Wednesday, August 31, 2011

FIRST STEPS! and time management

Little dumpling took her first steps last night. Teetering and diving into my arms from a steady clapping stand she put one foot in front of the other once, twice FALL over and over. She never whimpered or lost her motivation. I kept standing her back up and she kept moving forward. I loved every second, for the milestone sure, but to see the pure pride and joy on her face. She knew she was doing something pretty awesome. We concurred.

This morning amongst practicing Louise's new moves, we've been pretty busy. Bread was gone so we made some more. Ainsley helped me knead and punch and even baked her own play dough loaf that I'm pretty sure is still "rising" in the buffet cupboard. Then while Louise napped (a rarity in the mornings now for her) I unleashed a painting project for Ainsley, an adorable Melissa and Doug kit she got from friends at Louise's party. She painted for at LEAST an hour, carefully dotting and mixing colors. I was so proud of her meticulousness AND it gave me some time to scour some and plan some new crafts, but more on that obsession later.

Once Louise rose we cleaned up and moved forward with the morning. I have been so antsy to get some new current photos of the girls. I think getting NO good ones from Louise's birthday has prompted me to re-do and get some winners. So I got the girls all gussied up and we skipped up to the park while our bread baked (meaning we had a half hour TOPS for our photo shoot). I brought some "props" hoping to catch the girls in a natural play moment. We quickly revamped when we found an amazing tree. Ainsley climbed and jumped while Louise stood and clapped. I'm happy to say I got a few keepers and if nothing else it's always so fun to snap my girls being themselves.

We rushed home to the waft of fresh bread swarming our house. The loaves were divine, perfectly brown and plump. Mmmm. Then Ainsley changed, I strapped them in the wagon and we mosied up to the small branch library mere blocks from our home. It's been a while since we've been. Hot sunny summer days don't seem library compatible. Oh how we've missed the library. Ainsley found the Minnie Mouse doll as always and happily mothered her while Louise and I scoured for new books. We found a few old favorites and some new ones to latch on to. It was a fun easy trip.

We ate fresh bread PB&Js, desserted with farmers market peaches, juice gushing everywhere. We cleaned, snuggled, read our new finds and the girls slept well.

Pretty perfect right? Well except for the new agonizing that inevitably occurs with each nap afternoon. I must start by saying how thankful I am that I have good nappers, that most days I have at least 2 hours to myself to do what I will with. But what to do? Here lies my conundrum.

I am 90% of the time too tired to do anything physical. While I would LOVE to use this time to exercise I just have the hardest time motivating. Then there's the projects. At any given moment I have two knitting projects and about 3 sewing projects in the works. Which one? How to choose? And let's not even think about reading. All that does is put me to sleep these days. I read two books while in MN and it's the first time I've finished a novel in months. Then there's of course blogging, internet searching for new ideas for the girls and myself and of course the no fun but very necessary cleaning and picking up that needs to get done. By the time I've tidied, checked email and settled on an activity I only have a little time before the girls wake up. So lately I've ended up with a knitting project on my lap zoning out to an episode of house hunters international or some design show, pretty much WASTING nap time.

Right now this is the most frustrating aspect of my stay at home mom job. I have so little time to myself, AWAY from my girls. When I do have time I am paralyzed by the bizarre freedom. I need help, I need motivation! I'm hoping this is just a crash period of life and once we get into our new fall schedule next week things will come together.

I am at this bizarre crossroad. Two toddlers in the house, no baby (and none on the way any time soon). I have been so used to being in transition mode that it feels weird to just be HERE. I think I've sometimes used the transitions as a bit of a crutch, excusing why things aren't done around the house that should be or that I'm not where I want to be physically and productively. It's all a fine balance I know, between having the energy to be the mom that I want to be and the personal time to be someone OTHER than a mom. It's tricky and will continue to be tricky I'm sure.

Today I'm thankful for new cute photos of my girls. For hot end of summer days and fall right around the corner. Today I'm thankful for these last days, quiet and meandering with my girls before the hustle and bustle kicks into full gear. Today I am determined to remember today and keep a little of this laze and calm in our everyday, because it's pretty great. Happy Thursday!

::typical post lunch debauchery::

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tids 'n Bits: Crash

Of course I've waited to the nth nap hour to get to typing. We'll see how many words I can get in before they wake!

