Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Month Five

Penelope Catherine,

You are five months old! I know I have said it every month, but, impossibly, you keep getting more and more fun, and my love for you continues to grow.

This month was a little respite from travel and visitors; as much as we love seeing our friends and family, it was nice to have some quiet time at home, just the three of us. 

Your eating is still great - 6 times per day, ten minutes per time. You did have a few days at the end of the month which had you waking up to eat at night and eating more during the day. I was pretty sure that you were having a growth spurt, and then it was confirmed by the fact that you gained 1.5lbs in 20 days!  You are a poster child for a fat, happy, breastfed baby. You are still getting a dreamfeed around 9:30pm each night, though at this point it is really more for me. I know I could wean you off it, but I love those final minutes of the day with you nursing sleepily and then snuggling up against my shoulder, fully content. It's going by so quickly, and I am reticent to let this last little piece of your newborn days go.

You had your first cold this month, and, while it was nothing serious (low grade fever, stuffy nose), it was so pitiful to see you not feeling like your normal self. All you wanted to do was nurse and be held, which I was happy to oblige. It took you a full week until you were feeling great again. 

Now, an update on your sleep. Oh, your sleep. At the very beginning of this month (August 28th) you slept through the night without even needing the pacifier. We thought it was a fluke, but it was like a switch flipped and from that night on you have been sleeping from 6:30pm until anywhere between 6:30 - 7:30am without so much as a peep. Which is lovely, because your day sleep has really gone to hell in a handbasket.

To be honest, I was kind of expecting it with everything I read about month four/five sleep being hard. Between your mastery of rolling over, your want to be with mama all the time, and us trying to figure out if you are ready to be weaned off the swaddle (spoiler alert: no, no you are not), it's no wonder you've had a hard time staying asleep during the day. Basically, I have been calling your Aunt Sarah on a daily basis making her promise me that this is just a phase. I have just started to assume you will nap for 30 minutes, so that way those (rare) 1.5 hour naps are just a lovely surprise. We are slowly weaning you off the swaddle; right now you are still swaddled for naps and nighttime with one arm out to give you access to your thumb.

This month you have become a Mama's girl. It sets my heart on fire to see you light up when I come into the room - you smile and kick your legs and reach out for me, and then when I pick you up you will grab onto me so tightly and bury your face in my neck. You also started babbling "ma ma ma," and though I know it is just babbling and not intentional, you do manage to implement it at very opportune moments, like when you want me to get you out of your crib. Clever girl. I started carrying you on my hip this month, which made you seem that much more grown up - no cradle hold for this big girl! You are happy to be toted around like my little baby sidekick for hours on end. Of course, you still love your Daddy and can't take your eyes off of him when he is anywhere in your line of sight. When we are in the bed and you are nursing, you will frequently fling your arm behind you to pat him and make sure he is right there beside you. 

Month five has been a huge one for you developmentally. You are laughing and rolling across the room and starting to babble sounds and almost sitting up on your own and reaching for us when you want to be picked up. When you do something that makes your Daddy and I laugh, you get so proud of yourself and start smiling your biggest smile and kicking your legs and looking back and forth between us to make sure we are still watching you.

When you see something you want, you will barrel roll across the room to get it. I lost you momentarily under the coffee table when I turned around to get my coffee. You want so badly to be able to scoot, but right now you just balance on your belly and kick your legs and wave your arms.  Soon enough, sweet girl. 

You have started showing more stranger anxiety this month. You are happy and outgoing with people you know, but it takes you some time to warm up to anyone new. You scrutinize new people with a stone-faced stare until you decide that are worthy of your silly baby antics, and then you will smile and chatter away.

You have weaned yourself completely off the pacifier and now only use it as a chew toy. When you are done chewing on it, you will fling it across the room. You suck your thumb to soothe yourself, but only when you are falling asleep or when you are very tired. 

Penelope, as these months are ticking by and you are becoming more and more like a little person, I spend so much time thinking about the dreams I have for you and how to help you grow to be everything you want to be. And though my list of hopes for you is long and the list of ways I want to try to be your best Mama is endless, I think both can be summed up in this: I hope you know that you are loved. That your Daddy and I love you with a depth and breadth that you cannot begin to understand. That there is nothing you can ever do that will rock the steadfastness of that love. I hope that our love seeps into every fiber of your being and gives both courage and comfort for your whole life.

