Monday, April 30, 2007

A walk in the park

instant friend
Originally uploaded by Ernesto and Kristen Burden.

We all headed over to Livingston park in Manchester this past Saturday and took a stroll around the pond there, while looking out for signs of spring and enjoying the cool, but sunny weather. Just as we rounded the last bend before reaching the playgrounds, this little girl, who was walking in the other direction with her dad, turns suddenly and walks straight up to Sofia, reaches out and takes her hand. Sofia looked only mildly startled, but happily held her hand and the two continued walking together and began chatting as if they were old girlfriends, suddenly reunited. It was about the sweetest thing I have ever seen.

Oh, to be young and not all chock full of self-consciousness. If only we could all make new friends that easily.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

High-speed, competition landscaping

Originally uploaded by Ernesto and Kristen Burden.

We've got serious spring fever and more to the point, I've got serious gardening fever. I've actually had gardening dreams (yes, how lame is that) in which I bask in the glow of my gorgeous, meticulously groomed lawn and gardens while the neighbors look on with envy. The reality is I'm no gardener. I love flowers and plants and am very interested in them decorating my yard, but I don't have much of a green thumb. Not to mention I really don't have the time or money that it takes to get a 'Better Homes and Gardens' look. I do what I can, when I can and sometimes it works out and sometimes not.

Ernesto and I having been talking for a while about sprucing up the front of the house which is more or less a boring old blank slate. There's been much talk of window boxes and new walkways and trees and shrubs. This past Sunday we were able to get a little work done on the front and I think it came out well. We've now got two flowering cherry trees in the front, plus some ground covers like heather and juniper. Oh, and lots of mulch. Actually, all the kudos should really go to Ernesto who dug up the whole area with a small shovel and has the aching back to prove it. I just put the plants in, which really took no time at all.

This morning I look out the window across the street to discover our neighbors have also dug up a chunk of their lawn and now have a nice assortment of bushes and flowers planted. It looks very nice and now I'm thinking we're going to have to take it up a notch to compete with them. Perhaps a big fountain or a small pond? Maybe just a family of garden gnomes?

Let the competition begin! This could get ugly, folks...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Three week update

Temperatures neared 90 degrees today and while I'm happy to enjoy some warm weather, I was not anticipating having to dig out the kids' summer clothes quite so soon. I mean, we just had a snowstorm a couple weeks ago. I thought perhaps we would ease into spring a bit more slowly. Silly me.

So we got out the water table, Mr. Crab (the sandbox) and scrounged around for some sunblock. I felt very much like I was still pregnant, carrying Isobel around in the Snugli all day. It's funny to think how much I was looking forward to her being born so I wouldn't be all huge and weighted down with her and yet here I am, still walking funny with her fused to my midsection. Except now I also have to feed her and change her diapers. Oh, and apparently she gets gas when I eat chocolate, so I guess that's out. Pregnancy isn't looking so bad right now.

But seriously, she is a little sweetheart and she really is adored by her big brother and sister. David is always in her face, talking baby talk to her and patting her "chubby cheeks". I warned him to give her a little space, but he's only happy if his nose is touching hers and today he got a little too close and she spit up right in his face. He was horrified and ran out of the room exclaiming, "Ewww!!!" while making gagging sounds. Of course he was right back at it a few hours later, so I guess it hadn't bothered him all that much.

I'm finding having three young ones at home is definitely different. Mostly I'm just finding it difficult to get the usual tasks accomplished because I'm holding the baby so often. Although today I discovered I can feed the baby and microwave some EasyMac at the same time. Look, I'm not proud of that but it's all about multi-tasking right now. My plan each day is to ask myself, "what needs to get done today and what can wait?" Obviously, needs of the kids and myself come first. They need to eat and at some point during the week I need to shower. Today it was laundry. Had to get done, but didn't necessarily need to come out of the dryer. The house was pretty much a wreck all day, but I did manage to make my bed, so my room looked pretty clean and hey, we were outside all day anyway, so who cares? The kids and the baby sure don't, so why should I?

So three weeks have gone by with three kids, and so far, so good. hectic at times, calm at others, but overall, just glad to be taking care of this little brood of mine. Wouldn't trade this life for all the chocolate in the world.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Signs of Spring

Spring has sprung
Originally uploaded by Ernesto and Kristen Burden.

Okay, so technically it is spring, but you wouldn't know it around here. Spring doesn't really begin in New England until late May. And even then you don't know what you're going to get. March was warmer than this month so far, but that's what you get around here. Every year we all seemed surprised when it goes from a sunny, warm day to a raging Nor'easter. But this kind of thing happens EVERY YEAR! I think we New Englanders get optimistic that this year things might be different.

