Monday, October 31, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES



Thursday, October 27, 2011

NUT HOUSE

Reef studies us so intently these days that I wish I knew what he is thinking as he follows us when we dance around the room, when Mommy and Daddy wrestle, or when we’re making up silly songs. All that racket we make with music, the tele blaring, the vacuum buzzing, and the yelling that sometimes goes on between his siblings. I wonder if he’s amused or concerned that out of all the families in this world, he belongs to the only one with crazy people.

(Hate to break it to you kid, but you’re genetically predisposed to be part of this nut house, too.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

DON'T RUSH IT

Reef is teaching me some really valuable lessons about being a better person and a better parent but there is one thing that stands out above all the rest. The lesson. Don’t rush it.

Don’t be in a hurry for your baby to sleep through the night or to start solids or to sit up or crawl or walk. If I can offer you one bit of advice, it’s to just enjoy the stage your baby is in right. this. moment.

It’s human nature to look towards the future -- to imagine all the fun that comes with the next milestone in your child’s life -- but looking back, I am shocked at how fast my first two tiny babies are now pre-teens. I sometimes go and study pictures of Keegan and Bailey when they were infants. I look at Keegan’s deep thigh rolls that are all gone now. Bailey’s look of awe and wonder out into the world. And I can’t believe how quickly infancy passes.

Of course it’s important to stimulate and encourage your child, but I feel like I was far too focused on trying to ensure that they were advanced. I found myself (despite knowing better!) comparing them to their peers and worrying unnecessarily when a friend’s baby crawled before Bailey did or reveling in the fact that she was one of the first among her peers to walk. I’d rattle off a list of accomplishments at every pediatrician appointment so that our doctor would tell me how impressive their development was. In so many ways I felt as if their advanced development was a reflection of my success as their mother.

I look at Reef now and I realize that one day soon he will no longer sleep with his knees curled beneath his on my chest, sit content & happy in a bouncy seat, or gnaw on a chew toy for entertainment. I’m sure that you’ll agree that they all roll over, they all sit up, they all learn to hold their own bottle, they all crawl, and cruise, and walk, and run eventually. All of them. Each will do it on their own schedule. But they all get there.

Armed with this revelation, I am taking my sweet time this go round. Instead of focusing on whether Reef is advancing at the same rate (or faster or slower) than his peers, I am letting him lead the way. Even as I watch more and push less, he is still moving forward and growing at what feels like the speed of light. I am savoring each stage more as I know that it will be gone and replaced with a new one far too soon.

So that’s it. My two cents. Slow down. Let go a little. Delight in this moment, dear mothers. The tiny newborn. The squishy infant. The crawling, the cruising, the walking, the talking… it will all come and go faster than your heart can possibly imagine.

Monday, October 24, 2011

MONDAY

It’s Monday. Bleh! I would love nothing more than to spend every day with my children. I miss them most mornings before I ever leave the house. Especially Reef’s enormous gummy grins. Gah! It pulls at my heart strings, passing him over in the mornings while he looks on as if to say, “ready to play, mommy?” I am so ready to come home in the afternoons and just scoop them up and soak them in, before bed time steals them away from me again.

But there is a lot to be said for the career side of my life too. I get to work with a lot of great people. I think that even if I was able to stay home full time with my children, the urge to work in some capacity (writing, volunteering, event planning, etc) would be alive and well in me. I don’t think it makes me any less of a mother because I have a strong desire to work. I feel really grateful that in such tough economic times, I have a job that can help support our family financially.

On the other side of that equation is Pete -- and let’s be honest here -- there is no way (none. zero.) that I could pull this working mom juggling act off with any success without his unwavering support. (I say it all the time - but how do single parents do it? How did I do it? Seriously, God must’ve given me super-human abilities back then.) Pete is my support system, and sometimes the backbone of our family. Even as we have become happy and comfortable in our roles, there are times when we have to tag team around the kids’ activities and/or the baby’s needs. It’s a balancing act and we try very hard to take each other’s needs into account. No. Wait. Honestly, he always takes my needs into account. He cannot spell to save his life (i.e. just today, he IM’d me with “time flys”), or use the proper tense, and it’s both gargantuanly maddening and adorable at the same time. But nevertheless, he ensures there are ample date nights at the end of every busy week -- an opportunity to deflate from the hoop-lah invading the days prior.

