Jul 29, 2014

12 months

I realize I'm posting this 3.5 months late but my anal retentiveness wouldn't let me forget to post the very last month in the better late than never!

Here's what was going on during this beauty's eleventh month:

-Babbling all the time. Using a lot of inflection.
-New tooth sprouting
-Saying, "Whoa!" when she falls or drops something
-Smelling flowers
-Mocking Daphne's whining by imitating her
-Grinding her teeth (worst noise imaginable, BTW)
-Always on the go and never wanting to come inside

Months 1-12 are finally complete! 

Jul 28, 2014

We're back

Well, would you look at that. It seems I inadvertently took a three month hiatus from writing. I could do all sorts of explaining about how time got away from me, but the truth is I needed a break from all this sharing. For a long time, all I wanted was for readers to find their way here. I wanted to create a sense of community and belonging among women and mothers. I wanted a space where people could come to share a laugh, commiserate about the trials of parenthood, inspire or be inspired, and most importantly, connect in an age of utter disconnection.

But a few years into it, I got scared. What if what I was writing wasn't interesting to people anymore? Was I sharing too much? Not enough? How would Liv feel when she's older knowing that I'd detailed her life on the internet? Once something is put out there, you can never get it back, after all. I began feeling insecure about my decision to write instead of empowered by it.

So I decided to take a step back and sit in silence for a while. Our days marched on and a lot of things happened. We celebrated a first birthday with the most special people in Liv's life. We bought another house and moved for the 8th time in 7 years. Life changed and we grew, and through it all, I just kept thinking, I should really be writing this all down. If for nothing else than our own memory.

I remembered why I started this blog in the first place. It's our family's storybook and our daughter's babybook. Over the years, Keane and I have spent so much time looking back through old blog posts– reminiscing about our adventures, laughing at our missteps and reliving the emotion of our biggest moments together. I thought about how, in 50 years from now, when my hair is white and my skin is wrinkled, I'll cherish this collection of writings more than most things. Memories fade but words and photos live on. My hope is that Liv will appreciate reading these snippets from her family and maybe even develop a love of writing like her mama.

So I've decided not to worry about the "audience," and just write. If people come, great. If they find enjoyment from our stories, even better. But I have to remember, first and foremost, this is for us and the pressure is off.

So for now, we're back...with stories to tell.

Apr 13, 2014

Letters to Liv: Happy First Birthday

My Dearest Liv,

It's 8:40pm and I'm writing you this letter from bed. You are sound asleep in the next room without the slightest idea of just how meaningful this moment is to me. Right now, exactly one year ago, I was in labor with you.

I remember every detail about that day so vividly. I felt my first contraction early Saturday afternoon while I rested my aching body on the couch. I was still 6 days out from my due date and had fully expected for you to come late, so I was a little shocked it was all happening so soon.

Knowing it could still be days before active labor truly started, your papa and I tried to wait patiently without getting our hopes up too much. We watched episodes of Breaking Bad and ate rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes while casually timing my contractions. I bounced on the big blue ball, stopping every five minutes or so to breathe through the waves that rolled over my core.

Around 9:00pm, papa called the midwife to see if we should head to the birth center. My contractions had gotten strong and were coming every few minutes at this point. Another hour passed before we were given the green light to come in.

I remember walking out to the car thinking that the next time we returned home, you'd be with us and our lives would forever be changed. The air was cool and our street was silent. I paused in papa's arms through one last contraction before buckling in and making the 20 minute drive to the birth center. From the back seat, I closed my eyes and said a prayer for us. For you, that your journey into the world would be a safe one; and for me, that I could remain strong through it all.

Papa called our families to inform them that you were on your way.

The next 16 hours were the most intense of my entire life. Contractions came every 1.5 to 2 minutes and lasted 60 seconds or more. Each time one ended, I had just enough time to refocus and gather strength for the next. I labored in bed, on a ball, draped over a sling, lunging up and down stairs, floating in a tub, hanging from papa's neck, and hovering over a birth stool.

