Wednesday, December 17, 2014

'Tis the Season

This time of year can be tough for photographers and their families. I'm not going to lie, having a two-year-old and a three-month-old and providing photography services for twenty-seven families over the course of two months has been a lot for us. Dan's this close to secretly selling my camera and computer and telling me they were stolen. He wouldn't, in fact he's been amazingly supportive, but, you get it. So if you've invited us out or texted me for a play date and we've declined (or didn't respond), that's why. We still love you, friends!

I think the holidays are different for moms with small children. Like all the other areas of life, there's simply no room for selfishness in the day-to-day when there are little ones needing needing needing something every minute of the day. I admire the families who do things like Elf on a Shelf and crafts projects and cookie decorating and DIY Advent calendars and -- gasp -- hosting a party. Maybe when the girls are older.

I've officially delivered all photos to families wanting to order Christmas cards, so yesterday, I took the morning "off" and decided some fresh air would do good for my (presumed) sinus infection and my restless toddler.
We took a very long walk around the neighborhood delivering Christmas cards and fresh-baked banana bread to a select few neighbors. I took the opportunity to talk to Penny about how Christmas time is for Mommy to sit at the computer all night giving and loving our neighbors. It warmed my heart each time she carefully placed a bow on the mini loaf and then waited anxiously to see if anyone would answer the door after we knocked. If they did, her eyes would light up and she would say "look!" as she presented them the bounty of Saran-wrapped goodness. If they didn't answer, she carefully selected a spot on their front door mat to place the banana bread or envelope so that it could surprise them when they got home.

And, for that little while, I wasn't stressed about anything, and I got excited for Christmas.

Today, somehow in between Penny's whining and Josie's crying and my making more tea for myself because I can't take the drugs my body needs to shake this awful cold that I've picked up, I wrapped a present. And put it under the tree. And I got excited about Christmas a little bit more.

The other day while I was nursing and browsing the web, I stumbled upon the first Christmas post I ever wrote , when Dan and I were engaged. It made me so happy and thankful about where any are in our lives right now.

Even in the chaos and craziness, except maybe not being sick, I wouldn't change a thing. 

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Last Minute Shoppers....

If you haven't haven't ordered Christmas cards (or New Years Cards) yet, Tiny Prints has your back.

First, their sitewide sale of up to 30% off is still going on today, until midnight. Second, if you order before midnight PT tomorrow, 12/17, you can save $10 on "super rush" shipping.

Here's how it works:

1. Go to Tiny Prints and choose from their selection of holiday cards. Personalize the cards with your pictures and text.

2. Use the code 30SWDEAL to save 25% on all orders and 30% on orders of $99+.

3. Stack the code SRSAVE10 if your order is more than $100 and you'll save $10 on their super rush shipping. You'll get the cards within two business days (if you are in the lower 48 states).

And, if you don't know what to get for the people you love the most, would they like a photo session?  My own mother told me ALL she wants for Christmas is photos with my kids.  If you're in the Phoenix area and would like to gift someone a photography package, please contact me by December 22nd so I can prepare a printable certificate for you in time for Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Josie Lu: Three Months Old


This girl is long. She's already filling up size 6mo pajamas in the feet, though they're still baggy in the mid section.  She's not an extremely chunky baby but she does have some pretty prominent cheek jowls and fat-rolls on each thigh.  She has long fingers and feet. No birthmarks. 

Eyes are dark blue, hair (the minimal amount she has) is blond. She has a hilarious baby mullet, like pretty much a strip across the top of her neck. 

She's starting to look very robust to me, and she's extremely strong in the torso and neck for a three-month-old. 


She wants to be a big kid.  She wants to see what's going on. She loves phones and TV screens. She has giggled a few times. She has rolled over a few times (back to front). She's very alert and interested in people's faces.  Loves to chew daddy's thumbs.  She's also discovered her own hands and feet.  She's got a very easy-going disposition and is extremely generous with smiles and coos.  Her favorite thing to do is read books on the floor of big sister's room.  She's really cute when she gets mad too, like she's trying to tell at us that she wants something but it's in her own little language.  She's also started doing the thing where she (attempts to) grab things with her hands and corral them into her mouth. We think she's already teething. 


She nurses every two to four hours and is very efficient, nursing usually only one side per feeding and only for about four minutes.  She's at that distractable age where she will pop off to look around then come back, which is adorable but can be cumbersome when nursing in public.  She is already showing an interest in real food. She so wants to be a big kid.