Date night used to be trying on different outfits, straightening my hair, it also involved three rounds of drinks, and two to four different stops to meet up with friends. Most of the time it was hours past midnight by the time we made it home.

Date night has changed since we became the parents of a newborn.

There is no leisurely getting ready time these days. First outfit “works well enough.” A swipe of eyeliner, a dab of lipgloss, and out the door we go. With all the excitement of a night out, we never decide where we want to eat until we’re at the doorstep of some chic establishment. After a couple glasses of wine, a full belly, and relatively deep conversations, we’re still home by 9:15. Before 10:00 indeed. I know! Shock-ing!

The house is dark and quiet. I’ll curl up on a corner of the couch and I think to myself that this would be about the time we would just be getting started before we had a baby. I marvel at how efficiently we’ve managed to squeeze a night’s worth of fun into two to three hours. As different as our nights out are from the days when we used to stay out late, I feel just as satisfied. The process has changed but the key elements are exactly the same -- his hand holding tight to my leg in the car ride over, a bounce in our step as we seek out an undetermined adventure, laughing together under the street lights.

And when Reef wakes at 3:15am, I can almost hear the ghosts of Pete and Mandi past, rattling their keys in the door, kicking shoes off sore feet and feeling utterly exhausted from a night out on the town. I was happy to have been them at one point in my life, but looking down at that adorably sleepy boy in my arms I know I wouldn’t trade places again for all the date nights in the world.

Friday, October 21, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES

Sunday, October 16, 2011

BOYS WITH LONG HAIR

Everytime I see little boys with long hair, my smile goes wide. I think it all started with a childhood crush I had for Mowgli from the Jungle Book.

Indeed Reef will eventually end up with long blonde locks.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES

Sunday, October 9, 2011

MINIATURITIS

I am writing to warn you about a new dangerous disease that has affected me, and may also be affecting you.

It’s called “miniaturitis” and the major symptom is the inability to walk away from and/or not buy anything that has been shrunken to a miniature size.  I may not buy it, but I squeal in delight as though I’m 5 years old.  I later reflect on that behavior and roll my eyes – pathetic.

Miniature things may include:

·         mini soda cans
·         mini sandwiches (this includes slider cheeseburgers)
·         mini cupcakes
·         miniature ponies
·         baby shoes (this one’s HUGE)
·         miniature people (pls don’t be offended!)
·         and apparently this mini bottle of water (see below)

If you  or someone you love is experiencing miniaturitis, I’m sorry to say there is no cure.
But knowledge is power, so the first step is recognizing that you have a problem.
Be strong my friends.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES




Friday, October 7, 2011

MORNINGS

Our early waking ritual.

One thousand smiles for me.

One thousand kisses for him.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

MODERN DAY LULLABYE

I made a playlist for Reef just prior to my maternity leave. It consists of mostly Indie, but my intention was overall melodic and peaceful.

Aside from traditional lullabies and children’s song, I also sing songs to Reef that touch me in a profound way. Aside from Dido’s Thank You, which you all know, I’m a big fan of Priscilla Ahn’s Dream. When the house is quiet and we’re rockin’ in our big plush chair, he’ll listen intently as I sing these lyrics. They bring back memories from my childhood.

I was a little girl
Alone in my little world
Who dreamed of a little home for me
I played pretend between the trees
And fed my houseguests bark and leaves
And laughed in my pretty bed of green

I had a dream
That I could fly
From the highest swing
I had a dream

Long walks in the dark
Through woods grown behind the park
I asked God who I'm supposed to be
The stars smiled down at me
God answered in silent reverie
I said a prayer and fell asleep

I had a dream
That I could fly
From the highest tree
I had a dream

oooo....

