Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Benny and I are headed to Chicago for Labor Day weekend.

Sans The Bird and The Bean. 

Just the two of us.  Well, four if you count the total group going.  But what's important is it is ADULTS ONLY.  No babes allowed.

And the question was asked of me today:  "What in the world are you going to do in Chicago?" I've only been there once for work (in January... so, yea....), so I'm not really sure what there is to do in Chicago, but I'm taking a wild guess that there are plenty of things to do.  And another wild guess that the city doesn't shut down on Sundays.  Which will be completely new territory for us. 

But, I really think that the question isn't what are we going to do.  The question is, what AREN'T we going to do.  (All hail to Ferris Bueller... I, too, need a day off.)

So, here it goes.

-Change a dirty diaper.
-Look down the back of anyone's shorts to see if they have, indeed, poopied.
-Say the word poopy.
-Ask anyone if they just went potty.
-Say the word potty.
-Order off off the kids menu.
-Order water.
-Wake up early.
-Wake up, period.
-Pick up after somebody.
-Pick up after ourselves.  THAT'S WHAT HOUSEKEEPING IS FOR.
-Read a book cover-to-cover 15 times in one night.
-Repeatedly practice the word "fox" with someone so that it doesn't come out sounding like another F word.
-Utter the phrase:  "Can you say...?"
-Worry about possible choking hazards or anything that's breakable in any given environment.
-Wipe anyone's nose.
-Allow someone to hand me a booger... and then thank them for it.

But, I guess to be fair and give you an accurate view of our plans this weekend, I should include the...

-Actually finish a cup of coffee in the morning.
-Use the bathroom without someone pounding on the other side of the door.
-Sleep on the flight out.
-Arrive at our destination without the look of shell-shocked parents after a flight.
-Talk with Benny about things other than poop, pee, vomit, sleeping habits and tantrums.
-Read a book without interruption.
-Did I mention sleep?
-Enjoy a meal in a restaurant without having to wipe someones face or hands, or somehow keep them contained in their high chair without causing a scene.
-Drink whatever and however much we want without fear of an early-morning wakeup.
-Enjoy a hangover like we did pre-kids.
-Eat a hot dog without having to cut anyone's hot dog up for them first.
-Go to a baseball game and actually watch it, vs just being there for a change of scenery and wondering at the end of the night... Wait.  There was a game?  Who played?
-Live recklessly and put a fork or a knife near the edge of the table.

And lastly: 
-Worry about how my kiddos are doing every second I'm gone and call them 15 times a day.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Holy Six-Month-Old, Batman!

Dear Millie,
Today, you turned 6 months old!  Holy cow! You're halfway to your first birthday!  Mommy blinked and you grew up.  HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

I truly can't believe that 6 months ago, you came into our lives.  I've said it before, but it bears repeating... I never realized just how incomplete our family and our lives were until you came to us.  It's amazing the energy you have already brought into this world... and you're still immobile (for the most part!)

Six months ago today, you were just this little thing struggling to breathe and looking up at me with those big eyes.  I remember singing to you and encouraging you to breathe. I remember sleeping with you in my arms in the hospital room... a big no-no that the nurses were ALL over.  But what do they know?  You slept better in my arms.  I remember our friends and family coming to visit us in the hospital.  I remember how you didn't seem to cry very much.  I remember trying to get you to nurse and how hard it was for you and for me.  I remember how whenever you looked at me, you looked right into my eyes with so much trust and innocence and how I thought that there was nothing in this world that can ever compare to that moment of bonding between a mother and her newborn.

All of that seems like it just happened yesterday.  THAT WAS THE FASTEST 6 MONTHS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, MILLIE.

In the last 6 months, that little tiny infant who looked at me with those big eyes and tiny arms and legs has grown into a full blown baby!!  Those hands and feet that were so long and narrow... well, you have plumped up quite well.  And you've got incredible power in those hands... you're able to bring me to my knees when you grab my hair and pull.  Today you managed to grab my necklace (on the first try) and pull me from a kneeling position right to your level on the floor. 

And in the last month? You've turned into this little personality.  A little VERBAL personality.  My goodness do you like to jabber.  A lot.  You appear to be taking after your sister.

And possibly your mother.

It all started last weekend when I took you on your first flight to go to a friend's wedding in Seattle.  Let's just say, you didn't handle the pressurizing of the cabin very well.  I felt so bad for you.  You cried soooo much and refused to nurse, even though that would help with the ear pressure.  You finally fell asleep after I forced you to nurse and stayed that way until we had leveled out in the air.  That's when you woke up and started grabbing at everything around you.  Including the nice man who was sitting next to us... who didn't even flinch when you grabbed his arm hair and attempted to ingest it.

It was like your crying spurt triggered something in you because OMG... you have not stopped jabbering since.  You've got a lot of "da-da-da-da" going on.  And a lot of happy shrieks.  (Except when they're not happy shrieks and are just shrieks...aka - the return flight home). 

You've also become even more mobile in the last month.  I can leave you on one side of the room while I run to the kitchen to make sure your sister doesn't pull the cabinet door off the hinges when she is attempting to throw away your diaper (she's a huge help that way), and when I get back, you are on the other side of the room... usually stuck mid-roll against something.

