Month: May 2014

Three and a half

Another half year is behind us and six months of growth has definitely been noted.

 

For MG, 3 and a half means:

routine-oriented: MG has finally come to grasp (and embrace) the daily routine and her place in it.  She knows what day we go to the library and when we usually have friends over.  She knows that every day after lunch she has “quiet time” in her room  (because naps are no longer :()  She understands the different seasons and how they fall in the year.  She knows her birthday comes “after Daddy’s” and has a general sense of the way things work.  This makes life a lot easier for me because she knows what to expect and she trusts us to carry that out.  But it also leads to….

lots of questions: so, so many questions.  She is starting to ask questions even I don’t understand.  “Why is the oven on the other side?”  Things have gone from very concrete to very abstract.  My great aunt passed away last month and this along with lots of talk about Easter has brought about so many deep questions.  “Why do we have to die?  Where is Heaven?  But why does God want us to die?  Will you die first? Will you miss me when I die?   Why do our bodies stay buried in the ground?”  Sometimes my mind just reels at having to answer all of these (theologically) correct without confusing her (and myself) more.  The side-effect of the questions is…

strong comprehension.  I say this all the time but it amazing what she picks up on now.  Even spelling some words is taboo because she understands context clues.  A more beautiful side effect of this is her empathy.  When I am upset about something she says things (and even brings me things) to help me feel better.   I love seeing these traits being brought to the surface and pray that we can nurture them correctly

 

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and finally….

a big imagination: Naps may be no longer, but MG is content to have “quiet time” in her room for a few hours each day.  It didn’t start off very smoothly but we are at a great point with it now.  A large part of this is how her imagination has developed.  She has taught herself how to play independently.  It is lovely and so fun to listen to.  Dolls are still a big part of her imagination but lately she has really latched onto the story of Sleeping Beauty.  We introduced her to some of the songs a few months ago and then gave her this to listen to as an Easter gift.  She has the story and songs memorized and asks so many questions about it.  We have held off showing her the movie because I was afraid some of the darker scenes might frighten her, but I think she will be ready for it this summer.  I can’t wait to see her final reaction to it.  Here is a typical scene of her talking about the story while drawing with markers:

Can’t believe we are half way to four….just plain crazy.

-smk

Updates

One of the things we wanted to add to our new house was a playset for the girls.  This house doesn’t have a playground within strolling distance like our last two 🙁 🙁 and I knew having a hang out in the back yard would be a useful addition for many summers to come!

 

I began scoping out our options on Craigslist, convinced we could beat the price of conventional play grounds as long as we were willing to put in a few blood, sweat, and tears (we were.  we just didn’t realize how much blood, sweat, and tears would be required).  I spent a few days playing the CL game….frantically emailing/texting, waiting in line, bidding and negotiating.  It was only a matter of time before we found one that really struck our interest, was within our driving range, and priced just right.  We won the bid and made plans to pick it up a few weekends ago.

 

We knew this was going to be a big project but we had no idea how to quantify it.  We both thought N would have to disassemble the entire thing and then carefully attempt to reassemble it at our house.  Thankfully it came apart in only three manageable sections but that meant two, hour and a half trips out there, two different size trailers, and some much needed help from both our neighbors and some boys from the college.

After a long day of driving and hauling, N made it home for a quick bite of dinner before bee-lining it to the yard to put it in place before losing the remaining daylight.  He had three boys on hand to help him and the first thing they did was get the trailer stuck in a muddy ditch in our front yard.  Next thing we knew, one of our neighbors was driving his tractor over in a, “hey it looks like you might need some help” kind of way and rescuing them from the ditch.  He stayed to see the entire project through and even brought over some new hooks for our swing.  Meanwhile, I got a phone call from our other neighbor saying, “hey, do y’all need some help?”  (think we must have looked a little pathetic??!!).  “I was driving by and couldn’t stop in the moment but I’d be happy to run over now!” Just a few minutes later they victoriously finished the set with just enough daylight for MG to get a few celebratory slides in before bed.

