Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 reading list

My favorite books of 2011 were (not surprisingly) the ever-popular The Hunger Games series (so good!!), and The Help (liked the movie too). I'm currently reading this, my last book of 2011:

Bossypants by Tina Fey (not as funny as I hoped.)

And these are some books I plan to read in 2012. Does anyone else have suggestions to add to my list?


Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn

Catherine the Great by Robert Massie

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Kafka on the shore by Haruki Murakami

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort

Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

playtime



on chaos

Tonight I went over to my friend Jenna's house for dinner, while our husbands went out for a "guys night". Yeah, how cute is that that our husbands go out on man dates together? Seriously cute.

So I went to Jenna's, and her neighbor K joined us as well since her husband was also on the man date. K is in her first trimester of pregnancy with her first child. She is in the stage where she is tired and nauseous, but pregnancy is still new and exciting. She's preparing for baby by buying things like expensive designer diaper bags, and neither Jenna or I have the heart to tell her that her expensive diaper bag will eventually be ruined with spilled sippy cups and crushed cheerios. She's in the dream stage.

I on the other hand, was in the chaos stage. I vividly remember watching this chaos stage when Jenna went through it two years ago when her first two children were the same age as Juliet and Audrey. I didn't have babies yet and she was just constantly running around in a crazy frenzy after her babies- one of whom seemed to always be crying, tugging, needing.

And tonight that was me. Our lovely gourmet soup got ignored and went cold while we chased after the little ones. Popcorn was distributed to children and promptly thrown everywhere and crushed under little toes. Blocks, dolls, fridge magnets, all pulled down and thrown into the air. Lots of crying, lots of whining, lots of needing. Audrey needed to eat, and needed to sleep. Juliet didn't want to eat, and needed to sleep.

And I couldn't help but wonder what her neighbor K must think...does she think. "what am I getting myself into?" Or does she think, "That will never happen to me!"

We came home and things settled down. I am finding that Juliet needs the comfort and routine of being home, and I am finding the confidence to listen to that instinct and bring her home. We cuddled on her big bear, read books, and then she crawled up into her bed ( a toddler bed! my big girl!) and went to sleep. And then I went to rock Audrey to sleep, and all is now quiet and peaceful.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Flying

When I was a kid, I used to have dreams about flying all the time. They were the best!

Juliet is lucky that she doesn't have to dream about flying...her daddy is strong enough to let her fly when she is wide awake!
Christmas morning 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Everyone in my family is taking an afternoon nap except for me. Even though I'm probably the one who needs it the most! Isn't this always the way, though? Audrey is sleeping on me in the Ergo and won't tolerate being moved from this upright position, so there is no rest for me today. I am feeling weary after a lot of weeping and sorrow for my Mom. My eyes are baggy and swollen.  Thank you God for giving me a husband who holds me while I cry.

There is a hole in the fabric of our family this Christmas. A very, very big hole. I am hosting Christmas dinner at our house. My Dad, sisters, aunts, and cousins will all be here.  My mom was really good at hosting these sorts of things with such ease and comfort. I feel out of sorts. I am glad everyone is coming. Our house is big enough and I want it to fill it up with good memories. I think I even make a decent hostess. But I wish it were my Mom doing it instead. Thank you God for giving me a Mom who taught me how to love my family.

On the brighter side, we are going to church in a couple hours. Just like we always do. I'm glad my Dad will be coming. Afterward, we will be having our second annual Christmas Eve Sushi Dinner. What says California more than eating sushi on Christmas Eve? My dad and Christy will be joining us and hopefully it will become a new tradition. Thank you God for new traditions to help take the sting out of a hard season.

Santa found time to wrap some gifts for the girls this week, so we are ready to go for tomorrow morning. Of course the girls are too young to understand much but it will still be fun. Christmas is a lot more fun now that there are children to love, and to spoil a bit. We are a very fortunate family, and sometimes I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for having this much. This much to give, this much to love, this much health.  God, please protect my children and my husband and give them good health and safety.

Juliet learned how to go on the "big girl" swing today at the park. Gary taught her. That's what daddies are for, because mama was too afraid that she wouldn't hold on tight enough and would topple off. Thank you God for giving my daughter a father who teaches her how to be brave and try new things.

