Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Blah blah, Random Year End Stuff.

Ellie's afraid of monsters right now. Anyone else have a toddler with this issue? I honestly don't know where this came from - true monsters are not really something she's been exposed to (ala Monster's Inc), but she can't sleep without the lights on and hides her face a lot from the "monsters" and comes into our room a lot earlier than she used to in the middle of the night. Just now, I went downstairs to grab her a diaper (because she's in underwear and was FREAKING OUT for a diaper, refusing the toilet, etc) and she burst into sobs. I was gone literally 3.5 seconds. What a funny kid. But really, it breaks my heart a little.

Dash slept 3.5 hours straight last night. That's a HUGE deal for us. Bless his heart, he knew he was thisclose to being sleep/crib trained so he gave me a break. He's still teething his front two teeth - they're yet to pop through, but his little gums are so swollen with teeth. It looks incredibly painful. And while he can't really crawl, he's starting to master the art of getting around somehow, despite this limitation.

I honestly didn't remember it was New Year's Eve until just now. Show's how much planning I put in to ringing in the new year. :) That's how it goes with little ones, but that's perfectly okay by me. If I could plan an ideal night, it would be everyone going to bed without fuss at 8pm. How's that for exciting? But, that's where we are this morning.


The last couple years I've done a year-end recap, and a "wish list" of sorts for the coming year. I'm not going to do either this time around. But, I will say this: 2013 was probably one of the most difficult years of my life. This year was filled with an incredible roller coaster of emotions, but one that I will hopefully remember as incredibly precious and keep dear to me always. 2013 held some scary times that required some pretty significant leaps of faith for our family, but also a million tiny fleeting moments of pure joy. We faced unemployment - unemployment while Very Pregnant at that, a tough pregnancy, a premature baby and subsequent NICU stay, a car accident. All things that were stressful and tough to maintain composure throughout. But - we welcomed our son. Our beautiful boy, who we love more than we thought ever possible. We stare at him at night and marvel at his perfection, his beauty and his strength. We are so incredibly lucky. We also watched our daughter grow into an amazing kid. She's strong, funny, smart, beautiful, strong-willed, thoughtful and a huge joy for us. And, of course, we have each other - our marriage that keeps getting put on the backburner while we learn to juggle, but we love each other and power through the days with a smile (usually!).

Welcoming a second baby and learning to juggle the demands of two, starting to figure out how to keep a household running and four people's needs mostly met was not easy for me, but I believe this will be a constant work in process. I found that while having one child puts your needs on low priority, having a second keeps meeting your needs at next-to-no-priority. It really is a major reality shift to almost never have time to focus on yourself anymore. Parties aren't about socializing - they're about tag teaming and chasing kids. Dinner's out aren't enjoyable really, and even being around family sometimes feels like you've become a burden. Not that people don't enjoy the children, but let's be real: no one enjoys two year old tantrums left to fester while mom's busy breastfeeding. :) Toting one kid around is fairly easy, even spontaneous road trips are possible. Two is much less easy, and I'm much more likely to simply stay home than the ordeal which is sometimes getting everyone ready to go out, and then actually GO out. If I've forgotten an ingredient, the chances are next to zero that I will bother to go get it. We do without.

But, this is not about reflecting on the difficulty which having two young children has brought to my life. Because the highs have been way, way more than worth it. Yes, it's been a year where I've often felt pretty isolated. But, in the little bubble which we have built there is more joy than I thought humanly possible. So 2013 was beyond good to us when all is said and done. The first year with my baby boy, Ellie's third year. A year well lived, with the wrinkles to prove it. :)

As for 2014, my wish is for two parents with jobs that are stable and make us happy, and two kids who are happy and healthy. And that's really all I need, ever.

(note: it took me all day to write this. note, also: guess what I did for the first time today? ran out of an ingredient, looked at the clock and realized Eleanor was not going to fall asleep for nap anytime soon, and thus would be up too late, bundled up the kids and ran to the grocery store for said ingredient. first for everything!).

I leave you with some recent pictures of my joy. :)
morning sharing
post nap selfies 
the joy of the family bed

they really do find comfort with each other
she tucked herself in for a movie
no caption needed 
seconds later, he was asleep

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holidays and time off

Here's a picture of my baby boy, all stressed out and maxed out tired and super sad about me trying to get him to take a nap. 

