Tuesday, December 11, 2012


My morning started out by having Audrey gleefully walk down the hall shouting, "Shoe! Shoe!". She picked out my shoes for me and insisted on helping to put them on. She is so much fun!

I dressed up a little bit for our Moms group at church, and it was nice to be wearing something other than stretchy pants and mismatched shoes. Feeling pretty good for being in the third trimester. Sobbed with big hiccups and rolling tears in the hallway of church after the speaker talked about her aging mother's hands. I miss my mom so much, it still aches every day. My church friends are so kind and loving; I'm glad to have their support. At the end, all the children were let into the room for some songs and dancing, and Juliet hopped and danced with glee. She loves to dance and I love to see her delight.

We played at home for the afternoon. Audrey learned how to exclaim, "One more time!" while holding her index finger in a "1" to beg to be spun and tossed in the air once more even when mommy needs a break to catch her breath. She learned that from her big sister, whom she copies and mimics in every way. We took a walk around the neighborhood and picked dandelions. The girls fought over who could hold Ellie's leash and who would pull the wagon. Some pushing and crying ensued intermittently. We read books and made animal sounds- Audrey is good at the "Moos" in particular. The usual stuff. Fun, beautiful, and frustrating afternoons that are both delightful and exhausting. Juliet also found my eyeshadow/eyeliner and experimented with some makeup. Here's her awesome look:

Then- tonight, the grand finale: For the first time ever, after I said "I love you" to Juliet, she said "I love you too, mommy" and planted a big kiss on my face. It's been a long time coming to hear those words! And yes, I'm crying now.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Gratitude: Day 30

Why having a 2.5 yr old is fun:

Juliet: "exercise today?" (Referring to stoller strides) 
Me: "Not today. We are going somewhere really special with Daddy."
Juliet: "On a spaceship to the moon! Yay! Yay! To get my purple balloon that went to the moon! Yay!"

Friday, November 9, 2012

Gratitude, Day 9

The cool air of fall has finally arrived. I love summer but it was time for a change of seasons, however mild our seasons might be here. I'm bundled up in a sweater for the first time in months and it feels really good. I am grateful for the changing seasons that keep the rhythm of our life. The sun goes down early now, which is a hard adjustment for me, but it also reminds me that this is the season to slow down, to enjoy a quiet evening at home with my children instead of rushing around outside. This is the time to hibernate a bit.

Gratitude, Day 8

My marriage. Happy 4th anniversary to my husband, my partner, my love.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Gratitude, Day 5

Bath time. Filled with laughter between my daughters.

Running through the hallway with glee in the outfit of choice, post-bath.

For this I am grateful.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gratitude, Day 4

The quiet after the children are in bed.

Lying on the couch, watching my growing belly rise and fall with each breath.

Feeling our son wiggle and move inside, enjoying a little sugar rush from the leftover Halloween candy.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,

Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Gratitude, Day 3

I am grateful for the days that I get to sleep in. (All the way to 8:00, thank you Gary!)

Gratitude, Day 2

Gary took a couple days off work on a whim to spend with the family. We went to the Santa Ana zoo with the kids for the morning, and had a lovely time. Juliet had so much fun watching the monkeys swing from their tails, and Gary rode the carousel with the girls and we all rode the train. And Gary spoiled the girls with a couple treats from the gift shop on the way out, something that mommy never does!

I am grateful that I have a husband who chooses to spend time with his family and prioritizes us.

A month of gratitude, Day 1

Like many others, I'm going to use this month of Thanksgiving as a way to remember a daily Gratitude. I am belated in posting the first few days but hoping to stay on track!

Day 1 (November 1): Juliet had an amazing day at preschool. Gary took the day off work on a whim and was able to drop her off with me, so he got the chance to see where Juliet goes to school. She happily sat down at the art table and gave Gary a hug. This was the second week in a row with no tears at drop-off, such a blessing for a mama!

I am grateful that my daughter is able to attend a great preschool and that she is thriving there, learning and growing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My kids aren't sleeping through the night and are waking up well before 6 am. And I am not dealing with it well. If each child wakes up 2 times per night (juliet- asking for milk, audrey- some recurring stomach/diarrhea issues), that doesn't sound so bad. But when combined, I am waking up 4x per night and not getting more than 2 hours of consecutive sleep. My body aches from the tiredness and my mind hurts, too. The lack of sleep is BY FAR the hardes part of parenting young children, for me. I just want to sleep. Oh, and being pregnant and growing another human being doesn't help either. I am so tired.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fake it til you make it

So much of parenting for me has been a constant process of learning, then re-learning, then un-learning, then learning the same thing all over again.

It's an unending stream of daily choices, and of re-evaluating my approach toward my children, tweaking it ever so gently to fit our family right. Am I being too soft? too stern? pushing too hard? not enough?

