all in a week

At my first go at this parenting thing, I took note of how much easier life got for me once Sadie was able to sit up unassisted.  That happened for her at her 6 month mark.  So going into this for the second time I was anxiously waiting for the exciting six month mark where I knew I would gain some freedom for my weary arms.  Carter was a little late in giving me the gift I so wanted.  He was 6 months and almost 3 weeks by the time he started sitting up.  But it was nonetheless exciting.  It is truly amazing at how helpful that milestone is.  Babies go from being completely reliant on you for physical support and entertainment to being able to play and explore alone, just like that.  I welcomed this new stage of sitting baby with welcome arms.  But I got more than I bargained for.

Within one week of Carter being able to sit up alone, he began crawling.  I immediately set up the baby gate in the kitchen and got into the habit of scanning the floor for dangers and choke-able items every two minutes.  (You gotta be on your toes when you have a 3 year old running around dropping legos and barbie shoes).

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About four days after he began crawling, he decided that wasn’t enough and started puling himself up on things to stand.  I put him down next to a bucket of blocks and looked down to check my phone.  About 20 seconds later I look up and he’s just, oh you know, STANDING THERE leaning over the bucket grabbing the blocks inside the bucket.

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Not enough for one week??? Nope, it’s not.  Later that day we are playing on the floor.  I stand up and start to walk into the next room and he looks at me and cries, “Mama!!”  And just like that he said his first word.  First and favorite.  He says it every I enter a room, exit a room, make him smile, leave him to cry, put him to bed, pick him up from bed and so on.

Within one week, ONE WEEK, he started sitting, standing, crawling and talking.  Oh, and his two bottom teeth are just starting to poke through his gums.  My nipples are just loving that, by the way.

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It’s insane!! I wanted him to sit – not turn into a toddler!  He is scary strong so I’m really hoping walking is not coming right around the corner.  I wouldn’t mind having a baby for a little while longer.

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His mobility is only making his bond with his sister stronger.  They can rough house even stronger than before!  They get to play together which is the sweetest thing ever.  Sadie will give him a toy character to be and she’ll orchestrate a role play game.  Carter obliges by holding the toy and chewing on it.  Somehow this works out and they spend long spans of time playing together unsupervised.  By unsupervised, I mean I’m in the next room listening to every word and move and have a view of them.  Just as I was typing that “in my view of them” I noticed Carter barfed on himself.  Look at what a great parent I am… noticing barf on my baby from another room.

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Anywhoo.  I love the stage we are at as a family right now.  I hope it just doesn’t slip by too fast.  I’m looking at you Carter!

 

 

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Honestly

Social media (blogs included) have been such a wonderful addition into my life.  I remember life pre facebook, twitter, instagram.  Hell, I remember life before digital cameras and cell phones too.  I’m glad I lived life in an era before all of these modern day marvels.  But I also appreciate how much these products enrich and brighten my day.  Um, pinterest… hello!  My whole family thanks you for many many delicious dinner ideas pinterest.  But there is one bottom line that these outlets really do us all a disservice with.  And that is “honesty”.  With the way the world works now, you take one good photo of one good moment in your life, slap a pretty filter on it, come up with a cute catch phrase and post it.  And there it sits – reaching out to the world showing everyone you know how awesome your day, life, evening, job, relationship, etc, etc, etc are.  But how honest is it really?

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I am so guilty of this. So guilty.  Even on this very blog.  I don’t always spell it out like I really feel, because to be honest…  people I know and love follow along and read this blog.  Sometimes I might have a really bad time at an event, but I’m not going to say that because the person I went with might read this.  And life might be really hard, but I don’t want to air all my dirty laundry so I keep it light and fluffy.  So, the other day I posted on Instagram a photo of Carter playing in the grass.  To anyone who I don’t talk to on a normal basis, which is basically almost everyone, they probably look at that and think that every day must be filled with sunshine and grass and cute drooly babes.  But the people I do talk to every day know that I have been going through a terrible time and have been incredibly ill for almost 2 weeks.  Those people also know that Carter has been scarily ill.  So bad in fact that he has been in and out of the pediatrician’s office all week and was diagnosed with Reactive Breathing Disease and was put on a breathing machine.  A breathing machine that we now own and have to hook him up to 4x a day to give him breathing treatments to help him breathe with ease.  This is not something we will have to do daily forever, but is a problem that will surface now and again, forever.  People I talk to on a regular basis know the hell I have been going through and know that I sit up at night holding my baby up to an oxygen mask while he fights to breathe.  People I don’t talk to every day just see a sweet picture of him and probably just think he is the cutest darn kid ever, which he is.