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N and I were almost brought to tears by the willingness of our little community to help.  This has definitely been a season of reliance on others.  We’ve had to suck in our pride a little bit and accept help, advice, and even shelter from our friends and family.  In some cases we’ve had NOTHING to offer in return. Literally nothing other than a sincere thank you.  I don’t know how much longer this season will last but I am feeling myself being changed through it.  For that, I guess, I am grateful.

-smk

Bea birthday recap

Though more low key than some of our past birthday celebrations, it turned out to be a very sweet day.  N and I set an alarm for 3:28am (her official birth time) and woke up to pray and bless our baby.  It’s a tradition we started with MG and thankfully (?) both girls were born in the middle of the night which pretty much guarantees we’ll always be together on that time.

In the morning, MG quickly spied the wrapped presents and began asking when she could help Bea open them.  We obliged and let them open MG’s gift to Bea, a clone of her beloved Stella doll who now goes by Vella.  Bea has just recently started showing an interest in dolls, but I doubt she will ever match the passion of her sister (who was lovingly cradling her babies at 10 months). Nevertheless, I am glad they each have their own now and MG loves to welcome any new babies to the family.  It has also become somewhat of a tradition for these two to give Stella & co. for events.  Bea gave MG a “big sister” one for her third birthday and also Stella’s diaper bag and pacis one year ago at the hospital.

After,we went to church and she received lots of compliments from the nursery workers who were impressed by her many Frankenstein-ish steps.  Big Sis made sure to let them all know it was her birthday.

We really lucked out that night when we saw a sign advertising a Family Fun Night at a local church in town.  They had outdoor games, a play ground, bubbles, and best of all, free food.  It was the birthday party I didn’t have to plan, pay for, or clean up afterwards!  MG thoroughly enjoyed herself and we all took advantage of the food offerings, coming back to the house only for cake and presents.

I was happy that amongst her many exciting presents  she received a pink cellphone so she can stop drool-ruining mine!

Here is a little vid recap:

LB first birthday wrap from Kate on Vimeo.

We hope to have a big birthday gathering/house warming party in June but I loved having such a sweet, special day with my big one year old!

-smk

 

Bea is 1!

Yesterday Bea turned 1!  It was such a special day that I hope to share more about later this week.  I truly can’t believe how fast this year has flown and where we found ourselves exactly one year after her birth.

 

She has come so very far in a year.  She went from the happiest, easiest baby to a very busy, little Bea in such a short time.  She is walking about 75% of the time, babbling and saying a few words, growing in lots of hair and teeth and eating pretty much everything we do.  Her favorite “toy” is still my phone which she is slowly but surely, destroying….She loves to chew on the case and charge flap…so much so Lifeproof is sending me a brand new, free case and the sound no longer works on my phone unless you go through a few annoying steps to fix that….Oh well, no hard feelings!

 

Here is a look back at her first year of life!

Bea is 1 from Kate on Vimeo.

Dearest Bea,

“From the moment I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen,”

How fitting this quote is for your first year of life. You entered our world in a flurry of excitement and we’ve been riding that high ever since. So much of our lives has been through an upheaval this year, starting with your arrival. It has been one, fantastic adventure that all began with you. (now we are ready for things to settle down a bit :))

You are so precious to me, dear daughter. I’ve thanked God, not enough, but many times for giving me such an easy, happy baby. From day one you ate and slept well and were so pleasant when awake. You breezed through milestones, always just a bit ahead of the crowd and stayed so very healthy! (only one minor puking incident, which just so happens to be my least favorite sickness ever :().

You have been such a delight to our family. Your sister has been thrilled about your presence and has practically smothered you in hugs and kisses (literally, as in we constantly have to remind her to give you space). Your grandparents are over the moon for you and give you the attention you seek. Even strangers are constantly commenting on your easy smile and bubbly demeanor.

