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Bainbridge Island

Last week was full of adventures. At the beginning of the week David took a few days off and we rented a tiny beach cottage on Bainbridge Island on Puget Sound (that is Chloe above, playing right out front). We hung out, played by the water, checked out the parks and sampled a few local eateries (our picks: Treehouse Cafe, Blackbird Cafe, Pegasus Coffee House, Sawadty Thai, and not to be missed Mora’s Ice Cream. If we had a bigger budget and a baby sitter we totally would have tried Cafe Nola. Just reading their menu – bacon wrapped peaches! – made me salivate).


That chunky peach pecan muffin at Pegasus Cafe was super-yummy, and the ivy that covered the building was like out of a fairytale. There was a lively group of what looked to be local old men just chatting away. Maybe they get together and hang out there every morning.


The waterfront marina behind the cafe.


Chloe had a blast exploring this huge play structure at Battle Point Park.


Chloe and David at Fay Bainbridge State Park.


Chloe’s first ferry ride, Bainbridge Island to Seattle on the “Tacoma.”


Getting a rare photo of Leo and I while watching the islands go by from the ferry.

Later in the week we packed up again and headed to the Oregon coast for a family gathering with David’s work. They generously put us up in a plush 2-bedroom beach house just steps from the sand. At one point David took Chloe to play on the beach and, for the first time in a long while, I was able to browse the little shops in Manzanita at my own pace, with Leo sleeping peacefully on my chest in his carrier. I really enjoyed that dose of solitude. How different life is now from just a few short years ago. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

(More photos of our Bainbridge Island trip are here).


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Softly

The other night I looked at my son. I mean really looked, with all my senses. Starting at his tiny toes, moving up the soft curve of his ankle and calf, squeezing his chubby thighs, nuzzling his tummy with my nose and cheek…

His little fists and fingers were resting in mine, and I marveled at each crease on his palm, pressing gently with the pad of my fingers the dimples on the back of his hands. I made my way up his shoulders, his neck, tracing the shape of his head and shell ears, lightly feathering his baby-fine hair. I leaned down to smell his warm, sweet-earth baby smell. To feel the soft skin of his cheek on my lips. I kissed his forehead, his eyebrows, his eyes and little nose. I admired the color of his hazel greys and he looked back into my brown ones. He cooed. He smiled his big, meltingly perfect, dimpled smile. Oh, that smile. My heart flip-flops. You know me, I think. Of course you do. Your mama.

This newborn time is so fleeting. I’ll forget so much. Sometimes I think back on what it was like before he was born, resting my hands on my growing belly, him shifting and pushing beneath my skin, imagining what he would be like. Now he is here, part of our lives forever. I feel so blessed, so grateful. Tears form. Words fail. But oh, how I love, love, love this little boy of mine.


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4 Sanity Savers for a New Mom of 2

Being a mother of 2 is hard. Here are 4 things that have been a big help to me this second time around:

1. Face Wipes When I am too exhausted to wash my face (or even shower), I’ve found the Yes to cucumber towelettes a quick and refreshing substitute. The Yes to Baby Carrots Nose + Face wipes, have come in handy for cleaning up baby, too.

2. Tandem Stroller A tandem stroller is a must. We got the Joovy Caboose. My toddler usually wants to walk everywhere, but there are times when she’s tired or needs a place to stand while I speed along. This stroller has an almost universal infant car seat attachment, so baby goes from the car to the stroller with ease. The optional Joovy Parent Organizer puts drinks, keys, phone, snacks, etc., right at your fingertips. The only down side to this stroller is its slightly heavier weight and size (compared to a single stroller), but they do make a more expensive ultralight version.

3. Video Monitor There were so many times when I wished I could check in on our first baby without going into her room. My babies are such light sleepers, that a floorboard creaking can wake them up. And an audio monitor just isn’t the same. A picture is worth a thousand words (or sounds)! Plus, our Summer Infant Baby Touch monitor can pan & zoom, has two-way talking, and can take multiple cameras on the same handset.

4. Smart Phone OMG am I so thankful to have one of these. Its great for taking photos and videos of the kids, handy to keep in my pocket, check the weather, you name it. And there really seems to be an app for all things baby – from tracking feeding, poops, and milestones to providing white noise. Sometimes I’ll read, play games or surf the web while breastfeeding, and when necessary I can instantly hand it off to my toddler to play with when I just want some peace with the newborn.

Are you a mother (or grandma, aunt, child-care provider, etc)? I’d love to know what helpful items you’d suggest!


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Me

I am really tired today. Leo was up a lot last night, and while he’s been able to catch up on sleep during the daylight hours, I am not so lucky.

When I get this tired, it is harder to be positive about things. I start to question myself. I start to wish I had something besides mothering to call my own. There are so many things I wish I had time for, but I know those things are for the future and not necessarily the present…

Later…

Decided to get up and go do something productive while Leo was napping and the other two were out getting groceries. Turned out to be 10 minutes of yoga and 10 minutes of stretch & relaxation with a postnatal workout DVD I got from the library. I feel better now. I’m reminded of an Oprah video with Gwyneth Paltrow and her trainer, Tracy Anderson. Looking at Gwyneth’s body makes me wish my library had a copy of Tracy Anderson’s Post-Pregnancy DVD. Can’t believe its $30 bucks. Hopefully I’ll get started with a workout class at the gym soon.

It’s about bedtime. Looking at this rambling post I’m not sure if I should delete it, or post it. Today was just a regular day. But these are what life is made up of after all. Regardless, I think I’m going to try to make tomorrow better.


