Friday, September 28, 2012

it's the little things

I haven't been great about blogging since Nell was born.  I'm glad I've kept up with her monthly posts, of course, and other basic blogging necessities, but I want to do more than that.  Whenever I happen across an old post from my archives, I'm struck by how often it's the little moments, the ones I might have forgotten otherwise, that I'm so glad I happened to record.

So here goes: I'm going to do weekly post on 'the little things,' so I keep up with recording memories small as well as large.


At church on Sunday, someone said to me, "You look like a fall fashion plate!"

{I consider this a high compliment, although admittedly sometimes 'fashion' verges on the bizarre, and I try to have fun with my outfits without going too far down that particular path.}


My friend Melissa and I went and got pedicures together recently.

If you think you are not a pedicure person, it is because you have never gotten one.  And that's all I'll say about that.


My daughter's wrists and ankles look like they have rubberbands around them, due to her adorable rolls of chubby deliciousness.


{Also, her chubby cheeks are the most kissable in the world.}


Cheese and crackers and wine with the husband and the brother-in-law.

In the dimness of the evening, on the living room floor.

We're classy like that.


Oh, Nell.  We love that girl so much.

You should hear her laugh.

A couple of evenings ago, Andrew and I were singing 'I'm just a little black rain cloud" to her, from Winnie the Pooh.  She just started belly-laughing, she was so delighted with it.

And she laughs when I blow raspberries on her belly,

And she laughs when I help her 'jump' up and down on my lap,

And she laughs when I tickle her now!

{Maybe this blog is in need of a Nell video appearance?}

Thursday, September 27, 2012


A friend posted a link to this on facebook, and I laughed so hard I was snorting aloud.

I admit it.

Not very ladylike.

My mother would be ashamed.

But I figured I should share the laughs.  So here you go: Frequently Asked Questions About Tights.

Anyone that knows me probably knows that I love tights.  I love tights with skirts, tights with dresses, tights with shorts (see this post).  Fall and winter make me happy because, TIGHTS!  Solid tights, colored tights, subtly-patterned tights, polka dot tights!

{note to self: taking pictures of one's own legs from above, no matter how cute the tights, is unflattering.}

Do you like tights?  What's your favorite way to wear them?

"put on your sunday clothes," or the one thing a day

When I was a kid, one of the family-friendly musicals that was in our semi-regular movie rotation was "Hello, Dolly!"  There's a song in that musical that begins with the line,

"Put on your Sunday clothes when you feel down and out..."

Isn't it true that wearing something you like can make the difference between a good day and a bad day?  Between a productive day and a day that feels wasted?

{Or maybe you reach the end of a day and haven't accomplished everything on your to-do list... but at least you felt good about the way you looked while being un-productive, right?}

Last week was really crazy for me... I had the usual teaching of lessons, plus gigs Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings that meant I didn't get home until 10:30 or later.  

This week, I'm loving having more restful days at home with Nell.  Knowing that the evenings will be restful makes the mornings more restful, too, because I'm not flying around making sure I have bottles pumped, diapers laid out in the right places, notes and lists for babysitters, and of course, the house tidied so it's not an embarrassment.  

I'm so lucky that I don't work full time, and I can enjoy laid-back mornings with Nell most of the time.  But sometimes I feel like all I really accomplish is keeping her alive, and while that is a noble thing in itself, I also want to get other things done.  So I started this week off with a new resolution to put on something I like every morning, first thing.  Not at 10:00 am before my 10:30 violin student comes, not at 1:00 pm before my 1:30 violin student comes, but first thing.  And not just presentable clothes, but an outfit that I really like wearing.

{I'm also trying to break myself of a silly habit I have of getting dressed a little bit at a time, meaning occasionally I spend half my morning in jeans and a bathrobe.  So ridiculous.}  

Once I'm dressed, with my hair done and makeup on, I'm ready to take on the day. 