Our room was warm, quiet and peaceful. I listened to nature sounds and sniffed peppermint essential oil anytime I got nauseous. Had it not been for the unbelievable pain, I would have thought I was at a spa.

Your papa was by my side the entire time. He never asked if I was thirsty, instead just held a straw to my mouth and I drank. He rested when I did, but stood up the instant a contraction started to brace some of my weight for me. There were very few words spoken between us during labor but we were more in sync than ever before.

By about 1:30pm the next day, you were ready to come out. It wasn't at all like the movies, Liv. No one was directing me on when or how to push. There were no beeping monitors or people coming in and out of my room. There was simply a nurse and a midwife kneeling beside my birth tub, gently encouraging and praising me. "You are doing great, mama" they kept saying.

Mama! It dawned on me that I was just minutes away from becoming your mama! With a few final pushes, you came out into the water and into my arms forever.

You have changed me in so many ways, sweet Liv. I never knew I could love this deeply, live this selflessly or care this much...and all while sustaining prolonged sleep deprivation! You are sweet and sensitive, wild and free, independent and courageous. You are everything I hoped my daughter might be.

Your life is such a wonderful gift and this year has been my favorite yet. Thank you for coming into our world and choosing us as your parents. We are the lucky ones, Liv.

Happiest first birthday to you.

To the moon and back,


Mar 19, 2014

11 months

Don't know her stats but let's just leave it at this: chicken legs. 
New this month:

-Growling like a wild animal.
-Clapping, specifically to "If You're Happy and You Know It."
-Kissing. On the lips... with a wet, open mouth.
-Saying Mama, Dada, Dog, Deh (yeah), and Doh (no)
-Cutting a new top tooth (that's 5 total)
-Obsession with shredding toilet paper. She tears it into tiny little pieces and leaves a trail around the house for me to clean. She's very much like a cat. 
-Loving on command. When I ask her to give someone or something a "love," she gently rests her head on it. Her favorite recipients of loves are soft things like blankets and stuffed animals. 
-Fascination with teeth and tongues. While she nurses, she jams her fingers into my mouth and plays with my teeth. She thinks it's the funniest thing in the world when I pretend to bite them.
-Moving like Jagger. She sways one arm back and forth with bent knees anytime she hears music or I ask her to dance. It's quite possibly the cutest thing she does. 
-Carrying heaving objects around the house. She loves a challenge so anything big, heavy or awkward to handle, she lugs from room to room while grunting. 
-Exclusively walking (and running). Crawling is for the birds now.
-Better understanding of the world around her. I can say to her, "Liv, do you want to go for a walk in the stroller?" She'll respond with, "Deh" (her way of saying Yeah). I'll then ask her to get her shoes from her room so we can go. She'll stop what she's doing, go into her bedroom and emerge with her shoes in hand. Brilliant, I tell you!
-Learning about emotions. She laughs when Keane and I laugh or when she sees someone on TV laughing. She also appeared very concerned when she saw me crying the other day and actually reached out to touch my tears. I love that she's showing empathy at this age. 
-No more scowling! Thank the sweet Lord for that. 

If you need me over the next few weeks, I'll be cursing that hood rat called TIME. Because how has it been almost a full year. How?

Months 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 here

Mar 3, 2014

Fishy Fishy

Do you guys remember that terrible sounding jingle that McDonalds came up with a while back for their equally terrible sounding Fish McBites? Well, it was actually brilliant marketing because that dreaded song is ALWAYS stuck in my head. And it's infuriating. 

Oddly enough, the jingle is very appropriate for our recent day spent at the Aquarium. 

We were having one of those mornings... You know, the kind where your 10 month old is being super whiney for no reason and there's nothing you can do to pull her out of her funk? Yeah, that kind. 