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One month down

Leo turned one month old this week. Several times I sat down to try and write about what life has been like this past month, but I can’t seem to find the right words.

Basically, it’s complicated.

One thing for sure – being a mother of a newborn and a toddler is HARD. Existing on such minimal sleep is the worst part – like living life through a fog. Simple tasks can seem monumental. And I feel like I should be happier – like when my mom was here, I felt like I should have been so happy, but I wasn’t quite as happy as I thought I should be. Does that make sense?

Anyway, in a nutshell, this past month has been stressful, but things are getting better. I am feeling better, both mentally and physically. Best of all, we are slowly starting to adjust to our new shape as a family.

As for Leo, he is definitely growing. Seriously. It was like I woke up one morning and my tiny newborn was replaced by a hefty baby boy (which makes sense when I think about it, since all he wants to do is nurse). Nights are getting somewhat easier, and what seemed to be his constant fussing and crying is giving way to a few more periods of “quiet alertness.” Thank goodness.

The thing I miss most is the little time I had for myself, and going out with the “ease” of having just one child. Now there are two little individuals with vastly different needs. There are moments I feel trapped and frustrated in my own house, and other times when I don’t want to leave again, ever. Plus, I miss my husband. He’s here, too, doing his part, but our whole lives are revolving around the kids right now, with no time for us. It will be good when Grandma Sandy (my mother-in-law) comes next week. Hopefully that might give us time to reconnect. So, again, it’s hard. But we’re dealing. And learning. And living.

One day at a time.

(Btw – that photo was taken by David a week or so ago, so Leo is not a one-month old in that photo. Note to self: take more photos!)


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Unprepared

We had a little scare yesterday. Actually, it wasn’t really a “scare” just a little showing of blood that I was advised to get checked at the hospital. So I went around noon and took Chloe with me, thinking we’d be there maybe an hour or two at most, but one test led to another and there was concern about a possible placental abruption. Strangely, I was also having contractions that began to slowly increase throughout the afternoon, although I couldn’t feel them. I only knew because they could see it on the monitor. A cervical check found I was one centimeter dialated and 30% effaced. So they asked me to stay overnight.

Thankfully, David left work early to come get Chloe so I didn’t have to keep an eye on her in the busy triage room with two other patients. The ipad kept her occupied for some of the time, but it was a distracting place. She naturally wanted to keep peeking around the curtains at the other women, especially since one had two slightly older kids who where watching Dora the Explorer loudly on TV. David and Chloe came back later for a short visit, and to bring me an overnight bag. I couldn’t help but joke that if I had a labor & delivery bag already packed, none of this would have happened.

Fast forward to about 10:30pm. I was feeling bored, lonely, uncomfortable (two fetal monitors around the belly, a scratchy wrist band on the right and an IV starter on the left) , not to mention very disappointed in the night’s episode of House, MD, when the evening Perinatologist came in for a last check. Everything seemed to be stablizing and he agreed that if I wanted to, I could go home. Yes please! So he signed my release form and I was home by 11pm. The only downside was that Chloe had a record number of night wakings, plus I was getting up almost every hour due to all the water they had me drink. Maybe I would have been better off sleeping at the hospital… nah!

So, today I’m supposed to be taking it really easy – lots of water, sitting with my feet up, not lifting anything (yeah right, with a two-year-old running around?), and keeping an eye on my contractions. I can feel them today, like a deep tightening of my abdomen, but they still don’t seem to hurt, which is good right? Maybe they’re just practice. Hopefully. I know a baby born at 34 weeks would be fine, but I’d rather baby boy stay and bake a little bit longer, just in case.


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Mother’s Day 2011

Happy Mother’s Day! David had Chloe help him make a nice mother’s day breakfast, and at my request we followed it up with a couple hours at the zoo. It rained on and off, but Chloe had a really good time, which was the whole point. We hadn’t been for a while, mostly because I don’t have a lot of stamina these days to take her by myself.

Thanks to Sarah Jane’s comment from the last post, I had David take a few photos of my burgeoning belly when we got back. It’s huge! And look at that belly button! I swear it used to be an innie. My weight has finally stabalized around 155lbs, but who knows how much heavier I’ll get in the next 6 weeks. I seem to be carrying a lot of weight in my face, too. Not an awesome feeling, and it just emphasizes that I could really use a haircut!

Although I rarely ask for anything for mother’s day, I did ask David to consider a thorough green cleaning of the house after we install our bamboo floor, and before the baby comes. I’ve contacted two local companies for an estimate, and EcoMaids replied that an initial service cleaning for our size home would be $175 (normally $225, but I have a $50 off coupon from our Chinook Book). What do you think? Would it be crazy to spend that much for a good cleaning? I just feel like the house is contaminated with all the dirt, dust, filth and drywall particles constantly floating around. On top of that, the heat pump installers dropped a large amount of blown-in insulation out of our attic space and into the house when they cut out the ceiling vents. Truly disgusting. And while they did try and vacuum up most of it (and I tried to wipe the floors) you can still see it settling in the corners and on the baseboards and such. Anyway. I know its not in our budget, but I would certainly feel better. I’m already a little afraid that our baby boy is going to be born with allergies, or Chloe is going to have future health issues. So we’ll see. And who knows? It might even be cheaper, since literally everything in both bathrooms will be brand-new, and there are very few furnishings yet in our newly added space.

P.S. That shirt is one of the few I’ve bought this pregnancy, and one of my favorites. It’s the Crossover Nursing T from Gap.

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