Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How Did This Happen?

Since Amelia is only in school once a week these days, we are spending a LOT of time together, her, Annie, and myself. It’s a daily struggle to keep Amelia stimulated, entertained, and loved while also caring for the baby—especially since she’s used to school lessons, projects, and friends several days a week. There’s been a lot of acting out, which I am assuming is a result of this sudden change in her daily life/schedule. Thankfully, Amelia is tremendous at keeping herself occupied with quiet projects or reading in her room for hours. But she needs mama too and desperately needs to get out of the house every day. Considering the babychild literally runs  to bed every night and runs out of bed every morning, she needs open space to just . . . run. Every. Day. At least this is what I’m realizing now that we’re all spending our days together.

We’ve actually fallen into a pretty decent routine each day while Justin’s working. Early morning is mostly survival and juggling, but once Annie goes down for a morning nap, I sit down and spend concentrated time with Amelia. We play a game or make a craft project, read books or bake a treat. It’s her and I time. When the baby’s up again, we all hang out as best we can (will be SO much easier once she sits up unassisted!) through lunch. After lunch used to be house nap time, but it took exactly a quick second before Amelia realized that if she didn’t sleep, she could crash Mama Time and get a solid couple hours to herself with me. She hasn’t napped since. So My Time quickly turned into Amelia and my time. (sigh) During this time, we now shower together, get a couple tasks completed and then hang out. Sometimes I remind her that it’s Mama Time and that she can stay up with me only if she gives me some space/time to work on my projects. This includes her hanging out with me while I sew, working on her own ‘sewing’ projects.  The ultimate privilege for her is to get to use a few of my sewing pins for her scrap fabrics. She literally sits at the table just beside me, follows me into the ironing room, and back to the sewing table, not wanting to separate for a single minute. It’s mostly very sweet . . . but sometimes exhausting too.

In any case, a major goal at the moment is to get her outside every day to run. You know, like a dog. I’ve been trying to get a trip to the park into my routine for a few months and now that Annie has been sleeping through the night, it’s finally doable. So we went to the park yesterday. Annie hung out well and happy while we indulged her sister, even though it resulted in her missing her nap (seriously, to give needed attention to one kid, it always seems that the other—the little one usually—suffers) and Amelia ran around climbing, jumping, sliding, etc. She was thrilled that we were all at the park ‘togever.” When she asked to get on the swing, I was stuck. I was holding Annie and didn’t have the hands to push her on the swing. I try to avoid saying things like “I can’t do that right now because I have your sister” so she doesn’t blame the baby for every inattentive moment she has with her mother. And then I thought about it . . . I bet Annie can fit into the swing! Hmmm. I wonder if she’d like it?

I plopped Annie into the swing, pushed a tiny bit . . . and she didn’t scream.

Annie swing

I think the verdict is still out on whether or not she enjoyed it. o’ hai.

photo (2)


Onto Amelia. Plopped her into the big kid swing. She was very excited to have Sister with her on the swings!

Amelia swing

So I pushed her and stood back. And took this picture.

girls swinging


Didn’t think too much about it. When I got home and looked at this picture, it took my breath away. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that my heart began to pound loud and fast. It’s not staged or posed, but just a picture of them being kids. I think it’s the first picture of them just playing. In any case, it blew me away. I have two kids. Let me repeat. . . I HAVE TWO KIDS! Please someone, tell me when the hell THAT happened. Without exaggeration, I still find it hard to believe that I am a mother at all . . . much less the mother of two. And here they are. Dude, WHAT?! How is it possible that there are two people on the planet who rely on me as their mother—for all of eternity?

And now that the second baby is here, that’s it. You spend so much of your life thinking “someday when I have kids,” wondering what you’ll have, and then it’s a totally separate stage of your life in getting them here. And now they’re . . . here. And growing big. Amelia will be in school in a little over a year. And Annie is big enough to ride in a swing! And this is my life. It’s settled.  Mother of two girls . . . who will soon no longer be babies. Then I’ll just be a mom of a couple of kids, driving them to school, cheering at soccer games, and helping with homework. The weirdest thing is that I cannot tell you how or when I got here. It’s hard to explain these moments when your life comes into focus for a second and you don’t recognize yourself. And you realize that you’re getting older, heading to old, and that you’re a grown up and that there are people who will only ever know you as Mom, an old grown up. It’s not a bad thing, but it certainly catches me off guard every once in a while.

