Saturday, August 29, 2015

Deep Thoughts From The Porch

We have a book called "What A Seed Needs" about a pig who is also a farmer. He plants a few different kinds of seeds and the book walks you through all the things that are required for a seed to grow into a flower, vegetable, what have you. Sun, a place in the dirt, water, time, and a little love and care. 

But did you ever really think about it? How amazing it is to plant a little tiny spec of something in the dirt and then get bushels of tomatoes, or hundreds and hundreds of flowers? I have been sitting out on our porch overlooking our gardens and find myself awestruck this summer. Almost every day for the last two weeks I have been harvesting a pint of sweet orange cherry tomatoes and picking a bouquet of zinnias. Sometimes for us, sometimes for neighbors and friends.
 As I nurse our little baby, who similarly came from two specs and grew into the most lovable and spectacular little person, I can't quite believe how long I've been taking the miracle of life for granted. I mean seriously, have you ever really stopped to contemplate how things grow?! Is this why people love science?! Amazing. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

First Fortnight

We've been a family of four for two weeks today. She is a happy newborn: she loves eating, sleeping, pooping. She gets the hiccups at least once a day. In natural light her hair has a reddish, auburn tint. Excited to see how that develops. We have redheads in my family but only on the side that I'm not actually blood related to. She has my color eyes and looks a lot like her big sister did as a baby, except she has less prominent lips. 

She immediately took to breastfeeding (like moments after she was born), and she loves to fall asleep snuggled up next to me. Breastfeeding is so special, but it does get exhausting. It's a lot to know that you are THE food source for this precious new creature  you love so much. Everyone wants to help but they can only do so much. Really I don't mind it, only when I she's in the middle of a feeding frenzy and I want to eat, or I've just fallen asleep, or we are out and about and not in a time and space where halting everything and plopping down to breastfeed is an option. But all in all I can't really complain. My mental plan is to breastfeed for 6 weeks and then take each week as it comes. I will be going back to work in mid-September and I anticipate introducing some amount of formula at that time.

But enough nitty gritty details. Zinnias are blooming, the humidity just broke, tomatoes are turning red, the Tour de France is in the Alps, Mr. SevPrez started a new gig doing what he loves, and our first born is about to turn four. Life is good.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Her* Room

Black and white and ballet slippers. Quilt by Granmda D. Hand-knit sweater with owl-cables by my Grammy. Humpty-Dumpty lamp has been in the family since my 45 year old brother's nursery!

*The newest her.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Odyssey

I sit here watching Wimbledon waiting to go to the hospital for an 11am appointment to be induced. I don't need to pack a bag because my bag has been in the car for a week! I had no expectation that I'd be 10 days past my due date and counting. None whatsoever. But that's the way these things go. I've been hooked up to the baby monitor 4 times in the last two weeks and all reports are that the baby is doing great. Great heartbeat, great bloodflow. I've had 2 ultrasounds and she looks a little squished but otherwise seems to be enjoying herself, moving around doing dance routines as we get poked and prodded. A showoff. Apparently your amniotic fluid levels have to be above 5 to be considered safe... Mine were at a 10 yesterday. They estimate her to be 8 lbs 10 oz, but could be up to a pound off either way (yikes!).

But when my doctor came in yesterday examine me, after all this good news she said, "The baby is perfect, she's doing great. Much better than you are." Maybe the nurse had told her that I was clearly having a nervous breakdown when she came in to check on me. Or maybe she could just see it in my eyes.

I have been kidding that the baby knows I needed a vacation. I did, surely. And it's been really nice to have some time off to gather myself before her arrival. Our parents have been awesome about watching the Pipster and she has been super eager to have sleepovers, so I've been able to get a lot of R&R. Frankly I miss my little one a bit, clearly more than she does me. But it bodes well for her in this transition that she feels so comfortable out and about. But there are strategies to waiting. For a while I employed the "tomorrow, it'll definitely be tomorrow" tactic. That starts to wear on you after a week.

