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Thursday, January 7, 2016

one more day

Today, I'm enjoying the last day of Jack being a nine month old.

My almost-toddling little boy is growing so fast. It's so much faster the second time around. Let's not even talk about how Lily is interested in hair and clothes now.

Jack is always busy. He's either tearing books off of my bookshelf, hurriedly crawling after his older sister, or turning over the bin of toys.

His favorite things include:
Nursing (as always)
Exploring kitchen cabinets
Climbing onto Lily's bed
Taking a bath in the big bathtub 
Banging on the sliding glass doors
Smiling at everyone
Pulling Lily's hair
Snuggling with mama
Walking with his walker and along furniture

He's the happiest little kid. He's so social and is often mesmerized by new faces. The other night at Cracker Barrel, he stared at an elderly couple sitting near us for the entire meal. They thought it was hilarious when he would tug on my sleeve to get my attention when it was not on him.

It's hard to remember life before he came along. He fits so well into our little family with his happy and likable personality. Unless he's teething or in his carseat, he is smiling. Always. You almost have to witness it to believe it. When I take photos of him, all I have to do is play peek-a-boo behind the camera and he will give me a big grin. 

Jack is 100% a mama's boy. He stops crying the second I pick him up. If I've been gone for five minutes or a few hours, he is beside himself with happiness when I return. It's such a warm feeling, being someone's favorite person. I can't get enough of his chub and folds of fat. I gnaw on them daily. 

Love you, Jackie boy. I am putty in your chubby hands.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


So many firsts in the last week. Last Monday, Jack finally took off crawling. He's been thinking about it for the last month or so, but just couldn't figure out how to get one leg out from underneath him. Then on Wednesday, I was nursing him in bed, trying to get him to sleep, when he decided that it would be more entertaining to bounce up and down and screech happily. Somewhere in the middle of all that, he looked right at me, and yelled, "MAMAMAMAMA!" Then yesterday, he began clapping his hands. I am just not ready for this. It doesn't feel like he should be an "older baby" this soon. I want to do it all over again and again. He is truly the easiest baby when he's not in his carseat. We have been able to drive eight hours to Kansas City (eight hours in the carseat, I don't know how we survived), fly to Texas, and traipse all over downtown Chicago because he is such an easygoing little guy. Jack rarely whines, even when he's teething ferociously. He's still sleeping in our bed and wakes up once or twice a night for a little milk. He thinks solid foods are totally lame. I just can't get over him.

His favorite activity: stalking his sister.

First snowfall:

Please live in my basement til you're forty, Jackie boy.

Friday, October 9, 2015

six months, then seven

Life is getting away from me. My childrens' childhoods are a blur. Jack turned six months old without warning. The day he turned six months old, it was raining and cloudy in my house so I thought I would take his monthly photo the next day. Then we got busy and it just never happened. I shot the above photos about a week after he turned six months. I have yet to shoot his seven month old photo - oh, the hardships of being the second born!

I've been pondering so much about motherhood over the last few days. Trying to form a picture in my mind of what I hope my children see when they think of me in the coming years. Do I want to be a ruthless discipliner that holds fast to the rulebook? Do I want to be remembered as a nagger? No. I can't quite place my finger on what kind of mother that I want to be, but I know the kind of mother that I don't want to be. I don't want to be the harsh, stoic, unfeeling, hardened woman that is above cuddling them when they're sad or immediately forgiving them when they've done wrong. I don't want to be remembered with the blue light of a phone screen on my face or the red of my hands after spanking them. While I *do* look at my phone and I *do* spank them occasionally (well, not Jack so far) I look back and regret the times when I've chosen to be that kind of mother to them. Motherhood is a lovely amalgamation of regret and guilt. Fortunately, like Christ, little children forgive quickly and easily. I hope Lily remembers our bedtime routine reading her scripture picture book and rocking while "tickling" her arms (it's not really tickling as much as it is just me lightly running my fingers down her various appendages) and kneeling around her bed for family prayer. I hope each of my children remember the good things over the bad. I hope they can forgive me for any lasting harm I've done to them and hold tightly to the memories of love we've felt. There is no bond like mother and child.

No one warned me before I had children that to have them is to be full of every emotion - good and bad. I am constantly googling things that they've putting in their mouths, rashes, how to clean body parts, get them to eat their vegetables. As I do so, I really question God about how he could have put something so precious into my care. I am unqualified and ignorant. I continually ask for His forgiveness because I feel so backwards. Nothing has molded me from the inside out quite as effectively as being a mother. It's caused me to make slower judgments, give people a chance, and stand in others' shoes. It's also brought out a bit of a mother bear in me - I've stopped letting critical people walk all over me. Speaking of critical people - stop. Damn it, just stop. I am the most laid back human being on the planet until you look down on me, tell me what I "should do", and nag me. I immediately get defensive and withdrawn. Then I hate myself for acting that way, making me more on edge. I can't be around people like that.

