Cora

Today is a day we will celebrate forever in our family. August 26, 2016. You can celebrate it too. 

On this day, Cora said "Cora" clear as a bell for the first time ever. 

Cora, not Coe-wuh. I fell over, literally. And then I cried, and laughed and cried and laughed and cried. We had a big celebratory hug. And then I cried all the way to work. 

She did it!!! SHE DID IT!!! 

The weird weight of naming her a name she couldn't say was instantly lifted. 

SHE DID IT! 

And in writing this, after she's tucked into bed on this new celebration day, I'm crying again. This is superstar, ultimate, highest achieving status.

SHE DID IT!!!

Cora. 

Cora, Cora Cora!

I still need to check in to see how "Grace" is coming along (her full name is Cora Adeline Grace), but dang it, she can say Cora!!


Growing

When I was in high school, I remember thinking it kind of strange when my friends started passing their mothers in height. I don't know why, it was just one of those surreal moments of growing up. I never passed my mom, but while I was still growing, I had high hopes that I would. 

I was going to be 5'11". One inch taller than my tallest aunt. 6' would have been okay too, but I knew I was going to be 5'11". And while it's hard to believe now, I used to be taller than average. In fourth and fifth grade, I was occasionally called Long Legs Lund. 

Long legs. Ha!

I stopped growing in seventh grade. Most of my friends passed me in 8th grade, almost all the rest did so in 9th grade. I think it's more normal to go from being short to tall. I went the opposite direction. I was tall, and I ended up being short. I remember feeling self-conscious in the locker room at the conclusion of our weigh-in at the end of seventh grade. I crossed the hundred pound mark - a feat that was ahead of many of my peers. Why is that such an impactful number? Why do 7th graders care how much they weigh? Why did we used to get weighed in gym class? I came in at 5'2 3/4". 

My grand total height came that summer. 5'3 1/4".

I grew up only knowing my mom's family, and so many people are really tall. I ended up shorter than everyone. I have 38 cousins on that side. I am number 39 in height. I would be lying if I said I didn't feel cheated. ;) 

Meeting my biological paternal grandmother earlier this year gave me a new perspective. She's 5'4". I come by it naturally. 

Cora is tall. I keep waiting for her to slow down, but she hasn't even a little bit. Today she took off from the park in my shoes, leaving me her flip-flops. When I put them on, they were so close to my size. I couldn't believe it! 

Because I had such a funny awareness of mothers outgrowing their daughters, it seems crazy that my daughter is outgrowing me so quickly! She's just above my shoulder now, and her feet are 2-2.5 sizes smaller than mine still. There's still time. 

When I was 10, I got my first pair of "heels." They were a baby 2 inches, with a block heel. They were size 4. (I felt so grown up!) Cora is a size 4-5 depending on the shoe. At 8. I used to wonder if she would be tall and then just stop like I did. But even if she just stop in 7th grade, I think she'll have me beat.

Until she does pass me, though, there is something nice about being able to kiss her on the top of the head without bending over.

Becoming


There is no place so awake and alive as the edge of becoming. But more than that, birthing the kind of woman who can authentically say, "My soul is my own," and then embody it in her life, her spirituality, and her community is worth the risk and hardship. 
-Sue Monk Kidd, Dance of the Dissident Daughter

Up in here, up in here.

This summer has been such a good break. Right after school got out, our girls flew with Jake's mom to Oklahoma. That had been planned for quite some time, even before I was working at WNS. We weren't sure if I would have a job that would require me to work through summer, and one of Cora's favorite holidays is "Church Camp" with Community of Christ, so we wanted our girls to be able to go. In the midst of their summer plans and getting a new job, Alice the Poodle figured out how to get out of our apartment. 

Enter Crazy Town. 

After she figured out how to get out, we talked with housing about getting a knob, rather than a handle. The answer was no. We figured out how to set up a barrier to keep her from reaching the handle. She couldn't get out, but she started barking. And barking and barking and barking. She was miserable and couldn't be left alone. We were prisoners because someone had to be home at all times. We haven't been to church as a family since March. Jake taught a course during the last quarter, so we found a great doggy daycare, but we were spending a small fortune. 

We decided it would be best for Alice (and all of us) if she went to live with my parents. She's stayed with them a couple of times before, and they love her (and she loves them!), BUT, both of them work, and they live in Arizona where Alice can't be in the backyard while they're away. As we started to see the severity of Alice's separation anxiety, we thought it best if she went where she had a constant companion. Jake's parents have a dog, so she would always have "someone" with her. They graciously agreed to be Alice's keeper for the duration of our time in grad school. 