You love story time with your sister and we are so happy that both of our girls are "readers".  I look forward to reading more with you when you get older.  You still love your jump-a-roo and especially love it when your big sister comes over to give you a kiss... or to laugh/scream in your face.  It makes you feel like you're part of the action. Oh, you cannot wait to be a part of the action.  You already never stop moving.  EVER.  If it's not your arms, it's your legs.  If it's not your legs, it's your head.  If it's not your head, it's your hands.

Changing your diaper is so different than changing your sisters diaper was when she was your age.  You are constantly rolling and the only way I can get you to sit still for the 15 seconds it takes to change you is to have Hazel come over and stand above you so you get to look straight up at her and laugh. But the second she leaves, you're rolling over so that you can see where she went.  It's a lot like attempting to change a live rolling pin.

You are soooo close to crawling now.  You're not quite on your knees yet, so the "crawling" that we see now is mostly you pushing off with your feet and scooting your head across the floor. But trying to rock you down at night requires about 6 arms because you are so much more interested in climbing over Mommy's shoulder instead of nestling in close.

Speaking of going to bed... you are hilarious when it comes to your bedtime routine.  Usually about 6 p.m., you start to get a little fussy and we know we have a short amount of time before you're going to get really upset.  Usually by 6:30, we have your bottle ready and Daddy takes you into your room.  When the lights go out and the sound machine goes on, you know it's dinner time and OMG... the 10 seconds it takes to walk over to the chair and get you situated to feed is 15 seconds too long and YOU MUST EAT NOW.  Dinner time in your room is the fussiest you ever get.  And it lasts all of 5 seconds before we plug you in.

You're still sleeping through the night and absolutely love waking up in the mornings.  Your internal alarm goes off at 6:39 a.m., though... Mommy would prefer it go off at 7:01 a.m.  See if you can work on that for me, mkay?  When we put you to bed every night at 6:30ish, you immediately roll to your left and put your feet up on the bars of the crib.  That's how we know you're down for the count... the roll to the left and the feet up.  Sometimes, the roll to the left occurs as I am putting you down and you roll right out of my arms and land with a soft bounce in the crib.  This doesn't seem to phase you in the least and you go right back to sleep.  Sometimes the roll to the left is a full 180 and you end up sleeping nose first in the mattress.  You seem to be okay with this so we just kinda leave you to do your thing.  And 12 hours later, you're up and ready to take on the world again!

Interestingly, you have only recently started to motate in your crib.  Prior to the last few weeks, you would wake up and cry out for me in the same position I put you in bed the night before.  But now... well, now you can be any where in that crib.  And sometimes you cry out because your leg is stuck in between the slats of the crib and this upsets you because it restricts your mobility and apparently, there was something on the other side of the crib you wanted to check out. 

You still aren't able to sit on your own yet.  You seem to always fall to the left.  I think in another month you may have it mastered.  So... like tomorrow?

And you still don't have any teeth!!! But the drooling has reemerged as a lost art.  You drool ALL THE TIME!  And I keep expecting you to have some teeth popping through but, alas... NOTHING!

Another new development for you... we introduced you to Aunt KC's dog, Gus.  You sister... well, she loved Gus from the moment she met him when she was your age.  You? NOT SO MUCH.  Why?  We can only guess that the terrified cries you let loose whenever he gets within sight have something to do with the fact that even though Gus is unaware of this, THAT THING IS NOT HUMAN!!! GET IT AWAY FROM ME!

Or something like that.

We've tried it twice now... and it doesn't matter if you're up in our arms, completely protected from "The Beast", as your Daddy likes to call him... you are simply NOT HAVING IT.  Which doesn't bode well for when we dog-sit for Aunt KC this winter while she is in Thailand doing whatever it is you do in Thailand... aka:  nothing legal.

Which is why you are to stay away from Aunt KC, understand?

You have so many expressions these days, Millie.  We can't get enough of your smiles and the way you study your world. 

Today was the last day that you nursed.  We had a nice morning nurse session and... yep.  That was it.  It's crazy... it's almost like the last few weeks, you have decided that you've had enough of nursing and prefer the bottle.  I have a hard time keeping you on the breast... I think you get frustrated with it.  Usually in the morning I can only get you to take one side... and you just get too distracted with what's going on around you and you want to see it.  Which is a lot easier with a bottle.

So... we made it to 6 months of nursing. Yay! In other news, I just got a $160 a month raise (the cost of the prescription to even have milk).  And, more oxygen will get to my brain now that I'm off the medication.  So, there's that.  I thought I would feel more sentimental about stopping nursing with you... but you honestly seem like you were kinda over it.  So.  There you have it.  Mommy doesn't have to carry the pump with her to work anymore... which is good because most of the time, I forgot it and had to come back home and pick it up. 

I can't wait to see what the next few months bring with you.  You are just the happiest baby and I hope that you continue to enjoy your world... and bring joy to it. 

I guess now I can start panicking about your first birthday party.  Yowza!


Busy Knees

I've been so bad about writing lately.  Things have just been so incredibly busy.  And I know I used to say before I had kids that I was super busy... what with all my eating and sleeping and such.  And I just had no time to blog because when I wasn't sleeping or eating or riding my bike  - btw, not sure I know how to ride a bike anymore -  I was busy watching TV.  Specifically, I was busy rushing home to catch the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother.

