Monday, September 29, 2014

My Kids Make Me Bald But the Margaritas Were Worth It.

Last we heard, I was in the process of outsourcing just about every conceivable domestic and motherly responsibility, shy of changing my kids' diapers, so that I could spend my days pretending like I didn't have a husband or children. Or so the Internets thought

Just two months later and I've not only fired our cleaning team, whose title I use very loosely here as they should more aptly be named our "overly expensive half-assed, kind of clean-ing team," but our Mother's Helper also up and left me in favor of furthering her education. How dare she, amiright? 

So here I am, back at square one, cooking my own meals, cleaning my own toilets and for heaven's sake, caring for my own three children. I just don't know how you women do it all. I'm even more exhausted just thinking about doing half of it. 

You know I'm being facetious, right? That I don't mean nearly everything I say here but that truth does lie in the fact that a) our cleaning team really sucked and b) the Fabulous Amanda really did leave for college. The irony here is that I'm not usually a stickler when it comes to spending money. This is no secret and it's probably one of the few qualities about me that my husband isn't fond of- the ability to hemorrhage money without a second thought. 

But when a contract clearly states that bathrooms will be wiped clean from top to bottom and kitchen appliances will be wiped clean and wood floors thoroughly mopped and steamed on a monthly basis as agreed upon (among other things), and these things are in no way done each month, I have a hard time forking over money that could be put towards other things. Like a Roomba that doesn't smell like cigarette smoke and curse around my children as it sweep and mops my floors. 

I, on the other hand, have tried my best not to curse as I lay out shorts and t-shirts for the boys morning after morning as we stifle through eighty degree days in late September. I'm trying my best to remain patient as I wait for Fall to settle in around these parts. I've put off decorating the house, a little bit out of loyalty to the season but mostly out of sheer laziness at the thought of having to dredge up and sift through the boxes of faux pumpkins and leaf garlands. I do, however, have no shame in paying $17.00 at the local market for five Honeycrisp apples. Fall, get in my belly.

My sister-in-law and I took the boys out to lunch the other day- a feat that truly happens once or twice in a blue moon because, even after experiencing the horrific pain that comes with having a root canal, I would gladly choose that procedure over dining in public with my 2 and 4 year old. Actually, I amend that statement. My 4 year old can be pacified with electronics, a crayon and a hand drawn maze to tackle. There's no hope for my 2 year old, who at one point, had our server convinced he had it in for him as he was chanting, "I will kill him! I will kill him" each time he approached our table. The receiver of such grim foreshadowing was not our server however, but rather the stink bug that wouldn't leave my 2 year old alone. You want to laugh and/or feel mildly uncomfortable around people? Have your 2 year old say the word "kill" over and over again. But the margaritas were worth it.

I wish I could say my kids were giving my grey hair but in fact, I'm going bald. Balder than I've ever been after having a baby. Like so bald, in fact, that I actually have a bald spot that I'm shamelessly trying to hide with a Donald Trump comb over. I always chop my hair after I have a baby and this is usually the time I get a little snip-happy. It's typically around February that I begin drastically hating my decision to chop so I now find myself in the conundrum of "To Chop or Not to Chop." It's taken me about a year to grow out the last Spontaneous Decision I made (it's all real, by the way since there was some question about my use of extensions- Pregnancy Hair is a glorious thing) and I'm torn as to whether or not I want to begin the oft laborious process all over again. Every time a little slobbery baby hand entwines itself in my hair, however, or my husband is left picking up hamster-sized balls of discarded hair in the shower, the decision seems all too clear.

Have you seen the leather biker pant JCrew is selling on their website for $725? All I have to say about that is, "go home JCrew. You're drunk." It seems as if someone is getting a bit full of themselves lately and no matter how many margaritas I consume during a Sunday lunch, that is never, ever okay. It is okay, however, to head to the nearest Forever21 and purchase a superbly cheap look-a-like, even though at that very moment you might be the store's oldest patron by a solid 10 years, butt-cellulite and three kids.

Cheers Monday, may I have another?    
Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, September 25, 2014

On Turning 31, Fall Premiere Week and Making Out With Gwen Stefani.

I've thought of nearly 7 blog posts to write about in the last couple of weeks. Really funny ones, too. The kind of posts that celebrate the best and worst parts of motherhood but as I'm sitting here typing this, I'm realizing that I don't have time like I used to have to write. 