I’m sure there are many more of these moments to come. It’s only the swings now. I can’t imagine the heartbreak these two little babygirls will bestow upon their mama—just by growing up.

Friday, December 16, 2011

It’s a Good Thing She’s Cute

We had a pretty rough day yesterday. Amelia and I have been battling something terrible and yesterday was pretty . . . bad. But then we went to her gymnastics show last night and she was the cutest kid on the planet. I went from barely able to even look at her to proudly blubbering as I snapped pics of her ‘tricks.’

She was as adorable as possible in her grab bag hand-me-down leotard (that she got after having a pee accident in class one day. Score!). And she was SO excited to play with all the big kid gymnasts.




  DSCN3878 She performed with just one other little person and the crowd just loved them to pieces. Amelia was so shy when she started gymnastics that I had to tell the teacher to be sure and include her because she kept getting left out. . . Yeah well that’s all gone. She loved having the audience there and wanted to keep performing even after her turn!


I die.


And even though she misbehaved all day and pushed me to the point of wanting to strangle her, I decided to keep her after all. I mean that tushy has saved her many a time. She’s lucky I’m a sucker for amazingly cute tushies.


Doin cartwheels like a boss.


(video forthcoming) 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I’ve Heard of Babies Like This

I’ve talked to parents who simply shrugged as they mentioned that their baby slept through the night at a few months old. Or who boasted about their little ones as being “the easiest baby ever!” Their baby just smiled and cooed at them all the time. I’d even heard of babies who didn’t scream for three hours when they missed their bed time by 30 minutes. I’ve seen with my own eyes babies who just hang out happily and appear to just be along for the ride, mellow, easy.

I thought these babies were a myth. Even the ones I saw myself, I had my doubts. I thought their parents were liars or worse, terrible parents who must just ignore the screams of their poor, over-tired babies. Because I assumed that they all screamed. I assumed that they all screamed when they had a dirty diaper, missed a nap by 5 minutes, or simply when changing their clothes. I assumed that they all screamed when the woke up and when they went to bed. Isn’t that what makes parenting so hard?

And then I had Annie.



And she smiles like crazy. She laughs easily. Cries rarely. In fact, even when she’s crying, you can still make her smile with little effort. When she turned three months and stopped sleeping, I thought she’d lost her status as the most perfect baby ever. . . and when she was about 4.5 months, I decided to try sleep training her just to see how it went. One evening of complaining-not-crying for a bit and she was sleeping through the night. I don’t know if I should even say it, but for the last week, she’s slept until 6 or 7 and even 8 once. And then she takes a 3 hour nap every afternoon without fail. She sleeps in the car and doesn’t mind running all over the place. She’s nothing short of amazing.

She is the only thing that could heal me of my first-time-mother experience. She’s made me love babies instead of wishing they’d just grow already. And naturally, she’s growing so very rapidly. I actually believe that I will miss her being a baby someday. . .

Without my even coaxing or teaching her, she’s hitting all of her milestones. She’s already rolling from back to front.






She reaches out to grab everything and plays with toys.



She’s pretty super.


DSCN3702She’s just my sweet, little baby.    


Good Morning Sunshine!!




Amelia and Annie on Thanksgiving



Oh. My. Thighs.


On our way to the Festival of Lights Parade.



And since Annie stares down anyone who dares to eat in her presence, we decided to let her have a go at food herself. She literally will pull herself off the boob to turn around and glare at me when I try to eat. We skipped the whole rice cereal game and went straight to avocado. She’d open her mouth and take the spoon willingly. Then she’d do this.


What have you done to me?!


Then she’d recover and open her mouth again wanting more. I’d give her a tiny bite and she’d do this.




Tonight I gave her some ground oatmeal and she DUG it. Made a bowl thinking she’d only have a few bites and she snarfed the whole thing. So it’s ON with food. Will be roasting some butternut squash and sweet potatoes this weekend! I can’t believe I’m already busting out the ice cube tray lids and making baby food in bulk.

I can NOT believe that my little love is 5 months old already! I am enjoying her so. Did you hear that?! I am ENJOYING her so very much. She is just a sweet, joy, love, babycakes. I just can’t get enough of her and that smile and those cheeks and thighs and . . . just her. She’s just my heart. I love her so and I marvel every day at her and how much she’s changed my view on babies and parenting.