Because that's what my busy was back in the day.  Slap Bet, Slapsgiving, yellow umbrella... I hardly had time to get my weekly massage and mani/pedi.  People, you should see what my toes look like these days.  It's not pretty.  But it's nothing compared to my legs, because et's be honest... if my legs actually saw a razor at this point of my life, they'd spontaneously start to bleed in anticipation. 

These days, my "busy" is legit.  Legit as in go, go, go from the moment I wake up in the morning to the second I actually fall face first into the bliss of a cool pillow on my bed at night.  And none of it is about me.  God... remember when things were about ME?  When was that?  2008?  Remember when I didn't worry about having food in the house because I could pretty much scrape by on marshmallows and mustard? With a toddler and a baby, you don't get to have the luxury of not having food in the house.  OMG!  Remember when not having food in the house was a luxury because it meant that you could just run out to a burger joint and grab something really quick?  GEEZ!!  Remember when the term "really quick" was a part of my vocabulary when talking about doing something?

Enter the toddler who actually needs some type of nutrition 25/7  And no.... that 25 is not a typo.  With a toddler, every day is longer than it should be.  (But, on a positive note, when The Toddler is happy, you wish the day was 30 hours long!) And you have to make sure she has access to some type of food item all 25 of those hours.  And that "luxury" of having no food in the house?  Now it's THE END OF THE WORLD.  It's not like I can throw her a chicken bone to gnaw on because I haven't had time to grocery shop (in, I dunno.... 3 weeks?) which means we have ZERO food in the house.  (And that's including food that one might classify as edible food-like substances)(like, perhaps the Velveeta Shells and Cheese that I just ate because I've apparently thrown the towel in on nutrition today.)( trust me... that's NOT food.) (and i still have no idea what i had been smoking when i decided to purchase that crap a year ago.)  Not that I haven't thought about the chicken bone once or twice... especially this morning for breakfast when all she wanted was "boshe" (toast).  And I was all... Mommy hasn't had time to grocery shop SINCE YOU WERE BORN, so there's no toast today.

These things... they don't go over so well with The Toddler.  And I don't blame her.  I mean, she's not asking for prime rib at 7 a.m.  She's not demanding chocolate cake. Hell... she not even asking for cereal (today)  And, she's not asking me to try to explain to her why it is that I'm thinking of going blonde just to distance myself from all those crazy conservative brunette female "politicians" currently yelling nonsense into the nearest megaphone.  She just wants a piece of freakin' toast.

Seriously... I gotta go grocery shopping.

But when you have kids, and you work full-time and the only time you have to yourself during the weekday is lunch hour which you have decided will be your workout time JUST TO SAVE YOUR SANITY... when are you supposed to go grocery shopping?  I've seen those women who do it with their kiddos and yes, even made that mistake once myself (NEVER AGAIN).  I'm one of those women that likes to shop sans the screaming toddler who is more than a little bored of riding up and down the aisles.  It's like being on vacation... going to the grocery store and taking my time up and down each aisle. When you are by yourself, you get to actually test the  avacadoes to determine if they are ripe, rather than just grabbing the first few you see because The Toddler has somehow managed to pull the very bottom cucumber (you know, the one holding the whole pile up?) out and send the rest of them spilling everywhere.  Which means now you have to make a mad dash for the exit... lest you be banned from THIS store, too.

Anyway, it looks like we won't be having toast for breakfast tomorrow, either.  Cuz  Benny's doing work with the GOAL Foundation today.  Otherwise, we actually would take the girls to the store and tag team a grocery order. At Costco. Because they have samples... and shoving a sample in her mouth keeps The Toddler happy.  And serves as her snack for the day.  Two birds, one stone.  Word.

But... I digress.  I've been busy.  But the other day I had some time to myself and happened to read an old blog that I ran with a friend.  We would post our IM chats that we had which, I still believe, were comic genius.  Anyway, going through those and reading them was so much fun because we talked about things that had been happening in our lives that honestly, I had completely forgotten about and it just made me all sorts of sentimental about the memories.

And about my 20's.

So, without further ado... an update as to what's been going on the last few weeks.  And a promise to myself to be better about updating.  I have no excuse since I've got both kiddos going to bed no later than 7:30 every night. 

A couple of months ago, I started working out at Crossfit Ogden. I'd pretty much ruled out crossfit for years because it seemed too trendy.  Look at me.  The triathlete.  Writing something off as too trendy. Self-aware, much?  Anyway, I was neck-deep in triathlon training and, you know... why would anyone lift weights... voluntarily??  Fast forward to 2011 and I had at least three chins and multiple back rolls of fat.  I wouldn't go out and run by myself because.... blah.  I don't want to run.  Besides, it hurts to run.  My knee hurts when I run... blah, blah, blah.  My achilles hurt when I run... blah, blah, blah.  So, I decided to try crossfit and immediately fell in love with it.  That is until after the second week, until my left knee blew up to the size of an elephant.  Not the size of an elephants knee, mind you.  THE ACTUAL ELEPHANT. 

