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Spring Flowers and their Intoxicating Magic

Yay, it’s spring! Somehow, I’m even more excited about it this year than usual. I’m glad there’s been plenty of rain, like there’s supposed to be. I’m glad there’s been nice sweater-weather – some years it seems we go straight from winter to summer.

A few weeks ago, I had a dream weekend (for the likes of me). I got to perform with my dance sisters at two different events, and train at two workshops with the amazing Audra Simmons. On Sunday, I had an afternoon date with my Hubbibi in which we had a great meal uninterrupted and then wandered around together conversing uninterrupted in the beautiful spring weather. To top it all off, we went to my parents’ to pick up our children, and I had the chance to go out to the marsh and surround myself with this sound:

It just makes me happy.

And now, the flowers are here! Which makes me even gladder. It seems the flowers are just as affecting for AB. We both got in a tizzy about the sweet, fragrant violets when they popped up.

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And we were thrilled about these little irises.

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AB was so taken with them, she decided on the spot that she would change her name to Iris. Thenceforth, her name would be Iris Olivia P. (Olivia P. is her best friend’s name). Her own actual name was third in line. That evening, I tried to remember to call her Iris a few times. Luckily, this kind of pretending is usually short-lived. She practiced writing her new name a bunch, but hasn’t made us use it.

A week later, I got a note from her JK teacher asking if there was real significance to the name Iris, since AB had been insisting it was actually her name. She had reportedly gotten upset in line at spring picture day because the silly photographers were outrageously USING HER OLD NAME. The poor supply teacher who was with the class that day didn’t know what to do.

Yesterday when I picked AB up at the end of the day, her teacher looked a little unsure and said, “I hope you’ll find this funny…” and handed me the school photo proofs.

I didn’t just laugh, I practically guffawed. Sean did the same when he saw them. Now THAT is a picture of a girl who is pleased with herself. We may actually order some, for the first time.

Our darling children also insisted on a sibling picture, even though we hadn’t requested one.  Doesn’t it look like they love each other?

Here’s one more picture, from today, because I was so excited. It’s the wee cherry tree we planted last year. We didn’t know whether to expect anything but leaves… but yippee! Cherry blossoms!

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Spring is so great.

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Undulating Perspective III: The Importance of Sleep

Hey, y’all.

As you know, I love May. It’s the best month.

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I’ve been feeling nostalgic about this tree we had in our front yard at the old house, as well as the apple and plum trees in the backyard. They smelled SO GOOD.
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But we do now have this lovely magnolia! It was blooming on my birthday.

This year, May has been tougher for our family than it usually is. I’m gonna tell you why for venting purposes, but you can skip this paragraph if you want. Blah blah: all four of us got a stomach bug at different times – brief but exhausting, especially because it was basically all night-time interruptions. AB and I also got a shared head cold that wiped out another few days (at least in terms of productivity). Before and in between those, we had quite a number of nights in which my same beloved daughter kept calling out in the night – either because she wanted help to go pee, or because she needed to pee but woke up with irrational iron-willed determination not to admit it, or because she dreamed about some insect or other in her bed, or because she needed her covers fixed. (We have discussed how she needs to fix her own covers, but when she forgets, I don’t know that until I’m already vertical.)

The result is that on Mother’s Day, I was in post-bug sleep almost the whole day, and was stupid-tired all over again on my birthday a few days later.

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(Here is the table set for my birthday! My parents and ALL my siblings showed up; dinner was made, dessert was perfect, there were flowers and artwork and so much cool stuff. I did love it… but I was definitely droopy.)

And then there were those couple days when it snowed. In my May. We won’t even discuss that.

This year, it’s also the month I needed to get record amounts of work done, due to two different absences from work (that I will be telling you about). However, I was so often in a state of exhaustion that I would think about all the work I had to do and feel simply incapable. Like parenting and teaching are too hard and I CAN’T HACK ‘EM. Like it’s all overwhelming and LIFE IS IMPOSSIBLE.

And then, I got some proper sleep, finally – a couple of good sleeps in a row. And literally, the sun came out, the birds sang, the flowers bloomed before my eyes. ‘Twas amazing. Suddenly I realized I could do life after all.

I read Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive this past year, and she wrote a lot about how good sleep is crucial to human well-being. I was like, “Duh, of course it is,” because I’ve never been a rat-race participant, or possessed anything resembling a killer ambition that would motivate me to work 100-hour weeks at the expense of eating and sleeping.

But in actual fact, I’m less smart about sleep than I should be. I mean, it’s not my fault that the hundreds of interrupted nights of my early motherhood are still (intermittently) in progress. But I also have a habit that a lot of parents have: once the kids are finally in bed, I want to have that awake-time to myself, and I will stay up for it even if I’m tired. And then I miss my sleep window, just like a baby. I get a second wind of night-owlish energy that makes me lie awake once I do go to bed. I ignore, far more often than is advisable, my own tiredness – and I always regret it in the morning. It’s just dumb.

I know full well that I’m much better at everything when I’ve slept enough. What’s been particularly obvious to me recently is how much more patience I have after a decent sleep – and since both my jobs (the teaching and the parenting) require quite a bit of it, it’s no laughing matter if I’m running on fumes alone from my Tank o’ Patience. I’m bound to snap at my kids when they inevitably test me. My sense of humour leaves me. I’m just not that nice.

So now here I am on the Monday of Victoria Day long weekend, and the weather has been spectacular. Our whole neighbourhood smells like flowers. Sean had all three days off. Sean and I got to have a movie-date; there was river-side ice cream and park-playing; barbecue twice, and hanging out with sets of friends we don’t see enough. Basically perfect. And I’ve been able to see it all clearly, and really appreciate it, because of the sleep.

I’m really going to try harder to go to bed properly, like a good girl. It’s worth it.

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Baby AB’s Fashion Blog – Issue #4: “Innocent Lilac”

Happy Victoria and First Peoples Day!

It’s been a gorgeous summery day that was supposed to be raining. (And last week on Mother’s Day it snowed. WTF, FTW!)

Today’s feature is actually from today, for once. A beautifully simple dress, bequeathed by my friend Sally, that begs to be paired with lilacs in full bloom. CHECK! (Lilacs are among my top favourite things I would miss if I didn’t live on this planet.)

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Sweet little decorative rose, petal sleeves, a bit of lace at the bottom. Understated, sophisticated. Right?

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Works with magenta crab apple blossoms too. ALL the trees are blooming at once!!

The simplicity allows for some fancier shoes – also handed down, from Karissa. They’re too big yet, but whatever. Also too gorgeous to pass up.

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I’m going to miss the dents-for-knees stage.

Of course, you can’t spend all day in elegance. Nearly Naked Napping is essential on warm holiday weekends.

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Under the ceiling fan.

Speaking of nudity, E had some too.

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SUMMER HAPPY!

I hate to censor the joyful little dude, but I figure the face is worth posting. Fully Naked Pool-Splashing face. When I look at this photo, I want to remember how he read the words on the hose-nozzle to Papa all by himself (“mist”, “flat”, “jet”, “spray”, and “flood” – although he put the “ooh” sound in flood).

I love those kids so much.

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