Before Collins was born I was just getting good at being intentional about carving out time each week to leave the house and write. I have to leave because that's the only way I can truly concentrate on my words but at the end of the day, the time of day that worked best for me to escape and write, I am empty. I have no words, not even enough energy to form a cohesive thought let alone enough energy to get in my car, drive to my Writing Hole, plug in my laptop and get down to business. 

But when those words back up inside my head, I get fidgety. It's like I need to get them out and get them out pronto before I lose them. If you were to creep inside my bedroom you would find ideas scribbled all over any available surface. This includes inside book covers, on the back's of old receipts and even on the bathroom mirror (I've ruined countless eye liner sticks this way).

So today, while Collins sleeps and Carter and Maclane chase each other around the house with kitchen whisks (the number one downside to that Open Floor Plan I so desperately wished for) I'm using this fifteen minutes to write something. Anything. And it's looking a little bit like this... 

I turned 31 last week (which is practically ancient in Blog Land) and while my birthday weekend looked nothing like I had imagined (Fever City, Population Big Brothers), it felt good to turn another year older. I always look at birthdays as fresh starts. Do overs, even and I get excited at the prospect of reevaluating life goals and maybe purchasing a new wardrobe to match. I also celebrated with a root canal which is pretty much the worst dental procedure you could ever endure. Take away here? Don't get old and don't let two years and two babies go by before seeing your dentist. 

I'm just a few days shy of finishing my second round of Whole 30 and while I took Birthday Weekend off to indulge in cupcakes, cheese and champagne and I've been much more lax with a glass or two of wine on any given day, I've still managed to lose 8 more pounds- bringing the grand total of weight loss to 21lbs in two months. I'm down 3 pants sizes, 5lbs. away from pre-Carter pregnancy weight and 1 pants size away from pretty much my entire closet full of clothes. So that's kind of awesome.

I'm adore Fall TV Premiere week perhaps more than anyone every should. The thought of curling up on the couch at the end of the day with a drink and The Hechts, Bravermans, Dunphys and Andersons (the cast of the new show, black-ish), is pretty much what gets me through my days. Throw in The Voice, Revenge and Scandal and I'm basically married to my TV until Spring. 

Speaking of The Voice, this is the first season I've really ever watched and plan on watching the whole way through, mostly because Gwen Stefani is a judge and I would totally make out with her. Okay, not really but almost kind of. If I could be best friends with two reality TV stars, I would definitely pick her and Joanna Gaines of HGTV's Fixer Upper. I've been begging my husband to uproot and move to Waco, TX just so we could hire Chip and Joanna to be our friends restore a home. I've also been pining for Fall temperatures because I'm in love with Joanna's casual boots-worn-with-everything look. Fixer Upper is no good for my house or my wallet because I want to fix and change and decorate ALL THE THINGS. 

Just as I love TV more than one should, Carter loves school more than any kid has ever loved school, Maclane is totally my favorite child and Collins started purees this week. What I mean to say is, Time, slow the fuck down. Before I know it Carter will be in college, Maclane will likely be going through puberty and therefore will no longer be my favorite and Collins will be eating us out of house and home. 

I'm reading this (when I have time, which is never) after I started following her on Instagram and both it and she are awesome. What's even more awesome is that she's married to Jason Biggs from American Pie and I can't imagine ever taking him seriously let alone being married to him. So there's that. 

Speaking of marriage, we're coming up on our 7 year anniversary next month. We've debated celebrating by upgrading to a king bed, finishing the last of the updates we want to accomplish on our house before selling it (refinishing the deck and gutting the master bathroom) or buying a hot tub. I think you can guess what I'm gunning for (and it's not the bed or the renovations). Because nothing says "I Love You" like a hot tub. 

This blog post took forty-five minutes to write. It cost me three ice pops, a handful of goldfish which I contemplated throwing all over the kitchen floor as to make them last longer, one and a half episodes of Paw Patrol and to top it all off the baby woke up so I finished the last third of this post while nursing him. And it can hardly be counted as a post, it's so random. 

But? That's life these days. What have you been up to?


Follow on Bloglovin

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

3 Baby/Toddler Products I Wish I Knew About When I Had My First Baby.

Does my life depend on the following three baby/child products? No. Perhaps it's more a case of "3 baby/toddler products I could live without but would never, ever want to," but any way you look at it, these three products are items that I've used nearly every single day since we welcomed them into our home and they are three products I wish I knew about (or I wish I knew were around) back when I had my first baby, four years ago.