I have a birthday post all written and am just waiting on some photos. I took NONE, literally, no real good ones. I'm super bummed and am holding out until Auntie Sonya stops by to see if she got any keepers on her iphone. Oh how thankful I am for accessible iphones so important stuff gets documented.

So yes, after baking tons of cake and cooking and decorating and celebrating we are all crashing. Well I am for sure. Ian's gotten up with the girls for the past three days so I can sleep in until he has to go for work. He pours me a cup of coffee, give me a big smooch and grin and is out the door. I love that guy. Thank you!

The weather has been perfect for crashing. Cool mornings, cloudy dry afternoons. We can do whatever. Mostly we've been walking, playing with new toys, parking it up. I've discovered that Louise LOVES to color and is pretty darn good at it for a one year old (I have to keep saying it outloud and typing it so it doens't sound so weird).

I've been getting organized for the fall, ever purging, folding, stacking and moving things around. I'm trying to get into a new groove with reading and crafting, two things I've been sorely missing. I read two WHOLE books while in MN and it felt so good to delve in again. This morning we went to the fabric store and Ainsley helped me pick out fabrics for a quilt I'm going to make for her. It'll be my first and I'm not even going to attempt it until my knitting projects are well underway. I'm excited though. We found some cute stuff!

Louise is officially standing on her own, BY her own. Up until know she would begrudging sway for a few seconds if I let go of her hands and them plop on her plush bum. But yesterday and now again this morning she'll stop mid holding hands walk, beam up a big grin and purposefully let go to stand on her own. She even clapped for herself while standing this morning! Ahhh, the excitement in this house is ridiculous. Even Ainsley gets what a big deal it is. We're pretty proud.

This is our last week of lazy summer "normal" before Ainsley starts playschool and musikgarten begins and I plan to live it to the fullest laze imaginable with them. I am really looking forward to the schedule. It will be something very new for us to have have 3 mornings a week totally booked and I know it will take a little adjusting but we'll all relish in the full days in the end.

I've been starting to research preschools for Ainsley, determined to have all of our options covered before we have to make a decision RIGHT after Christmas. I know it's anal retentive of me but I do want her to have a great experience and don't want to be left in the dust of other more on-the-ball parents. I'm feeling better as i'm realizing how many great options there are so if our first choices don't work out we'll survive. Oh how life is starting to change with these little ones.

Well no wakers yet! I best get something productive done before they do. Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Party Hardy

Louise is one (if you haven't heard). It's been a wonderfully full weekend of celebration and remembrance.

In typical last-minute-becky fashion I was late in forming birthday plans. Coming off of two weeks away and a moderate wedding hangover didn't help any. After a few days of too much stressing and agonizing I revamped (a stressed out mama must have skill) and the festivities couldn't have gone smoother.

We started THE day like a little Christmas Eve. Magical simple decorations greeted Louise's early morning as did generous gifts stacked and waiting. We sipped coffee as Ainsley "helped" rip open colorful packages and she and Louise played the morning away with new toys, books, and clothes.
::Ainsley's gift to Louise, her very own baby::

::our "big" gift to Louise::

::mama and my birthday girl::

::what a dumpling my dumpling is::

Ian had to work extra hard that day so I was on my own with the girls, in usual Friday style. I dressed them in matching Grammy originals, donned a fancy blouse and skirt myself and we sojourned up town for breakast. We noshed on mickey mouse pancakes, sausage, and spinach and feta omlette. All the while customers and waiters ooed and ahhed over my pretty girls. It felt pretty good to claim them as mine. They did so well that I have have to indulge breakfast out more often.

The rest of THE morning was filled with a park date and picnic with friends.

::Louise loved cruising around the splash pad, clearly::

::mandatory 1 year old nakey except for diaper pics::

A busy morning induced sound long naps and Auntie Sonya's arrival that evening brought on a quiet family dinner and cake fun. Louise swiped daintily at her pink lady cake (essentially strawberry white cake with cream cheese frosting) merely dimpling the surface with her fingertips. Ainsley on the other hand ate her weight in cream cheese frosting, and we all enjoyed the calm low key night.
::Louise's little smash cake::

::and the big cake::

Saturday found our street bustling. The annual block party underway and a fun run-into-old-friends-and-chat-forever-in-the-baking-sun farmer's market trip filled the morning easily. Oh how I've missed the farmer's market in all of it's plush end of the summer harvest beginning of early apple season glory. Ainsley loved playing outside with neighbor friends, looking so small and confident in the huge jumpy house. Louise crawled and smiled and cruised, ate hot dogs and watermelon with the best of them, and both girls crashed appropriately that afternoon.

