Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On No Sleep

We aren't that far removed from the infant days of intense sleep deprivation so you'd think plunging back into it wouldn't be a big deal, right?  WRONG.  It stinks!  After basking in weeks, maybe even months, of glorious mostly uninterrupted nights of sleep our luck seems to have temporarily (let's hope) run out.  It is a battle people.  A battle to get her to go to sleep, stay asleep, and sleep in a little in the mornings (is 6 a.m. too much to ask for?). 

Apparently, there is a common 18 month sleep regression that no one bothered to tell us about.  We've literally been scratching our heads for a few weeks now wondering what to do.  Do we stink at this parenting thing?  Why can't we do something as simple as get our child to sleep?  She is just not interested in sleeping.

Example, a few weeks ago she woke up at 3:30 a.m. asking to go outside and look at Christmas lights, and I am not even kidding, she is obsessed with them.  This pleading to go outside coupled with talking and singing of various hits like "Twinkle, Twinkle" and "Jingle Bells" lasted until around 4:30 a.m.  She is also mightily resisting naps and waking earlier and earlier in the mornings.  

As an aside, she did sleep well last night (after a bedtime bedlam with daddy), yet we chose to drag our bottoms out of bed in the middle of the night to check out the lunar eclipse.  What were we thinking? 

So here is my crackpot theory of why this is happening.  After reviewing all the variables it seems we have teething, development of new motor skills like dressing/undressing, MAJOR verbal development, and her realization that she does not have to agree with every decision we make for her.  I also think she is really afraid that she will miss something. 

I keep reassuring myself that this is but a blip on the radar of sleep habits and soon she'll go back to sleeping like an angel.  Right?  RIGHT? 

Here are some snippets of what we've been up to lately:

Practicing with the shirt.
When I asked here what the triangle was she said "circle", and when I asked her what the circle was she said "circle" and when I asked her what the square was she said "circle".  When I finally pointed to the heart she said "heart" and melted mine.

Practicing putting on pants.  Can't really see it here but she had leggings, capris and pj shorts on.  That was soon followed by another pair of shorts, a shirt on the legs, and a shirt on the head.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Settling into the Season

Still here.  Still alive.  Still breathing.  Still adjusting to the time change (I know).

Every year it comes.  The early darkness and the shift in the angle of the sun take me by surprise.  Like the warmth has never been snatched from the air before or that I’ve never seen plants willingly drop their leaves for a long winter nap.  It is truly wondrous and terrible all at the same time to be forced into contemplative, indoor evenings.  While Mother Nature prepares for her renewal in the spring, we fall in step with her rhythm and do the same.

November passed in the blink of an eye and we enjoyed lovely and delicious Thanksgiving celebrations (seriously, where did it go).  The abundance of joy in our life is stretching my heart to its limit. 

Last week we put our tree up as a family while listening to Christmas tunes or "oo-sic" according to Cora.  She can already sing jingle bells (Gee Ba-Baaaa, Gee Ba-Baaaa).  Even at 17 months old, she is totally enamored by all of it which is making this mama fall in love with this special season even more.  To hear her say "baby Jesus" is just about the sweetest thing ever. 

Tonight, the dog and I went for a run after Cora went to sleep (just can’t do it in the mornings right now) and it was so peaceful.  Couldn’t help but hum “Silent Night” as I passed by cheerily lit houses while breathing in crisp air, my feet the metronome for the melody.  Those twinkly lights all heralding faith that the light will come.  And it does.  Again and again without fail, but each year the fading into darkness makes us question. 

As I rounded the corner for the homestretch of my run I was breathless as I approached our glowing home, physically and emotionally.  Standing in the street, panting dog at my side, breath cutting the air I admired our quaint house.  Here is my life, laid out in front of me.  I can see Rob walking around inside and the tree softly lit yet so radiant.  Cora tucked in with the company of puppies and sock monkeys and handmade quilts.  I see it all so clearly and am aflutter with joy.

I really want to soak up this season of anticipation and all of its importance.  So I think I’ll sign off and snuggle up on the couch with Rob, some Christmas jazz and the warmth of our tree.


Monday, November 15, 2010

One of Those Perfect Days

Do you ever have days when everything is perfect?  Especially when it's just another ordinary day?  One of those days where you don't really have firm plans but everything falls into place as if scripted to be memorable?  OK, you get the point, we had a great day! 

Saturday morning we started the day with a run through dazzling fall scenery.  The leaves in Oklahoma have been teasing us for weeks but are just now really on fire.  Crisp air added extra energy to my stride and for the first time in months it felt GOOD to run.  