So I loaded her up in the car and we headed to the Downtown Aquarium for a change of scenery. I hadn't been there in years and it was her first time. 
It's so fun to go places like this with her now that she's walking. She could explore at her own pace and the best part was, we went on a Wednesday and pretty much had the place to ourselves. Since I didn't have to worry about her getting trampled or lost, I let her have total freedom. 
She was mesmerized. 
The aquarium is neat because you can walk right up to the exhibits where the fish are constantly moving. It's easy for little ones to stay engaged since there is so much to watch. Sometimes, places like the zoo prove to be a bit boring for her because many of the animals are far away and not doing a whole lot. 
At the very end of the aquarium were the sharks. Now, there aren't too many things that creep me out in this world. I'm not one of those girls that runs screaming when they see a spider. I'm perfectly fine squishing them with a tissue and moving on with my day. Snakes aren't my cup of tea but I can handle them as long as they aren't on me. But Sharks...There is something so eerie to me about a shark. Their eyes, their teeth, the ways they glide through the water. 

When Liv and I walked into this final, dark exhibit with floor to ceiling glass and dozens of sharks swimming around, my stomach dropped. It didn't help that we were the only ones in the room and the Jaws song was blaring through the speakers around us. I was certain they were all staring at me. They can sense fear, right?! I snapped a few photos and quickly ushered Liv out of the room to the safety of the snack bar. 

Despite the creepy sharks, we had such a great time at the aquarium and can't wait to go back. Next time we'll be sure to take papa with know, for protection.

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Feb 21, 2014

10 months

It's cliché, I know, but I really can't believe how big our girl has gotten. She is going to be a year old the next time I blink. 

What? No, I'm not crying! There's just dust in my eye. 

Ok, on to accomplishments from last month. The biggest and most exciting milestone is that we now have a walker on our hands! Liv took her first steps just two days after turning nine months and then spent the next few weeks gaining the confidence to inch further and further on her own. She now toddles all around by herself. Although she doesn't need any help from us, she still enjoys the comfort of holding onto our finger for support. 

Other notable happenings:
-Makes the sweetest cooing noises as she's falling asleep. While I nurse her to sleep in the evening, she drifts off and lets out the most glorious little throaty sounds in existence. She's so peaceful and relaxed.  It's music to my ears!

-Learned to feed the dogs at meal time and now attempts to give them all her food. I appreciate her desire to share but we are going to end up with some seriously fat dogs if this continues. On a related note, Liv is their new favorite person. 

-Developed quite the 'tude. For about 2.5 weeks, Liv looked at everyone and everything with disdain. My once smiley baby had morphed into someone I didn't recognize and wore a permanent scowl on her face. We were starting to become concerned and went back and forth about how to handle this phase (at least we hoped it was a phase). Should we laugh? Do it back to her? Ignore it all together? I'm happy to report we are now on the other side and she's back to smiling and waving at everyone she meets. Thank goodness.

Feb 20, 2014

Lately in photos

We've been surviving bouts of the polar vortex over here with lots of indoor activities and play dates with friends. Luckily, unlike the rest of the country, our sub zero weather was broken up by temperatures that reached the 60's some days so it hasn't been all bad. 

Here are some Instagram (@raysyoursights) and iPhone photos of what we've been up to recently. 

Struttin' around with her fancy lady fan//Carefully observing the big kids at the playground//Proving that she can now climb onto furniture and make herself comfy, all on her own//Tantrums which are starting far too early for my liking//Exploring the market at the Children's Museum with her pal Drew//Double date with Brooke and Cameron to the Butterfly Pavilion//Dog beds are her happy place//ET phone home//Sunday family brunch
A sick little cream puff//Pear to the face//My attempt at Valentine's nails//Sleeping beauty//I can never and will never get over her feet. OBSESSED//First swim with some friends, Charlie Mae and Ellie//Mama and baby photo op at the pool//Family hike in Evergreen//All my children
Exploring the mountains with papa//Valentine's Day celebration with my main squeeze//Chocolate cake the size of one's head//Feeling guilty for being short with Siri//So much love for my guy after spending hours talking about our goals for our marriage//Play date at Olen's house...his mama makes the coolest toys!//Olen and Liv, born just 3 days apart//Ikea//Just moments before L picked up a handful of dog poop at the park. YAY!

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