Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I've been busy...

As you probably guessed, I'm not pregnant anymore! Welcome Jasper Nye Brown! Born September 21, 2010 at 10:41 am, weighing 8 lbs 14 oz and measuring 21" long. AND I had a most successful VBAC!! Oh the stories I could tell about the past 4 weeks... but. my small friend is stirring now and I am T.I.R.E.D. I'm afraid I'll be taking a small break from blogging until I can get my life a little more sorted - that is, until I can do something other than nap during my quiet moments. Till then, tootles!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Might as well get used to it.

Because I think I might be pregnant forever.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Due date.

and it just so happens that I'm still pregnant. The past few days I have felt very energetic though, and the other night I dreamt that I was dancing. And I mean barrel turns and leaps. The whole nine yards. Then I woke up for the second time that night and hobbled to the bathroom, and that was that.

Here are some things I should do while Anabelle is napping now:
*pack my hospital bag.
*fold laundry.
*sip on some castor oil.


Anabelle's second birthday was September 10. Our baby girl is 2!!! I woke up excited for the day, and we spent all day preparing. It certainly wasn't anything elaborate - just homemade "mac a cheese" and burgers with a green bean salad, but (as the saying goes) I am off like a herd of turtles these days... Pat's parents, my mom and Don, Great Grandma Therese and Aunt Kiki came over to celebrate.

We got her this table along with Crayola's box of 96 (!) crayons, and I have since dubbed her the "Color Keeper." If she isn't telling you to sit down and color then she herself is choosing the crayons she wants you to use. And they usually happen to be in the pink and purple families.


Her actual birthday was most glorious - sunshine-y with the slight crispness of fall. But the next day was rainy - just perfect for a jaunt outside in her new rain gear from Nami.

So just think. Hopefully next time I write, I will be able to share good news! I'll be able to tell you "it's a ....!" and his/her "name is...!" One last item to add to my to-do list:

*convince Pat of the girl name I love...

Must get to work.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A few things that make me feel really awesome.

Being organized and filed - and this desk.

Apricot and orange - color scheme for the baby's nursery.

This face mask.

Clean sheets.

Laundry - in these awesome machines. Upstairs.

Friday, September 3, 2010

by... unknown potter

i am simply looking for beauty, whatever that is - it's nothing that can be explained, only felt. If i find it in a single bowl, or a wandering line of pots, good. i am grateful.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We have been very busy 'round here.

One has to start somewhere to get back in the swing of things...
This here is a family collaboration:

And this one is my first attempt with a little bit of gouache and Aquaboard. I can not help it; I am overly drawn to orange and fuchsia. Wednesday morning when I worked on this, I remembered why I like to fill blank space with color and shape; it puts my mind at ease. like meditating, it calms me to look for and find new patterns in life and replicate them in my art. I sort my thoughts this way; I follow them to see where they go. Sometimes I remember bits and pieces of dreams while I paint - old dreams, ones that I must've stored somewhere and haven't remembered for years. I love the challenge of capturing a person or an animal in my paintings also, but there's a different and focused concentration I have when I do that. So... to find a balance between my meandering mind and my focused mind when I work on a painting brings me a lot of satisfaction.

Pat starts his new job on Monday, September 13, so we are really really hitting the town hard and spending as much quality time together as we can before he disappears into the land of proving-himself-and-terrible-commutes-and-company-cars-omg!!!-and-early-mornings-late-nights. (ew.)

So Tuesday we took Anabelle to Lincoln Park Zoo where she ate a popsicle and got mad at Papa for trying to sneak a bite. I also admitted to Pat that the patterns on animals, birds and fish especially truly make me believe in God. Who else could come up with the colors and detail?

Yesterday we went to the Botanic Garden where I sat down every chance I got. We went to the model train garden which Anabelle LOVED. Here she is gasping and pointing to a picture she thinks is of a "choo-choo hain."

And this morning we went downtown for a morning at the Shedd Aquarium. Anabelle's favorite thing was the faux camp site where she could flip plastic pancakes to her heart's content. Till we had to go and she had a mega breakdown.

