Friday, October 29, 2010


Meredith found her hands a while ago, but this week she has been particularly interested in them. Playing with this morning, I was talking to her about her hands, just being silly, really. But then, I really got to thinking. Her hands have so much yet to do. Her hands will help her pull herself up. They will break her falls as she starts to toddle. She will use them to color, paint, write create. They will help her ride a bike and swing a bat. They will one day drive a car (!!).

Will her hands assist her in sports? Or will she use them for the arts? Will they one day play piano or guitar? Will they knead bread dough? Will they be hands with dirt under her nails from gardening? Will she one day paint them? Pink? Black? Not at all?

I hope her hands give lots of hugs. I hope they do not push or shove. I hope they are held in my own and her dad's more times than we could count. i hope they are used to make a difference. I hope they find the love of a boy. I hope they will one day wear a wedding ring, if she wants. I hope they one day hold the tiny body of her own precious baby.

Her hands have a lot of living left to do. I hope her hands see a long, full, happy, giving life. They are precious hands.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

4 Months

Dearest Meredith,
My little chicken, how are you four months old? It feels like only yesterday that I was waddling through Harvard Square, eating spicy foods, hoping to spur on your arrival.
It seems like only yesterday that we were bringing you home, so tiny in your car seat and ridiculously frilly dress.

But it wasn't just yesterday. It was four months ago! And my have you grown. You are such an amazing little baby. This month saw some more firsts for you- your first trip to Parker's Maple Barn (yum!), your first time getting a pumpkin and your first time at the Head of the Charles.

This month you also made lots of developmental strides. You have started grabbing for and holding your toys. You like to put everything in your mouth. You found your feet and have grabbed them several times. I think you might've laughed for the first time on Tuesday. I'm not sure, but whatever it was, was very cute. You smile so much. It's the sweetest thing. You have this precious little dimple up near your nose and sometimes you scrunch your nose at the end of a smile. You are very curious about the world around you.

You wish you already knew how to sit up and crawl. You sometimes get very frustrated in laying down positions. When we have tummy time you flail your arms and legs, looking determined to move. You are learning how to, in your own way.

(you, trying to sit up)

Sleep is improving, sloooowly, but surely. This month you've started consistently napping in your crib. You fall asleep after I've rocked you, laid you down and patted your back for a few minutes. You usually only nap for about 30 minutes at a time. You've taken some slightly longer naps the last couple of days, so maybe things will change? At night, you are going to be consistently around 7. Most nights you fall asleep within 10 minutes of laying you down. You are still waking up twice to eat. Sometimes you wake up and fuss between those times. I'm hoping that will end soon :) I know you can do it!

It's amazing how much I love you. You are the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. You constantly amaze me with your new skills and interest in the world around you. Not a day has gone by that I don't feel incredibly blessed to have you in my life. I try to tell you that everyday, too. Even though you don't really understand yet, I want you to always know how happy your daddy and I are that you've come into our lives. Your daddy said it best the other day when he said, "Everything is more fun with Meredith around."
I love you, baby chicken,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Creative Carving

Last night we had ourselves a halloween-y, date night in. We watched Beetlejuice for the first time (can't say we liked it. not huge Tim Burton fans), carved our pumpkin and roasted pumpkin seeds. Oh, we also enjoyed pumpkin muffins over coffee. It was a lovely October evening. And our pumpkin is amaaaaazing. My husband has mad pumpkin carving skills, if I do say so myself.

how amazing did this carving turn out?! we were soo excited :) this is my first pumpkin that isn't just a cute face of some sort.

ps. our pumpkin is a major hint towards meredith's first halloween costume :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why Crockpots are God's gift to New Moms

If you have a new baby you know that the hardest part of the day is what many call the witching hour. For us, its from 6pm to 7pm. This wouldn't be an issue except that 6pm-7pm is kind of a big hour for most people. My husband is arriving home, I'm trying to get dinner ready, needing to bathe and feed the baby and I'm tired from the day. This is why crockpots are a godsend. I've started trying to do a crockpot meal at least once a week. More often would be better. I can prep it all in the morning, during Meredith's first nap or even while she's awake & happy. Then, when the witching hour hits, instead of trying to make dinner while my baby screams her lungs out in her swing, I can simply play with my baby or take her on a walk. Dinner is already warm and waiting on the counter. Last week, I made pumpkin chili. Today, I made split pea soup. I've never had pea soup before so I'm excited to try it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

color coordinated

When I saw this picture on Design Mom a few months ago, I was instantly inspired. Ever since then, when sitting in my rocking chair, I have stared at my bookshelves dreaming of color coordinated books & gadgets. When we moved into our new place back in February, we just kind of threw stuff onto our shelves in an effort to get rid of boxes. I haven't ever felt like they were properly decorated. So, this Friday night, for some reason, i was finally inspired enough to take the plunge. I made stacks of books according to spine color and with the help of my husband and his love of color schemes, I now have bookshelves I love.