Parenting Audrey lately has come pretty naturally lately. It's my second time around, after all, so my feet feel a bit more firmly planted in how I want to mother a young toddler.

But for Juliet, here are a couple of the things I've been figuring out. It's probably a boring read to anyone but myself, but these are the things that occupy my mind these days. I am literally losing brain cells by the day between and I can't even tell you the name of Mitt Romney's running mate (seriously.) but every single detail of my childrens' well being runs through my mind day and night, such as:

Preschool: Juliet is in preschool 1 day per week, for 4 hours. The goal for me, was that she would enjoy the socialization and learn some of the structure of a classroom, while also allowing me a short time per week to "only" have one child to care for. I thought that this would come especially helpful once the new baby is born, so it would be best to start now and get her accustomed.

Well, I am just not sure if I've made the right decision. She cries so hard and desperately at drop-off every single time. This morning, all she could say in the car was, "Me want to go home. No school." It's heartbreaking. Her teacher assures me that the hysterics don't last long and then she enjoys the rest of the day. And sure enough, when I come pick her up, she is peacefully playing and following the teacher. So I wonder now, should I have waited to put her in? Or should I put her in 2 days per week instead of just 1, so it's not "new" every single week? Or should I just let it be? I want her to thrive in her environment. And I don't want to force the preschool atmosphere before she is ready (even if the other kids her age may be).

So there's that.

And then there's our milk fiasco.

Operation 'No More Milk': Juliet's comfort item is milk. And I have allowed that, and possibly even encouraged it. She goes to sleep with a sippy cup full of milk even though I really have always known that wasn't a good idea (dentally speaking, at least). Well, her sleeping habits in the last two months have gone from great to crap. Juliet has slept through the night since before she was 1 year old, unless she was very sick/teething. Well, lately she has been waking about 3 times per night and insisting on having her milk to go back to bed. If she gets the milk, she goes back to sleep. The trouble is that she has been drinking over 48 ounces of milk per day with this routine (24-32 during day, 16-24 during night). Whether the milk is organic or not, this is simply just too much milk.

So last night I began my Operation. When she went to bed, I gently reminded her that we don't drink milk at night anymore. She nodded sweetly. And then when she woke at midnight, and asked for her milk.  Long story short- the night was a nightmare. She was awake from midnight until 3 am, in absolute hysterics over the lack of milk. When she gave up asking for milk, she obsessively turned on her lights and asked to watch cartoons (at 2 in the morning! that's a new one for us). After a couple hours, I unscrewed all her lightbulbs. She eventually cried herself to sleep.

I feel so unsettled about this whole thing. I truly don't know the right way to handle it, and it's hard being the mean mom who's frantically unscrewing lightbulbs at 2 in the morning while her daughter clutches her leg and wails for milk. It just sucks.

I asked my Internet 'mom friends' and everyone has their own opinion. But in the end, I'm her mom, and I'm supposed to know best. But sometimes I don't know what that means, exactly. And I guess that's what being a parent is all about, right?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's a Boy!

Our family will be welcoming a baby boy around March 4! I have been so remiss about blogging about this wondrous news and it feels a bit silly to recount it all again after it's been known for quite awhile, but for the sake of continuity for this blog, here's a bit of what's happening with my pregnancy journey with baby #3.

A baby boy is going to be such an exciting addition to our family. My mom's family has not welcomed a baby boy into the family for nearly 20 years! I have a feeling this little boy is going to be treated like a king.

I am nearly 20 weeks now and enjoying that sweet spot of pregnancy where the sickness is gone and my energy is returning. The first trimester was pretty rough and I survived by taking B6 and Unisom to quell the nausea. I started coming out of that fog around 15 weeks and am feeling good now.

I am making it a goal and a priority to exercise throughout this pregnancy, and it seems to be helping with my mood and energy levels. I am pretty obsessed with Stroller Strides at this point and hoping and anticipating that I can continue until the end. I'm still running and doing most of the resistance work except for the ab work, since my stupid hernia hurts like heck already. That stupid hernia is one of the worst parts of pregnancy for me.

Emotionally, I've been see sawing a little bit. Mostly good and enjoying our family in this special phase of life, but so very tired much of the time and sometimes feel overwhelmed by the endless tasks required as a mommy of a 2 year old and a 1 year old. Every day is long and full and I'm ready to collapse into bed soon after the girls are both tucked in!

Despite the continuous exhaustion, I am reminded every single day of how lucky and blessed I am to have a healthy, happy family. Some reminders lately have come like a slap in the face- the recent death of our dear friend' 5 year old son has been one of those huge, in-your-face moments that reminds Gary and I to hug our babies tight and never, ever take these precious moments with our young children for granted. We are on this earth for a short, precious time and I am determined to remember that and enjoy this beautiful journey.
Surprise cupcakes with my family to find out the baby's sex!