That was a long story to say that right after Jake and I dropped Tracey and our girls off at LAX, we hit the road for Oklahoma with Alice. After a few days in Oklahoma, we flew to DC where I had a conference for work. The conference was great, mostly for the other educators I was able to meet. Four full days of workshopping together made for some fast connections. I was the only West Coast educator there, the others were from the DC area and NYC. I conferenced from 7:45-3:30 every day, and then we set out exploring. My favorite part of DC was Georgetown, and my favorite memorial was Lincoln's. We saw both of those things on a day when we walked over 13 miles. We were visiting the Lincoln Memorial when a sudden thunderstorm happened. It was wild! And it was so fun to watch the storm roll across the city. Earlier in the day we were visiting Georgetown University, and we were stuck in the middle of another downpour, but we were inside Healy Hall, which was amazing!
(Healy Hall, Georgetown University)

(View of Washington Monument from Lincoln Memorial not long before the rain came)

After DC, we flew to NYC for a long weekend. Everyday we walked over 10 miles. I loved the energy of the city. We continued the rainy trend, but I didn't mind. It rains so infrequently in L.A. that I welcomed every drop. My favorite parts of NYC were Greenwich Village and Washington Square, the sunset from The Met, and The Cloisters. I also loved when we wandered into the Cathedral of Saint John. It was right before a mini organ concert, and happened to be on the Fourth of July. The sampling was all patriotic. The last piece was an improv on America the Beautiful. I was overwhelmed. 
(An area at The Cloisters)

(I'm obsessed with Mary/Baby Jesus art. This was one of my favorites at The Cloisters)

A few other random things - 

Some of my irrational fears: Small towns and Walmarts in small towns.

Beach bum: Since coming back to Los Angeles and hanging out on the beach, I'm like 22 shades darker. And my hair! It's so much blonder. Certainly not pre-pregnancy blonde, but I stop and stare at it when I pass mirrors.

12 years and 8 months: That's how long it's been since I've been to the dentist. Um, that's how long it had been since I'd been to the dentist before I went today. Yes, T W E L V E years. And E I G H T months. 3 pregnancies (that's not an announcement, but counting my first pregnancy that ended in miscarriage at 12 weeks), hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), 35 months of nursing - all of which can be taxing on teeth; I was prepared for the worst. I'm happy to say that I'm still cavity-free. I have experienced some mild bone loss from some calcifications that had grown on my four lower middle teeth where my permanent retainer is. He said my teeth were really clean, which was a relief because I'm admittedly not a regular flosser. Yay for the luck of good teeth!

Gluten-free: I've been fully gluten-free for a little over a month. About a year-and-a-half ago, I was doing some major elimination dieting trying to cure the rash on my face. In doing so, gluten was something I eliminated. One of the things I really noticed during gluten's turn being taken out of my diet was that I didn't have as many migraines. I took note, and moved on, eventually reintroducing gluten. About three months ago, my migraines started coming back with much more frequency. I thought back to the gluten note, and eliminated it completely (I'd already greatly reduced my consumption of gluten). I've only had one migraine in the last month. This is HUGE! They'd been coming 2-3 times per week again. It is definitely debilitating. 

Because I'm 98.2% vegan, going gluten-free has been a bit of a curveball. I hate labels. I wish I would have never said that we were "vegan" when we went vegan almost 6 years ago, it was just a word to describe how we ate. In the last month, I'd say I'm much more of a gluten-free vegetarian, but I don't want to wear that label either. I try to eat food that makes me feel my best - Mentally, emotionally, physically.

Not done yet: Tomorrow morning we're heading to Colorado to spend time with Jake's parents and bring our girls home, but not before stopping in Utah for Jake to do a bit of research and for some cousin time. When we get back to L.A., Jake will start teaching a summer course, and the girls and I will have a few weeks before we start school. Jake is on the job market this fall. There are two job openings so far, and we can't wait to see what else will roll in. I'm grateful this summer has provided a much-needed reprieve, and especially that Jake and I have had so much time together. 

Final note: I took a picture and sent it to Jake after the dentist today. I couldn't help but think back to when I posted a photo of the rash that had consumed the right side of my face. Today I'm make-up free (minus mascara) and rash free. I was left with scarring, but it's still surreal that I have my skin back.
(February 2015. Yes, it was painful.)

 (Today)

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