Monday, January 26, 2015

BLURRY PHOTOS.












today (actually- friday) i was a mean mama. i lost my temper. i fondly remember writing posts about my sweet one year old. well, that girl has been replaced by a limit-testing, up-and-down, repeating-everything-you-say-back-to-you-with-a-stink-eye, two year old. it's a sad time for me because i just miss the easy relationship we had. the easy one i'm experiencing with jacob. i probably miss it because i got my way all the time and she never really put up a fight. she hadn't memorized my stern face and finger point yet. she hadn't been able to decide on water or milk and then change her mind over and over in one sitting. she hadn't been experiencing such extreme feelings yet. now, i mention anything dying, anyone not wanting to be her friend after she takes their toys away, or how sad she makes me feel when she has an attitude--and cue the waterworks. it's the same floodgates that opened during the stampede scene in the lion king. try explaining that to a two year old.

anyways... i was a mean mama. i lost my temper. lost my cool. and forced my kids to take pictures after lunch and before nap. a really good idea on my part. especially considering none of us slept the night before. we were all in SUCH good moods (insert sarcastic face here). when they finally did go down for their nap (which, let's all give an "amen!" for the fact that they both take an afternoon nap together in the same room...and both fall asleep on their own. seriously) i looked through the pictures and felt the drop in my stomach when i hit the last photo and realized i didn't get one good shot. i got myself all worked up and mean for nothing. only one kid was looking at the camera. the whole picture is blurry. one kid is blurry and the other isn't. someone blinked...etc, etc, etc...

but then i looked at them again and realized that i HAD actually gotten all the money shots i desired. both kids we laughing each time the shutter opened and closed. both kids got a kick out of each other. i got great shots of both of them interacting. the emotion and movement is captured. and isn't that all i really want? to capture my two souls- alive and well and not caring that mama is pulling out her hair in frustration that they are not sitting still. their emotion, their movement, their age, their relationship, their faces looking at me and looking at each other. they're captured. i did it. it's just blurry.

and if i make it black and white. really look past the blur. and realize that 99% of my photos look like these... i'm no longer a mean mama... i'm looking at my blurry active two year old and blurry grinning seven month old. and i'm a happy mama once again.





but i'm still tired. 












but really- black and white can change a bad photo any day. and i still do love getting a clear shot. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2014 ROUNDUP + 2015


the start of 2015 was uneventful. as most of my new years have been. the most eventful one was the night of 2012 when we planned to tell our chicago friends that we were having a baby, but then at the stroke of midnight a champagne bottle was severed as well as a thumb, so i did what any sober pregnant girl would do... i took my friend to northwestern and spent the night watching the glories of nye injuries unravel before my eyes. as well as try to explain to all my friends that i was indeed pregnant and it was not a joke. now that was eventful. but this year was most definitely uneventful.

i was sleeping at mignight, made a bottle at one, and tended to two sick kids on and off throughout the start of 2015. and yet, with a completely-un-epic start, the beginning of 2015 has actually been very good to me.

last year, around this time, i thought about what i wanted to accomplish. you can find that post here. i thought it would be fun to look back and roundup the past year. so here we go...


1) Budget like it's my job. check. aaron and i have a pretty solid budget going on. it took a while to really find something that worked for us/me. cash does not work for me. writing everything down- not helpful. keeping receipts in a pile- nope. budgeting for lower-than-actual income on a pre-made spreadsheet- ding ding ding! aaron and i have worked it out so i can get out of the house and sit at the library and go through things a couple times a month so we stay on track. we've been able to stick with it and be in the green for the most part- and that feels really good.

2) Learn how to cook a whole chicken and use all it's parts. check. i follow this recipe and then make stock. i buy two small chickens every two months from bjs and it works out wonderfully.

3) Spend more time reading than watching tv. i'm going to say that i failed at this one. i think i did read a lot more than i have in the past few years, but i've also watched a lot of tv. more tv than books that's for sure. oh well.

4) Make homemade meals and snacks. check. i've made a big change in our house (much to aaron's chagrin). i've almost 100% stopped buying premade snacks, processed food, and milk products. we've really been eating very well and being very creative in the kitchen. my whole way of food shopping and meal planning is different than it's ever been. and it's different because i've finally figured out what works for me. yay! i'll probably post about this later.

5) Buy less. Buy used. Save more. Live with less. check. check. check. check. the past few months i've overhauled our house. purged of almost everything we don't need. i went through books, closets, kitchenwares, the bathroom- and it feels good. not that i couldn't breathe before, but i feel really light. happy even. we have a place for everything- almost. i'm wondering if it's always a constant dance with the things you own...probably.


overall- i kicked butt in 2014. so, now that it's 2015 i've been trying to think of my five things. here's what i came up with:


1) a fitness challenge every month. it's the easiest way for me to get a quick workout in. and it starts out easy and gradually gets harder. i've been doing a challenge for the past few months and it's fun. and i try to keep up but i'm not going to beat myself up about missing days. january is straight up squats. february is squat and push-ups. that's all i have officially planned and written down.