Now, she’s ready to start teething. She’s been drooling on everything and gnawing on anything she can slam into her mouth. . . so maybe the worst is yet to come. . . ? Somehow I doubt it.

5 Months Old!!


Have I mentioned that she never stops moving?? NEVER.


Most of the pics I take of her are blurry from movement.




Annie, 5 months.




And don’t think that I can take pictures of Annie without Sister jumping in. How proud is Amelia?? It’s so NOT for the camera. She adores her sister. And quite frankly, the feeling is ridiculously mutual.


Oh Look.




I can’t believe it’s been 5 months since we brought Annie home. And I can’t believe that just one year ago, we were barely aware of her. I can’t believe that I have two babies and I can’t believe that these little girls are all mine. Five months later, I think Annie completed us in a way when we didn’t even know we were missing something.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

4-month stats!

Annie had her 4-month check-up Tuesday. I was really curious about her height and weight because she doesn’t really look bigger to me, but she keeps growing out of her clothes. She’s in 9 month jammies for crying out loud. . . but doesn’t look like that big of a baby. . . ?

Anyway, she weighed in at 14 lbs., and 9 ozs. Crazy enough, that is LIGHTER than Amelia was at 4 months! I can’t believe it. I remember Amelia just exploding in weight around 3 months and then surpassing the 50th percentile, but I anticipated Annie keeping her lead on Big Sister since she started out 2 whole pounds bigger! She is still in the 72nd percentile, so not a small baby, but I was a little disappointed. Less than three pounds in 2 months? And I get up every other hour through the night? What gives? Her doctor didn’t seem too concerned about the weight drop in percentile so maybe she’s in for a growth spurt. Heaven help me. The kicker though is that she is 15.5 inches long! WHAAAAT? Yeah, Amelia was 14. She’s growing out of her clothes because she’s so tall. Oh lawd, another tall baby? We are not tall people! So yeah, she’s grown 6.5 inches since birth. Helps me feel better about the weight. A little.

She got her shots too. Thankfully, this time she didn’t appear to have any reaction. Justin even took the day off just in case! It was pretty nasty last time so I’m relieved that she rebounded well this round. It was crazy too because she hardly even cried. Most babies just scream and scream but she took them pretty well. It always helps to pull out the magic boobies immediately after. Works like a charm every time.

This is our little Nugget on the way home from the doctor.

Saggy cheeks. Hand holding blanket. Sleepy baby.

Annie 4 mos


Ummmmm. It kind of reminds me of this other picture . . . of this other baby . . . on her way home from her 4 month appointment . . .

Amelia 4 mos

Saggy cheeks. Hands holding blanket. Sleepy baby.


Crazy right? Yeah, it trips us out too. I even got one of Annie from the same side.

annie 2


Now that Annie’s 4 months old, I have to come to grips with the fact that she’s not a new born anymore. Not in that I’ll miss the newborn phase but in that she shouldn’t be treated like she just came home from the hospital. The months have really flown by so it does feel like it was just yesterday . . . but it wasn’t. And maybe because she’s such an easy baby, we’ve continued rocking her to sleep, cuddling for hours before putting her in her crib, and letting her nurse for longer than she needs. I don’t really mind any of these things in moderation. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know how to go to sleep on her own and requires a lot of holding. It’s unfortunate that you have to think is these terms, but to continue with treating her like a newborn, we’ll set us all up for failure. So some of the hard work begins and we move into the next phase. In exchange, we get to hang out with her more and play more as she grows more alert and interactive. Each phase gets easier and harder. . .

Can’t believe we’re headed to Thanksgiving already! Wonder what the new year shall bring. . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why Occupy Wall Street?

I grew up in a working class family that struggled to make ends meet on a monthly basis. Both parents worked full time but at mediocre jobs, doing what they could to raise a family on two high school diplomas. I started working and paying as much of my own way as possible at 16. I had to get a ride to work and home after stocking a salad bar on the dinner shift. From that job, I worked my way into bussing tables, running plates, and eventually waitressing while in college. I waited tables at two restaurants while also coaching kids soccer and attending full-time classes by 19. I continued working full time through college, paying off my tuition, which I always had to charge, each semester. In the hard times, I went to classes 5 days a week, worked closing at the restaurant on Thursday and Friday nights, and pulled an obscenely early morning bookkeeping shift followed by the busy waiting shift late on Saturday and Sunday nights. I went entire semesters without a single day off between work and school and found myself writing papers and studying for exams between 2 & 5 am. I completed 2 Bachelors Degrees on my own dime, but it took 6 years.