Thank you for these gifts.

video

Christmas Eve's Eve. Spent weeping in Gary's arms. I miss my mom so much.

Mom and Dad, Christmas 2008

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sweet moment I don't want to forget

Gary was gone for business for two nights this week. Normally, when he is here,  he gets up with Juliet in the morning and makes her breakfast while I tend to Audrey. And he and I both put Juliet to bed together- we read a story, say our prayers together, and kiss her good night.

During his absence this week, it was the first time Juliet was able to really express how much she recognized his absence and missed him.  When I got her out of her crib in the morning, her first words were "Dada! Dada?" And when she was done with breakfast, she padded through the kitchen in her footie pajamas to Gary's office, and knocked on the office door while saying "Dada! Dada!"  And this went on for the whole time he was gone.

I put her to bed as usual on that second night of his absence, and she went to sleep peacefully. (Have I mentioned what a lovely change this is? She actually walks over to her crib, raises her arms up to be lifted into the crib, and has a peaceful smile on her face as I tuck her in with her blanket and stuffed doggie. She falls asleep quietly with a smile, which is such a huge achievement in our household that even though it's been happening for a couple months now, I still pinch myself to see if I'm dreaming every time!)   So what was I saying...oh yeah...

So Gary came home that night around 10. About midnight, Juliet woke up screaming. This is highly unusual for her since she always sleeps through the night without a peep. And when she woke up, she was sreaming, "My Dada! My Dada!" over and over again.  Thankfully, Gary was home so he went in to comfort her. She fell asleep resting her head on his shoulder, whispering, "My Dada".

I feel so grateful that my daughter has become a "daddy's girl". What a precious moment between the two.
This has nothing to do with the story, but what a cute smile, on her first carousel ride.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

4 months of happy Audrey

Dear Audrey,

You are now 4 months + 4 days. I am a little late writing this monthly update because it's Christmas time and life is busy for our family. You are a darling little baby, and so content so much of the time. Right now you are sitting in the green Bumbo seat watching Juliet eat her lunch. You have a quiet contentment about you, just watching the world through your big pretty eyes.

I still love holding you, though, so most of the day I have you wrapped up on me or in the Ergo carrier. I love holding you close to me. You giggle at me when I tickle your bare belly on the changing table, and like to smile at yourself in the mirror. I shower with you instead of giving you baths and you like the warm water of the shower as long as it doesn't get in your face. You are sleeping in your crib for most of the night now, waking up a few times at night to nurse. I still swaddle you up tight to sleep, and you're not the biggest fan of the crib once you wake up and realize you're there (and I can't really blame you).

You have learned to shove your whole fist in your mouth, and it's so cute to listen to you try to talk with your hand in your mouth! Everyone who meets you just adores you.

I found out that I was pregnant with you at Christmas time last year, and now I'm excited to wake up on Christmas morning to my very favorite gift of 2011. I love you, sweet pea. 

love,
mama

Stats: 13 lbs 10 oz (50th %)  25 inches (75th %) . Sleeping 7:30 pm - 7:30 am, waking 3 times to nurse. Nursing every 3-4 hours during the day. Starting to reach for things but not any real interest in toys yet.Still detest riding in the car.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

on boundaries

I've been thinking a lot lately about boundaries and rules. Juliet is at an age where everything in the world is hers to explore. It is also hers with which to make messes, hurt herself, and be irritating.

I want her to explore. I want her to feel in control of her environment and her choices. I want her to learn cause & effect. I want her to play and have joy in everyday things. I feel like these are imperative things to allow a toddler to do, to grow into a healthy and well-adjusted child.

So, I have come to terms with what this means in reality. It means that I "let" her do things that I know will ultimately cause a big mess.

Like unraveling the toilet paper while I'm in the shower and then dunking it all in the dog's water bowl. What a mess! And so annoying!  To me. To her, it is fun and play and learning.

Like drawing with a pen because she sees *me* do it and so she doesn't want to use a crayon. Even though I know the pen will end up all over her face. What a mess and so annoying! But fun.