I won't take a picture of myself, but imagine that imagine, only on the face of a thirty year old mom. 

That would be me. 

Good gracious, having young kids is hard. I know that a lot of things in life are hard, and I don't want to play the pain olympics or anything, but this is not a walk in the park. This phase of life is tough though, which is such a shame, because it's also so sweet, and so fleeting. So, so fleeting. My baby turned 8 months old the other day - EIGHT months! I literally feel like I've blinked, and poof - gone. On the other hand, I know that I didn't blink, because that means I've closed my eyes, and Lord knows that's hardly true. 

I try to keep the holidays relatively low stress and low key. But, even for the most committed to that ideal (and I'm not just paying the "we keep things low key" phrase lip service. We really do.), things get busy and schedules get jammed. I'm desperate to make sure that my family knows that we're centered at home and good, fun things can come from being at home, but still - we go out, we try to have fun, there are parties to go to and people to visit with. We hit bottom last weekend with a disastrous trip to our cabin. Really, it was the worst I've had in the 30 full years of cabin-ing. Lots of screaming, no sleeping. My body feels like a tightly wound ball of stress, like I could crack in half with any more pressure. 

So, I'm taking the day off today. I really don't ever do anything like this, but I called in the reserves today (ie, my mom) and made a frantic, last minute call to the acupuncture clinic for some much needed time to myself. After acupuncture, I plan to do something  - anything - solo. Probably, it will be running errands, maybe even errands as unpleasant as mailing packages the week before Christmas. Either way, I'll be by myself. Sweet solitude. 

Why is it that taking time away just feels so..wrong? Knowing that I'm doing something for myself when there are a ton of other things that I should be doing feels unnatural. I don't want to be a martyr, but even if the kids were taken care of by someone else, there are a lot of things I should be doing at home. There's always a mess to clean, and with company coming soon for a week, there's a lot of stuff to prepare. And the kids aren't easy and both are especially attached to me, so I know that when I'm doing something for myself, I'm actually causing someone else to be doing additional work. It would be one thing if taking time off simply meant that that the other areas of my life simply stayed neutral, but to know that my having something positive makes something else suffer negatively makes me very hesitant. But, I've hit the bottom and I'm tapped out, so.... that's that.

In the meantime, we're hanging in there. Ellie's on her second episode of Frosty The Snowman this morning, after having seriously woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Dash is napping, and the dishes are calling me, but I'm avoiding the mess in the kitchen like the plague, and thinking of adding to the mess by making cookies. Baking has become a release for me, as has eating, and somehow I'm still managing to lose weight. Thanks breastfeeding, for that Christmas miracle. :)

Are you doing anything for yourself this holiday season? 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Life lately, in pictures

Sorry for the lack of interesting posts lately. Lame, first world problem excuse: my pictures are no longer streaming directly from my phone to my computer. What gives? Sooo... I went ahead and did it the old fashioned way, to satisfy curious minds as to what we've been up to lately. 

Short answer: nothing. And, everything! Our days are busy, and routine. We're living the happy, simple, intentional life over here. I've been purging our house of stuff, slowing the pace down intentionally, and keeping the kids home a lot more lately. I want to raise my kids to be happy staying put, to find ways to entertain themselves with what we have in our home, and to recognize get-togethers and playdates, and activities as special and fun. So, that's what we're up to lately. I've been focusing my energy on finding ways to entertain the babes at home, cooking a lot and being mindful of our many blessings.

(How's that for a Thanksgiving weekend sequitur?)

*and for a non-sequitur: my grandma came over this morning and I told her I was making Roasted Squash Bechamel lasagna, and she told me that I should throw my whole squash into the oven without chopping it up at all. She promised it would roast nicely, and be way easier to handle. No surprise: Grandma, the former home-ec teacher, was totally right. Score one for making roasted squash even easier, as if that was even possible!*

Okay. Back to life lately. Here's what we've been up to:
Starting each morning with the kids lined up, watching Daniel Tiger. Note Eeyore nestled between my other two babies. :)
Playing blocks together
Decorating for Christmas. First artificial tree ever. Three days in, and I'm never going back. No needles > needles on the floor
Snuggling with my boy. 
Failing at our attempts to... clear out his intestinal tract 
Ellie plays with playdough, Dash eats
Block building with daddy, a daily pre-bedtime ritual
Nursing our babies
Admiring our thighs
Melting down at Target over God-Knows-What
Picking on poor baby brother
Peeing in the tub. On the potty, in the tub. Awesome.
Cutting my hair. Before:
Rocking my big girl. Love, love.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What We Ate

I promised more meal planning posts. Here's what we ate last week, after I wrote my last entry.

