May 30, 2013

My dearest Stella Rose,

If you should ever find yourself reading this letter, I wanted to say that it is best read when accompanied by the classical musical piece titled Clair De Lune. If you can find the version by Michael Dulin, then you will be listening to the exact same version I was while writing this letter.

I am not sure the extent or depth of these letters, or the content, but I feel certain the desire to write them. There is so much more I want to tell you. Our daily conversations about food and creatures and stuff we're going to build can only take us so far. I can feel the days shortening as you grow older, as your primal need for me diminishes, and these sobering truths makes writing to you seem even more important. There are experiences and ideas and adventures and stories and beliefs I'd like you to know about when you're older, and the truth is, I don't trust my memory or my longevity. In case I die young, kiddo, at least we'll have these letters.

I am thirty-three years old at the moment of this writing. You are four.

It's Sunday.

For breakfast you had a donut with sprinkles on top. You and your brother and I went to the bakery as soon as you both woke up, because it's Mother's Day, and I knew the only gift your Mother needed was uninterrupted sleep. We also went to the bakery because your Mother loves donuts filled with fluffy white cream, which is hard to find these days. Everything is bavarian cream filled, which is just a fancy word for pudding. 

For dinner, you ate a whole avocado.  

In slices, you told me.  

Not all mushed up together. So I can eat it with a fork.

You've always been good with words, always able to articulate exactly what you want. This is a gift directly from your Mom. Make no mistake about it.  

We are living in Downtown Indianapolis. On Fletcher Avenue in Fountain Square, between Shelby and State. Some days I know exactly why we are here and other days I'm not so sure. It's complicated my dear.

The short answer is that we wanted to fix up an old house and we wanted to live by my family while you and Leo were still young. This is the surface truth of the matter. I think our move really has to do with your sister. After nearly two years of grief and sadness and two pregnancies, we needed a break from our lives in California. We needed to move out of the home where she died. I can see this now, more clearly, after living here for five months.

I think that is all for now.



May 11, 2013

We spent the day walking the streets of Indianapolis along the newly minted Cultural Trail, which runs from our hood in the Southeast straight down Virginia Avenue and into the city center. We arrived at the Central Library just in time to see the brilliant folks of Mucca Pazza, a sort of anti marching band type band. They had Stella at first sound.

May 10, 2013

Luckily for him, Stella passed down her prized possession, a small, brown, gangly monkey named George. A sleeping companion for her over the course of three years, the mate she teethed on and held during long stretches of crying it out. When we entered her room every morning, it was George she held onto. He was there before bedtime, coming to life behind my pathetic George accent, waving to her and kissing her cheeks and playing hide and go seek. He once got lost in a thrift store. Another time he was left at a restaurant up the street, only to be picked up a few minutes before bedtime.

One day last year, she went to bed without him. And that was that.

Now George is safely in the tight grasp of her brother, thanks to her generous offer several months ago. Leo and George were pals from the moment they entered into a sleeping partnership. We play the same bed time games as before, only Leo likes to shove him in my face before pulling him away in laughter. His third word in life, trailing bye-bye and light by only a few weeks, was a baby slanted Geerg. Early this morning, nearing 2am, I went into Leo's room to find George soaking wet from poor Leo's teething mouth. Nothing much has changed for poor George.

I mention all of this because my cuddly and cranky little man turned ONE a few days back and I want to remember everything I can from this glorious season of life.

He loves to be around people. Anyone really, but especially his family. He sits on Papa's lap with this beautiful unencumbered contentment written all over his face. His go to cuddle move is burying his forehead into your forehead, like some ancient symbol of love. During his long ten months of periodic colic, we could always calm him down by walking into a restaurant or into the city or over to his grandparents, where he would inevitably forget his troubles.

I sing him silent night before bed every evening and for whatever reason, he giggles almost every single time I start in, almost as if he can hear just how off key I am.

There is that perfect moment that comes every day, when my boy and my girl are playing together in a room, him hopelessly chewing on a particular object, her lost in a world of drawing and imagination. This is the moment where my deepest joy and my deepest pain intersect. The sweetness of my children playing together, content in the company of one another, is a sight so beautiful I can't help but stop whatever it is I'm doing to simply stare at my good fortune. The richness of such moments is always met by the sorrow over the one who will always be missing from the picture.

For his first birthday, we spent an afternoon running around our Downtown oasis, the White River State Park.

May 9, 2013

A thousand wishes from her big sister and she still hasn't come back to us.

May 7, 2013

In honor of Leo's first birthday, and my lack of a finished birthday post, I thought I would post some before and after shots of his room. :)

The room started out as a mess, just like every other room in the house. There were holes in the walls, an old outside entrance with a rotted door and rotted frame, blue 9X9 tiles on the floor and a closet full of mold and rotted wallpaper. And this was just the beginning.


This is the very beginning. A room full of trash, covering all of the imperfections. You can see the corner window on the right, covered by some curtains. 

After we cleaned it up, original door on the right. 

Another angle, from the staircase.

Gutting the closet, etc.

After taking out the door, framing the wall back in, adding insulation and then drywalling. 

We ripped up all the tiles and then found the same layer of glue and black tar paper I've mentioned previously on the blog. It was a huge, tedious job to say the least.


This is taken from the top of the stairs and shows as much of the room in one shot as I could get. :) The work on Leo's room was extensive. Besides removing the door and restoring the floors, we rebuilt the entire closet, drywalled many of the walls, fixed existing baseboard and installed new baseboard, put in all new quarter round, painted the walls, closet, door, baseboard and quarter round, replaced the window, fixed the window above his door, updated the electrical and restored the staircase. Believe it or not, I still have a little work left to do in this room (hang fixtures, replace some floorboards and hang lights).

From the yellow chair, we have this beautiful view of an old grand staircase that we fully restored back to it's original state. We sanded and chiseled every inch of it and then painted the spindles white and stained the original oak trim to match the rest of the downstairs. Closet door on right.

Couldn't resist another staircase shot of the spindles, plus you can see the closet in the bottom right. You can see I still have some staining to do!

We found this solid cherry dresser at Salvation Army, the perfect match to a cherry colored staircase. Handmade wooden city blocks and whale courtesy of my awesomely talented sister, who runs Little Adventure Toys.

Lots more before and after shots to come! And a birthday post for my sweet boy turning 1.