, by Flora and Fauna
hat - free people, shirt - h&m, jeans - ae, boots - seychelles
So this shirt is kind of corny (see what I did there??) but it was one of those impulse purchases that you make when you don't like what you're currently wearing, can't commit to anything expensive and it seems to do the trick. In the end it's terribly soft so I end up wearing it almost every day, cheesy line and all.
Shirts with words on them remind me of a memory. My daddy was definitely one of the protective types. I had many a scolding regarding lengths of skirts and the intended purpose of my outfits ("But daddy if I unbutton my shirt down to my belly button THEN all the men will see my intelligence!! Can't you see that???" ahh teenagers). One of these scoldings I considered especially egregious at the time but now it's one of my favorite "funny stories." I was a sophomore in college and attending the school my daddy was a professor at so he saw all my outfits (fun times I tell ya!). I was also having a passionate love affair with all things Guess - the perfume, jewelry, shoes (papa bear and I still have a good laugh about the heels I would show up in for my "Christian Ethics" class) and obviously all the clothes. I then particularly fell in love with this baby tee, it was 2005 don't ask, it was the softest pink, had a darling little kitten on it and on the back it said "please hug me." Now daddy didn't seem to mind how small or short it was but he took particular offense to the sentiment. He demanded to know what kind of impression I would possibly make with words like that stamped on my back?? I told him he was being ridiculous and that it was "cute." Isn't everything you like that age cute? I won that round but probably only because I was 19 not 16 anymore. Me - 1, daddy - 0.
I still have that t-shirt, can't bear to part with it. I used to wear it constantly when papa bear and I were dating and it just holds so many memories. I think Birdie will fit in it perfectly in another year or two so you know... it has to stay.
Last week was a very "sixth sense," clairvoyant feeling week. There were numerous occasions were things were clearly more than just happenstance. For example, I've been thinking abut my faith and church a lot and just last week my grandmother wrote me a poem for my birthday entitled "Why do we need faith?" And in that same week we learned something very interesting about our daughter's name.
There have been two girls names that were constants for papa bear and me. One was a name that I had loved for years (saving it in case we have another girl) and the other was my maternal grandmother's name - Valentina. As you know we chose not to find out whether we were going to have a boy or a girl but that didn't stop us from having some fun. One night as we were decorating the nursery (I think I was about eight months pregnant) we decided to do a silly experiment. I had bought three cloth letters for hanging on the wall from Anthropologie that week. One was for a boy and the other two were the two girls names. We laid them on the rug and nudged our kitty to "choose" not just the sex but the name. She went straight for the V. We half jokingly hung it up on the wall figuring it was quite possible we would have to change it next month. Our plan was that if it was a girl we would wait to see her to pick between the two names.
The very instant that we both laid eyes on her there was no denying she was our Valentina. And so it was. The following day a sweet lady in a darling pair of glasses came with our social security paperwork and cooed over our brand new baby girl. I remember her saying that it made her miss newborns so much. Do I ever know what she meant by that now. And so we went home with Valentina. A few weeks later we received her social security card and that made it official once and for all. Now because it was my grandmother's name and because papa bear loved it as much as I did we didn't really "research" baby names at all. And we never researched hers...
So there I was last week at the cathedral at Catholic University with my Valentina waiting to go into the sanctuary to say a prayer when a lady approached me. She too wanted to coo over my baby and she asked the requisite "how old" and "what is her name" questions. When I told her Valentina she said "Oh! "The designer!" And it's funny because I instantly thought "hmmm, doesn't seem right."
I pulled out my phone and googled "meaning of name Valentina." And there it was in black and white: Valentina means "brave." I was immediately glad we didn't find out the meaning of her name earlier, it just meant so much more now. Both papa bear and I and both of our families have always said that if there was one word to describe Birdie it would be "brave." This little girl hardly ever cries, she's had the strongest pair of legs and lungs (she loves to "holler" as we lovingly call it) since birth, absolutely nothing phases her - not new people, not the ocean not even fireworks (though all of those things do elicit a nice enthusiastic "woooooh" from time to time) and she loves everything. She thrives on new experiences and throws herself into any new task. It's been such a joy to watch her learn, develop and most importantly to discover her personality. For nine months you carry this little person inside you and sometimes you practically go mad trying to figure out or predict what they're going to be like. To in one moment realize that you couldn't have picked a better name for this person that you now know so well is absolutely incredible. We were both floored.
The cherry on top that day was that I had just downloaded Sara Barielles' new album and had been belting out her song "Brave" at the top of my lungs. I officially made it V's song that day and I said a prayer entrusting her to God and asking him to grant her unceasing courage and bravery in this life and hoping that she will always have the confidence to let her voice be heard and for her words to never be empty.
Valentina you are mama and papa's brave little warrior!!
Today tried to be nice, it really did. There was the time on the swings at the park, it was truly lovely and Birdie does love those swings. There was a nice trip to the grocery store. And then the heartwarming news of the little prince being born. And I don't like complaining all day, it just makes me sound whiny and makes the whole thing significantly harder. Got to have a good attitude. I've just got to otherwise the whole thing falls apart.
But by 10 I was done. I finally got a break from all the driving (taking papa bear to class, coming back to our "temporary home," driving to get groceries, picking papa up for lunch, taking him back, going to my parents house, going to Ikea and then back to my parents house and then, finally, eventually back to our crash pad) and slouched in the passenger seat. I was beat and I was done having a good attitude too.