A few days ago I decided that if I felt good (some days are better than others) I would just go about my business as if I wasn't 41 weeks pregnant, and stop worrying about arrival times. But that puts you into a delusional state. There is no baby! Labor and delivery? What? I just wasn't feeling mentally prepared anymore, or in the frame of mind that we were about to become a family of 4. And that was unsettling. The other thing that pops into your head is that everything's just fine until it's not -- like you're waiting for something bad to happen.

I don't know what happened to me as I stared up at the fluorescent lights in the doctor's office, listening to her little heartbeat running around 160. I just lost it and it was hard to get back. I think maybe it was a way of the universe nudging me to communicate my wishes with my doctor when I might otherwise have told myself to buck up and keep waiting. What came out of my mouth was that I couldn't go any longer than Thursday. She recommended we schedule an induction because my body, in her opinion, was ready.

So I had orders to call the hospital this morning at 5am to confirm my 6am arrival time. I set my alarm for 4:45, hopped in the shower, and... They had a crazy night and there were no beds available (!!!). Call back at 9. Luckily the Mister only had 1 sip of coffee and was able to go back to bed to get some more sleep. After trying for about an hour to go back to sleep myself, I came downstairs and low and behold, "Sneakers," my favorite Robert Redford movie, was on. I used to have it on VHS! What luck. I feel asleep on the couch and woke up a couple hours later to Breakfast at Wimbledon. Called the hospital at 9. They promised me they'd have a bed ready and everything set for 11. A much more civilized time for my fashionably late baby.

I thought I'd take a few minutes to record this epic journey to the starting line before life totally changes and I don't remember what it's like to have two free hands.

Man I am excited to meet this little girl. Keep you posted.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Catching Up On Milestones

4th birthday party guest list with figure drawings!
One of the things I've realized on the doorstep of having a newborn again is how much I've forgotten. It's been a gift to be able to refer back to this blog to see the moments I recorded. So while I'm twiddling my thumbs at home, I figured I should take the time to reflect what it's been like to have a three year old, and everything that's been going on lately. 

Someone finished their first year of nursery school (although she couldn't attend her last day because of strep throat). She made lots of friends, had a great teacher (Mrs. Larsen), and even flirted with staying for lunch (basically glorified snack time). 

We discovered that the two best ways to get a toddler to take amoxicillin twice a day for 10 days was 1) mix with chocolate milk and 2) take straight up in the shot glass that Tylenol is taken. Whatever you do, do not dispense in the dispenser they give you. 

We got much better at going to the doctor because of Doc McStuffins and giving regular check ups at home. But thankfully, we didn't have to go very often. 

Still, Curious George reigns in this house. Narrated by William H. Macy, with a theme song by Dr. John and beautiful traditional cartoon illustration, it's a blessing. I'm pretty sure we feel we've all learned a few things from George and The Man with the Yellow Hat.

The dentist was made more pleasant by having a lady dentist.

We experienced our first dance recital. It was 2 days before my due date, and I actually checked into the hospital with a false alarm that morning. But luckily we made it and our little ballerina did great. She didn't even complain about the itchiness of the costume on the day of -- but the dress rehearsal was a different story.  I was the "backstage mom" which meant I got to stay with the girls and reapply lipstick. We ordered the DVD so we'll be able to watch for years to come. 

Nightime pullups (diapers) were finally cast off for good in March this year. Once again, it was 100% due to the little one deciding it was time. 

We discovered that the best way to put off neighbors that just don't know when to stop coming over to play (and invite the whole neighborhood with them) is to look them in the eye and say "Now's not a good time." You only have to do it once. And then you can plant a hedge for good measure. And then get a fence (to be installed by mid-August). 

The Benjamin Moore paint color Ballet Slippers is not at all the color of actual ballet slippers (we are now experts, see above). For that, you must choose Peach Cloud

We love our new house so much we want to haunt it after we are gone. The nesting period of pregnancy was good for us here. Inside and outside, the house is shaping up to be more and more ours. I am currently planning our kitchen reno as a way to think about something else besides the arrival of our newest addition. Who knows when we'll do it, but I'll be thoroughly ready!

"Game of Thrones" is addicting. "True Detective" was brilliant. Once I figured out how to get HBO Go on Roku it was on!

Due dates are suggested arrival times. 

Grandparents that live close are godsends. 