Like drinking out of a "big girl" cup like mama even though it will inevitably mean that I will be changing her out of wet clothes and wiping up the floor. And, more controversially, by allowing her to continue to drink her milk out of a bottle even though she's officially past "bottle stage".

And sometimes it means that I allow her to make choices about what she doesn't have to do. Like, sometimes, she decides that she doesn't want her hair brushed. You know what? I remember how much it hurt to have my hair brushed. If she doesn't want her hair brushed one night, then who really cares? Maybe if it were a chronic issue and her hair was in a perpetual knot, I'd feel differently, but that's not the case.

I am making these choices so that the things that are really important are what matters. Not touching the stove, not running past the sidewalk and into the street, always holding my hand in the street-- these are the things that I want her to know. And other smaller things that are also important like brushing her teeth every night.

But the rest is just a mess, or it's just annoying, and I'm learning how to be okay with that.


multi-tasking


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa

I knew that Juliet wasn't going to be happy about meeting Santa. But we did it anyway. Because I am a photo junkie. It's my one true indulgence at this stage of my life- collecting the photos like a maniac because times flies by just so quickly and this is my way of remembering.

It wasn't traumatizing for her. She sat on his lap for about 10 seconds for the photo and as soon as she hopped off and into my arms, she was fine again.

Audrey did great since it was just another soft lap to sit in as far as she was concerned.

You know the funny part? I look at this photo and think, "someone is still missing". I am so happy with our family of four, and feel beyond blessed to have two healthy children. But I do think we are meant for just one more baby to fill Santa's lap. Eventually. (This is not an announcement of anything!)



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Starting my New Years resolution early! Our dinner is in the crock pot and ready to go, and it's not even 10 am yet. Yay me.

a vent

Ugh, I got a flu shot yesterday because I just can't afford to get sick with 2 little children to care for. And that darn shot gave me the flu! (or flu "symptoms", but what's the difference?). Not to mention I can barely lift my arm, which is apparently what they call "mild discomfort". I'm really regretting it, and especially regretting allowing my pediatrician to persuade me to give it to Juliet last week- I hope it didn't make her feel as crummy as this!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

bits & pieces

Juliet drew on the wall! I knew this time would eventually come. She used my sparkly pink lip gloss. At least it's festive!

I'm so happy the sun is out today. It was so dark and dreary and rainy yesterday. I hated it. It was too hard to take the girls out in the downpour so we were stuck inside all day. The house looks like a hurricane hit it!  It also made me happy that we don't live in Seattle anymore. I'm just not cut out for that kind of weather.

I was really inspired by our Momsense/MOPS group today. Feeling led to give and serve in new ways. And grateful for some budding friendships.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas traditions

As Christmas rapidly approaches, I am thinking a lot about tradition, and memories. I want my children to grow up with warm and fond memories of this season.  I am finding some solace too in honoring my mom through continuing these traditions- so that I can tell my daughters, "This is how Grandma did it for me, and now I do it for you." And I guess that's what life is all about.

When we were kids, my parents allowed us each to open our stockings up as soon as we woke up. This is pretty much my fondest memory of Christmas morning. We didn't have to wait for my mom or dad to get up (which I'm sure was there way of holding us off another precious hour or so!). I have the best memories of sitting in the living room with my sisters and each opening up our stockings and enjoying those small stocking stuffers together and eating our Christmas candy, until Mom & Dad stumbled out to start their coffee.  All the gifts would be set out from "Santa" during the middle of the night, so the bottom of the tree went from being empty to being stacked full of gifts when we woke up. Each gift to the girls was from "Santa", but as we got older, it became undeniable that the handwriting on the gift tag matched my Mom's (until Christy took over gift wrapping duty as a teenager!). 

There are a lot of other fond memories but I don't have enough time to write them tonight. But I'm looking forward to Audrey's first Christmas, and Juliet's second. We are hosting all the family for Christmas dinner at our house, and I suppose that will become part of my children's memories- our house full of family, food, and joy.  I can't wait for a couple more years when they are old enough to pad down the hallway in their pajamas and happily peek into their stockings while Gary and I try to catch a few more minutes of sleep. These are sweet times.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

p.s. This was my attempt at trying to get Juliet to sit still near the Christmas tree for a photo. oh well!
p.p.s. Because we all know that Christmas really isn't about the gifts, or shouldn't be anyway-- I am trying to think of memorable ways to incorporate giving and service into my family's Christmas tradition. I'd love to hear your ideas on that too.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

bits and pieces

Farewell to my cousin Jake! He is heading off to Afghanistan for an entire year, working as a private contractor and living on a military base. Jake is brave and has already been to Iraq mulitiple times wuth the Army. We will all be praying for him to be protected and safe in Afghanistan.

