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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

9 months

27 December 2009

Dear Asa,

This is it my love, this is THE letter. This is the one in which I tell you that you have joined the world of the up right, the vertical, the walking. Yes my dear, you can walk! And before you were nine months old, amazing. It started with the standing – one day, just before you were six months old, I came in to get you as I heard you wake from your nap, and there you were. Standing in your crib, all by yourself. You had stood with support before this, but never on your own, but there you were. Beaming with pride. Then you started to pull yourself to stand on anything and everything – the couch, the kitchen cupboards, my skirts and even the walls. This rather huge effort was followed by the more refined skill of free standing (which sounds like an awesome new extreme sport). For moments at a time you would let go of whatever it was that you were balancing on, and just stand. Never has something so incredibly dull as standing been so awesomely amazing. To see you just standing there, swaying slightly side to side, adjusting your body to it’s new upright posture, is startling really. Your life thus far has been lived horizontally – laying in my arms, sleeping in your crib, playing on your back, shimmying on your tummy - this is my view of you. And now the world has tilted slightly, or so it seems, because my little baby boy is vertical. And not only that – you have forward motion! At first it was just a couple steps, one awkward foot in front of the other while you held both my hands. Then the steps were more confident. Then you only needed one hand. And then, at about 8 ½ months, you made the leap. With all your bravery you simply let go of my hand and tumbled towards your dad’s waiting arms. This was upright, and propelled forward, but hard to classify as actual walking. It was so out of control, you were just sort of falling forward while in an upright position, but they were steps, to be sure. And then, just four days before Christmas, you really did it. You were standing up, holding on to a chair for support, your dad and I about 5 baby steps away sitting on the floor. With one look of absolute determination you did it, you let go. And then one, slow, steady step at a time, you walked right to us. You did the same thing twice more that day, and about 15 times the next day. Just yesterday you rounded the corner, all on your own. It’s here, this is it. You are walking my love. WALKING!

With this great new ability comes great new risk – for the perils of walking are many. As we both found out just last week. You started at the couch, standing and eying the coffee table as your destination. Not a second later, you were off. One step, then pause to steady. Two steps, another pause. Then the third step, that tumbled into fourth and fifth, sixth and you were almost there…but not quite. You went down, face first, just a half a step away from the table, your goal. But that half a step really made a difference. Instead of grabbing the table and using it to steady yourself, you fell just before it, catching the corner over your left eye. And then the world ended (for a split second anyway). I dove and scooped you up, “You’re ok, you're ok” already pouring over and over from my lips – though I wasn’t sure if I believed it yet myself. The few moments between impact and screaming seemed to stretch on forever as I searched your crumpled face for a gash, a bruise or something worse. The spill ended up leaving a bit of a shiner and a small cut above your eye. You were laughing and playing again within minutes, while I on the other hand shook for an hour. You are tough, my love, to be sure. And it seems that I will need to be tougher if I am to make it through your scrapes and spills with you.

You walk, you fall, you recover and you know what else you do? Clap! It may be the cutest thing in the world right now, and I think you’ve caught on to this. Every time you do it you get a big reaction from your dad and I (even now after 8,346,478 times) and you love this. So now you use it to your advantage. When you head for something off limits, like the toilet or the cat, and you hear me behind you sternly saying “No!” you turn around and face me, then clap. Oh man. You are cheeky, as your father would say.

This month also saw your very first Christmas. It was cold and frosty outside, we were warm an cozy by the fire with your Auntie Mar and Grandma Murray. Though you had many wonderful gifts from friends and family, the wrapping more than anything else intrigued you. That and the ribbon. In fact, we still have boxes of it around just for you to play with. And I may keep them out for a while it seems.

As I type this you are walking the ten or so paces from the kitchen into the dining room where I sit. Your big, somewhat goofy grin spreads across your face, punctuated by four tiny teeth and animated by your grunting laugh. You laugh and smile as you slowly, awkwardly walk tome. You turn the corner now, concentrating hard on that right turn….and plop! You are down on your butt, and still happy as can be. Busting with pride and spilling over with happiness, you scramble back up to your feet, ready for another go. And you know what? So am I. Lets go play!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Another new trick: Playing the didgeridoo

Angus has played the didgeridoo for Asa since he was in my tummy - so the sound is most definitely familiar. And we have many a didge around the house, so he ends up playing with them often. Yesterday Asa decided to play - he got his mouth at the end of it and started hooting through it, delighting in the sound that came out the other end.

