I want her to have a memory of these experiences situated so deeply in her being that she can’t ever remember it not being there. She doesn’t have to love the arts like I do. Of course not. My hope is that she can at least understand and appreciate what others have made and maybe even find the thing, whether it’s art, performance, music, etc…, that speaks to her, too. I also want her to have fun spending time with Mom and enjoying her city.

So what about the show? Well, I was there with aforementioned 8-month-old, so I didn’t get to absorb the galleries in the way I wanted to. Some things struck a chord with me, some things didn’t. And that’s fine. It’s all a matter of personal taste and I’m not above admitting that my palate isn’t as finely tuned to contemporary art as it is to other things. I’m far more at home in an anthropology or history museum. I just am. I leave criticism to the critics, in other words, and simply enjoy.

We begin.

We begin.

The Hammer asks patrons to use post-its to express what L.A. means to them...

The Hammer asks patrons to use post-its to express what L.A. means to them… I did not make this, but liked it.

The courtyard and cafe.

The courtyard and cafe.

Vote for Art.

Vote for Art.

 

Margot Mondays – adventures in baby-proofing

21 Jul

Sam: This is it.
Frodo: This is what?
Sam: If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.
Frodo: Come on, Sam. Remember what Bilbo used to say: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road and, if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Margot learned how to scoot a few days ago and it’s only a matter of time before she’s a crawling machine. Mostly she makes a beeline for the coffee table, which used to be a normal piece of furniture in our lives but is now a dangerous, pointy, eye-gouging Unit of Doom. Yesterday we watched her wiggle worm her way across the living room floor and toward the dining room. Our intrepid explorer was so pleased with herself, but she took a beat to turn toward us to make sure we were watching her. I joked with Mike that our little Samwise Gamgee was leaving the Shire. One more squirm and she’d be the farthest away she’d ever been.

And so we made the trip to Target and bought all sorts of things. Table bumpers and pads, doorknob and socket covers, cupboard latches, corner buffers, and even a few whosits and whatsits. Mike spent the obligatory amount of time underneath the bathroom and kitchen sinks, cursing and sweating because screwdrivers weren’t screwing and nails weren’t nailing. We still need to find a way to secure the television and bookshelves but we’re on top of it.

The only view I have of my daughter of late is of her moving away.

The only view I have of my daughter of late is of her moving away.

The old me was really annoying.

16 Jul

I woke up in the middle of the night the other night and had a thought that seemed brilliant. “What if,” I thought, “I logged into my old LiveJournal account and picked something I wrote when I was 25 or 26 to share on my blog?  Wouldn’t that be interesting? Wouldn’t it be a nice way to talk about how far I’ve come, or to reminisce about what my life was like while I was living in England? How cool would it be to look back at myself as a newlywed with a freshly minted MA degree and endless possibilities ahead of me?”  

It certainly sounded good in theory.

And then I logged into my old LJ account. Turns out 25-year-old me wasn’t all that compelling or profound. Actually, 25-year-old me was in a really negative head-space. I complained about England. I complained about my peers, my internships, and my first jobs out of college. I made too many pop-culture references and used words like “j-amazing.” I typed out introspective song lyrics just because. I took many quizzes where I learned things like what color crayon I am and what color my heart is. I was neurotic and spazzy in the worst way. I spent a lot of time wasting my time.

That’s who I was. As much as I’d like to pull a reality villain excuse out of my hat, to claim that it was all producer editing or something like that, this was me. I was negative and, well, awfully uninteresting.

It is eye-opening to think that I did all these wonderful things and never really appreciated them for how wonderful they were: a year living abroad, trips to France, Scotland, Ireland, and Italy, being newly married, moving back home and being near family. It’s a wonder my husband still loves me and my friends have hung around after all that.  What did I have to be so unhappy about?

Oh, to be 25 again? Really I’d rather not.

And will I someday look back on this blog, long after the doors have shuttered and the lights are out, and think the same thing? Is this just how it goes?

Questions for future Loni.

This is the face of an annoying girl in Paris.

This is the face of an annoying 25-year-old girl in Paris.

Margot Mondays – Shhh. She’s sleeping.

7 Jul

There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the first six weeks of her life Margot was what doctors like to call a “terror.” I say that as her mother, as one who loves her beyond all things and wouldn’t change a hair on her head. But that doesn’t make it any less true. She was an absolute terror. She screamed. I cried. Mike did his best to make sure she wasn’t screaming and I wasn’t crying, but it didn’t work. She screamed. I cried.

We said we’d never co-sleep. Never ever ever. We quickly learned that it was the only way she’d sleep. We bought her a Rock n’ Play and a Pack n’ Play. The former we dubbed her Torture Chair and the latter we called her Torture Bed. You’d get that kid within one foot of either and she’d begin Purple Crying like mad. We made do as best we could and eventually settled into a routine. Mostly that meant a lot of late-night Netflix. It’s sad how quickly you can run out of decent shows to watch.