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In this said picture, I kind of got called out.  I got called out by someone I talk to everyday… my mom.  She left a comment saying something along the lines of, “I assume he’s feeling better.”  But the truth is, that he wasn’t.  I took him to the park because I have a wild 3 year old that needs to run and be free.  Otherwise I wouldn’t have taken him out of the house.  The truth is that he cried the entire hour and a half that we were at the park.  The truth is that he was coughing and wheezing so hard that people were looking at me like I had brought the plague to the playground and it made me feel embarrassed and protective.  The truth is that he stopped crying for about 45 seconds when I sat him in the grass.  He was interested in his new location, but only for a moment before he remembered he couldn’t breathe.  And in that moment I snapped a photo, put a pretty filter on it and thought of something catchy to say and I posted it.  Not mentioning his illness, or breathing machine, or the fact that he was crying right before and right after that picture was snapped.

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When I got called out by my mom, I replied back honestly and said to not believe social media.  I was misrepresenting my current situation just as I have many times before, and just as many many others do daily.  A few days later I saw a friend post a beautiful photo of her baby sleeping soundly.  I congratulated her on getting her baby to sleep in his crib alone (which anyone with a small babe knows that is hard to do!)  And she replied back a similar response like I gave my mother.  That her baby was asleep but he would be awake in 15 minutes and then basically every 15 mins after that all night long.  But without her telling me that, I would never have known.  I would have assumed that she figured it all out and she is leaps and bounds ahead of me in getting a baby to a healthy sleep pattern.

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So, I want to open up and be honest with you.  Or with anyone who has ever read my blog and perhaps thinks that I have it all together.  Or thinks I am managing it all.  Let me tell you, from the horse’s mouth – I am not.  I haven’t had my car washed in about 6 months.  A few weeks ago my dog barfed in the garage and I let it sit there til it started growing mold because I was too busy to clean it up.  I just went grocery shopping today for the first time in three weeks.  We ate KFC last night and pizza the night before that.  I just put away a pile of laundry that had been sitting on the foot of my bed for a month.  Our front yard is so overgrown with weeds and long grass that I am actually embarrassed to be seen walking into our house.  Tonight neither kid got a bath.  Last week I sent Sadie to school every morning without brushing her teeth first.  Sometimes I cry myself to sleep because I didn’t pay enough attention to Sadie that day.  Sometimes I cry for a second when I go pee because it’s my only moment alone and I feel so overwhelmed.

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I see other parents out there on Instagram or on blogs that always look so put together.  And they travel, and don’t seem to need naps.  And don’t seem to have meltdowns.  And don’t seem to stay up all night crying.  And they can go out to restaurants and actually eat and not have to walk out half way through.  And they all eat organic everything.  Grown in their backyard.  And they don’t watch TV.  And they always do fun art projects that I could never think of (without pinterest).  And their houses are so clean.  And the mom’s hair is washed and styled.  And life is so good.  And so easy.  And I wonder all the time… how????

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But maybe they are just like me.  Maybe they take a photo of the kid for the only split second while they are not crying.  Maybe they kicked all the mess and clutter to the side and cropped the rest out with a fancy instagram filter.  I’m just so sick of constantly seeing other’s lives from various social media platforms and wondering why they can figure it all out, but I can’t for the life of me seem to be able to get a handle of it.  And I want to make sure that I never make anyone else feel that way by my photos.  And if things ever seem light and fluffy in my posts, feel free to straight up ask me about the nitty gritty.  Because I am 200% positive there is always some nitty gritty, even if I don’t openly disclose it.

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As a disclaimer: these photos were taken at 4 different places.

Napa Valley – while visiting friends. The ugly truth: it was super hot that day.  I thought it would be cold and dressed Sadie in a sweatshirt with nothing under and jeans.  She was so hot her entire face turned red.  She also wouldn’t eat that day.  So all she had all day was a milkshake and I was terrified she was going to faint.

Zoo – Carter and I were both very sick and Sadie had a fever the day before.  Carter also had blow out and had some poop on the back of his shirt the entire day.

Beach – Sadie kept throwing sand on the blanket and very near Carter’s eyes.  I yelled at her so many times.  The people next to us were flying a kite dangerously low right over our heads and we were super uncomfortable in the situation the entire afternoon.

Home – in Sadie’s bed.  I was soooooo sick.  Feeling like death.  Carter was in between breathing treatments, coughing fits, diarrhea episodes and hysteria.  But there was some good light in the room!

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6 months

Carter hit his half birthday.  6 whole months he’s been enriching our days.  6 months of falling so deeply in love with this new man in my life.  But after 6 months I still have one question…..

HOW HAS IT ALREADY BEEN 6 FREAKING MONTHS!??!

