Photobucket      Photobucket      Photobucket       Photobucket

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Ree at Nine Months

After trying quite earnestly for a month or more, just a week or so before turning nine months old, Marie crawled!

Her biggest fan and devoted cheerleader, Nell, could hardly contain her excitement.

Her enthusiasm was short-lived, however, as it soon became apparently that Ree's newfound mobility made it that much more possible for her to access all the things that Nell considers hers and hers alone.

Since Nell was only marginally mobile - in the form of scooting - when she was nine months old, having a crawling nine month old is uncharted territory for us.  The places she goes!  The trouble she can get into in the blink of an eye!  The sweetness when she makes a beeline for me, pushes herself up on my feet, pulls herself to a stand while holding to my knees for dear life, and makes it clear that, were she able, she would scale the heights of my entire body to climb into my arms.  It's enough to make one's heart explode.

In addition to crawling, Marie's mobility extends to flipping over faster than you can blink an eye {particularly when you're trying to put a diaper on her}, going from her tummy to a sitting position, pulling herself up on everything and everyone, and practicing her push-up position on all fours.

{don't worry; I had my camera in one hand and the other hand extended to catch her while she practiced these wild acrobatics on the chair}

Ree seems to understand a lot of what's going on, and when I ask her, "Do you want me to pick you up?", she responds by reaching her arms up towards me.  Once she's in my arms, she has the sweetest way of trying to scramble up my torso, burrowing into my shoulder and putting her arms around my neck and nuzzling in as close as possible.

This girl likes to eat food, which is further uncharted territory for us, since Nell has essentially no interest in food whatsoever until she was 11 months old.  Marie, although not a single tooth has yet emerged, eyes our food eagerly and devours almost anything she is offered with great enthusiasm.

Despite her passion for solid food and her frequent nursing sessions, if my memory is correct, she weighed in at about 17.5 pounds at her 9 month appointment, putting her a good five pounds under what her big sister weighed at this age!  {Previously: Nell at nine months.}  Nell was always in the 90-somethings for percentiles as a baby, and Ree was in the 36th percentile for weight at her appointment.

I briefly contemplated trading her for a chubbier one, but then I squished her thighs and found them more than adequate, so, we're keeping her.

Nicknames: Ree, Ree-Ree, Riesling, Maroo, Marizzle (this one is compliments of Aunt Hannah), Baby Wee, and... Martin.  Because Aunt Hannah says with her very straight hair, she resembles Martin Luther.  Point taken, Aunt Hannah.  I shall make more frequent use of those baby hair clips.

Expertise: peeing in the potty, slobbery open mouthed expressions of love all over Mama's face, making messes, finding every electrical cord in the house, grabbing the glasses off your face before you can do anything in self-defense, pulling people's hair and trying to stuff it into her mouth with gleeful abandon.

Favorite things: peek-a-boo, trying to eat paper, her big sister's amusing antics, snuggling with Mama and other family members and friends.

Favorite foods: pears, plain yogurt, scrambled eggs, sweet potatoes, peas.

Vocabulary: gagaga, bababa, dadada.  A month ago, to her mother's delight, she said quite clearly and on several occasions, "Ma-ma-ma," but she is impertinent, and these days when I ask her to say "Mama," she replies, "Dada!"

Aspires to: set a world record for greatest number of night wakings; continue to be Master of The Forty Minute Nap; eat an entire sheet of paper in solitude before being discovered.

Dear Marie,

You are not what one might call a good sleeper.  Your little friend Lydia, for example, can be placed in her carseat or bed and will just fall asleep quietly and contentedly.  Can you imagine that?!  I can't.  You nap on our guest bed, where I can lie beside you while you fall asleep and then use my best ninja moves to escape without waking you.  You usually start the night on the guest bed, too -with pillows all around the edges as barriers - but after a couple of wakings, I bring you into our bed and you finish the night snuggled with me.  Sometimes I wish I could just spread out like a starfish and have the whole bed to myself for a while, but then when you wake up smiling at me each morning, I find myself quite glad you're there with us.  I'm sure you'll sleep on your own when you're ready!

This morning, Daddy brought Nell into bed to snuggle with us, and I sat there feeling like the luckiest woman in the world.  Nell squealed with delight to see you, you absolutely lit up in return, and the two of you proceeded to play together with squeals of glee - well, and the occasional squeal of a baby being squished by an overly-enthusiastic big sister.  Is it overly optimistic of me to hope that, loving each other as much as you now do, you'll be friends for life?  Maybe so, but I can't help hoping.  