On another note, I have friends. Sort of. It's been slow going out here in the sticks of Chicago, but I am slowly making progress. I am hating this place less and less, but winter is nigh upon us so that may change in the coming weeks. The only thing Chicago lacks is a friend like Dana who is just around the corner with a shoulder to cry on and a good open mind to discuss ideas. Our friendship wasn't made in a day, so I'm still holding out. I'm actually driving eight hours to Kansas City on Monday to visit her. Lou Malnati's butter crust is currently holding the title of best friend until a non-edible (to most) best friend steps in to take its place.

Monday, August 24, 2015

playing and eating our way through the city

WE ATE AT SHAKE SHACK! It was glorious. I've been hearing nonstop from my friends in New York how amazing it is. I love that Chicago has a location too! It's located in this gorgeous end-of-the-nineteenth-century building with glass tile floors and vaulted ceilings and I pretty much can't get enough of it. Which is good, because the night before we went to Shake Shack I got a killer stomach ache and could barely choke down the cheeseburger Paul and I shared. But I endured, all in the name of fat.

During our weekend staycation, we pretty much hung around Millennium Park all morning until we went back to our apartment for nap time. It's exhausting to bring hobbits along on adventures, but I can't just sit around at home while the city of Chicago is at our doorstep. We might not be here forever, so I want to enjoy the city while I can! Paul loves his job (I have to force him to come home sometimes) but he could easily be transferred, so I want to soak up as much fun here as possible. Anyway, my hobbits were pretty much the best kids ever considering how much time they spent in the stroller. Jack happily slept in the stroller and nursed whenever we stopped in a shady spot. He really is the easiest baby, until you stick him in his car seat. Oh, how we hate the car seat!

^^^Buckingham fountain

We also ate at The Bongo Room, which blew my mind. I had the white chocolate pretzel pancakes and I couldn't finish them all. (stupid stomach ache. I blame you, Qdoba)

Millennium Park had this fantastic, giant playground that Lily loved. However, I didn't love it because it was insanely crowded and each section of the park had multiple entrances/exits so it was so easy to lose Lily. Usually, I'm a hands-off, go explore and play with other kids kind of parent at the park, but not at this one. I was afraid to let her out of my sight. I don't know that I would recommend going on a Saturday or with especially young children.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

staycation at the beach

This weekend, we decided to have a stay-cation and visit the beach on Michigan lake. Despite Paul and I forgetting to pack our swimsuits, we had a good time. I decided to make this a late-afternoon/evening trip so that the babies would be happier longer and be less likely to get sunburned. We got to the lake later than planned, but Lily had a blast splashing in the shallow water and filling her bucket with sand. Jack ate more sand than I care to admit. 

We ended up at Kathy Osterman beach, known for its shallow depth and fewer crowds. I thought that it was perfect. I wish we lived closer! Right now, this beach is about an hour and a half away from us.

^"what IS THIS?!"

Jack thought that being buried in the sand with daddy was swell.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

month five

Party tricks:

-desperately reaching for anything and everything that I put into my mouth
-kicking his sister
-peeing on his sister
-no longer sleeping through the night
-gnawing on his knuckles
-drooling constantly
-smiling at everyone
-still hating his car seat
-stealing his sister's toys
-holding mama's face
-running his fingers through mama's freakishly long hair
-shrieking in delight
-laughing big belly laughs
-thinks getting undressed is hilarious
-pooing up to his neck
-sucking on his toes
-loving peekaboo
-kicking in excitement when he sees a cup to knock over
-pulling on the tablecloth to reach mama's plate
-doing sit ups so that he can see whatever his sister is up to, as pictured below

Monday, July 20, 2015

so we moved to Chicago

I've been meaning to write this post for two months. Hashtag mom brain.

The week before Jack was born, Paul got the job at the Midway airport. He had previously interviewed with this company for a position in San Diego but ended up declining it because we didn't want to live in San Diego. They called him back and offered him a better position here in Chicago. He took it. I still remember sitting at work when he called me and said, "we're moving to Chicago!"

Moving here has been the hardest thing I've endured since becoming a mother. It's difficult to close a chapter of life that you love. I miss Provo - our friends, the beautiful weather, the feeling of home. Even two months later, sometimes I wake up and forget where I am. It's made me realize how attached I was to our little starter home in downtown Provo. The reeling emotions I've felt from this huge life change on top of those pesky little postpartum hormones have been not so fun. Add Lily's misunderstanding of why we had to move, her tantrums, and general distress  to the mix and it's just a miasma of fun over here at our house. I need friends.

Provo is teeming with college-aged people, married and unmarried. I always had friends in similar life stages within a ten minute drive. It's a little more difficult to find friends with similar interests out here in the suburbs of Chicago.

Seeing another mom at the park is like

However, one plus to nursing 6+ hours out of the day and not having any friends is that I've gotten a lot of reading done. I've read almost 6,000 pages since I got here - that's more than I did Lily's entire first year of life! Thank goodness for literature and staying sane. 

I've even been exercising. I've been sort of forced into it - Chicago is bursting with delicious food. The pizza here is unreal. Even the mexican food is amazing. Each morning that the humidity is below 70%, I run 3-5 miles with my double stroller. At first, I sweat buckets and thought that I was going to die, but once I got the hang of it, I began actually enjoying it? What? I've even experienced brief  moments of a desire to eat healthier. Don't worry, it passes quickly. Death to all salad.