(Hooting away)

("Did you hear that?!")

This kid is just too darn cute sometimes.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Trick: Sweeping

Asa found the broom the other day and it now far surpasses all other toys.

All the baubles and gadgets in the world pale in comparison to the almighty broom.

And don't even think about taking it away from him. The world may very well end in that moment. At least, it seems as though it feels that way for him.

How could I even consider upsetting this face?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

8 months

Dear Asa,

On the day after Thanksgiving you turned 8 months old. As we cleaned up the destroyed kitchen, ate leftovers and stashed away more for later, you got just a teeny bit older. It's happens slowly, minute by minute, and yet here it is, rushing by at lightening speed. Weren't you just crawling? Just cooing? Just born? Shoot, sometimes my belly rumbles and for a split second I think that I am still pregnant! You are zooming through infancy, tumbling forward towards toddlerdom and hurrying us along with you.

(Peek-a-boo view from under the highchair)

You are weeks away from walking (if that!) and it is terrifyingly awesome. You are in such a rush to be big, to do things on your own. You've been able to pull yourself up to a standing since just after 6 months and now you're been cruising for a few weeks. You crawl over to the couch with alarming speed, hips rocking side to side as you slide your knees along the hard wood floors. In seconds you're at the love seat, hoisting yourself up to your feet. Not a moment later you are sliding along the front, tiny fingers outstretched - that remote control is yours. You even know that it is likely I will take it away from you, so you give it a little extra energy, an additional boost of speed, so as to at least get it in your mouth once before all fun is squashed my mean 'ol mom. It's amazing to see those tiny toes taking steps, moving forward with purposeful motion. The only thing you love more than walking along the couch (or a chair, the pack n' play, unpacked boxes, etc) is to hold some one's hands as you walk around the room in circles. Over and over again. After taking 50 or so laps around the room, I stop and try to get you to sit. But your body becomes rigid as you flex your entire being, refusing with every muscle to sit down. If and when I finally get you on your butt, you crumble, totally and completely fall apart. Because the world has ended, life is over and everything sucks. To see your face in these moments is to know real heart ache and feel true despair. Tears stream down your little crumpled cheeks as you lament your woes. Thankfully your dad is back from the road and can swoop in to save the day.

(Who you lookin' at?)

One thing that seems to bring you as much joy as walking is to rifle through the cupboards and drawers in the kitchen. Oh, what fun. When you first realized you could open them I designated one large drawer in the kitchen to you. I thought I was so clever, giving you your very own, filled with toys and plastic measuring cups. As if something that was already yours would remain interesting. As if you’d be content to be limited to one lonely drawer. Ha! For less than one day this drawer held your attention, until you realized that there were many other drawers and cupboards you could reach. Ones with far more interesting things in them, things that cut and slice, things that break and pinch. Dangerous things! I’m still working at getting the child proof latches installed, but something tells be they will not keep you out for long…

(They're ALL Asa's drawers)

Your auntie Marleigh is in town and it is one of the best things in the world just to watch you two play and laugh. I'd be hard pressed to find two people in this world that I love more, and to watch you make each other so happy is exponentially gratifying. She holds your small hands, taking you on your 500th lap of the living room. She patiently sits on the floor with you after you've finally given in to examine a toy more closely. She holds you while you drink your bottle, eyes sleepily gazing up into hers. She picks you up when you cry, and laughs with you when she tickles you. Some day, I imagine, she'll let you have too much ice cream in the park, or stay up too late watching scary movies, or back the car out of the driveway. She will always be your Auntie Mar, and for that we are both truly blessed.

(Asa helps with laundry)

One of my favorite things you do right now is this funny laughing smile. You squinch up your nose, wrinkling it as much as is possible, smile at the same time, and breath in and out of your nose real quick. Your lips are pulled back when you do this and I can see all four of your tiny white teeth. The gap between the two on the top make this strange snorting smile all the more endearing. Really, it is just the cutest thing in the whole, wide world. And you know this. If someone does it to you, you will do it right back, delighting in the back and forth of the game. Apparently I use to do this exact same thing when I was you age - now how cute is that?