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He was born like 2 months ago, I SWEAR.  It’s literally scaring me how fast time is flying with him.  I feel like I don’t have enough pictures or videos.  I’m not inhaling his scent enough.  I’m not memorizing the rolls on his legs.  It’s happening too fast for my brain to keep up.  I feel like I’m losing at chances of gaining nostalgia.  I just want a few days where I can lay in a bed with him and stare at him and study every sound he makes, every way he moves his body, the feeling of his weight in my arms.  Those are the things that change so quickly that you don’t even realize when they are gone.

Carter has been a joy to have in our family.  He has this quiet power inside him.  He’s so easy and calm that many of times you don’t even notice him in the room.  But when I put him to bed at night and shut the door – I immediately miss him and want his rollie pollie body back in my arms.

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Carter has done something to me.  I think about it often, but until this moment, have never understood completely what that change exactly is.  When Sadie was born, she changed me – big time.  I turned into a mother.  I rapidly emerged myself into the role of what mother was.  I happily lost touch of my pre-parent self and submerged myself into being Sadie’s provider and nurturer.  Literally everything I did or thought of in life had something to do with Sadie.  I love being her mom and really loved transforming into this all powerful, force to be reckon with, mommy.  But then Carter came around.  And my guard instantly went down.  I became… relaxed.  I felt so much less stressed out about parenting now, even though I was now doing it for two.  I felt like, oh they are my kids and I’m here to love them unconditionally and lead them in the right direction, but let me just watch from a distance to see how this pans out.  A far cry from how I was just a month before.  I also started noticing that my interest in my own personal unique things was back.  Like I actually cared about listening to music that made me want to dance.  I want to dress with a hint of my own style rather than just throw on anything.  I immediately locked down a babysitter for weekend day dates with husband.  Because I really need that awesome special time with him.  Things in me just changed.  I became more me.  More of the me I was before being mom, if that makes sense.  Carter awoke some sort of independence and confidence in me that had been lurking in the shadows for years.  Weird, right?

He makes me happy.  He makes Devin happy.  He makes Sadie happy.  This kid is seriously just all awesome and sweet packed into a chubby little body.  Carter loves his daddy so much.  He wants to be a man so bad. You can see it on his face.  He stares at Devin everywhere he goes- smiling, smirking, laughing.  He’s so intense on knowing where dad is and what he’s doing.  When dad gets close enough best believe Carter’s hands are all up in that beard grabbing on for dear life and pulling Devin’s face into his own and just slobbering all over it.  He is so smitten with his Daddy.

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Ah.  And this sibling relationship.  I couldn’t dream up a better pair.  She shares some of her most prized possessions with him willingly.  And he studies her every move with delight.  His legs and arms kick and shake when she comes into his view.  And he squeals in delight with every word she says.  I melt.

Carter eats solids like a champ.  He loves food.  He doesn’t crawl yet, but he is a master of the roll.  He can roll around the entire house from room to room exploring as he wishes.  He’s soooo close to sitting up, but not quite there yet.  Sitting up is my favorite milestone, so I am anxiously awaiting for its achievement.

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I’ve sleep trained Carter, in a way.  He’s a good sleeper.  I can’t complain too much.  I still have some work to do to get him sleeping even better, but as it is now, he is pretty solid.  And I feel rested most days.  Carter seems to be very interested is sound.  He loves music or things that make noise.  He likes watching people talk.  He’s also been getting better about riding in the car, thank god.  I don’t have to give myself a pep talk every time I strap him into his car seat anymore.

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When I think about my journey with Carter, how it all started.  So much sorrow.  So much pain.  I have things I want to say that I felt back then during the pregnancy that I am literally too embarrassed to repeat now that he’s here.  I love him so damn much.  This love I can feel.  It comes from a deep warm place in my heart.  I feel it stretch out and wrap itself around my body and hold me tight.  I can physically feel my love for him.  And it grows with every day.  After my miscarriage of his twin my loving family would tell me… just you wait – he’ll be twice the love just because of it.  I truly believe he is.  He is my destiny.  We were meant to have our Carter in our lives.  That, I am sure of.

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a trip home (belated)

I finally got to meet my nephew!  Like 3 weeks ago!  And I’m totally lame and haven’t spent any time to write about it!  What a trip though, it really wore me down.  Plus I got this whole big fundraiser I’m helping organize for Sadie’s school.  And I am sleep training Carter.  Things are nuts.  But I digress.