She fell asleep in the car and wouldn't transfer to her bed, so she was crabby and my eyes are sort of rolling back in my head. Forget making dinner; it's 8:01 and I am ready for bed. I am carrying somewhere between 35 and 40 extra pounds, and my body is OVER IT. What surprises me is that I'm not working off all that extra weight just breathing... and hoisting around another 35 pounder named Anabelle around. The work it takes to climb stairs, holy moly. Though Anabelle's vocabulary and sentence making ability has come far in the past couple of months, "Mommy Up" is still in really good use.
Let's face it. I am super duper excited to be thin again. Ah, to wear anything but slip on shoes! to bend over! to not grunt when Anabelle pushes on my belly! to not wonder if I'll ever be able to get up from the floor when I sit down! to walk faster than 2 mph - and not feel the urge to pee. again!

That's one side of my brain. The other one wonders if maybe I shouldn't hope to be pregnant forever. That lack of sleep thing really looms over me. It's sort of my boogie man under the bed.

I think I forget though. How much I'm going to love this baby.
zzzzzzzzzzz for now.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

End of August already?

Despite all my huffing and puffing (and I really am) around town, all's well. I am sitting at the desk in our bedroom overlooking our across the street neighbor's house. A short little gray house edged with white impatiens. and awaiting a sitter so that I might meet the girls out for "drinks." I'm tired today but only because I ran around doing errands. Grandpa took Abba to the park this morning, and she stayed over there for the afternoon. It's a shame I can't get it together enough to do some artwork during times like those, but I can't help but feel like there's so much else to do. This house still feels big to me, and I know it'll take time to feel really settled. not just the wow, great house, we have all the boxes unpacked kind of settled. Rather... the kind of settled where there are actually pictures on the wall and you own a real dining room table.

I am about 36 weeks along now, and I'm feeling a mixture of dread and excitement. I can't wait to meet this baby and I CAN NOT wait to find out if it's a boy or a girl. (Anabelle says there's a "baby sister" in there every time we ask.) But then there's the no-sleep issue, and that makes me tired just to think about. It seems like perfect timing though... the summer is slowly coming to a close and just as soon as the beaches close and school is back in full swing, we'll have the baby and settle in for fall.

We did a little family photo shoot at the Bahai Temple's gardens on Monday. What an evening. It was absolutely golden, and I know we'll look at the pictures in a few short months and wonder at how green and blue and soft everything looks right now at the end of August. Here's our "Coming soon" sneak peak. We sort of look like a page out of the Sear's catalogue. But in a lovely way of course. And my, that husband of mine is indeed very handsome.

In other news. Abba pooped in the potty for the first and only time the other day. I tried to find a balance between letting her know how exciting that is by jumping up and down and congratulating her and not getting so carried away that I might embaress the rep who was measuring our windows for blinds.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rocks. and other things

a housewarming gift from my mom and stepdad... two big felted wool river rocks to lounge on. have you ever heard of anything cooler?

the humidity levels are high, and i can see outside that the trees are being blown by hot, hot air. too hot even for the beach today.

anabelle is napping, and patrick is downtown in meetings again. he is right on the heels of a job, and though we are still struggling to find our routines - bumping and bumbling round the house and the town of evanston - i sure will miss him when he lands a job and hurries off to work every morning.

last night we went to another one of chicago's fabulous summer festivals in lincoln square. the humidity lifted, and we ate brats with sauerkraut, hot pretzels and fresh raspberries from the farmers market. anabelle danced to the live music and was sticky with sweat, sunscreen from our morning at the pool and peach juice.

i suppose i'm getting ready for this baby #2 to come... altho, just like when i was pregnant with anabelle, i am enjoying the last few weeks of life How It Is Right Now. anabelle is communicating and understanding so much more; the tantrums seem less and less - the giggles more. yup, parenting is so hard and tiring. but also so.much.fun.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

We might just be blacklisted.

I am never going back to the Nordstrom's kid's shoe department again. At least not for awhile. At least not until they get a new slew of employees who didn't witness the throw-down that occurred today by a little someone named Anabelle. She's small, but boy... is she mighty.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This morning...

