Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ramblings in the Fields and in the Mind

Lydia and I (and Elisheva, of course) went walking today. Since January the weather here in Oxfordshire has been flirting with spring. First the snowdrops came up; little white delicate flowers that bloom in the wayside, but as the name indicates, they are more of an anomaly of a flower rather than a true harbinger of spring. Early in February the daffodils and narcissus arrived as well, filling the gardens and wild stretches with yellow and white color alike. Still, the days continued; cold, but not so cold as to feel really wintry, nor yet warm enough to put away our winter coats, either. Also, the rain continued; not steadily, but usually just for a bit every day, as a continuous reminder of winter's remaining grip.

For the last week though, it's actually been sunny and warm outside, and suddenly I find myself in the midst of a full blown spring, with the lilacs blooming and Queen Anne's Lace growing in profusion in the wild beyond the Manor grounds, and a warm, gentle breeze twisting my hair around. I almost don't know how to deal with it, it's so unexpected. My wardrobe doesn't quite know what to do, either. I packed spring/summer clothing for Lydia, and Avram never wears shorts, so his summer clothes are essentially the same as his winter ones, but for myself I only had room for fall clothing, and then my maternity clothes. But now I neither want to, nor is it feasible to wear the majority of either set, and so my clothing is now drastically limited. Part of me wants to go and buy a few things just to last out the next six weeks, but then I remember that whatever we don't spend here gets exchanged into dollars, and the exchange rate is nice enough that this information temporarily quells my desire for new clothes paid for in British Pounds. So for now I'm limping along on maternity pants and my least maternity looking shirts, but at least I get to limp along while taking long walks outside, enjoying the sunshine.

Lydia is such a good walker now; we probably walked upwards of half a mile, and she only wanted to be carried when we were by the nettles (there were tons of them out in the wild fields), and never because of tiredness. She's such a good daughter. She also seems to have an innate understanding of potentially dangerous things, like cars and staplers. When a car passes us while we're walking, she'll stop and press herself up against the wall (almost all houses here have a fence or a wall around them, especially on our street) until it's gone. It's so nice to not have to worry about here running out into the street. In fact, I have a hard time convincing her to cross the street even when there are no cars around.

I realize that I don't write about Lydia a lot; at least, not things that she does and such. I don't really know why I don't, except for that this must be the way I record keep. I really do need to stop and say something about both of my girls, though. I love them so much; sometimes I look at both of them, or I'll be holding both of them, and my heart just swells with love and gratitude for Lydia and Elisheva. The first few days of Elisheva's life I didn't feel this way; mostly I just felt a little overwhelmed with both of them. Elisheva wasn't hard at all to take care of, but Lydia was a stretch for me while taking care of Elisheva. Lydia has loved Elisheva from the minute she saw her; she loves to hold her, and kiss her, and generally just maul her. Lydia has felt the pinch of being a big sister though. She has had more than her fair share of tantrums since the birth, as well as having her baby regression moments. The most noticeable one of these is Lydia's massive attachment to the baby bouncy chair. Lydia honestly believes it belongs to her, and usually has to be majorly convinced to let Elisheva sit in it at all. I don't mind her regressing a little; after all, her entire world has shifted, and (although she may not realize this yet) it's never going back to how it was before. Seeing the life of the oldest child; the years of complete and only attention, but also then being “displaced” for the first time, I don't think I envy being the oldest. Besides, all of our parenting methods are being tried out on Lydia, already just with our second I am much more aware of what to do, in regards to sleeping and things like that than we did with Lydia.

