Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Love Letter to My Husband Family

A love letter written yesterday on our nine year wedding anniversary:

Nine years ago today The Husband and I traipsed through a hayfield in Greenfield, Tennessee, and surrounded by autumn trees and our family we said the vows that have held us together since.

This anniversary is momentous.

We are no longer just a couple, we're a family, joined by a blood bond.

Our lives are little more than work and stolen moments together, but somehow it is more fulfilling. The domestic rhythm of our lives now centers on our little girl and somehow with her we work together better.

I awake early and nurse the baby, The Husband awakes and gathers bottles and changes and dresses our wiggly baby while I get ready. We part ways, kiss and say our "have a good days." We work, then return home, sometimes we can catch a few minutes before The Husband runs off to his second job. Every once in awhile Evie looks at the door expectantly and then looks at me. I spend the evenings with her missing Daddy, eating messy dinners, playing, avoiding monsoons at bath time, and finally bedtime stories, cuddles, and nursing, and then I pass out once she's asleep, but with one eye open waiting for a middle of the night homecoming. Then it begins again each day; we wait for the weekends and Tuesday nights to have Daddy home. Our days blur together and all of a sudden we sit down in a rare quiet moment and we realize that it has been nine years that we've loved and in only another five days it will be nine months that we've loved our little girl.

After nine years we're finally grown-ups, although it doesn't always feel that way. We have A Family. A Happy Little Family. We collapse into bed after long days to the sounds on a baby monitor and somehow it is peaceful.

We still have our little fights, neither one of us thinks the other does enough because frankly there isn't enough of us to go around. We sometimes snap at each other and we sometimes get angry, but mostly we are Happy. We always come back to the love that pulled us together more than a decade ago and the love that tied our knot nine long but oh so short years ago.

Ah, Domestic Bliss.

I love you Husband, and I love our Family.

October 26, 2002

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dry Spell

I had a vision of Evie Kay watching me paint. Wonder if it will ever come true?

"Figure" from handmade artist book, pen and ink, 2005

Monday, August 15, 2011

Selfish Prayers

I wrote this one day last week.

Every night after Evie nurses and I rock her to sleep I hold her until my arms fall asleep. Usually I don't notice the numbness. Once I've wiggled my fingers enough to feel again I lay her down in her crib, oh so far from the cradle where she once slept in our room. For about a month now it has been very hard to put her to sleep in her own room. I just want to have her with us again so I can listen to her sleep and make sure she is still breathing.

Once I've tucked the blanket around Evie I lean over her, my hand resting on her chest I say the most selfish of prayers. I thank God for the light in my life, a light that has made sense out of the darkness in my life, and pray he never takes her from me.

Then I scoop up the cats who insist on following us into her bedroom and gently latch the door. Just hearing a quiet baby monitor causes me so much anxiety.  She's slept through the night for quite awhile but I still wake up about every two hours to listen for her.

Then the next day I'm slightly annoyed when she howls if I leave the room. In the past week or so she's become exceptionally clingy. She's never been upset with me when I've left her at daycare before but this morning my heart is breaking because she cried as soon as she saw me walking out the door.

So sad. I hate leaving my little girl.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Genetics, Part 3

Miss Evelyn Kay has grown so much in the past six months of her life. I look at the first few photographs of her life and am astounded by how little she was. She is no longer a newborn.

Evelyn Kay the first week of life, photographs by Chelsea Taylor
One of the most exciting things is watching who she becomes. Not just who she resembles, but also whose character has entered her little heart.

Her little soul and personality already shine through so brightly. Fitting as Evelyn means light. Kay means pure. She truly is a pure shining light in our lives, too. This little girl is full of so much joy and laughter. She laughs most of the day, laughs at every thing, engages every one she meets, joins in every conversation, and makes friends with every one. People and other babies are drawn to Evelyn Kay.  Her happiness is infectious.

If you know my family it may sound like I'm describing someone else, not just Evie. If you know my family you also know the person I've always loved most in this world (until Evie) is my sister, Chelsea. Well, even if you don't know us, if you're a reader you know about our sisterhood.

My favorite thing about Evie isn't her brilliant blue eyes, or her cute little toes, it's the tremendous amount of joy and love for the world bundled up inside of her. She didn't get that from me or her dad, she got it from Chels. (My dad, her grandpa, would interrupt me here and point out that Chelsea isn't an original and that she got it from his mother, Evelyn).

Evelyn Kay's great-grandmother, my father's mother Evelyn demonstrating the joy of life she gave to my daughter
Chelsea is my little sister, but I look up to her (insert sarcastic comment about her towering over me here). I aspire to her happiness. I am so thankful those genes wiggled over to my daughter.

Now call me selfish but as Evie Kay has gotten older I've been delighted to see those glimmers of my side of the family instead of just TIM, TIM, TIM. She is truly his mini-me, but lately I see not so much of myself but Chelsea. I always see my sister in those moments of joy, the laughs and the smiling eyes. It is so exciting to see some of my family's physical traits manifesting in Evie.