Every lovely thing you are so wildly eclipses even my loftiest dreams, but none of those are the reasons I love you. I love you simply because you are here and you are mine. 

Happy five months, my baby girl. 


Five Month Stats
Weight: 16lbs, 5oz (81st percentile)
Clothing: 6 month, a few 3 - 6 month dresses
Diapers: 2 snaps open in the middle during the day, 3 snaps open in the middle at night
Eating: 6 times per day, 10 minutes per time
Things you love: Bathtime, Mama, playing on the floor, playing outside, going for walks in the stroller, when Daddy walks in the door, Fletcher, playing in your high chair.
Things you don't love: Naps, long trips in the car.
Slept through the night without pacifier: August 28
Babbling "ma ma ma": September 8
Milestones: Sitting up unassisted for short bursts, rolling everywhere, reaching to be picked up, babbling "ma ma."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Month Four

Penelope Catherine,

Month four has come and gone in a quick little flash. This month we had some bumps in the road (see: time for me to go back to work), but you have continued to be a joy. You are truly the highlight of every single day.

Mama was back to work this month, which meant your first (and subsequently, your last) day of daycare and my first night away from you. I could write a few thousand words on how hard it was, and still is, for me to leave you. But I will just give you the summary: there is nowhere I'd rather been than at home with you. Though I had originally planned to take you to Savannah with me and have you in daycare there, I realized 6 hours into my first day of this plan that it was not the right decision for either of us. Over the course of this month I cut back my travel schedule and we found a nanny (Abby, whom we all adore) to stay with you while I am gone.

After we decided to take you out of daycare, we were left in a bit of a lurch until we found someone to watch you. Grandmother to the rescue! She came to stay with us for a few days while I was at work and Daddy was studying. She loves you more than words can say and took such great care of you while I was gone.

You went on your first real roadtrip. We took you to Pensacola and you got to meet so many people who already love you (Uncle William, Great Aunt Connie, Great Aunt Maggie, Aunt Sarah, Nenny, and Pops, to name a few) and to see your Grandpa again. Grandmother rode with us on the way there, and the two of you had so much fun playing in the backseat. We stopped halfway there and you had your first hotel stay. You were your happy and easygoing self the whole time we were traveling. Grandmother had a room all set-up for you at her house, complete with white noise, blackout shades, and a replica crib. While we were there, we spent a lot of time in the pool with you. No surprise at all considering your love for the bath, you took to it like a fish and made good use of the five bathing suits Grandmother got you while I was pregnant. You couldn't have been more relaxed in your baby float:

And, on our way back home, we made a pit stop to see Aunt Lizzie, Uncle Lofton, and Reese. They hadn't seen you since the day after you were born, so it was fun to have a quick visit and exciting for you to finally meet Reese.

You attended your first birthday celebration this month (well, other than being present on your own birth day) - Mama turned twenty-nine! The day was a relaxed one, and holding you in my lap while I blew out my candles left me with nothing more to wish for. My dreams have come true with this little family of ours.

Your sleeping and eating continue to be consistently great. You are nursing six times a day. You are still taking four naps a day - a couple of 1 - 2 hour naps and a couple of shorter 30 minute - 1 hour naps. Your night sleep is unchanged, too. Still down around 6:30, dreamfeed around 10pm, and then snoozing away until 6:30 or 7:00am. We are still going in to give you the pacifier a few times each night.

This month, you outgrew your swing and your bouncy seat. We put your jumparoo together and you are starting to figure it out. You love to look at the toys and are slowly figuring out how to use your legs to bounce, though you need a pillow under your feet so you can reach the floor. We also got you a highchair. We won't start you on solids until you are six months old, but we wanted to have another area for you to play. You love the highchair and are content to sit there in the kitchen or at the table with us, playing with your toys and being part of the action. 

You have mastered reaching and grabbing this month. We joke that you have a process: see something, reach for it, grab it, put it in your mouth, repeat all day long. You also rolled over the other direction (back to tummy) this month. Your Daddy and I were both sitting there watching you, and when we realized you were about to roll over, we jumped up and hovered over you with bated breath while you rocked back and forth. There was much cheering when you made it to your belly. As soon as you realized we were cheering for you, you started grinning your biggest grins at us. This is also the first month you started really noticing Fletcher (which is surprising, considering his favorite activity is to lick your face); you watch his every move.

