Gratitude Journal

???????????????????????????????1. Rugelach

2. insurance

3. too much milk

4. mental health

5. travel coffee mugs

6. spontaneous trips

7. last-minute lunches

8. new friends & groups of friends

9. too many pastries

10. missing teeth smiles

11. trying out a new camera lens

12. too many books to read

13. recipe, magazine & blog hoarding for a rainy day

14. morning editing over a cup of coffee

15. new car and booster seats

16. clean bill of teeth health

17. Vitamin C

18. a baby sleeping through the night for the first time

19. summer fruit & veggies filling my lunch bowl

20. weight loss

21. a house safe from flood damage


At 15 months:

She has sprung to life. What was a content, calm, sweet-as-pie little baby has morphed into a walking, talking, climbing, running, mischievious, in-the-thick-of-it member of The Sistred pack.

Just under a month ago, L0vey had to go on a work trip. He was gone mere days- and when he returned- Sugarplum- was no longer a baby. She literally in the span of a few days started running and climbing and trying to talk.

Now I’ve found her- with open bottles of soap- dish, laundry, hand. Standing on top of tables, chairs, the dishwasher door, the top of any staircase within running distance, the couch, her sister’s bed. Just about anywhere she can scramble in the blink of an eye. 

She talks and talks. She screeches like a pterodactyl out of nowhere. I’ve heard her say, momma, dada, diaper, bottle, neh-neh, all done, more, shoe, energy, hungry and attempts to repeat back just about anything that is said to her.

She strolls around with her hands linked behind her back in a rather scholarly, thoughtful posture when she isn’t picking up speed about to get into something.

She will randomly stop and dance and sing- little aaah,aaah, aaah along with the radio.

She will randomly stop eating when in her highchair to dance and sing.

If you ask her if she went poo-poo in her diaper. She’ll stop, think about it and walk over to where the diapers are stored.

If you ask her if she is hungry and she is, she’ll walk over to her high-chair.

If you forget to offer to nurse her and she’s hungry she’ll drap her boppy and a blanket over to you.

If you suggest she keep eating just about any food after two bites, chances are 50-50 she’ll say and sign all-done and drop the food over the side of her tray if it were silly enough to still be laying there.

Generally speaking she is a savory girl. She prefers meat to just about anything else. Except maybe ice-cream cones. And pancakes. And frosted cake. But that’s just good sense.

If you mention going outside anywhere that she can possibly hear you, she’ll go get her shoes and sit down in front of you patiently waiting for you to put them on.

If you mention it is teeth brushing time to her sisters, she’ll be the one to follow you into the bathroom with her mouth hinged open chanting, “aaahhhh…..aaaahhhh….aaaahhhhh” waiting for you to offer to brush hers.

She is continuously getting into things and pulling them out of what they were in. She’s also pretty happy to help clean up and put things back where they were. You know, so she can pull them out again.

When you pick her up from school in Ms. Patty and Ms. Megan’s room, she comes running over with a grin on her face and starts to babble about her day. I hear she’s generally pretty excited to see her teachers at drop off each morning as well.

She has 10 pearly teeth and judging by the way she’s nursing, I’m guessing a few more on the way. This time I can always tell when she’s teething by how I feel afterwards. Ouch.

She still loves to nurse and take one bottle a day from Lovey. It’s a sweet time for them, she lays back and drinks her bottle that has a mix of regular and breast milk. She nurses in the evenings when we come home from our days apart and then again before bedtime and typically once in the night. Last night- she slept from 8:30 throughout the night. I’m fairly certain this is the first time, if there were others- I’m just too tired to remember. It was funny, she obviously wanted to nurse while we were reading bedtime stories so I decided to multi-task- and what do you know- three little Sistred were resting their heads simultaneously. I was happy to miss her after I turned out the lights.

 She met a series of relatives this summer and they seemed as keen on her as she was on them. She’s a pretty social and friendly little girl. A shy, slightly embarrassed smile is what she usually offers up, but a smile none the less.

Her giggle and the Quail’s giggle- still the same.

She walks holding your hand, pushing a baby stroller, with a purse around her neck, cuddling her bunny-bear, bringing you a book to read her.

She doesn’t have time to be cuddled- not while she’s awake or asleep. If you are standing/walking/working- she would just as soon you hold her. The moment you sit down, she wants down or better yet, for you to stand back up. When she is done nursing or with her bottle and is ready to nod off- she must be put down in her bed with a blankie to snuggle.

She knows her night-night routine and learned it fairly quickly. If you forget who to wish a good-night to next- just follow her lead.

Celebrating Sugarplum!

This and a series of upcoming posts are seriously overdue. Sugarplum turned 1 this past April and we celebrated her and this past year with friends at our favorite local park. Since her birthday coincides with Easter and Springtime we played in the park with bubbles, chalk, our outdoor toys and had an egg hunt. The eggs collected were filled with sweets and trinkets and deposited into little bags the children decorated. We also had shiny crowns to be adorned with jewels and stickers for each child and of course a big cake and pizza for all. For the children’s birthdays we generally celebrate with a wide age range of children. We enjoy having everybody share in the festivities and prefer to do a book exchange in lieu of presents. Not that we aren’t grateful for the gifts we receive, but since we enjoy having so many gather, we would rather focus on the people than a pile of gifts. We’ve been frequenting this park since Zuzu was a toddler and sadly this part was destroyed by a flash flood this month. I’m sure the city will rebuild, but we will be sad to have what we think of us our park, well just not be the same.We’re glad we could at least get one celebration in at this special place.

