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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

I finally got Soren’s announcements out in the mail!  I had so much fun designing these… when a designer designs for herself is when the fun really begins.  The freedom to do whatever I want is so exhilarating!

To announce the arrival of our sweet Soren, I wanted to emphasize his colorful nature.  I was drawn to wearing so much color during my pregnancy.  It was such a bright and cheery change from my usual white, brown and black kind of palette that I was sure it was the little baby that I was growing influencing me.  I particularly loved wearing aqua and turquoise (colors that I had not worn in at least 15 years!).  So the idea of color evolved into the paint swatch announcement you see here.  Jeff, Eli and I all picked our colors (the paint ID numbers are our initials and birth years) based on colors and things we love… Jeff became Sunset Shiraz, Eli picked Hot Rod Flame and I chose Flaxen Summer.  Soren’s color, Turquoise Thunder, honors the roots of his name related to Thor, the God of Thunder.

I love how all our colors are so different, yet the palette works really well together.  The contrast is really refreshing, just like my evolving life with a house full of boys…

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welcome soren

Almost two weeks past his due date, our little boy made his entrance into the world.  We welcomed Soren August Azano-Brown into the world and into our hearts on August 25, 2010 at 11:17pm after a short and truly lovely birth.  Soren weighed in at 8 lbs 1 oz and surprised us with a full head of red hair and bright blue eyes.  He’s a sweet, sweet little guy with elf-like ears, wrinkly feet and the most delicious cheeks imaginable.  We’re in love….

Just two weeks after Soren’s arrival and we are all transitioning nicely into our little family of four.  There are fragile moments to be sure, but generally life feels particularly precious as we soak up these early and fleeting days of soft baby smells and tiny tiny toes.  All is so well.

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Any birthday is special in my book.  But isn’t it exponentially more special when the numbers match up (okay, we all know I have a thing for matching…)?  Eli is turning the lucky number 7 on August 7th this year and we are prepared to whoop it up for this fabulous, fun-loving little man.  Whether we visit the zoo or partake in more underwater adventures, you can be sure today will be filled with laughter and silliness and okay fine, plenty of sugar.

What good is a birthday without the sugar, anyway?

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Somebody around here lost his first tooth!   More accurately, someone around here knocked his face on a table and then wiggled a little tooth around for a week or so before he yanked it out at breakfast.  This is my first experience dealing with wiggly and fallen teeth since my own baby teeth went their merry way.  Okay, I’ll be honest.   It’s gross.  The whole thing grosses me out.  Those little waggling teeth just hanging there until they come out in a bloody mess.  Eww. It also didn’t help that when Eli proudly showed our neighbor his missing tooth, our neighbor (who apparently was a mad hockey player back in the day)  pulled out his dentures and said, “Look Eli, I LOST MY TEETH TOO!” tooth pillow 002The upside obviously is this.  And the little whistle that Eli makes when he talks now.

tooth pillow 001And this cute tooth pillow.  Eli can safely tuck his little teeth in the pocket and mama fairy can slip in some shiny surprise.  I gave it a little handle so it can easily hang over a doorknob or a bedpost.

tooth pillow 003Eli knows it’s me who plays the role of tooth fairy.  But he also knows that his mama has a touch of fairy swirling around in her somewhere.  Wings and all.

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The thing about me is that really I am such an optimist.  I can almost always find the little ray of hope in an otherwise dreary situation.  I look on the bright side, find the silver lining, give people the benefit of the doubt.  All that stuff.  Except now.  I have really been struggling these past few weeks as the developers strip the land more and more and leave us with less and less.  I wake up at 6:45am with huge vehicles idling outside my window before they can begin the loading and hauling and real racket at 7:00am.  I’ve lost all the trees that I so loved and my little private corner of the world has been opened up and exposed.  And I’m filled with so much disgust and anger at the indecency of it all.  I’ve been so focused on how unjust and unkind this company and this situation has been.  It’s a really uncomfortable place to be eddying when I’m used to finding something, anything to be hopeful about.

The thing about parenting though, is you pass your general view of the world on to your offspring without even trying.  So it’s my sweet little six year old who is soaking with optimism now.  He reminds me about the trees that we can plant, the nice neighbors that might move in, the fun we might have sledding should some of the sand hills remain.  It’s so touching even amidst my own fury and frustration and despair.

And so I sort of get myself reflected back to me.  It’s a reminder to push onward and continue to make the best of what is otherwise a pretty sucky situation.

flying 003jeff jumpflying 013flying 024flying 026jump

I’m giving it my best shot.