My dream of her being on the verge of sleeping through the night is not coming true.  She can't decide if she wants to be swaddled or not.  She can't decide if she wants to cuddle or not.  I think she's had a couple growth spurts, plus the temperature change, so we just can't seem to get a consistent rhythm going.   Most nights she is back and forth between our bed and a pack'n'play in our room.  One thing I am thankful for though is that she is not awake for long periods in the middle of the night. She wakes up and fidgets, then after a pacifier adjustment or maybe a dream-feed, she goes right back to sleep. I can count on about 11 to 12 "sleeping" hours from her at night, even if she wakes up a few times in the middle.  During the day she is typically awake for about two hours and then naps for 45 minutes, kind of all day long. Some afternoons I get lucky and she will take a long nap at the same time that Penny takes her nap. Those days are the best!

Things other people say about her that are more credible coming from them (and not me, since I'm obviously bias) are: how sweet and agreeable she is; how strong and alert she is; how much she looks like a Cole (my side of the family); how bright-eyed she is. 

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Banana Bread Recipe

It all started when we were enjoying some homemade banana bread at my mother-in-law's, and she told me that she always makes banana bread when her bananas start to get too ripe, so they don't go to waste.   I love banana bread... I'm going to buy bananas all the time now so I can make it.   It had never occurred to me that banana bread was made with real bananas (as opposed to banana pudding mix, or banana extract or something).  Dunno why, just never thought about it.

So I set out to come up with a recipe that was just to my liking; and Penny and I have been baking banana bread and trying different things almost every week for the last two months.  She's very helpful, that Penny.  Stirs brown sugar like a boss and always makes sure no chocolate chips are astray on the counter.

Anywho... here's what we've come up with.  Penny calls it 'Nana Bread.  Let me know if you make it!  Or what you'd do differently!

(Click on recipe to view full image, then print away!)

Oh, and if you're wondering why my posts have been so... ahem... seldom, it's because I've been crazy swamped with photography busy season, so pretty much all of my computer time has been dedicated to delivering images to clients... because, well, I also have two small children to take care of.  But, Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Advent Season to you all!   You can see what I've been up to with the photo business on my Facebook page.  Is it a business if you haven't made any money yet?  Things to ponder...

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Luc & Lou

In the spirit of thanks and giving, I want all of you to check out the story of the two NICU nurses who started a company called Luc and Lou, making quality adorable onesies and giving back to babies in need.   Will you?

Consider one of these onesies as a stocking stuffer for a baby you know or for your next baby shower gift.   I'm giving away three of them on Instagram right now. Find my #lucandlougiveaway post to enter!

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Memory Story: All the Stuff in a Big Girl Bed

Tonight Penny randomly started crying about two hours after Dan put her to bed. She was mumbling something about an owie on her leg.

Dan went to check it out.

She had stuffed all of her animals and toys from her bed, down her pajama pants.  Let me say that again... she had taken, one by one, the animals and toys from her bed, and put them in her pants.  We might have a shoplifter or a hoarder on our hands.

Namely Baby Beluga the whale was stuck by her thigh, probably constricting her leg movement, thus warranting the whining.  Dan said he had no idea how she got it down there, he was impressed.  It took him like ten minutes to get her pajama ensemble and bed arrangement back in check and come back upstairs. 

I think this amount of toys and dolls in a toddler girl's bed is totally normal.  Dan is very concerned that she is going to grow up to be a messy person like her mama...

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Josie Lu: Two Months Old


At exactly eleven pounds and measuring 24.3 inches long, she's in the 97th percentile for height and the 55th for weight.

Her baby acne is gone and her little face has really matured in the last month and she uses it for all kinds of expressions.  I think she's looking a little bit more like Penny but convincingly she looks more and more like my side of the family.  Penny looks so much like Dan that it's fun for me to have a "Cole Baby."

She's a baldy for sure, with not much but some blonde fuzz on top and that backwards crown of long hairs at the top of her neck.  I just realized she doesn't have any birthmarks.  Her eyes are still blue.  She's got little fat rolls in her armpits and on her thighs that I think are adorable.


She's very chatty and alert. When she does baby babbles, it comes out "ow" and "goo" and a long sound like someone rolling their R's.  

The pacifier is definitely her mute button. She's also been sucking on her hands and wrists like a fiend whenever a pacifier isn't readily available.  I hope this doesn't mean she's going to evolve into a thumb sucker but we shall see. 

She absolutely loves having books read to her, especially books with lots of big pictures with lots of contrast. She looks at them with such interest. I can really tell her eyesight developed a lot these last few weeks.  I've been changing her diapers on top of our kitchen island instead of on our bed (because I've been having some back problems) and today she was singing up at the colorful flowers sitting in a vase right next to her. 

This month she had her first shower (of many to come). She also lets me cut her fingernails, which used to be something I dreaded doing.  She actually likes tummy time and is quick to give smiles and happy grunts during her workouts.  I think she might eventually be an early sitter upper or crawler because her head control is pretty good for this age.  Maybe that's because her head is so light (14th percentile for head size).