Sugarplum: Hush little baby…

DSC_9654The wail pierces the night like clockwork and both of our adult bodies tense as hers goes all out awake. “Momma hasn’t responded. Momma is laying quiet and I see her there.” the tiny mind seems to find a way to shriek when her careful , but quiet Momma utterances haven’t worked through my dreams. I lean over and pat her back. This is the 10th night in a row that the child has begun what is now become a nightly ritual of waking every 3 hours to “check in” with us. Just the night before Lovey had asked, “Shouldn’t she be sleeping through the night by now?” Yes and no.

At 15 months, we’re still nursing. It’s briefer and interrupted by other little hands, and noses and stories sensing a sitting adult and needing to come climb up and near. The grace with which Sugarplum takes in her family’s constant presence slays me over and over. Come bedtime, she quickly reaches her left, little  dimpled, starfish of a hand over to pat Lovey; a shy smile creeping up around her busy lips. During the day as one set of sandy, sticky lips connects to her baby-soft tendrils after another she wiggles to make eye contact then sighs and settles back in. Always working her hands through a blanket- gauze, fleece, cotton- whatever- just needing to knead. If one of those sister’s should dare remove it her temper will flare and soften as they hand it back.

She’s busy now too though, no more leisurely sessions nursing at the computer, with a book, in front of the TV or a hot meal like during the early months. Once her hands or eyes or ears lock into any of those she’s off and up, only returning with a protest if I try to set her down. When she decides she’s done, she’s done. She rolls and climbs and scoots away. She wants to lay down or play, not to be held , not to be cuddled, not to have Momma’s nose sniffing her baby neck and stinky ears.

And that’s ok. I don’t feel bittersweet at the growth this time around. I’m in awe, amazed as in one moment she sits, the next she stands, the next she walks, she runs, she climbs, she falls and stands, she turns back to huddle into our legs and then grabs our fingers to lead us off to the others.

I’m tired though. I can do one time a night. Each molar pearl that shoves through interrupts all of our sleep though and once the pattern starts she follows it to a t. By the 10th night in a row, I decided to use our night-night routine to try to sway her back to bed without a quick nurse. Night-night mirror, Night-night picture, Night-night books, Night-night lamp, Night-night Bunny-bear and Night-night Sugarplum. See you in the morning. To be fair, I’m sure it was quite hard to hear my whispers over her wails. And somehow shouting the soothing words didn’t seem like it would have quite the same effect. So I would wait for the pause to yawn and wipe her eyes clean of Mr. Sandman’s work and start the lyrical round that works like a charm each evening now. 56 minutes later she gave in and snored in response. Now days and nights later her little clock is reset to a solitary cuddle and nurse a night.

I’m thinking I’m ready to Good-night moon that single waking too though. Once that is set it will be time to move her in with the Sistred. That, I’m sure will bring a bittersweet swell. Or at least I hope it does. More than likely we’ll just turn our attention from Sugarplum’s nightly needs back to Zuzu’s; who has been eyeing the spot between us with a rejuvenated gleam for weeks now. Or maybe we’ll be allowed to sleep up till the time of The Quail’s early morning wanderings and eat/drink/Momma chants….since the thought of 5 of us actually sleeping a straight 7-8 hour stretch is fairly unfathomable…

corner view: home

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar- they have that magical ability to be fully here and simultaneously somewhere else all in the same moment!

There are so many things I can say about home- how it isn’t the four walls, or the location or how many earthly delights you acquire with your good fortune. How home is where your heart and soul are, where the people that fill you with the moments that make up your day. How home is full of the ordinary afters that you eventually notice have woven the crazy quilt of your life around you. But I think my friend Molly has lovingly illustrated our particular home the best.

My gift to myself upon the occasion of my 40th birthday this year, with my love of photography and desire to not just have been behind the camera  years from now when my children look back to their childhood, was a photo shoot with my favorite local photographer. Three years ago I met Molly Flanagan and was so incredibly moved by the deep soul and measure that she walks through her life with. Her stills and prose often inspire my own. When we had made it out of the scary winter of our Quail’s first year we wanted to document the light and shadow of our family and Miss Molly came to visit one Saturday morning. She stilled the motion, spirit and energy of these girls, albeit briefly. Over the next few years I kept wanting to bring her back and see our lives through her lens one more time. The arrival of our Sugarplum seemed to be what called us to finally make the arrangements. Molly’s style has definitely found it’s niche with the art of visual storytelling. She introduced our session to us with these words and this image:

“i dreamed of traveling to far off lands to tell stories of exotic tribes and wild beasts. yet life’s plans have kept me close to home. to my surprise, i found that tribes and beasts are found around every corner. exotic beauty and wild love are hidden in every home.”

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Lovey and I were instantly grinning. Please go see the collection she put together of our Ordinary afters…as she named it- the “smoke & spice” of our story. To tempt you into an introduction to Miss Molly here are just a few of our home via her heart, her vision, her storytelling… as I told her- “I keep coming back to these and soaking them in Miss Molly. As I said on IG- seeing ourselves/our lives through your heart- is pure magic. I see so much in each shot- in the collection and then I marvel in the simplicity and the small details. I could write an essay- a story with each snap- your pictures of our lives- more than a thousand words- but I will give you a thousand thanks and pearls of gratitude. You know from my blog how important the ordinary afters of our life are to me- those fractions of time- those are the treasures. It’s so funny to have been watching you shoot and trying to see what you might be seeing- so the stills are so very familiar in some- and then in others it is like peering in to another lifetime. What a gift these are- you are. love you- xoox”

Enjoy your summer break friends and I can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to while away come September!