• 10 Months

    Date: 2014.07.24 | Category: Baby, Family, Life, Mark, Norah, Sarah | Response: 0

    About a week ago it hit me that my little girl is only a two months away from her first birthday. That realization has made me a bit emotional, and very in tune with her baby-ness. It seems impossible that her first ten months have moved by so swiftly.

    This past month has been a fun one. In addition to her lightning fast crawling, Norah is now pulling up on everything, bravely and comfortably holding on with one hand, and even occasionally letting go to free stand for a few seconds. She can push toys around the room while she “walks,” and has even started climbing on top of (and falling off of) a few small boxes and the vacuum cleaner.

    Speaking of the vacuum cleaner, she loves to push buttons and periodically accidentally turns it on. Without fail the sudden loud noise sends her scurrying and fussing.

    Norah is so OVER baby food. At night she will only eat table food. I’m increasingly amazed by what she’s willing to eat, ie ANYTHING. So far she has happily and rabidly consumed: steamed broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, turkey meatloaf, raw cucumbers, strawberries, grapes, black beans and salsa. I sat in amazement this evening though as she rejected bites of a chicken nugget in favor of a strawberry. Oh how very opposite my children are.

    Speaking of food, Norah would happily make a meal out of just about anything. So far I’ve caught her eating dog food, cat food, paper and dried leaves. We are constantly going fishing for things she’s stuck in her mouth.

    She’s also got the sippy cup and the straw down. Just like the first time she nursed, when she was given a cup she acted like she’d been using one for years.

    No big surprise, sleep continues to be an issue. We still have a fussy middle of the night wake up about once a week. Still though, that’s improvement!

    I love that she can form a few babble words now. “Da da” continues to be her favorite, but she will now pretend to be a dog with Sarah and they will both crawl around and say, “ruff ruff.” It’s the cutest thing ever.

    Norah bean has the best smile and cackling laugh. No matter how angry she is, when we start singing “Wheels on the Bus,” the tears immediately stop and she breaks into a wide grin. We call it her magic song.

    Ten months is one of my favorite ages. They’re old enough to (mostly) sleep, can feed themselves to some extent, but still need lots of love and snuggles. Today, when we went to pick her up from school, Mark went in her classroom to get her first. He was holding her when I walked in and she tried to swim through the air to get to me, flailing and fluttering every extremity. Girl knows how to make Mama feel good.

    She continues to be a big fan of thumb sucking, despite the fact that her mouth is filling up with teeth. She’s currently working on tooth #7 and tooth #8, which are viciously trying to make an appearance.

    Norah still admires her sister. She loves to watch Sarah and imitate her movements. Sarah gets a kick out of it and is constantly trying out new things to get Norah to follow.

    Our little girl is growing so very fast. Her fun and beautiful spirit continue to blossom every day, and every day I’m thankful to be her mother (even on the ones after nights full of screaming). We love you bean bean.

  • Finding My Strength Again

    Date: 2014.07.16 | Category: Health, Life, Me | Response: 19

    Let me tell you a personal story about failure and success.

    I should start from the beginning. With my second pregnancy I gained a lot of weight – more than I should have. Part of that was due to exercise limits from heart problems, but more of it was due to the fact that I was pregnant during Louisiana summer and I only wanted to lay on the couch in the air conditioning and not move.

    No big deal, I thought, I’ll lose it all when I breastfeed. Did I lose some of it? Yes. Did I lose all of it? A big fat NO. After I had Sarah, the weight came off with almost no effort. I nursed, I exercised some and it flew off. I was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes in 6 months.

    I sort of want to punch that version of myself in the face. Or, really, I just want to grab me from three years ago and say, “Do you KNOW how lucky you were?!” Because Baby #2? Yea, that’s not happening. I don’t know if it’s because this is a second baby, or I had a c-section this time, or a combination of the two, but this extra baby weight has been clinging to me with a death grip despite the fact that I’ve been nursing a baby for nearly 10 months.

    I’ll admit, at first I had zero motivation to try to get the weight off. Part of that was total lack of sleep, and the other half was me desperately clinging to the hope that the breastfeeding weight loss would kick in any day.

