1. Having the automatic car starter Kip got me for Christmas installed. Best. Gift. EVER.
2. Sunday night, Kip went down to his brother's house to watch the Pats game and Ainslie and I had a girls' night. The highlight: we turned off all the lights in the living room except for the Christmas tree and sat on the couch looking at how pretty it was in the dark. Apparently it was very romantic, because Ainslie leaned over and gave me a kiss and then thought me saying "Mwah!" was hilarious; we spent the next five minutes giving each other kisses with the "Mwah"s getting more and more exaggerated and laughing harder and harder in between each one.
3. One of my oldest friends, Shannon, came over to visit yesterday and it was so great!
4. My in-laws came over on Tuesday for a big family Christmas before Kip went back to Juneau, and it went really well! I didn't stress getting everything ready that morning, the food was good, and the cleanup wasn't too terrible thanks to my sister-in-law doing the dishes for me.
5. During aforementioned readying of the food for Tuesday Christmas, my mother-in-law fell asleep on our couch, which I counted as a wonderful sign that my home was comfortable enough for her to feel that comfortable.
6. Ainslie got to hang out in the toddler room at daycare, where she got to see her BFF, Tripp, who moved up to the toddler room about a month ago. They were clearly exhilarated to see each other!
7. This video, thanks to Kip:
8. Kip's and my getaway on Monday night. It was nice to be able to have dinner and sleep in without worrying about being woken up by Ainslie.
9. Kip and I watched "The Sound of Music" and declared that we are going to learn how to do the Laendler dance that Maria and Georg do in the ball scene. I'm psyched.
10. We found out last week that Kip can do Lasik surgery, which means that he's one step closer to getting a job with the State Troopers!
Even though I'm not technically on winter break from school yet, since I have one pesky paper standing between me and it, I've already started my resolution to get back into blogging. And last week, when I did, it felt REALLY good. I redesigned and re-titled, I've started having that glorious stream of consciousness, never-ending blog post soliloquy going on in the back of my head again, and I've been going back through old posts to label them for my spiffy new label cloud. In all this process, though, I stumbled onto something I think I've known for ages, but which I now realize is a much bigger factor than I'd previously thought: I really miss Barry.
Barry's "An Explorer's View of Life" was the first blog I ever followed, and while I never followed it (or him) in a creepy, stalkerish way, he was very much the blogger that I wanted to become. We never met, and we never talked save for a few traded comments and emails, but we built this strange, blog-based relationship that left me (and my blog) with a big, Barry-shaped hole after he died last summer.
And then Tessa, at "An Aerial Armadillo" followed him last December.
And then I just didn't really feel like writing anymore.
I can't believe I didn't realize the connection before, but going back through old posts I realized that those two people and their blogs really touched my heart in a special way. They were part of the original gang in the Friday Photo Shoot-Outs, they did the Willow Manor Ball, and they shared a unique zest for life that I would love to emulate, and that I'd like to think that I did emulate for awhile. Lest I descend into thinking that their departures are solely responsible for my waning interest in writing, I have to remind myself (and apparently anyone who's reading this) that between Barry's death in July and Tessa's in December came September 2010, the Lost Month in which I was in early labor the. entire. friggin. time. And then there was October 2010, the Second Lost Month in which Ainslie was born and we were in the NICU for the rest of the majority of the month. Over the past 14 months since then, I've looked back on Facebook posts and on here, and I've realized two things:
1) I'm a ridiculously positive person
2) That positivity gets in the way of the truth sometimes
And the truth is this: as much as I tried to shrug it off and focus on the positive in public (or semi-public social networking situations), last Fall was hell. Ainslie almost died. I almost died. And I've been fighting all the emotional turmoil (my euphemism of choice, since PTSD sounds too clinical and trendy to me) that's come from that ever since. When I started this blog back in 2007, I vowed not to let it turn into my high school-era LiveJournal (ooo, remember those?) where I just whined a lot about not having a boyfriend or being popular--you know, the Stuff That's Really Important in high school. But there is a middle ground between being whiny and being truthful. And I would like to start being more truthful here.
Barry and Tessa both took life by the horns and enjoyed every little experience, including (if it's at all possible) their terminal diseases. I don't have a terminal disease; I just had an experience that could act as a terminal disease to my spirit. But I don't want it to. So here I am, writing again, and I will go back to my blogging roots, in the spirit of Barry and Tessa, and take life by the horns including the good and the bad. And I will write about both this time.