What do you think? Would you like color coordinated books? Or would you prefer organization by topic? or book size?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Winter Wooshing

This morning as I lie awake, eyes closed, at 3 am, trying, but struggling to fall back asleep after a feeding, I heard a familiar sound. Rumbling of a truck on the street. It's trash day, but at 3 am? And anyway, it really sounded like a snow plow. I instantly had visions of a snowy street, trees heavy laden with white powder, cars buried under wind swept snow dunes, all the while Meredith, Chris and me wrapped up in our flannel bed of coziness. It was a glimpse into our first winter with our warm little bundle of joy. I'm not quite ready for it yet but oh, it will be sweet.

On the move...

she's moving, in her own way. she spun herself in a full circle last night, using her legs to propel her!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Amazing what year does.

(unacceptably disgusting pee stick picture. I KNOW. my computer destroyed all the non-gross ones)

A year ago today, we found out little Meredith was on her way to us. I woke up, bleary-eyed, in the dark at 5am to get ready for work. I had prematurely taken a pregnancy test over the weekend only to get a negative result. I forced myself to wait a few days, and decided I would take one Wednesday morning. I took it. And then, I couldn't tell what the pee stick was telling me. I think I saw a faint line. But, there was a chance my mind was playing tricks on me. It was 5 am, after all. So much for surprising Chris in some cute way. I snuck into the bedroom (goodness knows he wasn't up yet) and asked him to get up and read the test. We both were pretty sure there was a faint line (see how its hard to tell in the picture??). We kind of/sort of celebrated and decided I'd leave school during my lunch break and try again. Thinking back now, I'm not sure why I didn't just cancel my carpool and go with Chris to the Walgreen's down the street. Must have been trying to play it cool.

I spent the morning giddy, thinking perhaps I really was pregnant. I shot out of school during my lunch break, grabbed the pregnancy test actually says, "Pregnant" or "Not Pregnant" and headed over to Starbucks. I went into the Starbucks bathroom and was feeling so nervous. Mostly? Because I had an irrational fear that someone knew what I was doing and that I was taking too long. I stashed the box and the test in my bag and jetted out of the bathroom. I ordered myself a drink (decaf, of course!). As I waited for my drink, I kept sneaking peaks into my bag. Finally, the results were in: pregnant!! I was so excited, but I was by myself, in a Starbucks, in the middle of the day. So, I calmly walked to my car and proceeded to try to call Chris and take more (less disgusting, but now vanished) pictures of my positive test! As I'm retelling this, all I can think is what a freak I was- who finds out they are pregnant in a Starbucks, alone, with the pee stick in their purse??

The rest of the school day, obviously, was a giddy blur. I tried to stay focused, but really, I was just bursting with excitement. Fortunately, we were headed to Atlanta for my best friend's wedding that night so I could play it off as excitement for that. Chris and I arrived at the airport early and treated ourselves to a delicious dinner at Legal Seafoods to celebrate (pictures from this also vanished). We were so excited and somewhat shell-shocked. It all happened so fast. It's amazing how much life has changed since the last time I woke up on October 21st. I am so glad it has!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mother's Guilt

(photo credit: justin ide. this is a guilt-inducing face. she might be flipping us off in this photo)

Mother's Guilt is a phrase I've heard tossed around quite a bit- both before and after becoming a mother. The one thing I now know for sure is, it's real. It's amazing how much guilt caring for a baby can create.

Meredith has eczema really bad. I am always feeling guilty that I didn't put enough lotion on, or apply as many times throughout the day as I should. I feel guilty when her neck gets crusty and icky. I feel guilty when the top of her head is a bit smelly from her lotions (fragrance free=smelly). I feel guilty when I change her in the morning and her tummy is covered in red blotches.

There are inevitably chores to be done around the house. Chores I once, foolishly, thought would be so easy to accomplish once I was at home all day with my baby. Expecting mothers, take note, this is not the case, at least not at first. When I put her down to do laundry, tidy up a few things, make the bed or try to get dinner going, I feel guilty.