    When that didn’t happen after several months down the road, I decided I had to do something. My first attempt at “something,” was trying the Paleo diet where you essentially eat foods a cave person would. I know a lot of people who have had success with it and you get to eat as much of the designated foods as you want! I quickly discovered Paleo wasn’t for me. For one, it dried up my milk supply, and for another, I need some grains, dairy and wine in my diet to stay sane and I refuse to believe legumes are bad for you. Paleo and I were not a good fit.

    Exercise, I decided, was what I really needed. I started going back to my regular spin class… except that I quickly learned it’s super popular now and I’m never quick enough to get a bike reserved, so I slowly stopped doing that. Finally, I decided to try out my gym’s new studio location near my house. While it has some equipment, it’s mainly all group fitness classes, which is what I love. I took a class there and was hooked. I signed up.

    After that, I seriously went home and prayed for the strength to take care of my body and to get the weight off. Whatever it took, I wanted the fortitude to do it.

    And then, the stars started aligning. My sisters decided the three of us would support one another on a weight loss challenge. And because we have a tight budget and we were laying down some money for the gym, I felt obligated to go as much as possible. With my sisters’ encouragement I downloaded the MyNetDiary Pro app to track my calories and exercise (including ones burned through breastfeeding so I’d still be ok there).

    What started as an obligation to go to the gym (I promised myself at least two – three days a week), started becoming a strong desire to go to the gym. I quickly started going four days a week – five when my schedule allows it.  And because I hit the gym on my lunch breaks, I bring my lunch to work, thus allowing me to control my calorie intake and my eating out budget and prevent me from eating the whole Indian Restaurant buffet.

    Then my second cousin and fitness instructor, Libby of LibbFit, asked me about doing some graphic design and trading out her fitness expertise. You better believe I jumped on that.

    And just like that, I discovered that the scale was finally, FINALLY moving down again. Just this morning I saw the lowest number on the scale I’ve seen since giving birth.

    I finally understand (and remember) WHY people who are into fitness are always so happy and jazzed about it. It may suck while I’m doing it, but afterwards I feel amazing. In a month’s time I’ve dramatically increased my strength and helped ease a mean, nasty, fiery spot of post c-section nerve pain / scar tissue in my lower, right abdomen. My classes are varied, ranging from pilates and yoga to cardio and weights.

    Is it hard? Sometimes it’s so hard. But the reward has been amazing. I finally feel like my body is waking up and my mood has bloomed into something much happier and optimistic. I’m more patient with my children and kinder to myself. I even managed to say no to my favorite ice cream and amazing looking cake at work this morning. It’s exciting and it’s humbling.

    I still have a long way to go and weight to lose before I even hit my pre-pregnancy numbers. I often have to do modified moves at my Piyo and Body Attack classes, but I’m doing it. And really, that’s what matters.

    Here’s my picture for my Piyo Challenge group I took this morning. We had to take a whacky planking picture.

    P.S. Thanks to Cassie for encouraging me to write this post.

  • Biloxi

    Date: 2014.07.08 | Category: Family, Friends, Holidays, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Travel | Response: 4

    Ever since our beach trip in May 2013, Sarah has been begging us to go back to the beach. She has set up towels in the living room, put on her swimsuit and pretended to swim through the water. She jumps in her kiddie pool in the backyard and tells me she’s a mermaid in the ocean. She spreads newspaper across the living room floor and calls it her beach picnic.

    So, it was with regret that I had to tell her that because Mama had a baby and burned all the vacation time on maternity leave, that a beach trip was not going to happen this year.

    She persisted in playing beach though and continued to ask when we were going to go to the beach.

    ***

    Last year my best friend Susan was assigned to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi. It was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye to her and her sweet little girl as they packed up their bags and moved over six hours away.

    She’s been able to come in town a few times and visit, but the trip for us to go see her was impossible for a while due to new baby and my total lack of vacation time.

    Fortunately though, July 4 fell on a Friday this year and I figured it was high time to make a trip down to Biloxi and see my best friend.

