Monday, March 10, 2014

{ What I don't want to forget about 19 months }

Note: This is in no way a finished post. What follows below was written on January 20th, with the intention to finish it up and publish it ASAP...and that never happened. But since Lainie is now 20.5 months old, changing faster than I can blink, and I don't appear to be acquiring any more free time for blogging, I'm sending this out into the world as is. I really don't want to forget.

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The way she curves around my belly when I rock her to sleep. The way her head fits perfectly in the crook of my shoulder. Her silky-soft golden brown hair; that wispy mullet in the back. How she can now pull open drawers that {moments ago, it seems} were too high and too heavy for her to budge. How in the past week she's starting saying "UP!" in a commanding, deeper-than-normal, slightly annoyed voice, complete with arms up, but no eye contact. The way she hopefully suggests "Ba?" {bath} during every diaper change. Her obsession with "ee-ee" {Caspar Babypants music videos}, and the somewhat disturbing fact that she knows how to plug the HDMI cable from the TV into my laptop to make "ee-ee" happen. Her delight at turning on and off light switches, also known as "ight." The way she loves to help pick up clothes and put them in the laundry hamper or washer--and how just a few days ago, she realized she can open her dresser drawers, and now delights to "put away" her own clothes {never mind that they are never folded or in the right drawers by the time they've traveled from me to Lainie's drawer of choice}. How she has started calling herself "Nee-nee" and refers to herself with giddy delight. Her fascination with earrings, and frequent conversations that go something like this:

Lainie {touching her earlobe}: "Ear!"
Me: "Yes, that's Lainie's ear."
Lainie {furrowed brow and shaking her head, still touching her ear}: "Dada...no!"
Me: "No, Dada doesn't have earrings."
Lainie: "Bapa...no!"
Me: "No, Bapa doesn't have earrings."
Lainie: "Nee-nee...no!"
Me: "No, Lainie doesn't have earrings!"
Lainie {triumphantly pointing to my ears}: "Mama!"
Me: "Yes, Mama has earrings."
Usually followed by a discussion of why I'm not wearing earrings today {if I'm not} or a detailed examination of said earrings if I am.

Monday, March 3, 2014

{ Thankful }

Today I am thankful for the certainty that I right here, surrounded by milky burp cloths and MegaBlocks, a perpetually-running clothes washer and two tiny humans who depend on me for pretty much everything, is exactly where I am supposed to be. Doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I also know myself well enough to know that this certainty is probably fleeting. Counters full of dirty dishes, or pine needles strewn across the floor, or a nap for Lainie that I deem "too short" may easily send me into a self-centered tailspin of I can't handle this! Life with two littles is too much! 

The truth is, I chose this. I wanted--and still do want--this. I begged God for years to let me be a stay-at-home mom if and when the time came for me to be married and have children. I was completely uninterested in dating any man who also did not hold this as a non-negotiable component of marriage. This has always been my biggest dream. But it is hard. So much harder, in reality, to be okay with this level of I'm-not-in-control...the tiny humans I created seem to be in charge instead.

But, this morning, I am okay with the clutter. With how loooooong it takes to do the simplest tasks with a toddler-helper and a baby who loves to nurse all.the.time. With the astonishing fact that we suddenly create a full load of dirty laundry every.single.day. {And the accompanying astonishing fact that it is well-nigh impossible to find time to fold said load of laundry. When did folding laundry become so hard?! And why?} So I am reveling in this certainty, frolicking in it, you could even say. Because it is delightful and, honestly, completely new and foreign to me to be so sure of the rightness of this while simultaneously looking out over a home full of unfinished tasks that I know I will not be able to complete anytime soon.

I'm thankful that Lainie woke up at the same time as me--even though I'm learning that my days are much smoother if I can at least take a shower, eat breakfast, and nurse David before she wakes up. I'm thankful for mountains of oatmeal, slathered in butter and brown sugar, and for the coffee Mike makes {and leaves for me} before I'm even awake. I'm thankful for Lainie's enthusiastic help with David's bath when it became apparent that all three of us were in dire need of bathing. For the smell of baby lotion and snuggly sling time while washing dishes. For food to eat, dirty dishes to wash, and hot water. For raindrops heavy on the roof and a cozy house. For a husband who works so hard to make this--this--possible: Me. Here. Doing these things. May I never take this work, this incredible and costly privilege, for granted.