(Squinchy face)

Another ridiculously adorable thing you started doing this month is kiss. At least we are guessing that’s what it is. It’s usually when I’m holding you in my arms, straddled on a hip. You lean in towards my face, mouth already open, and place your drool soaked lips on my cheek (or chin, or forehead or temple, whatever is within reach). Though it leaves drool dripping down my face, I just love the sweetness in that moment. I’ll take all the kisses I can get.


You are moving fast my love, in a hurry to get somewhere. This often leaves me in such a strange little quandary. Of course I am awesomely proud of you. I just beam as other people marvel at your strength, your intelligence, your speed and agility. I am admittedly delighted when we are walking in the park, your small legs stepping one in front of the other and someone stops to ask how old you are. Only 8 months?! They exclaim. Impossible. Fierce mama pride shows in my face, to be sure. But as proud as I am my love, I am also just a tiny bit sad. So quick, you are, a little speed racer, zooming through these first eight months. Soon enough I will count your age in years, drop you off at school, teach you how to drive. It’s all happening so fast, milestones passed in a moment, and sometimes I want it to slow down. So I take way too many pictures, and I write these letters each month to remind me to stay right here in the moment. With you. Always.


Friday, November 20, 2009

8 pictures from our hew home

(We followed fall across the country all the way home)

(Angus and Asa in Lithia Park)

(Asa plays in his new park)

(Fall's colors in black & white)

(One of Asa's favorite new pastimes - food painting/eating in the highchair)

(Beautiful dahlias from the weekly Grower's Market that just happens to be right across the street from our house)

It turns out you can go home again - and it never felt so good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

7 months

Dear Asa,

You are seven months old now and quite the seasoned traveler. With a four day road trip and international travel conquered, we thought we’d tackle a cross country move. Eleven states, six days, five hotel rooms and one enormous U-Haul later, we are here in the Pacific Northwest. I am more than a little impressed with us all.

What brought us all that way? From Upstate New York all the way to Southern Oregon? Simple. It was family. Not until starting my own did I realize the importance – even the necessity – of having friends and family around you. It takes a tribe… Our beautiful home in the Catskills was the stuff of adventures. We braved blizzards and hiked mountains, built fires and tended garden. We had a wood stove and a gourmet kitchen, a claw foot tub and forest of a backyard. I learned how to build a fire and how to properly cut back the blackberries. Your dad pruned the apple trees and learned the differences between ax, maul and hatchet. But most importantly, we made a baby. In hindsight it seems so obvious. We moved to the mountains to have a baby, to bring you into this world in the best possible way for us all. And I wouldn’t change it if I could. Your first earthly home was thousands of miles away from family (except “auntie” Bess and “cousins” Monty and Griff!!) and, by many accounts, we were alone. But there was beauty in this isolation, something full of grace and light. Being alone with you in those first days, weeks months was like a dream. everything fuzzy and beautiful. The time of a newborn is like no other, days and nights washed together, colors bled into each other like mis-washed clothes. Your brand new scent and sounds all around us. Profound newness. Outside, it was spring, with crocus' blooming and snow melting. We were heated by the fire, but truly warmed by the magic that is co-creation. I could not imagine a more perfect place to come into this world. And so it seems New York was for baby making – and Oregon is for baby raising.

Your grandmother has been an invaluable part of this big move – I don’t even know how it could have happened without her. In this last month you have become completely mobile – crawling, scootching and now even cruising along the edge of the couch – and that extra set of hands was more than helpful. It is amazing to watch her with you, my own mother, the same hands that fed and diapered me, loving you with the same tenderness, the same motherly dexterity. And 24 years later, she still has the touch.

Less than a week before we piled into the truck and headed West, you broke your very first teeth. Yes, that’s plural. Two of them came through in the same night, and you certainly let us know about it. I can only imagine that pain, as it’s one of those things that we blessedly don’t remember. After teething tablets, biter biscuits and frozen teething rings, I think you found the most relief from chomping down on your finger while sort of humming and moaning. I imagine the subtle vibration was soothing and making a lot of noise was just an added bonus. Now these two small teeth punctuate your smile. It is astounding how something so small can make such a change. Your gummy grin is no more, replaced now with the beginning of a little boy’s smile. Now your two top teeth are hiding under angry and swollen gums, sure to break through any day now.