And that's where my other new resolution comes in: to try to get one thing done a day.

Just one thing.  Maybe it's a sewing project or a craft project, maybe a homemaking project or a furniture-paining project, maybe it's organizing Nell's clothes or my closet, catching up on paperwork, working in the yard, doing an errand, or even blogging.  Of course I might do more than one thing, but telling myself it just needs to be one out-of-the-ordinary thing each day (i.e. doing dishes or laundry doesn't count!) makes it seem so manageable.  Anyone can do one thing!

I'm even thinking about starting a one thing blog series.  (Although, since I just said blogging counts as my one thing, that could get a little cyclical, hah.)

On Monday, I hung two framed prints in Nell's room.  

{I've had these prints for months now, finally bought frames for them a month or so ago, but still hadn't hung them up...!}

We also went for a 'leaf walk' to enjoy the beginning of Autumn and look at the changing leaves.

{leaving on our walk}

On Tuesday I finally sewed the third of four curtain panels for Nell's room.  I also spent some time trying to decide what storage bins would best fit in the Expedit shelving unit from IKEA that's in her room, but haven't reached a conclusion yet.  I might even try my hand at making these fabric storage bins from Make It and Love It.  (If I'm feeling particularly ambitious.)

And on Wednesday morning, I finished the last of the curtain panels!

I say "finished" loosely, because I still need to hang two of them (once Nathan installs the curtain rod) and then do the final hems on all four of them.

Here's what the two that have already been (temporarily) hung look like:

Once I get a little more progress made in Nell's room, I'll do a post with pictures of the whole space.  It's a very imperfect tiny room in a very imperfect old house, but I love the grey stripes I painted, and the yellow damask fabric I chose for her curtains, and the sailboat mobile her grandparents made her.

So, next time you're having an unproductive day, try it: put on your proverbial 'Sunday clothes' and see what happens.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

four months

Last Saturday (yes, a week ago... belated post here!) Nell turned four months old.

I may not have written this on the day, but I did take the pictures on the 15th!

At her four-month check-up on Tuesday, she weighed in at 17 lbs, 6 oz.  She's in the mid-nineties for all her percentiles, which means she's tall, too, and her doctor says she's perfectly proportional.

Nell at four months is so much fun.  She is exploring her vocal capabilities, with an ever-expanding repertoire of sounds.  Her laugh is infectious, and she's developed a real skill with blowing raspberries, bubbles foaming everywhere and drool soaking her onesies.  She can find her own hands whenever she wants to now, and regularly sucks her thumb -- a skill she had moments after her birth but then managed to lose for a few months.

Nell loves to gaze at her own hands lately, and seems fascinated by them.  When she holds her arms outstretched, looks to her open hand, and babbles, I imagine that she is delivering a great oration.

A couple of weeks ago she finally rubbed herself a little bald spot in the back, just when I thought we had managed to avoid that awkward phase.  Her hair on top is long enough to cover it, though.  And speaking of hair, in some lights, it looks reddish these days.  It's lightened a lot since she was born.

Nell is still a great night sleeper, just waking twice in the night to nurse and then going right back to sleep.  Occasionally she even spoils me by taking a long morning nap beside me after she's only been awake for an hour or so -- and letting me take that nap, too.  Most of her naps during the day are short - this girl is queen of the cat nap - but I can't complain, because she will usually go right to sleep when I see that she's tired and swaddle her and give her a pacifier. 

Within the past couple of weeks, our baby girl seems to have developed the so-called "stranger danger" sense.  I know... it's not supposed to come along for several more months, according to the books and the websites.  I guess Nell didn't read those books or websites.  We've left her with babysitters a couple of times recently (evenings when both Nathan and I had gigs), and she has not always been a happy camper.  Sometimes as soon as I hand her to someone else, her little face crumples and she begins to cry until I hold her again.  

