Thursday, September 30, 2004

We've come a long way, babies. So it's been one year since I fainted at church while songleading, passing out in front of the whole congregation and taking the podium with me. One year since I was rushed to the hospital where it was revealed to us that for some unknown reason, God had decided to send twins our way. A lot has happened in a year, not the least of which is: - Sophie's eye operation - being pregnant with twins while running after a 1 year old - painting a new Christmas card and selling my cards for the first time - going into labor 10 weeks early - major surgery and a wound that wouldn't heal - new babies that needed constant attention, medication, and monitoring - constant shuttling back and forth between home and the NICU for 72 straight days - lugging around 5lb monitors and wires with each baby - depression, pretty much since this time last year and - babies that now weigh over 16lbs (more than quadrupling their birth weights) - therapists' visits put their (adjusted) development right where it should be... phew! - an 18 month old that has the vocabulary of a 3 year old and astounds me every day - a triple stroller that makes passerby smile and point as we go by - finally getting to wear my own fall and winter clothes again and putting those maternity clothes in storage - fitting into my pre-Sophie jeans and getting back to my normal shape - getting over myself and accepting help with meals and babysitting - exercising again - eating healthy and marathon Sunday-afternoon baking sessions - possibly (gasp!) going on a DATE outside of my house with my husband - the Big 33 List I'm looking forward to maybe having a calmer year this year, one involving much less trips to the hospital. ps ~ So here are the muffins at almost 7 months old, wearing their newly-knitted kitty cat hats. Sophie's is almost done too.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Banned Books Week It's Banned Books Week. Go out and read one today. On my shelf: The Golden Compass (new to me) and one of my all time favorites, Farenheit 451 which is, ironically, about book-burning.

Monday, September 20, 2004

'Fessing up. I have post-partum depression. It started after Sophie was born, and never really had a chance to get better once I got pregnant with the twins. It has been getting a tiny bit better, every day, and it's been very hard for me to say anything to anyone since I have this reputation for being such an optimistic person. I'm still optimistic, it's just very very hard to remember that, some days. Someone recently wrote about how people seem to be trying to drag her down and not share in her successes. I have felt the opposite - everyone seems to want me to be this happy, lovely super-artist-mom that's always inspiring and wonderful. So I have been afraid to share my depression. Every time I wrote about being down, I'd get an email saying how I needed to look at how wonderful my life was and how deleriously happy they would be to be in my shoes. I felt guilty for feeling so amazingly bad when I had three children and some had none. I felt ashamed when I read Dooce's journal, because my depression didn't manifest itself the same way hers did and so somehow I couldn't call this PPD because I wasn't checking myself into a hospital like she did. Trust me, the more I read books and articles on the subject, the more I see myself in the pages. I am not on medication. I am not seeing a doctor. I will if I feel I need to. For now, I need to talk about it, and to let the people close to me know about it. If they really love me, they'll understand. Some have probably already figured it out. I honestly thought at one point in time that I would never smile or laugh or sing again. I'm doing more of both now. And I'm starting to do little things; like painting, like making my 33 list, like admitting I'm not capable of doing and being everything for everyone all the time. It's awfully slow, but I'm getting there.
Walk for Life Anyone who wants to help with #12 on my Big 33 List, "Do a fundraising walk", here's your chance. I'm doing the Walk for Life again - it's a fundraising walk that benefits Life Choices Center in Edison, NJ. They provide support, some medical care, and counseling for pregnant women who have decided not to have an abortion. They need diapers, formula, blankets, clothes - and this year they're trying to get an ultrasound machine. Those of you with babies know how important it is to get good prenatal medical care and how amazing it is to see that little one growing and developing.   If you're interested in sponsoring me (and Sophie - she's walking with me!), it can be in any amount. Just send me an email with the amount you'd like to sponsor with your address and I'll put you on the sheet. I'll be doing the walk this Saturday, Sept. 25th.

