Just fine.

Carter is the reassuring type. Today, while making handprint art with paint on his second day of preschool, he told the hesitant 3-foot tall girl in front of him, “Don’t worry. It’s fun. You’ll be ok.”

In the car, he asked me what I’d be packing in for his daily snack — for the rest of the year.

“Carrots?”

“That will be fine.”

“Grapes?”

“Yep. That would also be fine. Just fine.”

“How about popcorn?”

“That’d be great.”

We keep going like this for a while (until he notes the absence of a personal favorite, peanut-butter-anything — and then we have an in-depth conversation about allergies). Olives, cheese sticks, graham crackers, apples and raisins check out. Celery not so much.

At the restaurant with Grammie, he dumps his crayons out of the cup and lines them up. The occasional gentleman, he lets Grams choose first. “Which color would you like?” She chooses blue. “Exxss…exxs…excellent choice.”

It’s dawning on me just how much of an only-child Carter Patrick has grown to be; he’s a mini-adult. I think about this, pretty much every day, and I alternate between worry and excitement. The flutters and kicks in my disproportional abdomen are hearty reminders that the Carter-only days are numbered. That’s a great thing, and a big change thing, all on its own.

So, preschool. The winds of fate put CP in The Owl Classroom, which you know just tickles me hot pink. Carter’s first days have been piece-of-cake, he’s-got-this, you-can-go-now-Mom easy. It’s heartbreaking.

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Backpack, snack box, and water bottle in tow, Bird took his first week by storm. Two years til kindergarten. It’ll be fine, right? Just fine.

Revival

This blog has become a terrible life-tracker. Whenever something amazing is happening, I’ve been opting out of posting and just letting myself get wrapped up in the moments. I don’t regret that, but the gap up in here is a bit disarming. Plus, there’s been a hefty load of amazing lately, and I’d like to log a piece of it. You know. For posterity.

So, tonight I’m going to pick up my blog and breathe some air into it, and see if maybe I can keep it up. I apologize for the lack of theme or even explicit message in this post. There’s not a lot of poetry in backlogging.

Carter Patrick and I got married to Jesse Michael back in March. We’d decided that spending nights apart was just not an option anymore for us, you see. And, simple as that, my ring finger got gloriously heavier. My mom’s ring tone for me changed to “Jesse’s Girl”. My last name changed (probably need to get on that blog URL as well). But life (mostly) stayed the same as it had been for months: happy-hearted and busily in love, quiet and simple and beautiful.

A month later, I decided to take a break from teaching and do something else. This probably deserves a posting of its own. It wasn’t a lighthearted decision.

There are a few things in life that I’ve never tried, because I innately know there’s no way I’d be good at them (or that I would find them particularly fulfilling, which I suppose is more important). These things include driving a stick, participating in the shot put, and pursuing a career in finances.

There are many things that I’ve tried in my life that I wasn’t at all good at: calculus, piano-playing, sewing, filing my own taxes, being on time.

There are several things in life that I’ve tried, and at the time managed to convince myself I was good at: ballet, speaking French, softball, singing, braiding other people’s hair, being a hipster.

There are three things that I’m confident I’m actually good at: being Carter’s mom, writing, and teaching.

I’m a damn good teacher. Maybe because I love my subject area, but probably because I care about the emotional development of my students just as much as I care about their academic progress. More than once, I’ve been compared to Miss Honey from Matilda. The first day of school is still one of my favorite days of the year. I can write a mean essay, and I can show you (or your 16-year old son) how to write one, too. I loved that every day was different, and that if I didn’t like something, I could throw it out the window and do something different. I loved that I could be “in charge” of 25 (just kidding, more like 39) teenagers, and yet the spotlight was on them. I loved that every moment was a tiny bit of kismet, a funny slice of happenstance: never again would the same group of people have a reason to gather together, mixed by a glitchy computer system and by counselors and by circumstance, and try to learn and grow up together.

But I decided to take a break. For reasons that so many people know by heart, I opted out of next year, knowing that I needed to step away before I burnt out in the ugliest manner possible. I started applying for jobs (that I never thought I’d get). I updated my LinkedIn (teachers don’t really have this mysterious necessity of the normal world). I purchased new interview clothes.

A month after that, I started planning a “Hey, We Got Married, Let’s Party” party. I planned on mostly two happenings: drinking a lot of alcohol (I think I spent $150 in the liquor section of Costco; it was both embarrassing and incredibly badass) and a lot of really attractive people showing up.

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Half of that set of dreams came true. Many devastatingly handsome people attended. But I declined on the drinking.

Because, you know, I found out that I’m pregnant. 14 weeks today, actually.

If we’re the kind of friends that talk and text and what not, you should know that it’s not you; it’s me. No, really. It’s me. I’m sorry I’ve lacked in response or follow-through or general human social skills. If it makes you feel better, I’ve probably been in a dark room somewhere, puking or stacked with ice packs to kill mean, fiery headaches — or having some completely terrifying nightmare, in which a washing machine may or may not be chasing me down a street. With Carter, pregnancy from the start was a lot of sunshine and rainbows and happy naps. This babe is one firecracker of a fetus. And I’m excited. And, for the record, it’s a boy. I mean, we don’t know, but I think so. I think so a lot.

So then I recalculated my steps, and now I’m in the middle of summer, figuring out what it’s going to be like staying at home with a couple of kids for a minute. And it’s exciting, and terrifying, and fortunate — all for a bucketful of reasons each.

Which brings us to the current moment. Nearing midnight on a Sunday night, favorite novel by my left, Mr. Sparks editing photos to my right, the best three-year old Mowgli snoozing in bed with a stuffed Mickey Mouse tucked under his arm and a ceiling lit up with the solar system.

Current moments are rad and adventurous.

Everyone is pregnant — all the Lange ladies, my sister-in-law, and a gaggle of friends. Imagine the birthday parties! And, you know, all the other cool stuff too, I guess.

Carter Patrick is starting preschool in just a couple of weeks. He has a backpack and a lunchbox and new school shoes, and he practices “class” in his room daily. He’s also starting gymnastics classes. His summer highlights have probably been Vacation Bible School, learning how to fish with Dad, utilizing his bunk beds for his first sleepover (with his bff Miley, of course), swimming, eating a lot of pancakes, and weaseling his way into taking naps in bed with Mom, who can’t decline an invitation for “cuds and snugs”. He’s tall and handsome and messy and loud and sweet and loving — and he’s growing up really, really fast, and I’d like that to stop.

Jesse and I took a weekend trip to see my uncle get hitched, and that was amazing. San Francisco? Feasts of crab and lobster and chowder? Wedding on a boat, sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge? It couldn’t be missed. Watching these two join their lives together made my heart soar. You know when you can just tell two people love each other, more than anything else matters? Yup.

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The Master’s classes still beat on. Got about nine more months of that fun. Coursework is legitimately interesting, but it’s still homework.

And that’s probably a good ending note for tonight. Pretty straight up, but in terms of getting up to speed, that’ll do.