    And while I vaguely knew there was a beach in Biloxi, I was thrilled to drive along it as we made our way to Susan’s house. Sarah cried out in delight when she saw it, yelling “Hey beach! Hi beach!” and then sobbed dramatically when we turned off Beach Boulevard. We had to reassure her that we would be making a trip or two to the beach while we visited.

    ***

    My reunion with Susan was sweet and we made the most of it by drinking wine and catching up while we watched our three girls play with one another. We took turns cooking and picking up food. And, of course, there were a couple of trips to the beach.

    The beautiful thing about Biloxi beaches is, that while they may not have the glowing blue water the Florida beaches have, they are relatively shallow and don’t have strong waves. That means they are perfect for adventurous, beach loving little girls.

    We did lots of other fun things too, like visiting the swimming pool and splash pad, tried out some amazing BBQ and event went to a Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives restaurant (Blow Fly Inn, anyone?)

    All of that was fun, but getting to hang out with my best friend for four days was the best part of all.

    Oh yea, and the beach was pretty nice too.

  • Winning at Balance

    Date: 2014.06.25 | Category: Family, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Travel, Work | Response: 5

    It may have taken me a few months, but I finally feel like I have this working mommy-of-two warrior princess thing down (most of the time).

    And I am happy to say that even with (or maybe despite) the demands of motherhood and family life, I love my job. When I’m at work, I do my best. I love a challenge and am always looking for ways to improve our magazine and keep people reading.

    Sometimes the role of Mother and the role of Editor clash though. This year that happened when I had to miss my annual work conference because I’m still breastfeeding Norah. I really really wanted to go. It’s the one chance I have all year to meet up with my counterparts across North America; a place where we all share the same language and the same problems. And this year it was in Charlotte, NC.

    Could I have figured out a way to make it work? Probably. But it wouldn’t have been something I was completely happy about. My milk supply is slowly dwindling as Norah races towards that one year mark and I haven’t been able to produce enough extra to store for the length of time I would be gone.  I knew that going to that conference would be the death nail in breastfeeding – something I’m not quite ready to give up yet. Even the thought of my baby outgrowing nursing in a few months makes me a little weepy.

    So, I made the decision, a little heavy heartedly, to skip the conference this year and prepare for next year instead.

    But, that’s not the end of this story.

    You see, that conference is where they announce the awards for the various publications in my field. Friday night a New Orleans number appeared on my phone. When I answered it was my counterpart  there calling to tell me that we had won a second place award for “Best Family Life Column.”

    Last year was our first time to win an award since I’ve been Editor. And last year we took third place in the same category. It was a jump up in rank and I was so very proud of our columnist, Katie, for that great achievement. Thrilled, I immediately sent Katie a message, then went to sleep and prepared for a busy day of work the next morning.

    When I got home from the morning’s work, I checked the award website to see who had come in first place in the family life category and I discovered something even more exciting – we had also won Second Place in Overall General Excellence in our magazine category. My jaw dropped. That’s a huge award y’all and the biggest recognition the magazine has received since I took its helm a little over six years ago.

    Alone at home, I sat there stunned… I may have cried a little. My husband had the kids at their grandparents and wouldn’t answer the phone, so I proceeded to call and message everyone I know who works with me on the magazine. While I may manage it all, it’s truly a combined effort of some amazing writing talents. What an awesome moment!

    The response at work on Monday was great, too. Lots of congratulations from my coworkers, supervisor and even a warm and excited personal congratulations from the very top. It was a good week.

    I should probably mention that out of the three issues I submitted for the General Excellence Award, two of them were put together while I was at home with a newborn – taking that whole family / work balance thing to a new level.

    I love my job and I love what I do. I am fortunate to work in a place that is not shy about sharing joy and happiness when things are done well, but sometimes things like this give me a great deal of validation, validation to keep me motivated and keep me pushing towards creating something even better, even stronger. And it’s moments like this that make me stop and realize that even when I feel like I’m having trouble keeping the work /family balance, I am doing it and somehow doing it right.