Those smiling eyes, that's what gets to me I think. Here is a perfect example of my sister's smiling eyes.
Chelsea just about a year ago on her wedding day, August 7, 2010 (photograph by Henry Photography)
But if you look deeper nowadays it isn't just the smiling eyes that are remniscent of Chelsea, there is something about her mouth when she smiles. It is truly when she smiles at the depth of her happiness that Evie conjures up her aunt and (fairy) godmother. I think she looks much more like Chelsea than myself. You can't tell from these photographs necessarily, but Evelyn is a very long (tall?) baby, taking after Chelsea's height I suppose (certainly not mine).

Top row: Chelsea, Evelyn, Evelyn, Bottom row: Chelsea and myself, Evelyn, Evelyn
Here's what is interesting though, those smiling eyes that Chelsea and Evie have are the perfect combination of my Mom and my Dad's eyes. All of these people and all of Tim's family...that is what has produced this perfect little girl. Look at this picture of my parents and Chelsea and see how their eyes made hers.
My father Ron, sister Chelsea, and mother Katrina (by Henry Photography)

But the depth of Evelyn's joy isn't from the eyes that light up a room, it's from some place much deeper. Something in her already drives her to talk to every one and makes friends with every one she meets. That is so my sister. They spread sunshine every where they go.

Now how is it that Evie Kay resembles Chelsea? My sister resembles me, yet I can't see myself in Evie? My theory is this - I think I favor my mother a bit more than my father and Chelsea favors my father more than my mother.

Left: Dad and Chelsea, Top right: Chelsea and Dad, Bottom right: My dad's parents Evelyn and Harry
Here is a comparison of Evelyn and her maternal Grandma; there are only hints of family resemblance.
All are Evie except the far right, my mother Katrina

The trait we joke about the most that Evie and Chelsea share is their early life baldness.

Evelyn Kay's adorable bald little head, save for her strawberry blond wispies.

Here they are together, Evelyn Kay and her godmother, her Aunt Chelsea, and her godfather, her Uncle Chad. Now that's love!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Genetics, Part 2

About two years ago I posted a photo comparison of myself and my grandmother, my daughter's namesake. Evelyn was my father's mother, may she rest in peace.

Nowadays I ponder the family likeness in my own daughter. Did she inherit any traits of mine? Or any of the woman who gave her the name Evelyn? It's very easy to see her father's genes. In fact when she was born I joked I wanted a DNA test to make sure she was mine since she appeared to looking nothing like me or my family. But as she's grown I see glimmers of my side. So what do you think? Who does Evelyn favor?

Top row: My daughter, myself, my paternal grandmother Evelyn; Bottom: Evie!

She so obviously shares her looks with her Aunt Karen and Dad and their family...

Top row: My niece, Sarah, on my husband's side, Evelyn Kay; Bottom row: Evelyn Kay, Tim my husband and my niece Sarah again, Tim's sister Karen and I (Sarah is Karen's daughter)

Here are the Hande genes at work, the oldest photograph is Recompense Hand, also included is my grandfather Harry, his son Terry, and my cousin Nick.

Left column: My father's brother Terry holding Evie Kay, Recompense Hand, my grandfather Harry, Center: My grandfather Harry as a marine in WWII, Right column: my paternal cousin Nick and my grandfather Harry near the end of his life

Here are some of the Stockings. I sometimes see my Stocking cousins Alex and Megan in Evelyn.

Top left: Evelyn, bottom left maternal cousin Megan; Top right: Stocking cousins, bottom right: Evelyn, Alex and Megan

Top row: My father Ron, my sister Chelsea, my maternal uncle Greg, my maternal uncle Mark, his wife Theresa; Bottom row: My maternal grandmother Helen, my mother Katrina, my aunt Wendy, my cousins Caleb, Alex, Casey, and Megan.

Here is Evelyn Kay and her two grandmothers, paternal Bonnie on the left and maternal Katrina on the right:

And just for fun, the Hande family tradition of bunny ears continues...

Left: my paternal cousin Nick holding Evie Kay, Right: My grandmother Evelyn and my paternal great aunt Delorise

Post update: The saga continues with Part 3

Monday, August 1, 2011

Baby's First Cold

Evelyn Kay saw Dr. O today for her six month check-up. Incidentally she's also winding down her first cold virus. It's so disconcerting to not know how to help your baby when she's not feeling her best. Evie really hasn't been that bothered by it except when she first wakes. She also woke up vomiting two mornings. The post-nasal drip is what really has been bothering her. Here is the advice Dr. O gave for the cough and post-nasal drip:

  • Wait it out, a cough longer than a week see the physician, but sometimes colds linger in babies.
  • Steam from a steamy bathroom, warm bath, steam vaporizer (but skip the cough suppressant additives with camphor because what little coughing she's doing is helpful to get up the phlegm).
  • Hydrate! Don't substitute water for breastmilk unless baby is overheated.
The vomiting is what worried me the most, he said it was most likely the post-nasal drip and mucous. For younger babies he said you can elevate their mattress, but for wiggly older babies like her she'll most likely move around and defeat the incline.

On a side note, yes, I am behind on pictures. More to come eventually...

Friday, July 22, 2011


If there were no concept of money in this world The Husband and I would never fight. Argh