Monday, August 29, 2011

There's a party in my belly

Yes - it's still early.  Really, really early.  I don't know the due date, I haven't heard a heart beat.  This is clearly not Facebook-ready. 

But folks, we've got TWO LINES!  And I'm already making multiple trips to the bathroom, and my super power of smelling everything within a 2 mile radius has returned.  It's true... I'm pregnant. (!!!!!!)

And we couldn't be more excited, blessed, or happy.  Somebody cry those tears of joy with me, because our second Big Adventure has just begun. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekend Roundup

First and foremost, we have to wish a very happy birthday to our resident old guy Jeff, who was the first of our friends to hit the big-30 this weekend! 

We celebrated with an awesome pool party (because nothing says 30 like going to the pool with your bestest buddies).

I have to say, Leah absolutely loved the water.  Not that this was a surprise.  I think she's definitely got the swimming gene.  She even loves to stick her face in the water, that beautiful little weirdo. 

I have to say, there is something very legitimizing about saying, "I'm 30."  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm glad I have a few years left before I have to be that legitimate, but 30 seems like genuine adulthood. 

Jeff celebrated his genuine adulthood with the obligatory "being pulled into the pool" routine.

And, of course, with a bunch of other guys in a hot tub. 

And our special little someone got to stay up MUCH passed her bed time.  We tried to bring the pack and play and put her to bed, but she wasn't having any of that.  I didn't really have much hope for it to begin with, but hey, 30th birthdays only happen once.

We also took some time out to enjoy a free day at the Museum of Nature and Science.  I don't know how much Leah actually got out of the exhibits, but it was a great place for her to enjoy running around. 

We ended our lovely but all-too-quick weekend with a little fun on the grill, and topped with a delicious marinade of onions, mushrooms, garlic and those french-fired onion thingies that are so darn yummy.

All in all, a weekend done right!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We're just easily amused

It doesn't take much to amuse us at our house.

No, for reals

Take, for example, what happened when Casey got a new suitcase in the mail:

Hours of entertainment.

I'm not sure what it says about me that I'm always repurposing oatmeal cartons, paper towel rolls, old vitamin bottles and boxes of all shapes, sizes and forms, but we do seem to make use of rather a lot of items which would have otherwise found their way into the garbage.

Who needs a fancy playhouse when you can just make one instead?!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A love letter to my body. Kind of.

Dear My Body,

I would like to thank you for always supporting me through the many grueling trials I've put you through over the years.  High school athletics?  We rocked it.  Learning to run distance instead of sprint?  You totally didn't let me down.  I let you go a little through college, but you rebounded nicely.  Then, of course, you had the enormous job of housing a person, and you held up like a champ.  You even bounced back (although you'll never be shaped quite the same) and look pretty cute in those jeans again.

Yep, you're pretty awesome.

I know I've been a little unkind to you recently, what with the whole not getting pregnant thing.  But I feel like we're on pretty good terms these days.  I thought we'd gotten to a good place.

Which is why I'm a little confused.  Are you trying to punish me?  I mean, hasn't anyone ever told you that it's not nice to tease someone by dangling something they really, really want in front of them when you have no intention of delivering? 

It's been two days without that all important, you're-not-pregnant monthly reminder.  I'm starting to get my hopes up.  Just a little.  If you could please make sure that this time they're not crushed, I'd really appreciate it. 

In exchange, I promise I'll only eat icecream twice a week, and I'll try really hard not to stretch you to capacity this time around.  Kay?


Friday, August 19, 2011

This week, I've...

The back to school edition!

This week, I've...

...readjusted to getting up at 5a.m.  I still maintain we should only have a 5:00 in the afternoon.

...Stayed at school until at least 5 p.m., except the day I left at 3:30 only to be back at 6:30.

...Met 130ish new people.  Plus some of their parents.

...taught lessons on homophones and paragraph writing.

...joked with my co-workers about things that aren't appropriate.

...missed my girl like crazy, and I'm quite sure the feeling's mutual.  Add mommy guilt.  Lots and LOTS of mommy guilt.

...eaten two meals prepared by my husband and one at a restaurant.  Unhead of since my pregnancy days.

...taught from 7:20-12:35, and again from 1-1:45.

...had more to do than can physically be done in one day.

...had time to cram in only half my lunch, while observing in another classroom.

...nearly lost my voice from speaking so much and so loudly.

...enjoyed going back to school, and very, very much enjoyed coming home again.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'll admit it: I don't miss feeling like a cow

The first time I saw a breast pump, I was a little bit mortified. 

Okay, a lot mortified.  And if you've ever actually used a breast pump, you know exactly what I'm talking about. 

I have to put my... in those things?!  And it's going to do what to them?!

But every day last year, I diligently carted that pump to school.  And every day at lunch time, I shut my door, closed my blinds and plugged in "the contraption."  I even got good at it, so I could talk on the phone, send e-mail or eat lunch, all the while with one arm strapped across my chest so that I could make lunch for someone else.

