Tuesday, February 26, 2013

winter catch up, part 1: images of winter, expecting a baby!

There is a beauty and a depth that belong only to winter, I'm certain. But this has been one ridiculously cold, dragging season of beauty and depth. I mean, I've lived in 4-season places my entire life, other than a short stint in Texas, but a North Dakotan winter has at least 47 verses, like my daughter's made up songs. We recreated outside far more through the Anchorage winters than we do here, for pity's sake! The wind blows the cold across this flatland so relentlessly that it's not only seriously uncomfortable just to dash from home to vehicle, but it seems negligent to stray very far from either, especially with children in tow. There is a reason many Native peoples were migratory. Holy frozen turds, there is a reason.

We've kept on a-doin' and a-bein,' though. Jason has been working as much as ever, all the while dreaming up plans to implement some kind of permaculture super garden / chicken system this summer. It would include a foreground garden of herbs and flowers that welcome the good bugs and deter the bad, a field of non-GMO grains that become our chicken feed, a pond where we would grow fish to be harvested in the fall, and I don't know what else. A ferriswheel run by gerbil power. Kidding on that last one. I have been busy as a whole hive of bees, making home progress: organizing, decorating, downsizing clothes and possessions, prioritizing which components of a traditional and whole foods diet I can rightly manage and which I don't have time and skill for yet. At the same time, I'm trying like the dickens to heed a little meme I saw on face book: "Stop the glorification of busy," which is easy to forget. My group of friends here continues to be a true community; since I live out of town, I'm not as in-the-thick as I wish I could be, but what interaction I can get is life giving. As for Z and Zi, ohhh man, these kids! They are the best little humans! And, I'll be busting out another one, come late June or early July!

But backing up, I'm going to attempt a summary of our every day moments, other than theme-specific topics I hope to blog separately about, from the fall and winter time. As though winter's over. HA. It is by no means spring on the prairie just yet. A few weeks ago, I asked a lifelong local if we'd already had our last deep freeze. "Oh no," she said, "There's always one more. Always one more." And sure indeed, we did have another snap. But hopefully, that's it now. My teeth are quite ready for another stage besides chattering, thank you.

On Halloween itself, we were hit with such a flu bug that we couldn't go trick-or-treating. The kids had gotten dressed up anyway for a party at play group a few days prior. They were a Japanese geisha and the Karate Kid.

decorating pumpkins
By far, our biggest discovery of the year came in early November: I was, and am, with child! If you plumb DON'T want family additions, I recommend only setting out as many fall pumpkins as you have current members, rather than the extra pumpkin you innocently acquired. Even as I set these on the piano, I recognized it as a family of five, a few days before I knew for sure we were en route to becoming that.

I have gone through, let's see, more emotional variation about bearing this child than I did the other two, somewhat because this was a true surprise, and somewhat because I now know what energy is required to rear the young. I know the increased frequency at which a parent's brown hairs turn to gray. I'd hoped for at least one more child, a little later down the road, but despite adoring surprises, I have definitely struggled with whooo boy; how's this gonna work - the continuousness of it all, the daily grind, staying sane, being away from the support of family?? The sense of overwhelm has been tapering off as I make progress on the practical matters that weigh me down. By now, I am more excited and curious than fearful about this baby, though there's still a blend. But yeah, so curious! We have boy and girl prototypes, so this will be a true variation on a theme, which I seek out in art and music. And general life. And babies.

back at 10 weeks in December
circle on circle on circle to baby bump
I had an ultrasound last week, mid-February. Looks like the baby is healthy and on track for 21 weeks! We kept with our tradition (and common modesty) by not peeking at the baby's nether-regions during the ultrasound. Of course, when the lad or lass pops out, all propriety will be discarded, and we'll devote ourselves to the discovery of its sex, especially Zoralee, who pines away DAILY for a baby sister.

*   *   *   *   *

and now, for a few images of winter...

sitting in front of a space heater one early morning,
and at that point, going through a phase of looking at our wedding photo
Even ladybugs, the lucky ones who make it to the inside,
occasionally turn to substance abuse to deal with what they've been through:
repeated bouts of temperatures between -20 and -40 F.

These photos were taken during heat waves on 10-20 degree days.