2) learn to knit. i'm already signed up for a 101 class at joann fabrics at the end of the month. i'm really excited about this. i can't remember the last time i learned a new art. hopefully i'll get the hang of it quickly. i'm not a very spatial person, so i can't really imagine myself making something by knitting! we'll see how it goes.

3) read more. i'm intentionally making this one vague. i just want to read more. i don't want to read certain books. i don't want a number challenge. i just want to try to remember to stay in the "oh, yeah... i do love reading" mindset. currently reading: wild by cheryl strayed. on deck: love does by bob goff

4) be creative. i'm really enjoying having a shop. i love the creative mess it leaves me in. i love all the ideas floating in my head becoming realities. i love making things. i just love it. it leaves me the best kind of tired at the end of the day. i don't know where the shop will go in 2015, but i just want to keep doing what i love.

5) take a break. i think an accurate description of myself would be a chicken with it's head cut off. i'm amazing at getting things done. at time management. at doing. but what i'm the absolute worst at is relaxing and being and sitting and not doing. i'm not sure what this last one means completely. because i do think i'm very good at being in the moment and appreciating the little things and stuff like that. but my mind thinks it has to be continuously busy and it's just silly. i need to slow down every once in a while. more than that. i need to rest. rest more and rest often.

so there's 2015 for me. what do you want to do differently this year?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

PREPARING A MOTHER WITH THE NEGATIVES.

 

"get your sleep now... you'll never sleep again"

i have probably said this and a million other negative things to a mom-to-be. i'm sure a lot of us "seasoned" mothers can say the same thing. i'm talking about the negativity in preparing a new mother for what is about to come. so let's talk about it.

an old friend of mine is completely fed up with the negative remarks about what's to come. she's nine months pregnant and fed up with being pregnant. (been there!) who needs more things to be fed up about?!? yet she keeps getting reminded of "things to get ready for".  something along the lines of, "you might not even love him at first," is the straw that broke the camel's back today.

and she has a right to be frustrated. she loves her baby already. why would anyone tell her that?! there's already so many reasons to be nervous. too much time to imagine the worst. i agree. but i also feel like the negatives are needed almost more than the positives. hear me out...


you are unable to control the child you bear from the get go. sperm meet egg. parents- you've now lost all control... you've made an individual. you can't control when they kick, when they decide to be born, if they like to be held, when bedtime really is, if they will pee when you open that diaper... and it's tough. the majority of us love to be in control. i looooooove to be in control. i can't decide if my babies will gain weight, or if they need to be held to stay asleep, or if they have an aversion to any and every brand of pacifier. no, you can't control this stuff. 

but, what you can control is your education of the possible things that you might have to deal with. and that's where those unsolicited negative comments about your life post birth might actually come in handy. although, they may seem just horrible and unimaginable at the time...and you may think... "this will never be me" or "i would never do that" or "it can't be that bad"... maybe there's a reason they're telling you all the horrible, terribly things before you pop. 

i can't help but think of it this way when i think about the statement that shocked my friend and all other seemingly negative comments given to new mothers: mothers might be saying these things because their baby shocked their preconceived views on motherhood. theses mothers are trying to prepare you from the hurt, the embarrassment, the pain, the stress, the heartache they experienced. things that they wished someone had told them. they wished they weren't blind-sighted by. they are telling you, "this might happen...and it's ok. it's normal. be prepared- unlike me."


it's ok if you don't have an instant love connection with your baby. i didn't tell rorie or realized i loved rorie until she was almost two weeks old. i cried at old orchard mall when i realized that i had never told her that outside of the womb. life had been turned upside after she was born. i couldn't catch up with anything. i didn't know that this could happen. i didn't know it would be THAT hard. no one told me this could happen. had they... i might have breathed a little easier. and realized it wasn't a big deal. 

so... to all the soon-to-be mothers out there. don't be put down by negative comments. the "just wait until..." stories. the "you'll see" remarks. the "don't expect.... bla bla bla". just don't. you're being educated on the spectrum of normalcy when it comes to infants, toddlers, children, teenagers, etc. your are being saved from the unknown! you've been given great knowledge and an opportunity to ask how that particular mother handled their situation. soak it all in like a sponge. stick it in your holster for back-up. you need all the information you can get.

and you've got this. 

you've got this. 

you've got this.







[photos: jakey, jakey, roro]

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

SEVEN MONTHS.

