Saturday, September 5, 2009

Is there a Master’s of Science in Diapers?

When I was in graduate school, I hated my evenings home. My evenings home were filled with guilt…"I should be writing that paper, reading that chapter, working on that project, trying to figure out what the heck this class is about…what school do I go to again?" I carefully (hah!) became pregnant right before I graduated. I also spent my most uncomfortable months fighting nausea while also taking the HARDEST CLASS OF MY ENTIRE CURRICULUM and also working 20 hours of overtime a week. But, I'm not bitter. Anyhow, when I graduated I wanted to celebrate with champagne; instead, I went on a trip back to my roots with my husband and little one snuggled up in my belly. Really though, I wanted to cheer and dance and sing and just not think about anything for, oh, four million-trillion years. What a relief.

Upon returning from our whirlwind tour of Montana, Yellowstone Park, and Grand Teton National Park, we settled into the reality that, yes, we were going to become parents; thus, we may want to turn the barren and purple room left by the previous owners into something a little more suitable for a 0-yr-old. We started looking at baby gear and trying to figure out what all we needed. Holy cow. If you are even thinking about traipsing into Babies R Us any time before the baby is born, lord help you. It will beat you up and spit you out like a guy who runs a deli in New York (if you have never experienced a real New York Deli in…New York…then you may not know what I'm talking about).

Escaping from the world of playards (not PLAYPENS…WHAT KIND OF PARENT DO YOU THINK WE ARE? We are not LOCKING UP OUR INFANT like some common criminal), diaper wipe warmers, cribs, and (please, help me) NURSERY THEMES (ugh), we went to REI. You know, that warm and friendly place that has gear for EVERY WEATHER CONDITION POSSIBLE, including those days when it's cold and rainy but you are hot and sweaty and need to stay warm but need to let the hot out? No? You aren't familiar with that weather pattern? Well, then you will not understand why the first piece of baby equipment we ever bought was this:

But, I digress.

Back to my story. So, we got all prepared for our little jewel. We argued over names (and those of you who know me even slightly well, will recognize the name Kalina). Then, we were ready. Then, we waited. I had SO MUCH FREE TIME TO WAIT. Then the baby was born and I went on maternity leave. You know, someone once spoke to me about maternity leave as though it was some sort of extra-long vacation. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Ahhh, innocence. Now, more than 11 months later, I am here thinking about HOW EASY I HAD IT in graduate school. What was I complaining about again? There is a constant set of sippy cups that need cleaned, a high chair to be scrubbed, toys to be picked up, laundry to be done, and don't get me started on the diaper genie (and its outhouse effect).

Of course, hearing Miss Kyra babble in her crib in the morning is like getting a gazillion graduate degrees over and over again. So, I guess this is still better than being back in graduate school.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Somebody Help Me...I'm Lazy

Since when did 6 years pass so quickly? And what happened to the hair that I could put into braided pigtails?
Somebondy help! I am getting lazier by the minute! Must...stop...watching...television...


Monday, August 3, 2009

I left my ________ in Logan, UT

Who was it that sang I Left My Heart in San Francisco? Tony Bennett (according to Google -- my most "trusted" resource). I left something in Logan, UT...

Well, we recently returned from a "vacation"...if you could call it that. I have been trying to decide how I wanted to write up this post and, seeing as how I have been talking at length to other people about our recent adventure, I didn't feel like writing anything. I am...

Let me start out by saying that we learn a lot on every trip that we've ever gone on. For example, we have learned that when people are packing up your necessities for a trek through the Peruvian Andes, it is very important to make sure that all items are secured properly (or your backpack will fall out on some remote, dusty road in the middle of nowhere).
Another example: you can never be too dry and paying a few Euros for a shower on a day like this is well worth it. And, early on during this trip, we have also learned that “sharing” a bed (I use that term loosely) with a 10-month-old will result in NO ONE getting any sleep.

