Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We're swimming through boxes in the Ashcroft household these days.
We've had a very exciting couple of weeks...
Two weekends ago Esme, Clare and I had a girls weekend out visiting Uncle Mike and Aunt Mary. Clare got to meet Ryan and Desiree's new puppy Rocco and they had a great time wrestling and running themselves ragged. Every now and then Rocco would mistake a crawling Esme for a new puppy friend, she definitely did not appreciate him throwing himself on her back in an invitation to exhausted Rocco rests under the porch
Soon after we got home from Mike and Mary's my friend from high school, Chanda, came to visit with her sister Kayla and 2 year old daughter Lucy. Thursday night Andrew and I babysat Lucy so Chanda and Kayla could go see Spamalot. We are now sure we will be waiting a few years before adding to our family. Two kids less than two is at least one too many. Lucy has been very into babies lately, lucky for mom who is due to have their second daughter in October, so she was super excited to help with and hold Esme as often as possible, thankfully Esme is resilient and patient. We all had a great time and it was really fun to reconnect with old friends.

Lucy helps with Esme

This past weekend we went to church for our last Sunday at St. Mary's Times Square and then we walked up to Central Park and had a picnic with Aunt Veronica. After that we had a ton of fun at FAO Schwartz trying on hats and ended the day with a barbeque on campus with some new friends Greg, Katherine, their daughter Gracie and their son Andrew who was born just three days after Esme. Esme greeted him by crawling over and pushing him right onto his back. After that it took him about an hour to decide that Esme was okay to play with. His parents were amazed as they claimed Andrew was usually the little bully...way to go Esme, Isaac has taught you well! The best part of our day on Sunday was this push toy they had in the nursery at church, Esme got up behind it and just cruised all over the nursery without any help...there is video to come as soon as we work out the technical difficulties with my new computer.

Esme as bear & monkey at FAO Schwartz courtesy of Aunt Veronica's IPhone

Now we are settled into the business of serious packing. The dogs are nervous, Esme is into everything, including the boxes and despite ourselves we seem to be making progress. I think we are more than halfway done with almost every room...we're definitely at that chaos point and we're getting down to the little stuff that you have no idea where to pack. You know that point where you think you're almost there but really there's way more left than you're prepared to admit? That's where we're at...Thank goodness for our little helper Esme, she keeps us all on track!

The most helpful packer

Monday, August 11, 2008

Today was the first day of my last week at work.
What a weird feeling. It really has been such a journey.
For anyone who doesn't know; I've worked for Starbucks for over 11 years. I started as a barista in college and before I knew it I had a career, I'd worked my way up to being a District Manager. I've always been very passionate about what I do and Starbucks was my life. I never imagined wanting to change anything but I'm sure you can all see what happens next.
My daughter was born and all of sudden work didn't seem so crucial. Spending 70 hours a week worrying about coffee just didn't have the importance it used to. (Okay, my job is a little more than that and I do love the people I work with and for is work)
That's actually where the real journey began. I've spent the last eight months rather tortured about 'throwing away' all I'd worked so hard to acheive vs. how important I felt it was to not miss seeing and nuturing my daughter as she grows up.
Don't get me wrong...the last three months that she's been in daycare have been awesome. To come home and actually have an hour or even 20 minutes to get something accomplished before we pick her up is a Godsend, look back a year from now and know I missed out on so much was more than I could bear.
As usual God managed to find an unexpected way to answer my prayer. We've been living in NYC where my husband is a student and we were all set to stay here for him to do one more year of graduate school. Then a church in Philadelphia came along and offered him the job we weren't looking for. Problem is, it seems like the perfect job for our family and means I can work part time and be at home almost full time with my daughter.
So now I'm at the beginning of the end of so much...
*my career
*life in the big city
*my identity as a 'working mother'
*my identity as a 'career woman'
It's been really eye opening to realize how tied I am to these identities, and trust me I think this is just the beginning.
I sometimes feel almost embarrassed to tell people I'm stepping down (way down) to work part time in a store and raise my daughter. I often feel sure they think I just couldn't cut it and am looking for an excuse for leaving my job.
Those are the moments I have to remind myself of the magnet on my refrigerator I bought just after my daughter was born "remember what's important".
And in the course of spending time on what's important there is so much new
*becoming a priest's wife
*being a full time mom
*focusing on how to contribute to and invite people into community
*figuring out who I am when my identity is not defined by my job
I know this last one is a little tricky now that my identity is "Esme's mom". I'm sure that will work itself out like most things do, at least it's a good sign I'm thinking about having my own identity.
So this is where we're at. The beginning of the next part.
I have these dreams of cooking (please don't laugh), gardening, taking long walks with Esme and the dogs, getting a bike and one of those baby seats that go between the handle bars and riding to the Farmer's Market, making soup every week for the soup kitchen, meeting other moms, having friends, taking swimming lessons with Esme, finding a baby gymboree sort of class for her, working toward my ultimate dream of opening a baby store.
Perhaps we'll do these one thing at a time.
But first the packing and the settling, I think I need a new magnet for this stage.
"This to shall pass!"

Monday, August 4, 2008

A new week which means new adventures here in our household.

This weeks feats of amazement are:
waving hello (i think)
crawling everywhere, for real
yesterday Esme used her own version of sign language to tell me she wanted more food at dinner
today I went in when Esme cried during her nap to find her sitting up straight in bed crying at me, this would not be a problem if Esme would sleep somewhere other than our (very high off the ground) bed.
It really is the beginning of the end.

This afternoon Andrew came home to a floor littered with dog and baby toys plus the books and photo albums Esme had pulled off the shelves. "Why are you letting the dogs chew on these things." He says.

I'm thinking life was easy when it was just the dogs pulling things off the shelves. And when it was the dogs chewing on things.

Andrew is in his last week of CPE this week. He was on call over the weekend and was paged 11 times. Luckily he only had to go in twice (both at about 10pm). First to help some people who wanted a prayer book and the second time to help some patients who had been waiting in the ER for 13 hours.
Thank God it's almost over!

I have two more weeks of work left, then it's pack,pack,pack...