Dr. Benny referred me to a doctor friend of his, who then referred me to an orthopedic surgeon... because I had a torn meniscus.  No big deal for the surgeon who obviously wanted to get in there and fix it. Cuz that's how he be paid.  But after he explained that if it was one type of tear, it was only about a week of recovery, but if it was another type of tear, it was about 6 months and they wouldn't know until they went in... I told them (kindly)(so as not to piss off the surgeon with the scalpel) that they could take their surgery and shove it.  How in the world was I going to voluntarily roll the dice that may result in crutches for 6 weeks when I've got a 21 month old and a 5 month old to take care of.

Not fair to them.

Not fair to Benny.

Not fair to ME!

So, instead I just had the good doctor remove all of the excess fluid and told him I would see how I felt and go from there.  I felt pretty good until a few weeks ago when I noticed it starting to swell a little... and hurt a lot. I've modified my training so that the knee is protected from certain lifts.  But, I have not managed to modify my gardening and a couple of weeks ago, I was in an argument with the crab grass in the front garden and while crawling from one patch of grass to be pulled to another I heard a distinct crunch in my knee.  To which the crab grass laughed heartily.  In other news, I have decided the the only way to deal with said grass at this point is to go nuclear and this fall will be tearing out the entire garden, spraying it to kill everything and starting over again next year.  Benny... please make a note as this directly affects you and your workload.  You're welcome.


So, I went back in to beg the doc for an MRI so I could know what I was facing (he agreed).  While I was there, I asked him to look at my other knee because I'd been having some IT band problems.  Yea.... no.  Another torn meniscus.  Oh, and btw... can you also look at my achilles tendons?  I have these big bumps on both of them.  Tendonosis?  What's that? WHAT DO YOU  MEAN PARTIAL TEARS?

So, that visit to the doc was productive.  Yay, me.  To be honest, what's really bothering me lately is my left achilles.  Nothing that a shot won't supposedly help... but since I'm the chick that needs gas just to make it through a tooth cleaning....  Holy crap, can you imagine how bad a shot in the achilles is gonna hurt? 

Of course, everyone around me jumps on crossfit being bad for me.  (This includes the first doc).  But, I ultimately have to correct them.  Crossfit didn't jack up my knees.  My knees have hurt for years but I ignored them. I blamed part of it on college basketball.  I've already had two surgeries on my left knee for overuse due to sports.  The right knee... well, it was just a matter of time.  Peeps bag on crossfit when they find out I'm injured.  But, I've been injured doing triathlon (hello, sunburn and twisted ankles from running), playing volleyball (hello, sprained ankle!) playing basketball (hello, jacked up back!), riding my bike (hello, road rash and sore tush!), swimming (hello, flip turns at the wall that I am still unable to do without drowning!).  So I think I can safely put to rest the myth that crossfit hurt my knee.  Ultimately,  I think the problem is that I have a medium frame, which couldn't support the fat that I gained during pregnancy.  And, let's face it... I was 20 pounds overweight when I first got prego.  So, it wasn't just the 40-50 pounds I gained during the pregnancy.  It was a total of about 60-70 pounds extra that my body was having to handle every day.

Are we really surprised that the cartilage in my knees couldn't take it?

It's a working theory, but a theory nonetheless.

I get the MRI for both knees on Tuesday and then on Wednesday, we'll know how to proceed.  If it's the 6-month recovery tear, I'll be suffering with the pain for another couple of years and just keep losing weight, hoping that will help.  I'm also going to start re-taking glucosomine and fish oil.  I had been taking those when I initially found out the diagnosis... but I think somehow it was bothering Millie so decided to go off of them until I was done nursing.

Speaking of which... Monday is Millie's last day of nursing.  I made it to 6 months... woo-hoo!  I just don't think it's a good idea to be on the medication I'm on just to have milk much longer.  I've already been on it 4 months longer than they recommend.  Plus... that sucker costs me $40 a week!!!  AND I have to somehow get to the other side of town to pick it up!  LIKE I HAVE THAT KIND OF DOUGH OR TIME! 

Since starting crossfit, I've lost about 30 pounds.  I only need to lose 40 more.  Which should not be easy since I'm going to stop nursing on Monday.  I should gain about 15 pounds by Friday.

Because that's how I roll at 34.  Dramatically different than 24.

But, even with the knee issue and the weight issue?  Being 34 is so incredibly better than being 24.  I wouldn't trade it for brand new knees.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some spare time and I think I might go grocery shopping.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Learning To Be A Mommy - Day By Day

One of the things I most look forward to during the week, are the weekends with the girls.  I don't know if it's just because it's summer and there are so many fun things to do with them, but I can't wait for the day to get going Saturday morning.  This usually involves a walk down to the local coffee shop and then perhaps a walk to the park.

It was our walk to the shop on Saturday morning that I told Benny how important it is to me that we be "in the moment" with our girls.  Because Hazel's growing up so fast that I'm already feeling a little melancholy about her childhood.  And she's STILL a toddler!  I just know that there's going to come a time, in the not too distant future, when these walks simply won't happen.  When we simply won't get to interact in such an innocent way with our girls.  When they won't stop to look at every snail, roly-poly bug or dragonfly along the walk.  When they'll be more interested in boys or the latest techy gadget that they can zone out with.