We asked her doctor about it, and he said, "Well - and I'm being serious, actually - maybe she's just advanced, and has an advanced sense of herself and her surroundings for her age.  But we'll see; don't call Harvard yet."

He's a funny one, Dr. L.  We like him.

Anyway, Nell is the best.

She is, I think, the apple of her Dad's eye.

Her uncle Andrew calls her 'Nelbert,' and usually wants to hold her as soon as he gets home from his new job as a middle school music teacher.

And her mama?  Well, I love spending my days with this girl.

Dear Ellen,

When you were just a few days old, I began to have a better understanding of God, I think.  I've grown up hearing that God 'delights' in us, his creation, his children.  You'll grow up hearing this, too.  But I didn't understand it until I held you in my arms.  The way you puckered your tiny lips, the way you stared back at me with your steady, unblinking gaze, the way you curled your fingers around my pinky... I stared at you for hours at a time in wonder.  

These days you are more active than ever.  You sit and stand with just a little help for balance.  You grasp my shirt, my hair, my glasses, and your favorite - the soft diapers we use as burp cloths.  You can't quite yet grab for exactly what you want when you want it, but I think you're getting close.  When you're on your tummy, you can push yourself up so high!  And I think some day soon now, you'll figure out how to roll over.  And oh my, how you talk!  I love it so much.

Anyway... I think now I really understand a little bit of what it means that God delights in us.  I used to feel skeptical about it; I mean, what's so great about humanity?  But I look at you, and I know that objectively you're poopy and drooly and well, not very useful.  Yet you are so very cute and happy and lovable, and to your dad and me, you are altogether wonderful.  We take delight in you, we really do.


{ PS: }

Friday, September 14, 2012


It almost happened overnight.  Suddenly this week the mornings are chillier, the leaves are turning, and the air smells different.  We've had a few days now where the temperature didn't go over 70.  It's autumn, fast approaching.

I wrote this post two years ago, but it puts into words exactly the way I feel about the seasons, and it's as true this September as it was in September of 2010.

* * *
Why does it continue to surprise me, year after year, that I love all the seasons in New England? Each March it seems that I can't bear to see one more muddy, dreary snowdrift pushed up against a curb, or to button my coat against the bone-chilling cold one more time. Just when I think I'll go crazy from the endless grey skies and cold winds, the daffodils outside my front door peek through the ground. I welcome spring and all its signs of new life. Spring leads to summer, and in June and July, I am certain that summer is my favorite season. I want summer to last forever. I love the feel of the sun on my skin while I run in the mornings, or work in my garden, or go to the beach with friends. 
Suddenly, September sneaks up on me, and I notice that the first of the leaves have already turned. I reach for tights to put on with my skirts, for flats instead of flip-flops, and for favorite scarves that have been put away for the past four months. I remember that I love fall - that maybe, in fact, fall is my favorite season. It rains while I'm driving home from Boston, and I turn off the radio to fully immerse myself in the sound of the rain on my car roof, the rhythm of my windshield wipers, and the nostalgic reminder this is of autumns and winters past. I want to have a mug of hot tea the minute I get home, to curl up under a blanket with a good book. 
And as I think of that, I think of winter, and how nice it'll be to have snowfall in a few months, to make hot chocolate for the two of us to enjoy on the occasional lazy morning, to read on the couch with my favorite grey fleece pants to keep me warm. And there will be Christmas, as wonderful as it always is, with Christmas concerts to play and Christmas music to sing and joyful times with family and friends. Come February or March, the snow will become mixed with mud and we'll all long for the sun to come out. Spring bulbs will finally poke their pale green heads above the frosty ground, and the cycle will go on as it always has.
The arrival of each season surprises me, year after year, with its beauty and charm. Just as I'm growing a bit tired of one, the next one sweeps me off my feet.
Summer of 2010, I loved you.
But oh...
I love autumn in New England.
* * *

I love each season's arrival, but if I had to pick a favorite, it might be Autumn.