First up is the mamaRoo. This is something we've used since the first day we brought Collins home from the hospital. Think of it as a baby swing-baby bouncer mash-up. It's that good. The number one question I'm often asked in relation to this item is, "is it worth the price tag?" Now, I can't answer that question flat out for everyone across the board. Some babies just hate things that move, move too slow or move too much and everyone is quick to tell me either they themselves or their second cousin's Aunt Judy had a baby that hated a swing. That said, I do believe the mamaRoo is absolutely worth its price tag, it's weight in gold, whatever you want to call it. Why? Because it's more than a "swing." In fact, it was never meant to be a swing at all. There's so much about it that makes it unique. 

With 5 unique motions that both bounce up and down and sway side to side, there's a variety of different motions available to soothe and comfort baby. These motions move in ways that mimic the same movement parents themselves use when comforting or rocking their baby. None of my babies preferred the vibrating bouncy seat. Why? Because, hello, parents don't vibrate! (At least, my husband and I don't). Our babies loved the rocking, swaying motion of being held in our arms or taken for rides in the car. Sometimes finding the setting your baby loves most can be a process of trial and error. For Collins, "Car Ride" on the medium speed setting and an aden + anais blanket was the magic mix that sent him right of to Sleepytown. 

When we first brought Collins home from the hospital, we would swaddle him tightly and place him right into the seat. We never used the newborn insert although some would recommend it. The seat slides on an easy axis allowing it to move from a nearly flat position to an upright position that I would compare to a small umbrella stroller or high chair. Now that Collins is older and much more interested in the goings on around him, he prefers to be sitting straight up and down.  

The mamaRoo boasts built-in nature sounds if your baby happens to be a fan of white noise or if he's ahead of the times with a penchant for say, Daft Punk or Carrie Underwood, there's a hookup that is compatible with any mP3 player allowing you to stream your own tunes while baby sways. In the beginning, I always forgot about this option and therefore we never really got into the habit of using it. 

It operates on wall adapter only which means no worries about having to constantly replace batteries and with a small product footprint and a variety of different fabrics/patterns to choose from, it doesn't scream "brightly colored baby item," if you're trying to keep your home looking less and less like the pages of a Babies R Us catalog. The mobile is pretty cool too, with reversible interchangeable balls. 

I love the mamaRoo so much that if I didn't already have three kids, I might go and have another baby just to be able to use it again! That said, the mamaRoo weight limit does not exceed 25lbs. Typically this is an appropriate weight limit for a baby seat in so much that when a baby reaches this weight, they're typically sitting up on their own and don't have much use for a baby swing/seat. At 4 months old, Collins weighs 21lbs so I fear that our time in the mamaRoo will be nearing an end sooner than I care to imagine. Also of note, if your baby can sit on his or her own before reaching the 25lb. mark, the mamaRoo can no longer safely be used. 

This is definitely a product I wished I knew was available three babies ago!

- - - - - 

Next up is the Joovy TooQool stroller. Oh how I love this stroller, let me count the ways! First and foremost not only is this an awesome double stroller but it grows and changes with your growing, changing children. Meaning that this stroller converts to a single and back to a double depending on your needs! 

The first two words that come to mind when I think of this stroller are versatile and luxurious. Coming from Joovy, this stroller is a huge deal and you can tell by the plush, stunning fabrics that it comes in as well as all of the top of the line bells and whistles this stroller boasts.

Each of the seats has a 55lb weight limit. Front seat riders are encouraged to begin riding at 3 months of age while back seat riders are encouraged to be at least 6 months of age before riding. Each seat boasts a soft padded liner insert that is easily removable for cleaning purposes. This comes in handy whether you're dealing with diaper blowouts or messy ice cream cones! Both of the seats recline but it's worth noting that the lower seat doesn't recline too far back for obvious reasons. 

In addition to the myriad of configurations that this stroller allows, one of my favorite features is the expandable canopy on the front seat. In addition to the neat sun visor flap, hidden by a zipper within the canopy is an extendable canopy that offers incredible protection from the elements.

I have used this stroller during walks around the pavement in our neighborhood, across grassy fields while visiting local farmer's markets as well as strolling the stores (and clothing aisles) of our local mall. It transitions easily between surfaces and doesn't at all feel like a heavy, bulky stroller, especially when used in the double capacity. 