Monday, September 13, 2004

dear God, I just wanted to say thank you for surprising me today. You know how hard it has been for me lately, you've seen all the crying I've been doing, and you know how much I just want to throw my hands up in the air and give up. You know that I have been questioning my abilities on just about every level there is, especially motherhood. And you know too that for some thick-headed reason I have been feeling like I can do things alone. You saw the whirling dervish I was this weekend, cooking meals for a week, dressing and packing up everyone, going to a christening and feeling sick the whole time, dreading the week to come because I just knew I would get really sick and have no time to take care of myself because of our crazy schedules. You saw me get up at 3am with Angela, who has slept through the night for the past month and a half but for some reason not last night, and then again with Peter because I was up anyway. You saw my book light on as I read because I was too anxious to go to sleep. And you saw me stagger out of bed at 7 once Sophie started chirping, "Mama, Mama!" through the baby monitor. You've seen me start to become a coffee drinker because for once in my life I need a jumpstart. You alone hear the words I mutter under my breath in frustration, words the normal, regular me would never ever dream of saying. I think I'm turning into someone else and it scares the pants off me. But this morning, on a day I'd been dreading simply because it started another week, you threw me a curve ball. Angela rolled over, all by herself. And all of a sudden, I realized that maybe we are doing something right, that maybe all the bits of time and exercises and reading and walks in the park and singing together that I feel are too few and far between - well, maybe they add up okay anyway. If Angela, the child that I feel gets the least attention because she's so sweet, so uncomplaining, so willing just to sit near you and watch your face - Angela, who was born 2 months early and was in the hospital for pretty much all of those 2 months - if my Angela can roll over at just about the time that Sophie did, then maybe, just maybe, I'm not doing such a horrible job after all. And I want to: Thank you for the two songs you sent me on the ride home, on two different stations, the ones that said were about always being by my side so I would never be alone. I got the message loud and clear. Thank you for the long naps all the babies took this afternoon for me, letting me actually read and nap a little myself. Thank you for sending me a sitter to help me put the babies to bed after the regular sitter couldn't make it. Thank you for giving me a husband who reminds me over and over again that we're partners and that we're a team, and that I'm not going it alone. And thank you especially for listening to me, no matter how whiny, annoying, and ungracious about your blessings I may be. I'm trying, really, I am. And I know you know that too. love, your Elena

Saturday, September 11, 2004

I wanted to do a new one this year, but I ran out of time (imagine that!). So here's my page, in Rememberance.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Big 33 List 1. Write letters to artists I admire: SARK, Tomie dePaola, Paul McCartney (for starters). 2. Do a painting either for our bedroom or to go over the fireplace. 3. Make Nana's homemade pasta and meatballs. 4. See these movies: Brother Sun, Sister Moon; The Agony and the Ecstacy; Amelie. 5. Get down to 125 lbs (4 to go!) 6. Take up yoga again. 7. Make at least one puppet. 8. Sew at least one article of clothing. 9. Set aside prayer time every day - start doing "Vision" and "Action" book. 10. Do a 5K run. 11. Donate artwork for a cause I believe in. 12. Do a fundraising walk. 13. Clean out my closets and donate/get rid of clothes that don't fit. 14. Read these books: Angels and Demons; Girl Wearing a Pearl Earring (more to come) 15. Go chalking more. 16. Journal more, especially in Peter's, Angela's, and Sophie's. 17. Get a really great haircut and finally learn what to do with it. 18. Write letters/call friends I haven't seen in a while. 19. Go on Artist's Dates. 20. Eat more organic, less meat. 21. Record a song - either with Paul, or by myself, a cappella, in parts. 22. Get Christmas stuff done very early so I can enjoy the twins' first Christmas (and Sophie's first one I will actually have any energy for). 23. Finally complete The Artist's Way. 24. Finish both watercolour sketchbooks. 25. Finish current therapy story I'm illustrating for myself. 26. Knit something for all three babies. 27. Join the Westfield Art Association. 28. (Private, will post when it's done.) 29. Sell out the rest of my Christmas cards. 30. Paint Jeremiah quote for Paul. 31. (Private painting note - will post when it's done.) 32. Make a completely thought-through and well-researched decision and vote in November. 33. Enjoy this year pregnancy-free.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I'm super proud of working on this... Happy 10th Anniversary, Mutts!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Click to see artwork from last week's Art Night.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Having a Ball or How I Managed to Fit Into My Pre-Sophie Jeans I just started doing a (new to me) program called The Light Weigh about a month ago and it really, really works - I'm finally fitting into clothes I haven't worn for two years. It's like reclaiming part of myself. Here's the program in a nutshell: you only eat when you're hungry, and when you do, you only eat about a cup at a time of whatever you want until you're hungry again. It's also faith-based, and although I'm a Nice Catholic Girl I find the woman a little intense for me, but the basics make a lot of sense to me. It questions what emptiness inside you're trying to fill - actual hunger, emotional hunger, spiritual hunger - and then once you've identified it, you can satisfy it. I could go on and on about this, but one of the main things that really hits home with me is "God's Portion" - the part you leave on your plate. You offer it up as a sacrifice for whatever you're currently praying for. It gives me several reminders throughout the day to remember others and say a little prayer for them - lately I've been praying for her and for them. A couple of weeks ago I saw a picture of a little girl Sophie's age on a news program and it broke my heart - I had to turn off the TV right away because I knew the news wasn't going to be good - and I offered up every little sacrifice for her. I will never meet these people, but I'm doing whatever I can for them just the same. So what's the deal with the ball? At work currently, I don't use a chair. I have been sitting on a bright blue exercise ball since I read in Shape Magazine 5 years ago that doing so requires such a micro-balancing act that it's like doing stomach crunches all day long. So far the main thing to feel the burn is my back, which my co-worker says is because the muscles are weak. (Hey, now that Angela weighs in at about 16 pounds, I really need strong back and stomach muscles - the stronger the better!) Along with daily stomach crunches and pushing three babies around the park, I may get this body back into shape yet.