Wednesday: Beef stew turned pot pie. My favorite.

Thursday: Dinner at my mom's. My other favorite.

Friday: Spaghetti with my go-to "semi-homemade" staple sauce. 1lb of ground sausage, broken up and browned. 1 jar of ready made red sauce. Easy, quick and perfect.

Saturday: leftovers from the week.

Sunday: Oh, Sunday. I love Sunday dinner's. I roasted a whole chicken (smothered in butter, salt&pepper, and herbs de provence) along with carrots and onions. Mashed potatoes with dried chives, butter & milk. Gravy with chicken drippings. Easy & impressive. I also made cranberry applesauce (for Dash to eat for the week, but then I thought better because I obviously had to add sugar to offset the cranberry tartness. So, we ate it, a perfect complement to the faux-thanksgiving meal).

Monday: Peter got leftover Sunday night dinner. Ellie and I had whole wheat spaghetti with the perfect, simple tomato sauce. I blended a can of diced tomatoes and simmer it with a pat of butter and dash of both sugar and salt. Tasty and clean tasting - my favorite. I made blondies for dessert (like brownies, but no chocolate and made with melted butter and brown sugar). I've been on a hunt for a great blondies recipe lately. Haven't found it yet, but when I do, I'll share. I added toffee bit and toasted walnuts. Good but not great.

Tuesday: ball, dropped. Chinese takeout. Whomp, whomp.

Wednesday: Chicken and broccoli casserole. Old fashioned and perfection each time. Poach a couple chicken breasts and par-boil some broccoli florets. Mix together two cans of cream of whatever soup, about 1/2 cup mayo, 1-2 teaspoons curry and a dash of lemon. Mix all together, top with shredded cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake til bubbly, serve with rice. AND, I tried my hand at fresh pumpkin pie (roasted pumpkin off my front porch!). I'm not a dessert pie baker, and this wasn't perfect. The filling didn't cook just right, and was too sweet. Still perfecting the crust, too. No apologies though, we'll still eat it!

And that brings me to tonight! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Small Improvements, aka - Meal Planning

I'm on a mission to make as many small improvements as possible, with the goal of simplifying our life as much as possible. It's amazing how overwhelming the day to day activities can be with two young children. Even as I write this, at 11am, I'm not completely sure I brushed my teeth. And I'm definitely still in my pj's, as are my babes. :)

Here are some of the things I'm working on:
1) pick stuff up off the floor as you go. Obviously, this will be a work in progress for the rest of my life, but that's number one. It's easier to function with a clean floor.
2) Sleep train the kids. I'm still working on Ellie. She's stubborn, so getting her to go to sleep takes a ton of effort. Dash is next. Poor baby has no idea what's coming, but I can't keep up the charades of him taking 45 minutes to be put down. :(
3) Meal Plan. Hence this post.

I used to be really effective at meal planning. Even before kids, I recognized that planning for a week's worth of meals was not only time saving, but money saving as well. With kids, avoiding trips to the grocery store is an added benefit, especially as it's getting more and more difficult to keep Ellie in the cart and haul Dash in the ergo. It's been a good year since I've consistently planned our meals and executed them according to plan (being pregnant and sick throws meal planning way off, as does having a newborn!), but the time has come. Plus, we're in a stage now where Dash is sitting up but not quite mobile, so cooking is probably easier to do now than it will be for the next couple years. :)

So, once a week, usually Sunday or Monday, I think about what I'd like to eat that week. I plan against what I have in the house, and try to visualize what our weekly plans are (will we be having dinner with the family at all? will Peter work late at all?). I also plan for leftovers. Which meals will be enough to make into leftovers, and how many meals can I get out of any given meal? I also try to figure out when I will cook each meal, to make our days flow a bit easier, and to help me remember when to pull certain things out of the freezer.