Both my 4 year old and 2 year old have ridden in the second lower seat and they've each ridden comfortably and in style every time. My 4 year old is very tall (44") so while he's had to adjust himself a little to fit beneath the first seat, he manages to do so easily and comfortably. 

When used as a single stroller, the seat can be placed into position facing inward towards you or outwards, as most traditional strollers. Being able to constantly watch Collins and interact with him while strolling is something I was never able to do with any of our previously owned strollers so again, this is another one of my favorite features.

Storage beneath the stroller is on point for being able to hold all the things one needs while traveling with kids. Without a second rider, I can easily fit two bags in the storage basket below as well as extra blankets, lovies, snacks, etc. Of course when the second lower seat is engaged, storage becomes a bit more limited. 

My husband loves this stroller because the handlebar adjusts and as he's a bit taller than I am, he likes the ability to change the height of the handlebar to suit his comfort level. 

Lastly, when looking to store this stroller, it folds nearly flat! Yes, the stroller can be folded and stowed with one of the seats attached however, I have found it easier to remove each of the seats, fold them flat and then fold the stroller frame flat before hoisting them into the back seat of my SUV.

When I first started using the stroller I was bummed there wasn't any cupholders available for drinks! The joke was one me though as Jovvy makes great attachments to hold cups and other important things one may need close at hand while strolling! 

Joovy really hit it out of the park with the TooQool!    

- - - - - 

As you can imagine with three little boys, I've been through a ton of highchairs/booster seats. In the very beginning, we didn't even register for an actual highchair because I knew we would be low on space in our kitchen and I didn't want to add one more large piece of baby furniture only to consistently be shuffling it around our kitchen. Instead, I registered for (and used for our first baby), one of those feeding seats that attaches to any existing chair. This worked well for us until I realized that despite the towel barrier I had created on our kitchen chair, the plastic of the baby seat was ruining the finish on our chair. I then turned to Joovy and purchased their ultra sleek, very low profile Nook feeding highchair. 

I loved everything about that seat. Sure the fabric seat was a little difficult to get back on once it was removed for washing but did you hear me? It was removable for washing. In the washer and dryer. Amazing. It also folded flat for storage. But then my second learned how to remove the tray piece and throw it all over the kitchen when he was done with his meal. I literally had .7 seconds between his exclamation of " all done!" and the flinging of the tray and food remnants to quickly run to him and wipe him and the tray down. Not ideal. 

I then began the hunt for another one of those booster seats that attaches to an already existing chair but this time with a tray that couldn't be removed by an angsty toddler. And I hunted. And I hunted. And I tried out a couple of models, each with a tray or tray piece that could easily and quickly be removed by my two year old Houdini. 

But then Joovy sent us the incredible HiLo. Already a big fan of Joovy I couldn't wait to test it out. The biggest test, of course, being the tray removal and food flinging. A glutton for punishment, I picked the messiest first meal I could think of when I strapped my almost-two year old into it. As I served him his pasta with red sauce and a side of yogurt, I watched him devour it, paint a little bit with it and then exclaim, "all done!" And I waited. I watched as he pulled and picked and pushed and grabbed. I watched as he pushed his little toddler belly out in an attempt to pop that tray right from the seat. Nada. 

It was as if the heavens opened. 

The HiLo is another one of those products that grows with your children as they grow. As a family with three small boys, this aspect especially appeals to my husband who doesn't agree with my whole "but it's a new baby, it needs new things," mantra. From six months to six years, this highchair and booster seat easily accommodates your growing little diner. 

With a sleek, modern design this chair fits easily into any room of the house (although I'm not sure why you'd be using it in any room other than your kitchen). It also comes in seven different color variations which is kind of fun and exciting. With minimal crevices, it is a breeze to clean and can easily be wiped down with soap and water as well as disinfected if need be. Truth be told, there have been a few occasions when we've just taken it out back onto the deck and hosed it off, leaving it to dry in the sun. How awesome is that?

But the best part of the HiLo's durable design is that it easily rotates from an infant/baby highchair (6mo+) to a toddler chair/booster (2yo+). That's like having two chairs in one! 

The Joovy HiLo gets extra points in my book for versatility, durability and anti-tray-flinging and our two year old loves that he can join us right at the table and dine like "a big kid" but without the risk of him jumping down mid-meal and making a mess. Thanks Joovy for making mealtime easier, more attractive and just a bit less messy. 