Meeting little man Chayton was so incredible.  I was chomping at the bit to see his tiny little face in person.  But more than anything I was bursting inside to see my sister holding her baby.  That was what I really wanted to see.  And it did not disappoint.  She looked so lovely and motherly.  And Chayton is/was so tiny.  It wasn’t even that long ago that Carter was his size and smaller and I feel like I can hardly remember it.  They are so fragile and delicate at that newborn stage.  It is such a sweet beautiful moment in time, but also a terribly frustrating one.  Newborns are no walk in the park, but it passes so quickly that you barely even remember it once it’s all said and done.  Jamie and Jason are doing great despite their world completely changing and having sleepless nights.  They are doing way better than I did after having Sadie.  Transitioning from zero kids to one is hard.  I’m very happy to see how well they are adjusting to adding the new member to their lives.  I feel that I can say that they are doing it with more grace than I did back when I was in their shoes.

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After spending a little time in LA with the Redwood family, we parted ways and I headed to Union Station in downtown LA for a very ambitious train trip to San Diego alone with the kids.  It was me, Sadie, Carter, a stroller, 2 car seats, 3 suitcases, a diaper bag and a tote of snacks and toys.  It was intense.  But I managed and we made it to San Diego.  I might have been sweating quite a bit, but I think I looked seemingly put together about the whole ordeal.  And I knoooow, people on the train were watching me.  Maybe out of being bothered by the sounds of a baby, or Sadie’s iPad.  But I know at least one person was watching me out of awe.  And I have to say, I did indeed feel pretty awesome about being so bold as to do this trip alone.  Anyhow, the reason I know someone was watching me out of awe is because this said woman looked up at me as I corralled a toddler and heaved heavy cargo off a train with a baby strapped to my chest.  When I was done, she said… “you rock mom” and gave me a fist bump.  Booyah.

Once I got to San Diego, I exhaled and all was right with the world.  It was so good to be back home, a place I had not been to in over a year.

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And just as it was last time we were here, Sadie was deeply in her element.  Barefoot in the grass playing with the animals and exploring the entire time.

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I loved the sunshine on my skin.  Oh, how I forget that feeling of just warmth against me.  We have our share of warm days here in the Bay, but it’s not the same as that Southern California sun.  The kids were mostly in diapers and underwear the entire time.  And Carter debuted his swimwear look for the very first time.

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Being away from home for a week has it’s challenges.  Sadie was super reluctant to sleep, at all.  She was far too busy.  And she seriously never ate, like ever.  Carter is such an easy baby, so he was well, easy.  But since Sadie wasn’t napping it was hard to get him to nap.  So, long days… But even with the struggles of schedule changes, starvation and traveling it was all very worth the trouble.

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Thanks mom & dad for having us.  We can’t wait to come back.  And I can’t wait to see Chayton again, keep growing little man!

Until the next time my makers & my makings are reunited…

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Carter’s Rebirth

I’m so happy to say that Carter’s birth story has been shared today on Freshly Picked’s blog.  We love Freshly Picked Moccasins in our household, and I love cyber stalking their baby&mama stories on the blog.  It makes me so pleased to be able to share Carter’s on that very platform.  Thank you Freshly Picked!

 

xo- Stacey

His & Hers

His:

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Can you believe it?  This baby boy is just about 5 months old.  I truly cannot believe it.  I swear he was just born.  The first year with Sadie felt like it was 4 years long.  It was hard and days dragged and it was hard to find my footing.  Now with two, the days speed by at warp speed.  It seems like I wake up and it’s Monday and I go to bed and it’s Friday again.  And all the while he just keeps getting bigger, chubbier, cuter and stronger.

Carter weighs about 19 pounds and is full of rolls.  He’s got rolls in his neck and on his ankles.  Literally head to toe rolls.  He coos and talks and yells.  Yells in a good way.  Like, “HEYYY, I’m HEEEERRRRREEE, WOOOO, LIFE IS GREEEEAAT!”  He sucks on his hands non stop, and on his thumb when he can figure out how to separate that digit from the rest and navigate it into his mouth.  His feet he has realized that they are in fact there, but can’t seem to get the right trajectory to put them in his hands.  He laughs deep hearty laughs, especially at his sister and dad.  It seems as though anything and everything those two do is just hilarious.  And he’s tough.  Last night, for example, Devin and I did a group babysit where we watched a bunch of kids for a few hours.  At one point there were 4 girls age 3-5 that all laid on top of Carter at the same time kissing and hugging him.  Although he must have been completely squished and smothered he just cooed, “ooooh!”  This really allows for him and Sadie to be able to already have such a playful relationship.  They hug and she rolls him around on the floor.  He eats it up.  Even though it looks kind of rough to me, I figure if he’s not complaining, it must be fine.