I want to be able, at that time, to not have any regrets about the time I spent with them when they were young.  It's hard enough that they're in day care during the day and I'm missing a lot anyway.  I want to make up for that by being completely present with them when we do have this time on the weekends and in the mornings and nights of the weekdays. In my mind, it's quality vs quanity.  I feel like we do a pretty good job of this.  I can't even tell you the last time I watched TV for more than 5 minutes... I can guarantee it was after the kiddos went to bed.  And even then, I didn't have time to zone out because there was laundry to do, or I had to pick up the remnants of an awesome wrestling session in the living room... and an epic dinner in the kitchen.

And I love it. Just being in the moment... and being there when Hazel discovers a rock that she wants to put in her pocket.  I love being there to help her put it in her pocket and I love being there to witness just how much she LOVES pockets.  I love being there when Millie stares at her older sister adoringly... and Hazel gives her a big kiss and a hug.  These... these are moments that become tattooed on my heart.

But then... then there are days like yesterday when I feel like I have completely failed as a mother.  I know a lot of people are going to say that I'm too hard on myself.  That she won't remember how I yelled at her for the non-stop whining.  Because there was nothing she was whining about.  She was just whining about... being.  And after the 45th minute of the whining... I yelled.  Just yelled her name in a stern YELLING voice.  But she startled and looked at me with an innocence that just said to me:  "I'm not even 2 yet.  I just don't know how to handle my emotions in this big world.  Why are you yelling at me?" 

And, of course, I felt immediately guilty.  I dropped down to a knee, told her I was sorry and that I loved her and that I just needed her to use her words instead of whining. She curbed the whining somewhat after my outburst... somewhat.  But is that how I'm going to control my kiddos?  By scaring them with my big loud gym voice?

But, that night when we got home from school, the first thing she saw was the trike that we had picked up at a garage sale that weekend.  And... "WANT!" 

Benny's out of town for work all week, so I'm single-momming it.  And Millie needed to be fed and put to bed.  So Hazel's "WANT" came second on the list of priorities.  Which obviously is as good a reason as any for an epic meltdown.  One that only Cheerios could fix.  But when she wanted to eat her Cheerios on the table... which would mean she would end up standing on the chair and probably falling off the chair, as she is prone to do... Mommy had to explain that her choice was to eat Cheerios in her high chair, or not eat Cheerios at all.  Those were the only choices. 

ANOTHER epic meltdown.  One that had me taking her to her room, asking her if she needed to go to bed (NO!) and then putting her down in her crib anyway because she was hitting me and pushing me away.  And she immediately tried to climb out of the crib... all of the while screaming bloody murder.  We tried the high chair again.  NO!!!  She tried the table again.  No.  We ended up back in her room in the crib.  NONONONONO!  Finally, I left her in her room and shut the door.  I stood outside the door and listened (as punishment to myself) to her losing her freaking mind and pounding on the door.  After about 30 seconds, I opened the door and she ran into my arms.

Making me feel like a complete arse. 

I remember when I was a kid (although, not as young as Hazel) that sometimes when I misbehaved and my mom was mad at me... sometimes all I wanted was a hug and for her to tell me she still loved me regardless.

I also remember telling Benny - on SUNDAY - that I don't want to be a yeller.  That I know I have it in me to yell (genetics)... but I just think that I can raise my girls without yelling at them.  I mean... for the LOVE... she's not even 2 yet!  Surely, I have enough emotional intelligence to not let a toddler send me into a tailspin of frustrated yelling.

So, yea... yesterday was a fail.  But I guess as a parent, that's how it goes.  I can learn from it and work harder for the next day.  I'm not going to let one bad day define my parenting ability.

And today?  Today, we had a much better morning.  No whining.  Just happiness.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Five Months of The Bean

Dear Millie,
You turned 5 months old a couple of weeks ago.  And, of course, Mommy hasn't been able to sit down to write you a proper update as to what you've been up to in the last month.  But tonight, it's just me, a beer, some citronella candles and a quiet evening in the backyard while you and your sister sleep.  I figure this is my last chance to get your 5-month update written before, you know... I need to write your 6-month update.

Big things have happened for you in the last month.  For one, you've started sleeping through the night.  For another... wait!  Who cares what else?  YOU'RE FREAKING SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT.  Once again, solidifying your rock star status with me.

It was so incredible.  The night you turned 5 months old was the first night you slept 12 hours.  I mean, if you want to be technical, you were sleeping through the night at 4 months... but that only means you slept 6-8 hours in a row.  Which means Mommy was still getting up to feed you at 3 or 4 a.m.  Sorry... I don't count that as sleeping through the night.

The last month, you have been going to bed at 6:30 and sleeping until 6:30-7 a.m..  It's freaking amazing.  You're freaking amazing.  You always wake up happy and... peaceful.  And you make my day start off on the right track. That's a pretty incredible, invaluable talent.  Please... DON'T EVER LOSE THAT TRAIT!

You are growing so fast, baby girl. I can't believe how quickly you're going through clothes.  You are currently wearing 6-9 month old clothes.  But if I get in a pinch, I can easily stuff you in a 12-month old outfit.  I keep having to go through your wardrobe and remove clothes that don't fit you anymore.  And it's so sad to me because... well I know that we won't be using these clothes again.  And I just want you to stay in those sizes just a leetle bit longer.  Because I know how fast time flies.  Your sister was your size just yesterday!!!