I love the flowers and sunshine and carefree days of summer, but in the end, I love crisp fall weather and hearty fall soups and cozy fall clothes too much for summer to be my favorite.  Give me tights, boots, and a cardigan with a mug of tea in my hand any day over shorts and tank tops and lemonade.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ellen Cecilia's Baptism

I've been so behind on blogging things this summer.  It might have something to do with how frequently my lap is occupied by my daughter instead of my laptop.  Hmm... not a bad thing at all.

~ ~ ~

Nell was baptized this summer.

I grew up in a church tradition where infant baptism was not practiced.  In fact, I probably viewed it - like the idea of the Eucharist as anything more than purely symbolic - as a specifically Catholic practice, some "silly" notion that baptism imparted salvation to babies.  (Of course, Catholic practices are frowned upon by most evangelicals as meaningless and misinformed rituals, right?  Thank you, protestant Christian curricula, for imparting the belief that the Church was utterly lost until the Reformation saved the day.)

In my adult life, I've come to view the practice entirely differently, and Nathan and I knew we wanted our baby baptized into the church.  After Nell was born, taking the baptism class at our church only made us more convinced and even excited about it.  I left that class so inspired and assured about the whole thing, while also having the weight of the responsibility of parenthood duly impressed upon me.

Fr. Brian, the priest who baptized Nell, had sort of gotten a gleam in his eye at baptism class and said, "I'd love to dunk her!"  We were quite agreeable to the idea, so Nell - along with Alexandra, the baby of another choir member - was dunked, while the third baby being baptized that morning was sprinkled.

We were so glad to have not only our church family there, but also Nathan's family, and many of our friends from other churches, who came that day to support us as we renounced Satan, the world, and sin, and affirmed our trust in Jesus.

Technically you're not supposed to take pictures.  But a dear friend of mine took a few 'illegal' photos, nonetheless.  

Action shot!

{Nice and blurry for modesty's sake, conveniently enough.}

Nell had been really soundly asleep until right before the baptism, despite my best efforts to wake her so the water wouldn't come as a literal rude awakening.  We did manage to get her half awake just in time, but still, she was none too pleased with the baptism itself, and squawked a little.

She calmed right down afterwards, though.

{Nathan is wearing a cassock and cotta because he was the substitute organist that day.}

Nell was perfectly quiet for her chrismation:

We hastily put a diaper on her, and then clothed her in the baptism gown I had bought for her from Little LuLu's Sewing on Etsy.  I liked this dress because it was simple, and child-like, and not super frilly... just a pretty cotton eyelet white dress.

I combed her long hair so it would dry looking respectable, while Nathan held the candle they give each newly baptized, from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Look at that smile!

After the church service concluded, we took some photos.  Our church doesn't have the best lighting for pictures, but we did the best we could.

The newly baptized, received into the household of God:

With Fr. Brian:

Obviously, she didn't hold the aquatic submersion experience against him:

We were so pleased that our friends Cara and Gregg agreed to be Nell's godparents and were there to celebrate the occasion with us:

They were glad to get a 'front row seat' for all the baptism proceedings, since they are expecting their own first baby in October!

Nell's grandma and grandpa S. (Nathan's parents) were able to drive out from Pennsylvania for the occasion.  We got a family picture (Andrew and his girlfriend Hannah on the right):

~ ~ ~

Back at our house, we had invited friends and family over for a post-baptism brunch reception.

I had forgotten to ask people to RSVP, so I just made lots of food and hoped there would be enough to go around.  I stayed up late the night before getting things ready and making as much ahead of time as I could.