The truth is, I probably hear the words, "NOOOOO MAWIE!  That's MIIIIINEEEE!" at least a dozen times a day.  But it doesn't even compare to the number of times I hear, "You're so SWEET you little SWEETIE!" and "You're so cute!" and "I love you!"  And you, Marie, you're pretty patient with all of the above - the toy-snatching and the affection-smothering alike.  


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

on trying to do all the things

I shouldn't flatter myself by assuming that my gentle readers have noticed how little I've blogged lately.  So, in case you haven't noticed, I haven't been writing much lately.

I don't know if I'm just tired, or a little burned out with life, or truly don't have enough free hours in the day, but it seems hard to find the time to write.  I love to write, I want to write, I daydream in prose while I cook meals and wash dishes -- but at the end of the day, I rarely get time to put fingers to keyboard and record any of the thoughts or experiences I had meant to write.

I'm totally blown away by those women out there that seem to manage it all.  Four or five kids, a beautiful home seemingly always in immaculate condition, craft projects and DIY beautifying going on every day, repainting furniture in the perfect hues, children dressed in designer clothing, homeschooling, cooking from scratch, selling beautiful handmade things on Etsy, managing their start-up businesses, and blogging about all of it with professional-quality photographs.

How in the world...?

There are toys under my couch that haven't seen the light of day in probably a month.  One or more of us has been sick pretty much every day for the past month in an endless cycle of colds and fevers and even a bad bout of the flu {lucky me}.  My baby crawls around picking up bits of yesterday's food from the floor beneath her high chair and trying to eat it while my toddler hasn't had a bath in days.  I cook from scratch, but my kitchen is the worse for the wear because of it.  If the living room is tidy, you can bet the master bedroom isn't.  If the master bedroom is clean, the kids' rooms upstairs will be piled high with laundry waiting to be put away.  If the laundry is all done and put away, I'm dreadfully behind on work-related tasks.  And so on and so forth.

On days when I'm lucky enough to have both children napping simultaneously, or evenings when I get them to bed in a timely fashion and no one wakes up crying for an hour or more, my brain sounds something like this:

"FREEDOM!!!  What should I do?!  I know!  Work on the rag rug I'm making for Nell's room!  Or wait, I could write on my blog!  I could read other peoples' blogs!  No, I should mend Nathan's shirt that's been sitting on top of the mending pile for weeks!  No, perhaps I'll practice my violin!  Or get caught up on work!  Send those emails that have needed to be done for weeks!  No, wait, I could bake some cookies for Nathan!  I could sew something pretty!  Organize the linen closet!  Take down that last Christmas decoration that's still up even though it's March!  Tidy up the kids' toys and rotate out some of the ones they haven't played with lately!  I could go on Pinterest and look for some ideas to make the house look ready for Spring!  Or I could sit down and relax!  Put my feet up, drink a cup of tea, yes, that's what I should do!  Watch an episode of Parenthood!  I'll just turn on the teakettle and----"

Of course, as if on cue, the baby probably wakes up.  Or, if not, I usually end up doing something practical like dishes or laundry, those two most never-ending of all the never-ending tasks of housekeeping.  I use nap time to tidy up for the babysitter, to set out snacks for the afternoon when I'll be working, to sweep the kitchen floor quickly.  Or perhaps in the evening laziness wins out and I watch an episode of Parenthood {I'm late to the party on that one, but I love it!}, telling myself I'll do all the other things! after one episode, but then it's 9:30 pm and I brush my teeth and fall into bed just in time for the baby to wake up.

Maybe someone else out there can relate?  I want to do so many things, to create beauty and do something lasting in between spending meaningful moments with my kids.  Then I get so excited about all the things I could do in the free moments I have, I somehow manage to do nothing.  I'm paralyzed by the possibilities and the time is all too brief.

It probably seems silly to try to fit in time for blogging when there are so many more essential things I could be doing.