You are such a happy baby, Mill-o.  That's what we call you, by the way.  You've graduated from "The Bean" to Mill-o.  As in Mellow Mill-o.  Or Miller.  As in "It's Miller Time!".  Or Mills.  As in... well, just Mills.

You giggle sooooo much.  And love to play in your jump-a-roo.  If I let you, you'd stay in that thing all day long.  You're getting really, REALLY good at moving from one place to another.  I can leave you in your gym and two minutes later come back to check on you and you... and whatever toy you happen to be interested in at the time... are on the other side of the room.  You do a LOT of rolling right now.

You're also really coordinated with your hands and have a lot of dexterity already.  Your sister knows this first hand as often when she comes to give you a hug and a kiss in the morning, she ends up in tears because you've grabbed a hold of her hair.  Mommy shouldn't laugh.  But sometimes your sister wakes up on the wrong side of the crib and Mommy needs something to make her laugh to take the tension out of the morning, understand?

You've become much more of a snuggler lately, which pleases Mommy and Daddy immensely.  You like to cuddle right up into our necks when you're sleepy and it doesn't take long for you to be completely zonked out. That's on thing about you, Mill-o. When you're tired, you sleep.  And you'll find a way to sleep.

This last weekend, we went up to Preston to go to the annual parade.  It didn't start until 6:30.  So, of course, you were asleep in your car seat as it started.  Tractors, the band, a 16-wheeler, a firetruck... everything went by and you stayed sound asleep.  But around 7:45, the last "float" came by.  It was a car for the Demolition Derby.  And it's like the driver sought out the family with a stroller and revved his engine right by your stroller.

And that as the end of that sleep.  Mommy had a few choice words to say to the driver.  But Daddy was able to be the voice of reason and stop me from being THAT lady.  You know... the one who is upset that there is noise in a parade.

For a while it seemed like you were never going to stop slobbering.  I was running through bibs like nobody's business.  And you were spitting up a lot more than I remembered your sister doing.  But in the last few weeks, the slobbering has tapered off quite a bit.  And you're not spitting up quite as much...  but, still no teeth.  Hazel had two by the time she was four months.  You're taking your own sweet time about it.  I really can't say I'm in a rush for you to teethe, though.  I really adore your gummy smile and really don't want you to feel any pain.

You are so aware of the world around you.  Mostly, you're aware of where your sister is at all times.  But you're also aware of things like being outside and how it's so radically different than being inside.  You love to lay on your back and look up at the leaves of the trees.  And then you love to roll on your tummy and play with the grass.  The ladies at day care say that you're even more aware than Hazel was and even Hazel was off the charts aware.  Whatever that means.  I guess they see a lot of babies, so I'll trust them.  I have only known babies (you and your sis) who liked to take in the world.  And who, you just knew, couldn't wait to interact with it.  

I've made a decision that I'm going to continue nursing you for the next few weeks until your at least 6 months old.  I'm not going to lie.  It's going to be hard to stop because I feel so close to you when you're nursing.  But it's just so hard on me right now.  I have to take medication to have any milk whatsoever.  And right now, even that's not giving me a whole lot.  You're currently downing 8-12 oz per meal (usually 12 oz before bed).  And when I pump, I can only muster - at best - 5 oz right now.  It's like my body knows that you're eating more and instead of producing more to keep up with your needs, I'm actually producing LESS.  Plus, even to get those 5 oz takes me about 20 minutes of pumping in my office during the day.  Which is 40 minutes per day total.  And that's a lot of work that I could be getting done.

I don't know what else to say about you other than you have absolutely completed our family.  I could not wish for a baby with a better demeanor, or a more beautiful smile and spirit.  You and your sister are growing so close every day and it does my heart good to know that the stress and fatigue that comes along with having two kids within 16 months of each other is absolutely going to pay off big time in a couple of years.

Welcome to the gun show.


Monday, August 1, 2011

21 Months of The Bird

Dear Hazel,
This weekend, you turned 21 (months).  We celebrated by going to a pool party where you were almost successful in giving Mommy a heart-attack by jumping into the deep end.  And then after you survived that near drowning, you were pushed to the ladder, climbed up and REPEATED the insanity for the rest of the day.

When you turn 21 years, I can only hope that you won't show as much persistence with what normally occurs for 21st birthdays.  And, just to be on the safe side, promise me that you won't go near a pool that day, mkay?

So, the last two months have been amazing for you.  You are growing and developing in leaps and bounds.  You continue to mimic your Daddy and I every time we turn around.  You also appear to mimic Millie... and you want to sit in her car seat or her jump-a-roo whenever she's not in it.  And if YOU can't sit in it, then your dolly will.  Sometimes, it's a race for Mommy to get Millie into the jump-a-roo before you can stick your dolly in it.  Today, it was Raggedy Ann in the car seat.

You love your little sister something fierce.  And, I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating:  You make my heart melt every morning when you run out to give Millie a hug and a kiss.  And every evening when you give her a kiss goodnight before she goes to bed.  And in between when you want to hold her, or hold her hand in the car when we're driving.  You can't get enough of your sissy.  And she feels the same.  Which makes us feel like we're the luckiest parents in the world.