Now I'm old and feeling gray
I don't know what's left to say
About this life I'm willing to leave
I lived it full, I lived it well
As many tales I live to tell
I'm ready now, I'm ready now
I'm ready now
To fly from the highest wing



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

DEAR CHILDREN

Keegan,
You’re the epitome of awesomeness. Don’t get me wrong – you challenge me and push my buttons. It’s just who you are. But you resonate a whole lotta love for your family. You’re so perfect just the way you are. Without much effort, you excel in school. Gifted and talented -- nothing less than an A. Pretty much always. Your spirit on the football field... just wow -- your teammates marvel at your abilities. And what good looks you have. You want nothing more than your plaid skater shorts and t-shirts, but you can make a paper sack look cute. It’s no wonder you have so many female admirers in 6th grade. Oi vey! There’s a strong passion for music flowing within you, much like I had growing up. You can sit and research bands for hours, discovering new and undiscovered artists. You’re currently attracted to electronic music: drum & bass, trance, downtempo, some house –- you’re SO my kid!


Bailey,
You are incredibly affectionate and love to give me big hugs and kisses. This has been a constant characteristic of yours. Oh my gosh, I LOVE this about you! You still have a serious love for horses, and spend your evenings researching them on the internet. You are CRAZY about books – your vocabulary is often that of an adult as a result. You still can’t match your clothes to save your life. The Mini Bike boy’s t-shirt is about to go missing, I warn. Being feminine and appearing freshly coifed is not high on your list of priorities. Two of your favorite songs right now are Sail by Awolnation and Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People. Lastly, you have a brilliant mind. Above your years. I often say you have an old soul.



Reef,
You rolled over at 8 weeks, although you’ve stopped since. You are such an inch worm, however, that you can wiggle yourself clear across the floor in no time. Everyone comments on how strong you are. You can stand up for long periods of time with just a tiny bit of support under your arms and you have started pulling yourself up when I give you my hands for leverage. You have an insane grip and it sometimes takes serious effort to peel your little fingers off from around objects (or unwrap fistfuls of my hair from your fingers!). You meet your milestones much earlier than expected (my heart BURSTS with pride over this Reef!) You react to your reflection in a mirror, swing at toys that dangle from your play gym, and laugh in response to my jokes and my kisses! You are already teaching me to never (for even a single second) underestimate you. You are quickly getting a reputation for being “the happiest baby ever” as you dole out huge (I mean gigantic!!) smiles left and right and let out bellowing belly chuckles that make everyone else laugh too. You laugh all the time, at everything, and the joy you spread around is so infectious.
My darling children, you have changed the path of my life in the most wonderful way. Being your mother is the greatest thing I have ever known. To watch you grow and develop into three unique, individual little people is a daily gift. I can’t imagine this awe ever wearing off.



-

Monday, October 3, 2011

HAPPY BABY

Some people wait a month or two before posting pictures of their newborn to the public.  Probably because they want to ensure the grouchy-old-troll-baby grows up to be more attractive like Brad Pitt rather than Benjamin Button.  Of course, however, my new squished face baby was a specimen of unquestionable beauty.  I knew that he was destined to make the list of the nation’s Most Beautiful People (and I’ve seen Gabriel Aubrey in hi-def).  I can remember sitting in the hospital bed swooning over his puffy eyes, wrinkled forehead, and yellow complexion.  Don’t forget his scrawny chicken legs.  I was enchanted.  Smitten.  I may have been delirious, but I was in love with that egg-headed baby.  Even the baby acne a few days later couldn’t crush my crush.  He was a stunner.

Reef’s filled out since then.  A lot.  Carrying him is like schlumping around a fortune in gold bricks.  He’s a mini sumo wrestler.  And I’m often afraid I may lose things in the folds of his skin.  His hair’s also fallen out, leaving just enough peach fuzz for people to notice he’s a blondie like his mom and dad.  Now that I think about it, he somewhat looks like a dandelion.  Nevertheless, he’s a happy baby – always sporting a gummy, full-on grin.


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