You are so beautiful to us; I study you all day long, taking in your perfect little features. Your eyes are still blue, for now. You hair is just growing longer and longer, and this month was long enough for your Daddy to put in a little ponytail! It has been lightening up since you were born, just like Mama's did when she was a baby. You also have a cowlick right on the crown of your head, and, though it may give you fits when you are old enough to do your own hair, it makes your hair flop over in the sweetest little curl. Although you are definitely a combination of your Daddy and me, people think you look most like me. Daddy likes to call you little Mama.

First ponytail.

To no surprise to us, you found your thumb this month. During every ultrasound we had, you were always sucking your thumb or your fingers, so we knew it was only a matter of time. I must say, you make quite an adorable thumb-sucker.

Bathtime continues to be a favorite for both you and Daddy. I can hear you two chatting away with each other. In general, you are a little chatterbox; if you are awake, you are usually talking and cooing and squealing and laughing. You are the happiest baby. We also started taking you out in the jogging stroller facing forward like a big girl (sigh.) and you love it. You are content to ride for as long as we will push you, so our family walks have become a near-daily activity again. 

Penelope, month four marks the point where I can no longer really remember what my life was like before you. Of course, I remember all the happy days and months and years your Daddy and I shared before your arrival, but it seems like so long ago and so strange now to imagine our days without you. You are already growing up so quickly; when I look back at pictures of your first weeks, you don't even look like the same baby. And though I know I will always find you growing up to be bittersweet, I feel so lucky to get to be the witness to your life.

To be your Mama - to wake-up with you every morning, to nurse you and play on the floor with you, to teach you and watch you learn, to comfort you when you're sad, to hold you and rock you and kiss you and smell you, to see your smile and hear your laughing squeals, to sing to you each night - is the joy of my lifetime. Your Daddy and I tell you over and over again each day how much we love you, not because you are sweet or smart or beautiful or silly, though you are all of those things, but because you are ours. As our favorite bedtime story says, there has never been anyone like you, ever in this world. You are one-of-a-kind, my darling girl. Lucky, lucky me. 

I love you,

Four Month Stats
Weight: 14lbs, 12oz (70th percentile)
Height: 24" (40th percentile)
Head: 16 1/2" (75th percentile)
Clothing 3 - 6 month, 6 month depending on brand
Diapers 2 snaps open in the middle during the day, 3 snaps open in the middle at night
Eating 6 times per day, 15 minutes per time
Things you love: Riding in the stroller, bathtime, swimming, sucking your thumb.
First overnight trip: August 8
First swim in the pool: August 9
Found thumb: August 20
First ponytail: August 23
First giggle: August 25
Rolled over (back to front): August 26
Slept through the night without needing pacifier: August 28
Milestones: Rolling both directions now, sitting up for a few seconds unassisted, imitating us smacking our lips, reaching and grasping with accuracy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Revival Donuts.

Sometimes a donut is more than a donut.

Sometimes it is a reminder to your post-baby self that your pre-baby self is still alive deep down in there somewhere, that you still have a little kitchen badass inside who wakes up on Saturday morning (at 7:45am! bless that sweet child of mine) and announces, "I'm making donuts," and then marches into the kitchen and does just that.

Which is not to say that this recipe is at all complicated. Only a delicious and impressive party trick to surprise your family or weekend guests. You can be all, oh, it was nothing, I just made some donuts from scratch.

And then you will feel awesome. Even if later that night, you feed your husband Five Guys for dinner. And by feed, I mean, beg him to go pick-up. In the pouring rain*. But it's okay, because remember when you made donuts this morning?!

French Breakfast Donuts
adapted from Camille Styles
makes 6 donuts

5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinammon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup half-and-half

1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Spray donut pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg, beat until completely mixed.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour and next four ingredients, through salt. 

Beat flour mixture into butter in two batches, alternating with milk. 

Scoop batter in a gallon-sized ziploc, cut small corner off ziploc, pipe batter into donut pan.

Bake 18 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Remove from pan immediately.

Mix remaining 1/4 sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Dunk hot donuts in melted butter and then into cinnamon-sugar mixture. 

Eat them up!

Sidenote: These donuts require a donut pan, though I'd venture to guess you could also make them in a muffin tin. On principal, I am opposed to single-function kitchen items (which is to say, instead of owning an apple-corer and an avocado pitter and a garlic-chopper, I own a knife). But, if baked donuts are your jam, you're going to need a donut pan. This is the one we have. Cheap, works great, and doesn't take up a lot of cabinet space.

