Life is this puzzling dichotomy right now. So much is at a standstill, and yet, so much is in motion. Seasons are changing, the ground is thawing and greening. Babies are achieving milestones (see below)! I think I've landed somewhere in the middle. A little frozen. Moving in slow motion, but intent to keep moving, keep growing.
In the midst of social distancing, here are some photos and snippets of life right now. It feels more odd than usual to document "ordinary" life, but this space has always been a home for that exact sort of documentation, so I'll continue on.
- Lots of knitting. I finished the neutral striped socks for Nicholas. I had only the toe left, and he asked if I could finish them up because his feet were cold, so I did and he promptly put them on. ;) Other recent completed items are a cowl and two hats, all of which will be included in a blog post soon. I'm currently knitting on a newly cast on pair of socks, and a grey shawl.
- One last snow a couple weeks ago. It was so beautiful, even if my heart is yearning more for spring. It a weekend (Saturday, I think), so I went for a solo walk while N stayed home with Cooper. I even glimpsed some pussy willows, which were a favorite find of mine as a little girl.
- Baking almond biscotti, using the America's Test Kitchen recipe, and it is so good. It's included in The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book (a gem. seriously so many incredible recipes--more than 700, to be exact).
- Eating said biscotti at night with a glass of decaf cold brew for nighttime fika
- Baking apple crisp, using this recipe from Fit Mitten Kitchen
- Baking coffee cake.
- Did I mention baking?
- Playing the new Animal Crossing game on Nintendo Switch with Nicholas. We made a character that looks like Cooper. ;) It's fun and has game mechanics (flower watering, fishing, etc.) that I can manage.
- Trying to get creative with meals. Surprisingly, cooking has felt fun to me as of late. I enjoy a bit of a challenge to find recipes that utilize what we have on hand, since we are doing our best not to visit the grocery store very often.
- Wearing makeup at least a few times a week. The barest of essentials are: eyebrow gel, mascara, concealer, and matte powder.
- Taking care of our one houseplant, a pilea. The other, larger houseplant has sadly died (entirely my fault), and we've yet to replace it, since that's certainly not essential at the moment. But the remaining small (living) plant brings me so much joy!
- Taking a moment in the mornings to jot down a few things in my bullet journal I'd like to accomplish for the day. Sometimes they're as simple as "empty dishwasher," or "stuff [pocket cloth] diapers." Easy things that are achievable. Reminders that even if a day isn't filled with dozens of productive things, it still is productive.
- More oatmeal with PB + chia seeds + chocolate chips + sliced banana, the way my Grandma Donna sliced it for hot cereal. Whenever I eat this, I think of her.
- Videochatting with my family! So fun to talk with my Grandma Donna, mom, dad, and brother all at once.
- Making the bed everyday. It's amazing how much of a difference this makes to my mood.
And as far as exciting things go....Cooper is crawling!! He transitioned from backwards crawling to army crawling to proper crawling in the matter of a few days. And now, he is moving. He is also pulling up on whatever he can manage to reach, favoring the coffee table, as you can see. And he opens drawers and cabinets, goes for electrical cords, etc. Baby-proofing officially became top priority (not sure why we haven't done it sooner). He definitely keeps me on my toes!
He has also been really snuggly with me and Nicholas. Laying in our laps, resting his head against us, snuggling on our chests. The stuff of parenthood that tugs on my heartstrings.
We are blessed to have some really nice trails right outside our door, wide trails that aren't busy. Yesterday, Coop and I walked for an hour and a half. I put my phone down and just listened. We heard lots of birdsong and spring peepers. The clouds were the wispy type, airbrushed into the sky. The sun felt warm on my back, and mid-walk, I shed my vest. What a good feeling to be able to take layers off. I chatted about these things with Cooper, not because he will remember, but because I will remember. And somewhere along the way, he fell asleep, taking a nap in the sunshine.
I will say that there are intermittent days and moments when melancholia surges up in my heart. I feel a little irritable, a little unmoored. Ultimately, I know my mooring is found in Christ, who doesn't change, even when so much of life is drastically different.
I read the following from Anna Catherine, @her_everyday_hallelujah on instagram and it really resonated with me:
[...] grief and peace aren’t mutually exclusive. Hope doesn’t get shooed out when we acknowledge our weariness. All of them can pull up a seat to the table of our hearts. Jesus grabbing a spot next to them in the messy middle. He promises to be close to the brokenhearted. And I know He is. Closer than the baby pressed against my chest. Catching the tears before they ever have a chance to hit the bubbles from the dishes in the sink. He is here. He is close. He is in the messy middle. And today- that is the teary eyed hope I got.
Take courage. We don't have to be brave to trust Him, He holds us when we aren't and He makes us brave not through the promises of new life on this earth, but through promises in Christ, regardless of the season. One last thing I noticed on that walk yesterday was the new growth evident on the trees. I don't see any new leaves. But. If I truly look, I can see the new growth on the tree, as it prepares to sprout green. The same God who does this miracle every spring can stir up growth in our hearts, in our world, and in this odd season, long before we see the new leaves.