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birthday cookies 001One of my secret thrills is being the drive-by birthday faerie.  My brother-in-law had a birthday yesterday and so donning my wings (okay fine, they’re imaginary) and a cute little package of homemade oatmeal cherry chocolate-chip cookies (those were quite real and quite delicious), I sneakily planted the treats from the car window and peeled off in a shrieking cloud of exhaust.  Well, part of that is true anyway.birthday cookies 002 Technically, the drive-by birthday faerie broke a federal law by opening up someone else’s mailbox, although doubtful that the birthday boy will press charges.  The mailman; however, may give me a serious talking to.  Not to worry though, I have extra cookies on hand.

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the tub sessions

tub sessions 001tub sessions 002One little body in the tub quietly (more or less) getting clean while a bigger body quietly (more or less) composes new music…

The tub sessions have been going on for a couple of years now.  Jeff has developed a beautiful collection of mellow, ambient  evening songs while Eli has remained (relatively) clean.  Sometimes the two of them craft songs together, sometimes Eli sings along with Jeff’s lyrics, but always there seems to be an air of creative camaraderie between my two boys.

I have a certain reverence for these evenings.  The soft strumming of guitar, my husband’s gentle voice against a background of drips and swishes and splashes.  I am privy to something so sweet and fleeting.  I get that feeling often during the tub sessions- the one where you know what is happening is so incomparably special and you want to hold onto it so badly, but like water, it slips through your hands.

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flying man

IMG_7609ab (3810)IMG_2801This man of mine is often flying through the air.  I’ve always loved his spontaneous, risk-taking nature.  He just goes for it, you know?  So different than my own cautious, more on the ground sort of ways.  Anyway, it’s this flying-man’s birthday today.  He’s jumped, ridden and sailed through 35 years already.  Eli and I were talking about what we loved so much about ‘Dada’ and besides the already discussed flying abilities, we especially love that he can throw a raspberry 30ft into the air and still catch it and eat it.   We also love his ability to compose silly songs on the spot and ignite after-dinner jamming sessions with fork, knife, glass, plate, pepper grinder and whatever else happens to be around.  He’s really good at fixing things, he bakes a mean cake, and has extraordinary car-packing abilities.  Eli says he’s pretty good at legos too.

So- Happy Birthday to this wonderful man of many talents on this last radiant day of summer.  Long may he fly…

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drum lessons 004We haven’t been the sort  of parents to push things.  We’ve let Eli determine his own interests and discover his own talents.  But that doesn’t mean we haven’t hoped.  We hoped that Eli might be rhythmically-inclined like his drummer dad.  We hoped that he would be all, “Dada, teach me how to play drums like you!” and “I want to know everything you know!”

Except we all know that’s not how it usually works.  Instead, for the last 6 years (okay fine, the last 4, who can realistically count the first 2?) Eli has had his own passionate areas of interest.  Areas that did not include the drums.  His friends, on the contrary, go nuts when they enter the little basement recording studio complete with guitars, drum sets and rhythm instruments galore.  But Eli’s always been sort of, eh, take it or leave it.  And mostly, leave itdrum lessons 005So it was an absurd delight for us when Eli decided a couple of weeks ago that he wanted to learn how to play the drums.  There’s a palpable energy around here now on Tuesday nights.  We’re all excited about the weekly drum lessons.  I mostly stay out-of-the-way.  But sometimes I listen in while Jeff imparts a little drum history or Eli gets an introduction to hand drumming and the house echos with the two of them yelling, “Left!, Right!, Left!, Right!”

drum lessons 002drum lessons 003Music to my ears.

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I am keenly aware of how often I wax on about summer swimming.  For me it is the absolute highlight of all my summer activities.  It is the sweetest dessert on summer’s abundant plate.  And like dessert, it’s special.   It’s not something we get all the time, so when it is plentiful, I’m all for heartily indulging.  And knowing that the autumn breezes are already beginning to sweep in, I feel okay about a few more props to my cherished watery adventures.

Sooo…  one wonderfully steamy day in Maine not so very long ago, the only goal for the day was to swim.  This quickly evolved into the swimming project, with the objective being to swim in as many different bodies of water as possible.IMG_2786We began with the ocean, which only Eli and I were bold enough to walk right on into.  And, if I might toot my own horn for a moment, it was only I who fully immersed myself and actually swam in the 55 degree water.  It really was cold enough to stun your heart, I think.  Needless to say, my swim was short, but I felt awfully good emerging into the baking sunshine afterward.IMG_2807Next we worked up a sweat discovering a hidden lake tucked into the outer parts of Acadia National Park.  The sparkling water was soothing and clean and surrounded by dense pine forests.  IMG_2857And lastly, we hiked into a quiet brookside trail and dunked into the chilly water among trickling waterfalls and mossy banks.

Swimming, I think, is my longest and truest love.  A summer-loving piscean has a yearning for water.   So a day with three spectacularly beautiful, unique swimming spots just might top the list as my best day ever.  May all projects be so refreshing.

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