  • The Process of Writing

    Date: 2014.06.23 | Category: Life, Me, Work | Response: 3

    My friend Kelly of Mrs. Bachelor Girl recently asked me to join in the discussion about my writing process. I love reading about what inspires others to write and how they manage to pull it all together. Kelly has a great gift for humor and her posts on living in the South often have me laughing and nodding along knowingly.

    Without further ado, here are my answers to this blog link up.

    1)   What are you working on right now?

    Because I run a small monthly publication, I tend to wear all hats: editor, graphic designer, writer and even webmaster. Most of my time is consumed with the editor part of that job. This means I do a lot of editorial planning, article assignments, photo set-ups, photo journalism and copyediting. But the great thing about being an editor, is that when a story comes my way that really captures my heart and attention, I get to lay claim to the story and write the piece myself.

    Right now I’m planning our next three issues, assigning writers and figuring out what I’m personally going to tackle.  A couple of those items include write ups on the ordination of two men to the priesthood and their celebration by a Swahili choir and a piece on a couple of big awards our magazine recently won (Whoop!)

    I’m also giving some much needed love to my blog that has been limping along since I gave birth to our second child last September.

    2)   How does your work differ from others of its genre?

    As far as my professional writing goes, I like to find the heart of the story – what motivates people to do the things they do: help people, go to an amazing international event, sponsor a ministry. I like to connect with people on an emotional level and try to share their stories in a way that will make people read and care.

    When I blog, I try to do the same thing in a way. I share things that deeply touch my own heart. Sometimes those are serious things like secondary infertility or encountering families in extreme need, and sometimes they are lighthearted things like celebrating “Mermaid Day” as imagined by my 3-year-old.

    3)   Why do you write what you do?

    For my day job I write and assign stories based on what I think will inspire our readers to pick up the magazine and read more than a glancing word. We are so imbedded in a culture of scanning readers that it’s hard to grab their attention and keep it. I try to write and share in a way that makes people want to read more.

    In the blogging world I write because I believe in a community of sharing and support. Sometimes sharing my most difficult and emotional moments has helped others or garnered an amazing and caring support network.

    Also, I really like to brag on my kids. I can be an annoying mom like that.

    4)   How does your writing process work?

    My writing process really varies depending on what I’m writing. For example, this past weekend I attended an ordination to the priesthood for two men: one was Kenyan and one was Indian. And while that, in itself, was a neat celebration, what really captured me was the joy and overflowing enthusiasm of the Swahili choir in attendance. Their joy pushed through the somewhat usual stiff structure of the Mass and had everyone on their feet and celebrating. That clash of culture and infusion of joy really inspired me to go home and write immediately.

    Other times my writing process is meandering: I’ll start to write about my day and in the process realize that one of the details I’m mentioning needs a whole blog post to itself. I start over, delete and re-shape often. You can’t be afraid to scrap something that doesn’t work and try again.

    As part of the link up I’m to tag three of my favorite writers.

    Lori: a co-worker and real life friend who has been a great inspiration to helping our family move to a healthier lifestyle blogs over at Purpose Driven Mom and DomandLori.net. She has a beautiful gift with words and has had me sobbing with her beautiful and inspiring posts about her recently deceased pup and member of the family, Mason.

    Cassie: initially a blog friend and now a real life friend, shares in an honest, no-nonsense way and I am often humbled by the things she and her family do for one another and their community.

    Bluz: a blog friend of mine I met many years ago now. He can spin a good yarn and make me laugh. And while he and I may not see eye-to-eye on everything, we can always talk and discuss civilly and he always teaches me a thing or two about sports.

  • Nine Months

    Date: 2014.06.21 | Category: Baby, Family, Home, Life, Norah | Response: 2

    Well Norah girl, you’ve been in the outside world for as long as you were inside of me now, and oh how you’ve grown.

    This past month in particular seems to have been a big one for you. In one great move of determination, you grabbed on to our vacuum cleaner one day and hauled yourself up to a stand. And while you fell a few seconds later, that certainly didn’t stop you from doing it over and over again. And as of this week, you will let go of whatever object you used to pull yourself up with, hover unassisted for a few seconds, fall to your bottom and do it all over again.