When I entered graduate school, I moved into a full-time ‘real’ job for the State of California. It offered me a stable income and reliable hours. I took the bus to school after work, carrying a change of clothes, my books, dinner, and a can of pepper spray for the 10-block walk home from the downtown drop off. I was one of the only people in the Masters program with a full-time day job, plugging along, and only taking 2 classes a semester, both at night. On the weekends, I struggled to maintain the 500-1000-page per week reading assignments and 25 page papers due. I did little else but clung to the faith that someday, I wouldn’t be in school and I could allow life in a bit. While I was in school, I was offered several promotions within government work. I turned them all down, resisting the urge to make more money, become reliant on a big salary, and therefore unable to afford my dream job of teaching at the college level. I worked out of my duty class a lot, doing the jobs of higher-paid employees, but refused to settle into a more posh life. When it was time to complete my thesis, I had to compile all of my research on Wednesday evenings and one Saturday a month—the only times when the archive was open during non-business hours. It took three years.

After ten years of higher education, I finally reached my academic finish line and received a Master’s Degree in History. Finally! With school coming to a close, I agreed to marry my boyfriend of 6 years. It was all coming together, we thought. He’d already established a modest, but solid career as a Probation Officer after working full time to pay his way through college as well. All of the hard work was sure to begin paying off as we headed towards our thirties. Two weeks after finishing grad school, I entered the classroom as a professor for the first time. It was one of the single biggest moments of my life. I’d returned to the very community college from which I’d graduated only 6 years prior. For the first two semesters, I played it safe and stayed on at the state job, always worried about money. I’d work all day, teach at night, and then return home to write the next day’s lectures until 3 am. I’d taken three classes, was teaching for the first time, and still working a normal day job. It was one of the toughest times in my life. And more exhilarating because finally my work was going towards a career.

Once married, my husband and I began looking at homes to buy. We’d rented for several years and watched the housing market balloon into horrific price points. Every time we looked at potential houses, I came home in tears. We saw houses that were completely filthy and in terrible neighborhoods and we couldn’t afford them. Houses were selling at an alarming rate. Builders were taking plots for one home and building three and people were buying them. There was the feeling that if you didn’t get something ANYTHING in this market, you never would own a home. Those disgusting houses we saw would be sold in a few days. There was a real sense of panic that after all the hard work we’d put in, we’d never have a real home. We initially held back and balked at high prices, waiting for the downturn. . . that didn’t come. In just a year, houses were $75,000 more expensive than the previous. We felt punished by our own caution and conservatism. It was fairly devastating to think that I’d worked so hard to break the cycle and get an education only to find that I couldn’t afford a home in the underprivileged neighborhood in which I was raised.  We remained patient and saved as much as possible and finally found a house. It was new and $30,000 less than the median home price was at the time. We didn’t want anything fancy. Just a home!  It was, in essence, a great deal.

We signed the papers on our home on our first wedding anniversary. Before the deal closed officially, we’d sneak into the house and sit on the floor in the empty rooms for hours. This is our home. It was twice the size of the tiny house we’d rented for years and nicer than anything either of us ever expected. The brand new neighborhood was filling up with other young couples eager to begin families. Grocery stores proudly hung their “Coming Soon” banners on the corner intersections. There were schools and parks in the growing plans. Even though we thought we might have to eat top ramen for the rest of our lives, we had a home. It was perfect.

In the next couple of years, I took the full leap into teaching, taking work at two schools to cover a modest, but middle income. I taught 9 different course topics in only 3 years and often worked into the wee hours preparing, preparing, preparing. All the while, I knew it was just creating a foundation for my career, even if it left little room for the married life I’d just begun. Every semester, I taught classes in the morning, the afternoon, and in the evenings. Oftentimes, I taught on Saturdays as well, just trying to make it. Whatever it took to build my reputation as a hard worker and to build a steady and reliable economic situation for our budding family is what I was willing to do.