Last night, we had a family dinner to send him off. I'm really grateful that we have an extended family so close and supportive. We all had fun playing a board game and eating Chinese takeout, Bon yoyage, Jake! See you in 2013!

Let's see...Juliet had her 18 month well checkup. She's 32 inches (50th %) and 22.5 lbs (25th%). She's healthy and meeting her milestones, which is always reassuring to hear. I really feel thankful that both of my children are healthy and thriving.

Juliet learned 2 new words this week: "No" and "Uh oh!" Oh, boy...we're in trouble now! LOL!  She is a joy, though, and despite having a cold this week, she has been very happy and easygoing. She is also enjoying being "like mommy".  I have been making her steamed milk and putting it in a coffee cup for her to drink in the morning with me, after several mornings of trying to wrestle over my latte mug with her. She imitates just about everything I do, as evidenced by her experimentation with the breast pump! It's all a good reminder to be a good role model since her eyes are always on me.
 Audrey has also been a joy this week. She is giggling regularly and a content baby. My dad babysat her for me this week so I could take Juliet to the doctor, and she did great with him.




I'm so glad we decided to move back home, to live just less than a mile from my parents' house. This is my home, and there's no place I'd rather be. I miss my mom deeply during this season. I'm grateful that God blessed me with 2 young children who need me so much right now, so that I don't have time to get sucked too deeply into my grief.







Thursday, December 8, 2011

Working hard at really ENJOYING my girls instead of just "getting through the day".

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

where have I been?

Aaaah, I was doing so good at this blog thing until now.  I will have a random thought while rocking the baby to sleep, or driving to the grocery store, and think, "I gotta blog about that".  And then I come home and there is spit up to wipe up, poop explosions to marvel at, laundry to fold, life to be lived.

So at an attempt at getting back into this thing, here are just a few random thoughts:

- I hosted a gathering for my sorority sister alumnae this weekend. Every time I host something like this, I end up fretting about it for weeks beforehand.  What if no one comes? What if we have nothing to talk about? What if no one likes me? All of my insecurities come out in one little holiday party.  But guess what?  It was AWESOME. It was a small enough group that we were all able to sit around the table together and reminisce and LAUGH. A very joyful evening indeed.

fun times.
- Both Juliet and Audrey are sick with their first cold of the winter season. Juliet caught it first, and then sure enough, Audrey came down with it 2 days later. I figure this is what is going to happen for the rest of their childhood. It's exhausting having 2 kids sick at the same time. Poor little Audrey's nose is so stuffed up that she can't nurse well and she can't keep the pacifier in since she can't breathe through her nose. I'm looking forward to them getting healthy again soon. Juliet's nose is constantly running, and it makes her look like a little ragamuffin.

- I'm going out to a Christmas dinner with my best friends tonight and plan to have 3 glasses of wine, uninterrupted girl time, and no babies for 3 hours! I can't wait. Thanks, Gary!

- Audrey giggled for the first time this week! It was a real, sincere laugh...when Gary was holding her and making silly sounds at her. Wish I caught it on video. I love these moments, and love being a mama.

- I surprisingly do not find Barney (the big purple dinosaur) to be all that annoying. 

And now, the babies are calling. Hopefully I will be back again soon. xo

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

here it is again...I'm tired

Well, it's probably obvious from my silence over the last week that things have been pretty hectic around here. And since a blog is pretty much the bottom of the list of priorities, I just haven't had the time. Last night I slumped into bed at 9 pm after a long day of babies crying and demanding so much of me that I honestly thought, "these kids might actually be trying to kill me!" I was feeling so worn out that I was too tired to brush my teeth (and I always brush my teeth! I hate that fuzzy feeling in the morning otherwise!)