I've been on a good roll too. For the last four weeks, I've stuck to the plan, and even managed to make a few non-planned meals out of food I already had in our kitchen - for some reason, this always makes me giddy with happiness. My hope is that I can write down (here, hopefully), what I did each week, if only to create a central location to reference for when I get cooker's block (that's similar to writer's block, of course!).

Monday: Carmelized onion, spinach, ham and cheese quiche. Crust recipe was super easy and I've duplicated it a couple times in the past couple weeks: 2 cups flour, 1 t salt (food process to mix). Add 2/3 cup cold butter, cut into chunks, and 1/3 cup shortening, also chunked. Pulse in food processor several times until coarse like breadcrumbs. Add probably 5-7 tablespoons ice cold water, 1 at a time, while pulsing. When the dough can be pulled together, form in into a ball, wrap in saran wrap and put in the fridge or freezer til ready to use.

Tuesday: Pizza so good I made it three times in a week. I don't think I've ever made something three times in one week. Homemade pizza dough (I like Pioneer Woman's). Topped with pureed squash (hooray for having loads of roasted and pureed squash! Thanks Dash!), cheese (I've used both Fontina and a Norwegian triple creme, both were great), chopped up bacon, and then loads of shredded brussel sprouts. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt. Bake at 500 til the sprouts are nice and brown. (15-20 min?).
I don't usually take pictures of our food, but I shared this with my step-dad
Wednesday: BLTs (with avocado for me, of course!). Bonus: the bread I purchased for BLTs was used throughout the week, and the bacon was used in the previous night's pizza.

Thursday: Marinated flat iron steak served with rice & black beans, warmed tortillas, lime wedges (and avocado for me, of course!).

Friday: Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole. It was okay. I topped it with stuffing drizzled with a little butter. Not my favorite, but I'd make it again if I ran out of ideas. :) Plus, I was able to use the ham from Monday night, and the cheese from the pizza.

Saturday: Chicken cooked in the crock pot, with salsa, corn and kidney beans. After a couple hours, I shredded it and served it in crispy tortilla bowls (prepared like this). Served with lime wedges, cheese and avocado for me, of course. :)

Sunday and Monday I made that pizza again, and right now I have beef stew simmering in the crock pot for tonight. Tomorrow night I'll shred up the leftover beef, and throw one of the frozen pie crusts I made last week on top, and turn it into pot pie. Tonight, I'll serve with bread sticks I made last night from extra pizza dough.

So, that was last week's dinners. I'm always looking for new, easy ideas, so let me know if you made anything successful last week!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

When Attachment Parenting Backfires

So, I'm not really an actual Attachment Parent (that's with capital A, capital P). But, I do the whole "natural birth, extended breastfeeding, cosleeping" part of it quite well, so for the sake of argument, let's pretend this is our Parenting Style (cap P, cap S).

Parenting Style backfire this weekend. Here's why.

My dear friend from college got married Saturday night. I got to be a bridesmaid! Yay! So, wedding festivities commenced Friday evening *but really Thursday for me, when I got to make a late night trip to the airport to pick up my college/weekend roomie*. My mom came and watched Ellie while we were gone, but we took Dash with us. The night went fine for them, minus some crying while we left.

Keep in mind that Ellie's going through a MAJOR separation anxiety phase, coupled with the reality that there have only been a handful of times in her short life where someone other than me has put her to bed.

The night went fine. Enter Saturday - bridesmaid prep started at 11am.

Oh friends - I was quite anxious about this day for some time leading up to it. I've never left my baby that long, and I've certainly never left both kids for that long. All told, I was gone around 12 hours, which isn't unreasonable, but is substantial.

My fabulous sister made the trip up from Portland to help with the kids as my mom was busy that day. I'm so incredibly thankful she did this for me, as I know with certainty that my day and night would have played out much differently had I not had such confidence that the kids were in such loving and capable hands.

Have I mentioned that Dash doesn't really take bottles?

Anyway - I had a blast. I drank champagne all day! I wore heels! I wore my hair down! The bride was lovely, the party was fabulous, and it was a very relaxing day getting ready.

The kids and babysitter however... that's another story. There were (apparently) lots of tears, bottle refusal and napping strikes. I heard a rumor that the babysitter took a shot of the only alcohol she could find on our shelves as soon as the kids fell asleep. I don't blame her! I feel bad for my sister (obviously), but honestly - whatever. Those kids have been giving me heck for a while now, and I deserved a day off. Now yesterday of course, the day after the wedding, they made me pay big time. Way clingy, way unhappy, refusing to nap (again), and generally out of control. They made sure to see to it that I will not take another day off in 2.5 years (if they receive me back the way they did yesterday, I'm confined to the home until they're off to full-day school).