These babies are my greatest work. And if the housekeeping suffers {it will} and the meals are less than gourmet {they are} and the hours are long and unpredictable {!!}, I am still so incredibly thankful and blessed to be here. Doing these things.

And since the tiny man is now making it clear that he is desperate for my attention, I'm going to give it to him!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

{ Jellybean Jellybean! }

I am almost 30 weeks pregnant, and it's not just that I haven't blogged about it much...I feel like I haven't thought about it much. Between parenting a toddler, two stressful months trying to buy this house, moving, and then unpacking, changing churches, finding a new women's group and a new community group and just generally starting from scratch in so many areas--while still parenting a toddler and realizing that I have a really hard time living in "unfinished" spaces, but lack the time/energy/money to instantly make this house "ours" in all the ways I want to--well, let's just say that this pregnancy has flown by. In some ways it seems like that day in May when I took a pregnancy test was a lifetime ago. And yet, if Jellybean follows his sister's footsteps and arrives 2+ weeks before his due date, we could have a newborn eight weeks from now. THAT, my friends, is hard for me to believe!
 
Oh, I didn't tell you?...

 
We had the 20-week anatomy ultrasound on September 17, the day before we closed on the house and moved in. Mr. Jellybean is happy and healthy; no abnormalities. We weren't expecting to find anything wrong, and while Lainie's 20-week ultrasound was also perfectly normal, Mike and I aren't fearful that something will crop up. The blissful, na├»ve assurance that a normal 20-week ultrasound is a 100% guarantee of a healthy baby is gone, but we aren't worried. It was reassuring, and we trust Jesus with Jellybean's health and development. We might get a non-diagnostic ultrasound in the next few weeks if we can schedule one, just for fun, but it's not a big deal if it doesn't happen.
 
He was curled up in the coziest little ball for most of the exam, his head and hands and feet all mixed up with each other. He was playing with the umbilical cord, which the tech said babies often do, and practicing breathing and just generally pretty chill and obviously quite comfy. The ultrasound measurements put Jellybean in the 93rd percentile for size {Lainie was usually in the 30s to 50s, if I remember correctly}. I found that hilarious, because my bump was/is pretty small. Even up till a few weeks ago, there were times when it was really hard to tell I'm pregnant--especially when I laid on my back, I didn't look pregnant at all. {Just FYI: That is no longer the case.} Our midwife, after feeling Jellybean and measuring me, is skeptical: "This is not a 93rd percentile baby. I've felt a lot of big babies, and this is not one of them. I'd guess he'll be about seven pounds." I'm inclined to agree with her assessment--especially since every.single.person. who asks how far along I am/when I'm due, is flabbergasted that I'm not bigger!
 
Take a look for yourself:

:: weeks 17, 18, 22, 23 ::
 
:: weeks 24, 26, 28, 29 ::
 
I have a couple of observations about these "bump progress" photos.
1. It appears that some weeks, my butt grows more than my bump.*sigh*
2. You can definitely tell which days were rough...or which days were preceded by rough nights. ;-)
3. I sincerely hope that if and when he looks at these photos, Jellybean doesn't think that we didn't love him as much because of all the weeks we forgot to take pictures. Honestly, we forget!
 
With Lainie, the placenta was attached to the front of my uterus, providing lots of extra padding between her and me, so I rarely felt her move. This time the placenta is at the top of my uterus, so I feel Jellybean moving a lot compared to his sister! That doesn't necessarily mean he is more active--though it's possible--just that his placenta is in a spot where it doesn't prevent me from feeling him moving. Like Lainie, he doesn't move much when I am active, but he really goes to town if I sit or lie down for awhile.
 
On Sunday I dug out my notes from our childbirth class and my hypnobirth book, and then our doula came over for dinner and a chat about Jellybean's birth, and suddenly having a baby is seeming a whole lot more real. I'm not necessarily feeling more prepared--but is anyone ever really ready for their life to be exploded by a newborn?--but it's seeming a lot more real. Suddenly...I don't really know how or when it happened...but we are almost in the home stretch!
 