I received these products for free in exchange for my honest review 
as I have expressed above. I would never, ever endorse a product 
that we didn't truly enjoy using, especially one that makes my life as a
mother and homemaker easier, safer and more enjoyable.  

Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mommy Wars: Caused By Ill-Fitting Bras?

After having three babies in four years, I think I can finally narrow down the root cause of the Mommy Wars: ill-fitting bras. And, if by the end of this short essay you don't believe so too, then at least let's agree that ill fitting bras are undoubtedly the cause of RTF or Resting Bitch Face. 
If you're reading this and you've never been pregnant nor birthed a baby, let me give you the quick and dirty on what happens to your breasts. When you're pregnant, your boobs get huge. We're talking so voluptuous that if prior to getting pregnant you were an A or B cup, you would want to show them off to everyone were you not growing a tiny human inside of you that simultaneously liked to make your body do gross things like burp and fart uncontrollably. When you're pregnant and you have these gorgeous pregnant boobs (but feel like crap) my heart goes out to you, truly it does. And to your husbands who wish so badly to motorboat you, just one time. Just really quickly. You won't even notice, they'll say. Fitting your pregnant boobs into a bra is laughable. As if burping and farting uncontrollably wasn't embarrassing enough, try waddling into the nearest department store for a professional bra fitting. The truth is, we've all done it. So, we stuff those lovely lady lumps into whatever we have lying around the house. 
A few short (who am I kidding, they feel like an eternity) days after giving birth, your milk will most likely come in, as it should. My milk came in with a vengeance after each of my babies, leaving me sore, swollen and looking like a mega-botched boob job gone one hundred kinds of wrong. I'm pretty sure that during this time, one of my nipples was pointing north, the other east. At the same time. Wearing any kind of bra during this stage of the game is futile. You're nursing your brand new bundle of love every seven minutes, or so it seems, so like many others, I chose to walk around topless during the first three weeks of my sons' lives. My apologies to the UPS and FedEx deliverymen who were all to often subject to many a nip-slip during those days. Speaking of nipples, oh, those babies will grow to be about the size of dinner plates. Just an FYI.
Once you've got the breastfeeding thing under control (trust me, you will eventually), it's time to put those puppies away. If you're a first-time mom, you'll spend gross amounts of money on nursing tanks, tops and bras or any other piece of lingerie with a plastic clip or hidden sleeve on it that Pinterest says you need. If this isn't your first time at the rodeo, you know how easy it is to just whip one of those puppies out of the top of any old tank top, or shove down the cup on any old bra and it'll get the job done just fine. 
But here's the kicker- with a newborn (and potentially other children in the house) you're not schlepping anybody to the store to try on new bras. I mean, that kind of Crazy isn't even suitable for Wal-Mart. Not to mention that you have absolutely no idea what size bra you should be wearing so you try to squeeze into any one of the four different sizes you have lying around your house from college through now. 
Double ouch.
Now you've rolled up, tucked in, patted down and stuffed your sore, swollen bosom into a bra. Chances are you're leaking everywhere and if you aren't, well then you definitely smell like spoiled milk from when you once did. Now imagine someone approaches you and asks if your brand new baby is sleeping through the night. Or they want to discuss sleep training methods. Hello, Mommy Wars. Why? Because chances are you're wearing an ill-fitting bra (if you're wearing one at all) and the sheer uncomfortable-ness of shoving those babies into a snug Over The Shoulder Boulder Holder is all to blame. 
Perhaps if we all had appropriate fitting bras, we could each take a deep, deep breath and we'd eradicate the Mommy Wars. Just like that. After all, we would feel more supported and undoubtedly more confident in ourselves as mothers, therefore feeling more mindful of our decisions as well as fellow mothers'. 
Now that we've established the root cause, let's do something about it. Let's all get at least one well-fitting bra that we cannot only fit ourselves into comfortably, but one that might showcase just a glimpse of ourselves before we had babies. Perhaps, maybe even for just a little bit, we might even feel, dare I say it... sexy.
For 100 years, Vanity Fair® lingerie has been the brand that women look to for undeniable support, lift and a little bit of luxury. Making style both comfortable and effortless, it offers beautiful lingerie in styles that are trend-right and feature sleep fabrics with clean lines for a smooth look under clothes- even if your outfit of the day is yesterday's yoga pants and a baseball tee. 
Vanity Fair® recently launched a wonderful campaign, "Women Who Do," that is a powerfully uplifting initiative dedicated to praising and celebrating every day triumphs of women everywhere while highlighting the brand's long-standing commitment to quality lingerie at an affordable price point. Ultimately, Vanity Fair® hopes to spark a movement that inspires women to support each other and live their lives according to what makes them happy. 
And all along here you thought I was truly kidding about well-fitting bras and the Mommy Wars.
Vanity Fair® on Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest 
So tell me, for the chance to win a $100 VISA gift card, what do you support?  
Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 9/8 -10/19/2014.
Be sure to visit the Vanity Fair brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!
Follow on Bloglovin
Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, September 5, 2014