You see, what I’m trying to say is that we followed the rules. Justin and I did everything you are supposed to do to have a decently comfortable life. We put in the hard work, broke the cycles of low income families, and took minimal risks. We focused on building a stable foundation and working hard to achieve your goals. We never expected or desired wealth. We didn’t want a house to make a profit, but to make a family. We had a modest lifestyle and expected to keep it for the long-term. We did not ask for handouts and laid the groundwork ourselves. We did everything right. 

After a couple years, the housing market finally began to deflate. As it turned out, mortgage banks had been selling average working people loans based on shady fine print and impossibly low interest rates. Often times, these loans were for a set amount for several years only to explode into a much bigger payment later or start with a low rate (to get the buyers sold) only to skyrocket in the future. Essentially, they loaned too much money to people who couldn’t totally afford the payments by making it appear as if they COULD, even if only for the short-term. Therefore leaving the buyers to figure it out on their own later at their own peril. This created a housing boom making homes very expensive as there were too many people desperate to get in on the rising costs (or not be left out as the case may be) . . . and these loans continued. The frantic lending included selling homes at 100% financing (the prices were so high that nobody could really afford a down payment), meaning that the house would have to rise in value in order for the owners not to end up in trouble. As the prices continued to rise, the lenders continued to qualify virtually anyone for a home loan . . . and so it all continued to grow. And grow. And grow. The problem? The growth was on inflated numbers because those loans were not going to last. They’d made it seem like everyone could afford to buy a home and that it was a sure moneymaker, flooding the market. It’s like building a house of cards . . . you can only go so high on so little before the tiniest gust knocks it down. And it all just . . . popped.

We’d been happily living in our home when the market crashed, making our payments diligently each month. And when the economy crashed (there was more to it than just the housing too, of course!), we saw it immediately in our neighborhood. The oversaturated housing market came to a halt. The community was only half finished, but the construction just stopped. There were entire streets with just the frames or lots exposed—and no homes. Plans for the schools, stores, and parks dissipated. And as the years went on, the first wave of neighbors, who’d bought loans that were to adjust in 5 years, began to leave. They couldn’t sell their houses because the house wasn’t worth what they owed on them and they suddenly couldn’t afford the payment. So they couldn’t afford a house that now had no value. Imagine the struggle! Do the ‘right’ thing by the bank and harm your family’s financial future . . . ? Struggling to make payments on a sinking ship. Neighbors disappeared in the middle of the night. They’d pack up and move before anyone could ask them why. Normal, educated, well-paid families were losing their homes in a humiliating way—and the rest of us schmucks continued paying mortgages for nothing because no value was in the home. These vacancies only made the remaining homes continue to lose value, leaving us all on the sinking ship. Further, as the houses emptied around us, crime rates skyrocketed. Our neighborhood began to fall prey to home invasion robberies and other crimes. As the banks sold off foreclosed homes at rock-bottom prices (further plummeting our home’s worth), the neighborhood took on a different atmosphere altogether. Suddenly, I found myself in a neighborhood much like the one in which I grew up, where you don’t feel safe walking in the streets or opening the door to strangers.

Except we’d worked so hard to avoid this.

When we realized that our house was worth $100,000 less (yes, one-hundred-thousand) than we paid for it, we called our lenders. We were current on our mortgage(s), in good standing, and not seeking to leave the home. We just wanted to stay but not sink. We asked the bank about modifying our mortgage to make it more affordable and realistic in terms of what the home was worth. Would they really want us to pay our whole lives on this house that would never again be worth the initial price? Of course they did. They refused to talk to us. We were told that if we missed a payment on the house, they could deal with us but that as long as we were in good standing, they couldn’t help us. Yes, as long as we paid our bills and did the responsible thing, we were screwed. If, however, you wanted to totally eff the bank by NOT paying your mortgage and walking away, then they’d negotiate. It made no sense and it was clear that the banks—who’d created this shit to begin with for their own profit—had no desire to keep average people from losing their homes. In fact, they were encouraging it. So why didn’t we? Because we had a conscience about it and we’d agreed to pay the mortgage. And the banks knew this. They knew that most people do not want to leave their homes in the middle of the night or struggle to find a place to live—that working Americans have a sense of value and obligation that worked in the banks’ favor. As we talked to neighbors all facing the same dilemmas, everyone had a similar story with the banks. Nobody could get through to the institutions that if the banks would just work with the owners, everyone would win. Surely the bank would fare better by keeping people paying their mortgages than abandoning their homes, no??

