Wednesday, June 24, 2009

An afternoon at the laundromat

I did something very embarrassing today. I also made a "friend." The two are unrelated except that they happened all within the same hour.

First the friend. I took Desmond to the laundromat to wash the humongous comforter that Peter and I use in the winter. It was way overdue for a wash. The laundromat near our house has a lot of day labors. A lot. I got pretty comfortable with handling the cultural differences between me (read: Southern girl) and Latino men when we lived in Shirlington and I was job hunting. So when a guy named Fernando approached me in the laundromat and struck up a conversation, I found it amusing, not intimdating. Even with his limited English we quickly established that I was VERY happily married. After that we spent about 30 minutes chatting. I helped him practice his English, he made Desmond laugh with funny faces, and we were all content. I wonder why he stayed to talk. He seemed lonely. All of his family is in Hondorous. His English wasn't great. I invited him to my church's ESL program. It reminded me how fortunate I am not to be alone.

Now the embarrassing. While the comforter was washing, I walked with Desmond to McDonalds to get an ice cream cone. When we got back, I went to put the comforter in the dryer and realized I didn't have my keys! I went out to the car and found my keys sitting in the door lock. They had been there for over 45 minutes!! What a stupid thing to do! And yet, despite all the day labors hanging out around my car and despite the fact that I know they watched me walk off to McDonalds, no one touched them or the car. No one.

I definitely got lucky, but I was also encouraged.

Don't worry, I'll stop my yammering and start posting more pictures of Desmond one of these days. :-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I made homemade, fresh-squeezed lemonade this week which was an unremarkable (although tasty!) event except for what it symbolizes to me. When I was in the working world, homemade lemonade represented the true luxury of staying at home full time. A life where you could choose to slow down and enjoy simple pleasures. Deep down I knew that your attitude, not your profession, dictates how you enjoy your life. Still, it was a symbol to which I clung. Thus, making lemonade this week triggered some reflection on my new profession - a stay at home mother.

Someone asked me if I missed working outside the home. Unhesitatingly, I answered, "Yes!" I swiftly and sincerely followed by saying that I wouldn't choose any other place to be right now.

Now that I am more comfortable in my role as a mother, I can more clearly see what I miss about the workplace. I loved having tangible results and achievements. I loved the conversations which stretched me intellectually, spiritually, professionally, and personally. I loved working with a team to accomplish something worthwhile. I worked with talented people and for organizations with tremendous missions.

And yet...there are a lot of "I's" that paragraph. You see, my job has always consumed too much of my identity. Leaving the working world was a much-needed challenge to my sense of self. Our society places great value on knowledge-based work. There's nothing inherently wrong with this, but it's easy to under-value the nobility of tending to the mundane aspects of life.

Oh how motherhood is full of the mundane! I'm learning that is not necessarily a pejorative statement. I'm learning there is great satisfaction in being the one who helps life happen. Who wipes up the spills and the noses and the bums. Who carries Cheerios, burp rags and chew toys in her purse. It's also a life laced with the sweet smiles, heart-melting laughs, and wonderment of Desmond experiencing countless "firsts".

My character and attitude are being re-shaped to see the nobility of the mundane. The beauty in a hard day's work that required more patience than brilliance. Experiencing the nitty gritty details of life that we all deal with, but don't always dwell on.

I won't be out of the working world forever. In the meantime, I'm trying to not let these precious life lessons slip away.

Refinance Complete!

"I can't believe they got their act together. Look at all this paperwork!"

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Write Your Own Caption

Anyone want to write a caption for this photo? So far I've come up with:
- Thanks Mom and Dad for living near the hospital so I can watch the helicopters go by.
- Despite all my rage I'm still just a rat in a cage.

Baby Proofing

Desmond isn't walking yet. He's not even full-out crawling, but slowly he's learning to get around. He loves to army-crawl around the kitchen and living room. He's mastered the art of spinning 360 degrees on his tummy. Occasionally, when highly motivated my his music table, he'll stand on his own for a brief stint.

Recently, we bought a walker at a garage sale. (I *love* garage sales and thrift stores for baby stuff!) He can only move backwards, but that allows him to get in sufficient trouble already.

Shhh! Don't tell Mom I'm trying to get into the trash!

Rats, she found me! Good thing it looks like she loves me anyway.

I guess the baby-proofing needs to begin in earnest. Although, as my friend Jonah S. reminded me, you never totally baby-proof a room. You can only make it slightly less dangerous.

I haven't done much reading on the subject, but I don't want to go overboard. Desmond needs a healthy dose of safe exploring and learning boundaries. But of course you don't practice learning boundaries with bleach and oven cleaner. (Even if you use the best oven cleaner ever.) I've started moving plants off the floor and got some locks for drawers and toilets (again - thank you garage sales!).

If anyone has tips on baby proofing or an unusual thing you had to remove that wasn't obvious, I'd love to hear about it!

Play Pal

Desmond and Leah P. had fun playing together this week. Usually they just play side-by-side instead of with each other, but yesterday they seemed to make the other smile a lot.

A fun new friend!

Apparently Desmond likes to lounge on his friends.

Don't you just want to kiss her sweet little cheeks!

Botanic Gardens

Last week Jennette B. and I dodged the thunderstorms and found a nice morning to visit the US Botanic Gardens with Desmond and Kelsey. Kelsey was born two days before Desmond, so they are natural buddies. After touring the gardens we had a picnic. The kids were real troopers as their moms enjoyed hanging out together!

My favorite part of the gardens was seeing plants that grow things we eat, like vanilla (it reminded me of Madagascar!), allspice, cocoa and peppercorn.

Desmond's favorite part was definitely the fountain in the Kid's Garden.

Now that Desmond stays happy and awake for longer periods of time, I want to go into DC more. It's ridiculously wonderful how many fun free things there are to do in our nation's capital.