We started Carter on solid foods.  So far he’s had avocado, banana and carrots.  Avocado seems to be the fave so far – although he’s not exactly spitting out anything I offer him.  That boy is an eater.  And he’s sleeping decently.  He is super tired and ready for bed at 7pm, which is so wonderful after having Sadie who doesn’t act remotely tired til 10pm.  So, sometime between 7-8pm (when I get a chance to do it really) I put Carter down to sleep in the big cushy king sized bed.  After all my talk of not co-sleeping again, I’m back at it.  If I put him in his crib, he’s up every 30 mins.  And that is not working for me.  But in my bed he’ll sleep soundly til 2am for a feeding and then again til 7am.  I mean… how could I not take that deal?

He’s growing out of his 6 months clothes already.  I’m now starting to dress him in 9 month clothes.  It’s insane.  And I’ve already had to cut his hair.  He had these weird brit pop wings growing in super long right behind his ears, so I snipped those suckers.

He hates being in the carseat.  Luckily I live on an island and it only takes me 5 minutes to get anywhere I’m going so I only have to deal with the unbearable cries from the back seat for 5 minutes at a time.  He doesn’t really have a toy or thing that he’s into yet.  But, I’d say his main object of desire is his sister.  He’s so obsessed with her.  He cracks up at every word, sound, movement she makes.  He looks for her when she leaves the room and will always calm down 100% of the time if he’s placed next to her in bed.

He’s generally just a super happy dude.  The other night he literally laughed himself to sleep.  I swear!  I nursed him to sleep and left the room.  But moments later he woke up and I heard him calling out for me.  I was putting Sadie to bed and couldn’t go back in.  His whimpers soon turned into coos and then into laughs.  10 minutes later the sounds stopped so I peeked in the room and he was fast asleep.  My little love.

Hers:

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Sadie started up preschool once again just two weeks ago.  She fell right into it and is very much enjoying it.  She has her longtime best friend, Delphine there.  But she seems to have already made some other friendships.  Something about her going to school those 3 mornings a week has awakened a wonderful part of her.  She is usually a real big couch potato.  She’s always requesting to watch TV or movies, but these past two weeks she is all about creating and imagination play while she is home.  We have been painting and drawing and dressing up.  It’s been so much fun.  We even dressed Carter up as a princess the other night, he loved it I’m sure.  I also caught Sadie singing in Spanish the other day.  I have to assume that was something she learned at school.

Sadie’s regression about Carter seems to all be a distant memory now.  It all fizzled out right around the 4 month mark.  I don’t know exactly what made it go away, maybe it is a combination of several things.  But right around that time I fell into my stride.  I started taking the kids out.  I took them to playgrounds, the zoo, museums, etc.  I suddenly felt comfortable managing the two of them outside of the home.  I also implemented a new routine where after I put Carter down to bed I go into Sadie’s room and we lay in her bed together for 10-15 mins by the light of her night light and talk about her day and what she’d like to do tomorrow.  We just lay and cuddle and talk until her eyes start to get heavy and then I kiss her and say goodnight.  It’s a only a few minutes but I think that special time of concentration and love just for her makes her feel special.  But probably the most influential change is that of Carter.  He awakened to her.  He is so very aware of her and in total awe that I believe she has adjusted her feelings from new person in the house who gets lots of mom’s attention to MY baby brother who loves ME so much.  I can’t tell you how many times she has come to me crying because she got hurt or feels weepy and Carter while sitting in my lap starts smiling at her and it makes her stop crying instantly and begin smiling right along with him.  She’ll stop in her tracks and say, “Awww, my baby!”

But somehow, the hardship of adjustment is over.  And I have my baby back.  My sweet sweet Sadie.  I missed this side of her and I love that it’s back.

Her sleep is decent.  Her naps are getting later and it’s becoming more and more common for her to skip them all together.  I have a feeling naps are on their way out the door for her.  Which is a shame in a way because they are on the same nap schedule.  So I get about two hours a day to nap myself, or get things done around the house.  But on the other hand, if she skips nap she goes to bed earlier and so much easier.

She is really flexing her independence lately.  She picks out her own outfits, gets herself into her carseat, makes her own breakfast (pours milk/cereal, cracks and whips eggs), “reads” her own bedtime stories and the other day she walked home from the park alone – (really Devin followed her, but she stayed a good length ahead of him and insisted she could walk home alone).

She’s so deep into the “what’s this? why’s that? what happens if?” stage in her life.  Which sometimes is super adorable and other times it’s like, “I DON’T KNOW WHY POOP STINKS JUST GET IN THE CAR, YOU’RE BROTHER IS SCREAMING AND WE’RE LATE!” And on the opposite side of the questions spectrum is the explanations.  She really enjoys explaining what things are and what words mean.  For example, yesterday she asked me, “mom, do you know what carrier means? It means when your phone is awake and you are crying and eating bagels when the sun is up in the middle of the night when i grow up like daddy.”  duh!