Louise's "real" party commenced in the evening. The guest attendance about half of the invitees thanks to my last minuteness (whoops!) but oh so fun in spite. The kids had a blast playing together and the adults chatted away the warm evening. We sang happy birthday to a beaming Louise and watched her stuff her spice cake cupcake in her face (perhaps she has a more discerning palette than I thought? the spice cake was my favorite too). We thanked friends for generous time and gifts, they for food and fun.

After much needed baths and last present opening soon to be parent friends joined us to punctuate the night.
::all dolled up for her party::

::party aftermath, I of course didn't get a shot of it all put together the day of::

Right now it feels like life is coming together. We are in a moment of comfort and ease here now. Life is full with activity and good people and friends and I am happy to be here in our home celebrating a wonderful first year of life.

Today I'm letting the dishes sit, cooking as little as possible and lounging as much as the same. The warm, bright sun, cool breeze end of summer day is just begging for a stroll, or a snooze, or both. I can't wait to indulge her.

One Whole Year

A year ago today you were born and I was a mama for the second time. Your birth was easy and quick and calm, with only daddy and the midwife in the room to welcome you to this beautiful world. I cradled you and loved on you until you were taken from me just hours after your birth to heal your sick little lungs.

A year ago today I was pacing the hallways of our local hospital, gathering the courage to enter the nursery as the strong calm mother I wanted to be, not the broken hurting mama that I truly felt.

A year ago today I was worried and anxious. Desperate for answers and to get our new little one home.

A year ago today I was joyful that you were here ultimately healthy and strong after so much worry, calm and resilient.

A year ago today we brought you home and welcomed you into our family. You snoozed the days away, smiling in your sleep, gently waking up to the world.

A year ago today you were the easiest baby we could have hoped for. Only fussing when you really needed something, patiently waiting while we adjusted our lives for the needs of two.

A year ago today you were loved every minute and every minute since, you sweet easy calm baby you.

9 months ago today I was getting in the groove. So thankful for my sweet sleepy baby with your calm smiles and gentle needs.

9 months ago today we were giggling and laughing all together as a family of four, never caring to remember what it was like when it was just us three, because four felt so perfectly wonderful.

9 months ago today my girl was emerging from your newborn cocoon. Every second I knew you and loved you better.

6 months ago today we were travelling. Enjoying family vacations all together and learning what a flexible happy camper you are. Sitting up straight smashing sand in your face, you loved every minute.

6 months ago today we were in the dregs of winter. Snuggled up close we took long walks in the cold and rolled in the snow.

6 months ago you were dubbed YaWeez by your adoring big sister. She loved on you and played with you and you welcomed her advances with giggles and joy and a ton of adoration right back.

6 months ago today we tried out new foods, rolled and rolled to play with toys, but mostly sat up happily taking the world in and smiling all the while.

6 months ago today we were I'm-in-big-trouble in love.

3 months ago today we were relishing in spring. Crawling in the dirt, taking wagon rides galore and swinging swinging swinging the days away.

3 months ago you were cutting teeth and you fussed for the first time (for real). You needed extra snuggles and love and I easily and happily obliged.

3 months ago today you were babbling and screeching, signing and cooing. We started to really communicate with you and hear your loud and happy voice.

3 months ago today I had a weekend alone with you, quiet and snuggly and slow. We talked and played and walked and bathed and it was a time I will always treasure with you.

3 months ago today you were growing and growing, ever smiling and happy and sweet my precious Louise.

Today you are one. One whole year old. How can this be? You feel too new to be one, but have always been in my heart, so I guess it must be so.

I knew you before you were born and now that you are here so many things make sense. I feel whole and happy in each moment with you.

I feel so blessed to be your mama, to get to watch you grow and learn. To give you snuggles when you need them and freedom when it calls you. I can't wait for the next year, and I can, all at the same time. Because you are perfect right now in this moment, but I know you'll be perfect then too.

I love you more than you'll ever know my sweet Louise. Happy First Birthday!