To close, here is a sweet little picture of my girlie wearing my scarf {any type of dress-up means putting the item around her neck} and blowing a kiss.

Friday, November 15, 2013

{ Halloween 2013 }

Pretend with me, for a moment, that it is not already the middle of November. Literally the middle.
 
*gulp*
 
Pretend it's November first and it's still cool to talk about what you did for Halloween, k?
 
K. Our friends Luke and Joanna threw a Halloween party. Joanna is pregnant with their first baby {he and Jellybean share a due date by some calculations, by others Jellybean is due five days later}, and in spite of the fact that I'm not "into" Halloween, I was excited to go because you just never know how many opportunities you may have to dress up a pregnant belly in a costume. However, I couldn't figure out anything to "be" that I really liked...
 
...until Mike's parents came home from a trip to LA and gave him a luchador mask.
 
I will be Nacho Libre.
 
Yesss!!
 
Now, I am not a Jack Black fan--matter of fact, I can't stand him except in Nacho Libre, which is doubly ironic because I love that movie. It is one of the funniest I've ever seen, and in it Jack Black is perfectly brilliant. Absolutely spot-on.
 
So, without further ado, allow me to introduce to you Nacho Libre, a leetle Mexican orphan, and the very well-dressed {obviously wealthy and highly successful} luchador who accompanied them:
 

Lainie's little dress was also a gift from Mike's parents, from this same LA trip. Little did they know they were outfitting 2/3 of our family for a Halloween party!

 
Lainie was super excited to see her friend Julia. For some reason she found the popcorn in Julia's cup much tastier then the popcorn in her cup, so poor Julia {aka Marathon Baby} found most of her snacks were consumed by Mexican Orphan.

 
Somebody asked if we put makeup on Lainie's face to make her look dirty...nope, she just falls down and bruises her face a lot.
{Don't you love Olive the dog's face here?! "Please can I have some of your food? Please please please?"}

 
Four of the five pregnant women who came that night: me, Joanna as Paula Deen, Kristina as Facebook, and Krissy as a marathon runner.
 
Shhhh...don't tell, but it was my first time ever dressing up for Halloween, and it was actually fun!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

{ Hard }

I don't want to admit it, but this season is hard and I just really want it to be over.

I'm always tired. If I nap when Lainie does, the amount of "stuff" I accomplish in a day {already not much} becomes infinitesimally small...and besides being tired, I feel like I'm drowning in little projects that either a} take sooooo long to do if attempted when Lainie's awake, or b} require Mike's help. I'm stuck between getting more sleep and getting less done--which is ironic because I'd probably have more energy--or being productive while Lainie naps, yet exhausted and/or comatose by midafternoon.

I know that in a few weeks I won't even remember most of the things that are driving me to tears on a daily basis now. Yet feeling like I am treading water with a growing unfinished project list is.driving.me.insane. I know it's the pregnancy hormones, I know if I weren't on the brink of the third trimester and parenting a toddler full-time I wouldn't feel so overwhelmed. Honestly I could get most of this done in one or two days without those two limitations. Instead it's 9:45pm and I am blogging because I DID take a nap today, and now I'm hysterical because it's too late to break out the paint and fix all those dings in the wall from when we moved in. And you know, that must happen before Jellybean is born. Preferably before I wake up tomorrow morning and face yet another day with dinged up walls.

Is there any way we can possibly be really moved in, really settled, before this baby is born? Is that baseline I crave actually attainable? The one where all the windows that actually need window coverings have them, and all the safety latches are installed, and the furniture is where we want it, and all my jewelry isn't piled in a heap on top of our dresser? Is Lainie ever going to sleep through the night again? Pardon a little mommy rant: She has gone from sleeping 12-13 hours every night before we moved, to waking up about three times per night...every night...she's only slept through the night twice in almost two months. I did not at all expect this for my last few months before having a newborn...and it is so, so frustrating. I don't know how to help her. I don't know why she wakes so often--we've lived here for almost two months, so I don't think it's the transition/newness/change anymore. *deep, deep sigh*