She still has her moments of bossy-ness.  She’ll tell us what to say and what not say.  She can get pretty fresh if things aren’t going the way she has envisioned.  Luckily she’s pretty easy to calm down and talk off of ledges so it’s not the end of the world.  It’s just her experimenting with us and seeing what she can and can’t get away with.  It’s great practice for us to try and stay level headed and keep a game face on.  Skills we’ll surely need come teenager years.

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the newest member

A little over a week ago the newest and teeniest member of our family was born.  Baby Chayton Lucky Redwood was born into this word on January 10th, 2014.  Proud Daddy Jason & Mommy Jamie (my sister) are sleep deprived and overcome with joy, just as it should be.

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Soon after Jamie became pregnant with Chayton she made the decision to go forward with a natural pain med free birth in a birthing center.  I find that decision so brave and admirable.  Our mother birthed all three of us pain med free, and that was back in the 70′s & 80′s when such practice was not common.  Strong women in my family.  During my labor with Carter only 4 months ago, I mostly stopped talking once the pain of the contractions took over my body.  Except for one thing.  At one point, I looked up and said “My sister is f*cking crazy, get me the epidural.”

After Jamie rested up from her short but very intense delivery we got a chance to chat on the phone and she told me that I was right and she was indeed, f*cking crazy.

Through all the pain and enormous work she got the birth she was hoping for.  And a beautiful healthy baby boy with a thick full head of jet black hair.

I will be heading down to LA soon to meet my nephew in the flesh.  And I cannot wait to hold him and kiss him all over his beautiful face.  And I can’t wait to see my sister in the role as mom.  What a beautiful image that is.  Luckily Jason has been sending me photos and videos of the sweet little babe every day.  Which is getting me by til I get the real thing.  It’s my first time as Aunt guys!  It’s very exciting!

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Cheers to my best friend and sister Jamie for being such a strong mama, and cheers to Jason for being such a wonderful and loving daddy and husband.  And cheers to baby Chayton!  Welcome little one, may your world be filled with wonder and excitement.

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A Year In Review: 2013

Happy New Year to one and all.  Stepping into a new year is time for wiping the slate clean.  It’s time to reset the timer and start working on those resolutions.  Bettering your life, doing the things you meant to do last year, being motivated.   It’s also a great excuse to look at the past year and reflect on the moments and accomplishments you acquired in the past 365 days.

2013 was a very interesting year for me.  I had some of the most highest highs I’ve ever had, and the lowest lows personally known to date.

Our year of 2013 started off great.  We were still beaming with joy after learning of our pregnancy on Christmas morning 2012.  I was very happy living in the home and town that we’ve settled into.  Sadie was growing and learning every day, and a total joy, as usual.  Devin’s job was fulfilling and exciting.

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Much like my pregnancy with Sadie, the morning sickness kicked in pretty quickly.  It was terrible.  Much worse than I remember having with Sadie.  I couldn’t eat a thing I was so sick.  I was vomiting day and night and I was completely exhausted.  I was going to bed almost every night at 8pm.  The sickness was getting the better of me… and I soon found out why.  I was growing two babies inside of me.  It was the most scary/special/crazy/frightening/amazing news ever.  We were having twins.

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My belly was growing fast.  And my morning sickness and fatigue seemed like they were sticking around for the long haul. I felt so ill I wasn’t able to do dishes or vacuum or do anything to maintain the house and family like I normally do. My mom flew up to help me out for a while.  She came up to help me cook, clean and play with Sadie – but she ended up taking over so much more than that.  In a terrible twist of fate – I miscarried one of the babies while she was visiting.

My days darkened.  I tried to go on with the remaining pregnancy with the baby that I would some day find out to be Carter, but I was lost.  I cannot even stomach to think about some of the feelings I had during that time.  It was hard for me to be happy or excited about the pregnancy.  In fact it was awful.  It was awful to be pregnant and miscarry at the same time.  I didn’t want to see a baby or a pregnant woman out in public because it made me so sad.  But here I was, pregnant myself.  It was hard for me to care for Sadie in the first week or two after the miscarriage, let alone myself.  I was so deep into my pit, it took me a while to climb out.

I feel like I could safely call 2013, The Year of Hibernation.  I started off tired and sick, and then moved into desperately heart broken AND tired and sick.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone.  I stopped being social.  I wouldn’t even talk to my family members.  I never told anyone I was pregnant for months because I couldn’t stand to hear the congratulations.  I stopped blogging.  I stopped Instagramming.  I barely have any photos at all from the first half of 2013.  Total hibernation.