In addition: if you are going to need emergency surgery while on vacation, do it when you are (1) close to a hospital and (2) have grandparents who are willing to take a 10-month-old at a moment’s notice (along with limited instructions: “just give her some milk and whatever you eat.”). See the picture below? I had no idea that what I was about to encounter.
In a nutshell, our vacation went like that. The best part was: we got to drive home (2 days) with said infant in the backseat of the car who began screaming each time we even approached the pickup truck.
I think the worst part was not being able to spend as much good, quality time with family. Like Kyra's favorite cousin:
I also left something in Logan, UT: my appendix. I guess you don’t need that anyhow.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Extraordinarily Ordinary

Once upon a time, I was a young, active, energetic, impulsive, sometimes feisty woman. I climbed mountains and posted pictures of my adventures all over my cubicle to fantasize about upcoming weekends and vacations. I had a list of Colorado’s fourteeners posted near my computer screen, so I could “plan” which ones I would do during which weekends. I’d think, “We can drive out, pack in on Friday, climb the peak on Saturday, hike out Sunday…” That wasn’t too far from how many of our weekends would go.

I would be thinking about this while at work…my means to an end, my means to continue my hobby and sometimes the only thing standing between me and my outdoor dreams.

While at work, I would talk to coworkers about their children. These coworkers would lament about problem teens, brag about athletes, laugh about first girlfriends, and share stories of their children’s antics. It was interesting. I got to know people’s children through these discussions and in return, they would listen to my stories of adventure. They would wow over my pictures and make me feel like a real superwoman; of course, I knew a lot of mountaineers who were much stronger than I, but I was still pretty proud of myself. I felt like what I spent my weekends doing was so extraordinary.

The knife-edge on Capital Peak

I was in the midst of planning a trip to climb Kilimanjaro when Darin and I decided to make a change in plans and have a baby instead. Where did that idea come from? That’s one long story and I’d develop carpal tunnel syndrome if I go into those details. Needless to say, having a baby is a long ways from planning a trip to climb Africa’s highest peak…

Looking back, of course, I would not have changed a thing. I used to think that motherhood was so ordinary. I mean, there are a lot of mothers out there. MY mom is a mother. Many of my female coworkers are mothers. More and more of my friends are becoming mothers…

But, only I am Kyra’s mother. Nothing can compare to watching my sweet daughter do all that she does. I can’t believe how I cheer her on whenever she uses her sippy cup by herself. It’s amazing, it’s awe-inspiring. A summit is slso awe-inspiring, but caring for Kyra in all of her sweet baby-hoodness is the most fulfilling job that I have ever had. I love this job of motherhood; it’s truly extraordinarily ordinary.


Monday, July 6, 2009

The Sixth Sense

I have learned that life is best experienced through the use of all five of our senses. Stimulating an infant is done by allowing her to explore using her five senses. Of course, mealtime has frequently been turned into an exploration of not only taste but of texture (who doesn't love the feeling of green beans on their arms, in their hair, and all over the seat that they're sitting in??). I would post a picture of Kyra doing some mealtime sensory exploration, but I figure that there are enough pictures on that very subject. Eh, why not......NUMMY...

So, I began thinking...Hiking around outside is such a calming use of our senses. Not only are the sights and sounds beautiful and charming, but the smells of pine trees are inspiring. The feeling of brisk mountain air being offset just perfectly by the sun is heavenly. The taste of all of your snacks (especially Cheetos and Potato Chips) are amazing when you are camping.

I think there is a sixth sense that doesn't fit anywhere. Camaraderie; the sense of feeling a bond with those you are with. Enjoying the company of family and friends when outside and reflecting on the day or trips past always rounds out an excursion. I hope that Kyra shares in this feeling of camaraderie as a family as she grows. I hope that her favorite memories of camping are those of laughing, playing, and just being with people she loves. (Below was taken during our "annual" trip to Canyonlands)

Mostly, I hope that she develops a passion for all things that money cannot buy: whether it is the view from a summit or the close, personal ties with friends and family.