Thursday, August 25, 2011

sooo big!

Yep, you've caught me, I'm growing!
Charlie had his one month appointment today.  He was 2 weeks behind the curve ball on this one because they couldn't fit it in any sooner (that makes him 6 weeks for all of you math fans). I'm not reallly sure where he falls percentage-wise and I know it doesn't really matter, but when they are so little it is reassuring to see that they are on target.  Wouldn't it be so much easier if they could just tell you, "yes, mom, I'm getting everything I need and I am very content!"?  So I relied on the pediatrician's bill of health and grand remarks about how well he's doing.  I'm such a new mom - worried about the littlest things that won't really matter in a few days.  Charlie is fine and growing quite well.  I learned that there is no such thing as a baby sleeping too much, we should just consider ourselves lucky.  Whew, we really did luck out on that one! 
So he is now 10lbs 6oz and 22 1/2 inches long. That's quite a spurt over the past six weeks buddy!  
Now, to put away his newborn clothes...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

we are here

We are in that place again.  That place in life when my days are so full, yet I don't know what I actually did.  The place where multitasking is an understatement as I am constantly juggling about 6 tasks at one time, though I am lucky if I can actually see one of those to completion.  The place where I literally feel like I am working backwards as my "to do" list grows longer with every movement within the house.  I find myself not only challenged with the tasks at hand, but also with a million things on my mind.  This is a place that I am sure all parents come to at some point, the place where you wonder which way is up. 
I feel like I have a pretty good handle on it.  It helps to have a vacation to look forward to and many moments of "recollecting" throughout the day.  My "to do" list from the morning gets thrown away and rewritten by noon as the priorities of the day change at a moment's notice.  Although there is nothing major happening in our home, you might think that we were working on some huge project in this house based on the amount of physical and emotional energy that it takes to keep it running. 
Well, we are.  We have embarked on the journey of potty training and introducing a "big girl" bed for Julia. 
Yes, at the same time. 
Yes, we have had enough changes for one summer. 
Yes, we're crazy.
 No, I would not say it's going well.
This has been a crazy mix of a bunch of coincidences that have brought us to this point.  Most of this involves the fact that I have a child who is going to do things on her own time.  This is how she wants to do it.
Some days I wonder who has the control in this parent-child relationship.  It is something that we have to address often (and in the most gentle matter) to maintain any kind of structure around here.  This summer has truly be one of transformation for Julia as she is growing a ton.  She is still a baby and yet such a little girl.  Having a newborn magnifies this transformation.  Charlie is completely reliant on us.  Julia is dependant for one task and then wants to be 100% independant for the next one.  These are tough shifts from moment to moment and they keep me on my toes!  I have to constantly take inventory of what's going on, what is really important about the situation, and what needs to be addressed.  It is so much easier when I called the shots and she needed us a whole lot more.  It is also completely humbling. 
This is parenting.  This is what it's all about.  Providing the guidance and love that she needs to work her way through this world.  God has entrusted me with a feisty one!  There are days that I wonder if I am truly equipped to keep up with her and then I realize that with a little bit of structure, a whole lot of love, tons of prayer, and the ability to laugh at ourselves, we are okay.
Oh, and don't worry about Charlie, he's slept through the whole thing.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

the greatest gift

When you have your first baby you are innundated with piles upon piles of "stuff" needed to keep a child going and growing.  Most of it I was hesitant to keep and I thought we could get by without too many oversized plastic contraptions with toys attached to them.  I quickly learned that they are essential.  The good news?  We are all set with our contraptions.  We have what we need this time around.  The better news?  It opens up this whole new world for friends and family to provide for other needs.  In the past month we have had some of the best home cooked meals, most wonderful quality time with others, and random chores done around our house.  All of these amount to one of the greatest gifts that anyone can give: the simple gift of time.  Whether our friends have had 20 minutes to entertain Julia while I grab a quick a shower, an hour to whip up a quick meal, or 3 days to come up for a much needed visit, it has meant the world to us. 
For the past 4 weeks we have been blessed with some wonderful visitors who were not only able to meet Charlie, but also able to share in one of the most exciting times in our lives.  Spending more than a few hours with a family adjusting to a newborn can be an interesting experiment.  This experiment is not for the faint of heart and it involves a great deal of transparency into the real life working of our family in the midst of sleep deprivation and moments of complete uncertainty of how to handle a newborn.  In our case, our friends and family witnessed the fact that although I am up at 5am, not much gets accomplished before noon, they witnessed a 2 year old who loves the attention and definitely knows how to get it, during week 2 our visitors were able to see a raw moment that involved a trip to the ER for Julia, week 3 got better, but those visitors saw that Julia was having a harder time saying good-bye to the people she loves.  By the end of this month, our friends and family had enough material on us to write a "what to do/what not to do" book about parenting.  We are thankful that each of you have hung in there with us, stayed up until the wee hours of the morning with me, loved on Julia a little bit more, and cherished some of those newborn snuggles with Charlie. 
People often say that they don't always know how to be helpful.  In my case, I have had many moments of feeling so overwhelmed that I don't know how to articulate what I need.  Despite this all of the important things have been addressed and I have learned that just the presence of others has been beyond valuable to us. 
And for that, we thank you.
Week 1 - 2 whole visits from Chrissy (and baby V)!