Audrey is going through a period of apparently normal "sleep regression". Which basically means that she went from sleeping relatively well at night (waking 2 times to nurse) to waking up every single hour. I am tired again like I was in the newborn stage. I love my babies but I am worn.

Lest this blog become the "woe is me, I'm so tired" blog, here are a few photos of what's been happening over the last week. It was a great week. I'm just glad I took the photos since I'd probably be too tired to remember what we did if you asked!

we had a lovely thanksgiving and my sisters brought delicious food.
just when I was ready to hire a maid!


We went to a superhero party!
gary played with the babies. they are lucky to have such a good daddy!

Juliet had so much fun but needed daddy's reassurance

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm a tiger, hear my roar!

I know I've written about this before, but I  ran across this tiger quote below and thought it was great. Today I'm thankful for my body. It is strong and healthy. It gave life to my daughters, kept them safe and warm, and grew big enough to house them until they were ready to join the world. It may not ever look quite the same since all that stretching and growing left its marks and my belly button will also probably never recover! But I love it more than ever for what it's done for me.

And for the record, here are my tiger stripes, 3 months after baby #2:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Every day, thousands of babies are born in every corner of the world. Birth is a universal experience shared by all of us. It is not a first world or third world event.

But the moment your own precious baby is born, it is the most wondrous miracle on the planet.

Audrey just seconds after birth

Every day, thousands of people all around the world die.Death is a universal experiemce shared by all of us. It is not a first world or third world event.

But the moment your own beautiful mother dies, it is the most crushing and painful sorrow  on the planet.
Mom, me, and Juliet (1 week)

I give thanks during this season for the beautiful gift of life that I have been given this year. But I miss my mom.  I will be cooking a turkey for the very first time as we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year. That was my mom's job, and now it's become mine. I wasn't ready to have the torch passed yet. I feel untethered.  We'll all do just fine, but Mom would have done it better.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mommy has a first world problem

I thought that this post on Rants from Mommyland was pretty darn funny and puts everything in perspective during this week of Thanksgiving. And in the spirit of sharing, here are a few of my own "first world problems". Just writing them down makes me feel silly And grateful!

- I can't keep my house clean because it's way too big, there are too many toys, and too many clothes.

- I had to fire my housekeeper because it was too stressful picking up all the clutter before she came

- My fridge won't fit all the food I bought for thanksgiving

- I have to drive 10 minutes out of my way to get to the Starbucks that has the drive thru. And after waiting in the drive thru line for 10 more minutes, they forgot to put the sugar free vanilla syrup in my latte. Believe it or not, this was mildly upsetting at the time. ;)

There's more, I'm sure, but those are all for now. Anyone else care to share your first world problem?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

18 months of sweet Juliet

Dear Juliet,

You turned 18 months today. It's amazing how much you have changed in these last few months, growing from a baby to a toddler. In my mama eyes, you will always be my baby, but you are becoming more independent from me, which is wonderfully bittersweet. You are learning to explore the world a few steps ahead of mama, although I am never too far behind and you still look to me for reassurance and run to me if you go too far.

You are a funny, inquisitive, sensitive girl. We laugh a lot together; you find farts and burps particularly hysterical, and I completely agree! You are very active from the moment you wake up, and we are greeted with calls of "Mama! Mama! Dada! Dada!" from your room as our alarm clock at 7 am. I have to say that I still beam inside every time you say "Mama"- the novelty of hearing you call my name hasn't worn off.  You seem to be a sponge these days, picking up on everything and learning new things every day. We are having fun learning our body parts, for instance- "Where's Juliet's nose? eyes? toes?" and so on, and you point to each part on yourself and then on mama.  You adore your sister Audrey and enjoy giving her hugs (by putting your face next to hers), patting her on the head gently, and putting her pacifier in her mouth if she's crying. It is wonderful to watch the two of you interact and I'm so glad that you will have a sister to grow up with.  I love you so much, and I am honored to watch you grow into such a lovely little person.