It made no sense except in spite. The banks were spitefully punishing people for signing on to terrible loans. They wanted us to struggle, even at their own profit loss.

As the story goes, the economic downturn affected much more than just the housing market. Business scaled back, local governments lost a fortune in property taxes and cut employees, and so on. Not only did we find ourselves fighting a losing battle over our home, but we both suffered losses at work. As a two civil-servant household, we were hit disproportionately. Justin was dropped a rank, watched his career path disappear, and took a tremendous pay cut. He also took cuts in his retirement and medical benefits. I lost one class at first and then took a salary cut as well. Then as other, more seniored (privileged) colleagues took their pay cut, they demanded more classes to make up for it, and I lost further work. And suddenly, it was we who were struggling to pay for a house that wasn’t worth it. And we continued paying. We cut all excess and buckled down to pinching pennies to pay that mortgage. We again called the bank. They again refused to work with us. As far as they were concerned, as long as we paid the mortgage then we were not deserving of negotiation. . . even if we were starving in the process, so we learned!

We put the house up for a short sale—selling it at the market value and taking a terrible hit in our credit and losing all of the money we’d put into the house. We never considered a foreclosure because we wanted to do the ‘right’ thing and take the hits. When we talked to the banks about short selling the house, we were told they wouldn't even consider an offer unless we stopped paying the mortgage. They wanted us to default. And we did. And we cried about it and lost months of sleep over it. And received the threatening, hateful, horrible phone calls from the very banks that took us down this path. We had to submit every financial document we had to the banks every month so they could determine that we were appropriately poor enough to sell their house. We got an offer on our house—for $200,000 less than we paid for it—and the banks took so long verifying us and requiring us to resubmit all of our paperwork over and over . . . that the buyers finally walked. They didn’t want to wait anymore. Despite that the banks do better when they can sell the house, they made it difficult and torturous just to punish us. . . when we’d offered to pay for the house at a much higher price than the one offered. When our realtor was on the phone cancelling the buyers’ offer, another department of the bank called at the same time to say that they’d accepted the offer. . . but it was too late! They waited all of that time just to accept?

It was a horrible rollercoaster experience for us. We didn’t close on the sale of our house for 12 months. It was emotionally draining, ego shattering, and eye-opening. . . It seemed that so many other hard working people were in the same boat as us. Why wasn’t anyone calling out the banks?! Unemployment is skyrocketing, millions of middle class Americans are homeless. School is impossibly expensive, yet teachers are making less. Public safety is out the window and civil servants are taking a clubbing. And the housing market was among the biggest catalysts to this whole mess? And who was behind the housing crisis? Who was gambling with Americans’ money and then leaving them out to dry when they had nowhere to go? And most infuriatingly, who threatened to halt the nation if they didn’t get a hand out from the government . . . after denying any amount of cooperation with the average citizen. . . ? They refused to take offers from homeowners for reasonable adjustments to value when the alternative was foreclosure and a total loss. They wouldn’t negotiate with those wanting to do the right thing. They punished those who continued paying on homes. And then they took a bail out and sent their executives on vacation with millions in bonuses. And the government shook hands with the bastards while ignoring the pleas of the people.

We, however, are living in a rental home (we moved shortly after listing our house, again not wanting to make money off unpaid mortgage, but just somewhere to live), rebuilding our credit, and still struggling. I’m facing complete unemployment next year as the cuts have only increased and probably headed back to government work as a copy maker to make ends meet. Changing careers in my mid-thirties and with two children and without a home to call our own was not the vision all of those years in school. I am not a lazy, druggie bum. I am not asking for a handout. I am not jealous of the rich. I do not want a life beyond my means. I’ve worked my whole life to avoid being here. I was supposed to have a better life than my parents. I want a better life for my children. I pay my bills. I went to college. I am ambitious. I work harder than most people I know. I want to live in a country where people matter more than companies. I believe in civil disobedience.

I am the 99%.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Sometimes Amelia comes up with things that completely blow me away. I used to try to write them down, but she adopted that book and it’s since disappeared. And then most of the time, I commit her stroke of brilliance to memory only to space out when I try to record it. So annoying. Sometimes she something so sweet it brings tears to my eyes . . . and then I don’t want to rush to facebook or blogspot because it should be just a special moment. . .