You Say "Vacation.." I Say... "Family Business Trip."

"Mom!... Hey, Mom! Mom, look!" 

"Mom. Mom? Moooooom? MOM!"

I waited. I waited and I prayed and I cursed a little. I turned to my husband, sighed and said, "Aren't there enough mothers here to answer that child? Come on!" 

We were on the first "vacation" we would take as a family all summer long. And by vacation, I really mean that it was the first four days of the summer that we would find ourselves alone, unfettered and uninterrupted at the family beach house. It was also the last week of August if that gives you any inclination as to how long and how busy and how full of "Hey! Mom! Look!" the rest of our summer had been.

It wasn't really a vacation. Well, not the kind that comes to mind when hearing the word, that is. 

Any getaway involving your children is, by no means, a vacation. It's merely a trip you take somewhere else where you're expected to conduct the same daily rituals just with less sleep and none of your usual distractions.

But despite that, it was so much fun and so, so necessary. 

I had moments during our time at the beach where I felt like I was seeing our boys for the first time. Discovering things about them that I hadn't noticed before and probably would have never noticed had it not been for our time away.

I was seeing them in a way I hadn't seen them in all summer long. Taller, older. Funnier. Their excitement was palpable and every little thing was SO COOL. MOM! 

And if you can believe it, I didn't raise my voice for days. Well, outside of a few necessary moments at the beach house that's also a Don't You Dare Touch Museum. If there's a breakable seashell or vase or candle holder or decorative plate or picture frame to be had on the Eastern Seaboard, you can safely bet that not only do my in-laws have it but they've also decorated with it somewhere right within reach of my 2-year old. 

We won't even mention the Swivel Chair of Future Stitches...

But back to what I was saying. It seems funny now to think about but it was as if I blinked and my oldest turned 4. As if I turned my back for a single moment and he grew two inches, tells the funniest stories, has inside jokes between him and his brother and is gearing up to start his second year of preschool in just a few short days. Did you know he was a funny kid? I mean, he was always a little goofy but now he's just downright funny! 

And my middle baby! My middle baby who never, ever stops moving. Whose neck is now visible at all times, something that screams to me that any little sign of baby is long gone on his bones. Speaking in full sentences, with a mind of his own and a mission that I may never understand. Ever. Always on a mission. 

And to see the two of them together. To watch them seek each other out as brothers and playmates. Sometimes you just need to go somewhere different to see your children differently. To see them more as individuals and less like tiny heathens. 

My husband and I even managed to sneak out on one of those elusive things we adults with offspring like to call "Date Nights." We only held each other's hand while crossing the street. We didn't have to worry about anyone running off somewhere dangerous and I didn't have to barter, beg and plead with my husband to finish his dinner. We got to eat everything on our own plates while it was still hot and we never once had to stop talking for the interruption of tiny loud voices. 

And most of all, we didn't have to share if we didn't want to. 

I saw my husband as just my husband that night. As the man I married nearly seven years ago- the man I fell in love with before careers, mortgages and babies. Funny how one can so easily lose sight of our foundation. 

I took pictures. Not great ones by any photographer's standard and not very many at all with my "real" camera. I captured video when I remembered- reminding myself that I should do so because it's only so long before my middle baby starts saying "crabs" instead of "cwabbies," and only so long before my oldest refuses to indulge his Mama while sitting for the infamous Favorite Parts of Vacation Interview. One day maybe I'll splice those pictures and those videos together and maybe even set them to music so we'll have a more concrete recollection of our time together. 

