Category Archives: Chapter One

Walkway

Mother nature must have had a read on Nora this week, because the weather was a perfect match for her: cool and rainy early on, but sunny and warm towards at the end.  She cut two top teeth on Monday (and she must take after me, because they’re giant).  With the teeth came a general malaise and a temperature for three days, at one point as high as 102.9.  It was her first temperature, so I was a little nervous about it, but my P.E.O. sister Cindy was able to talk me off the ledge before I dove head-first into a new parent freak out.  Towards the middle of the week, her temperature was down, but she had a mega-rash, poor girl.  Luckily, Friday she was back to her normal self, happy to sit and play with a rhododendron branch while I sold the couch, love seat, dog house, and (hurray!) Chris’ car.

(She really will eat anything.)

Today I knew for sure that she felt better because she woke me up, happy as a lark, at 6:15 in the morning.  So much for sleeping in; she knew we needed to get things done so we would have time for some fun this afternoon.  After going to the bank to pay off the Toyota loan (did I say hurray already?), selling some baby stuff, and picking up the house a bit, we met Laura at the Walkway Over the Hudson for one last walk to Poughkeepsie.

Walking over the bridge and getting lunch at Soul Dog is one of our favorite things to do, and I had to honor the tradition one last time before saying goodbye to the Hudson Valley.  It was nice and warm, but overcast, which kept it from getting too hot.  And despite Nora’s awful face in this picture, we had a great walk over and back.

She rode most of the way in the Beco and conked out right away, so Laura and I could catch up and burn lots of calories walking and talking at the same time (Haha), before gorging ourselves at Soul Dog on Chili Mac’n’Chz Fries, Marsala Mushroom/Poblano pepper dogs, quinoa salad, and mint tea.  Mmmm, I’m going to miss this place.

Before we left, Nora’s best friend Sylas and his mom Samantha met us at the restaurant so we could have one more baby date and to bring me some awesome business cards for my venture into childcare on Nantucket (not right away, but eventually).  Thanks, Samantha!

Laura was awesome and took some pictures of us to add to Nora’s baby book.  And we took a lot – if I’ve learned anything as a parent it’s that you need to take a lot of pictures of a baby to get a good one (or at least I do) and so if you have two babies, then you need double the pictures.  Or, you put them side-by-side like the one above to have a good picture of each baby.

After picture-taking and an on-the-street diaper change for Nora the exhibitionist, Laura and I waved goodbye to Poughkeepsie and headed back over the bridge.

There’s still a few days before the truck pulls up to load our belongings, but today was the last official hurrah.  And it was a good one.

For fun, here’s a photo collage of Nora’s last time on the bridge, and her first time on the bridge at a month old.  [Sigh.] How things change.

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On Motherhood

Since I’ve last posted I’ve been busy packing and organizing, selling and giving away our junk (and some not-junk), and trying to squeeze in last moments with my friends, all while living as a single parent.  Let me tell you, I wouldn’t want to do the single parent thing for much longer than I have to!  It’s hectic and tiring, especially since I can’t really develop a regular routine with everything that has to be done.   There’s not much time for blogging as you’ve seen, when you’re a “single mom” to a future Texan.  She inherited some state pride at the end of April, you know.

But I’ve been enjoying the challenge and there have been some great goings-on, too.  Like my first Mother’s Day, which I spent just hanging out with Nora and getting ready to move.

It’s a lovely Mother’s Day picture, but the best we could do!  Next year we’ll have a dad on Mother’s day, too.

The big highlight of our morning was Skyping with Dad, who hadn’t been able to see her since we left him in Nantucket.  She’s really getting into Skype and seems to understand that it’s different from the passive act of watching TV (not that we do any TV watching around here). Then, I made some delicious ginger orange french toast for me and some scrambled egg for Nora (which I now know is a baby no-no – oops).  We did laundry and cleaned the kitchen, taking plenty of breaks for playing and one very delicious cat nap curled up together in the afternoon sunbeams streaming in my bedroom window.

The day before, we went with my friend Marnie and her daughter Violet to the Gardiner Cupcake Festival, where we bumped into our doula, Liz, who was excited to see Nora but, as you can see, Nora was not excited to see her.  It was that stranger thing again, combined with some super strong winds which did not make her very happy.

It was a nice little outing, though, which combined with my lazy Sunday made for a great first Mother’s day weekend.

The funny thing about Mother’s Day is that it’s often a day spent not doing normal mother things; going out for brunch to avoid cooking and dishes, being treated by dad and sometimes the kids, and oftentimes it’s seen as a reprieve.  I wonder what that says about how women feel about their “motherly tasks” – if they want to spend their honorary day not doing any of them.  I didn’t mind so much doing chores and hanging with my kiddo as if it were any other day (of course, I also happened to have a flask of Bacardi O to finish up from someone’s wedding…).  But I suppose that’s one of my unique qualities: I think there is an art to homemaking and mothering, and I’m trying to master it.