A few things you are enjoying these days:
Playing peek-a-boo behind the curtains, Walking around the block and waving "Bye" to the passing cars, Going down the slide and riding the swing at the park, Throwing the ball for Ellie dog as well as sitting on top of her!, Pushing your dolly in her stroller, Books with animals (especially dogs), Balls of any kind, Bath time, Aunt Christy, Rough housing with Daddy in the living room after dinner, Sparkly necklaces (huge obsession), Putting your shoes away in the basket, Pushing the laundry cart and "helping" mama with chores like laundry and putting silverware away, Small items like pebbles and beads.


Some of your favorite words:
Mama, Dada, Audrey (Awwww-drey), Up, More, Ball, Doggie, This, Yum, Balloon

Some of your favorite foods:
Scrambled eggs, spinach, milk, clementines, goldfish crackers, and "Dot" candy from your Grandpa (his special treat).

These are a couple photos from this morning. Mama was getting us ready for church and I was putting my makeup on in the bathroom. You grabbed a makeup brush and an (empty) powder lid and proceeded to brush the invisible makeup onto yourself, and then  you did Audrey's "makeup"  too. You definitely don't need any makeup to be beautiful, but it sure was precious.


 love, mama



Friday, November 18, 2011

never say never


I had a really nice day this week with a dear friend from Seattle. During the day we had the chance to talk about parenting a lot, as we both see eye-to-eye in our strategies toward mothering our little ones.  I had the chance to reflect on some "never say never" moments that I've had in my parenting of Juliet and Audrey.

When I was pregnant with Juliet, I developed some very specific ideas about what type of mother I was going to be, and how I would choose to parent my children. There were certain things that I was simply never, ever going to do.  And many of those things have continued to remain extremely important to me. But there are a few (many) things that I have ended up doing with my children that I never thought I'd do in a million years. I thought I'd share them here to get a proper, public, "I told you so!"

I should have Never Said Never to:

Formula: I am a huge breastfeeding snob. I admit it. It's something that is fundamentally important to me as a mother and woman.  And I look down on mothers who choose not to even try.  I admit it, straight out. But about 3 months after I got pregnant with Audrey, my milk supply dropped to nothing and Juliet's weight correspondingly dropped off the weight chart when she was 9 months old. She went from thriving to starving because I could no longer provide her with enough nutrition (Pregnancy commonly causes drop in milk supply as well as change in consistency and taste of breastmilk.) After conversations with a lactation consultant, and some heart ache, I reluctantly ended up supplementing and then switching 100% to formula with Juliet by 10 months- much earlier than I had anticipated. And she is thriving because of that choice to do the right thing for my baby, even when it wasn't my initial preference. Never say never.

Epidural. I love the idea of natural births, and support them entirely. But in the end, I've had 2 epidurals. And I don't regret either of them one bit. Never say never.

Television:  The AAP recommends no TV for children under 2. I agree with them. Too much television rots your brain, and young children should be reading, exploring, and running instead. But Gary was gone all week for a work conference so I am responsible for my little ones 24/7. Bedtime is the hardest part of the day to do by myself. Last night I put on Yo Gaba Gaba for Juliet for 20 minutes so I could rock Audrey to sleep. Juliet was happily entertained and mesmerized, as the photo above clearly shows.  Audrey fell asleep easily without the distraction of Juliet's "Mama! Mama! Up! Up!" pleas, and I was able to then go and spend the rest of the evening doing Juliet's bedtime routine peacefully. So for this household, we will use television in moderation so that mama doesn't end up in the looney bin. Never say never.

Disposable Diapers: I used cloth with Juliet and loved it. But with the additional chaos that another baby has added to the household, we are now using disposables for the time being. Because it's easier, and at some point, "Something's gotta give". Never say never. (Though I do hope to go back to cloth soon.)

Crying-it-Out (crying to sleep): I hate hearing my babies cry. It hurts my heart and my motherly instinct is to run to them every time I hear a whimper.Plus, it goes against my fundamental 'attachment parenting' beliefs. But reluctantly, we chose to allow Juliet to cry herself to sleep when she was maybe 9 months old or so. I won't go into the long story of her sleep history or the 3 million other strategies we tried along the way, but it was the right thing to do for our family at the time. Never say never. (Disclaimer: I do still hold tight to the belief that this isn't appropriate for a newborn or young infant.)