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Spring time came around, and so did I.  The warm weather and festive holidays helped.  We got to celebrate Easter at home and Devin and I even took a little ‘babymoon’ alone for his birthday.

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Life took an unexpected turn.  But like in anything in life, you grow and move on.  And I did just that, especially the growing part…

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We were getting excited to bring our son into this world and for all the changes it would bring.  We moved into a new house that was a bit smaller and cozier, but had a third bedroom to make into a little boys nursery.  We also got wonderful news and learned that my sister Jamie was expecting her first child in January 2014!  That summer, Sadie and I flew to LA to be with her before I reached the point where I was too big to fly.

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Devin launched his app he had been working on for a year and it was greeted with much praise in the media and amongst colleagues. It was a very happy ending to so many late nights of work.  I created a baby bucket list of all things I wanted to do with Sadie before she became a sibling.  That summer, no matter how tired I was, I pushed myself to do adventure after adventure.

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Summer was almost over and the arrival of baby was sneaking up on us very quickly.  We got Sadie enrolled in preschool and had her go to a session of Summer School to get her used to it.

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She loved her classes and the school, and couldn’t wait to officially start, but we ended up having to pull her out.  Timing with Carter’s arrival so didn’t work out at all.  Luckily, we got a second shot at it and she got to enroll back in for January 2014 (in 5 days!).

We started settling down with our adventures and just enjoyed our time together as a family of three while we waited for our fourth member to let us know he was on his way.

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And on August 25th, 2013 at 6am he did just that.  After a quick and relatively easy labor my precious baby, my survivor, Carter Lee Foley was born and lovingly embraced by his mother, father, sister, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

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Carter has blown my heart up and stretched it as big as a hot air balloon and then exploded it and taped it back together with puppy dogs, ice cream, cupcakes and rainbows.  He is BEYOND anything I could have ever hoped or imagined.  There is not even one piece of me that would have wanted anything different from what I got.  Things happen in the way they are supposed to.  And I think I was supposed to love him double.  And I really feel that is exactly what ended up happening.  There was so much sorrow and darkness around his pregnancy, and I can’t change that.  But he shines a light so bright that he has melted all of that away.  My children are my blessings.  At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how they get here, just the fact they are here.  And Carter is here.

Our life continues on even after bringing home a brand new baby.  Because in the land of toddler, there are no breaks.  You just keep going to the playground and dressing up like a princess like you always did.  Except this time with a newborn attached to your boob.  So Sadie, and I, continued to be busy.  Sadie started her new favorite event, ballet.

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And 2013 also brought us to Sadie’s third birthday.  I can’t believe our beautiful flower child is three!

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All in all we had one hell of a year.  A terrible year, a hibernating year, a year of growth, a wonderful, joyous, beautiful, shout from the rooftops how happy I am year.  And now all there is to do is keep on going and growing as a lovely family of four.

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Farewell 2013, can’t wait to see what happens in 2014.

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Christmas 2013

What a wonderful holiday we had.  It was our first year staying home with just our nuclear family.  I loved starting our own family traditions.  We baked and decorated cookies to leave out for Santa.  We wrote him a note.  Read Twas The Night Before Christmas together.  And of course there was Xmas morning.  It was so nice waking up in our own beds and celebrating such a fun holiday at home.  Skipping out on that long 10 hour drive in holiday traffic wasn’t too bad either ;)

Sadie was so sweet Christmas morning.  When she came out to the living room to see what Santa had brought, she smiled and acted shy.  She then went directly to a ball that Santa had brought Berkeley, the dog.  All she wanted then was to let Berkeley in and give her the present.  And that was that.  She didn’t open another gift for about 30 mins.  And then another an hour or so after that.  It was past lunch time and she still had half of her gifts unopened.  Totally disinterested! She was SUPER stoked on handing gifts out to us though.  What a little love that girl.

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Carter enjoyed hanging out chewing on his hands and drooling all over everyone.  All the presents and paper were fun to look at and all, but drooling was by far his favorite thing about Christmas.

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Happy Holidays to all & a very happy New Year!

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Holiday Ballerina

Sadie started ballet class several months ago.  She goes every Friday morning.  And once a month, on the first Friday of every month, I’m allowed to go in and watch her dance in her class.  Every – single – time it is so good.  So so so so good.  She is a complete maniac and doesn’t listen to any instruction at all.  She slithers across the floor on her belly.  She hangs from the bars.  She pretends she’s a lion and roars at the other girls while they stand in line and practice their arabesques.  I die.  I sit there amongst all the other moms (some whom take it all very seriously) and I laugh.  I laugh with my little crazy wild child who shines so bright, but in the exact opposite way you’d want a ballerina to do so.