Your teeth have been a part of your new favorite activity – eating. Man, can you put it away! I am still surprised when you finish that entire banana, all mashed with rice cereal and formula and even more shocked when you top it off with some avocado AND a bottle. Where can it all go? A hollow leg? A trap door? You are in constant motion, so you must burn through those calories like wildfire. It is not an exaggeration, you are literally moving every moment you are awake. And quite a few when you are sleeping too. You are active, and eager - to say the least. And you love to play in our new living room. With a wide and open layout, you have the run (or crawl) of almost the whole house. Lately I will walk by, busy unpacking, washing diapers or cooking dinner, and you will ask me to come and play with you. “Dadadadaaaadadaa!” You shout. Roughly translated as “Hey mom! Come play on the floor with me, it is awesome!” And you smile so happily that I could not dream of refusing. Down on the ground, a living room away, I bang a toy on the floor boards. Loud and possibly destructive, this is appealing indeed. You waste no time in getting to me, starting out with a rapid crawl from your sitting position. But after a few paces this feels too slow, so you drop to your belly and assume the commando crawl, pushing with your toes and dragging yourself, alarmingly fast, with your forearms. You are on me in seconds. And climbing me like a human jungle gym. Completely upright, your hand on my knee for balance, you fearlessly reach for the toy in my hand. Mine, your eyes say. And pride washes over both our faces.

More teeth are coming soon. Then talking. Walking. And all other manner of minor miracles. As your dad would say, blow my tiny mind. You astound me daily. And I can’t wait for tomorrow.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

And then they drove across country...

Time to play a little photographic catch up. We successfully packed up the big old farm house in New York (thanks to Asa's grandma!) and then drove across 11 states in 6 days with everything we own, including our little car towed behind the truck, our blind cat Steve and the aforementioned grandmother. Amazing.

A few photos from the last two weeks of packing and driving and adventuring...

(Grandma and Asa have a wrestle)

(The Pack Men)

(Asa takes his turn at the wheel)

(snacks on the road)

(Antelope in Wyoming - who knew?)

(Little family, big adventure)

(The long, long road)

(Sunrise in rearview)

(Mom drives the big, huge truck)

(Cozy in his seat)

Adventures to be told and more photos to share...soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On the road

Our lives in the truck we drive, we are Westbound. Homebound. Every minute one more mile, every day one step closer.

We are on our way.

(More photos and updates coming soon...)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

New trick: Holding the bottle by himself

Asa has been interested in holding his own bottle since we introduced it. Recently he has mastered the coordination necessary to perform this task. We still breast feed more often than not, but the occasional bottle has been very handy (and I love the three minutes of free hands it gives me too).

Monday, September 28, 2009

6 months

27 September 2009

Dear Asa,

Six months is a mighty big number, and you are a mighty big boy. Weighing in at 19 pounds this month, you are growing quick. Especially since we started solid foods. You have a new and different energy, new stamina and strength since the introduction of cereal and banana (and now sweet potato, yam, pear and yogurt!). You most definitely enjoy your food and, if I would let you, you’d (try to) feed yourself. One step at a time though kid.

You are easily distracted and, by that same token, interested in every single thing around you. You are constantly craning over my shoulder, trying to see what that person is doing, or where that car is going, or that cat, leaf, bird, speck of dust. You squirm and twist so as to be facing the action always, never missing a moment. You love being a part of the conversation. Eyes darting from left to right you examine the speaker, watching his mouth with curiosity, then you reach for it, fingers needing desperately to touch that noise making thing. Like every intriguing object it must first be pawed, pinched and poked with your tiny fingers, then scooped up and plopped in your mouth. Sometimes you skip the gabbing and go straight for the licking, leaning your drooling mouth right into someone’s face.

(With dad, on the road)

You’ve decided that the worst thing in the world is to have your clothes changed (you feel similarly about being strapped into your car seat). And I mean THE WORST. When I have to change your shirt I take a big deep breath and then plunge in, determined not to stop until the dirty and drooled upon shirt is replaced by a clean one (that will remain clean for exactly 2.8 seconds). And man, do you put up a good fight. You flail your arms, waving them madly, hitting me, yourself, the bed and anything else within your tiny wingspan. You kick and twist your body, rolling one way and then the other, evading me rather deftly. And you scream about it too, of course. Announcing your feelings with all the air in your lungs, you let me know that you do not like this at all, thankyouverymuch.