    As if that weren’t enough, your mouth decided it was all or nothing. When I looked in to check on your one little tooth coming down, there were THREE others coming in with it, giving you a total of six teeth total. As a result you’ve decided chewing on anything and everything is your favorite activity.

    Pretzel sticks are your very favorite thing to chew. We’ve started introducing a few solids to you too. Squash and zucchini have gone over well, as has pineapple. You like just about all foods with the great exception of yogurt. I’m not giving up on it yet though.

    This past month you also finally managed to say “Mama,” but the conversation went something like this:

    Norah: “Ma ma ma ma!
    Me: “Norah! Did you just say mama?”
    Norah: After a long pause, “Da da!”

    Still though, she can say it!

    Norah is happy nearly all the time, with the great exception of bed time when she really wants to just go to sleep, thankyouverymuch.

    She continues to love bath time, her sister, eating her sister’s toys, trying to eat leaves, paper and onion skins.

    Norah is such a social baby. She has no fear of anyone and will happily leap into anyone’s arms (a stark contrast from her sister).

    We put her in the swimming pool last week. I held her on her belly and she kicked her legs in the water like she had been doing it her whole life.

    In the past few nights she has stolen her sister’s sippy cup and drank out of it like she had been doing it her whole life.

    She’s also figured out how to clap and dance. Singing and music bring both out in her, and she always laughs and smiles with joy when she gets her hands going.

    I feel like my baby is growing up way too fast and it’s making me a little teary. It is so much fun to watch her grow, learn and develop!

  • In Too Deep

    Date: 2014.06.17 | Category: Family, Health, Life, Me, Norah, Sarah, Whoops | Response: 4

    Sarah started taking swimming lessons with her cousin Jacob last week. They are taking private lessons with a friend of mine from high school who has been teaching lessons for years. When we arrived at the pool, the kids had very different reactions.

    Sarah immediately panicked and refused to get in the water past the first step. Jacob plunged in like he was a merman come home. The lessons proceeded accordingly with Sarah screaming and crying when the instructor tried to convince her to get in, and Jacob attempting to march off to the deeper end of the pool on his own with no flotation devices. Pretty soon Jacob was on the kickboard, looking to all the world like the next Olympic champion. Sarah slowly warmed up, and by mid lesson was blowing bubbles in the water before crying that water got in her eyes.

    We kept an eye on them both the whole time from the poolside, while we simultaneously held babies and talked. Thank goodness we were watching because Jacob, in his confidence, went a little too far into the pool, while the teacher was on the opposite side of the pool with Sarah, and suddenly he was in too deep. For a moment that seemed to stretch into eternity, we saw him start to scramble and go under. Shannon and I raced to the pool with babies in our arms.  I honestly can’t remember the next few moments exactly. All I know is that I saw Shannon jump in the pool while still holding Norah, and then I started to panic as I tried to figure out how to also rescue my baby while holding a one month old. Fortunately, my sister kept her cool and somehow managed to tilt and angle her body so Norah stayed above the water while she simultaneously rescued Jacob with the other arm. I immediately reached in and grabbed Norah from Shannon with my one free arm.

    Just like that the moment of panic was over and everyone was ok, at least physically.

    We quickly discovered, however, that our little merman no longer had any desire to get back in the swimming pool. We made him take one last lap around while holding on to the teacher, and he grudgingly obliged, but he was not happy.

    Fast forward to this past weekend. We went over to a friend of Shannon’s to go swimming. We had high hopes that we would get Jacob in a floaty and in the pool with his mama and show him everything was fine and safe – no such luck. Jacob wanted nothing to do with the pool – he refused to even get his feet wet. He cried and cried at our many attempts and suggestions to get him in. At one point he stepped in ants and still refused to dip his poor little ravaged feet in the water.

    Sarah, who is getting a little braver each day, sat on the top step of the pool, patted the space next to her and asked Jacob to sit by her. No luck.

    We go back for our next lesson on Thursday. I have complete faith that their instructor will help him overcome the fear as much as possible, but is there any way that you can think of that will help him get near the pool again?