She has a way of finding lint and other grossness to clutch in her hands, so I have to constantly be unclenching her fists and cleaning them out.

She's got the cutest little sneeze.

She's most likely to cry if something needs to go in or out of her body (like milk, barf, air, pee or poop.) or if she's tired.  Weird, I know.

She handled her 2-month shots at the doctor's office like a boss.  Didn't even need to nurse after, just the pacifier, then she passed out in the car seat for two hours.  She's one tough cookie.


This month she had her first bottle and she took it like a champ. I've been pumping since she was born preparing for busy photography season (now) knowing she'll have to be away from me for feedings when I have my longer sessions. She took her first bottle from my mother-in-law and has taken three others from my husband. It is such a relief to me that we had no issues with her taking a bottle.  I remember when we started Penelope on bottle feeding, it was a little rocky at first.  There I go comparing my children... is it possible not to do that?

She still spits up almost every feeding and gets the hiccups all the time. She's nursing on demand, which is usually every 2-3 hours during the day.  She can be a real feisty eater, squirmy and grunty.  We are still figuring out our latch situation in certain nursing positions, but all in all, it's going well.


She's given me four nights (not in a row) where she slept a solid 8+ hours. It's not consistent yet but I see this as something to celebrate, considering our Penelope didn't sleep through the night consistently until she was over seven months old (there I go comparing again).  She does best when we swaddle her with these specific blankets. She also has one pair of pajamas that I call her 'lucky duck jammies' because she's been wearing them every time she slept through the night, and they have ducks on them.

We just moved her out of the bed and into the pack'n'play in our room.  She's not too cuddly when it's sleep time, she likes to be swaddled, put down, and left alone when she wants to sleep.  And, Dan and I are glad to have as much real estate as possible on our own mattress. 

Momma didn't have time for baby portraits this month because she's been so busy with photography clients, but keep an eye on the Instagram feed for the latest antics of Penny and Josie!

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Dear Sister

Dear Penny,

Thank you for sharing two blankets with me and for letting me lay in your tent. Reading books in your big girl room before naptime is my all time favorite thing to do. And I love when you sing to me. 

Please stop poking me in the head.  Also, it's super hypocritical for you to say you don't like it when I cry in the car when you cry wayyyyy louder than me sometimes.

I think it's super cool that you can dance so well and I like to watch you.  I can't wait until I'm big like you and can hug all the stuffed animals you put in my face. Please don't get frustrated when mommy stays in bed a little longer because she's nursing me.

Also, remember, I can't eat cashews because I don't have teeth. 

Love you Penny,

(Your baby sister) Josie

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Last year on Halloween, Penny (15 months) was not happy about... something.  I can't remember.

I love me some costumes and some candy, but Halloween has always been my least favorite decoration holiday, even before I had young kids.  Every year I can't wait for everyone to take down their fake spiderwebs and ghosts to make room for cornucopias and then Christmas lights. 

Our neighbors down the street have adorned their front trees with hanging skull faces wearing black robes. Which is totally their prorogative.  On a walk, our two-year-old noticed them and asked, "who's that?"

Dan handled it perfectly and told her they are just some silly guys.  

Dan and I believe that fear in little kids can be prompted or escalated by the power of suggestion. If no one ever tells her that she's supposed to be scared of plastic skull faces, will she be scared of them?  I'm sure there's scientific data on the topic of toddler psychology and irrational fear, but I don't care enough to research it.  I just know that I don't want anyone to introduce my little girl to the concept of being afraid, in the same way that mothers don't want anyone showing porn to their adolescent boys. 

It's something I've been thinking about a lot.  Sometimes adults default to startling or scaring little kids as a way to interact with them -- as though kids being shocked is as cute as kids being overjoyed.  This bugs me, a lot.  The "I'm gonna get you!" game tows a fine line for me, with the threat of smiles and tickle fingers being on one side, and the threat of roaring in a child's face then pretending to eat their limbs on the other.  It depends on the kid and the age I suppose.

One thing we are trying really hard not to do is suggest that Penny should or shouldn't be scared of something that wouldn't have struck her as frightening to begin with.  We don't even use the word "scary" in our house. Does that make sense?  We are also totally OK if she is genuinely, on her own terms, afraid of something.

This Friday should be interesting.  Thoughts?

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Hindmilk / Dairy / Egg Experiment

Warning: this one's all about breastfeeding strategy.  Move on if you're not interested because it's full of boob jargon and specifics that will bore you if you're not in this phase of life.