Our big events this month were tough ones – though I must admit they were probably tougher for me than for you. Falling of the bed was a real doosie. Everyone says it happens, that there’s almost no escaping it. Your kid will fall off something and you will feel horrible for it. And it’s true, it takes only one split second for it to happen. One micro moment in time while your eyes are elsewhere and THUD!, that sickening sound. You began to wail before I could even get you off the floor (a good sign, I thought, somewhere in my panic stricken brain). You were in my arms and we were out the door within seconds. I paced the yard, trying to steady myself before assessing you. My fingers grabbing your small arms and toes, probing for bumps, broken bones, the worst. But you stopped crying before I did. Five, maybe ten minutes and you were on to the next, looking for something new and already distracted by the multitude of colorful, moving objects outside. How quickly you were over it, on to the next. And I, well, I took a bit more calming (thank you Bess for the magic touch).

(Gotta love the drool)

We have also survived your very first cold. I think you hardly noticed it. You played on like nothing was different, like you didn’t have a persistent cough or a river of snot pouring from your nose. The only times you seemed to mind the cold at all were the times we had to help you out. You hated having your nose wiped and sucking it out with that ridiculous nose sucker (aspirator, I think it’s actually called) was just the worst. I hated doing it, you hated sitting through it. But it did help, or at least allow you to suck and breath at the same time, which was of course crucial at meal time. Together, we make it through another milestone.

It’s happening fast (everyone said it would) and you are literally growing before my eyes. Your hair is coming in, you have two bottom teeth about to poke through and a will and determination has surfaced that is positively fierce. You are strong and tenacious, even stubborn sometimes. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my little fiery Aries, my exuberant boy. My son.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Split pea and ham

We've all got colds around here (Asa's first) and we're feeling the fall. Soup was definitely in order. Something hardy and filling, warm and comforting. Bored with chicken noodle, I came up with a vegetable filled split pea and ham.

2 table spoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic gloves, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 small potatoes, cubed
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 1-lb ham steak, cubed
7 cups stock
1 1-lb bag split peas, rinsed
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
2 teaspoons dried dill
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a big soup pot. I use a 5 liter stock pot. Add the onions and cook at a med-low temp until soft.
Then add the garlic, ham and bell pepper. Stir everything together and cook a few minutes, until all the flavors start to get to know one another.
Add stock, peas, bay leaves, marjoram, dill, salt and pepper. I'm pretty generous with the pepper on this one, especially fresh cracked. Grind liberally. Turn heat to low or simmer, put the lid on and let cook 1 - 1 1/2 hours. You can leave it longer too, at least an hour though for the peas to soften and the smell to fill your kitchen. Make sure to stir it a few times too.
Then add carrots, potatoes and celery. Cook another 30 - 45 minutes or until the veggies are nice and tender. Again, you could leave it a bit longer too, just make sure to let it bubble long enough for the potatoes to soften. You can blend it up a bit when it's finished if you prefer, but I like to leave it chunky. Gives it a sort of vegetable stew vibe. Serve steaming with heavily buttered bread. Delicious. Oh! And for my vegetarian friends (Hi Bess!) just leave out the ham and use vegetable stock or water and viola, vegetarian, no - vegan! split pea.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

About this blog

Lichen is the symbiotic relationship between a fungus and an algae. It is also my name.

My dad gave me my first Nikon when I was 12 and I have had one ever since.

I started this blog as a place to showcase my photos. Over time it has grown into a diary of sorts, a story in the making. The birth of my son, Asa in March of this year has taken the blog in an obvious direction. These days there are lots of photos of him and lots of stories about my experience of motherhood. I don’t see that changing much any time soon.

In 2007 I married Angus.

Our life is anything but ordinary. Angus is a musician, traveling and touring with his band, BROTHER. I married into the rockstar life. As much as is possible Asa and I go along. We take long road trips together, we fly across the country together and we stay in all manner of accommodation along the way. This is not always easy, but remaining as a family is most important right now, so we make it work.

I love to cook, love to eat and love to piece together different recipes. I dabble in gardening, card making and scrap booking. My days are filled with washing cloth diapers, deciding what’s for dinner and learning Photo Shop, one tutorial at a time. Chances are, you’ll read about all of these things here at One Moment Captured.

Thanks for visiting,

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blue eyed boy

Eyes so blue, like his grandmother, like his aunt. They're a surprise every time I see them.

They catch me off guard, these eyes like blueberries, eyes like sapphires. I don't expect them. Brown, perhaps, hazel most likely, even green. No mom, they're blue.

Blue like storming seas, blue like early winter mornings. Blue like my baby boy's eyes. Asa blue.



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