* Since it was raining when Hugh went to get dinner, he got a raincoat out of the hall closet. He came in to tell me goodbye and I realized he was wearing my raincoat from college. Which has my sorority embroidered on the chest.

Cassie: You know, that is a woman's raincoat.
Hugh: No, I think it's unisex.
C: Um, it has the name of a sorority embroidered on it.
H: Right, but other than that, it's unisex.
C: You know sororities are only for women, right?
Upon return fifteen minutes later.
C: So, did everyone at Five Guys love your lady jacket?
H: Well, the woman in front of me had a plastic bag tied over her hair that was emblazoned with "Big Lots Paper Plates", so I don't think many people were critiquing my fashion choice.

Friday, September 14, 2012

What We're Doing. And Eating.

You know those weeks where you are just on your game? Your dinners are delicious and vegetable-laden, your work to do list is completely checked off, your thank you notes are written, your child is napping like a champ, and you aren't sitting around still in your pajamas and with a stain of questionable origin on your shirt at 11:30am. Yep, not one of those weeks around here.

I was trying to remember what we have eaten in the last six days so I could share it with you. Here's what I've got:
  • The rest of our cheese from our date-night-in order from Murray's Cheese Shop.
  • Five Guys. 
  • A truly mediocre baked eggplant pasta dish from a website that had never before disappointed me with its recipe deliciousness. 
  • Honey Nut Cheerios. I mean, really.  At least there was a banana in there.
  • Carbonara. Still in love. The only upside from the fact that Hugh didn't get home until after 11pm was that I got to have my favorite dinner. 
  • Takeout Mexican.
Awesome. You win some, you lose some, I suppose. Next week, I'll aim for a dinner recap that looks more like this. You know, a few meals that are not entirely composed of cheese.

I did manage to clean the house in 40 minutes (!) last night while Hugh was giving Pen a bath and getting her ready for bed. So, there's that. Because even if the rest of my life seems a little bit messy, at least my house is clean.

In other news, we are still over the moon for that baby of ours. One of her parents is more excited than the other about her latest babbling:

I realize that she is just making sounds and not intentionally calling me mama, but I would be a big liar if I didn't admit that it still makes my heart feel like it's going to explode.  I think this is officially the most you can love a person, right?

Check back next week for a homemade donut recipe (alternately named: sometimes I still feel like a kitchen badass), some motherhood musings, and, hopefully, a few dinners that are not going to make you fail a cholesterol check. 

Happy weekend, frinternets!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Everything's New.

Although it's still officially Summer for two more weeks (and it's still hot as blazes in Georgia), there is no denying that fall is right around the corner (especially if you are a Pinterest user, I mean goodness gracious are people on there excited about wreaths and chili and scarves). 

As much as I love the change of seasons and, especially, the arrival of Fall, I am finding it bittersweet this year. I could swear to you that it was just last week that on the most perfect Spring day of all time we were meeting our Penelope. And it couldn't be more than three days ago that my garden was in full bloom and the tomatoes were ripe and she was smiling her first smile. But, somehow, here we are surrounded by Halloween costumes and cinnamon brooms and recipes for pumpkin bread. With a four-month old.

It's just going by so quickly. I told Hugh last week that I am so deeply rooted in and in love with the right-this-minute that I don't do a lot of looking ahead to the future right now*. Not because I'm not excited about it, but because if I try to process how much I love now and how much I'm going to love what's ahead, well, I would explode. And also, the future is going to be here in a quick little blink, so there's no point in rushing it. 

I can so freshly recall when this child was an hours-old newborn that it seems impossible she's four months old:

Oh, Penelope. Tugging my heartstrings every minute of the day. 

But, as this busy little bee reminds me hourly with her rolling, laughing, squealing, trying-to-sit-up antics, she is going to grow up. And I am going to celebrate each minute and milestone and first.

As people love to tell you a hundred times a week when you are pregnant, a baby changes everything. What they don't say is that the change is magic. 

It makes everything brand new. 

*Which would explain why my child's wardrobe virtually stops at the end of summer. I started to unpack her 9 month clothes last weekend and I realized that this mama has some shopping to do, or P will be spending these last months of the year in a diaper and my rockin' baby-sized snowsuit from 1983.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Just In the Nick of Time.