At about four weeks old my Josephine changed.  Of course babies change all the time, but this was different.  She had become irritable and stiff, arching her back and stretching her neck like it was her job. Fussing, congested, making sad "I'm in pain" facing for a whole half hour before she would poop.  She kicked her legs and flaled her arms like she was struggling. It was emotional for this mama because I felt helpless, and nursing didn't seem to comfort her.

I really knew something was up when her poop turned dark green. Not like "poop-gree"n, but more like dark forest green.

I explained the situation to my online breastfeeding support group and got an overwhelming response from seasoned moms that these could be early signs of a food intolerance (such as dairy protein or soy protein). 

Then I got to googling and read an overwhelming amount of information about food sensitivities and baby allergies.  Since Penny (my toddler) never had any food issues, I always kind of thought they were over-diagnosed or and least overstated.  This blog post  by Robin at A Balanced Life Online really got me thinking though.  And not coincidentally, most of the moms I heard from in my breastfeeding group had eventually gone on an elimination diet, starting with dairy and soy.

Gah.  So overwhelming.  No dairy?? Soy??? reading the labels on every single food item?  And, it can take up to a whole month to get them out of your system completely and see changes in your baby's symptoms to confirm the hypothesis.

Hats off to you ladies who have done this.

But a few women said the green poop and tummy discomfort could be due to an imbalance in foremilk and hindmilk  (the milk at the front of the boob vs. the milk in the back of the boob, which baby gets at the end of a feeding.)   They also said that "oversupply" (producing more breastmilk than your baby needs) can cause babies to miss out on the good stuff in the back of the boob because their tummies are full before they get to it.  I have definitely had a little bit of oversupply going on up in here.  Hashtag placenta encapsulation.  So this really got me thinking too.

I didn't know where to start, but I knew I wanted Josie to feel better.

For the next week I didn't eat any obvious dairy (I say "obvious dairy" because I didn't read any labels, I just passed on cow's milk, cheese, cottage cheese and ice cream).  Almond milk in my cereal.  Blegh.

I also decided to make darn sure Josephine got herself some hindmilk every feeding.  I mostly accomplished this by forcing her to stay on one side until it was empty before letting her move on to the other side, and in the middle of the nights I pumped one side completely and only let her feed on the other for her 2-3 dream feeds.

Pretty much immediately, her poop was back to it's normal yellow/orange, and she was back to her calm happy self.

Since then, I still have been eating very little dairy (so much ice cream in my freezer calling my name... but I shall resist!), but I'm assuming she does not have a bonafide dairy protein intolerance because her symptoms would not have gone away so quickly after cutting down on dairy for just a few days.   However, the other day I ordered a decaf mocha at our local coffee shop and forgot to get it with almond milk instead of cow milk, and I will say that little miss Josie was pretty grumpy that night.... but it could have been the coffee, not the dairy.

I'm also assuming that the increase in her hindmilk consumption helped a lot.

Later I realized that her worst symptoms, that jump-started this whole frenzy, coincided with me eating a large helping of scrambled eggs for breakfast like three days in a row.  So a big part of me has the hunch that the real culprit was eggs.  I haven't eaten whole eggs since.  But I'm also not reading labels.

I'm probably going to eventually give in to one of my ice cream cravings, and that will confirm or invalidate the cow milk theory.  I'm going to some day probably eat eggs again with hopefully the same closure.  I'm going to keep making sure she gets her hind milk.

Until then, I hope my Josie (now seven weeks old) stays happy!

A lot of this is guesswork, but the takeaway is: what we eat definitely affects our babies.  Hats off to all you ladies out there who go on complete elimination diets for the wellbeing of your little ones.  Breastfeeders unite! 

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Three Rules for Leaving the House with a Newly-Potty-Trained Toddler

This past weekend my darling potty-trained Penelope had the epic accident of all accidents.  Ironically it was near the diaper aisle at Baby Town.  We had been there just short of half-an-hour and she had been quietly sitting in the stroller watching Anna and Olaf YouTube videos on my phone while I talked to the stroller-accessory associate.

All of a sudden Penny was whining and complaining (about nothing), then soon crying uncontrollably and wanting me to carry her.  So annoying.  I didn't want the whining to wake up baby sister, so I obliged and carried her on my hip as I went to peruse the diaper bags.

The sobbing turned to a whisper: "I haffa go pee pee."

Alright! Let's do it! Let's go potty!

But what should have been a beeline to the bathroom was more like headless chicken run because I didn't know where the bathroom was.

Then, it was too late.

A flood.  On her.  On me.  Like, all over me.  My dress, my shoes. All over the floor.  All over the bottom of my dress because the hem dipped in it when I bent down to try to clean some of it up.