Your dad and I prayed for you for a long time. You didn’t come in our time table but from your due date arrival to your quick entrance, your timing was perfect. We feel so very blessed that God kept us waiting for you and had you in mind while He kept us waiting.

There is something special in a mother reserved for each of her children. I’d like to think that you, as the second, have received a much better version of me. A more confident, easy-going, prepared version, if you will. We have a special little bond, you and I, and I pray that it will only grow more intense with the years that may come.

I love you fiercely, little one. I am so proud to call you one of my mine,

Mama

MGisms

“Mommy , what do I want to be when I grow up?” she asked me this morning over breakfast.  Her hair was frizzy from the pillow and her eyes still dewy from sleep.  Some of our best conversation happen at this time.

My mind instantly connected the dots to her question.  She had been asked the same one by the dentist yesterday and thought a long time before confidently responding, “A princess.  Like Sleeping Beauty.”  I smiled to myself because this answer has moved away from the perhaps more realistic “teacher” and changed to fit her current obsession with the Disney story.

In a sweet gesture the dentist responded, “But you are already a princess!” which only seemed to confuse my little black and white girl.  There wasn’t time to explain though and the subject was changed and it didn’t come up again. . .until this morning.

“How about a mommy?  Or a teacher like Daddy?” I offered. “No, I don’t want to be a daddy!”  I caught my tongue before responding right away.  You could tell she had really been thinking about this question and had prepared something important to share with me.

I waited, and was rewarded.

“Maybe I want to be someone who watches the babies at church.  When babies come into the nursery, I will watch them.”

 

I couldn’t think of a more perfect “job” for you, MG.

From one sweet mama to the next,

-smk

One year ago today

Pardon all the sappiness but I’ve been doing so much reminiscing lately (as if you didn’t know-it’s been present in nearly all my posts this month!)

One year ago on the 12th was Mother’s Day. MG had broken her collarbone just a few days earlier and was still faithfully wearing her sling.

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That  Mother’s day, I remember feeling the tiniest twinge of something going on in my abdomen sometime that afternoon. When it began repeating, I began watching the clock. With some regularity, something was going on every 15 minutes or so. It felt very surreal to be so full of life on such a meaningful day.

For reasons we’ve now forgotten, we stayed up late that evening watching a movie. Perhaps it was simply the laissez-faire attitude we’d adopted knowing the end was near and to throw all self-imposed limitations out the window.

We watched the academy award winning movie Zero Dark Thirty which was very intense. Once again I felt something going, this time a little stronger and I was sure the squeezing and tightening were symptoms of early contractions. I watched the red numbers on the DVD player while simultaneously focusing on the movie. Sure enough they were coming with some regularity but too faint to be excited about.

After finishing and thoroughly dissecting the movie, I told N about the contractions. He became very excited but it was also a wake-up call that this thing could happen at any minute. It was the boost we needed to finish up some things around the house.

I slept horribly that night with contractions coming and going in my dreams. Early that morning I eventually gave in, allowed myself to fully wake up, and begin timing them on my contraction app. Wouldn’t you know it but the minute I began to time them they began to dissipate.

In a way I was relieved because the time just didn’t feel right yet and it allowed me to catch a few more hours of sleep before tackling another day.

That all took place one year ago and the story picks up again here. One year later, the memories are still so very vivid. We didn’t know she would be joining us just five days later but we knew our lives were on the cusp of a huge change!

I don’t know why all of these little details are so meaningful to me but I suppose if you are a mom you may sympathize: these stories are etched so deeply on our mommy hearts that we will carry them with us for many years.

This week we will be reminiscing and remembering how Bea entered our lives. On Sunday we will sing and eat cake and we plan to throw a more formal party for her sometime in June.

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It has been one wild and wonderful year,
-smk

Happy Mother’s Day 2014

Growing up, my mom used to say that Mother’s Day was her favorite day of the year. I thought that was because she didn’t have to cook and clean, and maybe received something nice (if she was lucky) or useful from the fam.

Now that I’ve had a few under my belt, I understand that statement a bit more. The niceties are lovely and sentiments sweet but it goes beyond that.