Cousins continue to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Knock Knock

Just waiting around for this baby girl: three days past due and three pretty good false alarms in. I'm handling the wait much better this time around, trying to enjoy myself and my time. Yesterday we saw "Dope" at 2 in the afternoon because why not? And today we took the little one to see "Inside Out" at 3. Her first movie. Trying to get in as much quality family-of-three time as possible while the fourth takes her time.

About halfway through the movie I started getting contractions, about 5 minutes apart. Without thinking too hard about it, I really thought that was it! When we got home I put my phone charger in my bag, packed my toiletries, started timing my contractions on the app on my phone... And that's the kiss of death. I should really never do that again. I know that if I'm really going into labor I will know because the contractions will get more and more intense. But I can't help myself. Technology! It's a temptress.

Tomorrow morning is first day of gymnastics lessons. Then maybe some free time as the kiddo hangs out with her gram. What to do, what to do? I feel like I've gotten almost everything done that I can conceive of. Maybe I'll finish my book (The Lighthouse by P.D. James), go pick up an Ergo baby carrier at Babies'R'Us (aka the worst store), wash the curtains in P's room, see another movie?!!!
There's a new "Terminator" out!

Thursday, June 4, 2015


I just celebrated my 8th wedding anniversary, my daughter is about to turn four, and I am about to have a baby. I dated my husband for 4 years before we got married. We started dating right after I graduated college. I realized the other day, when on the way to meet my husband for our anniversary dinner, that I am living my life on a four year pace -- graduating to something new every four years. It's pretty wild! And I just realized, when I think about my career goals, I have a four year plan. 4 years! It's incredible.

I suppose I have been programmed to believe that it takes 4 years to learn something: elementary, junior high, high school, college. It's a comfortable amount of time for a "stage." And it did cross my mind, when thinking about having a second child, that it'd be nice not to have both of them in college at the same time.

When I told my husband, he reflected and came to the conclusion that he prefers a 2 year pace. Do you have a pace? Or are we just weird?

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Lilies of the Valley just overtook lilac as the most intense, best smelling, sense memory I have of my childhood. We went to my in-laws for dinner and the perfumed the expanse of their entire front lawn. My mother-in-law was sweet enough to pick me a bunch and they filled up our entire downstairs with the smell of spring. 

And we got one if our orchids to bloom! This has never happened before. Usually they flower when you get them and then... Crickets. But the mister has been studying up. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New Perspectives

My daughter likes to look at pictures on my phone, and this weekend, after a few minutes of flipping through them, she said, "Mommy, you have a lot of pictures of me!" Understatement of the year.

On Monday she decided she wanted to turn the camera around and take some pictures -- like a gazillion. What follows are the selects.

Sunroom with tomato crop (and finger).

"Belle" the creepy doll head ornament that my mom felt bad for and won at a Chinese auction. 

Curious George 2 starring Kayla the elephant.

Did you know:? The Man with the Yellow Hat's name is Ted!

Mom's belly at 30 weeks.

New pink heart sandals!!!

She is at once fascinated and offended by the whoopie cushion that came home with us in a goody bag.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Stopping To Smell The Daffodils

After a glorious Easter day...

We really got pumped for outdoor weekend adventures. Heading down to the beach for some impromptu rock collecting and digging had us pinching ourselves that we now live so close to the beach -- and promising to take advantage of it more often. 

This weekend we went inland and visited two state parks. We hit up our old stomping grounds, Cheesequake, so the little one could visit a play ground she used to love. We forgot that it was also the windiest playground in America. 

Today we went to historic Allaire Village to ride their antique train and investigate all the old timey stuff. Not everything was open, but we did get to watch the blacksmith, the carpenter, the laundress, and most importantly (to me) see the daffodils. They also had lollipops and funnel cake! All members of the family were pleased. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Welcome Spring!

We missed you so! I really try hard not to complain about the seasons (they are all awesome -- just imagine life without seasons!) but we definitely hermitted ourselves for a good 6-8 weeks this winter. It's so reassuring when the clocks spring ahead, the sun gets a little stronger, and the grass is once again visible. 