Let me tell you, being saturated in urine, in public, is one of the most humbling experiences I've ever lived to tell. 

On to my advice....

Three Rules for Leaving the House with a Newly-Potty-Trained Toddler:

1.  Empty that little bladder pro-actively:   If it has been more than one hour since the last time your kiddo went potty, without exception, taking her potty to at least "try" should be the last thing you do before you leave the house, and the first thing you do when you arrive at your public destination. Without exception. Every single accident Penny has had outside of our house (I think there have been four, in seven weeks) could have been avoided if I had not failed to follow my own rule.  
2. Bring an "accident pack":  Quart-size ziploc bags can fit toddler-sized panties, t-shirt, shorts, and socks; and add a plastic grocery bag (for the stuff that gets pee on it, which might or might not fit in the ziploc).  This can fit nicely in your diaper bag or purse.   Keep it on you in the public place.  Not in the trunk of the car, not in the stroller that you keep in the trunk of the car, not in the toddler's backpack that you decided to leave in the car.  On you.  The time that you don't have it on your person will be the time that your kid has the biggest accident in the worst place with the the car parked the farthest away.   Speaking of cars, keeping a beach towel somewhere in the car is not a terrible idea.   
3. Have a game plan for how you will react when accidents happen. Because they will, happen.  Not just how to clean up efficiently, etc., but the emotional stuff.  Mentally prepare yourself:  What words will you use? Are you going to introduce consequences?  If so, what will be the punishment?  Will you talk about it later or let it be a thing of the past?  Part of potty training is being a toddler brain ninja.  The psychology of it all is huge. How you react when things happen, positive and negative, will affect what they do next time.  The last thing you want to do is completely flip out on your little munchkin the first time they have an Ooopsie in public.  Or maybe that's the first thing you want to do.  Decide ahead of time where your strategy lands on the spectrum between making your kid not want to ever ever have an accident again (with possible fear and shame) and making your kid still feel loved and accepted and that it's ok to have accidents sometimes (with possible nonchalance).
Back to my story...

It was all my fault.

I didn't take her potty as soon as we arrived at the store.  The "accident pack" wasn't in the stroller that I was pushing both girls around in (it was in the car).   It was a nightmare.

Thank God I was at a store that sold pull-ups.  And thank God my Josephine slept through the whole thing.  I don't think I could have handled it if I had also had a crying infant during this escapade.

This was the first day I left the house on my own with both girls since Josie was born, P.S.   You should have seen the look at the salesperson's face as she watched me stand there uttering this is happening... this is happening... as my daughter peed down my whole body.

Your time will come, my friends. Don't say I didn't warn you.  Be prepared.

(you can read my first post about Potty Training here)

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Life with Two Kids

I recently joined the "two kids" club, my oldest being two-years and and my youngest five-weeks now.  Nothing prepares you for parenthood, and having the second kid is no different.  I have heard that after two kids, adding a third or fourth gets easier, but that going from one to two is the hardest of all the transitions.  I can't vouch for this, but I can tell you that this has been an adjustment to say the least.  People ask me often: "What's it like having two kids now?"

Two kids means it takes an hour to leave the house just to go for a walk because the toddler threw four consecutive tantrums, and when she was actually ready to leave, the infant who had been sleeping that whole time woke up and needed a feeding, during which the toddler took off all her clothes and unpacked most of her toy cabinet.

Two kids means a diaper bag that is so full that I can't even find a place for a small journal to take notes in at church.  Two kids means never being on time for church, or anything.

Two kids means taking three showers in one day because one has pooped and barfed on me (separate occasions), and the other peed through her panties, all over the kitchen chair and herself, and cannot bathe alone yet. Also, two kids means some days I don't even take one shower, and I don't care.

Two kids means when one person in the house has boogers, everybody else gets boogers too, and there is no way to keep a new baby away from a toddler's germs.

Two kids means two dogs have truly made it to the bottom of the totem pole and get minimal attention and no exercise.  Two kids means one more tiny human best friend for the dogs to love, these sweet sweet loyal dogs.

Today I did five loads of laundry: two-beds-worth of sheets and mattress covers due to projectile spit up and a leaky pull-up; all the kid laundry; and one load for myself.  Two kids means wearing the same favorite yoga pants and nightgowns over and over.   Two kids means the laundry actually never ends, more so than when you had just one kid and used to say the same thing.

Two kids means taking an embarrassingly long time to get Thank You notes written and sent out for all the generous gifts and meals people have been blessing us with.  Sorry guys, my thank-you-etiquette stinks right now.