Totally worth it though. Plus, we got to climb up on top of a fire truck for pictures. In heels. And short skirts. Can't do that with babies around! :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Baby Boy

My baby boy turned six months old yesterday. Or the day before. Whatever, I don't know what day it is right now, but he turned six months on 10/15. :)

He is now rolling, sitting unassisted for short periods, and last night he chowed down THREE helpings of oatmeal, for his first ever real try of solid foods. This should surprise no one. He's such a rock star.

He's come so far, and I'm so proud of him. I love him more every day and it scares me to think of how much I will love him when I'm old and he's grown up.

I was talking to my mom the other day about Dash's beginnings and his birthday, and admitting that his birthday was not one of the happiest days of my life. Nor was his coming-home-from-the-hospital day.

Want to see one of the happiest single moments of my life though?

 This is the first real time I got to hold him (except the brief moments after delivery where he was on my chest, prior to going to the NICU). He was three days old here, and my arms were aching for my baby. I think that morning, or the night before, I had had a breakdown - just yearning for my baby. If I remember, this was the day my milk came in, and I had visited the Baby Boutique our hospital had to find a new nursing bra to help with the, uh, situation. :) I had seen a couple there with a lactation consultant, and the mother was trying to breastfeed her newborn, and I went home and broke down.

Later in the day when we went back to the hospital, the nurse said I could finally hold him. They left me like this for probably two hours. Peter left, and I just sat there, held my baby, and sobbed with all the emotion in that moment. I'm not a crier, but I was just so overcome with joy, gratitude, exhaustion, sadness and bewilderment of being in that situation. I wish the picture was clearer and more focused, but it's still perfect the way it is.

But mostly, it was pure joy. This is me falling in love with my baby.

It wouldn't be long until he was released from the hospital, and what seems like two days later, he's six months old. He's so happy and healthy and content, and he fits so perfectly into our family.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Challenges and Gratitude

obligatory baby picture. stinking cute.
I feel like my emotions these days are stuck between two extremes. On the one end, I find myself so extraordinarily and deeply grateful for what I have. A healthy, hardworking, loving husband, with whom I just celebrated our wedding anniversary. Two beautiful, healthy and thriving kids, who came to us easily and without the heartbreak that so many experience along the way to parenthood. My eyes have been opened to some heartbreaking losses recently - the kind that take your breath away - so the knowledge that my babies are here, on this earth with me, is something never far from my mind.

On the other hand, parenting right now is so challenging. So, so challenging. It's stretching me, and pulling me, and trying me so deeply. Some days, I wonder if I'm even cut out for this work. And, it's so physical - I just ache at the end of the day. Parenting these children takes every ounce of physical energy I have to give, and then somehow continues to find my reserves, suck that energy, and so forth.

Dash is a great baby - he really, truly is. He's so easy. But, he's 6 months old and he's starting to be aware of what's going on and show his preferences. Nursing him can be a challenge lately, if he's in a place where he'd rather watch what's going on than focus on the job at hand. And, he's SO big - he's literally making my body ache so badly. My neck and back, which are still recovering from the accident, seem to have no strength left at the end of the day to lift him. My arms and wrists ache. He's over 20 pounds now, but he's still such a baby, that all 20 of those pounds need to be supported by me. A lot of kids are walking or crawling or somehow mobile at 20 pounds, but he hardly even rolls over (like, once a month, maybe). So, I carry him. Everywhere. And, he's out of his infant carseat now, but can't sit up, so when we go somewhere (grocery shopping, etc), I have no choice but to carry him. It's a lot. He's heavy. And, he's had a cold this week, which has made him extra uncomfortable and really needing the physical contact, extra nursing, lots of holding, rocking, swaying and soothing. Ouch.