...I sat on my bed tightening and loosening my sandals to find a better fit for a good 20 minutes, lollygagged around the house a little bit, bit my nails the whole way here and had one or two minor contractions.
TIME TO MYSELF AGAIN??? Time to write, to draw, to paint? Oh, I tried to get out of it -- tried to run downtown to West Elm or CB2 -- to get some things for the new house. But Pat pushed me to "go find some inner peace." Perhaps he really was listening when I said I wanted some time to stare up at the tree tops to ingest and process all of the changes.
I've begun this post a million times in my head over the past several weeks since I've been offline. I've wanted to tell you about all of the small stores we can walk to from our new house (including Anabelle pushing her mini pink stroller), about the sprawling green lawns and the huge trees. how all of the coffee shops have cork boards exploding with community events, how so many people walk and bike by our house, how so many of them are family just dropping in for a quick visit. how my old friends know about the city's summer festivals, the free outdoor concerts for kids, which beach is best for parking.

and most of all... how much more there is than even that.

I spent the first few weeks here in a sleepy fog of humidity and heat. I thought I was anemic. But apparently I was just feeling the affects of being pregnant in the summer. Luckily, unlike when we were growing up, we have central air, and we have an almost-two year old who has been taking monstrously long 3 and 4 hour naps. Anyway, I think I've moved past the haze, and much of my energy is back. 98% of our boxes are unpacked, the walls are painted (glorious colors if I do say so - including our "twilight magenta" powder room), rugs are down, couches are in place. Anabelle is happy. So happy. And talking up a storm. And refusing to wear almost anything but pink. The pitter patter of her bare feet on the hard wood floors makes me nostalgic even today... when years of that little sound still lay ahead.
What a feeling to live in a place that is just right. To be where you know you really belong. It's a gift to have such roots and be so sure about something, isn't it. All at the same time, I am aware that so much of that feeling is in the leaving and coming back. That could be why not one, but two engagements to the same man could be very important (to a gal named Flowergirl anyway.) wink wink.
So now that I am a bit more settled I feel a leeeettle less frantic about everything being organized, every bit of mail sorted, every toy in its place. And Pat feels a leeeettle less frenetic about marks on our freshly painted walls. We're settling in and settling down. Eventually we'll have our schedules set and our routines down. For now, Grandpa and Grammie took Anabelle down to the Nature Museum in the city, and I have proudly carved out some time to stare up at the trees, so to speak.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The day after

A little note I wrote to my family this morning...

well here we are. yesterday went by in a strange blur, but we got through. anabelle went to her friend cassidy's house and pat and i took buzz to the vet. all was so peaceful, and when we sat in the room after he was gone, the only thing missing were his soft snores. he just went to sleep, and dr strobeck sat on the floor with us for awhile while we all talked. he asked if we wanted buzz's paw print, and i said yes of course, how wonderful to capture that big muffin paw on paper! so when we finally left, pat and i went for a bite to eat. the house is full of his presence, and my mind feels so confused that he's not here. like i have to keep reminding myself... last night felt esp sad - no buzz to let out and summon upstairs to bed. and this morning too. anabelle slept later than usual, so i did too because no buzz whining to go out.
it's quiet here without buzzy, but we know we did the right thing, and dr strobeck did not hold back in agreeing. his sparkle was gone, and that was hard to see. pat and i feel like we are ready to leave now - ready to start again. sort of the right ending to a really great adventure.
love, kate

I have now lost a few friends in my life, and today I silently declared that I hate death and all that it means. It's a shame, I know, because life is full of it. And they say that if you make peace with death, life has more meaning. You can appreciate how sweet - and short - life is.
But today I say phoo-eeee.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Buzz, my friend. We have been through a lot together. We have been to many places - Holland's tulip fields, Chicago's city streets, the red rocks of this wild wild west. You have watched me grow up - all the while being the old man soul that you are. Quiet and stubborn, like a rock. I have loved you in a solid way, my steadfast wingman. I have loved the places you have led me and the people you have led me to. But now, before our big move and before the new baby, you have decided that it's your time to slowly exit.

I will miss your squat body, soft but bristly, but most of all I will miss your funny snorts and your soft and even purring. When I wake at night to roll over, I will miss that snoring. It's the background music that means all is well, that I can turn over and fall back to sleep.

You are and always will be my first baby - the one who taught me how to care for someone besides just my silly, young 23 year old self.
Fare thee well, my old friend.
And thank you for all that you have given me.