Two kids means playing a little game with myself to finagle the schedule for the longest possible stretch of time when both are sleeping simultaneously.  Two kids means relishing my limited "me" time more than ever before, and being very selective about what I do with it. Sometimes I sleep.  Sometimes I edit photos (which I love doing, so it qualifies).  A lot of times I do things besides respond to texts and emails -- sorry guys, my friend-etiquette stinks.  A lot of times I do things besides clean the house, but what else is new.

The love I had to give my children grew exponentially when I had my second baby, so there's plenty of that to go around.  But I don't have plenty of hands, there is still only one me.  Two kids means that if they both need something at the same time, one of them gets the short end of the stick.  This, to me, is the hardest part.  Whether it's food, a diaper change, discipline, cuddles, a kiss on an owie, tummy time, eye contact, or a longer bedtime routine after a tough evening; kids need constantly.  If they're both awake at the same time, they both need something.  It kills me that I don't hold Josephine as much because I have to put her down to take Penny potty, or fix a peanut butter sandwich, or facilitate a time-out effectively.  It kills me to see Penelope's disappointment when I tell her I can't play because I'm nursing, or to have to cut a book short before her nap because Josie just started screaming in the other room.  Two kids means figuring out balance and reminding myself that they are going to turn out ok even though they don't both have mommy's attention every second of every day.

Two kids means "sleep when the baby sleeps" is laughable.

Two kids means sometimes missing out on the opportunity to go number two and being real real bummed out about it because hemorrhoids from birth don't relent just because your toddler took forever to get out of the car.  

Two kids means thank God for whoever invented video monitors and pacifiers and baby-wearing.

Two kids means crying about something almost every day.  Sometimes feeling like I'm no good at this; that this phase is never going to go away.  Feeling shame in accepting help and frustration that I can't do it all myself.  Two kids means asking for help even when I don't want to.

Two kids means being overwhelmed by the joy of it all.  A heart so full of emotion and attachment and fulfillment and purpose that it could burst.  I think that's where the tears come from too.  Getting to mommy this?  I wouldn't trade my life for anything right now.

Two kids means more matching outfits in our future; which I swore I would never...

Two kids means all the writing I do starts as a note on my phone, in bits and pieces, dictated or typed with one thumb as I'm nursing.   ...And still feeling grateful that I have this outlet to share a story in the universal motherhood community.  Thanks for reading.

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


say hello to my little friends, sand and boogs

Fall in Arizona means monsoons and over-seeding the lawns, which means all kinds of allergens in the air. The Griffins all got us some allergy symptoms real real BAD this year. As bad as the grammar of that sentence.

I have found some relief with saline rinse, over-the-counter nose spray and eye drops, but mostly I've been wallowing in the misery of "Boo Hoooo I've been pregnant or breastfeeding for three years and I can't have my Claritin-D." Sad face.

Dan, the lucky rascal, can take all the decongestants and antihistamines in the world and his milk supply doesn't change. Unfortunately, like always, he got it the worst.  He is a real whiner when he's not feeling well. Why are men so terrible at being sick?

And in case you were wondering, a toddler on (half a dose of) Children's Benadryl might present with drowsiness... or she might be a crazy-eyed stumbling drunk, ready to party. We took our chances and had ourselves the latter. At bedtime. And the next day she still woke up in the morning with a fountain of snot on her face.

Looking forward to more consistent weather and no an end to this mucus fest.

Mamas of infants: if you don't have one already, get online and order yourselves a Nose Frida Nasal Aspirator right now. Your day of family boogers will come, and your baby won't be immune to it, and you're gonna be glad you did.

Until next time.

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Josie Lu: One Month Old

This has been the fastest month of my life.  I can't believe I'm blogging this right now.


I don't know exactly how much our littlest one weighs because we haven't made any visits to the doctor or breastfeeding group in the last couple of weeks, but when I weighed her at home today on the grownup scale (in my arms) she weighed in at just under ten pounds.  She's also pretty long and has outgrown all the newborn-size pajamas and some of the 0-3mo clothes (depending on the brand) due to her length and giant feet.

Josephine's new baby fuzz hairs are coming in very blonde. I am hopeful that these hairs thrive and don't fall out so that she won't go through the same bald-man cul-de-sac phase that her sister did.  It would be so cool if her hair went red like my grandmother's, I've always wanted a redhead in my brood of offspring.

Her eyelashes finally came in (she was born without any) and her eyes are still blue blue blue, I think it's going to stick.  She no longer has dry skin all over her body, now it's just mainly on her forehead (you can see it in the photos, I chose not to edit it out!).  Her skin is fair and sensitive, and she gets red and blotchy when she touches certain fabrics or is held by someone wearing strong perfume.  She's got little fat rolls developing on her arms and thighs that I just wanna pinch all the time.  She's sturdy and very alive in her demeanor. 