One day, this is all the further Jason and Zoralee got,
and they came inside, bitterly cold.

helping to rearrange the kitchen
slow cooker roast preparations
a common evening activity: flying the remote-controlled helicopter

washing the table

a Netflix episode of "Martha Speaks," Zoralee's current favorite

just cuddlin'

 Meet Gretta, our only chicken with a name.
She was selected for her beauty: her sleek coat, bright eyes, and clean legs,
and named after my friend, Gretta, who chose the honor
as her Bunco prize when I hosted the game at my house this month.

In January, Jason built a platform and wall in the basement on which to install a
Well, new to us. We'd collected them this summer
from the driveway of a couple in their mid-90s.
$50 took both! But to me, they're worth one million pesos plus one million seashells,
because I don't have to go to the laundromat anymore.
Besides that, the washer supposedly only worked on one speed,
but a little wire-jiggling by Jason proved that to be a falsehood!

- the card Jason received for his birthday from Zoralee -
(Sometimes cards reflect the style of the receiver, but sometimes of the giver.)

Next up: Zoralee's birthday and our month long getaway to Oregon, Washington, and Montana


Rena said...

Oh, I loved this! Seeing all the pictures and reading your stories (after such a long absence on blogging, but we won't mention that...) makes my whole day brighter. Brrr. I could feel the cold in the winter descriptions and pictures, and I could feel the warmth and happiness inside the house with everything going on there.

I'm excited to be there this summer for the new baby's arrival, and to see all the changes you've made in the place. I miss you all SO much!

Rena said...

I just hope that collecting eggs won't be my job this summer :)

Christi said...

I am sitting here freezing from looking at all these pictures and inspired to go outside for some fresh air because maybe 50 degrees isn't so bad afterall.

That first picture is especially amazing, but I loved them all. Can't wait for more!

melissa v. said...

I didn't realize you'd blogged! whoopeeeee! =)

Happy bump, you look so great, and you will rock the three little people family size. oh yes you will. two is harder than three, i PROMISE.

Sorry it is so cold!

We have the same remote control helicopter and hubbies who do the same job. Hm. Sumpin funky goin on der.


love you!

lori said...

I'm a little glad you all could feel the cold while reading this. It's nice to have shared pain. I'm SO DONE with winter this year!!!! We could be in a vortex of winter that just...doesn't...end......ever.

No way about the helicopter, Mel! That IS very strange. Jason did have his first helicopter long before considering law enforcement, so maybe he and Brent are just both cool guys.

Tamie said...

Okay, I've read this post and looked at the photos many times. And here's what I have to say:

1. Can you do a photo shoot with me sometime? I really love your photos. If you were a writer, I'd say that I love your voice, but I don't know what that's called in photography. But just, the angle, the light, the way you see the world. In my early 20s, especially, I loved photography and took tons of photos and I was proud of them. But I always wished someone would take cool photos of *me*! :) My photography has fallen by the wayside, I think because I wanted to wholeheartedly pursue writing....not that a person *has* to choose....but somehow I felt I could do something in words that I couldn't do in a photo.

2. Your life looks so dynamic and beautiful to me. I realize that your experience of it is not really that it's non-stop awesome and utterly fulfilling, but from the outside it does look beautiful. And sometimes I do feel jealous. It also reminds me of the farm that Timber and I lived on for five years in Washington. We had chickens, miniature goats, an apple tree...and I made apple pies and canned peaches and made homemade salsa and we only ate eggs from the chickens and we had a huge garden....and I bought all our groceries at a little local co-op that had tons of local/organic food....made all our bread from scratch....and Timber made enough money that I could just go to school and do nothing else, and after I graduated I had a year where I was just kind of a stay-at-home-person. A writer, I guess you'd say. Amazing to me that I used to have that life. And your life reminds me of it. Which raises complex feelings....on the one hand, I have feelings of loss, and on the other hand, I know that that life, in and of itself, is not necessarily idyllic. That so much of it is about what you're carrying around inside of you, actually.

3. Your kids are cute and awesome.

4. You are cute and awesome. Hm. Actually, I never think of you as "cute." But I do think of you as gorgeous.

5. I will not comment on Jason's cuteness one way or the other, but I definitely think he's awesome. :)

6. The end.

lori said...

Thanks, Tamie. I wish I blogged often enough to portray a more well-rounded view of us. This has been a rough season, as you know. The pregnancy, crazied emotions, living far from family, not a mountain in sight, a winter that willn't let up. Just stuff.

We do every so often say to each other [Jason and I]: let's remember how beautiful and rich this life is.