We've been embracing springtime by getting ready for Easter. We got out the decorations, bought some fresh cut spring flowers, and dyed eggs. Pip was so excited, she was literally jumping up and down while moving the egg from color to color. I think it helped that there's a Curious George episode about egg-dying. 

My husband planted tomatoes from seed and they are coming up gangbusters. We have an orchid that looks like it's going to bloom in very near future. Life persists!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Frankie's Institute

Last week we went on a girls-only overnight trip to Philadelphia to visit the Franklin Institute in honor of my niece's 13th birthday. The big show stopping exhibit was The Art of the Brick, Lego artwork by Nathan Sawaya (an NYU graduate). For some reason I expected everything to be made out of legos -- the floor, the walls, the lights. Instead it was recreations of classic artwork and original lego sculptures. It was pretty cool, but when you are expecting a Lego house, it was slightly underwhelming.

It also had the effect of reminding me how much I love art museums. My favorite part about visiting the Franklin Institute with my mom, nieces (ages 16, 13, 7), and daughter was seeing how much the kids enjoyed all the interactive exhibits. Art museums don't always translate to a younger audience (no touching!). Still, next time we go back to Philly I plan on finally visiting the Art Museum or the Barnes Foundation. We can take the Pip for a lollipop and carousel ride after. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Best Things That Happened To Us Today

When I asked my daughter before bed, she said "When we called Carly in the car ." (Carly is her awesome cousin who turns 16 today.) I should mention that today being Valentines Day, we had ballet class, went to the bakery, went shopping (got Frozen socks), went to a pizzeria for lunch, exchanged gifts, and played played played. Love is strong. 

When putting her to bed, we sang nursery rhymes together (usually I sing alone) she told me she was singing for the baby in my belly. Tear. 

She then asked me to leave and go get her dad because he's "comfy-cozy and doesn't breathe on me like you do." Them she said something about how I should take a shower in the morning because I smell, and eat a good dinner and get sleep so I have a lot of energy for Carly's birthday party. 

Parenthood is a mirror that tells no lies. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Pre-school Valentines

With the Little One starting school, this time of year means school valentines. But nothing sugary! Drats. The days of going to the grocery store and getting a box of Looney Tunes Valentines are gone, I'm pretty sure of it. These are Pinterest times we are living in. 

That said, I wasn't all that inspired by Pinterest's non-sweet valentine projects. I thought I'd give each child a balloon so they could go home and blow it up and have something fun to play with that wasn't permanent junk. But I was home all day with the Little One and and thought she wouldn't enjoy that project very much. So I opened up my completely disorganized (and downright scary) closet of lost and sundry items and found a gaggle of little pompoms left over from her 3rd birthday party. I thought I'd cut shapes for ice cream cones and the Little One could glue them down with her fancy blue glitter glue, and we could use pompoms for cherries on top. But of course she had the best idea and wanted to use as many pompoms as possible, so we made the pompoms the ice cream. Collaboration is where it's at!

I should say that she was done after we completed about 3 of 15, and retired to watch "Curious George." But if I was going to slave over a craft project by myself for an hour, at least the idea came from her.

Monday, January 26, 2015

From The Mouth Of The Babe

Tiara = tinara

She loves to preface her conversations (even when she has just woken up) with "Can I ask you something?" or "Can I tell you something?"

Strawberry = Starberry (my personal favorite).

Kristof, Anna's love interest from "Frozen = Criss Cross.

Heartbeat = heart beep.

Saturn is her favorite planet because of its "jewelry" ("rings and necklaces").

Yesterday = Any day that has already happened.

Yesterday (actually yesterday) we were walking down the sidewalk in Asbury Park and upon seeing bits of litter she told me that "throwing things on the ground is not nice and not appropriate!" This really made my day as I'm always telling her when her behavior is not appropriate, and then thinking I should probably use an easier word.

Her favorite Christmas gifts: Lollipop nutcracker, mermaids for the bath, Doc McStuffins doctor's kits (2, both cherished!), Frozen bike with training wheels, dress up clothes from her cousins. She takes the shadow box approach with her favorite stuff, which is that she wants it around and out to look at, but she doesn't necessarily want to use/wear it. So we have big piles of stuff around the house, but she is so happy.