They nicknamed me milk and cookies.  ("They" being the three people I work most closely with, not the students.  That would be super-awkward.)

Every day, I rushed home as quickly as I could so that I could be there to nurse the little girl and put her down for a nap. 

If you're a working mommy, the first year is just sucky.  I felt awful about having to leave Leah, and I had terrible guilt over the milestones I was missing and the precious moments that were slipping away from me. 

There also never seemed to be enough of me at work, either.  Can we meet to discuss this over lunch?  Um, sure, if you don't mind me whippin' out the girls while you talk.  Let's schedule a meeting after school.  Excellent.  You won't be offended by the person hanging off my nipples?

A little reminiscing:

Last year - Leah was nursing 5 times a day.  That means I had to nurse her before I left for work, she had two bottle feedings during the day (supplied by all the above mentioned pumping), and I rushed home to give her the 4th after work.  This was only partly for her; I also had to relieve that pressure build up from not nursing her all day.  You do remember what happens to a balloon when it is over-inflated, right?

Last year - She was working on sleeping through the night.  We hadn't yet perfected it, meaning that I had to go back to work and try to be a professional after five months without sleeping more than 4 hours in a stretchEver.  That was like some kind of medieval torture.

Last year - I was still suffering from horrible postpartum anxiety, and Leah was still such a tiny pumpkin, leaving her in the care of someone else was terrifying. 

Last year - It didn't occur to me to re-try the bottle over the summer, so she went on strike and refused to take any milk while I was at work.  Talk about guilt!

Yeah, it doesn't really work, that whole being-someone's-everything-when-you're-not-really-there-at-all.


LMS, August 2010
Fortunately, that doesn't last forever.  This year, it's a whole new ball game with our big girl who sleeps through the night, eats independently, talks up a storm and is able to actively play and interact. 


Because my mom watches her at our house 3 days a week, I am actually excited for the 2 days she goes to in-home daycare.  The best part?  So is she!  She loves to play with the other kids and be in a different environment and play with different toys.  It is so neat to see how much fun she is having when I come to pick her up - and, of course, to get her big, gleeful hug when she comes running to me.

All of that gives me a piece of mind I simply didn't have last year. 

LMS, August 2011

And I have to admit: even though I ultimately want to stay home, it is actually easier to go to work than it is to be a stay-at-home mom.  There are definitely more complicated emotional issues as a working mom, but I truly believe that doing my job is easier than the job of being a full-time mommy.  Even though I teach 8th graders (who can be a lot like toddlers in many ways), there are structures and expectations and routines in a school day that toddlers simply don't adhere to.

But the best part - the BEST part! - is that my pump still goes to work every day.  It just goes with Jessica instead of me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The one with that thing I wasn't going to do

The first year just flies by.  And they change sooooo much in that time, every month was something new and different, so I felt no shame in reserving a special post for each of Leah's first 12 months, complete with bear picture for the sake of comparison.

When we hit the one year mark, I couldn't see continuing to write about each new development on a month-by-month basis.  I mean, really.  Enough seemed like enough.

So I resolved to cut back to only once every three months.

But I'm tellin' ya, the last two months?  They've been crazy in terms of Leah's development!  Clearly, I have no choice but to put them all down for the official record book. 

  • Her vocabulary has literally doubled.  I'm pretty sure it's actually trippled.  I would bet my right hand - or at least one or two of the fingers - that she now speaks somewhere around 150 words.
  • She recognizes a vast majority of the animals at the zoo and all the farm animals.  Some are a little tricky - like Zebra, which she calls a horse,  but I figure that's close enough.
  • She knows the following animals and their sounds: dog (arf), kitty (meow), peacock (waaaaaah...okay, so that one is tough to type), cow (moo), monkey (ooh-ooh-aaah-aaah), bird (tweet).
  • We learned the colors green, red and pink, and for about a week that was going swimmingly.  Then we learned yellow, and now everything is yellow.  And also sometimes that's how she feels.  As in, Leah, how do you feel today?  Leah: Yellow!
  • She adores Elmo, and if I sing the theme to Elmo's world, she starts to dance and yells, NELMO!  She also knows Cookie Monster and Abby.
  • It is somuchfun to read books with her, because she stops and points out everything that she knows.  It's kinda hard to get a word in edgewise.  Really, she reads the books to me.  She also asks for books by name.  So cute! 
  • She recognizes the letters M, T, A and E.  That's right.  When they're written on paper.  I'm pretty sure Sesame Street taught her the letter M, which is totally okay with me!
  • Says please and thank you, but usually not without some prompting.
  • Loves to go over and over the names of people in our family. 
  • She discovered that if she says hurt or ow, we will stop and respond.  Although she's not really clear yet on the concept of what hurts.  Mom: What hurts, honey?  Leah: Nelmo.  Mom: Elmo hurts?   Leah: Yeah.
  • Learned what we do when we see a snake: we scream!  Although it toally makes me laugh, I sometimes regret teaching her this one.  Mostly when we go out to eat or are in the grocery store and my child is screaming. 
  • She loves to dress up, and is totally in to hats and shoes.
  • Loves to give hugs and kisses.  She is so sweet about it, and requests to kiss everything from toys, to people, to animals at the zoo and even her food.  We hear, grape... kiss! all the time.  Seriously.
  • She is still not particularly outgoing when we're around people, but talks about them all day after visits.