You have been pretty happy lately.  Oh, trust me.  You have your moments of bi-polarness that comes with just being a toddler in a big world where, yea... you don't have a whole lot of power in yet.  Not that you don't try to have all the power.  But either we've grown numb to it, or you've decided that being happy is better than being difficult.  Could be a little bit of both.  But whatever it is, it is most welcome.

You've learned how to pout.  That didn't take long.  You pout about things like Mommy not letting you drive the car.  Or the nice girl on the playground who stopped you from picking up the gum she just spit out.  But, it's a cute pout.  One that makes me feel bad for you and giggle at the same time.  You also demand a binkie.  You remember... that thing you REFUSED when you were a baby?  That's the one.  And you want your binkie all the time.  And if you can't have your binkie, you'll gladly take Millies. And then hand it to me.  Or try to put it back in her mouth.  Because, how in the world did it get out of there in the first place?

When I pick you up from day care these days, you walk out with me and wait patiently for me to put Millie down so that we can put you in the car first.  I have to do it this way because I'm terrified that you'll run out in the traffic and get killed in the 2 seconds it takes for me to get the carrier secured into the car.  So, I set Millie on the sidewalk and turn around to pick you up.  As soon as I set her down... THE GAME IS ON.  You take off running and giggling back to the door for day care.  You love the chase.  Mommy doesn't mind the chase, unless she's sore from Crossfit... which is 90% of the time.  Sometimes, I have to trick you into getting closer to me before I set Millie down so I have a chance at catching you. But you seem to be picking up on my cleverness.

You are full of words these days, too. Besides truck (tuck), tractor (takta), and binks (binkie), you've now incorporated a word that makes me giggle: Nope.

Hazel, do you want Mommy to change your diaper?  
Hazel, do you want to go outside?  
Hazel, can you please stop licking the pool deck?
Hazel, would you like to eat chocolate cake and stay up all night long? 

Seriously... there's just something about the word "nope" that cracks me up and is so much better to hear than the word "no".  It might be the emphasis you put on the P, or it might be that I'm seeing so much of myself in you by you just using that word vs the standard "no".  I don't know.  But it's honestly so heartwarming to me.

You also say "yea"... a lot.  This upsets your Daddy as he's all about you speaking correctly.

Hazel, do you want some grapes?  
Yessssss.  Say yesssss.
Okay! Let's get some grapes.

Meanwhile, when Daddy's not looking, Mommy continues to say "Yea".  Because I can't remember not to say sh%t, d#^m and h*ll in front of my little mimic.  There's no way I'm going to remember to say "Yes" instead of "Yea".  Call it the White Trash in me.  I can't change.

And yea... let's talk about the swearing for a bit.  Honestly... has the music industry always had this much swearing???  I am now FORCED to listen to nursery songs because I think that you like Chris Brown a leetle too much and he's got a couple of f-bombs in his song that Mommy keeps forgetting about.  See?  These are things that I always thought parents needed to chill about.  So the FCC allows the words "ass", "hell" and "damn" to be played on the radio.  Who cares?  Good parenting should overcome that.  THE REST OF US SHOULDN'T BE FORCED TO LISTEN TO EDITED VERSIONS OF WORDS THAT, LET'S BE HONEST, ARE THEY EVEN SWEAR WORDS? 

And then I had a toddler who is an absolute sponge.  And I really don't want to be raising "that kid" in day care.  The one that teaches all of the other kids the four-letter words.  Trust me... every class has that kid.  I still remember "that kid" that I went to school with. 

Anyway, we're trying to get you to say "yea" or "yes" a lot.  Because this means you're not being disagreeable and are willing to do what we ask you.  Because if we ask you something and you say "nope", and then we force you to do it anyway... THE TODDLER IS NOT HAVING IT.  But, if we can trick you by asking you questions that you say "yea" to... in rapid-fire succession, and then throwing in the one that you would normally say "no" to... well, it's like magic.  Because even though you don't necessarily want to do something, it's like you know that you just said "yea"... and there's no going back on "yea".  Or, at least you haven't quite figured that out yet.

It's awesome.

And, you have recently put together your very first phrase.   I had always dreamed of the first semi-coherent sentence would be something like:  "Mommy.  I love you and you're the most beautiful Mommy in the world.  Can I rub your feet with lotion, please"

Or something like that.

Never, in any of my dreams, was your first phrase:  "NO WANT IT!"  The good news?  Now we know that if we give you the banana anyways when you say "NO WANT IT!", that it will likely end up on the floor.  The bad news?  Holy crap... now you really think you have a choice in your life.  No bueno.

You've also become super "helpful" in the last couple of months.  You pick things up off the floor.... or the table... or out of the trash can... or out of your nose... and hand it to me.  Yay. Mommy.

This has been an epic summer for you so far.  We've gone to the beach, we've gone swimming, we've gone to parades, we've hit the park every weekend, we've gone to Kangaroo Zoo and let you jump around all afternoon, we've hit petting zoos, we've gone to the farm, we have gone to the farmers market so you can ride the choo-choo train and the covered wagon.  WE HAVE WORN OURSELVES OUT FOR YOU!  And you have loved every single minute of it. 

