Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's the little things

My sister does a weekly series on her blog called "it's the little things", to highlight all the small memories that make life so beautiful. I thought I'd start doing it, too.

Here goes.

It's the little things.

It's my baby giving me French kisses - with a lot of tongue- while simultaneously grabbing my glasses off my head.

It's a tea party with my sweet Juliet while Audrey takes her afternoon nap.
It's Juliet so enthusiastically feeding Audrey some of her first "real" food-- carrots. It's the mess that ensues.

It's that smile!

It's also...a massage scheduled this weekend for my birthday (thanks Gary!). And then Disneyland on Sunday for my birthday, too! (thanks, Gary!)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

On the eve of my Mom's birthday

When I was 10 or 12 years old, I would occasionally have a severe pang of anxiety that something terrible had happened to my mom.

This would happen when my mom would go out for an errand on a weekend afternoon, saying that she was going to the grocery store, and "would be right back".  We weren't being left alone or anything; my dad was home too. But an hour would pass, and then maybe another, and my mom was still gone.

I would sit at the kitchen window, nervously awaiting the sound of her car driving up the cul de sac. And I would convince myself in those moments of waiting that something bad had happened, that maybe my mom had been in a terrible car crash and was never coming home for me.

I never told anyone that I was scared about this until mentioning it to my mom a couple years ago.  I suppose because I felt embarrassed. Because she would inevitably come bouncing through the door with bags of groceries, and it was clear that she had taken just a bit longer than expected to run another errand while she was out.

Well, something terrible has happened to my mom. And she's not coming back for me anymore and it still hurts like hell.

Tomorrow would have been my mom's 57th birthday. We visited her grave today and left my mom some flowers and talked to her for awhile.  I picked out some orange freesia that smelled wonderful. It's weird leaving flowers for someone who's passed away.

I sobbed at her grave for a little bit while Gary stayed with the girls in the car. And then we brought the girls to her grave, too.  Audrey sat on the cool marble slate that has her grandma's name, birth, and death written on it. Juliet happily bounced around clutching freesia blossoms in her hands.

I used to love having my birthday fall so closely to my mom's. (Just 1 day in between; 2 on a leap year.) Somehow it made me feel special to be connected to my mom in that way. I guess it still does.

Last year, mom came home from stroke rehabilitation on her birthday. It was a bittersweet day, welcoming her home after 5 weeks in the hospital. Her body and mind had been so badly damaged by the tumor and the surgery and the strokes. But my sister still made a birthday cake for Mom anyway. And the following weekend, we had a birthday party for me at our house, and I have a beautiful photo of my mom holding Juliet and smiling.  This year, I wrote a card for my Mom and Juliet decorated it with stickers and crayons.

I want to honor my mom with bright freesia and joyful children, instead of drowning in the grief. But this isn't the easiest of days.

Friday, February 24, 2012

On an afternoon ER Visit

A friend of mine posted this photo, and I just have to share it. It's so beautiful. I love how natural it is for each baby bird to be tucked under its mama's wing. We can learn so much from Nature in how to protect and care for our young.

Speaking of protecting our young- we had an accident yesterday.

The whole day was going so well up to that point. And then I decided to try and fold laundry while Juliet played in the backyard. (The laundry room connects out to our garden) I was watching her play up on the terraced garden area, and then I turned away toward the laundry.

And then I heard a hard thump against the side of the house, and knew exactly what had happened.

Juliet likes to walk along the cinder block wall that is on the side of our house (even though I discourage it). She was walking on it, and fell about 3 feet down into the cement rain gutter, hitting the back of her head really, really hard on the concrete siding.

I ran out to find her crumpled against the concrete wall. It's in moments like these when you realize how vulnerable and small your child really is. And my heart practically beat itself right out of its chest.