Our run was followed by a leisurely family breakfast and playtime around the house.  Nothing remarkable but still just perfect in every way.  After Cora's nap we decided it would be a good day to head to the zoo.  It was both mine and Cora's first time (sometimes I'm a little weird about zoos).  We skipped watching OU football for gazing at magnificent mammals, beautiful birds, and humble herps.  Since most Oklahomans were glued to college football we almost had the place to ourselves.  This little video sums up how Cora felt about everything at the zoo.

Zoo from Courtney Green on Vimeo.

Our first stop was a special exhibit just for children that included the petting of precious, tiny goats.  Cora was enamored with them as well as donkeys, sheep, piggies and rabbits. 

After goats we saw agile spider monkeys (their movements make me jealous) and fancy flamingos.  Then we went in a special "room" with friendly lorikeets.  Extending a limb was an open invitation for friends and even Cora got the hang of it.

  I didn't get many pictures because I really wanted to see things through my own eyes.  The late afternoon sunlight filtering through blazing leaves cast a lovely glow on all the exhibits.  Among other things we saw were rhinos, grizzlies, black bear, white tailed deer, lions, otters, snakes, owls (Rob's favorite) bats, eagles, elk, foxes, wolves, and HUGE tortoises.  Unfortunately the only elephant we saw in the pachyderm exhibit was this bronze one, but Cora didn't care because she got to ride it.

There is something about being so close to such powerful animals that takes your breath away.  This lovely lady sauntered right up to the glass and paused face to face.  I couldn't tell what was in her eyes and maybe that's why I a bit ambivalent about zoos.

The last exhibit we saw was the primate exhibit (my favorite).  The gorillas and orangutans were fascinating.  They captivated Cora and she observed them for the longest time.  Unfortunately we had to tear ourselves away prematurely as the zoo was closing, but there is more to go back and see. 

We finished our perfect evening with a trip to Pops on Route 66, a cool convenience station (with kicking burgers and sodas) that is a throwback to mid century architecture and so much fun.While waiting on a table we checked out the sites and enjoyed a beautiful sunset as a bookend to our perfect day.  I washed my burger down with a birch beer while Rob enjoyed a kumquat soda (milk for Cora).

We drove home drunk on the joy and peace of the day (while also slurping a chocolate milkshake to-go).  I know that everyday has snippets of perfect here and there, but I am very thankful for this EXCEPTIONAL day.

Friday, November 5, 2010

722 Mile Hug

We love you and wish we could be there to comfort you while you are ill.  You are in our thoughts each day.

"See this heart Great Momo? It is because we LOVE you SOOOO much!"

"Even Yeti wants to show you our sign!"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Green Halloween Wrap-up

Painting everything but the pumpkin.

We get into Halloween!  Rob was gutting my pumpking while I attempted to make recognizable gnome hats.

Rob working on his porcupine.

Rob's porcupine and Court's spooky pumpkin.

Cora helped Dad make some ghosts from t-shirts and pine cones.

A happy little Gnome Family.  Most people didn't know what we were but we had fun with it anyway.  As we rode our bikes across campus to get to the costume tailgate party we heard everything from Santa and a Baby Santa to ZZ Top.

Did I mention we love Halloween???

Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Tents

Dear Cora,

It was in a tent that I hoped for you.

In a tent that I was amazed by your presence in my expanding belly.

In a tent I was snuggled with you but wished you would stop kicking me in the head and go back to sleep.

 Enjoying a morning campfire.
 We all felt a little zombie like.

Last weekend we took you camping with us.  Between the hours of midnight and two a.m. when you were playing instead of sleeping (hey, at least you weren't screaming), groggy memories of other times in tents floated in and out of my semi consciousness.

In October of 2008 your papa and I snuck away for a little outdoor weekend.  We had been hoping for you for a few months but you were still just a dream.  Our last morning of the trip we awoke to sheets of rain pummeling our tent.  We weren't in a hurry to pack our wet stuff so we lounged in the tent and read.  I was reading The Red Tent, a book your Grammy passed on many, many months earlier (years maybe) that I was just getting around too. 

With each page I was drawn deeper into the book as it related so deeply to my current feelings.  Wanting a child myself I was fascinated by the joys, pains, losses, struggles and blessings recounted in the story.  As I reclined in the tent to the melody of rain and thunder, I completely slipped into each of the characters in awe and terrified of my own uncertain future.  On the ride home,  I don't think I uttered one word to your papa because I couldn't tear away from the story.

Two weeks later, your story began. 

Five months later, I found myself in a tent again with your papa.  In the middle of the desert.