I would like to close {well actually I wouldn't, I have a lot more to say on this subject but I have publicly whined more than enough for one night} by saying that this isn't all hormonal pregnant lady craziness, some of my urgency IS warranted. I recently discovered that the gorgeous blinds we got for our bedroom, which we both just love, are totally see-through when it's dark outside and lights are on inside. Like, if the neighbors happen to be in their backyard at night and a light is on in our bedroom, they can see EVERYTHING. Because there isn't a fence or anything between us and the neighbors on that end of the house. Now that makes me slightly freaked out. {Actually it makes me WAY more than slightly freaked out, but I am trying to remain calm and not hyperventilate right now as I think about it.} So I went and bought a curtain rod pronto, even though we were going to wait because curtain rods aren't cheap and our old bedroom curtains are not long or wide enough for the big bay window in our bedroom. Nonetheless I got this rod and I am determined to hang up our too-short-too-narrow curtains and cover that window, but this requires a certain amount of physical maneuvering that is difficult at this point in the pregnancy, and the use of power tools that I haven't used before, and have I mentioned that this is the kind of project that would be foolish to undertake while Lainie is underfoot? So I guess I'm going to bed AGAIN with naked windows. Someday...

For your viewing pleasure...because I took a picture earlier today while Lainie and I were making the bed and it was pretty outside...here is our bedroom window with those nefarious blinds.


It looks innocent enough, but there is quite a busy street behind that fence, and only about ten feet separates this end of our house from our neighbors' house. Really not the sort of environment for naked windows. I know that Mike will have time to put up the curtain rod very soon, and about three seconds after that I won't even remember how long I lived in this tortured state, but right now I'm here. Trying to work up the courage to go to bed. Goodnight.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

{ Elaina: 16 Months }

Dear Lainie,
 
You are sixteen months old, and I don't know where the time has gone! You are a chubby-cheeked toddler who is constantly trotting around the house, pointing and making insistent noises at things you want, babbling nonsense baby words nonstop {many variations on "dada" constituting a large portion of your vocabulary}, and still super snuggly when you are tired or not feeling well. You have grown and changed so much the past few months, and with the whirlwind of moving and the tiredness of growing your baby brother, I feel like I've already forgotten so much. I definitely haven't remembered to take as many photos!
 
So here are some snapshots of you now, sixteen-month-old Lainie Rae. Tomorrow I will wake up pinching myself for not remembering this or that, I'm sure!
 
:: old-ish photo...taken just before we moved ::
 
You love to pretend to talk on my phone, which you also call Dada. I turn on the screen {a photo of Daddy holding you the day after you were born} and you jabber away. Actually, anything suffices as a phone in a pinch, from your own hand to a spoon, doll, or sippy cup. If you're playing with my phone and the screen goes to sleep, or if you somehow unlock it and get into a program, you immediately march over to me moaning, "Oh no no no no no!" through pursed lips.
 
"Oh no no no no no no"--repeated ad infinitum, with your mouth half-closed and your brow furrowed, is your new phrase of choice. It may be used to announce that you are bringing me a book from the bookshelf you're not supposed to touch, or that you dropped something, or that you got into the text messages in my phone. Whatever disaster precipitates the announcement, you definitely understand that "no no" means bad things.
 
Your most-used word is still Dada, which applies to anything and everything you desire. Including me. If I ask you to say Mama, you grin and yell, "Dada!" Mama is reserved for the most dire of emergencies, when you really need to get my attention.
 
You know how to say dog {doh}, duck {duh}, ball {ba-ba}, bubble {buh-buh}, Bible {by-buh} and maybe cat...I can't remember, I haven't had a nap today...
 
Your hair is getting thicker and longer, especially in the back, and you are in love with the little clip on hairbows I got you last week. You ask for them {by pointing} if you see them, and when we get dressed in the morning, if I ask you if you want a hairbow, you get a huge grin and point at them. They don't always stay in for long, but they are well-loved.