Anyway, yesterday we pulled her big, red chair out for the 4-month photo shoot. After dragging it inside, she wanted it to stay in the front room to play with. This is what she created.



It’s her ‘shop.’ See the register? She tipped the chair on its back and hopped on the platform with her counter. She even hung some cloth bags on the corner. Then Justin and I had to spend the evening and all day today buying things from her. She’d put our stuff in a bag, take our money, give change, and then chime, “Have a great day! See you again soon!”  

How does she come up with this stuff? How creative are you when you see a fluffy chair as a market? Making Mama proud, that one.

4 Months?!

I never posted about Annie’s 3-monthsday. Why? Because just before she turned three months, she stopped sleeping. Almost completely. For two and a half weeks or so (who can remember?!), she got up every hour through the night. The baby who’d slept through the night into morning a number of times at only 2 months old, stopped sleeping entirely at three. It was a little rough, especially since it was not long after Justin went back to work and I found myself having to get up with Amelia in the morning as well. So that went on for what seemed like forever and it’s only just now starting to level out a bit. It was a rough month for sure and I couldn’t THINK much less write or say, THINK.

The good news? This is my second baby and I just kept telling myself that this is all temporary. It will pass soon. When it’s your first baby, you think it’ll be forever. That simple perspective makes a lot of it far more survivable.

In any case, Annie is four months old! Can you even believe it? I really can’t. I wish there were appropriate words to describe the difference we’ve had with her to this point than with her sister. By the time Amelia was 4 months old, I’d lived an entire lifetime it seemed. I’d spent hours and hours sobbing in the closet (true) and just willing her to grow older. With Annie? It’s just flown by. The stages just come and go in a flash. I swear I still consider her a newborn. And today, a tiny baby rolled by at the grocery store and it made me realize that Annie is not going to be a baby but for a minute. It made me tear up! I’m actually sad at the thought of her growing out of the baby age. I look forward to her being a little girl whole heartedly, but will also be sad to see the baby grow away.

Why? Well, she’s just totally enjoyable. She’s such a sweet, mellow, easy, contented baby. I feel stupid even writing that. It can’t possibly be!

But it is. And she brings only joy (and some exhaustion from time to time). She smiles constantly, laughs easily, and snuggles readily. She’s as sweet as they come and doesn’t even cry when she’s hungry or needs a change. The only time she gets fussy is when she’s tired and even that is more of a complaint than a cry. It’s really . . . crazy. . . and we find ourselves marveling every single day at how easy she is at this stage. Annie is so incredibly lovable. And I do love that babychild. . . until my insides ache. I could easily spend all day running my cheek against hers and nibbling on her chubs. After Amelia and before Annie, I would see people with babies and think “thank heavens that is not mine!” I saw babyhood as something to endure and survive to get to the good part. And here she is, teaching me with her silly, drooly smiles that babies are to be treasured and soaked in because the speed at which they grow is not always welcome.

At four months, Annie is sitting up on her elbows when on her belly and rolls over a lot. She doesn’t roll every time I put her on her tummy, but maybe half of the time. It’s definitely something she can do, even if not all the time. She sucks and chews on her fingers all day and has discovered the magic of the thumb’s perfect fit a couple times. She only nurses for a few minutes at a time and only uses a binky to settle for a few minutes before falling asleep. She falls asleep in the car, sometimes as soon as we get moving, and still loves to sleep in her swing for short morning naps. Since we started putting her to bed earlier (before 8), she’s been sleeping much better too. Getting her to sleep at night is as easy as bath, jammies, milk. Even though I pull out a book every night, we never make it that far before she’s asleep. She typically wakes once in the middle of the night and then is up again in the early morning—usually an hour and a half after going back down. When she wakes in the early morning, I bring her to bed with me and she nurses and sleeps snuggled into me. It’s the only way I’ll get another hour or so before Amelia gets up and since my first baby would’ve never done that, I relish the sweet, warm baby sleeping beside me.

Annie’s starting to babble too and I can’t wait to hear what she has to say. She squeals often and appears to adore her sister. Already looking up to Amelia with astonishment. Amelia readily accepts the role of her sister’s entertainment. She sings and dances for Annie until they are both giggling at the other . . . and their mama dissolves into a puddle of sappiness.

Here’s to (3 &) 4 months!


HA! A kiss smack from Sister Mollie


DSCN3367  DSCN3374




     Getting big!


4-month bald spot!