You were my constant companion in body and spirit.  There wasn't one step on the trail when you didn't occupy most of the space in my mind.  My hands frequently rested on the spot I thought you might be sleeping or wiggling.  Someday I want to take you to retrace every place we visited on that trip, so you too can be inspired by the beauty.

At night we would settle in together on the ground and I would wait to feel your wiggles as they were still slight at that stage of the pregnancy.  I'm certain when I slept that my lips smiled with dreams of you.  I frequently thought of The Red Tent and of lying in our tent in the rain hoping for you. 

Nineteen months later I was in a tent again.  This time, you were with me; now a toddler.  You love being outside and are always up for adventure.  You walked some of the steps on the trail with me and rode the other steps on my back while peacefully sleeping. 

At night when we settled in to sleep, you were too excited.  You could see the flames of the fire outside flickering against the tent walls and were enamored.  Eventually, I rocked you to sleep.  You were one tired, sweet girl.  You were splayed out on your back with your arms up by your ears in fists; this is how you slept when you were about six months old.  Again, I thought of The Red Tent and marveled at what a miracle you are. 

At midnight, the rain pinged on the fly and woke you up and you decided to have a party until around two a.m.  At one point you flung a book at my head your small voice pleading me to read it to you.

I hope we go camping again soon, and I hope you decide to cancel your midnight party. 


Monday, October 25, 2010

Hey! You ain't gettin' any younger!

If you aren't too busy today with one of your many extracurricular activities, hopefully you'll check my blog and see that I'm celebrating you.  Even though sometimes I want to pinch you (smile) I know that I love you very much and have been fortunate to have you share in my life.  I probably haven't told you enough, but the memories we've made will always be with me and among my most beloved.  Thanks for making it a priority to be an awesome Popo.  Happy Birthday!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

15 Months

Rob and I were playing at the park with Cora last weekend and Rob just kind of sighed to himself and said, "She is turning into a little girl."  And he is right.  We are slipping farther away from the baby stage with each passing day speeding towards the uncertainties of toddlerhood.  Here are some things she is up to these days:

- Walking backwards.  She will walk backwards all the way down our long hallway (need to get some video).  I don't know, but it totally cracks me up.  It's like a lightbulb went on in her head and she's realized that forward isn't the only direction. 
- Imitating everything.  If you ask her to say almost any word, she usually repeats it.  My current favorite is pumpkin which sounds like "PAH-kin". 
-Clinging to the paci.  This is only used a nap and night, but she LOVES it.  I wanted to get rid of it before she could ask for it by name, but that time has come and gone.  When Rob and I refer to it we do so by spelling P-A-C-I but I think she is catching on.
- Playing guitar.  I'll fret the chords and she'll strum the strings with my pick, which usually gets dropped inside.
- Singing songs.  We've been hearing little bits of ABC's, Old MacDonald, Itsy Bitsy and Twinkle Twinkle.
- "Jumping".  She says jump and bends her legs but isn't quite getting her feet off the ground. 
- "Running" - We almost have a bonafide run.  It is certainly a quick walk.
- Saying uh-oh anytime anything is dropped. 
- Is currently infatuated with car keys.  I always thought that was for tiny babies; we are going to have to make her a set of her own because once she finds yours, there is no getting them back.  She tries to unlock things with them. 

This highspeed highway of development is amazing.  Everyday she is learning something new and everyday I love her more!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Little Miss Cora had a Farm

And on that farm she had lions, horses, sheep, chimps, elephants, goats, and sleepy polar bears (that imitate frogs).  I know, eclectic right?  Cora's been practicing her animal sounds for a while and I was finally able to document some of it.  She can see herself on the camera screen so she appears a little spaced out, but I suppose this was what captured her attention long enough to be still.

Animal Sounds from Courtney Green on Vimeo.

Now for the outtakes.

Animals take one from Courtney Green on Vimeo.

iPod exploration from Courtney Green on Vimeo.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lovey Dovey

Cora is growing up way too fast.  I thought the hugging and kissing thing didn't start until at least kindergarten.  Check out my friend Lindsay's blog for a sweet post about our two little love birds.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Uniform

It is no secret that I'm not that in to fashion.  I'm not completely oblivious to what's hip and I don't want to walk around looking like an idiot, but mostly, I like to be comfortable.  Of course there are days when I would love to rip out a page in J. Crew and modge podge it to my body before heading out the door, but ultimately, it isn't what I choose to spend my time or money on.  Given the choice between a trip to the mall or a walk to the park, I'm going to the park!