At least I found this little gem the other day out by the fence in the backyard. I had almost forgotten I'd planted bulbs last year. We've got another snow storm due tomorrow and Monday so I wanted to get a picture of this before it got buried again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


So life should seem very different to me now, but oddly it does not. When we had David our world was knocked off its pleasantly spinning axis, left spiraling out of control somewhere in the cosmos. I didn't sleep for a year. I was like one of those ape mothers with her baby always wrapped around her midsection, clinging on for dear life. I had to rethink my world view on everything. Priorities were changed, living space was changed and many, many diapers were changed. Somehow we survived.

Then Sofia was born. David was only 20 months old, really still a babe himself. I had issues. Issues of guilt, (how dare I burden the poor child with a sibling!) issues of sleep (how to get two children down to nap at the same time??) and the issue of my baby daughter who would not allow another soul to hold her for more than two seconds without screaming. I was very, very tired.

But now when things should be trickier than ever...well, they're just not. Have I finally gotten this parenting thing down? Am I just having a good week and life as it truly is will manifest itself when I least expect it? Is it just because Sofia keeps telling me I look like a rock star and I smell like flowers?? Or am I still riding that euphoric post-delivery high and I will come crashing down any second now, only to have Ernesto find me huddled in a closet, dipping my chocolate Peter Rabbit's ears in peanut butter and crying softly to myself? Maybe, but really, I think I'm doing okay.

First off, Isobel is really mellow and boy, she likes to sleep. I mean, she really likes to sleep. I'm not going to say how much for fear of angering any new parents out there, but hey- I've done my time. I've done serious time. I've feared the night. And I think someone up there knew I was due a break.

So hey, this could all just be a pleasant dream, but I'm going to enjoy feeling great and being happy for as long as it lasts. Even if that's only a few more hours or days. I know it will be back sooner or later.

Oh, and it's not likely I'll be in a closet crying, but Ernesto will find me dipping those rabbit's ears in peanut butter. It's only a matter of time.

Friday, April 06, 2007

First week at home

Well, here it is, my due date and I've got my little bundle here on my lap. Just on the outside. Can I just say how wonderful it feels to not be pregnant? Don't get me wrong, pregnancy can be great and having a little creature romp around in your guts is really interesting, but I think I much prefer this. I like the warmth of this little girl next to me, where I can see her and hold her and hear her breath going in and out, all the tiny squeaks and grunts she makes. Even the crying. Her loudest cry is still quieter than either David or Sofia trying to get my attention.

I'll save the whole birth story for another post, but there's not too much to go over anyway. Things didn't go as quickly as I thought they might this time, but things went much better overall and I feel so much better overall than I thought I would. The VBAC was successful and that was my biggest concern, and I had one of my midwives with me so that was also a relief. The hospital staff was all great. I don't think I've been asked, "Can I get you anything?" more times in my entire life. If I hadn't missed my kids and husband so much I wouldn't have ever wanted to leave.

So things at home are a bit more hectic than usual, but so far, so good. David is very interested in his new little sister and I think he has a special affinity for her because she looks so much like him. He's always coming over and patting her head or making baby talk around her. He gets concerned when he can't see where she is and will look around asking, "Where's Isobel?" as if we have mistakenly left her somewhere. Glad to report we haven't done that yet.

Sofia's reaction is pretty much what I thought it would be. She kind of watches her from a distance, covers her ears when she cries and asks some questions about her, but that's about it. She gives her a kiss now and then when she sees David doing it, but then she follows a lot of what David does anyway. She does like to bring me diapers and stuffed animals for the baby so that is very helpful and sweet.

And like her older brother and sister, Isobel does not like to be put down for more than a couple minutes, so luckily we've got all manner of wraps (Love the Moby, Lyss- THANKS!!) and front carriers and all kinds of baby-wearing devices within reach. Right now she's wrapped up like a burrito in my lap while I type. Thought it was time for her first blog session.

Oh, and one thing that this child can tolerate really well is noise. Lots of noise. Doesn't matter if the kids are shouting right next to her, she is not bothered in the least. In fact, I think she finds it soothing. Good thing.

Well, I'm going to go continue to relax (doctor's orders) and take it easy while I have some quiet time to myself. David and Sofia are out and about with Ernesto and I've got this big messy house all to myself. I am going to resist the very strong urge to go clean and instead go sit on my butt and eat in front of the tv. And for the first time in a while, no one will need to help pull me up off the couch. Hooray!!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Isobel Arrives!

GUEST POST: Ernesto here; Kris asked me to drop a note on her blog to say she gave birth to Isobel Grace this morning at 6:28. She went into the preliminary stages of labor yesterday at about 5 a.m. and we got to the hospital at about midnight today (April 1). She delivered VBAC with no drugs and no surgery and (if I may say) was really really cool and graceful throughout. She'll be at the hospital for another day or so.