And then, like magic, at six weeks a switch got flipped and she turned into Ultimate Dream Baby. It was nothing we did, and this entry is not a “how-to” writ large. One day she just, for whatever reason, chose to prefer being set down.

All of a sudden she liked her Rock n’ Play, so she slept in it every night. And then, just as quickly, she began falling asleep each evening at around 7:30 pm. One day we learned that we could lay her down in her bassinet wide awake at 7:15. She’d smile, coo a bit, squirm some, and then gently fall asleep. And then she started sleeping through the night – 7:30 pm to 5:30 am. Just like that. So that’s the story of how we Mr. Magooed ourselves into having a great sleeper.

The final frontier for us was transferring her out of the bassinet in our room and into the crib in her nursery. I’ll admit that we dragged our feet on this one. There was something reassuring about having her at arms’ reach, at hearing her fumble for her pacifier in the middle of the night and put herself back to sleep. It had to happen, though. Like everything before, she handled the move like a champ, treating it like a fun, new place, smiling, and drifting off to sleep.

Still, I’ve spent the last few nights hoping she’d wake up and cry just so I’d have an excuse to put her back in her bassinet… I’m still waiting.

She sleeps.

She sleeps.

Things I like (Wednesday morning commute-inspired)

25 Jun And then, later that same day, we went out for oyster po'boys and johhnycakes with maple butter.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in my world. I’ve neglected Margot Mondays the past two Mondays, I believe. I promise to pick that up again next Monday.

In the meantime, I wanted to make note of some Very Good Things. This morning, as I was standing in the middle of the traveling sardine can I call the Santa Monica Blue Bus, shoulder to shoulder with people I don’t know and with some guy mouth breathing all over my neck, I tried to channel my happy place despite living a real-life “Elaine-Benes-Stuck-on-the-Subway” scene. It was hard, but I think I pulled it off.

Here are the things that got me through my midweek commute:

1) The Los Angeles Public Library has created a Literary World Cup to coincide with the goings on in Brazil. Recent pairings have included Yasunari Kawabata’s Thousand Cranes (Japan) vs. Laura Restrepo’s The Angel of Galilea (Colombia) and Đuka Begović by Ivan Kozarac (Croatia) vs. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (Mexico). I’ve added so many books to my ever-growing list as a result of this. Way to go LAPL!

2) Two weekends ago we spent a sunny Saturday at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. It was crowded and the churros were stale, but then these things happened and I was so glad we came:

The jellies were her jam.

The jellies were her jam.

Sea Bass are really, really large.

Sea Bass are really, really large.

3) We celebrated a wonderful Father’s Day for Mike. I’ll post more on this next week, but to say the weekend was food-centric would be a wee bit of an understatement. Turns out that when you ask men what they want to do for their very special weekend, they usually respond with “I don’t know…Food?”

Margot and I made Mike eggs benedict for brunch.

Margot and I made Mike eggs benedict for brunch.

And then, later that same day, we went out for oyster po'boys and johhnycakes with maple butter.

And then, later that same day, we went out for oyster po’boys and johnnycakes with maple butter.

4) Oh, and it was my 33rd birthday that very same weekend. I felt a little guilty about stealing Mike’s thunder (it was his first Father’s Day and I’ve already had, like, 32 birthdays), but he still managed to remind me of why I love him.

On Friday night he came home with nail polish for me. I wonder whether he just grabbed the first three he could find, or if, as he says, he actually stood there and picked them out. Either way, purple rules!

On Friday night he came home with nail polish for me. I wonder whether he just grabbed the first three he could find, or if, as he says, he actually stood there and picked them out. Either way, purple rules!

And then he made me a homemade peaches and cream cake. Whipped cream frosting and everything.

And then he made me a homemade peaches and cream cake. Whipped cream frosting, peach puree, and everything.

And then I got some loot. New Midwestern cookbook, fancy cheese, flowers, and topaz stacking rings (Margot's birthstone).

And then I got some loot. New Midwestern cookbook, fancy cheese, flowers, and topaz stacking rings (Margot’s birthstone).

5) Speaking of Mike, he achieved a milestone in his PhD studies and advanced to candidacy! I knew he would, but still. Exciting stuff!

6) My LA Kings won the Stanley Cup. On my birthday. We watched every game with bated breath and I even watched local news coverage of the downtown celebration parade and rally twice. Yep, I heard mayor Eric Garcetti’s “f-bomb” twice.

GKG!

GKG! Image found here.

Santa Monica Big Blue Bus? I’ll see you at 5.

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