The menu:

{I had a few people ask me about my recipes, so I'm including links below for anyone interested in some nice, healthy brunch fare.}

2 Quiche Lorraine (Julia Child's recipe, naturally)

1 Spinach Quiche (modified slightly from Smitten Kitchen)

(I used Martha Stewart's pate brisee, minus the sugar, for both crusts)

Pecan Sticky Buns

Cinnamon Rolls

Apricot Chocolate Chip Scones (recipe adapted from Eat Live Run)

Blueberry Muffins (from Deb at Smitten Kitchen again)

And a 'serve your own yogurt parfait bar' consisting of regular organic yogurt, Greek yogurt, honey, peaches, strawberries, and Maple Cinnamon Quinoa Granola (modified from Elise's Quinoa Granola; this is truly the best granola in the world).

Many thanks to Cara for taking these photos for me!  I was a bit busy setting things out on the table and doing last-minute food preparations.

Oh, and speaking of Cara, did I mention that this was the day after her baby shower?  You may have noticed I re-used those citrus-lined vases as table decor for the brunch.  Although, it might be more accurate to say that I just didn't have time to take all the decorations down!

We ended up with about 30 people coming over, so I was glad I had made lots of food.  All three quiches were demolished, and only a cinnamon bun or two and a half dozen muffins and scones were left over.  Hopefully a good time was had by all.  I just wanted it to be something special to welcome my daughter into the family of God.

Between the baby shower, the baptism, and the brunch, it was definitely a busy weekend for us.

But such a celebratory and wonderful one.

Just this past Sunday, a woman from church came up to me and said, "You were just glowing for the baptism, it was so neat to see."

Yes... it was a really special and meaningful day for us, glorious and yet weighty at the same time.

~ ~ ~

Not enough pictures in this post for ya? (haha.)

How about some 'outtakes'?

The mother with the flaming eye:

The lighting on this one turned out badly, but I love the big, toothless grin on Nell's face:

Look, all three of us can manage to be un-photo-genic at the same time:

What a family.

Monday, September 10, 2012

one week down, eighteen years to go

Remember that post on mothering full-time and working part-time?  Thanks for your good blog comments, facebook comments, and emails, dear readers.  I love the dialogue, hearing your experiences, and just knowing I'm not alone in this balancing act.

I'm one week into the crazy fall schedule, and I guess you could say it's had its ups and downs.  Last Tuesday was stressful.  Wednesday went surprisingly well.  Thursday was awful.  Friday was okay.  And Saturday was, oddly enough, pretty good, despite it being my fullest day of teaching, Nathan not being available to watch Nell as he usually will be on Saturdays, and then having 40+ people fill my backyard just 15 minutes after my last private student left, for a kick-off picnic for the youth orchestras Abby and I conduct.  Phew.

Then, today was the first rehearsal of the year for the youth orchestra, and also Nell's first time being left at the house with anyone other than Nathan.  Even though I was only gone for just over two hours, it felt like much longer.  It made me realize that the way we experience time can be so strange; two hours at home with Nell goes by so quickly ("oh, it's already time for another diaper change/feeding/nap"), and I often feel like I haven't gotten much done.  But in two hours this afternoon I met twelve new little ensemble players, did introductions all around, went over two new pieces of music, clapped and counted and marched rhythms, dealt with paperwork and such things, and came home feeling like I'd been gone practically all day.  I couldn't wait to hold Nell, to sink into my armchair in the living room and nurse her and snuggle her.

There have been some stressful moments in the past week.

But there have also been some lovely moments.

Like a conversation with E. about how her violin practice at home has been going, to which she said, "I don't mind practicing; I just don't want to give in when my dad tells me to do it."  And then hastily waved her hands nervously, and whispered, "Don't tell him I said that, don't tell him!"

{I love insights like that into the minds of children.}

Or the parent who came up to me today and told me that her son C., who moved up to the next level in the youth orchestra program, said in the car on the way to rehearsal, "I hope I like Miss Abby as much as I liked Miss Sarah last year."

{Warms my heart, I tell you.}

Parenting and working.  It's all a learning experience; and how could it be otherwise when Nell is growing and changing so fast that any time I might think we might have a 'schedule', she up and changes it?