A lot of tears later, and it was clear that this injury was a bit worse than the many other head falls she has sustained in the last year. She's had several goose eggs on her forehead, but she wasn't recovering as well from this blow. So, with some panic on my part, and a phone call to the triage nurse, we headed to the ER.

The end of the story is that she is fine. Thank goodness, it was just a nasty bump. Protecting our young from harm as they grow older and more independent is so difficult; finding that balance between letting my child explore the outdoors and grow into her own person, without harming herself...it's tricky.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


  1. The most recent pair of "mom shoes" that I purchased (Eccos) make me look like an Amish housekeeper. They are insanely comfortable but ugly as sin.
  2. I like the smell of breastmilk poop. Yes, I like the smell of Audrey's dirty diapers. I don't rub my face in them or anything, but it's a smell I'm going to miss. Kind of like sweet popcorn.
  3. I do not like the smell of Juliet's diapers!
  4. I'm letting Juliet dip her fingers into my latte and lick the foam while I write this blog entry. 
  5. I really do think my children are better looking than other people's children.
  6. I haven't mopped my kitchen floor or the bathroom floors in a shamefully long time.
  7. I'm pleased that I am below my pre-pregnancy weight. Mothers can still be vain.
  8. I let my daughter watch cartoons every single day. She watches them so I can have the quiet time to put the baby down for a nap or bedtime.  Sometimes she watches them just because I need a damn break. Don't call CPS on me. Her favorite right now is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
  9.  The chronic sleep deprivation has made me stupid. I can't think straight much of the time.I hope it's not permanent. Even still, I want another baby (eventually).
  10. I think I'm doing a pretty good job. Most days anyway.
  11. As I wrote down #10, I looked down at the baby in my arms and realized she had orange marker all over her face! I gave her a marker to hold to distract her (sitting at the table with Juliet as she drew a picture, and I blogged) and the top came off. Oops.

Monday, February 20, 2012

21 months of Juliet

Dear Juliet,

Today you turned 21 months. You are such a delightful little girl.

We went to the zoo today and had so much fun as a family. You loved watching the monkeys and the camels;  I liked the anteater! Daddy carried you around on his shoulders and you pointed out each animal with delight.

Daddy took you on the carousel at the zoo. It went very fast and you weren't too sure about it at first. He says you hung onto your horse for dear life, but every time the carousel turned toward me, I saw you grinning from ear to ear while you daddy had a protective arm resting on you. As soon as you got off, you pointed the horse and exclaimed, "More! More!"

You adore your sister Audrey, and are so kind and gentle with her. You love planting kisses on her forehead. She watches your every move and I can tell you are going to be very special friends. Sometimes it takes my breath away to watch the two of you giggle at each other. I am amazed that I created two such beautiful children and I am so glad that the two of you will always have each other.

This morning I took you and Audrey to my morning workout group. All the kids were sitting in their respective strollers, waiting for their mamas to sprint up and down a nearby hill.

Every time I rounded the corner and returned to the stroller, you stood up, threw your hands up toward the sky, and very, very enthusiastically shouted, "Hiiii! Mama! Mama! Yaaaay!!"

You were the only kid doing this, and it made me beam with pride and joy. Thank you for being my own personal cheerleader, and thank you for being so joyfully delighted when you see me round that corner to come back to you. I know sometimes it's scary when you don't know exactly where I am, but I promise- I am always here, and I will always, always come for you.

I love you, forever and ever.



Friday, February 17, 2012

6 months of my darling Audrey

 Dear Audrey,

You are 6 months old today. I love you, my sweet, happy girl.

You giggle all of the time now, and it is the best sound in the world.

You're not my little newborn anymore. You are strong, vigorous, and growing. I have no idea how tall you are or how much you weigh, but you're starting to outgrow the 6 month clothes and move into 9 month clothing. You are still nursing well and I'm proud that you're getting such great nutrition and growing so well.