I’ve spent a few minutes today unwinding on some social media outlets and reading through everyone’s tributes to their moms or motherhood. It is beautiful. I love the collective celebration that arises out of this Hallmark holiday to proclaim the value and honor in mothering.

Tributes from moms of 7, adoptive moms, first time moms, moms who struggled with infertility, men and women who had really fantastic moms and grandmoms. My heart is full reading these sweet statements. Though only a sentence or two at best, all are deeply full of stories about how these moms came to be and came to be remembered. Best. Day. Ever.

What does Mother’s Day mean to you?

To me it is a day to remember:

-how I always have someone to share my chocolate with, always

-how most mornings I am awakened to the sound of a little, squeaky stroller being wheeled into my room

-how pb&j’s are highly preferred over any kind of gourmet dish I could ever make

-how I really can’t remember the last time I got 8 uninterrupted hours. 11pm, 3am, 6am. . .I’m starting to learn the drill

-how leaving the house requires 6 steps, 1 hour of prep work, and 15 minutes

-how I haven’t heard a top 40 song in months, much less a nominated movie

-how often I can’t find anything at the store for myself, but always for them

-how every single errand is punctuated by questions and how those questions lead to more questions and how tired my brain is at the end of the day. She may be getting smarter, but I’m getting dumber 🙂

-how the most exciting thing I’ve added to my house thus far has been a playset

-how these two faces are the best gift I’ve ever been given

-smk

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all those blessed to be called Mama–in whatever form that may be,

-smk

Window Shopping

A lot of my “free time” these days has been spent browsing the Internet for house ideas.  We have a bit more space to decorate in this house and a totally different aesthetic to go along with it.  I envision the rustic/vintage/antique theme that is so popular right now, with a bit of farmhouse, industrial, and Anthropologie mixed in.  Make sense?  As you can see I am all over the place right now! I’m definitely trying to pace myself as I figure out what exactly I’m looking for, what I can DIY vs. buy, and what I want to buy thrifted vs. new.

On a quest for light fixtures, I discovered Schoolhouse Electric.  Not only do they have period style lights they also have a full set of home decor.  If you culled West Elm, Restoration Hardware, and Anthropologie for all of their industrial home goods, this would be it. And the name alone . . . Could it be anymore perfect?

Here are some of my favorites:

Lighting

schoolhouse lights copy

I think I have a thing for cage-y lights                                          (all images sourced from here)

 

Furniture

schoolhouse furniture copy

(all images sourced from here)

Their furniture costs an arm and a leg (hahaha). . . but seriously, look at that blue velvet couch and that credenza (swoon)

Accessories

schoolhouse quirky copy

(all images sourced from here)

The metal baskets, the house number sign with a built in planter, that drafting chair (don’t you think it would be perfect in my art room?). . . love!

Quirky

schoolhouse quirky 2 copy

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(all images sourced from here)

The cafeteria tray that doubles as a desk organizer??  The clock that says schoolhouse. . . these are my two favorites that I may just have to splurge on.

So where do you go to window shop?

-smk

 

Paying Homage

One of my very favorite blogs to read on a weekly basis is actually written by a fellow TU alum. Although I didn’t know her very well at college, I had a few art-focused classes with her husband.   Her writing is beautiful; each post laying out like a snippet from a book with a feeling of cohesiveness throughout.  Underlying, but noticeably present, is a theme of food that often makes me wish we lived in such a culturally minded city such as NYC or Boston (and few other people can ever make me say that! :)).  Adding to, she has two little girls, the second one being very close in age to Bea and sharing  (half of) a name with her!  Anyway, if that doesn’t sing enough praise, hopefully reading her words below will convince you.  This post was one that immediately connected with me and  that I had tried to write before but lacked her perfect poise.  (original post here)

Two So Far by Erstwhile dear

Simply on a street-and-bystander level, I like the respect that comes from having two kids. The unsolicited advice seems to have vaporized. No more “oh just wait until you have two/she’s older/she’s starts walking” etc etc. The sight of me coming down the street with the girls seems to garner some awe. Perhaps a fleeting moment of pity. A few “My, you really have your hands full.” Not exactly compliments, but there is a little music to them.