Does anyone else have a Never Say Never moment to share?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

3 months of lovely Audrey

I love you, my sweet baby. Thank you for joining our family and bringing your sweetness to our life. You and I have been having some great conversations with each other lately. I look into your pretty eyes and say something like, "I love you, my beautiful baby" (because I surely do), and you look right back at me and squeal in delight.  Sometimes you squeal so loud it's like a lovely little shriek.  The most adorable happy squeals and shrieks I've ever heard, with a big toothless grin.  You are a happy baby indeed

You smile at your sister Juliet when she pushes you in the swing, and she gives you a big happy smile in return; I'm so glad you are already becoming friends. She loves to try and care for you, by pulling the blanket up over you, putting your socks on, and trying to put the pacifier in your mouth. Today she wanted to give you a drink of milk from her bottle too! You happily go with the flow. You've also just discovered your hands, and hold them in front of your face, exploring every inch over and over again with intent focus.  It's so wonderful to watch you start to enjoy the world around you. I love you desperately, joyfully, forever and ever.

love, mama

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

more family photos!

Jenna sent me another batch of photos from our session this weekend, and I am amazed with how many lovely shots she got considering the circumstances! There are some great ones in here. My family is so beautiful.









Tuesday, November 15, 2011

family photos

We took our annual family photos for our Christmas card this weekend.  I spent all afternoon bathing the babies, carefully dressing them in pretty little outfits, finding time to blow dry my hair and put on a little makeup. It was an all day affair getting ready! And Juliet was in an awesome mood all day, playful and giggling, even while driving in the car to get to the photo spot.

And then, of course, because she is a toddler and who knows why- she was just over it.  Did not want to smile, did not want to walk, did not did not did not. And so yet again, I repeat my mantra of 2 under 2: Embrace the chaos!  The cute photos I envisioned of Juliet and Audrey cuddled together in that little trunk just didn't happen, but thanks to our very talented photographer (Jenna of Fina Photography, for those in OC), we were able to get a few family photos worth putting on the wall.  I'm not giving up on the idea of the annual family photo, but we may just do it in the backyard next year!
 




And what a difference a year makes.  This is last year's Christmas photo:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

wear that baby!

Since Gary was busy today learning how to shoot ducks (yes-seriously!), I went to a babywearing workshop this morning at Granola Babies. I'm really lucky that one of the best natural-parenting resources in the whole country is located just 20 minutes from me!

Do you know what the benefits of babywearing are? Well, even though I often feel like I am writing this blog as a diary to myself, it turns out that it actually gets a fair amount of hits every day (from whom? I don't know...introduce yourselves!), so I figure I'll assume someone out there in cyber space wants to know a bit more about babywearing:

Mamas have been wearing their babies since the beginning of time.  It's a natural way for us to keep our babies comforted, keep them safe from harm, and keep their temperatures regulated.  It is also a natural way to give a mama her hands free to tend to other children and tasks!For me, I wear my babies for all these reasons but primarily because both Juliet and Audrey are at their most content when they are snuggled close to my skin. It feels like the right choice for my children.

The popularity of babywearing is probably at a peak right now in the U.S., thanks to attachment parenting advocates like Dr. Sears advocating it, as well as the boom of awesome new products on the market to make it convenient and hip to wear our babies. My favorite babywearing products are the Ergo carrier, the Moby wrap, the woven wrap (like this one), and the ring sling (like this one)

Even though I have been wearing my babies since Juliet was born almost 18 months ago, I found that I needed a little extra help figuring out how to correctly wear Audrey in a woven wrap. I was making a simple mistake that was very easily corrected, and now I am super excited and happy to be wearing Audrey in a woven wrap again! It's become my favorite way to wear her.

And I couldn't resist this new Girasol wrap today- isn't it beautiful?!



and here I am wearing Juliet in the Ergo on my back too...surprisingly comfortable!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hermosa Beach trip

Unfortunately, I don't have time to write this week but I want to add these photos from our trip to Hermosa Beach this week. This was the second year in a row that I was able to tag along with Gary on his business trip. We stay right on the Strand and it's a lovely mini getaway though a little crazier this year with two.

my adorable audrey

hanging in the hotel room

view from our room

walking along the strand