Midwinter Thaw

Dear Family,

I wish you were all here--I would give you each a piece of a
chocolate-almond torte that I made today. It's even healthy-ish. :)

Weather is warmer than it has been in weeks, and for the first time
since before New Years, you can see the muddy brownish earth through
the rapidly dwindling white. We all stomped down to Coy Glen this
afternoon (I admit: I bribed my children with snacks), to see what
the creek was doing with the snow melt.

Some of our neighbors organized the first-ever "SparkFest" this
weekend--a combination art gallery and talent show. Ben exhibited
his work, and I enjoyed being his stage mother and curator.

Recent Bennerisms:

--In bed, rolling back and forth like he's being stung: "If I do
this [thrash], I can hear [thrash] my water sloshing!"

--Mid-drawing-session, Ben brought me a picture of a bee. Wow, I
commented honestly--that's an awesome bee! "No," he said, "I'm going
to make a better one. This one is too _stylized_."

--And finally, whatever his challenges, there's something very
lovable about a boy who says, upon returning home from a birthday
party at 7:30 p.m., "Mama, I _really_ want to go to sleep now..."

What La Leche League doesn't tell you about the family bed: it gets
old REALLY quick when even one member of the bed doesn't sleep
through the night. So there is a new house rule at #212 Rachel
Carson Way: if you don't sleep through the night, you can't sleep in
the bedroom. So far, we're all sleeping better. Jem seems to be
waking less, and sometimes later. Best-case scenario, if he gets up
at five a.m., I go into the office (where he's sleeping) with him
till about 7:00--and then I go back to sleep when Jeff wakes up.
Having a solid sleep chunk to start is much more workable than the
constant all-night waking up I've been doing for 18 months, and it
feels like I'm beginning to reverse my slow descent to insanity.

And Jem remains very cute in the daylight, of course. He's very
social. While he was nursing the other day and I was saying goodbye
to a friend, a small mouth continued to nurse while a small hand
suddenly shot out to wave a vigorous goodbye.

Jem has officially outgrown his snowsuit, and is into snowpants. He
likes to sled with us down gentle hills, and in his new outfit he
looks like a very tiny kid as he stomps out the littlest footprints.

Jeff and I had an awesome night ski the other night. We brought the
baby monitor over to our neighbors for an hour, and went gliding
through the woods under the almost-full moon, zooming down the north
field, and gazing out over the twinkling valley. Cross-country
skiing is really fun, and night skiing is AWESOME. I'm totally addicted.

We watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button last night. Poignant
films about death and dying don't always serve to uplift me, but I
got one of those brief flashes where I could see that there might be
a way to accept death. Like sometimes you realize: it's going to
happen, no matter what. Old people die, young people die. Movie
stars die. Beautiful people die, ugly people die, people die whether
they're happy or terribly sad. Whether they've made the most of
every day or just tried their best and sometimes didn't appreciate
the mystery of their lives. And _I'm_ going to die whether I'm
scared of it or not. Kind of funny when that kind of thinking can be
an antidepressant...

Goodnight! I hope that wherever you are, you are enjoying this
moment of being halfway to Spring, 2009.