  • A Day for Me

    Date: 2014.06.07 | Category: Books, Family, Home, Leela Fish, Life, Me, OMG YAY! | Response: 15

    I am going to give you some insight into the brain of a mother of young children who is also an introvert.

    First, let me start by telling you how much I love my children (as if you didn’t already know by the overwhelming number of photographs and posts about them on my blog, Facebook, Instagram, etc). I love playing with them, doing things for them,  listening to them and laughing with them. But there are many days when bedtime comes around that I am counting down the moments until I can climb into bed, or sit in front of my computer and have some time to myself. That’s how I regenerate: quiet, alone time.

    This also creates a great force of guilt within myself. Because I work full time, I feel like my time with my children is somewhat limited and I need to soak it all up when I get it. And while the thought of some time to myself is intoxicating, it also makes me feel guilty for wanting to spend any free time I have away from my girls. (Side note: maybe this would be remedied if Sarah napped, but she gave that up well over a year ago).

    So, when Mark suggested bringing the girls out to his parents house for one whole Saturday, I experienced the immediate mixed feeling of guilt and excitement. But, I know his parents love playing with them and hanging out with them, so that made the decision much easier. And when loading the girls up in the car to go out to their house, Sarah told me to get out of the car so they could go. That also made me feel…  slightly jilted? better? relieved?

    I will say this, when they pulled out of the driveway, a big part of me wanted to go skipping through the house singing. So much time ahead of me and I had it all to myself. There was no one watching or judging me; no one pulling me in another direction. I was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to begin. I immediately thought about taking a nap, but then figured that would take up way to much of my alone time and quickly discarded that idea.

    Instead, I changed into some comfortable clothes and took the dogs on a long walk through the neighborhood, enjoyed the sunshine and listened to an audiobook that I love.

    Other things I did because I could:
    1. Ate a Counter Culture Humphrey for lunch while I watched So You Think You Can Dance.
    2. Went to Barnes and Noble and flipped through a book I’ve been really wanting, The Art of Neil Gaiman, only to get frustrated and put it down when I learned they don’t honor their own website’s prices (what the heck B&N?).
    3. Shopped at Old Navy unhindered and bought all things for myself (except some much needed socks for the girls).
    4. Went to the grocery store and bought the following: $5 sunglasses, sunscreen, popsicles and a soft drink.
    5.  Laid out a giant towel in the backyard, put on the sunscreen and read a book while sipping my drink for over an hour.
    6. Cooled down inside afterwards while still reading.
    7. Took a long shower (with no one interrupting me!)
    8.  Ordered the book I wanted off of B&N’s website with a gift card I had (and free shipping).

    Things I did not do because I didn’t want to:
    1. Laundry
    2. Clean
    3. Grocery shop

    And the day isn’t over! In a little bit the girls will be home for the evening and I will shower them in hugs and kisses. We will settle into our usual routine of dinner, bath and bed time. But then, I’m going to put away my introvert shoes, and go out for a girls night for a friend’s birthday. It’s been… years? since I’ve managed something like that. So here’s to a quiet day all for me, followed by drinks and what is sure to be an evening of laughter.

    And guess what? I don’t feel all that guilty after all.

  • Mermaid Day

    Date: 2014.05.27 | Category: Baby, Family, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Norah, Sarah | Response: 10

    Day to day life can make having fun, quality family time tough. After a full day of work, evenings are often spent cooking and doing dishes, eating together, cleaning up and then, if we’re lucky, we will spend 30-45 minutes playing outside or cuddled up on the couch together. And weekends? Well that’s when I have to try to tackle the mountain of laundry that I’m never really caught up on (how did adding one more kid increase laundry by that much?!), do our grocery shopping and visit with friends and family. Sure we get some spare moments together, but I always feel the pressure to clean/do laundry/grocery shop/do dishes, etc. So when we get an unexpected day off, it’s like a family staycation, a gift, the excuse I need to step away from the chores and just enjoy our family.

    This morning I told Sarah that she wasn’t going to school today because it was Memorial Day. Her response? “Yay! It’s Mermaid Day!”

