2014.

It’s been difficult so far this year to articulate any resolutions, or even guiding words or goals. But seeing as our holiday cards just went out last week, I figure if I come up with something by February I’m in good shape.

Last year around New Year’s, I had a two-week-old human who had just viciously clawed her way out of my body and into the world and was now in my charge. Quite literally, she was my resolution. Had I time to make a vision board between diaper changes and baby snuggles, it would have just been a picture of her sweet, pudgy, grumpy, newborn face. My resolution was to keep her alive, and healthy, and happy. I’m happy to say that I’ve done all three. So while I may have slipped in other areas – work, relationships, household, fitness, mental health – at the same time, 2013 was probably the most successful year of my life.

Which left me staring blankly at 2014 saying…what now?

Obviously, continue raising my kick-ass daughter and turn her into a functioning member of society. But that can’t be all. She deserves a mama who is more than that. While my word for 2013 could have been ‘Survive,’ that’s not enough this year.

I took a page out of Megan‘s book and started a virtual vision board on Pinterest. Glancing over the things I’ve liked enough to pin there, the themes seem to be enjoying the moment (something I struggle with), letting things go (ditto), and of course, being a good mama.

So cheers to 2014, to letting go of the past, to living in the present. And to this face.

30 Awesome Things

I can’t remember where I first saw the idea of a “reverse life list,” but I thought it might be fun to spend my 30th birthday mulling over some awesome things I’ve already done. Here goes:

  1. Eat sushi in Japan

  2. Hike in Olympic National Forest

  3. Make pie crust from scratch using my Nanny’s recipe

  4. Shoot a gun

  5. Play in a concert band, marching band, trios, and quartets

  6. Have my toes nibbled by doctor fish in Okinawa

    Doctor Fish

  7. Crochet a gift for someone

  8. Go parasailing

    parasailing cancun2

  9. Learn to shoot in manual

  10. Earn a black belt

  11. Hold a monkey

    jennmonkey9

  12. Ride a roller coaster

  13. Complete a 365 project

    5

  14. Visit 35 states

  15. Go wine tasting in Napa Valley

  16. Take Tim to England

    Photobomb 2

  17. Picnic at a winery

  18. Develop my own film

    negatives

  19. Try skiing (never. again.)

  20. Go whale watching

    WW24 T

  21. Sing karaoke

  22. Snorkel in Cancun (including a close encounter with a barracuda)

  23. Meet a celebrity (twice – only one time did I make an ass of myself)

    Meeting Rob Riggle

  24. Learn to drive a stick

  25. Photograph a family

  26. Swim with dolphins

  27. Run a 5k5k2
  28. Lie in a hammock on a Caribbean island with a rum drink

  29. Donate my hair

  30. Make a new person who is pretty much the best ever
    tickle
    Check.

30.

jenn12I clearly remember eating lunch on my 15th birthday at my favorite restaurant (a baked potato bar – I was an odd kid), sitting with my mom, brother, Nanny, and Grandad, and realizing that I was halfway to 30.

I remember turning 21 (maybe not quite as clearly) and thinking that the next “big” birthday would be 30, but that I didn’t have to think about it for aaaages.

And here we are. On the last day of my 20s.

I’ve been playing it cool – 30 is the new 20, etc. And honestly I do feel good about it, and excited for the new decade. 30 doesn’t seem like a scary milestone like it used to; more like a wake up call to make my life the way I want it. So this next year, or ten, I’ll be working on small changes. Balance. Enjoying the little things while still taking small steps toward the big, scary, exciting things.

Let’s do this, 30.

On Girl Monkeys and Boy Monkeys and Calling Every Animal ‘She’

“There’s a doggy! What does a doggy say? She says woof woof!”

Why does it still seem, in 2013, that male is the default and female is the other? It’s so insidious we don’t even notice most of the time. But usually, when we see an animal at the zoo, it’s a “he.” When we talk about a driver, or a pilot, or any other unseen person, it’s automatically a “he.” Last year at the UO rec center I remember seeing see a gigantic poster showing the muscles of the ‘human’ body. Right next to it, almost as an afterthought, was a much smaller poster showing the same of the female body. Come ON.

Just wander down a baby aisle at Target and look at all the animals. The gender neutral stuff is eerily similar to the boy stuff. For a monkey or a bear or a frog to be intended for girls, however, it must be sporting a pink bow and giant eyelashes or a purse. It’s either a girl monkey, or just a monkey.

Image

NOTHING wrong with pink bows in moderation, because she looks awesome in them

I know I’ve stumbled into a huge issue here, one I have thought and read a lot about, and one which others have written extensively about much more eloquently than I will.  Some will say I’m being too sensitive. But after much thought, I have to say I’m not. I’m really, really not. Because a monkey wearing a pink bow vs. not is sadly just the beginning of the crazy gendered messages that Evie will have to deal with pretty soon.

She’s going to have quite enough Patriarchal Bullshit thrown her way in her lifetime, and I’m damn well going to do my small part to counteract it.

When someone mistook her for a boy in her brown monkey outfit with no bows, there was no annoyance or frustration on my part. Instead, I was excited to have an opportunity to make someone think for half a second about why they assumed she was a boy – clearly it was the lack of pink. It’s not like she was even wearing a little blue construction worker onesie or anything. She was just dressed as a monkey.

I sincerely hope my daughter will grow up in a country where women are paid the same amount as men and are trusted to make their own healthcare decisions – frankly it’s embarrassing that we’re not there yet. But for now, sometimes I dress her like a monkey in an outfit that I got from the boys’ section. When we see or read about a new animal, it’s a ‘she’ (ok, if a lion has a mane, it’s a ‘he’). For every time I tell her how beautiful she is (because omg, she really is) I also tell her how smart and strong and funny and brave she is. And if she grows up to love sparkly pink princess dresses, fine – as long as it’s because they truly make her happy, and not because that’s what’s been foisted upon her.

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girlfriend rocks both looks

I’m not expecting to change the world here, but maybe to expand my little part of it and the minds of the people who love Evie.

And YES, she’s only 4 months old. But raising a little feminist to buck society’s gender norm expectations and think for herself? That shit has to start early.

*drops mic*

Image

A Return

2012 was mostly terrible, with a sweet, joyful ending. We tragically lost Tim’s mother and welcomed a beautiful daughter within the space of seven months.

I won’t be writing about the former, but I did want to explain why I disappeared. I didn’t feel comfortable discussing Tim’s mom here, but nor did I feel I could continue writing about silly things while ignoring it. So I just stopped. It was one less thing to worry about. Instead, I just kept plucking away at life – working, spending time at home with Tim, going on mini trips around Oregon, cooking a tiny human. And slowly, we are still healing. So that’s all I will say about that.

Now for the happy part. I’m resurrecting the blog (which needs a new name, I think…) so I can tell stories about my daughter, who amazes me every day. Just don’t call me a mommyblogger, ok?

So without further ado, meet my new favorite photo subject, Evie (pronounced “Eee-vee” – think of Wall-E saying “Eeeva!”):

EShe’s pretty much the greatest ever.