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Monday, March 24, 2014

Kids say the darndest things.

Everyone decided to throw up this weekend. If they weren't throwing up on me, they were throwing up on large, bulky blankets that now require washing. After the first kid got sick, we started jumping up whenever we heard the kids start coughing or at least crossing our fingers hoping the other person was jumping. That's how it starts. They cough. Then they gag. It all happens so quick, too quick to get to the bathroom. And once they start, the best bet is just to stay where you are at instead of leaving a trail down the hall.

Like most days with kids, I'm just trying to take enjoyment from what comes out of their mouths. Well, at least, the words that come out.

Maggie had a couple funny things to say this morning. On Mondays, we all get up and get out the door. Julian and D'arcy head to school. Stephen heads to work. The rest of us head to the Y where Schroeder goes to preschool, Maggie takes a tumbling class, and I take a workout class. What!? So we all have to be out the door by nine which is ridiculously, but truthfully, a big stretch for us. I was getting Penelope dressed and Maggie wanted me to get her some breakfast pronto.

Me: Maggie, I can't do two things at once.
Maggie: But, Mom, you have two hands.

At three, her cleverness makes me proud. If she says this to me in a couple of years, I'll have a different reaction.

I was brushing her hair and she pointed to a book on the floor (Stephen's stack of bathroom books).

Maggie: Mom, is that Justin Beiber?
Me: Nope, that is Hunter S Thompson.

I guess she learned about him from her almost ten year old sister who is a big fan of Selena Gomez. Or maybe she learned it from watching The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Hulu with me. She approached a lady at church a couple of weeks ago and said in her little three year old voice, "You look like Lady Gaga."

Friday, March 21, 2014

I'm taking pictures outside again!

This was probably the best day in March to take photos!  The colors and the fact that every photo but one has multiple people in it are making me happy.  Tonight was all about capturing the relationships in this extended family.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

We have steep stairs.

Stephen left for San Francisco this morning to attend a conference. His plane took off at 5:50 so we had to get him to the airport at a ridiculously early hour. I nursed the baby, got dressed, and began waking kids up and carrying them downstairs. After many trips up and down the stairs you realize you have a lot of kids. They sat in the dark in a bunch on the rug in our front room.  They were all rubbing their eyes and putting on shoes like drunk people. Julian had on crocs. Schroeder had on snow boots. D'arcy slipped her rain boots on over her footie pajamas. Anything that pulled on and didn't have to be tied was fair game.
I should have been grouchy and annoyed that I was doing all this at four in the morning, losing precious hours of sleep before I begin the four day task of single parenting. Instead, I was taking in the sight of the groggy and still very young mass of humanity we created. I'm savoring these little years or at least I was at four o'clock this morning.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I'm a little chipmunk six days old.

I took the months of December and January off, and winter is always my slowest time of year.  But I finally had an opportunity to get my camera out and photograph someone very new.  I listened to podcasts of Fresh Air on the way to and from my client's house.  As I was driving home, I realized how amazingly nice it was to escape my home and role as mom and venture out as Melissa for a couple of hours.  That's why I do this.  Not to be super busy or make a lot of money.  I do it to be Melissa, to meet new people, and be invited into their home and family for an hour or two and capture light falling on their faces.

Plus, it's fifty degrees outside, a temperature we haven't seen in three months.  We are on spring's doorstep.

This baby boy was born on Monday.  Here are a few shots from my time with him.  The black and white close up of mom and baby is my favorite.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Eat some chocolate today.

Three months after Penelope was born I decided it was time to lose the weight I put on during my pregnancy.  I told Stephen.  I told some friends.  Because before I can actually execute any plan of action, I must verbalize it one hundred times.  In the past, my means of losing weight was keeping a food diary, counting my Weight Watcher points, and dancing in front of our Wii.  I've always been able to get back down to the weight I was on my wedding day.  While that is still bigger than I "should" be, it's where I feel comfortable.

But before I took action, I took Penelope to a well child check up.  They give you a piece of paper telling you what to expect each month.  The what to expect in the fourth month paper said, if your nursing, don't cut your calories in order to keep your milk supply strong.  My milk supply diminished greatly around the four and five month mark with both Schroeder and Maggie Lu.  Looking back, that was always when I began my calorie counting.

I wanted to enjoy and relish this last, first year.  I didn't want my diet to dictate when Penelope was weaned so I took that paper's advice.  I feel really proud of that choice.  I see new moms putting loads of effort into finding their old bodies and I feel a sense of freedom to just be gentle and patient with mine.

Nursing and some walking have helped me fit into all my old clothes, but I still have some weight to lose.  Penelope has begun the slow, many months long process of weaning.  She is nine months now and will probably be completely weaned by 12 or 13 months.  I've decided to exploit the season of Lent and instead of counting calories, deny myself desserts.  If I wouldn't eat it as breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I can't have it.  Yogurt is okay.  Chocolate chip cookies are not.

Lent is supposed to start as a spiritual journey of preparing your heart to celebrate Jesus' death and resurrection.  In the spiritual journey, you deny yourself everyday indulgences.  I admit that I'm using the season of Lent because it is a predefined period of time that happens to coincide with the last couple of months of nursing.  I'm doing this for my health and weight, but in an attempt to make it sort of spiritual, I plan to read the four gospels once, twice, or several times before April 20th.

Happy Fat Tuesday all.    

Monday, March 3, 2014

Penelope is nine months cute.

This little beauty is NINE MONTHS OLD!  She is big and tiny all at the same time.  She has all kinds of new tricks.  She crawls, pulls up to standing, claps, plays peek-a-boo and waves.  Those are the old tricks, though.  Now she shakes her head, can stand for five seconds without support, can climb stairs, plays with a baby doll, and sticks out her tongue.  I found just how good she can climb stairs when I let her play outside of her playpen this week.  She moves fast and knows what she wants.  She seems to say hi, but I'm not going to call it her first word just yet.  Sometimes she has a lot of personality and sometimes she just stares at you and her surroundings with big eyes.

I'm still nursing her four or five times a day.  I've been supplementing my milk with a bottle of formula each day.  People!  Formula is super expensive and goes really quickly!  I bought about ten containers of baby food and then decided that wasn't going to happen.  No spoon feeding.  No pureed food.  She gets a cut up banana or avocado or whatever veggie or fruit I've made for dinner.  One of my friends calls it baby led weaning.  There is a book, but I haven't read it.  I'm just guessing what might be inside and going with that.  That's how I roll.

She is wearing a little shirt dress that was Stephen's moms as a baby.  It's so sweet.  Thanks Dianne for giving it to us (or loaning it until Alex and Josh have kids).  

I finally gave her a little hair cut.  She had a few extremely long wisps I've been eager to cut them for a few months.  I was waiting for her to have some other bits growing in to cover her scalp.