Almost every month we drop a bag of stuff at Goodwill, but for the first time recently, a couple of the things that went were things I really liked. That’s a good sign. It’s bad if you’re purging junk–how did it get into your home the first place? But if you getting rid of things you like because they’ve come to the end of a good life, been rendered irrelevant or replaced with a better fit (like our kitchen table), then things are really getting shipshape.

But I did cringe to see go the table we found as newlyweds at the Cambridge Antique Market. We bought it from a dealer who meticulously wrote full paragraphs on the tags he attached to each item. Before we purchased the table we spent twenty minutes just reading the mini histories he had recorded. Each side of the table folded down completely. That was great for our old apartment where dinner parties began with drinks on “the sideboard” and then we sat down to dinner at the now-table.

But the flip side is that we have a new table that fits our small kitchen and the four of us just right.

This brings me to another perk of two: cleaning my house. I’ve realized I cannot not clean my apartment just because I have a child under foot. Because they’re never not under foot. I’m allowed to say, “I can’t read Curious George right now, I’m cleaning.” I’m allowed to expect Lux to entertain herself that long. I’m allowed to shrug my shoulders at her bored-face and let her find her own fun.

After a few real miscalculations, I’ve banned errands that implicitly value my time below minimum wage. A 40-minute trip to a consignment shop for a chance at $8 in store credit? No thank you. When I get a gift for the girls in the mail, I send a text message or email to say thank you right away, and leave it at that. The gracious days of a written note have slipped away, at least for a while.

I’ve started answering the phone again. If I don’t pick up now, my wary thinking goes, I might have to listen to a voicemail later. So I pick up.

I see that I’m becoming manically efficient. With Lux, I was always doing these small trips to the grocery store, lugging one overpacked bag back with me on the stroller. I go to the store once a week. I spend enough to initiate free delivery. I’ve finally started planning more than one dinner in advance. Finally started my dinner journal that I’ve been meaning to do for a year or two. Finally typed up a list of my typical grocery list, with space for additions and printed it off.

I don’t say this to boast. Just puttering over the things here and there that seem to have gotten easier, and almost in awe of the things that are falling into place.

-smk

Two Weeks

Less than two weeks until we have a one year old in the house!! She is definitely acting the part as she has been taking quite a few steps lately.  She took her first real steps on May 1, right before bed.  She had the three of us cheering her on! Each day she grows more and more confident

bringing home mayby from Kate on Vimeo.

These are the memories that flood me when I watch it:

-staying up later than I should with a newborn to work on it. . .Legs sticky from the heat of summer, windows open to let in the breeze (how I long for those days again!), my left arm asleep from holding her

-how I would crave and eat a chocolate chip milkshake every evening before going to bed…must have been a bit calcium deprived 🙂

-cradling my sleepy, sweaty baby that smelled like an intoxicating mix of milk and bath

-swaddle blankets…used and love those things dearly last summer

-feeling a bit of apprehension every night before laying down.  Was she going to sleep tonight?  Was she going to wake up constantly (we never had one night like that, for the record, thank you BEA!!)?  And worse, was she not going to wake up?

-how MG fully embraced her sister from the very first minute and that love has never wavered.  (that’s not to say she embraced her “new” mommy, but she finally came around :))  My heart could burst watching videos of their early moments together

-how everything comes full circle.   A year ago, Bea was a little stranger to us.  Now I look back and see the obvious: her preferred sleep position, the beginnings of an expressive smile, the hint of curly hair.

-how full my heart was.  Out of the adrenaline rush that began the moment my water broke came a high that lasted the summer nigh.

The summer of 2013, in all of its sticky, milky, sweaty, lovey glory was a season I will not soon forget

 

-smk

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