And Ellie. Oh, sweet Eleanor. She brings me such joy, but SO MUCH frustration lately. This girl is strong willed, she knows what she wants, and she's having such a hard time these days. Her own joy - her jubilance which is such a trademark for her - is the flip side of a girl who feels things deeply. She's 2 1/2 now, and she wants things how she wants them, when she wants them and where she wants them. And if she doesn't get her way, what used to be tears is now screams of anger and frustration and angst. I made her sit in the cart at Costco yesterday. She screamed through the whole store (she wanted to walk. Fat chance). She had her worst meltdown to date this week, over me rocking and nursing Dash. We're talking 45 minutes of screaming as loudly and sorrowfully and angrily as possible. Eventually she climbed on my lap and hyperventilated herself into sleep. And while I want to soothe her and comfort her, this behavior has me stuck. I can't give her what she wants when she behaves this way, so on principle, I must stand my ground because of her behavior. I may have locked myself in the bathroom for a minute or so while this tantrum was happening (and boy, did she let the neighborhood know she was not happy with that) while I took some deep breaths to collect myself.

And sleep is a nightmare. Bedtimes, naptimes - we've regressed fully to baby status it seems. No longer content to put herself to sleep happily in her big girl bed, she's now demanding that I (only I) rock her to sleep all the way (or snuggle her to sleep in her twin bed). If I do not, she will scream and shout and cry and sob, and because she's in a bed now, she refuses to stay in her room (or I'd  wait it out). Nope, she's in my face doing this, usually while I'm bouncing my 20 pound baby boy, trying to get him to sleep (see a problem here? No one is going to fall asleep while this is the background noise). And I can't put Dash down while I rock Ellie for 45 minutes (or he'll cry, and rightly so). Having Peter around at bedtime helps (he's not always able to be here, with his work schedule), but both kids want/need me. Dash needs to nurse, and Ellie's attachment is deep these days. Last night, after several (yes, several) hours of this crap, Peter put the crib railing back on the crib in a move of desperation. Perhaps she'll sleep better if she's back in the enclosed crib? (I didn't mention that she's been getting out of bed nightly and crawling into bed with me. And Dash. Poor Daddy get's the couch...). It seemed to work, and she slept through the night until 8:30 this morning, happily in her crib. So, we've regressed. And now, to get her to fall asleep on her own (something she used to have no problem with).

So that's where I've been, and hence the blog silence. Stuck in the parenting trenches. Incredibly happy to be here, but boy, are these days trials.

How about some cute before & after annual photos to lighten the mood? My stepdad plants potatoes in their garden, and for the last two years has harvested them with Ellie. Behold:

The bounty. 17 months old.
Last weekend. 29 months.
Digging in the dirt
2013 bounty.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Ellie in purple jammies, 8 months
The jammies are back! Dash sporting the purple - 5.5 months
I'm 99% sure we're done having babies. To be perfectly honest, I love the baby stage, I adore newborns, I love basking in the postpartum period, I even love giving birth! I love almost everything about having a baby. But, I do not do pregnant well. I do not have an endless supply of patience, which is tested daily. I do not have an endless supply of space in my home, nor money to raise said children, nor energy. Maybe if we were a lot wealthier, had a much bigger house, could hire regular help and were 5 and 25 years younger we'd go for it. But, probably not.

(case in "I don't do pregnant well" point: I re-stressed my foot stress fracture I got almost a full year ago this weekend. Now I can barely walk. Yet again - another joy of the lovely hormone relaxin, which makes the whole "loosening of ligaments so your pelvis will widen so you can give birth" thing happen).

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm done, and I'm at peace with that. And when friends around me continue to have babies, I am very happy for their growing families and love meeting their new little ones and marveling at their newness and smallness.

But. I simply cannot believe that my little Dash was ever that little. It's impossible for my mind to fully register the fact that a mere 4 months ago, he was as small and squishy as some of these new babies around us.

I know they say that time goes by fast, and even faster with your second, but I'm pretty sure "they" are referring to a normal growing second baby - not a monster child who is growing out of his 18 month clothes by the second.