Last night, Hugh and I were sitting on the couch chatting and I asked him if he felt like we were wasting the long weekend by not having visitors or taking a trip. Before I could even finish my question, he said, "No, absolutely not. We need a weekend where we don't have anything to worry about. No car trips, no company, no one getting ready to go back to work, no trying to find a nanny, no studying."

Well, alright then. 

Suffice to say, the last six weeks have been a little high on the stress around this place. Luckily, everything seems to have settled back down as of this week. Also, luckily, I seem to have given birth to a baby who has the innate ability to roll with the punches. Or, as her nanny put it, she's just the world's happiest baby girl. We'll take it. 

A couple of things that make me smile:

  • She laughs! Don't mind the wonky angle. The child goes stone-faced if she sees the camera, so I have to be stealthy:

  • Mama got a new lens:

Our long weekend looks to be full of grilling, a trip to the farmer's market, and coffee in bed with our girlie. Hope yours is the peachiest, friends. Check you Tuesday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Month Three

Penelope Catherine, 

I am pretty sure, in a total motherhood cliche, that I am going to declare each of your months my favorite. Your personality has surfaced even more these last four weeks. You are such a joy - smiling and chattering away all day long. 

Month three was calmer and quieter than your first two months. Although we still had visitors, this month it felt like things really settled down and we had a chance to adjust to our new normal as a family of three (or five, if you ask your brothers). Our life seems both very much the same and completely different with you here. Your Dad and I were such a unit before you were born, and you have just squeezed right in like you were here all along.

Speaking of visitors, Aunt Mandy, Uncle Matt, and Charlie came to visit for our third annual Fourth of July celebration. Not having spent a lot of time around babies, you were fascinated by Charlie and spent much of our visit watching his every move. Your Dad and I joke that every time you see another baby you seem a little bit surprised that more than one of you exists in this world. Such is the life of a first-born child, I suppose.

At the beginning of the month, you had your two month well-baby visit. You were a little model baby the whole time, cooing and smiling and charming the whole office. Dr. H answered all my neurotic, first-time Mama questions (which your Daddy had already answered) and assured me that you were doing great (which your Daddy had already done). You got your first round of shots at this visit; they seemed to knock you off your feet a little, and you spent the whole next day sleeping, waking only to nurse. As sad as it made me to see you not feeling like yourself, I did enjoy lots of this:

No real changes this month in the eating and sleeping categories. So far, you are just a great nurser and a great sleeper, and have, I'm sure, hopelessly spoiled us as parents. You eat six times per day for about fifteen minutes each time. I so love these moments with you; you hold my finger with your tiny hand and become completely relaxed and, toward the end, you give me such sweet and contented smiles and sighs. You are awake for about 1.5 - 2 hours at a time now and typically take two long morning naps (1.5 - 2 hours) and then two short afternoon naps (30 minutes - 1 hour). You're down for the night around 7pm, get a dreamfeed around 10pm, and sleep until 7am the next morning. We are still going in a couple of times per night most nights to find your pacifier for you if you start to stir. You are still being swaddled in the Miracle Blanket to sleep.

In development news, you rolled over this month! The day after your two month birthday, you rolled over from your stomach to your back. I was sitting at the table pumping and your Daddy had just laid you on the floor for tummy time when, within five seconds, you gave a push with your arm and rolled right over! In my surprise and excitement, I yelled out and scared you a bit. It took you a few days to do it again, but I was armed with the video camera during all of your tummy times, so I was able to capture it the second time. 

You also started smiling without prompting, squealing, and talking even more, which entertains us to no end. When you wake up, we hear you over the monitor immediately start talking away to yourself, and then it's a race which one of us can get to your room first to soak up the sweetness. You have the biggest grin that stretches across your face and crinkles up the corners of your eyes. We make fools of ourselves to see that smile.

You also started intentionally reaching for things this month and sometimes even grasping what you're reaching for. You aren't quite able to get your hands to go just where you want them to yet, but it fascinates me to watch you learning and figuring it out more and more each day. I can literally see your little mind working as you get a look of deep concentration on your face.

The sweetness of your personality is coming through, too. You will hang on to us tightly when we hold you, and snuggle in close when you're sleepy, burying your face against our chests. It seems you already know you are the apple of our eyes, and you are at your happiest when you have both of us in front of you, giving you all of our attention.