Little Josie finally took a pacifier at about 3 weeks. I had forgotten what it's like to have a baby who can't pick up her own pacifier and put it in her mouth by herself.  So much checking and replacing and digging in the car seat.  I also had forgotten what a relief it is to have the pacifier option!  It's like instant relief.  I love to watch her take it and be immediately soothed. 

In one month she has had five baths, four of which came only because she got poop all over herself in a massive diaper blowout.  Baffling how a bum so small, pointed in the downward direction, could project excrement so high and with such gusto onto one's back.  I've thrown away two onesies because there was just too much to make it worth trying to clean.  Sorry that was gross.  But it is, gross.   She didn't like her first two baths, but I think I've got a better system now and she doesn't seem to mind them.

She expresses herself a lot with grunting.  We call her "Grunty" as a nickname (we should probably stop, lest big sister pick up on it and use it for life).  When she's fussy, it almost always involves something needing to go in or come out of her body.  Other than that, she's very calm and composed and observant.

Her eye contact and head control / neck strength seem advanced.  She's smiling a little, and cooing a little. She tracks the big kids, like Penny and her cousins, with much interest.  She seems to like peek-a-boo.  We say "Peek-a-Boo Josie Lu!" and might get a little smile.


I think I have a little bit of oversupply going on (which I attribute to my placenta pills) and I think I have a faster flow this time around.  She nurses for only about five minutes per feeding (so fast, right?) and is gaining weight like a champ.  Our pediatrician noted that she might have been overeating in the beginning, which would account for all the barfing and the tummy discomfort she had, and so I've been spacing our her feedings a little bit, and cutting her off when she starts to get antagonistic at the boob.  She gets the hiccups after every feeding which is adorable.  She spits up after almost every feeding which is not so adorable, but it's  not so bad.


I have no complaints.  I don't do schedules or sleep training at this age, but she is pretty much like clockwork during the day, sleeping two hours at a time and then awake for about an hour and a half in between.  She is very predictable and I can tell when she is hungry versus when she is just tired and wants to be swaddled and left alone so she can sleep.  She doesn't "need" to be held to help her fall asleep, which is kind of sad because, well it means less cuddle time, but also kind of wonderful since she's not my first baby and I can't just sit around and stare at her all day.  She also sleeps well when I wear her in my wrap, or in the car seat.  At night time, she wakes up about every three hours to feed but usually goes right back to sleep unless she's working on filling up a diaper (or three), which could take up to an hour.  Those are the nights I do a lot of blog-drafting or list-making on my phone.  Or I stalk your Facebook pages.   :)

We love our little Josie girl. 

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Waking up from naps is hit or miss.  I don't do the "portrait a week" or "photo a day" thing, because, ain't nobody got time for that.  But if I did, this would be the one representing this week.  Sorry for the lazy Instagram double up, this moment was just too good. 

Messy hair don't care (but Penny does care, and she's very upset about it everything)

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dear Sister

Dear Baby Josie,

When they said you were in Mommy's tummy, I wasn't sure what to think about when you came out of Mommy's tummy but I'm sure glad you're out now because her belly was getting so big that I couldn't sit in her lap or give her good hugs and she was getting to be very slow going up and down the stairs. 

I need to tell you something about the crying. It makes me frantic. I don't like it. You should use your words. You sound like an animal. It really stresses me out. I try to bring you things to make you feel better but your face just gets redder and you just cry louder until Mommy puts her bube in your mouth. In the car I try to tell you Don't cry baby sister, everything will be ok, but I feel like you're not even listening to me. Let's work on that. 

I like your little toes and hairs. I think it's funny when you sneeze and when you try to eat my face. I like when you come downstairs to say goodnight to me, as long as you don't cry in my big girl room and you don't use any of my blankets. 

I've noticed everyone else raises their eyebrows and makes their voice real high when they talk to you, so I've started doing that too. I hope you like it. You're so lucky you don't have teeth so Daddy doesn't brush them. Sorry about that time when jelly dropped on your head from my peanut butter sandwich. 

Can you please be nice to Mommy's bubes? She makes this scrunchy face like she's going to cry every time you start nursing on her. I don't like it when Mommy cries so don't hurt her with your mouth so much.

I get to sleep in my big girl bed so it's cool with me that you get to sleep with mommy and daddy for now, but don't rub it in k?

When you're bigger maybe you can have a bite of my cereal. I tried to give you some but they said you only get Mommy's milk when you're a baby. They said I nursed on Mommy's bubes when I was a baby too but I don't remember. They also said I was way smaller than you but I don't remember that either.

You can have all my old pacifiers. Pacifiers are awesome but I don't need them anymore. Also, baths in the sink are awesome too, you don't need to cry the whole time when you are having one. When you cry it makes me have to yell so Mommy can hear me. Yelling stresses me out.