When it comes to clothing, I usually like to find what's comfortable and stick with it.  I've joked around with people before that I wish had four different uniforms.  One each for the four seasons. 

In addition to my general lack of interest in clothing and the seeking of, I'm chronically cheap (no shame here), and I try not to over consume.  In fact, any act of commerce I engage in is fraught with questions of conscience.  "Should I really be spending money on this?  Who made it and what kind of social/environmental consequences are attached to it?  Do I need it or just want it?  Will it last?  What if I get it home and then don't like it?  Does it match enough stuff in my closet to be justified?" on and on ad nauseum.  Quick tip, do not go shopping with me...you won't have any fun. 

Rob and I have frequent conversations about simplifying our life.  I'm always amazed by how much "stuff" we have even though we don't go out and seek a lot of "stuff".  Where does all this "stuff" come from?

Our Netflix queue certainly isn't helping take our mind off matters of the environment/consumption/social issues either.  I'm pretty sure the last eight movies our sweet mail lady has delivered (while consuming gas!) have all been members of the documentary club: five of the six discs in the Ken Burns National Parks series (missed them when they aired on PBS), The Cove, Paper Clips, 180 South, Babies and yet to come are Tapped, War Dance and some other about the Alaskan Wild.  It isn't enough to just think about it, you have to change your behavior.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed when thinking about all the things I should do to change my behavior. 

I was thinking about some things that I use frequently.  Below are some mainstay items outside of my work attire.  The purse was a Backwoods purchase from about five years ago, the fleece a Christmas present from Rob seven years ago, and my Chaco sandals another Backwoods purchase from around six years ago.  All three items are barley showing any wear and could be around for several more years.  The fleece has accompanied me on every outdoor trip Rob and I've ever been on and it has always kept me warm.  Sure, it would be nice to have something new and shiny, but this would be giving in to the perceived obsolescence of the items.  Something the marketing pros want me to do frequently.

If I could have a uniform, these would definitely make the cut.  They are comfortable, utilitarian and sturdy.  Sure, I won't be scoring many cool points or be photographed on the red carpet, but I can feel good about getting the most out of something before adding it to the landfill.  Need some inspiration?  Watch the "Story of Stuff".  

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cleanliness is Futile

Fastidious we are not.  That we includes every member of the Green family.  In the dog's defense, he doesn't shed, at all, so there's that.  While we aren't completely boorish and slovenly in our housekeeping and personal hygiene, pass beyond the threshold of our porch into our real lives and you'll see we aren't the epitome of perfection. 

That being said, we don't want to be and we don't strive to be.  We keep things generally clean and picked up but there are times when life spirals out of control with a centrifugal force that takes a herculean effort to stall it.  When Cora was a baby I often thought, "This is a piece of cake.  It's so easy to keep the house cleaned up.  Why do some many people complain?".  Ha!  That was when she was immobile and was content to be strapped to mom or dad at all times.  Fast forward, and we have a little "Cora the Destroyer" on our hands and life is just messier. 

I've heard of kids that don't like to get dirty at all and that is not my kid.  Dirt?  Check.  Grubby nails?  Check.  Water from the dog bowl (I do try and keep her out of the toilets)?  Check.  Food?  Milk?  Lint?  Chalk? Sand? Boogers?  Check, check, check, check, check and check.  She's never really been discontent in a dirty diaper, although I usually don't give her long to complain, and getting her clothes all wet doesn't even make her flinch.  She is an explorer (and destroyer) and she is always too wrapped up in the moment to be trifled by the grime of toddlerhood.

The other evening she asked very politely to go outside ("aht hide, aht hide, aht hide" while pointing out the back door).  Right on the back stoop we have several plant pots vacant of vegetation but move-in ready with soil.  I thought Cora would head right towards the swing but was instantly drawn towards aforementioned pots.  We practiced moving soil from one pot to another.    

After her excavation I thought she was ready to go back inside so I stripped her down to her diaper.  Nope, she wanted to swing.

Ever seen a baby in a diaper after sitting in wood chips?  Think hedgehog (I was too busy trying to pick prickly bits off to get a picture).  So, we ended up playing the rest of the time like this.  I love it that babies don't know to feel awkward when they are naked except for shoes!

Each day I am reminded that being a parent is one long endurance exercise in letting go.  So much to let go of.  Preconceived notions of what life is supposed to look like.  What others think of you and your family as long as YOU are happy with YOU and your family.  The rug underneath the dining room table as it becomes matted with rice and overboard food particles after the family meal.  Picking up things only to have a little one come right along behind you to undo your good intentions.  Their intentions are what matter in this moment.  It is in the messes where the true moments hide.