When we are out running errands and she is screaming in her seat of torture (aka. car seat) I feel guilty. When I've miscalculated and we should really be home for a nap, but are out, around town I feel guilty. When I'm trying to take her on a stinkin' beautiful walk and all she does is scream, I feel guilty.

There are lots and lots of things that make me feel guilty. On a bad day, I feel guilty all day. On a good day, I know that almost none of the things listed above are really things I can help. I'm doing my best to be a good mom and find some sort of balance. I'm also working on having the good days way out number the bad days. Because let's be honest, guilt certainly doesn't help me be a better mother. In fact, it probably does just the opposite.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Country Craving

I love where we live. I love that we are steps away from a beautiful, paved bike path. I love that we are just a few more steps away from a peaceful reservoir. I love that we are near the city, but also have the perks of the suburbs. I love walking to Trader Joe's.

But sometimes, especially this time of year, when we venture out to apple picking or to a yummy breakfast at Parker's Maple Barn, I have an urge to move farther out to the country. To a place where we'd have lots of land. To a place with big, old, colorful trees. To a place where neighbors are friendly, but not too close. To a place where I'd shop in small markets, not gigantic grocery stores.

Who knows, maybe one day.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Dearest Meredith,
You are almost 4 months now. Last night, while falling asleep, I couldn't help but think of how lucky you are and how unable you are to even know it yet. You, my sweet, have an amazing daddy. This weekend afforded you both a lot of time together. I get to stay home with you all day, all week while your daddy has to head off to work. Daddy had lots of extra time this weekend and he spent it with you!

He introduced you to his favorite breakfast spot, The Restaurant. He said you loved it :) He probably snuck you a taste of ketchup, which is his favorite thing to do. So far you've tasted pickle juice, lemons and whipped cream, that I know of. He probably spoke to you in his made up Spanish-style language. You love that. I don't think anything makes you smile as big as his silly talk.
at the restaurant

Sunday morning, as we heard your little waking squeaks we tiptoed into your room to say good morning. Upon entering, it was clear you weren't quite ready to wake up, so we scooted right back out. A bit later, as I readied myself for church, you started squeaking again. Daddy asked, "Is she ready to get up now?" As I nodded my headed in an affirmative, he quietly celebrated while walking into your nursery, "Yes!!" Oh, baby, he loves you so much.
on our family walk

Later in the evening, after we took a long family walk, Daddy was playing with you. He flew you around the house as you orbited the various lights, or Suns, in our house. You, stiff-bodied and smiling, loved it. And then, in the wee, dark hours of this morning, when I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed as you cried, your daddy crept in your room to comfort you back to sleep.

I am so glad you have such a wonderful daddy. I know you are too, in the way that you are able. I can't wait to see your relationship with his evolve over time. I think you think he hung the moon. I think so too.


Friday, October 15, 2010


(even looking at this picture makes my heart hurt. thanksgiving hurry up!)

Since Meredith's birth I have decided living away from family is unnatural. I have never liked living away from my family. I chose to go to college a mere 20 minutes away from my parents and went home nearly every weekend my freshman year. Then, I lived home sophomore year and senior year before I got married. When my brother and sister moved away, I hated it. I remember crying so hard on the drive to my parents' house to say bye to my brother. And then, when my parents moved to Texas last summer, it really sucked. But, I surprisingly was ok. I filled my days with teaching and fun outings with my husband. I missed my parents most when Chris was out and I was home alone, but I was ok. My mom was always a phone call away (which I tell myself daily is such an incredible blessing).

Then, Meredith was born. Now, not a day goes by that I don't long for my parents to be just a town away. I need my mom's help organizing my house & her company on quiet days at home with my baby; my dad's wisdom in helping me with my spiritual walk; my parents' stinkin' dogs kisses and cuddles. With my own growing family, I feel the need to be near family so much more. There's no immediate solution. For the time being, I try to just be grateful that they are a phone call away and a plane ride away. It could be worse.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sometimes you get it right

I've found that being a mother can be a constant battle in finding balance. I like to keep busy by seeing friends, running, going on walks and strolling the mall so that I don't go stir crazy at home or get too down in the dumps not spending enough time with adults. On the otherhand, I like to stay home so that I can help Meredith figure out a schedule, stay on top of things like laundry & dishes and not wear myself out too much (since I'm certainly not sleeping through the night).