It's a BOY!! (notice the blue frosting)

17 weeks

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Being a mom to a 2 yr old is so fun. Juliet is enamored by the moon and every night she asks to go out to look at the moon. She says she wants to "hop way up high to the moon!"....though I'm actually translating that a bit for her. What she actually says is, "Up! Up high! Me hop high to Moon!"
It's just so heart breakingly sweet.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

File Under..."What NOT to say to a 2 yr old"

"Juliet, if you stay in that [bath] water any longer, you're going to turn into a fish!"


Juliet gives me a HORRIFIED look, reaches her arms out to me desperately from the tub, and cries, "No, mama...no fish!"


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My birthday baby

Dear Audrey,

You are turning 1 year old in just a couple days. It is so bittersweet for a mama to watch her child grow. You are growing into such a lovely and beautiful little girl. You are walking now on very steady feet- your first steps came about 1 month ago. No more crawling for you! You want to be in on all the action and never want to miss a moment with Juliet, Daddy, and doggie. It was good motivation to learn to walk!

You are a happy, content child, and have been since birth. You smile big and brightly and show off your cute little teeth- 2 on top and 2 on bottom. Teething can be a little hard on occasion but you're otherwise an easygoing little girl. You've started to enjoy playing with balls and blocks and putting on sparkly necklaces- just like big sister. You also love to play with Ellie, who is endlessly patient with the tugs and pulls.

You are still nursing a few times a day and I am enjoying that special bond we share in the dim light of your nursery. I am eager for you to start sleeping through the night since mama is tired! I started letting you cry in the middle of the night just a few days ago. I'm sorry for the rude birthday present. I know you won't hold it against me and that I'll be a better mama for you when we both are sleeping a longer stretch at night. I love you and it's so painful to make decisions like this when I just want to cuddle you and nuzzle you until I hear the deep, slow sounds of  your sleep again. I never want you to hurt, never want you to feel alone.

You enjoy cuddling during the day and being "worn" in a wrap or carrier still, but you also make it clear when you want down to explore on your own. You have a wonderful streak of curiosity and independence that I love to sit back and watch. It is such a privilege to be your mother, to spend this first year with you, and look forward to all that is to come.

You entered this world last year in a time that was full of grief and sadness for your grandma's passing. I can't imagine a better soul being sent to us from heaven to help me heal. You are my light and my joy, and I love you- forever and ever.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I took the girls to Home Goods today and we briefly browsed through the children's section. Juliet was being delightful and wonderful. We passed by the small selection of Halloween costumes, and she became absolutely smitten with the purple fairy costume.


And so it begins...

She will be a purple fairy princess for Halloween this year, at her choosing. I guess mama only gets 2 years of being in charge of costumes.

And I guess she figured out what a princess was on her own, despite never having watched a single Disney princess movie. I even go so far as to call the princess dolls we see at the store, "the girl with the brown hair and the pretty dress", instead of "the pretty princess." I've always known that she has been hard wired since birth to be a feminine girl- she has loved sparkly things and jewelry since infancy. It looks like our princess phase, which was always inevitable, is starting.

Juliet in her magical rainbow fairy costume (keeping the purple one for Halloween.)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

One year later.

I miss you. Every single day.

Thank you for loving me and caring for me and guiding me. Thank you for showing how to live a noble and purposeful life.

I so desperately wish I was sitting on the counter in your kitchen, chatting about the day with you while your grandchildren ran circles around your feet. I love you.

in loving memory of my mom

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I have been practicing the ABCs with Juliet while we drive in the car.

Instead of singing the ABCs, she just repeats the letter back to me. And every single time, she does the cutest damned thing. It goes like this:

Mom: "A"
Juliet: A!!"
Mom: "B"
Juliet: "B!!"
and so on...

And then we get to this part:

Mom: "U"

Juliet: "Me!!"

It kills me every single time.

Friday, July 13, 2012

a conversation in my house goes like this.

J: "Mommy!"
(I'm in the back of the house, putting my contacts in. I ignore her.)
J: "Mommy?"
Me: "Yeah, baby, I'm back here. I'll be right there."
J: "Mommy!" (gets louder)
Me: "In a minute, my love. Mommy's getting ready so we can go to the park."
J: "Mommy!" (louder, more insistent)
Me: "I hear you. I will be right there."
J: "Mommy!" (louder)
J: "Mommy!" (louder)
J: "Mommy!" (at top of lungs. Not angry, but LOUD)
J: "MOMMY!!!!"

Me: "WHAT?!" (exasperated)

Juliet: "Hiiiiiiiiiii!" (in sweet, sing-songy voice)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

special memories

It's amazing how many wonderful moments happen every single day that are so precious and memorable. These are just a few from today:

Juliet and Audrey giggling like crazy together while they jump on the bed and take turns getting tossed in the air.