Sometimes I really do get tired of all this. We have a lot of freedom due to our lifestyle which I wouldn't give up for anything but... I get tired of schlepping all of us, baby included, and occasionally Belle (sometimes she stays with my parents for a few weeks so that she doesn't have to do our back & forth thing every week) between VA and MD. I get tired of not being home when I want to be, not being in my kitchen, not being able to cook or eat whatever I want. I get tired of the constant mess and packing that comes along with it. I get tired of messing up V's sleep schedule because sometimes it's just impossible to stick to it (traffic, a class running late, etc.). I get tired of not being able to focus on work, exercise, cooking, oh for goodness sakes anything because we're always running around. I get tired of not sleeping in our bed.
Yep, that's about it I think... Oh no wait... here comes another one... I get tired of never, ever packing the right stuff and essentially hating everything I wear for half the week.
There. Now that's it.
I'm a positive person, mostly, I really am. I'm all about finding the "silver lining" in everything. Papa bear and I make a good team, we're good at putting on a brave face, at not complaining and at helping each other see the good when one of us is down. But sometimes it's hard, and sometimes even, you just want to not even try anymore. And I think that's ok.
Our life is wonderful, as I've said before it's essentially my dream life. But that's not to say that on mondays that are really MONDAYS I don't want to just wave my white flag and go eat a donut quietly in the corner. As a matter of fact that's exactly what I did tonight. It's not so bad if it's on a fancy plate right? Right????
Eh... here's to Tuesday! To normalcy and stability (maybe one day??). But most of all here's to our crazy life that six days out of seven rocks my socks off. That's a pretty good average I think.
Papa bear and I talk a lot about the strange nature of becoming a family. About the way everything changes, somehow stays the same and feels as if it were always this way. I find it nearly impossible these days to wrap my mind around the fact that Birdie wasn't always with us. It's almost strange to look at old photos and notice her absence. It's like where was she??? Spain??? The Swiss Alps?? I'm so confused.... Why wasn't she with us Christmas 2009??? And then in that same breath I'll have moments where I think about just how different our life was before her - the way we could just say things like "let's go get dinner, somewhere!" and not check the time, check to see if we packed diapers, remember to bring some toys and a bottle, etc, etc... I think about the way our lives are consumed with her - from the moment we wake up to the moment we pass out on our pillow at night. It's exhausting and exhilarating just thinking about it!
But more than anything I think about the way that Valentina is that string that sewed our two hearts together for life. When we fell in love we found in each other that missing half of ourselves (as cheesy as that sounds). As we came to know each other and grow deeper in love and closer our hearts began to mesh closer and closer together. And then in one moment and instant - the minute Birdie let out her first cry and papa bear and I felt like we got the wind knocked out of us we became one forever and ever. It's almost as if we've become one person - she cries and we both run to her, she smiles and two huge grins instantly appear on our faces, she's sad and our hearts break in unison for her. And no one can understand the love I have for this tiny person better than my husband - I can see he loves her just as I do: unconditionally, irrationally, passionately and permanently.
Birdie made us a family and for that we will forever be indebted to her.
Last weekend was somewhat of a bi-state (can you say that??) weekend. We enjoyed Friday and Saturday at home in Virginia and headed into the city on Sunday. It was a hot one too, our poor AC units can barely keep up! We actually skipped our normal farmer's market picnic for that reason too, by the time we picked up everything we needed all three of us were dripping with sweat. But Saturday ended up being kind of nice nevertheless. It got rather cloudy by the late afternoon and even rained that evening so we had ourselves a movie marathon that night. We started with The Master (more on that in another post) and on Saturday we watched Argo (finally!!) and The Promised Land (Matt Damon can do no wrong in my eyes). It was so nice to settle into the sofa and watch all the movies we've been dying to see but couldn't because we had a little baby. We've actually been doing better about seeing movies at the theater when my parents gift us a date night or two. We recently saw The Stories We Tell and The Bling Ring; The Stories We Tell was absolutely fantastic - moving, funny, fresh and smart. The Bling Ring? Meh. It was pretty but empty in the end, unfortunately, I really wanted to like it. What have you guys seen lately that you loved?
Oh and before I forget we took Birdie to the park so she could ride a swing for the FIRST TIME!! It was so much fun! She adored it! She had this huge wide open mouth grin on her face the whole time and was doing her "ooh! ooh!" sounds that signify great enjoyment. Other activities that elicit that sound include - the ocean (especially waves), being in water in general, certain "special" toys and delicious food.
So that was Virginia. Then on Sunday we headed into the city. By the time we got off 66 we were all hot, tired and fed up with being in the car. So we decided to make a little detour and go cool down with some gelato. We were lucky enough to get a parking space right by Pitango so we were able to fulfill our wish immediately. It was just what the doctor ordered. The gelato having cooled us down and the appearance of a light breeze inspired us to go for a walk around the block. That ignited our hunger and as life would have it we found ourselves in front a restaurant we've never been to a few minutes later, with our tummies rumbling and a decision on our hands. I don't like trying new restaurants in DC since if you make a mistake it will be a costly one and then you're doubly mad - mad that the place was crap and mad that you wasted that much money on it. But when it's hot and you've graduated to hangry levels of hunger you don't have much room for deliberation. And that's how we found ourselves genuinely enjoying a meal at Le Diplomate. The food was perfect (very reminiscent of the food we had in France), the service was wonderful (such a sweet and caring staff) and the cherry on top was having Mr. and Mrs. Biden join us just a few minutes later! They are such a lovely looking couple!
We left right around seven, Birdie was getting sleepy and twilight was right on the horizon. I love a nice summer eve in DC - the city gets a little quieter, the temperatures a little cooler and those brownstones get bathed in the most gorgeous light.
So here's to another great weekend! This week sure did fly by!!
P.S. Thank you ever so much to all of your for your kind words of encouragement and support yesterday, you will never know just how much it means to me. Thank you for always being there to listen and for showing me that wonderful, smart and sweet women really do exist! Sending each and every one of you a big Russian bear hug!!