    Mark and I both laughed. But then my wheels started spinning. I’m always looking for fun ways to engage with my girls and I thought Mermaid Day would be the perfect way to spend our lagniappe day together.

    So what does one do on Mermaid Day?

    Well for one we painted our toenails “mermaid purple,” according to Sarah, while we watched Sofia and the Floating Palace (a mermaid movie).

    From there, we went to the Dollar Tree where we spent $10 on mermaid goodies…

    including the biggest hit of the day, mermaid hair.

    There was a sandwich shaped like a castle and whale crackers for lunch.

    Then the girls put on their mermaid swimsuits and took to the water, splashing happily and trying out Sarah’s birthday princess slip and slide.

    After snacks and rest, we opened up the Dollar Store mermaid book and printed  Little Mermaid coloring sheets off the Internet. (Side note: During our mermaid coloring I learned that Sarah can color in the lines now – who knew? I’m impressed!) We also completed a mermaid puzzle.

    We spent most of the evening outside. The weather was perfect – low 80’s and overcast. I prepped dinner and Mark grilled it. The girls ran, jumped and played.

    And then we ended Mermaid Day with mermaid pajamas!

    I looked at Mark tonight when we were sitting down with our girls and said, “I know I am a really huge nerd for doing all this, but I really enjoyed it and I think Sarah did too.” He assured me that I was not a nerd (ha!) and told me how much he enjoyed it as well.

    It was so nice to spend the whole day playing with my girls, soaking up all their love, smiles and laughter. And they thoroughly wore us out, too.

    Memorial Day always makes me think about my great uncle Thomas “Mix,” who was in the Army during WWII and loved the beach. In fact, I still occasionally dream about him and he is always at the beach in my dreams. Something tells me that he would appreciate Mermaid Day coinciding with Memorial Day.

  • 8 Months

    Date: 2014.05.21 | Category: Baby, Family, Norah | Response: 1

    As I looked at our girl today splashing happily in the bathtub, grabbing frantically at toys floating by, I marveled at how big she is. Yes, she acts and looks like an 8-month-old, but it doesn’t seem like time should be moving by quite so quickly.

    At 8 months Norah is a pro at crawling. She’s fast and determined, often going after other kids’ bottles at school when they drop them. She will now crawl to me when I get home and reach one arm up so I’ll scoop her up and cover her in kisses. She’s also mastered going from a crawl to a sit – back and forth.

    Norah loves our dogs, and gets super giggly when she sees them or they lick on her.

    For the first time since she was 3 months old, she seems to finally be finding a normal sleeping pattern again. We’ve had a tough time with ear infections and new teeth. Speaking of teeth, one of her top ones is peeking through now, giving her a total of three, though I have no doubt the other top one isn’t far behind.

    She is champion eater. Her favorites are sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin & banana and pears. Mark let her chew on a pretzel stick today and she did a great job with it. How is it almost time to start introducing non-mashed up food? Norah also loves to drink from our water cups, enthusiastically gnawing on their cold rims and sipping on water.

    We’ve started letting her crawl around on the (netted in) trampoline. It’s so funny to watch her. Sarah flies around the perimeter and Norah freezes up so she can pass, then starts moving again. Mark says she acts like a little turtle.

    She has moved on to the phase where she will eat anything and everything she puts her hands on. Over the past couple of weeks I have pulled the following items out of her mouth: countless leaves, a q-tip, balls of dog hair, a crayon and a number of Sarah’s toys. Speaking of Sarah, she has figured out how to “trade” toys with Norah. If Norah is playing with something Sarah wants, Sarah will quickly find another toy and trade her for it. Norah doesn’t seem to mind though.

    We crack up at Norah because she loves to shake her head “no” at us. I try to give her Eskimo kisses and it gets her head going back and forth while  she lets out great laughs.

    Norah is such a laid back child. She will go to anyone who wants to hold her and will happily give up grins to anyone who is willing to work for them.

    I really love this age. She’s interacting with all of us – laughing, smiling and even copying us to some degree. She is still as snuggly as ever and loves to lay on my shoulder and suck her thumb. Those are some of my very favorite moments with my sweet girl.

    Happy 8 months my little bean!