:: wearing your friend Julia's headband when we stayed at their house, between moves ::
 
You are a lot more interested in the dishwasher now than you were before we moved. You enjoy helping me unload the silverware, but you're especially fond of gathering a few toys on the open dishwasher door and sitting with them while I clean up the kitchen. It's such a nice spot to swing your legs and read a book!


 
The last few days you've started singing. A lot. For a month or two, you've cradled your milk cup in the crook of your arm at every single meal and rocked back and forth, splitting into the biggest grin when I start singing "rock a bye baby" or "twinkle twinkle little star." It seems you think you are rocking your milk to sleep. I'm serious. You do this at every single meal--and now you know enough of the tune that your baby syllables are recognizable snippets of twinkle twinkle or rock a bye baby.
 
 
 
Ever since you were born, we've sung Jesus Loves Me to you as your lullaby. You sing bits of it now too, including the word "Bible," which is quite possibly the sweetest thing ever!
 
You are also quite interested in your dollies, frequently carrying one or two of them around and very sweetly swaying back and forth and singing to them.
 
You weaned yourself at 15 1/2 months. For a month or more, you'd only been nursing once a day, first thing in the morning--which I was happy to let you do, since it meant long sleepy snuggles in bed with me. But one morning two or three weeks ago, you made it clear you wanted your binky while we snuggled...and that was that. It was much easier and less stressful than I anticipated; ever since you've never asked to be nursed or even expressed interest. It's still such a bittersweet milestone! Every day it becomes clearer that you are a toddler, not a baby, and while toddler Lainie is sweet and precious and hilarious and so much fun, I miss baby Lainie. I suppose this is how parents feel about every one of their kids' stages in life.
 
In the past few days, you have also taken the initiative {read: Elastigirl arms can reach ridiculously far onto the table} to start feeding yourself with a spoon. Your skill and aim is MUCH better than I expected--you actually hit your mouth with almost every bite!! A fair bit of yogurt/applesauce/etc. still ends up on your face, the spoon is usually upside down, and half the fun seems to be "mixing" whatever food is in the bowl, but you are doing really really well. And so far, you seem to be right-handed.
 
 
 You still take two naps most days, though missing your afternoon nap is no longer the catastrophe it once was. Morning naps are leisurely affairs, often 2-3 hours.
 
Your favorite place in the house is the garage...in place of that, you will gladly trot up and down the sidewalk as long as I'll let you. You are also quite enamored with the neighbors' cats, Daisy and Theodore.
 
:: one day as I unloaded groceries from the car, you carried a bag of coffee up and down the sidewalk, stopping to sit on the stoop and talk to and pat the coffee with each trip ::
 
 
There is so much more I could say, but this post is already pretty long.
 
Love you Lainie Bug,
Mama

Saturday, October 26, 2013

{ Pumpkin Patch }

Last weekend, we went to a pumpkin patch.
Turns out that not only was it Lainie's first time, but Mike's and mine as well. Work has been demanding a lot of Mike's time recently, so it felt deliciously indulgent to be going somewhere together, as a family, during daylight hours, just for fun. Lainie was obviously bewildered by her parents' seemingly crazy and out-of-character decision to wander aimlessly around a muddy field full of funny-shaped giant orange balls. She was more interested in chewing on the tab of her new {hand-me-down} jacket than perusing the pumpkins.
In spite of the cloud cover, it was a delicious afternoon, with gorgeous trees, enormous pumpkins, and plenty of very excited little people.
 
 
 



:: obligatory family selfie to commemorate first baby's first time at a pumpkin patch ::
 
Once we left the pumpkins and walked by the cornfield, however, Lainie was on! She was determined to find her way through the corn maze all by her little self.
 

 
...Until, of course, she fell down in the mud approximately five steps in.


On the way home--after coffee and pastries to warm up--I was craving homemade macaroni and cheese, so we swung by the store to get what we needed. Mike and Lainie watched an episode of Baby Einstein and munched on goldfish crackers while I made the mac and cheese. {I'm not sure who made out best with that deal: Lainie got uninterrupted Daddy time and a movie; Daddy got to snuggle with his girlie, and I got to make a meal without fourteen dozen interruptions!} 

 
One more to close...just because they are so.darn.cute.