But until then, I'll remember the peels of laughter as we sat and strung chicken necks to a line and set them out in the bay to bait crabs. How I loved watching those tiny tanned legs run a mok up and down the beach, daring each time to get a little closer to where the waves crashed into the shoreline. I'll remember how I watched our boys grow by the minute it seemed from the sidelines of the shaded umbrella while bouncing the baby on my knee. I'll remember how each night at bedtime my husband and I tried to make it "a personal best," seeing who could get "their kid" to bed earlier than the other. 

Come one, you know you do it too. Summer, thanks for being so sweet to us. 

But the next "vacation" we take? I have a feeling we'll be leaving the kids behind for that one... 


Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Last Little Baby.

As I stood there, in that moment, I silently pleaded with time, begging her to stand still. I did this because I know too well that in a year's time, in even two month's time, I will have mostly forgotten this season of our life together, most definitely this ordinary Tuesday evening. That even though the days are achingly full with a messy conglomeration of mundane and amazing, that even though they feel long, these days are rushing by.  

There in the dim light of the family room as I danced between Legos, action figures and Matchbox cars, I told myself, "Remember this. No, really. Stop and remember this. The weight of him in your arms. How his head fits so perfectly in that space between your neck and your shoulder. As if that space was made especially for that- for cradling babies and swaying with them as their eyelids turn heavy and their breathing slows. Remember the ache that burns in your forearm as you try to adjust his warm, sweaty body around on your chest, slowly, every so slowly as not to disrupt him.

Remember how tired you feel. Remember how the exhaustion seems to bear down on you, to shroud you in a fog that causes you to forget things like where you last placed the car keys and relatively important doctor's appointments. Remember how the exhaustion is somehow worth it. "

It's as if, in this moment, I've had a revelation. 

"Look differently towards the early morning wake-ups," I tell myself. "Try seeing them as extra time to spend with each one of them as opposed to trying to divvy up your time when they're all at your feet, clamoring for your attention. I have news for you. You're always going to feel tired until the one day when you don't. And you will miss this."

Inhale slowly... 

"Remember the sweet smell of his freshly bathed head as you sway. Back and forth, back and forth."


It's so funny how our bodies replicate this movement at the most subconscious level- like when we're standing in the checkout line at the grocer, our children safe at home, spared the agony of a errand full of "Sit on your bottom. Don't touch that. We don't need that." Your mind races as you try to remember your grocery list and just like that, you sway. Back and forth. Back and forth... 

"Remember how his fuzzy hair tickles your lips as you mindlessly brush them repeatedly over the top of his head. How his warm breath quickens against the inside of your neck as you do this. Remember how innocent the feeling, as his eyelids flutter against your skin as you wonder what he's dreaming about."

This was around the time, two years ago, that I first felt the sting. The sting that comes with growing babies, fleeting moments and passing time. Back then, the sting stirred me. It made me realize that I wasn't done yet- that our family wasn't complete. It was unexpected and as I sat in tears on the nursery floor, folding tiny onesies and newborn sleeping gowns that no longer stretched to fit, I knew there was one more baby to be had. 

I told myself to remember these moments back then too but deep down I always knew there would be one more baby. So I didn't listen. I didn't take myself seriously and I let the full days and the exhaustion take hold. The days and nights and months and years blur together now. I reassured myself that it was okay though, because there would be One More Time....

One more time I would watch my husband light up as he laid eyes on his brand new baby for the first time. One more time when I would stop breathing, just for a handful seconds, a handful of seconds that felt like an eternity as I waited to hear that very first cry. One more time that my world would come to a screeching halt and I would fall head over heels, hopelessly and wholly in love with a brand new baby. 

A baby whose whole life began and grew right there beneath my heart. 

"Remember this," only this time, I'm stern with myself. Forcing myself to take this mental snapshot of this very moment. The rock, the sway, the weight of it all. 


Because tonight I feel that very same sting only this time it's the sting that comes with knowing I will never again experience these moments. The ache that each wonderfully acheived milestone brings with it as I realize it's the last first time I'll watch my baby smile. The last first time he'll discover his toes. The last first time I'll hear that sweet giggle and fall hopelessly and wholly in love with them all over again.  

I know there are many more Firsts ahead. Brand new firsts that won't take the place of the first first's but ones that will be celebrated with just as much ferocity because of their newness. First tooth, first steps, first days of school, first car...

But one day, even those firsts will become Last Firsts. 

That's the thing about the last little baby. You'll cling to him as much as he clings to you and neither one of you will want to be the first... to let go.    

Follow on Bloglovin
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...