He was little for the first six weeks. He was even in newborn clothes for six whole weeks - that's twice as long as Ellie was! I found myself thinking "enough of this newborn stage already!" And then - he exploded. Literally - I mean - within a month (so, by the time he was 2.5 months old), he was wearing 6 month size comfortably, even 6-12 months very well. Now, at 5.5 months, he's leaving the 12-18 month size and entering the 24 month size. I pulled out pjs I retired from Ellie THIS SUMMER and put them on Dash the other day. He was quite comfy in them.
6 weeks old
This morning
"playtime" today
So. My baby is a giant. (And - still 100% breastfed! Kid has zero interest in real food - despite the "tastes" Ellie gives him of things and the one mushed up bite of carrot I fed him this weekend. No wonder I'm so exhausted - and hungry!).
The gentlest, sweetest giant in the world
At this rate, he'll be beating Ellie size-wise before the year is up (2013 that is - he'll be lightyears ahead of her by the time his first year is up). And, he'll probably never learn to sit up, crawl or walk because he'll be too big for his muscles (which are quite strong) to hold himself up. On the flipside, my arms will be very strong, and I'll be a size 4 because of all the breastfeeding. :) Sounds okay to me!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Split Seconds

Ever had one of those weeks where your kids both have miserable colds which causes them to be a) miserable and b) almost insufferable, your husband works late every night and then you get in a car accident at the end of the week?

Maybe just me, then.

Luckily, the colds have cleared up slightly (except poor Dash is still kind of a mess), my husband always comes home and the car will be fixed and our injuries were pretty minor.

Here's what happened, for curious minds:

We were going to my grandma's house to visit her on Saturday morning. It was a gorgeous fall day - clear and sunny - and my grandma has had quite a bit of health setbacks recently, so we thought we'd make the hour long drive to see her.

We were two blocks from her house (my dad also lives there with his wife), and going straight down a residential road. There's a car coming out a side road about to turn left. He's got his nose out and is looking right, down the street to see if he's clear. He's barely clear - there's a car coming - but I think he thought he could probably accelerate and squeeze in front of the car. So, he accelerates out quickly, but the problem is, he doesn't look to his left. Where we were driving down the road.

Peter sees this about to happen, I think. He swerves and honks to try to miss the impending crash, as he judges (accurately, I'm sure) that he doesn't have enough space to brake.

The car accelerates out, tries to turn left, and instead plows directly into the rear passenger side of our car. Smacks the wheel and the passenger door pretty hard. Which is, of course, the door my youngest baby sits next to. We get jostled pretty hard before coming to a stop, but I doubt we were even at a complete stop before I'm out of the car and opening the door to get to my baby as fast as humanly possible.

Here's the thing: when you're in a situation like this, time simultaneously slows way down and speeds way up. It's a split second. Not enough long enough to fully understand what has happened. But plenty of time for your brain to immediately process the fact that your baby, your whole heart, is the closest person in the car to the point of impact. You have no idea how bad the crash was, all you can think is "SHIT" while your heart momentarily stops and the worst case scenario runs through your head - despite the fact that within a split second you have exited the car to get your precious baby into your arms faster than even humanly possible.

I leapt out of the car and snatched my baby out of his carseat, where he was safely sitting. Peter's out of the car and down the street, where he's yelling at the other driver. Ellie's crying to be picked up - poor girl was rightly very scared and has talked about it all week since. (She keeps telling me in her limited vocabulary that she was scared and she wanted to be picked up, but we weren't picking her up because we were busy. Breaks my heart!)

The 16 year old boy who hit us was very apologetic and emotional, and my heart also broke a bit for him. He made a mistake, and I'm pretty sure he'll never make that kind of mistake again.

Bottom line: cars can be repaired, my whiplash seems to be the only injury that's arisen for our family (knock on wood...) and I am incredibly thankful for the fantastic carseats that did their job and protected my babes.

These two.
My whole heart.
car accident means new carseats! What Dash thinks of his!
What Ellie thinks of hers!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Feels Like Home

Amelia is one of my favorite bloggers. I love how real and honest she is and how she never fails to paint an accurate picture of what her life is really like. She has two adorable and energetic boys, works full time like a boss and kicks ass daily. And, she's a sweetheart. She sent me such a thoughtful care package while I was pregnant, and we're still reaping the benefits of the bath toys she included (the shortbread is long, long gone though. sadly.). She was a sorority sister back in the day, and now she's a dear internet friend (who I'd love to catch in real life one of these days/months/years).

ANYWAY. She wrote this post about her real life home, not the one she fantasizes about creating or the one she wishes she had. I love her honestly and so, in return, I give you MY real home.