Being home all day, I think of all the things I'd like to get done. Today, I was hoping to get some blackout curtains for Meredith's room (her sheers aren't quite cutting it for nap time) and pick up a few items for our Halloween costumes. After a walk with a friend, I set out to the store. As I was sitting in traffic, I asked myself if this really was a good idea. Meredith would be needing a nap soon. She no longer naps easily in her car seat or stroller. I was feeling tired and sore. Last minute, instead of heading straight to the store, I turned left to head back home.

I am so glad I made that decision. We came home, I ate lunch, she played and then we spent the better part of the afternoon napping- 20 minutes on our own and then an hour and a half together. We both definitely needed that. If I had stayed determined to get my errands done, we would have both been exhausted and cranky. I probably would have felt frustrated trying to pick things out while she was fussing. So, the moral of today is, sometimes you get it right. I'm so glad I did. Here's to more balance in the future!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sleepless Nights

So... I hate to complain about lack of sleep. It comes with the territory of having a new baby. Nights of sound sleep and sleeping in late are a thing of the past (at least for a long while!)- that's a given. But today, I think I need to use this space to vent for a moment. Last night was a rough one. Sometimes we have good nights and I wake up in such a good mood feeling refreshed. Others, like last night, feel like a constant time of wakefulness and when Meredith wakes up for the day it feels near impossible to drag myself out of bed.

Last night, I put Meredith to bed around 7:15. She was very tired, but as soon as I laid her down she started fussing. She didn't fall asleep for another half hour or so. Then, as is her habit, she woke up about an hour later and fussed some more. She was asleep by 9:15. I went to bed around 10. She woke up at 11. Hoping to hold her off from a feeding, I just went in a gave her back the pacifier. After a couple times giving back the paci, it worked, thank goodness. As I was waiting to be sure she was back to sleep I laid down on the couch in her room and proceeded to fall fast asleep until 12:30 or so when she woke up to eat. I fed her and was finally back in my room by 1:15.

Cut to 3:00 when she was crying again. Too soon for her to eat again! She usually just does every 4 hours. I tried for 30 minutes to get her to go back to sleep and finally gave in and fed her at 3:30. I feed her laying down on the couch. This is so nice because I can rest my eyes while she eats. Last night, again, I fell asleep. This doesn't usually happen. So, it wasn't until 5:30 that I realized I was still on the couch with her in my arms. I put her back in her crib, crawled back into my warm bed for a whopping 30 seconds before she was crying again.

This time I asked Chris to go give her the paci. I was so cold and tired. He went in and instead of being soothed she started freaking out. At this point, it felt like I hadn't gotten any good sleep so I just asked him to bring her in, thinking she'd go right to sleep. Of course not! She fussed for about 30 minutes before falling asleep. I guess she slept for a while then- until about 7:30. At that point, though, between being up and down so many times and being sore from sleeping strangely on the couch, it didn't feel restful for me. 7:30 was painful this morning. Fortunately, she's taking a nap now.

I just don't understand all her night wakefulness. I'm trying to make sure she's getting enough sleep in the day and going to bed early enough to avoid overstimulation and overtiredness. I've tried swaddling, unswaddling and various sleeping positions. Nothing seems to do the trick. She seems big enough and old enough to be sleeping for longer stretches. Even on a good night the longest she goes lately is 5 hours (from 8 or 9pm to midnight or 1am). If you have advice, please share!

And, just to make myself feel better, I do have to end this post saying that I know motherhood is such a blessing and a dream come true. I don't want to complain, but today I was just feeling it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back to normal, but a new normal.

Pregnancy gave me an excuse to eat. And while I wouldn't say I ate a lot of extra food, I would say I ate a lot of crappy food. Like oreos, peanut butter by the spoonful, anything chocolate and there wasn't a dessert I'd say no to. And then, breastfeeding gave me an appetite like you wouldn't believe, so I continued eating lots of crappy food- probably even more! But that increased appetite has long since gone. So a few weeks ago I decided it was time to get serious about getting back in shape. Chris and I started the South Beach Diet (misery) and have had great results already (yay).

I am now down to my pre-pregnancy weight, and actually a little under. I am very encouraged. It almost makes it worth ending the oreo binges. My body, however, is not back to pre-pregnancy. Everyone tells you it will never be the same, but its hard to quite imagine until its happened. And it has! My stomach is a bit squisher (not that I ever had washboard abs), there are stretch marks that surely weren't there before and even my linea nigra (do not google this. yuck. its a line on your belly, starting at your belly button) is still hanging out.

So while my body is different, the cause of this change- my little baby Meredith- is oh, so worth it. And even though I'm not as toned, I feel proud of how my body is readjusting. The whole pregnancy & postpartum experience continues to amaze me.