* * *

"It's been a wonderful journey. We were magic together, for we saw each other with ancient eyes... we made it sweet fun for each other."
-The Shaman Bulldog, A Love Story
by Renaldo Fischer

Friday, June 4, 2010

Done. and done.

Life is so very busy so for now I'll keep it simple and just show you what I've been up to:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The modern lightning bug

Ever heard of light graffiti? just scroll down a teeny bit and voila.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Indy 500 Commission

Pat commissioned me to do this race car. He even offered to pay me for it, but considering we share a bank account, I figured I'd save him the money and call it a favor. Every year for the past... 16 years is it now?... he and the same group of people have been going to Indy. He wants to give this to the 80+ year old gentleman they stay with. I'll add a bit of track and stylized crowd and call it one.
Speaking of calling it a wrap. I might have to do a little unwrap on my portrait of Greyson. I've been sitting on it for awhile because, while I think it looks and feels finished, I've gotten a few critiques that disagree. I'm not sure if that's because people have gotten used to my jam-packed, horror vacui style or if it's because my critics just want more more more (bless their hearts.)
A sick Anabelle is snuggled up beside me on the couch, eyes at half-mast. Poor dear, she is just under the weather - not eating much (but curiously always asking for "eesin" aka raisins), flushed with just a bit of fever and very sleepy. I took her to the doctor yesterday, but it's just one of those we'll have to wait out. Lucky for me, this evening I tucked her into the stroller and took her on a nice walk around the neighborhood while she slept. The stroller phenomenon is a rarity.
Tonight we are ordering a Rosati's pizza for takeout. How luxurious. And Saturday we are off to Chicago for a full week! I'm craving the green and trees of a summer in Evanston, so I'm hoping for good weather there. While I'm completely dreading the plane ride with our wiggley 20 month old, I am sure looking forward to all the help once we get there.
I have been feeling happily and merrily on my way down the road of life lately. We had a lovely weekend - full of open windows, sunshine and even a late morning nap on Saturday! Went to a motocross event on Saturday evening with friends who were in town to live it up for the weekend (which reminded me of everything disgusting that Vegas offers). Enjoyed homemade pancakes with fresh berries a la Patrick on Sunday morning, and turkey tacos later in the day with Anabelle's best friend Cassidy and family. Now those two are about the cutest pair I've ever ever seen.
And as for now... I'm signing off to drool in front of the TV for awhile and rest my achin' back. Or maybe I'll get sucked back into my beach read, Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons.

In any case, fare thee well for now my friends.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's a wrap

Here's a little thumbnail sketch that I did for our babysitter, Anahi. She asked me to draw her for the card she is sending to her mama for Mother's Day. It was a quickie, and those have a real way of bugging me. Ahhhh, it could be so much better...

And here are two little sneak peaks of Alyse's piece:

And here is the final thing - negative space and all! Thank you kindly for your comments, you know who you are :) I can't tell you how much I appreciate the feedback.

Photographing watercolor and colored pencil just doesn't seem to do the real thing justice. All of the depth and detail gets lost. humph. This piece is about 15" x 18". Or so.

As for the rest of life, I seem to be getting rounder every day that passes. I have felt the baby move now - those little flutters that at first you wonder if you dreamt up. Zofran is still my best morning friend, but my energy and spirits are high. None of that first trimester rollercoaster bullcrud.
Anabelle is so much fun these days. She wonders at any jewelery I wear, and she is a huge fan of all shoes left unattended around the house. She says "mama hay, anabelle hay, papa hay" a lot. That translated is "mama's hair, etc", and she does a similar pairing of words with "wa" which is her word for water. She'll continue to say it until someone repeats it in confirmation. She makes me just want to do my best to hug and love her because all the time on earth wouldn't be enough to spend with her.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Advice please!

Getting closer to the finished product... but still not quite there. I struggle with all the empty space: I like the idea of some room to breathe, but I don't want it to be empty and dead. What do you think? (Click to enlarge.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

That's not a little girl...

His name is Greyson!

Here's Alyse's commission in progress. Had a great day at the library and the time flew by. I am trying to soften my work a little, and I like the breathing room it gives the piece.

Anabelle is napping, so I'm going to work a little more on Nemo (wink) while I have some quiet time.