There were moments in the past week when she sat happily in her chair and listened to lessons with wide-eyed interest without making a peep.  There were moments when she needed to be held.  And there were moments, particularly late in the afternoon/early evening on Thursday, when she downright fussed, and I ended up feeling unhappy, a bad mother and a bad teacher simultaneously, and in desperate need of a nap.   

But here we both are, still alive.

{I bought her a little 'walker' chair off Craigslist, because I had begun to notice that she preferred sitting more upright to reclining in a swing now.  And sure enough, she loves that thing!  By the way, see those darker blue ruffles on her onesie?  Yeah, those are the same color as the rest of the fabric.  She's just become the world's most drooley baby in the past few weeks, that's all.}

I'm working on arranging someone to watch Nell at least on Thursday afternoons, when I teach lessons at a nearby high school and it's much, much more difficult to keep my girl happy than it is at home where she can nap in a quiet room.  

I think everyone knows this, but I just need to say it:

Nell really isn't a source of "stress" in my life.  I hope it doesn't ever come across on this blog like she is.  She brings us joy and laughter, a new sense of purpose and fulfillment, and can always, always bring smiles to our faces.  Sure, having her in our family means some restructuring of our lives, increased communication between Nathan and me about our schedules, and times of worry.  But it's working part-time that causes me to stress out a little, and only because I love this baby girl so, so much, and want to be a good mother to her, and I worry about how to help her be the happiest, and safest, and most well-cared-for that she can be.  I hate feeling like I have to adapt her to my schedule, because the best days of all are the ones when we don't feel scheduled at all, and I can just respond to her cues and help her be the happy little girl she naturally is.

So that's the balancing act of my new life.  Being a teacher to my students and a mother to my daughter, and figuring out what that looks like, one day at a time.

And I know she looks super dopey in this picture, but I can't help posting it because I love her grin.  Here's Nell again in her new walker.  She can sort of propel herself around in it in an accidental sort of fashion, either by flailing her arms with glee, or by kicking her feet against the floor a bit, which moves her backwards.  So I pull her towards me, she scoots backwards until stopped by a wall or object, and we repeat the process.  With lots of smiles and laughs throughout it.

Look at those chubba-chubba-licious arms.  I made those adorable rolls!  I've nourished this baby from a single cell!  So maybe I've got an added roll or two of my own for the time being {sigh}, but I look at this little human I've grown, and I try to cut myself some slack.

Have I mentioned that I love this girl?

Monday, September 3, 2012

musings on work and motherhood

Labor Day.

I've enjoyed many a nice, relaxing Labor Day in my lifetime.

Barbecues, parties, lemonade, sunshine, badminton games.  Soaking up the last rays of summer even as the first leaves of fall begin to float to the ground, and the breezes take on the chill of September.

But I've never before felt the impending labor of the year to come so acutely as I did today.  You see, I have a baby now.  I am a wife, a mother, a violinist, a teacher.  I am a woman, like thousands of women, who suddenly finds myself pulled in many directions.

What did I used to think, that flippant girl of the past?  Some mothers choose to stay home, and some mothers choose to work, of course.  As though there's ever anything simple or straightforward about it.  Silly, unaware former self.  It would be closer to the truth, I suppose, to say that some mothers choose to stay home, some mothers want to but can't, some mothers choose to work, some mothers don't want to but must... and all mothers, I now imagine, agonize over these decisions.

I have no right to complain.  Most weeks this fall I'll be working less than 20 hours.  Some weeks, depending on orchestra schedules, there will be another 3-12 hours of evening and weekend rehearsals and concerts.  But still, hardly a 40 hour work week.  And most of my teaching I get to do from my home studio.  My students are, for the most part, a rewarding bunch of little people to work with.  My gigs involve Tchaikovsky and Beethoven and Brahms and Mahler, among others -- all quite exciting and certainly worthwhile.  It's not that I don't want to work.  I love my work.