So far I find my days with them revolve around achieving an afternoon nap. If I can get Lydia to take one, I get to sleep as well, and then we're all happy. I did my first dishes yesterday, and it wasn't bad at all. I actually feel much more competent and able to do things on this side of my confinement (I had an older sister in the ward call and offer congratulations, and she actually did refer to my confinement. I loved it, how old fashioned of her) than I did at the end of my pregnancy. Today's my due date, and if I imagine still being pregnant at this point, my mind boggles. I just hope the rest of my children are similarly early, because I fear I've become spoiled as to the timing of births. It helps to not be overwhelmed that the Relief Society sisters are still bringing meals over (they took the weekend and May Day off, so today and tomorrow are our last meals); that was six meals total, which is twice as much as I got when I had Lydia. The Relief Society compassionate service committee leader, René Hill, has arranged so much; six meals, women to come and visit, and even people to call to make sure I'm doing alright. Another sister in the ward, Gwyneth Talputt, stopped by as well, with a cake she had made so that when others came to visit and see the baby we could offer them some refreshment. Well, no one came and visited us at all in the next few days, so Avram and I had to resort to eating it ourselves.

I think people are determined to keep me fattened up from my pregnancy; in addition to the previous said cake, we've also been given fudgy home-made brownies, a massive chocolate bar (it's as large as a sheet of paper), home-made pumpkin bread with chocolate chips (that was from an American, of course), chocolate trifle, and a mix for a dutch apple tart, which is like apple pie, but the crust is a butter cookie. In fact, I'm eating a piece of the last right now. Avram and Lydia both don't like cooked apples, so it's fallen on me to consume this last massively delicious and yet fattening-just-to-look-at dessert. That's partly why I went on a walk today, as well as one last night with Avram; if I don't start moving around I'm going to grow into a great gelatinous cube.

On a completely different note (see, I know this post has entirely wandered off of the original topic, but without the Internet to move on to, and with both Avram and Lydia gone shopping [which I would have gone with them, but I'm waiting at home for our dinner to arrive. It's 6:30 pm, but dinner here is usually later than in America, and so it hadn't come yet, and still hasn't in fact, when they left] I have nothing else to distract me. I know that I could finish the dishes, but I'm also holding Elisheva, and I can't accomplish both at the same time.) I can't believe that in only six weeks from today we fly back to America. One the one hand I'll really miss England; I've grown used to living here, we no longer find the food unusual enough to write about, we know a lot of the ward, and the fact that it's also not the same cold weather we had since September through April helps my appreciation of this country as well. On the other hand, I'm excited to move on to doctoral school, and to feel really settled in an area. Since a year ago when we left Provo we've been on the move; first Virginia, now here, and then we'll stop over in Virginia for another two months before finally settling in Columbus. I often entertain myself while falling asleep with planning how I'm going to arrange the furniture in our apartment at “Buckeye Village” - the family married housing for OSU. They have a floor plan on-line, so I know the basic outlines of the rooms. Also I get excited about starting to pay off our student loans, rather than accrue more loans.

Still right now the birds are singing, a gentle, scented breeze is blowing in through the open window, and outside looks like the Garden of Eden, so I'm having a hard time getting excited about returning to a Virginia Summer. I am used to dry heat, and so the high humidity plus heat of Virginia, mixed with living in a house without air conditioning nearly did me in last summer. I know that I'm a wimp; I've come to realize over the years that as much as I would love to have been a pioneer, I'm not into the greater physical discomforts they had to endure at all, like really high heat without reprieve, especially with wearing as much clothing as they did. I wonder if Ohio will be really humid or not? I've lived in the Midwest before, but it was in Wisconsin, and I left both summers I lived there, so I really don't know what it'll be like.

I will really miss our ward as well. I just love the members here; they are all so Christlike and giving. I feel so needy here, both with having been pregnant and then now having a new baby, as well as not having a car and so always needing a ride to church (the buses don't run early enough from where we live to take them). But the ward has always reached out to us, and not seemed to mind at all how we always seem to be taking from them, and never giving back. It makes me determined to be better at giving myself, especially with offering my car for people. If I hadn't already thought that the other two wards we've been in since being married were also really great wards, I think I would have a harder time leaving this one, but I comfort myself that the ward in Ohio will be great as well, ultimately because the Church is great wherever one is, and there are Christlike people all over the world.


  1. well now you have me all envious of the flowers and contryside. do take some pictures of the spring for me! i must live through you for my life is really dull. cant wait till you are back in the states and i can afford to call you again! love you!

  2. Sounds really pretty. I'd like some new pictures of Elisheva.

  3. Chocolate trifle...!