Hey! Where’d my summer go?

Someone tell me because I seem to have misplaced mine.

I always greet the new semester with a mix of dread and excitement, and this one is no exception. The main difference now, I suppose, is just how. freaking. busy the next three months are going to be. Without going too far into the boring details, I can say that I’ve been handling Smudgie’s transition from nanny share to part-time daycare, heading to my college-campus fellowship job anywhere from 1-3 days a week, teaching a class on Sundays, planning Smudgie’s second birthday party, prepping the house for baby (here and there), and trying to finish my second dissertation chapter. And LG is of course slammed at work, too, and has been all summer, so family time is few and far between.

We’re still planning some fall hijinks before our sweet boy becomes a brother– an apple and pumpkin picking expedition, a pig roast hosted by friends, trips around our neighborhood. I’m hoping the frantic schedule we’re dealing with will help us appreciate the time we do get to spend with one another.

But in the meantime! I’m enjoying those summer memories, from a season full of them: trips to Brooklyn playgrounds, to the Hamptons, time spent with family in the city and suburbs, dinners as a threesome in restaurant backyards, a happy boy swimming and shooting down water slides, and one brief, busy, exhaustingly fun trip to San Diego to see some best friends.

Here’s a shot from that last trip. My sweet Smudge-ster getting his first feel of Pacific coast sand:

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Make Room for Baby

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Pregnancy with a toddler feels a lot like this picture, taken a month or so ago. The current baby looms large while the new one (and, quite frankly, the lady gestating the little Mr. or Miss) doesn’t so much loom as tries to finagle a way into whatever space is left in the field of vision. Or mental energy of the family. First trimester was a blur of worrying, waiting, puking, and trying desperately to keep from falling asleep on the couch while a whirling 18-month-old dervish systematically destroyed the living room, paying little attention to my feeble protests. Many pizzas were ordered; many peanut butter sandwiches were consumed.

At this point, 20+ weeks in, I worry less, though anxious thoughts still crowd in at times. And–thank God–my energy levels are up, which leaves me partially capable of keeping pace with Smudgie’s ever-recharging batteries. I’m also starting to realize that it’s time to figure out how to make room for this new person: in my heart, in our family, and–perhaps the greatest challenge for a city-dweller!–in our apartment.

The heart part of the equation is the most and least complicated. I know that I will love this baby endlessly when he or she is born. But like most moms of one baby, I also can’t imagine replicating the overwhelming feeling I have for my son for someone else. How is it possible to love two people this wholeheartedly? The time I have to spend with each will be divided, so how can my affections not be as well? The only way to answer these questions is to live them, though, so there’s not much point fretting over it.

The next part requires more thought and does leave me kind of frantically incapacitated when I think it through too much. How am I going to balance having two little people dependent on me and also continue (heck, finish) writing my dissertation? Running and taking care of my health? Spending time with friends and family? Having that oh-so-important alone time with my husband. I’m already an inadequate housekeeper at best–how will I ever manage even the sub-par level I currently aspire to? And while LG is a tremendous, helpful, hands-on dad and equal partner, how will we each carve out time for ourselves and each other when it’s not just one baby we need to account for?

I also don’t have a lot of answers to this question. Other than one: Fresh Direct. After years of trying to convince my husband to give grocery delivery a try, I’m finally able to play the trump card. Pregnant mom+heavy toddler+third-floor walk-up apartment. Ain’t no way I’m adding three bags of groceries and a computer-and-book-laden shoulder bag to that sequence. Maybe this way I’ll finally be able to get around to the menu planning I’ve been meaning to try for the last few, um, years.

So then the final place to make room, the physical space where we live. This I can actually address! But fitting a fourth person into 900 sq feet is about as challenging as one might imagine, so stay tuned for a separate post: why we’re staying, how we’ll manage, and maybe that house tour I always (okay, never) promised you.

New Digs

Moving to a new blog space is kind of like moving apartments. All the new features start out so shiny and appealing–we have a new layout with lots of room! Great views to take in! A fabulous neighborhood to explore!

Followed by the inevitable agitation as you try to cram the equivalent of an overstuffed sectional into a smaller living room nook. And the eventual blase familiarity with all the features that once made your heart sing. And–at least in NYC anyway–the equally inevitable impulse to move. Or at least redecorate.

But! For the time being I am excited about my locale and the opportunities it’s giving me. I’m going to stretch out with all the best intentions for making a home here–you know, whipping up some cookies, setting out the lemonade, putting fresh-cut flowers in all the rooms. Picking up the toddler’s toys. Try to enjoy the flowers now, because those will definitely be the first things to go when inertia sets in.

Even though I haven’t figured out how to arrange all the furniture yet, I can hang some artwork:

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This seems to be the sort of place where free-spirited boys ride roosters.