Juliet farts loudly. We both erupt in laughter, and then I tell her, "It's okay. Everybody farts sometime." Conversation ensues:
"Dada?" Yes. Dada farts!
"Baba?" Yes. Baba (grandpa) farts!
"CeCe?" Yes. Cece (aunt christy) farts!
"Uncle?" Yes. Uncle farts!
"Doggie?" Yes. Doggie farts!
We laugh and laugh as we go through every family member who farts.

Audrey's first carousel ride. All smiles.


Nursing Audrey to sleep while Juliet sits quietly in the chair rubbing Audrey's head.
Putting Juliet to sleep, kissing her forehead, and walking out the door as she blows kisses to me.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Audrey put these necklaces on all by herself. Taking after her sister!

4th of July

Classic Juliet face.

Licorice on the safari tram.

Naked baby. Dog. Life is good.

Playing in the blanket fort.

Audrey is such a happy baby. I am so lucky.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

grief at 11 months

The girls refused to take their afternoon nap yesterday. In a desperate, exhausted attempt to get them to sleep, I drove in circles around my town. Surprisingly, this is the first time that I've ever attempted this strategy. And, it worked- at least for a little while.

I was so tired and emotional from a long week and I found myself driving along Bastanchury Road, enroute to my mom's resting place. With tears running down my face, I turned into the memorial park and stopped at her grave. I left the girls in the car with the air conditioning blasting, and sat at her grave, lying my face on the cool marble and sobbing and shouting. I miss her. It's not fair. I still need my mom, and she's gone, and I hate it.

Today was a new day, and actually a very good, busy day. I ran a 10K. It was great. I guess that's what grief at this stage is like- a very, very hard day mixed in with the rest of life. I still think of my mom every single day, many times a day, and during the middle of the night when I am shuffling between my room and Audrey's. My mom passed away 11 months ago. We are nearing the anniversary and I can feel it looming like a very unwelcome storm on the horizon.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Nursing feet

This photo doesn't look like much, but it preserves a special moment in time for me. Nursing my precious Audrey, while her leg hangs off of mine, and her little toes curl in the darkness.

I don't want to forget this. All the hours spent with my baby girl, rocking her in her room in the dark as she nurses in my lap. When she was a newborn, she was so small that I needed to prop her up with a nursing pillow, and her whole body curled in against mine. Now that she is growing, I casually place her body across mine, and her legs lazily dangle off the edge. I love these moments with my daughter.

This is the intimate bond that happens at night between mother and child, when everyone else is sleeping.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

this is what's been happening around here...


I pray my daughters have long lasting female friendships like I've been lucky to have.

Juliet wearing her favorite shirt...again...and again...

Beach day! Both the girls loved it! (Some helpful stranger had to help me carry everything back to the car. Lesson: leave the tent at home next time!)

I know that "the days are long but the years are short"...but a 10 month old teething AND a 2 year old also getting her molars in is quite the tiring challenge! My poor babies.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Juliet's 2nd birthday party

These photos are a couple weeks behind, and I still need to write a letter to Juliet for her birthday. But, for now, I'd like to just post the photos. It was such a fun day! We had a "Circus" theme, and I was really happy with how everything turned out. A lot of my "mom friends" came with their kids, so there were kids running around everywhere and the energy was just amazing! I really enjoy planning these parties for my girls and making it a special day.

a day at the farm

I took the girls to the local high school farm today, as part of a field trip with the MOMS Club. (yes, we have a high school here with an agriculture program, which is unusual given that this is a typical suburban city and there's not much in the way of farming around here.)

We had such a good time. Juliet enthusiastically greeted all of the animals, and loved petting each of them and feeding the lambs.  She is growing into such a delightful little girl.

And I'll admit that I loved it too. The fun part of being a mom is that you get to enjoy these moments of seeing the world through childlike eyes again. I especially enjoyed greeting the cows and having them lick my hand with their big, scratchy tongues. It's getting me excited to introduce the girls to the horse world in a few years and be able to get back into horseback riding myself, too! Being around the animals and that familiar smell of manure and alfalfa just brought back such wonderful childhood memories of riding our horse Esprit and learning compassion and responsibility in taking care of an animal.

Friday, June 1, 2012

trying to get back into this blog thing...

Fun day at the zoo with my girls! And now they are peacefully napping. Ahhhhh.....what a lovely Friday!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mama's new bikini

I bought a new bikini today from Target. Juliet carried it through the whole store, and then asked me to wear it when we got home. It's only inside our house...just imitating mama...so why not, right?
Anyway, she kept patting the padded top and saying, "Yummies!". Oh, dear! I'm glad she knows that breasts are for feeding babies, but it still makes me laugh!