Without question, bathtime is your favorite part of the day. You splash and kick and wriggle all around, squealing as loud as you can. And you love lying on the changing table and talking to us for as long as we will stand there (spoiler alert: we will stand there talking to you for a very long time). This month, you have finally started to like being in the carrier (Moby, Bjorn, Ergo), and have been going for lots of walks with us in the Baby Bjorn. You are no longer content to be held in a cradle hold very often or to ride in a carrier facing in. You want to be facing forward, staring out at the world all the time and checking out what's going on around you. 

At the end of this month, I had my first day back in the office. I was dreading being away from you all day. Thankfully, Daddy was able to stay home with you and we both did just fine. And, it made me feel even more grateful than I already was that I get to be home with for the majority of each week.

My darling girl, I blink, blink, blink, some days and think you are growing up right before my eyes. You are changing every day; learning new tricks, making new sounds, and looking a little bit taller and less and less like my newborn baby. I spend most all of your waking moments just trying to soak you in. I tell your Daddy that I stare at you so much because I want to memorize every part of the baby girl you are right this very minute - all round, rosy cheeks and long, straight eyelashes, roll upon roll of baby chub and drunken milk face - you are utterly perfect to me. 

I ask my own Momma on a weekly basis if it is possible to love you any more than I do right this moment. She always laughs a little bit and tells me to just wait. It is hard for me to believe our time with you can be happier than it is right now, but it makes me look forward to every new day I get to wake up and be your Mama all over again.  

The moment you were born, the song "The Luckiest" was playing in our hospital room. I couldn't have chosen more appropriate words to be sung as you entered my life, because you have made me feel every day since then that I am the luckiest in the world.

I love you,

Three Month Stats
Weight: 13lbs (estimated)
Clothing: Depends on brand, but mostly 3 month and 3 - 6 month.
Diapers: Cloth - 2 middle snaps open
Eating: 6 times per day, 15 - 20 minutes per time.
Things you love this month: Riding in the Baby Bjorn facing forward, bathtime, playing in your pack-and-play, talking to us.
Things you don't love: The end of bathtime.
Rolled Over (Front to back): June 29
First shots (and, correspondingly, first fever and tylenol): July 5
First morning in the garden with Mama (in the baby bjorn): July 9
First day away from Mama: July 24
Milestones: rolling over tummy to back in both directions, smiling without prompting (at toys, mobile, Fletcher, etc.), clasping hands at midline, reaching for objects, grasping objects (still with pretty low accuracy), squealing.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Everything I Ever Wanted.

Oh, motherhood. Such a humbling process, foiling my well-laid plans.

It has not been a good week, my friends. Not good, as in I ugly-cried not once or twice but three times on Wednesday. Thank goodness for Hugh and my mom and their endlessly patient listening ears. And thank goodness for my sweet girl; she is a trooper. 

Fortunately, next week promises to be a happier one. Not least of all because my birthday is on Monday; the big 2-9! And, as you probably know by now, birthdays are my jam

For the last two weeks, Hugh has been asking me for a list of things I might want, and I've been hemming and hawing and not really giving him any guidance. Finally, he asked me why I was having such a hard time coming up with a birthday list this year. And I realized it's because I have everything I ever wanted already. 

My little White Hot cup runneth over:


On the agenda for the next three days: balloons, birthday cake, a family walk, and a champagne cocktail or three. Hope your weekend is just peachy.

Friday, July 27, 2012

What We're Doing. And Eating.

Well, I just feel like we are best friends this week with all this hanging out together we've been doing. Don't you? Here's what our little family has been up to the last seven days:

  • Learning new skills to pay the bills:

  • New skill not pictured: yelling. Further proof that we are a mess over this child: we can't get enough of her, even when she is literally yelling at us. Yesterday, Penelope was not having a banner nap day. After waking up early from her third nap, I went in to get her and, while she was stretching, she was looking up at me with a furrowed brow, just yelling away. Then Hugh walked in the room and poked his head over the crib. Wouldn't you know, she broke out in a huge smile and started cooing. I reminded her that I am the one who grew and birthed her (in all her 97th percentile at birth glory) and am now acting as her sole source of sustenance. Isn't it too early to pick a favorite parent? 
  • Oh, you want to see another picture of her cuteness? Twist my arm...