I did spend a lot of time last week reflecting on the things I enjoy most about motherhood, so I thought I’d share them with you.  (Sorry there aren’t more pictures to go with it, but there hasn’t been enough time!)

  1. The breath-taking experience that is watching a person develop out of, well, a turnip. This is my number one favorite thing about being a mother.  Every time I look at Nora, I can’t help but be in awe of the fact I made her (from scratch!) and what an amazing little person she’s rapidly becoming.  I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again, because the change, on a near daily basis, is magical.  (Not that cutting two top teeth at the same time is magical, but clapping, sure is.)  And it really is different to be the parent, than to be the big sister or cousin or friend, and to be able to see each thing as it happens.  Watching Nora develop really shines a whole different light on what life is.
  2. How complete and womanly I feel. Is it weird to say that?  I used to joke that I wasn’t sure when I would become a “real grown-up” all through college and even afterward, through my pregnancy.  Well, having Nora did it for me.  I feel like I’ve fulfilled some really important thing that I’m supposed to do.  I never really felt comfortable defining myself as a woman – as opposed to a girl – but now that I’m a mother and there’s no question in my mind…I AM WOMAN.  I’m sure there’s some primal, evolutionary reason for this feeling, but whatever the reason I love it.
  3. I feel like I can do anything. Dude, I grew a humanAnd gave birth to her drug-free with only a 10 minute (or so)  time-frame during which I questioned my ability to do so.  And yes, I am bragging.  There is something so incredibly empowering about taking control of the event and giving birth naturally; it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world and that I wish every mama could experience.  If I can do that, I can do anything.  Next time, bring on the home birth (and the video camera)!
  4. Nursing.  Okay, I’ll admit it, I thought twice about this one.  The first six weeks of breastfeeding sucked (no pun intended) and sometimes I do get more than a little tired of being the only means of sleep or comfort, especially when I have other things to do or she’s in a funk and wants to nurse all the time when I don’t really feel like it.  But there are also these really amazing moments, like the first time she looked at me when nursing and realized that I was there, or how she rubs her face on my shoulder when I pick her up at the babysitter, or like mother’s day afternoon when we just laid on the bed together cuddling and nursing and that was all we both needed to be happy.  It’s also part of that empowerment feeling, too: knowing that I’m providing something for her that no one else can and that I didn’t just completely sustain her for 9 months, but for 16.  And I love that it allows me a break during the work day to stop and think about her as I pump.  Let’s be realistic…I’m a task driven person; if I didn’t know that she was waiting for me to come feed her at lunch time, it’s very unlikely that I would stop everything and visit her every day, let alone have breaks built into the day to think about her at my desk.  So yeah, there are parts of it that are really lame, but they are far overshadowed by the wonderful parts.
  5. The new friends that come with mommyhood. One survey out of England stated that “Motherhood Increases Friend Count by Eight.” I’ve certainly made a lot of friends that I wouldn’t have otherwise (you can’t go to prenatal yoga without a baby in your belly – at least not for very long).  It’s nice to have people who are in the same place and have the same home-birth-breastfeeding-natural-parenting inclinations as I do.  I love being able to discuss how Nora is going to nurse until she decides she’s done without getting funny looks and snide comments.  I love being able to whip out the camera anywhere and everywhere without my friends thinking I’m weird.  I love how much I’ve learned about birth and parenting from my friends.  …Of course, I’m moving away next week, but I’m not worried about moving to a new place like I was when we made our trek from Texas.  Now, I have the perfect plan to making friends: La Leche League.  Of course, I’ll miss all of my friends here, but it’s nice to know that wherever I go, I’m already in “the club.”
  6. How much more connected I feel to Chris. Having Nora has made our relationship stronger.  Without him, I wouldn’t have her.  But, it’s more than just a “sperm-donor” thing.  It’s wonderful to see the bits and pieces of us combined into her, but what’s really amazing is being able to co-parent.  We have so many more things to negotiate in our future than we did before her, things that I couldn’t do alone – or with anyone else.   I have a lot more respect for his views, wants and needs now; because, there is a lot more at stake and also because I see him in a whole different light.  As much as I love being a mother, I love that he’s a father.  Seeing him with Nora makes me love him in ways I never thought possible, as sappy as that sounds.
  7. Having strangers tell me how cute my baby is. This is totally superficial, but it’s true.  I.  Love.  It.  When strangers come up to me and tell me how cute Nora is, or point her out to whomever they’re with.  It’s lame to say, I know, but we get comments everywhere we go from a lot of people.  And if she’s in the sling – forget it – at least 80% of of the people we walk by will comment on it.   The inner attention-seeker in me really enjoys it, and now that I know how wonderful it feels, I try to make more of an effort to compliment others, so that I can make their day too.

How could anyone not think I’m cute?