With all these good things in my life, why do I still feel my heart breaking a little bit each time I look at my fall schedule, at the hours blocked off for lessons each weekday afternoon and every Saturday?

My work this summer was very light: maybe 15 students a week, and a few gigs here and there.  

My fall schedule is going to be much more complicated, with the added factor that Nathan's schedule is getting busier, too.

I've stared at this schedule for hours.  I've sent emails and made phone calls, trying to fit 26 current students plus four possible new ones into time slots.  I've scheduled in nursing breaks, and conversed with Nathan time and again to try to work out our respective schedules -- the ever-changing and never normal schedules of two musicians.  

Before Nell was born, we had it all figured out.  Nathan could keep most of his work at the college to the mornings and early afternoons, and then he'd be with the baby while I taught lessons in the after-school hours and played gigs from time to time in the evenings or on weekends.  

Then the ensembles Nathan accompanies changed their rehearsal times to late afternoons and evenings.  And he was asked to be music director for a theater production at the college, involving most of his evenings from September through early November.  And he got a new church job as organist at this church, too.  His change in schedule sort of pulled the proverbial rug out from under me in terms of all our plans for his help with childcare while I work.  

So here I am, with 26 violin students, a children's orchestra to conduct, and five orchestras I play with regularly, plus a wide variety of other gigs that come up from time to time.  And a three-and-a-half month old daughter.

I really, really don't want to have to get sitters for Nell all the time.  It's not just the financial aspect, although obviously losing as much as 20% of my hourly teaching income to pay for childcare (and probably more than 50% when it comes to orchestra per-service pay) wouldn't be my first choice.  It's not just the logistics of arranging childcare, either, although with my unusual work schedule it could certainly be difficult to find good babysitters for her with some degree of regularity.  

It's also that I just want her with me all the time.  She's still so little.  I'm still so new to all this.  I miss her when she's in her car seat and I'm in the front seat driving, for crying out loud.  

I've talked to a number of colleagues who actually kept their babies with them as they gave violin lessons.  So for now, Nathan and I have decided, that's what we're going to try.  This is what I want -- having her with me.   So I should feel happy that I have the kind of job where I can do this.

But I'm also worried, and stressed, and imagining the worst.  What if she's fussing while I'm trying to give a lesson?  What if she won't nap?  What if she won't nurse during the scheduled breaks in my teaching schedule, and then is hungry while I'm teaching?  What if she needs me and, in that moment, I'm torn between the need to be my students' teacher and the need to be my daughter's mother?

My students' parents are great.  They often offer to hold Nell, and never complain about having her in lessons.  In fact, I even had a student ask to switch her summer lesson time to a time when Nathan wouldn't be home to watch Nell, so Nell could be in the lesson.

So I don't know why I'm stressed about the possibilities of things going badly.  Worst case scenario: it isn't working to have her sit in her swing during lessons and she becomes a distraction.  I find some combination of babysitters to be with her during the afternoons, and she's still only a room or two away from me.  And Nathan's committed to taking care of her most Saturdays for the fall, when I teach from 10:00-4:30.

I suppose this uneasiness of mine is fear of the unknown.  No doubt things will settle into a routine, a new kind of normal, and whatever that may end up being, the reality of it will be easier to deal with than the unknown I gaze into right now.

Most boring blog post ever?  Possibly.

Just the musings of a mom whose heart is torn between all the duties and obligations of life, between the wants and the needs and the musts.

There are hundreds of other stories like mine, I think.  I'm looking at the mothers of my students in a new light now.  And I don't know how my friends who work full-time while raising kids manage it all.  And I'm pretty convinced, now that I think about it, that all these moms are the most amazing people in the world.  (I know mine was.)

I have a lot of things to juggle this fall.  

In the end, I can only do my best to be the best teacher I can be... while also being the best mother I can be.  

{Being Nell's mom: that's my most important job, after all.}