You continue to adore music and moving your body. You've started to jump up and down as well.  And you're getting some good height! Your new favorite song (and I can't believe I'm admitting this) is Chris Brown's Yeah 3X's.  We are required to listen to this song on the way too and from school.  Or whenever we're out and about.  For whatever reason, you LOVE this song. Mommy used to love the song... but Mommy's kind of over it right about now.

You love to take walks to the park with your little sister.  Our favorite park is Mt. Ogden... because it's super shady and you don't burn your little tush going down the slid.  And can we talk about the slide for a second?  Because, kiddo... you have NO FEAR.  You go to the biggest slide they have and just launch yourself like it's just another day at the... well, park.  And if there are other kids there, oh, you're ALL ABOUT other kids. And you're also all about climbing and being a monkey.  Mostly when Mommy's not looking.  The first time this happened, I turned my head for one second to make sure I didn't step in dog poop and when I turned back to tell you to that it was time to go, I discovered that you were hanging by one arm - BY ONE ARM, HAZEL - from a bar at the top of the playground equipment.  I knew that if I yelled and ran over to you, it would startle you and you might let go... and rather than wearing the poop-eating grin you were sporting, you'd have a broken FACE.  I tried to nonchalantly run over to you, but when I was about 8 feet away, you lost your grip and fell face first on to the ground.  About a 7 foot drop.  I have no idea how you didn't scrape you face along the giant beam that you landed by.  And I have no idea how you didn't break a bone.  What I do know is that it scared you... but not enough to keep you away from other death traps.  There are currently bets out there to see who is going to survive your childhood.  You or me.  I'd say right now it's 70-30 in your favor.

You still love to eat.  Although, I will say that sometimes you don't eat your whole meal... because you're too excited about playing or rough housing with Daddy.  OMG do you love rough housing with Daddy.  It's the best part of the day.  You're also learning how to play with other kids and adore hanging out with Gavin and Jilly. Gavin took you to a parade and made sure that you didn't get lost.  Cuz that's what big brothers do. 

You're still a Daddy's Girl, but you are getting over your need to have him hold you the minute he walks in the door.  You still run to him and jump up for a hug, but you're able to go about your business after that.  And, can I be honest?  AWESOMENESS. 

Last night, you made me laugh harder than I've ever laughed at you.  Seriously, baby girl.  You discovered last night how much fun it is to make Mommy laugh.  For the first time, you did something purposely to make someone else, besides yourself, laugh.  It all started when you ate a grape that, perhaps, was a little sour or tart.  I happened to be watching you eat and caught the fist-clenched, eyebrows-arched, lips-pursed, full-body shiver that followed.  And it CRACKED me up.  You didn't catch on at first, probably thought that Mommy was just being weird again.  But then you had another tart grape and another full-body shiver.  And Mommy lost it again!  That's when you figured it out, and started making the tart-grape face.  Over.  And over.  And over, again!  Seriously... I could not stop laughing.  And you kept making that face.  Pretty soon, I asked:  "Hazel.  Can you make Mommy laugh?"  And because you're brilliant, you understand exactly what I'm asking and pull the tart-grape full-body shiver face.  Daddy couldn't figure out what all the ruckus was about... and was sure I was exaggerating how funny you were.  But then he caught a glimpse of "The Face".  And, well... he realized that I was right.  Funniest.  Thing. Ever. (below is a pic of "the face"... along with a scrape of "the nose".  it's rough being a toddler)

I think we realized that it was the first time you've ever recognized that something you're doing is making someone else laugh.  And you LURVE it.  I suspect that you're going to have quite the sense of humor when you grow up.... which is good because one of the most important tools you can have in your personality?  Humor.  How in the world do you think I survived college?  How in the world do you think I survived those first few dates with you Dad?  For the love, how in the world do you think I have survived every day of your childhood thus far?  I have to laugh.  Laugh at you.  Laugh at your Daddy.  Laugh at myself. Laugh at this world that changes every day. And, most importantly, laugh at the absurdity that is the cost of a gallon of gas.

You are a friendly little cuss, Hazel.  So much so that I feel the need to teach you about Stranger Danger.  But to you, in your innocent world, everyone is a friend.  And everyone is capable of holding you when you demand "UP!".  You love visiting the farm and spending time with Grandma and Grandpa. Especially on Grandma's hammock.  There are so many cool things at the farm... I can't wait until you get a little older and can really enjoy it


You have started to become much more balanced in your demands of who should be paying attention to you.  No longer do you demand that Daddy hold you all the time.  Now, sometimes you actually want Mommy.  Which is awesome.

Seriously, Hazey.  You have turned into such a little girl.  You're not a baby anymore.  (Which I keep reminding you when you try to get in the jump-a-roo) And it happened when I wasn't looking. It's like you turned one... and then the world started to spin faster and you aged and developed at a faster rate than I was able to adjust to.   It wasn't that long ago that you were screaming in my ear all night long.  It wasn't that long ago that you took Daddy and me through the initiation of First Time Parents.  How you managed to escape relatively unharmed is still beyond my comprehension.  And now... now I have this vivacious, happy, not-quite-2-year-old that brings a smile to my face every stinkin' day.  HOW DID YOU DO THAT?  And is the rest of your life going to fly by as quickly?

I'm not sure I want to know the answer to that.