I love the quiet time I have with you in your room when you nurse. It's our special time together and I will always cherish the memory of sitting in your nursery in the dim morning light, rocking you and nursing you while the rest of the house sleeps. I love how you reach up to hold my face while you nurse, and then cling on to my shirt in your sleep with your precious little baby fingers.

You are sitting by yourself so well now that I've started putting you in the bath tub with Juliet every night for an evening bath. You love it! As soon as I put Juliet in the bath, you start lunging your body toward the tub and making it quite clear that you, too, want to be in the water. Juliet loves to have a new bath partner and scoots over to make room for you, patting the water where she wants you to sit. You splash the water with vigor, and giggle when Juliet hands you a new toy to splash. You have a joie de vivre that just radiates from you, and it makes me beam.

I love you, forever and ever. I'm so lucky to be your mama.



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Last Minute Valentines

First, I'll just say: I am a procrastinator. This has not changed since my status has changed to "Mama".

I recently joined a mom's workout group called Stroller Strides. It is awesome. I literally couldn't walk for 3 days after my first workout. Squats, lunges, sprints. This mama is going to be smokin' hot by summertime.


The workout group also does playtime and crafts with the kids at the park afterward, and this week we were invited to bring Valentines to pass out to each of the children. I had a week's notice, but kept forgetting to buy a cheap little pack of Valentines when I went to the store. You know the kind- those cardboard Valentines with some cartoon character like Snoopy.

Since I procrastinated, we made last minute homemade Valentines instead.

I greatly prefer the idea of having them be homemade, anyway. I think I'll be doing things this way from now on. The bonus is that the project was completely free, and Juliet and I got to work together on an art project.

The downsides is that 1) no one else made homemade ones, so we stuck out a bit, and 2) it was a lot messier. And now that I think about it, neither of those things is such a bad thing!

I hope that over time, these small actions will teach my children to value creativity and thrift over commercialism. (Something I also need a reminder of, sometimes!)


Monday, February 13, 2012

still here...

I'm still here! Don't give up on me!

I've been a busy mama with very little time to sit down and write. There's so many things I want to share. Soon!

In the meantime-- my day looked like this. How about yours?

And in honor of Valentine's Day, here is the first of Juliet's artwork to be proudly stuck to the fridge door. Happy Valentine's to the best dada of them all!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Phoney Pants

Juliet is getting to the age where she's learning names of everything and everyone. When I ask her "Who's in your family?", she enthusiastically answers, "Mama! Dada! Audrey!"

When I point to a family photo, she can correctly identify all of her Aunts and her Grandpa. (Jamie- sidenote, but when she sees photos of Eva, she says, "AUDREY!")

So my newest parenting dilemma is-- What title, if any, do I expect her to call our adult friends and neighbors?

My mom was always, always "Mrs. Guth" to our childhood friends. And likewise, we were expected to call my mom's friends "Mrs. ___". To this day, I can't call our lifelong neighbors (P__, K__, M__ families for those who know them) by their first names. I'm 31 years old and I feel like I might somehow get reprimanded if I called Mrs. M__ "Ginny" instead!

There were a couple exceptions when I was growing up. Somehow we've always called my Dad's best friend by his first name, Gene. He's a total hippie so the concept of calling him Mr. just seems a bit ridiculous.

I have a couple best friends who have become "Aunties" to Juliet, so that question is resolved. But for everyone else, I need to figure out my game plan. Something consistent.

Calling adults by their first names just seems so...disrespectful? Because of how I was raised, it's just an innate feeling of discomfort. But on the other hand, the idea of having children call me "Mrs. H__" is also just bizarre. Nor can I really picture some friends being called by their last names or being comfortable with it (I'm thinking of you, Samin.)

How did you grow up? Will that impact your choice as a parent? 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'm having one of those mornings where I feel like this:


I don't write in all CAPS very often, so you should know this is serious.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gary's baptism

January 29, 2012

For the record, this is my most favorite photo of Gary in the entire universe:

my amazing husband