I can't believe how quickly our baby is turning into a real, bonafide child. 

Seventeen months.  How lucky we are!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

All good things

It is true, what they say: All good things must come to an end. 

If I can just pause to say... um... what???  It's August?  How did that happen, exactly?  Does anyone else feel like this year is passing by at some kind of inhuman speed?

So, to those lazy, hazy days of summer, farewell.

To the summer that introduced us all to the baby of my bestfriend, adieu.

Our trip to New York, so long.

Mornings spent at the zoo, alvederzane.

Afternoon trips to WaterWorld and the pool, adios. 

Beating the heat in our very own backyard, see ya.

A summer spent hiking, picnicing and adventuring, later.

Taking walks every morning at 10:30 and reading books before nap time, cheers. 

Spending time as a family... well, I know that will continue.  And I will jump right back into the swing of being a working mom, and in two weeks this won't seem like such an obstacle to overcome.  But boy, oh boy, is it hard to take that first step to making the transition. 

Leaving this face behind?  It hurts my soul.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Can you spot it?

Every parent will probably tell you that they love bed time.

Besides the obvious, what with it being the end of the day and finally having a little time to themselves, it is a such a nice time of day that allows for some sweet family time.

Leah's bedtime routine is no exception:  bath and play time, lotion, jammies, hugs and kisses, milk, a book, some snuggling and finally, laying down in her crib for bed.

We've taken to letting her run around nekkid after her bath, partly because bare baby cheeks are too cute to resist, but also to give her a chance to air everything out.  You know, down there (I assume diapers must be pretty stiffling, right?).

Last night we took this cute picture.  On the surface, it looks like a smiling, naked post-bath girl.  It wasn't until after that we noticed that something was a little... off.

Did you spot it? 


Maybe this will help.

Can you see it now? 

Still no?!

Let's try this again...

That's right, folks.  This is what you get for lettin' the kids run around au natural

Isn't bedtime sweet?

Friday, August 5, 2011

From Mom to Grandma

I have come to appreciate my mother so deeply in the months since Leah's birth. And only partly because she has a granddaughter who absolutely adores her. 

As I look back on my childhood, I understand that so much of who my mother was was sacraficial and hardworking.  She was a single mom for most of my childhood, and a working one at that.  She kept a fairly immaculate house - something I have failed to recreate for Leah despite my best efforts - and somehow managed to get more done in a day than I can do in a week. 

And still we had time for trips to a horse ranch in Durango, summer afternoons at the pool, dance lessons and softball games, camping trips and Christmases that I recall being something out of a Norman Rockwell.

Yes, that woman is pretty awesome.

I came across an article recently on (can I just throw out my completely unsolicited recommendation for this website?  If you're not reading, you should be!) about making the transition from Mom to Grandma.  (If you're interested, the complete article can be found here.)

It's a transition that I can tell already I'll loathe.  To think that I should not be in charge of Leah's every decision?  That she can come to her own conclusions and manage her own life?  That she could possibly exist without my input and assistance???  The very idea! (Honey: I say this with complete - okay, mostly complete - sarcasm.  My greatest challenge and joy is to mother you to become your own woman, and make decisions on their merrit as you see them, not just because it's what I want.  But if you're 15 and reminding me I said all of this, you're grounded.)

It must be challenging to come to grips with the fact that your baby is an adult.  Awesome as she is, my own mother and I don't always see eye to eye on this topic.  (There was a particularly nasty episode in which she referred to Leah as "my baby," and not in the endearing way.  I find it irritating and inappropriate, she finds it hurtful that I can't see where she was coming from.)

It is an issue that speaks to the very identity of motherhood.  Is it possible to mother well if you yourself are still being mothered?  Are you fulfilling your parental duties if you adhere to the idea that your own mother knows best?  And from the grandparent side, when is it time to take a step back and play the supporting - rather than leading - role?  How does one who has been central for so long even go about doing that?

I often find with Leah that she is capable of so much more than I think she is.  I am continually amazed by her.  The girl ate a peanut a few days ago.  How on Earth you do that with no teeth, I have no clue, but she mashed it into peanut butter and asked for another.  My job is to protect her - because heaven knows she is still in a phase where she needs protecting - but in a way that doesn't also limit her vast potential.  That takes tailored, conscious effort on my part.  And when you're a parent, you do what is right for you children, even - perhaps especially - when it's not easy for you.

I think being a new grandmother must be a little like that.  I'd like to think and hope that when my own mother watches me taking on this huge challenge called motherhood, she is taken aback by just how much I'm capable of.  I sincerely hope that she is as awed and amazed by me as I am by my daughter (even when I don't keep an immaculate house...).

Otherwise, really... what's the point?

I changed my font at