2 months
3 months 
4 months 
5 months 
7 months

i basically recapped his sixth month in my last post. and i kicked myself for not taking a photo before we left for my grandma's house... but really it's no big deal. his sixth month of life was more than documented. but this seventh month picture... oh baby... i'm just so happy for that smile of his. here he is in all his sick glory. you might not know it just by looking, but this kid is snotty and drooly (no, not stuck-up... the other "snotty"- yooou.) sleeping is harder than ever when you can't breathe and i hold nothing against him (even though i'm a snail of a mother this past week). we are welcoming in this seventh month and wondering what he'll accomplish next.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

DECEMBER IN RHODE ISLAND.


we spent almost the whole month of december down at touisset point, RI at my grandparent's house. it was just wonderful to spend this christmas season with two year old rorie and six month old jake. and SO much has happened! i'll start with jakey...


when we first arrived we helped my grandma put up the christmas tree and decorated it. rorie decorated the bottom and jacob wasn't so sure about the texture (see photo above). 

we saw a lot of changes with mr jake since thanksgiving...

he has learned how to sit, crawl, pull himself to standing, and walk around things. all within less than a month's time. it's really incredible to watch him navigate the world around him and watch his face explode with the cutest grin when he knows he's mastered a new feat. 

he is also starting to comprehend and listen to what we are saying. i think the first thing he started to really "get" was the word kisses. and boy, if you say that word, you better be ready for an open-mouthed slobber fest complete with the sound effect "muah". because he's not shy about laying a big fat one on your cheek... or nose... or forehead... really anywhere. seriously. beware of casually throwing around that word. 

he's also got "jump" down pact which can end very cute or very bad depending on the location of the boy when said word is uttered. jumpy-exersaucer=good. holding onto a coffee table=bad. not fully comprehended yet. eh, you'll get there dude.

and lastly, he totally says "hi" and "mama". not quite on cue yet, but it's still cute. i've found him giving a breathy "hiiiiiiii" to elle. which is adorable. and then just last night he yelped "mama!" when he was stuck under a chair... so that happened. he's seriously developing at lighting speed. make it stop!


rorie and i did A LOT of christmas crafts this month. and i love, love, loved it. we did watercolors of the newborn baby jesus in the manger, mistletoes for a present, painted birdhouses, and made bead necklaces. and she loves to tell you that "J" is for jesus. i don't think she quite gets it yet, but we've got a year to keep trying. 

(p.s. last night she asked if she could do christmas again... sweet girl... you have a few more days to wait.)



rorie and i were a busy pair this year in the kitchen. here's what we've done: made cinnamon ornaments, created a gingerbread house, made and decorated sugar cookies, made spritz cookies, and homemade green playdough. her attention span wasn't really long enough for the whole baking process, but she is a great mixer, cookie-cutter, and a fantabulous eater of fresh, warm christmas cookies. oh... and she loves rolling pins. her grandma d got her a baking set from ikea which included a rolling pin. here's the conversation between her and aaron when she saw it:

r:  "is that a rolling pin?"
a: "yep."
r: (elated face) "I LOVE ROLLING PINS! rolling pins, rolling pins!"

i did not make that up.



oh my gosh! was that a picture of my FATHER?! yes! you don't need to make an optometrist appointment. my father was indeed in the flesh on u.s. soil. and it was perfect. i was sure i wasn't going to see him until the summer, but his presence was requested in d.c. and he made a quick four day stop in new england before heading to chicago and then back home to bangkok.  






christmas eve was a success for our family. both children were wonderful during the service. rorie loved holding her candle while i whisper-sang silent night into her ear. i could tell she was soaking everything up in that moment. i felt very close to the christmas story this year and purposefully made a point to invest all my energy on being in the moment and thanking god for every small detail. because he is the one who created the small details. and i am forever thankful for that.

our family party after the service was a blast as well as one of the most tiring nights. rorie's nose had turned into a snot faucet and could not be tamed. i think more germs were passed around this year than yankee swap gifts. jacob was up WAY past his bedtime and was also coming down with the faucet-nose. he cried a lot and didn't sleep long. rorie wowed the world with her cuteness and changed the yankee swap for good. you can no longer decide which present to pick- little-elf-rorie will pick one for you. it was really funny and slightly gross (considering the snot and all).

the highlight of the night was when santa claus came to visit. i can't even put it into words, so here's a video of exactly what happened:


i mean... this is just two minutes of our life with her *happiness for life*


umm... best photobomb ever? good job grandpa! and grandpa... if you don't know what photobombing is check this or this out :) and if you do...still check them out.


we got home around 11pm on christmas eve and our kids both had a screamfest and passed out in the car. we left some cookies and milk for santa and headed to bed. both kids fell asleep the moment their heads hit the bed. a moment i will forever cherish and think of often... like every night. 

and when i came down to make a bottle for jacob... i saw that santa had come!!! 




and christmas morning was so wonderful. two is a marvelous age to celebrate christmas. my favorite so far. rorie loved her sled and was totally smitten that "santa left one cookie for me!" among other cute things said that morning.





it's been a fantastic december. and a fantastic year. thanks for joining the ride.