Not sure why everyone gets so excited when you burp and poop in your diaper. When I burp they make me say "excuse me." 

I'm glad the dark crusty poop is gone from your belly button, now it looks just like mine.

Since you came, I've been doing very very fun things like hanging out with Meemo and Boppa all day and getting new toys. Thanks for the Olaf sticker from your doctor's appointment. 

I like you being in our family. Sorry I kneed you in the back on accident that one time when you were nursing.

Love you Josie,

(Your big sister) Penny

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Thursday, September 18, 2014


So I'm in bed napping on my left side, in the same position I've been sleeping for months.  When I start to get stiff and ready to roll onto my right, out of habit, I reach my right hand across my mid-section to grab my watermelon of a belly and lift it over the top of me. 

But it's not there.  Nothing to grab but a soft postpartum pouch. 

I stop mid-roll and lay flat on my back and stretch my arms and legs in a way I haven't stretched for half a year.  Ah ceiling, it's so good to stare at you again!  Then I relax into a sprawl, like a Raggedy Ann doll on the floor, and drift back to sleep.   

I'm not pregnant anymore.

Sure it feels like I have twenty hemorrhoids and boobs full of rocks, but I can lay on my back again!! And on my stomach!!  Healing from a vaginal birth (and stage three tear) has been a walk in the park compared to the discomforts of my whole pregnancy.  And especially compared to recovering from my Cesarean two years ago, after which I couldn't even lay all the way down on a bed in any position for over a month.

It's been difficult to "take it easy" because... um... toddler, and because I feel pretty darn good.   Maybe I didn't realize how miserable I was until I wasn't. Or maybe you all knew how miserable I was because I complained so much...

Doing too much in the first week is catching up to me now and I'm needing to make myself relax, make sure I lay down more often and don't lift heavy things.   I'm looking forward to being back to one hundred percent, hopefully in a few weeks.

Anywhooo, that's an update on me and mine.

Josie weighed in at a whopping 8 lbs / 9 ounces today at her two-week well check... so she's doing pretty great too (that's birthweight + 1 lb / 5 ounces).

Some things for you preggos out there that you'll want to have ready at home for after baby comes:
  • Colace or another OTC stool softener. 
  • Cotton over-night maxi pads (I like Kotex because they use more cotton, I had issues with Always-brand after last birth)
  • Witch Hazel (you can apply it directly to your pads and even freeze them)
  • A squeeze/squirt bottle (your birth place should send you home with one)
  • Epsom salt
  • Coconut oil 
  • Help lined up for things like laundry and cooking and dishes and errands (and your older kids if you have them). Whether it's hubby or family or friends, you'll need people in your corner who understand that resting and nursing and sleeping are the top priorities for mama right now.

Thanks for all the support on Top Baby Blogs!  You all are the best readers ever!
Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Arrival of Josephine Lucille

Josephine Lucille Griffin was born last Thursday. 
about 12 hours of labor, half an hour of pushing, baby girl breathed her first breath at 2:50pm. 
7 pounds / 6.5 ounces,  20.25 inches long, sweet as a baby ever could be.

I awoke at 2:04am to extremely strong contractions that were immediately five minutes apart. She came out singing just before 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

It wasn't an easy labor by any stretch of the imagination, but somehow a week later it seems so brief, and the pain so... insignificant. 

I got my beautiful healthy baby.  I got my VBAC.  I got a bunch ton of stitches and some great birth photos from my amazing doula to show for it (most of which you will never see...) 

Fifty-some diapers later, Dan and I are soaking up the delirious bliss of cuddling soft fuzzy newborn skin and catching glimpses of squinty blue eyes in between sleeps and feedings.   She nurses like a champ.  She looks more like me as a baby than Penny ever did.  Her hair is coming in blonde and her complexion seems like it's going to be fair.  She's alert and happy and the easiest baby ever.  I am completely in love again, now threefold.

Big Sister Penny is adjusting well.  She's chosen to share a few toys and prize blankets with Baby Josie on her own terms, and offers helpfully "I will hold baby Josie, Mommy" instead whenever I ask Dan to take the little swaddled bundle for a minute.  We are constantly intercepting enthusiastic toddler limbs from flailing into Baby Josie's face, or lovingly climbing on top of her sleeping body.   It's sweet. The other toddler stuff is a whole 'nother deal but we'll keep this post serene and only infused with baby goodness. 

"We have two kids," Dan and I will look at each other and say. 

 Two car seats. Two video monitors. Two little souls in our care. 

Two wonderful daughters. Praise God.

Thank you everyone for the well wishes.   We are truly blessed.

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...