My house is a mess 95% of the time. When it's clean and decluttered, it's my favorite place on earth. When it isn't, I want to run away and escape from the endless stacks of paper, dog hair scattered around the carpet regardless of when I vacuumed last, dishes inevitably piled up in the sink, piles of clothing EVERYWHERE, toddler toys littered throughout, miniature baby strollers with a random stuffed animal strapped in, snacks left out, stickers stuck, diaper strewn somewhere. You're in luck today, because after a week of two sick children, my house is impeccable (note sarcasm!) and in perfect condition to share with the internet. :)

My kitchen is beautiful. We remodeled it last year. I love how it turned out, and I love cooking in it. I'm a good cook, and I don't mind the mess I make because that's the price we pay for a great meal. Most of the time, the counters house all sorts of papers, trinkets, cups, plates, to-do lists, crumbs, etc. It's cleared off once every three weeks when our cleaners come, and it's spotless for three minutes after we walk in the door. It's the center of our home, and I love living there.

Our living room is a reminder that young children live here. There is always, at the very least, something out of place, but usually it looks like a tornado came through.

Our tornado's name is Eleanor and this is what she looked like last night:
discovered the joys of markers!
This is our china cabinet. It's also where everything accumulates during the day, and where I get ready (makeup, etc.) You can see nothing is out of place. :) Also, you can see what I looked like this morning when I took this picture having not showered in three days. Like I said, two sick babies, so I get a free pass, right?!

Peter built this awesome booth, and refinished our table. We aim for one family meal here per day, and even if the meal is spent trying to convince a toddler to eat something, or staring off into space having exhausted all mental capacity keeping up with the day, it's a good way to connect. I hope so, at least. He also recently re-finished the secretary to the left of the table. He's a regular Renaissance Man, my husband!

Our entry way houses several diaper bags, work bags, lots of pairs of shoes and many random pieces of clothing. We don't have a mud room, so this is it.

Our bathrooms range from horrifically dated to fairly new and cute. They're functional most of the time, and I'm grateful we have three working toilets and two tubs/showers. Our two year old adores "spa time" so despite the grime, this is a place we often hang out as a family.
new-ish and cute-ish
In between
horrifically dated. she's taking the photo opportunity to hop into the tub for a little "spa time" :)
Here's our laundry area. Try as I might, keeping up with laundry will never happen. It's an easy trade off for having a family of four!

Our Master Bedroom pretty much always looks like this. Hourly speaking, it's the room I spend the most time in, but since I'm asleep, or at least wishing I was asleep, it gets the least attention.

Where Dash "sleeps." Needless to say, he hasn't actually slept there in many nights. 
Peter's corner. He built the bookshelves and reupholstered the chair. Handyman!
This is my favorite room. When it's clean and tidy, it's just how I want it to be. I love the red bed and bedspread, the eclectic furniture, the personal significance of all the framed pieces of art. Most of all, I love that this is the room that makes me feel the most like a mother, because despite everything else that mother's do, making sure her babies have a nice, cozy place to sleep and feel safe is a priority. It's often in shambles, but that's because it's a very lived in and much loved space.

Lastly, my other two favorite parts of our home. Our mantle, made by Peter, and our family picture wall, which is, by definition, a work in progress.

I don't show you these to paint myself as a slovenly, filthy person. In reality, our place is pretty clean (housecleaners do the deep cleaning and I keep up with the smaller stuff in between visits), but cluttered. It's lived in and loved in. I don't believe that my kids should be tidied up after constantly, or kept to certain areas of the house - they live here too, and the mobile one plays pretty hard here, and that's just the way I want it. I try to pick up after she goes to sleep, but some days it just doesn't happen, and that's perfectly okay. My dishes pile up because when there is finally time to do them, it means the kids are asleep and I've earned a bit of a break. Like now - the kids are napping (or is she? who knows!) and I'm blogging. They get done eventually, and the counters get wiped down, and we start all over again. I show you these because it's important to keep our lives in perspective. It's important for mothers especially to see other women struggle to keep up an image of perfection, and pulling back the drapes to expose reality. This is really my home, and it's really my favorite home I've ever lived in.

Funny note about this home: the first time Peter asked me to come to over, we watched a movie together on the couch. We watched Once and held hands and kissed for the first time. And I had this distinct moment where I was sitting there, looking around, and for the first time in my life really, I felt home. The place had a distinct feeling of bachelor-hood, but I imagined that someday I, and our two kids, would call this house home. That's when I knew that we were likely in it for the long haul, for forever. That's how you know you've found your home.