Week 2 - Charlie spent 3 whole days in the arms of his Babci and mommom.  He was so spoiled that he now can't stand to be put down!
Mimi wins the award for the most visits, the prime witness to most of our frantic moments, and the very special honor of being present for his arrival.  Thank you mom and dad- we don't know what we would do without you!

Bec, Zoe Zoe and Ben hung in there for a busy weekend. 
Zoey came at the perfect time - Julia really needed a friend.
And so did I.  Thanks Bec! 

Aunt Kirstan finally arrived!  Julia was so excited to see Aunt "cookie", but was disappointed that we weren't going to the beach.  Kirstan gets the best of all worlds because she is their only aunt...the favorite one that spoils the heck out of them.
And Jilly and Kris rounded out our visits this month.  They added the fun element, which Julia loved.  I'm sure there will be many more visits to come, but when they left, it felt extra lonely around here.
Wow, what a month!
August 13th - 1 month old!
So I have learned a lot from this past month.  It seems strange to think that I will reenter the world and have some free time :), but when I do, I realize that gifts don't have to be neatly packaged.  Sometimes it's just listening and offering advice, bringing a sleep deprived family a Starbucks treat, making some homecooked goodness to share, or offering to hold a baby to allow a new mom the luxury of a few moments to herself.  Anyway you share it, I promise, it will be greater than anything you can buy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I love when a child is so new that you measure the time in weeks.  Everything is so pure and uncharted.  It gives you this whole new perspective on how much they are growing when you can actually see the changes from day to day.  It is refreshing to celebrate these little acheivements and think about how far we've come each week.  Every morning I look at him and marvel at how much he has changed and little by little we say good-bye to the newborn stage as we see this little one emerge.  This realization is met with a tiny bit of hesitation as I just want to bask in the newness of it all, but also thrilling as we get to see Charlie's personality.  He is every bit as laid back as he was on day one.  He is content with his world and in awe of watching his big sister.  His presence makes everyone around him feel at peace.  I can't help but wonder how these elements of his personality will translate as he gets older.
So our little boy is 4 whole weeks old today - here is the weekly count:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This I know.

A shout out to all 3 week olds!
I'm not really sure what day it is, I have lost all track of time.  I'm not quite certain when I can stop changing my spit up covered outfits each day and when the permanent smell of sour milk will stop following me around.  I'm embarrassed to say that I don't remember what happened between the 1am and 4am feeding and how we managed to survive sleeping together on the couch with Charlie remaining in one place.  I'm realizing how much I've forgotten in the two years since we introduced a newborn to our home and I have learned to just take this all as a new experience. 
At the same time, there are some things that I am quite certain about.  I am beyond confident that I love every moment of this.  From the frantic moments when every member of this house is crying to the tender moments of Charlie sleeping on my chest.  I feel much more secure in knowing who I am as a mother - what to worry about and what to let go of.  It is a more peaceful experience this way.  I also know the little things that I didn't the first time around, like how soothe him, the importance of sneaking in some time to rest and avoid overdoing it in the beginning.  (I know these things and I am trying really hard to put them into practice, though if I find a mother that has perfected this, I'd like to know her secret!)
And all sentimental things aside, the one important thing that is most overlooked is how hungry you are when you are breastfeeding.  Seriously, nobody told me this.  I though that I must have some mysterious tapeworm in those first few weeks with Julia.  This time around, I decided to equip myself with the essential components of any breastfeeding mother's (or postpartum mother in general) kitchen: protein and easy accessible snacks.  Hummus is a favorite in our house.  Despite the frenzy in our home, I am probably making a new batch of hummus every 3 days here.  I use this recipe from Cooking Light.  It is pretty easy - just throw it all together and blend (I usually add cumin too). 
The other "regular" in our kitchen are a good batch of muffins.  Not just any muffins.  I call them breastfeeding muffins.  No, they're not made with breastmilk, but they are made with a combination of all of the great ingredients that keep me full for more than 10 minutes.  The secret?  They're made with ricotta, which packs in the protein and makes them super moist and chewy.  These muffins are the best ever.  You don't have to be a breastfeeding mother to enjoy these (yes, you can change the name)!  Julia loves them and we have had them on hand for our many visitors passing through - all agree that they are quite delicious. If you know a new mom and want to bake something for the family, this recipe is a good option!

Here you go:
Peach-Vanilla Ricotta Muffins
(AKA - Breastfeeding Muffins)
from Molly Katzen's Sunlight Cafe - Moosewood Cookbook
a great cookbook!

2 cups unbleached alll-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 Tblsp grated lemon zest
1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 Tblsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tblsp plus 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 stick unsalted butter (melted)
1/2 cups fresh peaches diced (you can use any fruit)

1. Preheat oven to 350, lightly spray muffin tin.
2. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest and sugar in a medium bowl
3. Place th ricotta in a second medium sized bowl and beat in the buttermilk.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with a whisk after each addition.  Whisk in the lemon juice and vanilla.
4. Pour the ricotta mixture, along with the melted butter and the peaches in to the dry ingredients.  Using a spatula, stir from the bottom until the dry ingredients are moistened (do not overmix).
5. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups - usually makes about 12 large muffins.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.  Remove the pan from the oven , then remove each muffin and place on a cooling rack.  Wait 30 minutes before serving. 


Happy 3 weeks Charlie-bear!  I can hardly keep up with your growing self!