Ten Things That Have Made Me Smile This Past Week:
1. How long my class applauded for my teacher last Thursday after our last lecture. It was nice to be in a class that appreciated our professor enough to actually show it. North Park was great, but all the non-majors who were in my mandatory classes just to fulfill a Gen-Ed requirement really brought the morale down.
2. Our Christmas tree in general--taking Ainslie to get our first family tree (last year was too complicated to get one), Kip and me getting through putting it up with nary an argument (which I hear is a really big deal in some marriages but has never proved to be a problem for us), decorating it together a few nights ago with our growing collection of ornaments and handmade garlands that I whipped together from old paper bags (some of which were from Panera, which lent a nice tan and red color scheme).
3. Ainslie's level of excitement when it comes to taking baths. She isn't too jazzed about having her hair washed, but she loves her bath toys and the whole process so much that when Kip had the shower turned on last night after his evening run and was putzing around while it warmed up, Ainslie ran (as much as a toddler can run) into the bathroom, emptied the contents of her bucket of bath toys into the tub, and stood at the side of the tub wiggling up and down trying to take off her shirt until I obliged and let her sit in the tub while the warm water came down from the shower head. Water coming from a height confused her a bit, but she eventually threw herself through the deluge in search of the one bath toy that (ironically) requires a tub full of water to be of any use. It was super cute.
4. How happy Kip was after that aforementioned evening run.
5. Our mini Christmas this morning. Kip has to go back to Juneau on the 21st, so we celebrated today, on the feast day of St. Lucia. It was a perfectly low-key morning involving a very modest number of gifts, a very unmodest amount of cinnamon rolls, and just enough Christmas movies.
6. I hate it when people do this, but I am just so excited about what Kip gave me for Christmas that I have to shout it from the rooftops: the Adele Live at Royal Albert Hall DVD (which I am watching right now with great joy and longing for England) and an automatic car starter that will be installed on Friday. No more running downstairs to warm up the car and then praying that nobody steals it while I'm getting Ainslie up in the early mornings I go to school! I'M SO EXCITED!!!!! My man's THE man.
7. The way Ainslie has started running down the hall in our apartment for the sole purpose of being chased, belly laughing the whole way.
8. Lunch on Saturday with my sister-in-law. It was a great girls' day!
9. The debate Kip and I got into on the T on the way back from school last Thursday over the changes in the Mass liturgy. I'm pretty sure the people around us wanted to kill us, but it was super fun.
10. I missed class last Tuesday because Ainslie was sick and Kip had a job interview, and two of my classmates sent me emails saying they missed me! It made me feel good :) I have friends, yay!
My newest home design obsession (and I use that word completely seriously) is somehow finding a card catalog. Yeah, you read that correctly. A Card. Catalog. Like, the type that we used to flip through in elementary school (or middle school, or high school, or college, depending on how old you are) to find books in the library...hypothetically in my case, of course, since by the time I finally figured out how to use the darn thing, it'd been replaced by a computer search system.
^ That kind of card catalog
In an ideal world, I would use it as a credenza-type piece of furniture, pretty much as pictured above. In a beyond-ideal world, I would use it in my spiffy craft room as a way to store all my little crafty doodads and it would be glorious.
My three resolutions for my Winter Break from school stand thus:
1. Get back into blogging
2. Read a non-academic book just for fun
3. Start taking photos again
3a. Find the cord to upload said photos to my computer to help with Resolution #1
I've been trying to think of a proper blog title now that I have a real apartment and official stuff like that here. But it doesn't feel right giving the blog an official, geographically related title when Kip isn't here yet. He's still working on getting a job out here, with varying levels of success, so while my address is in New Hampshire, my heart and my home are still split between here and Alaska. I'm looking forward to when he gets a job and moves here, we'll settle down and buy a house and be all domestic (at which point I'm sure I'll have some sort of identity crisis and start another Etsy store or dedicate myself to international travel again or get into a new random hobby, like glass etching). So, until that happens, I'm Dreaming of Home in New England..., with another nifty little ellipsis in the title that looks toward the future this time instead of to the past.