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Texas Trip

Last week we went on a much anticipated family trip to Texas for our friend Megan’s wedding.  The timing was a little awkward in the middle of moving, but it was nice to see friends and family, and take a break from the hectic life that is packing.  We flew out early Wednesday morning from La Guardia, the worst airport ever, after a lovely tour of north Jersey, due to issues with the GPS, signage, and our ability to follow simple directions.  Such is life.

Once we got on the plane, though, everything went great.  This is Nora’s fourth cross-country trip, so she is an expert at flying.  (She even did better than Daddy at going through security.)  And on the plane she was a perfect angel, as our fellow passengers all told us while they were deplaning.

You wouldn’t even know there was a baby on the plane.”

(Incidentally, she wasn’t quite as good on the plane back home from Dallas to NYC, but it had been delayed almost two hours and she was tired so no one blamed her – and I guess the flight attendant recognized how hard I was working to keep her happy and quiet, because he gave me two free margaritas.  Thank you, random flight attendant, you made my evening.)

After landing, we picked up our rental car and made a relatively easy drive up to Granger to visit Chris’ Dad (with only one pit stop at Taco Cabana).  The trip was sort of a whirlwind of family – in and out – so we only stayed at Grandpa John’s for a little over eight hours.  Not long enough for Nora to get used to him, since she’s just started to have some dislike of strangers, and she wasn’t too friendly with him or happy about him holding her, unfortunately.
The next morning after breakfast, we went out to take some pictures in his fields, which were full of Texas wildflowers: Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Black-eyed Susans, and more flowers than we could name.  It was green and beautiful enough to actually fool you into thinking Texas could be a nice place to live.

And it was interesting enough for Nora to be tricked into smiling for a picture with Grandpa.

After munching on some flowers, we got back in the car and drove down to Austin to meet Chris’ mom and step-dad for lunch at a restaurant in one of the three shopping centers within a mile radius that all have a grocery store and Chase bank (it took a while, but eventually we found the right one).  After all that driving around, wouldn’t you know, I didn’t get a single picture with Grandma Helen and Grandpa Terrell.  Hopefully, they can send me some from Chris’ and Nora’s time with them that night, while I was off planning and executing the mild debauchery that was Megan’s bachelorette party.

Friday, was time to see my family.  We met for lunch at a mall in San Antonio, where Grandma Shari spoiled us rotten with clothes and the cutest sunglasses ever put on a baby

After lunch and some shopping, we were on the road again to check into our hotel in downtown San Antonio and get ready for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  Then Saturday was Megan’s wedding, which meant all day girl-time for me, while Chris and Nora went with Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Andrei and Uncle Nathan to the zoo (hopefully there’s be pictures of that soon).  Then, Chris and I had date night at the wedding while Grandma and Grandpa babysat.  Our first night out since she was born!  (And probably our last, since Chris started his new job today.)  Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa – we can’t wait to see the pictures.

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In Process

It has begun.

The mad dash that is packing and moving and relocating a household is underway for the Hinds Family.  Of course, this isn’t something too unfamiliar to Chris and me; just 18 months ago we were excitedly telling people about this new house, and 14 months before that was our cross-country pilgrimage to New York from Texas, and 15 months before that was our first move into a townhouse together.  And now that I think about it, I think I’ve moved about once per year for the last seven years.  Of course, this time is a whole different ball game, since we now have a little someone with a whole lot of stuff to move, too.

And because our new cute little house is more on the minuscule side of little, we have to get rid of a ton of things this time around.  Which, if you know me (or my mother, because she’s the one who gave me the hoarder gene), you know that getting rid of anything is really hard for me to do.  I like stuff.

A lot.

You never know when something might come in handy; wouldn’t it be a shame to throw something away only to have to buy another later when you need it? But, more than being a scrooge, I like stuff because it has memories and I’m incredibly sentimental.  What’s wrong with keeping every single movie stub and plane ticket since middle school?  Maybe I want to make one of these (or a whole set).  And those binders of school work from high school might be helpful when we’re someday helping Nora with geometry, right?  Well, you get the point.  We (err…I) had to do a massive purge to not overload the Nantucket house.

So all last week we’ve been getting rid of things, and last weekend we held our first ever garage sale.

With a visitor Grandpa Derick would have loved:

On top of getting rid of random junk, we also have to get rid of our living room, bedroom and office furniture, washer and dryer, and Chris’ car, due to space.

We’ve had luck selling the bedroom furniture, the washer/dryer, and a lot of random things this weekend, but are still in possession of the car, couches, and desks (here’s my shameless plug for telling everyone you know about our stuff, now on Ebay!).

Because we can’t move with this stuff and we’re going to Texas for Megan’s wedding this week, we had to make the decision for Nora and I to stay in New York for another month.  Next week, she and I are going to drive Chris out to Nantucket with Pip for company, some clothes, and an air mattress, and then we’re going to have to drive back to New York.  It’s not ideal, but you do what you have to do.  It’ll be interesting, too, because it’ll give me a taste of what it’s like to be a single parent.  Luckily we recently discovered a great way of keeping Nora entertained and stimulated: food exploration.

Avocado, yum!

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