Sadie is returning back to preschool in a week, after dropping out once Carter was born.  With her new school schedule she will no longer be able to continue dance class.  I’m super bummed about that.  But I know she really wants to go to school.  Before her days at ballet ended she got to participate in one last hoorah.  The annual Holiday Ballet Recital.  She got to get dressed up in a beautiful costume and even wear makeup!  I felt so weird about it, that I barely put any on her though.  But with even just a hint of blush and lip gloss – you just knew how special she felt.  Not the actual wearing makeup part, but she knew today was her special moment.  Everyone was excited to see her and she was beaming with pride.

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The day before the recital she had a dress rehearsal.  That in itself was a big deal.  I got her dressed in her costume and combed her hair into a tight bun and drove her to the high school auditorium and quickly gave her a kiss and said my goodbyes.  Parents are not allowed to stay, and I was told to return in a few hours.  This was a new feeling to me.  I never just drop off my kid and pick her up later.  Everywhere she goes I am there with her.  It felt rushed and hectic and strange to leave her in the hands of someone I’ve never met and just trust that they would get her to her classmates and teacher.  But what was I to do?  So I said my goodbyes like all the other grown up moms and came back in a few hours.

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When we were allowed into the auditorium to pick up our kids.  It was a mad dash.  Roughly 100 parents all cramming through 1 small door eager to find their child.  It was chaotic and it felt like some sort of a battle.  There was anxiety written over parents faces and little small glittery tutus all at waist level perfectly blending into each other, making it doubly chaotic.  I spotted the mom volunteer from Sadie’s class.  She saw me too and waved me over.  From across the way I scanned all the bun heads and never found Sadie in my glance.  I rescanned.  Same thing.  I was still approaching rescanning over and over.  When I finally made contact with the group I was certain she was not there.  I asked the volunteer mom, “Where’s Sadie?”  And her face made all of the fears I was feeling, but trying to hide rise up in me.  She looked terrified and scanned the remaining 6 girls over and over, just as I had been doing, and she replied, “She was just here.”  I was hoping she’d tell me that someone took her to use the potty, or she peed her pants and is in the back, or she’s with Teacher Nora, something, anything but “I don’t know.”

I started scanning every kid in the auditorium.  Hundreds of toddlers.  I see a group of girls in similar costumes, I make my way over hoping Sadie got mistakenly grouped with them.  Nope.  I see two girls from her class that are in two numbers during the recital and think maybe she wandered with them into their other class, I’m getting very nervous and began pushing my way through the crowd to get there.  Nope.  She’s not there.  The volunteer mom from my group finds me and hands me Sadie’s tiara and says, “Well here’s this.”  I am starting to lose my mind at this point.  I snap back, “You have her tiara but not her?”  I start screaming Sadie’s name out, people are looking.  Other mothers around me are looking nervous for me.  The volunteer mother looks like she’s about to cry.  Then with a beam of light, a door from the outside on the other side of the auditorium opens and a teenage girl walks in scooting Sadie in along with her.  Sadie sees me and yells, “Mommy!”  I run to her and drop to my knees and hold her.  The teenage girl says she spotted a girl walking around OUTSIDE IN THE PARKING LOT and thought she should bring her in.

Best believe I carried my 35 pound girl in my arms the entire 6 block walk back to the car.  Once we were alone and it was quiet and calm I asked her where she was going and why she left her class.  Her reply…. I was looking for an open door so I could come outside and find you.  I obviously spoke with her for the next two days straight about how she should never ever wander off.  Mommy and Daddy will always come back to where they left you.  They will find you.  Don’t go looking for them.  And so on.  It was a 10 minute nightmare.  And I don’t even blame the volunteer mother.  I can only imagine how overwhelmed she was.  Eight 3 year olds sitting with no snacks or toys for 3 hours.  Must have been hard to keep them wrangled.  But trust that I stayed at Sadie’s side during the recital the next day.  When the agent at the door said only volunteer parents were allowed in with the kids I immediately turned into the Hulk and yelled down at her IM NOT GOING ANYWHERE…YOU LOST MY CHILD….SHE WAS IN THE PARKING LOT…TRY AND STOP ME…ROOOOOOAAARR!!!!  Obviously, I had been obsessing over it all night and was ready to argue about it.  They just ushered me in and all was well.  I sat down with my girl in her class and waited anxiously for her turn to hit the stage.

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And what do you know.  She was perfect.  She did every step, every move in perfect harmony.  Up until then I didn’t even know that she knew a single move that they had been rehearsing for months.  She certainly never practiced with the rest of the girls.  She was too busy trying to look at her own butt in the mirror and speak jabberwocky.  No matter what she had done on stage I would have been happy for her.  But she did the most surprising thing of all, and actually did the dance.

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