  • Studying. No big surprise, Hugh is a studying machine, up at 5am to get through his material while the rest of us are still asleep. We're very excited for August 24th to come and go around this place.  
  • I'm working on post for next week about new mama style. It could alternately be titled What To Do When You Wake Up and Hate Everything In Your Closet. 
  • In other fashion-related updates (seeing as I am blogging while wearing four-year-old yoga pants and a t-shirt I bought for $1.99 that Hugh calls my "on sale for a reason t-shirt", clearly you are coming here to read about fashion), apparently my feet grew while I was pregnant. Awesomely, I realized this the night before I had to go to work when I started trying on my shoes and they were all too small.
  • Had to order some supplies for daycare. Made myself feel less sad about it by ordering darling girl some new books:

  • Falling asleep with toys in our mouths:
The day we picked Fletcher up from the breeder, she brought him out (and he was so freaking cute) and commented that she had never seen a puppy who loved toys like he did. Three years later and not much has changed.

  • Cooking up a storm. This week, I was kind of a rockstar of making dinner. See evidence below. 

Here's what we're eating:

  • Thin Burgers - I could not bring myself to use 70/30 ground beef. I think I used 85/15, and these were still delicious. If I had one in the fridge, I would be eating a hamburger for breakfast. 

  • Reese's Peanut Butter Brownie Cups - Easy. Tasty. Prep box of brownie mix according to package directions. Divide batter into 12 muffin cups lined with paper liners. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Press a mini Reese's cup into each brownie. Bake until brownie cups are cooked through, about 10 more minutes. Makes 12.

  • Bagel topped with cream cheese, lox, red onion, capers, arugula, and a squeeze of lemon - Yum. Also, came home and, while I was toasting a bagel, realized Hugh ate the rest of the lox while I was at work. Cried. Hugh told me it was a little ridiculous to be crying over food when I wasn't pregnant (see: Hugh ate the last cheese danish when I was pregnant and I sat on the floor in the kitchen and cried and then didn't speak to him for six hours.). Realized he was right. 

  • Annie's Frozen Burrito - A working lunch. Hugh would, in particular, like you to note my work phone in this photo. He calls it the world's oldest Blackberry. When I am getting ready for a call, he inevitably makes a joke about needing to manually crank up the phone first.

  • Kale Salad - The other half of this meal was gross. You win some, you throw some in the trash. So I ate Kale Salad for dinner. And had another glass of wine. A balanced meal, if you ask me.

Hope your weekend is full of good food and sassy babies.

Post Script: Tried to write a whole post without using the word cute. Failed. Should have birthed an uglier baby, I guess.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dear Self.

Three months ago today was Penelope's due date. Obviously, that day came and went and she stayed snug as a bug in my (gigantic) belly. This is how we looked on April 26th:

Three months ago, I was equal parts impatience, anxiety, and excitement those final days. I truly felt like she was never going to get here and I was going to be pregnant for the rest of my life. 

Here's what I'd like to tell my 40-weeks-pregnant self:
  • Relax! She's coming, I promise. In 48 hours, almost to the minute from the time this photo was taken, she'll be out of your (gigantic) belly and into your arms.
  • Your birth plan is going to go to hell in a handbasket. But, turns out, you are pretty good at giving birth, even without your plan. You will surprise yourself and, halfway through pushing you'll be thinking, Holy shit, I am doing this.
  • Your house is not going to go to hell in a handbasket after she is born. I know you are really concerned about that right now. Which is why Hugh found you attempting to dust the blades of the ceiling fan while standing on a chair yesterday.
  • Remember last month when you got a Charlie horse in your calf in the middle of the night that was so bad your calf was sore for three days? And remember how you told yourself that that was probably only a fraction of what labor was going to feel like? You are right. That Charlie horse was approximately 1/1000 of what labor is going to feel like. But you'll survive.
  • All your stress over breastfeeding? You are wasting your time. Turns out you and Penelope are pretty good at that, too. 
  • Go get a pedicure. I know, you just got one yesterday. Get another one. And get a manicure, too. Then go walk around Target for five hours by yourself. Alone time is about to become a precious commodity.
  • You love being a mom more than you even hoped you would. Which is saying a lot, given the crazy high expectations you have right now.
  • Food has never tasted as good as it will one hour after you give birth. You will eat a hamburger, a baked potato, a granola bar, two glasses of apple juice, a salad, a bowl of pineapple, a brownie, and a carton of milk. You will still be hungry.
  • You think you love Hugh right now. Oh, you just wait, my friend. You are going to be February 2005 falling-in-love giddy over that husband of yours all over again in about two days.   
  • Your Momma makes it just in time to see you become a Mama yourself. Right now, you don't realize how important this is. You will get it about ten seconds after you lay eyes on your own daughter for the first time.
  • You're going to cry for a solid two weeks after she's born, for happy reasons and sad reasons and no reasons at all. You will think you are the only person who has ever felt like this, until you call Sarah after one week and she tells you it's totally normal.
  • Oh, what was that you said? You're tired? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. 
  • This is how we look now:

  • Spoiler alert: she's pretty cute.
  • Oh, and that thing everyone keeps telling you about how you just can't imagine the love you are going to feel? They are correct. You will be changed in an instant. 