I want to write things down in this insignificant little space of mine on the world wide web, not only because I enjoy the process of writing and find that it helps me clear my mind, but also because it somehow seems more tangible than the other things I accomplish.  Sure, I cleaned the dishes only to messy them again only to clean them again.  Yes, I vacuumed today, and will need to do so again by tomorrow no doubt.  The diapers were laundered, and the pail will be overflowing again by the end of the week.  The predictably cyclical nature of housework is enjoyable in its rhythm and pattern, but can also leave one at a bit of a loss.  Am I accomplishing anything?  Have I done anything of value?  There's something about the posts on this blog of mine that lend me a bit of satisfaction: I had a thought, and I wrote it down.  I photographed our lovely children, and I recorded a few memories.  I put it somewhere permanent.  The house will continue to ebb and flow in and out of chaos, but what I wrote and recorded - a tiny snapshot in the timeline of our family life - will remain.

So here's to the idea of making time to write a little more often.  Will it happen?  We shall see.  The dinner dishes are waiting to be done and the baby just woke up crying.  The tyranny of the urgent is real, and it is comfortingly predictable.

{I'm smiling to myself right now.  It's nice to be needed.}

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

this and that from here and there


I'm probably late to this party, but spoonflower fabrics?  I can't stop staring at their stuff with allllll the heart-eye emojis.  It's a site where you can design your own fabric to be printed, or purchase any of the gorgeous fabrics already designed by talented users of the site -- and purchase any print in any type of fabric you want.  I'm dreaming of all the knits for making one hundred totally unnecessary baby clothes.  Can't do it, because they're a teensy bit pricy, but I can dream!  I'm particularly fond of this one at the moment.

How Spelling Keeps Kids From Learning.  An interesting read, particularly for parents or educationally-minded folks.

The new Lily Jade navy blue diaper bag.  I've been eyeing bags from this company for a couple of years now.  They're diaper bags that don't look like diaper bags, so, win-win, am I right?!  And this newest release might have bumped my previous contenders for favorite out of the running.  Of course, fortunately for me and my ever-changing mind, I don't seem to be at any risk of affording an almost-two-hundred-dollar bag anytime soon, so I can just keep window shopping and dreaming.  Browser shopping?  Multiple-tab shopping?  What is the internet equivalent of window shopping, anyway?

I thought this post from a wonderfully witty blog, Preventing Grace, was quite good.  Marriage: Try to be a Nicer Person.  Maybe I just resonated with it in particular; I tend to have a "Where I come from, Bucko, you just stiff upper lip and carry on!" approach to illness that I don't think is Nathan's favorite quality of mine.  Aaaaand I just so happen to be laid up super sick in bed right now with the flu, and what do you know, but if that husband of mine isn't cheerfully taking care of our kids and being so nice?  He deserves an award.

And finally, for those of you not living it, this provides some good pictures of the kind of weather we've been dealing with here in the Boston area.  So so so fun.  Nell wanted to go build a snowman the other day, so we bundled her up, amidst my warnings to Nathan that it would take longer to get the kids dressed than the amount of time they would actually want to spend outside.  Mama knows!  Within thirty seconds Nell was wailing and Ree was gasping for air in the windy chill.  So, actually, not fun.  Maybe if we could have some nice temps in the 30's, and snow you could actually walk through?  That would be nice.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

{Playing Catch-Up}: Ree at Eight Months

Aaaand skipping right over the very wonderful age of seven months, because her delinquent mother utterly forgot to take seven month pictures -- it was December, the month of craziness -- here is Miss Marie at eight months old, back in January.

She really, really wanted to crawl.  She was so close!  All day, every day, it was the Reach-Forward-Until-You-Belly-Flop-And-Cry-About-It routine.

And, as it turns out, it's hard to take pictures of babies who have a habit of constantly lunging forward.

You get the idea.

No glossing over the stark truth here: at eight months old, Ree was kind of what you might call a horrible sleeper.  And had been for a while.  Master of the 45 minute catnap, queen of the night wakings, she ruled the house with an iron fist.

Her big sister could sometimes be heard sighing and then saying, "You silly baby, you just won't sleep!"

Wonder where she heard that from?  I was just glad she was imitating the more cheerful of the phrases that got uttered around here when piercing screams were heard all-too-soon over the monitor time and time again.

Aside from not sleeping, her abilities expanded to include being able to pull herself up to a stand on any pair of adult hands she could find, with only the slightest bit of assistance.  She loved being in a standing position, the better to display the soft sweet chunkiness of her thighs, I presume.

And her vocal repertoire made prominent feature of adorable sounds like "Haaaaaaah" and "ahbaaaah."

Adored by her big sister, sung to frequently and loudly by the same, and occasionally mauled {with the best of intentions} until a parent intervened.

 Marie Aurelia, we love you so.