The-Carbonara-and-Turkey-Sandwich-Eating, Stomach-Sleeping, Wine-Drinking, Able-to-Go-More-Than-Five-Minutes-Without-Peeing, Looking-At-Her-Own-Toes-While-Standing-Up-Right-Now, Mama-Version of Yourself.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We Survived.

Whew! Like most things that keep me up at night with worry, I can say that my first day away from Penelope was not as bad as I thought it would be. Of course, I would have rather been with her than not for those twelve hours, but we survived, and, really, the day kind of flew by.

I managed to make it through the day without any major melting down. There were tears when I said goodbye in the morning and near-tears when I was digging through my bag for a pen and pulled out a pacifier in the middle of a meeting, but, considering I'm a big crier when I'm not leaving my firstborn child for the first time, I was pretty proud of myself.

It was nice to have some adult interaction in the middle of the day and to do a little thinking that wasn't about nap schedules and what comes after the looking glass in Penelope's favorite lullaby. And it was nice for Hugh to get a whole day with our girlie all to himself. I realized halfway through the day that, as much as I had thought about Pen all morning, I hadn't worried about her for one second. Good work marrying the world's best dad, Catherine.

I also got to spend my five hours of commuting catching up with some of my very favorite people. Life with a baby doesn't leave you much time for talking on the phone, so it was nice to chat away those hours.

I'm sure it doesn't hurt I knew I only had to be away from her for one day this week or that she was at home with Hugh and not at daycare. We'll see how she and I fare with that experience next week. For now, I'm off to do a lot more of this:

Hope your Wednesday is the peachiest.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Weekend In Photos (and Also, Words).

Well, that 48 hours between Friday and Monday went by in a quick little blink, didn't it? This is what ours looked like:

Friday started with my standing coffee/milk in bed date with this happy girl:

Hugh got home at lunch time. Penelope was asleep. After he greeted me and the boys, who coming running to the front of the house as soon as they hear his key in the door, he went to "change clothes." Ten seconds later, I heard his voice on the monitor, chatting away with the baby. Apparently Hugh hasn't heard the saying "never wake a sleeping baby." Really though, I get it. I spend about half of each of her naps convincing myself I need to leave her in her crib and let her sleep. 

Waking up.

Family walks. Also, picture my heart almost exploding from the cuteness:

Just imagine another photo of carbonara right here. Because that's what I ate for dinner on Friday. I keep waiting to be sick of it. No dice so far, much to Hugh's dismay. Because he was sick of it approximately two years ago.

Saturday was studying for Hugh, general lazing around reading cookbooks and playing with Pen for me, and eating some requisite summer cheeseburgers:

Sunday was breakfast with our favorite baby:

Followed my general admiring of said baby*:

Followed by a little baking:

Awesome banana bread. Less awesome photo.

Then we took an afternoon road trip that mostly involved us driving and talking, since all of the shops and restaurants we were going to see were closed. Fortunately, we do our best talking in the car, so it was a lovely afternoon with Penelope chiming in from the backseat with her thoughts. Happy and chatty in the car? I think she'll fit in just fine in this little family.

After we put Penelope down for the night and ate dinner, the Sunday blues hit me full force. It's back to Savannah tomorrow. And, while I am very grateful to have a job to go back to, especially one that gives me the flexibility that mine does, my heart is in my throat thinking about being away from my girlie. But, as Hugh keeps reminding me, we are all going to be just fine.

 Fingers crossed. 

*I know you think I am so over the top with the baby love. Honestly, I work hard to tone it down for the blog, and, really, in general to people who are not Hugh or my mom. If you want to know what our weekends really look like, imagine Hugh and I staring at the baby for all of her waking hours, and then spending her sleeping hours discussing how she is the cutest/smartest/snuggliest/funniest/sweetest baby there ever was and how in the world did we get so lucky. That would be more accurate. Ridiculous. But accurate.